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 HAVE A LOOK AT THE NEWSLETTER
people seem surprised when we tell them we spend a lot of time and effort to
taste, evaluate and select the wines we bring in to the shop.
Apparently the surprise comes because most wine businesses don't bother,
relying on mysterious numerical scores or, apparently, a dart board to make
We look for connoisseur-quality wines at everyday prices. You'll find
BOURGEOIS "Petit Bourgeois" SAUVIGNON BLANC $12.99 v
The Bourgeois family offer this outstanding Sauvignon from vineyards
in the Central Loire Valley of France.
It's crisp, zesty, lemony....think of it as a scaled down version of
"LAYA" SPANISH RED
Garnacha Tintorera is the main grape, along with Monastrell.
The resulting wine is dark in color, nicely berryish and remarkably full,
Don't miss this.
PONTE BARBERA D'ASTI $12.99 v
Ponte family Barbera compares to those from famous, prestigious Barolo and
Barbaresco wineries...mildly oaked...remarkably complex.
QUINTA DA AVELEDA $8.99 v
blend of Loureiro and Alvarinho, this is a fresh, crisp, faintly spritzy dry
white that's ideal as an aperitif, but it also pairs well with seafood...fried
calamari, grilled prawns, etc.
DE LIBANO RIOJA CRIANZA
visited this remarkable, small estate in Spain's Rioja...two really dedicated
fellows grow the grapes and make the wine...mildly oaked Tempranillo...very
soulful for a mere ten bucks.
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!
ROQUEVALE COZINHA VELHA Sale $5.99
This is a terrific little red wine made in Portugal...
It's a blend of three varieties: Aragonez, Trincadeira and Castelão.
Medium bodied. No oak. Mild dark fruit notes. Fairly smooth
BLISS Mendocino SAUVIGNON BLANC $10.99
When we looked to replace a California brand that had been swallowed up
by a big drinks company, we tasted a few candidates. One had greater
pedigree and would be easier to sell based on its label and the perceived value
of its more prestigious appellation, but we chose this because it is the higher
Mildly citrusy with good varietal character.
DOMAINE AMIDO CÔTES DU RHÔNE $12.99
Grenache mostly, with 20% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre...bright, berryish and
Amido is famed for its Lirac and Tavel...
IL POGGIO SANGIOVESE SALE $6.99
This comes from vineyards in Emilia-Romagna and the vineyards are pushed
for quantity, producing a well-priced, light Sangiovese that's the definition of
a "Spaghetti Red." And from Emilia-Romagna, you'd have a
Bolognese sauce on that pasta.
FORAL "DOURO VALLEY" RED WINE Sale $5.99
The Wine Enthusiast publication listed this as costing $15 (and they
gave it a nice review)...not sure where they shop for wine, but if you come to
Weimax, this is a mere six bucks.
It's a medium-full bodied red with dark fruit notes and no oak.
Douro Valley red for this price is a remarkable value.
FERNAND ENGEL PINOT BLANC d'ALSACE $12.99
Gee, we've been offering this French white for more than two
decades. It's routinely good, non-oaked dry white and showcases the appley
character of Pinot Blanc. You can buy some more prestigious labels from
famous winemakers, but you won't be getting a hugely more profound wine despite
those costing two+ times the price of this.
We have a few customers who buy this by the case, saving 10% or 15%. Smart
LE LOUP DANS LA BERGERIE French Red $10.99
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...
DR. L RIESLING Sale $10.99
From Germany's Mosel region comes this nice little entry-level Riesling.
Dr. Ernst Loosen makes many fancy wines and they cost a lot more, so this is his
idea to encourage people to discover Riesling and then "trade up."
MARITMA TUSCAN SANGIOVESE $8.99
The label depicts four old codgers sitting on a bench.
They're likely discussing the results of last nights calcio (soccer)
match, the latest skuttlebutt regarding Italy's political leadership or, more
likely, what they had for lunch earlier in the day.
This comes from southwest Toscana and it's a cherryish, fruity Sangiovese that's
young and intended for immediate drinking.
That's a good thing, because those old boys on the label no longer put wine in
the cellar to drink in another ten years.
SOQUEL VINEYARDS TRINITY ROSSO $11.99
Zinfandel, Merlot and Petite Sirah comprise the "Trinity" here
and the fruit comes from Lodi and Napa.
We skipped the previous vintage...didn't "make the cut" here, but this
one is back on track.
Nicely woodsy and medium+ bodied.
UNDERWOOD Oregon PINOT NOIR Sale $9.99
We have been looking for a good, inexpensive Pinot Noir and Underwood
has now been our pick for several vintages. It's not fancy, but you can
take a sniff and easily peg this as being Pinot Noir.,
It's a medium-light bodied red, smooth and you.
CHÂTEAU DE LA CANTRIE MUSCADET $9.99
We've had this hot little number in the shop for perhaps 15 to 20
vintages. It's well-priced and it's fresh, dry and a good entry-level
version of Melon de Bourgogne, the grape of the Muscadet appellation.
We routinely show this to people who want something light and crisp but they
typically misread the label.
"Muscadet? I don't want anything sweet." they say, misreading it
"No, it's dry. Muscadet is made of Melon de Bourgogne."
"But I don't like Muscat. It's too sweet."
"No, it's not made of Muscat. It's Muscadet from the Loire Valley in
"Yes, but I don't want anything that's fruity like Muscat."
DOMITIA PICPOUL DE PINET $12.99
Here's "the Muscadet of the South" of France.
The grape is called Picpoul or "lip stinger" in the local patois.
It's a bone dry, crisp little white that never sees an oak barrel.
There's a modest oyster industry not far from where these grapes are grown...a
fortuitous dynamic as the wine pairs handsomely with shellfish.
WRONGO DONGO Spanish Red "MONASTRELL" $7.99
We had presumed it was importer Jorge Ordoñez who used the term
"Wrongo Dongo" with great regularity, but the legend has it that a
Washington DC wine merchant routinely trotted out the phrase.
Jorge, though, imports this lovely, juicy, medium-full bodied red from Spain's
Jumilla region. These days the label is a bit cartoonish, but the wine
remains dark in color and teeming with fruit.
It's not complex, but it is pretty good. And given that you'll get change
back from your ten dollar bill, this is a veritable bargain.
TAMELLINI SOAVE $13.99
Soave is not exactly the sort of wine that causes one to say
The most famous wineries make perfectly "nice" wines but we've never
been blown away to the point of excitement.
We tasted this in Italy in April of 2017 and it was shockingly good.
And now that's it's arrived here we're delighted to say it's still remarkably
We've opened several bottles and ordered one in a restaurant where it was also
The wine is made entirely of the Garganega grape. The Tamellini brothers
don't water it down with Trebbiano.
No oak. Intense peach and melon-like fruit. Far more aromatic and
flavorful than a similarly-priced (or far more costly) Pinot Grigio.
CHÂTEAU LA CROIX CALENDREAU SALE $12.99
The fellow who owns this estate is the proprietor of another vineyard
and he calls them both using the La Croix Calendreau name.
Sure, go ahead and confuse the hell out of people.
The expensive wine is made in the appellation of Saint Emilion.
The more affordable bottling, this one, comes from a smallish estate just
outside St. Emilion, so the wine carries the less-costly (typically)
This one is designated as a Bordeaux Supérieur. That doesn't mean much,
other than the wine must be a minimum of 10.5% alcohol (as opposed to 10% for
basic Bordeaux), slightly older vines (is 10 years really that old?) and it must
be matured slightly longer.
Never mind these label intricacies, the thing is this is a nice, gentle, supple
red wine made entirely of Merlot.
It's not fancy, though some may be impressed by it's label, but it's nicely
drinkable and doesn't require cellaring.
DISTRICT 7 Monterey County PINOT NOIR $12.99
This is not a wine out of the movies called The Hunger Games.
District 7 refers to California's State Agriculture Department's regional
categories of which Monterey is Dictrict 7.
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.
DI MORRONA CHIANTI
the site of a monastery, this delightful Chianti comes from a vineyard not too
far from Pisa.
Lots of cherryish Sangiovese to this medium-bodied, supple red.
PROTOCOLO SPANISH RED SALE $6.49
Simple, tasty red wine...we find it to be fairly smooth and supple, but
saw some critic wrote it's tannic.
It's made entirely of Tempranillo. Pretty nice wine for nine bucks, except
we sell it for $6.49.
VIU MANENT SAUVIGNON BLANC SALE $6.99
This wine displays more intense character of Sauvignon Blanc than many
$25 bottles from Napa.
That's because these guys treat the vines with more respect and still turn out a
wine with a modest price tag.
It's dry, citrusy and has lots of herbal Sauvignon character...too much for some
people, in fact.
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.
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.
DOMAINE LA BASTIDE CÔTES du RHÔNE BLANC $12.99
Most Southern Rhône whites are made primarily of Grenache Blanc, but
this one is predominantly Viognier.
It displays the peach and apricot notes of Viognier and is absolutely delicious.
WEINGUT BINZ 2016 MORIO MUSKAT $12.99
We noticed a small tank of Morio Muskat when visiting the Binz winery in
early 2017 and we asked to taste it...beautifully aromatic and fruity with just
a touch of sweetness and zesty acidity...
A few cases made their way to Burlingame as a result.
CHARAMBA Reserva Douro RED SALE $7.99
We now have the "reserve" bottling of this remarkable
Portuguese value-priced wine.
Having sold the regular bottling for many years, we were skeptical as to whether
or not this was the same wine with just a new label and slightly higher price.
No, in fact, we found this to be a bit bigger and deeper and it's well worth the
modest price increase.
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 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 Quénard 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 2015 arrived recently and it's delicious!
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
$10.99From 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 Gewurztraminer to giving it some fragrance and spice. Dry. Nice.
LEPREUX-PENET Grand Cru BRUT CHAMPAGNE
We're enthralled with "farmer fizz," Grower's Champagnes.
Unlike those from huge, impersonal houses, our selections offer top
quality at prices lower than those of big marketing-driven brands.
Lepreux-Penet owns a mere 8 hectares of vines in the Grand Cru village of
Verzy. We have other exceptional
Champagnes from small producers such as Pierre Moncuit, Ruelle-Pertois, Pierre
Peters, Vilmart, Agrapart & more...
AALTO KILLER SPANISH RED Sale
We have had several vintages of Aalto, a remarkable Tempranillo from
Spain's Ribera del Duero. Made from
40 to 100 year old vines and aged in a high percentage of new French and
American oak barrels, this wine casts a shadow over many top Bordeaux and Napa
Cabernets. If you liked the 2010 or
2011, this will surely please. Black
fruits, cedar...it just needs a steak!
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 2008 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
GUIGAL ST. JOSEPH "Vignes de
L'Hospice" SALE $109.99
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
2011 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 $23.99 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 $17.99
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.
SMITH-WOODHOUSE 2003 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
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