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Burgundy in the Big Apple



Along with a few of San Francisco’s top sommeliers like Rajat Parr (Michael Mina), Eugenio Jardim (Jardinière) and my wife Christie Dufault (Quince), I went to New York last weekend for the greatest Burgundy event in North America—La Paulée de New York.

Special Blend



Cameron Hughes is not your ordinary winemaker. He doesn’t drive a tractor, lovingly prune his vines, and soulfully dip into his barrels. Rather, he sits behind a cluttered desk on his phone lines or his email or both searching for great wine that hasn’t been bottled.

In the Ballpark




As baseball season approaches we’re all aware of the myriad places around the ballpark to drink Vodka drinks (e.g. Paragon), stand and chatter in claustrophobic throngs (Momo’s), etc. But just a block down from where you can guzzle margaritas (Tres Agaves), there is now a place to sip Sauvignon Blanc, munch on risotto balls and rhapsodize about Pinot Noir. The name of the place is District and it brings a touch of sophistication to a neighborhood that needed it.

Movia Magic



The good times always roll when Ales Kristancic (ah-lesh Kris-TON-chitch) of the Slovenian winery Movia comes to town to promote his wine. He is a bald, Baltic ball of fun and brings his lively spirit, passion for wine, and inimitable use of the phrase “tzak, tzak” to town (“tzak” has no real translation, but he uses it when he doesn’t know the proper English verb).

Gimblett Gravels

I’m down here in New Zealand for this big international Pinot Noir conference, but as an added bonus for coming all the way across the earth, the good kiwi people decided to throw a one-day conference on cool-climate Syrah. The conference was set in an upcoming wine region here in NZ called the Gimblett Gravels (www.gimblettgravels.com). A unique area of land inside the larger appellation of Hawke’s Bay on NZ’s North Island, Gimblett Gravels has some of the stoniest soil you’ll ever see anywhere.


Steak and a Cab



It's hard to imagine what vegetarian wine lovers have to go through for one simple reason: What do they eat with your Cabernet Sauvignon?

Considering that Cab and its Bordeaux brethren is what we got the most of in California and that it turns up pretty ubiquitously from France, Chile, Argentina, and Australia (to name a few) we have to devise dishes that accompany it well. But, sadly, to me there's really only one thing that always goes well with Cabernet and it is described in two words: red meat.

 

Growth Potential

If you’ve gotten into wine at all in your life, you’re probably aware that German Riesling is one of the most incredible wines in the world (and often a super value), but also incredibly difficult to comprehend. The labels in themselves are phenomenal works of code—and the familiar designations like kabinet, spätlese, etc are indecipherable to most people.

Report Card

A simple Google search on the terms Thanksgiving and Wine yields just over 5 million web pages. For wine writers, responding to some imagined American SOS call in choosing a wine for Thanksgiving dinner has become somewhat of a cottage industry. It's the rote column every wine writer has to write, as in this one from the blog Vinography.com: vinography.com/archives/2006/11/thanksgiving_wine_recommendati.html.  The problem, they say, is finding a wine that works with all the disparate elements on the table.
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