Saturday, January 31, 2009

Flights for this weekend

Flight $15 (2 oz pours) half glass
1 Choice of whites
featuring Saxon Brown Semillon
2 *?* wild card *?*

3 Sol Rouge "The Gypsy" 2006 Lake Co. ($23.99) 5 10
GSM + a bit of Petite Sirah
4 Vina Cobos La Garto Merlot 2006 ($17.99) 4 8
last call on a great value from Paul Hobbs Argentina project
5 The Guardian Cabernet 2007 - Sonoma ($12.99) 3 6
Sonoma elegance on a budget

Special Pinot Noir Flight $15 (Ends Feb. 1) half glass
1 Thousand Foot Pinot Noir 2006 RRV ($15.99) 3.5 7
2 Saxon Brown Black Kite Vinyard ($37.99) 8 16
3 Black Kite Cellars Kite's Rest ($43.99) 10 20

By The Glass Extras half glass
Urban Uco Malbec Blend 2006
Leese-Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Napa Cellars Chardonnay 2006
Nickel & Nickel Truchard Chardonnay 2006 8 16

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Southern France

I hope you can join us as we explore southern France tonight. In addition to learning about the wine from the region, we'll taste the following wines and pair them with cheeses:

Tavel 2007 Viognier
Tourelles 2004 Gigondas
Gaussen 2004 Bandol
Chat. Gigonan 2003 Chateauneuf du Pape
La Croix Belle 2006 Champ de Coq

Friday, January 23, 2009


We Have Some 2006 Paraduxx Napa Valley Red (Duckhorn's interesting blend winery.) Very Limited.

Flight for today through Sunday

Flight $20 (approx. 2 glasses total) half glass
1 Choice of whites

2 *?* wild card *?*

3 Ed's Red 2006 A.D., Napa
3 6
84% Merlot , 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Syrah
4 Vina Cobos Malbec 2007 - Argentina
4.5 9
Paul Hobbs Argentina - WA 91 pts.
5 Epicurea Bordeaux 2005 - France
7 14
Côtes de Bourg (Right Bank) 80% Merlot, 20% Malbec
…possibly other tastes…

By The Glass Extras (more available) half glass
Urban Uco Malbec Blend 2006
Leese-Fitch Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Napa Cellars Chardonnay 2006
Opolo Mountain Zinfandel 2006 - Paso Robles 5 10

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Cass Winery Event details...

Bryan Cass and Lindsay Dodson-Brown will present the following wines:

2008 Viognier
2008 Roussanne
2006 Grenache
2006 Syrah
2006 Rockin' One
2005 Cabernet Sauvignon
2006 Petite Sirah

The whites will be barrel tastes and not for sale because they are going to be bottled in February. This is a great lineup!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Restaurant Week Begins

Starting today through Thursday, we are participating in Newport Beach Restaurant week. Why? We think it's a good way to get some exposure to foodies out there. We're offering something a bit special, five wines paired with cheeses. Some of the wines are new and some are familiar to regulars, but the pairing will be a delightful experience. Reservations recommended.

1. Sol Rouge Gypsy Blanc 2007, Lake Co., CA paired with Purple Haze Goat Cheese

A classic white Rhone-style blend, handmade by Bryan Kane, is 48% Marsanne, 48% Roussanne and 4% Viognier and is paired with Purple Haze (California); a fresh rich goat’s milk cheese infused with lavender buds and wild harvested fennel pollen.

2. Napa Cellar Chardonnay 2007, Napa Valley, CA paired with Ossau-Iraty Sheep’s Milk Cheese

A Chardonnay that is not over-oaked but has great fruit flavors and a nice layer of citrus acidity and is paired with Ossau-Iraty (France); a firm cheese made from raw sheep’s milk that has a flavor that is sweet with refined hits of olive, hazelnut and fig.

3. Sol Rouge "The Gypsy" 2006 Lake Co., CA paired with Mimolette Cow’s Milk Cheese

A red Rhone blend sourced from the top vineyards in Lake County is Grenache, Mourvedre, Petite Syrah and Syrah and is paired with Mimolette (France), a semi-hard cow’s milk that has a slightly sweet, nutty flavor and a tang on the finish.

4. Palmina Dolcetto 2007, Santa Barbara Co., CA paired with Piave Vecchio Cow’s Milk Cheese

Dolcetto, the wine of the people of Italy’s northern Piemonte region, is loosely translated as “the little sweet one”, not because it is a sweet wine (it is dry), but because of its giving and easygoing nature. It is paired with Piave Vecchio (Italy); a magnificent cow’s milk cheese that has the toasted walnut character of Gruyere and the caramel-like sweetness of an aged Gouda, and it resembles a cross between Asiago and Reggiano in texture with slightly fruity flavor overtones.

5. Murphy-Goode All In Claret 2004 Alexander Valley, CA paired with Pittig Gouda Cow’s Milk Cheese

A Bordeaux style blend, handpicked from the top lots of Alexander Valley, is 71% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21.3% Merlot and 4.7% Petit Verdot and is paired with Gouda Pittig (Holland); a 4-year aged, full-bodied gouda with tiny white specks that add a unique textural crunch to the pronounced flavors of caramel and butterscotch.

Friday, January 16, 2009

Misleading Advertising

In a previous newsletter, I described a visit to BevMo last month. I was surprised to see prices that were the same as the Lab but advertised as a "sale" price. This seemed deceptive to me because their sale price was my regular price. Now I get an email in my inbox with the following sale price of $15.99 ($6 off!)

We've sold Napa Cellars Chardonnay from the beginning for $14.99 ($1 LESS than the BevMo BIG DEALS ad.)
Don't always believe what the corporate big box retailer tells you.

I'm sure BevMo's cost is lower than ours - they probably buy palates of wine at deep discount. But we want to be competitive at the Lab so you will consider us for your wine purchases. We hope our selectiveness adds to the value we provide. We never want you to bring home a disappointing bottle or drink a poor glass of wine.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Italy redux - wines to taste today

We learned much about southern Italy last evening. We have some wines left over. Drop by and taste some of them. Here is the flight for tonight:
Choice of whites - including a great Chardonnay blend from Sicily: Duca Di Montalbo 2003

Addamanera Poggio Di Bartolone Syrah IGT 2003
5 10
Papa Primitivo Campania, Italy DOC 2004
11 22
reg. $51.99, tonight $44.99
Milazzo Nero D’ Avola Sicily, Italy IGT 2001
10 20
reg. $46.99, tonight $42.99
Las Olas Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 4 8
$11.99 - portion of proceeds to charity

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Flight for today through Thursday

Flight $20 (2 oz pours, approx. 2 glasses total) half glass
choice of whites followed by

Jasci & Marchesani Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2006 5 10
Mounts Syrah Dry Creek Valley 2005 5 10
Matrix Zinfandel Sonoma County 2005 4 8
Las Olas Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 4 8
$11.99 - portion of proceeds to charity
…possibly other tastes…

Wines from Class 1

Thanks to Sarah and Steve and a great group of participants we had a good first class in the introduction to wine course. We will keep improving the experience, I only wish we had more room! Here are the wines from Monday evening:

Toad Hollow Amplexus Cremant Brut N.V. (non vintage) - Limoux, France $15.99

Martin Codax Albarino 2006 - Spain $13.99

Napa Cellars Chardonnay 2006 - Napa Valley $14.99

Cambria Single Clone 23 Pinot Noir 2005 - Santa Maria Valley $29.99 (this was a distributor closeout, it is normally $42)

Kenneth Volk Merlot El Pomar 2004 - Paso Robles $21.99 (unfortunately sold out and no more available)

Sol Rouge Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 - Lake Co., CA $29.99

Friday, January 9, 2009

Flight for today through Saturday

Flight $20 half glass
1 choice of whites: including Epiphany Roussanne (only 1 case available and going fast!)

2 Cambria 2005 Pinot Noir Single Clone ($29.99) 7 14

(we are cycling through the three clones.)

3 Sol Rouge Gypsy ($23.99) 5 10

GSM + a bit of Petite Sirah

4 Zaca Mesa Z Cuvee ($16.99) 4 8

9% Grenache 3% Mourvèdre 5% Syrah 3% Cinsaut
(this winery is back in a big way and this wine is delicious and a great value)

5 Murphy-Goode All In 2004 - Napa ($29.99)
(for you big Cab fans!)


Sunday - the flight will change to the Full Moon Sale wines. Here is the great linup:

Full Moon price

Matrix Zinfandel Sonoma County 2005 $16.99 $13.51
Mounts Petite Sirah Valley 2005 $32.99 $25.52
Mounts Syrah Dry Creek Valley 2005 $23.99 $18.37
Aureo Taburno Falanghina 2007 $24.99 $19.13
Jasci & Marchesani Montepulciano d'Abruzzo 2006
$23.99 $18.39

Welcome Lindsay Dodson-Brown!

Yolanda had a great business opportunity that requires her 100% attention. We will miss her at the Lab and wish her the best in her endeavors. I hope she will visit us often!

New to the Lab is Lindsay Dodson-Brown. Lindsay's passion is artisan cheese. She has studied to be a cheese maker and is working towards running a creamery in the (hopefully) near future. She has worked at Cass Winery in Paso Robles and knows wine. We're looking forward to learning from Lindsay and enjoying her company at the Lab.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Flight for today

Flight $20 (2 oz pours, approx. 2 glasses total)
choice of whites

Cambria 2005 Pinot Noir Single Clone ($29.99)

Domaine Singla 2005 - Passe Temps - ($15.99)
90% Grenach, 10% Syrah

Januik Red Blend 2005 ($18.99)

Finca Villacreces 2004 - Spain ($39.99)
Wine Advocate/Robert Parker 95 pts.

Saxum Sold Out. A little CLIO left.

Our lucky allocation of Saxum is currently sold out - thanks for the response on this offer. To those who snapped these up, please give them about a year in the bottle to start approaching their peak.
Many of you tasted the CLIO last weekend. I'm getting one more 6-pack. If you want any, let me know ASAP before it is gone. This is the nature of great wine at a great price. These are awesome QPR wines (albeit, special occasion wines). In the every day wine category, more Urban Uco will be in by this Thursday or Friday. This too is limited and will not be available into February. When a wine is good, and at a fair price, it doesn't last long.

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Lompoc, Solvang, and Los Olivos

Heading up to Santa Rita Hills for tasting appointments with Ampelos Cellars (Peter & Rebecca Work) and Ken Brown Wines.

Highlights were Ampelos Grenache and (in the barrel) whites, Ken Browns Pinots and Syrahs (especially the 2004 Bien Nacido), and the whole lineup from Palmina (especially the Tritono.)

Sunday, Epiphany was a standout (including a great 06 Roussanne which I have 1 case of for the Lab and the 05 Revelation). Stolpman was good as always. I'll try to add my notes to CellarTracker.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Wine Flight for today thorough Sunday

(as long as the wines last...)
$20. Choice of whites followed by....

2 Saddlerock Pinot Noir 2006 -Central Cst. ($13.99)

3 CLIO 2006 - Jumilla, Spain ($44.99)

70 Mourvedre, 30 Cabernet Sauvignon

4 Tobin James Zinfandel "Ballistic" 2006 ($15.99)

5 Volunteer Cabernet Sauv. 2006 - Napa ($27.99)

Nice chard @ John's