Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

High-end cab tasting in Bordeaux, and here

By Jessica Yadegaran
Friday, August 24th, 2007 at 2:43 pm in Uncategorized.

vintners club of tirubon

Here’s a San Francisco tasting garnering international chatter. On Monday, Aug. 27, the Vintners Club of Tiburon is hosting a blind tasting of the 12 finest Cabernet Sauvignon made on our state’s soil. Yes, the likes of Shafer, Ridge, Corison and other small production, 5-year waiting list bottles that fetch $200 and up each.

The tasting will be held at the Carnelian Room’s legendary Wine Room in San Francisco at 6 p.m. But here’s the kicker: a similar tasting will take place in October in Bordeaux, for Old World winemaking stars who are curious about the competition here in the States.

I spoke with Lalita Waterman of the Vintners Club for a few minutes yesterday, and she told me the goal of the tasting is to see how these wines appeal to the European palate. It’s the first blind tasting of its kind in Bordeaux, and for this reason, Waterman has been inundated with calls from Los Angeles to China, mostly from wine press and serious enthusiasts hoping to snag a seat.

At this point, those command $205 for nonmembers, and $165 for members on this side of the Atlantic. You can try to get a last minute seat by calling 415-381-4467. Waterman and I joked that you’re also paying for that glorious view, which I wrote about in Night Writer earlier this month.

Here’s where it gets interesting. The folks in Bordeaux — at a chateau in the Margaux appellation, to be specific — will taste the 2002 vintage of all the wines, including Justin and L’Aventure, both of Paso Robles, while we will be served the 2004.

Doesn’t seem fair? Waterman says it’s fine with her and the big-name members and organizers from the 36-year-old Vintners Club, which includes high-end consumers and winemakers such as Mike Grgich, Warren Winiarski and Paul Draper, of Ridge. His Monte Bello won the Paris Tasting re-enactment last year. Grgich and Winiarski, you’ll recall, won back in 1976.

They rationalize that the older wines will be slightly softer, more mellow, and thus more familiar to the European palate. And since we’re not rating them or comparing them to their French counterparts a la Judgment of Paris, what’s the fuss?

I’ll tell you when I taste them on Monday. Here’s a list. Cheers for now:

Caymus Vineyards, Special Selection
Ramey Wines, Pedregal
Ridge Vineyards, Monte Bello
Dominus Estate
Corison Winery, Kronos Vineyard
Shafer Vineyards, Hillside Select
Flora Springs, Out-of-Sight Vineyard
Gargiulo Vineyards, Money Road Ranch
Kendall-Jackson Vineyards, Stature
Rocca Family Vineyards
Williamson Wines, Atlas Peak
Chappellet Vineyard & Winery, Pritchard Hill Estate Vineyard

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  • JAW

    Word in Napa from last weekend was that a few very sophisticated buyers from Oklahoma were in town and were given private tours at a few select wineries. Do you know anything about the group,their trip, where they stayed, or what wineries they liked or visited?

  • Jessica

    Indeed I do, but I am sworn to secrecy by the OSSWD (Oklahoma Secret Service – Wine Division). They are a serious group of foodies, known to consume Taylor’s Refresher twice in a 24-hour time period. I know.