Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the Salvestrin Winemaker Dinner at Campton Place (which was just earned a Michelin Star), hosted by my dear friend Megan, the national sales manager for Salvestrin Winery. The dinner was attended by an intimate group of Salvestrin wine enthusiasts and wine club members, and was comprised of a champagne reception, a vertical tasting of Salvestrin’s 3D Cabernet (3D = for Rich and Shannon Salvestrin’s 3 daughters, not trying to tap into the 3D movie craze) and a decadent five course dinner. Each course of dinner (salad, monk fish, angus fillet, cheeses and dessert) was paired with a delicious Salvestrin wine including their Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Retaggio, Estate Cab and more 3D Cabernet.
What I enjoyed most about the night, in addition to all the amazing wine and delicious food, was hearing Rich Salvestrin tell the story behind his St. Helena-based family run winery, and more specifically about the winemaking process for some of the Salvestrin wines we were tasting. (Despite living within an hour of Napa and Sonoma Valleys for the last six years, my wine knowledge is still a bit more unimpressive than I’d like it to be.)
I was most intrigued by the stories of the affect the weather has had on different vintages of their 3D Cabernet. He described the 2006 growing season, which saw twice as much rainfall than average. That year they had the favorable but challenging task of clipping and dropping grapes (just letting them fall to the ground and decompose back into the soil) because the bunches were so big and so plentiful. He also talked about the start of this year’s growing season and how our crazy weather caused the vines to bloom about 1.5 to 2 weeks behind schedule. He described ways they’ll make up that time over the course of the season but in the end, production will likely fall behind at least a week or several days.
Living in San Francisco I feel lucky to have such great access to a world-class wine industry. I hope this event was the first of many wine education activities in my future
Next up: a field trip to the Inn at Salvestrin Estate!? Yes please.
In the meantime, go buy some wine!