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Sonoma County Trio 
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Merlot
February 15, 2017
The other day Sean pulled up a survey of wine customers, asking how they make wine buying decisions. "By tasting it" was the winner by far with a 60% affirmative. Coming in a respectable 3rd, with 31% affirmative, was wine merchant recommendation. Like today's personal wine picks. So let's see, X thousand emails sent, 31% ordering...oh my gosh we better get more!E

Enjoy our Sonoma County Trio of wine recommendations today.
Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Merlot. Makes a nifty 6 pack (good deal) or 12 pack (GREAT deal). Scroll down. But first:

Tasting Events
Great Grape Study: TEMPRANILLO
This Thursday, February 16, 5 to 8 P.M.
Our Great Grape Study series continues with a tasting of the Spanish grape Tempranillo. We have Rioja, Ribera del Duero, Toro covered in our five wine flight. Includes a rare Tempranillo Blanco. $15/tasting.  
More info and the wine line-up HERE.    
Is It $15? Or is it $50?  
This Friday, February 17, 5 to 8 P.M. 
The "15 or 50?" tasting is one we present once a year. It's always fun AND interesting.
We will serve you three pairs of wine blind.
Same grape/blend each time.
In each pair, one wine costs about $15 and the other about $50.
Can you tell which is which? See if you can guess them all. It's harder than you might think.  $15/tasting
More "15 or 50?" info is HERE
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Good golly we love Sonoma Country wines. Wouldn't be a complete California wine shop without them. Our neighbor to the west does it all, from the ethereal to the bodacious. We have a little of both in our Sonoma County Trio. Check out our case and half case recommendations below. Cin Cin! 
ALMA de CATTLEYA Chardonnay
Sonoma County 2015 
Cattleya Winery is the creation of Bibiana Gonzalez Rave. In just 10 years (she moved from Bordeaux to California in 2007) she has become a winemaking star in Napa and Sonoma.

Today we recommend her fantastic value Chardonnay, Alma de Cattleya.
It's a low malolactic (not buttery), lightly oaked Chardonnay that showcases the grape's "crunchy" side. Boasts a great intensity of fruit (citrus and pears especially) with citrus blossom, mineral/crushed rock and toasty pie crust notes.
It's a Chardonnay that non-Chard drinkers will enjoy
(Wine Bar tasters have proclaimed, "I don't usually like Chardonnay, but this is GOOD!") Deft touch of French oak and lees-stirring (lees are the yeasty leftovers of fermentation left in the barrel during aging) balance the bright acidity. Fresh cracked crab is a great match.
What a value, and it's yours for under $20/bottle on the case special (see below)   

VIVIER Pinot Noir

Sonoma Coast 2014
Stephane Vivier, born and raised in Burgundy, has spent most of his winemaking career in Napa and Sonoma. He makes California style Pinots with Burgundian sensibility.

Stephane's 2014 Sonoma Coast Pinot captures all the grape's qualities:
wild cherries, dried red rose petals, violets, soil, pie spice, raspberry. Has a welterweight boxer's strength, agility, grace and intensity. Boasts loads of flavor with appropriate restraint (13.2% alcohol, aged in once-used French oak).  When we pour it at the wine bar, we first decant it for a half hour to open it up. Makes a big difference. We recommend you do the same.  
Buy Vivier Pinot Noir here   

Bennett Valley, Sonoma 2013  $35/bottle
While the Cattleya and Vivier champion restraint, the Frostwatch Merlot theme is ripeness, concentration and "hedonism." (all bow to the great R.P.) Frostwatch owns and farms their Merlot vines in Sonoma's Bennett Valley, just south of Santa Rosa. In 2013 they must have let the grapes hang extra long because the wine is very dark and ripe with low acid and smooth tannins. Smell and taste chocolate covered black cherries, mulberries, cola, apple pie spices, toasty oak. Ripe and unctuous, the varietal character is concealed, making this a good choice if you like smooth, ripe Cabernets. Pair this with roast or grilled red meat, smoky and garlic-y dishes. 

Sonoma County Trio Mixed Case
4 bottles of each wine above
$325  (15% discount included)  ORDER HERE

Sonoma County Trio Half Case
2 bottles of each: $180  (5% discount included)  ORDER HERE
Email replies. phone orders and walk-ins only!
Reply to this email, call us toll-free at 877-322-2576,   
or just come on in to purchase. THANK YOU!

You want to learn more about wine
but aren't sure how? 
Books are great, as are wine classes and certification programs.

However, this is what I like to do.
Check out once a day for a few minutes of wine knowledge. Read their "Latest News," "Today's Region" and "Today's Grape" for a quick little wine study. Take it one step further and find a wine from that region/that grape, enjoy it, and re-read the entry.
Be sure to find where the wine is from on a wine map (easily found online). The map part I find to be VERY helpful in remembering the wine.
Or go the other way. Whatever wine you choose for the night, look it up on winesearcher's region and/or grape guide (their tip-top task bar).

One night, one wine I suggest. Let the wine soak in in more ways than one.
The information sticks in the noggin better if you take it slow.
And where do you get these wines? Hmmm, let me get back to you on that. 
All the best.
Drink more Carmenere. Dan 
Daniel Dawson, Sean Nelson,
Richard Phoenix, Scott Rittenhouse 

(707) 226-1378    TOLL FREE 877-322-2576