Friday, July 3, 2015 7:38 PM
Monday, June 15, 2015 7:29 PM
Tuesday, June 9, 2015 5:55 PM
If one were to ask a hundred different people what their favorite month is, June would most likely top the chart. Any school kid would choose it, those that love to welcome summer would follow suit. June brides, Dads, and grads all have reason to put the sixth month first. Here at TWH, we’ve got a soft spot for June as well. The clock is ticking; summer is almost here! To get ready for it, why not pick up the June Dirty Dozen today? 12 wines, all different, all chosen for their versatility, one low price!
Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.
2013 Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Blanc $11.99, $9.59 reorder
White wines from the Rhône Valley are some of the best bang-for-your-buck wines in the world! This one is a blend of 50% Rolle (some call it Vermentino), 30% Grenache Blanc, and 20% Roussanne, all tank-fermented with fresh and lively fruit expression. This is best served with light summer salads or avocado bruschetta drizzled with balsamic vinegar.
2012 Chenin Blanc, Blue Plate $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Here’s a Chenin Blanc grown sustainably in the Sacramento Delta commune of Clarksburg. It is pure sunny, melon-laden and tropical-tinged juice. The fruit is picked early to keep acids fresh and sugars in check. Fleshy, yet dry, this versatile white pairs up well with fried chicken and all the traditional sides.
2014 Vinho Verde, Arca Nova $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Slightly effervescent and super low in alcohol, a well-made Portugese Vinho Verde, like this one, is perfect for daytime imbibing or partnering up with a picnic. A family-owned winery, Arca Nova makes their Vinho Verde from the grapes, Loureiro, Arinto and Trajadura. For an unexpected pairing, try it with spicy pan-fried rice noodles like Pad Kee Mow.
2012 Riesling Vieilles Vignes, Domaine Ehrhart $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Okay, try this one. You’re sitting at a restaurant with a few friends. One friend orders a turkey sandwich. Another goes for corned beef and cabbage. A third likes the idea of the Dungeness crab salad, and you can’t take your eyes off the fish tacos. Think you all need the ‘by the glass’ list? Think again. This dry Riesling works with all of them.
2013 Chardonnay/Torrontes, Martin Fierro $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Tulum Valley, Argentina is north of Mendoza. The vines there grow at elevations exceeding 2000 feet. The combination of Chardonnay and Torrontes makes for a fragrant yet perky, clean wine. A chilled glass to linger over on the veranda is nice especially with some nibbles of fava bean puree on crostini, crunchy crudité or a composed dinner salad.
NV Vouvray, Domaine d’Orfeuilles $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder
June is a month known for several celebrations. And though we highly promote sparkling wines to be served at any occasion, this bottle may come in handy should you need a quick fizz pick me up. It’s made from Chenin Blanc and has aromas of dusty mineral and a crisp apple. Sparkling wine pairs very well with salty snacks like chips or popcorn.
2011 Syrah/Grenache, Laurent Miquel $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Spicy Syrah combined with juicy Grenache is a traditional blend in the Languedoc. Laurent Miquel vinifies these two complementary grapes to create an accessible and plush red. One famous British wine writer described producer Laurent Miquel “as one of the most reliable and forward-looking in the Languedoc.” Serve with any Mediterranean inspired dish.
2008 Tempranillo, Gárgola $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
This structured, soft tannin Spanish red comes from grapes grown in the Extramadura region. Situated along the border with Portugal in western Spain, this sparsely populated region is rich in wildlife and home to the famous Jamón Ibérico. Try this cured-meat delicacy with some Marcona almonds and a large goblet of the Gárgola for a quick festive feast!
2012 Grenache, Blue Plate $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Looking for a warm-weather red quaffer? Something juicy and light with little oak? If so, the Blue Plate Grenache is the one for you! Pretty aromas of strawberry, raspberry and a hint of violet charm the senses. Light-bodied and fresh, serve with teriyaki-glazed chicken, Korean short-ribs or anything spicy and assertive that needs a fruity back drop.
2013 Syrah, Domaine Saint Antoine $11.49, $9.19 reorder
Coming from just outside the Rhône Valley, our friends at Saint Antoine craft this brawny Syrah. Another terroir-driven wine that speaks of its place of origin, it’s 100% de-stemmed and all tank fermented. Pair it with Papardelle with rabbit sauce.
2010 Château La Gorre, Médoc $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder
Wait. What??? 2010 Left Bank Bordeaux in the Dirty Dozen? You bet. 2010 was one of the best vintages in the region in recent memory. La Gorre is another producer located in the village of Bégadan, and their 2010 is expressive and balanced. Treat it special: get the good stemware, a decanter, someone to share it with and a nice T-Bone steak.
2011 Ventoux Fayard, Domaine Fondrèche $17.99, $14.39 reorder
Winemaker Sébastien Vincenti has one of the best locales in all of Ventoux, and continues to churn out expressive wines with charm and complexity. For his Fayard blend, Vincenti uses 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre to give it some gaminess and backbone. Pop it with a simple Margherita pizza and your taste buds will be tickled.
Check Out Our Complete Inventory at Click here to purchase all 12 wines for $109!
Monday, June 1, 2015 7:22 PM
As wine trends go, I am over-joyed by the uptick in frequency of customers asking specifically for lighter reds. It warms this wine merchant’s heart to see wine drinkers embrace a wider diversity of wine styles. As we head into the summer months, it is not as if we all stop drinking red wine and start drinking white and rosé exclusively. And yet, how often, even with a rich piece of grilled meat, does a heavy tannic red fall flat (or hot) when outside temperatures spike? Avoid this mishap by selecting a softer tannin red, one that does not sacrifice flavor and complexity for heft like the 2014 Poco a Poco Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. I know I’ll be looking forward to bringing along a bottle to share with family and friends at one of this summer’s out-on-the-deck beneath the Redwoods dinner gatherings. – Anya Balistreri
Tuesday, May 19, 2015 10:10 PM
Monday, May 4, 2015 8:52 PM
Tuesday, April 21, 2015 9:14 PM
Tuesday, April 14, 2015 12:56 AM
Philippe and Corinne Ehrhart have transformed their centuries old domaine into an estate committed tosustainability and conscientious farming practices.They are certified organic and biodynamic. Their emphasis on meticulous work in the vineyard reflects back in the glass. TWH has proudly offered their range of AOC and Grand Cru whites, but it is only recently that we’ve stocked their Pinot Noir.
Saturday, April 11, 2015 5:45 PM
Bricco delle Viole courtesy G.D. Vajra’s Facebook page
Tuesday, March 24, 2015 12:51 PM
Tuesday, March 17, 2015 8:29 PM
Brick & Mortar is an exciting new wine project we are betting will be getting more and more attention once theirminiscule production levels increase for wider distribution. But for now, only a few select places, mostly top Bay Area restaurants, are able to offer their wines –and we’re one of the lucky ones!
We were introduced to Brick & Mortar by way of one of David’s tasting groups. The winemaker, Matthew Iaconis, met with us at the store to share his story and pour his wines. By the time he left the building, David and I were conspiring to figure out how much we should buy! The wines are compelling and Matthew’s confidence and enthusiasm convinced us that he is a winemaker we want to get in with on the ground floor, so to speak.
Matthew, a native Californian, played football for UC Davis where he was studying Atmospheric Science – he wanted to be an astronaut! It was also at UC Davis that he took an introductory course on winemaking; this changed everything for him. After college, Matthew worked at wineries here and abroad. Most recently, he has worked with the Antinori family in Napa Valley. It is through this connection that he was able to acquire the fruit he needed to start his own project. Working with fruit from Cougar Rock Vineyard, a high elevation vineyard in the Atlas Peak appellation, Matthew achieves balance and finesse with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in what is typically thought of as Cab Country. The elevation and exposition of the vineyard allows for daytime sun and cool nights, perfectly suited for these Burgundian varietals. In addition, Matthew sources Pinot Noir from a vineyard on the other side of the Valley up on Spring Mountain.
The 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir is superb. It is quite delicate and subtle in the fruit department, yet the strawberry flavors of Pinot Noir come across. Using the saignée method of bleeding juice off of his two Napa Valley Pinot Noirs, Matthew then places half in stainless steel and the other in neutral barrel. It is a smart approach, preserving both texture and freshness in the wine. The pale, pale pink color, by the way, is divine. (55 cases produced)
The 2013 Chardonnay combines texturally rich fruit with a lifted palate feel. Neither overblown nor heavy,this is a composed Chardonnay that showcases sun-kissed fruit in a more discreet fashion. Barrel-aged, but only in a third new oak, this is a citrus-laden Chardonnay that accentuates acidity and stoniness on the finish. (260 cases produced)
Rounding out the trio of Brick & Mortar wines is the 2012 Pinot Noir. Put aside any pre-existing notions of Napa Valley Pinot Noir. This is mountain fruit – it has depth and reveals layers of flavors. The 2012 Pinot Noir is reflective of the character of Cougar Rock Vineyard. Matthew uses two blocks within the vineyard that run east/west. The soils are a mixture of gravelly loam and dusty red clay with extensive granite rock strewn about the parcel. For this wine Matthew put the grapes through an extended cold-soak with native yeast fermentation and then aged the wine in once used French oak barrels. His intention was to let the vineyard shine through the wine. We appreciated the soft, rounded texture and savored the deep, red berry fruit that was framed by earthier notes. Like the other two wines of Brick & Mortar, the 2012 Pinot Noircombines a pleasurable fruit presence with elegance. All of the wines sit lively on the palate. (110 cases produced) – Anya Balistreri
Tuesday, March 10, 2015 6:10 PM
Could it be that spring is on the horizon? Yes, indeed. The month of March has all sorts of wonderful things to deliver. Think about it. Spring training for baseball lovers, March Madness for fans of college hoops, St. Patty’s Day for amateurs, and the start of spring for those of us who long for warmer weather. This March, why not try out a Dirty Dozen? 12 bottles, all different, all chosen for their versatility, for one low price. The March 2015 Dirty Dozen. Yay!
Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.
2013 Chardonnay Viognier, Laurent Miquel $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Thank you Laurent Miquel for elevating the French country wine to such heights! Harvesting at night and fermenting in stainless steel tank make for a fresh, clean wine that offers up the sunny fruit of the Languedoc. Apricots and citrus fruit flavors abound. Chicken, lemon-stuffed and roasted or drowning in Mojo sauce, would do nicely here.
2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Colline Blanc, La Cabotte $12.48 net price, $10.78 reorder
La Cabotte’s vineyards are certified biodynamic and organic. A third each of Grenache blanc, Clairette and Viognier harmoniously blend together to make a classic white Rhône – stone fruit flavors prevail while the finish retains a striking minerality. The quality over delivers for price on this charmer! A brined and roasted pork loin would pair perfectly!
2012 Ranina Mea Culpa, Kogl $13.98, $12.58 reorder
A wine from Slovenia? A DD first! Ranina is considered indigenous to Slovenia. A wild crossing between some Pinot variety and an unknown parent, Ranina is often used for sweet wine. Kogl prefers to ferment their Ranina dry. White-fleshed fruit and subtle floral aromas on the nose combine to make a captivating, delicious white wine. A wonderful choice for heat-spiked foods and fresh water fish.
2013 Touraine Rosé, Domaine des Corbillières $15.99, $12.79 reorder
Now that the days are getting longer and the weather warmer, it just makes sense to have some Rosé handy. Ah, but this is no ordinary Rosé! Hints of citrus blossoms and red berry fruit are noticeable on the bouquet, yet the palate is crisp. Extremely versatile, one can be quite creative when thinking of pairing partners, though a sunny picnic will do.
2013 Hors Saison, Domaine La Hitaire $13.99, $11.19 reorder
In the local dialect, Hors Saison means outdoor season. It is March, and around these parts, March is not just a verb. It is the time of year when windows open, blossoms appear, and fresh, easy-drinking white wines are fashionable. This blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon is light and refreshing. It is ideal to pour with macaroni salad with tuna and mayo.
2012 Gavi di Gavi Rovereto, Ernesto Picollo $16.79, $13.43 reorder
Direct-importation is responsible for this amazing wine to come to us for such a ridiculously low price! It’s all about the crisp dried yellow fruits and minerals here. If you can pair it with halibut puttanesca, you’ll be in Schaeffer City!
2013 Garnacha, Bodegas Filón $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
DO Catalayud is part of Spain’s Ebro River Valley region, where high elevation vineyards seek refuge from the dry, arid Spanish interior. Garnacha thrives in this region, producing sappy, rich reds with notes of mint. Bodegas Filón does a noble job at producing an open-armed, succulent Garnacha. Time to serve up some patatas al ajillo with chorizo!
2012 Peljesac, Dingac $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
An hour drive north of Dubrovnik, the Peljesac Peninsula juts 40 miles out into the Adriatic. In this part of Croatia, the native grape Plavac Mali is commonly planted. This Plavac Mali is fashioned in a locally popular style – the grapes are harvested late giving the wine the quality of sur-maturité. This super ripeness shows on the nose but not on the palate. Plummy flavors with dried herbs characterize the wine. Be adventurous – pair with Korean short ribs or fajitas.
2009 L’Artisan Languedoc, Laurent Miquel $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Predominantly Syrah, this is a full-bodied southern French red. Typical of the region, the Syrah impart spice notes of white and black pepper. A tiny touch of Grenache is blended in to give a fruitier dimension. Honestly, this one, because it has had time to settle in bottle, goes with practically any cuisine – all the edges have been smoothed out.
2011 Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Rouge $12.99, $10.39 reorder
Red Rhône wines have to be counted among the most consistent bargains of the wine world. For quality and price, it’s tough to go elsewhere. For this one, Diane Puymorin blends 10% old vine Carignan and 10% old vine Mourvèdre with Syrah and Grenache and the result is quite complex for a wine in this price range. Serve it with sautéed veal cutlets.
2012 Syrah/Grenache, Grange des Rouquette $11.99, $9.59 reorder
Speaking of red Rhône wines, Thierry Boudinaud uses a similar recipe to craft his entry-level red. His Syrah/Grenache receives the added benefit of a little Mourvèdre (10%), which gives the wine a little added complexity. It’s fresh and charming, no problem if you want to pour it on its own, but it will pair well with pasta in red sauce or a calzone.
2012 Pinotage, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder
South Africa’s signature grape, Pinotage was created as a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsault back in the 1920s. Alex Dale’s Winery of Good Hope’s version is all de-stemmed and consists of only the free-run juice, keeping the fruit at the forefront. Serve it with a slight chill, and enjoy with spicy carnitas served on corn tortillas.
Check Out Our Complete Inventory at WineSF.com
Click here to purchase all 12 wines for $109!
|Reg. $156.58On Sale $109.00|
Monday, March 9, 2015 7:01 PM
Have you ever had one of those weeks where a seemingly innocuous playground accident turned into a three hour visit at the doctor’s office, then leaving with your child wearing a cast on her hand? The visit to the doctor, of course, had been further complicated because your husband’s truck was in the shop and had to use your car for the day, so you had to borrow a ride to get to the doctor’s office in the first place? It doesn’t end there – the truck doesn’t get fixed as quickly as promised, therefore you had to get ready even earlier all week so that there was enough time to drive your husband to work before dropping your child off at school and then try to make it to work on time? What about deciding to wake up extra early on that week’s Saturday so that you can take a long, peaceful shower and perhaps linger over coffee while reading the morning paper before heading off to work, only to discover that the doghad thrown-up in the kitchen as well as had pooped all over the floor of the shower? Ever had one of those weeks? I think you know what I am talking about.
Monday, February 23, 2015 8:38 PM
I’ve enjoyed the Scaia rosso starting with the 2007 vintage. Many of you may already be familiar with Scaiaespecially if you’ve been a frequent buyer of The Dirty Dozen; the Scaia goes in nearly every vintage.
And yet, the2012 Scaiadistinguishes itself from past bottlings. Now the varietal, Corvina, is prominently written on the handsome, newly updated front label and Veneto is identified as the IGT or indicazione geografica tipica. But more importantly, it is the wine that makes the 2012 their finest effort. For a 100% Corvina it is pleasantly dense and rich at the core while still maintaining freshness and light tannins. The fruit is all red cherry with a thread of green, typical of the grape.
And Pete is right when he wrote, “life’s too short to not enjoy something special at least once a month.”Splurging is good, but if you can’t (or don’t want to) you shouldn’t have to jeopardize quality in order to enjoy an affordable glass of wine. It may take a bit more effort on your part to find such a wine, but that’s why you have us here at The Wine House – to help you find the best possible wine to enjoy at any price.
Monday, February 16, 2015 7:40 PM
February might be the shortest month of the year, but it’s packed with fun stuff to do! There’s Valentine’s Day, of course, but Presidents’ Day and winter break right afterward. That’s reason enough to have a Dirty Dozen handy. Think about it, 12 wines, all chosen for their versatility, in one handy box, for one incredibly low price. So no matter what’s cooking, there’s something in this here sampler that will pair well beside it. Vive la Dirty Dozen!
Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.
2013 Trebbiano d’Abruzzo, Col del Mondo $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
An old favorite makes a return visit to the DD. These mature Trebbiano grapes are grown on silt/clay soils rich in calcareous elements. Winds off the Adriatic keep temps cool at night, preserving freshness. Meticulous work in the vineyard yields results that over-deliver for the price. Unoaked and yet dripping with sunny, citrusy flavors – delizioso! Serving suggestions include veal Piccata, a bowl of Castelvetrano olives, or a rotisserie Chicken.
2013 Chardonnay, Sean Minor $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
This Central Coast Chardonnay is put together keeping balance in mind as only a portion of the wine is aged in barrel. A Chardonnay that is unapologetically Californian in flavor profile: apple, pear, with nuances of tropical fruit. A rounded, creamy finish will compliment Swiss enchiladas, pan-roasted salmon or it can go solo at your next book club meeting.
2013 Pinot Grigio, Riff $11.98, $10.78 reorder
One of Italy’s most famous producers, Alois Lageder, makes this delightful, delicious and de-lovely Pinot Grigio. Fermented in tank and left on its lees for four months to develop texture, this is far removed from the sea of plonky Pinot Grigio. Depth and pronounced aromas of orchard fruit make this a perennial TWH favorite. Food match-ups are endless here, but to get you started: Oysters Rockefeller, clam chowder, or a grilled Gruyere & ham sandwich. Nice!
2012 Unoaked Chardonnay, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder
English expat Alex Dale has a few labels under his umbrella down Stellenbosch way. His entry-level brand, The Winery of Good Hope doesn’t spend precious resources on new barrels, packaging, or marketing, ultimately keeping their bottle prices über-friendly. Here it is: Lively Chardonnay with no make-up, waiting to be poured with those crabcakes.
2012 Bordeaux Clairet, Château Armurey $9.99, $7.99 reorder
Speaking of the English – They’ve called red Bordeaux wines “Claret” for centuries. Where’d they get that from? In the Middle Ages, light red wine called Clairet (say Klare-ay´) was shipped from Bordeaux to England, and that inspired this now permanent fixture in their lexicon. Not a red wine, not a Rosé, this Clairet is as versatile as it is easy on the wallet!
NV Touraine Brut Rosé, Domaine d’Orfeuilles $17.98 net price, $16.18 reorder
Just in time for Valentine’s Day, here’s a pink sparkler with plenty of nuance and character. Made mostly from Côt (non Loire people call it Malbec), it sports a deep brick-like color, but don’t let that fool you. This fizz is dry and zesty, the fruit pings with freshness, and there is gravelly mineral at its core. Perfect to open with tempura and/or sushi.
2013 Luberon, Dauvergne Ranvier $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Juicy black cherry and plum flavors are embraced by firm, velvety tannins making this the ideal anytime Rhône red. Two-thirds Syrah with the balance Grenache, this wine captures the easy-to-drink profile of the region. Each sip can elicit taste memories of fruit and Provençal herbs. Try with turkey and hominy chili (make it as hot as you like, this red with handle the heat), lamb burgers or white bean and kale stew for meatless Monday.
2013 Nero d’Avola, Marchione $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
The dark-skinned Nero d’Avola is Sicily’s most important and widely planted grape. This rendition of Nero d’Avola opts to take the fresher route by fermenting the grapes in tank, leaving the acid bright and the fruit intense. A charming Nero d’Avola if ever there was one. It is well suited for tomato-based sauces and dishes, as well as Mediterranean seafood stews like Cioppino or Bouillabaisse. Too much effort? Ok then, a lamb shawarma or carnitas burrito can do in a pinch.
2013 Bobal, Atance $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
One can easily make the case that Spain produces the greatest selection of wine values in the world. Allow us to put into evidence, Atance Bobal. Crusader of Bobal, Toni Sarrion of Bodegas Mustiguillo, makes this wine using grapes from the DO Valencia. A medium-bodied red, the aromatics have an alluring thread of black pepper in tandem with the raspberry fruit. Muy ricos!
2013 Merlot, Domaine de St. Antoine $11.49, $9.19 reorder
Jean-Louis Emmanuel’s terroir in the hills to the southeast of the city of Nîmes have been compared to the terroir of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. He grows Syrah as well, but he found something to his liking by planting Merlot under the hot sun of the Costières de Nîmes. It’s juicy and medium bodied with a hint of the garrigue; great with pasta and duck ragu.
2011 Morgon Côte du Py, Domaine Pierre Savoye $18.99 net price, $15.19 reorder
There are 10 classified ‘Crus’, or growths, in Beaujolais. Though they’re not labeled as such, their recognition suggests each one special, akin to Premier Cru or Grand Cru. The wines from Morgon’s Côte du Py are considered to be some of Beaujolais’ more age worthy. Think bright red cherries and forest floor, this juicy number suits a turkey sando just fine.
2012 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Le Farnete $14.59, $11.67 reorder
Hardly a newfangled ‘Super Tuscan,’ Cabernet Sauvignon has been allowed to grow in Carmignano since Medici times. Blended with 80% Sangiovese, the Barco Reale shows plenty of brightness braced by the sturdy Cabernet fruit. This is a food wine extraordinaire, as it will suit pasta, pizza, stews, barbecue, veal shanks, meatballs; we could keep going!
Check Out Our Complete Inventory at WineSF.com
Wednesday, February 11, 2015 1:25 PM
Sneaky – that’s the way I see it anyway. The 2012 Mâcon Villages Les Tilles from Jean-Marie Chaland is sneaky the way its flavors intensify with repeated sips. With an unoaked Chardonnay from the Mâconnais you might not expect much complexity, but this one is different. Once you get past the first refreshing, satisfying swallow, what emerges is a sophisticated expression of classic Chardonnay flavors like apple and pear.
Talented winemaker Jean-Marie Chaland, whose swashbuckler good looks make him a shoo-in for a remake of The Three Musketeers, organically farms several old-vine (some darn near ancient) micro-parcels in the villages of Viré and Montbellet. The grapes for the 2012 Les Tillesare mere youngsters at 40-50 years old and come from a single parcel grown on a plateau of clay and limestone soil near Montbellet. Jean-Marie takes a simple approach to vinifying this wine: stainless steel tank fermentation, natural yeasts, no added sugars or acidification. What you taste in the glass, aside from any clever flavor descriptor I can come up with, is the environment in which the grapes were grown (soil, climate, viticultural practices) and Jean-Marie’s gentle guidance of turning the grapes into wine.
Monday, January 26, 2015 9:15 PM
Picpoul de Pinet refers both to the name of the grape and the appellation; something you don’t often encounter on a French wine label. The vineyards grow along the Etang de Thau which is a series of lagoons that stretch along the Mediterranean coast. The water has high salinity and is host to a thriving oyster-producing community. Like Muscadet, Picpoul de Pinet is a natural choice for oysters on the half shell. To illustrate this point,Domaine Julie Benau’s Picpoul de Pinet literally has a pen and ink sketch of an oyster on the front label. Though personally, I wouldn’t limit Benau’s Picpoul de Pinet to just raw shellfish – that would be a mistake. Boquerones, grilled sardines or a creamy Brandade would be a great way to go if you had this perky white chilling in the fridge.
Wednesday, January 21, 2015 12:55 AM
Happy New Year! It’s January 2015, time for new beginnings, and renewed optimism. As we look back and see the holidays in our wake, it’s comforting to feel the relative calm that January brings. It’s a great month to just chill, get caught up on our reading, and taste some new wines. The Dirty Dozen is exactly the discovery tool to accompany all three pastimes. So kick off your shoes, get the glasses, and let the DD do the entertaining!
Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine!
Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines
2012 Alento, Monte Branco $12.98 net price, 11.68 reorder
A slew of autochthonous grapes make up the blend for this zippy Portuguese white. It’s an easy sipper with pronounced amounts of bright, citrusy flavors. Young winemaker Luís Louro established the winery in Alentejo, a wine region in the southern part of the country. Saffron-infused steamed mussels and crab cakes work well as does a winter veggie slaw.
2011 Chardonnay, Brezza $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
This Langhe Chardonnay comes from an estate located near the town of Barolo, Italy. It is all stainless steel tank fermented, so it is a crisp rendition of this famed grape variety. 20+ year-old vines grown on sand and silt make for a stylish, structured white. Serve with pizza bianca or clam linguine.
2014 Gewurztraminer, Banyan $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
This is seriously delicious Gewurztraminer! Perfumed aromatics are met with a dry, vibrant finish. The fruit is sourced from Monterey County, where climate suits the varietal well. The winemaker, of Thai decent, deliberately set out to make a wine to pair with Southeast Asian cuisine. Burmese tea leaf salad, Panang beef curry, Pad Kee Mao, oh yeah!
2013 Syrah Rosé, Domaine Saint Antoine $11.49, $9.19 reorder
Jean-Louis Emmanuel and his wife Marlène run this estate and its 20 hectares planted on a plateau of rocky limestone in the Costières de Nîmes. Their Rosé is made from 100% Syrah using the saignée method, or “bleeding” the juice off the skins after a short time on them. It’s a versatile wine that pairs well with pork chops, tuna salad, or a warm kitchen.
2011 Chardonnay, Lalande $13.99, $11.19 reorder
A semi-frequent visitor to the DD, the Lalande Chardonnay is a no-brainer in the quality for price Chardonnay category. It’s bright and fleshy with a crisp finish. It sees 33% new, 1-year, and 2-year old barrel to give it texture and aromatic complexity. Enjoy this one with a fried chicken sandwich, crab pasta salad, or just a baguette and some green olives.
NV Crémant d’Alsace, Domaine Ehrhart $17.98 net price, $16.18 reorder
TWH pals Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart farm organically and make their Crémant d’Alsace from 100% Chardonnay. It’s rich and creamy, with just the right amount of balancing acidity. It’s always good to have a bottle of sparkling wine handy just in case an occasion presents itself! You know what sounds great right now? Brats, potato pancakes, and this!
2010 Touriga Nacional, Quinta do Pinto $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Big, rugged, earthy with plum flavors and a hint of tobacco and chocolate on the finish, this 100% Touriga Nacional is perfect for winter’s heavier fare. The winery is situated in the Lisboa wine region, which stretches along the Atlantic coast west and north of Lisbon. Aged for nine months in 2 & 3-year old French oak barrels, this wine will warm the soul even on the chilliest of evenings. Pair with braised, slow-cooked dishes, crusty bread and a roaring fire.
2012 Scaia, Tenuta Sant’ Antonio $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
A wildly popular red from a producer of Valpolicella and Amarone, Scaia is made from 100% Corvina. Juicy, red cherry and wild strawberry fruit is bolstered with herb and forest floor notes. Medium-bodied and plush, this is a crowd-pleasing, versatile red. Perfect for a wild mushroom ragout, Shepherd’s Pie, or truffled mac-n-cheese.
2012 Blue Plate Grenache, Picnic Wine Co. $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
A boisterous and playful lighter-styled California Grenache intentionally constructed to show off the grape’s juicy nature. Fresh strawberry and raspberry flavors are left unobstructed by oak, making this an ideal red to serve at daytime events. At home, take a cue from the label and serve with meatloaf and mashed potatoes or other diner favorites.
2010 Tradicional, Quinta do Alqueve $11.29, $9.03 reorder
Here’s another head-scratching, “How do they do it?” wine coming out of Portugal. We don’t ask how, we just enjoy it! It’s a four grape blend: Touriga Nacional (40%), Tinta Roriz (30%), Trincadeira (20%), and Castelão (10%). It gets a little oak treatment to knit them all together, and bam, is it ever great! Pair it with small bites like meatballs or sliders.
2013 Pinot Noir, Lomas Del Valle $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Coming to us from Chile, the Lomas del Valle Pinot Noir tips the scales in the quality for price Pinot Noir department. Its aromas are of lovely Pinot-berry fruit with depth and earthy complexity. On the palate, it shows medium body with a red fruit attack that melts in the fresh acidity and finishes in harmony. We’re thinking thin-crust Neapolitan pizza here.
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Vinum Africa $17.99, $14.39 reorder
Transplanted Brit Alex Dale now calls South Africa his home and is involved with making and marketing the wines for Vinum Africa. Many have concluded the etching on the bottle to be an ancient tribal symbol, but alas, it’s just a clever way of spelling Vinum. This Cabernet comes from a sensational vintage when everything went right. We’re thinking a grilled T-Bone steak for this one.
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Monday, January 5, 2015 8:02 PM
If it isn’t Champagne, what do you call it? In France, the term used to denote a sparkling wine other than Champagne is Crémant. The 2010 Crémant de Bourgogne Perle de Roche from Domaine Sainte Barbe is therefore technically not a Champagne but you’d be hard pressed to know that if given a glass to taste blind.
Monday, December 22, 2014 11:33 PM
Bouzereau’s 2011 Bourgogne Blanc is a sensational deal. How often can you drink white Burgundy priced at $24.95 per bottle and get this level of complexity? Sadly, not too often these days. That said, it is our unending quest to keep searching the Côte D’Or for hidden gems to import at affordable prices. Though Bouzereau no longer can be considered a “hidden gem”, as the domaine is becoming well recognized for making exceptional Meursaults, Puligny-Montrachets and Volnays,it is their Bourgogne Blanc that gives us mere mortals with aspirations of drinking more white Burgundy more often the possibility to pull the cork even on casual occasions.