Enter The Most Tasteful Wine Show in the Bay Area

Taste & Purchase Your favorite Wines at SF Vintners Market

Welcome to the first step of my Californian Wine Tour! I have been in California for now a month and a half, and I am more and more familiar with the characteristics and the uniqueness of New World’s wines.

Being based in San Francisco is convenient, there is plenty of awesome wine related events, near the world’s famous Napa Valley.

I have been given the opportunity to enter the famous SF Vintners Market 2017. The event is running over March, 11th and 12th.  This fair, established since 2010 in Fort Mason, San Francisco, reunites wine makers and wine enthusiasts. Each year it helps more than 3.000 visitors discovering wines from all around California getting in contact with 200 Vintners and buy what they like on site. The location of the event grants even more credit to the fair: the shores of the San Francisco Bay, between the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz Island, coupled with the sunset gives an astonishing view leaving you speechless.

SFVintnersMarketGlass
An astonishing outdoor view on the Bay

Relaxed Atmosphere & Interesting Stories

I have already been to several wine fairs, most of them were B2B during an internship I did last year. It is then important to notice the different atmosphere within the event. Winemakers are more about telling stories about their winery and their wine. They are not focused on a technical approach, that wine amateurs would not even be interested in. I heard numerous funny and interesting stories, from a winemaker having an affair with the wife of the owner of the vineyard, to a former scientist doing now wine around chemistry and even the history of the Zinfandel grape varietal. This brings a lot of credit to the event to see the exhibitors involving themselves as much for people’s pleasure.

I have tasted several wines from the Napa Valley. The most common varietals of this area are Chardonnay, Cabernets (Sauvignon and Franc, but you can call them “Cabs”), Pinot Noir, Zinfandel and Syrah/Petite Syrah. It goes without saying that Californian wines are stronger in alcohol than French wines, of which I am more used to. However, their nose, often insanely fruity turned me on and surprised me by their aromas. I have also noticed that a lot of winemakers are making a special wine, “French Style” or “Bordeaux like”, using old world techniques to bring the best to New World terroir, blessed with a favorable towards climate.

Fantastic wine & food pairing

Another non-negligible aspect of this event is the quality of the food that is proposed. Mexican tamales, French crêpes and various chocolate exhibitors that can help you dealing with all the wine tasted . The food is of an excellent quality even if the price is a bit high for what is in your plate…

As a conclusion, if you are a wine enthusiast, SF Vintners Market is an exciting event, for everyone to spend a good afternoon, tasting, experiencing and discovering “la crème de la crème” of Californian wines.

Do you plan to participate to the next SF Vintners Market?

I hope you liked my article, please feel free to leave your comments.

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The Art of Tasting

Have you ever opened a bottle of wine, surrounded by friends and felt embarrassed by everyone staring at you, wondering what you are thinking?
Unless you are a wine professional it is a hard exercise to put words on everything wine has to offer. It is however a  great experience to try identify the feelings aroused, from the sight to the taste, by properly tasting a wine. Before beginning the tasting a few steps are required to allow for an optimal experience.
Wine is a delicate product, and temperature is an essential element to enjoy it. Red wines must usually be between 14 and 18°C, it is better for a rosé to be tasted between 9 and 13°C and white wine to be tasted between 6 and 12°C, although this can vary depending on the type of the white wine.

It is generally better to use a long wine glass to concentrate aromas because it allows better aeration.

See,

The first step is observing the wine in the glass. The “dress” is the color and the external aspect of the wine. It gives a lot of information about the age of the wine and its grape variety.
When they are young, red wines are brilliant and  deeply colored. After aging, they tend to become a red amber hue. Once they turn amber/brown, they are generally too old.
White wines on the contrary starts very white and gain gold reflects after years.

Smell…

Here we are, done with looking after this quiet glass! Smelling is the first approach towards the aromas and the complexity of the wine.
Smelling is made in two separate steps. The first one is done without moving the wine in the glass, in order to detect any defect for instance a corky smell. Then, the wine is swirled in the glass, to liberate its aromas. After this step, the aromas can be smelled and distinguished. These aromas may be associated with red fruits,  spices, wood, and even flowers flavors!

Taste!

Last but definitely not least, the taste. A tongue can identify 4 flavors: sweetness, saltiness, bitterness, and sourness. After taking a sizable sip, the wine should be allowed to wallow in the mouth and be chewed to expose it to all of the sensitive receptors of your mouth.
Often, wine professionals suck air into their mouths (“grumer” in French) to aerate and heat the temperature of the wine, so that it will reach the olfactive bulb via the retronasal passage. But it is not necessary to make it noisily, it just sounds rude!
Finally you can either swallow or spit. In fact, it is quite common to spit a fortiori when doing multiple tastings as it helps to keep the mind clear.

Now that you have become an expert of wine tasting, I only have one last piece advice… Training is the key to success, Santé!