Wine Line: Amador Four Fires event heats up

The Second Annual Amador Four Fires Festival will be held May 7 at the Amador County Fairgrounds in Plymouth. This is a one-of-a-kind food and wine celebration that drew over 2,000 wine-foodies last year and had fewer than 200 tickets remaining late last week.

If you enjoy open-fire cooking with wines representing the regions of Southern France, Italy, Iberia and Heritage California, you’ll eat (and drink) up this event. You can watch chef demonstrations, participate in seminars, listen to music, visit with local artists, taste olive oils, honeys and chocolates or find some shade and take a snooze. The Navigator and I had a terrific time last year and called it the Best Wine Event of 2015. Tickets are available at

Springtime blossoms many wine events. Here are some you might want to Google for more information: the Lodi Zinfest on May 13-15, the Madera Spring Wine Adventure on May 14-15, the Amador Barbera Festival on June 11 and the Monterey River Wine Trail Tunes, Trucks and Tastes on June 12. The Wine Institute has a great website that features all the wine regions and wine-related events in California. Check it out at

Petite sirah

On one of my off weeks the paper featured an excellent column on petite sirahs by Fred Tasker of the Tribune News Service. He was correct. Stags’ Leap Winery makes an excellent reserve petite sirah ($90) year after year. It’s a blockbuster of a wine and one you should taste if you have the opportunity. The first winery to bottle petite sirah as a varietal was Concannon Vineyards in 1964. Had owner-winemaker Jim Concannon not taken his “petite” on the sales road in the early 1960s, I doubt there would be any on store shelves today. Concannon produces several highly rated single vineyard and reserve petite sirahs ($30-50) and their consistent California Petite Sirah is a steal for under $10. Also in that price range are Bogle and McManis. Both make everyone’s Best Buy List and always score in the range of 89-91. Buy all three, bag them up, start the barbecue, invite friends with food and have a blind tasting of this big, bold, chewy, inky, full-bodied wine. Note: The next day, make sure you brush your teeth before going to work.

What’s on our table

Two available red wines, priced under $12 and ready for the barbecue are the 2014 Hahn Central Coast GSM (grenache, syrah and mourvedre) and the Ravenswood 2013 Lodi Old Vine Zinfandel. Enjoy, cheers!