Category Archives: Peter Zavialoff

Peter’s thoughts on wine.

Affordable Luxury – Premier Cru Chablis



2014 Chablis 1er Cru Côte de Léchet
Domaine Sébastien Dampt

The above photo may look romantic, right? Who doesn’t like a lit up vineyard at night? Unfortunately, it’s not romantic. This picture Sébastien Dampt sent David back in early May shows what sometimes is done in hopes of fending off any severe damage from forecasted overnight frost by keeping the newly broken buds warm. 2016 has been a nightmare for Chablis producers as they had not only frost to contend with, but suffered through two hailstorms. Damage was so severe in some communes that the vintage itself has come into question, as in “Will we make wine in 2016?” As far as we know, Sébastien will make his wines in 2016, but how much is anybody’s guess. Taking that into consideration, one could come to the logical conclusion that in order to keep his business running, he may need to raise his prices slightly to recoup lost revenues due to lost fruit. It’s a sad reality, but it is reality nonetheless. Let’s keep that in the back of our minds and focus on what’s in front of us now, in the present, and currently in-stock: 2014 Domaine Sébastien Dampt Chablis Premier Cru Côte de Léchet and its incredible low price.

When David is on assignment in France, he usually stays in touch by sending us notes and comments from some of his tastings. Last winter, he sent this in an email, “Lots of good tastings. I tasted a couple of ’15s at Dampt today – they’ll be nice, round, early maturing. I went through all the ’14s and they are THE BOMB! I actually prefer the 1er Crus to the Grand Crus. The Vaillons, Léchet, and Beugnons are just fantastic.” I probably don’t need to add anything to that; if David is going to recommend something with that kind of enthusiasm, I would say we would be depriving ourselves if we don’t heed his advice.

We’ve mentioned Sébastien Dampt before, as we’ve been directly importing his wines for a few years now. That’s directly importing, as we deal with Sébastien himself, not a negociant or special contact who have their hands open for a “finders’ fee.” This, of course, is great news for all of us as prices are as low as possible. Take that fact and then read Burghound’s Allen Meadows’ comment that, “As the scores and comments suggest, these are well-made wines and at the prices the Dampt wines generally sell for, they are first-rate bargains.” And yes, they’re all that.


I have a soft spot on my palate for wines from Côte de Léchet. Long ago, back when one could tell my hair color was once brown, we had a different producer’s Côte de Léchet, and I loved it. It was $44.99 per bottle. Obviously, we weren’t the importer for that wine. But while we had this other producer’s line of Chablis, it was a rite of late spring to grab one bottle of each vineyard and head over to a buddy’s house to taste them against each other while noshing on sautéed shrimp and scallops. Go figure that the Côte de Léchet was always the standout. So when we began importing Dampt’s wines, it was not a surprise that I gravitated toward the Côte de Léchet. As if I needed further encouragement, the sub $30 price tag was a huge bonus! Don’t you love it when you’re ready to pay $50 for something, but are then told it’s only $30?

The Chablis, shrimp and scallops tradition may have waned in recent years, but tasting Sébastien Dampt’s newly released Côte de Léchet has picked up right where we left off. I tasted the 2014 the other night, this time with some baked chicken with garlic and herbs. Bingo! I think that the thing about Côte de Léchet that tips the scale for me is its richness. When I’m about to take my first sip of Chablis, I am prepared for sleek, zippy acidity and a mineral underlay. From the aromas to the finish, this 2014 Sébastien Dampt Côte de Léchet delivers some rich, fleshy, white and yellow Chardonnay fruit; kind of like a green apple with a little lemon blossom. That fruit is propped up and balanced by the sleek, fresh profile, and the harmony of the finish is quite the upside surprise. I’m a fan.

As summer continues, it just makes sense to have wines on hand that are delicious when chilled. Holy cow! The Thirst Gamay that Anya wrote up last weekend has earned a permanent place in my refrigerator door! Though, just in case I find some nice looking shrimp or scallops at the market on my way home, I’m going to want a bottle of 2014 Sébastien Dampt Côte de Léchet on that shelf too! The new treehouse is finally taking shape and I enjoyed a glass of something nice last night out on the deck while the sun set behind the canopy of trees. Now that’s romantic.Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions about Chablis, Côte de Léchet, Bordeaux, European Football, Sauternes, or treehouses: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under Chablis, Chardonnay, fish-fry wine, Peter Zavialoff

Authentic Pomerol – Chateau Bonalgue


When Robert Parker retired from tasting Bordeaux En Primeur in the spring of 2015, it created a bit of a stir. For those who relied on his palate to make wine buying decisions, it would be like having to change dentists, accountants, or mechanics. It was going to be different, but is that all so bad? There’s an old saying, “Different is not always better, but better is always, by definition, different.” We let this play out, and one of a few key talking points around the En Primeur tastings this past spring was that the vignerons knew he would not be tasting their wines as barrel samples anymore, and so to the rest of us, they appeared “Un-Parkerised.” Let me just say that when tasting barrel samples, less extract and more terroir transparency are very welcome! Coincidentally, in the spring of 2015, I had lunch with one of our suppliers at Château la Dominique’s La Terrasse Rouge. The wine we drank at lunch? 2008 Château Bonalgue, Pomerol. It was delicious. Old school dusty, earthy mineral aromas, savory black olive-like fruit with hints of brambly red berries, a kiss of sarsaparilla spice all wrapped up in a medium-bodied elegant mouth feel.

Château Bonalgue sits in the very west of Pomerol just near the Libourne city limit. The property consists of approximately 7.5 hectares planted mostly to Merlot with around 10% Cabernet Franc. The soils are a mixture of sand, clay, and limestone. The property traces its history back to before the French Revolution with the current owning family having purchased the chateau in 1926. Ironically, it was Robert Parker himself who had this to say about Château Bonalgue, “This over-achieving estate is one of the most consistent performers in Pomerol. Always a well-made, fleshy, succulent, hedonistic wine.”

We placed our order for the 2008, and then noticed the 2009, 2010, and 2012 were available. We couldn’t help ourselves; if a quality vertical is so easy and affordable to stock, why not indulge. So we can’t blame those of you who wish to profiter, and build a vertical of this authentic Pomerol for your cellars! Peter Zavialoff

 


2012 Chateau Bonalgue Pomerol
Early indications pointed to Pomerol as again the hot spot for the 2012 vintage and now that the wines have been bottled, it certainly is one of the more homogenous appellations for the vintage. The wines are showing decadent fruit and dazzling structure suggesting that they’ll age very well. Here’s what RP said about the 2012 Bonalgue, “This excellent blend of 90% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Franc is always one of the best value wines of Pomerol, thanks to the leadership and vision of proprietor Pierre Bourrotte. Deep ruby/plum/purple, with loads of mulberry and black cherry fruit, soft tannins, medium body and excellent concentration, this is a plump, mouthfilling Pomerol that lacks complexity, but offers generosity and loads of fruit. Drink it over the next 10-15 years.” 13.5% ABV

Reg. $39.98
buy 2012 Chateau Bonalgue Pomerol 750ML


2010 Chateau Bonalgue Pomerol

Another great Pomerol vintage, another rock-solid Bonalgue. This has a little more grip than its two older bottlings, just as we feel the 2009 needs a little time to gain in complexity, we would advise the same for the 2010. Patience is a virtue and with the 2010 Château Bonalgue, it will serve you well. If you are planning on opening either the 2009 or 2010 any time soon, we strongly recommend you decant them for 60-120 minutes before serving. Again, from Señor Parker, “A delicious wine from proprietors Pierre and Jean-Baptiste Bourotte, this frequent sleeper of the vintage is a blend of 95% Merlot and 5% Cabernet Franc. Like its older siblings, the 2010 offers loads of tasty mulberry and black cherry fruit and medium to full-bodied texture, It does not have the greatest complexity, but the 2010 Bonalgue is satisfying and charming. Drink it over the next decade.” 14.5% ABV

Reg. $39.98
buy 2010 Chateau Bonalgue Pomerol 750ML

 


2009 Chateau Bonalgue Pomerol
Part II of the dynamic duo of great back to back vintages, the 2009 has dense, purple fruit and a solid mineral expression. It has gained in intensity since bottling, and we feel it needs another 4-5 years before it begins revealing further complexity. That being said, here are Mr. Parker’s notes, “Another sleeper of the vintage from this very consistent estate that always seems to over-achieve no matter what the vintage conditions, big ripe black cherry and mocha notes intermixed with some forest floor and underbrush jump from the glass of this seductive, dense, full-bodied, fleshy fruit bomb from Pomerol. It is rich, pure, and just irresistible. Drink it over the next 7-8 years.” 14% ABV

Reg. $49.98
buy 2009 Chateau Bonalgue Pomerol 750ML


2008 Chateau Bonalgue Pomerol
Another great vintage in Pomerol. Most of Bordeaux needed an Indian Summer to save the vintage, which luckily occurred; but Pomerol was going to be good regardless. The Indian Summer made it great. From Parker, “Bonalgue’s 2008 is a sleeper of the vintage. Its deep ruby/purple color is accompanied by sweet black cherry and plum-like fruit, a fleshy texture, and a heady, long finish with ripe tannin and good freshness. It is a pretty wine for drinkers, not speculators.” 13.5% ABV

Reg. $38.98
buy 2008 Chateau Bonalgue Pomerol 750ML

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Filed under 2008 Bordeaux, 2009 Bordeaux, 2010 Bordeaux, 2012 Bordeaux, Peter Zavialoff, Pomerol

When Robert Parker Retired From En Primeurs


Shortly before the wine world descended upon Bordeaux in the spring of 2015, The Wine Advocate himself, Robert Parker, announced that he would be retiring from traveling to Bordeaux each spring to attend the En Primeur tastings. He also announced that he had chosen longtime Wine Journal blogger and TWA contributor Neal Martin to replace him each spring in Bordeaux. We applauded this decision as here at TWH we have a great amount of respect for Mr. Martin, his professionalism, and his integrity.

With that news in the air just a few days prior to my landing at Merignac, you can imagine all the questions. “What do you think about Ro-Bear Par-Care’s retirement?” “Do Americans trust Neal Martin?” “How will this impact Americans’ perception of Bordeaux?” Those were just a few. The most poignant conversation I had about it came at lunch somewhere in the middle of the crazy week of Primeurs. After fending off the familiar string of questions, I got this one, “Who will replace Parker in the eyes of Americans now that he has retired?” Hmmm. That’s a good one. The answer was simply, “No one.”

Parker had excellent timing. In the late 1970’s, he was a lawyer who greatly admired consumer advocate Ralph Nader. He had a taste for French wine and arrived on the scene when NO ONE was serving the consumer in regard to the quality of the wines from Bordeaux being offered as futures. The rest is history and that ship has sailed. Anyone thinking that they can be “The next Robert Parker” needs to come to grip with some key facts, as in time does not stand still, and we evolve. Parker doesn’t need replacing. His legacy leaves us all with an improved ability to articulate what we sense when tasting, and more importantly, most Bordeaux producers are now making much better wine than they did prior to Parker’s arrival on the scene. It’s up to professionals across the board, especially those of us who come into direct contact with consumers. Sommeliers and retailers can provide some of the best direction because we forge relationships with our clientele, and in knowing an individual’s likes and dislikes, can provide better advice than the often-misused 100 point scale.

 

Of course, in addition to Parker’s legacy, which played a role in this, is the fact that American wine consumers are more experienced, more knowledgeable, and more trusting in their own perceptions than to blindly trade their money for Parker points (or anyone’s points for that matter) anymore. Just like anything else, there will be people new to the arena, and especially with wine, lack of experience can be very intimidating. We remind those new to wine that it is a beverage created to promote joy and to complement our meals. We encourage new wine drinkers to stay within their budgets and discover their likes and dislikes. What any wine critic/advisor has to say about a wine that you like means nothing. You like it, that’s all that matters. In fact, if you like a wine and a critic publishes something negative about it, you win, as the wine is more likely to be available and not in danger of going up in price.

The American wine consumer has come a long way in the past 40 years. Regardless of any personal feelings or biases, Robert Parker deserves a great amount of recognition for his contribution to that. In this technological age of blogs, apps, and social media, it seems there will always be a forum for anyone to express their perception of what they taste. Professional bloggers and wine journalists will continue to publish tasting notes, for a price. They work very hard, and their experience and knowledge of the subject is well recognized. Many Americans, ourselves included, listen to some of the more objective tasting notes from these folks, yet we tend to treat them more as advice rather than gospel. And that is a sure sign that American wine consumers are more sophisticated than we were 40 years ago. It is yet another rite of passage; just like leaving home, finishing school, and going out into the world, we’re now on our own. I am grateful to Mr. Parker for his legacy as a consumer advocate, and I am also grateful for his decision to retire and leave the rest to us. Again, “Who will replace Robert Parker in the eyes of Americans?” No one. Peter Zavialoff

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Filed under Bordeaux, Peter Zavialoff

2014 Cotes de Provence – Domaine des Aspras Les Trois Freres


Wow; how did it get to be July already??!! Having just endured most of what it takes to work through a Bordeaux En Primeurs campaign from the importer/retailer side, it’s easy to lose track of time. Just a reminder, we have plenty of 2015 Bordeaux futures available, please see our website or feel free to contact us should you have any questions about Bordeaux futures. Apart from that, with the long holiday weekend upon us, there’s plenty to do. Several customers have asked about my plans for the long weekend. I’m sticking around; as simple as that! Since I got back from Bordeaux, I’ve been crazy busy … oh yeah, somewhere in the middle of all that I moved too. This will be the first year in a long time that I won’t have the annual 4th of July parade pass my driveway, but I’m planning to catch a glimpse of it while hiking high above it! My plan for the 4th is to eat well, exercise, enjoy the company of some good friends, and share some nice wine. Some grilled steaks and boy-oh-boy, have I found the wine!


I was tasting through some samples the other day when I pulled the cork on a fairly new acquisition: the 2014 Domaine des Aspras Les Trois Frères Côtes de Provence. Domaine des Aspras? Oh yeah, they’re another new grower that David found while attending a tasting in Chicago many months ago. He liked the wines. They shipped some samples to us. We liked the wines. We bought the wines, and now they’re here!

The story is a soulful one. Driven from Germany in the 1930’s, Gottfried and Lisa Latz sought refuge in Congo until its independence suddenly sent them back to Europe in the early 1960’s, and to Domaine des Aspras. With no winemaking experience for either of them, Gottfried and Lisa’s passion, patience, and perserverence guided the way. In 1995, Gottfried and Lisa’s son, Michael, an agricultural engineer, began managing the property. Nowadays, Michael runs the property with his wife, Anne, and their three sons, Raphael, Sébastien, and Alexandre.


The property consists of 25 hectares of vines grown in clay-limestone soils. Surrounded by limestone hills, the region has enjoyed a reputation for producing excellent wine that goes back to the 13th century. The property gets its name from the Latin, asper-apera, or rough and rocky. The village of Correns sits in the middle of Provence, and since 1996, has been the first French vinous village in which all the farmers have chosen to farm organically. Their Les Trois Frères Rouge is a Syrah based blend with 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. Les Trois Frères means the three brothers and is named for Raphael, Sébastien, and Alexandre. The three of them represent the third generation of Latz’s running Domaine Aspras, and they adhere to the family philosophy of caring for their land and making the best wines possible from their holdings in the Côtes de Provence.

The 2014 Les Trois Frères is an aromatic beauty. The first whiff reminded my of a Minervois we used to carry. Their wines were Syrah dominated blends and I used to love the savory aromas of forest floor and tobacco. This has a hint of that forest floor for sure, but the tangy red fruit pops out and there is a hint of orange bitters on the nose. There is oak influence both in the bouquet and on the palate, though it dissipates over time. The palate is medium bodied and very lively. I salivate thinking of the food that would go with this wine. The finish is fresh and balanced and that pleasant little pinch of bitterness (much like Diane Puymorin’s wines) caps it all off. This wine speaks of a place. It has a certain rusticity which I chalk up to terroir. The tannins are present, yet they’re fine and integrated. This is a great food wine, I’m going to need more than one bottle for the long weekend!

Yes, long weekend. It’s going to be great. I’m looking forward to some R & R. Whatever it is that you do, from all of us here at TWH, we wish you a safe, happy, and healthy Independence Day Weekend!Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about long weekends, Côtes de Provence wines, 2015 Bordeaux Futures, or European Football: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under Barbecue Wine, Cotes de Provence, Peter Zavialoff, Provence, Syrah

A Taste Of Burgundy – June 2016


A Taste Of Burgundy

TOB-BANNER Basic Facts for those of you who are new to the program: Every two months we select two Burgundies, one red and one white. We include write-ups detailing the background of the grower, the vineyard source, and the wine. Finally we knock a significant percentage off the prices of the wines, making the Sampler price $89.98. If you would like us to add you to the Sampler Club and receive the wines regularly, please notify us in the comments field, and we will charge your card accordingly. If you would like us to ship faster than the standard ground service, please specify this as well.

 

2014 Mâcon-Verzé, Domaine Leflaive

Domaine Leflaive needs no introduction. Their array of wines are some of white Burgundy’s most prized, highly allocated wines the world over. We can say with certainty that no wine from Leflaive has ever been in our Taste of Burgundy sampler. Legendary for their Grand Cru and Premier Cru holdings in and around Puligny-Montrachet, the domaine purchased nearly 10 hectares in Mâcon-Verzé a little over a decade ago. The late Anne-Claude Leflaive was a pioneer in biodynamic viticulture, and régisseur, Eric Remy continues to implement the techniques in the vineyards. The wines gain in precision and expression of terroir. The 2014 vintage for Burgundy’s white wines was fantastic. The 2014 Leflaive Mâcon-Verzé is rich and complex. Aromas of pears and citrus are framed by a speck of spice and apple pie. The palate is bright and pleasant with hints of minerals and the orchard fruit. There’s plenty going on here, but that’s what you get from anything with the vaunted Leflaive name on it. Drink 2017-2026.
*NOTE: This wine is allocated – meaning that after distribution to club members, a very small quantity will be left over for further purchases. After it sells out, we will be happy to substitute a wine of equal or greater value.

2014 Volnay 1er Cru Les Aussy, Domaine Michel Bouzereau

Allen Meadows of Burghound states that, “It is rare when almost every wine in a given domaine’s range outperforms for its level … It is even rarer when it happens again the next year but this is again what happened in 2014,” at Domaine Michel Bouzereau. The 2014 vintage got off to a smooth start with a warm, dry spring. Things changed in late June, as a hailstorm hit the Côtes de Beaune for the third year in a row, damaging vines in Volnay and Pommard. Jean-Baptiste Bouzereau said that he and his team “worked as hard as they ever have” to produce such a pure, gorgeous, penetrating Volnay that showcases the silver lining of having warm, dry weather that led up to the light, yet easy harvest. The wine has sturdy structure and reveals wonderful wild cherry and berry aromas. Jean-Baptiste made just 3 barrels of his Volnay in 2014, with one barrel being new. That’s 75 cases for the world. Bouzereau went on to say that, “I like the 2014’s, and I’d gladly make wines like these every year.” This will be best from 2019-2030. – Peter Zavialoff

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Filed under A Taste of Burgundy, Burgundy, Burgundy club in San Francisco, Chardonnay, Macon, Peter Zavialoff, Pinot Noir, Volnay, Wine Clubs/Samplers

$30 Pomerol – Who Dropped The Mic?


2012 Chateau Mazeyres, Pomerol

It’s almost over … What, basketball season? Yeah, well that too; but I’m talking about the release of Bordeaux futures, of course. Prices have been released little by little since I returned from the region in April, and after a one week pause during Vinexpo in Hong Kong, they have now become fast and frenzied. With a nine hour time difference, David has been sleeping with one eye open to be certain we get our proper allocations of some of Bordeaux’s hard to get wines from 2015. With less than a dozen of famous names left to release, we anticipate the campaign will conclude next week. I am working as fast as I can to get these wines priced and entered onto our website in order for you all to be able to secure your allocations, as some of the 2015s are fantastic examples of how good red Bordeaux can get in a very good vintage. We will send out a few more emails about the 2015 futures in the coming days, but tonight I want to talk about a quality Bordeaux already in bottle. Let’s have a look at the 2012 Chateau Mazeyres from Pomerol.

I begin with a disclosure, I am a Bordeaux consumer. Coincidentally, I am employed by a wine importer/distributor/retailer who happens to represent Bordeaux among others, but I am a consumer before anything else. Just this past week, I fell prey to a different merchant’s Bordeaux offer. I bought 10 bottles of red Bordeaux because I can’t help myself. I don’t do it often, as I can usually get anything I want right here, but when I saw what I know as quality red Bordeaux for the right price, I bought it. I had to. The same goes when we were perusing a supplier’s price list a few months ago. In April 2015, Robert Parker re-tasted the 2012 vintage after bottling and raised quite a ruckus by stating that the vintage was showing much better than he originally thought. He called out the wines from Pomerol in particular. When something like that happens, the wines sell. Especially the affordable ones. So I was quite surprised when I saw the 2012 Château Mazeyres from Pomerol on this list, knowing that we could sell it for just under $30. Thinking it a misprint, I sent the supplier an inquiry rather than an order. They responded that they indeed had 9.5 cases left. Not anymore. We have them now. Not for long.

Château Mazeyres is the westernmost château in Pomerol sitting just on the Libourne city limit. It has been managed by Alain Moueix since 1992, and the quality of Mazeyres has risen consistently under his watch. My first contact with Mazeyres was in April 2011 while in Bordeaux tasting the 2010 barrel samples. 2010 was a monster of a vintage and I must say my palate was pretty beat up by the time the tastings concluded. It was during one of my bouts with palate fatigue when a negociant with whom I am friendly noticed my struggle. He poured a taste of the 2010 Mazeyres and walked over to me. “Taste this one, it may cheer you up.” It did. What I loved about it was its liveliness and its elegance. It made sense; this gent is English, and the wine very well suited for the English palate. I was just relieved that it wasn’t over the top as oh so many 2010 barrel samples were. I carry the memory to this day, and when we saw the price and availability of the 2012, we jumped. Again, it’s frustrating to wait for wines like this to arrive, because we want you to be able to taste them too! The good news is that it is now here for us to enjoy.

The aromas are sensational. Briary, plump, purple Merlot fruit and incense waft from the glass with layers of crunchy berries and herbs. The palate is fresh and invigorating. It is medium bodied, light on its feet, and gives a well-integrated, complex tasting experience. I popped a bottle and shared it with Anya and Tom earlier and they both loved it. Citing its “completeness,” it went over extremely well as we all welcomed the very adult profile of this Pomerol.

The Wine Advocate’s Neal Martin had this to say about the 2012 Château Mazeyres, “Tasted twice with consistent notes, Alain Moueix has fashioned just a beautiful, floral, almost Margaux-like bouquet that I think will be special once in bottle. The palate is medium-bodied with fleshy ripe tannins, wonderful acidity and a satin-textured finish that boasts superb fruit concentration and elegance at this early stage. This is a great wine from an under-rated estate.” So yes, we don’t expect this to be around very long.

It’s almost over. The Bordeaux futures campaign, that is. My email inbox is full every morning with offers for the newly priced 2015’s and from customer looking to secure allocations of them. The phones are ringing off the hook as well. As I said, I am working as fast as I can to get these wines priced and onto our website. Most of them are, but there will be more to come this week. Please feel free to contact me should you have any questions about anything relating to 2015 Bordeaux futures. The 2015’s will arrive sometime in 2018. The 2012 Château Mazeyres is here now; but not for long!Peter Zavialoff

PS: To all the Dads out there, Happy Fathers’ Day!

Please feel free to contact me with any questions or comments about Bordeaux, 2015 futures, or the Euro 2016 tournament: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under 2012 Bordeaux, Peter Zavialoff

Smoky Rhone Goodness – 2011 Domaine Fondreche Ventoux Fayard



Whew! Who knew? Put some Burgundy on sale, and things get hopping! Or as one customer who came in today said, “Burgundy sales are the only way mere mortals can buy and enjoy the stuff.” True, true. When we introduced this little surprise sale, we did mention that it was more than just Burgundy, and many of you found some other goodies by clicking around our website. On the heels of my recent blurb about affordable reds, I just kicked the proverbial rock and uncovered another beauty, and IT’S ON SALE for $9.95 per bottle: the 2011 Domaine Fondrèche Fayard!



On the heels indeed, of my recent write-up and Anya’s recent post about the 2013 Ventoux Rouge. I hesitated for a moment to put fingers to keyboard about this wine thinking it too similar to these two recent posts, but no, it’s a different wine; for sure. This baby has been getting some nice beauty rest and is in a fine place to treat our taste buds this summer! When I first approached the bottle to pour myself a taste, I brought some expectations. As Anya mentioned about the 2013, it needed air. We have always enjoyed Sébastien Vincenti’s wines over the years, but we know that his wines tend to be in need of oxygen when they’re young. That’s just how he rolls; we decant the wines, and they’re great. I remember tasting the 2011 Fayard when it was young. It was dense and jammy; the fruit was in the forefront and it was a challenge to perceive the overall framework of the wine because of it. Time has been kind to this wine. With those expectations in the back of my mind, I looked; I swirled. I reached for the light switch as I wanted to closely examine the color – it had changed. It’s not bricking or anything, but it has grown deeper in the maroon department and away from the magenta/purple hue it shined in its youth. A positive sign of a little age. I sniffed. Whoa. Tar, earth, there’s fruit, but it’s more mature, less jammy and more in line with the complex notes that one perceives now that it’s not so fruit forward. On the palate, it has a medium bodied mouth feel. It’s bright, the acidity is very much alive, and the fruit is smoky leading me to check the percentage of Syrah in the blend: 30%. It’s half Grenache, 30% Syrah, and the rest equal parts Carignan and Mourvèdre. Did I mention it was 10 bucks? If I sat down in a nice restaurant and they poured me a glass of this wine for 10 bucks I would be doing backflips, not to mention I would return again and again for more. I know that I grabbed a case of that 2010 Tradicional to keep my new apartment stocked with an underpriced delicious red, but I’ve got to have a case of this too! If you like southern Rhône Valley reds with smoky, Syrah character and a little bit of bottle bouquet, don’t walk, run to this one.


As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, we had a busy week. In the timing department, along with the sale, the week was marked by the release of the 2015 prices for some of Bordeaux’s marquis names. David has been staying up in the middle of the night as these prices are released, making sure that our allocations are confirmed. I’ve been trying my best to get all of these purchases into our system and website, and you will soon see more offers for 2015 Bordeaux futures. This week promises to be chock full of even more releases as the campaign is soon to reach its pinnacle. So please keep an eye out for that. In the meantime, this latest little sale of ours continues, and hits like the 2011 Fondrèche Ventoux Fayard keep coming. Talk about pleasant surprises!Peter Zavialoff

Please feel free to email me with any questions or comments about 2015 Bordeaux futures, our sale, the 2011 Fayard, or the state of English Football: peter@wineSF.com

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Filed under Barbecue Wine, Cotes du Ventoux, Grenache, Peter Zavialoff, Rhone Valley, Syrah, Ventoux

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