Monday, September 10, 2012
Ah, city life. It's certainly growing on me. San Francisco, in particular, has it's own unique flair- the hustle and bustle of busy slanted streets, the colorful culture, the fascinating people and the dashing good looks of a well-to-do seaside Victorian playground. What's not to love? These past few days and several into next week, I'm calling one of this city's finest Painted Ladies home. I'm lucky enough to be temporarily roosting in the heart of the Castro, just minutes away from the excitement of downtown, and I'm devouring every second of urban living. So much spirit resides within these 46.87 square miles- so much talent, laughter, originality and so many wonderful experiences. Last night was no exception.
The hubbs and I were happy to attend the Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco and Hirsch Vineyards release party for their 2010 "Prelation" Pinot Noir held at the beautiful Brasserie S&P, early Thursday evening.
After a quick Muni trip, we found ourselves emerging from the underground into the sun soaked financial district, full of energy and anticipation. Entering the hotel, I immediately noticed that Brasserie S&P was abuzz with happy patrons, enjoying their delicious dishes, chatting away and looking, generally, pretty darn pleased. As always, the good people of Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco do not disappoint with their warm, hospitable approach to their clientele.
We were greeted with a smile by the gracious Nicole Kosta, Director of Food and Beverages for the hotel. She lead us to a quaint tasting area located at the rear of Brasserie S&P- a simple, yet well appointed cluster of small tables surrounded by wine lovers like ourselves. An elegant spread of Chef Adam Mali's scrumptious small bites sat beckoning guests, covered in bite size bliss.
The shining star of this show was, indeed, Hirsch Vineyards and their wonderful 2010 Sonoma Coast "Prelation" Pinot Noir:
"To create this perfectly blended Pinot Noir private label, expert sommeliers from a handful of Mandarin Oriental properties spent three days in the Sonoma Coast, tasting barrels of varying lots and clones from the Pinot Noir grape at Hirsch Vineyards. The team specifically chose four distinct clones from four separate vineyard lots and blended them to make our own signature wine."
This wine is bright, with floral notes and red fruits on the palate. It is lightly balanced and has flavors of Macintosh apple, Bing cherry and raspberry. Noticeable floral and spice aromas include dried roses, lavender, thyme, and white pepper. The "Prelation" finishes off with an earthy, mineral ocean breeze and a hint of graphite- a truly delightful Pinot. Paired with Chef Mali's personally crafted crostini, the wine complemented a variety of tastes and textures, an asset to a well-rounded glass of wine.
Chef Mali, a fan of local food resources and sustainable agriculture, managed to combine some very unique ingredients in his pint size, savory little masterpieces. The hubbs and I were taken aback by the delicious originality of his treats.
- Roasted Oyster mushroom on rosemary and cannelloni bean puree atop baguette crostini... I loved this bites earthy flavor and combination of smooth, creamy puree with a soft mushroom and a delicate crunch.
- Hobb's smoked salmon with avocado mousse atop baguette crostini... This salmon was divine, and the avocado mousse was an unusual, tasty surprise. I will definitely attempt re-creating this one in my own kitchen for friends or a dinner party.
- Liberty Farm's duck liver pate with red onion marmalade atop baguette crostini... The red onion marmalade melted on the tongue and the rich, creamy pate was like eating a bite of clouds.
- Potato Latke with Liberty Farm's duck confit, frisee, and Medjool dates atop baguette crostini... I was excited to see little Latke on the menu, especially paired with the exotic dates. A simple, elegant combo that made it impossible to have only one.
The event was also nice because the hotel did invite several other different Pinot growers to share their wines- a nice comparison to their own "Prelation", for those uber wine junkies out there, like the hubbs. I'm sure he'll be covering some our findings in his own wine-tastic blog, Vinopanion. We were both happy to see that there were representatives pouring from all over California's wine growing regions- Livermore, Russian River Valley and Central California to name a few. A great representation of boutique Pinot noir growers, who were all very friendly and well-educated in their wine knowledge.
Overall, the event was a great way to spend a Thursday evening here in San Francisco. I look forward to attending more of Mandarin Oriental, San Francisco's events in the future and I highly encourage all of you to stop by Brasserie S&P for a glass (or a bottle!) of their 2010 Hirsch Vineyards "Prelation" Pinot Noir from the Sonoma Coast, right here in sunny California.