SF Chronicle Wine Competition

The results have been announced and there are a lot of familiar (to me) names on this list.

Strangely, as recently as two weekends ago I've had several wines from one of the winning wineries and I don't get it. The tasting room is beautiful, the people friendly(ish) and helpful, but the wines? Not good enough to justify their price range.

Frankly, I was kind of surprised by some of the winners. Not that I don't think these are good wines, but they're not the BEST wines from that particular winery and there are certainly better wines from other wineries to be found. A good example is Benziger winning in the Pinot Noir category. Really? I was at Benziger and tasted the pinot and it was NOT the wine I wanted to buy.

Obviously I'm not the end all be all of what's good or not and I probably have very different tastes than the judges, but I would love to hear their justification for some of these wins.

CC oenophile club?

So now that our CC oenophile club seems to have gone the way of the dodo (at least for the time being), I wouldn't be opposed to continuing the discussing in this community. All those who want to join, feel free.

I'll start leaving posts public.

high stakes wine buying

San Francisco Chronicle

Worth its weight in gold?
Why some people happily pay $500 for a bottle of wine

 A dozen Screaming Eagle magnums (1.5-liter bottles) sold ... JC Cellars winemaker and president Jeff Cohn makes a Syra... Opus One wine, in an early stage of the winemaking proces... 

Only in Napa Valley -- and Bordeaux -- would 25.6 ounces of fermented grape juice sell for $500. 

In June, the new owners of Screaming Eagle Winery in Oakville sent a letter to their mailing list subscribers, offering them the opportunity to purchase a three-pack of 2003 Screaming Eagle Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon for $1,500. That's $500 per 750-ml bottle, a price that makes Screaming Eagle the most expensive current-release wine made in America.

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global warming to effect grape growing regions?

Now's the time to cellar wine
Scientists fear that rising temperatures due to global warming will harm the wine industry in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties

Prudencio Tinoco repairs a drip irrigation system in a Ch... Grape clusters are showing their early development at Roc... Arid brown hills of dried grass roll south of Roche Vinya... Warming Wine Regions. Chronicle Graphic

Americans may have another reason to worry about global warming: Apart from the rising seas and disappearing polar bears, climate change could also wipe out premium wine grape growing in Napa, Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties by the end of the century, according to a new study out today.

An increase in the number of very hot days during the growing seasons would make California's richest wine-producing regions unsuitable for the finest grapes, under the scenario published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Yet some internationally known climate experts warn that models aren't yet good enough to predict effects on future agriculture and at best can only suggest possible outcomes.

Despite those cautionary comments, the study's authors say predictions of losing the best growing lands for the state's $2.9 billion wine industry bring home the importance of climate in farm production.

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(no subject)

Winemakers define success on their own terms

By Cole Danehower, Special to The Chronicle

Forty years ago this spring, David Lett planted the roots of Oregon's Pinot Noir industry when he put the first Pinot vines into the cool-climate earth of the Willamette Valley.

Lett and a handful of other iconoclasts named Erath, Ponzi and Adelsheim created a distinctive winegrowing culture that celebrated both individualism and camaraderie. The community they built has helped the region grow to become one of the world's most respected sources of Pinot Noir wines.

"It's a great and true story that has brought a lot of people to Oregon and helped build the industry," says Bergstrom Wines' Josh Bergstrom, 31, one of the most visible of the state's younger winemakers. "But something is happening in Oregon right now. The winds have changed." 

What has changed is growth.

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healdsburgh, ca

Town Ripens on the Vine

HEALDSBURG, Calif. — Winemakers who practice their art near this northern Sonoma County outpost aren't the only ones who wrestle with maintaining a sense of taste, charm and authenticity these days. Anyone who lives here or who has visited regularly over the past few years can see the change during every stroll downtown.

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* Alexander Valley Standout grapes: Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot. Suggested tasting rooms: Alexander Valley Vineyards, Geyser Peak, Hanna, Jordan, Robert Young, Simi, Trentadue

* Dry Creek Valley Standout grapes: Zinfandel, Sauvignon Blanc, Cabernet Sauvignon. Suggested tasting rooms: Dry Creek Vineyard, Ferrari-Carano, Fritz, Lambert Bridge, Preston of Dry Creek, Quivira, Seghesio.

* Russian River Valley Standout grapes: Pinot Noir, Chardonnay. Suggested tasting rooms: Christopher Creek, Gary Farrell, Hartford, Lynmar, Martinelli

[cross-posted to dream_vacations]

San Luis Obispo Wine Experience

An Edna Valley Vineyard Experience

Come and learn about my vineyard and experience first hand what it takes to grow premium wine grapes in Edna Valley.  Pattéa and I have joined together to offer a unique vineyard experience.  We are offering this to a very limited group, max. 8 people.  Please read on!

Once a month (& twice in September), you can have hands on vineyard experience; understand the unique attributes of vineyard life.  Enjoy a short lecture, hands on vineyard experience, hayride through MacGregor Vineyard on Andy’s Big Red ending with food and wine tasting.  There will be appetizers and four estate grown wines – Dry Rose’, Estate Chardonnays and Pinot Noir.  Depending upon vine growth some of the activities will be:

• Vine Analysis & Cluster Thinning
• Shoot Thinning & Tying
• Suckering
• Leaf Pulling
• Vine Trellising
• Grape Sampling
• Harvest, Crushing, & Pressing (Sept/Oct only)

Wear vineyard country cozy clothing and closed toe shoes, hat & sunscreen.  $75 per person, please make reservation at least 30 days before event.

June 3
July 8
August 8
September 2
September 23

Parking on day of event:  Map quest vineyard address – 1600 Old Price Canyon Rd, San Luis Obispo, CA  93401.  Go to the end of Old Price Canyon Road and park just past vineyard gate on left only.  We will greet you there!

To register and reserve your spot, please email

Read the accompanying article:


World's Best Sangria

[Dec. 21st, 2005|09:19 am]
For our holiday party on Monday, my co-worker made the following sangria recipe. Not to take anything away from Martha and her recipe (the one that has become my signature sangria), but this one was the best sangria I've ever had. I implore each and every one of you who loves sangria to give it a whirl.

Sangria - The World's Best

1 1/2 L Red wine (Cabernet Sauvignon)
1 cup Sugar
1 large Lemon, sliced
1 large Orange, sliced
1 large Apple, cut into thin sections
3-4 oz plain Brandy
Soda water

Mixing instructions:
Mix wine, sugar and fruit, and let sit in the fridge for 18-24 hours. The mixture will have a somewhat syrupy consistency. Before serving stir in brandy and cut the mixture with soda water until it have a thinner, more wine like consistency. Serve from a pitcher in wine glasses. Note: You may use orange or lemon flavored soda instead of the soda water.

Wine of the Week

Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2003 (90 points, $25)

Excellent balance and purity of youthful Cabernet flavors. Rich currant, blackberry and black cherry fruit is well-defined and oak plays a supporting role, with a dash of espresso bean and hazelnut. The tannins give it firmness and depth. A terrific price, too. Best from 2006 through 2013. 5,500 cases made.

Wine Spectator's editors have selected this wine as the best buy of the week.