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WineDay Annex Wine Shops
Wine Impressions
by Fred McMillin

San Francisco's Philosopher of Wine

Prologue: Quotations from Philosophers
  • Plato, Greek philosopher—Nothing more excellent than wine was ever granted man by God.
  • Brillat-Savarin, French philosopher of the kitchen—A meal without wine is like a day without sunshine.
  • Raymond Fong, San Francisco philosopher of the wine shop—I'd like to go back to 600 B.C and invite Chinese philosopher Lau Tsu into my store. I would say, "That which is natural is effortless." Then he'd say, "That which is effortless is in harmony with nature." Then I'd say "Wine is a beverage of nature," and pour him a glass in silence.
The Rest of the Story: So you can see why the highly-respected "Wine and Spirits" magazine called Raymond the "philosopher-king of retailers." He can leap from the details of German wine law to the ancient wine poems of Shih Ching (200 B.C.) before you can say Chardonnay. His credentials are buyer for major chains... wine judge at national tastings...lectures to trade groups. In fact, the only thing he doesn't know is how to be haughty. You will never get absolutely top guidance from a friendlier specialist.

Name Wine Impressions
Address   461 California (cross street is Laural)
Parking Metered in front; free behind store
Owners Raymond Fong and Adel Shalabi. Adel can more than hold his own in this crowd. After all, his native land made wine 5,000 years before California started. After graduating in accounting from Egypt's University of Alexandria, he swung to wine action in Italy, France, New York, and finally San Francisco.
Phone (415)221-WINE
FAX (415)221-5505


Here are some of Raymond's current California choices:

  • Pinot Noir—Quail Ridge Cellars
  • Sauvignon Blanc—Havens Wine Cellars: Merryvale Vineyards
  • Cabernet Sauvignon Style—Topaz
  • Zinfandel—Sobon (lush); Jane Ballentine (elegant)
  • For something unusual, a Sagiovese-Cabernet blend by Pietra Santa
  • One of the shop's best buys, Toad Hollow Chardonnay at $10.65

The San Francisco Wine Club

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