The Sommelier | Stay-at-home wines

Since a visit to the wine store is out, here are suggestions for the shelter-at-home wine lover, on budgets big and small, to be found at local groceries and more.

Spring is in the air, and sadly so is the coronavirus. This means everyone is subject to shelter-in-place, not able to venture out — which feels like we are all in a dream and waiting to wake up. Unfortunately, it’s not a dream, not an episode of Westworld and not a staycation. It is, however, a chance to rethink how to enjoy pleasures of life within the confines of home. Maybe even learn something new.

Drink what you like has always been an important way to think about wine — to ignore the elitist point systems and hotly marketed wines. What better time to try an array of new wines while expanding your approach to buying since a visit to the wine store is out?

There are a few areas to consider:

  1. Shop at Safeway for wines (Whole Foods, or whatever you have deemed your essential place for shopping) — yes, they have a decent selection!
  2. Support a small businesses — very important in these times
  3. Open a special bottle — no time like the present to treat you and yours (in your designated household) to something special

Local grocery stores carry good wines

At Safeway, Village Market, Whole Foods, or many of the big retailers like Bev Mo (if alcohol and drinks aren’t essential, I don’t know what…), you can find great everyday values and they have extensive collections.  A few to consider:

  • Erath Pinot Noir 2017 – From Oregon – a terrific everyday selection | 18.99      
  • A to Z Wineworks – Another Oregon Pinot at Whole Foods | $21.99
  • Kendall-Jackson Chardonnay Vintners Reserve – 2018  | $15.99
  • Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc — Great whites for spring as the sun starts to peak | $24.99
  • Josh Cellars Cabernet 2018 –  Pairs well with meat off the grill  | $17.99

Support the small wine business

There has been a lot of focus on supporting a small business. Kermit Lynch and The Ferry Plaza Wine shop in SF are doing delivery.  Paul Marcus in Market Hall is open and restaurants like Dopo and Oliveto are selling from their wine list.  They really need our patronage, call on the phone to arrange a pick up.

These producers are outstanding and can be found locally: 

  • Sottimano -Several single vineyard Barbaresco’s from Italy – Curra is a good one but they all are good. Paul Marcus has carried in the past.  We recently had a 2012 that was around $89.99.  Elegant with some age.  A bit lighter then some Barbaresco’s.  Let it breath. 
  • Moreau-Naudet Chablis Valmur Grand Cru 2016.  They make a Petite Chablis, Chablis and a 1st Cru – However this Grand Cru is worth a few extra shekels. $59.99  
  • 2015 Mount Eden Vineyards Pinot Noir from Santa Cruz.  Medium Bodied – Not a fruit bomb from the north.  $75.99

Opening a special bottle once a week

This, combined with favorite recipe is a great way to spend a Saturday evening.  The first thing you do is open one of the bottles noted above while cooking.  Then when dinner is served open something special. 

Three that could work well and are available to purchase:

  • 2014 Jean-Louis Chave Hermitage, Rhone Valley, France $300
  • 2016 Spotswoode Cabernet Sauvignon – $225
  • 2006 Chateau Lynch- Bages Grand Vin Pauillac $250

Joe Linhares lives in London. He is a Bay Area native, former resident of Piedmont, and longtime lover of wines.

Joe Linhares

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