Trying to do our part to help restaurants find wonderful wines at reasonable prices, the Wine Patrol has embarked on a mammoth tasting regimen. The wines listed below have strong varietal character and a sense of place. They all carry wholesale prices that allow markups as high as 2 ½ to 3 times, yet would still appear below $30 on your wine list. (Of course, the Wine Patrol would ask that you take a smaller markup on these wines and pass along the discoveries to your patrons.)
If any of these wines sound as if they might fit into your wine program, contact the distributor in your area who carries the wine and ask your sales rep to get you a sample bottle. Individual tastes vary, so don’t take our word for it. Decide for yourself, but we’re pretty sure you’ll like most of these value finds. (If you have difficulty finding the distributor, contact the importers listed and ask them who sells the wine in your area.)
Martin Schaetzel 2004 Pinot Blanc (Importer:Adventures in Wine, Daly City, CA)
A bright example of Alsatian Pinot Blanc, from a classic old family house, produced using fully organic techniques. Full of ripe peach aromas and stone fruit flavors, it carries a lush mouth feel and finishes with clean, fresh acidity. It shows balance, finesse and character. Wholesale price around $9.
Susana Balbo 2004 Crios Torrontes (Importer: Wine Connections, Sausalito, CA)
Torrontes is a wonderful grape variety from Argentina, and Susana Balbo one of its finest practitioners. Perfumed Muscat on the nose, followed by complex Muscat flavors with a finish (surprise!) that is bone dry. Incredibly versatile wine that can be used as a by-the-glass aperitif and goes beautifully with shell fish, soups, Asian flavors and spice. Introduce this to your customers as something new, and watch them become great fans. Wholesale price $10.
Maison Louis Latour 2004 Pouilly Fuissé (Importer: Louis Latour, San Francisco, CA)
Classically lush Chardonnay with that French flair. Delicious minerality along with full-bodied mouth appeal and perfect acidity. This is a great example of how fruit can carry a wine using oak as an accent. Works equally well with fresh seafood, chicken dishes and many sauces. Wholesale price $8-$9.
Domaine de la Renjarde 2003 Côtes du Rhone Villages (Importer: Epic Wines, Aptos, CA)
This is a wonderful estate sharing ownership with Chateau La Nerthe in Chateauneuf-du-Pape. A blend of Rhone varietals, primarily Grenache, Syrah, and Mouvedre, this vintage is loaded with strawberry and black raspberry flavors evolving into a leathery complexity. This is great quaffing wine and shows tremendous versatility when paired with dishes. Wholesale price $8-$10 depending on the deal at hand.
Domaine de Fondrèche 2003 Côtes du Ventoux “O Sud” (Importer: Robert Kacher, Washington, D.C.)
Fondrèche makes several wonderful wines, but this “O Sud” is the bargain. It has the classic Ventoux nose of violets and flavors of ripe plum, blackberry and licorice. It is fat and silky without being heavy. It has a long finish of wonderful spicy herbs. Most wine lovers would be thrilled with this wine, if you told them about it. Wholesale price $7-$8.
Altocedro 2004 Malbec Año Cero (Importer: Epic Wines, Aptos, CA)
If you like dark berry fruit flavors, this is a wine that delivers. There is some nice cocoa scented toastiness, but the oak is well managed as is the balanced alcohol. The tannins are ripe giving the wine a dense, concentration and wonderful structure. This is a bold wine for meat or maybe even squab. You could make a lot of friends by pricing this right and informing your wine loving customers. Wholesale price $6-$7.
Please note that pricing information given on these wines is as accurate as we can manage for Northern California. Price may vary slightly in your area, but it shouldn’t be much.
Also be aware that the Wine Patrol whole-heartedly endorses these wines, and we do so as a service to our friends. The Wine Patrol receives no remuneration from any source for giving these endorsements.