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Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.


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Wine Events: Week of Jan. 30

I am nothing short of giddy this week not just because of the abundance of great wine events in the next few days, but because of this:

Arnot-Roberts Touriga Nacional Rosé 2011

The Arnot-Roberts Touriga Nacional Rosé is the first of the wines I worked on this past harvest to be bottled. I’ve been doing a little happy dance ever since because it’s a great feeling to see a wine you helped shepherd through fermentation get to this stage.  And it is LOVELY — lively, bright, and a touch of salinity. I will be writing more about this wine in the next week.

I have to lay low over the next few days to prepare myself for the Pats game on Sunday (guess who I’m cheering for), but will hopefully see some of you at the Golden Glass event.  One other thing to keep on your calendar:  18 Reasons is hosting a four-part course starting February 6 called “Defining Value in Wine” led by Pamela Busch.  The goal:  provide participants with “tips and tools to find and identify high quality, reasonably priced wines in wine shops and at restaurants.”  More info here.

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Wed., Feb. 1:  Jura/Savoie/Bugey @ William Cross Wines (Russian Hill)

William Cross Wine Merchants
2253 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 9:00pm – $15

OK, I admit:  these wines from the French Alps may not be for everyone.  But if one of your new year’s resolutions was to expand your wine palate, this is a great tasting to attend.  The Jura wines can be a little oxidized, giving it a hint of sherry-like aromas, which throws some people off.  But if you like the funky, this is going to be a game changer of a tasting for you.  If I can make it to the event, I’ll be picking up a little Comté from Cheese Plus beforehand to pair with the Vin Jaune (and I highly recommend you do the same — this is a classic cheese and wine pairing).

2010 Rene et Beatrice Bernard Apremont Vieilles Vignes Vin de Savoie
2010 Jean-Pierre et Jean Quenard Chignin Bergeron Vin de Savoie
2009 Domaine Labet Fleur de Savagnin Cotes du Jura
2010 Julien Labet Metis Poulsard-Pinot-Trousseau Cotes du Jura
2009 Famille Peillot Monduese Bugey
2004 Chateau Chalon Vin Jaune Cotes du Jura

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Wed., Feb. 1:  Ridge Monte Bello Vertical Tasting @ Solano Cellars (East Bay) 

Solano Cellars
1580 Solano Ave.
Albany, CA

6:30pm – $65 – tickets available here

Ridge Monte Bello — one of the most historic California wines.  Taste through some older vintages (1990, 1994, 2001 and 2008) to see how this legend ages in bottle.

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Wed., Feb. 1:  Mas de Daumas Gassac food/wine pairing event @ 18 Reasons  (Mission) 

18 Reasons
3674 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

$40 members / $50 non members – tix here

This is a true family affair.  Winemaker Simon Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac and his sister in law Alison Bailey Vercruysse  (founder of 18 Rabbits) will bring their crafts to the table on Wednesday night.  Bonus:  the owners from MDG and 18 Rabbits will be on hand to talk about the evolution of sustainability and the food and wine world.  You may recall that Aime Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac was featured prominently in the documentary Mondovino,  in which he boldly declared “le ven est mort.”  Should be interesting!

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Thurs., Feb. 2:  Matthiasson Wine Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $20

Matthiasson wines are gaining well-deserved praise for the balanced and nuanced style.  Jus last week, the New York Times’ Eric Asimov referred to Matthiasson as “one of [his] favorite California producers.”  While I’ve only tried the Matthiasson red and white blends, I’m excited to check out the full portfolio.  Here’s what you can expect on Thursday.

2009 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
2010 White Blend Napa Valley
2007 White Blend Napa Valley
2006 White Blend Napa Valley
2005 White Blend Napa Valley
2009 Refosco Napa Valley
2009 Cabernet Franc Napa Valley
2007 Red Blend Napa Valley
2003 Red Blend Napa Valley (from magnum)

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Sat., Feb. 4: The Golden Glass hosted by Slow Food SF (Marina)

Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA

1pm-5pm – $80 – tix here

If you put together food from A16, Acquarello, Delfina, Wo Hing General Store, and Zero-Zero (among others) in one space, you’ve got a good thing going  Add 250 wines from producers who who strive to protect, nurture, and revive the indigenous and classic varieties of their regions,” and you’ve got The Golden Glass.  Here’s a snazzy video from the event organizers to get you psyched about drinking on Saturday afternoon (WARNING – it may cause you to drool on your computer).

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Sat., Feb. 4:  Wine and Wishes @ CityView Metreon (SoMa)

CityView Metreon
101 4th Street
San Francisco, CA

5:00pm – 7:30pm – Gourmet Tasting – $150
7:30pm – 11:00pm –  Winemaker Dinner – $350

Tickets available here.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Francisco’s annual fundraiser brings together some of California’s most noted wineries and Bay Area Restaurants for a fun-filled evening.  You’ll recognize many of the names who will be serving at the Grand Tasting:  Merry Edwards Winery, Williams Selyem, Barbacco, Epic Roasthouse, and The Slanted Door, to name a few.  Full listhere.  I was lucky enough to attend the tasting last year and had a lot of fun.  And if you stick around for dinner, there are plenty of top notch somms who will be pouring, including Paul Einbund of Frances, Shelley Lindgren of A16, and Christie Dufault of RN74.


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Wine Events: Week of Jan. 23

No better way to forget about a few botched punt returns than to down a few glasses of wine.  Whether you like the new breed of California wines, big-powerful reds, or old world wines with a little age on them, here are a few events that will help you get over the Niners’ game.

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Wed., Jan. 25:  Island Wines @ William Cross Wines (Russian Hill)

William Cross Wine Merchants
2253 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 9:00pm – $15

Islands in the stream.  That is what we are.  Nothing in between — except for 3 Sicilian wines, 2 Sardinian wines, and one Tasmanian devil.  William Cross is pouring wines from island destinations, and while I wish there were a few Canary Island wines on the list, I’m happy that Graci, Planeta, and Tenuta delle Terre Nere (a Sicilian trifecta) will be poured.  Here’s what $15 bucks gets ya:

2010 Piero Mancini Vermentino di Gallura
2010 Graci Etna Bianco
2009 Pirie SOUTH Pinot Noir Tasmania
2010 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso
2006 Capichera Assaje Isola dei Nuraghi
2006 Planeta Santa Cecilia Nero d’Avola di Sicilia

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Thurs., Jan. 26:  Salinia Wine Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $20

You want small production wines from a talented winemaker who is gaining national attention?  Then join Kevin Kelley (the founder of the Natural Process Alliance and former winemaker at LIOCO) as he pours wines from his Salinia label, including Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay.  For more in-depth information re Salinia and the NPA, check out this post from NOPA wine director Chris Deegan.

UPDATE – here’s what’s being poured (note that The NPA Petillant is not yet released)

2006 Salinia ‘Heintz Ranch’ Chardonnay
2006 Salinia ‘W.E. Bottoms’ Pinot Noir
2006 Salinia ‘Heintz Ranch’ Syrah
2010 Natural Process Alliance Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma
2010 Natural Process Alliance Pinot Gris Sonoma
2010 Natural Process Alliance Red Blend Mendocino
2011 Natural Process Alliance Petillant Naturel

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Thurs., Jan. 26 – Sat., Jan. 28:  ZAP! Tasting and Events 

Various Locations
San Francisco, CA

The annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers tasting takes place this week.  Lots of dinners, tastings, and seminars, all culminating in the Grand Tasting that takes place on Saturday from 2pm to 5pm at The Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th Street (at Brannan)  [NOT at Fort Mason].  As with any large tasting, I highly recommend getting there early before the crowds arrive and before people start getting a little too boozy.

Where will I be? I’ll be checking out wines from Bedrock, Bucklin, Easton, and Ridge (among others).

For a full list of events, please see the ZAP website.

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Sun. Jan. 29:  Heirloom Cafe Class and Tasting (Mission)

Heirloom Cafe
2500 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA

1:00pm – 3:00pm – Wine Basics Tasting Seminar ($30)
4:00pm – 6:00pm – Tasting ($10 plus per-taste fee)

Heirloom Cafe is well known for owner Matt Straus’ wine list and cellar.  This weekend, Heirloom is hosting a series of events, including a wine class (starting at 1pm) and a tasting (at 4pm).  The two hour class is led by Matt (one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Top Sommeliers of 2011) and is meant as a basic introduction, covering grape varietals, appellations and major growing regions.  Participants will taste six different wines.

Then, starting at 4pm, Matt & Co. will be pouring a diverse selection of wines, each priced from $1-$5 per ounce.  Here’s the list (though I wouldn’t be surprised if a few additional bottles are opened during the course of the afternoon!):

$1 per ounce:
2009 BOUZERON ALIGOTE, DE VILLAINE
2007 CUVEE SACHA, PUFFENEY
2009 BOURGOGNE ROUGE ‘EN MONTRE CUL,’ BOUVIER
2009 MORGON ‘COTE DE PY,’ PIRON

$2 per ounce:
2006 VOUVRAY SEC, FOREAU
2001 RIOJA CRIANZA ‘GRAVONIA,’ LOPEZ DE HEREDIA
2007 UMBRIA ROSSO ‘SAN VALENTINO,’ PAOLO BEA
1999 CHATEAU SIMARD

$3 per ounce:
2006 CHABLIS GRAND CRU ‘CLOS,’ MICHEL
2002 RIESLING SPATLESE ‘WEHLENER SONNENUHR,’ WEINS-PRUM
2002 PINOT NOIR ‘REVELES,’ ICI/LA-BAS (from magnum)
2004 ALOXE-CORTON 1ER CRU ‘LES VALOZIERES,’ CORNU

$5 per ounce:
1997 CHARDONNAY, HANZELL


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La Paulée San Francisco 2012

Burgundy - Harvest 2011

Burgundy is simply electric during harvest.  From early in the morning to late at night, there are people tirelessly working to get the grapes into the winery, into tank, and finally into barrel.  And when everything is done, despite aching muscles and sleep deprivation, everyone celebrates.  In Meursault, vignerons mark the end of harvest by sharing dusty bottles from their cellars during an event known as La Paulée — “the world’s classiest BYOB party.”

Fascinated by the community spirit and camaraderie he found in a visit to Meursault, New York based Sommelier Daniel Johnnes (wine director for Daniel Boulud‘s DINEX restaurants) has been hosting an officially sanctioned U.S. version of La Paulée since 2000.  La Paulée 2012 touches down in San Francisco in a few weeks and there are a ton of events for everyone from the seasoned collector to the Burgundy novice.

You’ve likely heard about the Gala Dinner — a legendary night of singing and drinking that has been referred to as “the biggest and most coveted” wine dinner in the United States.  While the $1,400 price tag sounds steep, this is a no-brainer for serious Burgundy collectors.  Plus, it sounds like a ridiculously fun party — one which the WSJ’s Jay McInerney called “a bacchanal the likes of which my liver hopes not to experience again for at least another week or two.”  [That’s a pretty serious statement given that McInerney drinks for a living!]

Thankfully, there are many ways to take part in La Paulée 2012 without breaking the bank.  This should come as no surprise, given that Johnnes has built a reputation for trying to make wine accessible to those of us who don’t happen to have a cellar full of old bottles of DRC.  In addition to writing a book to help wine consumers to get the most bang for their buck, Johnnes was the first guest on Gary Vaynerchuk’s Wine Library TV.

Johnnes has signed up a slew of the city’s top restaurants — A16, Frances, Gary Danko, Quince, The Slanted Door and many others — to host Burgundy-focused events starting on February 13.   While there are no additional details about “Burgundy Week” at this time, I’ll forward along any updates via Twitter and Facebook and on this handy-dandy La Paulée 2012 Google Calendar I pulled together.

In addition, there are two La Paulée seminars with price tags right around $100.  The first, “Navigating Burgundy with a Sommelier’s Guidance,” takes place on Thursday, February 23 and features Johnnes and two other top somms:  RN74’s Rajat Parr and Rajeev Vaidya from New York’s Restaurant Daniel.  Not bad tour guides to help navigate the confusing world of Burgundy producers, vintages, and appellations.  Eric Asimov, the New York Times’ wine writer, will moderate a second panel on February 25 to talk about “continuity and change” in Burgundy.  Seminar attendees will taste 6 different wines from three different domaines.  Because I need some visual aids to help me understand Burgundy, I’ve put together maps highlighting where each of these wines come from.

Seminar Wines

And finally, the Grand Tasting takes place on Saturday afternoon, February 25.  24 domaines.  A smörgåsbord of food from top-notch restaurants.  Yup – this will be decadent.  I recommend showing up early to avoid rush hour.  Here’s a full list of wines being poured at the Grand Tasting, which helps justify the price tag.

The full schedule for La Paulée is below, and here’s a link to the La Paulée 2012 Google Calendar I mentioned before (the descriptions of the event on the calendar were pulled from the La Paulée website).

FEB. 13-24, 2012

BURGUNDY WEEK – Specific events TBD
Restaurants include:  A16, Absinthe, Acquarello, Baker & Banker, benu, Boulevard, Bourbon Steak, Cafe de la Presse, Epic Roasthouse, La Folie, Frances, Gary Danko, Jardiniere, Michael Mina, Piperade, Quince, RN74, Saison, The Slanted Door, Sons & Daughters, Redd, Zuni

WED., FEB. 22, 2012

6:30pm – 10pm — Legends Dinner
The Napa Valley Reserve, 1000 Silverado Trail North, St. Helena, CA
Wines from Domaine de la Romanée-Conti, Domaine des Comtes Lafon, Domaine Roulot
7-course meal prepared by Meadowoods’ Christopher Kostow
$4000

THURS., FEB. 23, 2012

12pm – 2pm — Collectors Lunch
Jardiniere, 300 Grove Street, San Francisco, CA
Wines from Domaine Louis Michel et Fils and Domaine Michel Lafarge (full list here)
Lunch prepared by Jardiniere’s Traci Des Jardins
$495

3:30pm – 5pm — Seminar: Navigating Burgundy w/ a Sommelier’s Guidance
RN74, 301 Mission Street, San Francisco, CA
Panelists:  Daniel Johnnes, Rajat Parr (RN74 / Michael Mina), Rajeev Vaidya (Jean-Georges)
Wines from Pierre-Yves-Colin-Morey, Maison Joseph Drouhin, Domaine Ponsot  (full list here)
$95

FRI., FEB. 24, 2012

3:30pm – 6pm — Verticals Tasting
Westin St. Francis, 32nd Floor, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
24 different domains serving up 3-vintage verticals (wines listed here)
$395

7pm – 11pm — Rare Wine Dinner
Westin St. Francis, 32nd Floor, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
Featured wines from Domain Ponsot, including multiple vintages of Clos de la Roche going back to 1971 (full list here)
Evening will kick off with Champagne Salon 1999 from magnum. (!!!)
Meal prepared by Chefs Michael Mina, Daniel Boulud, and Romain Chapel from Restaurant Alain Chapel
$2,950

SAT., FEB. 25, 2012

10am – 11:30am — Seminar: Eric Asimov on Continuity and Change in Burgundy
Westin St. Francis, The Colonial Room, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
Panelists:  David Duband, Jean-Marie Fourrier and Etienne de Montille.
Moderator:  New York Times’ Eric Asimov
Wines from Domaine Fourrier, David Duband, Deux Montille Soeur – Frère (full list here)
$125

12pm – 3pm — Grand Tasting
Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
Wines from:

Domaine Ballot-Millot Hospices de Beaune
Domaine Bonneau du Martray Maison Louis Jadot
Domaine Bouchard Père et Fils Domaine des Comtes Lafon
Domaine François Carillon Benjamin Leroux
Pierre-Yves Colin-Morey Domaine Michel Lafarge
Maison Deux Montille Méo-Camuzet
Maison Joseph Drouhin Domaine Louis Michel et Fils
David Duband Domaine de Montille
Domaine Faiveley Domaine Bernard Moreau
Domaine William Fèvre Domaine Ponsot
Domaine Jean-Philippe Fichet Domaine de la Pousse d’Or
Domaine Fourrier Domaine Marc Roy
Maison Camille Giroud Domaine Roulot
Domaine Henri Gouges Commune de Meurseult

FULL LIST OF WINES

Restaurants serving include: A16, Acquerello, Boulevard, Frances, Jardiniere, Michael Mina, Piperade, Quince, Redd, RN74, Slanted Door
$300

6:30pm – 10:30pm — Gala Dinner
Westin St. Francis, 335 Powell Street, San Francisco, CA
Dinner prepared by Chefs Chefs Daniel Boulud, Romain Chapel, Thomas Keller,Christopher Kostow and Michael Mina
Wines from all attending wineries
Remember to bring a bottle from your cellar to share
$1,400



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Wine Events: Week of Jan. 16

My apologies.  Am a little dinged up from a night out at RN74.  I will have a much more entertaining intro to next week’s wine events post.

 Now for some more coffee.

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Tues., Jan. 17: Italian Wine Tasting @ Biondivino (Russian Hill)

Biondivino
1415 Green Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – $10

I can’t wait till Biondivino’s Ceri Smith opens up her new enoteca.  Until then, I am more than happy to settle for her always entertaining wine tastings.  Tonight, 4 wineries, 3 regions, 3 winemakers from the North Berkeley Wine Import portfolio.  Here’s the skinny:

Ca Vittoria (Winemaker;  Cristina Bruniera) – Prosecco, Veneto
NV Ca Vittoria Brut Rose   –  $19.
NV Ca Vittoria Prosecco Brut – Conegliano Valdobbiadene $19.

Alberice – Friuli Venezia Giulia
2010 Alberice Malvasia Friuli  –  $18.
2010 Alberice Friulano Friuli – $18.
2008 Alberice Refosco dal Peduncolo Rosso Friuli $18.

Fattoria Nicodemi (Winemaker: Elena Nicodemi) – Abruzzo
2010 Nicodemi Terrana Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – $14.
2009 Nicodemi Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – $17.
2008 Nicodemi Notari Rosso Montepulciano d’Abruzzo – $28.
2006 Nicodemi Neromoro Riserva – $49.

Dama del Rovere (Massimo Pra) – Soave, Veneto
2009 Dama del Rovere Spinaje Bianco Veneto IGT  –  $27.
2010 Dama del Rovere Brenton Lessini Durello Brut   –  $19.
2010 Dama del Rovere Tremenalto Soave Classico – $15.

ALSO – Ceri could use some additional support for her new establishment prior to her February 2 SF Planning Commission hearing.  Please consider sending an email to Kevin.Guy@SFGOV.org and include the following information in the subject line:  Re 2255 Polk Street – Case No: 2011.1233C.  

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Tues., Jan. 17: French Wine Producer Dinner @ RN74 (SoMa)

RN74
301 Mission Street
San Francisco, CA

7:00 pm – Three Courses w/ Wine for $195 (not incl. tax & service)

North Berkeley Wine is bringing three producers from wineries intheir portfolio, Frederic Magnien (Burguny), Bruno Gaspard of Le Clos du Caillou (Chateauneuf du Pape) an Pierre Gaillard (No. Rhone). Nine wines, three courses.

RSVP to jpark@minagroup.net

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Thurs., Jan. 19:  Terry Theise Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $20

One of the wine industry’s most engaging personalities and most spirited writers, Terry Theis, will be pouring German and Austrian wine.  As you may know, Theise is one of the major proponents of grower champagnes, and he’ll be pouring some bubbly wine, too.  I’ll update this post with a list of wines being poured when that information becomes available.  UPDATE: Ze list of wines being poured:

NV Jean Milan ‘Special’ Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne
NV Pierre Peters Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Champagne
NV Rene Geoffroy Brut Rose Champagne
2010 Donhoff ‘Estate’ Riesling QbA
2010 Donhoff Oberhauser Leistenberg Riesling Kabinett
2009 Hirsch ‘Zobing’ Riesling
2010 Leitz ‘Dragonstone’ Riesling
2009 Weingut Brundlmayer ‘Alte Reben’ Gruner Veltliner
2006 Nigl Privat Gruner Veltliner (from magnum)
2010 Weingut Brundlmayer Rose Zweigelt

For an entertaining and informative read, download a copy of Terry’s catalogs.

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Sat., Jan. 21:  Burgundy Tasting at SF Wine Trading Co. (Bernal)

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

2:00pm – 5:30pm – $10

There’s a good number of Burgundy tastings and events coming up over the next few weeks, all leading up to the big Burg-hound gathering of the year, La Paulée de San Francisco.  (More on that in an upcoming post).  On Saturday, SF Wine Trading Company will be opening bottles from wine-critic endorsed 2009 vintage (note: there’s a bit of a debate whether or not these wines are worth all the hype.  If you stop by the tasting, let me know what you think — too ripe, or just right?).

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LOOKING AHEAD

Sat., Feb. 4:  Wine and Wishes @ CityView Metreon (SoMa)

CityView Metreon
101 4th Street
San Francisco, CA

5:00pm – 7:30pm – Gourmet Tasting – $150
7:30pm – 11:00pm –  Winemaker Dinner – $350

Tickets available here.

The Make-A-Wish Foundation of San Francisco’s annual fundraiser brings together some of California’s most noted wineries and Bay Area Restaurants for a fun-filled evening.  You’ll recognize many of the names who will be serving at the Grand Tasting:  Merry Edwards Winery, Williams Selyem, Barbacco, Epic Roasthouse, and The Slanted Door, to name a few.  Full list here.  I was lucky enough to attend the tasting last year and had a lot of fun.  And if you stick around for dinner, there are plenty of top notch somms who will be pouring, including Paul Einbund of Frances, Shelley Lindgren of A16, and Christie Dufault of RN74.

NOTE – Tablehopper has a 10% discount code for tickets to the Gourmet Tasting.