Sparkling Rose For Brunch And More

Monday, February 29, 2016 10:06 PM


NV Touraine Brut Rosé
Domaine d’Orfeuilles
 
 

 

Punxsutawney Phil did not see his shadow back on the 2nd of February, and though we’re a long, long, long way from western Pennsylvania, we’ve had a strong indicationthis past week that winter may indeed be ending. Not to get carried away now, it IS still February, but there are signs that spring is on its way. In anticipation, while enjoying the still-winter sunshine, it’s easy to daydream about some of spring’s pastimes. Being food and wine people, we enjoy our meals in all seasons, but spring seems to be the best season for the Sunday Brunch. As fun and delicious as brunch in the springtime sun can be, one can turn it up a notch with the simple addition of one thing:bubbles. How about pink bubbles? Even better. Just in from a recent container is a new batch of our favorite value sparkling Rosé, the Domaine d’Orfeuilles Touraine Brut Rosé.
 
 
Of course, the Touraine Brut Rosé is not just for Sunday brunch, but it sure does the trick. This cuvée is equal parts Côt (Malbec) and Cabernet Franc, with 20% Loire Valley’s Grolleau. Mmmmm. Just daydreaming about some brunch favorites … Huevos Rancheros, Corned Beef Hash with poached eggs,Dungeness Crab Benedicts (fingers crossed that we’ll get some soon), or fresh scones with fresh fruit. All of these would be complemented with a glass ofd’Orfeuille’s Touraine Brut Rosé. Its color is a remarkable subtle pink with salmon hues. While sparkling in the glass, it emits aromas of red berries, pink grapefruit, and apple blossoms. The palate is dry and crisp (it is Brut after all) as the hints of the white, pink, and red fruits provide fine layers of complexity. The finish is fresh and crisp, all in balance. It’s a great food wine – and I can make a case for pouring this with a nice salmon dinner, or better yet, fried chicken. Come to think of it, either of those would be fantastic! If you want to wait for supper to pop one, that’s fine. I just think that we’re entitled to one festive Sunday Brunch each spring, and considering place of origin, flavor profile, texture, and price, the Domaine d’Orfeuilles Brut Rosé belongs on that table!
 
I am so looking forward to that festive Sunday Brunch,whenever it may happen. In the meantime, with spring on the horizon, I am currently working on my favorite puzzle: my schedule for Primeurs week in Bordeaux. I will be off in a month’s time, along with the rest of the wine world, to check in on the 2015 vintage.I’m bracing myself for a lot of hype and unfortunately, rising prices. With that inevitability, I’ve been telling anyone who will listen, Pssst. Do you want very good quality Bordeaux for your cellar that’s priced right? 2014.Seriously, 2014 was a fine vintage with very fair pricingthat was boosted by a strong dollar. We don’t know what will happen with the currency situation, but knowing what we know, the Bordelais are very happy with their 2015 vintage. That usually results in higher prices, and when that happens, watch for the 2014’s to disappear. Quickly. My schedule in Bordeaux does not allow for the festive Sunday Brunch, so I must wait until my return for that. You can bet I will have a couple of bottles of theDomaine d’Orfeuilles Touraine Brut Rosé stashed away for the occasion. – Peter Zavialoff
 

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about sparkling Rosé, Sunday Brunch in springtime, the 2014 Bordeaux vintage, or the upcoming annual trip: peter@wineSF.com

0 Comment Posted in Touraine


Coming on the heels of our Top Ten Wines of 2015 list, I struggled while choosing a wine to write about this evening, as whatever I might choose wouldmost likely suffer by comparison. But that’s okay.Top Ten wines are special. Special wines can have elevated price tags; that’s just how markets function, efficiently. If one isto incorporate moderate wine consumption into their lifestyle, the best recommendation that I can give is tobe open and taste, taste, taste every wine that you have any interest in tasting. If you’re going to be tasting many wines over a shorter period of time, spit. Most wine tasting facilities offer spit buckets of some kind.So why exactlyshould we taste everything that we possibly can?Experience. No doubtwe will taste wines that we really like, but we’ll alsoexperience wines that don’t exactly hit home with our respective palates. Sometimes, we’ll even come across wines we do not like at all. That is all in everyone’s best interest. It’simportant to try and understand why certain wines work for us while others don’t. This will make iteasier to find wines to our liking in the future, not to mention unlocking the door to the treasure chest known as,“The best wine values!” A wine that certainly falls into that category is the2013 Domaine des Corbillières Touraine RougeLes Demoiselles.

 

 
 
Dominique and Véronique Barbou run the 26 hectare estate in the Loire Valley commune of Oisly, which is approximately 30 km east of Tours. Dominique’s great-grandfather, Fabel, purchased the property in 1923,and together with his grandson, Maurice, built the property up into its current form. TWH regulars are well aware of thetremendous value that the Barbou’s wines provide. Their Sauvignon Blanc and Rosé are house favorites for many of us. Their Touraine Rouge Les Demoiselles has beenone of my go-to reds for the better part of a decade. Usually made from Cabernet Franc, Loire Valley reds can be lighter bodied wines that exhibit distinct herbal qualites. Interestingly enough, the Barbou’s Touraine Rouge Les Demoiselles is made of 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Cabernet Franc, and 30% Côt (Malbec). For the 2013, the aromas are of lush, plump purple fruit which no doubt is the Côt’s influence. A second whiff reveals a brambly thicket undertone with hints of strawberries which we can attribute to the Pinot Noir. Thepalate entry is tangy and lively, with the woodsy Cabernet Franc coming into focus. The Côt provides a bit of weight on the palate and the Pinot Noir continues to express its aromatic complexity. The finish is crisp as the tangy mouth feel fades into the wine’s complexity. Being the sort of chap who usually reaches for white wine with his pork roasts or chops, I can easily build a case to pour this 2013 Les Demoiselles the next time I whip some up.
 
The 2013 Touraine Les Demoiselles isn’t going to make anyone forget about our Top Ten, but it has its place and will continue to provide food pairing pleasure to those who appreciate it. I still remember my very first encounter with a Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. I was perusing the selections at Mill Valley Market and decided it was time to taste a Chinon. I knew very little about Loire Valley wines at this point, as I was still regularly consuming domestic wines. Heeding my own advice mentioned above, I was on a mission to taste (and get to know) more wines out of my comfort zone. The wine was nothing like a rich, ripe, fancy oak barreled Napa Cabernet or the like. It was stemmy, woodsy, crisp and tangy. My palate was surprised to say the least. As I continued to taste more wines from different places, I weened myself from popular local wines and embraced the subtle differences of Old World wines; wines that were less fruit forward, lower in alcohol, which wereparticularly made to be enjoyed with a meal.
 
 
The best tidbit of wine advice that I ever receivedcame from an old boss of mine many years ago, JT. He lived in Napa, collected wine, and knew personally many individuals in different facets of the wine biz. Shortly after hiring me, he learned that I was very interested in wine also. He then told me, “Don’t be concerned about critics and whether or not they like the wines that you like. If you like a wine and a critic pans it, it’s good for you! There will be more of it around and the price will remain low.” Sage advice. We remain friends to this day. – Peter Zavialoff
 
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Loire Valley red wine, Bordeaux, Sauternes, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com
Domaine des Corbillières
 
I’ve been known to call Domaine des Corbillières’ Touraine blanc ‘the poor man’s Sancerre’. It’s a quick way to convey that this wine is made from Sauvignon Blanc, like Sancerre, and that it is full of attack, like good Sancerre, but because it says Touraine on the label and does not carry the same cache Sancerre does, it is less expensive. It is rightfully so that Touraine is not as prestigious as Sancerre for it is a vast region encompassing varied soils and climates, often producing underwhelming wines. However, as in every region, there are the exceptions, the stand-outs and one such winery is Domaine des Corbillières.
 
Harvest in Touraine
 
Domaine des Corbillières is situated at the eastern end of Touraine in the village of Oisly. Dominique and Veronique Barbou farm 16 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc that range in age from 13-43 years of age. The vines grow in sand atop deep clay subsoils. In 1923 Dominque’s great grandfather, Fabel, purchased the property and, legend has it, was the first in the region to recognize the benefit of growing Sauvignon Blanc in Touraine. The story goes that Fabel allowed a vine to grow alongside his home and he soon noticed how well it thrived in the terroir. True or not, that’s a pretty cool story!
 
Dominique & Veronique Barbou
 
The 2013 Touraine blanc is showing beautifully at the moment. Lots of pungent pink grapefruit and green melon flavors permeate the wine. It’s assertive without being assaulting to the nose and palate as too many Sauvignon Blancs can be in my opinion. There is enough texture to create interest in the mouth, but still manages to end with an invigorating finish. This Touraine is not only a stand-out for the region, as I wrote above, but it is a stand-out among Sauvignon Blanc.
 
The Domaine at sunset
 
My daughter wanted mac-n-cheese for dinner. Feeling motivated to cook something special, I made the mac-n-cheese from scratch. I used three different kinds of cheese, sautèed up some red and green bell peppers, and even steeped fresh herbs and garlic into the milk before making the béchamel sauce. I thought it came out pretty good. My daughter, on the other hand, was disappointed that the mac-n-cheese was a casserole! Huh? Unlike my homemade mac-n-cheese, the pasta in the boxed yellow-colored kind made stove-top does not bind together,rather it spreads all over the plate in an oozy orange-glow mess. She likes it that way better! Knowing I had a chilled bottle of the 2013 Touraine in the fridge at the ready helped me to feel more magnanimous towards her. I suggested next time I make homemade mac-n-cheese, she can make the boxed kind herself! – Anya Balistreri

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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Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.

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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Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine!Or 10%/Net Wines 5%/ Sale Wines
Greetings! Summertime in the city of San Francisco is a little different than summertime anywhere else in the northern hemisphere. What makes it different? Well, from July 1 through August 31 a great majority of days will be foggy. It’s just a fact. It’s an annual concern on the 4th of July; will there be fireworks, or will we be socked in with fog? It happens every year, and it will last in to September. The good news is that those of us that have endured multiple foggy summers know that a drive 10 miles north, south, or east will get us out of the fog and into the sunlight, so it’s kind of the best of both worlds for us. With “nature’s air conditioner” at work, drinking red wine in August isn’t that uncommon. Anya wrote about a red wine last week, and I also did the week before.  I’m going to continue the trend here as we just got in the latest release of Domaine des Corbillières’ Touraine Les DemoisellesRouge!

 

Inspired by a regular, long-time customer yesterday, I headed over to Olivier’s Butchery here in Dogpatch and picked up some Korean short ribs to bring over to some friends’ house after work yesterday. They live about 5 miles north of the city, so they were socked in most of the day. It had just cleared when I got there, and my comment about it being summer was met with a grumble from them as they didn’t escape the grey shroud all day. I slapped the package of short ribs on the counter, and as we opened it for inspection, the first thing that I popped into my mind was “beef bacon.” The strips were cut rather thin, and according to the salesperson at Olivier’s, required one minute per side on the grill and then they would be done! Talk about delectable fast food!!! Well, what kind of wine with that? They had a bottle of Grüner Veltliner open already, so I had a glass of that while we caught up on the day’s events. Dinner was ready in a flash, beef bacon and all, and I pulled the cork on the 2011 Touraine Demoiselles from Domaine des Corbillières. How did it work out? Stellar.

2011 Domaine des Corbillieres Touraine Rouge

Red Wine; Cabernet Franc; Loire;
$15.99

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We have worked with the wines from Véronique and Dominique Barbou’sdomaine for almost 20 years! They represent tremendous value, and are popular with our staff and customers vintage after vintage. The Les Demoiselles cuvée is made of 30% Côt (Malbec), 40% Pinot Noir, and 30% Cabernet Franc. I like to say the Malbec is for backbone, the Pinot Noir for fruit, and the Cab Franc for aromatic complexity. All together, it really works, and for the 2011, it’s sensational! I really love Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. Not obscure enough to be called “wine geek wine”, its herbal profile and lack of “jammy” fruit can put off palates that aren’t used to it, as was the case with me way back when, but as times change, so do wine palates. Only representing a third of the blend, I was surprised as to how Franc-y the aromas were. Blended with the other two varietals, this wine really speaks volumes … at least it did last night! The Malbec lending its solid structure, the Pinot Noir, its fruitiness, and the Franc providing the herbal and earthy complexity. It really worked with the simple salt and pepper seasoning we laid upon the strips of rib meat. There was something spectacular about the pepper, in particular, pairing with the Cabernet Franc. All too soon the food was gone, the wine followed suit, and I was surprised again as to how the time flies.

 

Time flies alright! We’ve now been here in Dogpatch for four months! It seems only weeks ago that Liverpool could have essentially clinched their first title in the Premiership era with a victory over Chelsea back at the end of April, but captain Steven Gerrard’s blunder led to their unraveling. I’ve enjoyed friendly banter over the years with a Liverpool supporting customer who lives overseas, and before the match, via email, he wanted to make a wager on it. I politely declined his offer, but when he came into the shop the other day, he pulled two bottles of wine out of his tote and said, “I know we didn’t have a bet, but I lost, so here.” What a surprise! Thanks, Mark! Included in the duo was a half bottle of Sauternes! It’s pretty well documented that I love Sauternes. He specifically requested that I open IT on opening day. Well what do you know, with time flying and all, opening day is two weeks away! That means the annual kick-off to footy season, the Charity Shield match, is next weekend!!!! Bring it.Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments on the SF fog, Loire Valley red wines, Sauternes, or English Football: peter@wineSF.com

2013 Domaine des Corbillieres Touraine Rose

Friday, July 18, 2014 10:03 PM

Happy Friday! There are 14 weekends this summer, and this one is #5. No need to panic, we’ve still got 9 more afterwards, but that little factoid has us thinking that we should make the most of them. Summer always offers us the opportunity to head outdoors, maybe head over to a farmers’ market, meet up with friends, fire up the grill; yeah, stuff like that. It’s a rare summer afternoon or evening that goes by without the thought, “A glass of Rosé would be perfect right now.” Rare indeed. One of our favorite Rosés has to be the Touraine Rosé from Domaine des Corbillières. We received 2 containers recently, and on the French one were pallets of Rosé, 2013 Corbillières included.

 

Our Rosé selections represent a few differing styles and flavor profiles, and we have many fans of each of them. They range from the super-sleek, zippy, extra dry to other dry Rosés with varying degrees of fruit expression. For customers (and staff!) who love a dry Rosé with a light-medium body, delicate layers of pink grapefruit, a hint of saline mineral with a harmonious finish, the Touraine Rosé is the perfect choice. It’s a great wine to have on hand all summer long, as it is truly a people-pleaser!

 

The first thing one notices about the Corbillières Touraine Rosé is the seductive salmon hue. When daydreaming about Rosé, this is precisely the color I envision. The aromas are delicate and nuanced. There’s citrus, a hint of some kind of red fruit as well, an herbal, almost peppery subtlety, and a mineral undertone. The palate is bright and fresh, the fruit and structure charming, and the finish refreshing. This is exactly what one would expect to be served if seated at a French café – a wine like this can transport the taster far, far away.

 

What makes the Touraine Rosé stand out so much? It is made from Pineau d’Aunis.  Pineau d’Aunis? Is that spelled correctly? Yes. What is Pineau d’Aunis? It is a distinct black berried grape from the central Loire Valley that is sometimes called Chenin Noir. It is neither a Pinot nor Chenin. Not widely planted, it is a sanctioned grape for the red and rosé appellations of Touraine and Anjou. Its use is to impart a fruity, peppery profile to rosé wines.

 

The famous philosopher Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Just sayin’. We’re already one-third finished with our summer weekends in 2014, so maybe it is a good idea to stop and take a look around this weekend. Stop and look around with a glass of 2013 Domaine des Corbillières Touraine Rosé! – Peter Zavialoff

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Sparklers from D’Orfeuilles

Tuesday, December 24, 2013 10:24 PM

We will be open Christmas Eve, December 24 from 10 am – 4 pm. 

We wish you all a very Happy Holiday Season!

 

 

What is your holiday season marker? Stringing up lights around the eaves, getting that first card in the mail dotted with children mugging it up for the camera, or how about having a good cry while watching “It’s a Wonderful Life?” For me, it’s the display of fine Champagne and bubbles from around the world that gets stacked up at TWH. Oh how they twinkle, oh how they glow! So many to choose from, fancy or affordable, we have them all! To help you navigate through a few, allow me to highlight a TWH direct import, Domaine D’Orfeuilles from France’s Loire Valley. What at first seemed a novelty has taken off and captured our clients’ taste buds and desire for sparkling wine that is at once complex and sophisticated while much, much less expensive then anything you’ll find from Champagne. Made in the classic methode traditionelle (meaning that secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle just like it is done in Champagne) our two sparklers from Domaine D’Orfeuilles, one blanc, one rosé, are perfect options for end-of-year reveling. 

 

 

Domaine D’Orfeuilles’ grapes are grown on clay and limestone soil that have a significant amount of silex, or flint, that imparts an undeniable, unmistakable “flinty” character in their wines. The Vouvray Brut is made from 100% Chenin Blanc. It has under-ripe peach and apricot flavors, a hint of green, and a round entry with a chalky finish. I have said it before and I will say it again, this is one of the few sparkling wines that when I drink it, I am not wishing I were drinking Champagne! It provides me with enough complexity, richness and yeastiness to keep me interested, and looking forward to the next sip. Whether toasting sans food or with appetizers, you can confidently bring this Vouvray Brut to the table to continue the meal. The Touraine Rosé is also dry and made with Côt, what the folks in Loire call Malbec. Lots of raspberry and dried cherry red fruit with a tinge of herb pervades the palate. Domaine D’Orfeuilles store their sparklers in a large limestone cellar and therefore have the capacity to keep wine aging in bottle 3-4 years. This also means that there are slight variations from each bottling, just as you would expect from a grower/producer. The most recent Touraine Rosé boasts a jolt of pink color that can trick you into thinking it will be far fruitier than it really is; an optical illusion. The Touraine Rosé is fresh, bright and finishes dry. Perfect for spicier nibbles like ceviche or chili-flecked sausages; also amazing with fried chicken!

 

The bottle prices for these two sparklers have Anniversary Sale written all over them, but once again, to make it even more tempting a $125 full-case price is offered through the end of the year, or while supplies last. You might not get through a case by New Year’s Eve, but remember there is Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Chinese New Year, Valentine’s Day, and so much more coming just around the corner! So stock up and fill your wine closet/cellar/under-the-bed with two unique, delicious and excellent sparklers from Domaine D’Orfeuilles. 

 

 

Adrenaline shot through my body this morning as my daughter rejoiced over the fact that there were only 4 more days left until Christmas! Her advent calendar is almost devoid of chocolate; the star, the reindeer and the snowman have all been eaten. It must be Christmas. After a few deep breathes, I realized I was excited too. I can’t wait to get together with family. I wonder what Santa will bring me this year? Christmas Day I’ll be playing host. I can’t vouch for the food, but at least no one will go home thirsty. Happy Holidays! – Anya Balistreri

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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July 2012 Dirty Dozen

Monday, July 2, 2012 7:12 PM

Summer’s here!!! Our reward? 31 days of July followed by 31 days of another summer month, but we’ll get to that later. So yes, we’ve got warm weather, bustling farmers’ markets, and plenty of daylight for picnics and barbecues. What to drink with all of that frolicking? May we suggest the July Dirty Dozen? 12 wines, all chosen for their versatility, for 1 low price. Santé!

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2011 Scaia Bianca $12.98 net, $11.68 reorder
Here we go: blending 60% Garganega with 40% Chardonnay results in a bright, delectable quaffer that Tom likes to refer to as a ‘Super Soave’, as it is in Soave where Garganega is boss! The Chardonnay buffers it with richness and depth, making it perfect to pop with spaghetti langoustini. The über-cool glass enclosure can be reused!

2010 Malvar, Tochuelo $9.98 net, $8.98 reorder
Amazing values in the wine world continue to present themselves! Not yet a household name (at least not here in the states), Malvar is a white grape predominately grown in the Vinos de Madrid DOC. It’s light on its feet with delicate nuances of citrus and orchard fruit. Bone dry, it is great with light dishes such as a shrimp salad.

2011 Sauvignon Blanc, La Petite Perriere $11.48 net, $10.33 reorder
Plenty of Sauvignon Blanc is grown all over the world, that’s for sure. But there is something special about Loire Valley SB, even if it comes in bargain form. The Saget family got their vinous start in the late 18th century putting them among only an elite handful of Loire Valley estates that can boast of such longevity. The proof’s in the juice. Crisp and clean.

NV Rosé Brut, Comte de Bailly $10.98 net, $9.88 reorder
Pop the cork of one of these. Seriously, just do it. When this bargain Rosé fizz was poured for us, we were stumped. How could something so good be so inexpensive? Better yet, it comes from Tempranillo grown in Spain, but it is produced in Burgundy. Clean red fruits are present on the nose and the palate is lively and refreshing. Pour it with anything!

2010 Les Tours, Domaine la Hitaire $10.39, $8.31 reorder
You’ll have to search far and wide to find better deals on white wines than those made by la famille Grassa in Gascony. Purchased by Yves Grassa 20+ years ago, Domaine la Hitaire is run by his 2 sons Rémy and Armin. This blend of Ugni Blanc and Colombard is crisp and fresh; the perfect summer sipper. It’s what you drink with a plate of little fried fish.

2010 Gewurztraminer Herrenweg, Domaine Ehrhart $20.99, $16.79 reorder
Domaine Ehrhart has been on the Alsatian wine scene since the early 1700’s. With that many generations experiencing that many vintages, you have to say there is expertise afoot! The Herrenweg Gewurz shines with a good chicken curry.

2007 Plaisir 75 cl., Roger Sabon $13.98 net, $12.58 reorder
On to the red side; famed Châteauneuf du Pape producer, Roger Sabon apparently cannot stop with his CdP. The 2007 vintage was soooo good in the southern Rhône that he found some terrific grapes for an even better price and made the Plaisir for notre plaisir. Think bright red fruit, earth, and a waft of Provençal herbs. Pour it with a grilled pork chop.

2008 Bardosa, Bodegas Lomablanca $12.98 net, $11.68 reorder
Garnacha and Tempranillo are the players here in a bottle of 2008 Bardosa. It’s a deep red with more than a dollop of black cherry and cassis, a hint of smoke and bright, lively acidity to keep that finish going. Great with pizza or calzone.

2010 CMS, Hedges $11.98 net, $10.78 reorder
Domestic price to quality wines are becoming more and more difficult to find, but here’s a live one! Hedges Family Estates is proud of their blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot, and 12% Syrah. The CMS is medium/full in body, rich, and balanced. This is a great wine to bring to a party though it may not last long. Burgers on the grill? No prob.

2009 Touraine Les Demoiselles, Domaine des Corbillières $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Arguably one of our favorite sub $15 reds in the shop, this is our first vintage of Corbillières’ Les Demoiselles cuvée! We’ve always loved their straight-up Cabernet Franc, but this blend consists of 40% Pinot Noir and 30% Côt, with the rest Cab Franc. The result is an aromatic masterpiece. Red fruit, purple fruit, herbs, earth, oh my! It’s a great food wine, think grilled meats and vegetables, but it’s so friendly you can pop it on its own and all will be well.

2010 Chianti Montalbano, Pierazzuoli $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Yes, we’ve been directly importing Enrico Pierazzuoli’s wines from Tuscany for well over a decade and there’s one word to describe why … quality! It says on the label “One bottle of wine for each vine”, it’s a great perspective from a man who cares about his vines and the resulting product. Made from 100% Sangiovese, Enrico’s Chianti Montalbano is one of our most popular red wines and his 2010 is rarin’ to go. Flexible and versatile, team it with a bowl of pasta Bolognese.

2009 Côtes du Rhône La Boissière, Vignobles Boudinaud $16.59, $13.27 reorder
Same goes with the wines from Vignobles Boudinaud, we’ve been representing (not importing) them for many years because we believe in Thierry and Véronique’s dedication to the quality of the product they bottle. The Côtes du Rhône La Boissière is imported by DC’s Robert Kacher Selections, yes, but this wine was especially imported just for The Wine House and our customers. True old-school Côtes du Rhône, it’s medium bodied and complex. Veal chops work well here.

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January 2012 Dirty Dozen

Saturday, January 7, 2012 6:45 PM

Happy New Year! As the whirr of the holi-daze shrinks away in our rear view mirrors, we look forward to many more vinous discoveries coming in 2012! The new year brings hope and optimism, resolutions, and the NFL playoffs! There’s something going on there for us locals, and for you, how about the January 2012 Dirty Dozen? 12 bottles, all chosen for their versatility, packed in a box, for an incredible price. Go SF!

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2009 Cheverny Le Domaine du Moulin, Hervé Villemade – $14.98 net price, $13.49 reorder
Brand new for us is this white blend from Cheverny in the Loire Valley. Cheverny is located just between the cities of Tours and Orleans and boasts one of the Loire’s most famous chateaux. Certified orgainic, Monsieur Villemade blends approximately 70% Chardonnay with 30% Sauvignon Blanc and the result is a delightful balanced wine that shows ample fruit and a crisp finish. A crab salad works fine here.

2009 Mâcon les Tilles, J.M. Chaland – $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Every now and then the Dirty Dozen gets a surprise visit from some highly esteemed appellation; this time it’s Burgundy! Jean-Michel Chaland crafts wonderful terroir driven Chardonnays from his vineyards in and around Mâcon. The vines for les Tilles are approximately 40-50 years old, and the wine is vinified all in steel tank. Rich, round, fleshy white fruit with a hint of the tropics. Drink with that lobster.

2009 Chardonnay, Lalande – $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Grassa. Yves Grassa. He’s the man behind the wines from Domaine Lalande in Gascogne. Seasoned DD veterans are familiar with the name and the wines, which are delectable vintage after vintage. Oscar Wilde once said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” We imagine Oscar never had a glass of Lalande Chardonnay. We also imagine an open face turkey sandwich with this.

2010 Rosé de Ecuyer de Château Couronneau – $11.99, $9.59 reorder
In Bordeaux, you hear a lot of fuss about the prices of the finest wines, but less often, do you hear about all the production (the famous wines represent around 5% of Bordeaux’s total output). Christophe and Bénédicte Piat are keeping it real for us, proudly sporting the Agricole Biologique banner on their property at Bordeaux’s eastern frontier. This Rosé is fresh and fruity and goes well with bbq.

2010 Scaia Bianco, Tenuta Sant’Antonio – $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Now what do you get when you blend Garganega with Chardonnay? Tom likes to call it a “Super Soave”, and we can’t blame you if you do too as this wine has that soft, fleshy fruit sensation, yet is backed up with a fresh crisp finish. Toss some scampi and serve with pasta.

2010 Montravel Blanc, Château Calabre – $10.99, $8.79 reorder
Next up could very well be the best white wine bargain in the shop! Made just outside Bordeaux in Montravel, Daniel Hecquet blends 50% Sauvignon Blanc with 40% Semillon and 10% Muscadelle resulting in a knock-off White Bordeaux. All steel tank here, the wine is bright and fresh, with plenty of complexity on the palate, and will have you scratching your head as to how it can be done for this price.

2010 Zinfandel, Old Vines, Rail 2 Rail – $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
In Lodi, there is an 82 year old farmer named Andy D’Arrigo. He grows lettuce, prickly pears, and grapes. His Zinfandel vines are more than 45 years old, and he has no intention of selling any of his land because, “I don’t know how to grow buildings.” Surf enthusiast/winemaker Eric Laumann came upon Andy and the result is Rail 2 Rail Zin. Tee this up with a rich pizza with sausage and olives.

2008 Monastrell Hécula, Bodegas Castaño – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Nestled in Spain’s Yecla DO (appellation of origin) you will find Bodegas Castaño. This 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre) is grown at altitudes of approximately 750 feet on vines 35 years of age or more. We have nothing but praise for this wine, as it outperforms its price point by a long shot. We’re not the only ones; Steven Tanzer says that it could be a Bandol and Robert Parker heaps praise on wine prospector Eric Solomon, saying, “Solomon’s wines are intense expressions of terroir.” This one could use a big juicy t-bone steak.

2009 Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, The Royal – $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Grab the passport, we’re off to South Africa. Though after one sip of this silky smooth Shiraz/Cab blend, you may think you’ve gone to the land down under, but alas, The Royal is from Africa’s southern tip. Adding 40% Cabernet Sauvignon to the blend gives the spicy Shiraz a blackberry backbone with just a hint of mocha spice. What to pair here? Think Africa. How ’bout ostrich fillet? Yum.

2009 Touraine Les Demoiselles – Domaine des Corbillières – $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Not new to us are the wines from Domaine des Corbillières. What IS new to us is Maurice Barbou’s Les Demoiselles cuvée, which is roughly 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Côt (Malbec), and 30% Cabernet Franc. Ding! Ding! Woot! Woot! Winner! Winner! The wine is an aromatic masterpiece of dark red, purple, and black berries, tobacco leaf, and cracked pepper, all singing around a mineral core. Fermented in tank, it’s fresh and juicy. We have a feeling that this one is a keeper. Enjoy with pasta with red sauce.

2007 Chianti Colli Sinese, Montenidoli – $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Oh wait, that pairing suggestion was meant for this wine! Oh well, we can have two pasta with red sauce wines in the same DD. Tuscan wine royalty Elisabetta Fagiuoli brews up some old-school Chianti using Sangiovese and Canaiolo. The wine is dense and rich with an herbal component that screams Old World. It is a Chianti that can be enjoyed now, but will gain in complexity if cellared properly.

2010 Malbec, Alberto Furque – $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Wine without filtration is the motto at Bodega Aconquija, better known to us as Alberto Furque. Winemaker Carolina Furque does not filter any of her wines. She feels that filtration removes important nuances in both aromas and flavors. Sometimes this may result in a little sediment, but the trade-off is worth it. This Malbec is grown at altitudes of around 3000 ft in the Andes Mountains, which is important for acidity levels in the wines. This wine will shine along side a roast pork tenderloin with chimichurri sauce.

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2009 Domaine des Corbillieres “Les Demoiselles”

Tuesday, December 13, 2011 8:21 PM



glasses



12-11-11 … or is it 11-12-11? That would be the European way, and seeing that I was there a week ago, I’m still a little confused. Yes, I got to see the Blues play a home match, and hopefully brought them some good luck for the remainder of the season. Stopped over in Paris to visit Virginie and Carsten (the chef). Let’s just say that both Carsten and I worked that day as some great food and wine were served. It’s been a bit of a blur since I returned, and just like that, I’ve landed in the middle of party season.So for tonight, I’m going to the home of some relatively new friends with whom I first bonded over a bottle of 2006 La Croix de Gay (which was stunning, btw). Last time I visited them, they had 2 chefs visiting from Zurich and a swath of scrumptious wines from all over the world. As a beverage industry professional, I feel it necessary to represent by bringing over something outstanding, of course, yet something a little different. Genius! A Lorie Valley red blend, that’s the ticket. How about our2009 Touraine Les Demoiselles from Domaine des Corbillières?

 

As we taste through the wines, it’s becoming pretty clear that 2009 was good to all the vignerons of France. It sure was a great vintage in Bordeaux.The Rhône Valley, both north and south, cranked out some great wines. We’ve been raving about the Cru Beaujolais, and it seems that the Loire Valley benefited too! Speaking of the Loire, we’ve been carrying the wines from Dominique Barbou’s Domaine des Corbillières for over a decade and a half. This year, we’re carrying something new from them, their Les Demoisellescuvée. Made from 40% Pinot Noir and 30% each Côt (Malbec) and Cabernet Franc, it’s a complex little quaffer! Toss in the perfect weather that 2009 seemed to bring to the entire country, and you’ve got a winner. The aromas are of dense cassis, tobacco leaf, and cracked pepper. On the palate, the fruit really jumps out and widens. Held together by excellent structure, its complexity can be pondered long after the wine is consumed. It’s got great weight, a juicy mouthfeel, and a very reasonable price tag. Yep, this is another representative of the 2009 vintage. Oh yeah, as December Wine Of The Month, it discounts 20% on full case purchases!

So yes, we all will be hearing about, and hopefully tasting French wines from 2009 for years to come. Look out for an email in the not-too-distant future about 2009 Bordeaux. The wines have just recently been bottled and have been out on the road in Europe and Asia (to huge praise). The tour is scheduled to hit California in late January.

It’s off to my first party of the season tonight, representing TWH with a bottle of 2009 Domaine des Corbillières Les Demoiselles. Not too festive, as I will be here in the shop today (Sunday) from 12 noon until 4 PM. Off Monday though, and we’ll see about whether or not my visit to Chelsea left any good luck for the club as they tackle league leading, undefeated Manchester City at noon our time. Mad Dog In The Fog anyone? – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about wine or football: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

2010 French Rose: Part Deux

Tuesday, June 21, 2011 4:36 PM







I must say, one of the things I miss most about living in the Midwest (aside from being able to say things like “bubbler” without having to explain myself) is summer. A proper summer. With proper summer temperatures. That said, we San Franciscans do a brilliant job of pretending our summers are like those everywhere else.

What’s that? It’s supposed to hit 68° today!? Whoo hoo, heat wave! Windy out!? Not gonna stop MY picnic from happening! Oh darn, there goes my basket…

Ballgames, barbeques, beaches, bikinis… We are nothing if not an optimistic bunch and occasionally Mother Nature rewards us for it. That right, it’s officially warm outside. As such, there is no better time to announce the arrival of:

***Even MORE 2010 French Rosé!!***

Domaine de Fondrèche 2010 “l’instant” Côtes du Ventoux Rosé

Fondrèche Rosé is back and pale as ever! Sebastien Vincenti, a protégé of André Brunel, is l’artiste behind Fondrèche and although he’s probably best known for his deeply concentrated and delicious red wines, his Rosé just might be his best-kept secret. This blend of 50% Cinsault, 30% Grenache, and 20% Syrah is made by a combination of techniques known for creating the best Rosé- pressurage directe for the Cinsault and Syrah, while the Grenache is fermented for a short time and then saigneé, or bled off, and blended in tank. The l’instant is a classic French Rosé with faint hints of freshly-picked strawberries and a crisp, dry mineral-driven finish. Oh, did I mention it also comes in MAGNUM format?! It’s a good thing too because we sold out of our Les Cimels Mags several days ago…. Phew, crisis averted!

Vignoble Boudinaud 2010 Pays D’Oc Rosé

If Fondrèche gets the gold medal in the “pale & pretty” category, Boudinaud’s 100% Syrah Rosé takes the top spot in “dark & deceiving”. All I can say about this wine is do NOT be fooled! When we did our staff tasting, every one of us presumed this one would be high in candied fruit and low in acid or mineral, but we could not have been more incorrect. Whoa, does this baby have zing!And why wouldn’t it? It’s Boudinaud for goodness sake! Why would we have ever doubted the quality… shame on us.

L’Ecuyer 2010 Bordeaux Rosé

I don’t do much card playing outside of solitaire on my phone, but I can say that 50-50 is a winning bet when it comes to 2010 Rosé from Bordeaux. Equal parts Cab Franc and Merlot, L’Ecuyer brings a slightly more herbal, earthy profile to the game while still maintaining the bright fruit and clean finish you expect out of a quality Rosé. It’s also got a cool new label resembling a playing card that’s something of a cross between a joker and a club (don’t you like how I tied that all together? Thanks, I try). Hey, I’m not above aesthetics when the product inside lives up to the hype… and this one does. Truly a winner, inside and out.

Domaine des Corbillieres 2010 Touraine Pinot Noir Rosé

I’m not going to say that I’ve saved the best for last, as I really don’t even know that I could choose a favorite out of our 2010 Rosé selections (believe me, I tried to yesterday when a customer asked and ended up with that “deer in headlights” thing happening on my face- not a good look) but I’m also not going to be shy about professing my love for all things made by Dominique Barbou. This 100% Pinot Noir Rosé went through a 12-hour steeping period (that’s a LONG time!) before being transferred to a settling vat for natural fermentation to take place. The result is a pale wine, slightly spicy, with a vague hint of white pepper laced raspberries and killer acidity. It’s just begging to be paired with food. Any food really, but I’m thinking cedar plank-grilled salmon with lemon, fennel, and capers.

Speaking of lemons, one of the things I love most about living in the Bay Area is how everyone has a lemon tree in their yard. I know they’re not in season right now, but they sure are lovely basking in the sun. Cheers to summer! – Emily Crichton

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