Wine Club Newsletter - February 2021
We Are Back, Again!
You all know the ups and downs we and other restaurants have been going through over the last twelve months. Our Governor has reopened California Restaurants to open/outside dining last week, and we are ready for you.
It’s been a bit cold and rainy however, and I had to get some of our staff back into the building to serve our guests, so it was quiet. We do have heaters, very good protection, and even blankets to offer you on those extra cold nights.
For those of you haven’t been here yet, I wanted to show you a couple pictures of the investment we made into outdoor dining. We are serving noon to seven o’clock Tuesday through Saturday.
Please call for reservations, (858) 450-9557. Thank you!
I also wanted to show you what happened to our patio after the winds of January 25, 2021.
It is kind of funny (yes, but not really) that the week we got our patio up and finished, the next week we went into the Purple Tier, and have not been using the area since December.
And then, the day the Governor gives the go ahead to serve outside, we got the big winds on that very day, Monday January 25, turning our $20,000 patio into a useless mess. With the thanks of our new WineSellar sales staff addition, Michael, and his handyman buddy Jim, we were up and going the next day!
This year, exactly what we will be allowed to do because of the restraints from the virus, remains unknown. We could be serving outside only, we could be serving in The Brasserie and outside as well.
One thing for certain, we will have a take-out menu for those of you who prefer to keep it close to the nest that day.
And yes, we will be open Sunday, February 14, a day we are normally closed.
I suggest you call and inquire as to our status, and to make a reservation. It is certain our capacity to serve many diners will be limited this year, and we always sell out a few times over on that day.
2019 Roero Arneis, Stefanino Morra
Growing Region Castellinado d’Alba, Italy
Varietal Composition 100% Arneis
Fermentation 5 Months Stainless Steel
Alcohol Content 13%
Suggested Retail $24.00
WineSellar Club Price $20.69
Special! 6 Bottles $105, Case Price $195
Arneis has been Roero’s typical white grape for centuries. This native variety (according to tradition, first cultivated on a hill just a few kilometers from Castellinaldo) likes the sandy, loose soils that characterize the local terrain. Since being granted a controlled designation (DOC) in the early 1980s and now recently recognized as a DOCG, Roero Arneis has won fans around the world thanks to its freshness, minerality and easy-drinking qualities. These characteristics are faithfully reflected in Morra’s interpretation, making it perfect for aperitifs or paired with cold dishes.
I absolutely LOVE the bottle and packaging. Embossed, no less! That’s a big wow for me. I also like the tall and thin profile, and simply stated label. The wine has a light straw coloring, it is very clear, and leaves an even coat dripping down the inside of the glass.
Lovely notes of citrus, ripe pear and perhaps a touch of pineapple. There is a very intriguing scent of a fresh green pea, a touch of white berry, maybe something like a gooseberry. Notes of chive, chalk, mineral and white corn.
Upon first opening, I found the wine a bit brittle and angular. Ten minutes later, a different story, as with a totally different story an hour after opening. The tall, vertical structure of the wine eventually gives way to become a lush, luscious, rich and smooth swath of fine cloth on the palate. Great mouthfeel, and dangerously quaffable.
The wine is really classy. Firm and smooth, the honey, white flower, and elements of beeswax makes this flavor profile quite unique. Toasted white bread, fresh white peaches, the citrus of Meyer lemon is wrapped by a hard edging of crème brulee.
What a lovely drink. Can’t get enough of it at home, both as an aperitif and paired with a first course salad. You’ll be amazed how fast a case of this will go.
2013 Vigne del Malina, Cabernet Franc
Growing Region Venezia Giulia, Italy
Varietal Composition 100% Cabernet Franc
Fermentation 30 Months Slavonian Oak
Alcohol Content 13%
Suggested Retail $25.00
WineSellar Club Price $21.59
Special! Six Bottle Price $110, Case Price $199
Vigne del Malina sits at the wine glass-shaped confluence of two rivers––the Malina and the Ellero. Everything here is done naturally and by hand, from the harvests to the winemaking––nothing artificial in sight. Aging here is key; they do not release a wine until they deem it to be ready. In this case, the wine rested in big Slavonian oak barrels (called botte) for thirty months, and then refined a further two years in bottle before release.
Surprised that Cab Franc grows in Italy? In fact, Bordeaux varieties (like this Cabernet Franc) have a long history here; they do well in the warmer pockets of this mountainous region such as at Vigne del Malina. This hilly, rugged corner of Italy produces serious, delicious reds with character, a sense of place, and value.
Very smart depiction of the two rivers joining near their property, and the burgundy hued topography of their planted property. It looks like (an abstract) glass of wine. The wine is dark ruby in color, with some purple hints.
Nicely assertive nose still has aromatics of youth in spite of being 7-8 years old. That’s a wow. Wild berries, black pepper, cedar, smoke, coffee or cappuccino, Morello cherry with a hint of tobacco.
The wine is structurally complex, with a mix of youth and vintage aging. The tannins are well integrated, but there is a young kind of brashness to the dark fruits. It finishes with a sound verve, but also there is a long, mellow, lingering finish that exhibits the finesse of time in the bottle.
Fruits of blackberry, blueberry, dark chocolate and that bit of coffee/cappuccino from the nose. Red fruits, cherry, and even a hint of rhubarb, with eucalyptus and mint.
The wine has a few years of cellaring in it, if you like. For drinking now, have grilled meats, stews or ripe cheeses with charcuterie.
2019 Pinot Noir, Babs
Growing Region Santa Barbara County
Varietal Composition 100% Pinot Noir
Fermentation Whole Berry, Some New oak
Alcohol Content 15.1%
Suggested Retail $30.00
WineSellar Club Price $26.09
Broad Strokes: 93 Points Wine Enthusiast
From the Winery: "My name is Adam Lee and I am the founder of Clarice Wine Company. I began working with wine in 1989 at a retail store in Austin, Texas. At the time, I also dabbled in restaurant wine sales, and briefly pulled a bag as a wine distributor sales rep. In 1993, we moved to California and, while working in direct sales at various wineries, we started Siduri Wines in 1994.
Siduri Wines quickly became known as one of California’s premier Pinot Noir producers and grew from 107 cases in 1994 to 25,000 cases in 2015. In January of 2015, we sold Siduri Wines to Jackson Family Winery. I stayed on as winemaker for Siduri. In addition to my role at Siduri Wines, I have now introduced Clarice Wine Company as my own small, heartfelt project." character, a sense of place, and value.
It has a very fun and whimsical label, which is eye-catching and warming, a throwback to a happy era in Americana. The wine is pretty dark for a Pinot Noir, solid at the core, with ruby red edges.
A good, full thrust of juicy red and black fruits come wafting out of the glass, definitely a rich, dense Pinot Noir fruit. Some spice such as cinnamon and nutmeg abound, soft wood notes from the new oak.
I was totally surprised by the texture. You’d think with the alcohol level over 15% that is what you would feel and taste. Not the case! The wine is big yes, but it is still a Pinot Noir, and has grace, balance and elegance, albeit in an over-sized suit.
Black plum fruit is most forward, followed by Bing cherry, black cherry and raspberry. The vanilla wood notes pop through, well integrated, and some black pepper, roast beef and forest floor.
This is the first release for “Babs”, but I can tell you with the track record of Adam Lee, this Pinot has a few years of cellaring needed. Buy six bottles and drink in 3-6 years.
2016 Coeur de Terre, Pinot Noir
Growing Region Willamette Valley, Oregon
Varietal Composition 100% Pinot Noir
Fermentation Inert Barrels
Alcohol Content 13.8%
Suggested Retail $28.00
WineSellar Club Price $24.29
Broad Strokes: 92 Points James Suckling
From the Winery: We moved to the Willamette Valley in the spring of 1998 in pursuit of creating the next great Pinot Noir as well as creating an environment where our family could thrive. We believe in working sustainably and organically with nature to create a healthy environment for our vines and family.
We are very hands on and are responsible for all aspects of the vineyard and winery operation. All new plants are grafted at the estate in our greenhouse from hand selected vines in our vineyard, all viticulture activity is directed by us and all winemaking is done onsite by us in micro sized lots keeping all blocks separate until final bottling. We have always farmed our site utilizing only organic practices and have been glyphosate free on the entire property for 5 years.
Very pleasant looking label, with a muted photo of the grounds and good-looking font selection(s) for the label. Very nice back label story, and YES, a screw cap! The wine itself is a soft magenta ruby, and lighter around the rim of the glass.
The delicately assertive fragrances of Pinot Noir fruit, with rose petal, strawberry, red flower petals and earthy notes. Fresh, ripe raspberries, with some distance traces of mushrooms and truffle.
Firm yet yielding acids surround this medium bodied, well balanced beauty. It has an excellent middle palate, showing an even, smooth welcoming texture that lingers in your mouth well into the finish. Vibrant and supple.
Red fruits of raspberry and strawberry are at the front of the flavor profile, with some dusty, earthy notes, to include a bit of mushroom and truffle from the nose.
These days, it is really hard to find an excellent Pinot Noir from anywhere on the planet for under $35. Well, here we are, and $24.29, the Coeur de Terre over-delivers on quality and value. A must have for the house!
2017 Bastide de la Ciselette, Bandol Rouge, Ciselette
Growing Region Bandol, Provence, France
Varietal Composition 80% Mourvedre, 20% Grenache
Fermentation 18 Months French Oak
Alcohol Content 14%
Suggested Retail $40.00
WineSellar Club Price $34.19
Bandol enjoys a long and rich history of winemaking along the picturesque cliffs of the Mediterranean, making the benchmark Mourvèdre-based red and rosé wines of France. Bastide de la Ciselette has become a reliable source for classic Bandol alongside its more famous neighbors. With 15 hectares under vine, Bastide de la Ciselette sits to the north of the village of Brulat du Castellet, looking east to the medieval village of Castellet and south to the Cadière-d’Azur.
The vineyard employs lutte raisonnée farming in the vineyard and works a good portion of the soils with a single horse. In the cellar, the lunar calendar offers guidance according to biodynamic principles, and the desire is to allow each vintage to speak for itself. The resulting wines are a perfect blend of rusticity and polish—elegant wines of distinct character without the rough edges.
I absolutely love the package, and especially the label. This is French farming/winemaking kind of an old-school throwback can I say everything and nothing at the same time type of label. The wine is dark red/black, and viscous.
You can sense the power of the fruit by the racy, aggressive aromatics that pop well above the wine glass. Dark fruits, cola, stones, mineral, leather and tobacco and chocolate candies.
The racy nose makes for a racy palate. The wine is quite lively, almost like taming a horse at first, before rounding out into a much smoother, sophisticated drink. From start to finish, it has a winning texture.
Black cherry, blackberry, ripe plum, root beer and cola, black pepper and some spices as well. Just keeps bringing on flavors! Tapenade, chocolate, tobacco, leather, more dark fruits and vanilla oak and violets to complete this cornucopia of vino!
I am putting six bottles of this wine in my cellar. I desperately want to have it when it is ten years older, and all the flavors have melded into a soft, plush, super complex beverage.
2015 Chateau de Cedre, Cahors, Le Cedre
Growing Region Cahors, France
Varietal Composition 100% Malbec
Fermentation 22 Months French Oak
Alcohol Content 13%
Suggested Retail $80.00
WineSellar Club Price $60.29
Broad Strokes: 93 Points Wine Enthusiast
Château du Cèdre is a family-run estate situated in Cahors in southwestern France. The château takes its name from its centenary cedar tree. Since 1988, Château du Cèdre has specialized in the production of Malbec-based wines
Château du Cèdre's grand vin is a Malbec-predominant blend with smaller percentages of Merlot and Tannat that has been aged in oak for 22 months. This classic Cahors wine is complemented by the estate's varietal Malbec offering, Le Cèdre.
In the wine cellar, Château du Cèdre uses Burgundy oak barrels for aging its wines. In some cases the estate employs lightly toasted large oak barrels for the optimal aging of its wine. Fermentation is carried out in the presence of wild yeasts.
A beautiful, heavy bottle package with simple yet effective labeling. Good branding practices I believe. The wine is super dark, with a black core and a brilliant magenta rim around the edges of the glass.
Solid and firm, with ripe fruits of blackberry and boysenberry coming up first. Strong Malbec varietal character, with black pepper, clay, and earthen soil highlighting the complex aromatics.
Full and rich, medium full in weight and character, it feels great in the palate. Extracted, rich, excellent power braces by well-melded acidity, the wine dances across the palate like an elephant sized ballerina.
Boysenberry, black berry fruits are vivid, striking and luscious. Good notes of wood, some vanilla oak tendencies, with the wet earthy soli and clay notes coming on in such a cool way, I just keeping trying to replicate that taste with another sip. Oops, wine is gone.
This is a fabulous bottle to place in your cellar. It has another 10-20 years of aging potential, and here is another wine I would like to be around for in 2030!
NV Champagne Gosset, Grand Brut Rose, Champagne, France
Growing Region: Champagne, France
(Vineyard sources: Avize, Chouilly, Villers-Marmery, Ambonnay, Verzenay, Bouzy)
Varietal Composition: 58% Chardonnay, 42% Pinot Noir (8% red wine)
Vinification: Manual harvest, bottles in 2014, disgorged in 2018, 3 years on the lees
Dosage: 9 g/l
Alcohol Content: 12% abv
Suggested Retail: $84.99
WineSellar Club Price: $76.49
93 pts Wine Enthusiast, 93 pts Wine Spectator, 92 pts James Suckling, 92 pts Robert Parker
“Gosset is very much at the top of its game right now, with an impeccable range of wines that demonstrate not only great quality, but a strong personality and expression of character. They are wines that emphasize finesse above all, but they are not delicate wines—in fact, they consistently reveal a pronounced vinosity and a complex richness of fruit, even if this is often presented in a discreet and understated manner.” -Peter Liem
From the Winery:
“This is almost a vintage. Indeed, I added just a very little amount of reserve wines. The low dosage gives a nice balance. The red wines from Bouzy and Ambonnay are in perfect balance with most of the rest Chardonnay.” Jean-Pierre Mareigner, Cellarmaster
A soft salmon pink with ruby red reflections
Red berries, fresh strawberries, rosehips, blood oranges and pain grille
Fuzzy peach skin like texture with a creamy mousse
Vibrant! Peaches, white cherries, strawberries, rhubarb…a bright spine of acidity!
Strawberries, perhaps strawberries and freshly whipped cream!
Foie Gras would also be wonderful with a strawberry confiture!
NV Randi Winery, Apres Sol, Sparkling Brut Rose, Ravenna, Italy
Growing Region: Ravenna, Italy, within the Emilia-Romagna region
Varietal Composition: 100% Longanesi
Vinification: Organically farmed, Charmat Method with native yeast. 4 months on the lees
Dosage: 7 g/l
Alcohol Content: 12% abv
Suggested Retail: $18.99
WineSellar Club Price: $17.09
From the Winery:
Randi Winery is currently run by mother, Giovanna and son, Massimo. Cool coastal influences from the Adriatic Sea, from a 5-hectare vineyard on sandy soil from 20-year-old Longanesi vines. Longanesi is one of the native grapes of Emilia-Romagna that has been rediscovered and revived over the past few decades and there are now roughly 500 acres of it in the region.
Vibrant, salmon pink in hue
Aromas of fresh berries, watermelon, white flowers and brioche
Fine bubbles with a creamy mouthfeel
Wild strawberry, ripe raspberries, pink grapefruit and fresh nectarines.
As the bubbly is titled, Apres Sol means “after sun”…it’s fun, fresh, and perfect for a beach day or after beach day paired with fruits and cheeses!
La Salade Lyonnaise
(Poached Egg and Bacon Salad)
This is a classic dish from Lyon. I used to make this as a bachelor decades ago. Serves 1
- Two handful of fresh frisée, lettuce, torn into bite-sized pieces
- 2 strips of your favorite bacon
- 1 or two chicken liver
- 1 tsp shallots, chopped finely
- 1 slice French bread
- 1 pat Butter
- 1 poached egg
- 2 tbsp olive oil
- 1 tbsp white wine vinegar
- 1 tsp Dijon mustard
- Salt and pepper
Mix salad dressing in a bowl and set aside.
Cook two strips of bacon on medium heat for 4 minutes. Remove, drain off excess fat. Cool and chop.
Rapidly brown chicken liver in pan, remove and set aside.
Cut bread into cubes.
Butter and grill until brown.
Poach egg in pan with water and a little vinegar.
Layer the frisée, bacon, shallots, and croutons in a mixing bowl.
Pour dressing over salad. Top with the poached egg.