SF Wine Blog

Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.

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Wine Events: Week of March 5

I got my mind on Pinot and Pinot on my mind.  A few days down in Shell Beach tasting wines at the annual World of Pinot Noir are clearly to blame.  There were some thought-provoking seminars on Terroir and Natural Winemaking, and an excellent Burgundy class led by Allen Meadows (who selected a great lineup of eight wines from Volnay, Pommard, Vosne-Romanee, and Gevrey-Chambertin).

But what has been on my mind is this description on the back of one of the wines served at WOPN.

“Our 2008 [wine]…calls out in big voluptuous tones of dark, black fruit with a rich and velvety texture that redefines Pinot Noir.”

Dark, black fruit with a rich, velvety texture? Doesn’t sound like Pinot.  In fact, I did a search for those terms on Google, and the top results included tasting notes for Napa Valley Cabernet.

Call me a traditionalist, but I don’t think anyone really needs to “redefine” Pinot.  I’m OK with the original definition.

OK, enough of my preaching.  Here’s how to quench your thirst this week.


Tues., Mar. 6:  Flour + Water Italian Wine Dinner (Mission)

Flour + Water
2401 Harrison
San Francisco, CA

Two seatings (5:45pm and 8:45pm) – $175 (inclusive of gratuity)

Farm Wine Imports’ Kevin Clancy will be guiding you through Italian Wine 101, covering history, classic varietals, food & wine pairings, and natural wine producers.   All this, and a 5-course tasting menu from the talented F+W kitchen.


Wed., Mar. 7:  David Hirsch Dinner  (Berkeley)

Meritage at Claremont
41 Tunnel Road
Berkeley, CA

6:30pm – $125 per person (tickets here)

Hirsch Vineyards Founder David Hirsch (a James Beard Award Semi-Finalist) planted Pinot and Chardonnay north of Jenner on the Sonoma Coast back in 1980, when few people thought this area was hospitable to vineyards.  He proved them wrong.  Join David for a dinner in Berkeley this week.  Here’s the full menu:

2009 Chardonnay

First Course
Wild Mushroom “Cigars”
Black Truffle Mousse
2010 Bohan Dillon Pinot Noir

Second Course
Sonoma Duckling Meatballs
Sweet Potato & Freeze Dried Berry Powder
2009 Bohan Dillon Pinot Noir

Third Course
Cedar Planked Eden Farms Pork
Red Wine Braised Cabbage, Herbed Spaetzle
Mustard “Foam”
2009 San Andreas Pinot Noir
2007 San Andreas Pinot Noir

Fourth Course
Tcho Chocolate Coke Farms Beet Cake
Candied Beets & Raspberries


Wed., Mar. 7:  Winemaker Dinner@ Delfina (Mission)

3621 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

Dinner hours – make a reservation here

Delfina: Wednesday March, 7th

Lorenza Sebasti Pallanti of Castello di Ama will be joining the Delfina team for a feast in the Mission.  Per the invite, “All of the estate’s wines will be available in various formats and Lorenza will be on hand to guide you through the vino and the food and to tell you about the magic that she and winemaker Marco Pallanti create. Menu items will include Papardelle in Pork Sugo, Bistecca Fiorentina (1 kilo porterhouse from the wood fired Webber), Ribollita and Rabbit – both ‘da Delfina’ – and many other favorites. Lorenza will also bring a precious bottle or two of their estate olive oil, which we will use to finish many of the night’s offerings.”


Wed., Mar. 7:  Dom. Catherine et Pierre Breton / Dom. de la Cadette Tasting @ 18 Reasons (Mission)

18 Reasons
3674 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

7-9pm — $15 non members / $10 members

When I started venturing into Loire wines, I stumbled upon a bottle of Bourgeuil from Domaine Catherine et Pierre Breton.  I fell in love immediately.  I tried my hardest to visit Dom. Breton during my time out there last September, but couldn’t quite squeeze it in.  Pierre Breton is touching down in SF this week, and I now have multiple opportunities to meet him in my hometown:  Wednesday at 18 Reasons, Thursday at Arlequin, and Friday at San Francisco Wine Trading Company.

And as an added bonus, Jean Montanet of Domaine de la Cadette will also be on hand.


Thurs., Mar. 8:  Breton / Domain de la Cadette @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $15

See above


Thurs., Mar. 8:  Selection Massale Savoie Wine Dinner @ Camino (East Bay)

3917 Grand Avenue
Oakland, CA

6:30pm (reception) / 7:00pm (dinner) – $100 three-course dinner & wine pairing (extra $20 for vintage wine pairing)

I’ve sung the praises of the Selection Massale portfolio before, because I have a soft spot for wines with a lot of character.  Thursday, you get a chance to try wines from Selection Massale’s Savoie producer Domaine Dupasquier, and get to meet Cory & Guillaume.


Thurs., Mar. 8:  Clos Saron @ The Punchown (Oakland)

The Punchdown
2212 Broadway
Oakland, CA

5:30pm – 8:30pm – $15

Gideon Bienstock, winemaker at Clos Saron, will be in town to pour wines at Oakland’s natural wine bar of choice — The Punchdown. Clos Saron makes about 100 cases of biodynamic wines from the Sierra Foothills each year, and Gideon’s dedication to minimal intervention in the cellar make for some very unique wines.


Sun., Mar. 11:  Fundraiser for Partners in Health @ DigWineSF (Portrero Hill)

1005 Minnesota Street
San Francisco, CA

5:30pm – $50 (additional donations to Partners in Health are welcome)

DigWine is a dangerous place for me.  I walk in trying to buy one bottle, but invariably leave with multiple wines in tow.  There is just way too much temptation in this jewel box of a store.

Join DigWine and Farm Wine Imports for a fundraiser for Partners in Health, and a tribute to the late Joe Dressner.  Here are the wines being poured:

~ Casa Coste Piane Prosecco Valdobiaddene
~ Pépière 2010 Muscadet ‘Clos des Briords’
~ Clos Roche Blanche 2010 Touraine Sauvignon
~ Terre Dorées 2010 Beaujolais ‘L’Ancien’
~ Sanguineto 2009 Rosso di Montepulciano
~ Occhipinti 2008 Nero d’Avola ‘Siccagno’
~ Texier 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape rouge


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Wine Events: Week of Feb. 13

SF Beer Week, Tre Bicchieri, and La Paulée are attracting a ton of industry pros to San Francisco. Last night’s 4-course, 8-beer pairing at Bar Tartine drew a packed house along with some celebrity sightings — Michael Pollan and Dave Chappelle, y’all! There are a slew of Italian wine producers in town for Wednesday’s Tre Bicchieri tasting, and I’m sure you can catch some of them at A16 and Biondivino afterwards.  And Burgundy producers will be trickling in over the next few days along with a bunch of sommeliers from NYC and elsewhere. Keep your eyes peeled – I’m guessing you can spot lots of these folks throwing down at RN74, Michael Mina, and Nopa.

Happy hunting!


ONGOING: FEB. 13-24 Burgundy Week

In preparation for La Paulée, an impressive group of restaurant will be having some special Burgundy selections on their menu.  Participating 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.


ONGOING:  SF Beer Week (Multiple Locations)

Because one can not live on wine alone, I invite you to check out the plethora of events that the organizers of SF Beer Week have pulled together. So much to choose from!


Wed., Feb. 15: Tre Bicchieri Tasting @ Fort Mason (Marina)

Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA

3:00pm – 6:00pm

The writers from Gambero Rosso, an Italian food and wine magazine, taste around 20,000 wines.  The top wines are awarded “tre Bicchieri” status, and the wineries that earn that gold ring are invited to join a tour to help spread the gospel of Italian wines.  The Tre Bicchieri tasting touches down in San Francisco on Wednesday.  Here’s a full list of Tre Bicchieri participating wineries.

NOTE – if you can’t make it to the tasting at Fort Mason, stop by A16, where many of the wines will be poured  on Wednesday night.


Arnot-Roberts 2011 Trousseau tank w/ J. Puffeney

Thurs., Feb. 16:  Jura Wine Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $15

A few years ago, the “geeky but versatile wines” of the Jura — a small region about an hour east of Burgundy — started capturing more space on wine lists in New York and other major cities. Today, you can find a handful of winemakers in the U.S. who have been so taken by these wines that they have hunted down vineyards that grow typical Jura varieties. Come taste what all the fuss is about at Thursday’s tasting at Arlequin, which will include wines from Bornard, Puffeney, Gahier, and others.

UPDATE — Here’s what will be poured:

2008 Puffeney Chardonnay
2006 Gahier ‘Les Cretes’ Chardonnay
2007 Monnier ‘Dilemme’ Chardonnay/Savignin
2006 Bornard ‘Ouille’ Savignin
2008 Puffeney ‘M’ Poulsard
2008 Bornard ‘La Chamade’ Ploussard
2010 Domaine de Tournelle Ploussard
2010 Berthet-Bordet ‘Rubis’ Ploussard/Trousseau
2003 Domaine de Tournelle Vin Jaune


Mon., Feb. 20:  Finding Values in White Wine  @ 18 Reasons (Mission)

18 Reasons
3674 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

7-9pm — $60 per person

18 Reasons is hosting a series of classes aimed at providing attendees with “tips and tools to find and identify high quality, reasonably priced wines in wine shops and at restaurants.”  This class will focus on white wines.


Mon., Feb. 20: Wine Photography – Storytelling in a Bottle (Napa)

Quixote Winery
Napa, CA

$200 per person

As you have probably learned through reading this blog, I have a soft spot for wine (shocker!) and photography. Both have been hobbies of mine for a couple of years, and this seminar brings both of my interests together. Geared towards the PR professional and wine writers, this full-day seminar promises to teach participants “how to better photograph a wine ‘story’ for use in traditional print, web site and social media marketing channels.”

The seminar is led by David Duncan Livingston.

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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.


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

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.  


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

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


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.


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?).



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 Sept. 27

It’s a whirlwind trip through Europe this week, with Greece, Portugal, and Italy all representing at K&L and FPWM.  Plus the annual (and well-named) slurp n’ burp oyster fest.


Wed. Sept. 29:  Greek Wines @FPWM (FiDi)

Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants
Ferry Building
San Francisco, CA

4:30pm – 7:30pm – $18 / 6 wines

Think you’re old school?  Well, it don’t get much more old school than Greek wine:  per, Wikipedia, “The earliest evidence of Greek wine has been dated to 6,500 years ago.”  Learn more about this country’s rich wine history, tasting wines from Ted Diamantis, owner of Diamond Wine Imports.  Current line-up calls for the following:
2008 Domaine Sigales Assirtiko/Athiri, Santorini
2009 Domaine Sigales Assirtiko, Santorini
2006 Domaine Skouras Nemea St. George, Peloponesse
2006 Domaine Skouras Grand Cuvee, Peloponesse
2007 Alpha Estate Xinomavro, Hedgehog Vineyard, Macedonia
2005 Domaine Karydas Xinomavro, Naoussa


Sept. 30: Vinos Unico’s Wines of Portugal @ K&L Wine (SoMa)

K&L Wine Merchants
638 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA

4:30pm – 6:30pm

Luis Moya may be one of the busiest twittering wine-os out there.  And for good reason:  he’s one of the champions of spanish and Portuguese wine you’ll find.  Join him on a tour of part of his portfolio.


Sat. Oct. 2: Italian Wine Tasting @ K&L Wine (SoMa)

K&L Wine Merchants
638 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA

12:00pm – 3:00pm – $50 (tickets here)

The continental road trip continues through Italy, as K&L’s wine consiglieri pick their favorites.


Sun. Oct. 3: Annual Oyster/Wine Slurp n’ Burp (Inverness)

Drakes Bay Oyster House
17171 Sir Francis Drake Blvd
Inverness CA

12:00pm – 4:00pm – $80 (non members – tickets here)

The American Institute of Wine & Food hosts an annual oyster and wine eat and drink-a-thon.  I’m going out on a limb here, b/c even though I’m not positive what they’ll be pouring, its hard to beat a day on an oyster farm given the great weather we’ve had recently.