“A Night in Virginia” – Free Wine Tasting and Pop-Up Restaurant

“A Night in Virginia” – Free Wine Tasting and Pop-Up Restaurant

Posted on Apr 04, 2015 by .

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Our wine tastings are FREE and open to the public. Grab some friends and make an evening of it.

This Monday, April 6th, we’re celebrating the “Taste of Monticello Wine Trail Week” with a very special “A Night In Virginia” free wine tasting and pop-up restaurant. You’ll taste 9 wines from 9 Virginia wineries, meet the winemakers, and can also dine on a selection of great food by our partners a Kitchen Catering and Events and Flora Artisanal Cheese.

The Wines:

Afton Mountain Vineyards – 2013 Festa di Bacco
Blenheim Vineyards – 2013 Roussanne
Early Mountain Vineyards – 2014 Rosé
Glass House Winery – 2014 Pinot Gris
Grace Estate Winrey – 2012 Tannat
Horton Vineyards – 2014 Private Reserve Albarino
King Family Vineyards – 2012 Meritage
Stinson Vineyards – 2014 Rosé
Trump Winery – 2009 Sparkling Blanc de Blanc

We get started at 5:30pm and will fill your faces with tastes of Virginia until 8:30ish.

Free, and open to the public. Share this with friends. We love seeing new faces.

“A Night in Provence” – Free Wine Tasting and Pop-Up Restaurant

“A Night in Provence” – Free Wine Tasting and Pop-Up Restaurant

Posted on Mar 22, 2015 by .

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Our wine tastings are FREE and open to the public. Grab some friends and make an evening of it.

Join us this Wednesday, March 25th, for “A Night In Provence, France”. You’ll taste 5 wines from South of France and some Provencal food by our partners at Kitchen Catering and Events and Flora Artisanal Cheese.

The Wines:

2014 Triennes Rosé – $13.79
This blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Syrah and Merlot brings a bouquet of strawberries and white flowers with hints of vanilla. The palate shows the harmony and elegance that has earned world-wide appreciation for the rosés of Provence. A great wine for a sunny afternoon.

2014 Domaine Sorin Terra Amata Rosé – $13.79
7 varietals (Grenache 40%, Cinsault 15%, Syrah 10%, Mourvèdre 15%, Carignan 10%, Rolle 5%, Orgi 5%) are blended to create this beautiful rosé. The nose shows orange peel, grapefruit, lavender and sea salt aromas followed by flavors of strawberries, watermelon, peach, some pomegranate & citrus.

2011 Domaine La Blaque Rouge – $12.27
This wine drinks way over it’s price point and ages beautifully. I buy a case of this every year. Mostly Syrah with a splash of Grenache, the nose shows cassis, cherry, black pepper and nutmeg. On the palate ripe blackberries, licorice, and soy make for a complex array of flavors. Pairs wonderfully with a Pepper Steak or grilled meats.

2010 Domaine du Dragon Cuvee St. Michel – $15.33
Another wine that drinks like it’s worth twice the price. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Grenache and Mourvèdre. Full bodied, noble, and generous. Tannins are well balanced. A wine that you can cellar for up to 10 years….for $15.

2010 Château de Pibarnon Bandol – $42.35
A seductive bouquet of dark fruits, pepper, sweet spices, dried herbs, leather, beef blood and some forest floor. So intriguing that it is difficult to quit smelling. A fascinating wine with finesse, rather than raw power. A great value for the price. A classic Bandol that is drinkable now with a long decant but will age nicely for 20-30 years. If you want top-notch Mourvèdre look no further. Pair this with steak and you will be in wine pairing heaven!

The Menu:

Kitchen Catering will be offering the following Provencal dishes. Come hungry!

Trio of Tapenade, Fondue d’Aubergine and Bagna Cauda (anchovy) – $13
with tomatoes provencal crostini and veggies

Smoky Ratatouille – $13
with rice

Daube de boeuf (Beef Stew) – $15.50
served over fresh pasta

Nicoise Salad – $15.50

Dessert Tart – $5.50

As always, we’ll also have the cheese plate from Flora Artisanal Cheese for $12.00.

We get started at 5:30pm and will fill your faces with tastes of Provence until 8:30ish. 

Free, and open to the public. Share this with friends. We love seeing new faces.

“A Night in New Zealand” – Free Wine Tasting and Pop-Up Restaurant

“A Night in New Zealand” – Free Wine Tasting and Pop-Up Restaurant

Posted on Mar 08, 2015 by .

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Our wine tastings are FREE and open to the public. Grab some friends and make an evening of it.

Join us this Wednesday, March 11th, for “A Night In New Zealand”. You’ll taste 6 wines from this fantastic wine region. Plus, our pop-up restaurant will offer New Zealand inspired food by our partners at Kitchen Catering and cheese plates from Flora Artisanal Cheese.

About The Wines:

Lake Chalice Cracklin Savie Sparkling Sauvignon Blanc
Classic tropical fruits and citrus: grapefruit, orange, passionfruit, and gooseberry, with chalky minerality and hints of buttery biscuit. Bright acidity, hints of green herbs, and currant/green grape flavors make this crisp and very refreshing. Finishes with grapefruit and chalk.

2013 The Doctors Marlborough Riesling
Wow! It’s like biting into a deliciously crisp Granny Smith apple, licking lime sherbet and eating your first of the season Central Otago apricot, all at one time! Easy to drink and with the perfect balance of fruit sweetness and fresh acitidy at a modest 8.5% alcohol who feels guilty having a second glass?

2013 Seifried Estates Sauvignon Blanc
Gooseberry, nettle and snow pea characters on the nose. The palate has pure grapefruit and pear on the entry and lovely natural fruit acidity to balance fruit weight. The wine lingers with a long finish making a lasting impression.

2014 MaiMai Hawkes Bay Rose
Spring is coming and we need a Rosé to make us happy. This Rose comes from Merlot from Hawkes Bay. Good stuff. Don’t overthink it. Just drink it and grin.

2012 Carrick Unravelled Pinot Noir
Notes of herb, exotic spice, tobacco, and red fruits interlace together to form a complex aroma in the glass. This wine shows fine textured depth, the fruit and tannins provide a wonderfully balanced wine that is accessible in its youth but will continue to give generously for the next 5 years. A serious wine coming from the 1996 ‘’Le Chat’’ and 1994 “Cairnmuir” vineyard plantings

2013 MaiMai Hawkes Bay Syrah
From the Red Metal Triangle in New Zealand’s Hawkes Bay. This wine is full of delicious blackberry and plum fruits with a hint of spicy black pepper..

Date: Wednesday, March 11th
Time: 5:30pm to 8:30pm
Location: The Wine Guild/Kitchen Catering (606 Rivanna Ave.)

Free, and open to the public. Share this with friends. We love seeing new faces.

Oregon Pinot Tasting & Pop-Up Restaurant

Oregon Pinot Tasting & Pop-Up Restaurant

Posted on Feb 15, 2015 by .

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This tasting is open to the public. Grab some friends and make an evening of it.

This Wednesday evening, Feb 18th, we’ll be thawing your wind chilled patooties with some great food, wine, and friends. Some stellar Oregon Pinot will be tasted and our pop-up restaurant will offer the following dishes. All guaranteed to make you happier than when you arrived.

Menu by Kitchen Catering (with special guest chef Tucker Yoder)

Cherry Wood Smoked Trout - $16
with Broccoli Rabe, Bulgur Wheat and Hazelnuts

Pear Cider-Braised Pork Shoulder- $16
with Parsnip and Celeriac Puree, Sweet Potato Biscuits with Kumquat Preserves – $16

Wild Mushroom Risotto – $13
with Crispy Maitake Mushrooms, Pickled Turnips and Baby Greens

Spice Cake – $11
with Brown Butter roasted Apples, Salted Caramel and Maple Whipped Cream

Cheese Plate – $12
by Flora Artisanal Cheese

About The Wines:

2011 Biggio Hamina Pinot Grigio – $15.33
Tropical notes of melon and pineapple combined with mineral scents of wet stone. On the palate, the wine offers a surprisingly light mouthfeel and lives up to its Italian namesake, with crisp acidity, tropical and citrus flavor, nice minerality, and an intriguing finish (that included hints of fennel/licorice).

2013 Ransom Pinot Gris – $15.33
Only 400 cases were made of this Pinot Gris from the old vines in the Eola Hills. The nose shows with lovely aromoas of heirloom pears, clover blossom, and Meyer lemon. The palate offers vibrant acidity and flavors of fresh melon and almond brioche punctuated by an elegant vein of minerality. The wine finishes with energy and length, leaving behind an impression of citrus zest and sea minerals.

2012 Montinore Pinot Noir – $16.86
Yet year after year Montinore Estate manages to issue a Willamette Valley pinot noir that is not only affordable but captivating. The 2012 is light, balanced and deliciously inviting, with bright cherry fruit. It’s not a blockbuster, and doesn’t pretend to be profound. It’s simply just right. – NY Times

2012 Belle Pente Willamette Valley Pinot Noir – $22.99
Fresh-picked blackberry, tart raspberry, earth and truffle. Made from declassified Belle Pente Vineyard (Yamhill-Carlton AVA) and Bella Vida Vineyard (Dundee Hills AVA). Less than 900 cases were made. The New York Times went crazy over Belle Pente’s 2008 vintage, making it the #1 choice of their top ten 2008 Oregon Pinot Noirs.

2011 Crowley Pinot Noir Entre Nous – $28.36
Bright and juicy with flavors of dried strawberries, cola, and baking spice, winemaker Tyson Crowley’s latest vintage is a crowd-pleaser with a real sense of place. Thanks to a commitment to natural winemaking with certified sustainable fruit, Crowley’s wines reveal the best of the Dundee Hills: elegant, bold, and unflinchingly honest.

2012 St Innocent Pinot Noir Zenith – $34.49
The wine presents pronounced aromas of dark cherries, red raspberries with ground spices and hints of smoke. Layers of red and dark fruit dominate the palate with notes of roasted spices, dark flowers and forest floor flavors. This is a richly layered wine with complex flavors and medium weight tannins.

Date: Wednesday, February 18th
Time: 5:30pm to 8:30pm
Location: The Wine Guild/Kitchen Catering (606 Rivanna Ave.)

How that jackass Will Richey tried to ruin our Monday night

How that jackass Will Richey tried to ruin our Monday night

Posted on Feb 06, 2015 by .

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Our wine tastings are FREE and open to the public. Plus, we’re not as stuffy as our name makes us sound. Throw on some jeans, grab some friends and make an evening of it.

Yesterday, one of my favorite Italian winemakers says she’s going to be in Charlottesville this Monday night and wants to do a tasting and pop-up restaurant dinner at The Guild. I dashed into the kitchen to tell chefs Morgan and Gabe (from Kitchen Catering) and this is where things went sideways. Will Richey is throwing a party on Monday night for his staff at The Alley Light…and he’s stolen Morgan and Gabe to do the cooking. Grrr!!

What happened next will erase any doubt that I am the luckiest SOB you know. Tucker Yoder, just happened to be standing there and says “I’ll do it”. Seriously. You should rub me for luck the next time you see me.

So what we have is a very special Monday night free wine tasting, featuring rising star winemaker Francesa Vajra of G.D. Vajra. She’ll be sharing her family’s wines from Italy’s Piedmont region and teaching us more about what makes this place produce such special wines. Some of my favorites are her Langhe Nebbiolo, Barbera d’Alba and of course the Barolo

Not enough? Well, Tucker Yoder will be offering the following menu of items that pair beautifully with these wines.

- Pork Tonnato with Romaine, Capers and Radishes $11
- Ricotta Gnocchi with Maitake Mushrooms, Kale and Herb Gremolata $13
- Stewed Cranberry Beans with Braised Short Rib and Sourdough $16
- Buttermilk Panna Cotta with Crispy Polenta Chip and Red Wine Stewed Pear $9

Sorry for the short notice, but you’re just gonna have to deal with it…over a glass of Barolo and some of Tucker’s amazing food. It sucks to be you, eh?

Date: Monday, February 9th
Time: 5:30pm to 8:30pm
Location: The Wine Guild/Kitchen Catering (606 Rivanna Ave.)

“A Night in Champagne” – Free Wine Tasting and Pop-Up Restaurant

“A Night in Champagne” – Free Wine Tasting and Pop-Up Restaurant

Posted on Jan 30, 2015 by .

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Our wine tastings are FREE and open to the public. Plus, we’re not as stuffy as our name makes us sound. Throw on some jeans, grab some friends and make an evening of it. Heck, the kids are welcome too.

This Wednesday, Feb 4th come taste some delicious Champagnes and sparkling wines just in time for Valentines Day.  Plus, our pop-up restaurant will showcase foods that not only pair well with bubbles, but that you can serve to your honey – including a  couple of morning after dish es , whoo-whoo!!

Menu by Kitchen Catering (with special guest chef Tucker Yoder)

• She Crab Soup with a side of jalapeno hush puppies and boiled peanuts – $13

• Fried Chicken with Farro and Kale Salad with Lemon-Kale Pesto and Roasted Grapes – $14

• Baked Eggs in Creamed Spinach, Mushrooms and Leeks with Smashbrowns and Toast – $11

• Soft Scrambled Eggs with Smoked Cod, American Caviar and Sourdough – $14

• Cheese Plate by Flora Artisanal Cheese – $12

About The Wines:

Domaine de Clos De L’Epinay Vouvray Pétillant Tête de Cuvée Brut – $14.18
This award winning sparkling Vouvray is made using 100% Chenin blanc and only the first press juice. Giving it a perfumed, concentrated aroma of citrus and apple with a deep palate that lingers.

Sektkellerei Szigeti Grüner Veltliner Brut – $21.83
Lots of candied pears and grapefruits in the lovely nose. Rather criso on the palate with citrus fruits, bitter oranges, minerals, and yeasts.

Michel Turgy Champagne Grand Cru Réserve Selection Brut Blanc de Blancs – $34.50
Made from 100% Chardonnay, it offers nice yeast on the nose, coupled with some floral, citrus, wet stones and a bit of smoke. On the palette you’re met with tangerine, cream followed by lingering but subtle smokyness that creeps up from the back of the toungue during a nice long finish.

André Clouet Champagne Grande Réserve – $38.33
100% Organic Pinot Noir that spends six years on the lees, it offers full-throttle strawberry, wheat kernel, and stone flavors along with a pleasing touch of cream in the mid palate and finish – an excellent accompaniment to creamy pastas, poultry and richer seafoods.

1998 Charles De Cazanove Brut Stradivarius – $46.44
From an outstanding vintage, this blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir shows aromas of stone, yeast, mild apple, pear and cream. The palatte is deliciously creamy with brioche, nut and mushrooms with a powerful, hearty finish for an outstanding wine.

Date: Wednesday, February 4th
Time: 5:30pm to 8:30pm
Location: The Wine Guild/Kitchen Catering (606 Rivanna Ave.)

Free, and open to the public. Share this with friends. We love seeing new faces.

[DEFCON] Les Bons Batons is back…and better than ever

[DEFCON] Les Bons Batons is back…and better than ever

Posted on Jan 28, 2015 by .

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First off, I realize that there are some new faces out there, and they are probably seeing their first [DEFCON] pick from the Guild. Here’s a little explanation: we taste a lot of wine every week. Our few favorites end up in these offers and on the shelves at the Guild HQ. Awhile back, however, we thought, “how do we distinguish the truly amazing wines/deals without just draping the description in gushing hyperbole?” The [DEFCON] label was our answer. Truth be told, in our nearly eight (yes, it’s been that long) years of Guilding, we’ve only used the designation a handful of times, and these wines represent the best of the best – not just in terms of pure greatness, but more in terms of what you’re getting for your dollar. So, you’re not likely to see DRC or Guigal’s LaLa in these emails – ours are a bit more affordable – but just understand that these are the deals that you’d be a fool to pass up. 

Now, on to today’s DEFCON: This is the Philippe Leclerc Bourgogne “les Bons Batons” 2011. This wine is not new to some of you, nor to me. We bought a handful of cases of the 2010 vintage back in late ’13 at Will Richey’s urging, and it quickly turned into a house-favorite Burgundy for a bunch of us. In fact, I’ve somehow had the discipline to hang onto a few bottles and had one not long ago – it is aging like a pro, and still has plenty of life to it. But then we had the opportunity to try the 2011 as soon as it came in last week…and damned if it’s not fighting the 2010 for its spot! 

Philippe is located in the village of Gevrey-Chambertin, and that influence is obvious on this entry-level offering. It has muscle, weight and expression that you simply don’t see in Bourgognes at this price anymore. This is what I loved about $18-20 Bourgognes ten years ago, but nowadays, it seems like a lot of them (unless you like spending $30) are wispy haute-cotes-ish husks. This stuff, though: it’s meaty for a Bourgogne, yet still elegant and feminine.

Even on day two, the fruit is ripe and juicy, and a bit candied. It seems, even at this young age, more luxurious than a wine of this level is capable of. Under the initial layer of ruby fruit, you’re first met with garrigue-ey herbs/spices, like sage, thyme and pepper. This persists quite a bit, actually, and is surrounded by some savory aromas, toasty oak, perhaps even a bit of caramel. This nose is broad, and giving, and, well, it just makes you happy to be alive! The palate, much like with the previous vintage, is a gleaming beacon of structure: bright, fresh red fruit up front; the mid-palate has the aforementioned weight and power and savory/herbal notes; the finish/edges of the wine consist of pliable tannins and assertive-but-balanced acidity. It ends on a very long note of fleeting flowers and fruits and spices, and is ultimately a tremendously satisfying and gratifying wine. 

This is drinking wonderfully now, but trust me when I say it has the structure, the backbone of acidity, the power and substance to keep improving for half a decade or more. The fact that the 2010 is still a baby is testament to that. And…the price…I mean, come on. 

So, here’s the point in the DEFCON schtick where I eschew the breathless hyperbole and just drop the mic. Buy this wine. Lots of it. Thank me later. G’night! 

Philippe Leclerc Bourgogne ‘les Bons Batons’ 2011
Member Prices: Grand Cru: $20.71  ||  Premier Cru: $21.65
Typical Retail:
$28.00

Please CLICK HERE to place your order. 

Northern Greece’s Xinomavro: Burgundian Pinot Meets Italian Nebbiolo

Northern Greece’s Xinomavro: Burgundian Pinot Meets Italian Nebbiolo

Posted on Jan 24, 2015 by .

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It’s no secret that Greek wine is a maze which few of us can truly make sense of. Despite tasting plenty of wines from the place that is largely considered the birthplace of wine, I still stumble through even pronouncing most of the varietals and regions on the bottles. And yet, I’d like to think I know greatness when I see (and taste, and smell) it. To wit: not too many years ago, I was introduced to the red jewel of Macedonia (northern Greece), Xinomavro, and it’s henceforth been my focal point and standard-bearer when it comes to Greek reds.

Part of my affinity comes from its, well, its familiarity. This is not to say that it is necessarily boring or well-worn; instead, it’s that I have reference points for it: Burgundian Pinot Noir and Italian Nebbiolo. It doesn’t hurt that those two grapes from those two regions are amongst my favorites (and, let’s be honest, produce some of the best wines on the planet). When I tried my first great Xino, I kept thinking, I could throw this out as a ringer at any Pinot or Nebbiolo tasting and blow everyone’s mind. So I did, and it did. The best part is that, like most Greek wine, these are relatively undiscovered (for the time being) on the international market and thus remain very reasonably priced relative to the quality in the bottle.

Xinomavro is not an easy grape to grow, nor is it easy to make good wine from its juice. And yet the generous folks in Naousa (Naoussa) still see fit to try, and to make world-class wine for us, and charge but a song for it compared to similar quality in France or Italy. If your yields per hectare are too great, it will produce watery, acidic juice. If you go too far in the other direction, it doesn’t really make it much better (law of diminishing returns). And so you have to strike a perfect balance with your yield, and then be a master in the winery to coax out the intrinsic beauty of this grape. Starting to sound like Pinot or Nebbiolo to anyone?

Okay, Xinomavro lesson is over; let’s get to what you came for. This is not the first time I’ve offered Xinomavro, but it’s been long enough that I’ve been able to actually try some of my old stuff from those early offers, and as expected, it’s aging like its brothers-from-other-mothers in Burgundy and Piemonte. Well, I thought, it’s time. You all need more of this stuff! I tried a few, and actually came up for air with a couple of bottlings from the same producer – one from younger vines for drinking now/soon, and the other from older vines for, well, drinking now or cellaring.

The estate is (don’t worry about pronunciation, I’m sure I’m saying it wrong) Thymiopoulos. Situated in Naousa, they’ve been doing the biodynamic thing for a few generations now, and only use wild yeast (though their wine is not noticeably “funky”). I tasted two of their wines, and both are bottles you absolutely must have if you like great reds:

The first is the Thymiopoulos Xinomavro “Young Vines” 2012
This wine starts with a “wow”: You notice right away that it has depth that no wine at this price has any business with; bright fresh violets and sunbaked rocks give way to savory meat and garrigue spice, with blueberries and cherries coating everything. The palate is just weighty enough to be satisfying, while the finish is wispy and magical like Santenay on a cool night. Perhaps most striking is its composition and balance, which makes me think that despite the price it will age very well for 5 years or more. It’s drinking so well right now, though, you’ll have to hide a few bottles from yourself
Thymiopoulos Xinomavro “Young Vines” 2012
Member Price: [Login to see member prices.]
Retail Price: $18.00
Buy Now!

The second is something that should be in your cellar for a decade (or more, if you have the discipline): the Thymiopoulos Xinomavro “Uranos” 2011  Where the Young Vines was more in the realm of Burgundy, this is pure Barolo. Inky, ripe, but still bright and lively. Big red fruit and dried herbs and licorice and wet stones, impressive weight, impeccable balance and electricity. The sheer energy and depth here, coupled with the naturally tannic grippiness, promises a decade or more of improvement in our cellars…and at this price, you can go 6 or 12 deep and not wince when you look at your credit card statement. Pass this up at your own risk – this is a truly amazing, world-class wine, for a fraction of what it should cost.
Thymiopoulos Xinomavro “Uranos” 2011
Member Price: [Login to see member prices.]
Retail Price: $30.00
Buy Now!

Free Wine Tasting – “A Night In Napa Valley”

Free Wine Tasting – “A Night In Napa Valley”

Posted on Jan 18, 2015 by .

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Our wine tastings are FREE and open to the public. Plus, we’re not as stuffy as our name sounds. Throw on some jeans, grab some friends and make an evening of it. Heck, the kids are welcome too. Really.

Join us this Wednesday, January 21st, for “A Night In Napa Valley”. You’ll taste 6 wines from the most famous wine region in the United States. Plus, we’ll be doing another pop-up restaurant offering the following food by our partners at Kitchen Catering.

• Grilled Lamb, soft boiled egg and polenta topped with greens – $16

• Seafood Cioppino – $14

• California Salad (Bibb lettuce, avocado, grapefruit, walnuts and blue cheese). Served with cup of Ginger Tofu Miso Soup – $13

• Cheese Plate by Flora Artisanal Cheese – $12

About The Wines:

Free tastings rarely include a wine that costs over $40. This one includes 3 of them. In other words, you should get over here on Wednesday night and taste these bad boys…just for the experience.

2013 Voss Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc – $16.86
The nose bursts with ruby red grapefruit, lemon-lime and notes of lavender and baby’s breath. Very fresh and lively with a creamy mouthfeel that offers grapefruit and white peach flavors. From a single vineyard, planted in 1978 and farmed organically since 1986.

2013 Rombauer Vineyards Carneros Chardonnay – $32.19
Wine & Spirits Magazine has ranked this one of the Top 10 Chardonnays for 11 consecutive years. This 2013 vintage has juicy peaches, pineapple and lime on the nose, followed by vanilla and cedar. Ripe tropical fruit and fig jam flood the lush, silky palate. Soft spice, vanilla and nectarines mark the lengthy finish, while fresh, mouthwatering acidity leaves you wanting another glass.

2009 Elyse Zinfandel Morisoli Vineyard – $26.83
Aromas of ripe plums, raspberries, sweet spice, and smoky oak. The full and lush palate is complex with flavors of wild, briary summer black­berries, plums, dark chocolate and black pepper. A great match for beef and tomato dishes. Decant this Zin for an hour or so to bring out its robust and spicy nature.

2012 Shafer Vineyards Merlot – $49.83
From a superb vintage, the wine reveals notes of black cherries, tobacco leaf, mocha and darker-berried fruit with a hint of white chocolate. It’s ripe, full-bodied, but fresh, elegant and well-delineated. Will drink well for a decade or more.

2010 Cliff Lede Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District – $62.09
A modern styled Napa Cab, meticulously made at a gravity-flow winery that boasts a berry-by-berry sorting system. The wine shows wild berry aromas complemented by anise spice and vanilla bean. A silky mouthfeel offers flavors of cocoa and dark red fruit. This is a big wine with refined tannins and the characteristic earthy minerality of Stags Leap District.

2011 Trefethen Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon - $87.39
A classic style of Napa Cab from a winery that is on the National Registry of Historic Places as the only 19th-century, wooden, gravity-flow winery surviving in Napa County. This wine shows red fruit aromas with fennel and black cherry. The palate dances with flavors of blackberry, currant, black pepper and finishes long and memorable with hints of roasted mushrooms and spice. Enjoy with prime rib, stuffed lamb shoulder or beef medallions accompanied with truffle sauce or onion jus.

Date: Wednesday, January 21st
Time: 5:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: The Wine Guild/Kitchen Catering (606 Rivanna Ave.)

Free, and open to the public. Share this with friends. We love seeing new faces.

Stumbling headfirst into the perfect pairing…

Stumbling headfirst into the perfect pairing…

Posted on Jan 16, 2015 by .

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kMkj2zLIt’s no secret that food and wine have a naturally symbiotic relationship; dinners and events are planned around that very idea (see: Wine Guild tastings + pop-up menu, wink-wink) all the time…I mean, entire cultures almost seem to revolve around the concept!

But: it’s rare that you accidentally come across two things that match so splendidly by accident…like, you couldn’t have even planned it! Recently, I opened a bottle of red wine I’ve been meaning to try, and figured it would drink just fine with the Cacio e Pepe we’d planned for dinner. Well, that was the understatement of the year. It was a match made in heaven.

This wine was great to sip on while cooking dinner, paying mind to the subtle differences in character as it developed over time. While I am not a stranger to Cru Beaujolais (as you may have noticed), this one takes the cake. It’s everything I want in an approachable and affordable red wine. The producer is Nicolas Boudeau and the wine is his Domaine la Grume “Grain de Sable” 2012 from Brouilly, France. This Cru is the largest of the ten Crus in Beaujolais and tends to produce rather inexpensive but quality-driven red wines made strictly from the Gamay grape. Think of it as Burgundy’s little step-brother.

The Grain de Sable is tart, with a vibrantly crisp acidity- yet smooth and rounded on the finish. It’s charming and effortless, with soft tannins and subtle notes of red currant and lilac. It’s so versatile, I would also recommend it with chicken, turkey, even fish, but it just goes so darn well with Cacio e Pepe that I’ve included a recipe here (I prefer to add garlic as well). I’m not sure how the Italians would feel about that, but that can be our little secret!

Domaine la Grume “Grain de Sable” Brouilly 2012
Member Price: [Login to see member prices.]
Retail Price: $17.00
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Free Wine Tasting – “A Night In Spain”

Free Wine Tasting – “A Night In Spain”

Posted on Jan 04, 2015 by .

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Join us this Wednesday, January 7th,  for “A Night In Spain”. We’ll be tasting wines from Rioja, Spain and offering the following menu prepared by our partners at Kitchen Catering. Bring friends. Come hungry and make an evening of it.

Lamb and Vegetable Stew with Rustic Bread – $11

Chicken and Ham Croquettes – $10

Patatas A Lo Riojana (Potatoes with Chorizo) – $10

Stuffed Piquillo Peppers – $9

Sauteed Spinach with Almonds and Red Grapes – $9

Cauliflower Al Ajoarriero – $8

About The Wines:

Located in North Central Spain, the region of Rioja has been making wine for over 1,000 years. That’s not a typo. We’ll be tasting the following 7 wines.

2013 Bodegas LAN Rioja Blanco
Fresh fruit aromas of apple, pear and tropical fruits, as well as citric hints, and herbs. Fresh on the palate, with lively acidity.

2013 Muga Rioja Blanco
Subtle and elegant nose with citrus fruit, brioche and floral scents. Peach, pineapple and stone on the palate.

2008 Bodegas LAN Rioja Reserva
Brilliant ripe black cherry red colour with good depth. Aromas of blackberries, rose petals, saddle leather and fine wood. Velvety in the mouth with a long finish.

2005 Bodegas LAN Rioja Gran Reserva
Intense aromas of red fruits and fine wood. Elegant and well balanced in the mouth with flavors of sour cherries, dark plums, dried red fruits, leather and a little cigar and tar.

2010 Muga Reserva
Fine leather aromas mingle with red and black fruits black pepper, caramel, toast, vanilla, and cloves. The palette is juicy and meaty with the trademark Muga elegance.

2007 La Rioja Alta Vina Alberdi Reserva
Intense on the nose, with aromas of ripe red berries (strawberries and blackberries) and roasted coffee and caramel balsamic notes. Balanced on the palate, with sweet tannins that lead to a fresh and lingering finish. Aftertaste that recalls sweet spiced notes, candied fruit, minted chocolate, roasted coffee and caramel.

2004 La Rioja Alta Vina Gran Reserva 904
Complex aromas of balsamic, vanilla, coconut, chocolate and truffle wrapped around a core of candied fruit. Fine, silky tannins and a long and complex finish, with hints of roasted coffee, spices, and candied fruit.

We’ll also have a surprise older bottling on hand so don’t miss out on this great opportunity to taste some classic wines.

Date: Wednesday, January 7th
Time: 5:30pm to 9:00pm
Location: The Wine Guild/Kitchen Catering (606 Rivanna Ave.)

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Free Tasting – “A Night In Alsace, France”

Free Tasting – “A Night In Alsace, France”

Posted on Dec 15, 2014 by .

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Join us this Wednesday for “A Night In Alsace, France”. We’ll be tasting 8 wines, including 3 Grand Crus, from Domaine Bott-Geyl and offering the following menu of classic Alsatian food prepared by our partners at Kitchen Catering. Bring friends. Come hungry and make an evening of it.

Tarte Flambée – $11
Bacon and Onion tart. Served with small salad.

Fleishchnacka – $12
Pastry and meat “snails”. Served with small salad.

Choucroute Garnie – $15
A platter of sauerkraut, pork and sausage. A famous Alsatian dish.

Soupe a la Biere (Vegetarian) – $11
A hearty potato-leek soup with beer and croutons.

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About The Wines:
Domaine Bott-Geyl has been making wine in Alsace since 1795. This legendary family winery is certified organic and biodynamic, harvests all grapes by hand and ferments naturally. Our free tasting includes all 8 of their wines.

2012 Muscat d’Alsace “Les Elements”
An elegant nose of white flowers and ripe fruit. The perfect aperitif.

2012 Pinot d’Alsace Metiss
Aromas of honey and underbrush mix with strawberry and sweet custard cream. The palette starts with plenty of fruit and cream but finishes fresh and dry. A blend of Pinot Blanc, Pinot Auxerrois, Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir.

2011 Pinot Gris “Les Elements”
Intense with subtle hints of smoke, flavors of honey and conserved fruit finish with great finesse.

2012 Gewurtraminer “Les Elements”
Exotic aromas of rose petals and lychee, spices and honey. A full bodied wine with balanced sweetness, spice character and serious flavors of mineral and almond.

NV Cremant d’Alsace Extra Brut Paul-Edouard
Aromas of mineral and straw lead to flavors of pears, cream, papaya and citrus. A blend of Pinot Blanc, Chardonnay, Pinot Noir.

2010 Riesling Grand Cru Mandelberg
Ripe citrus, honeydew, papaya and star fruit on the tropical nose.  Sweet and velvety-smooth in the mouth, but with high acidity giving lift to the tropical fruit and vanilla flavors.  Finishes bright and persistent.

2008 Pinot Gris Grand Cru Sonnenglanz
A beautiful wine, fully mature and wonderfully ripe. It has all the elements of mature Pinot Gris: great swathes of spice, almonds, a good slash of acidity and honeyed sweetness.

2008 Gewurtraminer Grand Cru Furstentum
Complex aromas of apricot, minerals, spices and white pepper. Highly concentrated and quite sweet, but with juicy, edgy acidity giving a distinctly youthful quality to the lush honey and spice flavors.

Date: Wednesday, December 17th
Time: 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Location: The Wine Guild/Kitchen Catering (606 Rivanna Ave.)

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Experience Argentina with Bodega Catena Zapata

Experience Argentina with Bodega Catena Zapata

Posted on Nov 28, 2014 by .

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This Wednesday ‘s free tasting is a humdinger. We’ll be pouring 8 of the highest scoring wines we’ve ever poured. 8 wines that have a combined price tag of over $650 . Wines that never appear at free tastings. Until now.

We’ll also have the following Argentinian food available.
Come hungry and you can order any of the following items.

Trio of Empanadas with an Aji dipping sauce – $12
Beef with olives and raisins
Chicken with olives and hard boiled egg
Vegetarian with potatos, carrots and butternut squash

Argentinian Asado – $16
Steak, Lamb, and Sausage with chimichuri and potatoes

Gnocchi (Vegetarian) – $12
Pumpkin, sweet potato andd herb Gnocchi with an Yerba Maté sauce.

Now, back to the wines

Bodega Catena Zapata is the king of Argentinean wine. At this tasting we’re only tasting their best wines.

Catena Alta Chardonnay – Scores 90 – 94
The nose offers ripe white fruit aromas such as pears and peaches that are interwoven with delicate citrus and floral notes, such as Jasmine. The palate shows rich and concentrated ripe pear, apple and apricot flavors with a light note of minerality. The wine finishes long and complex with crisp, mineral acidity.

White Bones Chardonnay – Scores 92 – 96
A bright lemon yellow color in the glass. The nose shows an excellent mélange of citrus and white fruit notes with vanilla. The mouthfeel is rich and concentrated, showing ripe pear, apple and apricot flavors with salty notes. The finish shows bright, clean acidity and wonderful length.

White Stones Chardonnay – Scores 90 – 95
A pale lemon yellow color with gold highlights. The nose shows an excellent melange of delicated white flowers and white fruits aromas with pure minerality notes. The mouthfeel is elegant and fresh, showing jasmine, ripe white peach and pear flavors interwoven with mineral notes. The finish is bright, with clean acidity and wonderful length.

Catena Alta Cabernet – Scores 92 – 94
On the nose, it offers intense aromas of ripe raspberries, and cassis with notes of pepper and clove. On the palate, it is full-bodied and rich and displays layers of black currant and black raspberry with notes of cedar, tobacco and leather. This Cabernet Sauvignon is an elegant wine with silky tannins that provide structure and a long and persistent finish. Pair this Cabernet with red meats like steak or lamb, demi-glace sauces, or with Chateaubriand for an elegant and special dinner.

Nicolas Catena Zapata – Scores 95 – 98
An intense, deep purple color with bluish-black tones. On the nose, aromas of black fruits – blackberries, black cherries, black plums – predominate with subtle notes of vanilla and dark chocolate intermingled with savory hints of green olive and a stony minerality. On the palate, the wine is tremendously complex, unfolding layer upon layer of red currant, eucalyptus, and black pepper flavors . Black cherries and blackberries give way to cassis followed by a hint of saline minerality. The wine is remarkably concentrated with a firm tannic structure providing the backbone for the lush fruit. The finish is long, a foretoken of the long aging potential of this Argentine masterpiece. Let the Nicolás Catena Zapata open in a decanter while you grill a Bone-in Ribeye Steak to perfection.

Adrianna Malbec – Scores 96 – 97
Aromas of blackberries, violets, and vanilla give way to a powerful and deep wine with flavors of black and red fruits alongside of lavendar, wood and minerals. Remarkable concentration and finely-grained tannins stand with great acidity. Pairs well with beef tenderloin.

Argentino Malbec – Scores 93 – 97
The nose offers cassis, blueberries and violets, along with a strong suggestion of soil tones. It combines density and sweetness on the one hand, with gripping, lightly saline flavors of mocha, dark berries, spice, and minerals; a palate-staining finish dominated by sweet black and blue fruits. Pairs well with lamb chops, beef tenderloin, and goat cheese.

Nicasia Malbec – Scores 95 – 97
Ripe black-and-red currant, raspberries and an elegant touch of french oak are some of the aromas that we can appreciate from this special malbec from one of the Catena´s highest family vineyards. Very complex and expressive palate, with a creamy violet flavor witih ripe blueberries, cassis, vanilla and spicecake. Pairs well with roasted veal, shiitake mushrooms, and beef tenderloin.

Finally, Jorge Liloy will be on hand to tell you all you’d want to know about the Catena Zapata estate.

Date: Wednesday, December 3rd
Time: 5:30pm to 7:30pm
Location: The Wine Guild (606 Rivanna Ave.)

It’s time to take Beaujolais seriously.

Posted on Mar 06, 2014 by .

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image_518995_fullIf I had to choose one kind of wine that I rarely reach for, but am most often pleasantly surprised by, it would have to be Cru Beaujolais. We’ve done very little with it in the Guild; there’s a great little Régnié that we have stocked on the shelves (and has enjoyed a sort of mini-cult status among those who try it!), but by and large, I just tend to overlook it. Perhaps it’s just that there’s so much generic Beaujolais AOC or villages-level stuff out there that evokes little beyond bright cherries; perhaps all of our brains have been trained, by the lore surrounding Nouveau, to not take it seriously. In any case, I feel like it’s so neglected that it’s almost criminal, especially when a rep brings around a quality bottle and I’m reminded of how brilliant it can be.

To wit: recently, I tried the Chateau de Jacques Moulin-à-Vent 2011, and was sincerelytaken aback. It had honestly been years since I tried a Bojo with this much power, structure, grace and soul, and I couldn’t let it slip away like so many others.

My first thought was just how Burgundian it was. If there’s one valid criticism of Gamay, it’s that it often lacks the structure and composure that good Burgundy has in spades, and thus doesn’t age well and is less serious. Of course, that goes for Nouveau, and much of the villages-level bottlings, but even a good deal of Crus tend to be drink-now wines with less stalwartness than many villages wines from the Cote d’Or. Well, if you’re looking for Burgundian Gamay, look no further than Moulin-à-Vent. These are the most serious, structured wines of Beaujolais. Vines don’t thrive as well here due to the manganese in the soil, which means lower yields…and thus, more concentration and character.

The Chateau de Jacques (a label under the Louis Jadot umbrella) is certainly one of the best examples of this serious style of Gamay that I’ve had. Almost like Pommard in its power, there are even elements here that you are more likely to find in Bandol than Burgundy: mint, sulfur/iron, dusty herbs and smoked meat. In terms of a core, it’s made up primarily of that trademark red cherry/raspberry fruit, but even that’s not nearly as playful as in your everyday Beaujolais. In terms of weight and texture, this again drinks like Pommard; unlike most Beaujolais, it’s partially aged in oak, adding to the brooding “serious wine” aura and giving it even more structure. There’s bright acid, but it’s not sharp, and the finish is soft yet tannic – all of which leads me believe that this will be even better in 5 or 6 years.

Here’s Wine Advocate’s David Schildknecht on the matter…seems as though we’re in agreement:

Reflecting (as explained in my introductory notes) the inclusion of all of Chateau des Jacques’s fruit from Champs de Cour and Clos des Thorins as well as the usual selected lots from all of their other Clos holdings, a generic 2011 Moulin-a-Vent mingles ripe dark cherry, plum and cassis with marrow-rich savory suggestions of meat stock. Salt, stone, iodine, mocha and toasted nuts add intrigue to a sustained finish in this lovely, tenderly textured and relatively gentle offering that pales slightly only in comparison with the active impingement that characterizes this year’s Chenas and Fleurie tasted immediately before. Incidentally, this was brought-up in one-third each in new barriques, used barriques and tank, in contrast with the nearly 100% new barrels in which the estate’s single vineyard Moulin-a-Vents continue to be raised. An outstanding value, it should reward following at least through 2017 and quite possibly beyond. 91 points.

At retail, yes, an outstanding value. At Guild prices, though, it’s under $20…true “no-brainer” territory. You want wine like this north of Chagny? Prepare to pay double! If you’re inexperienced in how rewarding serious Beaujolais can be, this is your crash course…but if you already know, then you’ve probably clicked the order link by now.

Chateau de Jacques Moulin-à-Vent
Member Price: [Login to see member prices.]
Retail Price: ~$26.00

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