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Latest episode of Wine Library TV with Peter Weygandt, part 2.

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Latest episode of Wine Library TV with Peter Weygandt, part 1.

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weygandt-logoThe newest wine store in DC is also the best and one of the best in the United States. New York has Chambers Street Wines and Astor Wines, LA has the Wine Exchange, Berkeley has Kermit Lynch — and now Weygandt Wines put DC on the map with a truly great wine store.

There isn’t another store in the United States that has this selection of wines — the whole Weygandt portfolio under one roof. Some might say it is limited to the Weygandt portfolio — but that is the beauty of it. You won’t find everything here, but it isn’t about finding everything — it’s about finding a selection of items you won’t find at any other wine store. As just one example, there isn’t another wine store in the U.S that has the whole Gérard Gauby porfolio — only in DC. Obviously you won’t find any domestic wines in the store, but the selection is amazing considering it is from the portfolio of a single importer — and the selection of French wines is outstanding. It won’t be the only wine destination on my map, but it will be one of the most trusted and reliable.

Peter Weygandt is one of the most trusted importers in the world — don’t trust me read the article in Slate — I have 3 go to importers — Louis/Dressner, Kermit Lynch and Weygandt. A wine with his name on it brings a certain sense of quality and security. They have a good selection at a variety of price points — perhaps very limited under $10 — but a very good selection at $15 — and it’s worth a little extra to know you are getting a treasure instead of a bottle of plonk. They taste wines each and every day from 4-8 pm — and staff are super friendly, helpful and knowledgeable. Peter Weygandt is often expected to be in the store on Saturdays. He helped me pick out some wines — he was extremely approachable, modest, sincere and generous with his time and knowledge.

This really is a gem of a store — and something very unique and wonderful to DC. A must visit.

Weygandt Wines just announced an offer on their site for a 25% off a purchase when you sign up for the email list — they usually just send a weekly email detailing the Saturday tasting line up and any other special events or sales….to sign up go to http://www.weygandtwines.com/ and click “Join our email list” and you’ll receive the coupon in the confirmation email.

Outstanding value wines from France, Italy, Austria, Germany, Spain, Australia and Slovenia with a large selections scoring 90+ points from The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator and Burghound.

Most of their wines are biodynamic. Biodynamics is based on the 1920s teachings of Rudolf Steiner, an Austrian scientist and philosopher who applied astronomy and homeopathic treatments to farming. The practice is holistic, blending philosophy and spirituality with agriculture. Biodynamic winemakers approach the vineyard as a self-sustaining ecosystem and view the soil as a living organism. So, biodynamic wine is not only 100% organic, in addition, the grower has gone beyond to try to bring the farming process more closely in tune with nature.

Since 1987, Peter Weygandt has been an importer of French wines and has gained a national and international reputation for the quality of his selections and his portfolio of top “boutique” French wines. His wines are a near constant feature of top wine journals including Robert M. Parker, Jr.’s The Wine Advocate, Wine Spectator and Burghound. In recent years he has expanded his portfolio to include Italian, German, Austrian, Australian, and Spanish wines, more than 100 producers in all.

Weygandt Wines is the next natural step for the Weygandt-Metzler portfolio; to create a retail store dedicated to showcasing all of the diverse selections, value, and quality of Peter Weygandt Selections, from both the most well-known viticultural regions, and from lesser-known regions and up-and-coming producers.

3519 Connecticut Avenue, NW, Suite 10
Washington, DC 20008
(202) 362-9463

Related posts:
Les Aphillanthes Côtes du Rhône
Domaine Alary Cairanne La Font d’Estevenas
Mourges du Gres Terre d’Argence Blanc 2007

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img_1008This wine is a blend of 80 percent Marsanne (structure and length) and 20 percent Roussanne (roundness and aromatics) from vines that average 40 years in age. Long before it was sold as Saint Joseph, the wine from this renowned parcel was sold as Vin des Oliviers. The wine is produced by brothers Pierre and Jean Gonon, who work their 9 hectares of vines situated around Mauves, Tournon and St Jean de Muzols, birthplace of the appellation St Joseph.

The soils are fertilized only with their own composts and plowed for aeration. Only natural treatments are used in the vineyard and yields are kept very low by short pruning and green harvesting in July. Grapes are harvested only by hand and fermentation takes place only in the presence of indigenous yeasts. The brothers don’t follow the current trend toward single vineyard bottlings at the expense of the “entry level” cuvées, instead the Gonon brothers uphold the best virtues of the appellation system and draw from all of their historic parcels, each lending a distinct character, to craft only a single white and a single red Saint Joseph cuvée.

Production of the Pierre Gonon Blanc is about 900 cases. It is golden straw in color. Apple, apricot, lemon peel and cut hay on the nose. Stone fruits, pomelo grapefruit, almond and a touch of tangerine and fennel. Stoney minerality, creamy, rich and a bit fat — unctuous with beautiful glycerin-viscosity. Well-balanced with soft but lingering acidity and a prolonged finish. The richness and lowish acidity help make this age gracefully and have been put in the same class as the rich styled White Burgundies from the Côtes de Beaune. At $30 a bottle, this wine is not inexpensive especially given the current economic situation. But it is a lot wine for the money and a really lovely bottle of wine. The last white wine I enjoyed this much was the Pierre Gaillard Condrieu.

I purchased this wine from Chambers Street Wines. They focus on organic, natural and biodynamic wines. I have been a long time fan and ordered from them on a fairly regular basis over the last few years. Since I was in New York, I figured it was worth a visit to their store. Chambers Street may have the largest inventory of Louis/Dressner Selections in the United States, so that alone is worth the trip. They also have some hard to find small producers — and they obviously take a lot of care in selecting which wines they carry. They carry a hard to find producer from the Rhône — Domaine Richaud. Always a good supply of wines from Catherine & Pierre Breton, Pierre Gonon, Sylvie Esmonin…and the list goes on.

I really enjoyed visiting the store and chatting with John, one of their wine merchants. He spent a good 30-40 minutes with me. He was friendly, helpful, enthusiastic and knowledgeable — and I greatly appreciated the attention. A great store and a great wine, true highlights from my week.

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I have been trying to manage my dwindling inventory. I have been having a hard time imagining the day when I didn’t have this on hand — it brought a sense of panic. My separation anxiety is now under control, at least for the time being…

I stopped in at Calvert Woodley tonight as they have a 20% off their entire Robert Kacher inventory, which was reason enough to get a little excited. Then I spotted a few bottles of Whispering Angel. Turns out they found a distributor, previously they imported directly and they just didn’t want to keep such a large inventory on hand, but now it is back in stock. They currently have 2 cases left of the 2006.

Chateau D’Esclans releases their wines later than most wineries — and I believe the 2007 was released in late June. Calvert Woodley expects to have the 2007 in stock by mid to late September.

The wine can be purchased for $19.99 a bottle at their store in DC or online at their website.

Read my original review of the 2006 Chateau D’Esclans Whispering Angel Rosé.

More rosé wines:
Lopez de Heredia Rioja Tondonia Rosé 1998
Mas des Bressades Rosé
Prieto Picudo Preto Rosado 2008

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Known as “the Master of the Veneto,” Giuseppe Quintarelli is considered by many to be the best producer of Amarone della Valpolicella. The estate dates back to 1924 and Giuseppe has been in charge since the mid-1950s.

He is an absolute traditionalist, not having changed the techniques set by his father. He ages his Amarone for seven years in Slavonian oak “botti”. The resulting wine is one of the most complex wines produced in Italy.

Giuseppe is a known for his ability to create great wines in off vintages and legendary wines in good vintages. Many have tried to recreate his wines, but he is beyond imitation.

Primofiore is the entry level wine for Quintarelli. It is made from first-press juice, meaning that after the free-run juice is siphoned off for the higher-end wines, the remaining grape matter is gently pressed. The wine includes all of the varietals Quintarelli grows, including: Corvina Veronese, Corvinone, Cabernet Sauvignon and is rumored to include Cab Franc. The grapes are partially dried prior to fermentation and complete their ripening during a period of storage in wooden boxes. A technique that produces a more full-bodied and voluptuous character ( though surprisingly not very complex).

Violet, plum, dark current and spice on the nose. The wine’s treatment with Amarone lends rich flavors of cherry, olives, plum, spices, and oak — and there is also some green herbaciousness (which seems to validate the Cab Franc rumors……). Great balance and weight. Great purity — dry, nice minerality, acidity and tannins with a solid finish.

I hesitate to label this a great food wine, but it would pair well with many dishes and make for a memorable meal. I would pair this with lamb, duck, pork — or pasta.

This is not the easiest wine to find, but certainly worth the effort.

Italian Wine Merchants has a large selection of Quintarelli wines — including those well above any price point in my budget. Berkeley Wine Company also has a lot of his wines — and many of them are on sale, including the Primofiore.


Related posts:
Giuseppe Quintarelli Valpolicella Classico Superiore 1999
Quintarelli Bianco Secco Ca’ del Merlo, 2005

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astor.jpgAstor Wines is a great store. I have not been in years (and they have since moved to a new location), but continue to order from them online — their prices are very competitive — and they take great care in the packaging when shipping, wrapping each bottle in a nice little bubble wrap apron. They also include a custom print out of tasting notes from their merchants for the wines you ordered. Astor doesn’t push wines based on Wine Spectator or Advocate ratings — they use their merchants tasting notes, which is certainly a welcome change of pace.

They have a strong selection of natural, organic and biodynamic wines — mainly from France and Italy. I just got some Bourgeuil “Nuits d’Ivresse” Breton 2004 and some Sainte Epine VdP, Herve Souhat 2005 — and also just ordered some of Gulfi’s wines, a upcoming producer from Sicily.

They have a studio, kitchen and gallery in their new space — and are hosting “in-language” seminars (meaning French wines will be presented in French).

We need more wine stores like Astor Wine and Spirits.

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I have been looking for this for quite a while — yes, it was like $70 a bottle when released — but still the best deal around.

The Wine Exchange just got an allocation — this will probably be the last of it — I am sure it will be sell out very quickly.

You can buy it here.

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This news was just posted on the message boards of Robert Parker’s website and wanted to pass it along. Act quickly as this bill will be heard on Monday!

Maryland, the home of the Baltimmore Orioles, great crab cakes and Robert Parker, Jr & The Wine Advocate is considering direct shipping legislation that would allow Marylanders to purchase and have shipped to them wine from both in-state and out-of-state wineries and retailers.

The House Economic Matters Committee will hear testimony on HB 1260 on February 18th.


Free the Grapes has created a simple way for Marylanders to send a message to the committee members


Maryland was one of the earliest states to enact felony laws against direct shippers before enacting a purposefully unworkable direct shipping law after the Supreme Court decision. Making lots of noise and getting committee members to notice the will of the people regarding this bill would be quite appropriate given the history of this state on direct shipping.

Wholesalers will come out guns blazing against this bill claiming children will die, the state will lose revenue and the three tier system in in jeapordy. It’s all false. We have free trade with China, Mexico and even Canada!! It’s time to open up the Maryland borders to allow wine. You can buy a gun online and have it shipped to you — but wine is illegal?

If you live in Maryland, let the committee members know you support this bill.

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bio-pic.jpgWho is Gary Vanerchuk? That is VAY NUR CHUCK……according to wikipedia:

Gary Vaynerchuk was born in Babruysk, U.S.S.R. (today Belarus) on November 14, 1975 and came to America in 1978. He is the Director of Operations at the Wine Library store in Springfield Township, Union County, New Jersey. He has been featured in The Wall Street Journal and GQ. He is also the host of Wine Library TV, which is a video blog that Gary hosts most weekdays. He tastes and reviews a variety of wines during the show. Vaynerchuk and winelibrarytv.com have also garnered national attention by being spotlighted on Late Night with Conan O’Brien on Wednesday, August 1st, 2007 and featured in Time Magazine.

See Gary on Conan — this is must see TV.

He was also recently on the Ellen Show. Watch Gary on Ellen.

You can also see him on his internet TV show — Wine Library TV (over 400 episodes and counting!). The show is filled with his passion and enthusiasm –it is educational but also extremely entertaining. He has a whole host of fans (Vaniacs) — and he really is the greatest thing since the screwcap. I subscribe to the podcast and I can’t imagine my ipod without it.

He is currently running a Bring the Thunder Contest. He is also the head of wine operations at the Wine Library — the best wine store on the East Coast — I order from the online and need to make a road trip to the actual store in the near future — I am just waiting on an invite from Gary.

Whatever your passion, we should all try to match the energy, passion, wit and humor of Gary V. He is a one of a kind, without equal and he gets 99 points in my book.

Actually, I am going to now give Gary 100 points. I ordered a couple of bottles of Antonelli Sagrantino di Montefalco. It arrived in a single bottle shipper containing 1bottle. I called the guys at the store and they didn’t seem to believe me. So I left a comment on an episode of Wine Library TV and Gary personally emailed me (while on vacation) and I replied with what had happened and he had his people fix the situation. Took me at my word and fixed the situation. He gets up to 1,000 comments on an episode — he really does read them all — and he made the effort to reach out to me. I continue to be totally impressed by him as a personality in the biz, but also as a stand up guy. Kudos Gary — you are a gem.

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1041749xThis wine retails for $75 dollars — it is on sale at K&L for $34.99. I have not had the 05, but have had the 03 — and it is stunning. Assume the 05 is as well based on the review below from Parker.

Available at K&L Wines — view sale offer for the 2005 Ambullneo.

92 points from Robert Parker

“The dark ruby/purple-colored 2005 Pinot Noir Bulldog Reserve (65% from the Solomon Hills Vineyard and the rest from Bien Nacido and a handful of other small plots) is a 500-case cuvee offering beautiful black cherry, tapenade, strawberry, and loamy soil aromas, medium to full body, and superb structure and length. With good acidity and moderate alcohol (by Californian standards) of 13%, this Burgundian-styled Pinot should evolve nicely for a decade.” (Aug. 2007)

The 2005 Bulldog is a classic representation of what I feel the 2005 vintage was all about. In this wine, there is a certain elegance and refinement usually associated with the great wines of the old world – with the extraction that is undeniably California (or Burgundy in 2003). On the nose, it is brimming with red fruit – ripe Bing cherries and wild strawberries fill the nose supported by subtle nuances of earth and cooking spices. Once in the mouth, this pinot is pure and clean due to the lower alcohol, excellent natural acidity and evenness of the ripening. The wine punctuates the palate with cherries, red plums and strawberry rhubarb that is strengthened with hints of black truffle, white pepper and touch of cinnamon that extends to a long finish that rides on vibrant acidity.

December 2008 Update
This is back in stock and on sale at K&L, but is even cheaper at the Wine Exchange,  meanwhile The Wine Specialist in DC is selling it for $80 a bottle…

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flame.gifOK, so 2008 is only a month in the books — but there are some great deals and finds to note. To date, there have been 3 offers that top my wine list.

Clos de Siete at Wine Exhange — $14.99 a bottle — I would consider this to be a great value if it were priced at $20 a bottle.

Newton Unfiltered Chadonnay at BottleBuys — at $36.50 –as good, and perhaps better, than the Ridge Chardonnay that was #2 wine of the year from last year. Still 138 bottles remaining at BottleBuys…..don’t miss out. I expect this wine will be one of the top 10 white releases for the year and will be on auction sites at 2-3 times this price at the end of the year. Other retailers are already selling this above $60 a bottle.

Loring Pinots at TwentyTwenty Wine Merchants — as part of the Winter Sale — $34.99 a bottle — limited and hard to find — retails at $50 a bottle.

Other great finds?

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logo5.gifGreat winter sale at TwentyTwenty — including Pinots from Loring Wine Company — very sought after and difficult to find for $34 a bottle — $10 dollars off retail (if you can even find it anywhere else).

Check out the Sale at TwentyTwenty.

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This would certainly make almost anyone’s top 10 list of top California Chardonnay. Newton’s Chardonnay is unfiltered and fermented with wild yeast, native to Newton’s Carneros vineyards — still fairly small production and really a well made wine — I think the last 3 vintages have all been rated 95 or above by Parker. Parker calls it on of the best and longest-lived California Chardonnays.

Beautiful golden straw in color. More impressive (and complex) in the mouth than on the nose, soft citrus with some green apple, pear and a hint of jicama and almond, notes of mineral and wet stone — some exotic fruit, well balanced, nice acidity with a pure and long finish.

A great food wine for anything seafood or white meat — this would certainly enhance any meal — or be totally memorable on its own merits.

While I am not a fan of the Bush Administration. I would give them their props for 2 things — one of them is serving this wine at numerous official dinners. Recommended.

BottleBuys.com is selling this wine for $36.50 — (see product page on bottlebuys.com) — Wine Exchange had it for $42.99 — so you know under $40 is a great price. Certainly not an inexpensive wine, but availability is limited and demand is only going to increase. 20/20 Wines is selling it for $64.99 — so you really should take the opportunity to order from BottleBuys as the wine is somewhat limited and in high demand.

I expect this wine will be one of the top 10 white releases for the year and will be on auction sites at $60-$80 a bottle or more the end of the year.

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