Wine Tasting 1/5

Posted in Hollywood Vine Events, Uncategorized by HVINE ADMIN on December 31, 2009

Before we tell you about our first tasting in 2010. We want to take this opportunity to wish all of you a very happy and healthy

New Year! And to especially thank you for all your support in what was a very difficult year for most of us. We appreciate your

business and friendship. CHEERS!


Trudging through the vineyards of rural France : The wines of Kermit Lynch  

 There is something entirely unique and splendid about a truly great French wine. That said, even a modest wine can be sublime in the right vintage or in the right hands.  In fact, we can’t think of a wine producing country in the world that is as diverse in terms of the various grapes and wine making styles presented than France. There are many American companies importing French wine into our country and each has its own philosophy or mission statement, per se.  Some choose to import internationally styled wines that taste like they could be from California. Some choose to deal in the import of fine and rare vintages of Bordeaux, France’s most prestigious region. Kermit Lynch however, is a different sort of guy. We’ve been following the philosophy and extraordinary wines of this American importer, author, jazz musician and wine fanatic for years and he never ceases to locate individualistic, authentic, unadulterated wines from France at all price points. What makes wines imported by Kermit Lynch so interesting is that most of them are completely unfined and unfiltered, giving the taster a genuine sense of the place where the wine was grown. The other thing is that nearly all the producers in his line are small family owned estates from unabashedly humble corners. We’ll start this wonderful week in wine with a Chardonnay. If you have not yet had the chance to experience a fine Chablis from the Burgundy region of France you are missing out on what could perhaps be termed, one of the winemaking world’s “seven wonders”. Many of these wines are completely unoaked or neutrally oaked and present crisp green apple, citrus, chalk, sea salt and mineral flavors well suited to your favorite oyster. We like French Chardonnay so much we’ll taste two. This one comes from Macon (not Georgia…France) and has a fascinating greenish tint promising smoky citrus, bruised pear and fragrant flowers. For reds we’ll do a trio of country styled wines meant for casual drinking or simply introducing a new friend to French wines on a budget. Bourgeuil is a lesser known region of the French Loire Valley, south of Paris that is known for producing a spicy, irony, meaty version of Cabernet Franc that is sure to get your attention. How many times can we tell you about Grenache? The famed grape of Chateauneuf-du-Pape is planted all throughout the south of France and produces spicy, fragrant wines that invigorate the palate with bright cherry, plum and cracked pepper notes. Curious yet? Then we’ll conclude the tasting with a lovely “quaffer” from France’s rising star region to the South. The Languedoc has long been known for value, Domaine de Fontsainte is bringing quality as well in this easy-going Carignan.           



Tuesday January 5th, 2009

6:00-9:00 pm

No charge for tastings


Dom Savary Chablis (Chardonnay) 2007 Burgundy, France

…smells of cherries, Meyer lemons, and thyme. Cherry and citrus fruit is tinged with salt and chalk, and for all of its brightness and mineral cast, it boasts a glossy texture and pleasant sense of fullness.

BTG $9.75                         Retail $26.99


Henri Perrusset Macon-Villages (Chardonnay) 2007 Burgundy, France

Greenish yellow. Deep, gently smoky citrus and orchard fruit aromas are complemented by dusty minerals and flowers. Fleshy, deeply concentrated orange, lemon and pear flavors are sweetened by a suave floral honey quality and provide very good palate coverage.

BTG $7.00                          Retail $18.99


Domaine de la Chanteleuserie “Cuvee Alouettes” (Cabernet Franc) 2007 Bourgeuil, France

Firm and taut, with a solid beam of iron controlling the black cherry and red currant fruit for now. Long and focused, with grilled herb and tobacco notes waiting in reserve. Wine Spectator 90 points

BTG $6.00                          Retail $15.99


Domaine de Durban Vaucluse Rouge (Grenache) 2006 S. Rhone, France

Restrained plum, currant and mineral notes run through this medium-weight red, with garrigue notes and fruit giving an encore on the finish.

BTG $5.25                         Retail $12.99


Domaine de Fontsainte Corbieres (Carignan) 2006 Languedoc, France

…smells of the resinous scrub of the region, with a whiff of game as though a troop of boar had recently passed. Surprisingly lean and tartly black-fruited on the palate, with smoky,

toasted nut undertones. Robert Parker 87 points

BTG $5.50                         Retail $13.99

Wine Tasting 12/29

Posted in Hollywood Vine Events, Uncategorized by HVINE ADMIN on December 24, 2009

What to pour at your New Years Party? : Excellent values from Chile and Argentina  

 It isn’t exactly a secret that Chile and Argentina are delivering the highest quality to price ratio wines in the business and have been doing so for nearly the last 10 years. Tragically however, what used to be the best known wines have turned into a lot of really commercial, formulaically flashy labeled, unsubstantial wines littering the shelves of your local grocer.  However, if you’ve got the foresight and are committed to serving your guests the very best of what our friends to the South have to offer :  You can think of the Santa Ema winery as the Chateau Ste. Michelle of Chile. Pretty much everything they touch tastes of the rich, ripe fruit from which it was produced and it won’t contribute to your economic woes either. A boutique winery it is not, but very reliable. If you’ve tried the $10 Costco special and are curious as to what the next step tastes like, we can tell you the “Amplus” series is well worth the extra money. They’ve just started producing a Sauvignon Blanc in this series and it is a relatively minuscule production of 3,000 cases for a deliciously crisp S.B. for under $18. We’ll taste the Cab too, which might even be a better value under $20. Malbec may very well be the most popularly requested grape variety for our by-the-glass program at the shop. It is a household name. Achaval Ferrer will be too…someday. This winery continues to pump out super-premium wines produced traditionally, from low yielding, ancient vines high in the mountains of Mendoza. Put it this way, their cheapest wine is $26! They also make the highest scoring wine ever tasted from Argentina which goes for over $150! Definitely worth a try. The Kaiken winery is owned and operated by Aurelio Montes of the Chilean juggernaut winery Montes. The “Ultra” line is a big step up from the grocery store stuff and really shows off some fancy winemaking for your buck. And finally, we’ll finish off with an exotic “late harvest” Chardonnay from Bodegas Norton. You gotta have the sweet stuff and is only $12.99      



Tuesday December 29th, 2009

6:00-9:00 pm

No charge for tastings


Santa Ema “Amplus” Sauvignon Blanc 2007 Leyda Valley, Chile

Very precise from start to finish, with pure, chiseled lemon verbena, chalk, fleur de sel and thistle flower notes that race through the stony finish. Delicious. Wine Spectator 90 points

BTG $6.75                          Retail $17.99


Achaval Ferrer Malbec 2008 Mendoza, Argentina

Really vivid, with plum and fig notes laced with a bright violet hint. The lingering finish lets raspberry and pastis notes chime in. Fleshy and concentrated, but pure,

with mouthwatering acidity. Wine Spectator 91 points

BTG $9.50                           Retail $25.99


Kaiken “Ultra” Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Mendoza, Argentina

Solid, with a mix of red and black currant fruit layered with coffee and bittersweet cocoa notes. Good grip on the finish. Wine Spectator 88 points

BTG $7.50                           Retail $19.99


Santa Ema “Amplus” Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Rapel Valley, Chile

The 2006 Amplus Cabernet Sauvignon was aged for 12 months in barrique. Purple-colored, it has an alluring nose of spice box, black currants, blackberry, and a suggestion

 of chocolate in the background. Smooth-textured, forward, and easy-going, this nicely balanced wine has a lengthy, fruit-filled finish. Robert Parker 88 points

BTG $7.50                          Retail $19.99


Bodegas Norton “Late Harvest” Chardonnay 2009 Mendoza, Argentina

…pours a beautiful gold color with glints of amber. The intense aromas of floral, honey, baked pear, apricot, nutmeg and cinnamon jump out of the glass to meet you.

The palate is soft yet lush with apple, soft honey, hazelnut and sweetness balanced with healthy acidity.

BTG $5.00                         Retail $12.99


Posted in Hollywood Vine Events, Uncategorized by HVINE ADMIN on December 17, 2009

The Gift of Wine : Great “last second” ideas…  

How many of you out there are still searching for that perfect gift for your…dentist? He’s had his hands in your mouth for years, isn’t it time you put something in his? It’s probably a lot easier to buy a gift for a husband or a father as you have some inkling of what they enjoy but what about the valuable people in your life you may not know a whole lot about. What do you buy them? We’re not just saying this because we’re in the business but, wine really is the perfect gift! I mean were you really gonna buy your accountant a “snuggie” from some infomercial? Not a good idea for someone who knows all about your finances. Play it safe this year and give the gift of wine. Being the supportive retailers we are, we’re here to help you. We are pulling out what are perhaps the most popular wines in the shop and giving you a chance to taste them side by side. Naturally they are all from California and are done in a rich, super “pleasure-giving” style. Any of these would be great for a casual wine drinker or a pro. We’ll start with one of the best California Chardonnays money can buy, Rombauer Chardonnay is an ultra rich, buttery, toasty, etc. version of classic Cali Chard. Treat yourself to lobster tail and this golden beauty. Rombauer’s Merlot is equally rich and delicious with notes of plum, chocolate and toasty oak. This is what California Merlot is all about, don’t believe the propaganda! Although many of you may already be familiar with the Earthquake series of wines, the latest vintage of their Zinfandel is the best I can remember! Lots to like about this lavishly oaked old-vine monster. Girard is a very prestigious winery. Located up at the top of Prichard Hill in Napa this winery has been getting a lot of press for years for its wonderfully distinctive Cabernet but if you ask us, the Petite Sirah is the true gem of the portfolio. This is inky purple wine  loaded with blueberry fruit but remains elegant and is well suited to even a Cab drinker. Speaking of Cab, what tasting would be complete without one. Chalk Hill has been a Sonoma icon for decades and it is actually cheaper than it was 5 years ago…thanks economy! We’re proud to show this wine on a Tuesday even though many of you “high rollers” may already be knee-deep in it.     



Tuesday December 22nd, 2009

6:00-9:00 pm

No charge for tastings


Rombauer Chardonnay 2007 Carneros, California

Ripe pear, apple and honeydew melon flavors are shaded by spicy, toasty oak. A rich, creamy style. Full-bodied, with a touch of sweetness. Wine Spectator 91 points

BTG $12.50                          Retail $34.99


Rombauer Merlot 2006 Napa Valley, California

Supple and harmonious, with complex cherry, currant, herb, anise and sage flavors that fold together nicely.

BTG $12.00                         Retail $32.99


Earthquake Zinfandel 2007 Lodi, California

Ripe and concentrated, with blackberry, dried currant and chocolate flavors that fold into generous toasty oak and firm tannins.

BTG $9.00                          Retail $23.99


Girard Petite Sirah 2007 Napa Valley, California

Blackberry, huckleberry and pepper notes are firm and taut, concentrated and densely tannic. The fruit flavors are ripe and come with a juicy, pomegranate-like edge.

Wine Spectator 89 points

BTG $10.25                           Retail $27.99


Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 Sonoma, California

Rich, powerful and full-bodied, this is marked by thick Syrah-like road tar, graphite, dried currant, sage and herbal flavors that are concentrated and reflective

of a cool climate for Cabernet. Wine Spectator 90 points

BTG $14.00                           Retail $39.99

Wine Tasting 12/15

Posted in Hollywood Vine Events, Uncategorized by HVINE ADMIN on December 10, 2009

The Sparkling Wine Series : Part 2 of 2  

We like bubbles so much we’re doing it twice. For those of you who didn’t get to make it out last week, this is your chance to be fabulous! Impress your friends on New Year’s Eve with how well versed you are regarding the extraordinary world of sparkling wines. Define the difference  between “Extra Dry” and “Brut.”Stick your nose up and give one of those haughty puffs before correcting that guy from your office who says he’s “a wine expert” about the proper use of the term Champagne. It’s fun…almost as much fun as it is to drink. For those of you who did come to last week’s tasting (thanks for your continued support) we’ll show you five more completely different sparkling wines from five completely different places. We’ll start with two wines from regions the average consumer should be well acquainted with, Spanish Cava and Italian Prosecco. These two individual wines are notoriously confused with Champagne by the average consumer. It’s quite a complement although these sparklers are generally intended for casual drinking and all of those fun mixed beverages like Mimosas and Bellinis. You can save money on peach puree and OJ because Nino Franco’s Rustico is a fixture on any self-respecting wine list for the category and great all by itself. The roots of the Juve y Camps winery can be traced back over 200 years and truly represents  some of the most exquisite sparkling wines in the region. Pinot Noir is a popular chap these days. Did you know your favorite grape is also made into awesome sparkling wines? Lucien Albrecht’s Cremant d’ Alsace Rose may just be the best value in the world for a pink sparkler based on Pinot Noir. Speaking of Pinot Noir, Argyle has been producing many of Oregon’s top Pinots for years. They also make a tiny amount of vintage bubbly that is a dead ringer for Champagne! See what all the fuss is about. The grand finale concludes as it should with the “Real McCoy” of Champagne, Louis Roederer. This is pound for pound the best non-vintage Brut in the marketplace.          



Tuesday December 15th, 2009

6:00-9:00 pm

No charge for tastings


Nino Franco “Rustico” Prosecco Brut NV Valdobbiadene, Italy

Chalky, mineral notes emerge from Franco’s NV Prosecco di Valdobbiadene Rustico. This focused, taut Prosecco reveals notable character in its vibrant,

energetic fruit with wonderful purity and balance. Robert Parker 89 points

BTG $7.00                          Retail $18.99


Juve y Camps “Reserve de la Familia” Cava Brut 2005 Penedes, Spain

…a light straw-colored sparkling wine, offers yeasty, wheat-thin aromas and flavors, a persistent stream of small bubbles, and good concentration.

BTG $6.50                            Retail $17.99


Lucien Albrecht Cremant d’ Alsace Rose NV Alsace, France

Dried fruit notes, apricot and date, mix with nut and hints of citrus peel in this firm sparkler. It’s juicy, with a creamy finish.  Wine Spectator 87 points

BTG $8.00                          Retail $21.99


Argyle Brut 2005 Willamette Valley, Oregon

Argyle’s sparkling wine portfolio begins with the 2005 Brut, composed of 65% Pinot Noir and 35% Chardonnay. Medium straw-colored, this biscuity bubbly has

 tons of flavor, plenty of minerality and superb length. It is a great value in high class sparkling wine (and that includes Champagne). Robert Parker 92 points

BTG $9.25                           Retail $25.99


Roederer Brut Premier NV Champagne, France

Light and lively, featuring apple, toast, ginger and light vanilla flavors. Balanced and on the dry side, with a creamy texture and a lingering butter pastry aftertaste.

Wine Spectator 91 points “Top 100” #95

Retail $42.99

Wine Tasting 12/8

Posted in Hollywood Vine Events, Uncategorized by HVINE ADMIN on December 3, 2009

The Sparkling Wine Series : Part 1 of 2  

Champagne is a wine almost invariably associated with the good things in life; luxury, celebrations and fine cuisine. It’s not a coincidence, the Champagne region of France and specifically its capital, Reims is where French kings were crowned for hundreds of years. That is undoubtedly how Champagne came to be known as “the wine of kings.” However, it was not the monarchs that made this very prestigious region what it is today. In fact, it was two Benedictine monks, Dom Perignon and Dom Ruinart who ironically devoted their lives to removing the distinctive bubbles from Champagne that are credited with being its forefathers. Many consumers erroneously confuse the use of the term “Champagne” to refer to all sparkling wines, when it actually refers only to wines produced in this region of France. That is perhaps why Champagne is always associated with luxury, as there are very few wines from that region that retail below $30. However, there are many regions in the world producing high quality sparkling wines rivaling those produced in the place where it was perfected. This week we intend to show you that the sparkling wine category is perhaps the most underrated of them all and that price doesn’t have to mean you can only drink it on New Years or a special anniversary. That is why we are devoting 2 weeks of Tuesday tastings to this very special wine style. We’ll start with a playful blend from the Southern French town of Limoux, a village renowned for making budget friendly sparklers based on indigenous grapes. Ever had a wine from New Mexico? Believe it or not the Gruet family has Champagne ancestry and they make perhaps one of the best sparkling wines you’ve never heard of under $15. We’ll taste their basic Brut and Rose editions. Champagne Taittanger is one of the world’s best known Champagne houses. Like many of the larger producers of the famed region they also own counterparts in California where they are maintaining traditional methods and garnering exquisite results.  We’ll finish with one of the better values in Champagne today. Piper-Heidsieck’s iconic red label Brut is priced just right and delivers a consistently ripe, luscious style of bubbly year after year. Just in case you miss this one (more wine for us) we’ll be conducting the supplement next week. We hope to see you all there!     



Tuesday December 8th, 2009

6:00-9:00 pm

No charge for tastings


Toad Hollow “Amplexus” NV Limoux, France

Very aromatic, showing peach, hazelnut and butter notes in a crisp, light-bodied package. It’s more open and fruity, with less finesse than

Champagne, but intensity and length. Ideal aperitif.

BTG $6.50                            Retail $17.99


Gruet Brut NV New Mexico

Appealing for its bold tropical fruit, toasty, buttery aromas and full-bodied pear and spice flavors.

Wine Spectator 86 points

BTG $5.75                          Retail $14.99


Gruet Brut Rose NV New Mexico

…a lovely, bright floral bouquet with hints of strawberry, raspberry, and cherry. On the palate, it is rich and fruity in a dry, Brut style. The flavor of berries

continues on the palate, revealing more strawberry, raspberry, cherry.

BTG $5.75                          Retail $14.99


Domaine Carneros Brut 2005 Carneros, CA

Beautifully focused and refined, with Gala apple and raspberry aromas and flavors that are crisp yet layered, with creamy lemon and lime notes and a finish

that lingers with mineral and a hint of yeast. Wine Spectator 92 points

BTG $9.00                            Retail $24.99


Piper Heidsieck  Brut NV Champagne, France

A range of citrus, honey, pastry and ginger flavors mark this appealing Champagne, which is well-knit and smooth, with a fine mousse and a butterscotch finish.

Wine Spectator 90 points

BTG $10.75                          Retail $29.99