Fish & Chips with Torrontés?
Since I live in one of the best places for seafood - San Francisco - I often find the need to chow down on fish n' chips. While one of my favorite places is Piccadilly's, I just found a new love - Weird Fish. The place tabs itself as local and sustainable and won't even let you take out food unless you bring in your own reusable containers (now isn't that just like my city by the bay?).
I met my friend wine broker Paul Manchester and his Argentine producer pal, Eric Anesie for some Malbecs and Torrontés. The wines were quite good but I told Eric that the category was extremely competitive. I asked Timothy Holt, owner of the restaurant, what was great to try and he immediately steered us to his fish & chips. We did not hesitate and ordered a 3 piecer (just a light snack) as dinner was waiting for me at home. The Torrontés went perfectly with the lightly battered fish (they use locally brewed Anchor Steam Bee as the base). This day would prove to be successful because I found a cool restaurant that I could disappear into and a wine to match with one of my favorite comfort foods. Why don't you snag the 2008 Zolo Gaucho Torrontés from our selection and give this combo a try? You may even be able to steal Timothy's recipe and really go to town.
How about Paella and a Cabernet Sauvignon?
A few weeks ago, I saturated my palate with incredible Spanish wines and a paella with sausages, shrimp with an underscore of sauteed onions and the perfect rice. Needless to say, the wine paired perfectly with the majestic and powerful, black-fruited 2003 Roda 1 Reserva from Rioja. But what was even more remarkable was watching Rodney Worth, executive chef and owner of The Peasant & The Pear in Danville, building his super-delicious paella. Conversing with him as sweated the onions and added the rice, I instantly knew that this was going to be a memorable evening. When the complete dish came to my plate and the wine was poured, I simply lost myself in a moment of food and wine synergy. Today, I am thinking about Cabernet Sauvignon and one the best reds we have on our current 5-cent sale is the 2007 Vigilance. Made from substainably grown grapes in Lake County, this wine delivers super polished black fruit flavors that are as sleek as the reds from northern Spain. Clean and bright, this could be your wine as autumn comes into season and your own version of paella comes into being. Don't hesitate, because the 2007 Vigilance may not even last to the end of this 5-cent sale!
Executive chef Rodney Worth Paella as it is being built:
The 2006: A stunning Opus One!
I know it is a tough job, but someone has to do it. Since its first vintage in 1979, I tasted nearly every Opus One that was ever made. In recent years, sometimes with winemaker Michael Silacci, often with the winery's public relations director Roger Asleson. Today, it was with Peter Chai, one of BevMo's vice presidents of wine. Like an annual ritual such as the first pitch at a San Francisco Giants game or the first scrimmage play by my Niners as the weather becomes civilized in the city by the Bay, I begin the fall holiday season with a taste of the newly released Opus One. From the wine's first whiff to the finishing taste on my palate, the wine simply spoke of class and elegance. The 2006 is a superb Opus with excellent depth, power and finesse and should be one of the top wines of the season. Don't miss this wine because it is in a class by itself. Hooray for the 2006 Opus One!
My other top four picks from our 5-cent sale!
As we progress through our 5-cent sale, I am not just looking at what we have depleted but what I like and as I alluded to in my last blog, I have four top picks that I did not tell you about. So, here they are: the 2007 C.M.S. WHITE by Hedges (COLUMBIA VALLEY)...a truly delicious blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc with 1% Marsanne added for good measure. The wine is both crisp and rich...very tres chic. Not only will you enjoying this stuff, but your critical wine geek friends will also find this amusing wine and to their liking, so don't hesitate, you could be the hero or heroine of your block. Those of you who follow me, know by now that I am a big fan of Tapiz from Argentina. The Merlot is succulent and ready for anyone who drinks wine, you can even invite your neighbors who claim that red wines are too hard to drink; they will be happy, too. A wine that snuck into my top favorites is the 2006 Hidden Cellars Petite Sirah. Let's discover this one together, you may need a tooth brush after you drink this one. Finally, I reiterate that the 2007 Michael Pozzan Family Marianna is so good that you may forsake Bordeaux forever (I am actually kidding, I am a big Bordeaux fan and drink them all the time).
A six pack of incredible values!
As I travel the world from BevMo! to the pulse of the wine world of sophisticated sommeliers, hopeful producers and everyday customers, everyone wants to know: when is your next 5-cent sale and what are your top picks? Always a difficult question to answer, yet a few wines always go to the head of the class and this round of values is no different. Today I have chosen a six pack of incredible values that simply seem to crush the competition in terms of their relative values.
To tell you the truth, the 5-cent sale is one of my most challenging campaigns. Our buyers, working independently of me, set up massive lists of potential wines for this program, include a slew of wines for me to taste and evaluate. I have nothing to do with what my gang chooses, though they often pick wines that I have rated or others have rated highly. As the final list is assembled, I get to see how great their handiwork is and for the most part, they have chosen well. As for my contingent, I will give you my list of six that seem to be a cut above the rest. The '08 Stanza Chardonnay from Lodi and the '08 Tapiz Malbec from Argentina are my standouts from this six pack of incredible values. The Chardonnay is simply lush without being taxing on the palate and from the Lodi (an area in which this varietal has not traditionally flourished). The Malbec is simply delicious - fruit forward and rich without being heavy or tannic. Give my choices of try and let me know how we fared. Remember, we are in this together. Don't be shy with your comments. I relish discussing our 5-cent sale and any other cogent topic about food, wine and travel with you.
Check back for my other four picks!
Patricia Ortiz, owner of Tapiz: