La-Reserve-Saint-Dominique-Ventoux-RougeJoin us this coming Saturday, October 12 from 2-4 PM to taste French red wines.   John Griffin from Grape Expectations will be in the shop, pouring wines from different regions of France.  It’s enlightening and really fun to compare various grape blends side by side and decide which best suits your palate.   Free.

Specialty ChocolatesEating sumptuous chocolate is truly one of life’s pleasures.  Savoring a single-origin pure chocolate bar allows one to explore every nuance of deliciousness.  Not satisfied with just plain chocolate?   Choose a confection accented with fruit or nuts and match the flavors with your mood.  Like wine, chocolate expresses its terroir and reflects how it is made. The chocolatier chooses the quality, origin, and variety of the cacao bean, how it is fermented, dried and roasted.  Our new shipment of chocolates explores some of the infinite flavor possibilities from top-notch chocolatiers.  Choose from  Michel Cluizel French bars, a variety of Cacao Sampaka Spanish chocolates, and Caro Chocolate Covered Orange Slices.

Jose GourmetJose Gourmet combs the coasts of Portugal and Spain to find handcrafted seafood products of optimum flavor, richness, and nutrition.   They believe in the principles of fair trade and often pay in advance for the best seafood products. The stunning graphic design of the packaging by Luis Mendonça pays homage to these fishermen and canneries who rely on manpower and life-long dedication to their trade. We now carry Jose Gourmet small mackerel in olive oil, smoked small sardines in olive oil, mackerel pâté, and trout pâté in port wine.  Give these a try!

cazuelas with handlesOur sale price on Spanish clay “frying pans” continues!   Clay cookware is excellent for braising, poaching or baking fall ingredients. Last night we sautéed fresh chanterelle mushrooms in garlic and a touch of dry Fino Sherry and served them alongside pork chops.  A fall vegetable feast can be made in clay cookware by braising eggplant, onions, and peppers together in olive oil. Or, follow our recipe below for Saffron Apples baked in clay cookware.   You can purchase one of the clay “frying pans” at 50% off while they last.

Many wine drinkers only consume white wines in the warmth of summer, but then miss out on the pleasure of pairing white wine with comfort foods during fall and winter.  Think of serving a crisp white with a rich melted cheese like Raclette, and you’ll understand how French people walk away from a meal feeling satisfied instead of overstuffed. Many of the world’s greatest white wines come from cooler regions where locals enjoy them year-round.  Probably the most notable example of world-class white wine is Riesling grown in the northernmost viticultural regions of the world, and Alsace in France has bone dry, elegant, and balanced representations that rival even the best Rieslings of Germany. Further, the finest Albariños are grown in Galicia, the coolest part of Spain; France’s most enchanting Sauvignon Blancs are made far inland in the cooler region of Sancerre. The magic lies in the fact that white wines generally have higher acidity that serves to cut through the fat of cheeses and olive oils, aiding digestion. So, next time you’re feeling chilly, don’t be afraid to grab a white wine to go with a warming Spanish tortilla de patata.

Domaine Schlumberger Grand Cru RieslingDomaines Schlumberger Riesling Grand Cru Saering 2015, Alsace ($35.00) Pair this incredible wine with one of our artisanal goat cheeses and get ready to swoon.  “The wine evolves on a medium of strict and tense vivacity with a sparkling note.  The range of flavors is dominated by citrus fruits: lemon zest, yuzu, clementine, blood orange, white flowers and sperb mineral and smoky definition.  The complex profile of the terroir needs time to express itself and flourish.  Patience.”  Drink now-2028.   93 points Wine Enthusiast

Pazo Senorans AlbarinoPazo de Señorans Albariño 2017, Rias Baixas ($19.99)  100% Albariño, Pazo Señorans offers delightful complexity for the price with a rich, stony minerality; it will age nicely.  2017 saw a very early harvest, low yields, and concentrated wines.  Malolactic fermentation was blocked to retain freshness, and it was aged four months on the lees with frequent bâttonage (stirring the lees).   “It is young and fresh, clean and open with aromas of white flowers and freshly cut grass complicated by hints of bay leaf.  The palate is fresh and tasty, ending with a salty sensation.”  93 points Jeb Dunnuck

Hippolyte reverdy sancerreHippolyte Reverdy Sancerre 2018, Loire Valley ($30.00).  2018 was a fantastic vintage in the Loire Valley, despite heavy rains in June.  The weather was excellent outside of June, and growers are jubilant about the quality of fruit and the yields.   Reverdy Sancerre is 100% Sauvignon Blanc grown on the special clay and Kimmeridgian soils that give Sancerre wines their remarkable weight and minerality.   Reverdy is fermented with native yeasts and grown in vineyards that are not treated with pesticides. This wine shows a beautiful purity of fruit and freshness.   Excellent with cream sauces

Finca Dofi PrioratAlvaro Palacios Finca Dofi Priorat 2014 ($85.00) If this weather has you hankering for a hearty red wine, The Wine Spectator recently featured a rib-eye steak cooked in butter and paired with a Priorat red wine. I can’t think of a better wine to enjoy with a rib-eye than legendary Finca Dofi, and we’ve got it in stock. Palacios was one of the five “pioneers” who rediscovered the raw potential of Priorat in the 1980s and the steeply pitched Finca Dofi was the first vineyard he purchased.   “The 2014 Finca Dofí is a blend of approximately 94% Garnacha and 6% Cariñena from a plot in Gratallops called Finca Dofí. The destemmed and crushed grapes fermented in oak vats with natural yeasts followed by malolactic and 14 months aging in oak barrels. It feels terribly lively, with a silkiness and purity, terse but at the same time ripe. The oak is very integrated and there is no volatility many associate with Priorat, but the flavors are clearly reminiscent of the old vintages of Dofí but with a much more polished texture. Again the acidity gives it clout and depth, like claws clinging to you. It ends tasty and very mineral. This feels as good as the other-worldly 2013. A great vintage for Dofí. Elegance in a bottle.”    95+ points Wine Advocate

A note about proposed tariffs on French, Spanish and Portuguese products.   We hope they are postponed or canceled!  From what we understand, most red wines and sparkling wines are not subject to the 25% price increase. If tariffs do go into effect, we’ve got a game plan to keep most of our prices steady or substitute similar products to avoid price increases as much as possible.  However, there may be unique products that take a price hit – it all depends on what happens in the next few weeks.

Saffron scented Baked ApplesSAFFRON BAKED APPLES

As fall is harvest season it’s a great time to make this dessert from freshly harvested apples.   This dish turns out amazing when baked in clay cookware   Serves 6

Preheat oven to 350º

6                                              Firm apples, cored but peel left on
6 pats                                    Butter
6 tablespoons    Saffron syrup
½ cup                                    Sweet Madeira, such as Leacock’s 5 year Rich, or Rainwater
1 cup                                     Saffron scented whipped Cream for topping (see recipe below)

Put cored apples upright in a large olla.
Put a pat of butter in the center of each apple.
Drizzle with saffron syrup.
Add sweet Madeira.
Bake 40 minutes in at 350 degree oven.

Remove apples to warmed serving dishes.
Reduce the liquid in the olla and high heat until it forms a thick sauce.
Pour over apples.
Top with affron-scented whipped cream if desired.
Serve while still warm.


A simple sugar syrup flavored with saffron quickly lends the flavor of Spain to many dishes.

½  pound             Sugar
1 cup                     Water
pinch                     Saffron

Stir sugar and water together in a medium saucepan, bringing to a gentle boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes.  The bubbles should just break the surfaces.  Remove from heat.  Using a small mortar, grind saffron to a powder.  Add to syrup, stirring until evenly distributed and the syrup takes on a lovely orange hue.


1 cup     Heavy Cream (not “Whipping Cream” which is pre-sweetened)
3 tablespoons    Saffron syrup

With the mixer blurring at high speed and the heavy cream nearly peaked, drizzle in the saffron syrup.