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Five Great Rogue Valley Wines and More

It could happen to anyone. You’re driving along on Interstate 5 enjoying the beautiful far northern California scenery. You’ve got mp3’s blasting, your sweetie next to you and a fast food burger dripping on your shirt. The perfect day. When you suddenly realize you’ve just crossed into Oregon by accident.

Horrors! Oregon? That’s SO not California. And it’s so not Portland or Willamette Valley either. This is southern Oregon. The land of... pears. You now have two choices. You could dart off the freeway at the next exit and head back south, breathing a panicky sigh of relief. That would be a safe choice.

But don’t. The best choice is to continue on and have a great time in southern Oregon wine country as if you’d planned it. After reading this article you might even want to purposely accidentally wind up there. I did and don’t regret a moment of it.

Read more: Five Great Rogue Valley Wines and More

Everybody Loves the Bedrock Heirloom Wine

I have to thank Tom Johnson, all the way out in Kentucky, for calling my attention to an article published down in Los Angeles that covers wines practically made in my own backyard. I've been so busy lately studying for WSET Diploma tests on sparkling wines and distilled spirits that I've missed some great stuff on my primary beat.

The LA Times article by W. Blake Gray is all about Zinfandel-focused field blends. The feature wine in the article is Morgan Twain-Peterson's Bedrock Wine Co. Bedrock [Vineyard] Heirloom Blend. Based on 18 different grape varieties from a Sonoma Valley vineyard that was first planted by William "Tecumseh" Sherman and Joe Hooker, before they made names for themselves as Civil War generals. I love this wine. I gave the 2008 Bedrock Heirloom Wine the highest rating of all in my overview of this year's ZAP Grand Tasting. The article also includes a video that Morgan made in which he talks about the vineyard.

Coincidentally, I found this wine on the list at Central Market restaurant in Petaluma last Friday. I was there with friends who left me in charge of selecting the vino. We started with a nice, approachable Grenache from the south of France that went well with our wide range of appetizers. Then we dove into the 2008 Bedrock Heirloom Wine. And then we killed a second bottle of it. This is a wine that will make you a hero with your friends. If we hadn't been so stuffed from the excellent and generously-portioned food Central Market puts out, we'd have probably stayed for a third bottle. [If you're near Petaluma around dinner time, you owe it to yourself to try the Crispy Pork Confit.] In the meantime, check out that LA Times article.

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

Follow NorCalWine on Twitter for breaking wine news, information on events and more. Become a fan and join the NorCal Wine community on Facebook.
Also 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.

7 Fun Wine Events for this Weekend, August 10 - 12

Selected wine events taking place in Northern California this weekend

Featured Event

2nd Annual ZAP Grill-o-Rama in Alameda: Saturday, August 11, 2pm - 6pm

Post_card_frontsmallExplore the diversity of Zinfandel. Taste and compare 30 different Zinfandels from 9 growing regions at ZAP’s Grill-o-Rama. Four chefs — Chef Tyler Stone, Chef John Ledbetter of Bocanova, Chef Dawn Wofford of Sonoma Smokehouse and Chef Sophina Uong of Pican---will fire up the grills to create tantalizing tastes served alongside the wines. Tickets are $50 for ZAP members, $60 for the general public. It’s suggested to buy tickets in advance (530-274-4900 or buy tickets online).

 

Friday, August 10

Live Music, Wine and Hors d’Oeuvres at Pine Ridge Vineyards in Napa Valley: 5pm - 7pm
Unwind this Friday evening in the gardens at Pine Ridge Vineyards. $40 per person.

Food Truck Frenzy at Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda: 5pm - 9pm
Watch the sun set over San Francisco while chowing down and drinking up. $5 RSVP

 

Saturday, August 11

Scotts Valley Art & Wine Festival in Scotts Valley: 10am - 6pm
Sip award-winning wines and beer while strolling through the park experiencing the fine art of over 100 artists. Food, live music, and children's art activities.

McFadden’s Second Saturday in Hopland: 10am - 5pm
Food pairings and a one-day sale in the tasting room.

Steiner Road Wine and Food Pairings with Local Farmers’ Fare in Plymouth: Noon to 4pm
Eight Steiner Road wineries in Amador County will be pairing wine with food made from farm-fresh ingredients.

Paso Robles Rotary Winemakers’ Cook-Off in Paso Robles: 6pm - 9pm
Meet 30 of the appellation’s finest winemakers as they pair their own grilled culinary creations with some of their best wines competing for Judges’ and People’s Choice awards. This is a benefit event. $75 per person.

Sunday, August 12

Scotts Valley Art & Wine Festival in Scotts Valley: 10am - 6pm
Sip award-winning wines and beer while strolling through the park experiencing the fine art of over 100 artists. Food, live music, and children's art activities.

 

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.

Good News, Bad News about Alcohol in Wine

I spotted a couple of interesting articles recently about the alcohol in wine and how it does or does not affect our bodies.

First the good news. Drinking too much wine or beer does not increase your risk of acute pancreatitis. Specifically, the medical study looked at people drinking 5 or more standard drinks on a single occasion. Consuming equal amounts of distilled spirits does appear to raise the odds of developing the disorder. The study, published recently in the British Journal of Surgery Society Ltd, is now available online (pdf download).

The take-away here is that, while binge drinking is ill-advised can lead to early death for any number of reasons, if you limit yourself to wine and beer acute pancreatitis is no more likely to do you in than would otherwise have been the case. Woo hoo! Or something.

Now the bad news. Well, it’s not really bad news for everybody, just those who think that any level of alcohol in wine is fine as long as the wine tastes and feels balanced. And for those of you who monitor your consumption solely on the number of glasses you consume rather than the alcohol content therein. Drinking wine with 15% alcohol will get you drunk faster than the same amount of wine with 12%.

That’s not very surprising. But this is. The effect of alcohol percentage on blood alcohol content (BAC) is not necessarily proportional. According to gastroenterologist Michael Apstein writing in the SF Chronicle, the 25% boost in a wine’s alcohol can make a 35% difference in blood alcohol. Your situation may vary, based on your body weight, the frequency and typical quantity of your alcohol consumption, metabolism, age, etc.

But think very hard about getting behind the wheel unless you know exactly how much you’ve had to drink and what it’s effect on you has been. If you are a 130-pound woman who drank 10 ounces of wine over 90 minutes, the difference between 13% alcohol wine and 14% is the difference between being legally sober and legally drunk.

Review Apstein’s article carefully. As always, I also suggest knowing what the alcohol content of the wine you drink is, and what a 5-ounce pour looks like. If you’re in the position of needing to drive after you’ve had any alcohol, you should seriously consider buying a very good quality personal breathalyzer too. And remember that blood alcohol levels can continue to go up after you’ve stopped drinking as your body absorbs what’s in your stomach.

 

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. All rights reserved.

The Rhone Shootout Results Are In

The Rhone Shootout was a multi-tasting, judged competition for Rhone-variety wines. The competition, organized by Affairs of the Vines, took place over the last three months and end with a blind consumer tasting at Romancing the Rhones on July 14. Winning wines were evaluated on four separate occasions.

RomancingTheRhonesBlock1The wine voted best in the final blind tasting by both men and women was the 2007 Derby Wine Estates FIFTEEN10 red blend from Paso Robles. It’s a plush SGM (59% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 12% Mourvedre) from Derby’s estate vineyard in southwest Paso Robles and retails for $28. Congratulations to Derby Wine Estates and general manager/winemaker Tiffinee Vierra.

For the second and third place wines, see the event wrap-up at Affairs of the Vines. Votes for men and women are tabulated separately. So, while Derby took first place with both men and women, the second and third positions were split. There was also a vote for best red, white and rosé among the wines being poured non-blind on the 14th. Those results are available on the same page at Affairs of the Vines.

I was one of the judges in several of the Rhone Shootout preliminary rounds. I was pleased by the range of wines submitted. Quite a few were from outside California and the competition was not dominated by wines the usual high-points suspects that are unobtainable by the average consumer.

I enjoyed each of the wines that placed. However, the final blind tasting split the wines into two groups and several of the top scorers came from the group I didn’t get to try during blind tasting. I’d like to give a shout out to the wines I strongly favored from my group:

2009 Spangler Vineyards Serenade Syrah, Southern Oregon ($25)

2008 Zaca Mesa Roussanne, Santa Ynez Valley ($25)

2011 Bonny Doon Vineyard Vin Gris de Cigare, Central Coast ($16)

 

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.

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