SF Wine Blog

Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.

Wine Events: Week of May 16


I’ve never made it to every event in a weekly blog post, but I came pretty darn close last week.  In addition to the Jura tasting at The Punchdown, I tasted through five different Kutch Wines Pinot Noirs, checked out the 18 Reasons / Bi-Rite event, and tore through a dozen different Beaujolais at SF Wine Trading Co.  And to top it all off, I drove up to Forestville on Saturday for the Wind Gap Wines Open House.

Pax and Pam Mahle know how to throw a party:  fresh shucked oysters, an assortment of sausages and cured meats (including a delicious “prized pig”), lamb chops…and–oh, yeah–there was some wine, too.  A Trousseau Gris (straight from the land of misfit toys grapes), two Chardonnays, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, the “Rana” Grenache / Syrah / Mourvedre Blend, Sonoma Coast Syrah (which got rave reviews in a recent WSJ article), the Armagh Vineyard Syrah, and a vertical of the Griffin’s Lair Syrah (2007 – 2010).  Despite a slightly overcast day, guests were having a blast, and many brought shiners to fill up from a barrel of Rosé.  Pax was also clearly enjoying himself, being a consummate host and greeting guests, sampling the fare, and geeking out over what he’s been tasting recently.  The space — which is shared with Arnot-Roberts — has a weathered barn / artists studio feel to it, which seemed to capture the creative spirit and agricultural roots of the wines being produced therein.  I’ve put up some photos of the event here.  You can buy Wind Gap wines locally at Arlequin Wine Merchants, Bi-Rite Market, and Cheese Plus.

Not sure I’m ready for more wine quite yet, but there are a ton of events again this week.  And don’t forget:  the Bi-Rite annual Spring Wine Blitz takes place May 19-22 (20% off any mix-and-match case, w/ free delivery to many parts of the city).  Great selection, including wines from some of my favorite producers including Catherine et Pierre Breton, Agienda Agricola COS, and Domaine Huet.


Tues., May 17:  A16 hosts Bruno DeConciliis (Marina)

2355 Chestnut Street
San Francisco, CA

For the past six years, Shelly Lindgren and the A16 team have hosted winemaker Bruno DeConciliis for an evening of wine and revelry.  Hailing from Campania, just south of the Amalfi coast, the DeConciliis wines are highly sought after, and have graced the wine lists at top restaurants in the U.S., including NYC’s Babbo.  The evening’s lineup includes 2004 Naima ‘Peter Wilburger’ from magnum, the ‘Donnaluna’ Fiano and Aglianico, and the “Zero ( a wine made from one hundred year old vine Aglianico).

NOTE:  Bruno will also be at Delfina on Wednesday May 18 for a winemaker dinner starting at 5:30pm.  Details available via the Delfina Facebook page.


Wed. – Fri., May 18-19:  Kabaj Winery Events (multiple locations) 

If you haven’t noticed, Central and Eastern European food and wine are all the rage here in SF, from the recent menu changes at Bar Bambino, to the recently reopened Bar Tartine.  The good folks over at Blue Danube Wine (a Bay Area-based importer) are primed to ride that wave, and have scheduled a trifecta of events to welcome winemaker Jean-Michael Morel from Slovenia’s Kabaj Winery.  Here’s a description of the Kabaj wines that really grabbed me:  “These are not ‘minimalist’ wines, which can sometimes seem dirty and experimental, but they do possess a quality that I loosely call funky. Funky is a very good thing—it means I can taste the land, the fermentation process, a bit of oxidation maybe. The wines taste earthy more than fruity, and they have integrity.”

After making stops at Terroir NY and multiple locations in LA, Jean-Michael touches down at three different locations in the Bay Area this week.

Wednesday Night:  Dinner at À Côté, 5478 College Avenue, Oakland.  6:00pm, five courses paired with five wines, $80.  Full menu here.

Thursday Night:  Dinner at Bar Bambino, 2931 16th Street, San Francisco (Mission).  7:00pm – 10:00pm, limited to 20 people, $85, four courses, 5 wines.  Full menu here.  Call 415-701-8466 for reservations.

Friday Night:  Tasting at Biondivino, 1415 Green Street, San Francisco (Nob Hill).  6:00pm – 8:00pm, $10.  (As always, you can count on Ceri to put together a great spread and atmosphere to accompany the wines).


Wed., May 18:  Calera Wine Co. at FPWM (Embarcadero)

Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants
One Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA

4:30pm – 7:30pm – $28 for flight of 5 wines

FPWM is offering a flight of Central Coast Pinot Noir from iconic winemaker Josh Jensen this week.


Thurs., May 19:  18 Reasons Mendocino Wine Tasting (Mission)

18 Reasons
593 Guerrero
San Francisco, CA

7:00pm – 9:00pm – $10 for members / $15 non-members

18 Reasons and the BiRite wine team are bringing in Handley Cellars and Terra Savia for a tasting of Mendo wines.


Thurs., May 19:  Solano Cellars Oregon vs. Burgundy Tasting (East Bay)

1580 Solano Ave
Albany, CA

7:00pm – 9:00pm – $65 per person

Ever wonder who would win in a steel cage match between Oregon’s Ken Wright Cellars and Burgundy’s Patrice Rion?  Me neither.  But I do wonder what it would be like to taste these wines back-to-back.  Eight wines, four courses of apps from Kirstin Jackson.  Tix here.


Sat., May 21:  Banshee Wine Spring Fling (East Bay)

Black Point Battery
Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA

A group of young winos with fantastic vineyard connections decide to set up a négociant business, giving consumers access to wines sourced from great locations at reasonable prices.  And thus Banshee was born.  Check out their latest wines, and their first white wine offering at this release party.  Sign up on the Banshee Facebook page.


Mon., May 23:  Wine & Oyster Pairing w/ Randall Grahm (SoMa)

The Secret Wine Shop
1097 Howard Street, #209
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $40 (tix here)

The always insightful and entertaining Randall Grahm of Bonny Doon Vineyard will be at The Secret Wine Shop in SoMa for an oyster and wine pairing event, featuring 6 different types of oysters and 6 different wines (including thee from Bonny Doon:  2008 Le Cigare Blanc, 2010, Vin Gris de Cigare, and the 2009 Ca’ del Solo Estate Albariño).  Bonus:  all wines will be for sale at the event, along with signed copies of Randall’s book, Been Doon So Long.  There are only 35 tickets for this event, so don’t dawdle.


4 thoughts on “Wine Events: Week of May 16

  1. I’m totally bummed that I missed the cru beaujolais tasting at Wine Trading Co. Got any recommendations from that one? Thanks.

    • Hey Andy –
      Sorry you missed the tasting. The Foillard Côte du Puy and the Dom. Chignard Fleurie were among my favorites. Good finds at the under $20 price point -Dom. De la Voûte des Crozes Côte de Brouilly and the Dom Dupeuble (both from Kermit Lynch). Do you have any Beaujolais favorites?

      • I think Trenel is pretty reliable. Trenel’s non-cru gamay is particularly good value for the money (approx $15) – I think it’s just referred to as Macon Rouge. You can find it at Wine Trading Co.
        Thanks for the tips.

      • I’ll have to check out more of the Trenel line up, but wasn’t crazy about their Saint Amour. Maybe we’ll have to pull together a Beaujolais tasting in June.

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