Home Archive by category 'Wine, Beer & Spirits' (Page 3)

Archive for the ‘Wine, Beer & Spirits’ Category


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!

WholeBoard1

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!


Matt R.

December Wine Blitz is on at our 18th Street Market!

wine blitz

Our December Wine Blitz is on right now, and it’s the perfect chance to stock up on wine for Christmas, New Year’s and beyond. Right now at our 18th Street Market, you can save 20% on any twelve or more bottles of wine, mixed and matched in whatever combination you want. Get yourself squared away for the holidays and grab a few bottles to save for special occasions next year. Just make sure to act fast – Wine Blitz ends at closing time on Sunday, December 15th, so come by today and take advantage of our superior selection and expertise.

You can also call us at 415-241-9760 to pre-order for your Wine Blitz selection. Free delivery is available in the city of San Francisco. We want to get you outfitted for the holidays, and time is running short. Call us or come on by.


Perfect Cheeses for Your Holiday Celebration

The wedding adage about “something old, something new, something borrowed, something blue” always struck me as a bit silly. But I was recently musing on the phrase while celebrating a friend’s Big Day and thought, “Wow – that’s actually pretty good advice for starting an ideal cheese plate!” Just grab something perfectly aged, something fresh, something borrowed (European tradition, for example) and something…bleu. I’m always looking for delicious cheeses that highlight variety in flavor and texture, and the cheeses selected for our 2013 Holiday Guide are all perfect for holiday gatherings.WholeBoard1

If there’s one local favorite that everyone will love, it’s Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam. This rich, buttery cheese is made by our good friends at Cowgirl using organic Straus Family Creamery milk. It’s a sure-fire crowd-pleaser and you really can’t go wrong bringing it to a holiday party.

Redwood Hill’s Cameo, made with local goat’s milk, is a truly elegant show-stopper on the cheese board. Created in nearby Sebastopol, Cameo is studded with cracked black peppercorns and lemon verbena. This lovely cheese is soft, silky, and delicious.

BonneBoucheA favorite among Bi-Rite cheesemongers is Bonne Bouche from Vermont Creamery. Slightly tangy and beautifully yeasty, this cheese is given its distinctive blue/gray hue by its ashed rind and is accented with a mild minerality.

A wedge of Bleiki Alpkase, imported from Bi-Rite’s very own adopted Swiss Alp, celebrates everything traditional about old-world cheesemaking and brings a fruity, slightly nutty flavor profile to your spread. This cheese is a Bi-Rite exclusive and is not available anywhere else outside of Europe!

And for your “something blue,” you can embrace English-style Christmas tradition with the iconic Stilton. This cheese from Colston Bassett, aged to perfection, is creamy yet crumbly, with notes of wet stone and hay.

If you’re having trouble choosing among these excellent cheese plate options for the holidays, we’ve created two Christmas Cheese Bundles – one for cheese-lovers to share with friends and party-goers, and one for the cheese enthusiast who wants to celebrate holiday tradition. Both pair our favorite seasonal cheeses with some perfectly-matching snack and drink accompaniments. Pre-order them online!

Cheesemonger’s Choice: Party Pack – $39.99CheesemongersChoicePairs

One 8oz round Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam

One 4oz round Bonne Bouche

One 10oz jar of Harvest Song Sour Cherry Preserves

1 box Raincoast Crisp Date and Almond Crackers

StiltonBundlePairs (2)Tradition Reigns! “Celebrate with Stilton” Bundle – $44.99

½ pound Colson Bassett Stilton

One 375ml bottle of Niepoort 10-year Tawny Port

One 5oz jar of Bi-Rite Holiday Nut Mix

The Cheesemonger’s Choice is sure to impress, while the “Celebrate with Stilton” bundle brings together the classic and beloved combination of blue cheese and port wine. Whichever way your taste and palate run, we’ve got your cheese needs covered this Christmas. You can pre-order our featured cheeses and bundles online, or come in for a taste! Happy Holidays!


Matt R.

December Wine Blitz Picks: Celebratory Sparklers!

WinePostcardWe hope everyone had an enjoyable and delicious Thanksgiving and Hanukkah last week! With the condensed holiday season this year, believe it or not, it’s already time to start planning for Christmas and the New Year! Our final Wine Blitz of the year kicks off next week, Monday, December 9th and runs through Sunday, December, 15th at Bi-Rite on 18th Street. This is your last chance for 2013 to stock up on vino! During Blitz, you’ll get 20% off when you buy 12 or more bottles mix-and-match, and we’re once again offering free wine delivery within San Francisco! Think of all those upcoming gifts and holiday parties–you’ll need some wine!

Join us this Friday, December 6th from 6-8PM at 18 Reasons for our Blitz Preview Tasting. You’ll get to sample 25+ wines we’re excited about for the December Blitz and decide which to add to your Blitz wish list!

Can’t make it to the store during Blitz week? Worried about crowds? Shoot us an email or give us a ring to let us know what you’re looking for. We’re happy to pick out wines for you, apply the 20% discount during Blitz week, and set your wines aside for pick-up or delivery. Easy!

This week, we’re focused on all the Holiday entertaining left to do! We’re sure you have at least one or two holiday parties to attend (or even plan!) this season and need a perfect bottle of bubbly to round out the celebrations! Each of the sparkling wines below are great values for festive and celebratory sparklers. And not only are sparkling wines festive, they pair well with almost any food! Add these to your Blitz wish list today, as many of them are limited!

2011 Raventós i Blanc de Nit Rosé  –  $24.99; Blitz Price  –  $19.99

blancdenitCava, Spain’s national sparkling wine, has a long tradition–a tradition that dates back to the Raventós family in 1497. The Raventós estate has been producing wine since this time and Josep Raventós was the first to produce a sparkling wine in Spain in 1872. Today Pepe Raventós carries on his family’s tradition of winemaking and has worked to craft some of the best sparkling wines in Spain. Focused on standing apart from the multitude of mediocre Cavas produced by cooperatives in Spain, Pepe has studied with some the best winemakers in France, including Didier Dagueuneau and Phillippe Blanc. Since Pepe’s time at the winery in 2001, Raventós has converted fully to biodynamic wine-making and now produces stunning Cavas that are on the wine lists of some of Spain’s best restaurants. Their rose is extremely elegant with scents of fresh strawberry, tart tangerine, and a dry, lively finish!

NV Domaine Dupasquier ‘Perles d’Aimavigne’  –  $22.99; Blitz Price  –  $18.39

NVDupasquierWe’re not shy about loving basically everything from Domaine Dupasquier. Their dedication to preserving the native grapes of the Savoie, the amazing quality of the wines they produce, and the fact that simply drinking their wines is helping to preserve centuries-old winemaking traditions are all reasons Domaine Dupasquier has a special place in our hearts and in our wine glasses. The newest wine we’re stoked to have on our shelves is their sparkling. Made from native grapes Jacquere and Altesse with a bit of Chardonnay, their bubbly is one of our favorites this season. Notes of tart apple and white flowers lead to a crisp palate with a round finish. Perfect with anything from starters to sweets!

NV M. Bonnamy Crémant de Loire Brut  –  $14.99; Blitz Price  –  $11.99

NVBonnamyEasily one of the best values on our sparkling shelf, the Crémant de Loire from M. Bonnamy is a no-brainer. From hand-harvested Chenin Blanc, Chardonnay, and Cabernet Franc vines grown on limestone soils, this bubbly is a great alternative to pricier Champagnes. A lush and round texture is full of notes of toast, tart green apple, and quince. The perfect wine to get your guests started at the beginning of your holiday party!

 

Upcoming Events:

December Wine Blitz!! – Monday, December 9 – Sunday, December 15

*18th St. Location Only*

 Upcoming Tastings:

December Wine Blitz Preview Tasting – Friday, December 6, 6-8PM, Drop-In

Tasting Seminar: Champagne and Sparkling Wine – Monday, December 9, 7-9PM, Ticketed

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-9PM, Drop-In


Matt R.

Wine Blitz Is On!

wine blitzIt’s here! It’s happening right now! Our November Wine Blitz is in full swing at our 18th St. location! From now through Sunday, November 17th, you’ll get 20% off 12 or more bottles of wine, mix-and-match! Worried about carrying that wine home? We’re also offering free delivery within San Francisco for Wine Blitz purchases. Now’s the time to stock up on everything you’ll need for the approaching holiday season – especially Thanksgiving and Hanukkah!

Can’t make it to the store this week? Worried about crowds? Shoot us an email or give us a ring to let us know what you’re looking for. We’re happy to pick out wines for you, apply the 20% discount this week, and set your wines aside for pick-up or delivery. Easy!

Last week’s newsletter was all about red wines for Turkey Day. This week we’re focusing on fantastic fall whites. We’ve all noticed that chill in the air and the seasonal shift to winter produce, and Thanksgiving is only two weeks away! We think these white wines are perfect for any fall fare – all medium-bodied with great texture and acidity to stand up to the gamut of holiday food in the near future. And all of these wines are limited and won’t be available much past our November Blitz; be sure to grab them while you can!

2012 La Fenetre À Côté Pinot Gris  –  $17.99acote

Winemaker Joshua Klapper started his journey into the wine world at the age of just 19. Straight out of high school, he started working in restaurants and found himself as one of the youngest servers at the iconic Cafe Boulud in Manhattan. Working there, he had the opportunity to try some of the best wines from around the world, which inspired him to pursue wine-making on his own. He moved to California in 2005, and today sources fruit from high-quality and sought-after vineyards throughout the Central Coast. His Pinot Gris is inspired by the Pinot Gris of Alsace. Its texture is unctuous and reminiscent of beeswax with lovely tropical, apple, and honeysuckle notes. Perfect with our Bourbon Sweet Potato Mash!

confrerie2010 Domaine de la Confrérie Haut-Cotes de Beaune Blanc  –  $17.99

One of the newer producers in Burgundy, Domaine de la Confrérie was founded in 1991 by winemaker Christophe Pauchard. Christophe has just 10 hectares of vineyards in the small hamlet of Cirey. He’s dedicated to extreme care in the vineyards and is meticulous about the quality of his grapes. His Haut-Cotes de Beaune Blanc tastes pricier than it is! Fresh aromas of white flowers and honey lead to a long and elegant finish with notes of apple and pear. Try this with our Butternut Squash and Apple Soup!

2011 Thibaud Boudignon Anjou Blanc  –  $29.99thibaud

You know a winemaker is passionate about his craft when he has a side job as a winemaker from his day job as a winemaker. Thibaud Boudignon’s day job is with Domaine Soucherie, whose stellar reputation he has helped craft from the vineyard to the bottle. But on the side, Thibaud’s passion lies in his small, 2-hectare, organically-farmed vineyard of Chenin Blanc vines in Savennières. He is meticulous in the vineyard, minimalist in the winemaking process, and uses a combination of French oak and Austrian oak barrels. His Chenin Blanc has intoxicating quince, saline, and floral aromas with a lush texture and great minerally depth. It’s the perfect Thanksgiving Day white!

Upcoming Events:

November Wine Blitz!! – Monday, November 11 – Sunday, November 17

*18th St. Location Only*

December Wine Blitz!! – Monday, December 9 – Sunday, December 15

*18th St. Location Only*

Upcoming Tastings:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-9PM, Drop-In

Sancerre Tasting with Pamela Busch – Wednesday, November 13, 7:00-9:00PM, Ticketed

December Wine Blitz Preview Tasting – Friday, December 6, 6-8PM, Drop-In

Tasting Seminar: Champagne and Sparkling Wine – Monday, December 9, 7-9PM, Ticketed

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.


Matt R.

November Wine Blitz at Bi-Rite 18th Street!

wine blitzWe can’t believe it’s already time for our November Wine Blitz at 18th Street! We’ve been doing a fair bit of wine-hoarding and are stoked with the selection we have in store for the two upcoming Holiday Wine Blitzes. The first Blitz kicks off on Monday, November 11th and runs through Sunday, November 17th. If you’ve never participated in one of our Wine Blitzes before, here’s how it works: at our 18th St. location only, during the above-mentioned dates, you’ll get 20% off any 12 or more bottles of wine, mixed and matched however you like! Worried about carrying that wine home? We’re also offering free deliveries within San Francisco for Wine Blitz purchases. We’ve timed this sale perfectly to allow you to stock up on everything you’ll need for the approaching Holiday Season – especially Thanksgiving and Hanukkah.

Can’t make it during that week? Worried about crowds? We love pre-orders! Come by the store, shoot us an email or give us a ring before Wine Blitz starts and let us know what you’re looking for. We’re happy to pick out wines for you, apply the 20% discount during the week of Blitz, and set them aside for pick-up or delivery. And don’t forget to come to the Preview Tasting tomorrow, November 7th from 6 to 8 PM at 18 Reasons, where you can sample 30+ wines and get started writing your own Blitz Wish List. 

The wines below are just a few of many that we’re excited to feature for the November Wine Blitz. They’re all reds that are perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner. And yes, the classic pairing for turkey is Pinot Noir, but we like to think outside the bottle and pair our poultry with something different. All of these are limited and probably won’t be available much past our November Blitz, so be sure to add them to your Blitz List!

madeleine2011 Madeleine ‘Maddie’ Vin de Table  –  $16.99

Damien Georis discovered his passion for wines when he was a young boy living in Belgium and an old family friend, Madeleine, gave him his first sip of wine. This sip inspired Damien’s career as winemaker, and he later went on to study enology at Bordeaux University. He found additional inspiration in the Loire Valley and its signature grape, Cabernet Franc. Damien moved to California in 2005, determined to create a wine that would best express this elegant and refined varietal. ‘Maddie’ is his entry-level, everyday sipping wine, named for his wine muse. A blend of 75% Cabernet Franc and 25% Syrah, this wine is fresh, vibrant, juicy and filled with aromas of herbs and pepper.

2012 Franz Gojer St. Magdalener Classico  –  $22.99gojer

Franz Gojer is a master of Shiava and Lagrein, two native grapes of the Alto Adige. His Glogglhof vineyard at the heart of St. Magdalener produces some of the top wines from Alto Adige. The St. Magdalener Classico is blend of 95% Shiava and 5% Lagrein and is the perfect balance between elegance and power. We get aromas of violets and cherries along with a soft, velvety texture and round tannins. We love this with a traditional speck from this region of northern Italy, but it’s also a perfect pairing for your Thanksgiving meal.

dupasuier2010 Domaine Dupasquier Gamay  –  $19.99

It’s no secret we love Gamay at Bi-Rite! It’s our alternative to pricey Pinot Noir and is a very versatile and food-friendly grape! We’re always trying to source Gamay from different regions, especially since the grape can be very transparent and expresses terroir extremely well. One of our favorite Gamay producers is David Dupasquier. He has dramatic and picturesque vineyards in Savoie, high up near the Alps. Dupasquier’s Gamay is clean, high-toned, and minerally; it speaks of both the place and varietal from whence it comces. This is one of those limited wines that sells out fast, so don’t get caught buying just one bottle!

Upcoming Events:

November Wine Blitz!! – Monday, November 11 to Sunday, November 17

*18th St. Location Only*

December Wine Blitz!! – Monday, December 9 to Sunday, December 15

*18th St. Location Only*

Upcoming Tastings:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-9PM, Drop-In

November Wine Blitz Preview Tasting – Thursday, November 7, 6-8PM, Drop-In

Sancerre Tasting with Pamela Busch – Wednesday, November 13, 7:00-9:00PM, Ticketed

December Wine Blitz Preview Tasting – Friday, December 6, 6-8PM, Drop-In

Tasting Seminar: Champagne and Sparkling Wine – Monday, December 9, 7-9PM, Ticketed

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.


Matt R.

October Winery of the Month – Birichino

birichino

Besson Vineyard 101-year-old Grenache vine

Birichino means “mischievous” in Italian, and although Birichino founders Alex Krause and John Locke definitely have a glint in their eyes, they are dead serious about making delicious wine. They are both are alums of Randall Graham land at Bonny Doon (have you been paying attention?), and his wine-making philosophies have definitely rubbed off on them: the wines share a similar balance of fruit expressiveness, texture, and earth.

Alex and John are really into the expression of old vine sites, which is one of the most exciting things going on in California these days. Old vineyards like the Besson vineyard near Santa Cruz and the Bechtold Vineyard in Lodi not only produce tiny amounts of super-concentrated fruit for making fantastic wine, but also hold in their trunks the built-up stories of the people that eked an existence out of the land long before there was such a thing as a ’boutique winery’. John and Alex honor those stories by making wines with a sense of place: earth and dust. Their first major commercial release was the 2010 vintage, but the much-hailed 2012s are here now and tasting great. All of these wines are great for the autumn dinner table and pair well with everything from roasted delicata squash with farro and a light salad to a full-on daube Provençal with braised prunes and mashed potatoes. Let us know what you think!

BirichinoPinot22012 Birichino St. George Pinot Noir  –  $19.99

Fruit-forward, fresh, and bright, this is real CA Pinot, but with the restraint and elegance of an old-world wine. They balance the natural spice and sappiness of these vines by using a partial whole-cluster fermentation which tends to yield a lighter, fruitier wine. It’s delicious with everything from Fall vegetables to a hearty winter feast.

2011 Birichino Old Vine Besson Vineyard Grenache  –  $19.99BirichinoGrenache3

The Besson vineyard was one of Alex and John’s first sites. The vines are 100+ years old, but still yield wines that are spry and versatile at the table. Flavors of sour cherry and black pepper fold into a lush texture with a blend of other red fruits. Perfect with a roast chicken, side of root veggies and zesty gremolata. Let your imagination run wild!

BirichinoCinsault22012 Birichino Old Vine Bechtold Vineyard Cinsault  –  $17.99

The incredibly old (sensing a theme?) Bechtold Vineyard was planted in 1886 in deep sandy soils, which make it inhospitable to the phylloxera louse that ravaged many of the original CA plantings. It produces a tiny amount of concentrated fruit. These guys make delicious rose from it, but this red is perhaps the most honest representation of the wild fennel, black cherry, and earth that is inherent to Cinsault and to the ripe wines of Lodi.

2012 Birichino Malvasia Bianco  –  $14.99BirichinoMalvasia3

Malvasia is not so well-known these days, but was one of the most famous grapes in the world back in the Age of Exploration. Alex and John wait to harvest the grapes just when the floral and sweet citrus notes come out, but while the grapes still have a lingering mint character that balances out the flavor cocktail. A delicious choice for those open to varietal exploration, but would be a great stand-in for Pinot Grigio lovers, too!

Upcoming Events:

November Wine Blitz!! – Monday, November 11 – Sunday, November 17

*18th St. Location Only*

December Wine Blitz!! – Monday, December 9 – Sunday, December 15

*18th St. Location Only*

Upcoming Tastings:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-9PM, Drop-In

November Wine Blitz Preview Tasting – Thursday, November 7, 6-8PM, Drop-In

Sancerre Tasting with Pamela Busch – Wednesday, November 13, 7:00-9:00PM, Ticketed

December Wine Blitz Preview Tasting – Friday, December 6, 6-8PM, Drop-In

Tasting Seminar: Champagne and Sparkling Wine – Monday, December 9, 7-9PM, Ticketed


Matt R.

Fall Featured Cocktail: Le Samourai from Locanda

LocandaMany of you very familiar by now with our next door neighbor on 18th St., Delfina, and their newer restaurant Locanda. But perhaps you haven’t yet discovered the great cocktails being mixed up behind Locanda‘s bar. Bartender Alex Phillips crafts intriguing drinks, many of them Amaro-based, perfect for sipping before or after dinner!

Amaro is a family of Italian herbal-infused liqueurs. Many of you San Franciscans have probably indulged in one of Italy’s more well-known Amari without even knowing it – Fernet Branca! Alex’s ‘Le Samourai’ cocktail is a twist on a Manhattan with spicy Bulleit Rye, herbal Cardamaro, and the floral French wine-based liqueur, Byrrh Grand Quinquina. Check out Alex’s recipe and swing by either Market to grab everything you’ll need to mix up this autumnal elixir!

SamouraiRecipe

Samouraibooze1

Bulleit Rye Whiskey  –  $27.99
If there’s a whiskey that doesn’t need much explanation, especially to San Franciscans, it’s Bulleit Bourbon. But don’t overlook their more recently released Rye Whiskey. It’s made in small batches from 94% rye and 5% malted barley, giving it more structure and spice than their Bourbon. Perfect to warm you up on those chilly San Francisco nights!

Samouraibooze2

Bosca Tosti Cardamaro  –  $22.99
Bosca Tosti has been making this Amaro in the Piedmont, Italy for more than a century. Its base is Moscato wine infused with cardoon, thistle, and a secret blend of other herbs and spices. The liqueur is aged in oak casks for six months, rounding out its texture and giving it a softer edge than many harshly bitter Amari. Perfect for sipping on its own or in a cocktail!

Samouraibooze3

Byrrh Grand Quinquina  –  $21.99
Originally produced in 1873, Byrrh (‘beer’) Grand Quinquina is a French wine-based liqueur. A Grenache and Cinsault base-wine is infused with South American Quinquina (quinine), coffee, bitter orange, colombo, and cocoa, and then aged in oak casks. The result is a fruit-forward liqueur with a refreshing balance of herbs and spice. It can also be enjoyed on its own, simply chilled with a slice of lemon!

Upcoming Tastings:

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

Mini Wine Blitz – Friday, September 20th, 6-8PM, Ticketed and Drop-In


Matt R.

September Winery of the Month: Bonny Doon Vineyards

GrahamVinous Renaissance man Randall Grahm has been on the vanguard of California winemaking ever since he founded Bonny Doon Vineyards in 1981 in the Santa Cruz Mountains. A founding member of the Rhône Rangers, a group of winemakers dedicated to expanding Californians’ palates in the direction of Southern France, he made his own reputation with the release of Le Cigare Volant in 1986, an homage to Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Unfortunately, his original planting of vines in Bonny Doon succumbed to a rare and fatal vine ailment called Pierce’s Disease, but this did not deter him. Fast-forward 25 or so years; he is now one of the elder statesmen of forward-wine-thinkers, but his craft is still ceaselessly experimental, wide-eyed even in the face of the possibilities of California winemaking.

The wines that we are featuring this month carry on the goals of the original Rhône Rangers, but bring them into the 21st century. Randall now quests far and wide for his fruit, sourcing from such diverse places as Santa Barbara, Contra Costa, Monterey, and Santa Cruz, looking for the best fruit and for wines of diverse and complementary flavors in order to craft blends of complexity and finesse. Also, while making some of the tastiest premium wines in California, he continues to craft great everyday drinking table wine that will pair with just about anything. So come on in and check out the selection. You’ve haven’t Been Doon until you’ve Been Doon.

 

BD12008 Bonny Doon Le Cigare Volant  –  $29.99
This is Randall’s flagship wine, now in its 25th iteration. The name references a 1954 law passed in Châteauneuf-du-Pape banning the passage of UFOs over the village for fear of the damage they might inflict on its fabled wines. Although it’s suspect whether the village’s jurisdiction extends to interplanetary travelers, there is no doubt that this New World blend achieves the balance of fruit, earth, spice, and chewy ripe tannin to call itself an homage, however alien. It’s full of rich notes of mulberry, woods, black raspberry, and loamy earth.

 

2012 Bonny Doon Contra  –  $14.99
BD2If the Cigare Volant is the raised pinkie of Grahm’s collection, Contra is the middle finger. Composed of the thoroughly unknown Carignane from a crotchety 100 year old vineyard in Contra Costa County (not wine country) blended with Mourvedre and some bits and bobs of other varietals, it is a wine meant to be savored for its simplicity, straightforwardness, and utter drinkability. No snobs allowed. It has bright aromas of cherries, licorice, baking spices, and cassis.

 

2012 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare –  $15.99
This is Randall’s classic Provençal-style Vin Gris. This lovely light pink/grey rosé is made using grapes specifically harvested for making rosé rather than as a by-product of red-wine making (the way that most CA rosé comes about). That means that it has brighter acidity, zestier fruit flavors, and a more delicate texture than most. Enjoy with a hunk of Brillat-Savarin on all of those warm late-Summer nights that are surely on their way!

 

Upcoming Tastings:

 

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-9PM, Drop-In.

 

Mini Wine Blitz – Friday, September 20, 6-8PM, Drop-In and Ticketed

 

Harvest Beer & Food Pairing Class with Master Cicerone Rich Higgins – Wednesday, October 16, 6:30-9:30PM, Ticketed

 


John Herbstritt

Plate Tectonics and Biodynamics at Hirsch Vineyards

Hirsch3During a recent field trip with the Bi-Rite Wine Team to Hirsch Vineyards and Winery near Cazadero on the Sonoma Coast, I couldn’t help thinking about the pace of change in California wine. Things are always in flux here. We seem compelled to try new things every vintage: winemakers experiment with fermenting and aging their wines in concrete eggs, not using sulfur, spreading strange potions in their vineyards. These are all things that yield exciting results. But the very earth beneath us is also in a constant state of motion.

The San Andreas fault runs along the Pacific coast, just to the West of the Hirsch vineyards, rending and crumpling the land into hills and divots and creating ridges that dart this way and that. Here the Pacific plate slides underneath the North American plate, exposing ancient rocks and transforming the soil composition in the process. The ridges also create the microclimate that makes fine wine production possible. Perched above the fog line, but just on the edge of where the clouds normally burn off in the Summer, the sun is allowed to break through and nourish the vines, but it’s cool enough to ensure a long steady growing season. Perfect for pinot.

hirsch4Measuring change on a human scale is a bit more intuitive. Organic farming is great step toward eliminating chemicals from our land and from our bodies, but it can also be seen as merely a replacement; taking out one chemical and replacing it with a new one. Biodynamicists see farming as a practice that can work with nature instead of against it. Methods such as planting cover crops, composting, applying preparations to the soil that promote the growth of friendly soil bacteria, and planting the right crops next to each other, when coupled with a view of the vineyard as a natural environment that interacts with and is contained in the surrounding “uncultivated” land, result is minimal impact on the land. It also happens that this process can create some pretty compelling wines.

Biodynamics represents an ideal in farming. The folks at Hirsch have begun to move toward that ideal, but are still in the process, finding out how to best implement these practices on their land. They’ve already figured out how to work with the ever-shifting landscape. Their newest vineyards are mapped into blocks based on soil type and exposition that work with the curves and slopes of the land. These blocks are picked and fermented independently, offering an ever more specific sense of terroir. Ultimately, this is Pinot Noir’s (and Chardonnay’s) greatest asset: the ability to translate the soil into your glass. Fruit is nice, but without earth, you have juice, not wine. Everything that Hirsch does is geared towards the end result. They’re definitely on the right path.

2011 Bohan-Dillon Pinot Noir $39.99
HirschBohanNamed after the road that runs by the winery, this is a blend of some of the younger vines from the estate vineyards and some fruit from neighboring vineyards. Aromas of orange peel and spice with lots of fresh berry fruit. It’s lighter-bodied and bright. Serious for an entry-level wine—with enough depth to make a couple years’ ageing worthwhile—but with enough verve to be great at the table tonight.

2010 San Andreas Fault Pinot Noir $59.99
HirschFaultA blend of fruit from the Western and Eastern ridge. It’s meant to encompass the vineyard as a whole and is Hirsch’s signature wine. The 2010 vintage was extremely cool, highlighting the brightness and savor of the wines rather than the fruit character.  More texture, savor, and grip than the Bohan-Dillon, this will age on the long term beautifully.

2011 Chardonnay $54.99
HirschChardA Chardonnay for people who think they don’t like Chardonnay. With bracing acidity balanced by tons of texture and depth, this drinks much more like a white Burgundy than most CA chards. At 500 cases / year, this is one of the smallest production estate wines at Hirsch. The grapes all come from an extremely steep plot that juts up on the West ridge of the Hirsch property. The wind forms a microclimate that makes it distinctly cooler than any other part of the vineyard and so perfect for Chardonnay. Delicious to drink right now, but will also greatly reward those of us who are patient enough to wait…


Matt R.

August Winery of the Month: Martian Ranch Winery

martian1It’s an exciting time for California wine! The variety of styles produced and grapes grown here in CA is expanding beyond juicy Pinot Noir, ripe Cabernet Sauvignon, and oaky Chardonnay; not that these wines don’t have a place, but it’s great to see California’s potential beyond those steadfast traditions!

One of the winemakers leading this change and daringly exploring California’s wine potential is Nan Helgeland of Martian Ranch Winery. Nan and her husband, the award-winning writer/producer Brian Helgeland (Mystic River), always dreamed of making wine, so they bought property in Los Alamos and have released their first vintage, 2011. Nan and her winemaking partner Mike Roth are dedicated to biodynamic farming, native yeast fermentation, and minimal additions of sulphur. Nan and Mike are also dedicated to exploring varietals in CA beyond Pinot Noir, which is so ubiquitous in Santa Barbara. Her vineyards are planted with mostly Rhone and Spanish varietals – all grapes that do well in the hot, dry, rolling hills of Santa Barbara County.

The name, Martian Ranch, is both an homage to Nan’s sons, Martin and Ian, and perhaps a nod to the foreignness of the kinds of grapes she’s using in California. Or as she puts it, “The Martian seen occasionally on the premises is as much as mystery to her as it is to anyone else.” Try these exciting, restrained, vibrant, and food-friendly wines and help support the next generation of California winemaking! And don’t miss our upcoming Mini Wine Blitz, next Friday, August 23rd at 18 Reasons, where you’ll get to taste and order a few wines from Martian Ranch, among many others!

2012 Martian Ranch ‘Down to Earth’ Rosé – $16.99
martian2This is our kind of rosé! It’s based mostly on Grenache, much like our beloved Provencal-style rosé, but the ‘alien’ addition here is a bit of Tempranillo, a typically Spanish varietal. The nose is everything you’d expect in a rose from Southern France with a bit of added cherry and spice qualities. Dried herbs, tart cherry, and watermelon all combine on a dry and crisp palate that’s an easy pairing for a leisurely afternoon in the park!

2011 Martian Ranch ‘Uforic’ Albariño – $19.99

martian3Albariño
is a grape native to Galicia, Spain where it makes light, crisp, and brightly tart white wines that are a perfect match for any of the fresh seafood that abounds in Northwest Spain. Martian Ranch’s Albariño is a fresh take on this Spanish varietal. It’s aged in foudre (large used barrels) for six months giving a richer texture to this sometimes overly austere grape. Floral and stone fruit aromas are followed by a richly textured palate and a solid acidic backbone that is sure to stand up to anything from poultry to pork!

2011 Martian Ranch ‘Redshift’ Syrah – $21.99
martian4The Martian Ranch ‘Redshift’ is a great homage to the Syrah’s of the Northern Rhone. 95% Syrah blended with just 5% Viognier (not unlike Côte-Rôtie!) is fermented and aged in a combination of old and new French oak. Rustic dried herbal notes lead to a mid-weight palate that’s rich and full of dark blackberry and baking spice flavors. Just like Edwin Hubble’s discovery that the universe is expanding by observing the Red Shift phenomenon, we’re glad that Martian Ranch is expanding California’s Rhone-style credentials!

Upcoming Tastings:

18th Hour Cafe On Thursday, August 22nd, we will be pouring a selection of wines from Martian Ranch Winery! 6-10PM, Drop-In.

Tasting of wines from Martian Ranch Winery: Friday, August 16 6:30-8:30PM at Bi-Rite Divisadero. Space is limited, RSVP here to reserve your spot.

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

Mini Wine Blitz – Friday, August 23, 6-8PM, Ticketed