Category Archives: Argentina

Bordeaux Update & 2015 Alberto Furque Malbec


While vacillating over whether or not to write about Bordeaux earlier this morning, I discovered that there are a couple of things that must be addressed before I tackle the subject of this week’s Saturday night wine.


#1) The 2016 Bordeaux Futures campaign is in motion. We sent our first offer out a couple of weeks ago, just after Cos d’Estournel released their price. The email included a handful of petits chateaux which we feel showed well at the En Primeur tastings, offering great value in this remarkable vintage. Several other estates have released their pricing since, and we are preparing another offer which we will send early next week. Doubtless, there will be more price releases next week, and the campaign will grow quite busy until the middle of June, at the soonest. Should you have interest in any 2016 Bordeaux wine, released yet or not, please feel free to send me an email: peter@wineSF.com and we can discuss it, reflect pricing (once released), and source it for you, should you approve of the price.

#2) We recently received a new container with a lot of 2014 Bordeaux on it. These wines will be hitting our sales floor sometime later next week. If you have spoken to me about the 2014 vintage, then you already know I’m a big fan, and highly recommend the wines, especially from the Left Bank. I was graciously welcomed to the Thursday Tasting Group’s tasting of 2014 Left Bank Bordeaux the other day. After looking at the roster (d’Armailhac, Branon, La Chapelle de La Mission Haut-Brion, Clerc Milon, Gruaud Larose, Lagrange, La Lagune, Larrivet Haut-Brion, and Poujeaux), I knew I would be in for a treat. Part of the TTG experience is to rank the wines from 1 to 9 in order of one’s preference. At the conclusion, it was said by several tasters that if they were served the wine they respectively ranked 9th, they would enjoy them very much. When I reported this back to David, he just smiled and said, “Well, that’s Bordeaux for you. It’s not uncommon for ALL the wines to show well.” From a price-to-quality perspective, 2014 offers the best value from this impressive trio of vintages.


To say it’s been hectic around here would be an understatement. Juggling the pricing for the futures with the arrival of the “presents” can be daunting. One thing that I am looking forward to is standing around a grill this weekend with friends, preparing some delicious barbecue. There’s a new vintage of one of our staff favorites that I tasted this past week that will be perfect for this grilling affair: 2015 Alberto Furque Malbec.

It’s not Bordeaux, but Malbec’s roots can be traced back to the region, as it was historically used in Bordeaux blends. The plants’ susceptibility to rot and disease saw it lose favor among French vignerons, and now very few Bordelais grow the variety. Sometime in the mid 1800’s, vine cuttings made their way over to Argentina, and they thrived. The rest is history. Malbec is grape variety numero uno in Argentina.

Carolina Furque

How time flies … we’ve been carrying the Alberto Furque Malbec for over a decade! It’s now made by Alberto’s daughter Carolina, and we just love the pure expression of her wines. Everything is hand-harvested, the wine ferments in steel tank, and its elevage takes place in concrete vats; all contributing to the wines’ fresh fruity aromas and profile. Heck, I wasn’t expecting to take to this wine like I did the other night when I took it to a dinner, but its freshness and seductive fruit contributed to a speedy depletion of the bottle’s contents. When I went in for my second glass, all I got were the lucky drops! Having no oak influence gives the fruit the spotlight. It has a plummy character, both in the aromas and on the palate, there are notes of cherries, raspberries, and black currants. The palate is medium to fuller bodied with well-dialed-in balancing acidity, and the tannins are finely integrated. All in all, it’s a superb wine that will suit meals such as steak with chimichurri, pastas with meatballs or sausages, or pulled pork. This weekend, I will pair it with a dry-rubbed tri-tip, grilled to perfection. With barbecue season upon us for the next several months, this is a great wine to have around … for two reasons: Quality and price. The case price is ridiculous.


To all of you Moms out there, we wish you a Happy Mothers’ Day tomorrow! I’m looking forward to visiting my Mom around midday. We will be preparing her favorite, salmon; pairing it with a crisp Rosé. Afterwards, I am planning on attending a memorial reception for a San Francisco restauranteur whom I was lucky to have known and have enjoyed the “family treatment” from his progeny for decades. Later in the evening, I will head over to visit some friends, and we’ll get busy grilling up the tri-tip and pulling a couple of corks of Malbec. A topic of conversation sure to arise around said grill will be English Football and the newly crowned champions. Though my support remains on the sidelines until a certain unsporting individual leaves the club, I am happy for the Blues and for my family of Chelsea brothers and sisters. I’ve got a lot on my plate tomorrow, so by the time I get to that footy conversation, I will be ready for that tri-tip, perfectly paired with Carolina’s 2015 Malbec!Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments on 2016 Bordeaux Futures, 2014 Bordeaux, great dry-rub recipes, or the Champions of England: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under Alberto Furque, Argentina, Barbecue Wine, Malbec, Peter Zavialoff

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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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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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, Wine Clubs/Samplers

October 2012 Dirty Dozen

Boo! Alas, summer is over, and days are rapidly shortening. That just means that the nights are getting longer, and the time for more indoor activities is here! No worries. We have the perfect idea for indoor gatherings: The October Dirty Dozen. 12 bottles packed neatly into 1 box for a super low price! All different; what could be better than that?

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2010 Blanco, Bodegas Ercavio $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
The name ‘Ercavio’ is derived from an old Roman settlement, and the grape that goes into the 2010 Blanco is 100% Airén. Say you haven’t heard of Airén? Hailing from the area surrounding Madrid, Spain, it is thought to be the most widely planted wine producing grape variety! Dry and crisp, it’s a great aperitif or, it teams up well with crispy fried fish.

2009 Godello, Montenovo $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Eric Solomon, one of America’s finest small importers, is at it again with this fine example of the Godello grape. Godello is grown in Galicia in the northwest corner of Spain, and does it deliver! It shows plump, ripe white and yellow fruit, propped up by zippy acidity and underlying spice and mineral. No wonder some folks believe it’s similar to Chardonnay.

2010 Sauvignon Blanc, Lalande $11.79 net price, $8.79 reorder
Need a crisp, affordable white for your next gathering? Look no further than the Lalande Sauvignon Blanc. Vintage after vintage, this TWH staple has always been a hit with customers and staff alike. It is terrific with halibut.

2006 Viognier, Paras Vineyards $14.95 sale price, $14.20 reorder
California Viognier in the DD? This could be a first, or at least a first for a wine of its pedigree. Grown at elevations of over 1000 feet on Mount Veeder, this Viognier was fermented in barrel with no malo. As fermentation stopped, some residual sugar remained, leaving this Viognier off-dry. It’s just the right thing to pour with a cheese plate at the end of a meal … or if exotic flavors strike your fancy, we’re thinking something spicy hot like Hunan-style smoked duck.

2010 Crozes-Hermitage Les Terres Blanches, Domaine Belle $24.99, $19.99 reorder
Every now and then we pull out the stops with our DD selections, and this would be one of those months. This WHITE Crozes-Hermitage is a special wine. It’s a fancy wine. It’s a blend of 70% Marsanne and 30% Rousanne, 2 of the Rhône’s well known white varieties. It sees some 1 year old barrel which gives it texture and aroma, but there’s no hiding that lovely, complex mineral underneath. This is a classy wine and suits a fancy free range chicken dinner well.

2011 Rosé, Domaine Saint Antoine $11.29, $9.03 reorder
Now that summer is over, the masses are forgetting about just how cool it is to pop a no-frills bottle of Rosé! This one from Saint Antoine is made from 100% Syrah and balances the fruit/acid components perfectly. The result? An easy to pair quaffer; it goes well with everything, and it makes for a great cooler-downer as one toils in a hot kitchen.

2008 Terre de Bussière, Domaine de la Janasse $12.98 net price, 11.68 reorder
The southern Rhône Valley has been bargain central for those of us who love low priced high quality red wines. This unusual blend of 65% Merlot and 35% Syrah will put a smile on your face as it sings along side of that sausage pizza.

2010 Le Loup dans la Bergerie, Domaine de l’Hortus $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Speaking of Syrah/Merlot blends, Domaine de l’Hortus’ Jean Orliac adds a little Grenache to that mix to produce his Le Loup dans la Bergerie. It has great aromas, ample fruit, and medium bodied weight. A solid all-purpose red!

2009 Floresta, Pere Guardiola $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
As the Pyrenees come into view in Empordà-Costa Brava, Spain’s northeastern corner, you will find the vines belonging to Pere Guardiola. The blend here is 40% Garnacha, 30% Mazuela, and 30% Syrah. The wine is ripe, rich, and robust with aromas of dark berry fruit and spice. A great value, it has the stuffing to pair well with a dry rub pork shoulder roast.

2010 Carmenère, In’ka $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Bursting with dark berries, chocolate, and spice, the aromas for the 2010 In’ka Carmenère jump from the glass with delight! Carmenère has its origins in Bordeaux, but was fairly recently discovered in South America where it has been thriving. It has the charm of Merlot, yet the backbone of Cabernet Sauvignon. Perfect with a juicy steak.

2009 Carmignano, Le Farnete $18.99, $15.19 reorder
A TWH direct-import, Le Farnete’s Carmignano has been a favorite ’round here for many vintages. The 2009 is no exception. Carmignano has been growing Cabernet Sauvignon since Medici times, long before the age of the ‘Super Tuscan.’ Dark aromas of brambly berries and earth lead to a fuller bodied palate. We’re thinking Osso Bucco here.

2010 Syrah/Grenache, Vignobles Boudinaud $11.99, $9.59 reorder
Grenache and Syrah are a match made in heaven, as if the wines from the southern Rhône don’t already underline that fact. Our pal Thierry Boudinaud crafts a lot of different wines down there, but here is something special that he makes out of some Langeudoc fruit that he sources. Alive and fresh, it is all tank-fermented preserving that pure fruity profile. Don’t let its friendliness fool you. Its medium body allows for some earthy complexity. Great with food, or not!

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Filed under Carmenere, Chile, Mt. Veeder, Peter Zavialoff, Spain, The Dirty Dozen, Tuscany

The Barbecue Special: 2007 Inacayal Carmenere

(Sing along, now):Heading out to San Francisco, for the Labor Day Weekend show. (Okay, stop singing) I don’t know anything about Hush Puppies, but Labor Day weekend is always special for me; Birthdayfest and all. To many, it signifies the end of summer, but let’s face it, there are 3 weeks left! That leaves plenty of time for more outdoor activities … and more barbecues! If you live locally, you know we have well over 3 weeks of summer left. With so many more opportunities to fire up that barbecue, you all may be interested in a great, inexpensive wine to accompany the festival of the grill. Not only have we uncovered a dynamite deal from the southern hemisphere, but it’s a GREAT barbecue wine to boot!

We’ve had some good fortune resulting from taking a little time to peruse close-out lists over the last few years. If we can find you all a great wine at an insane price, why not, right? Well, we’ve done it again! If you like bold, full-bodied red wines with silky tannins and just the right amount of spice, then read on. The 2007 Inacayal Carmenère comes to us via ye olde close-out list. We had the 2005 for a very short time, and it sold out quickly for $20. The 2007 is here now, and is $16 if you want a bottle … or the case price is, get this, less than $14!!!

A little bit about the grape. Carmenère is originally from Bordeaux. It was ever present in the Médoc in the early 18th century, and a property’s reputation was heightened if Carmenère was in its vineyard. After many years of producing excellent wine, the grape fell out of favor because of its susceptibility to coulure, or the falling off of the berries shortly after flowering. Think of it as a cross between Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon; it combines the friendliness of the former with the weight of the latter. It has certainly found a home these days in Chile, where Carmenère was discovered in the early 1990’s among vines that were thought to be Merlot. It is believed that these vines were imported directly from Bordeaux in the late 19th century. Well, apparently, some of those vines made their way over the mountains to Argentina as well. You won’t see as many Argentine Carmenères out there as you will Chilean (they have their own Bordeaux stow-away, Malbec.), but don’t miss this one.

It has been reported here in the past that I’m a huge fan of Bruce Hill’s Picco Restaurant in Larkspur, and recently, I brought a bottle of the 2007 Inacayal Carmenère with me and sat down at the bar. Their GM had left for the night, but I sat down for a quick bite and placed the bottle upon the bar. The manager on duty came over to say hello, and I asked him if he wanted to taste the Carmenère. He was surprised to see that it was from Argentina. He returned quickly with a wine-key and 2 glasses. I cut the foil and pulled out the cork, poured out a couple of tastes and what followed was magical. Double takes, big smiles, and a resounding “Wow!” were his reactions. I asked him if it would be okay to pour tastes for the bartenders and servers; no problem. Again, what followed was more than I could have expected. Tons of praise from all members of the staff, and a request to pour a few more tastes for a trio of patrons seated to my left. More praise. More smiles. More “Wow!’s”. It seemed the gent to my immediate left owned/managed a restaurant in downtown San Rafael, The Lighthouse. When I told him the price, he got serious. “Please come and pour this for me at the restaurant the next time you have a bottle open.” I have, and they are now pouring it by the glass. As I was finishing up my late night bite at Picco, one of the servers approached me and asked if I could set aside a case for him because, “That’s going to be my barbecue wine”. His words. I had to pull what little was left out of the Dirty Dozen last month in case of reorders. We have some great DD cutomers who came in recently inquiring about additional Carmenère. We were able to provide an emergency ration for them, but just so you all know, it’s back in stock.

Back in stock for a short time, that is. It will sell out again. It’s that dang good! Don’t worry, more is on the way.

I hope you’re all having a great Labor Day weekend, no matter what you’re doing. Picnics, barbecues, spending time with loved ones, catching a sporting event or a live show. Just please be safe. Me? Just continuing the fest here. I’m not one to do much planning, but there are a couple things on the immediate calendar that I’m looking forward to very much. Have a safe and Happy Labor Day!Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments on Carmenère, Labor Day, Birthdayfest, or footy: peter.winehouse@sbcglobal.net

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Filed under Barbecue Wine, Carmenere, Peter Zavialoff

August 2012 Dirty Dozen

How fortunate that summer gives us not 1, but 2 months with 31 days in them. Let’s revel in that! That leaves plenty of time for more picnicking and barbecuing, among other fun summer endeavors. Whether you’re on vacation, a staycation, or are enjoying the longer daytime hours that summer gives us, let the Dirty Dozen satisfy all your vinous needs.

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2011 Chardonnay, House Of Independent Producers $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
The House of Independent Producers Chardonnay is an unoaked, terroir-driven quaffer from the Columbia Valley AVA in Washington state. The nose has a solid core of pale yellow fruit wrapped with minerals; the palate is fresh and crisp with hints of apples and citrus. A great food wine, this will pair well with seared scallops, lentils, and corn.

2009 Sauvignon Blanc, Koura Bay $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Here at TWH, we’re always on the lookout for wines of quality and character. When we taste one that has a very modest price tag, well, that’s when we act. Such was the case when the Koura Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc was poured for us. It has a citrus-like profile and an amazing amalgam of herbal notes. Serve it with a cool garden salad.

2011 Vinho Verde, Vera $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Every DD wine is picked for its versatility, and the Vera Vinho Verde from Northern Portugal is exactly that. Meaning “green wine” this Vinho Verde has a citrusy profile reminiscent of grapefruits. Pour it along side a light pasta dish.

2010 Chardonnay/Viognier, Laurent Miquel $10.48 net price, $9.43 reorder
Winemaker Laurent Miquel blends 65% Chardonnay with 35% Viognier sourced from his vineyards in France’s Languedoc region and the result is a winner! The aromas are fruity and rich with hints of peaches, apricots, and lemon-lime. On a hot August night, a chilled glass of Miquel’s Chardonnay/Viognier makes for a terrific by the glass sipper.

2011 Lugana, Ca’Lojera $14.99, $11.99 reorder
In Italy’s Lake Garda region lies the Lugana DOC. Ca’Lojera is run by Ambra and Franco Tiraboschi, and we are happy and proud to resume our relationship with them with the 2011 Lugana. Made from 100% Trebbiano di Garda, or Turbiana (as the locals call it), it’s fruity and crisp with hints of melons and citrus throughout. It’s perfect with grilled chicken.

2011 Touraine Rosé, Domaine des Corbillières $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Nearly every summer, the Touraine Rosé is the most popular Rosé among our staff and customers. What’s not to like? Its pale salmon color gets you straight away. Made from Loire Valley stalwart Pineau d’Aunis, it shows aromatic hints of herbs and lemon blossoms. On the palate, it’s perfectly balanced with hints of light citrus fruit. Bring it on a picnic.

2010 Cabernet Sauvignon, R8 Wine Company $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Especially chosen for this month’s DD is a fine Cabernet Sauvignon from the R8 Wine Co. Sourcing their fruit from California’s Central Coast, the folks at R8 deliver a sturdy, fuller bodied Cab at a more than reasonable price. It shows spicy cedary aromas combined with lush dark brambly berries. It’s the wine you’re going to want with that grilled filet.

2010 Tempranillo, Tapeña $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Hailing from Tempranillo’s original home, Spain, Tapeña’s take on it is a traditional one. The wine has an overall roundness of medium purple fruit, yet shows an abundance of leathery, earthy, and tobacco like notes. You will certainly have no problem pairing it with any kind of tapas you deem appropriate, though we think meatballs in tomato sauce is best.

2007 Tempranillo, Tempusalba $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Over in Argentina, they’re growing Tempranillo as well. The grape is the same, but the New World’s take on it is unmistakeable. With a little bottle age, some of that youthful up-front fruit has mellowed with the herbal profile resulting in a smooth, balanced red wine. This will be perfect with a veal chop with chimichurri sauce.

2011 Malbec, Alberto Furque $14.99, $12.74 reorder
Unusual for us, but this month’s DD boasts a trio of reds from Argentina. #2 is produced by Alberto Furque. The estate is now run by Alberto’s daughter Carolina, and she makes outstanding Malbec from vineyards planted 3,000 feet above sea level. It’s power packed and is further proof of the grape’s success in Argentina. Pair it with a rib eye steak.

2007 Carmenérè, Inacayal $15.99, $12.79 reorder
Staying in Argentina, here’s another grape that’s found a new home. Carmenere, just like the Malbec above, was once commonly found growing at the various châteaux in Bordeaux’s Médoc. Think of it as the best of both worlds, combining the characteristics of both Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It’s spicy, full bodied, and delectable. A lamb chop works.

2010 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Le Farnete $13.99, $11.19 reorder
Easing up a bit, we conclude this month’s DD with a medium-bodied blend of 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. Enrico Pierazzuoli’s Le Farnete sits just west of Firenze in the Tuscan countryside and his wines speak of the place. His Barco Reale is fresh and clean, it spends 4 months in 1 year old barrel and 4 months in bottle before release. This is a great all-purpose wine that drinks well on its own, yet will shine along side pizza and saucy pasta dishes.

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Filed under Alberto Furque, Argentina, Malbec, Mendoza, New Zealand, Peter Zavialoff, Portugal, Rose, Tempranillo, The Dirty Dozen, Touraine, Washington State

April 2012 Dirty Dozen

Days get longer, the nights grow short, our Easter baskets are getting filled up, and what’s this? Baseball season? Yep, it’s April and it’s time for opening the windows and doors, getting some fresh air, and maybe a picnic or four. However you like to spend your time this spring, consider this: Twelve bottles, one low price.

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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

2010 Orvieto, Cardèto
Big on our list of springtime wines are dry, crisp, easy quaffers that deliver in the quality department, yet keep the big bills in your wallet. This Orvieto is just the ticket! Lean and crisp with a citrusy freshness, this blend of Trebbiano and Grechetto is a great refresher should a warm spring afternoon come your way. Pairs great with a bowl o’mussels.

2010 Chardonnay, Viano Vineyards
Is it us, or do you ever see Cali Chardonnay in the sub $10 category anymore? At least quality, sub $10 Cali Chardonnay? Sales reps visit us and pour and pour, but we keep saying no until the right one comes along. Well, here it is! From Contra Costa county, no less; halfway between the Napa and Livermore Valleys comes the Viano. Pair with a crab salad.

2010 Vino Valpredo Bianca Mia, Fritz Winery
Rather than choose between Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc, why not blend them? At least that’s what our friends at Sonoma’s Fritz Winery thought. You know what? This is some quality juice. Aromas of stone fruits and citrus blossoms give way to a zesty citrus palate. Anya says grill up some shrimp and serve it with mango salsa … and this, of course.

NV Prosecco Superiore, Giavi
Talk to any of us about our new D.O.C.G. Prosecco Superiore, the Giavi, and prepare yourself for an enthusiastic reply! Seriously, this Prosecco has it all: tiny bubbles, a pale, frosty appearance, depth, and crispness. Crostini with caviar?

2010 Blanc de Domaine de la Petite Cassagne
Her name is Diane de Puymorin. We adore her wines … all of them. Diane purchased the Petite Cassagne estate back in 1998, renamed it Château d’Or et des Gueules, yet still pays homage to the old guard with a Rouge, Rosé, and this Blanc. Diane blends 40% Rolle (Vermentino) with Grenache Blanc and the result is a bright, citrus infused aromatic showpiece.

2009 Fernão Pires, Quinta do Alqueve
Dare we try to get wine geeky on you, but here’s Portugal’s Fernão Pires blended with a smidge of Arinto. Geeky? Maybe. But the stone fruity aromas and crisp mouthfeel will make wine geeks out of us all! Great with sardines.

2009 Garnacha Two Rows, Odisea
As we switch to the reds, let’s point out that our friends at Odisea have another hit on their hands. Mostly Grenache with small parts Syrah and Tempranillo, the Two Rows is a plump palate pleaser. Ripe cherries and raspberries mingle with vanilla spice and herbs resulting in ethereal harmony. If it’s burgers on the grill; sorry, these Two Rows are taken.

2010 Tempranillo, Enanzo
Yummy Tempranillo from Spain’s Navarra region! The philosophy at Enanzo is simple. To quote them, “this Tempranillo is made by applying the only true winemaking criterion: intimate, permanent, progressive harmony between man and his environment.” It works here, the herb infused fruit is braced by dusty tannins and spirited acidity. Great with pizza.

2009 Château de Bouchet La Rentiere
What a vintage 2009 was for the wines of Bordeaux! The Wine Advocate’s Robert Parker likened the vintage to the legendary 1982 noting one exception: in 1982 there weren’t many small, inexpensive producers taking advantage of the perfect weather to make great affordable Bordeaux. That’s different now. Pair this beauty with your prime rib.

2008 Les Cimels, Château d’Or et des Gueules
If there’s a better $15 red wine here at TWH, I haven’t seen it. The aforementioned Diane de Puymorin blends some old vine Carignan with Grenache and Syrah, and the result is an herbal masterpiece. Forest floor, Kalamata olives, and black tea dominate the aromas, and the palate is more savory than fruity. The perfect wine for pasta with an herbal sauce.

2009 Côtes du Rhône les Boissières, Vignobles Boudinaud
New to us is Veronique and Thierry Boudinaud’s les Boissières Côtes du Rhône. It’s an exciting story as 100% of what’s imported to the US is imported for us! Think honest, old-school Côtes du Rhône here. It shows plenty of fruit, but without going overboard. Toss in some cracked pepper and herbs Provençal, and you get the drift. This is yet another versatile bottle in what can be called The Versatile Dozen. Great on its own, or paired with cassoulet.

2006 Syrah, Alberto Furque
Ever popular with our staff and customers, the Alberto Furque line crushes it when it comes to quality for price. Grown at altitudes of over 3000 feet, the vineyards of Mendoza’s Bodega Aconquija (we call them Alberto Furque) get just the right amount of warm days and cool nights to produce wines with dazzling structure. This Syrah sings of balance and harmony. If you find yourself dreaming about some thinly sliced Argentine beef with Chimichurri sauce, pour this.

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