2012 Tour de l’Isle Cotes du Rhone Blanc

Tuesday, May 6, 2014 5:45 PM

As we begin our 2nd full month here at 829 26th Street (at 3rd St.) in Dogpatch, we have hit the “settling-in” phase. We’re still a couple of weeks away from a formal unveiling (Grand Opening Party) with our sales floor fully populated, but we’re getting there. So it came with some shock when I was checking our Twitter feed yesterday and saw a link to the Sunday Streets event. I showed the map to Chris and it was quickly agreed that we would be opening the shop on a rare Sunday. So, come on by and see us Sunday from 11 to 4. 


Whew! There’s a lot going on these days. Here at the shop, the to-do list is still multiple pages in length. It can be rather frustrating, as one knows what needs to be done, can see what needs to be done, but has so much on their plate that to try to conquer each task, one at a time, seems futile. And so it goes. Let’s just say that Anya hit the nail on the head with last week’s write-up on the 2013 Petite Cassagne Rosé! I stand in full endorsement. With the unusual SF heat wave this past week, having a nice refreshing glass of this crisp Rosé waiting for me was the bees-knees after a balmy commute home. There is a bottle in my fridge right now.


What I miss most about leaving the Potrero Hill neighborhood (we’re still in the area!) are the relationships we had with the immediate community. Case in point, a couple of old pals who were friendly associates of mine back in my pre-wine-biz life. They popped into the shop one afternoon to say hi and to share their excitement, as they were planning a trip to the south of France. We agreed that I would drop by their place on the hill after work … with a couple of bottles, of course. I gave them a bit of advice on their itinerary, we were caught up, and I bade them bon voyage, and that was that. Until they came back. If I thought they were excited before their trip, they were downright giddy upon their return. It’s great to get that from a holiday! They were grateful for the advice, but what they couldn’t stop talking about was the white wine! Since they were spending a couple of days in Avignon, I felt it necessary to bring by a couple of Rhône wines. The white wine that I chose was the 2011 Tour de l’Isle Côtes du Rhône Blanc. What Robert Rocchi can do by blending varietals is pure magic. Or, as Anya says, “He’s not afraid to make wines that taste good.” Well, it seems my old friends were quite taken by this wine. So much so that (let me check this again) they went through 8.5 cases last year. That’s impressive. But it was that good.  Fast forward to this year. During the madness of moving our headquarters, we received our first container here in Dogpatch. What was on it? A whole lot of French wine … including the 2012 Tour de l’Isle Côtes du Rhône Blanc! We popped a bottle recently, and my, is it fantastic! It has a wide amalgam of aromas: apricot, peach, and a floral hint. The palate is soft yet firm, with the stone fruit present in an elegant way. It’s crisp and has a zippy finish as the soft yellow fruit slowly fades away. This is another winner from a winner of a label! For the price, this one’s tough to beat. When I taste a wine like this, I always think back to an article I read a long time ago in the Wine Spectator. Written by James Molesworth about white Rhône wines, he called them, “The best white wines you’re not drinking.”

So yeah, there’s a lot going on around here. We’ve got Sunday Streets happening in our new ‘hood Sunday. Plenty of wine now has a happy home on our sales floor, but there’s still more to go. We’ll be changing out The Dirty Dozen on Monday, and, and, and … you get it. Champions’ league came to an end for me this week as my team lost in the semi-finals. But all isn’t lost, it’s my favorite sports competition by a long-shot, and making it to the semis is quite an honor. The band has a gig on Mothers’ Day, and our new album is one mixing session away from being ready to go. Exciting times. Did I mention that the 2012 Tour de l’Isle Côtes du Rhône Blanc was in stock? You might want to try some before my old pals get a call from me. –Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about White Rhône wines, Bordeaux, European Football, or Sunday Streets: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

2011 Domaine Boudinaud Cotes du Rhone Blanc

Thursday, October 24, 2013 6:22 PM

Exciting times, these. It’s been a barnburner of a week ’round here at TWH. What, with the introduction of the 2011 Opalie de Château Coutet, and all. It is a wonderful privilege, albeit a temporary one, to be the only US merchant offering this special wine. Baseball season is winding down to its finale. Though we have no local representation, it is still exciting, nonetheless. I happen to know some folks who still have a horse in the race, and it is my plan to visit a couple of them after work today to catch Game 6 of the AL playoffs. I offered to bring a couple of bottles over, and knowing my friends’ palates fairly well, tonight it’s going to be the 2011 Côtes du Rhône Blanc from Domaine Boudinaud.


We love white Côtes du Rhônes because they are often priced very attractively and deliver big time in the palate pleasin’ department. And we’re not shy to write about them, like we did here.  I mean seriously, I know little bias when it comes to these beauties. If somebody offers me “a glass of 2011 Côtes du Rhône Blanc,” I’m going to say, “yes, please.” Why? It’s because the cool temps at night during the growing season helped the Roussanne and Grenache Blanc achieve vibrant acidity to balance out the fruity profile these varieties impart when blended together. As as matter of fact, it has not been uncommon for me to be seen quaffing the domestic, white Rhône blend at my favorite Marin restaurant. But if you factor in tax and tip, you can get a whole bottle of the 2011 Domaine Boudinaud Côtes du Rhône Blanc for around the same price as a glass at Picco. Okay, so why the Boudinaud? Well, we now directly import several wines from Thierry and Véronique Boudinaud’s stable, because we know them well, and have loved their wines for well over a decade. Thierry is quite the studious winemaker, having worked in New Zealand and California before settling back in the south of France cranking out one of our best quality-for-price lines of wines that we import. The 2011 Côtes du Rhône Blanc is the first vintage that we have ever imported, and it has shot straight to the top of my list of preferred wines coming from Boudinaud. It’s all tank fermented, so it’s very fresh and vibrant. It gets richness and depth from the Roussanne, while the Grenache blanc chimes in with complex aromas and bright acidity; a wonderful combination. At least I love it – With the case price coming in below 12 bucks, I’m shocked it’s still in stock!


So yeah, exciting times indeed! Some fairly regular Saturday customers stopped by today to pick up their Taste Of Burgundy, and asked me what I was writing about. They have made it known that these “Sunday write-ups” are unfair because when they are sent, TWH is closed. So I gave them a little sneak preview of what I was on about today. I’ve got 2 bottles of the 2011 Domaine Boudinaud Côtes du Rhône Blanc chilling in the cold box, and I told them why. Long story short, they picked up a couple bottles themselves and we will all collectively enjoy Game 6 with this tasty wine in our glasses! Okay, short and sweet. I’m probably going to miss the first inning, but more importantly, my gracious hosts’ glasses are empty. It’s time to fill them up with 2011 Côtes du Rhône Blanc! – Peter Zavialoff


Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments on the 2011 Opalie de Château Coutet, Côtes du Rhône Blancs, Bordeaux, or English Football: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net


2011 Tour de l’Isle Cotes du Rhone Blanc

Monday, September 23, 2013 8:23 PM


September 22 – The first day of autumn, 2013. Yep, things are changing … rapidly. There seem to be an abundance of fallen leaves already strewn about the ground; evening temperatures have taken a turn to the cooler; and beginning last night and lasting through today in the Bay Area, we got our first rainstorm of the season! I guess I did actually jinx the weather at the end of my write-up two weeks ago. No matter if I did or didn’t, the fact remains that it is now fall. What does fall mean to us? Well, to me, it means the days are getting shorter, Champions’ League group stage has begun, and it’s become time to eat more seafood. Living next to the Pacific Ocean, one doesn’t necessarily need to adhere to ye olde adage about not eating shellfish in months with no ‘R’s, but I’m still pretty careful anyway. And with crab season in the not too distant future, I think the time is right to sock away a few bottles of the 2011 Côtes du Rhône Blanc from Tour de l’Isle, so I will have them when I need them.


Something that I was already on to when I first began working here at TWHwas that as much as I enjoy red meat and red wine, I find that the best wine pairings are with white wine. And sure, it would be great to live Anya’s dream and have white Burgundy every night, but a modicum of realism is in order. I read an article in a wine publication many years ago which declared white Rhône wines to be, “The best white wines you haven’t been drinking.” A bold statement to be sure, but in many ways, I agree. White wines make up less than 25% of the Rhône’s total production, so they’re not easy to find. But when you find one, especially if it’s at the right pricepoint, there is cause for stocking up. We recently received another container from France (you’ve been hearing about some of these wines already, and there will be more soon), and on it were the latest releases from Robert Rocchi’s Tour de l’Isle label. (A bit on Robert here.) The 2011 Côtes du Rhône Blanc is made from 30% Clairette, 25% Grenache Blanc, 25% Marsanne, and 20% Roussanne. It’s a bright, fresh, complex little number that delivers much quality for a modest price. Tom told me he thinks that the Clairette is the magic ingredient, giving the wine that je ne sais quoi, making it stand out among an already underpriced, over-performing group of wines. The aromas are of fresh white peach, apricot, a hint of kiwi, and an underlying Provençal herb garden. On the palate, it is bright and zippy, the fruit buoyed by the lively acidity, with mineral notes; leading to a fresh, harmonious finish. It is NOT a white Châteauneuf-du-Pape, but it sure reminds me of one … at 1/3 the cost!!! Yes indeed, I am going to want to have some of these around the next time I’ve got a crab in me mitts. It’s not just for crab either – you can enjoy this with things like scampi, roast chicken, Salad Niçoise, or an herb crusted roast pork loin.



So yeah, I’m excited about the fall and all the things that come with it.  Birthdayfest has been over for a week (though it was extended by one day this past week), and what a fest it was! Good times! Let’s just say that Champions’ League began with a debacle, but hopefully, we’ll get past that. Most importantly, we’re super excited about our recent container from France – look for more on that soon. We’ll be unveiling a brand new vintage of a very special wine from Bordeaux next week, be on the look out for that! Meanwhile, for your pairing needs, howz about giving the 2011 Tour de l’Isle Côtes du Rhône Blanc a whirl? It could very well be the best white wine that you haven’t been drinking! – Peter Zavialoff


Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments on Côtes du Rhône Blancs, our new container, Champions’ League Football, or autumn: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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