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Posts Tagged ‘Wine’

Our Favorite Wines, Ciders & Spirits for Thanksgiving

fall-leavesThanksgiving is fast approaching and it’s one of our favorite meals of the year, because with all of the different dishes served it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a variety of libations. At Bi-Rite, we believe in the idiom that variety is the spice of life, that we should celebrate all of the wonderful wines, spirits, and ciders that are available to us now. Here are some of our favorites for your Thanksgiving dinner.

SparklingSparklings are a festive way to start a meal, and we could not think of a better Champagne for the occasion: the Champagne Cordeuil Extra Brut* ($44.99) is made from mostly Pinot Noir with a touch of Chardonnay, and is aged for 7 years on the lees to give it a nice round texture and bready, yeasty aroma. It’s perfect with a soft, triple cream cheese, like Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam – this dense and buttery cheese is a favorite of our guests and a must for any celebration.

If Champagne is too much on the budget, check out the amazing ciders from Eric Bordelet. We have a couple in the Markets but the Eric Bordelet Granit Poire* ($22.99) is our top choice. Made from pears of 60-foot-tall, 300-year-old trees, the Granit is very dry and complex with tiny bubbles that can stand tall next to fine sparklings.

pinot_nouveauBeaujolais Nouveaus
are made to celebrate the end of harvest for winemakers. Usually simple and boring with bubblegum and banana flavors, it was never thought of as a serious wine to drink with dinner, though it is always associated with Thanksgiving because the release date is always the third Thursday of November. Lucky for us, one of the best Beaujolais producers, Jean Foillard, decided to make a Beaujolais that you can be proud to serve at your holiday table, the Jean Foillard Beaujolais Nouveau 2015 ($21.99). It is made with old vines (40-60 years) from vineyards near the cru Morgon; it is bright and juicy with a hint of cracked black pepper. If you’re looking for a spin on tradition and seeking something domestic (it is an American holiday after all), Samantha Sheehan of Poe Wines makes an excellent Nouveau from her Pinot Noir grapes. The Poe Pinot Nouveau ($19.99) is lovely with fresh strawberry notes and some earthy spice notes.


OccidentalThe French have a tradition of drinking a small amount of brandy or Calvados (apple brandy) between courses to settle the stomach and reawaken the palate, what they call le trou normand. The Occidental Road Apple Brandy* ($49.99), by St. George Spirits, made with Gravenstein apples in Sonoma and aged 5 years in oak barrels, is the perfect choice for your Thanksgiving trou normand.  This apple brandy is rich and deep with caramel and spice notes. Normally only available at restaurants, this unique apple brandy is only available to us for retail.

Whether your celebrations are large or small, stop by our Markets to shop our complete selection of holiday wines, ciders, and spirits to round out your Thanksgiving festivities.  Cheers to a fantastic meal!

WineBlitzLogoLooking for wine for holiday parties, gifts, or family gatherings?  Don’t forget, our Holiday Wine Blitz is December 7-13! Save 20% on purchases of 12 bottles or more, mix and match throughout our entire selection.  Join us at 18 Reasons for a Preview Tasting on Thursday, December 3, from 6-7pm or 7-8pm and place your pre-order!

*These holiday wines, ciders, and spirits are available for convenient pre-order and pick-up from our online Holiday Market and view our complete selection.

John Herbstritt

Aperitif Wines – Start Your Night Right

FullSizeRenderIn this blog post I will attempt to convince you, reader, to stop whatever your current pre-dinner ritual and to instead take 15 minutes to relax and enjoy a light, slightly bitter, slightly sweet drink accompanied by salty snacks (like nuts or olives).  The purpose?  To whet your appetite and open your senses, preparing your palette to enjoy your meal. If you are totally against this proposition then this post isn’t for you. But if like me, you take pleasure in tasty, unique beverages and crunchy, salty little treats, and you think you might be open to this kind of suggestion, please read on.

You’re still reading, so you likely know that I’m talking about the aperitif. This word refers to both the act of enjoying a pre-meal drink and also to the beverages consumed therein. While it is more common in Europe to experience such a thing, here in the U.S. we too have a fine tradition of imbibing before we eat: think happy hours and cocktail parties. But there is something special about the way that the aperitif wine helps us prepare to eat that a pint of IPA cannot reproduce. It’s the combination of bitterness, acid, and sweetness that awakens the salivary glands and gets us ready for dinner without filling us up.

So, dear reader, next time you are hosting a dinner party, start your night right with a little apéro. You can serve any of these chilled over ice, with a spritz of soda water, or try our very own recipe for your “Aperitif Fix.”  Serve them with a bowl of the aforementioned mixed nuts and you’ve got your night started. And we haven’t even mentioned the possibilities for mixing cocktails! Chin chin!

Aperitif Fix Recipe

Campari $27.99
One of the original bitters in Italy, Campari was invented in 1860 by its eponymous founder, Gaspare Campari. It is also the essential ingredient in the classic Negroni cocktail, but if you’re an Italophile you just mix this with soda water and pretend you’re on the Almalfi Coast.

Lillet Blanc
Lillet is the original French Aperitif – it was initially used to cure malaria, but it tasted so good that it soon being used at the dinner table. It is made from Sémillon wine with quinine and citrus liqueurs added.  Serve it chilled with orange peel or add some berries or peach slices for a quick and delicious Sangria.

Uncouth Vermouth Seasonal Hops
This wildly inventive vermouth is the brainchild of Bianca Miraglia. Using the seasons as her inspiration, Bianca sources different herbs, plants, and spices and infuses them with a complementary wine base. The Hops is made with 16 different plants plus a final addition of Cascade and Nugget hops. Craft beer lovers will totally dig this amazing vermouth.

Buil & Giné Vermut
A unique aperitif from the Priorat region in Spain, the Buil & Giné is a vermouth made from the Macabeo grape and infused with more than 110 different plants and herbs. It’s then aged for two years in oak barrels to get the desired color.  It’s wonderfully bitter with a perfect balance of sour and sweetness. Serve this on the rocks or try it in a Manhattan.

Cocchi Vermouth di Torino
Vermouth di Torino is one of the only two protected geographical indication of origins for vermouth, the other being Chambéry in France. To celebrate their 120 year anniversary, the House of Cocchi recreated their original recipe for Vermouth Torino. With flavors of citrus, cocoa, and rhubarb, enjoy this neat with a citrus peel. It also makes a fabulous Manhanttan.



Beautiful and Sweet Treats For Your Valentine

No matter whether you have a Valentine, you don’t have a Valentine, or YOU are your Valentine's ChocolatesValentine– everyone deserves to feel special! This year I’ve hand-picked amazing chocolates, Trac has chosen fantastic wines, and Eleanor and our Floral Team have sought out beautiful blooms to make your holiday lovely. Most of these great gifts can also be purchased online through our delivery partner, Instacart.com, for arrival straight to your door in as little as an hour, so no excuses!

If you’re a truffle person, I’ve selected a 6-piece box from Michael Mischer, along with Neo Cocoa Wild Cherry Dark Truffles. For a traditional chocolate assortment, we have a wide range of artisan and handmade confections. Everything from decadent and elaborate boxes from Chocolat Moderne, a producer we love to bring in for their exquisite and truly special holiday creations, to three options from famed chocolatier Michael Recchiuti, and a lovely assortment from San Francisco-based TinyB Chocolates. We are also proud to continue featuring Oakland’s gate commes des filles, lovingly and meticulously created by one of our favorite producers, Alexandra Whisnant, using local, seasonal ingredients she forages herself. These hand-enrobed chocolates are best when enjoyed at their freshest. It’s a perfect excuse to dive right in after you give the box to your Valentine!

Valentine's CaramelsIf you love caramel, Sweet Revolution’s 12-piece Maple Honey Love Caramels box is for you, or you can go with Fran’s 7-piece Gray Salt Caramels in a pretty little pink box. We also have handmade toffee from Keke’s Kitchen that comes in a pretty white box and a super-cool Askinosie Chocolate Tasting Kit for the true chocolate fanatic. If you’re looking for something lovely but a little less formal, the Alma Lovebird Pop and Fran’s Dark Caramel Heart are delicious, beautiful, and perfect for any budget.

We are focusing on three special wines for Valentine’s Day this year. For the perfect pairing with dark gate comme des filleschocolate, try Petite Sirah from Forlorn Hope Wines. In the bubbles department, we have a classic Champagne J. Lassalle to quench your thirst, or a fresh “brunch bubbly” option with the Raventos i Blanc de Nit Sparkling Rose Cava.

And don’t forget the flowers! Seriously, don’t forget. Our talented Floral Team will be set up outside the markets on the 13th and 14th to make custom bouquets. You can also pick up any of the pre-arranged masterpieces we have on hand, or have them delivered from our store on Instacart; choose from Organic Tulips, California-grown Roses, or Farm-Direct Mixed Bouquets. We’re right here to help you impress your darling, even if your darling is you!

Happy Valentine’s Day!


Matt R.

Yamas! Cheers to Greek Wines!

greekThe Greeks have one of the longest traditions of wine-making of any civilization out there. They have been producing wine for over 4,000 years, and yet Greek wines as a category remain a mystery to American wine drinkers. But don’t shy away from the unfamiliar; there are great wines (and great values) worth searching out in Greece!

From the Greek Islands to the mainland, the variety of terroir in Greece is astounding. Even more astounding (and head-ache-inducing) are the 300+ grape varietals native to Greece. It’s no wonder that grapes names like Malagousia, Xinomavro, Agiorgitiko, and Roditis haven’t stuck in our memories so easily. Yet these indigenous varietals are part of millennia of wine-making tradition in the region. If any wine region has the experience and wherewithal to know its terroir and produce great wine, it’s Greece.

We’re excited to have a couple new Greek wines on the shelves at the Markets. Swing by for a trip to Greece in your wine glass. (It’s cheaper than a plane ticket!)


2009 Chrisohoou Naoussa Xinomavro  –  $16.99

Naoussa is the center of wine production in Macedonia, situated just an hours-drive west of the city of Thessaloniki. It’s here that the grape Xinomavro is the star. Greece’s most noble of its red varieties, Xinomavro is widely planted and made in various styles. It’s a typically late-ripening grape with somewhat aggressive tannin, so it often takes a bit of time for wines made from Xinomavro to mellow out and reach their peak. Some often compare Greece’s Xinomavro to Italy’s Nebbiolo, both for its similar flavor notes and its ageability. Chrisohoou is a family-owned estate established in 1978 and today run by the young winemaker, Nana. 2009 is her current release of the Xinomavro from Chrisohoou and we think it’s stunning for the value. Don’t be fooled by its lighter color; it’s lush with full of notes of dark fruit, singed herbs, and mouth-coating tannin. This would be perfect with grilled lamb chops and eggplant!

(Available only at Bi-Rite Market 18th Street.)

2011 Kir-Yianni Petra  –  $14.99petra

Yiannis Boutaris founded Kir-Yianni winery in 1997, when he broke away from his family’s Boutaris wine brand, a large wine producer in Greece. Today he is the mayor of Thessaloniki, Greece’s second-largest city located in the region of Macedonia, and his son, Stellios Boutaris, has taken over the operation at Kir-Yianni. Stellios is focused on producing wines of character using grapes native to the region. The Petra is made from the indigenous grape Roditis blended with a small percentage of Malagousia. Roditis is a lightly pink-skinned grape that can produce lovely whites and roses from hot climates like Naoussa in Macedonia. We find it reminiscent of Muscadet from the south of France. It’s light in texture with briney minerally notes and hints of pine, herbs, and lemon zest. Mouthwatering acidity on the finish make this an easy pairing with seafood dishes like simple grilled octopus with lemon!

(Available at both Markets.)

noussa22004 Vaeni Naoussa Xinomavra  –  $19.99

Vaeni is one of the world’s greatest wine co-ops, on par with famous names like Produttori di Barbaresco or La Chablisienne. As we mentioned earlier with the Chrisohoou, Xinomavro needs some time in barrels and bottle to let the acidity and tannins come to a balance. The Vaeni Grande Reserve is aged for a minimum of five years in wood and another four years in barrels before release. The additional aging gives the wine an added weight, depth, and complexity that add up to greatness. With all the time spent on aging the Xinomavro, Vaeni’s Grande Reserve is surprisingly affordable. We dare you find any Nebbiolo that is as complex as this wine, even at twice the price.

(Available only at Bi-Rite Divisadero.)

Upcoming Events:

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

Spirit Tasting with Barr Hill – Saturday, July 26th, 1-3PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

Wine Tasting with Christian Adams from Rudi Wiest Selections – Sunday, July 27th, 12-2PM – At Bi-Rite Divisadero

Beer Workshop: Hops – Tuesday, July 29th, 7-9PM – At 18 Reasons

Don’t hesitate to call us with any questions or special requests (415.241.9760 for 18th St. or 415.551.7900 for Divis) or email wine@biritemarket.com.


Matt Rupert and the Wine and Cheese Team

Bi-Rite Market


Celebrating a Year on Divisadero Street with Special Offers!



It’s hard to believe, but it’s already been a year since we opened our second Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero Street in the Western Addition, bringing our mission of creating community through food to a whole new neighborhood. It was a big undertaking that took several years to bring to fruition, and all of that work has been worth it! We’ve felt at home in the Mission District since Sam Mogannam‘s family first took over the original Bi-Rite neighborhood grocery 50 years ago, and we’ve continued to grow Bi-Rite into a family of businesses with our Creamery & Bakeshop and our non-profit community space, 18 Reasons, all located on the same block of 18th Street. It has been an honor over the past 12 months to expand that work into another burgeoning, vibrant area of San Francisco. From the day we first cast open our new doors on Divisadero Street, the people and businesses of the Western Addition have made us feel welcome, and we are incredibly grateful.

So, to celebrate our One-Year Anniversary at Bi-Rite Market Divisadero, we’re offering special products and great values in every department of our store from Monday, March 31 through Sunday, April 6. Most of these will be available both at Divisadero AND at our original 18th Street location, so stop on in and enjoy!

  • Pixies2Produce: Just $7.99 for a 4 lb bag of organic, farm-direct Seedless Pixie Tangerines from Jim Churchill, “The Tangerine Man” in Ojai, CA. Sweet, juicy, and easy to peel!
  • Butcher: Grass-Fed New York Strip from Estancia Beef, value priced at only $13.99/lb (regularly $17.99/lb)
  • ChristinaToteBagGrocery: Bi-Rite Canvas Bag for $1 (regularly $4.99). Made from organic repurposed cotton. *ONLY available at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero
  • Grocery: Bi-Rite Creamery Chocolate Midnight Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Frosting, 2-pack for just $5 (regularly $5.99)
  • Cheese: Special Anniversary Cheese! Tarentaise Reserve, made on March 1, 2013, the day that Bi-Rite Market Divisadero opened. Ripened just in time for our 1st Birthday! *ONLY available at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero
  • Wine: Two incredible values! Celebrate Spring with a sparkler! M. Bonnamy Crémant de Loire Rosé for $11.11/bottle (regularly $14.99)–100% Cabernet Franc Extra Brut. Or try the red Rejadorada Toro for $19.99/bottle (regularly $24.99)
  • birthdaysundaeBi-Rite Creamery Scoop Shop: $5 Birthday Sundae Special!—You choose your ice cream favor, we’ll add whipped cream & sprinkles! *ONLY available at Bi-Rite Market on Divisadero

We look forward to seeing you!

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.


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!



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.


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.


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

wine 2

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.

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!


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.