After our super friendly neighborhood wine bar closed shop, we've been in search for similar venues. This means wine bars serving delicious wines without the airs. So far, we've found a wine bar called Vin Debut in the West Portal neighborhood of the city. It is close enough from our neighborhood and it is also in close proximity to good restaurants and cafes.
We've been there twice and we're sampling first what they call soft reds. They also have rounded reds and powerful reds. As good residents of California, we are sampling the local wines first. Also included in their soft reds are a French wine and one from Oregon and we'll definitely try them in the future. We paired both tastings with a cheese plate and took home a bottle each time we went there for a Friday night pre-dinner drinks.
[to read my other Wine Tasting blogs, click here ]
This is a vintage 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel from Howling Moon Vineyards. We sampled this on Friday, October 7th. I've heard of Howling Moon Vineyards but I've never been to their vineyards in Lodi. Maybe before the fall ends or next summer? This wine is very tasty and not as fruity as I expected it to be and with a hint of anise, basil and other aromatic herbs. I have to admit this is the first time I tasted an old vine Zinfandel. I thought it tastes less alcoholic than the usual Zinfandel. I was told that old vine Zins and the regular Zins are technically the same grape but the difference lies in the age of the vine. Old vines, I was told, are at least 50 years old. Wow! This means the vines withstood all possible crop disease and grape pests through the years. We liked the wine so we decided to buy a bottle to take home with us.
This one is a Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2008 vintage from Parker Hill Wine Cellars in Sonoma. Mijo and I tasted this on Friday, September 23rd. I've never heard of Parker Hill before that evening but this one was an instant hit and this was when we first came to Vin Debut. It tasted light, refreshing, nutty with a hint of toasted cashews and prunes. We lingered at the wine bar for another half-hour before we bought a bottle we took home with us and then we left for our 8 o'clock dinner reservation at Fresca Peruvian.
Going to a wine bar is like going to the tasting cellars of Napa or Sonoma because you can take home a bottle or two of something that you actually tasted and really liked. It is like a crapshoot when I buy wines in grocery stores because it is either a hit or miss especially when I want to try something different.
Vin Debut is on West Portal Ave between Portola Dr. and Claremont Blvd. in San Francisco's West Portal neighborhood.