Monday, May 18, 2015

05/18 JOHN MONNICH, SILKWOOD WINES, LINDA SANPEI, THE CHARDONNAY SYMPOSIUM

JOHN MONNICH – OWNER/WINEMAKER, SILKWOOD WINES

Silkwood Wines, in Modesto, California, produces World Class fine wines from Syrah, Petite Sirah, Chardonnay, Alicante Bouschet, and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes.  All bottles feature a unique velvet label that represents the smooth and rich profile of the wines.

OUR HISTORY
Silkwood Wines began life in 1979 with a Chardonnay produced at Spring Mountain Winery in St. Helena.  This Chardonnay won great reviews and was served frequently in the Reagan White House. President Reagan, Ed Meiss, Michael Dever and George Bush also served it and transported it aboard Air Force One to French, Canadian, and Mexico Summits.  My grandfather produced Alicante Bouschet until phyloxera wiped out the vines.  He planted rice, which controlled the pest and made eight barrels a year from a few vines of AB and Muscat.  My family continues to produce rice in Northern California.

We lost our winemaker in 1982 and the “prominent” replacement did not compare.  Ultimately, we closed down the company.  Along the way, we farmed 540 acres in Modesto for the Jesuits of Novitiate Winery in Los Gatos, plus perennial crops of our own.

We restarted Silkwood in 1988 with small lots of Petite Sirah.  This production continued at St. Helena in Rombauers Winery for a number of years until a catastrophic fire wiped out our complete inventory including the ’98 Petite Sirah bottled the previous day.  Our 99’ Petite Sirah was awarded the Best Wine from the Napa Valley in 2002 by the California State Fair.  We restarted Silkwood for the third time with a business partner in the Modesto area.  We encouraged him to plant Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Cabernet.  Current production is approximately 10,000 cases per year.  We ship to 21 states, Japan, and Hong Kong.

OUR WINEMAKING
The Central Valley micro climate is outstanding, allowing time for the grapes to mature naturally without concern for rain, unlike coastal growers. We custom crush our grapes in Lodi after harvesting vineyards on Toulumne and Dry Creek area.

We take time to produce and age our wines and allow for maximum "hang time" needed by seeds and stems to mature from green to a nice toasty brown, ensuring optimum flavors and firm, smooth tannins.  All these factors contribute to the outstanding final product.

Our grapes have consistently received numerous double gold and gold medals including Best in California for our Petite Sirah and two 98 points/Best in Region for our 04’ Syrah.   Japan Airlines recognized our Syrah, and we were the only US red wine to fly JAL First Class for 5 years!
The wine consultant to the White House said to me, “John - I have only one thing to say:  Your wines are mature, your wines are mature, your wines are mature.”  Our wines are made with attention, care, and passion.  Again, we take the time required to naturally produce fine wine.  If we didn't, maybe we couldn’t sell it, and we'd have to drink it all ourselves!

71% of all California grapes are grown in the Central Valley, and as a board member of the San Joaquin Valley Wine Grape Growers Association, we fully recognize and support our area as one of the finest grape producing areas in the world proven by the fact that a number of valley wineries are recognized for their World Class Wine status as is Silkwood Wines.

As the Past-President of PS I Love You (a Petite Sirah advocacy group), I am pleased to report we received 94 and 96 point scores in competition with our Petite Sirah from our peers. Silkwood Wines is an enthusiastic supporter of the Petite Sirah varietal. We hope you enjoy Silkwood as much as Judie and I do!

SILKWOODWINES.COM


LINDA SANPEI - THE DIRECTOR, THE CHARDONNAY SYMPOSIUM

MAY 28–30, 2015
The Chardonnay Symposium brings top Chardonnay producers from around the world to the classic Californian beach towns of Pismo Beach and Avila Beach for an in-depth exploration of the world’s favorite grape and its impact on viticulture, tastemakers and the market. Our 2015 event line-up will include 2 grand wine tastings, educational seminars & panel sessions, winemaker dinners and plenty of opportunities to talk Chardonnay with industry leaders, tastemakers and fellow enthusiasts. In conjunction with The Symposium, many Central Coast wineries and businesses will offer special promotions and events to complete the experience.

Unlike a typical food and wine festival, The Chardonnay Symposium’s primary purpose is to educate and inform top industry professionals, as well as devoted consumers, about current events and trends in Chardonnay production and culture around the world. But when the discussion ends, there’s plenty of time for exploring nearby Central Coast wineries as well as the hosting seaside resort towns of Pismo Beach and Avila Beach that offer downtown winetasting rooms, pristine beaches, surfing and kayaking, hiking and biking trails, farm-to-table and seaport-inspired cuisine, boutique shopping, and more.

THECHARDONNAYSYMPOSIUM.COM

Monday, May 11, 2015

05/11 CRAIG HASEROT, SOJOURN CELLARS, MICHAEL JORDAN, LA INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

CRAIG HASEROT – CO-FOUNDER & PROPRIETOR, SOJOURN CELLARS

Based in the town of Sonoma, Sojourn Cellars is a highly acclaimed winery specializing in the production of artisan Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

We source fruit from celebrated vineyards in both Sonoma and Napa Counties, and we help direct farming operations to assure that our grapes are produced using world-class growing techniques. We consistently produce remarkable wines with a hands-off natural winemaking style that showcases the character and personality of the individual vineyards.

Sojourn feels passionate about creating high-quality wines and always being accessible to the people who buy and enjoy our wines. Sojourn offers seated tastings in a casual, yet sophisticated environment and prides itself on always putting the customer first.

WINEMAKING
Above all, Sojourn undertakes to express vineyard and vintage in the bottle. We source fruit from properties that we believe have the capacity to produce wines of distinction, thanks in large part to unique and specific combinations of soil, climate, and exposure.

Farmed by Pinot noir, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Sauvignon growers who share our commitment to low crop yields and high quality, our fruit is sorted extensively in the field throughout the growing season as well as in the winery post-Harvest to ensure that only the most sound, perfectly ripe fruit makes its way into our fermentation tanks.

In the cellar, we are zealous proponents of minimalist winemaking. All Sojourn wines are fermented and barrel-aged in small lots and attended to when necessary by hand from the vineyard to the bottle to best manage tannins and mouthfeel and to preserve the maximum amount of personality and soul.

ABOUT CRAIG:
Craig Haserot is co-founder and proprietor of Sojourn Cellars. He oversees sales, marketing, and operations, and he also plays important roles in the finance and winemaking functions of the winery. And while he enjoys his work in all of these different facets of the winery, his favorite part of his job is spending time with customers at release parties, wine events, and Tasting Salon gatherings.
During his nearly ten years in the wine business, Craig has immersed himself in all the aspects of the winery business. On the winemaking front, he has served as unofficial assistant winemaker, planted our estate vineyard (Home Ranch Vineyard), and managed grower relationships at a total of 14 vineyards in 2009. Craig’s main responsibility, however, has been to lead Sojourn’s sales and operations, and his success in these areas has enabled Sojourn’s production to grow to 5000 cases.
After growing up in San Marino, California, Craig attended Humboldt State University and graduated with a degree in Business Administration. He began his 16-year sales and sales management career in computer software with Ashton-Tate and left it in 2001 after working at Micromuse. Sojourn produced its first Cabernet Sauvignon in 2001 and Craig planted the Home Ranch Vineyard in 2002. Craig lives in Sonoma with his wife Ellen and their two daughters, Natalie and Julia.

www.sojourncellars.com


MICHAEL JORDAN - LA INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION      

Los Angeles International Wine Competition Celebrates 76 Years! Setting the Gold Standard
2015 COMPETITION DATES: MAY 13-14, 2015

For 76 years, the Los Angeles International Wine Competition has showcased the finest domestic and international vintages through a wine-tasting event that is widely considered to be one of the most prestigious in the United States. An esteemed panel of judges use a blind-tasting method, maintaining the highest standards of integrity and professionalism that has remained the competition’s foundation for 76 years.

Additionally, the competition is the platform for an extensive wine education program available to the nearly 1.4 million visitors at the annual Los AngelesCounty Fair. The Fair’s wine education center features consumer-driven classes, tastings and displays of the award-winning wines. With the Los Angeles International Wine Competition committed to educating the public about wine, the Fair’s wine education program features industry experts with extensive knowledge about wine growing and selection, wine tasting as well as wine and food pairings.

ABOUT MICHAEL:
Veteran Restaurateur and “Sommelier for the People” Michael Jordan is Director of Global Key Accounts for Jackson Family Fine Wines. Previously Jordan served three years as vice president of food & beverage for Anaheim’s award winning restaurant and live music venue, THE RANCH Restaurant & Saloon (Zagat 28-29-28). Prior to opening THE RANCH, Jordan was president of The Beachcomber Restaurant Group. Before that he served as global manager of wine sales & standards and wine education for Walt Disney Parks and Resorts® Worldwide - and also nine years as general manager of the world famous Napa Rose restaurant at Disneyland Resort® in Anaheim. In his career Jordan has been involved with the opening of seventeen restaurants including Pinot Provence in Costa Mesa and was general manager/sommelier of Pavilion at Four Seasons Hotel Newport Beach when it received AAA’s Five Diamond Award.

Jordan holds a Master Sommelier diploma from the Court of Master Sommeliers as well as a Certified Wine Educator diploma from the Society of Wine Educators and is one of only 15 people in the world to hold both these diplomas. Jordan has taught comprehensive wine and beverage courses to well over a thousand students. Jordan also hosts a weekly radio show, What’s Cookin’ with Wine on CRN Digital Talk Radio and many AM radio markets across the country since 2002.

“Michael Jordan is one of just 15 people in the world awarded both Master Sommelier and CWE (Certified Wine Educator) Diplomas. Michael now works for Jackson Family Wines crisscrossing the world as the Director of Global Key Accounts.”

Monday, April 20, 2015

04/20 DOUG TIMEWELL, TOUCAN WINES, CALIFORNIA WINEMASTERS, SHARON KAZAN HARRIS, RARECAT WINES

DOUG TIMEWELL - OWNER OF TOUCAN WINES – TALKING ABOUT THEIR PARTICIPATION IN THE CALIFORNIA WINEMASTERS ON MAY 16, 2015

Toucan Wines is a tiny estate micro-winery, where we produce hand-crafted, estate grown, premium Zinfandel and Petite Sirah wines in the Arroyo Grande Valley. Our limited production of estate wines from our 3½ estate vineyard total less than 300 cases per year.

Small by any standard, our micro-winery is focused on quality - it’s our limited production and attention to detail that set our wines apart. Our winery and estate vineyard, located next to our family home, produces full-bodied and richly flavored wines taking full advantage of what our old-clone vines and our microclimate have to offer.

Our vines, grafted from the 1923 planting of the highly regarded Benito Dusi vineyard, thrive by producing intensely colored and flavorful fruit in our microclimate of warm-to-hot days and cool nights. We marry this fabulous fruit with both traditional and modern winemaking on a scale that makes us one of the smallest wineries and estate vineyards in California.

We enjoy sharing our wine making tradition and we ask that you share in our passion by trying our hand-crafted wines with food, family and friends. To read about our on-going adventure, events, and new releases - please join our newsletter list.

The new Toucan Wines Club is the best way to save on wine purchases, you pick the wines we ship, and when you want them shipped - a small volume commitment and you get our largest savings.

ABOUT THE CALIFORNIA WINEMASTERS
The California Winemasters is a perennial Wine Spectator Top 10 Charity Wine Auction set for May 16, 2015 at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank.  This extraordinary event showcases 50 international chefs and 75 of California’s Finest Wineries.  “Winemasters” has raised over $27 million in support of the mission of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation.

The CF Foundation is a nonprofit donor-supported organization dedicated to attacking cystic fibrosis from every angle.  It’s focus is to support the development of new drugs to fight the disease, improve the quality of life for those with CF and ultimately, to find a cure.

The Foundation’s drug development success has been recognized by Harvard Business School and by publications such as Forbes, Discover Magazine and The Wall Street Journal.

Make your reservations NOW for this wine tasting extraordinaire and spectacular hors d’oeuves dinner!

We would like to thank again all of the donors who make the Winemasters Main Event possible!!

WWW.TOUCANWINES.COM
CALIFORNIAWINEMASTERS.ORG


SHARON KAZAN HARRIS - FOUNDER/PROPRIETOR, RARECAT WINES

THE LOVE OF WINE BEGAN IN BORDEAUX...

It was during a junior year abroad in France where Sharon spent a year at the Universite de Bordeaux. As a student she was taken under the wing of the wife of the University’s president, which in short is how she found herself, at age 20, being taken on a personal tour of Chateau Haut Brion, producer of one of the greatest wines in the world. The tour was led by the legendary Monsieur Delmas (Senior) himself, who kindly let her taste the renowned 1982 vintage out of the barrel, followed by the 1966. That moment changed her life, and sealed her interest in wine and the Bordeaux region itself.

After hard work in publishing and technology, and several years later, in 2004 with two young children in tow, Sharon applied and was accepted to the famous DUAD program (the Diplome Universitaire d’Aptitude a la Degustation des Vins) offered through the University of Bordeaux’s Oenology department. The DUAD is an intensive year long program that takes four years of oenology and condenses it into one compacted year.

Two years later, armed with a remarkable Bordeaux experience, Sharon returned to the States and moved to Napa Valley. Although I live in the Napa Valley and was born and raised in California, my love of wine really is a shared experience between Napa and Bordeaux.  

Interested in staying at our villa in St Emilion?
WWW.WINEVILLAS.COM

ABOUT SHARON
I FELL IN LOVE WITH WINE IN BORDEAUX WHEN I WAS 20 YEARS OLD, A TIME WHEN I WAS OBSESSED WITH SPEAKING FRENCH AND LIVING ABROAD. THERE TO STUDY FRENCH, BORDEAUX BROUGHT ME SOME OF THE MOST IMPORTANT THINGS IN MY LIFE: AN APPRECIATION OF FINE FOOD AND WINE, AND A JOIE DE VIVRE ONE GETS FROM SHARING THOSE THINGS WITH FRIENDS

Most people have long lists of accolades that define their life’s successes. For me, it is quite the opposite -- my successes have been a result of fortuitous introductions, dreaming big (with the ability to make ideas happen), and a willingness to try new things. My love of food and wine directly stems from naive gumption, charm, and a desire to learn, all of which led me to my first wine experience at Haut Brion; then to living with France’s most famed cheese making family; and finally to a cooking internship under the wings of Amat, a famous 2 star chef in Bordeaux and my first fine culinary experience.

I have had the desire to be in the wine industry for decades, but getting to Napa Valley has been like taking windy back roads more than efficient toll roads. I spent many years working in executive positions in publishing (Managing Director of Miller Freedman's International Division), advertising (President of an ad agency, Transphere), and technology (VP of Sales of Inktomi, an internet search engine start-up and consultant to Visa and Estamp). Luckily very successful in business, I was able to trade computers for vineyards.

Undoubtedly the hardest thing I have accomplished is graduating with honors from the Universite de Bordeaux’s famed D.U.A.D. program, a technical oenology diploma taught in French.

I now live in Napa Valley full time, yet frequent a second home in Bordeaux, and have two great teenage boys.  I co-owned Amici Cellars, but RARECAT wines is the wine business that I have the greatest attachment to. While promoting RARECAT, my greatest passion has been empowering women through wine and supporting women in the wine industry. Several years ago I formed an exclusive trade group called Wine Entre Femmes, comprised of some of the most remarkable women in wine in Napa and Bordeaux, and have recently co-launched A Woman's Palate, a company that celebrates wines by women for women.  I am lucky; I am living my passion. 


WWW.RARECATWINES.COM