A Taste Of Burgundy – October 2014

 

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Basic Facts for those of you who are new to the program: Every two months we select two Burgundies, one red and one white. We include write-ups detailing the background of the grower, the vineyard source, and the wine. Finally we knock a significant percentage off the prices of the wines, making the Sampler price $89.98. If you would like us to add you to the Sampler Club and receive the wines regularly, please notify us in the comments field, and we will charge your card accordingly. If you would like us to ship faster than the standard ground service, please specify this as well.


David&Bouzereau

2012 Meursault Les Grands Charrons Domaine Michel Bouzereau

It is Michel Bouzereau’s son, Jean-Baptiste who now makes the wine at this prestigious domaine in Meursault. The Les Grands Charrons vineyard is a lieu-dit along the same ridge just further north of the esteemed Les Charmes and Les Genèvrieres vineyards just to name a couple. 2012 was a tricky vintage in Burgundy for both the red and the white wines. Cold, wet conditions were the norm all spring, causing problems in the vineyards and delaying flowering. Alas, what little fruit there was benefited from a perfect July, August, and September. As the harvest approached, the evenings grew quite cool, preserving the acidity levels of the fruit. Outside of the reduced quantity of the 2012 vintage, Jean-Baptiste is quite pleased by the quality of his wines. Burghound’s Allen Meadows had this to say about Bouzereau’s 2012 Les Grands Charrons, “There is good precision and punch to the slightly bigger and richer middle weight flavors that terminate in a saline-inflected and agreeably dry finish.” We recommend drinking this from 2015-2025.

2012 Chassagne-Montrachet 1er Cru Clos du Château de la Maltroye

Château de la Maltroye’s Jean-Pierre Cornut calls 2012, “excellent, but tiny.” He says his wines are exceptionally fresh and well-balanced plus the terroir definition is superb. The Clos du Château vineyard is nestled up to the southern part of the village of Chassagne, with the château just above it. Burgundy authority, Clive Coates MW reports there are some who consider the potential of the 2012 reds to be superior to anything recent. That includes 2010, 2009, and 2005! It is just going to be a difficult task finding the wines, considering the tiny production. The normally conservative Allen Meadows gushed with praise of this wine, “There is a lovely sense of underlying tension to the detailed yet impressively rich medium weight flavors that possess plenty of tannin-buffering dry extract before culminating in a dusty and seriously complex finish. The balance is impeccable and there is so much mid-palate concentration that this will be approachable young, yet should amply reward up to a decade of cellaring.” Drink 2017-2027. – Peter Zavialoff

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Filed under A Taste of Burgundy, Chassagne-Montrachet, Château de la Maltroye, Meursault, Michel Bouzereau Pere et Fils, Peter Zavialoff

October 2014 Dirty Dozen

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All over the northern hemisphere, the annual grape harvest is well under way. That must mean it’s October. Baseball’s post-season is underway and Halloween is right around the corner. What better to have than a case of wine, all different, from six different countries, put together for a 30% discount? The October Dirty Dozen offers all that and more! From crisp whites, a fine Rosé, and Burgundy, try a Dirty Dozen today!
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Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine!Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines


2012 Tejo White, Portal da Aguia $10.48 net price, $9.43 reorder

Composed of mostly Fernão Pires, a native Portugese variety prized for its aromatic complexity, this lively white is packed with citrus and lemon scents. Devoid of oak, the stone fruit flavors dominate from nectarine to yellow plum. Start out with a glass as you put the finishing touches on dinner, or pair it with lighter fare like main-dish salads or steamed clams.

2012 Torrontes, Ecologica $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

Torrontes is no longer an unknown variety and is now recognized as Argentina’s beloved and distinct aromatic white. Pungent on the nose, but fresh and crisp on the palate, the Ecologica is produced from organic fruit grown in the Famatina Valley. Serve with empanadas or other savory-filled pastries like cabbage piroshki or South Indian dosas.

2013 Moscato di Pavia, Centorri $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

The market for Moscato has ignited in the last couple years. Many of these semi-sweet sparklers can be sub-par, but not this one! Produced by one of Italy’s foremost winemakers, this affordable Moscato is like popping a fresh grape into your mouth. Low in alcohol, it’s a perfect aperitif to awaken your palate. Then again, leftover Halloween candy anyone?

2013 Chenin Blanc Bush Wine, The Winery Of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder

Down in South Africa’s Stellenbosch, Alex Dale’s sturdy old bush vines produce impeccable fruit year in and year out. The ocean exposure is important, keeping things cool at night in order for the Chenin Blanc to produce proper acidity levels. The result is a versatile Chenin Blanc showing lively fruit and a flinty mineral quality. Drink it with crab cakes.

2013 Rosé, Grange des Rouquette $10.79, $8.63 reorder

Made from 100% Syrah, Thierry Boudinaud’s Rosé has a distinct fruity richness. It’s made using the saignée method, that is bleeding off some of the juice from the must of the Syrah. This intensifies the Syrah and gives the winemaker the pale juice to make Rosé. An easy-to-like Rosé, this will pair with everything from a tuna salad to a garden burger.

2013 Les Tours, Domaine La Hitaire $9.99, $7.99 reorder

From Gascogne in southwestern France, Yves Grassa’s two sons, Rémy and Armin, run Domaine La Hitaire. Their Les Tours bottling consists of 65% Ugni Blanc, 30% Colombard, and 5% Gros Manseng, typical white grapes of the region. The result is a delightful crisp white with just a kiss of fruit. The handy screwcap makes it a cinch to take on a picnic.

2011 Monastrell, Atope $11.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

Dark and inky with flavors of black cherry and blackberries, the underlying notes of dried brush give this Spanish red a full-flavored appeal. You might not want to go it alone with this and opt instead to pair it with grilled meats, long-simmering stews or earthy grains. But be careful, it’s a real tooth-stainer!

2011 Rosso, Torre Quarto $12.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

This blend of Uva di Troia, Sangiovese and Primitivo comes from the bottom of Italy’s boot. This Puglian red is another rugged, full-flavored red. Compact and dense with well-structured tannins, it would pair magnificently with olive-studded dishes, roasts, or other big flavored dishes like pasta with basil pesto or spicy sausages over polenta.

2009 Vaucluse Rouge, Cuvée Jean-Paul $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

Simple pleasures here, as this is a classic Southern Rhône country wine. Grenache and Syrah are the mainstays, displaying red cherry fruit, subtle spice, and soft tannins. Enjoy it with comfort one-dish baked favorites like lasagna, mac-n-cheese, or Moussaka. Need some more ideas? Ok then, how about Enchiladas, flatbread pizza, or a cheesesteak?

2011 Ventoux Fayard, Domaine de Fondrèche $17.99, $14.39 reorder

The youthful Sébastien Vincenti worked under famed Rhône producer André Brunel for many years. He now farms his 38 hectares organically and bio-dynamically. For his Fayard, he blends 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre. Medium in body, it’s chock-full of berry-like fruit framed by earthy minerals. A great wine to serve with a rack of lamb.

2012 Saumur, Domaine des Hauts de Sanziers $15.99, $12.79 reorder

For lovers of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc, the Hauts de Sanziers Saumur is a textbook example of the variety and terroir. It’s bright and lively, has that signature Cab Franc herbal profile balanced with red fruit and fine tannins. A great Old World red for a great price. You might want to pair this with a salumi plate or with a dry-rubbed pork roast.

2011 Hautes-Côtes-de-Beaune Clos Marc, Domaine Sylvain Langoureau $19.99, $15.99 reorder

Red Burgundy in The Dirty Dozen! Sylvain Langoureau’s Clos Marc is a rustic, vin du table style Bourgogne that offers up lovely Strawberry and underbrush aromas with a light-medium body propped up by fresh acidity. This is the kind of wine served by the glass at bistros up and down the Côte d’Or. Trot this out with a sausage pizza with Kalamata olives.

Check Out Our Complete Inventory at WineSF.com

 

 

 

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine!Or 10%/Net Wines 5%/ Sale Wines

 

Click here to purchase all 12 wines for $109!

 

 

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Peter Zavialoff, The Dirty Dozen, Wine Clubs/Samplers

2013 Château Armurey Bordeaux Clairet

Greetings. Another weekend in San Francisco. No big deal. The President is in town. It’s Fleet Week, as our streets are dotted with various uniformed service people. The Blue Angels are whizzing about up in the sky to the chagrin of San Francisco’s canine population and anyone trying to drive across town. There’s a rather large convention coming next week assuring our streets will continue to be a traffic-tangled mess. Oh well. As I mentioned to Chris after work yesterday while sitting in a pocket of traffic, I sure am glad I’m not a white-knuckled, need-to-get-there-now, angry kind of driver anymore. I just try to be patient and keep things in perspective. Speaking of patience, and I know I’m not the only one in this camp, I’ve been waiting all summer for the arrival of a particular wine. What’s so special about it? Well, it’s delicious, easy on the pocketbook, unique, and rare to find outside of its place of origin. Of course I’m talking about the 2013 Château Armurey Bordeaux Clairet. The waiting is over!

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The 2012 Château Armurey Clairet took us all by storm last year. We witnessed many a curious customer (and staff members) (and former staff members) come in, pick up a bottle, only to return with requests for more, more, more! It all started a few years ago when former TWH colleague, Emily, asked me if I had ever tried a Bordeaux Clairet on any of my trips there. My answer was beyond “no.” I had no idea what she was talking about. And the investigation began. It sounded like a very interesting concept. Made like a Rosé, Bordeaux Clairet simmers with its skins for a longer time period than a Rosé, lending more color and fruity flavor to the wine. It is made in the style of wine that was shipped to England in the middle ages, and is the origin of the Brits’ reference to Bordeaux’s red wines as “Claret.” So it’s not some newfangled thing some hipster somm came up with. One of the best things about it (besides the price) is that it goes with just about anything. It’s like a red wine, but it’s not a red wine. It’s like a Rosé, but it’s not a Rosé. Its aromas are certainly more in the direction of a red wine, but it’s structure light and refreshing, or as we like to call it, “Fruit punch for French wine lovers.”


If you tried this wine last year, let this serve as a friendly reminder that it’s back, and you all know that it won’t be around long. If you haven’t tried it and appreciate wines that are unique, easy on the pocketbook, and taste good, you may want to consider giving one a shot.

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Those Blue Angels shook things up a little around here today, I can only imagine the traffic situation left in their wake. I’m not headed home though, just like last fall, I’m headed to the home of some good friends to watch some post-season baseball. Traffic or no traffic, I will endure the drive patiently; after all, there are a couple of bottles of 2013 Château Armurey Bordeaux Clairet chilling right now that will be making the trip with me. My friends’ glasses are empty, I’m on my way to fix that!Peter Zavialoff

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Filed under Bordeaux Clairet, Peter Zavialoff, Petits Chateaux, Uncategorized

2010 Château de Blissa, Côtes de Bourg

 

So far we’ve told you all about two out of the five petits chateaux wines that just arrived from Bordeaux, the extraordinary 2010 Tour du Roc Milon, Pauillac and the almost sold-out 2009 La Croix Calendreau, St. Emilion Grand Cru. Back in spring, we received 24 sample bottles from one of our suppliers in Bordeaux. Over the span of 5 weeks, we tasted 4 at a time, and decided from there which ones we wanted to import. Most of the samples are of good quality, but we insist on focusing on the great ones. The great ones that offer great value, that is. The price spectrum amongst this current quintet ranges from $11 to $39. We’ve told you about a $25 and a $39 wine so far. Now it’s time to talk about the $11 number, the 2010 Château de Blissa, Côtes de Bourg.

 Cotes-De-Bourg-Map
Again, the Côtes de Bourg is a Right Bank appellation west of Libourne just opposite the estuary from Margaux. It’s one of France’s oldest wine producing regions. Historians have traced its origins back to the Second Century AD, the Romans planting “Vitis Biturica,” which many believe to be an ancestor of Cabernet, in the clay and limestone soils. Côtes de Bourg thrived in the Nineteenth Century, its proximity to the estuary giving it both easy access to shipping routes as well as keeping it virtually frost free. Later, as the Right Bank appellations of Pomerol and St. Emilion gained in prominence and investment, Côtes de Bourg took a bit of a back seat to them. There is one clear exception, Roc de Cambes, the undisputed top chateau of the appellation, but today Côtes de Bourg’s reputation is that of an historical locale that produces some quality wines for very fair prices.
bliss

Okay, 2010 Château de Blissa. First off, let’s just say that when we’re talking about Bordeaux wines in this particular price range, the percentage of wines that make the cut are EXTREMELY low. We continue to ask for samples. We continue to taste the wines. Without being too insulting, let’s just say that not only do we pass on over 90% of these wines, the remains of the respective sample bottles aren’t even packed up by our staff to come home with us. Things were different with the 2010 Château de Blissa. There was much to like about it. It won’t make you forget about Pomerol … because it’s not Pomerol. It is a well-balanced red Bordeaux at a price point that enables us to pop the cork for any occasion, any day of the week. Made from 40% Merlot, 30% Malbec, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 10% Cabernet Franc, it’s an honest wine that outperforms its price point by a long shot. Currently run by Stéphane Destrade whose family acquired the property in 1950, de Blissa can trace its roots all the way back to 1640!!!

I was recently contacted out of the blue by someone looking for Bordeaux Clairet, and got into an email conversation about her last trip to Bordeaux and Côtes de Bourg in particular. She informed me that she and her husband really loved the red wines from Côtes de Bourg because they were honest Bordeaux wines made by farmers for their family estates. The prices of the wines are very fair considering the quality. So she came in last week and picked up a bottle of the 2013 Château Armurey Bordeaux Clairet (yes, it’s in stock!) and a bottle of the de Blissa. She came back this week and bought a full case of the de Blissa. So that’s saying something. We offered a Côtes de Bourg as part of our petits chateaux offer last year. It was gone quickly. This, of course, makes us all proud here at TWH. Our efforts (and much spitting of wines that we don’t dare purchase) truly pay off, and we take great pride handing our customers a bottle that says “Imported by Wine House Limited,” because if that’s what’s written on the back label of the bottle, you know what’s inside is going to be great!Peter Zavialoff

 

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Filed under 2010 Bordeaux, Cotes de Bourg, Peter Zavialoff, Petits Chateaux

2010 Château Tour Du Roc Milon, Pauillac

It’s always exciting around here when new Bordeaux containers arrive. As we wrote last week, we are in a fortunate position as direct-importers to bring over only the wines that suit our standards. A couple of our suppliers in Bordeaux have begun the practice of sending sample packs with up to 24 bottles for us to taste. We like to go about tasting these samples five or six at a time, and it usually takes a few weeks before we’re finished. Back in the spring, we were at it again, and as reported, of the 24, we chose five red wines. Quality and price are THE two determining factors. Four of these petits chateaux wines fall into the “everyday quaffer” price range of $10-$25, but there was a sample a little beyond this price range ($38.98) that swept us all off of our feet. We were still talking about it a week later, citing its honesty, authenticity, and elegance. What was this pearl of a wine? The 2010 Château Tour du Roc Milon, Pauillac.

 

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Our entire staff was abuzz that day about the 2010 Pauillac being so reasonable in price, considering the vintage and place of origin. But it was its stunning quality that pushed us all over the top! Though it may be true what they (and we) say about great Bordeaux vintages; that is, look out for the smaller, lesser-known chateaux, because everybody got good grapes. But then again, Château Tour du Roc Milon isn’t exactly a little guy. It belongs to Château Fonbadet, a property that sits in the southern part of Pauillac just north of the two Pichons, on the way to Lynch Bages. It gets more interesting. Their vines grow in three different places. Four hectares neighbor Château Latour and Pichon Lalande. Another three hectares are in central Pauillac bordering Lynch Bages. The bulk of their holdings, 13 hectares, are in the north, surrounded by Mouton Rothschild! So yeah, not exactly a little guy. This wine has it all. Complex aromas, sense of place, concentrated dark fruit, zippy acidity, fine tannins, and a lengthy satisfying finish.The blend is 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, with the final 5% comprised of both Petit Verdot and Malbec. Overall, it is an elegant, complex Pauillac made by an established producer in a great vintage. Coming in at 13.5% alcohol, it’s not exactly “old-school,” but its medium-full body does smack of more elegant Pauillacs. Maybe it’s the suggestive nature of its name, but it really reminds me of Château Clerc Milon. We enjoyed the youthful sample so much that one could easily make a case for drinking this wine in its youth. Yet patience will reward those who wait. With proper cellaring, it will continue to improve, and hit its peak in 5-15 years.
pauillac map
Yes, a new container: new wines; exciting times. Based on the responses to our petits chateaux offers, this concept is resonating with you all. We don’t consider the 2010 Château Tour du Roc Milon to be a petit chateau, because it isn’t. It is an under the radar Pauillac from a great vintage for a very fair price. Wines like this are exactly what we look for. It’s not often enough that we tap into an undiscovered supply of great wine, but we found a winner with this one!

Peter Zavialoff

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Filed under 2010 Bordeaux, Pauillac, Peter Zavialoff, Petits Chateaux, Uncategorized

2009 Château La Croix Calendreau, St. Emilion Grand Cru

We are often asked, “How do you decide which wines to import?”  While there are many ways to answer this question, one thing we DO NOT do is accept sub-par wines in exchange for allocations of hard-to-get wines.  We won’t and don’t play that game.  Being an importer and distributor gives the retail arm of TWH the leverage to say “no” when we don’t feel a wine is up to our standards.  There is one factor that rings consistently with every method we undertake in making our selections:  taste.  So simple, so true.  Taste.  As in one (or more) of us actually sticking our noses in a glass, sipping, and spitting (most of the time).  Last summer saw the arrival of 5 little-known red Bordeaux wines to our new Petits Chateaux section.  To say that they were well received by our staff and customers would be a massive understatement.  They sold out quicker than you could blink; it seems great value Bordeaux struck a major chord among our customer base.  In fact, one of the wines sold out before we could even promote it!
photoWhat do 2012 Château Armurey Bordeaux Clairet2009 Château Beauguérit2009 Château La Fleur Grands Landes2009 La Fleur Boireau, and the 2009 Château La Croix Calendreau, St. Emilion Grand Cru have in common? They were the 5 wines we collectively selected from 24 bottles of samples provided by one of our suppliers in Bordeaux last year. The Croix Calendreau was all gone before we could even write about it like we did for the others! Why? This kind of St. Emilion Grand Cru quality for less than $25 is why!!! First of all, it’s from the amazing 2009 vintage. Vintages with optimal weather offer great opportunities to discover smaller producers, and in 2009 (and 2010), we tasted a whole lot of samples, finding many lesser known chateaux with outstanding wines. Our favorite part of the whole exercise though, is when the wines we selected finally arrive here after their long journey from Bordeaux.

 

A container just arrived bursting with goodies from all over France, among them are a handful of new petits chateaux wines and one re-order, the 2009 Château La Croix Calendreau, St. Emilion Grand Cru. We were pleasantly surprised when we saw the wine become available again (perhaps someone cancelled their order?), and acted swiftly to reserve some. We added to our order by again choosing 5 wines among the last 24 sample bottles supplied. We’ll be telling you about the others very soon, but in case it becomes the first to sell out again, we thought this time we’d lead off with the 2009 La Croix Calendreau.

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The château sits among just over 2 hectares of vines in Saint Christophe des Bardes, just east of the medieval village of St. Emilion. The blend for the 2009 is 70% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Malbec. It’s vinified in cement vats and aged 50/50 in vats and oak barrels, of which 25% are new. This is a St. Emilion Grand Cru worthy of its appellation status. The aromas are bursting with complexity: dark fruit, earthy mineral, a hint of spice and licorice. The palate is fresh and balanced, tannins integrated, the fresh fruit buoyed by the lively acidity leading to a long, complex finish. If you think about what it is and where it’s from, factoring in the price, it is a screaming bargain! That would explain its disappearance last summer – those of you lucky enough to know how good this wine is need no explanation. For those of you who haven’t yet tasted the 2009 La Croix Calendreau, we recommend you act quickly.  Seriously, 2009 St. Emilion Grand Cru for $25. And THAT is one of the best things about direct-importation.

So here we go! You’ll be hearing all about the other wines that just landed very soon, including the other petits chateaux Bordeaux wines. If you have any questions, or want to know more about our new arrivals, please contact us or come visit us in Dogpatch -we’ll be happy to tell you all about them! We thought we bought plenty of this wine last year, and were surprised as to how quickly it sold out. Taking that into consideration, we bought a little more this time, so hopefully more of our customers will get to try it. Predicting the future is a difficult exercise, but saying that the 2009 La Croix Calendreau is going to sell out again isn’t exactly predicting, now is it? – Peter Zavialoff

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Filed under 2009 Bordeaux, Peter Zavialoff, Petits Chateaux, St. Emilion

2012 Tour De L’Isle Luberon

Blackberry patch aromas dominate in the 2012 Luberon from Tour de l’Isle. It is as if you got stuck deep in a thicket where tangy berry scents mingle with dropped leaves, moist earth and dried herb fragrances. By simply sticking your nose into a glass of the 2012 Luberon, you will get that aromatic berry patch sensation without the threat of scratches, bee stings or poison oak. TWH’s partnership with Tour de l’Isle is a relatively new and fateful one. David had been searching for a new producer to import from Southern Rhone for some time but nothing seemed to fit. By chance, David was introduced to Tour de l’Isle’s 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape, first tasting and then buying the wine for the store. Some time later David met with Robert Rocchi who created Tour de l’Isle. After tasting through Robert’s portfolio and hearing his story, David knew that with Tour de l’Isle there was great potential for offering our customers wine with regional typicity, varietal correctness and deep value. Welcome Tour de l’Isle to The Wine House!

Robert Rocchi has worked in many capacities within the wine industry – from production, to distribution, to marketing and sales, to retail. In the early ’80s Robert opened his first wine store just east of Avignon. There he gained an enviable reputation for his tasting skills and was encouraged by several vignerons to start making wine himself. At Tour de l’Isle, Robert Rocchi makes wine at a few select wineries, each in its own appellation, with whom he partners to create wine typical of the region and styled to his palate preference. Though each of his wines accurately represent their respective appellation, there exists a common thread that weaves through each bottling which reflects Robert’s wine philosophy. He clearly prefers wines that emphasize texture and approachability. I will repeat myself yet again and assert that Robert Rocchi is not afraid to make wines that taste good. Too often with wine, power and structure are valued over impact and tastiness. Here I am reminded of T-Vine’s original winemaker and owner, Greg Brown, who would scoff at the topic of wine ageability, explaining that he made his wines to enjoy right now!

luberon

A Southern Rhone red is pure comfort to my palate. The warm, sweet berry fruit, Provençal spice notes and accessible structure can be irresistible. A fuller, more complex Southern Rhone like this 2012 Luberon is a wise choice for the table as we continue to enjoy late Summer’s bounty but are nonetheless heading towards cooler temperatures and thus cooking more stovetop. In much need of comfort, I’ll be bringing home a bottle of the 2012 Luberon for tonight’s dinner: grilled sausage from a local butcher and veggies, a last-of-the-garden tomato salad and tarragon aioli to dip everything into are on the menu. Baseball, a light-hearted film and a glass of Luberon should round out the evening perfectly.  Be well!

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Luberon