The Wine Guy - Greg Walter


New year, new directions

When was the last time you tried something new? Have you ever, just on a whim, tried doing something in a completely different manner than you have done a hundred times before? Most of us tend to stick to the routines we have established over the years and, let’s face it — some of those routines can be a little boring.

I’ve decided that 2013 is going to be the kind of year to do things in new and different ways across the board in my life, but in particular in matters concerning wine.

I’ve already begun this quest and I have to tell you, it’s been a great thing so far. As many of you know, I have spent the past decade-plus really focused on Western Pinot Noir. While that focus is not going to change, I have really begun to broaden my horizons wine-wise and have started tasting, and enjoying, a lot of wines that I have been out of touch with for years. It’s been a tremendous rediscovery of the amazing diversity of flavor and style that drew me to wine in the first place a long time ago.

I know how many of you are. You find a wine type or a specific wine that you really like and you buy and drink it again and again because it’s safe and reliable and tastes great. I’m like that with Sauvignon Blanc. Truthfully, there’s nothing wrong with that approach, but it will prevent you from experiencing some truly amazing wines.

I encourage you to step out of your normal wine habits and try some new wines this year. Over the next several columns I am going to do the same thing and share with you not only some of the interesting wines I discover, but also some ways you can do the same easily and without breaking the bank. Stay tuned for that.

Eighth Street Wineries Open House on Saturday

Speaking of trying something different, if you have not visited the great collection of small-lot wineries in the industrial neighborhood on Eighth Street East south of Napa Road, you are missing some of our best local wines. These producers have formed a loose organization, called Eighth Street Wineries, and have created a great open house event so that we can taste and explore some really terrific wines in the very cool environment where they are produced.

This Saturday is the annual open house from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the main cluster of wineries at 21481 Eighth Street East. The tasting features 10 wineries — Anaba Wines, Enkidu Wines, MacRostie Vineyards & Winery, Parmelee-Hill, Patz & Hall, Stone Edge Farm, Talisman Wines, Three Sticks Wines, Tin Barn Vineyards, Ty Caton — all generally within walking distance of each other, with food pairings as well.

Tickets are $40 in advance with a special $10 designated driver ticket also available. For more information, visit Eighthstreetwineries.com.

As always, you can email me with questions at gswalter@pinotreport.com.

Greg Walter, a Sonoma resident for more than 20 years, has been in wine and food publishing for more than 30 years, 15 as a senior editor and later president of “Wine Spectator” magazine. Today he writes the PinotReport newsletter (Pinotreport.com) and publishes books through his Carneros Press imprint (Carnerospress.com).

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