SF Wine Blog

Exploring wine in and around San Francisco.

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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.



A Welcome Surprise in Napa: Corison Winery

For a couple of years, I avoided buying Napa Cabernet Sauvignon.  It’s not because I don’t like Napa Cabs, it’s just that with price points starting at around $50, I just couldn’t afford them.  And –truth be told– I found that many I tasted were way too similar:  big, bold, cocksure wines that were certainly tasty, but not particularly distinct.

So it was with great and welcome surprise that I found my way to Cathy Corison’s namesake winery.  Cathy settled down in Napa after completing a masters program in Enology at U.C. Davis in the 1970s.  After building a great reputation by working at some top-notch spots, Cathy started Corison Winery, and released her first wines under that label in 1987.

I was fortunate enough to meet Cathy during my visit a few weeks ago, and it was an absolute treat.  She has a very calm, self-assured, and warm manner.  Cathy speaks with great reverence for the “Rutherford Dust” – the distinct soil of this part of Napa that she wants to ensure comes through in her wines.  Indeed, Cathy is well recognized for her terroir-driven, artisanal wines, and she exudes a quiet confidence and passion as she talks about her role of shepherding grapes through the winemaking process.

Cathy’s wines are an extension of her personality:  elegant, balanced, and confident without being boastful.  The aromatics are beautiful and complex — floral, spice, and fruit notes that will stay with you even hours after you’ve finished the last glass.   And once you take a sip, you’re in for a real surprise:  these wines have the power and structure to hold up with any Napa “big boys” but are also vibrant and lively.  Cathy strives to create wines that are both “powerful and elegant” and she certainly hits the mark with these beautifully balanced Cabs.

Kronos Vineyard

Kronos Vineyard

Tucked away behind the winery is the Kronos Vineyard, an organically farmed plot of land with gnarly 40-year old vines, interlaced with mustard plants.  These are distinguished looking vines that stretch and wind their way out of the soil.  After harvest, the grapes from this vineyard will find their way into Cathy’s single vineyard Cabernet.

Corison Tasting Room

The tasting room experience at Corison also stands out.  Unlike many of  the Disney-fied castles that dot Highway 29, Corison’s Victorian-barn structure (designed by Cathy’s husband) hearkens back to Napa’s agrarian roots.

This was a memorable visit and put an end to my Napa Cab buying drought.  I hope you’ll stop by during your next trip up Highway 29.

Here are the wines I tasted during my visit:

  • 2007 Corazón Anderson Valley Gewürztraminer
  • 2007 Corazón Napa Cabernet Rosé
  • 206 Helios Napa Cab Franc
  • 2007 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2006 Corison Kronos Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 2001 Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

For more information on Corison Winery, check out the following:

Winery Information

Corison Winery

Corison Winery
987 St. Helena Highway
St. Helena, CA 94574

Tastings by Appointment
Call 707.963.0826
$10 Tasting Fee

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Wine Events: Week of September 6

All – sorry for the delay in weekly posts, but I took the week off to entertain some family in from out of town, and enjoy the labor day weekend.  But as always, there are some excellent wine events this week — drink up!


Wed. Sept. 8:  Food Heroes at Terroir (SoMa)

638 Fourth Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 10:o0pm – $20 ($30 w/ signed copy of book)

Food-lit fans rejoice:  the release party for Georgia Pellegrini’s “Food Heroes” brings together good food, poured along with wine selected by Terroir’s natural wine slingin’ staff.  And all the proceeds  benefit Edible Schoolyard — a garden and kitchen classroom at MLK Middle School (a project sponsored by the Chez Panisse Foundation).


Sat. Sept. 11:  Napa Cab tasting at K&L (SoMa)

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

noon – 3:o0pm – $30

Missed out on 9/2 Cabernet Days?  Still plenty to go around at K&L this Saturday:

2007 Joseph Phelps Insignia
2007 BV Georges de Latour
2007 Dunn Napa Valley
2007 Flora Springs Trilogy
2007 Robert Craig Spring Mountain
2007 Tor Kenward Cimarossa Vineyard
2007 Parallel
2007 White Cottage “Risa”
2007 Crosby Roamann “The Brand” (59 cases produced)
2006 Maisonry “Blackbird Vineyards”


Sat. Sept. 11:  Donkey and Goat Fall Fete (Berkeley)
2323 B Fourth Street
Berkeley, CA

12:30pm – 4:30pm – $20 in advance/#30 at door

Gotta love wineries that do food and wine pairings for tasting.  And Donkey and Goat has a full menu to compliment their fall release wines.  Check out the goods:

  • 09 Untended Chardonnay + Pernod Lobster Cappuccino
  • 09 Stone Crusher Roussanne & 09 Coupe d’ Or +  Farmer’s Market Veggie Paella
  • 09 Carignane & 09 Pinot Noir + Pork Belly Sliders w/ Red Wine Black Currant Demi-Glace
  • 08 Mendocino Melange, 07 Reserve Syrah and likely a few more will face off to see which Syrah wins with Pulled Pork Belly Taco w/ Smokey Hickory Chipotle Sauce

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Wine Events: Week of Oct. 4

I’m still amazed at how many great wine events go on in this city.  Here are a couple of highlights for this week.

CaleraLogoTuesday Oct. 6 – Calera Wine Winemaker Night @ Four Seasons-SF

Meet Josh Jensen, founder, owner and winemaker of one of the California’s top Central Coast wineries (focus on Pinots and Chards).  Jensen was the SF Chronicle’s 2007 winemaker of the year, and has a great story to tell about how he started Calera (and his love of limestone).  5:30-7:30pm.  $35 for a flight of four wines.  (and I believe this also includes some nosh-nosh).


DuckhornWed., Oct. 7 – Duckhorn Vineyards Release Party in SF

Why drive to Napa when Napa can come to you?  Top cab producer Duckhorn comes to town for a release party, hosted by founder Dan Duckhorn. 5:30-7:30pm.  $50 per person (unless you’re a wine club member).  Location:  1045 Divisadero (at Turk).  Reservations: 707-967-2031.