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A Press Democrat Blog

Tasting Room

The Wine Guide

Highlights from Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction, the best of the best

At Sunday’s Sonoma Harvest Wine Auction bidders had an appetite for goodwill, raising a record-breaking $4 million. Pocket change for the well-heeled? To capture the color of the auction – the fashion, the humor, the bidding mentality – here’s this year’s list of “bests,” from best dressed, to best lot, to best dish. For those who went to the auction and for the curious who didn’t, here are some snapshots. Best dressed: Alli Napier was wearing a colorful shirt from… Read More »

No Passport Needed for this Trip to Barcelona

Gloria Ferrer’s Catalan Festival is Saturday and Sunday, and the Sonoma winery wants to transport you to Spain without a transatlantic flight. Sipping wine paired with paella, and taking in flamenco without a trace of jet lag is truly an irresistible offer. To prepare your palate for the fun, here’s what’s best at the winery to pair with your paella: Gloria Ferrer Brut Rosé , 2008 Carneros, $45. Gloria Ferrer Royal Cuvee, 2005 Carneros, $35. But if you prefer still wines… Read More »

Before I Die I Want To …

This is what was written on a colossal chalkboard at Sterling Vineyards in Calistoga, CA, and there was plenty of chalk for people to fill in the blanks. I’ve never heard of soul searching as a prerequisite to wine tasting but there it was — this huge blackboard of hope patiently waiting for people to scrawl their dreams.           Here’s a peek at some of them: See the Eiffel Tower. Embrace all adventure. Write a New… Read More »

Highlights from Auction Napa Valley, the best of the best

At Auction Napa Valley bidders had an appetite for goodwill, raising a record-breaking $18.7 million this past weekend. Pocket change for the well-heeled? To capture the color of the auction weekend – the fashion, the humor, the bidding mentality – here’s this year’s list of “bests,” from best dressed, to best lot, to best dish. For those who went to the auction events and for the curious who didn’t, here are some snapshots. Most famous: Actor Kyle MacLachlan, best known… Read More »

Stephanie Honig Inspires Goodwill Bidding

This devoted mom pulled together some of Wine Country’s most impressive bottlings and lots to help raise a total of  $1.3 million for Type 1 Diabetes research. Stephanie and husband Michael, co-vintners of Rutherford’s Honig Vineyards and Winery, have a daughter – Sophia – who was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes when she was five years old. For the uninitiated Type 1 Diabetes is rare, an autoimmune disease, while Type 2 Diabetes is much more common and it has to… Read More »

“A Bullfight in a Bottle”

“A bullfight in a bottle. That’s just one of the descriptors that a panel of judges came up with during the recent Press Democrat North Coast Wine Challenge. Another descriptor was “very feminine, the lingerie of pinot noir.”

We spent a day and a half tasting through more than 900 wines and coming up with clever descriptors as we endeavored to find the knockouts.… Read More »

Sofia Coppola wouldn’t budge

Sofia Coppola wouldn’t budge. The daughter of the Academy Award-winning director Francis Ford Coppola was in Wine Country this week to host a special screening of “Lost in Translation,” but she wouldn’t tell what words were exchanged between the two main characters at the end of the film.… Read More »