April 16 Newsletter
I hope everyone survived Tax Season without too many scars, and that you'll be enjoying the great weather that'll be on hand this weekend.
We've brought in some warm weather wines (Rosé'll do the trick for the warm weather, and a grilled cheese sammich will balm your tax wounds, so come on down....)
We're coming into the home stretch and still have a few seats available for our Jim Clendenen Wine Dinner at the Bay Wolf this Tuesday 4/21.
Jim is the mind behind Au Bon Climat, one of the best winemakers on the planet, and one of the main forces behind the great wines being made in Santa Barbara County. His wines are elegant, well balanced, vinted to both drink well now and to age beautifully.
The Bay Wolf is perennially rated in the Top 100 restaurant by the SF Chronicle. Chef Michael Wild has fashioned a six course dinner to go with seven of Jim's wines; it's all priced at $89 per person, plus tax and tip! (that's
$115 per person or $110 total per person including gratuity and tax
for Farmstead Wine Club members in good standing). The Baywolf is
located at 3853 Piedmont Avenue in Oakland.
Prepaid reservations are a necessity and can be made by calling Farmstead Cheeses and Wines at 510 864 9463. For further information, please click here.
Quicos - I raved last week about Quicos - Corn Nuts covered in chocolate and dusted with cocoa powder.
They are amazing - crunchy, salty and sweet in one mouthful - they are a great complement to cheeses, and make a fabulous snack.
Wine Clubs We
release our monthly wine club offerings this Friday, and this month, we
offer some outrageously good wines to our beloved club members.
That's right, we have seven wine club options here at Farmstead - to fit every budget and palate.
Club members receive significant discounts on all wines in the store, advance notice and discounts for our very cool and exclusive wine dinners with some of the world's most fascinating wine personalities, free pours at our weekly tastings, recipes, and our unflagging gratitude and devotion.
We ask for a four month commitment to any of our clubs.
- the Bargain Club features organic red and white Côtes du Rhônes from Ferraton, a Spanish red and white from Bodegas Ercavio, a lovely Sangiovese/Merlot Blend from Chianti Rufina, and Hérétiques, a favorite organic old vine Carignane blend from Southern France.
- the Châteauneuf Club offers up Cayron Gigondas, a juicy Grenache blend
- the Classic Club (two wines per month) features a choice of Oro de Castillo, a crisp Verdejo from Spain, Unti Rosé, Beckmen's organic Côtes du Rhône blend, and a great organic, single vineyard Zin from Jelly Jar (cult wine in the making!!)
- the High End Red Club (wait list) features Unti Cuvée Foudre, a biodynamically farmed Grenache/Mouvèdre/Syrah blend
- the Italian Club features wine from Abruzzo
- the Pinot Noir Club (wait list) features a selection of single vineyard Willamette Valley wines from Sineann
- the Spanish Club features three red blends from famed importer Eric Solomon.
I flipped for Yellow and Blue Malbec - organic, single vineyard, juicy Malbec, served up in liter Tetra-paks! Yellow and Blue make green... the grapes for this Mendoza Malbec are organically grown and the juice is unoaked and full of fresh, vibrant acidity.
The nose is reminiscent of dark berries and the tannins are pleasingly present. The liter-size tetrapack is recyclable and lightweight, giving it a tiny carbon footprint. Take a tetra home tonight! only $12.25 for the Liter - such a deal!
Sine Qua Non - we have a few bottles of Sine Qua Non Raven Grenache and Sine Qua Non Raven Syrah.
Parker gave the Syrah 96-99 and the Grenache 96-100, raving: "The 2006
Grenache Raven Series (92% Grenache and 8% Syrah with 26% whole
clusters) was aged in 43% new oak, including both small barrels and
demi-muids. It is a slightly smaller production (880 cases) than the
2005 Atlantis Fe 203-2a. The 2006 Raven Series exhibits that chocolate
character that very ripe Grenache can sometimes possess, along with
black cherry and black currant notes. Full-bodied and seamlessly
constructed, it offers hints of graphite, licorice, smoke, and meat.
The chocolate component appears to be vintage specific as I have not
noticed it in other SQN Grenache offerings. This beauty, a superb
success in a challenging vintage, is another example of how intensive,
radical work in the vineyard as well as meticulous attention to detail
in both the vineyard and cellar can produce a prodigious wine in a less
than stellar year. The 2006 Syrah Raven Series (93% Syrah, 5%
Grenache, and 2% Viognier) is primarily from the Eleven Confessions
Vineyard with small quantities from the Bien Nacido and White Hawk
vineyards. Aromas of sweet black and blue fruits, forest floor, lead
pencil shavings, and spring flowers emerge from this remarkably elegant
Syrah. With great fruit intensity, a stunning texture, and an opulent
mouthfeel, this is a gentle, gracious, large-scaled wine displaying
extraordinary finesse and elegance for its size.
Tastings We welcome Brooke
Anderson to the tasting bar this week, where she'll be pouring great
wines from California and France. On Friday 6-8 in Montclair and
Saturday 2-5 in Alameda, Brooke is presenting:
- Arrogant Frog Chardonnay an organic value priced wine from the Languedoc
- Alma Rosa Chardonnay a sustainable Chardonnay from Richard Sanford
- Arrogant Frog Red an organic Cab and Merlot blend from France
- Justin Orphan Cab and Syrah blend from one of our favorite wineries
- Educated Guess Cabernet - a staff and store favorite!
- Last week, I had a revelation. (Well, actually, I had a hamburger,
but it was one of the best burgers I'd had in a long, long time.)
The revelation is called the Culina Burger and it's available from Culina - the new food place in the Alameda Marketplace run by John Theil at Pappo.
Here's the deal - a generous hunk of premium ground beef, paired with a perfectly toasted roll, slathered with blue cheese, wide pickle slices, aioli, and onions. This baby took five, no, six napkins!! And there I was, a happily sated Cheesemonger, with a beefy smile, (and smeared aioli all over my face).
Alamedans, run, don't walk to Culina and get one of their burgers! I repeat. Go. Get. One. Of. Their. Burgers. Oaklanders, this burger is worth the trip - plenty of free parking in our three lots in the Marketplace. Tell 'em the Cheesemonger sentcha.
Burrata and Bufala arrive today. Have a great weekend!