As a wine lover, there are perhaps only a few places that can beat living in San Francisco. Not only are you living close to Napa and Sonoma, but also to many of the lesser known, but awesome wine appellations as well, such as Santa Lucia Highlands, Paso Robles and etc. In addition, there are wine fairs / tastings that take place almost on a weekly basis, which provide us with plenty of opportunity to drink and be merry, while also discover some great hidden gems for Spike’s Cellar.
I recently attended the San Francisco Vintners Market in late April. It is essentially like a farmers market for wine lovers, where not only can you taste the wine, but also buy them when you find ones you love! This is such a better concept than many of the other tastings that we have attended in the past. Quite frankly, what is the point of going to wine tasting that makes you fall in love with a a wine and then make you jump through hoops to get the bottle? that is, if you can even find it? NONE. On top of it all, most of us mortals will not remember and go out of our way to find the wine. The San Francisco Vintners Fair is a wine event that is not there to tease you, here, when you love a bottle, you buy it and you bring it home. BIG Thanks to Cornelius Geary and Jeffrey Players, founders of Wine 2.0, for starting the event.
Many small and up coming small lots producing wineries poured at this event to showcase their new releases. This is a really great place to discover smaller wineries, to talk to the wine makers, as many poured personally, and to really share the passion each wine maker put into their wines. One of the most notable tables I visited was Delgadillo Cellars. Both the wine maker Ignacio Delgadillo Sr, previously the cellar master at Freemark Abby before striking out on his own, and his son, Ignacio Delgadillo Jr were on hand to pour the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley. Immediatley I was impressed by the rich bloody color that swrilled in my glass, the result of the grapes from soaking in barrel for 20 months before hybernating in the bottle for 5 years. 15.37% alcohol, $85/bottle. Smooth and refined, yet filled with intense fruit flavors…yum…
When I worked my way through the Reserve Section for the fair, (this section cost more to attend, where it was advertised to be filled with $50 and over wines), I noticed a majority of the wines presented were not $50+. There was at least one winery that had a table in the general admission section and the reserve section. At first I thought “cool, I just tasted their tables wines and now I get to try their reserve wines (there was a big RESERVE sign on that table that was not there on the table in their regular section),” instead when I approach the table, they were pouring exactly the same bottles. What a disappointment.
The Fair is also a great place to introduce new exciting format of existing products. Houseband wine introduced a very interesting concept. If you want a wine that you can take everywhere – and I mean everywhere…okay, so not airport security, but other than that – everywhere, then you need wine in a flex pouch. Houseband wine currently caters to concerts and sporting events where bottles are not allowed. They are doing this by pairing their products with fun events and music. In taste, it is similar to the Trader Joe’s Charles Shaw, or a simple but decent table wine. For $5 a pouch, 375ml, I must admit, I would buy it for my picnic in the park or some random stroll to stir up trouble, heck I will just carry it with me everywhere, I never know when I’ll need to entertain on the fly!
Check out some photos from the Vintners Market, including the flex pouch.