21 December, 2008

Wine, Rain and Cupcakes!

Thanks to evil Ford Karma, my planned Saturday wine adventures were postponed till Sunday. It started with a fun brunch where I invented a BBLT, by adding Brie to home baked mini croissants and stepping up the BLT part by using apple smoked center cut bacon, herb infused spring mix. I also doctored the Little Spendids with a pinch of lavender salt and thyme in the fig balsamic maceration. Delicious! We paired with a Trinitas Sauvignon Blanc that picked up the herbal notes in salad mix and contrasted nicely with the fig, salty meat, creamy cheese, buttery fresh bread. From there, I braved the weather and the miscommunication issue to track down Luscious Lush Thea at Treasure Island Wines. Located on scenic Treasure Island midway between the San Francisco Bay Bridge's two spans, the promised "Ideal Natural climate" statement was challenged by the advent of the Ice Station Zebra weather we are currently enduring. But the wines poured by Bryan of Vie Winery
and Sol Rouge
were like bottled vignettes of a Rhone vacation with Zinfandel-colored sunshine! Everything they poured was delightful. Decorated and heat lamped against the chill air, we worked through the progression and even got a bonus preview of the 2007 Les Amours, which was ripe with layers of cherry notes and eucalyptus tinges in the nose, delicious cherryness in the flavors and an interesting cherry waterfall finish. I can't wait to see how that shapes up. I ended up buying the Sol Rouge Zinfandel, which was truly like



bottled summer with lush fruit, spice and everything yummy about Zinfandel. I also picked up a Gypsy Blanc. I loved the stemmy nose, and the variegated fruit flavors. I tasted stone fruit, tropical notes. Yummy! From there, we raced over to the Friends and Family Sale at Cellar 360. Located in historic Ghiradelli square in a building that used to be an old woolen mill, the patina of the aged brick is utterly authentic. It's a gorgeous spot, with impossibly beautiful views in any season and an elegance of placement that is archetypically San Franciscan. Since we were already there, we stopped in to try out what the folks at Wattle Creek were offering as well. Phil did a great job of leading us through a long list of California wines named like Australian wines. It was funny, but tasty, to try an Anderson Valley "Shiraz". Bonus: Thanks to Visa Signature, this tasting was free!
Once through that interesting line up, we were off to Cellar 360, where we took advantage of their Wine and Cheese Pairing offering. Three wines matched with three cheeses. First a white with Pecorino Pepato cheese, which was a mild sheep's milk with black peppercorns stirred in. It was shaved very thin to mkae it seem even milder, but the peppercorns were hot and bitey. Next, was a delightful fresh Gouda, which ended up tasting salty and creamy and paired very well with the delicious Sbragia Merlot. Third was a nice Brillat-Savarin, the light creamy brie-like cow cheese that was paired with a Cabernet. A smudge of rose jelly on the plate was an exotic palate refresher. I had absolutely fallen in love with Penfolds Grandfathers Tawny Port and Bin 311 Tumbarumba Chardonnay when we participated in the Penfolds panel. I stocked up! And of course, tawny port in hand, who could resist the lure of Kara's Cupcakes? Neither Thea nor me! I stocked up on those too, grabbing a Sweet Vanilla (luscious cream cheese-butter cream dome of icing paved in white jimmies) with an exceptionally tender crumb of which each was permeated with a Madagascar bourbon vanilla. What I wouldn't have given for a corkscrew to change my "pairing" from water to tawny port! I also snagged a chocolate Fleur de Sel (filled with caramel, topped with a crunch of sea salt), Meyer Lemon filled and Coconut. The cupcakes are made with the freshest, most delightful ingredients so that they taste home made, but lighter than air and sweeter than Spring! If you are in a 10 mile radius, stop and try one (or four!)






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