Poor chocolate. Every February it suffers at the well intentioned but ultimately misguided hand of romance. While sparkling wine and chocolate are two of life’s greatest pleasures, enjoying them together, unfortunately, is anything but pleasurable. The reason? Most Champagne and sparkling wine is dry or nearly dry and most chocolate is, well, sweet. To rescue both of them from this annual massacre, we offer this year’s Valentine’s Day Pairing Guide—for every kind of love.
Winter in Wine Country is a time for restaurants to revamp, remodel, change ownership and, this year at least, build from the ground up. From pizzerias to gastropubs, Napa in 2012 is shaping up to be considerably less buttoned-up.
On an industrial side street in SoMa, the first juice from five tons of Sauvignon Blanc begins to drip from the press at Bluxome Street Winery, a full 60 miles from the grapes’ Russian River Valley origin. If it sounds odd, consider this: In the early 20th century, more than 100 wineries operated within San Francisco city limits before earthquakes, pests, and prohibition brought down California’s wine industry. These days, you can catch the aroma of fermenting grapes mingling with asphalt as a handful of entrepreneurs bring back urban winemaking.
A margarita, a Manhattan. Most of you could go home right now and mix one of these classics. But the drinks at Maven—a new restaurant in the Lower Haight that ambitiously tackles food and cocktail pairings—are not of the make-at-home variety. Bartender Kate Bolton mixes, emulsifies, and reduces her libations with the care of a pastry chef and the showmanship of a magician.
What do a war veteran, a tax consultant and a Kiwi have in common? (No this isn’t a bad joke.) They are some of the best winemakers in California right now. Some of these folks were everywhere this year. And some we hope to see a lot more of in 2012. Without further ado, seven winemakers we think are cool, interesting and really good at what they do—in no particular order.
You’ve trimmed the tree, sharpened the cheese knife and queued Mariah Carey’s extra festive Merry Christmas album. Now all you need is a proper drink to welcome your guests. Something strong but light and please, can there be bubbles? For this reason, God created the Champagne cocktail.
What happens when the man who makes the wine drinks with the man who buys (and sells) the wine? Problems are solved. Pollution is reduced. The world becomes a better and a greener place. Okay, maybe not every time, but earlier this year, just such a thing occurred.
While you may still catch a whiff of fermentation in the California air thanks to an incredibly late harvest, the 2011 vintage from one magical part of the world has already been bottled, boxed, and is hitting ports in our city by the bay.
Yes, it’s that time of the year: between the harvest and the holidays. The time for Beaujolais Nouveau.
Dead leaves, electoral propaganda and so, so many kinds of squash: Yes, it’s fall. No, you are not frolicking across campus searching for a Homecoming date and throwing ping-pong balls into beer mugs. But that’s okay because school just got a lot more fun (in a grown-up kind of way). Whether you are curious about the difference between the Old World and the New; Chenin Blanc and Chardonnay; Grand Cru and just plain ol’ Village, there is a class for you, and, ding ding, it’s in session.
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