WINE TASTING ROOM-Completo's
UPDATED AS OF November 20, 2018
CASTELLO DI NEIVE BARBERA
D'ALBA "Santo Stefano" $2.50/taste
Neighbors said he was crazy when he planted Barbera on the famed
Santo Stefano hill
in Barbaresco. He had been selling Nebbiolo grapes to the legendary Bruno
and those bottles of wine sold (and still do) for several hundred dollars.
Why plant Barbera?
"Because I like it." responded Signor Stupino.
Well, this new vintage is a wonderful bottle of Barbera.
Come and taste it for yourself.
STORYBOOK MOUNTAIN ZINFANDEL
decades ago Dr. Jerry Seps began making Zinfandel in the northern part of
the Napa Valley.
The old cellar was once owned by the brothers Grimm, but they abandoned the
ages ago. There was a horrific fire in 1964 which torched the vineyards.
Seps and his wife Ingrid purchased the property in the 1970s and set about
Zinfandel with the advice of Napa winemaking legend Andre Tchelistcheff.
With eastern exposures and careful vineyard management (organic farming,
Storybook Mountain is a far cry from the flat, flabby Zinfandels that get so
attention these days.
You'll find this to be elegant and with a particular spice note.
MAIUS 2013 PRIORAT RED $2.50/taste
& Cari˝ena (Grenache and Carignane), two grapes you'll find in France's
Southern Rh˘ne are blended with a bit of Cabernet Sauvignon.
It's made by a father & son team who owned a wine shop in Barcelona.
Now they're making a name for themselves with this small production red.
It's a far cry from the high-octane reds that have been commonly found in
the Priorat, plus it's well-priced.
A short time in small oak gives a nicely woodsy tone to the wine,
but that's not the focal point.
It's sale-priced, presently, at $24.99.
2017 has just rolled in.
This is routinely one of our favorite, off-the-beaten-path dry white wines.
Stony, nicely fruity with a hint of a spice note...
THE TERRACES 2014 CABERNET
Crull's "The Terraces" estate is located in Rutherford near the
His red wines have routinely been excellent, but the small production level
has kept the wines from gaining greater recognition (unless you're in the know
and shop at Weimax).
It's blended with a bit of Cabernet Franc and Petite Sirah...
19 months in French oak, 35% new.
Very showy. Less than 500 cases made.
TRAMIN 2015 "STOAN" White
Wine Blend $3.60/taste
A delicious blend based on Chardonnay, but it's
the Sauvignon Blanc that
really sings here.
The wine sees some large wooden tanks and it's beautifully aromatic.
Don't miss it...everyone who has tasted this has given it a
WOODSIDE VINEYARDS 2013 CHARDONNAY $2.50/taste
Forty years ago Woodside Vineyards was
one of the few "cult" wineries in California.
Today they're relatively unheralded, but if you like a creamy, mildly oaked, dry
Chardonnay, come taste this one from Santa Cruz Mountains fruit.
RUNQUIST PETIT VERDOT $2.60/taste
will never guess the vineyard location for this remarkably delightful
rendition of Petit Verdot.
The grape is, of course, a Bordeaux variety, though it was neglected for years
since it ripens late and rarely rewarded the grower with fruit worth vinifying.
Well, in California it's a different story...no problem for the grapes to
achieve a good level of sugar.
Jeff Runquist works his usual magic in producing a stylish red.
ISOLA DEL SATIRO Sicilian RED $1.00/taste
d'Avola is a grape and wine that's gaining in popularity and it comprises about
70% of this wine. The rest is the unknown Perricone grape.
Here's a good, simple, easy-to-drink Spaghetti Red.
Not complex or profound, but to accompany a pizza or bowl of Spaghetti &
it's a winner.
FLYING B 2015 WALLA WALLA CABERNET
bought a bottle of this from the distributor to include in a blind tasting of
Washington State Cabernets. Two of the eight wines were our favorites and
they were remarkable similar.
We put this wine in second place behind the other...which turned out to be
$100+ bottle from the same winery!
This is their second wine and at about half the price and 95% of the quality
of the other, choosing this was an easy decision.
Its wood treatment reminds us of many top, expensive
Bordeaux, but it's $59.99 price tag makes this an
VALENTI'S ETNA BIANCO "ENRICO
from Sicily's Etna region...you might peg it as a white wine from
Alsace as it has aromatics which are fragrant along the lines of
We included this in a recent blind-tasting of Etna white wines and found this to
BINZ 2016 MORIO MUSKAT
This is a small production
from our friends at the Binz winery in Germany.
It's intensely aromatic and fragrant, with a touch of sweetness but ample
acidity to balance.
You'll find this wine only at our little shop here in Burlingame (or at the
RAMEY 2013 Russian River Valley
One of our favorite California Chardonnays, this is a wine made with
an astute awareness of French White Burgundies, but with a
decidedly California accent. Very fine.
HART'S DESIRE 2016 VIOGNIER $1.80/taste
John Hart has a good
vineyard source in Sonoma and
makes a wonderfully peachy
dry white which captures the essence of Viognier.
HILL FAMILY ESTATE
may be the best Napa Valley Merlot you've never heard of!
The Hill family (not
Gallo's William Hill, by the way) have a vineyard management
company and work with Duckhorn and Silver Oak, to name a couple of wineries.
They own some acreage of their own and make some good wines.
We're fans of this Merlot...lots of nice plummy fruit and a touch of
CI┘ CI┘ 2016
example of the Pecorino grape...certainly this will appeal to you if
you're enchanted by crisp, non-oaked Sauvignon Blancs.
can easily taste that the 2015 vintage produced wines which are a shade
riper than normal. Still good though.
SMITH MADRONE 2014
Spring Mountain CABERNET SAUVIGNON $5/taste
entire crew gave this the thumbs up.
Spring Mountain Cabernet.
Lots of red fruits and an almost floral tone.
Balanced tannins...drinkable now and it can be cellared a
decade, or so.
VIU MANENT Chilean
CABERNET SAUVIGNON 60-cents/taste
many shops offer wines costing less than ten bucks.
We're well-known for having a good selection of good values;
wines that taste more expensive than their price tag
Viu Manent makes a straight-forward, simple, but tasty little rendition
of Cabernet Sauvignon. Most of the inexpensive bottlings of Cabernet
display vegetal notes of unripe grapes, as the vines are usually over-cropped
to help cut costs.
This is not worthy of comparison to Chateau Lafite or Chateau Margaux.
Yet it's a terrific, everyday bottle of red.
We sale tag it to show customers you don't have to spend a fortune to
get something drinkable.
tangy, stony, minerally and bone dry...no oak.
Classic Sancerre at a rather modest price.
Ask Gerald to tell you
the story of how he
was instrumental in creating the blend of wines
which comprise this special bottling that's sold solely
PAVESE BLANC DE
grape is Prie Blanc and it's grown in the shadows of what the
French call Mont Blanc. The Italians know it as Monte Bianco.
Italy's Valle d'Aosta is a tiny wine region perched in the mountains.
You won't find big, expansive vineyard sites, just little patches
of vines which are more like a small garden.
Pavese's winery is tiny and they make a terrific, bone dry,
stony, crisp white wine...no oak.
TE MATA Hawkes Bay SAUVIGNON
This is quite different from the typical Sauvignon Blanc from
New Zealand. It's much closer in style to a dry white
Bordeaux than classic Kiwi Sauvignon.
The wine has 10% Semillon and 3% Sauvignon Gris. The juice
is fermented in small oak, a bit of the cooperage being new.
Quite a serious bottle of wine!
GABBAS CANNONAU "DULE"
couple of years ago we organized a blind-tasting of the Sardinian red wine
Cannonau.. The grape is said to be Spain's Garnacha.
We had two bottlings from Gabbas and the one called Dule was easily the winner
Since then we've trekked to the Gabbas estate in central Sardegna.
It's not a showplace but a real vineyard and winery dedicated to producing
We've noticed, too, that customers who purchase a bottle routinely
come back and buy another.
This is matured in small oak barrels, by the way, creating a flashy Sardinian
LEDE 2015 Napa SAUVIGNON BLANC $2.70/taste
Leap-area winery is making some lovely wines.
Good, dry, light Sauvignon Blanc. Mildly citrusy
VENICA 2016 Friuli SAUVIGNON $2.50/taste
The Venica family make some exceptional dry whites in
northeast Italy...Friuli. Mildly herbal/grassy.
We perused the wine list at a famous San Francisco
restaurant and were surprised they didn't have any
But they had Venica's Sauvignon and that was a
very good alternative.
Trocken RIESLING $2/taste
people consider the Robert Weil winery to be the top estate in the
Rheingau...their entry level dry Riesling is a great Twenty-Buck white wine.
DE SANTE 2017 NAPA
"ATELIER" BLEND $2/taste
Sante makes a terrific dry Napa white wine
from grapes grown in the Yountville area.
It's Sauvignon Blanc with some Sauvignon Vert and Semillon.
Dry, nicely aromatic and citrusy...
2015 Margaret River CHARDONNAY $4.20/taste
Margaret River region in Western Australia...
They make three Chardonnays...this is the middle tier bottling and it's
Smoky, leesy and toasty...you have to taste it.
Russian River CHARDONNAY $4/taste
California Chardonnay by an old master...
Tom Dehlinger makes some stellar wines, but he's a graybeard now...no longer the
"new kid on the block," so his wines are sometimes overlooked.
But they remain amongst the best of California.
COTO DE IMAZ 2013 RIOJA RESERVA $2.40/taste
Rioja has routinely been pretty good, but this vintage it's
more striking than usual.
It's made from the Tempranillo grape and matured about a year and
a half in small American oak barrels.
If you enjoy California Cabernets and want something showy
with a reasonable price tag, be sure to taste this.
WINES OPEN TODAY:
QUINTA DO NOVAL 2011 VINTAGE PORT $10/taste
The most recently-declared Vintage is offered today for
tasting...quite showy now and it
will repay cellaring handsomely.
CHATEAU HAUT-MAYNE 2010 SAUTERNES $3.80
You're not alone...nobody knows this fine little domaine...
JM da FONSECA 20 YEAR SETUBAL (Moscatel) $6/1 ounce pour
Hugely famous in Portugal and around Europe, they're a mystery to most
wine consumers in the US. Remarkable wine, though.
STONY HILL 2010 Napa S╔MILLON DU SOLEIL $4.50/taste
A sort of Napa Valley "passito" made of Semillon.
SMITH WOODHOUSE 2003 LATE BOTTLED VINTAGE PORTO $3/taste
Savvy wine buyers know this brand from the Symington Family (Graham's, Warres,
for its killer LBV Port...If you have taste for hundred buck bottles of Vintage
Port and are
on a budget, check out this delicious Porto!
LA MAGENDIA Juranšon $3.60/taste
From master winemaker Jean Bernard Larrieu comes this stellar sweet wine
balanced by laser-sharp acidity.
PIETRI GERAUD 2005 BANYULS $3.30
France's answer to the question "Port?"
EXCINDRE MUSCAT DE MIREVAL $2.20/taste
Terrific Muscat from the south of France.
From the Republic of Georgia, there's a remarkable
dessert wine...claimed to be comprised of more
300 different grape varieties! It's along the lines of Port/Madeira, but