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Tasting Room

The Wine Guide

Vintner Richard Arrowood is a Class Act.

I have long admired Arrowood, the vintner who turned heads at Chateau St. Jean with his chardonnays in his early days, circa 1977. At his 50th anniversary retrospective, it was a rare treat to taste through 54 bottlings, a pool of wine ushering us through his three-tier career. We began with the wines he crafted at Chateau St. Jean. Then we tasted through his Arrowood Vineyards & Winery creations. We followed those up with bottlings from his boutique winery, Amapola… Read More »

Siduri founders’ crazy caper.

When Jackson Family Wines purchased the pinot savvy Siduri, it made me think of the founders’ crazy caper. Here’s a recap of it from a story I wrote on Adam and Dianna Lee last year: The bold and audacious couple did their part to tip the scales in their favor back in 1995. They heard the influential wine critic Robert Parker Jr. of “The Wine Advocate” was at the Meadowood Resort in Napa Valley. “We might have had a bit… Read More »

Super Bowl With A Twist of Sonoma County.

  If you’re a sports fan who doubles as a wine enthusiast – it doesn’t get any better than this. Sonoma County wine producers will be the official suppliers for Super Bowl 50 in the Bay Area in 2016. These vintners will get more than their 15 minutes of fame. Try eight days. That’s how long “fan village” will be held before the game in February 2016. About 1 million impressionable visitors are expected to spend time in this village.… Read More »

Guy Davis Does It Again.

Davis is one of the most entrepreneurial winemakers in Wine Country, so it’s no surprise that he’s behind the first bottling of WHOA Crane Vineyard Pinot Noir. It’s also no surprise it’s knockout. For the uninitiated, WHOA stands for Work Horse Organic Agriculture, and it’s an organic farm in Santa Rosa with a mission. It grows organic food for people in need. WHOA, for example, delivers produce to St. Vincent de Paul in Santa Rosa for meals prepared for the… Read More »

John Pedroncelli has passed but will be long remembered.

John Pedroncelli, the winemaker who said longevity is what gave his wine the edge, died at 89 after a long battle with cancer. Pedroncelli had been the head winemaker at Geyserville’s Pedroncelli Winery since 1948. He would have been 90 in May. Julie Pedroncelli St. John, vice president of marketing, said “he was here every day until the middle of last year. He was having difficulty with balance so his activity had slowed, but he was giving input through last… Read More »

The Inventors in Wine Country

When I tell people why I love living in this wine-growing region, I always say it’s because of all the clever inventors we have in Wine Country. These out-of-the-box thinkers run the gamut – from vintners to winemakers to brewers to vineyard workers to chefs to farmers. Some of these clever artisans are those I’ve written about in stories. Others are those who I’m intent on learning more about. I plan to chronicle this “Inventors in Wine Country” series by… Read More »

Got 60 seconds? Boost Your Bubbly IQ.

We know time is the most precious commodity in life, so here’s a quick snippet of information to celebrate Bubbly Season. We begin with a simple question: What’s in a bubble? A tiny bubble is nothing more than a pocket of gas contained by a thin film of liquid. The bubble comes from the carbon dioxide, trapped inside each bottle during a unique, second fermentation. Coke, in contrast, has fat bubbles, thanks to a machine called a carbonator which injects… Read More »

Eleanor Coppola, the filmmaker behind the filmmaker.

Eleanor recently showed her documentary “Hearts of Darkness: A Filmmaker’s Apocalypse” in Sonoma. More than 150 people gathered at the Sebastiani Theater last Thursday night to see it through her eyes. The filmmaker behind the filmmaker had a great deal to say about the documentary and the countless obstacles it  reveals about the filming of “Apocalypse Now” while on location in the Philippines in 1976 and 1977. The showing was a fundraiser for the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art, where… Read More »

What a trendsetter. A winery that offers a Keg Club

Bravo to Orpheus Wines for its out-of-the-box offering. The winery has a Keg Club for those wanting to buy its wine in kegs, and the Kenwood winery is one of the few in California offering a brand of recyclable kegs called “Keykegs.” This winery is no slacker. The Orpheus, 2013 Mendocino Viognier is a recent wine-of-the-week winner, and the winery offers this wine and red blends in keg. For some pricing perspective, the viognier is $20 a bottle, but if… Read More »

Boost Your Wine IQ

With the chill of winter upon us, I’m devoting this 1 minute blog to syrah. Cool weather, after all, is the season of syrahs and stews. A syrah is a cowboy of a wine, bold, racy and wild, one of the few varietals that can stand up to a hearty stew. In fact, the late British wine writer George Saintsbury described syrah as “the manliest wine” he’d ever tasted. The most dramatic syrahs hail from the northern Rhone Valley in… Read More »