April's California Wine Events

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  • By Chris Costales
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April's California Wine Events

April is chock full of outstanding California wine events, including a winemaker visit.

If you’re an American wine lover, you aren’t going to want to miss the amazing wine tastings we have going on during the month of April.  


This jam-packed month includes tastings of Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah from cool climate sites of the Sonoma Coast, a store visit from winemaker Mike Sinor of Ancient Peaks and Sinor-LaVallee wines, our top Californian Syra’s to pair with roasted lamb for our monthly wine fest and a Far Niente family of wines focused tasting all within the first two weeks of April, whew that’s a lot of great wine!


The Far Niente Family of Wines Tasting

Far Niente and their family of wines which includes Nickel & Nickel, Bella Union and Dolce, make some of the most prestigous wines being produced today out of Napa Valley and we will be featuring some of their best works on April 5th at a special First Fridays 7 at 7 tasting starting at 7:00 for $45. The tasting will certainly deliver on quality, and also you're getting a good value if you haven’t had the chance to visit the winery to taste before, or if you want to taste the current releases of these premimum Napa Valley wines.


Syrah Fest April 6


Our Syrah Fest will feature 10 wines from Anderson Valley in northern Mendocino down to Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Ynez Valley for $30 on Saturday the 6th of April from 1 to 4.  These Californian examples of the noble grape do a great job of having classic cooler-climate varietal flavors and aromas of blueberry, slight olive brine and a savory black pepper quality, but since they are Californian expect a healthy amount of juicy ripe fruit that makes Syrah so irresistible.


Included is a classic pairing to Syrah, roast leg of lamb, which can enchance the wines fruit and soft mouthfeel with its slight, rich fattiness.  Dried herbs that are used while cooking also complement the slight herbal qualities that can be found in the varietal.


Elegant Wines of the Sonoma Coast

Finally, we have an exploration of the Wines of Sonoma Coast on Friday the 12th at 7:30 for $45.  Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Syrah from vineyards only a few miles from the cool Pacific Ocean will be the focus of this tasting with some great hard-to-find wines featured.  Vineyards of the region here have to compete with giant redwood groves, high elevations at 1,000ft or more and extreme soil variation from the past seismic activity of the San Andreas Fault.

Winding narrow roads that twist and turn are found in abundance in this region so save the dangerous but beautiful drive and let us bring some cool climate viticulture straight to you in the safety of our store. Hopefully you’ve got some free Fridays and Saturdays in your calendar this April as these tastings are featuring some impressive wines you arent going to want to miss.


Ancient Peaks & Mike Sinor April 13

Winemaker Mike Sinor will be stopping by the store on Saturday April 13th from 1 to 4 with his Sinor LaVallee wines that represent the coastal terroir of their estate Bassi Vineyard in San Luis Obispo, which is slightly more than one mile from the Pacific Ocean. Mike's Syrah is always a big hit with customers at the store as it strikes a perfect balance of cool blue fruit and black fruit with savory and pepper qualities that don’t overwhelm its velvety smooth quality. We are excitied to feature it again in a tasting for anyone who hasn’t had it yet as well as the awesome value wines he makes for Ancient Peaks winery in Paso Robles


Current Releases


This commanding estate dates back to the late 1800’s, and Gil Nickel has properly created its modern legacy. Run completely on solar power and with impeccable attention to detail, this Cab jumps out of the glass with heady aromas of blackberry, raspberry, and boysenberry filling bubbling on the stovetop. Graphite, charcoal, pepper, and dried herbs pleasantly fill in the spaces and all this flavor is deftly supported by new French oak. Powerful and hedonistic, with a good bit of tannin. This King of a Cab deserves a similar feast. The more grilled meats the better, and pile on the sides, as the wine pairs beautifully with a wide variety of foods.

$189.99 per bottle




Nickel & Nickel is a part of the Far Niente family of wines which are environmentaly focused with organic farming their Napa Valley vineyards and producing more energy with solar power than what they consume at the winery. This estate vineyard is located behind the winery in Oakville and can produce lush silky wines that are immediately enjoyable as soon as you remove the cork. This Cabernet has beautiful aromas of violet, juicy cherry, blackberry and toasty vanilla and oak spice from 48% new French oak barrels.

$117.99 per bottle



American Chardonnay isn’t always ripe tropical fruit with a creamy body and large amounts of new oak. They are capable of expressing their vineyards with lower alcohol and bright refreshing citrus peel acidity of lemon and lime with tart green apple and green pear fruit. Production here is limited as the estate has less than 4 acres planted, and the wine produced is always quite popular with consumers. Winemakers such as Burt Williams, Ed Selyem and Steve Kistler have sought out the quality fruit to make wine. 

$63.99 per bottle



EnRoute is a project from the makers of Far Niente so you can expect high quality to be found in the vineyards and winemaking cellar. The “Les Pommiers” title comes from the fact that an abandoned apple orchard in the cool Green Valley area of the Russian River was converted to a Pinot Noir vineyard for EnRoute.  This wine is an excellent example of the powerful black fruits that the Russian River Valley can bring to this grape along with smooth velvety tannins. Juicy red cherry and a slight herbal earth element can still be found here along with wonderful oak barrel spice aromas from 11 months aging in 40% new French oak.

$61.99 per bottle



 “This Pinot expresses the hand of the winemaker”, Mike Sinor explains. He chooses select parcels and treats the batch with extra care at every stage in the process, from early picking to choices in the cellar and in elevage that result in a singular expression: delicate and nuanced, with a nod to Burgundy, tea rose, briar, rhubarb, and wild strawberry mingle with freshly turned earth and chervil. Thought provoking and quietly commanding. This Pinot pairs perfectly with Quail, rabbit, and other more delicate fowl.

$48.99 per bottle



 Proprietors Dante and Carlo Mondavi dedicated this wine to their grandfather, wine industry legend Robert Mondavi, in remembrance of his commitment to excellence. It’s no surprise then that this wine is made from the best lots in their cellar as the quality level here is very remarkable. Its flavor profile is similar to wines made from the extreme coastal Fort Ross Seaview AVA, with strawberry, bright cherry, slight cranberry and dusty raspberry. Minerality and forest floor combine with very pleasant polished tannins that impart a long enjoyable finish. 80% whole cluster, 10% new French oak and bottled without fining or filtering.

$56.99 per bottle



 Steve Kistler had faith that one day the uplifted terraces and ridges near the western Sonoma Coast would produce unrivaled Californian Pinot Noir. Have a taste of this wine and I’m sure you’re going to agree with him. Southern sunny exposed vineyards are at a premium here as freezing winds and fog creep in through notches in coastal hills. These challenges in the vineyard express themselves as driven wines with perfumed red fruits of raspberry, blood orange and lush cherry lightly dusted with sea salt. Occidental winery does not own a wine press so only the free-run wine is used, and the remaining skins and pulp is sold to other wineries to press. 

$63.99 per bottle



 Hartford winery was founded in 1994 with an emphasis on creating wines from single vineyard sites with low yields and high amounts of varietal and vineyard character. Exactly the kind of wine we are excited to showcase and pour for our customers. Hartford sources this wine from an estate vineyard four miles from the cool Pacific Ocean. Coastal winds whip through this vineyard keeping yields low and excessive fruit ripeness to a minimum. Bright blueberry and black fruits complement and don’t overshadow the savory elements of tobacco leaf, floral lilac and black pepper. 21 months aging in 36% new French oak.

$49.99 per bottle



This wine could trick you if you’re blind tasting it next to French Rhone Valley Syrah. This is a huge compliment if you’re seeking varietal typicity of cool blue and black fruit with texture and savory dried lavender and violet. Winemaker Sashi Moorman picks his fruit a bit earlier to keep a vibrancy in the wine as well as including whole grape clusters which adds a textured aromatic depth. Minimal sulphur is used at bottling for protection but also to allow the vineyards to express their sense of place. Decant for around 45 minutes for this Syrah to show off its potential.

$22.99 per bottle



 This is the debut vintage of the “Wester Reach” Pinot Noir and with quality this good it’s a shame that it hasn’t been made sooner. DuMol creates this wine blending fruit from the valley floor, ridgeline and coast from premium sources such as the Ritchie and Occidental Road vineyards which DuMol has helped to plant, farm and harvest over the past 20 years. Classic layered and complex Pinot Noir aromas and flavors of hibiscus, orange peel, bright cranberry and juicy cherry are interwoven here for one long smooth ride. Barrel fermented and aged for 12 months in 40% new French oak.

$67.99 per bottle



 When creating a Santa Lucia Highlands wine there is almost no one better to work with than the Pisoni family who have been farming around the area since 1952. Luli wines represent a partnership between Master Sommelier Sara Floyd and winemaker Jeff Pisoni who oversees the winemaking while still making his amazing Lucia brand wines. The wine is a combination of sustainably farmed vineyards that showcase varietal character of olive brine, violet, blueberry and subtle savory beef jerky with black pepper. 50% whole cluster inclusion with 18 months aging in 20% new oak

$16.99 per bottle



 Winemaker Mike Sinor, known for the excellent value wines he produces for Ancient Peaks winery in Paso Robles sources from his estate Bassi Vineyard for his own label. This a cool climate site only a little more than a mile from the Pacific Ocean so fruit intensity is flavorful but kept in balance with naturally retained acidity. Mike is a self-taught winemaker, learning through grit and determination from harvest after harvest. His dedication to his craft shows with this elegant Syrah with subtle smoke and blue and blackberry fruit that is both juicy and slightly savory with mild spice notes.

$24.99 per bottle



Red Car’s estate vineyard is planted near 1,000 ft, close to the fog brimmed coast among giant redwood trees. This elevation allows enough sun to reach the vines, allowing just ripe enough flavors of blackberry and blueberry. As this is an extreme cool climate fruit intensity is kept in check allowing secondary savory flavors of dried herbal rosemary, black pepper and tobacco leaf to express themselves. 11% new French oak with 20% stem inclusion. 400 cases produced.

$47.99 per bottle



 This sweet sticky wine is a labor of love as its production is dependent on a combination of sunshine, fog, dedication in the vineyard and expertise in the cellar. Its first vintage was 1985 when winemakers took advantage of inland fog that rolls into the base of the Vaca Mountains located in the eastern boundary of Napa Valley. The fog settles here longer allowing the Noble Rot mold (botrytis cinerea) to take hold on grape clusters and concentrate natural grape sugars. Some vintages the wrong kind of mold becomes dominant or yellow jacket wasps consume too much of the sweet fruit. Honey, dried apricot and orange liqueur with vanilla are found here with a rich mouthcoating texture. 32 months aging in 100% new French oak. 89% Semillon, 11% Sauvignon Blanc.

$77.99 per half bottle


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