The Grapevine Gazette

October 29 - December 2, 2014

While the world continues to go absolutely mad - unstable governments, born-again terrorists, the rich get richer, the poor get poorer and the Kardashians continue to be somehow worthy of news reporting - we enter this Thanksgiving holiday period with our sentiments focusing on the so-called trivial fare; Fall colors, massive feasts, friend and family get togethers and of course, wine and food pairings for the holidays. Let's wrap our thoughts around those elements in life that mean the most to us, no matter how simple. As 8-year-old Wilderness Explorer Russell mentioned in the Disney film "UP", perhaps the best memories we have are the ones we find most boring. Let planet Earth propel itself through the universe with its mélange of problems and odd ball characters, but savor the quiet, simple moments with the ones you love. It may not be as interesting as the chaos portrayed on the national news or the latest reality show that is anything but, but wrap yourself around the "boring" moments, which might just be the most memorable. And while you're at it, peruse what our entourage of wine specialists have selected for your holiday related fare. Whatever your desire, from main feast to the evening's finale, our in-house Wine Specialists will be more than happy to assist you in finding that perfect selection. And from all of us at Bristol Farms, have a wonderful Thanksgiving... As always, enjoy and drink outside the box.

Blackbird Arise Napa Valley Proprietary Red Wine

Reg $49.99 | Gazette Special $42.99

Arise is the most aspiring wine in the Blackbird repertoire. This bodacious red exudes perfumes of ripe cherry, cracked black pepper and vanilla. Upon entry, the soft mouth feel and rich texture reveals flavors of currant, blackberry and subtle black olive, which unfold into a long and delectable finish. The finish boasts flavors that are truly elegant, a sort of cross between European-style texture and complexity with American brawn . Enjoy with grilled Trip-Tip or other robust meats.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

William Harrison Napa Valley Cabernet Franc

Reg $36.99 | Gazette Special $31.99

This is one wine for the hearty wine drinkers. The Harrison Family has been making wine for over 100 years in California, and hundreds of years before that in the home country Italy. The quality of their winery reveals itself in each bottle. Estate grown Cabernet Franc is a rich wine with body of vanilla, red berries, and toasty oak. This wine is flavorful with mild acidity and firm tannins, but respectfully, it needs time to breathe. While it is opulent and rich enough to be enjoyed now and in time for your holiday gathering, it will serve you well into the future. Ideal with savory courses or with delicious hard cheeses like cranberry stilton.

William Buford Wine Specialist Hollywood

Honig Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $42.99 | Gazette Special $37.99

Located in Rutherford, in the heart of Napa Valley, the Honig Winery might not be largest or most opulent vineyard and winery in the area, but it stands out as a leader in sustainable farming practices and a producer of first class Cabs and value-wise Sauvignon Blanc. The winery is operated entirely on solar power, produced by an array of photovoltaic panels located at the far end of the vineyards. From drip irrigation to mechanical tilling rather than spraying herbicides, the Honig Winery stands out as a beacon of environmentally conscious wine production. This holistic approach delivers a luscious Cab with dark berry and plum flavors, hints of spice and vanilla and a long, bright and tannic finish. Enjoy this wine alongside a toasted baguette and an artisanal blue cheese, or pair it with grilled tri-tip or braised short ribs.

Clint Fultz Wine Specialist Westlake Village

Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Louis M. Martini opened his Napa Valley winery in 1933. He said "my heart is in Napa, but my soul is in Sonoma,". This Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted from several of Sonoma County's most prestigious appellations and blended seamlessly to bring together the unique characteristics of each. The wine exhibits a deep garnet color with intense aromas of ripe cherry, cassis, and pipe tobacco. Concentrated flavors of ripe plums, and dark Bing cherries marry perfectly with the oak nuances. This is a well-structured wine that is balanced with firm, velvety tannins which culminate in a long, elegant finish. Pair with Rib-eye, Rib Roast and any serious cut of red meat.

Michael Gregory Corporate Wine Merchandiser

Cane & Fable Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

This was one of the highlights at a recent tasting, due to the inherent quality of the wine and that it way over delivers in its price range. Cane & Fable is collaboration between winemakers Curt Schalchlin and Andrew Jones. Curt, owner and vintner of the heralded winery, Sans Liege, is known for his critically acclaimed, yet affordable wines. Andrew, winemaker of Field Recordings spends his days planning and planting vineyards and has stood foot in just about every vineyard on the Central Coast. The wine greets you with scents of bright blueberry, boysenberry, and spice. The flavors impart hints of sweet plums, red and black cherries, vanilla, herbs, earth, oak, and freshly ground spices. Great match with turkey dark meat, duck and herb stuffing.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Pelissero

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

Dolcetto is a black grape variety widely cultivated in Italy's Piedmont region, and despite its name meaning "little sweet one," the wines made from this grape are typically dry yet fruity. The rich cranberry color of this dry libation does not belie the promise of red fruit on the nose and on the palate. Cranberry, hibiscus, rose and red fruit aromas entice, and the palate delivers the same up front before segueing into deeper notes of chocolate and tobacco enveloped in more pronounced strawberry flavors. The whole packaged is wrapped up with a bit of flinty minerality on the backend and mild, palate cleansing acidity. This Italian gem will pair beautifully with your Thanksgiving feast, putting an enjoyable twist on the traditional turkey-Pinot Noir pairing.

Erin Kinney Wine Specialist Manhattan Beach

Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco DOCG

Reg $36.99 | Gazette Special $31.99

The Produttori del Barbaresco displays classic Barbaresco color; beautiful garnet red color with brick hues. Tangy cherry and raspberry aromas are lifted by flowers and mint on the cool, inviting nose. Silky-sweet and floral, with lovely inner-mouth juiciness to its red berry flavors. Owing to the wine's moderate body and flesh, the tannins shows a slightly dryness but the long, juicy finish offers enticing floral perfume. A lovely, sharply delineated Barbaresco at a very reasonable price. Enjoy with egg pastas, risottos, white meats, poultry, red meats, game, venison and aged cheese.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Fattoria Felsina Chianti Classico

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $20.99

Felsina is located in the southernmost part of the Chianti Classico region and is actually closer to Montalcino that it is to Florence, which is why some people say it tastes closer to Brunello than Chianti. This wine is 100% Sangiovese. It is dark ruby in color with aromas of black cherries, smoke, leather, tobacco, dried flowers, and spice. It is full-bodied and ripe on the palate expressing the heat of the vintage, with silky tannins and bright acidity. Super food friendly as always enjoy with a meaty antipasti, all Tuscan and southern Italian fare and don't forget the Fontina cheese.

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

La Maialina Chianti

Reg $9.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

Upon pouring you're invited to a bouquet of fresh green herbs, bitter cherries in syrup, floral, violet and brambleberries. The first taste is dark and soft, concentrated but light with wild strawberries, rose petals and graphite notes. Finishing with long bright acidity balanced with gentle drying tannins, this is everything a Riserva is in a younger fresh version that is great for everyday pairings of pasta, pizza, Italian sandwiches and a great wine for small gatherings. This is a classically styled red that boasts the signature grapes of the region at a surprisingly attractive price, and should be considered as a house wine for the holidays and beyond.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

Four Graces Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $24.99

If a space traveler from another galaxy were to enter "Pinot Noir" into his Earth GPS he might get a couple of choices, like "Europe or America?" If he plugged in "America" he might get directed to aim north of the 45th parallel where the days are longer and the nights cooler. Then he'd get directed to the Willamette Valley where the soils are ancient, and finally to the Dundee Hills or the Yamhill Valley, the home of Oregon Pinot Noir. Then our space traveler might pick up a bottle of Four Graces. I'm not sure if an alien would appreciate the flavors of strawberries, plums, violets, and cherries that we Earthlings get from a sip of this wine, or if he would experience the vibrancy of the wine's youthful structure or the velvety softness of its mouth feel, but we humans sure do. I'm also not sure if aliens eat roasted fowl or savory beef stew with mushrooms - but those are perfect food pairings and hey, when in Rome...

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

L'Oliveto Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $19.99

November is a wonderfully festive time of year filled with family gatherings and great memories to be shared with the ones we hold dearest. Pinot Noir has long been the "go-to" when selecting a versatile food companion that will enhance and meld seamlessly with the wide array of traditional flavors mingling on your plate during the holiday season. And what better way to make your Thanksgiving or Christmas feast unforgettable than to complement it with this beautifully balanced and elegant Pinot Noir? The nose is clean and enticing, chock full of red berries, spice and herbal notes, with an underlying tone of terroir-driven nuances. On the palate it's lush and silky boasting bright cherry, strawberry and cranberry flavors supported by hints of nutmeg and herbaceous notes, all enveloped in gamey earthiness that is subtle yet unmistakable. I feel that this wine is the perfect accompaniment to everything from the turkey and gravy to the cranberry sauce and proverbial green bean or mushroom-laden side dishes (even Brussels sprouts). A really well done offering that will make your meal memorable and guests happy without breaking the bank. At this price, be sure to stock up for planned (or unplanned) gatherings and visitors, and get an additional 10% off when you buy 6 or more bottles - mix and match if you prefer and get some of your favorite spirits or liqueurs for entertaining, or bubbly for your New Year's festivities!

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Alysian Russian River Pinot Noir

Reg $39.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

Few have the bragging rights that the Alysian team has, with more than a century of experience specializing in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. One doesn't have to look hard to realize they have the magic formula. It starts in the vineyards, and they have some remarkable fruit to work with, from Floodgate, to Hallberg, it would be silly to assume they would make anything short of terrific. Gary Farrell's decades of history in the Russian River Valley shows in the wines depth and nuanced flavors showing strawberry, dried cherry, sarsaparilla, cola nut, traces of dried herbs, leather and baking spices. This wine is complex, but is really starting to meld and reveal the secondary notes that come with a little patience, subtle mushroom and truffle are beginning to surface. Pair with savory dishes, roasted poultry, herbed pork loin or even some Fall stews.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Domaine Clefs du Recit Sancerre Rouge

Reg $27.99 | Gazette Special $23.99

Most savvy wine consumers are likely familiar with Sancerre, being all the rage right now, but what most don't know is that it is a place, not a wine. The well-established and world renowned white is made from Sauvignon Blanc, but the red, its equally crisp and tantalizing counterpart, is made from Pinot Noir. The best vineyards are steep, well drained and most likely chalk sub soils with flint or some limestone, which add to the minerality and structure. Anthony Girard, a young enterprising fellow, has worked the soils and is a quick study. While some are hard edged and rough, his offers generous dark fruits, a concentration not typical in Sancerre, and a complexity that others are most certainly envious. While it is compact and fairly dense, it is quite approachable and with a little coaxing and a few hours of air, reveals an expressive purity and finesse unique to the Pinot Noir grape. Hardy enough for beef, lamb or Osso Bucco, it pairs nicely with a savory poultry dish, or the indigenous goat cheese and roasted beets.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Frank Family Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay

Reg $34.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

If you want a full bodied Chardonnay for your holiday feast, look no further. This expressive Carneros based Chardonnay is fruit forward and balanced, delivering scents of pear, apple, butterscotch and pineapple, laced with delicate floral notes of honeysuckle. Your palate is layered with succulent stone fruit flavors and buttery, toasted pastry dough. The lively acidity, combined with a rich creaminess and almond toffee flavors, give this wine a long, pleasing finish.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Alysian Russian River Chardonnay

Reg $37.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

Considered lifers in the wine world, Bill Hambrecht and Gary Farrell partnered up to create some of California's finest wines. With a long and storied history in the Russian River Valley, Gary Farrell can boast quite the dossier. Working with greats such as Rochioli, Davis Bynum, Dehlinger, Limerick Lane among others, he cut his teeth at Bynum and eventually started his own namesake winery. Well, his efforts paid off and after a good number of years making killer wine, he was offered a decent sum for his project. After a short hiatus, he's back and as good as ever. Alysian shows the dedication to these wine professionals that strive to put the best of Mother Nature in a bottle. The Russian River Chardonnay is plush and polished with golden apple, pear, tropical fruit and honeyed tones in the hazelnut infused lingering finish. Great with a glazed bird, white fleshed fish or with a soft ripened cheese.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Groundworks Paso Robles Grenache Blanc

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

The owner/winemaker of this winery, Curt Schalchlin, acquired his expertise working odd jobs at wineries for no pay for seven years, until he felt he had found his calling. By 2007, Curt was able to finance his own winery to make wines from his passion for the varietals of the Rhone Valley. Remember, back then we rarely had wines from these varietals grown and made in California, much less from Paso Robles. Oh how times have changed. Paso Robles has become the most suitable for these varietals in California and Grenache Blanc is a delightful sipper for all occasions. Light, medium bodied with white flowers, a refreshing light zest and a clean finish. A great accompaniment for light dishes such as fresh salads, seafood with cream sauce, grilled fish and firm salty cheeses.

Alex Brideau Wine Specialist Westchester

Domaine Robiniere Vouvray Brut

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

What if you could combine the special wine/food pairing qualities of Vouvray for your holiday feast and have your sparkling wine, too? A match made in Heaven! Well, here it is. Domaine de la Robinière is located in the heart of the Vouvray appellation, close to the prestigious chateaux of the Loire Valley. Vouvray is from a single varietal, Chenin Blanc, also called Pineau de la Loire. This delicious beauty offers racy acidity and a big mid-palate with plenty of freshness, crisp white stone fruit and pear notes. Excellent as an aperitif, salads and shellfish but will of course shine at your Thanksgiving meal, especially when paired with the white meat and stuffing.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Tangent Winery Edna Valley Viognier

Reg $14.99 | Gazette Special $12.99

From the famed Edna Valley AVA, near San Luis Obispo comes this departure from the ordinary. We continue to encourage you to think outside your box, cubicle, or square as the case may be. Here is the perfect Autumnal quencher, originally from the Condrieu Appellation of the Rhone river valley in France. These grapes are grown Certified Sustainable on the famous Paragon Vineyard. This wine is crisp and full bodied with heady aromas of honeydew melon, apricot and peaches with nice minerality, and it has a very clean finish. Truly a worthy alternative to Chardonnay. Try it with Thai, or Mexican dishes as well as crab and lobster.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Yalumba Y series Viognier South Australia

Reg $11.99 | Gazette Special $9.99

With dynamic and skilled winemaker Louisa Rose at the helm and over 26 years of experience with the grape in South Australia, Yalumba is able to craft fantastic Viognier wines. This one is no exception. It has subtle floral aromas of white flowers and flavors of ripe apricot, pear, pineapple and baking spices. It's rich but fresh, not cloying, and ends its long finish with a touch of acidity. This wine shines with food: pair it with Asian-spiced or Indian dishes, sage-seasoned stuffing, roast turkey, or even spicy sweet potatoes at your holiday meals.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Villa S. Andrea Gamberaia Bianco IGT Toscana

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $10.99

The Gamberaia Bianco is a blend of Vermentino and Pinot Bianco grown high in the hills of the Chianti Classico zone in scenic Tuscany. The fruit is hand harvested at optimal ripeness, and cold fermented in stainless steel to preserve the freshness and purity of fruit flavors. Special yeasts were selected to ensure clean fruit flavors, preserving the grapes true character in the wine. It has pleasant white flower and citrus aromatics with juicy acidity and a harmonious finish. A nose of citrus blossoms, mandarin orange, and honey. On the palate tart citrus and orange rind, finishing with a medium body. Absolutely excellent at this price point!

Brian Moore Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Chateau Graville Lacoste Graves Blanc Sec

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

The Graves AOC is considered the best subzone of Bordeaux for the cultivation of white grapes for their signature dry whites. The name is a reference to the gravelly soil. Graville Lacoste's vines are over a half-century old. Semillion and particularly Sauvignon vines are rarely this ancient. The fruit for this wine is picked by hand in multiple passes through the vineyard to ensure uniform ripeness. Lees contact is allowed for texture and depth. The blend is 60% Semillon which brings qualities of richness and longevity to the clean, aromatic Sauvignon Blanc. The gravelly soil is reflected by distinct flinty minerality on the nose, and the citrus-and-melon fruit on the palate is likewise infused with a bright, crystalline mineral edge. This theme continues on the intense, precise finish. The wine is allowed to settle naturally on the lees and is bottled without filtration, giving it texture and plumpness. Here is a wine that tastes more expensive than it is and pairs well with anything from fish to poultry, picnic fare to Indian curries.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Pomello California Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $10.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

Named after the Pomello fruit that is native to Malaysia and thought to be related to the grapefruit, this wine has some zesty citrus notes on the nose as well as the palate. Randy Mason built a name for Sauvignon Blanc with his inaugural release under his Mason label, it was met with a 91 point score. With the holidays fast approaching, the value oriented Pomello will do well with large parties with turkey or ham on the menu or even a leftover sandwich. One of the better "bang for the buck" wines we have, and a consistently great seller.

Michael Contreras Wine Specialist Beverly West

Gruet Brut Sparkling Wine

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

Like many Champagne producers, the Gruet Family migrated west to investigate the potential of America's resources. While most moved all the way West, Gilbert Gruet decided he was going to set camp in, of all places, New Mexico. A group of vignerons had planted vineyards near Albuquerque, and the conditions were conducive to grape viticulture, so Gilbert followed suit. Land was cheap, far more reasonable than California, so in 1984 the experiment was launched. With the release of his first vintage in 1989, the wines were met with open arms. In true French tradition, this Methode Champenoise sparkler had the depth and complexity not often found in the states, especially at that price. Many awards and much acclaim later, son Laurent Gruet continues to impress. 24 months on the lees provides a rich mousse, coupled with the fresh citrus, apple and delicate nuttiness, this is a fantastic find and a great value.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Domaine Gaujal Picpoul de Pinet

Reg $13.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

At last one of my favorite white wines has returned to our shelves. This wine is from the Languedoc district in southern France, very close to the Mediterranean Sea and not far from Montpellier. While most of the wines of the region are produced in a cooperative, at Gaujal it is a mother and daughter team that oversees all aspects of the making of this tasty sipper. It is hand harvested and meticulously sorted to cull only the best fruit from the vineyards. Picpoul translated means "lip stinger" due to its brisk, refreshing, vibrancy. It delivers zesty citrus and green melon with vibrant hints of lemon and grass in the piquant finish. A standout for all seafood that is simply prepared.

Alex Brideau Wine Specialist Westchester