Wine & Travel

Snooth User: Giacomo Pevere

Advice for California

Posted by Giacomo Pevere, Jan 10, 2012.

Hi, a good friend will be at SanFrancisco next days, we have shared thousands of good bottles and we have plan to use this work travel to find (and buy) some good wines from California. We are not into California wines, just know and taste some world famous names like Mondavi. I'm asking u some advices about really good bottles, price is not a big problem. 3/4 Bottles, he can't travel with more wine.

That's some our ideas, someone can tell us where he can find this bottles in SF?

Mumm Napa - DVX 2001

Mumm Napa - Brut Reserve

Domaine Carneros - Le Reve Blanc de Blancs

Domaine Carneros - Pinot Noir Estate 2009

 

Thanks

 

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Replies

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Reply by dmcker, Jan 10, 2012.

So will he only be in San Francisco, or will he have time to travel up to Napa/Sonoma? And only French-transplant sparkling houses?

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Jan 10, 2012.

Mostly in San Francisco, maybe in Napa. Not only French spakling houses, these are just a couple of ideas (we love champagne and curious to taste it) but as i say we are completely ignorant about California wineries. Open minded!

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Reply by EMark, Jan 10, 2012.

Jack

I live in Southern California and do not get to San Francisco much, anymore.  I hope that somebody in Northern California can provide better guidance than me, but for starters let me make this suggestion.

I regularly shop at a wine store in the town of Santa Ana called the Wine Club.  (Here is a link to their web site.  The web site is oriented towards on-line ordering, but you can get an idea of what they are about.)  They have a nice inventory of wines from around the world, they have a knowledgeable staff and their prices are very good.  It turns out that they have two other stores, and one is in the city of San Francisco.  The address is 953 Harrison Street, San Francisco, CA 94107, and the telephone number is 415-512-9086.  If your friend can find his way to this store, I'm sure that he will be able to find some good examples.  I endorse your desire to check out the sparkIing wines.  The examples you listed are all very good.  I would also, however, encourage your friend to ask the staff at the store to explain that he is from Europe and would like to learn more about distinctly California wines to possibly take home a sample or two.  More than likely, he will be invited to taste some examples.  I would really like to see him bring back at least one Napa Cabernet or Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel for you to taste with him.

I know there are other Snooth contributors who live in and around San Francisco, and, so, I hope they will be able to offer more choices.

 

 

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Reply by outthere, Jan 10, 2012.

Have him go to K&L Wine Merchants which will probably be his best bet for tasting and purchasing what he wants. The SF location has Thursday tastings as well as Saturday if I remember correctly. Check the website!

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Reply by outthere, Jan 10, 2012.

Oh, he can travel with up to 12 bottles with one of these --> The Wine Check

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 11, 2012.

K&L is good and probably deep enough to have those bottles, although they are a little French-leaning.  But no question that they have more of EVERYTHING because the store is just so packed with wine. I also liked John Walker and Co. in the Financial District, but sadly they just went out of business. If you are coming to SF to eat and drink, you have to go to the Ferry Building (at the end of Market on the bay, of course) and Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant has a LOT of California wineries and you can taste them there--including (I think) Holdrege and Siduri pinots which are not available everywhere.  Blanc Et Rouge is in 2 Embarcadero Center (four buildings that look like NYC's Rockefeller Center in style, because they were developed by the same company and were going to be called Rock Center West) and has a smaller selection of wines but some interesting choices. Embarcadero Center is right across the street (and a big plaza) from the Ferry Building, so it can be a second stop when you've done the Ferry Plaza. 

I haven't been to WineClub in SF (not far from K&L) in a while, but I saw they had a terrific price on Provenance ToKalon Cab (Provenance is a Diageo brand, ToKalon used to be Mondavi's prized vineyard, but it was sold to Andy Beckstoffer a while back, and he parcels out the grapes to a bunch of wineries now) so it looks like they have their former depth in Cal wines and good prices.

If you can make it up to Healdsburg, there's a cooperative tasting room up there that has a few hard to find wines, and then you can get to a couple stand alones in town.  But that's tough to make the drive if your time is limited.

Next time, come with him and take some time--we'll have a drink at A  Cote or Oliveto and you can critique the food and wine.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 11, 2012.

Best Cali Sparkling are Schramsberg (the basic bottlings are widely available) and Roederer Ermitage, IMO. And I would go for lots of PNs before Domaine Carneros--including other Carneros bottlings like Acacia (not great, but representative) and would search out PNs from some of NapaGirl's recommendations.  (Lioco is a favorite of hers and not that hard to find.)

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Jan 11, 2012.

Thanks to all.

@Outthere: that bag is the ultimate suitcase! :)

@Foxall: thanks for your advices, have u some Pinot Noir to suggest?

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Reply by outthere, Jan 11, 2012.

He mentioned Siduri and Holdredge which are both in my radar year in and year out and are available at the Ferry Building. Good choices there with lots of SVD's to choose from

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 11, 2012.

Yes, we had a good conversation about Schramsberg recently, and i'd recommend their Blanc de Blancs or Blanc de Noirs ahead of the Mumm.

California's really well known for the Cabernet Sauvignon & Blends, so i'd recommend he take one home along with a Zinfandel.

Cabernet Rec's (Higher pricing, but very good):

2008 - O'Shaughnessy Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon $75.00

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1077793

2007 - Ridge Monte Bello $129.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1060619

Zinfandel:

2010 Bedrock Heirloom Zinfandel Blend $34.99

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1077481

 

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 11, 2012.

JD, don't forget the baby Montebello--just bought a bottle a couple months ago on your recommendation. Lot less expensive and doesn't need as much age.

My favorite pinots are almost impossible to find in retail establishments.  That would be Roar, from the Santa Lucia Highlands, and Scherrer from Sebastopol.  I get my Roar from the winery and Scherrer can be had at the winery or in a few restaurants like Bay Wolf here in Oakland--but I don't see how that will help you.  outthere had some other great recommendations from a festival a while back, but the Ferry Building is the place to go for the Siduris and Holdreges, and they are a good base to start at, not too crazily expensive.  Siduri is good because they use grapes from all over in SVD bottlings--anything from Santa Barbara County to Sonoma Coast..-- including grapes from the same vineyards as Roar, so you get some idea of what you are missing.  Keep an eye out for some of the Anderson Valley Pinot Noirs, just to try something different--GoldenEye, Toulouse and Elke are a few that come to mind. 

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Reply by outthere, Jan 11, 2012.

Look for Copain as well when thinking Anderson Valley. Wells Guthrie is a majician with that fruit.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 12, 2012.

Thanks for the baby Monte Bello mention Fox, I didn't find the 08' on K&L's website, otherwise I would've posted it. Wanted to put something in from a lower range too, but only so much time.

Outthere, how about that 2010 Bedrock Heirloom Red - Zinfandel blend? Looking forward to picking some up @ $35.00 and trying soon. Also picked up a few Carlisle Zinfandel Russian River Valley 2009, probably will give them a rest for a while, but was really pleased to pick that up at a special $39.99

 

 

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Reply by outthere, Jan 12, 2012.

Can't go wrong with Bedrock or Carlisle, glad to be on both lists. Keep on the lookout for Morgans late Harvest Semillon "Lachryma Montis". Stunning dessert wine @ $25 per split. The 09 is still popping up at retail.

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 12, 2012.

outthere, you remind me again:  Giacobbe's friend should definitely look at the Copain, and expand into Syrah when doing so.  At the Snooth offices in October, GdP asked me what Cali Syrah I liked and I forgot Copain then, too.  The ensemble syrah is a huge bargain.  Most Cal Syrahs at that price are more syrup than syrah.  (Others syrahs I like are Lafond and Maclaren, and the GSM blend from Terre Rouge, which I am told has changed for the better!)

Giacobbepavese, your friend needs one of those case carriers!

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Reply by Richard Foxall, Jan 12, 2012.

Y' know I was going to lament the demise of the old Jade Mountain (not the same under new ownership) and I got a solicitation for Jade's 2004 Syrah at the very moment I was thinking of it.  I'd recommend that and the Provencale if they were still under the old ownership/winemaking team.

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Reply by Giacomo Pevere, Jan 12, 2012.

Thanks to all of you! Now we have lot of ideas...the hard part now, choose!

 

Siduri is that one? In Ferry Plaza web site is out of stock. I've find it in this shop

http://store.nvwe.com/siduri-pinot-noir-clos-pepe-santa-rita-hills-2009-92-pts-w-spec-91-pts-w-advocat-p9799.aspx

 

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Reply by gregt, Jan 14, 2012.

Giac - you have some good suggestions.  If you like sparkling wine, I would definitely include one of those because CA is underappreciated for sparkling wine and many people don't think it's a stretch to say that they produce sparkling wine that is fully the equal of anything from France. Problem is the bottles are heavy! 

You have plenty of suggestions for Pinot Noir, which is currently a big fad so why not try some.  Syrah too, because CA makes some really good stuff. But of course, you should also try some Cabernet-based wine because that's what the reputation of the state is built on.  I'd suggest a "classic" type wine like Dunn because if you have a stereotyped view of CA wine, that one will disabuse you of that view very quickly. You should be able to find some. It's definitely CA but tannic as hell and will age as long as most wine from Bordeaux. 

The O'Shaugnessy that was suggested is interesting as an example of CA as well, but it's a different style. Or you could go to something like Gemstone if you can find any, which is a plush, ripe, delicious style that's very different.

I'd probably pass on sweet wine because I don't think CA does anything as good as what you can find in Europe from Germany, Hungary, Austria, or France.  However, you might be interested to try some "Italian" grapes as grown in CA because I'm sure you never find those at home. So I'd look for something from Palmina say - they make pretty interesting Nebbiolo for example. Nobody does a GREAT Nebbiolo in CA, but there is some that's pretty good. Even more interesting, and very good, is say, Aglianico from Benessere.  They also do a pretty good Sangiovese.  Hard to find, but those might be really interesting for you. A few people are doing Sangiovese actually, even in Washington, where Leonetti makes a pretty good one. 

Anyhow, it's a different approach.  Since you're familiar with Italian wines, maybe you'd be interested in how those grapes do elsewhere.

Here's a link to a possibility:

http://www.klwines.com/detail.asp?sku=1030906

BTW, you can put a few things in your luggage but you're limited.  However, you can also buy another suitcase and some bubble wrap at pretty much any store - even some grocery stores, and wrap the bottles. A full case of wine will still come in under the weight limit, so split your wine and clothes between 2 cases and pay the extra $50 to check another bag.  It's MUCH cheaper than shipping and how often are you going back and forth to pick up wine?  So make it worth the time. Even better, when you go to a store, ask them if they have styrofoam shipping boxes.  They may charge you as much as $10!  Totally worth the tiny investment and you can ship an entire case, just  check it as luggage. I've done it back and forth to Europe many times with no problem.

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Reply by JonDerry, Jan 14, 2012.

Yes Giac, you're out-numbered here, you must get extra baggage and make it worth your while!

With all the wines, you could even conduct a series of tastings. Anyway, I can assure you if you buy these recommended CA wines and sparklers, you won't regret it.

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Reply by outthere, Jan 14, 2012.

I'm tellin' ya, buy a Wine Check. you won't regret it.

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