Wednesday, January 30, 2008

2008 Paso Robles Rhône Rangers Experience

Sunday, February 17th, 2008
Seminar & Lunch: 11:00 AM to 1:30 PM
Walk-Around Tasting: 1:30 AM to 3:30 PM

Are you dying to know what it takes to produce great Syrah? Have you always wondered how Roussanne differs from Marsanne? Are you a fan of Australian Grenache, Syrah & Mourvèdre (GSM) and wonder how California compares? Is Viognier your new favorite white?

Then come join the 27 members of the Paso Robles Chapter of the Rhône Rangers for a day in Paso Robles Wine Country with some of America’s leading producers of Rhône varietals as we explore what makes Paso Robles so ideal for these great grapes and wines. This fun-filled and information-rich day will include:

"Rhône Essentials" Seminar, moderated by Joe Spellman, MS – Taste examples of the most important single-varietal Rhône wines, including Viognier, Roussanne, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Discover the different faces of Rhône blends. At each stage, Joe Spellman, MS, and the winemakers and principals who have chosen the Rhône Ranger route will explore Paso Robles' new identity as the "Rhône Zone".

Vintners' Lunch – Seminar participants will join Rhône Rangers principals and winemakers in an in informal lunch prepared by Executive Chef Jeffrey Scott, with members' Rhône wines passing freely around the tables and extended opportunity for interaction with the producers.

Walk-around Tasting – Taste Rhône wines from over 20 Paso Robles Rhône Ranger wineries, including top single Rhône varietals and the best in Rhône blends.

Participation in the seminar and lunch will be limited to the first 100 RSVPs. The walk-around tasting can accommodate up to 250 attendees.

The day's events will take place at:

Robert Hall Winery (Just east of Paso Robles on Highway 46)
3443 Mill Road, Paso Robles, CA

You can reserve space or ask questions by email at or by calling Robert Hall Winery at 805-239-1616 x17.

Tickets to attend the seminar and lunch are just $50, and participants receive free entry into the walk-around tasting. Consumers who wish to attend just the walk-around tasting can do so for $20, and the walk-around tasting is free to qualified trade and media. We expect both events to sell out, so please reserve early. See you there!

Saturday, January 12, 2008

Edward Sellers Wines Wins Four Golds

The results of the prestigious 2008 San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition are in! Edward Sellers Wines wins FOUR GOLDS! Held over a period of four days in early January at the Cloverdale Citrus Fairgrounds north of San Francisco, this exclusive event has once again broken world records. This year 4,235 wines were entered by 1,500 wineries from across the United States. To evaluate these wines, a group of sixty professional wine judges were assembled representing trade, education, media, retail, and restaurants throughout the country.

Gold Medal Winners:

2005 Cuvée des Cinq (Release Date: March 1st, 2008)
2005 Le Thief (Released November 15th, 2007)
2005 Syrah Sélectionné (Released November 15th, 2007)
2005 Vertigo (Released November 15th, 2007)

Great job Amy, Kendall, John & Dani! What a great way to start 2008!!!

Founded in 1983 as the modestly sized Cloverdale Citrus Fair Wine Competition, it has evolved into the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition while gaining notoriety and national acclaim for its ability to entice thousands of entries from the major wine-producing regions in the United States.

Wine lovers ranging from professional to amateur tasters will have the opportunity to sample our Gold Medal winning selections at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition Public Tasting, February 16, 2008 at Fort Mason’s Festival Pavilion. Toting the fact that it is a complete wine and food experience, the Public Tasting annually pairs varietals from the Competition with sumptuous creations from some of the world’s top artisan food purveyors, creating the ultimate assortment of flavors and textures.

Public Tasting

When: Saturday, February 16, 2008
Where: Festival Pavilion, Fort Mason Center, San Francisco
Time: 2pm – 5pm
Cost: $50 Advance Purchase; $70* at the door.
Info: For ticket information and pricing, visit, or call 888.695.0888.

We all hope to see you there!

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Wow Whites for '07

People ask me all the time what I do in the "off" season for Edward Sellers. This presumably means Winter, the post-harvest lull that precedes bottling and everything else. The answer is, not much. I knit, watch reruns of House, M.D., get crushes on other winemakers, and this Winter, I get to blog. But I only get to do those things when I'm not finishing up stuck ferments, preparing to bottle the previous vintage, creating tasting notes, presenting blending and tasting seminars, harassing Kendall and various wine club members in the tasting room, changing headlight bulbs on the forklift, bilking Ed out of another Vic's breakfast, or deciding on blends and production numbers for the current vintage whites.

Speaking of the current vintage whites, WOW. These are our best whites yet, and I really didn't think it could get any better than last year's Blanc du Rhône. The '07s are absolutely fantastic, owing to a completely unpredictable set of weather circumstances that made harvest decisions easy. Unseasonably cold weather kept the acids high (my key to a great white) and allowed for optimal ripeness without losing zippiness, length, or minerality. These were wines that essentially made themselves. Between harvest, mostly in September for the whites, and now, all I've done is stir the lees, providing for a creamier texture and protecting the wines against oxidation without adding any chemicals to inhibit the malolactic fermentation. It's not that I want the wines to go through ML; I only want to taste and watch them develop naturally until I feel they are right for blending and bottling. And friends, they are right, right now. As of today, I've topped them and bunged them put them to sleep, knowing exactly which lots will go into which blend, and completely satisfied with what Nature has given us.

Even though the reds are harder to pin down at this early stage, the quality of the whites is exciting enough to get really fired up over the '07 vintage. Cellar Club members will get a jump on the '07s with a white and a rosé in their May 2008 shipments. You just sit there and anticipate. I'll worry about getting it into the bottle.

Monday, January 7, 2008

A View From The Pourfessional Side

Pourfessional is a name a good friend of mine gave me while working with me in the tasting room one day. So it is fitting that my blog revolves around the tasting room, our visitors and wine of course. For my first posting I have chosen a couple from AZ and their daughter. They are wine club members and big fans of Edward Sellers Wines. It was a perfect day for wine tasting with winds at 40 mph and rain coming down in buckets. I always say wine tasting is an indoor sport, so a little rain can't stop real wine lovers. Little Elle, not old enough to drink, kept herself busy with her matchbox cars and some crackers while mom (Melanie) and dad (Kevin) enjoyed some of our new wines; 2005 Vertigo, a Grenache Blend, and 2005 LeThief, a Syrah Blend. Kevin is a big fan of French wines and has a personal connection to the Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Melanie tells me that when she meet Kevin he only drank French wines. That has changed, Kevin and Melanie are big fans of the Paso Robles Rhone wine surge and great ambassadors of Edward Sellers.

Thursday, January 3, 2008

EDWARD SELLERS Four-Part Winter “EDucation SERIES”

Well, the Holidays have come and gone and New Years Eve was a big blur, so now what? We at Edward Sellers have come up with our first “EDucation SERIES" to keep you busy during the up coming cold winter afternoons (let’s face it, how much time can you spend in the gym anyway?). There will be four classes in the series including Wine Tasting 101, Wine & Cheese Pairings, Beyond Oakiness (no, we don’t make you taste the actual barrel) and a Wine Sensory Analysis called Wine Tasting 201. Space is limited, so please sign-up soon!

Cellar Club Member: $35.00/class
Non-Cellar Club Member: $50.00/class

January 12th - Wine Tasting 101, Our Tasting Room, 1220 Park Street, Paso Robles, CA. 4 - 6 PM.
Learn the fundamentals of wine tasting from Amy who spits out more great wine on a Monday morning than you'll drink all week. What’s the deal with swirling? Does glass shape really matter? How can a liquid be described as “dry?” Why does wine smell like flowers or fruits? What does a tannin taste like? Answer these questions and more, and leave your fear of spitting at home. To join us, please call Kendall at 805-239-8915, or email Kendall Carson.

January 19th - Wine & Cheese Pairings, Our Tasting Room, 1220 Park Street, Paso Robles, CA. 4 - 6 PM.
John Di Raimondo, our cheesemonger from Di Raimondo’s Cheese Shop, knows more about cheese than anyone else we know. This evening he will share his knowledge with you and choose a few distinctive cheeses to pair with our wines. John and Amy will discuss why certain cheeses pair well with certain wines, and we will all enjoy sampling the wares. To join us, please call Kendall at 805-239-8915, or email Kendall Carson.

February 2nd - Beyond Oakiness, Our Tasting Room, 1220 Park Street, Paso Robles, CA. 4 - 6 PM.
In this program we will explore the many roles of oak barrels in winemaking. If you have ever wondered whether it’s really possible to tell the difference between French and American Oak, this seminar will leave you debating the merits of both and alienating your friends with discussions of various toasting profiles and their impacts on varietal character. To join us, please call Kendall at 805-239-8915, or email Kendall Carson.

February 16th - Wine Tasting 201, Our Tasting Room, 1220 Park Street, Paso Robles, CA. 4 - 6 PM.
Blackberry... or blueberry? Bell pepper or fresh cut grass? Come to this advanced wine tasting seminar to learn how to pick up sensory clues in the glass. We will smell a series of “spiked” wines, training our noses to identify certain aromas as they present themselves in wine, then we’ll taste flights of white and red wines using our new skills. To join us, please call Kendall at 805-239-8915, or email Kendall Carson.

Don't forget to check out the new "Videos" on the website!

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Sulfites in Wine, Edward Sellers Vineyards & Wines

“Contains Sulfites,” it says on every bottle of wine you’ve picked up lately. You may wonder what the purpose of this warning is. Is this something you should be concerned about? Or is it like the warning on your shampoo bottle that says “Do Not Swallow?” We all know that our over-protective government (not to mention the litigious nature of our society) sometimes requires us to go to extremes in labeling. However, sulfites in wine is a complex topic.

Typically added as sulfur dioxide (the same compound used to preserve dried apricots and to keep golden raisins golden), sulfites control oxidation in wine and delay microbial spoilage. In short, they prevent the wine from turning into vinegar during the aging process. At moderate levels, sulfur dioxide is tasteless and odorless in wine. At higher levels, it gives a tinny taste and can cause bleaching in reds. But for some people, notably asthmatics, it can cause severe allergic reactions. Hence, the warning!

For those who are allergic, even wines claiming “no sulfites added” can be dangerous. That’s because sulfur dioxide is a natural byproduct of yeast fermentation. In fact, enough sulfites are produced during fermentation to require the “Contains Sulfites” warning on the label, even without any sulfite additions. Any wagers on how long it will be before we have to say “contains alcohol?” -Amy Butler

Erroneous ideas about sulfites, so let’s put the record straight:

A) All wines contain sulfites. Yeast naturally produces sulfites during fermentation, so there is only a rare wine which contains none.

B) The US requires a "sulfite" warning label and Australia requires a label indicating "preservative 220," but nearly all winemakers add sulfites, including those in France , Italy , Spain , Australia , Chile , etc. So, the wine you drink in foreign countries contains sulfites, but you just are not being warned about it when purchased abroad.

C) Sulfites do not cause headaches!!! There is something in red wine that causes headaches, but the cause has not yet been discovered (Many people seem to connect their headache with the sulfite warning label, but sorry there is no connection). If you think sulfites are causing your headache, try eating some orange-colored dried apricots, and let me know if that induces a headache. If not, sulfites are not the likely culprit.