28 January, 2012

Celebrating Waitangi Day with New Zealand Wines

February 4th is a day of celebration for the New Zealanders (or the Kiwis, as we like to call them.) In honor of this day, in which a treaty was signed in 1840 declaring New Zealand as a new country, Wine Channel TV has put together a virtual wine tasting of 20 different wines and anyone with internet access can join in.

I think most wine-drinkers know New Zealand for their grassy Sauvignon Blancs and earthy Pinot Noirs. But other varietals will be showcased in this tasting including a Gewurtzraminer, Rieslings and a lovely Bordeaux Blend. Here is a list of wineries that will be represented:

Villa Maria
Kumeu River
Craggy Range
Vinoptima (Gewurtztraminer)
Trinity Hill
Ata Rangi
Cloudy Bay
Saint Clair
Spy Valley (Envoy series)
Pegasus Bay
Felton Road
Mt Difficulty
Quartz Reef

Here is more info and a link to sign up:

"The World Toasts to Waitangi Day

WineChannelTV hosts international wine tasting for New Zealand's Independence Day

On Saturday February 4th, WinechannelTV is celebrating Waitangi Day (New Zealand's National holiday) with a virtual wine tasting and cooking demonstration. Wine enthusiasts are encouraged to gather a group of friends, register, and tune in with fellow-wine lovers from around the globe. The online wine tasting will be a fun, social way to learn about New Zealand's finest wines.

“We are excited to be the official host for this virtual wine tasting,” says Jess Altieri, CEO of WinechannelTV. “New Zealand offers an outstanding selection of wines that span the entire wine spectrum.”

Registration for the event is free.

Please visit: http://nzwineday2012.eventbrite.com/ for more information.

16 January, 2012

Highlights from 2012 Winter Wineland

Having long been a fan of the wines of Dry Creek Valley, my friends and I set out yesterday for the 2012 Winter Wineland of Northern Sonoma County. We were committed to visiting only wineries we had never been to before. Not surprisingly, we tasted a lot of great Zinfandel and were very gratified to finally taste at Bella Vineyards which we had long-neglected in past visits to Dry Creek. Bella poured two zins to pair with chicken sausage paella by Gerard’s Paella: the ’09 Maple Vineyard which was more fruit forward and ’09 Lily Hill Estate Zinfandel, a lusher, earthier, and chocolatier Zinfandel from the old craggly vines above Bella’s caves. With paella, zinfandel, sun, crisp air, and gorgeous views of Dry Creek Valley, the hour or so spent at Bella was one of the best tasting experiences I’ve had.

Our most exciting surprises of the day were found at Kokomo Winery which just garnered Best of Class medals at the 2012 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition for its ’09 Peters Vineyard Chardonnay (Russian River) and ’09 Pauline’s Vineyard Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley) and a Double Gold medal for its ’09 Peters Vineyard Pinot Noir. Grower Randy Peters who farms 70% of Kokomo’s vineyards, including Peters and Pauline’s Vineyards, poured us the Pauline’s Vineyard Zinfandel grown on the property he was raised on. He spoke of his pride in the wine and the sense of reward in the accolades it is receiving. Before yesterday, I had never tasted Kokomo wines. We found all the Winter Wineland offerings at Kokomo exceptionally good, and I took home the clean but soft Chardonnay, the delicate Pinot Noir, the complex and floral Mounts Vineyard Zinfandel, and the rich and structured Pauline’s Vineyard Zinfandel. I will undoubtedly return to Kokomo and delight in sharing and drinking their wines in the coming years.