This week for the wine blog I wanted to introduce some new members to our wine team from both stores, and have them share the wines on the shelf that they are excited about. I’ll hand over the keyboard now. Stay tuned next time for “Gamayzing!”
“I was born in Bordeaux, reared in Brooklyn, and fell in Love with San Fran 17 years ago. I attended fashion school and worked in that industry until I discovered my passion for wine. My goal is to become first black female Master Sommelier – not an easy task. I really enjoy talking to guests about wine while on the floor at Divis. When someone loves a wine I recommended, it tickles me pink.
I love watching documentaries with a glass of Austrian Riesling in my hand, but as of late I have been drinking more Old World reds. My new favorite wine on the shelf is the “Les Hauts de Valcombe” from Chateau de Valcombe. This is an exciting and enchanting wine from the Southern Rhone. Just east of the famed Châteauneuf du Pape, the Coteaux de Ventoux is a hidden gem. The cuvee is Syrah dominant (rare in the South), but comingles with the Grenache effortlessly. Timid upon opening, the elegant red fruit of Grenache shines through as this wine blossoms. The Syrah gives it a smoky depth and herbaceous structure. Every sip is a joy. This wine makes me go MMMMMMMM.”
“I grew up in rural, sleepy western New York – not far from the colorful Walter Taylor’s historic Bully Hill winery – in an old farmhouse with pet goats and rabbits, and a big family vegetable garden. I’ve spent the last 25 years working in restaurants and wine shops in New York City and the Bay Area. I have also spent those years quietly reading, playing the cello, listening to Jazz and shooting pool, but I am happiest cooking, eating, and drinking with friends. For me, each bottle of wine is a fascinating reflection of a particular time and place, a seemingly magical confluence of sun, water, vine, and soil in a constant state of evolution, and the perfect complement for a tasty meal.
I am excited to be living at a time when so much wine is available to us all from all corners of the world, and I am particularly fond of French wines – especially whites and roses. Right now at 18th, I’m happy to be selling and drinking Marc Ollivier’s Domaine de la Pepiere ‘Clos des Briords’ Muscadet – a pure, elegant, and refreshing wine for any occasion. I also strongly recommend the honest and earthy Côtes Catalanes Rouge from Domaine de Majas, as well as the Athénaïs Bourgogne Épineuil ‘Valnoirs’ from Chateau de Béru, a tart, juicy Pinot Noir with a fine mineral finish.”
“I first moved to San Francisco in December of ’07 for a six-month culinary internship at Farallon Restaurant. When I returned to CIA I decided to extend my wine knowledge by enrolling in an advanced wines course. It was in this classroom setting that I first realized how much fun wine can be (aside from its intoxicating effects). Its vast range of aromatics, flavors, and textures opened a new world of experiences waiting to be explored. As a chef and food lover, I understood that food and wine become something more when experienced side by side. Since I moved back to San Francisco, I have only fallen deeper into the rabbit hole. To me there is nothing more fun than asking a question and getting to research and dig for an answer. The information found becomes a reward, something you’ve earned. Wine is a never ending quest of learning and the rewards are limitless.
The wine on the shelf I am most excited about right now at Divis is the La Marea Albariño. I love this grape and the wines made from it. For a long time I’ve been looking for a domestic Albariño that I’m happy with. To me, they either have the aromatics but the body and acid aren’t there, or they have no aromatics and the body and acidity are where they should be. I think the reason for this comes down to terroir. There are not a ton of places in the world like the Rias Baixas. But I think the chalky/clay hill above the Salinas River in Monterey County where this Albariño comes from is pretty damn close. It’s minerally and bright, like licking a rock, but in the best sense!”
Lots of new faces in the wine section. Say hi next time you’re in, Dear Reader, and be sure to ask for a recommendation.
Your friendly wine guy,
PS: my current favorite is the Exilé Pétillant Naturel from Lise and Bertrand Jousset. Sparkly, peppery and juicy Gamay from Montlouis. Yes please!