Dark & Delicious…oh, and the wine was good too.
Outside the venue was dark,
the food inside was delicious and,
oh yeah, the wine was good too.
Last Friday, P.S. I Love You held their 4th annual Dark & Delicious event in Alameda. Now, I have nothing against Alameda, but it’s not exactly the easiest place to get around. In fairness, this comedy of errors is mostly my own fault, but the fact that this was the first time I’ve been to this event and the first time I’ve driven in this area of the bay, didn’t help matters. I left my map on my desk, went the wrong way and ended up driving 15 miles out of my way to get back. Add to that a very scattered evening where I found out at the last minute that I was attending alone, was stuck in Friday traffic running on empty in both the gas tank and my stomach, and I quickly became grumpy.
After arriving nearly an hour late, hungry and not too happy, I almost ended up wandering around in the dark. And damn, was it ever dark—no street lights anywhere. Could they have found a more secluded place for 500 people to locate in the dark? Just sayin’. A single lone placard flashed in front of my headlights for a second to say that I had arrived at the right place. That and the two hundred other cars in area. I parked, but only after a bit of wandering, did I discover that the entrance was three-quarters of the way from where I parked around this warehouse that the Rock Wall Wine Company calls home. More wandering in the dark. I could have walked one-quarter of the way in the opposite direction, except that it was blocked. Of course. At least the seclusion allowed them to crank up the music. And hey, if you didn’t mind 80’s and 90’s R&B, it was great!
It’s good that there was plenty of great food and wine at this event, I certainly needed it after that horrendous drive. At this point, I realized I left my notebook and pen back in the car and didn’t feel like hiking back to get it. So I just said, “What the hell, I’ll just have fun.” So, all I managed to do was snap a few shots of some of the wine that I liked and some of the people I saw. I finally met John Cesano, got attacked by Thea Dwelle and had to reintroduce myself to several people (because there are just sooo many Asian, wine-drinking, hat-wearing, goatee-sporting, SEA-to-SFO, bloggers around). Yeah.
I didn’t get the names of many of the restaurants and catering companies that prepared some of the incredible food and I apologize. I can’t even blame getting intoxicated for any of this since I was spitting the entire evening. With all the great food that evening, the most memorable food of the evening was the bacon drizzled in dark chocolate. This beats chocolate with bacon bits any day. I’m not positive but I think Angela’s Bistro made it. Bistro 29 made a delicious pulled pork with dressing smothered in a cherry sauce made from Pedroncelli Petite Sirah. I love Pedroncelli’s Pinot Noir and their PS was equally enticing. The chef from Bistro 29 spent way too long trying to tell me what was in the dressing and how he made the bread for it. All I remember was that it was tasty and hey, they’re located nearby in Santa Rosa. All this pork isn’t surprising since “the other white meat” was a sponsor of the event.
Of the nearly 45 wineries represented, I think I may have made it to half of them. Maybe. There were so many people crowded around some of the tables that I couldn’t even get close enough for a taste, so that much later, either I forgot or they ran out of wine. So if I don’t mention your wine, it most likely is because I didn’t taste it or forgot to take a picture of it. (It was an evening of forgetfulness) Here are some of my favorites new wines of the evening that I remembered.
2006 Jazz Cellars Petite Sirah, Mendocino County
2007 Spangler Vineyards Petite Sirah, The Terraces, Southern Oregon
2007 Stanton Vineyards Petite Sirah, St. Helena
2007 Guenoc Petite Sirah, Lake County
2005 Twisted Oak Petite Sirah, Calaveras County
2006 Heringer Estates Petite Sirah, Clarksburg, CA
2006 Gustafson Family Vineyards Petite Sirah, Dry Creek Mtn. Vineyard
2007 Grizzly Republic Petite Sirah, Paso Robles
2003 Foppiano Reserve Petite Sirah, Russian River Valley
Also pouring were some old favorites including Bogle, Pedroncelli, Concannon, and Line 39. The Bogle and Line 39 are worth mentioning because I’ve been drinking Bogle for many years and the Line 39 I discovered with my wife at last year’s Wine Bloggers Conference. The other great aspect of these two wines is that I’m usually able to buy either of them for under $10. (that means $9.99) A great price for an everyday, stain-your-teeth wine.
Another couple of wines worth mentioning were the 1998 and 1999 Teldeschi Petite Sirah, Dry Creek Valley. These wines have held up well and have a very old-world style that reminds me of the Blind Tasting of California Petite Sirah from last year.
So despite my initial grumpiness, the evening was very enjoyable. I tasted a lot of fantastic wines and was satiated with great food. Thanks to Jo Diaz for inviting me. Perhaps next year, Girard, one of the wineries I represent, can participate.
Pros: Great food, unique wines, fun enthusiastic crowd, good value.
Cons: Location, Friday night traffic, venue too crowded at times, room & vendor map?