I did begin writing on my consulting website earlier this year - so please don't miss these two important posts. I can't hold back any longer all of the wonderful stories, wines and TexaCali Wine Tales! Let's start off with an insider's review of last Saturday night...
"Russian River 2nd Annual Paulée Dinner" presented by the
Russian River Valley Winegrowers Association
Anytime I'm in the Russian River Valley Region, memories of when and why I fell in love with wine flood my mind and my heart. Driving through the Russian River Valley is sorta like pulling out that comfy pair of jeans you've had forever - and they still fit and feel great to wear!
This night was nothing short of a spectacular gathering of fantastic people and passion for Pinot Noir. Clearly the event to be at if you have an ounce of love in your soul for the Russian River Region. Elegant, delicious and a classic night of great conversation and sipping of course.
A few of my personal highlights truly began once I walked into the beautiful dinner pavilion on the grounds of DeLoach Vineyards. Such a classy setting, complete with lighting from an epic Russian River sunset. A glass of Hartford Court Rosé of Pinot Noir filled my glass - first time I'd tasted this wine and was very pleased with the flavor profile and drinkability - a perfect example of a dry rosé!
Dinner guests were a large mix of winemakers, winery owners, grape growers, professional wine buyers, wine writers and very passionate pinot noir collectors who flew in as far as from Japan for the event.
Oh but the wines!! One of the very first wines poured from me was a 1979 Bacigalupi Vineyards Chardonnay. Seriously, the wine was extraordinary - notes of delicious caramel filled my mouth, I could have stopped with this first sip.
However, the night was just beginning. Mark McWilliams of Arista Winery so generously stopped by my table with a sexy bottle of 1999 Domaine des Comtes Lafon Charmes, Meursault Premier Cru, France. I'm gonna be bold here - this was the BEST Lafon Charmes I have ever had. Vibrant, with a mix of citrus and mineral - a real freshness with superb balance - it took me back, oh how I love white Burgundy!
Many older RRV and Burgundy Pinot Noirs were opened, shared and tasted. I have to announce that I didn't get to taste every bottle opened, but the Benovia pictured below was my WOTN (wine of the night), it was also the first time I had ever tried a Benovia wine.
I sat with owners Joe and Mary along with their winemaker Mike Sullivan. To be honest, I've probably driven past Benovia a few hundred times over the past few years, while taking a short-cut to Olivet Rd. The 2012 Benovia "Martella" RRV Pinot Noir was full of expression, layers of fruit and spice that went on for quite some time after drinking. Exactly the flavors I felt after drinking my first California pinots over a decade ago, a true classic Russian River Pinot Noir.
The dinner was the eve of my birthday, so I did allow myself to enjoy the evening more than I usually do - it was great to catch up with old friends and meet many new ones that share my passion for fine wine and people. More taking in the moment than snapping photos this time.
I tell you this - I can't wait for the 2015 Paulée date to release, I'm assembling a table of friends now!
Special thanks for the following wineries who were also in attendance, organized the evening and were so very generous with their wines for the Paulée!
Arista Winery, Bacigalupi Vineyards, Benovia Winery, Bucher Vineyard, C. Donatiello Winery, Davis Family Wines, DeLoach Vineyards, Hartford Family Winery, Iron Horse Vineyards, La Crema, La Follette, J. Vineyards & Winery, Joseph Swan Vineyards, Kosta Browne, Merry Edwards Winery, Russian Hill Estate Winery, Siduri Wines, Thomas George Estates, Trione Vineyards and Winery, and Williams Selyem.