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ALBA WINES EXHIBITION 2007

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SCHRAMSBERG vs THE FAMOUS FRENCH

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2009 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2008 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
Periodically Amazing

2007 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
The Nose Knows!

2006 SF INTERNATIONAL  WINE COMPETITION.
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2005 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION.

2004 SF WINE COMPETITION TASTING

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Study Reveals Experts Taste More Than What's In the Glass!

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WINE TASTING ROOM-Completo's

SAY TODAY'S SECRET WORDS: "JOE HEITZ" and we'll pour you a taste of Heitz Trailside Cabernet from the 2012 vintage......................


UPDATED AS OF March 25,  2019

 

HEITZ 2012 "Trailside" CABERNET SAUVIGNON  $84.99  $8.50/taste
Heitz owns a little vineyard that was formerly the property of Shown & Sons.

It's called Trailside and this site is situated in Rutherford...prime Cabernet territory.

This 2012 is showing beautifully...lots of sweet spice notes from the aging in oak barrels.  It's got an exotic fragrance from the
wood treatment.  Very fine!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PEWSEY VALE 2012 "CONTOURS" RIESLING  $3.40/Taste
Pewsey Vale's special Riesling called "Contours" is one of the most enjoyable
Rieslings in the shop.

It's typically released when it's had some time in the bottle to develop, so if you like
those floral and petrol notes of nicely matured Riesling, don't miss this.

We paired two vintages with homemade Crab Cakes recently...we had a bit
of chili pepper spiciness in the crab mix and the wine was superb in this 
context.

One of our guests, a prominent New Zealand winemaker, was absolutely 
delighted to see this on our menu that evening, saying it's her all-time
favorite Riesling.

This is dry and crisp, too, by the way.


 

 

 

CASTELLO DI NEIVE BARBERA D'ALBA "Santo Stefano" $2.50/taste
Neighbors said he was crazy when he planted Barbera on the famed Santo Stefano hill
in Barbaresco.  He had been selling Nebbiolo grapes to the legendary Bruno Giacosa
and those bottles of wine sold (and still do) for several hundred dollars.

Why plant Barbera?

"Because I like it." responded Signor Stupino.

Well, this new vintage is a wonderful bottle of Barbera.

Come and taste it for yourself.


 

 

SHAFER 2016 RED SHOULDER RANCH Carneros CHARDONNAY  $5/taste
The Shafer family have been making a spiffy Carneros Chardonnay for decades.

The wine is vinified in both barrel and stainless steel...it doesn't undergo
a secondary, malolactic fermentation and retains an element reminiscent
of tropical fruits with some toasty notes from the wood.

Most people regard Shafer as a top red wine specialist, but they do a
good job with this showy dry white.



 

 

CAGGIANO 2016 FIANO DI AVELLINO  $2.20/Taste
Caggiano is located right in the town of Taurasi in Italy's Campania.

Aglianico is their claim to fame, though in recent years Caggiano's white wines
have been tremendously showy.

Fiano is really good...there's a floral note and some melon-like
fruit...dry...no oak.

Far more complex than the watery Pinot Grigio that is sold everywhere.

 

 

 

STORYBOOK MOUNTAIN ZINFANDEL  $3.60/taste
Several decades ago Dr. Jerry Seps began making Zinfandel in the northern part of
the Napa Valley.

The old cellar was once owned by the brothers Grimm, but they abandoned the place
ages ago.  There was a horrific fire in 1964 which torched the vineyards.

Seps and his wife Ingrid purchased the property in the 1970s and set about planting
Zinfandel with the advice of Napa winemaking legend Andre Tchelistcheff.

With eastern exposures and careful vineyard management (organic farming, too), 
Storybook Mountain is a far cry from the flat, flabby Zinfandels that get so much
attention these days.  

You'll find this 2016 to be elegant and with a particular spice note that is classically Storybook Mountain.

 


RESERVE DE LA COMTESSE 2015 Pauillac  $6/taste
Pichon Lalande's "second" wine is a chip off the old block.

It's a lovely blend of Cabernet and Merlot with a dollop of Cabernet Franc
and Petit Verdot.

Medium-full bodied...it's showing beautifully now and can be cellared for 5 to 10+ years.












 

 


NAUTILUS ESTATE New Zealand SAUVIGNON BLANC   $1.80/taste
The Hill-Smith clan owns this terrific New Zealand estate.

They make a relatively low alcohol, crisp, tangy Sauvignon Blanc which
is really snappy and fresh...heck, it ought to be: it's fresh out of the
fermentation tank...this is a 2018 vintage!

This is a crisp, delicious cocktail white and it's dynamite
with seafood, dim sum and other Asian-styled dishes.


 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

SOALHEIRO ALVARINHO  2.50/taste
The 2017 has just rolled in.

This is routinely one of our favorite, off-the-beaten-path dry white wines.
We brought a double magnum of the 2016 to dinner during the
San Francisco International Wine Competition and it was a hit with the
judges (from all over the world, too).

The 2017 we brought to dinner with some friends at Dumpling Time in
San Francisco...thoroughly delicious!



Stony, nicely fruity with a hint of a spice note...


 

 

 

 

 

BANNERET CH┬TEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE $5/taste
Banneret is a tiny estate of 3.5 hectares.  It is an old-school ChÔteauneuf-du-Pape,
not one of those stupidly high alcohol wines made specifically to
impress some of the so-called experts who find high octane to be the
equivalent of high quality.

Banneret's wine is a blend of all thirteen grape varieties permitted
in the Southern Rh˘ne.

It's a soulful red and showing beautifully now.  You can cellar this, too.

 

 

 

 

 

SMITH MADRONE 2014 CABERNET SAUVIGNON  $6/taste
The Smith brothers have been farming their vineyards on Spring Mountain since the 1970s.

They are old-timers and make good, old-fashioned "mountain" Cabernet Sauvignon.

We were surprised to learn they use a high percentage of new oak barrels to produce this wine,
yet the wood is well-integrated with the fruit, so it's not especially oaky.

The tannins are also rather polished, making for a charming, immediately-drinkable
Napa Cabernet.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

TRAMIN 2016 "STOAN" White Wine Blend   $3.60/taste
A delicious blend based on Chardonnay, but it's the Sauvignon Blanc that
really sings here.  
The wine sees some large wooden tanks and it's beautifully aromatic.

Don't miss it...everyone who has tasted this has given it a 
"thumbs up."




 

WOODSIDE VINEYARDS 2014 CHARDONNAY  $2.50/taste
Forty years ago Woodside Vineyards was one of the few "cult" wineries in California.
Today they're relatively unheralded, but if you like a creamy, mildly oaked, dry
Chardonnay, come taste this one from Santa Cruz Mountains fruit.


MEYER FAMILY SYRAH $2/taste
The Meyer family were founding partners in the Silver Oak winery.

These days they make a bit of Cabernet on their own and a rather tasty, easy-drinkin' 
Yorkville Highlands Syrah.

They typically blend in a tiny bit of Petite Sirah to give it some color and a bit more body.

$28 at the winery.
$19.99 at our little wine emporium.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


CASTELFEDER GEW▄RZTRAMINER   $2.00/Taste
It's been said the Traminer grape may have originated in Italy's Alto Adige.
Heck, there's a town near Bolzano called "Tramin."

Castelfeder is a small, family estate and they seem to have
GewŘrztraminer dialed in.  We've usually touted the wine from Cantina Termeno (Tramin) 
as they make a top bottling from a single vineyard site.
This is less than half the price and of similar quality and 
intensity.


Castelfeder's is beautifully aromatic and it's dry...
We are certain most winemakers in France's Alsace, where GewŘrz is
a specialty, would be proud of this wine.






 

 

 

CONDE DE HERVIAS RIOJA $4.50/taste
We're big fans of Spanish reds and one of our favorites is this
Conde de Hervias bottling from the Rioja region.

It's from old vineyard parcels, some 80 years of age and some
said to be 140 years.

The wine is predominantly Tempranillo and it's matured for about
a year in French and American oak.  

Medium+ to full-bodied.  
Well-priced, too.

 

 

 

 


SUMMERS Napa Valley CHARBONO   $2.40/taste

We are big fans of this charming Napa Valley red made of the scarce Charbono grape.

It's gentle like a Pinot Noir but fairly full-bodied.

Lots of blackberry and blueberry fruit.

There are maybe a dozen California wineries producing Charbono and Summers, for us, is
the best and most sensibly-priced.


.



 

PETER DIPOLI 2015 SAUVIGNON BLANC "VOGLAR"  $2.80/taste

Peter Dipoli is a bit of a legend in his home region of Italy's Alto Adige.

He makes a Bordeaux blend and a Sauvignon Blanc called Voglar.

The wine is a bit intense and perhaps a tad rustic in today's squeaky clean world
of winemaking.  We're trying to say this is not for everyone,
but if you're on the same wavelength with the wine, you'll find it
to be quite satisfying.

Everyone in the Alto Adige knows Dipoli and they all speak
reverently about him and his wines.

We visited his cellar in March of 2018 and he shared some older bottles
with us...Voglar ages quite handsomely and each vintage is reflective
of the growing conditions of its birth year.

 

MARTIANA 2017 PINOT NOIR  $5.50/taste

Donald Patz launched his own brands following the sale of Patz & Hall to Washington's
Ste. Michelle wine group.

We were, frankly, dubious about his ability to produce his own wine, but my-oh-my, this is
superb!

Don't miss tasting this...a 2017 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

It's one of the most exciting new wines we've tasted in a while (and that's saying something!).






 

 

 

KIVELSTADT 2014 Sonoma SYRAH  $3.00/taste
Kivelstadt is a really good little winery that makes some terrific wines.
They certainly fly below the radar unless you're a serious
wine geek.

We're fans of their red blend called "Father's Watch," but it's this
killer Syrah that really hits the mark.

They do a modest percentage of whole clusters in the fermenter which
seems to give a particularly charming and complex element to the wine.
There's also a splash of the white grape, Viognier, in the mix as they
took a page from the French winemaking handbook.

You'll pay nearly $50 a the winery...we have it sale tagged at
just $29.99.

Don't miss this.

 

 


 

 

 

 

 

BINZ 2016 MORIO MUSKAT  $1.30/Taste
This is a small production from our friends at the Binz winery in Germany.
It's intensely aromatic and fragrant, with a touch of sweetness but ample
acidity to balance.  
You'll find this wine only at our little shop here in Burlingame (or at the winery).


RAMEY 2015 Russian River Valley CHARDONNAY 3.50/taste
One of our favorite California Chardonnays, this is a wine made with
an astute awareness of French White Burgundies, but with a
decidedly California accent.  Very fine.




HART'S DESIRE 2017 VIOGNIER $1.80/taste
John Hart has a good vineyard source in Sonoma and 
makes a wonderfully peachy
dry white which captures the essence of Viognier.

 

 

 

 

 


 

 



 

CI┘ CI┘ 2017 PECORINO  $1.60
A fantastic example of the Pecorino grape...certainly this will appeal to you if
you're enchanted by crisp, non-oaked Sauvignon Blancs.

This is yet another great, flavorful alternative to the "water" that 
many commercial cellars bottle as "Pinot Grigio."



 

 

 

 

 





DAULNY 2017 SANCERRE $2/taste
Crisp, tangy, stony, minerally and bone dry...no oak.
Classic Sancerre at a rather modest price.

Ask Gerald to tell you the story of how he
was instrumental in creating the blend of wines
which comprise this special bottling that's sold solely
in California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


VASSE FELIX 2016 Margaret River  CHARDONNAY $4.20/taste
From the Margaret River region in Western Australia...
They make three Chardonnays...this is the middle tier bottling and it's dynamite.
Smoky, leesy and toasty...you have to taste it.

 

 

 

 

 

 


 

DEHLINGER 2014 Russian River CHARDONNAY $4/taste
Full-throttle California Chardonnay by an old master...

Tom Dehlinger makes some stellar wines, but he's a graybeard now...no longer the
"new kid on the block," so his wines are sometimes overlooked.

But they remain amongst the best of California.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


COTO DE IMAZ 2013 RIOJA RESERVA
$2.40/taste
This Rioja has routinely been pretty good, but this vintage it's
more striking than usual.

It's made from the Tempranillo grape and matured about a year and
a half in small American oak barrels.

If you enjoy California Cabernets and want something showy
with a reasonable price tag, be sure to taste this.














 

 

SWEET WINES OPEN TODAY:

QUINTA DO NOVAL 2011 VINTAGE PORT  $10/taste

The most recently-declared Vintage is offered today for tasting...quite showy now and it
will repay cellaring handsomely.


CARMES DE RIEUSSEC 2014 SAUTERNES   $3.50
A second wine from the famous ChÔteau Rieussec...delicious, mildly honeyed...

CASTA DIVA MOSCATEL  "Cosecha Miel"  $5.50/taste
Hugely famous in Portugal and around Europe, they're a mystery to most
wine consumers in the US.  Remarkable wine, though.


BARBEITO 5 Year Old BUAL MADEIRA  $2.40/taste
Not exactly dry but not precisely sweet...a nice 5 year old Madeira from a prestigious, traditional winery.

SMITH WOODHOUSE 2003 LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORTO $3/taste
Savvy wine buyers know this brand from the Symington Family (Graham's, Warres, Dow's)
for its killer LBV Port...If you have taste for hundred buck bottles of Vintage Port and are
on a budget, check out this delicious Porto!


LA MAGENDIA Juranšon $3.60/taste
From master winemaker Jean Bernard Larrieu comes this stellar sweet wine which is
balanced by laser-sharp acidity.  


FLORIO 2003 "TARGA" MARSALA   $4/taste
A special bottling of Vintage Marsala from the historic Florio winery in Marsala.


EXCINDRE MUSCAT DE MIREVAL  $2.20/taste
Terrific Muscat from the south of France.

DELAS MUSCAT DE BEAUMES DE VENISE  $2.60/taste
From the Rh˘ne Valley in France...this is a simple, aromatic and delicious Muscat.

ALSO:

CRUZ VIEJA OLOROSO SHERRY  $3.80
A well-aged, beautifully nutty dry Sherry...


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All bottles are sparged with Argon, an inert gas. 
This allows us to offer a wide variety of wines
(you won't find any place offering this number of interesting wines on a daily basis!). 



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