Two weeks ago, the dust had just settled after one of Jeanne-Marie De Champs’ bi-annual visits to TWH.As I wrote at that time, the protocol had changed … over 20 bottles of Burgundy were opened, and when the dregs of these sample bottles made their way back to us, we were able to taste through a wide spectrum of quality Burgundy much like a La Paulée tasting. The result is that the experience is fresh in our collective minds, soif you have any questions about any of our new Burgundy wines, we all have some recent experience with them. Which gets me around to my topic of the week:crab season.


On my day off this past week, I wandered in to one of my favorite lunch spots only to bump into a former colleague from my days in the finance biz. I hadn’t seen him in a decade, so we began to catch up on things a bit. It was the usual small talk. He’s been living in New York for the past 8 years and he was visiting because his daughter is going to school out this way. Since he wasn’t in California last fall, he didn’t know about demoic acid and our lack of a crab season. So I was surprised to hear any optimism associated with the question, “How long until crab season?” Really? My eyes got big. A mutual friend who was seated between us matter-of-factly nodded his head and said, “I’m hearing situation back to normal, the season should start in mid-November.”Understanding his not being an authority on the subject, I made a mental note to get some verification. I asked Anya and Christian about it earlier this morning, and they seemed to echo his sentiments. Then, in walked one of our favorite customers whom we know is a crab enthusiast.“If anyone knows the answer, HE certainly does,” I thought to myself. So I asked him. He answered. Crab season here in northern California will begin November 5, with the commercial season beginning two weeks later. Really? Yes.
It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see where I’m going here. I can make a case for pairing a lot of different white wines with crab. The things to look for are expression, balance, complexity, and acidity. If your white wine has these components, your crab experience will be enhanced. With all of the recent Burgundy tasting with Jeanne-Marie and my colleagues, I remember one particular facet which occurred after everyone went home for the day and Chris and I were left with some 12-15 open bottles of Burgundy. They were all close to being empty, but there was still enough in each of them to be able to get a decent sized taste. With Jeanne-Marie and the others gone, and punk rock radio blasting in our warehouse, we took a less studious approach to our tasting. I’m a firm believer in the concept that discovery often occurs when not searching. I wasn’t looking for it, but there it was. Delicious white Burgundy from an unassuming appellation; relatively inexpensive, but what sent me over the top was that I prefered it to the next wine I tasted, which was a Meursault. The Meursault was fine, don’t get me wrong, but the previous wine at half the price was the better wine; to me anyway. What was it? The 2014 Rully La Folie from Claudie Jobard.
We’ve already touched upon how good the 2014 vintage was for white Burgundy. In a word, it was great. We’ve also already mentioned Claudie Jobard and her winemaking prowess over the past few years. Having a mother as famous as Laurence Jobard must have put a little pressure on Claudie as she began making wine. She has already landed a wine in our annual Top Ten twice!Did I say that I liked her 2014 Rully blanc better than a Meursault? Yes, I did. What does a wine like this cost? $27.99. With case discount? $23.79. Crab season here I come! – Peter Zavialoff

Decanter Magazine’s Stephen Brook’s note from January 2016: “Firm nutty nose, toasty and assertive. Rich, full-bodied, and concentrated, with spiciness and fine acidity, a gutsy Rully, with swagger, pungent and long.”



Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about crab season, Burgundy, Bordeaux, or The Special One’s return to Stamford Bridge tomorrow:
I feel like I’m standing on the proverbial precipice here. It’s about to get mondo busy in my world. We’ve already seen a bit of pricing released for 2014 Bordeaux futures,and I am certain that beginning next week, the price releases will be fast and furious. The Wine Advocatewill release its April 2015 edition on Thursday, and that should only speed things up. Seeing that May begins next week, that will act as further incentive to those chateaux who haven’t yet announced to release their 2014 prices. Vinexpo takes place in Bordeaux this June, so the Bordelais are going to want to have things wrapped up by the time June 1 comes around, or at least I would. So just knowing what’s on the horizon, I’m going to take the evening off, as I accepted some friends’ invitation for dinner. What’s on the menu? Poulet Provençal.
I’ll get back to all of the Bordeaux business shortly, but in order to enjoy my “taking the evening off,” I am still in charge of bringing and opening the wine for dinner.Talk about type-cast!! Oh well, I’m okay with it. Knowingmy friends, they’re going to want a light red wine to enjoy with this delicious dish. Me being me, something white … or gold … or in between. Got it! Now as for the red … (pause; thinking). I’m going back to the well here, butconsidering the aromatic profile, complexity, and light-weight body of this wine, Claudie Jobard’s 2012 Rully la Chaume is the perfect candidate, wine-wise and budget-wise. When we introduced Claudie’s 2012’s in form of this here blog-post a few months ago, we went on about who Claudie Jobard is, and how her wines have made their way into our shop. Not much was said about the wines themselves. Let’s fix that; tonight with her red wine.
When I think of a red wine to pair with Poulet Provençal, I think of a wine with complex aromas, and a red Burgundy is going to have that covered. Jobard’s 2012 Rully la Chaume emits a delicate Pinot Noir bouquet.One gets the cherries, strawberries, forest floor, a hint of earth and baking spices – yet in delicate, restrained fashion. If any of these nuances were to be dialed up a bit, it would transform this complex profile into something more linear. That’s one point that David has made again and again in regard to Claudie’s wines – nothing is overdone. The palate begins with these olfactory sensations still in place, giving the taster the impression of a fruit drive which is immediately coaxed by the vibrant acidity to join forces in its light bodied frame, for a fresh, harmonious finish.There are not a whole lot of red wines that I would everpair with chicken for my own consumption, not from a pure pairing perspective (if you’d like to open that 1955 La Mission Haut-Brion with my chicken dinner, I say by all means, allez-y). This red wine is different. It has the promise of being a sensational food wine; and its potential partners exist far beyond Poulet Provençal!
Okay, dinner will end. Sunday will come and go. Monday morning, I’ll be right back here typing away. No doubt my inbox will be full of emails, mostly from Bordeaux, and as I mentioned above, the next weeks promise to be full of Bordeaux news. It is not easy to sum up the vintage in a paragraph or seven, but I will say here that the 2014 vintage has the potential to be a success for many producers. As pricing is released, The Wine House SF will offer the futures, as we always do. I highly encourage any customers that are interested, or those with wish-lists, to please inquire with us, and we will provide the pricing information as they are released. So, until then … did I hear right that I’m taking the evening off? – Peter Zavialoff

2012 Rully From Claudie Jobard

Friday, March 13, 2015 12:54 AM


What can we say? One of the points that we don’t go over enough is how exactly we narrow down our selections. When he’s overseas tasting Burgundy, David is presented with plenty of samples that he likes, butdoesn’t necessarily buy them all. There are plenty of factors to consider, but when a great majority of said factors line up, vintage after vintage, he goes for it.

The wines from Claudie Jobard have a bit of an unfair advantage, or perhaps have reason to be held with greater scrutiny. Her mother, Laurence, was head enologist at Domaine Drouhin for 30 years! Her Pop, Roger, is a well known pépiniériste whose nursery has beeninfluential in Burgundy for decades. It is on the land from her father’s side of the family that Claudie has her Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines, in the appellation of Rully. Rully sits in the northern sector of Côte Chalonnaise just south of the celebrated Côte d’Or.Decanter magazine reported in 2013 that some of Burgundy’s famous names are, and have been investing in vineyard land in Côte Chalonnaise in recent years, and evenfeatured Claudie’s profile in their article.


After having tasted a few vintages of Claudie’s wines,David went for it and we began importing her wines with the 2011 vintage. Her 2011 Rully BlancMontagne la Folie was a huge hit with our customers (and staff), making our Top Ten Wines of 2013. The Rully Rouge La Chaume wowed all that treaded there, charming those who take joy in expressive, balanced Pinot Noir in the sub $30 camp. David’s explanation is that the wines are stylistic. Claudie’s wines areimpeccably balanced, with no hard edges, no over ripeness, with elegant expression.

Though we were fairly certain it would be the case going in,her 2012s are fantastic. A difficult vintage for all, with the weather difficulties, it seems the surviving fruit from Burgundy 2012 is among the tops in quality this century. One can sense that upon their first whiff and sip ofClaudie’s 2012 Rully Blanc Montagne la Folie: Fresh, bright Chardonnay aromas, medium bodied palate withexcellent expression and balance. You can see what David means by calling her wines stylistic immediately. The average age of these Chardonnay vines is 42 years, so the limestone presence is felt both in the aromas and on the palate. Her 2012 Rully Rouge La Chaume is a stunnerwith its fragrant bouquet of red berries, forest floor, and a hint of spice. Another elegantly harmonious red Burgundy for a very fair price! These wines can be approached now, and will drink well into the next decade.
Don’t forget, they mix and match for a 15% case discount!!

2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny “Les Guignottes”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 6:50 PM


September has been an exciting month here at TWH! A jam-packed container from France (seriously jam-packed) landed recently, and it was loaded with some great wines. You will be hearing all about these wines in the coming weeks, as there are so many top quality bottlings to choose from. I mentioned one of mySuper Sleeper, Budget-Friendly Bordeaux Discoveries earlier this week; if you haven’t taken advantage of the great deal on 2009 Château Clauzet, you should sooner than later. I have it mind to unveil yet another S.S.B.F.B.D. next week, and it is every bit as good a deal as the Clauzet. Ah, but that’s next week. For tonight’s email, I’m resorting to plucking off the low hanging fruit once again. In the Clauzet write-up I mentioned that we received a new vintage of a White Burgundy that sold out in what seemed like a week this past spring. I don’t know how long we’ll have it in stock, but as of right now, the 2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes is available!


In January 2011, David was in Burgundy tasting with negociante Jeanne-Marie De Champs. As is always the case, he tastes the new vintage from the many producers that we here at TWH have been importing for years. But that’s just part of the job. Since we are direct importers, it’s important to keep an eye out for new producers too, as the deals to be found can be a boon to all involved … especially for you, the consumers! One wine that made him do a double-take last year was the 2010 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes. It wowed all of us and so many of you that it sold out in a week … actually it was three weeks, but it sure seemed like one. The 2011 version was just released and we put our order in earlybecause we know the demand for sub $20 White Burgundy is a force strong enough to separate a Grizzly Bear from a steak sandwich. Putting that order in early sure paid off, because it was on the new container too!


After the container’s arrival, we waited until the day when all of us were here in the shop to taste some of the new wines. The first wine on everybody’s list? The 2011 Montagny, of course. I popped a bottle in the cold box at around 3:30pm, figuring that it would have the proper chill right around closing time … when the spitting rule changes from mandatory to optional. Usually when a workday ends, someone takes the ball and runs the end of day reports, just to get a head start on the journey home. Not this day. Not with the 2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny on the tasting table. We were a sight to behold – a bunch of wine geeks silently swirling and taking in the aromatics of the new wine. Ding! Ding! Another winner! The aromas are fresh and clean, fleshy pear-like fruit, citrus blossoms, stony minerals, and a hint of spice. Then we all took a sip; the palate is crisp and lively, the acidity seamlessly holds hands with the luscious fruit. The harmony persists throughout a perfectly balanced finish. For the price it doesn’t get much better than this. A check of the spit buckets, and as expected, no need to dump them. A look around the tasting table? Nothing but smiles. So there you have it, the 2011 vintage is another winner for the Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottdes


As I was typing this, I overheard Anya proclaim, “Oh wow! It’s already the 15th! How’d that happen?” Tom then reminded us that we’ve got one week of summer left. Oh well, that’s how it goes. Footy season is back, and the Champions’ League starts back up on Tuesday (Wednesday for the reigning European Champions). We’ve got two Wilco shows coming up next weekend, and the odds are good that there will be post-season baseball in the Bay Area this October (touch wood). The change of season is coming, could crab season be far behind? Well, when it arrives, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to want to pour some White Burgundy along side it. Taking the aforementioned entertainment expenses into consideration, the 2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes is the ticket! Taking no chances, I’m stocking up now. – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about the new container, S.S.B.F.B.D.’s, White Burgundy, or the reigning European Champions:

2010 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:39 PM


I like Chardonnay.Chardonnay and I have been friends for a long time. It’s difficult for me to think about Chardonnay and not think about the weekend that I discovered wine. Hours before my wine epiphany occurred, I was rubbing elbows with some real movers and shakers at a pre-dinner party. What was everyone drinking? Well, it was a warm June evening in St. Helena, sowe were all sipping cool crisp Chardonnay.Something I rarely mention is that for my efforts that weekend, the late Lila Jaeger of Rutherford Hill Winery invited me into her cellar to choose “any 2 bottles you want”. Ah, missed opportunities!!! To be a respectful recipient, I chose a Rutherford Hill Merlot, but the other bottle may surprise you. Mayacamas Chardonnay. Yep, given the choice of anything in her cellar, I chose a California Chardonnay. There I’ve said it. You’ll never get me to confess as to who played at my first concert attended, but now you all know what my first 2 bottles of wine were. I have enjoyed Chardonnay ever since, but when I first tasted White Burgundy, I had another epiphany. 

Working here at TWH for a few summers has given me the opportunity to taste some great White Burgundies made by some of the best producers. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it because it goes for me too, but one of Anya’s great quotes is, “If I were rich enough, I would drink White Burgundy EVERY day!” It is truly special wine, and I always appreciate having some in my glass. Well, thanks to David’s scouting efforts, he’s uncovered yet another gem-of-a-wine for a crazy low price that says, “Imported by Wine House Limited” on the back label: The 2010 Montagny Les Guignottes by producer Michel-Andreotti! It is a truly ethereal wine with a ridiculously low price. White Burgundy for less than $20, folks? You’re going to need to act swiftly because only for a short time will it be in-stock here at TWH!


montagny label

is not one person’s name. The domaine has been in Arlette Michel’s family for 3 generations, and she and her husband, Phillipe Andreotti have been running the estate since 1993. They’re located in the Côte Chalonnaise village of Montagny, where a dollar goes much further than it would, say, in Chassagne-Montrachet. It just goes to show you that if you look hard enough, it is possible to find sensational quality for a great price! The 2010 Montagny les Guignottesshows fresh and expressive aromas of white flowers, citrus blossoms, stony minerals, and a kiss of vanilla spice which takes you to the palate which is high-toned, marked by fresh crisp acidity. The harmony persists throughout the perfectly balanced finish. We’ve got a serious home run on our hands here. Don’t walk, run.

My colleague Chris was quick to notice and point out that something has changed here. His words: “Have you noticed Pete’s reactions to anyone who asks him how he’s doing?” My reactions have been different. I’m in sports heaven. The Blues of Chelsea are now European Champions. So when someone asks me how I’m doing, I think of all the frustrating exits from this, my favorite competition, and how sweet it was to have finally seen them win it. What hasn’t changed is that we’re still working hard, tasting away, seeking out the best wines for you all to enjoy! Case in point, the 2010 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes.Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Chardonnay, Bordeaux, or Champions’ League football:

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