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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2010 Quinta do Alqueve Tradicional

Monday, July 21, 2014 6:08 PM

Yup, there’s no denying that it’s summer.  All the signs are there. Many of my friends are either on vacation or are planning to take off soon. There’s a bottle of Rosé in my refrigerator door (because … you never know). We’ve just had quite a go at Anya’s annual apricot bounty, and are ready to follow that up with a visit to the farmers’ market tomorrow to kick off peach season! Heirloom tomatoes to follow shortly, though I’ve been already enjoying some dry-farmed Early Girls that my sister has generously provided via her trusted supplier. Yes, this is the time to hit that market as the sights, sounds, and smells are fantastic this time of year. I know that farmers’ markets are all about the fruits and vegetables, but each time I visit the Marin Sunday Farmers’ Market, I am strongly tempted by the Marin Sun Farms set-up. Oscar Wilde once said, “The only way to eliminate temptation is to yield to it.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up for me. Fresh produce and some prized grass-fed beef will have me reaching for something red by the time that steak leaves the grill pan. Okay, knowing that this is how tomorrow will go down, leaves me with the question, what to drink with tomorrow’s dinner? It’s going to be the 2010 Quinta do Alqueve Tradicional.

 

 

A friend of mind was recently in Portugal and had the pleasure of sharing several meals complete with wine pairings with the locals while there. She posted something about it on Facebook, I hit the like button, and she began texting me pictures of the wine labels she was enjoying. I told her that our Portuguese section was rather slim lately, but that we have a super red blend that’s long on complexity and very short on price, the 2010 Alqueve Tradicional. We’ve been big fans of this wine for a while, and why not?  For the price, its complexity is unrivaled. Seriously, I still don’t know how they do it! It’s a four grape blend: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo), Trincadeira and Periquita. That in itself gives the wine an abundance of complexity and 6 months time in small barrels lends additional complexity and texture to the wine. I would call it medium bodied with a fresh red and purple fruit profile. It’s a great food wine due to its vibrant acidity, but its mineral core combined with its freshness, not to mention price, will get it a headlining role on my table tomorrow night!

 

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer. Whether taking time off, heading out of town, or just hitting the farmers’ market for summer’s bounty, be sure to make some happy memories of the summer of 2014. Anya’s headed up to the river, baseball season is more than half over, the fog is hovering over the coast, and peaches are entering their peak month! Yep, it’s summer alright.  Looking for a red wine that drinks well in summer? Look no further than the 2010 Quinta do Alqueve Tradicional. – Peter Zavialoff

 

 

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Portuguese wines, Bordeaux, summer wines, or the upcoming season for English football: peter@wineSF.com

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June 2013 Dirty Dozen

Friday, June 7, 2013 6:23 PM

And just like that, we’re on to the month that begins the summer. You don’t need to be a dad, grad, or June bride to appreciate this month (but it doesn’t hurt if you are!), there’s plenty of fun stuff to do with the long days and the warmer weather. For your vinous needs, please allow us to help. The June Dirty Dozen is chock full of interesting, versatile wines all packed up for one low price. Viva la 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
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2009 Chardonnay, Pezzi King $17.98 net, $16.18 reorder
Kicking things off this month is a delectable Russian River Valley Chardonnay from the folks at Pezzi King. Sourcing fruit from two well regarded vineyards (Bacigalupi and Windsor Oaks) whose coastal influence makes for deep flavors of apricots and nectarines with proper balancing acidity. This is one to pop with your sushi or spicy tuna tartare.

2010 Fernão Pires, Quinta do Alqueve $11.49, $9.19 reorder
Fernão Pires is an ancient Mediterranean grape variety produced in the Ribatejo, approximately 40 miles north of Lisbon, Portugal. Proprietor Paulo Saturnino Cunha blends in 10% barrel fermented Arinto to give the wine depth and complexity. Think orchard fruit here. Apples, pears, peaches, and nectarines come to mind; serve it with a fresh mixed green salad.

2010 Roeoro Arneis, La Brenta d’Oro $13.98 net, $12.58 reorder
From Roeoro in Italy’s Piemonte region comes a bright, food friendly Arneis. Known by some as Barolo Bianco, the grape has had a huge resurgence since it received DOC status in 1989. It shows hints of herbs, pears, and almonds on the aromas; the palate is clean and refreshing with the pear-like fruit braced by zippy acidity. Pair it with a chicken sando.

NV Törley Gála Sec $11.98 net, $10.78 reorder
A nice, dry sparkler from … Hungary? Yes, it’s true! The folks at Törley blend Grüner Veltliner, Müller Thurgau, and Királyleányka, and the result is a dazzling, affordable bubbly that will make you say “yum.” Perfect at brunch!

2009 Vernaccia Tradizionale, Montenidoli $17.99, $14.39 reorder
Nurse of the vines, Elisabetta Fagiuoli’s vineyards lie on the hillsides above the medieval village of San Gimignano in Tuscany. These vineyards are actually ancient seabeds, and it is common to find seashells among the soil. This lends a particular degree of saline mineral to the finished wine. Extended skin contact gives the wine strength and complexity.

2012 Rosé Ventoux, Domaine Fondreche $13.99, $11.19 reorder
When a customer walks in looking for “your driest Rosé”, this is undoubtedly where we’ll point them. Made from 50% Cinsault, with the balance of Syrah and Grenache, the Fondreche Rosé is bright, dry, and crisp. It truly has the personality of a Provençal Rosé at a fraction of the price. Great on a sunny day at the beach, or next to fresh salmon.

2011 Tempranillo, El Cortijillo $9.98 net, $8.98 reorder
We just love Tempranillo, especially when it comes from Spain. It consistently delivers complexity in a medium bodied frame, and in this case, the price is right. Seriously, we don’t know how they can make this for such a low price, but we’re asking no questions. Tempranillo is versatile and can be paired with a multitude of dishes. A great wine for tapas.

2007 Bacco In Toscana, Guado al Melo $14.98 net, $13.48 reorder
Made from 80% Sangiovese from Tuscany, the Bacco delivers a one-two punch of fruit flavors and freshness. It’s blended with Syrah which gives it a spicy, smoky quality. This will shine when paired alongside most marinated meats.

2010 Touraine les Demoiselles, Domaine des Corbillières $14.99, $11.99 reorder
What if you were to combine the expressive aromas of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc with the elegant mouth feel of Pinot Noir and prop it up with the backbone of Côt (Malbec)? That’s what we have here. We’re happy and proud to have been working with Veronique and Dominique Barbou for close to 20 years now, as their wines are a big hit with staff and customers alike. The quality you get for the price you pay here is in your favor big time. Great with grilled sausage.

2010 Galatina Rosso, Valle dell’Asso $12.98 net, $11.68 reorder
In the Italian region of Puglia (in the southeast), Negroamaro and Primitivo thrive, and our friends at Valle dell’Asso blend them (70% of the former, 30% the latter) to craft this lively, spicy juice. It has a smoky profile with hints of cigar box, leather, and allspice on the nose. The palate is medium and complex. It’s a great wine to pair with spicy red sauces.

2010 Merlot, Domaine Saint Antoine $10.99, $8.79 reorder
Domaine Saint Antoine’s Jean-Louis Emmanuel toils over 20 hectares of vineyard among the stony limestone soils of the Costières de Nîmes. He de-stems his fruit and vinifies his Merlot in stainless steel tanks, giving the wine freshness and purity. Now sporting a screwcap, this is an ideal picnic wine, as it will shine when paired with a roast beef sandwich.

2009 Côtes du Rhône Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Santa Duc $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Yves Gras blends Rhône stalwarts Grenache and Syrah with a little old-vine Mourvèdre and the result is splendid. It has dark brooding fruit, an earthy mineral core, the quintessential Santa Duc black pepper thing, and a complex, balanced finish. It’s a great all-purpose red, it goes with barbecue, or roasted pork loin, or a pizza with the works.

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August 2012 Dirty Dozen

Thursday, August 9, 2012 11:30 PM

How fortunate that summer gives us not 1, but 2 months with 31 days in them. Let’s revel in that! That leaves plenty of time for more picnicking and barbecuing, among other fun summer endeavors. Whether you’re on vacation, a staycation, or are enjoying the longer daytime hours that summer gives us, let the Dirty Dozen satisfy all your vinous needs.

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2011 Chardonnay, House Of Independent Producers $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
The House of Independent Producers Chardonnay is an unoaked, terroir-driven quaffer from the Columbia Valley AVA in Washington state. The nose has a solid core of pale yellow fruit wrapped with minerals; the palate is fresh and crisp with hints of apples and citrus. A great food wine, this will pair well with seared scallops, lentils, and corn.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Koura Bay $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Here at TWH, we’re always on the lookout for wines of quality and character. When we taste one that has a very modest price tag, well, that’s when we act. Such was the case when the Koura Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was poured for us. It has a citrus-like profile and an amazing amalgam of herbal notes. Serve it with a cool garden salad.

2011 Vinho Verde, Vera $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Every DD wine is picked for its versatility, and the Vera Vinho Verde from Northern Portugal is exactly that. Meaning “green wine” this Vinho Verde has a citrusy profile reminiscent of grapefruits. Pour it along side a light pasta dish.

2010 Chardonnay/Viognier, Laurent Miquel $10.48 net price, $9.43 reorder
Winemaker Laurent Miquel blends 65% Chardonnay with 35% Viognier sourced from his vineyards in France’s Languedoc region and the result is a winner! The aromas are fruity and rich with hints of peaches, apricots, and lemon-lime. On a hot August night, a chilled glass of Miquel’s Chardonnay/Viognier makes for a terrific by the glass sipper.

2011 Lugana, Ca’Lojera $14.99, $11.99 reorder
In Italy’s Lake Garda region lies the Lugana DOC. Ca’Lojera is run by Ambra and Franco Tiraboschi, and we are happy and proud to resume our relationship with them with the 2011 Lugana. Made from 100% Trebbiano di Garda, or Turbiana (as the locals call it), it’s fruity and crisp with hints of melons and citrus throughout. It’s perfect with grilled chicken.

2011 Touraine Rosé, Domaine des Corbillières $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Nearly every summer, the Touraine Rosé is the most popular Rosé among our staff and customers. What’s not to like? Its pale salmon color gets you straight away. Made from Loire Valley stalwart Pineau d’Aunis, it shows aromatic hints of herbs and lemon blossoms. On the palate, it’s perfectly balanced with hints of light citrus fruit. Bring it on a picnic.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, R8 Wine Company $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Especially chosen for this month’s DD is a fine Cabernet Sauvignon from the R8 Wine Co. Sourcing their fruit from California’s Central Coast, the folks at R8 deliver a sturdy, fuller bodied Cab at a more than reasonable price. It shows spicy cedary aromas combined with lush dark brambly berries. It’s the wine you’re going to want with that grilled filet.

2010 Tempranillo, Tapeña $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Hailing from Tempranillo’s original home, Spain, Tapeña’s take on it is a traditional one. The wine has an overall roundness of medium purple fruit, yet shows an abundance of leathery, earthy, and tobacco like notes. You will certainly have no problem pairing it with any kind of tapas you deem appropriate, though we think meatballs in tomato sauce is best.

2007 Tempranillo, Tempusalba $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Over in Argentina, they’re growing Tempranillo as well. The grape is the same, but the New World’s take on it is unmistakeable. With a little bottle age, some of that youthful up-front fruit has mellowed with the herbal profile resulting in a smooth, balanced red wine. This will be perfect with a veal chop with chimichurri sauce.

2011 Malbec, Alberto Furque $14.99, $12.74 reorder
Unusual for us, but this month’s DD boasts a trio of reds from Argentina. #2 is produced by Alberto Furque. The estate is now run by Alberto’s daughter Carolina, and she makes outstanding Malbec from vineyards planted 3,000 feet above sea level. It’s power packed and is further proof of the grape’s success in Argentina. Pair it with a rib eye steak.

2007 Carmenérè, Inacayal $15.99, $12.79 reorder
Staying in Argentina, here’s another grape that’s found a new home. Carmenere, just like the Malbec above, was once commonly found growing at the various châteaux in Bordeaux’s Médoc. Think of it as the best of both worlds, combining the characteristics of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It’s spicy, full bodied, and delectable. A lamb chop works.

2010 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Le Farnete $13.99, $11.19 reorder
Easing up a bit, we conclude this month’s DD with a medium-bodied blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Enrico Pierazzuoli’s Le Farnete sits just west of Firenze in the Tuscan countryside and his wines speak of the place. His Barco Reale is fresh and clean, it spends 4 months in 1 year old barrel and 4 months in bottle before release. This is a great all-purpose wine that drinks well on its own, yet will shine along side pizza and saucy pasta dishes.

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3 Summer Whites: Oysters Anyone?

Monday, July 16, 2012 9:23 PM

In my teens, I noted my summers by the crushes I had-those were good times. Now instead of crushes, a culinary obsession and what wines go along best mark my summers. One year it was the Summer of stuffed vegetables, another making the perfect Ceasar Salad, and so it goes. During my Fourth of July get-away, this summer’s theme emerged: oysters. Teeny tiny ones for slurping up raw or big honking ones that need to heat through on an open fire, I like them all. My brother and his wife purchased a whole mess of medium-sized oysters at Drakes Bay Oyster Co. for the Fourth. We ‘qued them on the grill, sipping on Ernesto Picollo’s Gavi, and served them up with fresh horseradish and garlic butter. We had a large crowd, so there was a wait between bites, but I loved that as you waited for the next delicious taste, people had time to visit with one another. So, now back at the shop, I’ve been eyeing the whites and imagining which would be best suited for my next oyster extravaganza. These three whites are oyster-friendly and are especially suited for Summer sippin’.

Crnko

The 2011 Jarenincan is another charming, unique wine from Slovenia that has got the staff jazzed. The estate of Crnko is located in eastern Slovenia. Crkno is a working farm that also grows vegetables, raises livestock and even bakes bread daily from the wheat they grow and mill themselves! Their vineyards are planted on a specific type of marl soil. Marl is said to look like slate but is more brittle and silty to the touch. Jarenincan, a proprietary name that refers to the nearby town of Jarenina, accounts for half of the winery’s production from their 6 hectares of vines. Prior to ’09 the entire production of Jarenincan was sold locally in Jarenina.The Jarenincan, which comes in a liter bottle, is a blend of various white grapes grown on the estate. The blend varies from year to year. The 2011 is probably dominated by Muller-Thurgau and Laski Riesling. Probably? Yes, probably. I have read differing accounts from the winery’s website and the importer’s technical data sheet. You might wonder how this is possible, but having had direct experience with small producers in France and Italy, I can only say that Europeans are not always as compelled as we (Americans) are to know the exact varietal composition of a wine. The take away here is that this is not supposed to be a serious wine, but an approachable, delicious, fresh drink. We offered the ’10 in last year’s October Dirty Dozen. It was big hit with DD drinkers. I think the ’11 is less floral and has more attack on the finish, though still ever so slightly off-dry. At under 12% abv., this is unquestionably the one to pop open on that sweltering summer evening.
2011 Crnko Jarenincan (1 liter bottle)

White Wine; other white varietal; Slovenia;
$12.98
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Vera

Portugal’s Vinho Verde is synonymous with Summer sippin’ for many a wine drinker. And why wouldn’t it be? Low in alcohol and loaded with juicy citrus fruit that finishes with a playful, tongue-tingling effervescence. So nice. Vera is a collaborative effort between a Portugese native and a winecentric New Yorker–go figure. The grapes for Vera are sourced from 10-35 year old vines grown in the Vinho Verde sub-region of Basto. The grapes are Arinto, Azal, and Loureiro. Never heard of them? Me neither, but that’s ok because Vinho Verde is all you need to know and Vera makes an especially delightful one! Like the Jarenincan, this is an uncomplicated wine that is ideally suited for casual gatherings, served well-chilled, to go along with snacks or light seafood fare. I recently ate a fried oyster sandwich slathered with fennel-flecked coleslaw while visiting Pt. Reyes…the 2011 Vera would have been the perfect match.
2011 Vera Vinho Verde

White Wine; other white varietal; Portugal;
$10.98
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Domaine Sigalas

Domaine Sigalas is no stranger at The Wine House. The 2009 Santorini made our Top Ten Wines for 2010. Not to mention that everyone from critic Robert Parker to writer Eric Asimov to every wine blogger who has ever tasted Sigalas’ Assyrtiko have raved about this world renowned wine. The 2011 Sigalas Assyrtiko’s intense mineral attack and finish, its subtle fruit profile and complexity is pitch perfect. It’s exactly what I think most white wine drinkers are looking for in a light-bodied, crisp white wine. I am struck and amazed by how this seemingly easy-going wine lures you in with its freshness but leaves you dazzled by the layers of flavors and long lasting finish. The wine changes in the glass and it changes on the palate. The 2011 Assyrtiko is my go-to pick for raw oysters on the half shell. The briny, sea breeze flavor of the oyster liquor mirrors the mineral taste of Sigalas’ Assyrtiko.
2011 Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko Santorini

White Wine; other white varietal; Greece;
$21.98
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Before I began my staycation, I asked/pleaded if it were possible to sleep in past 8am. After a full day of swimming, sun and the wild rumpus of family, that first morning we all slept in till 10am, including the dog! That was golden. Continuing with the summer oyster theme, I hope to make a trek out to the coast for another bushel of those briny morsels…I’ll be sure to have one of each of the above wines at the ready in the fridge. —Anya Balistreri

June 2012 Dirty Dozen

Saturday, June 2, 2012 4:33 PM

2010 Viura, Campos de Enanzo $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Call it Viura, or you can call it Macabeo, what we have here is a crisp white that delivers! It’s a grape that usually makes its way into Cava blends; but on its own, its fresh, clean profile makes it a perfect “welcome to summer” sipper. All steel-tank fermented, it has a hint of smokiness on the nose with a clean, crisp mouth feel. Serve it with ceviche!

2009 Branco, FitaPreta Vinhos $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder
From Portugal comes a super duper blend of Antão Vaz and Roupeiro. Produced in very small quantities, the fruit is all hand-picked and the juice sees a little oak. One taste and you feel the wine’s pedigree. Hints of grapefruits, green tea, and pineapple all float from the glass. The fruit persists throughout the finish; pour it with Frutos do Mar.

2011 Pinot Grigio, Riff $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Coming from Veneto vineyards on the slopes of the Dolomites, the Pinot Grigio that goes into a bottle of Riff has some kind of class! Crafted by Alto-Adige superstar Alois Lageder for his negociant label, we have all the bling without all the cost. Notes of spicy baked apples interwoven with stony mineral make this a perfect companion for scampi with pasta.

2011 Rosé, Grange des Rouquette $12.79, $10.23 reorder
Calling all Rosé lovers! This year’s Grange des Rouquette Rosé is made employing the saignée method, or bleeding of a red wine (in this case, Syrah). It’s electric pink … but it’s fresh, clean, and dry. If there’s a grill nearby, pop this!

2010 Château Couronneau Blanc $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder
Hailing from Bordeaux’s eastern frontier, the wines from Château Couronneau are proudly farmed organic. This blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris was bottled using only a small amount of metatartaric acid resulting in harmless tartaric crystals. Citrus blossoms, a hint of herbs, and a crisp palate make this perfect for rotisserie chicken.

2010 Pinot Auxerrois, Domaine Ehrhart $16.29, $13.03 reorder
Auxerrois is a clone of Pinot Blanc and it thrives in Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart’s Val St. Gregoire vineyard. Apple and peach blossoms dominate the aromatics, and on the palate it is round and fruity. Great with a spicy Thai salad.

2009 Zinfandel, Third Avenue Elke $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Mary Elke may live on Third Avenue in the Coombsville part of Napa, but she gets her “Third Avenue” Zinfandel from Mendocino County. It’s old school Zin, nothing overdone. Medium to full in body; it pairs great with a pork roast.

2009 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, AgriVerdi $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Picture yourself sitting at a table in the warm shade of an Italian café. Around you are the sights, sounds, and smells of a much different world than ours. The food, ah the food. When you’re sitting at such a table, it is very likely that you will have a wine similar to the AgriVerdi Montepulciano in your glass. Just pour and close your eyes and you’ll be there!

2011 Pinot Noir, Pueblo del Sol $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
If you’re curious about Pinot Noir from Uruguay, here’s your chance to try it. It has all that cherry fruit PN lovers look for, but there is more. On the aromas, there is a distinct note of earthiness and something we like to call polite funk. The palate is medium bodied with the earthy cherries persisting through the finish. A great wine for beef skewers.

2009 Bergerac, Château Calabre $10.99, $8.79 reorder
Out in Bergerac, which is just east of the Bordeaux appellation, Daniel Hecquet crafts one of the best bargains in the red wine department. His Château Calabre Bergerac is made from 60% Merlot and equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc. The 2009 vintage smiled on the region and the wine is teeming with red fruit. This will shine with Teriyaki steak.

2010 Bourgogne-Hautes-Cotes-de-Beaune Clos Marc, Domaine Sylvain Langoureau $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Never say never, but you never see Red Burgundy in the Dirty Dozen, do you? Okay, maybe every now and then, but it’s rare! Introducing the Clos Marc from Sylvain Langoureau. All those wild Pinot Noir aromas with a distinct Burgundian twist. A little hint of polite funk and earthiness go a long way to set this apart from other Pinot Noirs. It has Old World written all over it. We suggest pairing it with a marinated skirt steak.

2009 Rouge, Domaine de la Petite Cassagne $11.99, $9.59 reorder
Superstar winemaker Diane Puymorin’s other label is Petite Cassagne, which was actually the name of the domaine she purchased in 1998 and renamed Château d’Or et des Gueules. 2009 wasn’t just a great vintage in Bordeaux and Burgundy; add the Rhône to the list! Diane’s Rouge is bold and complex, with dark fruit, black tea, and a forest floor nose. On the palate, it’s fresh and lively with fine tannins. The perfect wine for a baguette and a bowl of olives.

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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.

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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

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.

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