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Sipping Your Way Through SIP

Robert Whitley on

If you have shelter-in-place restrictions in your state, you are stuck at home and no doubt bored silly. But you enjoy wine, so you're in luck. You have many options for both entertainment and education during this dark period dictated by the spread of the COVID-19 virus.

I am bombarded every day with invitations to join virtual wine tastings via Zoom or Instagram. These sessions are not only an opportunity to expand your knowledge; they provide much-needed social interaction, often with winery principles and winemakers.

It may not be the winery visit or tasting room experience so many are missing during the COVID-19 lockdown, but it could keep alive those important connections and lift the spirits, so to speak.

One that caught my eye this week is the virtual Sauvignon Blanc Experience presented by the Lake County Winegrape Commission. The event is scheduled for May 8 and will include sauvignon blanc from three Lake County wineries: Shannon Ridge, Chacewater and Dancing Crow. Registration is through Eventbrite.

Lake County, a remote growing region northeast of the Napa Valley, has a long and successful history with the sauvignon blanc grape. Kendall-Jackson was the first major winery to popularize Lake County sauvignon more than 20 years ago, producing a succulent white wine that was beautifully balanced and trended toward the melon and tropical fruit aroma spectrum.

Those who wish to view the virtual tasting can purchase the wines to be tasted and have them shipped prior to the event. Either way, it's an opportunity to learn more about this popular grape variety produced in a region where it thrives.


And if you miss this one, another virtual tasting is popping up just about everywhere you turn. A good way to find one that appeals is to search the websites of wineries you know and love. Even better if you belong to a winery wine club; you're likely on the email list for other virtual tasting opportunities.

Best Value

Wines are rated on a 100-point scale. Wines are chosen for review because they represent outstanding quality or value, and the scores are simply a measure of this reviewer's enthusiasm for the recommended wine.

Cascinetta Vietti 2018 Moscato d'Asti, Italy ($16) -- One of the most endearing qualities of the Italian wine culture is the fact that the Italians have a wine for just about every occasion. Sparkling moscato d'asti is famously served at weddings, and there's a reason for that. For one thing, its floral nose and gentle sweetness pair nicely with a wedding cake or many styles of Italian cookies. Second, weddings tend to be held in the warmer months, and the refreshing aspect of Moscato plays right into that. The Vietti is a delicious sipper to boot because its sweetness level is very low. Rating: 93.


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