Wines from Willamette: Recent Recommendations

Domaine Serene Wines

Domaine Serene Wines

If you aren’t already familiar with Oregon wines, it’s a prime time to begin that education. We attended a wonderful wine tasting in San Francisco last week sponsored by the Willamette Valley Wineries Association so we can recommend specific wines to seek out (at local wine stores and/or restaurants) that are tasting delightful right now.  We also encourage you to consider traveling to the Willamette Valley wine country yourself and visiting some of these wineries in person.      

 

Willamette Valley Wineries Association 50 YearsThe region is currently celebrating the 50th anniversary of their first Pinot Noir plantings (by David Lett and his wife Diana in the Dundee Hills) and today, more than 85% of Oregon’s Pinot Noir is grown here.  At last week’s wine tasting, Pinot in the City, these were our favorite Pinot Noir wines:

Bergstrom Wines

Bergstrom Wines

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Wonderful Wines from West Sonoma Coast

West of West Wine FestivalIf you’re on the hunt for outstanding Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs, we’d like to suggest some wines made from grapes grown in the western Sonoma Coast area.  Earlier this month, we had the pleasure of attending the 5th annual West of West Wine Festival in Sebastopol (from the West Sonoma Coast Vintners) showcasing premier cool-climate wines from Fort Ross-Seaview and Green Valley AVAs as well as other popular growing regions like Annapolis, Freestone, Occidental and Sebastopol Hills.

Red Car Wine

Red Car Wine

Keep reading and we’ll tell you about our favorite Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from the weekend. We encourage you to seek these wines out yourself at restaurants, wine stores, and/or directly from the wineries.  You can follow the wineries’ links below to learn how to purchase their wines online and/or maybe arrange for a wine tasting visit.

In addition to our Chardonnay and Pinot Noir recommendations, you should know that we also found two impressive Rosés (2013 Rosé of Pinot Noir from Freeman Vineyard & Winery and 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir from Red Car Wine) and a phenomenal Syrah (2013 La Bruma Estate Syrah from Peay Vineyards) at the Festival you’ll want to try yourself.
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Pinot in the City: San Francisco Welcomes Oregon Pinot Noirs

Panther Creek Cellars

Panther Creek Cellars, coming to Pinot in the City

Call your friends and rearrange your plans because Pinot in the City from the Willamette Valley Wineries Association (WVWA) is coming to San Francisco on August 26 and you really don’t want to miss it.  The WVWA is celebrating 50 years since Pinot Noir was first planted in their beloved Valley so come join 65 top Oregon wineries for a fun evening where you can taste wines, meet the winemakers, rediscover old favorites and/or fall in love with something new. The last time this event came to San Francisco was in 2012 and we’ve really missed it.

Domaine Serene

Domaine Serene

Pinot in the City takes place between 6 pm and 9 pm at the Golden Gate Club (133 Fisher Loop, San Francisco) and provides you (and your entourage) a chance to taste wines from Archery Summit, Bergström Wines, Domaine Drouhin Oregon, Domaine Serene, Sokol Blosser, Stoller Family Estate and other celebrated wineries all under one roof.  Tickets are just $75 per person and can be purchased by going here before August 26.  Appetizers and Pinot-friendly hors d’oeuvres will accompany the tasting.

iOTA Cellars

iOTA Cellars

You’ll even have a chance to compare and contrast sub-AVAs of the Willamette Valley as participating wineries include Brittan Vineyards (McMinnville AVA), Chehalem (Chehalem Mountains AVA), iOTA Cellars (Eola-Amity Hills AVA), Lange Estate Winery and Vineyards (Dundee Hills AVA), Penner-Ash Wine Cellars (Ribbon Ridge AVA) and Soter Vineyards (Yamhill-Carlton District AVA).

Scott Paul Wines

Scott Paul Wines

If for some reason you’re still not convinced, please know that Pinot in the City will also have these wineries pouring: Adelsheim VineyardAlexana Winery, Colene Clemens Vineyards, Erath Winery, Owen Roe, Panther Creek Cellars, Ponzi Vineyards, REX HILL, Scott Paul Wines, Shea Wine Cellars, The Four Graces and Winderlea Vineyard & Winery.  For complete details on the event and to see the entire list of participating wineries please go here.

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Suggestion for Next Sunday: The Napa Valley Wine Library Association Annual Tasting

NVWLA Tasting at Silverado Resort & SpaCelebrate summer and Napa Valley wines next Sunday at a classic (and lovely) wine tasting event: the Napa Valley Wine Library Association Annual Tasting.  Now in its 53rd year, this walk-around tasting will be held under the sheltering oaks of The Grove at Silverado Resort & Spa (1600 Atlas Peak Road, Napa) on August 9th between 5 and 7 pm.  The theme this year is “Toasting the Twelves” so you can expect plenty of samples from the 2012 vintage.

The Napa Valley Wine Library Association (NVWLA) was founded in 1963 as a resource for information about wine. Today, the Association hosts seminars and other educational events, and funds an extensive collection of books, interviews, newsletters, technical journals, and other wine-related materials about wines and wine growing.

Fontanella Family Winery

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon frm Fontanella

Based on our personal experiences, we highly recommend you (a) join the Association, (b) attend the Tasting and then (c) seek out these particular wines at this year’s Annual Tasting:

 

Stony Hill Vineyard

Stony Hill Vineyard

At the NVWLA Tasting, you’ll be able to enjoy white wines such as Viognier, Sauvignon Blanc, Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Pinot Blanc. On the red wine side you can expect to try Dolcetto, Pinot Noir, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Syrah, and Zinfandel (and of course, Cabernet Sauvignon).

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Heritage Fire: Pigs, Fire, Wines and More in Napa Valley

Heritage Fire LogoGrab your forks because Heritage Fire, a whole animal live-fire, outdoor food and wine event returns to Charles Krug Winery (2800 Main Street, St. Helena) on Sunday, August 2, 2015 between 3pm and 7 pm. If you move quickly, you can still purchase tickets for this massive collection of culinary experts cooking for a crowd of meat and wine enthusiasts (including you).

BBQ Tri-Tip on the GrillHeritage Fire by Cochon will showcase more than 50 notable chefs working with farmers to prepare and cook 3,000 pounds of heritage breed animals, spotlighting traditional outdoor cooking techniques. Heritage and heirloom dishes to be featured include Wood-Roasted Duck, Spit-Roasted Local Rabbit, Roasted Goat, assorted cuts of Dry-Aged Beef and (of course) a variety of preparations of heritage breed Pig.  You can also expect to find Raw Oysters, Roasted Clams, Octopus with Chorizo, Sturgeon, Artisan Cheeses and Heirloom Vegetables as well as outstanding wines and craft beers.

Leg of Lamb over Live FireSo who’s cooking? Participating chefs include Rogelio Garcia (Angèle), Kim Wiss (Antica Napa Valley), John McConnell (Bruschetteria Food Truck), Joey Elenterio (Cadence), Blaise Bisbey (Calistoga Kitchen), Chris Marchino (Cotogna), Joshua Schwartz/Tony Incontro (Del Dotto), David Bazirgan (Dirty Habit), Jason Kupper (Heritage Eats), Alex Lovick (Inglenook), Trevor Kunk (PRESS), Sophina Uong (Revival Bar & Kitchen), Brandon Sharp (Solbar), Brad Farmerie (The Thomas), Omri Afalo (Wayfare Tavern) and John Stewart & Duskie Estes (Zazu Kitchen + Farm).

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Putting it Together: Carneros Wine Alliance’s Birthday Bash

carneros-30th-year-of-the-ramArt isn’t easy but you can admire achievements in the oenological, culinary and visual arts when the Carneros Wine Alliance (CWA) holds their “Year of the Ram” Birthday Bash on July 25 at the stunning di Rosa property in southern Napa Valley. This is the “Year of the Ram” in the Chinese Zodiac calendar and the word “Ram” translates into “Carneros” in Spanish so the Alliance is adopting the name for its celebration honoring the 30th anniversary of the group’s founding.  

Los Carneros

Metal sheep welcome you to di Rosa

The Birthday Bash will take place between 3:30 pm and 6:30 pm at di Rosa (5200 Sonoma Highway, Napa) in the heart of Carneros. If you attend, your menu of activities will include art walking tours, live entertainment from the Max Bonnick Trio, a craft table where you can create your own cork-based art and a blind wine tasting contest. On top of all that, a raffle drawing every half hour will give you a chance to win magnums of wine from CWA’s members.  Tickets for the event are $100 per person and can be purchased by going here.  But, please move quickly as this event is sure to sell out.

Saintsbury

Saintsbury

The Carneros American Viticultural Area (AVA) is located at the crossroads of the Napa and Sonoma Valleys and has long been known for Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and sparkling wine production. Throughout the afternoon almost 20 wineries will be pouring current and library wines including Anaba, Artesa, Bouchaine Vineyards, Ca’ Momi Winery, Carneros Hills Winery, Ceja Vineyards, Clos du Val, Cuvaison Estate Wines, Domaine Carneros, Hyde Vineyards, Nicholson Ranch, Poseidon’s Vineyard, Ram’s Gate, Saintsbury, Schug Carneros Estate, Starmont, The Donum Estate, Truchard and ZD Wines.

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Recent Favorites from Napa Valley’s Howell Mountain

Taste of Howell Mountain AuctionEarlier this month we had the pleasure of indulging in wines made from grapes grown in the Howell Mountain AVA at the 20th annual Taste of Howell Mountain Wine Tasting and Auction.  We had a great time enjoying the wine, food and festivities on June 20 and looking around it seemed like we weren’t the only ones. Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignons have a well-deserved reputation but we frequently find admirable wines made from other varietals as well from this region. 

Robert Craig Winery

Rosé and Cabernet Sauvignon from Robert Craig Winery

TOHM is one of our favorite events in Napa County, and we encourage you to consider attending yourself next year (June 18, 2016).  This year’s activities started with over 40 wineries in a walk-around wine tasting sharing their latest releases (and a few library wines) as a silent auction tempted us with a variety of opportunities.  Later on, a festive live auction provided us more chances to taste wines and help support the Howell Mountain Education Foundation (a non-profit organization receiving part of the day’s proceeds). 

If you are looking for wines that best represent the Howell Mountain AVA right now, we’ve listed below the ones we enjoyed the most at the 2015 Taste of Howell Mountain. So, please look for them in your local restaurants, wine stores, and/or from the wineries themselves (and you can follow the links to see which wineries have public tasting rooms and their operating hours):
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