The first chill of fall finally touched us the other day: the air tightens, and the breeze hits your cheek, letting you know, this is as warm as it's going to get today.
When it comes to wine, people will say that, now that there's a chill in the air, the season of blowsy summer whites and rosés is over. I say, in a gutteral Vin-Diesel-esque growl, "It ain't over until I say it's over." And, with that, I put on a sweater and crack yet another bottle of pink wine and pour it into another tumbler.
Yesterday, Jason Wilson of the Washington Post wrote of his experiences using wine--specifically the Yellowtail wine from Australia that he disdained--in cocktails and finding it pretty darn good. In the article he says our own SF bartender Neyah White of Nopa mixes Croft Pink, a new-styled port wine, "in an ice-filled highball glass with gin and orange bitters, then tops it with ginger beer." Does that sound good to your or bad? Could you imagine using your favorite Napa Cab in a drink or would you just prefer to drink it straight? Wine can be a harmonious blender, but it's definitely less alcohol and concentration than a spirit.
Since my usual milieu involves helping people find the cheapest drinks possible, I was thrilled to cover a more refined tasting of California natural wine growers, an event that was part of this week's San Francisco Natural Wine Week. Held at Arlequin Wine Merchant in Hayes Valley, the tasting featured five vintners committed to the art and science of growing, fermenting, and bottling wine the natural way.
The Booze News is a roundup of pertinent or otherwise interesting drink-related stories from the media. I try to do it once a week.
Since Bill Clinton, who liked to eat but whose most lasting gastronomical association was with the Big Mac, and Bush, who seemed almost disdainful of good food and didn't even drink, it's been sixteen years since there's been any chief executive whose evinced that most human (and, for us, a most San Franciscan) trait of enjoying a good drink. While Obama's election broke many barriers and has yielded hope in so many ways, one of the nicest things about his presidency so far is that the guy likes to drink. And the examples keep piling up . . .
I've always meant to go to Conduit more than I've managed to, which is hardly at all. Might be something about the name: It's always sounded more like a professionally named corporate finance/tech/insurance kind of business (Intuit, Agilent, etc) than a place I'd go to tickle my gastronomic senses. Nevertheless, the other night I made it in for a thorough and overdue visit and found it to live up to all the hype.
Last weekend, Fort Mason hosted the winners of the SF Chronicle Wine Competition, the largest competition of American wines in the world, with more than 4,000 entries judged by 60 wine professionals. Of the Best In Class winners, we chose seven very affordable California vintages. Troubled times demand good (but not expensive) vino. Print this list out for your next pre-dinner party grocery run.
1. 2006 Mandolin Cabernet Sauvignon, Central Coast, $12.
2. 2007 Mandolin Pinot Noir, Central Coast, $12.
3. 2007 South Coast Winery Grenache Rosé, Paso Robles County and Temecula Valley, $14.
4. 2005 Pedroncelli Estate Vineyard Syrah, Dry Creek Valley, $14
I had the opportunity to catch lunch with Tim Grace the other day. There are lots of winemakers floating around the city, but Tim is one of the few (if not the only) who produces wine not in Napa or Sonoma, but in Tuscany. Better yet, Il Molino di Grace, his winery and property near the town of Panzano, produces some of the most delicious Chiantis on the market. Tim lives with his family here in SF--his kids are in school here--but makes frequent trips back and forth to the Tuscan estate and to sell his wine around Italy.
Dan Aykroyd is going to be a the Jug Shop on Polk and Pacific today btw 4-6. Yes, that Dan Aykroyd. He's pimping his new line of wines and you can meet him in person this afternoon at the Jug Shop. If you like sipping the wine and hanging out with the celebs this is the event for you.
Here are the details from the press release: