WINE TASTING ROOM-Completo's
We are pleased to welcome adults who've been Double-Vaxxed
to our newly reopened Tasting Room.
Tasting Hours are 12pm until 5:45pm.
UPDATED AS OF August 28, 2021
MASSOLINO 2016 BAROLO
Serralunga $49.99 $5.00/taste
Massolino family is, these days, an elite winery in and amongst
many top-flight producers in the Barolo region.
They have most of their vineyards near the cellar in Serralunga and
this "Serralunga" bottling comes from some 9 hectares of vineyards
in that area and a tiny percentage from nearby/neighboring
The 2016 is exceptional and is fairly traditionally made.
They have a 15 day maceration period whereas some hard-core,
Old School producers go 24 to 35 days on the skins.
It's elegant and showy in its youth, although this promises
to develop additional complexity if given enough time to age
PEJU 2018 Napa Valley MERLOT
We had routinely found the wines from Peju to be perfectly
well-made but lacking the excitement factor.
When we tasted their current line-up we asked the winery rep if they had,
hired a new winemaker.
He laughed and explained the second generation is now running the show and they
have unshackled the winemaker and, voila!
Their Merlot is particularly good and we are presently able to offer for a price
well below the $60 cellar door cost.
DOMAINE ZIND-HUMBRECHT 2018 RIESLING
"ROCHE GRANITIQUE" $5/taste
Winemaker Olivier Humbrecht is not only a skilled vigneron, he is one of the
very few winemakers who's attained the status of "Master of Wine."
His wines are remarkably well-balanced and exceptionally good as he focuses
on the notion of "terroir." His wines reflect the parcels from
This is a particular bottling coming from granitic rock and it's actually
grown, we're told, from the Grand Cru hill called "Brand."
It's kind of a declassified bottling and it comes from younger vineyards.
In this case, 36 year old vines, so they're certainly mature and then some.
The fermentation took close to a year to get the wine to dryness and then
Humbrecht left it for 18 months on the yeast sediment.
You'll find it's a rather noble Riesling and there are stony notes accompanying
the floral Riesling character.
DOMAINE DU BANNERET 2018 CH┬TEAUNEUF-du-PAPE
is an old-school southern Rh˘ne that comes from seriously old vineyards.
Those venerable vines don't produce a lot of fruit, but they do help create
an exceptional bottle of wine.
It's predominantly Grenache with maybe 10% Syrah and the remaining 20% is
split amongst all the other approved grapes for ChÔteauneuf. This vintage
is ripe and lightly jammy. Medium-bodied and rather elegant.
VON WINNING 2017 RIESLING
"PARADIESGARTEN" TROCKEN $3.50/taste
Von Winning makes some
exceptional wines. We've long been fans of their Sauvignon
Blanc as it is mind-blowing in that nobody expects such a wine to come from
But they make some wonderful Rieslings and most are dry.
We tasted this 2017 from their Deidesheim site called Paradiesgarten and it is
at a wonderful stage of its evolution.
The wine was fermented in wood and left on the lees for a while in an effort to
more complex. And that's why you will find here.
We were smitten by this in June when we had a taste and we brought a bottle of
with friends at an Asian place. It was preceded by a very good bottle of
Ott's GrŘner Veltliner
and then this really sang!
It's showing a hint of a petrol note which is a bit odd for consumers who are
aged Rieslings. But if you appreciate that element in Riesling, you will
be enchanted by this, too.
ANTHILL FARMS 2019 Sonoma Coast PINOT
Three guys who
"graduated" from the University of Williams-Selyem started their own
brand called Anthill Farms, as with all their scurrying around, someone
described them as
resembling an anthill.
Having made a number of Pinot Noirs at Williams-Selyem, we should not be
Pinot Noir is the focus at this new enterprise.
We've had several vintages of various bottlings from Anthill.
This 2019 is a blend of vineyard sites in the Sonoma Coast appellation and it's
several clones of Pinot Noir.
They use a small percentage of new oak and we find just a touch of a woodsy note
bright, classic Pinot Noir fruit on the nose and palate.
Someone requested a pour Tuesday and we had a sniff...damned good! In
fact, it was even a little
better than we remembered from a few weeks ago.
DELILLE Washington State CHALEUR BLANC $3.50/taste
loved the white Bordeaux from Smith Haut Lafitte, but now that it's north of
(closer to $150 these days), we've looked for alternatives.
The crew at Delille are also fans of Bordeaux wines and their Chaleur Blanc
often hits the mark.
The 2019 is exceptional and displays the herbal notes we like in Sauvignon Blanc
and the texture
of the Semillon. They use a fair bit of new French oak so there's a rather
character here, too.
Very showy white wine...
TITUS 2018 Napa Valley CABERNET
had this wine in two blind tastings of Cabernets the past few months and this
our top wine in both.
Phil Titus and his brother have vineyards in and around St. Helena and they make
a nice range of wines. His day job is that as winemaker at the Chappellet
It's a really inky red wine, with youthful purple tones and plenty of dark
There's a nice bit of oak here as it was matured in French and Hungarian
Something like 60% of the barriques were brand new.
This goes for $62 at the winery.
We sale tag it at $49.99.
TERLAN 2019 TERLANER
(Italian White Blend) $2.70/taste
Terlan co-op winery in Italy's Alto Adige makes some pretty damned good wines.
They distinguish themselves with their work incorporating Pinot Bianco.
We visited the cellar a few years ago and they still had a tank of 1979 Pinot
Bianco that is a
"work in progress," awaiting bottling one of these years!
In early June we splurged and bought a bottle of their "Rarity" Pinot
Bianco...2007 vintage and
it's fairly recently bottled.
This was a magnificent wine, but it's price for its scarcity: $180/bottle!
A few days later we popped the cork on a few wines we'd bought in hopes of
discovery and this 2019 "Terlaner" was exceptional. Not only
that, we can buy more than
six bottles of this compared to one of the Rarity!
The Terlaner appellation is a bit obscure, but it's a white wine blend based on
with Chardonnay and, in this case, Sauvignon Blanc.
It's mostly fermented in stainless steel, but about 20% of the juice is vinified
in large wood to
add a bit of complexity. Happily, the wood is not prominent here and the
wine displays the
bright, appley and peachy notes of Pinot Bianco and Chardonnay.
SADDLEBACK 2019 Napa Valley ZINFANDEL
Old Vines $4/taste
vines in Calistoga and an old winemaker in Oakville make for a rather
Napa Valley Zinfandel.
We've known winemaker Nils Venge since the 1970s and first met him as he was
wine for Villa Mount Eden and then Groth.
These days, aside from his various consulting jobs, he makes his own wines.
Especially charming is this amazing Zinfandel. It's beautifully berryish
a little bit of wood. The wine is rather gentle, too, being smooth and
in its youth.
This is a great choice for a backyard barbecue featuring ribs or burgers, yet it
pair beautifully with chicken, too.
ZAHEL "ORANGE T" Austrian
White from Vienna $1.90/Taste
Zahel winery is located in the Vienna area and it is the reference point for a
rather curious and
obscure grape variety called "Orange T," or Orange Traube.
Don't confuse this with the category of white wines vinified with the skins
which are known as
"Orange Wines." Those can be all over the map in terms of grape
varieties and styles, with
some being rather odd and tannic.
The grape called Orange T has typically been incorporated into the popular
wines known as Gemischter Satz. Zahel thought it has an interesting
personality and began
vinifying it on its own.
Today Zahel's Orange T is a benchmark for the grape.
We currently have this 2019 vintage in the shop and it's a delight. We
liked the 2018, too,
but Ellen noted this one is more intensely fragrant and beautifully crisp and
AALTO 2018 RIBERA DEL
new vintage of this well-regarded Spanish red has finally arrived.
It's Tempranillo from the Ribera del Duero region and made by the fellow
who had been the winemaker for several decades at the famous Vega Siclia winery.
You'll find this to be a candidate to pair with Cabernet Cuisine...
It's mildly woodsy and shows a lot of dark fruit.
LANGE WINERY 2020 ROS╔ of
PINOT NOIR $2.20/taste
Lange RosÚ spent about 2 days in contact with the skins, so its color is a bit
deep, but the
fragrances of Pinot Noir fruit are beautifully intense.
TREFETHEN 2018 Napa CABERNET
vineyards are in the Oak Knoll district of Napa, a slightly cooler region.
This makes for a nicely elegant
rendition of Cabernet, beautifully balanced.
Trefethen has been making good Cabernet for decades.
This 2018 is drinkable now and it should age nicely.
Its price-tag remains sensible.
ROLAND SCHMITT 2019
Schmitt brothers are making some terrific wines in France's Alsace!
Their current bottling of Gewurztraminer is a gem as it beautifully captures the
spice notes of the grape without being heavy, sweet or ponderous.
Here's a great candidate for Asian-styled foods and it's mighty good as a
HUDSON 2019 Carneros CHARDONNAY
see the Hudson vineyard-designation on expensive bottles of Chardonnay
from Aubert, Kongsgaard, Kistler and Ramey, but they've been making a
smallish quantity of their own wine, too.
Lee Hudson planted the Wente Clone of Chardonnay, by the way.
It's from four vineyard sites owned by Hudson and the juice is barrel-fermented
in French oak (60% new) using native yeasts.
This spent 14 months in barrel and was bottled without fining or filtering.
We like the intensity of Chardonnay aromas and its mildly toasty oak character.
The wine is dry, as it should be and
mildly acidic. Hudson's 2019 is a showy California Chardonnay that
tips its cap to
French white Burgundy winemakers.
2020 has just rolled in.
This is routinely one of our favorite, off-the-beaten-path dry white wines.
We brought a double magnum of the 2016 to dinner during the
San Francisco International Wine Competition and it was a hit with the
judges (from all over the world, too).
We brought this vintage recently to dinner with some friends at Dumpling Time in
San Francisco...thoroughly delicious!
Stony, nicely fruity with a hint of a spice note...
CI┘ CI┘ 2020
example of the Pecorino grape...certainly this will appeal to you if
you're enchanted by crisp, non-oaked Sauvignon Blancs.
This is yet another great, flavorful alternative to the "water"
many commercial cellars bottle as "Pinot Grigio."
FORTIFIED & SWEET
WINES OPEN TODAY:
PFEIFFER Rutherglen TOPAQUE (Muscadelle) $4.00/taste
Here's a really delicious Australian "Sticky" that used to be
sold as a "Tokay."
CASTA DIVA MOSCATEL "Cosecha Miel" $5.25/taste
Hugely famous in Portugal and around Europe, they're a mystery to most
wine consumers in the US. Remarkable wine, though.
BARBEITO 5 Year Old BUAL MADEIRA $2.40/taste
Not exactly dry but not precisely sweet...a nice 5 year old Madeira from a prestigious,
GRAHAM'S 2006 "MALVEDOS" VINTAGE PORTO $6.50/taste
The Malvedos bottlings from Graham's are routinely very good and this is
SANDEMAN 10 Year TAWNY PORT $3/taste
Nicely nutty and sweet!
FLORIO 2003 "TARGA" MARSALA $3/taste
A special bottling of Vintage Marsala from the historic Florio winery in
EXCINDRE MUSCAT DE MIREVAL $2.10/taste
Terrific Muscat from the south of France.
CRUZ VIEJA OLOROSO SHERRY $3.80
A well-aged, beautifully nutty dry Sherry...