The Grapevine Gazette

July 30 - September 2, 2014

Now that we are deeply immersed in summer, we can only hope that the easy going ways of August create a pleasant bridge to the approaching Fall months ahead. Baseball is in full swing (pun intended) and football kicks the dust and doldrums off its cleats and readies us for
another exciting season. Hopefully our "august" selection of wines will add an extra sparkle to any upcoming events, be they family gatherings or perhaps a quiet evening with a loved one. This is that time of year when the summer warmth not only wraps a comforting blanket around us, it's a gentle reminder that life is indeed finite and we should take pleasure in every moment; as the Irish are fond of saying, 'live every moment as if it were your last...for one day you're sure to be right'. So revel in this month's selections, and remember to drink outside the box.

Bogle California Old Vine Zinfandel

Reg $10.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

Head-pruned, dry farmed vines are prized for their production of small, concentrated clusters of grapes that produce incredibly rich and intense wines. For years, Bogle has sought out these gnarly old vines to create this Old Vine Zinfandel. While Zinfandel and the word "sophisticated" are rarely found in the same sentence, Bogle bucks that trend. This vintage from Bogle is lively with cranberries and pink peppercorns. Hints of a hillside briar patch in summer waft through the wine as well, while spicy clove heightens at the finish from American and French oak. This versatile wine pairs well with everything from rich and unique dishes, to your favorite barbecue or weeknight take out.

David Yaquinto Specialist Palm Desert

Dolin Dry Vermouth

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

While great as a martini component, this vermouth can stand on its own as a fresh clean aperitif. Ever since its founding in 1821, it has been the benchmark for fine French vermouth. It is from Chambery in the French Alps, the only Appellation de Origine for vermouth. Often imitated by others, the delicate base wine and more than thirty Alpine herbs combine for an elegant nose and complex palate. This is the mixologists go to brand, for the superior cocktail. On its own, it is fantastic with goat cheeses and shellfish, it also adds depth and an herbal character to your cooking that white wine cannot. Great for poaching fresh seafood!

Don Ziehm Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Fontodi Chianti Classico

Reg $36.99 | Gazette Special $32.99

Fontodi is located in the heart of Chianti Classico precisely in the valley which lies south of the town of Panzano and is called the "Conca d'Oro" (the golden shell because of its amphitheater shape). Made from organic grapes (actually farmed using biodynamic principles), this succulent wine delivers balsamic aromas and juicy black cherry flavors layered with cinnamon and white pepper. It's radiant and structured, with big round tannins and edgy acidity. This is "World Class" Chianti Classico,that rivals some of Italy's finest wines. Definitely worth seeking, and if you have the opportunity, stock up and watch it develop into something even greater. 92 points Wine Advocate 2010

Brian Moore Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Carne Humana Napa Valley Proprietary Red

Reg $32.99 | Gazette Special $27.99

Carne Humana, rather grizzly in translation, is actually named for Rancho Carne Humana, a Napa Valley land grant issued in 1841. The wine, true to its origins, is purely Napa Valley, and is a marriage of some old vines inclusive of Petite Sirah, Petite Verdot and Zinfandel as well as some of the more provincial grapes. The grapes were harvested, sorted and co-fermented, providing a more thorough integration from the very beginning. The wine is full bodied yet harmonious, with earthy flavors of black fruits, dried berries, licorice, leather, black olive and a rusticity that lends well to game, grilled meats, ribs, sausages and any full flavored dish you can throw at it. A fun, unique and willing participant for your next grillfest.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Barnett Napa Valley Spring Mountain Merlot

Reg $59.99 | Gazette Special $49.99

Fiona and Hal Barnett created this vineyard and winery in 1983 with the intent of producing small amounts of hand crafted estate Cabernet Sauvignon. Since the first vintage of Barnett Vineyards, Spring Mountain has proven to deserve its own AVA and become known as a unique meso-climate. The 2011 Merlot is deceptively bright in its youth. Fragrant raspberry and soft white pepper spice are balanced with sweet vanilla and deep fennel. After a few swirls of the glass, black cherry and blueberry tart aromas emerge with some subtle gravel and stones. The mouth feel is silky and lush with more of the same range of fruit as the nose, but with a larger degree of minerality. The tannins are moderately supple and it balances out well with the dark cocoa and ripe raspberry finish. This wine will age beautifully over the next 7-8 years.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Louis de Sacy Brut Rose Grand Cru

Reg $42.99 | Gazette Special $35.99

There were vineyards around the village of Verzy for a thousand years before the Sacy family arrived in the 17th century. The family has been tending those vineyards for almost 400 years and today Alain Sacy cultivates 20 hectares (75 acres) of grapes and produces Champagne of the highest quality. Louis de Sacy Brut Rose Grand Cru has got to be one of the best wine values in the store. 100% Grand Cru-rated vineyards and 12 generations of experience add up to the same quality that you can pay three times as much for in other Champagnes. Since World War Two some Champagne houses have been taken over by marketing geniuses and those Champagnes are a success story like no other. But smaller, family producers like Louis de Sacy base their success on quality alone. The Brut Rose is a light style with an exuberant mousse carrying flavors of bread dough, apple, pear and red berries. It is nervy and balanced with a crisp finish.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Momokawa Diamond Sake

Reg $13.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

Off-dry with melon and tropical fruit flavors with spice and mineral notes. Junmai Ginjo: Made with only rice, water, yeast and koji with rice milled to 60% of its original size. Simply delicious when paired with scallops and oysters, exceptional with halibut, grilled poultry and herbal salads. A truly intriguing match for dry pasta dishes like penne tossed with feta, parmesan & roasted pine nuts.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Domenio de Eguren Protocolo Rose

Reg $7.99 | Gazette Special $6.99

With a deep red transparency like a sunlit garnet and an intense fragrance of berries, cherries and spice, this 50/50 Tempranillo/Bobal blended rose is a soft and elegant way to say goodbye to the waning months of summer while welcoming the many flavors of ripe stone fruits and lighter dishes. Cherries and strawberries dominate this dry medium bodied sipper produced in the Manchuela region immediately east of La Mancha. And while the finish may be soft and supple, this rose will truly commit itself to your memory.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

Marques de Caceres Rioja Rose

Reg $7.99 | Gazette Special $6.99

I love roses, they're my favorite summer wine. So food-friendly, they're the perfect wines for barbecues. This rose is great for those get-togethers where you're not quite sure what foods are going to be served. It starts with a vibrant strawberry-pink color, then the nose blends those strawberries in with lovely raspberry and floral notes. It is fresh, juicy but dry and balanced on the palate. Extremely quaffable and versatile, it will go with just about anything that might be set onto your summertime table: from tapas and paella to burgers and your mom's famous macaroni salad. Don't be afraid of the pink wine, grab a couple bottles and go, you won't go wrong.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Chateau La Gordonne Provence Rose

Reg $18.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

Chateau La Gordonne is a unique property in Provence, covering an area with some 300 hectares of vineyard planted on an exceptional, seaward-facing plateau of shale. The vineyard enjoys a very special microclimate as its winters are mild and the summers are hot and bone dry, allowing the vines to soak up heat of the Provencal sun. A wide range of varietals typical to Provence are found at this domain, including Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, and Rolle, the main grapes of this particular rose. The bouquet opens with a beautiful finesse and delicacy, all enveloped in vanilla and lightly toasted notes. On the palate, this wine is perfectly balanced with fresh fruit elements of strawberries and watermelon. This delicious gem really comes alive in the mouth, giving the wine its nice length. 88 points Wine Enthusiast 2013

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Domaine de la Robiniere Single Estate Vouvray Sec

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

With historical reference dating back to the 16th century, the vineyards of Vouvray only recently gained AOC status in 1939. The Ramibault family, with Vincent now at the helm with son Julien already making inroads, have farmed this region since the early 1900's. The Domaine de la Robiniere estate is the family parcel that they work from farm to table, and their humble parcel boasts some of the best terroir in the region. The family caves have even been hand excavated by their own family members. The wines are bright, fresh and exotic, with loads of green apple, white peach, white flowers and an integrated mineral and citrus zest intertwined to maintain the freshness that is the signature of the grape and the dynamic region. Choose from the crisp Sec or, the more supple and equalizing demi-sec, both are terrific examples of a small family producer that puts quality before the banker. Pair with fresh seafood, shellfish, poultry, Asian and spicy dishes. Also, great as an aperitif!

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Margerum M5 Santa Barbara County Proprietary Red

Reg $23.99 | Gazette Special $20.99

The M stands for Margeum, and the 5 stands for the 5 grape varietals used in making this Chateauneuf-du-Pape style blend. M5 is always all about the Grenache, they then add Counoise, Mourvedre, Cinsault, and Syrah. Blending these grapes together is the trick that Margerum does all too well. Doug Margerum, founder of Santa Barbara's The Wine Cask certainly knows his stuff. This wine is pure silkiness from opening to last drop. Loaded with bold berries and black fruits with fig, pretty spices and traces of fresh herbs. I was turned on to this wine about 9 years ago, and it has been a "go to" ever since. Put this up against your favorite barbecue foods.

Michael Contreras Wine Specialist Beverly West

Vina Cobos El Felino Malbec

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

This wine is made by legendary Napa Valley winemaker Paul Hobbs, who came to Mendoza in 1988 and met Nicolas Catena, owner of the Catena Zapata winery, the biggest winery in Argentina, and helped them reform their wine making practices to become export worthy. This rich red carries a deep magenta hue and aromas of dark berries and anise. On the palate, intense, pure flavors of just-picked raspberries, black plum and graphite unfold in velvety layers. It finishes with firm tannins and notes of cedar. I like to pair this wine with simple fare, hamburgers, pizza and tri-tip roast.

Michael Gregory Wine Specialist Santa Monica

La Quercia Montepulciano d' Abruzzo Reserva

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

This is a wonderful expression one of Tuscany's most under-rated classic regions. I have savored the "normale" bottlings many a time, with their tasty dark fruits, solid tannic grip that is oh so suited to spicy pizzas and pasta. However, the Reserva is in a totally different league. No shortcuts are taken here. Quercia's wine is 100% organic, with admirable regard for the land from which it farmed. Oh so balanced and beguiling with mixed fruit notes, not jammy, but crisp and inviting, just enough to make you ask for a little more. A delight with full flavored sauces like Bolognese, Puttanesca, or other hearty dishes, you have met your soul mate.

Alex Brideau Wine Specialist Westchester

Bodegas San Alejandro Las Rocas Garnacha

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $10.99

Ah, Garnacha! What a wonderful, friendly grape! This is the variety that fills in the spaces in many blends in Southern Rhone and the warmer vineyards of California with ripe, fruity flavor, body and color. But it is in Spain that Garnacha comes into its own. The flavors become more complex and the textures hit higher levels of silkiness and structure. Garnacha from Las Rocas comes from a variety of vineyard sites in Calatayud, each with a different soil type and meso-climate. These rocky, nutrient-poor soils are the key. The winemaking style is one of less intervention allowing the flavors to reflect the vineyard, not the winemaker. This is a totally friendly wine, with flavors of cherry, dried berries and other more complex, spicy notes. The acidity and tannins are gentle; it's ready to drink now. Serve it cool at your next cook out, with grilled sausages, seasoned meats and aged Manchego.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Damilano Barbera d'Asti

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Violet and burgundy in appearance with brilliant tones in the nose and palate of bitter sweet Marasca cherries. Balanced acidity and herbal notes of rosemary, oregano and anise. What remains is a glass full of complimentary opposites. Subdued olfactory notes of violets, sarsaparilla and flint against pronounced cherries. Definitely the flavors of bitter rhubarb and licorice against tart plums pleasantly welcomed like dark cocoa with a long finish both dry and full. Absolutely the abundance of minerality for fewer than twenty dollars that begs you to question the price of a modest Burgundy. And in the end, a lovely wine that pairs well with salami and cheese, grilled cuts of lamb and beef, game birds and most anything equally Italian.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

David Bruce Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $21.99

Winemaker David Bruce discovered wine through an interest in food and cooking while in medical school. During the winery's first 25 years, he operated the winery while maintaining a full-time dermatology practice until he retired from his practice in 1985. If one word could sum up this wine it would be "balance." The nose and palate feature bright red and black cherry notes, a splash of raspberry with subtle undercurrents of moss, earth and weathered wood. There is a lushness to this wine, but also just the right amount of acidity to cleanse the palate while leaving the wine's richness deliciously intact. This would be a great red for white wine drinkers. Enjoy on its own or paired with casual summer fare like chicken, turkey or salmon salad, herb roasted veggies or kale salad.

Erin Kinney Wine Specialist Manhattan Beach

Buoncristiani Napa Valley Chardonnay

Reg $44.99 | Gazette Special $39.99

Buoncristiani Family Winery is a collaboration of four brothers born into a wine-loving Italian family in Napa Valley. In 1999 the brothers commercially founded Buoncristiani Family Winery. This Chardonnay has wonderful aromas of apples, pears and honeysuckle so good you'll find it hard to stop smelling it. The palate is greeted with a minerality and balanced acidity, with secondary flavors of integrated new French oak richness framed by a full mid palate and a long lingering finish. This wine pairs well with sauteed soft shell crabs burre blanc or broiled fresh Lake Superior whitefish from our award winning Seafood Department.

David Yaquinto Specialist Palm Desert

William Hill Bench Blend Napa Valley Chardonnay

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $25.99

The William Hill Estate Winery is located in a very special place in the Napa valley, the Silverado Bench. The vineyards are set on the bench lands, just off the valley floor in volcanic soil. The Bench Blend Chardonnay comes from the very best, hand-selected sites in these vineyards. This is a Chardonnay that is a rich, full-bodied expression of the grape. It has aromas of ripe peach, baked apples and pear. On the palate, the fruit is rich and luscious with toasty oak and hints of caramel. The acidity balances out the fruit and body of this wine leading to a lengthy, mouthwatering finish. An excellent choice for crab cakes, salmon, all white fleshed fish and veal.

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Toques et Clochers Limoux Chardonnay Terroir Oceanique

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Limoux? Yet another underdog region that is scarcely mentioned or even heard of. The vineyards are at fairly high elevation overlooking the Mediterranean coast, contiguous to the medieval fortress town of Caracassonne, in the foothills of the Pyrenees. Duly credited for the original founding of sparkling wine, well before the more famous Dom Perignon, it has earned standing by delivering some classy wines worthy of attention. Toques et Clochers boasts a series of unique terroirs, or individual climates that are well reflected in each of its Chardonnays. Terroir Oceanique, a generous, well apportioned glass full of opulent stone fruits, white flowers, notes of vanilla, subtle brioche and almond tones. The cooler high altitude influence maintains the vibrant acidity keeping the rich and ripe flavors in check. This is a wonderful foil for grilled salmon, halibut, poultry and even veal dishes.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Domaine des Vieux Pruniers Sancerre

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $19.99

Sauvignon Blanc has long been my favorite white wine varietal, especially the amazing offerings from the Loire Valley in France. Christian Thirot-Fournier and his wife tend to their roughly 10 hectares of vines, including 7 hectares of Sauvignon Blanc planted to chalky limestone soils. Together they raise their wines from start to finish, from growing the grapes to bottling the wines. This 100% Sauvignon Blanc is a perennial gem and worth being sought out by not only fans of Sauvignon Blanc, but anyone looking for a well-balanced, delicious racy white to accompany your summertime festivities. Pale yellow in color, it has delicate mineral notes of chalk and slate with citrus and melon fruit on the nose. On the palate, flavors of lime, nectarine, pear and orange zest mingle seamlessly braced by firm acidity on the clean finish. Perfect with goat cheese, grilled salmon, fried oysters, or my personal favorite, sushi.

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Westwood Village

Walter Hansel Lake County Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $15.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

Walter Hansel's father acquired his skills making wine and vineyard management with the help of Tom Rochioli, and since 1996 has made some of the most stellar Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs on this side of the pond. However, here is a consistent "sleeper" that is oh so tasty and affordable. This Sauvignon Blanc is produced from a vineyard that is farmed to his specifications in Lake County. Nice subtle fresh herb notes are nicely offered in the nose and compliment the clean, refreshing tastes. Just a wonderful match with steamed clams, mussels and a crisp salad garnished with just a little olive oil and rice vinegar.

Alex Brideau Wine Specialist Westchester

Bertani Sereole Soave

Reg $15.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

Bertani was founded in 1857 by brothers Gaetano and Giovan Battista Bertani, prosperous wine merchants who believed that quality winemaking held the key to the future. Located near Verona in the province of Veneto in northeast Italy, Casa Vinicola Bertani is one of the region's most important and influential wine producers. This delicious Soave, from the Sereole single vineyard site, offers up sweet scents of pear and floral notes followed by flavors of pineapple and melon. There is good mid-palate weight with a long, mellow and harmonious finish. Excellent with appetizers, cheeses, grilled vegetables, soups, and roasted white meats.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Martin Codax Albarino

Reg $15.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

Our grilling season is not over just yet! As we continue to sear our steaks and filets and now even our peaches, one must remember the white wines of summer. During the final stretches of Summer, drinking Spain's coastal white wine has been a new way to enjoy meals. Rias Baixas is the region where the Albarino grape prospers with brilliant and zesty aromas of lemons and limes, white flowers and the sea. With flavors of mixed citrus, tangerine, peaches, and honeysuckle it can be a new favorite for Pinot Grigio fans, and if you enjoy a great wine with fish on the grill; this is the perfect wine pairing for you. Albarino wines can be served with creamy semi-soft cheeses, and pairs well with sushi and Mediterranean cuisine. This is a delicious wine that pairs with a great deal of your favorite summer time favorites, or just as a palate refresher.

William Buford Wine Specialist Hollywood

Ontanon Vetiver Rioja Bianca

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

Bodega Ontanon is a multi-generation, family-owned winery located in Rioja Baja. 620 acres of vineyard land sit high in the Sierra Yerga Mountains outside of the township of Quel, which has been one of Rioja's outstanding winemaking centers for three centuries. Ontanon Vetiver is composed of 100% Viura, a grape indigenous to Rioja, but known in other parts of Spain as Macabeo. Viura is characterized by its vibrant and lively expression of the clay and limestone-rich soil in which it is grown. The Ontanon Vetiver is aged for nearly six months in oak and for an additional six months in bottle prior to release. The wine displays subtle floral notes as well as a voluptuous mouth feel, reminiscent of tropical fruit, grapefruit, and a touch of white pepper. It is well balanced, with a fine line of natural acidity and a round, full-bodied profile that pairs perfectly with seafood, fish, cream-based pasta sauces and roasted chicken.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena