The Winery San Francisco
Winery San Francisco is located on Treasure Island, a U.S. Navy base during World War II and now part of the City and County of San Francisco. By bus or car, the winery is a short hop from downtown, a requirement for winemaker Bryan Kane and partners when they rented the 2,200 square-foot warehouse in 2010. Their idea was to make wine in San Francisco for San Franciscans.
If residents don’t want to spend an entire day or weekend wine-tasting in Sonoma or Napa, they can visit Treasure Island, now home to six wineries. In addition to Winery San Francisco, Bryan is a partner at Vie, another Treasure Island winery, and he is the owner of Sol Rouge in Lake County. On Treasure Island, views of the City are spectacular, the geometry of its downtown buildings framed by two bridges, the Golden Gate and the Oakland Bay.
Along with developing an urban winery, Bryan wanted the wines priced so that most people could afford them. Instead of the expenses associated with vineyard ownership, Winery San Francisco purchases fruit. Quality is high with wines priced between $15.99 and $150. Making about 5000 cases per year, the winery specializes in the staples, Cabernet, Merlot, Zinfandel, and Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, and Viognier.
Bryan aims for balanced wines. “I’m a natural winemaker. I don’t use external, cultured yeast, only indigenous yeast. And I don’t add chemicals to my wine. I buy fruit and farm fruit that already has the natural characteristics that I want. My wines are between 14 and 14.5%, what I feel is balanced.”
California Wines of the Month
The Winery San Francisco 2010 People’s Blend
Made from mountain fruit, this wine is an unusual blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, and Mouvedre with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Unusual though the blend may be, the proof is in the bottle, and it’s delicious. The flavors are berry and earth all the way, clean and balanced with fresh acidity and tannin texture. For any of his wines that Bryan Kane expects you to open after you bring them home, he’s using screw caps. No need to store this bottle on its side (14.2% alcohol).
Winery San Francisco 2013 Sauvignon Blanc
This is a Sauvignon Blanc that revels in its own classic character, full of citrus and a bit of grassiness. Apart from its distinctive flavors, Sauvignon Blanc is prized for its powerful aromas, (13% alcohol). Serve chilled.
The Winery San Francisco 2008 Grenache Blend Flower Power
Flower power has long gone from San Francisco, and the young tech workers who dominate the City are probably unaware of its significance. But Bryan Kane knows and describes this wine as “a symbol of passive resistance and non-violent ideology, principles that are deeply rooted in San Francisco today,” he feels. That might strike an overly serious tone, but the wine is seriously delicious. He doesn’t tell us what’s in the blend, but it’s definitely mostly Grenache, which is getting a lot of attention from cutting-edge California winemakers now (14.5% alcohol, 325 cases made). “Put a flower in your hair when you drink it,” he advises.
The Winery San Francisco 2013 Pinot Noir
Hints of herbal notes are layered with rich levels of black cherries, raspberries, cassis, and blackberries that give the wine depth and complexity. The finish dives deeper with anise while sweet tannins linger. This elegant but bold Pinot Noir stays true to its varietal and is best paired with duck, pheasant, rabbit and other light gamey dishes (14.1% alcohol, 350 cases made).
County of the Month
Russians planted the first vineyards after establishing a colony at Fort Ross on the Pacific in 1812. In 1824 while he built the Mission in the Town of Sonoma, Father José Altimira planted grapevines to provide sacramental wine for religious services and for the table.
Sonoma County is large and boasts a huge diversity of vines and wine styles because micro climates, soils, and topography are infinite. Some of these micro climates are hospitable to grapes that require warmer temperatures, like Cabernet Sauvignon and associated Bordeaux varieties or Zinfandel and other Mediterranean grapes. The County also offers cooler areas where Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and additional white varieties thrive. Marine fog, breezes, and cool nights prolong ripening to produce complex flavors. Sonoma County so far includes 16 distinct American Viticultural Areas (AVAs) recognized by the Federal government. AVAs include Alexander Valley, Bennett Valley, Carneros, Chalk Hill, Dry Creek Valley, Fort Ross-Seaview, Green Valley, Knights Valley, Moon Mountain District, Northern Sonoma, Pine Mountain-Cloverdale Peak, Rockpile, Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Sonoma Mountain, and Sonoma Valley.
Menu of the Month
Prosciutto and bosc pear, served with fresh baked baguettes
Butterflied grilled turkey with an herb rub, served with roasted dumpling squash
and chard braised with red onions
Mixed winter chicories with shaved radishes and an olive oil
and seasoned rice vinegar dressing
Apple citrus tart
Recipe of the Month
Butterflied Grilled Turkey With a Herb Rub
Somehow, I’ve evaded the pleasure of a butterflied turkey until recently, and it was the most delicious that I’ve ever tasted. Because the turkey was flattened, it cooked evenly and was easy to test with a meat thermometer. It was also easy to apply a savory rub that infused the meat with delicious scents and flavors. And finally, it was easy to carve.
Start with the best turkey in your neighborhood. In our case, and ask your butcher to butterfly it. In our case it was a Diestel turkey, raised in Sonoma. The following recipe was adapted from the one at GrillGrate.com. Enjoy.
1 fresh butterflied turkey 12 to 15 pounds, the skin lightly brushed with olive oil and sprinkled with salt and pepper
For the rub
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon white wine
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
4 teaspoons fresh rosemary chopped
4 teaspoons fresh thyme, chopped
4 teaspoons onion, minced
4 teaspoons garlic minced
2 teaspoons salt
Combine all ingredients and mix well. Store in the refrigerator in an airtight container.
Directions for grilling (approximately 1 1/2 hours)
Set grill for initial temperatures 400-450F. For charcoal grills, bank coals around perimeter of the grill. For gas grills, turn off center burners and use only outside burners.
Place turkey in the center of the grill, skin side down for the first 20-25 minutes. After 10 minutes, lift and twist the bird to reposition it on the grates, keeping skin down. After 25 minutes or sooner if you see dark sear marks, turn the turkey skin side up.
Reduce heat to medium/low about 350F. Baste with half of the herb rub, brushing the entire skin, and saving the other 1/2 to baste again after 45 minutes. After 1 hour, test temperature with an instant-read thermometer at the deepest part of the leg.
Remove from grill at 165F. Remove to a cutting board and tent with a paper bag for 20 minutes before carving.