“You’re moving? Where to?” We’re hearing that more and more these days. Yep, it’s true. After nearly 14 years here on Carolina Street, we’re moving our headquarters to 829 26th Street, which is on the corner of 3rd and 26th Streets in the nearby Dogpatch neighborhood. We’re happy (and relieved) to still be in this part of town, and we look forward to welcoming you to our new location sometime around the end of March!


So, yeah. It is a very busy time here at TWH. Just like with any move, I’m looking around wondering, “How is this exactly possible?” This past week saw me working (and hopefully solving) my favorite puzzle, which is requesting all of my tasting appointments for the upcoming Bordeaux En Primeurs week. Fingers crossed for a confirmation. I still haven’t found the time to report back in regard to the UGC tasting of Bordeaux’s 2011’s, though last week, Anya wrote about my favorite wine tasted that day. My to-do list is looking more like an itemized receipt of a Dirty Dozen purchase, so I’ll be switching gears to full-on Bordeaux speed soon, but for tonight’s Sunday email, I’m sticking with Burgundy. White Burgundy.

It’s been a great crab season so far, and I feel so lucky to have sampled this local delicacy in many forms this winter. It’s great to be part of the team here at TWH, as David continues to sign up new Burgundy producers with new wines!


 When some of those wines pair so well with shellfish, it’s time to indulge! So yeah, new producers – new wines. A year and a half ago, we all flipped over our new Montagny producer, Michel-Andreotti. It seems we weren’t the only ones bowled over by their quality for price, as it sold out quicker than we could blink. It was such a great value that it cracked our Top Ten Wines list in its rookie season! We’re now into our third vintage of Michel-Andreotti Montagny “Les Guignottes” with the 2012, but I recently noticed a slightly different shaped label with the Michel-Andreotti name on it. This one says, 2012 Montagny 1er cru Les Coères. It looks like David has done it again. So this past week, on a day when we were all here, I asked him if we could taste it. Was I happy I did!

At the end of another busy day filled with the stress of the impending move, we all gathered around the tasting table with a bottle. The oohs and aahs full of praise for our first experience with the 2012 Les Coères could only have made David chuckle with pride as he knew he had another winner on his hands, and now his whole team was on board! My initial perception was lots of that fleshy white fruit Chardonnay exhibits, but with a penetrating mineral force, and a little spice which suggested new barrel. I asked David about the oak regimen and he said that of the tiny production (less than 250 cases), only one new barrel was used and that the rest of the juice was vinified in steel tank. So the spice I was picking up was something else. Tom was already well into his glass and praised the soft, delicate mouth feel pointing out that the spice I was picking up was that buttered popcorn aroma which is a product of the malolactic conversion. And he’s spot on here; as I took my first sip, the wine landed with a pleasant caress. Anya too remarked upon the gentleness of the palate, yet pointed out the complexity of peach and apple blossom that emerge because the wine is light and elegant. Let’s just say that Chris gave me a hard time when I took the unfinished sample bottle home. It was Premier Cru White Burgundy after all, one he enjoyed very much. David enjoyed his sample with a smile and a nod of approval. Then we checked the price, $24.99. Premier Cru white Burgundy for less than $25. Or $21.24 per bottle by the case, wow!!! This all led me to think, “Dang. We should have filmed this.” Maybe next time. Come to think of it, our new location will have a far more film-friendly staff tasting area … hmmm.

So there you have it. It’s what we do.  For over 36 years, our team here at The Wine House has been tasting copious amounts of samples, both here and abroad, selecting only the very best to offer to our customers. You can always count on that. No matter our location, first on Bryant Street, then Carolina Street, and coming soon to The Dogpatch. We keep the bar pretty high for a reason. That’s how one stays in business for 36 years. – Peter Zavialoff


Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Moving, 2011 Bordeaux, the upcoming Bordeaux trip, or today’s stroke of good fortune at the Bridge: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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The Wine House SF Top Ten Wines Of 2012

Wednesday, January 30, 2013 3:06 PM

Now that we’ve all settled into 2013, we have to say with excitement that this is going to be a great year! We are anxiously looking forward to all of the good things and the many great wines coming our way in 2013. But before we get too far into it, let’s have a look back as we reveal our Top Ten Wines of 2012!

The concept may sound simple … the top wines, right? Well, not so fast. We could tap into the multitude of reviews from wine writers and critics and fashion a list of highly rated, don’t drink until 2025, keep in a bank vault wines, butthat’s not how we roll here at TWH. In years past, our Top Ten lists are comprised of wines we all love. Wines that deliver. Wines that outshine their respective price points. Wines that provide pleasure, because really, isn’t that what wine is all about? We taste a whole lot of wine throughout the year, both here and abroad, and only bring in the ones we deem worthy to be on our shelves for you, our customers. Choosing a Top Ten out of all of the wines we’ve said yes to is a fun albeit difficult exercise. It’s fun because we get to relive our tasting experiences, remembering the meals, the ambiance, and the company that went along with each wine. Remember, some of the wines have sold out, but we list them here based on their merits … So without further ado, here is The Wine House San Francisco’s Top Ten wines of 2012!!!

Please use these links to view our Top Ten from last year, 2010, or 2009.

20NV Pascal Doquet Extra Brut Premier Crus Blancs de Blanc

With New Year’s memories slowly fading, let’s begin with some bubbles. TWH mainstay Pascal Doquet makes some of the best Grower Champagne that we’ve encountered. He sure has been garnering praise recently from the likes of James Molesworth of The Wine Spectator and The Wine Advocate’s Antonio Galloni. Why wouldn’t he? His artisanal Champagnes have been wowing our staff for over a decade! When this Extra Brut landed here in our shop this year, it instantly became a favorite of our staff and all customers who have tried it.Here’s what Mr. Galloni had to say about it, “Doquet’s NV Extra Brut Premier Crus Blanc de Blancs is pretty, soft and enveloping. Dried pears, spices, crushed flowers and almonds wrap around the palate in this expressive, layered Champagne. This is one of the more open Extra Brut Champagnes readers will come across, likely because of the high presence of 2005 juice and full malolactic fermentation. Technical details aside, the wine is flat out delicious. 91 points”
NV Pascal Doquet Premiers Crus Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs

Sparkling; Champagne Blend; Champagne;
  Add to Cart


19Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes

White Burgundy. Honestly, we don’t really have to say much more than that. It is special wine. Unfortunately, supply and demand do what they do, and a great amount of it is priced in the ‘special wine’ echelon. Well, David’s trips to Burgundy have paid off yet again, as we are now importing the Montagny “Les Guignottes” from Michel-Andreotti. From the slightly off-the-beaten-path appellation of Montagny in Côte Chalonnaise, “Les Guignottes” outperforms its price point by far and reminds us that there is good White Burgundy out there for a fair price. First came the 2010. It’s an understatement to say that it sold out quickly. Then along came the 2011, it sold out too, but we just re-loaded and it’s back in stock. Which one made our Top Ten of 2012? It’s a dead heat. They both belong!
2011 Domaine Michel-Andreotti Montagny Les Guignottes

White Wine; Chardonnay; Burgundy;
  Add to Cart


182011 Juicy Villages From Juicy Rebound

Now for some local representation. You’ve got to love old-vine Mourvèdre. It’s rare to find a blend from California that showcases the grape in the leading role. Winemaker and hockey fanatic Douglas Danielak took 120+ year old Mourvèdre from the Evanghelo Vineyard in Contra Costa where the vines look like “little trees” and blended it with Syrah and Grenache to create a mouth-filling berry bomb bestowing it with the catchy name, Juicy Villages. There’s plenty of grip and tang to give Juicy Villages a well-balanced flavor experience. A whopping 100 cases were produced of this unique and delicious Côtes du Rhône-esque red. All that for a price that’s more than fair on your pocketbook. Bravo!
2011 Juicy Rebound Juicy Villages California

Red Wine; Rhone Blend; Other California;
  Add to Cart


172009 Domaine Martin Bart Marsannay

2012 was the year of containers. It seemed all throughout the year, we were simultaneously in the process of consolidating one overseas, anticipating the arrival of the one already on the water, and unloading the container at our dock! That just means we found lots of goodies on our trips overseas. The 2009 vintage was a phenomenal one in France (more on that later), and we tasted a lot of great wines that now have “Imported by Wine House Limited” on their labels.So 2009 was great in Burgundy, especially for the red wines. So again, we’re sure the top names of the region produced formidable wines, but we like to kick tires and look under rocks to find value! David is on a roll bringing some amazing, new-for-us, high-quality producers to join TWH family! Another feather in his cap in 2012 were the wines from Domaine Bart in Marsannay. Their Les Champs Salomon was a home run of a Red Burgundy. It smelled fancy. It tasted fancy. Its price tag? Not so fancy. That all explains its sold out status. Welcome to TWH top 10, Domaine Bart!


16Ravan From Kabaj

We’ve got our eyes open for great wines from all corners of the wine world. Like Slovenia. Wines from Slovenia are catching favor with consumers and critics alike, popping up on restaurant wine lists and profiled in thoughtful wine publications. Just one whiff, just one taste was enough for us to throw caution to the wind and stack the Ravan from Kabaj high and proud. Were we concerned whether TWH customers would shy away from an unknown producer from an unfamiliar wine region? Not. The staff were all in for sure, but when a wine is this delightful, exotic and complex, we knew our adventurous clientele would embrace the Ravan from Kabaj just as passionately. The 2009 has sold out, but we find the 2010 a worthy successor!
2010 Kabaj Ravan White Wine Goriska Brda

White Wine; other white varietal; Slovenia;
  Add to Cart


152009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape – Tour de l’Isle

Imagine attending a traveling French wine trade show in Chicago in the middle of January … brrrrr! Seriously, at some point you have to ask yourself why? Well, part of our service to you all is to indeed kick tires, look under rocks, kiss some toads, and every now and then, we get lucky. Here goes your proof. Last January David braved the elements and flew into 6 degree Farenheit Chi-town. He met a lot of people and tasted a lot of wine. When he met the folks representing the Tour de l’Isle brand,he was gaga over their Châteauneuf-du-Pape! A sample bottle was shipped to the shop the following week, and now we all sing the praises of this rich, powerful (yet friendly), stone mineral driven, Grenachey Grenache! The 2009 was already in the US, courtesy of another importer. Well, we all love it so much that we made ’em an offer they couldn’t refuse. We bought their entire stock and are now the proud importer of their wines! Boo Yah!
2009 Tour de l’Isle Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Red Wine; Rhone Blend; Rhone;
  Add to Cart


142009 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the advantages, and pleasures, of being in business for over 35 years (!) is the long-standing relationships we’ve forged with both customers and vendors. One of David’s first discoveries working at The Wine House was the debut vintage of Spottswoode’s estate grown 1982 Cabernet Sauvignon.The Wine House has been proudly offering their Cabernet Sauvignon every vintage thereafter.The 2009 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon is a standout among a very long line of outstanding efforts; it has that unmistakable thread of Spottsberry fruit pushing through with the signature silky tannins wrapping around it. It is a true collectable California Cabernet and we are happy and proud to include this monumental effort among our Top Ten Wines of the year!
2009 Spottswoode Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Napa Valley

Red Wine; Cabernet Sauvignon; Napa;
  Add to Cart


132011 Gavi di Gavi

We’ve been directly importing the Ernesto Picollo line of Gavi wines for 5 vintages now, and though we have always felt they smash the quality for price ratio, their 2011 Gavi di Gavi Roveretohas that extra umph that propels it into 2012’s Top Ten! Anya swears that it is the fact that Picollo’s top cuvée Rughe wasn’t made this year, so that special older-vine fruit made its way into the Rovereto. Whatever it was, there’s no denying the quality of this wine. Crisp, mineral driven, and precise, you would swear that the bottle cost would be twice or even three times as much as it is! It is that special. It’s very likely THE best white wine deal in the house!
2011 Picollo Ernesto Gavi di Gavi Roverto

White Wine; other white varietal; Piedmont;
  Add to Cart


122001 La Rioja Alta Viña Ardanza Reserva Especial

Chances are if you’ve been in our shop in the latter part of 2012, and perhaps overheard a customer request for a “special wine” or a “gift wine”, you would have heard a member of TWH staff gush over the merits of the 2001 Reserva Especial Rioja Viña Ardanza by La Rioja Alta.Whew, that’s a mouthful; but so is the wine! This well known Rioja producer has only thought it appropriate to make this special bottling in two other vintages: 1964 and 1973! Space limitations will keep us from gushing too much over this in writing, but let’s just say that if it were twice the price, it would still be a bargain. With 11 years of age, it can be enjoyed anytime from now until your 3 year old graduates from college … and then some!
2001 La Rioja Alta Vina Ardanza Reserva Especial Rioja

Red Wine; Red Blend; Rioja;
  Add to Cart


11Bet you didn’t see this one coming. Of course it had to be a 2009 Bordeaux. I only wrote about this vintage and its wines umpteen times. But which one? Seriously, this was the toughest point of this exercise. But when you take everything into consideration, we’ve got to give the big tip of the cap to the 2009 Château Larrivaux, Haut-Médoc. I loved it out of barrel. Then, when the first 2009’s arrived in early 2012, it was on the first container. Chris and I grabbed a few of the new arrivals and taste tested them. His overwhelming favorite of the bunch was the Larrivaux. We opened another bottle the following week for Anya, Tom, and David to taste, and it was unanimous! Now that everyone was on board, we went back to the marketplace and loaded up. It is certainly not the only success story from the 2009 vintage, but that kind of quality for less than $25 resonates big time! Ignore at your own peril.
2009 Chateau Larrivaux Haut Medoc

Red Wine; Bordeaux Blend; Bordeaux;
  Add to Cart


So there you have it, our Top Ten Wines of 2012! We’ve already begun tasting new wines in the new year, and we’re taking good notes, so we’ll have plenty of candidates for this list this time next year! Wishing you all the best in 2013!Anya Balistreri & Peter Zavialoff

2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny “Les Guignottes”

Tuesday, September 18, 2012 6:50 PM


September has been an exciting month here at TWH! A jam-packed container from France (seriously jam-packed) landed recently, and it was loaded with some great wines. You will be hearing all about these wines in the coming weeks, as there are so many top quality bottlings to choose from. I mentioned one of mySuper Sleeper, Budget-Friendly Bordeaux Discoveries earlier this week; if you haven’t taken advantage of the great deal on 2009 Château Clauzet, you should sooner than later. I have it mind to unveil yet another S.S.B.F.B.D. next week, and it is every bit as good a deal as the Clauzet. Ah, but that’s next week. For tonight’s email, I’m resorting to plucking off the low hanging fruit once again. In the Clauzet write-up I mentioned that we received a new vintage of a White Burgundy that sold out in what seemed like a week this past spring. I don’t know how long we’ll have it in stock, but as of right now, the 2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes is available!


In January 2011, David was in Burgundy tasting with negociante Jeanne-Marie De Champs. As is always the case, he tastes the new vintage from the many producers that we here at TWH have been importing for years. But that’s just part of the job. Since we are direct importers, it’s important to keep an eye out for new producers too, as the deals to be found can be a boon to all involved … especially for you, the consumers! One wine that made him do a double-take last year was the 2010 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes. It wowed all of us and so many of you that it sold out in a week … actually it was three weeks, but it sure seemed like one. The 2011 version was just released and we put our order in earlybecause we know the demand for sub $20 White Burgundy is a force strong enough to separate a Grizzly Bear from a steak sandwich. Putting that order in early sure paid off, because it was on the new container too!


After the container’s arrival, we waited until the day when all of us were here in the shop to taste some of the new wines. The first wine on everybody’s list? The 2011 Montagny, of course. I popped a bottle in the cold box at around 3:30pm, figuring that it would have the proper chill right around closing time … when the spitting rule changes from mandatory to optional. Usually when a workday ends, someone takes the ball and runs the end of day reports, just to get a head start on the journey home. Not this day. Not with the 2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny on the tasting table. We were a sight to behold – a bunch of wine geeks silently swirling and taking in the aromatics of the new wine. Ding! Ding! Another winner! The aromas are fresh and clean, fleshy pear-like fruit, citrus blossoms, stony minerals, and a hint of spice. Then we all took a sip; the palate is crisp and lively, the acidity seamlessly holds hands with the luscious fruit. The harmony persists throughout a perfectly balanced finish. For the price it doesn’t get much better than this. A check of the spit buckets, and as expected, no need to dump them. A look around the tasting table? Nothing but smiles. So there you have it, the 2011 vintage is another winner for the Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottdes


As I was typing this, I overheard Anya proclaim, “Oh wow! It’s already the 15th! How’d that happen?” Tom then reminded us that we’ve got one week of summer left. Oh well, that’s how it goes. Footy season is back, and the Champions’ League starts back up on Tuesday (Wednesday for the reigning European Champions). We’ve got two Wilco shows coming up next weekend, and the odds are good that there will be post-season baseball in the Bay Area this October (touch wood). The change of season is coming, could crab season be far behind? Well, when it arrives, I don’t know about you, but I’m going to want to pour some White Burgundy along side it. Taking the aforementioned entertainment expenses into consideration, the 2011 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes is the ticket! Taking no chances, I’m stocking up now. – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about the new container, S.S.B.F.B.D.’s, White Burgundy, or the reigning European Champions: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

2010 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes

Tuesday, June 12, 2012 4:39 PM


I like Chardonnay.Chardonnay and I have been friends for a long time. It’s difficult for me to think about Chardonnay and not think about the weekend that I discovered wine. Hours before my wine epiphany occurred, I was rubbing elbows with some real movers and shakers at a pre-dinner party. What was everyone drinking? Well, it was a warm June evening in St. Helena, sowe were all sipping cool crisp Chardonnay.Something I rarely mention is that for my efforts that weekend, the late Lila Jaeger of Rutherford Hill Winery invited me into her cellar to choose “any 2 bottles you want”. Ah, missed opportunities!!! To be a respectful recipient, I chose a Rutherford Hill Merlot, but the other bottle may surprise you. Mayacamas Chardonnay. Yep, given the choice of anything in her cellar, I chose a California Chardonnay. There I’ve said it. You’ll never get me to confess as to who played at my first concert attended, but now you all know what my first 2 bottles of wine were. I have enjoyed Chardonnay ever since, but when I first tasted White Burgundy, I had another epiphany. 

Working here at TWH for a few summers has given me the opportunity to taste some great White Burgundies made by some of the best producers. I’ve said it before, and I’ll keep saying it because it goes for me too, but one of Anya’s great quotes is, “If I were rich enough, I would drink White Burgundy EVERY day!” It is truly special wine, and I always appreciate having some in my glass. Well, thanks to David’s scouting efforts, he’s uncovered yet another gem-of-a-wine for a crazy low price that says, “Imported by Wine House Limited” on the back label: The 2010 Montagny Les Guignottes by producer Michel-Andreotti! It is a truly ethereal wine with a ridiculously low price. White Burgundy for less than $20, folks? You’re going to need to act swiftly because only for a short time will it be in-stock here at TWH!


montagny label

is not one person’s name. The domaine has been in Arlette Michel’s family for 3 generations, and she and her husband, Phillipe Andreotti have been running the estate since 1993. They’re located in the Côte Chalonnaise village of Montagny, where a dollar goes much further than it would, say, in Chassagne-Montrachet. It just goes to show you that if you look hard enough, it is possible to find sensational quality for a great price! The 2010 Montagny les Guignottesshows fresh and expressive aromas of white flowers, citrus blossoms, stony minerals, and a kiss of vanilla spice which takes you to the palate which is high-toned, marked by fresh crisp acidity. The harmony persists throughout the perfectly balanced finish. We’ve got a serious home run on our hands here. Don’t walk, run.

My colleague Chris was quick to notice and point out that something has changed here. His words: “Have you noticed Pete’s reactions to anyone who asks him how he’s doing?” My reactions have been different. I’m in sports heaven. The Blues of Chelsea are now European Champions. So when someone asks me how I’m doing, I think of all the frustrating exits from this, my favorite competition, and how sweet it was to have finally seen them win it. What hasn’t changed is that we’re still working hard, tasting away, seeking out the best wines for you all to enjoy! Case in point, the 2010 Michel-Andreotti Montagny les Guignottes.Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Chardonnay, Bordeaux, or Champions’ League football: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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