Well, well, well. Look at what the cellar rat drug in. Moi. I’m obviously a bit sheepish as I have not participated in the #MWWC23 in some time. I have been lax if not guilty of abandonment of my blog. I can barely tweet a #FF or a #WW without pulling a muscle. I wish I had a better excuse but I don’t. Nothing is new. I haven’t found any great cheap wine buys, quite the contrary. I’ve been splurging like a drunken “you know what” setting sail on ship to ruin. Can’t take it with you, so you might as well drink it now.
My big idea to meet the requirement of the theme “new” came to me as I was reaching deep to compete. I decided to write about all the “new “posts I didn’t write. Thus, before you is a laconic anthology of all the posts you missed because I didn’t write for the past 4 months. I had every intention of doing so. I took pictures, accepted samples, made appointments, took copious notes. But once sober, I would get distracted by life and, well, here we are! I’ll stop making excuses and just get on with what’s new….
Well, here is some new news: I am now a member of the “Chateau Society” at Domaine Carneros, the gorgeous bubble house at the Southern Sonoma/Napa county line on the Carneros Highway 12. @travelwinechick drug me into it kicking and screaming. But after intense, lengthy feigned resistance, I cÂved. I am quite satisfied with the perks of membership. After all, I am a bubble person at heart and who doesn’t love a Chateau…and by the way, their wine is really fantastic. They are an establishment owned by the renown Taittinger Champagne Cellars in Reims. Their French style sparkling wine is divine and the place is always packed! Hence the benefit of being a Chateau Society member, private seating in the club room and no mixing with the masses. I’m being factual, not snobby! Although a right messy foreign tourist can be added entertainment and the high stakes dating rituals of the SF Millennials are always a good show when you are in the mood. The late disgorged 2010 Brut Rosé is heaven and the Verméil Demi Sec is a treat. Toss in a cheese plate, charcuterie, view and sparkling personalities, voila! BIENVENUE au Société de Château.
A new venture…
What else is new? Well I’m in the Tequila, Mezcal and Rum business….a project that has been taking up my bandwidth this past year.
My Mexican spirits have landed in the warehouse so please think of us if you happen to have any distributors, brokers or accounts interested in award winning Mexican spirits. We are close to closing a few deals with retail and regional restaurant chains in CA so hopefully, we’ll be available in your pueblo soon. Although we are working on content, please visit our site at puenteinternacional.com – arriba!
Oh, I almost forgot, this is a wine blog….well here’s a spoiler: expect a few more non sequiturs, I can’t promise any deep, researched, fact checked, burgeoning wine writing genius ahead, but hang on for the ride and enjoy the pretty pictures.
A new season…
The mustard is blooming – that’s new. When the rows between the vines and the ascending foothills from the Mayacamas are frothing in neon yellow, Spring is coming. One of my favorite times of year.
I was enlisted by my mother to take my octogenarian father to a doctor’s appointment. Of course on my watch, there was some mix-up by the nurse and his treatment was mistakenly postponed. Because the doctor was on vacay in Tahoe and dad wasn’t bleeding to death, we decided not to protest too much and go out for lunch. We headed on up to the SHED in Healdburg for lunch. Beverly Headlsburg as we Sonomans lovingly call it, is very fabulous. In the 70’s it was a great place to hide out on a felony. I don’t know whatever happened to the outlaw bikers and seedy roadhouses, but today, it’s a great place to buy chicly overpriced kitchenware, lounge about a fermentation bar and eat native plants on $36 artisanal toast (I’m exaggerating, sort-of.) I just love everything about it and dad was buying. He insisted, I swear.
After admiring the fields of neon yellow, surprisingly, I was served a farro salad tossed with heirloom beets, herbs and mustard blossoms! Guess what they taste like? Mustard. What a concept.
I have been working on the Latin spirits business for over a year now but every now and then, an interesting project pops up. I was asked to source a new premium value wine for a rather humongous retailer. Sorry, can’t tell you much more about it but the wines we sought were being cellared by Jesus Ceja of the famous Ceja winemaking family. I’ll have to bring forth a good story about the Ceja someday. I am certain there is one there.
Jesus led us through a vertical the barrel tasting of Sauv Blanc and Chardonnay. We also tried a fantastic Grenache Blanc and Pinot Grigio, all Carneros grown and made.As work life balance happens, I was rushing to the barrel tasting with kid in tow as the school day was over. As we entered the barrel room, impressed by the barrels, my son exclaimed “it smells like wine in here!” I guess he picked that up from his kindergarten field trip to a winery. I didn’t go because I was informed there were already too many parent volunteers to chaperone. Well perdoname!
The Cejas also own and operate the Carneros Brewery and we are now working on a beer project with them too. The apricot pilsner is fantastic and the ales and lagers are not too shabby either. They are located on hwy 12 across from the Fremont Diner and before you cross the Sonoma county line into Napa. Visit them and take it all in!
New found wisdom…
I tried a new restaurant, well new to me. Saison is the regaled 3 Michelin Star haute cuisine SF restaurant. We had a 10 course meal with 6 of my closest and well funded friends. I had a gift certificate so of course I had to use my coupon as I explained to my unwitting husband. Hubby and I got out relatively unscathed but the rest…the damage was done when we nodded our heads for the wine pairing. Why the heck not? Thank goodness my health conscious husband quit drinking because I can think of 295 reasons why we shouldn’t do the wine tasting. Timing is of the essence, as we only tragically realized the expense after we got the bill. It was amazing, divine, worth every excessive penny, but….brace yourself for a first world, 1 percenter problem…although the wine pairing was exquisite, the presentation was unacceptable. Sorry, harsh, ouch, I know. With such amazing wines, curated masterfully with the expertly presented courses (our chef was intensely articulate about every nuance of the food, farming, slaughtering, pickling, was the gluten free range or not) I felt short changed of the wine story. Was the sommelier on a smoke break (or spending all his time at Marc Andreessen’s table?) We had the somm’s assistant that night. A guy who wouldn’t explain the wines and why they were perfectly matched with the food. A couple of times I asked to see the bottle, and there was a bit of a hurried shrug, but not in a snobby way, more like a “if I seem rushed, she many not ask me any embarrassing questions about the wine.” Oh, and I was ready to do just that. I dig deeper than the root stock when I ask about wines because I care and want to learn. I take great pleasure in geeking out on wine and if I dork out, it is usually appreciated. That is what I find fun and democratic about wine. The only worlds where dorking out will make you legit are wine and video games. Well this guy’s evasiveness was becoming a pain in my Asteroids.
I have a friend who is close friends with the wine director, Mark Bright (like responds to her texts when he’s on vacation “close.”) He was not there that evening, I asked. But without calling out the somm on duty that night (Max) I decided to give the benefit of the doubt to the wine server. Maybe he has Crohn’s disease or his car was on a short meter. Was it the stigma of my gift certificate?
It was truly a masterful pairing so I followed up the next day with an email for our wine list. No answer. I did later find out Mark Bright was on vacation in Tahoe. I wonder if he was skiing with my father’s oncologist? Overall, Saison was amazing and I highly recommend it. My only advice: if your wine pairing requires a micro loan, I suggest you remain vigilant about getting the full story.
A new find…
Lastly,(yessssss, denouement ) my buddy @vinebuzz dropped into the office to share some new finds. Rich has a great palate and when he introduces a wine, you know it’s good. We tasted several Greek wines and some outstanding Jumilla Sauv Blanc. But his newest find, Keller Estate Pinot Gris, was the wine that reminded me of why I love Pinot Gris. Alsatian style wine, floral, honeysuckle, minerality and dry finish. Get a hold of a bottle and if you have a chance to visit, Keller is located in that unique part of the Sonoma Coast AVA know as the Petaluma Gap, which is very accessible from the 101 freeway and pastorally beautiful.
In closing my friends, I wish you all an auspicious and happy new year! Although it is the year of the monkey, I hope to write more and monkey around less, or vice versa. And with that, I’m out!