Whew! Who knew? Put someBurgundy on sale, and things get hopping! Or as one customer who came in today said,“Burgundy sales are the only way mere mortals can buy and enjoy the stuff.” True, true. When we introduced this little surprise sale, we did mention that it wasmore than just Burgundy, and many of you found some other goodies by clicking around our website. On the heels of my recent blurb about affordable reds,I just kicked the proverbial rock and uncovered another beauty, andIT’S ON SALE for $9.95 per bottle: the 2011 Domaine Fondrèche Fayard!

 

 
 
On the heels indeed, of my recent write-up and Anya’s recent post about the 2013 Ventoux Rouge. I hesitated for a moment to put fingers to keyboard about this wine thinking it too similar to these two recent posts, but no, it’s a different wine; for sure. This baby has been gettingsome nice beauty rest and is in a fine place to treat our taste buds this summer! When I first approached the bottle to pour myself a taste, I brought some expectations. As Anya mentioned about the 2013, it needed air. We havealways enjoyed Sébastien Vincenti’s wines over the years, but we know that his wines tend to be in need of oxygen when they’re young. That’s just how he rolls; wedecant the wines, and they’re great. I remembertasting the 2011 Fayard when it was young. It was dense and jammy; the fruit was in the forefront and it was a challenge to perceive the overall framework of the wine because of it. Time has been kind to this wine.With those expectations in the back of my mind, I looked; I swirled. I reached for the light switch as I wanted to closely examine the color – it had changed. It’s not bricking or anything, but it has grown deeper in the maroon department and away from the magenta/purple hue it shined in its youth. A positive sign of a little age. I sniffed. Whoa. Tar, earth, there’s fruit, but it’s more mature, less jammy and more in line with the complex notes that one perceives now that it’s not so fruit forward. On the palate, it has a medium bodied mouth feel. It’sbright, the acidity is very much alive, and the fruit is smoky leading me to check the percentage of Syrah in the blend: 30%. It’s half Grenache, 30% Syrah, and the rest equal parts Carignan and Mourvèdre. Did I mention it was 10 bucks? If I sat down in a nice restaurant and they poured me a glass of this wine for 10 bucks I would be doing backflips, not to mention I would return again and again for more. I know that I grabbed a case of that 2010 Tradicional to keep my new apartment stocked with an underpriced delicious red, but I’ve got to have a case of this too! If you like southern Rhône Valley reds with smoky, Syrah character and a little bit of bottle bouquet, don’t walk, run to this one.
 
 
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, we had a busy week. In the timing department, along with the sale, the week was marked by the release of the 2015 prices for some of Bordeaux’s marquis names. David has been staying up in the middle of the night as these prices are released, making sure that our allocations are confirmed. I’ve been trying my best to get all of these purchases into our system and website, and you will soon see more offers for 2015 Bordeaux futures. This week promises to be chock full of even more releases as the campaign is soon to reach its pinnacle. So please keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, this latest little sale of ours continues, and hits like the 2011 Fondrèche Ventoux Fayard keep coming. Talk about pleasant surprises!– Peter Zavialoff
 
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about 2015 Bordeaux futures, our sale, the 2011 Fayard, or the state of English Football: peter@wineSF.com
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2012 Domaine Fondrèche Ventoux Cuvée Persia

 
Well, that’s a little more like it. Our typical summer in SF weather is back, just in time to shroud The Outside Lands concerts with nature’s air conditioning, known around here as Karl The Fog. Despite the atypical weather patterns that we have been enduring this year, the summer fog is something we can depend on! Not all is lost. If one prefers sunshine and warmer weather, just head north, east, or south some 10 miles or more, and you’ll find some. In keeping things cool, the fog does enable us to add a category to our wine drinking options: Red wine. It’s good to have options, and after being tantalized by a photo posted today by Olivier’s Butchery, I opt to indulge in their grill-ready hanger steak. Hmmm. What to drink with it? I recently had a fine tasting experience with the dregs of a bottle of 2012 Domaine Fondrèche Ventoux Cuvée Persia that went out on sales calls for a day. It’s time to call one of my food & wine pals and pop a bottle!
 
 

Domaine Fondrèche is not a newcomer, nor a stranger to me. I have enjoyed many of winemaker Sébastien Vincenti’s wines over the years, their reflections of place and their purity of fruit have had a place at my table since my beginnings here at TWH. To me,Sébastien’s Cuvée Persia has always been a big, big fancy wine that needed something substantial on the plate to stand up to it. So after a long day here at the shop, out popped 7 or so sample bottles that were poured for wholesale accounts, and Tom, Chris, and I headed for the tasting room to see how they were showing. There were Rosés, a bottle of white, and 3 different 2012 cuvées of Fondrèche. I knew going in that, of the reds, I wanted to taste the Cuvée Persia last. That’s what experience will do for you. Short of appetizers, let alone a well seasoned, grilled hanger steak, I was preparing myself for another big, youthful vintage of the Persia. I was in for a surprise. I found the sample rather giving and expressive. It’s still a big wine, and yes, the grilled hanger steak will help, but it was beaming with complexity! So much so, that despite the weather on that particular evening, I was going to drink red. It’s not in the Tuesday night wine price category, but if you consider what the well-known fancy producers around the Rhône Valley get for their wines, there is tremendous value here.

Here is what The Wine Advocate’s Jeb Dunnuck had to say about the 2012 Cuvée Persia: The 2012 Ventoux Persia is Syrah dominated, yet incorporates 10% Mourvèdre. It’s aged half in small barrels and the balance in a mix of concrete and foudre. Silky, fabulously polished and full-bodied, it gives up lots of cassis, black raspberry, roasted meats and graphite. While it’s upfront and supple, it will evolve gracefully on its purity and balance. 91 points”

 
Having lived in the SF Bay Area all my life, I have always appreciated the summer fog, for if things get too warm (I begin to melt at around 73F), I can always head back into the thick of it for a little relief. And hey, if it gets me grilling and popping amazing red wine, all the better! – Peter Zavialoff
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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!

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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.

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2013 Domaine de Fondreche l’Instant Rose

Friday, July 18, 2014 8:20 PM

Here in the northern hemisphere, it’s summer.  Sure, it means many different things to many different people, but that’s just like everything else. We all entertain ourselves in different ways, we all eat different types of food, and as far as wine goes, there’s something out there for everyone. One thing’s for sure, the summer weather causes a great many of our customers to reach for Rosé. Why not? We love Rosé all year round, though in the summer months it becomes particularly apropos. With so many styles and choices out there, there is indeed, something for everyone. When asking about Rosé, many customers look for a wine that is “pale,” “bone dry,” “crisp,” “fresh,” and “lip-smacking.” If those descriptors resonate with you, then you may want to give the 2013 Domaine Fondrèche l’Instant Ventoux Rosé a taste.
 

 

We have never sent an email offer on ANY Fondrèche l’Instant Rosé in the past. Its color sells itself. Though we have other wines in a similar style, the Fondrèche Rosé is almost always our lightest colored Rosé each vintage. That seems to click with a lot of our customers, especially those who buy in bulk! It doesn’t stay in stock very long. Back in the winter time, we crunched some numbers and decided to ask them to up our allocation because of this. It always goes to show, you never get what you don’t ask for. So we asked, they said yes, and now we can make some noise about it.

 

Domaine de Fondrèche is one of the most well-known domaines in Ventoux, probably because winemaker Sébastien Vincenti has vines growing in the best sites of the appellation. His farming is certified organic, and he has been employing bio-dynamic practices in his vineyards for several vintages. For his 2013 l’Instant Rosé, Sébastien blends 50% Cinsault with 30% Syrah and 20% Grenache giving the wine that Provençal look and flavor.  Coming in at 12% alcohol, pouring that second glass on a warm evening is no problem either!
 

 

The Wine Advocate’s Jeb Dunnuck listed Vincenti’s 2013 l’Instant among the finest Rosé wines of the year. Here’s what he had to say, “Beautifully pure, with notions of citrus blossom, peach and strawberry, the 2013 Ventoux L’Instant Rose is focused and crisp on the palate in a lean, tight and refreshing style. Drink it over the coming summer months – 90 points.”

We agree! For those of us who enjoy a sleek, mineral-driven, lip-smacking Rosé, the 2013 Domaine de Fondrèche l’Instant delivers big time!!! Oh, check it – this baby comes in magnum too! Talk about a party in bottle! – Peter Zavialoff

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2009 Persia from Fondreche

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 6:49 PM

 

At Domaine Fondreche, winemaker Sebastien Vicenti makes an opulent, opaque purple, mostly Syrah cuvee called Persia. It’s audacious and downright concentrated, smashing conventional wisdom for what is thought possible to be produced in the Ventoux, an appellation that flanks and gets its name from Mount Ventoux. In the shadow of the mountain, particularly areas south and west, temperatures tend to be cooler than other parts of the Southern Rhone. Sebastien Vicenti exploits this cooler climate to his advantage, making deeply concentrated wines that retain nerve and tension in the finish. Sebastien makes another cuvee called Nadal that is Grenache-based, which I have tended to favor(and have raved about before) up until this past Tuesday when I had my first taste of the 2009 Persia. Now that is what I call powerful juice! It has notes of oak, from its year in a combination of small barrel and large cask, that is in complete balance with the power of the Syrah fruit. Lots of spice and tangy black berry fruits dominate the flavor spectrum. I may not want to pop the cork on this one during the heat of summer, but now that there is a chill in the air, the 2009 Persia is just the kind of bone-warming, soul-stirring red I want to linger over in front of a warm hearth.

Sebastien has long ago embraced Biodynamics and organic farming; he is part of a wellspring of winemakers who firmly believe in the health and vitality of the soil. I’ve been privileged to follow Sebastien’s evolution as a winemaker over the past 15 years. It’s clear to me that now, even with his “level-entry” cuvee Fayard,his wines have elevated to a category that rivals the most famous and prestigious Rhone appellations. And though his wines can be delicious young, the potential for aging is there, especially so for the Persia.

 



It didn’t take me long to figure out that a newWine Advocate review of Rhones had beenissued as the phone calls and emails poured in this week. Domaine Fondreche garnered a slew of big points, for the 2010 vintage that, except for the Fayard, won’t arrive until next year. So you’ll have to go back a year to see that Fondreche’s 2009 Persiareceived the same smoking 93 points as did their 2010.

I’ve got leg of lamb defrosting in my fridge that I plan making into plov (or pilaf) on Sunday. With any luck I might get in a bit of football but more than likely I’ll be taking a hike with the girl and the dog so that the husband can watch his dose of action without interruption. And furthermore, with any luck, I’ll have a glass of the 2009 Persia to match up with my steamy bowl of spiced rice and gamey lamb…this will more than make up for any loss of game watching, n’est pas?
Anya Balistreri

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