Chances are you live a stone’s throw away from a Thai restaurant in your neighborhood, and you’ve got a go-to local favorite for pad thai. These days I often find myself traveling north of Berkeley, where there’s quite a few wonderful Thai eateries clustered in Albany, El Cerrito and San Pablo locales.
Cyrus Musiker is the Evening News Anchor at KQED Public Radio. But he also worked for a decade in the wine industry in Massachusetts, New York City, San Francisco, and Napa Valley.
Cyrus sold wine retail and wholesale in New York, supplying Roederer Crystal and French Burgundies to celebrities in the Hamptons who didn’t appreciate how good they had it.
He moved west in 1978, and worked as a cellar rat shoveling pomace, and pumping over for some of Napa’s best winemakers. He also did public relations and wine tours at Robert Mondavi Winery in Oakville.
Cyrus has traveled and tasted through Champagne, Burgundy, Beaujolais, and the Rhone Valley, and up, down, and sideways in California’s great wine regions. His one great regret in life is not buying land in Yountville when he lived there in the late 1970’s, when vineyards were “just $15,000/acre.”
Cy’s most memorable wines—a 1904 Lafite Rothschild at a Heublein tasting in Boston in the late 70’s, a Nuits St. George “Les St. Georges” 1953 with Henri Gouges in his cellar in the Cotes De Nuits.
Cyrus Musiker's Latest Posts
Host Cy Musiker talks with chef Roland Passot, owner of La Folie about the mark Rene Verdon made on the American culinary scene.
Wine on tap is sweeping into restaurants and bars around the Bay Area. It’s greener than bottles, and cheaper. And the wine always tastes fresh. Most restaurants pour their wine-by-the-glass selections out of bottles that sit for days, often long after the contents inside have staled. But restaurants with tap systems use an inert gas like argon or nitrogen to push the wine through the lines. That gas also protects the wine for weeks against oxidation.
In my last post I wrote about the Bay Area’s diverse selection of brick and mortar wine shops. This time, I’m covering online retailers. I’ve also been building up a surplus of tasting notes since I last posted. I will share the most interesting set which comes from a recent tasting I did with Napa Valley’s Tom Eddy.
Zinfandel wines leave their mark on you. As I strolled out of Fort Mason’s Hearst Pavilion Saturday earlier this month, I looked down and noticed my fingers were stained purple. I had tasted more than 30 wines over the course of two hours at the 18th annual Grand Zinfandel Tasting thrown by ZAP, Zinfandel Advocates and Producers. The next day, my index finger still bore the mark of Zinfandel. People love this grape because it possesses that kind of indelible power, joyfully married to flavors of raspberry, chocolate, and spice.
One way winery owners get good press is to invite writers to join them for lavish meals at chic restaurants, and then pour, pour, pour their newest, oldest, and best bottles.
It’s hard to stay objective as the candles glow, and the wines and good food have their effect, and we wine writers struggle to keep our asbestos firewalls intact to protect our editorial integrity.
That’s my full disclosure for this posting, because I’m writing about tasting wines from Rocca Family Vineyards, with owners Mary Rocca and Eric Grigsby, and their winemaker Paul Colantuoni at Fleur de Lys restaurant in San Francisco.
I’m inaugurating a wine blog today on Bay Area Bites. It’s a labor of love for me. I worked for a decade in the wine trade in the seventies and eighties, in New York City, San Francisco, and the Napa Valley. I’ve kept a toehold in the industry since then, while working as a news editor, reporter and anchor at KQED Public Radio. I still get a thrill from tasting great wine, or decent wine that’s a great value; and my cup runneth over with suggestions. People look at me strangely (“Is this nut coming on to me?”) when I make recommendations in the liquor aisle at Safeway. So this blog will provide a more acceptable outlet for my tasting notes. I’ll try to avoid numbers, and talk about how these wines behave on the lunch or dinner table, where they belong. I did a bubbly tasting not long ago; and with New Year Eve upon us, I wanted to share my thoughts, and those of my guests, on what we liked.