Day of Winetasting
San Francisco Travel Blog› entry 2 of 3 › view all entries
I am a total morning person (much to my friends' chagrin) so I tried to be as quiet as possible while eating breakfast and showering. Luckily Sybil (iheart2travel) got up too so we were able to take a morning walk around the neighborhood. We walked up and down
We had scheduled a private driver to take us to
Our first stop was Gloria Ferrer, which is well known for its sparkling wines and champagne caves. I'm not a huge sparkling wine fan, but it was nice to start the day out slowly. I tried the rose, which was pleasant. The view from the outside patio was serene and lovely, but I wasn't really impressed with the winery itself – there was an air of self importance that didn't seem deserved. Also, they only allowed tastings by the glass – which seemed silly – who can drink that much champagne at ? The accompanying almonds were a good touch – roasted with a touch of paprika smokiness.
Our next stop was my favorite – Viansa – like a lovely Italian villa atop the hill. I had been here a few years ago but this time I was able to appreciate it more – the beautiful fountains, flowers and landscaping. They also have an outdoor pizza oven (but I wasn't able to get pizza since we had lunch plans – sigh). The basic tasting consisted of tastes of 4 wines for $5 – quite a good deal – especially since our guy (Dave) let us taste about 7 wines and then waived the charge at the end. He was very enjoyable and enthusiastic – apparently he is an investment banker who comes out to work at the winery a few days a month for "fun". Cool, huh? Granted, we did buy lots of wine and food afterwards, but he didn't know that (or perhaps he could guess …) … We particularly liked one of the zinfandels so we got some of that … but the true highlight of a visit to Viansa is the amazing gourmet foods – vinegars, olive oils, savory spreads, sweet spreads … it's quite a haven of free samples! I think I ended up with caramel sauce, peach champagne vinegar and a smoked mozzarella spread … I'm sure I got more but can't remember now.
After what seemed like hours in Viansa, we headed to Stag's Leap – another fun tasting with Brian (or was it Ryan?) – anyways, we really liked one of the sauvignon blancs (actually it wasn't part of the normal tasting but he wanted us to try some more) … we also bought some wine here and the tasting fees were waived again. Yeah!
Our next stop was lunch at Auberge du Soleil. Very pretty place but I wasn't that impressed by the food so I'm passing on writing a review. I think people come here for the view from the patio – but it was a nice stop.
As the day was getting late and we had to be back into the city before , we headed back.
For dinner we went to Presidio Social Club (after another uphill battle in trying to hail a cab) - I guess it used to be a social club or gun club for the military folk out in the Presidio – the décor still retained many remnants of the old club. Interesting place, but sort of out of the way, and the food isn't good enough to make it a must-stop for foodies.
After dinner, we lucked out and got a cab based on the waitress's advice. We went to Slide – a dance club.