Whether you are taking a long weekend, having a short work-week, or it is business as usual, the Fourth of July lands mid-week and it signalsSummerSummertime drinkin’ time. Here are three wines that I’ll be enjoying over the next few days at the beach, on the deck, by the grill, with family, with friends, by myself:


An urban winery movement is happening in San Francisco; a lot of them are sprouting up around The Wine House. We are proud to offer wine from these local artisans. One such new producer on the scene is Qualia, whose young, talented winemaker, Jason Kivelstadt, also runs a successful business providing wine kegs from premium wineries to restaurants and bars. Jason began his wine career at Copain and Donum Estate with the long view goal of making wine from his family’s vineyard in Bennett Valley.The 2009 Qualia Syrah-Grenache is comprised of 60% Syrah from Kivelstadt Vineyard, the family vineyard, and 40% Grenache from Kick Ranch, a vineyard used most notably by Bedrock Wine Co. It’s a super tasty amalgamation of raspberry fruit with notes of black pepper and spice. Fruit-driven and plush, for me, this is a wine that is unequivocally Californian and one that I can bring along to share with my domestic wine-drinking crowd, impress them and enjoy the wine myself.
2009 Qualia Wines Syrah Grenache Sonoma County

Red Wine; Red Blend; Sonoma;
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Ernesto Picollo

If there exists someone who doesn’t love Ernesto Picollo’s Gavi, I haven’t yet met that person. We’ve been sold out of Picollo’s Gavi for months as our Italian container took a little longer to arrive than expected-so what else is new-and I thought there might be a riot. Truly. At $8.92 per bottle when purchased by the case, it really is one of the best deals in town, as the saying goes. Made entirely from the Cortese grape grown in south-eastern Piedmont where the influence of the Mediterranean can be felt, this Italian white is not only delicious, light in alcohol and refreshing, but the interplay of fruit and acidity is so satisfying that it’s a wine hard to tire of. It’s got what I call the“potato-chip syndrome” because one sip isn’t enough…you’ve got to have more!
2011 Picollo Ernesto Gavi

White Wine; other white varietal; Piedmont;
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Domaine Bart

The 2011 Marsannay Rose from Domaine Bart is simply gorgeous: a pale-hued pink laden with wild strawberry and Crenshaw melon fruit, it finishes dry, as one would hope, and has a rich texture, which makes it perfect to serve with firm-fleshed fish as well as four-legged critters. Marsannay is the closest appellation to the city of Dijon and the only village allowed to be named on a bottle of Burgundian Rose. Domaine Bart’s winemaker, Martin Bart, uses 1/3 saignee and 2/3 pressed wine for this cuvee. The Pinot Noir fruit is expressive and unmistakable. When temperatures rise, a well-chilled glass of Rose is what I begin to crave. We’ll be grilling over the Fourth and if temperatures don’t dive below 85 by the time we sit down to dine, I’m serving this Marsannay Rose instead of a red. And here is why: when it is hot outside, no matter if you chill it down, a red will sit clumsy on the palate and show heat. If you serve a structured Rose that has a bit of grip like the 2011 Marsannay Rose from Domaine Bart, you’ll be amazed at how well it drinks throughout the meal.
2011 Domaine Martin Bart Marsannay Rose

Rose; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
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It has been three weeks straight of sports camps for my daughter and husband (he runs the camp, my daughter goes along). And we are ALL exhausted! We are heading off for a bit of R & R. Can sleeping in past 8am be close at hand? Oh, I hope so. We’re packed and ready, including the dog and the 3 wine selections above. Apart from a fireworks show, no plans have been set in stone and I’m relishing the thought of unstructured time and plenty of rest. Wishing all of you a safe, relaxing, and fun-filled Fourth of July!Anya Balistreri