It took a weekend trip to the golden state to discover the ” unknown ” wines of California. While at the latest  Wine Bloggers Conference, I had the special chance to discover many special wine regions such as El Dorado and Livermore Valley. Regarding this two regions, I will do in another opportunity another post in detail. For now, I will leave with a little amuse bouche, like they say in French.

Below  are some of the wines that the impressed the most at the conference. Sadly for me, these wines are not available in the Quebec market, so I will have to cherish the memory until I return to California.

Masthead 2015 Sangiovese Mohr-Fry Ranch, Block 433

California Sangiovese did not excite until I tried the bottle of Masthead. This is the brainchild of three bloggers: Luscious Lushes, From the Vine, and D’Vine. Block 433 blew my mind and shattered all my preconceptions about the potential of Sangiovese in the golden state. A crossover style between Tuscany and Puglia, you must try this wine.

Ripe Redcurrants, black olives, leathery and also reminiscent of baked earth. Rich and multilayered yet very elegant bringing to mind coffee, maraschino cherry. Fine tannins and very long in the palate.Lovely finale bringing to mind paprika, padron peppers and raspberry jam

Blue Farm 2014 Anne Katherina Vineyard Estate

I met the modest Anne-Moller-Racke in a post conference dinner activity at Shone Farm Winery. A native of Oberwesel, Germany, she owns Blue Farm winery and a 9 acres vineyard that bears the name of her daughter, Anne Katherina. An exceptional artisanal producer with a cult status, her wines are available to wine lovers in tiny allocations

Perhaps the best Pinot Noir that ever tried from California.  The Anne Katherina bottling is a salute to Pinot Noir. More Burgundian than New World, this wines brings to mind Burgundy Grand Crus with its vibrant red fruit notes, floral essences and perfumed and silky palate as you swirl in the glass.

Madrona Malbec 2015 El Dorado County

El Dorado County wines was my biggest discovery at the Wine Bloggers Conference 2017. Located just an hour from Sacramento or South Lake Tahoe in the  Sierra Foothills, El Dorado county is blessed with a microclimate that favours Rhone and Bordeaux Varietals.

This Malbec from Madrona vineyards fascinated me with its dense and brooding aromas of cassis and blueberry fruit laced with wild fennel and spearmint. Dense and intense, yet balanced with velvety tannins.

Fenestra Petite Sirah 2013 Livermore Valley

It is always a breeze to taste a Petite Sirah. Also known as Durif, the grape  was created  in France in the 1860s by the botanist Francois Durif.  A cross between Syrah and an indigenous French grape Peloursin, with the purpose of making Syrah more resistant to mildew. At some point the grape travelled to California, where it was rebaptised as Petite Sirah for its resemblance of the Syrah grape.

Livermore Valley is one of the oldest wine regions in California, made famous by Wente Vineyards Concannon Vineyards. The appellation is known for Petite Sirah, a but also Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon. I heard that exciting things are being made from Gruner Veltliner to Verdelho. From what i tasted at the wine bloggers conference, quality and  price remain very competitive compared to Sonoma and Napa.


Big nose featuring very expressive aromas of blueberry, blackberries and cassis.  Full body and quite structured with an elegant rusticness. Flavors bring to mind meaty and exotic spices such as cinnamon, asofetida and licorice.

Stay tuned for the next post, dear readers!!!