Glorious Mountain-Top California Cabernet Sauvignon!
Bill Arbios began winemaking over 40 years ago! He has achieved a level of expertise in his field that few ever have the opportunity to reach. After working for several influential wineries in the 70's and 80's, Bill was finally able to fulfill his dream of making wine from his own vineyard. Bill planted a 21-acre hilltop vineyard in Alexander Valley to his specifications using 6 different clones of Cabernet Sauvignon on soil that is essentially rock. The vineyard struggles each year to produce. The stress of the vines limits yields and concentrates flavors.
We’ve carried this outstanding Cabernet Sauvignon for over a decade. It is pretty much a staple here at TWH for several reasons, not the least of which is that in an era of super-pricey California Cabernets (think $200 plus a bottle), this estate-grown, balanced red is a steal at $30. It really is almost unheard of to have this level of quality (small production; sustainably-grown fruit; family-run winery; prime growing region) so fairly priced. The 2013 Arbios Cabernet Sauvignon spent almost three years in French oak barrel of which only a third of it was new. It has rich dark fruit flavors, plum and black currant, with warm spice notes. The oak stands in the background, giving texture to the tannins. Overall this is a very elegant Cabernet Sauvignon. Truly yummy!
So whether you are looking for a giftable red for your long list of clients or want to stock up this winter with a full-bodied Cabernet to go with prime rib roast on Christmas or steaks on New Year's Eve, consider Arbios to fill those needs.
Only a week in to December and I am feeling the pressure. It's as if I'm standing in front of several tennis ball machines swatting at balls coming at me from all directions. The name of the game is survival. In a span of six days my daughter was in seven musical theater performances; 4 on stage, 3 behind the scenes. There were a lot of high energy moments, so I was not surprised when she called from school, complaining of a headache and promptly fell asleep after coming home early. She needed it. It's all about pacing yourself. So eliminate the stress of finding the right bottle of wine. Come on by or give us a call and we'll help select the right wine for you. The 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon from Arbios is certainly one I recommend for the reasons I mentioned above and for one other: Susan and Bill Arbios are some of the kindest people you'll ever meet! Good people; good wine. ~ Anya Balistreri
Douglas Danielak is a veteran winemaker who has worked primarily for small premium wineries in the Napa Valley. Under the label Juicy Rebound, Douglas makes wines for himself, focusing on Rhône varietals. Towards that end, Douglas makes quintessential California wine through a French lens. Douglas studied winemaking and worked harvest in France before getting his enology degree from UC Davis. In the late 80's, Douglas teamed up with Jim Paras to form Jade Mountain Winery, one of the wineries associated with the Rhone Rangers movement. I still remember (and can almost taste) their Mourvedre and a blend they called La Provençale. Those wines were delicious and affordable - just like Juicy Rebound.
The 2016 Juicy Villages Cuvee Unique No. 34 is a blend of Roussanne, Viognier and Grenache Blanc. Much of the fruit for this blend was acquired from a very high profile grower who wishes to remain nameless. This is a gorgeous, sumptuous white that teases out all the exotic goodness of these varietals while still keeping the balance of flavors tightly corralled. Surprisingly, no oak was used. Surprisingly – yes, because there is so much texture to the wine. The finish has terrific freshness. Only 100 cases were produced.
The 2014 Juicy Villages Cuvee Unique No. 84 is 65% Syrah and 35% Grenache from grapes grown in the Russian River Valley. Juicy is the key word here, as the fruit is supple, open-armed and berry-driven. There are herb-inflected notes lurking in the background that reveal Douglas’ penchant for French wine. Slightly more of the No. 84 is produced than the No. 34, but it is still very limited.
These mild pepperoncini came courtesy of a neighbor who knows I love to pickle veggies. I reused brine I had made from a previous batch: a shortcut that made certain I didn't end up throwing these beauties into the compost. For you see, this week was jam packed. Besides normal work/life schedule, my volunteer hours were to capacity. I participated in a Challenge Day activity for 7th graders at my daughter's middle school. I signed up last week and found the experience so rewarding, I went for a second day. My Church and School District's fundraisers all needed baked goods. I am not a baker, but with my daughter's assistance, I gave it my best shot. Let's just say, the kitchen needs a scrubbing from floor to ceiling. When that finally happens (or before), I am going to need a glass of wine to unwind.I will reward myself with Juicy Rebound. Full of ripe fruit goodness and a balanced finished - both the white and red from Juicy Rebound allow entry to a high echelon of quality without having to pay exorbitant prices for the privilege. These wines are really something! - Anya Balistreri
From the winery:
"Light, pale straw-colored and frosty, we dove into the wine noses first.Nectarine, lychee, fresh citrus blossoms and Asian pear gave the wine an exotic nose balanced with fine minerality. The rich, creamy Viognier was perfectly offset by the aromatic Roussanne with its fresh acidity and complex flavors of chamomile tea, honey and spiced pears."
From the winery:
"65% Syrah and 35% Grenache. Every August we spend our Sundays picking wild blackberries as we prepare for harvest. This Rhone blend captures that experience. Grenache leads the way with cassis and aromatic herbal notes while Syrah adds juicy blueberry, blackberry flavors, a supple texture and a satisfying richness in the finish."
If it's Burgundy and it's not Chardonnay, but Sauvignon Blanc - you're drinking Saint-Bris!
What?!! Aligote is not the only "other white grape" of Burgundy? Nope. Saint-Bris is yet another exception to the rule that says white Burgundy must be Chardonnay. Saint-Bris is an appellation in the northwest region of Burgundy, just southwest of Chablis, where the dominant white grape grown is Sauvignon Blanc. This might seem strange at first, but if you look at a map, you'll notice that Saint-Bris is closer to Loire Valley's Sancerre than to Beaune.
At The Wine House, we've been on the hunt to expand our direct-import Burgundy portfolio, especially from under-represented regions. To this end, we've been scouting out leads, tasting a lot, and in general, doing our homework. Newly arrived Domaine Verret, with the "Imported by: Wine House Limited, San Francisco, CA" sticker (that's us!) on the back label, met our criteria for offering wines of quality, value, and an authentic sense of place. I remember tasting samples of their wines last year and liking the Saint-Bris immediately. I wasn't concerned that this lesser known appellation would be too esoteric for our clientele. I was confident that those who shop with us and enjoy fresh, vivacious Sauvignon Blanc would be drawn to this wine.
The limestone soils contribute to the zippy minerality, though the texture of the wine is rather round. Super aromatic, on the nose exhibiting more exotic fruits and less cut grass aromas. As you can see from the photo above, I enjoyed a glass of Saint-Bris as an aperitif out on the back deck, enjoying the last of summer's warm rays after work last Saturday.
A month into the new school year, I've got the carpool arrangements nailed down and the after school activities locked in. Now into Fall, the days are recognizably shorter and the nights significantly cooler. I've been hitting the farmer's market hard, trying to satiate my lust for vine-ripened tomatoes. At home, I've planted my first ever fall/winter vegetable garden. I've already begun harvesting lettuce and kale. Some time soon, I'll be braising greens and serving it with this lovely, evergreen-scented Saint-Bris. It should be a tasty match! -- Anya Balistreri