The Grapevine Gazette

February 1 – 28

As the delirious haze of the recent holidays fades, opportunity abounds for some recreation and romance in the month of February. Whether you’re looking for local ski trails or being spellbound by Mother Nature as she stirs up her winter storms, the adage remains the same – you can ski in the morning and spend the afternoon at the beach -when it’s warm, of course. As for those romantic interludes, St. Valentine’s Day is a stimulating way to engage and replenish your heart felt feelings for one another. The day was first associated with romantic love in the circle of Geoffrey Chaucer in the Middle Ages, when the tradition of courtly love flourished. In 18th-century England, it evolved into an occasion in which lovers expressed their love for each other by presenting flowers, offering confectionery, and sending greeting cards known as “valentines”. To assist you in this romantic adventure, we offer some suggestions that we hope you find intriguing and delicious. And as always, enjoy and drink outside the box.

Triennes Rosé Méditerannée

Regular $15.99 Gazette Special $12.99

Triennes is the carefully thought out and executed vision of three pretty well accomplished and connected French entrepreneurs. Jacques Seysses from Domaine Dujac, and Aubert de Villaine from Romanee Conti, along with a Parisian co-pat, set their sights on Provence with the intention of bringing this once sleepy countryside into the modern era of stylish winemaking. The trio (inspiration for the tri in Triennes, which happens to be a festival in Roman times honoring Bacchus, the God of Wine) sought property in the Mediterranean and found an old winery in decline. The potential spoke volumes and after much revitalization, the rest shall we say is history. The Triennes Rosé is primarily Cinsault, as opposed to many being Grenache based, which adds a little more structure and crunch. Stone fruits, summer melon, and floral tones lead to a firm, almost saline, mineral finish. It is well suited to white fleshed fish, seared tuna, pork loin and particularly delicious with garlicky steamed mussels.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Fuchs de Vidal Cava Gran Reserva

Regular $16.99 Gazette Special $13.99

Sadly, bubbles have still not become a staple on most American tables, yet, but there is still reason for optimism. Bubbles are delicious, bubbles are festive, and yes bubbles can be affordable. That’s the sweet spot for Cava, which is the Spanish version of Champagne. They operate largely by the same rules, Traditional Fermentation, or fermentation in the bottle, as opposed to transfer or Charmat where they are done in large volumes and rebottled for efficiency and volume. Cava can really deliver a lot of value and terrific flavors when done properly, and after one of our staff tastings last Fall, I walked away more enthusiastic than before with how the Fuchs de Vidal tasted. The Reserva sees extra time on the secondary lees, which adds more complexity, richness, and depth. The flavors are yeasty and creamy, with brioche, nutty, mildly toasty, clean flavors that linger. This is a great example of an affordable option that brings a lot to the table for a small investment.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Laurent-Perrier Brut Cuvee L-P

Regular $ 44.99 Gazette Special $34.99

Laurent-Perrier is the largest of all family-owned Champagne houses. Laurent-Perrier balances tradition and elegance with innovation and modernity. Tinges of green apple, bread yeast, pear, and Meyer lemon along with firm acidity and a round creamy texture create a solid highly complex champagne. The predominance of Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and the high proportion of reserve wines makes this a delicate but substantial Champagne that pairs easily with fish, seafood, poultry or to be enjoyed as an aperitif.

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Joseph Perrier Vintage Blanc de Blanc

Regular $ 79.99 Gazette Special $59.99

To celebrate their 185th year, Champagne Joseph Perrier released this vintage Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) from Premier and Grand Cru vineyards. The 2006 vintage continues this exquisite celebration. This full bodied yet remarkably elegant Champagne offers touches of delicate citrus with a floral fragrance of acacia, honeysuckle and jasmine added to touches of lime and honey. It has tremendous concentration, great length, yet with a lightness of touch which is the mark of a truly great Champagne. With another romantic celebration about to happen – St. Valentine’s Day – this would be a superb sparkling wine to share with your beloved.

Michael Cristillo Certified Specialist of Wine; Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Billecart-Salmon Brut Rosé

Regular $79.99 Gazette Special $69.99

Founded in 1818, and now under the seventh consecutive generation of family ownership and winemaking guidance, Billecart is known primarily for its elegance and balance (especially in Rosé). The reputable house style always includes a three-vintage blend with the cuvée built for consistency from release to release. Utilizing fruit from mostly Grand Cru vineyards and blending all three of the traditional Champagne grapes, this beauty remains an iconic Brut Rosé for good reason. Pale salmon in color, full of melon and secondary floral notes, this is approximately 45% Chardonnay, and the remaining 55% is comprised of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir. Dosage here is a modest 7 grams per liter, keeping things dry and crisp. “Billy Bubbles” have always been near and dear to my heart, so grab a bottle to share with someone near and dear to you this Valentine’s Day. You’ll be rewarded handsomely!

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Fritz Haag Riesling Brauneberg Kabinett

Regular $29.99 Gazette Special $24.99

Fritz Haag has been a favorite of mine since my first introduction back in the 80’s, and I have gained even more appreciation for them since. The real shame about German Riesling is that many stereotype them as sweet. While that is not untrue, entirely, they can be as dry and spine rattling as any other brisk white out there. Therein lies the beauty, they are both. Fruity and sweet should not be confused, they are not synonymous. So Kabinett is the drier of the Prädikat scale, they reach full ripeness with ample sugars, but are often fermented dry, or at least with enough acidity to make them feel and taste dry. Braunberg as a town is surrounded by some fantastic vineyards that are so steep, only hand harvesting can occur. The soils are unique and site specific in Germany, which makes tasting them so much more interesting. Place really shines through in Riesling. The Braunberg Kabinett from 2014 is one of those that really draws you in, and can make you fall in love with Riesling, if you are patient and like that fruit profile. Tons of stone fruits set the tone, with saline, mineral and smoke notes. The finish is lively and fresh, with a crisp driving core of brine and slate. Pair with shellfish, cream sauces, poultry and soft ripened cheeses. 93 Points RobertParker.com

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Brander Santa Ynez Sauvignon Blanc

Regular $16.99 Gazette Special $13.99

Here is California Sauvignon Blanc at its finest. From the vineyards of Santa Ynez comes this very pretty white that is balanced and easy to drink, and pleasantly pushy with its complex fruitiness. The aromas are of melon, tropical fruit and flowers, and the flavors are citrusy, but rich like lemon meringue pie. Though it is a perfect wine with mussels and white wine garlic sauce, it will show well with more edgy cuisine like Asian fusion or Baja fish tacos.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Domaine Sylvan Bailly Quincy

Regular $16.99 Gazette Special $13.99

Quincy is a small village between Bourges and Vierzon on the right bank of the Cher River, which is fed by the southerly situated Massif Central.  The first plantings go back to the Benedictine Monks in the eleventh century. The soils are clay and shell and add handsomely to the character of the locale’s wines. Without the recognition of Sancerre, Sylvain Bailly’s Quincy – made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc – offers a fantastic option at a fraction of the entry price of most Sancerre. The vineyards are situated in Quincy and Brinay, and blend old and young vines offering fresh structured wines with a personality all their own. The wine is bright, clear, and pale yellow, with a hint of verdure. The aromas are of flowers and vanilla. This Quincy is a pleasant surprise of rich upfront fruit and minerality with the common denominator that honey and vanilla share in their invert sugar characteristics, leading to a long finish.

David Damon Wine Specialist & Certified Sommelier Manhattan Beach

Domaine Sylvan Bailly Sancerre

Regular $25.99 Gazette Special $20.99

Sancerre wine comes from a village of the same name along the Loire River in France. The majority of the wine produced in Sancerre is white, made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc. The Bailly Sancerre is a classic French white with a strong character and an amazing flavor profile. It is very dry but well balanced with the right acidity. It’s bright and aromatic with aromas of citrus, pear and gooseberry. It is great on its own or with shellfish, crab or lobster dishes.

Gabriella Tardos Wine Specialist Westwood

Hippolyte Reverdy Sancerre

Regular $27.99 Gazette Special $24.99

When we speak of true Sancerre in the Loire Valley of France the Hippolyte Reverdy Family should be a name to remember. This Sancerre, made from 100% Sauvignon Blanc – with vines as old as 30 years of age, offers up vibrant green apples, white floral notes and a chalky mid palate.  A clay and limestone terroir base helps add a cleansing finish that begs to be paired with foods like salmon, mussels and other shell fish. A must wine for true wine lovers.

Omar Lima Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Benanti Etna Bianco

Regular $24.99 Gazette Special $19.99

Sicily, long known worldwide for its Marsala, and most recently on the general public’s “radar” for Nero d’Avola, offers up this white that is made from100% Carricante. The region is home to Mount Etna, the tallest active volcano in Europe, with soils that help produce their world-class reds and whites. The Benanti family has been experimenting with this soil for over a century, originally by the hand of Giuseppe Benanti in the late 19th century.  In 1988, Dr. Giuseppe Benanti, the grandson of the originator’s namesake began to upgrade his family’s interest in viticulture, merging indigenous vines with modern wine making techniques to reinvigorate their place in the world of wine. His sons, Antonio and Salvino are carrying on the passion he began with great success. The Benanti Etna Bianco, pale yellow with greenish tints, boasts aromas and flavors of pear, green apple, dried exotic fruits, and calcareous minerality. It’s full-bodied, round, rich, and delicate all in a mouthful.

David Damon Wine Specialist & Certified Sommelier Manhattan Beach

Talbott Kali Hart Monterey Pinot Noir

Regular $22.99 Gazette Special $19.99

Named for Rob Talbott’s daughter, Kali Hart Pinot Noir delivers quite a lot of complexity for such an affordable wine. Intense aromas and flavors of plum, tart cherries, rhubarb, and cranberries combine with hints of Mediterranean herbs. It has nice acidity and a long finish that adds a bit of vanilla and smoky oak to the tasty red fruit flavors. A great complement to grilled salmon, roast poultry or a romantic dinner for two.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Hitching Post Cork Dancer Santa Barbara Pinot Noir

Regular $25.99 Gazette Special $22.99

This pretty Pinot Noir is made by Gray Hartley and Frank Ostini noted for their restaurant’s roll in the hit movie “Sideways”. Blended from five vineyards located north of Santa Barbara, this is a food friendly style that has flavors of dark cherries, plums and hints of licorice. Juicy bright acidity contributes to a wine that will pair beautifully with salmon, chicken or pork chops, all on the grill preferably.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Morgan Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Regular $31.99 Gazette Special $26.99

Morgan winery focuses on small production terroir-driven wines from the best vineyards the Santa Lucia Highlands has to offer. Twelve Clones Pinot Noir comes mostly from their estate’s Double L Vineyard as well as a selection of neighboring vineyards. This wine shows the powerful elegance that is classic of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Black fruit aromas on the nose and hints of anise and tobacco are complemented on the palate by cranberries, cherries, and spice. The bright acidity completely balances out the full-bodied fruit on the palate. The wine has a velvety texture and a long enjoyable finish. I enjoy this Pinot with a variety of foods, salmon, duck, veal, and all lean cuts of beef, and most hard cow’s milk cheeses. Highly recommended.

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Melville Santa Rita Hills Estate Pinot Noir

Regular $34.99 Gazette Special $29.99

One of the best values in Pinot Noir, according to Robert Parker, is Melville’s Estate Pinot Noir. Winemaker Greg Brewer’s wines are produced consistently with high quality in mind, something that was not easy to achieve in a year with huge yields.  Ruby red in color, spicy aromatics of ginger, black tea and cinnamon emerge beautifully in this wonderful Pinot Noir. This wine has aromas and flavors of fresh orange, black cherry and pomegranate with hints of toasted marshmallow and cherries.  Enjoy it on its own or pair with grilled salmon with teriyaki sauce.

Gabriella Tardos Wine Specialist Westwood

Twomey Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Regular $49.99 Gazette Special $43.99

Having tasted this gem from Russian River Valley, I find my heart belongs to Twomey Cellars.  Already reaching success with Twomey’s Merlot, the creators behind Twomey are none other than the creators of Silver Oak.  With practiced hands and patience, this wine making family has delivered another feat in a bottle.  Twomey’s Pinot is a full bodied red that harnesses an iron fist in a velvet glove. The floral note is of violets with plums and raspberry fruit, along with baking spice that delivers a sensational richness found in rare circles of Pinot.  Surrounding its richness is an amazing and elegant mouth-feel. I would definitely pair this wine with gouda, brie, and delicious goat cheese, not to mention Beef Wellington and Prime Rib to complement this amazing red.  For the Pinot Lover in you, this one is a winner!

William Buford Wine Specialist Hollywood

Vietti Barbera d’Asti

Regular $18.99 Gazette Special $15.99

What more can one say than centuries of Italian history. One of the first Italian wineries to export to the U.S, Vietti wine grapes remain in the caring hands of Luca Currado, wine maker and CEO, where the Barbera varietal demands respect. Subtle complexity of dried rose petals and cranberry gives way to refreshing acidity and soft tannins on the finish. The cool thing about this wine is that it is placed in Slavonian oak barrels and then finished in stainless steel for a freshness that is truly noticed. It over-delivers for the price. Pairs perfectly with grilled veggies, pastas, and oven roasted chicken.

Omar Lima Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Bodegas Breca "Breca" Calatayud Garnacha

Regular $16.99 Gazette Special $13.99

Breca is 100% Garnacha from vines that were planted between 1925 and 1945 in decomposed slate and gravelly clay soils. Yields were less than one ton of fruit per acre, and the wine was aged in old large French oak foudres. This is an amazing terroir of steep hillsides and ancient head- pruned vines. Black raspberry, truffle, Kirsch, lavender and liquid rock-like characteristics emerge from this astonishing wine. Founded in 2005 by Jorge Ordonez, this bodega has 650 acres, mostly old vine Grenache vineyards planted on hillsides at an altitude of 3,000 feet. Yields are miniscule and average between 0.4 and one ton of fruit per acre. Enjoy with lamb stew or grilled meat.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Hitching Post Central Coast Gen Red

Regular $15.99 Gazette Special $13.99

Gen Red is a Central Coast Red blend of four grapes that is a great wine drinking value. A balanced wine with finesse and spicy earthiness, just the right amount of fruit and acidity to pair with any red meats on the grill, or your favorite pasta dish. Produced from 59% Merlot, 19% Sangiovese, 17% Valdiguie and 5% Syrah. 

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Reserva

Regular $39.99 Gazette Special $29.99

Americans have had a love affair with Chianti for generations, and rightfully so. They hit a spot, both culturally and gastronomically, and serve a very significant purpose. Italians enjoy food, and wine of course, and the synergy between the two are remarkable. But Chianti, Tuscany’s most famous export, comes in many styles, so it can be confusing. This is where it makes sense to trust a family that has been making wine for many generations, 26 to be exact. Marchese Antinori has been in the forefront of Tuscany since the beginning, and the family elders were principles in developing winemaking in the region. Villa Antinori Reserva has a very traditional style, with ample cherry, berry fruit, restrained spice, fleeting oak notes, and a crushed rock undertone that provides grounding. This is a fantastic match with Bistecca alla Fiorentina, Osso Bucco, lamb chops or anything from the grill.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Sans Liege The Offering Santa Barbara Proprietary Red

Regular $27.99 Gazette Special $23.99

Wine maker Curt Schalchlin hits one out of the park with this amazing Rhone inspired blend! The grapes are hand-picked and come from seven different sites in the Santa Barbara area. The Offering is a blend of 45% Grenache, 36% Syrah,18% Mourvedre and 1% Viogner. The nose is dominated with fragrant aromas of dried cherries, raspberry, dark violets, pepper and sage. The palate is dominated with rich, silky textures, flavorful dark fruit notes and a bold dry finish that lingers long after you’ve taken that first sip! Pair this up with a nice herb-rubbed tri-tip.

Rafael Bretado Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Bench Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Regular $19.99 Gazette Special $15.99

The Bench Cabernet Sauvignon exudes a dark, deep purple color in the glass. The nose is vibrant with violets, huckleberry and touch of vanilla spice. The palate is elegantly wound with dusty tannins and a supple, velvety texture. The long, seamless finish ebbs and flows with flavors of black currant, dark cocoa and forest floor. Fermentation was completed in open top, stainless steel tanks and punched down by hand as many as five times a day. All of the reds are fermented through the use of indigenous/native yeast for both primary and secondary fermentation. The must is pressed off just before going dry to preserve a supple structure, core of fruit and some barrel fermentation for better integration with the oak. The wines are bright, energetic, with beautiful aromatics and full of complexity. Enjoy with beef, lamb and rich cheeses.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

San Simeon Stormwatch Paso Robles Proprietary Red

Regular $69.99 Gazette Special $59.99

San Simeon winery is part of the Riboli/Maddalena family of wines and is known for their great selection of single varietal selections. San Simeon vineyards are located in the El Pomar district of Paso Robles that is situated on steep hills with ideal soils for grape growing. The Stormwatch is their take on the classic Bordeaux blend with their final blend consisting of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 16% Malbec, 11% Petit Verdot and 1% Cabernet Franc. It is then aged for 18 months in French oak barrels. Notes of dark plums, boysenberry, cedar, tobacco and hints of baking spices and vanilla come through on the nose. The mouth feel is ripe with expressive dark fruits and a light white pepper finish. The wine finishes with medium tannins and a long rich finish that will pair well with grilled pork chops and grilled asparagus

Rafael Bretado Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Robert Mondavi Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Regular $27.99 Gazette Special $24.99

If you were to look up classic Napa Cabernet in a dictionary, Robert Mondavi Napa Cabernet might be at the top of the list. This well-structured wine has been a go to Cabernet of mine for years. Deep aromas and flavors of many dark fruits, with a long almost mocha like softly tannic finish. Serve with a thick cut porterhouse and some grilled veggies- the perfect meal!!

Michael Contreras Wine Specialist Beverly Hills

Croze Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Regular $36.99 Gazette Special $31.99

A 100% Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon for under $50!  Yes indeed, and with only a mere 725 cases produced, I highly recommend you snatch some up while you can. Sourcing fruit from prime real estate near the heart of this prestigious AVA – vineyards that neighbor Silver Oak and Groth wineries – the organically farmed grapes produce a wine true to the Croze philosophy of balance and elegance. If you’re looking for an over-extracted, jammy, high-octane beast, then this is not the wine for you. It exudes a beautiful balance of red and dark fruit along with aromas of briary blackberry with hints of tobacco and plum. Its Bordeaux heritage is evident in the finesse and elegance of the finish, boasting harmonious spice notes of licorice and anise followed by cocoa powder tannins. While drinkable now, it has the structure to age for 10-15 years, if you can resist the temptation.

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Betz Family Columbia Valley Pere Famille Cabernet Sauvignon

Regular $79.99 Gazette Special $64.99

Since its first vintage in 1997, the Betz Family has possessed a single-minded goal of crafting compelling wines with individual character that are approachable and age-worthy; And equally important, showcase Washington as a distinguished wine region of the world. This Cabernet Sauvignon has a high concentration of Red Mountain grapes (84%) that creates a deep and structured wine. It’s got weight, balance with fine grained tannins. Bold flavors of black currants, sweet spices, licorice and smoke promote a savory mouth feel. Its dimension and precision indicate long aging ability, but you might be tempted to open much earlier.

95 points Wine Enthusiast 2011. 95 points Wine Advocate 2012

Michael Cristillo Certified Specialist of Wine; Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Blue Ice Heisenberg Limited Edition Gluten Free Vodka

Regular $ 18.99 Gazette Special $13.99

As I was inspired to binge watch the 6 year series “Breaking Bad” in 6 weeks, Blue Ice was inspired by the hit television series to create special edition bottles of Heisenberg, with distinct graphics and infamous quotes. And let’s clarify that there are two Heisenberg’s – the deplorably captivating chemistry teacher played by Bryan Cranston, and the real Werner Heisenberg who was awarded the 1932 Nobel Prize in Physics for his work on quantum mechanics. There you have it. Blue Ice Vodka is handcrafted in Idaho and made from premium, all-natural ingredients. It uses continuous column distillation, combined with a patented five-stage filtration process making it among the purest products in the marketplace today. A well-earned gold medal at the 2014 San Francisco Spirits Competition and 94 points from the Beverage Testing Institute backs up its high quality. Just ask Heisenberg.

Michael Cristillo Certified Specialist of Wine; Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Prices valid February 1-28, 2017
All wines assort for 10% discount when 6 or more bottles are purchased. All selections are 750 ml unless otherwise noted. No rain checks. While Bristol Farms takes every effort to ensure adequate supply, all offerings are subject to availability.

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