Although debateable whether he actually said it, Mark Twain's attributed statement remains true: "The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco."
I just started studying for the bar exam, so I stocked up to help me through the summer. Here are some warm reds to fend off the fog:
2003 Ruston Cuvee Lorraine, St. Helena, Napa: A Bordeaux blend of cab sauv, merlot, cab franc, and petit verdot, but obviously Californian. Initially loud and spicy, it quickly settles down into something more supple and velvety. BUY IT NOW before it's too late. $9.99 at Trader Joes.
2004 Nicolas Potel, Savigny-Les-Beaune, Burgundy: This wine is old school bourgogne. Soft, with black fruit, soil and minerality. The negociant shuns the spicy, syrupy American influence. Great Burgundy at a reasonable restaurant wine list price. I haven't found it anywhere else, but when I do, I will immediately post. $66 at Le Colonial.
2003 Chateau Bel-Air-Ouy, Saint-Emilion, Bordeaux: This is what happens when France tries too hard to market to Americans. Blunt, huge and utterly boring. This chateau shuns centuries of success in a failed attempt at galmour. It's like Paris Hilton without the sex-tape. $67 at Le Colonial (I will not immediately post if I find it elsewhere).
2001 Kamen Cabernet Sauvignon, Somona: This wine is tiny production and unheard of. The winemaker is not. Robert Kamen wrote The Karate Kid, The 5th Element, The Transporter, and A Walk in the Clouds. I grew up on these movies. As for the wine, it is tight and refined for a Napa/Sonoma cabernet (his vinyards are on the border on Mt. Veeder). Although this bottle was no crane kick, it had some potential. Let's see if his wine making career can mirror his time in Hollywood. $70 at the vineyard.