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Food, Wine & Friends Page 266

A spur-of-the-moment request from Piemonte's Elisa Scavino asking to dine at San Francisco's famed Zuni Cafe worked out nicely.

Elisa had been working the market in the East Bay with the Henry Wine Group Super-Rep, Rachel Goldman and then met another Henry Wine Group luminary in Martin Olson for a visit, or two.

It was an overcast, foggy evening in The City, the Zuni Cafe was packed.

Located at Market and Rose Streets in San Francisco, I noticed someone had embellished the street sign to a more vinous-themed name.

Once we checked in, there was a brief wait for our table, so we ambled over to the bar and ordered an aperitivo.

Elisa was enchanted by Zuni's marvelously aromatic "Americano."


Elisa ScaVINO, Martin Olson and Rachel Goldman

 

As we sipped and chatted, the restaurant was perking along...


One of our favorite Champagnes is on the wine list and Rachel also was enthusiastic for a bottle of Marie Courtin "Resonance."

 

We had a small platter of oysters to pair with the Champagne...


The Oysters were magnificent and fresh, clean and salty...a perfect match for this beautifully dry, crisp, tangy Champagne.
Few of the Champagnes from the Aube area capture the complexity, and more importantly, the finesse of Champagnes from the prestigious addresses to the north.
Marie Courtin succeeds brilliantly...the wine is bone dry and toasty/yeasty with a minerally streak that's exceptional.
It retails for a bit under $60 and yet Zuni's price is just below $90.
Kudos to Zuni for a well-curated list of wines and for sensible pricing, too.

And so a second glass was required!

Rachel then ordered a "Mystery Wine," asking the waiter to bring it in a decanter so we might attempt guessing its identity.

I correctly identified it (immediately) as a white wine.


It was a bit lime-like and citrusy, so I figured she might have opted for a Muller-Thurgau.

"No!  It tastes spot-on, though and it's exactly what it should taste like!"
Richard then pegged it as a Sauvignon Blanc and, sure enough, it was Dagueneau's Blanc Fume from the 2011 vintage.
Quite nice, too.

 

Zuni is famous for its Caesar Salad.

And this was delicious and had plenty of garlic!

A fellow at the next table inquired if we were "wine people," seeing how we were torturing ourselves with blind-tasting...it turns out he was Augustin Huneeus Jr.!!!

A decanter of Mystery Red arrived...

It was fairly youthful and dark in color, so I pegged it as a red wine!

Actually, though, with it's faintly leathery, earthy, dusty tones, I thought it might be a Mourvedre or Southern Rhone red...perhaps a gentle rendition of Bandol?
Nope.
Not even close.
It was a Bernard Baudry Chinon "Le Clos Guillot" from the 2011 vintage.
Nice.

 

Zuni's famous Roasted Chicken...

...which comes with 'warm bread salad.'
This was excellent, by the way.


Elisa mentioned being a fan of Pinot Noir, so I put a bottle of the 2012 Neyers Pinot in the cellar bag.
This comes from the Roberts Road vineyard, a half acre parcel planted to the Swan clone of Pinot Noir.  The nose was nice, but the flavors were beautifully fruity and deep...really magnificent!

The food was wonderful and it was easy to see why Elisa wanted to return to Zuni.

 

We had an Espresso Granita for dessert...

 

And so the official proceedings were adjourned and I drove Elisa on a short little tour of The City...

We drove to Telegraph Hill and had a look at Coit Tower and the beautiful vistas from that magic pocket of San Francisco.


The Bay Bridge

Off in the distance was Lombard Street...

...so we drove over there and made our way down the Crookedest Street in the World.

And then we motored back to Elisa's hotel, followed by the trek back to Burlingame!

Thanks to Richard and Rachel for making the evening so memorable.


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