Home Archive by category 'Wine, Beer & Spirits' (Page 2)

Archive for the ‘Wine, Beer & Spirits’ Category


Matt R.

Feautured Winery: Chateau Maris

wine1How ‘green’ can a winery be? It seems that the folks at Chateau Maris are pushing the limits of what makes a winemaking operation both healthy for the environment and as sustainable as possible.

Founded about 20 years ago by Englishmen Robert Eden and Kevin Parker, Chateau Maris was created with the goal of becoming one of the Languedoc‘s best estates while respecting the environment to the highest standards. They purchased old, dilapidated vines and began to restore them and the rest of their land from the previous farmer’s overuse of chemical pesticides and fertilizers. Robert is a biodynamic winemaker and has used biodynamic preparations and composts since day one.

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They also employ local flora and fauna to help restore the balance to the land and maintain a healthy growing environment. This includes local livestock for compost, diverse cover crops like barley, bulgur, and mustard to avoid monoculture, and teas and tisanes of nettles, chamomile, and lavender to restore minerals to the soil. Today, they’ve also just completed construction on the world’s first hemp winery. The idea is fascinating ­– bricks made of hemp and lime, both naturally derived, are used to build a structure around a locally-sourced wooden frame. Over time, the hemp bricks actually absorb carbon from the atmosphere, hardening and strengthening as they transform into limestone, as well as naturally controlling temperature and humidity with no additional cooling or heating systems needed. Robert and Eden also collect rainwater, have plans to construct a wind farm, use recycled super-light glass and recycled paper for their bottles, and donate $1.50 from each bottle sold to one of three charities: The Jane Goodall Institute, The Rainforest Foundation, and The International Polar Fund.

And what about the wines? We know that just because a wine is made responsibly doesn’t necessarily mean it’s made well. Fortunately for Chateau Maris, the quality of their wines, especially for the price, matches the efforts put into them. All the wines are made with native fermentation, fermented in custom conical oak casks and cement eggs, and never fined nor filtered. The wines represent the Languedoc, an often forgotten region, as a region capable of producing wines of great character, rusticity, and sense of place. Come by either Market to try the wines of Chateau Maris!

wine32012 Chateau Maris Picpoul de Pinet  -  $14.99

Picpoul is a grape native to the Languedoc as well as the name for the Cru of white wines made there, Picpoul de Pinet. It’s often called the ‘Muscadet of the South’ due to its similarity to the signature grape of Northwestern France that has a familiar tart acidity and salty minerality. Best enjoyed in the sunshine, this Picpoul is loaded with tart green apple, chamomile notes, and zippy acidity. A great pairing with fresh seafood or spring veggies!

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2012 Chateau Maris Old School Rosé  –  $17.99

From their old-school vineyard, planted in 1959, which to this day is still plowed by horse (Karabi is his name!) and harvested by hand, this rosé is made mostly from Cinsault. Juicy strawberry, cherry, and orange zest notes lead to a crisp and fruity palate that has enough heft to pair well with a variety of dishes. Try with a classic salade nicoise and you’ll swear your sitting on the Mediterranean.

wine52011 Chateau Maris Old School Rouge  -  $12.99

A blend of mostly Syrah with a bit of Grenache, this red is everything you’d want in an everyday table red. Fermented and aged in concrete egg-shaped tanks, the nose is peppery and herbal with flavors of blackberry, currants, and herbs de provence. Great with any weeknight supper!

 

 

2010 Chateau Maris Natural Selection  -  $19.99wine6

A similar blend to the Old School Rouge, this red is a bit more serious, with about half of the wine aging in concrete and the other half in conical oak foudre, 30% of which are new. This gives it a bit more silky tannin on the finish, along with a slightly more herbal and spicy grip. A great red for grilling season!

wine72010 Chateau Maris Continuite de Nature  -  $29.99

Definitely the most serious of the three red wines we have from Chateau Maris, this blend is 90% Carignan blended with 10% Grenache from vines planted in 1922. It’s aged and fermented in large oak casts for 18 months and has rich dark-fruited notes like currants and elderberries alongside a silky and long finish; a testament to how elegant Carignan can become!

Upcoming Events:

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

Tasting with Taylor Sorenson from Winewise – Sunday, March 23, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

Magnolia Beer Tasting – Thursday, March 27, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

Tasting Seminar: Sherry and Madeira – Tuesday, April 15, 7-9PM, – At 18 Reasons

Beer Workshop: Malt – Wednesday, April 16, 7-9PM – At 18 Reasons

Inexpensive and Incredible: How to Spot Great Value Wine – Monday, April 21, 7-9PM, At 18 Reasons

Spring Wine Blitz Preview Tasting – Thursday, April 24, 6-8PM – At 18 Reasons

Spring Wine Blitz! – Monday, April 28 through Sunday, May 4 – At Both Markets!

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.

 


St. George Spirits’ California Agricole Rum–Drink Recipes!

StGeorgeRumHeader

It’s my pleasure to announce our latest Featured Spirit: St. George Spirits’ California Agricole Rum. Established in 1982, St. George Spirits, located just across the Bay from us in Alameda, CA, was founded on the principles of Old World eau de vie distillation. Be it vodka, absinthe, liqueur, or brandy, every release from St. George is expertly created in small batches in copper pot stills, with no artificial colors, flavors, or preservatives. The distillery incorporates organic, locally-grown fruit, vegetables, herbs, and grains into their products whenever possible, and every ingredient is used in its entirety to maximize the aromas and flavors of the spirit.

Their California Agricole Rum is made from fresh sugarcane grown in the Imperial Valley of Southern California. This unique-tasting rum features earthy notes of grass, ginger, and caramelized banana, and is great with Coke and lime! Or try it in the recipe below for the Castle Harbor Special, developed by expert barkeep Jonny Raglin of Comstock Saloon, located in San Francisco’s historic North Beach neighborhood.

Castle Harbor Special
by Jonny Raglin of Comstock Saloon
1-1/2 oz St. George California Agricole Rum
3/4 oz lime juice
1/2 oz Small Hands Pineapple Gum
1/4 oz Small Hands Grenadine
Lime wedge

Shake the first 4 ingredients for 20 seconds, and double-strain over ice. Garnish with lime.

Mexicali Libre
2 oz St. George California Agricole Rum
Mexican Coke

Pour California Agricole Rum into a tall glass filled with crushed ice, top with Mexican Coke and a squeeze of lime.

 

 

 


John Herbstritt

Vineyard Dispatch Part 3: Are there groundhogs in France?

contemplating our future

contemplating our future

This piece was meant to be more timely. Unfortunately it’s harder than previously estimated to write blog posts while road-tripping around foreign countries. But it’s still February, right? On February 2, 2014, Punxsatawney Phil saw his shadow and retreated back into his burrow, indicating that there will be six more weeks of winter. Thankfully, in America, we have traditions like these to guide us through treacherous territory: weather can be unpredictable and nasty. Other countries aren’t so lucky.

France, for instance, has no groundhogs, which is probably why they were ill-prepared for the harsh growing seasons of 2012 and 2013. 2012 brought multiple bouts of frost in April and May and poor weather during flowering, which means that many flowers didn’t bloom properly. Then there were hailstorms throughout the summer and, in many places, rains during harvest. Luckily the combination of flower loss and fruit loss from hail can lead to extra-concentrated fruit, but unfortunately also to an extremely reduced harvest. More on that later.

In 2013 it was unseasonably cold until June, and there was a devastating hailstorm in May that ravaged much of the Western half of the country. Once again, a reduced harvest. Many barrel samples that I tasted while travelling were vibrant and exciting, so still pretty excited about the wines. The worst thing about giant hailstones is that they not only ruin your crop for the current vintage but also extend their icy fingers into the proceeding one. How, you ask? When vines grow their canes during the Spring and Summer, sprouting leaves and flowers and tendrils, the budwood for the next year’s growth is already present on those canes, and when vintners prune their vines during the winter for the next year’s crop, they choose the best cane to keep from the previous year’s growth with which to continue on. So when entropy comes in the form of hail to ruin all of their careful preparations, vintners must make do, choosing inferior or partially damaged canes during pruning as they must.

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hail-damaged fruit

Of course, hail is very spotty. For instance, in 2012, the villages of Pommard and Volnay in the Southern part of Burgundy saw an 80% crop reduction due to hail, while the Cotes de Nuits just to the North was relatively untouched. I read this little tidbit in an article by Jancis Robinson in the Financial Times published on January 17, 2014: villages in the South of Burgundy are reportedly considering installing cloud-seeding cannons on the hills above their vineyards in order to mitigate hail damage. Depending on how you look at it, this seems either very futuristic or very retrograde – but wine is usually both of these things at once, isn’t it?

Which brings me to my final point. I had the privilege of tasting through barrel samples of 2012 Burgundies from some of the most famous names in Burgundy yesterday at a trade tasting at the Hotel Vitale. The tasting included great producers like Armand Rousseau in Gevrey-Chambertin, Domaine Christian Moreau in Chablis, Olivier Leflaive is Meursault, Jacques Prieur, and Domaine Faiveley. Big names. Across the board the wines were concentrated and intense, reflective of reduced harvests and a spell of warm weather in August and September that finally ripened things up. Speaking broadly, there were some Chardonnays whose intensity was rather jarring. The best wines were able to take this concentration and match it with clarity and minerality. Also, prices went through the roof this year for Burgundy. Perhaps this is the most boring sentence ever written, but of course rationales are about reduced harvests with the incentive that 2012 will also be a solid vintage in terms of quality. Of course, great Burgundy will still fetch great prices no matter what the vintage, but what about the rest of the country? Hard-working winemakers from Gaillac or Muscadet can’t simply make up for reduced harvests by increasing prices. They don’t make the market like the bigwigs in Burgundy. You’ll have to excuse the metaphor, but they’re like vines in a hailstorm: and crop insurance is expensive.


Matt R.

St. Valentine and Grape Vines: An Unusual History‏

st. valentineWhat do St. Valentine and grape vines have in common? The answer may surprise you!

In the 1800s, in the town of Roquemaure in the Rhône Valley, wine business was booming! Roquemaure’s wines had become known throughout France and they were one of the first villages known to label their wines CDR (Côtes du Rhône) to distinguish them as a sign of quality. Yet in 1866, strange things were happening to their precious vineyards. In Roqumaure, and all over Europe, grape vines were mysteriously dying, and no one knew why.

Things were getting desperate and French newspapers and local clergy blamed mankind’s reliance on science rather than God for the sudden vine deaths. In 1868, a Roquemaure dignitary, Maximilian Richard, was sent to Rome to acquire some relics of a patron saint for protection of the vines. He returned with the relics of St. Valentine and housed them in Roquemaure’s church of Saint-Jean-l’Evangeliste. The hopes of the villagers lay in the relics of St. Valentine to help protect the vines and to help the farmers determine why the vines were dying. And then in July of 1868, an accidental pickax blow by a farmer to a grape vine revealed the culprit – tiny yellow aphid-like creatures sucking on the vine’s roots. Phyolloxera!

In time, the French discovered that grafting European vines onto American rootstock, which was resistant to phylloxera, would allow the vines to grow unharmed. And however scientific the ‘cure’, St. Valentine had won a place in the hearts of the people of Roquemaure, where his relics are still housed and celebrated each year with La Fete des Amoureux (The Festival of Lovers).

So help celebrate St. Valentine and his contribution to wine (by way of a comfort to the people of Roquemaure) by enjoying some festive bubbly and cheese!

2011 Champ Divin Cremant du Jura Brut Rose  -  $22.99

wine 1Valerie and Fabrice Closset-Gaziaux have lived a life close to nature. They both grew up with families that kept bees, biodynamic gardens, and vineyards. They’ve both worked together helping farmers and winemakers convert to and farm using biodynamics. In 2009, after travelling the world spreading biodynamic know-how, they decided to settle in the Jura and bought a property with five hectares of vines. Their first bottlings are such a pleasure to drink! This sparkling rose is made in the Champagne method with Trousseau and Pinot Noir grapes. It has aromas of fresh red berries and flavors of tart rhubarb, herbs, and a lush fizz-filled finish. Perfect for your Valentine!

NV Guiborat Fils Extra Brut Tradition Champagne  -  $39.99

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The Fouquet family has a long tradition in Champagne, having farmed their eight hectares in the sub-region of Cramant since 1885. Today, 5th generation Richard Fouquet and his wife Karine run the estate. While they have traditionally sold most of their grapes to other producers, life many in Champagne do, they’ve recently started saving some of their grapes and bottling their own Champagnes. The Extra Brut tradition is about 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Meunier. Although there’s not added dosage (sugar added after disgorgement), a bright floral and honeycomb nose leads to a rich palate full of stone fruit flavors and salty minerality. A great value for a great grower-producer of Champagne!

A Toast for Two: Champagne and Cheese Bundle – $39.99

toast for twoImpress your special someone with the perfect pairing, presented in a pre-made festive package. We’ve done the work for you and have these bundles pre-made and ready to grab at either Market. Each bundle includes one wheel of Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam cheese, a delicious, local, soft-ripened triple-creme, along with one split bottle (375 mL) of Guy Charlemagne Reserve Brut Champagne. This 100% Chardonnay Grand Gru Champagne is decadent, elegant and a perfect match for the rich and buttery Mt. Tam!

 

Upcoming Tastings:

18th Hour Cafe - Thursdays, 6-9PM – Drop-In – At 18 Reasons. On Thursday, February 13, 18th Hour Cafe celebrates San Francisco Beer Week!

Champagne Tasting with Sacred Thirst Selections – Friday, February 14, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

21st Amendment Brewing Tasting – Saturday, February 15, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

Speakeasy Brewery Tasting – Sunday, February 16, 4-6PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

Rich Higgins Beer Workshop: Food Pairing Techniques – Saturday, February 15, 3-5:30PM – At 18 Reasons

Tasting Seminar: Wine Basics with Pamela Busch – Saturday, February 22, 1-5PM – At 18 Reasons

Inexpensive and Incredible: How to Spot Great Value Wine – Monday April 21, 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.


Celebrate Valentine’s Day with Flowers, Bubbly, and Heart-Shaped Cheese!

Need some ideas for a fun and romantic Valentine’s Day? We’ve got a selection of Champagnes, cheeses and flowers that are sure to bring a smile to the face of someone special. All of the offerings mentioned below are available at both our 18th Street and Divisadero Market locations.

photo 1

We’re highlighting two excellent Champagnes this week. Champagne Guiborat Brut Tradition NV, a great Champagne value, is produced by the Fouquet family, who have farmed a small vineyard in the Grand Cru village of Cramant since 1885. Now in the hands of 5th generation owners Richard Fouquet and his wife Karine, Tradition has a touch of brioche on the nose accompanied by notes of white flowers and green apple.

Champagne Guy Charlemagne Reserve Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs is from a small grower located in a Chardonnay-rich Grand Cru villages of Mesnil and Oger, known for their rich limestone soil. This 100% Chardonnay pleaser has a lightness and finesse with touches of lemon and fresh nuts and notes of warm bread. For the perfect Valentine’s pairing, try our special A Toast for Two Champagne and Cheese Combo, which places this lovely Champagne alongside Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam cheese; its decadent, buttery creaminess is complimented perfectly by the complex intensity and long finish of the Champagne Guy Charlemagne. Try them together for an unforgettable treat.

photo 3You can also pick up a heart-shaped wedge of the Cowgirl Creamery’s Heart’s Desire, which is available just once a year just for Valentine’s Day. This special cheese will arrive fresh at both Markets on Valentine’s Day! Don’t miss this annual treat! Try Heart’s Desire on its own, or try our other featured Valentine’s cheese, the Andante Heart-Shaped Rondo. Not much is sexier than this cheese, an elegant blend of rich Jersey milk and tangy goat’s milk and crafted by one of our most talented local cheesemakers. Adorned with dried herbs and peppercorns, the heart-shaped Rondo is as beautiful to behold as it is sensuous to share.

FlowerBouquetsAnd to complete the picture for Valentine’s Day, don’t forget the flowers. Come by on Friday, February 14th to get a custom bouquet or floral arrangement made by our in-house florists. Bouquets of sustainable, organic and local flowers start at $25 and locally-grown roses by the stem will be $3 each. On Valentine’s Day you can get your flowers hand-arranged out in front of both of our Markets; our florists will create something special while you pop into the Market to get some chocolate, cheese and Champagne. We’ll have your Valentine positively swooning!


San Francisco Beer Week: Celebrate and Taste with us!

San Francisco Beer Week starts this week, and we have a whole slew of free tastings scheduled at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero to highlight our favorite local beers. Plus, we’re proud to be part of events with our neighbors at Cervecería de MateVeza, and our friends and pioneers in San Francisco organic beermakingThirstyBear Brewing. Join us to celebrate and taste phenomenal brews from the most innovative California producers.

Final One Color Magnolia Growler 4x5 inch plate 2014Friday, February 7, 4-6pm at Bi-Rite Divis
Magnolia Brewing: Promised Land Imperial IPA Tasting
FREE Event: RSVP here!
Kicking of SF Beer Week, Ian from Magnolia Brewing will pour Promised Land Imperial IPA! Enjoy it with perfect cheese pairings, hand-selected by Bi-Rite Cheesemongers. A Bi-Rite Exclusive: Ordinarily only available on draft, we will have Promised Land Imperial IPA available for sale in growlers! Quantities are limited!

anchor_print_logoSunday, February 9, 4-6pm at Bi-Rite Divis
Anchor Brewing Co. Tasting
FREE Event! Drop-in
Jack from Anchor Brewing will pour tastes of new beers, including their Anchor IPA and the Zymaster Series No. 5: Harvest One American Pale Ale, along with some old favorites!

AndersonValleyMonday, February 10, 4-6pm at Bi-Rite Divis
Anderson Valley Brewing Tasting
FREE Event! Drop-in
Seth from Anderson Valley Brewing will pour some favorites, including Boont Amber Ale and Barney Flats Oatmeal Stout.

CerveceriaTuesday, February 11, 2014, 5-9pm at Cervecería de MateVeza
Bi-Rite Salted Caramel Ale Release
FREE Event: Get more info here!
Our neighbors at Cervecería have brewed “Salted Caramel Ale,” an homage to Bi-Rite Creamery‘s signature Salted Caramel ice cream. Come try the beer side by side with the ice cream to see how they did. They’ll also be serving ice cream floats featuring Bi-Rite’s delicious creations.

TBLogoThursday, February 13, 2014, 6-9pm at ThirstyBear Brewing
Organic Orgy 2014—An Organic Beer and Food Tasting Event
Ticketed Event: Register here!
Taste an orgy of organic beers from California’s certified organic breweries! San Francisco’s only certified organic brewery, ThirstyBear, will host Bison, Butte Creek, Eel River, MataVeza, Napa Smith, Santa Cruz Mountain, Sierra Nevada, and Uncommon Brewers. Organic food pairings will be provided by Bi-Rite Catering. Unlimited beer tastings.

AlmanacLogoThursday, February 13, 4-6pm at Bi-Rite Divis
Almanac Beer Co. Tasting
FREE Event: Drop-in
Chris from Almanac Beer Co. will pour beers new and familiar, plus special brews for SF Beer Week.

Thursday, February 13, 6-9pm at 18 Reasons
18th Hour Cafe Celebrates SF Beer Week!

21stAmendmentSaturday, February 15, 4-6pm at Bi-Rite Divis
21st Amendment Brewery Tasting
FREE Event: Drop-in

Todd from 21st Amendment will be pouring the Sneak Attack Saison, Brew Free or Die IPA, and Lower De Boom, a new barleywine–a Bi-Rite Exclusive!

We look forward to seeing you!


Raph

Touchdown! Superbowl Noms!

Superbowl XLVIII is on Sunday! With all of the 49ers fans on our staff, we at Bi-Rite are still licking our wounds from the playoff loss to Seattle. But the game must go on and we want you to enjoy it, even if only for the company, good food, and the commercials. You bring your friends, the couch and the television. We got you covered for noms and beer.

Don’t miss these awesome shareable party foods from our pre-pack case:

  • 7-Layer Dip – $13.99
  • Organic Black Bean Chipotle Dip – $4.99/8oz
  • Spicy Buffalo Wings with Blue Cheese Dip – $9.99
  • Willie’s Chili Con Carne – $9.99/32oz

IPASuperbowl

In honor of the Denver Broncos, we recommend washing this great food down with the excellent IPA from Avery Brewing of Colorado. You can get six-packs of this hoppy, acidic ale from our cooler, right before you stop by the deli counter for sandwiches, or to try great meals prepared by our kitchen. These offerings include:

 

  • Fried Chicken, $10.99/lbSuperbowlGrub2a
  • Sweet and Sour Chicken Wings, $9.99/lb
  • Poached Wild Shrimp with Spicy Cocktail Sauce, $24.99/lb
  • Heritage Pork Ribs with House-Made Chipotle BBQ Sauce, $14.99/lb
  • Deviled Eggs with Pimento, Celery and Caviar, $2.00 each
  • Macaroni and Cheese, $12.99/lb
  • Potato Skins, $3.99 each
  • Pasta Salad, $9.99/lb
  • Chili, $5.99/pint

To fill your snack bowl, stop by one of our in-store displays to get some Primavera Tortilla Chips and local favorite Papalote Salsa.

bothFor dessert, Bi-Rite Creamery has created two brand new Superbowl SundAES. Seahawks fans will want to grab the “Every Day I’m Russelling,” featuring Coffee Toffee and Salted Caramel ice creams, fudge, roasted almonds, and whipped cream. For Broncos fans, we ask “What Is the Manning of This?” with seasonal Orange Cardamom and Earl Grey ice creams, caramel sauce, house-made graham cracker crumble, and whipped cream. We assure you these aren’t any given sundaes, but tasting is believing, so come load up before kickoff.

 


John Herbstritt

Vineyard Dispatch Part 2: Direct from France

JHBlog2a

Domaine de Sulauze

The winds in San Francisco are fairly regular, which is perhaps the reason they do not have names, as far as I know. The climate breathes in and out each day according the sun and the pressure of the torrid Central Valley, and we accept that this is the way of things. A well-known wind in Provence is theMistral that blows down theRhône Valley between the Alps and the Massif Central. It is a cold, dry, hard wind that nevertheless conjures images of olive groves, pissaladière, and red-tiled roofs. It was this wind that was blowing as we entered Provence the other night. We came to attend a gathering of organic vignerons at the Domaine de Sulauze, a largish estate that makes biodynamic rosé that is both typical and delicious. We ate and listened to music and tasted lots of wine. Small plates of hand sandwiches were passed. The Tramontane is another such named wind which I encountered yesterday as we drove from Provence through the Languedoc and up into the Roussillon, the Catalan part of southern France. It is also worth knowing.

France Crispeels

France Crispeels of Domaine de Réveil

Tramontane: tra – meaning over or across, and montane – mountain. It is a wind that here in the Roussillon passes between the western edge of the Massif Central and the Pyrenees to the Southwest. It blows air from the Atlantic coast into the South, howling through the mountains and gathering speed as it descends. We had come to the Roussillon to meet a Belgian vigneronne named France Crispeels from the Domaine de Réveil. We met her down by the coast at her winery in a little warehouse where she makes wine naturally and without sulfur. Her 2013 harvest had gone well, and the reds had finished fermenting and were in vat waiting it be transferred into the large concrete tanks she uses for aging. The Carignan Grenache blend that we tasted first was reduced, funky still. The wine needs air in order to mature. But the Syrah was sublime, bright purple fruit, black pepper, a hint of lavender, just enough animal to keep things interesting.

salauzeestate

Domaine de Réveil

Then we followed her up into the higher altitudes to see the vines. She farms biodynamically, working hard to bring life to the vineyard so that the vines and the wine will be lively too. Picturesque old stumps of Carignan and Grenache with mountains in the behind, blurry clouds moving swiftly in the background. Scraggly wild herbs perfumed the air. A neighboring conventionally farmed parcel with its moonscape blasted look stood on stark contrast to the vibrancy o f her plots. Back at her home she served us a meal of locally made seed bread and homemade tapenade (black olives with pits, garlic, olive oil, anchovies, capers, c’est tout!) veal steak from her favorite ranch which raises the calves until 18 months of age and lets them wander free, a chicory salad with garlic lemon vinaigrette and avocado, and simple brown rice. We tasted the current vintages, all delicious. Réveil means to wake up. A nice black coffee finished us off.


John Herbstritt

Vineyard Dispatches from France

Here at Bi-Rite we love to celebrate the awesome wine made right here in California. Passionate winemakers like Chris Brockway of Broc Cellars, Ross Cobb at Hirsch Vineyard, and Angela Osbourne of Tribute to Grace are forging their own paths and making food-friendly, vibrant and delicious wines that have a sense of place. I also love to taste things from where they started; every wine buyer has his or her own wine Mecca. For me it’s France. I admit it, je suis un francophile. I love French food, I love French culture. I love the people and their language. And I love their wine. I lived in Paris in dingy apartment for a year teaching English to little French kids, and even though I was pinching my pennies I still managed most days to eat the most delicious baguettes I have ever had to this day and indulge in a bottle of Cahors every once in a while, the first appellation that I ever fell in love with. So it is with great excitement that I am departing to go on a two-week long tour de vin around the country to visit with some of my favorite producers from an importer that we work with, Return to Terroir.

We will be traveling by car in a giant circle around almost the entire country. Landing in Paris we will depart immediately for Champagne, then onto Burgundy and the Northern Rhône and into Provence. We will spend a day or two in Montpellier for the giant organic wine expo Millésime Bio and then head North (to Cahors!), Bordeaux, and Sancerre. We will stay in Saumur for a day or two to check out the Dive Bouteille, the incredible natural wine fair hosted yearly by Catherine and Pierre Breton. From there, back to Paris and a long flight home.

Why am I going? To taste new wine, meet new people, learn a thing or two about what makes winemakers tick, to be sure. I will also be in search of new and exciting wines to bring back home for you, our guests and wine friends; but what I really want to explore is a topic that I mentioned above. That sense of place, terroir as they call it in France. What is it? The best wines from California have an unmistakable feeling of being from here, right now, in the moment. I’ve visited some of these places. Time to check out those other terroirs. I will be making posts here on our Bi-Rite blog to keep all your internauts at home informed about what I will be doing, where I’m going, and hopefully talk about some new wines that are going to make their way over the pond and onto our shelves. Keep checking and see you all when I get back!

A bientôt!

John


Matt R.

Featured Winery: Fausse Piste

FausseJesseWhat do you get when you combine a chef with Rhone varietals from Oregon and Washington? Fausse Piste wines is what! We’re pleased to welcome our first featured Winery of 2014, Fausse Piste from Portland, Oregon. Winemaker Jesse Skiles, a Portland native, founded Fausse Piste six years ago in St. Paul, a suburb of Portland and moved the operation along with his new sister restaurant, Sauvage to Portland in the summer of 2012.

Jesse’s first experience with wine was working as a harvest cook for Owens Roe Winery in Oregon. When we spoke over the phone earlier this week, Jesse told me he sort of fell into winemaking by accident. He had tried opening restaurants, and the timing was never right. But having been inspired by his hands-on time at Owens Roe and visits to the Rhone Valley in France, Jesse and his partners Nicolas Vernon Duff, Chris Vandersloot, and Jeff Vejr started an urban winery + restaurant hybrid in the heart of Portland.

Jesse draws his inspiration from the wines of the Rhone Valley, in particular Matthieu Barret in Cornas. After visiting Matthieu, Jesse was blown away by how differently Matthieu approached winemaking in comparison to what Jesse had seen here in the US. It was all very non-interventionist, and surprisingly old school for a relatively new producer. Jesse’s style of winemaking is greatly influenced by this style. He sources grapes from a handful of growers in Washington and Oregon and is very minimalist and experimental in his winemaking. He doesn’t add anything during the process except for minimal sulfur at the end for stability, and he experiments with various vessels for fermenting and aging from concrete and stainless steel to acacia and large casks.

It’s impressive that Jesse is also the chef for his sister restaurant Sauvage, attached to the winery. His approach to food in similar to his winemaking. He strives to simplify things for his guests and keep everything approachable. His wine list has a staggering 70 wines by the glass, all naturally made and natively fermented, including rotating Fausse Piste selections, and all food-friendly. His food is also remarkably ‘wine friendly’ – seasonal and uncomplicated. If you’re ever in Portland, definitely check out Sauvage and Fausse Piste, but until then come by either Market to sample his wines!

2012 Fausse Piste Heart of the City Rosé  -  $19.99

Fausse1Jesse’s rosé is 100% Syrah, but is a blend of various vineyards in the Columbia Valley. The deep ruby color is a result of everything being blended for 8 days before being pressed off into cask. Jesse got an old 1400 gallon cask from a producer in Gigondas (which barely fit through his winery door!) and the wine fermented and aged directly in this cask. The resulting wine is a robust rose, with gripping peppery notes and plenty of juicy tart cranberry flavors. And who said rose is only for warm weather? This will pair perfectly with hearty winter dishes like leek risotto or cioppino.

2012 Fausse Piste Viognier  -  $19.99
Fausse2The Fausse Piste Viognier is sourced from a site with a good amount of granite soil. The warm, dry, desert, climate of the Walla Walla valley in Washington can often result in overripe grapes, but Jesse and his partner Chris pick early and use the natural canopy of the grape leaves to protect the grapes. The result is a Viognier that’s not at all flabby or too floral, but full of gripping acidity and flinty minerality that make it an easy pairing with anything from fresh seafood to a citrus and fennel salad.

 

2011 Fausse Piste ‘Garde Manger’ Syrah  -  $21.99
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The ‘Garde Manger’, named as an homage to Jesse’s cooking background, is a blend of all of the vineyards he works with. It’s an homage to all of his growers and a chance to showcase the raw material they had to work with in a given year. Each plot is vinified separately, about 85% of them whole cluster, and then blended together. The end result is a lovely and rustic Syrah with plenty of dark cherry, rosemary, and savory notes. A great Syrah to pair with some roasted duck and winter root vegetables.

2010 Fausse Piste Les Vignes de Marcoux Syrah  -  $29.99
Fausse4The Les Vignes de Marcoux is from the Red Willow Vineyard in the Yakima Valley of Washington. The ‘Vignes de Marcoux’ is a single plot within that vineyard, first planted with Syrah in 1980 by the Sauer family, some of the first to plant Syrah in Washington state. Fermented about 80% cluster, this Syrah is rich and robust, with savory notes of black olive, currants, smoke, and earth. Jesse only made 44 cases, so grab some while you can!
 
Upcoming Tastings:
18th Hour Cafe - Thursdays, 6-9PM – Drop-In - At 18 Reasons

 

Wine Seminar: New California Wines with Jon Bonné
Wednesday, February 12, 6:30-8:30pm

Rich Higgins Beer Workshop: Food Pairing Techniques
Saturday, February 15, 3:00-5:30pm

Tasting Seminar: Wine Basics with Pamela Busch
Saturday, February 22, 1:00-5:00pm

Inexpensive and Incredible: How to Spot Great Value Wine
Monday, April 21, 7:00-9:00pm
(First session sold out. New session added!)


Celebrating SF Made – Part II!

booze displayyyyyyyyyyyyyWith the Fancy Food Show in town, Raph took some time to tell you about some of the fantastic local, artisanal food products that he’s highlighting at our Markets. To accompany them, we’ve also got a wide selection of great spirits and beer that are proudly crafted right here in San Francisco. Here are a few that I’m particularly excited about this season.

 

Sutton Cellars Vermouth – A thicker-bodied, grapey vermouth that tastes beautiful all on its own over ice. Crafted from a base of Sonoma white wine and infused with botanicals, including rosemary from the bush near the winery.

No. 209 is a San Francisco gin distillery owned by the Rudd family (owners of Rudd Oakville Estate Winery and Dean & DeLuca). They pride No. 209 on being a “handcrafted, unique and intriguing spirit that is truly artisanal in quality”.

Junipero Gin, which was given the “Best Gin in Show” award at the 2012 NY World Wine and Spirits show, is made by hand  in a small distillery in the Potrero Hill section of San Francisco. Anchor Distilling Company, which produces Junipero Gin, also produces Anchor 18th Century Spirit Whiskey, hand-crafting from a mash of 100% rye malt.

Legendary San Francisco brewer Anchor Brewing, an affiliate of Anchor Distilling Company, produces Anchor Bock Beer, a fine seasonal offering that’s dark, strong, refreshing and perfect for the onset of spring in San Francisco.

Junipero

Speakeasy Betrayal is a seasonal release from this San Francisco brewer. It’s an Imperial Red Ale with flavors of caramel and malt and hints of tropical fruits. With its rich mouthfeel and full body, it pairs well with stew steak.

Almanac Biere de Chocolat is a collaboration between nomadic farm-to-barrel San Francisco brewers Almanac and our friends at the phenomenal San Francisco chocolatier Dandelion Chocolate. The result is this rich, decadent, dark and smoky beer.

You can find all of these local products in our Made in SF display at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero, and just ask for them at 18th Street and we’ll be happy to help you out. We hope you enjoy these products from our friends and neighbors as much as we do!


Jason Rose

Our Christmas and New Year’s Menu is Here!

Christmas menuBeginning today, December 20th, our house-made Christmas and New Year’s menu will be available at Bi-Rite Market on 18th Street and Divisadero. And this year, you can also pre-order everything you need online! Just place your order, select a date and time for pick-up, and you’re all set! Or call us or stop by to place your order. We look forward to seeing you, and are here to help with any planning or cooking tips you may need!

Bi-Rite’s Christmas and New Year’s Menu 

House-Brined and Oven Roasted Diestel Turkey Breast

Bi-Rite’s San Francisco Clam Chowder

Butternut Squash and Apple Soup with Fresh Sage 

Bourbon Sweet Potato Mash with Candied Pecans 

Horseradish and Sour Cream Mashed Potatoes  

Roasted Brussels Sprouts and Carrots with Bacon Maple Syrup

Roasted Delicata Squash and Brussels Sprouts with Caramelized Shallots

Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Roasted Mushrooms

Balsamic-Roasted Red Beets and Carrots with Citrus Segments

Cranberry-Tangerine and Honey Relish

Wild Mushroom and Zinfandel Gravy

Chestnut-Apricot Bread Stuffing

Horseradish Crème Fraîche with Fresh Chives

prime ribOur Butcher’s choice this year for the ideal centerpiece for holiday meals is prime rib. We’ve selected prime rib from Five Dot Ranch. Grass-fed and grain-finished, this beautiful beef has just the right amount of marbling for a buttery mouth feel and texture. We’ve also got a wide selection of California-raised poultry including turkeys, geese, ducks, and more!

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Winter is also a perfect time to enjoy cheeses. We’ve selected five favorites, along with an array of perfect pairing options, to delight your dinner guests and party-goers. Plus, we’ve created two special bundles just for Christmas and New Year’s that are only available online! Try our Tradition Reigns: Celebrate with Stilton pack to enjoy the classic pairing of English Stilton and port.

No holiday dinner would be complete without decadent, festive, magical desserts!BiRite_Holiday-400

Bi-Rite Creamery has taken tradition to a new level this year with our gorgeous Bûche de Noël, featuring chocolate roulade with milk chocolate butter cream, chocolate glaze, and decorated with adorable meringue mushrooms, pistachios, and sparkling candied rosemary! Don’t forget the ice cream! Our seasonal favorites are back, including Candy Cane, Pumpkin, and Eggnog.

Let us help you select the perfect wine for your meals and spirits to warm you! With vintages that pair perfectly with main courses, festive bubbly and single-barrel bourbons from our favorite family-run distilleries, our hand-selected wines, beers, and spirits are sure to delight.

We look forward to helping make this season memorable for you, your family and friends as you gather and celebrate. Happy Holidays!