announcing Wine Festivals worth announcing

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With Spring and Summer comes wine festival season. With so many many to choose from tBoW presents two festivals worth your consideration. How is a wine festival like a golf tournament? If you like golf you must go to a tour event at least once, see the pros hit the ball, make tricky putts, eat a hot dog. If you like wine then you should probably attend an event where the wineries are pouring their best stuff, you can attend an exclusive dinner in a winery, and talk to the winemaker over sips. [ed. photos show the Pipestone corner of paradise, the 10 acre vineyard and the wonderful owners/winemakers/farmers Jeff and Flo]#1: Portland Indie Wine Festival takes place in Portland May 1-2. tBoW will report on his first visit. This festival hits the excitement button on a couple counts. First, there are a limited number of wineries (40) that are “craftsman” size (must produce less than 2500 cases). I guess the idea is that if you are making less than 2500 cases of wine you gotta really love doing it because you can’t make a lot of dough at this size. Maybe enough to feed the family of four and a couple hounds. Second, Portland is adjacent to premium Pinot Noir country. tBoW has previewed the wineries online and is certain we will find a handful worth filling up on at fair prices.
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#2: Paso Robles Wine Festival is two weeks later May 15-17. tBoW has covered Paso wines and the region. Dotoré declared he was finished with the region following an underwhelming visit. Do not let this dissuade you. There are more and more exciting wines coming from the region, e.g., Clautiere, Pipestone, Saxum, Linne Calodo, Barrel 27. Many Paso wines are priced competitively, are not so thrilling to tBoW, and have loyal followings. Then there is Tablas Creek which is one of the finest wineries in the state and the finest in Paso all things considered. The point is you get to try them all at this well-attended event. You might make it a 3 day weekend and do some touring as well. They usually feature a bunch of winemaker dinners worth considering. We recall a great evening in Adelaida Cellars where the owner host broke out a 1989 sparkling wine in magnum that was exceptional and completely unexpected. Here is the link. This one sells out quickly so get on it ASAP.
Within the Paso Wine Fest is an exhibit sponsored by the Paso Robles Art Association. Art and wine…it’s a lifestyle thing. They are featuring twenty-seven professional artists and 6 commissioned one-liter wine bottles called “Magnum Masterpieces” (alas sin vin). Proceeds help build the new Paso Robles Art Association art gallery in downtown Paso. Preview the “Masterpieces” here.
Finally, Tablas Creek is hosting a bunch of events throughout the summer. So if you miss the Paso wine Fest you can always visit TC. Check them out their events calendar here. They put on a fine show and do not scrimp when it comes to breaking out the good stuff.
One North Berkeley Wine selection and one Kermit Lynch wine showed very nicely recently. tBoW has to hunt these down for more. Fortunately, NBW is featuring a Spring blowout sale.
thevenetmorgon2006.jpg2006 Jean Paul Th√©venet Morgon “Vieilles Vignes” $24: This is Beaujolais at its best. Lush, lightweight, delicate. Dancing a minuet in your mouth. Ruby red color. Perfumed nose of cherries and strawberries. Very slight pepper on the mid palate. Finishes with Kirsch flavors and power. Had it with the Easter lamb dinner. It was THAT good. Sign of the times…tBoW called Kermit Lynch and got the last 5 bottles. Amazing this was still in stock one year later. 13%
magnienchablisforets2006.jpg2006 Frédéric Magnien Chablis Foréts $24: Another WOW. Tart, fruity, quince jelly. Is it apples? Pear? Then the key lime shows up. Mrs. tBoW says she can tell it is not new world because there is no oak. The crisp flavors go deep and the wine is extremely satisfying. A winner. NBW is out of the 2006s but has the Magnien 2007 group. 13%
whillcab2004.jpg2005 William Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon $20: Showed nicely with rich Napa Cabernet flavors. Bit of leather, soft fruit, not much tannins. I guess a Napa cab hound would be disappointed while a Napa cab fan would consider this a good daily wine. tBoW finds the wine and the varietal fairly ordinary, especially on its own. It just is not that interesting. Jim Moore said it first “Cabernet Sauvignon is a nice blending varietal”.
jopithonsavennierescroixpicot05b.jpg2004 Jo Pithon Savannieres La Croix Picot $22: Purchased at Palate Food + Wine shop. Chenin Blanc youthful and spritely. Like some kind of fairy dust. Peppermint candy cane flavors. Balanced. Delightful. The label pic is borrowed from The Wine Doctor who has an excellent post on the wine here. He likes it alot. And in case you want to learn more about Loire Valley wines you can click on this link.
laazulreserva.jpg2003 La Azul $23: This was the wine that got away from the 2008 Argentina wine tour. Took the #1 spot on tBoW’s top 9 wines. Impossible to find in the US. When announced their free shipping in April promo tBoW jumped on half a case. Good idea. Fruit forward with stuffing. 60% Cabernet Sauvignon and 40% Malbec. Blended perfectly to produce a middle weight dark and rich wine with black cherries and figs. Still #1. 14.2%
2005 Coppola Directors Cut Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
$20: A “re-gifting” bottle that had to be opened otherwise it would have been rude. Turned out to be quite lovely, soft, and delicate especially for such a young wine. Dry Creek produces the best quality and most interesting Zinfandels; a grape usually of little interest to tBoW. This is the exception. None of the dried raisin/prune flavors or brambly tannins sometimes found with the varietal especially when harvested over-ripe. Soft in the mouth, easy to sip on. Caramel flavors and soft tannins suggest it is good to go. 14.8%
brunorocca1995.jpg1995 Bruno Rocca Rabaja Barbaresco $90: It is called a cult wine when truthfully the entire region of Piemonte is a cult. You have to be pretty nuts (or obsessed) to follow Baroli. The wines are not easy to love..util you get a great one. This was typical of what must be endured. Tough out of the bottle which seems common with the hard and lean 1995 vintage. After three hours it opened to a (still) lean drink with focused Nebbiolo fruit flavors. Lots of dried cherry and perfume. Definitely showing its age but still a beautiful wine.

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