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October 19, 2023

"It's more of a dry heat"

Five Rieslings (+ Alsace) Perfect for the Holidays!
I'd like to begin with a quick message about tonight's BYO Pinot Noir tasting. This is the second time we've hosted this event and both times we've filled all available slots. As a small business, this event is extremely important to us. The community building, generous sharing, and combination of both fun and education is inspiring and speaks to what we (you and us) have created here at Wines in Tandem. A big Thank You from both Emma and me. To those who have RSVPed, we'll see you tonight at 6pm, or a little before. 

Tasting Bar this Weekend
Riesling + Alsace
Friday 2-7pm, Sat + Sun 2-6pm
$15 tasting fee, refundable with 3 bottle purchase

First, I will clarify this is a DRY Riesling tasting. It's often believed that all Rieslings are sweet, but that centuries old style is fading fast. More producers in Germany are selling "trocken" or dry Rieslings because today's Riesling lovers want fresh, high acid wines with little to no sweetness, and more fruit notes than the smokey/rubbery and complex aromas from very traditional German producers.

For the Riesling lover in all of us, we invite you to come try a lineup of very delicious dry Riesling from around the world, including Germany, US, Australia and finally... France. We'll conclude the tasting with a few wines from Alsace, the next stop in our French wine journey, including Grand Cru Riesling, Sylvaner, Pinot Noir and Sparkling Pinot Noir.

This is a special tasting event with encouragement from Susana, the Wineaux columnist, and I will be pouring some vintage Riesling from my own cellar. A few of the wines are only available in limited supply so if you are interested in trying wines to buy, please aim to come on Friday or Saturday. 

The tasting list is quite long and a few too many wines to highlight in one already lengthy email, so I won't include all of the tasting notes here. However they will be available on the event page starting tomorrow: /events/Riesling-Alsace

Big things to be on the lookout for the next couple of weeks:

Events and Tastings
Many of you have asked about food and wine pairings, what are the wine club member-only special events, and how we can partner with local restaurants. Well, those ideas have come to fruition and we put together a fabulous menu that we will host at Mustard Seed, the excellent restaurant right next door!

If you are interested in a food and wine pairing of Burgundy wines and the delicious food and ambiance of Mustard Seed, please consider this a save the date. Formal menu and RSVP details to follow next week. 

What: The Wines of Burgundy paired with Chef-Select Four Course Dinner
Where: Mustard Seed Restaurant
When: Thursday, November 16th. 6pm - 8pm
Who: Limited to 10 guests

Holiday Planning

The holidays are fast approaching and we are excited to help you with your wine selections and gifting needs. Today we'll cover just a few of the topics that will help you get ready. 

Thanksgiving has long been a favorite day for wine lovers due to the emphasis on big groups of foodies with ample time to catch up while also removing the stigma of gift giving.  All that delicious, savory, salty, and buttery food calls for some truly incredible wines! 

So whether you celebrate a Thanksgiving or Friendsgiving or Harvest Fest, we've got you covered for wines to bring and share. Over the next few weekends we'll feature some great wines in the tasting room that are perfect for Autumnal meals, and wines that make a statement on Turkey day. White wine drinker? Start with the Riesling tasting this weekend! 


We are filling the shelves with some thoughtful and special wines to give for the holidays including Champagne, Napa reds, older vintages, and more. We're also ready to send gifts on your behalf to any address in California. If you'd like to spend a little time browsing and putting together special holiday orders, I recommend the By Appointment shopping now available Tuesday through Thursday. 

We look forward to the many tastings ahead and will continue to update our Tasting page with more details on our different themes: /wine-tasting-room. 

Mystery Wine

Oops! Last weekend's Mystery Wine was a pumpkin pie in my face. So many people got it right! Not that that is a bad thing, but more so that we didn't show the wine correctly.

What made this wine unique was the copper, onion skin color. A very very light rosé. But when you only pour a little bit of it in the glass, it looks like a white wine. Therefore no one thought it was a rosé and no one guessed the red wine grapes like Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon, Gamay, or Pinot Noir.

2021 Domaine De Reuilly Vin Gris ($24)

The correct guess was Pinot Gris, which translates to grey pinot, because the grapes are more grey and pink when fully ripe. In Reuilly, in the Upper Loire Valley, the handful of producers leave the fresh juice and skins in contact for a few hours after harvest to extract a LITTLE bit of color and make the wine more of a rosé than a typical white. 

Congrats to the folks who have earned a free tasting next time!  Nice job! Bo L, Manny M, Max C, Elisa L, Virginia P, Steven, Steven F, Toby D, Jonah, F, Liz K, Patrick K, Sara, and  Patricia C. 

Sidenote: since we have several people with free tasting backlogs because they also have free wine club tastings, or are purchasing three bottles at a time when they shop, in the future the Mystery Wine reward will be different, but more actionable. 

For now, all previous winners up to today have earned a free tasting. 

A Safe Place

It's hard to omit the news when writing a weekly newsletter. There's always something noteworthy, whether it's good or not-so-good. Last weekend, amidst the events happening in the Middle East and the reactions to that information thousands of miles away, our little wine shop and tasting room was a place where people came and talked about history, the tragedy of the current events, and how their personal communities were responding and adapting to the news. It was an honor to be a safe place for that discussion.  Hate has no place here at Wines in Tandem, and my heart goes out to all those affected by the attacks and retribution taking place in Israel and Gaza. 
On that note, we have some special things to prepare, and we'll get back to work. Hope to see you all soon.

Ryan and Emma

October 13th, 2023

"Second chance for loire valley wines!"

Wine Tasting this Weekend

If you missed the Loire Valley tasting last weekend then you really missed out.  Just kidding ... we'll be pouring a nearly identical tasting this weekend. The exception is swapping in a favorite Sancerre blanc for the Cheverny because we only have 1 bottle of the Cheverny left! 

Thanks for speaking up about the website as a wine tasting companion and how you use it to plan your visits to our shop.  We simplified the /wine-tasting page and made the tasting and event listings easier to follow. 
There are clear links for each tasting that include an upload of the tasting menu, so you can follow along at your seat (or at home). These changes are just the beginning as we continue to improve the tasting experience for our customers! 

Here's a sneak peak of the simplified tasting and event page as well as the tasting details for the Loire Valley wines: /events/loire-valley-2

Events Next Week

BYO Pinot Noir

Thursday, Oct 19th, 6-7:30pm.
The bring-your-own tasting is a very fun format where you bring a bottle of wine and get to taste all of the wines other people bring. We had a blast at the BYO Napa tasting in June and are excited to host another. There are just a few spots left for the next bring-your-own wine tasting.

No fee, just bring a nice bottle of Pinot Noir from California or Oregon, 2018 or prior vintage. 
RSVP by replying with your party size and the bottle you plan to bring.

Some small bites including crackers and cheese will be provided, but please plan to have a proper dinner before or after. 

Riesling and Alsace

October 20th - 22nd
Friday 2-7pm, Sat & Sun 2-6pm
$15 tasting fee.  No RSVPs required. 

Just in time for the temps to go up again! Earlier in the year Susana Leonardi, author of the Wineaux column in the Davis Enterprise, proposed we do a Riesling tasting before the holidays. She and I share a love of aromatic and crisp white wines, especially those which are excellent food pairing wines, and I immediately agreed. 
Thanks Susana for the idea, and promoting the tasting to your readers in the last few columns.  We can't wait to show off this amazing grape, which IS such a wonderful wine for Fall and the Thanksgiving table. 
We'll feature several Rieslings from around the world before concluding with a few Alsatian wines, since we are still in our France destination and Alsace is the home of French Riesling. Details about the Riesling tasting can be found here /events/Riesling-Alsace

Mystery Wine?

There wasn't a mystery wine last weekend, but the mystery wine will be back this weekend and we are returning to the 'guess the grape' format.

Cheers and see you in the shop!
Ryan and Emma

October 5th, 2023

"tasting magic in the 'garden of france'"

Let's go see some castles and taste great wine in the Val de Loire.
Oooh, I do love a Fall heat spike.  Crispy cool mornings with only a few hours of "Honey, can we turn on the A/C?". The real challenge is knowing what to wear. Nothing says I don't have a proper Fall wardrobe like sweating at 10am because my layers situation is all out of whack.

The FUN challenge of Fall (okay, Autumn!) is having the right wine on hand.  Is it white wine weather, or have we committed fully to reds? It is October, after all.  Well, we can explore those important questions and more this weekend with our new Tandem Tasting. 

New Wines in Stock

A quick public service announcement regarding all the new wines in stock. Each of our regional tours of France has brought us many delicious treasures in almost every style.  Last weekend in the south of France tasting, both the perfectly balanced sparkling J.Laurens Cremant de Limoux ($25) and the not-too-sweet Cave Abbe Rous Banyuls Rimage ($24) were eye-openers.  Come grab some for your next gathering!

Tasting Bar this Weekend

In our next tasting, we venture north in France to the fabulously rich and exciting Loire Valley, aka the Garden of France.  Arguably the most diverse region in the country, spanning nearly 200 miles from the Atlantic coast to the middle of the country, the Loire Valley is known primarily for its white wines grown on the ancient seafloor Kimmeridgian Limestone soils, but that's just one amazing expression of the many wine styles. Let's not overlook the reds made mostly of Cabernet Franc, and some wonderful Pinots, too. 

The tasting this weekend (and next) join us for nine featured wines that span the valley from east to west. Seeing how many of you read this email DURING the tastings, I'll include a bit more detail on each wine this time. On the bar we'll have:

Domaine Nicolas Brunet Vouvray Brut.  This small producer is in their 9th generation in Vouvray and is dedicated to the mastery of Chenin Blanc. We poured their dry white with great reward a few times this summer.  Their sparkling brut is next-level and should be a staple for anyone looking for a rich, fuller bodied bubbly.

Domaine du Salvard Cheverny.  The Delailles are a 5th generation family northwest of Tourainne in Cheverny, and they fashion a crisp yet complex white from Sauvignon Blanc blended with a splash of Chardonnay.  Sauvingon Blanc AND Chardonnay? But of course! Parisian bistro go-ers love Cheverny for its versatile citrus profile and aromas of sage that pairs with fresh seafood, rich sauces and, well, anything at a Parisian bistro. 

Domaine Villargeau Coteaux du Giennois ‘Les Abeilles’ or "The Bees". This is my Sancerre pinch hitter because the Giennois region is practically unknown, but lies just north of Pouilly-Fume and the Sav Blancs are simply outstanding. This family operation is a relative newcomer (1991) who restored an old estate and several vineyards. I fell in love with "The Bees", a sensational wine with bright aromas and loads of complexity in the taste and finish. I counted. It's now only the ninth wine in the shop with an animal on the label.

2018 Chéreau Carré 'Comte Leloup du Château de Chasseloir'.  It's okay to geek out, even for something as seemingly mundane as Muscadet. Carrés old vine Muscadet Sèvre-et-Maine is made of the Melon de Bourgogne grape, a relative of Chardonnay, andi is rich, complex, and a serious wine for Chardonnay lovers.  The average vine age from this single vineyard bottling is over 100 years, and is only made in the best vintages. Comte Leloup sees extensive barrel and bottle age before release, and can age 20 years. Truly worth geeking out over.

Domaine Fouet Saumur Blanc 'L’Ardillon'. Ah, Chenin Blanc. Clarksburg, California's ticket to fame... someday.  Let's harken back to the land of Chenin Blanc, or "Pinot de la Loire" and give it a proper introduction. The first of two wines from Domaine Fouet, 6th generation member Julian Fouet and his L'Ardillon is everything we love about old-world complexity. It's bright aromas, smooth mouthfeel, and zesty, flinty finish is never-ending. Dang,  that the 10th bottle with an animal on it.  I need to slow down. 

Domaine Fouet Saumur-Champigny 'La Rouge et Noire' Vieilles Vignes. Another from this estate with vines over 50 years of age. This Cabernet Franc is aged in 2-3 year old 500L barrels (about 2 standard barrels worth), which imparts a small amount of additional oak tannins and flavor. This is a fantastic showing of Loire Valley Cabernet Franc's red fruit character, peppery spice, and long, dry finish that has been dialed up a bit with barrel aging. 

CLUB Feature* Domaine André Vatan Sancerre Rouge 'Maulin Bèle'. Red wine from Sancerre?!  Pinot Noir expresses itself extremely well in Sancerre's well known limestone rich soils. One of Andre and Ariel Vatan's estate vineyards that surrounds the winery is Maulin Bele. This bright wine is textured from the 30 year old vines in limestone soils, but sees no oak aging and remains charming and balanced.  It's simply a pleasure to drink.  What about white Sancerre?  We are proud to carry his delicious 'Les Charmes' Sav Blanc, too. 

CLUB Feature* Charles Joguet Chinon Cabernet Franc ‘Les Petites Roches’.  I try to play it cool regarding winemakers and generally avoid 'fan boy' status.  But I cannot contain myself when the down-to-earth winemakers are so darn good, and patient, that they become trend setters. I first learned about Jouguet when reading Kermit Lynch's Adventures on the Wine Route many years ago, and I've since been a fan boy. When Chinon was really losing its focus in the 1970's and 80's, as much of France was, he stayed true to his roots and continued making real wines of place. It was exactly what made Kermit a lifelong believer, and so many American wine drinkers, too.  This entry level wine in Joguet's rather premium portfolio is from a small vineyard that is softer and more elegant than his others (also half the price), with a characteristic peppery spice and incredibly long, dry finish. 

CLUB Feature* 2015 Domaine de la Chevalerie Bourgueil Cabernet France 'Bretêche'.  Noting the vintage here, because the wine is PERFECT right now.  The Caslot family has over 400 years of history in the region and has a more .... positive outlook ... than your typical French vigneron. Perhaps that's simply the youthfulness of the current generation.  From a vineyard that is covered in a meter of rich clay atop tuffeau, Breteche is more concentrated and has taken its time in bottle to really open up.  


I know the South of France tasting was exciting and revealed many treasures, but the Loire is really a place of magic.  


Shop and Tasting Info:

Friday 2-7pm
Sat + Sun 2-6pm
Fee is $15, waived with 3 bottle purchase
Free for club members

Upcoming Events and Events

Following the Loire, we'll explore Riesling from around the world on Friday, October 20th.  It's not only a 'sweet-wine' thing, Riesling makes some of the snappiest and driest tasting wines in the world thanks to extreme levels of acidity.  In addition to the worldly Riesling, we'll include a few wines from Alsace, France too! 

There are two tasting events that are reserved for Club members.  If spots open up, you on the mailing list will be first to know! 

Mystery Wine Reveal

The past two weeks we featured an older wine for the mystery wine game.  Admittedly this was a bit more challenging than previous 'guess the grape' wines, but it allowed us to showcase something you don't try everyday - a wine with 17 years of age. 

The prompt: Guess the vintage between 2000 and 2016. The result was a big spread of answers, but those who got close (or correct) were focused on the browning color,  smooth and balanced tannins, and dried fruit and nutty flavors that were rich and savory. The trick of identifying this wine, perhaps more than anything, was how lively it still was.  Plenty of acidity balanced the smooth tannins, aromas, and long finish. This was perfect wine for people who appreciate the complexity of an aged wine. 

The Wine:  2006 Paul Louis Eugene 'Canto Pebre'  Carignan and Grenache blend from Siran, the heart of Minervois AOC in Languedoc.  We still have a few bottles, just $25. 

Congrats to the four winners!  Rachelle B (2 mystery wins!), Pandy C, Carolyn B, and John H.  Come on in for your free tasting OR $10 of your next wine order. 

With that, we look forward to seeing you in the wine shop and tasting room this weekend. 
Ryan and Emma