Russ Winton: Wine List

Anderson Valley Pinot Festival, wet and wonderful

The Navigator and I knew rain was in the forecast for that weekend. However, the thought of missing 53 wineries pouring Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs never entered our minds. We threw in the umbrellas and headed north. The Friday night barbecue held at Goldeneye Winery was perfect. Clear skies, live country twang music, pulled pork sandwiches and several salads to choose from. Plenty of wines were available as pinot fans were encouraged to bring a bottle of their favorite wine to share.

We rented an Airbnb studio on the coast in Albion and on the drive there, the rain started and didn’t stop. The Grand Tasting was held at the beautiful Camp Navarro. The grass meadows, surrounded by majestic redwoods, were tented to allow the premiere event of the festival to proceed. It was chilly with squishy muddy spots here and there. The rain alternated between a light mist and a downpour but inside the tents, the stars of the festival, Pinot Noirs, were spectacular. Yes, the 22nd annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival was wet but oh so wonderful!

The Anderson Valley Winegrowers will be holding a Barrel Tasting on July 20-21, The Taste of Anderson Valley in San Francisco Nov. 7, The Winter White Wine Festival on Feb. 22-23, 2020 and the 23rd annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival on May 15-17, 2020. You can find out more at

What’s on Our Table

I received an email asking me why I haven’t recommended any wines from the Grocery Outlet lately. I didn’t have an answer but only thought, so many wines, so little time. The Navigator said we were having a dinner party with eight wino friends. Before dinner we blind tasted four Grocery Outlet 2015 Petite Sirahs, all under $6. If you like big reds, this is it. Petite, it is not. It will definitely stain your lips and teeth. It has big fruit, body, tannins and alcohol. Dominate flavors are blueberry, dark chocolate, black pepper and black tea. The winner with six first-place votes and two seconds was Guenoc Winery from Lake County. Runner-up, with mostly second place votes, went to EOS Winery from Paso Robles. All four were solid but according to the votes, these two stood out. Two good value priced Petite Sirahs I recommend are Bogle and McManis, both under $10. If you dig Argentinian Malbec, try the 2016 Trapiche Medalla from the Mendoza Region. It has ripe red fruits, spices and a long, velvety smooth finish. The SRP is $24.99 but it is sale priced at Total Wine and More under $18. Such a deal. Cheers!

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