Hike, Picnic and Taste Wine at La Crema Winery’s New Outdoor Tasting Experience

As wineries slowly start re-opening in California, many are getting creative in the types of experiences they offer, because currently most tastings must be outdoors and include food. With this in mind, La Crema Winery took advantage of their beautiful Saralee’s Vineyard property to offer walking tours and picnics in the relaxing gardens surrounded by rolling vineyards.

Guests must make a reservation online in advance. When they arrive, they are provided with a map of suggested walking trails to explore the vineyards and take in the beautiful vistas of the Russian River Valley. Upon conclusion of the walking tour, they receive a pre-packed cheese and charcuterie picnic box with an estate wine to continue the La Crema outdoor experience at home or on the Estate, including at Richard’s Grove, the beautiful, expansive great lawn adjacent to the vineyards.

La Crema has prioritized safety by conducting training with its tasting room and culinary staff. All employees must wear facial coverings, conduct pre-shift health screenings, and thoroughly sanitize surfaces prior to and following all visits. Hand sanitizer stations are also available for guests. La Crema is following all the hygiene and health requirements consistent with CDC guidelines.

Reservations are available daily at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m., and can be booked online  HERE. The experience, which includes the walking tour, lunch, and a bottle of wine is $100 per couple.

Photos courtesy of La Crema.com

 

 

Passing Around Passaggio Wines at SSU WineSense Meeting

Passaggio_TRContributed by Sophia Fish – Four generations ago Cindy Cosco’s family ventured from Italy to America. In 2004 Cindy, who spent 15 years developing a career in law enforcement, left to pursue her passion and create a new generation of wines. She then started Passaggio Wines, which in Italian translates to ‘passage’ or ‘pass from’.

Cindy has three labels, one of which is her goodwill bottling, a small label is called Unmarked Wines. The name comes from her career in law enforcement, aspiring to be a detective and drive an unmarked car. She put these aspirations aside to pursue her winemaking, but donates 5% of sales as a tribute to the selfless men and women in law enforcement.

Passiaggio Wines has been very successful venture and even opened up a tasting room on the Sonoma Square last year. “I believe something magical happens when you bring wonderful friends, awesome food and great wines together,” says Cindy Cosco

Tasting of Four Passaggio Wines

Passagio winesWe tasted the following four Passaggio Wines:

  • 2014 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc: Notes of citrus, guava, pineapple, tropical fruit, floral notes, balanced acidity with a lasting finish.
  • 2014 California Unoaked Chardonnay: Yellow apple, Bartlett pear, floral notes with hints of vanilla, citrus, Meyer lemon, soft apple, crisp mineral flavors with a smooth finish.
  • 2014 California Mourvedre Rose: Strawberry, floral, raspberry, cherry with a bright refreshing finish.
  • 2013  Sonoma County Unmarked Pinot Noir: Raspberry, red cherry, spice, plum clove, with minerality, balanced tannins and acidity.

The Favorites?

2014 California Unoaked Chardonnay

2014 Sonoma County Unmarked Pinot Noir

Wine club

SSU Wine Grads Start SommSelect and Conduct Wine Tasting at Alma Mater

groupContributed by Itze Pena-Andrade – Cheers to our second WineSense Club meeting of the Fall 2015 semester! We were very excited to welcome back Brandon Carneiro and Tyler Wedeking from SommSelect to come speak with us about what SommSelect is and offers.

A little bit of History

Ian Cauble and Brandon Carneiro, the co-founders of SommSelect, first met at Sonoma State University in 1999 where they quickly became friends during their time as undergrads. Ian majored in international business and Spanish; Brandon studied economics.  Years later, they reconnected in Las Vegas where Brandon was working as a fine wine salesperson and Ian was attempting to become a Master Sommelier, which is depicted in the documentary, SOMM.

In 2014, Brandon and Ian launched SommSelect as a way to give people access to sommelier-selected wines for people to enjoy.  They have daily offerings of wines from all over the world with tasting notes, region information, and food pairings. With chances of new discovery and a new education in wine, SommSelect is a website for everyone at every budget.

Brandon Leads Wine Tasting at SSU

wineBrandon led the members of the WineSense club through a tasting that featured a  variety of wines that included a 2014 Chateau De Calavon Rosé from Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France, a 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay from White Rock Vineyards, and a 2013 Ken Wright Cellars Pinot Noir from the Willamette Valley.  Brandon walked students through the proper way to taste, the different descriptors, and how to tell the different wine varietals apart, based only on taste.

Brandon with the help of Tyler, put our club through a test as we participated in a blind tasting of our own. Students had to identify which two varietals were served and from what area, with the winning teams taking home a bottle of wine to enjoy. These two wines were a 2013 Lucien Crochet Sauvignon Blanc and a 2011 Villa Sant’Anna Chianti Colli Senesi.

Favorites Wines of the Evening

At the conclusion of our second meeting, the club members were asked to vote for their favorite wines of the evening.  Each participant could vote a total of two times and the two winners of the evening were:

  • 2014 Chateau De Calavon Rosé from Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence, France
  • 2012 Napa Valley Chardonnay from White Rock Vineyards

It was a fun-filled educational tasting that students will not forget any time soon and we can’t thank Brandon and Tyler enough for coming!

 

Kenwood and Valley of the Moon Winemakers Entertain SSU Millennials with Varietal Showdown


Another sold out crowd showed up this past week at the SSU Wine Club meeting to listen to veteran winemakers, Patrick Henderson of Kenwood Wine Estates and Greg Winter of Valley of the Moon.  In addition to honoring the “end of summer,” the tasting featured a fascinating “varietal show down” of how two wines made of the same grape varietal can taste completely different based on appellation and/or winemaking techniques.

Valley of the Moon’s Greg Winter started with out with an unoaked chardonnay and then compared it to an oaked wine.  He explained that consumers liked different styles, and so they produced both.  When he asked for a show of hands, about 2/3 of the Millennials preferred the unoaked to 1/3 voting for the oaky chardonnay.

Other “varietal taste offs” included two zinfandels from different AVA’s – one light and jammy, and the other more dark, brooding, and spicy.  The “piece de la resistance” was a taste off of Kenwood’s Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon against the iconic Jack London Vineyard Cab.

Favorite Wines of the Evening

When it came time to vote for the two top favorites, the white wines triumphed with the crowd that evening.  Valley of the Moon’s 2011 Unoaked Chardonnay ($17) with crisp acid and fresh lemon/green apple notes was a favorite, as well as Kenwood’s 2011 Pinot Gris ($16) from Russian River Valley.  It was a semi-sweet white with notes of melon and jasmine.

Once again the SSU Wine Club Executive Board were present, and provided everyone with great appetizer plates filled with salami, cheese, fruit and two types of chocolates.  Another successful tasting at SSU thanks to the excellent wines of Kenwood and Valley of the Moon wineries.

B.R. Cohn and Shone Farm Shine With Millennials

By Guest Author Jenna Riggan – SSU Wine Sense welcomed Shone Farm and B.R. Cohn for the latest Food & Wine Pairing event. A total of 36 students enjoyed learning about both wineries, and a few attentive tasters walked away with a bottle of B.R. Cohn Estate Grown Olive Oil, and a bottle of B.R. Cohn California Golden Balsamic Vinegar thanks to a raffle hosted by B.R. Cohn’s Stephen Winston!

Favorite Wines

Shone Farm Winery, located in the heart of the Russian River Valley AVA, is where the Santa Rosa Junior College wine students have the opportunity to be involved in all aspects of the winemaking process. Their presence provided the unique occasion for SSU Wine Business Students to gain insight and knowledge on what the SRJC students are producing. The favorite wine from Shone Farm was the 2009 Estate Chardonnay ($28) from Russian River Valley with rich tropical fruit flavors. 80 cases produced. For more information on the winery: http://www.shonefarm.com/winery/index.shtml

Located in Sonoma Valley, B.R. Cohn produces not only excellent wines, but also quality olive oil. B.R Cohn prides itself on their Olive Hill Estate Vineyard, which was named for the winery’s Picholine olive tree grove. The favorite wine was the 2008 B.R. Cohn Olive Hill Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley ($55).  This wine was an instant favorite, with its intense plum, berry and cherry flavors. 3600 cases produced. For more information on the winery: http://www.brcohn.com/

Food Pairing

Our chefs provided a delicious traditional Italian-American food menu including baked pasta, Caesar salad, garlic bread, and tiramisu trifle.