As a Wine Enthusiast I could not have been more excited for the Wine & Spirits Top 100 held October 20th, 2015 in San Francisco!
With many many highly acclaimed wines from the top 100 wineries of the year there was a lot to taste and I quickly realized I would not get to taste everything. So, I took advantage of the opportunity to taste and meet some new Wines and Winemakers which I otherwise may not get a chance to try. As a girl who loves new world wines (the Californian in me) I was ecstatic to get more familiar with some of the Oregon Wineries at the event as well as of course try those well-known wines everyone was raving about as must try’s. Below are my Top 10 Favorite’s from the event. What makes them a favorite? A few things, not only because I enjoyed the wine, but in most cases I got to know the wine makers, the family and really connected during the visit which to me is half of the fun of enjoying wines. Read more about my Top 10 Favorite’s of the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting below.
1. aMaurice Cellars 2014 Yakima Boushey Vineyard Marsanne-Viognier. AMaurice Cellars is a family owned Winery currently on their 5th generation of winemakers. I met partner/father Tom Schafer and his daughter, Winemaker Anna Schafer who were wonderful and made a lovely Viognier. It was super smooth with not too much sweetness, and just the right balance. I immediately loved their wine and the story of their family owned winery. I will be visiting them as well when I make it to Oregon.
2. Banshee Wines 2012 Sonoma Coast Marine Layer Pinot Noir & 2013 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay. Most of you, especially California Wine lovers already know of Banshee Wines. They are a fabulous Winery with a tasting room in Healdsburg California (which you can read about here) making awesome Sonoma Coast Pinot Noirs, Chardonnays & and Rose. They were founded by three best friends (shown below) making killer wines from a great group of people who are hard to not adore.
Hanging with Winemaker Noah. He’s a blast, so we had fun tasting and connecting. I’m a Banshee Wine Club member so drink Banshee a ton which made it so fun celebrating this huge honor with them!
3. Domaine Du Pelican 2013 Arbois Chardonnay, France. This was a lovely Chardonnay extremely balanced having spent a year in French Oak. It also comes from a bio dynamic Winery which I find fascinating. This was truly lovely and so fun to discover and fall in love with. I loved this so much I returned for a second taste. Merci Beaucoup Domaine Du Pelican!
4. Bergstrom 2013 Willamette Valley Sigrid Chardonnay & 2013 Dundee Hills Bergstrom Vineyard Pinot Noir. Both of these wines were incredible making it was hard to pick what I preferred more, the Pinot Noir or the Chardonnay. Regardless, they were fabulous and wines I will continue to drink and enjoy now that I’ve experienced them!
5. Penfolds 2012 South Australia Grange. I would say this Australian wine got the most buzz of the evening so I of course was anxious to try it. After tasting it I see why. I thought it was lovely, super balanced and smooth with full flavors. I still am dying to visit Australia so when I do Penfolds will for sure be on my itinerary!
6. Big Table Farm 2013 Willamette Valley Chardonnay. This was another amazing Oregon Wine I fell in love with. The Chardonnay was fermented in mixed age French Oak. The Oak was subtle and created a lovely Chardonnay with light baking spice flavors and a sweet taffy scene to the nose. I adored it! The Winery was founded by Clare Carver (below) and her husband, Winemaker Brian Marcy. I later learned the gorgeous Wine labels are made by Clare and her labels have received multiple awards, including America’s top ten wine labels (S.F. Chronicle, ’06). Kudos Clare and Brian on your amazing wines and beautiful labels. I look forward to visiting you in Oregon and experiencing more of your wines!
7. Roederer Estate 2006 Alexander Valley L’Ermitage Brut Rose. I had heard about Roederer Estate as a must try for an upcoming Mendocino trip so I was thrilled to get to try them at the event. I fell in love with their extra Brut bubbles which was extremely dry and crisp. Lucky for me, I’m visiting the winery very soon and am thrilled to enjoy more of these delicious wines!
8. Louis Roederer & Philippe Starck’s Brut Nature 2006. This is an amazing collabotion between Louis Roederer and Philippe Starck which was fabulous. Described as “The distinctive qualities of each parcel are the result of great respect for nature. Louis Roederer’s philosophy is shared by Philippe Starck: both are engaged in a quest for authenticity. The harvest from each parcel is pressed and vinified separately. Over the months, the wine is tasted and analysed by the oenologists; this provides them with an extensive aromatic palette that gives them a rich choice and enables them to develop blends under the watchful eye of the Cellar Master, Jean-Baptiste Lécaillon. This quest for authenticity matches Philippe Starck’s desire to collaborate on the development of a unique, finely tuned, and authentic cuvée. They decided to draw inspiration from river wines to create a straightforward, medium-dry, terroir-based champagne. Consequently, every measure was taken on the south-facing parcels of Pinot noir to nurture grapes that would attain great maturity, in order to obtain an excellent fruit that would require very minor corrective measures.”
9. Cristom Vineyards 2012 Williamette Valley Eola-Amity Hills Louise & Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir. Meeting Winemaker Steve of Christom was a thrill for me as I quickly learned he was one of the founding Winemakers in Oregon’s infamous Pinot Noir Region. He was extremely friendly, knowledgeable producing delicious Pinot Noirs you must try. I have decided my first Wine Trip of 2016 will be to this region to enjoy more of Steve and his fellow Winemaker’s delicious Pinot Noirs.
10. Failla 2013 Anderson Valley Savoy Welsey Pinot Noir. Wow! The Failla Wines were amazing. They have such rich fruit with wonderful full body that was super smooth. I quickly fell in love….. I also enjoyed them the following week at Healdsburg’s Pinots on the River. It’s always fun seeing new friends and getting to taste them two weeks in a row!
Cheers to an amazing event experiencing many new wines, seeing old friends and sharing so many fabulous wines together! See you in 2016.