For our bi-monthly wine club shipments, we reject dozens of wines for every one selected. Our tasting notes cover decades of tasting, and form a stack several stories high (which presents some challenges when negotiating limited storage space with other household members!)
My point being that the following wines have run the gauntlet. They were selected as the best and most unique expression of available wines within the designated price range. We have a limited amount remaining, and hope you can get an order in before shipping closes down for the week on Wednesday (bad weather still limits our shipping days to Mon - Wed for West coast orders, Mon only for anything farther!)
April, 2007 "Jack's Selections" (Crowd-pleasing wines for your immediate pleasure. $30/shipment)
- Uvaggio, 2006 Vermentino, $12. Crisp, racy, and begging for grilled fish with lemon, this is a wine you'll want to buy by the case. This new release from Uvaggio has been highly popular at Tastes of the Valleys wine bar, where it is proving difficult to keep in stock. For the next month, subscribe to Jack's Selections and receive this wine along with a recipe for grilled trout that enhances the flavors of this domestic Vermentino!
- Tolosa Winery, 2005 Central Coast Pinot Noir, $18. Pinot, as you know, has become pricey. It's sudden popularity has exceeded the supply of pinot grapes (which take half a decade to produce their first feeble harvest), and pinot prices have marched obediently to the rules we all learned in Econ 101. This moderately priced pinot is a wonderful exception. From a producer known for healthy farming practices, this wine offers enough pinot pleasure to serve proudly as your everyday red. Between now and June 1st, subscribe to Jack's Selections and receive this wine along with my time-tested recipe for Beef Burgundy. Pure heaven. But make it soon - if you're like me your tastebuds are turning to the flavors of spring!
April, 2007 "Maya's Selections" (Thought-provoking wines that can reward aging. $50/shipment)
- Tolosa Winery, 2005 No Oak Chardonnay, $16. We hesitated to offer two wines from a single producer in the same month. But this is such a fine and affordable example of pure Chardonnay fruit, we knew it would be popular as both a pleasant quaff and a learning experience. Think you've grown tired of Chardonnay because of its big, buttery characteristics? This wine offers a most surprising alternative, with hints of citrus peel and a nose that is refreshingly crisp and floral, but with a distinctive yeastiness that grabs the tongue and leads it to the table. From now through June 1st, subscribe to Maya's Selections and receive this wine along with a recipe for broiled Tilapia in a Fennel-Hazelnut Orange sauce.
- Toucan Wines, 2005 Zinfandel, Arroyo Grande Valley, $34. I first discovered this wine at the 2007 ZAP event, and was so impressed I recommended it to our affiliated wine bar, Tastes of the Valleys, where it became an immediate hit. With alcohol levels considered low for a Zinfandel, this is a Zin you can bring to the table without over-powering your food. The wine offers hints of the telltale cracked pepper that zin lovers crave, and a nice complexity from an 11% dollop of Petite Sirah. Doug Timewell is a winemaker to watch! From now through June 1st, subscribe to Maya's Selections and receive this wine and a recipe for pasta with spring peas - a surprisingly perfect pairing with this food-friendly wine!
April, 2007 "Miles' Selections" (All Pinot, All The Time! $70/shipment)
From now through June 1st, subscribe to Miles' Pinot Selections and receive these wines along with my time-tested recipe for the perfect Beef Burgundy!
- Wolff Vineyards, 2004 Pinot Noir, Edna Valley, $25. This small producer is a relative newcomer to Edna Valley, but their vineyard isn't - in 1999 they purchased 30-year old vines from one of the valley's original pioneers. They brought with them a commitment to sustainable farming and the perfect blend of old world winemaking tradition with modern know-how. This unfined and unfiltered pinot was selected for its richness, for its red fruit pleasure combined with its great structure, for its integrated oak and for its pleasant notes of white pepper. And above all, for its most impressive value - this is a lot of wine for the money.
- Au Bon Climat, 2004 Pinot Noir, "Knox Alexander", $45. Perhaps the Central Coast's best-known vintner, Jim Clendenen makes this robust pinot in honor of his son, for whom it is named. "Tastes of the Valleys" was selected by Jim as his designated tasting room, so I've had many chances to taste his wines, and to hear the feedback from the bar's patrons. This wine is loved by staff and patrons alike for its richness, its mouth-watering red and blue fruits, and its velvety texture that evolves for hours. Decant this wine a few hours before pouring and you will be well rewarded!
Dave Chambers, Wine Merchant
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