Monday, September 29, 2008

Wine for a Sunday night

When you first start seeing someone, every night is special, every event is fun, every kiss is electric, and every moment apart is torture. Some may call this "infatuation". Sure. But in this case, let me tell you, it's more like infatuation combined with mutual foodie bliss-fest, 24-7.

Last night I was invited over for a casual Sunday dinner - smoked salmon, homemade pesto, and fresh mozzarella on focaccia bread with freshly sliced sweet potato chips on the side. (At least three of the things mentioned in the last sentence are, not coincidentally, favorites of mine.) And then, just for fun, out of the wine cooler came one of his favorite bottles. Not because it was the perfect food match. Not because he was trying to impress. Just for fun. Hot.

The 2003 Almus 7 Cuvee was truly dynamite. It's a Bordeaux-ish blend from Napa, apparently a second label for the Miura owner, and has one of the most beautiful bouquets that I have inhaled in a long time. Lavender and dark, luscious berries danced across my tongue, and the finish was clean and sophisticated. At first I was worried that it would be too big for salmon, but the pesto beefed up the meal enough to work with the incredibly well-integrated fruit of the wine. The wine is performing beautifully now - kinda like a young singer making her debut with a stellar senior recital. I'm guessing that with a few more years of age it'll be like a seasoned Met singer - mature and confident, blowing away everyone in the room.

And I swear it wasn't just the company that made the wine so good. Although I'm sure it didn't hurt, either.

How awesome is this city?

Ok, so I couldn't make it to the festival, but I think it's awesome that the paper talks about it in such a positive way the next day.

Hurrah, San Francisco!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008


Seriously, who's going to buy me this purse?

Please? Please?

My current favorite glass of wine

When people find out what I do, I often get asked "Oooh... what is your favorite wine?"

I hate this question. But I've always hated the favorite question. I can never pick a favorite movie, or favorite song, or favorite food. With a world of such diverse and endless opportunities, it baffles me that anyone can pick an ultimate favorite of anything. But every once and a while I end up having current favorites - a movie that I watch over and over or a dish that I keep going back for - and right now my current favorite wine is the Michel Picard Sancerre that they pour by the glass at Elite Cafe.

My friend Jason lives just around the corner from Elite, and it has been a favorite spot of his for years. I had been there before - a brunch on one visit, Thanksgiving dinner on another - and once I moved to San Francisco, this place cemented itself on my list of favorite places. Jason, his boyfriend, my roommate and I have started going there so much that we are becoming friends with the staff, and have graduated to the level of receiving freebies from our favorite bartender. Last week when we were bestowed the order of deviled eggs, I almost teared up.

So they serve this great Sancerre by the glass, and I've slipped into the habit of ordering it automatically upon sliding into the comfy bar stools. The sauvignon blanc is crisp and acidic, and it works with the oysters that almost always end up on our table. It's not life changing or anything. It's just a solid, good little wine that I always drink while surrounded by three of my favorite people in the world.

And for me, that's what makes a favorite. It's not the minutiae of tasting notes, or the pedigree of the grapes - it's the pleasure that occurs all around you while drinking it.

Friday, September 12, 2008


Suffice it to say, I've got none.

When things are up in the air, I want to know how they are going to land. Like right now - am I staying close to the city, or am I moving back up to Napa? The more I think about it, the more I want to head back. I loved my time in Napa, and love being here a few times a week. I'm daydreaming of renting a little cottage, having lots of time to read and write... it'll be heavenly.

Anyway, enough babbling about something that may or may not happen. For now let's talk about something that is going on:

For the last week, COPIA has been featuring one of my wines, the 2004 Sangervasio Rosso, as Winery of the Week. Everyone that has passed through the doors of this impressive facility has had a chance to taste the wine for free, and buy it if they so choose. This kind of exposure i
great for a small company like us, so we have been pretty excited. In addition, they have also been using it for all of their "Taste of COPIA" lunches this month, and this afternoon I get to attend one as a guest. I'm super excited to learn more about how this innovative facility operates, and what their programs are like.

Well, I'm off. More on my up-in-the-air life soon!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Really home

Tonight I smoked a cigarette.

I don't do that very often. Only in really situations. Like when I'm really drunk. Or really nerve-wracked. Or really needing something to cling to.

Today I've been really all day. I can't even put into words really what. Really stressed? Yeah. Really confused? Maybe. Really down-trodden. Sure, that too. I've been completely on edge for various reasons, and nothing felt right all day.

But then I came home.

Which is weird, because I didn't go home. I went to my boss's boyfriend's condo in Napa, where everyone randomly convened after various long days of crap. I'm staying here because I had to work in Napa this afternoon and tomorrow morning, and it just didn't make sense for me to drive an hour home in between. That's the cool thing about my life here - I can always come and stay. I've landed myself in a community of people that are like a little family for me. I know I can always invite myself for dinner if I want to, know that I will always be welcome, that there will always be a bed and a glass of wine waiting, if I want them.

So after this ridiculously stressful day I came here, bummed a cigarette, dug into the pizza that someone brought, watched the people swirl around me, participated in a few conversations, and actually unwound. I now feel at peace. And at home. And I know that everything will be ok.


Contagious Emotions

I coined the phrase “contagious emotions” a few weeks ago when Dana, Frits, and Ron were in town. Midway through our gorgeous Napa afternoon, Ron found out that his fantasy football league had changed their minds about when they were going to do their draft picks, and flew into a panic when he realized that he wasn’t going to be able to be in front of a computer at the crucial moment. Hours on the phone commenced, as he talked some very accommodating half-girlfriend through the whole process with her in front of a laptop reading everything off to him over the phone. He pouted when he didn’t get the picks that he wanted, seemed ok when he got someone decent, and spent the whole evening at dinner in and out of his seat.

It was torture.

As hostess, I wanted everyone to have a good time. Most people would have just laughed off his rudeness, but I couldn’t help but worry about it along with him, fret over whether or not his makeshift system was working effectively, and hope that his picks worked out – even though I personally could give a shit about football. At one point when he came back to the table, I asked how it was going.

“Ugh, this sucks,” he grunted at the plate in front of him.

“Well,” I attempted lightheartedly, “please don’t be too upset about it. I’m very susceptible to contagious emotions, so if you’re sad I’ll be sad too, and I really wanted to enjoy this dinner.”

Everyone laughed as they were supposed to, and Ron agreed to try not to be so bummed. As Dana and Frits exclaimed at the cleverness of my statement, what I had said actually sunk in. I realized that it was a completely accurate description of myself.

Although I had never put it into words, this is a trait I have just begun to understand in myself in recent years. It's a very complex trait. It means that I am very sensitive, an excellent listener, and someone who can make others feel comfortable. But the problem is that when things aren’t going well, I’m super aware of it, and it can tend to consume me. I want to fix it ASAP, and usually fixing it means one thing - bolt...

*to be continued...