Because man cannot live on domestic wine alone (not even those of us lucky enough to live in the Bay Area) God has given us The Importer. As the ultimate gatekeeper, the importer is responsible for deciding which wine — from the hundreds of thousands produced around the world — end up in your local retail shop and ultimately on your dinner table. This month, Kermit Lynch, one of the very finest importers of French and Italian wines to the US, is celebrating the 40th anniversary of the day he unpacked his first case of wine in his Berkeley storefront.
Stony Hill Vineyards held out for 60 years. While they may not be the only Napa Valley winery to have made exclusively white wine for six decades, they are certainly one of the finest. Most famous for their White Burgundy-esque Chardonnay, the family-owned Spring Mountain winery has been going about their business making lovely, balanced and age-worthy wines in pretty much the same way since 1952. And now, a Cabernet Sauvignon joins the ranks of their Chardonnay, Riesling and Gewurztraminer.
San Francisco-based writer and sommelier-about-town Courtney Cochran has spent years teaching people how to enjoy wine. Her main message: It’s not that difficult. Through her Hip Tastes brand, under which she has published a book about wine and hosted dozens of wine-centric parties around the city, she has worked tirelessly to bring wine down to earth. And now, with her own wine, she is looking to the street — SF's street food to be specific.
In most parts of the northern hemisphere, harvest is well underway (with some fresh-drinking whites ready to be enjoyed here in California), but in the region of Saint-Emilion on the right bank of the Dordogne River in Bordeaux, harvest doesn’t begin until a group of men and women draped in red says it does.
Members of the Napa Valley Grapegrowers seemed almost disappointed by how little they had to report on Wednesday, September 5 at the annual harvest press conference held at PlumpJack’s newest winery, Odette, in the Stags Leap district. “We’re here with breaking news that 2012 is going to be the best vintage ever,” joked Amy Warnock, the viticulturist for Stagecoach Vineyards on Atlas Peak.
What does an eccentric Hungarian Count born 200 years ago and a charismatic modern-day Frenchman have in common? Oddly enough, a passion for making wine… in Sonoma. Last year, Jean-Charles Boisset of Boisset Family Estates, a negociant wine company based in Burgundy, purchased the oldest winery in California — Buena Vista, just outside the town square in Sonoma — and has set about painstakingly restoring the historic cellars.
Sebastopol walks a narrow line between quirky-cool and not-so-hippie-chic. In fact, had the Upper Haight not become such a theme park itself, you could easily imagine it might look a lot like this Sonoma County town.
Oddities, bookshops, and macchiatos abound in the blocks surrounding Healdsburg’s well-manicured central plaza, just 69 miles north of the city. Residents and regulars of the Valencia Street corridor know that if there’s a requisite ingredient to achieving the local vibe, it is artisan cult coffee.
“The first thing you need to know about The One, is that there are two.” Kris
Margerum, the Wine Director at Auberge Du Soleil in Napa Valley, is referring to the fact that writer and wine personality Andrea Robinson’s new line of glassware includes one glass for white wine and one for red. And that’s all. No Burgundy glass, no Bordeaux, no special glass for Crozes-Hermitage.
Dogpatch is one of those neighborhoods, just on the outskirts of town, that feels a little like an urban wilderness. Boonville, sort of the downtown of Anderson Valley, may be the Dogpatch of Wine Country.
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