Russ Winton: Wine List

Some wine events for springtime

By Russ Winton

I’ve mentioned plenty of times in this column. It’s the Wine Institute’s website that has all kinds of useful wine information. The best part is the list of cool events going on around the state. Here are five very cool wine events this spring. They are so cool that they usually sell out. Limiting tickets is a great idea. Who likes to wait in a crowd six deep for a taste of wine? Not me.

March 28: Rhone Rangers 18th annual tasting will be held in the Craneway Pavilion, Fort Point, San Francisco Bay. It is the largest tasting of American Rhone wines with more than 80 wineries pouring over 300 wines. It’s a beautiful location, great wines and fun party.

April: SLO wine country celebrates its 25th anniversary with events at local wineries throughout the month. The final week will feature the “Barrels in the Plaza” wine and food pairing at the Mission Plaza in San Luis Obispo on April 30. SLO wine country is a hidden gem.

May 2: Amador Four Fires Festival will be held at the Amador Fairgrounds in Plymouth from 11-4 p.m. This first-time event will feature wines produced in Amador from Old World varietals paired with open-flame cuisines like roast pig, lamb on a spit and paella. Yum.

May 16: Santa Lucia Highlands ninth annual gala will be held at the beautiful Mer Soleil Winery. More than 30 SLH wineries will pour their best chardonnays, pinot noirs and syrahs paired with gourmet bites from the region’s best chefs. More yum.

June 13: Amador County fifth annual Barbera Festival will be held at the historic Terra D’Oro Winery/Montevina Vineyard on Shenandoah School Road. If you’re a big barbera fan you should be here. Tickets went on sale March 1 and it sells out quickly. Get on it!

Extra credit

Last column was about how to pronounce Old World wines that are now being produced here. If you did your homework, great, you got an A. If not, here are a few more to learn for extra credit: Txakoli (choc-OH-lee) a semi-sparkling white wine from the Basque region in Spain; Moschofilero (mo-sko-FEE-leh-ro), a popular crisp Greek white; Assyrtiko (ah-SEER-tee-ko), a Greek white from Santorini; Aglianico (ah-LYAH-nee-ko), a rich red from southern Italy, and Nero d’Avola (neh-roe-da-vol-lah), the most planted red wine in Sicily. Well done, you passed.

What’s on our table: The 2013 Vin Gris De Cigar from Bonny Doon Vineyard ($12) is a rosé made from grenache, mourvedre and rousanne. It’s a great wine for smoked ham. The Lange Twins 2012 Lodi Zinfandel ($14) is full of rich berry flavors balanced with a touch of oak and perfect with barbecued ribs. Cheers!

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