Tasted and Enjoyed: Our Favorites from the 2013 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting

2013 Wine & Spirits Buying Guide from Wine & Spirits Top 100 TastingLast week, we had the extreme pleasure of attending the Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting in San Francisco.  This special event honored wineries from around the world that delivered the best overall performance in Wine & Spirits Tastings throughout the past year.  These Top 100 Wineries and their top scoring wines are profiled in the Wine & Spirits 27th Annual Buying Guide (now available for purchase). 

When there is a wine and food event based on the top 100 wineries in the world and almost every winery brings at least two wines to pour, you know you’re going to have a great time.  Throw in passed hors d’ouevres  and small plates from Bay Area restaurants and food purveyors and the evening is made.  The indoor/outdoor tasting venue and lovely weather just added to the enjoyment.

Top 100 Tasting at City View in San Francisco

Top 100 Tasting at City View in San Francisco

The Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting showcased the world beautifully, as our favorite wines of the evening came from Austria, Chile, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, New Zealand, South Africa, Spain, California, New York, Oregon, and Washington.

The bar was set pretty high, but we’ve listed below the wines and small bites we felt were tasting particularly well that night.  If you get the chance, please seek these vendors out so you can enjoy the fruits of their labor as much as we did.

Favorite Champagnes and White Wines at Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting

  • De Morgenzon (Stellenbosch, South Africa) – 2010 Reserve Chenin Blanc

    Dom Perignon

    Dom Perignon table, with the SF Museum of Modern Art in the background

  • Delamotte (Champagne, France) – 2002 Champagne Blanc de Blancs
  • Dom Pérignon (Champagne, France) – 2004 Champagne Brut
  • Domaine des Baumard (Loire Valley, France) – 2010 Coteaux du Layon Carte d’Or (Chenin Blanc)
  • Domaine Drouhin (Dundee, Oregon) – 2012 Arthur Chardonnay
  • Domäne Wachau (Wachau, Austria) – 2011 Grüner Veltliner Smaragd Terrassen
  • Dr. Loosen (Mosel, Germany) – 2011 Ürziger Würzgarten Riesling Trocken
  • Errázuriz (Aconcagua Valley, Chile) – 2012 Max Reserva Sauvignon Blanc
  • Hermann J. Wiemer Vineyard (Dundee, New York) – 2011 Magdalena Vineyard Dry Riesling, 2012 Reserve Dry Riesling
  • Joh. Jos. Prüm (Mosel, Germany) – 2011 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Riesling Kabinett
  • LIOCO (Santa Rosa, California) – 2012 Russian River Valley Chardonnay Estero
  • Saint Clair Family Estate (Marlborough, New Zealand) – 2012 Marlborough Premium Sauvignon Blanc, 2012 Wairau Reserve Sauvignon Blanc
  • Schloss Gobelsburg (Kamptal, Austria) – 2011 Kamptal Reserve Grüner Veltliner Steinsetz, 2011 Kamptal Reserve Riesling Gasberg
  • Truchard Vineyards (Napa, California) – 2011 Chardonnay


Favorite Red Wines at Top 100 Tasting

  • Alpha Estate (Amyndeon, Greece) – 2009 Utopia Tannat
  • Antinori (Bolgheri, Italy) – 2008 Guado al Tasso, 2011 Tenuta Guado al Tasso Il Bruciato
  • Bergström (Newberg, Oregon) – 2011 Temperance Hill Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Bergström Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Beringer Vineyards (St. Helena, California) – 2010 Knights Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Bodegas Protos (Ribera del Duoro, Spain) – 2004 Gran Reserva
  • Château de Beaucastel (Rhône Valley, France) – 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape

    Chateau de Beaucastel

    Chateau de Beaucastel

  • Cristom (Salem, Oregon) – 2010 Jessie Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Domaine Bouchard Pere & Fils (Burgundy, France) – 2011 Le Corton Grand Cru
  • Domaine Drouhin (Dundee, Oregon) –  2010 Laurène Pinot Noir
  • Domaine du Vieux Télégraphe (Rhône Valley, France) – 2010 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Crau
  • Domaine de la Vougeraie (Burgundy, France) – 2010 Clos de Vougeot Grand Cru
  • Drew (Philo, California) – 2011 Weir Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Valenti Vineyard Syrah, 2011 Perli Vineyard Syrah
  • Elvio Cogno (Piedmont, Italy) – 2008 Barolo Cascina Nuova, 2009 Barolo Ravera


    Don Maximiano wine from Errazuriz

  • Errázuriz (Aconcagua Valley, Chile) – 2010 Don Maximiano Founder’s Reserve (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • Hirsch Vineyards (Cazadero, California) – 2010 East Ridge Estate Pinot Noir
  • L’Ecole Nº 41 (Walla Walla, Washington) – 2004 Ferguson Commemorative Reserve (Bordeaux Blend)
  • LIOCO (Santa Rosa, California) – 2011 Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Produttori del Barbaresco (Barbaresco, Italy) – 2008 Barbaresco, 2008 Barbaresco Riserva Pajè
  • Ridge Vineyards (Healdsburg, California) – 2011 Lytton Springs (Zinfandel), 2011 Monte Bello (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • Robert Craig Winery (Napa, California) – 2010 Affinity (Cabernet Sauvignon), 2010 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Shafer (Napa, California) – 2010 One Point Five (Cabernet Sauvignon)
  • Truchard Vineyards (Napa, California) – 2010 Napa Valley Pinot Noir
  • von Strasser Winery (Calistoga, California) – 2010 Estate Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon


Favorite Sherry Wines at Top 100 Tasting

  • A.R. Valdespino (Jerez de la Frontera, Spain) – Inocente Single Vineyard Fino
  • Pedro Romero (Cadiz, Spain) – Amontillado Viejísimo


Favorite Small Bites at Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting

1601 Bar & Kitchen – Headed by Executive Chef and Proprietor Brian Fernando (whose work experience includes stints at Chez Panisse and Le Papillon) this San Francisco restaurant and lounge features seasonally driven modern French cuisine with subtle Sri Lankan influences.  At the Wine & Spirits event, 1601 offered guests an intriguing blend of flavors with their Bittersweet Valrhona Chocolate Truffle with Toasted Curry Ganache1601 Howard Street, San Francisco  (415) 552-1601

Coqueta – This new restaurant from Chef/Owner Michael Chiarello and Chef de Cuisine Ryan McIlwraith was an instant hit.  Coqueta means “flirt” or “infatuation” in Spanish and the menu offers the restaurant team’s exploration and interpretation of Spanish cuisine.  During the Tasting, they were serving a tasty Heirloom Tomato Gazpacho with Arbequina Extra Virgin Olive OilPier 5, The Embarcadero, San Francisco  (415-704-8866)

Farm Shop

Apple Spice Meringue from Farm Shop

Farm Shop – This popular restaurant and specialty grocery store in Santa Monica branched out into Marin County in May 2013 with a restaurant in Larkspur.  The food here is farm-to-table California focused, headed by Chef/Owner Jeff Cerciello.  We were amazed at the unique and delicious offering of an Apple Spice Meringue with Brown Butter Curd, and desperately want the recipe.  2233 Larkspur Landing, Larkspur (415-775-6700) and 225 26th Street, Suite 25, Santa Monica (310-566-2400) 

Hog Island Oysters

Hog Island Oysters

Hog Island Oyster Company – This Bay Area favorite leases 160 acres in Tomales Bay where they raise over 3 million Pacific, Kumamoto and Atlantic oysters per year as well as Manila clams and mussels.  Hog Island was so busy shucking and serving Fresh Oysters they had two separate stations on the patio next to where Champagne was being poured at the Top 100 Tasting.  The Hog Island Traveling Oyster Bar shows up at many Bay Area food and wine events, the Hog Island Oyster Farm is in Marshall (20215 Shoreline Highway, 415-663-9218), and there are Hog Island Oyster Bars in San Francisco (One Ferry Building, 415-391-7117) and Napa (610 First Street at Oxbow Public Market, 707-251-8113)

Kika's Treats

Salted Crunchy Caramels from Kika’s Treats

Kika’s Treats – Based in San Francisco, Kika’s manufactures premium chocolate-covered confections including Shortbreads, Graham Crackers, and Honey Cakes.   They use only the finest quality locally-sourced ingredients and an array of alternative sweeteners (no white sugar and no corn syrup).  We couldn’t get enough of their Salted Crunchy Caramels (made with Coconut Palm Sugar and Puffed Brown Rice, then covered in Bittersweet Chocolate and sprinkled with Sea Salt) and they also make a Nutty Caramel using roasted Oregon Hazelnuts.   No storefront, but products are available online or at many Northern California markets (as well as some specialty stores in Massachusetts, New York and Wisconsin).  

St. Vincent Tavern

Vinegar-Braised Pork from St. Vincent Tavern

St. Vincent Tavern and Wine Merchant – This wine-centric restaurant and retail wine merchant is located in San Francisco where Chef Bill Niles crafts a Californian menu with influences from all over the world to complement artisanal wines and craft beers curated by owner/sommelier David Lynch.  Serving from a table surrounded by Pinot Noir offerings, St. Vincent presented an outstanding Vinegar-Braised Pork with Chicories served on potato chips.    1270 Valencia Street, San Francisco  (415-285-1200)

Sôcôla Chocolatier – Started by sisters Susan and Wendy Lieu, Sôcôla Chocolatier has an online store and also offers corporate or custom gifts (flavors include Caramel, Guava, Masala Chai, Peanut Butter & Jelly, Pumpkin Burnt Caramel, and Srirachi).  At the Wine & Spirits Top 100 event, they offered a delectable Chocolate & Cognac Truffle which has helped them become a Finalist at this year’s International Chocolate Awards.  No storefront, but a pop-up store at DarTealing Lounge, 470 Third Street, San Francisco (415-484-6686)

All in all, the 2013 Wine & Spirits Top 100 Tasting Event in San Francisco was a spectacular evening.  We can’t wait for next year’s production (their 11th), and strongly encourage you to attend.  If you don’t live in the Bay Area, this is definitely an occasion worth planning a future trip around.


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