The 34th Annual
Mill Valley Wine, Beer & Gourmet Food Tasting Festival Sunday, May 31, 2015 Downtown Plaza Mill Valley, CA 1:00 PM - 4:00 PM
RAIN OR SHINE!
Photos by Gary Ferber
$50 until May 30th (Group packet of 4 tickets for $175)
Advance Discount Tickets for members and friends of wine.coop
(FYI: deal ends at noon on Thursday, May 28th) Pay with PayPal or your credit or debit card
Bring printout of receipt or show on your phone at event
$60 day of event(Group packet of 4 tickets for $200)
This is one of our favorite tastings of the year with the best wines, thanks to the connection of the Mill Valley Market, and the beautiful outdoors setting. We've been successful in getting discounts these past couple of years.
Proceeds go to the Mill Valley Chamber of Commerce and Kiddo!, the Mill Valley Schools Community Foundation.
Sponsored by Mill Valley Market since 1981, this special North Bay event brings together all the best aspects of California living into one exciting afternoon set against the backdrop of beautiful Mill Valley. The Mill Valley Wine & Gourmet Food Tasting features wine from 60 premium wineries, and food from 30 food purveyors and 10 local restaurants and chefs
Fifteen breweries featuring fine craft beers will also participate. Known for a wide selection of hard to find wines, this event is not to be missed by anyone who is a fan of fine crafted beverages and foods.
Complimentary valet bicycle parking will once again be provided by the Marin County Bicycle Coalition and sponsored by Tam Bikes in Mill Valley.
Some Past Events
An Afternoon in a vineyard
We celebrated the 15th Annual Afternoon in the Vineyards at Brown Vineyards to learn more about what makes the Napa Valley a unique grape growing region and the home of world-class wines.
Hosted by the Napa Valley Vintners and Napa Valley Grapegrowers, this event was a casual community open house, complimentary for Napa County residents and their guests.
We enjoyed an al fresco lunch afterward at the Market in the Carneros Inn. I
Cabernet Shootout Challenge
Saturday, March 21, 2015
1925 Elks Lodge Ballroom
Kensington Park Hotel
450 Post St.~Union Square
San Francisco, CA 94102
Noon-1:30: VIP Winemakers Panel
1:00: Cabernet Shootout Challenge blind tasting begins
1:30 Walk around tasting with nibbles begins
3:30 Awards ceremony and raffle drawing/wine sales
4:00 Event ends
A wine cash bar will remain open after the awards presentation for those who want to linger.
PIT YOUR PALATE AGAINST THE PROS
Each year Cabernet fans in the Bay Area can indulge their passion which has been rescheduled for the end of March in a convenient historic setting. Enjoy this unique experience without the crowd crush of the mega tastings or driving long distances for Passport weekends
Over a number of weeks,Affairs of the Vine convenes a select panel of 40 wine makers, writers, retailers, educators, and consultants to judge the Cabernet Shootout among artisan Cabernet Sauvignons, Cabernet Francs and Cabernet blends from over 40 different viticultural areas. Without regard to price, vintage or region, this group of experts moves 64 wines to the final round selecting 32 "best of the best." on February 21st. An array of finalists are then tasted blind and evaluated by wine lovers at the March 21st event.
tThe Cab Challenge afternoon, organized by the Bay Area Wine Society/wine.coop, begins with a winemakers roundtable discussion on the nature and nurture of crafting their top Cab. They will cover:
~HOW PLACE AFFECTS TASTE: How much does terroir play a role in the crafting of Cabernet versus winemaking techniques. The panels will concentrate on how site influences a winemaker moving from vineyard to fermentation, touching on appellation and specific geographical location, clone preference, vine management, pick date effected by weather, influence of marketing, and the like. ~THE WINEMAKERS SIGNATURE: the stylistic choices in the winemaking process--the winemaker's personal decisions, focusing on such specifics as yeasts, whether to go with whole cluster fermentation temperature and tanks, alcohol content, punch downs vs. pump-overs, barrel age, skin contact time, bottling date and related topics.
After the optional VIP workshops the finalists are evaluated in a blind tasting by the attendees. Each Cab enthusiast can choose their favorites in a flight of 16 Cabs containing five of the top 10 wines chosen by the wine industry professionals.
In this special Pro/Am competi-tion, the results of the profes-sionals' Cab Shootout will then be compared to the tally of the 'amateurs' Cab Challenge, both tabulated separately by gender.
This distinctly different format provides a special opportunity to compare your favorites of this taste-off to those of the 'tastemakers' in the wine industry. It also allows participants to sample and rate very limited production rising star wines.
During the afternoon, attendees will also be able to mingle and meet with a number of the vintners from the wineries that participated in the Cabernet Shootout in an open walk around tasting accompanied by various nibbles.
Sample wines from a mix of boutique producers from appellations located throughout the West Coast including varietals other than Cabernets. Participating wineries will be selling their wines for take away.
We will also be raffling off bottles of killer Cabs from the participating wineries to raise funds forBig Brothers/Big Sisters.sAnd since we are expecting 25+ wineries to pour in the walk around tasting, and no more than 300 tickets will be sold, the odds are quite good that you can walk away with a superb bottle of vino.
TRANSIT & PARKING: Three blocks away from BART and Muni Metro, and near numerous garages.
Black Team Flight
AQUAJ. Rickards 2012 Estate, Reserve Serpentine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley $52
BLUE GREENConcrete Wine Co 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $75
BRONZERocca Family Vineyards 2012 Tesorina Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $160
RED The Winery SF 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, North Coast $25
TURQUOISE Campana Ranch 2012 Cabernet Blend, Sonoma County $29
WEDGEWOOD Xanadu 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River $30
YELLOWHovey 2012 Isabel Rasmussen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Calaveras County $36
Male Cabernet Shootout Judging Panel 1st Place – Cameron Hughes 2012 Lot 535 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $29 2nd Place- Okapi 2012 Estate Jungle Love Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oak Knoll District $100 3rd Place -J. Rickards 2012 Estate, Reserve Serpentine Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley $52
Female Cabernet Shootout Judging Panel 1st Place- Campana Ranch 2012 Cabernet Blend, Sonoma County $29 2nd Place – Singer Cellars 2012 the Song Mt. George Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville, Napa $42 3rd Place – Calcareous Vineyard 2011 Lloyd Cabernet Blend, Paso Robles $50
Male Wine Lovers 1st Place – Ackerman Family Vineyards 2008 Estate Stonehaven Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville $95 2nd Place – Nottingham Cellars 2012 Supremacy Cabernet Blend, Livermore Valley $75 3rd Place -@Wine 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County $40
Female Wine Lovers 1st Place – Xanadu 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Margaret River (Australia) $30 2nd Place – Concrete Wine Co 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $75 3rd Place – Westerly Wines 2011 Cabernet Blend, Happy Canyon of Santa Barbara $75
Predictably the favorites of regular wine drinkers deviated completely from those who make their career in the wine industry.
Our first flight of new releases crafted by San Francisco based wineries from both Treasure Island and SOMA was held at the Pickwick Hotel @ 5th and Mission. We sampled 14 new releases from four San Francisco based wineries We had vintners or reps present to pour and discuss the wines. Plenty of nibbles including charcuteries from Fabrique Delices and tri tip from the Vineburg Deli.
We also auctioned off a few bottles of gold medal winners from the Pinot Noir Showdown to raise funds for One Brick. and conducted our usual taste-off to pick our favorites (we will simplify the scoring by relying on the selection system used at the CabChallenge in Jan.). Wines being poured were available for sale through our eCommerce Third Party Provider program.
Here are most delicious wines based on the average of 14 individual voters among the attendees who participated in the taste-off:
Favorite Wine Under $30 ~ HEARTFELT WINES 2010 Petite Sirah Alexander Valley (winery price: $28/wine.coop price: $23)
Winemaker's statement: "This deep, dark, powerful red delivers expressions of plums and black cherries, with undertones of coconut, vanilla, and spices. Broad and balanced on the palate, this wine firms up nicely on the finish, where the tannins provide grip."
Favorite Wine Over $30 A.P. VIN 2012 Pinot Noir Rosella's Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands $50
Other high scorers
HEARTFELT WINES 2010 Inspiration Red Coombsville Napa Valley $62
VIE 2010 Syrah, Las Madres Vineyard Los Carneros $39
Favorite White White tie
HEARTFELT WINES 2012 Chardonnay Russian River Valley
VIE 2011 Roussanne Lake County $16
Best Bang for the Buck
WINERY SF 2010 People’s Blend North Coast $16
VIE 2011 Roussanne Lake County $16
The Old Mint ~ January 18, 2014
Noon: VIP Vintners Panels
1:30: Cabernet Shootout Challenge and walk around tasting
3:30 Awards ceremony and raffle
4:00 Event ends
For many wine enthusiasts, January is associated with a major tasting of Zinfandels. Now Cabernet fans, thanks to the Bay Area Wine Society and Affairs of the Vine, can also indulge their passion at the beginning of the year in one of the most historic settings in the Bay Area - The Old Mint which dates from 1874 and slated to become the SF History Museum. Enjoy the experience without the crowd crush of the mega tastings or long drive to Passport weekends.
Over a number of weeks in the fall, Affairs of the Vine convened a select panel of 40 wine makers, writers, retailers, educators, and consultants to judge the 8th Cabernet Shootout among mostly limited production artisan Cabernets, Cabernet Francs and Cabernet blends from over 35 different viticultural areas. Without regard to price, vintage or region, this group of experts moved 64 wines to the final round selecting 32 "best of the best."
The Cabernet Challenge offered a VIP ticket to attend one of two concurrent PANEL SESSIONS of winemakers who discussed the nature and nurture of crafting vino:
~HOW PLACE AFFECTS TASTE: How much does terroir play a role in the crafting of Cabernet versus winemaking techniques. This panel will concentrate on how site influences a winemaker moving from vineyard to fermentation, touching on appellation and specific geographical location, clone preference, vine management, pick date effected by weather, influence of marketing, and the like. ~THE WINEMAKERS SIGNATURE: This panel will concentrate on stylistic choices in the winemaking process--the winemaker's personal decisions, focusing on such specifics as yeasts, whether to go with whole cluster fermentation temperature and tanks, alcohol content, punch downs vs. pup-overs, barrel age, skin contact time, bottling date and relatedtopics.
BLIND TASTE OFF
After the optional workshops the finalists were evaluated in a blind tasting. Each Cab enthusiast selected their favorites in two concurrent flights of 17 Cabs containing five of the top 10 wines chosen by the professional panelists.
In this special oenological Pro/Am competition, the results of the professionals' Cab Shootout ranking were then compared to the tally of the 'amateurs' Cab Challenge, both tabulated by gender.
This distinctly different format provides a unique opportunity to compare your top wines to those of the 'tastemakers' in the wine industry. It also allows participants to sample other than the usual suspects and rate rising star wineries.
THE CAB CHALLENGE FINALISTS
The wine lovers made notes and then cast their votes by putting chips in the ballot boxes of their favorite wines.147 of the wine lovers attending the event participated in the Cabernet Shootout Challenge.
AQUASol Rouge 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Lake County $32
BEIGEWilliam Hill 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $40
BLUE GREEN AuburnJames 2009 Artist Series Meritage, Napa Valley $85
BURGUNDY Estate 1856 2011 Bordeaux Blend, Sonoma County $38
WEDGEWOOD En Garde 2011 Ghielmetti Vineyard Cabernet Franc, Livermore Valley $48
YELLOWThe Steven Kent Winery 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley $48
Best of the wine lovers "Peoples Choice", pitting their palates against the pros. The consumers deviated completely from the experts.
Male Cabernet Shootout Judging Panel 1st Place – En Garde 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley $68 2nd Place - AuburnJames 2009 Bella Vista Blocks 1&4 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $75 Two wines tied for 3rd Place – 3rd Place -Cass Winery 2009 Cass Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles $45 AND 3rd Place - Eberle 2009 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles $34
Male Wine Lovers 1st Place – AuburnJames 2009 Bella Vista Blocks 1&4 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $75 2nd Place – The Winery SF 2008 Beatty Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley/Howell Mtn $150 3rd Place – Rahn Estate 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $55
Female Cabernet Shootout Judging Panel 1st Place - Great Dane 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley, Coombsville $110 2nd Place – Louis M. Martini 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County $18 3rd Place – En Garde 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley $68
Female Wine Lovers 1st Place – AuburnJames 2009 Bella Vista Blocks 1&4 Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley $75 2nd Place – Muscardini Cellars Madrone Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley $39 3rd Place – En Garde 2008 Cabernet Sauvognon, Diamond Mountain District, Napa Valley $68
THE WALK AROUND TASTING
During the afternoon, attendees were also able to mingle and meet with a number of the vintners from the wineries that participated in the Cabernet Shootout in an open walk around tasting accompanied by various nibbles.
They sampled wines from a mix of boutique producers from different appellations located throughout the state. Participating wineries included Auburn James, Cameron Hughes, Deerfield Ranch, En Garde, Enoteca Five, Estate 1856, J.Rickards, Pendleton Estate, Penman Springs, Sol Rouge, 3 Steves, and WinerySF.
Holiday Wine Tasting Pop-up & Tour of Museum Exhibits
December 22, 2013
The Museum of the African Diaspora
We celebrated the season and the legacy of Nelson Mandela at MoAD with a range of boutique wines that were chosen by our members tasting panel as the best of our monthly mingles. We included several other wines sampled for the first time The wines were available for purchase at a discount in the museum store to raise some funds for the museum. The exhibit and tasting were free of charge.
From the American Revolutionary War to the civil rights movement through today, forward-thinking Black Americans have consistently aligned their struggle for freedom with the battles of other oppressed peoples, especially those of African descent.
At the turn of the 20th century, Black writers, intellectuals, and artists from around the globe—including Africa, the United States, South America, and the Caribbean—initiated ongoing dialogues that formed the basis for emerging ideologies and nascent movements concerned with helping all people of African descent attain liberation, equality, and self-determination.
This growing solidarity flowered under such banners as anti-colonialism, Pan-Africanism, Négritude, Negrismo, Indigenism, Blackness, anti-imperialism, and Black internationalism, a particularly fitting term for the interconnections of Black freedom struggles across national, continental and oceanic boundaries.
Significant ideological overlap existed among Black artistic and political movements at home in the Americas and abroad. Each one of these iterations emphasized culture as a means for holistic empowerment and invited African people to define culture on their own terms.
Additional Tour: 12:30-1:30/Met up at MoAD wine tasting table in lobby.
In their galleries, the California Historical Society surveyed three ambitious efforts to reimagine the city of San Francisco and the Bay Area as a metropolitan region—Marincello, Yerba Buena Center, and the Ferry Building—reaching beyond plans and models to depict the political, social, and economic challenges to each. Throughout, architectural drawings, letters, photographs, artworks, videos, and newspaper clippings represent the voices of advocates and detractors. Through these sites, we see the built environment of today as a collected history that is still building.
Our November taste-off offered 18 different types and brands of wines in two flights selected to pair with the fare of America's unique fall celebration. We included a broad array of wines: white, pink, and red, to go with turkey and ham sliders, plus a variety of cheeses.
Our monthly wine mingles seek to offer occasions for people to socialize over new and different releases. Why nurse a glass of a single varietal or be limited to a flight of three wines at a high-markup wine bar when for the same amount of money you can enjoy and learn about a range of wines while chatting with old and new friends and enjoying some nifty nibbles.
The 'citizen judge' format is based on the premise that those who buy wines for dinner or a special occasion should evaluate current releases not the "gatekeepers" or tastemakers who "curate" wine selections.
We believe that a limited number of wines have an appeal to a cross section of different consumer palates, but less often please the refined tastes of the wine pros. We want to offer attendees the opportunity to decide on their choices and represent the tastes of other consumers.
Each wine received at least 13 votes (some members bypassed the whites), most 18 (some attendees did only one flight, some both).
Wild turkey formed the core dish for what traditionally is known as "The First Thanksgiving"-- the 1621 gathering between the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag at Plymouth Colony. The use of the turkey in the USA for Thanksgiving precedes Lincoln's nationalization of the holiday in 1863. Alexander Hamilton proclaimed that no "Citizen of the United States should refrain from turkey on Thanksgiving Day," and many of the Founding Fathers (particularly Benjamin Franklin) had high regard for the wild turkey as an American icon.
The results (the criterion is tastiness=how yummy is the wine when accompanying turkey or ham):
Krutz Family Cellars2011 Zinfandel Magnolia Series Napa Valley (Sweepstakes winner for November/Best of Tasting) $24 winery price $21 Special Members Price
From the website:
Winemakers notes: "Spicy raspberry and brambleberry immediately jump out of the glass as aromatics. Sweet cherry pie is framed nicely by a brushy and savory cedar plank. This is the second time a Zin has been selected as the favorite wine of the month." A great value besides, with the lowest price of the wines tasted....
"We sourced from multiple vineyards throughout Napa Valley for this complex, yet balanced Zinfandel. .
AVA Breakdown 25% Howell Mountain 19% Chiles Valley 19% Napa Valley 17% Atlas Peak 11% Napa Valley North 9% Calistoga ...
"The Magnolia, the state flower and tree of Mississippi, is a symbol of our southern roots and way of life. It’s been said, “One can’t get to where they are going without knowing where they’ve been.” We at Krutz Family Cellars take pride of where we’re from and where we are aiming to go. Some of the virtues and ways of life that were instilled in us growing up in the south are well evident today in our business, our personal life, and our wines. These same virtues and values that we will no doubt work to pass to our children too. Our wines are true, honest, and fun, just as the folks who build them." Read more about the family and the winery here
Two Shepherds Vineyards 2011 Pastoral Rouge Rhone blend North and Central Coast $38. Members price $32 Shipping $7 for any quantity.
From the website:
"Pastoral Rouge is Two Shepherd’s flagship blend, replacing the 2010 ‘GSM.’ A hand crafted blend of Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah, in that order, comprises the 2011 blend. Drinking bright and well as of April, but giving it some more bottle time for the players to increase in harmony. "
"Two Shepherds: Shepherd of the Palate, Shepherd of the Grape"
"Two Shepherds is the genesis of founder William Allen, publisher of the widely read blog, Simple Hedonisms and long time garagiste wine maker, who decided to put his money where his keyboard was by planting a vineyard and starting a micro-wnery. After years of extolling his love of Rhone wines, and winemaking practices of balance and elegance, as well as enthusiastically encouraging consumers to branch out and extend their palates, William decided to expand upon his years of garage wine making and hands on harvest experience to make commercially available the style of wines he was championing. Thus Two Shepherds was born--making wines that "shepherd" grapes gently into non-manipulated and balanced old world style wines, while also guiding consumers back to wines of authenticity, and to the wonderfully diverse realm of Rhone wines." Morehere
(90-92) DELICIOUS ~ EXCELLENT - A complex, concentrated wine that balances lush fruit qualities with refinement Gold Medal
WE'RE LUCKY TO HAVE COME ACROSS THIS BLEND MADE BY BRAVIUM'S DEREK ROLFFHS
Lucky III has a vibrant, dark red hue and aromas of cherry, mocha, leather and vanilla, with spice notes. This Napa Valley wine's entry is powerful and expansive with flavors of dark cherry, chocolate, and berry fruit that persist on the lengthy, smooth and complex finish. Lucky is approachable now and drinks great on its own and with a wide range of foods especially BBQ, pizza, Italian food, and all meat dishes.
Very dark red color with dark fruit and oak spice aromas. Red and black fruit dominate this full-bodied wine. With a rich mouthfeel featuring high fruit concentration, Lucky's delicious finish goes on and on.
49% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Zinfandel, 7% Petite Sirah. California Appellation.
BLENDING PARTS TO PRODUCE A BETTER SUM
Sales of all Bravium and Artisan wines support Sip&Give, the charitable giving campaign that Derek created. Sip&Give features a variety of worthy charities that are funded based upon your wine purchases and votes at sipandgive.com.
Each month we offer 16 hard-to-find, boutique wines from different viticultural areas in California which are under consideration by the members for our wine.coop group buying cooperative.
This month's group selected two proprietary red blends as their top choices which are available for the low price of $15 and $25 . Several members have already purchased a case. Go to the Purchase Wine page of wine.coop site to learn more
.The 'citizen judge' format is based on the premise that those who buy wines for dinner or a special occasion should evaluate current releases not the "gatekeepers" who "curate" wine selections. We also eschew the 100 pt. system as unnaturally precise in favor of a 5 star with half stars approach (see our blogwhich lays out our taste off methodology)
And we always arrange to secure venues close to BART and affordable parking. Pam Lintner has again agreed to host our tasting panel in her office at thEbottom of California St.
The wines were paired with some tasty nibbles. Plus we raffled off some special wines.
Our unique approach is based on the premise that a limited number of wines have an appeal to a broad range of different palates which rarely please the refined tastes of the wine pros. We want to offer attendees the opportunity to decide on their choices and represent the tastes of other consumers.
The top wines for July:
(87-89) HIGHLY RECOMMENDED ~ VERY GOOD Displaying special qualities of finesse and flavor
Tied for high scorer but awarded solo 1st place due to its low price.
5.Orsianna 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Mendocino County $20
6.Stein Family Wines 2010 Same Sex Meritage Red Blend California $25
7.Stein Family Wines 2010 Just Joshin Red Blend California $20
8.Casey Flat Ranch CFR Estate Red Blend Capay Valley $35
9.Breathless Wines Brut Rosé Methode Champenoise North Coast $32
10.Windsor Oaks 2010 Sauvignon Blanc Russian River Valley $29
11.Manzoni Vineyards 2011 Chardonnay Santa Lucia Highlands $30
12.Darms Lane Winery 2010 Chardonnay Oak Knoll Napa Valley $28
13.Manzoni Vineyard 2011 Pinot Noir Home Vineyard Santa Lucia Highlands $35
14.Victor Hill 2010 Cinsault Donohue Vineyards Sonoma Valley $20
15.Casey Flat Ranch 2009 Open Range Red Blend California $18
16.Stein Family Wines Arleyna Red Blend Napa Valley $59
Ranking: 1st=3 pts, 2nd=2pts, 3rd=1pt
April Wine Mingle featuring Placer and Nevada Counties
This larger tasting occurred after touring the Old Mint. The relatively unkown wines from this part of Gold Country clearly pleased the attendees. Our Wine Mingle was held over two weekends, first at the Pickwick Hotel, across the street from the Mint, and then Restaurante 54 behind the mint where this picture was taken.
(90-92) DELICIOUS ~ EXCELLENT - A complex, concentrated wine that balances lush fruit flavors with refinement
Avanguardia 2011 Cristallo white blend Nevada County Sierra Foothills $14
Avanguardia 2009 Premiato red blend Sierra Foothills 20
Bent Metal Winery 2009 Barbera Sierra Foothills 22