The Tasting Panel magazine

December 2011

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Page 26 of 128

SAN FRAN INSIDER Time in a Bottle I by Deborah Parker Wong t's that time again; 2011 is winding down and there's been no lack of industry celebrations this past month. A string of anniversary parties celebrating California's fi rst families of sparkling wine and a rare Champagne Billecart-Salmon tasting have kept bubbles top of mind as the Insider gears up for the holiday season. October rain did nothing to dampen spirits at Schramsberg, which celebrated several new releases : '04 J. Schram Rosé, '04 J. Schram and the '08 J. Davies Cabernet Sauvignon, all with an elegant dinner prepared by neighbors Hiro Sone and Lissa Doumani of Terra Restaurant. Champagne Billecart- Salmon Managing Director Alex Bader. The utterly romantic dinner was staged by candlelight between caves 206 and 207 at the winery. Winemaker Sean Thompson has since expanded the company's red wine portfolio with a series of three '09 vineyard- designated Pinot Noirs, which are Schramsberg's fi rst still wine releases since the 2001 J. Davies Cabernet Sauvignon. Only 200 cases were produced but the good news is that Thompson has two successive vintages in barrel. Schramsberg enters its 150th year in 2012. Sonoma's Gloria Ferrer, a pioneer of pinot noir in the Carneros District, celebrated 25 years with an al fresco luncheon and tasting hosted by José Ferrer. José, who is now in his mid-80s, offered a toast in Spanish to his guests citing Ferrer wines as the "jewel in the crown" of the Ferrer portfolio, which includes 18 estates across four continents. Ferrer sparkling wines like the 2000 Carneros Royal Cuvée which spent ten years on the lees continue to demonstrate appeal and value. Judy Jordan, the visionary pow- erhouse behind J Vineyards and Winery, feted wine club members and special guests with a 25th anni- Gloria and José Ferrer. SPECTACULAR DINNERS AND TASTINGS WIND DOWN AN INSPIRATIONAL YEAR Independent marketing consultant Ruth Souroujon with J Vineyards' Judy Jordan. hours sampling tastes and bites from stations scattered through out the winery and pristine grounds. Oysters, lobster, braised lamb, Masami striploin and caviar were featured with seasonal produce and paired with a river of bubbles, including the '04 J Russian River Brut from magnum and the winery's Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir still wines. Last but not least, a comprehensive tasting of the Champagne Billecart-Salmon portfolio was presented by International Sales Director Geoff rey Loisel, Managing Director Alex Bader and Suzanne Chambers at Auberge du Soleil in Napa Valley, with the NV Brut Reserve, '99 Blanc de Blanc and the '98 Le Clos Sainte-Hilaire reminding us once again why we enjoy bubbles all year long. versary party on a picture-perfect afternoon in September. J has a sterling reputation among long-time club members for Executive Chef Mark E. Caldwell's delectable food pairings. Guests were kept busy for hours sampling tastes and bites from stations scattered throughout the 26 / the tasting panel / december 201 1

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