Posts Tagged ‘atlas peak’

Short Sips and Quick Trips

August 25, 2012

With harvest approaching, there’s still time before it gets crazy busy for a quick trip to wine country to check out new offerings and old favorites.

I’ve put together some  suggestions below for specific events in the next few weeks.

Sonoma Wine Country Weekend

A three-day slate of tastings and special events featuring Sonoma County’s best wines is on tap for the Labor Day weekend.

The main event of the 33rd annual Sonoma Wine Country Weekend will be held Saturday (Sept. 1) from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at MacMurray Ranch, the winery named after founder Fred MacMurray, the late actor.

More than 170 wineries will be pouring tastes for guests who will also be served by 60 local chefs. Tickets are $150 online.

Many of the wineries are hosting individual winemaker dinners and other events from Friday (Aug. 31) to Sunday (Sept. 2). Here’s a list of the full lineup of events.

Lastly, the long weekend concludes with a charity auction.

if you want to buy a treasured or rare bottle of wine, check out the 20th annual Sonoma County Harvest Wine Auction at Chateau St. Jean pm Sunday (Sept. 2) from 1-7 p.m.

Winetasting, dinner and entertainment are included in the $500 ticket. Proceeds benefit local non-profits.

 Lake County Wineries Invade Treasure Island

On Saturday (Sept. 8), more than 100 wines will be poured at a tasting on Treasure Island sponsored by a group of more than 30 Lake County wineries.

The “Wines with Altitude” event will be held at The Winery SF from Noon to 3 p.m. Tickets are $60, but half-price admission is available online in advance.

Check out the Rhone-style wines made by one of my favorite Lake County producers, Gregory Graham, at this event.

 Family Winemakers of California

I’ll be attending the 21st annual Family Winemakers of California tasting on Sunday, Sept. 9 at Fort Mason in San Francisco. Tickets are $65 in advance and $75 at the door.

Hundreds of large, medium, small and micro wineries from across the state will pour tastes of old and new wines from dozens of different type grapes.

The event began with a few dozen wineries pouring samples back in 1991. I find it to be one of the best big tastings of the year and a great chance to try a wide variety of wines in one afternoon.

Be sure to pace yourself. Drink water between tastings and don’t arrive on an empty stomach. There will be food available to help bring your taste buds back to life.

Please use a designated drive or public transit if you overindulge.

Atlas Peak Harvest Celebration

A group of mountain wineries from the Atlas Peak appellation in Napa County will be celebrating harvest with a special tasting in Yountville on Saturday (Sept. 8) from 1-4 p.m. at the V Wine Cellar.

There are at least 10 producing wineries in this area, which is located northeast of downtown Napa, east of Yountville and above the foothills of the Stags Leap District.. Several winegrowing-0nly operations in Atlas Peak also supply grapes to some of Napa’s most prestigious winemakers. About 1,500 acres are currently in cultivation.

Advance tickets are on sale for $25. Click here to order.

Short Sips

I’m learning to appreciate Viognier, the French grape that some call the poor man’s Chardonnay.

I recently enjoyed a terrific bottle of 2010 Loredona Viognier from Lodi, a region best known for big red Zinfandel wines.

I bought the wine off the list at Gecko Gecko Thai in Berkeley, a tasty spot for a quick dinner that’s just down the street from one of my favorite music venues, Freight and Salvage.

The grapes are from Loredona’s Clay Station Vineyard lies northeast of Lodi in the foothills of the Sierras. Warm days and cool nights which are typical in this region help ripen the grapes to maturity.

The wine tasted of peaches with a pleasant honeysuckle nose. This lighter-bodied white wine went well with a crispy rice salad spiked with ground pork.

The Loredona Viognier can be found at Whole Foods and Beverages and More stores on sale for less than $10 a bottle.

It’s a great summertime sipper at a great price!


Wonderful Wine With a Woman’s Perspective

November 6, 2009

I discovered Jocelyn Lonen wines almost by accident, but it’s the kind of accident I’d like to repeat over and over again because the wines are so good and reasonably priced.

The winery is an all-women affair. Brandi Jocelyn Pack manages the winery with a lot of help from winemaker Alison Green Duran, who also makes wine for the Hill Family Estate. Brandi’s mom, Susan Curtis, is a partner and Angela Herrera Lockhart is the national sales manager.

I was introduced to the winery at a tasting earlier this week at the Alameda Wine Co., where I found Angela pouring two reds and a white.

Brandi stepped into a leadership role after the death of her father, winery founder Lonen Curtis, who succumbed to brain cancer in 2004.

Brandi Jocelyn Lonen

Brandi Jocelyn Lonen

“This was our  dream… but I had no idea what I was doing,” Brandi said. “But, it’s really been an interesting process. I threw myself into it and tried to learn everything I could.”

The winery produced a terrific 2006 cabernet sauvignon, ($35) with a large portion of the grapes coming from the prestigious Stagecoach vineyard on Atlas Peak.

Here’s how Brandi describes it:

“I like upfront fruit, strawberry/cherry fruit,” she said. “I like the big California cabernets, with their big-bodied style. My parents tried to get me into French wines, but it’s so foreign to my palate. I just love that big, lush California cabernet and that’s what we are going for.”

The  2007 Jocelyn Lonen chardonnay ($26) is another winner. I enjoyed this wine for its butterscotch undertone and tropical fruit flavors plus a long, creamy finish. The reserve cabernet franc ($60) is delicious, but less than 100 cases were made and you’ll  have to join the Jocelyn Lonen wine club to get a bottle.

The wines are made at a custom crush facility. While there is no physical winery to visit, there are plans for a Napa tasting room to open next spring.

Warning: Wine Holidays Ahead

Rosenblum Cellars in Alameda is holding its annual holiday open house on Saturday (Nov. 7) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Tickets   are available online for $35 or $60 at the door. In addition to the wide array of Rosenblum wines open for tasting, there will be music and appetizers, including zinfandel ice cream. Rosenblum’s reputation was built on top-grade zinfandels (their 2007 Rockpile zin won a 90-point score from Wine Spectator), but they also make some highly rated syrah and petite sirah wines.

Just a hop, skip and a ferry ride away from Rosenblum, at Dashe Cellars in Oakland, they will be celebrating the holidays on Saturday with a different twist — a paella party.

Dashe, located just off Jack London Square, will be showcasing some of the winery’s award-winning zinfandels alongside giant servings of paella prepared by well-known chef Gerard Nebesky.

The event runs 4 p.m. to 8 p.m. Tickets are $25 in advance and $30 at the door. On tap for tasting will be barrel samples of the 2008 vintage along with some very special zins from the 2007 vintage, including wines made from the Florence and Louvau vineyards.

Ask for a taste of the late harvest zinfandel from Dashe, which won high praise in a recent review by the Wall Street Journal.