'Tis the season to power through wine tastings and festivals and to savor special dinners that pair a menu with the wines of a single producer. Here's a small collection of events coming up soon that might be fun -- and worth your attention.
On Friday, the inaugural VinFort event comes to Santa Monica via the California Winemasters in support of the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. Celebrating fortified wines, including late-harvest wines, ice wines, ports and Cognac, it's something of an after-dinner drink festival. Producers pouring include Martell Cognac, Chateau de Pellehaut Armagnac, Cognac Frapin, Sonoma Port Works, Cossart Gordon Madeira, and Prager Winery & Port Works. Tickets are $39, two for $60 or three for $75 (Why not? Bring a friend.). It takes place from 7 to 10 p.m. at the Jeanie Madsen and Hamilton Galleries, 1431 Ocean Blvd., Santa Monica.
On Tuesday, November 11th, Republique and chef/owner Walter Manzke will be showcasing the wines of Mimi Casteel of Bethel Heights Vineyard in Oregon's Willamette Valley at a special wine dinner. The five-course menu is matched with nine wines, including three mini-verticals of Pinot Noir going back to 2002 and a flight of Chardonnay. The cost is $145; to reserve a spot, email email@example.com.
On Wednesday, November 12th, LearnAboutWine is rolling out its 6th annual "Stars of Cabernet" event. More than 40 wineries from California, Bordeaux, Argentina and Chile will be pouring their Cabs at the Peninsula Beverly Hills from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Limited to 150 guests, the event is a chance to taste the wines and chat up winemakers and cellarmasters. Tickets are $150 online ($200 at the door). VIP tickets cost $250 ($300 at the door) and include a private tasting, early admission and an early dinner buffet.
And on Nov. 13, if you happen to be in California's Santa Ynez Valley, S.Y. Kitchen in Santa Ynez is having a very special Barolo dinner with the wines of old-school Barolo master Giuseppe Rinaldi. The northern Italian menu from chef Luca Crestanelli is designed to show off a vertical tasting of Rinaldi's Barolo. I should warn you there are white and black truffles involved -- and elaborate pastry, too. The cost is $275 per person, and that does include tax and tip. Call the restaurant at (805) 691-9794 to reserve.