So how do we discover the small artisanal wineries that grace our shelves? Research. And sometimes, they find their own way into our store as if bestowed with a gift from the Wine Gods. That’s how Arbe Garbe entered our lives. I got a call from a woman with a heavy accent asking to present her husband’s wine. She explained that they were originally from Italy, that her husband is a winemaker in Napa, and that Arbe Garbe is a small family-run side-project. Hmmm, could be risky but why not I thought, so I scheduled an appointment with her. A few days later Letizia (that’s her name) arrived, looking chic in an understated way only Italians can pull off, and poured me a glass of the 2007 Arbe Garbe. It was unlike anything I have ever tasted from California. A blend of Malvasia Bianco, Pinot Bianco and Viognier, this aromatic white showed richness and finesse minus the over-wrought unctuousness often associated with these varietals. Mamma mia, I never expected anything quite this delicious! Lots of perfume and vibrant floral aromas that are heady but never carry over to the palate. The mid-palate is round and the finish has lift and vibrancy. So let me tell you a little more about Arbe Garbe:
Letizia’s husband, Enrico Bertoz is currently a winemaker for Flora Springs in Napa Valley after having worked for other wineries, most notably with Manfred Krankl at Sine Qua Non. Letizia and Enrico come from Fruili in Italy where Malvasia has its greatest success. With a nod to their homeland, Enrico has constructed a wine that pays homage to their Italian roots while capturing the brilliance of California fruit. Finding climactic similarities between Fruili and coastal Sonoma County, Enrico sourced the grapes from Saralee’s Vineyard in the Russian River Valley. He has carte blanche to work his grapes as he pleases. Enrico leaves the wine on the lees in neutral oak barrels, stirring the lees every two week. This directly contributes to the lush mid-palate feel that I keep harping on and on about. The finish is equally thrilling. The flavors persist long after the wine has been swallowed. So refreshing and, unlike most whites that have even a smidgeon of Viognier, you want that next taste. Less than 150 cases were produced, so when I say artisan, I mean it. I had the pleasure of meeting Enrico with Letizia the day they delivered their first drop of wine with us. Could this couple be any more charming? The last time they delivered wine, Letizia brought along her young son and given the loud banter of Italian I’m guessing her parents. You have no idea how well I can relate to that!
My neighborhood goes crazy on Halloween! Homes are decorated like something out of a Hollywood movie set. Children are driven in from far away places, enjoying the flat, paved sidewalks. I’ve never been one to go all out on Halloween but since moving to suburbia and having my daughter, I’ve been motivated by peer pressure to decorate and host an annual Halloween party. I can’t help delighting in the fact that this is the one time of year when my dilapidated porch, crumbling roof, and peeling house paint actually looks good, actually adding to the ambiance! Now that is something to celebrate! –Anya Balistreri
Oh yes, one more thing. You may be wondering about something that happens ’round this time of year. Something about an Anniversary sale, perhaps? The good news is that it’s coming. Soon. Actually, in some ways, it has begun. You see, in order to get pricing set up in our computers, website, etc., we have to enter them all before announcing the sale. This stealth pricing is already taking place in such regions as Rhone, Burgundy, Alsace, Bordeaux, and Sauternes to name a few. Yes, we said Burgundy. Both red and white. Take a peek at our online inventory or call us for recommendations. You’re sure to find some incredible deals.

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