White Wines    Chardonnay    Burgundy    France - Other regions   
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Date Printed: 12/25/2014
Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Setilles 2010
Olivier Leflaive Bourgogne Blanc Les Setilles 2010
(search item no. 116890)

PRICE ON 12/25/2014: $18.99

Winemaker's Notes:

The 2010 Les Setilles is, as usual, a stunning value from Burgundy. The wine is medium in body with notes of green apple, pear, mineral and just a touch of smoky oak on the finish. Typical of it's 50% Meursault, a backdrop of roasted nut shines throughout.
My Notes:

Additional wines from Oliver Leflaive:

About Oliver Leflaive:

Olivier Leflaive was formed in 1984 by Olivier and his brother Patrick. Unlike a conventional negociant who buys finished wines, the firm actually vinifies a wide range of Burgundian appellations from grapes and must (or juice) and now owns 25 acres. Under the supervision of winemaker Franck Grux, the wines are vinified, blended, and aged exactly as they would be at a top-rank domaine.


White Wines    Rhone White Blends    Sierra Foothills    California   
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Date Printed: 12/25/2014
Donkey and Goat Coupe d'Or Roussanne Marsanne 2010
Donkey and Goat Coupe d'Or Roussanne Marsanne 2010
(search item no. 115988)
green wine
boutique wine
has fluid
has fluid 360

International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 12/25/2014: $25.99

Winemaker's Notes:

Honeysuckle, lychee, grapefruit rind and orange blossom tickle the nose before revealing wet stone and hints of marzipan. Like previous vintages, the wine's harmony and balance are near perfect, which keeps the oily Roussanne character in check for a seamless and mouth coating finish.
My Notes:

Additional wines from Donkey and Goat:

About Donkey and Goat:

Donkey & Goat is a family owned and operated winery located in Berkeley California. Tracey & Jared Brandt craft their natural wines from Rhône varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge and the undiscovered El Dorado appellation in the Sierra Foothills. Tracey & Jared trained in France, under Éric Texier, an up and coming Rhône winemaker who taught them the art and craft of making wines that speak to the soul about the earth from which they originate. Their maverick winemaking has helped pave the way for the natural wine movement.

They make their wines for the table not the cocktail glass. They make Rhône varietals in both colors plus an atypical Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir true to the varietals nature, striving to make wine as naturally as possible and done so since day one.



Red Wines    Mourvedre    Other California    California   
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Date Printed: 12/25/2014
Donkey and Goat The Prospector 2010
Donkey and Goat The Prospector 2010
(search item no. 115985)
boutique wine
green wine

International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 12/25/2014: $23.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Our crowd pleasing 100% Mourvedre bottling from several vineyards in El Dorado is sure to surprise and delight those unfamiliar with this varietal and fans know, this is a wine boasting soft fruit and earth and meaty notes that leaves you wanting more.
My Notes:

Additional wines from Donkey and Goat:

About Donkey and Goat:

Donkey & Goat is a family owned and operated winery located in Berkeley California. Tracey & Jared Brandt craft their natural wines from Rhône varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge and the undiscovered El Dorado appellation in the Sierra Foothills. Tracey & Jared trained in France, under Éric Texier, an up and coming Rhône winemaker who taught them the art and craft of making wines that speak to the soul about the earth from which they originate. Their maverick winemaking has helped pave the way for the natural wine movement.

They make their wines for the table not the cocktail glass. They make Rhône varietals in both colors plus an atypical Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir true to the varietals nature, striving to make wine as naturally as possible and done so since day one.



Rosé Wine    Rosé    North Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 12/25/2014
Donkey and Goat Grenache Rose Isabel's Cuvee 2011
Donkey and Goat Grenache Rose Isabel's Cuvee 2011
(search item no. 115986)
screw cap wine
boutique wine

International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 12/25/2014: $19.99

Winemaker's Notes:

Our much anticipated Mendocino pink wine made from 95+ year old Grenache Gris vines. This year we destemmed and stomped 100% to a 4ton wood vat where it stayed for 33 hours before we pressed off to tank. Here the juice settled for 24 hours before moving to neutral FO barrel where both primary & secondary fermentation began naturally.
My Notes:

Additional wines from Donkey and Goat:

About Donkey and Goat:

Donkey & Goat is a family owned and operated winery located in Berkeley California. Tracey & Jared Brandt craft their natural wines from Rhône varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge and the undiscovered El Dorado appellation in the Sierra Foothills. Tracey & Jared trained in France, under Éric Texier, an up and coming Rhône winemaker who taught them the art and craft of making wines that speak to the soul about the earth from which they originate. Their maverick winemaking has helped pave the way for the natural wine movement.

They make their wines for the table not the cocktail glass. They make Rhône varietals in both colors plus an atypical Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir true to the varietals nature, striving to make wine as naturally as possible and done so since day one.



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    North Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 12/25/2014
Donkey and Goat Broken Leg Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010
Donkey and Goat Broken Leg Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010
(search item no. 112230)
green wine


PRICE ON 12/25/2014: $26.97

Winemaker's Notes:

On the nose cherry, spice and forest floor dance out of the glass and tickle the olfactory. The mouth is equally nimble as darker fruit flavors laced with more (asian?) spice skip across the palate until the silky and lingering finish which promises great things for those who wait. This is a light bodied, feminine wine that illustrates the beauty of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir.
My Notes:

Additional wines from Donkey and Goat:

About Donkey and Goat:

Donkey & Goat is a family owned and operated winery located in Berkeley California. Tracey & Jared Brandt craft their natural wines from Rhône varietals, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grown in the Anderson Valley, Mendocino Ridge and the undiscovered El Dorado appellation in the Sierra Foothills. Tracey & Jared trained in France, under Éric Texier, an up and coming Rhône winemaker who taught them the art and craft of making wines that speak to the soul about the earth from which they originate. Their maverick winemaking has helped pave the way for the natural wine movement.

They make their wines for the table not the cocktail glass. They make Rhône varietals in both colors plus an atypical Chardonnay and a Pinot Noir true to the varietals nature, striving to make wine as naturally as possible and done so since day one.



White Wines    Sauvignon Blanc    Loire    France - Other regions   
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Date Printed: 12/25/2014
Clos Roche Blanche Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2010
Clos Roche Blanche Touraine Sauvignon Blanc 2010
(search item no. 112914)
green wine


PRICE ON 12/25/2014: $15.97

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Touraine, a Loire Valley appellation, designates a large viticultural area around the city of Tours. The vineyards of Clos Roche Blanche were planted on the Touraine hills bordering the Cher river by the Roussel family at the end of the 19th century and have remained in the family since. Catherine Roussel took over this 28-hectare estate in 1975 from her father, and was later joined by Didier Barrouillet, who tends the vineyards and makes the wine. Both are enthusiastic proponents of non-interventionist winemaking.
My Notes:

About Clos Roche Blanche:

Touraine, a Loire Valley appellation, designates a rather large viticultural area around the city of Tours. The vineyards of Clos Roche Blanche, planted on the Touraine hills bordering the Cher river by the Roussel family at the end of the 19th century, have remained in the family since. Catherine Roussel took over this 28 hectare estate in 1975, and was later joined by Didier Barouillet, who tends the vineyards and makes the wines. Both are enthusiastic proponents of non-interventionist winemaking.

The soil is poor, mainly clay with flint over a limestone subsoil. The varietals grown are Gamay, Cot (or Auxerrois, the grape of Cahors) and Sauvignon Blanc. Roussel and Barouillet keep yields low by maintaining old vines, using organic fertilizers in moderation and growing grass between and plowing under the rows.

They converted the vineyards to organic farming over the past three years and the 1995 vintage bears the official "organic agriculture" accreditation. The vines are treated with copper and sulfur solutions, and plant decoctions (a mix of nettles and other herbs) used in bio-dynamic viticulture.

Neither Catherine nor Dider has studied oenology or viticulture. They both learned their trade in the vineyards and the cellar, searching for methods and techniques to make wines of exceptional character in an appellation of modest reputation.



Red Wines    Dolcetto    Piedmont    Italy   
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Date Printed: 12/25/2014
G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba 2009
G.D. Vajra Dolcetto d'Alba 2009
(search item no. 110065)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 12/25/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 89 points
2011 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Vajra has as much passion and work just as hard for their Dolcetto as they do for their Nebbiolo. It's a vibrant and delicious wine that's full of dark fruit and aromas of herbs, red flowers ans spice. The wine rests in large neutral Slovenian oak cask for a short time so it can breath and reach wonderful vinous levels not seen in ordinary Dolcetto.

2009 was a great vintage for this variety, Dolcetto ripens early and needs a good sunny run through the late summer and early fall coupled with cool nights to finish the last of the phenolics and boost aromatics.

Dolcetto of this quality is a fantastic food wine, try pairing with braised meats, osso buco, salumi, hearty meat and mushroom pastas.

My Notes:

Additional wines from G.D. Vajra:

About G.D. Vajra:

The winery is located at West side of Barolo Common, in Vergne locality. Inherited in 1972 by Aldo Vaira it's, today, a solid reality where the wine quality and the love for work are principal features. Here, the typical vines of Piedmont are cultivated with a great respect for the vocation of every plot of land. The history says that these lands have been formed millions of years ago, and geologically must be referred to as the Tortonian, the typical soil of Barolo and La Morra, with calcareous marl, white and blue, inserted into rocky residuals. Thanks to that, the wines are elegant, fragrant, fruity with a particular aging capacity.


White Wines    Gruner Veltliner    Central Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 12/25/2014
Zocker Paragon Vineyard Gruner Veltliner 2009
Zocker Paragon Vineyard Gruner Veltliner 2009
(search item no. 107975)
screw cap wine
green wine

Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 12/25/2014: $14.97

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2013 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2012 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2011 Wine Enthusiast rating: 89 points
2010 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The fruit for the Zocker Grüner Veltliner was grown in the Niven family's estate Paragon Vineyard in the Edna Valley on California's Central Coast. Soils are generally made up of Diablo series, clay loam, rocky marine sediment, and volcanic remnants. In a few portions of the vineyard however, clay loam is more prominent, which allows for more water retention. This, along with the influence of the nearby Pacific Ocean and the extended growing season, makes the terroir here similar to areas in Austria where Grüner Veltliner reigns as the number one white varietal in the country.

Rich and round but with great acid structure, this wine is steely and has good minerality. It has a bit of an earthy characteristic, a note of white pepper, and flavors of ripe melon and fruit cocktail.

My Notes:

About Zocker:

Zocker is an American winery that produces wines made exclusively from the white varietals of Grüner Veltliner and Riesling. The grapes are grown on the Niven family’ famed Paragon Vineyard in the Edna Valley on the Central Coast of California, and the wines are made by veteran French winemaker Christian Roguenant. The latest project of Niven Family Wine Estates, Zocker (Austrian word for Gambler) is likely their riskiest venture yet, as these varietals are far from conventional.


White Wines    Gruner Veltliner    Austria    Other Europe   
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Date Printed: 12/25/2014
Weingut Knoll Loibner Federspiel Gruner Veltliner 2009
Weingut Knoll Loibner Federspiel Gruner Veltliner 2009
(search item no. 108560)

PRICE ON 12/25/2014: $22.98

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Federspiel is the second highest quality level specific to the Wachau region. The term actually refers to a lure used in falconry and symbolizes the racy acidity of these wines.

Medium bodied, well balanced Gruner Veltliner that represents the classical style of eastern Wachau. Crisp, fresh but not light, more spicy than fruity, good length.

My Notes:

About Weingut Knoll:

Emmerich Knoll III, an exhuberent spokesperson for the Wachau region, farms the family’s 15 hectares of land and crafts wines that clearly express the Unterloiben terroir where some of Austria's most famous vineyards live. This family run winery is a treasure that has been estate owned and operated for over three generations. The majority of the Knoll's vineyard plantings are dedicated to Gruner Veltliner and Riesling, but the family also farms small amounts of Rivaner, Gelber Traminer, Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. A member of "Vinea Wachau Nobilis Districtus," an association of Wachau winemakers who follow strict quality control rules, the Knoll Winery upholds stringent farming and winemaking standards that vintage after vintage propel their wines to the top of restaurant, collector and critic’s lists. Knoll wines are easily recognized by their distinct label that depicts an ornate image of St. Urban the patron saint of winemakers and vineyards. While in the Wachau, one can also dine at the family’s acclaimed, 400 year old restaurant, Loibnerhof Familie Knoll.


White Wines    Other White Wine    Loire    France - Other regions   
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Date Printed: 12/25/2014
Chereau Carre Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Chateau Chesnaie 2009
Chereau Carre Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Chateau Chesnaie 2009
(search item no. 108568)
green wine

The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 12/25/2014: $15.29

Winemaker's Notes:

Bright, vibrant aromas reminiscent of crushed oyster shells. On the palate the wine reveals plenty of fruit complemented by briny notes.
My Notes:

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About Chereau Carre:

The House of Chéreau Carré occupies the most privileged position in the Nantes region of France. This family owned property dates back to the 15th century and features vines that cover over 267 acres of the highest quality soil in the prized region of the Sèvre-et-Maine. Bernard Chéreau currently manages his family’s property. He runs three separate estates within his family’s property: Château de La Chesnaie comes from a 25 year old parcel in the heart of Sèvre-et-Maine, Comte Leloup de Chasseloir is a selection of pre-phyloxerra vineyards dating back to the turn of the last century and Le Clos is a single vineyard of 60 year old Muscadet vines on schist soils. Bernard is passionate about the location of his vines and separating individual parcels within each site. In addition, he keeps multiple vintages on hand because he believes that different vintages show different characteristics that are specific to the wines. Using only indigenous yeast and extended lees contacts, Bernard is at the forefront of pushing the boundaries of Muscadet.