American Cabernet Francs, dry Jurancon and new vintages of Chitry and Clos Julien.

Thursday, May 24:

Verdejo "Ababol", Sacristan Mena, Castilla y Leon 2010- $13.99/btl ($11.20 by case or mixed case): We never tire of the fresh, aromatic white wines of northwest Spain. And, as the weather turns warm, nothing hits the spot quite like a well-made Verdejo. We also have a soft spot for former FC Barcelona midfielder, Eusebio Sacristan, so when we discovered he had teamed with French oenologist, Jean-Francois Hebrard, we knew this white would be our summer "go-to" at JWS. Their 2010 effort certainly doesn't disappoint, as it's jammed with aromas and flavors of white peach, mango and all kinds of blossoming flowers. Best of all, this cuvee is raised sobre lias (on the lees), so there's a richness and intensity not normally associated with Galician whites. This would be exceptional with some salt-roasted shrimp.

Chitry, Giraudon 2011- $16.99/btl ($13.59 by case or mixed case): We weren't expecting the reaction Giraudon's 2010 Chitry would get when we sampled it a few weeks ago. Within a day, we had sold our entire allocation! Fortunately for us, the 2011 was already on its way into the bottle; it's now arrived at JWS and is as fresh, pure and clean as you might expect from a Pinot Noir that was grapes on the vine just seven months ago. And, much like the 2010, it's bursting with stony, rhubarby, beet-rooty, Kimmeridigian Pinot goodness. The more adventurous might put a good chill on this and serve it with oysters and a red wine mignonette.

Friday, May 25:

Clos Julien Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast 2010- $13.99/btl ($11.20 by case or mixed case): Here's a worthy follow-up to Clos Julien's rich, unctuous 2009, which was a big hit with all our Chardonnay fans. If anything, the 2010 features more balance and restraint, with less of the "sur-maturite" quality typical of the late-harvested '09 vintage. It's rare that inexpensive California Chardonnay puts us in mind of white Burgundy, but the Clos Julien always reminds us of the honeyed, almost baked-bones overtones found in top-notch Macon or Vire-Clesse. Put this one to the test in a classic pairing with roast chicken. 

Happy Canyon "Chukker", Santa Barbara 2009- $16.99/btl ($13.59 by case or mixed case): For close to 25 years, Doug Margerum has- as both owner of the Wine Cask in Santa Barbara and proprietor of Happy Canyon Vineyards- been an almost invisible driving force behind the development of the Central Coast as a top US wine region. Not only does he make sensational, authentic wines that are unmistakably Santa Barbara, but he has also influenced countless other growers in the region by exposing them to top bottlings from Europe's benchmark estates. Naturally, some of that European influence has rubbed off on Doug, and his 2009 Chukker, a Cabernet Franc-based wine (with a goodly dose of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot), is a dead-ringer for a great, young vines cuvee of Chinon or Bourgeuil. It's is youthful and exuberant without being simple or cloying.

Saturday, May 26: 

Jurancon Sec, Domaine Bru-Bache 2010- $17.99/btl ($14.40 by case or mixed case): France's Sud-Ouest (Southwest) is a treasure trove of idosyncractic grape varieties, growing styles and personalities. And, the closer one gets to the Pyrenees, that idiosyncracy often gets turbocharged by radical Basque nationalism. As you might suspect, the food and wines of this region aren't shy, either; this is the one area of France where hot peppers and tart, vinegary marinades and sauces rule. And, one of the best dry whites of the region is Jurancon Sec, a riveting and exotic brew- redolent of wet stones, pineapple and citrus peel- made from the Petit Manseng grape (rumored to be a mutation of Albarino). Put this next to some grilled swordfish with piperade; they go together like Basque separatists and gasoline bombs.

Ravines Cabernet Franc, Finger Lakes 2010- $17.99/btl ($14.40 by case or mixed case): Morten Hallgren is rightly famous for his multiple bottlings of outstanding Finger Lakes Rieslings. However, the best-kept secret about Ravines is that Hallgren makes what is arguably the Finger Lakes' best red wine, a lush, dense and aromatic Cabernet Franc that turns every assumption about the suitability of the Finger Lakes for red wine viticulture on its head. It's not Bourgeuil, it's not right bank Bordeaux, and it's not like anything from California...but what it is, is the most fun serious red wine we offer. We suspect a little tea-smoked duck or poussins off the grill would be a perfect match.

Loads of New Beer!

Plenty of new arrivals...just in time for Memorial Day! The Goose Island "Matilda" is a benchmark US Pale Ale, and we look forward to more offerings from them soon. The Dieu du Ciel "Hibiscus" is also a great way to welcome summer, as is the ginger-infused Pale Ale from Left Hand, Good JuJu.

Goose Island Matilda Pale Ale 2012- 22 oz
Dieu du Ciel Rosee d'Hibiscus- 11.2 oz
Dieu du Ciel Derniere Volonte- 11.2 oz
Dogfish Head Urkontinent (collaboration w/Google!)- 750ml
Dogfish Head Festina Peche (Berliner Weisse w/peach)- 4 pk
Left Hand Good JuJu- 6 pk
Rogue Voodoo Doughnut Bacon Maple Ale- 750ml
Dupont Moinette Blonde Ale- 750ml
Hanssens Oude Kriek Lambic- 12.7 oz
Southern Tier 422 Pale Wheat Ale- 6 pk

Brenna Wine Queue

Q: What's the difference between lawyers and road kill? 
A: There are skid marks before road kill.

Brenna doesn't think jokes like the one above are funny, but we've got a million more just like it. At least we can all agree that this is one great list of wines:

Getariko Txakolina, Ameztoi 2011- $19.99
Getariko Txakolina Rubentis, Ameztoi 2011- $22.99
St. Innocent Pinot Noir "Villages", Willamette Valley, OR 2010- $27.99
Red Tail Ridge Sparkling Teroldego, Finger Lakes 2008- $39.99
Rioja Gran Reserva "Prado Enea", Muga 2000- $52.99
Long Meadow Ranch "Peter's Vineyard" Sangiovese, Napa 2005- $27.99
Barbaresco "Valeirano", Ada Nada 2004- $48.99