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

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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.

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. 😉

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. 😉

What to drink this weekend in San Francisco- Volume 2, Issue No. 9

 

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If there’s one thing I’ve discovered San Francisco and New York have in common it is definitely the enjoyment of brunch. During my 9 years living in NYC, brunch took on an almost religious routine in my life: the weary and ravenous gathering together for a hodgepodge of sustenance and the hair-of-the-dog. Brunch in San Francisco is equally regular and revered albeit a shade or two more healthful.  Personally, I love the brunches at Nopa and Foreign Cinema and am always impressed with the balance on the menus of sinful and more saintly options. However, what’s a new experience for me, is that it’s an event hosted at home. Eating in an apartment in New York is a bit too close quarters for most people, especially for the fully pickled rough-and-ready residents of the boroughs. But in San Francisco where square footage is more plentiful, though certainly not less expensive, it’s an opportunity to share home cooking in an intimate and unhurried setting.

Accomplished amateur mixologists notwithstanding, often I’m being employed to choose wines for such occasions, whether it be my own or for one of my customers. Here’s what I’ve enjoyed during weekend brunches past which I hope will be a source of inspiration for upcoming late-morning, weekend meals.

This past weekend my beautiful wife surprised me with last minute brunch plans with friends at our house. Though I love being the head chef of the family, her plans roughly translate to me being booked as a personal chef in the morning hours before I go to work. When I need to make a meal for a group in a pinch that is easy, has minimal ingredients and holds well, I turn to Tortilla Espanola. One of my favorite tapas when I was living in Spain was room temperature wedges of simply seasoned potato and onion held together by egg. It’s a subtle, but filling dish that provides a rich base for a number of adult morning beverages.

My choice for a morning that the more egg-centric brunchers will enjoy is a fruity Lambrusco, the often misunderstood sparkling red wine of Italy. On this occasion, we drank the 2017 Medici Ermete Lambrusco Concerto, a bright sparkling purple wine filled with fresh, ripe flavors of juicy strawberries, soft raspberries and blackberries, with a gentle touch of sour cherry at the end. If you have a sweet tooth in the morning use a lambrusco instead of a still wine to make an AM Sangria. Swap out the brandy for a half-bottle of blood orange vermouth if you can find it.

I’m all for going against the grain with wine pairings, but one I will happily not is breakfast and riesling. Riesling, with its spring-like floral, fresh fruit qualities, invigorating acidity and touch of residual sugar is almost a breakfast in itself. Take the 2017 Muller-Catoir “Haardt” Riesling for instance. Though this bottling is a dry trocken style, it has tightly wound, but still ripe, meyer lemon and tangerine notes that juxtapose nicely with a whole range of brunch favorites. In a previous post, I celebrated the bounty of citrus winter brings to San Francisco. What better meal to feature such peak of the season produce than a brunch salad of bitter chicories, Cara Cara oranges and honey-spiked citrus mustard vinaigrette. The fruit and acidity of the wine meet the bitterness of escarole and Castelfranco radicchio at its apex, which has the effect of taming both extremes.

Finally, for those, like myself, are more savory brunchers the sweeter beverages served often feel inappropriate. I love Bloody Marys and micheladas as much as anyone but those also don’t feel like a symbiotic and seamless pairings for dishes like chicken fried steak or a medium-rare breakfast burger. If the occasion calls for it, I don’t think we should be afraid of entertaining a red wine for brunch. Something light makes the most sense, particularly something with gentle fruit and minerality like the alpine wines of Italy.

Giuseppe Mascarello’s 2016 Langhe Freisa “Toetto” is one that I thoroughly enjoyed recently that would work.  Freisa is a relative of Nebbiolo that produces tannic, but still delicate wine with a remarkable nose of strawberries, violets and roses. On the palate, the fruit is translated to a mineral-nuanced flavor with touches of briar and herbs making it a textural complement to rich dishes with beef or pork.

If it’s a meal shared with friends then it’s a meal that deserves wine, no matter the time of day. Now that I’m fully starving and my own Saturday brunch plans are still a full day away I wish all of you a happy weekend and delicious brunching.

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

Friends of Flatiron,

Happy Valentines day! Some people aren’t the biggest fans of this holiday, but at Flatiron we embrace any celebration of love. And of course, our #1 love is delicious wine! Come taste some wine and take a look at our newsletter and fall in love yourself. Whether you’re paired up or enjoying the single life there are ample reasons to raise a glass.

In-Store Tastings:

Wednesday 2/13, Meet the Winemaker: Kyle Jeffrey from Minus TideFounded by Kyle Jeffrey, Brad Jonas, and Miriam Pitt, Minus Tide is focused on making cool-climate, balanced wines that showcase the distinct, coastal, and rustic vineyards of Mendocino, California. Come taste the flavor of the far north and check out what Kyle is pouring. $5/tasting 

Thursday 2/14, Special Valentines Day Rose Tasting at 5pm: Whether you’re married, dating, single or have a crush there’s always a reason to enjoy a glass of blush. Sparkling, still and definitely some Champagne, coming in for the tasting will definitely up your game. $5/tasting

Friday 2/15, Meet the Winemaker: Scott Young from Young Inglewood at 5pm: We love Scott Young here at Flatiron. Not only is he part of the family but his wines are off the charts! Young Inglewood is a prime example of a neoclassical Napa winery. His wines are restrained in style but still unmistakably Californian. This is an opportunity to taste the future of Napa and to grab a few bottles before the rest of the world gets savvy. $5/tasting

In our weekly newsletter we’ll be offering a perfect wine for Valentines day, Arnot-Roberts Rose 2018, the 2017 Anjous from Thibaud Boudignon, amazing value from Burgundy with Dureuil-Janthial’s Passetoutgrain as well as an offer on a smattering of Rose Champagnes to tickle your fancy.

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- February 4th, 2019

Friends of Flatiron,

Valentines Day is just over a week away and you know what that means: time to pop a cork and drink a glass! Stay ahead of the curve and stop in for an impromptu date at one of our tastings and snag a bottle or three from our newsletter for that special dinner you’re planning.

In-Store Tastings:

Wednesday 2/6, Tasting of Cavas from Raventos i Blanc at 5pm: When you’re not drinking Champagne you should be drinking Cava. And if you’re drinking Cava then you should be drinking Raventos I Blanc. The Raventos family was the family that first invented Cava and today makes arguably the best sparkling wines in the entire Iberian Peninsula. Join us for a tasting of their sparkling wines and bring home a few for date night. $5/tasting 

Thursday 2/7, A Pan-European wine tasting with Wine Wise at 5pm: Since 1989, WineWise has been importing some of the finest estate-grown wines from France, Germany, Austria, Spain, Portugal and Greece. Join us for a wide ranging tasting experience with wines from across the continent. $5/tasting

Friday 2/8, Meet the Winemaker: Brianne Day of Day Wines at 5pm: There is a rising star in the Oregon wine scene and her name is Brianne Day. If what you look for in a winery is a producer that challenges the status quo and pushes the boundaries then Day Wines is perfect for you. Check out her super-geeky Vermentino-based Pet Nat Mamacita, her Oregonian take on an Alsatian Edelzwicker Vin Days as well as her lively natural Pinot Noir and Cabernet Franc. $5/tasting

In our weekly newsletter we’ll be offering fresh faced 2017 releases from Broc Cellars, the delicious Chambolle-Musigny wines from Domaine Francois Bertheau as well as the 2017’s from cult Brouilly producer Jean-Claude Lapalu.

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. 8

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The magic of wild foraged mushrooms is a delight I have normally reserved for mid-autumn or early spring cooking. So imagine my surprise when I saw pile upon pile of freshly picked fungi at the local farmers market. While the rest of our country freezes, Northern California is blessed with these lovely on-again-off-again rains which also happen to be perfect mushroom weather! Going into another weekend soaked by the aforementioned atmospheric conditions I figured why not celebrate the gloom and cook up some tasty shrooms.

To love a mushroom is to love wine and vice versa for me. After all, the two are inextricably linked. Yeast is a form of fungi and wine is a product of its life cycle. My favorite wines are ones that honor this connection both in regards to their flavor and bouquet as well as their genesis, being made naturally with indigenous yeasts.

Amongst these, the incredible Pinot Noirs from Enderle & Moll in Baden, Germany immediately come to mind. Sven Enderle and Florian Moll are defining the Spatburgunder (aka Pinot Noir) revolution in Germany at the moment. Biodynamic in the vineyard and natural in the cellar, their Pinots are a reflection of the land and the microbes that gave rise to them. In the glass these wines are beguiling with a style that is both masculine and feminine in nature. I paired this wine with a surprisingly easy to make meal of teriyaki-inspired king oyster mushrooms. The delicately floral nose works with the dishes sweetness while the crunchy mineral quality on the palate enhances the similar flavors in the meaty king oyster mushrooms.

If there’s one region that immediately comes to mind when thinking of wild mushroom pairings it’s the white wines of Somlo in central Hungary. The wines from this region are some of the most earthy and mineral whites I’ve ever tasted and are a symbiotic pairing with a number of mushroom dishes. Known as the “Hat of God”, Somlo is a quirk of geology. In the midst of flat plane sits the worn bump of an extinct volcano that, millions of years ago, resided deep under the ocean. That means the soil composition is both marine and volcanic while the climate is continental, a combination that seldom happens. All the wines of Somlo are white and all of the vineyards are planted on the gentle slopes of the once mighty thermal vent. Juhfark, Harslevelu and Furmint are the main varieties and all are marked by extreme mineral notes. The Apatsagi Furmint from 2016 is great introduction to the region with its richly endowed, almost Alsatian, body and a flavor that is reminiscent of paraffin, salt, and a flower filled meadow. I got a whole load of wild mushrooms and cooked up a batch of Hungarian mushroom soup which might be the best cure to the rainy day blues I’ve ever come across. Even better, this thick and creamy soup, enhanced with a healthy dose of paprika, also works as a worthy topper to a pile of buttered egg noodles. Yum!

Earlier this week I got to write about the defining winery of Valtellina, Ar.Pe.Pe. Nebbiolo, known as Chiavennasca locally, takes on a more angular and crystalline form in this Alpine region. As I wrote about the sleek and subtle Nebbiolos that the terraced mountainside vineyards produce I couldn’t help daydreaming about creamy pasta studded with wild mushrooms. Though the lean, acid-driven frame and slightly wooly tannic grip of these wines provide a definite contrast to the smooth richness of a creamy mushroom sauce, there is a earthy note that matches underneath it all. I really enjoyed the above recipe with the 2013 Grumello “Sassorosso” from Nino Negri. At $29.99 it is a remarkable value for any nebbiolo, let alone a fully fledged Grumello. Dried floral notes turn to forest floor with flavors of bright tart cherry lifting the more savory flavors.

It should be apparent after all this mycological musing that the silver lining to our rainy weather is a hearty meal of mushrooms. So don’t dread the drizzle and instead pop a bottle and get your spore on with a bounty of mid-winter wild mushrooms.

Cheers!

Zach