Category Archives: Wine

Virtual Vines – Some Online Options to Spend Time With Fine Wines!

As we all grasp the new reality, at least for the time being, the industry has shifted to allow the opportunity to keep filling our cellars!  In addition there is an interactive tasting component being streamed for our virtual pleasure.

As an example, I was just with Tres Sabores on Instagram for their weekly Live Tasting Party, happening every Tuesday at 4pm!  And look out for information upcoming about CellarPass TV, which I will be participating in soon with some very special wine guests!  Until then here is a list of upcoming wineries partaking in the pleasures of our new normal this week.

Notre Vue Winery:  April 2, Thursday, Join by Zoom at 5pm to participate!

Sextant Estate Winery: April 2 & 9, Thursdays, Order wines to join in!

Adobe Road WineryApril 3 & 4, Friday & Saturday, Join by Zoom at 5pm to participate!

Byington Vineyard & Winery: April 3, Fridays weekly at 5pm & 7pm

Thirty-Seven Wines: Order your Virtual Tasting Wine Pack by April 5, Sunday, to participate on Saturday April 18.

Calluna Vineyards: Virtual Wine Tastings on  April 5 Sunday, April 11 Saturday,or April 17 Friday, be sure to Register here!

Whichever experience you happen to choose ENJOY!
Cheers, Chris

Going Virtual! Julie Johnson of Tres Sabores Wines and I Join Forces this Tuesday!

Join me with Tres Sabores for their next live tasting party,  Tuesday March 31st at 4pm live on Instagram with Tres Sabores & Sawyer Sommelier!  Delight in a little wine, a little conversation and some delectable suggestions for your enjoyment!

Wine!
2016 Por que no?
2014 Por que no?
2013 Rutherford Perspective Cabernet

Food Pairing!
Crispy Rancho Gordo Beans with Two Sauces (Frijoles Bravas)

Also an opportunity to purchase this two-day limited “library” release through the Tres Sabores online store or call 707-967-8027

 

Announcing . . .

. . . the Bohemian Magazine 2020 Best Sommelier of Sonoma County award goes to Christopher Sawyer!!!!

A big THANK YOU to all that took the time to vote and grant me this honor for the seventh year in a row!

I look forward to seeing you at a wine event or two over the next year, but in any case be sure to check out my Wine List at Gravenstein Grill when you get the chance:  Raising a glass to all my amazing supporters!

CHEERS! Christopher

Read My Work About Rhône & Somm Camp in the Latest Somm Journal!

In between all my comings and goings there is a wee space to satiate my journalistic beginnings.  In addition to my occasional Sawyer Somm blog posts, take a minute to peruse some industry magazines either in print or online.  The 2020 February/March issue of  The SOMM Journal is a great place to start with my two published pieces!

 

My column Inside Sonoma is on  page 18.
Here to Stay: Sonoma County Producers Continue to Embrace Rhône Varieties

My article about The SOMM Journal Camp is on page 100.
With Love From The Russian River Valley: DeLoach Vineyards Leads SOMM Campers in a Regional Exploration of Wine and Vine

Happy Reading! Chris

The Stellar 2020 Wine Wednesday Guest List Continues at Gravenstein Grill!

Donald Patz will be pouring his wines on Wednesday February 26th!
Donald Patz will be pouring his wines on Wednesday February 26th!

As springtime quickly arrives we have a great way to enjoy the approaching change in seasons. Come to Gravenstein Grill, at 8050 Bodega Ave in Sebastopol, to try a different winery every week, in the Bartlett Bar from 5:30-7pm!  Wine Wednesday is an excellent opportunity to enjoy a complementary tasting with a local wine producer.

Start your explorations on the last week of February with a triple winery feature from our next guest!


February 26: Donald Patz Wine Group

-Maritana Vineyards
-Terminim Wines
-Secret Door Winery

March 4: Trecini Winery
March 11: Emeritus Vineyards

CANCELLED! No Wine Wednesday the next 2 weeks.

March 18 rescheduled: Copain Wines now June 10
March 25 rescheduled: Acorn Winery now June 17

April 1 : Cancelled

Celebration postponed until Gravenstein Grill reopens!

Special Sparkling Celebration! with Paula Kornell Sparkling Wine & Gloria Ferrer

 

Trecini-1200x546
acorn2
Web
emeritus-bottles

CHEERS! Christopher

Positive vibes from the Super Bowl and Miami Food & Wine Culture

Although it’s hard to believe: When Super Bowl LIV at Hard Rock Stadium in Miami came to an end, everyone came out a winner. In the case of the Kansas City Chiefs, their dramatic 31-20 victory over the San Francisco 49ers marked the team’s first Super Bowl win in 50 years. And, despite the disappointing loss to wine country locals, the game also capped off an amazing season for the 49ers: a young, talented team which made the miraculous transformation from a 4-12 record in 2018 to a 13-3 mark this past year, coupled with two convincing wins in the playoffs, which earned them the opportunity to compete for the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy on the 100-year anniversary of the NFL.

Beyond the players, the other big winners were the 49er Faithful, as well fans from the Chief’s Kingdom, and the over 6,000 members of the media attending the game on February 2, who also had special opportunities to explore the fabulous food and wine culture that has blossomed in the greater Miami area since the Niners won their last Super Bowl at Hard Rock Stadium in 1995.

I am happy to say, I have been following the delicious wave of new culinary delights since I began judging the American Fine Wine Competition, which takes place every January at the Chaplin Center for Hospitality, on the campus of Florida International University in North Miami. To make this year more special, I got a taste of what 49er and Chiefs fans could expect with my fellow wine pals Charlie Arturola, Jacqueline Coleman, Peg San Felippo, Roberto Columbia, Wendy Rosano, Stu Nudelman, Henry Escobar and other judges attending the AFWC’s 13th Annual One Thousand Bottles: Sipping Through America, a special gathering held at the Chaplin Center on the FIU campus exactly two weeks before the kick-off of Super Bowl LIV.

In a nutshell: this fabulous event gives consumers, sommeliers, retailers, wine pros, and members of the media a rare opportunity to taste the top wines we judged earlier in the day, while sampling exquisite delicacies prepared by South Florida’s best restaurants and food purveyors, as well as newly released wines being poured by special guests from West Coast wineries. As an extra touch of class, proceeds from the get-together are donated to charity. And since 2007, AFWC has raised more than $1,000,000 for these local charities, including the Miami Dolphinsadmirable collaboration with the Tackle Cancer organization.

Standout bites at this year’s event included: a stunning array of fresh seafood delights from Krudo; a lobster sandwich on top of a purple Peruvian potato from The Blue at the Boca Resort; juicy, tender and smoky morsels from Nature’s Cut Organic & Grass Feed Beef, which raised in Uruguay and imported to Miami; and a very Pinot-friendly mushroom crudité from star Chef Stefano LaCava, who prepared the fantastic judges dinner the night before.

These and more tasty offerings provided by Cvltvra Restaurant, Ortanique, The Crepe Maker, Cooper’s Hawk, Nature’s Cut, Gatsby’s Joint, A Flair For Fudge and El Brazo Fuerte Bakery were also paired with delicious wines poured by our friends from DAOU Family Estates, Trujillo Wines, Hagafen Cellars, Kestrel Vintners, Staura Cellars, A. Torano Family Vineyards, Yount Ridge, Shadowbox Cellars and Bricoleur Vineyards during the event.

As the fun continued, I was able to savor more fine wines with Napa Valley vintners Chris and Shannon Hyde of Hyde Estate, Mike Henry from Acre Wine, FIU-grad Stephanie Honig of Honig Vineyards and Winery, as well as my other great pals Ali Nemo and Andy Du Vigneaud of Bee Hunter Wines of Anderson Valley. All this, while watching the 49ers punch their way to Super Bowl LIV with their convincing NFC Championship victory over the Green Bay Packers, which was broadcast on monitors in the Chaplin Center.

The following day, we judged the final rounds of the competition, which culminated with the sweepstakes round that matched the Best of Class wines in a head-to-head showdown in each category. Here are the big winners at the AFWC 2020:

  • Sparkling Wine: Mumm Napa NV Brut Prestige, Napa Valley
  • White Wine: Castello di Amarosa 2018 Gewurztraminer, Anderson Valley
  • Red Wine: Papapietro Perry 2016 Pinot Noir, Pommard Clone, Russian River Valley
  • Sweet Wine: Ferrante 2017 Vidal Blanc Ice Wine, Grand River Valley, OH

The full details on all the Double Gold, Gold and Silver medal winners will be listed on the American Fine Wine Competition website soon.  Coming soon, look for my story about two special restaurants I visited during my visit to Miami in mid-January!

Coming Soon: ZinEX & #ZIGSAW Discount at the Grand Tasting!

Get ready San Francisco, because here comes Zin EX, January 30-February 1!  Three spectacular days to celebrate the marvelous varietal Zinfandel.  It starts with the Opening Night Dinner at Le Colonial (SOLD OUT, sorry!).

Moving on, there is a fantastic seminar, Legendary Zinfandel Vineyards – As seen through the Eyes of Their Caretakers on Friday January 31, 10:30 to 1pm at The Palace Hotel, with moderator extraordinaire Joel Peterson, founding winemaker at Ravenswood Winery (TICKETS Available!). Later in the evening comes Havana Nights, the SOLD OUT Winemaker Auction & Dinner.

Saving the best for last is the Grand Tasting on Saturday February 1st, at Pier 27:  This Zinfandel expedition will have over 100 participating wineries and culinary stations to sample delectable bites from leading chefs!  BE SURE to include the code #ZigSaw for $10 OFF your PUBLIC Grand Tasting entry at 2pm!

 

 

Looking forward to an ZIN-tastic weekend!
Cheers, Chris & Ziggy
(aka #ZIGSAW)

A New Year of Wine Wednesdays at Gravenstein Grill in Sebastopol!

Happy New Year to all you wine connoisseurs out there!  Here is an invitation to a try tasting something novel every Wednesday of 2020 as a most splendid resolution.

To get started trek on over to Gravenstein Grill in Sebastopol (8050 Bodega Ave) for a Wine Wednesday tasting!  It is weekly in the Bartlett Bar from 5:30-7pm, an excellent opportunity to enjoy a free wine tasting with a local wine producer.

Warm up with these upcoming guest wineries this Winter!
January 22:  Pedroncelli Winery
January 29:  Bacigalupi Vineyards
February 5:  Talisman Wines
February 12:  Shane Wines
February 19:  Miro Cellars
February 26:  Donald Patz Wine Group
talismanbarrels
FB_IMG_1579215610850
Talisman
bacigalupi

Top to Bottom: Pedroncelli on Jan 22; Shane Wines on Feb 12; Maritana Vineyard on Feb 26; Talisman (top two) on Feb 5; Miro Cellars on Feb 19 & Bacigalupi Vineyards on Jan 29!

Sad News: In Memory of Jim Caudill

May I hold your leather tassels? When I learned that my dear friend Jim Caudill (a.k.a. “Big Jim”) had passed this weekend, I was crushed.

In honor of Jim, this FUNDRAISER is in his memory: The money raised will ensure his wife Char Banach and the beautiful Sonoma County property they call home, Windborne Farm, and the horses and animals there are well looked after for many years to come.

Jim was the definition of a PR guru, a great friend, a fantastic wine judge, a horse whisperer, and a great husband to his wonderful wife Char.  When we talked a few weeks ago, he told me he had cancer and was going to start treatment. Therefore, I was very optimistic. But alas he never made it that far. His passing is a sad loss to the California wine community and Sonoma County as a whole. I miss this man already and hope he’s drinking the finest beverages, riding wild horses, and feeling much healthier in his new environment. Here on earth, I will lead many toasts to conjure his spirit and remind him we are always thinking about the impact he made on so many lives. #RIPJimCaudill