There’s always wine on the agenda (and menu) when visiting San
Francisco – the famed Napa Valley is just an hour drive away, after
all. But for the next five weeks, oenophiles can sip a little closer to home at
the historic Claremont Hotel and Spa,
just a 15km drive across the Bay Bridge, where the Berkeley Wine Festival is
feting all things vino every Friday evening until 24 May.
Each week welcomes a selected winemaker from California, Oregon or
Washington whose wines are served in concert with the refined California cuisine
of Scott Quinn, chef of the hotel’s Meritage Restaurant, whose
menus are designed to accentuate the featured drop.
“The whole experience comes together when the ingredients and the wine
are perfectly balanced,” said Quinn.
Evenings commence at 6:30 pm with a wine reception, then move to a four-course
dinner in the restaurant (no extra charge for the stellar views of the San
Francisco’s skyline). Opening remarks from the guest vintner, as well as
introductions to each paired course, give diners a personal and intimate
education in local food and wine.
include acclaimed Napa Valley producer Robert Foley on 19 April, who will
share his latest exceptional red blend, The Griffin, as well as his 2006 petite
syrah, Pepperland. Quinn’s accompanying menu
will feature fava bean angnolotti, pan-seared halibut and braised rabbit, using
ingredients that, as far as possible, have been sourced locally.
Oregon’s oldest winery,
Elk Cove whose loveable pinots (noir,
gris and blanc) consistently earn accolades from wine publications, will be on
show on 3 May.
And the last night of
the festival, 24 May, brings a real vineyard-to-table experience when winemaker
Julie Johnson of Tres Sabores in Rutherford,
California, arrives with her elegant zinfandels, with Quinn’s menu plucking
ingredients from Johnson’s organically-certified farm.
year’s sipping and supping extravaganza lured almost 1,000 wine-lovers, and
this year the expected number is closer to 1,800. Tickets range from $130 to $165
per person (depending on the featured wine) and can be purchased online.
Lovato is the San Francisco Localite.