Fire … fire … flood. Feels like Mother Nature is playing rock, paper, scissors with the California wine industry. First the Napa and Sonoma fires in October, then the Thomas Fire in December, and finally, the devastating rains and mudslides of Montecito a week ago. The mud and debris is still pooled on the 101 Freeway, blocking Orange County’s drive to tasting on the Central Coast and north. The time to drink California wine is now—especially from the Napa, Sonoma, Lake County, and Santa Barbara County regions. While the closed 101 makes the tasting rooms off-limits, the wineries themselves are as active as ever, resulting in some great wine events here in Orange County, including a wine tasting, a wine dinner, and a wine event!
Daou Vineyards Tasting – OC Wine Mart, Jan. 25 (Yorba Linda) or Jan. 27 (Aliso Viejo), 6 to 8 p.m., $25
This Paso Robles estate is riding a wave of high accolades for its cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, and Bordeaux-inspired red blends. Wine Spectator noted the Daou Cabernet Sauvignon rivals “some of the best from Napa.” The Daou brothers have a new label, Patrimony, which earned 95 points from Wine Enthusiast. Its 2016 cab franc wines tasted in barrel received a 94 to 96 score from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate. With me now? Daou is HOT. Experience it for a mere $25 at Julie Lim’s OC Wine Mart & Deli in Yorba Linda and Aliso Viejo.
Stag’s Leap Wine Dinner – 21 Oceanfront Restaurant, Jan. 23, 6:30 p.m., $99++
Lucky for us, 21 Oceanfront Restaurant in Newport Beach has another exquisite wine dinner calendar in 2018, in partnership with Hi-Time Wine Cellars. Four courses preceded by a caviar amuse bouche and Stag’s Leap Napa Valley wine pairings of viognier, chardonnay, cabernet sauvignon, and petite sirah— for a hundred bucks?? One bottle of aged Stag’s Leap wine alone is well over that! I’d book this dinner now.
Tour de Napa – Crevier Classic Cars, Feb. 10, 3 p.m. (VIP) to 7 p.m., $100; $135
Hi-Time Wine Cellars has curated an incredible afternoon of Napa Valley’s finest wines, to be sipped in the charming ambience of classic cars in Costa Mesa. Expect dozens of Napa Valley wineries to pour, including Duckhorn (whose merlot earned Wine Spectator’s No. 1 wine of 2017), Orin Swift, Nickel & Nickel, and Alpha Omega. All wines purchased this day will be discounted 10 percent, to be picked up at Hi-Time at a later date. The event benefits the Napa Valley Community Foundation. I predict a sell-out, so reserve your spot today.