september 28th, 2023
"ready for fall? once more to the south"
Hello and welcome back students, professors, parents, and Davis summer expats!
Great to see you again and thanks for filling our shop with smiles and laughter and cravings for delicious wine last weekend. We love seeing this place full and everyone having a wonderful time!
Tasting Bar this Weekend
The tasting bar is again stocked full of outstanding, swear-worthy wines. Why the foul language? The happy cursing came from a place of astonishment and pleasant surprise.
"Darn, these wines are good!" "Shucks, are they really this affordable?" Yes and yes.
The wines from the Languedoc, Roussillon and Provence were certainly crowd pleasers, and no one broke the bank thanks to the excellent quality for money one finds down South.
And yes it's okay to use the F word swear in our shop. I swear.✋
Also, everyone was impressed by our *roughly* scientific map of the wine regions that was printed on the back of the tasting menus. I am pleased with how these menus have turned out over the past few iterations and we'll continue to improve. Why does this matter so much? Because our discovery of wines and regions often includes places we aren't intimiately familiar with, and a little geography goes a long way when learning about wine.
Plus, copy/paste cartography is my new passion.
In case you missed them last week, scroll down to the bottom of this email to see the wine list that we'll feature again this week. Special mention for the J.Laurens Cremant de Limoux, Picpoul de Pinet, and the Canadel Rouge.
October Wine Club
The October wine club is around the corner and ... drum roll please... the Loire Valley is next. Wines from "The Garden of France" will be featured in both the tasting bar and the October Wine Club starting next week.
The Loire Valley "or "Val du Loire" is such a diverse and beautiful area that stretches over 150 miles from the Atlantic Ocean in the west to the center of France in the east. Known for its amazing history, productive agriculture, and castles. And wine, nearly a millennium of it.
The wine club tasting and pick up will be next weekend from Friday October 6th to Sunday the 8th. Come taste the latest wines, for free, and pick up your shipment.
We have a few events coming up, the next big one is a feature on wines from Burgundy, both whites and reds. I had previously mentioned this would take place in late October, but it's looking like the second week of November on Thursday the 8th. More details to follow in a couple of weeks.
The BYO Napa tasting we held in June was a smashing success. Next we'll host another BYO in late October for California Pinots. If you are interested in this event, please RSVP to this email or to one of the upcoming emails when we announce the date. The entry fee is a nice bottle of California Pinot with at least 5 years bottle age (2018 and before).
We did have a mystery wine last week, but there were only two winners! So, we'll feature the same wine again this weekend before revealing the mystery vintage next week. The hint? It is from the Languedoc region and is somewhere between the 2000 and 2016 vintage.
Emma is in San Diego this weekend, impressing her friends and family with her incredible wine knowledge before seeing Coldplay. Come in and me company Friday and Saturday. (Closed Sunday). We'll probably be listening to Coldplay.
Ryan Crosbie ft. Chris Martin on the piano
September 21st, 2023
"south of france wine tasting! grab your parasol."
Amazing wines and great values are shining down in the Languedoc, Roussillon and Provence.
First, a special announcement
We've partnered with Meals on Wheels of Yolo County to help raise money for their amazing program of delivering meals to seniors in need. To help contribute, come taste today (for free) and purchase a set of delicious Italian wines. 15% of sales will go to MOW Yolo County and MOW Yolo team members will be here to answer questions about their awesome programs.
Wine tasting and shop open today: Thursday, Sept 21 from 4-6pm at Wines in Tandem.
mowyolo.org for more info on their programs
winesintandem.com to see the the featured wines
Tasting this weekend
Our very exciting journey through France continues in the stunningly beautiful southeast, where terraced vineyards hug the Mediterranean Sea and wine has been made for thousands of years. Just imagine ... after a glorious morning hike you've found yourself sunbathing beachside, before lunching on fresh caught seafood with the perfect wine in the glass. That place is probably here, in the south of France.
This expanse borders Spain and Italy and makes just about every wine style imaginable from sparkling to sweet. These regions offer great value for quality, and now is a good time to stock up. As we move north and west through France, the wines will get more expensive, too.
Our featured wines this week come from Languedoc, Rousillion, and Provence, with a special focus on the wines from Bandol. Even though the weather in Davis is a bit cooler than expected, and perhaps poolside sippers aren't top of mind this weekend, we've got incredible full bodied red wines and sweet wines too!
Tasting this weekend and next:
J Laurens Clos de Demoiselle 2019 Cremant di Limoux. Limoux is famous for its traditional sparklings thanks to its cool mountain climate. The story goes that Dom Perignon himself was originally making sparkling wines in Limoux before moving to Champagne. What!? In fact, J Laurens is owned by a traditional Champagne house and makes excellent bubbles, including their top 'Clos de Demoiselle' from Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir.
Petite Roubie Picpoul de Pinet. The rare yet increasingly popular Picpoul grape is redefining this small village, as more demand for crisp whites reveals only a few options in the area. Translated to 'lip stinger' Picpoul is lemon-zesty, and simply fun to say.
Le Galantin Bandol Blanc. Along the French Riviera, and known for its age worthy rosé and red wines, tiny Bandol makes an even tinier amount of ocean-influenced white wines. Le Galantin, a very small family estate, makes their beachside companion with Clairette, Ugni Blanc, and Rolle.
Chateau Rouet Cotes du Provence Rosé Reserveé. In the same family since the French Revolution, and grown on the slopes of the Esterel mountain, not far from Antibes and Cannes, Rouet makes some of the best wines in Provence. Afternoon tennis, herb-rich appetizers, and rosé? I'll grab my racket.
Fontarèche Corbières Rouge "Pierre Mignard". With a history dating back to the tenth century, Fontareche has been in the ownership of the Comte de Lamy’s family for nine generations. The relatively new "Pierre Mignard” bottling includes Carignan, Syrah, Mourvedre and Picpoul noir, half of which is aged in small, mostly used barrels.
Mystery wine. This week the mystery is to guess the vintage :-)
Le Galantin Bandol Rouge. From the family that brings us their exciting blanc,the rouge (2016!) showcases the region's full bodied style built around the hearty Mourvedre grape. Smoky and dark berried, yet very drinkable with rich meats and game.
Canadel Bandol Rouge. A wine we only have in small quantities, but absolutely want to share. This family moved back to France from Reunion (trivia question: where is that?). They spent years refurbishing the estate and working at nearby Domaine Tempier to hone their skills. Strictly organic farming and gravity flow wine making. Seriously good wine.
La Cave de l'Abbé Rous 2018 Cornet & Cie. Banyuls Rimage. Just north of where the Pyrenees divide France from Spain, the terraced vineyards of Banyuls are some of the most logic-defying in the Mediterranean. La Cave de l’Abbé Rous' Rimage of Grenache is a brighter, less alcoholic alternative to Port, and a perfect compliment to bitter chocolate.
Fontanel 2010 'l'Age de Pierre' Muscat de Rivesaltes. The aristocratic Muscat à Petits Grains thrives in the arid climate of the Roussillon, but there's a cool climate freshness that yields a lighter style than the Muscat de Beaumes de Venise. An admirable friend to fresh fruit-based desserts.
Sat + Sun 2-6pm
Tasting fee is $15 for the sparkling, white, rosé and reds. $5 extra for the sweet wines.
Waived w/ 3 bottle purchase
Big news update
How could this week get any better? Well, it can. The big news update is that I am ready to share our work with a select group of people starting next week. I selected a shortlist of folks based on their incredible submission to the education survey, but I also wanted to open it up to volunteers. If you are interested in participating in a 30-45 minute discovery and feedback session, please reply back to this email. Early next week I will send you information as well as schedule a time to meet on Zoom or come into the shop.
With that, we'll see you today and this weekend!
Ryan and Emma
September 14th, 2023
"tasting: the rhone and only"
We are back with another weekend tasting wine from the Southern Rhone Valley in France, including a big focus on wines from the Grenache grape. This whole French wine theme is just delightful. The wines are so tasty, and they make everyone really happy.
As a reminder, we are doing most tasting for two weekends in a row. This is helpful because it gives more people a chance to come in and taste the featured wines, especially if we sell out of delicious wines early, which was the case of the Vermentino last Friday.
We look forward to seeing those of you who couldn't make it in yet to try this lineup wines and/or pick up your wine club. And on that note...
Tasting bar: Southern Rhone!
Last weekend we had a great time featuring wines of the Southern Rhone. The big reds were a hit, and the whites were not-so-surprisingly very popular as well. In fact the Vermentino white wine sold out on day 1, so we brought in two more cases because it's simply delicious!
This week's tasting includes many of the same wines as last week (see previous email for detailed notes) plus a Clairette de Die Brut sparkling at the end. The daily drinker special is certainly the Domaine Combe Queyzaire Cotes du Rhone (just $19) and the Châteauneuf du Pape Télégramme from Vieux Télégraphe is 'just singing' after a couple of hours open to aerate.
Upcoming Weekend Tastings
Our tour of French wine regions will continue through early November! The themes will happen roughly in this order, most lasting for two weeks.
Languedoc and Provence. Big reds, largely from the Mourvedre grape.
Beaujolais and Loire. A focus on Gamay.
Riesling around the world (including Alsace)
Burgundy. Chardonnay and Pinot from the homeland.
Bordeaux. Left bank, right bank, white, sweet. Taste it all.
Upcoming Special Events
We have a few evening events that are focused on education, fun, and collaborative tasting! The format will be similar to our Big Bs of Italy of tasting. We'll pour incredibly good wines along with a presentation that highlights the differences and similarities of wine styles, and a profile of each region and winery. Seating is limited. More information and RSVPs to come soon.
Burgundy - October 25th (tentative)
Bordeaux - November 8th (tentative)
Napa v. Sonoma - December 13th (tentative)
New Featured Wine
Not all wines the wines we bring in get a mention in these emails, but I would like to change that, especially for weeks that don't include a Mystery Wine.
For fans of big, delicious Napa reds that showcase both the full bodied style of Napa while still maintaining some finesse, allow me to introduce you to...
Farella's 2017 Estate Merlot Coombsville, Napa Valley ($39)
Frank Farella and his son Tom produced their first vintage in 1985. Tom is a UC Davis V&E alum, who traveled the wine world working at several famed Burgundy and Burgundian inspired producers. The duo were pioneers in southeast Napa, enjoying the area's cooler and more restrained style than the warmer and mountain districts in the valley. Tom later championed what is now the Coombsville AVA, and released the first wine from the appellation.
True Merlot fans (Sideways be damned!) remember quality Merlot to have flavors of ripe plum, black fruits, and hints of savory herbs and olive, all wrapped in a silky texture with smooth tannins. Merlot was the queen of Bordeaux grapes needed to balance the over-the-top Cabernet, only to fall flat on its face thanks to that industry-shifting movie. I don't hold a grudge about the impact from the movie, because top notch Pinot is wonderful and Merlot remains much more affordable than Cab, although it is much harder to find. Sideways the movie
11 bottles of Farella Merlot are seeking a good home where Merlot is welcome. Why 11? Because we happily drank the 12th one while my brother was visiting this week :-)
The Big News Update
The big news is coming along nicely. I'm excited to share much more with you next week and will ask for a few volunteers to take a look and test out a few things. For those who have asked already, our big news is not serving food.
And with that, Emma can't wait to see you in the shop this weekend. I'll be out of town for a few days.
Ryan and Emma
september 7th, 2023
"happy place wines: the southern rhone"
Enjoy these Grenache based wines from one of my favorite, and most influential regions in France, the Southern Rhone Valley! Where's your happy place? Do they make wine?!
First, thank you kindly for your patronage last weekend! It was wonderful to see so many of you for the Tour of France tasting and Labor Day sale. The French wines were very well received and we're glad to help you restock the wine fridge with an extra Labor Day discount.
That tasting kicked off two months of French wine discovery, and we'll waste no time in getting started. This weekend we're combining the September wine club theme (Grenache) with the weekend tasting featuring wines of the southern Rhone.
Why Grenache for September? Well, it's a little cheesy to admit, but International Grenache Day is September 15th, and we thought we'd join in the fun with a Grenahce theme. In our opinion, Grenache is worth celebrating every month!
Tandem Club and Themed Tasting This Weekend
The wine club selections - three pure expressions of tasty Grenache from Spain, Italy and France - will then segue us into the Southern Rhone where we'll try two whites, a rosé and four additional red wines based on Grenache.
I got my start in wine on the west side of Paso Robles where winemakers are greatly inspired by the Rhone Valley. Therefore, the Rhone Valley is one of my happy places so if for no other reason, come and taste wines from a region that I truly love!
On the tasting bar this weekend:
Domaine Maby. "La Fermade" Lirac Blanc. This joyful and aromatic blend of Clairette, Grenache Blanc and Picpoul showcases the bright white fruit and floral notes of the Rhone whites. Don't sleep on Rhone whites!
Le Bastide St Vincent. Vermentino. Although this is the Italian name of the same "Rolle" grape, Vermentino is well loved in southern France for its flavors and aromas that remind of Sauvignon Blanc, but with some added weight and creaminess commonly found in whites of the Rhone Valley.
Domaine Maby. "Prima Donna" Tavel. (Poured during our craveworthy rosé tasting, this wine is juicy and delicious). There's no mistaking the color of a Tavel rosé, from a tiny but well-known region in southern Rhone. Tavel's are practically red wines due their winemaking style, and the result is profoundly flavorful, bold, and tannic for a rosé. Prima Donna is one of the grand cuveés from this 3rd generation family in Tavel.
Domaine de Combe Queyzaire. Cotes du Rhone. Delicious, bold, ripe, super value wine. Sourced from high quality vineyards in a lesser known region, and therefore only qualifies as CdR. This blend of Grenache and Syrah is a daily drinker that won't break the bank.
Le Bastide St Vincent. Gigondas. A favorite wine we've featured during our Summer Signature tastings and a few private tastings featuring only French wines. Bold and fruit forward Grenache based red, up the hill from Chateauneuf du Pape. I loved visiting Gigondas for the gorgeous setting against the backdrop of the Dentelles de Montmirail, and the reasonably priced, savory reds. Take a vinous vacation in a glass with this wine.
Vieux Télégraphe "Télégramme". Châteauneuf du Pape. One of the premier producers in the region, and made famous in the US thanks to importer Kermit Lynch in Berkelely. This is technically the second wine of Vieux Telegraphe, but commonly joked as the first wine, since people enjoy their Telégramme bottles while their "La Crau" bottles age in the cellar. No tasting notes here to spoil the goodness .... just come and try it!
Sat and Sun: 2-6pm
Tasting fee is $20 this week
Free for members; waived with 3 bottle purchase
Tandem Wine Club
Members, this is a perfect weekend to come taste and pick up your September club wines starting at 2pm on Friday.
In our kickoff to the wines of France, we opened a really wonderful mystery for all to enjoy. Are you seeing a theme within a theme? The mystery wines are darn good!!
The delicious rouge has a vibrant ruby and purple color, blueberry and blackberry fruit aromas and notes of violets, cedar and mint. It is extremely well made, and was one of the top selling wines last weekend. The fact that people BUY mystery wines is testament to their taste and quality. Maybe we should only sell mystery wines? I kid I kid....
From a region and grape that has a quiet following here in the US, the more modern styles are focused on youthful, drinkable charm while attempting to avoid the historic styles that were bell peppery and overly rustic.
Such is the goal and profile of wines from Thierry Germain and his Domaine des Roches Neuves. The "Terre Chaudes" bottling (meaning warm earth) is 100% Cabernet Franc from Saumur Champigny in the Loire Valley. Correct answer: Loire Valley!
Now, why it was NOT the other wine styles from the clues provided:
Alsace. Pinot noir is the only red wine grown here, and although the warm climate makes riper and darker styles of Pinot, they are not bright purple, while still highlighting the characteristic Pinot Noir notes of black cherry and baking spice.
Bordeaux Right Bank. Merlot dominates this side of Bordeaux, along the right (mostly northern) bank of Dordogne River. Wines may contain some Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon, but these styles are deep red in color, tannic, with bold, yes restrained flavor profiles. Mostly they don't show off much youthful fruit. They can be a deep dark red, but not purple.
Bordeaux Left Bank. Cabernet Sauvignon dominates the side of Bordeaux along the left (western) bank of Gironde River, where the wines are characteristically big and complex with earthy, charred aromas, and a very tannic mouthfeel that is loaded with new French oak toast. Fruit flavors can be present, but usually masked. They are a deep dark red, but not purple.
Burgundy. The land of Pinot Noir does offer many styles, including classic cool and modern ripe. Aromas and flavors include anything from cherry cola and brown baking spice to earthy and damp forest floor. The structure has moderate tannins, medium acidity and often long, mineral-laden finish.
Languedoc-Roussillon. A massive region with many styles, typically the very warm region produces big, juicy wines, with medium tannins, ripe fruit flavors and high alcohol. Some smaller regions are quite good, but the majority of the region produces bulk or table wine.
Loire Valley. Correct! There's a lot to explore within the Loire Valley, and reds can include Gamay, Pinot Noir or Cabernet Franc. We'll discuss this region at length in a future tasting.
Northern Rhone. The cooler, smaller, and more geeky Rhone is made up of predominantly Syrah. Colors can be dark red, sometimes almost black, and aromas and flavors include dark fruits, olives, cured meat, black pepper and savory herbs.
Southern Rhone. Our feature this week! Wines generally consist of a portion of Grenache, Syrah, Mourvedre, Cinsault and other reds (and whites). Wines tend to be red fruit forward, sometimes higher in alcohol while still being balanced, with aromas of the regional garrigue which lend the dried shruby and herbal notes.
Congrats to ... many of you! We should make these mysteries much harder in the future: :-) Jon R, Dallas K, Cara, Gail K, Alexandra, Mary P, Max C, Bryan J. Come in for a free tasting!
With that, we'll see you in the shop!
Ryan and Emma