Bringing Tasty Back: Aloxe Corton From Domaine Rapet

Tuesday, October 4, 2016 8:22 PM

2010 Aloxe Corton from Rapet
Vincent Rapet’s family has a long connection to winemaking in Burgundy’s Côte de Beaune. Domaine Rapet dates back to 1765. In Anthony Hanson’s book, Burgundy, he writes, “I remember the late Robert Rapet pulling out his massive family tastevin (inscribed L. Rapet D. Pernand 1792), clapping it between his hands, saying it was built to withstand the pressures of heated conversation.” We could all use a tastevin like that, couldn’t we? Vincent is Robert’s grandson and is continuing the family tradition of making wine. The domaine has 20 hectares of vines, making both red and white. The cave is in the picturesque and quaint village of Pernand Vergelesses. Among their offerings is a village Aloxe Corton red that captures the best of that appellation.
2010 Aloxe Corton from Rapet
Aloxe Corton is a sturdy, robust red. The elegant, ethereal Pinot Noir of the Côte de Nuits and its famed Grand Crus are what may at first come to mind when thinking about red Burgundy, but really as a whole, Burgundy offers drinkers a far greater range of styles. A fine Aloxe Corton harkens back to a more grippy, meaty wine that in my circle is often referred to as “farmer wine”. Not meant to be derogatory, this term illustrates the more rustic nature of some Burgundy. Imagine stopping at a small roadside restaurant where the conversation is animated and strictly in French. The daily lunch special is Coq au Vin. You want a good bottle of Burgundy to go with your order. Let’s face it, you aren’t going to buy a bottle of Richebourg, but a well-aged Aloxe Corton, now that’s the way to go. TWH has a few cases of 2010 Aloxe Corton and that’s the kind of wine you are going to want to serve with all manner of braised dishes or hearty stews.
Vincent and his father, Roland Rapet
Rapet’s Aloxe Corton comes from three sites: Les Boutières, Les Citernes, and Les Combes. As with all their reds, the wine is aged in oak of which about 20% is new. 2010 was a vintage that produced low yields but of excellent quality. Vincent is quite pleased with his 2010’s.At a staff tasting, we revisited the 2010 Aloxe Corton and were happy to see that is has begun to soften up its tannins. Aloxe Corton is expected to be a bit stern in its youth, but with patience and cellaring, it can develop into a wine with depth. Rapet’s 2010 Aloxe Corton is in the beginning stages of its optimal drinking window. Chewy red raspberry fruit, firm structure and prominent acidity bundle up together to make a formidable red wine. I wanted desperately to write about this wine at the beginning of summer when we tasted it, but I conceded that it was more suitable to serving during cooler months. This wine will show off its attributes best with either a rib-sticking meal or with an after-dinner cheese course.
Domaine Rapet
I’ve been hankering to make a classic beef stew with root vegetables. The chilly mornings have signaled to me that fall has arrived, that and regular-season NFL games. Isn’t football only played on Sundays – when did that all change? I’ve been paging through my copy of Patricia Well’s Bistro Cooking looking for inspiration. I love her brief descriptions of the characters behind the dishes. As a home cook, I appreciate the simplicity of the recipes knowing that with quality ingredients I too can make something tasty. Rapet’s 2010 Aloxe Corton is a wine I’ll happily reach for when I finally get around to making that beef stew. The hominess of the dish will beautifully embrace the lusty purity of the wine. – Anya Balistreri

2013 Sylvain Langoureau Saint-Aubin
1er Cru En Remilly

Have you ever gone to the dry cleaners and picked up your items only to find them hanging on wire hangers with a paper cover that says, “We ♥ our customers?” Now, everyone’s relationship with their dry cleaner is unique, but it’s difficult to imagine engaging dry cleaning staff in passionate discussions about cleaning methods and products. And we’re guessing that the dry cleaning staff, as much as they appreciate their customers, probably don’t want to regale them with tales of new discoveries and experiences in the dry cleaning world. Retail wine merchants appreciate their customers as well,though taking into consideration the conversations and interactions that we have with our customers, we can honestly say that we do indeed love our customers! We have passionate discussions quite often with many of you who walk through our doors, and we werereminded of this just the other day when a long-time good friend of TWH sauntered in looking for a gift for his significant other.
Franck, whose tasting spectrum is wide and diverse, was on a mission. He needed white Burgundy. He seemed particularly fixated on Meursault. Well, from one wine enthusiast to another, no one was going to blame him for wanting Meursault. We love Meursault. He then added that he would like to keep the cost below $40. That’s where it gets a little tricky. At the time, we didn’t have any Meursault below $40. I pointed here and there at some that were a little higher than that, and then some Premier Crus which were much higher, until bang, a flash of recollection had me saying, “Well, Franck, it’s not Meursault, but we’ve got a white Burgundy that is all class, and contrary to the usual cliché, it very well might make you forget about Meursault!”Having been a regular customer for years with countless positive experiences, he was all ears when I showed him a bottle of 2013 Sylvain Langoureau’s Saint-Aubin Premier Cru En Remilly. I got the map out and showed him the vineyard. A very, very small piece of the En Remillyvineyard is actually in Chassagne-Montrachet and it borders the Grand Cru Chevalier-Montrachet vineyard. In fact, the entirety of En Remilly is just around the corner from the cluster of white Burgundy’s Grands Crus vineyards. THAT is prime real estate!
So we knew then we were dealing with some prime terroir, but what about the winemaker? Sylvain Langoureau has been at the helm of the domaine since 1989and now farms organically. We’ve been working with Langoureau’s wines since the 2008 vintage, and we’re not alone in praising them. Burghound’s Allen Meadows added this about Langoureau, “As the scores and commentaries suggest this domaine should be added to those of Lamy, Prudhon, Bachelet and Marc Colinfor high quality domaines based in or near St. Aubin. If you don’t know the wines I strongly suggest you check out an example.” Though the 2013 vintage presented its challenges, and production was much lower than average, the surviving fruit was of such quality that Sylvain called it, “Completely classic with great energy and transparency.” I further commented on the transparency and precision of the wine to Franck adding that sub $40 white Burgundy doesn’t get any better than this. We walked it up to the counter, put it in a bag, wished Franck well, and asked him to report back when he could.
Usually we have to wait for weeks, sometimesmonths, before a customer returns to report on their previous visit’s purchases. Not this time. Franck was back the very next day! Gobsmacked! His significant other was over the moon about the wine. He went on to tell us that she told him that she had never tasted such an amazing white Burgundy before, and that’s saying something! He was full of praise for the wine, noting its class and pedigree, its precision, its expression, and chuckled to himself about the price, as if he was in on a little secret. He bought more. He came back a week later and bought more again. So if you want to betransfixed by a sub $40 white Burgundy so high in quality that you may forget about Meursault (temporarily), you may want to reserve a couple before Franck returns to buy more!
Imagine,over the course of 38+ years here at TWH, customer experiences such as Franck’s continue to occur with regularity. That just makes all of us brim with pride asthat is our aim.That is our responsibility.Yes, I saidresponsibility because for us, it doesn’t end when a sale is made. It ends when you pop the cork, pour the wine, and enjoy it. Many merchants copy and paste tasting notes and scores to their shelves and websites, and once you pony up your cash, it’s out you go until next time.That’s not the way it works at TWH.We♥ our customers!


A Taste of Burgundy – February 2015

Saturday, February 14, 2015 9:51 PM


2012 Pernand-Vergelesses 1er Cru Sous Frétille Domaine Rapet Père et Fils

Domaine Rapet is fairly well known among insiders in and around the Côte d’Or. They produce great wines for their price-points, and their appearance on the wine lists of bistros and restos in the area is numerous. Even while visiting Vincent Rapet, we are constantly interrupted by individuals wanting to purchase his wines for their own consumption. The domaine’s holdings are in excess of 20 hectares, about half planted with Chardonnay. 2012 was very difficult for Burgundian vignerons, as the weather was challenging from early spring through mid August. Production was way down, though the finished wines are of high quality. The healthy fruit that was harvested had relatively thick skins and less juice, contributing to sturdy concentration. The wines have expressive aromas and flavors, and bright acidity. Rapet’s 2012 Sous Frétille exhibits soft fleshy fruit in a medium bodied package, laced by its traditional mineral presence, which continues through the crisp, lifting finish. This will drink well from 2018-2028.

2012 Beaune 1er Cru Les Vignes Franches Domaine Michel Bouzereau

Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau described 2012 as a vintage where quantities were down around 50% of normal, though that number varies from plot to plot. However, just as with the Chardonnays, the miniscule quantity of Pinot Noir that was harvested is of fine quality. In the mold of the 2009 vintage, the wines are full of expression, and they possess plenty of concentration. The Premier Cru Les Vignes Franchesvineyard borders Les Pertuisots due west of the town of Beaune. Jean-Baptiste’s 2012 Beaune Les Vignes Franchesimmediately grabs the taster with its pretty berry fruit aromas. There is plenty of concentration on the palate; it’s all about the pure dark red fruit expression that latch onto the round tannins before the fresh, balanced finish. As we continue to discover, Burgundy’s 2012’s deliver big time. As Clive Coates MW reminds us, “There are some who regard the potential of 2012 reds as superior to anything recent, and that includes 2010, 2009, and 2005.” Decant if drinking young, this wine will shine from 2019-2029 and beyond. –Peter Zavialoff

beauneMAN, OH MAN! It’s on! Yes, we are moving. Yes, there are some fantastic, once in a lifetime deals out there.  Like Anya said last week, I’ve been on about the “never to be seen again” prices. All this is complete madness! As I said to a customer yesterday, if I seem level-headed and professional, I’m doing a very good job, because on the inside, it’s bedlam! My to-do list has more than one page. My “things I should have finished last week” list has more than one page! The football gods were cruel to me this morning and scheduled today’s match later than usual, and there is NO WAY that I could have justified coming to work 2 hours late because of a football match. So yeah, bedlam.  People have been kidding Anya and I for allegedly trading personalities; my last two write-ups were about White Burgundy and hers’, Sauternes. Well, we didn’t. Don’t worry, I’ll have plenty to say about Bordeaux and Sauternes in the coming weeks, the annual En Primeurs trip coming up and all. As for the subject of tonight’s email, I’m going to stick with Burgundy. Red Burgundy.



Okay sure, there’s plenty of Red Burgundy on sale. Plenty of top-quality, fancy Red Burgundy. Some of the sale prices are incredible. Should I say, prices never to be seen again? Well, on the opposite side of the spectrum, there is a Moving Sale price on a vin de table. vin de table from Burgundy, that is!!!

It’s funny, I have a buddy who moved to London for a couple of years a while back. When he returned, one of the first things he did was call me up explaining how he had a local Nicolas branch, with staff members recommending various wines from all over France. Sure, he liked the fancy stuff, who doesn’t? His point was, that there was a ton of perfectly quaffable, interesting wine coming from France that was inexpensive enough to open a second bottle of, if only to pour out one more glass. He asked me for a little guidance, and off we went to various wine shops around the Bay Area stocking his cellar. Of course, this task eventually became very rewarding for me. I got to taste a panoply of wines from all over France, and combined with my fancy of all things Bordelais, that experience landed me in this very seat where I type. Ever the intellectual, my buddy proved to be a great dinner guest, his ability to articulate his observations while tasting various wines led to some fascinating conversations. He once lamented that low prices on rustic, vin de table style Red Burgundy were a thing of the past. There was a time when he could pick up a few bottles for less than $15 each, and enjoy them with quiet weeknight dinners at home. Those days were over. And, this was around 8 years ago, no less. Well Chief, this wine’s for you!

When the 2010 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau Bourgogne-Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune Clos Marc first arrived, it had a limited fan base. The wine was rustic in nature, and its acidity outpaced its fruit by several strides. Now that it has gained some bottle age, the acidity has been tamed, and though still rustic in style, it reveals some interesting complexity. I tasted one last night. It still had fresh acidity, but the fruit was more prevalent, and there were some fascinating herbal complexities like tarragon and pine floating among the aromas. This is exactly what my friend was looking for! And it’s 10 bucks per bottle; so you can open a second bottle if only to just pour one more glass! Often on Saturdays, customers in the shop will ask, “What’s tonight’s write-up about?” We usually divulge this information, and today was no exception. I put this wine into several hands today with this: “Keep your expectations at the $10 price level. It’s a Tuesday night wine. A Tuesday night wine … from Burgundy!!!”

vigneronBedlam. And I fear more mayhem will ensue as we grow closer to our moving date. I’m feeling it, no doubt, but part of me is still in denial about it. Just in case that’s not enough, there are still some loose ends in planning this year’s Bordeaux trip. *Deep breath* So, I’ve got that going for me as well. Outside of not being able to watch it this morning, the football went well. I’ve got a fancy Bordeaux tasting dinner tonight, so I am just going to chill tomorrow and cook up a big pot of something tasty. One of these 2010 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau Bourgogne-Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune Clos Marc will do just fine! – Peter Zavialoff



Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about our Moving Sale, whether or not Anya and I have changed personalities, Burgundy, Bordeaux, or English Football:

Whew – Things have gotten really crazy around here … I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! Mine was two-pronged, but I made good on both of my vinous promises.  I shared a bottle of Sauternes with my sister during our traditional LOBSauTERnes Thanksgiving lunch (it was actually from Barsac, you could probably guess the Château). Then, I literally walked in to a dining room and took the last open place at the table surrounded by 10 hungry musicians and friends, magnum of 2011 Fleurie in tow! I basically watched them have their Thanksgiving meal (I did manage to nosh on some brussel sprouts), helping pass various plates and platters around the table, and of course, pouring the wine. Back here in the shop, it’s pandemonium! Our 36th Anniversary Sale is on, and there are values everywhere! Nowhere are the savings better than in our Burgundy department! With so much to choose from, it’s hard to nail down just one wine, but if I were to choose a sale Red Burgundy for my cellar, it would have to be the 2009 Chassagne-Montrachet Premier Cru “La Boudriotte” Rouge from Château de la Maltroye. It’s got everything going for it: winemaker, vintage, terroir, and now, price!


We’ve been importing the wines, both red and white, made by Jean-Pierre Cornut for 15+ years. Jean-Pierre took over from his father in 1993-94, and he continues to push the envelope for quality for his swath of bottlings. Formerly an aeronautical engineer, Cornut’s inherent meticulous ways have paid off big time as evidenced by the quality of his wines. For his Pinot Noir, he de-stems his entire crop, and the purity of fruit strikes the taster from the moment the aromas hit through the finish. Jean-Pierre got all he wanted (and then some) from the 2009 growing season, each phase of development was greeted by ideal weather conditions. In general, the wines were precocious and expressive upon release, and are currently filling out nicely. They have the structure to go the long haul, and the expressive fruit destined to stay on the front-end of that for a long time. The Premier Cru “La Boudriotte” vineyard sits to the south of the village of Chassagne adjacent to the “Morgeot Vigne Blanche” vineyard. Cornut’s Pinot Noir vines in “La Boudriotte” comprise just half a hectare, so production is extremely limited, but Jean-Pierre feels the terroir particularly distinct and bottles what he can. The aromatics are dominated by dark, lush berries, earth, and incense. There is a savory quality on the palate that binds with the spicy dark berry fruit and intensifies with a zippy lift. The finish is long and balanced, the wine a mere child in its life. You may remember that last year, one of Cornut’s less expensive bottlings wowed the Thursday Tasting Group and won a 2009 Red Burgundy tasting (which included an Echezeaux, no less). The 2009 Boudriotte is a little more of a serious wine with a longer life expectancy, AND as part of our Anniversary Sale, you can have it in your cellar for less than the price of a village wine!


So yes, our Anniversary Sale is on! The 2009 Boudriotte is just the tip of the iceberg! We’ll be sending out lists of wines that are on sale, so keep an eye on your inboxes. Meanwhile here at TWH, we’re all here ready to take your phone call, process your online order, or answer your email. Whichever way you would like to place your order, we’re ready. December is here and we’ll be running the sale throughout the month … but don’t wait too long, many of the bottles on sale are in very limited quantities and will sell out sooner than later!


Yes it is December, it’s a busy month for all of us, what with the sale and all. It’s a busy sports month for my favorite team overseas, with 9 crucial matches in 31 days. All I know is that we will know much more about the fate of the Blues once the December dust settles. Hey, I’ll take 3rd place on December 1; let’s see what they can do tomorrow. See you at the Mad Dog In The Fog! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Our Anniversary Sale, LOBSauTERnes, Bordeaux, or English Football:

In Stock: 2011 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc

Wednesday, August 8, 2012 7:02 PM

Take a look around. There’s no need for a calendar … it’s August alright. All the signs are there. Seriously, getting home on Saturdays after work is a horror show (why does everybody on the Golden Gate Bridge need to exit into that little parking lot?). Getting a table in what is normally a busy restaurant is a little easier these days. The clincher is the temperature of the treehouse when I get home on worknights. Fortunately, it hasn’t been too hot in my neck of the woods; but when I get home, the first thing I reach for is the refrigerator door. My oh my, it’s a good day when I open the door and find a bottle of Paul Pernot’s Bourgogne Blanc inside.

We’ve gone on and on about Monsieur Pernot’s penchant for cranking out dazzling White Burgundy over the years, and we will continue to import his wines for the unforeseeable future. Here’s the good news: The 2011 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc is now in stock! You know the M.O. It’s here now, but it won’t be around forever. The 2011 Bourgogne Blanc is another notch in the belt (which is full of notches) of successful bottlings that sayPaul Pernot et ses fils. The aromas scream White Burgundy with fleshy white fruit (think pear) and citrus blossoms. It’s rich on the palate with a silky feel that is energized by the verve of its acidity. The finish is long and lovely … yep, it’s White Burgundy, folks. What makes Paul Pernot’s 2011 Bourgogne Blanceven better is its price tag. It just doesn’t get much better than that. Not on a warm evening. Not with a crab salad. Not with a rotisserie chicken. Definitely not with shrimp scampi!

I also know it’s August because many of my friends are currently on holiday; including our own Anya and David. Maybe it’s a good thing that Anya wasn’t in the shop today, she may have discouraged me from writing about this wine by accusing me of picking the low hanging fruit.For in the case of anything that says Paul Pernot, it’s just plain easy to recommend his wines and look like a genius. When the price comes to $20 per bottle (by the case) for his 2011 Bourgogne Blanc, we can all be geniuses!Peter Zavialoff
2011 Domaine Paul Pernot Bourgogne Chardonnay

White Wine; Chardonnay; Burgundy;
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15% Off Full Case: 2011 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Blanc
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Speaking of August, I’m so psyched footy season resumes next Sunday with the annual Charity Shield match pinning the Premiership Champions versus the FA Cup Champions … oh yeah, those guys are also Champions of Europe. Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments:

2010 Hautes Cotes De Beaune from Langoureau

Tuesday, June 19, 2012 2:17 PM


If you look closely at the label forSylvain Langoureau’s Hautes Cotes de Beaune Rouge you will see written in gold letters, Clos Marc. Clos Marc is a four-acre vineyard that sits above St. Aubin. The vineyard belongs to a friend of Sylvain’s who had bought the property and wasn’t sure if the vineyard was at all viable. They nicknamed the vineyard The Jungle for it had been terribly neglected and overrun by weeds. Sylvain agreed to help his friend try to nurse this vineyard back to life and after a couple years, the vineyard was once again thriving. I just love happy endings! Sylvain’s 2010 Hautes Cotes De Beaune is an Old World charmer. It is light-bodied, labeled at 12% alcohol, and is a drinkable-now Pinot Noir that is less about power and more about delicate aromatics. The fruit profile is saturated with tart cherry with a good measure of puckering cranberries. The savory, saliva-inducing acidity makes it sing all the more at the table. Again, this isn’t a flashy wine; it is honest and pure. I had a glass last evening with a cornmeal crusted pizza with sausages and mushrooms. The 2010 Clos Marc’s freshness and acidity cut through the fat of the cheese and sausage.This is how wine should marry with food and not compete. If you were to imagine a roadside restaurant in Burgundy where coq au vin was the house specialty then you would expect to be served a wine like the Langoureau Hautes Cotes De Beaune.

Nearly finished here and I can’t believe that I haven’t yet pointed out that by the case the 2010 Hautes Cotes De Beaune from Langoureau comes in under $20. It may be hard to believe, but believe it! TWH imported the ’08 and it sold out almost immediately. We bought double that for ’09 and that sold out instantly. The 2010 has just landed and though we have purchased what we did for ’08 and ’09 combined,based on what I know of our savvy, discerning customers, I wouldn’t bet on the ‘10 being around for long either. Anya Balistreri

Oh snap! These are exciting times ’round here! Where to begin??!? Well, let’s see. Last Friday, the first of 3 containers arrived spilling some great new French wines from Burgundy, Alsace, and the outskirts of Bordeaux, PLUS a handful of 2011 Rosés! Also on Friday, The Wine Advocate’s Issue #200 was released highlighting Robert Parker’s synopsis of the 2011 Bordeaux vintage as well as Neal Martin’s view of the Gold Wines from Sauternes and Barsac. Negociants have begun to release pricing for several chateaux already, and we’re actively pursuing the wines that we deem worthy of having “Imported by Wine House Limited” imprinted on their respective back labels. If you are interested in any particular 2011 Bordeaux wine, or have a wish list of wines you’re looking for, please shoot me an email, and (as long as the price is to your liking) we will do our best to source them for you. I’ve been frantically flipping through my tasting books with every release and so far there have been some pretty fair prices on some wines that will bring pleasure for a good time to come. If that’s not enough, our weekend flash sale has us all jostling all over the floor pulling last of stocks off the floor before they over-sell! Never a dull moment around here.


What’s that? Flash sale? Well, what are the deals? There are a bunch! So far, I’ve helped more that a dozen of you selecting wines that fit your respective tastes and price points. When one customer asked me how we could be selling a particular wine for such an amazing price, I answered with, “When I see a price like this the consumer in me takes over and I forget about the business implications.” If you’ve read my ramblings with any regularity, you’re certainly aware of my passion for all things Bordeaux. But just as Anya points out with regularity, if I could drink White Burgundy every day, I would! Generally, when we have sales of this caliber, my eyes dart straight to the White Burgundy section. I’ve said it over and over, it’s way more difficult to find high quality white wine for a good price than it is red. Seriously. Timing being everything, staring at a weekend with temps in the 70’s, it’s a no-brainer that tomorrow will be one of those White Burgundy days! We’ve got a bunch of White Burgs on sale, so which one will it be? The 2008 Santenay Blanc 1er Cru La Comme is a pretty good place to start! We’ve been importing Jean-Pierre Cornut’s wines for some time now, and we recently had a huge success story withMaltroye’s 2009 Santenay Rouge. For White Burgundy, 2008 was THE vintage, and Jean-Pierre’s precision winemaking has resulted in a palate pleasing masterpiece for his 2008 Santenay 1er Cru La Comme! The normally reserved Allen Meadows of Burghound concludes his assessment thusly, “the appeal is heightened by the tension-filled, complex and impeccably well balanced finish. Excellent quality here. – 90 ponts”.We couldn’t agree more. If you love Chardonnay. If you love White Burgundy. Run, don’t walk to this one. Putting this wine on sale will result in its selling out, please accept our apologies when it does.

So Happy White Burgundy Day! Please feel free to peruse our website for more items on sale from Burgundy, Bordeaux, Sauternes, the Rhone, and more! We’ll be here to help you should you have any questions or requests. In between helping you all out, we’ll be working on breaking down that new container to make room for more new wines already on the water headed here to TWH! –Peter Zavialoff

2011 Bordeaux Customers: Please email any inquiries to:


Saturday, March 10, 2012 9:11 PM

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!


Click here to receive the Taste of Burgundy Sampler automatically every other month.

Basic Facts for those of you who are new to the program: Every two months we select two Burgundies, one red and one white. We include write-ups detailing the background of the grower, the vineyard source, and the wine. Finally we knock a significant percentage off the prices of the wines, making the Sampler price $89.98. If you would like us to add you to the Sampler Club and receive the wines regularly, please specify “store pickup” or “ship it” in the comments field, and we will charge your card accordingly. If you would like us to ship faster than the standard ground service, please specify this as well.
2006 Puligny-Montrachet Domaine Xavier Monnot
Xavier Monnot is a relatively young man, but he is a vigneron with an old soul. His work in his vineyards, his choice of clones, his pruning techniques, de-budding, how he chooses to re-plant, and the very limited influence of new oak on his wines, all are examples of his commitment to the land and to the sincerityof his wines. Xavier likes to call it “the message of terroir”, as he is a firm believer in letting the vineyard do the talking. For his 2006 Puligny-Montrachet, Monnot sourced his fruit from 60 year old vines grown in the vicinity of the Premier CruRefertsvineyard. 2006 was a ripe vintage, and this wine shows opulent fruit aromas; yet on the palate it has a medium body with stony fruit buoyed by fresh acidity and a mineral verve. The finish is persistent, marked with depth and complexity. It is definitely a wine with fine pedigree that is ready to drink now or can be cellared another 4-8 years.
2009 Volnay “Carelle sous la Chapelle” Paul Pernot
Veteran Taste of Burgundy subscribers are beyond acquainted with Paul Pernot and his dazzling array of White Burgundies. We have received a multitude of requests for more of Pernot’s wines to be included in the sampler, but rules are rules. Well, here’s a tidbit of information you might like to hear: Mr. Pernot has some Pinot Noir holdings as well. If that’s not enough, we got our hands on some of Pernot’s single vineyard Volnay from the much lauded 2009 vintage! TheCarelle sous la Chapelle vineyard is Premier Cru, though a few rows of Pernot’s vines lie just outside the border. We reiterate that 2009 was an outstanding vintage for Red Burgundy. The wines are precociously expressive, have great weight, and, according to Pernot, “will age better than people presently think.” This Volnay is a perfect example of aromatic elegance. According to Burghound’s Allen Meadows: “pretty red berry fruit and mineral notes leading to supple, lacy and admirably pure light to medium weight flavors … picture perfect Volnay in character.” – Peter Zavialoff

2009 Château de la Maltroye Santenay 1er Cru La Comme

Monday, February 20, 2012 4:50 PM


Blur, noun.
According to, definition #2 for this word is: “something moving or occurring too quickly to be clearly seen”. So far it describes my life in 2012perfectly. Holiday celebrations,wine tastings, family celebrations, a whole lot of live music, and professional obligations have held me in a vortex since the crystal ball dropped upon Times Square.One of those professional obligations happened to be joining The Thursday Tasting Group at their recent blind tasting of 2009 Red Burgundies. I know, I know, but somebody’s got to do it.

What is The Thursday Tasting Group? To the best of my knowledge, the TTG was formed in Berkeley sometime in the mid to late 1960s by a group of wine loving Bay Area folks who wanted to share tasting experiences and learn more about fermented grape juice. They meet once per month (in the early days, it was twice), usually on the 2nd Thursday at the home of one of the members. Though no charter members remain in the group, they have carried on all these years and their list of alumni reads like a who’s who of wine authority. Though I am not a member (John and Anya were at one time, David is still), I know many of them, and they are kind enough to invite me to their tastings. When your life is a blur, attending these tastings can be difficult, but when they taste Bordeaux and Burgundy I seem to have the time. Hmmm. Somewhere in the middle of my recent onslaught of live music, the stars aligned and I had a free night, coincidentally the same night as the TTG’s glimpse of 2009 Red Burgundy. 

9 wines were to be tasted that night, our host decanted the wines over an hour prior to the tasting, and poured them back in their respective bottles. Wrapped up in brown paper bags, they were presented to a full house of 12 tasters. We were each given 2 sheets of paper: the first was a list of what wines were being poured (this would be known as a single blind tasting – in a double blind tasting, none of the wines are known). The second sheet was for taking notes, guessing the wines, and for personal ranking. After the wines are poured,no one speaks, everyone makes their own observations, and come to their own conclusions. Once everyone has finished, the discussion begins. The group goes over each wine, one by one, talking about them in detail. Once they’ve all been covered, each wine is ranked by the group. Tasters are asked to rank the wines, 1st to 9th (in this case), and the scores are tallied up. Once the wines have been discussed and ranked, the bags come off and we discover how our guesswork fared. This is usually a very humbling experience, but somehow, I was able to identify 5 of the 9 wines correctly. The consensus winner? The 2009 Santenay Premier Cru La Comme from Château Maltroye.


We’ve been importing Jean-Pierre Cornut’s wines from Château de la Maltroye for well over decade, andour relationship is rock solid for a reason – quality. Cornut, a former aeronautical engineer, makes some of the finest red and white wines from the southern end of the Côtes de Beaune. Why? Perhaps his past career has left him its inherent meticulousness as Jean-Pierre runs a tight ship both in the vineyard and in the cellar.Combine that with a great vintage like 2009, and you’ve got a home run. Or, in this case, the wine of the night, chosen by The Thursday Tasting Group.

Blur; according to Wikipedia, are an English alternative rock band. Or at least they were in the 1990s. I kind of like their sound, but I’m off the subject, sorry. My personal blur of 2012 will continue this evening as I will be dining early with some good friends. After that, I’m meeting another friend for dinner before we hit The Fillmore for tonight’s Gomez show. Good thing I don’t know about any Saturday Tasting Groups out there that might be having a 2009 Red Burgundy tasting tonight. I wouldn’t want to miss out on the 2009 Santenay Premier Cru La Comme from Château de la Maltroye! –Peter Zavialoff 

Tasting Notes: Bright color, electric dark magenta; candied berries, herbs, hint of tobacco leaf; has substance and structure – minerals, fresh lively acidity, expressive fruit, silky tannins; finishes fresh and alive, fruit and mineral on a slow fade, very nice! – PZ

PS, I forgot to mention that there was an Echezeaux in this tasting!

The Wine House San Francisco: Our Top Ten Wines of 2011

Wednesday, January 18, 2012 3:13 PM

Happy New Year! It’s that time of year again where we pick the top ten wines that were released and passed through our shop in the calendar year 2011. We first did this in 2009, and the reaction was so positive thatwe did it again last year. It’s a fun exercise for us here; we taste a lot of wine throughout the year, most of which doesn’t even make it to our sales floor. Of all that DOES meet our standards and make it to the floor, it becomes a difficult task to narrow it down to just 10. But we get there; the most fun part of the exercise is that while discussing the wines, we get to relive the past year in tasting. Remember, some of these wines have sold out, but deserve to be mentioned here based on their merits.

2010 Lugana – Ca’Lojera

Kicking things off here is the first of 7 direct TWH imports in this year’s top 10! Speaking for those of us who have not met her, we’re so jealous that first David, and then Anya met with Ambra Tiraboschi at successive Italian tastings in New York City. The wines that come from Ambra’s Ca’Lojera are a rare breed indeed.Ambra’s Cabernet Sauvignon is a gem that is not to be missed. But it’s what she can do with the Turbiana variety that lands her in our Top Ten of 2011. Her 2010 Lugana is one of our favorite Italian whites that came this way in 2011. It’s yummy goodness of fresh white fleshy fruit and zippy acidity, not to mention modest price, pushes it right into the Top Ten. If this is only the first of ten of this caliber, you might want to grab a seat.
2009 J-M Chaland Vire-Clesse

Speaking of terrific white wine imports … David was (again) lucky enough to be tasting wine in Burgundy last winter and when he tasted through the unoaked Chardonnays from Jean-Marie Chaland he had an epiphany. Brand new for us are a whole line of delicious Maconais wines which scream “White Burgundy Values”. The top of the line Thurissey is made from vines over 90 years old! Seriously, run don’t walk to this wine.
2008 Claude Thomas Zinfandel

Here’s a real TWH story. You should see our calendar. I mean Anya’s calendar. It’s got names and times jotted down for every day she works. There is a line out the door for the opportunity to have Anya taste (and hopefully, buy) the respective wines that each wine rep sells. It’s gotten so out of hand that one producer periodically sends his friends in specifically asking for his wine. Ah, what some people resort to just to make a sale. Sometimes, one of these encounters results in an extraordinary upside surprise,“winemakers to watch” and all. Yet it happened again in 2011 with a Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel. When the 2008 Claude Thomas Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel was poured for her, Anya, who by the way loves Zinfandel, was all in! Ripe, brambly berry and spice, we’re all in too. What a pleasure for all of us here at TWH when Tom Stanley drops off cases of his wine! Well done, Tom.
2008 Vignobles Boudinaud Côtes du Rhône Mataro

Back to France. You love Mourvèdre. We love Mourvèdre. What’s not to love? Big, gamy, muscular, earthy wines always have a home with those who love the style. It says Côtes du Rhône on the label. It says Mataro on the label as well, which is what some people in Spain, and apparently in the south of France call Mourvèdre. It’s a Côtes du Rhône made from 100% Mourvèdre. We love that! All of us here at TWH were wowed by this wine in 2011.
2010 Domaine d’Orfeuilles Vouvray

One of our favorite Loire Valley producers, Domaine d’Orfeuilles, you know, the ones that make sparkling Vouvray. Or maybe you’re familiar with their sparkling Touraine Rosémade from Côt, or Malbec as it’s known elsewhere. Maybe you’ve heard of their demi-sec Vouvray “les Coudraies”. Obviously, we’re big fans of these guys! The wine that brought us to them? It was the 2005 Vouvray “Silex”. That was so long ago that there isn’t even a blog link to attach to it. But the ’05 Silex? Crisp and bone dry with that lovely apple-ey goodness that Chenin Blanc is known for … but the mineral swirl? The stuff of legend. So when the 2010 recently went out to wholesale accounts and the sample bottle returned to the shop, we poured out some tastes for our staff … Chris and I took one swirl and taste … “Dude, can you believe that?” (Yes, we talk that way. Mostly just to each other.) “That acidity? That freshness. The mineral. The Fruit? This is better than the ’05!” It was. And it is. And it will be.
Pleiades XX – Sean Thackrey

Ever been to Bolinas? It’s a fun little town just northwest of Stinson Beach in Marin County. It’s tough to find, though. Locals like to take down the sign pointing the way whenever Caltrans puts up a new one. This keeps a lot of tourists out; or at least that’s the locals’ rationale. But Bolinas is home to Sean Thackrey’s winery. Sean Thackrey has been making wine for three decades! And his wines are our kind of wines; he embraces unique winemaking techniques, and sources his fruit from all over California. He brings it all back to his winery in Bolinas and makes wine with his hands. Thackrey’s Pleiades XX cracks the top 5 due to its serious amalgam of complexity and intensity. We are ALWAYS on the lookout for wines like this one! We sold out of the XX, be on the lookout for the XXI!
NV Giavi Prosecco

Prosecco. Serious Prosecco. The NV Giavi Prosecco. You’ve never tasted Prosecco like this before. We’ve got a serious Champagne customer. Serious. This gent will ONLY buy the best highly allocated Grower Champagnes we can get our hands on. He loves this Prosecco. He is actually talking this wine up to restaurants he dines in. Word is out in the restaurant world. We haven’t been able to offer this in our retail shop for months due to the demands of fine restaurants here in the Bay Area and in LA! We’re finally back on track, and once again have the wine in stock for you to try. This is Top Ten kind of Prosecco. Try one and see for yourself.
2009 Château Puy-Servain Montravel Rouge Vieilles Vignes

“Everybody loved it.” That’s what a customer said about the 2009 Montravel Rouge Vieilles Vignes from Château Puy-Servain. What a great 2011 discovery this was!! Instead of relaxing in Bordeaux on the Saturday after the En Primeur tastings, I was off to Montravel to meet with Daniel Hecquet at his Château Puy-Servain. When I tasted his 2009 Montravel Rouge Vieilles Vignes I got butterflies thinking about how cool it was going to be to get the wine over here and onto your tables. And even cooler, the wine sold out quickly. We bought more from Daniel and the next batch should be here by the end of March.
2009 Domaine Michel Bouzereau Bourgogne Blanc

Back to White Burgundy. David has been tasting the wines from Domaine Michel Bouzereau for several vintages, and he’s liked what he’s tasted. But just as he pointed out in regards to the J-M Chaland wines, he likes to taste several vintages before pulling the trigger. Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau is the winemaker these days and he makes some of the finest Premier Cru Meursault and Puligny-Montrachet that we stock here at TWH. You could pick any of Jean-Baptiste’s Premier Crus and put them in the Top Ten, but that’s kind of like cheating. But what’s this? He makes a Bourgogne too! Not only that, it’s a “Bourgogne” though most of the grapes are sourced from in and around Meursault. One taste will have you hooked!
2008 Château Branaire Ducru, St. Julien

Keeping with tradition, we’re going to Bordeaux. It’s so hard to pick just one wine. In 2011, it was the 2008 Bordeaux vintage that hit the market. There were standouts in all categories Red, White, and Gold! But the wine that struck me greatest had to be the 2008 Branaire Ducru. It has everything I look for in a young claret. Its fruit is expressive, the aromas are deep and complex. On the palate, it has a round feel with noticeable structure and more fruit expression braced by the zippy acidity. Great weight and great balance. The finish is long and complex; a perfect reminder as to why I love the wines from St. Julien most. We only have a few bottles left, so sorry when it sells out.
Honorable Mention: 2001 Château Lanessan

Narrowing all that wine tasted over the course of a year down to only 10 is a very difficult task indeed. One main criterion for the list is that the wine be newly released and available to us in said calendar year. But there is one more wine that wowed us in 2011 that deserves a slight mention, the 2001 Château Lanessan. It too was an amazing discovery that was made in the office of one of our negociants in Bordeaux this past April. We sold out of our stock rather quickly, quick enough to still have a chance to buy more! We did, and it’s on its way here. It should arrive at the end of March. – Peter Zavialoff


Thursday, January 12, 2012 3:42 PM

Click here to receive the Taste of Burgundy Sampler automatically every other month.

Basic Facts for those of you who are new to the program: Every two months we select two Burgundies, one red and one white. We include write-ups detailing the background of the grower, the vineyard source, and the wine. Finally we knock a significant percentage off the prices of the wines, making the Sampler price $89.98. If you would like us to add you to the Sampler Club and receive the wines regularly, please specify “store pickup” or “ship it” in the comments field, and we will charge your card accordingly. If you would like us to ship faster than the standard ground service, please specify this as well.

2009 Chassagne-Montrachet Château de la Maltroye
One of our favorite Chassagne producers for many, many vintages has to be Château de la Maltroye. Jean-Pierre Cornut, himself a former engineer, is meticulous about the winemaking, and the proof is in the bottle. The château was acquired by Jean-Pierre’s grandfather in 1940; the first wines made by his great-uncle. Jean-Pierre’s father André worked at the chateau in the 70’s and 80’s despite being a pilot for Air France. When health issues caused André to take a step back in 1993, Jean-Pierre took over. The château is located smack in the middle of Chassagne, and it even boasts a Premier Cru vineyard named for the château. This village Chassagne is rich and vibrant, showing off the round apple-y flavors and citrus blossom aromas one finds in the best Chardonnays. Its acidity keeps it fresh and balanced. It is yet another precocious 2009 Burgundy, puppy-dog friendly and ready to go.

2009 Beaune Bressandes Premier Cru Albert Morot
Considered one of the finest estates in Beaune, the Domaine Albert Morot was founded in 1820. They began as negociants. In the late 19th century, they purchased 7 hectares of vines and the buildings that they currently occupy. The domaine was run together with the negoce business into the late 1980’s. Current proprietor/vigneron Geoffroy Choppin de Janvry has had the reins of the domaine since the 1999 harvest. Geoffroy had this to say about the 2009 vintage, “(it is) not a typical Burgundian vintage. While the quality of the wines is very good, they are built on their fruit and they’re very round and suave … The wines should be popular as they’re easy to appreciate and I think that they will age better than many people presently think.” We heartily agree; 2009 was a vintage of ripe, precocious fruit, yet the wines are marked by sturdy structure that suggests improvement with medium term aging. Geoffroy always makes wines that speak of their place of origin; this 2009 Bressandes is shining now and will through 2020. – Peter Zavialoff

Paul Pernot’s 2010 Bourgogne Blanc

Monday, January 9, 2012 8:03 PM

Happy 2012! I hope everyone had a happy, safe holiday season, creating more great memories with loved ones. Mine have gone well, I spent some quality time with family and friends and tasted some pretty interesting wines in the process. After living vicariously through many of you, I’ve finally rung in crab season … with vigor! I’ve had this conversation with many a customer, because I’m not alone here, but it just seems logical that one would drink more red wine (room temperature) in the winter than chilled white wine. For me, again, it’s just the opposite. Though I enjoy seafood all year, it seems I eat more of it in the winter time. That’s going to pop the cork on a few bottles of white wine right there. So if crab season has just recently begun, I look forward to enjoying more of those delectable crustaceans for months to come. What to drink? Among staff here at TWH, the answer is simple. White Burgundy. I’ve heard Anya say it more than once, “If I were rich, I’d drink White Burgundy EVERY Day.” So would I. Grand Cru and Premier Cru White Burgundy is expensive. It’s delicious, but expensive. But that doesn’t mean there isn’t a way. What if I told you we have a Bourgogne Blanc made by a famous producer of Puligny-Montrachet that is made from fruit sourced from in and around Puligny near the Meursault border, and it sells for $20.82 by the case? Imagine. White Burgundy.

Chances are, if you’ve read our emails with any regularity, you would be familiar with the name Paul Pernot. Sure, we like to write about Pernot and his wines. They’re that special. His following is huge. White Burgundy lovers clamor over his Grand Cru and Premier Cru Puligny-Montrachets year after year. We get small allocations, but the wines are snapped up quickly every year. All of the wines. Pernot’s Bourgogne Blanc is quite the popular low $20’s quaffer ’round these parts, as it sells out the quickest. All that yummy Chardonnay goodness, crunchy orchard fruit, citrus blossom, a kiss of deftly used oak spice, and lively acidity. In 2010, the wine is rich, yet crisp and lively. There is mineral woven into the fruit profile, and the finish is long and harmonious. It walks like Puligny-Montrachet. It talks like Puligny-Montrachet. It says Bourgogne Chardonnay on the label. We don’t care, as long as that keeps the price nice. There’s plenty of crab season to go; but mind you, Pernot’s Bourgogne goes well with so much more. It shines with any crustacean you toss at it. It pairs great with chicken, especially a rotisserie chicken with fresh thyme. Halibut, sea bass, trout, and it makes a great partner with a slow roasted pork roast. $20.82 per bottle by the case.We apologize in advance if the wine sells out again. It will.

So off we go, headstrong into 2012. I’m optimistic, though my football club has hit a rough patch. It is a year of transition, as much will change soon. But I’m optimistic. I see plenty of good things coming down the pipeline already. I’ll be in LA tasting the 2009 Bordeaux vintage out of bottle in less than a fortnight. A virtual swath of concerts featuring many old favorites and a couple of new acts await my attendance in the next month and a half. And I will make good on a few resolutions:

#1 Taste more wine from places outside France. (This will be tough, knowing what my friends have in their cellars.)

#2 Open more bottles at the bar at Picco on Monday nights. (If I can get in, they’ve been getting slammed lately.)

#3 Blog more. (Er, okay, just blog.)

#4 Visit Mom more often. (Though Sis and I did well in 2011!)

#5 Allow for the serendipitous. (How will the gods find you if you don’t let them?)

#6 Brevity. (I could go on and on.)

Happy 2012! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments on 2012, White Burgundy, or English Football:

2009 Michel Bouzereau et Fils Bourgogne Blanc

Friday, May 20, 2011 7:39 PM


Believe it or not, here in the SF Bay Area, we just had a winter-type rainstorm pass through. With that now behind us (and a tap, tap, tap on a wooden surface), let us embrace the warm spring weather with a glass of something chilled! As always, we have plenty of options, so where to go? Well, we’ve got some 2010 Rose or some fresh, crisp whitesfrom Italy, but if this year’s anything like last year, the window of opportunity to taste the Bourgogne Blanc from Michel Bouzereau will be a small one.

Again, Michel Bouzereau Pere et Fils are located in the village of Meursault. Meursault. Yep, that Meursault. On his annual Burgundy trips, David has been tasting the amazing Chardonnays this domaine cranks out for several vintages. Every year he has been tempted to import some. Every year. Tempted. Last year, he heeded Oscar Wilde’s advice: “The only way to eliminate temptation, is to yield to it,” and imported the line. Yes, the Bouzereaus make some fancy White Burgundies, with Premier Cru vineyards in Puligny as well as Meursault. And those are great, very special wines. But from a pure quality for price standpoint (we don’t use the “QPR” abbreviation, lest we confuse a wine with Queens Park Rangers), it was Bouzereau’s Bourgogne Blanc that won our hearts and palates … and everyone else’s too, as the wine was, poof, gone in less than 60 days. That will happen again, so if you love Meursault (THIS IS NOT MEURSAULT!), but aren’t crazy about the prices, then why not a Bourgogne made by a Meursault producer like Bouzereau? The aromatics are rich and complex, creamy apples, stony mineral, and a hint of spice. On the palate, the wine is sleek and seductive; its harmonious balance, complexity, and richness will have you scratching your head wondering if this isn’t something declassified. Want to see a wine geek get really excited? Just ask any member of our staff about this wine; any member, any time.

Yes, daytime highs around the Bay Area nearly hit 80 degrees Farenheit in some cities, and with the warmth usually comes the desire to quaff something cool and crisp. Timing being what it is, isn’t it fortunate that the 2009 Bourgogne Blanc from Michel Bouzereau et Fils has just arrived? Enjoy!

2009 Paul Pernot Aligote

Wednesday, March 30, 2011 5:05 PM


After nearly 35 years in the wine business, we at TWH have seen and heard it all when it comes to the idiosyncrasies of our customers’ palates. Furthermore, while we love the fact that no two palates are exactly alike, an immediate dismissal of an entire category of wine is somewhat of a conundrum to us wine geeks and is likely to elicit a response such as “Really? Well that’s probably because you’ve never had a good one!” (Although, depending on how furrowed said customer’s brow is, we may only say it in our heads). One such category that is nothing if not underappreciated, is the Aligote grape. Though it was once 40-50% of all Burgundy plantings, including 1er and Grand Cru plots, it took a backseat to its big sister Chardonnay around mid-twentieth century and has since been better known for its role in producing Cremant de Bourgogne and its part in a Kir.

So, why the fuss over Aligote, you may wonder? To put it bluntly, we’re excited (Correction: make that very excited) to be carrying the2009 Paul Pernot Bourgogne Aligote. Not only is Monsieur Pernot one of the most highly respected winemakers in the Cote de Beaune, he is also one of those rare breed of winemakers nowadays that no matter how many acres and accolades he collects, is a farmer at heart. That is why nobody is better equipped to work with the early-ripening, cold-loving Aligote grape than he. Additionally, 2009 was a warmer year in Bourgogne, which helped balance the inherently high-acid grape, producing a white wine that is both vibrant and mineral-driven, yet also expresses a generous amount of ripe apple and citrus fruit as well. What’s even more mind-boggling is that this is the first time Pernot has ever produced Aligote. As far as inaugural releases go, a white Burgundy under $20 that drinks like a top Macon or Vire-Clesse from one of the most esteemed producers on the planet, is dang near unheard of. So while we appreciate all palate quirks and staunch opinions (case in point, Pete still refuses to believe wine and chocolate go together), this is one of those rare gems that supercede all previous notions and stereotypes. If you really want to see what we’re talking about, pair it with steamed mussels in a white wine butter sauce … then prepare to swoon and picture us saying “we told you so!” – Emily Crichton

Xavier Monnot: 2006 Puligny Montrachet

Monday, November 15, 2010 7:42 PM

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY, WINE HOUSE! An independent, retail wine store open for 33 years? Now that is something to celebrate. And celebrating we are with spectacular deals-n-steals. The 2006 Puligny Montrachet from Xavier Monnot tops my list of sensational bargains particularly for those who, like me, dream of drinking white BurgundyALL THE TIME. At only $39.95 (originally $70), getting your hands on world-class Chardonnay is no longer just a dream; it can be a reality.

So many reasons to love this wine…let’s begin with the producer:Xavier Monnot. We’ve been singing Monnot’s praises for a couple years now. His ability to coax rich fruit without camouflaging a sense of place is a real talent and a major reason why Monnot’s wines appeal to both those new to white Burgundy and those who have been longtime avid devotees. Our tag line for Monnot’s wines has been that his Puligny tastes like Puligny, his Meursault tastes like Meursault and so on.The grapes that go into Monnot’s Pulingy Montrachet come from 60-year old vines that according to my sources are either below Charmes or Les Referts. Regardless of the exact location, the age of the vines and its placement in Puligny Montrachet provides superior material for some powerhouse Chardonnay. The 2006 Puligny Montrachet is true to the vintage with a ripe, tropical fruit profile. That tropicality and ripeness is buoyed by a stealthily hidden streak of acid that keeps the wine alive and refreshing. A weighty mouthfeel and a persistent finish signals to your tastebuds that they are now entering another realm of Chardonnay goodness. With Dungeness Crab Season in full swing, I can’t help salivating just thinking about pairing this with succulent crab dipped in butter, or better yet, mayonnaise (did I just write that? No, I don’t do that!). At a recent staff tasting, we all agreed that Monnot’s 2006 Puligny Montrachet is the type of white Burgundy that can really go far into a meal; not just relegated to fish and shellfish, it would be outstanding with poultry, pork or veal.

It’s getting crazy at the store now (THE SALE IS ON!), so I better finish this up. But before I do, I have to mention two other tasty treats: 2006 and 2007 Batard Montrachet from Paul Pernot. Come on, treat yourself. The holidays are upon us and you owe it to yourself to try a Grand Cru at least once. I had the pleasure of trying these two wines side by side at our Holiday Staff Dinner this past January. And let me tell you, I think I can still taste them! The 2006 was opulent with lots of volume and power, whereas the 2007 was sleeker and more delineated, though not lacking in fruit. They are strong reflections of their vintage.Thank you to all who have made it possible for us to make it to the thirty-three year mark. As they say in Russian, Many Years Wine House! –Anya Balistreri

Dinner At RN74 With Jeanne-Marie de Champs

Monday, October 11, 2010 1:49 PM


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.



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.



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 Zavialoff

Sylvain Langoureau: 2008 Hautes Cotes de Beaune Rouge

Monday, September 13, 2010 9:33 PM

Okay, this is really unusual. It’s Saturday afternoon. It’s 82 degrees in San Francisco. One of the very few walk-in customers we’ve had today said something about going to the beach. As I type, the San Francisco Giants are tied for first place. The Chelsea Blues actually conceded a goal for the first time this season. My foremost Bordeaux tasting buddy came in today asking about a red Burgundy; and two of my dearest friends, just back from a cycling trip through Burgundy, have invited me for dinner tonight … provided I bring over some red Burgundy. So, as much as I like to drink and write about Bordeaux, it looks like all signs are pointing to Burgundy these days. But Burgundy’s expensive, right? Not today, Pete.


It happens a lot. Customers come in looking for Pinot Noir. Wanting to try something Old Worldly, often they inquire about Burgundy. Then comes the infamous question, “Do you have any red Burgundy under twenty dollars?”Usually, the answer is no. Usually, the answer is not even close. But usually seems to be out this week. Hats off to David for uncovering yet another gem from a tasting trip through France earlier this year! Another gem indeed; and this one comes in under twenty!

 Stopping off at the offices of negociante Jeanne-Marie de Champs several months ago (more on her later), our illustrious leader tasted some head turning wines from several producers new to us here at TWH. We’ll tell you about some of the others soon enough, but we’ve got to let you in on the biggest secretin red Burgundy to come this way in a long while now! The 2008 Bourgogne-Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune Clos Marc from Domaine Sylvain Langoureau will turn heads. It is aromatically rich, exhibiting delicate, pretty, berry-like Pinot Noir fruit, a pinch of undergrowth, forest floor, and sliced truffle. Definitively Old World, the mouth feel is lightweight, with vibrant acidity. The flavors are restrained yet numerous; one word best describes the experience: elegant. A slow fade of berries and autumn leaves latch on to the zippiness, sending your taste buds into that wonderful place where only red Burgundy can take them!

So yeah, seventeen dollar red Burgundy is in the house! For how long, we don’t know. Just so you know, I dropped a sample bottle off at my favorite restaurant in Marin as a prospective “by the glass” candidate; so it may fly out of here soon. If you want to try it, I suggest you do so quickly; before the fog returns, before temps dip back to the 50’s, before the Giants revert to their tortuous ways, and before I have another glass of Sauternes. Oh well, the Giants are now in second place (I must have jinxed them, nothing unusual about that … but I guess that’s just the exception to the rule).Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments regarding Red Burgundy, Unusual Occurrences, or The Pride of London:


Negociante Jeanne-Marie de Champs will be in town Monday, October 11. A dinner with Jeanne-Marie and some of her wines will be held in conjunction with restaurant RN74. We will fill you all in on the details when they become available to us. Mark your calendars!

Photo from

2007 Puligny-Montrachet Paul Pernot

Wednesday, April 14, 2010 4:35 PM



Okay, so I’m biased. That’s understandable. One must love wine in order to work in this business. Funny thing is at the end of the workday, after I leave the shop, I am still fully engaged in all things vinous. That just comes with the gig, I guess … Even though I don’t grow grapes nor make wine, I feel that as long as my eyes are open, I am working (or something like that). At the risk of offending some of our readers who may be looking for banal and redundant tasting notes, I will just let my thoughts run wild here … because that’s what I do.


You never know what you’re going to get. No coincidence, I usually have a bottle of something when I visit my friends … or their friends! What exactly? I never know; but sometimes it really works. Before a recent band practice, our meeting venue was decided to be The Seafood Peddler in San Rafael, so with a little educated guesswork, I figured a bottle of White Burgundy would work well. Okay, that’s a little generic, ahem, a bottle of 2007 Paul Pernot Puligny-Montrachet was what I brought. Like I said before, I don’t grow grapes, nor do I make wine, but I do enjoy a fine bottle when I can, and I especially love it when it pairs well with good friends and good food. Well, in spirit of the brand new 2010 baseball season, I hit a homerun with the Puligny. I sit in humble gratitude to those vignerons like Paul Pernot whose efforts make it fun and easy to hit homeruns!

I packed the bottle in my Wine House Bag, yet left it in the trunk when I got to the restaurant. As I walked in, the boys were already in good spirits, as the promise of 3 hours of free flowing music weighed on our collective horizons. There were prawn quesadillas, calamari, and lobster … oh, excuse me gents, I left a bottle of wine in the car. When I came back, we popped the cork on the Puligny, and what a success it was! It showed exotic aromas of citrus blossoms and spice, and with racy acidity, displayed a mid-palate that was sublime with the food we were enjoying. I have always said that the best food and wine pairings are with white rather than red wine, and after an experience like this one, I am all the more convinced. The only problem was the bottle was empty long before the need for more was exhausted. Hmmm, just thinking out loud here; perhaps we should look into magnums of Pernot’s Puligny-Montrachet for occasions just like this one. – Peter Zavialoff


Tuesday, February 16, 2010 6:35 PM

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2006 Meursault – Les Chevalieres Xavier Monnot

When Xavier Monnot visited us a year ago, it would have been easy to take one look at the young man, and assume he may have fallen into the trap of making sexy, modern wines with gratuitous amounts of new oak and extracted fruit. Well, we would have been wrong to assume that. Monnot’s holdings extend for much of the length of the Cotes du Beaune, and judging from the wine he makes, he is true to his respective terroirs. Xavier’s Meursaults are particularly distinctive, and his Les Chevalieres is one of our favorites. The well defined mineral seems to weave itself through subtle notes of honey, peaches, pears, and apricots leaving a refreshing balance of fruit, spice, mineral, and acidity on the finish. This wine is quite quaffable now, but will pick up added complexity with a couple of years in the cellar. Perfect for the waning days of crab season.

2006 Chassagne-Montrachet Rouge 1er Cru Clos du Chateau – Chateau de la Maltroye

The meticulous Jean-Pierre Cornut is insistent on proper vineyard management. His pruning practices can be somewhat unusual, as he controls his yields beginning at the time of flowering. Of his red Chassagne-Montrachets, his Premier Cru Clos du Chateau is his most complex, structured wine. The 2006 isteeming with deep, dark red and purple fruit on the nose that is joined by a deep, earthy richness which binds the fruit to the velvety mouthfeel of the wine. The finish is rich and deep, with more dark fruit, spice, pepper, and earth. It is a bigger styled wine that should begin to soften up in 3-5 years, and then drink well for another 5-10. If you’ve been a member of our Taste of Burgundy Club for a couple of years, you very well may find the 2004 version of this wine in your cellar, therefore combining with this one to make for a mini-vertical! – Peter Zavialoff

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