The San Francisco Bay Area has long been a destination for the wine world’s movers and shakers; you can read about those I meet in my new column, Date by the Gate. This cycle, winemakers and authors made their way to the the area with tastings and book signings that were nothing less than awe-inspiring.
Walter Schug departed this world in 2015 but his passion for Pinot Noir lives on at Schug Carneros Estate which is celebrating 41 years of devotion to the variety. Axel and Claudia Schug, third generation winegrowers, were joined by chef Kristine Schug and winemaker Johannes Scheid as they presented a retrospective tasting that spanned the past, present and future of the Carneros estate winery.
In early February an unprecedented gathering of approximately 200 producers of Barolo and Barbaresco arrived in New York City to present their 2016 and 2017 vintages to the trade. They gathered at Center415 in midtown Manhattan for a walk around-tasting that ran for five hours; a boon for tasters who for once had time on our side.
Gone are the days when wine tasting was synonymous with standing at a bar. Wineries are now offering tasting experiences that include such activities as hiking with your dog, appreciating a world-class sculpture garden and breathing through a yoga class. If you think a standard wine tasting at a bar sounds more like drudgery than a dream day, these four non-traditional wine tasting experiences are for you.
The Gifts of Bacchus: Gilding the lily with Bordeaux Gold
When applied to wine grapes and to beef, the artisanal process of drying to concentrate and increase the complexity of flavors produces a savory, umami-driven experience. While there’s no mystery behind the affinity between red wine and beef, Amarone producer Masi teamed up with local purveyor Flannery Beef for a tasting that elevated this classic to new heights. Staged at San Francisco restaurant Perbacco, Umberto Gibin’s long-running destination that serves as a home away from home for visiting Italian wine producers, Masi’s Rafaelle Boscaini and Bryan Flannery shared a few insights about their respective methods of air-curing and then let their extraordinary products do the talking. Boscaini poured a bold Masianco 2013 Pinot Grigio to accompany a seasonal composed salad and followed with two Amarone—a 2008 Riserva di Costasera and 2007 Moncenisio, a Molinara-dominant wine that ages in cherry—served with Flannery’s unique cuts of 20-day and 40-day dry-aged beef. The pairings were masterful in that they were utterly complete; the 2007 was better suited to the longer-aged rib cap, a cut formed from the outer part of …