Home Posts tagged 'Pinot Noir'

Posts Tagged ‘Pinot Noir’

John Herbstritt

Pinot Noir & Fall Wine Blitz Next Week!


It’s hard to believe, but once upon a time, many winemakers in California thought thatPinot Noir would never find a home here. They looked at the rainy, cold, limestone slopes of Burgundy and saw a climate so alien to anywhere they were familiar with that the thought of emulating those famous wines seemed futile. The (perhaps) apocryphal story there is that the Cistercian monks who were responsible for mapping out the differentclimats on the Côte d’Or would train their palates by tasting the soil from each parcel. The Burgundy that we know today is the culmination of centuries of accumulated ancestral knowledge.

It took time to realize that we didn’t need to emulate Burgundy – we needed to forge a style of California Pinot Noir that spoke with its own voice. The Hanzell Vineyardcompetes with the Van der Kamp vineyard for the title of oldest Pinot Noir vines in California, but back when these were planted there was no guarantee that they would ever yield wines with the grace, power, and longevity that they have become known for. For many, these wines were more gratifying than their Burgundian counterparts. In Burgundy only the best years yield wines with the level of fruit and body that we take for granted in California. In fact, many Pinot Noir (and Chardonnay) lovers today are callingfor more restraint in this category, inciting something of a divide among California wine lovers.

And then of course there is Oregon. In 1979 the ’75 Eyrie Vineyards South Block Pinot Noir placed in the Top Ten in the Gault-Millau Wine Olympiad, beating out some very prestigious red Burgundy. One of these wineries even decided to establish a vineyard in Oregon, and in the late 1980s, Domaine Drouhin was founded in the Dundee Hills. The cool climate of the Willamette Valley made Pinot Noir cultivation seem obvious, and a combination of cataclysmic geologic events (see Columbia River Basalt Flow and The Great Missoula Floods) make for some extremely varied terroir. The monks would have a heyday there today.

Among other things, these events demonstrate what a blip on the radar our notion of terroir really is. In Burgundy climate change equals hailstorms that destroyed the crop in some villages for three out of the past five vintages. Oregon just experienced two of the hottest vintages on record and, well, we know what is going on in our backyard. Let’s do as the monks would do and pray for rain…luckily for them, and for us, in between masses they also practiced what they preached and drank some good wine.BiRite-HOLIDAY-2015-hannakuh-235

Bi-Rite Market Public Label Poe Pinot Noir
Regular Price: $21.99 Blitz Price: $17.59
Our Bi-Rite exclusive wine was sourced from a one of the oldest Pinot Noir vineyards in Sonoma called Olcese. We collaborated with one California’s best winemakers,Samantha Sheehan of Poe, to make us this phenomenal bottle. Theresult is beautifully aromaticwith cherry and raspberry fruit notes.We love this with avariety of foods, from wild caught salmonto Heritage pork chops.

Bader-Mimeur Bourgogne Rouge
Regular Price: $22.99 Blitz Price: $18.39 
The Pinot Noir for this wine comes from white wine territory in Chassagne-Montrachet. It is spry, full of bright red fruit, and dexterous. Enjoy this with poultry dishes like roast chickens or duck breast. Who said Burgundy couldn’t be a bit of fun?Broadley Pinot Noir

Broadley Pinot Noir Jessica’s Vineyard
Regular Price: $29.99 Blitz Price: $23.99
Broadley Vineyards, established by Craig and Claudia Broadley, are now joined by their son Morgan and his wife Jessica. This wine is sourced from a single vineyard named after their daughter-in-law. It’s classic Willamette. Seared duck breast with cooked cranberries and friends around the table showcases the wine’s depth.

WineBlitzLogoThe Wine Blitz starts next week, Monday through Sunday, November 2-8! Once again we’ll be offering 20% off the purchase of 12 bottles or more mix and match throughout the selection. The dates are November 2-8 for the Fall Blitz and December 7-13 for the Winter Blitz. Come into your local Bi-Rite Market and place a pre-order to avoid the crowds!

John Herbstritt

Staff Wine Picks!

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!”


Karine Adolphe“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.”


Max Wine“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.”


Tom Folsom“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!”

John HerbstrittLots 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!


Celebrating New Public Label Arrivals

Summer is here at Bi-Rite Market and we’re pleased as punch to announce the return of our Public Label Olive Oils, and a fantastic new collaboration with Poe Wines that created our Public Label Pinot Noir.  You may know that each Public Label bottle and jar contains ingredients sourced from our favorite farmers – we tell you who grew the ingredient, where it was grown, and how it turned into the final product you hold in your hand.  What you might not know is that Public Label is a whole lot more than a house brand.

Poe Grapes

Pinot Noir grapes at the Olcese Vineyard

Public Label is one of the many ways we “create community through food,” bringing our community together through incredible ingredients from fantastic farmers, invaluable expertise from our buyers and staff, inspiring craft and skill from our producers, all of which culminate in these incredible, high-quality products.  Our Public Label collaborations develop out of relationships with producers we admire most; just as we seek the finest sustainably-grown produce, responsibly-raised meats, and the best-tasting ingredients for our Markets, we constantly push ourselves to create new and unique Public Label products that are expertly crafted with flavors that stand out from the pack.

This year’s Public Label Olive Oils are as versatile as they are delicious, from salads to dipping to finishing.  In a marketplace that is saturated with olive oils (and we’ve tasted our fair share), we’ve hand-selected two outstanding olive oils that are exemplars in their category.  For our Public Label Pinot Noir, we’ve partnered exclusively with Poe Wines’ winemaker, Samantha Sheehan, to create a beautiful and versatile wine with some incredibly special Pinot Noir grapes.

Public Label Mission Extra Virgin Olive Oil$19.99 500ml
For our new “Everyday” Extra Virgin Olive Oil, we’ve collaborated with Stella Cadente who is based in Butte County, CA. This Extra Virgin Olive Oil is made from fully ripened 100% Heritage Mission Olives, the only American olive cultivar and part of Slow Food’s Ark of Taste. The olives are hand-harvested and pressed within hours, then stored in stainless steel tanks and being bottled to order to ensure freshness and full flavor. The olives are harvested at peak ripeness and the olives yield olive oil that is perfect for everyday use. It’s a very well-balanced, mild-medium intensity olive oil with undertones of butter, green grass, hints of spice that lingers on the palate, and a finish that is everything you taste in a ripe olive. Use in everything from dipping to preparing your favorite salad dressing!BiRite-HOLIDAY-2015-Grocery-004

New Release of Public Label Tuscan Style Olive Oil$24.99 750ml
We have collaborated with Divisadero guests Ben Herrmann and Evan Loewy from The Other Brother Company to produce our 2015 Tuscan Style Extra Virgin Olive Oil. Evan and Ben’s family planted their initial estate orchard when they were kids; they grew up with the trees, gaining experience in small scale agriculture and olive oil production.  It wasn’t until after college that they decided to switch directions and follow their passion for food. Inspired by their childhood experiences, they started The Other Brother Company. The oil is a blend specially made for Bi-Rite that consists of five Tuscan olive varietals: Frantoio, Pendolino, Leccino, Maurino, and Ascolano. These olives are grown at the family orchards which are located in Templeton, CA and Monterey, CA. The olives are hand-picked and milled within hours after harvesting to yield an oil that is bright, bold, and buttery with notes of fresh garden herbs and tomatoes. It has a hearty, yet balanced, amount of pepper in the finish. Drizzle this oil on your favorite steak, it is especially delicious on rib-eye! Or use it as an oil for dipping.  Toss it with radicchio, tomatoes, eggplant, zucchini, greens, and roasted vegetables. Excellent in pasta and farro dishes, or as a finish on a bowl of soup. Marinate fresh goat cheese or feta in this buttery oil!BiRite-HOLIDAY-2015-hannakuh-235

Public Label Pinot Noir Sonoma County, CA 2014 | $21.99
Our Pinot Noir was sourced from the Olcese Vineyard, one of the oldest Pinot Noir vineyards in Sonoma. This vineyard was planted in 1974 to Martini clone, a California heritage clone of Pinot Noir. With this special vineyard, we asked one of the best Pinot Noir winemakers in California, Samantha Sheehan of Poe Wines, to make us a phenomenal wine for under $25. The result is a beautifully aromatic wine, with cherry and raspberry fruit notes to go along with a savory, earthy spice. We love this with a variety of foods, from salmon to pork chops.

Matt R.

Bow and Arrow Wines: A Taste of the Loire in Oregon

BowArrowWinemakersHusband and wife team Scott and Dana Frank have been on all sides of the wine industry. From working in restaurants, to retail, to wholesale, they’ve gained plenty of knowledge and experience over the years. They recently embarked on a new project producing wines under their own label Bow and Arrow and are taking Oregon wines to new heights!

You often hear about Oregon Pinot Noirs being compared to the Pinot Noirs of Burgundy. And for good reasons, they share a similar cool climate in which Pinot Grapes thrive and produce wines of higher acidity and lower alcohol. The Willamette Valley, formed long ago by repeated glacial flooding, is abundant with fertile and rocky vineyard sites. It is also situated along the 45th parallel, which coincidentally runs through Burgundy and the Loire Valley. And despite Oregon’s constant comparisons to Burgundy, it’s the Loire Valley, that inspires Scott and Dana’s wines.

They only started bottling in 2010 but have quickly earned a reputation for bringing a bit of the Loire to the Pacific Northwest. They source fruit from vineyards planted by some of Oregon’s earliest ‘wine pioneers’ that were planted with grapes like old vine Pinot Noir, Gamay, Cabernet Franc, and Melon de Bourgogne – all typical Loire Valley grapes. These carefully sourced grapes are treated with the greatest care and minimal-intervention winemaking techniques. Their resulting wines are a breath of fresh (French) air from Oregon, lighter in style, lower in alcohol, and extremely food-friendly.

2011 Bow and Arrow Pinot Noir*  –  $34.99
BowArrow1The Bow and Arrow Pinot Noir is sourced from 35-year old vines planted high in the Chehalem Mountains – all own-rooted clones of Pommard vines. It has tart red cherry and pine forest herbal aromas followed by racy acidity with a light and bright finish. Pair this with a grilled salmon salad for a light yet fulfilling summer dinner!


2011 Bow and Arrow Gamay Noir*  –  $22.99
Bow and Arrow’s Gamay Noir is a dead ringer for a light style Gamay from Touraine. In fact, iconic Loire producer Clos Roche Blanche’s winemaker Didier Barrouillet served as a casual ‘over-the-phone consultant’ for Frank and Dana’s Gamay Noir. Soft red fruit flavors and an earthy and granite-based minerality are all well-integrated into a medium bodied and tart finish.

2011 Bow and Arrow Rhinestones  –  $28.99
BowArrow3If we absolutely had to choose a favorite of the three Bow and Arrow wines we carry, it would probably be the Rhinestones. A blend of Gamay and Pinot Noir, this red is inspired by Cheverny, a typical Loire valley red of the same blend. Ripe, juicy black cherry aromas lead to a mid-weight palate full of flavors of tart blackberries, earthy moss, and snappy acidity. It’s great on it’s own but is a perfect food-friendly red for any occasion.

*Available at 18th St. location only.

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

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

Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New California – Tuesday, July 23, 7-9PM, Ticketed
Tasting Seminar with Pamela Busch: The New France – Tuesday, July 30, 7-9PM, Ticketed