Time for May Wine

Summertime Sipping

When the weather heats up like it has for the last few days, it’s time to venture out and try some new wines. There are a several wine-tasting opportunities this week, both near and far, that should provide some very interesting experiences.

Carmenere Grapes

Carmenere Grapes

One of the most reasonably priced regular tastings in the Bay Area is held at the Wine Mine in Oakland’s Temescal District (5427 Telegraph). Wine Mine owner David Sharpe offers tastes of 4-5 different wines every Saturday afternoon and the cost is just $1 to participate.

This week’s tasting lineup features wines from Chile, an up-and-coming wine country that produces some great value-priced offerings from the Carmenere grape.

The atmosphere is friendly, the prices are cut-rate and there’s even a stockpile of toys and books to keep the youngsters occupied while mom or dad shops for wine.  In addition to the $1 winetasting, David will be grilling hot dogs and hamburgers to thank visitors for their patronage over the last two years.

Al Fresco in Oakland

Check out the Franklin Square Wine Bar (2212 Broadway, between Grand and 22nd). They pour more than four dozen wines by the glass and also offer a wine-friendly food menu. Every Thursday, there is a special “al fresco” tasting on the patio for only $1. Red and white wines (mostly chardonnay and pinot noir) from Lioco Winery will be featured this Thursday (May 14). Lioco is a joint venture by Matt Licklider (a wine import specialist) and Kevin O’Connor (who is director of wine at Spago-Beverly Hills).

Made in Mendocino

If you like what you taste from Lioco at Franklin Square, you might also consider a trek to Mendocino County for the 12th annual Anderson Valley Pinot Noir Festival this weekend (May 15-17). Lioco and more than three dozen other regional wineries will be pouring their wines and hosting winemaker dinners for more personalized interaction with the movers and shakers in the California pinot noir community.

Headstart on the Memorial Day Weekend

The Thomas Coyne Winery hosts an open house on May 23-24-25 in Livermore (51 East Vallecitos Road) where visitors can taste dozens of award-winning wines and even get their hands dirty (just a bit) by bottling some of their wine!

Thomas Coyne Winery Map

Thomas Coyne Winery Map

Thomas Coyne, owner and namesake, makes a batch of terrific red table wine  that he sells for $6 a bottle from the tasting room (actually an ancient barn) at his winery. Inside is something Tom calls “Vino Tinto Barato,” a special blend of  Portuguese varietals that makes a tasty addition to any barbecue or casual dining experience. There’s a six-bottle limit for the Vino Tinto Barato, which is only available on Friday, May 23. Get there early because the wine sells out quickly!

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