April 11 2010

Wine, wine, everywhere (and way too much to drink)

What better way to kick off my attempt to blog about fermented spirits than with a summary of my visit to the SF Vintners Market.  Invited by my friends Melissa and Paul (soon to be Urban Spumelunkers themselves), it was a really fun afternoon filled with the vino.

We actually attempted to start at one end of the room and work our way around, but with over 150 vintners in attendance it became quickly apparent that we were going to have to change up our game plan and be a little more selective.

Below are the meager tasting notes I jotted down as I went…

122° West Winery

Sangiovese +++
complex, a bit meaty

Durif (Petit Syrah) ++
light, bright, not what you’d expect from a P.S.

Syrah +++
dry, woody, went well with the sage chocolate sample they had, but the wine itself didn’t taste as good alone after eating the chocolate

Barlow Wineries

Zinfandel ++
light, sooty, pleasant

Bodega Fantelli

This is the only wine I didn’t score. It was watery, flat and boring. I’m not sure if they were serving a bottle that was too young, or starting to cork, but if I’d made something this bad I’d be embarrassed.

Bridge Brand Chocolate

Not wine. Nommy nommy chocolate. Their 72% was fantastic.


Ca’Secco (Frizzanti) ++
A bright little prosecco. Mildly fruity. Very pleasant.

Muscat +++
Great Muscato! Not too sweet, not cloying or syrupy at all, and just a little tart at the end.

Clos Saron (no, not Sauron)

Cuvée Mystérieuse +++
Woody, pleasantly tannic with a slow finish.

One of the Live Tweets I made at this point was that California wineries don’t have enough varietals in their palate of grapes to work with. Clos Saron seems to be trying to make the best of that fact with their Cuvée Mystérieuse, which is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet and Viognier.  It makes me happy to see things like Viognier popping up, and hopefully, it’s a sign that CA wineries may actually try to break California out of its Cab/Merlot rut.

Contessa de Carneros

Pino Noir +++
I almost didn’t taste this one, because the nose was AWFUL. But the taste made up for it enough to still get it a 3+ rating. I was so stunned by the aroma, though, that I didn’t actually make any tasting notes.

Tomari Cellars

Pino Noir +++
Great nose. Smokey, woody and bold.

Canihan Family Cellars

Pino Noir ++
Nice, smokey Pino that had a surprisingly buttery flavor to it.  Even though this only rated 2+, I’d be interested to try it again when my palate was fresh to see if the buttery layer was still there.

Darms Lane

2005 Cab ++
Dry, sooty, and it paired well with the cheese they had.  But like most Cabs, it was a bit aggressive on the tongue, and it took my mouth a little while to recover enough to taste the next wine.

DeNoud Wines

Zinfandel ++
Bright, Fruity and a little Thin.

Desmond Wines

Pino Noir +
We were hoping for a LOST like time travel experience with this one, but it was an unremarkable sweet, flat, 1 note trip.

Thumbprint Cellars

Zinfandel +++
One of my favorites of the day. Great nose. Warm, big, jammy. There’s a big YUM! in my notebook next to it.

Pino Noir ++
Again, great taste. Meaty, firm… this would be a great steak wine.

The Missing Leg

Pino Noir +
Smells like feet. Interesting flavor, though.  The other Pino that everyone else tasted was much better.

My notes on The Missing Leg
My notes on The Missing Leg

Fess Parker

’06 Syrah ++
Spicy, Woody… nice solid wine.

Hagafen Cellars

Pino Noir +
Good nose, dry, tannic, unimpressive

Hahn Family Wines

Gladiator Pino Grigio ++
Crisp, orangy, light, soft… not a typical Pino Grigio.

Smith & Hook Cabernet Sauv. ++
Dry, Smooth

And there you have it!

One other thing to note was the Fiscalini Cheese booth. They had this amazing, spreadable cheddar spread that was blended with sour cream and horseradish that was absolutely amazing.  It’s the one thing from the whole festival that I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that I will buy and consume regularly.

Horsefeathers Cheddar Horseradish Spread
Horsefeathers Cheddar Horseradish Spread

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Posted April 11, 2010 by Clay in category "festival", "tasting


  1. By ladymeag on

    Well, I guess you know where the missing leg went for Missing Leg wines. At least the foot…

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