Showing off Australia in San Francisco

6.16pm, Sunday April 4th, same place – in front of the telly watching the Yanks (2) v Red Sox (1) top of the 4th inning
Lets go back to Thursday April 1st – our “work with” in San Francisco with Yohanna Burmeister. In all honesty, to present your wines to folks in the “on trade”, or the restaurant buyers, the best thing you can do is invite several people to lunch somewhere that’s interesting, or do a tasting/masterclass for a restaurant for their staff prior to setting up for service in the late afternoon.

The Signature at Spruce

Consummate professional Yohanna had sorted our day with one of each, and we started with three buyers for lunch at Spruce, which I’ve been hearing good things about since I got to town. It’s an extremely smart dining room that would definitely make for an intimate evening spot, and we ordered dishes to set off the wines we were showing, which included the 2008 Wild Ferment Chardonnay – continues to impress at the highest level, 2008 Bush Vine Grenache – loved my pastrami sandwich (no bread – you can do that, and I did), 2006 The Menzies Cabernet Sauvignon – pure cassis lifting right now!, and the 2004 The Signature – pictured with the outstanding Spruce burger. We showed the 2004 The Octavius and 2008 Botrytis Viognier as a double finish – the Octavius because we firmly believe that these low volume, high accolade wines should be opened for people to taste – not to just become phantom blue chip wines that are bought as investments and never see the light of day. Again, with this lunch we were able to show a “power with elegance” solid red lineup, plus surprise folks pleasantly with the range of what we’re doing … in Australia, in the Barossa and Eden Valleys … at Yalumba.

Next stop – another dress circle dining address at Farallon, where we had a huge amount of time with sommelier Peter, who is just about to visit Australian wine regions for the first time. So good timing indeed to show the same set of wines we used at Spruce, plus to talk about a lot of our kindred winemaking spirits at home that Peter will be visiting. This is always the pixie dust stuff. When folks head for our part of the world for the first time, you just know they’re set for a tremendously pleasant surprise – food and wine wise.

From there we went across town to another fine dining room, tan established destination restaurant, Fleur de Lys. Here, we had a staff tasting organised to instruct the team on what Australia looks like through our eyes – wine wise – at the top end. I’d say we had a good run and had three wins in a row, but then with Fleur de Lys, we do have sommelier Marcus very on side from past experience with our wines. And for the record, if you’re ever in San Francisco and looking for a gilt edge night out – make sure you have Marcus talk wine to you. He stopped me in my tracks when he was talking about our wines at the tasting – this boy has a lovely way with wine words – makes me look positively clumsy! No word of a lie. That’s what happens when great passion for what you work with coincides with a huge amount of knowledge as well. Lovely wine man!

Then I was dropped off at the Powell Street BART and over to the East Bay to get picked up at Rockridge for our evening job.

***Meanwhile back to the present, at Fenway Park my boys are holding their own. It’s the top of the fifth inning, Yanks 5 Red Sox 1 , man on first with two out. Not getting too exited though. I was at Fenway my only time, and the Red Sox were down 9-1 to the Tampa Rays, and the Sox came back and won 13 -9. So it’s never over till it’s over.

I’ll post this, warm up some chilli for tea, and be back with Thursday night’s job – an interesting one.

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