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Day 3: Mosel Part Two, Red Grey and Blue

On day 3 I continued my journey through the Mosel region of Germany and found myself in the beautiful town of Pünderich and greeted by Clemens Busch in his home on the river bank.

Clemens Busch knows Riesling. An organic wine producer and member of the VDP – his Grosse lage estate, essentially the Grand Gru classification of wine in Germany, can be found worldwide including my two favorite US cities, New York and San Francisco.
clemens busch In 1971, many small vineyard parcels were combined into larger ones, but Busch decided to retain the original parcel names contained within the greater “Marienburg”, which is designated on each label.

marienburg

There are three distinct types of slate that contribute to the palate of the Pündericher Marienburg vineyards. Red Gray and Blue.

Rothenpfad: Red Slate
Falkenlay:Gray Slate
Fahrlay: Blue Slate

Each one influences the pointed nuances of the wine’s flavor profile. For instance, the red slate creates a certain spice in wines, blue slate wines have a distinct minerality and are extremely concentrated, and the gray slate wines present fruity tones, are creamy, rich, and have a mineral tone. I had the opportunity to try each of these wines at the estate after Clemens pointed out each of the parcels in the Marienburg site (pictured above). The cool river breeze and reflection of the sun, make this great climate for the steeply plotted vines that run up the hills of the river bank. You can even make out the variances in the colors. As marked best by Clemens “Each parcel has its own personality. It´s as if each wine has it own soul.”

I had the chance to ask Clemens about the Rieslings on Finger Lakes in New York state. To which he replied they aren’t Mosel riesling but appreciates them for what they are, and gave his nod of approval. The one thing that stands out between a German riesling is the striking balance of the sweetness and acidity which creates a robust flavor that is more approachable than the traditional sweet white wine.

These are top quality amazing wines at a great value. Period.

If you’re located in NYC – Appellation Wine & Spirits carries Clemens Busch. They will be tasting Rieslings and other world wines on November 6th.

SF Peeps – Here’s the Scoop on Wine Events this Fall (Plus a Whiskey Treat!)

UPCOMING CONSUMER EVENTS

9/26, Friday, 6-9 pm: Fleming’s 100 Preview Event
Check locations, closest in Bay Area are Walnut Creek and Palo Alto:https://www.flemingssteakhouse.com/landing-pages/flemings-100-preview/#cda-anchor-1
$35 before tax and tip

You’re invited to preview and explore our new Fleming’s 100® — our award-winning selection of 100 wines by the glass. On September 26, we’re opening our doors for this exclusive event so you can taste these incredible wines before anyone else. We’ll be featuring special wine flights and tasting tips along with fantastic hors d’oeuvres so you and your friends are guaranteed a truly memorable evening.

The price for this unique experience is $35* per person, and each Guest will receive a $25 Dining Card to use during their next visit or even that evening.** We look forward to sharing a glass with you soon.

9/26 – 9/28, 11-4 pm, Friday, Saturday, Sunday: 2014 Sonoma Valley Crush
$35 ticket: http://www.heartofsonomavalley.com/products/2014-sonoma-valley-crush
Use promo code “14svcrush” for $5 off.

Have you ever romanticized about getting involved in a wine harvest & crush? Find out what it’s like this September in the Heart of Sonoma Valley. Join us for the 2014 Sonoma Valley CRUSH and experience harvest, hands-on.

Guests will not only get a behind-the-scenes look at what happens during harvest, you’ll have the opportunity to get involved, hands-on.

For three days, wineries will be offering a variety of Harvest Activities including Grape Sampling in the vineyards, Crush Pad tours, samples of Fresh Pressed Juice and grapes picked fresh off the vine including Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon. You can even taste a wine while it’s fermenting!

Learn how to read a Refractometer and gain a deeper understanding about the importance of the balance between sugar and acid levels in wine grapes. Meet with and ask Winemakers questions about harvest. This is your opportunity to learn all about harvest!

The ‘CRUSH Wine Tasting Pass’ is $35 per person and gives you access to harvest activities and wine tastings at 15 wineries in Kenwood & Glen Ellen September 26th – 28th from 11am to 4pm each day.

15 Participating Wineries:
Arrowood Vineyards & Winery, Deerfield Ranch Winery, En Garde Winery, Enkidu Wines, Eric Ross Winery, Kaz Winery, Kenwood Vineyards, Loxton Cellars, Mayo Family Winery, Moondance Cellars, NakedWines.com, Paradise Ridge Winery, St. Anne’s Crossing Winery, Ty Caton Vineyards, VJB Vineyards & Cellars

9/27, Saturday, 10:30-3:30 pm: Bay Area Food Classic: A California Food Experience
Info: http://www.mankillerfoodfest.com/#!about-us/c1se
Tickets (with $2 fee): http://www.mankillerfoodfest.com/#!tickets/cku3
Now through August 18th, guests can purchase VIP tickets for $50 – that’s a savings of $100 off the gate price.

Bay Area Food + Beer + Wine Classic showcases 5-star restaurants, classically trained chefs, self-made restaurateurs and food entrepreneurs, nationally acclaimed wine makers and beer crafters from the West Coast.

9/29, Monday, 5-9 pm: 9th Annual Institute of Masters of Wine (North America) Champagne Tasting
(sold out)
Ferry Building, San Francisco (in the second floor Port Commission Hearing Room)
IMW Website: http://www.mastersofwine.org/en/events/tastings-and-seminars.cfm/eid/8E2159B1-DB3C-4E2A-81C375206F36570E
Local Wine Events:http://www.localwineevents.com/events/detail/546964/invitation
Tickets:https://www.localwineevents.com/tickets/i_want/546964/champagne-tasting-institute-of-masters-of-wine
No trade/student discounts or promo codes are offered (supposedly).

5-7 pm: Session 1
7-9 pm: Session 2

The 10th Annual Institute of Masters of Wine (North America) Champagne Tasting will be held at the Ferry Building, San Francisco in the second floor Port Commission Hearing Room on September 29, 2014. This is the tenth anniversary for this event, the largest and most prestigious tasting of champagne in North America.

The tasting will include many exceptional Champagnes organized by style: Non-vintage, Demi-Sec, Vintage, Blanc de Blanc and Rose/Blanc de Noir wines. Tickets are $65.00 (plus $6.60 fee) for either the 5:00 pm to 7:00 pm or 7:00 pm to 9:00 pm tasting and $110 (plus $9.40 fee) for both tastings, 5:00 pm to 9:00 pm. No trade/student discounts or promo codes are offered.

Digital lists of the champagne selections offered will be available one week prior to the event as well by contacting Nancy Johnson.

Dress: Wine Country Casual.
Please purchase early to insure ticket availability as this event sells out quickly. Questions may be addressed to Nancy Johnson at njohnson@mastersofwine.org.

9/29, Monday, 7–8:30 pm: Chenin Blanc Seminar @ Ruby Wines
Ruby Wines, 1419 18th Street, San Francisco
$55 pp Click here to register

The Vinguard and Ruby Wines are joining forces this fall with a monthly tasting seminar series. Since Chenin Blanc is a mutual love, one that we think is way worth sharing, it will be the first discussed. Eight wines from the Loire Valley and California representing established producers such as Coulée de Serrant in Savennières to rising stars including Guiberteau in Saumur, Jousset in Montlouis and Forlorn Hope in California will be included. Pamela Busch, San Francisco Examiner wine columnist and founder of The Vinguard, will lead the tasting and discussion.

10/2, Thursday, 6:30 pm: 1601 Bar & Kitchen’s German Rieslings Pairing Dinner
1601 Bar & Kitchen, 1601 Howard Street, San Francisco, CA, 94103
$115 tickets: https://secure.sosh.com/san-francisco/marketplace/1601-dinner-1002/m/2fE7/

Join 1601 Bar & Kitchen and Dee Vine Wines for a feast made for royalty. This Sri Lankan-inspired restaurant showcases their unique, contemporary take on traditional Sri Lankan cuisine with a six-course tasting menu, complimented by specially-selected Riesling wine pairings in collaboration with Dee Vine Wines. The restaurant will be closed to the public for this special event and the menu will feature a few special dishes that aren’t on their everyday menu.

Rieslings include selections from Solter, Schmitges, Josef Rosch, Prinz, Knebel, and von Hövel.

1601 Bar & Kitchen places an emphasis on beautiful plating so each course is a stunning visual display. At dinner, each dish will be described in terms of its spices and aromatics, and German Riesling experts from Dee Vine Wines will tell the story of each wine, what each generally pair with, how they’re made, and more.

After dinner, 1601 Bar’s chef will talk to guests about Riesling from his perspective and have a Q/A session for anyone interested.

Dee Vine Wines was founded by Dade Thieriot in 1996 mainly because he kept hearing complaints from friends and old customers of his previous business (Connoisseur Wine Imports) that German wines, specifically Riesling, were difficult to find in the Bay Area market. So, he decided to solve that problem by creating a business whose focal point was German Rieslings. It is due to his unfailing passion for these treasures that led him to establish Dee Vine Wines, which has, over the past 18 years, become one of the world’s leading sources for fine and rare German wines and has a reputation of working with some of the most well-known restaurants in SF including Quince, Gary Danko, Spruce, State Bird Provisions, and Napa Valley’s French Laundry.

1601 Bar & Kitchen was recognized as a “Key Newcomer” in the 2014 Zagat SF Bay Area Restaurant Survey, as well as assigned Bib Gourmand status by the 2014 Michelin Guide.
Note: Most of 1601′s menu items are gluten-free.

10/8, Wednesday, 7–9 pm: The Loire Valley Part One: Sancerre and Other White Wines @ 18 Reasons
18 Reasons, 3674 18th Street, San Francisco
$40/$30 18 Reasons members, Click here to register

The Loire Valley has the “A team” of the world’s white wines. From the Nantais on the Atlantic coast to Sancerre just a couple of hours from Paris, it is home to a number of appellations that make the most complex and age worthy white wines. In addition to the well known wines such as Vouvray, Muscadet and of course, Sancerre, other appellations are making superb wines from Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Blanc, Menu Pineau and Romorantin. As a follow up to the Sancerre class at 18 Reasons last fall this one will include a spectrum of the Loire’s white wines. If you love white wines or are up for an adventure, this is a class not to be missed.

10/10, Friday, 2:30-7 pm: Madeira Wine Institute Wine Tasting – SF
The Palace San Francisco Hotel, 2 New Montgomery St., San Francisco, CA 94105
Register here: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/madeira-wine-institute-wine-tasting-sf-tickets-13313433839

Realizing the growing importance of Madeira wine worldwide, the Autonomous Region of Madeira established the Madeira Wine Institute in 1979. The main mission of the Institute is twofold; first, to ensure successful production and commercialization of Madeira wine and, two, to synthesize all viticultural activities in the Autonomous Region of Madeira.

One of the world’s most amazing wines expects you. Book the meeting with Madeira Wines.
2:30-7 pm: Open Wine Tasting
3-4:30 pm: Wine Master Class (trade and press)
5-6:30 pm: Wine Master Class (consumers)

10/15, Wednesday, 7–9 pm: The Loire Valley Part Two: Chinon and Other Red Wines @ 18 Reasons
18 Reasons, 3674 18th Street, San Francisco
$40/$30 18 Reasons members, Click here to register

The Loire Valley is better known for its white wines but the reds can be equally stunning. The Cabernet Franc from Chinon is unparalleled anywhere else except for Bourgueil, a nearby appellation, and other red grapes, especially Pinot Noir and Cot (Malbec) express themselves in ways that might be unrecognizable to many wine drinkers. Additionally, Grolleau, Pineau D’Aunis and Gamay from the Loire are all the rage in Paris’s wine bars and are catching on in San Francisco as well. If you really want to get a full idea of what’s going on in the Loire Valley, you should check this class out as the reds are as much a part of the story as the region’s glorious white wines.
10/18, Saturday, 8-11 pm: Dinner with The Master: Chef Jacques Pépin with Stag Dining Group at the Prescott
Prescott Hotel San Francisco, a Kimpton Hotel, 545 Post St., San Francisco, CA 94102
$135 tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/dinner-with-the-master-chef-jacques-pepin-with-stag-dining-group-at-the-prescott-tickets-13100579185

Join us for a memorable outing to Celebrate Jacques Pépin and his longstanding relationship with KQED and The Prescott Hotel.

10/19, Sunday, 2-5 pm: Champagne Tent Event, K&L San Francisco
K&L Wine Merchant, 638 4th Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107
$85 tickets: http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1138872

Bubbles Galore! We are throwing our annual fall Champagne Tent Event on Sunday, October 19th at our San Francisco store from 2-5 p.m. A group of our favorite artisanal grower/producers will be flying in from France to present their wines exclusively to K&L guests. This is a rare opportunity to engage with the people that grow the grapes and make the wine and to learn more about their approach to Champagne. We will also have many of the big name producers on hand to present their selections. From the big houses we will have representatives from Louis Roederer, Billecart-Salmon, Laurent Perrier, Moët & Chandon, Veuve Clicquot, Krug, Perrier-Jouët, and more. More than 50 champagnes to taste. Small bites will also be provided. This event will benefit one of our favorite charities, the Bonnie J. Addario Lung Cancer Foundation. ALCF was founded in 2006 and is one of the largest patient-driven philanthropies driven to eradicate lung cancer through research, awareness, education, early detection and treatment. Please join us in supporting this amazing charity.

10/21, Tuesday, 6:30-8:30 pm: Wine & Spirits Magazine 11th “Top 100” Tasting Event; a Benefit for San Francisco Baykeeper
City View at the Metreon, 135 4th Street, San Francisco
Details: http://www.wineandspiritsmagazine.com/top100/
Public: 6:30-8:30 pm

Join Wine & Spirits Magazine for a tasting featuring the highly acclaimed wines from the top scoring wines of the year. Meet the winemakers. Feast on delicious bites from our New & Notable Bay Area Restaurants. Enjoy fresh oysters, local cheeses and array of artisan specialties at Wine & Spirits Magazine’s 11th Annual Top 100 Tasting; a benefit for San Francisco Baykeeper.

For over a decade, The Top 100 Tasting Event honors wineries from around the world that delivered the best overall performances in W&S tastings throughout the year. Since its inception eleven years ago, the event has been held in San Francisco, with acclaimed Bay Area chefs and local artisanal purveyors serving signature specialties to complement the premier bottlings of the 100 Wineries of the Year.

Wine & Spirits Magazine is the preferred magazine of sommeliers, winemakers, critics, journalists and savvy consumers. Our publication has helped shaped the conservation of wine for more than thirty years and will continue to do so on Tuesday, October 21st, 2014 by hosting our 11th annual Top 100 Tasting, the premiere wine tasting event for the Bay area wine & spirits trade community.

10/23, Sunday, 6-10 pm: Grapes of Past: Vintners in the Vaults
The Old Mint, 88 5th Street, San Francisco, CA, 94107
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/grapes-of-past-vintners-in-the-vaults-tickets-12629632571#
Use promo code “meetup40” for 40% off.

Join FlipSide at the historic 1874 Old Mint for an evening of unlimited wine tasting and presentations on the history of wine in San Francisco and the City’s historical importance as the urban center for a world-famous wine making region. Did you know that San Francisco was once a major hub of wine production and commerce? Enjoy a glass of your favorite vino while exploring the Mint’s vaults. Listen to tales about the thriving wine hub that the SOMA once was, and how the 1906 earthquake and fire changed everything. Learn about the Mechanics’ Institute’s 19th century Expositions and the importance those fairs played in promoting San Francisco wineries and hear the story of how and why California’s oldest winery moved from San Francisco to Sonoma over 100 years ago.

Evening Info
• Unlimited Wine Tasting from 50+ Wineries
• Souvenir Wine Glass
• Historical Presentations on San Francisco Wine History • Explore the historic 1874 Old Mint with Docents
• Vendors sampling chocolate, olive oil, etc.
• Live Music
• Food available for purchase • Raffle of wine, luxury items, and experiences benefiting the Old Mint • Bocce Ball
• And much more!
Presentations • 7pm: Wine Making In Early 1900′s San Francisco – Presented by Matt Reidy of Bluxome Street Winery
• 7:20pm: Wines, Brandies, and Vinous Products at the Mechanics’ Institute’s Industrial Expositions 1857-1899 – Presented by Taryn Edwards of the Mechanic’s Institutue Library • 8:15pm – From Soma to Sonoma – Presented by Susan Sueiro of Gundlach Bundschu

10/26, Sunday, 12-4 pm: 11th Annual Russian River Valley “Pinot on the River”
Downtown Healdsburg Plaza Square, Healdsburg, CA 95448
$75 advance tickets: http://pinotfestival.com/registration.html
$85 tickets for early entry
$100 tickets at event.

Join your friends with 100 small-production artisanal Pinot Noir producers at the 2014 Pinot on the River Festival, held Sunday, October 26, 2014 on the Healdsburg Plaza in downtown Healdsburg in Sonoma County’s Russian River Valley, featuring a full day of tastings from some of California’s best Pinot producers.

Pinot On The River begins at 11 a.m. on Sunday, Oct 26 when VIP ticket holders can enter the Grand Tasting ahead of the general public. Noon entries are also available for the Grand Tasting on the Healdsburg Plaza. Event ends at 4PM.

11/19-23: Flavor! Napa Valley
http://flavornapavalley.com/
Tickets on sale July 8.

Events: http://flavornapavalley.com/events/

Personalities: http://flavornapavalley.com/personalities/

The fourth annual star-powered Flavor! Napa Valley wine and food festival will be held November 19-23, 2014. The region’s immersive and festive celebration of fine, local wine and cuisine, Flavor! Napa Valley will again feature renowned chefs who either helm top restaurants located in Napa Valley or who have graduated from The Culinary Institute of America (CIA), the festival’s beneficiary, alongside industry-leading Napa Valley vintners. The festival format will be presented as five days of tastings, cooking demonstrations, and experiential workshop series entitled Terroir to Table – Farm, Cellar & Kitchen Experiences. The festival’s main event will be the grand food and wine tasting fete, The Appellation Trail, hosted at the historic CIA at Greystone in St. Helena.

11/23, Sunday, 12-4 pm: San Francisco Vintners Market – Harvest Hoopla
Fort Mason Center, Festival Pavilion, San Francisco, CA
Website: http://www.sfvintnersmarket.com/
Tickets: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/san-francisco-vintners-market-harvest-hoopla-november-22-23-2014-time-1-4-pm-vip-12-4-pm-tickets-11703183537

General Admission: 1pm – 4pm Saturday & Sunday
Reserve & Cult Room Access: 12pm – 4pm Saturday & Sunday
Living Social deal gets it down to $35 and up:https://www.livingsocial.com/events/1196656-ticket-to-san-francisco-vintners-market
Extra 15% for “Daily Gem” off gets it down to $29 and up, expires at 3 pm though.

3/28/2015, Saturday: Whiskies of the World, SF Expo
http://www.whiskiesoftheworld.com/home

WoW San Francisco (March 28, 2015) has been a must-go for whisky enthusiasts for the past fifteen years. It’s an occasion to see the newest happenings in the world of whisky, meet and learn from interesting whisky personalities, sample new expressionism, and overall have a great time. WoW SF greets many whisky devotees each year, and spotlights so many whisky stars, from the Whisky Wordsmiths, to renowned celebrity critics such as Michael Jackson and Jim Murray. Not to mention the iconic distillery founders and master distillers, Dr. Bill Lumsden, Tom Bullet, Jim Ruthledge, Chip Tate, et al.
Each growing year we see new faces, new whiskies, and new features that create…WOW!

The Early Bird Sale ends on 9/30: http://www.whiskiesoftheworld.com/wow-expo-sf-schedule

Famous Wine: My 10 Day Journey Through Germany

I am in crunch mode preparing for my trip to Germany. This second time around will be 10 days by convertible, through the northern wine regions of the Rheingau and Mosel, crossing over to the Netherlands before hopping back over Frankfurt to Berlin, so I’ve been carefully plotting the journey I will share through video journal with my readers. I will be joined by a clever kiwi with an accent to match and a hankering for sausage, who has agreed to film my escapades in exchange for random mid-air planking photos. Think traveling garden gnomes, or something.

Anyhow, let’s get to the good stuff; the wine. I will be visiting one of the most famous vineyards in the world, the prestigious Bernkasteler Doctor vineyard (picture below) whose vines climb the steep slopes leading up from the Mosel River. There, I will taste the sweet nectar of Weingut Lay and Sophia Thanisch VDP.

2014-05-21-doctorvineyard 

Then, I’m off to Clemens Busch winery, one of the top producers of organic wine in Germany. The estate is located in the village of Pünderich (near Bernkastel) in the Mosel wine-growing region.

I first discovered the wines of these three amazing producers of amazing Riesling through German wine importers Petra and Dade Thieriot of Dee Vine Wines, after having hosted my first German tasting three years ago out of a lean start-up office in San Francisco. I then had the opportunity to try a Doctor Reisling at Sofia Thanisch’s winemaker lunch last year, hosted by Dee Vine (label pictured below), and the rest is history.

2014-05-21-thanisch (1)

About a dozen tastings later and a deep knowledge of Riesling, which is humbly shallow compared to that of my mentors and idols in the industry, I will be taking my first trip to the Mosel Germany to share my experiences with you.

You won’t be able to find these gems just anywhere, however, Dee Vine imports Clemens Busch wines as well as wines from Sofia Thanisch exclusively for the state of California and sells them wholesale as well as to consumers.

While Mosel Riesling will be far more satisfying than an oenophile could ever hope, I do have quite an affinity for the Pinot Noir grape and must add Weingut Robert König to the list. His elegant Spätburgunder asked me to come try it. How can I refuse? So I sneak in a quick visit before the Mosel and I’m off to the Rheingau.

Fast forward to day 10 and we’ve covered two countries, 1,204 km and I’m sinking into my chair to enjoy a last supper with a dear friend, Katharina. I’ve blogged, video journaled and social media’d the crap out of you, all while relearning how to drive a manual, but hopefully you’ve learned a thing or two about wine.

Read more on my HuffPost blog!

April Wine Tasting | Bordeaux: Left v. Right Bank

In January we began our trip through France, starting in the South West and now working our way deeper into Bordeaux. This Thursday April 17th, we will continue our journey into Bordeaux, where we will explore the wines of the Left Bank, Right Bank and Entre-deux-mers.

Andrew Fidelman, formerly of Spruce, and myself, will guide you through this tasting at French inspired Aquitaine Wine Bistro located in San Francisco’s Financial District. What does that means for us? Luscious wine from the largest wine growing area in France.

There will be a surprise special Performance by lead singer Kyna Wise of funk band The Go Ahead. “The topping of this funk rock stew is a formidable force of female vocal fireworks equal parts Grace Slick, Mick Jagger and Gwen Stefani. When you mix all these elements it’s hard to imagine an ass they couldn’t get shaking.”- Ryan Brown, bay area comedian and musician.

Tickets available on Eventbrite for $40 and will not be available at the door.

Introducing the Huffington Post Blog!

On March 10th I posted the first of many wine articles for the Huffington Post. I wanted to take this time to thank my readers, share this news and gain your support. It would not have been possible without you. Please share and become a fan to learn more about wine!

Capture

January Wine Event | Wine Soirée 2014: Southwest France

Our next stop on the journey to wine enlightenment will take us to Southwest France. We will celebrate 2014 in style at Andrew Fidelman’s next endeavor - French inspired Aquitaine Wine Bistro, located in San Francisco’s Financial District. As you may know, Andrew opened and co-wrote the wine list at Spruce and has masterfully created the wine list at Blanc et Rouge, and now Aquitaine.

A quick fact you all might not know, Aquitaine is the home of Bordeaux. What does that means for us? Amazingly luscious, velvety wine. The evening will feature a selection of 4 representing the area of Southwest France.

Ticket includes full wine tasting and light hors d’oeuvres and will not be available for sale at the door. If you’ve joined us in the past, then you know this will be a ball.  Dress to impress.

Tickets are available through Eventbrite here.

New Mission wine bar 20 Spot

I settled into one of the sleek mid-century stools lining the bar of the newest Mission wine bar, 20 Spot and knew instantly this would be the spot. Those who know my prowess for finding the best wine in the city may have heard me utter that the Mission was devoid of a fit wine bar since Heart left the hood. Well folks, as of late March I’d been missing out.

As I admired the vintage inspired architecture, a picture perfectly painted in an article by Daily Candy last month, under the glow of the lamps which illuminated the seductive reclaimed eucalyptus bar, I perused the by the glass list.  I noticed owner Bodhi Freedom was pouring, who I upon introduction, I realized was the owner of Bacchus in Russian Hill. I was excited to try something weird. The words blurted out of my mouth…”I’d like to try a wine – with funky earthiness.”

After he delivered the words back to me to ensure he’d heard me correctly, yes HE understood exactly what I was looking for, but wanted to make sure that I did, as I suppose this is not a descriptor you hear from a customer all too often, Bodhi immediately pours me a glass and explained that it is his favorite on the list.

The wine was an Etna Rosso from the island of Sicily. The grape — Nerello Mascalese and confirmed to be a blend of Sangiovese and another unidentified grape. It was just my speed, and after a swig, I realized why. It was very similar to the Canary Island wine I tasted the week before at Terroir, farmed from soil dark brown in color, volcanic in origin, well-drained – almost sandy in some parts (from Vinity Wine Company). I would be sure to include this in my next tasting, as this unique selection was missing from my first Italian tasting, which was more of a big-picture overview given the complexity of the country’s wine growing regions.

The wine is very pretty, with cherry, herbs and flowers. It was delicate while maintaining the funky earthiness I was looking to enjoy. 20 Spot helped me uncover yet another gem, and I’m excited to return for my next glass.

The Wine:

2010 Graci Etna Rosso

Nerello Mascalese | Sicily, Italy

ImageImage

10 Steps to Sipping Wine like a Wanker

With all the talk about wine wankers in the news after Nick Bhasin’s article in the Sydney Morning Herald last week, I’m going against the grain a bit and thought I’d give a proper introduction on how TO look like snob whilst sipping wine. Because lets face it – we all want to look like we know what we’re doing. While many savvy sippers try to avoid looking like a wine snob, I personally own it, embrace it and apologize later…actually I don’t. Wine is meant to be enjoyed – not hidden – and here are a few slightly tricky steps to sipping wine like a true professional. There are no rules in drinking wine, but if you want to play the part, you’ve got to know the basics! So the next time you’re at Hotel Biron, do the following, and be prepared to dodge flying objects.

1. Swirl the wine around in your glass and don’t spill it all over the place like a twat.

2. Jam your entire nose in the glass. Sniff. Ladies, please mind the rookie mistake of repeating after your lipstick has rubbed off on the rim, leaving a red moustache on your face.

3. Press your index finger over each nostril. Sniff.

4. Thrust your stemware into thin air, dramatically in search of the perfect lighting with which to inspect the wine. This will ensure that everyone sees that you clearly know what you’re doing.

4.a If you are in the mission replace “stemware” with “mason jar”…scratch that…drink PBR instead.

5. Inspect the 3 Cs. We’re talking color, consistency, clarity here.

6. Raise your glass to your lips, tip the glass and let the wine slide into your mouth. But do not, I repeat, DO NOT swallow. I know this might be hard from some of you.

7. Give the inside of your mouth a little wash with the wine and make sure it touches each part of your tongue to experience it’s full flavor profile.

8. Oxygenate the wine in your mouth. Try not to choke on it. Taste again.

9. Turn to your friend and nod in approval with an awkward grin…because, you know, there’s still wine in your mouth.

10. Now that you’ve properly teased your tastebuds, you may swallow.

You’re welcome.

The Younger Member Forum Tastes the Wines of Germany

On Tuesday I hosted the San Jose Branch of the American Society of Civil Engineers  (ASCE) Younger Member Forum.  Civil Engineer and Officer Matt Bower put it simply – “we work on the city’s infrastructure” – from buildings to roads to reservoirs.

That being said, there were some great questions including “what is the soil like in the Nahe region?” – thoughtful questions that we like to hear!  Given the rocky terrain of the region, the soil definitely played a  part in the mineral and slate he tasted in the wine.

The crowd was quite engaged in both the tasting and conversations amongst their peers. Overall a successful event with great folks, great food and great wine.

Here’s the list:

NV Solter Spätburgunder Rosé Deutscher Sekt Brut
Rheingau and Baden, Germany | Pinot Noir

2009 Emrich-Schönleber Riesling QbA Trocken
Nahe, Germany | Riesling

2009 Reinert Wawern Ritterpfad, Riesling Spätlese
Mosel (Saar), Germany | Riesling

2009 König Assmannshausen Höllenberg, Spätburgunder Kabinett Trocken
Rheingau, Germany | Pinot Noir

Wine Tasting for Engineers with Brits Wine

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

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http://instagram.com/p/YlnSa_D9-2/

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 http://www.josepastorselections.com/

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.

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