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Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.

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Wine Events: Week of September 17

No time for an intro– am crashing on getting this presentation together for the Delectable / Beaujolais thingy tomorrow night. But here’s what you’re really looking for — this week’s wine events!

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Wine Events: Week of Nov. 27

Hope everyone had a fun Thanksgiving and found a few new favorite wines along the way.  I know I did.  A Thanksgiving guest brought along a bottle of the 2009 Foradori “Fontanasanta” Nosiola (Vigneti delle Dolomiti IGT).  This Italian white wine was fermented on its skins for 8 months and aged in clay anfora, adding a extra texture and tannins to go along with some zippy acidity.  This is not a shy wine, and it easily stood up  to a rich, butter-bathed turkey.  I *heart* guests with great palates!

It seems that every retailer in the city is hosting some wine tasting event this week, hoping to inspire you to buy a few bottles for your holiday parties.  The fun begins tomorrow!

PS – Broc Cellars and Edmunds St. John — two of my favorite Berkeley-based wineries — will be pouring at an event in the East Bay on Sunday from noon – 5pm at Gillman & 9th Street in Berkeley (Emmett Eiland’s Oriental Rug Company).  I’ll post the details as soon as I get them.  


Wed. Nov. 29:  Bi-Rite Wine Blitz Tasting @18 Reasons (Mission)

18 Reasons
3674 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

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

Thanksgiving is in the rearview mirror, but Christmas and New Years are only a few weeks ahead, so its time to restock the cellar.  Thankfully, Bi-Rite’s second Holiday Wine Blitz (20% off a mixed case) is taking place next week.  Preview some of the goods this Wednesday, and start setting aside a few bottles for your holiday festivities.


Wed. Nov. 29:  La Clarine Farm Dinner @ Local Mission Eatery(Mission)

Local: Mission Eatery
3111 24th Street
San Francisco, CA

Four courses for $36 / add’l $18 for three-wine pairing

Hank Beckmeyer has built up quite a name for himself as the owner/winemaker of La Clarine Farms. Often cited as one of the best examples of quality wines coming from the Sierra Foothills, LCF has garnered geek status for its minimal intervention practice.  Menu here.

Check out this entertaining and informative write up about LCF.  


Thurs., Nov. 30:  Sherry Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $20

I admit that I know next to nothing about Sherry.  But hey, it’s what all the hep cats in New York are drinking, so I’m down with checking out this tasting.  More importantly, when else are you going to have a full range of different Sherry in front of you to be able to tell the difference?  I’ll be the dork in the corner furiously scribbling notes.


Fri., Dec. 3:  SFWTC Calvados Tasting / Charles Neal Book Signing (Bernal)

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

Add Calvados (brandy distilled from apples) to the list of things I’ve been meaning to learn more about.  Thankfully, all-star importer Charles Neal recently penned a book, Calvados:  The Spirit of Normandy, which has some useful information to brush up on the subject.  He’ll be on hand to sign copies and there will be a Calvados seminar starting at 6:45pm.

For more on Calvados, check out this NYTimes article.  


Sat., Dec. 4:  Kermit Lynch Tasting @ Solano Cellars (East Bay)

Solano Cellars
1580 Solano Ave.
Albany, CA

2:00pm – 5:00pm – $20 ($10 for extra VIP wines)

You’ve heard me rave about Kermit Lynch’s portfolio before.  We are truly lucky to have such a noted importer in our back yard.  This Saturday, Solano Cellars pays tribute to Kermit, hosting a tasting of the following 18 wines, and offering you 10% off of 6 bottles, 15% off a case.

2010 Meyer Fonne Pinot Blanc Vielles Vignes, Alsace $20
2009 Domaine de la Cadette Vezelay Blanc, Burgundy $22
2010 Regis Minet Pouilly-Fume, Loire Valley $23
2010 Domaine de Terrebrune Rose, Bandol, Provence $30

NV Meyer Fonne Cremant d’Alsace Brut $24
NV Veuve Fourny Blanc de Blancs Champagne $47
2002 Paul Bara Grand Cru Brut Champagne $68 

2010 Guy Breton Morgon, Beaujolais $32
2010 Thivin Brouilly, Beaujolais $23
1999 Gombade-Guillot Pomerol, Bordeaux $62 
2009 Regis Bouvier Montre-Cul, Burgundy $26
2009 Follin-Arbelet Aloxe-Corton, Burgundy $57
2009 Baudry Grezaux Chinon, Loire Valley $28
2007 Domaine de Terrebrune Bandol Rouge, Provence $34
2009 Telegramme Chateauneuf-du-Pape Rouge, Southern Rhone $44
2009 Faury Saint Joseph Rouge, Northern Rhone $29 

2010 Domaine Durban Beaumes-de-Venise Rouge, Southner Rhone $19

2009 Roumieu-Lacoste Sauternes 375ml, Bordeaux $24


Sat., Dec. 4:  Holiday Wine Tasting @ K&L Wines (SoMa)

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

noon – 3:00pm – $12

Try some of the wines from K&L’s holiday buying guide, then stock up in time for the holidays.  BTW – K&L carries some different ciders made by Eric Bordelet, which I served to top-off my Thanksgiving meal.  Delicious stuff!


Sat. Dec. 4:  A Tribute to Grace Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

3:00pm – 6:00pm – $15

Need a post-holiday shopping drinking session to calm those nerves?  Join owner/winemaker Angela Osborne on Saturday afternoon at Arlequin to try her praise worthy Grenache — one of the SF Chronicle’s 10 most memorable wines of 2010.


Sun. Dec. 5:  Heirloom Cafe Wine Dinner (Mission)

Heirloom Cafe
2500 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA

5:30pm – call 415.821.2500 for ticket information ($125 pp, 6 courses)

Matt Strauss has really done a great job pulling together a fascinating wine list at Heirloom, including old vintages of some fine wines.  He’ll be digging deep, and opening some fun bottles this Sunday, including:  2004 Riesling Kabinett ‘Musbacher Eselshaut,’ Muller-Catoir; 2004 Cour-Cheverny ‘Cuvee Renaissance,’ Cazin; 2002 Chardonnay, Hanzell; 1996 Rioja Reserva ‘Vina Bosconia,’ Lopez de Heredia; 1985 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hafner; 1964 Gattinara, Antoniolo.

Full menu and wines here.

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Wine Events: Week of Nov. 14

Everything old is new again. Hipsters are wearing Ray Ban Wayfarer sunglasses. Fashionistas are donning skinny ties. And now it might be time for winos to start sipping Beaujolais Nouveau — the oft maligned juice that invades supermarket floor space every November 17. Mind you, I haven’t had BN since I was a wee nipper, and have generally thought of it as plonk. But I am willing to hop on the bandwagon and give it another whirl, especially because I have become a big Gamay fan over the past few years (in particular, the Foillard Côte du Py and just about anything made by Julien Sunier).

Still scared that you’re going to lose your wine geek street cred by drinking Beaujolais Nouveau?  How about this:  Arlequin, Heart, and Kermit Lynch are all doing the Nouveau thing this week.  And Selection Massale is now importing a Beaujolais Nouveau from Maison P-U-R, whose winemakers happen to be pouring their BN at NOMA in Copenhagen (a two-Michellin Star restaurant) on 11/17.  BOO-YAH!

You’ll probably see me bouncing around proclaiming the Gamay Gospel at many of the Beaujolais-related events below.

[NOTE – this is not an invitation to go out and buy anything that is labeled as Beaujolais Nouveau in your grocery store. There’s way too much industrialized fruit juice out there bearing the BN label, and you’ll want to avoid throwing money in that direction. Look for quality producers or importers that you trust from local wine shops.]

For more on the uptick in quality Beaujolais, see this article from Eric Asimov of the New York Times.  Although it focuses on Cru Beaujolais, it’s worth reading.  


Wed., Nov. 16:  Peay Dinner at Bourbon Steak (INSERT)

Bourbon Steak (Westin St. Francis)
335 Powell Street
San Francisco, CA

$120 per person, plus tax and gratuity

Y’all have heard me rave about Peay’s Pinot and Syrah, sourced from some far northern Sonoma Coast vineyards.  Here’s you chance to try them the way they should be served — with food!

Dungeness Crab risotto
Corn Emulsion, Crab Butter, Parmesan Reggiano
Peay Chardonnay 2007
Peay Chardonnay 2008

Prather Ranch Rack of Lamb
Caponata, Chic Pea Puree, Pomegranate Gastrique
Peay Pinot Noir Ama 2009
Peay Pinot Noir Scallop Shelf 2009

Herb crusted Prime Rib eye
Parmesan Gnocchiti, Nettle Puree, ‘La Bruma’ Estate Syrah Sauce
Peay Syrah 2002
Peay Syrah la bruma 2008


Thurs., Nov. 17:  Beaujolais Party at Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $25

This is going to be a serious throw down, with over 20 different wines being poured.  And it will not only be limited to Beaujolais Nouveau, as there will also be wines from the 10 “crus” (including Morgan, Fleurie, and Regnie) as well as some village wines.


Thurs., Nov. 17:  Beaujolais Tasting at The Punchdown (Oakland)

The Punchdown
2212 Brodway
Oakland, CA

5:30pm – 8:30pm – $15 (three wines, 2-ounce pours)

Out in the East Bay on Thursday?  Well, your local neighborhood wine pushers at The Punchdown have your Beaujolais cravings covered.  Join Cory Cartwright from Selection Massale to try wines from their new Beaujolais producer, Maison P-U-R.   Special $15 tasting flight includes:

-2011 Jean Foillard Beaujolais Nouveau
-2011 P-U-R Beaujolais Nouveau by Cyril Alonso & Florian Looze
-2010 P-U-R “Morgon Côte du Py” Beaujolais by Cyril Alonso & Florian Looze


Fri., Nov. 18:  Beaujolais Tasting Drinking at Heart (Mission)

Heart Wine Bar
1270 Valencia Street
San Francisco, CA

More Beaujolais, more Nouveau!  Cory and Guillhaume from Selection Massale will be in the house, pouring BN from P-U-R.  I’m taking a cab to and from this event because I know some of the riff-raff who are planning to show up  — they likes to open ze wine.


Sat., Nov. 19:  Kermit Lynch Beaujolais Party (East Bay)

Kermit Lynch Wine Merchants
1605 San Pablo Avenue
Berkeley, CA

11:00am – 4:00pm

Kermit has a few different Beaujolais producers in his portfolio that you may have heard of:  Lapierre, Foillard, Thévenet.  So I trust that when he decides to import some Beaujolais Nouveau, it will probably be pretty darn good.  Drink some wine, and have some grub provided by Alice Waters’ Café Fanny.


Sat., Nov. 19:  Pinot Fest at Farallon (Financial District)

Farallon Restaurant
450 Post Street
San Francisco, CA

3:00pm – 6:00pm – $100 (tix here)

There’s really nothing I can say about this event that isn’t covered by simply listing the wineries involved.  Loco, loco lineup.  Well worth that Benjamin.

Adelsheim, Alma Rosa, Argyle, Au Bon Climat, Bonaccorsi, Brewer Clifton, Brittan, Byron, Calera, Cambria, Chehalem, Cobb, Costa de Oro, Domaine Drouhin, Domaine Serene, Drake, El Molino, Etude, Failla, Fiddlehead, Flowers, Foxen, Gloria Ferrer, Freeman, Greenwood Ridge, Handley, Hartford, Hendry, Hitching Post, Iron Horse, J Vineyards, Keller Estate, Lioco, Littorai, Londer, Lynmar, Marimar Estate, Melville, Merry Edwards, Michaud, Morgan, Patz & Hall, Paul Hobbs, Peay, Pey-Marin, Radio Coteau, Robert Sinskey, Saintsbury, Siduri, Skewis, Soliste, Soter, Talley, Tendril, Testarossa, Thomas Fogarty, Twomey, Whitcraft, Williams Selyem

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Wine Events: Week of April 25

Here are some events to tide you over until the May 10 Jura tasting at The Punchdown.


Tues., Apr. 26: Kermit Lynch Tasting at SF Wine Trading Co. (West Portal)

SF Wine Trading Co.
250 Taraval
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm ($10)

A friend who lives near by the SF Wine Trading Company once refered to it as “Kermit Lynch – West.”  I guess this event kind of confirms it.  Meet a number of producers from the Kermit Lynch portfolio without having to cross the Bay Bridge.  Producers include:


Thurs., Apr. 28: Côte de Beaune Tasting at Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm ($TBD)

A few weeks ago, Arlequin hosted  Burgundy tasting focused on the Côte de Nuits.  This time around, they are moving south to the Côte de Beune – home of seven grand cru Chardonnay vineyards.


Event postponed until May 20.  I’ll post additional details as they become available. [Updated 4/26/2011]

Fri., Apr. 29: Wines for Japan Fundraiser (Financial District)

Commonwealth Club
595 Market Street
San Francisco, CA

5:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m. ($20 in advance / $30 at the door) tickets here

Wines for Japan will raise money for Japanese earthquake relief efforts, and all proceeds will go to the American Red Cross.While the line-up of wines is still being finalized, there will be some top-notch cab from Cornerstone Cellars and plenty of Pinot from Hirsch Vineyards. Plus, local importers Blue Danube and Vinos Unico will be pouring wines from their portfolios (which means Central Europe and the Iberian Peninsula will be well represented at this event). There will also be a silent auction where you can bid on magnums donated by Cornerstone and Hirsch, and other wine-related items. Hope to see you there!