Drinking wine, spo dee o dee drinking wine…

Yesterday I got to go to the Family Winemakers trade event at Fort Mason.  Nearly 400 winemakers were represented.  It was really mind boggling to be there.  Since I lean towards the smaller wineries, I’d heard of many of them, even had a lot of the wine that was being poured.  I skipped a lot of wineries that I was familiar with, Landmark, Siduri, Chappellet, Keenan (although I didn’t see their booth, I know they were supposed to be there) Hollywood and Vine, (I think there’s a Doug Barr story in the archives) Grgich Hills, Gundlach Bunshu, Corison, St. Supery…well, it’s a long list isn’t it?  While I’m a big fan of Freemark Abbey, I’m not sure why they were there.  They are owned by a corporate conglomerate after their bankruptcy.  They have managed to retain Ted Edwards and Tim Bell so far, and I know these two are responsible for the consistently great wine, but with the way that corporations do business, I feel like every day with them hangs tediously in the balance.  Freemark Abbey’s Bosche is the wine that I hold as a benchmark for Cabernet Sauvignons.  It’s currently running around $50 a bottle, so a wine that’s say $65 like Whitehall, should be X% better than the Bosche.  Personally, I don’t think the Whitehall is better.  Rombauer is roughly the same price but they’ve been making all of their wines even more jammy and big and this and that in recent years, so it gets a tepid pass.  Robert Keenan just got some ridiculous rating on their Cab, which retails around $40ish.  I think their Cab has a lot more going on and is a lot more elegant than Rombauer or Whitehall.   Folks I saw there would be Ben Davis the boy genius behind Tallulah.  I was hanging out with my Sommelier buddy so she was looking at everything from the point of view of how it would sell and mesh with food in a restaurant setting.  All of their wines would have worked very well and were quite drinkable without food, as we proved yesterday.  I ran into the owners from DuNah Winery.  I wrote about them earlier, as I had tried their wine at 750ml in San Mateo.   They make a Pinot, a Chardonnay and a Red Table Wine.  All are excellent.  We stopped at Cafaro’s table.  My buddy has an old card from 1997 from Joe Cafaro.  He’s still making the exact same production from the exact same plot of land as he was 10 years ago.  While my buddy questioned why he was still doing exactly what he was doing 10 years ago, when I tasted his wine I thought “Why the hell not?”  This guy makes two beautiful wines.  That’s it.  He’s obviously supporting himself, seems awful happy, why the hell not?  We visited with the guys from Trione Vineyards.  They made a Pinot, a Chardonnay, a Sauvignon Blanc and a Bordeaux blend.  They were all very nice wines.  I really liked the Bordeaux blend a lot, which surprised me, since they’re from the Sonoma side.  Another great stop, which somewhat diverted from my plan of staying away from wines I knew, was a stop at Merry Edwards.  I just love her wine.  I’ve had an occasional bottle here and there, but never the opportunity to run through her entire line.  Delicious!  We ended the day with a steak over at Izzy’s Steak and Chop house on Steiner.  Some days, it’s just great to be me.

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