Tasting Report: Toast of the Town, March 2009

Tasting Report: Toast of the Town, March 2009

Heading into the Civic Center area of San Francisco rarely means a fun night on the town drinking lots of great wine, but that’s exactly what I had the great pleasure to do this Thursday, courtesy of an invitation from Wine Enthusiast magazine, which put on a fantastic, must-attend event.

Held in the classy War Memorial Opera House, wines were poured on four stories of the structure, making for some adventurous climbing and exploring in order to get your vino fix. While wines were poured from all over the world — there’s really no rhyme or reason to who was attending, as you’ll see from the melange of names in the tasting report below — quality was exceptional throughout. (Admittedly I tried to steer toward the higher-grade wines being poured during the VIP hour.)

But Toast of the Town, I soon discovered, is only half about the wine. The other half is all about the food, with an amazing variety of local restaurants serving appetizer-sized plates to the masses. Seriously, the food options were splayed out at a rate of roughly one restaurant for every two wineries (and on some floors, the ratio was 1 to 1), so you’d get a glass of wine, then grab a plate and nosh. And we’re not talking about a bite of cheese and a cracker like most wine events: Here we had crab dumplings, duck salad, steak tartare, lobster thermidor, ahi tuna, house-made carpaccio, beef marsala on polenta, red velvet cake… you name it. And, at the final table… a selection of awesome chocolates from Shokolaat. It’s the first time I’ve left a wine event completely stuffed — and perfectly satiated with a glass of Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon (rating: A) — a unique way to finish a wine tasting event… and a great way to prepare for Whiskeys of the World this afternoon.

Because the wines were all over the map (literally), drawing comparisons was nearly impossible so my comments on the 28 wines I tried are scarce. I will however offer special praise for Archery Summit’s Red Hills Pinot, Pine Ridge’s Fortis cabernet, and a trio of whites from Louis Latour (and a sister property), however. But seriously… i want to go back for some more of those chocolates.

Tasting Report – Toast of the Town San Francisco 2009

France 2006 Joseph Drouhin Premier Cru Chablis / B+
Oregon 2006 Domaine Drouhin Pinot Noir Willamette Valley / B
France 2006 Louis Latour Corton-Charlemagne Grand Cru / A-
France 2005 Louis Latour Corton-Grancey Grand Cru / A-
France 2006 Simonnet Febvre Les Preuses Grand Cru Chablis / A-
Cal 2005 Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon St. Helena / A-
Cal 2005 Raymond Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford / A-
Australia 2006 Yalumba Hand-Picked m/g/s Barossa Valley / A-
Australia 2007 Yalumba The Viriglius Viognier Eden Valley / B+
Cal 2004 Geyser Peak Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon / B+
Cal 2005 Newton Unfiltered Cabernet Sauvignon / A-
Oregon 2006 Domaine Alfred Califa Pinot Noir / A-
Oregon 2006 Archery Summit Red Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir / A
Cal 2005 Pine Ridge Fortis Cabernet Sauvignon / A
Cal 2006 MacMurray Ranch Winemaker’s Block Selection Pinot Noir / A
Cal 2005 William Hill Estate Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon / A-
Italy 2003 Da Vinci Brunello di Montalcino / B+
Cal 2005 Beaulieu Vineyard Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon / A-
Cal 2005 Beaulieu Vineyard Tapestry Reserve / A
Italy 2003 Biondi-Santi Rosso di Montalcino / B-
Italy 1999 Biondi-Santi Brunello di Montalcino Riserva / B-
France 2005 Chateau de la Gardine Tradition Chateauneuf-du-Pape / B
Cal 2006 Ravenswood Old Hill Zinfandel Sonoma Valley / B+
NZ 2007 Nobilo Icon Pinot Noir / B+
Cal 1998 Gloria Ferrer Carneros Cuvee / A
Cal 2005 Hall Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon / A-
Cal 2005 Hall Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon / B
Cal 2004 Mount Veeder Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon / B+

Christopher Null is the founder and editor in chief of Drinkhacker. A veteran writer and journalist, he also operates Null Media, a bespoke content creation company.

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