An all-Spanish wine list anchors Contigo
At Contigo in Noe Valley, chef Brett Emerson's Catalan food is deservedly acclaimed. But to our mind, the year-old restaurant should be equally well known for wine director Andrew Paul Nelson's (pictured, far right) thoughtfully curated Spanish wine list.
Nelson gravitates toward low-production wines from family-run wineries. In addition, he trumpets "regions people haven't heard of and grapes they've never tried." As such, there's no better place in the Bay Area right now to explore Spanish winemaking.
Here, a few of Nelson's favorites, along with pairing suggestions from Contigo's menu:
2004 Vina Valoria Crianza Blanco ($10 a glass; $48 a bottle) "This white wine, made from the Viura grape, is beautifully full-bodied," says Nelson. Unlike most Spanish whites, it's aged in oak. Nelson likes it with coca (flatbread with nettles, sausage and Manchego).
2009 Ameztoi Rubentis Getariako Txakolina ($9 a glass; $43 a bottle) "Just released a few weeks ago, this slightly effervescent rosé is bone-dry and goes really well with Contigo's pulpo (octopus) salad, sardine-and-avocado toasts, and our Cantabrian anchovies."
2009 Joan d'Anguera Garnatxa ($7.50 a glass; $35 a bottle) "Garnatxa is the Catalan word for Grenache, and Garnatxa from this region is the best in the world," proclaims Nelson. The latest vintage of this light red wine arrives stateside any day now. It's fresh and complex, says Nelson, much like the restaurant's oxtail croquetas with pine nuts and raisins.
Contigo, 1320 Castro St. (at 24th St.); 415-285-0250 or contigosf.com. Many of the wines on Contigo's wine list are available at Cheese Plus, 2001 Polk St. (at Pacific Ave.); 415-921-2001 or cheeseplus.com
GET YOUR DAILY SERVING OF FOOD & DRINK CULTURE: MANAGE YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AT TASTINGTABLE.COM/MANAGE