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The Golden Glass Tasting Event, June 10th, San Francisco

gglass.jpgOne of the earliest movies I remember seeing was Jason and the Argonauts, an epic fantasy that combined stop motion animation with live action film to treat wide-eyed young viewers like me to a cornucopia of delights including the Cyclops, a skeleton army, sea serpents, and more. Jason's goal, of course, was the mythic quest for the golden fleece, the hide of a golden ram that had been sent by the goddess Nephele to rescue her mortal children from being sacrificed at the hands of an evil stepmother.

Why anyone would want a sheepskin made out of gold is a little beyond me. It certainly wouldn't make for very comfortable slippers. Now if Jason were a wine lover, he might have been able to go hunting for something useful like a golden glass, and then we'd be in business. I can think of all sorts of things to do with a wine glass made out of gold.

Of course, there will be no literal gold glasses at this year's Golden Glass Tasting in San Francisco, but there will be lots of wine that might deserve to be drunk out of a mythical goblet. Perhaps there will even be some wines made from ancient grape varieties that have stuck around since Jason's time. Come to think of it, some of them might have been drunk out of golden glasses at one time. You never know.

The Golden Glass Tasting event is put on by Slow Food San Francisco, and focuses on Italian wine producers who "strive to protect, nurture, and revive the indigenous and classic Italian varieties." Italy, as some of you likely know, is home to nearly 2000 varieties of wine grapes, a full half of which are thought to be indigenous and not found in any other country. Needless to say, there's a lot of interesting wines to explore as a result, and this event promises to showcase some of the best of them.

Of course, at any event put on in conjunction with Slow Food, you expect the eating to be good, and this one looks like it will be no exception, with nibbles from Chez Panisse, A16, Quince, and Bodega Goat Farms among many others.

In addition to the public tasting event which takes place on Saturday, there are also two seminars earlier in the day, one focusing on market trends in Italian wine imports to the US, the other is a guided tasting through "emerging" DOCG wines of Southern Italy. That sounds good on its own, but knowing that it will be hosted by Shelly Lindgren of A16 and Giancarlo Paterlini of Acquarello makes it a slam dunk for anyone who is interested in Italian wines. Those two are some of the Bay area's finest experts on the subject.

Finally, on the Sunday following the tasting, there will be a wine dinner at Coco 500, with featured wine and food pairings. Proceeds from the dinner and all the tasting events benefit Slow Food USA, which makes the already reasonable prices an easy decision.

Unfortunately, for the second year in a row I will be unable to attend this tasting, but I have it on very good authority that it is one of the better wine tasting events of the year in San Francisco. If you've got a little time on Saturday evening, I think it's worth a trip.

3rd Annual Golden Glass Tasting Event
Saturday June 10th and Sunday June 11th, 2006
Herbst Pavilion - Fort Mason

Tasting Events 6/10:
10:00 AM -- The Direction of Italian Wine - $15
2:00 PM -- Emerging DOCG Regions of Southern Italy Guided Tasting -- $30
2:00 - 6:00 PM -- Public Tasting - $50

Wine Dinner 6/11:
6:30 PM -- Coco 500 (500 Brannan Street) -- $100 per person

Tickets are available online, and will likely be available at the door as well, though I recommend purchasing them in advance.

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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.