The Grapevine Gazette

September 3 - 30, 2014

Great trivia question about this month - September begins on the same day of the week as December every year, because there are 91 days separating September and December, which is a multiple of seven (the number of days in the week). No other month ends on the same day of the week as September in any year. This month also tips its hat to the passing summer months and heralds in the upcoming holiday frenzy. September comes from the Latin word septem, which translated means "seven". Originally the seventh of ten months on the oldest known Roman calendar, with March being the first month of the year until perhaps as late as 153 BC. After the calendar reform that added January and February to the beginning of the year, September became the ninth month, but retained its name. Perhaps it was superstitious to alter it. Regardless, wonderful things transpire in this month (are you listening football junkies), including another lively and eclectic offering of wines to please all palates. So revel in this month's selections, and remember to drink outside the box.

Orin Swift Machete California Proprietary Red

Reg $48.99 | Gazette Special $42.99

This blend of Petit Sirah, Syrah and Grenache is almost as hot and racy as its label (which comes in 12 distinct iterations). Unabashed hedonism is the name of the game here, and big, bold flavors of blackberry and cassis stand out in this voluptuous, mouth-coating potion. Clocking in at nearly 16% alcohol this baby can definitely hold its own during cocktail hour, but can also kick it during the main course, especially if there is thick, juicy red meat involved.

Erin Kinney, Wine Specialist, Manhattan Beach

Hawley Russian River Valley Zinfandel Ponzo Vineyard

Reg $27.99 | Gazette Special $23.99

Hawley Winery is located near Healdsburg, overlooking the Dry Creek Valley. John Hawley started the Winery in 1996, after 20 years of winemaking at some of California most influential wineries. Today. John and his two sons, Paul and Austin Hawley, produce unique wines from their certified organic vineyards and select Sonoma County grapes. This Zinfandel shows bright aromas of raspberry with ripe flavors of red plum and wild strawberries. The finishes remarkably long with spicy vanilla and brambly flavors lingering. This wine typically drinks best in its youth, and being recently bottled, could benefit from another year or so of bottle aging before being at its best. Enjoy with grilled tri-tip steak, wood-fired pizza and chicken fajitas.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

BV Muscat de Beaulieu 375 ml

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $10.99

Most Moscatos have an alcohol percentage somewhere in the 5 -8% range, where this little beauty pushes the envelope to 11%. Don't let that scare you though, the flavors and scents of honeysuckle, ripe peach, pear and apricots will overcome you. It's also not just for dessert anymore, artichokes and asparagus pair well with this flavor packed sweetie, and something like vanilla ice cream shouldn't be ruled out. Enjoy.

Michael Contreras Wine Specialist Beverly West

Nolet's Silver Dry Gin

Reg $56.99 | Gazette Special $49.99

My parents drank cocktails. When I got into this business wine drinking in America was just taking off. A couple generations have gone by and it seems like the cocktail culture has returned, with a twist. Thanks to creative bartenders and artisanal distillers, gin is being reborn. There is no stringent definition for this spirit and the door is open to experimentation. The only real rule - more of an understanding, really - is that juniper needs to be among the aromatics. One of the tastiest of the new gins is Nolet's Silver Dry Gin. The first thing to do after you get home with a bottle is stir some with ice and strain into a chilled martini glass. Sniff and taste. Along with some of the more or less usual botanicals, including citrus, orrisroot, licorice and of course juniper, are other, more unusual ones like white peach, raspberry, and Turkish rose. The texture is velvety, slightly sweet and decidedly floral. Now the stage is set for you to invent the next generation of cocktails.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Wolf Trap Western Cape Syrah~Mourvedre~Viognier

Reg $9.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

This unique blend from South Africa has everything you could ask for in a food friendly wine including the price. 66% Syrah, 32% Mourvedre and 2% Viognier combine for a well-balanced aromatic slightly spicy offering. The addition of Viognier, following the French tradition, mellows the mix and adds complexity to the bouquet. It will complement most red meat dishes but is versatile enough for appetizers or to enjoy on its own.

Don Ziehm Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Heitz Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $44.99 | Gazette Special $39.99

This icon of the Napa Valley continues to provide excellent reds to the masses, and this Cabernet does not disappoint. The wine is immediately captivating with its delicious aroma of crushed blackberry and notes of cassis. Deep berry flavors explode in the mouth in a delightful integration of varietal complexity. This is a big wine to linger over, impressively balanced with velvety tannins on the finish. A great choice when matched with your favorite cut of steak, our own stuffed hamburger patties and tri tip, be it Wagyu or our regular cut.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Levendi Sweet Water Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $34.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

The Gianulias' family has a strong Greek tradition of private wine making dating back to 1926 in the Napa Valley. The Greek word "Levendi" means to celebrate life. Lovely vanilla and sandalwood notes with plum and wild cherry on the nose, rich, full bodied California Cabernet flavors with smoky oak notes, moderate tannins and an almost Syrah like element. Youthful in bold black fruits, but drinking well now for those who like a full Napa Valley blackberry and plum jam experience. Pair with rich cuts of red meat.

Michael Gregory Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Field Recordings Fiction California Proprietary Red

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Considered a mutt in varietal pedigree, but conversely a smorgasbord of delectable nuances to an open-minded wine lover, Field Recordings Fiction Red is a blend of Zinfandel, Tempranillo, Petite Sirah, Touriga Nacional, Mourvedre, Grenache and Cinsault. Andrew Jones has trodden through the lion's share of the Central Coast's vast vineyards in his nurseryman's career, so Jones knows quality fruit. The crafty melange of textures and flavors within is nothing short of fun and challenging as it continues to change and develop in the glass. At once it is chock full of mixed berry fruit yet an undercurrent of earthy, rustic, tobacco, dried herbs, licorice and cocoa provide a gripping unique and interesting finality that beckons for a savory cut of beef, lamb, venison or grilled mushrooms. This gem will continue to compliment dishes well beyond the summer grilling season and into Fall roasts and more hearty fare.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Maldonado Napa Valley Proprietary Red

Reg $37.99 | Gazette Special $32.99

Nearly half a decade ago, Lupe Maldonado moved to the Napa Valley from a small town in Michoacan, Mexico to work in the wine industry. After a few years he was hired as full time vineyard specialist at Sterling where he remained for many years. Newton hired him for their new project making him vineyard manager and after 30 years he was able to buy his own vineyard land where he and his son now craft their own wines. 2010 Proprietary Napa Valley Red is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah. On the nose, gorgeous scents of lavender, nutmeg and fruit. Velvety red plum notes turn into a great expression of blueberries, cherry, black cassis with an opulent richness. Enjoy with beef, lamb, pasta marinara, and rich cheeses.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Annabella 5 California Red Blend

Reg $14.99 | Gazette Special $12.99

Named for the winemaker's grandmother, this hearty stylish red boasts rich fruit and very bold character while being value conscious. Produced from select Napa and Sonoma vineyards, this blend of five varietals, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petite Verdot, Syrah and Zinfandel offers a very fruity, spicy attack upon opening the bottle. Your evening repast will blessed with this delightful charmer when served with grilled meats and poultry.

Alex Brideau Wine Specialist Westchester

Perdigal Cotes du Rhone Rouge

Reg $11.99 | Gazette Special $9.99

This classic Southern Rhone blend - Grenache, Syrah, Carignan and Mourvedre - is named in honor of Leon Perdigal, the first cellar master at their parent winery in Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Ogier, when they were founded in 1859. The nose has intense aromas of red fruits and spice, with subtle pepper and garrigue (herbes de Provence) notes. This medium-bodied gem offers up red and black fruit compote flavors, and shows good length on the finish. Enjoy with all spiced Mediterranean lamb dishes or barbecued meats such as pork. As we segue into the Fall/Winter period, this type of red is a great match for your holiday related meals.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Layer Cake Primitivo

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

This well made Primitivo (genetic equivalent to Zinfandel) hails from the Puglia region of Italy and is, in my opinion, the most complex and versatile wine in the Layer Cake lineup. The nose comes right at you with loads of inky black fruit, spice and white pepper notes. Layered and rich on the palate with jammy black cherries, espresso and a hint of truffles all pleasantly balanced with undertones of spice and oak nuances. A must at your next barbeque, pair this beauty with chicken or your favorite cut of beef. It also works surprisingly well as one of the few red wines that compliment spicy dishes due to its soft texture and supple fruit-forward profile.

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Westwood Village

Espelt Old Vines Garnacha

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $9.99

Garnacha is the Spanish name for Grenache, which is widely planted throughout the south of France and Spain, but believe me when I say it, those Spaniards do a great job. This is an amazingly rich, earthy wine that harnesses notes of lavender, cherries, and juicy blackberries. It has aromas of minerals, black pepper, with a slight bittersweet cocoa note and has a great sense of body. This Garnacha can be paired with chili, steak, rib-roasts (my favorite pairing) and even a meat-lover's pizza. 90 points Wine Advocate 2012

William Buford Wine Specialist Hollywood

Gallo Signature Series Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $25.99

You know the old saying about two sides to a coin. Well it's appropriate for this particular wine. You see the name "Gallo" and one thing comes to mind. But then you note the winemaker's name associated with this product, Gina Gallo, the granddaughter of Julio Gallo. Gallo makes inexpensive wine for the masses on one side of the coin, and highly rated complex wines for the passionate aficionados on the other. This is where Gina Gallo comes in - After more than two decades as a winemaker and with incomparable access to some of California's most sought-after vineyards, Ms. Gallo embarked on a journey to tell her family's story through a collection of wines and a return to hands-on, artisanal winemaking. This outstanding Pinot Noir proves it - complex aromas and flavors of cherry, pomegranate, boysenberry and lavender exude the hallmark flavors of the Santa Lucia Highlands. Well-integrated notes of oak and vanilla from barrel aging complement a soft, silky mouth feel to create a rich expression of this renowned Pinot region. There is no press yet on this new 2012 release, but the last two vintages have scores 90+ and 93 points respectively from the Wine Advocate and Wine Enthusiast.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Talbott Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay Sleepy Hollow Vyd

Reg $36.99 | Gazette Special $32.99

The vineyard is situated on 585 prime acres of bench land in the Santa Lucia Highlands, 13 miles south of Monterey. On the palate, it is lush and elegant, with a creamy mouth feel and flavors of white peach and pear. This wine has come to define Talbott's style with power, richness, integrated oak and bright cool climate acidity. Pair with roasted chicken or pasta with cream sauces. Cheers!

Brian Moore Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Meiomi California Pinot Noir

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

Meiomi owner and winemaker Joe Wagner follows a long family tradition of winemaking, his father Chuck is the winemaker for Caymus Vineyards. Meiomi has a bright, deep garnet color. Aromas of cola, blackberries and a sweet cedar note. The first taste shows the velvety richness of this wine then flavors of bright cherry, cola with undertones of vanilla, leather and high style oak emerge to a lingering finish. This wine will pair well with a variety of soft and semi-soft cheeses, grilled lamb chops and salmon done with a bourbon glaze.

David Yaquinto Specialist Palm Desert

Cuvaison Carneros Chardonnay

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $24.99

Established in 1969, Cuvaison is a Napa Valley estate vineyard and winery that produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown exclusively on its certified sustainable vineyard in Carneros, Napa Valley. This Chardonnay displays lovely aromatics of honeysuckle, lily, acacia blossom and clove spice. Upon tasting this wine, it demonstrates a charming mix of white peach, apricot, nectarine and lime zest all tied to a bright, long, refreshing finish. Match with grilled poultry, seafood and shellfish such as king crab and lobster.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley Sparkling Wine

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $21.99

Roederer Estate originates from a cool western corner of the Anderson valley, a sight that was chosen because of its climatic similarities to the champagne region of France. Chardonnay and Pinot Noir dominate in this sparkler, but there is also some Pinot Meunier making this a crisp, complex, yeasty, bubbly. This is a dry style cuvee showing characteristics of green apples, honey, and bread yeast. It is extremely food friendly and also makes a superb aperitif. A perfect pairing with all lightly sauced white fleshed fish, salmon, and all smoked meats.

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Joseph Perrier Brut Cuvee Royale

Reg $39.99 | Gazette Special $34.99

The word "bubbles" invokes images of summer, festivities and good clean fun, which translates well to the wine world. What is often overlooked is the process of making this divine potion. The grapes, primarily Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, come from a unique climate ideal for high acidity and low ripeness, lending to a vibrant, crisp base wine. After making the wine, a secondary fermentation occurs in the bottle trapping the gasses and integrating them into the liquid causing the sparkle that makes it unique. This process is not only labor intensive, but time consuming. The time in the bottle on the secondary lees is where the character really starts to develop. Styles vary by house and region, so there are multitudes to choose from. A Farm favorite for decades is the small house of Joseph Perrier. Grown in dense chalky soils, the Cuvee Royale boasts almost equal parts of Chardonnay, Pinots Noir and Meunier, the red fruits provide an elegant purity while the Chardonnay provides lift and power. The Cuvee Royale is generous and richly textured and is ideal with anything from the sea, grilled poultry and is a phenomenal toast to bring in a well-deserved weekend.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Fattoria Laila Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi

Reg $13.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

Here we have yet again another in a growing list of wonderful dry white Italian wines that is not Pinot Grigio. Very light on the nose with a faint hint of peaches, this wine fully touches all receptors of the palate with lemons, grapefruit, tart green apples and a touch of both saffron and clove. It's light to medium in body (somewhere between Sauvignon Blanc and Chardonnay) with a lemon meringue type of feel, outstanding acidity and raw almonds on the finish. As with most Italian wines, this is truly meant to pair with food. Some suggestions are Pecorino Romano cheese, antipasto or fennel salads, steamed mussels and even a sampling of green olives.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

Peju Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

The Peju family has been making wine since 1982, when patriarch Tony Peju bought 30 acres of land in the Rutherford area of Napa Valley. The entire family, Tony, wife Herta ("H.B."), and now daughters Lisa and Ariana, are all passionately committed to making fine sustainably-grown wines from this magical location. Bright and lush, Peju's Sauvignon Blanc has tropical and citrus notes on the nose, and then more intense pineapple and lemon tartness on the palate. It finishes cleanly with crisp acidity and a hint of slate. Perfect for the end of summer/beginning of Fall get-togethers on the patio, this wine would pair beautifully with seafood kebabs, shrimp scampi, or a sliced baguette with an herbed goat cheese.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Dom Clef Du Recit Sancerre Blanc

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $19.99

A young, energetic, creative entrepreneur named Anthony Girardin decided to branch out from the safety of his father's winery and hone his talents on his own. An instant success out of the gate, Anthony just continues to improve. We discovered Anthony a couple years ago at a fair in Loire, and fell in love with his wines immediately. He purchased and revitalized an older declining estate with goals to set a new bar for Sancerre. With untamed enthusiasm, Anthony has almost single-handedly turned around the property using hand-me-downs and borrowed equipment (along with the support of the community) creating fantastic wines reflecting purity and place. His Sancerre Blanc (also makes a scant amount of rose and rouge) is classic with grapefruit, lime, chalk and wet stones with a zesty, cleansing, fresh herb infused lingering finish. In a regional tasting of literally dozens of competitors, Anthony's wines excelled. Grab the 2012's and savor them while you can as they are disappearing quickly. Perfect with shellfish, grilled vegetables, savory dishes and chevre.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Morro Bay California Chardonnay Sur Lie

Reg $9.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

Morrow bay, a historic fishing village located between Santa Barbara and Monterey, is the inspiration for this beautifully crafted Chardonnay. Using the classic Burundian "Sur Lie" fermentation method with French and American oak for 7 months this Chardonnay delivers luscious flavors of ripe apples, pears and pineapple with just a touch of toasty oak. The acidity makes for a balanced, refreshing finish. This wine will pair well with a wide variety of foods but especially seared sea scallops in a white port reduction sauce.

David Yaquinto Specialist Palm Desert

Meiomi California Chardonnay

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

Here's a new wine from the 5th generation of the Wagner family who have treated the world to the profound Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit is sourced from 3 distinct coastal regions, Santa Barbara, Monterey and Sonoma County. The wine bursts forward with enticing ripe citrus and subtle mineral notes. The fruit notes are very present when enjoyed on its own, affording a cooling respite from a busy day. Subtle minerality and creaminess comes to the forefront adding a wonderful charm to sea foods, especially salmon, swordfish or halibut.

Alex Brideau Wine Specialist Westchester