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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 June 22,  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.


 

 

 

 

ALTA MORA 2017 Etna Bianco  $3/Taste
Carricante is the grape...and it can make a remarkably good bottle of wine in the right hands.

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.

No oak.  
Doesn't need any.









 

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.

 

 

 

ELYSE 2013 Napa CABERNET "Holbrook Mitchell Vineyard" $5.30/taste
Winemaker Ray Coursen is an old-timer in Napa and recently he and Mrs. Coursen sold Elyse...time to retire.

But he made really good Napa Cabernets.    This one comes from a vineyard site close to the winery near the Yountville/Napa border on the west side 
of the valley.

Quite charming.



 


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 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 to dinner with some friends at Dumpling Time in
San Francisco...thoroughly delicious!



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


 

 

 

 

 

THE TERRACES 2015 Rutherford CABERNET SAUVIGNON $7/taste

One of our favorite estate in the Napa Valley, The Terraces is a small
cellar along the Silverado Trail in Rutherford, prime Cabernet Country.

Their wine is routinely quite showy and people who taste this typically take home a couple
of bottles.

It's entirely Cabernet Sauvignon and the wine is matured in small French oak
barrels, with around one-third of the wood being brand new.

The wine has a bit of tannin, but it's so delicious in its youth, we're not sure
anybody has been able to resist the temptation to open a bottle shortly after
getting home.

The Terraces production is limited...less than 550 cases were made.



 

 

 

 

 

GREYWACKE 2016 Marlborough PINOT NOIR  $4/taste
In 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 oak.
Very showy and easily comparable to top Sonoma Pinots.




 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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."




 

GIACOMO FENOCCHIO 2017 NEBBIOLO LANGHE  $2.50/taste
Claudio Fenocchio has a collection of top sites for his various Barolo bottlings.

These days the Fenocchio name is deserving of inclusion with the elite producers of the Barolo region.  

All the more impressive is his entry-level bottling of Nebbiolo Langhe...it comes from a couple of hectares
of vineyards in the Monforte area...east-facing slopes.

The winemaking is simple...a normal red wine fermentation in stainless steel tanks and then half a year of maturation
in large Slavonian oak tanks.  

The past few vintages have been spot-on and this one is in the range of "excellent."


 

 

 

 



 


MOUNT EDEN Santa Cruz Mtns PINOT NOIR  $6/taste
Mount Eden is an historic estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

It's long been highly-regarded for Chardonnay and Pinot Noir as the vineyards
are said to have been propagated from cuttings taken from top sites and sources 
in France's Burgundy.

The winery may not get the attention it deserves as writers are always looking
for the next best thing and the newest story to tell.
Mount Eden is not a new kid on the block, yet its wines are tops.



 

 

 

 

 

 

 


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.






OAKVILLE ZINFANDEL $2.50/taste
Most of the vineyards in Oakville have been planted to Cabernet and other
Bordeaux varieties.  Zinfandel is a rarity there except for one vineyard.

The Oakville winery produces a smooth, berryish Zinfandel with a nice
touch of oak.  It's not a fruit bomb as you will discover.

Elegant.











 

 

 

 


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.

 

 

STORYBOOK MOUNTAIN 2014 Napa ZINFANDEL $3.60/taste

Dr. Jerry Seps is a Zin-Master!

He's been making balanced, elegant Zinfandels for decades.  His 2014 is remarkable.
We opened a bottle for a friend visiting from Tuscany.
We enjoyed it with a burger at San Mateo's "31st Union" restaurant and the pairing was perfect.

The wine is a bit potent, labeled as 14.9% alcohol and yet it doesn't show its ripeness or power,
maintaining its elegant balance.  It was stellar with the burger, as there's a mildly spicy
character to the berry-like fruit of Zinfandel.







 

 

 

MEYER FAMILY OAKVILLE CABERNET SAUVIGNON  $4.80/taste
The Meyer family were founders with the Duncan clan of Silver Oak, a Cabernet-centric producer making
Napa and Alexander Valley wines.

The Meyers sold their share when Justin Meyer passed away, but they retained vineyards in Napa.

The winery is located in Mendocino's Yorkville Highlands, some 45 minutes' drive from Geyserville in Northern
Sonoma County.

Their Cabernet wines are terrific (and we often have a Syrah from Meyer).

Medium bodied and elegant.

 


 

 

 

 

 

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 2016 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.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 


OBSIDIAN RIDGE Lake County CABERNET
$2.80/taste
Obsidian Ridge is a vineyard north of Napa in Lake County.

Napa wineries have long purchased Lake County fruit to blend with their
most costly wines as the quality is good and the price of grapes is
far more gentle.

Obsidian Ridge makes a good, medium-full bodied Cabernet from its own vines
in Lake County...dark fruit and a whiff of wood.

Drinkable now, too.














 

 

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!). 



j0199296.jpg (8137 bytes)Wine Tasting Notes & Results


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