Category Archives: Peter Zavialoff

Peter’s thoughts on wine.

October 2014 Dirty Dozen


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.

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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!


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.


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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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.

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.

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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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.

 



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.

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, 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!
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What 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.

croix

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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2013 Lomas del Valle Pinot Noir

An associate of ours described what she was going through the past couple of weeks as “The proverbial duck on the water, calm on the surface, but paddling like mad underneath.” Turns out, that’s the way things are going on for all of us here at TWH right now. Transitioning to our new website is all you can imagine it to be. Hey, everyone’s got issues, so I won’t bore you with ours. Yet, we kindly ask you all to please bear with us as we paddle like mad during this transitional period. We’ve got a lot of new wines coming very soon, and we can’t wait to tell you all about them! You can rest assured that when the workday concludes and we all return home, having a glass of wine is a given. For me, the paddling doesn’t stop at the end of the work day. These days, coming to work offers a little less chaos than coming home does, if one can believe that. Not letting that get in the way of work, I was happily surprised by a vinous discovery this past week; the day I twisted off the cap of the 2013 Lomas Del Valle Pinot Noir.

 

You certainly don’t hear a whole lot about Chilean Pinot Noir. Sure there’s Chilean Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere, both warm climate grapes. It’s been a long, long time since we even carried a Chilean Pinot Noir, there doesn’t appear to be that much available to the American market. From time to time, it gets poured for Anya during some of her many tasting appointments. It’s always a good sign to the traveling wine rep when Anya asks, “Can you pour a little more in this glass for our staff to taste?” A sign that she’s ready to pull the trigger. For me, it’s pretty hard to remember what we taste from those little glasses. We never see the labels, so there’s no visual imprint. I’ve been guilty several times asking about wines that I had previously tasted in that fashion. I do remember tasting the 2013 Lomas del Valle Pinot Noir. I remembered taking in the aromas which were correct for the varietal, and the palate which was medium bodied and balanced. When Anya told me the price, I was impressed. Since the film Sideways, there has been a flurry of new Pinot Noirs on the market, and there are enough poor examples of them to lead me to conclude that if that film were to take place in today’s wine world, Niles’ famous comment would have begun with, “If she orders Pinot …” The Lomas del Valle doesn’t fall into that camp. For the price, it’s pretty impressive! 

The Lomas del Valle label (and its parent label Loma Larga) is part of the holdings of the Diaz family, wine producers in Chile since the 19th Century. They planted their vines in cool-climate Casablanca in 1999, and enlisted the help of winemaker Cédric Nicolle, who hails from France’s Loire Valley. It’s the proximity to the Pacific Ocean that gives Casablanca the cool nights required for the lengthy maturation period producing fruit that is physiologically ripe. Pinot Noir thrives in this climate, and for an entry-level Pinot Noir, this one is a price for quality leader!

It was easy to grab a bottle of the Lomas del Valle on the way out the door, its medium body and modest price being the key in this equation. Served alongside my summer-stew (marinated beef shank with kidney beans, tomatoes, onions, carrots, and celery), the wine proved to outperform its price point by good margin! Briary raspberry, blackberry, and a hint of strawberry are the first things that hit your olfactory sensors. A second dip of the nose into the glass reveals an earthy backdrop with just a kiss of autumnal apple leaves. On the palate, the wine is light to medium in body, the berries back off and the bright acidity neutralizes any perceived sweetness, the finish reminiscent of red fruit and Asian spice. It really worked with the summer stew, so I anticipate I will have another go at this in the near future. It’s worth all, if not more, than that $15 price tag!

Okay, we’ve got a new website. Please do check it out from time to time, our work is nowhere near finished, and our goal is to make shopping online with us better than ever! As you know, we’re like a family here, a food and wine loving family who enthusiastically scour the wine world for the best to present to you, our customers. Don’t get me wrong, the wines are for us too!Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about Chilean Pinot Noir, Bordeaux, or English football: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under Chile, Peter Zavialoff, Pinot Noir

The September 2014 Dirty Dozen

On we go, into the ‘ber months! Kids are back in school, the French are back from their holidays, and here in San Francisco, it’s time for our summer! For the occasion, we’ve sourced some special wines to make our September a memorable one. Six reds, one crisp Rosé, and five whites, all chosen for their versatility, are screaming values on their own. Pack them all in a box and knock the price down 35%? Magic. The September Dirty Dozen!

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Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.

2012 Falanghina Nina, Torre Quarto $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

Give it a chill, just not too much, otherwise the lovely melon fruit and fragrant aromas (look for that slight hint of pine) will be muted. Falanghina, an ancient Italian grape, is grown in the south – Puglia in this instance. Yellow-gold in color, this lush white has a round texture that complements seafood, fresh salads and cold entrées.

2012 Côtes de Gascogne Cuvée Jean-Paul, Boutinot $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

From southwest France, this dependable refrigerator door white’s beauty – a classic blend of Colombard and Ugni Blanc – lies in its simplicity. Notes of lemon and citrus zest move into tangy grapefruit on the palate, leaving a refreshing, lingering lightness. Nothing complicated, but it’s oh so nice ice cold out of the fridge on a warm late summer’s eve.

2012 Pedro Ximenez PX, Cucao $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

Pedro Ximenez is a varietal known mainly for its role in Spain’s sweet sherries, but this dry example is grown in the northern-most wine region of Chile – the Elqui Valley. Sunny weather ripens the fruit while the high altitude ensures freshness. A delightful blend of acidity and concentrated fruit; try with miso-dressed soba noodles or coconut shrimp.

2013 Ventoux Rosé l’Instant, Domaine Fondrèche $15.99, $12.79 reorder

This wine gets you at ‘hello.” Just look at that color! As pale as pale Rosé gets, winemaker Sébastien Vincenti blends 50% Cinsault with 30% Syrah and 20% Grenache and the wine is light, lean, crisp, and delicious. It’s a versatile little Rosé, textbook southern French style. Got a hankering for Salmon Étoufée? If you do, try it with this.

2012 Grenache Blanc/Rolle/Roussanne, Domaine de la Petite Cassagne $12.89, $10.31 reorder

In 1998, Diane Puymorin purchased this domaine and re-named it Château d’Or et de Gueules. TWH regulars know all about her and those wines, but Diane keeps it real and pays homage to the history of her property with this bottling. Here she blends three classic white Rhône varietals. It’s crisp, clean, and fleshy. Pair it with a seared tuna sandwich.

2012 Gewurztraminer Herrenweg, Domaine Ehrhart $21.99, $17.59 reorder

Gewurztraminer is known for its profound bouquet reminiscent of lychee nuts and rose petals. The Ehrharts’ single-vineyard, Herrenweg is a tad off-dry, and is rich and expressive, both aromatically and on the palate. Not for sipping, this one needs food. Especially spicy food. You must try it with a spicy curry dish, or spicy Cajun red beans and rice.

2010 Tempranillo Dauco, Bodegas Martúe $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder

Hailing from central Spain, this friendly Tempranillo has silky smooth tannins and rich cherry fruit. Outside Rioja, Tempranillo can show many faces, but here it shines as a versatile, charming red, reminding drinkers what makes Tempranillo just so darn delicious! Surely Paella works but so does Pollo con Arroz, Plov, or Tadig with kebabs.

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

Argentian Malbec is unquestionably a favorite for those looking for value and quality in an everyday wine. Ecologica sources only organic fruit and is Fair Trade Certified. Medium-bodied with welcoming notes of green herbs, red plum and cassis fruit, the acids and tannins hold up well to heavily-seasoned grilled meats or a quesadilla with fresh Pico de Gallo.

2010 Dão, Proeza $11.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

Looking for a full-bodied red that goes easy on the pocket book? Look no further than this voluptuous Portuguese red from Proeza. Loaded with big flavors courtesy of Touriga Nacional and Tinto Roriz, grapes traditionally made into Port, this dry red is grippy and broad-scaled. A lot of wine for the money! Hearty, rib-sticking meals would work best.

2010 Touraine Rouge, Domaine des Corbillières $14.99, $11.99 reorder

We’ve been working with Dominique and Véronique Barbou for two decades, their wines can magically transport us to the land of France’s most majestic chateaux. This blend of Pinot Noir, Côt (Malbec), and Cabernet Franc is marked by juicy fruit with an herbal twist. Drink it on its own or with anything you would want to pair with a cheerful red.

2011 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Le Farnete $14.59, $11.67 reorder

In the rolling hills just west of Firenze is the commune of Carmignano. Long before the days of the ‘Super Tuscan’, Cabernet Sauvignon was allowed to grow here, only to be blended with the native Tuscan Sangiovese. It’s a zippy little red table wine with another layer of complexity. Pasta with fresh tomatoes and basil is all you need with this one.

2009 Côtes-du-Rhône Villages, Tour de l’Isle $14.59, $11.67 reorder

Proprietor of Tour de l’Isle, Robert Rocchi acts as a negociant in the southern Rhône Valley who advises a handful of growers on improtant aspects of winemaking. The results in bottle are not only delicious, they are reflective of their places of origin. Or as Anya likes to say, “He’s not afraid to make wine that tastes good.” Try this with a grilled steak.

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Argentina, Carmignano, Costieres de Nimes, Cotes du Rhone, Cotes du Ventoux, Peter Zavialoff, Portugal, Rose, The Dirty Dozen, Touraine, Uncategorized, Wine Clubs/Samplers