2013 Alberto Furque Malbec – Juicy, Bold, and Grill Friendly!

2013 Alberto Furque Malbec
Alberto Furque’s 2013 Malbec is the 10th vintage The Wine House has stocked from this family-run winery. It has a seductive combination of explosive fruit, bold flavors and impeccable balance. And, because no oak is used, the fruit takes center stage allowing the terroir to shine through.

A view of the Andes from the winery

Bodegas Aconquija is the name of the farm established in 1938 that Alberto Furque purchased to start his venture into wine-making. The estate is located in a prime area of Argentina’s wine growing region, the Uco Valley. This area is about an hour south of the city of Mendoza. Bodegas Aconquija is in La Consulta at the southern end of the valley. In this part of the valley, extreme high altitudes keep grape yields low and flavors concentrated.

Winemaker Carolina Furque

Carolina Furque, Alberto’s daughter, is the winemaker at the estate. The grapes are all hand-harvested and fermented in steel tanks. The wine then rests in concrete tanks before bottling. I truly appreciate this style of winemaking; it relies heavily on bringing quality fruit to the winery. The wine is lush, deeply fruited but also displays a floral aspect that is prized and characteristic of Uco Valley Malbec.

Grilling the Furque-way!

Cooking outdoors during summer months can be necessary but it is also a lot of fun! Our gas grill was decommissioned, so out came the Weber, dusted off from sitting in the corner of the garage all year. The classic Weber grill reminds me that grilling outside does not have to be that complicated. A fire with something to act as a barrier between the ashes and food is all you need. Just look at the photo above, that’s grilling the Furque-way. I love the spontaneity that photo conveys of just throwing down fire and cooking up something delicious. You can bet that back at the table, Furque Malbec was filling everyone’s glass. – Anya Balistreri

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Bastille Day: French Fizz – NV Domaine d’Orfeuilles Vouvray Brut



14 July 2015. Bonne Fête Nationale! Or, Happy Bastille Day! We’re hearing all about parties and celebrations planned for today at local French restaurants, brasseries, and bistros. Our Twitter feed is full of pics of folks in France enjoying their big holiday. We even have a couple of customers visiting St. Emilion as I type! Needless to say, there is festive energy in the air … with a French twist. If your plans include any of these big celebrations, bravo! Enjoy! If not, if something a little low-key is more suitable, one can get by on Bastille Day simply with a delicious bottle of French wine.


If it’s a celebration, why not kick things off with something sparkling? One of our favorite fizzes has to be the NV Vouvray Brut from Domaine d’Orfeuilles. It’s sparkling Chenin Blanc, dry and crisp, with a snappy Granny Smith appley fruit component framed by a dusty mineral character. It’s easy on the pocketbook; and in case you really want to let your hair down, it comes in magnums! We have gone on and on about this wine in the past, as it has a wonderful amalgam of complexity rarely found among sub $20 sparkling wines. Anya once declared that d’Orfeuilles’ Vouvray Brut is “one of the few sparkling wines, that when I drink it, I don’t wish I was drinking Champagne.” When my favorite football club won Europe’s top prize, it was a magnum of this stuff that was popped and poured for a few enthusiastic supporters. So no matter how you intend to observe Bastille Day 2015, there’s a spot for the NV Domaine d’Orfeuilles Vouvray Brut.


It’s nighttime in France now, and we’re seeing further evidence of celebration via the internet. We’ve got a day of work here at the shop, but afterwards, we’ve got choices. Like I mentioned above, even if you want to go low-key (it IS Tuesday afterall), some French wine is plenty of celebration in itself. You can bet all of us here at TWH will be partaking in some of that this evening. Let’s kick things off with the d’Orfeuilles Vouvray Brut!Peter Zavialoff

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Island Wine: A Sardinian Red – 2013 Sanguineti Cannonau

Antonio Sanguineti’s
Cannonau di Sardegna

Sardinia, an island off the west coast of Italy, is beginning to get its fair share of attention for producing distinctive, delicious wines. The red grape most commonly planted on the island is Cannonau, known as Grenache in France, Garnacha in Spain. (Oh how I adore this grape!) The appellation Cannonau di Sardegna DOC spans the entire island however most of the vineyards planted to Cannonau are found along the eastern side. In general, Cannonau di Sardegna is noted for its potent, dark flavors as well as coming in different styles from dry to sweet. The 2013 Cannonau di Sardegna from Antonio Sanguineti is packed with dry red cherry fruit, a slight earthy backbone and an open-armed fruit appeal. At $12.98, its the sort of wine you can, and should, load up on. It has enough fruit boldness to satiate your red wine desires without overwhelming the palate with heavy tannins and over-extracted fruit which during hot summer months can be a real turn-off.

When Antonio Sanguineti was still a young boy in Tuscany, his family lost their ancestral vineyards. Winemaking remained in Antonio’s blood despite being without a vineyard. Today Antonio works as a consultant with several estates. He has earned deep respect for his skills as a winemaker, even being dubbed “Il Maestro” by his colleagues. It is through these relationships that Antonio buys grapes for his own label. His production remains small and with relatively low-overhead manages to make terrific wine at modest prices. The Cannonau di Sardegna is the latest venture for Antonio and I’m betting one of his most successful. I was shown a sample bottle of the 2013 Sanguineti Cannonau back in March. It had not yet been imported into the states but was presented to me as a pre-arrival. I was immediately smitten by the unoaked, pure red berry flavors. A touch of pomegranate gave the wine a bit of tang. I knew it was a wine that would find many a happy home with our customers.
The 2013 Cannonau di Sardegna from Sanguineti finally arrived this week after a few delays thanks to the continuing backlog at docks along the west coast. Tasting wine at home is quite a different experience than tasting at the store, so I didn’t hesitate to buy a bottle of the 2013 Sanguineti Cannonau di Sardegna to see how it faired away from work. A super quick-n-easy meal of grilled lamb burgers with a corn and squash succotash proved to be a delicious accompaniment to the wine. The Cannonau really took to the fattiness and gaminess of the lamb. Maybe that is why the grape has remained on the island long through its vinous history suppling wine for their long-standing sheep-raising culture.

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The July 2015 Dirty Dozen


The Dirty Dozen
The July 2015 Dirty Dozen

Now that we’re officially into summer, it’s the time for holidays, picnics, and summer’s bounty at local famers’ markets. The backyard grill is getting its share of use, and depending on what you might be tossing on it, we’ve got some lovely vinous suggestions for you. The wines were all chosen for their versatility as well as their suitability to the goings on of July and summertime. Great for any occasion; pick up a July DD today!!

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.

2014 Les Cimels Rosé, Château d’Or et de Gueules $13.99, $11.19 reorder

Fresh off the boat comes this fresh, Provençal style Rosé from good old Château d’Or et de Gueules. A blend of Cinsault, Syrah, and Grenache, this one is light and crisp, its delicate pink robe revealing citrus blossoms and herbs. It’s a great all-purpose Rosé and will pair well with a fresh Provençal salad and the great outdoors.

2013 Bush Vine Chenin Blanc, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder

From the Helderberg area of Stellenbosch, the old bush vines work their magic atop decomposed granite soils while facing the ocean’s cool breezes. It’s pure Chenin Blanc, with its Granny Smith apple character, and a little hint of lime, framed in minerals. It makes for a good aperitif, is great for picnics, and works well with grilled chicken leg quarters.

2013 Pinot Grigio, Inacayal $13.99, $11.19 reorder

Yes, it’s Pinot Grigio, but it’s made more in the style of Alsatian Pinot Gris. It’s rich and concentrated, with a nectar-like mouth feel revealing complexities such as ripe peaches, nuts, and mushrooms. In mid-palate, one gets the sensation that the wine could be a little off-dry, but the acid kicks in just then and the finish is crisp. Try it with fish tacos.

2012 Vermentino, Uvaggio $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

It may sound like it’s an Italian import, but No! – this wine is homegrown from Lodi, CA. Winemaker Jim Moore picks the Vermentino early to insure freshness and uses only free-run juice to ferment in stainless steel tanks. Aromatic and dry, try with Asian noodle dishes, pan-roasted scallops, steamed clams or grilled chicken.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Alluviale $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder

This New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has a bounty of lemongrass and honey-lime flavors. It has lots of attack on the palate but with a subtle hint of lanolin on the nose. Chill down on a hot day to slake your thirst while watching the setting sun. Serve with fresh green-leaf salads sprinkled with goat cheese, white-fleshed fish or raw seafood.

2014 Soave, San Rocco $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

San Rocco is a tremendous value from one of Veneto’s best Soave producers, Monte Tondo. Using 100% Garganega from pristine vineyard sites, this wine offers a burst of citrus with elegant perfume. Light in body, it’s a delight for casual sipping or can marry beautifully with summer’s veggie options like zucchini, corn and peppers.

2013 Abril, Azul y Garanza $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder

The winery is located in the Navarra region of northern Spain. The winery’s vineyards, which are farmed organically, exist in desert-like conditions with minimal rainfall and extreme temperature fluctuations between day and night. This tobacco-scented Tempranillo has piercing bitter cherry flavors and full tannins. Try with smoky, grilled meats.

2012 Mencias de Dos, de 2 $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder

Another Spanish stunner, this 100% Mencia from Bierzo (aka “Gateway to Galicia”) is a bargain considering it comes from an organic vineyard with vines averaging 55 years of age, grown on slate and quartz soils. Three months in barrel rounds out the natural bright acidity of the wine. Serve with highly seasoned meat on small sticks cooked over fire.

2009 Assisi Rosso, Falesco $19.98 net price, $17.98 reorder

This Umbrian red illustrates the complexity of Sangiovese when blended with Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon – dark berry flavors accented by underbrush and licorice notes. Plumy and rich, this red benefits from time in bottle, showing off smooth tannins and restrained fruity flavors. It is complete and ready to drink. Go bold here with food pairings.

2012 Château Couronneau Rouge $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder

Winemaker Christophe Piat’s commitment to biodynamic practices has finally earned him the esteemed Demeter insignia on his labels. What has happened to his wines since he began implementing these procedures has been quite impressive! The fruit and mineral expressions of the 2012 Couronneau are breathtaking. Serve this one with a grilled cowboy steak.

2007 3 Cepas, Furque $15.99, $12.79 reorder

What do you get when you blend 50% Malbec, 30% Syrah, and 20% Merlot? 3 cepas, that’s what. It’s a delectable blend, now with a little bottle age, that will do just fine when the time calls for a sturdy red. Furque’s vines are 3000 feet above sea level, so the cool nights give the fruit the acid they need for balance. Enjoy it with a leg of lamb.

2011 Morgon “Douby”, Château de Raousset $19.39, $15.51 reorder

On the opposite spectrum in the red wine department, a Cru Beaujolais is light in body and well suited for the summer months. It shows cedary, tobacco-like aromas with cherries and berries, and a little forest floor. On the palate, it’s fresh and easy and would accompany a pizza margherita perfectly. Best results if you put a chill on it before serving.

Check Out Our Complete Inventory at Click here to purchase all 12 wines for $109!

Reg. $185.71

On Sale $109.00


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2012 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly From Sylvain Langoureau



Happy Independence Day! We hope you’re all having a wonderful long weekend, capped off by a festive 4th. Our staff is taking what is a long weekend ourselves, being closed both days this weekend, but we’ll be back on Monday! In the meantime, what do we do with a long weekend? That’s easy. Several customers asked me on Friday what I was doing. My answer was, rest, relax, get some sun, go on a hike, meet some friends, eat some good food, and drink some good wine. Another customer asked me what I’ve been drinking lately, and without giving it much thought (as I visualized my recycle bin), I said Rosé and Bordeaux. That is true, of course, but then I remembered something. I remembered the 2012 Domaine Sylvain Langoureau Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly I had last week!



Wow! That’s a tough one to forget. Not quite as bad as the time I had to call the host of one of our Bordeaux tasting group’s most decadent dinners to ask, “We’ve been going over each bottle from last night’s tasting for a half hour, and could only think of seven. What was the eighth?”
“Well, what are the seven you thought of?”
After I told him, he laughed at first, then berated me (in a friendly way), and busted my chops that I forgot about the 1985 Margaux!
So, yeah. Not quite as bad as that, but still, if you love Chardonnay; Old World Chardonnay, the 2012 Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly from Langoureau is pretty special stuff.

It’s fairly well documented that despite my passion/obsession with the wines of Bordeaux, I have a thing for Chardonnay too. It started with local representations; but it wasn’t long at all before I was sitting in a friend’s apartment in Foster City listening to a salesperson tell me about Mâcon Villages. I bought a case of the French stuff, and put it in my trunk. This was back in my baseball playing days, and the case made it to the next game. As was customary back then, when the games were finished, the team would get together afterwards and pull out the ice chest. I have to admit, I received some sideways looks from a couple of my teammates when they discovered white wine in the ice chest, but I was a persuasive teammate and had a handful of baseball jocks sipping French Chardonnay after the game!

Fast forward to the present, and I have to say that every bottling of Langoureau’s Saint-Aubin En Remilly that I’ve tasted has been outstanding. This 2012 is already revealing layers of aromatic pleasure ranging from stone fruits, blossoms, minerals, and just the perfect hint of vanilla spice. The palate is zesty and expressive, yet subtle and delicate. The deft use of oak is much appreciated as the finish is a slow fade of crisp joy. After a long hot day, a chilled glass of Premier Cru En Remilly was the bomb with, get this: tomato & melon gazpacho, maine lobster, cucumber & avocado salad, lemon olive oil, and crostini. Yeah, that was a good way to finish the day. It’s not exactly a bargain wine, but if one considers what Premier Cru white Burgundy usually goes for, it absolutely IS a bargain. A big one at that.


Seeing that it is a holiday weekend, that would be special occasion enough to enjoy a bottle of the 2012 Sylvain Langoureau Saint-Aubin 1er Cru En Remilly. Better yet, I’m going to share a bottle with some great friends who are kind enough to host these good friends, good food, and good wine events. Happy Independence Weekend!Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Chardonnay, Independence Day, or English football: peter@wineSF.com

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2013 Domaine des Corbillières Touraine Blanc: Lush Loire Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Domaine des Corbillières

I’ve been known to call Domaine des Corbillières’ Touraine blanc ‘the poor man’s Sancerre’. It’s a quick way to convey that this wine is made from Sauvignon Blanc, like Sancerre, and that it is full of attack, like good Sancerre, but because it says Touraine on the label and does not carry the same cache Sancerre does, it is less expensive. It is rightfully so that Touraine is not as prestigious as Sancerre for it is a vast region encompassing varied soils and climates, often producing underwhelming wines. However, as in every region, there are the exceptions, the stand-outs and one such winery is Domaine des Corbillières.

Harvest in Touraine

Domaine des Corbillières is situated at the eastern end of Touraine in the village of Oisly. Dominique and Veronique Barbou farm 16 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc that range in age from 13-43 years of age. The vines grow in sand atop deep clay subsoils. In 1923 Dominque’s great grandfather, Fabel, purchased the property and, legend has it, was the first in the region to recognize the benefit of growing Sauvignon Blanc in Touraine. The story goes that Fabel allowed a vine to grow alongside his home and he soon noticed how well it thrived in the terroir. True or not, that’s a pretty cool story!

Dominique & Veronique Barbou

The 2013 Touraine blanc is showing beautifully at the moment. Lots of pungent pink grapefruit and green melon flavors permeate the wine. It’s assertive without being assaulting to the nose and palate as too many Sauvignon Blancs can be in my opinion. There is enough texture to create interest in the mouth, but still manages to end with an invigorating finish. This Touraine is not only a stand-out for the region, as I wrote above, but it is a stand-out among Sauvignon Blanc.

The Domaine at sunset

My daughter wanted mac-n-cheese for dinner. Feeling motivated to cook something special, I made the mac-n-cheese from scratch. I used three different kinds of cheese, sautèed up some red and green bell peppers, and even steeped fresh herbs and garlic into the milk before making the béchamel sauce. I thought it came out pretty good. My daughter, on the other hand, was disappointed that the mac-n-cheese was a casserole! Huh? Unlike my homemade mac-n-cheese, the pasta in the boxed yellow-colored kind made stove-top does not bind together, rather it spreads all over the plate in an oozy orange-glow mess. She likes it that way better! Knowing I had a chilled bottle of the 2013 Touraine in the fridge at the ready helped me to feel more magnanimous towards her. I suggested next time I make homemade mac-n-cheese, she can make the boxed kind herself! – Anya Balistreri

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Filed under Anya Balistreri, Loire Valley, Touraine

2008 Chateau Gloria: Instant Decadence For A Modest Price


As I alluded to yesterday, summer is here, and I can go on and on about more white and rosé wines, but on the heels of the praise of Grüner Veltliner, I thought to change it up a bit. Why not? It’s probably no surprise that my thoughts are on Bordeaux, that’s just natural. The Bordelais just hosted VinExpo this past week, and though we were able to follow the festivities via social media, my inbox was unusually quiet this week. That’s all good, we all need time to catch up on things. As I was doing a little housecleaning this morning, I stumbled upon a fairly recent acquisition, the 2008 Château Gloria. I thought, “Here’s an outstanding bottle of red Bordeaux, with a little age on it, for a very fair price. Hey, people drink red wine during summer too.” Summer barbecues? But of course.

A couple of years ago, I wrote about another St. Julien chateau, and my very first experience with it. Back in those early days of exploration, I listened to a lot of people from various wine shops, and received a lot of good advice. Occasionally, I went off on my own and would try something on a hunch. One of these early hunches was Château Gloria. I liked the price and saw “St. Julien” on the label. That was enough to go on. It did not disappoint. I found it very enjoyable with a cedary, tobacco, forest floor element, with a good dose of concentrated dark fruit, all in balance. My fellow diners were equally impressed. Maybe it was the pomp of decanting the bottle, I don’t know, but my friends thought I paid double what I did for it. From that moment on, in my mind, filed under Château Gloria was this experience.


Things have only gotten better at the chateau over the past 20 years as quality has improved remarkably. The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker remarked back in 1998 that, “Recent vintages of Gloria have pushed the level of quality even higher.” After revisiting the 2003 last summer, Parker declared, “Year in and year out, there is rarely a better wine for the money than this dark garnet Gloria.” If you think about the wild ride of Bordeaux pricing, you’ve got to love the fairness in pricing shown by the team at Château Gloria.

The 2008 Gloria is drinking very well. Still youthful, it can be enjoyed now or cellared for another 10 years easy. Probably more. You can take my word for it. Or, here’s what the folks at The Wine Advocate had to say:

First, Robert Parker: “A stunning sleeper of the vintage, this beautiful, already irresistible, plum/garnet-colored 2008 is a wine to purchase by the case. It possesses a dense plum/purple color, a glorious perfume of Christmas fruitcake, cedarwood, black currants, jammy cherries and licorice, medium to full body and a silky personality. It will provide both a hedonistic and intellectual turn-on over the next 10-15 years. 90 points”

And Neal Martin: “The Chateau Gloria 2008 has a fresh, well-defined bouquet with tobacco and graphite notes. It is very clean with well-integrated and judicious use of oak. The palate is medium-bodied with a rounded black cherry and spice-tinged entry leading to a plush, well-defined finish. This is a well-made Saint Julien that should age well over 10-15 years. 91 points”

So yeah, summer can call for lighter wines meant to be sipped chilled, but there are times when you might want a bold, elegant red too. The 2008 Château Gloria is that wine. I’m looking forward to the first barbecue of summer, because I will be packing one of these. An hour or two in the decanter, and voilà: instant decadence for a modest price. Looking for a belated Father’s Day gift? How about a couple of bottles of 2008 Gloria – one for this summer, one for a summer down the road. To all the Dads out there, we wish you a very Happy Fathers’ Day! And a very Happy Summer Solstice too! – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about Bordeaux, St. Julien in particular, or all of the transfer gossip that permeates the English media this time of year: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under 2008 Bordeaux, Peter Zavialoff, St. Julien