Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Premiere Napa Valley Parties

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, February 27th, 2007 at 10:27 am in Uncategorized.

Did I mention the parties following the Perspective Tasting at Premiere Napa Valley? So, after an arduous day of tasting 2004 vintages against their older siblings and after that almost spiritual stop over at Shafer, I met my friend Michaela for dinner at Go Fish, the new seafood restaurant in St. Helena.

Earlier that afternoon, Michael Bauer, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle’s food and wine pages and the paper’s restaurant critic, told me Go Fish had its flaws. Namely, giving the patron too many options of what fish to eat, how to cook it and what sauce or reduction to serve it with, sort of like a high-end Askew. At over $20 a pop with no side dish, I heeded his warning and stuck to sushi. It was magnificent. We got the Ken’s Roll — which has chunky spicy tuna mixed with pine nuts (brilliant) — and washed it down with a crisp Domaine de Nizas rose. Heaven.

Afterwards, we headed to Duckhorn, our first of two parties that night. I’ve always been a proponent of marrying wineries and nightlife, meaning that, if millennials are the new wine drinkers, we need the properties to stay open longer, play music and cater to a post-6 p.m. crowd. But I wasn’t so sure when I got to Duckhorn. It almost felt like West LA. At the circular bar, there was a 3-deep line to get to the bartenders — er, I mean tasting room attendants — and the music felt way louder than it should have been. I almost felt dizzy, running into people I recognized, avoiding others. What a scene. Was I in wine country, or out for a Night Writer, my club column?

There was a reason we were there. We got to sample the 1992 J. Schram Late Disgorged Sparkling Wine there, which would sell at auction the next day for thousands of dollars. It was gorgeous — pure Sue Bee honey with French Toast. I didn’t want to leave it and the next day I’d ask for seconds and thirds at their booth. I like how some wineries at Premiere banded together, consolidating their open houses and bringing in more people. Not sure what the relationship is between Schramsberg and Duckhorn, but it worked. After a full day of tasting young Cabernet-based blends, my mouth was puckered out. All I wanted were fresh, citrus-y and effervescent wines to wake up my palate. Good move.

We did leave soon after, for Frog’s Leap, actually. Their newly remodeled property, which I’ve blogged about before, is reminiscent of William Sonoma meets Town & Country, and I knew that if anyone would throw a party to my liking, it would be John, Jonah, Lindsay and the others at this winery. Sure enough, it was like a fancy barbecue. We get there and Jonah, the GM, is sipping a beer. See, his palate was puckered too! We took a spot at the fireplace and sipped their 2005 Sauvignon Blanc, which was chilling in half bottles in a bucket of ice. Mini pizzas and hamburgers dressed in gorgonzola and caramelized onions covered the long and inviting dining table. Later that night, a cute Oklahoma wine buyer by the name of Aaron Meeker would take over at the grill. I ran into Rod Santos, one of the owners of Wine Thieves in Lafayette, and then it started really feeling like a cool house party. Especially when Jonah took us down to the cellar, where old bottles of Margeaux and Latour were chilling at a cozy 57 degrees. My kind of party.

Tomorrow: 11th Annual Mid-Winter Barrel Auction

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