A mixed bag of wines to celebrate the Spring Equinox!  

Thursday, March 22:

Pinot Gris "Cuvee Joseph", Bechtold 2009- $17.99/btl ($14.40 by case or mixed case): Jean-Marie Bechtold works in relative anonymity in the western Strasbourg suburb of Dahlenheim, but his wines are no shrinking violets. They empahsize the sleek, racy school of Alsace winegrowing, and the 2009 Cuvee Joseph, named after his grandfather, is a zingy, mineral-driven treat. If you've tired of the oceans of bland, insipid and overpriced Italian versions of this grape, here's a rare chance to taste what Pinot Gris can be when yields are kept low and minimal interventions are made in the cellar...all for around $7 a bottle less than that watery Italian Pinot Grigio you see touted at all the big box stores!

Merlot (Unfiltered), Pellegrini, North Fork, Long Island 2005- $15.99/btl ($12.80 by case or mixed case): Long Island wines are hard to pigeonhole. Since winegrowing began in earnest there around forty years ago, we've seen big hits (such as the early Lenz wines) and spectacular, overpriced disasters (frankly, far too many to name here). On the North Fork, it became evident from the outset that the earlier-ripening Bordelaise varieties of Merlot and Cabernet Franc would work best in the cool, sandy soil, and the husband/wife team of Bob and Joyce Pellegrini consistently turn out what we think is the island's best Merlot. Of course, organic practices in the vineyard and no filtration of the finished wine are extra assurances that what's in the bottle is as honest, expressive of place, ageworthy and unadulterated as you can get. We're also especially impressed by the balance, richness and refinement you get in a bottling that checks in at a modest 13% alcohol!

Friday, March 23:

VdP de Mediterranee "Pichot Roucas", Bouletin 2010- $13.99/btl ($11.20 by case or mixed case): Eric Bouletin is a rising star in the Rhone Valley appellation of Vacqueyras, where his bottlings routinely vie for "best of vintage" honors. Naturally, we at JWS figure that a winegrower who works wonders with old vines Grenache, Syrah and Mourvedre in the more-renowned appellation probably adheres to the same regimen when making Vin de Pays...and his Pichot Roucas is ample proof of that. It's a rich, juicy, garrigue-scented red that practically demands a slow-roasted, herbed leg of lamb. We'd have no problem at all selling this wine for $17-$18, but we're thrilled to be able to offer it as one of the best values in the store at just over $11 by the case or mixed case!

Quivira Sauvignon Blanc "Fig Tree Vineyard", Dry Creek-Sonoma 2010- $17.99/btl ($14.40 by case or mixed case): Here's an extraordinary California Sauvignon Blanc from one of the best microclimates in the state for fashioning Loire-styled Sauvignons, the gravelly Dry Creek Valley. There's plenty of grassy, herbaceous intensity in the aroma and flavors, which are moderated by the citiric overtones from the addition of a bit of the rare clone, Sauvignon Musque. As with all Quivira wines, this issues from Demeter-certified biodynamic grapes, so there's no trickery or cellar skulduggery employed on the route from vine to bottle. Don't hesitate to use this just like an excellent Quincy or Sancerre, paired against a Crottin de Chavignol or poached salmon with sorrel.

Saturday, March 24: 

Castilla y Leon Mencia, Avante 2009- $16.99/btl ($13.60 by case or mixed case):The northwest corner of Spain (along the Duero River, near Valladolid) is a treasure trove of great red wines. Many are made from the ubiquitous Tempranillo, but some of our favorites are from the region's other great red grape, the polished, floral-scented Mencia. Avante's version is sourced from several choice plots whose vines average over 40 years of age, so there is an intense sap and concentration underneath the glossy exterior.

Red Tail Ridge "Sans Oak" Chardonnay, Finger Lakes 2010- $10.99/btl ($8.80 by case or mixed case): Here's yet another great new offering from our biodynamic friends at Red Tail Ridge. This time, they put their considerable skills to making a fresh, apple blossom-scented, almost Riesling-like Chardonnay. Often, the no-oak, stainless steel Chardonnay treatment renders wines as sterile as the equipment in which they're made, but in Red Tail Ridge's version, the minimalist approach simply reveals that great wine is truly made in the vineyard. If there's a better example of "hands off" winemaking in this modest price range, we have yet to encounter it! At this level of price/quality, it wouldn't be a bad idea to lay in a couple of cases to tide you over until the release of the 2011.

Beer Geek Week

Here we go again: yet another week of limited releases of some of your all-time favorites. We also introduce the extraordinary Old Ales of Robinson's, MORE Troegs Nugget Nectar and the return of Delaware's OTHER great brewery, Old Dominion.

Troegs Nugget Nectar- 6 pk
Dogfish Head
 75 Minute IPA- 750ml
Dogfish Head Saison du Buff- 12 oz
Dogfish Head Chateau Jiahu- 750ml
Old Dominion Hop Mountain Pale Ale- 6 pk
Old Dominion Oak Barrel Stout- 6 pk
Robinson Old Tom- 11.2 oz
Robinson Ginger Tom- 11.2 oz
Robinson Chocolate Tom- 11.2 oz
Southern Tier Unearthly Imperial IPA- 22 oz

Brenna's Wine Queue

All these wines carry the Brenna guarantee of quality. Whatever that is.

Roero Nebbiolo, Almondo 2009- $21.99
Substance Viognier, Washington 2010- $17.99
Substance Merlot, Washington 2010- $22.99
Toro, Almirez 2007- $29.99
Rias Baixas Albarino, Nora da Neve 2007- $19.99
Farella-Park Sauvignon Blanc "La Luce", Napa 2010- $19.99
Saar Riesling QmP, von Hovel 2009- $16.99

Rioja Weekend Approaches!

Aaron Gordon of Vibrant Rioja will be with us on Friday (4-9 PM) and Saturday (2-9 PM), March 30 & 31, sampling a host of great red, white and rose Rioja! Be sure to stop by on those days, and you can also register to win a case of Rioja or a Rioja dinner for two in New York!