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Tasting Event

North Coast Rhone Rangers Build Momentum with Second Tasting

The Rhone Rangers North Coast Chapter is fairly new as an active group. The tasting they held on Tuesday was just their second. Despite that, the event was thoughtfully organized, a pleasure to attend and included a number of excellent wines.

It’s a little surprising to me that there hasn’t been an active chapter of Rhone Rangers until recently. Napa Valley, Sonoma County and Mendocino County all have excellent sites for growing Rhone-variety grapes. Some of California’s best come from those areas. Of course mindshare for varieties such as Syrah, Grenache, Viognier and Grenache Blanc, not to mention Marsanne, is still much lower than that of Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir, Chardonnay or even Sauvignon Blanc. Which makes it all the more important for this to group thrive.

Tuesday’s North Coast Rhone Rangers tasting was held at the Napa Valley Museum in Yountville. The museum was an excellent venue—clean, quiet, temperature-controlled, easy to get to and just the right size. The fresh white walls and attractive art also brought an elegance usually missing for group tastings. That said, I hope that the group outgrows the facility soon.

Fifteen wineries poured at this tasting, a respectable number and a manageable size for attendees. I’d love to see three times that many producers participate. There are more than enough quality producers to make that an achievable goal. However, the chapter only has 34 members at present and just six from Napa. Come on, Napa...

The majority of the producers at this tasting were small. Of the wines poured, about 45, only five had case volumes above 500. Quite a few are below 200.

The tasting also confirmed a trend toward leaner, less syrupy Rhone-variety wines in northern California. Of all the wines poured, only one exceeded 15% alcohol and that just barely at 15.1%. More than half of the wines offered come in below 14% alcohol.

NorthCoast2
Map: Rhone Rangers North Coast Chapter

 Wines to Covet

I own way too much wine. This is only a problem in that I try very hard not to acquire any more these days. And sometimes I taste wines that I really, really want to buy. Here are the three wines that most made me regret having put myself on double-secret wine-buying probation.

William Allen made just half a barrel of the 2012 Two Shepherds Marsanne Russian River Valley. That’s very sad because it’s an absolutely beautiful wine. The people, probably club members, who get some are going to be very happy and I hope they are able to share with friends (or wine writers). The wine is floral but in a subtle, pretty way. There are hibiscus, peach blossom, marzipan and mineral on the nose and palate. Medium-plus body with satiny texture and a lengthy finish make it elegant yet satisfying in the mouth. $35, Highly Recommended+

My "rosé of the day award" goes to the 2012 Cornerstone Corallina Syrah Rosé Napa Valley, Stepping Stone. It’s flat out delicious. The generous aromas and flavors include guava, peach, strawberry and melon. It has medium-plus body and a silky glycerine feel in the mouth that literally made me come back for more. $20, Highly Recommended.

The red wine which most tempted me to feign temporary amnesia while whipping out a credit card was the 2007 Ridge Petite Sirah Dynamite Hill, Spring Mountain. Though a 2007, this is a current release for Ridge because... Petite Sirah. And, though a Spring Mountain Petite Sirah, it has ample acidity and just 13.7% alcohol because... Ridge. It was dark ruby in my glass with powerful aromas of black cherry, spice, tobacco and cedar. Whole berry fermentation and a few years of bottle age have resulted in moderate tannins with a lightly chalky texture and a Petite Sirah that can be enjoyed with our without food. $32, Highly Recommended.

Wineries to Watch

Kale Wines is the personal project of winemaker Kale Anderson and his wife, Ranko. Kale’s main gig is director of winemaking at Pahlmeyer Winery. Previously he worked at Cliff Lede and Terra Valentine and he interned at Colgin Estate. Ranko poured two wines on Tuesday. The 2009 and 2010 (just released) Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard, Spirit Rock. Both were very nice with excellent intensity and cool-climate Syrah typicity. [BTW, Kale is a Hawaiian moniker (Ka-le). He wasn’t named for the leafy green, so lettuce not hear any jokes about that.]

Petrichor is a great word. It refers to that aroma created by the first rain after a long dry spell. I love that smell and I was fond of the Petrichor Vineyards wines as well. They are small production (173 cases in 2010, 250 in 2011) blends of Syrah and Grenache made by Duncan Meyers of Arnot Roberts winery. The fruit comes from the Jim and Margaret Foley's estate vineyard, north of Santa Rosa. I tasted three vintages on Tuesday, each was unique and all were very good—balanced and attractively savory.

Highly Recommended Wines (and Recommended+), alphabetically by producer

2011 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Syrah, Stepping Stone, $35
Flavors and aromas of black cherry, leather, black pepper, dry herb, cocoa and earth. Engaging and complex with moderate fine-grained tannins and the ability to improve for 5+ years in bottle.

2012 Cornerstone Cellars Corallina Syrah Rosé Napa Valley, Stepping Stone - see Wines to Covet above.

2010 Donelan Syrah Kobler Family Vineyard, Green Valley of Russian River Valley, $45
Lean but satisfying with savory complexity: black pepper, dark flowers, dried herb and blackberry. Medium-plus body and tannins of fine powder and chalk but—refreshingly—just 12.8% alcohol.

2010 Donelan Syrah Walker Vine Hill, Russian River Valley, $45
Yin to the Donelan Kobler Family’s yang. Ripe cherry richness, brown spice and leather reined in by moderate tannins of fine powder.

2009 Kale Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard-Spirit Rock, Mendocino County, $40
Loads of black fruit, especially black cherry, on the nose along with a grind of black pepper. Black cherry, pepper and cocoa nib on the palate of medium-plus body. Concentrated and lengthy.

2010 Kale Syrah Alder Springs Vineyard Spirit Rock, Mendocino County, $45
Cooler than 2009, the 2010 vintage tends to emphasize savory over sweet. The 2010 Kale Syrah leads with earth, leather and black pepper but there’s a backdrop of black fruit and spice. Just released this month, the wine rates Recommended+ now but a little time in bottle should bring even more goodness.

2009 Meyer Family Cellars Syrah Yorkville Highlands, $28
Game meat, sweet herb, red plum, red rope and oak are the aromas and flavors in this full-bodied wine with moderate alcohol (13.70%). Good length.

2009 Meyer Family Cellars Syrah Reserve “High Ground,” $40
The deluxe edition of Meyer’s Syrah is both darker and more savory. Earth, leather, black pepper and ripe dark fruit are mated with moderate tannins of fine powder.

2009 Petrichor Estate Les Trois Sonoma, $48
Okay, “Les Trois” is mildly confusing as this is a blend of just two grapes, Syrah and Grenache. Perhaps it refers to the triad of flavor, acidity and texture, because this wine’s got that covered. Petrichor’s inaugural release is juicy and medium-plus in body with tangy dark fruit, dry herb and spice. The tannins are moderate with the mouthfeel of fine powder and talc.

2010 Petrichor Estate Les Trois Sonoma, $48
Earthy dark fruit, spice, licorice and dry herb. Medium-plus, light-grained tannins suggest this wine has room to grow. Give it a year or two.

2011 Petrichor Estate Les Trois Sonoma, $TBD
There was some hesitation in pouring this fine for me as it’s at least eight months from release. They need not have worried though. It’s quite good, full of earthiness, spice, garrigue and black pepper. Something to look forward to.

2007 Ridge Petite Sirah Dynamite Hill Spring Mountain, $32 — see Wines to Covet above

2009 Ridge Syrah Grenache Dry Creek Valley, $32
A 50-50 blend with flavors of cherry, plum, oak and spice. Moderate tannins of light grain and talc. Try it with some tender, meaty ribs. (Recommended+)

2011 Stark Grenache Blanc Santa Ynez AVA (Saarloos Vineyard)
Some people buy Stark wines because they’re fans of the (rapdily dwindling) clan on Game of Thrones, or of Ironman. That’s cute, but the wines can stand on their own. Gentle aromas of pear, lime and white flowers. Medium+ body and a little juicy. (Recommended+)

2012 Two Shepherds Grenache Blanc Saarloos Vineyard, Santa Ynez, $35
Grenache Blanc essentially launched this brand and William Allen continues to set the bar for that variety. Focused notes of white flowers, tangy stonefruit and spice lead into a juicy palate with medium-plus body. There’s a light texture, fine and powdery, plus persistent saline minerality.

2012 Two Shepherds Marsanne Russian River Valley, $32 — see Wines to Covet above

2011 Two Shepherds Syrah Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley, $35
Syrah from the cool side: black pepper, dark cherries and garrigue. Body and tannins are medium to medium-plus with a fine, powdery texture.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2013 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

Rhone

Hospice du Rhone 2010 Auction and Realized Prices

A lot of wine events these days include silent auctions. These auctions typically help sustain the non-profit organizations putting on the event and are therefore quite important. And sometimes you can get a good deal on some very nice and/or unique wine in the auctions.

The downside of silent auctions is right in their name. They are silent. And, unless you're engaged in a passive-aggressive bidding war with some guy who keeps upping the ante on the lot you really want, most of these auctions are pretty boring.

Hospice du Rhone is never boring. Even it's auctions are exciting. The lots are unique and super-sized. The auction is also totally non-silent. We're talking a live auction run by a real, live, fast-talking, quick-witted livestock auctioneer with a team of guys pointing, encouraging, and yelling "Hah!" every time someone bids. To make things even more exciting, the auction takes place after a lunch during which multiple bottles of wine sit on every table and are poured freely. The wine continues to flow during the auction.

If you would like a little taste of the Hospice du Rhone auction action, watch this video featuring auctioneer Todd Ventura from this year's event:

Here's a list of this year's auction lots and the prices they sold for:
Lot 1: (the girl and the) fig Weekend for Four
Hands-on cooking or Salumi class with Chef John Toulze
Wine dinner at the girl and the fig
Wine dinner at ESTATE
Brunch at the fig café
Magnum of Tres Bonnes Annees Syrah
Winery visits arranged by Sondra Bernstein
Sold for $5,000.

Lot 2: Jonata vertical in magnum
2004 - 2007 Syrah La Sangre de Jonata

Sold for $1,400

Lot 3: Domaine Francois Villard, 3 magnums each
2007 Saint Joseph Rouge Reflet

2007 Saint Joseph Rouge Mairlant
2007 Cote Rotie Le Gallet Blanc

2007 Vin de Pays des Collines Rhodaniennes

Sold for $5,500

Lot 4: Torbreck
2005 The Struie, 3 liter
2005 RunRig, 3 liter

2005 The Steading, 3 liter

2005 Descendant, 3 liter
Sold for $4,600

Lot 5: Rhone Rangers, Paso Robles Chapter
37 magnums, one from each member of the chapter
Sold for $5,000

Lot 6: Wines of South Africa Seminar Sampler
2006 Boekenhoutsloof, 3 liter

2006 De Trafford Shiraz, magnum

2008 Mullineux Family Shirah, magnum
2009 Mullineux Family White Blend, magnum

2007 Sadie Family Columella, magnum
2003 Tulbagh Mountain Vineyards Syrah Theta, magnum
Sold for $1,700

Lot 7: Boulevard Restaurant Dinner for Four
Four-course dinner
2005 Chateau Grillet

2007 Chateau de Beaucastel Blanc “VV”

2007 Saxum, James Berry Vineyard

2007 Clos de Papes, Chateauneuf du Pape
1995 Guigal La Mouline

Sold for $5,000

Lot 8: Three Winery Paso Robles GSM Blend
Hug Cellars, half-barrel (10 cases)
Herman Story, half-barrel

McPrice Myers, half-barrel

Sold for $5,600

Lot 9: Domaine Mathilde et Yves Gangloff
2004 Condrieu, one magnum

2006 Condrieu, one magnum
2005 Cote-Rotie, Sereine Noire, two magnums

2006 Cote-Rotie, Sereine Noire, two magnums

2007 Cote-Rotie, Sereine Noire, one magnum
2006 Cote-Rotie, La Barbarine, three magnums

2007 Cote-Rotie, La Barbarine, two magnums

Sold for $5,500

Lot 10: Long Shadow Vintners - Justin Vineyards Collaboration
50-50 blend of Columbia Valley, Washington and Paso Robles Syrah

Winemakers John Duvall & Kevin Sass

10 cases

Sold for $3,800

Lot 10A: Wines from the “Four Amigos”

Yves, Cuilleron, Pierre Gaillard, Yves Gangloff & Francois Villard
2008 Condrieu, magnum

2008 Cornas, magnum

2007 Vin de Pays, 2 magnums

2008 Cote-Rotie, 2 magnums
2008 Saint Joseph, 2 magnums

...and more!

Sold for $3,300

Lot 11: Alban Dinner for Four with Cellar-Selected Wines

Dinner prepared by John Alban, Vicki Carroll and José Dahan (Et Voila Restaurant)
2004 Alban Roussanne, Edna Valley

2003 Linne Calodo, Stick and Stones

1999 Alban Grenache, Edna Valley

1998 Sine Qua Non, Hospice du Rhone Exclusive, Central Coast

1998 Chateau de Beaucastel, Chateauneuf du Pape

1998 Chateauneuf du Pape (Alban Family Cellar Selections)
Sold for $5,500

Lot 12: Syndicat Tavel
14 different Tavel rosé producers, 1 bottle each
Private tour of Tavel with Sandra Gay of Syndicat Tavel

Sold for $2,600

Lot 13: Le Vins de Vienne

2007 Cote-Rotie Les Essartrailles, 3 magnums

2007 Saint Joseph, Les Archeveques, 3 magnums

2007 Taburnum Vin de Pays Collines Rhodaniennes, 3 magnums

2006 Hermitage Les Chirats de Saint Christophe, 3 magnums

Sold for $3,000

Lot 14: Qupé
2008 Syrah Sonnie’s Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, Edna Valley
One 3-liter, two magnums, six 750ml

Sold for $2,100

Lot 15: Domaine Yves Cuilleron
2007 Saint Joseph Rouge Les Serines, 6 magnums

2007 Cote-Rotie Terres Sombres, 6 magnums

Sold for $6,000

Lot 16: Bonny Doon Vineyard
Dinner for 12 with Randall Grahm at the Cellar Door Cafe with Library Wines

2008 Le Cigar Volant, 6 signed magnums plus 18 750ml bottles

Sold for $3,000

Lot 17: Three Hundred Point Lot

One magnum each of three Rhone wines that received 100 points from Wine Advocate
2007 Les Combe des Fours

2007 Deus Ex Machina
2007 Santus Santorum

Sold for $4,500

Lot 18: Saxum Vineyards
2007 Saxum Bone Rock, James Berry Vineyard, 3-liter bottle
Sold for $3,100

Lot 19: Miner Family Vineyards
2007 Odyssey Rhone Blend, 6 magnums
2008 Odyssey Rhone Blend, 6 magnums

2007 La Diligence Syrah, 6 magnums
2008 La Diligence Syrah, 6 magnums

Sold for $3,800

Lot 20: Villa Creek
Villa Creek Locavore Feast for Four with Cris and JoAnn Cherry
Wines to include:
2001 Cellars Cacpanes Cabrida Falset

2002 Three for One, Cuilleron/Gangloff/Villard, Rhone Valley

2005 Alban Vineyards Lorraine, Edna Valley
2005 Clos Erasmus, Priorat

2007 Chateau de Saint Cosme, Valbelle, Gigondas
2006 Saxum 32 James Berry Vineyard

2006 Sine Qua Non Raven No. 1, Central Coast

Plus two rooms at the hotel and a VIP barrel tour at the winery

Sold for $3,900

Lot 21: L’Aventure Winery
2008 L’Aventure Estate Cuvée, magnum

2008 L’Aventure Cote a Cote, magnum

2008 L’Aventure Le Grand Vergot, magnum

2009 L’Aventure Roussanne Estate, magnum

VIP Tour and Tasting for Six, including barrel tasting

Sold for $2,100

Lot 22: Paul Lato Wines
Winemaker Dinner for Six, seven courses prepared by Paul Lato

Served with Paul Lato wines
2008 Syrah Bien Nacido, six 750ml bottles to take home

Sold for $6,200

Lot 23: Eric Solomon Selections
Priorat Experience for Four & Top of the Priorat Wine offering

One night accommodations at the Cal Llop in Gratallops boutique hotel
Dinner with Eric & Daphne Solomon at their home in Gratallops with wines from their cellar

Vineyard tour of Priorat with the Solomons
Cellar tour and barrel tasting at Clos Erasmus

Cellar tour and tastings at other Priorat wineries 
(airfare not included)
2005 Closa Batllet Tinto, 750ml

2005 Bodegas Mas Alta La Creu Alta, 750ml

2006 Mas d’en Compte Planots, 750ml

2006 Mas Doix Costers de Vinyes Velles, 750ml

2007 Celler de l’Encastell Roquers de Porrera, 750ml
2007 Vinya del Vuit, 750ml

Sold for $5,500

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the right above and also below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check outour comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

Top Wines from the 2010 Pinot Days Grand Tasting

The 2010 Pinot Days Grand Tasting was held on June 27 at Fort Mason in San Francisco. More than 212 wineries were on hand pouring their Pinot Noir wines. I would be surprised if there were fewer than 1,000 wines available to taste.

I allocated most of my time to several wineries whose wines have impressed me in the past. I also took some time to try wineries who’s wines I’d not tried previously. In the end, I tasted more than 70 wines. Overall, I was extremely impressed with the quality of the wines, even given the fact that I had been selective in my tasting. Of all the wines I tasted.

Smoke taint in the 2008 vintage due to the massive forest fires in parts of Mendocino County and Sonoma County has been widely discussed. Several of the wineries I spoke to at the event chose not to make 2008 wines from certain areas. Other producers were extremely selective with the fruit and therefore have less wine available, though 2008 was a very productive year in some vineyards which somewhat mitigated the loss of fruit to smoke. None of the wines I tasted had any smoke influence which I considered to be a flaw.

The following is a list of those wines I tried and thought to be among the best. The list is in alphabetical order within each section. I only tasted a fraction of the wines on offer, so the absence of a wine or winery from this list should not be taken as a negative.

Very Highly Recommended
2007 DeLoach Vineyards Pinot Noir Green Valley

2008 Dunstan Pinot Noir Durell Vineyard2008 Failla Pinot Noir (blend)

2007 Failla Pinot Noir Hirsch Vineyard

2008 Freeman Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2008 Landmark Vineyards Pinot Noir Kanzler Vineyard, Sonoma Coast

2007 Pey-Lucia Vineyards Pinot Noir

2008 Phillips Hill Pinot Noir Oppenlander

2007 Sand Hill Wines Pinot Noir Durell Vineyard

2008 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir San Giacomo Vineyard

2008 Sojourn Cellars Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2006 Suacci Carciere Pinot Noir

2006 Three Sticks Pinot Noir Durell Vineyard

2007 Three Sticks Pinot Noir Durell Vineyard

2007 Westwood Winery Pinot Noir Estate

2005 Westwood Winery Pinot Noir Haynes Vineyard

Highly Recommended
2008 Coterie Cellars Pinot Noir Fairview Road

2007 Coterie Cellars Pinot Noir Fairview Road

2007 Donum Estate Pinot Noir

2007 Donum Estate Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2007 Eno Wines Pinot Noir Fairview Road

2008 Eno Wines Pinot Noir Tondre

2008 Eno Wines Pinot Noir Fairview Road

2008 Evening Land Pinot Noir Sonoma/Santa Rita Hills

2008 Evening Land Pinot Noir Occidental Coast

2008 Evening Land Pinot Noir Seven Springs

2008 Evening Land Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge

2008 Failla Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch

2007 Failla Pinot Noir Occidental Ridge

2008 Fess Parker Winery Pinot Noir Pommard

2008 Fess Parker Winery Pinot Noir Clone 115

2007 Flying Goat Cellars Dierberg Vineyard, Santa Maria

2007 Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noir

2005 Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noir Reserve

2008 Freeman Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

2008 Freeman Pinot Noir Keefer Ranch

2008 Freeman Pinot Noir Akiko’s Cuvee, Sonoma Coast

2007 Goldeneye Pinot Noir Anderson Valley

2008 Landmark Vineyards Pinot Noir Jenkins Vineyard

2008 Landmark Vineyards Pinot Noir Quail Hill

2007 Pey-Marin Pinot Noir Trois Filles

2008 Phillips Hill Pinot Noir Beeson Tree

2007 Pisoni Pinot Noir Garys’ Vineyard

2007 Pisoni Pinot Noir Pisoni Vineyard

2008 Sojourn Cellars Gaps Crown Vineyard

2008 Sojourn Cellars Sonoma Coast

2008 Suacci Carciere Pinot Noir

2008 Suacci Carciere Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2006 Talisman Pinot Noir Sonoma County Cuvee

2006 Talisman Pinot Noir Wildcat Mountain, Carneros

2006 Talisman Pinot Noir Thorn Ridge

2006 Talisman Pinot Noir Hawk Hill Road

2006 Talisman Pinot Noir Adastra Vineyard

2007 Tondre Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands

2005 Westwood Winery Pinot Noir Sonoma Valley

2003 Westwood Winery Pinot Noir Haynes Vineyard

2008 Windy Oaks Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains

2007 Windy Oaks Pinot Noir Santa Cruz Mountains

2006 Windy Oaks Pinot Noir Anderson Valley

At the tasting, I wasn't taking the time to ask for prices and individual wines were not listed in the tasting guide which was given out. However, I did not the price for the 2006 Suacci Carciere because they were offering it at a Pinot Days discount for $30 per bottle. They only had 15 cases left at the time, one of which a friend and I bought. If you'd like to get in on the last of that wine, the winery will extend the same $30 price to you. Just mention that you heard about the wine here. (Note: I'm not compensated in any way for mentioning this deal, I just think it's something you may enjoy.)

If you enjoyed this article, please share it! Icons for popular sharing services are at the right above and also below.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check outour comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2010 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

You Be the Judge at Romancing the Rhones

The judges votes are in. They have tasted hundreds of Rhone-variety wines from North American producers. The 40 best wines have been chosen. Now it’s your turn to judge at Romancing the Rhones.

RomancingTheRhonesBlock1On July 14, Romancing the Rhones gives you the opportunity to taste up to 40 wines — blind — and the vote for your favorites. List of aromas and flavors common to Rhone-variety wines will be handed out to help you describe the wines. After the event, votes will be tallied and the consumers’ aggregate scores will be published online alongside those of the official judges.

If you love Rhone-variety wines, are curious about blind tasting, or are just looking for an enjoyable afternoon with wine, get your tickets now.

Don’t worry if blind tasting isn’t something you want to try, there’s much more to Romancing the Rhones.

  • Explore 100+ Rhone-variety wines from 40+ producers 
  • Lunch with Winemakers @ Chez Papa Resto in the Mint Plaza (San Francisco). Limited seating. Requires Gold Bar Ticket ($85) 
  • VIP Barrel Tasting in the historic Vaults at the Old Mint in SF. Requires Gold Bar or Silver Dollar Ticket ($65) 
  • Blind Taste top-scoring wines from the Rhone Shootout. Rhone Lovers Ticket ($45)
  • Sample perfect pairings for Rhone-variety wines – 8 succulent wines with 8 brilliant bites ($20 supplement) 
  • On-site wine sales – take home your new favorites!

It all takes place on Saturday, July 14 at The Old Mint in downtown San Francisco. Getting there is easy: it’s close to BART and there’s also a parking garage across the street.

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2012 NorCal Wine. All rights reserved.

10 Entertaining Wine Events for September 24 - 25, 2011

iStock_woman_drinking_wine_XSmallWhile the calendar thinks Summer is coming to a close, the weather thinks otherwise. Days are heating up and harvest is in full-swing. What better time to get outside and enjoy some wine events? Here are a few that promise to be especially amusing:

Gold Country

A Taste of the Gold: Saturday, 1 - 4pm
Head out to the Nevada County Fairgrounds for this fun and tasty event, featuring some of the Northern Sierra Foothill's finest restaurants and wineries. Find your favorite wine, and with glass in hand, nibble your way through more restaurants than you could possibly visit in a long weekend. While you're there, don't miss the Draft Horse Classic.

Scott Harvey Wines Grape Stomp: Saturday, 1:30 - 5:30pm
Work out the week's frustration by stomping grapes with a friend. Just take your shoes off first... There's also complimentary wine tasting. If you work up an appetite, there'll be tasty hot dogs for sale. 

Lodi

Taste of Lodi: Saturday, 1 -5pm
Taste wines from over 40 wineries and culinary specialties from local favorites. Participate in wine seminars, learn the latest from local vintners, be entertained by chef demonstrations from Lodi's celebrity chefs, and enjoy live music from one of the area’s premier bands.  And don't miss the Port, Cigar and Chocolate Pavilion.

Napa Valley

Mount Veeder Appellation Wine Tasting: Saturday, 1 - 4pm
The Hess Collection Winery is hosting the 12th Annual Mount Veeder Appellation Wine Tasting. More than 20 Mount Veeder wineries will be pouring at the event, which will also feature selected food pairings, live music and a raffle.

Hot Harvest Nights at Peju: Saturday, 6 - 10pm
Date night! A fun-filled evening that will include a winemaker seminar, wine tasting, then a harvest dinner with the family and dancing in the gorgeous flower gardens.

Country Fair & 125th Birthday Party at Trefethen: Sunday, 11am - 2pm
The Trefethen Family will be celebrating the 125th anniversary of their historic winery building by hosting an old-fashioned country fair, complete with a tractor parade, carnival games, gourmet food trucks, some of Trefethen Family’s own & winemakers in a dunk tank, and excellent wine.

Paso Robles

Calcareous Vineyard Outdoor Concert: Saturday, 6 - 9pm
Enjoy the music of Soundhouse, a local favorite, while drinking Calcareous wines high up in the hills of Paso Robles. Bring a picnic or buy snacks there.

San Francisco

SF Wine Market: Sunday, 1 - 4pm
Meet up with winemakers, taste their wine and buy it right there. Many excellent wineries participate. It's near Fisherman's Wharf and Ghiradelli Square, so make a day of it.

South Bay/Peninsula

Barrel Tap Wine Market: Saturday, 1 - 5pm
Check out the amazing dirigible hangar at Moffett Field while you enjoy tasting wine from some top Californian and import wineries and sample gourmet items from celebrated local food vendors. You can buy wines at the event too.

Los Gatos Fall Wine Walk: Saturday, 2 - 6pm
Sip, savor and shop your way through Los Gatos. 30 local wineries from the Santa Cruz Mountains and Santa Clara Valley will pour wine for your tasting pleasure at various shops and locations throughout downtown and in Old Town. And do some window shopping too! 

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on FacebookAlso check out our comprehensive Northern California winery listings. They are very useful for planning a tasting trip or just getting in touch with a winery.

This article is original to NorCalWine.com. Copyright 2011 NorCal Wine. Photo 03-04-11 © aldra. All rights reserved.