Ahh, Chablis! One of the only French Appellation d’origine contrôlée, AOC (official wine appellation) to sport a single grape variety for its wines, Chablis has had a tremendously long and stupendously successful history as a wine-growing region. The first grape vines were planted during the start of the Roman occupation in what is now Burgundy, and Chablis and its pristine Chardonnay grapevines now occupy the northernmost corner of this ancient wine district. It was this historic wine region that we had the joy to explore last November with Pure Chablis (FB, Tw, WL), during a winemaker dinner designed by Boulevard Executive Chef and Co-Owner, Nancy Oakes.
Napa Valley: St. Supéry Estate Vineyards & Winery (FB, Tw, YT, WL). Located in the Rutherford appellation, dead center for some of the best vineyards in all of Napa, St. Supéry has been producing fantastic wines at enticingly low prices since the 1980′s. They have also been the hosts of some fine tastings, including a Bloggers’ Forum, a visit during the Pops & Son Wine Trip 5 (#PSWT5), and another great tasting by family owners, Skalli Family Wines. Now all of us have a chance to speak live online via ToutSuite with their winemaker Michael Scholz. A lot of the history of St. Supéry has been discussed there, so I won’t rehash their wonderful story right now, but suffice it to say: St. Supéry makes some of the finest Napa Valley wines…the majority priced at a level that we can refreshingly afford.
More tasting event details after the jump!
Two Fridays ago we had the fortunate opportunity, courtesy of Petite Sirah I Love You (FB, Tw, WL), to attend their annual gala: the Dark & Delicious Petite Sirah 2013 tasting event at Rock Wall Wine Company. This event, now in its 7th year, is the premiere tasting event for Petite Sirah each year. Filling the Alameda warehouse of Rock Wall to a comfortable capacity, 50+ vintners of the fine dark grape are mixed with 30+ boutique food vendors, making for an extremely fun, chill, and tasty evening!
A longtime winery just outside of Murphys, CA in Calaveras County is up for sale. Chatom Vineyards, established in 1981 by San Franciscan Gay Callan, boasts 13 grape varieties planted on across 65 acres, all in the small and picturesque valley of Esmeralda of the Sierra Foothills. In 1990, Callan built the estate winery and tasting room along Highway 4, nicely situated only 2 miles outside of the wine tourism center of downtown Murphys. The winery makes 3 whites, 8 reds, and one very tasty dessert wine.
More after the jump, including an intro video by First Choice Business Brokers!
My wine travels during the last few years have been nothing short of spectacular. I never want to leave the places in which I am so fortunate to have forged lifelong stories about wine. But it was the Strada del Vino Terre di Arezzo (Tw, FB, WL) where I *truly* did not want to leave. Through the benign wills of the Strada and Sally Fischer PR, I was able to tack on roughly 30 hrs to the end of a previously scheduled media trip in Tuscany. It was here, in the beautiful wine road of “Terre di Arezzo,” or the lands of the village Arezzo, that I found the beauty of this wine road. Indeed, you can see many of the highlights in my first brief article and short video that I’ve already posted to Vinopanion. I discovered that the beauty of this wine road extends beyond it’s food, landscapes, and wine, but also to its people.
It’s time for another Twitter tasting (2/15 4-6pm PST), and I’m happy to be a part of this one, which features one of the most well-known families in all of American wine. Steven Kent Mirassou (Tw) is the 6th generation of the family Mirassou to devote his life to wine. He grew up working the family’s namesake winery in San Jose, but didn’t actually fully embrace his family’s vinous legacy until 1996. It is then that he teamed with his father to create a Cabernet-driven winery, born out of his father’s previous labels and wine works, that he had moved to the Livermore Valley. It was here that Steven Kent Winery (Tw, FB, YT, WL) was born. Later, he refined his love for Livermore Cab with the singular project Lineage (Tw, FB, YT, WL), and then complemented those efforts by the purchase of La Rochelle Winery (Tw, FB, YT, WL) from his very own cousins, with its focus on Pinot Noir. The Steven Kent Portfolio was complete!
I have some very exciting news to share with my happy and wine-loving Vinopanions! While I hinted at this news earlier this year, I can now announce the official Kickstarter campaign for the fantastic new wine store and web destination, Block122 (Twitter, Facebook, WineLog). Founded by four BOULEVARD restaurant employees, Block122 will showcase the finest, small production producers of wine from the left coast, much of which lies along the meridian 122° west of the Prime Meridian. These boutique wineries are those that many times, only produce wines for 1-2 small stores or restaurants, have no distribution, and can’t even provide an online web store. It is these vinous finds that Block122 will revel in sharing with you on their website with stories, videos, and a retail store; all inclusive, with all snobbery excluded.
Welcome, Year 2013 of the Gregorian Calendar! I am normally not one to set New Year’s Resolutions…if you want to accomplish something, just DO IT! Don’t wait until the arbitrary date set by a Pope to change your life. On the other hand, I happen to have a number of things in flux at the moment and today just happens to be the best day to start doing them, following some weeks of
drinking wine contemplation.
First off, and perhaps most importantly for all of you Vinopanions, look for a much higher frequency of postings, including many shorter ones. While I have been rather prolific at reviewing the many wines that I taste and receive as samples, I have not been so good lately at doing actual Vinopanion posts. This will change and as such, the Vinopanion Facebook page will also be a lot more active.
Find out more, after the jump!
This Wednesday 10/25/12, from 5-7pm PST, I will be a part of another very cool online wine tasting courtesy of the great folks over at Wines of Chile (WineLog, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube). Chilean wines have had tremendous success in the US over the last decade and a half, with much of that market penetration coming from their tasty, but value-driven brands. Their discovery of the long lost Bordeaux grape variety of Carménère has further cemented their status in the US drinking game, with that grape becoming their signature wine. Our tasting will be of a different sort however, as Master Sommelier Fred Dexheimer (Twitter, Facebook) will be leading the tasting of 12 wines, live from Santiago, Chile. The point of this tasting is not only to drive home the value that can be found in these wines, but to also show off their burgeoning sense of place, as the Chilean wine industry continues to come into its own as an winegrowing nation of international quality.
I will also be writing about this event in a different manner than the norm, here at Vinopanion. Much like a WBC Speed Tasting, I’ll be writing most of my educational and tasting notes in real-time, as I follow Fred Dex and interact with all of the other bloggers tasting from around the world. You can preview the wines after the jump. Check back in on 10/25/12, from 5-7pm PST and join in the fun using #BlogChile!
OK, yes…Italy is IT-tal-ly, I know. But still, I was not expecting the wealth of life experience that I encountered in the rolling Tuscan hills of the Chianti Classico (WineLog, Twitter, Facebook, YouTube) wine region. As announced previously, in late May of this year, I had the chance to tour through the majestic, rural countryside of the Chianti Classico DOCG. Much our our time was spent in many of the nine small, ancient villages that dot the rolling hilltops of that portion of Tuscany. They sit above the long-planted vines, gaining sustenance from the fantastic soils that have produced renowned wine for over a thousand years. One of these truly unique villages, Panzano in Chianti, lounges above the Conca d’Oro or “Golden Shell,” considered the most beautiful and highly regarded vineyards in all of the DOCG. It is here that we spent some of the best food and wine moments of my life.