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The Beauty of Nopa


Neyah with a special, unlisted cocktail

You know they're doing something right at Nopa when you’re willing to wait 25 minutes for a bar stool, and fight off vicious competitors while doing it. It's clear why people are so eager to get seats here: The bar is genius.

More of Italy's Finest


Gaia Gaja with Mauro Cirilli

Next winemakers to come into town was Gaia Gaja (the first and last name are actually pronounced the same way), the daughter of perhaps Italy's most famous winemaker, Angelo Gaja. Here is Gaia, sitting next to Mauro Cirilli, Perbacco's terrific sommelier.

The Gajas, father and daughter, produce many different wines, but are best known for the Nebbiolo-based wines from the Piedmont region of Italy, as well as for Brunello di Montalcino, Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and a Cabernet Sauvignon.

Italy's Finest

When I say “Italy’s Finest,” I'm not talking about the Carbinieri, Italy's state police force that’s the butt of many jokes (e.g. "Why do Carabinieri always work in pairs? Because one knows how to read, the other how to write").

Not long ago, I attended a couple of tastings featuring Italy's finest wines—the ones you don't get to taste every day, but are worth writing about when you do.


Your Hardworking Sommeliers

Last Saturday night, a group of sommeliers gathered together for what is a unique San Francisco tradition--the late-night sommelier blind tasting.

That our hardworking restaurant wine professionals will bother to assemble at midnight on a Saturday—each bearing a bottle or two of expensive, classic wine to give to his or her comrades blind—for the purpose of learning and understanding is admirable.


Paul and his sister, Noah, Allen and Jean-Laurent Vacheron                           

Two-Buck Gold

Speaking of competitions, this absurd and alarming story will be generating waves throughout the wine world.

Two-Buck Chuck, aka Charles Shaw, Chardonnay—famous for being one of the cheapest wines in the world—won the gold medal for best Chardonnay at the State Commercial Wine Competition in Sacramento. It was voted in a blind competition by a panel of wine industry professionals.

Caviar and …


Vodka vs. Champagne

What to have with caviar is not a question that comes up often, but every now and again my wife gets a craving for something decadent, and this time it was caviar.  Our choice: Tsar Nicoulai Caviar.

The Joys of Brevity

There are many things to love about petite Piccino in the Dogpatch, but as an inveterate reader of wine lists, I can say that, much of the time, short and well-selected is better than long and all-inclusive.

                                             

Chablis Raveneau

There are few things I enjoy more than a glass of Chablis.

The region just north of Burgundy on France's east side is famous for its chalky white soils, which gives that minerally texture and Chardonnays of lovely power and grace. There are many great producers, my faves being Dauvissat, William Fevre, Louis Michel and of course Domaine Raveneau, who makes highly individually styled wines and is also greatly popular in San Francisco.


Chablis Raveneau

7 People, 35 Glasses Later



We hosted a big dinner party last night at my house celebrating the visit of my sister Eden and baby Clementine (who will one day be one of the world's great gastronomes). Many courses, many wines--a great time was had by all. But, the challenge with so many wines--and having a wife who prefers to use a separate and proper glass for each one--is the clean up in the morning. Ugggh.


baby Clementine
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