What's Cookin' on Wine with Michael Horn


May 25, 201652 min
GIOVANNI BALISTRERI - BOARD MEMBER, RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY WINEGROWERS AND WINEMAKER/OWNER, RUSSIAN RIVER VINEYARDS  - SOMM CHALLENGE DINNER & RRV EXPERIENCE  ABOUT RUSSIAN RIVER VINEYARDS The softly undulating hills of the famed Russian River Valley, caressed by cool blankets of fog and anchored by volcanic soils, are home to some of the world’s finest vineyards, which consistently produce outstanding, distinctive and highly praised wines. In the heart of this renowned wine growing region is the picturesque and historic Russian River Vineyards, one of the valley’s oldest wineries. From its original planting in 1963, Russian River Vineyards has established itself as one of the premier organic and sustainably farmed grape-growing properties in California. Since the fall of 2008, the historic estate has been owned by Chris O’Neill, Barbara Sattler, Giovanni Balistreri and Anthony Austin. With backgrounds in real estate development, environmental health, fine dining, winemaking, and catering, this group has created a dynamic team of individuals dedicated to building a state-of-the-art winery and crafting world-class wines, all while diligently serving as thoughtful stewards of the hallowed grounds. ABOUT OUR ESTATE VINEYARDS Our vines have deep roots in the Russian River Valley, practicing dry farming has encouraged our Estate vineyards to produce amazing fruit year after year. Instead of irrigating the vineyards, in this time of water shortage, we force the roots to dig deep down into the earth to find the water table independently. This creates a very complex profile in both our Estate Merlot and Pinot Noir because the vines are working so much harder and in return produce far less fruit but of incredible quality. We leave our organic pest control to a colony of bats who take residency in our iconic Hop Kiln building. In return for their rent, they head out every evening and eat any insects they find on our farm and vineyard which allows us to farm organically (and celebrate our Estate Farm being granted Certified Organic by CCOF!) The Merlot vineyard, which has large thick trunks and roots reaching over 20ft in depth, is the oldest Merlot vineyard in Sonoma County. Our Pinot Noir vineyard, punctuated by a beautiful Oak Tree (the perfect spot for 3 beautiful wedding proposals this year!) produces a very rich and balanced Pinot Noir. The 2013 vintage is another amazing year and whether you’re aging these wines in your cellar or celebrating with them during your spring events, we hope you enjoy the amazing bounty the Russian River Estate Vineyards produce. WWW.RUSSIANRIVERVINEYARDS.COM ABOUT RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY WINEGROWERS The Russian River Valley Winegrowers (RRVW) is a community dedicated to promoting the Russian River Valley as the premier region for growing cool climate grapes while producing wines that showcase the diversity of our many neighborhoods. Our farmers and winemakers work in a manner that is environmentally sound, socially equitable and economically viable in order to continue our legacy as good stewards of the land and producers of distinctive wines of exceptional quality, authenticity and integrity. RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY SOMM CHALLENGE Hosted at Sonoma-Cutrer June 24, 5:30 pm Wine Country’s coolest new event, the Somm Challenge Dinner, is right around the corner, and tickets are super-limited.  So grab yours now! 3 Rocking Somms – 5 Amazing Chefs 12 Incredible Wines – 150 Tickets Stylin’: The Somm Challenge Dinner will take place on the gorgeous grounds of Sonoma-Cutrer, in the heart of Russian River Valley. We have chosen three top Somms from Northern California to pair their Russian River Valley wine selection with courses prepared by five of Sonoma County’s hottest chefs.  Then, the challenge is on! You be the judge: You get to judge and decide who picked the best wine for each course. At the end of the evening, votes will be tallied and the Somm Challenge winner will be announced.  


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