Editor's note: This dispatch comes to us from wine guru Amy Monroe. She works in the grape business in the Bay Area, and literally stumbled across the "Palin Syrah" this month at a San Francisco wine bar. "How can you not write something about it?" she thought. The Palin label is inexpensive (about $13 a bottle), organic, and Chilean—attributes that don't necessarily make it a cult wine—plus it's relatively invisible on a Google search. Thanks, Amy, for enlightening us on the Palin Syrah! —Erin
Words by Amy Monroe | Republican vice presidential pick Sarah Palin might not be fond of San Francisco, but one San Francisco wine bar is fond of Palin Syrah. Or rather, it was.
"It was our best selling wine before (the V.P. announcement),” said Chris Tavelli, owner of Yield Wine Bar, which has offered Palin Syrah, a certified organic wine from Chile, by the glass since July. But after Sen. John McCain tagged Sarah Palin as his running mate, sales of the wine with the conservative's inverted name plummeted—not surprising in famously liberal San Francisco.
As with the GOP ticket, the Palin falls second in the lineup. The wine’s tasting note reads as it did when Tavelli wrote it months ago: white pepper, madrone, dry. Incidentally, a madrone is an evergreen found primarily in the Pacific Northwest that bears red berries in the fall. When the berries dry up, they are replaced by hooked barbs that latch onto large animals for migration.
Even though sales are down, the wine—like Palin the politician—draws lots of attention and comments. One Yield regular suggested that Tavelli amend the wine’s tasting note to read: moosemeat, salmon, hint of gunpowder.
When Tavelli chose the wine, which is imported exclusively by North Berkeley Imports, Palin wasn’t on his radar screen. Any parallels people draw between Palin Syrah and Sarah Palin are a “total coincidence,” Tavelli said.
Despite the steep sales drop, Tavelli plans to keep “Palin the wine” on his list—for now. With only two cases left in stock, he’ll sell it until it’s gone.
But as for whether a reorder is in Palin’s future, Tavelli is more tentative. “I don’t know. I guess it depends on how the election goes.”
About the author: Amy Monroe works in the wine business in the Bay Area, where she is only one paper shy of her diploma from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust. When asked whether she prefers red or white, she answers, "whatever's good."