Gundlach Bundschu Gerwurztraminer 2013

Wine Picks of the Week

A Gerwurztraminer, A Chardonnay and a new wine bar

Gundlach Bundschu Gerwurztraminer 2013

This lovely glass of wine is the Gundlach Bundschu Gerwurztraminer 2013

Gundlach Bundschu Gerwurztraminer 2013 – $14.99 Costco

I loved the 2012 vintage of this wine and I like this one even more so. I like this wine so much that I went back to the Foster City Costco to buy more, but there was none left. The wine guy there said someone had just bought what was left of the 2013 Gerwurztraminer. He thought they would get more in and said to come back in a week. I immediately headed over to the So. San Francisco store and they had enough to satisfy me. The price at the winery is $22.50. That in itself is not a bad price, so $14.99 at Costco is a great deal. This is a dry Gerwurztraminer, very refreshing and loaded with tropical fruit flavors and exotic spice. The wine makes for a wonderful aperitif, and also goes well with some mild spicy food. I actually prefer drinking this wine all by itself. I give the Gundlach Bundschu Gerwurztraminer 2013  91 Points. I saw a Tweet on this wine from Tim Fish, Wine Spectator wine reviewer: “It really shows what California can do with Gewurzt in the right hands and the right vintage.”

J Lohr 2012 Arroyo Seco Monterey Chardonnay – Safeway $9.90

This is one of the specials currently at Safeway and I paid $9.90 a bottle, buying a mixed six pack. Overall, the J Lohr winery, a family-owned winery in Paso Robles, does a nice job with their big production wines. Suggested retail price on the 2012 Arroyo Seco Monterey Chardonnay is $14. Checking the J Lohr Website, I see that the 2013 vintage of this exact wine is listed for sale on their online wine shop. Remember, 2012 was a banner year and maybe J Lohr unloaded inventory to the Safeway. Janelle is taking charge of this review. “I think this a great everyday drinking Chardonnay. It has enough oak to satisfy me. It is not big and creamy, so just right for a cocktail wine. 87 Points”

J Lohr Chardonnay 2102

J Lohr Chardonnay – oaky but not overdone

Viña Real Crianza 2009 – Costco $10.99

There is a huge supply of the Viña Real at the So. San Francisco Costco. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate gives it 91 Points. It is a very mellow and mild wine. It is a bit a too light for my palate. I did not find it to be a good representative of the Tempranillo wines of Rioja. I won’t be going back to buy more of this wine. There are plenty of good Tempranillo wines from Rioja for around $10 or so. Maybe it was an off day, but am going with 85 Points.

Vina Real

Viña Real, a bit too mild for  a Tempranillo from Rioja

Wine bar opens in Burlingame

A new wine bar opened last month in Burlingame on the corner of Howard and Park Ave. It is called H29 Coffee and Wine Bar.  You guessed it, it is named after Highway 29, the road that runs through the Napa Valley. The wine bar is a combination of a coffee shop, beer bistro, and wine bar. They do serve lunch and dinner along with their coffee treats in the a.m. We tried H29 other day at happy hour. They have several wines on tap. On Tap wines are not new.  They became popular about 2 years ago and the popularity continues to grow with more wineries offering on tap wines for restaurants. We tried the Miner Sauvignon Blanc for $6. It looked to be about a 5-ounce pour. I would love to see a real wine bar in Burlingame like Nectar, but that closed a couple of years ago. H29 is okay but a wine bar should have several choices and offer wines from all over the world. The good wine bars have those wine dispensers that keep the wine fresh and free of oxidation. H29 Coffee and Wine Bar is worth a try for both coffee, wine, and dining.


How safe is your wine?

how safe is your wine

I love this cartoon by Tom Meyers –

The Napa earthquake got us thinking again about the “Big One.”  The USGS says there is a 90% chance of an earthquake in Northern California of at least 7.5 magnitude within the next 30 years. How safe is your wine from the “Big One?”

How is your earthquake kit and preparedness? Do you have enough food and water to last a week?  And like the cartoon, will your wine be safe in an earthquake, and will you have enough wine to get your nerves through at least a few days or weeks? In the Napa earthquake on Sunday, countless bottles of wine fell off shelves and shattered.

Wine, of course, is not the most important thing to worry about in earthquake protection, but you might as well put it on the list of things to check.  My garage happens to be the safest place in my home. We recently had our garage rebuilt and the city had us put in a huge foundation, anchor bolts, brace bolts, rafter bolts, and so much more.  With my wine cooler, I went one important step further. I anchored the unit to my wall studs. I have a considerable investment in my wine both in money and in nostalgia. I would hate for any of my special wines to be undrinkable from a fall or spoiled because of improper storage. Nothing is certain in a big quake; all you can do is prepare to the fullest.

So with the Napa earthquake fresh in mind, get that earthquake kit up-to-date and have a family plan for communication. Then fix that wine cellar of yours so you can sit back and toast to health and happiness when the big one hits. If you don’t have a wine cellar, maybe it’s time to jump up your wine hobby a few notches.  Here is a link on a quick “How To” on aging and storing wine.

Thanks to cartoonist Tom Meyers for giving me permission to use his cartoon. Could that be Vintage Wine Taster Ray with the spilled wine?


Two Trader Joe’s wine specials

Tj syrah

Wine Picks of the Week Last week I received my Trader Joe's Fearless Flyer, which touted two wines with the TJ label. I found both of these Trader Joe's wine specials at the Millbrae store, so I purchased both and tried them last week. I found them … [Continue reading]

More on – Interview with COO Benoit Vialle

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote an article on Wine Values & Bargains about and its possibilities as an online wine shop for finding good wine deals.  If you missed that article you should go back and read it so you know how … [Continue reading]

Pascual Toso Malbec 2013

Pascual Toso 2013 Malbec

Pascual Toso Malbec 2013 - $8.59 Costco I have been reviewing the Pascual Toso Malbec since the 2006 vintage and I always look forward to spotting the latest vintage on the wine shelves. Last week at Costco I found the Pascual Toso Malbec 2013 for … [Continue reading]

Why you should go to Family Winemakers at San Mateo Event Center

This is the old mainstay venue of the Family Winemakers, Fort Mason Pavilion. This year it will be at the San Mateo Event Center

  I really enjoy going to the Family Winemakers event, and in years past it has been in San Francisco at Fort Mason. Fort Mason parking is tough and traffic on a Sunday is a nightmare. This year the Family Winemakers event is right in my own … [Continue reading]