Wine

American Oak

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I adore brunch. I also adore sleep, and being located in Hayward, I honestly don’t have a lot of brunch options nearby, so I don’t make it out to brunch often. But occasionally, the desires to (a) eat brunch and (b) meet up with friends combine to get me out of bed at a decent hour. By which I mean noon.

I also adore Alameda, and Friend #1 lives on the island, so we chose Alameda for this brunch review. With an equal number of brunch items as brunch cocktails, American Oak seemed promising, though I bypassed the alcohol for coffee. It’s a choice I make more often than I’ve led you to believe.

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American Oak’s coffee set-up is charming, from the hodge-podge mug collection to the cute individual buckets of cream and sugar. I also found the restaurant itself charming, especially the little nooks and crannies to hide in. Friend #2, in contrast, found the wide, open space unnervingly airy—the two-floor establishment with a patio is obviously meant to host a vibrant night life, and this was definitely daytime.

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For me, all the open space meant a brunch spot that doesn’t have an hour-long wait. Walking right in to a table is AMAZING for brunch in the Bay Area. I firmly refuse to complain about that as long as the food is good. Though not having crowds does make one suspicious…

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…though I was thoroughly satisfied with my heirloom tomato and bacon benedict. They had no problem serving it hard-poached, which is more often a problem than you’d think. The hollandaise sauce was thinner than I like but its tang was acceptable, if not memorable. And that may have been the fluffiest english muffin I’ve ever had. I’m not sure where the corn portion of the corn and arugula salad was, however.

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Jim Olsen Fair Angel 2012

Jim Olsen Fair Angel 2012
California

As I wrote last month, I’m advertising NakedWines.Com on my website and testing out how good of a value that $100 off an order is as well as their Angels program. Frankly, I wouldn’t feel comfortable advertising them without trying out the service for myself! So I’m also reviewing their wines as I drink them.

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This red wine blend was one of the few red wines included in my first shipment from NakedWines.Com. The blend is 50% zinfandel, 30% syrah, and 20% carignane, which is the first I’ve heard of that last grape! Thought I’d share that tidbit in case you need a reminder that I’m just a consumer, not a wine educator.

The Fair Angel 2012 reminded me of a fair holiday pudding. Rich, stewed fruits and warming spices but more smoky than a dessert should be. I could imagine a chef making it that way because she hates preparing desserts and just has to experiment with the savory side of cuisine. In other words, the balance was not as smooth as it might have been, but it was still an enjoyable wine.

On the Quini scale, I gave it a 67/100. On my scale, that’s just high enough to earn an

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Here’s the Quini profile:

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And Other Bloggers’ Thoughts:

The Wit is Out

Both the aroma and flavor was dominated by black cherry – a real strong black cherry. It was difficult for me to pick out anything else but the black cherry. However, given enough time I was able to detect a bit of blackberry on the nose, nothing more on the palate though. I had this stand alone and the following day it did seem to have a bit more body and flavor but not much….This wine leaned toward the semi-sweet scale rather than a semi-dry red wine.

Reverse Wine Snob

It opens with aromas of black cherry, a little black pepper, a hint of mint and some pleasant earthy notes. Tasting reveals a medium-bodied wine with more black cherry, a good dose of cola, and hints of anise. The wine is a bit rough around the edges (it reminds me of a good Chianti in that way) but is nevertheless quite tasty and will pair nicely with a wide range of foods. It ends dry and surprisingly long with peppery, oaky spice and more sour black cherry flavors. Highly Recommended!

I drank what?

It shows a bit darker red than a Pinot Noir, but had a similar nose. Rich dark stone fruit, a silky texture, extraordinary clarity and a soft finish fooled me. This blend hits some great high notes and would be a terrific red blend for people usually averse to drier Cabs. A great starter wine that should pair well with food.

Want to purchase Jim Olsen’s 2012 Fair Angel? It’s $25 for non-Angels and $11.00 for Angels right here:

Click me!

But if you want at least 6 bottles anyway, make sure you get your hands on that $100 off voucher by clicking through to NakedWines.Com below:

Receive $100 Off a $160 Order of 6 or More 750ml Bottles of Wine. First Time Customers Only.

Reviewed 28 September 2014.

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Randall Grahm’s Caviste Volant “The Sisters” 2013

Randall Grahm’s Caviste Volant “The Sisters” 2013
Central Coast, CA

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As celebrated winemaker Randall Grahm remarked on the label for the Sisters, it’s a blend of albarino and riesling grapes, two white wine varietals with quite differing profiles. Huffington Post has a great report up on Grahm’s partnership with NakedWines.com, which means this is indeed available for purchase from NakedWines.com here along with a $100 voucher for first-time customer purchases of 6 bottles or more. Best prices go to NakedWines.com’s Angels, which you can sign up to become here, if that’s up your alley—I explained the Angels program and my involvement with it in this previous post.

On to the vino!  The label is endearing, and I readily admit to being a label sucker. So keeping Grahm’s words in mind may have influenced my wine tasting…but it scored a 75/100 from me, regardless. After a buttery ascent, the Sisters dips into grassy New World whites then reaches a riesling plateau. It’s a Small World tour of white wines at the pace of a roller coaster.

My Quini profile:

The Sisters Quini

Worth taking the ride, for sure.

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