White Wines By The Glass
Just Fiou Sauvignon Blanc 2012 (Loire Valley, France)
OK, so remember when I said the last Sauv Blanc we had tasted like a baby Sancerre? It’s OK if you don’t, I forgive you. At any rate, it was true. It did taste like a baby Sancerre. Well, this one just flat-out tastes like Sancerre, only for less money. All that opulence that you just love, framed by crisp minerality that you didn’t know you needed, but really do.
Raats Old Vine Chenin Blanc 2011 (Stellenbosch, South Africa)
To me, it’s no contest. The world’s most underrated grape is Chenin Blanc, and I have no idea why that is. It makes some flat-out amazing wines, like this one for instance. An exotic nose that smells like something different but beautiful every time you put your nose to the glass. Ripe, textural fruit that, finishes clean but long. This is a really lovely wine.
Stellina di Notte Pinot Grigio Delle Venezie 2012 (Venice, Italy)
If people keeping showing me such delicious Italian whites, I’m going to have a hard time keeping them off the list. This one is a textbook version of what I think Pinot Grigio should taste like. Pears on the nose and palette, minerals and brightness on the finish, and a silky texture throughout.
Pali “Charm Acres” Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2011 (Sonoma, CA)
Sonoma Coast is getting a lot of love for its Chardonnay and Pinot and for good reason. The Cool, coastal climate gives the grapes a nice, long season and allows them to gently ripen. Yielding wines like this, structured, with supple, long texture, and ripe but balanced fruit. A lovely wine to be sure..
Domaine Duffour Cotes du Gascogne 2012 (Southwest, France)
Here’s our latest bright, charming, and affordable French white that you may or may not have ever heard of. A lively blend of Colombard, Gros Manseng, and Ugni Blanc that has a lovely, guava nose that continues to the palette and finishes with a crispy, chalky finish. Great as your first glass of wine or to enjoy throughout dinner with seafood.
White Wines By The Bottle Only
Domaine du Bagnol Cassis 2009 (Provence, France) 44
A friendly and versatile wine with lovely and ripe pear fruits but not a ton of acidity. And, while acidity is usually something I want, in this case, the wine seems just right without it..
Contra Soarda Breganze Vespaiolo 2011 (Breganze, Italy) 50
Vespaiolo, a little known grape, most typically used in making dessert wines, creates a wonderfully unique wine with notes of jasmine, honey and lemon. Grown in the foothills of the Alps, this wine shows nearly endless layers and pairs well with difficult foods.
Paul Thomas Sancerre Chavignol “Les Comtesses” 2012 (Loire Valley, France) 50
I love this style of Sancerre. The type that absolutely shows the flinty minerality that the region is known for, but provides a bit of ripeness and plush mouthfeel as well. Wrapping it up with bright acid.
Magic of Ju-Ju Chenin Blanc (Loire Valley, France) 50
Besides the perfect name, this just happens to be a delicious bottle of wine and one that goes perfectly with our food. Captivatingly aromatic, lush mouth-feel, delicious fruit, and great acidity.
Savary Chablis 2012 (Bourgogne, France) 30 (375 ml)
This is such a pretty wine and does precisely what I want Chablis to do. It’s not big, not oaky, but it still has texture, finesse, and generosity on the palette. A lovely wine to be sure.
Tegernseerof ‘Loibenberg’ Riesling Smaragd 2009 (Wachau, Austria) 65
This is what you get when a top-notch producer harvests grapes late from an iconic vineyard in Austria’s most renowned areas. And makes it dry. Lucious stone-fruit with texture galore, and vibrant acidity. A truly monumental wine.
Catena Zapata Catena Alta Chardonnay 2012 (Mendoza, Argentina) 65
I tried some amazing wines on my visit to this legendary winery. About the last thing I expected to fall madly in love with, though, was their Chardonnay. In fact, I asked the winemaker how long they last and she said her favourite right now is the 1997! Everything I’m looking for in a luxury Chardonnay; richness, layers of nuance, and impeccable balance.
Weinbach Pinot Gris Cuvee St. Catherine 2003 (Alsace, France) 80
Weinbach makes the most finesse-laden and bright wines in Alsace, which, in a ripe year like 2003, is really a good thing, especially 10 years after the fact. The acidity, somtimes lacking in other producers’ offerings, make this a lovely wine with some time in the bottle.
Quota 600 Etna Bianco 2010 (Mount Etna, Sicily) 85
I’m not going to do something crazy like have a Sicilian white as my most expensive white on the list unless it’s some pretty darned amazing juice. And this is. Made of Carricante and Cataratto (two indigenous grapes), this wine is a bit like White Burgundy with some ripe and floral peach notes added on the nose. Still, this impressive beauty is framed with astute minerality.
Red Wines By the Glass
Lechuza Garnacha 2011 (Aragon, Spain)
A deliciously meaty and generous Grenache that is ripe and heady, but at the same time shows just enough restraint so you’ll still respect it in the morning. Not so nuanced that it needs food, so go ahead and enjoy a glass all on its own, but it’ll share your palate once the food arrives.
Chateau Graves de Rabion Saint Emilion 2009 (Bordeaux, France)
Yes, you read that right. This is a Ste. Emilion from 2009 at $10 a glass. And it’s an absolute knockout! It has all the nuance and finesse that you expect from Bordeaux but with a friendly ripeness that one either has to spend a lot of money for, or look elsewhere in the world to find.
This wine is an outstanding value.
Casarena Malbec 505 2012 (Mendoza, Argentia)
Lush dark plum fruit and rich, stylish texture. Like other Malbecs that I enjoy, this is a perfect marriage of being big without being overly tannic or overbearing. In other words, truly versatile and will go with tons of our dishes or all by itself.
Badia Coltibuono Chianti “Centamura” 2012 (Tuscany, Italy)
An entry-level Chianti from an outstanding producer that does a fine masquerade as one costing a good bit more. I often say that, when particularly nice, Chianti should show both earthiness and nice fruit. That, when inexpensive, they typically just give you one of the other. Sometimes, you get both.
Calera Pinot Noir 2011 (Central Coast, CA)
Calera is an icon among California Pinot producers, making some of the most coveted single-vineyard offerings in the state. This is his Central Coast bottling which is far more affordable, but still shows his attention to his craft. A complex, earthy nose gives way to abundant but balanced fruit. Interesting enough to please the purists, ripe enough to please the rest.
Red Wines By The Bottle Only
Klinker Brick Old Vine Zinfandel 2011 (Lodi, CA) 50
This is Charlie responding to the many faithful customers who kept bugging him about why he no longer carried this wine. Mind you, it really is a great Zin. Certainly ripe, like you’d expect, but not crazily massive and all over the place, like some can be. Find out for youself why everyone loves it.
Vajra Barbera D’Alba Superiore 2009 (Piedmonte, Italy) 60
Luxury Barbera is not a new thing, as better producers have been making noteworthy versions since the mid 80s. This one is really, truly a phenomenal wine and has the length, character, and structure of many Barolos, but with that charming and nectarous Barbera fruit.
Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon 2010 (Napa Valley, California) 65
This winery always has had a place in my heart as it was my father’s favourite. Turns out, he was on to something. Their wines are uncommonly accessible upon release and yet have the profundity you expect from a Napa Cab. An altogether delicious wine.
Bricco Rocche Barolo (Prapo or Brunate Vineyards) 2000 (Piedmonte, Italy) 100
This is not a blend of the two vineyards. Rather, we have one bottle from each for sale. 2000 was an exceptional vintage and this is an outstanding producer. Plus, the wines have had at least a little time in bottle, so they should provide an exceptional drinking experience. And, it’s at a great price.
Sparkling Wines By The Glass
Gran Bach Cava Brut NV (Spain)
If I’m drinking sparkling wine that’s not Champagne, it’s probably cava. Made in about the same manner loaded with glorious aromatics, and bone dry, it’s just such a lovely, lovely drink. We recently featured this one at a wine dinner and everyone loved it. So we switched to it by the glass.
Sparking Wines By the Bottle Only
Gerard Bertrand Cremant de Limoux Brut 2010 (Longuedoc, France) 40
A blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and Pinot Noir that has a polish and finesse that belies the price. The bit of pinot really gives it a lovely color as well.
Laurent-Perrier Brut L-P Champagne (Tours-sur-Marne, France) (375ml) 30
Stylishly hemmed and loaded with finesse- just like it should be.. Even better, it’s just a little bottle, so you and your date can have a glass of the real thing before moving on.
La Croix Des Vainqueurs 2009 (Loire Valley, France) 50
This is a top of the line 100% Chenin Blanc Cuvee Vouvray from a small family producer. It’s just as soultry, abundant, and nervy as a magnificent Champagne, just for a fraction of the price.
Thierry Triolet Brut Champagne NV (Bethon, France) 65
This is an exceptional value for Champagne. Classic delicacy and vibrancy, just a touch of yeast on the finish, and enough dosage so that you don’t have to work to hard.
Duval Leroy Brut Rosé Champagne NV (Vertus, France) 85
It’s almost cliché. When you simply can’t figure out what’s going to go with what you’re eating, go with Rose Champagne, or “Burgundy with bubbles” I like to say.