Inspired by trips to Europe and a desire to share the story behind wine with patrons, partners Lisa Costa and D.C. Looney opened The Punchdown at end of 2010, hailing it a “ natural wine bar.”
The word “ punchdown” refers to punching down the “ cap” or solid matter created during
grape fermentation to extract color, phenols, flavors, and textures. The Punchdown
supports unadulterated wine cultivated by real farmers in soil “ tilled by hand, horse,
donkey, or oxen.” Minimalism is the theme — minimal sulfur, manipulation, regulation
and certification of wine-making processes.
The Punchdown is committed to wines with “ a true sense of place or terroir as they call it
in France…Wines of distinctive character, driven by passion for a product with a story.”
The Natural Process Alliance in Santa Rosa, which only sells to businesses within 100
miles of the winery, is one of the Punchdown suppliers. The range is extensive; from
local Dashe Cellars in Oakland and Donkey & Goat in Berkeley to Bartolo Mascarello in
Italy and Movia in Slovenia.
Lisa and D.C. dedicate an entire section of the menu to “ orange wines,” which are white
wines fermented on the skins, providing a natural orange color. These wines also happen
to be a crowd favorite and customers may sample a variety with the “ adventurous orange
flight.” For the risk-takers in the group, consider trying the blind flight, where you
sample three tastes and have a chance to guess the wine. If guessed correctly, the flight is
on the house.
In case you need a bit of nourishment, the Punchdown offers simple, seasonal food like
meat boards, cheese boards, paninis, soups, salad and dessert. If you are itching for a
heartier meal just head next door to Daniel Patterson’ s highly acclaimed Plum. A few
glasses of Punchdown wine accompanied by a story or two from D.C. and Lisa provide
perfect preparation for a night of indulgence.
2212 Broadway Oakland, CA
Anne Pao is a contributing food writer for SF Station.com. When she is not satisfying carnivorous tendencies, you can find her adventuring in the Bay area outdoors. For more Pao reads check out her blog at http://sftaoofpao.com