Friday, October 16, 2009

Treasure Island Wine Fest: Honorable Mentions!!

Lodi visited a chilly and slightly overcast San Francisco during the Treasure Island Wine Fest and the wrap up of FLEET WEEK! on October 11th. However, the weather did not stop approximately 1,500 people from huddling in an intimate tent with 200+ wines and getting to know each other really, really well.

I wore a dress and a light jacket (STUPID), so I wimped out on the outdoor wine seminars.

By mid-afternoon, we were all treated to an airshow by the Blue Angels. It was thankfully warm enough then to catch the spectacle in the sky. Very cool! I didn't snap any pics because I wanted to actually watch the show. :)

So, the festival itself... the little wine "circus" in the tent, if you will. This blog post is dedicated to my "best in show". If I really liked a particular wine, I snapped its label, or grabbed a piece of literature (business card or flyer) from the winery.

First up, we have the Zany Zin from Stama Winery. I don't care much for the name (or the label). To me "zany" means wacky and all over the place. This wine packed enough punch to be a zin, yet it was balanced. Well done!

A current favorite of mine is the rosé done by Vino Con Brio (Wine with Passion!). It's called Vino Con Brio Estate Passione Rose, Lodi, 2008. Let me say, I felt pretty passionate about getting another pour of that one! The couple who own Vino Con Brio also manage Amorosa Inn & Gardens.

Always a favorite of mine is Lange Twins Winery. Randall was at the winefest that day, while Brad was harvesting. I really think they do white wines quite well in a region known more for its reds. I like the viognier best. For your social networking information, Lange Twins are on Facebook and Twitter. Also they'll be pairing with Boulevard Bistro in Elk Grove on October 21st for what I read to be a major wine feast.

Next up, we have Onus. Shout out to the winemaker for being super friendly, but I really enjoyed the 2003 cab being poured. Pick that one up with your Thanksgiving turkey. Also, I'll be sampling more from them, so look for future posts on Onus wine.

Mokelumne (Mo-KUL-uh-me) Glen Vineyards is a best in show for me because it provided a new experience. I had never tried a German red before. I really liked the Bacchus. Because it was like candy.

m2 Wines stood out with their 2007 'Old Vine' Zinfandel. Also, if you visit them in Lodi, don't miss the 2007 'Artist Series' Zinfandel. m2 became a favorite of mine a few years back at the 2007 Zinfest. It was my favorite wine of the day. Follow winemaker Layne Montgomery here on twitter.

Food break: So, during an event like this, of course you must try some cheese, oils, and vinegars to accompany all the lovely wines. Fiscalini was on hand to showcase some of their artisanal cheeses. I sampled a Smoked Flavored Cheddar & the San Joaquin Gold. Delectable stuff!

Though it was not at the festival, a favorite of mine is the Purple Moon. It's soaked in Cabernet Sauvignon. I encourage you to try it. Surf on over here to see their farmstead offerings.

Bellindora Vinegars brought out a plethora of flavors with their balsamic vinegars. Their display allowed patrons to try their pomegranate, peach, apple, fig balsamics, as well as their champagne pear vinegar. My favorite was the fig. ($9) All I needed was a slab of pork. Priceless.

Winding down to the finish for me was Harmony Wynelands. If you ever in Lodi, don't miss them because they have a wurlitzer organ right in the tasting room. My favorite wines at Harmony are their sparkling wine and their rosé. The have a silent movie showing (featuring the wurlitzer organ and a vocalist) next month. (November 13th.) They will be playing the movie "The Kid Brother" with Harold Lloyd. Tickets are $12, and only $10 for wine club members.

And the winner is…

I really liked St. Amant's display at the festival, because they had plates of the actual grapes sitting out by the different varietals. I snapped this pic of the barbera varietal because it ended up being my favorite wine of the day. I think I actually said "wow" as a tried it. The grapes come from a 37-year old vineyard in the historic Lodi Appellation. Below is a picture of the label. It's only $18 a bottle at the winery. Their website needs a little work, but maybe they are putting all their time into winemaking. That does not bother me.

Did you MISS the Treasure Island Wine Fest? Don't despair. I hear the organizers are going to make the event an annual one. Also, I want to let you know about another event (this time held in Lodi), called First Sip. It's November 14 & 15th. The best part of this event is that you have a great excuse to not only taste some great futures, but you can also shop for some spectacular wines to serve at your holiday table! Tickets are $35 in advance and good for both days of the event.

I call the Treasure Island visit a success. So, now I think it's time for Lodi to also visit Sacramento. Perhaps a wine bar/tasting room in the former "Discover California!" location in Old Sacramento? Lodi wineries could band together and have a store front for people who have never been to Lodi, don't know about Lodi wines, etc. Just a thought...

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