No. 21: Blacksmith Cellars' Chenin Blanc

Categories: SFoodie's 92
blacksmith_chenin_blanc.jpg
Lou Bustamante
Blacksmith Cellars' chenin blanc: Drink local.
SFoodie's countdown of our 92 favorite things to eat and drink in San Francisco, 2011 edition.

Even with the success of Dashe Cellars in industrial Oakland and Sutton Cellars in Dogpatch, it's challenging to hear the words "urban winery" and not conjure up images of a gritty location complete with dealers on the corner selling baggies with powerful strains of yeast, or scandalous women offering to "punch down your cap."

Alameda urban winery Blacksmith Cellars proves what a little street smarts can do with its 2008 North Coast Chenin Blanc ($15/750ml bottle). Framing the wine in a style more redolent of New Zealand than Loire Valley, the wine is crisp and impressively balanced, boasting a floral nose with lots of fruit, lively acidity, and a mineral finish. Aged in stainless steel, the grapes come from the Biggs vineyard in southern Suisun valley, where winemaker Matt Smith is making some of his wine.

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Smith, Blacksmith Cellar's one-man show, has quietly been producing wine on the side for eight years while working at places like Dashe Cellars as assistant winemaker and now at Alameda's Rockwall Wines as director of operations. While focused on the craft, Matt doesn't lose sight on value. He explained to SFoodie, "A good wine turns into a great wine if the price is reasonable; likewise, a good wine is not so good if the price is far in excess of its quality. It is a definite goal of mine to always exceed the expectation of our price point."

The Chenin Blanc certainly exceeds those expectations with drinkability and versatility. Refreshing on its own, the wine features enough vivid acidity to compliment Asian flavors, spicy food, or shellfish -- in other words, Vietnamese food.

Blacksmith Cellars: available for tasting and purchase at Rockwall Wines, 2301 Monarch St., Suite 300, Alameda, 510-522-5700.

Dishes in our series so far:

92: Goat tacos from El Norteño
91: Faux shark's fin soup at Benu
90: Esperpento's alcachofas a la plancha
89: Poco Dolce's olive oil chocolate bar
88: Decantr's chicken-liver mousseline
87: Outerlands' levain bread
86: Fraîche's frozen yogurt
85: Gyro King's spinach pie
84: Tandoori fish from Lahore Karahi
83: Braised oxtail and daikon from Namu
82: Golden Gate Bakery's custard tarts
81: Commonwealth's cured foie gras with umeboshi purée
80: Star Stream's Liège-style waffle
79: Mexican hot chocolate from La Oaxaqueña
78: Meatball sandwich from Mario's Bohemian Cigar Store Cafe
77: Cheesecake from Zanze's
76: Chicken pepian at San Miguel
75: Macau iced coffee at Vega/Special Xtra
74: Comstock Saloon's Pisco Punch
73: Hai Ky Mi Gia's duck leg noodle soup
72: Sauerbraten at Walzwerk
71: Boudin noir at Cafe Bastille
70: Blackstrap molasses gingerbread at Lotta's Bakery
69: Plow's crispy potatoes
68: Prospect's Catcher in the Rye
67: Pork banh mi from Little Vietnam Cafe
66: Nakaochi at Ippuku
65: Sidekick's chocolate spritzer
64: Farmhouse Culture's horseradish-leek sauerkraut
63: Destination Baking Co.'s challah
62: Cotogna's roasted carrots
61: Hard Knox Cafe's chicken and waffles
60: The Rebel Within from Tell Tale Preserve Co.
59: The Slanted Door's Whiskey Cocktail
58: Carnitas burrito from Taqueria San Francisco
57: Sakura mochi from Benkyodo
56: Birria at Gallardos
55: BBQ pork skewers at Fil-Am Cuisine
54: JapaCurry's katsu curry
53: Vegan flan at Gracias Madre
52: Cinderella Bakery's pelmeni
51: Locavore's maple andouille sausage
50: Lumpia from Hapa SF
49: Moonlight Brewing's Reality Czeck
48: Filetti pizza at Una Pizza Napoletana
47: Pupusas revueltas at La Santaneca
46: Khoresht ghaymeh at Maykadeh
45: Los Muertos at Gitane
44: Sandwich cookies from Sweet Constructions
43: Nicasio Valley Cheese Company's square
42: Nopalito's quesadilla roja
41: Croissant from Sandbox Bakery
40: Cultured's burdock kasu-zuke pickles
39: Sticky chewy chocolate ice cream at Swensen's
38: Maverick's warm Brussels sprouts with slow-cooked egg
37: Roast chicken from Limón Rotisserie
36: Seven Hills' raviolo uovo
35: Morning bun from Pinkie's Bakery
34: Kaw soi dok at Mandalay
33: Fatted Calf's meatloaf sandwich
32: Duck larb at Thai House Express
31: Lark Creek Steak's burger
30: Barbacco's chicken thighs with olives and almonds
29: Mow Lee's lap cheong
28: Dollar oysters at Bar Crudo
27: Fava greens from Tairwa'-Knoll Farms
26: Nopa's mussels with harissa
25: Salt-and-pepper crab at Kam Lok
24: Recchiuti Confections' caramels to the third power
23: Mandarin lamb from Old Mandarin Islamic Restaurant
22: Tataki and Tataki South's faux-nagi

Lou Bustamante tweets at @thevillagedrunk.
Follow SFoodie at @sfoodie,
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