You’ve come a long way, Baby, so don’t stop now!

Warning: this editorial is for our female patrons only!*** Ladies, have you noticed there is a pseudo religion surrounding the selection and consumption of wine, a product that should be intrinsically more akin to groceries than art? A strange way of thinking that seeks to narrow the discussion by eliminating whole styles and countries full of wine so that direct (sports / warlike) comparisons can be made, always trying to quantify the impossibly diverse with scores and classifications then dictate absurd rituals be performed before the sacrament is consumed? What up wit ‘dat???

Like most of Western Civilization, this is part of a grand conspiracy propagated by a gang of rich, white (primarily British), mostly dead MEN!!!!  And they  mostly look and act more like Benny Hill meets Rumpole of the Bailiwick than, say, Pierce Brosnan. This cult was then popularized in America by an Attorney from D.C. and a cigar huckster who hangs out with Rush Limbaugh. So what does this have to do with you and your girlfriends wanting to know what wine to drink while having some pasta and watching “Great Performances on PBS”? NADA, ZIP, ZERO, NOTHING!!!!!!! And, since 70% of all wine is purchased at retail by women anyway, WHY DO YOU STAND FOR THIS???

Furthermore, since Mr. Testosterone over there seems to think that bottle of Domaine Ink Cabernet with Rutherford Dust he read about in the Wine Expectorator (99/100 but undrinkable for ten to twenty years, if ever) is the only solution to every wine question, we’re depending on YOU to bring home something interesting, food-friendly and reasonably priced to change his channel. Then, having lulled him into lowering his defenses, you can ask him trick questions like whether your hips look bigger in your blue dress or your red slacks and whether he really thinks your roommate / sister / boss is sexy and watch him jump through hoops like a schizoid poodle while you enjoy a second glass of one of these multicultural libations:


Cheap & Cheerful Plonk for all Occasions

Gravitas Sauvignon Blanc or Reserve Chardonnay, NZ

They’re white, cold, dry and work with anything from pasta salad to sea bass to Chicken Helper in the Micro-wave.


Viñas de Luján Torrontes, Mendoza Argentina

Why has this eclipsed almost every other white under $10 in sales in our store? Spring for a bottle and find out, tonight!


De Luca Montepulciano d’Abruzzo Sipario, Italy

Soft, smoooooth and meaty, this is the perfect partner for a large range of foods or you can just sip a glass when you get home from work.


Duca di Panzano Chianti Vitigni del Sole, Toscana

Bright, sassy, zesty and ready to dance a tarantella with any pasta or pizza you can throw at it.


Cortesia Prosecco Frizzante, Veneto

Really delicious and refreshing Prosecco in nice looking packaging at school night pricing. Cheers and have at it….we’ll get more!


Business Class Upgrades

M. Labbe Brut Carte Blanche Premier Cru à Chamery, France

Lay down the law: “If you want to get wit’ me then leave the Cordon Rouge and White Star at the 7-11 and buy this!”


I Campi Soave Campo Vulcano 2009, Veneto

One of the best whites under $50 we have ever offered: rich and flavorful but never oaky. Life is short, try something different…


Domìni Veneti Ripasso Valpolicella Vigneti di Torbe 2010, Veneto

Wow! Intense, nearly purple color, rich and velvety mouthfeel, ridiculously concentrated notes of every red and black fruit from currants through plums and a long smooth, sexy finish, this is serious.


Cascina Fonda Vendemmia Tardiva 2010, Piemonte

We call even normal Moscato d’Asti “The Zombie Detector” because if you don’t like it you might be already dead but this is a whole ‘nother thing. It is not labeled as DOCG due to its unique production methods and flavor profile: it is made from Moscato grapes left to hang an additional three weeks on the vine which give it notes of walnuts and toffee on top of the burnt orange peel, dried fruit and hibiscus flower base. OUTRAGEOUS, unique, undeniable, this has already earned cult status. Uh…Ladies Man…this is goooooooood…wink, wink.


I work hard, I’m worth it, I can afford the good stuff!

CharlesGardet Brut Millésime 2002, Chigny les Roses

Made only in outstanding vintages, this wine spends five years aging on the lees deep in the family cave where it takes on a rich golden hue and a wonderful nuttiness. After the remuage and disgorgement a special dosage of reserve wines kept in small oak casks and a touch of cane sugar is added to finish it, giving a unique toasty richness to the final product.


Ronco del Gelso (Tocai) Friulano Toc Bas 2010, Friuli Isonzo Rive Alte 

Giorgio is one of the leaders of what we call the “Movimento Tocai Classico”, an emerging group of Friulani vignerons who have recently decided that the lush, ultra fruit driven, Viognier like versions of Tocai are masking the true character and potential of that most Friulian of white varieties and, instead, are making a leaner, more structured and aromatic expression. This vintage is very dry and structured with herbal and almond notes on top of an enchanting yellow plum fruit base and will be an excellent aperitivo now but our experience with past vintages is that it will be even more wonderful in a couple of years.


Battaglino Nebbiolo d’Alba Colla 2008, Piemonte

Corte Cariano Amarone della Valpolicella Terra Solinas 2008, Veneto

Tabarrini Montefalco Sagrantino Colle Grimaldesco 2006, Umbria

Deep, Deeper, Deepest! These are silky, smooth, aged and ready to go, “important” reds that still have something to say for days after you open them. Worth a special trip to the farmers market to find the best mushrooms, some great cheese, a perfect leg of lamb, you get the picture. Tell him it’s Cabernet, he’ll probably never tell the difference……….


***Guys, show her you’re a Sensitive New Age Man and deserve not only her attention but also tastes of these great wines by buying her a copy of Women’s World Voices Volume 2 (Blue Flame 398-50392), packed with 68 minutes of the hippest, most soulful and culturally aware (but really sexy, hint, hint, wink, wink) female artists from around the globe throwing down for sisterhood over some dope ambient and tropical grooves. And, we’ll just keep the fact that the enclosed booklet is full of …uh…er…”art pictures” of sensual goddesses from exotic lands between us guys, ok? Then slide on St. Germain “Tourist” (Blue Note 7243-5-25114-2-6), probably the most successful “acid jazz” fusion of dance/ambient production with actual Jazz we’ve ever heard. If you can’t get your groove on with music this sexy then just put away the Viagra and reach for the Depends and the TV Guide!

How the Internet can help you give more thoughtful gifts

Ten times a day we hear the following sad refrain:  “I KNOW that you guys have things that are so much better and cheaper than __________ (insert over-hyped and over priced wine / champagne featured on MTV Cribs or Life Styles of the Rich and Vacant) but if I give it as a gift how will they KNOW that?”  Well, aside from our faith that most people can recognize something truly wonderful if you put it in their mouths, these days they (or their people) can just google the name of the wine (on their PHONE) and BAM! pages and pages of info on even some of the most obscure stuff, often from European and even Japanese sources, giving your gift that cosmopolitan international cachet. Think about it: if you are just another one of ten people who gives a guy a bottle of the same safe wine when he gets promoted / nominated / indicted, you will you not be just fading into the crowd? Wouldn’t your boss, client, significant other really enjoy some of the stuff inside this missive more than yet another bottle of Jordan / Dom / Sassicaia / Cakebread / Opus / Gaja / Cristal / Silver Oak / ya-da-ya-da-ya-da?  Well, this propaganda pack is chock full of dandy alternatives. WINE EXPO: Drink Different!

Thanksgiving Wine Musings

What to do when twenty or so of your nearest and dearest, their appetites enraged by the waft of Grandmothers secret stuffing recipe coming from the kitchen, are eyeballing all those great wines you have squirreled away for the future (or at least to be appreciated by your knowing friends)? No occasion lends itself to our selection of great food-friendly, crowd pleasing, popularly priced quaffers than Thanksgiving. So, we’ve gone out of our way to find some truly phenomenal wines at incredible prices that are perfect matches with the traditionals and all the trimmings.

First, a few basics about the tactics in selecting wines for what is probably the largest and most diverse meal any of us eat in any given year. The main attraction, Thom Gobbler, is content with almost any wine. From lighter whites to hearty reds, just about any well made wine (or rich ale!) is delicious with roast turkey, a classic culinary no-brainer.

The slippery slope begins with the supporting cast, specifically cranberry sauce (sweet but also bitter, one of the few foods with more tannin than a Howell Mt. Cab) and the aforementioned Gram’s secret stuffing (full of culinary depth charges like cumin, sage, coriander, thyme, raisins, nuts, oysters if you’re from the South, and usually a fair bit of salt). These flavors often tend to accentuate the astringency in oaky Chards and make tannic Cabernet/Merlot based wines taste metallic. And, let’s face it, many of your guests are just not ready to get their teeth stained with the newest 99 point MonsterCab while you point out that the wine will be great in another forty or fifty years!

Through extensive research using the excellent roast chicken with all the trimmings from Marmalade Cafe* on Montana as a control we have discovered that the best choices include lighter, fruitier whites based on Arneis, Tocai, Albariño, Sauvignon in its less herbal renditions and reds with lots of fruit, some spice, but low tannins, typically Valpolicella, lighter Sangiovese  based wine, and the fruitier side of the Montepulciano / Tempranillo spectrum. We have a store chock full of choices and will be here in force to help you. Have a GREAT Holiday!

*If you are too busy to cook, our friends at Marmalade Cafe can handle everything for you, tell them we sent you:

Important Consumer Information

Due to our low, low prices and warehouse-style layout, many people mistakenly compare our store to “Pirate John’s”, a chain of natural food liquidators who dabble in the wine business. While we also buy our cheese and dried fruit there and often feature merchandise from bankruptcies and close-outs here, we beg to differ with their theory that cooked $20 dollar wine becomes a good value if they sell it for $2.99. Sorry, “John”, that just makes it cheap bad wine! You can be confident that every label in our store represents ten that we tasted and didn’t buy as we are always on the lookout for distressed merchants not distressed merchandise, a crucial distinction. Remember our motto: “We taste the bad wine so you don’t have to!”

Swimming with Sharks…a Love Story

We send this in our e-mail hot list in November of each year…it never gets old!

We would like to start with our heartfelt condolences to all of you assistants, secretaries and go-fers out there whose boss is about to plop down the year end issue of an (overly!) influential wine rag with their Top 100 Wines of the Year and tell you that your continued employment depends on finding him a case each of the top five or ten listed. Do not bother trying to tell him that the list is a compendium of wines highly reviewed throughout the year and nearly all are now either sold out or being flipped at 300% mark-up. He will just do his best rendition of Kevin Spacey as the evil studio exec in Swimming with Sharks and tell you: “you are nothing, you do not think, you exist to make my thoughts into actions, find it or you are fired!“. We’ve been touting lawyer customers for years on this being a rich vein for a class action suit for harrassment….and, no, we do not have any of the wines either. But we DO have new, great stuff arriving daily…