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Wine tasting at Verbena, Oakland

Melanie Wong | Aug 13, 200205:28 PM

Thursday evening I rang Ms. Jennifer Fish Wilson on my way through Oakland to see if she might join me for a predinner drink near her office. We decided to meet at Verbena. We were escorted to a 4-top near the back corner, a nice table with bench seating along one side and marked with a brass plaque engraved "Jennifer Wilson"! The restaurant management has surprised its regular customers by naming tables after them to thank them for their support.

The drinks list features a large selection of wines by the glass and also offers a choice of three 3 oz. tastes for $10. We picked the '00 Alois Lageder Pinot Bianco from Alto Adige, '00 Ramsay Pinot Noir, and '00 Joseph Phelps "Pastiche", a blend of red Rhone varieties.

On this blazing hot day, the reds suffered from being served at warm room temperature and quickly oxidized in the heat. The Pinot Bianco (Pinot Blanc) was the star, and most likely would have been anyways, as an offering from one of Northern Italy's best white wine makers. Soft buttered pear fruit and minerals with good ripeness and a nice lift of acidic crispness in the end. Very nice.

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