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Posted on Jun 27 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

For a “Tasty Tuesday” (6/29) WSET Certified Wine Specialist, Jim “Casey” will offer each tasting participant a mini “Wine Tasting 101″ class.  The focus will be the “Systematic Approach to Tasting” used by wine industry professionals.   Participants will discover how to describe wines to others in a fun and understandable manner.

Tasting & Instruction available beginning anytime after 6:30 until 8:30 for $14.99 (includes service of complimentary paired “Tapas”). Reservations appreciated, but not required.  What a DEAL: Half Price Tasting if you take a bottle home & FREE if you Buy 3!

Among the scheduled Tasting Selections:
Riesling, Grans-Fassian Estate Riesling Qba (2007) Mosel Valley, Germany

Malbec, Yllum (2008) Mendoza, Argentina

Cabernet Sauvignon, Sultry (2006) Paso Robles, CA

Late Harvest Zinfandel, Valdez Family Winery (2005) Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma, CA 

ADDED BONUS: 50% Off Napa Cabernets to start the final week of our “Fighting June Gloom” Specials! Select bottles ranging from the Value Category (’03 Red Pebbles $12.49) to our Library Wines (’00 Beringer Private Reserve $49.99)


For this night only SPECIAL Pricing will be offered on individual bottle sales. The Essential Wine Co. Food Menu and additional Tasting Night Specials will be available. Exact wine line-up subject to change.



Jim “Casey” is the Proprietor and Wine Buyer of Essential Wine Co. He pesonally selects every wine that is offered for sale and served. He earned a Certificate with Merit in Wine, Spirits & Other Alcoholic Beverages from the Wine & Spirits Education Trust (WSET), the foremost international body in the field of wines and spirits education. More info at

Certified Wine Specialist & EWCo. Proprietor Jim "Casey" personally selects every wine that is offered for sale and served.

Certified Wine Specialist & EWCo. Proprietor Jim "Casey" personally selects every wine that is offered for sale and served.


Posted on Jun 26 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

On FRIDAY July 2nd, Essential Wine Co. presents a Perfect “Pairing” from the new generation of Jazz: Guitarist Zhenya Patapenka with David Leoncavallo on Upright Bass. Get the long holiday weekend started right by CELEBRATING Friday with Live Music, Unique Wines, Craft Beers, Delicious “Tapas” Style Dining & $5 HAPPY HOUR SPECIALS.   No Cover Charge!

Zhenya Patapenka was born in Belarus, where his parents noticed his natural talent and love of music. After studying the Bayan, a Russian Accordian, he received a guitar for his 16th birthday from his brother. Zhenya came to the U.S. in 1999 and took up American Jazz under the tutelage of talented guitarists from Wisconsin to Denver to Southern California.  Zhenya may hail from Belarus, but he’ll Jam w/ Dave on American Style Jazz!  More info.

JOIN US FOR AN EVENING OF FUN, GOOD MUSIC, AND GREAT WINE & CRAFT BEER!  Reservations recommended, but not required.

Zhenya may hail from Belarus, but he knows American Jazz!

Posted on Jun 21 10 | Filed Under Blog

Petillant Originel sparkling wine, to which sugar and yeast may not be added, is a product of the Loire Valley’s Montlouis appellation. 


Reporting from Paris —


At L’Ebauchoir, an upscale bistro in Paris’ 12th arrondissement, a quickly gentrifying neighborhood east of Bastille, a swarm of wine professionals — journalists, bar owners and sommeliers — is diligently tasting a range of Chenin Blancs from the Montlouis area of France’s Loire Valley.


At the stroke of 7 p.m., two vignerons, Bertrand Jousset and Damien Delecheneau, interrupt the tasting with an ear-splitting call to attention.


They are standing at the front of the restaurant, beside an oak wine barrel attached to a small bottling machine, and are about to demonstrate a crucial step in the making of a new kind of Montlouis: a thoroughly dry, gently sparkling wine officially named Pétillant Originel but often called by its makers Pétillant Naturel, or more affectionately, Pet’Nat.


Montlouis is an appellation just east of the city of Tours, where white wines are made from Chenin Blanc in a multitude of styles — from bone dry to unctuously sweet; from still to two traditional types of sparkling wine, méthode traditionelle, made like Champagne, and Pétillant, which, with half the bubbles of Champagne, is creamier and less vigorously fizzy.


And now comes Pétillant Originel, which won legal status from the Institut National des Appellations d’Origine in 2007, different from traditional Pétillant. Most significant, Pétillant Originel must be absolutely natural, a product of the grapes harvested and no more. It is illegal to add either sugar or yeast at any stage of the wine’s production, although both are commonly used in Champagne.


Hyper-naturalists view these additions — not to mention the use of other additives such as enzymes and bentonite — as nothing more than chemistry, all of which undermines the purity of the wine.


While eschewing additives may be a matter of principle for all Pet’Nat producers, for Montlouis vintners like Delecheneau and Jousset, it is also a matter of law, not to mention painstaking, meticulous work in vineyard and cellar, as Jousset is about to demonstrate.


A rangy 35-year-old with the square-jawed good looks of a latter-day Marlboro Man, Jousset explains that the barrel is filled with new, unfinished wine. The wine stopped fermenting in January while it still had 14 grams of residual sugar and has been kept in a refrigerated room since then.


Behind him, a small assembly line of vintners suctions the wine from the barrel, through the spigots of the bottling machine and into bottles that are then capped like Coca-Cola. Jousset continues: Once warmer weather arrives, that residual sugar and any remaining natural yeasts will restart the fermentation and, in the process, produce the bubbles that make the wine sparkle.


“It dawned on me,” recalled winemaker Delecheneau, 31, of Domaine de la Grange Tiphaine, “I don’t add sugar or yeast to my still wines, so why do I add them to my Pétillant? This was in 2005. That’s when a group of us started talking about Pétillant Originel, although we called it ‘Pet’Nat’ at the time.”

Honest approach


Whatever you call them, the wines are made, for the most part, by resolutely organic, doggedly noninterventionist vintners, among them Christian Chaussard, who, Delecheneau observes, inspired him and a lot of other young winemakers.


Way back in the 1990s, when Chaussard was located in Vouvray — across the Loire River from Montlouis — he made a fizzy, not-quite-pétillant simply by letting his Vouvray re-ferment spontaneously in springtime.


Those were the very early days of the hyper-naturalist, noninterventionist winemaking movement in France — when outliers like the Puzelat brothers (Clos du Tue-Boeuf) and Claude Courtois (Cailloux du Paradis) in Touraine and J.J. Brun in Beaujolais (Domaine des Terres Dorées) began opting for organic or biodynamic farming and forswearing industrial yeasts, enzymes, sulfur, added sugar, added tannins — you name it — as well as just about any technique counseled by modern enologists.


Since that time, hyper-natural winemaking has become a movement, spreading the gospel of “natural wines” throughout France and well beyond.


And the Pet’Nat movement is spreading throughout France as well. Now relocated an hour north in the Coteaux du Loir appellation, Chaussard remains true to the cause, making a variety of quirky hyper-natural wines including Pet’Nats such as “You Are So Happy,” a herbaceous blend of Chenin and Sauvignon Blanc, and “You Are So Bubbly,” a foamy weave of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Grenache and Cinsault.


Other popular producers such as Pierre and Catherine Breton in Bourgueil, Thierry Puzelat in Touraine, and Dominique Derain in Burgundy are among the growing number of eco-serious vintners adding some Pet’Nat fizz to their line of still wines.


Most of these Pet’Nats from outside Montlouis are sweet — ranging from slightly off-dry to as sweet as Dr Pepper — and many hark back to old-fashioned styles of winemaking (appropriately called méthode ancestrale and méthode rurale) in the regions of Limoux and Gaillac.


An important subgroup is deep pink, in the style of Cerdon, a sparkling wine in the Savoie’s Bugey appellation. Emile Heredia from the Domaine de Montrieux outside Vendome, for example, makes a Cerdon-like Pet’Nat called Boisson Rouge from old Gamay vines. Simon Hawkins of Domaine de Fontenay in the Côte Roannaise makes a sudsy Gamay with the sweet-tart flavors of cranberry relish.


Montlouis Pétillant Originel is totally dry, however. And it differs from Pet’Nats in another significant way: Most, if not all Pet’Nats, are vins de table or vins de France — in other words, not part of any official wine group, with all the anarchy and qualitative differences that implies, from the urbane to the outlandish. Montlouis Pétillant Originel is governed by law and aims to be reliably urbane.

Quality charter


Jousset and Delecheneau, along with Xavier Weisskopf (Domaine des Rocher des Violettes) and Domaine Alex-Mathur wanted to make a Pétillant that was not only ultra-pure but also a full-fledged wine — ripe, vinous, consistent in quality and fine enough to serve in Michelin-starred restaurants, but reasonably priced. (Most sell in France for $10 to $15.)


To this end, they drew up a quality charter with exigent requirements. In addition to abolishing the addition of yeast and sugar, the charter mandates low yields, greater ripeness of the grapes than is anticipated for most sparkling wines, as well as aging for a minimum of nine months before being disgorged.


“It’s very difficult and very risky,” Delecheneau says. “The danger is that the wine might stop fermenting.”


Less consequential risks include off-flavors resembling beer or cider, which is why Jacky Blot of Domaine de la Taille aux Loups decided to add just a bit of yeast for the prise de mousse when making his very successful “Triple Zero,” a Montlouis Pétillant.


According to Delecheneau, his Pétillant Originel is catching on nicely in the U.S. and the wines are beginning to surface in up-to-the-minute wine bars and shops in Paris like La Quincave and Cru et Découvertes.


To understand the simple yet huge pleasures that are Pétillant Originel, try Xavier Weisskopf’s 2006. Disgorged in 2008, it’s rich and appetizing, lightly salty, with subtle, intriguing flavors of apple and stone. Downright gourmand. Add grace notes of ginger and you’ve got the 2007 version.


Weisskopf sells almost his entire production of Pétillant Originel to Denmark. “They’re crazy for natural wines,” he explains.


It is also available in Southern California at Wine Expo and Hi-Times Wine Cellars. Indeed, availability of any Pet’Nats is spotty — though that is supposed to improve by early summer —it’s a new product made in startlingly small quantities.


Risks combined with the very newness of the wine explain why only four Montlouisiens currently produce it and why there is so little of it — roughly 20,000 to 25,000 bottles a year.

But as Delecheneau and Jousset point out, the wine has no track record. Other vintners may be waiting to see how it catches on; others may be experimenting until they get it right.


Thierry Bruneau, general manager and wine buyer for L’Ebauchoir, which specializes in hyper-natural wines, was impressed by what he tasted and intends to add a Pétillant Originel to his list soon, most likely Jousset’s 2008 “Bubulle” or his favorite, Delecheneau’s 2008 “Nouveau Nez.”


“It was creamy, dry and mineral. I liked it a whole lot. They’re a hard sell right now because people don’t know them, but once they try them they really like them and order them again.”


Sourced from a June 3, 2010 Article by Jacqueline Friedrich in the Los Angeles Times

Posted on Jun 17 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

On SATURDAY June 26th, Essential Wine Co. presents a LIVE MUSIC party with the ”Round TripQuartet. It will be Tasty, Funky & Simmering Jazz. 1st Music Set at 8′ish. No Cover Charge. Reservations recommended but not required (its usually a full house for these guys).

Round Trip is David Olivas (Sax & Keyboards), Kenny Dapron (Vocals & Guitar), Kent Moore (Bass) and Jim Mulligan (Drums). “Great harmony’s and that sax player had everyone’s attention all night” (Susan from Camarillo). More info at 

"Round Trip" is David Olivas (sax & keyboard), Jim Mulligan (drums), Kenny Dapron (guitar & vocals) & Kent Moore (bass)

For video from past Essential Music Lounge Saturdays go to

Posted on Jun 15 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

Want a change from events promoting the newest releases from this winery or that region?  Come by for our “Stash Under the GlassTasting. We dip into the EWCo. Library Wines for some special selections. 

Certified Wine Specialist “Casey” will pour and discuss some rare gems from a Napa Organic Pinot Blanc to an ’03 Italian Lagrein.
Tasting available beginning at 6:30 for $16.99 (includes service of complimentary paired “Tapas”). What a DEAL: Half Price Tasting if you take a bottle home & FREE if you Buy 3! 
The “Stash Under the Glass” Tasting Selections:
Organic Pinot Blanc, Robert Sinskey’s Los Carneros Vyd (2005) Napa Valley-Carneros, CA
Paringa’s Individual Vineyard Vintage Sparkling Shiraz (2004) South Australia 
Merlot, Kenneth Volk Vineyards (2004) Paso Robles, CA  

Lagrein, Franz Haas Estate (2003) Trentino-Alto Adige D.O.C., Italy  

SPECIAL Pricing will be offered on individual bottle sales to go. Due to a limited quantity of the tasted wines, Tasting Participants Save 15% Off Take Home Purchases of all other wines! 

Click here to see the “Stash Under the Glass” Tasting Notes for the Wine Selections.  

The EWCo. Library Wine Room has a capacity of 1,800 Bottles and maintains them at a constant temperature of 62 Degrees

 The fine print: Exact wine line-up subject to change.  No rainchecks. 25% Off applies to regular pricing.


Posted on Jun 15 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

Bring Dad for a Glass of Wine, ”Tapas” Style Dining & a Father’s Day Weekend Sale w/ Savings up to 40% Off! He can also enjoy Afternoon Music by Jazz Guitarist Barry Cooper. The Sale is All Day & Music begins 4:30′ish. NO COVER CHARGE! Reservations recommended, but not required.



Need more to bring a smile to dear old Dad’s face?  How about Door Prize Drawings throughout the day & 50% Wine “Flights from 3:30 to 5:00!



Originally from Liverpool, Barry Cooper spent 30 years performing in Southern California. His experience includes accompanying performers such as the great Anita O’Day, Maureen McGovern, Natalie Cole, Buddy Greco and Waylon Jennings. For video from past Essential Wine Co. Shows go to

 The Father’s Day Weekend Sale is a part of our Fighting June Gloom” Specials. The Deals beginning Friday & through Sunday:


More is More” Sale: 15% Off 1-2 Bottles, 25% Off 3-5 Bottles & 40% Off 6 or More!

100 Bottles of Wine on the Wall” Half Price Sale: Look for the 50% Off Yellow Dots during June.

Bargain Box of Wine Values” – “Orphan” Bottles hoping for a loving home via Deep Discounts!


UPCOMING EVENTS: “Tasty Tuesday” 6/22:- “Stash Under the Glass” Tasting of Rare & One-of-a-Kind Gems! More info:




*The fine print: specials for take home bottles only, no rainchecks, offers cannot be combined, discounts off non-sales pricing and EWCo. encourages responsible alcohol consumption and reserves the right to refuse service.

Jazz Guitarist Barry Cooper's Experience includes performing with Anita O'Day, Natalie Cole & Waylon Jennings

Posted on Jun 14 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

Wine Tasting for the Cure Event at Essential Wine Co. this Thursday (6/17).  Fight Breast Cancer! Sample good wines! Support a great cause!


Tasting is from 5:30 – 8:30, includes 5 wines and delicious appetizers for $25. A portion of beverage and food sales at the Wine Bar & Wine Shop are being donated to Breast Cancer. Tasting for the Cure Event flyer.



Sharene & Cheryl Enjoy a Toast at an EWCo. Event





The Event Organizers & EWCo. encourage responsible alcohol consumption. EWCo. reserves the right to refuse service at its discretion.

Posted on Jun 13 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

The inaugural “Grab a Friend & Grab a Bottle to Share” was so successful, let’s do it again!  Come in and Select ANY Wine from our Racks or Library Wine Room and Enjoy it at the Wine Bar.  The best part? The Cost is only the Out-the-Door Sales price (that’s the Wine Shop price, which is less than the standard in Wine Bar consumption price).


That could mean a Chilean Chardonnay for just $16.99, or a 90 Point ’01 Napa  Petite Sirah for $49 (what would that cost from a Ruth’s Chris Wine List?).  Need more incentive? Friday kicks off the EWCo. Father’s Day Weekend Sale with up to 40% Savings Off Out-the-Door Bottles! 


It all starts Friday June 18 at 5:00.  RSVPs appreciated, but not required.  WHITE WINE DRINKERS READ THIS CAVEAT: We cannot keep every White cold in our refrigerator.  So you may want to come in before the event to pre-select a bottle or check our Wine Lists on the EWCo. website and let us know what to chill for you.

The Current EWCo. Library Wine Selections can be found at 

Here are some examples of value or  unique Whites/Roses/Sparkling that you must call ahead in order to have chilled in time for Friday’s event:


Jeio (NV) Prosecco Sparkling Brut, Veneto, Italy – $17.99

Black Hand 2004 Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay – $19.99

Garrettson 2005 “The Limoid Cior” Roussanne, Paso Robles, CA – $30.99

Scholium Project 2005 “Nereides”(Chard) Guman Vineyard, N. Coast, CA – $44.99

Kenneth Volk 2005 Bien Nacido Vyd Pinot Blanc, Santa Maria Valley, CA – $25.99

Huber 2005 Santa Rita Hills, Unoaked Chardonnay, Santa Barbara, CA – $29.99

Treana 2001 Mer Soleil Vyd Viognier-Marsanne,  Monterey, CA – $24.99

2006 Matthiasson Napa Valley White Wine (Sauvignon Blanc, Ribolla Gialla and Tokai Friulano) – $37.99

Jaffurs 2006 Viognier, Santa Barbara, CA – $23.99

Paringa 2004 Individual Vineyard Sparkling Shiraz, South Australia – $29.99

Mantra 2004 “Bliss” Dry Rose (Merlot, Cab, Zin), Sonoma, CA – $19.99

Mike & Debbie shared some '09 Barbera from Sunland Vintage Winery



*The fine print: no rainchecks, offers cannot be combined, discounts off non-sales pricing and EWCo. encourages responsible alcohol consumption and reserves the right to refuse service.

Posted on Jun 08 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

EWCo. presents Half-Price “Flights of Wine” this Tuesday June 15! It’s a part of our “Fighting June Gloom” Special Events.  Added Bonus: Save 25% Off any Bottles you take home after tasting!  That’s what ourTry Before You Buyconcept is all about.


Looking for an in-flight meal as well?  Kitchen Guy Ty will create some Special “Tapas” Style Dining  including his Surprise Quesadillas and a Pasta Pomodoro (the tomatoes have been marinating since Saturday!) Among the “Flight Crew” will be:


Grenache, Anglim Winery (2006) Paso Robles, CA

Riesling, Grans-Fassian Estate Riesling Qba (2007) Mosel Valley, Germany

Italian Red Blend, La Braccesca Sabazio (2004) Montepulciano DOC, Italy

Malbec, Bodega Palo Alto’s “Yllum” (2008) Maipu, Mendoza, Argentina

Pinot Grigio, Benvolio’s Grave de Friuli (2008) Friuli D.O.C., Italy

Zinfandel, Bradford Mountain Winery (2005) Dry Creek Valley, CA


UPCOMING EVENTS: Friday 6/18: “Grab a Friend & Grab a Bottle to Share” Event – “Tasty Tuesday” 6/22:- “Stash Under the Glass” Tasting of Rare & One-of-a-Kind Gems! More info:

*The fine print: wine line-up subject to change, no rainchecks, offers cannot be combined, discounts off non-sales pricing and EWCo. encourages responsible alcohol consumption and reserves the right to refuse service.


Cheryl & Barbara Enjoy a Glass at EWCo.

Posted on Jun 07 10 | Filed Under Blog

For all of us who are married, were married, wish you were married, or wish you weren’t married, this is something to smile about the next 
time you see a bottle of wine:


Sally was driving home from one of her business trips in Northern Arizona when she saw an elderly Navajo woman walking on the side of the road. As the trip was a long and quiet one, she stopped the car and asked the Navajo woman if she would like a ride.  With a silent nod of thanks, the woman got into the car.


Resuming the journey, Sally tried in vain to make a bit of small talk with the Navajo woman. The old woman just sat silently, looking intently at everything she saw, studying every little detail, until she noticed a brown bag on the seat next to Sally.


What in bag?” asked the old woman. Sally looked down at the brown bag 
and said, “It’s a bottle of wine. I got it for my husband.” The Navajo woman was silent for another moment or two. Then speaking with the quiet wisdom of an elder, she said, “Good trade”.


Thanks to Essential Wine Co. Supporter Duane W. for bringing the above to our attention.



Essential Wine Co.

Carpe Vinum!..