Slow Wine Tour 2020

What the heck is slow wine? A song? A dance? Both are true. But it is also a way to evaluate wine

Slow Wine Editiore, based in Italy, decided to develop a hitherto new set of criteria for evaluating wine. Rather than assigning wines scores based solely on a critic’s review of “quality”, Slow Wine assesses vintners and their wines on the basis of criteria including not only the inherently subjective assessment of its quality, but also its the price-value, the expression of the terroir and especially the sustainability of the wine-growing and production methods. It actually visits all of the cellars of the wines which it evaluates. It produces an annual guide based on these criteria.  You can download the guide for free here.

Initially, Slow Wine focused on Italian wines and producers. It has expanded to include those produced in California and most recently, Oregon.

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Not surprisingly, the Slow Wine ratings and guide are based on similar evaluations and guides created by the affiliated, 30-year-old Slow Food organization.

Each year, a Slow Wine tour showcases wines that meet its stringent criteria. In 2020, events were held in San Francisco, Boston, Seattle, New York, and Denver. The San Francisco event Included three wines from each of 89 providers from 12 wine regions across Italy, California, and Oregon. Since we couldn’t taste 267 wines, we limited our tastings to U.S. wines and from three of the most widely represented Italian regions—Piedmont, Veneto, and Tuscany.

Our Slow Wine Picks

Our admittedly cursory exploration produced a number of our own much more subjective, less exacting standards. These included:

California Slow Wines

Sonoma County

  • Alma Fria – 2016 Sonoma Coast Dona Margarita Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Donum Estate – Carneros Estate Grown Pinot Noir
  • Enest Vineyards – 2016 Petaluma Gap Grand Vent “The Wrangler” and Sonoma Coast Cleary Ranch “The Settler” Pinot Noirs
  • Littorai – 2017 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Napa County

  • Cain Vineyard – 2014, and especially 2007 Spring Mountain District Cain Five Blends
  • Cliff Lede Vineyards – 2018 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc and 2016 Stags Leap District Cab
  • Ehlers Estate – 2015 St, Helena Cabernet Sauvignon 1886
  • Gallica – 2016 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon and 2018 Sonoma Valley Rossi Ranch Grenache
  • Gamble Family Vineyards – 2015 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Larkmead Vineyards – 2015 Napa Valley “Dr. Olmo” Cabernet Sauvignon and 2016 Napa Valley Solari Cabernet Sauvignon

Lake County

San Luis Obispo County

Santa Barbara County

  • Grimm’s Bluff – 2016 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc and Bluff Reserve Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

Oregon Slow Wines

Willamette Valley

Columbia Gorge

Chehalem Mountains

  • Ruby Wines – 2016 Chehalem Mountains Estate Blend Pinot Noir and 2017 Chehalem Mountains Laurelwood Blend Pinot Noir

Italian Slow Wines

Piedmont

Tuscany

  • Caparsa – 2016 Chianti Classico Caparsino Riserva
  • Castello di Monterinaldi – 2016 Chiani Classico Riserva
  • Felsina – 2016 Chianti Classico Rancia Riserva
  • Torre a Cona – 2016 Chianti Colli Fiorentini Badia a Corte Riserva
  • Villa Pomona – 2016 Chianti Classico Riserva

Veneto

  • Bosco del Merlo – 2018 Delle Venezie Pinot Grigio
  • Corte Adami – 2017 Valpolicella Superiore and 2015 Amerone della Valpolicella
  • Rubinelli Vajol – 2015 Valpolicella Classico Sup. Ripasso
  • Sorelle Bronca – 2019 Spumonte Sui Lieviti Brut Nature Difetto Perfetto

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