Like flowers, rosé wines are starting to bloom. Yes, it is the season, and producers know that there has been a growing demand. I’ve tasted some really good stuff, but the prices are rising.
The $10 rosé is not totally gone, but is much more scarce, I’m afraid. And as I write about different types of rosé over the next few months — and for those who are fans, there is a trove of jolly pink wines waiting for you — be prepared, as it is no longer uncommon to see rosé in the $20 price range.
Today, though, is all about value.
First, here are a few general tips: Read More
Imagine it’s 1980. Made famous by the jingle “Riunite on ice, Riunite that’s nice,” lambrusco is everywhere. A fizzy, sweet red wine, it accounts for three of every 10 wines exported to the U.S. While berated by critics, it is consumed en masse in Emilia, Italy, where it is largely made by cooperatives and consumed in discotheques from San Francisco to Ibiza. Read More
At the very top of Sonoma Valley Veterans Memorial Park, I had an epiphany — but not the kind where a spiritual being appeared in a bush and my hair turned gray. I sat on a stone in the shade, looked into the vista where San Francisco lurked somewhere in the distance, and texted a friend in Brooklyn, N.Y., with those eternal words as only Mick Jagger can sing them: “I’m the man on the mountain, come on up.” Read More
Whenever I have friends in town, my motto is: When in Rome ...
In other words, if you want to go to Fisherman’s Wharf, then you’re on your own.
In addition to a movie at the Castro Theatre, a walk on Ocean Beach and, weather permitting, an afternoon in Dolores Park, a top activity — and only for the very special and patient — is a pilgrimage to the Swan Oyster Depot restaurant. Read More
I’m starting to get used to the idea that baseball games are no longer just about beer, peanuts, hot dogs and, lest I forget, the game itself.
Over the past few seasons, I’ve been sussing out the wine choices that are available and have always found some worthy recommendations. However, probably the most exciting wine venue in professional sports has come to AT&T Park with Vintage 58, a new wine bar located right behind home plate on the promenade level. Read More
There is a lot to be said for wine tasting in Napa and Sonoma counties. It’s scenic, there is an abundance of wineries and it can be a day trip from San Francisco.
However, if you want to spend less time in the car and avoid the hordes of tourists, a trip over the Bay Bridge is all you need to make. It may not have the rows of vineyards, but the East Bay has enough wineries to keep you busy for an afternoon. Read More
Other than Vinho Verde, Portugal’s white wines have been close to nonexistent in the Bay Area. But thanks to several brave importers, buyers and customers, that is no longer the case.
Grapes such as loureiro are not exactly displacing chardonnay, or even gruner veltliner, as the new “it” grape, but Portugal’s well-priced wines are getting noticed. Read More
Many years ago, my great-aunt asked me to go through her liquor cabinet.
In addition to the usual suspects — Chivas, kirsch, schnapps and Bailey’s — I found several bottles of Moët et Chandon Brut Imperial, a nonvintage Champagne, with aged labels. She told me they were left over from her son’s bar mitzvah, which had occurred during the Kennedy administration. At the time of this discovery, President Bill Clinton was in his first term.
Luckily for jarred gefilte fish, there is something even nastier to taste buds during Passover: The mere mention of kosher wine still produces a gag reflex among many Jewish oenophiles who grew up with Manischewitz and Mogen David. You might be wondering why anyone sitting at the kiddie table was nipping at this sickly sweet stuff, but that is another story. Read More
Up until a few years ago, Chile’s Central Valley was center stage, with cabernet sauvignon playing the starring role.
Carmenere, which was brought from Bordeaux to Chile in the 19th century, is somewhat popular, but vegetal qualities give it a limited appeal and prevent it from taking off the way malbec did in Argentina. Read More
Over the years, this column has taken California wine prices to task. The cost of land and new oak barrels, especially French ones, are expensive, but I maintain my original position: The quality often does not justify the price, and finding bargains in this state is not an easy task. Read More
Australia is best known for shiraz, the funny name for syrah from Down Under. It so dominates the landscape that it is impossible to say there is one typical type of Australian shiraz. Read More
Few things make me as happy as Mosel riesling from Germany. Days when both the Giants and Mets win, Messi scores more goals than Ronaldo, or a Hepburn and Tracy movie is on TMC come pretty close. But when it comes to imbibing, the Mosel region’s light-bodied, high-acid, low-alcohol, floral, minerally and fruity wines make everything seem right with the world — even if it might be falling apart right outside my window. Read More
Portugal is a small country, but it is the 10th largest wine producer in the world. There are 14 wine regions and 30 or so indigenous grape varietals that are used to make table wines. In spite of its diversity, the one region that has consistently made high-quality wines — at least since I’ve been in the biz — is Dão. Read More
Valentine’s Day is probably the most “Hallmark” of holidays, but even if you are not a believer, having a bottle of sparkling wine on hand is not a bad idea. You don’t have to go all out and buy French Champagne, but make sure you find something you will enjoy.
Heeding a few tips will make your experience better. First, don’t buy wine just because it has a pretty package. I don’t have scientific proof, but frou-frou often means mediocrity. Read More