July 22, 2014

July 22, 2014

The future home of Citizen Fox. Image from Google Maps street view.

Eater brings news that the large space at the corner of 18th Street and Mission is (officially) spoken for. There’s been speculation about this space for a long time, and now we’ve got some details. The owner is Deborah Blum, one of the partners behind Lolinda, Beretta, and Starbelly. This one is called ~CITIZEN FOX~ and is going to be a brewery and beer incubator with Rich Higgins serving as brewmaster and educator. There will also be a full range of beer education opportunities, including classes and workshops on beermaking and tasting, and even a brewing internship program.

As for food, Blum hasn’t offered many details on what will be coming out of the kitchen (or who the chef is), but word is that it will be California style and casual. There is also a full bar, and we received word that Ramen Shop bar manager Chris Lane, who worked with Blum at Lolinda, will be consulting on the cocktails here. His menu at Citizen Fox will focus on freshness, with infusions, shrubs, and brightly flavored garnishes.

Reportedly, the team is hoping to open the 2,400-square-foot space in early November, though given the scope of the project that seems awfully ambitious. Oh, and if this all sounds familiar, you might be thinking of Brew U, which we reported on in May and is also plotting a Mission location. 2205 Mission St. at 18th St.


Photo courtesy of Biondivino.


Classic Genovese bruschette at Biondivino. Photo courtesy of Biondivino.

Fans of the cheerful ~BIONDIVINO~ on Russian Hill, its walls packed with incredible Italian wines, have another reason to come visit the shop: owner Ceri Smith is launching an aperitivo and wine bar pop-up on Thursday July 24th, Troëggi a Biondivino, offering a variety of bruschette in the evening (this is what happens when Emanuele Fromento of Ai Troëggi—the natural wine and bruschetta bar in Genova—visits SF for a month). There will be some classic Genovese bruschette (on Josey Baker bread), ranging from freshly made pesto to one with Taleggio, zucchini, and prosciutto cotto. Oh yes, and there’s bruschetta with Gorgonzola and mostarda di Cremona, and the “spussona” version, with Gorgonzola, onion, and spicy arugula. There will be about 15 in all, $4-$12, plus some cheese and salumi plates, and tiramisù for dessert.

There will be a variety of natural wines poured, just $10 a glass, including two sparklers, three to five whites, and three to five reds, plus a rosé. If you come by from 5pm-7pm and order a glass of wine, in true aperitivo fashion, you’ll be gifted a mini bruschetta (with pesto, tomato, garlic, and olive oil). It’s an informal gathering, but you’ll still have a spot to perch at tables. Wine bar hours will be Wed-Sun 5pm-11pm (or closing) from now through August 31st.

While you’re in the shop, be sure to check out the growing shelf of artisan food items from Italy and Spain that Ceri is stocking these days for the eli-men-ta-ri part of her business, including hard-to-find pastas, honey, spices, tins of canned fish, and more. She is planning to source more items like colatura and bottarga, and have “pre-offers” for people to purchase them before they’re stocked (subscribe to her newsletter to keep up on that). Look for this to evolve in coming weeks.

Another thing to look forward to: she is going to be offering classes on wine, food, ingredients, beer, and more. We’ll keep you posted (and may even be teaching a class ourselves!). 1415 Green St. at Polk, 415-673-2320.


Broc wines. Photo from Facebook.

Attention winos, we have a trio of events for you to consider. This Saturday July 26th is the annual Broctacular event at ~BROC CELLARS~, an open house at their winery facility in Berkeley. It’s a low-key event, with pours of recent wine releases, some vittles provided by Naked Lunch, and there will be some local tunes. $25, includes all wine and food ($12.50 for wine club members). Tickets here. 1pm-5pm. 1310 5th St. at Gilman, Berkeley.

Also in the 510: Saturday August 2nd will be the ninth annual Urban Wine Xperience in Jack London Square (on the Ferry Lawn), courtesy of the East Bay Vintners Alliance. More than 20 East Bay urban wineries will pour a wide array of their white, rosé, red, and dessert wines. There will also be food and live music. Tickets are $35 for wine club members, $45 for advance tickets, and $60 at the door. Designated drivers receive discounted tickets at $15. Tickets can be purchased online. 1pm-5pm.

Back in the city, on Sunday August 3rd, Pamela Busch of The Vinguard is hosting a Vin de France Seminar and Tasting at ~TERROIR NATURAL WINE BAR AND MERCHANT~. From the event press release: “Some of the most captivating wines being made today are vin de France, formerly known as vin de table. From the Loire Valley to Provence, VDF producers are shaking up the AOC system (appellation d’origine contrôlée) and at the same time preserving a lot of winemaking traditions and old grape varieties.” Pamela will be moderating a one-hour seminar at 2pm about vin de France; a walk-around tasting with 20 wines will be held from 3pm-5pm. The seminar and tasting is $45; tasting only for $25. Tickets and more here. 2pm-5pm. 1116 Folsom St. at 7th St.


Open Range on, uh, the open range. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.


The setting for lunch, with pairings. Photo: Dana Eastland. © tablehopper.com.


Plantings at Casey Flat Ranch. Photo from Facebook.

A field report by Dana Eastland: Capay Valley in Yolo County is well known for its produce and organic farms, but it’s also home to a wine region, the Capay Valley AVA. It was established in 2002, and remains a bit of a secret, especially compared with Napa, just to the west. The valley floor is quite hot, but high above it in the Vaca Mountains is Casey Flat Ranch, a former cattle ranch and retreat owned by the Morey family. At about 2,000 feet, this new winery is able to make wines with the balance that comes from elevation and rocky mountain soils. It was only planted in 2004, and winemaker Laura Barrett has been working with the Morey family and viticulturalist Tom Prentice since to make wines using both Bordeaux and Rhône varieties.

I had a chance to visit the ranch in May to taste some of the wines. It’s definitely a trek up the mountain, and feels way more remote than just an hour and a half from downtown San Francisco. The ranch itself is home to several vineyards, and Barrett is making some lovely estate wines. I particularly enjoyed the whites, including the 2012 viognier, which is herbaceous and fresh, with apricot and a touch of nuttiness, and the 2013 sauvignon blanc, with a hint of tropical fruit and balanced acidity. They’re also making a rosé, which has a nice fullness and fruit to it, without veering into overly sweet territory.

They also have their “Open Range” series, which is made with fruit from various regions in California, depending on the year. The 2011 Open Range Red Wine we tried was pretty much ideal for barbecue. At $18, it’s a perfect bottle to bring to a party. Bottles are available for retail purchase at Andronico’s in San Francisco and select Whole Foods markets in the Bay Area, or you can purchase them directly through their website.

Because Casey Flat is still, in many ways, an experiment for everyone involved in the project, they are still trying out new ways of planting and harvesting their grapes, and Barrett is still finding ways to create balanced wines in their specific climate. If you’re into wine and learning how winemakers work with their property to make the best possible bottles, this is an excellent opportunity to watch a winery in an unusual location develop. Plus, it’s still a bit of a hidden gem, and who doesn’t love that?

They’ve recently started offering ranch tours and tastings, if you want to visit the property (you do, believe me). “Level One” tastings are available seven days a week by appointment, March-November, and are $85 per person (two person minimum), including wine tastings and bites. “Level Two” tastings are available two Thursdays a month, and include a full ranch tour, along with lunch and wine pairings, for $135 per person (four person minimum). More details and contact information can be found here. Casey Flat Ranch, Capay Valley, 415-435-2225.

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