The Grapevine Gazette

October 1 - 28, 2014

October heralds in the seasonal, social and cultural changes that make Autumn so special. Baseball is winding down like a knuckle ball; football kicks into high gear; and the cool, crisp evenings harbor in the joyously scary All Hallows Eve, better known as Halloween. This indigenous American holiday is the bridge to those approaching months of family merriment, festivities and reunions, when we have a sense of hope that all is fine and right in the world. And it gives us adults the perfect excuse to regain some of our youthful "spirit". As such, we offer a bevy of unique choices that echo this celebratory climate, be they to share with family over a Fall stew, scare up some frightfully good yarns, nudge you into wearing that Halloween costume you've been "dying" to try, or simply to imbibe on their own, and make no "bones" about it. As always, enjoy and drink outside the coffin...we mean box!

Braida Brachetto d'Acqui

Reg $25.99 | Gazette Special $21.99

This is a very well balanced, lightly sparkling red that is elegant in color as well as taste. Hints of strawberry and rose petal increase in complexity as the wine continues to "open up". Serve this one slightly chilled, but not too cold, as you might lose some of the wild raspberry to orange peel flavors. Moderate sweetness on the palate with a long, fun, and fruity finish. Fresh fruit and/or chocolate pair very well with this spritzy delight.

Michael Contreras Wine Specialist Beverly West

Romililly Monte Rosso Zinfandel

Reg $44.99 | Gazette Special $36.99

Monte Rosso Zinfandel is composed of fruit from a single vineyard. This beautiful and historic vineyard sits between 750 and 1200 feet in the Mayacamas Mountain Range. After being picked early in the morning, hand sorted and put in to T-bins for a four-day cold soak, the grapes were inoculated with yeast and fermented dry. Malolactic fermentation was completed in barrels. The total amount of new oak is 35%, with the remainder consisting of two-and-three-year old barrels. The wine was racked after malolactic, and again before bottling in January, 2014. This wine is deep and dark purple with a garnet rim. Most forward on the nose is spicy blackberry cobbler, followed directly by hints of vanilla, cedar and brown spice. The forward dark fruits are bracketed by medium, coating tannin and mouthwatering acidity. The finish is long, full of fruit and the rich, round oak lasts for minutes. Enjoy grilled steak and sausage, pasta dishes and hearty cheeses.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Barrel 27 Right Hand Man Syrah

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

One of France's noblest black grape varieties, Syrah is known for its intense and distinctive perfume reminiscent of briar fruit, tar, spice and black pepper and its firm structure. Yes it has lots of up front fruit but it isn't overripe. It has balance, freshness, richness and still gives that California texture in the mouth and all for an unbelievable price. It starts with a deep dark purple color and gives ripe raspberry aromas with a background of violets and spice. The lush mouth filling fruit stays in check with good acidity as well as a background of anise and pepper. The long finish is all pepper and raspberries. Rich and seductive, this red gem pairs well with hard cheeses, BBQ beef and friends!

Michael Gregory Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Ancient Peaks Paso Robles Zinfandel

Reg $15.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

Sustainably farmed in California's famed Paso Robles AVA, this is a very complex and versatile wine with spicy berry notes along with earthy characteristics. Vanilla and baking spices are also noted with a beautiful lingering finish. A must with BBQ Ribs or your favorite cut of beef.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Carnivor Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $9.99

With Fall rolling in, and hopefully a little relief from the scorching summer heat, we will be looking to heartier libations to complement our meals and gatherings. The Carnivor is a superb value in a world of skyrocketing Cabernet prices. A bold, sophisticated blend made up of predominantly Cabernet, Petite Sirah (adds structure and richness, and gives the wine a dark, inky hue) and Merlot (contributing a layer of elegance and finesse). Dark, jammy berry fruit flavors dominate up front, with notes of espresso, toasted oak and hints of chocolate throughout. Pair this beauty with your favorite cut of beef, aged cheeses, or decadent chocolate desserts. Robert Parker calls the Carnivor "an impressive value-priced Cabernet."

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Westwood Village

J. Lohr 40th Anniversary Red Blend

Reg $42.99 | Gazette Special $37.99

This powerful red blend celebrates the achievement attained by the visionary Jerry Lohr over the last forty years. His blend of 61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Petite Sirah, 5% Merlot and 3% Malbec is rich and full bodied and pays homage to their most popular varietal, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah, the first wine they made in 1974. Satisfying now with a bit of airing and also cellar worthy, this offering is in limited release, so act quickly.

Don Ziehm Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Karl Lawrence Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $59.99 | Gazette Special $49.99

Two very close friends with a common dream of producing a fine wine founded Karl Lawrence Cellars in 1991. The name "Karl Lawrence" comes from combining the middle names of the two founding partners: Michael Karl Trujillo and Bryan Lawrence Henry. Sadly, this winery that produced award winning Cabs no longer exists. When it's gone, it's gone. Fruit from the Morisoli Vineyard near Rutherford shows great Cabernet character and yields a well-rounded wine with intense aroma and flavor, and lends a rich smooth feel to the finished wine. Another vineyard selection in the final blend is the Lamb Family Vineyard. This hillside vineyard on Howell Mountain produces a more intense and concentrated fruit that gives a big, rich, spicy character to the blended wine. The grape combination produces a wine that is rich and full-bodied, well balanced, and enhanced fruit and spice characters. Enjoy this beauty while you can.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Penya Cotes du Catalan Rouge

Reg $11.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

Perched in the foothills near the Spanish and French border, the vineyards for this wine are fairly typical for the region, mostly Grenache, with Syrah, Carignan and a dribble of Mourvedre. It is up front and tempting revealing crushed cherry, plum, dried herbs with a smoky bacon element that adds considerable depth and interest. The wine is full and well proportioned, yet even with all the rusticity and earthy flavors, it doesn't see a stave of oak. Pair with Mediterranean fare, marinated meats, grilled mushrooms and aged cheeses, and save a few for winter stews.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Lanzos Castilla y Leon Tempranillo

Reg $10.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

Hailing from Castilla y Leon, this 100% Tempranillo offers a lively and fresh alternative that is pretty easy on the pocketbook. The zone is rustic, arid and incredibly inhospitable to anything but the hardiest vines. Shallow well drained soils force the vines to struggle for survival, in turn limiting yields and concentrating the flavors. The winery is modern, yet practices age old techniques that are beneficial to the land and the vine. The flavors are bold and harmonious with tremendous balance, mixed berries, crushed rocks, delicate spice and a subtle earthiness. Pair with mature salty cheeses and aged ham, or grilled meats.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Patagon Mendoza Pinot Noir

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $9.99

From the foothills of the Andes Mountains in Mendoza, Argentina comes this outstanding expression of the Pinot Noir Grape. A bright ruby red wine showing aromatics of strawberry, cherry and plum with hints of violet. The judicious use of oak gives a mouth feel that is balanced, exhibiting refreshing acidity tempered by soft tannins. The finish is smooth and lingering. This wine drinks well alone or with endless food pairing possibilities. Only 900 cases made.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Paolo Conterno Barolo Bricco

Reg $54.99 | Gazette Special $46.99

Four generations of the Conterno family have been perfecting wines made from Nebbiolo, Barbera and Dolcetto grapes grown on the Monforte d'Alba hillside vineyards, situated at an altitude of around 1000 feet, on slopes (38%) exposed to the south and south east. It doesn't take a genius to make great wines from this place – just dedication and time. The grapes are macerated after crushing for 15 to 20 days; the wine is then racked to very small French barrels and held for up to 3 years and another year after bottling. As this wine breathes you will get cherry/berry, floral, tobacco and licorice aromas. In the mouth it is balanced and lingering, and not at all harsh. This is not a wine for vegans; you're going to want roasted red meats and firm, hearty cheeses to have with this great Barolo.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Hewitson Barossa Valley Baby Bush Mourvedre

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

Dean Hewitson contracts the fruit from the Old Garden Vineyard in Rowland Flat, where the Mourvedre vines date to 1853. The Koch family, who tends these ancient vines, selected cuttings from them in 1996 to plant, head prune and dry farm. The result is completely intoxicating (pun intended). This is Mourvedre at its best with the balance between earth and spice on one side, and a fresh cranberry crush of flavor on the other. The only sign of youth of the vines is a steeliness in the tannins. The aromas display classic richness, ripeness and rusticity. The dark, brambly, blueberry aromas are matched with the sage, earth and undergrowth. 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 the wine is extremely enjoyable now. Bonza! 93 points Wine & Spirits 2011

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Laurent Perrier Brut Cuvee LP

Reg $49.99 | Gazette Special $34.99

Founded in 1812, the house of Laurent-Perrier has a storied past. It remained a family venture until financial hardship, accompanying two wars, forced the sale of the property. Marie-Louise de Nonancourt continued on in the tradition, and like the previous owners, immersed herself and her son in the world of Champagne. It was their singular purpose. Today, the house style remains in place, and the art of blending is evidenced by the consistency in assemblage, year after year it remains true. The flavors are bright and persistent, with delicate pear, stone fruits, almonds and a supple creamy mousse. With an atypically high percentage of Chardonnay, its boasts purity and true finesse.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Yves Cheron Vacqueyras

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

A lovely Southern Rhone blend of Grenache and Syrah just in time for baked squash stews and braised meats of the first weeks of Fall. Lilacs, sage and pepper abound on the nose with traces of earthy brown spices and additional green herb notes. The body is rich and full in an opaque hue with earthen notes intertwined with dark plums, quince and allspice. The acidity is bright and lends to a lengthy finish that cleanses the earth tones and brings the fruit forwards on the back end. At a price below most any ChateauNeuf du Papes, this is a perfect weekday Rhone or rich sipper for a multiple bottle meal.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

Besllum Montsant

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $15.99

What a joy to having savored this Spanish sipper the other night. I was treated to enticing dark color and the aromas of rich berries that were complimented with hints of spice. This led me to believe this would be a rather ponderous wine on the palate. However, I was pleasantly surprised to savor a nice delicacy and suppleness. Beautifully balanced and graced by a lingering finish, this is a wonderful compliment for grilled meats, cheese and oh yes stunning with dried fruits.

Alex Brideau Wine Specialist Westchester

Melville Estate Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir

Reg $34.99 | Gazette Special $30.99

This is 100% Melville fruit from their Santa Rita Hills Estate, and is a collection of 16 Pinot Noir clones. 40% of the fruit was fermented as whole-clusters with 60% gently de-stemmed in small (1.5 ton) open-top fermenters. Total skin and stem contact averaged 30 day (7 day cold soak, 2+ weeks of fermentation and 1+ extended maceration). From the press, the wine was transferred directly into neutral barrel (old French Oak), where it remains sur lie without sulfur until May, and then gently racked for the first time and prepared for bottling in August. Because of a spring frost, Pinot Noir yields from this estate were 40% lower compared with 2010. Soft, delicate aromatics of oolong tea, Mandarin, gardenia and sandalwood spring from the glass. Fruit components of pomegranate reduction, currants and guava weave along the palate with spice and herbal notes of pink peppercorn, thyme, clove and fennel seed. The mouth feel is plush and velvety yet finishes with elegance and drive. Enjoy with wild game dishes and roast meats.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Morgan Twelve Clone Pinot Noir

Reg $31.99 | Gazette Special $27.99

Morgan winery focuses on small production terroir-driven wines from the best vineyards the Santa Lucia highlands has to offer. Twelve clones pinot noir comes mostly from there estate Double L Vineyard as well as a selection of neighboring vineyards. This wine shows the powerful elegance that is classic of the Santa Lucia highlands. Black fruit aromas on the nose and hints of anise and tobacco are complemented on the palate by cranberries, cherries, and spice. The bright acidity completely balances out the full bodied fruit on the palate. The wine has a velvety texture and a long enjoyable finish. I enjoy this Pinot with a variety of foods, salmon, duck, all game birds, and lean cuts of beef. Highly recommended.

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Lucky Star Chardonnay

Reg $9.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

At my house, we call this the Quaffable White. Round in the mouth, and gentle on the wallet, this everyday Chardonnay features flavors of orchard fruit, white nectarines and even white table grapes. When it comes to entertaining, this budget-friendly solution is great when you just need a white that enough people will enjoy and no one will be offended by. Minimal acidity makes this wine easy to drink on its own, but if you desire a nibble (or a nosh) with your beverage, deli delights like fruit salad to Bristol's own turkey salad will fit the bill as will heartier autumn fare that has a touch of fruit or sweetness like winter squashes, root vegetables, sweet potatoes and cranberries.

Erin Kinney, Wine Specialist, Manhattan Beach

MacMurray Ranch Russian River Pinot Gris

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

MacMurray Ranch in the Russian River Valley has been a homestead since the 1850's. Grapes are sourced from their home vineyard as well as from premier vineyards in Sonoma County, the Central Coast and Willamette Valley. Pinot Gris and Pinot Grigio wines are similar in that they are made from the same grape. However, the different names have come to infer two different styles of wine. MacMurray's Pinot Gris leans towards the French Alsatian iteration of the wine, with slightly more viscosity and a fuller body not associated with the Italian Pinot Grigio style. Flavors of peach, pear, tropical fruits and a touch of herbs and baked spice lead into a crisp astringency on the finish. This is a great wine for hot Summer days and nights, on its own or paired with a roasted chicken or pork dish.

Clint Fultz Wine Specialist Westlake Village

Cyprus Rose of Pinot Noir

Reg $14.99 | Gazette Special $12.99

The French aren't the only ones making great rose. Check out our American selection of pink wines. Among my favorites is the Cyprus Rose of Pinot Noir. It comes from great Pinot country in the Anderson Valley, with its cool nights, sunny days that are never really hot, and long, mild fall weather. Not at all heavy-handed, more in the Vin Gris de Provence style, this wine is pale and brilliant, with aromas of red fruits and minerals, and a mouth feel that is delicate, but long and satisfying. Open the first bottle as you gather your ingredients together for a light, Sunday afternoon on the patio meal – Greek salad, antipasto… Open the second bottle while the salmon is on the grill.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Chapoutier Belleruche Cotes du Rhone Rose

Reg $12.99 | Gazette Special $10.99

Made from Grenache, Cinsaut and Syrah, its bright red stone fruit flavors and beautiful color gives way to its delicate strawberry aroma. The ancient technique, debourbage, helps to create the wines gorgeous rose color by allowing the skins to gently impart their color to the wine. Perfect for Autumn picnics at the beach or with your favorite appetizers.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Cyprus Russian River Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $13.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

Are you interested in a delightful and tasty wine that is perfect for a warm day quencher from 'this side of the pond' and oh so reminiscent of a Sancerre? Well here's a wonderfully delicate Sauvignon Blanc from the renowned Russian River district that is well worth your attention. Made from an old vine block of the Musque clone, the winemaker has toned this 'beast' down by aging about 70% of the fruit in Acacia oak barrels with the remaining 30% in stainless steel. One could say it's the perfect blend of the right fruit, wood and steel. The result is an oh so delicate lemony/citrus nose followed by nice floral taste, an ever so subtle zest that culminates into a clean, graceful finish. A nice compliment for chilled shrimps or scallops; or for a refreshingly decadent treat, just a dollop of Crème de Framboise in the bottom of your glass and top it off with this wine. Heaven!

Alex Brideau Wine Specialist Westchester

Les Haut Mesnil Sancerre Cuvee Prestige

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

Located in the village of Verdigny, one of the more prominent terroirs in Sancerre, this estate bottled white was harvested from the hillside property surrounding the Castle of Le Haut-Mesnil. The wine is 100% Sauvignon Blanc, which is cold fermented in stainless steel, racked and filtered to preserve the freshness and integrity of the fruit. The finesse of the grape allows the flint and chalk soils to express themselves and maintain the delicate purity that is Sancerre. Pair with goat cheese, white fleshed fish, and shellfish or summer salads.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Chateau Lamothe de Haut Bordeaux Blanc

Reg $14.99 | Gazette Special $12.99

I have tasted French wine again, and it is a treat to find Bordeaux Blanc that is impressive for my pocketbook. In the glass is a golden hue with a slight green apple flesh tone that tells us this is a dry wine to pair with lots of light courses. Its grapes are; Sauvignon Blanc, a Bordeaux standard, Semillion, the light grassy grape, and Muscadelle, the dance of the wine. This yummy Blanc is full of grapefruit rounded into softness with floral notes and juicy fruit flavor. As mentioned, enjoy with seafood and shellfish such as mussels and oysters.

William Buford Wine Specialist Hollywood

Benton Lane Willamette Valley Pinot Gris

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Are you in a mood for a nice white wine but something other than Chardonnay or Sauvignon Blanc? Benton Lane produces this food-friendly white from sustainably farmed vineyards in the southern Willamette Valley in Oregon. Well-crafted, this crisp wine starts with aromas of melon, stone fruits and honeysuckle, followed by subtle flavors of citrus, spiced apricots, and a hint of minerality. It has enough balanced acidity and spice to complement a lot of different dishes. Try pairing this with seared scallops, sweet potato gnocchi, or even a medium-spiced curry.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills