Monthly Newsletter Specials

Monthly Red
2014 Andre Brunel Grenache, VdP Vaucluse

André Brunel is a star producer in Châteauneuf-du-Pape and is known for his outstanding “Les Cailloux” bottling. Yet, his simple Grenache from the Vaucluse continues to be a staff favorite and a wine worthy of a newsletter feature every year. As a Grenache specialist, Brunel applies the same care and attention to the production of his value Vaucluse wines as he does his top Châteauneuf-du-Pape bottlings. This VdP Vaucluse wine offers a multi-layered combination of roasted strawberries, wild raspberries, and a supporting cast of dried herbs, flowers, and a soft gravelly earth tone. Moderate use of oak allows for the delicious, lip-smacking nature of Grenache to shine. The rich, round flavors and medium body of this tasty red wine makes it an ideal match with savory herb flavored food.

Monthly White
2015 Luzon Blanco, Jumilla

The Luzón winery is a leading producer of wine in the DO of Jumilla, situated in the south-eastern part of Spain.  The area sits on a high plateau surrounded by mountains with a continental climate that receives some of its temperature moderation from the Mediterranean.  This refreshing white blend is a combination of Macabeo and Airén, both planted on soils that are coarse in texture with stones, clay, and limestone.  The winery is stocked with temperature controlled stainless steel tanks and modern equipment, all designed to help make the best and cleanest wines possible.  The Luzón blanco showcases intense floral notes of white field flowers, honey, and a nutty character from extended lees contact.  The fruit profile is loaded with a combination of apple, melon, and tropical fruit.  The flavors on the palate are pure and focused with a clean minerally finish.

Featured Red Wines

2014 Christopher Michael Red Blend, Washington

Two brothers, Eric Christopher Harms and Ryan Michael Harms, started this winery in 2009. They both bring passion and work ethic to the project, focusing their efforts on finding expressive fruit that produces vibrant and fresh wines.  Their goal is to find great fruit sources in order to make delicious wines regardless of region or variety.  The 2014 Red Blend is a unique combination of 54% Syrah, 20% Barbera, 10% Cabernet Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 3% Grenache.  The 2014 vintage was warm and dry for the majority of the growing season, resulting in wines with ripe, clean, forward fruit character.  The grapes for the red blend were sourced from the Wahluke Slope and Columbia Valley and offer layers of dark fruits, nutmeg spice, purple flowers, and a hint of game.

2016 Mourgues du Gres ‘Galets Rouge’, Costières de Nîmes

The vineyards of Costières de Nîmes share some of the same galets, or round flat stones that are famous for the wines of Châteauneuf du Pape.  Mourgues du Gres is located on the Mediterranean plateau of Beaucaire with both northern and southern sun exposure.  The Rhône River adds its influence from just a few miles away and the vines are all cared for with certified organic standards in mind.  The wines are fermented and aged in stainless steel for early drinking.  The Rouge is predominantly Syrah (63%) from younger vines, with Grenache, Mourvèdre, and old vine Carignan rounding out the blend.  Sun dried blackberries and raspberries fruit flavors are balanced with dusty earth, herbs, violets, and spice.  The style is smooth and quaffable, yet pairs nicely with a wide range of foods.

2015 Gauthier Bourgueil Jour de Soif, Loire Valley

Tasting the Jour de Soif (Thirsty Day) recently was a fantastic surprise!  This remarkable Bourgueil is produced in a style that is approachable, yet has plenty of depth, complexity, and flavor.  The nose has loads of bright black cherries, boysenberries, chocolate, smoke, and turned earth mineral notes.  On the palate the wine is shockingly full and round, with balanced structure and plenty of depth to please even the most selective of wine drinkers.  This estate produces certified organic Cabernet Franc wines from their 18 hectare site.  Bourgueil is famous for its clay-limestone soils and red wines with a slightly austere, firm structure.  The Cabernet Franc wines here see minimal new oak and find more exciting flavor components of detailed mineral, earth, and flowers.  The Jour de Soif comes from 20 year old vines and is produced using all stainless steel.

2015 Casa Ferreirinha Papa Figos, Portugal

Dona António Ferreira was a major influence in Portugal’s Douro region.  Her nickname was Ferreirinha, which is where the winery found its name.  Casa Ferreirinha produces some of our favorite dry red wines from the area.  We have featured the Esteva red from this property, but there is a profound quality difference with the Papa Figos.  Named after a rare bird, 25% of this wine is sourced from the famed Quinta da Leda estate with the rest sourced from north-facing vineyards at high altitude.  The soil here is all schist, which serves the vine with nutrients and water retention.  The Papa Figos is a full-bodied wine with bold tannins, bright acidity, and plenty of lively red and black fruit flavor.  It is packed with hints of cocoa, Asian spice, herbs, dried flowers, and cedar.  A superb wine with amazing depth.

2016 Bodegas Inteus Rioja Joven ‘Aviadores del Terruno’, Spain

Luís Palacio’s father was responsible for planting the first certified organic vineyard in Rioja in 1980.  He quickly converted the rest of his family’s holdings after seeing the results in the vineyard.  Today, Luís carefully tends to his vineyards and uses a plot of 150 year old own-rooted Graciano and Tempranillo Peludo vines to provide the genetic material for maintaining and propagating new vines.  This simple Rioja Joven comes from vines planted in Rioja Alavesa and is 100% Tempranillo.  Joven means it is simply aged for a year before release, so the the wine is bright and refreshing in style.  That said, this wine has plenty of structure and concentration.  These grapes are hand-picked, sorted and pressed with spontaneous fermentation and bottled with very little SO2.  A beautiful and naturally produced wine from Rioja.

2013 Flood ‘Black label’ Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara

After selling out of this wine over a year ago, we received a call from the warehouse in Santa Barbara informing us that they found 20 more cases.  Kind of funny.  Interestingly, this wine has only developed into an ultra refined Pinot Noir that is produced by two of the most talented guys in the business; Rajat Parr and Sashi Moorman.  This was a project that friend Craig Lewis and I did with them in the 2013 vintage.  Similar in style the the Sandhi wines, this ‘Black Label’ wine of Flood is a combination of four Sta. Rita Hills vineyard sources: Bent Rock, Rita’s Crown, Mount Carmel, and Wenzlau. The wine was fermented with 25% whole cluster for aromatics and elegance and then matured in 2-3 year old French Oak barrels for 12 months for added flavor and complexity.

Featured White Wines

2015 Laroche Mas la Chevalière Chardonnay, Languedoc

Michel Laroche was a pioneer for the resurgence of quality winemaking in the Languedoc region.  In 1996 he started Mas la Chevalière with the goal of producing wines with a sense of place while remaining true to the grape variety.  The property is divided into two parcels: Peyroli and Roqua Blanca.  Peyroli was planted in the 1980’s on a clay-limestone site and yields top notch Chardonnay.  Roqua Blanca is divided into a number of small plots for the red grapes grown on the property.  Ample sunshine and drying winds keep the grapes healthy, which helps since the wine growing is handled organically.  There is no oak use for this wine, it is clean and citrusy with aromas of yellow apple and pear.  The flavors unfold with bright citrus, dried apple, mineral, and floral notes.

2016 Scacciadiavoli Grechetto dell’Umbria IGT, Italy

The wines of Umbria are often overlooked in the world of  Italian wines, but this 100% Grechetto is worthy of your consideration.  Grechetto is an Umbrian variety of Greek origin that produces dry wines with zippy floral character.  The grape has thick skins making it resistant to molds in the vineyards in addition to being a naturally low yielding grape.  In the glass Grechetto is loaded with fresh field flowers, lees, wet stone, and saffron.  There is an herbal citrus component on the nose and palate that is complemented by the clean, pure fruit flavors of white peach, apple, and lemon that linger on the finish.  The mineral tones and elevated acidity in Grechetto makes it particularly tasty with fresh fish dishes, cheeses, fowl, and autumn vegetables.

2016 Weingut Johann Donabaum Grüner Veltliner, Austria

Here is an exciting new find from Austria!  Donabaum produces 60,000 bottles per year from their winery in Spitz, the western border of the Wachau.  Johann is a young energetic winemaker who spent time training in 1996 with F.X. Pichler, one of Austria’s great producers.  He took the reins at his family estate when he was only 19 and is now pushing the envelope with top quality white wines from top vineyards in the Wachau and beyond.  This clean, simple Grüner has a ton of depth and complexity for a wine under $20.  It is classic Grüner Veltliner with aromas of torn lettuce leaf, lentils, dried herbs, and white pepper spice.  On the palate it offers structured acidity and plenty of extract that comes across as a blanket of oily richness, yet light and refreshing on the finish.

2015 Birichino Malvasia Bianco, Monterey

Birichino was established by Alex Krause and John Locke, two Bonny Doon veterans. Emphasizing old vineyards in the Santa Cruz Mountains appellation, Krause and Locke craft their wines with a light hand. These are lower-alcohol, food-friendly wines that have the clarity and lift to allow terroir to shine through.

The Malvasia is mostly the Besson Vineyard located at the foot of the Santa Lucia Mountains. Fermentation was low and slow in stainless steel.  The 2015 leans toward the savory end of the Malvasia spectrum, with saline citrus pith and lemon curd, lemongrass, lime blossom and frangipani aromas further concentrated by another year of little rain and low yields. On the palate, this nearly 3-decade-old block on shale, clay and granitic soils focuses its tremendous aromatics in a beam of spicy intensity on a taut, persistent frame.

2015 Domaines Schlumberger, Pinot Blanc 'Les Princes Abbés', Alsace

Les Princes Abbés is the family’s tribute to the Abbots who were first to sell wine from Guebwiller.  Schlumberger owns more than 300 acres in Guebwiller, and is the largest Grands Crus producer in Alsace.  All of their wines are estate grown on the dry, steep slopes of the area.  In fact, there is a  good portion of Grand Cru vineyards Saering and Spiegel that are included in this value priced Pinot Blanc!  The blend for this wine is 70% Auxerrois and 30% Pinot Blanc for a wine with exceptional flavor concentration and balance.  In Alsace, “Pinot Blanc” can be a combination of Pinot varieties as well as Auxerrois.  The wine is pale straw color in the glass with flavors of stone fruits, white flowers, and mineral that linger on the long finish.

2015 Yalumba Oxford Landing Chardonnay, South Australia

The Murray River helps to define the banks that create the borders for many of the Oxford Landing vineyards.  In 1958, South Australian entrepreneur and winemaking visionary Wyndham Hill Smith took a spade and sank it into the riverside dirt.  He believed this place of fertile red soil and bountiful sunshine would be ideal for growing premium grape varieties.  This is how Oxford Landing Estates was born.  Today, there are 650 acres under vine with 130 five-acre blocks that are managed using small vineyard techniques with detailed pruning, canopy management, crop thinning, and ultimately harvest.  The Oxford Landing Chardonnay boasts an international style with a delicate balance of fresh apple, pear, and white peach that combine with hints of vanilla, spice, and fresh white flowers.