But by suggesting to my companion that he march straight ahead with averted eyes, we were rewarded with a truly incredible event. Classy as all get-out, and with wine/food pairings absolutely made in heaven. So below are some quick takes. The methodology: enjoy a nibble of the cuisine, turn to the wineries flanking each restaurant on either side, ask what pairs best with the cuisine, taste to the right, nibble again, taste to the left, and then move on. Two hours later, amble out to the crisp springtime San Francisco night and be treated (?) to some arsehole berating some downtrodden wine writer ever so publically and loudly (and did I mention obnoxiously?) on the steps of the Opera building. I would’ve decked him. Whoever you are, DECK HIM. It’s never too late. Now, back to pleasant topics.
The best quote of the night came from John Calmeyer, Director of Marketing & PR for Sebastiani Vineyards & Winery. Asked what to pair with the fried chicken-cornbread-greens-potatoSalad served by Home of Chicken and Waffles (Oakland), he said, “ Oh, if you have a plate of Soulfood, you really should have our Soulful Zin.” And so he poured an absolutely sensational Sebastiani 2007 Zin from Dry Creek. I loved it for its very-cherry aroma a flavor, with that zing of pepper on the back palate. Yummy.
Campton Place (San Francisco) served up Ahi tuna with olive oil, apple and wild rocket foam. Next to them was Destination Riesling, and the pour of Weingut Karl Fritsch 2003 Revere Riesling (Donauland) was perfect.
Slanted Door (San Francisco) served a grapefruit & jicama salad with candied pecans. The folks at the Wente table suggested their 2007 Meritage. A blend of 48% Sauvignon Blanc and 52% Semillon in the 1007 vintage, the aroma and taste of grapefruit and pear provided a clean and brisk wine that went well with the next culinary experience too – the First Crush Restaurant-WineBar-Lounge (San Francisco) of a tuna tartare with green olive tapenade.
The Viña San Pedro/Marques de Riscal 2004 Reserve Rioja was perfect with Zinnia’s (San Francisco) plum stuffed with goat chees and wrapped with House bacon, served with harissa aioli.
Postrio (San Francisco) featured House Smoked salmon blini with dill crème fraiche and wasabi tobiki, and the Nobilo experts suggested a fine New Zealand Savignon Blanc, the Nobilo 2008 Icon, Marlborough. This was one of the truly outstanding wines I tasted! I hate to mention it because it is limited in quantity, but it’s all about sharing. The blini was good, and so a second taste was in order, and a second wine: a Gloria Ferrer Caneros Cuvee, a delicious bubbly with fresh flavors and a full body.
Kendall-Jackson Winery poured a 2005 Highland Estates Trace Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon from Knights Valley, to accompany the delightful Southwestern mushroom and avocado ceviche served on crisp corn chips with a chocolate-infused chili emulsion drizzled over all, from Millenium Restaurant (San Francisco), a terrific vegetarian restaurant.
And so, sated but still able to amble, the definitive word is Hats Off! to Wine Enthusiast for hosting a wonderful event. We hope the silent auction for the San Francisco Food Bank resulted in funds for this very worthwhile cause too. Amid all the fluff and flutter, it’s good to remember that privilege should extend to those less fortunate, too.