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.
(List $15) SALE $10.99
In Spanish, a hazaña is some sort of good deed or heroic accomplishment. We
think, then, this wine is aptly named, a Tempranillo with a nice touch of oak.
This is a remarkable value...tastes expensive and doesn't cost a fortune, which
is what you'll find throughout this list of wines.
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...This is a brilliant wine and one of the best Cotes de Gascogne
on the market.
If you enjoy non-wooded New Zealand Sauvignons, for example, or fresh Pinot
Grigio, do consider this.
It's a thoroughly delicious bottle which tastes great and nobody guesses it to
Winemaker Michel Duffour...a Gascogne Meister!
DA POUPA VINHO VERDE (Portugal) $12.99
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.
If you've ever visited Portugal and enjoyed some of the local wines, the Vinho
Verde will make for a pleasant memory.
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. It
resembles many good Southern Rhone reds but the price is a bit more reasonable
than you'll generally find.
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.
This has all sorts of fragrances and flavors typical of New Zealand Sauvignon
except it's affordable.
SOLAR DE LIBANO RIOJA Crianza $9.99
From another 'stop' on my March visit in Europe, here's an excellent
Spanish red from a small winery in the Rioja Alta region. The Castillo de
Sajazarra winery is owned by a family that makes its money in the soft drinks
business. They bought the actually castillo in Sajazarra and have a
small winery next door where two fellows make damned good wines. The
absentee owners are content with the results and they do not meddle in the sales
As a result, the wine comes to us at a very attractive price and the quality is
We've had customers return for additional bottles, saying "Hey, this
doesn't taste like ten buck wine."
Medium-bodied...supple texture on the palate.
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.
In the more expensive vineyard sites of the Cote d'Or, the wine is labeled as
In the southern part of Burgundy, you can have a similar blend for a mere Ten Bucks!
If you're preparing a Boeuf Bourguignon and don't care to spend $20-$30 for more
serious reds for the stew, this wine works nicely.
"BEROLA" Spanish Red (List
$17) SALE $13.99
based, this is fortified with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in small oak
and offers amazing complexity.
We find this wine worthy of comparison to many California Cabernets in terms of
character and style. It out-classes most Central Coast red wine and
compared to many Napa wines...well, find us this quality at this price.
Put a bottle of Berola on the table with the next grilled steak or lamb!
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, medium-bodied and
CASE IBIDINI NERO D'AVOLA
Sicily's Nero d'Avola is vinified in a light, snappy style without wood. Some
Nero wines are made especially for the American market...oaky, a touch of
sweetness, low acidity and no tannin.
This wine is made to be drinkable in its youth, whether your American or Italian
The wine is along the lines of a Beaujolais.
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 2013 CHIGNIN $12.99 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.
The 2012 arrived recently and it's delicious!
2012 Kabinett RIESLING 10.99
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!
Thomas Losen, Riesling Meister
BODEGAS LAN RIOJA Crianza
Spain's Tempranillo grape shines brightly in the Rioja region...a touch
of oak and nice red fruit.
Tasting at the Lan cellar in Rioja...
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.
WINE TASTER'S NOTEBOOK
HEINRICH 2009 BLAUFRÄNKISCH $22.99 v
From a top vineyard site in Austria's Burgenland comes this
nicely oaked red which you can serve in place of a Cabernet or Merlot.
Silvia's a really fastidious winemaker and her range of wines hits the right
notes at the right times.
We're big fans of her Blaufrankisch from the Goldberg site.
One of the finest versions of the Alvarinho (Albariño in Spain),
Soalheiro's captures beautifully peachy notes with a mildly stony quality.
It's a stellar bottle to pair with seafood.
RIOJA ALTA "VIÑA ALBERDI" Sale $19.99
Made entirely of Tempranillo, this nicely oaked Rioja
displays the classic notes of dill, cedar and vanilla bean in a medium-bodied
red that's ready to drink.
Their Ardanza (Sale $29.99) is from the 2004 vintage and is even more
I visited the winery a few months ago and the place is impressive.
But the wines are impressive, too, and they arrive here at remarkably attractive
RIESLING $14.99 v
From the town of Nierstein in Germany's Rheinhessen
comes this delicious 2012 Riesling that's drier than most California
Chardonnays. And you can't beat it
for value. Very versatile
So many people associate the word Riesling with a wine having a fair bit of
Schneider's cellar is in the town of Nierstein, down below
They're making some very good wines these days and the 2012s are a delight.
ROSA (ROSE) $18.99 v
The 2012 was last year's best-selling Rose in the shop and 2013 is
exceptional, too. Blaufränkisch, Zweigelt and St. Laurent.
The 2013 Amido Tavel Rose ($14.99v)
has just landed and that's another delicious, bone dry pink wine.
Umathum's cellar is a blend of traditional and modern winemaking.
GUIGAL ST. JOSEPH "Vignes de
L'Hospice" SALE $99.99
If you're looking for a special bottle that justifies its $100 price
tag, here it is. The vines range in age from 20 years on the young side to
80 on the other...Granite soils...The vineyard was previously owned by Grippat
and Vallouit, the former a legendary Syrah producer. A stylish Syrah
with nice oak and fruit. We've described this as "Bordeaux meets The
Rhone," as the nice oak here is certainly a feature of modern winemaking,
but there's a nice element of Syrah and its inherent complexities.
This wine normally retails for $135 and we're offering it at a near wholesale
price simply to say "thanks" to our regular customers.
BOCKENAUER RIESLING $31.99 v
From Germany's Nahe region, treat yourself to this when next visiting a Dim Sum
parlor...off dry and yet so crisp and fine. Ask Kareasa.
Tim Schäfer was tabbed "Winemaker of the Year" by the Gaullt-Millau
German Wine Guide in 2010.
We're betting he'll be the first to win this award twice, as his wines are the
epitome of finesse.
We love the snappy acidity of Schäfer-Frölich wines. Wine critics
sometimes describe a wine as "energetic." Taste one of these and
you'll understand what they mean!
BRŰNDLMAYER'S SEKT Sale $49.99
It comes from Austria, not France's Champagne district, but my, oh my!,
this is remarkable. It gives good
Champagne a run for the money.
I had tasted their bubbly some years ago...perfectly fine. Standard.
Good, but not compelling.
And then something has happened...
Pinot Noir and Chardonnay as the base, with bits & pieces of Gruner
Veltliner, Pinot Blanc and Pinot Gris.
More time on the spent yeast accounts for a marvelously toasty quality in the
direction of Champagne, but with those other varieties you have a bit of a
It's complex and really good.
German wine authority Stuart Pigott is quoted as saying it's the best bubbly in
the German-speaking wine world.
TORRE DEL CONDE DE HERVIAS
2009 RIOJA $45.99 v
This is a small estate which has very old vines...vineyards which
were planted ages ago and, due to the very sandy soils, never had been hit by
the root louse, phylloxera. The "young" vines on this property
are 80 years old and the seniors are said to be 140 years of age!
I tasted a few wines of this vintner and liked the Torre del Conde de Hervias,
despite it being their "second" wine. I thought it tasted more
like a good Spanish red and it was well-priced for the quality. It's remarkably
intense and rather robust...aged in some new oak barrels.
Some French oak and some American. It's 90% Tempranillo with 10%
GOOD VALUE BUBBLIES
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 $15.99
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.
FRATELLI PONTE 2009 BAROLO Sale $39.99
The Ponte family vineyards are located in San Damiano
d'Asti, but they get a small parcel of Nebbiolo from a vineyard in the Barolo
area...La Morra, specifically. Their
2009 is worthy of comparison with many of the famous names in Barolo, but comes
with a gentler price tag. And this
is showing well now and will be fine through 2020, or so.
Russian River CHARDONNAY $39.99 v
Made of an old clone of Chardonnay, Dehlinger ferments
this in French oak and the wine undergoes full malolactic fermentation, so
you'll find it nicely creamy. Dehlinger
has been growing and vinifying Chardonnay of great elegance and refinement for
several decades and yet their wines are probably "new" to most
California wine drinkers. Tops.
RUELLE PERTOIS Cuvée de Réserve
This dry Champagne comes from a tiny winery in the town
of Moussy. It's made entirely of
Chardonnay and this latest bottling is quite dry and mildly toasty and yeasty.
If you're adventuresome and want to explore Champagne from wineries without
orange labels and big marketing departments, come see us.
You'll spend less and drink better!
GARZON 2012 TANNAT
A small percentage of Weimax customers know the wines
of Madiran, since we've long recommended a few of those.
Now we have a South American version worthy of comparison with the
French. While Chile has Carmenere,
Argentina has Malbec, it's Uruguay that lays claim to the Tannat grape.
And this one is the head of the class, showing dark berry and
blackcurrant fruit with nice cedary oak. Very
"RED" & CARIGNANE $21.99
A new little artisan winery in Sonoma, the
"red" is called "Father's Watch" and it's a timely blend
based on Syrah with Carignane, Mourvèdre & Grenache.
The varietal bottling of Carignane comes from a century-old vineyard in Sonoma's
Alexander Valley and they made less than a hundred cases.
CHATEAU LA CANORGUE Luberon ROSÉ
Grenache, Syrah & Mourvèdre...dry Provençal Rosé...
Delicious and crisp...we have a nice array of pink wines for you.
The Le Roc Rose is marvelous, too...$11.99 (made primarily of the Negrette
Umathum, last year's best-selling Rose is also terrific.
The Rose rack is over-flowing presently.
GREYWACKE 2013 SAUVIGNON BLANC $21.99 v
Winemaker Kevin Judd spent 25 vintages making the
now-famous Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc. Now
he's got his own brand, Greywacke, and his wine is beautiful intense and full of
melon, dill, citrus fruits and more.
Even more spectacular is the "winemaker's wine," called "Wild
Sauvignon." We sale-tag it at
$29.99 and it's a wild yeast-fermented dry white which sees a bit of time in
small, seasoned oak. Exceptional!
2011 Napa CABERNET SAUVIGNON Sale $39.99
Winemaker Phil Titus makes the wines for the Chappellet
family on Pritchard Hill, but he and his brother Eric have two Cabernet
vineyards of their own and they make some elegant, balanced red wines.
This new release attracted our attention as we like the dark cherry and
cassis notes along with the hints of cedary oak.
And it's drinkable immediately, so we can enjoy a bottle with tonight's
steak or lamb.
NEYERS 2012 Sonoma Coast PINOT
NOIR $41.99 v
Made from a tiny parcel of Sonoma Coast vines, the grapes
are of the old Joe Swan clone which means they produce tiny and flavorful
berries. I ranked this tops in a
recent blind tasting of Pinot Noirs...incredibly cherryish nose and lovely sweet
fragrance is marvelous and enchanting...and the promises it makes are kept by
the flavors...this is a striking bottle of wine.
Only 10 barrels made.
STONY HILL NAPA GEWURZTRAMINER $23.99 v
Another old-school California winery caught our fancy
with this dry and elegant rendition of Gewurztraminer.
It's beautifully floral with notes of honeysuckle and hints of
grapefruit. John says this is
"grand cru quality."
Now some people are not fans of Gewurztraminer saying the wine is "too
intensely fruity" and "fatiguing." Well, part of the charm
of this wine is its elegance...it's not one of those
"pedal-to-the-metal" wines (which we like as well), but a more
MATIAS VERDELHO $18.99 v
A crisp, dry, aromatic and citrusy dry white, this
comes from vineyards in Contra Costa County.
No oak. John gives this two
BUCKLIN 2011 ZINFANDEL
Here's a complex and delicious red made primarily of
Zinfandel from an old vineyard in the Sonoma Valley.
They say it probably has two dozen varieties planted in the Old Hill
Vineyard and they pick everything at once to make this remarkable and unique
wine. Loads of berries and a nice
brown spice tone make this attractive. Only
377 cases made.
FROM THE PREVIOUS NEWSLETTER:
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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