The Grapevine Gazette

September 30 - November 3, 2015

Autumn leaves reveal their brilliant red and orange glow. Halloween creeps up on us and sends chills up our spine, and it's okay for an adult to act like a child. This indigenous American holiday is the bridge to those approaching months of family merriment, festivities and reunions; it's also the gateway for the much anticipated Holiday season. Seasonal ales are abundant and we can begin to crack open those full bodied reds that remained in hibernation in our cellars due to the hot climate. Fall and Winter dishes beg for those distinct wines that give new meaning to the phrase "comfort foods". As befitting this special month, our knowledgeable wine staff has chosen a frighteningly good selection of wines to quench your thirst and satiate your palate. No tricks here - just treats. 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, or nudge you into wearing that Halloween costume you've been dying (pun intended) to try. As always, enjoy and drink outside the coffin...we mean box!

Sans Liege The Offering Santa Barbara Proprietary Red

Reg $27.99 | Gazette Special $23.99

A perfectly composed blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre. Raspberry, chocolate covered cherries, plum and blackberries stimulates the senses when you taste this amazing wine. On the palate the wine follows through impressively with its plush, round mouthfeel, amazing depth and sheer intensity. The multilayered flavors of blackberry, plum, vanilla are framed by silky tannins that lead to a long pleasurable finish. Enjoy it now or the next five years.

Gabriella Elkouby Wine Specialist Westwood

Orin Swift Machete California Proprietary Red

Reg $48.99 | Gazette Special $42.99

Machete is a blend of Petite Sirah, Syrah and Grenache. Petite Sirah may be winemaker Dave Phinney's favorite grape varietal and wine. He has been growing and making it since the 2000 vintage. Massive and powerful with intense color and structure. Blackberry, blueberry, ripe cherry aromas are perked by spices, pepper and mineral notes adding complexity. It's delicious and a must-have!

Gabriella Elkouby Wine Specialist Westwood

Jim Barry Clare Valley Lodge Hill Shiraz

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

Jim Barry was the first qualified winemaker in the Clare Valley, graduating with a degree in Oenology from Australia's famous Roseworthy Agricultural College in 1947. Working for 22 years as winemaker at the Clarevale Co-operative, Mr. Barry became a pioneer of Australian table wine and eventually opened his own winery. The work and ownership has passed down from son to grandsons with the implicit design to keep this winery family owned and operated. This cool climate Shiraz boasts black plum, cherry and mulberry flavors, with some spice and garden herbs in the background. The tannins are rich and supple. This is a great value wine for the price and its well-earned praise. 93 points James Halliday's Australian Wine Companion 2013.

Michael Cristillo CSW, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Marquis de Calon Segur Saint Estephe

Reg $34.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

Calon Segur is a 3rd Great Growth as ranked in the 1855 Bordeaux classification. Calon is a walled vineyard encompassing 136 acres with roots back to the 12th century. In the 18th century, more modern times, it was developed and renovated by the Marquis of Segur, Nicolas Alexandre, whom also happened to own Chtx. Lafite, Latour and Mouton, good company by any measure. The vineyards are planted primarily to Cabernet, which delivers the backbone and sheer power of the wine. But considering the rock-star status and the sheer force of the wine, it is scarcely drinkable, if not enjoyable in its youth. Robert Parker blessed (or cursed ) the 2010 vintage with a 94+ and a 2020 to 2050 suggested drinking window, what is one to do in the meantime? Buy the second label. Same estate fruit, same force behind the behemoth, but quite attractive and imminently more drinkable and enjoyable. Marquis de Calon 2010 is about half Cabernet Sauvignon with about 40% Merlot; Franc and Verdot make up the other 10%. The wine shows structure with finesse, the iron fist in the velvet glove, with ample cherry, currants, mushroom and earth tones. It finishes with excellent purity and harmony. Drink now or hold for another decade. Match with well-marbled beef, game meats, savory pastas or aged Pecorino.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Brander Santa Ynez Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

The grapes for this crisp and refreshing Sauvignon Blanc are sourced from The Brander Vineyard and a few select vineyards in the Los Olivos area. Established in 1975, Brander is one of the oldest vineyards in the Santa Ynez Valley AVA, an American Viticultural Area which contains the greatest concentration of wineries in Santa Barbara County. Perfect on a hot California day, this Sauvignon Blanc brings flavors of Meyer lemon, kiwi and honeysuckle alongside a bright acidity and a crisp finish with notes of honey, mint and key limes. A great afternoon sipper, this wine would also pair well with shellfish, Indian curries or lemon chicken.

Clint Fultz Wine Specialist Westlake Village

Dancing Crow Lake County Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

A brilliant light straw color, with aromas of ripe citrus, fresh lychee and stone fruit, along with touch of the herbal/gooseberry character which is Sauvignon Blanc's signature in so many of the famous areas of the world where it thrives. On the palate it is bright, with an especially attractive vibrant quality carrying the fruit flavors though to a clean, dry finish. It is perfect accompaniment for oysters and other shellfish, and equally wonderful with virtually any fish preparation, light pastas and goat cheese salads.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Joseph Drouhin Macon-Villages

Reg $13.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

The Drouhin family has been producing world class Burgundy since 1880 and is still considered a top notch producer and leading negociant. If you seek a pure expression of the Chardonnay grape, look no further than this stainless steel fermented gem. The nose is floral and fruity and hints at the wines fresh and lively nature. Flavors of green apple and subtle citrus and stone fruit notes are clean and focused throughout. Acidity and richness mingle displaying harmonious structure and extraordinary balance for wine at this price. Perfect as an aperitif or pair with Gouda, Brie, charcuterie, shellfish or pasta with a white wine sauce.

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Jean Marc Boillot Montagny Blanc Premier Cru

Reg $37.99 | Gazette Special $32.99

You mention the word "Burgundy" in wine circles and you either get folks to salivate or go cross eyed. The terminology, the region, its appellations and single vineyards are land mines of complex history, politics, culture, family fame and ruin. But that's mostly surrounding the Grand Cru status wines, so we'll simplify this particular gem. Some of the best values in white Burgundy (100% Chardonnay), are those that hail from the Cote Chalonnaise region just south of the more famous Cote de Beaune area, such as Chassagne Montrachet, and Puligny Montrachet. This Premier Cru from the outstanding winemaker, Jean-Marc Boillot, has the feel of a Chassagne with its richness, but finishes with the stony minerality and citrus character that you generally find in Montagny. It's this flavor nuance in Montagny that many consider this appellation as the "Chablis of the South". A great match with shellfish and seafood dishes. 90 points Cellar Tracker 2012

Michael Cristillo CSW, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Patz & Hall Russian River Chardonnay Dutton Ranch

Reg $39.99 | Gazette Special $34.99

I love a great Chardonnay that has atypical traits to its territory. Patz & Hall's Chardonnay is a delicious style of Chardonnay that has generous flavors that pay homage to California. This Chardonnay consistently displays wonderful amounts of apples and pears in aromas and has great sense of crème and butter notes to sweeten the deal. This is a great choice to pair with your warm evenings- enjoy with Americana comfort foods, such as baked chicken and potatoes, hamburgers and seasoned fries, and fresh caught grilled salmon. This Chardonnay is very well balanced to pair with a vast assortment of cheeses.

William Buford Wine Specialist Hollywood

Meiomi Tri-County Pinot Noir

Reg $22.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

Wine Spectator gives this beauty 92 points! It is blended from choice vineyards in Monterey, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara counties. You will discover fruit aromas of ripe strawberry, cherry and spicy vanilla notes followed by bold plum, boysenberry, and toasty mocha. 100 % French oak aged, this is the perfect food wine and cocktail wine all rolled into one. This gem is silky and polished and will delight anyone wanting to experience what Pinot Noir can truly offer. Pair this with our air chilled Pork Loin from our Meat Dept.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Reg $49.99 | Gazette Special $44.99

The best Pinot Noir vineyards of California are in the fog zone. Sun bakes the vines during the middle of the day and ripens the grapes but fog in the morning and late afternoon helps to cool the vineyards and the temperature swings preserve the balance of natural acids. Fog can be dense on the Sonoma Coast. Winemakers look for the "sweet spot" some ways up the hills where the fog doesn't linger too long into the day. Flowers' vineyards are perched on top of soaring coastal ridges that border the Pacific Ocean. The wine has a bright ruby color; blackberry and briar patch aromas with Earl Grey tea, orange peel and summer cherries, and flavors of dried black cherries and savory herbs. Bright acidity and supple tannins frame a lingering and silky finish. This nearly-perfect wine will match well with game and leaner meats, slow-cooked foods, earthy flavors, and resinous herbs like rosemary, thyme, tarragon and oregano.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Clos Pepe Santa Rita Hills Estate Pinot Noir

Reg $59.99 | Gazette Special $52.99

Clos Pepe Vineyard was purchased by Steve and Cathy Pepe in 1994 as a horse ranch, and eventually established the vineyard in what would become the Santa Rita Hills AVA. This cool-climate, small production based Pinot Noir offers a complex nose that marries bright red and black berry fruits and baking spice with gorgeous layers of Asian spice, cherry and cranberry nuances. The wine is bright, juicy and shows an earthy complexity at the same time. With firm acid and great structure, this wine should improve in the cellar for most of a decade...assuming you can wait that long.

Michael Cristillo CSW, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Dow Vale do Bomfim Douro Red

Reg $11.99 | Gazette Special $7.99

Portugal is an ever increasing source of interesting value wines. Vale do Bomfim is the entry level wine from one of Portugal's stalwart Port producers, Dow. This wine would surprise many a Zinfandel lover in a blind tasting. Dow's Vale do Bomfim has a singular richness, which is the best word to describe this wine, to it that many would confuse it with a Zinfandel at twice the price. But there is more to this bottle of wine. There is structure with the ripe tannins and subtle verve that add depth and character to it. The fruit is sourced from the same vineyards that provide fruit for Dow's Vintage Port, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz, Tinta Barroca and Touriga Nacional make up the blend. No wood, no gimmicks, just bright, ample plum/currant fruit. It's straightforward, round, and downright quaffable, which is exactly the point. Serve this wine with stews, meat dishes that have herbal notes and rare steaks.

Michael Gregory CSW, Wine Merchandising Specialist

Apothic Dark California Red Blend

Reg $11.99 | Gazette Special $9.99

Apothic wines have earned the reputation of being beautifully crafted, great value wines that fuse Old World intrigue with modern sophistication. The limited release Apothic Dark is a Petite Sirah-based blend boasting rich, jammy flavors of blueberry and blackberry, accented by enticing notes of coffee and dark chocolate. The rich, velvety, round mouthfeel offers layers of depth and complexity that leave your palate craving more. Pair with beef or lamb dishes, mature and hard cheeses or even a decadent chocolate dessert.

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Castello Romitorio Rosso di Montalcino

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $24.99

Rosso di Montalcino is made using 100% Sangiovese Grosso grapes. It has a distinctive personality and is reflective of the intrinsic spirit of this clone cultivated in Montalcino's unique "terroir". It spends its first year maturing in large oak casks, lending it some complexity for further aging. Once bottled it will comfortably mature over seven to ten years, growing still finer and more elegant. It possesses a soft richness that balances its fresh bouquet, with fruit-forward aromas reminiscent of red berries, tobacco, and crushed violets. The wine stands out for its elegance and finesse. The structure is lavishly balanced with a mouth-watering viscosity and persistent finish. 90 points Stephen Tanzer International Wine Cellar 2011

Michael Cristillo CSW, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Auguste Bessac Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $26.99

Perhaps one of the best known Appellations in France, likely more so for the nomenclature than for the prodigious wines produced there. It was established as an AOC in 1936, where it was elevated from Cotes-du-Rhone Villages to its current state. Predominantly Grenache, it does have a significant amount of Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. It is produced in traditional style, long cool fermentation, open top fermenters, manual punch downs and pumping over for gentle extraction. It sees ageing in large neutral vats for minimal oak influence preserving the freshness of the high tone fruit. The wine is gentle, and subtle in style, with an easy going nature. Chock full of mixed red berries, spice, vanilla and wild flowers, finishing with licorice and notes of mocha. Well integrated and balanced, it makes a fine counterpart to beef or pork roasts, game meats and aged cheeses.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Allimant Laugnier Cremant d'Alsace Brut Rose

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $17.99

Most everybody likes bubbles, and what's not to like? Sadly, bubbles are often sequestered and consigned to some celebratory function, but they are wonderful wines that should be enjoyed far more frequently. Allimant Laugnier is a producer in the northeastern region of Alsace, who makes delicious and satisfying wines, one of our favorites being the Brut Rose. It is made in the Champagne method, with the secondary fermentation done in the individual bottle, not a large vessel that is drained into a smaller bottle for dispensing. The Brut Rose is crafted from 100% Pinot Noir, it's refreshingly dry, and delivers a lot of wine considering its low price vs. the costly and painstaking process to produce. Spiced cherry, raspberry, notes of citrus and delicate yeasty character are crisp and cleansing, ideal for roasted poultry, pork loin, poached salmon and yes, even a filet smothered in sundried cherries. Every day is a celebration, so treat yourself to something delicious, refreshing and satisfying.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Columbia Crest Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Reg $49.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

Washington State is routinely overlooked by consumers when it comes to world class wines. Many consider the Columbia Valley as a sleeper, a big secret in terms of quality and value, but those in the region and in the know, know better. Columbia Valley is home to 99% of the state's wine grape production, and due to the diversity in climates, it is ideal for a wide range of varietals. Columbia Valley boasts some prime sub appellations, including Walla Walla, Rattlesnake Hills, Horse Heaven Hills etc. Their Reserve Cabernet is a testament to their integrity, with nary a single Wine Spectator score below 90 points in the last decade. The flavors are bold yet harmonious with black cherry, currants, cocoa dust, licorice, hints of smoke in the substantial, complex, lingering finish. This will stand up to any game meats, lamb, herbed or marinated meats, and can be cellared for another decade. 91 Points Wine Spectator 2011

Michael Cristillo CSW, Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Louis Martini Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $25.99

Louis Martini has a strong family heritage in the California wine industry. The winery was founded in Napa Valley over 80 years ago and has been dedicated to creating classic California Cabernet from Napa and Sonoma County. Today, third generation wine maker, Michael Martini continues the family tradition. The Louis Martini Alexander Valley Cabernet comes from selected sights in the Alexander Valley to create layers of complexity. Aromas of dark red fruits, spice and herbs with flavors of bright black cherry on the palate rounded off with notes of tobacco and licorice. The tannins are smooth and the palate is silky making the wine approachable today and a great option with our prime cuts of beef, all cuts of lamb, and of course aged cheddar cheese.

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Chateau Ste. Michelle Columbia Merlot Indian Wells Vyd.

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

Be it the Washington state climate, the value, the rich dark fruit with the addition of a healthy dose a Syrah or a combination of all three, but this standout gem from Chateau St Michelle's Indian Wells vineyard has always been my standard bearer of what a classic Merlot should be and the critics agree. Nearly always scoring in the low to mid 90 point range for under $20 a bottle, this Merlot delivers with dark blueberry, blackberry and baking spice notes that translate well with velvet like earth notes and subtle pleasant tannins across the palate. An instant go to bottle for braised dishes, grilled meats and hearty pastas.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

Obsidian Ridge Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $27.99 | Gazette Special $22.99

This Cabernet Sauvignon is 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 spice of bay, clove and anise on a core of cherries, cranberries and red plums. Rich, full-bodied and densely structured, 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 10-15 years but is already hard to resist! The finish is long and alluring. Enjoy with filet mignon, rack of lamb, venison, moussaka and age cheeses.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Brander Santa Ynez Rose of Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Here we are approaching the Autumnal time of year, and unlike pumpkin-spiced beverages, any time is a good time for a nice rose here in Southern California. Hand harvested and fermented in 100% stainless steel, this juicy gem, a blend of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot, has a bright salmon color and a complex blend of strawberry, rose petal, and melon notes. Extremely versatile, this wine pairs beautifully with grilled shrimp, roast poultry or binge-watching TV shows on Netflix.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Martin Codax Albarino

Reg $15.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

Albarino, native to Rias Baixas, was originally granted its own regional status in Galicia, Spain's northwestern most real estate near the Portuguese border. During the consolidation and construction of the EU, it found its denomination status nullified as the EU wouldn't recognize a single grape for DO status. So Rias Baixas was born, with a similar Albarino dominant standard and guidelines for cultivation. The vineyards are stunning to behold, with lush green landscapes that take ones breath away, almost Shangri La like. The grape provides a zesty and refreshing foil for a wide variety of foods, the vibrant stone fruit core is braced with tangy citrus zest, apples and a hint of fresh mint. Delicious with white fleshed fish, fresh seafood salads and ginger seasoned octopus.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits