Blanc et Rouge is a little bit of a sleeper of a wine bar. Located on Front Street in between Embarcadero One and Two, it is popular with the after work crowd downtown but come eight p.m. it begins to mellow out. This is the perfect time to take advantage of its 200 plus wine list, which from several vantage points is the most diverse you will find in San Francisco.

Blanc et Rouge traverses the globe with wines from nearly all the major and upcoming wine regions you can name. This is not so much a feat as is the selection that combines a wide variety of wine making styles and methods without being gratuitously esoteric or pedestrian mainstream.

You can order a bottle such as the ’92 Moulin Touchais Coteaux du Layon ($70), one of a number of older selections on the list. Or if you’re looking to try something new, there is the ’09 La Clarine Farm “Sumu Kaw” Vineyard Syrah ($40) or the ’11 Luyt Pais ($42) from Chile. But, ole reliables like the ’11 Ridge Geyserville ($75) are there for the taking as are a number of California Cabs, some you may have heard of before, others perhaps not.

Going by the glass can be just as tempting with selections that range from La Rioja Alta’s ’06 Viña Alberdi Rioja Reserva ($15) to the ’11 Casaeda Gewurztraminer ($10) from Mendocino. Again though, it you want to play it safe with bigger names, the ’12 Byron Chardonnay ($14) is available, alongside the lesser known ‘09 André Bonhomme Viré Clessé ($16), an old vine Chardonnay from Burgundy.

Blanc et Rouge has enough food to keep up with its extensive wine list. Up until 2:30, a $15 lunch special that includes a glass of wine with quiche or a sandwich is available to those of us who think this is a civilized way to take a mid-day break. If you are on vacation, all the better. There are also salads and an extensive selection of cheeses.

After 2:30, the menu turns into a cornucopia of typical wine bar fare: spiced nuts ($5), olives ($6), charcuterie ($6 for one selection, $18 for three and $28 for five) and of course, fromage (priced the same as the charcuterie) but there are also flatbreads and a variety of crostini.

While you can never be all things to all people, or more aptly, all palates, Blanc et Rouge is just about as close as you will get. In a city populated with many strong opinions when it comes to wine and food even making such an attempt takes some guts. That it has been done so successfully over the last four years is in itself a good enough reason to check out this wine bar next time you find yourself in San Francisco for a visit.

Blanc et Rouge Wine Bar
2 Embarcadero Center (Front Street between Sacramento and Clay Streets)
(415) 391-0758

Monday – Friday: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.
Saturday: 11:30 a.m. – 8 p.m.