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Posted on Jul 14 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

EWCo. realized upon delivery of the new ’09 Gouguenheim Malbec (Arg.) we need to clear out some inventory. So its time for a Making Some Room” Sale this weekend (7/16-18)! The More you take home, the More you SAVE:

10% Off Any Bottle (Wine or Beer)
25% Off Any 2
40% Off Any 4 or more!

Plus a FREE Bottle if you get a Mix of 12 (i.e., you get 12 for the price of 11!)

All inventory is included in the Sale Event. From our Value priced Italian Red (reg. $12.99) to our Library Wineroom Selections such as the Magnum of Seasmoke ’04 Southing Pinot Noir (reg. $249.99).

Making Some Room” Sale Event kicks off when EWCo. opens at noon’ish on Friday (7/16) through 6:00 Closing on Sunday (7/18).

The Current EWCo. Library Wine Selections can be found at http://www.essentialwineco.com/wines/

UPCOMING EVENTS: Sat. (7/17): Unique Jazz Performer Kai Kurosawa on Warr Guitar — “Tasty Tuesday” (7/20): EWCo. presents the wines of Brander Vineyards of the Santa Ynez Valley. More info: http://www.essentialwineco.com/calendarofevents/

The EWCo. Library Wine Room has a capacity of 1,800 Bottles and maintains them in optimum wine storage conditions

*The fine print: no rainchecks, offers cannot be combined, discounts applied to non-sales pricing, and free bottle promo with a mix of 12 applies to lowest priced of the 12.

Posted on Jul 07 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

On SATURDAY July 17, Essential Wine Co. presents a unique Jazz Performance by Kai Kurosawa on Warr Guitar. It’s Saturday Night and you deserve to come out and CELEBRATE with Live Music, Unique Wines, Craft Beers, and Delicious Food & Wine Combo SPECIALS!

JUST ADDED! Vocalist Haruka Bree Takeda will sit in with Kai on a few tunes. Their forte together are Jazz Standards such as “Ain’t Misbehavin” and Great American Songbook favorites like “Georgia“. Haruka’s soulful and playful vocals combined with Kai’s Warr Guitar playing creates a unique sound. See video at .

Watching Kai play the Warr Guitar is a performance not to be missed. Mainly influenced by Jazz, Kai’s musical style varies from jazz standards to progressive rock and pop as well as electronic music. He has performed with the likes of Vinny Golia, Ponta Shuichi, Hiromi, Thomas Lang, Charmaine Clamore, Andrea Centazzo to name a few. Kai’s Guitar + Bass instrument creates a unique sound unlike any other.

 

Kai on Warr Guitar is a Unique Sound not to be missed

 

 

Songstress Haruka w/ Kai on Guitar Perform "Georgia" at EWCo.

More info on Kai here and see video of Kai performing here.

For video from past Essential Music Lounge Saturdays go to Music begins at 8 p.m.  Reservations recommended, but not required.

Posted on Jul 06 10 | Filed Under Blog

Stock up for seasonal meals with a variety from the Mediterranean, Australia, Chile, Oregon, good old California and more.

I’ve heard it said that a good summer wine is like sunshine in a bottle. There’s some truth to that: The ideal wine will have the brilliant, drip-down-your-chin succulence of freshly picked fruit, as unadorned as a cloudless sky. But it’s probably more accurate to say that a good summer wine is sunshine’s foil, capable of turning back the day’s dazzling heat with the cut of its coolness, the quenching prickle of its acidity, the bite of its finish.

A summer wine’s greatest strength, in short, is its angularity. The flavors can be bold and forward, but rather than length, these wines possess a glancing, oblique feel in the mouth, a textural concision that leaves one’s thirst quenched and mouth watering, expectant of another sip. Here are some strategies for filling a working case.

The leanest and meanest

Let’s start our working case by identifying a few of the leanest and meanest whites a given region or country has to offer.

In Australia, for example, Riesling wins that contest hands down. In fact, Australian Riesling might be the driest, most searing expression of that grape in the world, with a thrilling, pulsing acidity in the service of citrus, lime and grapefruit flavors. The standard-bearer remains Grosset Polish Hill ($35); but seek out Pewsey Vale ($15), Leasinghams ($12) and Frankland Estate (about $25) as well.

In France the contest would be held on at least two coastlines. On the Atlantic side, bragging rights fall to Muscadet sur Sevre et Main sur Lie (Muscadet for short). Muscadets are known for their brisk salinity, ideal with the one food it was put on this Earth to accompany: oysters. Heaven. Two of my favorites: Luneau-Papin’s “Le L d’Or” or Domaine de la Pepière’s “Clos des Briords” (both about $18).

Muscadets are rivaled in the south by a seaside appellation in Languedoc called Picpoul de Pinet, which employs a slow-to-ripen white grape by the same name. Picpoul is grown in the Rhône Valley as well, but only in vineyards by the sea does the grape have such a refreshing, lemony nerve, and yes, these wines are also heavenly with oysters or something like squid off the grill. Look for affordable Picpouls from Arnaud Gaujol and La Croix Gratiot (both about $12).

Certainly Austrian whites are among the most limpid, racy wines on the continent. Rieslings and Gruner Veltliners offer edgy, laser-focused textures and herbaceous flavors, tremendous attributes for meals made from the best summer produce. And there is a fairly new-to-market category of Gemischter Satz blends from wineries in and around Vienna, the staples of the city’s Heurige (wine bars). These are surprisingly complex and versatile wines, such as the one I found from Weingut Christ (about $18).

For lean and mean in the U.S., the competition stiffens. Cooler climes such as Oregon are a safe bet, where many (but not all) Pinot Gris bottlings fill the bill as crisp and delineated whites. Two are King Estate’s Signature bottling (about $15) or the better-than-average “Really Good Pinot Gris” from Joe Dobbes ($18).

American Riesling too is getting more and more edgy, especially in Washington state, such as the organic Wallula Vineyard bottling from Pacific Rim and the limpid, poised Riesling produced in partnership with Ernst Loosen and Chateau Ste. Michelle called “Eroica” (both about $20). And Ste. Michelle’s Columbia Valley Dry Riesling is a steal at $9.

Meanwhile in California, Vermentino, one of the varieties that Tablas Creek imported from the Rhône Valley (where it is known as Rolle) has made modest inroads. One of the best is L’Uvaggio del Giacomo, an orange-scented beauty that retails for about $13. And Edmunds St. John uses the variety in his lean “Heart of Gold,” blended with Grenache Blanc (about $18).

In a Mediterranean mood

Probably no region on Earth embodies summer better than the Mediterranean. In outdoor cafes and on beaches from Costa Brava to Kalamata, Mediterranean culture seems drenched in sunlight, and for each port of call there are several white wines on hand to quench thirsts.

Nearly every white wine in Greece serves this purpose; indeed Boutari, its largest wine company, has about a dozen by itself, but their nervy Moschofilero (about $16) or their sun-kissed blend from the island of Santorini (about $20) are worth grabbing. From Santorini, look for the wines from Gaia and Sigalas as well. In the north, meanwhile, is grown the beautiful Roditis called Petra and made by Kir-Yianni (about $20), which has just returned to the market after a brief absence; beautiful flavors of pine and lemon make this wine ideal for grilled seafood.

Italy has more than its share of summery whites to choose from. For a sunny day there is no safer bet than one of the three Vs: Verdicchio, Vernaccia and Vermentino.

Of the three, I am at the moment most haunted by Verdicchio di Matelica, with its bright citrus scents, high natural acidity and the sunny warmth of its flavors, from the likes of Colle Stefano (about $15). A Vernaccia from, say, San Quirico or Panizzi (about $15), from vineyards in and around the picturesque town of San Gimignano, has a more mineral firmness than Verdicchio, with flavors of brisk lime and green apples tailor-made for crudo. Or pour yourself a glass of “Costamolino,” the Sardinian Vermentino from Argiolas, with its golden hue and sharp flavors of ginger and sea salt (about $17); Mancini’s Vermentino di Gallura has a bit more give to its texture (about $15).

Sauvignons of the world

For global ubiquity, no summer wine outdoes Sauvignon Blanc. While its worldwide acreage is still dwarfed by Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc has become a benchmark for lean whites from every hemisphere, from Napa to Chile, from France to New Zealand.

New Zealand Sauvignons have set the standard in recent years for crisp herbaceousness, such as the ever-reliable Kim Crawford, or the newer offering Wild Rock (both about $14). In Australia, the Sauvignons sometimes come spiked with Semillon to broaden their palate weight and add a grassy note, especially those from Western Australia, such as Plantaganet’s Hazard Hill bottling (about $10).

The incredible Sauvignon Blancs of Chile lean more toward marine, saline flavors, such as those from Montes and Veramonte (about $12). Of course, the vibrant whites of the Loire are in many ways responsible for these many deserving pretenders, in particular the wines of Sancerre with their chalky, talc-like firmness, such as Sylvain Bailly’s “Terroirs” bottling (about $21).

In California, more than ever, producers are fermenting in steel tanks to retain fruit freshness and bright acidity. One of the country’s most reliable comes from Honig, in the Napa Valley; other worthy Napa producers include Cliff Lede and St. Supery; from Sonoma, seek out Quivira or Kunde (all between $15 and $20).

In a category all its own: Moscato d’Asti

As fresh stone fruit reaches the market in abundance, leave room in your working case for one dessert wine, an Italian Moscato d’Asti. Made by venerable Piedmont producers such as Vietti, Chiarlo or G.D. Vajra (about $15), there simply isn’t a more glorious accompaniment to summer fruit plates than this fizzy sweet wine, redolent of peaches, orange zest and minerals. With their exuberant effervescence and sunny disposition, they’re practically the most mood-altering, happy-making wine I know, and that’s everything a summer white should be.

Sourced from a June 17, 2010 Article by Patrick Comiskey in the Los Angeles Times.

Jean de-Roze 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

Posted on Jul 05 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

For a “Tasty Tuesday” (7/13) we’re taking a Tasting Vacation outside of California. WSET Certified Wine Specialist, Jim “Casey will pour and discuss wines from outside the Golden State’s borders.

Tasting 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, Chateau Bianca Winery (2008) Willametter Valley, OR

Chardonnay, Seresin Estate (2005) Marlborough, New Zealand

Montepulciano, d’Aragona (2008) Abruzzi, Central Italy

Malbec, Gouguenheim Winery’s “Valle Escondido” (2009) Mendoza, Argentina

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

Castello d'Aragona in Abruzzi, Central Italy

Posted on Jul 05 10 | Filed Under Calendar of Events

For a “Tasty Tuesday” (7/6) on the heels of Independence Day, your Local Independent Wine Source offers a tasting of Independent Wines.WSET Certified Wine Specialist, Jim “Casey” will pour and discuss wines from small Independent Wineries

Tasting 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:

Sauvignon Blanc, Jean de Roze Vin de Pays (2008) Languedoc, France

Pinot Noir, Chime Cellars (2009) North Coast, Mendocino, CA 

Cinsault-Grenache Blend, Tour des Pins (2008) Languedoc, France

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

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 http://www.wset.co.uk/about_us/default.asp

“Tasty Tuesday” Testimonials: “Appetizers were a nice touch . . . Price point was reasonable.” — “Better than just sampling wines, was learning about what we were tasting!” — “We had a fun night out and hope to be back soon.”

EWCo. “Tasty Tuesday” Events are presented every Tuesday. The Tasting Fun is available anytime from 6:30 to 8:30′ish. Info always available at http://www.essentialwineco.com/calendarofevents/

Ryan O'Malley of Regal Wine Tastes Guests Christine & Kathy on Gruet Sparklers

Essential Wine Co.

Carpe Vinum!..