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la clarine lineup

Saturday Tasting: LA CLARINE FARM

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SATURDAY, February 17th, 1-4pm
$10 (waived with $100 purchase)

Is there a more consistently exciting domaine in California? I think not. Hank and Caroline are constantly releasing new cuvées that thrill with their dazzling colors, bright aromatics, and downright juicy deliciousness. They are masters at channeling the intense rays of the California sun, crafting wines that are packed with ripe fruit, but never clunky or hard to drink. They are swinging by the shop this Saturday to pour a fresh crop of juice. Don’t miss the chance to throw back a few glasses with Hank and Caroline. They’re the best.

Albariño 2016 $24
Petit Manseng 2016 $32
Rosé Alors 2015 $23
Gar-Ma 2016 $27
Mourvèdre Alto 2016 $27
El Dorado Syrah NV $23



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Saturday, January 27th, 1-4pm
$10 (waived with $100 purchase)

The 3.5 hectare estate of Iole Rabasco is located in the village of Pianella, province of Pescara, in the heart of Abruzzo. The area offers a unique set of meso and micro climates particular to this north-central corner of Abruzzo; the Adriatic is some 40 kilometers away while the base of Gran Sasso flanks the western edge of the Rabasco property. Iole benefits from inheriting her family’s small vineyard and olive grove, both of which have never been treated with chemicals.

The vines across the property, almost all Montepulciano with a couple rows of Trebbiano, are also quite old, 40 years average, and rest at some 450 meters above sea level. Soils are calcareous clay mixed with alluvial sediment and fossil remains. Vines are trained in the traditional tendone style pergola, all worked by hand. Yields are kept low but not excessively low as Iole prefers her wines with more acidity and freshness than power and extract.

Cancelli Bianco $33
Cancelli means gate, and you literally just walk out the front gate of Iole’s house and you are in this vineyard. Bright, fresh-squeezed Trebbiano.

La Salita Bianco $36
Trebbiano from her prized vineyard sight, a steep incline exposed to salty gusts off the Adriatic. Aged in concrete. Powerful and savory.

Damigiana Trebbiano $42
Damigiana is the highest parcel in the Salita vineyard, where Iole’s oldest vines grow. This is macerated for four days, then aged in glass demijohns.

Damigiana Cerasuolo $42
Same story as above. A classic blend of Montepulciano and Trebbiano. Aged in glass demijohns.

Cancelli Rosso $33
Lightly extracted Montepulciano, highlighting that tart spicy quality that makes the grape so damn alluring.

Damigiana Rosso $42
A more serious Montepulciano, from old, naturally low-yielding vines. Aged in glass demijohns.

amagat bottles


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Saturday, January 20th, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines, waived with $100 purchase

We’re excited to introduce the wines of Pierre Danoy to the United States. Pierre runs a small farm in a mountainous region of the Roussillon—just next to his good friend, Tom Lubbe from Domaine Matassa, a perennial shop favorite. Pierre is a wholistic farmer with a broad range of beautiful products, which he hawks at the local farmers market. His figs, olive oil , fruit juices and solera-style vinegar are all highly sought after in the region. But recently, Pierre has increasingly focused on his role as winemaker. He works with Syrah, Grenache, Macabeu and Muscat, planted on a mix of granite and schist. The grapes are treated like his other produce: organically farmed by Pierre and harvested by hand. His cellar is in a garage off the back of his house, which is surrounded by the family farm. It contains 8 small stainless tanks—one tank per cuvée, many of which change every year. The wines are fermented naturally and never see additives or filtration.

Pierre is a farmer from the old school, more interested in diversifying his farm, expanding his holdings and hosting visitors for lazy dinners, than in carousing with the young guns of natty wine. But his wines are irrepressibly jubilant. Drink up.

Le péril jaune $20
Dry muscat from vines planted by Pierre’s father in the 70’s. The vineyard’s steep incline means it is worked entirely by hand. Serious labor of love.

Contre un arbre $20
Lightly macerated Grenache from younger vines. Pierre prefers this pretty, juicy style.

Marche ou crève $20
Grenache from a vineyard with heavier clay, blended with some Syrah. Slightly more dense and extracted, but still juicy and aromatic.

Nature $20
Syrah with a healthy dollop of Grenache, which gives this wine great aromatic lift. Only a few cases of this in the country.

This is the end $20
Late harvest muscat with some residual sugar. He macerated it for a few weeks to give it color and texture. Savage and gourmand.


Saturday Tasting: Jérôme Guichard

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Saturday, January 13th, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines, waived with $100 purchase

Jérôme crafts rich, exuberant, and cellar-worthy white wines from his small patch of vines in a limestone-rich corner of Southeast Burgundy. His spectacular pet-nat notwithstanding, he has little interest in frivolous glou-glou natural winemaking. These are wines for the table, for drinkers with serious appetites. Like his friend Philippe Jambon, Jérôme aims to harness the development of volatile acidity over many years to give lift and complexity to his relatively opulent wines, a once common but long-forgotten style in Burgundy. His Gamays are fermented traditionally, with whole clusters and light pigéage, then racked into old barrels for a year or more. In keeping with the practices of his mentor, Guy Blanchard, Jérôme uses no synthetic treatments in the vineyard and no additives during the winemaking process.

Pet-Nat 2016 $29
Self-explanatory. Glug Glug.

Bouchat 2015 $29
Rich and opulent Chardonnay with a year of élevage, sourced from the eponymous parcel of vines in Montbellet. 

Rapillères 2016 $30
Chardonnay macerated for a month.

Perrières les Vieilles 2015 $49
Jérôme’s oldest vines. Two years of élevage. This was the main patch of vines inherited from Guy Blanchard and sourced for Philippe Jambon’s iconic chardonnays during 2006-2011.

Jus de Chaussette 2016 $29
Fresh and juicy Gamay for the kids.

Noir de Creuse Noire 2016 $49
Heavy duty old-vines Gamay. Valentines Day present for your “big red”-loving boyfriend.



By | Bistro | No Comments

Lost count of the bistros, but I think this is 23 or something. It is going to be freaking good. Kosuke was just up in Mendocino foraging abalone and urchin and octopi. So urchin going to feature BIG. Also guinea fowl–aka pintade–which is a thing of beauty. If you have never had, it’s worth coming to see it prepped by a master.

sea urchin / harissa sabayon / grapefruit
guinea fowl / cabbage / kaffir butter / pomegranate
milk / mandarin / spice

to reserve
or 510-629-3944

keven clancy


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Thursday, December 14th, 6-9pm

Keven Clancy gets really excited about Champagne (see above).  Lucky for him, he imports some of the very best, and is usually well supplied. On Thursday, we are pouring wines from three of his best producers. Come get juiced on the best bubbles. Buy two bottles and the tasting is free.

Jacques Lassaigne “Les Vignes du Montgueux” (Magnum) $108
Jacques Lassaigne “La Colline Inspirée” $82
André Beaufort Polisy Réserve $57
André Beaufort Blanc de Blancs 2010 $85
Ulysse Collin “Les Maillons” $100

fee waived with $100 purchase


Saturday Tasting: CLOS SARON

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Saturday, December 16th, 1-4pm

Before there was Ordinaire, there was a dinner in Gideon Bienstock’s cellar, way up in the middle of nowhere along the Yuba. Nicole and I ate braised rabbit and époisse, and drank Syrah and Pinot Noir from Gideon’s personal stash. To say it was formative would be an understatement. Gideon’s wines have always been the most important wines in California for me. They combine the ethics and practices of natural wine with the firm stylistic convictions of a true auteur, unfazed by trends or market demands. From the beginning, we have carried all of Gideon’s wines, and have been fortunate to share them with many of you. This Saturday, we are thrilled to welcome him to the shop for a rare tasting. They are perfect wines for winter: dark, spicy, uplifting and grounding all at once. We will pour six wines for $15. As always, the fee is waived with a $100 purchase.

Carte Blanche 2015 $40
Texas Hill Road Pinot Noir 2011 $65
Old Man Reserve Syrah 2006 $75
Clos Saron Stone Soup 2012 $75
The Pleasant Peasant 2015 $40
Kind of Blue 2013 $40


HOLIDAY BISTRO this Wednesday

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Kosuke has to leave town a bit early for the holidays, so we have switched Monday bistro to THIS WEDNESDAY. We’ve had lots of people asking us to do a pop-up any day except Monday, so hopefully you all can make it this week! Go Christmas shopping, and then come slam a veal chop with a bottle of champagne. It’s the last bistro for little while.

smoked herring / turnip / verbena
veal rib chop / guava / burdock
persimmon / caramel / saffron

to reserve
or call 510-629-3944
anton and james


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Saturday, December 9, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines
fee waived with $100 purchase

Earlier this year, James and Anton tore through the Bay like a cyclone.  like a Yeats poem. like an acid trip. Now that everyone has just barely recovered, their new wines have arrived. They are more psychedelic than ever, pushing the envelope of Oceanic wine like a grom pushing into a slab at Shipsterns. Sorry for all the similes.  These wines are hard to describe. See below for the lineup, with notes from James and Anton.

Lucy M Frizzante $33
100% pinot noir picked early, pressed in open fermentors. It is not disgorged.

Lucy M Wildman Blanc $37
Whole bunch sauvignon blanc stood on occasionally and left to sit for 6 weeks. Pressed into ceramic eggs to age. 

Lucy M Catastrophe Pinot Blend $33
This wine is an assemblage in homage to my cellar hand Christof, a cheesemaker from the Jura. It’s a blend of Pinot, some Merlot, and some Chardonnay that developed a bit of flor.

Jauma Pet Nat $36
We’ve been working on our Pet Nat since 2013, now it’s time to unleash our light and pretty Grenache bubbles. Imagine all the aromatics of Mclaren Vale Grenache squeezed into a water bomb exploding in your face…Boom. Yep, she’s fun.

Jauma Chenin $41
Originally planted for white port-style wines, this is a little drop of historical gold in the McLaren Vale. These vines were planted in the 1940s, vines in white beach sand interspersed with schist and quartz..

Jauma Cabernet Franc $41
The red sandy soil on the Seaview ridge overlooks McLaren Vale and the South Coast beaches. I’m finally coming to grips with the fact that McLaren Vale can produce amazing Cabernet Franc. Electric purple in the glass, this wine sings with powerful raciness, black berries and briary spice.




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THURSDAY, December 7th, 6-9pm
$20, fee waived with $100 purchase

Bénédicte Leroy’s parents were sheep farmers who settled in Champagne in 1975. In the 1980s they planted some grapes and started selling to the cooperative. Little by little, they created a domaine which today is four hectares, not including the garden and small pasture they kept for their own animals. In 2009, Bénédicte took over the domaine. She converted to organics and started bottling her own wine. The family’s commitment to simplicity led them to make wine completely without additives. They are now the only domaine in Champagne that bottles all of their wines without additions: no sugar and no sulfur. Needless to say, we are obsessed. We commence the flight with a lovely Blanc de Noirs from Piollot: organically farmed and no sugar added. It’s our go-to champagne for holiday parties, luxurious brunches, and impromptu sabering.

Champagne Piollot Come de Tallants $45
100% Pinot Noir. Grown on a single-acre parcel on a hill with direct southern exposure. Organic farming. 5000 bottles produced.

Champagne Ruppert-Leroy 11, 12, 13 $63
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The first non-vintage cuvée, it is a solera-style blend of reserve wines from 2011, 2012, and (you guessed it) 2013. Saline grapefruit and a bit more evolved flavors from the reserve wines.

Champagne Ruppert-Leroy Fosse-Grely $70
50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay from red clay soils. The richest cuvée of 2013, combining zesty citrus and lime curd to make a well-balanced, powerful Champagne. 2300 bottles produced

Champagne Ruppert-Leroy Les Cognaux $72
100% Pinot Noir from gray clay soils. Bursting with almond blossom and fresh cream flavors, aromatic and fresh on the palate. 2600 bottles produced.

Champagne Ruppert-Leroy Martin Fontaine $78
100% Chardonnay from white limestone soils. Exotic citrus flavors backed up by mid-palate richness. 3000 bottles produced.

kosuke rectangle


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Monday, November 20, 2017
$42 for three courses

Duck magret is pretty much my favorite thing to eat in the fall. Paired with an earthy and fresh Syrah, or an ethereal Pinot Noir, it is an incomparable, transcendent dish. Since Kosuke is a master with duck, I asked him to put it on this very special bistro menu. I plan to vicariously enjoy it through all of you. So send me some photos.

mussels / piment d’espelette / buddha hand / yuzu

hudson valley duck magret / fermented mushroom jus / brown butter / cranberry

parsnip / caramel / buttermilk

to reserve
or call 510/629-3944

Plageoles offer 30032015

Saturday Tasting with ROMAIN PLAGEOLES

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Saturday, November 18th, 1-4pm

We are stoked to have our friend Roman Plageoles pouring his wines this coming Saturday. His grandfather Robert started the domaine, focusing on bringing back the lost indigenous varieties of Gaillac, often exploring the forest to find wild vines, and then going to seed banks to resurrect these grapes. Pretty cool. Robert’s son Bernard continued this work, and now his sons Florent and Romain have taken up the cause of natural wines in Gaillac. The wines are super fun to drink; they combine the warmth and elegance of Bordeaux with a rustic freshness that can only come from these heritage grapes.

jack and johanna

Saturday Tasting: KEEP WINES

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Saturday, November 11th, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines
fee waived with $100 purchase

Keep Wines first started floating about the shop two years ago. A case or two would show up like a surprise and then leave just as quickly. An Albariño full of vivacious spritz, a Syrah with a savory density–the wines were no longer on the shelves, but their memory lingered all year. Johanna and Jack Roberts have slowly grown their winery while working demanding day jobs at places like Broc, Scholium and Matthiasson. Those experiences show in the wines, which combine lovely restraint and poise with lush California fruit.  Now with a bit more wine to go around, we are thrilled to host them at the shop this Saturday. We will pour all of their new wines.

2016 Picpoul/Grenache Blanc 22
2014 Albarino 28
2016 Counoise 28
2016 Carignane 38
2014 Syrah 38

$10 fee waived with a $100 purchase.

alison roman 8x12


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We are excited to host Alison Roman this Thursday, who will be cooking some recipes from her new cookbook Dining In. Come grab a light dinner, drink some juice, meet Alison, and get your book signed.  Menu looking fire, so bring some friends and get one (or two) of everything! Reservations accepted for parties of 5 or more. Email

Persimmons and Pears with Blue Cheese and Aleppo Pecans 10
Radicchio with Anchovy Breadcrumbs and Egg Yolk 9
Seedy Roasted Carrots with Labne and Spicy Greens 10
Squid with the Last of the Tomatoes and Garlicky White Beans 14
Oil Roasted Sardines with Pickled Onions, Aioli and Toast 14
Salted Butter Chocolate Chunk Shortbread 8

morel in the vines


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Saturday, November 4th, 1-4pm

This month’s selections remind me, once again, that the wine club is pretty amazing. Come by Saturday and check out four new wines. If you join, the tasting is free for you and a friend.


Louis-Antoine Luyt, Pipeño Santa Juana 2016

Though a native of Burgundy, Louis-Antonie Luyt has become the leading figure in the fight for independent, terroir-driven winemaking in Chile. In a country dominated by massive corporate wine production, L.A. has taken the opposite course: seeking out independent farmers, insisting on dry farming, horse plowing, organic viticulture and native yeast/no intervention winemaking. L.A.’s oldest vines have roots dating back to 1660.  These vines are of the Pais variety, a clonal variation of Listan Negro, which was brought over from the Canary Islands by Spanish Missionaries. The vineyards in Chile do not suffer downy mildew nor phylloxera, and thus the roots live for centuries. Despite their impressive age, L.A. is committed to using these vines to make traditional, thirst-quenching wine, called “Pipeño.” He has formed relationships with tiny farmers throughout Chile, all of whom make their wines the old-fashioned way: hand picked, manually destemmed using a thatched zaranda, and then fermented and aged in huge wooden tanks called lagar. He helps each farmer make their wine in the cellar, then pays them well before bottling and shipping the wines all over the world. -Bradford

The Santa Juana vineyard is in the Bió Bió valley, right in the middle of the country, where Luis Burgos and his wife Sara tend vines that are close to 300 years old—which is just insane. The steep vineyards are composed of red clay over gravel and flint, which combined with a wet cool climate, results in a racy and fresh expression of Pais. It calls out for warm, comforting food. A basket of empanadas comes to mind. Or, of course, a Thanksgiving feast. Put a chilled liter of this on the table and be everyone’s favorite cousin. -Bradford

Laurent Cazottes, Champêtre Blanc 2016

Laurent is well-known for making the world’s greatest fruit distillates. This is not hyperbole. Go to any Michelin three-star restaurant and you will see his liquors lining the menus. If you get a chance to buy a bottle, do it! They are amazing. His green tomato liqueur is mind-altering.

Laurent also makes a small amount of wine, which is what we get really excited about. Unlike most winemakers we work with, his grape vineyards represent just a tiny fraction of his overall production, and are therefore treated in the same way as his apricots, peaches, almonds, tomatoes and the many other products from his polycultural farm. For me, this results in a direct, unmediated rusticity, stripped of the fetishes that so easily accumulate around the “wine.” These wines have a fresh crunch that conjure up the actual grapes you might see for sale at the Lake Merritt famers market—wine is just grapes after all! Laurent’s passion for the local fruits and vegetables of his native Gaillac translates into his decision to work with local grape varieties, such as Mauzac, which composes this cuvée. The wine is made simply: organic fruit is pressed into tank, fermented naturally, and then bottled with a tiny bit of sulfites. The result is fresh and floral white wine that smells like fleur d’orange and tastes like just-ripe peaches and pears. Again, a perfect wine for autumn. Put it on your Thanksgiving table; or, if you are feeling irreverent, braise your turkey legs in some yellow curry and serve this bottle alongside. That would be tasty. -Bradford


Côte de Cailloux Blanc 2016

The first time I visited Jacques of Côte de Cailloux, it was like I had entered another universe. We were on our monthly field trip about a year ago, and after tasting deep, beautiful reds with Tony Coturri, as well as some brighter, elegant but still rich wines with Nic Coturri (Sonoma Mountain Winery), I was feeling a bit loopy. Nic took us on an unexpected excursion to visit Jacques, whom Nic had been working with. Matthieu lives on a beautiful estate, in a house at the top of a hill overlooking his endless home vineyard. The sun was setting, Matthieu’s unreasonably tall and handsome son Cody poured for us and served us snacks, and Matthieu tasted us through eight vintages of gorgeous Rhône blends. I’d never had a tasting experience that felt so homey while still having such intention. On another visit last month, after beating us all at pétanque despite being sick, he took us on a tour of a new house he’s building on his property (his current house will become his winery). He’s also an architect, and inspired by Medina and Mont Saint-Michel, he positioned all the windows in the home so that there is no view of any other man-made structure. This is the California dream—living on one’s own terms, out on the frontier. 

Matthieu grows all Rhône varieties (Grenache, Syrah, Marsanne, etc.), making true California wine: rich, deep and well-structured, perfect reflections of the climate. Quentin describes the Blanc as “shiny and crystalline, like pear captured in lactic crystal.” This wine would be fantastic with whole trout, farro and herbs, or with pork butt and grilled peaches. -Kara

Valentin Morel Poulsard 2016

Situated between Burgundy and Switzerland, the Jura is a hilly, cool-climate region which was a major part of my personal conversion to natty wine. This region produces structured, often rich but saline and elegant whites, and reds that are fresh, pale, juicy and floral—when served chilled, they remind me of childhood autumn afternoons crunching leaves in Central Park. The wines produced here are the inverse of the conventional wines I was used to drinking, and are a great example of how a specific terroir can really make a wine.

Valentin Morel’s father and grandfather planted 10 hectares of vineyards in 1978. They sold grapes to the local coop until 1985, when they began bottling their own wines. Valentin’s father, Jean-Luc, had been involved with the local “Confederation Paysan” for some time, and with influence from the organization, stopped using herbicides in the vineyard in 1999. After earning a Master’s in international law, Valentin was taken by the work of biodynamic icon Rudolf Steiner and decided he would rather make wine. Valentin studied winemaking in Alsace, and was influenced by the likes of shop favorite Bruno Schueller. Valentin joined his family domain in 2014. Les Trouillots is Poulsard from 35-year-old vines. Hand harvested and fermented in steel tank with a 15-day maceration. This wine benefits from air—decant it and let it hang for a bit to open up before drinking. Fabulous wine to bring lightness to Thanksgiving dinner. -Kara


nouveau 4x6 with food


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Friday, November 17th, 6pm-late

For the second year, Quentin has coordinated with 23 West Coast winemakers, asking them to bottle a small amount of their 2017 juice for Ordinaire’s West Coast Nouveau party. All the wines have been so far untouched (no filtration, no additions, etc.), offering the first vivid snapshot of the 2017 vintage, in all of its raw glory. Most of the wines will only be available to drink this one night. It’s a great chance to celebrate the end of a very difficult harvest, and to meet the winemakers that persevered through it.

Come thirsty and hungry. It’s the party of the year. PLUS Chris Kronner will be slinging Kronnerburgers and other surprises.

j.brix wines cropped

Saturday Tasting: J.Brix

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Saturday, October 28, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines
fee waived with $100 purchase

Jody Brix Towe and Emily Towe are a husband-and-wife winemaking duo hailing from San Diego. Despite being often overlooked on the wine map of California, San Diego has a tight community of like-minded wineries to which J. Brix is central. Jody and Emily like to highlight Southern California’s emerging potential, sourcing fruit from San Luis Obispo, San Diego County, as well as tapping into some of the unique and established growing sites of Santa Barbara. They ferment the wines naturally and add little or no sulfur, with total amounts often under 10ppm (a rarity in California). All wines are made in tiny tiny quantities. We get a small amount each year, and are excited to pour them for you.

Riesling “Augur” Kick on Ranch, S. Barbara 2016 $24
A perennial favorite at the shop, this Riesling is bone dry, and kicking with acidity. It’s what I think of when I think of California Riesling. “Wake Up” Wine.

Chardonnay “Limestone + Schist,” Rorick Heritage Vineyard, Calaveras 2016 $28
Jody and Emily were lucky enough to score some fruit from Matthew Rorick’s vineyard in Gold Country. After losing the fruit to frost for two years, they managed two barrels of this Chardonnay in 2016. Stunning, untouched juice from one of California’s prized sites.

Pinot Noir “Audire” Kick on Ranch, S. Barbara 2016 $32
The dark, spicy aspects of this Pinot bely its 12.7% alcohol. From the sandy soils of Kick On Ranch, this is fermented with native yeasts, then aged for one year in old French barrels.

Hornswoggle “Stay in Bed” Red 2016 $27
Cinsault, Carignan and Syrah sourced from sustainable vineyards. This is their table wine, made for drinking with your family at Thanksgiving. Juicy and Natty.

Syrah “La Belle Reveuse” S. Maria 2016 $29
After losing their Syrah vines to drought, Jody and Emily shuffled and found some more superb Syrah vines in an adjacent corner of this vineyard. Always my favorite wine from these two: savory, spicy and fresh. Enjoy.



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MONDAY, OCTOBER 16th, 6pm-late

La Buvette is my favorite little wine bar in Paris. It’s the size of a shoebox, and every beautiful detail is meticulously curated by the incomparable Camille Fourmont. Behind her tiny standing bar, Camille runs an informal salon, welcoming roving natty wine lovers, industry locals, and international jet-setters. When in Paris, I visit the Queen of the 11th arrondissement almost daily for aperitif—to snack on her simply prepared tapas, sip on an unfamiliar wine, and gossip about the wine scene.

On Monday, she will bring La Buvette to Ordinaire. I happen to be in town as well, so I’ll be helping her out behind the bar.  We will serve La Buvette classics: burrata with raspberry powder, pickled eggs, chèvre with fresh fruit, and the famous terrine de foies de volaille (recreated by our own Kosuke). Come by and say hello. No reservations necessary. It will be great to see you all.

Screen Shot 2017-10-11 at 2.19.35 PM


By | Tasting | No Comments

$10 for 6 wines
fee waived with $100 purchase

Nadia was one of the first people I met after opening Ordinaire. She has an infectious energy that expresses itself in huge smiles, enthusiastic drinking and impromptu flamenco dancing. She just started Floraison Selections, which now represents most of the growers formerly connected to Joli Vin, where Nadia worked for a number of years. It’s exciting to see Nadia–whose taste has always struck me as both uniquely independent and prescient–in full control of her own import company. We are thrilled to host one of her first public tastings. To celebrate, we are pouring really, really good wines.

Domaine de Sulauze “Galinette Blanc” 2016 $21

Domaine de la Tournelle “Fleur de Savagnin” 2014 $36

Domaine de l’Ecu “Muse” Rose $21

Julien Sunier Beaujolais-Village “Wild Soul” 2016   $26

Domaine Rimbert “Cousin Oscar” VDF $15

Domaine de la Tour Grise Chenin Noir 2014 $21

fee waived with $100 purchase



By | Bistro | No Comments

The menu for Monday, October 2nd, is $42 for three courses. It’s a particularly generous menu this week.

beef tartare / smoked avocado / anchovy

pork belly confit / sansyo peppar / cauliflower

caramel four ways

to reserve, email, or call 510-629-3944.





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Saturday, September 30th, 1-5pm
$10 to taste six wines
All proceeds from tasting and bottle sales will be donated

Our friends in Mexico need some help. So happens we had planned a tasting with Bichi for this coming SaturdayBichi is located in Tecate, Baja, where Noel Tellez crafts pure, rich, sun-kissed beauties that make you feel alive.

All tasting fees and bottle sales will go directly to Brigada de Rescate Topos Tlaltelolco, a search and rescue team that we trust. They do amazing work, which you can read about here.

If you have been waiting to try the Bichi wines, this is a perfect time to buy them: you will also be supporting a country that brings so much beauty to our world.

Pét Mex 2016 $28

Santa 2016 $25

Listan 2016 $25

Místico 2016 $28

Flama 2016 $28

No Sapiens 2016 $28



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SATURDAY, September 23rd, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines
fee waived with $100 purchase

As recently as a two years ago I thought of Alsace as a curious but rather stultified region, comprised of byzantine grand cru vineyard sites, inscrutable labels, and conservative winemaking practices. But thanks to a wave of young producers—inspired by natural wine pioneers like Binner, Schueller, Meyer and Ostertag—Alsace is pretty much the most exciting region in all of France. In truth, this evolution has been underway for quite sometime (Japan and France are all over it) but American importers and cavistes have just now begun to catch on. And we can’t get enough.

Lucas Rieffel hails from Mittelbergheim, where he is surrounded by an energetic cadre of forward-thinking producers. With holdings in some of the best vineyards in the region, he produces a stunning range of wines, all fermented with native yeast and with little or zero added sulfur. Here is an in depth piece on Lucas.

The wines exhibit what makes Alsace so special: dizzying aromatics, lush fruit, and beautiful texture.

On Saturday, we host Brett Pallsen from The Soil Expedition, a fledgling importer that can’t seem to make a false step. I can’t help but correlate Brett’s open and generous personality with the way these wines seem to immediately embrace the drinker: soulful, joyful and energetic all at the same time.

Cremant d’Alsace Brut 2015 $25
Pinot Blanc “Gebreit” 2015 $26
Riesling Grand Cru Zotzenberg 2013 $33
Pinot Noir Nature 2016 $27
Pinot Noir Runz 2016 $39

$10 tasting fee waived with $100 purchase.

bistro 19


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torched mackerel / marinated egg yolk / basil / rhubarb

lacquered beef cheek / grapefruit / clams

buckwheat / honey / figs

to reserve, email, or call 510-629-3944.

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Saturday Tasting: DOMAINE DU PERRON (François Grinand)

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September 16, 2017

The Rhone river plunges past the town of Villebois oblivious to all that surrounds it, flush from Alpine glaciers, and intent on finding the Mediterranean. There is something mesmerizing about its impassive, headlong force. The surrounding hills rise up around it, rich in green vitality, sloping up to the southernmost escarpment of the Jura Massif, and beyond that, the Alps. This is where François Grinand makes wine.

Though often associated with Savoie, the Bugey region is situated on the Southern tip of the limestone-rich Jura massif. In their natural state, the wines, too, often resemble Jura to the North and Burgundy to the West, with which Bugey is historically affiliated. Francois’ approach aims to restore this less common face of Bugey, favoring low-yielding vineyard management, hand-harvesting, and elevage-intensive cellar work. On a mere 2 hectares, he farms Pinot Noir, Gamay, Mondeuse, Altesse and Chardonnay. The vineyards are farmed entirely without chemicals and only occasional biodynamic treatments.

François’ Gamay and Pinot Noir are fermented whole-cluster in upright fiberglass vats. His Mondeuse, by contrast, is de-stemmed to avoid bitterness. Unlike some of his natural winemaking colleagues in the region, who prefer maceration for their aromatic white grapes, François’ whites are pressed directly without being de-stemmed. Grapes are pressed through an upright press with a rock basin, then transferred to old oak barrels, where they age until François decides they are ready to bottle, generally 12 to 18 months. Since 2010, François bottles all of his wines without filtration or the addition of sulfur dioxide.

François talks about wine the way he might talk to one of his piano students about scales, prioritizing process and practice over whimsy and improvisation. Scales are transparently simple, but also inscrutably complex in their array of potential combinations. One does not master them through experimentation, but instead through daily practice, a repetitive labor that requires attention to detail, trusting that beauty will organically arise out of the mysterious interaction of disparate elements.

These are amongst the rarest wines we carry at the shop, and we are thrilled the 2015 vintage yielded enough juice for us to host a tasting this Saturday.

2015 Couffe Chien (Jacquère) $37

2015 Katarina (Chardonnay) $37

2015 Serene Blanche (Altesse) $37

2015 Ermitures (Gamay) $32

2015 Etapes (Pinot Noir) $37

2015 Persanne (Mondeuse) $37

$10 to taste all six wines. Fee waived with a $100 purchase.



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$10 for six wines

Located in Banyuls, just before crossing the Spanish border, Casot de Mailloles has always stood out for the unapologetic embrace of its warm Mediterranean climate. While the wines exude the freshness and drinkability we all love, they also plunge into the deeper, more exotic territory of garrigue, pepper, fig and olive. They are some of my favorite wines: big reds that are fresh enough to drink before dinner, and whites that paradoxically pair with roasted lamb. They have an energy that transcends traditional pairings.

Founded and cared for by Alain Castex, a card-carrying Communist and man of the vines—his tawny neck bears an uncanny resemblance to a centenarian Grenache Gris trunk—the domaine is now under the new direction of Jordi Perez. Jordi worked alongside Alain for two vintages before taking over completely in 2016.

Jordi has done an astounding job carrying on Alain’s legacy. Cavistes around the world let out a sigh of relief when they tasted his handiwork. In addition to preserving Alain’s well-known vineyard-specific bottlings (Soula, El Niño, Visinum), he has also found new vineyards to work with, which will be the primary focus of this tasting.


Rosé de Zaza 2015 $31
Stop overpaying for heavily filtered Provençal rosé. This is the real deal.

Obreptice 2016 $31
100% Vermentino from vines just outside the Banyuls appellation. Aromatic, tropical, and zingy.

Blanc du Casot 2015 $57
One of Alain’s cuvées, this is a blend of Macabeu, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Vermentino. It is regal and wild, like a mad king, combining dense fruit with oyster shell salinity.

Comax Ethlyx 2016 $27
A new wine from Jordi, this is all Syrah. It’s got spice, verve, and brambly blue fruits.

Roc Blanc 2016 $32
Another 100% Syrah cuvée from Jordi, it is a warm, dark, olive-y wine that you should chill down and serve with stuffed squid covered in squid ink and cinnamon. Just an idea.

Clos de Taillelauque 2016 $57
Alain stopped making this wine a while back, but Jordi decided to revive it as a single-vineyard bottling. A field blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, Carignan, etc. Special stuff.

pig bistro

KOSUKE BISTRO: Monday 6-10pm

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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 11, 2017, 6-10pm

Classic Kosuke Bistro this week. Not sure what else to say. Reserve or 510-629-3944.

$42 for three courses

grilled prawns / pear / cardamon

roasted pork leg / figs / café / jerusalem artichokes

peach / rhubarbs / parsley

pig roast picture


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featuring wines


& food by


pork rillettes “Ordinaire” 7

pork belly confit, capers, egg yolk 9

pork shoulder ragout, smoked pepper 10

crispy pork trotter, mushrooms, foie gras oil 10

pork chop for 2, eggplant caviar 19

gratin dauphinois, “Bayley Hazen” blue 8



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We’ve been open for four years. And this last year has been significant for a number of reasons: an amazing new bistro, the Second Brumaire, lots of buzz about natural wine in the press, etc… But for me, it’s been marked by my separation from the shop. As many of you know, I’ve been in Chicago for the last year, raising my kids, working on my dissertation, and doing whatever I can to be involved with Ordinaire. I miss it like hell and think about it two to three times a minute.

I come back as much as I can, and still work a bit behind the bar. After multiple customers asking me if I was filling in for Alex or Diego, I’ve realized that I no longer own Ordinaire in the way I used to. I cried the first time I realized this. Ordinaire no longer reflects my individual vision. And in fact, it never has. Being away has made me realize that it has always been a little bit me, a little bit Quinn, a little bit Josh, a little bit Keven, a little bit Wolfgang…the list goes on.

And now that’s just truer than ever. Over the past year, Quentin, Diego, Alex, Kara (and now Kate!) have made Ordinaire into something that exceeds whatever I could have imagined.

Kara, disarmingly smart and passionate, her presence behind the bar has brought a new energy and irreverence to the natty wine scene. Alex, so confidently observant and precise that his frequent bursts of insight catch you off guard like a trout rising for a mayfly. Diego manages to combine the shop’s idealistic mission with an intelligent, unpretentious and down-to-earth vibe I wish I could pull off. And Quentin. Well Quentin is just always fucking on, 100%, and I don’t know anyone like him.

Together, they are the best staff working in wine. The fourth anniversary is all about them. We will pour wild wines, Diego will cook a big Spanish rice, Kosuke might throw down in the kitchen, and there will be music and surprises. Let’s imagine better futures together. I’ll be filling in for Alex.



Saturday Tasting: Partida Creus

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August 26th, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines

Massimo Marchiori and Antonella Gerona are an Italian couple from Piedmont who moved to Barcelona to work in architecture. In 2000, they bailed on the big-city lifestyle and found themselves a little piece of land in the Baix Penedes. A growing interest in farming led them into viticulture, which developed into a preservation endeavor that focuses on recovering ancient grape varieties that are native to the Massis de Bonastre, where they live and work. They search the area for unique and abandoned vines in hopes of farming them back into fruit-yielding health, virtuous work opposite the monolithic face of Spanish industrial viticulture. All wines are fermented with natural yeasts, and no SO2 is added at any point in the winemaking.

-Quinn Kimsey-White

lamb bistro image


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Last time Kosuke cooked a whole lamb, we had to turn away quite a few diners. So we are doing it again. Come eat.

monterey squid / tomato / mango / mint

lamb / charred apple / pistachios

maple syrup tartelette

$43 for three courses

to reserve, reply to this email (preferred), or call 510-629-3944.


Kosuke Wagyu Bistro

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Kosuke procured some Wagyu Bavettes from our good buddies at Cream Co. Meats. We recommend you come eat them. The menu this week is $43 for three courses.

yellowtail jack / smoked egg yolk / figs

wagyu bavette / duxelles / berry juice

nougat glacé / lemon / white chocolate


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Kosuke Fish Bistro

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$39 for three courses

Kosuke was in Yosemite last week and, inspired by mountain rivers, is now ready to serve you some trout. In fact, the whole menu is meat-free. Kosuke is nervous that Americans won’t eat octopus. Come prove him wrong.

grilled octopus / smoked beets

rainbow trout / burned tomatoes / bay leaves

shiso / berries / chocolate

Reservations are strongly encouraged. Please reply to this email (preferred) or call 510/629-3944. No share plates.


Saturday Tasting: Swick Wines

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Saturday, July 29th
1-4pm, $10 for 6 wines

Last year, Joe Swick needed an introduction. Now he doesn’t. He makes unadulterated wines in Oregon. Like the man himself, the wines speak quietly, but with an edge that can catch off you guard. We love the wines so much that we regularly order some lower-production cuvées directly from the winery. We are stoked to have Joe in town this Saturday. Swing by and taste the best natural wine in Oregon.  And everything is under $30.

2016 Chardonnay $24
2016 Rosé $20
2016 Willamette Pinot Noir $26
2016 Columbia Valley Grenache $26
2016 Columbia Valley Mourvedre $26
2016 Columbia Valley Malbec $26

Saturday, 1-4pm. 6 wines for $10. fee waived with $100 purchase.

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Saturday Tasting: Hervé Villemade

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Saturday July 22nd, 1-4pm

$10 for 6 wines
Fee waived with $100 purchase

Hervé Villemade is a pillar in the Loire Valley, where his family has been making wine in Cheverny for generations. In 1995, he took charge of Domaine du Moulin and, inspired by the wines of Lapierre and Puzelat, started making wines without yeast or sulfur. He quickly learned that hands-off cellar work requires pristine fruit, so he converted to organics and never looked back. Today, he makes benchmark natural wines that range from liters of glou-glou Gamay to deep, kaleidoscopic Romorantin. Along with Thierry Puzelat, his lineup of wines offers the most complete portrait of the Loire Valley that I know of. Hervé also hunts, and makes terrine out of the animals he shoots. I always think about that when I drink these wines. Just makes sense. 100% Old School.

Bulles Pet Nat $21
Made from a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and a local grape called Menu Pineau that sees a full year élevage on the lees before release.

Sauvignon 2016 $18
Made with négoce fruit fermented and aged in tank. An easygoing quaffer for everyday drinking.

Cheverny La Bodice 2015 $23
A blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, it is aged in a combination of 500L barrels and foudre which he blends together in tank before bottling. Structured and dense.

Cour-Cheverny Les Saules  2015 $30
His entry-level Cour-Cheverny, this is 100% Romorantin (the only grape allowed in this AOC ). Vines planted in clay and silex soils over limestone. Fermented in tronconic vat; aged in concrete egg.

Bovin Rouge 2015 $18
Bovin is another négoce wine made from 100% Gamay. øø glou-juice in a liter bottle.

Cheverny Les Ardilles 2015 $25
Mostly Pinot Noir with the rest Gamay, it is sourced from a single parcel of old vines planted in clay over limestone. 3 week maceration, fermented in concrete tank and aged in a combination of amphora and neutral barriques. Burgundy in the Loire.


Kosuke Bistro XIII

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$39 for 3 courses

Kosuke procured a whole lamb from our good friends Aaron and Cara at Frenchtown Farms (NB: If you are in SF on Friday (tonight!), go catch them pouring wines at Ruby). It was slaughtered earlier this week and Kosuke is currently prepping it for the grill. We are all pretty excited. Kosuke thinks this is his best menu yet.

albacore / figs / green onion oil

lamb / burned eggplant / ginger

smoked white chocolate / peach / rose




Saturday Tasting: Vinca Minor

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July 15th, 1-4pm
$10 for 5+ wines

Jason Edward Charles arrived at winemaking through a circuitous route, bouncing around Latin America and Europe taking photos, then waiting tables in New York, and then staging here and there before finding a place to put down roots—literally. For him, planting vines means linking one’s identity to a fixed place, establishing permanence and structure.

The wines balance these two poles: they have a lively, restless personality which expresses itself in spritely acidity and zesty aromas; but they also contain a certain sinew and complexity derived from the extremely old vines Jason has decided to work with. The wines seem to be engaged in an internal dialogue between young and old, mobility and stasis.

He’s committed to working naturally: sourcing organic fruit, fermenting with wild yeasts, never filtering or fining, and only using small amounts of sulfur. This Saturday, we taste his three new releases alongside two back vintages of his Mendocino Carignan. Come say hi and taste the goods. Saturday 1-4pm. $10.

16′ Sonoma Valley Chardonnay
16′ Carignan Rose
16′ Mendocino Carignan
15′ Mendocino Carignan
14′ Mendocino Carignan



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MONDAY JULY 19th, 6pm-close

Kosuke is back after a week of doing absolutely nothing in Idaho. He is ready to cook for you! The menu for this Monday is $39 for three courses

Cured salmon/juniper berries/tomato
Pork shoulder/sorrel/green curry butter





Saturday Tasting: Sonoma Mountain Winery

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Saturday, July 8th, 1-4pm
$10 for 5+ wines

Sonoma Mountain Winery is the most exciting winery in California at the moment. It combines a deep attachment to the tradition of natural winemaking in California with an affinity for the avant-garde styles of wine coming out of France, Italy and Spain. While informed by his father Tony’s unwavering approach to natural farming and winemaking, Nic is committed to making wines in his own style: energetic blends of red and white grapes, lush and unfiltered Chardonnay, and atypical bottlings of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. They conjure a hazy image of Sonoma before the Pinot Noir craze, when it was still a patchwork of orchards, fields and vineyards populated by Italian immigrants, hippies and farmers. Nic also makes the wines for Côte des Cailloux, a tiny project focused on Rhône Varieties. All the wines are made with organic grapes and without any additions ever. Come meet Nic and his affable band of teammates this Saturday, and taste the future of California
natural wine. It’s probably different than what you imagine.

2016 Sonoma Mountain Winery Chardonnay $30
2016 Sonoma Mountain Winery Pinot Noir $35
2016 Sonoma Mountain Winery Merlot $26
2016 Côte des Cailloux Grenache $30
2016 Côte des Cailloux Syrah $30
and others…

kosuke bistro 11.001


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Monday, June 26th, 6pm-cl

The menu for this Monday is $39 for three courses

OYSTERS XL with grilled gems and lime leaves
DUCK TWO WAYS with peach and smoked oolong
BERRIES with chamomile and sheep yogurt.

to reserve, email or call 510-629-3944


Saturday Tasting: Laura Bissell of Inconnu

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Saturday, June 24th, 1-4pm

$10 for 6 wines

Laura Bissell has been a steady fixture in the Bay Area wine scene for longer than I can recall. She was one of the first customers to come through the door after we opened, and she frequently passes through with roving packs of industry folks, thirsty for Champagne and tinned fish. Like the best wine professionals, she values the community that forms around wine more than wine itself.

This Saturday, Laura will be pouring her brand new line up of wines at the shop. They are rich, sun-kissed wines, perfect for a California summer. And, to my delight, they are exceedingly well-priced for the quality–designed for sharing, gifting, and drinking in larger than normal quantities.

Lalalu Rosé $24
Lalalu Cab Franc $25
Chardonnay $23
Pinot Gris $23
Kitsune $29
+ Special Wine from Laura’s Cellar

$10. fee waived with $100 purchase

santi mendall

Bar Cortijo at Ordinaire

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Tuesday, July 4th, Noon-

There is no place like Bar Cortijo. Santi and his brother Luis are the guardians of a dream that becomes reality everyday from 9am to 3pm, when they welcome the working class of Tarragona—and, increasingly, an international congregation of natural wine lovers—into their sanctuary of irrational generosity. Stepping down into their cool, stone-lined dining room and accepting an ice-cold glass of Mendall is a sacred invocation, a preamble to a service irrecuperable by any external economy. Those seeking unicorn wines and deep cellars can slake their thirst in Barcelona, Paris and New York. Those seeking true nourishment will find it at Bar Cortijo, and leave with their faith restored in natural wine’s ability to affirm a profound sense of our shared humanity, our connectedness to nature, and our deepest desires for a better world.

On July 4th, Santi will be cooking food and holding court at Ordinaire. I have never been more excited about an event. It’s an excitement matched by anxiety, because I know that Santi’s spot in Tarragona cannot be reproduced. But we’ll try our best. And we hope that you’ll do your part as well.

In the spirit of Catalunya, we will serve food starting at noon until we sell out. The menu will not be set until the day of the event, but will likely include Cortijo classics: pig’s ear tossed in pesto, broiled prawns, squid rice, braised tripe, ribs crusted in Provençal herbs, cold beef tongue salad, pan fried mackerel, etc. Wine service will be à la Cortijo as well. We will choose the wines for you. Lots of big bottles from Catalunya and the Roussillon. We’ll make sure you have fun.

And, yes, the date is July 4th. Not an arbitrary choice. Come celebrate Independence. The Independence of July 4th, 1776, the future Independence of Catalunya, and the ongoing struggle for Independence that takes place in the fields and cellars of natural winemakers around the world.

See you there.


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Kosuke Bistro X

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Monday, June 19th, 6pm-close

$39 for three courses

I was in Paris the past few days, hopping around all the usual spots, and every chef I ran into asked me about Kosuke Bistro. And I told them what I thought: He’s cooking some of the most delicious and inventive food in the Bay, and people can experience three courses for less than $40. And drink wine at retail markups. It’s pretty sweet.

beef tartare, pickled egg, jicama, smoked chile
grilled albacore, roasted piquillos, orange
peach, beer sorbet, basil


Reservations are strongly encouraged. Please email (preferred) or call 510/629-3944.

jean baptiste bottes rouges

Saturday Tasting: Domaine Les Bottes Rouges

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Saturday, June 17th, 1-4pm

$10 for six wines

Why is it that natural wine’s most beloved region in France is also the smallest and most obscure? We could chalk it up to bad luck or try to analyze and compare flavor profiles, but I suspect that there’s something about the Jura’s extreme marginality that is alluring in of itself. There’s lots of talk these days about how natural wine has finally made it to the big time, been accepted by the wine press, and can be found in airports and at Bevmo. That’s all fine, but there’s something important about clinging to the marginal, and celebrating the tiny, that natural wine culture should never disavow or take for granted.

Jean-Baptiste Menigoz worked with special needs children for ten years in Arbois, while simultaneously become obsessed with natural wines. He slowly acquired more and more vines, and with the help of his wife Jacqueline, and his good friend Florien, now organically farms close to 7 hectares of vines. Always experimenting, Jean-Baptiste makes a dizzying array of wines, ranging from broad and waxy Savangin, to delicately perfumed and seductive Poulsard.

Our buddies at Selection Massale are importing them for the first time. Saturday will be the debut tasting in the United States. We can hardly wait.

Pepee Pinot Noir ’13 $38
Jose Trousseau ’14 $38
Tou ou Tard Ploussard ’15 $36
Sky my Husband ’15 $44
No Milk Today  (Savagnin) ’16 $50
Leon Chardo ’15 $35

BBQ advert

Memorial Day BBQ

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Sunday & Monday
May 28-29

Switching up bistro this week. Instead of our normal prix-fixe menu, Kosuke is going to cook six or eight tapas à la carte. It will be casual enough for a light snack, but with enough options to count as lunch or dinner. If you haven’t had the chance to sit down for a proper bistro, this is a great time to sample Kosuke’s food…and to slam some rosé while you’re at it.

All dishes will be between $5 and $15.

Terrine de campagne

Egg, cold pork dashi, peas, dill oil

Miyagi oyster grill, roasted sesame oil, citrus, celery

Sea bass tartare, avocado, green apple, horseradish

Grilled asparagus, spiced brown butter

Prawn, pimenton de verra, mayonnaise

Marinated and grilled skirt steak, spinach

st lo close up2

Saturday Tasting: François Saint-Lô

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Saturday, May 27th, 1-4pm

$10 for five wines

It was an idyllic night. We grilled Côte-du-Boeuf and feasted on a huge farm table that stretched the length of an old granite cellar, warmed by the conviviality close friends. Quentin in full sommelier mode, vying for command of the floor with Philippe; Quinn softly grinning and swirling; Matt discoursing on the relative merits of the Turnpike and the A6; Josh insisting people sit down and eat like humans.

brad josh lilian house

The night was getting on, and sensing the impending stupor, Quentin boxed out Philippe’s bottle of old Ganivets and splashed around a big bottle of turbid, rose-hued nectar. It brought the table to silence, just briefly, before an eruption of laudations and conjectures woke the room. We remembered the duck breasts and a second dinner began in earnest.

It was François Saint-Lô’s Grolleau. One of the most vivid and uplifting wines I’ve ever tasted. It reminded me why the Loire Valley made me fell in love with wine.

This Saturday we are pouring five new wines from François, including his new Grolleau. We’ve been waiting a long time for this vintage to arrive. There is very little. And it rocks.

kosuke bistor poster 8.001


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Kosuke Bistro continues every Monday from 6pm-close. While we highly encourage reserving in advance, walk-ins are also welcome. And the shop & bar are still open for general shopping, snacking and drinking.

The menu for May 22nd is $39 for three courses.

mussels / crispy pork trotters / blueberry
full tilt farm chicken / lemongrass / cucumber / brown butter foam
cherry / rose / acacia honey

Reservations are strongly encouraged. Please reply to this email (preferred) or call 510/629-3944.



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The menu for May 15th is $39 for three courses.

marinated snapper / chamomile / kiwi
lamb breast / cherry / hibiscus
avocado ice cream / strawberry / dill

no substitutions or share plates

Reservations are strongly encouraged. Email or call 510/629-3944.

la onda surfboard

Saturday Tasting: La Onda

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Saturday, May 13th, 1-4pm

Dani Rozman’s vinous curiosity has led him from the cellar of Sierra Foothills master Gideon Bienstock to the Maule Valley of Chile and back again. His adventurous back-and-forth has produced La Onda, a winemaking project rooted in both hemispheres. When we first tasted his Cinsault-based blend a few years ago, we were struck by the way it harnessed the savage rawness of old-vine Sierra foothills fruit within a lithe framework that made it imminently drinkable. These are wines that please seekers of the sun and lovers of the ocean.

Come meet Dani on Saturday. Taste the new wines (including an amazing cuvée from Chile!) and explore a few back vintages that he is pulling from his cellar.

La Onda 2016 Blanco de Tinto $30
La Onda 2015 Cinsault/Pais (Itata) $28
La Onda 2015 Carignan: $28
La Onda 2014 Cinsault/Syrah (library)
La Onda 2013 Syrah/Cinsault (library)

$10 to taste. Fee waived with $100 purchase.



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The menu for May 8th is $44 for three courses.

Poached oysters / burnt onion jus / ginger foam
Quail farci / mushrooms / sorrel butter
Strawberry / white chocolate / smoked buttermilk

no substitutions or share plates

Reservations are strongly encouraged. Please email or call 510/629-3944.



Saturday Tasting: Escoda-Sanahuja

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SATURDAY APRIL 29th, 1-4pm

Joan Ramón Escoda has firmly established himself as one of Catalonia’s most important leaders in what is, largely thanks to him and Laureano Serres, a blossoming natural wine community. As some of you may have experienced at Brumaire, Joan Ramón’s infectious goodwill and thirst for agua—aka, real wine without junk put into it—is the stuff of legend. Given his rock n’ roll personality, I’m always a little surprised when I taste the wines. Yes, he makes some of the most irresistibly crushable juice, but he also manages to craft more classically styled wines: a lush but stony Chenin Blanc, a dense and broad Tempranillo, and others. These are wines that I turn to whenever I am eating outdoors: the briny whites work extremely well with grilled prawns or anything spicy, while the reds seem specifically made for meats cooked over open flames. On Saturday we will pour five of our favorite wines from Joan Ramón. Taste them, and then pick up some bottles for the weekend.

Five wines for $10.
Fee waived with $100 purchase.

Pet Nat
Els Bassotets
Mas de Gaio
Nas del Gegant

kosuke rectangle


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First the important details:

The menu for Monday, April 24th is $39 for three courses.

Green asparagus  / brown butter foam / pomegranate
Duck / rhubarb / harissa butter
Condensed milk / almond / lemon

no substitutions or share plates

Below are some photos of the food Kosuke is cooking. As you can see, it crushes. Tables are still available for this week, so book now and see what it’s about in person. 510-629-3944 or to reserve.


Saturday Tasting: Martha Stoumen

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Saturday April 15th, 1-4pm

$10 for six wines

We are so excited to be hosting Martha Stoumen for the first public tasting of her proprietary wines. We’ve tasted her work here and there  over the past few years, and have admired how the wines manage to embrace the California sun while maintaining freshness and verve. As you can see in the above photo, Martha works traditionally and joyously in the cellar. In the vines, she is more serious, but still traditional.

On Saturday we will taste six new wines, including a perfectly pale rosé, a rare sparkling wine, and a bevy of scintillating reds. Come out, meet Martha, and taste a snapshot of some of the best California has to offer.

Sparkling Zinfandel Rosé 2014
Teal Drops Rosé NV
Post Flirtation Carignan/Zinfandel 2016
Carignan Venturi Vineyard 2015
Nero d’Avola Benson Ranch 2015
Mendocino Benchlands Red 2015

Saturday, 1-4pm, $10


Saturday Tasting: Bruno Schueller

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SATURDAY April 8th, 1-4pm, $10 for 5 wines

There are very few winemaking estates where history and nobility intersect with the avant-garde. But when it happens the results can be revelatory. Since the mid 1990s, Bruno Schueller has been at the helm of the family domaine built by his father, Gerard, in the 1960s. Over the course of two decades, Bruno has developed a style entirely his own. While paying tribute to his father’s patient and meticulous manner of viticulture, he has challenged local orthodoxy in the cellar, molding the definition of Alsatian wine in his own image. Here’s a picture of his cellar.

schueller cellar

When we visited Bruno and his wife Elena last summer, Elena cooked us a shoulder of pork from a pig they slaughtered just for the occasion. Bradford was really excited to be drinking unsulfured Riesling and eating choucroute garnie. They gave him a local napkin.

bradford schueller
Later on, after tasting from a bunch of barrels and playing a round of foosball (Bruno crushed us), we managed to get Bruno into an Ordinaire tank. He was excited, and plans to use it this summer for hiking and cycling.

bruno ordinaire tank
Among the wealthiest and most conservative regions of France, Alsace is hardly known for experimental winemaking, particularly among the region’s Grand Cru vineyards. In this context, Bruno’s wines often appear iconoclastic. But generalizing the dozen or so cuvées he produces each year can be difficult. Most whites, such as his Edeldeluxezwicker field-blend, are throwbacks to 19th century-style winemaking, when it was normal for Alsatian wines to finish malolactic fermentation in foudre and filtration was considered anathema to their aromatic complexity. On the other hand, some of the key twists in Bruno’s approach come from an affection for the natural wines of Italy, the birthplace of his wife, Elena. He experiments with varying amounts of maceration on Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, giving the already aromatic varieties of Alsace a layer of brooding complexity. Finally, Bruno’s rare and mysterious Pinot Noirs are uplifting expressions of the variety, as heady and
delicately perfumed as they are powerful.
schueller dos
At their best, Bruno’s wines are deep, structured, and ornately detailed masterpieces that force us to question mainstream wine’s attachment to typicity, which for Bruno is not a goal, but a point of reference. These are noble wines, from a noble region, that through the kaleidoscopic lens of a truly creative mind, look more exciting than ever before.
-Quinn (with interjections from Bradford)

We received very few wines–between 6 and 18 bottles of each cuvée–so come early and taste before they are gone.

Pinot Blanc Cuvee H 2015
Sylvaner 2015
Edeldeluxezwicker 2015
Pinot Gris Réserve 2011
Le Verre est Dans le Fruit 2014

We will also have several other cuvées for purchase.

kosuke 3


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The menu for Monday, April 10th is $38 for three courses.

Beef Tartare, strawberry, dill, radish
Grilled Squid, sauerkraut butter, roasted apple purée
Blood Orange Marinée, coconut, cinnamon

No substitutions or share plates

Reservations are encouraged. We have so far been fully booked each week and unable to take walk-ins. Please email or call 510/629-3944.

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Here is the menu for Kosuke’s second bistro. The price is $36.
No choices, no substitutions, and no sharing.

Cauliflower, almond milk, cranberry, ginger
Pork, beetroot, grapefruit, elderflower
Yogourt mousse, cardamom, mango

Seats are limited. Last week we were fully booked and unable to take walk-ins. So reserve early. The food is very, very good.




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Saturday, March 25th, 1-4pm
$15 for six wines
Fee waived with $100 purchase

Every single time I hear about Dominique Belluard people are talking about this weird grape he works with, and about how it’s all done in concrete eggs. Here’s a link to the importer’s website, where you can find all that info. It is sort of interesting, but it’s not what makes the wines compelling.

Here’s why I like the wines:

The wines of Dominique Belluard exist in two worlds.  On the one hand, they are at home with the natural wines that line our shelves: perfect farming, native yeast and little to no sulfur result in wines that are alive with fresh aromatics and nervy snap. And on the other hand, they share the structure, length and mineral core of classical white wines from Chablis and Alsace. They somehow satisfy both cravings at once: both natty and classic. They are mesmerizing wines that never cease to amaze me, year after year, even as prices continue to rise with demand. The 2015s wonderfully carry the warmth of the vintage: they are broad, waxy and complex. Not to be missed. On Saturday we will taste all six wines. Fee waived with $100 purchase.


2013 Mont Blanc Sparkling Wine $44
2015 Pur Jus 100% Gringet $55
2015 Les Alpes Gringet $39
2015 Le Feu Gringet $52
2015 Grandes Jorasses Altesse $42
2015 Mondeuse $55



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Monday, March 27th, 6PM-CL

We have been patiently waiting for the right chef to come along and inspire us to restart Bistro Ordinaire. We know Kosuke from Paris, where he ran the kitchen at Le 6 Paul Bert, a spin-off of legendary Le Bistrot Paul Bert which focuses on hiring young chefs and giving them creative autonomy. It quickly became THE place to eat high-level food at low prices, paired with one of the deepest lists of natural wines in Paris. Kosuke recently completed his wildly successful tenure, and after working in kitchens in Japan, France, Italy and Scandinavia, is now exploring California cuisine for the first time. After staging at a laundry list of Michelin-starred spots in San Francisco, he’s decided he would rather cook bistro food and drink natty juice. Lucky for us.

The menu for Monday, March 27th is $36 for three courses.

Clams, kumquat, baby broccoli, buttermilk
Chicken, green garlic, asparagus, nasturtium
Pear, mascarpone, cereal, salty caramel, rosemary

No substitutions or share plates

Reservations are encouraged. Please email or call 510/629-3944.

gut oggau vineyard shot

Saturday Tasting: Gut Oggau

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SATURDAY, March 18th, 1-4pm

While many wine professionals will furiously deny it, most wine discovery these days does not happen by driving around in a little Citroen and happening upon anonymous peasants toiling in gnarled vineyards. Nor does it really occur by tasting with producers at the spring wine fairs. Instead, wines are discovered by assiduously tracking what others in the wine community are drinking. This involves heavy drinking in Parisian and regional wine caves and, above all, by slavishly checking one’s Instagram. I know this sounds unromantic, but I’m inclined to embrace the trend. The myth of an isolated palate expertly blind tasting wines in a cultural vacuum is as antiquated as it is obtuse. Admitting that our palates are constructions of the company we keep is a much truer and ultimately rewarding way of appreciating wine. I recommend replacing the old adage, trust your palate, with an even older adage: trust your friends.

All that is to say that I discovered the Gut Oggau wines on Instagram. I would not have thought to try these Austrian wines if I hadn’t seen that buddies in Denmark and Paris were getting jazzed about them. Really? Natural Austrian wines? I was suspicious, but intrigued.

gut oggau bottle shot

In 2007 Eduard and Stephanie Tscheppe converted Eduard’s 17th-century family estate to biodynamics and started working naturally in the cellar. Most cuvées are field blends; all are naturally fermented, with various amounts of skin contact; the wines are bottled unfined and unfiltered with zero sulfur additions.

The striking labels represent a multigenerational family: each wine has a distinct personality, but all are bound by a common bloodline. The youngest generation is punchy and audacious. Their parents are riper, fuller, more powerful. The grandparent wines come from old vines, and are crafted in more traditional styles. For the story behind each wine, visit the importer’s home page. It’s a fun read. Then come to the shop and taste. It will be the most stylistically diverse tasting of the year.

On Saturday from 1-4pm, we will pour five wines for $10. Swing by to discover which.



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Saturday, March 11, 1-4pm

Brumaire weekend is here and winemakers are pouring into the shop. As I’ve mentioned before, there’s a special intimacy that binds the sprawling natural wine community–a solidarity built on spontaneous generosity, fierce loyalty to one another, and the belief that natural wine, and the pleasure it gives, can change the world for the better.

Brothers Jair and Noel Tellez are carrying this spirit in Mexico, virtually building their community from scratch. Inspired by their travels in Europe and California, they leaped and never looked back, turning their family’s ranch in Tecate into a winery, converting to organics, and committing to native yeast and no SO2 additions. The wines scream with raw freshness and verve. They range from explosively aromatic, to bright and light, to rustic and spicy. To read more, here’s an article from Vice.

Noel will be pouring his wines this Saturday from 1-4pm. Meanwhile, we will be hosting some crazy Spanish producers upstairs for a lunch—it’s sold out, but I’m anticipating the energy to spill out into the main room. Come by and taste. It will be fun.


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Wine Club March 2017

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Saturday, March 4th, 1-4pm

The wine club is composed of wines that the Ordinaire staff likes to drink. If you like the kind of wines that Ordinaire sells, you should sign up. You get 10% off everything in shop all the time, free tastings for yourself and a buddy on pick-up day, and lovingly written notes from the Ordinaire staff. Come by and check it out this Saturday. 4 wines for $10. Or sign up and it’s free.

Ordinaire Club $39/month


2016 Oyster River “Morphos” Pet Nat

When thinking of U.S. winemaking regions, Maine doesn’t even cross my my mind. But Brian Smith of Oyster River Winegrowers, located in Warren, Maine, is making wines and ciders with true pre-industrial American spirit. The property is a working farm, with livestock and vegetables as well as apple orchards for cider and vineyards planted densely with French-American hybrid grapes. The vineyards are cultivated entirely with draft horse power and by hand. The fertilizer comes from the family cow. To control pests, plant-based teas and rock minerals are used. This is a truly old-school operation, down to the winery being gently heated in winter by wood harvested from the farm, hauled by the horses. The 2016 “Morphos” Petillant Naturel shows juicy nectarine and delicate white flowers on the nose, with brightness and just enough fizz on the palate. Delicious for the transition into spring, with asparagus, prosciutto, and mushroom pasta. -Kara

2015 Andrea Occhipinti Alea Rosa

If you don’t drink much sweet wine, you may not be familiar with Aleatico. This grape, often compared to Muscat, has pretty aromatics and a long tradition of making sweet, grapey, simple reds. In Italy, Aleatico is grown mainly in Lazio, the region contains Rome, as well as Gradoli, where Andrea Occhipinti is based. (To be clear, Andrea is not related to Ariana Occhipinti, but still makes badass wines.) Andrea Occhipinti became enamored with the vineyards of Gradoli while studying at the Agrarian University of Tuscia. After graduation, he was able to purchase 4 hectares of vines planted in the 1990s. His plot is 1500 feet above sea level, on volcanic slopes of Lake Bolsena, the largest volcanic lake in Europe. he is working to preserve and promote the local varieties Aleatico and Grechetto Rosso, and is the first in Italy to experiment with totally dry expressions of Aleatico. His 2015 Alea Rosa rides the line between rosé and light red, with brambly berry fruit and pithy acidity. Drink with island food. -Kara

Extraordinaire Club $69/month


2015 Casot de Mailloles “Soula”

Through over twenty years of backbreaking work along the windswept foothills of the Pyrenees, Alain Castex and Ghislaine Magnier established Casot de Mailloles as one of the indispensable cult natural wineries in France. They developed a singular expression of Banyuls-sur-mer and it’s surrounding geography, all carrying a rugged elegance that only a collision between the Mountains and the Mediterranean could inspire. When it came to light that there was a gradual separation developing between Alain and Ghislaine, they deemed the young and talented Jordi Perez well suited to take over. For Jordi, 2015 was spent training under Alain as his understanding of the vineyards developed. Soula is a single cliffside vineyard, three-part blend of Grenache, Carignan, and Mourvedre. Slate soils and dramatic maritime influence make for a dark, gracefully aromatic wine with tension and structure that could age for years. This wine marks a promising change of hands at one of natural wine’s legendary estates. -Quinn

2014 Denavolo “Dinavolino”

Despite the prestige and significance of his day job (lead winemaker at famed Emilia-Romagna estate La Stoppa), Giulio Armani finds the time to focus his attention on a side project: Denavolo. It is a study of Orange wine, as well as an opportunity to take a break from the heady and complex red wines he labors over at La Stoppa. Giulio makes three cuvees, displaying various amounts of skin maceration: Catavela,  Dinavolino, and Dinavolo. Each wine consists of the same blend: primarily Malvasia di Candia, Ortugo, Marsanne, Trebbianno, and a smattering of Santa Maria and Sauvignon Blanc. Hand-harvested, destemmed,  and macerated on it’s skins for an average of 7-10 weeks, Dinavolino falls in the middle. This is a delicately structured orange wine that shows the slightly piqued spicy/floral aromatics that skin-contact aging can impart. This process also has a stabilizing effect, allowing Giulio to make his wines without filtration or additives. Fresh enough for apero, I’d drink this wine with salty pre-dinner snacks: Marcona almonds, olives, and a bit of charcuterie. -Quinn


Sunday Tasting: La Stoppa and Denavolo

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Sunday, February 26, 4-7pm

$10 for 5 wines.

Giulio Armani, winemaker at both La Stoppa in Northwest Emilia Romagna and at his own estate, Denavolo, makes some of the most elegant skin-contact whites I’ve tasted to date. Simultaneously fresh and deep, these wines are entirely unique and once again show what mystic loveliness can be created when a winemaker embraces what the earth has provided for them. 


La Stoppa is a 50 hectare estate that was planted in the late 19th-century by a wealthy lawyer who took the opportunity of post-phylloxera replanting to plant, alongside the native Barbera and Bornada vines, some noble grape varieties, emulating Bordeaux and Burgundy. In 1996, Giulio Armani and owner Elena Pantaleoni decided to simplify, sticking to local grapes, replanting the entire estate with Barbera, Bornada, and a bit of Malvasia. Ranging from earthy, spritzy reds to deep, golden macerated whites, La Stoppa consistently produces benchmark natural wines that always grace our shelves.


Armani took a similar tack when starting Denavolo, located in the foothills of the Appenines. Already planted with 2 hectares of 32-year-old vines, he continued planting his own parcels of Malvasia di candia aromatica, Ortugo, Marsanne, Trebbiano, and a bit of Santa maria and Sauvignon blanc. It’s exciting to see a winemaker with such a depth of experience figuring out new grapes planted on new soil. The first vintages have been gorgeous. You are so excited to have these new wines in the shop.

On Sunday afternoon we will be joined behind the bar by the importers of both La Stoppa and Denavolo, as well as Fanny Breuil, who has been working with and learning from Giulio for quite some time. We’ll be pouring five lively wines. $10. Stop by.



Saturday Tasting: Clos du Tue Boeuf

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Saturday, February 25th1-4pm, $10

You can’t talk about the birth of Cubism without mentioning Picasso. To praise golden age New York Rap without mentioning Nas is a blatant ignorance. The Beat movement without Kerouac would have lacked its most prominent voice. And as with any cultural or artistic movement, there are certain producers in natural wine whose work is so vital, and so timeless, that their impact is immeasurable. In my opinion, you can’t outline the history of natural wine without pausing to wax poetic about Clos du Tue Boeuf. The genre-defining wines of Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat are an essential introduction into Loire Valley winemaking. Since the late 90’s, the estate has slowly been perfecting an inspiring balance of persistent ideology, accessibility, and soul-satisfying deliciousness. This weekend, we’ll be pouring six wines. Sauvignon (vines young & old), Chenin, Gamay, Cot, Pinot. Each one has it’s own distinct personality, yet they all exemplify the vibrancy that the Puzelat brothers are able to conjure from their family’s 15th century property.

Plus, the Bay Area’s own Godfather of natty wine, Keven Clancy, will be joining us to pour. Handsome, charming, and deeply knowledgeable, it’s always a good time when Keven’s in the house. So come hang out and drink some of the freshest wines in the world. -QKW



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FEB 11th, 1-4pm, $10

I know Brett as the guy that comes into Ordinaire and drinks lots of Champagne, and then drinks lots of other wine, generously pouring out glasses for anyone in his general area. He exudes a sense of community and conviviality wherever he goes. And now he’s turned this sensibility into an import company—HOORAY!—bringing in natural wines from France, Italy and Portugal.

In Brett’s own words: “We believe that ‘quality’ in wine is innately linked to the ‘livingness’ of the soil and environment it’s grown in. That wine is food, nourishing, and should be made and consumed from the soul. Ultimately we seek wines that makes us, and hopefully others, smile and these are the wines we support and share.”

We are really excited to introduce you to Brett and his new discoveries. These are well-priced, honest wines that should be on every dinner table in Oakland.

nic coturri tasting


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Saturday, January 28th, 1-4pm, $10

Niccolo Coturri, or “Nic,” of Sonoma Mountain Winery is the son of the California natural wine legend Tony Coturri and Nephew of renowned Organic and Biodynamic viticulturist Phil Coturri. But don’t let this overdetermine your view of him. His wines are independently beautiful: truly some of the best natural wines coming of California.

But you wont find his wines or winery in any Sonoma guides. He works on a tiny scale out of a rented space and the well-patinated front seat of his Jeep Wrangler. He works exclusively with organic vineyards and actively works with the growers to produce impressive fruit. His wines are full of California sunshine, but not overripe or out of balance. He depends on native ferments and no additives of any kind.

We met Nic at a nondescript gate of a backyard winery in Sonoma. Walking into the barn-turned-winery-tasting-room, we were expecting a formal tasting with Nic behind the bar. Pleasantly surprised, we were led into the winery space and to a hand built tool bench all covered in hoses and gaskets and clamps, etc.

He pointed out the small scattering of barrels that belonged to him, and the very few pieces of equipment he used. Then clearing the space off a bit he pulled out 9 wines. I cant say I remember the vintage and variety of each wine, but they were all pure and captivating! In particular the 2011 Zinfandel with its rich figy fruit and bracing spice and acid that became a staple of every winter camping trip I took this year. Then the 2013 “Char’Mer,” a co-ferment of chardonnay and merlot with the fruit concentration and aromatics of a red and life and drive of a white. Nic told us this was the harvest beverage of choice for each of his picks saying his friends would yell “Char’mer’ica” in the vineyards. And lastly a wildly ripe and aromatic chardonnay like nothing I have tasted from California. Aromatics of tropical fruit with a densely structured palate with surprising acid and length.


Nic will be pouring five or six wines on Saturday, January 28th, from 1-4pm. $10 for the tasting.

forlorn poster

FORLORN HOPE w/ Matthew Rorick

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1-4pm, $10 for six wines

rorick vineyard

The word “forlorn” always reminds me of the last stanza of Keats’ “Ode to a Nightingale,” when the distraught lover is suddenly torn from his romantic fairy dreamscape

Forlorn! the very word is like a bell
To toll me back from thee to my sole self!

Poor guy. If he were having a glass at the bar, I would definitely give it to him on the house. After all, the guy obviously likes to drink. I imagine him ordering like this:

O, for a draught of vintage! that hath been
Cool’d a long age in the deep-delved earth,
Tasting of Flora and the country green.

And I might turn and look in the cooler and find Matthew Rorick’s Pinot Gris “Ramato,” bursting with Dance, and California Song, and mirth. And after that glass, he might disclaim:

O for a beaker full of the warm South,
Full of the true, the blushful Hippocrene. 

And I would turn and find Rorick’s “The Faufreluches” Gewürztraminer. And he would drink it down, in embalmed darkness, half in love with easeful death. Then I would pour him some Trousseau Noir, a thing utterly apart:

Away! away! for I will fly to thee, 
Not charioted by Bacchus and his pards,
But on the viewless wings of Poesy!

Come to the shop on Saturday to taste six rare creatures, lovingly crafted by Matthew Rorick. He makes wine in the Sierra Foothills. He doesn’t add yeast or anything else apart from a bit of so2, occasionally. The grape varieties are strange. The names are mysterious. The wines
}are for people in love with dreams.

2014 Verdelho, Que Saudade
2014 Alvarelhão, Suspiro del Moro
2015 Trousseau Noir, Estate
2015 Pinot Gris Ramato
2014 “King-Andrews” White Wine
2013 “The Faufreluches” Gewurtztraminer

Fee waived with $100 purchase


Tartine Bakery benefit for Ghost Ship Victims

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Thursday and Friday, Dec 8-9, 4pm-sell out

“On their backs were vermiculate patterns that were maps of the world in its becoming. Maps and mazes. Of a thing which could not be put back. Not be made right again. In the deep glens where they lived all things were older than man and they hummed of mystery.”

Like many of you, I didn’t know what The Ghost Ship was until last week, when it burnt down and claimed the lives of at least 36 people. It’s a strange feeling, learning about a slice of utopia only after it’s been destroyed. A whole world opened but already gone. I feel a pain in my throat and chest when I think about what could have been: these 36 people brimming with eccentricity and creativity, flowering out into a city and a world that desperately needed them. Now silenced. Please take a minute to mourn for what we’ve all lost, and can never make right again. Please take a minute to imagine a better world.

On Thursday and Friday, starting at 4pm, Tartine Bakery will be selling a limited amount of country loaves, tea cakes and cookies at Ordinaire. All proceeds will be donated to the Gray Area Foundation for the Arts, which has set up a Fire Relief Fund for Victims of Ghostship Oakland Fire. Ordinaire will also donate all profits during the bake sale to this fund. We encourage you to also give directly to this fund.


Frank Cornelissen: Saturday Dec 3, 6-10pm

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I randomly visited Frank Cornelissen before I even knew what natural wine was; back before I knew that he was a controversial figure, making polarizing wines that continue to flare up into heated debates. Back then they were just wines: pure, precise, generous, almost dizzying in their complex generosity.

I was traveling in Sicily with Nicole. Our friends were getting married in nearby Cefalu, so we took 3 days and visited Etna. I called Frank and asked if we could visit. He said yes, which was nice, because he had nothing to gain from spending a long afternoon with two American tourists. We met at the pizza place and hopped in his Suzuki Trooper alongside his 10-year old daughter and started climbing into the vines, planted way up on the side of an active volcano. Frank pulled off the road and walked up to a vine. He explained that this vine requires a little more water so that’s why he dug out a little bowl around the base of the trunk, whereas the vine a few yards away was too vigorous, so he mounded dirt around the base in order to discourage pooling. Turns out he had a personal relationship with every vine. I was accustomed to winemakers talking about vineyard specificity and climate, but this was something else: this was viticulture at a microscopic level. I couldn’t believe it.

This almost impossible obsession with detail courses through all of Frank’s wines. They are truly unique: rich but precise, bursting with fruit but also saline and smoky. Perfect wine for winter. On Saturday evening, we will host Frank and taste through seven new releases, including the single-vineyard Munjebels, of which we received a whopping six bottles each. The cost is $20. Also, Diego will be serving braised lamb, like old times.

Contadino 2015 $30
Munjebel Rosso 2015 $42
Munjebel Rosso 2014 CS $62
Munjebel Rosso 2014 VA $62
Munjebel Rosso 2014 MC $62
Munjebel Rosso 2014 PC $62
Magma 2014 Rosso $225



December 2016 Wine Club

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Ryan Stirm 2016 Riesling Nouveau
Riesling is a bit of a divisive variety. Though at its best it’s touted and even fetishized by many sommeliers and wine folks, there’s such a glut of the stuff on the market that it’s easy to have a poor experience with wine made from the grape. While waiting tables at restaurants, recommending Riesling is often met with eye rolls, and the expectation of cloying aromatics and sweetness. Ryan Stirm, a true advocate for Riesling, would change any scoffer’s mind with his wines. Stirm believes that “this terpene-rich grape is the most dynamic, the most transparent, and the most exciting” grape for making wine. Stirm makes strikingly pure wines with a focus on vintage and terroir. He ferments with whole clusters and native yeasts, producing wines that let the vines, climate, and region speak for themselves. This 2016 Riesling Nouveau comes from his plot at Kick On Ranch in Santa Barbara, which he farms organically. Stirm bottled it without sulfur for our West Coast Nouveau party, and we loved it so much that we asked him for more. Fermented dry, this wine’s delicate, pretty aromatics and zing of acidity make this wine delicious as an aperitif or paired with dinner, especially one with a bit of spice. -Kara

Swick Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2015
Faced with the daunting onset of the new year, there’s a buzzing tension in the air. The right kind of anti-establisment sentiment, no matter the arena, has been hitting a deep sweet spot. One of my favorite small subversive activities at the shop is encouraging people to try wines that they wouldn’t otherwise choose. A perfect answer for both Loire Valley enthusiasts, looking for bright pretty reds, as well as for west coast wine enthusiasts exhausted by the typical heavier wines that come from our region, is Joe Swick’s elegant take on Pinot Noir. Joe is a quiet but mighty rebel in the face of conventional west coast wine. Using the grapes traditionally grown in Oregon, he overturns expectations with wines that speak with a wry, sassy whisper. Having made wine in California, New Zealand, Italy, Australia and Portugal, myopia is impossible for Swick. His experience shows in his wines, which are beautifully-balanced, quiet riots. The 2015 Willamette Valley Pinot is berry-fruited with soft herbs, cool-toned and warming at the same time. – Kara


2012 Domaine Belluard Mont Blanc
I was first poured this wine from the neck of a cleanly sabered bottle after-hours at the shop. My drunk and drifting reach extended a glass to catch a cascade of softly spiced, honey-yellow bubbles. It came as an after-midnight revelation, and was just what I needed to give me the energy and composure to suggest that our buddies safely make their way home. Some drunkenly content sleep was in order for everyone that night. As I cleaned up the shop, every five minutes I would pause in order to revisit the wine, trying my best to keep up as it expanded and tempered into completeness. Bubbles dissipated and edges softened as it turned towards vinous. Fruit turned to spice, acid and minerality married, and just as the switch was flipped and the shop went dark for the night, I finished my last sip.
Mont Blanc is the top sparkling cuvée from Dominique Belluard, who makes wine for his family’s estate nestled in the Haute-Savoie, at the base of the Alps and just a stone’s throw away from Switzerland. Gringet is the grape; single variety, single vintage, one year on it’s lees. It’s a unique local variety that was close to extinction before Belluard championed the variety and showed the world its potential to make striking and contemplative wines. No abstract thought or intellect is required in order to understand them, and drinkers from all corners of the wine world are drawn toward their transportive abilities. These are mountain wines. Not the brambly, rustic kind, but noble and upright. There is a sense of polished luxury. Sleek and supple, like the leather upholstered seat of a European sports car with horsepower to lend. Mont Blanc can be a drink of celebration, but it is so much more. If given the time and attention it can truly take you places. -Quinn

2015 Vini Viti Vinci A Gégé
Like with any form of art or expression, sometimes a wine becomes so much more with context. When the wines of Nicholas Vauthier first arrived here in the shop, the labels were a constant topic of conversation with customers. They are weird, whimsical, and provocative. One of the more overtly risqué of the bunch was the label for his Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire “a Gégé”. It depicts a woman insouciantly reclining and reading a book with her legs spread, wearing nothing but what look like galoshes. The stark red, square Vini Viti Vinci label is placed very intentionally, framing her genitalia. For a time I thought nothing of it, just assuming it was inspired by the same naughty humor behind many natural wine labels.
Then we visited Nicholas at his winery in Northern Burgundy. We tasted through his cellar, and eventually approached a barrel of Gégé. As he filled his pipette and slipped us all a little taste of bright, juicy, cool Gamay, he provided us with some context. Gégé was Nicholas’ best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in his sleep on the last night of Vini Viti Vinci’s first harvest, in 2009. To honor him, Nicholas had a label designed that is inspired by the famously erotic oil painting “l’Origine du Monde” by Gustave Courbet, which Gégé had a print of hanging in his home. Courbet was an important leader of the Realist movement who rejected academic convention and was known for the audacity of his work. Shares some parallels with the natural wine movement, no? But anyways, just like that, a wine that I previously drank with simple pleasure has taken on another dimension of deeper meaning. R.I.P. Gégé, whose memory lives on in this spirited and expressive wine, made by the affectionate hands of his best friend. -Quinn



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Tasting Saturday, November 12th, 1-4pm

$10 for five wines

For me, the beauty of natural wine from the South of France is its diversity; the pastiche of forgotten and underrated grape varieties, the swaths of cheap land, and the acceptance of winemaking “heresy” make it the perfect place for experimentation. In 2008, Anthony Tortul set out to tell the story of the Languedoc-Roussillon in his own words, through La Sorga. Deep exploration of the native grapes of the region led his project zig-zagging back and forth throughout the region, searching for interesting vines. He now works with nine different vineyards. Old vines, biodynamics, nothing added, nothing taken away. With whimsical cuvée names and wildly illustrated labels, the bottles are instantly recognizable. Stacked with generous, complex fruit and minerality, these are wines with distinct swagger. Come by the shop tomorrow, as our friend (and masterful bread-baker) Tess joins us to pour through five of Tortul’s thought-provoking creations. -QKW


Aurélien Laherte

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Wednesday, November 2, 6-9pm

Laherte Frères champagnes changed the game when Beaune Imports started bringing them in a few years ago. Organic farming and minimal intervention in the cellar result in champagnes that can seduce you with their warm orchard fruit and shock you with their chalky minerality. Also, by Champagne standards, they are cheap– cheaper even than that yellow label swill that all your friends are going to show up with at the holiday party.

Plus these wines are made by a real person. His name is Aurélien. He is in town next week, so we are doing a special Wednesday tasting. We will pour four or five wines, ranging from their base level wines to some more obscure stuff. It’s likely you will decide to make them your go-to bubbles this winter. So we are offering discounts on purchases of 4 or more bottles. Winter is coming.



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Saturday, October 29, 1-4pm

We’re excited to welcome Italian winemaker Marco Buratti to the shop this Saturday. Marco makes wine in the Colli Euganei, a beautiful, mountainous National Park in the Veneto. His wines are a characterful product of rich volcanic soils, gentle natural farming and hands-off, intuitional winemaking. These are amplified, complex mountain wines that are honest and thirst inspiring. Come say hey, chat with Marco, and taste through these limited and unique expressions of Northern Italy.


Autumn Mixed Case

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$220 for 12 bottles. Normal price $260. Limited.

Kara and Alex put together the 12 best bottles for fall. Here they are, with descriptions and pairings. Respond to this email if you want to reserve, or just swing by the shop. 

2015 Matassa – Coume de l’olla 
A blend of 70% Grenache Noir, 20% Grenache Gris and 10% Macabeu from New Zealander Tom Lubbe.  He is on the isolated hillside of Vivier in the Roussillon farming . Drinks with tart cranberry fruit and complex aromatics.  Have it with a rich meal that includes offal.

2015 Broc Cellars  – Love White
A California Marsanne-based wine for a cooler night.  Aromas of almonds and baked apples come to mind from this unassuming wine.  Open it up, roast a chicken, make sure you have a second bottle for when its time to eat.

2015 Les Foulards Rouges – Le Fond de l’Air est Rouge
Carbonic Cinsault from the Languedoc with zero sulfur added.  Like beaujolais with a tan.  Pour yourself a glass first since this juice will empty quickly.

2015 Herve Villemade – Cuvee Bovin
Brambly high toned “co-op style” Gamay.  Bottled in vintage Loire liter co-op winery bottles since 750ml wouldn’t be enough.  Hold on to the classic glass for another use…

2015 Amplify Wine – Carignane
Whole cluster, semi-carbonic Carignan from Santa Ynez Valley.  Bright, herbaceous California juice. Cool breeze and crushed leaf vibes.

2014 Les Genestas – Signargues Cotes Du Rhone Villages
Blue fruited Cotes du Rhone blend made at a ten grower co-op.  Pairs with anything cooked in a dutch oven all afternoon.

2014 Thomas Batardiere – L’esprit Libre
Chenin from Anjou full of spice and sharp pome fruit.  Pour this as an aperitif for your best guests.  It will jive with you hors d’oeuvres spread and make your friends crave whatever crispy caramelized main dish your serving.

NV Nathalie Gaubicher – Patapon! (Pet-nat)
Chenin Blanc pet-nat from the Loire.  Truly the most “finished” pet-nat we’ve ever had!  Toasty and bright with orchard fruit and a lasting structure.

2015 La Roche Buissiere – Rosé
This juice has drive.  Cotes de Rhone rosé of Grenache, Cinsault, Mourvèdre, and Syrah; showing petrichor and grapefruit pith.  The fruit is much less elusive on the palate bringing you back for another whiff.

2015 Rafa Bernabe – El Carro
Muscat of Alexandria from a vineyard inside the Natural Park of La Mata Torrevieja called “Pago El Carro”.  This park is littered with sandy salt flats that bring out a highly mineral and briny citrus quality in the resulting wine.

2015 Ruth Lewandowski – Feints 
Barbera, Dolcetto, and Arneis, grown in Mendocino and fermented in Utah.  Brambly berry fruit and game with lively acidity and just enough tannin.  This hibiscus-hued wine is as wily as its name suggests.

2015 Shacksbury X Ainara Otano – Basque Cider
A collaboration of VT cider maker Shacksbury with Ainara Otaño of Petritegi Sagardoa in Astigarraga, Spain.  Cider as it used to be cloudy, still and tasting of an orchard during fall harvest.  Pour from on high and serve with plates of briny olives, salty cheeses, and many tiny fish.


Domaine de l’Ecu Tasting

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Saturday Tasting: Domaine de l’Ecu

Saturday, October 8, 1-4pm, $10

MUSCADET TASTING! This Saturday our friend and importer Nadia Dmytriw will join us to pour through the wines of Domaine de l’Ecu. Visionary winemaker Guy Bossard (left) established the property in the mid-seventies, a time when most farming and winemaking in France was in full swing towards conventional. Bossard stuck to his guns and farmed his vines organically from the start, providing his recent predecessor Frederik Niger Van Herck (right) with 25 hectares of healthy, well established vineyards to work with. Their winemaking is focused on creating pure, un-obstructed expressions of one of France’s most geologically diverse growing regions. Hand harvesting, natural fermentations, little to no sulfur, and a 10 month minimum lees aging are markers of their iconic house style. We will pour one sparkling, three still whites, and one very limited and experimental Cabernet Franc aged in amphora. These are bracing and powerful wines that inspire appetite (oysters anyone?) while conjuring sharp images of their distinct place of origin. Come taste and say hey!


Nicolas Vauthier Tasting

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Saturday, September 10th, 1-4pm, $10

I’m sitting here in Chicago. It’s 7 o’clock at night and it’s 92 degrees. I’m cooking dinner for my kids and the little A/C unit is too small to compete with the pork I’m braising and too loud for me to think, so I turn it off, open the windows, and just let the heat engulf me. Why did I braise pork? That was stupid. I just focus on the cool juice leaking out of the bloody tomatoes and the green turgidity of the cilantro bunch that I’m maliciously chopping into nothingness.

Francisco has decided that he wants an egg. Truth is that the pork is not going to be done until 8:30 and with all the prep and Lupita’s leisurely bottle, it probably makes sense for me to just treat the pork like five-star leftovers, serve him an egg with a wedge of cheddar, give him a bath, and call it a night.

“You want an egg?”

“Ya, oggy dada.”

“Ok. I’ll cook you an oggy.” At least it’s a really expensive egg from some farm.

I open the fridge to get the egg and there, down by the mustard and the coconut water, is this bottle of red wine, shrouded in a crescendo of fog that has bloomed from the violent clash of domestic climates. I actually try to swipe the fog away with a backhanded motion. I feel like Frodo Baggins, or maybe even Hamlet. I bend down close to look at this thing I forgot existed, grab the neck, and twist it around. It clanks against the other bottles, remnants of other hot nights, living out their days in cool lassitude. Sweat beads on the bottle like a hundred spider eyes.

It’s Nicolas Vauthier. A Pinot Noir from Northern Burgundy. It takes over my life. I fumble for a corkscrew and tear the bottle open, pour it into the closest vessel and gulp it with a melodrama that doesn’t make me feel self-conscious one damn bit.

I cook the egg without breaking the yolk. Give Lupita her bottle. Put the kids in bed. Take out the pork and eat it until pleasure has become entirely divorced from necessity.

Come to the shop this Saturday, 1-4pm, to taste all the new Vauthier wines. $10. They are the fucking best and I’m so happy we have them in the shop. Ciao.



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Saturday 1-4pm, $10, with winemaker Chad Hinds

When a bunch of industry folks get together in the afternoon and start drinking and eating, 99% of the time they start with something European, usually French. But a couple of months ago, a bunch of us were prepping a suckling pig for a big going away party, and the first wine we cracked open was the Wunderkind Chenin Blanc from Chad Hinds. We poured it around into tumblers and everyone gulped it down like it was lemonade. We actually started just calling it lemonade. Someone poured it over ice and slaked their thirst while manning the spit. It was a perfect wine: unfiltered, bursting with flowers and stone fruit, and with a certain energy that kept me coming back for more. I can’t think of another California wine that I wanted to drink so much. Sure, there may be “greater” white wines being made in California, but nothing this crushable. Chad even bottled a little bit of it without any sulfur additions, just for Ordinaire. Look for the little Ø on the back.

Chad is going to pour a full line-up of wines on Saturday: three Chenin Blancs and two Cabernet Francs, some of which are being pulled straight from the barrel. They are delicious wines that make me excited about the next generation of California winemakers. They are also extremely well-priced, so swing by, taste, and grab a few bottles for your weekend BBQ. Also, Chad is a great dude, whom you should all meet!


2015 ‘Wunderkind’ North Coast Chenin Blanc (Zero Cuvee)

2014 Vista Verde Vineyard San Benito County Chenin Blanc

2015 Vista Verde Vineyard San Benito County Chenin Blanc (Barrel Sample)

2015 Alegria Vineyard Russian River Valley Cabernet Franc (Zero Cuvee)

2015 Bates Ranch Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Franc (Barrel Sample)

pique nique

“Pique Nique Ordinaire” at Camino

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SUNDAY JULY 31st, 5pm


They are limited and required! 

Allison, Russ and I all agree that wine dinners suck. Here’s how they work:

Sit down. Wait too long for first course. First course is fucking small! Get first glass of wine. 1oz! Gone in 8 seconds. Next course comes. Is that risotto? Again? Wait 15 minutes for 1 oz of next wine. Winemaker gives boring speech about the kinds of barrels he uses. You pay too much. Then go eat a Kronner Burger because you are still hungry.

Here’s how Pique-Nique Ordinaire works:

You arrive and Quinn, Quentin and I pour you a big glass of the freshest sparkling rosé you’ve ever tasted. Say you finish a glass. We pour you another one. You meander around the restaurant eating delicious snacks, then sit down and eat some more. We pour you another round of rosé. Then you eat more. And we pour you another round of rosé. Oh wait, there’s more food? Yea. Eat some more. And drink more too. You pay $75 (tip included) and you are stuffed and probably pretty drunk too.

The best food from the best restaurant and tons of rosé to wash it down. It’s the picnic of the year. And it’s at Camino. Buy tickets here. Also, if you sign up for the wine club, you get $5 off. 


New Wines from Clos du Tue Boeuf

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SATURDAY JULY 16th, 1-4pm, 6 wines for $10

Thierry Puzelat turned fifty this year and, in a way, so did natural wine. I don’t mean to say that natural wine was born in 1966; in fact, it started millennia ago, somewhere in Mesopotamia, I assume. Rather, it seems to me (and I’ve only been in the game a few years so take this with a grain of salt) that natural wine as a cultural movement is at a certain historical juncture where it has begun to reflect on its own conditions of being, its identity as a movement, and the contours of its future. And while most movements, 50 years on, either fizzle out into ill-defined grayness or splinter into fractious sects, natural wine has proved capable of both broadening its walls and maintaining its lively communal character. I think a lot of this has to do with people like Thierry and the wines he makes with his brother at Clos du Tue Boeuf. Whatever else these wines might be—complex, terroir-driven, whole-cluster, naturally-fermented—they are above all generous, like the people who make them, proven by the drives of friends who traveled across the world to celebrate with Thierry. The claim these wines make on the drinker is that they be enjoyed without restraint, preferably in the company of friends, with simple food full of fat and salt. On Saturday we will pour all six of the new releases. Drink up. Get a plate of charcuterie. And raise a glass to Thierry.

We will taste:

VDF Rosé
VDF Rouge
P’tit Blanc
P’tit Buisson

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Saturday, July 9th, 1-4pm

six wines for $10

Earlier this year Noel Diaz poured his eclectic brood of PURITY WINES at the Brumaire Wine Fair. He was tucked in just behind the staircase, and despite being one of the smallest and newest producers, he was inundated with tasters from start to finish. He had brought a huge, glass tear-drop carboy full of a hazy elixir that shimmered a deep, irresistible gold. Smiling his broad smile, he was rapidly pulling samples from what was his entire production of a skin-fermented white wine. It smelled of coriander, white flower and ripe summer peaches, with a grippy texture that reminded me of wines from the South of Italy. It was a memorable wine that appealed to all of the senses. Then there was his rosé—earthy, minerally, and viscous all at once—which I came back to again and again to wash down my tacos, and a smattering of delightful oddities (Marsanne pet-nat!), each with something unique to say.


I had tasted Noel’s wines at various times in the preceding months, but it was at Brumaire that I finally woke up. Noel is making some of the coolest wines in California: rich, expressive, transparent and full of soul.


After the fair, Noel sent me the best thank you note, which concluded: “Let the revolution grow and foster on sustenance like those righteous tacos…a little at a time, we will rise above the tyranny of industrialized crap.” Come by on Saturday and taste the revolution. Noel makes very little wine (8 cases of this, 10 cases of that), and it is very well-priced ($18-$24), so come early. We will taste six wines.

Pinot Gris
Grenache Rosé

fifi contrast


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Fifi has only been importing wines for a few years, but he is already a legend. How do I know he’s a legend? Because I don’t even know his last name. I don’t even know if Fifi is his real name. He’s the Madonna of wine. He used to run The Ten Bells, a wine bar in New York that introduced natural wine to the United States. Now he imports wines from the producers he met while living and traveling in France over the course of his entire life. Did I mention he’s French? Legend! When I visited him in his small Crown Heights cave last year, he opened 16 bottles for me to taste, and then sent me home with all the open bottles. Legend! Right now his wines only come to California two or three time per year, crawling cross-country in the most highly anticipated refrigerated containers of the season. A new one just landed! And Fifi is in town. And this Saturday we are hosting him for a tasting from 1-4pm. We will pour some wines you’ve seen on Instagram (Métras, Anglore, etc.) and some other wines that just don’t give a fuck (Allion, Foulards Rouges, etc.). $10 for five or six wines. Ciao.


SQIRL POP-UP, JUNE 25, 6-late

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I know Sqirl as the place that serves perfect food. You go there, you order whatever, you drink your juice or coffee, and out comes a bowl of something tastier (and healthier!) than anything you’ve had all month. I was at a wedding in LA a few months ago and I met Jessica Koslow, the person behind Sqirl. Go figure she like natural wine. We hit if off. I think we briefly played air guitar if I’m not mistaken. Now Jessica is popping up at Ordinaire! She’ll be making savory late night snacks (fermented popcorn! terrines!) that will have you thirsty for cold Gamay. Starts at six and we will go until we sell out, which I expect will happen rather quickly. Fortunately there will be plenty of wine to drink.

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6 wines for $15

“Le Coste Vineyard began in February 2004 with the purchase of three hectares of abandoned land known as ‘Le Coste,’ which had once been a garden of vines and olives.

The vineyard has since grown and now covers about 14 hectares, 3 of young vines planted by us, 4 of old vines (40 to 60 years of age) which we rent, 4 of olive trees, and 3 of ancient terraces returned to woodland which we intend to clear in order to reintroduce the old system of mixed farming and the rearing of local breeds of animals for both meat and milk.

The vineyard is situated in Gradoli, in the province of Viterbo, on the border with Tuscany, 40 kms from the Mediterranean coast. Lying at 450ms above sea level, in the hills overlooking the Lake of Bolsena, the soil is loose and friable, derived from the underlying volcanic rocks and ashes, rich in iron and minerals.

On all the property we practice “natural” agriculture, without any official certification, but with great respect for the environment, in order to create a natural balance which intensive farming would certainly disturb. To this end we cultivate mixed crops, vines, olives, fruit trees and green manures.

The wine is made without technological processing or chemical additives; fermentation occurs spontaneously due to indigenous yeasts without adding sulphur dioxide; malolactic fermentation follows naturally, usually after the alcoholic fermentation, sometimes ending in the spring.”

– Gianmarco

Litrozzo Bianco $25

Produced naturally with the grapes from the pergolas, table grapes and those of lesser quality, with the idea of offering a light unpretentious wine, table wine as it used to be, to drink with meals every day.

Bianco $39

80% Procanico, with Tuscan Malvasia, Malvasia di Candia, Malvasia Puntinata, Vermentino, Greco, Ansonico and other grapes, macerated briefly with the skins, fermented in vats for about three weeks, matured in barrels of various sizes for about a year.

Le Coste Bianco $68

85% Procanico, Malvasia di Candia, Malvasia Puntinata, Vermentino, Roscetto, Verdello, Greco Antico, Ansonico, all from Le Coste, crushed briefly by foot, pressed and decanted for a few days, then fermented slowly in a 12 hl barrel of French oak in a natural cave for about a year.

Le Coste Olio $27

the best olive oil. nuf said.

Litrozzo Rosso $25

Produced naturally with the grapes from the pergolas, table grapes and those of lesser quality, with the idea of offering a light unpretentious wine, table wine as it used to be, to drink with meals every day.

Rosso $35

Mainly Greghetto (a local variety of Sangiovese), with a little Cannaiolo, Colorino, Ciliegiolo, and Vaiano, as they grow mixed on the vines. Fermented for about a month with the skins in vats of French oak and chestnut, then matured for about a year in barrels of Slavonian oak.

Le Coste Rosso $68

Made from the local Greghetto and older strains of Sangiovese, cru Le Coste.  Yielding naturally about 30hl per hectare, the whole grapes are macerated in open vats of French oak where they ferment for about two months. After pressing, the wine ages for about two years in small barrels.

max pistou

Mason-Pacific Preview Bistro w/ Chef Max Mackinnon

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Thursday & Friday (6/16-6/17), 6-close

Mason-Pacific is a little neighborhood place perched up on Russian Hill. The honest food and deep list of Burgundy has made it an infamous late night hangout for the entire San Francisco wine industry. Back in February, they recruited Max from Burlington, Vermont, where he earned a James Beard Award for Best New Restaurant while running the kitchen at Pistou. But before Max could get started, there was a fire in the kitchen, and Max has been plotting menus for their July re-opening ever since. Lucky for us, Max digs natty wine, and asked if he could try out some ideas at a pop-up bistro. He will be cooking this Thursday and Friday. Change your plans and join us. Below is the menu:

Chicken Liver   $10
onion, raspberry

Carrots   $11
mussel, curry, basil

Endive   $9
walnut, sourdough, caesar

Beef Tartare   $15
scallion, mustard, egg yolk

Poached Trout   $21
cabbage, horseradish

Braised Lamb   $23
eggplant, onion

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La Garagista, 5/28, 1-4pm

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This Saturday we are excited to host the incomparable Deirdre Heenkin, the woman behind La Garagista, a winery in Vermont that is changing how people think about farming, terroir, and wine in general. She attended Brumaire in March after receiving a travel scholarship from Ordinaire. In exchange, she wrote a short vignette answering the question “Why do you make Natural Wine?” Below you will find her answer.

On Saturday we will taste:

Ci Confondre Pétillant Blanc
Ci Confondre Pétillant Rosé
Brianna Pétillant
La Crescent, Vinu Jancu
Frontenac Noir, Loups-Garroux

All the wines are $39 retail. The tasting costs $10. Deirdre will also be signing her new book, An Unlikely Vineyard: The Education of a Farmer and Her Quest for Terroir. Come early. The wines are as unique as they are rare.

Why do I make natural wine?

Standing  here in our homefarm vineyard pruning on an elemental March day, I feel the warm sun on my back.  It’s supposed to still be winter here, but instead it’s a strangely mild day on our alpine hill.  The air is slightly damp, and I can smell the woodsmoke of vine prunings burning.  I think of roast sausages and onions over the fire.  Suddenly the slow accumulation of these sensory experiences transports me to a sunny spring day in the gray stone clad hills above the ancient temples of Paestum in southern Italy.   Something about the opaque spring sun is familiar.  

My husband Caleb and I drive on a rutted Roman road with our good friend Bruno.  Bruno is a winegrower in the south of Italy, the garden of Italy, in the region of the Valle di Diano, a fertile countryside, a meeting of mountain and sea.  We drive up a steep incline into a small parcel of vines tucked on the backside of a hill. In my memory it faces south-east, turned slightly away from the Mediterranean lapping at the shores, somewhere below. 

Bruno’s car is low slung and as the vehicle grinds to an abrupt stop, he curses elegantly into the still morning air.  Very quickly the situation becomes clear that the car is stuck in the track below the vines, a couple of grooves in white, friable soil that is damp and dark , wet even underneath, grooves made by a tractor, or another car,  or a chariot from another time.  We leave it for later, putting off pushing the car out of its trap, or calling for help.  Instead,  we grasp at more immediate pleasures, and we walk up into this young vineyard, neatly pruned  and planted with oats grown to mid-thigh.  Bruno says it’s time to cut.  Instinctively all three of us brush the furry fruits at the top of the oat stems with our fingers as we swish through the growth.

Bruno tells us these burgeoning vines are all native Falanghina, their little leaves of green unfurling from tight buds, moving slowly toward the sunlight.  The air smells of heat, wet clay, wet stones,  and an indefinable green perfume that comes from the chartreuse leaves pushing out everywhere, on all the trees and new plants and flowers from the hedgerow.  We speak of farming.  Cover crops.  Plant teas.  Copper.  Sulphur. Compost.  Moon cycles.  We speak of family farms, the beauty and difficulties, the differences and the solidarities.  We speak of his brother-in-law, whom he says has a perfectly attuned palate for these vineyards that the family farms together, especially and in a particular for one of their vineyards planted to the noble Aglianico.  Bruno tells of how his brother-in-law walks the rows of ripening, dark fruit close to harvest, tasting berries here and there, gauging, sensing, listening.  When the flavors coalesce in a way that calls to his intuition, he calls the pick and the crew rallies and the black ruby fruit comes in.

In Bruno’s telling, I am mesmerized by this story, by the notion that someone might know a vineyard so well that he or she can intuit that singular moment in which the minor tragedies and glories of a season unfold in layers of flavor, texture, acidity, tension in a way that foretells the future of the fermention and the fruit into the wine.  At that moment, this little diamond -like revelation  is so shiny that the magpie in me becomes enchanted and wants to understand this kind of magic.  I want to be able to do this too.

By then I knew I wanted to be a good farmer, this was why we had come to Bruno to learn, but this was really before I was aware of the fluid notion of natural wine,  of what it meant to be a vigneronne, a winegrower, a person who acted as an intuitive guide and a companion to her vines as well as the wine.  This was before I knew about the limestone and various clays in the valley soils of Vermont, or the volcanic shists, quartz, amphibolites, slates, and garnets  of our homefarm and mountain vineyard.  It was before  I knew how to identify horsetail and stinging nettle, wild white yarrow in our hedgerows.  This was before we had planted more than a hundred vines on our land that had long ago been home to herds of sheep stolen from Spanish nobility.  This was before we would meet a man at a dinner party who knew a man with a local vineyard who might be willing to sell me some fruit.  This was before Bruno sat at our own dining table in a farmhouse in snow-clad Vermont mountains and tasted wines that I had made in buckets in our claw-footed bathtub from grapes without provenance bought at market in Boston and that had traveled from California.  This was before Bruno would give me a knickname, that of Capotosta, or hardheaded.  This was before Bruno would give me my first task when we learned from the man at the dinner party who knew a man with a local vineyard that we could come pick fruit.  

Taste the fruit.  See the fruit.  Pick the fruit by hand, he said to me.  Choose your clusters.  Destem by hand.  Sort the berries.  Crush by your feet.  Press in a simple ratchet press.  Ferment in glass jars.  Do it the way the old farmers  did it.  Become a peasant.  

This was the moment in which desire and hope entwined and while I didn’t understand what it meant, I knew what I felt and what I wanted to do, had to do.  As I looked out over the intimate little vineyard embraced by the shifting and swaying oats and mixed flowers and we followed Bruno around the perimeter and he showed us how to identify and pick wild asparagus beneath the trees, I became electric.  This was the first piece in a large and ever-evolving puzzle in which I would take the first steps down this thorny but beautifully scented path, this was when I knew I wanted to be a winegrower, someone like Bruno who was passionate and thoughtful and learned in the ways of the vineyard, and someone like his brother-in-law who could see the story of a place and  a vintage in the world of a single ripe grape.   This was the moment when I knew I wanted to grow wine that could be luminous with history, nostalgia, love, spirit, purity, and honesty.  This was the moment when, for the third time in my life, I stood poised on an edge.  And jumped. 



The Wines of Joe Swick: 5/20/2016, 1-4pm

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On Wednesday, I went to a big trade tasting that featured about 100 wines from 40 or so producers. These events are always hard for me. They are great for tasting a bunch of wines, but, despite careful note-taking, the wines always run together in my memory, persisting as a small, winedark sea that is generally pleasant but otherwise useless for wine buying purposes. Add to this my predilection for chatting, drinking, losing my tasting sheet, and making sure my toddler doesn’t get into the spit buckets, and it’s amazing that I manage to remember anything. But at this particular event, there was a set of wines unlike anything I have ever tasted.


John Swick is a winemaker in Oregon. After brief stints making wine in Portugal, New Zealand, Italy, Australia, and California, he broke out on his own and, inspired by the wines he had discovered in France, started making completely natural wines. In his words: “Nothing added, nothing taken away.  I like experiencing everything, including wines, as raw as possible. This is the most authentic expression of place and growing year as possible.”

We talk a lot about natural wines, but people don’t realize how rare they are on the West Coast. As far as I know, Tony Coturri is the only producer making all of his wines completely without additions. And John Swick is the second. But unlike Coturri’s dense, extracted wines, Swick’s are lightly fruited, with bright acidity and exuberant floral aromatics. They are utterly unique in the way they combine lush, new world fruit character with the minerality and acidic snap I associate with wines from the Loire Valley or the Jura.

We will pour these four wines:

2015 “Les Sous-Bois” Pinot Gris

2015 Melon de Bourgogne

2015 Crooked Acres Pinot Gris (macerated Pinot Gris)

2015 Gris Foncé (Pinot Noir/Gris coferment)

The wines are very special and should not be missed. Hope to see you there.

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Cruse Wine Co. with Mike Cruse

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Saturday, May 14th, 1-4pm, $15

Like most people who work in wine, I always get a little bit happier when Mike Cruse walks through the door. He’s a seemingly bottomless reservoir of goodwill, quick wit and—how to put this?—thirstiness. And I don’t just mean thirst for wine. I mean thirst for just about everything. Thirst for conversation, for knowledge, for gossip, for recent discoveries, for tales of child rearing, for an opinion on the recent elections in France, for your idea of how a Pet Nat should be made, how duck liver should be cooked, or how a bottle of Beaujolais should be consumed. You tell him, and then, just like that, he starts telling you what he thinks, and he’s got these long, well-reasoned opinions that are so fun to hear. There’s this lovely balance between the idle flow across disparate topics and a certain reflective rigor that gives texture and direction to the conversation. I could talk to Mike all damn afternoon.


I can picture Mike reading this paragraph, thinking: this is where Bradford is supposed to draw an analogy between my personality and my wines. Mike’s thinking: are my wines down to earth? gregarious? friendly? Is that a good thing?


The truth is that Mike makes a range of wines, from a lightly fruited sparkling Valdiguié to a brooding and structured Syrah. The wines go where they want to go. They bear the mark of a winemaker who is still fascinated by what he can learn from grapes, and who delights in the mysteries of fermentation even as he attempts to discern its rational core. The wines themselves are buoyed by this tension: between a playfulness that moves lateral to analysis and a seriousness that propels one to become involved in the wine’s complex matrix of flavors.


Perhaps it is for this reason that Mike is one of the few winemakers able to move easily in almost all wine circles: slamming bottles of Beaujolais at Ordinaire on Wednesday, then sniffing old Burgundy with the somm set on Friday. And always finishing with Champagne.


On Saturday, we will pour all of Mike’s new wines. Because he keeps getting mentioned in the New York Times and showing up on celebrity Instagram accounts, many of the wines are only sold direct to consumer. But we are going to pour everything on Saturday, including the stuff that doesn’t get released to retail. So it’s a chance to get the wines if you aren’t on the mailing list. More than that, it’s a chance to chat with Mike. See you then.



2015 Muscat

2014 Chardonnay

2015 Sparkling St. Laurent

2015 Sparkling Valdiguié

2015 Valdiguié (Magnum)

2015 Monkey Jacket Red Wine Blend



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I’ve been in a reflective mood these past few weeks, and as I write this email, I’m reflecting on the wine club—about why we do it, what it is, how it could be better, etc. Most wine clubs feature wines that are widely pleasing, easy to understand, and kinda boring. After all, when a hundred people are drinking a wine, you want it to appeal to most of them. It makes sense. But this isn’t really what Ordinaire is about. As a shop, we find great pleasure in introducing people to new experiences, surprising them, sometimes disturbing them. And for us, the club should be an expression of the shop, not a dumbed down club that resembles everyone else. So thanks for being open to new things, to getting excited about the eccentric and and the eclectic, for taking chances and broadening your horizons. Thanks for being a part of Ordinaire. We really appreciate it. And we hope you love the wines this month.


Bradford & Quinn




Le Raisin à Plume “Le Pâtis des Rosiers”

Oudon is a tiny town in the far west of the Loire Valley. It sits on the famed Armorican Massif, an ancient geological formation composed of gneiss and schist, as it dips down into the narrowing bed of the Loire River, just 30 miles inland from the Atlantic Ocean. Oudon’s unique geography has made it an important political outpost over the centuries, a gatekeeper to anyone wanting to enter the Loire Valley and maraud some of the beautiful Châteaux upstream. As a winemaking region, it is about as obscure as it gets: the ground is hard, the climate is cold, and rains sweep in from the ocean year round. It is, in other words, both the political and oenological frontier of the Loire Valley, and by extension, all of France. As with most wine regions on the outer limits, this one has the potential to produce wines with great personality, but only if the winemaker is willing to fully embrace the marginality of the terroir. Which is exactly what Jacques Février does. Le Pâtis des Rosiers is all Gamay from old vines. It is hand picked, macerated for two weeks in glass tanks and bottled without filtration or sulfur additions. The result is a light red that is floral and fruity with a taut acidic structure reminiscent of steely Muscadet. Drink slightly chilled with pasta primavera.

Vini Viti Vinci Bourgogne Coulanges la Vineuse “Grôle Tête”

Before he started making natral wine, Nicolas Vauthier (commonly known as “Kikro”) was one of the most important cakikrovistes in France, acting as the buyer for Aux Crieurs de Vins, a legendary wine bar on the outskirts of Champagne. About a decade ago, he sold his share in that business and started Vini Viti Vinci, a negotiant project based in the less exulted regions of Northern Burgundy, including Chitry, Epineuil, and Irancy. His experience as a buyer has given him a keen eye for quality despite the lack of conventional credentials. The result is a set of wines from unknown vineyards that deliver lots of personality and complexity without a hefty price tag. Coulange la Vineuse is a perfect example. Wine has been made in this tiny village for centuries, but is now overshadowed by Chablis to the northwest (it shares those famous chalky soils) and Burgundy to the South (it shares that famous climate). It’s a lovely unfiltered Pinot Noir that offers fresh fruit aromatics, a slight whiff of peonies, and a chablisienne streak of acidity that will help you jump into spring. Could be fun with lighter lamb preparations, a ham and gruyère sandwich, or fava bean frittata.



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2014 Julian Altaber Sextant Bourgogne Blanc

I’ve never worked a real harvest. I’d love to spend the entire season with one winemaker, witness that symphonic chorus of actions, executed with perfect timing by someone with the intuitive scope that one must have in order to make real wine. All the moving parts, human, animal, and machine. The exercise in humility. The gratifying sweat of physical labor. When it comes time for me to get out there, I’d like to work harvest with someone like Julian Altaber. I got a feel for his harvest operation last fall, when I spent one morning harvesting Chardonnay at Montbellet, a vineyard that Julian’s friend Vincent Talmot farms in the Maconnais. We showed up as the morning fog began to burn off, and Julian greeted us amongst the vines, handing us each a bucket and shears. We worked in quiet awe of the speed and efficiency of the diverse crew. Townie footballer kids kitted up like they were ready for a match, salty farmer guys, quick & clinical hired gun types with stumpy cigarettes dangling from their mouths, and a couple kind-faced elderly locals. I felt comfortable around them, despite my clumsy lack of experience. Before I knew it, we broke for lunch. Bread, cheese, cured sausages, coffee, cigarettes, Vincent’s pet-nat. As the rest of the crew hit the vines again, we hit the road. The tight schedule of an importer trip forced us to leave. Despite the unspoken air of camaraderie, we weren’t really part of the crew. We were tourists of sorts. Spectators almost. And as much as I want to work a harvest for educational reasons, I also feel a need to redeem myself. As if I left something half-finished. Anyways, Julian’s Bourgogne Blanc comes from that vineyard. It’s a delicious wine. And next year when the 2015 arrives, I will once again be reminded of my unfinished business as a novice harvest-hand. Drink this wine with bread, cheese, cured sausages, coffee, and cigarettes.

2014 Derain Bourgogne Rouge Les Riaux

Dominique Derain is a very important figure in the Natural wine scene. His geographically broad range of vineyard work draws a diverse map of Burgundian terroir, a study in the importance of micro site-specific bottlings. Not to mention he is Julian Altaber’s mentor (see above), and largely responsible for his rise as a force in French natural wine. Les Riaux is a low yielding, half-hectare Pinot Noir vineyard in the plains of Puligny-Montrachet. Prime real estate for a basic Bourgogne Rouge. Dominique de-stems 90% of the grapes, and presses them into large wooden vats for fermentation. After 10 days of maceration with occasional punchdowns, the skins are pressed off into old neutral oak barrels where it is aged for 6 months before bottling. Along with the wines of Julien Guillot, Frederic Cossard, Philippe Pacalet, these are easily some of the purest, most focused natural wines in burgundy. Drink with grilled rabbit and spring vegetables. In the spirit of Duchamp, here’s a little photo of Dominique’s washroom.IMG_3174


If you are not a part of the club, then go here and sign up. You get two or four bottles a month, a free tasting every first Saturday, and 10% off all your purchases in the shop.

vini viti vinci


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When I sit down to write about a wine, or a winemaker, or really anything else for that matter, there’s always a first decision: whether to take the objective or subjective approach. Do I, for example, describe a vineyard, a climate, a technique and style; or do I talk about how such-and-such wine makes me feel, how it came out of the void and struck me with its vital personality, creating a memory to which I return every time I see the bottle on the shelf?


With the wines of Nicolas Vauthier, or “Kikro” as he is affectionately known, it can only be the latter. That’s a picture ok Kikro in a vineyard near Irancy.

Two years ago, Quinn and I were dining at Chateaubriand. As some of you may know, eating at Chateaubriand can be frustrating: the menu is always changing, they are pushing the boundaries, experimenting on their customers, trying out dishes that aren’t yet perfect. So sometimes the place just fails. But when it all clicks, it’s an exhilarating experience—unparalleled, in my opinion. I’ve had the greatest meals of my life there. And tonight was one of them.

Back before natural wine was de rigeur in every neo-bistro in Paris, Chateaubriand filled out its list with the most progressive and eclectic set of natural wines anyone had ever seen: Robinot, Peron, Overnoy, Jambon, the list goes on. The list is now quite large, full of things unavailable anywhere else, served unpretentiously and enthusiastically. We started with a zero-so2 Gringet from Belluard and then about 5 minutes later, bottle just about empty, asked our server for a light red that we could drink throughout the meal.

Sébastien came back to the table a few minutes later, unceremoniously poured out two glasses, and rushed backed to the packed bar, bottle in hand. Quinn and I settled into it. It was iridescent ruby in color—a joy to swirl, to watch it shimmer in the soft light of the restaurant. Quinn sniffs it first and I see a big smile spreading across his face. I even got a picture of it!


quinn chateaubriand

It smells the way that only natural wine can smell: like fresh raspberries picked along the side of the highway, like a handful of fresh basil, like the skin of a ripe tomato, like a thunderstorm. We are relieved when Sébastien returns with the whole bottle: a Pinot Noir from Irancy, in the far north of Burgundy, up close to Chablis. The winemaker is Nicolas Vauthier, and the name of the winery is Vini Viti Vinci. We finish the whole thing with ease as a parade of perfect dishes came out of the kitchen—I remember, in particular, a dish of raw potato, cut into long pasta strands, tossed with heavy cream infused with pungent thyme branches. Quinn and I agreed it was pretty much the best meal we’d ever had, and the Vauthier wine stayed in our minds for the rest of the trip.

Turns out the wines are not available on the West Coast. One cuvée is imported on the East Coast, but really nothing much is available besides that. It seemed crazy to us that these wines were not being enjoyed in California. So we partnered with our good friend Josh Eubank to import the wines. It’s an exciting moment for us—our first “Ordinaire” selection, if you will. But really we had very little to do with it. Someone poured us this wine. We liked it. We bought it. And now we are offering it to you.

All the wines arrived this morning. We’ll open them on Saturday afternoon from 1 to 4pm. The cost is $10.  If you want to buy the wines, but cannot make the tasting, send me an email at We’ll set you up.

And sorry I never got the objective part of this write-up. I suppose there’s enough of that in this world.


Podere Pradarolo, Thursday, 6-10pm

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Our friend Giovanni of Scuola di Vino is back in town, toting around a mystery bag of natural wine from across Italy. He’ll be in the shop this Thursday night, pouring the mind-bending and transportive wines of Podere Pradarolo, an estate in the hills of Parma devoted to making sulfur free wines of dramatic depth and complexity. He is bringing along six different wines: a silky, supple and rich Barbera, two long-macerated whites made from Malvasia, two delicious dessert wines, and what he claims to be the only traditional method sparkling orange wine in Italy. I tasted a sample bottle with him the other night that had been open for two days. It was completely flat, slightly oxidized, and entirely transcendent. Can’t wait to taste the wine in it’s intentional state. This is the first time these wines are gracing our shelves here at Ordinaire, and we’re really excited. It’s guys like Giovanni that keep this business real and interesting, so come show a small importing company of integrity some love. See you there!

2012 Malvasia “VEJ BRUT” $52
2006 Malvasia “VEJ” $33
2005 Malvasia “VEJ” $33
2012 Barbera “VELIUS” Rosso $25
2010 Malvasia “FRINIRE DI CICALE” $48
NV Termarina “IL CANTO DE CIO” $50

Taste all 6 wines for $10.


BICHI WINES + LUYT WINESSaturday February 27th 1-4pm

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We are super super excited to host Jair Tellez, chef of the incomparable Laja Restaurant in Ensenada, Mexico, and now the guy behind the equally incomparable Bichi Winery in Tecate. A few years ago, he left his post as chef at a Top 50 San Pellegrino Restaurant in order to devote his life to resurrecting the old vines of Baja. And better yet, he’s committed to working naturally: organic farming, native yeasts, and as of this vintage, no so2 whatsoever. THESE ARE MEXICAN WINES FROM THE FUTURE. COME TASTE THE FUTURE!

Also, last minute, our good friend Louis-Antonie Luyt decided to fly up from Patagonia. Luyt is good buddies with Jair and helps out with the winemaking at Bichi. He also makes his own wines down in Chile. They are, simply put, the best wines made in South America. Also, Luyt likes to party. So put some hot sauce in your bag and wear your party shoes.

So we are pouring 4-5 Bichi wines and 3 Luyt wines and the cost is $15 for all the wines. 1-4pm.


QUAIL BISTRO, 2/19, 6-10pm

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Tim Edmonds is a chef who lives in Pescadero. He’s planning to open his own place this year (keep your eyes peeled!), but in the meantime, he’s been doing a bunch of catering projects and raising some quail on his property. Yes, that’s right, he raises quail. He hatches the eggs, raises the chicks, lets them eat the grass, and then plucks their feathers and cooks them. He also has a big garden where he grows most of the produce for his catering projects. Funny thing is that he doesn’t seem to realize how awesome this is. He’s just raising quail. Whatever.
Tim will be cooking this Friday at Ordinaire. He’s carting up the birds and vegetables in the morning and then cooking from 6pm until we sell out. Menu will look something like this, but it depends on what’s fresh that morning.
beet poke
chickpea panisse, fava leaf pesto
crispy brussel sprouts, bacon jam, goat cheese
grilled quail, cabbage salad
fried quail, polenta, spicy greens
Reservations available for parties of five or more. Otherwise just walk in, bring some friends, grab a bottle, and have some fun.
villemade in his vines

Hervé Villemade: 20 February, 1-4pm

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We deeply believe in every wine that we sell. But each for different reasons. Often our favorite wines are confusing, mercurial, recalcitrant, cerebral, fragile, or ephemeral. Robinot comes to mind. Philippe Jambon, of course, and many others. We love these wines not in spite of these eccentricities, but because of them. But we also have wines that are downright dependably delicious every single time: wines that are soulful, well-structured and immediately satisfying. Julien Guillot comes to mind, as does Thierry Puzelat. And Hervé fits into this second category. His wines are well-priced and always good: bright, fruity, complex and refreshing. They are benchmark natural wines that always have a place in the shop.
His family has been making wine in Cheverny for generations. In the nineties, after farming conventionally for a few years, he decided to start converting to organics, and after tasting the results, he never turned back. He works with Gamay, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Cot, Pinot Noir, Menu Pineau and Romorantin. He has a deft touch in the cellar, preferring large, neutral fermentation vessels and very small amounts of sulfur. He also hunts, and makes terrine out of the animals he shoots.

This Saturday, Hervé will visit the shop and pour six of his wines, including a back vintage of Romorantin just so you can get a sense of this grape’s unique evolution.

1-4pm. $10.

2014 Villemade Cheverny Blanc $18
2012 Villemade Cheverny Blanc Les Bodices $26
2014 Villemade Cheverny Rouge $18
2012 Villemade Cheverny Rouge Les Ardilles $25
2014 Villemade Cour-Cheverny Acacias $37
2008 Villemade Cour-Cheverny Petit Acacia $40

If you can’t make the tasting but would like to purchase the wines, reply to this email. We’ll try to figure something out.

cory alice jose 2


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Alice Feiring is coming to town. If you don’t know who Alice Feiring is, then you should google her. But you probably know who she is, and you’re thinking, “Shit, this is fucking awesome. Alice is coming to town?!”

We are doing a special Saturday tasting. Alice has chosen five wines from some of her favorite importers: José Pastor, Selection Massale, and Percy Selections. So we are pouring an Alice-curated-super-line-up from 2 to 5pm. The cost is $15. If you sign up for her incomparable newsletter, then we waive the tasting fee.

We are pouring these wines:

Tripoz Fleur d’Aligoté
Jean-Pierre Rietsch Quand le chat n’est pas là
Vinos-Ambiz “white wine from the future”
Christian Ducroux Expectatia (Augustinian “red” wine)
Goyo Garcia Cobrero

Can’t get much better than that! Five zero-zero beauties that will make you feel great!

Then later on that night, starting at 8pm, we are hosting a pizza party, courtesy of Boot & Shoe service, who will be slinging pies at Ordinaire, and José and I are making some sides. Whatever. $65 gets you pizza, wine, and a year-subscription to the newsletter. And just say you don’t want the newsletter, then it costs you just $35. José, Cory and I will be working the bar, so you can imagine that it will be a little bit more fun than over-paying for a Negroni and looking at your new iPhone.

If you want to come to dinner, you need to RSVP. Send an email to


CHAMPANGE TASTING: Beaufort, Collin, Lassaigne, Tarlant, Pascal

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THURSDAY JANUARY 17th, 6-10pm. $20.

This Thursday evening, we feature the Champagnes of Farm Wine Imports. Recently, they acquired a whole slew of amazing producers and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the holidays so that we could pour nice fat lineup. The inimitable Keven Clancy will be in residence, pouring the wines (and drinking them too). Some of the wines are super limited, so come early. Should be fun.

2010 André Beaufort Brut Millésime Blanc de Blancs $85
Domaine André Beaufort has formed organically since the 1970s. They are known for producing powerful and rich champagnes that age for decades. Recently, the son Amaury has started making the wines without the addition of sugar (Brut Nature), resulting in wines that are fresh, vibrant and more accessible in their youth. I find this 2010 more akin to Burgundy than Champagne. This stuff is what F. Scott and Zelda were drinking with their buddies in Antibes. The addition of no sulfites (or anything else) makes this wine aromatically exuberant and unabashedly rich. My wine of choice for New Year’s Eve. Pair with whole lobster tail and a lobe of foie gras.

Ulysses Collin Les Pierrières Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs $80
Collin works in the far south, where the famous chalky soil of Champagne is right at the surface, mixed with a high proportion of silex, which imbues these wines with a wonderful mineral component. What makes them unique is Collin’s commitment to harvesting at maximum ripeness, allowing for a judicious amount of oxidation, and fermenting and aging exclusively in old Burgundy barrels. This year, the wine shows richness and depth: succulent apricot, white peach and Bosc pear intermingle with a savory constellation of raw carrot, wet soil and slate. A gastronomic champagne.

Jacques Lassaigne Le Cotet Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs $70
From a parcel of 40+ year-old vines growing in the clay and chalk soils of Montgueux. The parcel is distinguished by his proportion of silex (flint) in the soil, which lends the wine a distinct mineral component. Picked at maximum ripeness and then allowed to undergo native fermentation without the addition of sulfites. Aged for two years in old barrels, then hand-disgorged, corked and released. Mineral, fresh, exuberant. A pure blanc de blancs that calls out for a giant fruits de mer tower.

Jacques Lassaigne La Colline Inspirée Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs $86
Again, all Chardonnay from Manu Lassaigne, but form only the oldest vines. This wine undergoes fermentation and aging only in barrel. Slightly more unctuous, honeyed and broad, but also showing a very intriguing savory dimension that is reminiscent of great Burgundy. The palate combines baked apple, quince and raw mushroom. It’s more muscular and and mouth-filling than Le Cotet, but still bursting with energy. I would drink this with duck breast.

Champagne Tarlant Brut Zero $50
When I first tasted this wine from Tarlant, i wasn’t convinced. Sure, it was clean and bright, with an electric streak of acidity that would wake up your palate. But it was also a bit simple. I recently retested the wine and couldn’t believe the difference a few months in bottle had made. Still zingy and citrusy, but now showing a complex bouquet of red fruits and white flowers. Made from organic fruit, it’s a blend of 1/3 Pinot 1/3 Chardonnay and 1/3 Meunier from the Vallée de la Marne. A wonderful (and affordable) portrait of Champagne terroir.

Franck Pascal Tolerance Rosé $60
A biodynamic estate in the Chatillon area of the Vallée de la Marne. He eschewed chemicals after realizing that vineyards sprays were derived from the same methods as the chemicals he was trained to use in the French military. He also tries to avoid sulfur because it can de-center the energy of living organisms, such as grapes, or a bottle of Champagne. Whatever you think about biodynamics, the results are difficult to argue with. This is the rosé, made by blending 6% red wine from the lowest yielding parcels of Pinot Noir and Meunier. It’s bright and red-fruited, showing a subtle tannic texture that draws out the acidity and accents the lovely fruit. Unique and beautiful stuff.

brochet mugshot copy

Champagne Tasting: Brochet, Courtin, Perseval, Couche

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Emmanuel Brochet

Emmanuel organically farms a 2.5 hectare single parcel in Montagne-de-Reims, called “Le Mont Benoît.” All of his wines undergo indigenous fermentation in barrel. In recent vintages, he has also begun to select native yeasts from his estate to jump start the secondary fermentation (prise de mousse as the French call it). His wines are sleek, upright and opulent, balancing pleasure with a very distinct and bracing minerality, which is even more pronounced in his single-varietal cuvées.

Le Mont Benoit Extra Brut (2011), $72
2009 Haut Chardonnay Extra Brut, $115
2008 Les Hauts Meuniers Extra Brut, $120

Based in the Aube to the South, Dominique Moreau concentrates almost exclusively on crafting powerfully vinous expressions of Pinot Noir (though rare bits of Chardonnay and Pinot Blanc also exist). She organically farms a single parcel of land, which minimizes pollution from her neighbors. The wines are aromatically exotic, dense and textural.

NV Résonanace Extra Brut (2012), $57
2009 Efflorescence Extra Brut, $85
2011 Indulgence Extra Brut Rosé, $100

Thomas Perseval

Thomas organically farms 2.5 hectares of vineyards spread around the town of Chamery, in the Montagne-de-Reims region. He continues to make his parents wines, alongside his own, resulting in wines that house a forward-thinking core of salinity and cut inside a sleek and elegant framework of lush fruit. We are lucky to have a microscopic amount of his rosé as well.

Extra Brut Tradition (2012), $60
Extra Brut Rosé (2012/2010), $65

Vincent Couche

Based in the Aube near the town of Buxeil, Vincent Couche is one of the few people in Champagne fully committed to farming biodynamically, something the harsh, wet climate makes extra difficult. The hard work shows through in the wines, which display precise acidity and a very bright and refreshing fruit profile, unimpeded by any added dosage. His Cuvée Chloé, a sans souffre cuvée, is not to be missed.

NV Brut Zero, $46
NV Cuvée Chloé Brut Zero, $72

Tasting costs $20. It is 1-4pm on Saturday, December 12th. Wines in italics are included in the tasting. If you cannot make it to the tasting, but would like to purchase the wines, send us an email. We are happy to reserve the wines, or ship them to you. Thanks!