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Christine Mathias

Resolve to Eat Good Food This Year!

eat-good-food-coverAs the new year begins and we all decide how we want to improve ourselves or our lives, let’s consider the ritual of cooking. Food forms deep bonds, and making food for our family and friends with our own hands is a special kind of sharing; it’s a sharing of love, nourishment, and inspiration. Let’s all re-dedicate ourselves to the creation of simple, tasty, homemade food made with ingredients that are specialdelicious, local, and responsibly grown or made. Bi-Rite is here to help you make it happen! Following are six outstanding seasonal dishes from Eat Good Food, our go-to book written by Bi-Rite Family of Businesses Founder Sam Mogannam, that will motivate you to cook from the heart. Our Buyers each selected their favorite seasonal recipes, and to round out your meal, our Wine Buyer hand-picked a perfect wine to pair with each dish. Pick up copies of the recipes along with everything you need to create them at home. Happy New Year, happy cooking, and happy eating!

Our Meat Buyer, Chili, recommends:

  • Beef Stew with Peppers & Ale
    Wine pairing: Chateau Les Roches de Ferrand Fronsac Bordeaux, France 2007
  • Sumac-Roasted Chicken Du Monde
    Wine Pairing: Martincic Cvicek, Slovenia 2013    *give this wine a chill

Our Produce Buyer, Simon, recommends:

  • Fennel, Blood Orange & Avocado Salad
    Wine Pairing: Tatomer Gruner Veltliner Paragon, Santa Barbara 2013
  • Pan-Seared Broccolini 
    Wine Pairing: Farella Sauvignon Blanc Coombsville, Napa 2013

Our Grocery Buyer, Raph, recommends:

  • Bi-Rite Vinaigrette
  • Spaghetti with Tuna, Capers & Chile Flakes
    (Cheese Buyer Jon suggests topping it off with Fulvi Pecorino Romano!)
    Wine pairing: La Staffa Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico, Italy 2013

Our Cheese Buyer, Jon, recommends:

  • Grilled Manchego & Serrano Ham Sandwich with Membrillo
    Wine pairing: Luberri Orlegi Rioja, Spain 2013

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SumacChicken

FennelSalad

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Spaghetti

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Christine Mathias

Stunning Centerpieces For your table — and under your tree!

Every year we are all faced with the dilemma — how to make this holiday special? What to feed your loved ones that will create lasting memories? What to get for our friends, family, and Secret Santas that will delight and inspire? Let us help you create wonderful meals and gatherings this season. We’ll guide you to the right classic centerpieces for your Christmas and New Year’s Eve feasts, plus treats and gifts, lovingly crafted by artisans and hand-picked for you!

 

Prime Rib from Five Dot Ranch is our favorite way to celebrate. Grass-fed and grain-finished, this beautiful beef has just the right amount of marbling for the buttery mouth feel and juicy texture that only the finest California beef can provide.

Our Chefs compiled tips for cooking and carving your prime rib for the perfect presentation–just print them out for handy use in the kitchen.

Pre-order your Prime Rib for quick and easy pick-up at either Bi-Rite Market location from our special online Holiday Market on Instacart.com!

We search far and wide to bring you the finest classic holiday treats and delectable gifts. Lovingly crafted by artisans, often from traditional family recipes, these special items are sure to please.

June Taylor Christmas Cake

Legendary preserver June Taylor creates a rich, dark fruitcake with hand-made candied citrus peels, dried stone fruits, and succulent currants and raisins. Beautifully wrapped and ready to gift!

Rustichella d’Abruzzo Panettone
Panettone is originally from Milan, and has become the ultimate in Italian holiday cakes. The makers at Rustichella are masters. Available in gorgeously-wrapped Classic, Cherry, and Fig & Chocolate options.

LebkuchenLeckerlee Lebkuchen
A rich, spiced traditional German gingerbread treat; they’re a cross between a cookie and a cake. Hand made by founder Sandy Lee, and packaged in gorgeous decorative tins, ready for gifting! Available in Classic, Gluten-Free, and Assorted options.

apple brandyOccidental Gravenstein Apple Brandy
(A Bi-Rite Exclusive! Limited Availability!)
This limited-production apple brandy is the product of a wonderful partnership between Sebastopol apple grower Ann Hatch and Lance Winters of the Bay Area’s St. George Spirits. It’s handcrafted and can only be found at Bi-Rite Markets.

ArmagnacFrancisDarrozeDomaine2Francis Darroze Domaine au Durre Bas Armagnac 1993 — Saint Gein
The oldest type of brandy produced in France, this Darroze Armagnac is made from a single vintage and aged for 21 years. It’s hand-bottled and dated, then shipped directly to us right from the source!

Champagne Chartogne Taillet–Magnum bottle
As our Wine Buyer Trac says, “Champagne tastes better in bigger bottles!” Put a smile on everyone’s face when you walk in with a big bottle of exceptional French bubbly.

Michael Rechiutti Winter Dragee Sampler
Alternating layers of blended chocolate, burnt caramel, and fleur de sel enhance toasted nuts and dried fruits, featuring Michael’s most popular flavors. A truly decadent assortment, easily shared with family and friends.

 

Nuubia San Francisco Candy BarNuubia San Francisco Candy Bar
Hazelnut praline and sea salt caramel with caramelized rice crispy, all wrapped in 62% dark chocolate. Perfect fit for a stocking!

BiRiteCreameryPeppermintBarkBi-Rite Creamery Peppermint Bark
It’s our take on a holiday classic, made with TCHO Dark Chocolate topped with a layer of crunchy peppermint pieces.

 

 

Bi-Rite Creamery Holiday Cookies
An assortment of a dozen bright and festive holiday cookies, including frosted Christmas and gingerbread cutouts, plus other seasonal faves!

Eat Good Food9781607741848Signed Copies of our Books
No kitchen is complete without these indispensable resources! Give author-signed copies Eat Good Food by Bi-Rite Market Owner, Sam Mogannam, and Sweet Cream and Sugar Cones by Bi-Rite Creamery Co-Owners, Anne Walker and Kris Hoogerhyde.

Any gift needs you may have, our warm and helpful staff is ready to assist you. Come by the markets and reinvigorate your holiday spirit! For more awesome last-minute Holiday Gifts, plus our house-made Holiday Menus, Wine Selection, and more, browse our Holiday Guide online! 

Want to pre-order EVERYTHING online for pick-up at Bi-Rite market? Follow these simple steps to order from our Holiday Market on Instacart.com!

  1. Create an Instacart account at Instacart.com (or log in to your existing Instacart account) and select the Bi-Rite Holiday Market to begin your order.
  2. Ordering from outside San Francisco? No problem! You can use Bi-Rite’s 94110 zip code to create your Instacart account since all our holiday orders are for in store pick-up.
  3. Need help? Our Thanksgiving hotline is live! Dial 415-241-9760 and select option 3 for Thanksgiving menu-planning and ordering questions. Our experts are here to make the process as smooth as possible!

 

Click here to get started!

 


Resolution Spirit: Build Your Bar and Make Classic (and Classy) Cocktails

We’ve pulled together our favorite spirits to help you build the ideal home bar.

 

Entertain friends for the holidays and New Year’s Eve with classic cocktails they’ll love. Santa’s Tip: These hand-selected craft spirits also make  great gifts and stocking stuffers!

 

Order these awesome bottles and everything you need to create the cocktail recipes below from our store on Instacart, for delivery in as little as an hour in San Francisco. Or just stop by and see us. Cheers! 

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Winter Wine Blitz is Here! Save 20% on Cases 12/8-12/14!

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Our Winter Wine Blitz is here! Time to stock up for all your holiday and New Year’s entertaining and gift-giving; from Monday, December 8th through Sunday, December 14th, SAVE 20% on all wine purchases of 12 bottles or more–that includes holiday sparklers, celebratory magnums, and great party and meal wines for your seasonal entertaining.

We understand choosing the right wines for the holiday can be stressful. To help you make the perfect choice, our wine team has picked their favorites for friends and family! Wine always makes a great gift.

SomloiClaire at 18th recommends: Fekete Bela Harslevelu 2012
Claire says, “It’s exceedingly elegant, very au courant, and yet possibly from another planet. This wine will impress the Tilda Swinton in your life.”
Regular price $21.99 / Blitz price: $17.59

 

LasalleKevin at 18th recommends:  J. Lassalle Champagne
Kevin says, “If your Mom is like June Cleaver, she’ll love the J. Lassalle Champagne. Friendly and approachable, this sparkler is a crowd-pleaser. Served with hors d’oeuvres for the Beaver’s school fundraising gala or hosting one of Ward’s toughest business clients, this peach of a sparkler is every bit as elegant and pretty as June herself.” Regular price $39.99 / Blitz price: $31.99

VolsRachel at 18th recommends:
Weingut Vols Riesling Auslese 2013
Rachel says, “This is for the Grace Kelly in your life. Beautiful and elegant with acid like a mouthful of stars. Tiara not included.”
Regular price: $39.99 / Blitz price: $31.99
Corison

 

Steffan at 18th recommends:
Corison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2004
Steffan says, “For the Meryl Streep in your life. Never the most glamorous or obvious, but when you taste it you’ll marvel at it’s precision. Also, it’s got more Academy Awards than anyone else.”
Regular price: $99.99 / Blitz price:$79.99
 
PaoloLiz at 18th St. recommends:
Paolo Bea San Valentino 2009
Liz says,”This wine is lethally delicious: savory olives with figs and blood. It’s what Joan Crawford would have served Bette Davis in What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? Serve it to your both your friends and enemies.”
Regular price: $44.99 / Blitz price: $35.99

 

John at Divis recommends: Brovia Barbera 2010
John says, “Queen B stands for Beyonce, but our Queen B is Brovia Barbera. It’s curvaceous and luscious, but also earthy and real–just like Beyonce!”
Regular price: $29.99 / Blitz price: $23.99

Trac, our Wine Buyer, recommends:
Olga Raffault Chinon “Les Picasses” 2006
Trac says, “If your Dad is like Robert Redford, he’ll love this Cab Franc from Olga Raffault. Rustic, leathery, with bright red fruits but classic and will get better with age.”
Regular price: $24.99 / Blitz Price: $19.99

Upcoming Events:


Fall Wine Blitz! Coming November 3-9!

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The Bi-Rite’s Fall Wine Blitz is almost here! Starting on Monday, November 3rd through Sunday, November 9th you can get 20% off mixed cases of wine from our selection of more than 200 wines. Plus, get free delivery within San Francisco! This huge sale is available at both Bi-Rite Market locations!

It’s the perfect time to start stocking up for Thanksgiving dinners, family gatherings, or just to restock the wine fridge. Whatever the occasion, we’ve got you covered with some old favorites as well as new, exciting wines from amazing producers and importers that are perfect for fall entertaining. 

Want to taste the wines yourself before you buy? Stop by the Fall Wine Blitz Pre-Tasting at 18Reasons on Thursday October 30th between 6pm-8pm to taste up to 30 wines. Here’s a preview of what we will be tasting.

2013 Leo Steen Chenin Blanc Saini Vineyard
$19.99; Wine Blitz Price just $15.99
Chenin Blanc was one of the most widely planted white varieties in California but have been ripped up in favor of more popular varieties like Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Luckily, California Chenin Blanc is making a big revival lately, with producers working with amazing old vines Chenin Blanc that had survived. Leo Steen is one of the winemakers championing this varietal, which is on fitting because Steen is the South African word for Chenin Blanc. Sourced from 33 year old vines in Dry Creek, this Chenin Blanc is bone dry with notes chamomile and lemon verbena.

2012 Ojai Chardonnay Solomon Hill Vineyard
$29.99; Wine Blitz Price just $19.99
Ojai Vineyard winemaker Adam Tolmack, along with Jim Clendenon of Au Bon Climat and Bob Lindquist of Qupe, is considered one of the fathers of California Chardonnay. His Chardonnay from the cool Solomon Hill Vineyard in the Santa Maria Valley has none of the California-style tropical fruitiness. It’s all lemon curd and piney with bright mineral freshness. It’s perfect foil with a roast chicken and cream sauce.

2011 Jean Tardy Hautes-Cotes de Nuits
$24.99; 
Wine Blitz Price just $19.99
Jean Tardy worked for Meo Camuzet, the famed Burgundy producer in Vosne-Romanee. He started his own domaine in 1981 and has grown the estate to several  holdings in the Cotes de Nuits including the Grand Cru vineyard, Echezeaux. With respect to Tardy’s winemaking talent, we’re so happy to offer one of his stunning Burgundys for under $25. This Pinot Noir has it all, aromatic and elegant with earthy spice notes. Amazing with a seared duck breast and caramelized quince.


2013 Lo-Fi Cabernet Franc
$24.99; Wine Blitz Price just $19.99
Lo-Fi is a brand new project from winemaker Mike Roth, formerly of Martian Ranch. Roth’s winemaking is raw, soulful, and natural, letting the wine shine without much technical influence from modern winemaking. His Cabernet Franc is California meets Bourgueil, fresh and bright with red fruits and herb notes. We like serving this slightly chilled to accentuates the wonderful California fruits.

WB22007 Copain Harrison Clarke Vineyard Syrah
$29.99; Wine Blitz Price just $23.99
This 2007 Syrah was the last vintage that winemaker Wells Guthrie worked with at Harrison Clarke Vineyard, located in the heart of Santa Ynez Valley. This vineyard is very reminiscent of the Northern Rhone, with limestone and clay soils; the perfect environment for Syrah. Wells’ deft hand with the varietal has created a wine that is elegant and powerful at the same time, with notes of olives and blackberries. We were able to secure a great deal for this wine, previously sold at over $40 a bottle, we were able to offer this wine for under $30 and with the Blitz sale, you can get it for only $23.99!

Amaro Amore!

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It’s Amaro amore! We’re celebrating the regional diversity and flavor variations of this bitter-sweet Italian liqueur by featuring several different Amari varieties, all of which tell the story of the region where they’re created. For some fun ways to enjoy these aromatics, Rachel from our Wine & Spirits Team has pulled together a few of her favorite recipes for refreshing Amaro cocktails. You can also enjoy Amaro straight! There’s a profile to suit every palate.

Lucano Fizz

  • 2 oz Lucano Amaro
  • ¾ oz lemon juice
  • ½  oz simple syrup
  • ½ oz egg
  • 1 ½ oz seltzer
  • Orange peel

Combine ingredients (minus seltzer) in a cocktail shaker and shake vigorously without ice for 5 seconds. Add a handful of ice and shake again. Add seltzer to serving glass and strain cocktail over seltzer. Cut orange peel, minimizing pith, and twist over drink.

Girovago
Girovago means ‘adventurer’ in Italian, a variation on the French Boulevardier, which is a negroni made with bourbon.

  • 2 oz bourbon
  • 1 oz sweet vermouth (we use Cocchi di Torino)
  • ½ oz Varnelli Sibilla Amaro
  • Lemon peel

Add spirits to a mixing glass, stir over ice. Strain over a large ice cube. Cut lemon peel, minimizing pith, twist over drink and serve.

Hoffman House
Ascoli-Piceno style

  • 1 ½ oz gin
  • ½ oz dry vermouth (we use Dolin Dry)
  • 1/3 oz Meletti Amaro
  • Dash orange bitters

Stir over ice, strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.

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Matt R.

Yamas! Cheers to Greek Wines!

greekThe Greeks have one of the longest traditions of wine-making of any civilization out there. They have been producing wine for over 4,000 years, and yet Greek wines as a category remain a mystery to American wine drinkers. But don’t shy away from the unfamiliar; there are great wines (and great values) worth searching out in Greece!

From the Greek Islands to the mainland, the variety of terroir in Greece is astounding. Even more astounding (and head-ache-inducing) are the 300+ grape varietals native to Greece. It’s no wonder that grapes names like Malagousia, Xinomavro, Agiorgitiko, and Roditis haven’t stuck in our memories so easily. Yet these indigenous varietals are part of millennia of wine-making tradition in the region. If any wine region has the experience and wherewithal to know its terroir and produce great wine, it’s Greece.

We’re excited to have a couple new Greek wines on the shelves at the Markets. Swing by for a trip to Greece in your wine glass. (It’s cheaper than a plane ticket!)

nassou

2009 Chrisohoou Naoussa Xinomavro  –  $16.99

Naoussa is the center of wine production in Macedonia, situated just an hours-drive west of the city of Thessaloniki. It’s here that the grape Xinomavro is the star. Greece’s most noble of its red varieties, Xinomavro is widely planted and made in various styles. It’s a typically late-ripening grape with somewhat aggressive tannin, so it often takes a bit of time for wines made from Xinomavro to mellow out and reach their peak. Some often compare Greece’s Xinomavro to Italy’s Nebbiolo, both for its similar flavor notes and its ageability. Chrisohoou is a family-owned estate established in 1978 and today run by the young winemaker, Nana. 2009 is her current release of the Xinomavro from Chrisohoou and we think it’s stunning for the value. Don’t be fooled by its lighter color; it’s lush with full of notes of dark fruit, singed herbs, and mouth-coating tannin. This would be perfect with grilled lamb chops and eggplant!

(Available only at Bi-Rite Market 18th Street.)

2011 Kir-Yianni Petra  –  $14.99petra

Yiannis Boutaris founded Kir-Yianni winery in 1997, when he broke away from his family’s Boutaris wine brand, a large wine producer in Greece. Today he is the mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city located in the region of Macedonia, and his son, Stellios Boutaris, has taken over the operation at Kir-Yianni. Stellios is focused on producing wines of character using grapes native to the region. The Petra is made from the indigenous grape Roditis blended with a small percentage of Malagousia. Roditis is a lightly pink-skinned grape that can produce lovely whites and roses from hot climates like Naoussa in Macedonia. We find it reminiscent of Muscadet from the south of France. It’s light in texture with briney minerally notes and hints of pine, herbs, and lemon zest. Mouthwatering acidity on the finish make this an easy pairing with seafood dishes like simple grilled octopus with lemon!

(Available at both Markets.)

noussa22004 Vaeni Naoussa Xinomavra  –  $19.99

Vaeni is one of the world’s greatest wine co-ops, on par with famous names like Produttori di Barbaresco or La Chablisienne. As we mentioned earlier with the Chrisohoou, Xinomavro needs some time in barrels and bottle to let the acidity and tannins come to a balance. The Vaeni Grande Reserve is aged for a minimum of five years in wood and another four years in barrels before release. The additional aging gives the wine an added weight, depth, and complexity that add up to greatness. With all the time spent on aging the Xinomavro, Vaeni’s Grande Reserve is surprisingly affordable. We dare you find any Nebbiolo that is as complex as this wine, even at twice the price.

(Available only at Bi-Rite Divisadero.)

Upcoming Events:

18th Hour Cafe – Thursdays, 6-9PM – Drop-In – At 18 Reasons

Spirit Tasting with Barr Hill – Saturday, July 26th, 1-3PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

Wine Tasting with Christian Adams from Rudi Wiest Selections – Sunday, July 27th, 12-2PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

Beer Workshop: Hops – Tuesday, July 29th, 7-9PM – At 18 Reasons

Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or special requests (415.241.9760 for 18th St. or 415.551.7900 for Divis) or email wine@biritemarket.com.

Sincerely,

Matt Rupert and the Wine and Cheese Team

Bi-Rite Market


Matt R.

Vinos de Mezcal: Tradition and Terroir in Oaxaca‏

agaveThe roasted maguey plant (pronounced mah-gay), or agave, has been a staple of the Oaxacan diet for thousands of years. Whether or not native Mexicans learned to distill before the Spanish conquest is debated, but the Spaniards do get credit for bringing Filipinos to Central America via the Manila/Acapulco shipping route, who brought the technology for crude, homemade stills (in tree trunks!). By 1621 when it was first written about, the practice of distilling roasted agave was well established.

Tequilas and mezcals are both vinos de mezcal, but tequila must be made only with the Blue Weber agave plant, and must come from the region surrounding the city of Tequila in Jalisco. Mezcal can be made with any of the hundreds of varieties of agave anywhere in Mexico, though it is usually made with the Espadin variety of agave in Oaxaca. What truly distinguishes mezcal is the process used to roast it, where the harvested piñas are buried in earthen pits lined with stones and smoked until the starches fully convert to sugars.

Aside from the occasional bottle smuggled back from vacation, it was almost impossible to get good mezcal in the U.S. until recently. Its availability these days is mostly thanks to Ron Cooper, an artist who twenty-five years ago committed to making mezcal available outside of the tiny villages where it was produced. He developed relationships with traditional Zapotec producers and Del Maguey Single Village Mezcal was born. Mezcal is at the heart of spiritual life in Oaxaca. Palenqueros ask for permission and give blessings, harvesting just enough to supply their village fiesta and a few hundred bottles for Del Maguey. These are spirits produced with reverence and love, and we’re lucky to drink them!

Agave-Sale_web_asset2We’ll be offering 10% off all tequilas and mezcals for one weekend!
Friday, July 18th through Sunday, July 20th at both Markets!
Learn! Drink! Viva! 

Del Maguey Mezcal Vida  –  $39.99
Vida
Vida is an entry-level, cocktail-friendly mezcal made in the traditional method. Agave are wild-harvested then buried to smoke in stone-lined pits. The roasted agave are then crushed with a giant stone wheel, or tahona, usually pulled by a donkey, then fermented in open barrels with native yeast for two weeks to a month. The resulting vino de mezcal is run twice through a traditional copper still to be light and clean while preserving the unique qualities that make it a true Oaxacan mezcal: smoke, honey, tropical fruit, and ginger-y spice. Vida is a wonderful introduction to the world of mezcal and makes a beautiful Margarita (we prefer Tommy’s style, with 2oz mezcal, 1oz fresh lime juice, and .5oz agave nectar). (Available at both Markets.)

Del Maguey Mezcal Chichicapa  –  $72.99
Maguey
Chichicapa is made by Faustino Garcia Vazquez in his highland village four hours south and west of Oaxaca over a mountain range accessible only via dirt road. Elevation here is 7,000 feet, giving the agave concentration of fruit, elegance, and finesse similar to those of a Highland Scotch. Its smokiness develops across the palate, accompanied by minty herbal notes and hints of bitter chocolate and the tropical fruits (guava, mango, and banana) that grow alongside it. (Available only at Bi-Rite 18th Street.)

Del Maguey Mezcal Minero  –  $74.99
MineroAn hour beyond the village of Chichicapa lies Santa Catarina Minas, where the award-winning Minero is made by Florencio Carlos Sarmiento and his sons. The water of the village is outstanding, yielding a mezcal with floral and citrus notes and a creamy sweetness that lingers on the palate. The still used is traditional clay and bamboo, which preserves a fresh fruity quality in the finished spirit. (Available only at Bi-Rite Divisadero.)

Upcoming Events:

  • 18th Hour Cafe – Thursdays, 6-9PM – Drop-In – At 18 Reasons
  • Wine Tasting with Cristin from Return to Terroir – Friday, July 11th, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Wine Tasting with Tess from Edward T. Edwards – Saturday, July 12th, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Wine Tasting with Christian Adams from Rudi Wiest Selections – Sunday, July 13th, 2-4PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Loving Old Vines: A Tasting of California Heritage Wines – Tuesday, July 22nd, 7-9PM – At 18 Reasons
Beer Workshop: Hops – Tuesday, July 29th, 7-9PM – At 18 Reasons

Matt R.

Wines of the Vallée d’Aoste

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The Vallée d’Aoste is one of Italy’s most remarkable wine regions that you’ve likely never had a glass of wine from. It has a long tradition of food and wine dating back to Roman times. Many of the old Roman acqueducts can been still be seen crisscrossing the valley which is dotted with Medieval castles and terraced vineyards. Nestled in the northwestern corner of Italy, sharing borders (and the Alps) with France and Switzerland, the Vallée d’Aoste feels more like its own magical kingdom rather than an integrated part of Italy or France.

Viticulture once played an important role in the region, with upward of three-thousand hectares of grapes planted. However after two World Wars and into the early 2000s, there remained less than eight-hundred hectares. Luckily, the region is making a comeback with many small producers working to preserve traditional grapes and winemaking techniques. The Vallée d’Aoste also boasts the highest elevation vineyards in Europe, with some in the Alps reaching 1,200 meters in altitude. There are thirteen indigenous grapes to the region including Morgex, Malvoisie, Fumin, Petit Rouge, and Petite Arvine that are planted among more recognizable French varietals like Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Syrah. The interplay between Italian, French, and Swiss grapes, languages, food, and traditions is very apparent here.

Wine production here is not easy. Looking at some of the dramatically terraced vineyards, that no tractor could ever survive, you can see the love and (labor!) that’s required to produce wine in the Vallée d’Aoste. Most of the wine produced here is made by small family-owned wineries, many with small plots of grapes not much bigger than a vegetable garden. Thus, it’s truly special to find a wine from this region and appreciate the place it came from and the work that went into it. Come by either Market to try these very limited wines from the Vallée d’Aoste!

Wine12012 Institut Agricole Regional Nus Malvoisie  –  $24.99
The Institut Agricole Regional was founded in 1951 as a professional agriculture program with the sole purpose of preserving the traditional agrarian practices and products of the region. This encompasses everything from wine to native fruits, vegetables, and cheeses. The wine-focused branch of the school works equally in the vineyards and in the lab. They work to genetically identify native varietals and preserve plantings of these indigenous grapes in the region. The wines they produce are a testament to the uniqueness of the Vallée d’Aoste. Nus Malvoisie is the local DOC exclusively for the grape Malvoisie, the local variant of Pinot Grigio. Lightly floral up front, with notes of tart citrus, chamomile, and tart acidity, this white is versatile and food-friendly. 

Wine22012 Grosjean Freres Petite Arvine ‘Vigne Rovettaz’  –  $29.99
The Grosjean family has been cultivating land in the Vallée d’Aoste since 1781. Today, Dauphin Grosjean and his five sons have just seven hectares of vineyards in the small town of Ollignan. In addition to winemaking, they cultivate chestnuts and graze cattle on the Alpine slopes. Their Petite Arvine is from the single vineyard ‘Rovettaz’ made from 100% Petit Arvine grapes. It’s lightly floral with notes of white peach, green almond, and a light, refreshing texture. We see this easily paired with pork or veal tenderloin topped with prosciutto and Fontina cheese. 

Wine32012 La Cantina di Cuneaz Nadir ‘Badebec’  –  $34.99
Winemaker Nadir Cuneaz has a mere half hectare of vineyards. Total. That’s basically 1/16th the size of Dolores Park. His grapes are a mix of various native varietals, many planted over 100 years ago. The ‘Badebec’ is a blend of mostly Petit Rouge, with small amounts of Fumin and Vien de Nus. Since it’s a blend of various grapes, which are all fermented together, the earliest ripening grapes are allowed to dry for two weeks until the remaining grapes are ready to harvest. The resulting ‘passito’ grapes are combined and vinified with the rest giving a concentrated dark and sweet blackberry quality to the wine, complemented by notes of Alpine forest and rustic herbs.

Wine42010 Institut Agricole Regional Fumin  –  $36.99
Fumin is a grape native to this ItalianFrench/Swiss area that’s a bit reminiscent of Syrah in its herbal and peppercorn notes. Very little is left planted in the Vallee d’Aoste and the Institut Agricole Regional is working hard to preserve what’s left and hopefully encourage local growers to plant more. Notes of dusty dark fruits, balsamic covered berries, pine forest, and smoke are well-integrated in a mid-weight palate with enough acidity to stand up to a variety of dishes. This would be killer with the traditional Fontina Fonduta (melted cheese and broth!) served with bread, veggies, and charcuterie for dipping! 

Upcoming Events:

Matt R.

Chill Out: Wines for San Francisco Summer‏

Memorial Day is behind us; that means it’s officially summer! And nothing better signals the arrival of San Francisco summer than the triumphant return of Karl the Fog from Spring Break. We all the know the drill for summer around here, but if you’re new to San Francisco, let us fill you in: it’s cold! Grab those scarves, parkas, and wind breakers because summer in San Francisco is no tropical retreat.

So what do you drink during these next chilly, windy, and foggy few months? The temptation to steer towards our favorite sunny-day whites and rosés remains strong, and when the sun does peek through the fog, that’s what we’ll be drinking. But what about when that wind is just too much and the fog is billowing around your house? Rather than go for our typical heavy and ‘winter red wines’ we like to split the difference. These couple of red wines are perfect for keeping in the summer mood! They’re light and crisp, and are both perfect served slightly chilled. And what about if you need something refreshing but also a bit stronger to keep the blood flowing? Try the Cocchi Americano, a classic Italian aperitif, much like Lillet!

So don’t be afraid of the chilly months ahead and embrace the best of both worlds with these summer sippers!

2013 Copain Wines Estate P2  –  $24.99Copain
Copain Wine Cellars are producing wines that are both deeply traditional and somewhat experimental. From Burgundian-inspired Chardonnay and Pinot Noir to experimental bottlings of Picpoul, Trousseau, and Poulsard, winemaker Wells Guthrie keeps things interesting at Copain! Their summer release is their P2, a blend of equal parts Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris from the vineyards surrounding their winery. Both grapes are fermented together and aged in neutral French oak for 5 months. The resulting wine has unmistakable white floral aromatics from the Pinot Gris and the palate is full-on tart red raspberry, cherry, and spice notes. A zippy acidity on the finish make this an easy pairing with most summer meals. Chill for a bit before serving for a refreshing summer red!

Agostino2012 Agostino Pavia Girgnolino d’Asti  –  $14.99
The Piedmont is known for lots of things, and Grignolino is not one of them. Home to Barolo, Barbaresco, Barbera, and Dolcetto, not very much Grignolino is made (nor taken seriously) in the Piedmont. However, Agostino Pavia is making a remarkable Grignolino in Asti. Grignolino is a grape often made into young easy-drinking reds, usually for drinking while awaiting the more serious Barolos and Barbarescos to be released. Agostino’s version is just as light and easy to drink as you’d expect, but with a solid herbal and tannic finish. The name for the grape originates from the word ‘gringole’ which means ‘many pips’ in the local dialect and refers to the abundance of seeds in the grapes that contribute to its tannins. Chill this down slightly and enjoy with grilled pizza or flat-breads for an easy summer meal!

CocchiCocchi Americano  –  $21.99
Modeled after the original recipe for Lillet, Cocchi Americano was first produced in 1891 by Giulio Cocchi and is the closest one can get to the original recipe for Kina Lillet, developed in 1872. The recipe has remained unchanged since then and is a base of Moscato d’Asti wine insued with cinchona bark, gentian, and sweet and bitter citrus peels. The Italians would serve this over simply over ice with an orange peel and splash of soda water, but use this in your Vesper Martinis or Corpse Reviver cocktails for a more authentic experience. A must have for the serious home bartender! 

Upcoming Events:
  • Wine Tasting with Daniel of Kermit Lynch Wines – Friday, June 6th, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Anchor Beer Tasting – Saturday, June 7th, 3-5PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Ridge Estate Wine Tasting – Saturday, June 7th, 5-7PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero
  • Women Organic Winemakers of Italy – Saturday, June 7th, 3-5PM – At 18 Reasons