Showing posts from April, 2011

2009 Chateauneuf-du-Pape, more like 2007

The annual tasting of Chateauneuf-du-Pape (abbreviated informally as "CdP") took place in San Francisco a couple of weeks ago. Imported by Alain Junguenet Selection and distributed in California by Angeles Wine Agency, this is the most prominent CdP tasting of the year in the Bay Area. Granted, some of the biggest names in Chateauneuf such as Vieux Telegraphe, Beaucastel, and Rayas are not in their portfolio, but this is still a formidable and a representative lineup. The focus was on the latest vintage about to hit the streets - 2009. Some producers will begin releasing as early as May 2011. For others, it will take a few more months, or perhaps even a year or so. Those who have read my past articles on the region know that I have an "interesting" relationship with Chateauneuf - I rarely find myself drinking these wines, as they tend to be quite wild and new-worldly for me. Especially in the riper vintages such as the critically acclaimed 2007, they are right th


At the top of Napa cabs are several cult wineries whose names cause drool from the lips of new world wine drinkers, followed by images of rapidly thinning wallet. Next to the likes of Screaming Eagle, Harlan Estate and Bond Estate, Colgin and Bryant Family is Araujo . At 1600 cases of their first wine selling out at $275/bottle without any difficulty, this California darling manages to impress even old-world drinkers, especially when an opportunity arises to sample the goods with James Hayes - Araujo's VP of Sales and Marketing, previously the Wine Director at Thomas Keller's restaurant group (taking over from Paul Roberts with whom I recently met at Bond ), and Francoise Peschon, who has been overseeing Araujo’s winemaking for almost 20 years. All Araujo wines come from a single estate vineyard, called Eisele (pronounced "Eyes-lee") that has been continuously cultivated since the late 1800's. Cabernet vines were first planted in the 1960's. Until Bart and

Kosta Browne 2009 Sonoma Coast

Kosta Browne just shipped their 2009 allocations. I normally ignore domestics. But this time a friend brought a bottle of Sonoma Coast to try. I was impressed. Soft tannins, sensuous mouth-feel, elegant, medium body that doesn't overwhelm the palate yet delivers plenty of flavor, subtle spice, not as acidic or earthy as Burgundy, but not as sweet, fruity, or alcoholic-tasting like a typical domestic. At under $60, one of the best California Pinots I've had. Here is a pairing tip for you -- toss green salad, add balsamic vinegar and some dry berries, and pair it with American Pinot Noir.  Enjoy!

Donato will get you married

Last year, I was an honored guest at a heart-warming wedding. The two souls had been match-made six months earlier by my dear wife at a wine dinner at Donato Enoteca , and they decided to seal the deal at the same place. That turned out to be a magnificent event, documented here . Now two of my other friends are getting married. An exclusive dinner planned with just the close family, not an extravagant affair for the hundreds. Where? Rona and I took them to Donato Enoteca to check it out. They had never been - what outrage! Of course, they loved it - gourmet yet relaxed, five different spaces available for parties, plus an outdoor veranda which looks gorgeous during Spring cherry blossom season. We asked Donato to cook an "omakase" menu (whatever he likes), and Kate & Scott (who is a gourmet chef himself ) were dazzled. I stuck to a modest order of mushroom/sausage Pizza - Donato makes one of my faves in the Bay Area - and then I focused on the two wines in front