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California Wine Merchant (1974-), Greg O'Flynn's Wine Bar and Shop in Marina District


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What if I told you there was a wine business that started about 45 years ago, with a wine enthusiast who has developed relationships with all the really good wineries throughout Napa and Sonoma, who has access to some of hardest-to-find or small production (like 150 cases, and he bought them all) wines, with a wine shop and wine bar that you plan to visit for 2 hours and end up staying for 6 hours...?

Greg O'Flynn is now on my list of great wine merchants, and California Wine Merchant is now on my must-visit list of places to drink wine in San Francisco. Greg is an affable guy whose passion is all about wine, and the wine he pours shows it. Full disclosure -- I am now in his wine club, where I will be receiving six special bottles every other month.

I tasted some remarkable wines, but what struck me almost as much was how fastidious Greg and his employees were in keeping the Riedel glasses pristine, or topping off the open bottles with Argon at the end of every night, and the rarity rack where most of us back east don't sip some of these wines. Among others, I enjoyed healthy pours of Robert Biale "Like Father, Like Son," Kistler, Branham Estate zin, L'Angevin (which is a $42 chardonnay, but made by the same winemaker who made the $150 Peter Michael chardonnay.)

Greg is a wonderful fellow and his place is a museum of California (and other areas of the world) wines. In fact, last Thursday night, we also enjoyed a tasting of Italian wines from the Fruili region, and I tasted some first-ever wines for me, like Tokai -- which has to be spelled that way to avoid EU regulations associated with Hungarian Tokay or Tokaji -- and Refosco.

I will return to this establishment every time I set foot in San Francisco.

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On 2/18/2017 at 3:22 PM, Kibbee Nayee said:

Greg is a wonderful fellow and his place is a museum of California (and other areas of the world) wines. In fact, last Thursday night, we also enjoyed a tasting of Italian wines from the Fruili region, and I tasted some first-ever wines for me, like Tokai -- which has to be spelled that way to avoid EU regulations associated with Hungarian Tokay or Tokaji -- and Refosco.

I will return to this establishment every time I set foot in San Francisco.

Some people are really good at laying it on thick (refer to Zingerman's Roadhouse and related circuses), but Mr. O'Flynn seems to come across with an enthusiasm that's so palpable that it's almost childlike. Next time I'm around Marina District, I'm going to make a special effort to come here.

Although California Wine Merchant has been in this location since 2004, it was just around the block for thirty years before that - hence, it makes the list of Oldest Restaurants in the San Francisco Area.

Screenshot 2017-03-04 at 1.53.33 PM.png

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12 minutes ago, DonRocks said:

Some people are really good at laying it on thick (refer to Zingerman's Roadhouse and related circuses), but Mr. O'Flynn seems to come across with an enthusiasm that's so palpable that it's almost childlike. Next time I'm around Marina District, I'm going to make a special effort to come here.

Although California Wine Merchant has been in this location since 2004, it was just around the block for thirty years before that - hence, it makes the list of Oldest Restaurants in the San Francisco Area.

Screenshot 2017-03-04 at 1.53.33 PM.png

When he moved to the current location, he brought with him from the previous location his hand-made wooden racks for the wine on display around the walls -- hand-made, as in he made them himself. He has been in this career since 1973, he said, and over the past 40+ years he really got to know the vineyards and personalities throughout California wine country. He's a real resource.

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The California Wine Merchant 
is Showcasing a Tasting with 
De Martino Wines       
This Monday from 5-8pm 
   
 
Monday
 March 6th
5-8pm
$20 CWM Wine Club
 Members - FREE! 
 
 
Join the CWM Wine Club and receive FREE tastings for all tasting events for you and a friend!!   
 
 
 
De Martino
 
Founded in 1934, the De Martino family has specialized, for four generations, in creating wines that are a faithful reflection of their origin, coming from selected parcels throughout Chile. Wines of great purity, with a sense of place and balance, are a consequence of sustainable agriculture and traditional fermentation techniques. The fourth generation headed by Marco Antonio and Sebastián De Martino, along with their team, continue with their constant search for exciting terroirs same as polishing their house style.
The Gandolini 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile's tiny Maipo Andes appellation is among a handful of world-class wines coming from this area.  We were so impressed with its quality that we included it in our CWM Wine Club selection for Q1 2017.  We will be tasting this wine along with the wines from De Martino.

 
Wines To Be Tasted: 
 
 
De Martino 2016 Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Casablanca, Chile 
 
De Martino 2015 Legado Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo, Chile 
 
De Martino 2014 Gallardia Cinsault, Itata, Chile 
 
De Martino 2013 Alto de Piedras Carmenere (single vineyard) Maipo, Chile 
 
De Martino 2013 Las Cruces 'Old Bush Vines' Malbec, 
Cachapoal Valley, Chile
 
De Martino 2011 Alto Los Toros Syrah, Elqui, Chile 
 
Gandolini 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Maipo Andes, Chile
 
 
 
 
About The California Wine Merchant
  
Don't forget that during the tasting you receive an additional 10-15% off of all wines purchased to go!
If you are unable to attend just call or email
Greg at
or
Greg@Californiawinemerchant.com
 
  
Upcoming Tastings 
 
Capiaux Tasting - April 3rd
 
Branham Tasting - March 27th 
 
  
  
  
  
  
The California Wine Merchant
2113 Chestnut st
San Francisco, California 94123
 
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The California Wine Merchant, 2113 Chestnut st, San Francisco, CA 94123
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I may be gushing a bit too much about this place, but I just got my first wine club shipment. For $200, plus shipping, I received these six bottles.

L'Angevin 2013 Chardonnay "Three Squares" Russian River Valley -- 110 cases produced

Capiaux Cellars 2014 Pinto Noir "Chimera" Russian River Valley -- 1540 cases produced

Branham 2014 Zinfandel Rockpile Sonoma Valley -- 90 cases produced

Vina Gandolini 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon "Las 3 Marias" Maipo Valley Chile -- 300 cases produced, only 140 imported to the U.S.

Eponymous 2012 "McAllister Red" Sonoma Valley -- 620 cases produced

Robert Biale 2013 "Like Father Like Son" Napa Valley -- 325 cases produced

Now, where's that corkscrew!

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A year later and this place continues to represent the wine industry at its best. On Monday we tasted North Valley/Planet Oregon Willamette Valley pinot noir, and they were exceptional.

What more can I say -- Greg knows every winemaker personally, and he knows their stories. He gets wine that we'll never see in Washington DC stores because only 100 cases (or less) were produced. He treats everyone, including me, who he's seen twice in the past year, as an old friend. And he's been doing this for 45 years.

A very pleasant evening of wine tasting ensued, and there will never be a time that I set foot in San Francisco and not visit the California Wine Merchant.

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