Bottle Shock!

Bottle Shock is about to be released!
Picture it.
Paris.
1976.
Scions of the wine industry gather in Paris for the annual Judgment of Paris wine competition.
In a blind tasting, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon from France and California were pitted against each other, where, shockingly California won and changed the wine world forever.

On August 6th, the film adapted from the book Judgement of Paris: California vs. France and the Historic 1976 Paris Tasting That Revolutionized Wine by George Taber, opens to audiences here in the heart of California wine county. To help celebrate the 22nd anniversary of this epic victory for American wine, Crushpad is hosting a premier party to celebrate our victory over the French. Come celebrate with us by tasting a recreation of the Paris competition, and then join us at the Kabuki for a screening of the movie.

Details to follow soon. You can watch the official trailer below for your entertainment!

GREAT Wine under $20


In homage to Dr. Debs (the real Dr. Debs of Good Wine Under $20 fame), I am happy to report that I had a fantastic evening last night at the Cameron Hughes wine reception hosted by Cornelius of Wine 2.0 & RadCru.

Most impressive were the Alexander Valley & various Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon selections, poured from the new Lot releases by Cameron himself.

Cameron Hughes Wine has made a name for itself as premium quality budget priced wine, widely available at Costco warehouses everywhere. These premium wines average $15 and under, with a few of the more unusual selections hovering around $20. I don’t have to tell you, that $15 for a stellar Cabernet from Napa is like having someone forget to add an item on your bill at your favorite restaurant. It almost feels like stealing candy from a baby!

How do they do it? Well it’s actually a fairly old story of the negociant, a wine merchant who buys grapes or finished wine and slaps their own label on it. IN this case, which amazing results that are different with every lot and every year. Cameron Hughes Wine focuses on buying bits & pieces of leftover super premium wine. Sometimes, wineries don’t want a large case production, to create the illusion of scarcity. Sometimes, they just aren’t happy with the results. And sometimes, well sometimes I just can’t understand dhow they can give up such wonderful elixirs but I”m happy I reap the financial benefits!

My highlights from the tasting are:

This was my outstanding wine winner of the night, both because of the killer dusty cocoa, tobacco and richness, as well as the stupid cheap price. I pre-ordered 2 bottles of it, but now am kicking myself for not ordering more. $15 (not released yet)

A very close 2nd to Alexander Valley, I had a hard time picking my favorite. So I tasted more. And again. And often. Oy the joys of a cab ride home! $16 (not released yet)

  • Lot ? 2006 Yountville Cabernet Sauvignon

This was the first cab we tasted last night, and I thought it would be my favorite. But as we moved down the line, Alex and Chalk just kicked Yountville’s little butt. But it was still good, and a screaming value. Hell, all of them are. It’s young, and needs to be decanted & held, but for $15? Seriously!

  • Lot ? Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

Silly me, I didn’t keep my tasting sheet because I turned it in to order, and now can’t remember the lot numbers. But this was a tasty tidbit too! I admit, at this point, i sort of lost count because they were so tasty.

For me, a typically non Merlot drinker, this wine blew me away. It is a rich & powerful merlot, coming from an area that i wouldn’t expect and yet didn’t’ have that overpowering manipulated feel of most commercial wines.
$15

A very minty syrah, with a lot of spice. It was a bit tannic for me, and could use a bit more balance but I expect great things in the future. $15

This was a surprise, and a really interesting blend that caught my attention quickly as we tasted the large array of wines on the bar. Grenache & Carignane come together to give a taste of Spain in a classic meritage. $20

The moral of the story? Don’t prejudge! I have had some of the other CH Wines, and wasn’t terribly impressed. However, with the variety of Lots and the amazing Cabernets, I will certainly not shy away in the future.

Thanks to RadCru and Cameron Hughes for a great time at Varnish!

 

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July is for Wine-ing!


The 4th of July is made for picnics, beer, lemonade and potato salad.
That makes the 5th of July perfect for wine!
Urbano Cellars is having a release party to celebrate their new wines.

  • 2006 Dry Creek Syrah – 290 cases
  • 2007 Green Valley (Solano) Vin Rose’ – 135 cases
  • 2007 Lodi Viognier – 30 cases
  • 2007 Lodi Five Barrel Blend -125 cases
  • 2005 Green Valley (Solano) Zinfandel – 125 cases

Join me in toasting these new releases across the bay with Urbano at Periscope Cellars (click for Google Map) in Emeryville. Afterwards, we can mosey on down to Lost Canyon and maybe even invade Rosenblum. Check out other East Bay wineries at East Bay Vintners Alliance.

As I was reading the list for the July 19th Santa Cruz Mountain Passport, I was happy to see there are now several wineries in the San Carlos / Redwood City / Woodside area.

Check out the list of mid-Peninsula wineries:

  • Domenico Wines
  • La Honda Winery
  • Aptos Creek
  • Kings Mountain
  • Michael Martella


As much as I love driving down to Santa Cruz, with the gas prices and beach traffic the way they are right now – wouldn’t it be fun to go local?

PS if you want to Caltrain, you can walk to Dominico from the San Carlos station!

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Happy Monday!

So you know it’s a good party when the aftermath takes 4 trips to the recycling bin to empty the kitchen of bottles.

Thanks all for celebrating my weekend (oh yeah and my 22nd birthday) with me!
There were some tasty wines indeed, and after a day of sleep to recover, I will have to do some reading to see what we drank and what I restocked on.

yum!

 

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Red Wine & Brews Festival – Carmel Valley

I was recently in Carmel Valley wine tasting, and was happily impressed by most of the offerings, particularly from Parsonage and Bernardus.
My friend just told me he would be manning his hand crafted woodcrafts booth (Green Tree Designs) at the festival, so why not come down and check it out?

 

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Wine Blogging Wednesday #46, Rhone Whites

Be sure to stop by Vinquire and take a look at our Wine Blogging Wednesday efforst.

For those of you who don’t know, once a month we get togheter a group, and taste in a particular theme.

This month, that theme was Rhone varital white wines. We were a little madcap, and tasting 6, from both France and abroad.

You can see the results here:

http://www.vinquire.com/blog/2008/jun/10/wbw-46-rhone-whites/

 

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June Already!

So you’ll have to forgive me for not doing this sooner, but I decided to migrate my email list to a blog. Mind you, I am not an experience blogger, so please bear with me!
I’ll be adding things here as I think of them, or as they come up, so be sure to bookmark me and check back regularly.
 

How is it June! Well, as shocked as I am, June is the month for wine. And birthdays. And vacations. So many things, so little time! 

With the global climate shift causing strange and unusual weather patterns, I decided that I better drink as much good wine as possible to stave off the bevy of new illnesses we will probably get.
No no, I’m not a pessimist. Just looking for an excuse! Thanks to Gabriella from Catavino, who’s doctor told her to drink more and eat more meat, I am following suit. 


Open House
 

Saturday June 21
Happy Anniversary to Crushpad!
 

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an Francisco Wine Enthusiasts Meet the Winemakers

Wednesday June 25
I really enjoy these meet the winemakers sessions, because it gives us a chance to get to know some very small producers that you might not otherwise get to know.
This month, it might be our final episode because we have had a hard time attracting crowds. Please take a moment, find a friend, and come on down to see and try:

Sterling Albert Winery
Concord’s only winery and winemaker, will be pouring wines sourced from grapes grown on Mt. Diablo where many of the state’s more respected vineyards grew before Prohibition. You’ll also enjoy his Lake County Cab Franc from 35 year old vines that will produce no more, having recently been pulled out to make way for progress.

Pietra Santa Winery
Pietra Santa, located next door to Josh Jensen’s Calera winery, will be sampling estate wines from Cienega Valley including their Super Tuscan Blend Sassolino as well as their SangioveseDolcetto. and

Vin Nostro
The winemaker of Vin Nostro, Dario Zucconi, whose family owns Tomasso’s pizzaria, will join us to pour his double gold medal winners, the 2004 Alexander Valley Cab and ’05 Syrah from the Red Hills AVA (Lake County) and his ’05 Dry Creek Valley Zin.

Harvest Moon Winery
Among its wines, Harvest Moon Estate & Winery will be showcasing several Zins from the Russian River appellation.
http://wine.meetup.com/321/calendar/8055401/

Tuesday June 24
Ottimista Enoteca Pinot Pairings
$25 reservations required.
Six pinot producers will pour their finest to those interested in tasting and celebrating pinot noir, as paired with pinot-centric foods. Ottimista Enotecca-Cafe is known for its pairings; this is a tasting you do not want to miss.

  • Churchill Cellars
  • Handley Cellars
  • Olson Ogden Wines
  • Philo Ridge Vineyards
  • Hirsch Vineyard and Winery
  • Kanzler Vineyards
Thursday June 26
Table Hop Dinners

  • Isa
  • Jack Fallstaff


Saturday June 28
Focus Tasting Series

This year we are offering three Focus Tastings, each with a regional focus. Each of these tastings will feature 16 of the best producers efforts within the theme. We will drink the wines blind and reveal them after each flight. While you are tasting the wines, the winemakers
wi
ll field questions, discuss their own wines and the uniqueness of the region they are representing, and share their colorful stories about making some of the most exciting pinots available. All of this will happen while you are sitting and tasting some of the finest pinots on the market.

 

  1. Santa Lucia Highlands, Santa Rita Hills and Central Coast – 6/28/2008 1-3pm Cost: $ 80 SOLD OUT
  2. Best of Sonoma Coast and Anderson Valley 6/28/2008 4-6pm Cost: $ 80
  3. Best of Russian River Valley and Santa Maria Valley 6/28/2008 7-9pm Cost: $ 80


Sunday June 29
Seminar Series
Our Sunday Seminar Series offer specific opportunities to appreciate wines of particular styles, or from particular regions or vineyards. Each Series consists of three unique, topical tastings: Appellation, Vineyard and Misto. The “Appellation Tasting” is a tasting of pinots from a specific appellation or region. The “Vineyard Tasting” is a tasting of pinots from a specific vineyard. The “Misto Tasting” is mix of pinot-related topics, ranging from an alcohol level study to a clonal study to a study of the effects of the various barrel types – you choose. A ticket to the Sunday Seminar Series includes the Grand Festival. Sunday Seminar Series ticket holders may enter the Grand Festival at 11AM with members of the Trade, and taste for one hour before heading to your particular seminar series. Seminars are two hours in length, so you may re-enter the Grand Festival at 2PM to enjoy three more hours of tasting pinot and meeting winemakers.

Grand Tasting

Sunday’s Grand Tasting will showcase 170 producers of pinot noir. This is California’s largest single gathering of pinot producers, as well as its most varied. Consumers will be able to sample up to 400 pinots from every important region in California, Oregon, New Zealand, and Burgundy, and to meet the winemakers who create them. We will also offer a number of pinots for auction, donating various charities.

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