What to Drink This Weekend, San Francisco – Volume 2, Issue No. 2

Bee's Knees Cocktail

The Bee’s Knees

Dear Friends of Flatiron,

Moving here has made me realize there are a few things I need to “relearn”. For one, walking home from work at the end of the day – harder than walking to work. Another is what to “seasonally drink”. I’ve taken for granted the thirsts for Barolos like Oddero the typical seasonal change of the Northeast and Midwest inspires in me. So this weekend I plan to explore my re-worked seasonally appropriate wines for this very Californian autumn I’ve been enjoying.

Given that I’m less inclined to breaking out the ugly hanukkah sweater and making spiced wine than I am to making some carnitas and relishing that there’s still Rubentis Rosé from Ameztoi still in my fridge, we’re going to start there. Carnitas and Txakoli. Carnitas, I won’t even try to espouse any deep knowledge on. All I can tell you is the recipe I’m sharing with you is making my house smell legit. The rosé, however, I will profess to have some meaningful experience with outside of drinking vast quantities of it. The Basque grape Hondarribi Beltza is amazingly diverse and is a forbearer of Cab Franc. I’ve visited the stunning vineyards of prephylloxera plantings growing on the steep seaside hills in Northeastern Spain. It, along with its light-skinned companion Hondarribi Zuri, are made in to a light pink quartz-hued wine.  If you haven’t had it before it’s like salty watermelon juice; refreshing and tangy with some fizz to cleanse the palate. There couldn’t be a better grown-up soda for your taco.

My taste in cocktails is similarly being seasonally effected. I’d be well into my Manhattan and variation-there-of lifestyle by now (of course I wouldn’t turn one down at the moment if one were to be offered to me either) but without that nip in the air it just doesn’t seem as true to my state of mind. Instead I’ve been drinking “sunnier” things, one of my favorites being a Bee’s Knees. Saveur recommends Beefeater in theirs but I really like Jensen Bermondsey London Dry (or another artisan example with similar intrigue). I’m lucky enough to have a lemon tree in my backyard and huge jar of honey from Colorado we picked up on our drive west. Gin, honey and lemons. It really couldn’t be simpler or more delicious. After walking up my own personal Everest to get home everyday I know I’ll be crushing one or two of those.

But with red wines, it’s less straightforward. I typically like Beaujolais in the fall. Same is true out here in San Francisco. From what I gather from most of the customers I’ve met so far, we’re all in the same boat. But with all the amazing Latin American food and culture about, I’ve been finding myself exploring a different grape: País. País, also known as Mission or Listán Prieto, was brought here by the missionaries from Spain during their invasion of Mesoamerica to Chile. Once planted the vines persisted and continue to this day. Vines older than 600 YEARS!!!! What’s even crazier is that delicious examples of wine made from these ancient vines can be had for under $30! With a little more spice than Gamay and less greenery that Cab Franc, a lightly chilled bottle of País is the way to go for some garlicky rotisserie chicken.

Now I’ve got to get back to finishing off my carnitas and prepping some Pico. Have a fantastic weekend!


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