Let’s Talk Wine: September’s Coolest Wine Events

Let's Talk Wine: September's coolest wine events

As September starts, so does a month of great wine events with tastings in some the most beautiful places, including the Seacoast.

Vintage and Vine, the main annual fundraiser for Strawbery Banke Museum, offers a fine wine and food festival with silent auction. The event is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 10, from 5 to 7:30 p.m. (4 p.m. VIP admission). The finest wines available in New Hampshire, many from Calistoga and Sonoma, are featured to taste and order. Star chefs from Atlantic Grill, Blue Mermaid Island Grill and Demeters Steakhouse present innovative bites from grills at “center-stage” while dozens of the Seacoast’s best chefs present their best “grazing” specialties. The wine raffle and silent auction of items – ranging from trips and “behind-the-scene” tours, to shows and home décor – add to the excitement of the evening (www.StrawberyBanke.org).

Later in the month, the Newport Mansions Wine and Food Festival in Newport, R.I., one of the East Coast’s most sophisticated events, returns Sept. 22 to 25. Signature events include the Bordeaux Dinner on Thursday evening, the Wine and Rosecliff Gala on Friday evening, Grand Tastings on Saturday and Sunday, the Vintner Dinner on Saturday evening, Newport After Dark on Saturday evening, Jazz Brunch on Sunday and seminars in The Breakers Stable and Carriage House throughout the weekend (www.NewportMansionsWineAndFood.org).

Further afield, Labor Day weekend to me means Sonoma Wine Country Weekend, an event I attended several years ago and hope to return to. From Sept. 2 to 4 this three-day festival kicks off with Sonoma Sparkling – an elegant night under the stars at the Francis Ford Coppola Winery. The main event, Taste of Sonoma, is a grand tasting held at MacMurray Ranch (purchased in 1941 by famed actor Fred MacMurray), featuring more than 200 wineries pouring thousands of Sonoma wines along with 60 local chefs pairing food with the wines. The final event, Sonoma Valley Wine Harvest Auction, a fundraiser for local charities, takes place at Chateau St. Jean, including best wines.

The Sonoma Valley wine region is quite large (think Rhode Island) with 60,000 acres of planted grape vineyards sprawling throughout very diverse landscapes. Planted in the vineyards are over 70 different grape varietals. While Chardonnay is plentiful, Pinot Noir is planted more than any other red grape – and both do exceptionally well with the region’s unique growing conditions. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah thrive throughout the warmer locations within the county. Other leading grapes are Sauvignon Blanc, Merlot and Cabernet Franc. You will also find Pinot Gris, Viognier, Grenache, Petite Syrah, Sangiovese, and more (www.SonomaWineCountryWeekend.com).

Also in California, Calistoga’s Harvest Table celebrates a plentiful harvest season with over a dozen local restaurants and 44 wineries welcoming wine lovers on Sunday, Sept. 11, to 1,000 feet of tables set in the center of the city’s picturesque downtown. Dinner begins with a toast led by a famed winemaker, Bo Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris, a celebrated blind taste-testing that put the American wine industry on the map. Visitors who are unable to get tickets to the festival can go to Calistoga’s main street to shop, enjoy a glass of wine when the sidewalk wine bars open and dine at a number of restaurants open during the event.

Also in California, Calistoga’s Harvest Table celebrates a plentiful harvest season with over a dozen local restaurants and 44 wineries welcoming wine lovers on Sunday, Sept. 11, to 1,000 feet of tables set in the center of the city’s picturesque downtown. Dinner begins with a toast led by a famed winemaker, Bo Barrett, owner of Chateau Montelena, in celebration of the 40th anniversary of the Judgment of Paris, a celebrated blind taste-testing that put the American wine industry on the map. Visitors who are unable to get tickets to the festival can go to Calistoga’s main street to shop, enjoy a glass of wine when the sidewalk wine bars open and dine at a number of restaurants open during the event.

The Calistoga Wine Experience happens one day before Calistoga Harvest Table, on Sept. 10. The Calistoga Wine Growers will host the event at Pioneer Park from 1 to 5 p.m. Forty of the region’s best wineries will be pouring, and attendees have the opportunity to meet the owners and winemakers.

The Calistoga wine region is located in the northern tip of the Napa Valley with 60 wineries. Cabernet Sauvignon is the most widely planted grape variety. The other popular varietals are Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petite Syrah, Petit Verdot, Sauvignon Blanc, and Zinfandel. CalistogaHarvestTable.com

Wine tastings are a great way to learn about wine and the regions they come from while having fun and meeting new people. Cheers!

As September starts, so does a month of great wine tastings in some the most beautiful places, including the Seacoast.

 

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