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.
Claire 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
Kevin 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
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
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 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.
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.
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 means ‘adventurer’ in Italian, a variation on the French Boulevardier, which is a negroni made with bourbon.
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.
Stir over ice, strain into a chilled Nick & Nora glass.
The 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!)
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.)
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.)
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.)
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 email@example.com.
Matt Rupert and the Wine and Cheese Team
The 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!
Del Maguey Mezcal Vida – $39.99
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
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
An 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.)
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!
2012 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.
2012 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.
2012 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.
2010 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!
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 – $24.99
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!
2012 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!
Cocchi 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!
Jolie-Laide literally translates to ‘pretty ugly’ but is more a euphemism to refer to something with unconventional beauty. Winemaker Scott Schultz of Jolie-Laide Wines is one of the small craft winemakers in California working hard to express the beauty of what many consider ‘unconventional grapes’.
Scott hails from Chicago and moved to Napa in 2007. Having worked in restaurants for a while, he’s been on most sides of the service-life from working the restaurant floor to sweating in the kitchen. When he moved to Napa, it was to head up the wine program at Thomas Keller’s Bouchon. After years of restaurant work, Scott decided to get more into the winemaking side of things. He volunteered to work a harvest and loved it! He worked at Realm for a few years as cellar master and currently works with Pax Mahle at Wine Gap Wines. He shares winemaking space with Wind Gap, Ryme Cellars, and formerly Arnot-Roberts; all like-minded winemakers searching for beauty in the unconventional.
Scott is sourcing grapes from unique vineyard sites all organically or sustainably-farmed. His goal is to highlight these unique sites, producing wines in lighter and fresher styles that are made with very minimal intervention. His wines, and thus the labels, change slightly each year, “like album covers,” as Scott says. This year’s labels feature botanical drawings of butterflies, inspired by lepidoptera taxidermy (those huge boards with various butterfly specimen pinned onto them for study); something unconventionally beautiful in its own way.
Come by either Market to try these fascinatingly beautiful wines. Scott doesn’t make very much of any of these, so grab them while you can!
2013 Jolie-Laide Trousseau Gris – $26.99
Trousseau Gris is one of the greatest wine grapes you’ve probably never heard of. A mutation of the red-skinned Trousseau grape, which is native to the Jura region of France, Trousseau Gris’ skin and juice are both a blush rosy pink hue. Once widely planted throughout California and more commonly known as Grey Riesling, there are very few plantings remaining here. Scott sources his Trousseau Gris from the 10-hectare Fanucchi-Wood Road Vineyard in the Russian River valley, an organically farmed vineyard that he shares with Wind Gap Wines. At first glance in your glass, it might be hard to identify this wine as either white or rose, and it truly does toe the line between the two. Aromatic notes of citrus, green tea, and stone fruit lead to a richly textured palate with flavors of orange zest, wildflowers, and gentle tea-like tannins. It’s layered texture would pair beautifully with a variety of food, but we recommend something simple like a whole grilled trout stuffed with herbs.
2012 Rossi Ranch Red Blend – $36.99
The Rossi Ranch Vineyard is a truly special place. One of the remaining true ‘field-blends’ where different grapes are inter-planted, this vineyard is home to Grenache, Syrah, Muscat, and Viognier grapes. Most other people who have used this vineyard in the past have ignored the white varietals, leaving them to rot on the vine, and have made wines with the more traditional blends of Grenache and Syrah. However, Scott felt this site needed to be expressed as a whole, so he co-fermented all of the grapes together! The percentage of the white grapes blended is small, less than 2%, but once you realize they’re there, the aromatics are unmistakable. The light floral touch from the Viognier and Muscat are complemented by notes of rose, raspberry, rich tannins, and a long spicy finish. Drink this lightly chilled and enjoy it on it’s own – no food necessary!
Upcoming Wine Events:
With the recent heat waves it feels like summer has already come and gone! But Memorial Day weekend is here and that means awakening those grills from their long winter hibernation. And since you’ll be doing some grilling and cooking up some BBQ this weekend, we’ve got our wine picks ready for you! Each of these is the perfect addition to a Memorial Day picnic or BBQ!
2013 Unti Vineyards Rosé – $24.99
Unti Vineyard’s 2013 Rosé is made of mostly Grenache from their Benchland Vineyard, blended with about 20% Mourvedre. Located in Dry Creek Valley, Unti specializes in Rhone and Italian varietals, all farmed biodynamically. We love their rosé every year and the 2013 vintage is no exception! It’s light in color with plenty of mouth-watering acidity. A floral and fruity nose leads to a lush, yet crisp and dry palate the remindes us of fresh Provencal-style roses. Pair this with anything from whole grilled fish with spring veggies to simply a park blanket and sunshine!
If you’re looking for the perfect fish to pair with your Unti Rosé, look no further than our Memorial Day special on fresh-caught local wild King Salmon. We’re offering fillets of this beautiful fish from Half Moon Bay for just $19.99/lb. Don’t miss this incredible price, available through Tuesday, May 27 at both Bi-Rite Market locations!
2013 Matthiasson Tendu White – $19.99
Tendu is a joint project of Steve Matthiasson and his friend (and wine distributor) Matthew Plympton. In a fun-sized 1-liter bottle, it’s a nod to the ubiquitous liter bottles of Grüner Veltliner you might find in Austria. The blend consists of Vermentino, Cortese, and Arneis – all native Italian varietals grown right here in Northern California! We can’t get enough of this refreshing and approachable wine. Dry, crisp, and minerally, with flavors of tart green apple, flowers, fresh lemon, and just a hint of white pepper. What more could you want along side a BBQ or picnic? Be careful though, you just might drink the whole liter by yourself!
2011 Green and Red Vineyards Chiles Canyon Zinfandel – $21.99
Jay and Pam Heminway first planted their vineyards on the hills of the Chiles Valley District of Napa in the 1970s. Today, the iron-rich soil and varied vineyard terrain provide ideal growing conditions for unique Zinfandel. The Chiles Canyon Zinfandel is a blend of all three of their vineyard sites, with elevations ranging from 900 to 2000 feet above the valley floor. Aged in half American and half French oak; the resulting wine couldn’t be more prefect for Memorial Day grilling! Black cherry and raspberry aromas, with plenty of spice and notes of espresso and clove make this great with most BBQ!
2010 Tellus Vinea Bordeaux Rouge – $19.99
Made by brothers and winemakers Jacques and Jean-Paul Pueyo, of famed Château Belregard Figeac, this Bordeaux blend is an incredible value. They harvest their grapes by hand from organic vineyards that border the Lalande de Pomerol appellation. The blend is mostly Merlot with a bit of Cabernet Franc, and Bi-Rite is the only retail shop in California to carry it! It’s a stunning Bordeaux with a soft perfumed nose, great structure, and long finish. The perfect red to accompany all your summer BBQs!
Open Every Day
3639 18th St.
San Francisco, CA
550 Divisadero St.
San Francisco, CA 94117