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Tuesday
Oct042011

The City Cellar - October 2011

Pause and Yield

By Michelle Sieling

What do you do if you own one wine bar in San Francisco, and also are a wine director at a sophisticated vegetarian restaurant? You open another wine bar!

Chris Tavelli, owner of Yield in the Dogpatch neighborhood and wine director at Millennium restaurant, did just that. Pause Wine Bar, opened in February, takes over the spot formerly held by Cav Wine Bar on Market Street at the edge of the Hayes Valley neighborhood.

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Thursday
Apr072011

The City Cellar – April / May 2011

The Punchdown

By Michelle Sieling

An ideal wine bar for me is a nice quiet place where I can relax and let myself get pulled into the wine and conversation and forget about everything else for an hour or more. So when I visited The Punchdown, my companion and I tucked ourselves into a nook by the front door and settled in for a happy evening of wine tasting, talking and people watching.

The Punchdown is a natural wine bar located on Broadway near the corner of Grand Avenue in Oakland. But what does a “natural wine bar” even mean?  Much like the term “organic,” there currently is some debate in the wine industry as to what is “natural wine.” And though the wines at The Punchdown may be “natural,” what really sticks out is that the wines all have an interesting story and/or taste. You won’t find mass produced or better-known brand names with a familiar flavor, but instead unique and carefully crafted wines that deserve at least a taste. 

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Thursday
Feb032011

The City Cellar - February/March 2011

Treasure Island Wines

By Michelle Sieling

(Michael Taffet)Before this past winter, I’d only been on Treasure Island twice in my life. Once because I needed to do a U-turn on the bridge and once to attend the Treasure Island Music Festival.  I never realized until that last visit what great views of the city I was missing.

Even though Treasure Island and its sister island, Yerba Buena, are part of the city and county of San Francisco, most people just pass by the islands on their way across the Bay Bridge. Treasure Island was originally made of land fill in preparation for the 1939 Golden Gate International Exposition. If the United States Navy hadn’t swapped the old Mills Field (now San Francisco International Airport) to the city of San Francisco in the early 1940s, we might still be landing float planes in the middle of the San Francisco Bay.  Though Treasure Island is still owned by the United States Navy, it was officially decommissioned in 1997.  Currently there are a few new businesses cropping up on the island, including a pisco importer and a vodka maker.

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Wednesday
Dec082010

The City Cellar for December 2010/January 2011

The Living Room

Sometimes you wanna go…

By Michelle Sieling

For wine purists, changes over the past couple of decades in the packaging of wine have been difficult to swallow.  Synthetic corks and screw caps were hard enough for some people. Now we’ve got wine on tap. 

Obviously tapping kegs has been around for some time, but it’s only just catching on now as a way to sell wine in U.S. restaurants and bars. San Francisco restaurants such as Salt House, Delfina, and Coda all currently devote some of their tap lines to wine. Now The Living Room in Redwood City, which was opened back in July of this year by sisters Kristen Archibald-Moreau and Katrina Archibald, is bringing wine on tap to its customers in a comfy setting, along with other comfort items like bar food, seven TVs, and even free internet access.

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Tuesday
Oct052010

The City Cellar for October/November

Wine by the Numbers

By Michelle Sieling

When an oenophile thinks of wine and numbers, Robert Parker ratings may first come to mind, but in this case it’s VIN12 and B3.

VIN12

VIN12 holds monthly wine tasting events in San Francisco, each with a different theme or focus, with the purpose of giving you a relaxed place to try new wines. Past events have included Summer VinFest 2010, The Pink, Sparkling & Red Wine Summer Event, The Zinfandel Event and The Pinot Noir Parade.

This summer I attended The Pinot Noir and Big Red Event, which featured a couple dozen wine producers pouring Pinot Noir, Zinfandel, Syrah, Merlot, Barbera, Sangiovese, and a few other red and white wines from Napa, Sonoma, Central Coast, Italy and South Africa. For 25 bucks you get unlimited tastings all night of wine from small to medium size vintners, including Rasumussen, Cline Cellars and Azur Wines.

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