14 Apr 2007


IT IS NOT every day one gets to dabble-paddle in the presence of a 27 year-old Zinfandel. It would be a bit like eating a roast every night. Now and again, a real pleasure - but concurrently, an albeit magnanimous bain. Courtesy of true enthusiasts, K&L Wine Merchants, San Francisco, a bottle of earthquake-defying Cronin Vineyard '80 Santa Clara was uncorked at the energetically engaging Bacar Restaurant, allegedly San Francisco's most costly to establish. The find was considered so unusual that the sommelier actually waved $25 corkage for a swirl, sniff and slurp of the curio, which rested beneath a brittle closure.
Deep mulberry, gently fading tobacco, aged red leather (I thought of the House of Lords), incense and stirred earth softly spun from the glass, followed by a palate of fennel and mint chocolate. Overall, lithe acidity with a subtle memory of departing fruit and a persuasive, light finish. Feminine, fun, but slightly like a grave robbery...
Moules Mariniere basked in an adhesive, but not cloying sauce absorbed by homemade ciabatta sponge suckers. Pale Alaskan Halibut fell into feather-fronds at the lightest pat. Alas the high octane playlist was a little abrasive.
Incidentally, Bacar has a legendary mottled glass 'wall of wine'.
Vino Venue, a nearby wine emporium of self-service 'Enomatics' provided a liquid dessert for Sarah, my companion from San José and I. 'Le Cigare Volant', classic Rhône Ranger from the stable of illustrious individualist, Randall Graham evoked the most charm with its half-baked peppered nose and spiced fruit palate.
Find out more about the tale behind the wine's name HERE.