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Matt R.

Defining Wine Words: Minerality

MineralsMinerality. The M-word. It’s a term still widely debated in the wine world, and one that’s hard to define. It’s used widely in wine descriptions, but what does it actually mean? Is it a flavor? Is it a smell? Are we actually tasting the mineral compounds from the soil where the grapes grew?

For many, it’s used to describe both aromatics and flavors in wine, but what creates those aromas and flavors is still unknown. The debate continues as to whether or not mineral compounds in soils actually make their way into grapes at all, let alone in large enough quantities to be perceived. But most do seem in agreement that there’s something about Chablis or Mosel Reisling that sets those wines apart in terms of their ‘minerality.’

We like to think of minerality as aromas or flavors that are distinct from fruit or earthy qualities. Whether that be the salinity of a Muscadet, the chalkiness of a white Burgundy, or the iron tinge of a Hungarian red, these are qualities both unique to these wines and somewhat hard to quantify as individual components. We love minerally wines! And maybe it’s because these mineral qualities only really shine through when unmasked by things like new oak or too much fruit. Or maybe it’s because they provide an added layer of complexity. Either way, we know that mineral-driven wines are a perfect accompaniment to food!

2009 Domaine de la Pepiere Muscadet ’3′  -  $24.99
Trois
We’re not shy about loving the wines of Marc Ollivier from Muscadet! His classic Muscadets are a throwback to what this corner of Northwest France became known for in the firstplace – terroir driven, accessible, and ageable white wines that are a heavenly match with the seafood (oysters!) of the region. His ’3′ or ‘Trois’ bottling is his latest release, the ’3′ referring to the number of years this wine aged on the lees (or yeast leftover from fermentation). Muscadet in general is known for lees-aging, which imparts a richer texture to the finished wine, but the AOC minimum for aging on the lees is only through the 3rd week in March after harvest. Marc far exceeds this with the ’3′ and the result is a richly textured, brightly acidic, and mouthwatering minerally wine!

(Currently available at both Markets.)

2011 Domaine Pavelot Aligoté  –  $19.99
agliote
Aligoté, or ‘The Other White Burgundy’ as it’s sometimes referred to, often gets a bad rap. Many winemakers in Burgundy see this grape as less prestigious than other varieties, and its plantings in Burgundy are far outweighed by Chardonnay. It’s often made into simple, acidic wines that are diluted and balanced with the addition of cassis to create the classic Kir apértif. Surrounded by an abundance of ‘simple’ wines, Domaine Pavelot stands above the rest in terms of the quality of its Aligoté. Their extreme care for their 50-year old Aligoté vines contributes to a clean and balanced white that needs no cassis! Tart lemon zest, apricot, and pear notes lead to a salty minerality on the finish – perfect for sipping on its own or with a scallop crudo!

(Available at both Markets next week!)

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe - Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In.

Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New France – Tuesday, July 30, 7-9PM, Ticketed

Mini Wine Blitz - Friday, August 23, 6-8PM, Ticketed and Drop-In


Kiko’s Food News, 7.26.13

The yogi in me was struck by a new study which found that performing rituals before eating can enhance the perception of the food being eaten; whether it’s singing “Happy Birthday” or bowing to say a prayer, this can have economic and marketing implications beyond the food world: (Red Orbit)
While visiting Seattle this week (gorgeous!), I learned that their mayor wants to block a non-union Whole Foods from opening because it pays “significantly lower” wages and benefits than other grocery stores, violating the city’s social and economic justice goals: (Grist)

Pepsi’s Naked Juice line has been forced to strip the words “all natural” from its labels after a class-action suit deemed the claim misleading and false; the juices contain Fibersol-2, fructooligosaccharides, and genetically modified soy: (Take Part)

Clearly Pepsi’s feeling the pressure, as they and other industrial food giants are pouring resources into experimenting with ways to make products aimed at children healthier. Ever thought of subbing parsnips for butter and cream in your Alfredo sauce? (New York Times)

Two New York City hospitals have started a new program (developed by Wholesome Wave) whereby doctors will be able to prescribe $2 coupons for fruits and veggies to low-income patients who are overweight or obese to use at 142 farmers’ markets throughout the city: (Council & Heal)

Kiko’s Food News, 7.19.13

India is in the process of introducing one of the most ambitious school food-aid programs ever attempted, but violent protests have erupted as 22 school children there died from poison by farm pesticides in their school lunch: (Wall Street Journal)

A new book argues that our prehistoric ancestors picked and gathered wild plants that were in many ways far healthier than the stuff we buy today at farmers’ markets: (NPR)

McDonalds partnered with Visa to launch a website to help its low-wage workers making an average $8.25 an hour keep a budget, but it’s only underscored how hard it is for a low-paid fast food worker to get by: (Think Progress)

The U.S. is the world’s largest producer and exporter of corn and soybeans, but domestic farmers growing these crops organically can’t keep up with surging demand to sell them as animal feed; this lack of new acres for organic row crops could restrict growth for other organic foods that rely on feed: (Wall Street Journal)

In the ever evolving debate over what makes a good food city, the latest battle is being waged in our nation’s capital; here’s my take on how good eats in DC stack up: (Kiko’s Food News)


Matt R.

Featured Summer Cocktail: What-a-Melon No. 3

HEhrmannNothing really screams, ‘Summertime!’ like peak-of-the-season fresh watermelon! Juicy, and dripping with sweetness, freshly-sliced watermelon is a natural addition our Featured Summer Cocktail, the What-a-Melon No. 3, H. Joseph Ehrmann‘s take on a classic Margarita.

H. Joseph Ehrmann is a 3rd generation Mixologist, barkeep, and owner of Mission District neighborhood saloon, Elixir. He’s gifted at integrating California seasonal produce into well-balanced cocktails that maintain a saloon-like feel. His What-a-Melon No. 3 is a blend of Tequila, watermelon, mint, lime juice, agave, and St. Germain Elderflower liqueur. It’s summery, refreshing, and the perfect refreshment on a sunny afternoon!

WhatAMelon

Espolon Blanco Tequila  -  $27.99
Epsolon
Espolon is 100% Blue Agave based Tequila from the Los Altos region of San Jalisco. Tequilas from the Highlands (Los Altos) tend to have sweeter aromas and more floral components compared to more herbaceous qualities found in Tequilas from the lowlands. The Espolon’s smooth texture and round finish make this a Tequila that’s sippable on the rocks, or mixed into your favorite Tequila-based cocktail.

 

St. Germain Liqueur  -  $37.99
StGermain
St. Germain is a truly special liqueur infused and distilled with wild-foraged elderberry flowers. Each Spring, the wild blossoms are foraged fresh from the Alps, often delivered on bicycle by individuals harvesting on their own. The fresh flowers are then gently pressed, extracting the light floral and tropical qualities without any of the bitterness associated with using frozen or freeze-dried flowers. St. Germain has enticing floral aromas and a lightly sweet quality that can be used in a variety of cocktails, from the classic combination of sparkling wine, St. Germain, and club soda to H. Joseph’s summery What-a-Melon No. 3!

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

Baserri – the first of 2013!

CheeseMountainOn a beautiful sunny day recently in West Marin, Marcia Barinaga of Barinaga Ranch welcomed a group of cheesemongers from the Bay Area for a tour and celebration of the release of her first cheeses of 2013.  “It’s not a life that makes you rich, but it’s a good life,” Marcia told us, recalling advice shared by her Basque cousin as she was learning her new craft.

After purchasing a ranch in overlooking Tomales Bay, Marcia and her husband searched for a way to contribute to the agricultural community that become their new home.  With her Basque heritage and a love of sheep, cheesemaking seemed a perfect fit.  Marcia studied cheesemaking in Vermont and in the Pyrenees where a rich history of Basque cheesemaking continues, before starting to experiment with milk from her own herd.

PrettySheepA talented and driven woman, Marcia has a PhD in microbiology and approaches cheesemaking from a seriously scientific standpoint!  Her commitment to quality and attention to detail are remarkable–traits that make her an excellent cheesemaker.  At Barinaga Ranch, the sheep graze on pasture all year long. Marcia has been crossbreeding their East Friesian sheep, which are known for their prolific milk production, with the hardy Katahdin, descendants of North African sheep.  Last year, Marcia really focused on improving the genetics of her herd for higher milk production and quality, and is milking 88 ewes this year.  She milks and makes cheese seasonally, often selling out of the previous year’s cheese before new cheeses from the current season are available.

CheeseStack (2)Our favorite cheese from Marcia is called Baserri, named for the ancient tile-roofed cheesemaking huts in the Pyrenees where Basque herders continue to make cheese in traditional ways.  Baserri is an exquisite raw milk cheese with a rich, nutty flavor.  This year, the first wheels of the season will be released a bit older – at 90 days, rather than at 60 days as they have been in the past.  They’re on the counter at both 18th Street and Divisadero Markets and are refreshing and lively! Swing by for a taste.


Kiko’s Food News, 7.12.13

For the first time since 1973, the Farm Bill will not include food stamps: Republicans muscled a pared-back version through the House yesterday, ending the political marriage between urban concerns about nutrition and rural areas who depend on farm subsidies: (New York Times)

A coalition of farm, rural and consumer organizations is trying to thwart a proposed acquisition of Smithfield Foods (the world’s largest pork producer), as the gargantuan corporate consolidation would mean lack of markets for independent producers and damaging effects on our rural economies: (Food & Water Watch)

 Chinese food imports to the U.S. are continuing to rise, but inspections in both China and the U.S. aren’t keeping pace; to keep consumers safe, should American agencies explore the possibility of funding Chinese NGOs that focus on improving food safety in China? (Wall Street Journal)

 On a far more trivial–but tastier–note, I tried to resist the absurd cronut craze but this article presents an interesting analysis of the “self-signaling” that may explain hundreds of people lining up daily for a donut-croissant hybrid! (Fast Company)

From Jarritos Mexican sodas to Miso Ginger vinaigrettes, the growing buying power of Latino and Asian consumers means that more exotic fruit flavors, hotter spices, and new grains are being manufactured by big food companies trying to appeal to diverse appetites: (New York Times)


Matt R.

July Winery of the Month: Dashe Cellars

DasheLogoPart of the Urban Wine Revolution, Michael and Anne Dashe make delicious terroir-driven California wine in the Jack London District of Oakland. Sharing advanced degrees in enology, Michael and Anne combined their complementary backgrounds to form Dashe Cellars in 1996. Previously, Michael worked at many renowned wineries: Far Niente in Napa, Cloudy Bay in New Zealand, and Ridge in Santa Cruz, where working with famous winemaker Paul Draper exposed him to the heart and soul of Zinfandel, California’s own varietal. Working with some of the best Zinfandel vineyards in the world in Northern Sonoma County, the Dashes wanted to dedicate their work to this great grape, but also to newly emerging ideas about natural wine and the possibilities of vineyard management that derive from organic practices.

Fifteen years later they have achieved that goal. Michael works closely with growers to source some of the best fruit in Sonoma County, but one of his favorite spots for great California red wine is Dry Creek Valley, his old stomping grounds. He has also expanded his reach to other varietals and techniques: pretty, soft Vin Gris, unctuous mineral-driven Dry Riesling, and organically farmed, earthy and spicy Grenache. The Dashes’ wines are both palate-pleasing and thought-provoking in a precarious balance that is difficult to achieve, but for the most experienced winemakers. Join us in celebrating these California pioneers!

2012 Dashe Dry Riesling  -  $21.99
Dashe1
From a cool, chalky vineyard in the Potter Valley of Mendocino, this Riesling defies all preconceived notions. Since Michael is dedicated to natural yeast fermentation, he left this Riesling to ferment naturally at room temperature – a process that took 3 months! Mineral-driven and bright, flavors of grapefruit and spice and tons of texture, it’s the perfect companion for fish or fowl or for an afternoon picnic!

2010 Dashe Florence Vineyard Zinfandel  -  $37.99
Dashe2
The young Florence Vineyard in the North of Dry Creek Valley has really come into its own. The cool 2010 vintage allowed for a concentration of fruit, but balanced by brightness that keeps the wine alive on the palate. It’s bolstered by a small percentage of one-year old oak barrels that offer the wine a bit of heft. Try with grilled sausages and mushrooms!

2012 Dashe ‘Les Enfants Terribles’ Grenache  -  $24.99
Dashe3Not content simply to make wines of complexity and nuance in Dry Creek, the Dashes wanted to experiment with natural winemaking techniques: thus the Enfants Terribles project was born. This Grenache is organically farmed. It’s luscious and velvety with flavors of strawberry and raspberry and a hint of spice.

 

 

Upcoming Tastings at Bi-Rite Market Divisadero:

Tasting with Mike Dashe of Dashe CellarsFriday, July 12, 6:30-9pm. Limited capacity. RSVP required in advance. Reserve your spot here.

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe - Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In.
On Thursday, July 11, we will be joined by Michael Dashe of Dashe Cellars!

Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New California – Tuesday, July 23, 7-9PM, Ticketed

Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New France – Tuesday, July 30, 7-9PM, Ticketed

 


Linh

The Summer Menu is Here!

Summer is in full swing, and we’ve got an all new seasonal menu to celebrate. Come enjoy the return of Sergio’s World Famous Gazpacho! Choose from a selection of house-made salads with California-grown Summer corn, heirloom tomatoes, and juicy local stone fruits and melons. And don’t forget to try the Caprese Sandwich with fresh Belfiore Mozzarella.

Get a printable versions of the menu for 18th Street  here.

Available at the 18th Street Deli and Self Service Case:

summer_menu_18th_2013

 


Kiko’s Food News: July 5, 2013

Will the American Medical Association’s new classification of obesity as a disease derail progress that the food and restaurant industries have made in introducing healthier options? (Forbes)

Similarly, this viewpoint on how we can fight obesity is counter to what we usually hear from Pollan, Bittman and the like: the author argues that wholesome food is responsible for making people fat too, and that the food-industrial complex can make healthy changes to most readily help at-risk American eaters: (The Atlantic)

The USDA approved a label for meat and liquid egg products that indicates the absence of genetically engineered products; it’s the first time that the department has approved a non-G.M.O. label claim: (New York Times)

The California egg industry faces ruin due to the dichotomy between what voters say they want vs. the reality of how they shop: (Modern Farmer)

Yelp is teaming up with public-health officials to make health ratings count: the company will start by making the raw data of San Francisco’s municipal restaurant inspections–already technically public–really public on a visible consumer platform: (The Atlantic)

In an unprecedented governmental move that sets a legal right to food, the Indian cabinet passed a Food Security Bill which will guarantee cheap grain for 67% of India’s population, or about 800 million people: (Sydney Morning Herald)


Matt R.

Independence Day Wine and Cheese Picks

Wine4th1Happy 4th of July! The quintessential American holiday is here, and that calls for quintessentially American wines and cheeses!

On the wine front, we’re featuring Zinfandel, an iconic grape in America; the U.S. is one of the only countries that makes wine out of it in significant volume. While this grape originated in Croatia and made its way to California by way of gold rush-driven immigrants, it remains here (and in pockets of Southern Italy) as a lone star among countless French varietals.

On the cheese side, we’re featuring a grab-and-go basket trio of Red, White, and Blue American Cheeses! Perfectly portioned and carefully curated, this basket makes the perfect host or hostess gift, picnic treat, or easy DIY cheese course for entertaining!

Come see us at either Market to grab everything you’ll need to have a decadent Independence Day! (Both Markets close at 6PM on July 4th.) 

2009 Unti Vineyards Zinfandel  -  $25.99
Unti1
Unti’s wines are a staple on our shelves and for good reason. Their biodynamically farmed vineyards in Dry Creek Valley grow mostly Rhone and Italian varietals, but their Zinfandel is a favorite of ours as well. We have the last few cases of the 2009 vintage – a great one for Zin in Dry Creek! Lush plum and subtle spice qualities lead to a weighty but well-balanced palate. This is a Zin that’s sure to handle anything coming off the grill!

Cheesebasket1Bi-Rite’s American Cheese Trio  -  $19.99
Our pre-selected trio of Red, White, and Blue American cheeses is cut, packed, and ready to go for your Independence Day celebration. This cute basket includes the following:

Red: Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel – Cowgirl Creamery’s homage to the great mountain cheeses of France and Switzerland, this washed rind cheese is made from pasteurized Straus Dairy cow’s milk. Its natural washed rind is the lightest red-pink hue and the paste is semi-firm with brown butter and caramel notes. It’s great on a cheese plate, but melts beautifully as well to top burgers or pizza!

White: Andante Fresh Goat Cheese – Soyoung Scanlan has become a cheese icon in the Bay Area for the magic she works with fresh goat’s milk. All the goat’s milk she uses is pasteurized and sourced from Volpi Ranch in Petaluma. Her fresh goat cheese rounds are the ultimate expression of this high quality milk. Light, tangy, floral, and complex, this cheese hardly needs any accompaniment other than a crusty baguette.

Blue: Point Reyes Farmstead Bay Blue  - Point Reyes Farmstead, near Tomales Bay, first released Bay Blue last fall and it has quickly gained a following, even winning a Good Food Award. The recipe is inspired by English Stilton, and this natural-rinded blue is rich in flavor and perfect alongside dried fruit or drizzled with honey.

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons

18th Hour Cafe - Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In

Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New California – Tuesday, July 23, 7-9PM, Ticketed

Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New France – Tuesday, July 30, 7-9PM, Ticketed


Jessie Rogers

Ready, Set, GRILL! Quick and Easy 4th of July Feasting

hotdog 3

Get ready for the perfect Fourth of July! Whether you’re hosting a cookout, heading to a casual picnic, or hitting the road for a long weekend getaway, we’ve got everything you need for the week’s events. From meat that’s ready to hit the grill to grab-and-go classic picnic fare, we’ll take the stress out of creating unforgettable Independence Day meals. So, gather your friends and family and enjoy the bounty!

Ready-to-Grill Marinaded Meats

flanksteakmarinade Fire up the flames and cook up some of our house-marinaded pre-packed meats. These easy options all take 20 minutes or less to grill to perfection, with no preparation required. Try the chili-marinaded grass-fed flank steaks from Estancia. Just put them on your medium-high heat grill for 6 minutes on each side, and you’re done. Or go with Mojo Pork Chops, beautiful thick cuts in a tangy citrus marinade with cumin and garlic. MojoPorkFor a poultry option, our organic free-range chicken from Mary’s Chickens in Sanger, CA is marinaded and spatchcocked by our butchers (butterflied with center bones removed), so they will lay flat on your grill for even, juicy cooking.

 

The Ultimate Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dog

HotDogCloseupAlso ready for the coals are our Bacon-Wrapped Hot Dogs, created by hand in our deli with BN Ranch hot dogs and Heritage Farms slab bacon. More of a DIY type? No problem! Just pick up a pack of San Francisco-made 4505 Meats or Let’s Be Frank hot dogs, Vermont Smoke & Cure Bacon, and build your own masterpiece. We love to garnish our dogs with West Ferments Sauerkraut from Point Reyes Station, CA; they use all organic and locally-sourced ingredients and practice ancient wild fermentation methods to lovingly create their products. Also decorating our dogs is a staff favorite, Sir Kensington Ketchup, made with vine-ripened pear tomatoes and flavored with tangy apple cider, coriander, lime juice, allspice, and onions. Finish it all off with Acme Bread Company buns made from sweet dough with a touch of olive oil. Perfection!

Seasonal Grilling Vegetables

CornIdeal sides for your BBQ meats are grilled organic California-grown corn, asparagus, and eggplant. Our corn from Full Belly Farm in Capay Valley, CA is sweet and crunchy–perfect to grill and eat off the cob, or to mix in a salad. It looks beautiful served next to deep-purple Globe Eggplants from Mariquita Farm in Watsonville, CA.

Instant Picnic

top view berries cheeseMeeting friends in a park or on a peak to watch fireworks? Take along our grab-and-go basket of yummy red, white, and blue American cheese. Featured in this trio are Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel, great on its own and as a melting cheese for cheeseburgers and pizzas,  Andante Dairy Fresh Chevre, a creamy and delicate hand-crafted cheese that pairs beautifully with Summer berries, and Point Reyes Bay Blue–salty, robust, and great with honey. Take along a baguette and some artisan-made Creminelli salami to share. This basket also makes a great gift for your cookout or party host!

Also check out our selection of house-made side salads, like our Classic American Potato Salad with organic potatoes, or our crunchy Cabbage Slaw, with red and green cabbage, carrots, shallots, and mustard. And our light and refreshing new Summer Corn and Cucumber Salad with sweet tomatoes, roasted corn, basil, and red wine vinaigrette is a sure crowd-pleaser.

Don’t Forget the Wine!

We’ve selected two wines from Dashe Cellars in Healdsburg, CA that are the perfect accompaniment to your holiday meals. Pick up the 2012 Dry Creek Valley Vin Gris (dry Rosé), an intensely fruity, refreshing wine that pairs beautifully with grilled fare. And the 2011 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel’s vibrant intensity transitions from cheese to meat to salads with ease.

We look forward to helping you develop the perfect menu, no matter where you’re celebrating. Happy Fourth of July!