WINE TASTING ROOM-Completo's
We are pleased to welcome adults who've been Double-Vaxxed
to our reopened Tasting Room.
Tasting Hours are 12pm until 5:45pm. Monday through Saturday.
UPDATED AS OF August 13, 2022
PENFOLDS 2018 BIN
389 CABERNET/SHIRAZ $6/taste
Penfolds makes a benchmark red called
It was formerly called "Grange Hermitage," tipping its cap to the
Northern Rhone Syrah wines
made in the Hermitage appellation.
Some years ago they removed the "Hermitage" name from the label.
That wine put Australia on the world's wine map...an incredibly deep,
impressively complex wine!
It was always premium-priced, but these days bottles come with a ransom note,
not a price tag.
Penfolds BIN 389 is pretty damned close to the Grange bottlings in terms of
quality, but happily
the price is far more sensible. And compared to Napa Valley reds, you'll
be delighted by our
current $59.99 sale price.
Lavishly oaked...lots of black fruits...moderately tannic, but certainly this
can be enjoyed tonight
with a grilled steak or prime rib roast.
FEUDO MONTONI "CATARRATTO" $2.20/Taste
This is a deliciously minerally dry white from Sicily.
The grape is Catarratto and the vineyards and cellars are southeast of
It's the sort of wine which will appeal to those with an appreciation for
Sancerre and Chablis from France...or some Iberian Peninsula dry, non-wooded
DELILLE Washington State CHALEUR BLANC $3.50/taste
loved the white Bordeaux from Smith Haut Lafitte, but now that it's north of
(closer to $150 these days), we've looked for alternatives.
The crew at Delille are also fans of Bordeaux wines and their Chaleur Blanc
often hits the mark.
The 2020 is exceptional and displays the herbal notes we like in Sauvignon Blanc
and the texture
of the Semillon. They use a fair bit of new French oak so there's a rather
character here, too.
Very showy white wine...
(We tasted the 2021 recently...maybe it's too young? But the 2020 vintage
is "off-the-charts" good.
ONE STONE 2021 PINOT NOIR ROSÉ
From a winery in San Luis Obispo...they are not
far from Pismo Beach and a few minutes' drive from
It's made of Pinot Noir from vineyards cultivated with the idea of making a
Beautifully refreshing as it's dry and crisp, with snappy acidity.
And yet the flavors are very much those of Pinot Noir.
Oh...the price is refreshing, too!
APATSAGI 2020 PINOT NOIR $2.20/taste
new vintage of this amazingly charming Pinot Noir has just arrived.
It's a modest-sized domaine northwest of Budapest in Hungary, a most
unusual source for Pinot Noir.
But this is certainly a world class wine and it's a delight.
Lots of bright cherry Pinot Noir fruit and a touch of sweet wood
spice makes for a most complex and enchanting wine.
BURGESS 2016 Napa CABERNET
The Burgess family sold its winery and brand to the owners of Heitz Cellar.
This comes from two vineyard sites in the environs of Napa's Howell Mountain
area east of St. Helena.
It's predominantly Cabernet with a small percentage of Petit Verdot
They used but 15% new French oak, so the Cabernet fruit takes
center stage...the wood is well in the background.
Special sale pricing is $49.99.
(A fellow who never spends fifty bucks on a bottle of wine tasted this
recently and splurged saying "Wow, this is really good!")
ACRE 2018 Napa Valley ZINFANDEL
many vineyards of various grape varieties have been pulled out in the Napa
and replaced with the "Money Grape," Cabernet Sauvignon.
Happily there are some growers who cultivate other grapes.
In the Oakville area, though, we're told there are less than 20 acres
remaining of Zinfandel.
This newish label, Acre, is owned by a couple who had been in the
wine distribution business before this project.
We like the mild spice and bramble notes of the Zinfandel and
it displays a touch of oak, having been matured in both
French and American barrels.
COLTERENZIO 2019 "LAFÓA"
SAUVIGNON BLANC $4.30/taste
Lafóa label is used by Colterenzio for their premium bottles from a special
vineyard site near the winery in Italy's Alto Adige.
Half the juice was fermented in stainless steel tanks and the other half
saw its vinification in barrels and puncheons.
This is a remarkably intense, complex Sauvignon Blanc, made of some French
clones and produced along the lines of top French white Bordeaux.
It's an exceptional dry white.
Don't miss it.
BOUZA 2019 Uruguay
Chile has Carmenere and Argentina is famous for its Malbec
wines, Uruguay is the South American home of the Tannat grape.
Of course, Tannat comes from southwest France...Madiran, especially.
Bouza makes a couple of Tannat bottlings and this is their
entry-level, a mildly oaked red with dark fruit that can pair easily
with Cabernet Cuisine.
It's a fuller-bodied red which performs well beyond its
modest price tag.
PATZ + HALL 2018 SONOMA
From an old-timer in
Sonoma, winemaker James Hall barrel-ferments Chardonnay
using a modest percentage of new oak barrels.
His wine is a delight! Toasty, creamy and full-flavored...
Lots of Granny Smith apple fruit and creamy, vanillin notes from
the French oak.
BLACKBIRD VINEYARDS 2019
Blackbird's Arise is a Bordeaux-styled blend,
coming from four vineyard
sites in Napa, including the famous Hudson vineyard in Carneros and
the Stagecoach Vineyard south of Pritchard Hill.
The blend features Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc,
Syrah and a dash of Petit Verdot.
You'll find some dark fruit notes and a cedary tone from the oak.
Very showy...in fact, we tasted it alongside their $150 bottles and
this was our pick as the best of the bunch.
Never mind the pricing differential.
THE OJAI VINEYARD 2020 Santa Ynez
Valley SAUVIGNON BLANC $2.50/taste
Ojai Vineyard has sourced its Sauvignon Blanc from the McGinley
Vineyard for close to 20 vintages.
Instead of buying grapes by-the-ton, winemaker Adam Tolmach pays
by-the-acre and then directs the farming to focus on grape
quality rather than a bountiful yield.
Less is more if you're farming for quality.
Ojai's Sauvignon Blanc is vinified in seasoned French oak barrels and
they capture melon-like fruits with a hint of lime.
It's dry, of course.
PEJU 2018 Napa Valley MERLOT
We had routinely found the wines from Peju to be perfectly
well-made but lacking the excitement factor.
When we tasted their current line-up we asked the winery rep if they had,
hired a new winemaker.
He laughed and explained the second generation is now running the show and they
have unshackled the winemaker and, voila!
Their Merlot is particularly good and we are presently able to offer for a price
well below the $60 cellar door cost.
COCHON 2019 Russian River Valley PINOT NOIR
Light garnet in color, the fragrances of this wine leap out of the glass
and are easily identifiable as Pinot Noir.
Bright cherry fruit and a touch of sweet oak make for a wine of
great complexity and yet it's well-priced.
They claim to have made less than 10 or 11 barrels of this
Dutton-Perry Ranch bottling.
Don't miss it.
BUEHLER 2018 Russian River
a nice little Sonoma white from our friend John Buehler
and his family up in the eastern hills of the Napa Valley.
The wine is a bit of a throwback and there's a hint of wood
and the wine is dry and appley.
We have it sale-tagged at $14.99
LLOYD 2020 Carneros CHARDONNAY $3.50/taste
The 2020 vintage from winemaker Rob
Lloyd is a classically
Californian take on Chardonnay.
Barrel fermented in American oak, it's a big, full-throttle,
creamy, nicely oaked Chardonnay.
Many fans of Rombauer have enjoyed Lloyd's wine and
this 2020 is a showy, flashy wine.
PUCCIONI 2017 Dry Creek ZINFANDEL
We often describe the Dry
Creek Valley as the "center of the
universe" for Zinfandel.
There's a particular berry and spice note in good examples
and this Puccioni 2017 is a damned good example.
You'll notice the donkey on the label.
The Proctor family traces it roots back to Tuscany and owner
Glenn Proctor's grandpa plowed their vineyards using a
donkey as they did back home.
They are said to be the final hold-out in the area before
buying a tractor.
TITUS 2019 Napa Valley CABERNET
had the 2018 of this wine in two blind tastings of Cabernets last year and this
our top wine in both.
Phil Titus and his brother have vineyards in and around St. Helena and they make
a nice range of wines. His day job is that as winemaker at the Chappellet
It's a really inky red wine, with youthful purple tones and plenty of dark
There's a nice bit of oak here as it was matured in French and Hungarian
Something like 60% of the barriques were brand new.
This goes for $62 at the winery.
We sale tag it at $49.99.
The 2019 is equally showy...dark fruit, teeth-staining and yet easily drinkable
in its youth.
TERLAN 2019 TERLANER
(Italian White Blend) $3.20/taste
Terlan co-op winery in Italy's Alto Adige makes some pretty damned good wines.
They distinguish themselves with their work incorporating Pinot Bianco.
We visited the cellar a few years ago and they still had a tank of 1979 Pinot
Bianco that is a
"work in progress," awaiting bottling one of these years!
In early June we splurged and bought a bottle of their "Rarity" Pinot
Bianco...2007 vintage and
it's fairly recently bottled.
This was a magnificent wine, but it's price for its scarcity: $180/bottle!
A few days later we popped the cork on a few wines we'd bought in hopes of
discovery and this 2019 "Terlaner" was exceptional. Not only
that, we can buy more than
six bottles of this compared to one of the Rarity!
The Terlaner appellation is a bit obscure, but it's a white wine blend based on
with Chardonnay and, in this case, Sauvignon Blanc.
It's mostly fermented in stainless steel, but about 20% of the juice is vinified
in large wood to
add a bit of complexity. Happily, the wood is not prominent here and the
wine displays the
bright, appley and peachy notes of Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay.
ZAHEL "ORANGE T" Austrian
White from Vienna $1.90/Taste
Zahel winery is located in the Vienna area and it is the reference point for a
rather curious and
obscure grape variety called "Orange T," or Orange Traube.
Don't confuse this with the category of white wines vinified with the skins
which are known as
"Orange Wines." Those can be all over the map in terms of grape
varieties and styles, with
some being rather odd and tannic.
The grape called Orange T has typically been incorporated into the popular
wines known as Gemischter Satz. Zahel thought it has an interesting
personality and began
vinifying it on its own.
Today Zahel's Orange T is a benchmark for the grape.
We currently have this 2019 vintage in the shop and it's a delight. We
liked the 2018, too,
but Ellen noted this one is more intensely fragrant and beautifully crisp and
2020 has been wildly popular...everyone who tastes this buys a bottle (or two)!
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...
CIÙ CIÙ 2020
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."
FORTIFIED & SWEET
WINES OPEN TODAY:
PFEIFFER Rutherglen TOPAQUE (Muscadelle) $4.00/taste
Here's a really delicious Australian "Sticky" that used to be
sold as a "Tokay."
SCHEUREBE Beerenauslese $4/taste
Scheurebe grape makes some enchanting dry white wines and yet this late-picked
version from Austria is off-the-charts good.
It's just at a beautiful stage of development, sweet, honeyed, aromatic and
fruit with apricot and peach notes.
The acidity balances the sweetness.
Half bottles are sale-priced at $19.99.
GRAVIERE 2003 Cuvée Madame MONBAZILLAC $7/taste
makes sweet wines rivaling those from nearby Sauternes.
Its wines are considered to be the benchmark for the appellation.
The importer still
had some 2003 in the warehouse and we picked up
some bottles at a good price for the consumer.
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,
GRAHAM'S 2006 "MALVEDOS" VINTAGE PORTO $6.50/taste
The Malvedos bottlings from Graham's are routinely very good and this is
GRAHAM'S 10 Year TAWNY PORT $3.30/taste
Nicely nutty and sweet!
FLORIO 2003 "TARGA" MARSALA $3/taste
A special bottling of Vintage Marsala from the historic Florio winery in
SANTA JULIA "TARDIO" (Late Harvest
Argentina...fruity and mildly sweet...lots of floral notes here.
BERNHARD 2011 Hackenheimer Kirchberg RIESLING AUSLESE $2/taste
11 year old Riesling is still youthfully fruity, with beautiful balance.
And it's well-priced, too...actually, it's got an old price tag on it.
Don't miss this if you're a fan of fruity Rieslings.
CRUZ VIEJA OLOROSO SHERRY $3.80
A well-aged, beautifully nutty dry Sherry...