Thursday, January 31, 2013

Niles Canyon Railway Valentine's Day wine tasting train - February 10

Niles Canyon Railway can make your Valentine’s Day unforgettable with the annual Romance on the Rails Wine Tasting Trains. On Sunday, February 10, there will be two trains, one leaving the Sunol station at 12:00 noon and another leaving at 3:00 p.m.

You will experience the magic of a bygone era as you travel for two hours through scenic Niles Canyon on a vintage train in the new Southern Pacific parlor-lounge car #2979, newly restored to its elegant 1940s appearance. It is the winner of an Art Deco Society of California preservation award. It features plush lounge seating and a semi-circular mahogany bar framed by etched glass and mirrors. 

The car is climate-controlled for your comfort, and attendants will be on board to assist in any way you require during your trip. An open-air car is also included for your viewing enjoyment.
Fine premium wines from Livermore Valley wineries have been hand-selected by Wine Educator Steve Ferree. The wineries represented on the Romance on the Rails are::
Steve, the WineProGuy, will be on board to provide you with information about the wines and the cheeses that are being paired. In addition Hors d’oeuvre will be served.
The Romance on the Rails Wine Tasting Train is sponsored by the Pacific Locomotive Association and the Golden Gate Railroad Museum and proceeds of the event support their railroad historic preservation programs. All seats are reserved and tickets are $75 and are available at their ticketing site.

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ZAP - Celebrate America's Heritage Wine at the Zinfandel Festival

The Zinfandel Advocates & Producers (ZAP) is hosting the annual Zinfandel Festival a California legend, in San Francisco, January 31 – February 2. This is a grand festival in celebration of America’s Heritage Wine, Zinfandel. It is held again at the historic Concourse Exhibition Center, South of Market. This former railway station harkens back to a classic age of travel and provides plenty of space that is handsomely finished and comfortable. And there is plenty of parking and handy to public transportation! There will be four events during those three days plus celebrity chef, winemaker dinners and plenty of fine Zins to sample.

Thursday, January 31, Epicuria Food & Zin PairingsThis gourmet adventure occurs from 6 – 9 p.m. in The Concourse. Your palate will love the discovery of the diversity of Zinfandel and its wide range of complementary flavor combinations. Mingle with winemakers and epicurean experts as you take a journey for your senses sampling the regional offerings. This event features 50 top Zinfandel wines and creations from master chefs. The Zin Kitchen will also host cooking demonstrations and talk about Zin and food pairing. Tickets are $95 for ZAP members and $125 for non-members.

Friday, February 1, Flights – This Forums of Flavor from 10:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at The Fairmont Hotel on Nob Hill in San Francisco is your chance to experience discussions as diverse as the wine itself. Here you experience exclusive seminar-style tastings where you will discover themed flights of Zins and interact with Zinfandel experts. Tickets are $60 for ZAP members and $75 for non-members.

Friday, February 1, Winemakers Dinner – The fabulous forties come alive at this Casablanca-themed VIP benefit at the Fairmont Hotel atop Nob Hill from 5:00 to 10:00 p.m. Journey back in time as you learn about the origins of Zinfandel and the modern day practices that makes it so legendary. Come to this glamorous reception and dinner and enjoy private selections poured by premier winemaker hosts. The live and silent auctions feature rare and one-of-a-kind lots with proceeds benefitting ZAP programming, education and Heritage projects.

Saturday, February 2, Grand Tasting – The main event is the Grand Tasting from 2:00 to 5:00 p.m. for the public at The Concourse through a journey of the world’s largest single varietal tasting as you sample from hundreds of barrel samples, new releases and premier Zinfandels. Meet the winemakers and learn more about America’s Heritage Wine. Tickets are $49 for ZAP members or $59 for non-members.

This is a major wine event in the Bay Area and a great opportunity to learn more about California's heritage wine, Zinfandel. The Concourse is at 635 8th Street at Brannan in San Francisco.
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Temecula Valley brings home Gold from San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

Five Temecula Valley wineries picked up 26 awards at the 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, including a Best of Class for the Monte de Oro 2008 Synergy 65 Red Blend. Temecula Valley winemakers took home 4 Gold, 4 Silver and 12 Bronze awards. Congratulations to those award-winning winemakers in this Southern California wine region.
The 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest competition of American wines and this year included a record breaking 5,500 entries from 25 states and judged by 60 prominent wine judges. The competition is always fierce and as the number of entries grow, it becomes tougher.
Following are awards picked up by Temecula Valley Wineries.
  • Callaway Vineyards & Winery– won three Bronze medals for the 2011 Muscat Canelli, 2010 Chardonnay and the 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Falkner Winery– captured a Silver medal for their 2008 Super Tuscan Style Amante and Bronze for the 2008 Merlot and 2009 Rock Creek Syrah
  • Fazeli Winery– picked up two Bronze medals for their 2009 Pandemonium red blend and the 2009 Khayyam Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Monte De Oro Winery– was proud to capture the Best of Class award for their 2008 Synergy 65 Red Blend, plus a Gold for the Cuvee De Oro Rhone Blend, Silver for the 2009 Vista Del Monte Syrah, 2008 Reserve Vista Del Monte Syrah, and Bronze for the 2008 Unique Elements red blend and the 2008 Reserve Vista Del Monte V Cabernet Sauvignon
  • South Coast Winery– captured Gold medals for their 2011 Carter Estate Musque Clone Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Carter Estate Tempranillo Rose and the 2009 Carter Estate Penrose, plus Silver for the 2011 Sans Chene Chardonnay, and Bronze for the 2009 Wild Horse Tempranillo, 2008 Blanc de Blancs, and the Black Jack Port

The public is invited to the Public Tasting to be held at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on Saturday, February 16th at 2 – 5 p.m.
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Santa Clara Valley wines win big at SF Chronicle Wine Competition

The Santa Clara Valley appellation consists of 21 wineries concentrated mostly in the southern end of the valley. But this small collection of wineries scored big at the recent 2013 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, with 12 wineries taking home a collection of 61 medals including 2 Best of Class, 5 Double Golds, 11 Gold, 28 Silver and 27 Bronze medals. In addition, several wineries outside of Santa Clara Valley won awards using Santa Clara Valley grapes.

Santa Clara Valley is a wine appellation with a long history of wine making and was one of the first premium wine production regions in California. But during the last few decades the “Valley of the Heart’s Delight” has achieved a premium reputation in the non-wine industries and only recently have wine lovers seen this region achieve resurgence in winemaking. Many small boutique wineries have sprung up over the last 10-20 years concentrating on small handcrafted wines that reflect the terroir of this region.

The 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest competition of American wines and this year included a record breaking 5,600 entries from 1,379 wineries from more than 25 states, judged by 60 prominent wine judges. The competition is always fierce and as the number of entries grow, it becomes tougher.

Best of Class awards for Santa Clara Valley winemakers went to Martin Ranch Winery for their 2008 JD Hurley Cabernet Sauvignon and Fortino Winery for the Maribella Red Table Wine. Satori Cellars picked up two Double Golds for the 2010 Zen-Zin and the 2010 Estate Merlot. Sycamore Creek Vineyards & Winery came in with a Double Gold for the 2010 Flagship Reserve Evolution Bordeaux blend. J Lohr Vineyards & Wines also got two Double Golds for the 2010 Los Oso Merlot and the 2010 Seven Oaks Cabernet Sauvignon.

Other award winners for Santa Clara Valley wineries are:
  • Castillo’s Hillside Shire Winery– picked up numerous awards including a Silver for the 2010 Chibec red blend and three Bronze medals for the 2009 Cabernet Franc, 2010 Merlot and 2010 Malbec
  • Creekview Vineyards– went home with two Silver medals for the 2011 Arroyo Seco Sauvignon Blanc, 2010 White Sage Vineyards Pinot Noir
  • Fortino Winery– in addition to the Best of Class award for the Maribella Red Blend, they captured a Gold for the 2008 Charbono and Silver for the 2010 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Guglielmo Winery– won a Bronze for the 2009 Private Reserve Charbono
  • J Lohr Vineyards & Wines – in addition to the Double Gold for the 2010 Los Oso Merlot and 2010 Seven Oaks Cab, they also got Gold medals for the 2011 Fog’s Reach Pinot Noir, 2011 Wildflower Valdiguie, 2009 Cuvee St. E Bordeaux Blend, 2009 Cuvee PAU Bordeaux Blend and the 2010 Highlands Bench Pinot Noir, plus to Silvers and three Bronze medals
  • Jason-Stephens Winery– came home with a load of 10 awards including Silver medals for the 2008 Cab, 2009 Estate Cab, 2009 Estate Meritage, 2008 Estate Merlot, 2008 Estate Malbec , 2010 Estate Mourvedre and the 2011 Estate Reserve Chardonnay, plus three Bronze medals for the 2009 Petit Verdot, 2009 Cabernet Franc and the 2011 Estate Reserve Chardonnay
  • Martin Ranch Winery– the top honors for the Best of Class JD Hurley 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, plus a Gold for the 2009 JD Hurley Merlot, Silver for the JD Hurley Carignane, 2010 JD Hurley Zinfandel, 2010 JD Hurley Griva Riesling and the 2011 Therese Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, plus three Bronze medals for the 2009 Therese Vineyards Dos Ninas Syrah, 2009 Therese Vineyards Lester Family Syrah and the 2008 Therese Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sarah’s Vineyard– won a Gold medal for the 2011 Central Coast Pinot Noir, plus Silver for the 2009 Cote de Madone Rhone Blend, 2011 Estate Pinot Noir, 2011 Estate Cote de Madone Blanc White Blend, 2009 Zinfandel and the 2011 Central Coast Chardonnay, in addition to the Bronze for the 2011 Estate Chardonnay
  • Satori Cellars– picked up the two Double Golds for the 2010 Zen-Zin Zinfandel and the 2010 Estate Merlot, and also walked home with Silver for the 2010 Joyous Bordeaux Blend, 2010 Estate Cabernet Franc, 2010 Estate Syrah, 2009 Estate Petite Sirah and Bronze for the 2009 Harmonic Convergence Red Blend and the 2010 Estate Zinfandel
  • Solis Winery– captured a Gold medal for the 2009 Estate Merlot, Silver for the 2010 Baciami Rhone Blend and several Bronze medals for the 2010 Estate Zinfandel, 2009 Estate Syrah, 2010 Seducente Italian Blend and the 2010 Estate Sangiovese
  • Storrs Winery– picked up a Gold for the 2009 Grenache, Silver for the 2011 Viento Vineyards White Riesling and Bronze medals for the 2010 Viento Vineyard Gewurztraminer, 2007 BXR Bordeaux Blend, 2007 Rusty Ridge Zinfandel, 2008 Christie Vineyard Pinot Noir and the 2009 Pinot Noir
  • Sycamore Creek Vineyards & Winery– got a big win with the Double Gold for the 2010 Flagship Reserve Estate Evolution Bordeaux Blend, plus two Bronze medals for the 2010 Flagship Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2010 Malbec
The public is invited to the Public Tasting to be held at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on Saturday, February 16th at 2 – 5 p.m.
For more information: