Five Myths Dispelled at Urban Legends Cellars
Urban Legends Cellars operate in a pretty unlikely location for a winery: a former industrial building that sits right on the water. The Oakland winemakers work far from arable soil, but that doesn’t deter them. In fact, it spurs them on in their mission to dispel some of the myths and legends about what good wine is, and where it comes from. Below are five common fallacies about winemaking that the vintners Urban Legends are shattering:
Wine must be made next to the vine its grapes grow on. While there’s something to be said for freshness, local soil can be as limiting as it is liberating. Grapes that grow well in one place may not thrive in another, and vice versa. Working outside the bounds of wine country, Urban Cellars’ team gets their grapes wherever they please, and always from a region that produces particularly fine specimens.
Winemakers should focus on a single grape. It’s true that, given different seasons, soils, and fermentation methods, a single grape can produce a myriad of complex, nuanced flavors. This explains why many winemakers prefer to take a limited focus. That being said, it’s untrue that a broad approach that ropes in multiple grapes diminishes the quality of the winery’s final products. Urban Legends’ producers prove that, working with a variety of grapes seasonally to produce a wide and diverse range of wines that all taste good.
Innovation has no place amongst fine wines. As far as being a wine-producing nation, America is a youngster. That may explain why some U.S. winemakers aren’t as tied to tradition as their European or Spanish counterparts are. That’s certainly the case for the folks at Urban Legends Cellars, who are constantly experimenting. By placing flavor above history, they’re able to produce some truly unusual and exciting wines.
A rose can’t be complex. Oft reviled and dismissed, rose has made quite the comeback in recent years, going from a sickly-sweet soda pop equivalent to something at once dry and refreshing. Part and parcel of this revolution is Urban Legends Cellars’ Rosata di Barbera. It pays homage to its fruity forebears with a sweet nose, but boasts a smooth body with a citristy finish that doesn’t overwhelm the palate.
Rieslings must be sweet. Another varietal known for its sweetness, Rieslings also get a bad rep. The team at Urban Legends seeks to change that, constantly sampling their Rieslings throughout fermentation to catch it at the exact moment when sweetness and acidity come into perfect balance. When they taste what they’re looking for, they immediately chill the whole batch, putting a halt to the fermentation process. The whole operation has to move pretty quickly, and requires confident, experienced hands and palates to pull off.
Marc 49: A User’s Guide
Wine Bar | Seasonal, Farm-Fresh Cuisine | Sophisticated Cocktails | Sunday Brunch | Heated Patio
Appetizer: bacon deviled eggs with herbed crumbs and cornichons
Entree: lamb moussaka with a parmesan-potato crust
Cocktail: the French Imperialist with Hendrick's gin, Lillet Blanc, grapefruit-rose liqueur, hibiscus syrup, and rose water
Where to Sit: The back patio is popular thanks to ample heaters that help keep the space cozy. The decor is nothing to scoff at either, with modern wood tables and chairs echoing the wood-paneled walls, some of which are decorated with colorful murals.
When to Go: Try Marc 49 during happy hour (weekdays from 5 p.m. to 7 p.m. and 10 p.m. to close) for discounted sangria, wine, cocktails, beer, and upscale bar bites.
Come thirsty for Sunday brunch (11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.), which features bacon-garnished bloody marys and bottomless mimosas.
Oysters are a buck apiece every Wednesday and Sunday.
Moussaka: a Greek casserole that’s typically layered with lamb and eggplant and topped with béchamel sauce.
While You’re in the Neighborhood: Pick up an all-natural remedy for a common cold or a severe case of mortality at Homestead Apothecary (486 49th Street), a boutique herb shop specializing in tinctures, teas, and essential oils.
Enjoy a wine and cheese pairing at Bellanico, a local wine bar.
Bellanico is also known for its large selection of fine wines, including white, sparkling and red.
Bring the whole clan to this bar — kids and parents will love the menu and ambience here.
Bask in the sun (or moon!) light when you dine on Bellanico's outdoor patio.
The after-work crowd can fill the place up, so be sure to take advantage of reservations at Bellanico.
Bellanico welcomes laid-back diners, so there's no pressure to throw on heels or a tie.
The bar also offers catering if you want to bring the flavors of Bellanico to your next party or event.
Or, take your grub to go.
At Bellanico, drivers can make use of the street and valet parking nearby.
Bellanico is home to many cyclists who appreciate the parking racks outside.
Meals at Bellanico are moderately priced — most diners spend about $30 per person.
The bar serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner, but it's the dinner menu that really draws the crowds.
For the best wine in town, be sure to stop by Bellanico.
Visit Bellanico for great Italian food that is well worth the price.
Get ready to discover the colorful, flavorful world of Italian cooking at Bellanico.
What are you waiting for? Come pick up your delicious crepe from Bellanico today.
Make plans for the weekend to try Bellanico with your friends.
If you're looking for a hearty, like-home breakfast, look no further than Bellanico.
For a different take on the traditional wine bar, check out Encuentro in Oakland.
Fill up on healthy and vegan fare at Encuentro.
At Encuentro, you can find the perfect wine pairing for your meal.
Take the kids along too — this bar is a great spot for families with food that even little ones will love.
Don't stay inside on a beautiful day! Come sit on the patio at Encuentro and order great food.
If you're hoping to snag a table on a Friday or Saturday, it's best to ring the bar for a reservation first.
Casual clothing is the name of the game at Encuentro, where suits and ties won't be spotted for miles.
This bar offers carryout for your convenience.
Street parking is always accessible for those dining at Encuentro.
Typical diners should plan to spend about $30 per person on Encuentro's moderately priced fare.
With its great wine selection and tasty bites, Encuentro is the perfect spot for your next big date or night out with friends.
When you need to wind down after a long day at work, come to Encuentro and enjoy a glass of wine or two.
Whether you're vegetarian or just want to try something new, the menu at Encuentro has something for everyone.
Vegetarians should never be afraid to eat out, and the great options at Encuentro prove it!
Owner Jeff Cohn has always been interested in the world of wine, but it wasn't until he tasted a Chateauneuf-du-Pape that the cosmos unfurled before him. "To go from tasting only single varietals to a blend really opened my eyes," he wrote in his bio. He started crafting his own wines and tinkering with production methods, experimenting with different yeast strains. He travels from Paso Robles to Alexander Valley searching for fruit and the exploring vineyards that meet his standards, focusing on the minerality of the region. Jeff's discoveries include the Rockpile region in Sonoma, where 14 years ago he began sourcing the syrah grapes that are now the main component of several of his wines; the Buffalo Hill Syrah, Haley's Reserve Syrah, and the 2013 Domaine des Chirats Syrah.
Now, Cohn’s portfolio includes over 24 wines in any given vintage, with a focus on Rhone and Zinfandel grape varietals. The wines are the product of both his own production techniques and time-tested French methods. Visitors to the tasting room, located in the Jack London Square area of Oakland, can enjoy Jeff’s wines by the glass or partake in a tasting led by seasoned wine educators.
After working at a slew of vineyards and wineries, husband-and-wife team Michael and Anne Dashe struck out on their own, building Dashe Cellars on a foundation of more than 40 years of combined experience. Specializing in single-vineyard zinfandels—including the 2011 Todd Brothers Ranch Old Vines Zinfandel, a wine crafted from grapes grown on 50-year-old vines—they use traditional and natural winemaking techniques. Small-lot fermentation and the application of indigenous yeasts, as well as little to no filtration, result in wines that truly reflect their soil, climate, and regional characteristics, such as indecipherable accents. The Oakland tasting room offers visitors the chance to taste the winery's catalog, allowing them to sip samples of current releases and even purchase bottles on site.