23 April, 2009

Every Day is Earth Day - Review of Cafe Casa's "Green" Wine tasting

Global warming apparently is in full swing just in time for Earth Day, 85 degrees in April? Are you kidding me? Over heated. Surly,. Whatever. I dealt with the heat by attending an event hosted by fellow BrixChick Xandria at a delightful spot, Cafe Casa in Berkeley. Cafe Casa is a cozy place in Berkeley with the requisite crunchy details, but with two striking differences: 1) Chris and 2) Jim. The owners bring their great sense of hospitality and palates to bear on the menu offerings---both food and wine. They put together a super line up for us that started with a crisp refreshing Lady Bug Chardonnay and went all the way through to a lovely Eight Arm Syrah.
While we were enjoying our fabulous noshes: grilled asparagus and prosciutto, stuffed grape leaf, hummus, we got a surprise visit from Iain Boltin, the winemaker for Eight Arms. He goes wa-a-ay beyond wearing his passion on his sleeve, Iain has Eight Arms tattooed on---literally! Check out his cool logo tattoo. And if you get the chance , try his very tasty Syrah. Made in very limited production, Iain follows sustainable practices and donates $1 from each bottle to charities that focus on reducing global warming. Go green. Drink Red. And you will want to drink this wine. With tons of anise and other spice in the nose and well integrated fruit along with more loamy flavors, it was a much different varietal expression than the vibrant, gamy all in fruit forward Syrahs from TTL, but still very good. Restrained and thinner in mouthfeel with rounder tannins, I enjoyed it very much. My absolute favorite was the '05 Benziger Family Merlot, Sonoma County. The greenest of the wines, Benziger's Biodynamic Certification and commitment to driving certified sustainable practices through their grower community is impressive. The wine itself was even more impressive. With bold fruit , white pepper and a silky mouthfeel it was my favorite of the bunch. At our recent Fusebox blending session at Crushpad, I found out that a little Merlot blended in amped up any wine's voluptuosity factor. So though I seldom find myself reaching for a Merlot, I always seem to enjoy it when it lands in my glass. Miles, forgive me. I will be snuffling this Merlot out---especially when I want to do my part to end global warming. Many thanks to Chris and Jim for the great (PS: the Chopin sonatas? Off the hook!) experience. We will be back!
If you want to visit:
3136 Sacramento St(between Woolsey St & 66th St)
Berkeley, CA 94702(510) 654-5410
www.cafecasa.net
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