Sunday, June 17, 2007

Bar Study = Wine Time

Having devoted every second of my past 3 weeks to Bar study, I decided to take Saturday off. With just 24 hours free, I had to make it good.

So, I drank a lot of wine.

Below are of the notable moments:

After checking out apartments with Diane, our first stop was a tasting of 2005 rieslings at Dee Vine Wines. The preeminent German wine distributer on the West Coast, Dee Vine exploits a legal loophole in the producer/distributer/retailer hierarchy and opens up for approx. 5 public tastings a year. To keep overhead low, these events happen in their warehouse on Pier 19. Let's just say that you attend for the wine, not the ambiance. It's offbeat, it's unpretentious and it's worth it.

2005 Von Othegraven Kanzem Altenberg Spatlese, Mosel-Saar-Ruwer: A distinctive riesling from the Saar region of MSR, this is a wine with classic German attributes. Like a BMW M3, it's got significant horsepower and the gearbox to harness it. It drops the clutch and revs quickly with big bright acidity. Not the singular lemony cripness that one expects with German rieslings, but rather a more complicated mix of lime and tropics. Red line hits and you notch into second gear that's defined by a sugar concentrate that's almost crystaline. Second has a broad powerband and it takes some time for the coating of sweetness to melt away. Third gear transitions into a cool minerality of shale and limestone. In a couple years, I expect some age to unleash a few more speeds. $53 at DVW.

2005 Schloss Vollrads Spatlese, Rheingau: I have tasted this wine four times and each time I brought a bottle home. It's got the complexity of a bottle three times the price and all the right flavors. A great balance of acidity and sugar content at the right price. $22 at DVW.

After all that German wine, we needed some dinner. Maybe it was love, maybe it was the wine, but Diane offered up her Visa. So we went to Ame in the St. Regis in Yerba Buena. Since I am not yet a celebrity, we had to wait an hour for a table. But what the hell... there was a bar.

We split a glass of 2005 Robert Sinskey Vin Gris of Pinot Noir, Carneros, Sonoma: It's pink, it's great and it does not recall Fr@^zia. Drink it. $20 at Vino wine shop (California St. at Fillmore, next to Molly Stone's).

Finally, we negotiated for seats at the raw bar and had some dinner. The tuna tartare with foie gras was delightfully satisfying just like deviant sex. When the waiter inquired about drinks, Diane and I decided that we were too deep to turn back, so we ordered another bottle.

2003 Movia Ribolla Gialla, Slovenia: Eric Asimov, wine editor of the New York Times, raves about Movia on his blog, so I passed over some perennial choices and gave it a shot. A grape unique to the region, it's certainly an interesting wine. The vineyard is techincally in Slovenia, but the rows often cross into neighboring Italy. Having spent some time in Eastern Europe, I should have known better. Solid and like a chardonnay, it is held up with a study oak backbone. But I just don't see potential. Its taste is neutral and palatable, but too singular to command any respect. $51 at Ame.

1999 Chateau d'Yquem, Sauternes, Bordeaux: Most people disregard it as undrinkably sweet syrup. But for some, this wine is liquid Christ. Ever since my first taste of d'Yquem, I find myself mouthing the Our Father before bed. This stuff redefines the boundaries of potency. Honey, lemon, lilac, pine and plastic all at once. Fuck oil, they should fight wars over this. $200 for a 375ml at K&L on 4th St. down by the ballpark.