Tag Archives: Napa wine

Premiere Napa Valley 2016 E-Auction lots

Edgar Solís Photo

Premiere Napa Valley (PNV) is the must-attend trade event of the year! Since 1997, retailers, restaurateurs, hoteliers, club managers and wholesalers representing the breadth of wine professionals gather in America’s leading wine region in mid-February for what has become widely known as “the best week of the Napa Valley wine business.” The region’s top winemakers offer ultra-boutique wines to the trade, crafted in as few as 60 and never more than 240 bottles, exclusively for the PNV brand.

Each PNV wine is created only once. At the auction, 225 different wineries offer futures only to the wine trade—individual restaurateurs and wine retailers—so they have the unique, and some of the best wines made from America’s leading appellation. Each wine is a “one-of-a-kind,” and will not be found in the market except by the wine sellers who secure unique wines via the annual trade auction. The winemakers take an out-of-the-box approach, often using varieties they may not bottle as a stand-alone. These wines are innovative and showcase the region’s sense of exploration in fine winemaking.

On January 15th, 2016, the Napa Valley Vintners (NVV) nonprofit wine trade association announced that as part of this year’s annual PNV, the NVV is introducing the sale of twenty-five PNV lots exclusively online. The other 200 lots will go on the auction block at the sold-out event, taking place at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone on February 20. Bidding for the new E-Premiere Napa Valley Online Auction opens Friday, February 19 at 8 a.m. PST to pre-registered licensees anywhere in the world. Look for E-Auction wines from Beaulieu Vineyard, Ca’ Momi, Domaine Chandon, Sterling Vineyards, Chateau Boswell Winery, Sequoia Grove Winery, Corison Winery, Elizabeth Spencer, among others. To preview description of all 225 lots offer at the auction this year visit PNV’s website.

Hundreds of top wine traders will gather in Napa Valley for tastings, social gatherings and networking events as Napa Valley vintners roll out the red carpet to greet their best customers at the main event at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone. The funds raised support the association’s work to promote, protect and enhance the Napa Valley appellation. This year the anticipation builds as the Online Auction will allow other trade members around the world to have access to some PNV lots.

During this time of the year, the Valley exudes high festive energy. Wineries and wine organizations like Atlas Peak, Appellation St. Helena, Spring Mountain District, Oak Knoll Vintners, Oakville Winegrowers Association, Stags Leap District Winegrowers, Rutherford Dust Society, Coombsville Vintners and Growers will join efforts to showcase the best of Napa Valley with tastings open to the wine trade during the days preceding the main auction event. Also, not to forget special engagement gatherings like Napa Gras! at Raymond Vineyards. A unique opportunity to taste hundreds of Napa Valley wines. The professional networking peer to peer and amongst the vintners is often compared to a homecoming for Napa Valley’s finest ambassadors.

Complement the tasting with professional development seminars, a unique Vintage Perspective Tasting and countless intimate at-winery open houses and educational tastings and you’ve got all the right ingredients for a fantastic time in the Napa Valley, just for members of the wine trade.

For members of the trade not able to attend the PNV auction event, electronic bidding will be open to pre-registered licensees anywhere in the world from Friday, February 19 at 8:00 a.m. PST through Saturday, February 20 at 6:00 p.m. PST. For more information about how members of the wine trade can register for the E-Premiere Napa Valley Online Auction, visit NVV website.

The NVV nonprofit trade association has been cultivating excellence since 1944 by inspiring its more than 525 members to create consistently wines of the highest quality, to provide environmental leadership and to care for the extraordinary place they call home.

Variety’s 10 to Taste at NVFF 2015

Variety’s 10 to Taste, fascinating wine and food event,NapaNapa following the opening of the Fifth Annual NVFF (Napa Valley Film Festival), with the showing of SOMM: Into the bottle, the sequel of Somm this past Wednesday, November 11. On November 12 we had the opportunity to taste trough ten distinctive bites of flavor. Original interpretations of food inspired by film scenes in iconic films such as The Godfather, Julie & Julia, Pulp Fiction and Ratatouille.

Under a tent, at the Riverfront Promenade at Napa River Inn, guests strolled trying flavorful bites from local chefs along extraordinary Napa Valley wine selections that included BeringerEtude and Brut Champagne from Pipper Heidsieck. Under a chilling, beautiful morning at Downtown, Napa guests enjoyed a variety of flavors, original interpretation from the participating chefs.

At station #9, Chef Evan Dodge surprised us with his spin of a cheeseburger tartare inspired on the Royale with cheese scene (John Travolta and Samuel A. Jackson) from the movie Pulp Fiction. A very small bite, but full of flavor. A crispy cheese nest with beef tartare, mushrooms, rock salt and crunchy seeds. We enjoyed this culinary creation with The Beringer 2012 Quantum Red Blend.

At station #7, Chef Tim Brown delighted us with his spin on the Cuban sandwich, inspired by the movie Chef. A flavorful Cuban croquette, roasted pork shoulder, black forest ham, aged Gruyere and beer mustard. A savory sample of classic Cuban cuisine with an original touch. Love pork and Pinot, pleasant on the palate paired with Etude Pinot Noir, Grace Benoist Ranch Carneros. Match made in heaven!

At station #10, Chef Heather loved inspired by the movie Ratatouille offered us her twist of Five spice pork, with Asian Ratatouille in a Macadamia nut cup. A luscious combination of flavors that paired well with the 2013 Beringer Luminus, Oak Knoll District Chardonnay. This well balanced Chardonnay was also enjoyable with the pan-seared scallop in Saffron Bisque inspired by the movie, Mostly Martha. An exquisite culinary creation by Chef Anwar Herron on station #8.

At station #4, Chef Elizabeth Binder spiced up with her Peri-Peri prawns with apricot chutney & cilantro yogurt, inspired by the movie Burnt. The Pipper Heidsieck Champagne wast the perfect match for this dish, cutting the spiciness down a bit.

After enjoying the exquisite chef interpretations from the ten movies, we had the opportunity to listen to a distinguished panel that discussed current culinary trends, opportunities and challenges in the industry today. Panelists included Chef Bobby Flay, Emmy Award-winning television personality, and NYT Bestselling author; Emilie de Ravin. Lee Schrager, Vice President Corporate Communications & Events, Southern Wine & Spirits, and founder of South Beach and NYC’s Wine & Food Festivals; Kevin Pang, Chicago Tribune food writer, and director of For Grace. Variety’s Steve Chagollan moderated the panel.

Chef Bobby Flay shared some food industry thoughts with us. When asked: What do you think the next food trend is going to be? Chef Flay,”The United States food scene has been behind on food trends for so long, but we are finally catching up. You never know what the next food trend is going to be, On my newest restaurant Gato our top seller entrée is a vegetarian dish as well as or four top seller appetizers. When asked, What is your perfect burger? Chef Flay said, “For me the perfect burger should be 80% meat and 20% fat, cooked on a sizzling griddle or pan. It should be very crispy on the outside and medium-rare in the center. It needs to have two pieces of cheese completely melted on top.”

The panel agreed on how social media dramatically changed the decision making in which restaurant to visit. Nowadays everyone is a wine critic and voice its opinion on platforms like Yelp, Open Table, Trip Advisor, Facebook, and others. Restaurants need to pay attention to the details and be sure that guests have the optimal dining experience.

Barrel Auction Napa Valley 2015


Great wine tasting experience at Barrel Auction Napa Valley 2015. Hall Wines Winery in St. Helena was the backdrop for an amazing wine and food tasting event this year. Great meet and greet with media around 10:00 a.m. at the historic Bergfeld winery building. Delicious breakfast paired with Robert Mondavi Rosé and bubbly from Domaine Chandon. Owners of Hall Winery Craig and Kathryn Hall welcomed press members along with Honorary chairs from the Opus One Winery, lead by Vintner David Pearson and Winemaker Michael Silacci.

Hall Wines offered a great experienced at their amazing property in St. Helena. A mix of historic winery architecture (Bergfeld Winery Building) and their modern state of the art Gold LEED Certified production facility. Visitors have the opportunity to stroll around buildings and huge tents full of quality Napa Valley wines and the best expression of local cuisine. The Napa Valley Vintners members offered a great selection of local wines to taste including the exclusive selections just produced for The Napa Valley Vintners wine auction.

Among the great wine selections to taste: Schramsberg classic California sparkling wine and J. Davis beautiful Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. At the barrel auction tasting, stellar Cabernet Sauvignon selections from Chateau Boswell, Cliff Lede, Ehlers Estate, Baldacci, Frank Family, Trinitas, Melka Wines, Shafer, Beaulieu Vineyard, Paradox, Pine Ridge, Truchard Vineyard, Robert Mondavi, Amici Cellars, Round Pond, Alpha Omega, Amizetta Winery, Darioush and Far Niente. A beautiful 100% Merlot from Coho and great 100% Pinot Noirs from Acacia, Artesa and Saintsbury, beautiful Carneros fruit. Trinchero offered an outstanding Malbec and William Hill an unfiltered well crafted Chardonnay. This year we missed the noise from the manual barrel auction bids, they gave away to digital big screens. All for technology these days, that is the way of the future.

Along with the great wine selections, local restaurants displayed and amazing collection of flavors. Mustards Grill pork ribs, Bouchon duck delight. Among many of the local restaurants great food creations from Torc, Tre Vigne Restaurant, Auberge du Soleil, Rutherford Grill and Brix. Also Morimoto, Angele, Eiko’s, Goose & Gander, Cordeiro’s Bar & Grill among others.

The Opus One team was the Honorary Chair this year. Unfortunately there was no Opus One wine to try at The Barrel Auction tasting event. We did not find any barrel auction lot to taste from Opus One either. Opus did contribute with several lots for Auction Napa Valley. But no worries, Napa Valley Vintners offered well crafted delicious wines from many family owned and ran wineries. We did try many outstanding selections of Napa Valley wines, SALUD!


Celebrating Chardonnay Day 2015


Photo, Edgar Solis

Is there a more talk about white wine in America than Chardonnay?

Chardonnay is the number one selling varietal wine in the U.S. This wine gets controversial due to its many incarnations. Truly, Chardonnay can be anything, from a fruit forward stainless steel fermented wine to a more robust buttery and full of wood flavor oak fermented wine. Everyone has its favorite in the wide spectrum of styles of Chardonnay. Since the late 1990’s American winemakers moved to a more restrain oak regiment in the production of Chardonnay in United States.

Many winemakers want show the diverse aromas and fruit flavors on Chardonnay while introducing different levels of complexity by a balanced oak regiment. Oak tank fermenters and a combination of new and used oak barrels for aging versus 100% stainless steel fermentation and aging. Non-malolactic, partial malolactic or zero malolactic fermentation. It is all great in good USA, we do not follow rules in our winemaking process. Experimentation creates diversity that finally please many palates with their favorite Chardonnay.

New World Chardonnay is a wine that you will like to drink no more than five years from vintage. In honor of Chardonnay, we are sharing three wines from the 2011 vintage from different wine regions that are doing great.

  • 2011 Ceja Vineyards Napa Valley-Carneros Chardonnay: An Intense bouquet of green apple, fresh pears, vanilla and hints of citrus blossom. On the palate, you feel a creamy texture with pleasant acidity. Enjoy flavors of Granny Smith apples, ripe pears and pineapple; followed by caramel and hints of fresh mint. A delicious well balanced Chardonnay with complex aromas and flavors. Enjoy this wine with popcorn, pan seared halibut over creamy mash potatoes and pork chops with roasted apples. Current vintage price, $36.
  • 2011 La Rochelle, Dutton Ranch-Morelli Lane, Russian River, Sonoma County Chardonnay: Well structured white wine. Soft aromas of golden delicious apple, pineapple with hints of Meyer lemon and cinnamon stick. On the palate, this Chardonnay feels crisp with nice acidity and creme brûlée texture. Savor flavors or ripe pear, green apple, vanilla and a hint of creme fresh. A wine with lush aromas and flavors that will pair well with creamy cheeses, pasta with a creamy sauce and fried plantains and ground bison pie. Suggested retail price, $65.
  • 2011 Harry & David Vineyards Rogue Valley, Oregon Chardonnay: Gentle aromas of honeydew, green apple and notes of pineapple and vanilla. On the palate, this wine has a creamy texture with low acidity and flavors of ripe green apple, kiwi and hints of citrus and vanilla. Enjoy this wine with seafood, chicken pasta with white sauce and pork loin with mushroom sauce. Suggested retail price, $16.

Above the Clouds – Howell Mountain


Howell Mountain Wines Photo by Edgar Solís

To celebrate its 30th Anniversary, Howell Mountain American Viticultural Area (AVA) will hold their, now famous, Above the Fog Wine Tasting and Auction event, on June 14th, 2014.

Charles Krug Winery Carriage House will serve as the stage for the thirty-five Howell Mountain wineries pouring Howell Mountain AVA wines. There will be food pairings from Chef Richard Haake and Winery Chefs Catering, and live music from The Hummingbirdz, high-octane blues band. The event will also have Silent and Live auction lots filled with rare wines, winery experiences, dining and travel. Auction proceeds will benefit the Howell Mountain Education Foundation 501(c)(3) non-profit charity organization.

To purchase tickets, visit Howell Mountain’s web site.

Details for the event:

When: Saturday, June 14, 2014                                                                      12:00 – 3:00 p.m. Walk-Around Wine Tasting, Food Pairings and Silent Auction                                                                                                                3:00 – 5:00 p.m. Sit-down Wine Tasting, Desserts and Live Auction Location: Charles Krug Winery Carriage House, 2800 Main Street, St. Helena, CA 94574

Wine tasing at Oakville Ranch Vineyards.

Phoy by: Edgar Solis Photo

In 1989, Bob Miner cofounder of Oracle and his wife Mary, purchased the 350 acre property to showcase the unique terroir of this high-elevation vineyard location, but also to create a safe-haven for themselves.

Kristin Thompson, in charge of sales and marketing for the vineyard, greeted us at their beautiful patio with an incredible view of Napa Valley to share some wines and tell us about the property. “Bob and Mary Miner acquired the property back in 1989 with 55 acres under vine, now there are about 89 acres with grapes,” Kristin said. Kristin also explained they practice organic and sustainable farming and that the whole vineyard is solar-powered.

Oakville Ranch Vineyards produce Chardonnay, Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Zinfandel. Approximately 50% of their grapes are sold to other winemakers in the area, they keep the other 50% of the fruit to make their wines. Oakville Ranch’s winemaker, Anne Vawter, is native of Walla Walla, Washington with studies at UC Davis in California. “Blending is a critical element in Anne’s winemaking style and she is thankful to have the opportunity to work with the outstanding Oakville Ranch yield,” Kristin said.

“Sadly, Bob Miner passed away from cancer in 1994 but Bob’s spirit maintains a strong presence at the winery,” Kristin added as she prepares to pour six beautiful wines to us. We tasted the 2006 and 2009 Napa Valley Chardonnay, 1997 Napa Valley Merlot, 2007 Robert’s Blend Cabernet Franc and 2006 & 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. An outstanding collection of flavorful wines that expressed the particular terroir where they are grown along well thought winemaking decisions.

2006 Oakville Ranch Napa Valley Chardonnay: Elegant Chardonnay with green apple, ripe pear and lemon aromas and flavors. On the palate, nice acidity, crisp white fruit flavors and notes of mineral, rounded with hints of vanilla from the French oak. Enjoy this beautiful expression of Chardonnay by itself or pair with grilled white fish, shellfish, roasted chicken and grilled shrimp. (Library Wine)

2007 Oakville Ranch Robert’s Blend Cabernet Franc: (90% Cabernet Franc and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon) This wine express beautiful aromas of ripe dark berries, cherries, figs and red currants; along with savory gamy notes, wood and smoke. On the palate you enjoy tart blackberry compote, roasted fennel, cola and hints of eggplant rounded up with sweet tannins. This wine is very balanced between fruit, acid and tannins, high complexity of aromas and flavors that linger. This wine will be a great companion for roasted beef, duck, eggplant, smoked lamb loin and roasted pork with apple/cranberry sauce. Retails for $98.