Saturday, September 19, 2009

NorCal 2009, Day One: Corkage Free in Los Altos

After a disaster with our airline bookings was narrowly averted on Tuesday (contact me off-line if you want the full scoop), Wednesday’s flight in to SFO was as smooth as smooth can be. One dreary if relatively innocuous Super Shuttle ride later and we were settled into our one-night stand in Palo Alto for the start of a week in Northern California.

A relatively uneventful entry day was capped off in fine style with dinner at Los Altos Grill, where I met up with friends I’d previously known only through the auspices of the blogosphere – Cory “Saignée” Cartwright and his lovely wife Emily Straley. We chose Los Altos not because, as Cory told me, it’s the wealthiest per capita town in America but rather because Los Altos Grill has a fee-free corkage policy, an apparent rarity in the greater SF Bay area.

Cory and Emily brought along a couple of bottles they thought I might not have tried before. Cà de Noci’s 2006 “Querciole” reminded me of spontaneously fermented beer crossed with a little cider-y, Chenin-y character. I know little about it other than that it’s a frizzante (pet-nat?) wine made from what are essentially table grapes native to Reggio-Emilia, so feel free to fill me in on the details. Dard & Ribo’s 2007 Crozes-Hermitage Rouge was fresh, light and simple – totally uncomplicated. Not so much a vin de terroir as a vin de soif, if you ask me, but it was pretty damn tasty. Meanwhile, I’d hauled along a bottle of Philippe Poniatowski’s 1989 Vouvray “Aigle Blanc Vin de Tris.” I knew Cory had tried some of the Prince’s Vouvrays but was pretty sure he hadn’t had any ‘89s, a vintage which I think rarely made it past the East Coast and which I prefer to 1990 at this estate. Though it’s a moelleux style, it’s going through a pretty dry stage right now and showing the best of the characteristically lime-cave minerality of PP’s Vouvrays.

That’s it for now, as we're off to Big Sur. Thanks for the great evening, E&C.

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