Click here for more information on past and upcoming events held by JJ Buckley.

A Pitch-Perfect Passion For Pinot

A Pitch-Perfect Passion For Pinot

Post by Chuck Hayward | January 8th, 2013

PinotFest Founder, Peter Palmer

PinotFest Founder, Peter Palmer

While tasting rooms and wine bars have traditionally been the best way to experience new wines, today’s oenophiles have a variety of tasting opportunities. Massive tastings have become commonplace, and are often presented in large spaces, hosted by organizations designed to promote a variety or region. While fun and often educational, the central purpose of these events is to encourage greater consumer interest in the labels being poured.

Not all tastings, however, are based on naked commerce. A number of wine events really are born from the sheer gusto of an individual – someone in the business who wants to share their passion with a wider audience. Just like tastings hosted by larger entities, the efforts of an individual wine enthusiast to convey his message can be showcased anywhere – from a big conference room to a small parlor. But such individualized tastings create a unique platform where one can experience an array of personally selected wines, each of which provides an insight into the mind of the host. A good example can be found in New York, where Paul Grieco saw his Summer of Riesling tastings (at his intimate Terroir Wine Bar) transform into an international phenomenon. Fortunately for us west-coasters at JJ Buckley, the Bay Area has its own similarly ardent oenophile. (more…)

2011 Napa Vintage Preview with a Glance Back at California Futures

2011 Napa Vintage Preview with a Glance Back at California Futures

Post by Chuck Hayward | July 24th, 2012

California Cabernet Society’s Annual Barrel Tasting

The annual Bordeaux futures campaign attracts unparalleled attention, and there are many who feel the hoopla that surrounds it is undeserved. But it cannot be denied that en primeur focuses the attention of critics and merchants across the globe on the qualities of the vintage at hand. Interestingly, the lack of a futures program for California wines means they collectively escape the spotlight that Bordeaux wines enjoy (or rather endure, in the case of the 2011s). Instead, information about the latest vintage of California wines tends to come out bit by bit from those few critics who actually have access to winemakers and their cellars. However, it wasn’t always that way…


As the market for California cabernet became more serious in the mid-1980s, many wineries began to emulate the way Bordeaux presented new vintages to the press and the market. Recognizing that consumers were becoming increasingly familiar with the en primeur system for Bordeaux, and at the same time taking advantage of Robert Parker’s increasing influence in the California cabernet segment of the wine industry, MacArthur Beverages, a Washington D.C. retailer, held the first ever California futures tasting for their clients in 1985. Over the next few years, Parker attended the event as well and published his assessments of the unfinished wines while also offering practical advice to consumers interested in purchasing domestic wine futures. (more…)

Adding a Little ‘Zip’ to ZAP: Improved venue breathes new life into annual zin event

Adding a Little ‘Zip’ to ZAP: Improved venue breathes new life into annual zin event

Post by Chuck Hayward | February 2nd, 2012

The last weekend of January always manages to banish the mid-winter blues with its promise of three highly anticipated annual events: the impending Super Bowl, the release of Silver Oak’s Napa cabernet, and the annual ZAP tasting in San Francisco. No matter what one thinks of the grape, the red wine confab is truly one of the great wine events held in the United States. Populist in approach with its sprinkling of thought-provoking seminars to placate budding wine geeks, the annual tribute to California’s heritage grape attracts a happy crowd of consumers and industry folks alike, and not surprisingly, very few sommeliers.

The Bucklin Winery Trio

As much as ZAP has been a model of consistency from year to year, 2012 brought about a big change as its venue transitioned from the familiar confines of Fort Mason to the far more spacious San Francisco Concourse in San Francisco’s South of Market district. The event certainly benefited from the change, as the new digs seemed to infuse everyone with renewed energy. Incredibly, all the wineries were housed under one roof and with plenty of room to spare. The carpeted floors helped to keep the noise down, especially the cheers that inevitably follow the occasional broken glass. Most importantly, there was plenty of room to maneuver about and tables were noticeably less cramped. (more…)

Bargain Bordeaux Hits Big

Bargain Bordeaux Hits Big

Post by Chuck Hayward | December 14th, 2010

La Folie's Dejah pours for the masses

Earlier this year, an article in the New York Times by wine critic Eric Asmiov created a tidal wave among his fellow critics, members of the trade and consumers when he declared, “For young Americans in particular, Bordeaux has become downright unfashionable.”

Well, those in attendance at JJ Buckley’s 2nd Annual Tuesday Night Bordeaux Tasting would definitely have something to say about that. Many of them appeared to be under 35, just like the wines’ prices.

Last year, JJ Buckley and the Bordeaux Wine Council conceptualized an event to promote affordable Bordeaux, and it was a rousing success as customers and friends sampled wines of all types and from all over the region. Given the positive response to that initial tasting, we decided that one good turn deserved another and therefore kicked it into gear to stage a follow-up event.

Chef Roland Passot models his JJ Buckley tattoo

The popularity of Bordeaux among JJ Buckley’s customers seems to have exploded, as the tasting sold out in record time, weeks before the event. Held at the famous Michelin-starred restaurant La Folie in San Francisco for the second time, all in attendance had the opportunity to sample nearly 30 wines while being treated to delicious food (an array of cheeses, paté, smoked salmon lollipops, addictive truffled popcorn, and more) prepared by Chef Roland Passot who showed his solidarity with JJ Buckley by sporting his own tattoo!! (more…)

Chateau Cos d’Estournel Tasting

Chateau Cos d’Estournel Tasting
Hosted by special guest, Jean-Guillaume Prats

Featuring a vertical of Cos d’Estournel, an array of gorgeous Tokaj Aszú from Hétszőlő and other goodies from the Cos family of wines!


Please join us on Friday, November 12th for a spectacular tasting of Bordeaux’s legendary “Super” Second Growth, Chateau Cos d’Estournel. On hand for the evening will be Cos d’Estournel Directeur Générale, Jean-Guillaume Prats and JJ Buckley wine educator Chuck Hayward, who will lead us through an informal tasting including several vintages of Cos (2003, 2004 and 2005), their second wine the 2007 Pagodes de Cos, as well as a vintage from their Medoc property Goulée—a wine that is eminently familiar to many of our Bordeaux lovers for its exceptional price to value ratio.

In addition to Mr. Prats, Kata Adasz of Tokaj Hétszőlő (now under the same ownership as Cos) will present various wines from this Hungarian estate, including an array of Hungary’s most famous wine export, the heavenly and sweet Tokaj Aszú.

This informal tasting commences at 6pm at Campton Place in San Francisco. Tickets are on sale now. See below for details and we look forward to seeing you there!

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Chateau Reignac v. The First Growths: A Blind Tasting Challenge

Chateau Reignac v. The First Growths:
A Blind Tasting Challenge

Sometimes Bordeaux Superieur is SUPERIOR!

Join us for a (blind) tasting of 2006 Chateau Reignac, Chateau Latour, Chateau Margaux, and Chateau Haut Brion! This is an exciting opportunity to come taste three of the First Growths and Chateau Reignac with Proprietor Yves Vatelot and Chuck Hayward of JJ Buckley. Together, we’ll put our palates to the test and find out if we can identify each of the wines and discuss the results.

Chateau Reignac proprietor Yves Vatelot will put his artisan wine—a Bordeaux Superieur—up against three of the most hallowed names in Bordeaux. This blind tasting has been conducted among professional wine tasters, critics and members of the trade to stunning results, and now Mr. Vatelot has graciously extended the opportunity to experience this challenge to customers of JJ Buckley!

This extraordinary tasting will begin at 6pm with a reception, followed by a seated tasting from 6.30pm to approximately 8pm. Space is very limited for this event, so please purchase your tickets as soon as possible (details below).

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Three Ladies of Bordeaux

JJ Buckley Fine Wines Presents a Tasting and Dinner With “The Three Ladies of Bordeaux” on Monday, May 12th in San Francisco – DINNER SOLD OUT (tickets still available for tasting)

Art, wine, and the women of Bordeaux – this is one event you do not want to miss!

It’s our pleasure to invite you to a wine event unlike any we have hosted before! The “Three Ladies of Bordeaux,” Pauline Vauthier (Chateau Ausone), Coralie de Boüard (Chateau Angelus), and Juliette Bécot (Chateau Beau-Séjour Bécot) are going to be in San Francisco and only with JJ Buckley. They are three of the most talented winemakers in the region and help produce some of the most celebrated wines in all of Bordeaux. Please join us for a tasting of their wines on May 12th at 4:00 pm at the Art Engine Gallery in San Francisco followed by a four course dinner at 7:00 pm at Bacar Restaurant.

Pauline VauthierPauline Vauthier has worked for leading wineries in France and South Africa and now works at the famed Chateau Ausone, which has been owned by her family for more than 400 years. Ausone is one of only two wines to receive the highest rank of Premier Grand Cru Classé. It has received three 100 point ratings from Robert Parker and is one of the most sought after Bordeaux wines thanks to the efforts of Pauline and her father. Other wines produced by the family include Chateau Moulin Saint-Georges and Chateau de Fonbel.

Juliette BecotJuliette Bécot was born and raised at Chateau Beau-Séjour Bécot, the property of her father and grandfather. Later, she purchased a parcel of land in the Côtes de Castillon appellation in order to fulfill her dream of making wine. This solo project, called Joanin Bécot, has turned into one of the best estates in the Côtes de Castillon district. Also produced by the family is the garagiste effort Chateau La Gomerie.

Coralie BouardAnd last but not least, also in attendance will be Coralie de Boüard, part owner of Chateau Angelus and assistant winemaker at La Fleur de Boüard. Born and raised in Saint-Émilion at Chateau Angelus, she studied winemaking at the Institute of Oenology in Bordeaux and she now uses her expertise to aid her father Hubert in the winemaking process. Chateau Angelus is one of the finest estates in the region, consistently garnering high scores from critics across the board, and according to Robert Parker, La Fleur de Boüard is “the undisputed reference point for high quality in Lalande de Pomerol.”

The tasting will take place in the Art Engine Gallery featuring the work of Kathrine Worel, whose multilayered drawings challenge traditional narratives by juxtaposing sunny, childlike innocence against darker undercurrents. Working with graphite and acrylic over old book pages, she purposefully dissolves the distinctions between ground and surface to reveal language at odds with the superficial preciousness her work – at first glance – presents.

For those who would like to attend the tasting portion only, tickets are $20 per person.

To attend the dinner portion only, the cost is $175 per person, all inclusive. Space at the dinner is limited to only 25 guests, so please reserve early to guarantee a spot. If you’d like to attend both the tasting and dinner, the total ticket price is $185. (DINNER SOLD OUT)

Wines For the Tasting
Fleur de Bouard 2005
Angelus 2005
Beau-Séjour Bécot 2004
La Gomerie 2004
Fonbel 2002
Moulin Saint Georges 2002
Wines For the Dinner
Fleur de Bouard 2004
Angelus 2003
Beau-Séjour Bécot 1990
La Gomerie 2001
Joanin Bécot 2002
Fonbel 2002
Ausone 1998

To place your reservations, please call us at 888-859-4637, email with the names of attendees along with address and contact info, or click here to print out a reservation form and fax it to us completed C/O Denise at (510) 632-5400.

Three Ladies Tasting and Dinner
Art Engine Gallery 1035 Mission St., San Francisco, California
Bacar Restaurant 448 Brannan St., San Francisco, California
Monday, May 12th, 2008,
Tasting at 4:00 p.m., Dinner at 7:00 pm
$20 per person for tasting, $175 per person for dinner, $185 per person for both