Wine Log - 2014

Though it is nearly December and I am enjoying experiencing the many different wines from around the world, I thought I would start a log. I suspect 2015's will be much more extensive. I have also began to read the New York Times bestseller, Setting the Table by Danny Meyer. Though I write reviews of restaurants and other businesses via Yelp as a 7-year running Yelp Elite, I do enjoy documenting my experiences and he has inspired me to take it a step further. With DWSF opening soon, I really should be more in touch and be able to communicate what exactly I do and do not like about my restaurant, food, cocktail, beer and wine experiences. Here is a my first attempt.

I should say that I thank my good friend, Kristian, to exposing me to the wonderful world of wine.  I reluctantly wanted to learn at first in 2006 because I claimed I did not like it. Eight years later, I have my own collection of wine bottles and am reading as much as I can about all things restaurant, especially wine.

Besides the fact that I enjoy wine and I like to challenge myself by avoiding reading the wineries' descriptions and guess the kind of wine while tasting, wine brings family and friends together. Sharing a bottle of wine that is rare or one that is just plain delicious adds something special to the memories being created: they're both, the bottle and that moment, will never be experienced again in that very same way. I remember the first time I had Opus One, where I was and with whom I was with when I found the only Chardonnay bottle that I thought was worth buying at Savannah Channelle in Saratoga, CA and how the laughs were never ending when I fell in love with bubbly at Domaine Carneros in Napa, CA.

The wine is separated by 1) Bottles - wine I liked enough to purchase and take home, 2) Glasses - from mostly dinner outings and 3) Tastes - as in wine tasting, which I commonly love to do.

Montechiara - Amarone della Valpolicella - 2010
A recommendation by our server, Marco, at Lago di Como in Santa Cruz, CA. After tasting it, my good friend, Tim, states that it would be like a California Zinfandel. - December

Artesa - Pinot Noir 2012
Before we enjoyed the Coppola bottle of Sante (see below), I took the ladies out to Faz Restaurant in Danville, CA and I ordered this bottle. The ladies were open to the kind of wine and the three of four ordered red meat so this went very well and it was delicious. Artesa was on the list of possible places to visit on a recent trip to Napa but it didn't work out. I also now know that Freddie, a gent I met thru tasting at Ledson with TNT, now works at Artesa. A visit is a must now.
My silly best friend & mother of two deserves this glass of wine.
Chateau St. Jean - Gerwurtraminer - 2013
Purchased in November and shared with my roommate and good friend over a dinner I made with chicken, pancetta and sage with a side of cabbage. Yes, I cooked with this wine as well. My roommate rarely drinks wine but his glass was the first to be emptied. 

Dutton Goldfield - Zinfandel - 2012

Etude Wines - Lyric by Etude - Pinot Noir - 2013
The fourth bottle of the night that was purchased for my Ladies' night in Danville in November, purchased at Revel Kitchen and Bar. A Stelvin screw cap from Santa Barbara, CA.

Francis Ford Coppola - Sante
I remember Coppola wine was the higher end wine selection when I worked as a Bartender at the Bridges Golf Course for four years. Most recently, I planned a girls' night with the ladies that were my Bridesmaid, Maid of Honor and Matron of Honor to celebrate my divorce and one of their birthdays. Part of the evening was going to Pinot's Palette in Danville, CA where you drink wine and paint. The outing has become quite popular and it was a lot of fun. We had two bottles during that session.

I love these ladies.

Madrigal Family Vineyards
Petite Sirah - vintage unknown
On a November visit to Calistoga, I found on Yelp that they had a patio. We had picked up cheese, meat, crackers and a quinoa salad and was looking for a place to sip on some wine and eat outside. The patio was reserved and without an appointment, we were given a tasting anyways. We enjoyed it so much we, purchased a bottle at sat at a different seating area. It was perfect.

A bottle you can get for under $20 at your local grocery store shoots up to $70 at the top of the Marriott Marquis at The View Lounge. After an amazing dinner at Seven Hills and my first ever Brunello from 1995, I was feeling rich. Who cares? Bring on the bubbly! My girlfriend, Teresa, and her husband, Tim, (aka TNT) are the lovely people that were there when I fell in love with the liquid that sparkles.

Nicholas Feuillatte Champagne
My friends, TNT, spoil me so. They just moved into a new home in Watsonville, CA and it was Teresa's birthday weekend but they did so many nice things for Bevo and I. This bottle was chilled and ready for a toast after driving down in the rain for almost two hours. This was true Champagne from France and it was truly delicious. - December

Sunce - Syrah - 2011
A great guy was in town from Ottawa, Canada and Sunce was his very first stop in California's wine country.  Sunce was part of a group of wineries of an event that day but the hostess was kind enough to let us taste without a pre-paid ticket. There seemed to be more than 20 wines to taste and my Canadian enjoyed the Syrah, therefore a bottle was purchased. More tastes were provided straight from the barrels and a game of bocce was played in the California sun. He beat me. Grrrrr. My Canadian returned to Ottawa a Syrah lover. - November

Bonterra - Pinot Noir 2012
Using 100% organic grapes, I had a glass of this wine at Coco Cabana in Dublin, CA while on a first date. It smelled a bit odd at first and was a bit tart. I presume the bottle was not opened that very day. The second glass was much more pleasing. And no, there will not be a second date. - November

Clarksburg - Chenin Blanc - $10
Before heading into to see the play, Breakfast with Mugabe, at the Aurora Theater in Berkeley, CA, (thanks to Yelp!), a friend and I met up for dinner at Revival conveniently located at the next corner where Shattuck Ave. and Addison met. I decided that I was going to order the Spring Trout with veggies (Brussell sprouts! Yes! And they're in season.) I think my selection of the Chenin Blanc went well with my entrée. It was sweet and crisp. - November

Concannon - Petite Sirah 2012
Pre-gaming for a girls only wine tasting day in Livermore, CA, my girlfriend and I have a glass from an already opened bottle. Wine tasting two weeks before in Napa, Sonoma and Sebastopol, the Syrah family wines are all winners to my taste buds. - November

Crane Lake - White Zinfindel 2013
My father and step-mother arrived back on the mainland from Hawaii and I picked up Thai food in Danville, CA for us to enjoy at their home. They picked up the wine which I believe they said they purchased at Sprouts Farmers Market. It wasn't bad and it was light with our shrimp pad thai, papaya salad, yellow curry, and mango and sticky rice for dessert. White Zinfindel reminds me of a friend that I used to have and that's the only wine she would drink. This memory is from when I was first introduced to wine and she is now enjoying the member benefits of her boyfriend's wine club in Livermore, CA. We all have to start somewhere, right? - November

Montes Alpha  - Cabernet Sauvignon - 2011
The Wooden Nickel Bar & Grill will surprise you. The food is delicious and the portions are large, and the wine selection isn't too bad. They had Coppola, Chateau St. Jean and McIntyre, which was unfortunately corked. Before knowing that, the bartender didn't let the bad cork get the best of him. He got it open. This bottle was already open and you never know how long it's been opened unless they write the date on the cork or somewhere on the label. Medium bodied and even if it was open for longer than a few days, I still enjoyed it. - December

Navarro - Pinot Noir 2013
Pinot Noir is hands down my favorite kind of wine. I fell in love with it when Kristian took me to Chez Panisse for my birthday. He ordered a bottle of Navarro Pinot Noir and it was like jelly on my tongue. It was fruity, medium-bodied and has created a lasting memory that I start to salivate when I think about that experience. Earlier this year, my dog and I were headed up to Mendocino to camp with family and friends. On our route, I saw the Navarro Winery. I absolutely had to stop there. It was just after 10 am and they were open, and lucky for Bevo, he was allowed in the tasting room. Though the Pinot Noirs I tasted in that visit didn't trigger the same reaction as it did on my birthday in Berkeley, CA, I still purchased a bottle for myself and for my Cugino, who we were planning on meeting. For Kristian's birthday (mid-November), we stopped at Hotel Biron in San Francisco for more drinks. After a beautiful dinner at Jardiniere and delicious wine pairings, I needed a glass that could keep up with the night. HB's Pinot Noir by the glass was Navarro. SOLD! - November

Pedres Thilibas - Vermentino di Gallura
A white wine from Sardinia that was crisp and light. Teresa enjoys Chardonnays, I do not. This was more my style. - December


BoaVentura - Livermore, CA

El Sol Vineyard - Livermore, CA
They were quite accommodating. I had a group of 12, which later group to a total of 18 women. It was a fun day.
Fermenting grapes in barrel room.
I wanted to taste what it's like at that stage. Nothing amazing, that's for sure.

Ledson - Sonoma, CA

Ruby Hill Winery - Livermore, CA

Sunse - Sebastopol, CA


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