Text Size:-+

San Francisco's Gourmet Harvest: A Report From FallFest 2005

fallfest.crowd.jpgI go to a lot of big public food and wine events throughout the year. These events are different from the public and trade-only wine tastings, which are focused only on wines. They invariably involve not only wine producers pouring their stuff, but also restaurants offering tidbits to eat, food producers and manufacturers hawking their wares, and more. I attend to keep tabs on the restaurant scene, to learn about new gourmet products, to check out new wine producers and see what others I already know are up to.

Not all of these big food and wine festivals are very good. Some of them are downright awful. But if there is one in particular that I look forward to going to every year, it is most certainly the San Francisco FallFest, put on by San Francisco Magazine and various other supporting organizations. This event stands head and shoulders above its brethren for the simple reason that it's done right. It's well organized, classy, and all around fabulous.

Let's start with the simple details: When you walk into the event you get a wine glass, but not some crummy little dishes.jpgtasting glass that you can't fit your nose into, a full sized Riedel Bordeaux wine glass. You're also handed a very handy little plastic plate, which has a wine glass holder built right into the side of it. Should your fingers get sticky from a stray piece of food, there are portable hand washing stations placed strategically around the event that offer lukewarm water, liquid soap, and paper towels integrated into a single plastic console with a washbasin. There are tables with free bottles of water every fifty yards, and plenty of seating in the sun and in the shade for those who want to stop wandering for a while and just chow down (or catch their breath and digest, more likely). No other event that I've had the pleasure of attending in the Bay Area (or anywhere else for that matter) offers these amenities at this level of class.

And then there's the food. Many of San Francisco's top restaurants come out to showcase their food. And when I say the restaurants come out, I don't mean their third string kitchen staff and a couple of people from the front of the house. I mean the name-you-would-recognize chefs and chef/owners are often there, handing you a bit of canapé or a dish of tastiness. The quality of the food is extremely high and one of my favorite aspects of the event is that people don't just trot out simple crowd-pleasing dishes that you'd see anywhere. They're doing some really interesting stuff.

This years food highlights included several amazing dishes:

From Rubicon, cubes of watermelon stuffed with creamy goat cheese infused with curry oil and topped with herb salad, pita bread crumbs and pumpkin seeds burst with flavor in the mouth and immediately generated urges to grab as many of these as I could and run for some corner where I could devour all of them.

From the Ritz-Carlton, Half Moon Bay, an incredible Moroccan spiced lamb tartar with mustard ice cream and bread crisp was a perfect dish for a sunny fall day, with the cool creamy ice cream playing counterpoint to the spices quince.tomatoes.jpgand butteriness of the raw lamb.

From Postrio, the winner in the dessert category with a huckleberry crumble and buttermilk crème fraiche ice cream that had people lining up and swooning.

Special mention also needs to be made of chef Michael Tusk at Quince who brought big clear bottles of heirloom tomato puree, that he mixed and matched on the spot with fresh chopped shallots and herbs to create delightfully colored and deliciously flavored tomato soups; and also IronWood Barbecue, a new restaurant that dished out pulled pork and brisket all day long to exclamations of delight from all tasters.

Many of the chefs present were also attending to give cooking demonstrations, which happened throughout the day. I stopped by at one point to watch John Clark from Foreign Cinema create a tomato and lemon cucumber salad for a group of salivating onlookers.

Various live music performers played throughout the day, though with the weather as beautiful as it was, people cooking.demo.jpgwould have been just as happy had the soundtrack to their munching been the passing cars on the Embarcadero.

And of course, there was wine. Did you think I was going to forget that? Last year this event introduced me to several small California producers that I had never heard of, which was quite astonishing for a non-wine specialty event. Mostly these events attract the larger, well funded wineries who can afford to send a couple of people and a few dozen bottles down to San Francisco (of course several of those types of wineries do attend). It can only be due to a special effort on the part of organizers that smaller, family run wineries are so well represented.

This year the overall quality of the wines was slightly lower in my opinion than last year, but there were still some excellent wines on offer. Below you'll find my list of favorites. As there were many wineries whose wines I was very familiar with, I didn't hit all of the tables, so omission of wines here does not indicate poor scores.

2003 Kosta Browne "Cohn Vineyard" Pinot Noir. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $48.
2002 Rosenblum "Hillside" Syrah. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $28.
2000 Frias Family Cabernet, Spring Mountain District. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $55.
2002 Frias Family Merlot, Spring Mountain District. Score: 9/9.5. Cost: $25.

2001 Medlock Ames Merlot, Sonoma. Score: 9. Cost: $40.
2002 Medlock Ames Cabernet, Alexander Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $45.
2003 Jim Neal "Chariot" Sangiovese, Napa. Score: 9. Cost: $12.
2003 Jim Neal "Chariot - Diana" Syrah / Petite Sirah. Score: 9. Cost: $15.
2003 Annapolis Winery Pinot Noir, Sonoma . Score: 9. Cost: $ .
2002 Frias Family Cabernet, Spring Mountain District. Score: 9. Cost: $55.
2002 Mojon's Bench Cabernet Franc, Alexander Valley. Score: 9. Cost: $25.
2001 Hill Family "Origin" Red Blend, Carneros. Score: 9. Cost: $32.
2002 Rosenblum "Fess Parker" Syrah. Score: 9. Cost: $24.
2003 Rosenblum Alegria Zinfandel. Score: 9. Cost: $24.

2003 Ravenswood "Teldeschi" Zinfandel. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $30.
2004 Annapolis Winery Syrah, Sonoma. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $30.
2001 Grove Street Cabernet, Alexander Valley. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $??.
2001 Whitcraft "Melville Vineyard" Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $45.
2000 Whitcraft Lagrein, French Camp. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $30.
2003 Rosenblum "Carla's Vineyard" Zinfandel. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $23.

2002 Roshambo "The Reverend" Zinfandel, Sonoma. Score: 8.5. Cost: $21 .
2002 Andrew Lane Winery Gamay Noir. Score: 8.5. Cost: $ 18.
1999 Andrew Lane Winery Sangiovese. Score: 8.5. Cost: $ 17.
2000 Andrew Lane Winery Sangiovese. Score: 8.5. Cost: $ 17.
2000 Saddleback Cellars Cabernet. Score: 8.5. Cost: $70.
2003 Harmonique "Delicace" Pinot Noir. Score: 8.5. Cost: $50.
2002 Ravenswood "Icon" Rhone Blend. Score: 8.5. Cost: $18.
2002 Hopper Creek Winery "Chamisal Vineyard" Cabernet, Sonoma. Score: 8.5. Cost: $30.
2003 Mojon's Bench Merlot, Alexander Valley. Score: 8.5. Cost: $22.
2002 Hill Family Pinot Noir, Carneros. Score: 8.5. Cost: $38.
2003 Whitcraft Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara County. Score: 8.5. Cost: $30.
2002 Hill Family "Estate" Merlot. Score: 8.5. Cost: $30.

2002 Hopper Creek Winery Cabernet, Yountville. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $28 .
2002 Hill Family Cabernet, Napa. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $38.

2002 Roshambo "Justice" Syrah. Score: 8. Cost: $ 21.
2002 Stonestreet Merlot. Score: 8. Cost: $20.
2001 Grove Street "Peter Paul" Merlot. Score: 8. Cost: $29.

2004 Iron Horse Vineyards Rose of Pinot Noir. Score: 9. Cost: $11.
2003 Andrew Lane Winery Rose of Gamay. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $15 .
2003 Andrew Lane Winery Rose of Gamay Reserve (barrel sample). Score: 8.5. Cost: $15.

2003 Jim Neal Pinot Grigio, Napa Score: 9.5. Cost: $10.
2003 Saddleback Cellars Viognier. Score: 8.5/9. Cost: $21.
2002 Annapolis Winery Gewurztraminer, Sonoma. Score: 8.5. Cost: $14.
2002 Chalk Hill Chardonnay. Score: 8.5. Cost: $24.
2002 Grove Street Block "K" Sauvignon Blanc. Score: 8.5. Cost: $15 .
2002 Stonestreet Chardonnay. Score: 8/8.5. Cost: $14.
2002 Grove Street Chardonnay. Score: 8. Cost: $9 .
2002 Domaine St. George Chardonnay. Score: 8. Cost: $15.

Comments (30)

stacey wrote:
09.29.05 at 10:19 AM

This sounds like a fantastic event! How do you learn about these things? I've been in SF for 9 months (attending culinary school) and I only hear about these things once they've happened... I'd really love to actually attend a few events (like your next dinner!) if I can find out about them in time!

Alder wrote:
09.29.05 at 10:25 AM


Thanks for the comment. It was a good event.

Well, I try and post event notices about the better ones here on Vinography about 2 weeks before the event, so keeping watch here is a good idea. The San Francisco Chronicle food and wine section that comes out in the Thursday edition is also a place to spot advertisements for these sorts of things. If you’re a Zagat or Gayot fan, they typically list the bigger ones on their sites as well.

Finally, if you're looking for wine focused events, I suggest checking out www.localwineevents.com which has a pretty complete listing.

matt wrote:
09.29.05 at 5:51 PM

Roshambo had 2 reds but no white?

Alder wrote:
09.29.05 at 5:55 PM

Didn't care for the Sav Blanc they were pouring, so I left it off the list.


12.28.06 at 5:26 AM

The economic value of user contributions to Internet sites..

08.22.14 at 2:55 PM

Hey there! This is kind of off topic but I need some help from an established blog.
Is it difficult to set up your own blog? I'm not very techincal but I can figure
things out pretty fast. I'm thinking abvout making mmy own but I'm not sure where to begin. Do you have any tips or suggestions?

08.22.14 at 10:51 PM

I am sure this piece of writing has touched all the internet
viewers, its really really fastidious paragraph
on building up new website.

08.23.14 at 5:42 AM

hello there and thank you for your info – I've certainly picked up
something new from right here. I did however expertise several technical issues using this website, as I experienced to reload the web site many times previous to
I could get it to load properly. I had been wondering if your hosting is OK?
Not that I'm complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will
often affect your placement in google and can damage your high-quality score if advertising and marketing with Adwords.
Well I am adding this RSS to my e-mail and can look out for much more of your respective intriguing content.
Ensure that you update this again soon.

We offer unbeatable charges for that highest good quality Bangalore
Escort all over Bangalore. Another important factor that
would make an escort agency better than the rest is discretion and honesty.
However, after a shocking announcement yesterday, it seems she has experienced just the opposite.

web page wrote:
08.24.14 at 3:07 AM

I h?ve b?en browsimg online g?eater th?n three hours as
of late, b?t I ne??r discovered any attention-grabbing article l?ke yours.
It is beautiful price sufficient for me. Personally, ?f all
web owners and bloggers made excellent content material ?s you did, th? net will proba?ly
be muc? more helpful than e?er before.

08.24.14 at 7:12 AM

Good blog you have got here.. It's difficult too find high quality writing like yours nowadays.
I truly appreciate individuals like you! Take care!!

Beckel wrote:
08.24.14 at 11:43 AM

I'm gone to convey my little brother, that he should also pay a quick visit this
weblog on regular basis to obtain updated from most up-to-date news.

08.25.14 at 1:17 AM

4 Cost- This is the town where thousands of minuscule shops are
crammed full of spices and street snacks ply their wares in the marketplace the same as in Spain or France via passenger/car ferries.
Built on a trading post used by the riad marrakech twin room developers for
creating iOS apps. Oh Ahh, morning, Mrs Foxfur, given your working knowledge that you have not previously been to Morocco.
Abdelsamad Haydour, from Taza, riad marrakech twin room a mountain walk or an exhilarating high-level traverse.

08.25.14 at 1:49 AM

Thanks for the good writeup. It actually was a entertainment account it.
Glance advanced to far delivered agreeable from you!
However, how can we be in contact?

Gwendolyn wrote:
08.25.14 at 3:38 AM

Hello to every one, because I am truly eager of reading this web site's post to be updated on a regular basis.
It includes fastidious material.

08.25.14 at 1:13 PM

Hi there, its fastidious post on the topic of media print, we all understand media is a impressive
source of data.

08.25.14 at 2:01 PM

You most likely want to settle your case as timely as possible.
Compensation for your injuries is one thing but
knowing that justice can be rightly served is priceless.
Most security personnel employed by property owners are uniformed guards who patrol
the property.

Theodore wrote:
08.25.14 at 6:44 PM

Wonderful site. Lots ?f useful info here. I'm sending it to ?everal buddies ans additionally sharing ?n delicious.

And ce?tainly, thank yo? ?n y?ur effort!

08.26.14 at 3:56 AM

What's up friends, its enormous article on the
topic of cultureand entirely explained, keep it up
all the time.

08.26.14 at 9:35 AM

What's up, after reading this awesome post i am also delighted
to share my familiarity here with friends.

fun wrote:
08.27.14 at 6:09 AM

The author has the experience and expertise of the telecommunication field and has been advising the customers on finding out cheap mobile phone deals and purchasing of mobile phones.
To make sure that your garage door will not stuck and will expect less effort to open and
close the door, keep the tracks of the door clean and greased.

They are not very large in size and they can easily be carried
in your pocket. Some of the prominent ones have been described below.

Pauline wrote:
08.27.14 at 7:32 AM

Highly descriptive post, I liked that bit.

Will there be a part 2?

08.27.14 at 1:16 PM

Thanks for any other informative site. The place else could I get that type of info written in such an ideal
method? I have a venture that I'm simply now working on, and I've been on the glance out for such info.

08.28.14 at 5:25 PM

May I just say what a comfort to discover someone who really knows what they're discussing on the internet.
You certainly understand how to bring an issue
to light and make it important. More and more people should read this and understand this side of your story.

I was surprised you're not more popular given that you most certainly possess the gift.

08.29.14 at 3:43 PM

I was recommended this website by my cousin. I am not positive
whether or not this post is written by means of him as nobody else understand such unique about my problem.
You're wonderful! Thanks!

08.29.14 at 10:26 PM

Heya i am for the first time here. I came across this board and I find It really useful & it helped me out much.

I hope to give something back and help others like you aided me.

08.29.14 at 10:33 PM

It's v??y sim?le to find out any topic on web as compared to
books, aas I foundd this article at this web page.

Christal wrote:
08.29.14 at 11:47 PM

Hi Dear, are you genuinely visiting this web page on a regular basis, if
so afterward you will absolutely obtain good knowledge.

test color wrote:
08.30.14 at 1:43 PM

Hi there friends, its impressive paragraph on the topic of tutoringand fully explained, keep it up all the time.

With havin so much content do you ever run into any issues of plagorism or
copyright infringement? My website has a lot of unique
content I've either created myself or outsourced but it appears a lot of it is popping it up
all over the internet without my permission. Do you know any ways
to help reduce content from being ripped off?

I'd truly appreciate it.

Comment on this entry

(will not be published)
(optional -- Google will not follow)

Type the characters you see in the picture above.

Pre-Order My Book!

small_final_covershot_dropshadow.jpg A wine book like no other. Photographs, essays, and wine recommendations. Learn more.

Follow Me On:

Twitter Facebook Pinterest Instagram Delectable Flipboard

Most Recent Entries

Earthquake Rattles Napa Harvest NIMBY Versus Vineyard in Malibu Vinography Images: Precious Droplets MORIC: The Apogee of Blaufränkisch 2014 Sonoma Wine Country Weekend: August 29-31, Healdsburg, CA The (Still) Dismal State of California Chardonnay What a Way to Go: Wine At the End of Your Life Vinography Images: Into the Tank 72 Pinot Noirs on a Sunny Afternoon: Tasting at IPNC 2014 The Great White South: An Introduction to Châteauneuf-du-Pape Blanc

Favorite Posts From the Archives

Masuizumi Junmai Daiginjo, Toyama Prefecture Wine.Com Gives Retailers (and Consumers) the Finger 1961 Hospices de Beaune Emile Chandesais, Burgundy Wine Over Time The Better Half of My Palate 1999 Királyudvar "Lapis" Tokaji Furmint, Hungary What's Allowed in Your Wine and Winemaking Why Community Tasting Notes Sites Will Fail Appreciating Wine in Context The Soul vs. The Market 1989 Fiorano Botte 48 Semillion,Italy

Archives by Month


Required Reading for Wine Lovers

The Oxford Companion to Wine by Jancis Robinson The Taste of Wine by Emile Peynaud Adventures on the Wine Route by Kermit Lynch Love By the Glass by Dorothy Gaiter & John Brecher Noble Rot by William Echikson The Science of Wine by Jamie Goode The Judgement of Paris by George Taber The Wine Bible by Karen MacNeil The Botanist and the Vintner by Christy Campbell The Emperor of Wine by Elin McCoy The World Atlas of Wine by Hugh Johnson The World's Greatest Wine Estates by Robert M. Parker, Jr.