January 2008 Dirty Dozen

Thursday, January 3, 2008 5:43 PM

Happy New Year! In the wake of the chaos of all things holiday, we now have the time to catch up on all we missed as the blur of turkey, parties, presents, family, and bubbly has gone by like a runaway TGV train. So as we ease back to normalcy, we offer a capital idea: The Dirty Dozen. 12 bottles of wine, 6 white and 6 red, as different from each other as we could pick them, all in one box for the unbelievable price of $109 Happy New Year!

2006 Petite Cassagne Blanc- $9.99, reorder $7.99
Tried any white wines from in or around the Rhône from the 2006 vintage? If not, you’d better get on board before the point-chasers get involved. Always known for their zesty, fleshy fruit, the ‘06’s show more zippy acidity which puts them over the top when compared to other vintages. How can you resist at this price? Chicken with rosemary works here.

2006 Chardonnay, Madigan- $12.98 net price, reorder $11.68
We all have heard the stories, and most of us have told them as well. We’re talking about ye olde, “I remember when Chateau such and such was 10 bucks, etc.” California Chardonnays are no exception, as many have doubled in price in the last decade. Madigan is the 2nd label of White Rock, and it’s amazing what they can do for under $13! Crack the crab!

2006 Marsanne/Viognier, Boudinaud – $12.99, reorder $10.39
Another 2006 white, another winner. The aromatics hint at tropical fruit, the palate is dry, revealing fleshy fruit, and the acidity braces the whole ball of wax through to the finish which is crisp and clean. Pour this one along side some fettucine in a cream sauce with a little lemon zest. Bonus points if you toss in some sea scallops.

2005 Montravel Blanc, Château Calabre- $7.95 sale price, reorder $7.55
Just like the white wines of Bordeaux, this Montravel Blanc is made from Sauvignon Blanc, Semillon, and this one adds 10% Muscadelle. A steal at $7.95, this wine works well as a party starter or as a cocktail wine, but don’t hesitate to pop one with your meal, especially if it’s clam & garlic pizza.

2005 Pinot Blanc Tradition, René Muré- $14.99, reorder $11.99
Here’s a white wine we all should be drinking more of. Dry yet fruity, showing notes of mineral, clean on the palate with a smooth finish; it’s under $15, we certainly should be drinking more of this. A great match with dim sum and tapas, it’s just something good to have around for its ability to pair with a wide variety of dishes.

2007 Pinot Grigio, Inacayal Vineyards- $12.99, reorder $10.39
Wait. Wasn’t 2007 just a few days ago? Keep in mind that in the Southern Hemisphere harvest is in March, and this wine hails from Argentina, so we know that this ain’t no Beaujolais Nouveau. It’s Pinot Grigio from below the Equator that is lively on the palate, sports an abundance of fruit buoyed by lively acidity, and finishes with a kiss of honey.

2005 Chianti Montalbano, Enrico Pierzzuoli- $10.89, reorder $8.71
Last call! We’ve enjoyed both tasting and providing you with this medium bodied Chianti from the great vintage of 2005. Well, our supply is winding down, and if January is anything like December, look for this one to be substituted out of the Dirty Dozen mid-month, as our supply is limited. Pair it with meaty Italian dishes or pasta, how ‘bout Osso Bucco?

2005 Cabernet/Syrah, Mas de Guiot- $15.79, reorder $12.63
If Cab/Syrah is your thing, you’ll be delighted with this one. It has the complexity of a wine that would be twice the price if it was from Napa. Dark fruit, brilliant structure, notes of earthiness and leather, definitely the chewiest of this month’s DD. When you’re waiting for that rib-eye to rest after you take it off the heat, pop this.

2005 Grenache Noir, Domaine Gournier- $9.29, reorder $7.43
You just have to admire the Gournier wines. The labels just tell it like it is, no cute animals or family crests, just wine. Grenache is used in most southern Rhône blends, so if you’re looking for an example of it on its own, here’s the ticket.

2005 Fleurie, Domaine des Labourons- $15.99, reorder $12.79
We have our suspicions why a wine of this caliber is well under $20 per bottle. For those in the know, it delivers a ton of value. Delicious fruit, notes of earthiness and forest floor with a fairly lightweight profile. Did we mention the vintage?

2005 Côtes du Rhône Rouge, André Brunel- $12.99, reorder $10.39
Andre Brunel doesn’t need a vintage like ‘05 to get great results, but he got one anyway, so we all benefit. Such an easy wine to love, it’s another versatile one you can pop with a pizza, skirt steak, or just sip it with a baguette and bowl of olives.

2005 Tradicional, Quinta do Alqueve- $10.49, reorder $8.39
Guess that makes it a clean sweep of 2005 Reds. Not a bad thing. This one is fresh off the boat. If you’ve enjoyed this quinta’s blend of 4 grapes from Portugal in other vintages, get a load of this one. It has plenty of ripe fruit, structure, spice, and just the right amount of acidity to clearly make it the most versatile wine pairing-wise in the DD!


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December 2007 Dirty Dozen

Tuesday, December 4, 2007 9:23 PM

As the year winds down, we find ourselves smack dab in the middle of that time period known as “The Holidays”. No matter which ones you celebrate, celebrate you will. The Dirty Dozen has been chosen to make your celebrations all the more festive! Truly the ‘something for everyone’ sampler, take one to your next party, and watch the fun.

NV Brut, Domaine J. Laurens – $10.98 net price, Reorder $9.88
What better way to start off than with a nice, crisp bubby that delivers a big bang for your buck. This crémant hails from the Limoux region which is just inland from the Languedoc appellations of Corbieres and Minervois. Quality juice at a guilt free cork-popping price!

2006 Les Tours, Domaine la Hitaire – $8.99, Reorder $7.19
Speaking of crisp wines, fresh off the boat comes the latest installment of the Les Tours legacy. If you love white wine, but need a break from the usual, try this one out for size. All tank fermented, it’s got plenty of zip and lip-smacking fruit to match up well with tuna and capers.

2006 Grüner Veltliner Liter, Setzer – $11.98 net price, Reorder $10.78
Austria enjoyed a wonderful 2006 vintage, and the Veltliners we’ve tasted have made a strong impression. This one is bright and herbal, with more than a hint of fleshy fruit. The first of two wines in this month’s DD to come in full liter format, you will be surprised as to how quickly it empties. Easy to pair, it’s a wonderful accompaniment for herbal salads, pizza margherita, or an herb infused pork roast.

2006 Touraine Blanc, Domaine des Corbillieres – $12.59, Reorder $10.07
If you fancy Loire valley Sauvignon Blanc, and want to keep the price tag reasonable, give this Touraine a shot. Some SB’s can be grassy, some highly aromatic, but this one is just right. Balanced and not over-bearing, this one is easy to drink by itself, yet is very flexible with food. Simple white fish would work, complicated white fish would work, any kind of white fish would work.

2005 Hippolyte Blanc, Chateau Grande Cassagne – $11.99, Reorder $9.59
Roussanne and Grenache Blanc are dynamite together. Take that, add a little oak, and you’ve got yourself a spicy, fleshy, zingy white wine with more character than any other white wine in this price range. This has rotisserie chicken written all over it!

2005 Chardonnay, Lapis Luna – $8.98 net price, Reorder $8.08
A California Chardonnay for under $10? Yes Virginia, there is one. Well more than one, but this one tastes good. Tropical in aroma, there are hints of pineapple and passion fruit that carry through the palate and finish crisp and lively. This is a great wine to have in the fridge at any time for any occasion. With crab season upon us, it may be a good idea to stock up on this one while our supply lasts!

2005 Cabernet/Syrah, Cuvée Alex – Mas de Guiot – $21.49, Reorder $17.19
It doesn’t get much better than this. Yes, it may cost a little more than your average Cab/Syrah, but one taste will tell you why. If you were to write down descriptive words regarding the complexity, you would have to turn the page over to finish. In vintages past, this has been a wine to lay down, but the 2005 is smoking right now! A worry-free gift idea, this is serious juice here. Serve it with a rack of lamb.

2005 Grenache, Domaine André Brunel – $8.49, Reorder $6.79
Tasting notes from various publications don’t usually make their way into our write ups for the Dirty Dozen, but we couldn’t resist sharing this gem with you, “Tangy, with lots of pepper, cherry and tobacco notes on a bright, open frame. A hint of iron adds more interest on the finish. Nice introduction to the grape.” – The Wine Spectator 12/15/07. How ‘bout a warm spinach salad with goat cheese and pancetta?

2006 Blauer Zweigelt Liter, Berger – $12.98, Reorder $11.68
You don’t see much red wine from Austria in the states, and you could probably chalk that up to ye olde line, “They keep the good stuff for themselves”. But that’s not the case. Well if it is, this one got out undetected. In full liter bottles, no less! Zweigelt is a medium weight fruity red that can be reminiscent of Pinot Noir or Grenache. This one here has cherry-like fruit, a touch of herbs and a balanced finish.

2004 Hommage – Domaine de Gournier – $13.59, Reorder $10.87
Here’s another prestige cuvée of Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, only this one adds a little Mourvèdre for texture. We just love the grape and fawn over any of the numerous blends that incorporate it. This wine boasts briary fruit, with herbs and white pepper, propped up with a spicy texture derived from a little new oak. Steak with frites a la Provençal would accompany this perfectly.

2004 Merlot, Domaine St. Antoine – $6.95 sale price, Reorder $6.60
A champion of Tuesday night wines, it’s always a good idea to have one of these around. It’s great before dinner, during dinner, and perfect after dinner. You know that time when everybody wants another glass of red, but all you have in the rack is 1995 Lynch Bages? Pizza? Perfect. Pasta? No problem. Meatloaf with Colcannon potatoes? No brainer. Alaskan king crab? Well okay, that’s pushing it.

2005 Grenache/Syrah Tradition, Mas Carlot – $11.29, Reorder $9.03
We have many different Grenache/Syrah blends here in our shop. They definitely lead the pack in the quality/price category, that’s for sure. So what happens when one of these stands out above the crowd? This one does! This wine is medium bodied, has plenty of fruit, yeah, that’s what we expect from blends like this. But this one has an ineffable depth that will make all who sip do a double-take.

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A Taste of Burgundy Sampler November – December 2007

Saturday, November 24, 2007 4:23 PM

The Taste of Burgundy Sampler $89.98
A great way to learn about Burgundy and its wines, and (even better) the perfect way to get a discount on two high quality bottles. Sign up now!

2005 Meursault “Le Limozin,” Xavier Monnot
Established in 1723, Xavier Monnot has had nine generations of ancestry toil in the family vineyards before him. In 1994, fresh out of oenology school, he took up with his grandfather, René and began to replant all of the lower quality yielding parcels. In addition to this upgrade, he also sought to modernize the winemaking facilities. His efforts have paid off, as the Monnot wines of this generation show off a delicate balance of racy acidity, fleshy fruit, and terroir-driven minerality. The Monnot vineyards stretch from one end of the Côtes du Beaune to the other, yet the domaine has been in the heart of Meursault since its founding. The Limozin vineyard is located just south of the village bordered by the famous premier cru vineyards of: Les Poruzots, Les Charmes, and Les Genevrières. Monnot is known for his careful usage of new oak, which give his wines a mellow mouth feel. It is very drinkable now, but will develop further complexity with short to medium term cellaring.

2005 Gevrey-Chambertin, Dominique Gallois
In 1989, the son of a pastry chef, and a former pastry chef himself, Dominique Gallois tossed his chapeau in the ring with all of the celebrity vignerons of Gevrey-Chambertin, and has being achieving success ever since. Known for deep, dark, Pinot Noir, Gallois’ wines are braced by the earthiness specifically reflecting the terroir of the grapes’ origins. Better known as a winemaker that lets the wine do the talking for him, Gallois has this to say regarding the 2005 vintage, “(A) superb vintage, indeed I would go so far as to say that it was truly a dream vintage. It was essentially perfect from start to finish and while it was dry, the vines got rain exactly when they needed it and the crop was healthy, clean, ripe and with good if not really abundant yields”. Also, “Really, I can’t say enough good things about 2005 and to my mind, it’s a great vintage that we’ll be drinking 30 years from now”. A statement like that from the likes of Gallois is impressive to say the least. We feel this wine is a great representative of vineyard, vintage, and producer. It will definitely benefit the patient ones who lay it down for a long slumber. If you absolutely must serve it in its youth, we recommend the wine be decanted for at least sixty minutes. - Peter Zavialoff

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The November Dirty Dozen

Friday, November 2, 2007 10:30 PM

Well don’t look now, but we’re in the home stretch of 2007. With the holidays staring us in the face, we must ask the question, do you have the wine you need for these special occasions? If your time is precious, we suggest the Dirty Dozen! Chosen with diversity in mind, you will certainly find something for everyone in this box. If there is something you really like, then check out the savings on reorders of six or more bottles! Cheers!

– Peter Zavialoff

The November 2007 Dirty Dozen · $109

2006 Grüner Veltliner Liter, Ecker – $10.98 net price, Reorder $9.88
New arrival! The 2006 vintage in Austria was sun-drenched and the wines picked up an extra richness that one doesn’t often find in this variety. All the wonderful herbal nuances are dancing harmoniously with the rich texture of the vintage. In one-liter format, this is a perfect kickoff to any holiday fête!

2006 Viognier, Praxis – $13.98 net price, Reorder $12.58
Choosing a Viognier from California can be a daunting task these days. They can be intense and rather pricey. What we have here instead is a restrained, well-balanced offering that serves up a proper dose of floral as well as fruity aromatics. In the mouth it’s crisp and refreshing. Turkey friendly.

2005 Chardonnay, Domaine Gournier – $12.39, Reorder $9.91
If you need a party Chardonnay, we highly recommend that you try this one. Perfect for Turkey Day eats, this is a happy-go-lucky Chard that will put a smile on your face while keeping you in the black.

2006 Rosé, Mas Carlot – $10.49, Reorder $8.39
We’re going with the old adage here that if cranberry sauce works with turkey like it does, then a fresh, fruity Rosé from southern France would be even better! Exhibiting fresh fruit balanced with lively acidity, a sip of this following a bite of gobble, gobble will have you filling your glass again and again.

2005 Domaine de Pouy – $8.49, Reorder $6.79
Here’s one for the chef! This non-pretentious, crisp white is the ideal quaffable while you’re minding 4 burners, an oven, and a house full of hungry people. Hey, how’d this bottle empty so fast???

2005 Quincy, Philippe Portier – $12.95 sale price, Reorder $12.30
This is the deal here, folks. Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc at its finest. It proudly shows off essences of citrus fruit, grassy herbs, and a hint of mineral. The finish is dry and pure, perfect with your bird.

2005 Chateau Couronneau – $13.98 net price, Reorder $12.58
If you can find a better value in Bordeaux, we would love to hear about it. It shows deep, dark fruit layered with leather and earth. With an hour or two of decanting, you can enjoy this one now. Or, cellar it, forget it for around 5 to 10 years, then be rewarded for your absent-mindedness.

2005 Vin de Pays de Vaucluse, Domaine Amouriers – $11.49, Reorder $9.77
Yet another bounty of fruit from the 2005 harvest! Amouriers’ Vacqueras receives praise on a regular basis, but let’s not disrespect their party-priced people pleaser. Fruit and spice – perfect with pizza.

2005 Tempranillo, Reinares – $8.98 net price, Reorder $8.08
A good customer recently discovered he had bought a case of this, yet lost it in his cellar. After the discovery, he teed one up, and his comment was, “Where did all that wine in the bottle go?” The good news is that he still has eleven bottles, and we still have a limited amount at this unheard of price.

2005 Cabernet Sauvignon, Domaine des Cantarelles – $15.99, Reorder $12.79
In vintages past, Cantarelles has been blending 60% Syrah with their Cabernet. Well, this time, it’s 85% Cabernet and 15% Syrah. It was that kind of vintage. Big and briary, a sizzling rib-eye ought to do it!

2003 Syrah “Les Oliviers”, Domaine St. Antoine – $13.99, Reorder $11.19
The hits just keep coming. This prestigious cuvée Syrah has that je ne sais quoi that just screams French Syrah. Plenty of smoky nuance balanced with firm tannins make this a cinch with prime rib.

2004 Côtes du Rhône ‘Les Quatres Terres’, Santa Duc – $14.99, Reorder $11.99
Last, but not least, is this consistent staff favorite. The dark fruit and the herbal/pepper characters are playing hide and seek. No, it’s more like they’re playing ping-pong. No, they’re just playing. Let ‘em play! Just make sure you get a full glass. Chances are the bottle won’t be coming back.

The November 2007 Dirty Dozen · $109

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