October 2012 Dirty Dozen

Friday, October 26, 2012 7:40 PM

Boo! Alas, summer is over, and days are rapidly shortening. That just means that the nights are getting longer, and the time for more indoor activities is here! No worries. We have the perfect idea for indoor gatherings: The October Dirty Dozen. 12 bottles packed neatly into 1 box for a super low price! All different; what could be better than that?

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Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.

2010 Blanco, Bodegas Ercavio $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
The name ‘Ercavio’ is derived from an old Roman settlement, and the grape that goes into the 2010 Blanco is 100% Airén. Say you haven’t heard of Airén? Hailing from the area surrounding Madrid, Spain, it is thought to be the most widely planted wine producing grape variety! Dry and crisp, it’s a great aperitif or, it teams up well with crispy fried fish.

2009 Godello, Montenovo $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Eric Solomon, one of America’s finest small importers, is at it again with this fine example of the Godello grape. Godello is grown in Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain, and does it deliver! It shows plump, ripe white and yellow fruit, propped up by zippy acidity and underlying spice and mineral. No wonder some folks believe it’s similar to Chardonnay.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Lalande $11.79 net price, $8.79 reorder
Need a crisp, affordable white for your next gathering? Look no further than the Lalande Sauvignon Blanc. Vintage after vintage, this TWH staple has always been a hit with customers and staff alike. It is terrific with halibut.

2006 Viognier, Paras Vineyards $14.95 sale price, $14.20 reorder
California Viognier in the DD? This could be a first, or at least a first for a wine of its pedigree. Grown at elevations of over 1000 feet on Mount Veeder, this Viognier was fermented in barrel with no malo. As fermentation stopped, some residual sugar remained, leaving this Viognier off-dry. It’s just the right thing to pour with a cheese plate at the end of a meal … or if exotic flavors strike your fancy, we’re thinking something spicy hot like Hunan-style smoked duck.

2010 Crozes-Hermitage Les Terres Blanches, Domaine Belle $24.99, $19.99 reorder
Every now and then we pull out the stops with our DD selections, and this would be one of those months. This WHITE Crozes-Hermitage is a special wine. It’s a fancy wine. It’s a blend of 70% Marsanne and 30% Rousanne, 2 of the Rhône’s well known white varieties. It sees some 1 year old barrel which gives it texture and aroma, but there’s no hiding that lovely, complex mineral underneath. This is a classy wine and suits a fancy free range chicken dinner well.

2011 Rosé, Domaine Saint Antoine $11.29, $9.03 reorder
Now that summer is over, the masses are forgetting about just how cool it is to pop a no-frills bottle of Rosé! This one from Saint Antoine is made from 100% Syrah and balances the fruit/acid components perfectly. The result? An easy to pair quaffer; it goes well with everything, and it makes for a great cooler-downer as one toils in a hot kitchen.

2008 Terre de Bussière, Domaine de la Janasse $12.98 net price, 11.68 reorder
The southern Rhône Valley has been bargain central for those of us who love low priced high quality red wines. This unusual blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Syrah will put a smile on your face as it sings along side of that sausage pizza.

2010 Le Loup dans la Bergerie, Domaine de l’Hortus $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Speaking of Syrah/Merlot blends, Domaine de l’Hortus’ Jean Orliac adds a little Grenache to that mix to produce his Le Loup dans la Bergerie. It has great aromas, ample fruit, and medium bodied weight. A solid all-purpose red!

2009 Floresta, Pere Guardiola $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
As the Pyrenees come into view in Empordà-Costa Brava, Spain’s northeastern corner, you will find the vines belonging to Pere Guardiola. The blend here is 40% Garnacha, 30% Mazuela, and 30% Syrah. The wine is ripe, rich, and robust with aromas of dark berry fruit and spice. A great value, it has the stuffing to pair well with a dry rub pork shoulder roast.

2010 Carmenère, In’ka $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Bursting with dark berries, chocolate, and spice, the aromas for the 2010 In’ka Carmenère jump from the glass with delight! Carmenère has its origins in Bordeaux, but was fairly recently discovered in South America where it has been thriving. It has the charm of Merlot, yet the backbone of Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfect with a juicy steak.

2009 Carmignano, Le Farnete $18.99, $15.19 reorder
A TWH direct-import, Le Farnete’s Carmignano has been a favorite ’round here for many vintages. The 2009 is no exception. Carmignano has been growing Cabernet Sauvignon since Medici times, long before the age of the ‘Super Tuscan.’ Dark aromas of brambly berries and earth lead to a fuller bodied palate. We’re thinking Osso Bucco here.

2010 Syrah/Grenache, Vignobles Boudinaud $11.99, $9.59 reorder
Grenache and Syrah are a match made in heaven, as if the wines from the southern Rhône don’t already underline that fact. Our pal Thierry Boudinaud crafts a lot of different wines down there, but here is something special that he makes out of some Langeudoc fruit that he sources. Alive and fresh, it is all tank-fermented preserving that pure fruity profile. Don’t let its friendliness fool you. Its medium body allows for some earthy complexity. Great with food, or not!

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The Barbecue Special: 2007 Inacayal Carmenere

Tuesday, September 4, 2012 7:50 PM

(Sing along, now):Heading out to San Francisco, for the Labor Day Weekend show. (Okay, stop singing) I don’t know anything about Hush Puppies, but Labor Day weekend is always special for me; Birthdayfest and all. To many, it signifies the end of summer, but let’s face it, there are 3 weeks left! That leaves plenty of time for more outdoor activities … and more barbecues! If you live locally, you know we have well over 3 weeks of summer left. With so many more opportunities to fire up that barbecue, you all may be interested in a great, inexpensive wine to accompany the festival of the grill. Not only have we uncovered a dynamite deal from the southern hemisphere, but it’s aGREAT barbecue wine to boot!

 

We’ve had some good fortune resulting from taking a little time to peruse close-out lists over the last few years. If we can find you all a great wine at an insane price, why not, right? Well, we’ve done it again! If you like bold, full-bodied red wines with silky tannins and just the right amount of spice, then read on. The2007 Inacayal Carmenère comes to us via ye olde close-out list. We had the 2005 for a very short time, and it sold out quickly for $20. The 2007 is here now, and is $16 if you want a bottle … or the case price is, get this, less than $14!!!

 

A little bit about the grape. Carmenère is originally from Bordeaux. It was ever present in the Médoc in the early 18th century, and a property’s reputation was heightened if Carmenère was in its vineyard. After many years of producing excellent wine, the grape fell out of favor because of its susceptibility to coulure,or the falling off of the berries shortly after flowering. Think of it as a cross between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; it combines the friendliness of the former with the weight of the latter. It has certainly found a home these days in Chile, where Carmenère was discovered in the early 1990’s among vines that were thought to be Merlot. It is believed that these vines were imported directly from Bordeaux in the late 19th century.Well, apparently, some of those vines made their way over the mountains to Argentina as well. You won’t see as many Argentine Carmenères out there as you will Chilean (they have their own Bordeaux stow-away, Malbec.), but don’t miss this one.

It has been reported here in the past that I’m a huge fan of Bruce Hill’s Picco Restaurant in Larkspur, and recently, I brought a bottle of the 2007 Inacayal Carmenère with me and sat down at the bar. Their GM had left for the night, but I sat down for a quick bite and placed the bottle upon the bar. The manager on duty came over to say hello, and I asked him if he wanted to taste the Carmenère. He was surprised to see that it was from Argentina. He returned quickly with a wine-key and 2 glasses. I cut the foil and pulled out the cork, poured out a couple of tastes and what followed was magical. Double takes, big smiles, and a resounding “Wow!” were his reactions. I asked him if it would be okay to pour tastes for the bartenders and servers; no problem. Again, what followed was more than I could have expected. Tons of pra
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