2015 Bordeaux Update: The futures campaign has begun! At the time of this writing, pricing has come out for a small number of producers, and no doubt the next several weeks will be very busy with more chateaux offering their 2015’s to the marketplace. We are already active in the campaign and will continue to be, asmany of the wines merit a place in our bins and in your cellars! The first of our 2015 Bordeaux futures email offers will be hitting your inboxes soon.


 

 

Yes, 2015 Bordeaux. It seems like yesterday, but it’s now been 10 years since the now (and always) famous 2005 vintage was introduced to Bordeaux lovers. 2005 was hailed as a “perfect” vintage, as the weather conditions during the growing season were optimal for producers.Vintages like 2005 are great for those of us who love Bordeaux as everyone benefited from the conditions and made good wine. We always look out for lesser known producers in those types of vintages as the quality is there, but the high price isn’t. 2005 was dubbed the “vintage of the century,” and we continue to enjoy those petits chateaux bargains to this day!
 

 

 
What’s happened in Bordeaux in the decade since the “vintage of the century?” They got two more! Of course they did … 2009 and 2010 were both spectacular vintages with great wines from top to bottom. Each time that I have visited Bordeaux since these back to back successes, I have endured an exhaustive schedule with suppliers to taste as many “lesser” wines from 2009 and 2010 that I possibly could have. All of that hard work has paid off as we have been delighted to bring in the many petits chateaux wines that we have, and if the feedback we’ve received is any indication, our customers share this delight. It’s been slim pickin’s out there for the past couple of years as we are nowhere near alone in this philosophy and supplies have dwindled. Alas, sometimes we buy something, but for logistical reasons, it takes longer than expected to arrive. That’s what we have here. A recent container from France brought us one more superb 2010 Bordeaux at the $20 price point, the 2010 Château Tour St. Bonnet, Médoc.
 
 
The château is located in the commune of Saint Christoly in the Médoc, north of Saint-Estephe. Famed Bordeaux guru, David Peppercorn MW wrote, “The most important property in St. Christoly is La Tour St. Bonnet. The reputation of the wine is good, the style typical of the warm, fruity wines of St. Christoly.” About the 2010 Tour St. Bonnet, Robert Parker wrote, “A beautiful sleeper of the vintage, this is possibly the best wine I-ve ever tasted from this over-achieving estate near St.-Christoly-de-Medoc. A blend of 45% Merlot, 45% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petit Verdot. The 2010 exhibits classic cedar wood, tobacco leaf, creme de cassis, licorice and some balsam wood notes in a strong, medium to full-bodied, layered style with good opulence, purity and overall harmony. A real beauty, it should be drunk over the next 4-5 years. 90 points.” He also said of the 2010, “A well-known, perennial sleeper of the vintage, Tour St.-Bonnet’s wines are always well-made, under-valued and taste like a mini-version of the well-known Pauillac, Grand-Puy-Lacoste.” If you want some delectable, inexpensive 2010 Bordeaux to have around, you may want to move on this one sooner than later.
 
So yes, the 2015 Bordeaux futures campaign has begun and we are part of it. The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin released his overview of the vintage this past Friday, and though we have our own impressions of it, we applaud his integrity, hard work, and guidance. We will go on the record and say that the 2015 vintage in Bordeaux is the best vintage since 2010 … except when it isn’t. And there are exceptions. Keep a look out for those futures offerings coming soon! – Peter Zavialoff


 
The very first customer that walked in to the shop today strolled through our Bordeaux section and later commented, “Wow. I remember the days when Lynch Bages was less than $30, and now it’s over $100??!!” Sad, but true. Who doesn’t have a story like that about something, whether it pertains to a house, car, meal in a restaurant, or even a bus fare once paid? Sometimes prices go up, it happens. Not to fret; there’s plenty of sub $30 red Bordeaux out there to be enjoyed! That’s what we do. Sure, we buy most of Bordeaux’s fancy offerings in each vintage, but with our boots on the ground in the region, we suss out quality wines made by smaller, lesser known producers as well. While in Bordeaux early last month, I got the chance to revisit a wine that reassures me that there continue to be delicious bargains from the world’s wine capital. The 2010 Château Rollan de By is that wine.
 
 
I’ve gone on before about things I do while in Bordeauxduring the time of the En Primeurs tastings. The UGC tastings are crowded affairs, and anyone that knows me well knows that my M.O. in an environment such as this is tofocus and stick to the task at hand with maximum efficiency. In other words, do the job and get out.Despite their hectic nature, the UGC tastings only pour around 20% of the samples I taste over there. There are other sanctioned tastings and chateaux visits, but the majority of samples are tasted in a far calmer environment, at the offices and warehouses of negociants. It was in one of these warehouses that I got to taste the 2010 Rollan de By out of bottle for the first time. There is an ethereal aroma/flavor component that I associate with red Bordeaux after it spends some time in bottle. To my friends and colleagues I call it “that Bordeaux funk.” It is not funky nor unpleasant.It is the height of complexity, to a point where I lack the words to describe it further. I don’t know what it is, but I know it when I detect it. It is the reason I drink red Bordeaux. Wines that I have tasted in recent years that have it include 1985 Leoville Las Cases, 1995 Grand Mayne, 2002 Domaine de Chevalier, 2000 Château de Malleret, and 2007 Pape Clement. The 2010 Rollan de By has it in spades.
 
 
Château Rollan de By is located in the northern Médoc village of Bégadan. You may remember some earlier praise for a château in Bégadan. The 180 hectare property overlooks the Gironde estuary which protects it from extreme weather conditions. Their 2010 was made from 70% Merlot, and 10% each of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot. The château is run by Jean Guyot. No, this is not Will Durst. Guyot is the son of an antique dealer, which explains the artistic aesthetic of the château and property. A poignant piece of his collection is a cherub-like bronze statuette holding a bunch of grapes to its mouth. According to the chateau’s website,“It symbolizes the love of the grape. Before the love for wine. Wine is a work of art, and like all masterpieces, what counts is to drink it, as much as to talk about it.” That’s what I’m talking about; where’s my wine key?
 
This from The Wine Advocate: “Consistently better than its humble appellation, this excellent wine from proprietor Jean Guyon offers up plenty of black currant fruit intermixed with cedar wood, licorice and incense in a medium to full-bodied, surprisingly concentrated and expansive style that should drink nicely for a minimum of a decade or more.There’s no need for patience with this sleeper of the vintage, given the sweetness of its tannins, attractive glycerin and fruit levels. 90 points” – Robert Parker
 
And …
 
“The Rollan du [sic] By 2010 has a ripe raspberry coulis and wild strawberry nose with just a hint of candied orange peel. The palate is medium-bodied with crisp acidity. There is very fine tension here, great purity on the finish with a supple, focused finish with beautifully integrated oak. Excellent. Drink now-2018. 91 points” – Neal Martin
 
Wow, Will Durst. Back in the days when one could find Lynch Bages for less than $30, I found myself rubbing elbows with the comedian and his wife Debi from time to time. I used to hang out with the gang at The Punch Line comedy club because … I love comedy. I introduced them to the “Hi Bob” game, and that became our way of saying hello to each other for years after. Who’d of thunk he has a doppelgänger in the Médoc.
 
So there you have it, another rock-solid red Bordeaux for less than $30. An exercise I like to undertake when I have nice bottle of Bordeaux that sells for a modest price is to treat it special. That’s right, get the decanter, the good stemware, pair it with something good, and of course, share it! – Peter Zavialoff
 
Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about low priced/high quality Bordeaux, English Football, or our upcoming 2014 Bordeaux Futures campaign: peter@wineSF.com


The last time I chimed in on a Saturday night, I promised that I would tell you all about some of our new arrivals.But we all know that I can’t just do that. There’s got to be a story, right? You see I’ve been waiting, very patiently, for these three wines to arrive. I say very patiently because I tasted them last March on my annual trip to Bordeaux. When I returned home, I sat down with David and we discussed what I liked and what and how much of each we should buy. We didn’t feel these three particular petits châteaux wines were well-known enough to offer on pre-arrival, so I just sat here with my tasting experience and my notes and waited. And waited. They’re here now and our staff has tasted them all and everyone agrees, these three wines are screaming bargains! How do we find wines like this? Here’s how.

 
I usually arrive in Bordeaux on the Wednesday before the hectic En Primeurs week. I like doing this because:
a) I get adjusted to the time, cuisine, and language
b) I have more time to visit negociants and taste the wines at a leisurely pace
This works for the negociants as well, as they get to cross me off their lists before the madness begins the following Monday. I’ve settled into a pattern recently of making tasting appointments Thursday and Friday, morning and afternoon. These appointments are generally informal, I can take my time, taste what I want, and shoot the breeze with the staff. I just looked back at my notes, and I tasted 24 wines at this particular appointment. As we’ve mentioned in the past, we don’t always buy every wine we like, but prefer to focus on the best values. Here are a couple of (translated) examples of notes for wines we did NOT buy: “Broad depth of aromas, youthful palate, complexity, fruit punches thru.” Or, “Modern, fancy smelling, has expansive palate with a spicy finish.” They sound good enough, but the three I chose were a little more convincing.
 
negociantroom
 


2010 Chateau La Gorre Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2010
2010 Chateau La Gorre Medoc Cru Bourgeois

“Bright cherries, earth, herbs aromas, palate expressive, has great potential.”Squiggly line (a seldom used

indicator of a wine I really like.)

 

Reg. $16.98

buy 2010 Chateau La Gorre Medoc Cru Bourgeois 2010


2009 Chateau Devise d'Ardilley Haut-Medoc 2009
2009 Chateau Devise d’Ardilley Haut-Medoc

“Complex, ripe purple fruit aromatics, easy entry, palate dark, expansive, brooding in a good way, all firing on finish.”Squiggly line

 

Reg. $19.98

buy 2009 Chateau Devise d'Ardilley Haut-Medoc 2009

 

malleretnote2



2010 Chateau de Malleret Haut-Medoc 2010
2010 Chateau de Malleret Haut-Medoc

“Wide palette of aromas, complex, herbal, St. Julien-like fruit …” from here my note concludes because the rest of the experience is seared in my memory. If I were to continue writing, it would go something like this, “pleasantly commanding attention on the palate, vibrant fresh red fruit, forest floor, black tea, hint of incense, yet lively and bright with fine tannins, long finish, the hero of the tasting.” TWO squiggly lines (I can count those on one hand).

 

Reg. $19.98

buy 2010 Chateau de Malleret Haut-Medoc 2010
 

In addition to our praise for these wines, The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin has nice things to say about the three of them as well:

 

 

2010 Château La Gorre:
“The La Gorre has a very attractive bouquet with lively, vivacious black cherries, boysenberry and crushed stone that is well defined and opens nicely in the glass. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, supple tannins. The acidity is crisp and the finish tense, with hints of graphite on the finish. This is a well-crafted Cru Bourgeois. Drink now-2018. Tasted September 2012. 90 points”
 
2009 Château Devise d’Ardilley:
“Tasted at the Cru Bourgeois 2009 tasting in London. The Devise d’Ardilley was the winner of the Coup de Cru Bourgeois that I judged at Vinexpo in June. Here, it justifies that “coup”. It has a lovely, beautifully defined bouquet with pure dark berried fruits intertwined with marmalade and orange rind. Sheer class. The palate is beautifully balanced with superb acidity. Very vibrant, very composed with a sensual, caressing finish worthy of a Grand Cru Classe. Outstanding for its class. Tasted September 2011. 92 points”
 
2010 Château de Malleret:
“Tasted at the Crus Bourgeois 2010 tasting in London. There is plenty of ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit on the nose of the de Malleret, with touches of dark plum emerging with time. The palate is medium-bodied with firm, dense tannins. There is very good weight here with an appealing, tobacco infused, grainy finish that shows great persistency. Superb. Drink now-2018. Tasted September 2012. 90 points”
 

 

 

When this email hits your inboxes this evening, TWH crew will be celebrating at our annual After-Holiday Party! There were some very special bottles packed up this afternoon and sent over to the home of a very good friend of TWH where the party will be held. Some excellent food will be served and the wines are ready to sing!
 

 

 

We’ll all come back to Earth tomorrow morning; I’ll be waking up on my brother’s couch, hopefully near a remote control so I can watch the big match between Manchester City and Arsenal. Back to Earth, yes, but with a whole new wave of petits châteaux Bordeaux wines now in stock, we’ll be back to Earth in style! – Peter Zavialoff
 

 

 

If you have any questions or comments about Bordeaux, petits châteaux, or tomorrow’s footy match feel free to email me: peter@wineSF.com

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. 

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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!

More Great Bordeaux: 2009 Potensac

Wednesday, January 2, 2013 9:15 PM







































Holiday Hours: The Wine House will be open Monday, December 31 from 10AM until 4PM. We will be closed New Year’s Day and reopen on Wednesday, January 2, 2013 resuming our normal M-F hours, 10AM until 6PM.

 

Greetings! We hope you all are having a healthy and happy holiday season. Talk about time flying?!? It seems like just the other day I was rattling off some resolutions for 2012. I think I did okay with them in 2012; it was a year ofdelightful surprise, hometown pride, a whole lot of live music, and of course, some great wine. When you spend the majority of the year with something tasty and interesting in your glass, it’s tough to focus on just one wine. Case in point, last night I was lucky enough to have been poured the 2001 Viña Ardanza Rioja Reserva Especial, and in a word, it was sensational! But Anya told you all about that one already. For my last Sunday email of 2012, I’m going back to the (like shooting fish in a barrel) well, 2009 Bordeaux.

 

It’s a subject that I have written about often, but hey, with so many great wines, I believe that you cannot have enough 2009 Bordeaux in your cellar!Back in April 2010, I remember tasting the baby wines out of barrel, and I was blown away! Then began the waiting game. I tried to tell everyone that would listen that we all need to load up on 2009 no matter what. Well, I can understand the apprehension. Back in the day, I wouldn’t buy a case of wine without tasting a bottle first. Logical. So I felt like I was sitting on a big secret, only I was blabbing about it. But it was a different kind of secret, words are words, and wine tasting is wine tasting. One thing that I noticed early on was that the wines of the northern Médoc struck my particular fancy in 2009. Sure, Calon Segur, Montrose, and Cos d’Estournel, but also, Tour de By, Clauzet, Larrivaux, and Potensac. The 2009 versions of some of these smaller chateaux are head-turning values! Of the last 4 wines I mentioned, the only one I haven’t written up is the Potensac. Having tasted it out of barrel and out of bottle, I’m shocked I haven’t.

 

Administered by the Delon family of Léoville Las Cases fame, Château Potensac lies between St Yzans and St Germain d’Esteuil in the northern Médoc. It was at Léoville Las Cases where I tasted the 2009 Potensac out of barrel. My synopsis? I’m going to read my notes verbatim here: “Pure racy cassis fruit w licorice, wood spice wei (well integrated), forest floor / dark full body, intensely concentrated, focused and made to be laid down a little while / savory robe, velvety tannins, acid survives finish, wow.” Also in the left margin is that squiggly line which means “a standout”.Usually, my notes are somewhat cryptic, as the way they’re written is meaningful, but in this case, you can pretty much determine what I thought. Fast forward to a couple of weeks ago. There was a wine potluck at the home of my landlord, everyone was to bring a bottle. I brought a 2009 Potensac. I decanted it for 90 minutes, poured it back in the bottle and headed on up. What a showing! The aromatics were explosively expressive: Pencil shavings, brambly purple fruit, forest floor, and a hint of spice gave way to a concentrated, yet elegant mouthfeel. The wine was fresh and lively, the acidity propping up the fruit, earth, and spice. The finish was long and in perfect balance, the tannins had slightly more grip than I remember out of barrel suggesting a long happy life for the wine.Someday I’ll wake up and regret not buying more 2009 Bordeaux, and there won’t be any more on the market. That day will come, sadly, but as for today, I’m still socking away 2009’s for the cellar. The Potensac included. For the price, I just had to pick up a 6 pack.

Okay, 2013 here we come! I’m excited. The live music will continue, both as performer and spectator. Next gig is January 20. Champions’ League football is out for now, but how sweet it was! What I’m looking forward to most are thenew wines that are waiting to be tasted in the New Year. Onwards and upwards! Happy 2013 everyone!Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about 2009 Bordeaux, English Football, or live music: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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