A Great Weekend for Paso Robles CAB

PRCC_logo_FINAL-02We at Parker Sanpei are scurrying to help put the finishing touches on the Paso Robles CAB Collective‘s CABs of Distinction event. (Actually, the CAB Camp portion for sommeliers is already well underway…) Suffice it to say, we’re a bit busy this week promoting some of the world’s finest Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux varietal wines.

So let’s cut to the chase: You need to come to the CABs of Distinction Gala Tasting on Saturday. There will be 32 wineries pouring ace wines, and each (each!) will be paired with an international cheese or charcuterie selected by a local fromagier. That’s on top of the gourmet lunch included in each admission.

Get your tickets here. And be sure to say hello between sips!

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Delicious wine infographics

Who doesn’t love a well-executed infographic? The trend of distilling overwhelming amounts of complex information into beautifully-crafted visuals is one we at Parker Sanpei are definitely behind. We especially love the work of Wine Folly in Seattle, a group of wine-loving bloggers and designers who craft beautiful infographics and maps to simplify wine for those who want to learn about it. Check out some of their prints below (which are available for purchase at http://www.WineFolly.com). And please tell us, after reading “Which Wine Drinker Are You?” which sort of tippler you are! Different-Types-of-Wine-Infographic-Chart3   BWG-PRINT-LARGE   Kind-of-wine-drinker   map-france-burgundy

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The all-new SOMM Journal

Print

 

Despite the impact the internet has had on print media, we at Parker Sanpei truly believe in venerated, authoritative publications that inform and interest. In other words, we still get excited to open our mailbox and find a thick glossy.

So imagine our sorrow when we discovered that the Sommelier Journal – the beloved authority on all things wine – closed up shop last year. Thankfully – mercifully! – it is back.

Written by wine professionals for wine professionals, the all-new SOMM Journal (http://www.SOMMJournal.com) is revving up for its inaugural issue, set to launch May 18 at the National Restaurant Show in Chicago.

Already boasting a circulation of over 50K since announcing its refresh in December, the bi-monthly publication will run out of the gate with features and departments that both inform and interest the working beverage industry professional, academic, and connoisseur.

Publisher and Editorial Director, Meridith May

Publisher and Editorial Director, Meridith May

“We are dedicated to ensuring that the SOMM Journal is the top resource for working sommeliers and drinks professionals,” said Publisher and Editorial Director, Meridith May. “Everything readers loved about Sommelier Journal is here, and then some.”

The cover story of the first edition will be written by nationally wine academic and Master Sommelier, Tim Gaiser, in conjunction with the executive team at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone, celebrating wine industry pioneer Tony Terlato’s 80th birthday and his lifetime accomplishments.

Working closely with the North American Sommelier Association, Wine & Spirits Education Trust, The French Wine Society and the Culinary Institute of America, The SOMM Journal’s focus is projected to be 70 percent on wine and 30 percent on spirits. Features and departments in the first issue will include:

  • First Press: The stories behind new vintages, releases, up-and-coming winemaker stars, and what’s happening in the world of wine.
  • Wine Science: Dr. Jamie Goode provides the lowdown on everything from brettanomyces to high alcohol, minerality, TCA, and beyond.
  • Bob Bath, MS/Wine & Beverage Instructor at The Culinary Institute of America at Greystone goes behind the scenes on wine grapes, tea service and West Coast vs. East Coast IPA.
  • Wine 101: A column contributed by The North American Sommelier Association for future somms.
  • Appellation Series: A global wine diary from Master Somms, Masters of Wine and other high-profile experts. The first article features a trip to Valtellina, Italy, by Certified Sommelier Marcella Newhouse.
  • The Tasting Panel of Experts: For the first issue, Matthew Conway, General Manager of NYC’s Restaurant Marc Forgione leads a vertical comparison from Nicolas Joly’s Loire Valley Clos de la Coulée de Serrant with an all-star panel of tasters.
  • Wine author Roger Morris writes about Spain’s Rueda region and its iconic Verdejo grape.
  • SOMM Camps: Editor-at-Large and Master Sommelier Randy Caparoso will guide readers through terroir experiences across wine growing regions where a group of wine buyers will join him in the vineyards with winemakers and enologists.
  • Spit Bucket: An ode to the best wines we’ve tasted this month.
  • Wine Thief: Themed reviews by Editor-in-Chief, Anthony Dias Blue.
karen_macneil

Karen MacNeil

Additionally, the August issue will feature “One Woman’s View,” a column by Karen MacNeil, expert and author of The Wine Bible, on topics as varied as style and elegance to interviews with trend-setting chefs and up-and-coming somms.
For more information about The SOMM Journal, please contact Meridith May at mmay@tastingpanelmag.com. The SOMM Journal is free-of-charge to qualified trade who apply online to receive the bi-monthly print publication. Requests may be emailed to subscriptions@sommjournal.com.

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Racing for Good Reason

Team Il Cortile

Team Il Cortile

We at Parker Sanpei are so proud of our friends at Il Cortile Ristorante in Paso Robles. Last weekend, 13 riders from the restaurant, including Owner and Managing Partner, Carole MacDonal, raced with 150 cyclists in the Tour of Paso to raise funds for the Central Coast Cancer Support Community. Nearly doubling their contribution from last year, the team at Il Cortile Ristorante raised a staggering $20K in support of the Cancer Support Community’s free resources to local cancer patients and their families. Charitable contributions for the event totaled over $100K, up $30K from last year.

Fundraising at Il Cortile included proceeds from a special “reverse wine dinner” menu crafted by Chef Santos MacDonal and his kitchen, as well as proceeds from the sale of complementing wine, L’Aventure Optimus 2011 Zinfandel. Additionally, servers at the critically-acclaimed restaurant generously donated all tips from the dinner toward Il Cortile’s efforts in support of the Cancer Support Community.

Santos & Carole MacDonal

Santos & Carole MacDonal

This year marks the third that Il Cortile has contributed toward and participated in the Tour of Paso. In 2012, the team raised over $5K, and $12K in 2013.

Thank you so much to all of those who participated in the event, especially our friends at Il Cortile. Your generosity is making a difference in our community. Bravi!

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Naming the Winery: What works, what doesn’t, and what shouldn’t but does.

Working in the wine PR/marketing biz, we talk to new winery owners a lot about their names and brand messaging. And while we had planned on disclosing our thoughts on this subject here, we actually hit upon a fantastic beverage marketing agency in British Columbia that shares our stance entirely and does the job for us.

Earlier this year I purchased a book of (non-alcohol-related) packaging design studies from a New York design company, R.Bird. This collection of studies inspired me to collect the various research that we have done about the various aspects of wine branding, packaging, web design, etc. into one place. We wanted to share this research in hopes that it will help anyone who is starting a new winery or considering a rebrand/repositioning of their existing winery.

 - Hired Guns Creative, “How To Name A New Winery,” November 18, 2011

Hired Guns has gone through an extensive analysis of winery names, the types of names (e.g. based on family names, based on geography, flora and fauna, music references, etc.), the advantages and disadvantages of each, and a few favorites. For example, check out their color wheel that references winery names based on color. (Notice: not a lot of winery names living in the turquoise or purple regions!)

So what makes for a successful winery name? In a nutshell: A true story, something easy to pronounce and easy to remember. (Unless, of course, you’re Sine Qua Non. See below.) Also, it should go without saying that the wine in the bottle needs to taste good. Without that, no amount of marketing will help.

Below, a few favorite winery names and a peek at the story behind them.

Field Recordings and FICTION Wines

Andrew Jones is something of a man-about-town on the Central Coast wine scene. As a Field Representative for one of the U.S.’s major vine nurseries, he helps plant and manage vineyards across the California and beyond. Having stood in nearly every vineyard in the state, Andrew has a knack for spotting untapped potential and makes stellar wines accordingly. The name “Field Recordings” came to reflect his almost scientific approach to capturing the essence of each place in his wines.

Field Recordings is the personal catalog of the people and places we value most. Diamonds in the rough: sites that are unknown or under-appreciated but hold enormous untapped potential. As friendships are made and opportunities are embraced, we produce small quantities of soulful wines from these unusual, quiet vineyards.

 - www.FieldRecordingsWine.com

The back label for Field Recordings wines is austere – no tasting notes or ostentatious descriptions of the finish – yet exhaustive, with plenty of details to geek out on.

Field Recordings

FICTION wines, which are also made by Andrew Jones, are completely different. Naming the label “FICTION” was in direct reaction to the factual, scientific nature of Field Recordings. “There is no fluffy story with Field Recordings,” he says. “The back label shares just the facts.  FICTION on the other hand is a mysterious blend or a whole bunch of random varieties from random places that we mention nothing about.” Hence, the tongue-in-cheek approach to FICTION’s back label.

field-recordings-fiction-wh

Cypher Winery

Cypher_winery_logoCypher Winemaker Christian Tietje is known for being a larger-than-life personality in the Paso Robles wine biz. So it surprised a lot of folks when he changed the name of his popular Four Vines label to Cypher Wines, implying something obscure and hidden. Thankfully, the Cypher Wines website sums up Tietje’s rationale in his signature, outspoken style:

The thought behind naming our new label Cypher was that the process of growing and creating a fantastic wine is like unlocking a puzzle or riddle. There is no play book, no recipe….whenever you deal with mother nature, you are certain to be thrown curve balls. Winemaking is no exception, and without blending enough art into the science you will fall short of extraordinary. Winemaking by the numbers equals boring, uninteresting, ‘safe’ wines. Yaaaaaaaawwwwwn.”

 - www.CypherWinery.com

Dark Star Cellars

Dark Star” was put on a long list of potential names for the winery because Norm [Norm Benson, Dark Stars' Owner and Winemaker] believed it symbolized his goal of producing ‘stellar’ red wines, or ‘dark stars…’

Dark_Star_Cellars_PRWCA.Label (266x300)

“‘Angeli d’Altri Tempi,’ ‘angels from other times,’ symbolizes how people that you have come in contact with, your parents, siblings, and friends have all left some “imprint” on your personality and your values. Their influence, collectively, make you who you are today. The three panels that encase the dark star symbolize the past, the present, and the future. Dark Star believes you must never under-value, or forget the positive influence people have had on your life in the past. You should not take for granted the help and support you receive from the people in your present life, and of course, the mystery of whom you will meet in the future.”

 - http://www.DarkStarCellars.com

Autonom Wines

Autonom

“Autonom is a project of passion for Winemaker Paul Wilkins, which reflects Paul’s love for Rhône varietal wines and cuvées. This love was born during his work as a harvest intern in the cellar with John Alban at Alban Vineyards while he was still in college.Paul remained with Alban through seven celebrated vintages before opening his own agency, Wilkins Vinotech, which provides winery and vineyard consulting services to existing and start-up wine brands. In 2005, he joined in a business partnership with longtime friend James Ontiveros as Winemaker for Alta Maria Vineyards, which focuses on Santa Maria Valley-designate Burgundy varieties. In 2010, Paul débuted his own Rhône-focused brand with varietal wines and cuvées from contrasting sites throughout California.  The brand name, AUTONOM, refers to Paul’s freedom from a long history of working for other producers.

 - http://www.AltaMariaVineyards.com

Sine Qua Non

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Naming a winery after an obscure, impossible-to-remember-and-pronounce phrase from a dead language should have been economic suicide for Sine Qua Non‘s Owner and Winemaker, Manfred Krankl. But the contents of his bottles are so fiendishly sought-after that no one cares about the name; in fact, perhaps its obscurity makes it even more desirable. According to an interview with Krankl in Forbes several years ago, Sine Qua Non is

“Latin for something essential (literally ‘without which nothing’). Krankl claims not to remember how, or why, he and wife Elaine came up with it. (They pronounce it ‘sinny-kwah-non.’)”

- Richard Nalley, “The Krankl Cult,” Forbes Life, September 6, 2008

Even after 18 years, the literary, painterly Krankl still does his own artwork for each Sine Qua Non label. He and Elaine also still do their own marketing, which…really doesn’t look like marketing at all. Nor does it need to;With a microscopic waiting list, an annual production of 3,500 cases, and a handful of previously released wines that fetch north of $3,500, Sine Qua Non’s cult status is secured for the long haul.

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Fresh blood in Paso Robles

PouringWith a staggering 28 member wineries and a host of new sponsors for its annual CABs of Distinction event, our friends, the Paso Robles CAB Collective (PRCC) continues to grow by leaps and bounds.

The organization, which promotes Paso Robles’ phenomenal producers of Cabernet Sauvignon and Bordeaux-varietal wines, has increased its membership by 36 percent just since January, including:

CABs of Distinction, April 22-26, includes tracks for media/trade, sommeliers and qualified wine buyers (CAB Camp), as well as consumers. For more information on these options and to purchase tickets, please visit www.PasoRoblesCab.com. When checking out enter THEDISH for 10% off your ticket price.

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Favorite Food Tattoos

Years ago, we saw something in the dearly departed Gourmet Magazine that read thus:

gourmet radish…And ever since then, we’ve made a mental collection of food tattoos. Here, a little scrapbook of our favorites.

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