Thursday, May 13, 2010

Paso Robles Wine Country - the fastest growing wine region in California

Tucked along the coast of California about midway between the Bay Area and Los Angeles is a fine wine region called Paso Robles. This dynamic region has seen explosive growth over the past decade, expanding from 35 to 180 bonded wineries, ranging from major national brands to small boutique wineries.

Gary Eberle first planted Syrah in the mid 1970’s in Paso Robles. In 1989, the Perrin family (of the Rhone Valley’s Chateau de Beaucastel) and American importer Robert Haas established the first major international joint venture, Tablas Creek Vineyards. Tablas Creek imported exclusive vine stock from the Rhone Valley and made these clones available to other growers in the area. Since 1989, Paso Robles has seen an explosion in the plantings of Rhone varietals, from fewer than 100 acres in 1994 to more than 2,200 acres in 2006.

Some features that make this region unique are the huge diurnal swings in temperatures, up to 40-50 degrees in a day during, a longer growing season than most other California appellations, and more calcareous soils than any other California AVA.

A fine example of Paso Robles white wines is the Anglim 2007 Roussanne. This is a refreshing wine with a touch of honey aroma and ripe and juicy fruit flavors of apple, grilled pineapple and a hint of spicy cloves and a mineral note on the finish. It is very balanced with mouth-pleasing acidity.

The wine was fermented cold, 65% in predominantly neutral French oak barrels, 35% in stainless steel. It was allowed to age for 18 months on the lees (“sur lies”) with frequent stirring for 7 months. Winemaker Steve Anglim made 224 cases of this wine and the price is approximately $26.
Steve Anglim’s philosophy is to make balanced wines instead of the overripe “fruit bombs” popular on the market today. Roussanne is a Rhone varietal, one of many that grow well in the soils and climates of the Paso Robles AVA.
The Niner Wine Estates 2007 Cabernet Franc from the estate Bootjack Ranch vineyards has a beautiful dark crimson color and aromas and flavors of raspberry, blueberry, dried flowers, nutmeg and pepper. It is rich and velvety-textured. The tannins are soft but firm and in balance with just the right amount of acidity.

Bootjack Ranch is part of Niner Wine Estates, covering 125 acres and planted with the hearty red varietals for which Paso Robles is famous such as Syrah, Merlot, Barbera, Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon. There were 234 cases produced and the price is approximately $26. The winemaker is Amanda Cramer.

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Wednesday, May 5, 2010

13th Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival - May 14-16

Think of Anderson Valley and you immediately think of fine Pinot Noir. In Boontling, the local Boonville folk language, “It’s bahl hornin’”, or, It’s good drinkin!”

Anderson Valley Winegrowers in Mendocino County are hosting the 13th Annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival, May 14-16. The Festival starts on Friday, May 14 with the Pinot Festival Technical Conference where you can learn from the experts about how to make it, taste it and enjoy it. That afternoon there is a Consumer Tasting Seminar at the Mendocino County Fairgrounds in Boonville followed by a Social BBQ at the Standish Wine Company where you can celebrate Pinot Noir with a great BBQ and local foods.

Saturday is devoted to the Pinot Festival Grand Tasting at Goldeneye Winery where nearly 100 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir wines will be experienced. Various winemaker dinners will be held in Anderson Valley and the Mendocino Coast that evening. These winemaker dinners sell out fast so get your tickets early!

However, Sunday May 16 your favorite Anderson Valley wineries open their cellar doors to all visitors. Many of these exclusive wineries are not normally open for tastings. Besides the chance to explore their wines, you will find special events including barrel tasting, winery tours, library tasting, vertical flights, food and wine pairing and more. The cool Anderson Valley is well known for its Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Gewurztraminer and Sparkling wines. Take advantage of this rare opportunity to visit wineries in this picturesque agricultural valley 100 miles north of San Francisco. For a list of participating wineries check out the Anderson Valley Winegrowers website.

Tickets are available on the Anderson Valley Winegrowers website and there is a $10 early purchase discount if purchased prior to May 1. These tickets sell out early every year so get them soon!

For more information:

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Livermore Valley Winegrowers Foundation raises funds benefitting children of Livermore

  Livermore Valley Winegrowers Wine Auction

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The Livermore Valley Winegrowers are dedicated to the Livermore community and this dedication was evident at the 16th Annual Livermore Valley Wine Auction on Saturday May 1. This is an event that the Livermore area looks forward to every year. The auction raised funds benefitting the

Over the years, the Livermore Valley Winegrowers Foundation has raised over $3.4 million dollars for these programs and more serving the children of the area. The foundation members, staff, sponsors, volunteers and wineries spend countless hours planning and staging this exciting event.

This year’s event opened with several local wineries serving their finest Livermore Valley wines while guests feasted at the various Carnival Stations featuring foods you would find at state fairs in Louisiana, Iowa, Texas and Coney Island. At the same time the guests could play various carnival games and bid on the many offerings at the silent auction tables.

Following a delicious chocolate dessert extravaganza paired with local ports the real action began with the live auction. Twenty-six live auction lots donated by local wineries and sponsors made for an exciting event. And the winemakers not only showed their dedication to their community, but their creativeness as well.