I’ve always been a fan of Italian wines. In fact, previous to my career as a wine writer, I visited the bucolic country, soaking up every ounce of wine (and pasta) I could find. But at that time I sipped without understanding or truly appreciating the vast diversity of the great country’s regions, native grapes, and winemaking methods. So the chance to learn from the highly acclaimed wine editor and critic, Daniele Cernilli — aka “DoctorWine” — was a most welcome one. Last week I had the chance to do just that at the San Francisco Wine School.
This past weekend I attended the Rhone Ranger’s San Francisco event. Rhone Rangers is a non-profit organization whose mission is to promote winemakers and wineries who focus on Rhône varietals and Rhône-style blends. Each year, the Rhone Rangers San Francisco Grand Tasting event gathers together a huge number of those wineries to help educate the public on these important grapes, winemaking methods, and of course the wines themselves. While not every year has a theme, it seemed that this year’s theme is the up-and-coming trend of “weird wine,” or “obscure” varietals.
As I’m sure many of you have noticed, I’ve been exploring a few of the lesser-known wine varietals lately (Tannat, Counoise, Cinsault…to name a few). And it’s not just because I have an insatiable, geeky interest in wine, it’s because more and more producers are bringing to light some of those varietals that have been hidden in the dark — as part of the lower percentages of classic and common blends.
I saved this wine. Saved and saved and saved until I was so antsy to try it, I basically threw a party for it. Ok, not really. But it was two good friends’ birthday and I wanted to pour a wine that a) represents a specific piece of California wine country and a piece of California history and b) showcases all that I’ve learned and come to appreciate during my latest wine studies. Who better than Grgich? What better than a Napa Cab? Flatout — no one and nothing.
Each week I participate in a live Twitter discussion, basically just geeking out about wine. Specifically Sonoma (and Napa) wines. #SonomaChat is lead by the amazing Amy Lieberfarb (follow her on Twitter, Facebook, and IG to learn more), who oftentimes will share the roll of hostess/host with other bloggers, wineries, and wine pros. Last week I was lucky enough to be included as a #SonomaChat Ambassador while us wine tweeps celebrated Jordan Winery’s 40th Sonoma Birthday. We got to sip and savor a few selections live, while chatting it up with the winemaker Rob Davis himself. And of course I took all kinds of notes so I could share a brief follow up with all you cool wine kids who just couldn’t make it to the party.