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.


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Wine Events: Week of Feb. 6

The Celebrity Sommelier kick is in full gear.  While top somms have enjoyed notoriety amongst wine and restaurant professionals for many years, they now seem to be gaining more recognition from a wider audience.  That may explain all the recent buzz about the upcoming documentary Somm — a film about sommeliers training for the Master Sommelier Exam.

SOMM Documentary Trailer 1 from Forgotten Man Films on Vimeo.

[Side note:  While flattered by this mention in the SF Chronicle’s Inside Scoop, I’m pretty sure I’m not in the movie.]

If you’re interested in meeting some of the most noted sommeliers in the industry, you’re in luck.  A slew of them will be in town for La Paulée (February 22 – 25), and the Thursday Panel discussion includes Daniel Johnnes, RN74’s Rajat Parr, and Rajeev Vaidya from New York’s Restaurant Daniel. (seminar is wait list only at this point)

Then, on February 27, Forestville’s Farmhouse Inn will kick-off a dinner series called Clash of the Sommeliers.”  Each night, three sommeliers will compete by pairing wines with a four-course menu. Eric Railsback from RN74, A16’s Shelly Lindgren, and Ian Cauble from the Ritz-Half Moon Bay are among the competitors. Regardless of who wins, you’ll have a chance to taste a slew of great wines from some of the well-regarded palates in the industry. ($165 per ticket, or $600 for the full 4-dinner series).

Now, here’s some suggestions for where to drink this week.


Wed., Feb. 8:  Pinot Noir Class  @ SF Wine Center (SoMa)

SF Wine Center
757 Bryant Street
San Francisco, CA

6:30pm – 8:00pm – $60 (reserve ahead of time)

Join Master of Wine Christy Canterbury as she explains and explores the difference in Pinot Noir grown in Burgundy, the U.S., and New Zealand.  A great way to explore the idea of terroir.


Thurs., Feb. 9:  Domaine de L’Horizon Winemaker Dinner @ Gitane (Financial District)

Gitane Restaurant
6 Claude Lane
San Francisco, CA

5:30pm – 11:00pm

I had dinner a few weeks ago at Gitane to check out the new wine list put together by Greg Borden.  I was happy to trust Greg with the night’s wine selection, and he proudly brought out a bottle of the Domaine de L’Horizon Le Patriot, a white wine blend (95% Muscat Petit Grain and 5% Macabeu) from the Roussillon that held up well with the restaurant’s Spanish-inspired cuisine.  I was happy to learn that the winemaker, Thomas Teibert, would be in town to pour his wines and talk to patrons.  Stop in for dinner, or grab a drink at the bar.  Thomas will be around popping corks for a good while Thursday night.  The wines include the Blanc (blend of 65% Macabeu, 30% Grenache Gris, 5% Grenache Blanc); the Rouge (Carignane/Grenache); and the Patriota.


Thurs., Feb. 9:  Selection Massale Tasting @ The Punchdown (East Bay)

The Punchdown
2212 Broadway
Oakland, CA

5:00pm – 8:30pm

Local importer Selection Massale has created a buzz by bringing in expressive terroir-driven wine from small producers in France. They’ve struck gold with the wines of Frantz Saumon and Jerome Lenoir, and are now adding a new Loire producer to their portfolio, Jeremy Questana.  I haven’t tried the wines, but am intrigued. Plus, it’s a bit of a going-away party for Selction Massale’s Guilhaum Gerard, who will be departing for NYC soon.  $15 gets you a flight of the following wines:

-2006 Domaine les Roches by Jerome Lenoir “Chinon Blanc” (Chenin Blanc), Loire Valley 

-2010 Jérémy Quastana “L’insurgé” (Gamay), Touraine, Loire Valley 

-2008 Domaine Dupasquier “Marestel” (Roussette), Savoie 

If you can’t make it on Thursday, the Selection Massale team will be pouring wines from the portfolio at Arlequin on Saturday from 2-5pm ($15).


Fri., Feb. 10:  Food From the Heart  (Ferry Building)

Ferry Building
The Embarcadero
San Francisco, CA

5:30pm – 8:00pm

Every year, the Ferry Building puts together a tasty fundraiser for Slow Food SF, charging a small amount (usually $2-6) for food and $4 tastes of wine from members of the Napa Valley Vintners. This is a great opportunity to meet SF Chronicle’s Winemaker of the Year, Cathy Corison.


Starting Fri. Feb. 10:  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.  I’m looking forward to the Gala Opening and the Dogfish Head event on the 15th.  So much to choose from!


Sat., Feb. 11:  Champagne Store Pop-Up @ Bubble Lounge (Financial District)

Bubble Lounge
714 Montgomery Street
San Francisco, CA

2:00pm – 7:00pm – $10 (will be redeemed upon purchase)

Stop by a pop-up shop where you can taste a variety of wines, and pick up Champagne from the Terry Thiese portfolio, as well as wines imported by Return to Terroir.  Plus, there’s an educational component:  you can learn how to make chocolate truffles and how to saber a bottle of Champagne.