Category Archives: Chianti
As 2016 continues to buzz away, here we are past the halfway mark. July is a great month for oh-so-many reasons. The fourth falls of a Monday this year, and that’s great for those of us who like three day weekends! Baseball’s mid-summer classic is coming up soon, and the long summer days of July are great occasions to get outdoors and enjoy yourself! It’s always good to have some reserves, so we’ve put together a great July Dirty Dozen to keep you prepared for any vinous emergency. Happy July!
Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines
2014 Screen Porch White, HRW $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Going back in time here with a Napa Valley Chardonnay for $12! Some Pinot Gris was added to the blend to perk up the acidity, making this the ideal, hot weather sipper from the folks at Hendry Winery. We’re told this is a one-off, so enjoy it while its still available. Crisp and crunchy peach flavors abound. Pair with a main course salad out on the veranda.
2014 Sauvignon Delle Venezie, Torre di Luna $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Torre di Luna Sauvignon is a refreshing, simple and delicious white wine from the region of Trentino in Northern Italy. The light – only 12.5% ABV – crisp flavors are especially welcome this time of year as we head into summer’s heat. Chill it down well to accentuate the fresh tropical flavors. Pair with light pasta dishes, pizza bianco, or fresh spring rolls.
2015 Soave San Rocco, Monte Tondo $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Monte Tondo specializes in Soave. Their hilltop estate, not far from Verona, overlooks the valley. The San Rocco is their entry level Soave, but it is by no means inferior to their estate-branded wines. Offering incredible value, this Soave is vibrant and mineral-driven. Tank fermented, try it with bay shrimp stuffed avocados or a Panzanella salad.
2012 Gewurztraminer Rosenberg, Domaine Ehrhart $21.99, $17.59 reorder
Rose petals and lychee nuts are descriptors that follow Gewurztraminer around as the aromas of this variety are definitely marked by these distinct fragrances. This single-vineyard Gewurz is a bit off-dry, as evidenced by the sweetness scale that the Ehrharts use on the back label. Pair this opulent nectar with spicy curry or red beans and rice.
2014 Rosé Les Trois Frères, Domaine Des Aspras $17.59, $14.07 reorder
Every now and then something fancy lands in the DD, and this month, we’ve got a full-fledged Provençal Rosé in the box! Domaine des Aspras is located in the village of Correns, which is an all-organic village. It’s a blend of Cinsault and Grenache, and has aromas of mint, strawberry, peach, and orange blossoms. Pair it with a simple salmon roasted in butter.
2014 Montravel Blanc, Château Calabre $8.95 sale price, $8.50 reorder
Longtime friend of TWH, Daniel Hecquet continues to turn out delicious wines for a song, and his Château Calabre Montravel Blanc is another winner on a long list of winners! Here, the blend is 50% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon, and 10% Muscadelle just like many whites coming from nearby Bordeaux. Fresh and zippy, pair it with a chicken salad.
2014 Poggio d’Elsa, Bruni $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
This 50/50 blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon hails from the region of Maremma Toscana, a two-hour drive southwest of Florence. Maremma Toscana was only recently promoted to DOC status, though Azienda Bruni has been making wines since the 1970’s. Rustic, spicy with bright tart red fruit, a must for pizza or meaty baked pasta dishes.
2012 Minervois Cuvée Spéciale, Château de Paraza $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Château de Paraza, like many wineries in the Minervois, can trace its history back many centuries. In 2005 the Danglas family purchased the winery with the intent of bringing its reputation back to its former glory. The quality has improved exponentially and has been a favorite here at TWH for the past five vintages. Juicy, robust, supple. Try it with lamb!
2014 Rosso Conero, Marchetti $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Maurizio Marchetti’s Rosso Conero is made with Montepulciano grapes grown along coastal vineyards near the Adriatic Sea south of the seaside town of Ancona. A gentle pressing ensures freshness and supple tannins. A short rest in barrel, maybe 3-4 months before bottling, also aids in making a juicy, delicious red. Serve with chicken cooked under a brick.
2014 Chianti Montalbano, Tenuta Pierazzuoli $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Having visited us earlier in the year, Enrico Pierazzuoli showcased this newly-arrived Chianti Montalbano and our staff happily closed out the day sipping this textbook, 100% Sangiovese with some fresh salumi and provolone. It’s a medium bodied red with fresh acidity making it kind of the utility player of wines … it just goes with everything.
2013 Agrippa, Vignobles Boudinaud $17.49, $13.99 reorder
Thierry Boudinaud doesn’t make his Agrippa every year; the conditions must be just right for this 100% Syrah named in honor of the Roman statesman who oversaw the construction of the famous Pont du Garde. Good thing he’s in southern, Mediterranean France! It’s a concentrated complex Syrah, great for barbecue season, perfect with grilled smoky meats.
2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Vinum Africa $17.99, $14.39 reorder
This Cab Sauvignon from South Africa is a great wine to wrap up this month’s DD. The fruit comes from two prized vineyards in the foothills of Helderberg Mountain, just south of Stellenbosch. It’s a full-bodied Cabernet with a core of red and black fruit, earthy mineral, a hint of herbs, and good grip. This is best served with rack of lamb or a rib-eye.
|Enrico Pierazzuoli is a fortunate man, his family owns not one but TWO wineries in Tuscany! At TWH much attention is paid to Enrico’s delicious reds from his estate Le Farnete in Carmignano. Equally delicious is the humble, honest Chianti Montalbano vinified at Enrico’s estate Tenuta Pierazzuoli, formally known as Tenuta Cantagallo, just a 30-minute train ride heading west from Florence. Tenuta Pierazzuoli is a true working farm where vineyards, olive groves, vegetable crops, and preserved woods exist in harmony. Sangiovese plays the leading role, with newer plantings of Canaiolo, Colorino and a few other “international” varietals adding to the possibilities.|
Chianti is probably one of the most recognizable wines in the world. Certainly there are profound Chianti Riservas out there, but practically speaking it is the sub-$20 price point that makes up most of the Chianti market. Much of that is pretty non-descript and un-inspiring, which on one hand is fine, after all sometimes you just want something simple and good to pop open. But then again, why not choose a simple and good Chianti made with integrity and passion by a family that strives to make the best possible wine? Tenuta Pierazzuoli’s 2010 Chianti Montalbano (Montalbano is one of seven sub-zones of Chianti) is made from 100% Sangiovese fermented in stainless steel and then rests in bottle for a few months before release. I probably shouldn’t admit to this, but with our extensive selection of wines, it is easy to overlook or “forget” about a wine that is a staple. I experienced this short sightedness with the Chianti Montalbano. TWH has been importing this wine for 17 years, so I feel I have a pretty good handle on it. Tisk tisk, I should know better! One day last week, it happened that both my husband and I were working, so my in-laws were kind enough to pick our daughter up from summer camp and generously supplied dinner – rigatoni with meatballs in a Bolognese sauce. At the mere mention of meat sauce I began to crave Chianti. Problem solved, I grabbed a bottle of the 2010 Chianti Montalbano on my way home. The combination of the vibrant cherry fruit and perky acidity of the Sangiovese was so darn good with the food. After a few shovels of pasta followed by a couple glugs of 2010 Chianti Montalbano, I turned to my husband and confessed “you could stick a candle in this and serve this to me for my birthday”. So simple and yet, so perfect. The 2010 Chianti Montalbano shows it’s best side with food as the acidity in the wine compliments tomato-based pasta sauces gracefully. Next time you have a crowd over and you’ve assembled your can’t-miss lasagna, uncork the Chianti Montalbano. Better yet- we’ve got magnums available! So, wipe down that checkerboard oilcloth and enjoy al fresco under the stars!
|Hitting as many classic summertime activities as possible. Days on the beach, well that’s a given, but also played a round of mini-golf, went to the Sonoma County Fair to look at livestock and to get my free scoop of Clover ice cream, and caught a game rooting on the San Rafael Pacifics as they won their 40th game! It’s been an early harvest for grapes in Northern California, so I’m guessing San Marzano tomatoes will be early too. I’ll have to plan for making sauce accordingly. No doubt, I’ll have some bottles of the 2010 Chianti Montalbano waiting for that meal. Abbondanza! —Anya Balistreri|
|The 2010 Il Garrulo from Montenidoli is impactful, full of flavor and brimming with textural elegance. This is not the first time I’ve singled out Il Garrulo or the wines of Montenidoli. Working here at TWH, which is the exclusive importer of these special Tuscan wines into California, positions me favorably to appreciate and become not just familiar, but, dare I say, intimate with them. For the past 40 years, Montenidoli has been recognized for their outstanding efforts in the vineyard and in the cellar. The reverence and admiration directed at Montenidoli by writers, critics, colleagues, and ordinary wine enthusiasts who have made the trek to the winery is unlike anything I’ve ever witnessed. It may be unnecessary to mention, but I will anyway, that such strong emotion is earned and not bestowed arbitrarily.
Il Garrulo is the proprietary name given to Montenidoli’s Chianti Colli Senesi that is fashioned in the traditional way set down in the late 19th Century by Barone Ricasoli to include white grapes. Il Garrulo is comprised of two red grape varietals, 75% Sangiovese and 20% Canaiolo, and two white grape varietals, 3% Trebbiano Gentile and 2% Malvasia Bianca. As you can see, the inclusion of white grapes is only a tiny proportion of the blend, but are vital to the overall sensory expression of the wine. There is real lift with a gorgeous red-petal aromatic that emanates from it. The 2010 is saturated with ripe red cherry fruit. The classic red fruit Sangiovese flavors are concentrated and plush. What is so pleasurable about the 2010 Il Garrulo is the richness of fruit combined with perky acid freshness all wrapped up like a luxurious cashmere throw by fine, plump tannins. This all translates to a versatile red that is not only perfect for traditional tomato-based foods but more exotic, harder to match dishes like Indian curries, Chile Rellenos or Chicken en Adobo. The fruitiness of the Il Garrulo won’t wilt with the heat and the smooth tannins won’t interfere with the dishes.
|The estate of Montenidoli has 24 hectares of vines and 10 of olive trees. We just received in Montenidoli’s newest batch of delicious olive oil – peppery, buttery and with a delightful bite. The estate is perched high above the hills overlooking the medieval town of San Gimignano, surrounded by 200 hectares of woodlands. My in-laws had the chance to visit Montenidoli back in ’11 and they describe getting to the winery as if on some wild, off-road adventure.
This past February, proprietress and winemaker, Elisabetta Fagiuoli paid another visit to The Wine House. I regrettably was not able to meet with her during her very short stay. Despite her age, Elisabetta comes to San Francisco to work. And she works hard and tirelessly, just as she does at Montenidoli. However, the usually feisty and energetic Elisabetta was not quite herself this time around. It was with great sadness that we learned that Elisabetta’s partner in life, work and love, Sergio Muratori had passed away in the Fall. It would be unthinkable for me to write about Montenidoli without acknowledging Elisabetta and Sergio for Montenidoli is not just a place, or a portfolio of wines, but it is a living testament to their union. —Anya Balistreri
Happy New Year! As the whirr of the holi-daze shrinks away in our rear view mirrors, we look forward to many more vinous discoveries coming in 2012! The new year brings hope and optimism, resolutions, and the NFL playoffs! There’s something going on there for us locals, and for you, how about the January 2012 Dirty Dozen? 12 bottles, all chosen for their versatility, packed in a box, for an incredible price. Go SF!
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.
2009 Cheverny Le Domaine du Moulin, Hervé Villemade – $14.98 net price, $13.49 reorder
Brand new for us is this white blend from Cheverny in the Loire Valley. Cheverny is located just between the cities of Tours and Orleans and boasts one of the Loire’s most famous chateaux. Certified orgainic, Monsieur Villemade blends approximately 70% Chardonnay with 30% Sauvignon Blanc and the result is a delightful balanced wine that shows ample fruit and a crisp finish. A crab salad works fine here.
2009 Mâcon les Tilles, J.M. Chaland – $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Every now and then the Dirty Dozen gets a surprise visit from some highly esteemed appellation; this time it’s Burgundy! Jean-Michel Chaland crafts wonderful terroir driven Chardonnays from his vineyards in and around Mâcon. The vines for les Tilles are approximately 40-50 years old, and the wine is vinified all in steel tank. Rich, round, fleshy white fruit with a hint of the tropics. Drink with that lobster.
2009 Chardonnay, Lalande – $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Grassa. Yves Grassa. He’s the man behind the wines from Domaine Lalande in Gascogne. Seasoned DD veterans are familiar with the name and the wines, which are delectable vintage after vintage. Oscar Wilde once said, “Consistency is the last refuge of the unimaginative.” We imagine Oscar never had a glass of Lalande Chardonnay. We also imagine an open face turkey sandwich with this.
2010 Rosé de Ecuyer de Château Couronneau – $11.99, $9.59 reorder
In Bordeaux, you hear a lot of fuss about the prices of the finest wines, but less often, do you hear about all the production (the famous wines represent around 5% of Bordeaux’s total output). Christophe and Bénédicte Piat are keeping it real for us, proudly sporting the Agricole Biologique banner on their property at Bordeaux’s eastern frontier. This Rosé is fresh and fruity and goes well with bbq.
2010 Scaia Bianco, Tenuta Sant’Antonio – $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Now what do you get when you blend Garganega with Chardonnay? Tom likes to call it a “Super Soave”, and we can’t blame you if you do too as this wine has that soft, fleshy fruit sensation, yet is backed up with a fresh crisp finish. Toss some scampi and serve with pasta.
2010 Montravel Blanc, Château Calabre – $10.99, $8.79 reorder
Next up could very well be the best white wine bargain in the shop! Made just outside Bordeaux in Montravel, Daniel Hecquet blends 50% Sauvignon Blanc with 40% Semillon and 10% Muscadelle resulting in a knock-off White Bordeaux. All steel tank here, the wine is bright and fresh, with plenty of complexity on the palate, and will have you scratching your head as to how it can be done for this price.
2010 Zinfandel, Old Vines, Rail 2 Rail – $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
In Lodi, there is an 82 year old farmer named Andy D’Arrigo. He grows lettuce, prickly pears, and grapes. His Zinfandel vines are more than 45 years old, and he has no intention of selling any of his land because, “I don’t know how to grow buildings.” Surf enthusiast/winemaker Eric Laumann came upon Andy and the result is Rail 2 Rail Zin. Tee this up with a rich pizza with sausage and olives.
2008 Monastrell Hécula, Bodegas Castaño – $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Nestled in Spain’s Yecla DO (appellation of origin) you will find Bodegas Castaño. This 100% Monastrell (Mourvèdre) is grown at altitudes of approximately 750 feet on vines 35 years of age or more. We have nothing but praise for this wine, as it outperforms its price point by a long shot. We’re not the only ones; Steven Tanzer says that it could be a Bandol and Robert Parker heaps praise on wine prospector Eric Solomon, saying, “Solomon’s wines are intense expressions of terroir.” This one could use a big juicy t-bone steak.
2009 Shiraz/Cabernet Sauvignon, The Royal – $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Grab the passport, we’re off to South Africa. Though after one sip of this silky smooth Shiraz/Cab blend, you may think you’ve gone to the land down under, but alas, The Royal is from Africa’s southern tip. Adding 40% Cabernet Sauvignon to the blend gives the spicy Shiraz a blackberry backbone with just a hint of mocha spice. What to pair here? Think Africa. How ’bout ostrich fillet? Yum.
2009 Touraine Les Demoiselles – Domaine des Corbillières – $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Not new to us are the wines from Domaine des Corbillières. What IS new to us is Maurice Barbou’s Les Demoiselles cuvée, which is roughly 40% Pinot Noir, 30% Côt (Malbec), and 30% Cabernet Franc. Ding! Ding! Woot! Woot! Winner! Winner! The wine is an aromatic masterpiece of dark red, purple, and black berries, tobacco leaf, and cracked pepper, all singing around a mineral core. Fermented in tank, it’s fresh and juicy. We have a feeling that this one is a keeper. Enjoy with pasta with red sauce.
2007 Chianti Colli Sinese, Montenidoli – $19.99, $15.99 reorder
Oh wait, that pairing suggestion was meant for this wine! Oh well, we can have two pasta with red sauce wines in the same DD. Tuscan wine royalty Elisabetta Fagiuoli brews up some old-school Chianti using Sangiovese and Canaiolo. The wine is dense and rich with an herbal component that screams Old World. It is a Chianti that can be enjoyed now, but will gain in complexity if cellared properly.
2010 Malbec, Alberto Furque – $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Wine without filtration is the motto at Bodega Aconquija, better known to us as Alberto Furque. Winemaker Carolina Furque does not filter any of her wines. She feels that filtration removes important nuances in both aromas and flavors. Sometimes this may result in a little sediment, but the trade-off is worth it. This Malbec is grown at altitudes of around 3000 ft in the Andes Mountains, which is important for acidity levels in the wines. This wine will shine along side a roast pork tenderloin with chimichurri sauce.
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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