Saturday Tasting: Vins Hodgson + Yann Bertrand

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SATURDAY, October 27th, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines (waived with $100 purchase)

Fascinated by the French wines they had tasted in Vancouver and Japan, Mai and Kenji Hodsgon moved to the Loire in 2009 to figure out what it was all about. They fell in with natural winemaking legend Claude Courtois and a year later found 4 hectares of vines near Anjou which they began to work organically. Over the last nine years, the winery has grown from an improbably idealistic expat dream into one of the most exciting sources of crystalline Chenin Blanc and rustic, soul-warming Cabernet Franc. We’ll taste three of their new wines alongside two elegant Beaujolais from wunderkind Yann Bertrand. If you have been a customer for a while, you may remember when these wines first landed and took the American wine industry by storm. Then a string of treacherous harvests made the wines almost impossible to find. 2017 continues that trend, with hail and frost leaving yields insanely low. We’ve got a few cases, so come early and load up for the holidays. They are juicy, mineral Gamays built for the autumn.

Our good friend Cory Gowan from Mission Wine Co. will be behind the bar pouring. $10 to taste all five. Fee waived with $100 purchase.

Vins Hodgson P’tit Luchini $30
Vins Hodgson La Grand Piece Rouge 2017 $35
Vins Hodgson Les Aussiguoins Chenin Blanc 2016 $48
Famille Bertrand Fleurie Pur Oh!rigine 2017 $30
Famille Bertrand Fleurie Vieilles Vignes 2017 $39

Saturday Tasting: Escoda-Sanahuja

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Saturday, September 14th, 1-4pm

Joan Ramon is one of our favorite producers in the world. He is a hard core idealist, who farms organically, eschews all chemical intervention and parties harder than anyone (expect, maybe, his close buddy Laureano). But this rock n’ roll persona belies the finesse, elegance and precision of his wines. Yes, they are as “agua” as it gets, but I’m always surprised by how unfuckedup the wines are: bright acidity, lovely tannins, balanced fruit. I really don’t know how he does it.

All the wines come from Conça de Barbera, a hilly region about one hour inland from the Barcelona coast. His vineyards are replete with beautiful native grapes like Macabeau and Grenache, growing alongside French varieties like Merlot and Chenin, which take on a whole new personality in this Southern terroir, defined by warmth, limestone and salty air. On Saturday we will pour five new wines, ranging from his definitively fun Pet Nat to his definitively serious rosé. Will be very good.

Pet Nat 2016 $35
Chenin ‘Els Bassotets’ 2017 $25
Chenin ‘Els Bassots’ 2016 $34
Conca de Barbera Rosado ‘Nas del Gegant’ 2017 $25
‘Coll del Sabater’ 2011 $29

$10 to taste. Waived with $100 purchase.


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Sunday, August 19th


Lots of delicious snacks 
served w/ Saetti Il Cadetto Rosato 2016
Luciano Saetti drives around Emilia-Romagna in a little van that says
“Sulfites? No thanks.” Plump, fresh energizing bubbles.

* *

Cucumber and tomato salads
Wood oven-baked ling cod brandade
Smoky fish broth with pickled chiles and herbs
served w/ Louis-Antoine Luyt Margarita Flores Rosado 2017
South American rosé from our favorite rabble-rouser.
Glug-glug. Smoke. Glug-glug.

* *

Smoky pork & duck sausages
Grilled escarole
Potatoes fried in duck fat
Grilled corn on the cob with chile-herb butter
served w/ Le Coste Litrozzo Rosato 2017
The official energy drink of the Ordinaire staff.

* *

Pluot-buckwheat upsidedown cake
served w/ Thyme Tisane
Russ’s official bedtime tea.


Tickets to this event are $85 + tax
including drinks (NO TIPS!)

(tickets are non-refundable)


AGNES BISTRO POP-UP / July 29th / $50 / RESERVE or 510-350-7524

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I’ve loved Jeffrey Hayden’s food ever since he was running the kitchen at Boot & Shoe Service five years ago. He left to open Del Popolo, putting out some of the best food in San Francisco. Now he cooks at Henry’s (go if you have not yet), and is planning to migrate south and open his own spot with good friend Tommy Kalb of Bar Agricole, and Vanessa Tilaka, head cheesemonger at Fisher’s. In the tradition of Ordinaire pop-ups of yore, this is a chance to taste a bunch of new dishes from young, ambitious chefs, and drink some juice at retail markups. $50 tasting menu? Come with a friend, split a bottle, and get one of everything. Bon App!


RESERVE or 510-350-7524

Saturday Tasting: Old World Winery

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Saturday, July 28th, 1-4pm
$10 for fives wines (waived with $100 purchase)

Sonoma is home to a rich and diverse winemaking history, and a patchwork of grape varieties that expand at length beyond Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Early waves of immigrants brought along their Old World winemaking cultures with them, and this is the inspiration for Darek Trowbridge’s Old World Winery project. Tradition is at the center of his winemaking, following the lead of his great grandfather who established vines in the region as early as 1890. The winemaking is pure and simple, gently guided and without manipulation. Darek is also a pure pleasure to be around: inquisitive, generous and passionate. Swing by and say hi!

2008 Pinot Noir $26
2011 Alicante Bouschet $26
2013 Luminous Abouriou $32
2013 Abundance Field Blend $32
2015 Trowbridge Cider $18 (not pictured)

Saturday Tasting: Caleb Leisure

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July 21st, 1-4pm
$10 (waived with $100 purchase)

Most young winemakers interested in natural wine start by conforming to many traditional aspects of the winemaking and marketing processes while slowly introducing experimental cuvées, odd varieties, funky labels, etc. The idea is to appeal to the base, while courting those on the fringes. Makes sense.

But this is not how Caleb Leisure works. Caleb decided to order 10 clay qvevri from Western Georgia, bury them in the ground at Tony Coturri’s winery in Sonoma, fill them with fully ripe organic grapes, and make 100% natural wines—no additions or subtractions—just grapes processed in the most ancient way we know about. And the risk has paid off. The wines appeal on so many levels: aromatic, textural, juicy. If you are a fan of orange wines, then this tasting should not be missed. Also, a pet-nat for lovers. Here’s to more young-guns emulating Caleb’s audacity!

Caesura, Sparkling Viognier   $28
Verso, Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon    $30
Mother Sees, Roussanne    $27
Mother Knows, Marsanne    $27
AB OVO, Mourvèdre & Marsanne   $25

You can watch a cool video about Caleb’s California qvevri project here.

Saturday Tasting: Domaine Amagat

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Sunday, July 14th, 1-4pm
$10 (waived with $100 purchase)


We’re thrilled to have just received another vintage from Domaine Amagat. Since bringing in his wines for the first time in January, we have been back twice to visit Pierre on his small farm in the Roussillon. We were pleased to find the 2017 vintage his most exciting yet—and the prices still extraordinarily reasonable. We work closely with our friend Josh Eubank to direct import these wines and keep the prices low. Zero-additive wines for under $20? Yes please!

We’ll taste all six new cuvées this Saturday. They are the perfect wines for summer. Dry, aromatic whites with lots of freshness, and juicy reds that range from chillable to grillable.

Le Peril Jaune (Dry Muscat) $18
Grain d’ananar (Macerated Muscat) $18
Je sors de Terre (Syrah/Muscat) $20
Contre un Arbre (Grenache) $18
Nature (Syrah) $18
This is the End (Late Harvest Muscat) $20



Saturday Tasting: Schueller + Ginglinger

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Saturday, June 30, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines (waived with $100 purchase)

Ordinaire wouldn’t be Ordinaire without Percy Selections. Josh is an unrelenting idealist who has always pushed me to think more expansively and more deeply about what natural wine can be and do. If there is something I have learned from both him and the wines that he brings in, it is that we can always be more radical. He’ll be pouring at the shop on Saturday and all of you should go.

Bruno Schueller is a legendary figure in the natural wine world. His wines bridge the gap between classic and avant-garde. I guess “bridge” is the wrong word. Better to say that they dialectically mediate the old and the new. The wines are made in minuscule quantities and demand is outrageous so come early. His cousin, Jean-François Ginglinger, is less well known for the moment, which is just fine by us. The wines are absolutely joyous, just like their maker.

Come by, taste the wines, say hi to Josh, and see why Alsace is the most exciting region in the world for natural wine.

Schueller Californie Pinot Blanc $22
Ginglinger Bihl $30
Ginglinger Riesling Steiner Grand Cru $42
Schueller Riesling “Cuvée H”  $42
Ginglinger Pinot Gris Maceration $33

Saturday Tasting: Clos du Tue-Boeuf

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Saturday June 23rd, 1-4pm
$10 for fives wines

2017 was a brutal year for the Loire Valley. Coming on the heals of two very complicated vintages, it dealt one blow after another: hail, heat spikes, frost, you name it. Many winemakers lost almost all of their fruit. So while we normally await an abundance of joyous wines from someone like Thierry Puzelat, this year only a few paltry cases washed up into the Oakland harbor. Indeed, Thierry had so little wine that he had to call on his friends in the more temperate south to help supplement his production. So the Blanc has some Macon Chardonnay to round out its Sauvignon, and the Rouge has some Gamay from the Beaujolais. I cannot wait to try them.

For last year’s tasting, I wrote about how people like Thierry are responsible for sustaining natural wine’s lively, communal, democratic character. As natural wine expands into larger social networks, and demand drives scarcity and price hikes, Thierry has remained true to his principles, putting out wines at decent prices that are always exceptional. While everyone wants to forget about 2017, it’s worth reveling in what made these wines possible at all: bands of likeminded artisans coming together to protect a trade increasingly threatened by climate change and market pressures. In this light, 2017 is a victorious year!

So come taste this strangely rare vintage of Clos du Tue-Boeuf, and raise a glass for more favorable weather in 2018. Also, Keven Clancy will be pouring. Bonus!
Le P’tit Blanc du Tue-Boeuf $21
Sauvignon Qvevri $43
Vin Rosé  $21
Vin Rouge $21
La Butte $25

Saturday Tasting: Sonoma Mtn. Winery

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Saturday, May 26th, 1-4pm
$10 (waived with $100 purchase)

One of the many things I’ve learned from visiting winemakers in France and Spain is that true vignerons drink their own wine. Having been involved in every point of the undertaking from farming to bottling, drinking their own juice is just a natural final step in the process. Why are there are so few natural vignerons in California? Reasons are legion, of course; but their paucity sets in relief someone like Nic Coturri.

A third-generation winemaker from Glen Ellen, Sonoma, Nic Coturri is a true vigneron. When we see him, he usually has a cooler full of his own wines in tow, which he shares and drinks liberally. He comes from a winemaking family, and has been making wine since before he could legally drink it. He has learned from his father but also is part of the new guard of natural wine.

His wines are made from a balanced mindset: steeped in the history of Sonoma (he has an encyclopedic knowledge of winemaking in the area), as well as having a more delicate, Burgundian touch. He picks the grapes when fully ripe to give the wines a texture true to California. These are hearty wines, but true to the fruit. His wines are, for us, the most exciting, and most authentic, wines being made in California. _KF

On Sunday, Nic will pour five new wines. They are electric.

Sonoma Mountain Winery Chardonnay 2017 $33
Côte des Cailloux Blanc 2016 $35
Sonoma Mountain Winery Char Mer 2017 $30
Sonoma Mountain Winery Pinot 2017 $35
Sonoma Mountain Winery Merlot 2017 $25

Saturday Tasting: Martha Stoumen

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Saturday May 12th, 1-4pm
1-4pm, $10 (waived with $100 purchase)

I had this professor who once told me that when a poor student asked him to write a recommendation, he would always say yes, and then spend hours spinning out an elaborate narrative that often overshot its target. When a great student asked him for a recommendation he would write something short and to the point, like this:

Martha Stoumen is one of our favorite people in the wine world. She makes bright, expressive wines that taste like California: sunny and juicy and honest. If you like California wine, you should buy them.

Come early, say hi, drink the wines. They are great.

Post Flirtation White 2017 $25
Post Flirtation Red 2017 $27
Nero d’Avola Rosato 2017 $36
Nero d’Avola 2016 $38

Saturday Tasting: Vinca Minor

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Saturday, April 28th, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines (waived with $100 purchase)

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. He works with iconic organic vineyards in Mendocino, Sonoma and the Santa Cruz Mountains. Ordinaire is not especially known for carrying things like California Chardonnay and Cabernet—but Jason’s are exceptional, and we’re excited to pour them for you. Also, his rosé, from 80+ year old vines, is one of the best you can get.

He’s committed to working naturally: sourcing organic fruit, fermenting with wild yeasts, never filtering or fining, and only using small amounts of sulfur at bottling. This Saturday, we taste five new releases. Come say hi and taste. Saturday 1-4pm. $10.

Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay 2016  $42
Farmed organically, young vines at 1400 elevation. Fruit was picked for acidity and direct pressed. Stainless steel fermented dry. Aged on heavy lees in neutral french oak for 16 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with 15 parts S02.

Mendocino Carignane Rosé 2017 $28
Certified Organic 85 year old dry farmed vines. Fruit was picked for acidity and direct pressed. Stainless steel fermented dry. Aged on heavy lees in old french oak barrels and stainless steel for 5 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with 10 parts of S02.

Mendocino Carignane $28
Certified Organic 85 year old dry farmed vines. Fruit was picked and partially de-stemmed. Fermented dry in open top fermenters. 11 months aging in neutral french oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with 20 parts of S02.

Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon  $42
Farmed organically, vines planted in the late 60’s. Fruit was picked and de-stemmed. Fermented dry in open top fermenters. Aged for 16 months in neutral french oak. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with 20 parts of S02.

Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot / Cabernet Franc  $47
Farmed organically, vines planted in the late 60’s. Fruit was picked and co-fermented in large open top fermenters. Aged for 16 months in neutral french oak. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with 20 parts of S02.


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Saturday April 21, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines (waived with $100 purchase)

This week we pour three wines each from two of our favorite producers in Italy: Cantina Giardino and Cà de Noci. The two estates aren’t geographically close, they work with totally different grapes, and the style of winemaking could not be more different. But I like to think they exist in the same astral plane, rubbing shoulders with 18th Century peasants slugging deep hazy reds made from mysterious family vines, that sprawling Neapolitan family of six speeding to the beach on a single Vespa, and some futuristic angel-headed hipsters thriving on fresh squeezed pomelo juice and raw mustard greens. In short, these two wineries make joyous, deeply satisfying natural wines that bridge past, present and future. They have a being-towards-the-future-which-understands, as Heidegger once described authentic ordinary life. Anyway, the wines are great. And our good friend Giovanni, who imports the wines, will be here slinging it all behind the bar. Come taste the interstellar rainbow.

Cantina Giardino Sophia $36
Cantina Giardino Tu Tu $41
Cantina Giardino Volpe Rosa $36

Ca de Noci Notte di Luna $33
Ca de Noci Querciole $24
Ca de Noci Sotto Bosco $24

Saturday Tasting: Les Lunes / Populis

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Saturday, April 14th, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines (waived with $100 purchase)

Here’s something you don’t hear everyday: “At Les Lunes Wine we lease our own vineyards, work our own vines and built our own cellar.” As natural wine grows in popularity, many folks in California have adopted less interventionist techniques in the cellar (awesome!), but have not committed to similarly rigorous approaches in the vineyard. For a good reason: land is expensive and farming is hard! Perhaps because of their training in France (with the likes of Barral and Valette no less!), Shaunt Oungoulian and Diego Roig are committed to doing things the old-fashioned way. They make California wines in a classic mold, with organic fruit, native yeast, and very little sulfur. They are balanced, aromatic and deftly structured.

And then they make the Populis wines, made out of fruit purchased from the Venturi vineyard in Mendocino. These are super juicy, natural chuggers; the kind of wine you always want to have in your fridge.

On Saturday, we will taste five new releases. I have to say, the wines are really freaking good this year.

Below, find the lineup along with notes from Shaunt and Diego.

Populis Sauvignon Blanc 2017 $23
Old vines planted in 1948 from the Venturi vineyard, likely the oldest SB vineyard left in CA. Direct press, 1/3 neutral oak, 2/3 tank, full malo. Bottled in january. Lean, mineral and bright and textured.

Populis Rosé 2017 $23
100% Carignane also from 1940’s Carignane from Venturi Vineyard. Direct press and fermented in tank. the 2017 had tons of malic acid so when it when through malo, it gave the wine a really great creamy breadth to it. But still light due to low-alcohol.

Populis Carignane Reversée 2016 $23
100% Carignane from Venturi Vineyard, also old vines. This is our chillable (chugable) red. We make this the same day as our rosé using our ‘reverse saignée method. We fill a tank with whole clusters and top it up with rose juice so that the clusters are submersed and we don’t need to do punchdowns or pumpovers, a very light extraction method. lets the wine stay super juicy, bright and electric. You seem to get to places with Carignane that you normally could’t with either rosé or whole cluster themselves.

Les Lunes Zinfandel 2015 $27
From Venturi Vineyard, some of his oldest vines on his steepest hill, this parcel spoke to us. Much more restrained and bright, we do this in the Barral method Diego picked up while staging there. 30 days of whole cluster fermentation followed by 18 months of barrel aging and now about a year in bottle. Bright fresh, restrained.

Les Lunes Cabernet/Merlot 2015 $38
We started farming this vineyard 3 years back, continuing its conversion to organics. Kinda like the old-School style of bordeaux blends from CA, but reimagined through the lens of natural wine. low alcohol, varietally correct. We age this for two years in barrel, bottled in July and are just now releasing it. Really trying to show the potential and character that aging can have on these types of wines. Heavy clay soils in Carneros give the wine breadth and punchy tannins, while the relatively cool climate helps to preserve the freshness and varietal characters.


Kosuke Lamb Bistro

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Monday, April 2nd, 6-10pm
$42 for three courses

Monterey Squid / Spring Vegetables / Mushroom Consommé


Berries / Hay / Chamomile

Reserve or 510/629-3944

Saturday Tasting: Frank Cornelissen

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Saturday, March 31st, 1-4pm
$20 for six wines (waived with $100 purchase)

I randomly visited Frank Cornelissen before I even knew what natural wine was. Nicole and I were in Sicily for a friend’s wedding and I just called him up and he said to come by. We toured the vines, checked out his winery, and drank a dizzyingly rich and complex bottle of red while eating pizza at a tiny restaurant. It was my first real visit with a winemaker, and I’ll never forget it.

At that time, Frank was a fringe figure making controversial wines in a region no one cared about. He is now the closest thing to a superstar that the natural wine word has.

I had the chance to hang out with Frank over Brumaire weekend and was delighted to find him as engaging, sincere and ambitious as ever. With success, he has also grown increasingly self-critical, presenting his wines the way a student might present a poem at a workshop: asking questions, tentatively justifying his choices, presenting new plans for the next vintage.

It’s now quite difficult to get Frank’s wines. For this reason, we wanted to do a public tasting so that a lot of you could taste them. Like the greatest natural wines, they defy any reference point, and seem to live in a self-generated world. Come explore it with us.

$20 to taste six wines
fee waived with $100 purchase
all wines very limited

Contadino 2016 $32
Munjebel Rosso 2016 $50
Munjebel CR 2015 $74
Munjebel FM 2015 $74
Munjebel CS 2015 $74
Munjebel VA 2015 $74

Methode Sauvage & En Cavale

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March 24th, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines (waived with $100 purchase)

Chad Hinds continues to evolve his Methode Sauvage winery in exciting and unexpected ways. If you are a fan of his layered but tingly Chenin Blancs, and his aromatic Cabernet Francs, then you will be delighted by his recent experiments with Chardonnay and Trousseau. As has become his trademark, the new wines strike that wonderful balance between freshness, sunshine and structure. They are a touchstone for anyone seeking out the new new new California. And as if that was not reason enough to show up for the tasting, Chad will be joined by the incomparable Wolfgang Weber, who has just released his first wine, which he made with Chad’s help: a zippy Sauvignon Blanc that keeps it natty enough for even Kara to drink.

En Cavale Sauvignon Blanc 2017 $23
From Contra Costa County. Fermented with a bit of skin contact, then pressed into neutral barrels. One barrel bottled without so2. Yes, that’s the one you are drinking.

Methode Sauvage Chardonnay $28
From Rorick Heritage Vineyard. Planted in 1974, on its own roots, in limestone and schist  soils. Direct to press, neutral oak aged. Imagine what an alpine avalanche tastes like.

Savage Methode Chenin $14
A special cuvée that Chad bottled just for us. Rich, natty, yummy. Load up.

Methode Sauvage Bloom Phase $24
Chad calls this “California Poulsard,” but really it’s a co-ferment of Pinot Gris with a little Pinot Noir, and a bit of Trousseau and Syrah blended in for fun. Whole cluster fermentation, neutral oak aged. Welcome to chugtown.

Methode Sauvage Trousseau $28
From Rorick Heritage Vineyard. Grafted over in 2014, to vines planted on limestone and schist soils. Whole cluster fermentation, neutral oak aged. Smells like “marijuana gummy bears,” according to Chad.

Saturday Tasting: Brendan Tracey

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Saturday, March 17th, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines (fee waived with $100 purchase)

Inspired by the fuck-all/do-anything attitude of California punk in the late 1970’s, Brendan Tracey, a New Jersey native who’d attended high school in France, moved from San Francisco to Paris where he helped launch a local FM station in 1981. After years of working as a Disc-Jockey, Program Director and finally News Reporter and Presenter, Brendan abandoned his career of 27-years, to study winemaking at the Lycée Viticole in Amboise. As chance would have it, he fell into cahoots with Thierry Puzelat, a natural wine pioneer in nearby Cheverny. Brendan works exclusively with organic fruit, employs native yeasts, and rarely if ever adds sulfur to his wines. “Each year,” he writes, “each variety, terroir and climatic situation imposes decisions on the way grapes are grown, harvested and fermented.”

His reds are among the most juicy and thirst-quenching wines made in France. His whites are intriguing and complex, combining a deep, exotic quality with rambunctious acidity.

Brendan Tracey “Outsider” Brut Rose 2015 – $30 

Brendan Tracey “Oro Verde” Orbois 2015 – $33 

Brendan Tracey Chenin Blanc 2015 – $33

Brendan Tracey “Gorge Sèche” VDF 2015 – $26 

Brendan Tracey “Pour Une Poignée de Bouteilles” 2015 – $27


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MONDAY February 26th

Mussels / Brussel Sprouts / Pil-Pil
Steak / Onion / Egg Yolk / Rhubarb
Carrot / Rose / White Chocolate


or call


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MONDAY, FEBRUARY 26th, 6-10pm

Mussels / Brussel Sprouts / Pil-Pil
Steak / Onion / Egg Yolk / Rhubarb
Carrot / Rose / White Chocolate



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.


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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.


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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


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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


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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.


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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

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.

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.


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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


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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



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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.

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.


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$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


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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.


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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.

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.

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


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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


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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


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.

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…


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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

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.


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.

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

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

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.


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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.

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


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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.


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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.

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.


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.


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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 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 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.