Sunday, February 28, 2010

A Week of Wine part one

Many weeks my days are fairly predictable, get up, get my daughter ready for school lunch and all, work, pick up my daughter, dinner, reading, and hopefully, sleep. this last week was a bit busier than that. Thus, the lack of both posts and sleep!

Friday the 19th was Dark and Delicious, the annual celebration of petite sirah. The event featured 41 preeminent Petite Sirah wine companies and 26 fabulous Napa and Bay Area restaurants and/or food caterers at Rock Wall Wine Company in Alameda. Like the Zap Good Eats event, the food was a highlight. I tend to prefer my wine with food in general so the opportunity to taste so many pairings was a pleasure. Interestingly, my favorite wine of the night was a blend of petite sirah and syrah, the 2007 Robert Biale Vineyards Like Father Like Son Napa Valley $46.

Monday was a day of two wine events. First up was the Demeter Certified Biodynamic Taste of Place event upstairs at the ferry building in San Francisco. The event

The Taste of Place event featured three speakers on Biodynamics in practice:

Biodynamics 101: Gena Nonini, Land Steward, Marian Farms

Drink Living Wine: Mark Beaman, Winemaker, Mendocino Wine Co

Eat Living Food: Chris Velez, Land Steward, Stella Luna Farms

As one who knows very little about biodynamics but associated it mainly with buried cow bones and moon cycles, it was very interesting to hear the farmers and wine makers talk about how they work the often complicated rules into their daily work. I came away thinking that although some of the concepts remain a bit mystical to me, any practice that emphasizes the health and quality of soil is worth looking into. As the Demeter site states: In relation to its practical application in farming, this philosophy suggest that humans, animals, plans, minerals and the cosmic periphery form a whole system, or organism. The farm organism forms a unity in regard to the workings of both human and natural systems. The root of the Biodynamic system is the relationship of the farmer and his or her practices to the local ecosystem, which in Biodynamics reaches the extent of including the influence of the cosmos and subtle life forces on local habitats. (

In addition to the speakers food and wine served was served by certified producers including some I was already familiar with such as Bonny Doon, Benziger, Grgich Hills, Qupe, Quivira and Radio-Couteau. As well there were many that were new to me including Cooper Mountain, Cowhorn, Frey, Paul Dolan, and Truett-Hurst. I enjoyed the opportunity to taste a range of these wines at one time, and, as always, the opportunity to talk with some of the producers.

I finished the day at a tasting with Joe Dressner at Terroir. Joe imports lovely wines and I have been a fan for a while. The room was crowded with Joe's fans including some I had seen earlier that day at the Demeter event. I sat at the bar and was delighted to chat and share tastes with the friendly group around me. I met Joe last summer and since then enjoyed following him on twitter @joedressner. I enjoyed his event description from his blog quite a bit:

"It's not really a tasting though. In fact, I'm no longer doing tastings, I'm only doing drinkings.
I'm also going back to banning I-Phones at wine events. Drink the wine and forget about your newest apps. Any I-Phone pulled out at Terroir will be confiscated.
There will be no tasting notes.
There will be no price sheets.
If you're nice, we'll tell you what you're drinking and answer any of your questions about the wines. If you don't like the wines, so what? What makes you think you're so important?"

Luckily, my i-phone was not confiscated. And despite the warnings, wines were identified and Joe was charming. Wine highlights for me were the Occhipinti Nero and Frappato.

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