Recently I had the opportunity to spend a couple of hours in San Francisco visiting Bluxome Street Winery. Follow my journey below as I virtually revisit the winery for you.
In the late 19th century, San Francisco’s South of the Slot area was filled with brokers, warehouses, and winemakers. In fact, the city’s directory listed 120 entries for native wines. However, most of this early urban wine industry was destroyed during the 1906 earthquake and its subsequent firestorms. This catastrophic event caused producers to seek winemaking opportunities in the rural areas outside of the city, which paved the way for wine development in Central Coast, Napa, Sonoma, etc. A couple of years ago, Matt Reidy decided to bring Northern California’s wine industry back to its San Francisco roots by opening his own urban winery at 53 Bluxome Street.
Bluxome Street Winery produces around 5000 cases (200 barrels), of small-quantity, high-quality Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Sauvignon Blanc, with grapes sourced from premium, sustainable, family-owned vineyards in the Russian River Valley/Sonoma County. The grapes are crushed and fermented, then the resulting wines are aged, finished, and bottled on-site at the winery. The Bluxome team consists of:
- Matt Reidy- Founding Partner
- Peter Chouinard- Operating Partner
- Meghan Shaw- Tasting Room Manager
- Emily Virgil- Special Events Manager
- Webster Marquez- Winemaker
- Tyzok Wharton- Associate Winemaker
- Julian Casey- Cellar Master
Besides being a working winery and winetasting facility, the winery can also host your special event, large or small. Benefits to hosting your event at Bluxome Street Winery include: in-house event planning by request, a fully-equipped kitchen, a built-in sound system, audio/visual capabilities, a plasma television, use of tasting room tables and chairs, Wi-Fi, janitorial services, ample parking or valet service available for fee, and a winery representative on-site.
During my Saturday morning visit, my companion and I had the opportunity to tour the facility, taste some of the wines produced at Bluxome Street Winery, and visit vendors who are part of the Meet Market hosted by the winery the last Saturday of every month. Tasting room manager Meghan Shaw explained their winemaking philosophy to us in one sentence: “We want our wines to taste like wine, not oak.” Oak influence is minimal and its presence is primarily to add texture and subtle aromas and flavors to the wines. The wines we tasted include:
2011 Sauvignon Blanc, Russian River Valley, $22 (689 cases): Aromas of citrus, gooseberry, and grass lead to delicious citrus and tropical fruit flavors, light-to-medium body, and mouthwatering acidity; production: 70% neutral French oak, 30% stainless steel.
2011 Chardonnay, Russian River Valley, $30 (400 cases): Juicy apple, citrus, and passion fruit aromas and flavors with a medium-bodied, creamy mouthfeel; production: 80% neutral French oak, 20% stainless steel, partial malolactic fermentation.
2011 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley, $32 (1000 cases): Red berry and fruit aromas and flavors dominate, then give way to baking spice, earthy mushroom, and tea flavors and a medium-weight mouthfeel; production: 10% new French oak, balance older French oak.
2011 Pinot Noir, Balinard Vineyard, Russian River Valley, $48 (168 cases): Floral and red berry aromas lead to cherry and plum flavors, medium-to-full body, and balanced acidity and tannins; production: 20% new French oak, balance older French oak.
2010 Pinot Noir, Mariah Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge, $45 (200 cases): Aromas and flavors of plum, strawberry, and tea, medium body with mouthwatering acidity; production: 10% new French oak, balance older French oak.
2011 Pinot Noir, Weir Vineyard, Yorkville Highlands, $45 (175 cases): Aromas and flavors of red berry and sweet oak, full body, and balanced acidity and tannins; production: 20% new French oak, balance older French oak.
2011 Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, $45 (96 cases): Bergamot orange, quince, and raspberry aromas and flavors prevail, then reveal earthy moss and mushroom flavors, a medium-weight mouthfeel and lively acidity; production: 10% new French oak, balance older French oak.
During your next visit to San Francisco, please know that you don’t have to leave the city to enjoy a great winery and wine tasting experience. Bluxome Street Winery is open from noon until 7:00 p.m. Tuesday through Sunday and is easily accessible by car, taxi/car service, and public transportation.
Elizabeth Smith is a Special Correspondent for Savvy Omnimedia. Please visit her blog Traveling Wine Chick for more of her Wineventures.