I’m never one to make big leaps in my life. Yes, about every ten years or so, the lady Beth Fontaine (Tw) and I seem to subconsciously start the process to evaluate our future in the context of our present. Yet, I can’t say that I have ever just done something on a leap of faith, staring at nothing but risk and hoped for reward, but that is the only way that I can explain our rather sudden move back home to Napa Valley. And so we’re both happy to say that now after a month+ into our new lives back in wine country, that we’ve made a fantastic decision:
Wine country, almost by definition; is a gorgeous, relaxing, and delicious set of regions to visit. But how does one choose which region to visit and which wineries to whet one’s vinous whistle? Sometimes you just want a gorgeous setting, with wine that is at least, enjoyable. Other times you might just want the best wine that fits your palate, surroundings be damned. And sometimes you want to go beyond just the wine and have it paired with tasty bites of foodie porn. Fortunately, you now have at least one destination that takes all of these experiences and wraps them into one 3 hour, vino/foodie heavenly wine timeout from reality: the newly launched Jordan Vineyard & Winery (FB, Tw, YT, Fl, P, WL) “Estate Tour & Tasting.”
Take a listen: monastrell wine is on the rise. Yep, I’m making a call, here in Q4 2013, that the monastrell grape will be a major #wine force across the vinous world in the next few years. Wine tends to follow cycles and loops in popularity…Napa cab is here to stay yes, ever since it blew up in the late 60′s and 70′s, but then there was chard right along with it, then zin hit, Italian varietals almost did in the late 80′s and early 90′s, but merlot did, big time. Then sideways pinot took over like a soft-handed monster, and bets on syrah didn’t pan out, while shiraz did (same grape, people). Now, riesling is on the rise, rosé is finally making it big, malbec has been charging for a few years now and
I PREDICT: monastrell throws down a hammer goblet of good quality, price, and sales.
It is with great excitement that I can announce my latest media trip abroad: I am headed back to Spain! Two years ago I had the fantastic pleasure to cover the rich wine, food, and cultural mecca of the Kingdom of Navarra. Now the Lady, Beth Fontaine of Rollerskating With Scissors, and I have the very fortunate chance to dig deep into another part of our favorite foreign food and wine hub: we are headed to the Region of Murcia (FB, YT, Wiki). We will taste the wines of this lesser known Spanish jewel, alongside the tremendous food that can always be counted upon in this Iberian cultural juggernaut. We will be attending 06/23/ – 06/28/13 courtesy of Instituto de Fomento de la Región de Murcia (INFO), and led by our trusty leader from Navarra, Michael Matilla (Kraynick/ARGOS). Follow along, as we tweet and Facebook with #Murcia8 (Tw, FB) & #Murcia (Tw, FB), post photos on Facebook, Instagram, and Flickr, and of course, post here at Vinopanion - WineLog.net.
You might have noticed that I have been a bit MIA the last couple of months. Now I realize that I said that I would be more devoted to my vino bloggie-blog this year and I was…but then life got in the way. I work a pretty busy day job, as many of you know, conducting applied research for cancer drug development at a large biotech. I do all of the wine stuff on the side, which includes ambassador positions, education, consulting, and other writing gigs.
All of that adds up to a pretty fun and busy life, not to mention fantastic quality time with the Lady, of which and whom, I absolutely adore. Recently my side-life got even busier (but healthier), by getting pulled into triathlons by my bro in-law. I competed in my first USAT sanctioned adult race earlier this year, throwing up a 03:45:02 time in what many people consider to be the most difficult Olympic length triathlon, at Wildflower 2013. Whew…that’s a lot of moving parts! But OK enough whining, let’s talk about other people with side gigs, namely, insanely talented winemakers that produce wine under their own, tiny production labels.
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!