ValleyFogBlog


Waits-Mast Wines at Internos Wine Cafe in San Francisco by valleyfog
Internos Wine Cafe on Geary Street in San Francisco

Internos Wine Cafe on Geary Street in San Francisco

Waits-Mast Pinot Noir is now being served by the glass at a new wine bar in the Laurel Heights neighborhood of San Francisco. Our 2007 Wentzel Vineyard Pinot Noir is currently on the list and soon, our 2007 La Encantada will be available by the bottle. Geary Street is lined with Irish pubs and Asian restaurants, but clearly there is a dearth of wine bars in this neighborhood. Enter Internos Wine Cafe, the latest addition to the wine bar scene in San Francisco. Run by Adnan Daken and Quinn Longbothum, Internos (Italian for “between us”) has been open for about a month now and already has a loyal following. It’s also getting some great reviews on Yelp which led us to discover this gem in the first place.

The bar has a rustic, warm feel, with great photography and artwork and a small, but growing wine list. We asked Adnan how he builds his wine list and he replied “with wines that I like to drink.” He has good taste and likes to introduce smaller, lesser-known wines to his curious customers. On our first visit there, I enjoyed a Carneros Pinot Noir from Cuvaison – not extremely rare, but not easy to find around town. Plus, Carneros wines don’t get enough exposure these days. Jennifer sampled a number of different white wines before settling into a 2006 JL Colombo Viognier from the Rhone Valley. We also enjoyed some great small plates, including bruschetta, dried meats and wonderful cheeses.0051

Adnan has a long history of owning and working at restaurants and joints in North Beach and after moving to this neighborhood, was ready to establish his own outpost in Laurel Heights. It’s exciting to be working with another wine-related business that is establishing itself and trying new things.  In addition to offering many wines by the glass and bottle, Internos is going to build out a retail section where customers can discover and take home other interesting and eclectic wines.

Check out Internos and their great wines at 3240 Geary Street, San Francisco, between Parker and Spruce. The Bridge Theater is a couple of blocks away, so make a night out of it and see a movie too.

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Spring Release: La Encantada Pinot Noir, Sta. Rita Hills by valleyfog

le-bottle-shotAt last, it is ready: after all of our babbling about La Encantada Pinot Noir on this blog, you’re now able to get some of your own! Please welcome our second wine from the 2007 vintage. It’s a lovely and lush Pinot Noir from La Encantada vineyard in Santa Rita Hills (Santa Barbara County) and those that have had a preview of this wine are truly enchanted. The vineyard is owned by Richard and Thekla Sanford (of Sanford Pinot Noir fame) and along with their other vineyards, La Encantada was one of the first vineyards in Santa Barbara County to be certified organic by the California Certified Organic Farmers (CCOF). It has been said that wine is “bottled poetry.” If this wine was a poem, it would be a dark and brooding selection of verse that you read, put down and then come back to again and again.

But how does it taste, you implore? It is very fruit-driven, with fragrant cherry and strawberry on the nose, good tannins and a deep ruby color, leaning towards crimson. The palate unfolds with lush sweet cherry and blackberries, spice, floral notes and a hint of cola. The La Encantada has great structure and is a fantastic wine for both sharing with friends now and tucking away in the cellar for later. For more info and specs on this wine, click here.

Pinot Noir clusters at La Encantada vineyard

Pinot Noir clusters at La Encantada vineyard

We visited the vineyard last summer and experienced great hospitality from Richard and his crew and enjoyed a few Sideways moments. To read more about the vineyard tour and see photos, see our blog post here.
To celebrate the release of this lovely wine, we are offering a special discount of 10% off one or more bottles of Waits-Mast La Encantada Pinot Noir. Just enter the discount code ENCHANTED to take advantage of this offer. Patrons who order a total of 6 bottles or more of either of our current releases (for example, a mixed 6-pack) will receive a total of 15% off the list price. Just enter the discount code 2ENCHANTED to take advantage of this offer. Our release offers are good until March 31, 2009, so if you’ve got a hankerin’ for some good Pinot Noir, act fast! To start shopping, click here.



Waits-Mast Pinot Noir at Canyon Market in San Francisco by Jennifer
March 21, 2009, 12:00 pm
Filed under: Events, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , ,
Waits-Mast Pinot Noir at Canyon Market in San Francisco

Waits-Mast Pinot Noir at Canyon Market in San Francisco

It’s an exciting month for us, as Waits-Mast Pinot Noir has made its first appearance on a retail shelf. Especially thrilling is the fact that our debut is in our favorite neighborhood grocery store in San Francisco:  Canyon Market. And, we’ll be pouring our wines there this Thursday, March 26th from 4:30 to 7:30 pm during a Local Winemakers Tasting along with fellow San Francisco winemaker Jim Bowin of Urban Edge Wines.

The owners of Canyon Market, Richard and Janet Tarlov, couldn’t be nicer and are strongly connected with the tight-knit community of Glen Park. If you’ve never been to this section of San Francisco, it’s worth the trip. A quick BART ride from the bars and trendy eateries of the Mission, Glen Park is a hilly, village-like neighborhood with great food (we’re partial to the pizza at Gialina, yellow curry at Osha Thai Cafe, the shrimp beignets at Chenery Park and the delicious pastries at Destination Baking Company), a beautiful newish library, the hip gift shop Perch, and our favorite store for new and used books (and live music performances), Bird and Beckett.

Canyon Market is a great store and we appreciate their emphasis on local, organic and natural foods and small, but growing shelf space for local winemakers as well. They also host regular wine tasting events–another great reason to visit the store and Glen Park in general.

Word on the street is that Canyon Market is planning on devoting a shelf in their wine section to locally-produced (as in very local, like San Francisco) wines. Currently, though, our bottles of 2007 Wentzel Vineyard Pinot Noir are keeping good company on the shelves with some nice Burgundies, including a Gevrey-Chambertin. So support your local businesses by visiting Canyon Market, bringing home one of our wines and keeping it good company until the last drop.

Come by and see us on Thursday!



Champagne, Avocado, Cucumbers and Hummus at Internos Wine Cafe by Jennifer
March 20, 2009, 11:08 pm
Filed under: Restaurants, Wine bars | Tags: , , , , ,
Internos Wine Cafe

Internos Wine Cafe

Last weekend we were searching for a quick bite before heading off to finally see Slumdog Millionaire. Brian figured a wine bar would be a great bet and dived into the fun task of searching for a wine bar near The Vogue Theater in San Francisco (one of the few remaining single-screen movie houses). Although it wasn’t walking distance on a rainy Sunday night, the brand-new (opened maybe 3 weeks ago) Internos Wine Cafe (3240 Geary, between Parker and Spruce) was close enough for our purposes.

We popped in and were warmly greeted by owner Adnan, who suggested that we grab seats at the bar. After ordering some wine (Gosset Grande Reserve Champagne for Jennifer and 2006 Cuvaison Pinot Noir from Carneros for Brian) we took Adnan’s advice and ordered the avocado, hummus and cucumbers bruschetta. Wow. Killer combo and so tasty with the bubbly. We also got the fresh mozzarella, diced cherry tomatoes and fresh basil bruschetta, which was equally yummy.010

After finishing up our bruschetta, we continued grazing, consuming both a cheese plate (brie, blue, aged Parmesan and a lick-the-bowl clean delicious house-made honey ricotta) and a cured meats plate (hot coppa, dry salami, and prosciutto). It was all super satisfying and the perfect amount of pre-movie food.

We ordered a bit more wine and Adnan was very helpful in leading Jennifer through some tastings before she decided on a glass of the 2006 JL Colombo Viognier (Rhone, France). Brian stuck with Cuvaison, choosing a glass of their 2005 Mount Veeder Cabernet (Napa Valley) for his second taste of the night.

With wine bars cropping up in neighborhoods all over San Francisco, it was fun to discover Internos Wine Cafe in an unexpected pocket on Geary. From what we hear, it’s already become a popular destination for nearby residents. Not a surprise. It’s a super friendly, casual (but chic) wine bar with a nice wine list and delicious light fare. The only thing missing was dessert and we hear that’s coming soon.



Cupcakes and Pinot Noir by Jennifer
March 7, 2009, 6:34 pm
Filed under: Restaurants, Tasting notes, Wine bars

061I’m in New York City right now and was trolling around the West Village this afternoon in search of a yummy snack when I happened upon a sign advertising cupcake, wine and beer pairings. The small store/restaurant/bar on Carmine Street, Sweet Revenge, was packed so I knew I’d found the right place to take a break and indulge.

It was a gorgeous warm day in New York and my first thought was to have a delicious cupcake paired with a cold glass of sparkling wine. However, the suggested pairings were quite creative, covering a wide range of wines and beers, so I was convinced to let Sweet Revenge be my guide.

I ended up trying the “Pure” cupcake, which was a Mexican vanilla cake with Mexican vanilla buttercream. It was paired with a Principato Pinot Noir from Italy. Wow. The cupcake was so tasty and the Mexican vanilla flavor gave it that extra spice that worked beautifully with the Pinot Noir. Initially I wasn’t sure that I’d want a red wine with a vanilla cupcake, but the intense vanilla and sweetness of the cupcake was softened a bit by the lighter styled Pinot Noir. It really was a perfect match.

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It took all of my strength to not go for a second pairing, as I was very tempted by the “Crimson and Cream” (raspberry red velvet cake with cream cheese frosting) cupcake and Lunetta Prosecco Bellini with Raspberry. Their beer pairings were equally intriguing, including Guinness matched with a “Very Strawberry” cupcake. Additionally, both the wine and beer list had a nice mix of international offerings.

My visit to Sweet Revenge was a great reminder of how fun it can be to pair wine and food, and it’s really an inspiration to start thinking about the wide range of things that work so well with Pinot Noir.

What’s one of your most creative wine and food pairings?



Open That Bottle Night 2009 by valleyfog
OTBN 09 lineup (L to R): Waits-Mast, Donnhoff, Williams-Selyem, Cornalin, Jackson-Triggs

OTBN 09 lineup (L to R): Waits-Mast, Donnhoff, Williams-Selyem, Cornalin, Jackson-Triggs

Open That Bottle Night (OTBN) is an annual event put forth by the Wall Street Journal wine writers John Brecher and Dorothy Gaither. The idea was to create at least one night per year that would provide everyone free license to open up that bottle of wine you’ve been saving for a special occasion. They had received too many letters from readers in the past who had waited too long to open such a bottle, only to see it go sour, or worse, who had not lived long enough to enjoy the bottle. So they conceived of this annual rite; in the columnists’ words:

Open That Bottle Night, a celebration of wine, friends and memories during which all of us finally pull the cork on that bottle and enjoy the aromas, tastes, tears and laughter that always spill forth. Open That Bottle Night… takes place on the last Saturday of every February — around the time we all need a break… You know that bottle of wine you’ve been keeping around for that special occasion that never arrives or because the wine is always going to be better tomorrow?

We think this is a great idea and we’ve been celebrating this event for years. We have each person bring that special bottle – doesn’t need to be old or super-swank, just special — and a dish to pair with the wine. Over a few emails, we manage to piece together a decent menu ahead of time and we’re ready to go.

In the end, there’s always great wine to drink and usually one or two interesting wines that spark conversation. This year was no exception. Here’s the lineup of wines, complete with food pairings:

Cheese course:

2007 Waits-Mast Pinot Noir, Wentzel Vineyard, Anderson Valley

Neal’s Yard Keen’s Raw milk cheddar, Istara Ossau Iraty (sheep), Graindorge Pont L’eveque

Acme Bakery Sweet Baguette

Appetizer (by Richard):

2004 Donnhoff Spatlese Riesling, Nahe, Germany

Yogurt, cumin & tumeric-marinated grilled prawns

Entree:

2006 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Handmade ravioli stuffed with braised pork (by Justin and Deborah)

Winter salad of celery, escarole, frisee, arugula & toasted walnuts

2001 Caveau de Salquenen Cornalin, Valais, Switzerland

Cabernet-glazed carrots

Dessert (by Nikos):

2007 Jackson-Triggs Vidal Icewine, Niagara Peninsula, Canada

Peach Pie

Every wine was incredible and the food was amazing. Our Pinot Noir is drinking really well right now, with a nice combination of earth and fruit on the nose, and went particularly well with the Neal’s Yard cheddar. The Donnhoff Riesling was the perfect pairing for a grilled prawn dish that had Asian spices, a hint of heat from paprika and a splash of acid from squeezed lemon. The off-dry German white was luscious with loads of peach and tropical fruit flavors.

Justin and Deborah ponder the merits of German vs. Alsatian Rieslings

Justin and Deborah ponder the merits of German vs. Alsatian Rieslings

We excitedly returned to Pinot Noir, though, with the entree and the 06 Williams Selyem Pinot Noir. It was a rare, and for some of us our first, opportunity to enjoy a bottle of Williams-Selyem. The raviolis were large, hand-wrapped with a tender and savory braised-pork filling. This earthy dish paired well with the Williams-Selyem, which exhibited notes of cherry, strawberry and currants. We contributed the vegetables, with a crunchy celery salad that was a nice foil for the pasta, and a richer cabernet-glazed carrot dish that was meant to usher in the final red wine of the evening, the Cornalin.

The Cornalin seemed to spark the most interest due to its relative obscurity. Cornalin is a Swiss grape from the Valais region and can be quite tannic. This was a 2001 vintage in a 500ml bottle, so Brian thought that this year it would be ready. We received it from our good friend Dave, who lives in Lausanne, Switzerland, when he came to California for our wedding in 2002. He brought that along with a Petit Arvine (white) as a gift. The collective commentary on the Cornalin included “peppery,” “a bit rustic,” “black cherry with hints of cough medicine,” and “has some grip.” Jennifer thought it had herbal characteristics. This was probably the one point of the evening where we all stuck our noses into the glass a little further and peered at the color and body a little more philosophically.

The hard-to-find Swiss Cornalin: "peppery, rustic, black cherry, with a little grip"

The hard-to-find Swiss Cornalin: "peppery, rustic, black cherry, with a little grip"

Outside of a few wine-geek moments, the best part of the evening was — and always is — the good friends and conversation. In addition to the stories behind the wines and entrees, there was the usual discourse on neighborhood gossip, recent travels and the latest music downloads. In fact, one of our table topics was about wine and music, in part because Jennifer spent much of the week immersed in conversations about music during the Noise Pop festival in San Francisco. In particular, at one show Wente Winery was promoting their new Discover the Wine, Discover the Music series in which their winemaker is pairing musical artists with Wente wines. We discussed whether or not we felt there was a consistent connection between wine and music. Most felt that wine didn’t necessarily make them think of a song or musician, but agreed that an emotional response to the wine might call to mind thoughts of artists that elicit similar emotions.

Surprisingly, there was not much focus on the dour economy. It was a nice break from the gloomy headlines (and gray skies) and we all feel fortunate to at least be gainfully employed, let alone have a nice bottle of wine to share. We wound the evening down over a beautiful Jackson-Triggs icewine and peach pie…a comforting finish to a wonderful night.

The best part of the evening - great friends and stimulating conversation

The best part of the evening - great friends and stimulating conversation