Northside SF  

Wine Report from the Fort
The best Sonoma aroma and Napa nose?

By Fred McMillin

“I have never tasted a bad wine. They never get beyond my nose.”
                                                                      – British connoisseur

The nose knows – my colleague Edgar Vogt has a good one, too. He and I have sniffed a number of wines, and these had the best aroma.

Best white (tie)
• Handley Cellars Dry Creek Valley Sauvignon Blanc 2008, $15
• Jordan Vineyards & Winery Russian River Valley Chardonnay 2008, $29
Best red (tie)
• Ferrari-Carano Vineyards Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, $30
• Jordan Vineyards & Winery Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, $52

Best white
• Jarvis Winery Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay 2008, $95
Best red (tie)
• Ballentine Vineyards Napa Valley Old Vines Zinfandel 2007, $21
• Jarvis Winery Napa Valley Reserve Merlot 2007, $100

Jack be nimble, Jack be quick
Jack Galante, owner and winemaker of Galante Vineyards in the Carmel Valley did not have to be quick. His great grandfather founded the town of Carmel.
In 1969, Jack’s parents purchased a 700-acre cattle ranch in the valley. In addition to maintaining a working cattle ranch, in 1983 his parents began growing premium grapes, specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon. So in 1994, things were well prepared for Jack Galante when he decided to build a winery and use some of the estate grapes to make premium Cabernet Sauvignon wines.
We have not tasted them yet but The Wine Enthusiast and The Food and Beverage World gave recent Galante Cabs 90-plus scores.

Think pink: update 2011
These days, anyone making good wine is probably making some good pinks as well. Northside San Francisco reader Donald Suyeyasu asked which of the pink wines we published last year is my favorite. Here are the wines:
• Forest Glen Winery California (Shiraz) “Magenta” Rosé 2007, $9
• Pedroncelli Vineyards Dry Creek Valley Dry Rosé of Zinfandel 2008, $10
• Kenwood Vineyards Russian River Valley Pinot Noir Rosé 2008 $13
• Bonny Doon Vineyards California “Vin Gris de Cigare” 2008, $15
• Peju Province Winery Napa Valley Rosé of Syrah 2007, $25

My personal favorite is the Boony Doon Vin Gris de Cigare.

Seating is limited but learning isn’t…
when you go to Fort Mason and take a wine class. Taste 20 wines on the following Saturdays, 1 p.m.
•  Feb. 5: California’s Five Wine Districts – Learn the distinct wine districts and how their wines differ.
•  Feb. 26: Basics for Beginners – Learn the five basic types of wines and how they are made.
•  March 5: Taste the Terms – Taste wines that illustrate the 100-plus terms used to describe wines.
• March 19: Napa vs. Sonoma – A careful comparison of Napa wines with their Sonoma counterparts.
To enroll or wait-list, phone San Francisco City College at 415-561-1840, or visit Register one week before classes begin to receive a $10 discount. 

A final wine smile
Sign at entrance of a Marina bistro: Come in before we both starve!

Credits: Edgar Vogt (tastings); Ophie Mercado (statistics)

Fred McMillin has taught wine history for 30 years on three continents and was voted one of the 22 best wine writers in America by Academy of Wine Communications.
E-mail:; fax: 415-567-4468

Browse Columns Archives

Bookmark and Share Print Page

September 2011 Issue


Horse Shoe Tavern Amici's East Coast Pizzeria


Alfreds Alfred's Steakhouse

Bobos Bobo's

Franciscan The Franciscan


Getting to know the Reillys June Top Picks

Copyright © 2005 - 2008 NorthSide San Francisco