Liquid Diet: Sommelier Shelley Lindgren Champions Italian Wines and the Families Who Make Them

© Frankie Frankeny
Everything a pro drinker drinks in a week.

In our series, Liquid Diet, a professional drinker journals every sip of one beverage-packed week. Here, Shelley Lindgren, wine director and co-owner of A16 in San Francisco and Oakland and SPQR in San Francisco documents a week of fantastic southern Italian wines, celebration bubbles, Juicero juices and an epic winemaker lunch with the legendary Piero Mastroberardino.

Sunday

8:30 a.m. Our 8-year-old son, Asher, had an early soccer game this morning, so I didn’t have enough time to make a coffee at home. Instead, I treated myself to an Equator Coffee at La Boulangerie. It’s locally roasted in Marin, and pretty great.

9:15 a.m. Back home, and since I was already set on coffee, I made myself a Juicero Sweet Greens juice. Juicero is a cool new countertop cold-press juicer, so no need to wait in line at the fancy juice bars anymore!

12:00 p.m. Time for lunch with the family, and Sofia and Vincenzo Abbruzzese of Valdicava (in Tuscany) at The Slanted Door (Sofia spent a month with us in SF last year). We popped open a magnum of Fleury Champagne to go with Charles Phan’s amazing Vietnamese food.

2:40 p.m. Re-hydrated throughout the afternoon at home on some La Croix grapefruit, sparkling water and green tea.

4:30 p.m. Headed to a reception at Sara Floyd’s [owner of Swirl Wine Brokers] home in Oakland for newly-minted MW David “Dave the Neighbor” Forer. Quite a few different wines, as you can imagine! I brought a 1968 BV Chardonnay that was past its prime, but it was for fun. We had lots of bubbles to celebrate – 1996 Veuve Clicquot Brut Rosé, Stéphane Coquillette, Dom Ruinart – as well as a 2007 Sigalas Nychteri, a 2005 Rostaing Côte-Rôtie and a 2009 Yvon Métras Grille-Midi Fluerie. Some super wines, but after a while it started to just taste like a potluck of vino...

Monday

6:40 a.m. Started the morning with a Juicero Beta Glow, which is carrot, orange, ginger and lemon – breakfast of champions! – plus 2 cups of brewed coffee from beans that I bought at Caffé Roma in North Beach. I like to support the small businesses in North Beach and around the city.

4:00 p.m. Alberto Taddei from Selvagrossa in Le Marche presented his wines to A16 SF at lineup. We go way back with the Taddeis – we’re longtime friends, and their mom, Anselma, who is an incredible cook, is featured in the SPQR book making pasta. We tasted the soon-to-be released Trimpilin, which is a Sangiovese, and the Poveriano, which is a Cabernet Franc. I really like his wines. It’s great when there are fabulous wines to support such wonderful people, too. It’s one of my favorite things about being in the wine business!

10:20 p.m. After service, I sipped on a glass of 2014 Benito Ferrara Vigna Cicogna Greco di Tufo from Campania.

Tuesday

6:00 a.m. Up really early to hit the flower market to pick up some fresh flowers for the restaurants, so I started with a much-needed jolt of Peet’s Coffee dark roast brewed at home, and a lavender lemonade kombucha for the road.

2:20 p.m. Had an afternoon of tasting some new wines for the menus. Tried an Il Mosnel sparkling rosato, which was delightful. Did a new vertical lineup tasting of Tenuta Ponte Taurasi, including 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999, 2000, 2001 and 2006. The ’99 and the ’01 were especially nice. I also tasted the 2011 Vestini Campagnano Pallagrello Nero from Campania – the Vestini Campagnano wines are like visiting a fond old friend.

4:30 p.m. Refueled with some sparkling water and a macchiato at A16.

10:20 p.m. At home, post-service, I shared a bottle of Edi Keber Collio Bianco with my husband, Greg. Nice to relax and catch up at the end of the day!

Wednesday

8:30 a.m. A cup of Sightglass coffee to start the day! I went to their flagship coffee bar in SoMa.

10:30 a.m. Wine tasting day with the whole sommelier team from the restaurants until 1:30 p.m.:

We tasted a Jankara Vermentino di Gallura Superiore, a Bellafonte Arnèto Trebbiano Spolentino and a Pietradolce Contrada Rampante Etna Rosso, brought in by Wine Warehouse.

Next up we tried the Bajola Ischia Bianco, the Macciocca Terra Cesanese del Piglio and the ‘A Vita Cirò Rosso Classico Superiore, all imported by Scuola di Vino.

After that, it was on to the Macchialupa Taurasi, as well as a Verdeca (a new wine) and a Primitivo from Polvanera, all imported by H. Mercer.

On to a Saetti Lambrusco, a Panevino Pikadé and an Ahlgren Merlot from Farm Wine Imports.

Lastly, we tasted a Terre del Principe Pallagrello Bianco, an Enza La Fauci Oblì Faro and a Chessa Cagnulari di Sardegna, brought in by Tosco Wines Inc.

Whew!

4:10 p.m. To balance out all the wine tasting, I made myself a Juicero Sweet Greens and had a Revive Kombucha.

7:00 p.m. Dinner with the family after the kids’ tennis & speech therapy. We made ramen at home, and opened a bottle of Peyrassol rosé from Provence to go with it. Later, we had half a bottle of Coenobium Ruscum. This wine is amazing, and is made by Cistercian Nuns in Lazio – I love a good wine backstory!

Thursday

6:40 a.m. I started my morning with – guess what?! – a Juicero Beta Glow, and about 3-4 cups of coffee.

1:20 p.m. I must be tired today –I had at least 3 more cups of coffee throughout the afternoon – one of those days!

4:40 p.m. I was excited to taste the about-to-be-released Alberto Graci Rosato, from the northern slope of Mount Etna. It’s made from Nerello Mascalese, which is so versatile with food, and Graci never disappoints.

9:20 p.m. After work, I met a friend at High Treason, a fantastic wine bar in the Inner Richmond, for a glass of Hervé Villemade Cour-Cheverny Blanc and a glass of Pierre Gerbais Extra Brut Champagne. They have such a nice selection of wines by the glass.

Friday

12:30 p.m. We hosted a winemaker lunch at A16 with the venerable Piero Mastroberardino from Campania, so I got to taste through the impressive lineup of his family’s acclaimed wines. The 2016 Lacrimarosa Irpinia Rosato was fun and light, and both the 2007 Radici Taurasi Riserva and the 2008 Radici “Antonio” Taurasi Riserva were incredible. What a treat! I shared some stories about how long a friendship Piero and I have, and how incredibly important their wines are for Italy.

3:10 p.m. Mario Zanusso of I Clivi in Friuli was in town, so I met with him at A16 to do a lineup tasting of his wines, including the sparkling RBL Brut Nature, made with 100% Ribolla Gialla. It’s the perfect aperitivo – light, crisp and minerally. He brought a map of Colli Orientali in Friuli to show to the whole staff at lineup - on canvas instead of paper!

5:00 p.m. Did Off the Grid at Fort Mason, which is a cool food-truck market/party. We fired up some A16 pizzas and tasted the matcha mule release from my husband Greg’s cocktail catering company, Rye on the Road. A fun night!

Saturday

8:20 a.m. Got my weekend going with 2 cups of coffee, and a Juicero – this time a Root Renewal+, made with things like carrots, beets and apples, plus fresh ginger and turmeric. Zing, ready for the day!

12:20 p.m. Spent the afternoon at A16, and drank all kinds of things – a macchiato, an iced tea, some sparkling water, and later, a kombucha.

7:40 p.m. I cooked dinner, sipping some Ettore Germano Rosanna sparkling rosato– a glass of wine is mandatory while cooking! I made braised lamb shank, risotto with snap peas, and a garden salad of miner’s lettuce, baby kale, radishes and asparagus with a mustard vinaigrette and shaved Parmigiano-Reggiano. The neighbors stopped by, and ended up staying for dinner. We had a great time, and opened some of my faves: a 2013 Ciro Picariello Ciro 906 Fiano di Avellino, a 2007 Paolo Bea Pipparello Montefalco Rosso Riserva, a 2005 Rovellotti Ghemme Riserva Costa del Salmino and a 1997 Foxen Cabernet Franc. What an excellent way to end the week!

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