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.
If the very thought of Wine Country evokes images of stretch limos teeming with feather boa-draped bachelorette parties, hordes of Midwesterners bellied up at tasting room bars, and grapevine-swathed, cork and barrel everything, you wouldn’t be totally wrong. But off the beaten path, curious city folk may find tiny civilized hubs where the art and design are contemporary, the cuisine is cutting-edge, and the shopping is more Manolo Blahnik than The North Face. In other words, not so unlike San Francisco.
Tocai Friulano is one of the best and most popular white wines in the northern Italian region of Friuli. They’ve been growing the grape and making the wine for a long time. But in 2007, after Hungary joined the European Union, it was determined by that governing body that one of their wines, Tokaji (a sweet wine made from the grape furmint) could potentially, due to its similar pronunciation to Tocai Friulano confuse consumers into…what? Thinking they were the same wine? I guess so. So poor Tocai Friulano had to change its name to simply Friulano.
On Friday, August 6, corks flew and wine flowed freely as an army of eager employees gathered on the crushpad of Mumm Napa to welcome the arrival of Pinot Noir from the nearby Gamefarm Vineyard — the first fruit to arrive at the winery and the beginning of the 2012 harvest in Napa Valley.
Anyone who has ever spent any time on a crush pad during harvest knows that it takes a lot of good music to make good wine. So it makes sense that local winemakers would rally behind Outside Lands, if only to get closer to their favorite bands. The quality and variety of the wine being poured at this year’s festival is so incredible, just choosing is going to be a challenge (assuming you made it past all the craft beer).
When the doors at 813 Main Street in downtown Napa open for business on Wednesday, August 8, it will be for the first time in nearly 40 years. The Thomas restaurant and its street-level Fagiani’s Bar are closing the circle on a piece of Napa history and ushering in a new era for the town.
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