Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Three wines and two cocktails you must try now

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, April 3rd, 2007 at 10:42 am in Uncategorized.

What a winealicious weekend. I had friends visiting from San Diego who’d never been to the Valley. So as you can imagine, we had a lot of wining to do.

Started with dinner at Seasons, the restaurant at the Four Seasons in San Francisco. If you haven’t been, go. They have an amazing wine list. Standouts for me were the Gregory Graham 2002 Napa Viognier, which I had with the ahi tuna tartare. It was all pear and honeydew with a hint of honeysuckle in the nose. I can’t recall having a bad Viognier, except a young one made in Contra Costa County. Too hot here. For reds, I had the Blackbilly 2003 McLaren Vale Shiraz, all blackberry and tobacco, with the restaurant’s signature surf and turf. Another amazing wine.

On to Bourbon & Branch, which has an extensive list of Champagne cocktails. The two I had were made with Schramsberg sparkling wine. Order the Blackberry Champagne Cocktail as an amuse bouche. It also contains Creme de Mur blackberry liqueur and orange bitters. Not surprisingly, it’s the most requested cocktail there. Also, the Elderflower. In addition to Schramsberg, its got elderflower syrup, orange bitters and a lemon peel. Absolutely sinful.

The drinking continued in Napa the following day. I wanted to show my friends cult status tradition and emerging artisanal greatness, both in the realm of family winemaking. So we started at Judd’s Hill, located at the Napa tip of the Silverado Trail. In addition to microcrush, Judd’s known for his Cabs, which are all phenomenal (especially the 2001 Estate).

But I fell in love with Judd’s 2003 Magic. Can you say meat in a bottle? Jenny would love this wine. Aged in French oak for two years, its the Balance Bar of wine: 42% Syrah, 35% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon. It’s not a hanky soaked in rubbing alcohol (just right at 13.5%) but rather the perfect blend of dark fruits and grilled flank steak. Can’t wait to make some of those Indian-spiced burgers and go nuts on this bottle.

Tomorrow: Chilling with Dolores Cakebread.

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