A great SF wine store, Georgian wine, and some interesting posts

Above: the inimitable Ceri Smith, owner and creator of Biondivino, named San Francisco’s “best wine shop” by the San Francisco Gate the very day I visited her, and Chris Terrell, importer of intriguing Georgian wines.

When I was in San Francisco last week, I had the great pleasure to meet Ceri Smith, owner and creator of Biondivino and one of the top Italian wine experts in our country. Her encyclopedic knowledge of Italian wine simply blew me away and her store — however small — is one of the most delightful places on earth. She specializes in Italian wine but carries a few French, Slovenian, and Georgian labels. Her collection of Italian sparkling wine is probably the best in the country and she sells a few Champagnes as well. She was gracious enough to share a coveted bottle of Valentini 2001 Montepulciano d’Abbruzzo with me, one of her favorites, she said. A fantastic wine…

Above: I really liked Vinoterra’s Kisi, which should cost around $20 retail. Look at the beautiful color on that wine. Really great, oxidized, tasty, stinky stuff — the way I like it. It’s high time to take Georgian wine seriously.

We were also joined by importer Chris Terrell who specializes in Georgian wines. He had contacted me after he read my post on the war in Georgia. Chris first fell in love with Georgian wine when he biked through the Caucusus and tasted these amazing bottlings. We tasted through eight Georgian wines by two producers, each unique, surprising, and intriguing. I particularly liked the Kisi (an indigenous Georgian grape) by Vinoterra, aged in amphora. Vinoterra served as inspiration and model for the extreme wines of Gravner, which he began to age in amphora some years ago after he visited Vinoterra.

In other news…

Here are some top bloggers in my Google reader and some interesting posts I’ve read by them recently. As the saying goes, ubi major, minor cessat…

My good friend Alice Feiring just launched this New York Times blog about her experience making wine for the first time. I’m one of her biggest fans.

Dr. Vino by Tyler Colman is one of the most popular wine blogs in the U.S. and a leading resource for tasting notes, wine news and trivia. Tyler’s pièce de résistance is his research on the carbon footprint of wine. I was particularly impressed by this post in which he debunks the myth of Beaujolais Nouveau, “Boycott Beaujolais Nouveau”. It’s hard-hitting stuff and a must read.

Italian Wine Guy aka Alfonso Cevola, another good friend of mine, is hands-down the top Italian wine blogger in the U.S. This guy knows his stuff and his blog is a daily read for me. I love the way that Alfonso bends our genre, always pushing the envelope in ways that surprise and entertain me. His recent post on Luca Zaia’s “mommy blog” is one of his most daring and politically charged. Chapeau, Alfonso!

One Response to A great SF wine store, Georgian wine, and some interesting posts

  1. anna says:

    Except ‘Kisi’ – Georgian wine there are great Tvishi and Usakhelauri(white semi-sweet), Odjaleshi, Kindzmarauli,Alazani valley, Khvanchkara(red semi-sweet), Rkatsiteli(white dry), Saperavi and Mukuzani(red dry). Country Georgia(Black Sea)is the only one having about 500 grape varieties than any other country in the world with ancient more than 7 thousand years winemaking experience. The grape seds have Vitis Vifera Sativa which create most unique wines.
    A lot of thanks to the American companies adoring and promoting the wine Georgian wines in many states.
    Also Georgia has the fine brandies (3- 15 yeras from oak baskets)and perfect ‘chacha’-grape vodka.
    So enjoy and be blessed!

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