Category Archives: Wine

Chappellet Wine & Food Pairing WEBINAR: August 27th

Join ME and Dominic Chappellet for a Wine & Food Pairing educational event Wine & Food Pairing with Sommelier Christopher Sawyer.
Thursday, August 27 at 5pm PST

We will guide you through the fundamentals of wine and food pairings and the key characteristics of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon, and principles behind pairing them. Plus, why certain combinations work and some don’t, how to avoid common pitfalls, and how to develop successful food and wine pairings on your own. Get Registered HERE!

Cheers! Christopher

Chappellet Grower Collection Calesa Vineyard Chardonnay
Chappellet Signature Cabernet Sauvignon
Chappellet Grower Collection Fedrick Ranch Pinot Noir

The Varietal Show With Sawyer Somm Visite Avec Le Comptoir!

Craving something Tres Français? Check out this episode of The Varietal Show with Chef Stephen Bouillez of Le Comptoir in San Rafael, to satiate your desires, then plan a pick-up to try their delicious samplings of food & wine!

And, if you can, help the cause to keep them going during the pandemic at the Le Comptoir Go Fund Me site.Merci beaucoup!

Please LIKESHARE the AMOUR, and FOLLOW my channel for more exciting weekly episodes on Tuesdays at 12:30pm!

B Impressed With The Varietal Show and Traci Dutton!

For my next episode of The Varietal Show with SawyerSomm, we packed in the Pinot Meunier wine power with my amazing Sommelier friend Traci Dutton at the scenic outdoor tasting facility of Bouchaine Vineyards. After you watch B sure to explore their variety of virtual tasting options for yourself!

Please LIKESHARE the LOVE, and FOLLOW my channel for more exciting weekly episodes on Tuesdays at 12:30pm!

Visit Verde Vineyards With The Varietal Show!

Could not resist the opportunity for alliteration! This visit was a beautiful day in the Santa Clara valley with an old friend. Enjoy this virtual outdoors with me and the Verde Vineyards peeps.

Check out our conversation here and remember to hit LIKESHARE the love, and FOLLOW my channel for more exciting weekly episodes on Tuesdays at 12:30pm!

SawyerSomm Meets Cornerstone Cellars on Instagram LIVE July 21st!

Join me Tuesday, July 21st at 4pm (PST) on Instagram LIVE with Cornerstone Cellars winemaker Kari Auringer for an online wine tasting . We will engage in a lively discussion about Cornerstone’s 30-year history of producing delicious Cabernet Sauvignon in the Napa Valley. Attendees can follow along with the Virtual Tasting 3-Pack to learn more about Cornerstone Cellars and what makes each wine unique, which is offered at a discounted rate of just $200 (ground shipping included). The 3-Pack includes the following CABS:

  • 2018 Farina Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma Mountain
  • 2016 Benchlands Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley
  • 2016 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

If you’d like to taste with us during this Instagram Live Wine Tasting, please place your wine orders by: Monday, July 13 for East Coast & Midwest OR Wednesday, July 15th for West Coast!!!

Alternatively, you are welcome to open a different vintage or other Cornerstone Cellars wine to enjoy during the tasting!

#cornerstone #cornerstonecellars #sauvignonblanc #sonoma #sonomamountain #sonomacounty #napa #napavalley #cabernet #cabernetsauvignon #wine #winemaking #winemaker #kariauringer #christophersawyer #sawyersomm

Shane Wines Sits Down With The Varietal Show

Sawyer Somm here, keeping you in touch with the wine world through The Varietal Show on my You Tube Channel! I recently had a private chat about Pinot Noir with my buddy Shane Finley at Shane Wines, in the indoor dining room at Gravenstein Grill, before it was reopened.

Check out our conversation here and remember to hit LIKE, SHARE the love, and FOLLOW my channel for more exciting weekly episodes on Tuesdays at 12:30pm!

Try Some Stellar Wines For Your Independence Day

I recently had the fortune to try this collection of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sauvignon Blanc from Petrified Forest Vineyards, located in the verdant Knights Valley of Sonoma County. Peruse my reviews and find out where to find them on local wine lists.

Also stay tuned for more reviews and a special appearance on The Varietal Show with Sawyer Somm in July! Watch, Like & Subscribe!

Petrified Forest Vineyards 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Totem Ridge Vineyard, Knights Valley

As a delicious, ageworthy offering from the highly-touted 2013 vintage, this deep, rich and complex cellar selection is made with world-class Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown at the high-elevation Totem Ridge Vineyard in Knights Valley. On the nose, alluring aromas of ripe berries, black currant and high-tone dark fruits merge with lively notes of fresh earth, Mexican baking chocolate, leather, and spicy cedar. The complexity continues to the palate, where dense flavors of briary blackberry, huckleberry, dark cherry and ripe plum are layered with hints of cassis, dried cranberry, wild sage, black pepper, and smoky undertones. While the smooth texture and supple tannins illustrate how elegant this wine has become over time, the impeccable balance of fine-grained tannins, vibrant acidity and taut structure prove it has plenty of backbone to age for another decade.

Food Pairings: Blue cheese, lamb meatballs, pan-seared duck breast with blackberry reduction sauce, grilled steaks, slow-roasted stews, and dark chocolate desserts. Sawyer Somm Score: 92 points

Petrified Forest Vineyards 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Totem Ridge Vineyard, Knights Valley

From the high-elevation Totem Ridge Vineyard overlooking Knights Valley in east Sonoma County. The mountain fruit character of this wine opens with dazzling aromas of wild berries and blue fruits intermixed with accents of forest floor, espresso, raw tobacco, black pepper, cardamom, and roasted nuts. On the palate, the full-bodied flavors of black raspberry, blueberry, ripe plum and fresh currants are accented with nuances of wild sage, dark chocolate truffle, and a kiss of fine French oak on the long, dry finish. To add more dimension, these deep, rich and saturated flavors are masterfully balanced with a satin texture, chewy tannins, and firm backbone that makes each sip count. For best results, decant before serving or cellar for 7-12 years.

Food Pairings: Gourmet mac & cheese, pan-seared Ahi tuna with espresso rub, pasta with fresh shaved black truffle, juicy buffalo burgers, grilled steaks, rack of lamb, and slow-roasted stews. Sawyer Somm Score: 95 points

Petrified Forest Vineyards 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Totem Ridge Estate, Knights Valley

Despite the limited yields caused by the lack of rain in 2015, the unique character of this hillside vineyard makes up for it with layers of natural richness and intensive fruit flavors that continue to open up in the glass. To set the tone, the nose is charmed with deep scents of black and blue fruits dusted with hints of cocoa, vanilla, roasted coffee beans, green peppercorns, and toasted walnuts. While the deep, dark and bold notes of black cherry, blueberry, cassis and firm structure are dominant at first, the wine becomes rounder and more opulent as the level of complexity rises. To aid this magical transition, the balanced attack of velvety texture, bright acidity and fine-grained tannins lay the foundation for the earthy, mountain-driven characteristics of wild mushroom, fresh herbs, mineral and black pepper that add more dimension to the lingering finish. In the end, this is a Cab-lovers wine that gets better with more air or more time spent in the cellar.

Food Pairings: Tangy blue cheese, pan-seared duck breast with wild berry reduction sauce, lamb sugo, Porterhouse steaks with all the fixings, slow-roasted stews, and dark chocolate desserts. Sawyer Somm Score: 92 points

Petrified Forest Vineyards 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon, Totem Ridge Estate, Knights Valley

From the pastoral winegrowing region of Knights Valley in eastern Sonoma County, this deep, rich and thought-provoking wine is made with Cabernet Sauvignon grapes grown on the volcanic soils at the 800-foot plateau of the Totem Ridge, a small vineyard developed by the Piters family in 1990. To enliven the senses, the dense dark fruit aromas are layered with subtle hints of chocolate-dipped espresso beans, caramel, vanilla, savory herbs, and cedar. As the fruit-driven fabric of dark cherry, plum and black raspberry provide the core flavors on the palate, the complexity builds with additional hints of fresh sage, allspice, and roasted walnuts. To complement this tasting experience, the deep, rich and robust flavors are balanced with smooth tannins and a note of dark chocolate truffle that lingers on the long rewarding finish. To showcase the pure hillside character of this wine, decant before serving or age for 10-15 years.

Food Pairings: Hard cheeses, eggplant parmesan, grilled lamb kabobs, Peking duck, Ribeye steaks, beef wellington, hearty stews. Sawyer Somm Score: 96 points

Petrified Forest Vineyards 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon, Totem Ridge Estate, Knights Valley

As a dazzling example from the 2017 vintage, this wine is packed with deep, rich and intensive mountain fruit flavors that truly express the character of this special hillside vineyard as it develops in the glass. Framed with a dark red hue, the personality of the site stimulates the senses with high-tone aromatic notes of black and blue fruits, forest floor, mountain herbs and cedar, which are weaved with equally charming scents of black tea, vanilla, roasted coffee beans, licorice, peppercorn, and fresh-baked toffee. On the palate, the deep, rich, concentrated fruit notes of dark cherry, blackberry, cherry cola and roasted fig are underscored with nuances of bittersweet chocolate, black olive, rustic spice, and toasted oak. Past the silky tannins and youthful hints of wild lavender, green peppercorn and cardamom highlighted on the long, dry finish, the firm structure provides the backbone that will allow this wine to develop more personality in the cellar. Rare, distinctive and a true gem from this world-renown winegrowing region in Sonoma County.

Food Pairings: Charcuterie, young blue cheese, risotto with wild mushrooms, gamey meats, grilled steaks, slow-roasted stews, decadent chocolate desserts. Sawyer Somm Score: 95 points

Petrified Forest Vineyards 2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Totem Ridge Estate, Knights Valley

Elegant, sexy and remarkably complex, this high-class wine is made exclusively with ultra-premium Sauvignon Blanc fruit grow on the rocky volcanic soils at the Totem Ridge Vineyard in Knights Valley. On the nose, the fragrant scents of spring flowers, jasmine and gooseberry merge with citrus-driven aromas of lemon merengue, grapefruit, mandarin orange, and light hints of lanolin and roasted cashews. As the wine opens up, the fresh flavors of green apple, ripe pear and citrus are enhanced with tropical notes of mango, papaya, and fresh melon. To heighten the experience, the profile is balanced with silky texture, zippy acidity, and a long, crisp finish with lingering notes of white pepper, wild tarragon and mineral that reflect the personality of this unique hillside site in each sip. The end result is a statement wine with true class and style.

Food Pairings: Fresh goat cheese, split pea soup, fresh veggie with creamy aioli, fish tacos, cracked crab, chicken skewers with fresh fruit salsa, and fine Vietnamese cuisine. Sawyer Somm Score: 95 points

Petrified Forest Vineyards 2017 Sauvignon Blanc, Totem Ridge Estate, Knights Valley

Crafted with pristine hillside fruit grown in the rocky, volcanic soils at the base of Mount St. Helena in eastern Sonoma County. The charming characteristics of this classy, complex and delicious Sauvignon Blanc come to life with alluring scents of ripe tree fruits, melon, kiwi tart, lemon verbena, and sandalwood. To add more complexity to the palate, the flavor of crisp green apple, poached pear, green fig, grapefruit and lemon curd are lifted with lovely notes of papaya, green tea, wild sage, and key lime pie. With a dazzling pale golden hue, smooth texture, perky acidity, and long, elegant finish: This wine is a true delight to the senses that only gets better as it opens up in the glass.

Food Pairings: Steamed mussels, Waldorf salad, rich and creamy sunchoke soup topped with truffle oil and crispy herbs, pan-seared scallops, Alaskan Halibut with almond crust, roasted pork with fruit chutney, and savory tarts.Sawyer Somm Score: 93 points