The Grapevine Gazette

April 1 - 28, 2015

April's origin may be tied to the Greek word "Aprilis", a nod to Aphrodite, the goddess of love and beauty. And what an odd beginning to the month as April Fool's Day takes hold and we spring endless jokes and gags upon one another. We have finally emerged from our winter slumber - at least in the northern hemisphere - that reinvigorates our emotions and sense of place. It's a nice thought as April is also a wrecking ball of emotions as taxes are due mid-month. Thus, to celebrate the awakening of the senses and to damper the dour thoughts of monies possibly owed to Uncle Sam, we offer those particular libations below to rekindle your optimism for the future. And if you do merit a refund, perhaps you can splurge on that bottle of Chateau Mouton Rothschild you've been eying in one of our trophy cases - well okay, maybe that's a bit of a stretch. As always, enjoy responsibly and drink outside the box.

All wines assort for 10% discount when 6 or more bottles are purchased.
All selections are 750ml unless otherwise noted. No rain checks.
While Bristol Farms takes every effort to ensure adequate supply, all offerings are subject to availability.

Joseph Perrier Brut Cuvee Royale

Reg $39.99 | Gazette Special $34.99

As a longtime fan of this excellent Champagne house, every time I taste it, I am reminded why. I know it is the wrong color of yellow to please most label shoppers, but it will reward the adventurous. The flavors are crisp and persistent with tremendous energy. It bursts with citrus, green apple, pineapple and tropical notes with a creamy, almost brioche-like character, framed by brilliant and uplifting acidity. It is split almost equally among Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier, which helps maintain the elegance, but pushes the rich yeasty notes that give it verve. The winemaker is the third generation in the family to inhabit these very caves, and the wines have never been better. This is truly a fantastic bottle of bubbly, and a far better value than the majority of its competitors. Pair with smoked salmon, scampi, or cream based sauces.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Torres Ribera del Duero Celeste Crianza

Reg $22.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

Spain's Ribera del Duero is a Denominacion de Origen (DO) located in the country's northern plateau along the Duero River. While it is a newer DO, established in 1982, winemaking has taken place in the region for over 2,000 years. Wine Enthusiast named Ribera Del Duero its 2012 Wine Region of the Year. Made from 100% Tempranillo (the region's dominant varietal), this wine boasts lush dark fruit, balanced spice and rich complexity. Sensuous depth and supple tannin round out this layered gem. Pair with medium-aged cheeses, portobello mushrooms, and red meat.

Erin Kinney Wine Specialist Manhattan Beach

Tokaji Aszu 3 Puttonyos 500ml

Reg $14.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

The grapes grown to make Tokaji are traditionally grown on a small plateau approximately 1500ft above sea level in the Carpathian Mountains. The unique climate allows for a longer ripening period. This extended period allows the sun to evaporate much of the liquid from inside the fruit thus producing higher sugar content. The grapes are left on the vine long enough to develop "noble rot", then harvested. Aszu ranges 1-6 puttonyos, depending on sugar content. This one is 3 puttonyos, which makes it a more food friendly, and can be used as a dessert wine or pair with fruit, cheese and many white meats. Serve chilled.

Michael Contreras Wine Specialist Beverly Hills

Oakville Winery Napa Valley Zinfandel

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $21.99

Every once in a while I like a Zinfandel. I like all kinds, from the big berry pie styles to the lighter, more finessed versions some people call "claret style." The Oakville Zinfandel, though it is medium bodied and well structured, shows berry pie without a doubt. The sweet berry fruit comes on strong at first and the whole impression is of a supple, well balanced wine with a delicious lingering taste. Power and finesse. I wouldn't open this wine unless I had coals going and some red meat ready to go on the grill.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Antica Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $49.99 | Gazette Special $39.99

Since Marchese Piero Antinori's first visit in 1966, he dreamt of producing an Antinori Napa Valley wine. It took over 40 years of perseverance, but Antica Napa finally came to fruition. The Cabernet Sauvignon grapes come from 20+ year old vines and were harvested from fourteen vineyard blocks that have their own identifiable qualities. The vineyards are planted up to 1,800 feet elevation above the Napa Valley floor in weathered volcanic soil. Various distinct Cabernet Sauvignon clones provide further complexity in aromatics and flavors. This deeply intense beauty possesses enormous charm and appeal with inviting aromas of blackberries, red currants, cassis and chocolate. On the palate the wine is rich, savory and full bodied finishing with firm, silky tannins and great length. 91 points Parker Wine Advocate 2011

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

J Lohr Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon Hilltop Vineyard

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $26.99

J Lohr is among the top 30 wine producers in the United States with annual sales exceeding 1 million cases. Yet from all this production comes a big, beautiful ripe Cabernet Sauvignon that will rival most Cabernets from Napa Valley in this price point. This edition of the Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon delivers big time with a dense wine that is still soft with a great fruit signature. This wine come from the AVA of Paso Robles, where the daytime temperatures can be 100 degrees, yet with ocean cooled nights dipping to the 50s. Varietal aromas of violet and ripe black plum are complimented by dark chocolate and espresso coffee along with hazel nut. Delicious with rosemary seasoned rib-eye steaks with roasted potatoes and asparagus.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Columbia Crest Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Reg $49.99 | Gazette Special $39.99

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 Cabernet to Riesling. Columbia Valley boasts some prime sub appellations, including Walla Walla, Rattlesnake Hills, Horse Heaven Hills etc. And Columbia Crest has absolutely mastered the art of turning these excellent grapes into an outright delicious bottle of wine. 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

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Brazos Los Andes Proprietary Red Blend

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

This Argentine gem hails from the esteemed Zuccardi family. The Zuccardi's have been living in Mendoza since the late 19th century and is now the largest family-owned winery in Argentina. A blend of Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and Bonarda, this "masculine" red hits you with intense red and black fruit aromas with spicy, violet and chocolate nuances. Great structure with soft and mature tannins is balanced by the bold fruity flavors and a mouthwatering finish. Pair with your favorite cuts of red meat - with duck, it would be sublime.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Neyen Espiritu de Apalta Colchagua Valley Proprietary Red

Reg $49.99 | Gazette Special $39.99

Chile has become synonymous with inexpensive simple yet unremarkable wines, and they are available in significant quantity. Yet, due to the rugged backdrop of the Andes and the semi-arid climate and poor soils, some incredible wines are also part of Chile's heritage. The Apalta Valley is a horseshoe shaped valley that is surrounded by a steep section of the Andes, which shelters it from the winds, yet allows it to benefit from the river's cooling influence. Old vines, dry farming and meticulous fruit selection provides for intense concentration and incredible complexity. A blend of Carmenere, once thought to be Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon, propagated from Bordeaux cuttings. The vineyard was planted in the 1800's and boasts some of the oldest vines in the country. Producing a singular wine allows the growers and winemakers to focus on making the best wine possible rather than being distracted by multiple projects. The 2010 Neyen Espiritu de Apalta is an almost seamless gem that delivers ample black berry fruits, currants, leather, tobacco and fine pepper notes. The flavors are profound yet harmonious, and linger long into a spicy, satisfying finish. This one is well suited to wild mushroom risotto, well-seasoned beef, aged salty cheeses or any full flavored hearty dish. 91 points Parkers Wine Advocate 2010

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Canalicchio di Sopra Rosso Montalcino

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $26.99

Canalicchio di Sopra is one of my favorite properties in Montalcino. The Estate's Rosso is endowed with serious complexity and character. Tobacco, savory herbs, mint, anise and underbrush are some of the many aromas and flavors found in this Rosso, a wine that stands out for its personality. Rosso is often sold as a mini-Brunello, a label that unfortunately applies to only a small number of wines. Not here. This is a Rosso of unusual pedigree and distinction. This wine will age for 10+ years but drinks well now. 2011 90 points Wine Advocate, 2012 92 points Vinous Media

Brian Moore Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco DOCG

Reg $36.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

Barbaresco wines are often light in color, but filled with tart flavors mixed with flavors of dry earth, spices and potpourri. The Nebbiolo grape produces powerful wines. This Barbaresco has high acidity and tannin, so it is best after a couple years of aging. Once it gets a few years in bottle, it reveals invigorating aromas of tart cranberries, cherries, cardamom and spices.

Gabriella Elkouby Wine Specialist Westwood

Dow Vale Do Bomfim Douro Red

Reg $11.99 | Gazette Special $9.99

Portugal is an ever increasing source of viable, value wines and Vale DO Bowfim is the value wine from one of the stalwart Port producers, Dow. This wine would surprise many a Zinfandel lover in a blind tasting. This red gem has a singular richness, which is the best word to describe this wine, 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 the wine. The fruit is sourced from the same vineyards that provide fruit for Dow's Vintage Port. The primary grapes, 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 steaks grilled on the rare side.

Michael Gregory Wine Merchandising Specialist

Bodegas Botani Moscatel

Reg $15.99 | Gazette Special $12.99

Often I'm asked to pair wines for Asian foods. Sweeter dishes are generally nice to offset with citrusy Sauvignon Blanc while spicier affair tend to favor the sweet honey and lychee touch of Gewurztraminer or Rieslings. A couple of years ago I was introduced to an amazing bottle that combined the best qualities of both and I happily put it through its paces with food pairings. Botani Moscatel is a dry white (as indicated by the "Seco") with a fresh nose of lemon grass, lemon flesh and orange blossoms that tease the nose into looking for something sweet. The first sip also explodes with a voluminous burst of dense palate coating pineapple and grapefruit notes the reveal themselves not to be honeyed but rather very dry and heavy like an outstanding chilled Sake or Rousanne. Finishing with an intensely long and acid note of fresh ginger and citrus, this is by far one of the greatest whites for Sushi, Yakitori, Pad Thai and Curries as well as Caribbean, North African, Mexican, Indian and just about any cuisine found between the Equator and the Tropic of Cancer.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

San Felice Il Grigio Chianti Classico Riserva

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

This wine is 100% Sangiovese, fermented on skin for 18-20 days. 80% of the wine then matures for 24 months in Slavonia oak barrel, and 20% in 225-litre French Barriques, followed by a further 6 months or so in the bottle. Il Grigio releases lingering, complex fragrances redolent of sweet violets and wild red berry fruit. The palate displays a wine of appreciable body, nicely lean-edged, and with crisp acidity. Succulent tannins complement a delicate fruitiness, as does a broad complex of aromas enriched by just a hint of toasty oak. Overall, a beautifully harmonious wine. Enjoy with roasted or braised beef, stew or pasta dishes with rich sauces.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

La Maialina Chianti DOCG

Reg $9.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

Upon pouring this modestly priced bottling you're invited to a bouquet of fresh green herbs and vegetables, 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 the Riserva is in a younger, fresh version - great for everyday pairings of pasta, pizza, Italian sandwiches and a great wine for small gatherings.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

Solena Willamette Valley Pinot Noir Grande Cuvee

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $21.99

All grapes from the individual vineyard sites were hand-sorted and de-stemmed prior to fermentation. Grapes from each vineyard were fermented individually in small lots. Cold maceration preceded fermentation to maximize color and flavor. The majority of fruit was fermented in open top stainless steel fermenters and punched down daily by hand for a total of 21 days of skin contact. After primary fermentation the juice was gravity-fed directly to barrel. 100% malolactic fermentation occurred over a 5 months in French oak (20% new) barrels from a variety of coopers. The wine was bottled unfiltered and unfined. A nose of strawberry and raspberry jam with a hint of violet. The brightness shows up from the vivacity of the fruit with layers of black and red cherry. The structure is round with just enough tannin. Enjoy with Chicken, veal, salmon and lamb.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Pieropan Soave Classico

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

It is said by some that great Soave is the true essence of Italian white wine. Hailing from the Veneto region, this Soave is approximately 85% Garganega and 15% Trebbiano grown on hillside vineyards. These two flavor profiles combined with good acidity and structure will give its consumer a nice tasting experience. Aromas of olive and apricot fill the glass, along with flavors of almonds, Meyer lemon and melon. The wine finishes very clean and dry. Pieropan continues to have exceptional vintage to vintage consistency. One of my personal favorite Italian white wines and highly recommended by our staff. Pair with all delicate seafood, veal, and all northern Italian fare. 90 points Wine Spectator 2013

Michael Pagh Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Dom. Prieur-Brunet Bourgogne Chardonnay

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

Chardonnay can be ponderous at times, not that it's a bad thing, but sometimes something a little more pure and elegant is in order. The Prieur-Brunet Bourgogne Chardonnay came about when Guy Prieur of Santenay married Elisabeth Brunet of Meursault, and along with the Madame came some beautiful vineyards from her village. Meursault vineyards are known for power and grace, and mineral and complexity of flavors. With added property to their estate, they are afforded the opportunity to be more selective putting their best fruit into Meursault, and if they thought it wasn't quite up to standard, they can sell it as Bourgogne Chardonnay. And we are glad they did as we were fortunate to grab some and toss up on the shelves. The scents are racy and fresh with a saline mineral component, backed with brisk citrus, stone fruits, blossom and a lemon curd richness that is clean and vital. It was fermented in neutral oak vats, stirred regularly for lees contact, and then half was barrel aged in about a third new wood, the other half sees stainless to preserve freshness. This is a deliciously brisk, balanced and racy Chardonnay that tells the story of the vineyards. Ideal with a mixed seafood platter.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Trefethen Vineyards Napa Valley Chardonnay

Reg $28.99 | Gazette Special $25.99

The Trefethen 1976 Chardonnay was named "Best Chardonnay in the World" at the Gault Millau World Wine Olympics in France. Personally I don't think of wine as a competitive sport, but if some French wine magazine was so bold as to name it thus, all I can say is it must have been pretty darn good. After tasting the 2013 I can also say that they haven't dropped the ball at Trefethen. The grapes grew in the well-drained, loamy soils and marine-influenced climate of the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, almost guaranteeing them rich, balanced flavors. Complexities of pit fruit and tree fruit fill your nose along with some toast and spice notes. In the mouth the wine is round and creamy with ripe apple and pear fruit, some tropical flavors and a crisp and clean finish. For food pairings think rich flavors and creamy textures. Grilled seafood, roasted chicken, creamy scallops and risotto, or simply prepared pork dishes will do it.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Alysian Russian River Chardonnay

Reg $37.99 | Gazette Special $29.99

The Hambrecht family, owners of Alysian winery, has been in the California wine business for over 35 years, partnering in esteemed brands like Ridge, Chalone, and Truett Hurst. Add veteran winemaker, Gary Farrell, known in the industry for his high standards and resolute attention to detail, and you have a winning combination of quality and vineyard skills. For this Chard, clones 76 and 95 from the Floodgate Vineyard contribute tremendous bright acidity, crisp citrus fruit and a lean stature, while Clone 4, via Westside Farms, fills out the mid-palate with complimenting notes of honey and fresh-cut pear. Be it sipped alone or matched with seafood, shellfish and mild cheeses, this is a mouth-watering beauty will compliment everything your palate requires.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

McIntyre Vineyards Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $25.99

The McIntyre Estate Vineyard has its home in Monterey County's Santa Lucia Highlands AVA. The estate was one of the first properties in the AVA to be SIP Certified (Sustainability In Practice). SIP Certification ensures that growers follow set standards of habitat and water conservation, energy efficiency and mindfulness of the entire farm system. This dedication to holistic wine production delivers a delicious, well-balanced pinot noir. McIntyre's medium-bodied wine begins with black cherry on the nose, followed by flavors of plums, cranberries and cherries, with hints of oak, smoke and black pepper. This is a great wine to have alongside a cheese platter, as it would pair nicely with many different cheeses. Try brie or camembert, cheddar, fresh chevre and a mild blue.

Clint Fultz Westlake Village

Cherry Tart 3 County Pinot Noir

Reg $22.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

Picnic time is here, so break out the checkered tablecloths and set out the Cherry Tart. This wine is Cherry Pie winemaker Jayson Woodbridge's approachable lush "Multi-Single-Vineyard blend." Quite the mouthful, three small individual lots from three different areas (Monterey County, Sonoma County, and Santa Barbara County) are micro fermented separately in puncheon barrels, attaining the characteristic tastes and flavors from each terroir, then artfully blended into this jam-packed wine. Ripe black cherry notes, cranberries, plums, and strawberries crash the palate in this lush wine, finishing with a hint of sweet spice, vanilla and vibrant acidity. Versatile and food-friendly, it pairs nicely with picnic-style foods like fried chicken and pasta salad on a blanket in the park, or ham and scalloped potatoes at an Easter dinner.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Vincent & Sophie Morey Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes

Reg $59.99 | Gazette Special $52.99

You've heard of a "Tale of Two Cities? Here's our version of two divergent winemakers who create one winery. Sophie and Vincent Morey both come from families of wine-growers. They set up their own domaine in 2006 and had their first harvest in 2007. Vincent's enological studies came from his father, Bernard Morey, a leading personality in the village of Chassagne-Montrachet; Sophie learned her trade while working in Santenay alongside her mother - "In my family," Sophie declares with a smile, "the vines pass from mother to daughter." This Chassagne-Montrachet Vieilles Vignes (which means "old vines") offers up sweet peach and pear aromas, accented by a lemony element. Rich and silky with a honeyed note from its tropical and stone fruit flavors, it finishes round and with a delicious touch of minerality. A great match with seafood, shellfish and poultry dishes.

Michael Cristillo Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Peter Franus Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $23.99 | Gazette Special $19.99

Peter Franus has been around Napa for quite some time, I first met him tasting some of his spectacular single vineyard Zinfandels decades ago, and have enjoyed selling them for years. He has expanded well beyond Zinfandel; he makes some pretty rock solid wines from every persuasion. And his Napa Sauvignon Blanc does not deviate from his passion for purity and expression. Napa Sauvignon Blanc has many identities, many faces, most of them good, but often they are heavy and clumsy. Peter has a way with balance and finesse, and it is reflected in his wines. The Franus Sauvignon hails from Carneros, where the cooling influence from the Bay keeps acidity high, and over-ripeness in check. It is expressive of key lime, tropical fruit, mineral and a not quite Sancerre piquant character that holds it all in check. He is masterful at his craft, and it shows in all his wines. Pair with sea bass, our asada chicken breast, mussels and ceviche.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Cloudy Bay Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $32.99 | Gazette Special $28.99

Sauvignon Blanc is the main varietal of New Zealand. It is a very crisp, aromatic wine with notes of grapefruit, tropical fruit and cut grass. Marlborough is the most revered wine-producing region in the small country, accounting for 62% of all wine produced in New Zealand. Sauvignon Blanc tends to be fermented in stainless steel vats, which results in a clean, crisp flavor and will not show any kind of butteriness. When it comes to pairing, think white meat, shellfish and try to accentuate the herbaceous qualities of the wine with ingredients like parsley and cilantro.

Gabriella Elkouby Wine Specialist Westwood