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Monday, October 24, 2011

Pre-Auction Wine Tastings: The Best Deal in Wine

Posted By on Mon, Oct 24, 2011 at 1:00 PM

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The only sure way to develop your palate for wine is to taste more. When you get the chance to taste older, rarer, or more expensive wines than you might normally dink, take it.

That opportunity presents itself this Thursday at San Francisco Wine Center during the Wine Gavel pre-auction tasting. Pre-auction tastings are the single best wine value on the planet,

beyond being invited by collectors to help them drink their wine, and few know about them.

Auction houses aren't in the business of tasting wine, they're in the business of selling it. Pre-auction tastings are meant to attract new customers, educate existing ones, and maximize the bidding on lots that might not otherwise get the attention they deserve. For example, 11-bottle cases are notoriously hard to sell (what was wrong with the first bottle that convinced the owner to off the rest?), so letting potential buyers taste a single bottle helps sell the remaining 10. Individual bottles of prestige wines are often offered from various sellers' cellars to help prove the provenance and condition of their lots.

Thursday's tasting offers wines from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Italy, the Rhone, and California (full list after the jump), along with cheese and charcuterie. Attendees receive a coupon for $30 off an auction purchase of $50 or more, effectively rebating the cost of your tasting if you convert into a buyer. The value is exceptional even if you never bid on a bottle, but if you find something to bid on you've passed through the gateway they provided, and there's a good chance you'll be hooked.

Wine Gavel Pre-Auction Tasting

Where: San Francisco Wine Center, 757 Bryant (at Sixth St.)

When: Thursday, October 27, 6:00-9:00 p.m.

Price: $30 with advance online reservation (reserve here)

Here's the exclusive, heretofore undisclosed, list of the line up for this Thursday:

1988 Thevenot-Machal, Volnay Santenots 1er Cru

1989 Château Calon-Ségur, St.-Estèphe

1990 Duca di Salaparuta, Duca Enrico, Sicilia IGT

1995 Jacopo Biondi-Santi, Schidione, Toscana IGT

1996 Tinto Pesquera Millennium Reserva, Ribera del Duero

1996 Littorai, Pinot Noir, One Acre, Anderson Valley

1997 David Arthur, Meritaggio, Napa Valley

1997 Cardinale, Napa Valley

1997 Chappellet, Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

1997 Clarendon Hills, Shiraz, Piggott Range Vineyard

1997 Domaine des Petits Quarts, Coteaux du Layon 1er Trie

1997 Jean-Philipe Fichet, Meursault Le Tesson

1998 Poggio Salvi, Brunello di Montalcino

1999 Aldo Conterno, Dolcetto d'Alba

1999 Château La Nerthe, Châteauneuf-du-Pape

2000 Celler de l'Encastell, Roquers de Porrera, Priorat

2000 Richard Grant, Wrotham Pinot, Reserve Blanc de Noirs

2001 Tardieu-Laurent, Côte-Rôtie

2002 Scholium Project, Sylphs, Guman Vineyard, Carneros

2004 Walker Station, Chardonnay, Russian River Valley

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Ben Narasin

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