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Dark & Delicious…oh, and the wine was good too.

2010 February 23

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?

Overall Event

Rating:
Value:

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3 Responses leave one →
  1. February 24, 2010

    I looked for the Gustafson and couldn’t find it, I ended up guessing that they didn’t make it. I had planned to visit and taste their wines this Sunday after Saturday’s Pinot Summit.

    It was nice to meet you, I’m sorry that you had several trials to go through to get to the event.

    Carol used to make an unbelievably good Petite for Windsor, I think it had a half dozen gold medals and was only $10 a bottle at your door in California. Love to taste a Giraud Petite next year.

  2. February 25, 2010

    Hey, Eric,

    Too late now, but we even had a video on the Dark & Delicious site, because we know it’s a bear to find. http://psiloveyou.org/dd10/?p=216

    This video takes you right from the tube to the event. I tried telling everyone that this six minute video would save everyone at least a half hour of drive time.

    I take your comments to heart about being hard to find. Last year, we had the same comments, hence the video.

    Unfortunately, there’s so little time to remind everyone, much less make databases of who’s been told, who was sent the map – just so no one would be lost, etc., that a new venue seems more likely then more education and attention to details with one and all.

    I’m happy you did finally make it, though, and got to taste and dine.

    I can appreciate the being lost in the dark, knowing the utter frustration.

    Next year will be improved. Promise…

    And, yes, Gustafson was on the far wall to the left of the building, right next to Rosenblum. Sorry you missed them. Dan Gustafson was there with his PS.

  3. Eric Hwang permalink*
    February 25, 2010

    Jo,

    I really appreciate you inviting me and I really did have a good time. I understand that venues are hard to come by, but once I arrived, I was pleasantly surprised. Sure there were crowds to contend with, but that only shows how popular your event is. I only wish I could have arrived earlier so I could have tasted some of the wine that ran out early.

    The other great thing I notice and pointed out to your husband was that the temperature inside Rock Wall was perfect. Most of us had our coats on still and if it were warmer, it would have terribly uncomfortable. I notice these things because I’m always carrying way too much stuff slung over my shoulders and I get overheated easily.

    Already looking forward to next year’s event. Thanks again.

    Cheers,
    Eric

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