Friends of Flatiron, With all the ugly sweaters and Santa-ware around it's obvious that the parties are everywhere this year. Here too! Check out what we're pouring in the store and featuring in our newsletter this week to get your party to the next level: In-Store Tastings: Tuesday 12/11, Meet the Winemaker: Chris Cottrell from Bedrock Winery at 5pm: From humble beginnings in a converted chicken coop, Bedrock Winery has risen in the ranks of new Californian wineries, celebrating and rehabilitating old vineyards and proselytizing Californian terroir via noninterventionalist winemaking. Join us for a fun and informative tasting with winemaker Chris Cottrell and taste an assortment of their wines. $10/tasting Thursday 12/13, Tasting with Champagne Billecart-Salmon at 5pm: When perusing a restaurant's wine list, seeing Billecart-Salmon listed in their Champagne section is usually a solid indicator that Somm knows what they are doing. Always one of favorite houses, Billecart-Salmon is class incarnate. Taste with us a lineup of Champagnes that will not disappoint and stock up for the New Year and beyond! $10/tasting Friday 12/14, Tasting with Champagne Dom Perignon and Champagne Ruinart at 5pm: Two legends that need little introduction come together in a single night of Champagne tasting! Come taste the 2006 vintage of the one and only Dom Perignon as well as Ruinart's 2006 vintage along with their non-vintage Brut and Rose. $20/tasting In our weekly newsletter we'll be featuring two vintages Roagna Rosso, 2012 and 2013, which showcases delicious Nebbiolo from a classic producers. We will also be offering the 2017 vintage of Keller Riesling "Von der Fels" as well as wines from the fun and funky Californian producer Las Jaras. In addition to our weekly newsletter, we are also featuring an offer on the 2016 releases from Michel Lafarge and a not-to-be-missed special holiday spirits newsletter featuring a number of Flatiron single cask bourbon selections, rums from mythical rum-bottler Velier and, of course, a collection of rare whiskies you've all been waiting for (Pappy, Weller, Suntory and more!). Cheers! Your Friends at Flatiron Wines SF Don't want to miss az 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. ;)
Dear Friends of Flatiron, I’ve had umami on my mind lately. It started when people began asking for pairings with cracked dungeness crab, a naturally rich source of umami. The question seemed easy to most. And, it is, if what you’re going for is a nice contrast between the savory ocean-flavored quality of the crab with the bracingly mineral and citrus notes of a vermentino or albariño. But a great symbiotic pairing, one that meets those rich, brothy flavors beat for beat, is less obvious. Having now had a chance to reflect upon this more, if what you want is one of the best symbiotic umami pairings, you really need a wine that’s spent some time under a veil of top fermenting yeast commonly called flor Usually found as part of the winemaking process of biologically-aged sherries or sous voile white wines from the Jura like Domaine de Montbourgeau’s l’Etoile Cuvée Espécial, flor is starting to be added to the stylistic palate of many avant-garde producers both here and abroad. By utilizing this indigenous and spontaneously occurring collection of microorganisms winemakers are able to not just capture the essence of fruit and flowers, but also those deeper notes of salt, nuts, dried herbs, and even varnished wood. What resonates between these flavors and that of seafood is a combination of heightening some flavors and canceling out others. The sharp angles and salty quality of the food and wine are neutralized while the sweetness and somewhat bitter quality inherent in both are heightened. These are the flavor experiences I love in pairing the Fino from Bodegas Rey Fernando de Castilla, a perfectly balanced example of traditional biologically-aged sherry, with foods like shellfish and strongly flavored fin fish such as mackerel. The air around the bodega in Jerez smells like flor and salty ocean breeze, a quality reflected in all wines from this port city. When paired with crab, oysters or sea urchin the flavors seem to open up completely leaving behind briny flavors and revealing a rich creamy sea-sweetness and earthy notes of the deep sea. Next time you go out to sushi take a bottle of sherry with you and get ready for a whole new experience. Of course flor aged wines aren’t the only wines that symbiotically pair with foods rich in umami. There are many different styles that work with savory flavors, not just clean up after them. But let’s take this one bite at a time and enjoy discovering what’s behind the veil of pairing seafood with wines aged under it. Cheers!
Friends of Flatiron, Happy December! The chill is on and the celebrations are well underway everywhere you look especially if you happen to be stopping by and visiting us this week! Here's what fun festivities and special newsletter deals we've got for you this week: In-Store Tastings: Tuesday 12/4, Meet the Winemaker: Sean Thackrey at 5pm: For all you natty wine lovers, this is a tasting you won't want to miss. Sean Thackrey is as OG as you can get in the natural wine movement in California. Since 1980 he has been shaping the Bay Area wine and food scene by making noninterventionist wines from tiny parcels of unique and organic grapes. He doesn't stop at vinifying without additives or commercial yeasts, but goes beyond by employing ancient techniques or experimental methods based on ideas from antiquity. $5/tasting Wednesday 12/5, Tasting with Tenuta San Guido- Sassicaia at 5pm: This is truly a special opportunity to taste this year's #1 wine from Wine Spectators Top 100 and more! Taste an astounding lineup of 6 wines from the seminal Super Tuscan producer, Tenuta San Guido, from both their Tuscan and Sardinian estates. From Tenuta San Guido we will be pouring Sassicaia 2015 (#1 of Wine Spectator Top 100 2018), Gudialberto 2016, Le Difese 2016. From Agricola Punica, located in Barrua, Sardinia, we'll be pouring two reds, Barrua 2014 and Montessu 2016 as well as a truly special white made of Vermentino, the Samas 2016. $20/tasting Thursday 12/6, Tasting with Champagne Henriot at 5pm: For over 210 years the Henriot family has symbolized the innovative approach and high standards of a champagne house that has remained independent. Henriot is a Chardonnay dominant Champagne house, producing some of the finest blancs that are precise, elegant and luminous. The Henriot family nurtures a special affinity for these wines grown on soils where the chalk is purest and which gives the wines an intriguing and iodine minerality. These terroirs also convey the promise for outstanding longevity. Come and join us for a tasting of a selection of their truly expressive champagnes. $5/tasting Friday 12/7, Aliane Wines Portfolio Tasting at 5pm: Founded in 2006, Aliane Wines has built a reputation for discovering and representing a thoughtful selection of some of the best independent vintners and family-owned, premium estates in France. We will be pouring a whole assortment of wines from their portfolio from Burgundy, the Rhone, and Champagne. $5/tasting In our weekly newsletter we'll have two Burgundy offerings: the fabulous Fixins from Domaine Berthaut,and the much awaited 2017 Chablis release from Patrick Piuze. Additionally we will also be offering a selection of wines from the unparalleled Peay Vineyards out of the Sonoma Coast. Cheers! Your Friends at Flatiron Wines SF Don't want to miss az 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. ;)
Dear Friends of Flatiron, Every time I move I make meatballs. It’s just something I have to do. Maybe it’s an aromatherapy thing, like homey-fumigating. My Mom taught me to make them when I was kid. The changing smells while I cook remind me of the stories my Mom would tell me about how her Dad would have her try pieces of the raw meat mixture before cooking to see if it needed anything. A little gross, but I sort of get it also. But that got me thinking: what types of wines would work with such a unpretentious, yet emotionally charged type of home cooking? It needs to be something enjoyable on its own. Something affordable and not overly demanding of your attention. Something that works symbiotically with each of the ingredients and the "whole" so the entire experience is unified. For my nostalgic meal of "Balls and Sauce", as I've come to call it, our Italian wine specialist, Flori, recommended I grab a bottle of Dolcetto d'Alba. We just got in a bunch of Cascina delle Rose's fantastic 2016 Dolcetto d’Alba "A Elizabeth". Cascina delle Rose is a B&B as well as a winery and Flori has been lucky enough to stay numerous times. The wine tastes as I imagine the place smells. A mixture of dried and fresh roses along with piney herbs and juicy Morello cherries. A perfect companion to the dense savoriness of the homemade marinara and meatballs. But, as so often happens when I make my own childhood comfort foods, my wife starts feeling nostalgic as well and wants her turn in the kitchen. She’s half Taiwanese and what gets her feeling settled is a savory pile of soy-glazed and ginger-packed Sanbeiji, or "3-Cup Chicken"* as we more typically call it. She always laughs telling me how her non-Taiwanese mom would frantically follow her grandmother around the kitchen, scribbling notes as fast as she could and pelting the old lady with questions she would never answer let alone even acknowledge. Like my "Balls and Sauce", Grandma's "3-Cup Chicken" is more of process that needs to be physically and sensually trained into muscle memory, not a recipe that can be written down. The amount of garlic and ginger is never the same simply because of the natural variation of the ingredients themselves as is the timing of when to add the other ingredients. It needs to be smelled, tasted and intuited to be perfected. Usually a beer is our default for Chinese food, but I was feeling like trying a beverage pairing that would heighten the flavors more. When I pair with Asian foods I usually look to Southern Rhone whites. For me, the exotic spiciness of ginger and the umami-rich notes from soy work especially well with the floral richness of Marsanne, Roussane and Viognier. I chose Herve Souhaut’s delicious side-project white Michel Savel Les Marecos Blanc 2016, a Roussane/Marsanne blend from Collines Rhodaniennes. I was introduced to Herve’s wines by his daughter, Ludevine, who worked at Flatiron a few years ago. Juicy flavors of honeydew and pear offset the saltiness and ginger of the chicken dish, much like how melon and prosciutto team up to make a legendary duo. Happy, warm and full we've finally been able to make our apartment feel like our new home. With familiar smells and great bottles of wine to match, we both feel like our roots are sinking deeper than they've been able to in a long time. Cooking up a pot of comfort, whatever that may be, is arguably the most essential part of unpacking. Cheers! * As I mentioned, both dishes are really not about following recipes to the letter, but rather getting the "feel" for them. That being said, I took the liberty of providing links to recipes that are similar to my own for both "Balls and Sauce" as well as "3-Cup Chicken" in case you need a place to start. Enjoy!