Category Archives: Uncategorized

Summer Wine Tasting | Rosé of Southern France

Lunch_and_a_glass_of_roseThis Monday, the 24th of August, join us for a wine tasting mixer to explore the Rosé of Southern France; a perfect match for the venue, Aquitaine, coined a best place to eat in Union Square by Michael Bauer.

Get ready for a San Francisco summer with all bottles at 30% off to go, enjoy Rosé and laughter, and learn something new. Light appetizers will be available and the restaurant is open for service.

Tickets are $20 in advance $30 at the door and available here.

And now, here are some fun quick facts about rosé!

Nope, rosé is not not dyed pink…
It gets its color from minimal contact with the grape skin of red wine grapes.

There’s even pink Champagne!
Many people imagine that Champagnes are all white, this is not quite true. Rosé champagnes also exist.

Rosé comes in all shapes and sizes…
In other words, it’s not grape specific! From White
Zinfandel to Granache, rosé varies vastly across different varietals.

Rosé is not kitschy!
New Girl really did a number on rosé, but aside from making one feel slutty, it is one of the most elegant wines. So enjoy it :)

An Unexpected Journey to the Canary Islands by way of E.Vil.

This week I spent some time exploring the wines of Manhattan, and before I knew it I’d been swept into a sea storm – an ocean of wine with crimson waves crashing overhead.  Just when I surmised the current was too great to stay afloat, the clouds part, the ocean calmed, and ahead a promising outlook as I approached land with an unexpected journey to the Canary Islands by way of E.ViL.

As I scanned the wine list at Terroir in Manhattan’s East Village, starting at the top and gazing quickly down the list of appellations I’ve come to adore, my attention was drawn to a wine of which I recognized from Valle de la Orotava.  I’d had a bit of experience with the wines of Spain through my travels and hosted tasting – Txakoli from Basque Country, Priorat and Ribero del Duero, but this one was special.  A unique red farmed on the volcanic soils of the largest of the Canary Islands situated just about 60 miles off the southwest coast of Morocco, on Tenerife, with its black sand and long strand – truly begotten by paradise.

Experts and critics like The New York Times writer Eric Asimov, have praised the wine from this region over the years, and I am familiar with one of its producers Tajinaste through research on the islands, however, this was the first taste encounter I’d had with a Canary Islands wine, and that made me extremely happy.  I excitedly solicited our pourer for information about the wine and before he could he could check (as it had apparently been added to the list the day before) a splash was in my glass, swirling around and then filling my mouth and I was slowly savoring the wine, exploring each layer of complexity and depth like you might do with a piece from Dali. I was in love.  I almost didn’t care to do more than drink it in that moment, but my curiosity brought me back to reality and I instantly knew that the subject of my next piece would be this wine.

The Wine:

2011 Suertes del Marqués | 7 Fuentes |  Valle de la Orotava

Tenerife | Canary Islands


This Canary Island wine is a blend primarily of Listan Negro and 10% Tintilla, and was fermented and aged in the combination of concrete tanks and French oak barrels.  Importer Jose Pastor Selections’ staff aptly describes it: “Pale red. Fruity, peppery fruit and quite light with some of the island’s volcanic soils showing through. Very appealing, round and early-maturing. Transparent fruit and a satisfying finish. A grainy quality – or am I thinking of the famous black sands of Tenerife? Long.” – JR

Tenerife is largest and most populous island of the seven Canary Islands; it is also the most populated island of Spain, with a land area of 2,034.38 km² and 898,680 inhabitants (43% of the total population of the Canary Islands).  Read more about the grape here as Eric Asimov, NY Times writer takes you through this archipelago of Spain.

Where to Buy:

The 2010 vintage is available for $21.99 at K&L Wines. “This is definitely an early contender for Canary red of the year, and a producer to keep an eye on.” – Joe Manekin, K&L Spanish wine buyer.

March Wine Event | Rhone Varietals from Northern California: Big Wines, Small Producers




Our next tasting on Wednesday will take us through California, where we will explore some big wines from small, boutique producers from various AVAs in northern California. What is an AVA?  An American Viticultural Area is a designated wine grape-growing region in the United States distinguishable by geographic features.  We’ll be exploring the following wines from 4 AVAs in northern California.  Another fun fact – all of the wines are Rhone varietals!

The Wine

2011 L’Apiculteur | Le P’tit Paysan | Arroyo Seco

100% Viognier. Stone fruit, river stones, excellent focus.

Arroyo Seco, in Monterey County, California, southeast of Monterey Bay, is famous for white wines full of tropical fruit and refreshing acidity. This AVA hosts a small but prestigious list of wineries and supplies fruit to many of California’s most prominent producers who appreciate the distinctive character shaped by this AVA’s unique terroir.

2011 Rose | Bugay Vineyards | Sonoma County (Mayacama Mountains)

97% Syrah, 3% Mourvedre. Amélange of tropical fruit, fresh-cut strawberry, ruby-red grapefruit and citrus.

The Mayacamas Mountains of Sonoma County. The proprietors of Bugay Wines immediately fell in love with the stunning beauty of this rugged, inaccessible and forested parcel. To their fortune, the parcel revealed hillside meadows suitable for vineyards and the soils proved to be a winemaker’s dream.  We’ll be tasting a beautiful Rosé.

2008 Syrah | Duende | Russian River  

Lush, rich, balanced.

The Russian River Valley provides a cool climate for growing grapes and accounts for one-sixth of the total planted vineyard acreage in Sonoma County. The climate in the Russian River Valley is similar to that of the northern Rhone Valley of France, Syrah’s ancestral home, and the wines are stylistically similar to the wines from this region.

2008 Mathis Grenache | Mathis Vineyard | Sonoma Valley

81% Grenache clone 513 and 515 Tablas Creek, 10%  Carignane, 8% Petite Sirah and 1% Alicante Bouchet.  lush fruit combined with pepper notes, hint of juniper

The Sonoma Valley AVA centers on the Sonoma Valley (also known as The Valley of the Moon) in the southern portion of the county. The appellation is bordered by two mountain ranges: the Mayacamas Mountains to the east and the Sonoma Mountains to the west.

Come join us this Valentine’s Day, February 14th, at Blanc et Rouge!

For those of you who may be dreading the most romantic day of the year, you’re in luck. The tasting this week at Blanc et Rouge will be your sanctuary as you avoid prix fix meals and waiting for a table despite the reservation you booked months in advance. Come celebrate with us, and taste delectable wine from around the world. Perhaps you’ll meet your mate! Tickets are available through Eventbrite.

The lineup:

NV Vincent Raimbault | Vouvray Brut | Loire, France

A beautiful sparkling Chenin Blanc from the Loire region of France

Cantalupo il Mimo | Nebbiolo Rose | Piedmont, Italy

A romantic wine of the Nebbiolo varietal made from brief contact with the skin, this lovely dry rose is from the Piedmont region of Italy

2011 Riesling Kabinett, Feinherb | Reinert Wiltinger Schlossberg | Mosel-Saar, Germany

This off dry riesling has a touch of sweetness to warm anyone’s palate. From the Mosel region in Germany, this wine has high acidity and zesty minerality

2011 Locations by Dave Phinney “E” | Garnacha/Carignane | Spain 

Full of ripe, round fruit, displaying the classic hot, arid climate of Spain, like a blast of warm wind carrying savory fragrance and the smells of Spanish cuisine

Week in Wine: British Columbia Tasting

We were graciously hosted by  The British Columbia Wine Institute and Sommelier DJ Kearney, as we tasted wines from the BC VQA on Monday at the Intercontinental in San Francisco.  in addition to a very thoughtful opening and presentation by BCWI’s Executive Director, Miles Prodan, we were excited to see some familiar faces in the industry, such as seasoned wine columnist Dan Berger.

Where is British Columbia anyway?  British Columbia is the westernmost province of Canada, nestled in between Alaska to the north and Washington, Idaho and Montana to the south. In 1871, it became the sixth province of Canada.  The BC Vintners Quality Alliance designation ensures that you’re purchasing 100% BC Wine.  These wines are then tasted by a panel for quality.  So clearly, there’s a level of prestige here, and I was excited to take my first swig.

There are 5 wine regions of the BC wine designation: Okanagan Valley, Similkameen Valley, Fraser Valley, Vancouver Island, and Gulf Islands (click here for map and descriptions).  The 10 wines we imbibed represented these regions.  Among the standouts were the stellar Steller’s Jay Brut, the Quail’s Gate Pinot Noir, and my FAVORITE…the 2008 Nk’Mip Cellars QwAM QwMT Syrah.  Pronounced “in-ka-meep”, Nk’Mip Cellars won the prestigious title of #1 winery in BC at the 2012 Wine Access Canadian Wine Awards.

The List

2007 Steller’s Jay Brut

2009 Quail’s Gate Winery | Stewart Family Reserve | Chardonnay

2009 Quail’s Gate Winery | Stewart Family Reserve | Pinot Noir

2010 Black Hills Estate Winery | Nota Bene

2008 Osoyoos Larose | Le Grand Vin

2009 Nk’Mip Cellars | QwAM QwMT Meritage

2010 Black Hills Estate Winery | Syrah

2008 | Nk’Mip Cellars | QwAM QwMT Syrah

2007 Summerhill Pyramid Winery | Riesling Icewine

2007 Summerhill Pyramid Winery | Pinot Noir Icewine

Monthly Wine Tasting at Blanc et Rouge | Spain

Wow, what an event!  To celebrate the new year, on Friday we drank amazing wine from Spain, mingled with great company and made new friends.  I want to thank my guests for attending, share the wine list, and of course, post the event photos.  All of the wines are available through Blanc et Rouge, and we plan to continue with monthly tastings.   I’m looking forward to more wine lovers attending.  Thanks to Allie Pape’s article on 7×7 and the expertise of sommelier Andrew Fidelman which help made this a success.


2011 Ermita de Nieve | Verdejo | Rueda, Spain  -22-

2010 Bodegas y Viñedos Ponce “Buena Pinta” | Garanacha | Manchuela, Spain  -40-

2011 Locations E-1 Spanish Red Wine | Garanacha, Tempranillo & Cariena |

Priorat, Rioja & Ribera del Duero, Spain  -20-

2008 Mas Doix Salanques | Priorat, Spain  -48-

Available for retail purchase at Blanc et Rouge in the Financial District

Come join us for an evening of wine!

My next wine tasting and party, in celebration the new year, will be hosted at Blanc et Rouge, a beautiful wine bar located in the Financial District where sommelier Andrew Fidelman, who opened and co-wrote the wine list at Spruce, has masterfully created the wine list.

We will be exploring wines from Spain, and the evening will begin with a tasting of 4 selected wines, with which we’ll explore your flavor profile. Once you’ve identified your preference, come back for a glass of your favorite and mingle the night away.

Cocktail attire encourage.  The format will be casual.  Ticket includes wine and light hors d’oeuvres.

Friday, January 4th

7pm until 10pm

22 dollars | Click here for tickets

Ten Favorite Wines of 2012

As we count down the days until the new year, many of us begin to self-reflect and  set new goals for the year to come.  My goal next year? Tantalize my palate with new and interesting wines.  In the meantime, let’s celebrate the top 10 I enjoyed throughout the year!

1 |  2003 Opus One  |  Napa Valley, California

2 |  2006 Paradigm Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon  |  Napa Valley, California

3 |  2007 Robert König Assmannshäuser Höllenberg Spätburgunder Spätlese Trocken  |  Rheingau, Germany

4 |  2006 Fiddlehead Cellars Oldsville Reserve Pinot Noir  |  Willamette Valley, Oregon

5 |  2009 Julien Sunier Morgon  |  Beaujolais, France

6 |  2002 Nicolaysen Alisos Vineyard Syrah  |  Santa Barbara, California

7 |  2011 Gerhard Aldinger Untertürkheimer Gips Riesling Trocken  |  Württemberg, Germany

8 |  2010 Domaine Tempier Bandol Rose  |  Provence, France

9 |  2005 Schloss Vollrads Riesling Spätlese  |  Rheingau, Germany

10 | Clos Saron Syrah blend  |  Sierra Foothills, California

Barnyard Brett

2009 Louis Latour Marsannay Pinot Noir, Burgundy, FranceI’m always up for a good barnyard Burgundy.  Brett, short for the yeast Brettanomyces, gives wine a funky barnyard quirk that some find highly offensive. While it is widely perceived as just a flaw, a yeast that spoils wine, some winemakers depend on it to add a unique characteristic to their wines.

I personally love it.

We put this to the test as we huddled around my San Francisco apartment kitchen bar with three tasters – two were bonafide oenophiles, the other was one who knew what he liked – a predictable wine.  While it did take a second to adapt to the wine, the two tasters with quite refined palates who’ve traveled through France and the like, well let’s just say…more for us!  Try it if you like em’ funky.

2009 Louis Latour Marsannay | Pinot Noir | Burgundy, France

Winemaker’s notes:  Ruby red in color with raspberry and earthy aromas on the nose. In the mouth this Marsannay is fleshy and structured and the tannins are mellow but still present. This lasts nicely on the finish.

Celebrating 40 Years of “Camp Dade” with Dee Vine Wines

Dade and Petra Thieriot of Dee Vine Wines, a premier importer of German wine, graciously opened up their home to entertain us for a Halloween party. From spooky music to ghoulish ghosts, the party was an absolute success. On the menu, beautifully roasting rotisserie chicken from RoliRoti, flavorful chili with all the fixins’ and of course, the amazing wines I’ve summarized.

Continue reading Celebrating 40 Years of “Camp Dade” with Dee Vine Wines