It’s always nice to go back to your hometown and find that some old haunts are still around. Sometime in the Bush 41 administration, just after I first started working for Wine Spectator, I lived in the Marina District of San Francisco. In the neighboring district of Cow Hollow, my friend directed me to one of her favorite restaurants and bars in the city, an establishment called the Brazen Head. There was just one proviso—there was no name identifying it from the street.
That fact only increased my interest in going there, and when I entered its doors for the first time, I was hooked. The atmosphere was like an English pub, but the food was old San Francisco—steaks and seafood for entrées and escargots or oysters on the half shell for appetizers. It also had a jovial bartender, pretty waitresses and subdued lighting that makes a perfect atmosphere on a foggy night.
On a recent visit to San Francisco, I stopped by the Brazen Head, with my wife, my mother and a friend. It was still the same after lo these many years. I was in the mood for a white, and one of the best buys on the list was the Honig Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2009 at $28 a bottle. The wine was a good match for my escargot appetizer and shrimp scampi, offering ripe tropical aromas and flavors—including pineapple and mango—with notes of glazed citrus and a honeyed finish. I rated it 86 points, non-blind. And if you want to check out the Brazen Head, it is located at the intersection of Greenwich and Buchanan streets. Just don’t expect a sign.
WineSpectator.com members: Read the original blind-tasting review for Honig Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley 2009 (88, $16).
• Plus, get our quick list of Top Values among California Sauvignon Blanc.