Bottoms Up

Beer and wine in the Bay Area and beyond

Stopping in at Bin 38

By Jessica Yadegaran
Tuesday, April 1st, 2008 at 3:51 pm in Uncategorized.

Thirty eight is the latitude of San Francisco, and the wine bar Bin 38 marries the New World vibe of our fine city with what’s emerging as our favorite sip on the slab — vino.

On Saturday, I popped in to Bin 38 on Scott Street with Joel shortly after inhaling a lemon cupcake at Kara’s Cupcakes. The interior is long and lovely, think California Wine Merchant but a bit more serious in its use of space: a custom-made L-shaped couch fills one room; in another, a long communal table. Gold-flecked onyx countertops flank the long bar. The heat lamps and fire-pit in the back will come in handy during the summer, when I’m out there swirling my Albarino in a sundress.

The New World-focused wine list was impressive. California, Argentina, Oregon, Washington, Australia, Chile, New Zealand and South Africa are well represented in the by-the-glass list, the best vehicle for judging a wine bar. Standbys like Navarro Vineyards Estate Dry Gewurztraminer ($10) are listed alongside serious Chardonnays from the Russian River Valley (Lynmar, at $13) and the trendy bottle-capped Innocent Bystander Pink Moscato ($17 for a half bottle).

My personal litmus test for reds is to scan the list for quality, small-production Pinot Noir, from Oregon or the Sonoma Coast. I was pleased to see Siduri’s Willamette Valley bottling represented as well as their second label Novy Syrah. Keen to please, the bartender busted out a taste of 2005 Testarossa Pinot Noir for me from the Schultze Vineyard in the Santa Cruz Mountains. It was lovely — very earthy with forest floor and strawberry flavors — so I went with a glass but was disappointed when we got the bill. At $17, I would have rather gotten the Aussie Flight, three tastes (Innocent Bystander Pinot, Fetish Playmates Shiraz, Jim Barry Cabernet Sauvignon) for $16.50.

Otherwise, a lovely experience. We talked over the loud Marina crowd, munched on spring vegetables and an olive oil-herb-sea-salt dip, and sipped the sunny day away.

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