Home Posts tagged 'Zinfandel'

Posts Tagged ‘Zinfandel’

John Herbstritt

California Classics & Fall Wine Blitz


In a lot of ways California is a privileged place to make wine. European wine regions benefit from legal protection that help with promotion to consumers, but they also suffer from regulation which can stifle creativity. For instance, other than one notable exception (St. Bris in the North), you will never find Sauvignon Blanc planted in Burgundy. There are, of course, historical and cultural reasons why this is not done, but the question remains: what if? In California we can pretty much plant whatever we want, wherever we want. There is a lot of information available to planters about which kinds of grapes might work better in which places, but in the end it’s up to him or her to decide.

The early planters of wine grapes in California, many of whom were immigrants from wine regions in Europe, understood that in order to grow the grapes they knew from home they would need a similar climate. However, the California wine industry has also long been dominated by consumer taste and not necessarily by what actually grows best. As an example, Riesling in the 1960s was much more popular and ended up being planted in some unlikely spots. These can sometimes still make incredible wine. For a real time warp, get your hands on a bottle of Stony Hill White Riesling from Spring Mountain in Napa. Some of their vines date back from this era and the wine hasn’t changed in style since it was first made – delicious.

All of this is to say that since the “modern” winemaking era began in California – either in 1966 when Robert Mondavi founded the first new winery in California since prohibition, or in 1976 when California wines beat the best wines of France in a blind tasting – we have learned a lot about our own terroir; yet, we are still learning more every day. Robert Mondavi himself was the first to make Sauvignon Blanc famous in Napa (he called it
Fumé Blanc), and we have really only scratched the surface in terms of potential for Chardonnay in Santa Barbara County. Of course, we have long known that Zinfandel and California were made for each other, although we did forget for a while.

I always try to come to every glass with an open mind. Of course a label can tell us a lot, but it can’t compare to the sensation of your nose in the glass and the wine on your palate. Cheers!

Farella Sauvignon Blanc Coombsville Napa, CA 2014 Farella
Regular Price $16.99 Blitz price $13.59
The Farella Sauvignon Blanc strikes a great balance between crunchy green melon and ripe guava flavors. Medium-bodied, with good minerality, and a bright long finish. Try it with your favorite fresh cheese, especially an Andante goat’s milk disk!

Ojai Chardonnay “Puerta del Mar” Santa Rita Hills Santa Barbara, CA 2013
Regular $29.99 Blitz Price $23.99
Puerta del Mar is one of the coolest vineyard sites in California and produces a Chardonnay that really stuns. In the hands of California viticultural legend Adam Tolmach the site shines. Bright, clear, and crisp with just a kiss of oak, it turns the notion of “California Chardonnay” on its head.

Regular Price $21.99 Blitz Price $17.59
When Pam and Jay Heminway planted their vineyard in the remote Chiles Canyon to Zin in Napa, Zin was well-established, but on the verge of being overtaken in most other places by the victorious Cabernet Sauvignon. They could have ripped up their vines and replanted but instead stuck to their guns and still make some of the best Zin around. Fruit forward and jammy with tons of texture, but unmarred by the excesses of new oak. Your fall dinner’s best friend.

WineBlitzLogoReady to get Blitzed? 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. We will also be hosting our famous Blitz Tasting next Wednesday 10/28 at 18 Reasons. The 7-8 PM tasting is already sold out, but there are still a few spots left for the 6-7 PM tasting!


New York Strip Steaks Only $19.99/lb for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is right around the corner and with the weather gods saying that sunshine is on the horizon it will be a great weekend to spark up the grill.  Take advantage with our special pricing on New York Strip Steaks.

Starting this Friday, June 19, and running through Sunday, June 21st (Father’s Day!) both our 100% grass fed BN Ranch and our grain-finished Five Dot Ranch New York Strip Steaks will be on sale for $19.99, $5 off their regular price at both Markets and on Instacart.

I think of New Yorks as being the rib eye’s leaner, meaner little brother.  Just as flavorful and tender, but with more balanced marbling than the rib eye, the New York has serious versatility.  Serve it as a thick-cut steak for a big poppa Father’s Day dinner, slice it into thin strips for a pimped out stir fry or fajita meal, or order your steaks thin-cut to create the dopest sandwich known to man, a.k.a. “Chili’s New York Cheesesteak” (no disrespect to my people in Philly), with savory Omnivore SauceMimi’s Confitures smoky-sweet onion jam, and tangy Cabot Vintage Cheddar on Acme‘s herbaceous Herb Slab.  Pair it with the peppery Green & Red “Chiles Canyon” Zinfandel ($22.99) and you’ve got the perfect gift for dad!  Shop the full recipe at 18th Street and Divis, or online at Instacart.com.

NY Steak-Sandwich-web


Matt R.

July Winery of the Month: Dashe Cellars

DasheLogoPart of the Urban Wine Revolution, Michael and Anne Dashe make delicious terroir-driven California wine in the Jack London District of Oakland. Sharing advanced degrees in enology, Michael and Anne combined their complementary backgrounds to form Dashe Cellars in 1996. Previously, Michael worked at many renowned wineries: Far Niente in Napa, Cloudy Bay in New Zealand, and Ridge in Santa Cruz, where working with famous winemaker Paul Draper exposed him to the heart and soul of Zinfandel, California’s own varietal. Working with some of the best Zinfandel vineyards in the world in Northern Sonoma County, the Dashes wanted to dedicate their work to this great grape, but also to newly emerging ideas about natural wine and the possibilities of vineyard management that derive from organic practices.

Fifteen years later they have achieved that goal. Michael works closely with growers to source some of the best fruit in Sonoma County, but one of his favorite spots for great California red wine is Dry Creek Valley, his old stomping grounds. He has also expanded his reach to other varietals and techniques: pretty, soft Vin Gris, unctuous mineral-driven Dry Riesling, and organically farmed, earthy and spicy Grenache. The Dashes’ wines are both palate-pleasing and thought-provoking in a precarious balance that is difficult to achieve, but for the most experienced winemakers. Join us in celebrating these California pioneers!

2012 Dashe Dry Riesling  –  $21.99
From a cool, chalky vineyard in the Potter Valley of Mendocino, this Riesling defies all preconceived notions. Since Michael is dedicated to natural yeast fermentation, he left this Riesling to ferment naturally at room temperature – a process that took 3 months! Mineral-driven and bright, flavors of grapefruit and spice and tons of texture, it’s the perfect companion for fish or fowl or for an afternoon picnic!

2010 Dashe Florence Vineyard Zinfandel  –  $37.99
The young Florence Vineyard in the North of Dry Creek Valley has really come into its own. The cool 2010 vintage allowed for a concentration of fruit, but balanced by brightness that keeps the wine alive on the palate. It’s bolstered by a small percentage of one-year old oak barrels that offer the wine a bit of heft. Try with grilled sausages and mushrooms!

2012 Dashe ‘Les Enfants Terribles’ Grenache  –  $24.99
Dashe3Not content simply to make wines of complexity and nuance in Dry Creek, the Dashes wanted to experiment with natural winemaking techniques: thus the Enfants Terribles project was born. This Grenache is organically farmed. It’s luscious and velvety with flavors of strawberry and raspberry and a hint of spice.



Upcoming Tastings at Bi-Rite Market Divisadero:

Tasting with Mike Dashe of Dashe CellarsFriday, July 12, 6:30-9pm. Limited capacity. RSVP required in advance. Reserve your spot here.

Upcoming Tastings at 18 Reasons:

18th Hour Cafe – Every Thursday, 6-10PM, Drop-In.
On Thursday, July 11, we will be joined by Michael Dashe of Dashe Cellars!

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


Matt R.

Independence Day Wine and Cheese Picks

Wine4th1Happy 4th of July! The quintessential American holiday is here, and that calls for quintessentially American wines and cheeses!

On the wine front, we’re featuring Zinfandel, an iconic grape in America; the U.S. is one of the only countries that makes wine out of it in significant volume. While this grape originated in Croatia and made its way to California by way of gold rush-driven immigrants, it remains here (and in pockets of Southern Italy) as a lone star among countless French varietals.

On the cheese side, we’re featuring a grab-and-go basket trio of Red, White, and Blue American Cheeses! Perfectly portioned and carefully curated, this basket makes the perfect host or hostess gift, picnic treat, or easy DIY cheese course for entertaining!

Come see us at either Market to grab everything you’ll need to have a decadent Independence Day! (Both Markets close at 6PM on July 4th.) 

2009 Unti Vineyards Zinfandel  –  $25.99
Unti’s wines are a staple on our shelves and for good reason. Their biodynamically farmed vineyards in Dry Creek Valley grow mostly Rhone and Italian varietals, but their Zinfandel is a favorite of ours as well. We have the last few cases of the 2009 vintage – a great one for Zin in Dry Creek! Lush plum and subtle spice qualities lead to a weighty but well-balanced palate. This is a Zin that’s sure to handle anything coming off the grill!

Cheesebasket1Bi-Rite’s American Cheese Trio  –  $19.99
Our pre-selected trio of Red, White, and Blue American cheeses is cut, packed, and ready to go for your Independence Day celebration. This cute basket includes the following:

Red: Cowgirl Creamery Wagon Wheel – Cowgirl Creamery’s homage to the great mountain cheeses of France and Switzerland, this washed rind cheese is made from pasteurized Straus Dairy cow’s milk. Its natural washed rind is the lightest red-pink hue and the paste is semi-firm with brown butter and caramel notes. It’s great on a cheese plate, but melts beautifully as well to top burgers or pizza!

White: Andante Fresh Goat Cheese – Soyoung Scanlan has become a cheese icon in the Bay Area for the magic she works with fresh goat’s milk. All the goat’s milk she uses is pasteurized and sourced from Volpi Ranch in Petaluma. Her fresh goat cheese rounds are the ultimate expression of this high quality milk. Light, tangy, floral, and complex, this cheese hardly needs any accompaniment other than a crusty baguette.

Blue: Point Reyes Farmstead Bay Blue  – Point Reyes Farmstead, near Tomales Bay, first released Bay Blue last fall and it has quickly gained a following, even winning a Good Food Award. The recipe is inspired by English Stilton, and this natural-rinded blue is rich in flavor and perfect alongside dried fruit or drizzled with honey.

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