SF Wine Blog

Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.


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A year ago this week….

I never met Joe Dressner, but I knew a lot of the wines that he imported into the U.S.  They were fresh, different, sometimes quirky, but always engaging.  These are wines that demand your attention.

A year ago this week, I was in the Loire Valley visiting producers as harvest was in full swing. On the morning of September 17, 2011, I was on my way to meet with one of Dressner’s producers, François Cazin in Cour-Cheverny, but decided to take a detour to stop by Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat’s Clos de Tue Boef (another member of the Dressner portfolio).  In front of the small, unadorned winery, there was an old 1950s/60s blue Ford Tractor with one of its headlights dangling from the socket.  I whipped out my camera to take a few pictures.  Out walked Jean-Marie Puzelat – a round, jolly man wearing overalls.  He was laughing, amused that I wanted to take pictures of his “crappy tractor” (cleanest translation I could muster for what he actually said).  We chatted, and he apologized for not being able to do a formal tasting, but asked if I wanted to taste through a few wines in tank.  I happily accepted the invitation.

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Wine Events: Week of Mar. 19

I’m sure I’ve said this time and again, but I feel lucky to live in a city that has such a tremendous group of wine professionals.  Every time I’m at a tasting, I find myself impressed by the sharp and engaging sommeliers, retail staff, winemakers, and importers — all of whom are more than willing to pour something special for you.

This bonhommie was evident at Monday’s In Pursuit of Balance event.  While I enjoyed tasting through the stellar line-up of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from some exciting California wineries, I was simply floored by the camaraderie displayed by the winemakers and professionals in the room for the trade tasting.  In one corner, you have Josh Jensen (Calera) pouring a 1998 Reed Vineyard Pinot and chatting with David Hirsch.  In the other, you have Ross Cobb (Cobb and Hirsch Vineyards) and Pax Mahle (Wind Gap) exchanging notes.  And the mix of new up-and-comers and legends was astounding.  When you find yourself tasting Pinot and Chard from Tyler Winery (founded in 2005) , and then chase that down with wines from Littorai, you’re in a pretty happy spot.

A few things that stood out for me:  Arnot-Roberts (I may be biased b/c I worked harvest there, but the 2011 Trout Gulch Chardonnay from the Santa Cruz Mountains is crazy energetic, and the 2011 Peter Martin Ray Vineyard Pinot Noir was also showing well (pre-release)); Ceritas Wines (if there was one lineup that was across the board stellar, it was Ceritas.  Well done, John Raytek!); Chanin Wine Company; Kutch Wines; Mount Eden; SandhiTyler; Wind Gap.

While it was a great event, I am definitely ready to switch gears, and there’s plenty of opportunity this week.  In addition to the events below, don’t forget that it’s Rhone Rangers weekend in San Francisco!  Full details on the event here.  And congrats to our ticket contest winner, Colleen!!!

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Wed., Mar. 21:  German Wines @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $20

Dinner on Monday night involved a lot of spicy food, and some killer German Riesling.  Because acid does a body good, and because I need an excuse to learn more about German wines, I’m thinking of heading over to Arlequin to check out Tom Elliot’s import portfolio.  Each of these producers will be there, and will be bringing two wines each (including a few reds):

Frank Heyden of Dr. Heyden
Ulrike Muller of G.A. Schneider
Achim Eberle of  Fitz Ritter
Paul Anheuser
Stefan Bollig of Bollig Lehnert
Tilbert Nagler of Dr. Nagler
JJ Karp of Karp Schreiber
Karin Fischer of Dr. Fischer
Barbara Rundquist of Dr. Thanisch

On a total aside, you really need to check out this video of the Mosel from the Guild of Sommeliers.  You’ll see why I fell in love with this region when I visited last summer.

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Wed., Mar. 21:  Dom. Rouge Bleu @ The Punchown (Oakland)

The Punchdown
2212 Broadway
Oakland, CA

5:30pm – 8:30pm – $15

Blog-savvy winemaker Jean-Marc Espinasse will be pouring three wines from his vineyards from his organic vineyards in the Côtes du Rhône.  You’ve only got to look at the pics of the vineyard to get me on board to try out these wines.

 Three two-ounce pours of the following for $15:

-2010 Domaine Rouge-Bleu “Dentelle Rosé” (Grenache/Carignan)
-2010 Domaine Rouge-Bleu “Dentelle Rouge” (Carignan/Grenache)
-2009 Domaine Rouge-Bleu “Le Mistral” (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre/Roussanne)

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Sat., Mar. 24:  Loire/Alsace Wine Tasting @ K&L Wines (SoMa)

K&L Wine Merchants
638 4th Street
San Francisco, CA

noon – 3:00pm – $15

K&L’s Eric Story has selected some Loire wines, and a splash of Alsatian wines, to kick-start your spring weekend.  I’m particularly psyched about the ’85 Huet Moelleux (see full lineup below).

Francois Chidaine Touraine Pétillant Rosè $18.99
2009 Bechtold “Obere Hund” Pinot Noir $25.99
1976 Couly Dutheil “Baronnie Madeleine” Chinon $54.99
2007 Jean-Maurice Raffault “Clos des Capucins” Chinon $26.99
2009 Pithon-Paille “Les Graviers” Bourgueil $26.99
2009 Martin Schaetzel Pinot Blanc Reserve $14.99
2009 Domaine Stoeffler Muhlforst Riesling $27.99
2010 Jean Pabiot Pouilly Fumé $19.99
2007 Alphonse Mellot “Les Pénitents” Chardonnay Côteaux Charitois $28.99
2008 Marc Tempé Zellenberg Gewurztraminer $32.99
1995 Domaine du Viking “Aurélie” Vouvray $49.99
1985 Huet “Le Clos du Bourg” Vouvray Moelleux $84.99

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Sat., Mar. 24:  Corsican Wine Tasting at SF Wine Trading Co. (Bernal)

San Francisco Wine Trading Co.
250 Taraval
San Francisco, CA

2:00pm – 5:30pm – $10

I’ve only had a handful of Corsican wines, mainly from Domaine Abbatuccci, but it’s enough to make me want to explore the island a bit more.  Taste through some Corsican wines from the Kermit Lynch portfolio at SF Wine Trading Co. this Saturday.

For a general overview on Corsican wines, please see this write up from Kermit Lynch Imports.  https://kermitlynch.com/media/RVF%20Corsica%20Article%20Translation.pdf

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Sun., Mar. 25:  Champagne Jacquesson Tasting @ Terroir (SoMa)

Terroir SF
1116 Folsom
San Francisco, CA

7:00pm – 9:00pm

Co-owner and former chef de cave John-Herve Chicquet of Jacquesson will be on hand to pour his Cuvée 735.  Details a bit hazy, but hey — it’s Champagne.  What’s there not to love?  Here’s an entertaining video interview of John-Herve Chicquet.  

As for the picture here — I took it while passing through Dizy last July.  Sadly, I didn’t get a chance to stop by the winery.