Monday, October 17, 2016 8:29 PM
Monday, December 24, 2012 10:54 PM
You may have heard about a recent container arriving here from France carrying loads of goodies for us wine lovers. Sure, all the bells and whistles were included: Bordeaux, Burgundy, and Champagne; but if you look over the pallets with a fine toothed comb, you may discover some other interesting wines. Like the 2009 La Bolida from Château d’Or et de Gueules. It’s the brand new vintage of one of our favorite wines! At this stage, there is nothing short of a litany, that we’ve written about Costières de Nîmes producer Diane Puymorin. We think all of her wines are special, but the one that every TWH employee has in their cellar is her old vine Mourvèdre, La Bolida.
Pardon me for patting myself on the back, but it was a wise decision for me to sock away several bottles of the 2004 La Bolida back in the day when it was available. Or, at least, it has been proven wise recently, as the wine is showing brilliantly. Something we’ve observed here over the years is that if we ever hear the word “regret” here in our shop, it is always used for NOT buying enough of a particular wine. True story. So true that I regret not buying a full case of the 2004 La Bolida, shucks. Building a vertical of a great wine is not only a fun task, but the rewards are immense. The pedigree of Diane’s La Bolidais tip-top in every vintage, but 2009 was such a great vintage in the Rhône Valley, that I’m making room for at least a six-pack for posterity. I’m probably going to regret, what am I saying? I’m sure I’ll regret just buying six bottles of the 2009 La Bolida, but six is a start. Maybe another six down the road sometime … if there are any left, that is. Check out what The Wine Advocate’sRobert Parker had to say about the 2009 La Bolida from Château d’Or et de Gueules:
“A 100% Mourvedre cuvee from 80- to 100-year old vines that spends one year in foudre and one year in barrel is the Costieres de Nimes La Bolida. The bottled 2009, which was tasted last year from barrel, is as outstanding as I expected. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by aromas of blueberries, blackberries, roasted meats, bouquet garni and melted asphalt. This complex, rich, full-bodied, solidly made effort possesses excellent ripeness, but none of the rusticity or kinkiness that Mourvedre can sometimes exhibit. Drink it over the next decade.
Proprietor Diane de Puymorin fashions these individualistic, seriously endowed, distinctive wines from different blends, and bottles them with Provencal names (which are not that easy for most Americans to pronounce). Except for La Charlotte, all of the wines carry the Costieres de Nimes appellation, and they represent some of the finest wines of that appellation. They are all bursting with the essence of Provence in their spiciness and exuberance. 91 points”
It’s getting close to the end of the year 2012, sigh. The year of the live show, the year of major trophies for a couple of sports teams dear to my heart, and the year that the 2009 Bordeaux have landed! You can count on something from my new favorite Bordeaux vintage to be on our Top Ten Wines of 2012 list (to be announced in early January). Sad to say, 2013 will begin without Champions’ League footy for my team; oh well, gotta take the bad with the good, and last season was pretty good. Really good. And the year of the live show has been a good one. I think I’ve seen more live bands in 2012 than in the previous 5 years combined. I was supposed to hit the Fillmore Sunday night to see Graham Parker, but instead, I’ve got a gig myself. Spectator or participant? Always participate, with no regrets! – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about 2009 La Bolida, The Europa League, or what might be on my set list for Sunday night: peter.winehouse@
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 3:06 PM
|We’re here! That unofficial kick-off to summer, Memorial Day Weekend! However you’re spending it, we hope that you are enjoying it. I recently heard some unbelievable stat that purported upwards of 75% of Americans participate in some kind of barbecue festivity during this weekend. Whether or not that is the number is anyone’s guess; the fact though, is that a great many of us will be noshing on something hot off the grill in the next couple of days. Let’s see. Late spring. Long weekend. Afternoon gathering of friends and family. Barbecue grill. One word: Rosé!
I drink Rosé year round, a frosty glass always keeps me cool while cooking in the winter. Its crisp, lean style makes it versatile enough to pair with a simple salad, bowl o’mussels, or rotisserie chicken. Not to mention, a glass of Rosé will always take me back to that first time I visited by chef buddy Carsten at his place in the Côte d’Azur. It was so civilized. Every day in the early evening, he would open the door and we’d sit on the stoop outside his tiny flat and invite locals and tourists alike to stop by for a chilled glass of Rosé. We met so many interesting people from all over the world, andwhat did we all have in common? We enjoyed Rosé! With sunny skies in the local forecast this weekend, it seems like cheating, but I’m going to my go-to Rosé for 2012. It’s made by our superstar winemaker Diane Puymorin, the 2011 Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Rosé.
|Right about this time of year, we get our selections of Rosé from the previous vintage. David gets to taste them on his annual trip to Burgundy and the south of France in January, but for the rest of us, we taste them when they land here. So shortly after multiple pallets arrived in our warehouse, we had sample bottles of over a handful of 2011 Rosé open for our staff. As always, all of our new Rosé are dry, with varying degrees of fruit expression and nuance of flavor. The Petite Cassagnecaught my eye straight away. I’ve seen this wine over several vintages, but this year’s is by far the palest version I have ever seen! We’ve all got different preferences and tastes, but when it comes to Rosé, I like mine pale and mellow. The light, crisp profile carries over to the aromas and palate. A hint of peach blossom and herb garden lead the way to fresh, lively mouth feel of crispness with just a rumor of stone fruit. Diane blends equal parts of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah, and old-vine Mourvèdre for this Rosé, and in my book, she’s got herself a winner! You should see my invoice … and it’s still only May!
So needless to say, I’m psyched about getting 2 days off in a row! I plan to stay clear of the Golden Gate Bridge 75th Anniversary madness. As a matter of fact, we’ve received reports that traffic is dreadful already. This will cause Anya and I both to drive home via the Bay Bridge and then the Richmond/San Rafael. I’ll just be glad when I have the car parked, 2 days off, and a couple bottles of the 2011 Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Rosé to take to the grill! – Peter Zavialoff
Please feel free to write me with any questions or comments about Rosé, 2011 Bordeaux Futures, the Golden Gate Bridge, or the gift that keeps giving: The European Champions: peter.winehouse@
Monday, May 21, 2012 9:37 PM
The 2009 Les Cimelsfrom our beloved Chateau d’Or et de Gueules is a Syrah-driven red that elegantly combines ripened fruit flavors with South of France earth/spice aromas and notes. You wouldn’t mistake Les Cimels for anything but a French wine; you can’t ignore the black pepper spice and herbes de Provence. It’s precisely this quality that I believe draws our customers to this wine vintage after vintage. Les Cimels is not a cookie-cutter product; there is vintage variation, however that distinctive combo of fruit and spice threads through it each year. The 2009 Les Cimels is redolent of raspberry fruit, is really approachable and like so many ’09s from France, has enough tang and structure to keep it interesting. Of course that little hint of Syrah funk is also welcoming.
When proprietress and winemaker Diane de Puymorin purchased the property that would become Chateau d’Or et de Gueules in the late ’90s,she did something really wonderful, something someone with less imagination and integrity would not have done — she left old-vine Carignan growing in the vineyards!! It would have made much better economic sense to rip out the vines that were producing less, that were more of a bother to care for and plant vigorous young vines in their place. Instead Diane followed her conviction, left as much of the old-vines that could be saved and added them to her blends. I think the result is an undeniable complexity that differentiates her wines from other Costieres de Nimes wines. Diane’s wines are true artisanal expressions of winemaking. For the Les Cimels, Diane ferments old vine Carignan carbonically, giving the overall blend a freshness and brightness as counterpoint to the more brooding Syrah (there is also a small portion of Grenache in the mix).
It being the middle of May, I am in full wonderment at the beauty of Spring as April showers have given way to more sunny May days. The fava beans in my garden are finally ready for harvest, though they rarely make it into a pot. I love to eat them raw right there in the yard and toss the shells and skin back into the dirt. Instant composting! But if I were to curtail my habit of eating the fava beans raw, I would probably concoct a ragout of lamb with them and pour a glass of the 2009 Les Cimelsalongside. Now doesn’t that sound like a capital idea! —Anya Balistreri
Friday, July 29, 2011 8:39 PM
The snooze button. I hit it. We alldo.Usuallymorethanonce. Wesilence the noise and happily go back to slumberland until the “urgent” buzzer kicks in as if to shout at us Hey sleepyhead! Get outta bed before it’s too late!Well, consider this a (much more fun) snooze alarm proclaiming “LAST CALL!“ on TWH‘s Wine of the month (Can you believe it’s almost August already?? Oy vey!).
If you’ve had the wines of Diane Puymorin then you know why she’s one of our all-time favorite winemakers in the Costieres de Nimes (not to mention all of France). If not, you’re in for a treat. Diane’s wines under both the Domaine de la Petite Cassagne and Chateau d’Or et de Gueuleslabels have acquired a huge following over the years, customers and staff alike. Diane purchased the Petite Cassagne property in the village of St. Gilles back in 1998 and has been making limited parcels of both red and white wines under its label each year.
Moreover, have you seen what good qualitywhite Rhone wines go forthese days??! It’s almost unheard of to find one under $20. Aside from being downright delicious, the 2009 Petite Cassagne Blanc is one of those gems thatepitomizes what we here at TWH do best… Find great wines for phenomenal prices. For this cuvee, Diane blended 60% Grenache Blanc with 40% Rolle (Italian wine lovers know this varietal as Vermentino). The fruit is farmed with 100% organic methods, pressed immediately after picking, and put into temperature-controlled tanks for fermentation. The result is pure White Rhone magic. Think bright, fresh citrus blossoms with hints of wind-swept herbs and a lively acidity that holds up through the finish. It has enough fruit to please as an aperitif, when a warm evening just calls for a glass of something crisp and cool. However (and I’m not intentionally trying to make you hungry here, but…) the Petite Cassagne will shine like the sun if you serve it alongside a crab salad, herb-laden rotisserie chicken, or pan-seared halibut with a squeeze of lemon. No matter what your end-of-July schedule, don’t forget to include a bottle of this.
Happy Fin de Juillet ~ Emily Crichton
Thursday, October 14, 2010 2:46 PM
|We’ve never actually defined any guidelines for what our weekly “Sunday Emails” should be about. Funny thing is that sometimes, when it’s about a wine that every member of our staff loves, the author feels a pang of guilt, as it feels like cheating. I’m sure Anya felt a little pinch last weekend, but hey, when something’s that great, we can’t hold back the praise. I’m going to try to remain guilt-free here, as I close my eyes and praise a wine made by Diane de Puymorin. But with fall in the air and the promise of small gatherings on the immediate horizon, I’m drawn to these lovely magnums of Diane’s top cuvee, 2005 Trassegum.
Sure the sunny sky outside is teeming with Blue Angels right now, and temps are still in the 70’s, but the fact that I don’t need my sunglasses to drive home after work anymore means that soon it will get dark before 6 PM. The change is conceptually unromantic, but I see the value in it. I’m all about hanging out with friends and loved ones, irreverent conversation, good wine, and breaking bread. When the sky darkens early, these things happen sooner and with more regularity. So, I’m psyched. The cooler temps make hearty fare and red wine more practical; a positive development for sure! Alas, but what happens when you have 6 friends gathered ’round the table? A standard size bottle of wine evaporates quicker than a summer sprinkle on Tucson asphalt. A simple solution? Magnums. The big bottles. Everything tastes better out of magnums, right? But magnums are expensive, eh? Not today. Buy them by the case, and these check in a little over 40 bucks a piece, not bad.For magnums! What about the wine, then? Wait for it.
Chances are if you’ve spoken to me about Diane Puymorin, one of my favorite stories is the one about the Carignan. Rumor has it that when she bought the property back in 1998, she was strongly advised to rip out her then-50 year old Carignan vines. She said no. She said she was going to use them to make great wine. She was right. The complexity derived from these vines is part of what makes the wines of Chateau d’Or et des Gueules truly unique! They are red Rhone blends with that special je ne sais quoi. But I do know what; it’s the Carignan! Diane holds back her Trassegum (at her own expense) until she feels it’s ready to be consumed. The 2005 is her current release. It is a blend of Syrah, Grenache, old-vine Mourvedre, and old-vine Carignan. The profile is profound; with a dark purple fruit robe lift of aromatics,forest floor, and black tea. Savory fruit (think dark olives here) hit the palate with plenty of structure, and the finish is harmonious and long. All together, it is a whopping bargain! Oh yeah, and as an added bonus (just ’cause), the magnums come signed by Diane herself! Whoa!
Just so you all know, I’m not feeling guilty about anything. Somebody has to eat the last cookie, somebody has to taste Diane’s wines, somebody has to write about it … voila. Happy 10/10/10 everybody! Add this 10 to your celebration! – Peter Zavialoff
Thursday, June 3, 2010 3:31 PM
I was planning to go out on limb and recommend a California Rose made from Zinfandel, but there are apparently limits to how easily and quickly new items can be uploaded to our website, so I’ll have to get to it another time. The arrival of newly bottled Rose from France for me signals the transition from Spring to Summer. And though one typically thinks of this as the beginning of Rose season, I am one who drinks pink wines year round. To only drink Rose when temperatures spike, say, above 70°, is akin to drinking Champagne only during the month of December. Why limit yourself? Coincidentally, a customer just left the store with a couple of Roses in tow who jokingly asked whether Memorial Day Weekend was the official start of Rose season. After we replied back that Rose season runs all year, he leaned over to us and whispered, “Heck, I love Rose so much I brush my teeth with it!”With at least ten different Roses in stock, it is not unreasonable to be asked which is your favorite. That though is a difficult question to answer. Honestly, I like all of them. Each has its unique flavor profile and character. Some are more delicate and refined, others full, exuberant expressions of fruit. Having said that, if you were to put a gun to my head and say pick one, I would point to the 2009 Only Girls Rose. Made from 100% Cinsault by rockstar winemaker Diane de Puymorin, this wine satisfies my urge for bright, cheery fruit delivered with panache. It’s an intriguing wine; though light in color and body, it creates a lot of impact on the palate. I get flavors of cantaloupe, orange blossom, peach skins, and find it finishes with what reminds me of that watered down last sip of Negroni served on the rocks. For those of you not familiar with Negronis, let me put it another way, it has a bit of sweet and bitter like Campari. As I’ve done before, I was compelled to bring out my Benjamin Moore color wheel to better describe the arresting, romantic color of the wine. Its pale shade matches nicely to Peachy Keen 2014-40. Would it be weird to paint room colors inspired by your favorite wine? Welcome to our Romanee-Conti dining room and in the kitchen we have wild yeast barrel-fermented Chardonnay on the trim. Sorry for the digression, I’m in the throws of an impending house renovation–paint chips, tile samples and the like are running amuck in my head.
|I am really looking forward to having an extra day off to spend with family. I plan to lounge, nibble a few snacks and sink my nose into a glass of 2009 Only Girls Rosewhile watching my daughter run around the lawn with with our dog Marty and his dog cousins chasing behind. I won’t need much else.!!! – Anya Balistreri|
Wednesday, January 6, 2010 3:10 PM
|“There she goes … there she goes again!” And whether or not you’re familiar with that poppy 90’s song from “One hit wonder”, The La’s from Liverpool (The rest of that album, btw, is great. Really. Reminds me of some of the early stuff from The Who), y’all should be familiar with our superstar winemaker Diane Puymorin from Chateau d’Or et des Gueules. Deservedly, we have been singing her praises for years; and when the wine press began to chatter about the power of the 2007 vintage in the southern Rhone, we were eagerly anticipating Diane’s releases. We are waiting no more. As just listed in our top ten wines of 2009, the 2007 Les Cimels (formerly “Select”) is the perfect example of what happens when you combine old vines, perfect weather, and expert winemaking … poetry in a bottle!
|For the Les Cimels, Diane blends 50% Syrah, 25% Grenache, and 25% old vine Carignan. The result? You tell us, because year after year it sells out; and there is ALWAYS a good chunk of that going to employees! This will be no exception. It will sell out, and we employees will participate in that effort. (It’s been here less than a week, I’ve taken two so far …). As you can see, we like to write about Diane and her wines.|
I am going to make a concentrated effort this year to keep my tasting notes more on the fun side than the mundane. I will confess that this wine shows hints of black tea and forest floor; and if you know anything about my tastes, you can envision me snuggled up in the corner with my arms around this precious beauty! I’m talking about the bottle of wine!
As a side note: When this email lands in your inbox, the staff of TWH will be together enjoying our annual Holiday Party. Rumor has it there will be some special bottles being popped tonight … in addition to a first class spread hosted by none other than our Anya and her husband, Tony. Thanks in advance you two! – Peter Zavialoff
|$12.40 per bottle with case discount. Website will not reflect discount. We will apply it when we actually process your invoice and charge your card.|
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Tuesday, June 2, 2009 5:17 PM
|When I came in this morning, I had a wide variety of thoughts to write about, but couldn’t quite tie them together. I am as curious as anyone as to where this is going to go …I didn’t want to talk about the economy per se, but many of us have reigned it in a bit, and have become more careful as to where our money is spent. There has been much ado aboutinexpensive bulk wine lately, and that instigated a conversation this morning with my colleague Anya. The gist of our conversation was about current wine consumption and price points. These corporate entities offering passable wine at rock bottom prices are seeing a pretty fair increase in sales. Not to diss them, as they have good marketing and better timing, but they are corporations. Better to patronize the little, you know, family operations and such. How about a mother of five girls who raises money from her friends and relatives, and pours every drop of her strength into her wines? Yes, I am talking about Diane Puymorin, again.
I didn’t want to talk about Diane Puymorin yet again, but I can’t help myself. First off, it was with much regret that I missed my chance to meet her and join those lucky people who made it to the dinner featuring Diane and her wines at Nopa back in the beginning of May. I was unlucky that I had a scheduling conflict. Anyway, if I can dictate (and I can) to whom my wine-buying dollars are directed, I want them to go to folks just like Diane. Yes, she has five daughters! In their honor she has crafted a tank-fermented, 100% Syrah she calls Only Girls, and she proudly lists their names right on the label. I would be hard pressed to find, in fact, I don’t believe I can find, a sub $10 wine that I like more than this one. It’s got everything I like. Aromatics of forest floor, Kalamata olives, purple fruit, a hint of smokiness, and black tea. The mouthfeel is bright, then deepens with fine tannins, a plummy middle, and finishes with bright acidity that frames the harmonic convergence with an exclamation point! All that with the distinctive savory quality that I only get from her wines. No sweet, jammy, extracted juice here; we’re talking elegance and harmony. No coincidence this one is wearing the “Peter’s Pick” sign in our shop right now!
|I didn’t want to talk about the ceiling vent whose squeaking is causing mental trauma to staff and customers alike, and something must be done about it soon for fear of mass insanity. If you have been tormented by it, we sincerely apologize. If not, consider yourself lucky.What I wanted to talk about when I came in this morning was the FA Cup Final at Wembley played earlier today. I won’t go on about it as footy hasn’t caught on so much here yet. But it’s been a good day for the Blues.
And, of course, I also (read always) wanted to talk about wine today. To our friend and customer Tom who walked out with a case of this very wine earlier this morning: Thank you for your kind words recognizing my passion (and long windedness) in regard to describing a wine. For my colleagues’ sake, I probably don’t need too much encouragement, but I do appreciate it. Wow. How did I get here? Anyway, try this wine, you won’t be sorry. In fact, I think I will pour this for my friends at Picco on Monday evening, and see what they think. –Peter Zavialoff
Feel free to email me with any questions or comments regarding Chateau d’Or et de Gueules, family winemakers, or the English Premiership: peter.winehouse@
Monday, February 16, 2009 5:12 PM
|Attention all lovers of the wines of Chateau D’or et des Gueules and Domaine de la Petite Cassagne: Winemaker Diane Puymorin will be vising us in early May! The exact dates have not yet been determined. We will be arranging a Winemaker Dinner with her when we have the details. If you would like to be kept up to date regarding information for this event, please contact us and we will keep you in the loop.|
When I accepted this assignment, all I was thinking was, “Hey, I’m going to go to Woodlands market, grab a Montreal rib-eye, and grill it up with frites and asparagus, and enjoy it all with the2003 Trassegum from Chateau D’or et des Gueules“. Yeah, that was the easy part. Now after cleaning up the leftovers for lunch today, I’m sadly left with only a memory. But a good one.
Valentine’s Day might not be a huge day for me personally, but it certainly is the most ceremonious day for love and lovers. And I do have a sappy side that I’m not going to let on about for any length of time here. I remember in first grade, I got a Valentine from every girl in my class. That was pretty cool. (Except for one from a girl named Summer who spelled my name “Beter”, but I forgive her, she probably spells really well now). Many years later, I became one of those guys who queues up at the florist, foolishly willing to pay a 300% surcharge for the privilege of buying roses in the second week of February. Sure, I’ve had some wonderful, romantic Valentine’s Day dinners as well, but that’s a pretty common thing. But now I’ve discovered Trassegum!
You see, in the local dialect in and around the Costieres de Nimes, Trassegum means love potion.I’ll vouch for it. First of all, it is made at Chateau D’or et des Gueules by superstar winemaker Diane Puymorin. It is from the 2003 vintage, which was marked by high temperatures and very dry conditions. This is her current release of this blend, as she holds the bottles back at her own expense until she feels the wine is ready to be released. It is a prestige cuvee of her best Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, and old vine Carignane. In a word, the wine is luscious. Robert Parker has not reviewed this wine, but knowing what I know about his palate, he would have high praise for this beauty. Rich, medium purple fruit dominate the aromatics, they are braced by an earthy mineral and forest floor component. On the palate there is more of that rich fruit. It seems to coat the mouth with its viscosity, revealing sweet fruit, hints of spice, tea, and forest floor. The finish is harmonious and long. If this wine isn’t for lovers, than no wine is.
So we wish you all a happy upcoming Valentine’s Day. May we all share some tender moments with those we love. In these times, some of us are scaling back in our celebrations, but I can think of nothing more romantic (and fun) than whipping up a home cooked meal with that special someone, tasting many different things, including Chateau D’or et des Gueles cuvee Trassegum.
So yeah, flowers are nice, dining out is nice, but a case of love potion? Now that’s a Valentine’s Day treat that will last and last. – Peter Zavialoff
Tuesday, September 16, 2008 3:31 PM
2005 Rouge Cht. D’Or et De Gueules
IT’S BACK!!! Following the Spring email offer, Gold Red Wine, our initial 70 case allocation vanished in the blink of an eye. Even I was shut out, only managing to squirrel away a bottle, and I wrote the email! After much begging and pleading, we managed to get our hands on some more. This wine is not to be missed. I can’t tell you how excited I am to get this wine back in stock. Now, those of you who couldn’t keep from opening just one more bottle will have an opportunity to replenish your stash and I will take my own advice to buy some NOW.
Anya’s Tasting Notes:
One whiff of the ‘05 Rouge Select lets you know this is it! Warm, sticky blue/black berry fruit aromas drift out of the glass revealing crushed rock and earthy minerality. A blend of roughly half syrah with the balance divided between old vine carignan and grenache, this deeply fruited red has dimension and complexity. There is certainly ample fruit but then there is that added something else that can only be described as that “Chateau D’or et Des Gueules thing”. Yes, that is a technical term the Wine House staff has coined. One sip of this wine and you’ll immediately understand.
In the recent issue of Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate dedicated to the world’s greatest wine values under $25, the 2005 Rouge was featured and bestowed with a score of 90 points. The Advocate‘s tasting note follows the wine listing.
|Smoky, Lapsang tea, roasted game, and jellied black fruits rise from the glass. An impressive concentration of elderberry, purple plum and meat juices on the palate are laced with iodine, bitter fruit pits, pungent herbs, dark chocolate, and chalk. For all of its sheer density, this wine displays textural polish, and for all of its ripeness there is scarcely any heat, but an abundance of sheer juicy finishing fruit.|
|$12.31 per bottle with case discount|
And so, leaves are being to gather on my front lawn, Pre-School has armed my daughter with a new repertoire of songs to entertain us with and those pesky heirloom tomatoes are finally ripening. All I need now is a glass full of this lovely red to complete the mood… Anya Balistreri
Thursday, August 21, 2008 4:04 PM
If you have been reading our Sunday emails for the past year, you are surely aware of the multitude of wedding themed offers Ben has written. As someone currently going through divorce, I feel that in fairness, perhaps a tongue in cheek counterpoint is in order. I sought and received Ben’s okay on this concept before beginning. My intention with this write-up is to present a light-hearted poke at those emails.
|You know, I have no problem hearing about love and marriage. It’s good when it’s good, great when it’s great. But my compatriot seems to be bordering on obsession with the subject. More so, I think, than most of the girls I went to high school with. I can see why. He’s a newlywed and has many friends who are in similar stages in their lives. That’s great. For them. Actually, it’s great for all of us, as the positive energy they radiate affects us all. Ah, but the fairy tales never mentioned the details of “ever after”.
When I read last Sunday’s email and saw that it was yet again about weddings, I rolled my eyes and said, “Oh no, not again”. Come on already! Imagine a surfer who has long aspired to ride the waves of Australia, making the trip, only to have accidentally got their leg stuck in the mouth of a great white shark while there. Would they take pleasure in reading about how great the surfing in Australia is shortly thereafter? I thought not. Sure, weddings are great occasions to break out a nice bottle of wine, right? But who ever speaks of wine to drink when going through a divorce? Let me be that guy! I’ll spare the banal details and focus on the positive (which really is the way to go when going through this).
For me, the positives are meeting new friends, catching up with old ones, andfreedom. Freedom of what? Freedom of almost everything. Almost everything. Spending is the one thing that needs micromanagement until this whole thing has been finalized. So I embrace all of the freedom I have, and as far as spending goes, I’ve got the red wine covered.
One of the great things about working here is getting a chance to taste many wines throughout their life. When the 2004 Petite Cassagne Rouge first arrived, it was a bit tight, tannic, and just needed a little time to open up. Now that is has some bottle age, that youthful kick in the pants has mellowed out and the wine is, in a word, lovely. The BEST thing about it, IT’S ON SALE FOR $6.95 PER BOTTLE. Yes, that’s right. Crafted by famed Costieres de Nimes producer, Diane Puymorin (you’ve probably heard that name before, and I say it’s okay to be obsessed by her and her wines), this wine is the all-purpose red that will get me to the end of the tunnel. It has complexity, purity, and is easy on ye olde pocketbook. That is why it is the only wine in the shop with a sign that says “Peter’s Pick” firmly attached to it!
Say what you will about love, marriage, and divorce; it is all interesting. And if Confucius were here, he’d consider that a blessing. I offer Ben’s friends my congratulations, they are a great couple, and long may they run. As for me, ever tapping into the resilience of the human soul, I am re-acquainting myself with single life, all the while smiling with my glass full of 2004 Petite Cassagne rouge! – Peter Zavialoff
It starts with the appearance. The deep, dark, purply color. The aromatics … dark fruit, berries, forest floor, black tea, and a little earth. On the palate, more of the same. Harmony between savory fruit, earth, herbs, tannins, and acidity. This wine has a complexity that can almost be described as a hint of bitterness. The fruit content is not sweet fruit, but savory fruit. That’s why I love this wine. Having had the occasional sip of Fernet Branca, I must say that I embrace this hint of bitterness. The finish shows a little spice to go along with that fruit and before you know it, darn, my glass is empty again. Ah, what to do, what to do? Did I mention it’s only $6.95???!!!
Feel free to email me with any comments regarding marriage, divorce, surfing in Australia, or inexpensive, high quality wine: peter.winehouse@
Wednesday, June 25, 2008 7:39 PM
|$18.69 per bottle with case discount.|
AKA the man with the strawberry and bacon salad.
Regardless of the difficulty of pronunciation, these wines are some of these best that we offer. Anya gave up a staff secret when she wrote up their “Select” (the red and gold wine), and that sold out faster than we could secure our stashes. We are trying to get more. The Trassegum sits at a higher level, and beats most every Rhone wine in this price range.We are the only ones in the country selling this blend of Syrah and old vine Mourvedre and Carignane. It is the chateau’s prestige level wine, which they don’t release until it has rested for the appropriate time in bottle. 2005 Chateau Margaux has hit the United States, yet it won’t be ready to drink for decades. Diane Puymorin, who is as close to a rock star as a winemaker can get if you ask me, ages this wine at her estate, at her own expense, and as a result we get something lovely.
There are a lot of good reasons to drink this wine, and I will go into some (not all), but the main reason is that it is exceedingly delicious. Seriously. If you like anything about Rhone wine and its myriad of flavors, this is for you. Another reason is that Diane is exactly the type of person we want making wine. She has strong beliefs and opinions, and she’s out there going for it, no matter what people say about big production and money making. She is on the cutting edge, yet there is an intuitive simplicity to the way she works. For example this wine sits in cask (no new wood) for a year in order to develop the mouthfeel. Then she racks into tank, where it sits for two more years, as she wants the wine to age before release, but she doesn’t want too much wood influence. Makes good sense, right? But this is not normal protocol. It’s something she figured out based on what she wanted from a wine. And it shows. The wines give genuine flavor with the fine texture that you expect from the well bred. When a winemaker is truly progressive, and her wines work, I want to support her.
Another reason is the sheer breadth of flavor and character. When you smell this, as it washes across your palate, immediately your brain starts running around looking for descriptors. It reminds me of speeding through beautiful countryside. There are many details that are no doubt very interesting, and you can try to concentrate on specific points in your panorama, but it’s much better if you take in the view as a whole. That saidthere are two flavors that really stuck with me. A beautiful ripe strawberry fruit accompanied by savory meatiness. It’s such an intriguing combo, I am always in danger of drinking too fast when this is in my glass. I wonder how a strawberry and bacon salad would taste? Not strawberries and bacon on salad. The two together, maybe with a light dressing, but that’s it. I think that sounds good. But I know better than to trust myself here. I’m the one who served my wife a balsamico Martini. That didn’t work. Not that it couldn’t, but when a martini looks like it is dosed with iodine, you should rethink your presentation. So I’ll stick with wine and leave the hipster salad and martini making to those gifted in these fields.
The point of the strawberry bacon comments is to point out how wine can pull off ultra-dynamic flavors. Even with top Ferry Building Farmer’s Market real estate, I bet the bacon-strawberry-salad man would have a hard time, cursing his creativity as shoppers mull past muttering, “Weird” and “Let’s get a chicken.” Wine is lucky in its freedom. Wine is also lucky to have Diane Puymorin as a creator and Trassegum as a representative. While I can’t promise your date will fall in love with you with this in their glass,they will fall for the wine. You just have to keep giving them more. –Ben Jordan
|$18.69 per bottle with case discount.|
As I mentioned, specific tasting notes are not what this wine is about. It is a full Rhone experience. If you like the flavors of Gigondas, Chateauneuf, and Cote Rotie, this amalgamates them. I was worried that the wine would be too 2003, oversized and brooding, but Diane has a deft touch. She has the components working in unison. There is tannin, but it is rounded by age, and it melts into food. And the wine smells beautiful. Overall the experience well outpaces the price, making this a great buy.
Thursday, May 1, 2008 2:46 PM
|$12.31 per bottle with case discount.|
A customer and I got into a long conversation about 2005 Bordeaux wines which ultimately lead to a discussion of wine prices. I admit, I have bought some ‘05’s, and hope to buy more, but none of the blue chip first growths and such for me. No, my pared down lifestyle won’t allow for that. However, as I explained to my customer rather optimistically, as long as there are bang for your buck, complex, and charming country wines out there, I know I will always be drinking well. This interchange came rushing back to me from the depths of my cluttered mind as I took my first whiff of the 2005 Rouge Select from Chateau D’Or et de Gueules. THIS IS IT! This is what I was talking about! Warm, sticky blue/black berry fruit aromas drift out of the glass revealing crushed rock and earthy minerality. At a staff development day, the first taste of this wine unleashed a great big smile from me. I looked to my colleagues for validation and consensus. I was met with equally giddy smiles. Yes, this is good, really good.
A little background: Diane Puymorin purchased the estate in 1998 and embarked on a vigorous task of replanting and other such winery improvements. The fruits of her labor are definitely paying off, as her wines go from strength to strength. Her wines are not going unnoticed either. Diane was recently featured in Decanter where they described her wines as “stylish, complex and assertive-much like herself”. A featured Wine House Staff favorite, the 2003 Rouge Select received a whopping 91 pts from the Wine Advocate and virtually disappeared from our store in a matter of minutes (what little we had left from our persistent recommendations). So let this be a warning to you: buy now, you won’t regret it. I am going to go out on the limb and say the ‘05 is even better than the ’03. A blend of roughly half syrah with the balance divided between old vine carignan and grenache, this deeply fruited red has dimension and complexity. There is certainly ample fruit but then there is that added something else that can only be described as that “Chateau D’or et de Gueules thing”. Yes, that is a technical term the Wine House staff has coined. One sip of this wine and you’ll immediately understand. An analogy I like to overuse is that it gives me the same type of pleasure that a true old-vine zinfandel does, not necessarily similar in flavor but it has that combo of gooey fruit matched with soil and herb.
And so, Lent is finally over, my family is celebrating Easter and after my fill of vodka and kholodetz (you’ll have to look this one up) my plan is to marinate some Lamb, throw it on the grill and wash it down with this amazing wine! – Anya Balistreri
|$12.31 per bottle with case discount.|