How do you feel about flights? Not the airplane kind, but groups of wines that have something in common? It's become a staple at wine bars, and wine-oriented restaurants are starting to offer them, too.
You might think that a guy like me would resist the idea because I taste wine for a living and might want a change of pace when I go out. But I love it, especially when it gives me a chance to try wines that are new to me from regions that I don't have to review.
The new Pres a Vi restaurant in San Francisco is kind of an overgrown wine bar, and that's a good thing. Last night, my wife and I ordered two three-wine flights to drink with an assortment of small plates. It turned into a mini-marathon of "which goes better with what?" and we had a ball.
One flight was all Spanish, and included three wines new to me. I especially liked the deft balance of the lightish Tamiz 2003 from Teofilo Reyes, a Ribera del Duero red that matched up well with ham croquettes. Another red, Arrels Clos Oblidat 2003 from Tarragona, had the stature to go well with oxtail-chantrelle ravioli in a star anise broth.
The star of the Director's Choice flight, for me, was the lone white on the table, Sur de Los Andes Torrontes 2005, which was crisp and bright with citrus and floral flavors. It made a great match with a Dungeness crab salad stacked over grilled d'Anjou pear slices and drizzled with lemon-chili oil. The raisiny flavors of Grant Burge Shadrach 1999, an Aussie Cabernet I know well, were just the thing for "Duck Buns," a wonderful version of Peking Duck that pre-mixes the shredded duck legs with hoisin sauce, watercress and Chinese parsley and uses the traditional buns to make sandwiches.
Halfway through, I realized we were having more fun mixing and matching that if we had ordered one of the (generally reasonably-priced) bottles from the cellar. At least we did on this occasion. Maybe next time, we'll settle on a single wine--if we can give up the thrill of the chase.
Steve Coyle — Chappaqua, NY — January 5, 2007 2:04pm ET
Harvey Steiman — San Francisco, CA — January 5, 2007 2:48pm ET
James Peterson — San Antonio, Texas — January 5, 2007 2:50pm ET
Harvey Steiman — San Francisco, CA — January 5, 2007 5:09pm ET
Troy Peterson — Burbank, CA — January 5, 2007 5:46pm ET
John Jorgenson — Seattle, — January 5, 2007 11:04pm ET
Steve Barber — Clayton, CA. — January 6, 2007 7:03pm ET
Rick Kirgan — Mexico — January 7, 2007 11:44pm ET
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