2010 Quinta do Alqueve Tradicional

Yup, there’s no denying that it’s summer.  All the signs are there. Many of my friends are either on vacation or are planning to take off soon. There’s a bottle of Rosé in my refrigerator door (because … you never know). We’ve just had quite a go at Anya’s annual apricot bounty, and are ready to follow that up with a visit to the farmers’ market tomorrow to kick off peach season! Heirloom tomatoes to follow shortly, though I’ve been already enjoying some dry-farmed Early Girls that my sister has generously provided via her trusted supplier. Yes, this is the time to hit that market as the sights, sounds, and smells are fantastic this time of year. I know that farmers’ markets are all about the fruits and vegetables, but each time I visit the Marin Sunday Farmers’ Market, I am strongly tempted by the Marin Sun Farms set-up. Oscar Wilde once said, “The only way to eliminate temptation is to yield to it.” Yep, that pretty much sums it up for me. Fresh produce and some prized grass-fed beef will have me reaching for something red by the time that steak leaves the grill pan. Okay, knowing that this is how tomorrow will go down, leaves me with the question, what to drink with tomorrow’s dinner? It’s going to be the 2010 Quinta do Alqueve Tradicional.
 

A friend of mind was recently in Portugal and had the pleasure of sharing several meals complete with wine pairings with the locals while there. She posted something about it on Facebook, I hit the like button, and she began texting me pictures of the wine labels she was enjoying. I told her that our Portuguese section was rather slim lately, but that we have a super red blend that’s long on complexity and very short on price, the 2010 Alqueve Tradicional. We’ve been big fans of this wine for a while, and why not?  For the price, its complexity is unrivaled. Seriously, I still don’t know how they do it! It’s a four grape blend: Touriga Nacional, Tinta Roriz (aka Tempranillo), Trincadeira and Periquita. That in itself gives the wine an abundance of complexity and 6 months time in small barrels lends additional complexity and texture to the wine. I would call it medium bodied with a fresh red and purple fruit profile. It’s a great food wine due to its vibrant acidity, but its mineral core combined with its freshness, not to mention price, will get it a headlining role on my table tomorrow night!

 

I hope you’re all enjoying your summer. Whether taking time off, heading out of town, or just hitting the farmers’ market for summer’s bounty, be sure to make some happy memories of the summer of 2014. Anya’s headed up to the river, baseball season is more than half over, the fog is hovering over the coast, and peaches are entering their peak month! Yep, it’s summer alright.  Looking for a red wine that drinks well in summer? Look no further than the 2010 Quinta do Alqueve Tradicional. - Peter Zavialoff
 

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Portuguese wines, Bordeaux, summer wines, or the upcoming season for English football: peter@wineSF.com

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2013 Domaine des Corbillieres Touraine Rose

 

Happy Friday! There are 14 weekends this summer, and this one is #5. No need to panic, we’ve still got 9 more afterwards, but that little factoid has us thinking that we should make the most of them. Summer always offers us the opportunity to head outdoors, maybe head over to a farmers’ market, meet up with friends, fire up the grill; yeah, stuff like that. It’s a rare summer afternoon or evening that goes by without the thought, “A glass of Rosé would be perfect right now.” Rare indeed. One of our favorite Rosés has to be the Touraine Rosé from Domaine des Corbillières. We received 2 containers recently, and on the French one were pallets of Rosé, 2013 Corbillières included.

Our Rosé selections represent a few differing styles and flavor profiles, and we have many fans of each of them. They range from the super-sleek, zippy, extra dry to other dry Rosés with varying degrees of fruit expression. For customers (and staff!) who love a dry Rosé with a light-medium body, delicate layers of pink grapefruit, a hint of saline mineral with a harmonious finish, the Touraine Rosé is the perfect choice. It’s a great wine to have on hand all summer long, as it is truly a people-pleaser!

 

The first thing one notices about the Corbillières Touraine Rosé is the seductive salmon hue. When daydreaming about Rosé, this is precisely the color I envision. The aromas are delicate and nuanced. There’s citrus, a hint of some kind of red fruit as well, an herbal, almost peppery subtlety, and a mineral undertone. The palate is bright and fresh, the fruit and structure charming, and the finish refreshing. This is exactly what one would expect to be served if seated at a French café – a wine like this can transport the taster far, far away.
What makes the Touraine Rosé stand out so much? It is made from Pineau d’Aunis.  Pineau d’Aunis? Is that spelled correctly? Yes. What is Pineau d’Aunis? It is a distinct black berried grape from the central Loire Valley that is sometimes called Chenin Noir. It is neither a Pinot nor Chenin. Not widely planted, it is a sanctioned grape for the red and rosé appellations of Touraine and Anjou. Its use is to impart a fruity, peppery profile to rosé wines.The famous philosopher Ferris Bueller once said, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Just sayin’. We’re already one-third finished with our summer weekends in 2014, so maybe it is a good idea to stop and take a look around this weekend. Stop and look around with a glass of 2013 Domaine des Corbillières Touraine Rosé! - Peter Zavialoff

 

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2013 Domaine de Fondreche l’Instant Rose

Here in the northern hemisphere, it’s summer.  Sure, it means many different things to many different people, but that’s just like everything else. We all entertain ourselves in different ways, we all eat different types of food, and as far as wine goes, there’s something out there for everyone. One thing’s for sure, the summer weather causes a great many of our customers to reach for Rosé. Why not? We love Rosé all year round, though in the summer months it becomes particularly apropos. With so many styles and choices out there, there is indeed, something for everyone. When asking about Rosé, many customers look for a wine that is “pale,” “bone dry,” “crisp,” “fresh,” and “lip-smacking.” If those descriptors resonate with you, then you may want to give the 2013 Domaine Fondrèche l’Instant Ventoux Rosé a taste.
 

We have never sent an email offer on ANY Fondrèche l’Instant Rosé in the past. Its color sells itself. Though we have other wines in a similar style, the Fondrèche Rosé is almost always our lightest colored Rosé each vintage. That seems to click with a lot of our customers, especially those who buy in bulk! It doesn’t stay in stock very long. Back in the winter time, we crunched some numbers and decided to ask them to up our allocation because of this. It always goes to show, you never get what you don’t ask for. So we asked, they said yes, and now we can make some noise about it.

 

Domaine de Fondrèche is one of the most well-known domaines in Ventoux, probably because winemaker Sébastien Vincenti has vines growing in the best sites of the appellation. His farming is certified organic, and he has been employing bio-dynamic practices in his vineyards for several vintages. For his 2013 l’Instant Rosé, Sébastien blends 50% Cinsault with 30% Syrah and 20% Grenache giving the wine that Provençal look and flavor.  Coming in at 12% alcohol, pouring that second glass on a warm evening is no problem either!
 

The Wine Advocate’s Jeb Dunnuck listed Vincenti’s 2013 l’Instant among the finest Rosé wines of the year. Here’s what he had to say, “Beautifully pure, with notions of citrus blossom, peach and strawberry, the 2013 Ventoux L’Instant Rose is focused and crisp on the palate in a lean, tight and refreshing style. Drink it over the coming summer months – 90 points.”

We agree! For those of us who enjoy a sleek, mineral-driven, lip-smacking Rosé, the 2013 Domaine de Fondrèche l’Instant delivers big time!!! Oh, check it – this baby comes in magnum too! Talk about a party in bottle! Peter Zavialoff

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Lacuna 2011: A Red Blend for Summer

It is often not enough for wine to be good, I like a wine to have a good story behind it too. Believe me when I say there is a lot of wine out there! I do my best to taste through as much of it as I physically can so that I can make an informed decision as to what to buy for the store, but I have my limits. And besides, when I look over my tasting notes and think back on the wines that made the biggest impression on me, it usually comes down to the people behind the wine. It also follows that the passionate souls that I gravitate towards are rooted in a sense of place. Sometimes that place is a physical one – a vineyard, an estate, a region – and sometimes, the place is more of a sensibility. I know, that last part is rather vague, but work with me here. Lacuna is not a winery nor a vineyard, but what is in the bottle of their proprietary red speaks volumes about character and quality. They source sought-after, highly regarded vineyards, choosing only the best each vintage, and because of this all you will read on the label is “Red Wine, California”. That is only the beginning of the story.

 

The first vintage to hit the shelves was the 2007 Lacuna. The Wine House was the first to promote the 2007 Lacuna with unabashed enthusiasm. That enthusiasm continues with the 2011 Lacuna. Lacuna began as a partnership between three veteran wine guys who worked primarily on the distribution side of the wine business. They wanted to take their wine point of view to market by making their own wine. A stroke of genius lead them to ask rising-star winemaker Morgan Twain-Peterson of Bedrock Wine Co. fame to make their first vintage and then subsequently invited him to join the team. Twain-Peterson has made every vintage of Lacuna. Because of their collective connections within the wine business, the Lacuna team is able to source impeccable fruit but in return for getting access to these famed vineyards at favorable prices, they are asked not to reveal the vineyard names.
 

For the 2011 Lacuna, 85% of the blend is Syrah. Various vineyards sites for Syrah were used, including one planted primarily to the Alban clone. The fruit from this vineyard is responsible for lending the distinct bacon and smoke component to the wine. Some of the other Syrah components were co-fermented with Viognier, just like they do in Cote Rotie, to offer an aromatic counterpoint to the broodier Alban-clone site. In addition to Syrah, there are small smatterings of Zinfandel, Petite Sirah and Carignan, all sourced from a vineyard originally planted before the turn of the century. Pretty cool stuff! In the end, the various pieces to the puzzle fit together seamlessly to produce a wine of great depth, vigor and a dark edge. Meaty, sanguine and black berry notes dominate. This is not a jump in your lap, lick your face kinda Syrah, but one with deeply satisfying, savory fruit fortified by an ample, forceful structure.

 

A vacation spent at my family’s dacha among the Redwoods along the glorious Russian River last week gave me opportunity to drink some tasty wine. Coincidently, one of the Lacuna guys is also a fan of this area, having grown up there and is now caretaker of the family home. We like to compare notes about where to go and what to do. Inevitably though, I tell him that other than a day spent on the beach, my motivation to go anywhere lately is low! Watching for ospreys and river otters or my daughter’s hilarious attempts at landing on a floaty in the water is entertainment enough. As is relishing a glass of something yummy with dinner in the evening. Take the 2011 Lacuna and a grilled piece of aged beef and you have yourself a feast. The Lacuna’s structure begs for something substantial to pair with it. Other than animal protein, I would suggest serving a hearty grain like a barley risotto with mushrooms. That smokey, bacon quality of the 2011 Lacuna makes you want to sink your teeth into something; it is a sophisticated choice for serving with bold flavors off the grill. Get out and play! - Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Barbecue Wine, California, Syrah

2014 Bastille Day Weekend Sale

Happy Friday!!! Being importers of French wines, it’s a pretty big Friday around here. For Monday is la fête nationale, the day we call, Bastille Day! Always a day for revelry and celebration, there’s no right or wrong way to participate in the festivities. Just get your French on!

There are many ways to do this. You can hit up your local brasserie, or watch your favorite French film. Spin some Edith Piaf … or any French music for that matter. Anything from Charles Trenet to Ben l’onlce Soul. Better yet, cook up your own French dinner with music playing in the background. Ah, but what better way to be festive than to celebrate la fête with French wine!

We thought we’d make that part easy on you. For the occasion, we’re knocking the prices down on several of fête-worthy wines from all over France! The sale goes on through Monday. Bon weekend et bon fête nationale!

Alsace

NV Domaine Ehrhart Cremant d’Alsace
Sparkling; White Blend; Alsace;
SALE $12.95

Reg. $17.98

Add to Cart
Perfect for celebrations!
2011 Domaine Ehrhart Gewurztraminer Herrenweg
White Wine; Gewurztraminer; Alsace;
SALE $12.95

Reg. $20.99

Add to Cart
For spicy food lovers.
2010 Domaine Ehrhart Riesling Hengst
White Wine; Riesling; Alsace;
SALE $23.95

Reg. $31.49

Add to Cart
Fancy an Alsatian twist to your Bastille Day festivities? This Grand Cru will be sublime with choucroute.

 

White Burgundy
2012 The Winery of Good Hope Unoaked Chardonnay Western Cape
White Wine; Chardonnay; South Africa;
SALE $8.95

Reg. $13.49

Add to Cart
Just making sure that you’re paying attention. No, it’s not French, it’s from South Africa. But it’s made by a Frenchman, Edouard Labeye, legendary former scout for Bobby Kacher. This is your perfect summer Chardonnay. It’s unoaked, clean, and aromatic. Medium bodied on the palate, this is perfectly honest Chardonnay, folks.
2012 Sebastien Dampt Terroir De Milly Petit Chablis
White Wine; Chardonnay; Burgundy;
SALE $11.95

Reg. $15.99

Add to Cart
From David’s latest Chablis discovery, the wines from Sébastien Dampt represent incredible value. His Petit Chablis ALREADY tips the quality/price scale at its retail price. Guess what? The 2013 is now here, so let’s say bye-bye to the 2012. You’re not going to want to miss this.
2010 Chateau de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet
White Wine; Chardonnay; Burgundy;
SALE $39.95

Reg. $55.99

Add to Cart
Okay, enter the world of fancier white Burgundy …
2011 Domaine Pernot Belicard Puligny-Montrachet 1er Cru Champ Canet
White Wine; Chardonnay; Burgundy;
SALE $54.95

Reg. $84.99

Add to Cart
Made by Philippe Pernot, the grandson of the legendary Paul. It’s Puligny. It’s made by a Pernot. It’s on sale!
2006 Domaine Paul Pernot Puligny-Montrachet Clos de la Garenne
White Wine; Chardonnay; Burgundy;
SALE $59.95

Reg. $84.99

Add to Cart
No introduction needed.
2006 Chateau de la Maltroye Batard-Montrachet
White Wine; Chardonnay; Burgundy;
SALE $119.95

Reg. $278.99

Add to Cart
Just in case you want to get extra fancy.

 

Red Burgundy
2009 Chateau de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet Clos du Chateau Rouge (half bottle)
Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
SALE $26.95

Reg. $34.99

Add to Cart
2009 Red Burgundy in half bottle on sale?
2008 Chateau de la Maltroye Santenay Rouge 1er La Comme
Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
SALE $27.95

Reg. $38.99

Add to Cart
The under-the-radar village of Santennay has been garnering some attention lately. It’s boasts 11 Premier Cru vineyards! Here’s the Premier Cru La Comme.
2009 Chateau de la Maltroye Chassagne-Montrachet Clos St. Jean Rouge
Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
SALE $47.95

Reg. $64.99

Add to Cart
Again, 2009? Maltroye’s Premier Cru Clos St. Jean vineyard is known for its clay soils which allows the fruit to express itself without a long slumber. Coupled with the fact that this is from 2009, you can drink it this weekend or on Bastille Day 2022!
2011 Stephane Magnien Chambolle-Musigny 1er Cru Les Sentiers
Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
SALE $59.95

Reg. $92.99

Add to Cart
Another recent addition to our direct-import Burgundy stable, young Stéphane Magnien has some incredible holdings and lets his terroir do the talking. This Premier Cru Chambolle is special stuff, indeed.
2006 Domaine Bertrand Ambroise Corton Le Rognet
Red Wine; Pinot Noir; Burgundy;
SALE $79.95

Reg. $132.79

Add to Cart
For those that wish to go Grand Cru. Makes for a great gift also.

 

Rhone Valley
2011 Tour de l’Isle Cotes du Rhone Blanc
White Wine; other white varietal; Rhone;
SALE $9.95

Reg. $14.59

Add to Cart
Côtes du Rhône blanc made from equal parts Marsanne, Rousanne, Clairette, and Grenache Blanc. Great balance and complexity.
2009 Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee Nadal
Red Wine; Rhone Blend; Rhone;
SALE $17.95

Reg. $25.99

Add to Cart
“The outrageously delicious 2009 Cotes du Ventoux Nadal (50% tank-aged Grenache from 70-year-old vines, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre, both aged in barrel) boasts a dense purple color along with sweet, ripe aromas of black currants, black cherries, licorice and camphor. This opaque purple-colored, dense, opulent, medium to full-bodied, stunning wine sells at an incredibly fair price. 92 points” – Robert Parker
2010 Domaine de Fondreche Cotes du Ventoux Rouge Cuvee Persia
Red Wine; Rhone Blend; Rhone;
SALE $19.95

Reg. $31.99

Add to Cart
“The 2010 Cotes du Ventoux Persia, a blend of 90% Syrah (from 50-year-old vines) and 10% Mourvedre from the estate’s finest terroir, is aged in small barrels and 600-liter demi-muids, with at least one year of aging on its lees. Abundant notes of blackberries and cassis interwoven with hints of espresso roast, white chocolate and acacia flowers are found in this tightly knit, full-bodied, impressive 2010. Tasting like a top-flight northern Rhone Hermitage rather than a wine from the Cotes du Ventoux, it will benefit from 2-3 years of cellaring and should keep for 15 years thereafter. 93 points.” – Robert Parker
2010 Domaine Belle Hermitage Blanc
White Wine; other white varietal; Rhone;
SALE $45.95

Reg. $61.99

Add to Cart
More fancy stuff. About as fancy as Marsanne/Roussanne can get, actually.
2004 Albert Belle Hermitage
Red Wine; Syrah/Shiraz; Rhone;
SALE $69.95

Reg. $99.99

Add to Cart
Et voila, 10 year old Hermitage. Already cellared for you and ready to drink.

 

Loire Valley Chenin Blanc
2011 Hauts des Sanziers Saumur Blanc
White Wine; Chenin Blanc; Loire;
SALE $10.95

Reg. $14.49

Add to Cart
Quality Chenin for a great price.
2011 Domaine d’Orfeuilles Vouvray Les Coudraies
White Wine; Chenin Blanc; Loire;
SALE $13.95

Reg. $20.79

Add to Cart
Demi-sec Chenin Blanc from TWH’s Vouvray producer. Great for spicy dishes and cheeses. Believe it or not, this can age much longer than you think!

 

Sauternes
2005 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes (half bottle)
Sweet Wine; other white varietal; Bordeaux;
SALE $32.95

Reg. $42.98

Add to Cart
2005 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
Sweet Wine; other white varietal; Bordeaux;
SALE $59.95

Reg. $79.98

Add to Cart
In such a profound botrytis vintage such as 2005, the Suduiraut continues to turn heads with its delicacy and elegance. What an experience!
2007 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes (half bottle)
Sweet Wine; other white varietal; Bordeaux;
SALE $38.95

Reg. $48.98

Add to Cart
2007 Chateau Suduiraut Sauternes
Sweet Wine; other white varietal; Bordeaux;
SALE $69.95

Reg. $85.98

Add to Cart
“The nose takes time to coalesce in the glass, very pure with honey, white peach, Turkish Delight honeysuckle, and beeswax. The palate is beautifully balanced, still with some oak to be subsumed, but has great depth and precision. This is a confident, almost ambitious Suduiraut with great power and intensity towards the botrytis-rich, viscous finish that is endowed with great persistency. Lovely. Drink now-2030. 93 points” – Neal Martin
2005 Chateau Climens Barsac (half bottle)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
SALE $49.95

Reg. $65.98

Add to Cart
2005 Chateau Climens Barsac
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
SALE $99.95

Reg. $119.98

Add to Cart
“97 points” – Robert Parker. No tasting note given.
2006 Chateau Climens Barsac (half bottle)
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
SALE $47.95

Reg. $57.98

Add to Cart
2006 Chateau Climens Barsac
Sweet Wine; Semillon; Bordeaux;
SALE $89.95

Reg. $109.98

Add to Cart
“one of the top wines of 2006. Medium gold, with a slightly more advanced color than I am used to seeing in a young Climens, the wine displays waxy honeyed pineapple and delicate marmalade and citrus notes with a restrained use of new oak. The wine cuts a full-bodied swath across the palate with terrific acidity, freshness, and moderate sweetness. This is a beauty, but perhaps on a much faster evolutionary track than some of their greatest vintages. 94 points” – Robert ParkerReady to drink now.

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Domaine d’Orfeuilles Vouvray Brut

Happy 4th of July weekend! It’s nice when the 4th lands on a Friday, and many of us can enjoy an extended weekend. It’s a good time to relax, get some exercise, and catch up on your reading. A great deal of my reading usually has something to do with fermented grape juice, and a topic that seems to be very popularthis week has been that of sparkling wine and its versatility. Funny, a sparkling wine that has been popular around here, and one that I have been enjoying of late, has been the sparkling Vouvray from Domaine d’Orfeuilles.

It’s not difficult to imagine that the majority of the blog posts and articles I’ve been reading lately about sparkling wine had to do with Champagne in particular.  I’m not going to say no to someone who wants to pour me a glass of Champagne, but in the scheme of things, sparkling wines are just as versatile while claiming a small fraction of the investment Champagne demands. The Vouvray Brut from Domaine d’Orfeuillesrepresents sensational quality for price, the 100% Chenin Blanc imparting its textbook Granny Smith apples and orchard fruit to the aromas. There is also a strong presence of dusty, chalky minerals that pervade the experience. It’s about as serious a sparkling wine can possibly be coming in under $20 per bottle. So serious, mind you, that it caused Anya to exclaim, “IT IS ONE OF THE FEW SPARKLING WINES THAT WHEN I DRINK IT, I’M NOT WISHING I WERE DRINKING CHAMPAGNE.”  Speaking of Anya, she’s taken a little vacation, so that’s why you’re hearing from me tonight. I’ll try to keep it brief, and I think I have so far.

Now that the Domaine d’Orfeuilles Vouvray Brut is back in stock, I wanted to point out its merits (not to mention, take a bottle or two home this weekend!). One of those articles that I read earlier this weekend was about the ability fizz has to pair with a myriad of dishes and snacks. My all-time favorite potato chips (Tim’s Cascade Style Jalapeño) are reason alone for me to have a glass or two of the Vouvray Brut. But here’s a short list of various things that would suit this wine perfectly: salty cheeses, green olives, rotisserie chicken, sea bass, beef jerky (don’t believe me? Try it!), caviar, fried chicken, oysters, eggs benedict, a tuna salad, frogs’ legs, roasted and salted peanuts, mussels, kung pao chicken, or a sunny day and the right company! Okay, back to enjoying the weekend – we’ll resume our regular schedule on Monday, just know that the summer is a perfect time to enjoy a glass of Vouvray Brut from Domaine d’Orfeuilles! - Peter Zavialoff

Feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Vouvray, sparkling wine pairings, Bordeaux, or what I might be doing to pass the time until English Football season begins: peter@winesf.com

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Filed under Chenin Blanc, Peter Zavialoff, Sparkling wine, Vouvray

2010 Chateau d’Or et de Gueules Les Cimels

It’s hard to believe that it’s already been 3 months since we’ve moved to our new headquarters here in San Francisco’s Dogpatch district. Though it’s new and different, getting here is so much easier than our last location. I mean we’re ONE BLOCK away from a major intersection of 2 busy San Francisco boulevards! It’s also hard to believe that it’s been 3 months since I landed in Bordeaux to attend the 2013 barrel tastings back at the end of March. Where does the time go … seriously? Now that the dust has somewhat settled, look forward to hearing about the trip and some of the exciting finds I made while visiting Bordeaux this year very soon. Our new location has added a mile to my commute, but this morning I was reminded why I endure it each day: Passion.

“If you can sell a wine to me, I can sell it to anyone.” That was how I answered David during my interview after he asked if my lack of retail experience would hinder my ability to perform an important facet of the job. So let’s just say it’s easier for me to recommend wines that appeal to me, especially if there’s a good story behind it. So this morning, a customer came in, she usually sticks to crisp whites, and I have a reasonable idea of what she likes in a wine. As she filled out her case, she threw a curveball at me. Fortunately, it was a hanging curve. She asked me for a Bordeaux recommendation. Smack! Out of the park.

I asked her for some parameters, and quickly reached for a bottle of 2009 Roc de Cambes. She was looking for something “people pleasing and enjoyable now.” I told her that a week ago Thursday night, I poured 3 different Bordeaux wines at the Golden Gate Wine Society’s Bordeaux tasting. I went on about the tasting, and further spoke of my relationship with François Mitjavile and that the Roc de Cambes was the hit of the tasting. When I was done, she asked me, “Do you own this place?” I shook my head and shrugged it off, “no,” I said. She looked at me and replied, “you just work here, eh? Wow, what passion.” I guess so. I love wine, and I love Bordeaux the most. Surprisingly enough, this write-up is not endorsing any particular Bordeaux. It’s about my favorite sub $20 red wine in the shop. I happily drink this wine in every vintage, and I imagine I will do so provided she continues making it. I’m talking about the 2010 Château d’Or et de Gueules Les Cimels.

 

The “she” I’m talking about here is Diane Puymorin. We speak of her often, and for very good reason. She makes unique wines that have a sense of place, are fairly priced, and taste great. Her 2010 Les Cimels rouge has what I love in a red wine. It’s medium-full bodied, has a wide swath of aromatic nuance which include black tea and forest floor, a harmonious complex palate, and a zippy mouthfeel which paves the way for a long, tasty finish. I just love the stuff. It’s not jammy. It’s not oaky. It’s savory. When I think of how to describe the fruit in this wine, my first inclination is to compare it to a Kalamata olive. I have a good buddy who several years ago, after tasting the 2005, told me to “just bring me a case of each vintage of this stuff when it’s released.” I know why. It’s a great red wine, it’s easy on the wallet, you can drink it on its own, and it also is great with food.

Pretty much low hanging fruit, but hey, this stuff is sensational. Me being me, my conversation doesn’t drift far from Bordeaux for very long, but it was a simple progression to see how I landed on the 2010 Château d’Or et de Gueules Les Cimels today. The phone rang. It was another of my music playing good pals with an invitation to come by after work for a 3-day marinated tri-tip dinner! Anya saw me jump for joy after I hung up the phone. I’ve really got a thing for tri-tip and my buddy is quite the grill meister. Okay, my part. What do I bring? I began this exercise by walking around the floor. Hmmm. Something good, yes, but, it’s the end of the month, so be careful in the spending department. That got me to the filing cabinet to review my roster of personal wines that I have stored here. Aha, I’ll bring my last bottle of 2003 Château Gloria, St. Julien, so we’ve got the Bordeaux covered. But I know this group, one bottle will not suffice, and as generous as I might have felt at the time, I managed to continue to hold off on those 4 bottles of 1995 Clerc Milon I have left. Wait! No brainer, just grab a Cimels and call it a day. And that’s how we got here.

Another day in the life of a wine geek. The tasting last week with the Golden Gate Wine Society went great and was a lot of fun. Thinking about addressing this group of tasters gave me a brief pang of nerves. One of the other presenters was a rather famous importer who knows way more about wine than I do. Heeding Anya’s advice, I was just myself, and regaled the group with “the stories that got you to the tasting in the first place.” So yeah, I’m comfortable talking about Bordeaux … you might say passionate. Also, I’m super excited to hear that we are going about picking up our Bordeaux wines getting them ready for their 5 week voyage across the big pond! I’ll try to keep somewhat of a lid on it until they arrive, but in addition to the 2011′s, there will be some great, value-driven Bordeaux wines from earlier vintages that I will by psyched to see among our bins. Patience. Patience. The waiting will be easy. As long as we have plenty of 2010 Château d’Or et de Gueules Les Cimels around. Wishing you all a happy summer and a happy Independence Day! Cheers! - Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments on Bordeaux, The Golden Gate Wine Society, high-quality value red wines, the World Cup finals, or the 2010 Les Cimels: peter@winesf.com

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Filed under Costieres de Nimes, Nimes, Peter Zavialoff