• Quick Report: Garagiste Festival L.A. 7/11/2015

    The Garagiste Festival is an event that tours California highlighting the wines of small producers generally making less than 1,500 cases of wine per year.  It is a non-profit event, sending its proceeds to invest in future winemakers and grape growers in the Cal Poly Wine and Viticulture program.

    We attended one of their events in Solvang a few years ago, and were glad to have a chance to catch them here in L.A. at the Wiltern yesterday.

    61 wineries were represented.  In most cases the winemaker/owner was pouring the wines and taking questions and making new fans.  For them, this is a chance to build their fan base and wine clubs.  For us, on the consumer side, this is that opportunity to discover some gems and get in on the ground floor of an allocation list.  Most of these producers don’t have tasting rooms.  Their wines aren’t sold in stores.  They may have some restaurant placements.  You are not likely to find them on your own. Continue Reading

    July 12, 2015 • Reviews, So. Cal. Scene, Tasting • Views: 7316

  • Augustine Wine Bar – Sherman Oaks

    Opened in February, Augustine Wine Bar is a must visit for Valley wine lovers looking for a great spot to indulge themselves.

    Brought to the Valley by the team from Bar Covell in Los Feliz, along with their new partner at this location, Dave Gibbs, who brings to the table an extensive collection of vintage wines that they pour by the glass daily at Augustine!  There is a lot to like about Augustine, but the changing list of vintage wines available to taste by the glass each day is awesome.  Want to know what all the fuss is about vintage wines and if those prices are really justified but don’t have any 1938 bottles in your rack?  Now’s your chance. Continue Reading

    March 5, 2015 • Reviews, So. Cal. Scene, Tasting • Views: 6103

  • Value Wine of the Week – 12/29/2014

    Price:  $13.99

    Wine:  Layer Cake, Malbec

    Vintage:  2012

    Appellation:  Mendoza (Argentina)

    Layer Cake is a well established value brand created by winemaker Jayson Woodbridge, famous for his Hundred Acre Cabernet ($200/bottle and up) and also known for his “Cherry Pie” pinot noir, which we are also fans of here on the Couch.  Layer Cake is a project with a stated goal of making value wines in bulk that overdeliver on price, from a wide variety of global wine regions.  These wines can be found at just about any wine shop, and typically do offer good bang for the buck
    Continue Reading

    January 4, 2015 • Reviews, Value Wine of the Week • Views: 4335

  • Value Wine of the Week – 12/15/2014

    Price:  $10.99

    Wine:  Alexander Valley Vineyards, Dry Rosé of Sangiovese

    Vintage:  2013

    Appellation:  Alexander Valley (California)

    Here’s a newsflash:  I friggin’ love Rosé.  Dry Rosé is having a renaissance in the wine world.  Commercially, Rosé still suffers from the stigma of the “White Zinfandel” wines of the 1980s which are generally frowned upon as mass produced chum.  But here’s the real trick, those wines were popular because they were tasty and easy drinking.  I am happy to tell you that Dry Rosé wines are still tasty and easy drinking, while showing depth and complexity to satisfy even the most serious of wine geeks. Continue Reading

    December 20, 2014 • Value Wine of the Week • Views: 8386

  • Value Wine of the Week – 12/8/2014

    Price:  $9.89

    Wine:  Montebuena Cuvee KPF

    Vintage:  2010

    Appellation:  Rioja (Spain)

    I love Tempranillo.   Ever since my wife and I visited Spain in 2006 and went wine tasting in the Ribiera del Duero region, it has been one of my favorite varietals.  When hunting for VWOW candidates, I will always grab a couple of Spanish bottles because wines from Spain offer some of the best value in the market. Continue Reading

    December 20, 2014 • Value Wine of the Week • Views: 4731

  • Value Wine of the Week – 12/1/2014

    Price:  $10.79

    Wine:  Columbia Crest, H3 Merlot

    Vintage:  2011

    Appellation:  Horse Heaven Hills

    My first choice for Value Wine of the Week won’t shock anyone in the wine world.  It is the 2011 Columbia Crest, H3 Merlot from the Horse Heaven Hills AVA.

    I picked this up at Total Wine and Spirits for $10.79 after the “mix six” discount.  Online research shows the average price is about $14.

    This wine shows the great character of Merlot, without breaking the bank.  The balance and structure is above average, with a nice finish that helps it stand above most other cheap stuff. Continue Reading

    May 6, 2014 • Value Wine of the Week • Views: 4161