The Grapevine Gazette

November 4 - December 1, 2015

As we get chased out of October by ghosts and goblins, we run smack dab into pilgrims, Fall colors and one massive feast. November is that special bridge between festive holidays, where's it okay for an adult to act like a child and children get to dress up as adults; to living in a very pragmatic world where we want to believe in Santa Claus, flying reindeer and sneaking a kiss under an oddly named twig. And we love it all. It also allows us, wine connoisseurs, aficionados and wine geeks to offer up some really unique gems for your Thanksgiving meal. Yes, Chardonnay, Cabernet and Pinot Noir will always rule the roost, but these special offerings below follow the thought that for a very special occasion, to be shared with family and friends close by, should be enjoyed with truly unique wines that will stir fond memories while enticing your palate. As always, enjoy and drink outside the box.

Dry Creek Vyd. Heritage Vines Sonoma County Zinfandel

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

The Heritage Vines Sonoma Zin is a delicious and beautifully balanced version of this enticing grape. This vintage presents enticing aromatics of fresh blackberries, black cherry and toasty oak nuances. On the palate, complex flavors of licorice, raspberry and allspice give way to intriguing notes of pepper and sage. The tannins are silky and smooth with refined notes that please the senses. The Dry Creek Heritage Zinfandel is an outstanding wine and will pair marvelously with bacon wrapped, herb roasted turkey.

Gabriella Tardos Wine Specialist Westwood

Slingshot Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $17.99

Brother and sister, James and Caroline Stewart started this winery in 2007, using fruit from their Juliana Vineyard to craft great Napa Valley wine at an affordable price. 100% estate fruit using 90% Cabernet Sauvignon with Petite Verdot and Petite Sirah, this beauty is complex yet approachable now as it exhibits a bouquet of ripe raspberry, blueberry, and plum. The palate is full and textured with notes of chocolate and wild currant. The finish lingers with balanced acidity and chewy tannins with subtle notes of French oak. Crafted to complement, not over-power any of our ward winning steaks and roasts from the meat department.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Field Recordings Santa Ynez Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $17.99

When one thinks of Cabernet, Santa Ynez is not typically the first place that comes to mind. Over the years, many have learned through difficult trials, that in cooler climates, Cabernet doesn't exactly flourish. But there are zones that really do quite well, and Happy Canyon is one of the best examples. Happy Canyon is one of the warmest micro-climates in Santa Barbara, and sets on the east end of Santa Ynez Valley. It was planted beginning in the late 90's and achieved AVA status in 2009. It is ideally suited to the pursuit of both Bordeaux and Rhone varietals, which thrive in the warmer climes. The soils are unique, with various types of loam and minerals that run down the base of Los Padres range. The soils are well drained and poor in nutrients resulting in smaller more concentrated berries, which in turn make more concentrated wine. Roasted black fruits, cassis, subtle herbs, leather and notes of bitter chocolate in the finish, this wine will stand up well to roasted game meats, coffee rubbed sirloin, herbed and Mediterranean dishes.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Clos du Val Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $31.99 | Gazette Special $26.99

Clos du Val Winery was founded in 1972 by John Goelet and Bernard Porte and was one of the first wineries in the Stag's Leap District of Napa Valley. With the purchase of an additional 180 acre vineyard on the Carneros hillside, Clos du Val released its flagship 1972 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, a wine that was one of six Californian Cabernets to compete with French Bordeaux wines at the famous 1976 Paris Tasting. Clos du Val's Cabernet Sauvignon is well-balanced with flavors of currant and blackberry and hints of vanilla, toffee and carob that give way to smooth and long finish. Pair with braised short ribs, mushroom stroganoff, and roasted vegetables or enjoy alongside an artisanal blue cheese such as Point Reyes Original Blue.

Clint Fultz Wine Specialist Westlake Village

Canalicchio di Sopra Rosso di Montalcino

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $24.99

One of the great wines that rarely garner much attention, the Rosso di Montalcino is the baby brother to the noble Brunello di Montalcino. Made from specific clones of the renowned Sangiovese grape, it is a wine of great pedigree and stature, while maintaining a finesse and elegance. Treated much in the same way as Brunello, often times young vines or culled fruit that didn't make the cut are used in the early drinking version. Strict edicts mandate how much Brunello can be made per hectare, so there are surpluses that can well over-deliver a fantastic wine for short term enjoyment. Montalcino is a unique hamlet south of Siena whose charm works its way into the wines. Sour cherry, black currant, chocolate, mushroom are wound into this lovely enjoyable red. Marry with grilled well-marbled beef, herbed dishes, osso bucco or crown roast of pork.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Trefethen Napa Valley Dry Riesling

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

With the days of feasting on the horizon, the question of what wine to serve comes into play. Trefethen dry Riesling fits the bill. Whether the main course is turkey or ham, seafood or lamb, or simply serving or preparing, this wine will surely be a favorite. Lush and tropical, light and crisp with flavors of apple and dried apricots- A true crowd pleaser.

Michael Contreras Wine Specialist Beverly West

Trimbach Riesling d'Alsace

Reg $22.99 | Gazette Special $19.99

This is Alsatian Riesling at its best. This outstanding white is fresh, intense, and complex. The aromas of this wine range from forest floor and almonds to exotic spice. The structure is steely and packed with character. On the palate, the acidity of this Riesling is bracing and impressive in its depth and evolution of flavors. The flavors are of peaches, green apples and quince with hints of citrus peel. Honey and marzipan impart flavors as the finish lingers. A perfect pairing wine for goose, duck, Chinese, or Thai food.

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Joseph Perrier Brut Cuvee Royale NV

Reg $39.99 | Gazette Special $32.99

Joseph Perrier continues to be a house favorite. The style is brisk, refreshing, but quite full flavored and surprisingly complex. The house style has remained consistent for generations, and unlike the cooperatives and late to market brands, the majority of the fruit comes from their own vineyards and long term contracts that are also many decades old. Still under family control, they age their cuvees well beyond that of the commercial brands, and the resulting depth of flavor and intensity is nothing short of dazzling. Many flock to the big heavily marketed brands, largely because they are "safe" but in blind tastings year after year, the Joseph Perrier Cuvee Royale always comes out in the top few, well over the orange, gold, black label brands that are mass marketed and mass produced. Champagne is really one of those wines that shouldn't be hurried, when it is done properly and allowed to take its time, it is incredibly satisfying. And, Joseph Perrier represents an incredible value, few wines go through such a time consuming and painstaking process and deliver such luxury. Great with anything from the sea, glazed poultry, veal, bagels and lox, heck, Champagne goes with almost everything. It's not just for Holidays, it just makes them better.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

The Prisoner Wine Co. Thorn Napa Valley Merlot

Reg $39.99 | Gazette Special $34.99

Winemaker Jen Beloz, while working with her growers, came across small vineyard lots of Merlot, which had managed to survive being replanted to Cabernet Sauvignon. Inspired to preserve these remaining Merlot lots and introduce the distinct style of Napa Valley Merlot, Thorn was created. The wine, with a dollop of Syrah and Malbec added to the final blend, releases aromas of black cherry with hints of cedar and pencil lead. Dense flavors of dark fruits and rich plum are framed by velvety tannins and an opulent, lingering finish.

Michael Cristillo CSW, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Frederic Benoit Lavau Rasteau

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $15.99

If you're uninitiated with the appellation of Rasteau, don't be alarmed. You join over 99% of those who love Cotes du Rhone Village reds, Gigondas and Vacqueyras. From Its formation in the early 1940s until just recently, Rasteau was regulated to making sweet wines. The Lavau brothers have managed to not only make an excellent dry red blended from Grenache and Syrah, but capture the dry tannic qualities of Syrah that make Crozes and St Joseph so sought after. The nose blooms with dark berries, flint and fall spices. First taste impressions are rich leather, baked earth terroir, and medium body into a round palate coating wash of dark fruit. The finish lingers lovingly with a pleasant blend of acid and tannins that make this a well-priced intro for fans of deeper dry Cotes du Rhone reds.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

Vietti Barbera d'Asti Tres Vigne

Reg $18.99 | Gazette Special $15.99

Best known for its coveted, single-vineyard Barolos, Piedmont's Vietti winery also makes this lively, approachable Barbera. And when seeking an alternative to Cab or Pinot Noir for your holiday feast, this Italian gem will do the trick. Ripe red cherry aromas with hints of mineral and vanilla segue to the dry, medium bodied gem with refreshing acidity (making it perfect to pair with food) and soft tannins. The Barbera d'Asti Tre Vigne is well balanced with good integration of oak, complexity and a finish of red cherries. 90 points Wine Spectator 2012

Michael Cristillo CSW, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Medrano Mendoza Malbec

Reg $8.99 | Gazette Special $6.99

It displays an intense violet color. In the nose, outstanding red fruit aromas are combined with plum and violet notes as well as some toast and vanilla notes. In the mouth, it is a fruity wine with medium tannins as well as a juicy and balanced finish. Pair with tri-tip and various hard Spanish cheeses like Drunken Goat or Manchego.

Brian Moore Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Pelissero Dolcetto d'Alba Munfrina

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

The Pelissero family have been growers in the heart of Barbaresco for generations but they began producing their own wine in 1960. The Dolcetto vines are planted on slopes of sandy, calcareous and tufa-rich soils where this grape thrives. The Dolcetto Munfrina is one of the finest Dolcetti produced in Italy today. The wine is elegant and velvety, with raspberry, dark cherry, tobacco, and lavender flavors that are complex and balanced. It is full of bright young fruit and a multi-faceted character seldom seen with this grape varietal. This is achieved by controlled temperature fermentation, short (4 or 5 days) maceration, and 6 to 7 months in stainless steel casks plus 1 month in the bottle. It is a friendly partner for a variety of dishes ranging from heavier fowl (Thanksgiving feast!), stew, game, red-sauced pasta, or pizza.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Fort Ross Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Sea Slopes

Reg $31.99 | Gazette Special $27.99

Sea Slopes Pinot Noir is blended for earlier release and is ready to enjoy sooner than other Fort Ross Vineyard Pinot Noir. The dark ruby hue alludes to the black stone fruit characteristics that follow. Forward vivid plum and vibrant wild berry aromas are elegantly balanced by hints of rose, black tea and cedar. Generous blackberry and tangy plum gracefully evolve on the palate finishing with supple tannins and the signature minerality of the Fort Ross Vineyard's coastal terrior. Enjoy with pork, turkey and ham.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Bon Anno Carneros Napa Valley Pinot Noir

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

This juicy Pinot Noir opens with a vibrant blend of cranberry, strawberry, red apple and earth tones. A smooth mid-palate is anchored in vanillin and a light toastiness. The finish lingers on and is filled with fresh red fruits and hints of white pepper. Enjoy with your Thanksgiving meals.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Tantara Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $24.99

Located in the beautiful Santa Maria Valley along the Foxen Canyon Wine Trail, Tantara has been dedicated to producing the very finest Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah since 1997. They source the best fruit from top Central Coast growers and designate vineyards such as: Dierberg, Talley Rincon, La Colline (Laetitia) and Zotovich just to name a few. Over the years, this consistently excellent value Pinot has become synonymous with the holidays for my family and friends. Combining the best characteristics of Old and New World wines, the balance and elegance are undeniable. Aromas of red berry fruit, tart cherries, floral notes and wet soil greet the palate followed by a mouthful of ripe cranberry and strawberry, a hint of cola and forest floor/mushroom notes. The perfect accompaniment to your holiday feasts and gatherings, stock up and treat your guests to an experience they won't soon forget.

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Dom. Champs de Perdrix Bourgogne Pinot Noir

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

The home of Pinot Noir, Burgundy is a multi-faceted wonderland of villages, vineyards, and countryside. Few places on earth exhibit the same charm and old world feel. But in these unassuming hillsides and slopes lies some of the world's best Pinot Noir. Each village has its own unique characteristics, which is the allure of the region. Known for finesse and elegance, the Cote Chalonnaise is home to communes such as Givry, Mercurey and Montagny, among others, and delivers some of the best values on the market. Domaine Champs Perdrix is a vibrant, youthful and exuberant Pinot Noir with energy and fervor. The flavors are redolent of raspberry, black plum, red currants, subtle mushroom and a subdued woodsy note. Elegance is a virtue in this context; the wines purity is quite refreshing. It is well suited to roasts, red fleshed fish, roasted turkey and yes it is an ideal match with the hard to pair cranberry relish.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Tangent Edna Valley Viognier

Reg $14.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

My best suggestion for what white wine to match with your Thanksgiving feast, Viognier would be at the top of that list. Viognier, known as Condrieu in France (and the name of the village) is a rare and exotic expression when grown in a cool climate. In this case, that would be Edna Valley. Enticing and aromatic, Viognier especially shines when served with dishes such as spice-rubbed poultry, curries, shellfish and of course, the white meat of turkey. This gem begins with aromas of honey, apricots and white peaches. Creamy and full-bodied with perfect acidity, flavors of concentrated peaches and ripe cantaloupe are followed by a long floral finish.

Michael Cristillo CSW, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Zaca Mesa Santa Ynez Viognier

Reg $18.99 | Gazette Special $15.99

Here we are in my favorite time of year, the feasting season! When I want a white wine with holiday dinners, I reach for a Viognier, since I have found that Viognier's fruit, spiciness and minerality can stand up to a lot of dishes that the holiday table can offer. Zaca Mesa's gorgeous version of this wine fits that profile quite nicely. Starting with perfumed white flower notes on the nose, it goes on to yield honeyed citrus and stone fruit flavors and rounding out with spice and minerals on the finish. It pairs beautifully with roasted bird, earthy gravy, and many side dishes like vegetable casseroles or spicy yams. Enjoy the holiday season with the versatile white wine!

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Alexander Valley Vineyards Mendocino Gewurztraminer

Reg $10.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

Sourced from a CCOF farmed vineyard in Potter Valley, the AVV Gewurz is a delicious alternative to the same old whites. Rich aromas and flavors of yellow rose bush, lychee, and nutshell with a supple, vibrant, dry-yet-fruity light to medium body and a sleek, compelling, medium long finish with notes of peach skin and minerals. It's a delicious and well-balanced Gewurztraminer. Enjoy with crown roast of pork, ham and turkey.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

L' Hospitalite Bourgogne Chardonnay

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Chardonnay is arguably the most loved white wine in California, if not first, then a close second. But Chardonnay can vary widely by place and producer. From light and lively to ponderous and plump, what remains true is that we consume a fair amount of it. Ironically, Americans are drinking more wine, and France is drinking more Coca Cola. But Chardonnay's allure is that it has many faces and is very versatile, so it is often difficult to identify what you will be getting unless you have a good wine professional to help guide you. There seem to be two types of Chard drinker, the fan of the opulent, uber-rich buttery and oaky, or the lean, lively, minimally or no oaked vein, which is gaining popularity. So the L'Hospitalite Bourgogne Chardonnay is of the latter, with crisp apply fruit, citrus notes, a piquant youthful note, but still textural on the palate and showing a mineral component, that which usually accompanies a well-crafted Burgundy. L' Hospitalite is one to enjoy in the next few years and watch it develop, it certainly is priced for the populace, and it is a delicious food friendly find. Pair with white fleshed fish, cream sauces, marinated poultry or shellfish.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Claiborne & Churchill Central Coast Dry Riesling

Reg $14.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

This family owned winery has been crafting this traditional wine that I always have handy for family meals. They source cool Central Coast grapes and provide a wonderful homage to bone-dry Alsace styles. For a Thanksgiving dinner, this is a Riesling for the main course, not dessert. This wine has flavors of apples and tropical fruit such as nectarines and peaches. This is a refreshing wine that has floral jasmine notes that can complement many styles of food aside from your turkey staple. It is a delicious pairing with drier styles of cheese like Stilton with apricot and stands as an icon for dry white wines. Happy Holidays.

William Buford Wine Specialist Hollywood

Force of Nature Santa Maria Valley Pinot Gris

Reg $18.99 | Gazette Special $15.99

The owner of Force of Nature vineyards, Rob Murray, has in his diverse career overseen everything from large scale operations in Hawaii farming bananas and stone fruit, to boutique vineyards for small growers on the Central Coast of California. He loves wine but he is passionate about farming. This terrific white offers up delicate up a fruit-scented nose that reveals layers of mango, jasmine tea, cinnamon, and cantaloupe. Smooth, smoky toasted walnut and honey balance the fruits, and give way to a crisp, lingering finish full of freshly cut grass and peaches. This will be a great match with your turkey meat or any other roasted poultry or white meat you may have in mind. 90 points Anthony Dias Blue 2013

Michael Cristillo CSW, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Pichot Vouvray

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

The Pichot family is one of the oldest in Vouvray with origins as viticulturists going back to 1739. Their vineyard holdings are located mostly at the top of the village in the prime "Premiere Coteau" sites of Le Mont, Haut Lieu and Le Marigny with other holdings scattered throughout the appellation. Harvesting is mostly done by hand and yields are kept low and all vineyards are now farmed organically. Aromas of pear candied fruit and spice with hints of honey and that distinctive chalkiness that is so typical of great Vouvray. Fine, brilliantly focused flavors with exceptional texture and length.

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Maddalena Vineyards Monterey Riesling

Reg $11.99 | Gazette Special $9.99

Riesling is an underrated grape among American wines. When planted in areas with the right conditions it can achieve balance and complexity rivaling the great wines of Germany. The Monterey viticultural area traces the Salinas river valley 90 miles from the county line northwest to river's mouth at Monterey. The Salinas Valley acts like a funnel, drawing cool air inland from the coast. Riesling is planted in the cooler areas closer to the Pacific. The long growing season contributes to the intense varietal flavors. Irresistible aromas of wild flowers, apricots and honey wash over your senses as you swirl and sniff. Take a sip and friendly tree-fruit flavors take over. Mineral-laced acidity and sweetness are in an almost elegant balance. This wine can be enjoyed by itself on the patio, or with a wide variety of foods from fresh fruit to roasted chicken.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Dominique Piron Beaujolais Rose

Reg $13.99 | Gazette Special $10.99

The Romans started growing grapes for wine in Beaujolais in the 3rd century. Dominique Piron's oldest known ancestor got into it in 1590. Almost 500 years later the Piron family is still making wine in Beaujolais. They grow the Gamay grape, which was brought out of Croatia by the Huns. Gamay, when grown right, can be excellent, with fruity elegance and structure. When not grown right it is bland and thin. This wine comes from a parcel called the Clos du Vieux Bourg which enjoys ideal exposure. A variety of soils gives the wine complexity. This wine is creamy and balanced, with juicy strawberry and peach flavors. It has notes of spice and herb and a fresh finish. I recommend it as an aperitif before holiday feasts, though many would stay with it through the meal.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester