2013 Cotes-du-Rhone La Boissiere, Domaine Boudinaud

Wednesday, February 8, 2017 11:36 AM

Whoa! How did it get to be February already??!! Seriously, the period after the holidays may be somewhat quiet for some, but around here it was hoppin’. I mentioned the parade of folks from Bordeaux passing through our doors the past couple of weeks; the UGC tasting of the newly bottled 2014’s was a week ago Friday. The wines are showing as well, if not better, than I anticipated after having tasted them as barrel samples. I’ve got more to say about them, but tonight’s exercise is more about what I like to call ye olde reliable, Côtes-du-Rhône rouge. Specifically, the 2013 CdR La Boissière from Domaine Boudinaud.

It’s funny. My memory is chock full of useless information. I don’t know why I remember some things (seriously, yesterday was my best friend’s from 3rd grade birthday), and not other, more important things. Like when and where and why did I taste my first Côtes-du-Rhône? It almost feels to me like it just always was a given. If I wanted a nice glass or two of delicious red wine without much expense, there is always Côtes-du-Rhône. When a new customer walks in to our shop and informs me that they like wine, yet aren’t very familiar with French wine, I tend to start here. With Côtes-du-Rhône, it’s tough to go wrong.

We have been working with Thierry and Véronique Boudinaud for well over a decade, and we just love their wines. For the 2013 la Boissière, Thierry blended 55% Grenache with 30% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, and 5% Cinsault. The nuance of each variety’s aromatic profile is noticeable and the blend is quite harmonious. And what’s great about this wine in particular is that you can drink it on its own, with a burger, with steak, with a pork chop, barbecue chicken, and so forth. It is that versatile. Given its price point, it’s a super wine for a very fair price. I do remember how much we liked the 2012, and how my colleagues and I squirreled away bottles for ourselves when our stock began to vanish. When it finally dried up, the countdown began for the new vintage. Now that it’s here, our entire staff is enjoying it. One bottle at a time. And though $13.49 is already an extraordinary deal for a wine of this quality, the case price of $11.47 per bottle is what we call a no-brainer.

Wow. I’m at a loss for what to do for dinner this evening. As Anya mentioned last week, our staff had our annual holiday dinner gathering a fortnight ago, and last Saturday, I was lucky enough to join a supplier and representatives from three Bordeaux chateaux at The Battery for an incredible dinner. It was there that I tasted my very first grade A-5 Wagyu beef. I will not be forgetting about that anytime soon. I have a feeling that tonight’s dinner plans will be less extravagant and more about comfort food. What wine will I be bringing home to sip with my comfort food? Ye olde reliable, of course! – Peter Zavialoff


Boudinaud’s 2012 Côtes du Rhône La Boissière is about half Grenache and a quarter Syrah with the balance divvied up between Mourvedre, Cinsault and Counoise.Yeah, this is a Côtes du Rhône alright. Supple, strawberry fruit merges with spicy white pepper Syrah notes, while the Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Counoise complete the aromatic experience. It is a typical Southern Rhône story here at Domaine Boudinaud, with climate and soil perfectly suited for the varietals. But what isn’t typical is the exceptional quality of the 2012 La Boissière. It is compact and jammy on the palate and aromatically on pointe with the berry notes and whiffs of lavender and garrigue.
David & Thierry
I’ve been on a Southern Rhône kick. They’re such good values; I find it hard to pass them up. For Domaine Boudinaud, the newly arrived 2012 reds usher in a Golden Age for the winery. Thierry Boudinaud has always made super-value wines – we’ve been importing his wines for a long time, so we know – however his 2012 reds enter an even higher plane of excellence. Admittedly, I fall into wine-writing cliché here, but it’s unavoidable because it is true: the 2012 reds are Domaine Boudinaud’s best wines to date. Like with Couronneauand Pierazzuoli, as the years advance, so has the quality of their wines. Surely they were terrific to begin with, otherwiseThe Wine House wouldn’t have bothered to import them in the first place, but what you see in these instances over time is the evolution of place and winemaker.

Which way to Boudinaud?

Have you ever had one of those weeks where a seemingly innocuous playground accident turned into a three hour visit at the doctor’s office, then leaving with your child wearing a cast on her hand? The visit to the doctor, of course, had been further complicated because your husband’s truck was in the shop and had to use your car for the day, so you had to borrow a ride to get to the doctor’s office in the first place? It doesn’t end there – the truck doesn’t get fixed as quickly as promised, therefore you had to get ready even earlier all week so that there was enough time to drive your husband to work before dropping your child off at school and then try to make it to work on time? What about deciding to wake up extra early on that week’s Saturday so that you can take a long, peaceful shower and perhaps linger over coffee while reading the morning paper before heading off to work, only to discover that the doghad thrown-up in the kitchen as well as had pooped all over the floor of the shower? Ever had one of those weeks? I think you know what I am talking about.

Boissiere12After work last Saturday, I brought home a bottle ofBoudinaud’s 2012La BoissièreCôtes du Rhône to have with veggie burgers. Given the week I had, I wasreally looking forward to that glass of wine! But before I could even touch my lips to the rim, my cell phone blew up with texts. Before I could shoot a text back, the texter called up on the telephone- great…something must be up! After quelling this mini-crisis, I returned to the kitchen and was handed a glass of theLa Boissière by my husband. I was about to fill him in on the phone conversation, but couldn’t get the words out of my mouth because the aromas of the wine stopped me in my tracks…it smelled so good. In fact so good, Iknew I was going to love this wine! And sure enough, I do.

The September 2014 Dirty Dozen

Saturday, September 6, 2014 10:29 PM

On we go, into the ‘ber months! Kids are back in school, the French are back from their holidays, and here in San Francisco, it’s time for our summer! For the occasion, we’ve sourced some special wines to make our September a memorable one. Six reds, one crisp Rosé, and five whites, all chosen for their versatility, are screaming values on their own. Pack them all in a box and knock the price down 35%? Magic. The September Dirty Dozen!

Be a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine!Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines




Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.

2012 Falanghina Nina, Torre Quarto $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

Give it a chill, just not too much, otherwise the lovely melon fruit and fragrant aromas (look for that slight hint of pine) will be muted. Falanghina, an ancient Italian grape, is grown in the south – Puglia in this instance. Yellow-gold in color, this lush white has a round texture that complements seafood, fresh salads and cold entrées.

2012 Côtes de Gascogne Cuvée Jean-Paul, Boutinot $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

From southwest France, this dependable refrigerator door white’s beauty – a classic blend of Colombard and Ugni Blanc – lies in its simplicity. Notes of lemon and citrus zest move into tangy grapefruit on the palate, leaving a refreshing, lingering lightness. Nothing complicated, but it’s oh so nice ice cold out of the fridge on a warm late summer’s eve.

2012 Pedro Ximenez PX, Cucao $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

Pedro Ximenez is a varietal known mainly for its role in Spain’s sweet sherries, but this dry example is grown in the northern-most wine region of Chile – the Elqui Valley. Sunny weather ripens the fruit while the high altitude ensures freshness. A delightful blend of acidity and concentrated fruit; try with miso-dressed soba noodles or coconut shrimp.

2013 Ventoux Rosé l’Instant, Domaine Fondrèche $15.99, $12.79 reorder

This wine gets you at ‘hello.” Just look at that color! As pale as pale Rosé gets, winemaker Sébastien Vincenti blends 50% Cinsault with 30% Syrah and 20% Grenache and the wine is light, lean, crisp, and delicious. It’s a versatile little Rosé, textbook southern French style. Got a hankering for Salmon Étoufée? If you do, try it with this.

2012 Grenache Blanc/Rolle/Roussanne, Domaine de la Petite Cassagne $12.89, $10.31 reorder

In 1998, Diane Puymorin purchased this domaine and re-named it Château d’Or et de Gueules. TWH regulars know all about her and those wines, but Diane keeps it real and pays homage to the history of her property with this bottling. Here she blends three classic white Rhône varietals. It’s crisp, clean, and fleshy. Pair it with a seared tuna sandwich.

2012 Gewurztraminer Herrenweg, Domaine Ehrhart $21.99, $17.59 reorder

Gewurztraminer is known for its profound bouquet reminiscent of lychee nuts and rose petals. The Ehrharts’ single-vineyard, Herrenweg is a tad off-dry, and is rich and expressive, both aromatically and on the palate. Not for sipping, this one needs food. Especially spicy food. You must try it with a spicy curry dish, or spicy Cajun red beans and rice.

2010 Tempranillo Dauco, Bodegas Martúe $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder

Hailing from central Spain, this friendly Tempranillo has silky smooth tannins and rich cherry fruit. Outside Rioja, Tempranillo can show many faces, but here it shines as a versatile, charming red, reminding drinkers what makes Tempranillo just so darn delicious! Surely Paella works but so does Pollo con Arroz, Plov, or Tadig with kebabs.

2012 Malbec, Ecologica $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

Argentian Malbec is unquestionably a favorite for those looking for value and quality in an everyday wine. Ecologica sources only organic fruit and is Fair Trade Certified. Medium-bodied with welcoming notes of green herbs, red plum and cassis fruit, the acids and tannins hold up well to heavily-seasoned grilled meats or a quesadilla with fresh Pico de Gallo.

2010 Dão, Proeza $11.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

Looking for a full-bodied red that goes easy on the pocket book? Look no further than this voluptuous Portuguese red from Proeza. Loaded with big flavors courtesy of Touriga Nacional and Tinto Roriz, grapes traditionally made into Port, this dry red is grippy and broad-scaled. A lot of wine for the money! Hearty, rib-sticking meals would work best.

2010 Touraine Rouge, Domaine des Corbillières $14.99, $11.99 reorder

We’ve been working with Dominique and Véronique Barbou for two decades, their wines can magically transport us to the land of France’s most majestic chateaux. This blend of Pinot Noir, Côt (Malbec), and Cabernet Franc is marked by juicy fruit with an herbal twist. Drink it on its own or with anything you would want to pair with a cheerful red.

2011 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Le Farnete $14.59, $11.67 reorder

In the rolling hills just west of Firenze is the commune of Carmignano. Long before the days of the ‘Super Tuscan’, Cabernet Sauvignon was allowed to grow here, only to be blended with the native Tuscan Sangiovese. It’s a zippy little red table wine with another layer of complexity. Pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil is all you need with this one.

2009 Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Tour de l’Isle $14.59, $11.67 reorder

Proprietor of Tour de l’Isle, Robert Rocchi acts as a negociant in the southern Rhône Valley who advises a handful of growers on improtant aspects of winemaking. The results in bottle are not only delicious, they are reflective of their places of origin. Or as Anya likes to say, “He’s not afraid to make wine that tastes good.” Try this with a grilled steak.

Check Out Our Complete Inventory at WineSF.com



Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine!Or 10%/Net Wines 5%/ Sale Wines

November 2013 Dirty Dozen

Saturday, November 2, 2013 5:24 PM

Look out; it’s November! Things are changing quickly. Our clocks will be going back soon, there’s a chill in the air, and at the end of this month, many of us will be seated around the Thanksgiving Day table. Now that time and weather are encouraging us to head indoors, don’t you think a Dirty Dozen is in order? 12 wines, all different, chosen for their versatility, for one low price. And this month the savings are greater than 35%!!! The November Dirty Dozen. 

Be a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!


Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines 

Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.

2011 Chardonnay, Domaine de la Fruitière $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Chardonnay grown in Muscadet? Those famous soils which contain granite, clay, and mica contribute to the bracing freshness and mineral quality of traditional Muscadet wines made from the Melon de Bourgogne grape. This tank-fermented Chardonnay possesses that crispness combined with its inherent rich, fleshy yellow fruit. Great with scampi! 

2012 Chenin Blanc, Kiona Vineyards $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Washington State has some ideal growing conditions for this Loire Valley stowaway, Chenin Blanc. Known for having aromas of crisp, green apples, Kiona’s Chenin Blanc is one of the most versatile white wines in its price range. Fermented off-dry, you can serve it as an apèritif, with hors d’oeuvres, and with everything from fish tacos to Kung Pao Chicken.

2012 Rosé, Domaine de la Petite Cassagne $11.49, $9.19 reorder
Some of us don’t believe that Rosé has a ‘season’. A warm kitchen is cause enough to pop the cork and pour out a cool glass for the chef! But let’s not forget Rosé’s versatility. This one is equal parts Cinsault, Syrah, Grenache, and Mourvèdre; the result is a dry, mineral driven Rosé with just a hint of red fruit. How about salmon burgers off the grill pan?

2012 Montravel Blanc, Château Calabre $10.99, $8.79 reorder 
Montravel is an appellation just beyond Bordeaux’s eastern boundary, and the values that come from there are in great abundance. Known primarily for white wines comprised of the same varieties as of white Bordeaux, Calabre’s blanc is half Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon, and 10% Muscadelle. Depending how you roll, this could be your sushi wine.

2009 Vernaccia Fiore, Montenidoli $21.99, $17.59 reorder 
“Nurse of the vines,” Elisabetta Fagiuoli consistently wins awards for her Fiore bottling. There is something about her vineyards planted in an ancient seabed perched above the medieval village of San Gimignano. The Fiore is made using only free-run juice, and in its purity, will pair well with rich dishes such as Fettuccine Alfredo.

2012 Gewurztraminer, Aresti $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Hmmm, what’s Gewurztraminer doing in Chile? Founded in 1951, the Aresti Estate is one of the largest Chilean producers of this fruity, aromatic variety. This Gewurz is vinified dry, but its aromas suggest it would team up well with a burrito.

2010 CMS Red $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Washington State’s original red blend, Hedges Family Estate’s CMS Red has been produced since 1987! Made from roughly half Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, it does include 12% Syrah to bolster the aromatic complexity. Recognized as one of Columbia Valley’s best values, this blend is elegant and pure. The depth of fruit beckons something like a prime rib.

2008 Marzemino di Isera Husar, de Tarczal $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder
Okay, let’s just call this one Husar. Made from the Marzemino grape, a genetic cousin of both Lagrein and Syrah, it makes for hearty red wines with complex aromas and hints of rusticity. A Husar was an officer in the Austro-Hungarian Calvary, the current proprietor naming the wine after a direct ancestor. The perfect wine for a pizza-with-the-works.

2009 Corbières Réserve, Domaine Sainte Eugenie $16.95 sale price, $16.10 reorder 
Bon vivant Hervé Gauntier is an old pal of TWH, and we are happy to be able to offer his fancy Reserve Cuvée for such a reasonable price. Made from Syrah, Carignane, and Grenache, Hervé’s Réserve sees a little (20%) new cask with the remainder in 1 and 2 year old barrels. It has a spicy, lush, dark red fruit profile, and works well with red pasta sauces.

2010 Montravel Vieilles Vignes, Château Puy-Servain $20.99, $16.79 reorder
Ah, but Montravel has red wine too. This old vine Bordeaux-style blend will turn your perception on its head! Winemaker Daniel Hecquet has crafted a full-bodied red, reminiscent of a wine from St. Emilion for a fraction of the price. You will fool a lot of tasters if you sneak it into a Right Bank blind tasting. A fancy wine, yes; pour it with a rack of lamb.

2009 Côtes du Rhône Villages, Tour de l’Isle $14.59, $11.67 reorder
By now we’ve all heard how successful the 2009 vintage was in the southern Rhône Valley (and almost all of France, for that matter). We would all be doing ourselves a great service to profiter from such fortunate circumstances. There is always great value in Côtes du Rhône, even more so from 2009! It’s great on its own and great with a bowl of olives.

2009 Château Aimée, Médoc $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Speaking of 2009 … It was a fantastic vintage in Bordeaux. So good, mind you, that we continue to go back to the well to stock up on “lesser known” chateaux. Why? Quality. Value. This Médoc bottling wowed us with its honesty; it’s just straight up, quality Bordeaux. This will pair well with any of the traditional meals you would want with a full-bodied red.

Check Out Our Complete Inventory at WineSF.com

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines 5%/ Sale Wines 

Click here to purchase all 12 wines for $109!

2009 Santa Duc Cotes du Rhône Les Vieilles Vignes

Tuesday, February 19, 2013 8:18 PM

There is just something about Santa Duc’s Cotes du Rhônes. In the hands of winemaker Yves Gras, Grenache is elevated to the grand heights of sensory pleasure. For my palate, the taste of ripe, plush Grenache is as comforting as falling into a down-filled overstuffed sofa. With the 2009 Cotes du Rhône Les Vieilles Vignes, Yves augments that cushy, juicy Grenache fruit with elements of white pepper, fragrant forest-floor herb notes, and a seamless finish. It is a lovely drink for evenings that are constructed around simple foods and animated conversations that go long into the night. When you have the urge to tuck in, curl up on the couch, and savor a glass of something yummy, I strongly suggest reaching for Santa Duc’s 2009 Les Vieilles Vignes. 
Domaine Santa Duc has long been recognized for stellar Gigondas and Cotes du Rhônes. In the 1997 edition of Wines of the Rhone Valley, Robert Parker Jr. wrote, “Santa Duc has become not only an important estate in Gigondas…but also a noteworthy producer of high-quality Cotes du Rhone…” I can assure you that in the 15 years since this publication was written, Yves has not been resting on his laurels and in fact is making even better wine today. Back in the late 80’s, Yves took over from his father who had been selling the fruit from their domaine to local negociants. This was common practice back then, but Yves had someithing else in mind for Santa Duc. With his unwavering work in the vineyard and cellar, becoming certified organic as of 2012, Santa Duc has yielded consistently exceptional wine over the years. It certainly hasn’t hurt that the Rhône has been blessed with a string of quality vintages either. However I’d like to point out as testament to Yves’ winemaking prowess that in the disastrous 2002 vintage, when most of the Rhône’s wine production was obliterated by torrential rains and floods, Yves managed to salvage his grapes and make, ok I’ll try not to exaggerate, very good wine. No small feat. The 2009 Les Vieilles Vignes is a selection of vines over 50 years old from primarily Villages-level vineyards, Yves’ own designation for calling it “old vines”. Grenache dominates, with the remainder Syrah, Mourvedre and the other usual Rhone suspects. Other than that, not much else to note – it really is all about the ripe fruit.Today, Wine House customers seemed ready to get busy in the kitchen. I heard about menus featuring roast duck, herb-crusted pork loin and, my favorite, a pork shoulder brined over night to be cooked on a rotisserie attachment over a grill. And what do all these mouth-watering dishes have in common? They’d all be great with the 2009 Les Vieilles Vignes from Santa Duc, c’est vrai! 
Last Saturday I rushed home to celebrate Mardi Gras, Russian-style. That’s right, we had buckwheat blini with all sorts of preserved and salted fish. As we were catching up on things, my brother commented that he expects to read something about our feast in my next write-up, but I explained it would be difficult since this is one of the few meals where wine just doesn’t work, it’s strictly vodka with blini. What could I do? Well, my brother then went on to say that he likes to keep the Dirty Dozen write-up on top of the wine fridge he keeps in the dining room. That way when he’s sent to grab a bottle for dinner, he can call back, “what’s cooking?” and then try to find what best matches the food pairing suggestion written at the end of each Dirty Dozen wine description. Now that’s a helpful tip I can share. Thanks big brother! —Anya Balistreri

La Boissiere: Boudinaud’s Cotes du Rhone

Tuesday, September 25, 2012 8:37 PM


The 2010 Cotes Du Rhone La Boissiere from Domaine Boudinaud is the 3rd vintage we’ve carried. David was instrumental in convincing Boudinaud’s US importer to bring in this wine exclusively for The Wine House after having tasted it several times at the domaine. I’m so glad David persevered and made this happen because La Boissiere is a classic example of southern Rhone perfume, spice and gentle juicy fruit. This past Friday wasInternational Grenache Day and much had been written about how Grenache doesn’t always command the respect it deserves. Case in point, Randall Grahm, the original Rhone Ranger, tweeted, “For me, Grenache has been a bit like the proverbial girl next door. Has taken yrs. to work out how beautiful she is.” I think that pretty much sums it up for a lot of wine drinkers, however my own appreciation for Grenache readsmore like love at first sight. Concentrated strawberry fruit, forest floor spice and dusty, chocolate-y tannins, these are the characteristics of Grenache that captivate my taste buds. And it is precisely these qualities that I find abundant in Thierry Boudinaud’s 2010 La Boissiere.Grenache accounts for a little over half of the composition followed by Syrah, then Mourvedre and ending with a tiny bit of Cinsault. This is a harmonious blend evoking wild strawberries, white pepper and garrigue. Spice and elegance are achieved here, moving away from a more modern and over-ripe style of Cotes du Rhone.



So along withInternational Grenache Day, our store’s calendar was marked this week with International Talk like a Pirate Day. Sadly it fell on Wednesday, my day off, so I couldn’t participate or witness the silly antics the guys here usually play on this day. Lots of laughs as you can imagine. Autumn has officially arrived and with it the sun is finally shining bright and warm over San Francisco Bay. I don’t know how many more Sundays I have left returning home with tomatoes from the farmers market- one, two? I’ve been cooking more and more on the stove and occasionally even using the oven. All week I’d been pulling out cookbooks looking for lamb stew recipes; just seems like time to put the Le Crueset to good use and leave it to simmer. Ah, I’ll ask my husband to watch over it during breaks in between NFL and MLB games. I love Sundays! In keeping with the comfort food theme, the 2010 La Boissiere is going to be my wine of choice. A steaming bowl of something yummy and a glass of spicy Grenache…now that’s a brilliant way to end the weekend. —Anya Balistreri

April 2012 Dirty Dozen

Tuesday, April 3, 2012 9:02 PM

Days get longer, the nights grow short, our Easter baskets are getting filled up, and what’s this? Baseball season? Yep, it’s April and it’s time for opening the windows and doors, getting some fresh air, and maybe a picnic or four. However you like to spend your time this spring, consider this: Twelve bottles, one low price.

Be a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

2010 Orvieto, Cardèto
Big on our list of springtime wines are dry, crisp, easy quaffers that deliver in the quality department, yet keep the big bills in your wallet. This Orvieto is just the ticket! Lean and crisp with a citrusy freshness, this blend of Trebbiano and Grechetto is a great refresher should a warm spring afternoon come your way. Pairs great with a bowl o’mussels.

2010 Chardonnay, Viano Vineyards
Is it us, or do you ever see Cali Chardonnay in the sub $10 category anymore? At least quality, sub $10 Cali Chardonnay? Sales reps visit us and pour and pour, but we keep saying no until the right one comes along. Well, here it is! From Contra Costa county, no less; halfway between the Napa and Livermore Valleys comes the Viano. Pair with a crab salad.

2010 Vino Valpredo Bianca Mia, Fritz Winery
Rather than choose between Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, why not blend them? At least that’s what our friends at Sonoma’s Fritz Winery thought. You know what? This is some quality juice. Aromas of stone fruits and citrus blossoms give way to a zesty citrus palate. Anya says grill up some shrimp and serve it with mango salsa … and this, of course.

NV Prosecco Superiore, Giavi
Talk to any of us about our new D.O.C.G. Prosecco Superiore, the Giavi, and prepare yourself for an enthusiastic reply! Seriously, this Prosecco has it all: tiny bubbles, a pale, frosty appearance, depth, and crispness. Crostini with caviar?

2010 Blanc de Domaine de la Petite Cassagne
Her name is Diane de Puymorin. We adore her wines … all of them. Diane purchased the Petite Cassagne estate back in 1998, renamed it Château d’Or et des Gueules, yet still pays homage to the old guard with a Rouge, Rosé, and this Blanc. Diane blends 40% Rolle (Vermentino) with Grenache Blanc and the result is a bright, citrus infused aromatic showpiece.

2009 Fernão Pires, Quinta do Alqueve
Dare we try to get wine geeky on you, but here’s Portugal’s Fernão Pires blended with a smidge of Arinto. Geeky? Maybe. But the stone fruity aromas and crisp mouthfeel will make wine geeks out of us all! Great with sardines.

2009 Garnacha Two Rows, Odisea
As we switch to the reds, let’s point out that our friends at Odisea have another hit on their hands. Mostly Grenache with small parts Syrah and Tempranillo, the Two Rows is a plump palate pleaser. Ripe cherries and raspberries mingle with vanilla spice and herbs resulting in ethereal harmony. If it’s burgers on the grill; sorry, these Two Rows are taken.

2010 Tempranillo, Enanzo
Yummy Tempranillo from Spain’s Navarra region! The philosophy at Enanzo is simple. To quote them, “this Tempranillo is made by applying the only true winemaking criterion: intimate, permanent, progressive harmony between man and his environment.” It works here, the herb infused fruit is braced by dusty tannins and spirited acidity. Great with pizza.

2009 Château de Bouchet La Rentiere
What a vintage 2009 was for the wines of Bordeaux! The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker likened the vintage to the legendary 1982 noting one exception: in 1982 there weren’t many small, inexpensive producers taking advantage of the perfect weather to make great affordable Bordeaux. That’s different now. Pair this beauty with your prime rib.

2008 Les Cimels, Château d’Or et des Gueules
If there’s a better $15 red wine here at TWH, I haven’t seen it. The aforementioned Diane de Puymorin blends some old vine Carignan with Grenache and Syrah, and the result is an herbal masterpiece. Forest floor, Kalamata olives, and black tea dominate the aromas, and the palate is more savory than fruity. The perfect wine for pasta with an herbal sauce.

2009 Côtes du Rhône les Boissières, Vignobles Boudinaud
New to us is Veronique and Thierry Boudinaud’s les Boissières Côtes du Rhône. It’s an exciting story as 100% of what’s imported to the US is imported for us! Think honest, old-school Côtes du Rhône here. It shows plenty of fruit, but without going overboard. Toss in some cracked pepper and herbs Provençal, and you get the drift. This is yet another versatile bottle in what can be called The Versatile Dozen. Great on its own, or paired with cassoulet.

2006 Syrah, Alberto Furque
Ever popular with our staff and customers, the Alberto Furque line crushes it when it comes to quality for price. Grown at altitudes of over 3000 feet, the vineyards of Mendoza’s Bodega Aconquija (we call them Alberto Furque) get just the right amount of warm days and cool nights to produce wines with dazzling structure. This Syrah sings of balance and harmony. If you find yourself dreaming about some thinly sliced Argentine beef with Chimichurri sauce, pour this.

Check Out Our Complete Inventory at WineSF.com

March 2012 Dirty Dozen

Friday, March 9, 2012 4:23 PM

It seems that old man winter, pretty scarce around here, has packed it up and is headed home. March is here and it’s soon to be the time to mess with time and move our clocks ahead one hour. So while you’re working on your NCAA brackets, eating corned beef with cabbage, and ringing in the spring, just know we’ve got a box of wine to take care of all your vinous needs, The March Dirty Dozen!

Be a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.

2010 Petite Cochon Blanc, Odisea – $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Co-owners Adam Webb and Mike Kuenz are wild about Rhône grapes and scour northern California for quality vineyards that produce them. The Petite Cochon is a blend of Rolle (Vermentino), Viognier, Marsanne, Roussanne, and Grenache Blanc and it struts its stuff with aromas of citrus blossom and stone fruit, has a fresh peachy mouth feel, and finishes crisp and lively. A wine to pair with filet of sole.

2009 Pinot Grigio, Castelletto – $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Over in Italia, near the Slovenian border, is the Collio region; a great place to grow Pinot Grigio. Ronco Del Castelletto has been around since 1870, and is well respected in Italy with several Tre Bicchieri awards in its trophy case. Think rich, almost Alsatian styled Pinot Gris here. The wine has an abundance of fruit both aromatically and on the palate. This is the wine for your corned beef and cabbage!

2010 Chardonnay, M-F Wines – $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Using fruit from premium vineyards is the name of the game at M-F. Matt Bonanno and Fritz Stuhlmuller team up here sourcing premium fruit for a not-so-premium price. Passing the savings along, we all win. All tank fermented, this Chardonnay is pure and fresh with lively aromas of yellow fruit and blossoms. Its green apple/citrus fruit profile suggests it will pair well with a crab salad.

2009 Torrontes, Inacayal – $13.99, $11.19 reorder
Torrontes is turning heads in Argentina as it has become their signature white wine. Inacayal’s vineyards are located at elevations of 3000 feet and the cool nights that the altitude provides are essential to produce the acidity the wine needs for balance. It has exotic aromas of orange blossoms and lemons. Pour it as an apéritif; or with a meal, it pairs very well with spicy Thai or Chinese cuisine.

2006 Lugana Superiore, Ca’Lojera – $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Elegant. The perfect word that describes the wines from Ca’Lojera and the woman that makes them, Ambra Tiraboschi. Working with the Trebbiano di Lugana (Turbiana) grape, Ambra crafts this head turning wine. She holds it back for 2 years in barrel to give the Lugana texture and complexity, enough to earn the name ‘Superiore’. Her website’s suggestion for a food pairing? “Elegant dishes”, of course.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Lalande – $10.99, $8.79 reorder
Talk about screaming good values, we have always been impressed with the array of wines coming from Yves Grassa’s empire in Gascogne, especially his Lalande line. This tank fermented Sauvignon Blanc is fresh and lively with all the citrusy character one expects in a Sauvignon Blanc without going overboard. As we herald in the season of picnicking, allow us to present the picnic wine.

2006 Alentejano, Howard’s Folly – $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder
From Alentejo, just east of Lisbon, comes another wine that outperforms its price point by a long shot. Howard’s Folly is made up of Syrah, Alicante Bouschet and Touriga Nacional and it sees 6 months in new French and American oak before bottling. The wine shows plenty of dark, smoky fruit and spice and will make a nice accompaniment for a marinated tri-tip, should you grill one.

2009 Chianti, Il Vescovado – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Open a bottle of Chianti, and Tuscany emerges from it, like a genie from a lamp. When you get one this good for a price tag like this, you may as well have burned one of your wishes. Made from Sangiovese, Canaiolo, and Ciliegiolo, Il Vescovado is the ‘utility player’ of the bunch. Its medium body and lively acidity allow it to pair well with a myriad of dishes. From meatloaf to pizza, your wish comes true!

2008 Bardolino Classico, Valetti – $7.95 sale price, $7.55 reorder
Running head to head with the Chianti mentioned above is the equally food-friendly Bardolino from eastern Lake Garda. It may be lighter still in body than the Chianti, but its zippy acidity makes it perfect alongside any traditional Italian dish that uses tomato sauce and herbs. It’s a blend of mostly Corvina, with a little Rondinella and Sangiovese, and bang for your buck – a super bargain!

2010 Syrah, Saint-Antoine – $10.99, $8.79 reorder
You can’t go wrong with any wines from the south of France in 2010. The growing season was long and warm, yet cool nights provided the proper acidity to balance harmoniously with the opulent fruit. We’ve been working with Domaine Saint-Antoine for many years now, and their wines usually have a rustic charm, but the 2010 Syrah retains the charm with a palate friendly dose of purple fruit. Yummy.

2009 Morgon Côtes du Py, Domaine Pierre Savoye – $18.99, $15.19 reorder
Okay, what we have here is Cru Beaujolais from a good vintage … make that a great vintage. The Côtes du Py is composed of rocky soil and the wines originating there have that distinct mineral verve which latches on to the juicy Gamay fruit resulting in an elegant, Burgundian styled wine. Light in body, this Morgon would be best when paired with something subtle, like a salad with goat cheese.

2008 Côtes du Rhône Mataro, Vignobles Boudinaud – $21.99, $17.59 reorder
Using only Mataro (Mourvèdre) for a Côtes du Rhône may be a little unusual, but Thierry Boudinaud pulls it off nicely here with this dense, gamey offering. Thierry has worked in California, New Zealand, and Bordeaux, honing his skills before returning to his ancestral home in the southern Rhône to have a go on his own. What he’s done here is magical. One to pour with your sizzling rib eye.

Check Out Our Complete Inventory at WineSF.com

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines 5%/ Sale Wines

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

September 2011 Dirty Dozen

Friday, September 2, 2011 9:11 PM

Heading out to San Francisco, for the Labor Day weekend show … whether or not you have your Hush Puppies on, you know it’s September and that means the kids are back in school, baseball season is entering its ‘pennant race’ phase, and in New Zealand, the Rugby World Cup is kicking off. No matter your distraction, the Dirty Dozen packs a wallop of value! 12 different wines packed into a box for $109? Just say yes.

Be a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

2009 Unico, Tierra de Castilla, Casa Gualda – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Unico, or unique if you will, is a great way to describe this blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Moscatel from España. The floral nature of the Moscatel is just the right counter to round out the richness of the Sauvignon Blanc and the result is magic. Think blossoms and herbs on the aromatics, and a bright crispness on the palate. Grill up some halibut for this.

2010 Rosé, Grange des Rouquette – $11.99, $9.59 reorder
It’s 100% Syrah Rosé from the south of France. Though deep pink in color, the palate offers a surprise; it is vibrant, crisp, and DRY. This is truly a Rosé that can pair with just about anything. If you miss the south of France, one taste of this will transport you there.

2009 Bourgogne Aligoté, Domaine Paul Pernot – $18.99, $15.19 reorder
Affectionately referred to as Burgundy’s “other” white grape, Aligoté may not have the notoriety of Burgundian Chardonnay but in the hands of the right vigneron (ahem, Paul Pernot!), it shines with bracing minerality and dazzling citrus and green apple flavors. Try alongside poached white fish or semi-soft cheeses.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, MSH – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
MSH Cellars is one of those hidden treasures of Napa that make us wine geeks all giddy. This wine isn’t resting on its Napa laurels, though … It brings the goods too, smooth and creamy through the mid-palate with a bright, citrus finish. Pair this Yountville Sauvignon Blanc with a sunny afternoon and a drumstick.

2009 Marsanne/Viognier, Vignobles Boudinaud – $11.99, $9.59 reorder
Thierry and Véronique Boudinaud have been turning our heads lately with a wealth of high-class wines at very fair prices. This blend has all the makings of a fancy-pants white Rhône without the pretense. Crisp minerality, round Asian pear flavors, perfectly balanced acidity, and a long, dry floral finish make this tough to beat. Friday fish fry is a callin’…

2008 Pinot Gris ‘Im Berg’, Domaine Ehrhart – $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Longtime TWH friends, Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart continue to churn out great juice for a great price! They farm organically (2nd generation to do so), and the results are spot on. 2008 was a great vintage in Alsace, and this single-vineyard Pinot Gris has an abundance of complexity. Amazingly versatile, you can pop one with your fish tacos.

2007 Monastrell ‘Hécula’, Bodegas Castaño – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
This is a steal! Seriously, we know you all shop at TWH because we find great value wines at all price points, but this one is not to be believed. We’re not alone in our praise, Steven Tanzer tasted it and said, “This could be a Bandol”. That’s saying a lot. Think deep, rich purple fruit with hints of smoky meat and earth. Pop it with a pork roast.

2009 Baron des Chartrons, Bordeaux – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Here’s yet another sneak-peak into the hugely successful 2009 vintage in Bordeaux. This blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon is true to its vintage, showing rich, expressive fruit, great weight and dazzling structure. Goes to show that you don’t need to plop down multiple Benjamins to get a great taste of Bordeaux. A nice T-Bone works here.

2009 Rouge de la Domaine de la Petite Cassagne – $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Superstar winemaker Diane Puymorin has won our hearts yet again with her Rhône-style blend which includes some old-vine Carignane. Keep in mind that this is very young wine, so decanting is highly recommended. Got cassoulet?

2009 Plavac, Dingac – $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
New for us this month is a red wine from Croatia! Plavac Mali is one of several indigenous grape varieties, combining the spicy red berries of a Zin with the body of a Beaujolais. It’s fantastically uncomplicated. Enjoy with your cheeseburger.

2009 Morgon Côte du Py, Domaine Pierre Savoye – $18.99, $15.19 reorder
Speaking of Beaujolais, have you heard about the 2009 vintage? Coupled with the fact that this is CRU BEAUJOLAIS, this has to be the trump card of this month’s DD. Highly complex, the aromas are of forest floor, bright red berry fruit, and earthy minerals. Its palate is light and fresh with very fine tannins. A bowl of olives and a baguette will work.

2010 Côtes de Ventoux ‘Fayard’, Domaine Fondrèche – $16.99, $13.59 reorder
Wünderkind Sébastien Vincenti continues to dazzle us with his Ventoux blends. Sébastien honed his skills under the tutelage of legendary Rhône master André Brunel, and his amazing string of vintage successes is astounding. The Fayard is a blend of Grenache and Syrah (with a little Mourvèdre and Carignane), and it shows rich, ripe fruit, herbs and earth.

Check Out Our Complete Inventory at WineSF.com

Domaine Boudinaud 2008 Cotes du Rhone Mataro

Saturday, August 20, 2011 4:42 PM

It’s amazing how the wines of Thierry & Véronique Boudinaud just keep getting better and better. Not that they were ever disappointing, mind you… Five generations of winemaking and a profound commitment to lifelong professional education allow for a great deal of skill-perfecting, after all.

The Boudinaud estate, located in the tiny commune of Fournès

Jose Tomas

Spanish bullfighter Jose Tomas faces a bull during the Feria, in Nimes, southern France, Friday, May 29, 2009. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

along the right bank of the Rhone River, has definitely put itsbest foot forward with their2008 Mataró Cotes du Rhone, though. The grape here is more commonly known in France as Mourvèdre, though it made its way to the new world in the mid to late 1800s under its alter ego,Mataró – A name taken from a town near Barcelona where the varietal was grown. The Boudinauds decided to use this version of the word, althoughthere are over 50 different names for this grape worldwide, includingBalzar, Drug, and Plant De Saint Gilles (To quote Bill S., “what’s in a name?”). Furthermore, their decision to release a 100% Mourvèdre is as impressive as the wine itself. The grape isn’t typically bottled as a single variety, but more often as part of a blend with other Rhone varietals, such as Syrah and Grenache (it’s the “M” in a GSM blend).

As a late-ripening grape that thrives in high heat, it’s not every Dick & Jane winemaker that can handle it in the vineyard, nor tame its meaty flavors and grippy tannins (What’s Bill’s other saying, “if you can’t handle the heat, get out of the vineyard”??). Furthermore, unlike other wines of the 2008 vintage which show a much more plush, fruit-forward profile, the Mataró Cotes du Rhone is a dark, robust wine with a structure more reflective of the attention-garnering 2009 vintage than its own.That’s not to say it isn’t drinking beautifully right now, as a little decanting goes a long way with this one. Deep, dark, and full-bodied, blackberry & currants lurk beneath a savory mélange of leather, black pepper, graphite, and game-like flavors with a dusty, finely-ground-coffee type texture to the finish that is surprisingly approachable and pleasant (I guess that’s where the 2008 part comes in). It is the type of wine that begs to be paired with grilled meats, sautéed mushrooms, and a generous amount of dried herbs and spices to complement its savory and earthy personality. If single-variety releases like this are the future of Mourvèdre in the Rhone Valley, the future is looking mighty bright. – Emily Crichton

What a crazy week! It all started last Saturday after we closed. I attended aKFC/Dom Perignon tasting. Yep. It was great. No, I don’t know why. It was a chaotic week in the 2010 Bordeaux Futures game, as several high-profile chateaux released their prices. It’s been very difficult keeping up, but look for something in your inbox soon. Vinexpo is going on in Bordeaux this week, so they’re going crazier than I, but not by much. Our upcoming Winemaker Dinner with Château Coutet is all-systems-go and reservations are now being accepted. And finally, we’re getting around to sampling some of the new

wines that recently arrived via container.

The thrill of the change of seasons has beckoned the Rosé lover in all of us, and this year’s selections are unbeatable! There are some lovely White Burgundies from the Macon that you all will be hearing about very soon. There are a few reds from the Rhône Valley including a dynamite Côtes du Rhône from Domaine Boudinaud! We’ve had wines from Vignobles Boudinaud for many vintages, but this is the first time we’ve had the La Boissière line. The 2008 La Boissière Côtes du Rhône has everything I like in a Côtes du Rhône: rich, ripe fruit, a kiss of earthy mineral, and a waft of herb which when all tied together makes me happy that unlike the famous wines of Bordeaux, these wines are affordable. I’m not alone here at TWH when it comes to this wine either. Here’s a funny one. So our staff pulled a Chip and Dale on this one. No one wanted to appear selfish and take it home the day we opened it. Emily had left early, so we decided to leave it for her as she and David came in last Sunday for a short time to check out Sunday Streets Potrero Hill, Dogpatch and Bayview. I left her a note saying it was here on the tasting table and guess what? She didn’t take it either. It doesn’t happen often, but our entire staff was crestfallen that the best of the bunch was left undrunken. These things do happen, so in penance, I’m buying one for tonight. This will not be my last.

For me, Sundays are for resting. And after the week I had, I will rest. To all you Dads out there, Happy Fathers’ Day! Here’s a tidbit of wisdom from my Pop:

Pete? Do you have a minute?

Right now? Okay … grumble, grumble (I was around 15 at the time)

Sit down (gulp)

Soon, there will be times when you may be drinking

Uh, really?

I just want you to remember one thing.

What’s that, Pop?

If one bottle costs $7 and the other one $15, buy the $15 bottle, you’ll thank yourself in the morning.


You can go now.

Fast forward to today. Thanks Pop. – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me if you want to know more about 2010 futures, our upcoming dinner with Aline Baly of Château Coutet or anything else: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

2009 Grange des Rouquette Syrah/Grenache

Thursday, May 12, 2011 5:23 PM


En Avril, n’ote pas un fil. En Mai, fais ce qu’il te plait. Translation: “In April, don’t take off your clothes, but in May, do as you please.”


Mon Dieu! “Clothes off? What is this woman talking about!?” You must be wondering. Well, aside from an attempt at showing off what little of the French language I have mastered, I thought this quirky quote a rather lovable and fitting introduction to our May “Wine of the Month”. If you’ve been following us through cyberspace or via snail mail lately, you know that we’re just a smidge excited about Springtime, and in particular, the month of May. The only month of 31 days spent entirely in Spring; The month in which we celebrate everything from horse power and heros to mothers and Mexico… and do a lot of barbecuing to boot!

That being the case, it stands to reason that a wine befitting many occasions (and many a budget) should be the May W.O.M. Drum-roll please…. The 2009 Grange des Rouquette Vin de Pays d’Oc Syrah/Grenache is one of those gems that epitomize what we here at TWH love to do most: find wines that outperform their pricepoint. By a LOT.

Now in its fifth generation of viticulture and winemaking, Domaine Grange des Rouquette has become renowned for their craft both locally and abroad. Located in the tiny commune of Fournes, on the right bank of the Rhone River, this estate has produced vintage after vintage of delicious and versatile wines – both red and white – that seem to not only represent the terroir from which they hail, but also the many things about great winemaking learned, practiced, and perfected across the globe. This is thanks to Thierry and Veronique Boudinaud, the heart and soul behind Grange des Rouquette, who have traveled from New Zealand to California and places in between in order to hone their skills. The couple now owns 50 hectares in and around the Cotes du Rhone appellation, and though this Syrah/Grenache (with a little Mourvedre thrown in) is Vin du Pays d’Oc, the old-vine Syrah and Grenache come from their best vineyard sites. The blend is a traditional one, made up of 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvedre – all harvested separately for optimal ripeness. A small portion of the old-vine Syrah gets barrel treatment, but otherwise, the grapes are vinified in stainless steel tanks to maximize the freshness of the fruit. The result is a wine with bright, juicy purple & red fruit on the nose and palate and enough savory earthiness and grit to warrant the cognomen “baby Cotes du Rhone.” I’d suggest pairing it with Poulet de Bresse while taking in the view from a grande villa in the Rhone-Alps, but it will be just as fantastic with a fat juicy burger & veggies off the grill in your back yard (and if you happen to take my first recommendation, please take me with you.)

Santé! –Emily Crichton

p.s. Happy Birthday to my adorable niece Minnie who turns 1 year old today!! Whoo hoo!

Domaine de la Janasse Cotes du Rhone Villages

Tuesday, January 18, 2011 5:31 PM

It might surprise you to learn that I don’t do a lot of fancy wine drinking over the Holidays. Good wine, yes, but not necessarily expensive, cellared, prized possessions. At Christmas with the prime rib we drank Odisea Wine Company’s Tres Tintos, a blend of three Spanish varietals, Tempranillo, Garnacha, and Graciano. At $19.48, this 73 case production wine packs a big punch. A forward, extracted Californian red for sure, but if you’re not looking for subtlety, this one’s for you. For my Holiday pilgrimage to the beloved House of Prime Rib, I brought along a bottle of 2007 Lacuna. You really do get a lot of wine for the money here. The full-scaled fruit cut nicely through the rich meaty goodness of the prime rib. We blasted through our first couple of drops, but thankfully we loaded up the last go around so that those of you who wish to reorder will have the opportunity to do so. Once it is gone, the Lacuna will be tough to replace. For a New Year’s Eve soiree, my BFF made a rockin’ Moroccan beef stew, so I brought along the 2004 Cotes du Rhones Villages Terre d’Argile from Domaine Janasse. This was a perfect match. The spices in the stew mirrored the spices in the wine: cinnamon, cumin, and coriander. With a bit of time in bottle, the edges have smoothed out. It was an overwhelming favorite at the party, where there were a few first-time French wine drinkers. I could see the light bulbs turning on above their heads. A recent purchase, the 2004 Cotes du Rhones Villages Terre d’Argile was offered to us at an enticing end of vintage price. At releasethis had the “suggested retail price” of $30, we are offering it at $15.99 per bottle ($13.59 by the case)!!! Not a bad way to start the new year off! The only downside here is that stock is limited to stock on hand and at present there are only about 12 cases left. The Janasse Cote du Rhone happens to be a component of this month’s Dirty Dozen…just another way to check it out.

There are lots of good things happening at TWH, including the recent arrival of a container of wine from Italy! Va bene! We will be writing about them in the coming weeks, but from what I’ve gotten to taste thus far, I can honestly say that there are going to be some stellar wines. We’ve gotDavid back in France scouring the countryside for more discoveries,as well as visiting many of our favorite producers, like Fondreche andChateau d’Or et des Gueules, to check out what is coming down the road, or should I say, across the water. So far in his reports back to us, David is echoing Peter’s experience with the 2009 Bordeaux and what we learned with the cru Beaujolais, that 2009 is a terrific vintage, offering stunning wines in all price ranges and styles. The fruits of David’s labor in France now should hopefully come our way by late spring/early summer. —Anya Balistreri

2007 Cotes du Rhone: Gigondas in Disguise

Monday, January 18, 2010 2:50 PM

2007 Cotes du Rhone: Gigondas in Disguise

2007 Domaine Santa Duc Cotes du Rhone Vieilles Vignes

2007 Domaine Santa Duc Cotes du Rhone Vieilles Vignes

Red Wine; Rhone Blend; Rhone;
  Add to Cart
$14.02 per bottle with case discount. Website will NOT reflect discounted price, but we will apply it when we process your order.
Be a fan on Facebook and follow us on Twitter!



I’m such a “bottle half full” guy that every January I am awash in optimism. This year is no exception. We are soon to be visited by a plethora of favorite musical acts, my Betterment Campaign is still going strong, and I am confident that in spite of my current state of blockage, I will bust out some quality lyrics for the growing list of songs I have written recently. If that’s not enough, how ’bout some new wines to taste?Oh yes, David’s in France on his annual tasting trip, and we are all anxiously awaiting to hear of his discoveries. Ah, but before we march further into the year, let me tell you about a wine that surreptitiously popped in last month.


We’ve always been big fans of the wines from Domaine Santa Duc, in factI’ve written about them before. To me, winemaker Yves Gras makes some of the most complex and interesting wines in the southern Rhone. They are spicy and intense, yet elegant enough to allow for all the complexities to parade around your palate. If you’ve heard or read anything about 2007 in the Rhone Valley, you wouldn’t be surprised to hear that we received several phone calls from many a customer asking to buy the 2007 Santa Duc’s on pre-arrival. We still have a tiny bit of Gras’ 2007 Gigondas and Gigondas “Prestige des Hautes Garrigues”, but in a vintage like 2007, one doesn’t necessarily need to pony over that kind of dough to get something special. I recently overheard David chatting with a long-time customer about the vintage, and though he agrees it is a spectacular one for the upper crust wines, it is truly a, his words, “Cotes du Rhone vintage”. If you think about it, it makes a ton of sense. Ideal weather and old vines. Hmmm, that rings a bell. The 2007 Domaine Santa Duc Cotes du Rhone “Vieilles Vignes” could very well be one of those upper crust wines in disguise! Crafted with 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, and 5% Mourvedre, it is technically a Cotes du Rhone Villages wine as the grapes come from the best designated villages of the appellation (Rasteau, Vacqueyras, Seguret, and Rouaix). It shows plenty of muscle, amazing fruit, it speaks of a place, and has that quintessential Santa Duc cracked pepper thing. Sure the Chateauneufs and Gigondas received tons of praise, and rightfully so; but if you like red Rhone wines, you owe it to yourself to have a stash of 2007 Cotes du Rhones! I can easily see this wine lasting 5-10 years if cellared properly.


So, having some 2007 Cotes du Rhone tucked away in the cellar is just another reason to look forward to the new year ahead. Another great thing that is happening, thanks to many of you, is the ramping up of our web presence. For over two years now, we’ve been blogging. Well sort of. Our blog site has been merely an archive for many of the emails we send out. Not any more. Our new kid on the block, Emily Crichton has already posted two blog-only entries, has threatened to post more, and has inspired me to follow suit. So, so much to look forward to. – Peter Zavialoff


Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about 2007 Rhone wines, renewed optimism, ideas for song lyrics, our blog, or the thrashing of Sunderland: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

Domaine Fondreche–2007 Fayard

Tuesday, June 9, 2009 4:56 PM

The things that stick in your mind…

I was driving home, listening to the radio, when the person being interviewed mentioned that sales for Harlequin Romance novels have seen a sharp increase in 2009. As forms of communication and media rapidly change, it makes sense to me that more of us would want to fall back on simple pleasures like an easy read… or a delicious bottle of red! With this in mind, allow me to recommend a red that made me swoon – the 2007 Cotes du Ventoux Fayard from Domaine de Fondreche. As I sit here in front of the computer screen, I can imagine everything about the wine perfectly; the taste memory is vivid and it lingers. A hedonistic fruit missile of a wine, the Fayard drips with cherry red fruit and mouth-coating opulence.

There is a temptation to want to write every detail of my experience tasting this wine. The temptation is driven by my intense hope to convince you just how delicious this wine is and how disappointing it would be for anyone to miss tasting the 2007 Fayard. I’ve been known to choke, like the time when I was bowling with friends in Cleveland the night before my friend Jack’s wedding and all I had to do to win was to hit just one pin. Of course I threw a gutterball and my husband, then boyfriend, threw a strike to win (though I am pretty sure he was w-a-a-y over the line!). An admitted poor loser, I was devastated. I wanted it too badly. I am afraid I am running the risk of choking here again. How do I describe a wine I enjoyed immensely without falling into cliché? The trick is to go with it head on. So here it goes! The 2007 Fayard is a brand new cuvee from Sebastien Vincenti at Domaine Fondreche. The Cotes du Ventoux appellation is within the Rhone Valley and flanks Mount Ventoux. Sebastien Vincenti, who learned from Rhone master Andre Brunel, has taken this lesser known region and has exceeded expectations by reducing yields and creating pure, fruit driven wines. The Fayard is a blend of 50% grenache, 30% syrah, 10% carignan and 10% mourvedre. After vinification the wine sits on its lees in tank for 9 months before bottling. There are no hard edges; there are no hard tannins. Rounded, weighty fruit persists and tantalizes. The color is a mesmerizing shock of fuchsia. Flavors of sweet tangy Bing cherries and fragrant raspberries dominate. Beware: this wine goes down real easy! In the movie “Big” circa 1988, Tom Hanks plays a boy who wakes up one day to finds himself a grown man. In the film, his co-worker and lady-friend (she doesn’t know of his transformation and has grown-up feelings for him) invites herself to his place for a sleep-over. As he is about to open the door, he announces to her – “I get to be on top!” This line kept popping into my head as I drank this wine. Anya Balistreri
2007 Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Fayard

Red Wine; Rhone Blend; Rhone;
  Add to Cart


“Like most of its siblings, the 2007 Cotes du Ventoux Fayard (a blend of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Carignan) includes the smallest amount possible of SO2. Classic raspberry, kirsch, licorice, underbrush, and spice box characteristics emerge from this rich, medium to full-bodied, fresh wine. It finishes with considerable power as well as length. Enjoy this impressive Cotes du Ventoux over the next 3-4 years.” 91 points, Wine Advocate #181, Feb. 2009

I’ll Take Terroir for $13.17, Alex

Monday, February 2, 2009 4:07 PM


  Add to Cart
Many of we self-described “terroirists” in the wine world thrill to recognize certain aromas, flavors or textures as expressions of one specific site and microclimate. This can be contentious. Can we really taste place? When the rockiness, pepper and garrigue seem to transport us to Chateauneuf du Pape, the tart apple, peach and slate of Graacher Himmelreich lead us to believe we’re slurping up the slate-rich soil of the site, the dark brambly fruits of Dry Creek Zinfandel cause us to gaze in our minds over the centennarian vines of the Lytton Springs Vineyard, what does it mean? Is it all in our heads? Maybe. After all, I have no doubt of the existence of various vinous neuroses. For instance, I am so sensitive to and fearful of cork taint that I think I might “psych” myself into thinking a wine is corked when maybe it’s not. But you’re not my shrink, so I’ll get back to the point, whatever it is. Seriously though, I do believe in wine’s ability to specifically evoke place in a manner that no other agricultural product can, and I simply can’t believe it’s coincidental that wines grown and vinified with utmost care and respect for their place can consistently and transparently express in smell, taste and texture a specific site.


So, we have this guy Yves Gras. He’s one of the most talented young winemakers in Gigondas. He owns one of the finest high-elevation vineyards in all of Gigondas, Les Hautes Garrigues, and one dare say his Gigondas Prestige des Hautes Garrigues demonstrates an immediately recognizable terroir as it positively reeks of garrigue, and the well-drained, perilously rocky soil of the site gives the texture a deep and unmistakable mineral backbone. There is no doubt that Monsieur Gras is deeply committed to letting this terroir speak.

But, then he goes and makes this Cotes du Rhone bottling “Les Quatre Terres” (The Four Lands). Yep, you guessed it, so called because it combines fruit from four different areas of the Southern Rhone! Seems like the antithesis of terroir expression, right? How will this jingle-jangle of fruit from Vacqueyras, Roaix, Seguret and Rasteau possibly speak with a clear, unified voice? Well, somehow, it does so admirably, and this highlights Gras’ crack skills as winemaker and blender, a bonus to his commitment and care in tending his vines.

I think what Gras does here, obviously rather than capture a specific site in aroma and flavor, is to create a colorful composite of the overall spirit of Southern Rhone wines – generous ripe fruit, that certain peppery je ne sais quoi, wild herbs baking in the sun, a certain heady generosity, and a pleasant rusticity appropriate to the region’s hearty cuisine (it certainly did the trick with some simply grilled lamb chops laced with rosemary last night). It also gives a clear representation of how the region’s primary grapes – Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault alchemically combine to captivate many of us wine drinkers and keep us coming back for more. Now that our whacked out January summer has appeared to have come to an end, the palpable warm Rhone sunlight will warm your belly and soul to create a warm smile of satisfaction. And that it’s a steal at only $15.49 per bottle (that’s $13.17 by the case, folks!), you will have all the more reason to smile. – Patrick Mitten

2007 Unstoppable

Thursday, July 10, 2008 2:22 PM

2007 Andre Brunel Domaine Becassonne Cotes du Rhone Blanc

White Wine; Rhone Blend; Rhone;

  Add to Cart
$13.59 per bottle with case discount.


This wine is unstoppable. I was writing about it for the snail mail newsletter, and that phrase ran from my brain, to my fingers, to the screen in front of me. At first I balked, wondering if it was too much of a World Wrestling Federation sort of statement, but I decided I like it. Especially because I think it works, and not only is it describing white wine, but it costs$13.59 per bottle with the case discount. No, this is not a $300, big points, status symbol cabernet, it’s an everybody-pleasing Rhone white that is completely affordable. And it just happens to be unstoppable.

To be more specific: the vineyard is unstoppable. It’s no secret that I am a big fan of the winemaker, Andre Brunel, but I think the best thing he does to this wine is he lets it be exactly what the vines produce. It is not a winery-made wine, it is a vineyard-made wine. One sign of a great vineyard is quality across vintages. Good wine every year. I see this very clearly with the Becassonne vineyard: this wine impresses pretty much everyone every vintage. I served the 2006 at my wedding, I recommended it whenever I could, and many a customer was sad to find it sold out. There are enough wines out there that I could avoid writing about new vintages of wines I’ve already featured, but I would be ignoring high quality/high value wine in this case, and that doesn’t make a lot of sense. So here I am with the 2007, because this vineyard just keeps going, producing great wine every vintage. Brunel knows it, and unlike his other Rhones in this range, he pays homage to the site-place and bottles it under its name: Becassonne.

We don’t usually talk vineyard specifics with wines in this price range. That’s because many are blended from multiple sites. Vineyard designates are reserved for more expensive wines from famous names like Chambertin and To Kalon. Here, we have Brunel’s limestone vineyard planted primarily to Roussanne with some Granache Blanc and Clairette. The result rivals many of the whites made in Chateauneuf du Pape, but since it doesn’t have the C-d-P words on the label, it’s no where near as expensive. If I were the owner of the Becassonne vineyard, I would take pleasure in the fact I could produce such outstanding wines and share them with everyone, not just an affluent few. Also, I would be happy that I didn’t have to include in my budget the salary for a Luxury Lifestyle Director. I’m pretty sure those people are expensive, and I guess if you want to charge $100 for Napa Cabernet, it is industry standard to employ someone with experience in pairing wine with sports cars and private helicopters. Lucky for you Andre. You don’t have to worry about that. You’ve got a great vineyard producing great wine at a great price, and you get to sit back and watch it fly out the cellar door.

This is wonderfully classy white Rhone wine. A perfect companion to summer evenings and their meals. The Roussanne frames the limestone minerality with just the right amount of succulent fruit. I don’t know if Andre Brunel knew what he was creating when he planted this vineyard in 1978 (I suspect he had an inkling, he’s a smart guy), but 30 years later: this little point on the planet named ‘Becassone’, you can’t stop it. No reason to even try. – Ben Jordan


2007 Andre Brunel Domaine Becassonne Cotes du Rhone Blanc

White Wine; Rhone Blend; Rhone;

  Add to Cart
$13.59 per bottle with case discount.
A Full Case of the 2007 Becassone for $13.59 per bottle. Save $28!

  Add to Cart


Tasting Notes

I mentioned minerality earlier, and this has it. Not the sulphur-driven stuff you find in some Sancerre and other high acid screechers, but a more subtle, round, limestone minerality like we find in the Meursaults and the Chassagne and Puligny Montrachets. There is also a fresh-ripened stone fruit component to it that is lively, refreshing, and clean. ‘Class’ is the operative word here, as the wine is very comfortable in its harmony. If anyone is looking for a poster child for Roussanne based blends, this is both representative and impressive.

This wine’s importer describes it as “….more like baby Chateauneuf du Pape than Cotes du Rhone Villages.” We’ve all heard it before. “Baby this,” “mini that” to describe overachieving wines that transcend the perceived quality of their appellations. Heck, it’s a line I use all the time to describe such wines. But I’m growing weary of it, not just because I sound like a broken record, but I more and more feel that the “baby this,” “mini that” phenomenon might denigrate the wines in question rather than raise their status as they end up standing in the shadow of their “big brothers”.

I really don’t want to describe this wine as “baby Chateauneuf,” and while it is made by the brothers Gonnet of esteemed Font de Michelle in Chateauneuf du Pape, the wine hails from just south of Tavel on the other side of the Rhone. Phew. Not all that close to Chateauneuf. However, there is so much in this wine that reminds me of Chateauneuf that I’m left scratching my head as to how to characterize it, with all the stoniness, garrigue, mineral character and warm, Grenache and Syrah infused fruit.

I should admit that I have a complicated relationship with Chateauneuf du Pape. (Don’t worry, I found a good wine therapist, and things are getting better). Chateauneuf played a significant role in my falling in love with wine in the first place (when an overly generous friend cracked a bottle of ’85 Pegau), but I can never figure out when to drink it and always manage to drink it in its tough, tannic youth, or after the freshness of its fruit has faded. And then there’s the fact that you have to shell out fifty bucks these days to get the rush. Or not.

However, I have found a cure with this non-Chateauneuf. (Although, of course, I don’t want to discourage you from from buying Chateauneuf-du-Pape!) But, when you need your fix of black pepper, kirsch, pungent herbs and intense black licorice without big tannins and need of a fifty dollar bill, don’t hesitate to turn to La Font du Vent Cotes du Rhone Notre Passion. At $14.02 a bottle by the case, I’ll be stocking up over the summer as its spicy, warm, but not heavyweight personality lends itself perfectly to any grilled foods enjoyed outdoors with friends. Having your own “I want Chateauneuf du Pape, but …” problem? Here’s your relief. – Patrick Mitten


2005 Domaine Font de Michelle Cotes du Rhone La Font du Vent Notre Passion

Red Wine; Rhone Blend; Rhone;

  Add to Cart
$14.02 per bottle with case discount.
Buy 12 Bottles of this wine for $14.02 per bottle with the case discount.

  Add to Cart
This price includes our 15% Case Discount for the full case. If you are ordering a mixed case, all discounts will be applied after you place your order, but before we process your credit card.



Tasting Notes

An array of red fruits leaps from the glass, intensely perfumed with wild herbs, pepper, fennel, and a hint of balsa wood. Warm and caressing in the mouth, with sappy, yet bright fruit character, it is persistent, and the long finish echoes the pungent herbal character on a vigorous texture.

19 Item(s)