Wine Sale Bargains!

Yes, ma’am- we’re still having a wine sale tomorrow (10-30), depsite the fact that there is a noon football game!  We’re just hoping that there’s enough of you out there that like wine more than football… or at the very least- wine BEFORE football- that it won’t just be us employees standing around looking at each other from 12-2 tomorrow.  Please, please don’t make us do this!  So today’s post will be short, sweet and to the point- bargains, bargains & more bargains!  Well just five, actually.  But they’re good!!

hot kitchen photo shoot

Here they all are, posing together.  First is Ca’Lunghetta Pinot Grigio, 2009 Italy.  Normally around $10-11 online or at your average Wine-o-rama store, we’re selling for $8 tomorrow!  Here’s all you need to know about this one- it’s light, bright, crisp, and it goes down reallll easy.  Or, in more polite terms, it’s “easy to drink!”  Refreshing flavors of green apple, citrus, melon, and a pleasant zesty finish.  You’re bound to love it.  It’s hard not to find it at the very least, quaffable. 

Kendall Jackson Grand Reserve Pinot Gris, 2008 California.  If there was one phrase that I would’ve seriously doubted would ever enter this blog it would be Kendall Jackson.  I doubt if I ever would have picked this one up at a store for the simple reason that I tend to stay away from the Big Cali Hype… but okay I’ll level with you- it’s actually very nice!  Brighter and not as “wet” as an Oregon Pinot Gris, it offers some pleasant flavors of apple, spice, lemon zest and nice floral aromatics.  Upon further investigation, it turns out this wine is 88% Pinot Gris, and the rest is made up of various percentages of Roussane, Gewurtz, Viognier, Muscat, Chardonnay & Riesling.  Go figure!  A prettt cool little blend.  Average price- $17, tomorrow for $13!


Time for some REDS!!  Two Pinot’s for all you Pinot-lovers out there… Dante Pinot Noir, 2009 California, just $10!  This is a Michael Pozzan wine, which I did not know until just now when I googled looking for images.  This wine is very competatively priced- it’s price range matches- IE $10 at your average grocery store- don’t even hold a candle to it, as it easily drinks in the $14 range.  Not super new-worldy, it’s a touch more earthy and gamey than you usually find in California.  Sour cherry, cloves, leather, and an easy-going palate.  Not the most complex wine on the planet, but who doesn’t love a good Wednesday wine for $10 that would taste great with a frozen pizza?  I sure do. 

Then we skip to the little “Superstar” of today’s post- J Pinot Noir, 2007 Russian River Valley!  Now we’re stepping up to $22 a bottle for this one, but given that it averages at least $30 a bottle, that ain’t bad!  Plus, this is some great Russian River juice- classic raspberry and strawberry, but with interesting additions like hints of mint, wintergreen, cinnamon, cloves, and lovely dark, rich black cherry.  100% French Oak aged.  This one will be a welcome addition to the “grown up” wine shelf in your house, for when you need something just a bit more, but aren’t willing to break out the reserve wines just yet.  Save those for when it’s December 23rd and you haven’t finished your Holiday shopping.  You’ll need them. 

And last but not least, our old friend the L’Oca Ciuca “The Drunken Goose” Sangiovese-Merlot-Syrah, 2006 Italy.  This has been a staple around here for quite a while and folks seem to really like it.  Maybe it’s the name, who knows!  This little goose is awfully cute, too.  The long and the short of this wine is that we’ve sold it for $10 a bottle in the past, but this weekend we’re marking it down to $8!!  What could be better than a good wine for $10, but a good wine for $8?!  Especially one you know you like.  But if you’ve never had it, remember you can try it on Saturday!  It’s very smooth, versatile, and is more fruit-forward than you might expect from the Chianti region. 

So come check these bad boys out!  Actually, if you come to the sale on Saturday and mention that you read this blog- or at least this post- I might hook you up with a little gift.  I’m something of a baker, didn’t you know?  Can’t turn that down, can you?


Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda- zing!

If the Colonia Bonarda could make a noise, it would be “ZING!”  Why??  I’ll level with you, kiddies- this is probably the best $10 wine I’ve had this year.  I wouldn’t lie.  It really is.  Why should you listen to yours truly?  Like you need another reason?  Well, here’s one- remember when I freaked out about the Bodegas Borsao Campo de Borja last year?  GUESS what was just rated … drumroll please… THE NUMBER ONE BEST BUY of 2010 by Wine Enthusiast?!  That’s right.  Never let it be said that I don’t know a killer bargain when I taste it.  Actually, quite a few wines that we’ve had at Cellar made it on to the list.  Okay, that’s enough horn-tooting for today.  Moving on to said Zing…

Why, you ask, am I imagining this wine saying “Zing?”  Because it is just screaming “In ya FACE!” or “BOOYA!”  but I think Zing is a much cooler way to say it.   I learned the term Zing a few years ago from my friend Greg, who was and still is a master of Zings.  For those of you who don’t know, a well-timed Zing is pretty priceless- if someone makes a stupid comment that you can quickly, succinctly and intelligently put down and then you smile and say “Zing!” you will never be the same. 

But back to the wine.  Quite simply, this wine is a badass.  So if other, more expensive wines are making fun of it because it’s only $10, it’s flamboyant fruit flavors just leap out with a giant ZING and put them in their place!  Juicy plums, dense dark blackberries and cassis, chocolate, licorice, black pepper and earthy spice.  This wine is unoaked, too, which I love.  It’s all fruit and spice and no flab whatsoever.  It has great tannic/acidic structure as well- just enough to give that pleasant “smack” in your mouth.  Pizza, pasta, burgers steaks, this wine is pretty much perfect for anything.   Here it is on it’s little display right when you walk in the door at Cellar on Greene:

And a closer look.  Note the sweet 87 point Wine Spectator Rating!  And of course, your old friend Opala there on the right…

Did you know that this past week, this wine was available as part of our $90 Mystery Case that we offer through wine club?  No?  well it was.  And still is!  You didn’t know it was possible to get a case of wine for less than $100 bucks?   Yup.  Here’s a brief plug, if I may: every week we send out an email with the $90 Mystery Case offering, plus any other fun and exciting new wines we’ve picked up recently that we’re just dying to tell you about.  If you want a Mystery Case, you pick five of the (around) 25 different choices that can make up the Mystery Case.  Then we fill in the other seven.  The grand total is $97.60, bringing the per bottle cost to $8.14 cents with tax.   How is this possible?  Is it schwag wine?  No!  I promise!  The fact is, because we’re a restaurant we can offer you better quality wines for the same price that you might pay at the Piggly Wiggly!  So stop, stop buying wine there!  Just take a chance and buy a case.  And as an added bonus, both myself and Ricky have freakish memories when it comes to what people like… so if you say hey guys, I really prefer dry whites… than chances are you will often find drier whites in your case.  And so on. 

Check out our website to see what else this week’s choices are.  Okay, end of shameless plug.  The Colonia Las Liebres Bonarda, 2008 Mendoza is currently being poured by the glass at Cellar, too!  So stop in for a glass sometime soon!  Oh and PS- the Borsao wines will be back in stock SOON, so keep your eyes peeled!

Wines of the Week!

I’m a little ADD this week… I just couldn’t decide on one wine.  So I picked two.  On the one hand, I am loving this most recent Gruner Veltliner from Cobenzl- but considering that it’s fall and how long we here in SC have waited for cooler weather, I know people are itching for red wine.  But the fact remains this Gruner is awesome.  And on the other hand, the Ramon Bilbao Crianza has been flying outta here the past two weeks and it’s freaking awesome, too!  Here they is:

Weingut Cobenzl Gruner Veltliner, 2009 Austria.  I’ve been looking at Weingut Cobenzl’s website and drooling for the better part of 30 minutes… BEAUTIFUL, beautiful, beautiful…

It’s just dawned on me that I allowed the entire hot, brutal summer to pass me by without writing about a Gruner Veltliner.  This is an abomination of the highest proportion.  But better late than never, I suppose- and while Gruner is a perfect summer wine, it has fantastic versatility, so it’s definitely not strictly a summer wine.  Gruner is something of a trendy grape, especially over the last 3-4 years.  When I started waiting tables at Solstice (gah!  almost 5 years ago) we were the only restaurant in Columbia to serve a Gruner by the glass.  It had recently hit the Charleston wine scene and was developing it’s cult status as a cool grape.  As a testament to it’s coolness, The Shop Tart LOVES Gruner.  And she is mad cool.  Check out a spot she filmed this summer at Cellar where she tastes a Gruner! 

This particular Gruner really is one of the best I’ve had this year.  It offers a touch more elegance while maintaining it’s Gruner characteristics of pure minerality, spice, stone fruits, and notes of apple, quince, and citrus.  Exceptionally clean and almost virginal.  Despite it’s youthful personality, it also possesses a nice stylistic degree of maturity and a longer finish that is a testament to some kick-ass winemakin’!  You can find this wine by the glass at Cellar, and you can also take a bottle home for $15!

Ramon Bilbao Crianza, 2006 Rioja is now added to my “I’m a sucker for a good Tempranillo” list.  I suppose I should be less predictable, but I. Just. Can’t. HELP IT!  Tempranillo is amazing.  There very few grapes that, in my opinion, can offer such a consistently drinkable everyday wine for $10-12!  Try to think of one.  And not just drinkable- like GOOD drinkable, not something you would open when someone stopped by just to be nice- something you would actually look forward to opening, and would look for excuses to open.  Actually- Garnacha is a pretty consistant everyday drinker, too… okay, you got me.  I got myself.  Ahh, whatever… on to the wine!  A bright, deep cherry red, aromas of black beries, balsamic, licorice, tobacco, vanilla and smoke leap outta the glass.  A perfect acidic balance really allows this wine to stand on it’s own two feet.  14 months in American Oak make it hearty and ready for cooler weather, but the oak manages to be perfectly integrated and not hit-you-over-the-head, which I am not a fan of.    Oh, did I mention that this bottle retails for $12??!  Yes, it does.  You can also grab a glass of it at Cellar for the forseeable future– in fact, it would taste pretty fantastic with our new Panzanella-Proscuitto Salad… this wine and cured meats are a match made in heaven…

Ramon Bilbao also won a Winery of the Year award in 2009, although I’m a little unclear as to who the award was from… but as an added bonus, the guy all the way to the right in this photo of them receiving the award is pretty hot: 

And on that note, I sign off for today.  Happy drinkin’ and thanks for reading!

Top Five Wine Sale Picks!

In an effort to keep you readers on your toes, I’m switching it up this week- I will not prattle on about one particular wine that I’m obsessing over that week.  Fun as it may be for me, I recognize that not all of you want to scrutinize details about every wine out there.  Nerds like me enjoy getting verbose and creative, but sometimes you just need the facts: will I like it, and can I afford it.  So that’s what we’ll do today!  I’m hoping to make this a pre-wine sale tradition.

First up is the delicious and quaffable Barone Fini Pinot Grigio, 2009 from Alto Adige, Italy (way way north).  I like this wine for several reasons, number one being that’s is fun to say- you can’t just say “Baron Fini,” you have to exclaim with all the enthusiasm you can muster- “Baron-ah Feenee!” and with the best Italian Grandpa accent you can imitate.  Ricky is quite good at it, and I’m sure if you ask him tomorrow, he’ll say it for you.  Did you know he’s part Italian?  Yes, it’s true.  Shoot!  I forgot I was supposed to be all succinct today!  Getting to the point…

What’s it taste like? This is a worthy contender to the infamous Santa Margarita Pinot Grigio- a more stately, substantial style of Pinot Grigio.  It packs a bit more weight and depth than many of it’s brothers and sisters.  It offers a round texture, with notes of pear, quince, ripe apples, straw, minerality and a lengthy finish.  Not as much citrus as you might find in many Pinot Grigios- it is, for lack of a better term- a wine drinkers Pinot Grigio.

Can you afford it? Mos’ def!  While Santa Margarita averages in the $20 range, you can have the wee Barone here for $14 at the Wine Sale tomorrow!  Can’t beat that!

Next we have a truly gorgeous Italian white from Feudi di San Gregorio, their Lacryma Christi. I love many of the Feudi wines- in true Italian style, they make wine out of grapes you probably haven’t heard of- Falanghina, Greco di Tufo, Aglianico, Fiano, etc.  I tasted the Lacryma for the first time last night having no idea what grape it was… my best guess was a Falanghina/Trebbiano combination (and, okay I admit it- I guessed Trebbiano because it’s a widely planted grape, not because I really had a clue).  But I was 20% right!  This is a blend of 80% Coda di Volpe (how’s THAT for a grape you’ve never heard of?) and 20% Falanghina.  But it is 100% fantastic!

What’s it taste like? A pretty, floral nose of white peaches, apricots and citrus peel, a crisp palate, and way-too-elegant-for-it’s-price-range finish.  So Can You Afford it?? Absolutely!  This wine comes in at a killer $13 a bottle! I love it!

One last white- the Foris Gewurztraminer, 2007 Oregon.  Never heard of Gewurztraminer?  Or as I like to call it, Guh-wurtz?  It’s a cool little grape.  It likes cool climates, so you’ll often see it from Alsace, Northern Italy, Germany, and of course Oregon and Washington.  It has a naturally high sugar content which means it can also be made into a delicious dessert wine.  It’s one of the most aromatic white wines you’ll find- notes of spice, with lychee, rose petal, and passionfruit.  Despite all it’s sweet tendenceies, this is an off-dry wine with fantastic acidity and just the right amount of fruitiness and hints of ginger.  Gewurz is often hailed as a perfect Thanksgiving wine because not only does it get along well with all fall flavors, it’s a nice light palate cleanser for your feast.  Yes, it’s only October… but it doesn’t hurt to get some ideas! 

Can you afford it?  But of course.  Foris is just $10!  Holla!

Moving on to some REDS!  I’ve mentioned this wine before (see here) but it really is that good, and we’re moving it at a killer price break this weekend!  Fat Barrel Pinot Noir, 2007 Willamette Valley.  It’s a great expression of Willamette at a great price- light cranberry, raspberry, toast, light oak and a Burgundian “demure” personality that I find quite pleasing.  It’s true to it’s nature, which is becoming more of an issue in Pinot Noir Nerd land.  More on that here.  Sooo… YES you can afford to drink a great bottle of Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, because this Saturday it’s down to $17 a bottle!


Well this has already turned must more wordy than I anticipated, so we’ll finish up with the last wine, which I just tasted and am pretty sure will sell like hot cakes tomorrow- the Tamas “Double Decker” Red, 2008 California.  How do I know this?  Wellll based on my observation, we always sell out of juicy, mouth-filling, fruit-forward little Cali Red Blends that cost around $10.  It’s just what people (at least OUR people) like- I call it “Tuesday” wine- wine you don’t feel guilty opening on a Tuesday night when you’re on the couch watching TV and eating frozen pizza and doing your nails… or something like that.  This is a cool blend of Cabernet, Petite Sirah and Barbera.  It’s neutral oak content gives it a nice medium body, notes of blackberry, plum, black cherry and overall an adventurous spirit.  Plus the label is attractive which never hurts! 

Can you afford it?  You might have learned, now that you’re at the end of this post, that I tried not to write about any wines that were high-priced today, so YES- Double Decker Red is only $9!  As Stump would say, “Alll-riiight!”    Hoping to see many of you at the WINE SALE tomorrow, October 2nd from 12-2 in your favorite corner of Greene St!  Drop in, pick up a couple bottles, then off you go to the Annual Chili Cookoff that also takes place tomorrow- one of my favorite Five Points events!