Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Livermore Valley brings home the Gold from the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition

A record breaking 37 Livermore Valley wineries picked up 178 awards at the 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition, including Best of Class for the 3 Steves 2012 Thatcher Bay Merlot, Crooked Vine 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and Wente 2013 Morning Fog Chardonnay.  Livermore Valley winemakers also brought home 8 Double Gold, 27 Gold, 76 Silver and 64 Bronze awards.  Congratulations to those award-winning winemakers in this diverse wine region in the heart of the Bay Area.

The 2015 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition is the largest competition of American wines and this year included a record breaking 6,417 entries from 28 states and judged by almost 80 prominent wine judges. The competition is always fierce and as the number of entries grow, it becomes tougher.

In addition to the Best of Class award for 3 Steves, Crooked Vine and Wente, eight wineries captured Double Gold awards including Auburn James, Bent Creek, Crooked Vine, En Garde, Fenestra, Las Positas, Occasio and Vasco Urbano.  Following are highlights on awards picked up by individual Livermore Valley Wineries.
  • 3 Steves Winery– in addition to the Best of Class for the Merlot they won Silver medals for the 2012 Cienega Valley Cabernet Franc and 2012 Small Lot #2 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Auburn James Winery– captured Double Gold for their 2010 Artist Series Napa Valley Meritage and Gold for their 2010 North Coast Speedster Bordeaux blend, plus two other Bronze medals
  • Bent Creek Winery– in addition to the Best of Class award for their 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Bent Creek picked up two additional Silver Medals and a Bronze for a total of four award winning wines.
  • Big House Wines – picked up a Gold medal for the 2012 Zinfandel plus a Silver and Bronze medal
  • BoaVentura De Caires Vineyard – received a Silver for their 2007 Port and Bronze for the 2011 Bordeaux blend
  • Caddis Winery – as one of the newest Livermore Valley wineries, Caddis captured a Silver medal for the 2011 Cab and Bronze for the 2012 Barbera
  • Cedar Mountain Winery – they are famous for their ports and their 2002 Late Bottled Vintage port and the Toy Vineyard Reserve Viognier Port both got Silver medals, plus a Bronze for their Blanches Vineyard Cab.
  • Charles R Vineyards– brought home Bronze medals for the 2009 WR Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 J. Covarruvas Cab and 2010 Tracy Hills Touriga
  • Concannon Vineyards– captured a Gold for their delicious Captain Joe’s Reserve Petite Sirah plus three Silver and five Bronze medals
  • Crooked Vine Winery– in addition to the Best of Class for the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Crooked Vine also won a Double Gold medal for the 2012 Cabernet Franc, two Golds for the 2012 Moxie and 2012 Syrah and five Bronze medals
  • Cuda Ridge Wines– captured Gold for their 2012 S&M (Sangiovese and Merlot) blend and the 2012 Syrah, plus three Silver and a Bronze medals
  • Dante Robere Vineyards – another new winery for Livermore Valley and they took home five awards including two Silver and three Bronze
  • Darcie Kent Vineyards– two Gold medals were won for the 2013 Hoffman Chardonnay and the 2012 DeMayo Zinfandel.  They also brought home a Silver and three Bronze awards
  • Eagle Ridge Vineyards– picked up a Gold medal for the 2010 Petite Sirah and Bronze for the 2013 Pinot Grigio
  • Eckert Estate Winery – this small winery got two Silver medals for the Reunion Rhone Blend and their Clements Hill Dolcetto plus two Bronze medals
  • Ehrenberg Cellars – another new Livermore Valley winery who brought home two Silver medals for their 2012 Wilderotter Zin and 2012 Michael David Syrah plus two Bronze medals
  • En Garde Winery– earned seven medal total including a Double Gold for the 2012 Russian River Pinot Noir and Gold for the 2012 Russian River Starkey Hill Pinot Noir.  In addition the got two Silver and three Bronze medals
  • Entropy Cellars – this small winery took home a Silver award for their Livermore Valley Bordeaux Blend
  • Fenestra Winery– grabbed 13 medals including a Double Gold award for the 2010 Lodi Tempranillo and Gold for the 2009 Thatcher Bay Livermore Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  The also carried home seven Silver awards and four Bronze awards
  • Garre Vineyard and Winery – took home two Bronze medals for the Profound Secret Bordeaux blend and the 2012 Tempranillo
  • Las Positas Vineyardsthis local winery brought 13 medals to Livermore Valley with their Double Gold winning 2012 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon leading the way.  Followed at the four Gold awards for the 2012 Estate Tempranillo, 2011 and 2012 Coccineous and 2012 Casimira desert wine.  They also got four Silver and three Bronze awards.
  • Longevity Wines–received a Bronze medal for their very tasty 2013 Livermore “Pink” Pinot Grigio Rose wine
  • McGrail Vineyards & Winery– captured two Gold awards for the 2009 Picazo Vineyard  Merlot and the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, plus a Silver medal
  • Mia Nipote Winery brought home two Silvers for the 2009 and 2010 Lencioni Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, plus a Bronze for the 2011 vintage
  • Mitchell Katz Winery– a Gold medal was awarded for the 2011 Livermore Falling Star Cabernet Sauvignon along with two Silver and two Bronze awards
  • Murrieta’s Well– both the 2013 “The Whip” White Blend and the 2012 “The Spur” Red Blend won Silver medals
  • Nottingham Cellars– as usual Nottingham won many medals, this time nine awards including Gold for the 2012 Harris Tesla Cab and six Silver and two Bronze awards
  • Occasio Winery– this excellent winery captured Double Gold for the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon plus a Gold for the 2012 Thatcher Bay Merlot and Silver for the 2012 Ghielmetti Vineyards Syrah
  • Page Mill Winery – brought home all Silver medals for their 2013 Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Petite Sirah, 2012 GPS, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Cote Vineyard Merlot
  • Retzlaff Winery– picked up a Gold for the 2013 Sauvignon Blanc and two Silver and a Bronze awards
  • Rios Reserve Estate Winery– was honored with a Silver for their Cabernet Franc port and three other Bronze awards
  • Rodrigue Molyneaux Winery– picked up two Bronze awards for the 2010 Cab and 2011 Le Bocage blend
  • Stoney Ridge Winery – got five Silver awards for the 2012 Zinfandel, 2012 Syrah, 2012 Petite Sirah, 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon and 2012 Trifecta blend, all from Livermore Valley
  • Steven Kent Winery– proudly took home two Gold awards for the 2011 Cabernet Franc and 2011 Petit Verdot plus a Silver and Bronze awards
  • Thomas Coyne Winery– brought home a Silver for the 2012 Confluence Bordeaux Blend plus four other Bronze awards
  • Vasco Urbano Wine Company – this new label started off with a Double Gold medal award for the 2012 “Heine” Petit Sirah followed by three other Silver awards
  • Wente Vineyards– along with the Best of Class 2013 Morning Fog Chardonnay, Wente also got Gold awards for the 2013 Louis Mel Sauvignon Blanc and 2013 Riverbank Riesling (both from Livermore).  In addition they got three Silver and two Bronze awards
  • Wood Family Vineyards – added four Silver awards to their collection with prizes for their 2013 Para Mas Amigas Chardonnay, 2012 Muy Bueno Zinfandel, 2012 Big Wood Zinfandel and 2012 Thompson Ranch Cab
The public is invited to the Public Tasting to be held at Fort Mason Center in San Francisco on Saturday, February 14th at 1:30 – 5 p.m.

For more information:

Romance on the Rails Valentine's Day Wine Tasting Event on board Niles Canyon Railway

Niles Canyon Railway can make your Valentine’s Day unforgettable with the Romance on the Rails Wine Tasting Trains. On Valentine’s Day Saturday, February 14, there will be two trains, one leaving the Sunol station at 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.

For more information:

Zinfandel Experience is coming to San Francisco

The Zinfandel Advocates & Producers invite you to the Zinfandel Experience, an exciting celebration of America’s Heritage Wine.  This is the 24th anniversary of this celebration is from January 29-31 and is set at both the historic Presidio overlooking the San Francisco Bay and the iconic Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco.   The Zinfandel Experience brings together the top winemakers and wine enthusiasts to celebrate America’s grape.

Thursday, January 29 6-9 p.m.
The Experience starts the Epicuria Food & Zin Pairings on Thursday, January 29 6-8 p.m. at the Golden Gate Club on the Presidio.  This venue provides you a spectacular view of the San Francisco Bay and Golden Gate Bridge.  You can sample sophisticated and whimsical culinary creations from master chefs perfectly paired with over 30 top Zinfandels.  Price is $105 for ZAP members and $135 for non-members.

Friday, January 30 10:30 a.m. – 1 p.m.
Flights! Forums of Flavor will be at the Four Seasons Hotel in San Francisco.  Flights! features a professional tasting seminar focusing on highly allocated, limited production Zins.  You can learn more about the range, depth and character of the wines.  ZAP is also partnering with the Historic Vineyard Society to present wines from exceptional old vine Zins.  Price is $80 for ZAP members and $95 for non-members.

Friday, January 30 5:30-10:00 p.m.
The popular Winemakers Reception, Dinner and Auction takes place at the Four Seasons Hotel on Friday evening with the Winemakers Reception from 5:30 – 7:30 p.m. and the Dinner and Auction from 7:30 – 10:00 p.m.  Mad Men, the popular TV show, is the inspiration for the 2015 Zinfandel Experience Dinner and Auction.  The reception features winemakers pouring it big with magnums and reserve offerings.  Then enjoy an intimate dinner hosted by celebrities of the wine world and customized menu that boasts the best in farm-to-table cuisine.  The live and silent auctions will feature one-of-a-kind lots, rare bottles, winery experiences and more.  The price for the reception only is $95 for ZAP members and $110 for non-members.  For the combo ticket for the reception, dinner and auction is for members only and the price is $295.

Saturday, January 31 11:00 a.m. – 5 p.m.
The exciting Tastings event takes place at the Golden Gate Club in the Presidio.  The Reserve and Barrel Tasting takes place from 11:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. and is open to All-Day ticket holders and VIPs.  At this special tasting 100 winemakers and principals will pour samples at their tables providing a “sneak peek” of upcoming vintages and special Zinfandels that have earned the title of “Reserve”.  At the Public Tasting from 1:00 p.m. (for ZAP members) or 2:00 p.m. (for non-members) winemakers and owners till personally share their passion for this fruit and you get to explore the flavors of Zinfandel blends, single vineyards and old vine Zins.  You will also experience the differences between the various regions where the Zinfandel grape is grown.

Gourmet food trucks add to the experience with hearty fare and opportunities to socialize with members of the Zinfandel community.  All-Day tickets for the tasting are $150 for ZAP members and $170 for non-members.  These tickets include two complimentary gourmet food truck coupons.  Public Tasting tickets are $70 for ZAP members and $80 for non-members.

Check out the Zinfandel Experience website for information on lodging deals and directions.

For more information: