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Showcasing the finest in farm-to-table cuisine, world-class wines and culinary star talent, Flavor! Napa Valley is a festival not-to-be-missed next year. Guests will delight in events ranging from local and celebrity chef demonstrations to intimate winemaker workshops along with Grand Tastings and exclusive experiences that bring out the best flavors of Napa Valley.
Dep Lifestyle Magazine got to spend this spring for two days of culinary indulgence, and wine and dine with Napa Valley’s legendary talent, once again.
Marcch 17, 2016 – Chef and Winemaker Golf Tournament at Silverado Resort and Spa
We got to join some of the local chefs and winemakers for a day on Silverado Resort and Spa‘s championship golf course. We enjoyed a continental breakfast and 18 holes featuring specialty beverages and the famed burger dog lunch that was featured in Golf Magazine. A beautifully simple specialty of grilled ground beef on a hot dog bun and all the toppings if you would like. Then celebrate victory at the post-tournament reception where you can mingle with the chefs, winemakers, and fellow golfers over some of Napa Valley’s finest wines from Hewitt Vineyards, Sterling Vineyards, Beaulieu Vineyard BV, Acacia Vineyard, and Provenance Vineyards, and appetizers from Silverado Resort and Spa.
Our team won 3rd place, along with winemaker Clint Holdsworth of David Clinton Wine Cellars, and Cindy of Staglin Family Vineyard, and Dan W. on our team. When we done, we were greeted nicely by VisitNapaValley.com president Clay Gregory and AF & CO president Andrew Freeman at the reception on a beautiful sunny day at Silverado Resort.
March 18, 2016 – Wine Class: Pinot Paradise
Fuel your passion for Pinot Noir with this unique tasting of sophisticated wines made with fruit grown in Carneros and Wild Horse Valley in Napa Valley.
Jon Priest, Winemaker, Etude Wines, Carneros, Napa Valley – the Pinot Noir, Heirloom, from 600 ft high, clay soil, got the San Francisco Bay view, afternoon wind, his wine is transparent, disctinvive, and expressive, 600 cases produced for this 2013 vintage. 2013 Etude Heirloom Grace Benoist Ranch Pinot Noir Carneros $95.00, rich and deeply flavored, the 2013 Heirloom Pinot Noir intrigues with its spicy entry of cinnamon, nutmeg, star anise and Orange Pekoe tea, and extraordinarily concentrated dark fruit flavors. Despite the wine’s density and generous palate of red and black cherry, blackberry and plum, it shows elegance and balance. With silky tannins and delicate oak notes of clove and toasted almond that support but never override, this Pinot Noir will develop further complexities and age gracefully for years to come. Drink now through 2024.
Steve Rogstad, Winemaker, Cuvaison Estate Wines, Carneros, Napa Valley – he loves making Pinot Noir wine because it’s firm but with clarity. This particular wine is from the Milliken Peak, the hillside, the heart of the hill. This was an experimental of twenty plus blocks, more than twelve different clones. 2013 Spire Pinot Noir, Carneros, Napa Valley $52.00, 600 cases produced, on a single block, Dijon clone, an enticing array of black and red fruits come to the fore of this wine: black cherry, strawberry, raspberry and boysenberry all vie for attention. This luscious core of fruit is enveloped in a mix of exotic spice and intriguing but delicate smokiness. Aged for 16 months in French oak puncheons, the wine has mellowed and matured yet retains an unmistakable essence of lovely floral, think rose petals and bright fruit tones.
David Mahaffey, Winemaker, Miss Olivia Brion Wines, Wild Horse Valley – He’s co-inventor and developer of an “ozone for sanitation” system that’s now used by over 700 wineries to save water and avoid harsh chemicals. Heron Lake Vineyard is in the south end of Wild Horse Valley, 1,200 feet higher than the Napa Valley floor and five miles east of Napa town. Olivia Brion 2012 Pinot Noir, Wild Horse Valley $35.00, 650 cases produced – With a lovely garnet red hue, the wine opens up with lofty aromas of ripe red fruits, spices, clove, and more.
When asked how he thinks about cellar aging New World Pinot Noir, he responded: “I would rather kissing Sophie Lauren at 25 years old than at 75 years old.” The audiences applauded.
Alex Beloz, Winemaker, Poseidon Vineyard, Carneros, Napa Valley – He said: “Pinot Noir is a very versatile grape with softness of a white wine and a structure that can get bigger with food.” His Pinot Noir is from the seaside by the bay. 2013 Poseidon Vineyard Estate Grown Pinot Noir, Carneros, Napa Valley $32.00 – Hungary oak, 1,600 cases produced, harvested the three blocks of the hillside (top, skirt, bottom) separately, picking across the three Dijon clones: 115, 667, and 777. This Pinot Noir exhibits aromas of cherry and cola with hints of fruit, leather and undertones of plum. The wine is silky in texture. Focused black cherry flavors dance on the palate, and an elegant dash of vanilla sweetens the wine for a long, inviting finish.
Amelia Ceja, Ceja Vineyards, Carneros, Napa Valley – Long before the California legislature recognized Amelia as “Woman of the Year” in 2005 for “breaking the glass ceiling in a very competitive business,” the first Mexican-American woman ever to be elected president of a winery was on the frontier of wine. We have the chance to meet her many times before, and each time, she makes us feel special with her vibrant and exude personality. She’s always full of life. 2012 Ceja Vineyards, Carneros Pinot Noir $54.00. Las Amigas Road, Carneros, aging 24 months in French barrel, 1,000 cased produced. The aromas are fresh and floral with red plum, black cherry blossoms and hibiscus scents. The palate showcases a savory medley of
Jamaica tea, dried berry, herb and spice flavors. This is a bright, crisp and balanced Pinot Noir with soft tannins and layers of textures.
We learn that Pinot Noir is such a delicate grape. It chooses where to grow and it can’t be mix with any other varietal. Adored by many critics, prized by many collectors, Pinot Noir is one of most tantalizing yet temperamental varietals in the world. For many wine enthusiasts, this is part of the appeal of Pinot — it doesn’t reveal its charms easily.
Pinot Noir’s virtue also stems from the unique characteristics of the grape. The skins are especially delicate, which accounts for the lighter color and body of the finished wine. But, despite the delicacy, the best wines have excellent backbone and length, providing aromatic intensity unlike any other grape.
Pinot Noir wines are pale in color, translucent and their flavors are very subtle. The grape itself is weak, suffering from a variety of diseases and its genetics make it highly susceptible to mutation. Despite the difficulty in growing the grape, prices for a bottle of Pinot Noir are generally more than a similar quality red wine.
Average prices for Pinot Noir are on the rise. The Hong Kong market has a growing thirst for Pinot Noir. In March 2013, six magnums of 1995 DRC sold for $27,300.00 USD a piece. Source: Bloomberg
So you wonder why a bottle of Napa Valley Pinot Noir is so expensive, only if you know how costly to grow Pinot Noir and making this wine.
Moderator: Christie Dufault, Associate Professor, Wine and Beverage Studies, The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone
Marcch 18, 2016 – Wine Class: Preservation Society
Before Cabernet Sauvignon became the most popular grape in the Napa Valley, most of the full-bodied red wines were made with Zinfandel, Petite Sirah, Charbono and other legendary grape varietals referred to as “mixed blacks.” Come find out what the proprietors of Biale Vineyard, Hendry Vineyards, Turley Cellars and other boutique producers are doing to preserve these special old vineyard sites.
Tres Goetting, winemaker, Robert Biale, Proprietor, Robert Biale Winery: Aldo’s Vineyard – Aldo’s Vineyard. Oak Knoll District Estate. The old vines planted in 1937 on the Biale ranch in Napa that produce their signature wine. They offer fourteen different zinfandel.
Biale 2013 Zinfandel, Estate Grown, Aldo’s Vineyard, Oak Knoll District, Napa Valley $78.00, red fruits such as raspberry, plum, pepper aromas, the palate is loaded with black raspberry and kirsch liqueur elements. Minerals, chicory, and hints of sour red plum emerge on the long and tireless finish.
Tegan Passalacqua, Winemaker, Turley Wine Cellars: Hayne’s Vineyard – Tegan was hired as a harvest intern in 2003 but was quickly offered a full time job when his talent in the vineyard became apparent. Tegan has since further honed his skills working harvests with Alain Graillot in the northern Rhône Valley as well as Eben Sadie in Swartland, South Africa.
Between his travels & rigorous vineyard duties, Tegan began gradually taking on more of the Turley winemaking responsibilities as well, eventually becoming head Winemaker & Vineyard Manager in 2013. A founding member of the non-profit Historic Vineyard Society, he now oversees the winemaking and vineyard duties for all 35 vineyards and 28 wines.
Turley 2013 Petite Syrah, Hayne Vineyard, St. Helena – available on mailing list or at the tasting room only, voluptous, richness as well as opaque black/blue colors, concentrated bold blackberry and blueberry fruit, exotic spice, leather,chewey tannin, drink now though 2026, age worthy wine, only 1,200 cases produced.
Mike Hendry, Proprietor, Hendry Winery: R.W. Moore Vineyard – The R.W. Moore Vineyard is located near the southern end of the Napa Valley, in the Coombsville AVA. It was planted in 1905 and is maintained in the traditional, dry farmed, head trained, and field blended style. Mike and Molly Hendry have been producing wines from this iconic Napa vineyard since 2009. The earliest vines here date from 1905. Based on the age of this vineyard, many of the vines have been replaced due to disease and other factors. As they are replaced, Mike preserves the heritage of the vineyard and replants with varietals that historically have grown here. These are varietals such as Carigne, Napa Gamay and Petite Sirah.
A normal year sees anywhere between 300 to 500 cases. A typical vintage spends approximately 18 months in both French and Hungarian Oak and then a year in bottle before being released. There is less of the 2013 vintage because of the Napa Valley the 6.1 earthquake in August of 2014. Mike and Molly, lost several barrels of their 2013 vintage. Mike & Molly Zinfandel 2013, RW Moore Vineyard, Napa Valley $ 38, savory, structure, continues to open up as we drink, pleasant at the beginning, got some muscle, berry notes, distinctively polish, structure, and will get better with age.
Russell Bevan, Winemaker, Chase Cellars: Hayne’s Vineyard -” High energy and passionate are some of the words people often use to describe Russell, but we’re not sure those adjectives do him justice.” wrote on their website. Wait until you meet him, full of energy, polished, and warm. His passion for winemaking shined through during the wine class. He could have been a moderator. 2012 Chase Hayne Vineyard Zinfandel, St. Helena, afternoon site, more oak, sweet, blue fruit, black fruit, cigar, essence and complexity of their ancient vines, ample tannins, smooth, velvelty.
Genevieve Janssens, Winemaker, Robert Mondavi Winery: To Kalon Vineyard – Geneviève’s connection to Robert Mondavi returned in 1989, when she became Director of Production at Opus One Winery. Then, in 1997, she came full circle as the Director of Winemaking at the Robert Mondavi Winery. In 2000, she helped implement the To Kalon Project, the winery’s first major renovation since it was founded in 1966. The new To Kalon Fermentation Cellar allows Robert Mondavi Winery to make Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve and Oakville District Cabernet Sauvignon in a winemaking facility equal to its surrounding historic To Kalon Vineyard. “I wanted to be there for the construction, creativity and challenge,” says Geneviève. “We have created a new winery for our To Kalon estate, one of the most extraordinary vineyards on earth.”
Robert Mondavi 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, To Kalon Vineyard, Oakville $155.00, 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Cabernet Franc, 3% Petite Verdot – A powerful wine, rich, spicy blackberry and blueberry fruit, cinnamon, sage, coriander and tobacco flavors. While muscular, the wine is elegantly structured with fresh acidity, fine tannins and a richly dense mouthfeel. This is their second vintage of our To Kalon Vineyard-designated Reserve. When Robert Mondavi chose the To Kalon Vineyard, in west Oakville, as the home for his new winery in 1966 he remarked that, “It was a vineyard with a distinguished history and a magical nature. Ideal soils, sunlight, and rain—to my eye, the vineyard was a treasure.” Those sentiments were re-confirmed when the To Kalon Vineyard was named the Vineyard of the Year by the California State Farm Bureau in 2011. This Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is blended from the finest blocks within To Kalon.
This Preservation Society class was amazing by wine educator Christopher Sawyer of SawyerSomm.com. We learn that old vines don’t need much water. We’re lucky to have these vines that as old as hundreds of year. Europe doesn’t have these vines. And to be consider historic, these vines need to be fifty years old ore more.
These winemakers are doing what they can to preserve these old vines and continue to make good wines for us to consume. So next time before you raise a glass of old vines of Zinfandel, Petite Syrah, or Cab, think of these winemakers, how hard they work to preserve the good juice that we are lucky to drink.
Moderator: Christopher Sawyer, Sommelier, Wine Educator, Journalist
We didn’t get to attend the cooking demo, lunch, dinner, nor the Grand Tasting this year. However, for the three events we attended. We have learned so much from the wine classes, tasted some of the iconic wines, and golfed with some celebrity chefs and winemakers. Along with making some new friends, we got to sit next to Master Top Chef Rick Moonen of RM Seafood Restaurant in Las Vegas and Katie Shaffer of Feast It Forward in the Presevation Society class at the Culinarily Institute of America Greystone, this only happened at Flavor! Napa Valley.
Flavor! Napa Valley continues to be one of the best food and wine festivals that not to be missed. Until Flavor! Napa Valley 2017, Happy wining and dining.