The Grapevine Gazette

july 5 – Aug 1

July, our mid-summer month, is the gateway to American Independence celebrations, beach parties, and road trips. This seventh month of the year, much like the seventh inning stretch at a baseball game, is the perfect time to let your hair down, find the sunscreen, throw on the swim wear, fire up the barbeque, take in a sporting event or find that secluded camp site where Mother Nature is your only companion. July may have the Ruby as its official stone, but the color of the wines enjoyed during this very warm sojourn will run the gamut of Sauvignon Blancs to Viognier and single vineyard Merlots to Rosé and Chianti; a real cornucopia of enticing reds and whites that will cater to all types of cuisine and palate profiles. There is something here for everyone, much like this month’s ability to gratify all flavors of activity. So revel in July’s selections and remember to drink outside the box.

Drappier Carte d’Or Brut

Regular $49.99 Gazette Special $39.99

Champagne, it seems, never gets old, or at least around my humble abode. Any opportunity is welcomed, and most any visitor is happy to help find an occasion. But that is not the norm, which is unfortunate as Champagne has a unique history. It is costly and complex in its production (far more so than most wines) and has the capacity to deliver incomparable pleasure. There are a handful of the commercial producers that have woven their way into the fabric of society, they are obvious and I don’t need to bring them any more attention, but there are literally thousands that go unnoticed and it is a sad commentary. Great people making great wines but they don’t have millions in marketing campaigns, and they don’t have somebody like Louis Vuitton to partner with. Drappier has been around and family owned since the early 19th century, and is one of the few that remains family run. They own a significant portion of the vineyards they source from, and they farm organically. Pinot Noir based, the wines are vibrant and zesty with lower dosage and boast very low sulfites. Crisp, firm and racy, currant, plum and grapefruit flavors are backed by delicate toast and a very fresh almost piquant finish. 91 Points Wine Spectator

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Scharffenberger Anderson Valley Brut Rosé

Regular $26.99 Gazette Special $21.99

The grapes for this sparkling wine are sourced from the Anderson Valley vineyard and from other premium quality vineyards in Mendocino County. It is made by the traditional Method Champenoise process. They are individually bottle-fermented before being riddled and disgorged. Most of the base wines undergo malolactic fermentation, which softens out the blend. It has a light salmon color, with aromas of fresh raspberry and strawberries. The flavors are layered and it is well-balanced with a fresh and fruity finish.

Gabriella Tardos Wine Specialist Westwood

Firestone Santa Ynez Valley Riesling

Regular $ 9.99 Gazette Special $7.99

Firestone Riesling is clean and crisp with flavors of and aromas of jasmine, orange blossom, citrus and a touch of honey. 60% of the juice came from the estate vineyard and 40% was sourced from vineyards in Monterey County. A small amount of Gewurztraminer was blended in to add another level of complexity. The result is a very approachable, food friendly wine. Excellent choice for the upcoming hot summer evenings. Serve chilled and enjoy!

Michael Contreras Wine Specialist Beverly Hills

Kung Fu Girl Columbia Valley Riesling

Regular $ 13.99 Gazette Special $10.99

This is easily my favorite domestic Riesling. Blame those vineyards in the Columbia Valley. The river influence cools the grapes as they ripen on vines growing in ancient soils deposited during the Ice Ages. The juice gets a sublime mineral character and acid balance rarely found outside Mosel. Aggressive floral and tree-fruit aromas actually fill the air as you pour a taste. The flavors are of apple, apricot and citrus, and the finish balances zingy acidity with a hint of sweetness that some tasters might even miss. This versatile wine works well with seafood, Asian salads and lighter poultry entrees but has enough body to handle spicy fare, fruit dishes, lobster, pork, BLT sandwiches and smoked meat.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Edna Valley Central Coast Pinot Grigio

Regular $12.99 Gazette Special $10.99

This wine comes from San Louis Obispo along California’s Central Coast. This wine is near clear in the glass giving off just the faintest tint of yellow. With fresh red apples, yellow pear and a hint of lime zest to the nose, followed by a strong engagement of these flavors to the palette makes this white wine ever so refreshing. Enjoy with a nice fruit platter and some summer sunshine.

Kyle Ezidro Wine Specialist Manhattan Beach

Zocker Paragon Vineyard Grüner Veltliner

Regular $19.99 Gazette Special $16.99

Gruner typically hails from Austria, but somehow took a left turn to our own Edna Valley appellation. Zocker Winery produces wines made exclusively from the white varietals of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. The grapes are grown on the Niven family’s famed Paragon Vineyard in the Central Coast of California, and the wines are made by veteran French winemaker Christian Roguenant. Zocker (Austrian for “Gambler”) is indeed their riskiest venture to date, as these varietals are far from conventional. But then again, here at Bristol Farms we like to take risks and veer our consumers in directions they did not intend to take. That’s why this Grüner Veltliner is so exciting. This is a cool climate wine with characteristics that lie somewhere between an aromatic Pinot Gris and a mouth coating Chardonnay. The berries are gently pressed and the juice cold settled for two days to remove any solids before fermenting with selected yeast strains. The fermentation was kept cool and long to retain the vibrant aromatics. Its delicately perfumed nose shows white peach, floral and lime notes with hints of almond. The stone fruit theme is carried through to the palate, where peach and citrus notes are found. Enjoy this mouth-watering beauty with Asian cuisine, grilled shellfish or on its own while watching the sun set.

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

Alma de Cattleya Sonoma County Rosé

Regular $18.99 Gazette Special $15.99

Cattleya is the national flower of Columbia, where Bibiana González Rave was born and raised. Bibiana was bitten early on by the wine bug, and set off to distant lands to learn the craft. Landing in France initially, she trained in Alsace, Rhone and Bordeaux (the likes of Haut Brion no less) and ultimately found her home in California. She began her own label Cattleya, named for the stunning Orchid, as well as handcrafting the wines at Pahlmeyer. Her story is unique, yet still unfinished as she is just budding despite her impressive resume. Alma de Cattleya is a project where she sources juice from various growers and fashions lovely and delicious wines that are quite affordable (vs. her collectable single vineyard small production cult wines.) The Rosé is stunning in its purity, Pinot Noir makes a terrific blush, and the crisp racy fruit offers up strawberry, raspberry, hints of spice and a cleansing acidity that firms it up nicely. A terrific warm weather foil that complements a fresh piece of fish or even a lazy Summer afternoon. Only 350 cases Produced.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Château Graville Lacoste Graves Bordeaux Blanc

Regular $19.99 Gazette Special $16.99

When faced with choosing an imported wine, you have some help. Importers make their selections according to their own tastes. If you try a wine from France, for example, and you like it, look on the back label for the name of the importer. Chances are you will like their other wines as Kermit Lynch is one of the best. The Graves AOC is considered the best subzone of Bordeaux for the cultivation of white grapes for dry whites. Graville Lacoste’s vines are over a half-century old. Semillon and particularly Sauvignon Blanc vines are rarely this ancient. The blend is 60% Semillon which brings qualities of richness and longevity to the clean, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. The gravelly soil is reflected by distinct flinty minerality on the nose, and the citrus-and-melon fruit on the palate is likewise infused with a bright, crystalline mineral edge. This theme continues on the intense, precise finish. The wine is allowed to settle naturally on the lees and, like all Kermit Lynch selections, is bottled without filtration, giving it texture and plumpness. Here is a wine that tastes more expensive than it is and pairs well with anything from fish to poultry, picnic fare to Indian curries.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Fernz Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Regular $9.99 Gazette Special $7.99

Home to what many consider the world’s best Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough New Zealand is quickly setting a global standard for this varietal. A combination of hot, sunny days and fresh, cool nights create near- perfect growing conditions and produce a crisp, fruity taste, unique to this distinctive appellation. Ripe gooseberries, herbal aromas and tropical fruit lead to a richly textured, crisp and refreshing light wine with delicious acidity. Enjoy with seafood, poultry and grilled foods.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Dashwood Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Regular $12.99 Gazette Special $9.99

Sauvignon Blanc has gained in popularity in recent years with new offerings from New Zealand. Dashwood Sauvignon Blanc is an easy-sipping, very drinkable wine that doesn’t sacrifice complexity or varietal character in its quest to be flat-out enjoyable. Explosive aromas brimming with lemon, lime and citrus blossom mingle with passion fruit. A generous palate shows fresh pineapple, passion fruit, pink grapefruit and a bright minerality. Excellent balance and acidity. The perfect aperitif, this wine also makes an ideal partner for nearly any shellfish, salad and chicken dishes.

Michael Gregory Certified Specialist of Wine; Merchandising Specialist

Tolosa Edna Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Regular $19.99 Gazette Special $15.99

With summer at our door and the California heat creeping in, nothing sounds more refreshing then this crisp Chardonnay. Candied lemon drops turn into subtle orange blossoms in terms of this wine’s bouquet. It segues to a touch of apple flavors, tantalizing tropical notes, just a hint of oak and a nice crisp acidity to boot. This white will pair nicely with grilled salmon filet covered in a lemon caper sauce and lemon pepper roasted potatoes.

Kyle Ezidro Wine Specialist Manhattan Beach

Walter Hansel Lake County Sauvignon Blanc

Regular $16.99 Gazette Special $14.99

Grown in the hills of the up and coming Lake County Vitiracultural area just to the North of Napa Valley. Steve Hansell makes this wine with the same energy and similar style as Tom Rochioli, who mentored Steve in winemaking in the Russian River Valley. It offers up beautiful crisp notes of melons, figs, and pears with a creamy undercurrent. Vibrant acidity in this food friendly style will have your mouth watering for another glass. Perfect on a warm summer day on the patio or with light foods and fish on the grill.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Andrew Murray Santa Ynez Valley Viognier

Regular $24.99 Gazette Special $19.99

Farmed on just 3 acres in the cool climes of Santa Maria in a vineyard called the “gravel pit”, this wine is light and delicate with floral, honeyed citrus notes, a stunning dry white wine. Only 300 cases are produced this year, so this is a must try for those of you wanting out of the Chardonnay box. Perfect with swordfish on the grill with a light zesty lemon butter sauce. Say hello to summer and have a glass or two on the patio.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Fitvine California Chardonnay

Regular $16.99 Gazette Special $14.99

Fitvine was created by a trio of athletic people who wanted to provide consumers a healthier choice and tastes delicious! This wine doesn’t have any additives, sugars, or impurities. It goes through malolactic fermentation, which would lower pH levels. They are cold-stabilized and chilled to eschew impurities and fermented two weeks longer than average for extra antioxidants. This surprisingly pleasant Chardonnay is jammed with aromas of pear, passionfruit, citrus and flavors of pineapple with a hint of vanilla. A full-bodied dry wine with a nice, crisp finish. Besides the great taste, low calories, it also comes with a very reasonable price tag.

Gabriella Tardos Wine Specialist Westwood

Liquid Farm Santa Rita Hills Chardonnay “White Hill”

Regular $44.99 Gazette Special $39.99

From a ‘food friendly’ family owned winery, the 100% hand-picked Chardonnay grapes, result in an aroma of yellow flowers and grilled peaches, flavors of apricot, smoke, chamomile and distinct mineral. The blend of Santa Rita Hills’ most exclusive vineyards, Bentrock, Rita’s Crown, Zotovich, Kessler-Haak, Clos Pepe, Esperanza, and Radian produces a Chardonnay that is vibrant and electric and pairs well with chilled shellfish, or roasted poultry. Beware, it isn’t a round plush wine, it is built for some longevity. 2013 92 points Vinous, 2014 94 points Wine Advocate, 2015 not yet rated.

Dorothy Sagebiel Wine Specialist Westchester

Hanzell Sebella Sonoma County Chardonnay

Regular $39.99 Gazette Special $29.99

If I could conjure up one wish from Aladdin’s Genie, it would be to own Hanzell Winery. Hanzell, located on a steep hillside of the Sonoma Mayacamas mountain range and producing world class Burgundian wines produces, in my not-so-humble opinion, the best combo of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in California. Mind you, if your tastes veer toward the overtly buttery, big and sweet elements, these wines are not for you. The Estate wines need time in the bottle to really come around, but when they do, they shine like a super nova. Patience does have its rewards (last year in Sonoma I enjoyed a 2002 Chard and it still tasted young and fresh – most CA wines fade after 2-3 years). Thus, for the impatient, Hanzell created “Sebella” as the companion label to their flagship Estate wines. The Sebella Chardonnay boasts aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle and citrus blossoms that give way to scents of pear, lemon zest and kumquat. From this gorgeous bouquet we segue to flavors of green apple, nectarine, Meyer lemon and wet stone minerality. Bright acidity gives balance to the richness on the palate and gives striking purity to the flavors. A remarkable companion to most seafood and poultry dishes, but hedonistically delicious on its own. Where’s that lamp!

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

Cambria Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir Bench Break

Regular $22.99 Gazette Special $18.99

The new release of the 2014 vintage is another good sign of the evolution of this venerable varietal in this wind swept valley. The French like to tout “terroir”, how the soil dictates the flavor characteristics of a wine and Benchbreak is the perfect example of that belief. This Pinot shows off its red fruit components of cranberry, cherry, pomegranate, and strawberry coupled with a nice hint of blueberry aromas and flavors. There is a touch of Asian spice and subtle earthy characters that balances out the sweet tannins with the very enticing finish. And as Pinots are want to do, they create delicious match ups with such fare as our hand-made poultry sausage, grilled ahi and salmon or go out on a limb and pair with a lasagna recipe of wild mushrooms layered between a rich béchamel sauce and fontina cheese as the topping.

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

Sojourn Cellars Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Regular $39.99 Gazette Special $34.99

Sojourn has been making award winning wines for decades, and 2015 is no exception. They are very well known for their vineyard designated wines that are as expressive as they are lofty, but since they have such tremendous fruit sources, they have the ability to craft regional wines of pedigree that are a bit more, shall we say, approachable. The Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir delivers a mouthful of wine that keeps the purity and integrity of the grape. Some producers are over extracting, some are adding darker grapes into their Pinot, but that just isn’t Pinot Noir. They may taste good, but they don’t reflect the elegance and grace that is befitting. The Sonoma Coast version contains a significant amount of Gap’s Crown, Sangiacomo and Rodgers Creek (all vital and impressive properties) and makes a bold statement. While not up front and fruity in its youth, it is showy and generous in style with a slightly earthy and spicy, brushy core. Airing is recommended as it isn’t a wimpy open and pour type of personality. Great with pork loin and sun dried cherry, salmon or tuna steaks, or veal.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Bodegas Juan Gil Jumilla Red Blend

Regular $16.99 Gazette Special $13.99

This is a perennial favorite of mine that when blind tasted against much more expensive wines, holds its own and then some. 100% Monastrell from old vineyards in Jumilla, where chalky and stony soils, poor in nutrients are ideal for this varietal. Aged for 12 months in French oak barrels, it has a deep purple/black color bursting with explosive aromas of ripe currant, red berries and smoked notes. Rich, powerful and voluptuous, it boasts a huge mouthful of crème-de-cassis and ripe red berry fruit, juicy and jammy in the mid-palate with excellent length and persistence through the finish. Pair this gem with beef, lamb or pork dishes, although heartier cheeses and quaffing amongst friends also fits the bill. 

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Valley Merlot Indian Wells

Regular $19.99 Gazette Special $16.99

Many customers often tell me they don’t like Merlot. I suspect they really mean they don’t like the boring generic Merlot that you can get at any chain store. What they forget is that some of the best Bordeaux are produced mostly from this varietal. Another thing they aren’t thinking of is that some the best Merlot in America comes from Washington. This is not your flabby, one-dimensional grape. Chateau Ste Michelle Indian wells Merlot comes from some of the northernmost vineyards and actually has more structure than many Cabernets. This carefully made wine is dark and pretty like a gem. The aromas remind me of ripe berries and jam. It is full bodied and supple. I find it surprisingly versatile, good with roasted chicken, grilled lamb chops, or hearty pasta and Italian herbs.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Castello di Ama Chianti Classico

Regular $29.99 Gazette Special $24.99

In the heart of Chianti Classico on the hills of Gaiole is a quintessential example of Chianti Classico. The main grape is Sangiovese with a touch of Merlot. Fermented in stainless steel to keep the freshness of Sangiovese and aged for 12 months in 1-3 year old French barrels. Classic rose petal nose, with a black cherry and raspberry mid-palate and finishing off with silky tannins that are firm enough to stand up to meat dishes and clearly shows aging potential. Do yourself a favor and crack a bottle of this open for your next dinner date and pair it with pork chops or a beautiful bowl of pasta. 92 points James Sucking 2014

Omar Lima Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Villa Antinori Chianti Classico Reserva DOCG

Regular $39.99 Gazette Special $29.99

A blend of 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet and Merlot help balance this big Classico Reserva. Intense ruby red in the glass, and after 30 minutes of aeration, this Chianti exhibits berries, vanilla and spices on the nose. Pepper and ripe fruit on the palate with just the right amount of tannin leading to a pleasant and lingering finish. Lively and vibrant, enjoy this bottle with a bowl of cioppino, spicy dry-aged meats, or pasta with herbed red sauce. Rated 91 by the Wine Enthusiast 2011

Neal Wassermann Wine Specialist La Jolla

Bon Anno Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Regular $21.99 Gazette Special $18.99

A dark ruby red blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 3% Malbec, this wine starts out in the glass with delicate aromas of dark berries and sage. Juicy flavors of raspberries and blackberries follow with hints of anise and earthy minerals, balancing acidity and smooth tannins. A perfect complement for grilled meats, it makes a great wine for summer barbecues.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Fisticuffs Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Regular $29.99 Gazette Special $26.99

It’s about time somebody put up a fight against Napa’s crazy prices… Ok, off the soapbox, Rob Lawson, former winemaker at Napa Wine Co has been handcrafting great wines for years, and his goal was, or is, to bring them to a reasonable and affordable level. And that he did. Fisticuffs is a clever label that puts the gloves on the big guys and brings a tasty bottle of Cab to the everyday level. Rich, ripe and juicy, it is chock full of cherry, plum, mocha and notes of vanilla in the soft, supple, lingering finish. This is at home with pizza and hamburgers as it is with a well marbled ribeye or even a chocolate soufflé. A wine for all reasons! 95 points Wine Spectator 2012 vintage

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

La Gerla Brunello di Montalcino

Regular $56.99 Gazette Special $49.99

Following in the shadows of the duly acclaimed and spectacular 2010 vintage, 2011 just had a tough time measuring up. Cellars got loaded with the precious bottles, and budgets got sapped with the clamor that accompanied. But following in succession, the 2012 vintage got right back in the saddle and delivers, admirably. Chopped herb, wild berry, spice and truffle aromas slowly take shape in the glass. The palate shows both concentration and elegance, offering fleshy raspberry, crushed cherry, licorice and crushed mint flavors, bolstered by firm but refined tannins. 93 points Wine Enthusiast 2012

Rafael Bretado Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Reserve de Leoville Barton Saint Julien Bordeaux

Regular $ 42.99 Gazette Special $34.99

2010 was yet another superb growing season in Bordeaux, and with price tags continually climbing skyward you can occasionally find a steal here and there. Perfect example, this extremely well made second wine is from famed second growth Leoville Barton, one of the most impressive of the vintage. On par with most Grand Vin offerings, this is classic St Julien, authoritative and well-structured with fine grained tannins and acidity that demand a good amount of time lying down to develop into its true potential. It shows hints of greatness now offering classic Cabernet cassis flavors with earthy undertones all wrapped in big chewy tannins that harbor them until maturity is reached. Known for drinkability as well as cellaring potential, the Barton family has built a stellar reputation and acquired quite a loyal following from fans all over the world who have come to expect high quality with a not so high price tag in comparison to other Chateaux in the Medoc. This baby is best decanted for 3 or 4 hours if to be consumed now and will amply reward you when paired with classic hearty meat dishes featuring veal, duck, beef, lamb or pork. Also great with Asian dishes, heartier fish like tuna, pasta with mushrooms or hearty, aged cheeses.

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Ridge Geyserville Alexander Valley Zinfandel

Regular $ 42.99 Gazette Special $37.99

Maybe not the grandfather of Zinfandel, but certainly the Godfather, Paul Draper has been making top quality wines for decades, and unlike many other old school personalities, he hasn’t skipped a beat. I think it’s safe to say, very few people know Zin like Paul. His latest from the Geyserville appellation is just downright beautiful. Rich, textured and dense on the palate, it exudes depth and a complexity of the Zinfandel-based field blend. Creamy and persistent, but also graced with a mid-weight, finessed personality that is impossible to resist. 93 points Vinous 2014

Rafael Bretado Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Orin Swift Machete California Petite Sirah

Regular $ 49.99 Gazette Special $43.99

Orin Swift’s brand of wine has created an cult following with its delicious varietals and wine labels. I remember several vintages ago that this bottle was glossy black with blood red letters ‘bleeding’ onto the bottle as if from a franchised 1980’s ‘slasher horror’ film; nevertheless the wine inside that bottle had tremendous depth and flavor. Today, Orin Swift still releases tasteful expressions of wine as well as eye-catching labels that stand out on the wine shelves. Winemaker David Phinney has made Machete, a gutsy Rhone style blending of Petite Sirah that has been a highlight of Orin Swift drinkers. This is a wine of rich and strong character; defined by its aromas of charred oak and vanilla that subdue the dark fruits that emerge from the wine. The tasteful palate has a mix of black and blue berries that give this wine a strong balance that perpetuates though the finish. This is a delicious spectacle of a wine that can pair well with pulled pork and roast beef sandwiches, as well cheese platters of Blue veined, Jack, Stilton and Smoked Gouda. This is a wonder bottle of wine for all who enjoy a strong red with their meal. 94 points Robert Parker 2013, 94 points Wine Spectator 2014

William Buford Wine Specialist Hollywood

Prices valid July 5- August 1st, 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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