Thursday, August 13, 2009

Global Wine Tastes at Cav Wine Bar

Cav Wine Bar and Kitchen is one of the original neighborhood wine bars that popped up before the current wave of new wine bars started to grab hold. I’ve talked about the food before, but one of the fun things about this San Francisco spot is the wine events.

Last night, my friend Ken (who’s on Cav’s mailing list) told me about a free wine-tasting so I met up with him and checked out what was being served.

The tasting was limited to the first 50 people who showed up, which was a good idea because I never realized how small the space is. The wine pourers were set up in one corner in the middle of the restaurant and it was crowded and I don’t even think there were 25 people there yet.

Despite the crowds (I don’t know why people don’t move to the side after they get their pour of wine?) and the humidity inside, we were able to taste four wines. This is what I thought:

  1. La Tunella Biancosesto, 2007 – This is a white wine from Italy made from ribolla gialla and tocai friuliano grapes. It was perfect for the weather and I appreciated how it was chilled just perfectly. It was light with a melon flavor that really awakens one’s palate.
  2. Tinto Figero Tempranilla, 4 Mesa Red, 2006 – A Spanish wine called a ribera, this had the rich flavor of plum but was quite tannic. This was Ken’s favorite though.
  3. Henry’s Drive, Dead Letter Office, 2006 – A shiraz from Southern Australia, this was also very tart and quite light in body. I’m not a big fan of Australian wine, and this didn’t do me any favors. And what a weird name, huh?
  4. Paternoster Synthesi, Aglianico del Vulture, 2005 – Another Italian red from Basilicata. This was supposed to be the heaviest wine akin to cabernet sauvignon but when I tasted it I thought it was lighter in body than the shiraz. This also had a lot of tannins.

Of the wine we tried, I have to say only the white from Italy really surprised me. The three reds were very similar and not very pleasing to drink.

After the wine, Ken went to meet someone for dinner and I stayed behind because I peeked at the menu and saw an appetizer of braised octopus that I had to try.

The braised octopus ($13) was served with roasted heirloom tomatoes and fried garbanzo beans. The octopus was soooo tender that it was a pleasure to eat, but I felt it was oddly supported by the tomatoes with thinly sliced basil. The perfume of the basil seemed to overpower the octopus. And another odd thing about the plate were the fried beans because they really tasted and even looked like frozen peas. Still, I couldn’t fault the overall dish because the octopus was cooked so well.

If you want to check out a future Cav wine event, go to its Web site to join its mailing list or follow them on twitter at

Cav Wine Bar and Kitchen, 1666 Market St., San Francisco (between Gough and Franklin). PH: 415.437.1770.

Related posts:
Cav Wine Bar: “A Delightful Overture to Any Night Out”
Cade Winery: White, Red and Green
Art with the Pour at Artesa Vineyards & Winery


Carolyn Jung said...

I LOVE fresh garbanzos that are just pan-fried like that. I sometimes buy them at Cosentino's in San Jose or SaveMart. They have papery shells around them. You can just toss them as is in a frying pan with a little oil. They cook up tender in about 5 minutes. So tasty! And a perfect cocktail nibble.

Mark Scarbrough said...

Man, your blog has about done me in. Bruce and I will be in the Bay Area in mid-September to celebrate Rosh Hashanah with his family--and I've bookmarked about a zillion entries of places to try. I think I should plan on eight meals a day--and a size zillion pants to come home in.

Sirena Wills said...

yes i agree with Mark. your blog is nice. i also search for the wine testings. this way you can check new and fine brands of wine. similarly i am also very keen to taste new and new cigars. but i really like smoking cuban cigars. I copied mark by bookmarking about zillion entries sorry man but i am also a big fan of those.