I have just returned from a fall time trip to South America and have had some awesome wines from Argentina and Chile. Here are a few suggestions for your casa this summer or for any season! 2005 De Martino Organic Sauvignon Blanc, Chile ($12.99) The South American wine press always ranks the wines from De Martino at the top of the heap. Their latest offering is this organic Sauvignon. Fresh and full of citrus flavors, the perfect aperitif or poolside sipper. 2003 Santa Ema Reserve Carmenere, Chile ($12.99) This offering from Santa Ema shows of all of the charming qualities this often maligned varietal. Full of soft plummy fruit, this red has aromas of tobacco, currants and vanillin oak. Enjoy this Carmenere with grilled pork chops! 2004 Pascual Toso Reserve Malbec, Argentina ($14.99) The folks at Pascual Toso have been making wine in Maipu since 1890. Recently, they hired to Paul Hobbs as consulting winemaker. The combination of Italian tradition and California flash results in a Malbec with style and grace. Packed with ripe blueberry/blackberry fruit, this inky red has a suave palate feel and a long finish. Fantastic with ribs! 2003 Kaiken Ultra Malbec, Argentina ($17.99) A blend of 92% malbec and 8% cabernet, this red wine is a broad shoulder bruiser with aromas of roasted coffee, oak and blackberry. The burst of ripe fruit really packs a punch on the palate. Enjoy with grilled sausage! 2004 Viña Montes Syrah Colchagua Valley, Chile ($15.99) A wine so good that it will make the angels sing, the Montes Alpha Syrah is packed with blackberry/raspberry fruit and a long peppery finish. This red has more style and substance than wines at twice the price. Perfect for steak! Buen Provecho! —Anne Pickett
This winter was a rainy one in California, and now that summer is here I want to spend as much time as possible outdoors with friends. Opening Champagne always makes me feel special and a magnum even more so. I try and pop one at every oppurtunity! Because of the increased volume of liquid to air in a magnum, the Champagne always tastes fresher and more exciting from these double bottles. A magnum is a generous format, both in quantity and quality. The Bonville Brut Selection Blanc de Blancs 1.5L ($49.99) is a perfect apertif, racy, elegant and long finishing. For fans of the blanc de noir style the 100% pinot noir, organicly grown Fleury “Carte Rouge” Brut 1.5L ($64.99) is a rich, satisfying Champagne that still finishes completely dry. For caviar in the garden the Ariston Aspasie Brut Prestige 1.5L ($74.99) is spectacular with its old vine power and seven years on the lees. A whole wild salmon and the Tarlant Cuvee Louis Brut Prestige 1.5L ($99.00) is a complete party. One of our best Champagnes at any price, this even blend of chardonnay and pinot noir from the Tarlants oldest plot of vines is often compared to Krug. Please feel free to contact me at 1-800-247-5987 ex 728, or by email firstname.lastname@example.org with any of your champagne (or sherry!) needs. Please also drop me a line if you would like to be on my list of Champagne customers. A toast to you! —Gary Westby
Many years ago in our little old shipping department, the manager then and now, Brian Keating an ex-wide receiver himself, had a poster of our favorite quarterback, Joe Montana, ready to fire a pass downfield. When I asked Joe to autograph it he wrote the words GO DEEP! While we spin the tale as well as our wheels waiting for the most famous Bordeaux to be priced, this phrase keeps coming up. Customers going deep into their wine collections and selling precious older bottles to afford the new young wines. I do not recommend this. What I do recommend is that you do go deep, but back to the simple philosophy that in a great vintage there are tremendous amounts of great wines made and that you go very deep into the wide range of selections and values that abound in a vintage like 2005. As is the case with myself, I am not married to certain estates any longer. When wines I’ve collected for many years go from $30 to $100, I look for other wines. If you are laying the foundation of a wine collection it is a great time for buying Bordeaux. You have a great vintage in 2005, a very good vintage in 2004 that is classic in style and offers fantastic value for some of the world’s most famous wines, and the fine vintage of 2003 arriving this year that features front-loaded fruit and ripeness rarely ever found from the wines of Bordeaux. Of the early releases so far there is without question something for everyone and in everyone’s comfort zone price wise. Under $20: Our customers are savvy and like to drink exceptional wine during the week, and they are buying quite a bit of the great values on futures. That is the exact reason we spend so much time working and tasting in Bordeaux, even when people think were nuts. The 2005 Caronne Ste. Gemme ($13.99), located just behind Ch. Lanessan, makes the cut with us for the first time as it has improved every year, gained purity of fruit and lost its rustic edge. Where can you buy a 6L of really good Bordeaux for $139.99? The same exact situation exists at Lanessan, where the wine just keeps getting better and cost $15.99! Under $30: Three of the greatest buys in this vintage, bar none, are here. The amazing “sweet raspberry fruit and wood, fine integration, the whole package” of Ch. Poujeaux ($26.99) and the “firm structure, fresh nose of cherry and ripe grapes continue across the palate with chalky tannins” of Ch. Chasse Spleen ($26.99). Ch. Meyney ($25.99) has elevated to another world of quality, deep raspberry nose, lovely, silky middle fruit that just continues endlessly on the finish. Wow, what a change, the best I’ve ever tasted! Haut Bergey ($29.99) from Pessac, with its “big, glossy red fruit and earth with structure” is also spectacular. Under $40: Best winemaker in Bordeaux? Hubert de Bouard of Angelus fame, he may just be the best as his Lalande de Pomerol, La Fleur de Bouard ($33.99) powerfully suggests. “Very dark and sweet Merlot, powerful and fresh all at the same, amazing!” The right bank red from the pistol, Helene Garcin Cathiard’s Ch. Barde Haut ($36.99) is right on the target. “Big red fruit-driven Merlot with a good backbone of tannin, serious and well balanced.” The best deal in all of Pomerol since 1998 is without question Ch. Rouget ($37.99). “Elegant, lovely aromas of spice box and clove in this Merlot, naturally extracted, tasty and refreshing.” The price is also refreshing. Please feel free to contact me anytime for questions/advise on the wines of Bordeaux or a copy of my personal tasting notes from 2005 at ex 2723 or Ralph@klwines.com. Cheers, Toujours Bordeaux and Go Giants! —Ralph Sands
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