Tag Archives: bargain wine case

The August 2017 Dirty Dozen Wine Club

The month of August is about as summer as summer gets! 31 days, no national holidays, okay, maybe a solar eclipse this year, and sure, there is always the Perseid meteor shower, but celestial shows are always better viewed away from cities – perhaps while camping? Why not? Well, however you spend your August, we’ve got your wine needs in this here box. 12 bottles, all different, all chosen for their versatility, for one low price. The August Dirty Dozen!

2015 Muscadet, Domaine Des 3 Versants $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Located in the village of La Févrie, on the banks of the Sevre River, this 4th generation family owned estate makes textbook Muscadet. Handpicked grapes are vinified in tank and left on the lees (sur lie) through the winter before bottling. Super crisp with a tonic attack, try it with raw oysters (the perfect pairing) or with a main course salad.

2016 Bianco, Isola Del Satiro $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
This is an appealing blend of Catarrato, a native Sicilian grape, and Grecanico, aka Garganega, the grape most commonly used for making Soave. Produced by Alcesti whose vineyards stretch over 30 hectares south of Marsala on Sicily’s west coast. Youthful, with vigorous notes of yellow fruit, pair with Arancini, grilled swordfish or stuffed squid.

2016 Sauvignon Blanc, Clifford Bay $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
In the heat of summer, a vibrant, grassy, sassy Sauvignon Blanc will often hit the spot. This Sauvignon Blanc is made with grapes grown in New Zealand’s Marlborough region, and they claim to have approximately 2400 hours of sunshine per year. The sunny, dry climate ensures full ripening of the grapes. Anything with goat cheese pairs beautifully here.

2016 Rosé Les Cimels, Château d’Or et de Gueules $14.59, $11.67 reorder
Fresh off the boat, and the first of our sextet of 2016 French Rosés to be included in The Dirty Dozen, the Les Cimels Rosé is a lively, dry offering. Made in the Provenç:al style, blending 40% Mourvèdre and 40% Cinsault (with equal parts Syrah and Grenache), one sip can whisk you away to the pebbly shores of France’s Mediterranean coast. Serve it with a bowl o’mussels.

2015 Entre-Deux-Mers Blanc, Château Ferran $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Another 4 grape blend here, (40% Sauvignon Blanc, 40% Sémillon, 10% Muscadelle, 10% Sauvignon Gris) this white Bordeaux is all about great value! All tank fermented, one swirl and sniff results in clean, fresh aromas of acacia and citrus blossoms. The palate opens up to flavors of apricots and peaches and it finishes crisp and complex. Petrale Sole will work well with this wine.

2015 Bourgogne Aligoté, Domaine Verret $14.49, $11.59 reorder
Brand new among our roster of French imports, Domaine Verret is located in the Yonne department of Burgundy. Southwest of Chablis and southeast of the city of Auxerre, it’s a hidden corner of Burgundy. This Aligot´ makes for a perfect apèritif white. Notes of straw and leesy white fruit greet you aromatically and the palate is round with a fruity core. Crabcakes anybody?

2012 BioNoir, Tinhof $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder
Organically grown Zweigelt, Blaufränkisch, and St. Laurent are blended together to create a soft-tannin red that exudes aromas of red cherry and violet notes. Erwin Tinhof owns thirty five acres of vineyards in the northern part of Austria’s Burgenland region. Serve at a cool cellar temperature, so chill it if you need to – serve with pork & veggie brochettes.

2015 Rosso Conero, Marchetti $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Maurizio Marchetti is masterful with the Montepulciano grape. His entry-level Rosso Conero, the Castro di San Silvestro, over delivers for price, vintage to vintage. Aged in old Slavonian oak barrels for 14 months, this wine combines power with finesse. Brambly blackberry flavors are front and center. A smart choice for humble cuts of beef.

2015 Red Blend, Jordanov $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Winemaking in the landlocked Macedonian Republic can be traced back centuries. The Jordanov family makes wine from both indigenous and international varieties at their winery in Tikves. The Red Blend is a third each Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Vranec, a black-skinned grape native to the Balkans. Enjoy with cevapcici or sausages.

2014 Côtes de Provence Les Trois Frères, Domaine des Aspras $17.59, $14.07 reorder
“I like my red wines earthy and fuller bodied.” Say that to any of us, and we’ll put a bottle of the 2014 Les Trois Frères in your hands. 90% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon; the farming is all organic here, and the wine dark and brooding with that dominant earthy aroma. It’s the perfect wine for those grilled steaks and truffled mashed potatoes.

2013 Agrippa, Grange des Rouquette $17.59, $14.07 reorder
The southern Rhône Valley’s dominant red grape has to be Grenache, though there is a healthy dose of Syrah growing there which is used in blends. So a 100% Syrah from the southern Rhône is a bit of an anomaly, though Thierry Boudinaud happily makes his Agrippa when the conditions are perfect. Pour it with a smoked brisket.

2015 Chianti Montalbano, Pierazzuoli $13.49, $10.79 reorder
And rounding out this month’s DD is our pal, Enrico Pierazzuoli’s 2015 Chianti Montalbano. When he was here back in February, Enrico regaled us with tales of the challenges of the 2014 vintage, though he was happy with the end result. His take on the 2015? “We could have just stayed at the beach.” Conditions were THAT good. A perfect spaghetti red.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Dirty Dozen, Wine Clubs/Samplers

The June 2017 Dirty Dozen


It’s June and that means summer is almost here! The kids are our of school, Fathers’ Day is almost here, and the summer solstice is right around the corner. For these exciting times, it’s always a great idea to have some solid, versatile wine at the ready, ’cause one never knows just what may arise. The June Dirty Dozen features 12 bottles, all chosen for their versatility and quality, packed in one box, ready for you to enjoy. Cheers!

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

2016 Rosé, Balancing Act $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder

Only 400 cases were made of this charming Washington State Cabernet Franc Rosé. The pale apricot color hints at the delicate melon and strawberry fruit. At only 12% alcohol, this Rosé has a light and easy palate feel. Perfect on a hot summer evening while dining alfresco. Food pairing options here are vast, though a big garden salad would be nice!

2014 Erbaluce di Caluso, Giacometto $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder

Erbaluce is an Italian white grape variety that has high levels of natural acidity and is grown mainly in northern Piedmont. The estate of Bruno Giacometto is located in the commune of Caluso, about 30 kilometers northeast of Turin. Super refreshing and full of vigor, this wine is ideally suited for raw seafood, especially oysters on the half shell.

2014 Devon Riesling, Richard Böking $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder

This dry/off-dry Riesling is a blend of fruit grown from the winery’s top 5 steep-slope vineyards that don’t end up in their single-vineyard bottlings. The grapes are picked early to retain freshness and minerality. Classic juicy notes of green apple and minty herbs finish tart and tangy. Serve with Korean fried chicken, Thai curries or a pan-fried pork chop.

2015 Gavi di Gavi Rovereto, Ernesto Picollo $15.49, $12.39 reorder

Made from 100% Cortese, Gianlorenzo Picollo ferments and raises this Gavi di Gavi in all stainless steel tank. This gives the wine its freshness and clean expression. Quality-wise, you’ll be hard pressed to find a white wine close to this price. Gavi di Gavi is the wine of choice on the Italian Riviera, so feel free to pop it with your mussels or shrimp scampi.

2015 Côtes du Rhône Blanc, Tour de l’Isle $14.99, $11.99 reorder

Whaddya get when you blend fairly equal parts Rousanne, Marsanne, Clairette, and Grenache Blanc? To Robert Rocchi, proprietor of Tour de l’Isle, you get a delectable, balanced white wine that’s long on character and short on price. With summer on the immediate horizon, this is a great go-to white for those warm evenings. Serve it with seared scallops.

NV Vouvray Brut, Domaine d’Orfeuilles $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder

Speaking of outstanding values – the Vouvray Brut from Domaine d’Orfeuilles has to be our favorite budget sparkler with its Granny Smith Apple-like fruit and dusty minerality. Anya swears that it is the only sparkling wine that she can drink and not wish that it was Champagne. Sparkling wine pairs particularly great with salty foods like fried chicken.

2016 Barbera d’Asti, Il Falchetto $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder

This is some Barbera d’Asti! Here you will find red cherry fruit buoyed by Barbera’s telltale acid freshness and soft tannins. It’s essentially a single-vineyard bottling from the commune of Agliano Terme called Pian Scorrone. The bottles have a unique dimple under the back label, but don’t fret, this wine is perfect for a bowl of olives, a fresh baguette, and a salumi platter.

2015 Blaufränker, Pneisl 1L $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder

Sisters Birgit and Katrin make this dynamite Blaufrankisch from their family’s estate in Austria. Just across the border in Hungary, they also make wine from their ancestral vineyards. This versatile red is fruity and dry with notes of cherry and rose petal. It comes in a screwcap liter-sized bottle, so there is more to enjoy! Serve at cellar temp to retain vibrancy.

2013 Dão Reserva, Porta dos Templarios $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder

This is a sturdy, fruit-driven Portugese red made from a blend of three grapes, Touriga Nacional, Tinto Roriz and Jaen. The overall quality of wines being imported from Portugal has improved dramatically over the past decade. If you are looking to find quality and bang for your buck, its time to explore this wine region. Match it up with chorizo or merguez.

2013 Syrah/Grenache, Grange des Rouquette $10.99, $8.79 reorder

No fuss, no muss – TWH pal Thierry Boudinaud blends tank-fermented Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvèdre for his Grange des Rouquette red. Its round purple fruit flavors and aromas are easy to like and its price point makes it easy to stock up on. No need to overthink any pairing ideas – it’s great on its own, or will suit burgers, pizza, or pasta perfectly.

2015 Barco Reale di Carmignano, Le Farnete $14.59, $11.67 reorder

Speaking of pasta-pairing wines, this spaghetti red made by another TWH pal, Enrico Pierazzuoli, is just the kind of wine you get if you stop somewhere in the Tuscan countryside and order a bicchiere di vino rosso. Made from 80% Sangiovese and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, the Barco Reale gets a touch of new barrel treatment which gives it its complex character.

2014 Château Couronneau Bordeaux Supérieur $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder

Winemaker Christophe Piat is fully on the biodynamic train these days with a handful of vintages under his belt. Say what you want, but we’ve noticed a big difference in the expression of his wines of late – as in, they’re explosive! The purity of fruit combined with the sense of place makes this an ideal bottle to open with a juicy, sizzling porterhouse.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Dirty Dozen, Wine Clubs/Samplers

The May 2017 Dirty Dozen



The Dirty Dozen


And they’re off! The Kentucky Derby may be around the corner, but the month of May is chock-full of festive spring days, such as a day for all you Moms out there, as well as that unofficial start of summer known as Memorial Day Weekend! With all of the good that May brings us, it’s good to have a stash of quality, versatile wine at the ready. Picnics, barbecues, brunch with Mom, or a long weekend at the cabin? The DD has you covered!

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

2014 Chardonnay, Ramsay $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder
Kent Rasmussen’s winery began over thirty years ago out of his garage. Today, Kent has a modern facility in southern Napa. Ramsay is a companion label that focuses on combining quality with affordability. This well-balanced Chardonnay is full, without question, but stays fresh and lively on the palate. Serve it up with some buttermilk fried chicken sandos.

2015 Vermentino, Federici $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
The Ligurian coastline is known as the Italian Riviera. Not far from the Tuscan border, in an area famous for Carrara marble quarries, is where you will find Cantine Federici. Vermentino is the dominant white grape variety, producing mineral-driven, floral, crisp wines. A tiny bit of Albarola is blended in too. Try with basil pesto pasta or use other herbs.

2015 Arinto, Dom Diogo $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Quinta da Raza is a family estate established in 1769 in the Vinho Verde region of Portugal. Their soil is unique for the region because it is granitic with bits of clay and schiste – ideal conditions for producing crisp, vibrant whites. Arinto is known for its citrus expression: so think lemon and grapefruit. Thirst quenching and delicious, serve it with asparagus.

2014 Château Couronneau Blanc $11.95 sale price, $11.35 reorder
A recent article featured in The Wine Advocate sings the praises of the 2014 vintage for white Bordeaux. Neal Martin goes on the record by stating, “Much is sold for bargain prices compared to other French wine regions.” Biodynamically farmed Couronneau is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris. Serve it with spring salads with goat cheese.


2015 Viognier, Grange des Rouquette $10.99, $8.79 reorder
It says Viognier, though 15% Marsanne is blended in, giving this user-friendly white added complexity and richness. It’s all tank fermented, allowing the clean, fruity/blossomy aromas to pop. On the palate, it’s light to medium bodied and has a crisp finish. You can serve this as an aperitif or as a versatile house white, as it pairs well with poultry or seafood.


2015 Rosé Les Cimels, Château d’Or et de Gueules $9.95 sale price, $9.45 reorder
For many of us, Rosé is appropriate to drink all year long; for others, it is a seasonal beverage. Well, if it is indeed a seasonal wine, the season has begun! Sure, there’s a particular satisfaction one gets sipping on a glass of Rosé on a warm afternoon or evening. This Rosé has just the right amount of fruity goodness to get you pouring that second glass.


2012 Zio Paolo, Vino Lauria $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
This 100% Nero d’Avola was fermented in stainless steel tanks before bottling. The grapes were grown organically around Alcamo in western Sicily half way between Trapani and Palermo. Here the soil is rich in clay and limestone and the climate arid. Try this simple, friendly red with eggplant and tomato-based dishes like Moussaka or Parmigiana.


2013 Pinot Noir, Praxis $13.95 sale price, $13.25 reorder
Bill Arbios is a veteran winemaker with over forty years of winemaking under his belt. His 2013 Praxis Pinot Noir is made from grapes grown just west of the town of Sonoma, not far from Carneros, yet still within the Sonoma Coast AVA. It is medium-bodied with earthy flavors of cherry and soft plum, accented by spice notes. Pair with lamb riblets or chops.


2014 Estate Red, Christopher Michael $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
The Harm brothers are the masterminds behind Oregon’s Underwood wines. They teamed up again to tackle Washington State grapes. This red blend is predominantly Syrah, with additions of Barbera, Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot, Malbec and Grenache. Juicy, soft tannins combine with plum and red currant fruit – perfect with flank, flap or skirt steak.

2015 Fronton On l’Appelle Negrette, Vignobles Arbeau $12.59, $10.07 reorder
The last couple of DD’s featured a couple of wines sourced from the Fronton region near the French city of Toulouse. This semi-remote viticultural area is the home of the Negrette grape. This is 100% Negrette. The aromas are bright and fruity, with hints of herbs and forest floor. The palate is light in body, making this a fine red option for rotisserie chicken.


2012 Château Les Gabriaux, Médoc $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Who says Bordeaux wines are expensive? Certainly, the 60 or so most famous wines from the region can command a king’s ransom, but what about the other 7,000? Of course, one must be on their toes, keeping an eye out for quality among the less expensive wines. That’s how we found the Les Gabriaux. It’s inexpensive and delicious. Serve up some Prime Rib here.


2013 Cabernet Sauvignon, Ca’ Lojera $15.99, $12.79 reorder
You may know Ambra and Franco Tiraboschi’s Ca’ Lojera by their terrific Lugana white wines made from the Turbiana grape, but here’s a sample of their 100% Cabernet Sauvignon grown near Lake Garda in Italy. It’s expressive and layered, kind of a throwback to those California Cabs of yore with their brambly berry fruit and hints of mint.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Dirty Dozen, Wine Clubs/Samplers

The February 2017 Dirty Dozen


The Febuary 2017 Dirty Dozen

Okay, Punxsutawney Phil saw his shadow this year, so six more weeks of winter are in store for us; if you believe those kind of things. With the winter weather still present, hearty meals abound in our kitchens … and most likely, your kitchen too! For February this year, we’ve chosen another Dirty Dozen which provides versatility, though this month’s sampler is big on wines that will suit those hearty, comfort foods.

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

2015 Pinot Grigio, Riff $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
This is the 9th vintage of Riff that TWH has carried. At Riff, the famed winemaker Alois Lageder pulls together quality growers from the slopes of the Dolomites to produce a top-notch Pinot Grigio for a song. It is crisp and snappy, with bright citrusy flavors. Try this perky Pinot Grigio with a lemony kale Caesar salad or Sole Meunier.

2015 Verdejo Rueda, Viña Oropéndola $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Northwest of the Spanish capitol of Madrid lies the Rueda appellation. Here the white grape, Verdejo, reins queen. Verdejo is known for making dry yet aromatic wine. This one comes from vines that range in age from 40-120 years old. Where else other than Spain can you get old-vine goodness for such a price? Serve with Pollo con Arroz or veggie pasta.

NV Manzanilla Sherry 375ml, Barbiana $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
In our continuing effort to bring exciting new wine experiences to the Dirty Dozen, this month we’ve included Sherry for the first time. Manzanilla is a Fino sherry that is produced and aged within the town of Sanlúcar de Barremeda. It is bone-dry, salty with notes of almond and citrus, and has firm acidity. Try with fried or grilled seafood and cured meats.

2015 Pinot Auxerrois Val St. Gregoire, Domaine Saint-Rémy $18.99, $15.19 reorder
Pinot Auxerrois is a different variety than Pinot Blanc, though in Alsace, it may be bottled and still legally be labeled Pinot Blanc. Confusing? Sure. Important? Maybe to some. What’s it like? Well, it’s dry, it shows aromas of apricots and white peaches, and has a fleshy medium body. It’s a great wine to pop if you feel you may be in a white wine rut.


2015 Ugni Blanc Blend Les Tours, Domaine la Hitaire $10.99, $8.79 reorder
Essentially a typical Gascogne blend of Ugni Blanc (65%), Colombard (30%), and Gros Manseng (5%), the Les Tours has enjoyed a loyal following at TWH for over a decade! What’s not to like? It’s fresh. It’s crisp. It delivers a kiss of honey somewhere on the mid-palate, which disappears as the finish dries out. Extremely versatile, serve with a smile.


2015 Entre-Deux-Mers, Château Ferran $10.99, $8.79 reorder
We continue to hear more and more about wines from Bordeaux’s somewhat overlooked “between two rivers” appellation. Their quality has improved greatly in past decades, and their price tags make many of them screaming bargains. The Château Ferran is a typical white Bordeaux blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon, and Muscadelle. Seafood works great.


2014 Petit Siós, Costers del Sió $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
The appellation Costers del Sió is Catalonia’s most inland region. This region is harsh. It’s semi-arid with extreme temperature variation. And yet it can produce charming wines like this blend of Tempranillo, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon, offering up fresh berry flavors wrapped in smooth, firm tannins. Pair with slow cooked one-pot wonders.


2013 Montepulciano d’Abruzzo, Tiberio $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
Tiberio is run by brother and sister, Antonio and Cristiana. In 2008 they took over the estate from their father and by 2013 were named “one of Italy’s Rising Stars” by Decanter magazine. Their old-vine Montepulciano grapes are vinified and aged in stainless steel tanks, creating a pure expression of the grape. Bold and spicy, serve with roast meats.


2015 Pinot Noir, Underwood $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Underwood Pinot Noir is a staple at TWH because even at this price point they consistently deliver quality. The key is they leave the fruit alone and allow it to shine through. Expect bright flavors of red cherry, subtle notes of dried herbs and soft structured tannins. Nothing complicated here, just darn good wine. Match up with grilled Panini or sloppy joes.

2014 Côtes de Provence Les Trois Frères, Domaine des Aspras $17.59, $14.07 reorder
From the all-organic village of Correns in Provence, this blend of 90% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon is dark, full-bodied, concentrated, and earthy. Perfectly suited for the month of February, Les Trois Frères is definitely the kind of wine to break out with hearty fare, such as beef stew, cassoulet, leg of lamb, or a juicy T-bone steak.


2012 Bordeaux Supérieur, Château Castenet $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Good, honest Bordeaux here; and it comes from Entre-Deux-Mers too! As noted above, we’ve noticed the quality of some of the region’s smaller producers’ wines to be on the upswing in quality, and this fine quaffer stuck out in a tasting of other inexpensive Bordeaux wines which didn’t exactly make the cut. Drink it on its own, or with grass fed beef sliders.


2012 Cabernet Sauvignon, Vinum Africa $17.99, $14.39 reorder
English ex-pat, Alex Dale grows his Cabernet Sauvignon in Stellenbosch, where the variety enjoys its role as the appellation’s most important grape. He has witnessed some big money move in recently, buying up Cabernet vines, and making “Icon” (read “Ego”) wines, but he keeps his Cab in the “great value” level. Pop this with some dry Memphis ribs.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Dirty Dozen, Wine Clubs/Samplers

The December 2016 Dirty Dozen


We’re still scratching our heads here. How exactly did it get to be December already? Time flies, this we know. 2016 is on its way out, and 2017 is right around the corner. There’s plenty to do to get there, so hold on tight! There are holiday parties, corporate and private, and the holidays themselves. We’re making the wine part easy. 12 bottles, all chosen for versatility, in one box for one low price. The December Dirty Dozen.

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

2015 Picpoul de Pinet, Chevalier de Novato $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Picpoul refers to both the appellation and the grape. The word itself translates to “lip-stinger” which suggests the zippy acidity of the wine. The appellation covers 3000 acres around the Ètang de Thau, a series of lagoons along the Mediterranean. Expect tonic-like freshness with fragrant, floral flavors. Serve well-chilled with any manner of shellfish.

2013 Verdejo, Atino $13.98 net price, $12.58 reorder
The aromatic grape, Verdejo, though planted throughout Spain is most at home in Rueda. Rueda is a region northwest of Madrid smack dab in the middle of the Iberian Peninsula. The climate is continental with hot, dry summers and cold, harsh winters. Crisp and citrusy with hints of flowers and clover on the palate, serve with crab cakes or Risotto Milanese.

2015 Moscato di Pavia, Centorri $10.98 net price, $9.88 reorder
Three generations of women are credited for making this charming, playful Moscato – it tastes just like popping a fresh grape into your mouth. The vines are on average 20 years of age, lending complexity and depth. Low in alcohol and with a slight frizzante, try as an aperitif or as the closer to a meal. Or snuggle up on the couch with a glass and some cookies.

2013 Côtes-du-Rhône Blanc, Domaine Boudinaud $7.95 sale price, $7.55 reorder
We’re just not drinking enough white wine from the Rhône Valley. One can seldom go wrong with a white Côtes-du-Rhône: great blends and very fair prices. This CdR Blanc is made from 60% Grenache Blanc and 40% Roussanne, and it shows fresh, fleshy white and yellow fruit and has a crisp finish. Pair this with some seared scallops wrapped in bacon.


2014 Bush Vine Chenin Blanc, The Winery of Good Hope $9.95 sale price, $9.45 reorder
This is 100% Chenin Blanc is from old bush vines planted in decomposed granite facing the ocean. Those ocean breezes keep the fruit relatively cool and fresh, lending balancing acidity to the tangy, voluptuous, green apple-like fruit. It’s great wine to have by itself or one can try a variety of pairing ideas, including vegetable tempura or Fettuccine Alfredo.


2014 Mâcon Villages Les Tilles, Domaine Sainte Barbe $19.99, $15.99 reorder
White Burgundy. Among the critics, it is consensus that 2014 was a great vintage for Burgundy’s white wines. Domaine Sainte Barbe does not use any fancy new oak for their wines, preferring to showcase terroir and fresh fruit over the aromas new barrels impart. It’s got plenty of class and complexity, and would be great with that Dungeness crab!


2015 Le Loup Dans La Bergerie, Orliac $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
80% Grenache with the remainder Syrah, this juicy little number is the perfect “everyday” red wine. Why perfect? Well, the fruit is bright and lively, the tannins are soft, the acidity is balanced with the fruit, and no intrusive oak to speak of. Drink on its own or with food; it can do it all. Ideally suited for pizza in all its forms, calzone, or a messy meatball sub.


2013 Merlot, Jordanov $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
A value like this would have to come from an under-represented, unknown wine region like land-locked Macedonia. How else could you make a Merlot from mature vines, age it in French oak for 14 months and offer it for well under $20? Notes of plum and blueberries mingle with herb for a classic presentation. Tasty with lamb ragoût or a prime rib roast.


2015 Cilegiolo Maremma, Morellino $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Winemaker Sergio Bucci is a strong believer that obscure Tuscan “field blend” varietals can stand on their own if properly understood and vinified. A case in point is this Cilegiolo – a red varietal typically blended into Chianti. Rarely do you see it bottled solo. Super charged red cherry flavors with aromas of sage and violets dominate. Va bene!

2013 Ventoux Rouge, Domaine Fondrèche $16.99, $13.59 reorder
Winemaker Sébastien Vincenti has done something unusual recently. He has eliminated one of his fancy labels (Nadal), and is now using those grapes in his entry level rouge. The result is an upper class Rhône blend, 50% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 20% Mourvèdre. It’s as versatile as it is classy. Serve it with pork wrapped, pork sausage-stuffed pork loin.


2015 Malbec, Alberto Furque $14.99, $11.99 reorder
Sourced from vineyards some 3000 feet in elevation, Alberto’s daughter Carolina has some mountain fruit to make her Malbec with. The grapes are fermented in steel tank and raised in concrete prior to bottling. This allows the fruit and terroir to shine. Deep and lush, the structure is bold, yet the nuances are delicate. It’s a good one for a juicy steak.


2013 Syrah/Grenache, Grange des Rouquette $10.99, $8.79 reorder
French country wine – 50% Syrah, 40% Grenache, and 10% Mourvèdre, all tank fermented for optimal freshness here. This is the kind of wine served throughout the southern French countryside in cafés and bistros. It’s easy to quaff, with or without food, and easy on the budget. It’s a given to say this is great with a baguette, bowl of olives, and salumi.

Leave a comment

Filed under The Dirty Dozen, Wine Clubs/Samplers

The November 2016 Dirty Dozen



The Dirty Dozen



Leaves on the ground, logs on the fire, and now we’re moving our clocks back an hour. It’s November! Autumn is such a cozy season, with its brisk weather and longer nights moving our lives indoors. Then there’s Thanksgiving coming up – and with that in thought, we present the November Dirty Dozen. 12 wines, all chosen for their versatility, with a special consideration for the big day. Pick up your November Dirty Dozen today.

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

2015 Vintner’s Blend, Liana Estates $15.95 sale price, $15.15 reorder
Liana Estates is the second winery from the Peju Family and is located in Carneros. Released at $24 a bottle, we were able to include the Vintner’s Blend in this month’s DD thanks to some friends and family pricing. Mostly Chenin Blanc and all tank-fermented, it is zippy, racy and chock-full of citrus flavors. Pair with pre-dinner snacks and appetizers.

2014 Chardonnay, Dreyer Sonoma $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
This Chardonnay over delivers for the price. The fruit hails from Carneros, is whole cluster pressed then fermented in new and neutral barrel. All the classic flavors are there: citrus, pineapple, pear. Rich but not too oaky, this can work for many occasions. Bring it to your next house party or, if staying in, pair with rotisserie chicken and an herby green salad.

2014 Silvaner alte Reben, Dr. Heyden $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
This dry Silvaner, the third most widely planted grape in Germany, comes from vines over 30 years of age! Beautiful, herbaceous aromas meet with crisp, vibrant peach fruit. Compatible with most veggies (even asparagus!), a first course vegetable terrine or cream soup would be a perfect match here and a fine start to an elegant meal.

2015 Rosé Les Cimels, Château d’Or et de Gueules $13.99, $11.19 reorder
Tipping her cap to the style of pink wines made in Provence, Diane Puymorin uses mostly Mourvèdre and Cinsault for her Les Cimels Rosé. Les Cimels means “bouquet of fruit,” and maybe it’s the 80 year old Mourvèdre vines that lend this wine its distinct bouquet. It’s versatile enough to pair with all sorts of cuisine, especially those which appear on Turkey Day.


2014 Unoaked Chardonnay, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Down in Stellenbosch, South Africa, English expat Alex Dale makes a bright, crisp Chardonnay free from any oak influence. Fermented in steel tank from free-run juice only, the aromas are pure, deep, and classy. There’s a distinct mineral drive to go along with the crisp, citrus-like fruit profile. It will suit poultry dishes very well … hint, hint!


2014 Bordeaux Blanc, Château Couronneau $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder
Winemaker Christophe Piat has been on a qualitative roll since first going all organic over a decade ago, and now he has embraced biodynamism. For his blanc, he blends equal parts Sauvignon Blanc and Sauvignon Gris, and the result is a refined white Bordeaux with a great balance of fruit and liveliness. A spinach salad with goat cheese pairs well here.


2009 Puerto Salinas, Sierra Salinas $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
What a tremendous value! This big, bold Spanish blend of Monastrell, Garnacha and Cabernet Sauvignon was aged in new and 2-year old French oak. Spicy, dense, black-fruited, no wonder it received a whopping score of 92 points from Robert Parker. Time in the bottle has settled down the tannins. Serve with roasted or braised meats and spicy sausages.


2013 Zinfandel, Il Cuore $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Too often value-priced Zinfandels are marred by off-putting, oaky flavors. Not this one from Il Cuore. Instead the zesty, berry fruit is left alone to charm and delight the palate. Fruity and easy-going, much of the fruit was sourced from Mendocino County. This Zin can wear many hats … bring to a friendsgiving potluck or order in with your favorite pie.


2010 Merlot, Giacato $14.98 net price, $13.48 reorder
The whimsical label is in juxtaposition to the firm, grippy Merlot fruit found inside the bottle. Renowned winemaker, Fabrizio Moltard, who began his career at Gaja, is responsible for this plummy red. Careful when you get to the bottom of the bottle, it throws a little sediment, but that only helps to explain the wine’s complexity. Try with lamb chops!

2012 Carmignano, Le Farnete $19.59, $15.67 reorder
According to legend, the Cabernet Sauvignon which grows alongside the native Sangiovese in Carmignano, was a wedding gift from the French to Italy when Catherine di Medici married into French Royalty. For the wine, its presence adds backbone and structure. It’s a fancy wine, maybe one for special occasions, like a standing rib-eye roast.


2013 Côtes-du-Rhône La Boissière, Domaine Boudinaud $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Côtes-du-Rhône always delivers. It has to be one of the most reliable viticultural regions for high quality, reasonably priced wines in the world. Our friend Thierry Boudinaud has several irons in the fire in and around the Rhône, but his La Boissière is such a great all-purpose red, we will stop there. It will solve all of your pizza and pasta wine needs.


2012 Château Les Gabriaux, Médoc $9.98 net price, $8.98 reorder
Just like we did last month, we’re including a red Bordeaux which we discovered on our annual En Primeur tasting trip. Again, to suss out quality samples in the sub $10 category is a difficult task, but occasionally we get lucky. Back in February, Neal Martin wrote, ” Check out 2012 Les Gabriaux – a delightful Médoc. That’s not advice. That’s an order.”

Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

The September 2016 Dirty Dozen



The Dirty Dozen

September is here! What? What? What? No need to worry, summer isn’t over just yet. There’s still plenty of time left to get in a last visit to the beach or the last barbecue of the season. Fall is right around the corner, so we better act quickly! Good thing there’s a Dirty Dozen to take care of the wine department for the month: 12 bottles of wine, all different, all versatile, a little cheat sheet with some notes and pairing ideas, and one low price. Yay!

Reorder Special !!! 20% off 6 bottles or more of any one regularly priced Dirty Dozen wine! Or 10%/Net Wines – 5%/ Sale Wines

2014 Santa Barbara County White, Demure $15.98 net price, $14.38 reorder
Owner/winemaker Vailia Esh left chilly Toronto on a lark and set out for sunny Paso Robles. Shortly thereafter Desperada Winery was born. Along with the Desperada wines, Vailia tinkers with different varietals, and here she has blended 88% Riesling with 12% Chardonnay for her Demure label. It’s dry and crisp, so pair it with those pork chops.

2014 Rueda Verdejo, Menade $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Three siblings, Marco, Richard, and Alejandra Sanz have been running Menade since 2005. They can trace their winemaking roots back 5 generations. Rather than rest on that laurel, they are true pioneers in the organic movement, having secured the certification for their vineyards. This Verdejo is stony and herbal – a great partner for raw oysters.

2014 Vinho Branco, Rufo do Vale D.Maria $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
From Portugal’s Douro D.O.C. comes this blend of natives Côdega de Larinho and Rabigato. The former brings floral aromas as well as flavors of peaches and melons while the latter brings a little zippy acidity and backbone to the party. As the summer fades away, treat yourself to a glass of this to sip with a Caprese Salad with fresh heirlooms and burrata.

2013 Hors Saison, Domaine la Hitaire $9.95 sale price, $9.45 reorder
It’s a Côtes de Gascogne made from 70% Sauvignon Blanc and 30% Sémillon. Brothers Rémy and Armin Grassa run this property now after taking over from their father, Yves, of Domaine de Pouy fame. The 2013 Hors Saison is an easy going, medium bodied white, perfect for Tuesday nights. It goes great with goat cheese or a turkey sandwich with the works.


2014 Ventoux Blanc, Domaine Fondrèche $16.99, $13.59 reorder
Our man in Ventoux, Sébastien Vincenti blends Grenache Blanc, Roussanne, Clairette, and a little bit of Rolle for his Ventoux Blanc, and the result is smashing. Like their red counterparts, white Rhône blends have to be some of best values on the market. Citrus, stone fruit, and minerals hover around your glass as you toast your Chicken à la King.


NV Vouvray, Domaine d’Orfeuilles $16.98 net price, $15.28 reorder
Sparkling wine made from 100% Chenin Blanc, this Vouvray is long on character. It’s not Champagne, but its small bubbles and dusty mineral expression could potentially fool a few people. The palate is marked by crunchy Granny Smith apple and mineral, and the finish is balanced and creamy. Great for a toast, an aperitif, or a bucket of fried chicken.


2012 Vinho Tinto, Rufo do Vale D.Maria $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
We head back to Portugal’s Douro for Vale D.Maria’s red version of Rufo. This one is made from a blend of Touriga Franca and Portugal’s most famous red grape, Touriga Nacional. It’s a medium-bodied wine offering notes of dark red and black fruit with some spice. It’s great with tapas and small bites, or you can pair it with a pizza margherita.


2014 Negroamaro Salento Arcangelo, Palamà $11.98 net price, $10.78 reorder
Originally planted by Romans in the southern region of Salento, Negroamaro is a robust red with sturdy structure and pleasant black cherry aromas. The tannins are well integrated making this a clean, easy sipper which can be appreciated in its youth. It’s a versatile red, so it’s a ringer with pasta dishes; but we’re thinking bread, olives, and salumi.


2014 Merlot, Domaine de Gournier $12.98 net price, $11.68 reorder
Longtime Dirty Dozen fans may remember Gournier, as their wines were once regulars in our monthly sampler. When we discovered several cases that were up for grabs at a ridiculous price, we snagged them. This Merlot is juicy and balanced with brambly fruit and a medium body. It’s a great picnic red (screwcap), or a fine partner for a cheeseburger.

2013 Mountainside Shiraz, The Winery of Good Hope $13.49, $10.79 reorder
Speaking of great picnic wines, Alex Dale’s Mountainside Shiraz sports a screwcap as well, and what’s inside is pure Shiraz magic. The nose is ripe and expressive with notes of red fruits, smoke, and gamey meat. The palate is restrained and medium bodied, and the finish is exquisitely balanced. This one is best suited for a slow-cooked smoky beef brisket.


2014 Les Trois Frères, Domaine des Aspras $17.59, $14.07 reorder
Say bonjour to our new Provençal producer, Domaine des Aspras. Coming from the first all-organic French grape growing village, Correns, Les Trois Frères is 90% Syrah and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon. This Côtes de Provence is a dark, earthy wine. It’s full bodied, so it’s best to pair this with something hearty … maybe a nice, rich bowl of cassoulet.


2013 Costières de Nîmes Les Cimels, Château d’Or et de Gueules $15.79, $12.63 reorder
“Wines with this much complexity don’t sell for $15,” that’s what Anya said after she tasted the 2013 Les Cimels in our employee tasting room. This has been THE go-to house red for over a decade. Dark purple and black olive-like fruit are the core with aromas of forest floor and black tea. One note of caution: this bottle will be empty before you think it will!

Leave a comment

Filed under The Dirty Dozen, Wine Clubs/Samplers