of the greatest comments about wine was made by James Thurber:
It's a nave domestic
without any breeding, but I think you'll be amused by its presumption.
HERE TO SEE A PDF PAGE OF THE CURRENT NEWSLETTER PAGE ONE
HERE TO SEE NEW WINES WE LIKE
you see the headlines or hear the story about an impending "wine
We have not seen much evidence of a shortage.
In fact, there's plenty of "plonk" masquerading as super
premium wine in hopes of separating a fool and his/her money.
We feature our "taste-tested" wines which make your hard-earned
George Washingtons go farther.
CASA DEL BOSQUE CHARDONNAY $8.99
Along with Viu Manent, this Chilean vintner excels at making good wine
and offering them at sensible prices. Nicely
appley Chardonnay fruit and it even has a touch of oak...just right!
its home is in France's Rhone Valley, Marsanne is a specialty of the Tahbilk
winery in Australia. Lemon & peach notes here...their wines, by the way, age
Tahbilk, by the way, has the world's largest vineyard of Marsanne!
We tasted their 2007 "Library" release of this...what a glorious
wine...it's still young and even more complex than the regular bottling.
SAN MARTIN RIOJA CRIANZA
(Spain) 13.99 v
great introduction to serious Tempranillo from Spain's Rioja region...nicely
oaked & showy.
This is a property owned by the La Rioja Alta crew. It's a fantastic
value, showing the fruit and woodsy notes of top Rioja wines. It is
intended for immediate drinking, so you can pop the cork any time you like.
GALLINO NEBBIOLO LANGHE
A nicely dry, mildly tannic Nebbiolo from a good little family estate in
the Roero region...perfect for braised lamb or beef, especially with some dried
Frankly, I am shocked at how much of this wine we sell.
Being in a world where many folks view Rombauer Chardonnay as the "height
of sophistication," it's amazing that we sell this lean, moderately
muscular Italian red.
It has none of the oak or sugar so many people seem to prefer.
On the other hand, paired with stewed lamb or beef...well, that changes the
DOMAINE DUFFOUR GASCONY WHITE
Colombard and Gros Manseng in this new bottling from Michel Duffour
& family...no oak to the crisp and light dry white.
Hints of citrus...
Winemaker Michel Duffour...a Gascogne Meister!
DA POUPA VINHO VERDE (Portugal) $12.99 A
perfectly dry seafood white with plenty of zingy, lemony acidity...Crab cakes?
Here's another "adult" beverage: It's fresh on the nose and dry
and tangy on the palate.
LE LOUP DANS LA BERGERIE French Red $9.99
From the Orliac family in France's Languedoc, this is a delightful
blend of Grenache, Syrah and Merlot. Berryish
and smooth...pairs well with roasted chicken to beef or lamb...
CABOTTE COTES-DU-RHONE (list $13)
The Southern Rhone can be a treasure trove of good values.
Lots of dark fruit notes to this medium+-bodied Grenache-based red.
Sonoma CHARDONNAY $13.99 v
A blend of Carneros, Sonoma Mountain and Sonoma Valley fruit, this
beautifully-balanced Chardonnay features ripe pear fruit and a mild background
of oak. Dry, too. Stellar.
Winemaker Peter Wellington in the cellar.
FIRE ROAD New Zealand SAUVIGNON BLANC
Lots of classic, citrusy, grapefruity Kiwi Sauvignon in this
"Best Buy" bottling.
VIGNERONS DE BUXY PINOT NOIR/GAMAY
Blend $9.99 v
France's Burgundy region has a history of blending Gamay with Pinot
Noir...here's a simple version that's eminently drinkable...lightly cherryish
with a touch of strawberry. Ten Buck
COLONIA LAS LIEBRES
Piemontese immigrants brought the Bonarda grape to Argentina and
here's a beautiful bottling showing red berry notes.
We enjoy this at cool cellar temp...it's smooth.
CASE IBIDINI NERO D'AVOLA
Sicily's Nero d'Avola is vinified in a light, snappy style without wood.
We chill this and put it on the dinner table in place of a Sangiovese.
CHATEAU LESTRILLE CAPMARTIN Entre-Deux-Mers 11.99
This is a beautifully fresh, mildly citrusy white Bordeaux...dry and
crisp, it's primarily Sauvignon Blanc blended with a small amount of Muscadelle.
Perfect seafood white!
Estelle in the Cellar at Lestrille Capmartin...she's making some great wines
and they're sensibly priced...
FORNAS Italian PINOT GRIGIO
The Bidoli family makes wine near the famous Prosciutto town of San
Daniele in Italy's Friuli.
Winemaker Arrigo Bidoli is quite proficient in the cellar and he and his sister
(Margherita) make wine for "wine drinkers," not collectors or wine
The label is called "Fornas" these days as they bought an old brick
factory (a furnace) and converted it into a winery.
Fresh notes of apples and pears on the nose and the wine is dry and zesty on the
QUENARD 2012 CHIGNIN $12.99 v
Made entirely of the Jacquère grape, this comes from the French Alps
and it's a full-flavored, non-oaked dry white...a great aperitif white and it
partners handsomely with seafood.
Winemaker Jean-Francois Quenard in his tasting room in the village of
VILLA PILLO "BORGOFORTE" $11.99
Most Tuscan Sangiovese wines which are blended with Cabernet cost a
small fortune. This Super Tuscan has
long been a favorite and for good reason. It
The cellar at Villa Pillo...a beautiful vineyard and lovely winery!
LAMBLIN BOURGOGNE BLANC (CHARDONNAY) SALE
From a smallish Chablis house, here's a crisp, tangy, non-oaked
Chardonnay. Zesty & lemony.
Kabinett RIESLING 10.99 v
From a small winery near the Mosel, here's a remarkably nice Riesling
which outshines many entry-level bottlings from famous & expensive
producers...floral, off dry...fresh...classic!
BODEGAS LAN 2009 RIOJA Crianza
Spain's Tempranillo grape shines brightly in the Rioja region...a touch
of oak and nice red fruit.
TRENTADUE "OLD PATCH RED" SALE
From Sonoma's Alexander Valley we have a really good Zinfandel-based
blend (Geyserville area).
PORTA DOS CAVALEIROS Portuguese Red
Few Americans know the Dao region of Portugal, but it's long been a
source of 'fine' wine. Medium-bodied
and a bit old-fashioned, but mighty good for such a low price.
FRIENDS.RED SALE $9.99
Merlot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc...Sonoma fruit.
Very amiable, as it should be.
And they now have a Friends White Wine!
It's a nice little blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay with a splash of
Gewurztraminer to give it some fragrance and spice. Dry. Nice.
MARIE COURTIN $54.99 v
Winemaker Dominique Moreau farms a mere 2.5
hectares of vineyards in Champagne. We
adore her "Résonance" bottling, an Extra Brut Champagne of finesse
and complexity. Toasty and dry.
VILMART Grand Cellier Sale $67.99
Laurent Champs is a perfectionist and his Champagnes are
wonderfully stylish as the base wines are vinified in various sizes of oak
If you prefer a fuller-bodied Champagne, don't miss Vilmart's.
We have three cuvees in stock, the entry level bottling being $67.99.
Laurent is a perfectionist. You can see this in the winery and it shows up
in his wines.
They are magnificent and amongst the best in Champagne.
CA' DEL BOSCO 2004
Cuvee Annamaria Sale $89.99
Aged for 7+ years on the yeast sediment, this Franciacorta bubbly from
Italy gives the French a serious run for the money.
I've been a big fan of Ferrari's Riserva del Fondatore, but have to admit this
new vintage from Ca' del Bosco is grand, too!
Best Bang-for-the-Buck Champagne.
It's from a modest-sized family operation in the town of Buxeuil (all of 139
people live there, give or take!) in the Aube region.
This bottling is based on Pinot Noir and it's dry and lightly toasty.
de Blanc $38.99 v
A "Grand Cru" Champagne from a top grower in the
village of Cramant...fine, light & dry.
Gilles Lancelot is a Champagne-meister! His current bottling of the Grand
Cru Blanc de Blanc is a delight...finesse in a bottle!
Cremant de Bourgogne $22.99 v
Made in Burgundy by a sparkling wine specialist, this, their top
cuvee, offers a marvelously toasty, creamy character.
That photo is of Agnes, whose name is on the family's top cuvee of bubbly.
We've enjoyed this wine on a number of occasions, but tasting it alongside of
bottles from Champagne, I've been surprised at how well this shows!
Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose $19.99 v
With just a faintly pink color, this Pinot Noir-based bubbly outsells
our California bubblies and Prosecco's.
Monsieur Laugner is a fan of good Champagnes, so he's been making his own
bottle-fermented, dry bubbly for many years.
It remains reasonably priced and of good quality!
BRONCA PROSECCO Sale $14.99
Fresh, crisp, "white flowers" and dry.
The Bronca sisters (le sorelle) grow good grapes on the hills near the
winery in Colbertaldo. They process the fruit at harvest-time and keep it
chilled and ready to vinify. When our importer places his orders during
the course of the year, the ferment the juice and turn it into bubbly.
This explains why their wine is SO Good.
It retains the fragrance of white flowers highlighted with pear-like fruit.
Antonella's husband, Piero.
Yes...they actually work in the vineyards and cellar!!!
And they make really good Prosecco...lots of character and we sell their wines
at a sale price.
Antonella and her sister are also proponents of organic farming.
FAMILY Oakville CABERNET $47.99 v
of the founding families of the Silver Oak winery, the Meyer Family has a little
cellar in Mendocino, but still has some Napa vineyards.
We're fans of their Syrah ($22.99) as well as their Cabernets.
This wine is medium-bodied, nicely oaked and showing handsomely now...perfect
for a prime rib roast, steaks, rack of lamb, etc.
MARINA CVETIC TREBBIANO $49.99 v
The humble Trebbiano grape makes an ocean of bland,
usually dry white wine and the notion of a bottle costing fifty bucks is,
frankly, outrageous. But the late
Gianni Masciarelli worked diligently to create a hugely complex wine and he
named it after his wife, Marina. It
is a striking wine, but a bit perplexing. Sometimes
it seems like a big oak bomb and, more recently, the wine has the complexity,
style and finesse of a major league white Burgundy.
We think it's worth the splurge!
DAULNY 2012 SANCERRE
Textbook French Sauvignon Blanc!
Magnificently chalky, stony, citrusy dry white with a flinty
tone...perfect for seafood.
Some years ago when visiting this cellar with our importer buddy Charles Neal,
we suggested blending in some of their 'reserve' vineyard wine with the
entry-level Sancerre. This did the
trick and Monsieur Neal now visits each winter to assemble the blend.
JUICY REBOUND 2012 "JUICY
VILLAGES" $21.99 v
What a great name for a winery, Juicy Rebound!
It's actually a hockey term, so Sharks' fans might know this expression.
The wine, though, is a delicious blend of
Grenache and Syrah from Sonoma, made by the puckish winemaker, Douglas
Danielak. It's a fantastic rendition
of a Californian "Cotes du Rhone" wine.
Don't miss it.
FORAGER Sonoma Coast PINOT NOIR $21.99 v
If you're foraging for a good, beautifully balanced
California Pinot Noir, this is well worth trying.
It's a 3 vineyard blend with a number of "heirloom" varieties
of Pinot comprising this vintage.
We appreciate that Jonathan and Susan Pey are making wines of good quality and
offering these at prices...We tasted some seriously silly-priced Pinots recently
and though some of those brands are much-sought-after thanks to some good
reviews a few years ago, this wine is, frankly, superior.
CASTELL'IN VILLA 2009 CHIANTI
CLASSICO $24.99 v
We've long featured the great Chianti wines of the
Principessa Coralia Pignatelli as she's long been a defender of truly classic
Chianti, made with Sangiovese and no French interlopers such as Cabernet or
Merlot. Her wines age magnificently
and this 2009 ranks in the "stellar" category.
It's showing beautifully now and will continue to grow for another
decade. This is a 'noble' vintage.
STAIGER 2010 CHARDONNAY $25.99 v
The Staigers have a tiny vineyard and cellar in the Santa
Cruz Mountains, producing an impressive, bone dry, crisp, stony, smoky wine
which reminds us of some really good French white Burgundies.
ANSELMET 2011 Chambave MUSCAT
From a small cellar in the shadows of Mont Blanc (or
Monte Bianco, if your prefer), this is a beautifully fragrant dry white wine
with aromas of fresh Muscat grapes. The
heady aromas will transport you vicariously to Italy's Val d'Aosta.
It's a grand bottle for Sole Veronique, but we've enjoyed it with a salumi
plate or pair it with cilantro-seasoned dishes.
Signor Anselmet pouring his delicious Muscat in the cellar in Italy's Val
2011 PERNAND-VERGELESSES $34.99 v
We've become recent fans of this brother & sister
team in the somewhat over-looked village of Pernand-Vergelesses, despite its
proximity to the famous Corton-Charlemagne.
The 2011 has a beautifully stony Chardonnay character, with green apple
notes and a whiff of toastiness from the oak along with its time on the spent
SBRAGIA 2010 Monte Rosso
CABERNET $54.99 v
This is an exuberant Sonoma Valley wine which will
remind you of the nobility, if you will, of Cabernet Sauvignon.
It's from a majestic vineyard site, perhaps the best Cabernet vineyard in
Showing lots of dark fruit notes and moderately oaked, this is a fairly
full-bodied, universally-appealing, robust California red wine.
GREEN + RED Chiles Mill
ZINFANDEL $25.99 v
One of Napa's top Zinfandels from
"old-timer" Jay Heminway, this is a charming red wine.
You'll find dark plum and berry fruits with an intriguing spice note.
Jay, by the way, makes the "house wine" for Chez Panisse...
His own wines are tops and beautifully balanced...
COMBIER 2012 CROZES-HERMITAGE $20.99
Winemaker Laurent Combier produces a special little
Syrah intended for his restaurateur friends, so this is his "bistro"
Crozes. It perfectly captures the
essence of Northern Rhone Syrah at a really modest price.
You'll find the hallmark white pepper spice of Syrah here.
We suggest serving this at cool cellar temp and it pairs with a great
range of foods.
SMITH-WOODHOUSE 2001 LBV PORTO
Bottled without being filtered, this wine resembles good
Vintage Port, but at a much more reasonable price.
It is best decanted. It's a
great match for Stilton cheese, chocolates or simply as a 'fireplace' wine.
Smith Woodhouse is made by the British Port Mafia, the Symington Family.
They also own a bunch of good brands, including Graham's, Warres, Dow's and the
Oakey Creek SEMILLON $28.99 v
despite the name...a mere 11.5% alcohol. Stellar!
Semillon in Australia had been "the" white wine for many years, but
it's now in the shadows of Riesling (Australia makes some killer Rieslings) and
Semillon from the Hunter Valley has a good following in the connoisseur market
in Australia, but few people here know about this grape and its magnificent
They routinely pick it at a high level of acidity and relatively low sugar,
producing wines of less than 12% alcohol. And, thanks to the acidity,
these can age handsomely, though few people in California think about aging
white wines since so many of the locally-produced wines are dead after just a
If you like French white Burgundy, for example, you might branch out into
Australian Semillon. The wine is different, but just as sophisticated.
It shows a lightly toasty, smoky element from its time on the spent yeast.
And it's bright and crisp on the palate.
Brokenwood is a leading producer as is Tyrrell's (we also have some Tyrrell's in
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