Big Bottles For The Big Day

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:40 PM

Big Bottles  For The Big Day

Big Bottles



For The Big Day

Sparkling wine in magnum ...

There is something magical about bubbles in big bottles.  Don't ask me what it is, or why, but they just taste better.  



I was introduced to this concept sometime in the late '90's when my band would take the long Presidents' weekend off each year and head up to Mendocino to jam our faces off for 3 days and nights at a rented house somewhere in the middle of the woods.  Those were indeed fun times, but I'm off subject. 



One year, due to my insistence, we stopped at the Roederer winery and tasting room in Anderson Valley on our way up to Mendo.  The band (there were 6 of us) took over the quiet tasting room, and we were helped by a kind woman who helped navigate us through the wines.  It seemed she knew a thing or two about music, as her boyfriend "played in bands."  It was then and there we learned about magnums.  She poured the same wine, one from bottle, one from magnum, for each of us to taste.  It was unanimous!  We all thought the magnum samples tasted better.  "Why is that?" We all asked, but to no avail; some things remain magical.  Magical, yes, but somehow still a fact.  We thanked our kind guide for her time and headed on up to our weekend jamboree, toting 3 magnums of Roederer sparkling wine!



Over the years, I've heard much about the subject, and have sampled sparkling wines side by side, one from bottle, one from magnum.  The magnum wins ... every time.



We are open today, December 30, and will be closed both tomorrow and Monday.  So today is your last chance to pop in and pick up a magnum of fizz for your 2018 celebrations!  Here is a quartet of our best-priced magnums of sparkling wine.



-Peter Zavialoff

 

NV

Cava Brut

Segura Viudas


$17.98





By far, our best priced magnum of sparkling wine.  This is a great choice for a mixed crowd; it's dry and delicious enough to enjoy on its own, and inexpensive enough to be okay if someone decides to pour peach or orange juice in it!

 
NV

Cava Brut

Reserva Heredad

Sigura Viudas

$44.98






Something much more serious from Segura Viudas.  This regal bottle tells us everything about its contents.  Pure, clean, refined sparkling wine at a "less than Champagne" price.  Oh, why not, this one's worth sabring!

 
NV

Vouvray Brut

Domaine d'Orfeuilles

$39.98






100% Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.  This is another outstanding, Champagne-like value, with its tangy Granny Smith apple fruit and dusty mineral notes.  The magnum bottle just screams, "It's party time!"

 
NV

Crémant de Bourgogne

Perle de Roche

Jean-Marie Chaland

$59.98






We just mentioned the recent arrival of the Perle de Roche Crémant de Bourgogne from Jean-Michel Chaland.  It's all Chardonnay, and with it's tiny bubbles and delicate aromas, can easily charm Champagne lovers.

Twinkle, Twinkle, In A Flute...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:29 PM

Twinkle, Twinkle, In A Flute...

Twinkle, Twinkle, In A Flute ...



Fizz, Bubbles, Champers ...

or whatever else you may call your sparkling wine, there is no question that THE most popular time of year for the stuff is upon us now.  So whether you need a bottle or two to ring in the New Year, for Sunday Brunch, or if you would just like a great pairing partner for your caviar, fried chicken, or bowl of potato chips, we've got a nice selection of sparkling wine at a variety of price-points.  

Beginning with our sub $10 Cava sparkling wines from Spain, we have a handful of offerings which range from $10 - $30, each one with its own allure.  Then, we have a fine line of great Champagnes, many of them Grower Champagnes, ranging in price from the $30's all the way up to a very special bottling of Krug (Pssst:  It's on sale!).



So, no matter your budget, we've got the sparkling wine for you this year.  Need help choosing?  Our friendly, knowledgable staff is more than happy to give recommendations and help you zero in on that special bottle for 2018!  Come see us or give us a call - we'll be here!!!  Happy (up-coming) New Year!  



   - Peter Zavialoff

Check Out All Our Sparkling Wines Here
2014

Cantine Russo

Mon Pit Brut

Blanc de Blancs


$25.98



Feed your inner wine-geek, and/or impress your friends with this two grape blended fizz from Sicily.  Grown in volcanic soils around Mount Etna, the grapes are Carricante and Catarratto, the former is known for its inherent acidity, while the latter is known for its lemon fruit expression. This sparkler from Sicily can take the world by storm ... once the world tastes it!



1998

Arlaux


Millesime Rare

Reg. $84.98

SALE $64.95



What a great way to ring in 2018!  This soon to be 20 year old bottle of Champagne is in a glorious place at the moment.  The tiny bubbles push an initial yeasty/briochey element which opens the door for an incredibly complex bouquet.  The palate is racy and lively with all of that complexity pinging every sensor.
NV 

Jean-Marie Chaland

Crémant de Bourgogne


Perle de Roche

Brut Nature

$28.98




That's a mouthfull, we know, but it's the mouth feel of this Crémant de Bourgogne that has our staff buzzing.  Tiny bubbles, soft lemon verbena aromas, and a well-constructed palate had our staff in agreement that this could be a "ringer" in a Champagne tasting.  It's all Chardonnay, and it's amazing.

 


2007

Vilmart & Cie

Coeur de Cuvée


$144.98



A most extraordinary Champagne from one of the region's greatest growers and producers.  Made of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, this Champagne is refined, expressive, complex, even grandiose.  It's like Montrachet with bubbles.







 
NV

Marc Hebrart

Premier Cru

Cuvée de Réserve

Brut


$43.98



It all started when David purchased a few cases of the Marc Hebrart Champagnes and declared them, "My kind of Champagne."  Well, that was enough for us.  Several of our staff took a bottle or two home, and recommended it to our customers.  It's already sold out twice, so it must be our kind of Champagne too!

 





NV

Krug


Grande Cuvée

164ème Édition

Reg. $199.98

SALE $168.95



From Antonio Galloni:  "Krug's NV Grande Cuvée 164 Edition is a total knockout.  The flavors are brisk, delineated and pulsing with energy, while the more oxidative notes that are such a signature of Krug Champagnes are not especially evident. 97 points."

 

Celebration Preparations - Sparkles And Sweet Decadence

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:15 PM

Tick Tock, Tick Tock ...

We're ten days away from the end of 2017!!  What to do?  Why, celebrate, of course!!  If you're in need of wine to celebrate with, we've got you covered!



As is customary this time of year, sparkling wines are very popular as celebratory wines, and we have good stocks of fizz ranging from sub $20 sparklers to fancy, hard to find Champagnes.  
Click here for a link to our selection of bubbles. 



If you like to celebrate like I do, then maybe a bottle of Sauternes from our anniversary sale is the way to go.  I always like to celebrate with Bordeaux's Gold wines, and a glass of Sauternes on New Year's Day is a must, if one is going to have a sweet year!



Remember, our sale lasts through January 2, 2018, so if you haven't checked it out, time is running short.





 - Peter Zavialoff

NV

Giavi

Conegliano Valdobbiandene

DOGC

Prosecco Superiore


Reg. $14.98





Our ever-popular, dry, pear-scented, Giavi Prosecco is quite an elegant drink for its party-wine price. Careful - the bottle tends to be finished before you know it!







2005 Château

De Malle


Sauternes 375ml

Reg. $27.98

SALE $19.95



From a vintage known for its abundant level of botrytis, the 2005 de Malle is showing rich aromas with citrus fruit and spicy aromas.  The palate is well-balanced and harmonious.  It's in a great spot right now.
d'Orfeuilles Touraine Rose Bottle
NV

Domaine d'Orfeuilles


Brut

Touraine Rosé


Reg. $15.98





Vivacious Champagne-method bubbly produced from organically farmed Côt, Cabernet Franc, and Grolleau grapes, grown on limestone-clay hillside soils. Fresh and crisp, with surprising complexity.



2007 Chateau

Rieussec

Sauternes 375ml


Reg. $44.98

SALE $34.95







"The palate is very pure and balanced with a wonderful seam of acidity that slices through the viscous botrytis fruit, quite spicy on the finish" - Neal Martin
2004

Pascal Doquet

Grand Cru


Le Mesnil Sur Oger

Coeur De Terroir

Reg. $99.98

SALE $74.95



Or one can go the way of true vintage Chamagne with this 2004 Grand Cru from Pascal Doquet.  Expressive, yeasty, and nutty, 2004 was great for Chardonnay-based Champagne.







2005 Chateau De Fargues

Sauternes 375ml

Reg. $59.98

SALE $49.95



Owned by the Lur Saluces family (former owners of Château d'Yquem), the 2005 de Fargues is Sauternes lover's dream.  It's intense, complex, rich, and powerful.  It's a great wine - for now, or for up to 15-20 years.

New Champagne Producer - Liébart-Régnier

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:06 PM

Introducing Champagne



Liébart-Régnier
Liebart-Regnier Champagne Bottles

Just in time for the holidays ...

I was first introduced to Liébart-Régnier at a trade show last year. These kinds of shows feature scores of producers that are looking for US importers. They are a worthwhile endeavor, but you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your Prince Charming. These Champagnes, shown to me by the charming Alexandra Liébart, were, for me, the hit of the tasting, and a few months later I was in the village of Baslieux-sous-Chatillon paying them a visit. The estate was formed, as one might surmise, with the marriage of a Liébart to a Régnier, both of whom owned vineyards in the Marne Valley. Alexandra's father, Laurent, runs the estate now, and farms their 10 hectares.  They have been independent winegrowers since 1960, producing their Champagnes from 100% estate grown grapes. Their wines are based on Meunier and Pinot Noir from Baslieux-sous-Chatillon, with Chardonnay, and a parcel of 50 year old Pinor Noir (used for the Rosé), coming from the nearby village of Vauciennes.  They farm some of the ancient Champagne varietals as well, Petit Meslier, Arbanne, and Pinot Gris, and they will release their first cuvée from those varietals in the next year or two.

 

The Liébarts are farmers first and foremost, and are certified "H.V.E.," which is given to producers that show respect for natural habitats, protect biodiversity, and use natural treatments.  Their dedicated farming translates into utterly delicious Champagnes -- generous in fruit, focused and precise, giving boundless pleasure.

 

All these wines are net-priced, but for December only, to encourage you to partake in these fine Champagnes, we are offering a 15% discount on any assortment of 12 bottles of Liébart-Régnier.  You will love having a nice stash around for the coming year! - David Netzer



NV

Liébart-Régnier

Extra Brut


Reg. $36.99

CASE $31.43



50% Pinot Meunier

50% Pinot Noir

 


NV

Chardonnay Brut


Reg. $39.99

CASE $33.98



100% Chardonnay

All from 2013 vintage

 
NV

Liébart-Régnier

Brut


Reg. $34.99

CASE $29.73



70% Pinot Meunier

15% Pinot Noir

15% Chardonnay





NV

Rosé Brut


Reg. $38.99

SALE $33.13



45% Pinot Meunier

35% Pinot Noir

20% Chardonnay


Every once in a while,a customer will ask us how we resist temptation, working in a place surrounded by bottles of wine from all over the world. The answer is:we don’t resist it; we like wine, so we drink it. Okay, we spend far more time here in the shop than any customer would, so from a time spent in shop per bottle purchased ratio, it may appear that we do resist temptation … most of the time.While stocking our sales floor this morning,it wasn’t a surprise to find several empty bins that needed refilling. Apart from their emptiness, the other thing these bins had in common were theorange sale signs; there are a solid dozen or so wines around the shop that I would consider outright steals now that they have been marked down. On the short list of the finest of these wines is theNV Pascal Doquet Grand Cru Le Mesnil Sur Oger Blanc de Blancs Champagne.

 

 
 
For me, Champagne is one of those wines that I unfortunately don’t get to drink as often as I would like, but before the orchestra of the world’s smallest violins starts up, I will say that I do make a point to do so from time to time. For celebrations, it’s a given. To pair with fried chicken, it’s a must. To share a meal and some time with someone special, a toast with real Champagne makes it complete. Several years ago, I wrote about summer and Champagne, and heeding my own advice, I’m not going to let summer go by without continuing the tradition.
 
We’re all fans of quality Grower Champagnes in general, though we’re even bigger fans of the wines produced by Pascal and Laure Doquet! The wines have layers of complexity which have garnered the attention of esteemed critics and TWH customers who love Champagne. This non-vintage, 100% Chardonnay Grand Cru Champagne has expressive aromas of citrus blossoms, apricots, pears, and a sleek, stony mineral nerve. On the palate, one gets a hint of brioche in addition to the fresh fruit, mineral, and a hint of hazelnut. The finish is high-toned and perfectly balanced. It’s a stunning wine at a very fair price. Champagne isn’t cheap, but the sale price on this one makes it one sweet deal!
 
 
We’re one week shy of Labor Day Weekend, which for some of us comes with an extra celebration. Another TWH tradition worth mentioning is that birthdays for staff members are celebrated with something sparkling at the end of the day. I think we now know what I’ll have a hankering for next week: The NV Pascal Doquet Grand Cru Sur Oger Blanc de Blancs Champagne. What temptation? – Peter Zavialoff
 
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments regarding sale wines, Champagne in summer, Bordeaux, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com

Laherte Frères Ultradition Brut

Friday, December 4, 2015 10:39 PM

Why do some people go to the ends of the earth to procure the smallest production of Burgundy, yet when it comes to Champagne, insist on drinking the big brands? We wonder about this often, as we tend to prefer the unique character that artisan Champagne can deliver. Perhaps people are hesitant to experiment as Champagne prices have crept up, up, up over the years. I can tell you honestly, we are on the constant hunt for value in Champagne and whereas we believe grower Champagne to have intrinsic value vis à vis corporate big brands, you can’t always find sub-$40 Champagne that wasn’t mass produced. Therefore, you can see why we were so giddy to come across Laherte Frères Ultradition Brut.
 
 
Laherte Frères is a family-run winery established in 1889. They own 10 hectares of vines covering 75 parcels in 10 different villages. The winery is technically considered a “negociant-manipulant” but this is because family members sell their grapes to the family business, Laherte Frères. In all other aspects, they operate as grower-producers. The vineyards closest to the winery, about half of the total vineyards, are farmed bio-dynamically while the rest are farmed organically. It is the collection of these tiny parcels that contributes to the personality of the wines at Laherte. The composition of the Ultradition Brut is 60% Pinot Meunier, 30% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Noir. The Pinot Meunier gives the wine a wide girth while the acidity and low dosage preserve the brightness and attack of the finish. There is an intricate dance between the prominent red fruit flavors and the salinity on the palate. It is hard to point to a comparable wine for the individualistic Ultradition Brut. We say for $33.98 per bottle, why not give it a go?!
 
 
Our 38th Anniversary Sale continues on through the end of the month. It’s true we’ve sold out of a few items, but we have many, many more super deals throughout the store to offer!Come on by or give us a call, and we’ll do our best to help you find just the wine you’re looking for.

NV Pascal Doquet Horizon Champagne

Tuesday, September 22, 2015 12:06 AM


September 20, 2015;the last Sunday of summer. Time flies, that’s for sure. But unlike the stock market, traffic on the bridge, or the fortune of your favorite team,the fact that time moves on is predictable with 100% accuracy. Keeping that in mind, without getting too far ahead of myself, this meansOctober, November, and December are coming next. What might bea good ideato stock up on for these 3 upcoming months? Something that was recently poured for me comes to mind:The NV Pascal Doquet Horizon Champagne might come in handy as we ride out Q4 of 2015.

 

 
 
Seeing how we’re like a family here at TWH, it has become a tradition to celebrate birthdays around here with bubbles. Our most recent family birthday happened to be mine and toward the end of the day, after looking for something in the back, I was greeted by Anya and David holding Champagne flutes. No bottle, just glasses. Chris joined the party and we clinked them (it was Tom’s day off, otherwise he’d have been there too, sorry Tom). I took a very small ceremonial sip and took a step back to admire the nose. It had layers of complexitythat were enjoyable yet perplexing; seeing that it was my birthday, I had to guess the wine. This isn’t as difficult as one would think as a dollop of educated guesswork helps a great deal. The fruit component was fairly well pronounced. There were lemons, snappy green apples, a little of the classic Champagne brioche-like sensation, as well as dusty mineral. The palate was bright, fresh, and seamlessly balanced. Adding all of this up I began to think about special Champagne; expensive Champagne. But we don’t open fancy Champagne for birthdays. Imagine the worst hitter swinging a baseball bat trying to hit a housefly. That’s how effective my guesswork was in this case. Anya went to get the bottle for refills, but David stopped her. At one point I verbally ruled OUT the producer. David said to Anya, “He hasn’t guessed yet. He’s getting colder and colder, and the one conclusion he’s come to is that it’s not what it is!” Sometimes my coworkers have fun at my expense.
 
 
The kidding subsided and Anya brought the bottle back to top everyone off. I was a bit surprised as I hadn’t tasted Doquet’s latest release of his Horizon. I don’t usually think of that kind of fruit expression or the yeasty, brioche-like characteristics when I taste one of Pascal’s wines. This was truly a revelation, and it was unanimous, the four of us quaffed our fizz with praise and smiles, nary a critical thought or word. It was a great way to end the work day. There would be more wine to taste that evening including a Sauternes, or in this case Barsac (I think you may know which chateau) which could be my favorite birthday tradition of them all.
 
Alas, time flies and birthdays end; even for those of us ludicrous enough to drag the celebration out for 21 days! I am grateful for all that was shared with me during the annual ‘fest. As stated above, here come October, November, and December … in that order. Off the top of my head I can think of 7 occasions to open a bottle of Champagne between now and 2016. I guess I’ll just buy a case and make up reasons for the other 5 bottles! –Peter Zavialoff
 
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments: peter@wineSF.com
0 Comment Posted in Champagne

Arlaux Champagne? Yes, Yes, Yes!

Friday, November 7, 2014 10:07 PM

thinbanner

TWH staff had occasion to celebrate this week, so we did with a bottle of Arlaux’s Brut Rosé. Arlaux’s Brut Rosé is produced from the family’s 9 hectare vineyardwhich faces east/southeast along hillside slopes not far from Champagne’s epicenter, Reims. Produced independently since 1826, Arlaux makes only 5,000 cases a year, a minuscule amount for a Champagne house. That’s probably why Arlaux is not a household name, except for here at The Wine House.

arlaux

With over 10 years importing Arlaux under our belt, we’ve become pretty familiar withArlaux’s signature style which showcases Champagne’s lesser known, but most widely planted variety, Pinot Meunier.Arlaux’s Brut Rosé is over 50% Pinot Meunier, therefore it has a fuller, fruitier expression than the more delicate Pinot Noir- or Chardonnay-based Rosés. A beautiful shade of salmon pink with edges of amber, the Arlaux Rosé strike a lovely balance between amplitude and delicacy.Yeasty aromas mingle with red raspberry fruit and give way to a creamy long finish.

 

 

The vine age at Arlaux ranges from 20-80 years old and are 100% classified Premier Cru. Their farming practices are “lutte raisonneé” which for Arlaux means that they are not using any pesticides in combination with careful vineyard management. Their stewardship of the land looks to a sustainable model.

 

 

One of our first customers this morning stopped by specifically to check on our Champagne selection. He knew thatthis is the time of year Champagne inventory at The Wine House expands. And then it dawned on me, holy cow it’s here, the time most closely associated with drinking Champagne – the holidays. Ready or not!

 

 

As I wrote above, The Wine House staff had occasion to celebrate this week. A local team we all like to root for in a sport we all enjoy following won an important series, so after spending the day analyzing the victory (& working), at the end of the business day, we selected something worthy with which to clink our glasses: Arlaux’s Brut Rosé. It had been some time since I last drank this Rosé. I always considered Arlaux’s Rosé to be the perfect bathtub wine; languishing in scented bath water, soaking away the stress and sipping something special and bubbly. I could sure use such a soak and a sip. A Friday Halloween sent droves of trick-or-treaters past my front door. Explain to me how it can be so exhausting handing out candy to little children? At any rate, next time you find yourself in need of something special and bubbly, whether it be for a soak in the tub, marking a win, or any type of holiday festivity, check out Arlaux’s Brut Rosé. It is a wise choice! – Anya Balistreri

Update: The Move

Wednesday, March 5, 2014 9:30 PM

We are OUT of the old spot and IN the new Dogpatch location at 829 26th Street (@ 3rd St). Phones are working, computers are plugged in and we are open for business! Though all of our wine is on site, the sales floor has yet to be fully stocked. We’re hustling, trying to get everything put in its place.

On Monday evening, after the movers left and the staff was finally all together at the new location for the first time, to celebrate we opened one of TWH’s favorite Champagnes, Pascal Doquet’s non-vintage Premier Cru Brut Rose! It is always delicious, but this time after a couple days of heavy lifting and dust breathing, Doquet’s Brut Rose tasted all the more spectacular. Cherries in the snow, crisp, fragrant, delicate, refined, with only a promise of fruit.It is a very exciting time for TWH. We’ve already had several folks from the neighborhood come in to introduce themselves and we’ve welcomed WH customers who have popped on by to take a look at our new store/warehouse and to pick up some wine. To say we are completely moved in is a tiny bit of a stretch, but we’ll do our best to serve your vinous needs – so come on by soon! – Anya Balistreri 

2000 Pascal Doquet Premier Cru Le Mont Aimé Champagne

Tuesday, October 30, 2012 8:37 PM

doquet



It’s that time of the year again … and though I belong to the school of treating October like October, November like November, and then reveling in the madness of December, things are coming into view. I’ve been to not one but two Champagne tastings this month, and as good as that might sound (seriously, what fun is it to spit Champagne???), the writing is on the wall. Champagne distributors are whispering to merchants, “Get your holiday orders in now, people!” So yes, our selection of sparkling wines is set to grow very soon, ’tis that time of year. One producer we don’t need to bother any distributor about is our own Pascal Doquet.



With a brace of Champagne tastings in my wake, a timely Tweet from The Wine Advocate’s Antonio Galloni, and a glance at where we are on the calendar, it seems the four winds are blowing in the direction of Champagne! As has become recent TWH tradition, when one of us has a birthday, we pop a bottle of fizz. My birthday was last month, and we all celebrated with a bottle of2000 Pascal Doquet Premier Cru Le Mont Aimé! What a treat! It is truly a Champagne lover’s dream. Incredible aromas, layers and layers of complexity, and a fresh, snappy finish. My birthday, sure, but a treat for all who tasted! Speaking of Antonio Galloni, here’s what he had to say about the 2000 Pascal Doquet Premier Cru Le Mont Aimé:

“The 2000 Blanc de Blancs Premier Cru Le Mont Aime is an incredibly elegant, refined wine endowed with layers of perfumed fruit. This beautifully sculpted, detailed wine flows with the essence of ripe pears, flowers, spices and minerals in a style that is both accessible today, but also fresh enough to age gracefully for at least a few years. This is first-class juice. Anticipated maturity: 2015 – 92 points.”

He went on to say, “Pascal Doquet is a small, artisan producer based in Vertus. This is a beautiful set of wines loaded with personality.” We think so too. It’s hip to drink Grower Champagne.

label



So let’s treat October like October … it’s Halloween next week! I haven’t heard about any costumes from anyone yet, but I’m sure I will be seeing them. November comes next, and it will be fun to change our clocks back and enjoy the indoor life with the longer nights. Thanksgiving isn’t too far away now, and there’s no better way to kick off the festivities with friends and loved ones than with a bottle of fine Grower Champagne. Actually, if anyone feels like a festive celebration is in order next week, perhaps a bottle of 2000 Pascal Doquet Premier Cru Le Mont Aimé Blanc de Blancs is the ticket! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about Grower Champagne or tomorrow’s big, massive game (I mean the footy match): peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net
0 Comment Posted in Champagne

Pow, Bam, Fizz – Happy New Year!

Thursday, December 29, 2011 6:19 PM







I am rarely surprised anymore by the things people say to me on the subject of wine
. However, during a trip to Brooklyn a couple months ago for my friend’s wedding, I stopped into a small, and what I determined to be quite reputable, wine shop.  I struck up a conversation with one of the employees.  Upon asking him if they had any small grower Champagne, I was met with a somewhat astonished facial expression followed by “you guys know about grower Champagne out in California?!” I had to stop myself from laughing hysterically lest I come off as a phony (psst, I’m not really from California) AND offensive.

That said, I know we can be a bit Californicentric with our wine selections on the west coast, but when it comes to bubbles, well…. in the words of one of our favorite Californian winemakers when I asked him what he’s drinking these days… “Champagne. Especially from growers. That’s pretty exciting to me.” So yes world, we know all about Champagne!!! It is delicious; It is festive; It is one of the most diverse and versatile wines on the planet; It is exciting. Oh, and it’s available in California!

Grower Champagne – Champagne made from vines grown on and bottled by a single estate – is not necessarily inherently superior (or inferior for that matter) to one made by a négociant or co-op, but many small grower Champagnes today offer a distinct type of drinking experience that diverges from the larger producers. Not to mention the fact that it’s nice to know where the grapes for your wine come from. TWH carries both categories proudly and with discerning standards. All of our Champagnes represent the absolute best of the various sub-regions, styles, and producers from a region renowned for its pivotal role in history as the place for royal inaugurations and celebrations. Oh, and did we mention that our Champagnes are celebrity-endorsed?

Last night before we closed up shop, TWH staff was treated to a bottle of the 1999 Pascal Doquet Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil (That’s Pascal in the pic above, btw). The freshness, the vibrancy, and the complexity of this wine, after all these years, was mind-blowing. It’s nowhere close to retiring. And even after a long day of work, in the back of our warehouse, with no cause for celebration per se, we had a sense that the moment was special. THIS is why we drink Champagne. Happy New Year! ~ Emily Crichton

** Here are a few of our favorite bubbles in stock **

NV Arlaux Brut 750ml (Also available in 375ml)

Arlaux is a tiny Champagne house run by Christine Marechal. A recoltant-manipulant, Marechal is based in Vrigny, and owns just 7 hectares of Premier Cru vines, predominantly Chardonnay but with both Pinots planted alongside, on the north-western edge of the Petite Montagne de Reims. All of the Arlaux wines are made from the first pressing only and following both fermentations, are aged in the Arlaux cellars before release, with up to three years for the basic non-vintage cuvees, and up to five years for the reserve non-vintage and vintage wines. The entry level non-vintage is the Brut NV, a blend of 50% Pinot Noir, 40% Pinot Meunier and just 10% Chardonnay.- TheWineDoctor.com

1998 Arlaux Brut Millesime

This has a lovely character on the nose, which is evolving and interesting. There is elegant but rich tropical fruit with a lemon twist, and a nutty element coming in behind. The palate is impressive, defined and linear, but also creamy and harmonious. There is great fruit texture, fine acidity and perfect balance. A delicious wine which is very approachable now. –TheWineDoctor.com, March 2009

NV Pascal Doquet Brut Blanc de Blancs

92 Points– Wine & Spirits December 2008

Pascal and his wife Laure own and operate this fabulous small grower Champagne domaine in the town of Vertus, located near Avize. The Doquet’s Champagnes are made entirely from their 15 hectares (2.5 Grand Cru / 12.5 Premier Cru) which are all farmed organically and hand harvested.

In the Cellar the wines ferment in both tank and cask before being bottled to under go secondary fermentation where they are allowed to rest on their lees for a minimum of 2 years but often up to 3 before disgorgement; much longer than the law requires. This technique and patience allows for the wines to develop richness and depth.

This Brut Blanc de Blancs cuvee was aged in tanks for 6 months, including 3 months sur-lies. The wine is a blend 2 vintages: 67% of 2004 and 33% of 2002, and was bottled in April 2005.

NV Pascal Doquet Brut Rose 1er Cru

91 Points– Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate

This Rose Brut Premier Cru cuvee comes from the Southern Cote des Blancs: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, Vertus, Bergeres-les-Vertus. The wine was aged in tanks for 6 months, including 3 months sur-lies. A Chardonnay base is used along with some Pinot Noir from Vertus. This is a blend of 2005, 2004 and 2003 vintages, which was bottled in April 2006.

NV Pascal Doquet Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil

92 Points– Wine & Spirits December 2008

This Brut Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs cuvee (100% Chardonnay) comes from Le Mesnil-sur-Oger, and was aged in tanks for 6 months, including 4 months sur-lies. The wine is a blend 3 vintages: 73% of 1999, 7% of 1998 and 20% of 1996, and was bottled in April 2000.

*2000 Pascal Doquet Brut 1er Cru Mont Aime

*1999 Pascal Doquet Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru Le Mesnil

NV Pierre Peters Cuvee de Reserve Blanc de Blancs

92 PointsStephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar
Light, bright green-gold, with a strong bead. Vivid citrus and green apple aromas are complicated by subtle lees, spice and brioche qualities, as well as a slow-building floral quality. Firm and focused, offering tangy orange and orchard fruit flavors along with anise and sweet butter. Gains weight with air but not at the expense of the crackling fruit. The citrus notes linger impressively on the finely etched finish. I really like this wine’s delicacy and sneaky power.
 
And many many more…..

NV Arlaux Champagne: Simply Genius

Friday, October 21, 2011 3:47 PM







Je rêve.
There’s a lot going on these days. Sure, there’s a new Wilco album out, but that’s not what I’m on about.We’ve told you about the recent container which brought loads of goodies from France. Guess what? There’s another French container about to set sail that’s full of good stuff. On its heals is another container from Italy, and then there will be one from Bordeaux! Expect a full warehouse and frantic TWH staff come late November through January! We’re 8 matches into footy season, the Champions’ league resumes Wednesday, and I’ve embarked on a new music venture. So yeah, there’s a lot going on. But still I dream. And I dream big. So I’m thinking about all this stuff and what it’s going to feel like when it all goes down successfully. What to drink? Champagne. Real Champagne.

Early last month I celebrated a birthday, and though I always drink Gold Wine from Barsac/Sauternes on my birthday, my colleagues here at TWH nonchalantly invited me to the tasting table the Friday before, and there before my eyes were several Champagne flutes a-glistenin’. There’s just something about those bubbles. They were perched there, alive and energetic, like thoroughbreds in the gates of the Kentucky Derby waiting to bust out. A glass was handed to me, and as they say, “They’re off!” A quick toast, and a quick sip, and a double take. The Champagne they chose for my birthday? NV Arlaux. I’ve had the Arlaux Champagnes many times over the course of my gig here at TWH, and I’ve had high praise for it as well. But there was something particularly special about this bottle (which came from a recent container). It had all the fruit and mineral complexity, but that brioche/hazelnut nuance was strongly pronounced and we were all amazed at what we had in our glasses. The bottle didn’t last long as we were happily tasting and engrossed in praising the exquisite elixir. Everyone walked away from that tasting with a strong reminder that it’sthe little guys that make truly great Champagne.

So yes, we’re busy getting wine on the water and we’ll probably do something special for our upcoming 34th Anniversary. The holidays are creeping up and will be here before you know it, and with an eye on footy and an ear in the studio, I’ve got a full plate of things to do. I ain’t afraid. With help from my friends and colleagues, it will all go down just fine. And we will drink Champagne. The NV Arlaux Champagne, that is.Peter Zavialoff

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Who’s Down With Doquet Rose?

Monday, September 26, 2011 4:23 PM

It’s no longer news that Sean Parker of Napster fame threw himself a lavish party across the street from The Wine House this past Thursday. The activity outside our door began last Saturday with the building of an outside stage that was only to be dismantled by Monday morning. Permit problems perhaps? Tuesday things ramped up again and the construction crews were hustling. Thank you to all TWH customers who braved the trucks and inconveniences to visit our store. We appreciate your patronage especially since our normally easy parking situation became a bit trickier. Remember, the spaces in front of our store are for our customers and you can always block our loading dock if there aren’t any deliveries being made at the time.

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We have some good stories to share if you are curious about what goes on when an event of this scale happens outside your door. There is one story in particular that I can’t resist retelling. It goes like this: a well-dressed woman rushes into our store with a list and asks if we have Wine X or Champagne Y. We had Wine X but not Champagne Y, a recognizable mass-produced label. We suggested the Doquet Rosé but she said it hadto be Champagne Y… specific orders of the band. Three hours later she was back, looking slightly more frazzled, asking for another bottle of Rosé Champagne. Again we didn’t have the label requested, and again we recited the virtues of small-grower Champagne and pointed out the superiority of Pascal Doquet’s Premiers Crus Rosé. She said, (and I’ll paraphrase here) “Great, it’s for Snoop Dogg—we’ve got his fried chicken and mac-n-cheese and now his Rosé Champagne; he’s chill.” I have been expounding the virtues of fried chicken and Rosé Champagne for years. It’s a magnificent combination of high and low, acidity and salty, bubbly and crunchy. My groupie days are long gone. Today my “Rock Stars” tend to be winemakers, but still I can’t help get a kick out of knowing Mr. Gin and Juice was drinking Doquet Rosé, purchased at TWH, before the show! How cool is that? Small-grower Champagnes may have finally found their spokesman. Move over Cristal, Farmer Fizz has arrived on the scene!

 

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Pascal Doquet’s Rosé has a gorgeous vibrant pink color
that immediately delights the eyes, setting all the other senses on alert for something great to come! The aromas gently float up revealing delicately crushed red berry fruit and a lovely yeasty note. The wine is classic Doquet with its subtle fruit notes, stealth minerality and long, long finish. It is refined and sophisticated with an earthy note that surprises and delights….lots of layers lurking beyond that initial wave of berry fruit.

The guys kept the shop open late on Thursday. I wanted to stay too but I felt the start of a cold and I arranged to take Friday off so that I could go on a field trip to a rock quarry with my daughter’s 2nd grade class. Oh, how the mighty fall! At least I got to hear The Killers’ sound check that included a tasty rendition of “(Sittin’On) The Dock of the Bay”.

Anya Balistreri

Spring Fizz

Saturday, April 9, 2011 4:26 PM





“You don’t stop laughing because you grow old. You grow old because you stop laughing.”

I don’t know if it’s all the daffodils and tulips sprouting up around town or just seasonal allergies going to my head, but I have got Spring Fever like you wouldn’t believe. Unfortunately, it’s not the kind that prompts me to clean my home as if I were about to host the Queen. However, it does have the effect of turning everything I hear or read into something not only spring-related, but something for which the presence of spring could be the only logical explanation.

Which brings us to the portion of the email where I explain what the above quote has to do with spring, and of course, wine (did I mention I also have a tendency to turn everything I see into something wine-related?). It all started when I logged onto our Twitter account this morning and saw this quote. Naturally, it made me smile and think of how spring is the perfect time to celebrate life, friendship, good times of past and those yet to come. In essence, to keep laughing. Cheesy, perhaps, but still apt in my opinion. Moreover, if we are to gather for laughter, we will need something equally apt with which to toast it.

Now for the part of the email that needs very little explanation, as it is almost inevitably “bubbles” that customers ask for when they are about to embark down a celebratory path. That said, this is not the first time, nor the last, that you will hear me say a celebration proper is certainly not necessary for the consumption of sparkling wine. I have and always will be a huge proponent of kicking to the curb any notion suggesting that certain wines be restricted to specific dates, places, weather patterns, lunar phases etc… Rules- who needs them?! So whether you’re mounting your party bus as we speak or quietly giving thanks to the asparagus gods, make this a season of celebration and laughter. Of course, I would never dream of leaving you hanging with a hankering for some sparklers and no suggestions, so I’ve picked a few of TWH staff favorites from fancy to affordable and everything in between. In fact, it seems like almost every day at least one of us comes into work and announces that we’ve recently had one of the sparkling wines listed below- with sushi (me), with fresh crab (David), avec petite brandade croquettes (Anya), on its own with squirt of blood orange (Chris), with peanuts while watching a baseball game (Tom)…. So I guess we’re practicing what we preach alright.

In sum, have fun- drink fizz.

NV Segura Viudas Brut Cava

We have adopted the term “house ‘Champagne'” from one of our customers to describe this Cava as it’s the kind of wine everyone should have at least a few bottles of on hand for an impromptu sparkling moment. While this has been an all-time favorite of TWH staff for some time now, in both the pocketbook and palate categories, there seems to be a consensus around the globe that this is a brut to be reckoned with. A blend of the regional Spanish grapes Macabeo, Parellada and Xarel-lo, the Segura is made in the same way as Champagne with its secondary fermentation and further aging done in the bottle. Rich and full, yet crisp and clean at the same time, it has classic citrus, apple and melon flavors but a delightfully unexpected earthy/herbal component. I’ve always been very impressed with the balance of this wine. It definitely out drinks its price-point.

Domaine d’Orfeuilles NV Vouvray Brut

How do I even begin to describe my adoration for this producer. If you thought my spiel about tulips and laughter was cheesy, hang on a moment because I’m about to top it. But first, a little background information. This Loire estate was founded by Paul Herivault in 1947 out of an old Medieval castle that no longer exists. Today the estate is run by Paul’s son and grandson whose M.O. is tomaintain the traditional methods employed by their predecessor and produce wines that reflect the distinct “flintiness” of the clay-limestone soil for which Vouvray is known. In this they have succeeded and then some. The Vouvray Brut, made from 100% Chenin in the traditional method, explodes with peach/apricot & soft white floral notes on the nose that follow through onto the palate with a clean chalky texture that, along with a brilliant acidity, hangs onto every tiny little bubble as if they were some sort of synchronized acrobatic trio (go team!). Anya summed this wine up nicely when she said “it’s one of the few sparkling wines that doesn’t make me wish I were drinking Champagne.”

Domaine d’Orfeuilles also makes a Touraine Rosé from Malbec (known as Côt in the Loire) that boasts beautiful, bright red raspberry fruit balanced by a nice dusty minerality. For some reason this wine (get ready for the cheese in five, four, three…) gives me visions of Mary Poppins ascending into the puffy clouds as she hangs nonchalantly onto her umbrella. Gosh, where do I come up with these things? But truly, it is a lovely representation of the outstanding diversity, quality, and value one can find coming out of the Loire.





2009 Bellenda Prosecco Superior
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This may be one instance where I tell you it’s ok to judge a wine by its label. The feminine, almost majestic looking, light gray-purple label is fitting for this vintage sparkling wine which bears the name of both the region from which it hails in northeastern Italy and the grape from which it is made. Hands down, this wine has the softest, most delicate mouthfeel of any Prosecco I’ve ever tasted. Slight hints of stone fruit and almond round out the vibrant minerality also present in spades. You may want to drink this in a white wine glass rather than a flute in order to experience the full expression of the wine.

NV Arlaux Brut

Arlaux has been one of our direct grower Champagne imports for years, long before the explosion of grower Champagne ensued. Situated in Vrigny, this estate is known for its use of Champagne’s “other” red grape, Pinot Meunier, which makes up nearly half of the blend and contributes anintriguing hint of forest-floor type earthiness. The rest of the blend is composed of mainly Pinot Noir and just a little bit of Chardonnay, which lends itself to a richer, more red-fruit flavor profile. In the world of sky-high Champagne prices, Arlaux represents an incredible bang for the buck… or should I say, bubble.

Joyeux printemps!

Emily Crichton

Dinner At RN74 With Jeanne-Marie de Champs

Monday, October 11, 2010 1:49 PM

jmglass







Greetings. Exciting news! From Domaines et Saveurs in Beaune, negociante Jeanne-Marie de Champs will be in town Monday, October 11 for a special dinner at restaurant RN74! 

The litany of different wines that we have imported over the years that are sourced by Jeanne-Marie is so numerous that we don’t have time nor space to list them individually. However, just so you know, here are a handful or so: Chateau Couronneau, the Burgundies from Paul Pernot, Sancerre from Philippe Raimbault, the White and Red Burgundies from Chateau de la Maltroye, and our new discovery, the Cru Beaujolais from Chateau de Raousset.

 

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In conjunction with San Francisco’s celebrated restaurant RN74, we will be having a dinner with Jeanne-Marie next Monday, October 11. You are all invited to join us, as it will surely be a memorable occasion! On the docket, the Arlaux BrutChampagne will be poured, along with the dry Vouvray “Silex” from Domaine d’Orfeuilles, then a fine Meursault fromDomaine Michel Bouzereau, and topping it off with the 2007 Echezeaux (I just love typing that word!) from Domaine Lamarche! 

Talk about an impressive lineup! Keep in mind, there may be some other selections available, however, at the time of this writing, we have no idea if and what there will be. What we do know is RN74 is a happening restaurant with impeccable food, service, and ambiance. It will be our pleasure to see you all there next Monday!

Here’s how to get in on the action: RN74 is quarterbacking the whole event. Please contact the restaurant directly to make reservations. Their phone number is: 415.543.7474. You may also reserve your space using Open Table. VERY IMPORTANT!!! When making your reservation, either way, please BE SURE TO INFORM THEM that you want to be part of the “Monday Winemaker Dinner”. THAT IS THE ONLY WAY TO BE INCLUDED! They begin serving at 5:30 PM, you are welcome to make your reservation for whichever time may be convenient for you. You will be free to order the prix fixe dinner or anything a la carte from their menu. You will also be free to order any of the wines presented for the dinner, either individually, or as a flight, as well as anything else that the restaurant is offering. The cost of the event? It all depends on what you order. Please refer to RN74’s menu for hints as to what it may cost.

 

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This is our first winemaker dinner with RN74! We’re looking forward to it, BIG TIME! Come join us, it promises to be one special evening.

PS:  Look for a future “Winemaker Dinner” at RN74 sometime in 2011, with Aline Baly and her wines from Chateau Coutet!

Please direct any inquiries to RN74: 415.543.7474. I will be happy to answer any questions you may have as well. Please feel free to contact me at 415.355.9463 or at: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net. – Peter Zavialoff

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Touch wood. Knock on wood. No matter how you say it, it’s a phrase that the superstitious know all too well. I was once married to baseball, both as player and spectator, so thatqualifies me as the superstitious type. Funny thing is, you’d think I’d have learned by now to keep my mouth shut, but I don’t, ergo I suffer. I can’t help it, when there is hope for joy and happiness, I am enthusiastic. I share my enthusiasm with the people in my life. So much so, that I believe I jinx myself. The hard part is the aftermath, you know, shaking my head when my sister asks me how my date with so and so went and such. I am not setting myself up for any jinxing with this email, there will be Champagne popped tomorrow. It may be my brother and his contingent doing the popping, or it may be me and mine … we’ll see. Life’s too short for not poppingChampagne, so we strongly encourage you to do so.



It’s not just for celebrations, but if there is cause for celebration, one must have Champagne. Just don’t jinx things like I did. No. Wait. I didn’t. It wasn’t my fault, it was my brother’s. The 2002 Giants lost the World Series because of him! It’s a long story, so I’ll spare you, but it had something to do with my having a bottle of Champagne in an ice chest in the trunk of my car on that fateful day. I will not have a bottle of Champagne in the trunk of my car tomorrow morning when I watch the deciding matches of the English Premiership. However, there is a chance that I may have some later. If it does happen, it will be the Non-Vintage Grand Cru Les Mesnil Blancs de Blancs from Pascal Doquet!

 

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Grower Champagne is a term we keep hearing more and more. All of the famous names of the region belong to the negociants who source their grapes to satisfy demand. They are owned by big corporations, or they are big corporations, in their own right. Pssst! It’s cool and hip to support the Champagne makers that grow their own fruit. Cool, hip, and rewarding, that is. You know where the grapes are grown. In this case, Grand Cru Le Mesnil sur Oger. You know the grower. In this case, Pascal Doquet. He looks like Gene Wilder … a little.He and his wife Laure own and run this uber-hip Domaine in the town of Vertus (which is near Avize). The Doquet name has quite the reputation. Being the exclusive California distributor of his wines keep our fingers on the pulse of demand, and we must say that for such a small producer, Doquet has many fans in the Golden State. His wines from Le Mesnil topping the list of what they love. And why not? Made from100% Chardonnay, grown in one of the most prized Grand Cru vineyards, this wine has verve, vibrancy, and complexity that would and does impress the most discerning Champagne connoisseur.Here’s what The Wine Advocate’sAntonio Galloni had to say about this wine: “The NV Blanc de Blancs Grand Cru is a rich wine with an expansive, perfumed core of apricots, flowers, honey, brioche, sweet spices and smoke. The wine shows a good deal of complexity in a style that achieves terrific balance between ripeness and minerality. This is a great choice for drinking now and over the next few years. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2012. Pascal Doquet is a small, artisan producer based in Vertus. This is a beautiful set of wines loaded with personality. – 90 points”.

 

No, I’m not jinxing anything by sending an email about Champagne on the night before we find out who will be Champions of England. My brother supports the other guys (boo!). (Really … what is wrong with him?) (I guess nothing. They have the most fans of any team world-wide) So, either way, someone in my family will be celebrating. Ha ha! But tomorrow, my brother won’t have access to Pascal Doquet’s Grand Cru Le Mesnil Blancs de Blancs though! Come on you Blues!Peter Zavialoff

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Pictures from importer Robert Kacher Selections.

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