Celebration Preparations - Sparkles And Sweet Decadence

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:15 PM

Tick Tock, Tick Tock ...

We're ten days away from the end of 2017!!  What to do?  Why, celebrate, of course!!  If you're in need of wine to celebrate with, we've got you covered!

As is customary this time of year, sparkling wines are very popular as celebratory wines, and we have good stocks of fizz ranging from sub $20 sparklers to fancy, hard to find Champagnes.  
Click here for a link to our selection of bubbles. 

If you like to celebrate like I do, then maybe a bottle of Sauternes from our anniversary sale is the way to go.  I always like to celebrate with Bordeaux's Gold wines, and a glass of Sauternes on New Year's Day is a must, if one is going to have a sweet year!

Remember, our sale lasts through January 2, 2018, so if you haven't checked it out, time is running short.

 - Peter Zavialoff

Conegliano Valdobbiandene
Prosecco Superiore

Reg. $14.98

Our ever-popular, dry, pear-scented, Giavi Prosecco is quite an elegant drink for its party-wine price. Careful - the bottle tends to be finished before you know it!

2005 Château
De Malle

Sauternes 375ml
Reg. $27.98
SALE $19.95

From a vintage known for its abundant level of botrytis, the 2005 de Malle is showing rich aromas with citrus fruit and spicy aromas.  The palate is well-balanced and harmonious.  It's in a great spot right now.
d'Orfeuilles Touraine Rose Bottle
Domaine d'Orfeuilles

Touraine Rosé

Reg. $15.98

Vivacious Champagne-method bubbly produced from organically farmed Côt, Cabernet Franc, and Grolleau grapes, grown on limestone-clay hillside soils. Fresh and crisp, with surprising complexity.

2007 Chateau
Sauternes 375ml

Reg. $44.98
SALE $34.95

"The palate is very pure and balanced with a wonderful seam of acidity that slices through the viscous botrytis fruit, quite spicy on the finish" - Neal Martin
Pascal Doquet
Grand Cru

Le Mesnil Sur Oger
Coeur De Terroir
Reg. $99.98
SALE $74.95

Or one can go the way of true vintage Chamagne with this 2004 Grand Cru from Pascal Doquet.  Expressive, yeasty, and nutty, 2004 was great for Chardonnay-based Champagne.

2005 Chateau De Fargues
Sauternes 375ml
Reg. $59.98
SALE $49.95

Owned by the Lur Saluces family (former owners of Château d'Yquem), the 2005 de Fargues is Sauternes lover's dream.  It's intense, complex, rich, and powerful.  It's a great wine - for now, or for up to 15-20 years.
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2015 Château d'Yquem

Friday, January 5, 2018 5:38 PM

2015 Chateau d'Yquem Bottles

The Top Of The Pyramid

Unquestionably, Château d'Yquem is in a league of its own when it comes to quality and notoriety.  Think about it.  If you've tasted any vintage of Château d'Yquem, chances are you remember when, where, and with whom.  If you've had enough Yquem that you've forgotten a few of these occasions, consider yourself lucky!

Here's an opportunity to get in on a legend in the making.  The 2015 vintage in Sauternes was a great one.  The botrytis was profound; the acidity levels healthy.  Here's a short excerpt from what The Wine Advocate's Neal Martin had to say about the 2015 vintage in Sauternes:  "The catalyst was a storm on August 31. The 9 millimeters of rain followed by warm sunny conditions was perfect for botrytis formation, the cool nights locking in the acidity. In some years, harvesters are at the beg and mercy of the capricious weather and hesitant botrytis development; but in 2015, the noble rot was so regular and even, that for once, vineyard managers could almost sashay into the vineyard and pick how they wanted."

Here's Mr. Martin's note from tasting the 2015 Yquem from barrel:
"It has a show-stopping bouquet that is beautifully defined and very complex and exuberant, infused with greater mineralité than recent vintages - intense but not as flamboyant as say the 2009 Yquem at this stage. The palate boasts absolutely stunning balance. This is a Yquem without a hair out of place: fantastically pure, botrytised fruit caressing the mouth. That is as per normal. What distinguishes this Yquem is the sense of electricity that is imbued by that razor-sharp acidity. There is just unbelievably tension here and to be frank, there is little point in me continuing to write this note, because it is simply an astonishing Yquem that will rank alongside the 2001 and 2009." 

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Happy New Year! From all of us here at TWH, we hope you had a fantastic holiday season. Okay, now that it’s 2016, what’s up? Plenty. French container on the water should be here around mid-month with Bordeaux, Burgundy, and more! Italian container due to arrive shortly thereafter. David should be off to Burgundy again sometime soon, and I’m headed to LA at the end of the month to taste the newly bottled 2013 vintage at the Union des Grands Crus tasting. Oh yeah, one more IMPORTANT thing: our 38th Anniversary Sale will end at the close of business on Monday, January 4.So, if you’ve had your eye on anything on that list, now is the time to act. For the past 6-8 weeks, we’ve mentioned a few of the great deals that were to be found as part of our sale, and though there are still many, many great deals, just know time is running out. Back in 2015 (okay, last Thursday), a good friend of TWH came in to buy … wait for it … a couple of bottles of Sauternes. Every year he prepares a torchon de foie gras for New Year’s, and this year was no exception. As TWH’s GoldWine Ambassador, I was happy to chat with him about our selections, and after discussing several options, he was very excited about the sale price on the 2006 Château de Fargues, Sauternes. After all, it has pedigree, a famous name, and a sale price that if put into proper perspective, makes it an absolute steal!

So, foie gras and Sauternes pair well together, this is well-known. The rich, creamy, savory texture and flavorsensations of a bite of foie are sent to another dimension when followed by a taste of rich, layered, complex, botrytised Sauternes (or Barsac); the balancing acidity being the catalyst that frames and holds it all together. (TWH customers and friends know that fois gras is the traditional pairing, but that the wines have so, so much more potential as evidenced by the trio of GoldWine dinners *scroll down this link* we’ve had in the past few years). If one is in northern California and needs a bottle of Sauternes/Barsac, TWH is a logical destination as we have few rivals sporting the breadth of our GoldWine section. I presented our customer with several bottles that offered great value as well as a couple of my favorites. Which then brought us into a discussion about Count Alexandre de Lur Salucesand his involvement with both Château d’Yquem and Château de Fargues. The Lur Saluces have been affiliated with Yquem since 1785 and ran the château until selling it to luxury brands group LVMH in 1999. Alexandre stayed onuntil 2004 before leaving to focus on the family’s long owned Château de Fargues. Alexandre first joined his uncle at de Fargues in 1966 and took over leadership of the chateau after his uncle’s passing in 1968. Throughout the years, the wines from Château de Fargues have rivaled the hoity-toity Yquem in quality, but not in their steep bottle price. Beginning with the 2004, the wines from de Fargues have stepped it up another notch, earning some special praise from Robert Parker and Neal Martin of The Wine Advocate.


Here’s what Mr. Parker had to say about the 2006 de Fargues after having tasted it from barrel:


“The refuge of the Lur Saluces family after selling their beloved Yquem, this is an Yquem-like wine that sells for a fraction of the price fetched for the most famous wine of the region. Rich, honeyed citrus along with creme brulee, vanillin, sweet caramelized pineapple and citrus notes are followed by a wine with an unctuously thick, viscous, full-bodied mouthfeel, but with good enough acidity to balance out the wine’s enormous weight, richness, and concentration.”
I wished our customer a hearty, “Bonne Année”, and await the report on his experience with his first de Fargues. Funny thing, earlier in the week, a couple of ladies came in to buy some party wines and one of them inquired about Yquem, as she had once tasted it at a New Year’s celebration. I told her the price ($500) and she politely chuckled and said, “No thank you.” I then explained there were plenty of top-notch Sauternes selling for far less, and when I told her the Lur Saluces story, and that she could have Yquem-like quality for $79.95, she happily bought one to continue the Sauternes-as-part-of-the-New-Year-celebration tradition.
So yes, happy 2016! It’s mid holiday season for me as December 24 is just day number one of 13 days of celebration between late December and late January. Celebratory day #6 is today (Sunday), and I’ve got a bottle of GoldWine for it, because if you’re not celebrating with Sauternes, you’re not really celebrating. It seems this mode of thinking is slowly catching on; on December 30 and 31, we sold more bottles of Sauternes than of the more traditional sparkling wines. Yep. When it comes to celebrating, there are traditions, but there are no rules. Here’s to good health, success, and happiness to all of you in 2016! – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to email me with any questions about our Anniversary Sale, Sauternes, foie gras, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com
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Thanksgiving 2015: Some Pairing Ideas

Tuesday, November 17, 2015 1:37 AM

All of us here at TWH were shocked to see and read the news of the tragic events that occurred in Paris on Friday. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families of the victims and the French populace.

Not such a pleasant way to commence this week’s Sunday email. Somehow, the topic I’ve had in mind to write about is applicable. Seeing that this is my last Sunday email before Thanksgiving, I will continue the tradition of giving thanks. A good friend of mine summed his feelings up pretty well on his Facebook feed last night. “Very sad day indeed. Could have happened anywhere. Give your loved ones a hug and be grateful for what you have.” A sentiment that I share with many is that giving thanks is an every day activity, not something to be saved exclusively for the fourth Thursday of November.

I’ve written about my early perceptions of Thanksgiving before. Most of my life, it was a holiday that I didn’t really celebrate. If I wasn’t skiing, I was bored. I didn’t care for any of the traditional Thanksgiving dishes. It wasalways nice to get together with extended family and good friends, but that was it. Of course this all has changed now that I have lobster and Sauternes on Thanksgiving. I’m planning on doing this again, and the wine I’m choosing this year is the 2005 Château Clos Haut Peyraguey. Why? A pair of cosmic tumblersfalling into place.
Tumbler #1 – The property was purchased by Bordeaux chateaux mogul Bernard Magrez in 2012. TWH was just paid a visit by a Magrez’s export director last Monday, and he commented on our having a couple of back vintages of Clos Haut Peyraguey in stock. We spoke about Barsac and Sauternes at length, and I’m pretty black and white about my feelings for the wines. I think he got my drift.
Tumbler #2: It’s a 2005, a fantastic vintage for the wines of Barsac and Sauternes. I can recall John’s excitement about the quality of Bordeaux’s sweet wines when he returned from the region in the spring of 2006. Ben went so far as to purchase some ’05 Clos Haut Peyraguey futures citing its geographical proximity to Yquem.Then there was the tasting of 2005 Sauternes that I attended in 2008, leaving me with quite the impression, especially for Château Coutet. I last had 2005 Coutet on my birthday back in September and it was showing brilliantly! 10 years has worked its magic on the wine which was revealing some bottle bouquet and secondary characteristics. It was still fresh and youthful, yet layered and intellectual. We are trying to get more. I’ll get back to you on that.
Back on Wednesday evening, I was invited to the home of a very good friend to celebrate the end of his six year quest for a particular certification. To celebrate he picked up a USDA Prime Tri-Tip, marinated it, and slow cooked it for hours. He finished it off in a pan and popped a1993 Penfolds Grange. It was my very first taste of what is considered Australia’s finest wine. It was a great experience, and along with another good friend we discussed many of the finest food and wine pairings we’ve enjoyed over the years. He humbly dismissed the tri-tip/Grange pairing from being among the best (it belongs in the argument), and poured full praise for “The year you brought that magnum of Fleurie to Thanksgiving dinner.” There’s a lot to say in support for Cru Beaujolais at the Thanksgiving table. It’s light. It’s complex. It’s versatile. It smells like fall. As the holiday approaches, we have helped many customers with their “Beaujolais for Thanksgiving” orders.
As I stated above, giving thanks is something that should be done daily, and I have reason to be grateful for many people and things these days. 2015 has been a very challenging year for me personally, and I wouldn’t be in the state I’m in without the tremendous support that I have received from so very many. Giving thanks, BIG TIME! Happy Thanksgiving!!! – Peter Zavialoff
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2005 Chateau de Malle: Priced to Move!

Tuesday, March 4, 2014 3:31 PM

05demalleThere is not much else I need to write other than this: 2005 Chateau de Malle on sale for $24.95 … and no, that is not for the half bottle!  Unbelievable, right? No wonder Pete keeps telling customers that our Moving Sale has wines at “never-to-be-seen-again” prices. The 2005 Chateau de Malle is delicious. Not a super rich or particularly unctuous Sauternes, it does, however, glide lightly over the palate with charming flavors of butterscotch, browned sweet butter and graham cracker crust. The 2005 de Malle is an elegant example of a medium-weight sticky that at this price will be making its way into my fridge often and regularly. Look here, there’s already a bottle waiting for me when I get home tonight. This makes me so happy!

chdemalleChateau de Malle is a stunning estate with manicured gardens and a museum open to the public. The estate dates back to the 16th Century and has remained in the same family the entire time. In the 1950’s the estate was taken over by Pierre de Bournazel, a man who would become an important figure in the viticultural world of Bordeaux. Pierre renovated the Chateau, replanted the vineyards and brought de Malle into recognition. Interestingly, Chateau de Malle straddles two appellations, Sauternes and Graves (about half of their production is for Sauternes). The composition is classic with 70% Semillon and the balance Sauvignon Blanc and a small trace of Muscadelle. The vineyards are grown on undulating slopes upon a plateau of gravelly clay soil. The wine is aged in barrel between 20-24 months in a third new French oak after which the wine rests in bottle at the Chateau for 2 to 3 years before release.
Our Moving Sale is on!  Prices are slashed on wines ranging from everyday quaffers to top-tiered trophy wines with the caveat that they must leave our premises before we move! I will be moving some of the 2005 Chateau de Malle into my cellar to lighten TWH’s load. I can guarantee you that each time I pop the cork on this honeyed wine with its lingering flavors of melted brown sugar and sweet vanilla cream, I’ll be patting myself on the back for being such a clever, savvy wine buyer. A combo plate from Taqueria San Jose with an enchilada and a house-made chile relleno – pop open a bottle of 2005 Chateau de Malle! After a big meal with friends, no one wants dessert but a plate of crispy, buttery cookies served with a glass of 2005 Chateau de Malle- no one will pass on that! Your neighbor brings back a terrine of foie gras from Paris as payment for taking care of their cat – 2005 Chateau de Malle is a perfect, albeit conventional, pairing! At $24.95 per bottle, you can be as adventurous as you want with the 2005 Chateau de Malle. It’s a guilt-free, slam-dunk, smile-inducing, happy-making wine purchase. 
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