SF Wine Blog

Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.

Wine Events: Week of April 23


Many, many thanks to those of you who stopped by Arlequin on Thursday night for the Arnot-Roberts tasting.  Although I hadn’t planned on being behind the bar, the tidal wave of AR fans that started showing up at 6:30 made for a lively and busy night of pouring.  So I ended up lending a hand, and I really enjoyed about these wines, reminiscing about my time working harvest, and having the chance to see and hear people’s reactions to the wine.  The 2009 Fellom Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon and the 2010 Clary Ranch Syrah in particular seemed to get a lot of praise that night.  The former was restrained and elegant, while the latter was olive tapenade and gamey, whole-cluster goodness.

There were multiple other wine highlights last week, including a Sunday visit to Ridge Vineyard’s Monte Bello estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains, and a remarkable dinner at Aziza in San Francisco.  You really need to go to this place.  Not only is the food incredible, and the wine list is spectacular:  lots of choice from all different price points, and plenty of things for both the novice and the wine enthusiast.  My dinner partner and I had a really tough time making up our minds.  We had to ponder the list individually, talk through the potential options together, and eventually called in the sommelier for some advice — a little like going to therapy.  (She gets credit for that line). Eventually we selected the 2001 Lopez de Heredia Vina Gravonia Blanco and the 2007 Clos Rougeard Saumur Champigny.  I think we done good.

No rest for the weary.  More wine events to explore this week….


Wed., Apr. 25: The Natural Process AllianceDinner at Local Mission Eatery (Mission)

Local Mission Eatery
3111 24th Street
San Francisco, CA

We live in an area that embraces innovation.  And thankfully, that creative spirit is not limited to the tech sector.  Take Kevin Kelley of The Natural Process Alliance — a winemaker who every week delivers fresh, honest wines bottled in reusable Klean Kanteens.  It’s like the old school milk man, but boozier.  (Check out this great article for more info).  Kevin will be pouring his wines at Local Mission Eatery this Wednesday.  Call the restaurant at 415-655-3422 for reservations.


Thurs., Apr. 26:  Rioja Wine Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $20

As I mentioned in the intro, that  2001 Lopez de Heredia Vina Gravonia Blanco I had at Aziza was gorgeous.  Great acidity and that classic nutty touch of oxidation.  I haven’t had any Rioja wines other than LdH in quite some time, but I trust the folks at Arlequin to pour a good selection of wines to highlight what’s the haps down in the region.


Thurs., Apr. 26:  Bourdeaux Events Sponsored by K&L Wines (SoMa)

Weinstein Gallery
291 Geary Street
San Francisco, CA

5pm-7pm – $60 (tix here)

The Tour des Deux Rives touches down in San Francisco on Thursday, with a bunch of Bourdeaux peeps in tow, including: Christian Moueix (Hosanna and Certan de May); Veronique Sanders (Haut Bailly); Thomas Duroux (Palmer); Bruno-Eugène Borie (Ducru-Beaucaillou); Sylvie Cazes (Pichon Lalande); and Jean-Emmanuel Danjoy (Mouton Rothschild).  And here are the wines that will be poured: 2005 Château Mouton Rothschild 2004 Château Clerc Milon 2005 Réserve de la Comtesse 2006 Château Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2004 & 2007 Château Bernadotte 2005 Ducru-Beaucaillou 2005 Croix de Beaucaillou 2005 Château Lalande-Borie 2003 Château Haut-Bailly 2007 & 2008 La Parde de Haut-Bailly 1995 Château Palmer 2006 Alter Ego de Palmer 2007 & 2008 Château de Pez 2009 Château Haut-Beauséjour 2004 & 2007 Château Hosanna 2005 & 2008 Château Certan de May 2007 Château Lafleur-Gazin 2009 Château de Sales 2005 Château Magdelaine 2008 Château Puy-Blanquet 1996 & 2004 Château d’Armailhac.

Feeling a bit spendy? There’s a dinner later that night at La Folie for $625 per person.


Sat., Apr. 28:  CA vs. OR Pinot Tasting @ K&L Wines (SoMa)

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

noon-3pm – $20

Oregon and California winemakers have a friendly rivalry, duking it out for the best domestic Pinot Noir.  Come taste what both states have to offer this Saturday at K&L.  Here’s the lineup:

2010 Trisaetum ” Coast Range Estate” Yamhill-Carlton Pinot Noir
2009 Hirsch Vineyards “San Andreas Fault” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
2009 Calera “Mills Vineyard” Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir
2009 Patricia Green “Olenik Vineyard” Chehalem Mountain Pinot Noir
2010 Sonria Shea Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
2010 Domaine Eden Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir
2009 Domaine Drouhin Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
2009 Paul Mathew Vineyards Russian River Pinot Noir
2010 Ken Wright “Nysa Vineyard” Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
2010 Siduri “Rosella’s Vineyard” Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir


Sat., Apr. 28:  Languedoc Tasting @ Cafe Des Amis (Cow Hollow)

Cafe des Amis
2000 Union Street
San Francisco, CA

2pm-4:30pm – $35

The foremost authority in Bay Area restaurants, Marcia Gagliardi (aka “Tablehopper” and the recently-named food editor of 7×7 Magazine), teams up with Michael Minna’s sommelier Josiah Baldavino for an afternoon tour of Languedoc wines. I’ve met Marcia and Josiah, and I can guarantee that this will be an informative, entertaining, and boozy afternoon.  Here are the featured wines:

  • Antech “Brut Nature” Blanquette de Limoux
  • 2010 Hugues Beaulieu Picpoul de Pinet
  • 2010 Château de la Negly “La Brise Marine” Coteaux du Languedoc Blanc
  • 2011 Château Viranel “Tradition” Saint Chinian Rosé
  • 2008 Domaine du Trillol Corbières
  • 2009 Château Rigaud Faugères
  • 2009 Domaine Grès St-Paul “Antonin” Coteaux du Languedoc
  • 2010 L’Olivier de la Rèze Minervois
  • Les Petits Grains Muscat de Saint Jean de Minervois

If you miss out on this event, there will be plenty of opportunities to taste Languedoc wines in May as part of L’Aventure Languedoc – a series of tastings and dinners sponsored by CIVL (Conseil Interprofessionnel des Vins du Languedoc).


Sun., Apr. 29:  Twitter Rioja Tasting @ the Internets (WWW)


Ever take part in a Twitter wine tasting?  Basically, you hop online with a bunch of peeps to drink a predetermined type of wine (either wines from the same region or same grape), and exchange notes.

A handful of producers from Spain are taking part in a twitter tasting this Sunday, and the theme is “NextGen Rioja” – a tasting sponsored by the Vibrant Rioja trade organization, to “showcas[e] younger generation winemakers and wineries either following the traditional/classic Rioja style or exploring a more modern approach of winemaking.”  Follow along on Sunday by using the #RiojaBuzz Twitter hashtag, and follow @RiojaWines.  I’ll be tasting the suggested wines and following along, too.

For more information on how to participate, and for a list of the suggested wines, click here.


Sun., Apr. 29:  Joli Vin Imports Tasting @ DigWineSF (Portrero Hill)

1005 Minnesota Street
San Francisco, CA

5:30pm – $40

What a great way to cap off the weekend:  spending time with Wayne of Dig Wine and Nadia of Joli Vin Imports.  Oh, and sipping on everything from grower champagne to Côte Roannaise.  I’ve been to an importer tasting at Dig before, and love the intimate setting (and the plates of food from Piccino to nosh on!).  Here’s what you can expect:

Domaine Marie Courtain Champagne, Résonance, Extra Brut 2008
Domaine de la Tournelle Fleur de Savagnin 2009
Domaine Vincent Gaudry Sancerre L’Espirit de Rudolf 2010
Domaine Robert Sérol Côte Roannaise, Les Vieilles Vignes 2011
Domaine Terres de Velle Auxey-Duresses 2009
Domaine Pas de L’Escalette Les Petits Pas 2010
Domaine Pierre Gonon Saint-Joesph 2010


Mon., Apr. 30:  Juris Winery Dinner @ Bar Tartine (Mission)

Bar Tartine
561 Valencia
San Francisco, CA

7:30pm – $39 per person.  Tickets here.

If you follow along on Twitter, you know that I’ve spent my fair share of time at Bar Tartine.  What’s not to love about well-executed dishes and great service? Shoot, even Michael Bauer is all up in Tartine’s bizness.  Here’s what he said in his recent review:  “Once in a while, a restaurant comes along that is so different and exciting that it becomes my personal benchmark.”

On Monday, Bar Tartine is teaming up with the folks at Blue Danube Wine to host a winemaker dinner with Austria’s Juris Winery.  Juris is found in the Burgenland (near the border with Hungary), and as the name suggests, it’s the home to a fair amount of Pinot Noir and St. Laurent (a variety considered to be in the same family as Pinot Noir).  Proprietors Axel and Herta Stieglmart will be on hand to walk you through the wines.


Note/Disclosure:  I’m excited that I was invited to attend a few of these events (including the Languedoc tasting and the Juris tasting) as a member of the media.  I had been planning on posting these events on the weekly update even before I received the invite.  


2 thoughts on “Wine Events: Week of April 23

  1. I had the Clos Rougeard a few weeks ago – what did you think? I was actually slightly disappointed, given the “cult” status of the wine. And I am, as you know, a big believer in Loire cab franc too.
    Bar Tartine has GREAT wine these days. I recently had a glass of Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris there – super-geeky, and really delicious. The Olivier Lemasson R10 and Calabretta Etna Rosso are also worth checking out, if you’ve never tried them.

    • Andy – I like your style. We clearly need to drink together more often! As for the Clos Rougeard: I thought it was awesome, but it took about 45 minutes to start opening up. It was way, way tight and closed at the beginning of the night. After decanting, it opened up nicely. I thought it was a pretty elegant Cab Franc. Love what Vinny & Kim are doing with the list at Bar Tartine, and the food and service is awesome. Love the Lemasson Poivre et Sel, haven’t had the R10, but need to track down a bottle. I have a bottle of the Calabretta sitting in storage, but haven’t tried it yet. Have heard very good things!
      Talk soon,

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