The Grapevine Gazette

January 7 - February 3, 2015

The holiday decorations are back in their boxes - which seem to mysteriously grow with every passing year - and the past months are but a pleasurable memory as we can turn our attention to wintery vacations with friends, or simply read a good book in front of the fireplace and forget about the chaotic world around us....until the next holiday hits. This is a new beginning and hope springs do great wines that will stimulate your palates and offer great savings to boot. We at Bristol Farms wish you all a fantastic New Year. Here's to all of us and our families for better times to come and cheers to 2015. As always, enjoy and drink outside the box.

Cune Vina Real Rioja Crianza

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

In 1879, two brothers decided to set up a business in the recently flourishing wine trade and called it "Compania Vinicola del Norte de Espana" (The Northern Spanish Wine Company). La Cune, as it is now commonly known as, still reflects the traditional origins of the company. Made from 90% Tempranillo and blended with other authorized varietals, this effort comes from vineyards in the foothills of Sierra Cantabria. It boasts ripe red and black fruit over a fine, toasty vanilla complexity. Rich, deep and balanced on the palate with plenty of lingering fruit notes and outstanding concentration and length. This is one of the finest value-priced Riojas in the marketplace. 91 points Wine Advocate 2009

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Haut Medoc de Giscours Bordeaux

Reg $34.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

This delightful sipper is from the adjacent property to the renowned Chateau Giscours Margaux, a third growth of the Grand Cru 1855 classification. Since the property is just outside of the confines of the Margaux appellation, it cannot be designated a true Margaux which is known for the marvelously lush left-bank Bordeaux wines. It is indicative however of the style of this sleeper, rich, beguiling and seductive, and from one of the most profound current vintages. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot offers ample structure with a little tannin in the finish. The lush softness associated with its brother Giscours tempers the tannin notes beautifully. A real treat with beef dishes, roasts and aged cheeses.

Alex Brideau Wine Specialist Westchester

Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Zinfandel

Reg $15.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

As we flow through these winter Months, I have been in the kitchen making delicious choices for the family wine- Ancient Peaks. Made in Paso Robles, their property has received the SIP Certification for their sustainable and natural methods for producing great wines, but here's the tasty part; their Zinfandel is a delicious treat that offers aromas of red currents and figs with dried herbs and refreshes into a dark cherry finish! This medium bodied wine has held well with my roasts and weekend grilling- I would definitely recommend this with Brie Couronne, Caveman Blue, or for a dessert treat, Wensleydale with Cranberry cheese!

William Buford Wine Specialist Hollywood

Hewitson Barossa Valley Baby Bush Mourvedre

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

Winemaker, Dean Hewitson, culls the fruit from the Old Garden Vineyard in Rowland Flat, where the Mourvedre vines date to 1853. The result in the cool 2011 vintage is completely intoxicating - the brambly, blueberry aromas display classic Mourvedre richness, ripeness and rusticity. These aromas carry right through the palate which delivers a rich, velvety mouth feel, backed by very soft and fully ripe tannins. The structure, balance and youthful poise ensure a wine to be enjoyed now, but can reward with time in the cellar. 93 points Wine & Spirits 2011

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Barrel 27 Bull By The Horns Central Coast Proprietary Red

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $26.99

This is a powerhouse blend Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Verdot, Syrah, and Tempranillo that possesses a seductive nose of red and black currants powdered with cocoa, blueberry and black plum liqueur undercurrents set off by wild spice notes of star anise, rose petal, licorice and fennel. On the palate, this freight train of a wine delivers loads of spiced plum and dark berry fruit, supported by layers of Mexican chocolate, Chinese black tea, and blood orange all framed in spice notes of caraway, toasted vanilla, cigar box and sweet black pepper. The pure, powerful finish stretches on to the horizon supported by great acidity and well developed tannins. Enjoy with steak and venison.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Obsidian Ridge Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $27.99 | Gazette Special $22.99

A blend from four select blocks from the Obsidian Ridge Vineyards and a small percentage of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot from a small block at the top of the vineyard. The wine is an elegant, aromatic expression of Cabernet Sauvignon with the dark red color of a mountain cab. Its bouquet includes spices of bay, clove and anise on a core of cherries, cranberries and red plums. Rich, full-bodied and densely structured, it it offers flavors of dark cherries, espresso beans and chocolate. The wine was aged for 18 months in the winery's signature Kadar Hungary oak barrels, 50% new. It will age for 10-15 years but is already hard to resist! The Finish is long and alluring. Enjoy with filet mignon, rack of lamb, and aged cheeses.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Violet-Green Ultra Violet Lake County Proprietary Red

Reg $26.99 | Gazette Special $23.99

Violet-Green is named for a sparrow whose annual Spring migration brings them to the winery in scenic Humbolt County. This wine is a Right Bank Bordeaux style blend from Quercus Ranch in Lake County. It is a marriage of Cabernet Franc, Petite Verdot and Merlot, and it delivers a delicious alternative to the usual Cabernet Sauvignon. The cooler climate allows for a slower maturation process which adds to the complexity without becoming over-ripe and clumsy. Sweet and spicy sensations deliver strawberry, mocha, vanilla aromas and flavors. Rich and opulent with soft edges, fruit-forward and they are not as ripe or as high in alcohol as many California wines. Pair with prime rib roast or with a coq au vin. Only 122 cases were produced.

Gabriella Elkouby Wine Specialist Westwood

Tinto Pesquera Ribera del Duero Crianza

Reg $34.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

Alejandro Fernandez is a legend in the prestigious DO of Ribera del Duero in Spain. He created his own clone for Tempranillo- the Pesquera Clone. He also helped write the D.O. for Ribera del Duero. This is his classic example of Ribera del Duero. 100% Tempranillo-Pesquera clone from his 500 acre estate vineyards and aged 18 months in American Oak. This wine evolves with every swirl in the glass. Dark berry fruit, spice, and leather aromas fill the glass while these flavors are complemented on the palate by minerality and hints of smoke. The acidity gives a brightness to the wines silky, smooth texture and balances the slightly dusty tannins. Very good ageing capabilities and a must with Tapas and all cuts of lamb.

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Von Hovel Oberemmeler Hutte Riesling Spatlese

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $25.99

There is a magic thing that happens in vineyards along the Mosel River as grapes ripen. The acidity in the juice begins to change from malic to tartaric. At some point a celestial balance is achieved between these acidities and the sugars, and if the winemaker is alert the resulting wines have a quality that I am still waiting to see in Rieslings grown anywhere else on earth. The 2012 Oberemmeler Hutte is a fabulous wine, one of the best in the store at this price. It is sumptuous and forward-tasting with ripe tangerine, tarragon and lemon zest flavors and a long, pure, mineral-infused finish. A Sp├Ątlese like this is among the most food-friendly of wines. Try it with almost any well-prepared Asian dish, pork chops, smoked salmon, sushi...but not dessert. 95 Points, Wine Spectator.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Renegade Proprietary Red

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

A Syrah-dominate blend that also includes Petite Sirah and Malbec, this is grown mostly on sandstone and shale at the cooler southern end of Paso Robles. It's refreshing, the flavors suggesting black currant along with something more floral in the aroma, coasting on a brisk, stony texture. It feels tight and clean, poised to gain with time in the bottle. Boasts a "Best Buy" 91 points Wine & Spirits.

Brian Moore Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Filosur Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $9.99 | Gazette Special $7.99

The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes are grown in Andeluna's (the parent winery) vineyards in Villa Atuel, in the San Rafael Valley of Mendoza, and at more than 2300 feet above sea level. Owing to the wide temperature range between day and night, and generous sun exposure, the region's grapes show intense colors and offer great aromatic expression. Aromas of blackberry syrup, licorice and menthol. Silky, suave, broad and quite dry. Well integrated acidity to the dark berry, violet and sweet oak flavors. Finishes with substantial broad tannins, a bit of warmth and good length. This Argentine Cabernet Sauvignon is a worthy complement to steak, roast beef, duck, grilled lamb, hamburgers, and other hearty fare.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Ontanon Tierras Del Isas Rioja

Reg $11.99 | Gazette Special $9.99

Ontanon is an amazing bodega, located just outside of Logrono, but sourcing fruit from their own vineyards in Rioja Baja. These are high elevation, fairly isolated, wild vineyards, many of which are gently sloping and on poor, stony soils. The wines here show the richness and generosity of fruit for which Tempranillo and Garnacha-based Rioja Baja wines are known. The wine expresses subtle aromas of black cherry with overtones of spice and offers voluptuous fruit within a delicate framework of natural acidity that opens up and deepens over time. This red gem pairs well with roasted chicken, vegetables, seasoned pork and game meats.

Michael Gregory Wine Merchandising Specialist

Borsao Tres Picos Garnacha

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Garnacha is the World's most widely planted red varietal. Garnacha originated in the Aragon region of Spain, and now is planted throughout the world. Borsao is the benchmark for premium Spanish Garnacha. The Tres Picos is from old vines and is deeply aromatic with concentrated flavors of blackberries, strawberries, and nuances of leather, vanilla, and plum. This truly is the do all wine, matching up with mushroom stuffed pork loin, Chicken Cordon Bleu, and a wide variety of cheeses. A must try for those of you wanting to move out of the Pinot Noir box.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Broadley Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $17.99

Willamette Valley is an ideal area for the cultivation of Pinot Noir. If it weren't, the myriad of Burgundy producers wouldn't have invested in Oregon. That being said, the wines that are being produced in the Pacific Northwest have made great strides, and continue to set standards for typicity and quality. The warm days and cool nights are essential for the ripening of the fruit while maintaining the acidity and structure of the finicky Pinot grapes. The Broadley Pinot Noir shows brilliant mixed berry fruit aromas with brown spices and notes of anise. The palate is rich and round with cherry, cranberry, allspice, hints of cola and forest floor. There is modest density to the wine, but it retains the nuanced balance and finesse that should be in high quality Pinot Noir. Pair with pork, smoked meats, salmon or other game fish.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Henri Gouges Nuits-Saint-Georges

Reg $64.99 | Gazette Special $56.99

Nuits-Saint-Georges is a town in eastern Burgundy which gives its name to the Cote de Nuits, the northern half of the Cote d'Or wine district. Although Dijon, to the north, is Burgundy's administrative center, and Beaune, to the south, is the wine capital, Nuits-Saint-Georges holds its own as an important viticultural location. Since it was founded in 1925, Domaine Henri Gouges made very classic Nuits-St-Georges wines, which respect its various terroirs. These days, the domaine is run by Henri's grandchildren Pierre and Christian, and Pierre's son Gregory who is mainly in charge of the wine making. Lovely aromatics and elegant flavors. This village Nuits St George will change anyone's mind about what the appellation is all about - rather than hardy, firm red wine with stern shoulders, this wine is silky and approachable with beautifully textured silky tannins. Very pretty wine indeed. 89-91 points Vinous Antonio Galloni 2012

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Yali Wetland Colchagua Valley Cabernet Carmenere

Reg $8.99 | Gazette Special $7.99

Considered one of the six original grapes of Bordeaux, Carmenere (a member of the Cabernet family) is now rarely seen in France, but like its fellow Bordeaux varietal, Malbec, has seen a resurgence in the vineyards of South America; in the case of Carmenere, this means Chile. An inviting boysenberry color heralds the complex aromas and flavors packed into this great value bottle. Forest floor, moss and dark berry aromas with a touch of spice entice the nose. The palate presents flavors of earth, mint and spice elevated by dark berries. This medium bodied wine has just the right amount of acid to cleanse the palate between juicy bites of prime rib or burgers.

Erin Kinney Wine Specialist Manhattan Beach

Stony Hill Mill Creek Reach Napa Valley Estate Chardonnay

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $21.99

Long a fan of Stony Hill, the main frustration was that the wines were so well structured, they took considerable patience to really show their stuff. Rocky, modestly sloped tightly spaced high elevation vineyards and old school non-interventional winemaking has proven that this vineyard can withstand the test of time. The wines are an statement of purity, just the essence of fruit and the land it is grown on. The Mill Creek Reach is an example of the clarity and brilliance of the wines, using some younger parcels on the estate. It too follows their tradition of balance and elegance with no malolactic fermentation, neutral oak, and low alcohol, so it brings more immediate delight and pleasure yet delivers the essence of the vineyard. Racy apple, peach, notes of lemon zest and a subtle mineral, ever so slight saline note keep this wine fresh and food friendly.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Mercat Cava Brut Nature

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $12.99

Cava, Spain's version of Champagne, has become increasingly popular due to the inherent quality and value that they deliver. The process is largely the same, using strictly the Methode Champenoise, or Traditional Method in which the secondary fermentation creates the bubbles in the individual bottle, not a big vessel that is ultimately transferred to a smaller bottle. The grapes are the indigenous Macabeo, Xarel.lo, & Parellada, which are from mature vines in chalky soils which add the minerality and structure to the wine. After the secondary fermentation occurs, this particular bottling sees 18 months on the lees, which adds to the depth and complexity, bringing more texture and mousse to the glass. The final dosage is very light, so it is drier than a regular Brut designation, which lends well to ageing and helps tame a variety of cheeses or salty foods. Grab a few of these for your next celebration, or keep some on hand for that Sunday brunch.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

J. Lohr Riverstone Arroyo Seco Chardonnay

Reg $13.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

Exhibiting a light golden color and a nose of melon, spiced pear, citrus zest, and brioche, this affordable full-bodied Chardonnay is a great choice for everyday dinners or casual get-togethers. Sur-lie aging and barrel fermentation give creamy layers of complexity and flavors of apple, stone fruit, vanilla, and subtle toasted oak. It will pair nicely with cream-sauced pastas, Dungeness crab, or citrus roasted chicken.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

True Myth Edna Valley Chardonnay

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

True Myth Chardonnay is part of the Niven Family Wine Estates, which includes Baileyana, Tangent and Cadre among others. This is a brilliant and flashy style Chardonnay. The cool climate Edna Valley region benefits from the ocean breezes which builds terrific acidity and structure, while delivering pretty pineapple, pear aromas and tropical flavors finish just with a hint of vanilla. Its fresh and refined profile makes it an excellent choice with rich seafood such as lobster or halibut. It is also stand up well to eggs benedict, pork chops or roasted butternut squash.

Gabriella Elkouby Wine Specialist Westwood

Andrew Murray Santa Maria Valley Viognier

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

Andrew Murray was introduced to the Rhone varietals while on a family trip to France. He developed an interest with these wines convincing him to trade his Paleontology studies at Berkeley for Oenology at UC Davis. His tryst evolved in to a love affair while interning in Austrailia, and he now sources from Central Coast vineyards that have compelling flavors to craft his wines. To me, Viognier is one of the most enjoyable wines for all your hearty dishes, embracing the wonderful depth and weight of the Chardonnay, however, the apple notes are replaced by hints of peach, citrus and a little spice. Just a joy to jingle in the new year!

Alex Brideau Wine Specialist Westchester

Domaine Du Tariquet Cotes de Gascogne Classic

Reg $9.99 | Gazette Special $7.99

If you're the type to make a best effort at prolonging resolutions past the second week of the month then I'm proposing this simple delicious little French white to help you along. Perfectly priced for a budget minded daily glass or two, this little gem explodes with abundant floral and zesty citrus notes on the nose. For the sheer amount of pan grilled chicken breast and salads on your resolution menu, be sure to skip the olive oil and use a bit of Tariquet to deglaze the natural fats in the pan and add a new layer of salt free flavors. Not only is this a refreshing and low alcohol (10.5% abv) quaff, but it also has both an overall palate and finish that is bright, clean and crisp enough to be your new staple bottle in the refrigerator for impromptu social gatherings. Best wishes for your new year and of all the things you've resolved to do for 2015, add the one that brings you a little more enjoyment.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

Chateau Gabriel Provence Rose

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Rose is one of those wines that are just a joy to taste any time of year. While most offer them from Spring to Fall, we keep a wide variety on hand year round, or as long we can keep the supply chain going. Increasingly, the savvy importer realizes that we are perennial consumers of these sunshine loving treats, so they are keeping more on hand. Cht. Gabriel is one of those, albeit a late arrival, that is classically styled, with Cinsault and Grenache as the main components, delivering brilliant crisp strawberry, cherry and stone fruit flavors with a balanced and vibrant finish. I would gladly pair this with any seafood, fin or shellfish, pork loin, roasted poultry or grilled veggies.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Edna Valley Central Coast Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $10.99

Sauvignon Blanc for me is one of those desert island wines that I don't think I could get sick of. Mainly because the vibrant fruit aspects, and the cleansing not cumbersome trait that makes them so mouth-wateringly tasty. Edna Valley is known for its Chardonnay, but has been making fine wine from Central Coast varieties for decades. The Sauvignon Blanc is pretty textbook in flavors delivering a melange of mixed citrus, blossom, green melon and the tell-tale fresh cut grass that is the signature of the grape. Cleansing, refreshing and vibrant, the Edna Valley Sauvignon Blanc is a treat with white fish, grilled fowl, appetizers and sunny afternoons.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits