Bistro SF Grill Rocks

Hosts Hasim, Seni, and Gino at Bistro SF Grill. San Francisco has recently added a very vivid food destination and we are happy to be part of it with our wines: Bistro SF Grill. This is a gourmet burger restaurant owned and managed by three multi-talented friends hailing from Bosnia-Herzegovina: Hasim, Seni, and Gino. We sometimes jokingly call them the ‘Balkan Trio’. The line-up. In a short couple of months the trio has managed to put their ‘almost famous’ burgers on top of the heap. This is not your ordinary burger joint where the choices are between American or Swiss cheese. At Bistro SF Grill they serve only the finest beef some of it as exotic as Alligator, Buffalo, and Ostrich. Then there is a Lamb Burger and another made from organically fed Kobe beef. I tried most of them and my favorite is the Balkan Burger, made from a mix of lamb and beef with savory spices. Our wines from Balkan countries like Slovenia and Croatia pair beautifully with these burgers. For instance, try the Donkey Dingac or the Bibich Riserva R6 with a Balkan burger and you will agree that the wine will make the flavors jump. The … Continue reading Bistro SF Grill Rocks

Kabaj Tasting at Terroir, NYC

Jean-Michel Morel, proprietor and wine maker at Kabaj. “Taste it with your eyes closed,” says Jean Michel Morel as I swirl his Amfora 2006 in my glass. We are at the Kabaj tasting for trade and press, held Thursday at the restaurant Terroir in Tribeca, NYC. Jean Michel and Kabaj’s sales manager, Tomo Ceh, were there to pour eight wines made in the hills of Goriska Brda hard against Slovenia’s border with Italy. I closed my eyes and tasted the light amber wine in my glass. The aroma was rich, of honey and sweet pollen. The wine was smooth, with ample body and a lactic topnote, like the smell of a great cheese shop, as well as a noticeable oxidation which, with the healthy acidity and slight tannin of the wine, gave its body rigor. Beneath was an elusive floral quality and light smoke. If I hadn’t known this wine was white, with my eyes closed I might have assumed it was a red with a little age on it—and that was Jean Michel’s point. The truth about Amfora. “It’s red wine—only the color is white,” he says. The 2006 is the middle vintage of three white blends he is … Continue reading Kabaj Tasting at Terroir, NYC

Batič & Kabaj visiting NYC, PHX, LA & SF

Jean-Michel and Tomo of Kabaj – Miha Batič. We are pleased to announce the visit of two Slovenian wine makers in California in May: Miha Batič represents a pioneering organic estate in Vipava Valley. Jean-Michel Morel and Tomo Čeh come from Kabaj in Goriška Brda. Kabaj is reknowned for their unique Amphora and long maceration wines. Meet them at one of the many events we are planning. You can read the full schedule on the new community site Slovenes in USA. Please welcome Jean Michel of Kabaj when he makes his 1st step into an American Wine Bar: Terroir NY Tribeca, Thursday, May 12, 1-4pm. Jean will pour a selection of his finest wines for trade & media. R.S.V.P. required. On his trip from New York to Los Angeles Kabaj will meet and work with two James Beard Award nominees: The first is Chairman Paul Grieco of Terroir NY who was nominated for Excellence in Wine Service. We are very happy that Paul graciously agreed to host Kabaj for his first ever tasting in the United States at his renowned wine bar in Tribeca. The trade mark logo of Terroir NY. It is an honor that the first wine dinner … Continue reading Batič & Kabaj visiting NYC, PHX, LA & SF

The New Wave of Blue Danube Wines

The long run of the Danube River from the Black Forest to the Black Sea. It is with pride and pleasure that we invite the trade and media to join us at our special upcoming tasting events. We will be introducing the latest arrivals from Hungary and Croatia. Our hosts, A Cote, Da Flora and Mignon, will be serving appetizers inspired from their travels along the road from Budapest to Venice. This is our best selection from Hungary ever and the U.S. Premiere of most of the wines: * First organic vintage of the popular Pfneiszl Kekfrankos. * First U.S. showing of the fiery Kadarka from up-and-coming estate Eszterbauer. * Vylyan’s Pinot Noir, considered the best Hungarian PN to date (Caroline Gilby MW). * New vintages from red wine super star Attila Gere: Portugieser, KOPAR, SOLUS. * Sweet and dry premium Tokaji wines from top estate Patricius. * First arrival of beautiful Tokaji wines by artisanal wine maker Judit Bott as featured in the recent NY Times article on Tokaj–Hidden in Hungary,Treasures on the Vine. From Croatia we will introduce our first red Teran, delve deep into the story of Malvasia and share super premium wines from one of the … Continue reading The New Wave of Blue Danube Wines

LOU on Vine: Gastronomic Culture both Foreign and Domestic

Lou loves 3 Liter Batič. One of our early supporters, Lou Amdur of LOU on Vine has always been one of my favorite people to work with. His love of wine and food extends far beyond his sensitive nose, palate. Tasting with Lou is more history, science, farming and people than strawberries and tannins. As a space LOU is intimate, slightly psychedelic and smells good, it attracts a whole host of interesting food and wine affiliated individuals oftentimes to dine and sometimes to host events. Coincidentally “A Feast for Ed Behr” editor of “The Art of Eating” was to be held the same day as our follow up tasting of all of the Croatian samples from our trip this summer with our partners Empty Glass. All of us really wanted to go to the Ed Behr dinner; the guy is kind of a legend. Thankfully Lou offered to let us hold the tasting there before hand so that we could. In 3 hours we tasted 60 wines that ranged from international varietals produced in a global style to obscurities like the white grape Gegic. Lou tasted most everything and at the same time readied the restaurant for the dinner, wrote … Continue reading LOU on Vine: Gastronomic Culture both Foreign and Domestic

Tasting event at Seasons

Mike Dunne’s Blog: A Year in Wine. Our friend Tamas Torok recently hosted an extended sit-down tasting at his restaurant Seasons in Davis, CA. We designed a flight showcasing Hungary’s best white, red, and sweet wines. Well known wine connoisseur Darrell Corti of Corti Brothers in Sacramento attended together with Mike Dunne, the Sacramento Bee’s former wine and food editor. Read Mike’s article From Hungary, Diversity and Quality. The stars of the tasting were Tokaj’s classic grapes: Furmint, Harslevelu, Yellow Muscat from Patricius and Zoltan Demeter in their dry & Aszu styles. Medium bodied reds made from native grapes paired well with home-made Hungarian food: Gere Portugieser and Pfneiszl Kekfrankos.

Experiencing Texture and Flavor at BREADBAR

BREADBAR Hatchi Series features two Blue Danube Wines The BREADBAR Hatchi Series Wine Dinner event was packed! There was literally a “club line” at the reception stand that was about 30 people deep. To see so many people at a mall for an 8 course meal was both surreal and welcoming. BREADBAR Century City regularly hosts a series of dinners that feature guest chefs and sommeliers. This evening, the dinner was managed and featured Chef Michael Voltaggio, the Chef de Cuisine at The Dining Room At The Langham, and a Bravo TV 2009 “Top Chef Las Vegas” Contestant. The beverages were managed by David Haskell, formerly of Bin 8945 Wine Bar. Chef Michael Voltaggio.Photo courtesy of LA.Eater.com David included two of of Blue Danube Wine Company’s Croatian wines in his varied and textural selection. Take a look at the menu pictured above and the food pictured below. From bubbles to beer, to Sherry to Croatia, the libations that David selected reinforced the whole texture and flavor theme. An audible favorite of the night was the Japanese tomato tartare and 2006 Križevci Winery Graševina. This wine works so well with higher acid vegetable dishes containing plenty of fresh herbs. Here, the … Continue reading Experiencing Texture and Flavor at BREADBAR

Albona: San Franciscos Istrian Restaurant

The potato gnocchi, which are a good deal different that what you might be used to. When it comes to Italian restaurants in San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood, the choices are nearly endless. When it comes to Italian restaurants in the area that are actually good, the list tightens up a great deal. So enters Albona, which is best described as the Italian restaurant in North Beach that is pretty much not Italian nor in North Beach. A simpler way to say that is to call it an Istrian restaurant. The menu Istria is a peninsula that sticks off the far western corner of Croatia. This wasn’t always the case as the region has been under flags of Venice, Italy, and even France for a spell. This is reflected in the cuisine a great deal. While it’s easy to call it “Italian-esque” and leave it at that, this would do a heavy disservice to what makes the food unique. It’s a crossroads of Central European, Mediterranean, and Slavic foods and you taste that with every bite. Take for instance the strudel. Yes, that’s right, a strudel. Try and find that on an Italian menu! This dish which is oft considered … Continue reading Albona: San Franciscos Istrian Restaurant

Croatian Cuisine & Wines at Del Monte

Del Monte Restaurant is in Sunnyvale, CA Since coming back from our trip to Southeastern Europe last summer, we haven’t had the chance to eat any dishes from the region as San Francisco is lacking in restaurants specializing in Balkan cuisine. Fortunately, for all of us Ćevapčići lovers in the Bay Area there is Del Monte Restaurant in downtown Sunnyvale, on Murphy Avenue. Del Monte, in spite of the name, is a 100% Croatian family business: Mate Slade, the head of the family, usually can be found in the kitchen doing what he loves best, while his wife Dragica can be found in the restaurant greeting the guests who all seem to know her, alongside her son who serves the tables. The interior of Del Monte Originally from Dubrovnik, they came to California some 25 years ago by way of Louisiana, New Orleans and Washington D.C. We recently had dinner for the first time at Delmonte with some relatives, and so we got to try almost everything in their menu. Although the decor is lacking in sophistication, it has a Croatian feel to it as well as a family atmosphere that we enjoyed together with the big plates of food. … Continue reading Croatian Cuisine & Wines at Del Monte

Austrian Wine Dinner at Café Venezia

Café Venezia’s main dining area Last Thursday on November 8th, Blue Danube Wines supplied the wines for an Austrian Wine dinner at Café Venezia in Berkeley. It was a great opportunity for those not yet familiar with Austrian cuisine, to taste it while sipping some of the finest wines of that country. Cooking in action. Café Venezia is a nice, spacious restaurant on University Avenue that sits pleasantly far enough away from the student buzz of UC Berkeley, yet close enough to the town center to be very much a part of Berkeley. With high windows that look out to the street, you’re beckoned in to a warm interior that is held up by a wonderfully friendly wait staff. The interior picks up on the restaurant’s namesake with kitsch murals and a clothesline of laundry, while at the same time allows one to sit down, have a good meal, and feel pleasantly at home. The four course dinner started with a tasty charcuterie plate of typical Austrian meats and cheese, paired with a new release of Grüner Veltliner from Schmelz winery. Grüner Veltliner, which accounts for over a third of Austria’s vineyards, is one of the country’s most famous varietals, … Continue reading Austrian Wine Dinner at Café Venezia