Tis the Season to Be Jolly: BEST Holiday Fotos & Garagiste Scorecard

Oh my gosh my golly. Took a trip to San Francisco (don’t call it Frisco) after the winds had purified the air and it was just cold enough to keep it all crispy. Here are favorite shots and a couple of wine reviews, too.

Sausalito is too touristy for some. You will hear languages other than English because it is a major stop on the list of Bay Area must-sees. For good reason. On this December day you could reach out and touch the City from our sidewalk table in front of Angelino Restaurant. We asked for a cheese plate which was not on the list but no problem. A glass of Sonoma Pinot Noir and the very underrated Pine Ridge blend of Viognier and Chenin Blanc were a perfect accompaniment to the view across the bay.

While Mrs. tBoW spends the day in meeting I usually find myself in the Haight at some point. The neighborhood is still lined with itinerant young people panhandling with their dogs and backpacks. The decades gone echo of the Summer of Love is still detectable in the spirit found in six blocks of shops. The stores seem to go out of their way at Christmas to let their windows do their talking. This ain’t Gumps or Union Square. The window at top, this one here and another one below can only be found in the Haight.

The Garagiste Scorecard: Dotore and tBoW met to sample the first Garagiste delivery with the anticipation of Leary and Alpert after their first lab-prepared lysergic acid diethymalide arrived in Dr. Tim’s Cambridge townhouse. Those guys had better results. So far Garagiste is 1-1-1, as in wines, losses and no decision. The winner was the Bordeaux petit chateau covered here. The next two selections did not fare as well.

2010 Le Bout du Monde Avec le Temps $20: This is Carignane. As a varietal we do not like Carignane. I wish I could love a wine made from a grape that upon repeated tastes over a decade including in Southwest France where all the odds are stacked in favor of loving any wine I know I do not like. Carginane is rustic, never refined. It has a distinct cinammon/cranberry flavor profile. It can be sweet like this wine. It is a poor man’s Zinfandel. Generally, we are not fond of Zin either…with exceptions such as Franus and certain Dry Creek efforts. Then why did we buy this wine? G. said it was grown on solid granite. S-O-L-I-D-G-R-A-N-I-T-E. He also said it was aged in cement. Ignored that “old world artifact”. This is embarrassing. 13%

2009 Debray Bourgogne Hautes Cotes de Beaune
$20: Awful. Flat. No fruit. Retarded. The wine and tBoW. Upon aeration it improved somewhat. This is like saying Santorum might improve if he delivered Christopher Hitchens’ eulogy. It ain’t gonna happen. Something very wrong here. 13%

In defense of Garagiste they strongly suggest not opening the wines for 90 days after they have traveled. We ignored this warning and did not even wait 90 hours. That is not a problem as we are terrified to open another selection. No wine nightmares…yet. But we did find at least one mixed review on the “selection problem”.

Herb Caen – one of the City’s beloved columnists – used to call the place Baghdad by the Bay. And that was long before the Transamerica building was erected. From this residential spot up the hill above North Beach the pyramid catches the sunset for 20 minutes. Who knew?

Apparently, there is some sort of dispute as to which city is more spectacular: New York or San Francisco. Both are extremely clever, world class cities filled with endless distractions.

Santa's surliest helper

The wide range of identifiable neighborhoods adds to the charm without sacrificing the Big City scale. But only Frisco has views like above.

Happy Holidays one and all. Make up with someone you were wrong about. Kiss your kids, love your spouse or “sig o”, call your siblings, hang with friends and listen to lots of schmaltzy music. Besitos y abrazos.


  1. Wavatar
    Kris-B says:

    Haven’t tried the Bout du Monde yet, although I was more intrigued by the 80+ year-old vines (see pictures here: http://tinyurl.com/7l8fz2y) than the solid granite.

    However, I did try the Debray and liked it very much. I found it to be a nice example of a regional burg and good for a weekday night. I did too find it needed air, but that is true of most young wines that I drink. I usually assault these young wines with oxygen by putting them through an aerator, then a funnel with a built-in aerator, and finally into a decanter. I have heard that Bacchus has been averse to decanters in the past…maybe that should change?

  2. Wavatar
    Bacchus says:

    Assault indeed! I poured thru aerator once. Am now yielding to G. admonishment not to open for 90 days. Seems a bit tight advice but one can neither fight G. or ignore the evidence. Next tasting in March. Aversion to decanters is for older wines and the widely held mythology that older wines would be decanted to ensure separation of “kitty litter” and fluid. Recalls famous Pentagon explanation for Vietnam era warfare: “we had to destroy the village in order to save it.” Makes we wonder how “drone technology” works as wine metaphor. Thanks K-b!

Got something to add?