Domaine Fondrèche and TWH, 25 years in business together!
Sebastien Vincenti and Mont Ventoux circa 2005

Twenty five years is a long time ...

But, believe it or not, that's how long we've been selling the wines made by Domaine Fondrèche. Nanou Barthélemy bought the domaine in 1991, and asked her young son, Sébastien Vincenti to help her out, and by 1993, Sébastien was a winemaker. With just vineyard land, Barthélemy and her son had no winery in which to make any wine in those early days, but family friend André Brunel (some of you may have tasted this Rhône giant's wines) rented out part of his cellar for the budding winemaker. Though he later graduated from oenology school, Vincenti still claims Brunel essentially taught him everything he knows about making wine.  

As longtime agent for importer Robert Kacher Selections, TWH was already stocking Brunel's wines, and my, they were delicious and popular! André must have convinced Kacher to take a shot at representing Fondrèche in the states, and Bobby recommended we get on board as well. The rest, as they say, is history; only that RKS was later sold, and we are now Sébastien's importer.A snowy Mont Ventoux behind Domaine de Fondrèche

One has to be impressed by the evolution of this relatively young man. Beginning at 21, he wowed critics early with his expressive, pure fruit-focused wines. He continued learning and evolving, tinkering in the vineyard, and began to experiment with organic and biodynamic practices. By 2009, Fondrèche was certified organic by French body Ecocert. 

As Robert Parker was nearing retirement, the market was changing. Wine drinkers were seeking out elegance and freshness over heft and power. Sébastien was ahead of the curve, as he himself preferred wines that were in this style. Constantly evolving, Vincenti changed some labels, began using different vineyards for different bottlings, and eased up on the extraction with some of his wines. After organic certification, Sébastien seemed to be headed down the natural path of experimenting with biodynamic techniques.  We noticed the uptick in quality vintage after vintage, and were proud to represent such a rising star! Then Vincenti made a surprise announcement. In early 2016, he withdrew his wine from organic certification over concerns about the long term vineyard sustainability of organic farming, namely the build up of copper in the vineyard.
 He believes certain synthesized products may offer better environmental protectionthan some organic alternatives, but they're not recognized by the governing body. We're excited to continue representing this visionary who is not afraid to stand up for what he believes in.

That's why we were so happy to see a link on Twitter earlier this week to
 a blog post from Wine Spectator featuring Sébastien, and recounting his story.

Brand new, from our latest container are Sébastien's 2016 Ventoux Rouge and 2017 Ventoux Blanc. If you haven't had any of his wines lately, these two gems are proof that someday, when talking about an up and coming winemaker, we're likely to say, "They learned from Vincenti!!"

2016 Ca' Lojera Lugana

Tuesday, May 29, 2018 5:04 PM

Like Italian Whites?  

Don't Miss The 2016 Lugana

The Ca' Lojera Facility

Catching up with the times ...

It's been a memorable week.  The Union De Grands Crus De Bordeaux passed through town pouring the newly bottled 2015 vintage.  This came with several visits from our friends overseas.  The tasting was a success, as the wines from Pomerol, Saint-Emilion, and the reds from Pessac-Leognan showed great expression and balance in consistent fashion.  I recently wrote about the 2015 Château Olivier rouge, and after having tasted it this past Thursday, I stand behind my recommendation.  That's all I'm going to say about Bordeaux for now, as the subject of tonight's email is a new arrival from Italy - the 2016 Lugana from Ca' Lojera.



A new container from Italy recently arrived, and we're breaking down pallets in an effort to get these new goodies onto our sales floor and into your hands!  I don't know why this is, but consistently, I seem to have more need for white wine in the winter than any other season.  Last week, I filled up my six bottle wine bag with six different bottles from the container's bounty.  There are some evenings in which any formality around the ritual of opening and serving a bottle of wine is dispelled, and this particular night was one of them.  A couple of after-work errands had me home later than usual, so in a hurry, I stir fried some chicken with vegetables.  A peek into the fridge left me with a few choices.  Knowing what I knew at the time, I felt the new Lugana from Ca' Lojera would work well with what would eventually end up on my plate.  So I popped it.  I poured out a glass and went on supervising the stove top.  At one point, I reached for the glass and had a sip.  I stopped in my tracks, my focus now on this wonderful, fresh, lively white wine in my glass.  I didn't know what was happening; I've enjoyed the Ca' Lojera wines very much over the years, but I hadn't had an experience like this one!  The aromas were clean and fresh, citrus blossoms, grapefruit, honeydew melon, and a hint of a minty nuance.  Then, on the palate, this aromatic goodness lingered and was bolstered by a medium bodied, impeccably balanced mouth feel.  I was smitten.  Needless to say, the bottle didn't last very long.  Not very long at all.



The catalyst of this experience was from an interaction with a customer who lives in the neighborhood.  She regularly purchases Franco and Ambra Tiraboschi's Lugana made from a grape the locals call Turbiana.  She was in the day before this happened and asked us if we had tried the new vintage.  Shrugged shoulders and blank stares were the responses, but that question alone is how a bottle ended up in my wine tote.  She bought two bottles that day and promised to report back with her impressions.  When I came to work the day after I tasted it, I asked my colleagues,  "Holy Cow, you guys.  Have you tasted the 2016 Lugana yet?"  At that point, nobody else had.  That's changed now.  I was pretty excited about it all day.  At the end of the day, this customer was back.  I looked at her and beamed, "I just tried it last night, and man oh man, you must be happy. I think this is the best vintage for them to date!"  Her glowing smile in return was all I needed to know she enjoyed it very much.  She bought six more bottles.  A couple of days later, a bottle was opened as a sample for a wholesale customer.  When the sample made its way back to the shop, Chris and David got to taste it.  Chris was first to reply - he told me I was spot on with my assessment, and pointed in particular to the fresh acidity of the wine which helped fan the complexity across the palate.  David nodded his head and smiled.  He told me that the customer he poured it for liked it a lot. 



Anya's take was more philosophical.  "Here's a wine which I've enjoyed in every vintage we've carried it.  Each vintage puts its own stamp on the wine, and the variation is what makes wine tasting enjoyable and thought provoking.  One can get in trouble proclaiming a wine 'the best ever', because other vintages will follow.  Remember when we first made the deal to import their wines?  We got a call from a well-known boutique importer who took the time to congratulate us on the addition to our portfolio.  The wines are that good.  Their reputation is that good.  They're a first round draft pick.  We're very lucky.  Is the 2016 Lugana their best?  I have to say yes."



There's plenty more to talk about - another new producer and more goodies from our Italian container, more Bordeaux stuff, and 2015 red Burgundy, but that will have to wait for another time.  January is always a very busy time for me, and this one was no exception.  Now that it's almost over, I can relax.  And eat.  Sounds like Dungeness Crab is in order.  You already know which wine I will drink with it.  - Peter Zavialoff

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Domaine Des Aspras

Tuesday, May 22, 2018 5:29 PM

Domaine Des Aspras

Domaine Des Aspras

The farmhouse photo

À Lisa - An Homage To The Matriarch!

Domaine des Aspras was established by husband and wife, Gottfried and Lisa Latz, immigrants from Germany by way of the Congo, in the early 1960's.They knew nothing of wine growing or wine producing, but they had the determination and entrepreneurial spirit of those who come with little and want to build a better life for their family. Today their descendants run this beautiful estate making impeccable Provençal wines. The land is farmed organically, as does the entire village of Correns, where Domaine des Aspras is located. Here the soils are clay-limestone which is ideal for grape cultivation. The Wine House has now been importing their wines for a couple of vintages. On our last container from France we received back in their entry-level red, À Lisa.

 
 




The À Lisa rouge is mostly Merlot, but my suspicion is that the 2016 has a good smattering of Syrah in it. What alerted my suspicion? It's the funk. Oh, yeah. It's got that funk. That funk is part of the À Lisa's charm. Looking for a densely fruited red, with soft tannins, but has earthy aromatics, perhaps a touch of animal? This one is for you! 



I drank a bottle over three consecutive nights and found that quirky note of funk softens with aeration but never quite dissipates. The bottle I took home was a sample that David, Chris and I tasted earlier in the week. The wine washed a wave of nostalgia over us. We all remembered the southern French reds that were once imported by Robert Kacher that The Wine House loyally stocked. Remember Grand Cassagne or Chateau de Valcombe?
 Well, it's kinda like that, but even better. 

 



 




Now that it's mid-January, life feels like I just stopped off one of those airport people movers. I have been so used to the frantic pace of the last couple months that stepping off set me a little off balance. I'll need to quickly right myself as there is much to do in this new year and much that I want to accomplish. But first things first, and that will be cooking up some one-pot braises to provide nourishment and comfort. À Lisa rouge will go beautifully with the types of rustic cooking I am imagining to prepare. À Lisa has the dense berry flavors I'm seeking, while its soft-structured tannins will compliment "fall off the bone" meat and that funk will give that farm-to-table allure. Bring out the dutch oven and grab yourself a bottle of À Lisa rouge. Cheers!

 - Anya Balistreri
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Bordeaux Tasting: Favorites & Upside Surprises

Monday, January 15, 2018 4:50 PM

Bordeaux Tasting:

Favorites & Upside Surprises
Bordeaux Barrel Tasting at Chateau La Dominique Photo

Happy New Year!

From all of us here at TWH, we hope you all had a wonderful holiday season.  To many, especially in the hospitality business (which, kind of, includes the wine biz), this is a relatively quiet period of time when many of us catch up on things put off by the mayhem of said holidays.  From a personal perspective, the mayhem will continue throughout the month culminating with the annual visit of Bordeaux's Union des Grands Crus, who will be pouring the recently bottled 2015 vintage here in San Francisco on January 25.

Having tasted many barrel samples from the 2015 vintage back in the spring of 2016, I have some thoughts, impressions, and biases of what I experienced, and I am looking forward to tasting the finished wines, now in bottle, to further those impressions.  I say biased, because it happens.  We all have favorites.  Our favorites are not necessarily the finest things in any particular category, but they do usually offer plenty of personal appeal.  When it comes to wine, my favorites are from Bordeaux.  Time and space does not allow me to list all of my favorites, though in no particular order, some of my favorite Bordeaux chateaux include:

Margaux

Gruaud Larose

Coutet

Ducru Beaucaillou

Haut Batailley (fingers crossed the recent ownership change doesn't affect the wine)

Grand Puy Lacoste

Calon Segur

Pichon Lalande

Mouton Rothschild

La Lagune

Vieux Chateau Certan

I recognize this bias, and when I taste these, and other favorite wines, I try to just focus on what's in the glass.  It goes the other way too.  There are many chateaux, some of them famous, which have produced wines which don't always resonate with me.  I mean the wines are fine, there's nothing wrong with them, they just come up short in the "Wow" department.  With me anyway.  I recognize this bias as well, though it seems each year at least one of these wines surprises me.  What was the biggest surprise for me during the 2015 barrel tastings?  Which wine am I going to pay particularly close attention to at the UGC tasting?  The 2015 Château Olivier Rouge. 
  

 

Medieval Chateau Olivier Photo
Chateau Olivier is one of Bordeaux's oldest chateaux.  Parts of it date back to the 11th century!  It has been owned by the de Bethmann family since the 19th century, and it is said that the son of England's King Edward III, The Black Prince, enjoyed hunting there.  Historically, Olivier has been more famous for their white wines, however recent investments and soil surveys have resulted in increased production and quality of their red wines.  The Wine Advocate's Robert Parker once referred to Olivier as "a perennial underachiever," though in his tasting note for the 2009 rouge, he declared it to be the best Olivier he had tasted up to that point.  Sure 2009 was a precocious vintage, but this was a sign that things were on the upswing at the property.  Fast forward six years, and here's what TWA's Neal Martin had to say about the 2015 after he tasted it from barrel:

"The 2015 Chateau Olivier offers vivacious red cherry and crisp strawberry fruit on the nose, biding its time, gently unfolding in the glass until it takes full flight. The palate is medium-bodied with fine tannin and smooth wild strawberry and raspberry fruit, laced with cedar and a pleasant saltiness.  This is one of the best wines from Chateau Olivier in recent years, thanks to its greater depth and harmony. Laurent Lebrun has done a great job here."



And from Decanter Magazine:

"Power and poise of rich, muscular tannic frame for good ageing potential. Continuing the more serious expression of Olivier over last few years, begun with the inclusion of the new Bel Air plot of vines that represents 30% of the blend. New addition also in 2015 of 1ha of Petit Verdot, representing 5% of wine along with 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Merlot."



My note from the UGC barrel tasting:

"Fresh, clean, brambly red fruit aromas, Merlot noticeable.  Palate is medium bodied, well constructed!  All components firing with slight grip on finish, but that's a good thing.  Surprise!



Since December 2014, we have enjoyed a very favorable currency conversion rate vs. the Euro.  This kept prices for both the 2014 and 2015 Bordeaux futures down, and in both vintages, bargains abound.  Unfortunately, this past week, the Euro broke out of its three year range and closed near $1.22.  Combine that with the fruit lost due to late April's frost, and it's easy to predict that the 2017 Bordeaux wines will not be the bargains we are hoping for.  So when I see quality like that of the 2015 Olivier rouge for such a price, it's easy to say, "Put me down for six!"

- Peter Zavialoff



    

***The 2015 Château Olivier is available on a PRE-ARRIVAL basis.  It is expected to arrive sometime during 2018.  Please understand that overseas shipments are sometimes subject to delays, though we are expecting this wine to arrive sometime in the spring or early summer. 
 
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The January 2018 Dirty Dozen - Over 30% Savings!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:45 PM

The January 2018 Dirty Dozen - Over 30% Savings!

The January 2018

Dirty Dozen

Happy New Year!

Yes, it’s January, and it’s time to reset the calendar, tally up last year’s resolutions, and set some resolutions for 2018.  Trying more new wines is usually a mindful goal every year, as that is the only true way of knowing for sure whether or not you like a particular wine.  Let us make that task a little easier for you.  The Dirty Dozen club comes out once per month with 12 bottles, all different, all chosen for their versatility, packed in one box for one super-low price.  Get your January 2018 Dirty Dozen today!
Dirty Dozen Chillables Bottle Line Up

The Chillables

2016 Orvieto Vignarco, Palazzone $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

In 1969, the Dubini family purchased their estate in Orvieto, but it was not until the late 1980’s when they began to sell their wine commercially. A classically styled Orvieto with the majority of grapes being Grechetto and Procanico; expect subtle notes of peach and almond blossoms. Try with roasted winter squash dishes or a sauced pan-roasted chicken.



2016 Terre Siciliane Bianco, Colosi $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder    

Over the past few decades, Sicilian wines have seen a rapid increase in quality as well as interest from wine drinkers looking to expand their repertoire. The Colosi Bianco is a triumvirate of native Sicilian varietals: Inzolia, Cattaratto and Grillo. Crisp, completely unoaked and zippy, this white is a nice way to start off a meal or match up with shellfish risotto.




2016 Falanghina, Cantine Le Grotte $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder        

Though Falanghina is most often associated with Campania, there is a bit that is grown on the backside of the boot in Puglia. Cantine Le Grotte’s vineyards are in Apricena, just a few kilometers inland from the Adriatic Sea. Straw yellow in color, it has distinct notes of navel orange and cut flowers. Pair with pork scaloppini or any rice based casseroles.



2014 Montagny Les Guignottes, Dom. Les Guignottes $12.95 sale price, $12.30 reorder                      

White Burgundy here, folks.  White Burgundy which is on sale, no less!  Montagny is an appellation in the Côte Chalonnaise, which is just south of Burgundy’s vaunted Côte d’Or.  Only white wines are allowed to adorn the AOC on their bottles, and the grape is Chardonnay, of course.  This is an expressive, fruit driven white; pair it with scampi.




2016 Côtes de Provence Rosé, Domaine des Aspras $16.99, $13.59 reorder 

Over in Provence, specifically in the village of Correns, comes this direct-import Rosé. Correns was the very first village in France to earn official organic designation for all its farms and vineyards.  This is grown-up Rosé – it’s bright, precise, has complexity, and finishes crisp and lipsmacking dry.  A great wine to sip with your octopus a la plancha appetizer.




2016 Sauvignon Blanc Perigord IGP, Puy-Servain $8.79, $7.03 reorder                  

Last April, while visiting Daniel Hecquet just outside of Bordeaux, he introduced us to a new line that he and some fellow growers have been working on launching:  the Puy 170 Perigord IGP.  The bottom line is solid wines for a song.  This SB is expressive and well-balanced.  It’s easy to drink and easy to purchase… great for parties, light salads, or goat cheese.

Dirty Dozen Reds Bottle Line Up

The Reds



2014 Merlot, Cousiño-Macul $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

Cousiño-Macul is a historic winery in Chile’s Maipo Valley. It was founded in 1856 and is still operated by the original founding family. This is an honest to goodness Merlot with its soft tannins and ripe berry flavors. Easy going and versatile, it’s enjoyable by the glass or will carry over to the dinner table to accompany your favorite comfort food.

2013 Rouge, Le Cirque $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder

Côtes Catalanes, in southern France near the border of Spain, is an exemplary geographical region for viticulture. Hot summer days are tempered by winds coming off the Pyrenees and the Mediterranean Sea. This un-oaked, bold red is a yummy blend of Carignan, Syrah and Mourvèdre. Dusty tannins give way to dark berry fruit. This one calls for lamb.



2014 Borgaio, Meleto $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

Castello di Meleto is a grand estate in the heart of Tuscany. The castle dates back to the 11th Century. Today they not only produce wine, but also olive oil and raise heirloom pigs. Their Borgaio red is mostly Sangiovese and fermented in tank. A small portion is aged in neutral barrel to flesh out the wine. Red sauced pasta dishes are the way to go here.



2013 Vinsobres, Tour de l’Isle $17.59, $14.07 reorder

One of several Côtes-du-Rhône villages which has the character enough to be given its own village status (not to be taken lightly), Vinsobres wines are usually half Grenache, rounded out with Syrah and Mourvèdre.  That’s what we have here – it’s a great, versatile red. You can drink it on its own, or you can pair it with the usual suspects – how about meatballs?



2014 Château Pitray, Castillon Côtes de Bordeaux $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

There has been a lot of activity around Castillon throughout the last decade as investors (many of which are Right-Bank châteaux owners) are snapping up any Castillon properties which come on the market.  Why?  Though further east, it still shares many similarities with St. Emilion, which is next door.  This red is medium/full bodied and is great for steak.



2015 Fronton On l’Appelle Negrette, Vignobles Arbeau $12.59, $10.07 reorder

Just north of Toulouse in southern France, north of the Pyrenees one finds the appellation of Fronton.  The principal grape there is Negrette.  What is it?  It’s a light-bodied, spicy, fruity grape which yields lighter styled wines similar to Cru Beaujolais.  Here it is on its own, bright cherry fruit, spicy forest floor, no harsh tannins, and a silky finish; Ahhh.

Big Bottles For The Big Day

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:40 PM

Big Bottles  For The Big Day

Big Bottles



For The Big Day

Sparkling wine in magnum ...

There is something magical about bubbles in big bottles.  Don't ask me what it is, or why, but they just taste better.  



I was introduced to this concept sometime in the late '90's when my band would take the long Presidents' weekend off each year and head up to Mendocino to jam our faces off for 3 days and nights at a rented house somewhere in the middle of the woods.  Those were indeed fun times, but I'm off subject. 



One year, due to my insistence, we stopped at the Roederer winery and tasting room in Anderson Valley on our way up to Mendo.  The band (there were 6 of us) took over the quiet tasting room, and we were helped by a kind woman who helped navigate us through the wines.  It seemed she knew a thing or two about music, as her boyfriend "played in bands."  It was then and there we learned about magnums.  She poured the same wine, one from bottle, one from magnum, for each of us to taste.  It was unanimous!  We all thought the magnum samples tasted better.  "Why is that?" We all asked, but to no avail; some things remain magical.  Magical, yes, but somehow still a fact.  We thanked our kind guide for her time and headed on up to our weekend jamboree, toting 3 magnums of Roederer sparkling wine!



Over the years, I've heard much about the subject, and have sampled sparkling wines side by side, one from bottle, one from magnum.  The magnum wins ... every time.



We are open today, December 30, and will be closed both tomorrow and Monday.  So today is your last chance to pop in and pick up a magnum of fizz for your 2018 celebrations!  Here is a quartet of our best-priced magnums of sparkling wine.



-Peter Zavialoff

 

NV

Cava Brut

Segura Viudas


$17.98





By far, our best priced magnum of sparkling wine.  This is a great choice for a mixed crowd; it's dry and delicious enough to enjoy on its own, and inexpensive enough to be okay if someone decides to pour peach or orange juice in it!

 
NV

Cava Brut

Reserva Heredad

Sigura Viudas

$44.98






Something much more serious from Segura Viudas.  This regal bottle tells us everything about its contents.  Pure, clean, refined sparkling wine at a "less than Champagne" price.  Oh, why not, this one's worth sabring!

 
NV

Vouvray Brut

Domaine d'Orfeuilles

$39.98






100% Chenin Blanc from the Loire Valley.  This is another outstanding, Champagne-like value, with its tangy Granny Smith apple fruit and dusty mineral notes.  The magnum bottle just screams, "It's party time!"

 
NV

Crémant de Bourgogne

Perle de Roche

Jean-Marie Chaland

$59.98






We just mentioned the recent arrival of the Perle de Roche Crémant de Bourgogne from Jean-Michel Chaland.  It's all Chardonnay, and with it's tiny bubbles and delicate aromas, can easily charm Champagne lovers.

Twinkle, Twinkle, In A Flute...

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:29 PM

Twinkle, Twinkle, In A Flute...

Twinkle, Twinkle, In A Flute ...



Fizz, Bubbles, Champers ...

or whatever else you may call your sparkling wine, there is no question that THE most popular time of year for the stuff is upon us now.  So whether you need a bottle or two to ring in the New Year, for Sunday Brunch, or if you would just like a great pairing partner for your caviar, fried chicken, or bowl of potato chips, we've got a nice selection of sparkling wine at a variety of price-points.  

Beginning with our sub $10 Cava sparkling wines from Spain, we have a handful of offerings which range from $10 - $30, each one with its own allure.  Then, we have a fine line of great Champagnes, many of them Grower Champagnes, ranging in price from the $30's all the way up to a very special bottling of Krug (Pssst:  It's on sale!).



So, no matter your budget, we've got the sparkling wine for you this year.  Need help choosing?  Our friendly, knowledgable staff is more than happy to give recommendations and help you zero in on that special bottle for 2018!  Come see us or give us a call - we'll be here!!!  Happy (up-coming) New Year!  



   - Peter Zavialoff

Check Out All Our Sparkling Wines Here
2014

Cantine Russo

Mon Pit Brut

Blanc de Blancs


$25.98



Feed your inner wine-geek, and/or impress your friends with this two grape blended fizz from Sicily.  Grown in volcanic soils around Mount Etna, the grapes are Carricante and Catarratto, the former is known for its inherent acidity, while the latter is known for its lemon fruit expression. This sparkler from Sicily can take the world by storm ... once the world tastes it!



1998

Arlaux


Millesime Rare

Reg. $84.98

SALE $64.95



What a great way to ring in 2018!  This soon to be 20 year old bottle of Champagne is in a glorious place at the moment.  The tiny bubbles push an initial yeasty/briochey element which opens the door for an incredibly complex bouquet.  The palate is racy and lively with all of that complexity pinging every sensor.
NV 

Jean-Marie Chaland

Crémant de Bourgogne


Perle de Roche

Brut Nature

$28.98




That's a mouthfull, we know, but it's the mouth feel of this Crémant de Bourgogne that has our staff buzzing.  Tiny bubbles, soft lemon verbena aromas, and a well-constructed palate had our staff in agreement that this could be a "ringer" in a Champagne tasting.  It's all Chardonnay, and it's amazing.

 


2007

Vilmart & Cie

Coeur de Cuvée


$144.98



A most extraordinary Champagne from one of the region's greatest growers and producers.  Made of 80% Chardonnay and 20% Pinot Noir, this Champagne is refined, expressive, complex, even grandiose.  It's like Montrachet with bubbles.







 
NV

Marc Hebrart

Premier Cru

Cuvée de Réserve

Brut


$43.98



It all started when David purchased a few cases of the Marc Hebrart Champagnes and declared them, "My kind of Champagne."  Well, that was enough for us.  Several of our staff took a bottle or two home, and recommended it to our customers.  It's already sold out twice, so it must be our kind of Champagne too!

 





NV

Krug


Grande Cuvée

164ème Édition

Reg. $199.98

SALE $168.95



From Antonio Galloni:  "Krug's NV Grande Cuvée 164 Edition is a total knockout.  The flavors are brisk, delineated and pulsing with energy, while the more oxidative notes that are such a signature of Krug Champagnes are not especially evident. 97 points."

 

Open Today: Noon - 4:00PM!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:23 PM

Celebrating The Season
SF City Hall Lit Up With Green And Red

We're open on a Sunday!

It doesn't happen often, as we are usually closed on Sundays, but we are open today, December 24 from Noon - 4:00pm.  If you're looking to get away from the full parking lots, crowded shops, and overall madness of the season, stop on by and say hello!  We will make it worth your while, as David is marking down a bunch of wines to be sold as in-store specials just for today.  



Last minute wine craving, or in need of one more gift?  We'll be here for you.

Back in Stock!



The 2010 Château de Malleret took us all by storm a couple of years ago, as it was a happy discovery while tasting samples in Bordeaux in 2014.  We bought a bunch, drank some, sold some, cellared a few, and eventually they were all gone.  It happens; nothing to get down about, we just go back to the source and try to find something comparable.  Usually, when something this good which sells for such a low price sells out, it's out for good.  Surprisingly, back in June, while looking through a supplier's price list, I saw it.  I proclaimed, "You'll never believe this, but so-and-so are showing the 2010 Malleret back in stock."  Less than 5 minutes later, the email was sent:  "WE'LL TAKE IT ALL."



And now it's back in stock!  It won't be around very long, if history is any example, as so many of you have purchased and enjoyed this lovely Haut-Médoc wine from the legendary 2010 vintage.  Maybe today is a good day to head on over to TWH and pick up a bottle or two?



-Peter Zavialoff
2010 Chateau Malleret Bottle
Buy Now - $19.98

Celebration Preparations - Sparkles And Sweet Decadence

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:15 PM

Tick Tock, Tick Tock ...

We're ten days away from the end of 2017!!  What to do?  Why, celebrate, of course!!  If you're in need of wine to celebrate with, we've got you covered!



As is customary this time of year, sparkling wines are very popular as celebratory wines, and we have good stocks of fizz ranging from sub $20 sparklers to fancy, hard to find Champagnes.  
Click here for a link to our selection of bubbles. 



If you like to celebrate like I do, then maybe a bottle of Sauternes from our anniversary sale is the way to go.  I always like to celebrate with Bordeaux's Gold wines, and a glass of Sauternes on New Year's Day is a must, if one is going to have a sweet year!



Remember, our sale lasts through January 2, 2018, so if you haven't checked it out, time is running short.





 - Peter Zavialoff

NV

Giavi

Conegliano Valdobbiandene

DOGC

Prosecco Superiore


Reg. $14.98





Our ever-popular, dry, pear-scented, Giavi Prosecco is quite an elegant drink for its party-wine price. Careful - the bottle tends to be finished before you know it!







2005 Château

De Malle


Sauternes 375ml

Reg. $27.98

SALE $19.95



From a vintage known for its abundant level of botrytis, the 2005 de Malle is showing rich aromas with citrus fruit and spicy aromas.  The palate is well-balanced and harmonious.  It's in a great spot right now.
d'Orfeuilles Touraine Rose Bottle
NV

Domaine d'Orfeuilles


Brut

Touraine Rosé


Reg. $15.98





Vivacious Champagne-method bubbly produced from organically farmed Côt, Cabernet Franc, and Grolleau grapes, grown on limestone-clay hillside soils. Fresh and crisp, with surprising complexity.



2007 Chateau

Rieussec

Sauternes 375ml


Reg. $44.98

SALE $34.95







"The palate is very pure and balanced with a wonderful seam of acidity that slices through the viscous botrytis fruit, quite spicy on the finish" - Neal Martin
2004

Pascal Doquet

Grand Cru


Le Mesnil Sur Oger

Coeur De Terroir

Reg. $99.98

SALE $74.95



Or one can go the way of true vintage Chamagne with this 2004 Grand Cru from Pascal Doquet.  Expressive, yeasty, and nutty, 2004 was great for Chardonnay-based Champagne.







2005 Chateau De Fargues

Sauternes 375ml

Reg. $59.98

SALE $49.95



Owned by the Lur Saluces family (former owners of Château d'Yquem), the 2005 de Fargues is Sauternes lover's dream.  It's intense, complex, rich, and powerful.  It's a great wine - for now, or for up to 15-20 years.

40th Anniversary Sale: Bordeaux!!!

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:09 PM

BORDEAUX ON SALE
Bordeaux City Riverside Walkway

It only happens once a year ...

that we put wines from Bordeaux on sale, and now's the time!  The wines from Bordeaux are among the most highly sought after wines in the world.  Why is that?  Because they deliver.  Something I often tell customers is that the wines from Bordeaux are the most reliable wines money can buy.  Spend $50 on a bottle of Bordeaux and it will deliver.  I don't mean to disparage any other wine region, but sometimes even the sum of $50 won't guarantee you satisfaction if the wine were to come from elsewhere.  

Shortly after David sent me the list of wines which would be going on sale for this year's anniversary, my personality switched from merchant to consumer, and the first place to check out was Bordeaux.  I quickly identified which wines were the best deals, and put a star next to them.  I've listed 6 of these wines below, 3 below $50 and another 3 below $100.  There are plenty more Bordeaux wines (and wines from all over) on sale, so if you haven't yet had a look at our sale wines, now's the time!   - Peter Zavialoff









2012

Château Cantemerle

Haut-Médoc


Reg. $38.98

SALE $29.95



For me, this is kind of a no-brainer.  Cru Classé wine for less than $30.  Has some old-school Bordeaux funk, and terrific berry fruit expression.



 









2005 Château

Beau-Séjour Becot


Saint-Émilion

Reg. $94.98

SALE $79.95



Now in bottle for over a decade, this is just beginning to hit its drinking plateau.  Power-packed and sturdy, this wine can be consumed now (with decanting), or it will last another 20 years in your cellar. 

 




2011

Château La Lagune


Haut-Médoc

Reg. $59.98

SALE $39.95



La Lagune has been on my short list of favorite chateaux for quite some time now.  When I first saw that sale list, I identified this to be the best deal of all the Bordeaux on sale.







2012 Chateau

Pontet Canet

Pauillac


Reg. $108.98

SALE $89.95



In the northern part of Pauillac, just a small road separates Pontet Canet from Mouton Rothschild, so their terroirs are similar.  Big, dense, and chewy with hints of iron.  This is a classic Pauillac with a long life ahead of it.

 


2012 Château Nenin

Pomerol


Reg. $59.98

SALE $48.95



This from the Delon family's (Léoville Las-Cases) property right in the heart of Pomerol.  70% Merlot, 30% Cab Franc.  Fresh, harmonious fruit and spice impeccably balanced.















2006 Chateau Troplong Mondot

Saint-Émilion

Reg. $144.98

SALE $99.95



Another in the 10+ years old category, though the 2006 Troplong Mondot is drinking marvelously now.  It's more medium than full-bodied with a healthy level of fruit concentration, tar, black pepper and tobacco.  Delish!

New Champagne Producer - Liébart-Régnier

Wednesday, January 10, 2018 12:06 PM

Introducing Champagne



Liébart-Régnier
Liebart-Regnier Champagne Bottles

Just in time for the holidays ...

I was first introduced to Liébart-Régnier at a trade show last year. These kinds of shows feature scores of producers that are looking for US importers. They are a worthwhile endeavor, but you have to kiss a lot of frogs to find your Prince Charming. These Champagnes, shown to me by the charming Alexandra Liébart, were, for me, the hit of the tasting, and a few months later I was in the village of Baslieux-sous-Chatillon paying them a visit. The estate was formed, as one might surmise, with the marriage of a Liébart to a Régnier, both of whom owned vineyards in the Marne Valley. Alexandra's father, Laurent, runs the estate now, and farms their 10 hectares.  They have been independent winegrowers since 1960, producing their Champagnes from 100% estate grown grapes. Their wines are based on Meunier and Pinot Noir from Baslieux-sous-Chatillon, with Chardonnay, and a parcel of 50 year old Pinor Noir (used for the Rosé), coming from the nearby village of Vauciennes.  They farm some of the ancient Champagne varietals as well, Petit Meslier, Arbanne, and Pinot Gris, and they will release their first cuvée from those varietals in the next year or two.

 

The Liébarts are farmers first and foremost, and are certified "H.V.E.," which is given to producers that show respect for natural habitats, protect biodiversity, and use natural treatments.  Their dedicated farming translates into utterly delicious Champagnes -- generous in fruit, focused and precise, giving boundless pleasure.

 

All these wines are net-priced, but for December only, to encourage you to partake in these fine Champagnes, we are offering a 15% discount on any assortment of 12 bottles of Liébart-Régnier.  You will love having a nice stash around for the coming year! - David Netzer



NV

Liébart-Régnier

Extra Brut


Reg. $36.99

CASE $31.43



50% Pinot Meunier

50% Pinot Noir

 


NV

Chardonnay Brut


Reg. $39.99

CASE $33.98



100% Chardonnay

All from 2013 vintage

 
NV

Liébart-Régnier

Brut


Reg. $34.99

CASE $29.73



70% Pinot Meunier

15% Pinot Noir

15% Chardonnay





NV

Rosé Brut


Reg. $38.99

SALE $33.13



45% Pinot Meunier

35% Pinot Noir

20% Chardonnay

Special Holiday Hours:

We will be open both Sunday, December 17 & December 24

From 12:00 noon - 4:00 pm

Our 40th Anniversary Sale continues ...

And, as in years past, our most popular annual sale will be extended through the end of the year.  That means savings on wines from all over the shop for the rest of 2017! 

Now that we're in the middle of the holidays, maybe it's time to leave some of our favorite "weeknight wines" in their respective boxes and pop the cork of something a little more special.  Our sale has that covered.



Do you like Burgundy?  If you're reading this email, that's a rhetorical question.  We've picked out a handful of highlights from our Burgundy wines on sale; both red and white.  These wines were great values BEFORE they went on sale - You've got to love them now!



First, a trio of fancier reds from the outstanding 2012 vintage.  Clive Coates, MW, has written that, "There are some who regard the potential of 2012 reds as superior to anything recent, and that includes 2010, 2009, 2005 and other years."  That motivated me to stock up on 2012's.



For the whites, we have 3 different vintages represented, including the already famous 2014.  If studying vintage charts is your thing, then you probably know that the quality has been great for white Burgundy for quite some time, year after year.  These fancy whites will impress all who sample them. - Peter Zavialoff    



2012

Xavier Monnot Beaune 1er Cru

Les Toussaints




Reg. $55.98

SALE $39.95



"The mouth feel of the medium-bodied flavors is lush to the point of opulence with good mid-palate density before culminating in a beautifully complex, round and solidly complex finish."

- Allen Meadows,

Burghound 



Sounds like he liked it.






2014 Claudie Jobard

Rully Blanc


Montagne La Folie



Reg. $27.99

SALE $19.95



Claudie Jobard is Laurence Jobard's daughter.  Laurence was head oenologist at Maison Josef Drouhin for 3 decades.  Winemaking is in her blood - and we love her wines.  Don't let the low price put you off - this is special wine!

 


2012

Château de la Matroye

Chassagne-Montrachet

1er Cru Clos St. Jean



Reg. $64.99

SALE $45.95



Made by the meticulous Jean-Pierre Cournut (he's a former aeronautical engineer), the wines from Maltroye are known for their high-toned expression and balance.  The clay soiled vineyard of Clos St. Jean allows the fruit to ripen fully, giving the wines a core of crunchy berry-like fruit.

 

2012 Xavier Monnot

Meursault 1er Cru

Les Charmes




Reg. $106.99

SALE $59.95



White Burgundy lovers know one cannot go wrong with Meursault, though there is something particularly special about the wines from the Charmes vineyard.  This 2012 is ready for action with bright pear and apple fruit, stony mineral, and a crisp finish.  Yum!


2012

Stephane Magnien Grand Cru

Clos-Saint-Denis




Reg. $149.99

SALE $114.95



The youthful Stephane Magnien may only have 4.5 hectares to tend, but in what impressive vineyards do they lie??!!  This Clos-Saint-Denis will be the wine to pour for New Year's 2025, but there may not be any around by then. 

 









2013

Chateau de la Maltroye

Chassagne-Montrachet


1er Cru Le Dent De Chien



Reg. $199.99

SALE $124.95



And in the super-special wine department, there is this Dent de Chien.  Rumor has it that these two plots once belonged to the Grand Cru Le Montrachet vineyard.  This wine certainly gives credence to that claim.

Glorious Mountain-Top California Cabernet Sauvignon

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:35 PM

Arbios Cellars

Arbios Vineyard View

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!
Arbios vineyard worker
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


                                                   

A Taste Of Burgundy - December 2017

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:33 PM

A TASTE OF BURGUNDY

DECEMBER 2017

2015 Chassagne-Montrachet

Château de la Maltroye

 2015 Chateau de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet BottleChâteau de la Maltroye is located smack dab in the middle of the appellation of Chassagne-Montrachet. It’s surrounded by a host of Premier Cru vineyards including the eponymous monopole, Clos du Château de la Maltroye.  Jean-Pierre Cournut has been owner/winemaker since 1993, following his father’s retirement after running the property for some 20 years.  When asked about the 2015 growing season in Burgundy, Jean-Pierre replied, “It was a huge relief relative to the last few vintages.” Regarding the harvest, he later added, “the fruit was so clean, I basically paid people to watch it go by on the sorting table.”  Such was the case with 2015 white Burgundy; the fruit was perfectly ripe. It was apparent, early on, to Cournut that the wines would be very rich, so he did not perform any battonage on his wines. This village Chassagne is rich and concentrated, suggesting it will age well, though there is plenty of opulence showing already. We recommend drinking it from now-2030.

2015 Beaune 1er Cru Teurons

Domaine Albert Morot

2015 Domaine Albert Morot Beaune 1er Cru Teurons BottleWe are going to be hearing about 2015 red Burgundy for a long time. It’s a benchmark vintage of the highest quality with better than average yields. Burgundy expert Clive Coates, MW has written that in his opinion, the best Premiers Cru vineyards in the Beaune appellation are Grèves and Teurons, stating that they “produce Beaune at its most elegant: fullish, but properly round, rich and balanced, with plenty of depth.” The Premier Cru Teurons vineyard lies in the middle of the Beaune appellation due west of the village. Geoffroy Choppin de Janvry has been running the show and making the wine at Albert Morot since 2000. He immediately implemented organic techniques and now is officially certified. Regarding the 2015 harvest Geoffroy commented that the fruit was, “ripe and as clean as could be.”  For his 2015 Teurons, he used 20% whole clusters to give the wine freshness, and was light-handed with extraction. This terroir-driven wine is concentrated and complex. Time in the cellar will help; drink from 2021-2035. 

December 2017 Dirty Dozen

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:28 PM

December 2017 Dirty Dozen



Eleven months down,



One to go - Welcome to December!  There's not a whole lot of 2017 left, and now that we're in the middle of the Holidays, there are many reasons to celebrate.  To aid in this year's festivities, we've packed 12 bottles of wine, all different, all chosen for their value and versatility, and put them in a box with this handy write-up for one outrageously low price - pick up your December Dirty Dozen today!

The Chillables

2015 Saint Chinian, Petit Paradis $13.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

Saint Chinian, a sub-region of the Languedoc between Minervois and Faugères, is planted mainly to red varieties. This exception to the rule is a perky, peach scented blend of Marsanne, Vermentino and Grenache Blanc. Terrific freshness with a smooth palate feel, this can work magic with rotisserie chicken, cold noodle salads or soups with winter greens.



2016 Picpoul de Pinet, Le Chevalier de Novato $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder     

Another alluring white from the Languedoc, Picpoul de Pinet is both the name of the variety and the appellation. Grown along the estuaries of the Mediterranean, Picpoul has acidity like that of a Muscadet combined with the roundness of a white Rhône. An elegant start to a celebratory meal when paired with oysters on the half shell or smoked trout rillettes.



2015 Chardonnay, Dreyer Sonoma $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder        

For over twenty years, Dreyer Sonoma has been making top quality, super-affordable wines. Their Chardonnay comes from Carneros, a region that benefits from San Pablo Bay’s cooling breezes. A Chardonnay far more balanced and nuanced than most comparably priced ones, it’s a crowd-pleasing choice for cocktail parties and other festive gatherings.



2017 Unoaked Chardonnay, Good Hope $14.99, $11.99 reorder                  

Nope, you’re not seeing things; this is a 2017 Chardonnay, harvested this past spring.  The fruit comes from two vineyards, one ocean facing and the other in an inland valley.  The varietals are blended giving us the best of both worlds, zippy acidity and ripe yellow fruit.  Now that it’s crab season, feel free to pop one of these and get crackin’.



2016 Montravel Terrement, Château Puy-Servain $13.49, $10.79 reorder                      

Another wine, fresh off our latest container, is Daniel Hecquet’s Montravel Terrement Blanc.  Daniel pays homage to the Marquis de Ségur using a derivative of the word terroir to spotlight the vineyard the illustrious Marquis once owned.  It’s a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, and a great wine to serve with a vegetable tart with goat cheese.



2016 Touraine Rosé, Domaine des Corbillières  $16.79, $13.43 reorder 

The Domaine des Corbillières Rosé has been among our favorite Rosés for as long as we’ve been selling them.  In 2016, they crushed it!  This fine offering is impeccably balanced with hints of strawberry and melon-like fruit aromas along with stony minerals propped up by fresh, crisp acidity.  This is about as good as Rosé gets.  Try it with seared ahi tuna.

The Reds

2014 Nero di Troia, Cantine Le Grotte $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder

Nero di Troia is the third most planted grape in Puglia after Negroamaro and Primitivo. Think of Puglia geographically as the heel up to the mid-calf of Italy’s boot. Nero di Troia is a purple skinned grape that when ripe, expresses rich fruit and mild tannins. Lots of forest berry juiciness here. Match-ups include slow roasted pork, brisket or mushroom lasagna.



2015 Bobal, Aula $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder

Bobal is the native grape of Spain’s Utiel-Requena region just west of the city of Valencia. The climate here is a cross between Mediterranean and continental. Hot, dry days give way to cool nights, providing ideal conditions for growing wine grapes, especially Bobal. Raspberry, cherry and a hint of balsam notes prevail. Serve with pizza, pilaf or pasta.



2015 Vranec, Jordanov $12.98 net sale price, $11.68 reorder

Jordanov is located just fifty miles south of Skopje, Macedonia’s capital and largest city. In this region, Vranec reigns supreme. A black-skinned grape, Vranec produces a full-bodied red with flavors of sour cherry and cassis. If you tend to enjoy Cabernet Sauvignon or Merlot, you’re in for a treat! This can easily stand up to a rib roast with Yorkshire pudding.



2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, Inacayal $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder

One of Argentina’s best-known enologists, Adriano Senetier founded Inacayal in 1997 in the foothills of the Andes Mountain Range, identifying the vineyard as mineral-rich alluvial soil.  He sold the winery in 2010, but stayed on as the grower.  The 2015 Cabernet is full in body, with spicy aromas and dark, earthy notes.  Sure to be a hit with a juicy steak!



2015 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Le Farnete $14.59, $11.67 reorder

They’ve been allowed to grow Cabernet Sauvignon in Carmignano since Medici times.  TWH pal Enrico Pierazzuoli blends it (20%) with Sangiovese to make both his Carmignano and Barco Reale.  Think of it as a “baby Super-Tuscan,” with fresh red fruit up front and a medium bodied finish. This works great as a spaghetti red or with a Pizza Margherita.



2016 Château De Cranne, Bordeaux $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder

Be the first ones on your block to taste a bona fide 2016 red Bordeaux!  The vintage will be a famous one for years to come, and this wine is a terrific sneak-peek as to why.  Elegant, yet ripe fruit intermingles with zippy, fresh acidity, all in balance with no harsh tannins.  It’s not Margaux, but hey, it’s a 2016 that’s ready to drink with those lamburgers. 

The December 2017 Dirty Dozen - $109  

Holiday Hours And More From Our Anniversary Sale

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:25 PM

We're hoping you all had a nice Thanksgiving!

We all did, and though we are all still full from all of that food, we're OPEN today, regular hours: 10:00 - 6:00.  We will also be open tomorrow, Saturday, November 25 from 10:00 - 5:00.



And for your calendars, we are usually closed on Sundays, but we will be open the following two Sundays:

Sunday, December 17:  Noon - 4:00PM

Sunday, December 24:  Noon - 4:00PM

They're here!

The Holidays, that is.  With Turkey Day behind us, we now see December coming into view, and all the madness that comes with it!  The timing of our Anniversary and its subsequent sale is perfect for those of us needing wine for all of our December entertaining, as the sale will run through the end of the year!



To give you an idea as to what may be on sale, here are a couple of goodies from our Rhône section:



2013 Ventoux Rouge, Domaine Fondrèche

Winemaker Sébastien Vincenti is no stranger to the Rhône Valley, having spent a few years under the tutelage of the widely respected, André Brunel.  Sébastien has some of the finest terroir in the Ventoux region, east of the river.  In 2013, he discontinued his prestigious "Nadal" label, and combined the fruit which normally went to those bottles with his entry-level "Fayard," to make this Ventoux Rouge.  Made from 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, think of it as a classier wine than previous incarnations of his entry-level red.  With that sale price, it's a no-brainer!

Reg. $16.99  Sale $9.95

Or ...

if your needs call for something a little more special, there are some fancy northern Rhône wines on sale too, such as:



2011 Côte Rôtie Champon's, Domaine Stéphane Pichat

The wines from Côte Rôtie can be some of the hardest wines to track down.  The vineyards are located on super steep hillsides along the banks of the Rhône River in the north, and let's just say machine harvesting is impossible.  We've been importing Stéphane Pichat's Côte Rôtie wines since the 2010 vintage, and we've been loving them ever since.  We're not alone here, here's what former Wine Advocate Rhône Valley reviewer, Jeb Dunnuck had to say about Pichat's 2011 Champon's:



"Comprised all of Syrah and aged 24 months in 40% new French oak, the 2011 Côte Rôtie Champon’s exhibits a perfumed, complex bouquet of black raspberry, smoke, incense, saddle leather, violets and underbrush. This is followed by a medium to full-bodied, supple, elegant and pure 2011 that can be consumed any time over the coming 10-15 years.



Run by the young Stéphane Pichat (who worked for Jean-Michel Gerin and Gilbert Clusel in the Rhone, as well as a stint in Sonoma), Domaine Pichat has produced superb wines in both 2011 and 2012. The vinification here is quite modern, with the grapes mostly destemmed, and then plenty of new oak (and extended duration) used in aging (also called elevage in French). Nevertheless, the wines show beautiful Cote Rotie meatiness and have seamless, polished textures. Moving to the 2011s, this too is a serious, solid lineup that makes the most of the vintage."

Reg. $63.99  Sale $45.95

40th Anniversary Sale!

Some Super Sale Pricing On Wines To Stock Up On This Holiday Season

Now that it's December ...

things are getting busy.  The calendar's filling up, party and dinner invitations are making the rounds, and this time next month it will be 2018!  If there is any time of year when it just makes sense to have good stocks of wine handy, it's right now.  As our 40th Anniversary Sale continues through the month of December, we've not only slashed prices on some of our finest offerings, we've also lowered the prices of several wines in the "everyday wine" category, giving you all the opportunity to stock up for all of your December entertaining.    



As far as wines to stock up on, here are a few super deals:

2015 Domaine la Hitaire Les Tours





Reg. $10.79

SALE $5.95



Quite a deal on this entry-level white from Gascogne.  Ugni Blanc, Colombard, and Gros Manseng are the grapes; a light, dry, crisp easy to like white is the result. 



2014 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau Hauts-Côtes de Beaune Clos Marc



Reg. $21.49

SALE $12.95



Light and rustic, this entry-level red Burgundy is just the type of wine one might expect to be served by the glass in some of France's bucolic locales.
2013 Domaine Fondrèche

Ventoux Rouge



Reg. $16.99

SALE $9.95



This is about as good a deal on red wine as it gets.  Winemaker Sébastien Vincenti now includes grapes which used to go into his premium Nadalcuvée in this Ventoux.



2014 Domaine Pierre Savoye Morgon Tradition



Reg. $18.49

SALE $13.95



Cru Beajolais here; Morgon is well-known for its relatively sturdy profile.  Here we have black cherry, wild cherry, forest floor, and some earthy goodness without any sticky tannins.
2014 Domaine Les Guignottes Montagny Les Guignottes



Reg. $21.59

SALE $12.95



Montagny is in Côte Chalonnaise in southern Burgundy.  This is a great Chardonnay to pop in the fridge and pour with dungeness crab.


2014 Domaine Sainte Barbe Mâcon-Villages Les Tilles





Reg. $19.99

SALE $14.95



The consensus among wine writers is that 2014 was THE best vintage for white Burgundy in quite some time.  This un-oaked beauty is clean and expressive.

40th Anniversary Sale!

Special Prices For Special Bottles For Your Upcoming Special Occasions

If you're going to launch a business in November ...

your anniversary is always going to be around Thanksgiving.  A holiday of that magnitude may steal the thunder of any anniversary celebrations, unless of course, you're a wine merchant!  As many of you know, our anniversary celebration comes with a big sale which coincides with the most festive season!  It's our way of saying thank you to our customers for your support throughout the year.

Inspired by a long time customer's request, "for 6 nice bottles from your sale to serve to guests on Thanksgiving," I made some choices.  The parameters were, "something nice, try to keep it under $50 per bottle (on average), and let's do one Champagne, two whites, two reds, and something sweet."  My personal inclination is to question why the sweet wine is relegated to the end, but my personal inclinations are just that.  This customer also shared the fact that they have eschewed the traditional Thanksgiving meal in favor of surf & turf.  Okay, the wheels were turning; being someone's personal wine shopper can be a fun gig; living vicariously and all.   Here's the what and why ... - Peter Zavialoff

NV

Arlaux

Rosé


Reg. $54.98

SALE $39.95



Let's get this party started.  What better way than rosé Champagne? 



Dry and crisp with a kiss of red fruit.  Very nice!










2012 Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru

Les Sentiers

Reg. $91.99

SALE $59.95



Stéphane Magnien has vines in some fantastic vineyards.  The 2012 Chambolle Sentiers will steal the show at this dinner. This is special stuff here!  
2014 Chateau de la Matroye

Chassagne-Montrachet

Reg. $57.99

SALE $39.95



How about following that up with some fine white Burgundy from what critics are calling the best vintage in a long, long, time?  "Lovely stuff and worth a look." - Allen Meadows, Burghound




Chateau les Grandes Murailles

Saint-Emilion


Reg. $49.98

SALE $39.95



This tiny property atop the plateau near the village of St. Emilion is now run by the same team as neighbor Clos Fourtet, whose 2012 is also on sale ... for twice as much.  This is the real deal!
2011 Maison Dampt Chablis Grand Cru Les Clos

Reg. $74.99

SALE $49.95



Talking about "nice" bottles; here's one from Chablis' most prestigious Grand Cru!  Spicy, crisp, and mineral driven.



 















2007 Chateau Suduiraut

Sauternes


375ml

Reg. $48.98

SALE $39.95



With all the goodness preceding it, the 2007 Suduiraut will certainly be the icing on the cake of this or any dinner.  Don't be afraid to try it as an aperitif either!

40 Novembers

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:11 PM

We Just Turned 40!!!


In November 1977, The Wine House was founded by John Carpenter at 535 Bryant Street in San Francisco.  Two locations and 40 years later, here we are at 829 26th Street in the city's Dogpatch neighborhood.  To say thank you to our customers for your patronage, and to help you celebrate with us, we're slashing prices on much of our inventory!



Deals abound in all corners of the shop!  There are some in-house specials to be found around our store, just look for the gold tags!  Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône, Sauternes, Italy, and more! 
     

To whet your appetite ...

Having been around for an Anniversary Sale or two over the years, experience tells me there is demand for "everyday Burgundy."  What is "everyday Burgundy?"  That is a subjective question to be sure, so I will share what "everyday Burgundy" means to me.



An American friend of mine who once lived in London for a short time returned a changed man.  He regaled me with tales of wine tasting and fraternizing with members of the staff of his local Nicolas wine shop.  One point he was abundantly clear on was the importance of "everday wines."  As in, one doesn't need to splurge on a bottle for their Thursday night dinner.  Again, what is "everyday" to one isn't to another; so let's use the budget of $20 per bottle and under here.  Well, anybody who knows anything about Burgundy knows it isn't cheap.  Red Burgundy wines below the $20 price tag, firstly, are nearly impossible to find.  Secondly, they practically beg for scrutiny.  Right? 

"Hey look!  It's red Burgundy for less than $20!!"

"What's wrong with it?" - would be the usual response.

Some of the nuances which can cause this kind of bias would be that a wine is perceived as being too light, or too rustic, or not having much fruit, or maybe having a nervy acidity level.  If one tastes through a line of sub $20 red Burgundies, it is likely that you will come across all of those descriptors.  But again, "too light?" "too rustic?" - that's all subjective.  To be a good "everyday wine," most importantly, a wine needs to be balanced.  So we'll lead off our 40th Anniversary Sale with an everyday red Burgundy that is elegant, honest, and balanced.  The 2014 Rully La Chaume from Claudie Jobard - regularly $25.79, on sale for $17.95!!



If you've followed us over the past 5 years or so, you've probably heard of 
Claudie Jobard.    Her mother, Laurence was head oenologist at Maison Joseph Drouhin for 30 years.  Apples.  Trees.  Actually, her Mom and her aunt co-own the Pommard domaine, Gabriel Billard.  Guess who they entrust to make the wines there?  If you said Claudie, you'd be correct.  The Billard wines are great in their own right, but today's email is about "everyday Burgundy."  The appellation of Rully lies south of Burgundy's famous Côte d'Or in what is known as Côte Chalonnaise.  There's been a lot of investment over the past decade in this region, as some of Burgundy's famous domaines have been purchasing land there.  This is a good time to be interested in wines from this region as the quality is going up, up, up, yet the price remains in check.   Claudie's 2014 Rully La Chaume has classic, brambly Pinot Noir aromas:  blackberry thicket, a hint of strawberry, herbs, and forest floor.  The palate is bright, elegant, honest, and in harmony.  Just the right amount of fruit, with the right amount of acidity, dancing together with a fresh, elegant finish.  I mentioned above that sub $20 red Burgundy was nearly impossible to find.  I don't think I've ever enjoyed a sub $20 red Burgundy as much as I enjoy this one!  The bottle's been open for 3 hours now, and the wine is singing!  - Peter Zavialoff

       

The November 2017 Dirty Dozen

Tuesday, January 9, 2018 5:00 PM

Feel that chill in the air?



Yep.  There's no denying it; November is here - And seeing that the sky is going dark early these days, it's time for our festivities to move indoors!  No problem here, it's a great time of year for hearty dishes accompanied by sturdy red wines.  If it's white wine that tickles your fancy, it's a good time for those too, as crab season and Thanksgiving are just around the corner.  Either way, we've got you covered - The Dirty Dozen is a great way to get both for a great price.  Pick up your November Dirty Dozen today!
November Dirty Dozen Chillable Wines

The Chillables

NV Giavi Prosessco Superiore DOCG $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder                

November and December are certainly the months during which we do the most celebrating and entertaining.  So for those occasions which benefit from sparkling wine, we thought to include our award-winning Prosecco to this month’s mix.  The Giavi Prosecco is expressive and alive in the glass with great balance and a dry finish.  Great, all-purpose fizz!



2015 Viognier, Grange des Rouquette $10.99, $8.79 reorder            

A closer look at the back label tells us that this is 85% Viognier and 15% Marsanne.  The Marsanne gives the wine some body and adds aromatic complexity.  All in all, this VDP d’Oc is big on charm and low in price.  It makes for a great aperitif, though should you save it for the Thanksgiving Day table, you will find it very handy for its versatility. 



2016 Les Cimels Rosé, Château d’Or et de Gueules  $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder Speaking of versatility, Rosé wines top the charts when it comes down to the breadth of cuisine which they pair well with!  TWH pal, Diane de Puymorin crafts her Rosé more in the style of Bandol and/or Provençal Rosé, using Cinsault and Mourvèdre as the primary fruit.  It’s clean, crisp, and dry on the palate with hints of fruity aromas.



2015 Gruner Veltliner “Q”, Petra Unger $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder                       

Petra Unger took the winery over from her parents in 1999. With vineyards planted on either side of the Danube in the Kremstal region of Austria, Petra makes several cuvees of Gruner Veltliner. The “Q” is her most affordable and is all tank-fermented for optimal freshness. Yellow fruit flavors with aromas of white pepper; pair with crostini or bruschetta.



2015 Chardonnay, Benoit Badoz $17.98 net price, $16.18 reorder            

The Jura is a relatively small wine region sandwiched between Burgundy to the west and Switzerland to the east. Here Benoit Badoz, who is a 10th generation vigneron, makes traditional wines. The Chardonnay is delineated and cut. It goes through malolactic fermentation in tank and sees no time in oak. It’s snappy, so give it a try with oysters and mussels.



2015 Valréas, Clos Bellane  $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder                      

The Rhône Valley’s Clos Bellane is a small domaine situated at a high 1300 ft. elevation. The property is farmed organically and the soil is mostly limestone. This sensational white is predominantly Marsanne with Viognier and Roussanne blended in. A distinctively crisp white Rhône wine, pair it with grain-centric main dish salads.






 

November Dirty Dozen Red Wines

The Reds

2011 Tinto, Terraços do Tejo $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder

Portugal offers terrific value for everyday, honest reds. This one is no exception and blends Aragonès (aka Tempranillo), Syrah and Castelão into a spicy, softly fruity wine. The tannins are well integrated, creating a complete taste sensation on the palate. A versatile wine, this can go with hearty fare like beef stew or can satisfy alone while curled up on the sofa.



2016 Rouge, Petit Canet $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

Delightfully fruity, this Carignane, Syrah and Grenache blend is the perfect antidote for any lack of sunshine. Bursting with berry fruit, this tank-fermented red is easy to get, easy to enjoy. The fruit comes from certified organic grapes from vines ranging in age from 25-45 years old. Working late; too busy to cook? Order pizza in, pop the cork and call it a night!



2015 Zinfandel, A Campo $17.98 net sale price, $16.18 reorder

Winemaker Jim Moore worked two decades at Mondavi in Napa before going out on his own. With over 40 harvests under his belt, Jim continues to produce bright, well-balanced wines. His old vine Lodi Zinfandel is marvelous! Lots of zesty berry fruit, at once generous and lively. This is a no-brainer, full-bodied red pick for the Thanksgiving table.



2015 Gaillac, Château Langlade $9.49, $7.59 reorder

Just north of the Pyrenees, near the city of Toulouse, lie the villages of Fronton and Gaillac.  While the former may be best known for their indigenous grape, Negrette’s inclusion to the local blends, nearby Gaillac has a couple local grapes as well:  Duras and Braucol.  The two are blended with Syrah here and the result is a lightweight, versatile red.

 

2014 Luberon, Tour de l’Isle $15.59, $12.47 reorder

Taking on the role of the negociant, Tour de l’Isle’s Robert Rocchi works with producers in and around the southern Rhône Valley, advising them on everything from vineyard work to what to include in the final blend.  This Luberon, from Y. Rousset-Rouard, is medium-bodied with fruity aromas.  Treat this like a spaghetti-red and you’ll be in business.



2014 Morgon Tradition, Domaine Pierre Savoye $18.49, $14.79 reorder

And what would a November Dirty Dozen be without a CRU Beaujolais?  The autumnal aromas of cedar, tobacco, and forest floor are in harmony with the season; and it is medium-light in body with fresh acidity, perfect for the array of small dishes one finds on the Turkey Day table.  Please join us in our tradition, by serving Savoye’s Morgon at your table!

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