PHOTO OF THE WEEK:
Our friends at the famous Barolo (and more) estate of Vietti sent
this remarkable snapshot of a new vineyard "assistant."
It's a mechanical drone which winemaker Luca Currado says will allow them to
more efficiently spray their organic treatments in the vineyards when
necessary. Signor Currado indicates such a machine will then minimize the
soil compaction that occurs when a heavy tractor drives down each row of vines.
Copper sulfate, for example, is a natural treatment to prevent molds and mildew
and they'll be able to utilize this drone immediately following rain storms,
where you might not be able to safely drive a tractor if the soil is heavily
The hills in the Piemonte region known as the "Langhe" produces
numerous majestic wines, with Barolo and Barbaresco heading the list.
Vietti farms organically, by the way, but it's not a marketing
"feature" for them as it is with many naturalista wineries.
Over the years we have heard really competent winemakers say while they farm
organically and maybe even biodynamically, they don't want to be lumped in with
the same crowd who bottle "dirty" or "funky" wines which are
typically emblematic of the world of "natural wines."
We attended a tasting of "wholesome" winemakers in Italy with an
enologist who's a brilliant winemaker.
"Gerald," he said, "you will likely find many of these to be the
worst wines you've every tasted. And there may be a couple of producers
whose wines are excellent."
Closer to home we attended an all day event featuring more than a hundred
"natural" wineries from around the world.
Virtually all of them extolled the virtues of the "good old days" of
winemaking as though conveniences such as electricity, temperature-controlled
tanks and cellars were a bad thing.
After several hours of sketchy wines, we wandered outside to have a look at the
We wanted to see where all these nostalgia-istas parked their horses!
Remarkably the lot was filled with automobiles.
We noticed most of them had a cell-phone in their pocket or on the table and it
seemed everyone also has a website.
Of course we applaud the notion of making healthy and wholesome decisions in
producing wine, but the quality of that wine should be good, too.
Our Tasting Room is open...Monday through Saturday from mid-day until 6pm.
CLICK HERE TO HAVE A LOOK.
The 2021 Ameztoi "Rubentis" from Spain's Basque Country just
landed...it's a blend of Hondarribi Beltza and Hondarribi Zuri.
The wine spends six month on the spent yeast and is delightfully dry, crisp and
offers a palate-tickling, faint fizz.
From Southwest France's Bergerac region, we brought in a delightful
"Bordeaux Blend" featuring Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec.
They claim to keep the use of sulfur to a minimum.
We found the Cabernet Franc dominates the blend despite accounting for but a
quarter of the wine.
If you enjoy Loire Valley reds from, say, Chinon, this is worth a try.
Spain's Priorat makes some bold reds and we appreciate this new vintage of
Clos Bartolomé for its elegance and balance.
A blend of Grenache and Carignan...matured in French oak briefly, but not woody.
You'll find dark fruit notes and mild tannins.
Damn, this is a lovely bottle of wine!
It's from a small patch of Zinfandel grown in Oakville (where most Zin has been
replaced with Cabernet $auvignon).
Sale price is $26.99. Gorgeous berry fruit and spice with a nice touch of
We visited a tiny, garage winery in Paso Robles in the late 1970s and we
remember vividly the Pinot Noir from this fledgling winery called HMR, Hoffman
Stanley Hoffman started the place, vinifying his first commercial vintage, we
think, in 1975 (and that's the amazing Pinot Noir we tasted).
The Hoffman property was purchased by the neighbors Don & Elizabeth Steenwyk
who began with walnut and almond orchards.
They created the Adelaida brand in 1981.
The 2020 Chardonnay is remarkable, as it tips its cap to Burgundy and northern
California wines with its elegance and style.
Mildly toasty thanks to 9 months aging on the spent yeast (with no stirring),
this is an outstanding wine!
Sale priced at $39.99
Once & Future is a brand owned by Joel Peterson who was the founding
winemaker at a Zinfandel specialist winery called Ravenswood.
We were delighted to taste a Napa Valley Zinfandel he made and surprised to see
the grapes are from a favorite vineyard, Green & Red!
It's a big, robust Zinfandel with brambly spice notes...despite its high
alcohol, the wine tastes balanced and berryish.
At $49.99 it ain't cheap, but we think its worth that lofty price tag.
Perfect for warm weather grilling season!
Union Sacré is a small winemaking company in California's Central
Coast. The winemaker is French and his partner is American.
They say they're big fans of the wines from France's Alsace.
Giving their Pinot Gris a bit of skin-contact before the fermentation created
that lovely pinkish tone to the wine which checks in with a mere 12.1%
alcohol...the wine is dry and snappy with some green apple notes and a hint of a
Sale price for the Pinot Gris is $17.99.
They also have a dark, berryish Syrah from Edna Valley fruit...perhaps this will
develop a layer or two of complexity with bottle aging, but presently this is a
satisfying red for burgers or ribs. We would not mistake this for a
complex Northern Rhône Syrah but the wine easily merits its $16.99 sale price.
2021 Rosé of Pinot Noir from the Ancient Peaks folks in southern San Luis
Dry, of course.
Birdhorse is a small winemaking enterprise in Sonoma, the work of two young
We tasted a charming, energetic red wine made of the Cinsault grape...sourced
from a vineyard in Camino, California in the Sierra Foothills.
Called "Heliotropes," this is a medium-bodied red with fragrances
leaning towards pomegranate, cherry and rhubarb.
Best served lightly chilled.
The Mondeuse grape in France's Savoie region produces a delightful dry red
We've long enjoyed the wine of the Angelot brothers as they make a dark-hued red
wine teeming with berry-like fruit notes.
No oak...it's effusively berryish along the lines of Beaujolais.
And it's well-priced...$14.99.
Best served at cool cellar temp.
We've been looking for good, well-priced Chardonnay as one of our favorite
sources did not produce a wine with the 2020 vintage due to wildfires.
The 2018 Buehler is a solid choice, though...Russian River Valley fruit.
Lightly oaked and it undergoes a malolactic fermentation, contributing a faintly
creamy note to pair with the appley Chardonnay fruit.
Sale priced at $14.99.
Cochon wines in Sonoma made a stellar Pinot Noir in 2019 from fruit grown in
the Dutton Perry vineyard in the Green Valley
area of Sonoma's Russian River Valley.
The fragrance of this is enchanting, offering sweet red berry fruit and a touch
It's a medium-bodied red and quite drinkable.
The price tag makes this all the more delicious.
Only 200 cases made. It's available for sampling in our Tasting Room
The 2020 vintage of Monsieur Trousselle's simple "Bourgogne Blanc"
is an impressive French white Burgundy and the price is even more impressive:
It's beautifully balanced, mildly smoky/toasty and bone dry.
Canorgue's 2019 Luberon Rouge is exceptional.
It's predominantly Syrah this vintage with about 30% Syrah we've been told.
Whatever it is, it's good. Dark berry fruit and a hint of spice!
The Dauvissat name is famous in the world of Chablis wines as there are
perhaps 5 domaines that are associated with that surname.
This one if from the small estate of Agnès and Didier Dauvissat and it's from
their best vineyard site, a Premier Cru called Beauroy.
They don't use much wood and the few barrels they do employ are seasoned and
don't contribute oak to the wine.
As a result this is a classic Chablis, featuring some citrus and stony notes.
The Cheverny appellation has long been a budget-priced alternative to
It's located about 65 miles west of Sancerre and a short drive south of Blois
and Chambord, famous châteaux along the Loire river.
Salvard makes delicious, dry, crisp Sauvignon Blanc from their mature vineyards
(20+ years of age).
They blend in a bit of Chardonnay to give the wine a bit more body and texture
than if it was solely Sauvignon.
$19.99 for this just-arrived 2021 vintage.
One of our favorite French reds from the Loire Valley just landed...it's from
the Château du Hureau in the Saumur-Champigny appellation.
Beautiful red fruit notes with its textbook smoky element, this is a gentle,
$19.99 makes it a bargain!
We have a small selection of Japanese Sake and this IMA bottling caught our
attention as it's crisper and slightly more tart than most Sake.
In fact, they say it's an ideal partner for oysters and other delectable
Weimax has maybe a dozen selections from Switzerland and this dry white from
the Leyvraz winery is a favorite.
Made from the Chasselas grape, the St. Saphorin appellation in the Vaud area
overlooking Lake Geneva.
Some people only enjoy this with a fondue evening, but it's worthy of the dinner
table on other occasions, too.
No oak. Dry...mildly stony.
From Italy's Alto Adige comes an exceptional limited bottling of Sauvignon
Clones of Sauvignon were imported from France and the wine strikes a balance
between Bordeaux and Loire Valley whites, leaning more towards Bordeaux as half
of the wine was vinified in barrique and puncheon.
Notes of sage, citrus and herbs...sale priced at $42.99.
Piazzano is made by our friend Rolando Bettarini in Italy's Tuscany region.
The vineyards are about 15 miles west of Florence and about 6 miles south of
Vinci, birthplace of Leonardo.
It's a youthful, easy-drinkin' Sangiovese (85%) blended with other local Tuscan
Finca Martelo is a small vineyard in Spain's Rioja region.
It's a Tempranillo with 5% Mazuelo that's lavishly oaked.
The vineyard is owned by La Rioja Alta, a winery that routinely makes "old
We were surprised to learn this was matured entirely in French oak, as it has a
woodsy character much like their American Oak-aged reds.
Very showy. It's available for sampling in our Tasting Room.
The Chenin Blanc grape had been prominent in Napa and Sonoma 40 to 50+ years
ago, but as its wines don't command the elevated prices of Cabernet, Zinfandel,
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, those vineyards have been uprooted or t-budded to
more lucrative grape varieties.
Napa has approximately 44,000 acres of vineyards and just 20 of those are Chenin
These days there's a lot of Chenin being grown in the Sacramento Delta area of
Clarksburg and the fruit is less costly, though vintners often ask a premium
price for a wine we do not view as particularly exceptional.
Winemaker Peter Heitz made something like 140 cases of stellar dry Chenin
Blanc. Whole cluster pressed and the juice was fermented in special
Italian amphorae which Heitz says "creates wines of superb
aromatics...bottled unfined and unfiltered."
This is a delight! $29.99.
The Txueka family has been making this Basque white wine for several decades
and I think we've carried it since the 1990s.
Theirs is typically 90% Hondarrabi Zuri with 10% of the red grape, Hondarrabi
Beltza and the alcohol level is fairly modest with high acidity and maybe even a
very faint touch of spritz.
It's a delightful wine as an aperitif and with lighter fare.
We brought a bottle to lunch at the Basque Cultural Center recently and the wine
was a perfect prelude to a well-aged red wine from Spain's Rioja region.
The Cusumano family makes our current favorite rendition of the Carricante
grape in the volcanic soils of Sicily's Mount Etna.
If you enjoy non-oaked, crisp dry whites with a measure of minerality, give this
The 2021 vintage of La Marea Albariño made the cut this week (as it had the
It comes from a cool site in California's Monterey County and winemaker Ian
Brand does a brilliant job of capturing the melon-like notes of the grape and
presenting it front-and-center (no oak, not high in alcohol).
Villein is a tiny production of 5 or 6 barrels of a dynamite Sonoma Syrah.
This captures some of the dark berry fruit, spice and hints of bacony, hickory
elements we highly prize in top French Syrahs.
Portugal's Douro Valley meets Bordeaux!
This is a dark, robust red which can be paired with Cabernet Cuisine.
Specially Priced at $24.99.
Available for tasting presently...
We're big fans of Riesling and you'll find some wonderful examples from the
West Coast, Australia, Italy, Austria and, of course, Germany in the shop.
The Karp Schreiber wines come from Germany's Mosel region and this 2018
Brauneberger Juffer is mildly sweet, yet beautifully balanced thanks to amply
Hard to beat at just $17.99.
Winemaker Nils Venge has usually been recognized for his work with Cabernet
and Zinfandel, so we were (pleasantly) surprised to taste this 2019 Napa Valley
Chardonnay and find it to be quite good AND well-priced. Ripe pear-like
fruit and nice toasty oak with creamy overtones.
$29.99 on sale!
It's not unusual for Napa and Sonoma winemakers to incorporate some fruit from nearby
Lake County into their wines.
The quality of the grapes can be very good and the fruit tends to cost less.
Here's a Lake County Cabernet Sauvignon from perhaps the top site in the Red
Hills sub-region of Lake County, a graceful and elegant wine which we've
described as "North of Napa Geographically and South of Napa in terms of
$33.99 on sale ($38 at the winery).
The 2021 Birichino Malvasia just arrived...intensely fragrant, as
always...jasmine, lemongrass, orange blossoms, etc.
While it smells "sweet," the wine is actually dry and pairs remarkably
well with Asian-styled dishes.
How about a soulful Greek red to pair with lamb?
Kir-Yianni's "Ramnista" is made of the Xinomavro grape and it produces
a sturdy, mildly astringent red wine that some liken to Piemonte's Nebbiolo.
Italy's Barbera can be light or full-bodied. It can be fruit-driven or
Giornata is a California winery whose owners are enchanted by Italy and their
Barbera gives good Piemontese wines a run for the money.
It's berryish, not oaky and has the snappy acidity that pairs handsomely with
tomato-sauced pastas, sausage pizza or even some seafood dishes.
Sale priced at $22.99.
We tasted the new vintage of the Lambert family's Chinon.
Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley.
Fairly dark in color and nicely berryish, as they leave the skins to macerate
with the juice for nearly two weeks.
Our "old favorite" New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc from winemaker Kevin
Judd just arrived this week...the 2021 vintage displays more yellow fruit notes
than the typical citrusy/grapefruity character. In that sense, it's a
shade less typical of New Zealand than in past vintages.
No oak...crisp and dry. $21.99
Elena Walch and her two daughters are making some remarkably good wines in
the Alto Adige of Italy.
This Lagrein is gorgeous and has the charm of a good Pinot Noir and can be
paired with a variety of foods from pasta and pizza to chicken, salmon and red
It's open for tasting, too, by the way. $2/pour.
We have been offering the 2014 Brunello di Montalcino from Siro Pacenti at a
It's a remarkably good wine (people buy a single bottle to taste and then call
back for a 6-pack!).
It's $49.99, a price from the good old days...
An especially good French White Burgundy is worthy of calling to your attention.
It's made by a young winemaker, Justin Girardin, from vines in the village of
Santenay, an area neighboring the famed Chassagne-Montrachet.
Happily the wine, while of top quality, commands a more modest price than its
This is just $29.99/bottle and displays appley, stony notes and a hint of oak.
We've tasted some good bottles from the Courbet estate in France's mountainous
They're maybe an hour, by car, from Burgundy, so it should not be surprising
this wine shares many elements of expensive wines from its western neighbors.
Their 2018 "Les Rondos" is a small parcel of slightly more than an
acre and it's a Chardonnay vinified in small French oak.
You'll find a mildly toasty element and some hazelnut character on the
nose. There is just a tiny note of oxidation along the lines of a fresh
Fino Sherry from Spain on the finish.
Burgundian winemakers typically ask serious money for a similar quality wine.
From Italy's Valtellina region in Lombardia we have a stellar white blend which
includes Incrocio Manzoni and Nebbiolo that's vinified as a white wine.
The backbone of this are Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.
We asked the winery rep from Peju if they hired a new winemaker as this 2018
Merlot does not resemble wines we've tasted from Peju over the past
decade. He laughed and explained the second generation of the Peju family
is running the place and "dad" is retired.
The resulting wines are pretty darned good and this Merlot is a standout.
$60 at the winery. We have it for far less. Stop by and see.
It's also available in the Tasting Room for $3.50/pour.
Our monthly tasting group this past week surveyed 2017 and 2018 Chianti
The first place wine was $45 and blended with Cabernet Sauvignon (we ranked it
6th out of 8, but these guys love Napa Cabernet and Bordeaux, so it is
understandable they preferred that particular wine).
Finishing a mere one point behind the top wine was this 2018 Paneretta. It
is 85% Sangiovese and the rest is Canaiolo and Colorino, typical Tuscan
We brought some in as we're sale-tagging it for $19.99 and it's a good
introduction to Tuscan Sangiovese.
The most thrilling wine we tasted this past week was from Antonella Corda, a
terrific vintner in Italy's Sardegna region.
It's made of the somewhat obscure Nuragus grape, a variety that's overshadowed
to some degree by Vermentino.
But the 2020 vintage from Corda is a stellar, snappy dry white wine, showing
some notes of citrus and lime with a stony, minerally note reminiscent of
Chablis or Sancerre.
We noticed one web site offers this for $45 a bottle while another is more
reasonably priced at $28.
Our price is a mere $19.99.
Don't miss it!
We were pleasantly surprised by the drinkability and charm of the Tre Monti
Sangiovese called Campo di Mezzo.
It's from Emilia-Romagna, just a short drive southeast of Bologna. No
oak. No Cabernet. No Merlot.
Just pure, unadulterated Sangiovese.
Sale price is $14.99.
Two weeks ago we splurged on a bottle of the 2007 Terlan Pinot Bianco.
They call it "Rarity," as the wine is matured on the spent yeast for
about ten years in stainless steel after its year, or so, in large wooden
vats. The wine retails for close to $200 a bottle and it was very good.
A few days later we opened a few bottles of Italian whites, including this
"Terlaner" from the Terlan winery. It's predominantly Pinot
Bianco with a bit of Chardonnay and a drop of Sauvignon Blanc. It was the
best white of that tasting. The apple and pear fruit of the Pinot Bianco
takes center stage...no oak coming through here.
Damned good and it stood up to our Artichoke Risotto, too.
OPEN FOR TASTING PRESENTLY
A Weimax shopper and parent of a Roosevelt Elementary School student sent us
a screenshot of an online
"Teddy Talk" where a student was explaining the importance of
supporting community businesses and "shopping local."
From the local paper at the end of 2021...CLICK
HERE to read that story.
had her picture on the front page of the New Year's weekend Daily Journal, a local
newspaper here in San Mateo County.
They did a story about holiday sales of wines and liquors, so we were mentioned
(and quoted) in that.
The store is fully stocked...lots of good value bottlings and numerous
"fancy" wines, too.
Stop by and we can give you a little tour...Socially Distant, of course...Don't
forget a face mask!
This car is "corked"!!!
GIFT CARDS AVAILABLE...
Had a nice mention in the Wall
Street Journal's 2016 story about wine store signage:
The Most recent mention, September of 2017, is this one...Things Wine Shop
Australian Wine Writer Jim McMahon wrote
a nice article published on the web site of the New South Wales Teachers
Did you see the article in the local newspaper, by the way?
It was printed
just before New Year's Eve...