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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Beer's Day Off: Wine Tasting at Sutton Cellars in San Francisco's Dogpatch

Last Sunday, I took a day off from beer to enjoy some wine with some friends at Sutton Cellars' Jug Sundays. It was not a bad deal: a $5 tasting fee (refundable with any wine purchase) to try at least 7 different wines.  My favorites were the Vermouth, the Syrah, and the Pinot Noir jug wine.

The Brown Label Vermouth was surprisingly pleasant for sipping and not anything like the Gallo Vermouth I've used in the past to cook or make a DIY martini.  I'd be curious what it would be like for cooking, especially the Chicken with 40 Cloves of Garlic recipe from James Beard.

The 2005 Syrah Table Wine from Sonoma County was unfiltered and cloudy, which I have to admit looks unappealing at first glance.  However, the mild fruit aroma and moderate body were easy on the palate and makes me think that this would pair easily with most American fare so it's be good to bring to a dinner party.

Finally the Pinot Noir "Jug Wine" was a pleasant pinot that was not too tannic, yet just the right amount of dryness.  My friends bought a litter of Pinot, which Carl Sutton filled himself straight from the barrel into a reusable bottle with a stopper (very eco-chic!).

This Sunday also had a special treat in that the food truck TomKat made an appearance with a sneak-peak menu which included green papaya salad, banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches) with pate, and a rice noodle salad.  The ingredient were fresh - as is typical with most Asian street food - and there were nice details such as deep fried shallots on the green papaya salad, which was crunchy and refreshing.

However, it's hard for me to feel compelled to pay $6 for banh mi when a great banh mi is only $3.50 and is already a perfect sandwich at a fantastic price.  I think the banh mi would have to get re-invented to warrant such a price.  I'm imagining that instead of bread, there is something surprising, yet bun-shaped, like a fried plantain or grilled puffed rice.  The grilled marinated meat filler could be accompanied by a peanut pate with galanga for some spice...but I'm just thinking out loud.

Overall, this was a wonderful way to spend a Sunday afternoon in a sunny area of San Francisco!

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