The Grapevine Gazette

July 1 - August 4, 2015

July is that warm, soothing mindset that creates the perfect bridge from Spring to the pending Fall months ahead. And with this mid-year month comes all types of family and friend inspired celebrations - from Independence Day weekend, beach parties, baseball games and road trips to hitched trailers leaving their tread marks on the American highway. Let your hair down, find the sunscreen, throw on the swimwear, fire up the barbeque, take in a sporting event or find that secluded camp site somewhere and convene with Mother Nature. The Ruby is this month's official stone, and this color suits many of the wines offered - Never fear lovers of crisp, scintillating whites, as there are ample offerings to satisfy your discretionary palates. As the saying goes, "there is something for everyone" to take pleasure in, much like this month's ability to gratify all avenues of your summer activity. As always, enjoy and drink outside the box.

Dom de la Cote L'Ange Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Reg $49.99 | Gazette Special $39.99

Chateauneuf-du-Pape is one of the most heralded and widely respected regions in the south of France. Named for the castle in Avignon built under the reign of John XXII, ironically, wine production in the zone really didn't gain respect until the early 20th century. But now it is the King of the Southern Rhone. The vineyards are rugged and quite varied, with numerous soil types that contribute to the aggressive often majestic style that is Chateauneuf. The trademark soils of the region are littered with pebbles and or large stones that absorb the scorching summer heat maintaining their temperatures, continuing to ripen the grapes throughout the twilight hours. Grenache, the dominant variety, constitutes about 70% of the blend, with equal parts Syrah and Mourvedre. The 2012 Cote de L'Ange is driven by chewy, mouth-filling expressions of black raspberry, dried cherry, licorice, leather, roasted meats, and garrigue, the wild chaparral that is indigenous to the area. It is powerful but not cumbersome, and delivers a fleeting smoke character that will complement grilled meats, savory dishes, wild mushrooms and aged hard cheeses. 92 Points The Wine Advocate.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Louis Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

The Martini family has crafted award- winning Cabernets since the wineries inception in 1933. Now, three generations later, Michael Martini continues his grandfather's winemaking tradition, crafting rich and distinctive cabernets from Napa and Sonoma's best vineyards. The Sonoma County Cabernet has flavors of red cherry, plum, and blackberry fruit with an underlying Dry Creek dustiness. Perfect for a summer evening BBQ.

Michael Contreras Wine Specialist Beverly Hills

Veraison Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Stagecoach Vyd

Reg $79.99 | Gazette Special $69.99

As we are deep into Summer, the heat is upon us and it is that time when we pull out our umbrellas and shades at 9 o 'clock in the morning, and begin our day of fun. We prepare our summer feast with something from the Napa Valley. Veraison is by the Krupp Brothers Vineyard, and has been a family venture of creativity and expression of the legendary Stagecoach Vineyard; Stagecoach fruit is sourced by a list of prominent wine labels, but I won't let them steal any thunder here. This Cabernet as well as most of their line-up is traditionally a Bordeaux style, focusing on deep and dark wood notes and black berries, jam, cassis centered with spices that give this wine a strengthened body. These exceptional wines show very well and deliver promising pairings with any cut of beef you can imagine.

William Buford Wine Specialist Hollywood

Tait The Ball Buster Barossa Valley Proprietary Red

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $17.99

The inspiration behind Tait Wines was Giovanni Tait (1927-1997), who migrated to Australia from Italy in 1957 to take up work as a cooper in the Barossa Valley. His high skill and craftsmanship in his chosen trade, traits learned from his father and grandfather, led him to take an active role in the production and maturation of wine in oak casks. A blend of 78% Shiraz, 12% Merlot and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, The Ball Buster has a pronounced nose of creme de cassis, mocha and dried plums with underlying hints of licorice. Rich, expressive and well-balanced, this full-bodied wine is bursting with black fruit flavor and velvety textured goodness. Dynamite with grilled meats and veggies. 91 points Stephen Tanzer International Wine Cellar 2012

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Seghesio Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

Reg $25.99 | Gazette Special $22.99

One of California's oldest wineries producing what many would consider to be California's native wine, Seghesio has constantly delivered 90 point plus winners from this entry level standard (and one time Wine Spectator top 10 wine of the year) to the individual single AVA offerings. Vivid and exciting on the nose with red berries, spice and sage. Underneath that bright aroma awaits the palate filling density of blueberry, blackberry and fine dusted coco tones with a mineralistic smokiness. Finishing both long and warm, it's refreshing acidity, delicate tannins and deep red color truly set this Zinfandel apart from the overly sweet and jammy donut fillers. Enjoy with every style of beef and pork dishes from barbeque, fillet mignon to braised dishes and more.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

Castiglion del Bosco Brunello di Montalcino

Reg $49.99 | Gazette Special $44.99

Universally deemed the Vintage of the Century by leading critics, 2010 has indeed delivered some astonishing wines from the hamlet of Montalcino. "Iconic" says one, "superb" and "compelling" says another, but what is agreeable and strongly held by the body of growers themselves, the best they've ever made. Sort of the perfect storm, where everything came together, this just following a couple not so stellar years, so I guess their time had finally come. The wines, crafted from Sangiovese Grosso, the local clone of Toscana's noble and primary grape, are quite simply pure and expressive. Grosso, or Brunello locally, is a variant that can rival the best in the world, when handled correctly, and is often a far better value than many of its peers. The clarity of the vintage with near perfect weather, warmer than average temps sent roots deeper causing a bit of stress, but overall the yields were good and the fruit, in most cases, was superb. At Castiglion, the fruit is rigorously sorted, with clusters gravity fed to a sorting room where a more rigorous selection is made prior to the individual small lot fermentations. Underground cellars hold the precious liquid until it is finally assembled into its ultimate form. At release, the wine is tight but shows all the charm of the vintage. Teeming with black cherry, cassis, lovely floral notes, vanilla, and a restrained spice component, Castiglion del Bosco has early charm and grace yet will hold for well into the next decade, should you have the patience. Rated 96 Points James Suckling and 94 Points The Wine Advocate.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

San Felice Vin Santo del Chianti Classico 375 ml

Reg $23.99 | Gazette Special $19.99

I actually feel sorry for the people who say they don't like sweet wines. Dessert wines are some of the most interesting wines in the world. You could spend a lifetime just exploring the different kinds. In most dessert wines the sugars of the already sweet grapes are concentrated. It is mind-blowing to discover the different ways people have invented to do this. To make Vin Santo, one of Italy's many great dessert wines, the grapes (Trebbiano Toscano 75%, Malvasia del Chianti 25%) are harvested in early October and dried on mats until December before being softly pressed. The resulting must is sealed up in small oak casks to ferment and age for 5 years. The resulting wine is amber in color, with aromatic notes of almond, honey and light spicing. In the mouth it is surprisingly fresh-tasting and the sweetness is measured. Try it with desserts made with dried fruit and almonds. Or go the other way with a strong creamy cheese like Gorgonzola.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Salomon Undhof Hochterrassen Gruner Veltliner

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Click your heels three times and repeat the name of this wine and you'll find yourself smack dab in the vineyards of Austria...or at the very least, tongue-tied. Gruner Veltliner is the signature grape of Austria, and by far the nation's most widely planted wine grape. The Austrian wine region forms a bridge between the cooler north and warmer south climate zones of Europe. Delicate fresh green apple fruit aromas, displaying flavors of lemon, lime and peaches. It possesses a solid fruit core, rich complexity with a beautiful length and mineral tones. The ideal wine for seafood, white meat and salads or just to be enjoyed by itself.

Michael Gregory CSW Wine Merchandising Specialist

Broadley Vineyards Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $17.99

Semi-transparent, medium body, vivid, ruby. Black raspberry, anise, and spicy notes of nutmeg, cinnamon. Mid-palate burst of balanced acid and tannin with flavors of black cherry, cranberry and spice with crisp full mouth finish. A successful blend from the best of the Willamette Valley. This wine has a great acid/ tannin profile with wonderful dark fruit and spice. Pair this wine with herb grilled chuletillas de cordero (tiny lamb chops) and wild mushroom couscous.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Flowers Perennial Sonoma Coast Proprietary Red

Reg $39.99 | Gazette Special $33.99

In 1989, after many information-gathering trips to Napa and Sonoma, Walt and Joan Flowers purchased 321 acres, including a ridge top, high above the Pacific Ocean on the northern Sonoma Coast. This is a Pinot Noir based blend with a splash of Syrah. Fruit aromas such as plums, strawberry, blackberry, and raspberry are at the core of this wine. Starts with jamminess and hints of coffee, mineral and chocolate that contribute to a wonderful Perennial aroma – this is followed by mouth filling flavors of cranberries and cherry, a smooth texture, with well-balanced tannin and acidity profile. This wine is ready to drink upon release, no need to age. I like to pair this with cedar planked salmon, veal and delicate chicken dishes.

Michael Gregory CSW Wine Merchandising Specialist

Montes Colchagua Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $10.99

When I see a customer eyeing the California Cabernets and they ask me for a recommendation for something under $15. I lead them over to the Chilean section. This is where low-priced cabs are the best. The wine culture in Chile is descended from the French (not the Spanish as one might think) and the Cabernets are more Bordeaux-like. I love the ruby-red color. The aromas are layered with caramel, cinnamon, hints of mint, but without any dominance of oak. This is a spicy, full-flavored cabernet, with good body, firm tannins and a strong finish. When you're getting something red and juicy for your grill this is the time to pick up a couple bottles of the Montes Cabernet.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Vie Vite Cotes de Provence Rose

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

This pale pink wine is my new favorite rose for summer. Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Carignan grapes from vines that average 25 years old in age, are blended together to create a complex wine redolent of cherries, strawberries, and notes of spice. Like a sunny day in St. Tropez, it is lovely, bright, and elegant. An ideal wine for pool or beachside barbecues, it will pair nicely with grilled fish or chicken, tapenades, or light summer salads.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

L'Oliveto Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir

Reg $11.99 | Gazette Special $9.99

The 2014 vintage offered excellent growing conditions. A mild winter and spring compounded with almost no rain contributed to early ripening, low to moderate yields and highly concentrated grapes resulting in exceptional quality. 100% neutral oak, aged for two months. Pale, salmon-pink in color, the nose offers notes of wild strawberries with a limestone mineral edge. The palate is crisp and bursts with tangerine, melon and cucumber flavors. The finish is focused, clean and refreshing. Enjoy with light salads, light pasta and rice dishes, especially with seafood and ham.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Kung Fu Girl Columbia Valley Riesling

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $10.99

This Riesling was voted "Top 100 Wines" in 2013 and 2014. It was voted "Best Value" five years in a row. Clean, fresh and pure with amazing lychee, citrus, mint aromas. It is beautifully balanced, with perfectly integrated acidity and only subtle sweetness. Its low alcohol and the classic fruity character makes it superb with spicy Thai dishes and seafood.

Gabriella Elkouby Wine Specialist Westwood

Santa Julia Mendoza Pinot Grigio

Reg $8.99 | Gazette Special $7.99

Bright and fun with aromas of pear and apple mingling with tropical notes on the palate, this crisp, fresh gem will brighten all of your sunny day adventures, be it reveling with friends and family at a backyard barbecue or solo reverie swinging in a hammock. Hello summer!

Erin Kinney Wine Specialist Manhattan Beach

Bogle California Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $9.99 | Gazette Special $7.99

The success of Bogle Winery over the years is firmly rooted in one thing: the day-to-day involvement of the Bogle family in the hands-on effort to produce and promote quality wines. Classic in style, Bogle's Sauvignon Blanc was cold fermented in 100% stainless steel tanks to maintain its varietal character: crisp, vibrant and refreshing! Freshly cut grass and spring herbs tease the nose, while touches of tropical gooseberry and citrus embrace the palate. This wine has a lovely, full mouth feel to balance its crisp acidity, not to mention a lasting and memorable finish. This Sauvignon Blanc is a perfect sipper to pair with appetizers, fish and shellfish.

Michael Gregory CSW Wine Merchandising Specialist

Frog Haven Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $8.99 | Gazette Special $7.99

It's vibrant and lively, as you would expect a good Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc to be, and offers appealing aromas of lime zest, grapefruit and capsicum with touch of passion fruit notes. The palate is juicy and mouth-watering with nice fruit intensity and a lingering crisp finish. Lately, due to the warmer weather, this has become a house favorite. We enjoy it on its own or with grilled vegetables to oven roasted Chilean Sea Bass.

Brian Moore Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Kim Crawford Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

It always fascinates me that the same grape varietals can be so amazingly different when grown in a different country, climate, soil, etc. Like other varietals, Sauvignon Blanc wears many different hats, depending on where it comes from. Whether it the fruit forward style of California, the mineral laden offerings from the Loire Valley, or the gooseberry-herbaceous driven whites from New Zealand, one thing is for sure, each country brings a great offering to the table. For example, this Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc definitely fits the stereotypical New Zealand mold. Grapes chosen from low yielding vineyards in Marlborough pave the way for a bright, clean, crisp and flavorful wine. Stone fruit, tropical flavors, and grassy nuances persist throughout, with a pleasing fresh herbaceous note rounding out the finish. Great on its own, this wine also carries ample acidity to match with seafood, chicken, and goat cheese.

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Dancing Crow Lake County Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Lake County is home to some terrific vineyards, and Sauvignon Blanc flourishes here. The cooling effects of Clear Lake on the vineyards allow temperate days for ripening while the cooling nights boost the natural acidity. Dancing Crow Vineyard has been organically farmed since 2001, and the farming practices have strengthened the vineyard and the quality of fruit. Low yields and meticulous sorting provides the ideal fruit for a classic Sauvignon Blanc. The flavors are brilliant and zesty with stone fruits, litchi, green melon and guava with the gooseberry tang that one identifies with this enticing variety. Delicious with grilled prawns, ceviche, or our fantastic fresh seasonal peach salsa.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Frogs Leap Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

Dry farmed and certified organic grapes from their estate vineyards are used for this Summer sipping beauty. Since 1988, long before the general wine community embraced these practices, they have jumped over the old school way of growing grapes in Napa Valley. Clean, fresh and mineral-laden. A transparent view into the soils of the Rutherford AVA. It is fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks to preserve the purity and aroma of this distinctive noble grape. Try this with some grilled Opah from our seafood department, garnished with fresh Mango Salsa. You will think you are in the tropics with a smile on your face as wide as the horizon.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Frederic Benoit Lavau Rasteau

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

I am unabashedly a Rhone fanatic, especially with their reds. While Chateauneuf-du-Pape, Gigondas and the roses get the grand acknowledgement, the single village wines are outstanding as well and often represent very good value. A little history first - In 2010, wines from the Rhone Valley village of Rasteau received a long-awaited promotion: Instead of getting bottled under the Cotes du Rhone Villages appellation, they received a stand-alone AOC designation reserved for the valley's top Crus, such as the so noted Chateauneuf-du-Pape. The 2012 Rasteau bottling, managed by brothers Frederic and Benoit Lavau, showcases what makes the wines of this up-and-coming region so compelling. They make their Rasteau in a traditional fashion, from a 50/50 blend of plump, jammy Grenache and intense, spicy Syrah. The end result is a wine of bold, fragrant fruit flavors with herb and spice notes. 89-91 points Parker's Wine Advocate

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Moulin de Gassac Picpoul de Pinet

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $10.99

The vineyards along the Mediterranean are known for their broad muscular nature due to the vine selection and the sun-baked terroir. But nestled in those rugged and terraced vineyards is a wonderful and contrary surprise. Picpoul de Pinet, one of only 2 white wine appellations in the region, is dedicated to one wine only. Picpoul, or "lip stinger" is a vivacious racy little grape that harnesses the mineral and brine character derived from the limestone soils and a millennia of decomposition. The wine is crisp, supremely tangy and true to form, piquant and sharp with lifted citrus, green apple, Bosc pear, white flowers and of course the brine or salty character likely leached from the nearby oyster beds. The Guibert family, owners of Mas de Daumas Gassac, the region's Grand Cru of record, sourced from this organically farmed vineyard high on the plateau overlooking the sea. It is fermented in stainless steel to preserve the brisk nature of the wine, and sits on the lees for several months to add a touch of texture. Picpoul is perfectly suited to any shellfish, white fleshed fish, and light pate's, or as an aperitif.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Domaine Thibault Liger Belair Bourgogne Blanc

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $21.99

I had the great pleasure to meet Monsieur Thibault Liger Belair recently at his home in Nuits St Georges, a major appellation within the Cote d'Or region of France. He executes very simple logic, coupled with a huge amount of passion, in regards to the soil and the vines. For him, they are inter-changeable and very much a "living" entity. Thibault's Bourgogne Blanc, 100% Chardonnay, is a striking example of this varietal, even though it is basically a regional wine. Produced from the Cote Chalonnaise and the Maconnais area, this wine displays delicious honeysuckle, apple blossom, delicate pineapple and white peach notes as well as excellent texture, gorgeous purity, and no oak nuances. It is purely fruit driven. Drink this beauty with your favorite poultry, seafood or shellfish platter. By itself, it is intoxicatingly delicious.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Etude Carneros Chardonnay

Reg $36.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

Chardonnay comes in numerous forms, from the light and lively to the thick and textural, so without a good guide or vast experience, one rarely knows exactly what to expect. Chardonnay drinkers generally flock to a general style, although frequently it isn't ideally suited to a specific meal or occasion. This is a shame as there are so many rock solid wines that are overlooked because they don't fit the image of what they believe Chardonnay should be. But for the adventurous, there is plenty to choose from. Etude has been a force in winemaking for more than two decades with their image being based on spectacular Pinot Noir, yet they also produce a range of wines that are equally enticing. The Carneros Chardonnay is a real treat with its racy fruit, supple richness and delicate minerality. The wine sees neutral oak to help harness the youthful acidity, but is anything but heavy handed or clumsy. It is not shy on flavor with green apple, lemon peel, fine floral notes and a lingering piquant finish. Terrific with shellfish, lemon chicken, sea bass and a plank grilled filet of salmon.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Chappellet Napa Valley Chardonnay

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $25.99

The Chappellet family has been crafting world-class wines from their winery on Pritchard Hill since 1967. Perfect for warm summer days, Chappellet's Chardonnay is made from grapes sourced from vineyards in some of the coolest regions of the Napa Valley. Benefiting from an exceptional growing season, this chardonnay is bursting with ripeness. With notes of butter, lemon and nectarine on the nose and quince, honeydew and pineapple on the palate, this wine delivers a fresh and lively acidity. Aged for 8 months in French oak barrels, the experience is rounded out with subtle hints of vanilla and caramel and a long, gratifying finish. Enjoy on its own or try it alongside grilled salmon.

Clint Fultz Wine Specialist Westlake Village

EnRoute Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Reg $54.99 | Gazette Special $39.99

When your sister wineries are Far Niente, Nickel & Nickel and Dolce, you'd better be darn good. If you want a full bodied Chardonnay that wraps copious amounts of rich fruit on your palate, but balanced with minerality and acidity, then you will enjoy this beauty. A discrete group of select clones and growing areas combine to produce the blend. The Wente clone benefits from the warmth of the northernmost vineyard along Westside Road and contributes an unctuous texture and tropical notes. The Rued clone, grown in the cool climate of Green Valley, brings beautiful perfume and floral notes to the wine. The Heritage clone provides notes of pear and citrus from a vineyard cultivated in the Goldridge sandy loam along Vine Hill Road in Sebastopol. Enjoy with grilled poultry, salmon and Ahi dishes or a nice wedge of Brie cheese and just relax.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer