I am a wine enthusiast with a thousand-plus bottle collection, and belong to two wine tasting groups that meet regularly. I frequently visit wine regions in California and Europe, and partake in the rich San Francisco Bay Area dining scene with its unique wines. Napa was my first taste of the world of fine wines, when I was a neurosurgery resident at UCSF in the late 1980s. I now sample eight hundred to a thousand labels a year, and have been blogging about wine since 2006.

As I explore the ever-expanding wine universe, I make it a point to share my discoveries and express my opinions, primarily through my wine blog, although occasionally some of the characters in my books also chime in. You’ll find all of my wine blogs through this portal. Please don’t hesitate to chime in as well.

MODERN MERLOT; TIME TO LEAVE MILES BEHIND

At the time California Merlot had fallen into a most dismal state of hateful mediocrity equivalent to today’s Kardashian sisters.

REMOTE AND READY FOR SPOILAGE; A FORAY INTO ANDERSON VALLEY

Napa has planted itself into this unspoiled valley. It will not be long before Goldeneye clones metastasize and swallow up the locals.

THE SMALL WINE SHOP, STILL RELEVANT

Fine Wines of Stockton, a venerable wine shop, just closed down. Its owners George and Gail Heron decided to retire. This left us with only two other small wine vendors, Wine Wizard’s and Mile Wine Company. Wine Wizard’s owner Larry Johansen, also around retirement...

DECANTING DILEMMAS, A PLEASANT SURPRISE

Have you ever been to a fancy restaurant and observed wine stewards ceremoniously decant every red wine ordered by every table? It can be quite a spectacle, akin to the changing of the guard in London, and in many occasions, equally as useless. When to decant and when...

WINERY IN A HOSPITAL; ONLY IN FRANCE

In the historic French city of Strasbourg, a most unusual wine shop resides within a giant public hospital complex. Hospice Strasbourg, a 2000 bed hospital with an associated medical school, has been in continuous operation since 1395. It employs over twenty-three...

ROSÉ RESURGENCE; NO LONGER BELLY-BUTTON FLUFF

     “I have red and I have white,” she said. “What do I need pink for?” My wife was responding to my insistent call for her to try a terrific new rosé from Acquiesce.  When did she become a rosé snubber?I thought. I remembered a time when we put away a lot rosé...

CABERNET FRANC; IS THERE ANY HOPE IN AMERICA?

Someone suggested a Cabernet Franc tasting, domestic versus French. Not again! Over the years I’ve been through a few of these. They have all left me with the same impression: the French maintain the essence of the grape while Americans make a mess of it. Would this...

PAIRING PERCEPTIONS AT SEVEN HILLS

Pairing wine with food is a world onto itself. A recent dinner at Seven Hills, a San Francisco restaurant, allowed me to rediscover some rules I already knew and one I should have known.Located in Russian Hill, Seven Hills is one of those hidden neighborhood gems that...

IS HE A WINE GUY?

“Expensive wine is a weakness we both share,” he said. He took a sip of Chardonnay from a glass he had nursed through fried calamari. I was quite sure it was domestic but I refrained from asking. “Yes,” I replied. “Nowadays my main go-to wines are Chablis Premier Cru...

A TALE OF THREE 99S

Last night, by sheer coincidence three bottles of 1999 French wines appeared in our regular Friday night blind tasting. Together they underscored an important point about aging potential that we keep rediscovering: Bordeaux beats them all, even when it is an...