Here in San Francisco, one thing's for sure, there's never a shortage on wine tasting events. Especially during the city's warmer months (we have those?). You can literally taste every type of wine there is out there. It could be by region, such as the Italian tastings at VinoRosso, or even by varietal, like with the ZAP Festival (Zinfandel Advocate and Producers) that happens over at Fort Mason.
While the wines are all very different, the experience at these events is pretty much standard. It's a sea of popped collars, sport jackets and cougars just stumbling from one pouring to another with very little regard for what they are drinking. It's more about how much they are drinking. And there's always some cheese table which looks better than it actually is (Cowgirl Creamery anyone?) and, of course, buckets and buckets of mini-baguettes.
That is of course, unless the event is Wine Riot.
This is wine tasting for the hipster crowd. Bread and cheese has been replaced with...more bread and cheese, but in the shape of pizza. Though, unlike the free offerings at other events, it's $4 a pop for a slice. There's a photo booth and accompanying costumes from what I can only imagine is the Bay to Breakers lost and found. Oh, and there are a ton of temporary tattoo choices also. So even if you don't enter looking like a hipster, you can leave feeling like one.
Honestly, I half expected there to be a table pouring PBR!
But what were the wines like?
Honestly, as a whole, a bit under the mark. That's not to say there weren't some gems. I walked away with a list of wines I plan to stock up on, drink a lot of and even share with friends. But if you fancy yourself a connoisseur, this is not the event for you. However, if you like decent wine, good people, a fun time without the attitude, please go next year.
So, what are my picks?
- 2008 Chateau Les Trois Croix Bordeaux
- 2010 Hahn Winery GSM Blend
- 2010 Huge Bear Chardonnay
- 2010 Edgebaston Berry Box Red Blend
- 2010 Peachy Canyon Westside Zinfandel
- 2010 Ontanon Teon Roble
I really enjoyed the Chateau Les Trois Croix. It was bold yet well balanced enough that you didn't really notice. And I am not the biggest Bordeaux fan, so that is saying something. I would say I am Chardonnay-curious. I rarely liked it oaked but Huge Bear pulled it off. For the past three years, anytime I want a Zin, I turn to Peachy Canyon and that was true again at this event. This particular one is very well balanced and just fruit forward enough to be called a Zin. Hahn Family Wines has not only one of the best tasting rooms in California and if you happen to visit, buy a bottle of their GSM Blend and enjoy it on the deck. The wine has some nice berry notes with a little bit of spiciness to pull it all together. You'll also find notes of vanilla and clove. The Berry Box blend is just like the name states. A swirling mix of dark fruits and cassis, this is the wine for dinner. It's hearty and a bit juicy. The Teon Roble is similar, definitely fleshy but extremely well balanced. Also good with a hearty meal.
I think what Wine Riot really brings to the wine tasting circuit is accessibility. Oh, and tattoos. I am still sporting my tipsy mermaid tattoo!
I feel so hip!