SF Wine Blog

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 April 30

There are far too many memorable events from last week to recap in full detail.  But I wanted to give a little shout out to Tablehopper Marcia Gagliardi and Michael Mina’s Josiah Baldivino for pulling together Saturday’s Languedoc tasting at Cafe des Amis.

This was my first Tablehopper wine event, and I was impressed.  It was well organized, informative, and fun.  The crowd was full of Tablehopper fans, a good number of whom seem to frequent Marcia’s events (the title “Tablehopper O.G.s” was thrown out there at some point).  And they were energized and engaged, not only posing questions to Josiah, but also talking to their neighbors and exchanging notes on their favorite wines.  While I usually turn to Tablehopper for restaurant advice, I’m going to be keeping an eye out for their wine events from now on out. Oh – and a hint from Marcia re Cafe des Amis Tuesday wine happy hour:  50% all bottles of wine.  The wine list is focused on French wines, and offers a good selection of  Burgundy (Raveneau, Dauvissat, Roulot).  NOTE: Out of the interest of full disclosure, I attended this event as a Tablehopper media guest. 

For those of you picking up wine at Arnot-Roberts in Healdsburg this Saturday — looking forward to seeing you there!


Thurs., May 3:  Corison Winery Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $20

I’ve sung the praises of Corison’s elegant Napa Cabernet Sauvignons before, and I was overjoyed to hear her named SF Chronicle’s winemaker of the year back in January.  On Thursday, you can meet Cathy and taste some of her library wines.

(BTW – I cracked open a bottle of that ’01 Napa Cab on New Year’s Eve, and it was gorgeous!)

2006 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
2004 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
2001 Napa Cabernet Sauvignon
2003 ‘Kronos’ Cabernet Sauvignon
2002 ‘Kronos’ Cabernet Sauvignon
1998 ‘Kronos’ Cabernet Sauvignon


(c) John Trinidad

Tues., May 8:  White Burgundy Wine Class @ SF Wine Center (SoMa)

SF Wine Center
757 Bryant Street
San Francisco, CA

6:30pm – 8:00pm – $75 (reserve ahead of time)

Jordan Mackay will walk you through the wide variety of Chardonnay hailing from Burgundy next Tuesday.  This is a great opportunity to explore the variety of styles coming from different villages, and get a grasp on how terroir impacts the wine.  I’ve attended Jordan’s classes at the SF Wine Center before, and the wines selected tend to be of extraordinary quality.

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Wine Events: Week of April 2

Whether I’m at Bar Tartine for Eastern European fare, eating Asian-inspired cuisine at Wo Hing General Store, or enjoying Italian food at Cotogna, I know there will be plenty of good wines to choose from and helpful service to guide me through the selection.  That’s why I was happy to see the SF Chronicle’s Jon Bonné give a shout-out to sommeliers who are putting together “innovative and creative” wine lists to pair with the diverse range of food found in the city’s restaurants.

Recently, another wine writer criticized some of the sommeliers featured in the Chronicle piece for leaving Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Cabernet Sauvignon off their list in favor of lesser-known varietals.  “Any wine list built only in obscurity is an insult to the general public of food-conscious diners who like wine but are not geeks and want qualtiy [sic] choices that they recognize.”

One of the things I find troubling about this criticism is the false divide being drawn between “wine geeks” and champions of “legacy varieties” such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.  Most of the people I know who may fall in the “geek” camp are also huge fans of the traditional varieties.  At Arnot-Roberts this past year, there was a fermenter filled with Trousseau with a picture of the Jura’s Jacques Puffeney taped to it standing right next to a tank of Chardonnay with a picture of Chablis’ François Raveneau.

I’ve tried to think how consumers can avoid this “geek versus traditionalist” factionalization, and appreciate wine regardless of its popularity.  Here are a few guidelines:

(1) Don’t dismiss a wine just because you don’t recognize it.

(2) Don’t confuse a wine that is “interesting” for one that you actually think is “good” (i.e., one that you want to drink more of, and do so happily time and again).

(3) Be open to guidance from sommeliers and retail store buyers.  Let them know what wines you’ve recently enjoyed, and they’ll (more often than not) point you in the right direction.

OK.  Stepping down off of my soap box.  Here’s where to wet your whistle this week.


Wed. Apr. 4:  Sandhi Wine Tasting at FPWM (Embarcadero)

Ferry Plaza Wine Merchants
San Francisco, CA

4:30pm – 7:30pm – $28 flight of 5 wines

It’s no secret that I’m a fan of Rajat Parr.  He has always been a gracious host at RN74 and I’m impressed that he’s continued the tradition of mentorship in the sommelier community by working with a very talented and personable staff.  And I was impressed with his Sandhi Wines that I tasted at this year’s In Pursuit of Balance tasting, which Wine Spectator’s James Laube called, “impressive, [and] made in a very deliberate style.”

You can meet Rajat and taste through the following wines on Wednesday.

2010 Sandhi Chardonnay, Santa Barbara County
2010 Sandhi Chardonnay, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley
2010 Sandhi Chardonnay, Rita’s Crown Vineyard, Sta Rita Hills
2010 Sandhi Pinot Noir, Sta Rita Hills
2010 Sandhi Pinot Noir, Bien Nacido Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley

ALSO – take a look at these videos that Sandhi is producing re balance in wine, featuring some legendary California winemakers, including Ted Lemon (Littorai) and Burt Williams (Williams Seylem).

Trailer: Balancing Act with Rajat Parr from Sandhi Wines on Vimeo.


Sat., Apr. 7:  German Wine Tasting @ K&L Wines (SoMa)

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

noon – 3:00pm – $15

K&L’s Eric Story has selected some wines from the K&L shelves from the 2010 German vintage — an intriguing one (here’s Jon Bonné’s take on the 2010 German Rieslings).


Tues., Apr. 10:  Burgundy Wine Class @ SF Wine Center (SoMa)

SF Wine Center
757 Bryant Street
San Francisco, CA

6:30pm – 8:00pm – $75 (reserve ahead of time)

SF Wine Center is one of my favorite venues for learning about wine.  I’ve attended two different classes, and both have not only been educational and informative, but offered an outstanding lineup of wines to taste.  Next Tuesday, Jordan Mackay (co-author of Secrets of the Sommeliers) will walk you through the ins-and-outs of Burgundy’s classification system and terroir.

Speaking of Burgundy….