The wine you have to buy!
All roads lead to France…when it comes to wines, this has been the historic phrase. Yet the New World has taken not just a page out of the French book, but through chapter and verse, crazy, upstart winemakers from all around the globe have rewritten all the scared cows that used to find themselves into the finest restaurants and into the most sacred cellars in the world. While I will never admit on record to being a Francophile, I do drink my share of vins de France, I give this one the thumbs up as the catch of the sale and one of the very best ultra-premium, red wine currently in the marketplace and like you the 5 cent sale is always a mystery until the day it is unveiled. The BevMo buyers make the call, I just taste the stuff and pass along my notes and ratings.
Last week I wondered into our #1 store on Main Street in Walnut Creek and could not believe that the outstanding '07 Grandes Serres Chateauneuf-du-Pape La Cours des Papes was a part of the current 5 cent sale. A wine that I have tasted on several occasions in France and in California, I immediately reacted and told the staff, this is the one wine you have to sell everyone that comes into the store. 2007 was an excellent vintage in the Rhone Valley and when we first tasted the wine on one of French trips, we knew we had found something special.
So if you are looking aimless at the current 5 cent sale thinking, "What should I buy?" You need not look any further, this wine is a no brainier. Rich and full of power and finesse, this wine has fine staying power and can cellar for at least a half-a-dozen years and more. For the Francophile, this wine is perfect and for the New World wine drinker, this is just the beginning of your re-education. While all roads don't necessarily lead to France, this one surely does.
Let's Take Care of Papa!
What can we do for dear old dad on Father's Day! Send him to the ballgame, so we can feel that he can be where we think he should be? How about getting him out on the lake, so that he can fish in peace and quiet, while downing a nice cold beer (with lots of water to keep himself hydrated). How about something close to home? Perhaps we can do the some really good like keep him near us on this special day, put on a great barbecue and serve him one of America's top distilled spirits with his favorite grilled foods.
In a recent tasting session at BevMo headquarters with the spirit team headed by Brian Bowden and Ted Carmon, we tasted a couple of dozen single barrel samples of Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare Bourbons. Flown in from Kentucky for a special BevMo bottling, I just knew this was going to be a fascinating tasting. As I sniffed, swirled and tasted my way through the set, I became riveted by the bourbons' complexities. Hmm, I thought, this would make perfect gifts for dads everywhere. Even the wine snobby types would enjoy the enticing vanilla, entrancing sweet spice and elegant toast found in many of these batches. In the end, we chose a BevMo! 2010 Edition Buffalo Trace and Eagle Rare. These limited bottles are only available in certain BevMo locations (check with the store near you for these special offerings). Fortunately for the rest of us we have the equally special and incredibly refined Buffalo Trace Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey complex Eagle Rare Single Barrel Kentucky Straight Bourbon Whiskey.
As highly acclaimed spirits, the Buffalo Trace received 93 points from the Wine Enthusiast as well as garnering a Double Gold Medal at the 2009 San Francisco Spirits Competition and a Gold Medal at the 2009 Los Angeles International Wine & Spirits Competition; the Eagle Rare picked up 96 points from the Wine Enthusiast and a Double Gold from the 2008 San Francisco Spirits Competition. Can't you picture: You, at the grill and dear old dad sipping his fine bourbon as he enjoys his family taking care of him!
What can you get for 5 cents and my #1 wine of this sale!
What can you get for 5 cents? Besides a second bottle, you may get too much excitement. BevMo has another 5 cent sale to save you $$$'s but what are the best of the best from this list of characters? Ratings aside, whether they from the Guru (Mr. Robert Parker, Jr.), the Wine Spectator, the Wine Enthusiast and all the other guys that do this stuff, we all know that wine is much more than just points!
Wine is culture and community and what works in Northern California may not necessarily work in Southern California or Arizona. Why you ask? Because...that's all. So begins my list of my top ten wines. I am a super fan of the incredibly sexy and seductive, stain-your-teeth '08 Powder Keg Zinfandel. Not only does this wine explode on the palate, but it zings the entire mouth with non-stop, juicy berries. This wine is way popular in the San Francisco Bay Area but not nearly as prominent in the SoCal. In all of California, I am betting that the fun yet serious '07 Gnarly Head Chardonnay (a Gold Medal winner at the 2009 California State Fair) plays big and satisfies those thirsty palates. One of my top Chardonnays for both California and Arizona is the '07 Michael Pozzan Napa Valley Chardonnay, a juicy, delicious wine, who cares if I only gave it 87 points! The wine does the job and simply enhances the dining experience. It is available in both California and Arizona.
For serious enophiles, I offer the '07 Martin Codax Albarino (90 Pts/Best Buy from Wine Enthusiast). It is fine minerally with great purity. Should be a big hit in Northern California. If you are in the mood for pure fun, the pick up the '08 Blue Fish Sweet Riesling. Give this one a nice chill and simply enjoy. We may be transitioning into the '09 vintage in some of our stores; both are great crowd pleasers. Red wine lovers can dance in the streets over the black-fruited '06 Norton Barrel Select Malbec (only available in Arizona). Of course, we should not forget about the exciting whites now coming out of Chile and the '08 Aresti Reserva Sauvignon Blanc is ready with is ripe core fruit flavors and its layered palate textures. Back to the California and we uncover the '07 McManis Syrah as a bold red wine with extra spunk in its arsenal (only available in Arizona). Hey, I almost forgot my favorite Chardonnay in this current campaign: the '09 Tapiz is unbelievable good with plenty of vivid, ripe fruit flavors. By now I am sure many of you are wondering what is my top wine of this current 5 cent sale? Drum roll, please! There is no question that the number one wine of this 5 cent sale is...the exquisitely expressive '09 Zolo Gaucho Select Torrontes. Great for everyone from just-beginning neophytes to extreme experts, this wine is juicy, tasty and joyful; it is positioned well to combine food, wine and culture in every way, shape and manner. Happy Shopping!!!
In the Tapiz Winery offices and lab, where the BevMo team assisted in developing the Zolo Gaucho Select Brand (Photo taken by Wilfred Wong, February 6, 2009, Mendoza, Argentina)
The team enjoyed freshly made empandas with joyful glasses of Torrantes. (Photo taken by Wilfred Wong, February 6, 2009, Mendoza, Argentina)
Perfect Wines for the My Dad's 90th Birthday
Yesterday was a monumental day for our family. My dad, Walter, turned 90 years ago and the family gathered 50 of his closest family and friends to share in a wonderful dinner at the excellent Kirin Restaurant in San Francisco. We chose a menu that included raw fish salad, lettuce wrap of mince squab, deep-fried quail, chicken with stuffed sweet rice, walnut prawns and braised lobster with yee mein (noodles). The food was delicious and the assembled company appreciative. But what about the wines for the evening?
With our dad's contemporaries, ages withheld, I did not want to blast their palates with impenetrable red wines like big cabs or a hefty zins and I really wanted the wines to be a pure backdrop to the tributes we were all giving to a man who has lived 90 years of a wonderful life, partnering with our incredible mother, Jane (she passed away in 2005) and raising five outrageously expressive children. This evening was all about Walter Wong.
From start to finish, we enjoyed two beautiful wines. The refreshing and delicate Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs and the beautiful aromatic and serious 2009 Zolo Gaucho Select Torrontes. The evening seem to at once go quickly and stretched long and timeless over the 3-1/2 hours we spent at the restaurant. Not only did we toast with both wines, we seem to simply drink the wines as if they were not even present. They went so well with the occasion that the simply became part of the festivities. After all, this night really belong to one person and all everything else simply contributed to the reason we all had gathered. Our mission was accomplished as everyone was genuine pleased and nothing even the 20 minute dragon show diverted attention away from the heart of the matter.
Kirin's Chicken Stuffed with Sweet Rice (Photo taken by Wilfred Wong, June 4, 2010, San Francisco, CA)
Always delicious, Gloria Ferrer Blanc de Noirs (Photo taken by Wilfred Wong, June 4, 2010, San Francisco, CA)
One of my favorite, upscale, crowd-pleasing white wines from anywhere in the world. (Photo taken by Wilfred Wong, June 4, 2010, San Francisco, CA)