14 August, 2009

People with Passion - Reminder about Family Winemaker's Event

You are cordially invited!
Where: Fort Mason, San Francisco

When: Sunday August 23rd, (3pm – 6pm)

What: 19th Annual Family Winemakers of California Tasting
One of the most comprehensive tastings of California wine in the world with over 350 wineries pouring! Look for a ton more things to try if you have been following along or just a great event to put on your annual calendar if this is new to you.
Some of the more unusual reds include Aglianico, Lagrein, Negrette, Bastardo, Counoise, Tannat and Tinta Cao, while unusual whites to be poured include Albarino, Picpoul Blanc, Torrontes and Vermentino.
Of course there will be top producers of Cabernet Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Zinfandel and Pinot Noir from appellations all throughout California. But there will also be many smaller producers that you might not otherwise get a chance to know and love. The Family Winemakers of California web site has a very handy varietal search tool to get a complete picture of how many different types of wine will be poured.
Here is a fabulous tool to plan your visit. A list by varietal or producer! Check it out:

A broad range of prices…the most expensive wine in the tasting will be a $200 bottle, while the least expensive wine will be $8. Winery case production also varies; the majority producing between 1,000 and 5,000 cases per year.

If you have been envious of all the great stuff we who attended the WBC (well, envious of the Energizer Bunnies who are done with their posting not slackers like Janesta and me that have more notes than time!) grab this chance to try many of them in one place.
Seriously great event with lots to tempt your palate and BONUS: Way less Drunk Ho action than some of the bigger events!
For tickets: click here

12 August, 2009

WBW#60 - I have Zinned or This little BrixPig went to market...

The Meat market! When Xandria walked in staggering under the weight of brisket, chicken, pork ribs and all the fixin's as well as a six pack of Lodi Zins we had received as samples, I knew we were in for a super fun Wine Blogging Wednesday. Thanks, Megan for the perfect summer combination: BBQ and Zinfandel. And then speaking of the Meat Market, our conversation took an anthropomorphic turn while we were discussing the , " I have Zinned..." theme. So I thought why just pair the wine with BBQ, when we could also riff on the whole "If this wine were a guy it would be..." Pinot Noir might be the one we lust for in our hearts, but Zinfandel, reliable, robust and just sweet enough. is a ringer for "boyfriend material". So in addition to being a tasty treat to pair with robustly sauced, smoky meats, here are my tasting notes paired with someone to put the "date" in Date Night!

'06 Harney Lane, Old Vine Zinfandel, Lizzie James Vineyard - Lodi, CA: We were tasting through 6 bottles of Lodi Zin and every previous offering was all American oak. Though this wine was shy to open, once it had about 15 minutes in the glass, open it did. The 20 months in French Oak gave it a decidedly Continental flair, compared with the others. Its mouthfeel was smooth with subtle tannins. The grapes come from old vines planted in 1904 with thick "trunks" and vigorous growth. Good genes, careful tending and the furnace blast daytime heat gave us juicy flavors and a finish shot with tobacco notes. Star quality? European? No stranger to the cigar box? Classic? Shy with star quality? Charlie Chaplin! At approximately $27.99, an easy to cast, amusing partner for your food pairing delight.

'07 m2 Wines, Old Vine Zinfandel, Soucie Vineyard, 1916 Block, Lodi Yum! This wine blasted out of the bottle with all that is classically yummy about Lodi Zins. Dark and jammy, it was delicious on its own, but had enough tannic strength to be very tasty with the BBQ. The tasting notes detailed the labor that went into the wine. The old vines require special vigilance to get the best flavors, including careful pruning and picking two or three times a vintage to select only the best grapes at the right time. Then they are processed carefully into small bins and inoculated with three strains of yeast. All this (with credit going to the Delta Breeze that cools the night air 30 - 40 degrees) produces a lovely, fruit forward wine. Dark and opaque, with aromas of blackberries, black cherries, cassis and cedar shavings. Lushly fruity flavors with hints of mocha. Classically tall, dark and handsome and very, very fruity? We tagged this: Rupert Everett. At $22, a great addition to any dinner party.

'07 Newsome-Harlow, Zinfandel, Big John's Vineyard, Calveras County, CA With "Sex and the City - The Movie" available on HBO, any mention of Big and John is naturally going to turn the mind (well, my mind) toward thoughts of the ultimate Big John, Mr. Big. But did this wine fit? Let's see...Dark, handsome and bold and very different from the others. Check. It was a little bit of a shock to move from the previous options that, though varied, expressed a typicity of Lodi. This was definitely different. Much less overt fruit, but still nice black cherry and black fruit. The tannins in this wine were much more assertive and the color was darker. Still check. Also, this wine was more than a little food slutty, meaning it was okay on its own, but much improved by pairing with the BBQ. Excellent! Mr. Big goes with food like chocolate goes with peanut butter! At $36, this is also the priciest of this set, so again. John James Preston, if you were a Zin...

In conclusion, BBQ + Zin = Good times! Thanks to Megan for a fun WBW and Happy Birthday to WBW, who turns 5 with this month's theme!

WBW#60- I too have Zinned!

It was Wednesday and the Brix Chicks had some serious tasting to do. Blessed with six bottles of Zinfandel from the Lodi appellation the deal was sealed that we were in store for a whole lot of fun... a Brix chicks kind of evening! Thanks to Megan's great idea to pair Zin with Barbecue we had a chance to taste the wine with and sans food. My favorite of the evening was the 2006 Gluttony Old Vine Zinfandel. It rocked, both on its own and as a great "date" for the spicy brisket. The topnote of this American Oak aged wine was butterscotchy with a smooth feel. It was not jammy or fruity but instead had qualities of a sophisticated Tawny Port. I closed my eyes and fantasized about my favorite Scottish gent, Sean Connery. The connection between the iconic special agent and this deliciously well balanced wine was divine!

As well as being a great choice for an immensely enjoyable glass of wine by itself, the Gluttony Zinfandel paired beautifully with smoked meats. Subtle fruits emerged beginning with a kumquat taste mid palate and a black berry finish that was delicious with the tangy barbecue sauce. Shhhh! I Zinned and saved a generous taste to pair with my rich chocolate bownie from our favorite bakery, Bakesale Betty. It is probably no surprise that this Zinn was also a perfect partner with a chewy chocolate brownie. Add a little ice cream and some of BrixChick Liza's delightful Malbec syrup? Exquisite!

My thanks to Michael David Family Winery for a wonderful wine fit for a special date night or to celebrate the fun in life. The Gluttony Zinfandel is truly a special agent... "You Only Live Twice" (1967).

10 August, 2009

The Magic of WBC 09 - Part One

After many months of waiting, finally the 2009 Wine Blogger's Conference dawned last July 24th - 26th. A GREAT time was had by all. Last year I had just returned from three weeks in Europe terminally jet lagged, and wandered through the conference wan and half awake. This year, I was determined to participate fully, which included a fabulous pre-Conference event hosted by the ever ebullient, Jeff Stai of Twisted Oaks. With Xandria out (due to bad planning) and Janesta sidelined (by her new job) I headed out to Murphys with my trusty Vinopanion, Dr. Xeno. Once at Murphys, we headed straight to the Rubber Chicken National Forest and got a tour of the process, the caves and the delicious Twisted Oaks wines. Along the way, we collected vinopanions like funnel clouds gone crazy. As we walked the streets of Murphys, first hitting Hatcher, Newsome-Harlowe (where I bought a delicious Zin for WBW #60!) and Tanner before massing at the Downtown Twisted Oaks facility for dinner and a super fun activity! By this time, Luscious Lush Thea, The Beer Wench, the Catavinos, Wannabe Wino, Ken Payton, The Wine Hiker, Wine Wonkette&Houston Wino, regrouped, stuffed ourselves on delicious grilled meat, salad and Renner Viognier (courtesy of winemaker, Brett), We set out to play a game of speed marketing. A blending game! Fun! With an awesome team, Oscar Quevedo, Amy Corron-Power, Ken Payton, Gabriella Opaz and Russ Beebe, we retreated into our cubby and blended like maniacs. Taste! Measure! Blend! Design! Draw! Consult the rule book! In the end, our organization and focus as well as our tasty homage to the Spaniard, garnered us a super prize! A visit to Calaveras County will always be full of good wine and fun, but with new and old wine friends? Forget about it! A great time was had by all and all this before the actual conference.

The next day, we made the dash to Sonoma where I was happy to be staying at the Flamingo Resort. Having grown up in the Bay Area I have been visiting this place for decades. I love the hallways where whispers of the Rat Pack still remain in the field stone terrarium-like passages. But the real lure was the Live WineBlogging, which I missed last year due to work responsibilities. Well, the Internet Gollums were not going to see me happily blogging, however with my trusty iPhone, I twittered like a drunken chipmunk, despite my resolve to spit, spit spit. Standouts for me?
o5 Cigar Volant, Bonny Doon - Nice puckery structure and nose redolent of red fruit. Fun to hear Randall Graham, " The lees check in, but they never check out..."
#WBC09 Twisted Oaks: '07 River of skulls Mourvedre w/syrah Succulent red fruit Inviting nose despite scary AlexandeMcQueen-like label!
#WBC09Line39 Petite sirah Lake county$10! yum! American oak = yummy brown sugar hints in nose gentle tasty fruit flavors only 13.5%alc
#wbc09 snowslake 20 miles n of Napa rich ruby color 28% cab franc Fabulous complex nose smooth feel Super tannins!
#wbc09 '07 Spann Chardonnay-Viognier, Lake County: Lovely stone fruit. Interssting mix. Took Gold Medal!
Bonus! I got to hang out with Diane Letulle and meet Bean. Finally, Janesta slipped her work shackles free, and we got to conferencing in earnest. ....

04 August, 2009

East Bay Vintner's Alliance - The Urban Wine Experience

I am here to help get the word out: there are a lot of wineries in the East Bay Area of Northern California in the cities of Berkeley, Oakland, Emeryville, and Alameda . A lot of wine lovers do not know about these wineries and the East Bay Vintners are about to show off their stuff at the 4th annual "Urban Wine Experience."

The East Bay Vinter's Alliance is a non-profit mutual benefit corporation that was created to help the members with their business practices and also with increasing public awareness of these wineries that are a part of the San Francisco Bay viticultural area.

As the Brixchicks are residents of the East Bay we believe in supporting our local wineries. We have written about some of them including Periscope Cellars, A Donkey & Goat, Two Mile Wines, Urbano Cellars, Dashe Cellars, Eno Cellars, and the now defunct Lost Canyon (we miss those Pinots.)

This year's experience is taking place at Jack London Square in Oakland on August 8th. The wines will be paired with foods from local eateries including one of our favorites Miss Pearl's Jam House. Tickets are $45 in advance and $60 day of event. And one of the highlights for me is that they are offering free limousine service from the BART so no one has to drive drunk. I love that, thanks East Bay Vintners!

So come try these wines that are on the "cutting edge of the urban wine experience."
For more info and a list of participating wineries and restaurants go here: www.eastbayvintners.com