Weekends in the East Bay. Yay! Perfect temperature, dry with plentiful parking, wine and snacks! Whoo hoo! So first stop with barely enough time to snarf up breakfast and complete chores. I drove past the famous Wine.com (when are they doing their sale again?) ignored the pull of the Fourth Street merchandising to show up at the Donkey and Goat/Department C tasting. Located in sunny Berkeley, we had the best time, tasting a plethora of good wine, grooving to some good music and eating some seriously tasty snacks, including Humboldt Fog, St. Andres, and Point Reyes Blue (and that was just the cheese) There were also very tasty asian spice infused pulled pork sandwiches as well as smoked ham. First stop on the tasting route, at the suggestion of Luscious Lush Thea, was the Department C offering. Starting with a beautiful '07 Sins of Addition Vin Gris, this Central Coast Pinot Noir contributed to a robust structured white. Refreshing. Department C was also pouring 2 other Pinots, a lovely '07 Sant lucia Highlands Old Vine Pinot Noir which was delicious with a textbook pinot lusciousness of red stone fruit and complex tastes along with an '07 Santa Cruz Pinot Noir that was redolent with the taste of smoked meat---perfect to match with the aromatic herbaceous sopressata they were serving up. Donkey and Goat, home of some of my favorite roses, did not disappoint with their other wines,. Except for the delightful Tamarindo Rousanne, which was a stand out at tasting, but alas is not commercially available. Still, there was lots to please with the 2006 Fenaughty Viognier Shiraz blend---mostly Shiraz with 3% co-fermented Viognier which lent the robsut red a florally complex something special to the nose. Standout for me was their 2006 Three Thirteen A delicious Eldorado GSM with a sweet nose, but exceptionally food friendly in practice. As well, we checked in the 2006 The Recluse. Made in the french style, also included mostly Syrah with about 3%co femented Viognier, which lightens the richness of the wine and provides a lively floral quality to its aromas. Very good! We were also able to drive the short distance to Broc Cellars, where Eno and Broc were pouring more deliciousness than time allowed. I remember a stellar rose poured by Broc. Everyone everywhere should stock up on this as wine lovers or those with indifferent palates will appreciate it's dry yet fruity flavors and aromas, lovely color and standout label! Also of note: Eno Syrah. Though we all ate an indecent amount of the custom grilled pizzas, after they started flashing the lights we realized we still had tiome to hot foot it to Lost Canyon before last pour,. How glad am I that we did! I tried some standout Pinots including 2006 Russian River Valley Pinto Noir, Widdoes Vineyard after a full day of wine tasting, this still stood out as a flavorful, balanced and complex Pinot with a rush of red stone fruit and lovely flavors. You have to go! http://www.lostcanyonwinery.com/about_tasting_room.htm By the time we got the tour and finshed the tasting program here, we were all, if you can believe it, hungry again and looking for wine! So we caravanned it to the Franklin Street Wine Bar. Because I have been disappointed by them several time s in the past, I called first. With so much gfoing on in the sunny Bay Area, we had this place pretty much to ourselves. Most of us ordered the "White Collar Pinot" Flight, which included 2006 Brewer Clifton "Cargasachii Vineyeard" from the Santa Rita Hills. Delicious with lots of red fruit and a little spice, this wine was food friendly. Also a French offering , less successful snuck in from 2006 Le Pimentiers Pinot Noir Spare and minerally, this tasted disappointing especially with my Le Demon du Midi cheese and bresaola with arugula salad and cornichon. The White Corn chowder was especially delightful! with its cross hatches of creme fraiche and delightful hints o f pepper, it went well with 2006 Sierra Madre Vineyard Pinot Noir from the Santa Maria Valley. We ordered 2 desserts for 5 people and so got down "Lord of the Flies" style on a yummy espresso creme brulee and nectarine frangipane. What an awesome day!
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