2009 Tour de l’Isle Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Attention Customers: The Wine House SF will be open the following 2 Sundays, December 15 & December 22!!! Please note that our special Sunday hours will be 12 Noon – 4 PM. 
Yep, there’s something in the air. You feel it. I feel it. It’s indisputable. The longest night of the year is but a mere week away. We’re full-on embroiled in “The Holidays!” And however you choose to celebrate, we hope your celebrations are full of love, cheer, and happiness. It’s a good thing that one of many assignments I have today is to put fingers to keyboard and type away. This way I get to catch up on my thoughts, so please bear with me. It has been a banner week! Jeff Tweedy of Wilco fame just rolled through northern California, and if you’ve read any of my ramblings around the times Wilco has been in town, you would be safe to assume that I was in attendance. It was a close call traffic-wise, but I made it up to Davis on Tuesday night just in time to catch Mr. Tweedy from the 2nd row! Wednesday and Thursday nights were less hectic at the legendary Fillmore. Thursday night’s show was particularly special, with an amazing setlist that still has me shaking my head in disbelief. Anyways, all that positive energy has carried me here, and away I type. Here’s the part about a wine that I fancy.
They hang like grapes on vines that shine … One of my favorite things about being part of TWH team is knowing that we are extremely flexible when it comes to importing the myriad of wines that we do.  One beaming example of this practice (which usually comes with a 5 minute, detailed story on our sales floor), is how we’ve come to be the California importer for Robert Rocchi’s Tour de l’Isle label. It all started in Chicago … and the wind blew me back, Via Chicago in the middle of the night. David went to a trade show there a couple of years ago and tasted a whole lot of wines, many of which were made by producers seeking importers. One wine that he tasted there was the 2009 Tour de l’Isle Châteauneuf-du-Pape. He loved it. He loved it so much, he brought a bottle back with him. He brought that bottle back for us to try. We loved it too. It’s true; every single one of our staff was blown away. Chris took a sip and made that snapping sound with his fingers. Tom was gushing with praise (and if I remember, he got to take what was left of the sample bottle home). Anya couldn’t keep the smile off of her face for the better part of an hour. Emily (remember Emily?), who once told me she would marry Grenache if she could, was smitten. David held the air of a proud parent after we were all collectively blown away. One problem: they already had a California importer. Well, we didn’t let a little thing like that stop us. We sought out the importer and bought their remaining stock. And beginning with the 2010 vintage, we are now the importer of the Tour de l’Isle wines! The wines are simply amazing, especially the 2009 Châteauneuf-du-Pape.

Being in the wine biz, it is safe to assume that I get a lot of emails about wine. A lot. Every day, I’ve got a box full of letters … One email that came a couple of weeks ago was for some famous bottlings of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Labels like Pegau, Beaucastel, and the like. Only thing was the price; they were selling these wines for upwards of $100 per bottle! I thought, “Sure these are fancy wines, but sheesh! That’s expensive. Especially considering the fact that we’ve got the Tour de l’Isle for $35. But now that we’re well into our 36th Anniversary Sale, it’s been marked down to $25.95!!! I mean that’s just crazy. This sale will likely mark the end of our having the 2009 in stock, but we sure have this special wine to thank, as it opened our doors to Robert Rocchi’s stable of fine wines from the southern Rhône Valley.

Here’s what Robert Parker had to say about this wine, “The dense ruby/purple-tinged 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Tour de l’Isle reveals tremendous opulence, power and richness. Pepper, spice box, garrigue and kirsch characteristics emerge from this full-bodied effort. It should drink nicely for a decade or more.”

So there you go. If you love Grenache (you don’t have to marry it) – If you love the wines from the southern Rhône Valley – If you love a great sale – pass on this at your own peril!

Whew! What a day! As I type this, we are officially closed for the day, though several customers are still here picking over the bargains scattered around the floor. It was hopping at TWH today! I have to say the quote of the day had to be courtesy of the 8 year old son of a couple of TWH pals, “Do you have any 2005 Cos d’Estournel?” I was floored; that was awesome. Speaking of awesome, it was an odd Saturday as over a handful of customers wanted to talk about Sauternes! I’m not going to question it, nor ask why. I like to talk about Sauternes more than I like to talk about Wilco. But hey, with the music still fresh in my head, and with the shop open tomorrow (and the following Sunday), I’m going to bring my guitar with me. Who knows, with proper coaxing, I might be convinced to play a couple of songs here in the frigid, echoing warehouse.  Mr. Browning has a prediction, so we, we’ve all been told. – Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments on Châteauneuf-du-Pape, Our 36th Anniversary Sale, this week’s Jeff Tweedy shows, Bordeaux, or English Football: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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Filed under Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Grenache, Peter Zavialoff

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