The next time you’re in the Market, stop by the cheese and wine aisle and say hello to the newest member of our team, Mel Guse. Mel comes to us via Swirl on Castro and the Winery Collective where she developed a diverse set of wine interests, from European classics to cutting edge California wines. She’s also working on her level III certification from the International Sommelier Guild! Mel picked out a few items from our shelves at Bi-Rite to give us all a sense of some of the things she’s excited about.
Cabernet Franc is one of Mel’s favorite grapes, so she selected one of the Breton Bourgueils as her first pick. “Avis de Vin Fort” means “drink strong wine” and is a play on an old French nautical phrase “avis de vent fort” (high winds warning). Presumably sailors would need to ready themselves for the impending storm with a mug of warming wine. This Cabernet Franc’s character is very much the opposite of its name sake; its delicate structure and bright fruit notes make this the perfect wine for cruising the grounds of Dolores Park instead of the stormy Atlantic. Mel loves this wine’s versatility with food, whether it’s a cheese plate or a hamburger!
Mel’s second pick is a small production Syrah from the Mendocino Ridge, a series of wind-swept hills above the Pacific in Mendocino County. This is not your average blackberry jam and spice Syrah; it’s flavors actually have more in common with the Northern Rhone than what we’ve come to expect from many California Syrahs. There’s a savory, salted meat character and dark coffee notes that remind us of a Croze-Hermitage. Ask Mel about her other favorite local wines when you meet her – she’s got a wealth of great suggestions.
For cheese, Mel can’t resist the creamy flavors of La Tur, the famous three-milk cheese from Piedmont in Italy. The combined effect of cow, sheep, and goat’s milk produces a complex layering of flavors in this bloomy rind cheese. When its fresh, it has a fluffy, cake-like texture and when ripe, it oozes creamy goodness. Mel likes to enjoy this cheese with a crusty baguette and fresh fruit – she’s confident you will too!