Introducing
the 2013 Chardonnay El Camino Vineyard Santa Barbara County from Varner

Varner single-block Chardonnays from the Spring Ridge Vineyard up in the Santa Cruz Mountains are undeniably some of California’s most exquisite Chardonnays. They garner high scores from critics who bestow points, are collected by passionate advocates of California Chardonnay, and are universally admired for their rich fruit and restrained balance. My personal take on the wines is that if you champion and appreciate great Chardonnay, Varner should be on your list of wines to drink. So, can you imagine my excitement when I learned that Varner was about to release a brand new wine from a vineyard in Santa Barbara County?!

As Jim Varner explained to me, he doesn’t really like telling people he can’t sell them any more wine. Poor guy has to do this probably all the time, since Varner wines are allocated and in great demand. It makes sense then that Jim and Bob Varner would want to look for a way to use their Chardonnay making prowess to expand their offerings. Jim went on to explain to me that he and his brother were ready to take on a new project and wanted another creative outlet, so the search was on for the fruit. The El Camino Vineyard in northern Santa Barbara County parallel to the Santa Rita Hills was the right spot. The grapes come from a single block (see a pattern here!) of clone 4 Chardonnay. Clone 4…what does that mean? In the beginning stages of a vineyard’s life, clones matter, but over time – 10 years out or so – Jim tells me grapes can lose their clonal distinction as site overtakes influence on the vines.

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Cooking with Varner Chardonnay

El Camino Vineyard is five miles east of the Pacific Ocean with cool, coastal influences, but it is not a windy site. The Varners don’t favor windy sites. The phenolics in the grapes were especially compelling to the Varners and fit in with the direction they wanted to take with this new project. With the 2013 El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay, the Varners de-stemmed the fruit and fermented it in stainless steel tanks. A quarter of the wine was then aged for 6 months in new French oak puncheons, while the rest remained in tank resting on its lees. The intention was to preserve acidity and temper the tropical notes of Santa Barbara Chardonnay, moving flavors towards citrus and apples, convening into “a more tightly coiled Chardonnay in a modern style”.

I must confess, I was taken aback by the wine when I first tasted it because I was expecting another Spring Ridge Vineyard Chardonnay, which it isn’t. I had failed to pay close attention to the tech sheet provided by the winery. This wine is a clear juxtaposition to their barrel-fermented Mountain wines. The 2013 El Camino Vineyard is quick on its feet with pronounced acidity. The tropical fruit notes while not eliminated, play background to the lemony citrus notes. At this stage, none of the oak is detectable. I predict that with some bottle age those flavors might emerge ever so slightly. The tangy acidity and firm structure of the fruit are its dominant features. Jim told me he was under a lot of pressure to release the wine early. I can see why. The quality, price, and the fresh, vibrant style is ideal for restaurant by-the-glass lists, not to mention Varner fans and anyone looking for a different expression of California Chardonnay.

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Jim & Bob Varner

Once I put away my expectations of what I thought a Varner Chardonnay should taste like, I began to appreciate the 2013 El Camino Vineyard Chardonnay on its own merit. Fortunately the night I opened a bottle, I had prepared for dinner a simple quesadilla with caramelized onions and sautéed nopales. The green tartness of the nopales was perfect foil for this crisp Chardonnay. It was also another unseasonably warm winter California evening, so something light and fresh was definitely in order. Its no secret that the entire staff at The Wine House are admirers of the Varners. Both Jim and Bob are uncommonly gracious. They’re a couple of the good guys who happen to also make great wine! Oh and here’s a teaser: a Varner Santa Barbara Pinot Noir is coming soon! So stay tuned.

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Santa Barbara County

Brick & Mortar – In On The Ground Floor

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Brick & Mortar is an exciting new wine project we are betting will be getting more and more attention once their miniscule production levels increase for wider distribution. But for now, only a few select places, mostly top Bay Area restaurants, are able to offer their wines – and we’re one of the lucky ones!

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We were introduced to Brick & Mortar by way of one of David’s tasting groups. The winemaker, Matthew Iaconis, met with us at the store to share his story and pour his wines. By the time he left the building, David and I were conspiring to figure out how much we should buy! The wines are compelling and Matthew’s confidence and enthusiasm convinced us that he is a winemaker we want to get in with on the ground floor, so to speak.

 

Matthew, a native Californian, played football for UC Davis where he was studying Atmospheric Science – he wanted to be an astronaut! It was also at UC Davis that he took an introductory course on winemaking; this changed everything for him. After college, Matthew worked at wineries here and abroad. Most recently, he has worked with the Antinori family in Napa Valley. It is through this connection that he was able to acquire the fruit he needed to start his own project. Working with fruit from Cougar Rock Vineyard, a high elevation vineyard in the Atlas Peak appellation, Matthew achieves balance and finesse with Pinot Noir and Chardonnay in what is typically thought of as Cab Country. The elevation and exposition of the vineyard allows for daytime sun and cool nights, perfectly suited for these Burgundian varietals. In addition, Matthew sources Pinot Noir from a vineyard on the other side of the Valley up on Spring Mountain.

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The 2014 Rosé of Pinot Noir is superb. It is quite delicate and subtle in the fruit department, yet the strawberry flavors of Pinot Noir come across. Using the saignée method of bleeding juice off of his two Napa Valley Pinot Noirs, Matthew then places half in stainless steel and the other in neutral barrel. It is a smart approach, preserving both texture and freshness in the wine. The pale, pale pink color, by the way, is divine. (55 cases produced)

 

The 2013 Chardonnay combines texturally rich fruit with a lifted palate feel. Neither overblown nor heavy, this is a composed Chardonnay that showcases sun-kissed fruit in a more discreet fashion. Barrel-aged, but only in a third new oak, this is a citrus-laden Chardonnay that accentuates acidity and stoniness on the finish. (260 cases produced)

 

Rounding out the trio of Brick & Mortar wines is the 2012 Pinot Noir. Put aside any pre-existing notions of Napa Valley Pinot Noir. This is mountain fruit – it has depth and reveals layers of flavors. The 2012 Pinot Noir is reflective of the character of Cougar Rock Vineyard. Matthew uses two blocks within the vineyard that run east/west. The soils are a mixture of gravelly loam and dusty red clay with extensive granite rock strewn about the parcel. For this wine Matthew put the grapes through an extended cold-soak with native yeast fermentation and then aged the wine in once used French oak barrels. His intention was to let the vineyard shine through the wine. We appreciated the soft, rounded texture and savored the deep, red berry fruit that was framed by earthier notes. Like the other two wines of Brick & Mortar, the 2012 Pinot Noircombines a pleasurable fruit presence with elegance. All of the wines sit lively on the palate. (110 cases produced)Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Atlas Peak, Napa Valley, Pinot Noir

To Pair With Corned Beef And Cabbage: Riesling!

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Forget what the calendar says, it’s springtime in San Francisco! Temperatures touched 80F today here in the city and around the bay. A customer who braved traffic to visit us today advised us to steer clear of Market St. as the traditional pre-St. Patrick’s Day Saturday Parade was well attended by a large crowd of revelers enjoying the weather and whooping it up. St. Patrick’s Day? Yes, Tuesday’s the day. What does that mean? Different things to different people. Now that I’ve toned down my part in the Paddy’s Day festivities, I think more of this day as an easy way to enjoy one of my favorite meals … corned beef and cabbage with potatoes. Anya and I had a conversation about this earlier this week, she said it’s no big deal, as she likes this dish way too much to relegate it to a St. Patrick’s Day-only meal. I understand her point, as I’m known to consume it year-round as well. It probably has something to do with the Eastern European background we share, but it just tastes like home.

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It has been around this time of year when we both have mentioned St. Patrick’s Day, corned beef and cabbage, and recommended a wine to complement what some may consider a difficult meal for a wine pairing. Sure, we all know a lot of beer gets poured with it, but there’s a more elegant way to enjoy it without perhaps feeling bloated afterwards. With Riesling. Dry Alsatian Riesling to be exact.

One of Alsace’s most famous dishes is Choucroute, which is a preparation of sauerkraut with sausages and other salted or cured meats. Hmmm, sounds familiar. What do Alsatians drink with Choucroute? What pairs perfectly with Choucroute? Dry Alsatian Riesling, of course.
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Ah, it’s been too many years ago now, but Chris and I once visited Alsace as TWH won a trip to the area for “best northern California Alsatian wine promotion.” I learned a ton during that trip and we met some prominent growers and winemakers. Apart from that, we ate some delicious food and enjoyed some wonderful wines with our meals. One of these meals that sticks out is the lunch we had at the home of Corinne and Philippe Ehrhart. We arrived in late morning to taste through their entire line of wines, and did so in the dining room adjacent to their kitchen. Somewhere in the middle of this tasting, the lid to the simmering Choucroute was removed and the “just like home” aromas enchanted me with cartoon-like appeal. I literally felt like I had my eyes closed and was physically floating in the direction of its source. As we concluded tasting and sat for lunch, it was the four bottles of Riesling that made it to the table.
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It’s interesting to note that our current selection of Domaine Ehrhart (Domaine St. Rémy in Alsace) Rieslings mirrors the selections we enjoyed with our Choucroute. The entry-level 2012 Vieilles Vignes Riesling: Dry, refined and delicate, it’s marked by fleshy fruit, blossoms, and minerals. A sip of this and it’s easy to grasp how well this varietal pairs with this kind of cuisine. It doesn’t taste like entry-level anything. The 2011 Riesling Herrenweg is all sourced from one vineyard planted in a mix of gravelly sand which preserves the fruity character while maintaining freshness. It has a lush, deep mouth feel, with notes of citrus, pear, and honey, yet has the “cut” to work well with the salty meat and cabbage frame. The 2011 Grand Cru Hengst Riesling is a special wine. If one takes into consideration what prices “Grand Cru” wine command elsewhere, these are outright bargains. The vineyard is special in its soil content: calcareous marl, limestone boulders, and sandstone pebbles abound. The 2011 is aromatically expressive with notes of apricots, tropical fruit, and stony minerals. The palate is full and complex, with hints of herbs and beeswax floating with the aforementioned fruit. It has a zesty finish which suggests it will pair with a myriad of dishes such as lemongrass chicken or enchiladas suizas. The 2010 Grand Cru Hengst is similar, of course, yet has a slightly deeper, honeyed fruity component. It too has an excellent display of minerality, and finishes with flair. Perhaps one can understand exactly why a meal enjoyed many years ago can still be fresh in my mind!

As mentioned in our recent write-up about the 2012 Opalie de Château Coutet (Pre-Arrival), I will be off to Bordeaux soon, this being my last stateside “Sunday Email” for a while. I’ve heard many things about the 2014 vintage in Bordeaux, but I will travel there with an open mind ready to see for myself what this new vintage is all about. I’m preparing to send, at the very least, and update on things a fortnight from tonight on location from Bordeaux, hopefully I’ll have some time to send more. I’m planning on sharing some photos and other things on our Facebook and Twitter pages, so if you follow us there, you’ll be in touch. But all things in good time; I’ve got an excuse to sit down with some corned beef, cabbage and potatoes … sign me up for a bottle of that Grand Cru Hengst! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under Alsace, Peter Zavialoff, Riesling

2012 Opalie de Chateau Coutet (Pre-Arrival)

It is once again, with great pleasure, that we announce the American release of an extraordinary dry white wine from Bordeaux! By now, many of you are familiar with Opalie de Château Coutet, as we were the first wine merchants to offer both the inaugural 2010 and its successor from 2011. These are two stunning wines: opulent, textured and complex, both reflective of the prized terroir they’re sourced from and of their distinct vintages. Unique in its vivacity, Opalie is a first-of-its-kind dry white wine from Barsac produced in extremely limited production. And now comes the 2012, another gem extracted from Château Coutet’s Grand Cru vineyard in Barsac.

 

When we unveiled the inaugural 2010 vintage, we pointed out how the dry white wines from Bordeaux can count themselves among the finest wines in the world. They have a committed following of in-the-know wine consumers snapping up what little is produced, and prices for the top echelon wines can be astronomical. The Opalie de Château Coutet is a truly unique white Bordeaux wine that at once encapsulates richness, layers of complexity, opulence, nerve, and texture in unwavering harmony.

With the 2011 Opalie, we again pointed out in what short supply these wines are in, and further praised their ability to age. If you’ve ever tasted a dry white Bordeaux with the additional complexity that comes with age, you already know what we’re talking about. These wines can age for much longer than most of us think. At TWH’s holiday party this past January, we poured a dry white Bordeaux from 1992 out of half-bottle with one of our dinner courses, and it blew us away! Are we saying that you should age your Opalie 20 years before you drink it? NO! It’s in a lovely place, drinking very well right now. But if you find the odd bottle or two in your cellar a few years down the road, you’ll be in for a treat.

So, what about the 2012 Opalie de Château Coutet then? Well, for starters, it has to be my sentimental favorite, because it was in April 2012 that I had my very first taste of Opalie while visiting Aline and Philippe Baly at Château Coutet. The 2010 was already in bottle and the 2011 in barrel, but for the 2012, it was just the beginning. After that initial tasting, I shared my glowing impressions of the wine with them. Citing how much I appreciated the wine’s richness, complexity, and sense of place, Philippe persistently inquired as to how I would improve the wine if I could. Again, we all have different taste, but I do have a fairly high tolerance for acidity in white wines. I mentioned this to them, and Philippe agreed stating that the recipe going forward would be to increase the amount of Sauvignon Blanc in the cuvee. For the 2012 Opalie de Château Coutet, the blend is 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Sémillon. The wine is aged for 9 months in oak barrels, with 40% being new. In a word, the wine is fantastic! Its fresh aromas captivate the taster with nuances of citrus blossoms, baking spices, stony minerals, and green tea. The body is lively and zesty, plenty of zip provided by the Sauvignon Blanc, and the palate is rich and complex, with the mineral laden framework enduring through the finish. I tasted the 2012 Opalie on my final day in Bordeaux last year, leaving a long lasting impression on me. Class and distinction. Class and distinction for a very fair price, that is.

 

Here’s what The Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth had to say about the 2012 Opalie de Château Coutet:
“Juicy, with lots of tangerine, white peach and green almond notes that bounce along, carried by vivacious acidity. Hints of melon rind and green plum show on the finish, leaving the impression this could stretch out a little more. Drink now through through 2018. 291 cases made. Score 91.”

 

So there you have it. Château Coutet’s one-of-a-kind dry white wine, the 2012 Opalie. Right now, the only place you can get it on pre-arrival in the US is here at TWH!

The time keeps ticking as Bordeaux prepares for its annual En Primeurs barrel tastings which commence on Tuesday, March 31. I will be representing The Wine House SF at the tastings, scouting the 2014 vintage (and more) for our customers. My appointment book is filling up with visits to growers, suppliers, and chateaux. I will continue to scout for lesser known wines that represent great values for their various price-points and it looks like I will be visiting some of Bordeaux’s most famous chateaux in addition to tasting at the UGC events. In keeping with tradition, I will take the time to visit Sauternes and Barsac in particular. There’s a very good chance that I’ll get to taste the 2013 Opalie de Château Coutet, and to that, I am looking forward.Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any specific requests in regard to tasting the barrel samples. Please know that time constraints will not allow for me to taste everything, but I will do my best to share my impressions of any particular wines you may be interested in that I do taste.

peter@wineSF.com

Click Here To Purchase 2012 Opalie de Château Coutet on Pre-Arrival

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Filed under 2012 Bordeaux, Barsac, Peter Zavialoff, Semillon, White Bordeaux

2012 Rully From Claudie Jobard

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What can we say? One of the points that we don’t go over enough is how exactly we narrow down our selections. When he’s overseas tasting Burgundy, David is presented with plenty of samples that he likes, but doesn’t necessarily buy them all. There are plenty of factors to consider, but when a great majority of said factors line up, vintage after vintage, he goes for it.
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The wines from Claudie Jobard have a bit of an unfair advantage, or perhaps have reason to be held with greater scrutiny. Her mother, Laurence, was head enologist at Domaine Drouhin for 30 years! Her Pop, Roger, is a well known pépiniériste whose nursery has been influential in Burgundy for decades. It is on the land from her father’s side of the family that Claudie has her Chardonnay and Pinot Noir vines, in the appellation of Rully. Rully sits in the northern sector of Côte Chalonnaise just south of the celebrated Côte d’Or. Decanter magazine reported in 2013 that some of Burgundy’s famous names are, and have been investing in vineyard land in Côte Chalonnaise in recent years, and even featured Claudie’s profile in their article.

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After having tasted a few vintages of Claudie’s wines, David went for it and we began importing her wines with the 2011 vintage. Her 2011 Rully Blanc Montagne la Folie was a huge hit with our customers (and staff), making our Top Ten Wines of 2013. The Rully Rouge La Chaume wowed all that treaded there, charming those who take joy in expressive, balanced Pinot Noir in the sub $30 camp. David’s explanation is that the wines are stylistic. Claudie’s wines are impeccably balanced, with no hard edges, no over ripeness, with elegant expression.

Though we were fairly certain it would be the case going in, her 2012s are fantastic. A difficult vintage for all, with the weather difficulties, it seems the surviving fruit from Burgundy 2012 is among the tops in quality this century. One can sense that upon their first whiff and sip of Claudie’s 2012 Rully Blanc Montagne la Folie: Fresh, bright Chardonnay aromas, medium bodied palate with excellent expression and balance. You can see what David means by calling her wines stylistic immediately. The average age of these Chardonnay vines is 42 years, so the limestone presence is felt both in the aromas and on the palate. Her 2012 Rully Rouge La Chaume is a stunner with its fragrant bouquet of red berries, forest floor, and a hint of spice. Another elegantly harmonious red Burgundy for a very fair price! These wines can be approached now, and will drink well into the next decade.
Don’t forget, they mix and match for a 15% case discount!!

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Filed under Cote Chalonnaise, Peter Zavialoff, Rully

The March 2015 Dirty Dozen

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Could it be that spring is on the horizon? Yes, indeed. The month of March has all sorts of wonderful things to deliver. Think about it. Spring training for baseball lovers, March Madness for fans of college hoops, St. Patty’s Day for amateurs, and the start of spring for those of us who long for warmer weather. This March, why not try out a Dirty Dozen? 12 bottles, all different, all chosen for their versatility, for one low price. The March 2015 Dirty Dozen. Yay!

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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

 

 

 

Click here to purchase the Dirty Dozen for $109.

2013 Chardonnay Viognier, Laurent Miquel $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

Thank you Laurent Miquel for elevating the French country wine to such heights! Harvesting at night and fermenting in stainless steel tank make for a fresh, clean wine that offers up the sunny fruit of the Languedoc. Apricots and citrus fruit flavors abound. Chicken, lemon-stuffed and roasted or drowning in Mojo sauce, would do nicely here.

2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Colline Blanc, La Cabotte $12.48 net price, $10.78 reorder

La Cabotte’s vineyards are certified biodynamic and organic. A third each of Grenache blanc, Clairette and Viognier harmoniously blend together to make a classic white Rhône – stone fruit flavors prevail while the finish retains a striking minerality. The quality over delivers for price on this charmer! A brined and roasted pork loin would pair perfectly!

2012 Ranina Mea Culpa, Kogl $13.98, $12.58 reorder

A wine from Slovenia? A DD first! Ranina is considered indigenous to Slovenia. A wild crossing between some Pinot variety and an unknown parent, Ranina is often used for sweet wine. Kogl prefers to ferment their Ranina dry. White-fleshed fruit and subtle floral aromas on the nose combine to make a captivating, delicious white wine. A wonderful choice for heat-spiked foods and fresh water fish.

2013 Touraine Rosé, Domaine des Corbillières $15.99, $12.79 reorder

Now that the days are getting longer and the weather warmer, it just makes sense to have some Rosé handy. Ah, but this is no ordinary Rosé! Hints of citrus blossoms and red berry fruit are noticeable on the bouquet, yet the palate is crisp. Extremely versatile, one can be quite creative when thinking of pairing partners, though a sunny picnic will do.

2013 Hors Saison, Domaine La Hitaire $13.99, $11.19 reorder

In the local dialect, Hors Saison means outdoor season. It is March, and around these parts, March is not just a verb. It is the time of year when windows open, blossoms appear, and fresh, easy-drinking white wines are fashionable. This blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc and Sémillon is light and refreshing. It is ideal to pour with macaroni salad with tuna and mayo.

2012 Gavi di Gavi Rovereto, Ernesto Picollo $16.79, $13.43 reorder

Direct-importation is responsible for this amazing wine to come to us for such a ridiculously low price! It’s all about the crisp dried yellow fruits and minerals here. If you can pair it with halibut puttanesca, you’ll be in Schaeffer City!

2013 Garnacha, Bodegas Filón $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder

DO Catalayud is part of Spain’s Ebro River Valley region, where high elevation vineyards seek refuge from the dry, arid Spanish interior. Garnacha thrives in this region, producing sappy, rich reds with notes of mint. Bodegas Filón does a noble job at producing an open-armed, succulent Garnacha. Time to serve up some patatas al ajillo with chorizo!

2012 Peljesac, Dingac $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

An hour drive north of Dubrovnik, the Peljesac Peninsula juts 40 miles out into the Adriatic. In this part of Croatia, the native grape Plavac Mali is commonly planted. This Plavac Mali is fashioned in a locally popular style – the grapes are harvested late giving the wine the quality of sur-maturité. This super ripeness shows on the nose but not on the palate. Plummy flavors with dried herbs characterize the wine. Be adventurous – pair with Korean short ribs or fajitas.

2009 L’Artisan Languedoc, Laurent Miquel $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder

Predominantly Syrah, this is a full-bodied southern French red. Typical of the region, the Syrah impart spice notes of white and black pepper. A tiny touch of Grenache is blended in to give a fruitier dimension. Honestly, this one, because it has had time to settle in bottle, goes with practically any cuisine – all the edges have been smoothed out.

2011 Domaine de la Petite Cassagne Rouge $12.99, $10.39 reorder

Red Rhône wines have to be counted among the most consistent bargains of the wine world. For quality and price, it’s tough to go elsewhere. For this one, Diane Puymorin blends 10% old vine Carignan and 10% old vine Mourvèdre with Syrah and Grenache and the result is quite complex for a wine in this price range. Serve it with sautéed veal cutlets.

2012 Syrah/Grenache, Grange des Rouquette $11.99, $9.59 reorder

Speaking of red Rhône wines, Thierry Boudinaud uses a similar recipe to craft his entry-level red. His Syrah/Grenache receives the added benefit of a little Mourvèdre (10%), which gives the wine a little added complexity. It’s fresh and charming, no problem if you want to pour it on its own, but it will pair well with pasta in red sauce or a calzone.

2012 Pinotage, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder

South Africa’s signature grape, Pinotage was created as a hybrid of Pinot Noir and Cinsault back in the 1920s. Alex Dale’s Winery of Good Hope’s version is all de-stemmed and consists of only the free-run juice, keeping the fruit at the forefront. Serve it with a slight chill, and enjoy with spicy carnitas served on corn tortillas.

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

 

 

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Reg. $156.58On Sale $109.00

 



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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Peter Zavialoff, The Dirty Dozen

2012 Domaine Boudinaud Côtes du Rhône la Boissière

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Boudinaud’s 2012 Côtes du Rhône La Boissière is about half Grenache and a quarter Syrah with the balance divvied up between Mourvedre, Cinsault and Counoise. Yeah, this is a Côtes du Rhône alright. Supple, strawberry fruit merges with spicy white pepper Syrah notes, while the Mourvèdre, Cinsault and Counoise complete the aromatic experience. It is a typical Southern Rhône story here at Domaine Boudinaud, with climate and soil perfectly suited for the varietals. But what isn’t typical is the exceptional quality of the 2012 La Boissière. It is compact and jammy on the palate and aromatically on pointe with the berry notes and whiffs of lavender and garrigue.
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David & Thierry
I’ve been on a Southern Rhône kick. They’re such good values; I find it hard to pass them up. For Domaine Boudinaud, the newly arrived 2012 reds usher in a Golden Age for the winery. Thierry Boudinaud has always made super-value wines – we’ve been importing his wines for a long time, so we know – however his 2012 reds enter an even higher plane of excellence. Admittedly, I fall into wine-writing cliché here, but it’s unavoidable because it is true: the 2012 reds are Domaine Boudinaud’s best wines to date. Like with Couronneau and Pierazzuoli, as the years advance, so has the quality of their wines. Surely they were terrific to begin with, otherwise The Wine House wouldn’t have bothered to import them in the first place, but what you see in these instances over time is the evolution of place and winemaker.

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Which way to Boudinaud?

Have you ever had one of those weeks where a seemingly innocuous playground accident turned into a three hour visit at the doctor’s office, then leaving with your child wearing a cast on her hand? The visit to the doctor, of course, had been further complicated because your husband’s truck was in the shop and had to use your car for the day, so you had to borrow a ride to get to the doctor’s office in the first place? It doesn’t end there – the truck doesn’t get fixed as quickly as promised, therefore you had to get ready even earlier all week so that there was enough time to drive your husband to work before dropping your child off at school and then try to make it to work on time? What about deciding to wake up extra early on that week’s Saturday so that you can take a long, peaceful shower and perhaps linger over coffee while reading the morning paper before heading off to work, only to discover that the dog had thrown-up in the kitchen as well as had pooped all over the floor of the shower? Ever had one of those weeks? I think you know what I am talking about.

Boissiere12After work last Saturday, I brought home a bottle of Boudinaud’s 2012 La Boissière Côtes du Rhône to have with veggie burgers. Given the week I had, I was really looking forward to that glass of wine! But before I could even touch my lips to the rim, my cell phone blew up with texts. Before I could shoot a text back, the texter called up on the telephone- great…something must be up! After quelling this mini-crisis, I returned to the kitchen and was handed a glass of the La Boissière by my husband. I was about to fill him in on the phone conversation, but couldn’t get the words out of my mouth because the aromas of the wine stopped me in my tracks…it smelled so good. In fact so good, I knew I was going to love this wine! And sure enough, I do.

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Cotes du Rhone, Counoise, Grenache, Mourvedre, Syrah