SF Wine Blog

Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.


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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.

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Wine Events: Week of Nov. 7

Every now and then, an oddball bottle gets thrown into a tasting lineup and steals the show.  This past Thursday, I strolled over to Arlequin for the LIOCO tasting, looking forward to tasting their well-respected Chard and Pinot, but was happily surprised by their Pinot Blanc sourced from the Chalone AVA.  A real, mineral-driven head turner.  Put it on your “to do” list.

Get your liver ready:  here’s this week’s event list!

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Wed. Nov. 9:  Oliver McCrum Tasting @18 Reasons (Mission)

18 Reasons
3674 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

7:00 pm – 9:00 pm – $40 for members / $50 for non-members (tix here)

Importer Oliver McCrum is getting you ready for the change of seasons by walking you through wines that pair well with Fall / Winter cuisine.  Plus, you can figure out how to properly pronounce some of these Italian varietals, such as Lagrein and Aglianico.

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Wed., Nov 9: Sicily’s Vinicola Benati @ Biondivino (Russian Hill)

Biondivino
1415 Green Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00 pm – 8:00 pm – $10 for a pre-selected taste of 6 wines / $25 for the whole shebang.

It’s true:  I am a big fan of anything Biondivino.  But how can you blame me when they keep bringing in interesting producers and give you the chance to try some older vintages?  26 wines being poured, including some from the mid/late 1990s.  More details here.

NOTE:  Benati is also doing a wine dinner on Tuesday, November 8 at Farina in the Mission!

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Thurs., Nov. 10:  Paolo Bea Tasting at Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $20

BEA!  I get giddy just saying it.  So I’ll say it again.  BEA!!!  I have a soft spot in my heart for these wines, as they helped introduce me to wines from Umbria.  For more info on Bea, check out this write up from Master Somm Jesse Becker of PWM Wine.

UPDATE – Here’s the lineup

2009 Coenobium Lazio Bianco
2009 'Rusticum' Coenobium Lazio Bianco
2007 'San Valentino' Umbria Rosso
2005 'Signa San Valentino' Montefalco Rosso
2005 'Pipparello' Montefalco Rosso Riserva
2005 'Rosso de Veo' Umbria Rosso

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Thurs., Nov. 10 – Sun., Nov. 13:  Bi-Rite’s Wine Blitz (Mission)

Bi-Rite Market
3639 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

I’ll be stocking up on wine at Bi-Rite this week, and hope you’ll do the same.  Remember:  20% off if you buy a case or more, and free delivery in SF.  If you’re looking for a lighter bodied red wine to throw in the mix, pick up a bottle of Olivier Lemasson’s Vins Contés Poivre et Sel (a blend of Gamay and Pineau d’Aunis from the Loire).  It was a stand out wine from last week’s preview tasting.

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Mon., Nov. 14:  The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine at Omnivore Books (Mission)

Omnivore Books
3885 Cesar Chavez
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 7:00pm – FREE

Join authors Karen Page and Andrew Dornenburg as they discuss their latest book, The Food Lover’s Guide to Wine.  Per the publisher:

“At the heart of this indispensable reference, formatted like the authors’ two previous bestsellers The Flavor Bible and What to Drink with What You Eat, is an encyclopedic A-to-Z guide profiling hundreds of different wines by their essential characteristics-from body and intensity to distinguishing flavors, from suggested serving temperatures and ideal food pairings to recommended producers (including many iconic examples). The book provides illuminating insights from dozens of America’s best sommeliers via informative sidebars, charts and boxes, which complement the book’s gorgeous four-color photography. Another groundbreaking work from two of the ultimate culinary insiders, this instant classic is the perfect gift book.”


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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.

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

A16
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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.



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Weekly Events: Week of March 14

Wednesday is looking like wine-a-palooza right now:  an amazing array of events to get over hump day.  Rock on!

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Wed., Mar. 16:  Littorai Tasting @ FPWM (Financial Dist.)

Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants
The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA

4:30pm – 7:30pm ($32 for flight)

One of the country’s most esteemed winemakers, Ted Lemon, will be pouring his wines at FPWM this Wednesday.  Littorai is well known for his elegant pinots and chardonnay, which should be know surprise since Ted was the first American to work as a winemaker in Burgundy.  Here’s what the Chronicle had to say about Ted in naming him winemaker of the year this past December:

“Littorai wines are among the purest, most long-lasting expressions of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in the New World. They have earned Lemon a reputation not as a Burgundian interpreter of California, but as a true American master. ” – Article here.

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Wed., Mar. 16:  Littorai Dinner @ Saison (Mission)

Saison
2124 Folsom
San Francisco, CA

7:30pm – 9:30pm (call restaurant for details – 415-828-7990)

In case you missed the FPWM event, and you’re up for a bit more of a spendy night, head over to one of SF’s hottest restaurants to see Ted’s wines where they really belong:  at the dinner table.

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K&L Wine Merchants

Wed., Mar. 16:  Domaine Rouge Bleu Tasting @ K&L (SoMa)

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

5:00pm – 6:30pm ($5)

Natural wines from a blog-savvy Rhone producer.  Winemaker Jean-Marc Espinasse will also be there, adding a personal touch to this tasting event.  You’ve only got to look at the pics of the vineyard to get me on board to try out these wines.  Here’s an old K&L interview with the winemaker.

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Wed., Mar. 16:  Tenuta Delle Terre Nere Tasting @ Biondivino (Russian Hill)

Biondivino
1415 Green Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm (5 wines- $10)

I am extremely excited about this tasting.  There’s been a lot of focus on the volcanic soils of Sicily’s Mt. Etna, and you’ll see why when you taste these wines.  Check out this WSJ piece.  The owner, Marco de Grazie, can answer them at the tasting.  More details here.

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Sat., Mar. 19:  Bordeaux Tasting at K&L (SoMa)

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

12:00pm – 3:00pm ($20)

K&L hasn’t announced what exactly they’ll be pouring, but word on the street is that some 2007 and 2008s will be part of the mix.

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Sat., Mar. 19:  Auslese Party @ Solano Cellars Vintage Berkeley (East Bay)

Solano Cellars
1580 Solano Ave.
Albany, CA

 

Vintage Berkeley, 2949 College Ave, Berkeley

Details not out yet, but word on the street is that the crew over at Solano Cellars (which hosts a ton of educational and fun tastings) is putting together a S-I-C-K Auslese (select / late harvest) party for Saturday.  Keep an eye out on our twitter feed and Facebook page for more details.

UPDATE – party starts at 8pm and will be at Solano Cellars’ sister store, Vintage Berkeley.

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