Looking forward to the week ahead in San Francisco- March 18th, 2019

Friends of Flatiron,

Hopefully no one overdid it this weekend for St. Patricks Day because we’ve got a whole bunch of great tastings and offers ready for you to enjoy. Check out what’s on the schedule:

In-Store Tastings:

Tuesday 03/19, Meet the Winemaker: Tasting with Ian Brand with wines from I.Brand and Le P’tit Paysan at 5pm: If you’re not already familiar with Ian Brand and his wines this is your chance. He is a winemaker who set out to find neglected and remote vineyards, often with unsung varieties, and bring them out of obscurity. With a non-interventionist approach, Ian brings out the  unique qualities of the sites he’s discovered. His wines are a true celebration of American winemaking making this tasting a must for anyone seeking a deeper understanding of our nation’s terroir. $5/tasting

Wednesday 03/20, Far West Cider Tasting at 5pm: Coming from a family who has been tending orchards in California for over 90 years, Adam Chinchiolo had ample inspiration for starting his own brew operation. In fact there was a need for it. His family’s farm, as well as other orchards in the area, had a major problem with a large percentage of their crop going to waste due to cosmetic blemishes making them unsellable. Adam, with his interest in brewing, stepped in to make use of those delicious, but blemished fruits. You won’t taste a single blemish in his ciders though! These are gorgeous brews bursting with flavor that will please every palate out there. Join us and taste just how good a true California cider can be. $5/tasting

Thursday 03/21, Andrew Will Tasting at 5pm: Andrew Will is, without a doubt, one of the solidly classic producers of Washington state. Founded in 1989, the winery was named after Chris Camarda’s nephew Andrew and his son Will. It started as humbly as could be with a single building measuring 10’x60′. Today it is still a humble winery as well as his home. To taste Andrew Will wines is to understand the past, present and future of Washington wines. Needless to say this is an event not to be missed. $5/tasting

Friday 03/22, Meet the Winemaker: Tasting with Karina and Guillaume Lefevre from Domaine Sulauze of Provence at 5pm: After falling in love while on a hike in Corsica, Karina and Guillaume Sulauze knew that there were more adventures in store for them together. With the help of a government subsidization program they bought an abandoned farm in Coteaux d’Aix en Provence. Over the years they converted the dilapidated property to a Demeter certified farm and winery. Today they make sensational wines that exemplify the good life of Provence. Come taste a selection of their wines, including the 2018 bottling of their extremely popular Rosé. $5/tasting

In our weekly newsletter we’re excited to be offering the freshly released 2018 Ode to Lulu Rosé from Bedrock Wine Company,  2017 Chablis from Louis Michel et Fils as well as a selection of wines from Simon Bize’s ’16 and ’17 vintages.

Cheers!

Your Friends at Flatiron Wines SF

Don’t want to miss a beat? Sign-up for our newsletter already!  As loyal subscribers already know, the newsletter is not only the best place to get first crack at your favorite, hard-to-find wines at special discounts but it’s also where we go in great depth about the producers, vintages, regions and trends in the world of fine wine.

We send it once a week on Wednesday, unless, you elect to receive more. You can do so by using the form below or, here, if our site’s sophisticated technology isn’t functioning as described. 😉

Looking forward to the week ahead in San Francisco- March 11th, 2019

Friends of Flatiron,

Has Spring finally sprung?!? Take your allergy meds and break out the sunglasses because we got some great seasonal sippers in store. Here’s what we’ve got scheduled this week.

In-Store Tastings:

Wednesday 03/13, French Tasting with The Source Imports at 5pm: Behind every wine is a person and a philosophy. This isn’t just a motto that The Source Imports owners Ted Vance and Donny Sullivan believe in, but also a prerequisite for any wine they decide to represent in their portfolio. Join us for a tasting of a selection of French wines and experience some of the most authentic wine characters of France. $5/tasting

Thursday 03/14, Tasting with European Cellars at 5pm: Eric Solomon is among the giants of the wine industry and it’s all very much due to his championing of wines from emerging regions. European Cellars, the first company Eric founded, is a portfolio chock full of once obscure, but now universally celebrated wineries. Come and taste a selection from this wonderful portfolio.  $5/tasting

Friday 03/15, Tasting of Chavy-Chouet Burgundy at 5pm: Though the Romaric Chavy is the 7th generation of winemakers in his family, they did not bottle under their own label until 1982. Today he is considered one of the brightest rising stars in Burgundy. Known mostly for their white wines, they do produce some reds as well. Join us for a tasting of a selection of these wonderful Burgundy wines. $10/tasting

In our weekly newsletter we’re excited to be offering some outstanding Alsatian wines from 2017 from Domaine Weinbach, an incredible deal on Reine Juliette Rose, more delicate offerings from Spain with wines from Guimaro and Goyo Garcia Viadero, a selection of releases from Simon Bize as well as a little St. Patrick’s Day treat, the outstanding Writers’ Tears Irish whiskey.

Cheers!

Your Friends at Flatiron Wines SF

Don’t want to miss a beat? Sign-up for our newsletter already!  As loyal subscribers already know, the newsletter is not only the best place to get first crack at your favorite, hard-to-find wines at special discounts but it’s also where we go in great depth about the producers, vintages, regions and trends in the world of fine wine.

We send it once a week on Wednesday, unless, you elect to receive more. You can do so by using the form below or, here, if our site’s sophisticated technology isn’t functioning as described. 😉

Looking forward to the week ahead in San Francisco- March 4th, 2019

Friends of Flatiron,

Don’t blame it on the rain! Get out and join us for two great Meet the Winemaker tastings. And while you’re here, if you haven’t already, sign up for our newsletter and check out all the cool producers we’re featuring:

In-Store Tastings:

Wednesday 03/6, Meet the Winemaker: Darek Trowbridge with Old World Winery at 5pm: Having grown up in a winemaking family, Derek Trowbridge has ample understanding of Californian winemaking and how it has evolved through the generations. It’s with that experience that he decided to create his own winery using only pre-industrial winemaking techniques. Come and join us for a tasting of wines from Old World Winery and experience the more classic side of Californian winemaking. $5/tasting 

Thursday 03/7, Beer Tasting with Fort Point Brewery at 5pm: This Presidio-based brewery has truly become a modern icon of the San Francisco beer scene. They brew thoughtful, but unpretentious beers that pay homage to many traditional styles while also unafraid of experimentation and innovation. Come check out what they’ve been brewing recently with us! $5/tasting

Friday 03/8, Meet the Winemaker: Thomas Dinel with Maison Marchand-Tawse at 5pm: The story of Maison Marchand-Tawse is a rather long one for a winery founded only in 2011. Canadian-born Pascal Marchand took the Burgundy world by storm when he entered the industry in 1995. Since then Pascal became an icon of modern Burgundy. In 2011 he met fellow Canadian and winemaker Moray Tawse and Maison Marchand-Tase was born. Stop in and taste the New Burgundy. $5/tasting

In our weekly newsletter we’re excited to be offering the much loved 2017 Fleuries from Clos de Roilette, a Piedmont-lovers temptation with the 2017 Nebbiolo Rosato from Nervi-Conterno, releases from 2015 and 2017 from Loire legend Domaine de Belliviere and a bonus offer of the 2016 Domaine Moreau-Naudet Chablis.

Cheers!

Your Friends at Flatiron Wines SF

Don’t want to miss a beat? Sign-up for our newsletter already!  As loyal subscribers already know, the newsletter is not only the best place to get first crack at your favorite, hard-to-find wines at special discounts but it’s also where we go in great depth about the producers, vintages, regions and trends in the world of fine wine.

We send it once a week on Wednesday, unless, you elect to receive more. You can do so by using the form below or, here, if our site’s sophisticated technology isn’t functioning as described. 😉

What to drink this weekend in San Francisco- Volume 2, Issue No. 10

IMG_20190220_135051

In the six months I’ve lived here I’ve yet to visit the East Bay. This is despite the fact that it seems the moment I moved to San Francisco all of my friends that have been living here since college decided to pick up and move there. I always subscribed to the idea that the eastward locals on the other side of the Bay Bridge were the “Brooklyn” of San Francisco, but the journey is hardly the quick jaunt I’m used to between the Lower East Side and Williamsburg.

Regardless, when I found out a good friend of mine was going to become a father soon, I decided it was high time I make the journey. However, the condition I set was that we channel the livers of our younger selves and partake on a little bar crawl. What follows is a rough outline of the bars we visited as well as some great cocktail ideas I picked up on the way in case you rather sip your libations at home.

We started our crawl in Emeryville at a bar called Prizefighter. It was early so the place wasn’t packed, but it was easy to see that as the night went it would quickly fill up. I was impressed by how successfully they achieved their goal of trying to bringing high-quality craft cocktails to a much more casual environment than usual. I ordered the Ti Punch Julep and, though it wasn’t served in the traditional pewter cup, it was a delicious and refreshing way to start the evening.

At home I created my own spin on the traditional recipe for Ti Punch, a Caribbean classic common in the French speaking islands. I used the intensely aromatic Trois Rivieres Rhum Agricole “Cuvee de l’Ocean”, a white rhum distilled exclusively from sugarcane grown on the south coast of Martinique. The flavor of the rhum is incredibly round and lactic, with rich notes of coconut, banana and fresh grass. My spin on the Ti Punch involves adding a hefty pinch of Taiwanese oolong tea leaves to the simple syrup. In Taiwan there is a type of oolong called “Milk Oolong” that has intense notes of milk, peaches and flowers. These meld wonderfully with the already creamy quality of the Trois Rivieres rhum. Dare I call it the “Oolong Ti Punch”?

Our next stop was the quirky but extremely enjoyable spot called Honor Kitchen and Cocktails, also in Emeryville. Again, this establishment surprised me by offering top notch mixology in a homey neighborhood tavern setting. Food is usually an afterthought at places that take their cocktails seriously, but that was not the case here. However, the star of the show was, believe it or not, their White Russian which they call the “Lebowski”. Appropriate for a place that has the phrase “The Dude Abides” in lights out front. Their variation uses the traditional vodka and coffee liqueur, but swaps out the heavy cream for condensed coconut cream and adds a splash of cold brew. I liked the changes so much I made it exactly the same at home using Nikka Coffee Grain Vodka. No, neither the vodka or any of Nikka’s “Coffee Grain” spirits have the flavor of coffee, but the round spirit that barley creates works particularly well in this indulgent drink.

After satisfying our indulgence for the heavier end of the cocktail spectrum, it was decided we needed something a little more zesty and citrusy. We headed to Comal, a Mexican restaurant in Berkeley known to have particularly good cocktails. I had the margarita that came with variation of orange-scented agave. Something about the obvious orange flavor inspired me to experiment with another Mexican cocktail later in the week: the Cantarito. The lesser-known Cantarito is actually the forefather of the Paloma, everyone’s favorite spritzy grapefruit and tequila drink. The Cantarito gets the rest of citrus family in the game. I let deeper flavors of ruby red grapefruit soda and blood orange take the lead in my version with an additional splash of Verde Momento Mezcal. For my tequila I used the excellent Blanco from G4. Its slight peppery quality along with a natural smokiness added a nice edge to tart and bitter flavors of all the citrus.

Our last stop, and in my opinion the best, was East Bay Spice Co.  Everything about this place, from the food, to the decor, to the execution of the drinks was on point. And of their drinks we had many. The overriding theme of everything here is something like India-meets-Mexico-meets-The Caribbean. This made for really unique and tasty cocktails, none of which could ever be easily made at home. However, the fusion of Indian and Caribbean flavors were interesting and compelled me to attempt to recreate them at home.

After a little research I came across the outstanding signature drink from Bimini Gin, a gin that takes its inspiration from the islands. The Bimini Special uses coconut water, angostura bitters and lime to round out the grassy and zest driven notes of the gin.  It’s worth noting that this drink makes a great hair-of-the-dog cocktail with all those much needed electrolytes in the coconut water.

So, I learned a few things about this great city by crossing the bridge. Great gastronomy is not limited to our side of the bay. Great things are going on behind the bars throughout the East Bay in settings that are much less cramped and coiffed in San Francisco proper. However, if you rather just make your own bar crawl at home we’ve got you covered.

Meet Dan Weber of Schatzi Wines

In anticipation of our very exciting tasting with Schatzi Wines, we’ve been blogging a lot about Schatzi and even going back to the basics with tasting. We’ve also mentioned Dan Weber a few times. That’s for a couple reasons: first, he’s an old friend of Flatiron Wines (more on this later). But, he’s also a key player at Schatzi Wines these days. As Josh notes in his blog post, Flatiron and Schatzi see eye to eye on a lot, we couldn’t be happier to bring Dan back for this big tasting event.

Dan was kind enough to sit down with us and chat about Importers (read about how key importers are to us HERE) and his personal wine journey. This is a lovely glimpse into a dear friend, but more importanlty, a chance to dive into new sector of the wine trade.


unnamed

Photo provided by Dan Weber.

Who are you?

Dan Weber. Human who loves music and wine…wine and music..food really. food.

From?

I hail from Amherst, MA.  

And where do you live now?

(I) live in beautiful Brooklyn

Let’s get down to the good stuff. What’s the best wine you’ve EVER had?

Best-ness does not exist in this dojo. But I really love Gamay on granite.

What was your wine aha-moment?

I went to France for the first time in 2009 to meet up with my great friend, Ruben Sanz Ramiro, while he was doing a yearlong stint at Domaine Zind-Humbrecht in Turkheim.  I found myself standing on top of the Rangen (a ridiculously steep, righteous Grand cru), tasting grapes that were a week away from harvest, and looking out at this gorgeous panorama of vineyards. More or less, that was that.

What is an importer?

Importers are usually crazy wine freaks who did not grow up in a winemaking culture.  We are people who fell in love with wine and wanted to be as close to the vines as possible.

We find growers whose work we believe in and whose wines we love  and want to share and bring them to the US. For me, spending time with and learning from vignerons is the whole thing.

Wine expresses the sublime singularity of place and time in an (ideally) delicious way.  Growers do the work of translating this message to the bottle.  It is a privilege to share there work with people in New York.

What’s your favorite part of the job? 

Visiting vineyards, tasting in cellars, spending time with growers, spreading the word!

Is it as glamorous as it sounds? 

Yes! everything works perfectly all of the time 😉

Why are you having a portfolio tasting? 

Every year we do a big portfolio tasting for the trade here in New York. We open up every wine in the book and welcome as many of our growers as can take the time. It is a great chance for local buyers to connect with the growers without having to hop on a plane. For us, it’s an opportunity to give the public a broader view of the ways in which the portfolio has evolved over the year and hopefully for some buyers to explore wines that we work with that they might not otherwise taste.  

Why do a tasting at Flatiron

For me, Flatiron still feels like home. I have spent so much time here over the years and I love the customers and the staff. I am so proud of what the shop has become on a national scale. The original vision was always about connecting consumers and growers, bringing people as close to the vines as possible and having a great time doing it. Bringing our crew of vignerons to the shop for a tasting event feels like a natural and exciting progression and I can’t wait to start cracking the bottles!


Some answers may have been edited for clarity. 

Looking forward to the week ahead in San Francisco- February 26th, 2019

Friends of Flatiron,

We’ve got another week chock full of awesome tastings and exciting offers. Here’s what we’ve got planned.

In-Store Tastings:

Tuesday 2/26, Tasting of Hungarian Wines from Grandes Places Selections at 5pm:  GPS is one of our favorite importers. We’re thrilled that they have expanded their portfolio to include wines from Hungary. Join us for a tasting of Lenkey Pinceszet Mad Human Furmint 2011, Gal Tibor Egri Bikaver 2016 and the 2017 Duzsi Tamas Kekfrankos Rose. $5/tasting 

Wednesday 2/27, Meet the Winemaker: Onward Wines with Faith Armstrong Foster at 5pm: As a young girl growing up in a small island village in British Colombia Faith Armstrong Foster got to school everyday on a boat named Onward. Little did she know at the time that those boat trips would inspire her passion and commitment to small heirloom vineyards in California. Her single vineyard bottlings celebrate the uniqueness and heritage of overlooked sites. Join us for a tasting a selection of wines from her Onward label as well as her exciting blends from her Armstrong brand. $5/tasting

Thursday 2/28 Meet the Winemaker: Bannister Wines with Brook Bannister at 5pm: A small family owned winery in Sonoma County, Bannister Wines was started in 1989 with the aim to produce honest and delicious Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Zinfandel. Brook collaborates with his mother Marty, on the winemaking and they have been making single vineyard, hand crafted wines for 2 decades, working with the top growers of Pinot since the 1980s. We are delighted to have Brook at the shop Thursday showcasing a full lineup of their wines, please swing by! $5/tasting

Friday 3/1 Tasting of Pecchenino Wines at 5pm: The Pecchenino wine estate dates back to the end of the 1700’s and has always been a family-run operation, with the holding handed down from father to son for generations. Though they make truly exceptional Barolos, their Dolcetto is what they are known for. Join us for a tasting of their wines and find yourself whisked away to the hillsides of Piedmont. $5/tasting

In our weekly newsletter we’re excited to be offering the tasty 2017 Sancerres from Thomas Labaille, 2013 Marcarini Barolo Brunate and La Serra and the exciting Limerick Lane Zinfandels from 2016.

Cheers!

Your Friends at Flatiron Wines SF

Don’t want to miss a beat? Sign-up for our newsletter already!  As loyal subscribers already know, the newsletter is not only the best place to get first crack at your favorite, hard-to-find wines at special discounts but it’s also where we go in great depth about the producers, vintages, regions and trends in the world of fine wine.

We send it once a week on Wednesday, unless, you elect to receive more. You can do so by using the form below or, here, if our site’s sophisticated technology isn’t functioning as described. 😉

Wine 101: How to Taste like a Pro

You may know how to drink wine like a pro, but can you taste like one? 

Tasting wine is arguably the best thing about being in the wine industry. But it does have a markedly different focus than drinking wine. Tasting wine is analytical, while drinking should be for enjoyment.
In order to have a uniquely curated selection of wines, we must have perspective. To gain this, it’s imperative that we taste a lot of wines, sometimes every single day. We try to understand what makes a wine worth drinking, then go a step further and compare each wine to other wines we have experienced. This sounds impossible, but there are fairly simple steps, that, if followed every time, make tasting much easier.
For us a wine worth drinking should possess at least 3 of those points, while an outstanding wine should contain all 6:
  • Balance
  • Typicity
  • Concentration
  • Intensity
  • Integration
  • Lengthy Finish

It can take years to become an experienced taster, but don’t let that scare you from jumping in and giving it a shot.

Tasting is actually quite simple and can be broken to to the 3 S’s: Sight, Smell and Sip. (There can be a 4th, but we will get to that later.)


Untitled design (3)

SIGHT

The first step is to have a clean, clear wine glass with 2 ounces of wine in it and some good lighting. A clean white background, like a piece of paper, can help. Start by tilting the glass away from you at an angle.
1) What color is it? Ruby or Gold? Lemon or Garnet? Tawny or Brick Red?
  • Among other things, the color of a wine will indicate what color grapes it was made out of: red or white.
  • It can also indicate how the wine was made. Golden hued wines may have had some oak treatment and tawny wines may have been oxidized.
This is where a pure white background comes into play, helping you accurately distinguish the hue.
2) How intense is that color? Pale, average or deep?
  • A deeply colored red wine, may be made from ripe and heavily extracted black grapes.
  • A pale garnet or deep gold wine can indicate the wine has been aged for a long time.
3) Are there any other visual cues about the wine in your glass?
  • Bubbles tells you that CO2 could be present. Is it Champagne or another sparkling wine?
  • Hazy wine could mean it was not fined or filtered, or that it is too old and has fallen apart and might not taste good.
4) What about those legs?
  • Legs let you know the wine probably contains a high amount of glycerin (indicating high alcohol) or sugar, both of which are just traits and not a signal of quality.
Just looking at a wine can tell you so many things about it, from its age to its quality to the cépage. You can also detect flaws, or just decide if it is appetizing enough to warrant the next step:

Untitled design (1)

SMELL

This is the most useful step and one often looked over by many tasters. You can smell more than you can taste, and in fact you can’t taste anything without a sense of smell.
Get your nose in that glass and take several short sniffs.
1) How intense is the smell?
  • Is it faint and hard to pinpoint?
  • Are the aromas popping out of the glass?
2) What do you smell?
This along with the flavor characteristics is where most people start to get cold feet and just don’t have the confidence to define. But don’t worry, this is the part that takes practice and anyone can learn.
I always suggest new tasters to start by writing down just two things you detect when they stick their nose in that glass. The more you write things like this down, the easier it becomes to recognize aromas and recall with the next wine.
Examples of aromas include: licorice, baking spices, strawberry, green apple, cotton candy, mushrooms, black pepper
It can help to look up at aroma wheel, a nifty chart with categories and characteristics commonly found in wine.
Having examples in front of you can often help you define what you are smelling.
BONUS SMELLS: Our sense of smell is tightly connected to our sense memory. This is why you get tasters defining smells like “Grandma’s Basement” or “Summer Camp”. There are actual molecules in wine that may have been present in those places as well, triggering an experience from long ago. I like to write these notes down as they are a way for me to remember a wine better. So, don’t be afraid to write down “My ex’s Sweater” or “November mornings at bus stop” next time you smell it in a wine.

Untitled design (2)

SIP!

This is the fun part, at least it is when the wine is good. It can also be intimidating, but it becomes easier if you break it down. What should you be tasting for?
1) FLAVORS: Are they primary? Secondary? Or tertiary?
  • Primary flavors are those from the grape itself. They are usually simple, like fruit, flowers and minerals. Young wines are mostly primary. Simple primary wines are usually not high quality but can be very tasty. Concentrated primary wines are often high quality and built to age.
  • Secondary flavors are those imparted by wine making choices. Vanilla, toast and smoke indicate the wine was aged in oak. Butter and cream mean the wine was allowed to go through malolactic fermentation, a naturally occurring  chemical reaction. Cheese, yogurt and beer often mean the wine was in contact with its lees (dead yeast cells) for an extended period of time.
  • Tertiary notes are those that develop in a wine as it ages. They can include leather, dried fruit, and mushroom. This can happen at the winery or in the bottle. Only about 10% of wines produced are designed for long-term aging, and have the potential to develop good tertiary flavors.
This is another good time to pull out that flavor wheel and write down at least two things that jump out on your tongue.
2) SWEETNESS: Is the wine dry, off dry or sweet?
  • Dryness is defined as a lack of sugar in wine, not to be confused with the sensation of tannins which literally dry out your tongue.
Some people love dry wine, some people love sweet wine, and the rest of us love both. Neither residual sugar, nor lack thereof, is an indication of quality, but can be a factor in overall balance and integration.
3) ACIDITY: Does the wine feel flabby on your tongue? Or is it very tart? Does your mouth water and make you want another sip?
Gauging acidity and sweetness levels is incredibly important when starting to judge whether a wine is in balance.
  • A wine can be very sweet, but with enough acid, it still tastes refreshing enough you want another sip.
  • Too much acid in a dry wine can be very unpleasant.
4) ALCOHOL: Do you not notice it? Is there a burn going down your throat?
  • It’s not a good sign to be able to taste the alcohol in a wine.
  • A burning sensation means the wine doesn’t just have high alcohol but that the level is out of balance with the rest of its components.
5) TANNIN: What is the texture of the wine like? Are the tannins fine or coarse, harsh or soft? How do they taste: sweet or bitter?
Assessing tannin can be difficult even for the most experienced of tasters. Have no fear, take your time and don’t sweat it.
  • If the wine tastes very bitter, it could have a lot of tannin or they could just be very unripe.
  • If the wine is very drying and astringent, the tannins are high.
  • A silky textured wine can still have high tannin but just be ripe and fine.
Tannin along with acid should be in balance, but high levels of both in young wines are usually an indication of a quality wine that can age.
Wines made with white grapes are usually very low in tannin, unless they are fermented on their skins. The lack of tannin is one reason why most white wines don’t age as long as reds.
6) BODY: How full or light does the wine feel?
Think of body in terms of types of milk.
  • Skim milk is thin and feels very light on the palate.
  • Cream is thick and full and mouth coating.
  • Body isn’t necessarily an indication of quality, but it should be in balance with the rest of its components.
7) INTENSITY:
Just like the the smell, this can be a real indication of quality. You still want to have all the other parts in balance and integrated to make an outstanding wine, but having intensity bumps a wine up the quality ladder.
8) FINISHHow long does the flavor of the wine last in your mouth after you swallow?
As with intensity a long finish is a defining characteristic of an outstanding bottle of wine. Although if the taste that lingers is unpleasant, it doesn’t count.

Untitled design (4)

BONUS: SPIT

Spitting is embarrassing but necessary! It goes against what most of us were taught to spit into a bucket in front of colleagues, but drunkenness makes your wine tasting experience very limited.


Now what do you do with all that?

Practice! Find as many opportunities as you can to try a broad range of wines. The more you taste the better you will be at defining what you taste and assessing those factors in terms of quality.
Taste with friends! In a group setting, you can bounce flavor descriptors off each other and combine your minds and pallets to come to supported conclusions about the wines. There will be disagreements about what you are tasting, but the subjectivity of wine tasting is part of what makes it a fun and social experience. Wine is a moving target!
Use resources! Print a flavor wheel! Read books about wine, tasting, flavors, and more! And perhaps most importantly, stop by a wine store and ask the staff to help you pick out wines that are great to taste against each other, or that will help you hone a specific tasting skill. The team at Flatiron are at your disposal for questions like this. We’d love to chat with you.
Go to Tastings! There is nothing quite like the opportunity to taste several fantastic wines together. We have the perfect opportunity for you to put these steps to the test at our upcoming Schatzi tasting on March 4th. You will be able to flex your tasting muscles in an industry-style tasting. Ask your questions to the wine-makers themselves. No matter where you are in your wine journey, this is not an event to miss!

 

Back Stage Pass: Our #1 Trick for Finding Great Wines

We’re pulling back the curtain and giving you a peek into what it’s like to run a retail wine shop in NYC. Our first post in this series is about how we go about finding our–and hopefully your–favorite wines.


DRC, Lapierre Morgon, Keller Rieslings, Berèche Champagne. Some wines are easy: you buy all you can get.

But there isn’t enough Keller and Berèche to go around and what little we can buy is gone almost immediately.

So what do we do when we can’t buy enough of the–now famous–wines we love?

Honestly, this is the fun part! It’s a crazy big wine world out there, full of amazing growers producing absolutely delicious wines that haven’t hit the big time yet. Small (and medium and even sometimes large) producers working hard and waiting to “be discovered.” And we get to taste thousands of wines looking for the gems.

Of course, we don’t always love what we taste. The world isn’t just full of great wines, it’s also full of mediocre, or just plain terrible wines. Some growers just haven’t figured it out yet, some are merely paying lip service to quality. So, tasting broadly means tasting much more than just the gems.

Fortunately, there are some paths through the wilderness that spare you lots of the dross and take you straight to good stuff.

Our number one trick—and one that will work just as well for consumers as it does for us—is to focus on wines that our favorite importers represent.

You can find the importer’s name on the back label of a wine. You may know some of the biggest names in little growers, folks like Kermit Lynch, Terry Theise, and Neal Rosenthal. These are importers that have cachet; enough that Kermit puts his name on the front of most of the wine he imports.

It makes sense—these importers are devoted to the same thing we are: finding tasty wines that are made by passionate growers; wines that are also interesting and represent their terroir. Generally they’re true to the local tradition, but often there’s a some cutting edge thinking thrown in, too. (After all, in some cases, drinking bad wine has become a tradition, too!)

Just as there many still-unknown but truly great producers, there are many still unheralded but truly great importers. Small operations that spend lots of time traveling the world looking for the kinds of wines we all love. When they tell us they’ve found something great, we can’t wait to taste it.

So when our friends at Schatzi Wines asked if we’d like to host an industry style tasting with almost a dozen growers for you, we jumped at the opportunity. These aren’t famous names but they will be amazing wines made by amazing people. You will get to enjoy one of the great pleasures in the wine trade, sharing a glass of great wine with the person who made it.

You’ll also get a rare chance to check in on an up-and-coming importer and get a sense of how that importer does what they do.

We’ve talked about Schatzi a bunch—partly because our old pal, Dan Weber, joined them to help get it off the ground. Schatzi’s founder, Kevin Pike, built a team which has travelled the world, building a network of growers devoted to the very same kinds of wines we are.

Schatzi may not be famous like Kermit or Terry Theise, yet. But that’s neither here nor there: the important thing is that the amazing work they’re all doing is bearing fruit that we can enjoy in the here and now. We hope you’ll join us…

For more information on the big tasting event, check out our Save The Date. 

Coming Up: Meet the Winemaker Palooza, With Schatzi Wines

FREE TASTING EVENT (1)

Friends of Flatiron Wines,

We are very excited to let you know about another exciting tasting here at Flatiron Wines. Join us on Monday, March 4th for an opportunity to meet many of the winemakers from Schatzi Wines, a boutique importer based here in New York City. Many of you might already be familiar with Schatzi—thanks in no small part to our intrepid sales rep and former Flatiron employee, Dan Weber.

We’ll be hosting many winemakers from France, Germany, Austria, Italy and beyond, pouring an incredibly diverse lineup of wines. From Riesling to Grüner Veltiner, from Anjou Chenin Blanc to New York State cider, there’ll be dozens of wines worth tasting.This is your best opportunity to taste like a pro and try wines in an event akin to industry portfolio tastings (but much more intimate).

Please sign up for our newsletter to keep up to date and keep an eye on your inbox next week for the official invitation!

When: Monday, March 4th, 6pm to 8pm, divided into two one-hour tasting slots.

Where: 929 Broadway, Manhattan.

What: You’ll meet close to a dozen winemakers and taste current release wines from them.

Why: To celebrate and explore dozens of delicious wines imported by Schatzi Wines, a small, independently-run book.

About Schatzi: Schatzi is a small importer focusing on Old World producers who respect the earth as much as the terroir and tradition of their home regions.

We hope to see you on Monday, March 4th!

Cheers,
Valerie

Looking forward to the week ahead in San Francisco- February 18th, 2019

Friends of Flatiron,

Finally! The rains have departed, at least temporarily. If you’ve been shut in the past few weeks get out of the house and join us for a exciting week of tastings. We also have some great offers lined up for our newsletter you won’t want to miss.

In-Store Tastings:

Wednesday 2/20, Tasting of Italian wines with Girasole Imports at 5pm:  Girasole Imports represents a portfolio of truly authentic Italian wines chosen over years of forming personal relationships with the winemakers. Hunters of small, family run producers will have much to enjoy at this tasting. $5/tasting 

Friday 2/22, Tasting of Marcarini Barolos at 5pm: Today as in the past, the Marcarini family, now six generations strong, manages their own vineyards with passion. They produce wine according to the most rigorous standards in Piedmont and, in particular, Langhe traditions. Come taste a selection of their most recent releases.

Friday 2/22 Bollinger Champagne Tasting at 5pm: The Bollinger champagne House has created prestigious champagnes with character, distinguished by their elegance and complexity since 1829. Indeed, this famed house is loved the world over by sommeliers and collectors. Do not miss this opportunity to taste the one of the true icons of Champagne.

Both these tastings are $10/tasting individually or $15 for both

In our weekly newsletter we’re excited to be offering the 2016 Fleurie from Domaine de Fa, the Graillot family’s Beaujolais project, as well as a selection of wines from the quirky natural local producer Old World Winery. If that doesn’t get your glasses swirling we’ve also got the 2016 Balthazar Cornas as well as their 2017 Cotes du Rhone.

Cheers!

Your Friends at Flatiron Wines SF

Don’t want to miss a beat? Sign-up for our newsletter already!  As loyal subscribers already know, the newsletter is not only the best place to get first crack at your favorite, hard-to-find wines at special discounts but it’s also where we go in great depth about the producers, vintages, regions and trends in the world of fine wine.

We send it once a week on Wednesday, unless, you elect to receive more. You can do so by using the form below or, here, if our site’s sophisticated technology isn’t functioning as described. 😉