Northside SF  

October '09

Wine Report from the Fort
What are some good stocking stuffers?

By Fred McMillin

You can bring a smile to the face of any wine enthusiast with a gift of a good wine, and there are excellent choices for every budget.

Wines that won’t break the bank
If you need to watch your pennies this year, you don’t need to sacrifice taste. Here are some high-scoring wines sure to satisfy.

Blend: Albret La Viña de mi Madre Reserva Navarra (Spain) 2005, $14
Cabernet Sauvignon: Rincón Privado (Argentina) 1999, $10
Petite Sirah: Glen Ellen Winery California Proprietor’s Reserve 2007, $10 (1.5L)

Blend: Big House Wine Company California “Big House White” 2009, $22 (3L)
Chardonnay: Targovishte Winery Black Sea (Bulgaria) 2009, $9
Tre Cellars California Monterey County 2008, $10
French Rabbit Languedoc (France) 2009, $10 (1L)
Riesling: Oceana Estates Monterey County 2007, $13
Robert Mondavi California Private Selection 2009, $11
Sauvignon Blanc: Silver Birch Wines Marlborough (New Zealand) 2009, $24 (3L)
Robert Mondavi California Private Selection 2009, $11

Alice White Moscato South Eastern Australia “Lexia” 2009, $7

For those with bigger budgets
If your wallet is in good shape in spite of the holidays, then here are some super gifts:

Cabernet Sauvignon: Robert Mondavi Napa Valley 2007, $28
Petite Sirah: Sunset Cellars Dry Creek Valley 2004, $30
Pinot Noir: King Estate Signature 2008, $27
Sangiovese: Daniel Gehrs Wines Santa Ynez Valley 2006, $29
Syrah: Cakebread Cellars Napa Valley 2007, $50
Peju Province Winery Napa Valley 2006, $32
Rosenblum Cellars Lake County 2006, $25
Zinfandel: Cakebread Cellars Lake County 2007, $41

Chardonnay: Foggy Bridge Winery Russian River Valley Reserve 2006, $32
Sauvignon Blanc: Handley Cellars Dry Creek Valley 2008, $20
Viognier: Handley Cellars Dry Creek Valley 2007, $20

Moscatel: Bodega Ochoa Navarra (Spain) 2008, $27 (375ml)
Muscat: Quady Winery California “Deviation,” $27 (375ml)

Give a wine class as a gift
Give a wine class, so folks can try ‘em before they buy ‘em. Twenty wines are studied and tasted each class. Each session is $50 on the following Saturdays in 2011 at Fort Mason, 1 p.m.
Feb. 5: Basics for Beginners – Learn the five types of wines and how they are made.
Feb. 26: Taste the Terms – Taste wines that illustrate the 100-plus terms used to describe it.
March 5: More Basics – Includes a careful comparison of important varietals.
March 19: Taste More Terms – Taste more wines and learn more terms used to describe wine.
Many people take Taste the Terms over again because the wines and terms are different each time.
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
Harvest humor: While blessing the freshly picked grapes, the man of the cloth was asked also to appeal for no rain. He replied, “Sorry, I’m in Sales not Operations.”

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 Column Archive

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