Category Archives: Wine

Ravenous for Rosé? Some June events for you!

It just must be the season for those lighter spring delights to make an appearance! June seems to be blooming with delicious Rosé opportunities to please the palate.

Thursday, June 1
FREE Rosé Tasting at Gravenstein Grill
Join ME for a fun and educational Rosé tasting on the Gravenstein Grill patio in Sebastopol (8050 Bodega Ave). No reservations required, but show up early to guarantee a spot!

Saturday, June 17
Rosé Today Presents: A Country Garden Party
Jaxon Keys Winery & Distillery will host pourings on the grand tasting court & in the meadows, talks from industry leaders, gourmet food pairings by the Culinary Institute of America, pétanque, badminton, dancing, and merriment!

Sunset Celebration Weekend at Cornerstone! May 20-21

This is a fun event for all ages!  For those that missed the news, Sunset Magazine purchased Cornerstone in Sonoma, so we are lucky that they now use the gardens for their annual celebration.  Lots of great activities including Wine & Spirits seminars, Iced Tea Sampling, Succulent Potting, Cocktail Garden, Music Stage as well as a great line-up of star chefs and talent; Chef Ryan Scott, Chef Perry Hoffman, Chef Ari Weiswasser, Tyler Malek, many of Sunset‘s own editors, and more!

Sunset Celebration Weekend @Cornerstone
May 20 & 21, 11am to 5pm
Purchase tickets HERE!

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Delightful Spring Dishes to Make & Try!

With the onset of spring weather (mostly!) the palate begins to savor the delicacies of the season. Lovely ingredients tantalize our thoughts until we can just get a few tastes to carry on until they meet again!  For instance this recipe for Garlic Prawns with Warm Cucumber and Ginger Salad shared by the Wine Institute of California:  Easy to make for a light weekend meal.

Then there are the easy-to-make wine paired treats like this Spinach and Strawberry Salad with Toasted Walnuts and Balsamic Vinaigrette that is best served with Kunde Family Winery Chardonnay, Wildwood Vineyard.

Or if you don’t feel like making anything, just go try this decadent Vegan White Bean & Vegetable Puree with Sebastopol Mushrooms and Pesto being served at the Gravenstein Grill:  Simply pair it with Gloria Ferrer Caves & Vineyards Blanc de Noirs from my specialty wine list.

Enjoy! Christopher

Judging at Concours Mondial in Spain 2017!

Just finished this amazing competition in the spectacular city of Valladolid, Spain and on the way home now. Concours Mondial de Bruxelles is the only touring competition in the world: Next year? China!

This year over 9080 wines from 50 countries competed for a Silver, Gold, and Grand Gold Medals. Two new categories, for old vintage and organic wines, were introduced this year.

Check out the 2017 Concours Mondial results next week at: http://results.concoursmondial.com

Epic view from the Penafiel Castle we visited in the famous winegrowing area of Ribera del Duero D.O., which is an hour away the provincial city of Valladolid, where we are staying in the Castilla y Lyon region of Spain.
Epic view from the Penafiel Castle we visited in the famous winegrowing area of Ribera del Duero D.O., which is an hour away the provincial city of Valladolid, where we are staying in the Castilla y Lyon region of Spain.
#SawyerSelfieDeluxe with my fellow American wine judges at the Concours Mondail de Bruxelles International Wine Competition (from left): Master Sommelier Robin O'Conner; Wine Business Monthly Assistant Editor Eric Kirschenmann; Wine Guru/Sommelier Charlie Arturaola of Grappolo Blu, Inc; Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen of the Wine Enthusiast/World Wine Guys.
#SawyerSelfieDeluxe with my fellow American wine judges at the Concours Mondail de Bruxelles International Wine Competition (from left): Master Sommelier Robin O’Conner; Wine Business Monthly Assistant Editor Eric Kirschenmann; Wine Guru/Sommelier Charlie Arturaola of Grappolo Blu, Inc; Mike DeSimone and Jeff Jenssen of the Wine Enthusiast/World Wine Guys.

Seminar Schedule for the Telluride Wine Festival!

I am busily crafting a list of stellar winery and sommelier guests to join the seminar offerings at this year’s Telluride Wine Festival, June 22-25Benovia Winery, Robert Biale Vineyards, Gloria Ferrar, Laurel Glen Vineyard, Montemaggiore, Rodney Strong are all on the list, and more coming. . .

(Photo courtesy of the Cycling Foodie blog.)
(Photo courtesy of the Cycling Foodie blog.)

There will be four one-hour special seminars, all scheduled for Friday and Saturday (details below): There are of course many more fabulous events to attend so take a moment to peruse the TWF full scheduleThen purchase your tickets HERE!

Perfectly Pinot: Friday June 23, 10:30-11:30
A unique opportunity to taste a collection of these sophisticated, limited-release wines crafted from world-class grapes grown in the prestigious regions of Russian River Valley, Santa Rita Hills, Anderson Valley, Willamette Valley, and other coastal regions of the West Coast.

Rhone If You Want To: Friday June 23, 2:30-3:30
Learn about the characteristics of the special grapes used to make a wide range of flavorful red and white still wines, dry pink wines, and complex blends that are great to pair with a wide range of cuisine all year long!

A Mixed Bag of “Mixed Blacks”: Preserving Rare Old Vine Wines Friday June 23, 4:30-5:30
Join us at this rare opportunity to taste and find out what proprietors of the Robert Biale Vineyard and other special producers from Napa Valley and Sonoma County are doing to preserve these old vines as you experience this magnificent series of limited release wines.

Inventing an Icon: The Art & Craft of Proprietary Red Blends Saturday June 24, 10:30-11:30
From elegant to powerful, the profiles of complex red wine blends made with Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and other special grape varieties offer flavor profiles that set themselves apart from all the rest.

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Try out my new Wine List at Gravenstein Grill!

The amazing halibut dish!  See more food porn below.
The amazing halibut dish! See more food porn below.

If you find your way out to Sebastopol, then be sure to stop by The Gravenstein Grill, located at 8050 Bodega Avenue in Sebastopol!  It recently opened with food by star chef Bob Simontacchi of Brick & Bottle fame.

My family and I have already sampled their menu a few times with of course fabulous wines, but there is a spacious bar with hand-crafted cocktails, and Sonoma County’s famous micro-brews to experience as well.  Looking forward to finer weather to enjoy cool sips at the outdoor patio.

Check out the Menu & make your reservation!  Restaurant opens at 5pm, the bar at 4pm; Both close at 9:30, and until 10pm Friday & Saturday (closed Tuesday).  (707) 634-6142

Hope to see you there! Christopher

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Astoria, Oregon Crab & Wine Fest! April 28-30

If only I could be in two places . . . why my obscure obsession with the coast of Oregon? Because I lived there of course! In Astoria to be exact, for two years of my High School career. A place that is still warm to my heart as well as the memories of delicious sea food. While I will be returning this summer for the many-year HS reunion, perhaps there are others that can be there this weekend for the official 35th Annual Astoria Warrenton Crab, Sea Food & Wine Festival. Running Friday April 28 through Sunday April 30th, swing by and enjoy if you happen to be in north west Oregon!

The friendly representation of Sweet Cheeks Winery at the 2015 festival!
The friendly representation of Sweet Cheeks Winery at the 2015 festival!

Laird Family Estate – Wine Train Dinner! Saturday April 22nd

Ready to ride the rails? I will be there to enjoy this exquisite four-course gourmet dinner of seasonal offerings by Chef Donald Young.  The Laird Family Estate portfolio will be tasted and discussed with Consulting Winemaker Brian Mox.

This 3 hour adventure is on the all new Napa Valley Wine Train, for the Private Reserve Dinner Series, aboard the 36-seat restyled Pullman rail car.  Boarding for the special Laird Family Estate dinner will be on Saturday April 22 at 6:30 PM,  with the train departing the station at 7:00 PM.

Reserve your tickets now!

Tastings to come at Telluride Wine Festival 2017

As I prepare another amazing experience for wineries and guests at the upcoming Telluride Wine Festival on June 22-25, thought I would share some pictures from last summer, with more to come.

Also, a reminder for wineries, this Friday April 15th is the deadline for early-bird pricing to register for our Grand Tasting event.  REGISTER HERE or please send me an email if you have any questions. Cheers! Christopher

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Rosé Today & Everyday!

Take a moment to peruse this press release of the winners for Rosé Today for which I participated as a judge.  You can also read up on the fabulous varietal in this article I am featured in, U.S. Producers Betting on Rosé and Challenging French Dominance published by the Wine Industry Advisor.

Heads up as well about the Rosé Today Country Garden Party to taste some of the winners on Saturday, June 17th from 11-4 at Jaxon Keys Winery & Distillery in Hopland.

Press Release:

Healdsburg, CA – Friday, March 24, 2017 —Announcing Rosé Today 2017 Competition Winners of its 2017 Competition held at Soda Rock Winery on March 22, 2017. Rosé Today’s Wine Director Bob Ecker conducted the double-blind competition judged by nine preeminent judges which included Sean Brosnihan, Francois Cordesse, Debra Del Fiorentino, Rick Farga, Denise Gill, Teejay Lowe, Lucio Matricardi, Ph.D, Christopher Sawyer, and Leslie Sbrocco. On behalf of the entire staff of Rosé Today, producers Craig Palmer and Allen Habel extend their thanks to all competition entries and their heartiest congratulations to all these exceptional winners.

Taking home Best of Show, Best of Class and Double Gold in Domestic Sparkling, for the second year in a row is Gloria Ferrer 2013 Brut Rosé.

Best of Class (with Double Gold) are awarded to: Bonterra Organic Vineyards 2016 Rosé, Domestic Dry; Mezzacorona 2016 Rosato, International Dry; Veuve Ambal NV Marie Ambal Brut Rosé, International Sparkling; and Pratsch 2016 Rosé, International Sweet; Del Rio Vineyards NV Rose Jolee, Domestic Sweet.

Double Gold awardees include: Ascension Cellars 2016 “Siren” Rosé, Benziger Family Winery 2016 Rosé, Fleur 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé, Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé 2016, Darkhorse 2015 Rosé, Ferrari-Carrano Lazy Creek Vineyards 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Sassoferrato 2016 Rosé, Lawer Estates 2016 Rosé, Luis Felipe Edwards Loma Negra 2016 Rosé, Luis Felip Edwards Autoritas 2016 Rosé, LXV 2016 Sangiovese Rosé, Proulx 2016 Grenache Rosé, Sonoma-Cutrer 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, St. Anne’s Crossing Winery 2016 Rose of Zinfandel, Santa Rita Limited Release Rosé 2016, and Wollersheim Winery 2016 Prairie Blush.

Gold recipients are: Apriori 2016 Rosé, Locations NV F Rosé, Collection des Anges 2016 Rosé, Six Degrees 2016 Rosé, Phillips Dublanc NV Brut Rosé Sparkling, Cache Creek Vineyards 2016 Rosé, Chacewater 2016 Rosé, Clos LaChance 2016 Colibri, D’Alfonso-Curran Curran 2016 Rosé, Del Rio Vineyards 2016 Rosé, Domaine de Baccari 2015 Cinsault and Grenache, Domaine Serene NV “r” Rosé IX, Due Ruscelli 2016 Rosé, Ferrai-Carano 2016 Dry Sangiovese Rosé, Fess Parker 2016 Pinot Noir, Greenwood Ridge Vineyards 2016 Rosé, Black Ink 2015 Rosé, Fleur 2016 Rosé, Handley Cellars 2015 Pinot Rosé, J. Rickards Winery 2016 Rosé, King Estate Winery 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Kobler Estate Winery 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, Dazzle Cellars 2016 Julia’s Dazzle Rosé, Matrix Winery 2016 Rosé of Pinot Noir, McCay Cellars 2015 Reserve Rosé, McPherson Cellars 2016 Les Copains Rosé, Pennyroyal Farm 2015 Pinot Noir Rosé, Peltier Winery Black Diamond 2016 Rosé, Soda Rock 2016 Rosé, St. Francis 2016 Rosé, Terra d’Oro 2016 Rosé, Coeur Clementine 2016 Rosé, Veuve Ambal NV Brut Rosé, Rivarose 2016 Brut Rosé, Wakefield/Taylors 2016 Pinot Noir Rosé, Abbazia NV Moscato Rosé, and Vinum Cellars 2016 Rosé.

Read the complete list here!