Saturday, March 17, 2012

Martin Ranch Winery wins big at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Martin Ranch Winery came home from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition this year with a Best of Class, two Double Gold medals and two Gold medals.  Martin Ranch is one of the favored wineries in both the Santa Cruz Mountains and the Santa Clara Valley regions.  Bordering both regions along Redwood Retreat Road up against the eastern slopes of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Therese and Dan Martin have developed a premium winery since they first planted their first vines in 1993. 
They produce award winning wines under two labels, Therese Vineyards and JD Hurley.  They have a passion for living out their dreams creating hand crafted wines from their estate vineyards.  The winery is only opened for tastings on the third weekend of the month including this weekend, January 21-22, from noon to 4 p.m. each day.

Be sure to stop by Martin Ranch and taste their award-winning wines.  Winners at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition included:
  • Best of Class – 2008 Santa Clara Valley Therese Vineyards Syrah
  • Double Gold – 2007 Therese Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon and 2009 Therese Vineyards Dos Ninas Vineyard Malbec
  • Gold – 2009 Therese Vineyards Santa Clara Valley Carignane and 2008 JD Hurley Santa Clara Valley Merlot
  • Silver – 2010 JD Hurley Santa Clara Valley Sauvignon Blanc, 2009 JD Hurley Santa Clara Valley Zinfandel and 2007 JD Hurley Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Award-winning wines are not rare at Martin Ranch.  Their wines have captured medals from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition and other wine competitions over the years. 

For more information:

Pinot Noir Seminar by Miura Winemaker Emmanuel Kemiji at UNWINED – March 21

UNWINED Wine Bar and Wine Shop in Almaden Valley will host a special Pinot Noir Seminar by Master Sommelier and Miura Winemaker Emmanuel Kemiji.  This is an excellent opportunity to not only learn more about the differences in appellations in California, but also to visit with one of the premier winemaker in California.  The seminar will start at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 21 at UNWINED at 6946 Almaden Expressway (the corner of Almaden Expressway and Via Valente).  Reservations are recommended and can be made at UNWINED at 408-323-9463.

Emmanuel will walk guests through a tasting of Pinot Noir from three great Pinot Noir appellations in California.  
  • Miura 2007 Williams Ranch PinotNoir from Anderson Valley
  • Miura 2008 Garys' Vineyards Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County
  • Miura 2009 Pisoni Vineyards Pinot Noir from Santa Lucia Highlands, Monterey County
  • Miura 2008 Talley Rincon Pinot Noir from Arroyo Grande Valley near Pismo Beach 

Before and after the seminar Emmanuel will be open for questions from the guests to talk about Miura, Pinot Noir and wine in general. 

Miura focuses on single vineyards throughout California with a wide selection of Pinot Noir but also other varietals as well.  The name Miura is derived from Don Edwardo Miura, a famous bullfighter and breeder of fighting bulls in Spain.  Miura wines and their many brands, Candela, ALMVS, ANTIQV and ACVS are loved by UNWINED customers and wine lovers all around.

About Emmanuel Kemigi

Born in the United States and raised in Spain and England, Kemiji is a graduate of the University of California at Davis. In addition to his Economics and Spanish Literature degrees, he studied Viticulture and Oenology, expanding his interest in wine and eventually leading to the formation of Miura Vineyards in 1995. Soon to follow were Candela in 1998, ALMVS in 2000, ANTIQV2S in 2001, ACVS in 2003, and two projects in Spain – Arrels in 2003 and Clos Pissarra in 2005.

Kemiji acted as Ritz-Carlton Director of Wine & Spirits from 1988 to 1999, first at Laguna Niguel and then at the renowned Dining Room in San Francisco. In 1989 Kemiji became the thirteenth American to pass the Master Sommelier exam in London, England and one of only nine to date to pass on his first attempt. In the same year, he received the “Sommelier of the Year” award by the California Restaurant Writers Association. Kemiji was also chosen “Wine Director of the Year” in the Critics’ Choice Awards, and was honored in the August 1999 issue of San Francisco Magazine. The San Francisco Chronicle named Kemiji as one of the “10 Winemakers to Watch for 2000.”

In 2006, Kemiji received the Wine Industry Achievement Award from the Anti -Defamation League for exemplary commitment to community and charity. He has also been a regular wine judge at the Los Angeles County Fair and the San Francisco International Wine Competition.

For more information:

Dry Creek Valley Passport – April 28-29

One of California’s first and longest-running regional wine events, Passport to Dry Creek Valley is an exceptional wine-tasting experience, blending epicurean thrills with fun, festive décor, and live entertainment. The fun starts the Friday night of Passport Weekend with a Healdsburg Gallery ArtWalk & Wine Tasting, co-sponsored by the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley® and Healdsburg Chamber of Commerce & Visitors Bureau. With more galleries than any one city north of the Golden Gate Bridge - and just minutes from Dry Creek Valley - the charming town of Healdsburg offers sophisticated lodging, restaurants, and 22 art galleries all within walking distance. On April 27, the galleries extend their hours to welcome Passport guests to explore and meet local artists, while sipping Dry Creek Valley wines.

Dry Creek Valley Passport weekend is truly the best passport weekend for a variety of reasons.  Not only do the wineries welcome visitors with an abundance of wine, food and entertainment, but also since the ticket sales are limited, you will not find yourself waiting in long lines, searching for places to park, or facing heavy traffic.  Dry Creek Valley is a unique California wine region with a plethora of small boutique wineries, located in a bucolic agricultural valley, producing high quality wines.  Passport weekend is a first class experience that is well run and many visitors return year after year to this exquisite event.

More than 50 Dry Creek Valley wineries are rolling out the red carpet for an exclusive weekend of new wine releases paired with a bounty of food from top Sonoma County chefs.  You can meet the winemakers and owners to learn more about winemaking in this picturesque appellation.  Wineries will be offering live music or entertainment.  In past years, this has included circus troupes, belly dancers and safari adventures.  Passport-holders will savor exquisite food and wine pairings, and delight in discovering each winery’s unique Passport “theme” - Viva Las Vegas, the Summer Olympics, the Italian Riviera... the possibilities are as varied as the wineries themselves. Passport updates at Facebook/drycreekvalley or on Twitter @drycreekvalley.

Tickets are going fast to get yours today at the Winegrowers of Dry Creek Valley website.

Time for event:
  • April 28 & 29, 2012, 11am-4:30pm (both Saturday & Sunday)
  • Healdsburg Gallery ArtWalk & Wine Tasting - Friday, April 27
For more information:

Livermore Valley Winegrowers Roll Out Their Barrels –March 31-April 1

Taste wines in development and save a bundle on your favorites at the fourth annual Barrel Tasting Weekend March 31 and April 1 in Livermore Valley wine country, your local wine region. Winemakers have announced their plans for their annual Barrel Tasting Weekend. Thirty-five wineries located less than an hour from San Francisco or Silicon Valley will offer samples direct from their barrels from noon to 4:30 each day. Guests will have the opportunity to pre-purchase many of the barrel wines at a discount, a practice known as buying “futures.” Most winemakers will be present to personally pour and discuss their young wines and offer delicious pairings with gourmet appetizers.

One of California’s most accessible, affordable and approachable wine regions, Livermore Valley is the home of McGrail Vineyards & Winery, winner of the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition’s Red Sweepstakes award. Wente Family Estates of Livermore Valley was just named American Winery of the Year by Wine Enthusiast and is celebrating the 100th anniversary of its Chardonnay.


Barrel Tasting Weekend provides wine enthusiasts of all experience levels with a fun “snapshot” of how wine evolves—from grape to glass. More than a dozen varietals, including the rare Primitivo and Alicante Bouschet and ever-popular Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, will be presented for tasting across Livermore Valley. Guests with special event wristbands and official glasses will receive at least one barrel sample at each participating winery. Many will give discounts on wine purchases to ticket holders only.
Examples of special events and wines to be tasted include:
  • Cedar Mountain Winery: A unique barrel tasting event with at least one barrel sample for each ticket holder.  Sample the 2009 Syrah paired with Bissinger’s Raspberry Creams.
  • Charles R Vineyards: Compare 2010 Petite Sirah from the barrel with 2008 Petite Sirah in the bottle. 20% discount on two or more bottles of 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. Rustic wood oven pizzas are available for sale by Tutte Al Forno.
  • Cuda Ridge Wines: Barrel tasting of the 2010 Petit Verdot, 2010 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon and 2010 Syrah.  Posada’s Catering will have contemporary Southwestern plates for purchase.  Live music on both days.
  • Darcie Kent Vineyards: Barrel samples of 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon (Madden Ranch). Specials include 25% off bottles for club members, 15% off bottles for non-members. Live music 1-4pm and food demonstrations at 12:30pm and 2pm both days. Food is available for sale at Underdog Wine Bar.
  • Las Positas Vineyards: Barrel tasting 2010 and 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon. Winemaker Charlie Kidd will discuss the varietals that made Livermore Valley famous while walking in the vineyards. In the winery, learn about the growing and production of Petite Sirah. Casbah Mediterranean Kitchen of Livermore will sell exotic foods made from certified organic ingredients with no preservatives.
  • McGrail Vineyards and Winery: Taste their special barrel tasting blend of Cabernet Sauvignon with 1/3 French oak, 1/3 Hungarian oak, and 1/3 American oak. Challenge your senses with the Aroma game! Smell 10 common wine aromas blindly and see how many you get correct. Live music on Saturday! Soleil Pizza will be selling wood-fired gourmet pizza all weekend!  
  • Nottingham Cellars:  Tasting of their 2010 Livermore Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  We will also be hosting Wine Barrel Education Seminars Both Days at 1, 2, 3, and 4 pm.
  • Occasio Winery:  Barrel samples of the Cabernet Franc
  • Rodrique Molyneaux Winery: Taste the 2010 and 2011 from the barrel
  • Rios-Lovell Estate Winery: Barrel samples of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and several ports. Specials are 20% off wine purchases. Meet the winemaker both days 12-4:30pm.
  • Wente Vineyards:  Unwind after the barrel tasting weekend at Wente Estate Winery with wine and live music, 4:30 to 6:30.
  • Wood Family Vineyards:  Barrel tasting 2010 Petite Sirah and Zinfandel with Barf’s Blazin Q BBQ to pair with the wine. 
Livermore Valley’s Barrel Tasting Weekend will take place Saturday, March 31 and Sunday, April 1, noon to 4:30 each day. Advance tickets are $30, available onlineatwww.LVwine.org.  Tickets purchased at the event will be $35 per person. Each ticket includes a souvenir tasting glass featuring the Livermore Valley Wine Country logo, two days of barrel tasting at participating wineries, special activities, discounts and an event map.
Participating wineries include:
  • Bent Creek Winery
  • Big White House
  • Bodegas Aguirre Winery
  • Cedar Mountain Winery
  • Charles R Vineyards
  • Concannon Vineyard
  • Crooked Vine Winery
  • Cuda Ridge Wines
  • Darcie Kent Vineyards
  • Eagle Ridge Vineyard
  • Eckert Estate Winery
  • el Sol Winery
  • Fenestra Winery
  • Garre' Vineyard & Winery
  • John Evan Cellars
  • Las Positas Vineyards
  • Les Chênes Estate Vineyards
  • Longevity Wines
  • McGrail Vineyards & Winery
  • Mitchell Katz Winery
  • Murrieta’s Well
  • Nottingham Cellars
  • Occasio Winery
  • Page Mill Winery
  • Retzlaff Estate Winery
  • Rios-Lovell Estate Winery
  • Rodrigue Molyneaux
  • Ruby Hill Winery
  • Stony Ridge Winery
  • Tamás Estates
  • The Steven Kent Winery
  • Wente Vineyards
  • Westover Winery & Event Center
  • White Crane Winery
  • Wood Family Vineyards
For more information: