I was stoked. The San Diego legendary singer/songwriter Steve Poltz was coming to San Francisco to play a show. Sweet! While I was exceptionally excited for the music, I generally wasn’t too excited on the alcohol selection, let alone at this venue.
Poltz was scheduled to play at the Great American Music Hall in San Francisco, a venue I had never been to prior. To further quell the alcohol excitement, the venue is located at the edge of the tenderloin, a gritty, dirty area of San Francisco. The neighborhood is not exactly the place where you want to stroll down the streets at night.
Upon stepping into the venue, I almost bit my tongue. If there was ever a jewel in a desert, this is it! Ornate Victorian molding aligned every square inch of ceiling and around the mirrors. In the middle were tables set up for the dining patrons (dinner was sold out when I bought tickets). Maybe there was hope for a good glass of wine after all. Hey, a man can dream.
We grabbed a table along one of the walls and found a drink menu. One of my friends primarily drinks reds so the white were off the list. That’s cool. I figured there was a Mondavi or a Kendall-Jackson, two widely distributed wines that you can find as often as Coor’s Light.
Surprisingly, there wasn’t either. There were only one or two wines from Napa and nearly one from everywhere else: Portugal (non-port), France, Argentina and Sonoma County just to name a few. I was shocked. Portuguese, French?? Where was I? What music venue is this? Am I dreaming?
My two friends settled on a Pinot from the Sonoma Coast. I glanced at the list and noticed it was none other than Fort Ross’ Sea Slopes Pinot Noir. They asked if I had heard of it. Heard of it? I know the winery inside and out, with Fort Ross Winery producing some of my favorite Pinots on the Sonoma Coast.
Fort Ross is located just miles off the Sonoma Coast and it’s one of the few wineries located in the newly minted Fort Ross-Seaview AVA (officially designated an American Viticultural Area in 2012).
After enjoying our first bottle, we decided we weren’t ready to switch varietals and the second bottle was ordered, and enjoyed. Talk about icing on the cake. The entertainment was fantastic and the wine was unparalleled to nearly any other venue I’ve experienced. And to top it off, it’s located in one of the less upscale neighborhoods in San Francisco. Just goes to show, you can’t judge a book by it’s cover, or a music venue by its location. You just never know what wine will be inside waiting for you.