One of the most insightful tastings we went to this year was Beyond Napa. Hosted by Jennifer Sco (of Cafe Medina) and Mod (Chambar), we delved deep into Californian wines beyond the famous Napa Valley.

After going through some history: 1770s missionaries arrive, 1960s revival of wine culture thanks to Robert Mondavi who opened a giant winery along Route 29 to normalize wine at the dinner table, the Judgement of Paris (in which top California wines were pitted against French wines and came out on top and the investment made into the wine industry between the 70s and 2000s.

The US is the 4th largest producers of wine, 90% of it comes from California and only 4% of it from Napa Valley.

We then went into the wine tasting.

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We started off with Copain Tous Ensemble Pinot Noir 2016 ($36.99) – it was mouthwatering and had fruit to it but a good structure. This particular pinot noir would be perfect for dinner.

cornucopia beyond napa 2019-8989

Next we had the Brewer-Clifton Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay 2016 ($37.99) – this chard has the ripeness of fruit and an acidity to it with a slight oak flavour.

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Dry Creek Vineyard’s Chenin Blanc 2016 ($23.99) is an interesting one – it’s hard to find a wine that’s a 100% chenin blanc as this particular varietal is typically used in white blends, but over the year the quality of the chenin blanc has improved.

Truchard Roussanne 2017 ($37.99) – another notable wine and also not very common to find. This wine is slightly oaky but that flavours gives a good balance to the fruit you’ll find in the wine.

Ferdinand Rose 2017 ($10.50) – this is wine in a can, it’s got a nice, light flavour to it and tends to be a bit sweet.

Matthiasson Tendu Matoro 2018 ($23.99) – this wine gave a mouthwatering feel to it without being too acidic and had slightly smokey notes to it.

Tablas Creek Espirit Blanc de Tables 2016 ($85.99) – This particular wine would definitely be a special occasion wine with the price point. It’s a difficult wine to source however.

Chronic Cellars Sofa King Bueno 2016 ($29.99) – this cheeky wine is dominantly Syrah and is part of the new wave Californian wines coming out of Paso Robles. You’ll find more full bodied wines coming out of Paso Robles.

Ridge Lytton Springs 2016 ($59.97) – this is a ‘corporation’ wine, the winery is known for it’s Montebello. This particular wine has great structure and complexity. It’s dry, slightly peppery and sweet.

Finally, we had the Marietta Arme Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 ($39.99). It’s not overly ripe, no herbal lift and the flavours are reminiscent to ones you’ll find in Bordeaux.

Overall, I thought the seminar was really well done and both Jennifer and Mod were very knowledgeable and open to the many questions the crowd had to throw at them.

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