The Grapevine Gazette

June 1 - July 5 , 2016

The month of June is a wonderfully charismatic time since there are so many festivities and emotions associated with it – Baseball is in full swing; we head right into the middle of summer vacation; the grills and barbeques are heating up and working overtime; and most weddings occur during this 30 day span. Did I mention it can be very emotional? Well rest assured, our wine staff have offered their favorite wine libations to aid, assist and fulfill any situations and scenarios that may come your way. And, of course, to 'marry' with your favorite cuisine, be it fish, fowl, meat or veggies. Or you can just simplify things - kick your feet up, open one of the wine suggestions below. You owe it to yourself. And as always enjoy responsibly, and drink outside the box.

Stewart Cellars Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $69.99 | Gazette Special $59.99

Certain names are synonymous with expertise, and in the world of hand crafted wine, Paul Hobbs is at the top of the list. Stewart Cellars began in the year 2000, with Michael Stewart purchasing some land in Pope Valley, nestled in the foothills Northeast of St. Helena. With a fantastic team, and top quality vineyard sources, including Beckstoffer Las Piedras and Stagecoach as well as Juliana's, the superb Stewart Napa Cabernet is chock full of deep black cherry, boysenberry, chocolate, mocha, and pipe tobacco, with a slightly toasted, roasted note in the plush, opulent, chewy, persistent finish. This is a mouthful, a plain delight with fruit for days. While it is in its extremely youthful state, it certainly is a complete and enticing Napa Cab. Pair with a coffee rubbed ribeye, or our spectacular dry-aged New York Strip. And in typical Paul Hobbs fashion, the last half dozen vintages have all scored in the 90's. 2013 scored 92 by Vinous.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Fuligni Brunello di Montalcino 2010

Reg $85.99 | Gazette Special $74.99

This wine opens with aromas of blue flower, red berry, menthol and baking spice. The delicious palate delivers juicy red cherry, crushed plum, cinnamon, white pepper and mineral. Impeccably balanced with polished tannins and freshness, it impresses for its combination of intensity and elegance. Drink now or cellar through 2028!

Brian Moore Wine Specialist Newport Beach

Auguste Bessac Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $24.99

Sometimes when you drink wine, it's like drinking history. Chateauneuf-du-Pape has been produced for centuries in this appellation and the house of Auguste Bessac has been around since the mid 1920's. This is the largest and most important appellation in the southern Rhone - more than 7,000 acres of vineyards are planted and over 80 growers, making Chateauneuf-du-Pape's production larger than the whole of the northern Rhone combined. These gloriously rich red wines are enhanced by the complexity which comes from blending several of the 14 permitted grape varieties. In this case, the predominant grapes are Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. A powerful bouquet of black fruit and spice with hints of vanilla and mocha give way to a distinctly blackberry and black plum mid palate balanced by smooth tannins and hints of licorice. A very affordable price for a wine of this caliber. Enjoy with game, casseroles and hearty cheeses.

Michael Cristillo Certified Specialist of Wine & Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Frei Brothers Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Reg $23.99 | Gazette Special $19.99

In the late 1880s, Andrew Frei discovered the majestic, rolling hills and fertile soil of Sonoma County and saw a great opportunity. Ten years later he was proud owner of a 344 acre vineyard in northern Sonoma, giving birth to a winemaking tradition that is very much alive today. You can taste the legacy of a great winemaking tradition in the Frei Brothers Reserve Cabernet, combining the spirit of old world winemaking techniques with grapes that are hand selected from some of Sonoma's finest vineyards. This is a slam dunk for consumers seeking quality and value, it combines firm, dark fruit and chewy tannins with a measure of finesse and elegance. Well structured, it ends with gripping tannins reinforced by good length, depth and complexity of flavors. The perfect choice with hearty cheeses, your favorite cut of beef or a hearty chocolate dessert. The blend is 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 4% Petite Sirah.

Fernando Damasco Wine Specialist Santa Monica

Paraduxx Napa Valley Proprietary Red

Reg $49.99 | Gazette Special $42.99

Paraduxx Vineyards on the Silverado Trail in Yountville began as a dream of Dan Duckhorn as a winery solely devoted to stylish Napa Valley red blends. Winemakers are given complete freedom to explore other wine styles without distracting from their focus of Bordeaux varietals at his flagship Duckhorn Winery. Using Zinfandel from 100 year old vines and Duckhorn's own estate grown Cabernet Sauvignon, this savory blend is 60% Cabernet, 37% Zinfandel with a touch of Petite Sirah. The nose offers layers of spicy, brambly dark fruit and vanilla, with ripe red raspberry on the palate, deep layers of blueberry and baking spices with rustic tannins and a long lovely finish. Big, rich and powerful, this wine will blossom when decanted.

Nancie Hemminger Certified Specialist of Wine Manhattan Beach

Domaine Marcoux Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Reg $69.99 | Gazette Special $59.99

93 points Wine Spectator 2010 There is a theory that in the warmer, sunnier vineyards of the world, blends are better than single varietals. That Grenache, Mourvedre and Syrah go together perfectly is best expressed in the great vineyards of Southern Rhone. Fruit assembled from thirteen plots of land scattered in different parts of Chateauneuf du Pape, is manually harvested by maturity, which varies from one area to another within the Domaine. During alcoholic fermentation, juice is pumped over the skins daily. After two or three weeks the wines are drained and transferred into concrete vats and 350L casks for approximately 18 months. The flavors of this nearly perfect wine are of pure red fruit, seamlessly layered with some mineral, sweet spice, and woody accents. This is a polished wine, but with "a tug of earth lurking in the background." Some grip in the finish gives structure to the fruit and encourages us to pair this wine with meat off the grill. W.S. 93

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Mormoraia Vernaccia Di San Gimignano

Reg $15.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

The Vernaccia grape is thought to be the first grape variety in Italy to gain DOC status after the system was established in 1963. One of the wineries that produce this grape is Mormoraia. The winery was founded in 1980 by the Passoni family and the estate was restored in 1990 to accommodate the "farm tourism" business. The Vernaccia produced here in the heart of Tuscany is very crisp and clean, a true reflection of the green hills of San Gimignano. The wine was aged on lees for 4 months, in stainless for 1 month and in the bottle for another month prior to releasing. The result is a refreshing white with aromas of white flower and stone fruit. With green apple, pear, and a touch of vanilla on the palate, this will make a great summer sipper. Pairs well with antipasti, fish and poultry.

Michael Contreras Wine Specialist Beverly Hills

Gerard Maudry Terre des Caillottes Sancerre Blanc

Reg $21.99 | Gazette Special $18.99

The Loire Valley is a hotspot for one of my favorite varietals, and its rising popularity indicates that Sauvignon Blanc is not just a fad. Gerard Maudry is the 4th generation handling Domaine del la Chezatte, which was acquired in the early 30's. The vineyards for Terre des Caillottes are heavily weighted to clay and flint, with a significant limestone presence. The gravel and fractured flint warm the vines post sundown, and add the regions signature mineral and smoke aromas. The wines feel is crisp and delicate, with vibrant lemon-lime, green apple, quince and stone fruit, quite lively and refreshing. Pair with shellfish, Monkfish, broiled lobster and the classic pairing, fresh goat cheese.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Jean-Louis Chave St-Joseph Blanc "Celeste"

Reg $31.99 | Gazette Special $26.99

I have always been totally mystified when I hear people say stuff like, "any wine as long as it's red." To say that red wine is superior to white is like saying that sculpture is better than a painting. I am saying here now that some of the best wines in the world are white. Somebody please show me what any red wine has over a white like this. The vineyards are located in Mauves on granitic slopes. The granite soil expresses a wonderful minerality which perfectly accompanies food and gives an additional sense of vivacity. This bright, yellow-gold wine is made from 90% Roussanne and 10% Marsanne vines ranging from 8 to 60 years old. It presents a lush, toasty, buttery style, with creamed peach, piecrust and glazed pear flavors. But it is also lively, and shows very nice definition for a rich wine. This full-flavored white goes with flavorful food like Indian curry and smoked trout chowder.

Rob Hill Wine Specialist Westchester

Ron Rubin Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Ron Rubin has created distinctive wines for enjoyment, from the superlative Green Valley in the Russian River Valley. Terroir begins with the people who have grown and made these wines. It's then also about the geography of Russian River Valley, the soil types of this region, and the cool, Russian River climate best known for creating Burgundian-style Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Soft creamy notes of apples, pears and spices envelope the senses, with added aromas of vanilla and toasty oak. This fruit-forward Chardonnay is wonderful when enjoyed with hard cheeses, beet salad or shrimp.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Trefethen Napa Valley Chardonnay Oak Knoll District

Reg $28.99 | Gazette Special $23.99

100% estate fruit from the Main Ranch Vineyard in the famed Oak Knoll District of the Napa Valley. Well drained loamy soils help this marine air influenced wine with rich, balanced flavors of pears and Granny Smith apples with hints of ginger spice leading to bright tropical fruits on the finish. Always in balance with minimal amounts of malolactic fermentation, a perfect food wine. Try this with Heirloom tomatoes drizzled with our Bristol Farms Balsamic Vinegar.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Far Niente Napa Valley Chardonnay

Reg $59.99 | Gazette Special $54.99

One of California's oldest wineries, Far Niente was founded in 1885 by world traveler and entrepreneur, John Benson. The winery flourished until Prohibition, at which time it was abandoned and fell into complete disrepair. The stately stone shell of a winery was purchased in 1979 by Gil Nickel, as part of his quest to create a world class wine estate in the Napa Valley. During restoration, the original name, Far Niente, romantically translated to "without a care", was found carved in stone on the front of the building, where it remains to this day. Far Niente Chardonnay opens with light tropical aromas alongside melon, juicy citrus and a layer of toasted oak and mineral. Bright melon and citrus notes complementary to the nose, then progresses to a creamy, structured mid-palate. The long, mouth-watering finish has bright acidity with lingering citrus and toasted nuts flavors. It's definitely an outstanding Chardonnay.

Gabriella Tardos Wine Specialist Westwood

J Lohr Wildflower Monterey County Valdiguie

Reg $9.99 | Gazette Special $8.99

Valdiquie is grown on Chualar loam soil in the Arroyo Seco appellation of Monterey County. Originally thought to be the Gamay noir grape of France's Beaujolais winegrowing region, U.C. Davis has since identified this grape to be Valdiquie from an area in the southwest of France. Regardless of its origin and identity, Valdiquie grown in the windy, cool Arroyo seco produces a wine reminiscent of the "Crus" of Beaujolais - Morgon, Fleurie and Moulin-a Vent. Valdiquie is a deeply pigmented red-purple color with profuse cranberry, cherry and black pepper aromas. The juicy palate is coated with pomegranate and raspberry fruit, leaving a sweet and mildly astringent finish. This wine ideal as an aperitif it can be served with a slight chill or try it with soft cheeses.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Gallo Signature Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir

Reg $29.99 | Gazette Special $24.99

90 points The Wine Advocate It's not often that one can say that a wine is worth its retail price. It's even rarer when you find a wine that over delivers for its price point. This Signature Pinot does just that and in spades. This is winemaker Gina Gallo's pet project and she hits it out of the park. It also helps when you grow the grapes in one of the most pristine and famous Pinot appellations in California, the Santa Lucia Highlands. Add the fact that it hails from a single vineyard, Olson Ranch, and you have a Pinot Noir that should cost more. This Monterey County AVA is home to ancient alluvial soils, warm afternoon sunshine and cooling Pacific breezes. Evoking the terroir of Burgundy, the appellation is home to extraordinary cool‐climate varieties. This beauty offers complex aromas and flavors of cherry, pomegranate, boysenberry and lavender. Well-integrated notes of oak and vanilla from barrel aging complement a soft, silky mouthfeel and frame the rich expression characteristic of Pinot Noir. Match this intense Pinot with any red fleshed seafood, grilled and/or stuffed poultry and of course, enjoy on its own.

Michael Cristillo Certified Specialist of Wine & Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

GD Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

Piemonte, or Piedmont, is reputed for producing some of Italy's longest lived and profound reds, Barbaresco and Barolo, but also is home to some pretty impressive and more forgiving varietals such as the frequently overlooked Dolcetto. GD Vajra has a style that is hard to resist, from top to bottom, the flavors are complex, yet polished, with terrific early appeal. The Dolcetto d'Alba is a substantial red with deep black cherry, black plum, boysenberry and subtle notes of licorice. The grapes skin is deep purple, requiring abbreviated contact to extract the pigments, consequently the wines tannin levels are reduced as well, leaving a bold, opulent, energetic red that is ideal for summertime enjoyment. Aged in neutral oak vats, the fruit melds and rounds out to create a distinctly delicious and generous foil for braised meats, charcuterie, veal chops and seasoned pork loin.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Damilano Barbera d'Asti

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

Violet and burgundy in appearance with brilliant tones on nose and palate of bitter sweet Marasca cherries. Balanced acidity and herbal notes of rosemary, oregano and anise. So, now that we have established this as an Italian wine that brilliantly captures the tale-tale traits of the breed, what makes it stand out more than its' minimalist white horizontally embossed two color label? Possibly the subdued olfactory notes of violets, sarsaparilla and flint against the cherries. Definitely the flavors of bitter rhubarb and licorice against tart plums pleasantly welcomed like dark cocoa with a long finish both dry and full. Absolutely the abundance of minerality for fewer than twenty dollars that begs you to question the price of a modest Burgundy. And in the end, it's a lovely wine that pairs well with salumi and cheese, grilled cuts of lamb and beef, game birds and most anything equally Italian.

Teo Santocono Wine Specialist La Jolla

Fontodi Chianti Classico

Reg $36.99 | Gazette Special $31.99

93 points Wine Enthusiast 92 points Vinous 2012 The estate dates back to the 16th century, but her modern era started in 1968 when the Manettis, a Florentine family famous for more than three centuries for their terracotta production, purchased the estate. Fontodi Chianti Classico is pure pleasure. Ruby red in the glass, its bouquet of rain-spattered flowers and cherries, to its palate of rich red fruit and earth. This organically produced Chianti Classico puts the emphasis on "classic." It's a classic, timeless rendition of Italy's favorite food-friendly wine, and its piquant acidity, juicy fruit, and smooth tannins make it a timely addition to any dinner table. Pair with rich red meat sauces and bold poultry dishes

Michael Gregory Certified Specialist of Wine & Merchandising Specialist

Produttori del Barbaresco Barbaresco DOCG

Reg $36.99 | Gazette Special $31.99

93 points Wine Spectator 2012 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 show a slightly dryness but the long, juicy finish offers enticing floral perfume. A lovely, sharply delineated Barbaresco at a very reasonable price. Enjoy with pastas, risottos, red meats, game, venison and aged cheese.

Jose Cortes Wine Specialist South Pasadena

Cyprus Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Reg $14.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

Even before you bring the glass of Cyprus Sauvignon Blanc toward your mouth, your nose will pick up the aromas of gooseberry and melon rind. The palate is deliciously lively, yet delicate with vibrant acidity. The finish is seamless with flavors of kiwi and lime, which makes this mouthwatering gem a delectable match with shellfish, macadamia crusted trout and salty cheeses such as Feta and Goat.

Michael Cristillo Certified Specialist of Wine & Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Verso Rosso Salento IGT Puglia

Reg $14.99 | Gazette Special $11.99

This Italian gem is a blend of 60% Negroamaro, 35% Primitivo and a final dollop of Malvasia Nera. If you love a good Valpolicella, this is similar in style and taste. A portion of the grapes are allowed to "raisin" - known as "appassimento" - a process whereby they are literally hung out to dry, and the sugars to concentrate. It is a labor-intensive process, which results in the reduction of the yield. The bad news is you wind up producing fewer bottles – the good news is you make a far better caliber of wine. The resulting wine is rich, unctuous and flavorful. A glorious nose of figs, cloves, anise, vanilla and a faint hint of black peppercorns gives the flavors of red and black berries a nice lift. The texture is silky, polished and mouth-coating. Bravo!

Michael Cristillo Certified Specialist of Wine & Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Gruet Brut Champagne NV

Reg $17.99 | Gazette Special $14.99

It's June and you have several key celebrations brewing, such as graduations and Father's Day. Then you have some real oddball entries like National Doughnut Day, Picnic Day, Yoga Day…and the list goes on. So what better way to celebrate whatever tickles your fancy than with a sparkling wine? Gruet hails from New Mexico - this state has a winemaking tradition dating back to 1580 - and offers a French flair, beyond being Methode Champenoise; the owners and wine making team are French. The same grape varietals and fermentation process used in Champagne are replicated at Gruet Winery. Made form Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this Brut is a crisp and full-bodied sparkling wine with rich complexity and fine mousse. The allure of a toasty finish from twenty-four months 'en tirage' complements the ultra-fine bubbles that accent the green apple and grapefruit flavors. Dynamite! Or as they say in French, Formidable! 89 points Wine Spectator

Michael Cristillo Certified Specialist of Wine & Corporate Wine & Spirits Buyer

Marques de Caceres Rioja Rosado

Reg $7.99 | Gazette Special $5.99

June is busting out all over, so it's time to bust out this fresh fruity gem from Spain. Bright coral pink in color, it has notes of white flowers and currants on the nose, with ripe flavors of cherries, berries, and citrus rind, finishing with a bit of pepperiness. Intensely quaffable and versatile, it will go with just about anything that might be put onto a table before you: grilled chicken, ribs, tri-tip, or potato salad. It's a fine barbecue wine for all your summer get-togethers.

Judi Woods Wine Specialist Rolling Hills

Triennes Mediterranee Rose

Reg $15.99 | Gazette Special $12.99

World renowned Burgundian producers, Dujac's Jacques Seysses, and Aubert de Villaine of Romanee Conti fame, purchased and revitalized an estate east of Aix en Provence. The estate is situated on Southern facing gently sloping hillside with soils ideal for some of their favorite wines. In particular, their rose is a brilliant, lively and racy gem with a clarity not always found from the region. As many of the darker pinks can be a bit clumsy, Triennes is anything but. Chock full of watermelon, cantaloupe, citrus zest and brisk acidity, it offers a cleansing and quite satisfying purity. Primarily Cinsault, it has a tangy crisp, lingering, almost saline finish. Great with white or red fleshed fish, mussels, calamari or even grilled poultry.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Whispering Angel Cotes De Provence Rose

Reg $24.99 | Gazette Special $21.99

This wonderful Rose is a blend of Grenache, Rolle (Vermentino), Cinsault, Syrah and Mourvedre grapes. Strikingly pale pink in color. It has aromas of strawberry and red raspberry and it is fresh, crisp and fruity. It is full bodied and well balanced with perfect acidity on the palate; fresh red fruit flavors with some tropical mineral notes. This is a fantastic food wine. It is almost impossible not to like.

Gabriella Tardos Wine Specialist Westwood

Trefethen Napa Valley Dry Riesling

Reg $19.99 | Gazette Special $16.99

The quintessential salad and appetizer wine, with low residual sugar and low alcohol too. Orange blossom and lime zest captivates the senses moving on to a tropical palate with highlights of golden apples and dried apricots. Fresh and flavorful with varietal character preserved by fermenting in stainless steel tanks. All estate fruit from the Main Ranch vineyard. This is Napa Riesling at its finest. Perfect for laughing away the day on your patio.

Bruce Davis Wine Specialist Palm Desert

Martin Codax Rias Baixas Albarino

Reg $16.99 | Gazette Special $13.99

As summer approaches, we shift our dining habits to a fresher, just picked, plucked or hooked immediacy that accentuates our busy lifestyle. The warm weather also calls for less intense but equally flavorful libation. Albarino is one of those desert island wines where you could easily imagine enjoying until the rescue team arrived. And if they took their time, that would be fine too. Bright citrus, blossom, passion fruit, litchi, and melon fruit are framed by a slightly piquant character. Balanced and lively with a lingering textured supple finish. Terrific with grilled fish tacos, citrus marinated chicken breast and grilled vegetables.

Geoff Nicoll Director Beer, Wine & Spirits

Morgadio Galicia Albarino

Reg $15.99 | Gazette Special $12.99

91 points Stephen Tanzer International Wine Cellar 2014 If you'd like to experience a different summer white wine, try this pale golden beauty from the village of Albeos in Galicia, the northwest corner of Spain. Pale golden yellow with aromas of lime, quince, jasmine, white peach and wet stones this wine has a mouthwatering acidity and a medium body. Flavors of orange zest, bitter lime, notes of ginger and just a kiss of sweetness. Chill it down and enjoy it on your next outdoor adventure, or pair it with ceviche, Cioppino or a simple grilled or poached fish.

Nancie Hemminger Certified Specialist of Wine Manhattan Beach