Google Places wine in San Francisco

For those who may think that Yelp.com is a mafia controlling the flow of information for restaurants and bars while basically offering a “protection money” plan to skim out bad reviews (it is), Google Places has taken a large jump forward a couple of months ago to take Yelp on. They’ve launched specific cities and are expanding quickly. As such, their Google Places San Francisco is a huge, rolling ball of events currently that most anyone can get in on if they write reviews for the system.

Naturally, we wanted in on this so we wrote reviews, and eventually went to a wine tasting run by The Right Blend. Founder, Clarisse Fourmeaux set up a series of three tastings at the Google offices in San Francisco, that focused on comparing Sauvignon Blanc vs. Chardonnay in one, Merlot vs. Pinot Noir in another, and Zinfandel vs. Cabernet Sauvignon in the last. It’s important to add that her approach with the tastings was to introduce people to various general concepts about wines and reduce that fear factor often associated (and intentionally created to boost prices) with drinking wine. Because, as Dr. Vino mentioned in a recent article, why is that beer drinkers drink with ease while wine drinkers are generally a terrified lot, corralled in to thinking that Robert Parker’s idiotic 50-100 point rating system is the only way to know if a wine is good.

We went mainly with the idea of drinking some new wines, maybe learning something, and generally trying to keep our mouths shut to see how a random group of people reacted to the wide range of wines (both Old World and New) that Clarisse had picked out for each event. The results were interesting. For instance with the first tasting, there was this Starborough Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand which the majority of the group thoroughly loved. I would probably never have picked it to drink with this thick diesel nose that it has. But, aspects of the wine really appealed to some people, which Clarisse said was a typical reaction.

If for no other reason than that, it was worth it to go to this tasting because at “proper” industry tastings you get everyone swirling, spitting, and pontificating. You don’t really get anyone drinking and really just enjoying the wines, which is an aspect to the whole wine review industry that’s missing. We’re just happy that there are others out there, like Clarisse who think that this is important and we should approach wine as an enjoyable alcohol as opposed to some golden fleece of a liquor.


Ancestral Wine Cellar - Khikhvi 2014 95
First harvest of Khikhvi. Light apricot notes, peach skin, lemon peel. Citric in the mouth, fresh, lively acidity, vibrant. Very holistic, full and deliciously good.
100% Khikhvi · 12% · 30GEL
95 3 Stars

Petriaant Marani - Khikhvi 2015 94
Bruised red apple, touch of lemon peel, limestone minerality, and some white pepper notes at the back of it. High acidity and full in the mouth. Luscious, involving, elegant wine.
100% Khikhvi · 14% · 25GEL
94 3 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Blanc 2016 93
Lemon and white peach, strong kick of salinity, and toasted notes. Very fleshy and full on the palate, peach notes more prominent as well as Meyer lemon, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish.
100% Grenache Gris · 14.5% · 20EUR
93 2 Stars

AA Badenhorst - Secateurs Red Blend 2012 93
Forest bramble with ripe red fruit, touches of cherry, ripe red plum, tiny bit of prune, cumin, anise, black licorice, wet cement mineral note, underlying fig jam. Crisp medium plus acidity, medium tannins, medium plus length, medium alcohol, overall medium plus body that’s ripe and lively but super fresh and balanced at the same time. Bit of rugged wildness to it but doesn’t get out of hand. Easy to drink but with just enough underlying complexity so that it stays interesting.
56% Syrah 27% Cinsaut 6% Grenache 4% Cabernet Sauvignon 7% "Others" · 13.5% · 12EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine Treloar - Motus 2015 93
Dark ruby, minor rim. Big, mighty bouquet of red cherry and other brambly forest fruit, vanilla, almond blossom, orange peel, and cocoa. Rich and full on the palate with a wealth of tannins still integrating, leading into a crunchy, lingering finish.
80% Mourvèdre 10% Syrah 10% Grenache · 14% · 14EUR
93 2 Stars

Domaine of the Bee - Cuvée 2015 93
Ruby with minor garnet rim. Rich red fruits with an underpinning of ripe plum, orange peel, licorice, cocoa. Broad, round tannins with a touch of toast and sweet cocoa in a long finish. Manages to stay very light on the palate despite the higher alcohol.
50% Grenache 50% Carignan · 15% · 25EUR
93 2 Stars

Tchotiashvili - Khikhvi 2014 93
Apricot, yellow peach, orange peel, and a touch of honey. Quite complex aromatically. Orchard fruit much more prevalent in the mouth with young apricot notes. Rich and elegant, touch of astringency in the finish.
100% Khikhvi · 13.1% · 28GEL
93+ 3 Stars

Domaine Augustin - Adéodat Rouge 2015 92
Medium ruby. Fresh red cherry, raspberry, and young strawberry, lifted and breathy, saline tinge along with light stoniness and rosemary and garrigue. Fresh red fruit on the palate, medium acidity but still light on the palate, fresh, and while the alcohol sticks out a little, holds and excellent, long finish.
Grenache Carignan Mourvèdre · 14.5% · 20EUR
92 2 Stars

Domaine Fontanel - Prieuré 2014 92
Dense ruby with brick flecks. Crisp red fruits, lifted by a waft of volatility making for a light nose with a spicy licorice and leather component. Crisp and lively with red cherry fruit in the mouth and a nudge over medium acidity. Nice, lingering finish.
50% Syrah 25% Grenache 25% Mourvèdre · 14.5%
92 2 Stars

Cave Abbé Rous - Cornet & Cie Blanc 2016 92
Peach, orange peel & blossom, honey, dried apricot, and a hint of green apple. Very nicely balance in the mouth, green apple notes more prevalent, medium plus acidity and a lengthy finish. Fresh, lively, very pleasing wine to drink.
60% Grenache Gris 25% Grenache Blanc 5% Marsanne 5% Roussanne 5% Vermentino · 14.5%
92 2 Stars