I moseyed into Mission Wines yesterday, seeking respite both from the 95 degree-plus weather and the drudgery of life.
But with what wine could I seek respite?
I am a big lover of reds–during warmer weather I am apt to go for lighter reds, such as beaujolais, or, lacking anything suitable, to mix one- or two-day-old red wine with good Korean cider (such as Chilsung Cider, which is cleaner and lighter than, say, Sprite, with a pleasant touch of strawberry). This 60-40 blend of red wine and cider, served over ice, is delicious and a great way to beat the heat and dispose of wine that is past its prime.
I didn’t have any old red wine on hand: I was fresh out, in fact, and looking for something quick, cheap, and refreshing. A long, tapered green bottle caught my eye: the 2007 vinho verde branco adamado from the Adega Cooperativa de Ponte de Lima (whew!).
This vinho verde is a mix of different white varietals, including the obscure loureiro, trajadura, and pederna grapes. This vinho verde is great: very light body with high acidity, mouth-puckering tartness approximating green apples and citrus, low to medium sweetness, and a pleasant effervescence caused by the addition of carbon dioxide before bottling. (Thanks to tvinoronquillo at http://www.cellertracker.com for this picture!)
I love Berkeley.
Actually, let me qualify that statement a bit: I have a love-hate relationship with Berkeley. But, as they say, “absence makes the heart grow fonder.” So, being at home now for nearly a year and five months, working at LegalZoom.com, I love Berkeley now more than I hate it.
One of the great things about Berkeley is the abundance of absolutely wonderful food and drink. There is a culture of organic produce, slow cooking, artisanal craftsmanship, and good living.
There are a lot of wine shops in Berkeley or in the surrounding areas. Kermit Lynch is the one everybody knows about–he imports all those small French producers and sells them retail at his store on San Pablo. Then there are Vino! locations everywhere–one on College in Oakland, another on Solano, one off of Fourth Street in Berkeley, another in San Francisco. The Andronico’s market on North Shattuck (accessible on the 7 or 9 buses, for you college kids!) is also surprisingly good.
I want to focus on “A Wine Store for the People”–Vintage Berkeley, which is appropriately on Vine Street near the original Peet’s Coffee:
(My apologies for blatantly ripping off this picture from the Vintage Berkeley webpage!)
The store itself is housed in a former water pumping station, which makes entering the place a whimsical experience (if only there were special pipes that carried wine instead of water… try taking a bath in that, eh?).