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Pinot Briefs —Newsletter 9.48

New Book on ‘Original Grand Crus’ of Burgundy Written by Charles Curtis MW, the Original Grand Crus of Burgundy, examines Burgundy in the 18th and 19th centuries and how its wines and vineyards were viewed before the start of the AOC system in 1936 and how those views compared with the modern system of classification. It includes translations of works by experienced wine writers as well as knowledgeable amateurs such as Les Grands Vins de Bourgogne by René Danguy and Charles Aubertin. The book is directed at Burgundy enthusiasts and collectors as well as French history buffs. The book will be available in both paperback and e-book on Amazon by November 1, 2014.

Alder Yarrow Publishes His First Book Alder Yarrow is one of most widely read wine bloggers on the internet and his site, Vinography, has won multiple awards. His new book, The Essence of Wine, funded by Kickstarter, will be released in October. This 150-page hardcover art book features beautiful photographs that celebrates 47 individual flavors and aromas of wine and a short essay along with wine recommendations that feature that particular flavor or aroma. In addition, Yarrow includes wine essays and wine recommendations so it more than a picture book. The book has many publication upgrades including custom coloring, very high quality photo paper, textured end pages, and a 4-color dust jacket. Understandably, the cost will be moderately high, around $80, but can be pre-ordered for $70. An e-book version ($30) will also be available but that looses much of the essence of the paper book. Visit 209816791/the-essence-of-wine-book-project.

‘Sideways’ Crew Reunited on 10th Anniversary In early August of this year, to celebrate the film’s 10th anniversary, Frank Ostini, Jim Clendenen and others organized a reunion for the film’s cast and crew including screenwriter Alexander Payne, producer Michael London, and actors Paul Giamatti and Virginia Madsen. The Santa Maria Sun reported that an entire weekend of events transpired planned around an August 2 dinner and an auction that raised $100,000 for Direct Relief, the nonprofit that delivers humanitarian medical aid around the world. On Aug 1, Jim Clendenen’s hilltop Rancho la Cuna in Los Alamos was the site of the cast reunion barbecue featuring ‘Sideways’ era (2001-2005) Hitching Post and Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir.

Jackson Family Wines Launches West Burgundy Wine Group West Burgundy Wine Group, based at the company’s Carneros Hills Winery (the former Buena Vista winery), will be a division of Jackson Family Wines devoted to ultrapremium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from select estates. The portfolio currently includes Champ de Rêves (Anderson Valley Pinot Noir property), Wild Ridge (Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir property), Chardonet (single-vineyard Sonoma Coast Chardonnay), and Gran Moraine (Pinot Noir from the Gran Moraine Vineyard in the Yamhill-Carlton AVA of the Willamette Valley). Also, the West Burgundy Wine Group will be the importer for negociant Moillard-Grivot which offers a number of wines from the Côte d’Or.

SRHWA On The Road Again The vintners of the Sta. Rita Hills Winegrowers Alliance (SRHWA) will be heading south to San Diego on November 21 and 22 for the San Diego Bay Wine + Food Festival. SRHWA members will be pouring at tables at the Friday night Reserve Tasting and the Saturday Grand Tasting. For information visit or Members of SRHWA will also be participating in the Santa Barbara County Vintners Celebration of Harvest October 10-13.

Fort Ross-Seaview Wine Festival This annual event will be held for the second time on Saturday, October 18, from 12:00 to 4:00, at Fort Ross State Historic Park in Jenner. A Grand Tasting and Grand Luncheon are planned. Participating wineries include Del Dotto’s Ca’Nani Winery, Flowers Vineyard & Winery, Fort Ross Vineyard & Winery, Kutch Wines, Martinelli Winery, Pahlmeyer’s Wayfarer Vineyard, Siduri Wines, Tin Barn, WesMar Winery, Wild Hog Vineyard and Williams Selyem.

¡Salud! Oregon Wine Auction The premier Oregon Pinot Noir Auction will be held November 14-15, 2014. Winemakers will debut the 2013 vintage at this benefit for Oregon’s seasonal vineyard workers and their families. This event is the only opportunity to acquire unique cuvées made exclusively for ¡Salud! and to gain direct access to the winemakers. The Cuvée Tasting and Big Board Auction will be held Friday, November 14 at Domaine Drouhin Oregon in the Dundee Hills. The Dinner and Auction Gala will be the following night at The Allison Inn & Spa in Newperg. Once again, I will be donating a 4-day Russian River Valley Immersion Trip for 4 people. The trip will be personally escorted by me, and include lodging at the Benovia Winery Vineyard Cottage, private tours, tastings and lunches at popular Russian River Valley wineries as well as dinners in the region’s most notable restaurants. Visit for information and tickets.

Dundee Bistro Celebrates 15 Years The Dundee Bistro, owned by the Ponzi wine family, observes its 15th anniversary on October 30. The restaurant offers fireside dining in the winter and courtyard seating in the warmer months. The wine list has been honored by both Wine Spectator and Wine Enthusiast. A celebration will be held at the restaurant on October 30 from 4:00 to 6:00 and new inductees into the Oregon Wine Walk of Fame will be inducted. Those interested in attending the celebration must RSVP to Laurel Carroll at 503-628-1227 or

HillCrest Winery & Distillery Honored On September 16, 2014, an official Oregon Historical Marker was placed at the HillCrest Winery located in Roseburg in the Umpqua Valley and a roadside ceremony was held. The plaque is a tribute to Richard Sommer and HillCrest, the site of the first post-Prohibition planting of Pinot Noir in Oregon in 1961. Read more about Richard Sommer and HillCrest’s current owner Dyson DeMara at

2014 Sunset International Wine Competition More than 50 judges reviewed nearly 3,000 wines on April 28-29, 2014. Each judge tackled about 100 wines a day, something I could never do, so keep that in mind when looking at the medal winners. Best in 2010 Pinot Noir Class: 2010 Trione River Road Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 9$37). Gold Medals in 2010 Pinot Noir Class: 2010 Chalone Vineyard Estate Grown Chalone Pinot Noir ($40), 2010 Clos Pegase Mitsuko’s Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir ($35), 2010 Renteria Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, and 2010 Talisman Adastra Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir ($55). Best in 2011 Pinot Noir Class: 2011 Sanctuary Bien Nacido Vineyard Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir ($30). Best in Pinot Noir Class: 2012-2013: 2012 Stephen Ross Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($25). Gold Medals in 2012-2013 Pinot Noir Class: 2012 Acacia Carneros Pinot Noir ($28), 2012 Artesa Estate Reserve Carneros Pinot Noir ($40), 2012 Benziger Family Appellation Series Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($29), 2012 Black Stallion Los Carneros Pinot Noir ($28), 2012 DeLoach Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($24), 2012 Dutton-Goldfield Emerald Ridge Vineyard Green Valley of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($58), 2012 Francis Ford Coppola Director’s Cut Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($27), 2012 Huge Bear Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($45), 2012 Irony Small Lot Reserve Monterey Pinot Noir ($16), 2012 MacMurray Ranch Central Coast Pinot Noir ($18), 2012 MacMurray Ranch Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($28), 2012 MacMurray Ranch Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($35), 2012 Patz & Hall Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($46), 2012 Primarius Oregon Pinot Noir ($16), 2012 Red Car Platt Vineyard Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($68), 2012 Roblar Gold Collection Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($50), 2012 Schug Carneros Pinot Noir ($30), 2012 Sonoma Hills Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($23), 2012 Sonoma-Cutrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($34), 2012 Stemmler Estate Vineyard Carneros Pinot Noir ($44), 2012 Winside Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($44), 2012 Taft Street Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($24), 2012 Talley Arroyo Grande Pinot Noir ($36), 2012 V. Sattui Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($38) and 2012 Willamette Valley Vineyards Bernau Block Willamette Valley Pinot Noir ($55). The latter category is quite a mixed bag and seems like a generous number of Gold Medals. View all the results at

2014 San Francisco International Wine Competition The 34th Annual San Francisco Wine Competition took place on June 20,21 and 22, 2014. 4,570 wines were entered from 26 states and 31 countries. 58 judges from many backgrounds in the wine and food industry were divided into panels and judged the wines over three days. Double Gold Medals were awarded when all members of the panel agreed that the product deserved a Gold Medal. The Tasting Panel will hold a Double Gold Tour which will feature trade tastings of many of the Double Gold winners. Best Pinot Noir: 2012 Lost Canyon Winery Whitton Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Double Gold Medals for Pinot Noir: 2012 AAlma rosa Winery & Vineyards Certified Organic La Encantada Vineyard Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($45), 2011 Amisfield Estate Blocks 2,3,4,5,6,7 Pisa Range Central Otago New Zealand Pinot Noir ($40), 2013 Babich Wines Marlborough New Zealand Pinot Noir ($20), 2012 Bird Single Vineyard Marlborough New Zealand Pinot Noir ($30), 2012 Blue Cape Cellars Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir ($32), 2012 Castle Rock Winery California Cuvee ($11), 2012 Davis Family Vineyards Campbell Ranch Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($50), 2013 De Bortoli Wines Estate Yarra Valley Victoria Australia Pinot Noir ($32), 2012 Fog Crest Vineyard Estate Sonoma County Pinot Noir ($55), 2012 Francis Ford Coppola Winery Diamond Collection Silver Label Monterey County Pinot Noir ($18), 2012 Furthermore Rosella’s Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir ($50), 2012 Garnet Monterey County Pinot Noir ($15), 2012 Layer Cake Central Coast Pinot Noir ($16), 2012 Lost Canyon Winery Whitton Vineyard Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($45), 2012 Menage a Trois Napa County Pinot Noir ($14), 2012 Rodney Strong Vineyards Estate Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($25), 2012 Sonoma Hills Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($25), 2012 Soquel Vineyards Partner’s Reserve Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir ($35), 2013 Squealing Pig Central Otago New Zealand Pinot Noir ($33), and 2012 V. Sattui Winery Anderson Valley Pinot Noir ($35).

Petaluma Gap AVA Fund The Petaluma Gap Winegrowers Alliance (PGWA) is asking the public to help establish the Petaluma Gap AVA through gofundme at The group of dedicated local farmers and winemakers are trying to gain recognition for these wines and raise the visibility of the region to tourists. They hope that Petaluma becomes known as a wine country destination, rather than a place to pass through on the way to the Russian River Valley, Carneros and Napa Valley. The TTB recently disallowed the term “Petaluma Gap” anywhere on wine labels because they consider the Petaluma Gap to be “viticulturally significant.” Achieving an AVA status will allow vintners to label their wines as Petaluma Gap. Considerable financial support is required to prepare an AVA petition and navigate the TTB review process, so the PGWA has launched a fundraising campaign to cover these expenses. The Petaluma Gap has more than 80 vineyards covering 4,000 acres, known for Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah. Every growing season the vines in the region are engulfed by heavy morning fog and battered by afternoon winds which produces wines best described as “elegant with a touch of wild.” A draft of the proposed Petaluma Gap AVA is shown on the map below.

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