Hey Southern California readers…on Saturday, November 8th, the West Sonoma Coast Vintners, in partnership with Orange Coast Magazine and Celebrity Cruises, will host the Inaugural West of West Wine Festival. This event will take place at the Grand Terrace in the Honda Center in Anaheim. The West of West Wine Festival will feature tastings from Sonoma wineries including Red Car, Littorai, Small Vines, and Flowers. The West Sonoma Coast is known for producing delicious cool climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah.
The West of West Wine Festival will also include fun events like the “Sommelier Challenge”, free swag from Celebrity Cruises, and delicious food from several OC restaurants.
Tickets for the Grand Tasting are normally $175 but, for a limited time, you can access a special $99 ticket offer on General Grand Tasting tickets by using code: WOWOC at www.orangecoast.com/wowoc. This is going to be a great event and OC could definitely use more events like this so please consider attending!
Fall ushers in some of the best seafood California has to offer so I like to make sure we have plenty of wine on hand to pair with oysters, crab, and other seasonal delicacies One well-priced bottle we always have chilled is Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Blanc. This blend of 40% Grenache Blanc, 30% Sauvignon Blanc, and 30% Clairette comes from 25 to 50-year-old vines that are organically farmed on the Mediterranean shores of the northern Languedoc. With 12.5% alcohol, it is fairly easy to find at a retail price of around $10.
Moulin de Gassac Guilhem Blanc offers pretty aromas of citrus, melon, and pear with floral nuances. The palate is crisp and lively. There are ample tastes of citrus followed with a refreshing finish. Super enjoyable and very easy to sip…this wine definitely over delivers on value!
Last weekend, I had the chance to preview an incredible film from Three Crows Media titled American Wine Story. American Wine Story is a documentary that chronicles the journeys of several winemakers and wine professionals who, for the most part, don’t follow the path into the wine industry that most Americans seem to envision. The movie draws you in from the start with tales of tragedy, hard work, and success.
American Wine Story’s underlying theme is following passions and pursuing dreams, which in this case, revolve around making wine. While the movie centers around the death of Oregon winemaker Jimi Brooks of Brooks Winery, I found the stories of many of the other featured winemakers equally intriguing. As a viewer, I was captivated to learn about the winemakers’ day jobs, personal and professional struggles, and what ultimately led them to pursue wine.
While the storyline can seem a little slow at times, for the most part the film keeps the audience engaged. American Wine Story also neglects to mention stories of failure, which are as prevalent (if not more prevalent) than successes in the wine industry. However, in spite of the aforementioned flaws, I found the film very enjoyable.
If you are interested in watching (and you should be), the film is now available to audiences everywhere on iTunes, Amazon, On Demand and at americanwinestory.vhx.tv. So grab a bottle of wine, relax, and enjoy the movie!
If you are looking for a highly quaffable wine for around $20, look no further than Broc Cellars Love Red “Part Deux”. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the winery, Broc Cellars is an urban winery with a tasting room in Berkeley producing seriously good, minimally manipulated wines.
The newly released “Part Deux” version of Love Red is a blend of 83% Carignan, 14% Valdiguie, and 3% Petite Sirah from Frei Vineyard in Solano County. The wine was fermented in stainless steel and then racked down to 20 year-old 600L German casks for 10 months. Native yeast fermentation, unfined, and lightly filtered.
Love Red “Part Deux” is incredibly bright and vibrant. The palate is flavorful yet light with tastes of red berries and spicy anise. With plentiful acidity and a juicy finish, I could drink this wine all day. Grab a couple of bottles while this wine lasts! (13% alcohol, MSRP $20)
If you are a fan of Santa Barbara County wines, you should really add Cimarone Wines to your list of wineries to explore. Cimarone’s vineyards are located in the Happy Canyon AVA of Santa Barbara and the winery is run by husband and wife team Roger and Priscilla Higgins. With the help of winemaker Andrew Murray, they produce small lot, crowd-pleasing wines. Over the past week, I sampled the newly released Cimarone 2012 Gran Premio Sangiovese and Cimarone 2012 Cabernet Franc. Each New World style wine is well-made and full of flavor.
Cimarone 2012 Cabernet Franc
Cimarone’s Cabernet Franc is pleasantly aromatic with notes of ripe, red berries, cassis, violets, and hints of oak. The palate is super smooth and features tastes of plums, green bell peppers, red berries, and spice. Balanced and incredibly enjoyable! (13.8% alcohol, $29.99)
Cimarone 2012 Gran Premio Sangiovese
This wine opens with aromas of ripe fruit, earth, and cinnamon. Decadent flavors of plum, red berries, and cinnamon are surrounded by more nuanced notes of earth and vanilla. Hearty enough to pair with roasted meats, this wine will most definitely improve with a little more time in the bottle! (14.5% alcohol, $29.99)
I have been enjoying wine from Turley for years so when I heard about their winemaker Tegan Passalacqua’s personal project called Sandlands Vineyards, I had to try it. From what I can gather, Tegan and his wife Olivia created Sandlands to highlight forgotten California varieties that they think are well-deserving of more attention. Currently, they produce interesting wines such as Matero, Trousseau Noir, and Chenin Blanc from different vineyards throughout California. I had the chance to try Sandlands 2010 Mataro last week and it was outstanding.
Sandlands 2010 Mataro is 100% Mataro (Mourvedre for those of you wondering) sourced from two vineyards, one in Contra Costa County and the other in Amador County. The wine is fermented whole-cluster with indigenous yeasts and bottled unfined and unfiltered. At 13.6% alcohol, it retails for $33.
Sandlands Mataro opens with aromas of dark fruit, graphite, and spice. The wine is well-structured and incredibly balanced. There are bright layers of dark fruit and earth along with some interesting floral notes that seem to evolve with time. Alive and inspired, this wine will reach its stride with a few more years in the bottle!
After tasting the Mataro, I am going to make it my mission to try the rest of the Sandlands portfolio. Definitely a brand to keep on your radar!