1178 Broadway -- Burlingame, California 94010
Telephone 650-343-0182



HOURS:
Monday 9-7 Tuesday-Saturday 9-7:30
Closed Sundays.  Closed Labor Day.




Inquire About A Wine--Gerald at Weimax.com


Please check our Home-Page for Shipping Info.


Email Newsletter icon, E-mail Newsletter icon, Email List icon, E-mail List icon Sign up for our Sporadic Emails

For Email Marketing you can trust

 

SUSSUDIO ???

FLORAL ALBARIÑO

SARDINIAN WHITE

BOONTLING PINOT

NEW SONOMA RHONE-ISTE OF NOTE

REMARKABLE PINOT

LAKE COUNTY ZIN

STELLAR NEW ARTISAN RIOJA

OSTATU BLANCO

GREAT GRUNER VELTLITER $13.99

NICE LITTLE PINOT $9.99

STONY RIESLING

BLAYE ME!
$14.99

NEW MADIRAN
$14.99

DRY MUSCAT
FROM AOSTA

I'M OKAY
YOUR RUCHE

"TEXTBOOK" CHARDONNAY

RIOJA BARGAIN

PRETTY PETTY SARAH

FORAGING FOR PINOT NOIR

MARSELAN...A HYBRID OF CABERNET & GRENACHE

CLASSIC MACON $13.99

CRISP MOUNTAIN WHITE

BEST BUYS
Good Wines for $5-$15

CASTELÃO BARGAIN

STELLAR BLAUFRÄNKISCH ESTATE

CAMPANIAN DELIGHTS

COLORFUL ZIN

23 TO BUY 25 REASONS

FIE, FY, FO, FUM

ROMORANTIN

DOURO DYNAMITE

PORTUGUESE RED BARGAIN

BARGAIN ZWEIGELT

GRAND SYRAH FROM AN UNUSUAL PLACE

SERIOUSLY FINE KIWI SAUVIGNON BLANC
$21.99

SPICY AGLIANICO

WHITE BURGUNDIES OF NOTE

MARSANNE BARGAIN

CHERRYISH TUSCAN RED SALE $10.99

2013 TAVEL ROSE

DRY NEW YORK RIESLING

PROSECCO FOR ADULTS

UNUSUAL ROSSO FROM THE COLLINE NOVARESI

BILLIONAIRE'S WINES UNDER $30!

BARGAIN WHITE BORDEAUX

PIERCINGLY GOOD
WHITE

TOP OF THE LINE
CREMANT

ANOTHER RULLY GOOD WHITE

UNIQUE BUBBLY DESSERT WINE

RESERVE QUALITY RIOJA

LA INA SHERRY

BARBERA OF NOTE

LETTUCE SHOW YOU A GOOD PINOT NOIR

NEW, ARTISAN PINOT NOIR

SUPER VERONESE SALE $12.99

PIEMONTE'S GRAND VIN BIANCO?

WHITE BURGUNDY OF NOTE

GAMAY FROM THE FRENCH ALPS

DELICIOUS, FRESH ROSÉS

GREAT GRUNER VELTLINER

GOOD ELEVEN-BUCK CHIANTI

FLOWERY, CURIOUS RED

OLD FAVORITE KIWI SAUVIGNON IS BACK

OLD PATCH RED
ZIN BLEND

MONCUIT'S GRAND CRU CHAMPAGNE

HONEYED MUSCAT

SPICY 
GEWÜRZTRAMINER

Napa Valley Grape Info
2002

2010

Amazing FRENCH CIDERS

FIZZY LAMBRUSCO

 

 

HOME PAGE

AMERICAN WINES

CALIFORNIA PINOT NOIRS

RHONE WANNABEES

ZINFANDELS

SAUVIGNON BLANCS

MERLOTS

OREGON WINES

CALIFORNIA CHARDONNAYS

CALIFORNIA CABERNETS

RIESLING & GEWURZ

WASHINGTON STATE

CANADIAN WINES

Adventuresome  Wines

ROSÉS !!

FRENCH WINES
ALSACE
BEAUJOLAIS
RED BORDEAUX
WHITE BORDEAUX
RED BURGUNDY
WHITE BURGUNDY
RHÔNE VALLEY
THE FRENCH ALPS
SOUTH OF FRANCE

LOIRE


CHAMPAGNE

 

ITALIAN WINES
PIEMONTE

VALLE D'AOSTA

NORTHERN ITALY

CENTRAL ITALIA

TUSCANY

SOUTHERN ITALIA


SPANISH WINES
Spanish Sherry
& Other Delights


PORTUGUESE WINES

SWISS WINES

GERMAN WINES

AUSTRIAN WINES

ARGENTINA

CHILE

AUSTRALIA

NEW ZEALAND

SOUTH AFRICA

OBSCURE WINES

DESSERT WINES

CHAMPAGNES

HALF-BOTTLES

SPIRITS

CIDERS

BEER
Even Real "Bud"!

OTHER STUFF

WINE TASTING

WHAT'S OPEN


UPCOMING TASTINGS

TASTING RESULTS
  
NEWSLETTER

SHIPPING INFO

ETC.

 

TASTING REPORTS

HOW TO ORGANIZE A BLIND-TASTING

BLIND TASTING ARCHIVE

MY 2013 EURO WINE ADVENTURE BOOK

CHATEAU MONTELENA
VERTICAL


ALBA WINES EXHIBITION 2007

ALBA WINES EXHIBITION 2008

SCHRAMSBERG vs THE FAMOUS FRENCH

German Wine "Master Class" Tasting

S & M FOR WINETASTING GEEKS

TEAR-WAH
TASTING

2014 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2013 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2012 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2011 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2010 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2009 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION

2008 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
Periodically Amazing

2007 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION
The Nose Knows!

2006 SF INTERNATIONAL  WINE COMPETITION.
SPIT HAPPENS

2005 SF INTERNATIONAL WINE COMPETITION.

2004 SF WINE COMPETITION TASTING

The 2003 SF WINE COMPETITION

2002 SF WINE COMPETITION TASTING 

A Vertical Tasting of Nalle Zinfandels

 

ETC.

RANTINGS & RAVINGS

WINE ROADS of EUROPE

Food/Wine/Friends
A Photo Gallery

MASTER OF WINE ESSAY TOPICS

Old Bottles: A TASTE OF HISTORY

Bob's Venetian Diary

Bob's Paris Notes Updated Spring 2007

Wine Writer's Confession

NEW "CULT" WINERY

Some Restaurant Reviews

HOW TO SELL WINE.
Info For Brokers and
Wine Distributors.

HOW TO HOLD A TRADE TASTING

$100,000 WORTH OF WINE MARKETING ADVICE:  FREE!
Mainly for Foreign Vintners

MOLDY CORKS

Study Reveals Experts Taste More Than What's In the Glass!

OKANAGAN VALLEY WINE TOUR-2010

BRIAN'S 2005 SUMMER VACATION WITH UNCLE

Gerald's Tour de France 2006

GERALD'S TOUR DE FRANCE 2008

A TOUR OF PORTUGAL-2009

HOW TO SPEAK BETTER ITALIAN

PONZI'S 40th
ANNIVERSARY

ROOSEVELT'S 2005 CHILI COOK-OFF

ROOSEVELT'S 2007 CHILI COOK-OFF

Grape Goddess

Ross Bruce Birthday

ALESSIA DALL'U

CCIV

FAQs

BURLINGAME

Links

Good Value Wines...


We can't think of any California wineries that have much respect for a ten dollar bill.  Many in Napa ask you for $10-$20 merely for the privilege of them "allowing" you to taste their wines (in hopes you'll spend the king's ransom it takes to secure a bottle of wine).

We have a nice selection of wines in the $5-$15 range which have character and are good examples of their type and style.
 


The San Francisco Chronicle printed an article on "Bargain Wines" (a few years ago now) and our little wine emporium was cited as being a Bay Area leader in value-priced wines.


We've found some customers only think to come to Weimax when they're looking for a "special" bottle of wine, but please know we have really fine "everyday" bottles, too.

Many stores offer "wines they can sell."  Our philosophy is quite different:  We feature "wines we can recommend."  Heck, we like to enjoy a great wine for which we've not spent so much money...and we spend a lot of time looking for good values.  

A low price does not make for a good value.  A wine must be of good quality, first and foremost.  A good "value" is a wine which tastes more expensive than its price tag indicates.  Simply being cheap does not make for "good value." 



We hear from some people, speaking about some famous cheap wines, "Well, it's not bad for the price."  We disagree, especially when "it's not good for the price," either.

In any case, please know we have more respect for a ten dollar bill than most wine business folks.


Here are some suggestions from our current offerings:

Updated July 2013

 



BORSAO  Still SALE PRICED  $6.99
From the Aragon region of Spain comes this amazingly "soulful" wine.  It's dark in color and teeming with berryish fruit and a mildly spice note.

A blend of Garnacha and Tempranillo....this delicious!

Please note: Aside from the fact that this is a dynamite bottle of wine for six bucks-and-change, it makes a superb Sangria!

 

 

 

 

 

QUINTA DAS AMORAS  $5.99 

The fellow who owns this estate is a real wine fancier and aficionado.  We trekked to his winery in Portugal's Estremadura region and found a number of really interesting wines...all well-made and of good quality.  

The wine is a blend of Castelão (Periquita), Camarate, Tinta Miúda and Touriga Nacional.  Medium-bodied and showing a dried cherry note, it's drinkable now and over the next year or so...





VIU MANENT  CABERNET SAUVIGNON 
SALE PRICE $5.99
We're big fans of this producer.  While you can buy thin, watery, sweet wine from California's Central Valley under labels such as Mondavi's Woodbridge, here's a dry, medium-full bodied red of exceptional intensity in this price range.

No oak.  A couple of weeks' maceration on the skins, so this even has a bit of tannin!  

 

 

 

 

CHARAMBA     SALE PRICE $5.99
Here's a dynamite red wine from Portugal's Douro Valley, a region that's famous for Port.

This is made of some of the same grapes that go into Port, except the wine is vinified dry.

You'll find some wonderfully spicy, peppery notes here as we liken this to a good Côtes du Rhône.

If you pour this into a fancy decanter and give it an hour or two to "breathe," your wine 'geek' friends will all guess this as something far more noble than a five buck red wine.

 




SANTA RITA
The "120" Series of Cabernet is not going to remind a connoisseur much of Mouton-Rothschild or Haut Brion.

But it is a delicious little red wine.

Though vinified from Cabernet, the wine is not tannic and it's smooth enough to drink now.  Think of it as "Cabernet meets Beaujolais."
In fact, we like it served lightly chilled.  
 
Currently in stock:  SANTA RITA "120" CABERNET SAUVIGNON  SALE $7.49


 

 

GATO NEGRO CABERNET/MERLOT  SALE $5.99

This is vinified in the style of Beaujolais, so you'll find a very fruity, berryish quality to the wine.  We find it enjoyable as a picnic red and like it served moderately chilled, since it's smooth and virtually without tannin.  

They now are sold in a screw-cap bottle.

PROTCOLO  SALE $6.49

This wine has been reliably good for perhaps a decade...It's a Vino de la Tierra de Castilla in terms of its appellation and is made entirely of Tempranillo.

It's a bare-bones bottling of Tempranillo and you'll find it to be a medium-bodied red with no oak and some red fruit aromatics and flavors.

It's dry, supple and smooth.   Not a fancy wine, but paired with some good food, it tastes more expensive.


 

QUINTA DA CABRIZ Portuguese White Wine $6.99

The Dao region of Portugal used to be viewed as a top quality area and it was best known for its red wines.

These days there are good wines coming from the Dao but not as many major league bottlings as we're seeing from competing regions.  

This producer makes good quality wines, though and they're certainly up-to-date in terms of technology in the cellar.

We found the little white wine from Cabriz to be a very simple, light, mildly fruity aperitif.  It's also well-suited for cooking, particularly if you're steaming some clams.  

The grapes for this wine include Cerceal, Encruzado, Bical and Malvasia Fina.  We wouldn't compare this to Sauvignon Blanc, but perhaps it's closer to some of the lighter versions of Italy's Pinot Grigio.  That is to say it's not a profound bottle of wine, but with those clams you've just steamed or some light picnic fare, this works nicely and it works at a modest price.

 
 




ABEL CLEMENT  Côtes du Rhône Blanc $7.99
Grenache Blanc is the predominant grape is this remarkably delicious dry white wine.  If a California vintner made this it would cost $30 and critics would proclaim the winemaker to be a hero for making such a good wine at such a reasonable price.
It's terrific.


COLONIA LAS LIEBRES BONARDA $8.99

Three Italian fellows (two of them famous winemakers) started a little enterprise in Argentina to make Malbec.

I suspect the project was more about being able to take a little vacation in a warm climate during Italy's cold winter months.  

The Altos Las Hormigas venture is now well-established and they've developed another winery called Colonia Las Liebres, so they've gone from "ants" to "hares."  

The grape for the Colonia wine is Bonarda, a wonderful Italian variety that can still be found in Lombardia and Emilia-Romagna, as well as in Piemonte.  Naturally, the name of the grape changes to keep everyone in the dark.

Bonarda, though, is a major grape in Argentina and it's fairly widely planted.  Some producers make a wine along the lines of Argentinean Malbecs, but this wine is perhaps a better example of unfussed-with Bonarda.  Wood and residual sugar are not part of this wine's complexion.

It's dark in color and teeming with blueberry and blackberry-like fruit.  We typically serve this cooled to cellar temperature.  It is a versatile table wine and it's also a great picnic table wine, too.

 

IL POGGIO SANGIOVESE di ROMAGNA  Sale $6.99

This comes from a rather large winery in Emilia Romagna and it's not a particularly profound or exceptional red wine.  

Yet we have many fans who buy this as an accompaniment to a simple plate of Spaghetti & Meatballs or Lasagna...the wine simply "works" well on the dinner table (no table cloth, please!).


 

RESERVE DE L'AUBE SYRAH / MERLOT BLEND $6.99

Wow...remarkably nice wine--Rhône Meets Bordeaux.  It comes from the large Rhône merchant, J.P. Brotte.  Medium bodied, berryish and showing lots of red fruit notes  Nice clove-like spice.  Smooth, too.  

 

 

 

MASCIARELLI "MONTEPULCIANO d'ABRUZZO"  SALE  $8.99

The late Gianni Masciarelli's wine is well-known in Italy and yet it's one of the best kept secrets here in the U.S.  

This is another one of those wines that, served in a decanter, tastes like a seriously more costly bottle of wine.  Medium to medium-full bodied.

 

 


MARITMA  Tuscan Red $7.99
Here's a simple Sangiovese from southwestern Tuscany.  It's made by the Mantellasi winery.

It's a remarkably good wine and arrives here at an honest price, thanks to a good Bay Area importer.  No oak.  Nice cherry-like fruit and it's terrific with simple Italian-styled foods.

CAVE DE RASTEAU  COTES DU RHONE SALE $9.99

There's a large grower's co-operative in the town of Rasteau in the Southern Rhone.

Our friend Valerie Aigron works there, having spent time out of France working in the wine biz.  She's back "home" now and is one of the crew at this big producer.

The Cave de Rasteau is well-regarded as a source of "good" wine and they offer it as pricing which is quite attractive.

The 2011 Cotes du Rhone is not a profound, hugely complex, compelling bottle of wine.  It's not intended to be so.  They make this with the idea the consumer will buy it and open the screw-cap within, probably an hour or two of purchase (maybe sooner).

The wine is competently made and it's grown with the idea they're making economically-priced wine,   Grenache, mostly, with 20% Cinsault and 10% Carignane.  It's a lighter bodied red wine, which works out well, since it's lighter-priced, too.

We enjoy this served at cool cellar temp.

 

 

CASAL GARCIA VINHO VERDE  $6.99

This is a famous Portuguese white wine...it's low in alcohol, light in flavor and has just the right amount of oak...none!

 

 

CHÂTEAU DE LA CANTRIE MUSCADET  $9.99

Muscadet is a delightfully dry, crisp, light white wine from the western part of France's Loire Valley.  It's made of a grape called "Melon de Bourgogne" and this sort of wine pairs handsomely with oysters,  We've enjoyed it with fried calamari, too.

People who know something about French wine know Muscadet.  

People who know "a little bit" about wine are befuddled.

Typically this is the conversation in a wine shop:

Wine Shop Staffer:  "If you're looking for a good seafood white that's economical, perhaps you might enjoy a Muscadet."

Customer:  "Oh, but we don't like sweet wines."

Wine Shop Staffer:  "Muscadet is actually a dry wine.  It's not sweet at all."

Customer: "Oh please!  I know more about wine than you do.  Muscats are always sweet."

Wine Shop Staffer:  "Never mind.  Would you like to see a bottle of Kendull Jackson Chardonnay?"
 

 

 

McMANIS CABERNET SAUVIGNON SALE $9.99
McMANIS SYRAH  SALE $9.99
The McManis family has extensive acreage in the Central Valley, south of Lodi.

Winemaker Jeff Runquist, whose Runquist wines are very popular here at the shop, runs the cellar with another winemaker, Mike Robustelli.

These guys create some amazingly good and surprisingly stylish wines.  We're fans of their Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon.  

The Syrah is a dark, deep colored wine with lots of blackberry fruit and a touch of wood.  It's low in acidity and tannin, so drinking it now is ideal.

The Cabernet is as smooth as most commercial Merlots, but has a bit more body and richness.  It, too, is nicely oaked.






BIDALERE  CÔTES de GASCOGNE $9.99
The Beraut brothers make a sensational dry white wine in the southwestern part of France...superb.  No oak.
Peachy, dry white.
Ten bucks?  That's all?



By the way, this used to be sold as "Pellehaut," but they changed the brand name to suit an importer in another part of the USA.

SALVALAI 2011 PINOT GRIGIO  Sale $8.99
From Italy's Veneto region, this is a dry, light, simple, fresh Pinot Grigio.  Remarkably good.



MARK WEST  California PINOT NOIR (Sale) $9.99
The Vino Fino boys had this wine in a recent blind-tasting of Pinot Noirs from Burgundy and California.  I insisted on including a $25 ringer from Chile and it won the tasting.  But the second place wine, finishing ahead of Burgundy from Tollot-Beaut and Ramonet was this lovely, charming little California wine.  The winemaker used to work at the Peter Michael Winery and produced wines which cost more for a single bottle than this costs for a case.  
It's not a hugely profound wine, but it is a delightful, sort of Beaujolais styled, exuberantly strawberryish Pinot.  Very nice.

 

 

ABEL CLEMENT  GRENACHE  $6.99
One sales rep I poured this for got it right...I had asked him to guess how much this wine sells for.

"I'd say $12 for a French wine and $20 to $25 for a California."

And he's absolutely correct, except this remarkably delicious Vaucluse (Rhone area) red costs less than a six-pack of premium beer.  

If a California vintner had made this, wine writers would bestow sainthood on the winemaker.  Instead, this comes from a terrific grower's cooperative winery in the Southern Rhone.  Young, fresh, but not hugely fruity or grapey in the manner of a Beaujolais.  It's more restrained on the nose and has a gentleness and elegance on the palate.  

Seven bucks?  Are you kidding?  
Case discounts, too.

OISLEY-THESEE "TOURAINE" SAUVIGNON BLANC $7.99

There's a smallish grower's cooperative in the Loire near Touraine called Oisely-Thesee, a name which doesn't roll off the tongue of most American wine drinkers.

We've tasted this wine for many vintages and I think the 2010 is the first one we've brought in to the shop.
It's always well-made and, from our perspective, a shade skinny.
The 2011 isn't a big wine, nor is it a medium-bodied Sauvignon Blanc.  But for a nice, crisp, dry and light wine, this shows well, especially for it's eight-buck price.  
It's not as intense as our Sancerre and Pouilly-Fume wines, but most of those will set you back $17-$25.   

If you're steaming some clams or enjoying some fresh Dungeness crab and looking for a budget-priced bottle, this is worth trying.

 

 

CONCHA Y TORO CARMENERE $9.99
I tasted a really nice example of Carmenere and it's reasonably priced at ten bucks.  
Medium bodied, there's a nice dark fruit character here with a nice touch of oak.
Smooth on the finish, too.

 


MEIA PIPA  $10.99

The Bacalhôa winery south of Lisbon makes some really spiffy wines...the top bottlings will set you back $30, or so.

But in the realm of reality, they have a rather nice red called Meia Pipa.  It's a proprietary blend of 30% Castelão, 30% Aragonez (Tempranillo if you're in Spain), 30% Syrah and 10% of some odd variety known as Cabernet Sauvignon.

It is matured for a bit less than a year, typically, in French oak.  We like the dark fruit notes in the wine and find it to be a satisfying red at its modest price (case discounts, too).

 

CASE IBIDINI NERO D'AVOLA  SALE $10.99

This comes from a good winery in Southeast Sicily.  It's a family-operated property and they make a really charming, fruity, berryish Nero d'Avola.

Some of the Nero d'Avola wines coming to the US market are made to a formula of what some marketing people think American wine drinkers want.  As a result, some Nero d'Avola wines are styled similarly to Chianti, Cabernet and other red wines, losing their originality.

The Case Ibidini is a medium-bodied to medium-light-bodied Nero d'Avola and it has a modest level of acidity.  It's not as tart as a good Chianti.  We typically chill this to about 50-55 degrees before putting it on the dinner table (or picnic table, too, for that matter).

 


LA CABOTTE 2011 COTES DU RHONE  Sale $9.99

While most entry-level bottlings of Cotes du Rhone come from co-op wineries, this one is a good, smallish, family-operated place owned by a family from Burgundy.  

The patriarch of the family had found this property some years ago and was enchanted by the prospects of having a warm climate, summer vacation getaway.  

Today they farm about 50 acres, most devoted to grapes, but some to olives.  

We'd tasted the wines over the past decade, or so, and it's only since about 2006 or 2007 that we've felt they're on the right track.  It's by far the best ten buck Cotes du Rhone in the market.


 

DOMAINE DUFFOUR 2012 CÔTES DE GASCOGNE $8.99

Michel Duffour is a brilliant producer of white wines...this is a delightful blend, but predominantly Ugni Blanc and Colombard.
Fresh, dry, and light (lower in alcohol than California Chardonnay, for example).









 
 
VIU MANENT RESERVA SAUVIGNON BLANC  SALE $6.99
They've clearly pushed the vineyards to produce an abundant crop of Sauvignon Blanc as the wine is a bit light, but still has enough character that you won't mistake it for anything other than Sauvignon Blanc.

It's dry and non-oaked and is a remarkably nice little wine for cocktail service or to pair with seafood.





 

BODEGAS LAN RIOJA CRIANZA   SALE $9.99

We had skipped a vintage, or two, following the spot-on 2006 Lan "Crianza" from Spain's Rioja region.

The wine is made entirely of Tempranillo and the wine is matured in both French and American oak barrels (about a year in wood).

This is classic Rioja and for ten bucks, it's a bargain!

In Spain they'd serve this with chuletillas, small grilled lamb chops.  Not a bad way to go.  But this can pair beautifully with a hamburger, too, though for a mere ten bucks for the wine, maybe you could afford a small rib-eye or New York steak?

 

CHATEAU MOULIN DE FERRANDE  SALE $7.99

Here's a dynamite little white Bordeaux for less than the price of a glass of wine at a local restaurant...

It's Sauvignon Blanc with some Semillon and Muscadelle...lightly citrusy, no oak and dry.



 

 

 

 

 

PEDRONCELLI FRIENDS.RED  SALE $9.99
Sonoma County fruit...Merlot, Zin and Cab Franc.  A touch of oak.  Smooth, medium-bodied red...they had this on the drawing board well before the current economic downturn, but then Pedroncelli has always had good wines at honest, old-time prices.  It's quite good.


 

L'HORTUS   "Le Loup dans la Bergerie" RED  $9.99
The Orliac family makes some terrific wines in the Pic Saint Loup appellation...and we're delighted to find a really affordable little red wine from them with a name like a wolf-in-sheep's-clothing (more literally, a wolf in the sheep house).

It's vinified to be immediately drinkable...mostly Grenache with some Syrah for color and body and a bit of Merlot for marketing.

It's a delightful ten buck red wine...best at cool cellar temp.


TRENTADUE "OLD PATCH RED"  SALE $9.99

We think this is mostly Zinfandel from Sonoma and it sold for well more than ten bucks at one point in time.

In fact, the current blend, all from the Alexander Valley appellation, is 77% Zinfandel, 11% Petite Sirah, 11% Carignane and a drop of Sangiovese.

Now it's just ten bucks...and it's remarkably good.

 


ENGEL PINOT BLANC d'ALSACE $11.99
 
This is a really good dry white from a little family vineyard and winery along the Route du Vin in Alsace...no oak.  This shows a lovely appley fruit aroma and it's dry and has a modest level of acidity.
 


LA CORTE PRIMITIVO  $10.99


The La Corte wines come from Italy's Puglia region and they make wine for immediate consumption, so you won't need to set this bottle in the cellar for a decade for it to be drinkable.

Their Primitivo wine is, for our palate, a good, simple "pizza red."  It's medium bodied and not at all aggressive in terms of tannin.  
 
And then price is right.

 

 
POMELO  SAUVIGNON BLANC $9.99 (Case discounts, too!)

This is made in Napa by Randy Mason, who's a bit of a Sauvignon Blanc specialist.  
It's got a citrusy, grapefruity aroma and the flavors are also along the lines of citrus.

It's zesty, crisp and not quite bone dry...
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
FORNAS PINOT GRIGIO  $9.99

Some friends of ours who live in Italy's Friuli region make this wine.

We used to import some of their wines in the late 1980s and early 1990s...the Bidoli family...

A couple of years ago, we introduced the Bidoli's to a local guy who imports Italian wines.

He didn't buy them that year, but today he's delighted to have some of their wines.

The brand is Fornas, as the Bidoli family purchased an old brick-making factory and converted it into a winemaking facility.  The old "furnace" now houses stainless steel tanks and some oak barrels as they produce a nice range of Friulian wines.
 
Pinot Grigio is a delight in terms of both taste and price.  It's a non-wooded wine and it's fresh, dry and reasonably crisp without being shrill.

 


 

LE ROC'S  FRONTON ROUGE  WINES 12.99
The Ribes brothers make our favorite Fronton wines...the local grape variety of prominence is called "Negrette" which is known in California as "Pinot Saint George."

This Le Roc is predominantly Negrette with a modest percentage of Syrah.  We like the berry and spice notes of this wine.  It's medium bodied and best, to our taste, served cooled to cellar temperature.
 
 

I added the beret to the smiley fellow on the label of this magnificent, soulful red wine...so don't expect to find the bottles in the shop with a guy sporting a little chapeau.

It's called the Folle Noire d'Ambat, a playful name for Negrette grown in a vineyard site called "Ambat."

The wine is dark in color and has a wild berry and spice fragrance.  

We just love it and for twelve bucks, you may, too.

 

 

 



PERIQUITA $9.99

All over Portugal, wineries told customers their red wine was made from the Periquita grape.  Finally a court declared that the Periquita name was a "brand" owned by the Jose Maria da Fonseca winery and that only they had the rights to the name "Periquita."

It's a bit reminiscent of the usage of the terms "Xerox" and "Kleenex."

Anyway, we have Jose Maria da Fonseca's "Periquita," a wine made of the grape known around Portugal as Castelão.   This is an easily drinkable, simple red wine.  Berries...smooth.  Medium bodied.


BADIA DI MORRONA 2010 CHIANTI  Sale $10.99

The 2010 of Morrona's little Chianti is Delicious with a capital D!

It's snappy Sangiovese called "I Sodi del Paretaio" and the wine is medium-bodied and brightly cherryish.  It's a bit rounder on the palate than the popular 2009.  

Perfect pasta wine!

 

SASSOTONDO'S 2011 TUFO ROSSO  SALE $10.99
We  have had several vintages of this little Tuscan red in the shop and I finally had a chance to go visit the estate...

It's way out in the middle of nowhere and it's a beautiful little property cultivated by a charming couple who are dedicated to making good wines (and a reasonable prices, too!).

The wine is predominantly Sangiovese but the modest 'twist' here is they rather specialize in a blending grape called Ciliegiolo.  

Ciliegie are cherries and the wine actually displays a nice cherry-like quality.  It dove-tails beautifully with their cherryish Sangiovese and the wine is intended for immediate drinking.  It's not a cellar-worthy wine, though a year, or two, in bottle is certainly possible.

As the wine is bright and fruity (but dry with snappy Sangiovese acidity), we like to serve this at cool cellar temp.  Pop your bottle in the 'fridge for maybe an hour to get it to 55 degrees, or so.

The wine pairs handsomely with rigatoni and tomato sauce (as seen above), but it's a good accompaniment to sausages, pizza, etc.

 

 

LOSEN BOCKSTANZ RIESLING KABINETT  $10.99

If you like 'serious' German Riesling (not industrial sweet crap such as Blue Nun or Black Tower wines), here's a bargain!

The Losen Bockstanz cellar is located off the beaten path in the village of Wittlich (this is a short drive west of Ürzig, zum beispiel) and being in a hidden area means the price of their wines is attractive.

Their Kabinett level Riesling is a beautifully fruity wine and it's low in alcohol, crisp in acidity and nicely balanced.  And anybody familiar with fancy German Rieslings will be shocked as to how good this is, given what it costs.

 

FRATELLI PONTE BARBERA D'ASTI  $12.99

Our good friend Massimo Ponte and his brother make a terrific, serious-quality Barbera from their vineyards in San Damiano d'Asti, a short drive north from Alba.

For years their parents made wine and sold it in bulk, so most of their production was put into something like a 10 gallon demijohn and carted to their neighbors.

A few years ago someone clued them in that it was possible to put wine in a 25 ounce bottle, affix a label and send it halfway around the world.  What a concept!

I tease them and ask how life is in "San Damigiana d'Asti" when I drop them a note.  

The wine started out nicely some years ago.  Today it's a remarkable bottle and it remains well-priced.  You'll pay a lot more if you buy a similar quality Barbera from famous Langhe producers, for example.

The latest vintage is medium-full bodied with a mildly cedary, woodsy tone.  It's dry and reasonably smooth as Barberas go...and oh-so-drinkable!  

Pair it with roasted or grilled meats, stews, tomato-sauced pastas, etc.

 

VIU MANENT GRAN RESERVA CHARDONNAY  $9.99

The Viu Manent winery produces some remarkably good wines at remarkably sensible price levels.  
These guys must drive some California vintners crazy, as their wines are well-made, typically have good varietal character and they sell for less money than you'd pay to taste at most Napa wineries.

Their Gran Reserva Chardonnay comes from 20 year old vines in the Colchagua Valley of Chile.

About 2/3s of the wine was fermented in oak, a tiny percentage of the barrels being new.  The rest is vinified in stainless steel and the two lots are then blended.  The resulting wine is nicely intense, in terms of Chardonnay character and it has a nice touch of oak without being woody.  

They vinify this Chardonnay to dryness, so it's not sweet like many "commercial" brands from California.

 

 

FILIPPO GALLINO  NEBBIOLO LANGHE  $12.99
The Gallino family has been cultivating grapes for decades, but it's only rather recently that they have been bottling and selling their own wines.

We have a very typical "little" Nebbiolo from Gallino.  It comes from chalky/sandy soil in the Roero region and it undergoes a very simply fermentation and the aging couldn't be more straightforward:  stainless steel...no oak.  It's bottled young and the wine retains reasonable acidity and a mild level of tannin.  

If your idea of red wine involves adjectives such as "mocha," "oak," "woody," "espresso," "fruit bomb," "low in acidity," "Lodi," "inky," etc., than please do not bother fooling around with this wine.  It's not for you!

If you appreciate dry wines with a bit of mouth-drying tannin so the wine acts as a palate-cleanser with good foods, then maybe this wine is worth a try.  It pairs well with lamb, steaks, duck and well-seasoned pork dishes.
 

 

BIRICHINO MALVASIA BIANCA  $13.99
The Malvasia grape can make a wonderfully floral and intensely aromatic wine.  
Years ago, Beringer made Malvasia as did Santa Clara's San Martin winery...
Bonny Doon had produced good Malvasia and the guy who gained much experience there launched his own label, Birichino, and is making this wonderful wine today.
This has such a beautiful fragrance...perfumy and reminiscent of jasmine blossoms and a fruit basket, though the wine is actually dry despite all the "sweet" fragrances.

Pairing it with Asian dishes is ideal, though a seafood salad with pineapple or mango works well, too.

 

 

CASAS DEL BOSQUE CHARDONNAY  $8.99

Here's a relatively new Chilean brand of wine from a family-operated enterprise whose mantra is "Quality instead of Quantity." 

This is a lovely sentiment and many wineries will tell you this is their philosophy.   But taste their wines as the proof is in the glass.

What is pleasantly surprising here is they clearly make an effort to produce a good bottle of wine.

After tasting their wine and finding their Chardonnay to "taste more expensive" than it costs, we found out they hired Napa's Ken Bernards of the Ancien winery to be a consultant.  This guy makes good wine of his own here in California and the few producers he's helped in South America have clearly followed his advice (and made good wines).

The entry level Chardonnay costs $8.99 a bottle and you won't find this quality for that price very easily (unless you stop by and pick up a bottle at our shop).

The wine shows good varietal character and it's dry.  Part of the lot was stainless steel fermented and aged.  The other half was vinified in wood and giving some battonage treatment (where they stir the spent yeast).  Suffice it to say this is a pleasant surprise.

 

MAROTTI CAMPI "RUBICO"  Lacrima di Moro d'Alba  SALE $13.99

There's a most amazing red wine produced in small quantities in Italy's Marche region.   
The area is best known for its Verdicchio wine, a white grape found near the Adriatic coast and a bit inland...

But there's a red grape called "Lacrima di Moro d'Alba" which grows around the town of Moro d'Alba.  Many people expect this name to refer to a wine from Piemonte, since there's Dolcetto, Nebbiolo and Barbera d'Alba.  

The grape nearly had died out but it's on the rebound and makes a wonderfully distinctive red wine that you'll either love or hate.

The color is dark and inky.  The fragrance and flavors, though, poured into a black glass (so you can see the color) would be identified by most experts as some sort of Gewurztraminer.  

The fragrance shows notes of grapefruit and rose petals, much like great Gewurztraminer from Alsace or the Alto Adige.  

We generally chill a bottle of this to cool cellar temp.  It pairs with all kinds of foods...best with nicely seasoned dishes, though.  Pork, chicken, turkey...we had it with some Chinese take-out and it was brilliant!

 

WRONGO DONGO Spanish Red "Monastrell"  $7.99

Our friend Jorge Ordonez, who imports some stupidly-expensive red wines for people who believe if they don't spend a load of cash for a bottle of wine, it must not be any good, brings in some far more drinkable bottles with small price tags.

One such wine is this one, carrying a phrase Jorge is known to utter on a regular basis:  Wrongo Dongo.

Someone suggested he ought to have a wine with that catch phrase and he took their advice and one of his producers made the wine for him.  It had a cartoonish face on the label, too.  But then there was some dust-up and the winery and Jorge parted company.  

This situation was, to be blunt, Wrongo and Dongo.

But Jorge now has another producer making the wine for him and it's a delightful wine with lots of red fruit notes.  It's meant for immediate drinking, so if you're thinking of saving a bottle for a few years we'd say this to you:  "Wrongo Dongo."

This is a wine for drinking tonight or over the next year.  It's a good little wine for a large crowd.  

The Monastrell grape (Mourvedre is France and Mataro to some Spanish speakers) can make a hard, astringent red.  But this was vinified to be consumed the same day you buy it. 

Best at cellar temp...pair it with informal foods, sausages, burgers, roasted chicken, paella, grilled pork chops, etc.

 

CHATEAU DE CUGAT Bordeaux Superieur  $11.99

This estate has long been a favorite of ours...it's a smallish property not far from St. Emilion and Pomerol.

Owned by Benoit Meyer when we first started buying this wine, Cugat always had finesse and elegance you don't typically find in "little" wines from Bordeaux.  

We suspect part of the reason was that Benoit appreciated the expensive wines his neighbors made.  When we'd visit, he would routinely pull out bottles of rather fancy Bordeaux from St. Emilion, as these were wines he liked to drink.

And yet when we'd taste his own wines, they'd shine brightly, especially when you consider the modest prices of Chateau de Cugat wines.

I was recently invited by the San Francisco Chronicle's Jon Bonne to taste Bordeaux wines "costing $50 or less".  And you know whose wine was amongst the best of those?  Yes...Chateau de Cugat.  

We have a fancy, lavishly-oaked bottle costing $19, but the regular wine for $11.99 is a gem.  Merlot-based.  Medium to medium-full bodied.  Not much tannin and it tastes smoother with food.  


There are some old bottles of wines Benoit liked to drink...

 

SOLAR DE LIBANO Rioja Crianza  $9.99

From Bodegas de Sajazarra in Spain's Rioja we have this lovely little classic Rioja called Solar di Libano.

Now there are many famous wineries in Rioja.  This producer is, frankly, not so famous.  

But maybe they ought to be given the quality of the wine and the remarkable price.

This producer grows its own grapes.  They do not buy fruit from neighbors or on the open market...only from their own, estate vineyards.  They claim to farm responsibly, too.  And they say their wines are not filtered, in an effort to get the most character into the bottle.

This wine is 97% Tempranillo with the balance being Graciano and Garnacha.    The wine is matured in small American and French oak for about a year and a half and then it's racked into large wood before bottling.

Medium-bodied and fairly supple on the palate, this is a delightful ten-buck red wine.  It is ideally paired with grilled red meats.  Setting it up with a beer or glass of sparkling wine is ideal, making the contrast so great, you'll think you spent serious money on this bottle.

 

PORTA DOS CAVALEIROS  2009 Dao $8.99

This producer was one of the early "ambassadors" from Portugal...We recall having their wines in the shop ages ago when Portugal was known mostly for its slightly fizzy, mass-marketed Rose wines and for its sweet, fortified dessert wine.

Some of the labels from this company were even printed, not on a paper label, but on cork!

They're still making good wines and the prices have escalated from three or four dollars to nine bucks.

Touriga Nacional, Alfrocheiro, Jaen and Tinta Roriz are the quartet that comprise this wine.  It's a medium-bodied red wine and the character is such that a bottle of this, in an unlabeled decanter, will really make wine geeks and wine aficionados nervous when you pour it for them...they'll wonder if it's some seriously prestigious wine and they can't identify it or they'll wonder if you poured them something below-the-radar...

The wine is dry and not particularly tannic...ready to drink with a bit of bottle bouquet.  And well worth its modest price!

 

QUENARD 2012 CHIGNIN $12.99

The best wine writer for the Wall Street Journal, Ms. Lettie Teague, recently told us that she thought the wines of France's Savoie region would be "the next BIG thing."

Really?  

Perhaps.  

But we've been offering some good Savoie wines for a number of years and, as delightful as some of the wines are, we've not seen much of a stampede.

The grapes are often unusual and not known more than half an hours' drive from the region.  Isn't is more comfortable to simply buy a similarly-priced, big brand California Chardonnay than take a flyer on some never-heard-of-it wine from France?  Maybe...but with your $12.99, you'll get a top-of-the-market bottle of Chignin or a relatively modest California wine.  Take your pick!

Chignin is the town and name of the wine.  The grape variety is Jacquère and it's planted on clay and limestone.  The juice is fermented in stainless steel and the resulting wine IS delicious and different.  

I was pleased the other day when a customer, who'd asked me to put together a mixed bag of white wines, returned to buy a CASE of Quenard's Chignin.  "We just loved this wine!" she said.  "It's dry, a bit stony and tasted great."

And she got a 15% discount in buying a dozen bottles.  That, she told us, made the wine taste even better.

 

MASI 2009 "CAMPOFIORIN"  Sale $12.99

The Masi winery has been making a special, proprietary wine called Campofiorin since the 1964 vintage.

In Tuscany, back in those days, it was not uncommon for a winemaker to add some dried skins of fermented grapes back to a tank of Chianti...this would add body and maybe round out the wine a bit.  In 1964 the winemaker at Masi was so pleased by the quality of the skins from their Amarone wine (made of dehydrated grapes) that he couldn't bear to simply discard them...so he put them into a tank of Valpolicella.  The wine began to ferment and the resulting wine was of good quality, so it became a normal protocol for Masi.  

They named the wine Campofiorin, after a vineyard site of Valpolicella.  And they trademarked the word "ripasso," so neighboring vintners are obliged to pay a royalty to Masi if they use that term on their label.  And many do.

Now they call their technique "Double Fermentation," as they use a small amount of dried grapes from their Amarone program and use those to encourage this second fermentation instead of the press cake from their Amarone wine.

They make a serious quantity of Campofiorin these days and it's a surprisingly soulful red wine for such a large production.  Medium-bodied...nice red fruits with a ripe, warm character...this focuses on the fruit and not oak.  If you're serving a long-simmered meat sauce with your pasta dinner, consider this.  We've also enjoyed it with some grilled sausages.  Pizza, too, come to think of it.

BORSAO "berola"  SALE $13.99

The Borsao winery is a major producer of Garnacha wine...their simple, entry-level version is $6.99 in our shop ($7.99-$10 most places).  

We have their blended red called 'berola' which is made primarily from Garnacha (or Grenache, if you prefer).  But they've incorporated some Syrah into this wine along with a modest amount of Cabernet Sauvignon.  It's matured in wood, being aged in French and American oak barrels for a bit more than a year.  

The wood really pairs handsomely to meats grilled over a hot, aromatic wood fire.  It's a rather stylish wine for such a modest price.  Got steak?

 

Stop by the shop...we'd be delighted to show you our latest discoveries.
 
 


BACK TO OUR HOME PAGE






 

 

 

 

winepour.gif (12696 bytes)Wine Tasting Today

TO INQUIRE ABOUT A WINE:  
Copyright © 1999 WEIMAX August 27,  2014