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Sommelier Love Fest



Last week was the annual Peay Vineyards Sommelier Love Fest, an event in which the good family Peay—Andy and Ami, Vanessa and Nick—host sommeliers from all over for a relaxed tasting, tour, dinner and all-night wine fest.

 

O, Yes

A friend came to town for a visit, so we broke out some Champagne on a Sunday night. It was also an occasion for my wife and me to get into our recurring argument—the Riedel O Champagne glass.


No stem?

A Very Good Year

If you haven't yet heard, 2005 was a stellar year in Beaujolais, a great wine region that has largely been forgotten in the modern vinous rush. The reason this place has been overlooked might be because it makes a lighter style of wine from a grape that no one talks about. Anyway, in 2005 the wines are not light, but are perfect medium-bodied wine. They have some tannic grip and loads of dark plummy fruit. I like them slightly chilled.


New Chile



Chile is moving beyond its reputation as both the world’s leading supplier of cheap wine and top imitator of Bordeaux. Thanks to its coastal location on the Pacific, Chile gets a lot of cool ocean influence, just like California. Intrepid vineyardists are pioneering out into these coastal locations to bring us a whole new style of wine for Chile and classic “cooler climate” grapes like Pinot Noir and Gewurztraminer.


A Legendary Lunch



Since I’m moving from the Financial District to Cole Valley, I thought I’d spend one of my final lunches in my soon-to-be-former neighborhood trying out the café everyone’s been raving about: Myth Café.

Port of Call: Farina



I visited this new Italian outpost in the Mission yesterday (just one block from that classic but still vibrant Italian outpost, Delfina).

The design is gorgeous. I loved the shelves of wines and wine glasses that separate the bar area from the dining room. The warm lighting and off-white walls suffuses the entire space in a gorgeous glow the color of fresh, organic cream. Tables and chairs have beautiful wood, and there is rustic marble placed throughout the restaurant.

Movers and Shakers

My move continues. After packing most of the night on Sunday, we greeted a couple of movers early Monday and proceeded to break our backs carrying boxes, bags, plants and any number of hernia-inducing objects.


Pierre Peters—one of our favorite Champagnes

Truth in Wine



Recently I had the privilege of interviewing Paul Draper, winemaker for Ridge Vineyards since 1969, over lunch. Without a doubt he is my favorite winemaker in America—not just for the wines he produces, but also for his views, his techniques, his beliefs and his inexhaustible curiosity and interest in wine. At age 71, he is as spry of mind and youthful of spirit as I could ever imagine anyone being.


Gary Farrell Sighting

I went up to Healdsburg for the 25th anniversary dinner for Gary Farrell winery. Gary Farrell, the winery, if you don't know, is one of the top, top producers of Russian River Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. It's one of my faves. But Gary Farrell, the man, is also famously reclusive and shy. He never leads tours of the winery, never shows up to tastings and, generally, makes no appearances.

Though there are pictures of him here and there, I've always questioned whether or not the image in the photos was really Mr. Farrell or just some actor that they got to pose as him. I even began to question whether he even existed or if the idea of this reclusive winemaking genius was just a clever marketing ploy.

French Issues


Standard-style Bourdeaux label (left) versus the modern Chateau de Launay
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