One of the secrets to finding good tasting affordable wine is to look at Europe's prize offerings and then look to wines they make that don't fit the famous region's rules. You can buy Cristia's Chateau Neuf du Pape for a special occasion but what about just for dinner tonight?? Then you grab their Grenache for $9!
Chateau Haut Rian $11.00
Classic White Bordeaux with lovely, bright, tangerine grapefruit notes. Pretty Sav Blanc acidity with Semillon body. Gorgeous with seafood, especially cooked in butter sauce. How are this affordable when their red brethren are so pricey?
Andre Brunel Grenache $11.00
We've found that many of the rock star wine makers in France own property outside of traditional AOC regions. While they can't charge big dollars, they can't help but make good wine. This is a good example, being a IGP Vaucluse with about all Grenache from the southern Rhone. Pretty black raspberry, fennel, and a little smoky tobacco showing on the nose. Soft fruit jumps out on the palate and its very drinkable. Buy two because they are great patio pounders.
Mas Carlot Rose $11.00
Nathalie Blanc-Marès crafts this lovely, mouthwatering rose from the Southern Rhone that is a classic blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah and 10% Mourvedre. It's medium-bodied, with pretty cherry, herb and stone. Another crazy good deal!
Domaine de Pouy $11.00
Wow, soft pear and apple flavors in the nose then an explosion of bright acidity that tickle the tongue. I always have a couple of these in the fridge, maybe the most affordable crowd pleaser we have. Think Viognier mixed with Gruner touched with Sav Blanc.
Veuve du Vernay $12.00
French bubbly on the affordable side. How good can it be for this price? Prepare for a nice surprise. Lovely strawberry nose, toasty, creamy, floral flavors with a hint of white pepper and rose petals, and a long, dry finish.
Leon Perdigal Cote du Rhone $12.00
With a ruby red robe, this wine features a bouquet of red berries with hints of pepper and garrigue herbs. On the palette, the red fruit flavors carry over with spicy, well integrated tannins on a medium body.
Lavender Row Pinot Noir $12.00
While French Burgundy may be the highest echelon of this grape, the warm and rugged south of France has a climate similar to CA and can make easy drinking affordable Pinots too. This affordable French beauty offers notes of toasted oak, rhubarb, strawberry, red flowers and crushed stone. But the nose! It truly explodes with the lavender that is grown all around the vines.
Domaine de Nizas $13.00
A lovely rich blend with nice body as well. Bouquet is intense (Viognier) with aromas of citrus, rosemary honey, white peach and fennel. On the palate it's well-balanced, clean and crisp. The Rousanne sees a touch of oak but its very subtle. A great wine with chicken, white meats or fish, grilled but also great with an herby cream sauce.
Le Grand Noir Chardonnay $13.00
A lovely blend from the south west of France. The Viognier brings a bright flower and apricot to the nose, a bit of French and American oak to bring some depth. Very well balanced, crisp and just a very good white at a great price. No its not Burgundy, no its not California, its a lovely blend of both styles.
100% Cabernet Franc from the Loire Valley, France, this little gem is juicy and very drinkable especially with our brie and chevre cheeses. Hints of herbs and red fruits and purple flowers. Enjoy!!
Chapoutier makes wine in the Rhone valley that can go for over $400 a bottle. But whether it his rock stars or his everyday drinkers, they are made with style and substance. And this one tastes like it should cost a lot more! Great spicy blackberry flavors and tangy spice notes.
This wine isn't just fun to say, it's incredibly delicious too! Full bodied, with flavors of grapefruit, melon, and citrus. This wine has mouth watering acidity, and a minerality that is reminiscent of the Mediterranean that the vines grew along. This is sure to become your new favorite white!
From vineyards dating back to Roman times, comes this rich and full bodied blend from the lower Rhone Valley. Lovely floral and citrus nose, bold flavors of stone fruit, peach, pear and lime zest. These overlooked wines can stand up to about anything.
How to explain this wine?? A style that's not allowed, a grape that's illegal in the D'Oc AOC, but really interesting and delicious. Heavy maceration, slight oxidation on Langedoc Sav Blanc. Love the sticker saying NOT IGP classification! Big acid, big body, big flavors of tangy apricot.
Lafage Cuvee Nicolas $15.00
The past few years have found me drinking more and more from the hills of Roussillon. The value and quality just keep increasing. This is organic, 65 year old vine Grenache. Gorgeous spice, blackberry and backbone like the best Gigondas but with more pure fruit.
Sparkling wine that predates Champagne by at least 150 years! Light, crisp and fruity, if you like Champagne give this a try for a bargain, you wont regret it.
Cotes du Rhone Cypress Cuvee $16.00
Considered by Kermit as one of the best values ever. A bistro styled, gulpable quaffer that is a product of natural fermentation, honestly vinified and aged in cement tanks, then bottled unfined and unfiltered.
Domaine Lafond Tavel $16.00
This richly colored Rose from Tavel opens with a mild wet stone and gentle strawberry bouquet. On the palate, this wine is light to medium bodied, balanced, and savory. The flavor profile is a mineral infused strawberry and gentle red raspberry blend with a hint of white pepper. The finish is dry and nicely refreshing. I would pair this very nice Rose with grilled salmon this summer.
KuentzBas Alsace Blanc $16.00
From a small 5 acre plot at one of the highest vineyards in Alsace comes this magical blend of lesser knows. There's almost too much happening on the nose with rich floral and mineral tones. Not sweet, not dry, it's got the pedigree of a grand cru in an approachable style and price. It's not like anything else and probably why Julie Andrews was really singing and spinning in these mountain fields.
Camin Larredya Juracon Sec $16.00
Wines from the steep slopes here at the eastern end of Jurançon have a cool, mineral quality to them and age extremely well. These dry versions bring bright crisp flavors of apple and pear with a body building, grape skin character. A unique wine from the slopes of the Pyrenees.
Delas Freres Croze Hermitage $17.00
Nice meaty Syrah dominates but well balanced with spice, blackberry and some herbal notes. A bit of violet shows from the 10% Grenache. Good structure, nice clean peppery finish in an easy drinking wine that pairs with just about anything!
Wine geeks know of Gigondas and Vacqueras that show off Grenache like no other. Bordering both is Beaumes de Venise which is known for fortified Muscat. On a steep hillside (at 1500 ft!) twin sisters Sabine and Isabelle make this earthy, spicy blend of Grenache, Syrah and Counoise. A gorgeous wine.
Domaine de la Chanteleuserie translates to "place where the larks sing". This is the land of Cabernet Franc and Bourgueil is among the most age-worthy of the Loire Valley reds, and the wines from Domaine de la Chanteleuserie are no exception. This wine is lovely and vibrant, with fresh red fruit flavors and a clean finish. A perfect Vino for your sunny afternoons on the patio!
Baudouin Anjou La Fresnaye $17.00
A lovely organic Loire Valley Cab Franc. Not far from Chinon this wine is aged in older Burgundy barrels on fine lees. Settling in tank for a few months before bottling in early summer. An expression of clean and pure fruit.
Cleebourg Muscat $17.00
In our never-ending quest to expand yours and our own palates, we discovered this delicious Muscat done dry. Yes this is the same Moscato from Asti done in a still Alsatian style. Gorgeous floral depth and dimension on the nose, medium bodied with lychee and ripe honey crisp apple flavors. Bright with a clean finish, the absolute best wine with spicy Thai or Chinese food.
Olivier Merlin Moulin a Vent $18.00
The awakening of the world to Cru Beaujolais has begun. A deeply and intensely colored red with gorgeous granite and cherry on the nose and the palate. Oak aging brings some pepper, spice and velvety tannins. What sommeliers drink at home when no one is watching!
Willm Cremant d'Alsace Rose $18.00
We love Pinot Noir based bubbles, and to find one under $20 is all the better. A bit crisper than the Lucien Albrecht with gorgeous light and crisp raspberry and strawberry flavors. Classic baked brioche nose. Why spend 4 times as much on Champagne when Alsace does it like this!
Clerotstein Cremant Alsace $18.00
What a lovely surprise! Bright candied, key lime acidity with light, crisp body and lovely finish. The Alsatians must drink all these themselves as we've never seen one before. Grab some while you can!
Marcillac Domaine du Cros $18.00
Nicolas Sauternes $18.00
An affordable Sauternes?? For any fan of ice wine or dessert wines, Sauternes is the gold standard. Snuggle up with this after dinner to revel in its rich honeysuckle, stone fruit aromas and intense baked peach and honey flavors. Lovely balance of sweetness with acidity, concentration with freshness, and power with elegance.
An ultimate food-friendly patio wine. Gorgeous light salmon pink with a stony faint cherry nose supported by dried strawberries and sage. Dry on the palate, with a brisk tart finish, from plenty of luscious acidity. Drink with roast chicken, or almost anything else other than red meat. Even salads and spicy apps.
Domaine Dupeuble Beaujolais $18.50
A wonderful, juicy, fruity and earthy Gamay from the southern part of Burgundy, France. Smooth cherries and black berries dominate as well as a little mushroom and earth, great for a soft drinking red.
Romain Chamiot Apremont $19.00
High in the French alps is the region of Savoie, remnants of the kingdom of Savoy. In these mountain valleys they craft crisp and clean whites made for hearty fare. Show up the next wine geek you meet by telling them how lovely the last “jacquere” you had was! Lovely pear and stone flavor with lemon rind finish
Chateau la Grolet $19.00
Lovely red Merlot fruits combine seamlessly with the elegance of the Cabernet to create a silky Bordeaux with soft tannins and hints of cocoa, leather and a kiss of cedar. Enjoy now or in five years its up to you.
Domaine de Fondreche Fayard $19.00
Perhaps the best value region in all of the Rhone Valley for red wine, if this was in Chateaunuef-du-Pape it would be well over 150, not so in Cotes du Ventoux. Smooth cherries and round black fruits dominate the nose and palate with a lingering finish.
Plan Pegau $19.00
A wild blend from 4 grapes and 3 different vintages! This rich, meaty red captures the essence of the Southern Rhone Valley, with layers of red and dark fruit character, soft supple tannins, and complex spice notes from extended aging in small oak barrels.
May George Cremant de Loire $19.00
Truly a gorgeous Cremant. Almost all Chenin, there's faint whispers of frangipani, peach, and honeysuckle nestled in the limestone and baking bread aromas. Bracing acidity, clean finish, one of the best we've found. As good as any Vouvray Brut at half the price!
A great value for Minervois. Rich, intensely scented, sweet, port like quality to nose. Generous brambly, black fruit, smoky oak flavors. Well crafted, balanced and just lovely.
La Champine $21.00
Condrieu is one of those wines that can break your heart and your wallet forever. Unlike any other white wine, Viognier in the Northern Rhone takes on magical ethereal yet contradictory character. Tastes acidic but it isn't, seems like it should be better with age but it dies quickly, fleshy weighty body but so delicate, and on we go. Viognier from the US tends to have the character of canned pear juice, and even Southern Rhone versions lack much depth. But it turns out surrounding Grillet and Condrieu is the Collines Rhondaniennes where Viognier can now be had at a fraction of the price as its famous neighbors. No its not Condrieu but its close enough to still break your heart while leaving your wallet intact.
A refreshing white wine, with scents of exotic sweet fruits and white flowers. Not to be missed with any of our goat or brie cheeses. Delicate with a blanket of peach, orange peel and nectarine on the palate.
Savary Chablis 2014 $23.00
Chardonnay in possibly its purest form. A touch of neutral oak and bracing acidity shows the ideal balance that great Chablis can offer between the butteriness of Chardonnay and pure intense stony acid. Thanks to a great year its drinking beautifully now.
Croze Hermitage loves to pretend that it's "real" Hermitage, trading on the name. This pretty wine is actually more like a CDP with soil showing a bit of clay but the massive gallets. The all Syrah shows bright violet and spicy nose with just a hint of that stone. Nice fleshy body, but a bit reserved. Ends with a bit of dried beef and dusty herb. Emmanuel still crushes the fruit by foot himself from his less than 30 acres of vines.
The name says it all: Aperol is the perfect aperitif. Bright orange in colour, it has a unique taste, thanks to the secret recipe, which has never been changed, with infusions of selected ingredients including bitter and sweet oranges and many other herbs (including rhubarb) and roots in perfect proportions.
A sexy, seductive Pinot Noir with a knockout bouquet of rose petal, violet and Asian spices, this Premier Cru from Jacques Girardin is nothing short of enthralling. It comes across as delicate, yet complex, a libation fit for discerning company. Elegance and breed characterize this special wine that is both refined and oozing with flavor. Fresh juicy strawberry and hauntingly beautiful forest floor flavors fill the mouth and imbue the palate with pure pleasure. This sensual red starts out beautiful and ends up drop dead gorgeous with a soft, satisfying glow.
Laronde Desormes $25.00
From a stellar year in Bordeaux, this is classic styled but with a bit more rich and dark fruit showing big blackberry and plum aromas and flavors. Over a year in new oak helps with a firm structure and almost chewy texture. Nice wet stone and clay minerality too.
Champalou Vouvray Brut $25.00
Lovely gold with copious, tiny bubbles. The Chenin shows subtle aromas of orange zest, lemon zest, dried pear and a little floral honeysuckle. A sip brings a punch of lively apple, pear and light orange with faint honey and fennel. The finish leaves you pondering the wines many dimensions. Better with a wider range of food than Champagne at a better price for certain!
Clos Troteligotte, K Lys $26.00
Spicy aromas and flavors of plums, violets, and blackberry with focused mineral notes, rich texture and sturdy tannins. The iron chunks scattered atop this vineyard are so pure you could sell them to a smelter. Emmanuel farms organically with ease (he is above the fog line and therefore has no issues with mildew). Rows are plowed by horse. A remarkable and memorable Malbec.
Pabiot Pouilly Fume $26.00
An organic class act from Pouilly Fume. Five months on the lees and aged in stainless steel, there is nothing interfering with the flint and limestone soil and the beautiful and linear sharpness of the fruit. A dangerously addictive wine that will haunt you until you break down and buy it again.
Jacques Girardin Bourgogne $27.00
The Girardin family have been tending vines in Santenay for 450 years. 15 months in oak and though young and quite structured with a robust tannic backbone, it’s more feminine on the nose than expected. On its way to being an truly epic Burgundy, it’s still gorgeous today in all its young muscularity.
Bitouzet Prieur Bourgogne $28.00
Just across from where their Premier Cru Volnay are grown, these Pinot Noir vines were planted in the 60's and 70's and are amazing bang for the buck. Nice dark cherry flavors with lovely earthy mushroom notes. From a great producer comes great wines even if they don't have the fancy name.
Givry is further south but at a higher elevation bringing ripe fruit with solid acid backbone. The Clos Saint-Pierre is a monopole of the domaine and it is the highest on the hill - it has eastern exposure and a red soil, it normally gives the most tannins of the three cuvees and is the most age-worthy.
Champalou Fondreaux Vouvray $28.00
The best producer and his best cuvee, if you are going to do Vouvray you might as well do it right. Soft and slightly sweet melon, citrus and peach. Elegant and supple with haunting flavors and not overly sweet. Find out what Chenin Blanc can taste like.
Perrier Champagne Split $28.00
A surprising dessert from the Cognac region of France. This is made from mixing a little Cognac with unfermented grape juice and then is aged at least a year in barrels. This is one of our more interesting finds, see if you feel the same.
Organic and perfectly balanced. While the Challonaise is a bit warmer, this 1er Cru is higher elevation and responsible for one of the best values in premiers. A year and a half in oak from just a couple acres.
A classic left bank blending of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Great structure and earthiness balanced with loads of dark fruit, Generous concentration and smoothness that is an absolute thrill to drink right now or further down the road. Kermit can pick them!
Dhondt Grellet Champagne $42.00
Grower Champagne done remarkably well. This father son make a number of premier and grand crus and this tastes as good as any. Hints of melon, zesty peach, and an unusual touch of woodsy oak on the nose. Really pretty and intense flavors, especially the peach flavors. Truly gorgeous and one of my absolute favorites.
Chapoutier La Bernardine CDP $44.00
Almost all Grenache, this nose is intense spice and ripe red cherry and raspberry. A little time open and it transforms and softens. Try to count the number of aromas and flavors, you'll never stop. And probably at the best price in the state here in our little shop.
Quarts des Chaume $44.00
From steep terraced vineyards along the Loire valley where Botrytis occurs naturally in the best of years. A unique and amazing blend of sweet and bright clean acid. Just a stunner.
A long aging provides additional flavors of vanilla, roasted nuts and a hint of toast. A result of the carefully chosen infusion of terroir and reserve wines, the finish is long. Imparting to the finish is lightness from Chardonnay, fruitiness from Pinot Noir and roundness provided by Pinot Meunier.
These near 70 year old vines are in the highest and steepest corner of the vineyard, where only a very meagre layer of soil covers the bedrock. Only 6,000 bottles produced. Hand-harvested and 18 months in oak, about 20% of which is new. The wines is delightfully aromatic, complex and concentrated, with flavous of black fruit and kirsch, plush texture and well-integrated tannins.
Gorgeous, quintessential white Burgundy. When you love Chard, this is its original home and possibly its finest example. Perfect crisp tropical notes, balances with white peach and soft buttery oak as a supporting player, not dominant. Finishes for a long time but never long enough.
From one of the most famous Burgundy appellations. One of my favorite wine quotes goes " I can't remember the place, and I can't remember the girl.... but the wine was Chambertin." Dark ripe nose of berry still surrounded with pungent Gevrey earth tones. Powerful now, give it a few years to show off its subtleties.
Full-bodied and intensely flavored, this exhibits mature characteristics of candied fruit, coffee with amazing almond and vanilla pastry. Lovely, sexy with fresh lemon and ginger nuance.. Seamless harmony and texture, with a long, long, long finish.
You can have a toast two ways with this beauty! Toasted bread with honey and green apple on the nose leading into some great acid with mousse and hazelnuts in the mouth to round it out. This 2004 Champagne Prestige Brut Nature is ready to drink today!