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 Jan. 30

I am nothing short of giddy this week not just because of the abundance of great wine events in the next few days, but because of this:

Arnot-Roberts Touriga Nacional Rosé 2011

The Arnot-Roberts Touriga Nacional Rosé is the first of the wines I worked on this past harvest to be bottled. I’ve been doing a little happy dance ever since because it’s a great feeling to see a wine you helped shepherd through fermentation get to this stage.  And it is LOVELY — lively, bright, and a touch of salinity. I will be writing more about this wine in the next week.

I have to lay low over the next few days to prepare myself for the Pats game on Sunday (guess who I’m cheering for), but will hopefully see some of you at the Golden Glass event.  One other thing to keep on your calendar:  18 Reasons is hosting a four-part course starting February 6 called “Defining Value in Wine” led by Pamela Busch.  The goal:  provide participants with “tips and tools to find and identify high quality, reasonably priced wines in wine shops and at restaurants.”  More info here.


Wed., Feb. 1:  Jura/Savoie/Bugey @ William Cross Wines (Russian Hill)

William Cross Wine Merchants
2253 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 9:00pm – $15

OK, I admit:  these wines from the French Alps may not be for everyone.  But if one of your new year’s resolutions was to expand your wine palate, this is a great tasting to attend.  The Jura wines can be a little oxidized, giving it a hint of sherry-like aromas, which throws some people off.  But if you like the funky, this is going to be a game changer of a tasting for you.  If I can make it to the event, I’ll be picking up a little Comté from Cheese Plus beforehand to pair with the Vin Jaune (and I highly recommend you do the same — this is a classic cheese and wine pairing).

2010 Rene et Beatrice Bernard Apremont Vieilles Vignes Vin de Savoie
2010 Jean-Pierre et Jean Quenard Chignin Bergeron Vin de Savoie
2009 Domaine Labet Fleur de Savagnin Cotes du Jura
2010 Julien Labet Metis Poulsard-Pinot-Trousseau Cotes du Jura
2009 Famille Peillot Monduese Bugey
2004 Chateau Chalon Vin Jaune Cotes du Jura


Wed., Feb. 1:  Ridge Monte Bello Vertical Tasting @ Solano Cellars (East Bay) 

Solano Cellars
1580 Solano Ave.
Albany, CA

6:30pm – $65 – tickets available here

Ridge Monte Bello — one of the most historic California wines.  Taste through some older vintages (1990, 1994, 2001 and 2008) to see how this legend ages in bottle.


Wed., Feb. 1:  Mas de Daumas Gassac food/wine pairing event @ 18 Reasons  (Mission) 

18 Reasons
3674 18th Street
San Francisco, CA

$40 members / $50 non members – tix here

This is a true family affair.  Winemaker Simon Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac and his sister in law Alison Bailey Vercruysse  (founder of 18 Rabbits) will bring their crafts to the table on Wednesday night.  Bonus:  the owners from MDG and 18 Rabbits will be on hand to talk about the evolution of sustainability and the food and wine world.  You may recall that Aime Guibert of Mas de Daumas Gassac was featured prominently in the documentary Mondovino,  in which he boldly declared “le ven est mort.”  Should be interesting!


Thurs., Feb. 2:  Matthiasson Wine Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $20

Matthiasson wines are gaining well-deserved praise for the balanced and nuanced style.  Jus last week, the New York Times’ Eric Asimov referred to Matthiasson as “one of [his] favorite California producers.”  While I’ve only tried the Matthiasson red and white blends, I’m excited to check out the full portfolio.  Here’s what you can expect on Thursday.

2009 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast
2010 White Blend Napa Valley
2007 White Blend Napa Valley
2006 White Blend Napa Valley
2005 White Blend Napa Valley
2009 Refosco Napa Valley
2009 Cabernet Franc Napa Valley
2007 Red Blend Napa Valley
2003 Red Blend Napa Valley (from magnum)


Sat., Feb. 4: The Golden Glass hosted by Slow Food SF (Marina)

Fort Mason
San Francisco, CA

1pm-5pm – $80 – tix here

If you put together food from A16, Acquarello, Delfina, Wo Hing General Store, and Zero-Zero (among others) in one space, you’ve got a good thing going  Add 250 wines from producers who who strive to protect, nurture, and revive the indigenous and classic varieties of their regions,” and you’ve got The Golden Glass.  Here’s a snazzy video from the event organizers to get you psyched about drinking on Saturday afternoon (WARNING – it may cause you to drool on your computer).


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 listhere.  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.

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Wine Events: Week of Jan. 23

No better way to forget about a few botched punt returns than to down a few glasses of wine.  Whether you like the new breed of California wines, big-powerful reds, or old world wines with a little age on them, here are a few events that will help you get over the Niners’ game.


Wed., Jan. 25:  Island Wines @ William Cross Wines (Russian Hill)

William Cross Wine Merchants
2253 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 9:00pm – $15

Islands in the stream.  That is what we are.  Nothing in between — except for 3 Sicilian wines, 2 Sardinian wines, and one Tasmanian devil.  William Cross is pouring wines from island destinations, and while I wish there were a few Canary Island wines on the list, I’m happy that Graci, Planeta, and Tenuta delle Terre Nere (a Sicilian trifecta) will be poured.  Here’s what $15 bucks gets ya:

2010 Piero Mancini Vermentino di Gallura
2010 Graci Etna Bianco
2009 Pirie SOUTH Pinot Noir Tasmania
2010 Tenuta delle Terre Nere Etna Rosso
2006 Capichera Assaje Isola dei Nuraghi
2006 Planeta Santa Cecilia Nero d’Avola di Sicilia


Thurs., Jan. 26:  Salinia Wine Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)

Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm – 8:00pm – $20

You want small production wines from a talented winemaker who is gaining national attention?  Then join Kevin Kelley (the founder of the Natural Process Alliance and former winemaker at LIOCO) as he pours wines from his Salinia label, including Pinot Noir, Syrah, and Chardonnay.  For more in-depth information re Salinia and the NPA, check out this post from NOPA wine director Chris Deegan.

UPDATE – here’s what’s being poured (note that The NPA Petillant is not yet released)

2006 Salinia ‘Heintz Ranch’ Chardonnay
2006 Salinia ‘W.E. Bottoms’ Pinot Noir
2006 Salinia ‘Heintz Ranch’ Syrah
2010 Natural Process Alliance Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma
2010 Natural Process Alliance Pinot Gris Sonoma
2010 Natural Process Alliance Red Blend Mendocino
2011 Natural Process Alliance Petillant Naturel


Thurs., Jan. 26 – Sat., Jan. 28:  ZAP! Tasting and Events 

Various Locations
San Francisco, CA

The annual Zinfandel Advocates & Producers tasting takes place this week.  Lots of dinners, tastings, and seminars, all culminating in the Grand Tasting that takes place on Saturday from 2pm to 5pm at The Concourse Exhibition Center, 635 8th Street (at Brannan)  [NOT at Fort Mason].  As with any large tasting, I highly recommend getting there early before the crowds arrive and before people start getting a little too boozy.

Where will I be? I’ll be checking out wines from Bedrock, Bucklin, Easton, and Ridge (among others).

For a full list of events, please see the ZAP website.


Sun. Jan. 29:  Heirloom Cafe Class and Tasting (Mission)

Heirloom Cafe
2500 Folsom Street
San Francisco, CA

1:00pm – 3:00pm – Wine Basics Tasting Seminar ($30)
4:00pm – 6:00pm – Tasting ($10 plus per-taste fee)

Heirloom Cafe is well known for owner Matt Straus’ wine list and cellar.  This weekend, Heirloom is hosting a series of events, including a wine class (starting at 1pm) and a tasting (at 4pm).  The two hour class is led by Matt (one of Food and Wine Magazine’s Top Sommeliers of 2011) and is meant as a basic introduction, covering grape varietals, appellations and major growing regions.  Participants will taste six different wines.

Then, starting at 4pm, Matt & Co. will be pouring a diverse selection of wines, each priced from $1-$5 per ounce.  Here’s the list (though I wouldn’t be surprised if a few additional bottles are opened during the course of the afternoon!):

$1 per ounce:

$2 per ounce:

$3 per ounce:
2002 PINOT NOIR ‘REVELES,’ ICI/LA-BAS (from magnum)

$5 per ounce:

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Wine Events: Week of Jan. 31

Sorry for the delay in this week’s event highlights, but I was unavoidably detained by some great ski conditions in Utah, a couple of bottles of wine, and at least one bottle of Eagle Rare bourbon.

So without further ado….


Wed., Feb 3: Oregon Wine Tasting @ William Cross WM (Nob Hill)
William Cross Wine Merchants
2253 Polk Street
San Francisco, CA 94109

6:00pm – 9:00pm – $15

Gotta love that a cool, laid back state like Oregon is able to produce so many top-notch wines.  And now you can taste through a selection of quality stuff picked out by Tom Elliot of Northwest Wines – one of the top distributors of Oregon wines (representing Penner Ash here in CA)


Broc Cellars

Thurs., Feb 4:  Broc Cellars Tasting @ Arlequin (Hayes Valley)
Arlequin Wine Merchants
384 Hayes Street
San Francisco, CA

6:00pm-8:00pm – $15

I can’t say enough about the tasty, food friendly wines coming out of Berkeley’s Broc Cellars.  This  Rhone-varietals specialist sources from some top California vineyards and employs minimal intervention — an attempt to let the character of the fruit speak for itself.  They recently launched a new “naturale” series — try the Rose and the Grenache if they’re being poured.  And don’t skip out on the Luna Matta Mourvedre — this wine sang when it was paired with a lamb stew at a Broc Cellars tasting in December.  As a special bonus, Arlequin will also be pouring winemaker Chris Brockway’s other project, Broadside Cellars.  Broadside’s cab, priced at $20, made SF Chronicles top 100 wine list in 2009.


Fri., Feb 5 – Sun. Feb. 14: SF Beer Week (Nob Hill)
Many Locations

OK, I know — technically, this doesn’t fit cleanly into the wine events category.  But if you appreciate how a winemaker can craft raw agricultural products into a tasty bottle of wine, surely you’ve got to be impressed by the work artisanal brew masters.  The full line up of SF Beer Week events is here, but there are also a couple of wine-related events too, including this event over in the East Bay:

  • Sat. Feb. 6 @ Solano Cellars:  Beer vs. Wine Pairing Challenge:  what’s your drink of choice for pairing with cheese?  According to the host, “It’s SF Beer Week and the beer drinkers are talking smack about wine and vice versa.  So we’re going brother against brother.  Grains against grapes.  And we’re going to pair the living crap out of 3 different cheeses.”  [gotta love that description]
    3pm – $18.  Buy tix here.