WINE TASTING ROOM-Completo's
UPDATED AS OF November 12, 2019
POJER & SANDRI 2012 "ROSSO
FAYE" Sale Price $49.99 $5/taste
e Sandri is an artisan winery way up in the hills in Italy's Trentino region.
This is a 40-minute drive south of Bolzano in the Alto Adige and an hour+ north
They make a remarkable range of wines (and grappa and Aceto).
The new release of their Bordeaux-Meets-Italy blend called Rosso Faye (Faye
being the Latin name for their town, Faedo)
is very showy.
It's based on Cabernet Sauvignon from the mountains, blended with Merlot,
and a local red grape called Lagrein. It's matured in small oak barriques,
so there's a
delightful cedary character framing the dark fruit notes.
PARADIGM 2015 Napa CABERNET $8/taste
Heidi Peterson makes classic, old-school
wines...no grape concentrate and
she doesn't leave residual sugar in her Cabernets.
She works for a number of wineries and her Cabernets at Paradigm have
been quite good. The 2015 is maybe a tad softer than previous vintages.
Very fine for immediate drinking and it'll cellar handsomely.
MONT-REDON 2015 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE $4.80/taste
We included this in a recent blind-tasting of Chateauneuf-du-Pape wines and it
top-ranked wine and well-liked by the group of tasters.
Mont-Redon is a larger estate in the southern Rhône and yet they make a
remarkably good, elegant
Half the wine is matured in small, French oak, Burgundy-styled barrels and this
adds a measure of
elegance to the wine.
Very stylish and it's well-priced, too.
ZD Napa CABERNET SAUVIGNON $67.99
is famous for its distinctive Chardonnay, but they make a really snazzy Napa
Lavishly oaked, dark fruit...very fine!
PEWSEY VALE 2013
"CONTOURS" RIESLING $3.70/Taste
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
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
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
This is dry and crisp, too, by the way.
ERIC KENT 2017
Sonoma CHARDONNAY $4.20/taste
can't quite call winemaker Kent Humphrey an old-timer, but
he's been at it for more than a decade.
His wines are routinely good and this 2017 Chardonnay is very fine.
It comes from two vineyard sites in Sonoma...they made just
1 KM West is its "title" and, as usual, features marvelous art on the
Happily the wine is even more artistic.
SADDLEBACK CELLARS Napa "Old
old pal Nils Venge (we first met him in the mid-1970s when he was the first
winemaker at the brand new
"Villa Mount Eden" winery) has his Saddleback Cellars
The wines are always well-made but this one is special.
It's from an old parcel of Zinfandel in Calistoga. There's a small
Petite Sirah in the blend, creating a beautiful red with the classic spice note
ALTA MORA 2018 Etna Bianco
is the grape...and it can make a remarkably good bottle of wine in the right
Some of these are tight, lean and cellarworthy.
The Alta Mora is immediately showy...crisp, bone dry, mildly
stony/minerally...you can sense
its volcanic "terroir" right from the start.
Doesn't need any.
SHAFER 2016 RED SHOULDER RANCH
Carneros CHARDONNAY $5/taste
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.
MAYACAMAS 2014 Napa/Mount Veeder
up on Mount Veeder is where you'll find the Mayacamas Vineyards property.
They make old-time Napa wines. Ages ago they were the producer of big,
intense, bad ass wines.
These days the wines, by comparison to many, are quite elegant and refined,
has really changed.
Well, the prices have changed and the Cabernet Sauvignon goes for well north of
$100 a bottle.
But you can have the same quality red with their well-priced Merlot.
It's nicely intense and concentrated...it's as full as many Napa Cabernets.
TREFETHEN 2016 Napa CABERNET
vineyards are in the Oak Knoll district of Napa, a slightly cooler region.
This makes for a nicely elegant
rendition of Cabernet, beautifully balanced.
Trefethen has been making good Cabernet for decades.
This 2016 is a cut above their normal efforts.
NAUTILUS ESTATE New Zealand SAUVIGNON BLANC $1.80/taste
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.
KANZLER 2017 Sonoma PINOT NOIR
We've had a couple of vintages of Pinot Noir from this Sonoma County winery.
They sell grapes to some neighbors and make a bit of wine for their own label.
This 2017 shows dark cherry notes and a touch of oak...beautifully balanced,
2018 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).
We brought this vintage recently to dinner with some friends at Dumpling Time in
San Francisco...thoroughly delicious!
Stony, nicely fruity with a hint of a spice note...
GREYWACKE 2016 Marlborough PINOT
a recent blind-tasting of New Zealand Pinots, Kevin Judd's was my top pick.
It's beautifully intense with lovely dark cherry fruit and just a hint of sweet
Very showy and easily comparable to top Sonoma Pinots.
TRAMIN 2017 "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
FILIPPO GALLINO NEBBIOLO
Old Filippo Gallino is still around and he monitors the work of his son, who's
now the winemaker
at this venerable cellar in Piemonte's Canale.
They make classically-styled wines (no new oak) and are highly-regarded by their
Thanks to an honest importer (and being friends of the family), we are able to
sale-tag this $20 Nebbiolo
for just $12.99 a bottle.
It's a remarkable value.
PIEDRASASSI 2015 SYRAH
This is a small winery in Santa Barbara...they make some nice Syrahs
which have a bit of earthiness and a touch of a hickory/bacony element.
Ellen finds the wine too earthy and funky for her taste, but others
find this attractive.
Come taste and decide for yourself.
SUMMERS Napa Valley
We are big fans of this charming Napa Valley red made of the scarce Charbono
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
the best and most sensibly-priced.
Sad to note that after the untimely death of Jim Summers, his wife Beth has
decided to close the winery.
PETER DIPOLI 2015 SAUVIGNON BLANC
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
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.
WATCH" RED BLEND $1.80/taste
small winery in Sonoma produces some remarkable Rhone-styled reds.
We're fans of their Father's Watch bottling, a blend of Syrah, Grenache,
Carignane and Mourvedre.
It's medium-full bodied and there's an intriguing spice note here.
And the price is quite consumer-friendly...sale tagged at just $17.99.
BINZ 2016 MORIO MUSKAT
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
RAMEY 2016 Russian River Valley
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.
CIÙ CIÙ 2018
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"
many commercial cellars bottle as "Pinot Grigio."
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
2016 Margaret River CHARDONNAY $4.20/taste
Margaret River region in Western Australia...
They make three Chardonnays...this is the middle tier bottling and it's
Smoky, leesy and toasty...you have to taste it.
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 Château Rieussec...delicious, mildly
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,
SMITH WOODHOUSE 2003 LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORTO $3/taste
Savvy wine buyers know this brand from the Symington Family (Graham's, Warres,
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 Jurançon $3.60/taste
From master winemaker Jean Bernard Larrieu comes this stellar sweet wine
balanced by laser-sharp acidity.
FLORIO 2003 "TARGA" MARSALA $4/taste
A special bottling of Vintage Marsala from the historic Florio winery in
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 Rhône Valley in France...this is a simple, aromatic and
CRUZ VIEJA OLOROSO SHERRY $3.80
A well-aged, beautifully nutty dry Sherry...