SF Vintners Market review

The San Francisco Vintners Market was huge. It’s a good thing I came early since there were so many people in the last few hours of the event that it started looking like big Napa wineries on weekends. The real charm of the event, for me, was – as always – the opportunity to interact with the winery representatives and the winemakers themselves and discuss their wines and vision in great detail. Although it became harder to do as more and more people showed up, there were still plenty of opportunities to do this while tasting some excellent wines, and this was a very fun event.

Before getting to the wines, I should mention SanTasti, the palate cleansing beverage. While the drinking experience of their regular beverage is not too different than that of drinking good sparkling water (and the cucumber flavored beverage is, unsurprisingly, similar to drinking cucumber-flavored sparkling water), it really helps when tasting many wines in a row, especially in events like this where palate fatigue is the big enemy. One should not expect a magical solution and a complete “reset” button for one’s palate, since many aspects of the fatigue are mental (those neurons can only handle a certain amount of flavor information in a short time – of course, it goes without saying that one must spit in such events, too), but SanTasti helps stretch the period of time in which one can taste at one’s peak. I found it especially useful for going back from reds to whites.

Another interesting beverage was Cascal, which is a fermented natural soda with no added preservatives, sugar, artificial colors etc., no alcohol or caffeine, yet is actually fun to drink. The flavors are interesting and very different from each other. I’m usually not a big fan of sodas and I don’t believe the first E in “EENAB”, but this one is definitely a “EENAB” and I leave the first N to be inferred by the intelligent reader’s alcohol-free brain.

Now to the wines. With so many wineries pouring it was practically hopeless to cover anything more than a tiny portion of the huge wine potential in this event. Some of the highlights among the wineries I did get to taste with include Rubicon (Blancaneaux and the reds), Zahtila (Georges III), Bialla Vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon), Simple Math Cellars (very affordable good Pinot Noirs), Patland Estate Vineyards (Cabernet Sauvignon), Renaissance (vertical tasting), Knights Bridge (Font de Chevalier and Dr Crane) and La Sirena (everything).

Due to the very hectic nature of the event my notes are only partial and I am sure there are more excellent wineries I tasted with and failed to mention above – my apologies.

Overall, that was a highly enjoyable event that should have satisfied (and more) all wine lovers.

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