Speedy Holiday Wine Recommendations

December 13, 2011

The holidays get busy. You barely have time to shop, decorate, make food, attend parties, try not to get drunk and, OH YEAH, still work! All of this stress adds up, manifesting itself in strange ways and differently within each person, as evidenced by the varying types of “holiday spirit” seen in the photo on the right.

You don’t have time for this! Your time is too precious to waste upon wondering which kind of wine to bring to coworker Aaron’s holiday party and wait, is it Aaron or Erin…CRAP, you’re so stressed you can’t even remember! It is with these conundrums in mind that I have constructed my Vinopanion holiday wine recommendations and pairings, listed below. Short, sweet (or dry!) and to the point. Let’s drink.

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5 Questions with Gavin Chanin of Chanin Wine Co.

June 24, 2011

Chanin Wine CompanyI had quite a great time while moderating and tasting my way through the very cool California Pinot Noir: In Pursuit of Balance (Twitter) event, back in late March. It was there during the trade tasting at Rn74 (Twitter) that I had the great pleasure of trying two Pinots from a young winemaker by the name of Gavin Chanin, winemaker and proprietor of his relatively new, Chanin Wine Company (Twitter, WineLog). After getting to know a bit about Chanin while at the event, I resolved to find out more about this fresh winemaking personality and his myriad of fine vineyard connections and non-wine, artistic leanings.

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TasteLive!: Pinot Noir & The Influence of AVA

June 21, 2011

TasteLive!Some of my favorite wine events don’t actually exist. Well, that’s not quite right…they don’t actually exist, physically. Some of the most interesting and educational tastings that occur each month take place virtually, over on the rather snazzy TasteLive! (Twitter, WineLog) Twitter-based tasting platform. Just in the last month they’ve had a phenomenal tasting of affordable Bordeaux hosted by Planet Bordeaux (Twitter, WineLog) and an even more comprehensive tasting of Spanish wines from Navarra, hosted by Wines of Navarra (Twitter, WineLog). Join us tonight 6-7pm PST, as we taste through three Pinot Noir for “Pinot Noir & The Influence of AVA.”

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Slingin’ the Pinot [for] Days

June 14, 2011

7th Annual Pinot Days 2011I don’t know if my life has turned the speed of time to 11 or what this year, but it’s already time again for one of the best SF wine events of the year: 7th Annual Pinot Days 2011 (Twitter). Last year’s event was a must attend and this year Lisa and Steve Rigisich et al, have added a slew of additional events for the entire week of festivities and have expanded many wine regions to make this one even mo’ betta. How can such a fine vino event get any better, you ask? Try upping the number of producers over the 200 mark (over 400 Pinot Noir), organizing “the largest presence of Oregon producers ever gathered outside of Oregon” [I’m excited about this one], a fantastic online charity auction and a new Burgundy Corner to showcase the birthplace of this finicky but fine grape variety.

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In Pursuit of Balance: Pinot in the Spotlight

March 24, 2011

Pinot Noir grapes at Chehalem Ridgecrest Vineyard, Newberg, OregonFollowing on the heels of my panel workshop at the very successful 9th Pinot Noir Summit this past month, I’m involved in another new, rather exciting Pinot adventure this month. California Pinot Noir: In Pursuit of Balance (Twitter) is a revolutionary new partnership intending generate dialog about balance in Cali Pinot. The partnership was founded by Jasmine Hirsch (Twitter) of Hirsch Vineyards and Winery (Twitter) and Rajat Par, longtime wine director for the Michael Mina family of restaurants including his own Rn74 (Twitter). As a well-respected family winegrower and an international restaurant wine director respectively, they are knee deep in the world of Pinot each and everyday. It is through this dedication to a single varietal that they realized a conundrum: is California Pinot becoming too big and unwieldy?

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Vintners Hall of Fame Class of 2011 Inductees

February 14, 2011

Vintners Hall of Fame - CIA GreystoneLast November I had the distinct pleasure to again welcome the newest class of wine legends into the Vintners Hall of Fame (VHoF) at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone in St. Helena, CA. The previous year’s luncheon and gala for the 2010 inductees were quite the shindigs and so I was very thankful to be invited back as a member of the wine media. The 2011 class of VHoF members is another set of US wine icons and the upcoming celebratory gala should be another extremely memorable night.

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The 9th Annual Pinot Noir Summit

February 5, 2011

The Pinot Summit - Affairs of the VineI’m very happy to announce that one of the coolest wine events of the year is coming back to the Bay on 02/26/2011 with the arrival of the 9th annual installment of The Pinot Summit (Twitter). Spanning three different segments that day, attending the whole Summit gives you access to almost 9 full hours of delicious Pinot and tasty morsels. It is one of the most educational and complete consumer trade events that I’ve ever seen and it will definitely leave your bellies and brains full of new flavors of and knowledge about Pinot Noir. Best of all?! I’ve got an awesome contest to win some wine from one of the Summit finalists! More after the break…

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Wild Horse Dinner with Winemaker Clay Brock

August 30, 2010

WIld Horse Winery & VineyardsI’ve been a fan of the good value found in third label wines of Wild Horse Winery & Vineyards for some time now. Their baseline Wild Horse line of wines are always a good bet for high QPR every vintage, particularly the widely available Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. I had yet to ever try their two high end labels however, so when I was invited to have dinner with their Director of Winemaking and taste through their top wines at the tasty Local Kitchen in San Francisco, I jumped on BART and headed over.

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Pinot Days SF 2010 + Discount!

June 22, 2010

6th Annual Pinot Days San Francisco 2010One of the most exciting wine events of the year is back in the Bay Area this week. The 6th Annual Pinot Days San Francisco festival celebrates the fickle grape all this week, culminating in the awesome Grand Festival Public Tasting Sunday 06/27/10 inside the Festival Pavilion at Fort Mason. Last year we were treated to an enormous amount of fantastic Pinot, with so much great wine there to be had, I was actually a bit sad after we left, when I realized that we had only tasted 1/5 of the offerings that day!

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Palate Press Article: 2009 NorCal Harvest Report

December 23, 2009

Palate Press - The Online Wine MagazineThis past week saw another article of mine published at Palate Press: The Online Wine Magazine. I first mentioned Palate Press when it had its very successful launch earlier this year, as well as when my first article debuted, a comparison of crystal stemware. My second article is now posted, a wide-ranging review of the 2009 harvest across many of the appellations in Northern California.

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