Friday, January 28, 2011

2008 Vintage Bordeaux Tasting in San Francisco

Ok. This may not mean anything to you. But holy cow. This was the tasting of all tastings for us ordinary folk. And I was there.

The winemakers from Bordeaux go on a week long US tour previewing the 2008 Bordeaux for all the wine snobs in the world. They start in San Francisco, then head to Chicago, Boston and New York.

The San Francisco tasting was held in the grand ballroom at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. There were  hundreds of people in attendance. I was a guest of my friend Wilfred Wong.

The entrance to The Palace Hotel San Francisco. Gorgeous!
There were people from wineries, restaurants, magazines, websites, blogs, retailers. Everyone was required to wear a nametag so you knew who they were. I saw people from every top wine retailer on the West Coast - along with some of the best restaurants. At one point I found myself standing in one spot just rotating in a circle about three times checking it all out.

Check out the crowd and this beautiful room.
I was just a tad intimidated. This was serious work for them. They were on a mission. There was a lot of swirling, sipping, swishing, and spitting. The rookies like me were actually drinking it. There were definitely more spitters in the room.

I got there an hour before Wilfred. He told me to just taste wine and have fun. So that's what I did.

I tasted 24 of the 102 different wines that they were pouring. I liked about 20 of them. Really liked about 10 of them. I'm really excited. Because I don't usually buy or drink wines from Bordeaux. So this was a great opportunity to really broaden my horizons.

I took good notes in the handy little tasting guide they gave us.
When Wilfred finally arrived it all changed. He was on a mission. He knew exactly what he wanted to taste. And EVERYONE knew him. He was like a little superstar. When I say everyone knew him. I mean everyone. He could barely move in the crowd. He introduced me to everyone. It was so fun!

Of course, he then explained how everything was organized in the room by Appellation. Which would explain how I accidentally tried a dessert wine first and embarrassingly said "Oh, that's sweet." You can imagine the look on the sales person's face. She immediately looked at my name tag to see who I was and why I was there, and saw that it said "What's Cooking." She then starting talking about the recipes on their site that paired nicely with their wines. Nice. Now she thinks I'm some kind of cooking expert - because she was talking about a Foie Gras recipe. Blech.

Wilfred has lots of friends. And he takes pictures of everyone. You'll notice in the picture above that he actually has two cameras around his neck. He cracks me up. But he takes nice pictures.

Here are some of Wilfred's peeps...

This winemaker was really sweet and patient for her photo session. I think this is her wine below. I was sure I would remember. But it's all kind of a blur now. Oops. (photo from Wilfred Wong)

I'm pretty sure this is her wine. Yum. (photo from Wilfred Wong)
The ladies from Yum Sugar were fun. (photo from Wilfred Wong)
(photo from Wilfred Wong)
The place was still packed when I left at 5pm.

I really hope I get to do something like this again. It was really, really fun tasting the wine and hanging out with Wilfred.

Thanks again, Wilfred!


  1. Whoa! I was available all day and you didn't call. Tasted 25 wines? Who drove you home?
    Really sounds like it was fun, but your Mother will be SOOOOOOO jealous (as if I'm not!)

  2. Jealous is an understatement.........I was envious that you got to taste all those wonderful wines and hob-knob with the winemakers........I have so many many tastings to do and so little time......Mercy me.......where's the wine!
    Love you,


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