31 January, 2010

Can You Ever Have Enough Pinot? (Or, how you too, can be a Pinot Judge!)

Simple answer: No.
More complex answer: No.

Come to the 8th Annual Pinot Noir Summit on Feb 27 and you'll say "No" too!

Let me explain a bit.

I was very happy to judge at the Pinot Noir Shootout organized by the International Wine Review and Barbara Drady of Affairs of the Vine. The shootout is run as an 8x4 (8 wines in each of 4 flights for a total of 32 wines) blind tasting and is organized into several preliminary rounds leading up to a final judging. The best wines of the final are then sent on to the Pinot Noir Summit where the public can be a judge for a day and immerse themselves in the "Pinot Experience." If you are in or near the SF Bay area, you should absolutely plan to attend. I'd love to meet all of you in person at the "Discovering New Stars" workshop that I'm moderating

The prelim round (just one of 8 prelims) I judged at in November was generously hosted by Russian River Vineyards in Forestville, CA. If you're in the Russian River Valley, plan on paying them a visit. Good stuff, wonderful people. Great location!

The finals were held at Bistro Boudin on the San Francisco Bay where we had great views and great company. Rather than the 8 or so judges at each preliminary round, there were nearly 30 judges in the room. We still maintained the 8X4 format and through 4 hours of judging, each tasted 32 different Pinots. Yes, 32. Some was great, some, not so much, but the overall quality was quite good. My hat is off to all of the judges at the prelim rounds in sending on many very high quality selections to the finals.

While I can't reveal the winner (or my choices) quite yet, I can say that some of the best submissions were from many different appellations/areas. Suffice it to say, if you prefer one or several styles of Pinot, you'll find something you like. I can guarantee it. (well, not so much of a guarantee, but more of me vouching for it, OK??  -  OK!!)

..so come and join us for some great fun, great education, a great experience and just a wonderful day at the Pinot Summit. I'm looking forward to seeing you there!

A Few Minutes at: Pizza Antica, Mill Valley, CA

In the process of exploring the world for great wines for about $20 bucks, it's sometimes necessary to realize that sometimes, there are some great ideas right in your face.

I stopped by Pizza Antica, Gordon Drysdale's (and others') pizza joint in Mill Valley, CA. There are three other locations (San Jose, Lafayette and Granite Bay/Sacramento) if you're close -- or not and are looking for some pretty reasonable fare prepared with care and craft. They've got a delicious menu, super pies if you like the cracker/thin crust as I do, and a reasonably sized wine list. It's not uber extensive, but I found the Dashe 2007 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel there as you'll see in the piece below (More on the Dashe in an upcoming post.)

Here's what you've been missin' if you've not been to Pizza Antica. Git yerselves theere!


A Few Minutes at: Pizza Antica, Mill Valley, CA from C. Jason Mancebo on Vimeo.

17 January, 2010

Appeal for Haiti...Join Me & Some of the Finest Folks in the Wine World

We live in a pretty great place.  We're fortunate enough to enjoy great food, wine, friends, especially those of us who are part of the wine world. When a tragedy so massive as the earthquake that struck Haiti earlier this week occurs, it's tough to  thinking of those whose lives were immediately changed forever and wonder how we, in our comfortable, secure, peaceful lives, can make a difference.

While the need is large, we can each play a small part in the recovery that these wonderful people deserve. Please do as much as you can. I don't have a specific recommendation, but the Red Cross is a place to start.

Also, if you're in the SF Bay Area, I'd like to invite you to join me on Monday, Jan 18 at a great event that's being organized by Vinos Unico. Several wineries, importers, sommaliers, winemakers and others are donating their time, wine and food. Come and raise a glass to those who are there helping while we cannot.

Bring your checkbook and donate directly to one of several great charities including Sirona Cares, Doctors Without Borders, Partners in Health and the American Red Cross. Please bring checks made out directly to one or more of these worthy charities.

I'm looking forward to seeing you at The Presidio Cafe from 5-8PM

16 January, 2010

¡Feliz cumpleaños!

One of our best supporters and friends, Jack, celbrated his birthday with the gang last month. We share it with you so you might enjoy the friends, wine and food as much as we did.

Happy Birthday, buddy!

The Cumpleanos from C. Jason Mancebo on Vimeo.

07 January, 2010

A Few Minutes With: Kevin Rogers, Nico Wines

The $20dollarwineblog was fortunate to spend an afternoon with Kevin Rogers, the proprietor and winemaker of Nico Wines. Kevin presents his newly released 2008 Russian River Valley Dolcetto in this segment of "AFMW..."

Hit his website and check out this wine. Highly recommended!