Tasting Sun 4-6pm. Enjoy a flight of 4 wines for $25; a full glass for $9. Also open when we have special events, please check our Calendar of Events. I selected all of these wines because they're local, small production, good value, and very enjoyable with or without food. In cases where I haven't found a good local example, I've got an import on the list.
- NV Mary Elke, Brut Sparkling Wine (60% Chardonnay, 40% Pinot Noir), Methode Traditionale, Mendocino, $20. For more than two decades the Elke Family has grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay for Mumm Napa and for Roederer Estates. This brut is made at Rack & Riddle under the Elke label. A yeasty sparkler with a tinge of sweetness that compliments almost any food. For the Holidays, it makes a great pairing with a starter pumpkin apple soup for example. Alc. 12.5%. http://www.elkevineyards.com/ourwines.html
- 2010 Terra Sávia, Brut Rouge, sparkling Pinot Noir, Mendocino. $23. This is the perfect complement to Sunday brunch and makes festive any occasion. Red raspberries and grapefruit on the nose. Crisp, clean, refreshing, and citrusy with a hint of red berry juice in the mouth. Made with Sanel Valley estate grown organic grapes.1% of Terra Sávia sales proceeds support local Wildlife Rescue. Alc. 12%. http://www.terrasavia.com
- 2011 Mary Elke, Chardonnay, Donnelly Creek Vineyard, Anderson Valley. $20. Most of this Chardonnay fruit is sold to other wineries, but in some years a little bit is made under the Elke label. The vines are cane-pruned, a traditional approach that helps the vine maintain balance and enhance elegance. This Chablis-style Chardonnay benefited from a cool growing season. Chalky minerals and hint of fresh herbs on the nose, food-friendly acid balance in the mouth, meyer lemon bright finish. Winemaker: Matt Evans. http://www.elkevineyards.com
- 2010 Field Recordings, Chenin Blanc, Santa Ynez. $20. Cloudy Chenin Blanc, unfined and unfiltered. A minimal interventionist approach taken by young winemaker Andrew Jones. Apple, citrus, nuts on the nose with a finish of minerals, lime, tonic and acidity. Aged in 50% stainless steel, 50% neutral French oak for 6 months. "The label art is taken from photographs of starlings in flight, unstaged patterns that can never be repeated nor replicated. In the same way, each bottle of Field Recordings Wine captures the inimitable circumstances of each vineyard, vintage, and friendship that made it possible." -Field Recordings Website http://fieldrecordingswine.com
2010 Y. Rousseau Old Vine French Colombard, Russian River. $20. It's hard to believe "French Colombard", or Côtes de Gascogne as it's known in South-West France, was the most-planted grape in the U.S. in the 1970's. Today, domestically, most Colombard vineyards have been replaced with Chardonnay. This "Renaissance" Colombard comes from a 35-year-old dry-farmed vineyard. Maceration 7 hours on the skins, elevage sur lies 5 months, aged in 85% stainless steel, 15% neutral French oak barrels. 12.8% alcohol. Drink as an offbeat, low-alcohol alternative to Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio." http://www.yrousseauwines.com/
- 2011 Cartograph Wines, Gewürztraminer, Floodgate Vineyard, Russian River Valley. $22. The Gewürztraminer is planted on the flats in very light loamy part of the vineyard that has a high percentage of river gravel. This allows for excellent drainage and these vines see very little irrigation, keeping vigor low. Elegant, crisp, refreshing with aromas of orange blossom, stone fruits, white peach, melon, and honeysuckle, with a spine of minerality. There is a slightly phenolic grip on the finish that helps it stand up to moderately spicy Asian dishes with ginger and chilies. http://www.cartographwines.com/
- 2011 Mary Elke, Pinot Gris, Donnelly Vineyard, Anderson Valley. $16. Crisp, dry Alsatian style Pinot Gris from the unique Donnelly Vineyard in Anderson Valley. Mary Elke has been growing fruit for others for more than 20 years. The vines are cane-pruned and grown on elevated red sandy loam benchland dotted with large round stones. White flowers, beeswax, bright melon on the nose, minerals, melon and bite of apple seed on the palate, graceful grapefruit finish. http://www.elkevineyards.com
- 2011 Envy Wines, Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley. $22. The wine speaks to the olfactory system with whispers of perfume and wide valleys filled with wild flowers. On the palate this Sauvignon Blanc introduces itself with notes of freshly picked Asian Pear. Flavors of sliced apricots and a drizzle of honey soon follow while notes of slightly sweetened vanilla round out the finish. http://envywines.com/store/index.php?main_page=product_info&products_id=19
- 2010, Forlorn Hope, "La Gitana" Torrontés, Silvaspoons Vineyards, Alta Mesa. $20. Usually associated with Argentina, the peripatetic Torrontés has finally arrived in the vineyards of California. Grown by viticultural iconoclast Ron Silva, this strange and wonderful vine appears intent on producing wine of astounding dimension. Enticingly aromatic, La Gitana pitches her woo with a bouquet of soft floral and tropical notes. This Gypsy's heart is stony indeed, and its refreshing minerality offers ample reason to return to her rocky shores again and again. http://forlornhopewines.com/products-page/whites/2010-la-gitana
- 2012 selections coming soon!
- 2010 Forlorn Hope, "the Faufreluches" Gewüztraminer, Adam & Eve Vineyard, Russian River. $26
Cloudy light orange color. Honey apricots, flowers and spice on the nose. Ginger, roses, and baked lemon on the palate. The left-on-skins technique mellows out this variety in a great way and gives an almost sherry-like quality to the finish. Named for Dune's Faufreluches "The rigid rule of class distinction enforced by the Imperium", I'd say this Gewüztraminer has broken class boundaries and is in a place of its own that's anywhere but rigidly enforced. Can you say anti-faufreluchearianism? http://forlornhopewines.com
- 2003 Frédéric LAMBERT, Vin Jaune, Côtes du Jura, FRANCE. $55
Vin Jaune is made from Savagnin grapes in the Jura region, between Burgundy and the Swiss border. The grapes are conventionally fermented, then transferred to old Burgundy barrels partially filled in a well ventilated warm environment subject to temperature fluctuations. This allows for the "voile" or yeast film (like the flor of Jerez) to form on the wine’s surface, protecting it from oxidation while it develops and concentrates in barrel exactly six years and three months, then bottled in 62-centileter clavelin (short & squat) bottles. Generally a bottle is not drunk until ten years after bottling or 16 years after the vintage. This one has a light golden yellow color, deep fino sherry nose, a delicate oily texture, and golden raisin, curry, almond, poached pear long finish. It pairs decadently with Comté-based fondue. Best served cellar temperature about 55°F. Importer: Return To Terroir.