Category Archives: Tasting

Saturday Tasting: Caleb Leisure

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July 21st, 1-4pm
$10 (waived with $100 purchase)

Most young winemakers interested in natural wine start by conforming to many traditional aspects of the winemaking and marketing processes while slowly introducing experimental cuvées, odd varieties, funky labels, etc. The idea is to appeal to the base, while courting those on the fringes. Makes sense.

But this is not how Caleb Leisure works. Caleb decided to order 10 clay qvevri from Western Georgia, bury them in the ground at Tony Coturri’s winery in Sonoma, fill them with fully ripe organic grapes, and make 100% natural wines—no additions or subtractions—just grapes processed in the most ancient way we know about. And the risk has paid off. The wines appeal on so many levels: aromatic, textural, juicy. If you are a fan of orange wines, then this tasting should not be missed. Also, a pet-nat for lovers. Here’s to more young-guns emulating Caleb’s audacity!

Caesura, Sparkling Viognier   $28
Verso, Sauvignon Blanc & Semillon    $30
Mother Sees, Roussanne    $27
Mother Knows, Marsanne    $27
AB OVO, Mourvèdre & Marsanne   $25

You can watch a cool video about Caleb’s California qvevri project here.

Saturday Tasting: Domaine Amagat

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Sunday, July 14th, 1-4pm
$10 (waived with $100 purchase)


We’re thrilled to have just received another vintage from Domaine Amagat. Since bringing in his wines for the first time in January, we have been back twice to visit Pierre on his small farm in the Roussillon. We were pleased to find the 2017 vintage his most exciting yet—and the prices still extraordinarily reasonable. We work closely with our friend Josh Eubank to direct import these wines and keep the prices low. Zero-additive wines for under $20? Yes please!

We’ll taste all six new cuvées this Saturday. They are the perfect wines for summer. Dry, aromatic whites with lots of freshness, and juicy reds that range from chillable to grillable.

Le Peril Jaune (Dry Muscat) $18
Grain d’ananar (Macerated Muscat) $18
Je sors de Terre (Syrah/Muscat) $20
Contre un Arbre (Grenache) $18
Nature (Syrah) $18
This is the End (Late Harvest Muscat) $20



Saturday Tasting: Schueller + Ginglinger

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Saturday, June 30, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines (waived with $100 purchase)

Ordinaire wouldn’t be Ordinaire without Percy Selections. Josh is an unrelenting idealist who has always pushed me to think more expansively and more deeply about what natural wine can be and do. If there is something I have learned from both him and the wines that he brings in, it is that we can always be more radical. He’ll be pouring at the shop on Saturday and all of you should go.

Bruno Schueller is a legendary figure in the natural wine world. His wines bridge the gap between classic and avant-garde. I guess “bridge” is the wrong word. Better to say that they dialectically mediate the old and the new. The wines are made in minuscule quantities and demand is outrageous so come early. His cousin, Jean-François Ginglinger, is less well known for the moment, which is just fine by us. The wines are absolutely joyous, just like their maker.

Come by, taste the wines, say hi to Josh, and see why Alsace is the most exciting region in the world for natural wine.

Schueller Californie Pinot Blanc $22
Ginglinger Bihl $30
Ginglinger Riesling Steiner Grand Cru $42
Schueller Riesling “Cuvée H”  $42
Ginglinger Pinot Gris Maceration $33

Saturday Tasting: Clos du Tue-Boeuf

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Saturday June 23rd, 1-4pm
$10 for fives wines

2017 was a brutal year for the Loire Valley. Coming on the heals of two very complicated vintages, it dealt one blow after another: hail, heat spikes, frost, you name it. Many winemakers lost almost all of their fruit. So while we normally await an abundance of joyous wines from someone like Thierry Puzelat, this year only a few paltry cases washed up into the Oakland harbor. Indeed, Thierry had so little wine that he had to call on his friends in the more temperate south to help supplement his production. So the Blanc has some Macon Chardonnay to round out its Sauvignon, and the Rouge has some Gamay from the Beaujolais. I cannot wait to try them.

For last year’s tasting, I wrote about how people like Thierry are responsible for sustaining natural wine’s lively, communal, democratic character. As natural wine expands into larger social networks, and demand drives scarcity and price hikes, Thierry has remained true to his principles, putting out wines at decent prices that are always exceptional. While everyone wants to forget about 2017, it’s worth reveling in what made these wines possible at all: bands of likeminded artisans coming together to protect a trade increasingly threatened by climate change and market pressures. In this light, 2017 is a victorious year!

So come taste this strangely rare vintage of Clos du Tue-Boeuf, and raise a glass for more favorable weather in 2018. Also, Keven Clancy will be pouring. Bonus!
Le P’tit Blanc du Tue-Boeuf $21
Sauvignon Qvevri $43
Vin Rosé  $21
Vin Rouge $21
La Butte $25

Saturday Tasting: Sonoma Mtn. Winery

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Saturday, May 26th, 1-4pm
$10 (waived with $100 purchase)

One of the many things I’ve learned from visiting winemakers in France and Spain is that true vignerons drink their own wine. Having been involved in every point of the undertaking from farming to bottling, drinking their own juice is just a natural final step in the process. Why are there are so few natural vignerons in California? Reasons are legion, of course; but their paucity sets in relief someone like Nic Coturri.

A third-generation winemaker from Glen Ellen, Sonoma, Nic Coturri is a true vigneron. When we see him, he usually has a cooler full of his own wines in tow, which he shares and drinks liberally. He comes from a winemaking family, and has been making wine since before he could legally drink it. He has learned from his father but also is part of the new guard of natural wine.

His wines are made from a balanced mindset: steeped in the history of Sonoma (he has an encyclopedic knowledge of winemaking in the area), as well as having a more delicate, Burgundian touch. He picks the grapes when fully ripe to give the wines a texture true to California. These are hearty wines, but true to the fruit. His wines are, for us, the most exciting, and most authentic, wines being made in California. _KF

On Sunday, Nic will pour five new wines. They are electric.

Sonoma Mountain Winery Chardonnay 2017 $33
Côte des Cailloux Blanc 2016 $35
Sonoma Mountain Winery Char Mer 2017 $30
Sonoma Mountain Winery Pinot 2017 $35
Sonoma Mountain Winery Merlot 2017 $25

Saturday Tasting: Martha Stoumen

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Saturday May 12th, 1-4pm
1-4pm, $10 (waived with $100 purchase)

I had this professor who once told me that when a poor student asked him to write a recommendation, he would always say yes, and then spend hours spinning out an elaborate narrative that often overshot its target. When a great student asked him for a recommendation he would write something short and to the point, like this:

Martha Stoumen is one of our favorite people in the wine world. She makes bright, expressive wines that taste like California: sunny and juicy and honest. If you like California wine, you should buy them.

Come early, say hi, drink the wines. They are great.

Post Flirtation White 2017 $25
Post Flirtation Red 2017 $27
Nero d’Avola Rosato 2017 $36
Nero d’Avola 2016 $38

Saturday Tasting: Vinca Minor

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Saturday, April 28th, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines (waived with $100 purchase)

Jason Edward Charles arrived at winemaking through a circuitous route, bouncing around Latin America and Europe taking photos, then waiting tables in New York, and then staging here and there before finding a place to put down roots—literally. For him, planting vines means linking one’s identity to a fixed place, establishing permanence and structure.

The wines balance these two poles: they have a lively, restless personality which expresses itself in spritely acidity and zesty aromas; but they also contain a certain sinew and complexity derived from the extremely old vines Jason has decided to work with. He works with iconic organic vineyards in Mendocino, Sonoma and the Santa Cruz Mountains. Ordinaire is not especially known for carrying things like California Chardonnay and Cabernet—but Jason’s are exceptional, and we’re excited to pour them for you. Also, his rosé, from 80+ year old vines, is one of the best you can get.

He’s committed to working naturally: sourcing organic fruit, fermenting with wild yeasts, never filtering or fining, and only using small amounts of sulfur at bottling. This Saturday, we taste five new releases. Come say hi and taste. Saturday 1-4pm. $10.

Santa Cruz Mountains Chardonnay 2016  $42
Farmed organically, young vines at 1400 elevation. Fruit was picked for acidity and direct pressed. Stainless steel fermented dry. Aged on heavy lees in neutral french oak for 16 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with 15 parts S02.

Mendocino Carignane Rosé 2017 $28
Certified Organic 85 year old dry farmed vines. Fruit was picked for acidity and direct pressed. Stainless steel fermented dry. Aged on heavy lees in old french oak barrels and stainless steel for 5 months. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with 10 parts of S02.

Mendocino Carignane $28
Certified Organic 85 year old dry farmed vines. Fruit was picked and partially de-stemmed. Fermented dry in open top fermenters. 11 months aging in neutral french oak barrels. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with 20 parts of S02.

Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon  $42
Farmed organically, vines planted in the late 60’s. Fruit was picked and de-stemmed. Fermented dry in open top fermenters. Aged for 16 months in neutral french oak. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with 20 parts of S02.

Santa Cruz Mountains Merlot / Cabernet Franc  $47
Farmed organically, vines planted in the late 60’s. Fruit was picked and co-fermented in large open top fermenters. Aged for 16 months in neutral french oak. Bottled unfined and unfiltered with 20 parts of S02.


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Saturday April 21, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines (waived with $100 purchase)

This week we pour three wines each from two of our favorite producers in Italy: Cantina Giardino and Cà de Noci. The two estates aren’t geographically close, they work with totally different grapes, and the style of winemaking could not be more different. But I like to think they exist in the same astral plane, rubbing shoulders with 18th Century peasants slugging deep hazy reds made from mysterious family vines, that sprawling Neapolitan family of six speeding to the beach on a single Vespa, and some futuristic angel-headed hipsters thriving on fresh squeezed pomelo juice and raw mustard greens. In short, these two wineries make joyous, deeply satisfying natural wines that bridge past, present and future. They have a being-towards-the-future-which-understands, as Heidegger once described authentic ordinary life. Anyway, the wines are great. And our good friend Giovanni, who imports the wines, will be here slinging it all behind the bar. Come taste the interstellar rainbow.

Cantina Giardino Sophia $36
Cantina Giardino Tu Tu $41
Cantina Giardino Volpe Rosa $36

Ca de Noci Notte di Luna $33
Ca de Noci Querciole $24
Ca de Noci Sotto Bosco $24

Saturday Tasting: Les Lunes / Populis

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Saturday, April 14th, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines (waived with $100 purchase)

Here’s something you don’t hear everyday: “At Les Lunes Wine we lease our own vineyards, work our own vines and built our own cellar.” As natural wine grows in popularity, many folks in California have adopted less interventionist techniques in the cellar (awesome!), but have not committed to similarly rigorous approaches in the vineyard. For a good reason: land is expensive and farming is hard! Perhaps because of their training in France (with the likes of Barral and Valette no less!), Shaunt Oungoulian and Diego Roig are committed to doing things the old-fashioned way. They make California wines in a classic mold, with organic fruit, native yeast, and very little sulfur. They are balanced, aromatic and deftly structured.

And then they make the Populis wines, made out of fruit purchased from the Venturi vineyard in Mendocino. These are super juicy, natural chuggers; the kind of wine you always want to have in your fridge.

On Saturday, we will taste five new releases. I have to say, the wines are really freaking good this year.

Below, find the lineup along with notes from Shaunt and Diego.

Populis Sauvignon Blanc 2017 $23
Old vines planted in 1948 from the Venturi vineyard, likely the oldest SB vineyard left in CA. Direct press, 1/3 neutral oak, 2/3 tank, full malo. Bottled in january. Lean, mineral and bright and textured.

Populis Rosé 2017 $23
100% Carignane also from 1940’s Carignane from Venturi Vineyard. Direct press and fermented in tank. the 2017 had tons of malic acid so when it when through malo, it gave the wine a really great creamy breadth to it. But still light due to low-alcohol.

Populis Carignane Reversée 2016 $23
100% Carignane from Venturi Vineyard, also old vines. This is our chillable (chugable) red. We make this the same day as our rosé using our ‘reverse saignée method. We fill a tank with whole clusters and top it up with rose juice so that the clusters are submersed and we don’t need to do punchdowns or pumpovers, a very light extraction method. lets the wine stay super juicy, bright and electric. You seem to get to places with Carignane that you normally could’t with either rosé or whole cluster themselves.

Les Lunes Zinfandel 2015 $27
From Venturi Vineyard, some of his oldest vines on his steepest hill, this parcel spoke to us. Much more restrained and bright, we do this in the Barral method Diego picked up while staging there. 30 days of whole cluster fermentation followed by 18 months of barrel aging and now about a year in bottle. Bright fresh, restrained.

Les Lunes Cabernet/Merlot 2015 $38
We started farming this vineyard 3 years back, continuing its conversion to organics. Kinda like the old-School style of bordeaux blends from CA, but reimagined through the lens of natural wine. low alcohol, varietally correct. We age this for two years in barrel, bottled in July and are just now releasing it. Really trying to show the potential and character that aging can have on these types of wines. Heavy clay soils in Carneros give the wine breadth and punchy tannins, while the relatively cool climate helps to preserve the freshness and varietal characters.


Saturday Tasting: Frank Cornelissen

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Saturday, March 31st, 1-4pm
$20 for six wines (waived with $100 purchase)

I randomly visited Frank Cornelissen before I even knew what natural wine was. Nicole and I were in Sicily for a friend’s wedding and I just called him up and he said to come by. We toured the vines, checked out his winery, and drank a dizzyingly rich and complex bottle of red while eating pizza at a tiny restaurant. It was my first real visit with a winemaker, and I’ll never forget it.

At that time, Frank was a fringe figure making controversial wines in a region no one cared about. He is now the closest thing to a superstar that the natural wine word has.

I had the chance to hang out with Frank over Brumaire weekend and was delighted to find him as engaging, sincere and ambitious as ever. With success, he has also grown increasingly self-critical, presenting his wines the way a student might present a poem at a workshop: asking questions, tentatively justifying his choices, presenting new plans for the next vintage.

It’s now quite difficult to get Frank’s wines. For this reason, we wanted to do a public tasting so that a lot of you could taste them. Like the greatest natural wines, they defy any reference point, and seem to live in a self-generated world. Come explore it with us.

$20 to taste six wines
fee waived with $100 purchase
all wines very limited

Contadino 2016 $32
Munjebel Rosso 2016 $50
Munjebel CR 2015 $74
Munjebel FM 2015 $74
Munjebel CS 2015 $74
Munjebel VA 2015 $74

Methode Sauvage & En Cavale

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March 24th, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines (waived with $100 purchase)

Chad Hinds continues to evolve his Methode Sauvage winery in exciting and unexpected ways. If you are a fan of his layered but tingly Chenin Blancs, and his aromatic Cabernet Francs, then you will be delighted by his recent experiments with Chardonnay and Trousseau. As has become his trademark, the new wines strike that wonderful balance between freshness, sunshine and structure. They are a touchstone for anyone seeking out the new new new California. And as if that was not reason enough to show up for the tasting, Chad will be joined by the incomparable Wolfgang Weber, who has just released his first wine, which he made with Chad’s help: a zippy Sauvignon Blanc that keeps it natty enough for even Kara to drink.

En Cavale Sauvignon Blanc 2017 $23
From Contra Costa County. Fermented with a bit of skin contact, then pressed into neutral barrels. One barrel bottled without so2. Yes, that’s the one you are drinking.

Methode Sauvage Chardonnay $28
From Rorick Heritage Vineyard. Planted in 1974, on its own roots, in limestone and schist  soils. Direct to press, neutral oak aged. Imagine what an alpine avalanche tastes like.

Savage Methode Chenin $14
A special cuvée that Chad bottled just for us. Rich, natty, yummy. Load up.

Methode Sauvage Bloom Phase $24
Chad calls this “California Poulsard,” but really it’s a co-ferment of Pinot Gris with a little Pinot Noir, and a bit of Trousseau and Syrah blended in for fun. Whole cluster fermentation, neutral oak aged. Welcome to chugtown.

Methode Sauvage Trousseau $28
From Rorick Heritage Vineyard. Grafted over in 2014, to vines planted on limestone and schist soils. Whole cluster fermentation, neutral oak aged. Smells like “marijuana gummy bears,” according to Chad.

Saturday Tasting: Brendan Tracey

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Saturday, March 17th, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines (fee waived with $100 purchase)

Inspired by the fuck-all/do-anything attitude of California punk in the late 1970’s, Brendan Tracey, a New Jersey native who’d attended high school in France, moved from San Francisco to Paris where he helped launch a local FM station in 1981. After years of working as a Disc-Jockey, Program Director and finally News Reporter and Presenter, Brendan abandoned his career of 27-years, to study winemaking at the Lycée Viticole in Amboise. As chance would have it, he fell into cahoots with Thierry Puzelat, a natural wine pioneer in nearby Cheverny. Brendan works exclusively with organic fruit, employs native yeasts, and rarely if ever adds sulfur to his wines. “Each year,” he writes, “each variety, terroir and climatic situation imposes decisions on the way grapes are grown, harvested and fermented.”

His reds are among the most juicy and thirst-quenching wines made in France. His whites are intriguing and complex, combining a deep, exotic quality with rambunctious acidity.

Brendan Tracey “Outsider” Brut Rose 2015 – $30 

Brendan Tracey “Oro Verde” Orbois 2015 – $33 

Brendan Tracey Chenin Blanc 2015 – $33

Brendan Tracey “Gorge Sèche” VDF 2015 – $26 

Brendan Tracey “Pour Une Poignée de Bouteilles” 2015 – $27

Saturday Tasting: LA CLARINE FARM

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SATURDAY, February 17th, 1-4pm
$10 (waived with $100 purchase)

Is there a more consistently exciting domaine in California? I think not. Hank and Caroline are constantly releasing new cuvées that thrill with their dazzling colors, bright aromatics, and downright juicy deliciousness. They are masters at channeling the intense rays of the California sun, crafting wines that are packed with ripe fruit, but never clunky or hard to drink. They are swinging by the shop this Saturday to pour a fresh crop of juice. Don’t miss the chance to throw back a few glasses with Hank and Caroline. They’re the best.

Albariño 2016 $24
Petit Manseng 2016 $32
Rosé Alors 2015 $23
Gar-Ma 2016 $27
Mourvèdre Alto 2016 $27
El Dorado Syrah NV $23


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Saturday, January 27th, 1-4pm
$10 (waived with $100 purchase)

The 3.5 hectare estate of Iole Rabasco is located in the village of Pianella, province of Pescara, in the heart of Abruzzo. The area offers a unique set of meso and micro climates particular to this north-central corner of Abruzzo; the Adriatic is some 40 kilometers away while the base of Gran Sasso flanks the western edge of the Rabasco property. Iole benefits from inheriting her family’s small vineyard and olive grove, both of which have never been treated with chemicals.

The vines across the property, almost all Montepulciano with a couple rows of Trebbiano, are also quite old, 40 years average, and rest at some 450 meters above sea level. Soils are calcareous clay mixed with alluvial sediment and fossil remains. Vines are trained in the traditional tendone style pergola, all worked by hand. Yields are kept low but not excessively low as Iole prefers her wines with more acidity and freshness than power and extract.

Cancelli Bianco $33
Cancelli means gate, and you literally just walk out the front gate of Iole’s house and you are in this vineyard. Bright, fresh-squeezed Trebbiano.

La Salita Bianco $36
Trebbiano from her prized vineyard sight, a steep incline exposed to salty gusts off the Adriatic. Aged in concrete. Powerful and savory.

Damigiana Trebbiano $42
Damigiana is the highest parcel in the Salita vineyard, where Iole’s oldest vines grow. This is macerated for four days, then aged in glass demijohns.

Damigiana Cerasuolo $42
Same story as above. A classic blend of Montepulciano and Trebbiano. Aged in glass demijohns.

Cancelli Rosso $33
Lightly extracted Montepulciano, highlighting that tart spicy quality that makes the grape so damn alluring.

Damigiana Rosso $42
A more serious Montepulciano, from old, naturally low-yielding vines. Aged in glass demijohns.


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Saturday, January 20th, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines, waived with $100 purchase

We’re excited to introduce the wines of Pierre Danoy to the United States. Pierre runs a small farm in a mountainous region of the Roussillon—just next to his good friend, Tom Lubbe from Domaine Matassa, a perennial shop favorite. Pierre is a wholistic farmer with a broad range of beautiful products, which he hawks at the local farmers market. His figs, olive oil , fruit juices and solera-style vinegar are all highly sought after in the region. But recently, Pierre has increasingly focused on his role as winemaker. He works with Syrah, Grenache, Macabeu and Muscat, planted on a mix of granite and schist. The grapes are treated like his other produce: organically farmed by Pierre and harvested by hand. His cellar is in a garage off the back of his house, which is surrounded by the family farm. It contains 8 small stainless tanks—one tank per cuvée, many of which change every year. The wines are fermented naturally and never see additives or filtration.

Pierre is a farmer from the old school, more interested in diversifying his farm, expanding his holdings and hosting visitors for lazy dinners, than in carousing with the young guns of natty wine. But his wines are irrepressibly jubilant. Drink up.

Le péril jaune $20
Dry muscat from vines planted by Pierre’s father in the 70’s. The vineyard’s steep incline means it is worked entirely by hand. Serious labor of love.

Contre un arbre $20
Lightly macerated Grenache from younger vines. Pierre prefers this pretty, juicy style.

Marche ou crève $20
Grenache from a vineyard with heavier clay, blended with some Syrah. Slightly more dense and extracted, but still juicy and aromatic.

Nature $20
Syrah with a healthy dollop of Grenache, which gives this wine great aromatic lift. Only a few cases of this in the country.

This is the end $20
Late harvest muscat with some residual sugar. He macerated it for a few weeks to give it color and texture. Savage and gourmand.

Saturday Tasting: Jérôme Guichard

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Saturday, January 13th, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines, waived with $100 purchase

Jérôme crafts rich, exuberant, and cellar-worthy white wines from his small patch of vines in a limestone-rich corner of Southeast Burgundy. His spectacular pet-nat notwithstanding, he has little interest in frivolous glou-glou natural winemaking. These are wines for the table, for drinkers with serious appetites. Like his friend Philippe Jambon, Jérôme aims to harness the development of volatile acidity over many years to give lift and complexity to his relatively opulent wines, a once common but long-forgotten style in Burgundy. His Gamays are fermented traditionally, with whole clusters and light pigéage, then racked into old barrels for a year or more. In keeping with the practices of his mentor, Guy Blanchard, Jérôme uses no synthetic treatments in the vineyard and no additives during the winemaking process.

Pet-Nat 2016 $29
Self-explanatory. Glug Glug.

Bouchat 2015 $29
Rich and opulent Chardonnay with a year of élevage, sourced from the eponymous parcel of vines in Montbellet. 

Rapillères 2016 $30
Chardonnay macerated for a month.

Perrières les Vieilles 2015 $49
Jérôme’s oldest vines. Two years of élevage. This was the main patch of vines inherited from Guy Blanchard and sourced for Philippe Jambon’s iconic chardonnays during 2006-2011.

Jus de Chaussette 2016 $29
Fresh and juicy Gamay for the kids.

Noir de Creuse Noire 2016 $49
Heavy duty old-vines Gamay. Valentines Day present for your “big red”-loving boyfriend.


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Thursday, December 14th, 6-9pm

Keven Clancy gets really excited about Champagne (see above).  Lucky for him, he imports some of the very best, and is usually well supplied. On Thursday, we are pouring wines from three of his best producers. Come get juiced on the best bubbles. Buy two bottles and the tasting is free.

Jacques Lassaigne “Les Vignes du Montgueux” (Magnum) $108
Jacques Lassaigne “La Colline Inspirée” $82
André Beaufort Polisy Réserve $57
André Beaufort Blanc de Blancs 2010 $85
Ulysse Collin “Les Maillons” $100

fee waived with $100 purchase

Saturday Tasting: CLOS SARON

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Saturday, December 16th, 1-4pm

Before there was Ordinaire, there was a dinner in Gideon Bienstock’s cellar, way up in the middle of nowhere along the Yuba. Nicole and I ate braised rabbit and époisse, and drank Syrah and Pinot Noir from Gideon’s personal stash. To say it was formative would be an understatement. Gideon’s wines have always been the most important wines in California for me. They combine the ethics and practices of natural wine with the firm stylistic convictions of a true auteur, unfazed by trends or market demands. From the beginning, we have carried all of Gideon’s wines, and have been fortunate to share them with many of you. This Saturday, we are thrilled to welcome him to the shop for a rare tasting. They are perfect wines for winter: dark, spicy, uplifting and grounding all at once. We will pour six wines for $15. As always, the fee is waived with a $100 purchase.

Carte Blanche 2015 $40
Texas Hill Road Pinot Noir 2011 $65
Old Man Reserve Syrah 2006 $75
Clos Saron Stone Soup 2012 $75
The Pleasant Peasant 2015 $40
Kind of Blue 2013 $40


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Saturday, December 9, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines
fee waived with $100 purchase

Earlier this year, James and Anton tore through the Bay like a cyclone.  like a Yeats poem. like an acid trip. Now that everyone has just barely recovered, their new wines have arrived. They are more psychedelic than ever, pushing the envelope of Oceanic wine like a grom pushing into a slab at Shipsterns. Sorry for all the similes.  These wines are hard to describe. See below for the lineup, with notes from James and Anton.

Lucy M Frizzante $33
100% pinot noir picked early, pressed in open fermentors. It is not disgorged.

Lucy M Wildman Blanc $37
Whole bunch sauvignon blanc stood on occasionally and left to sit for 6 weeks. Pressed into ceramic eggs to age. 

Lucy M Catastrophe Pinot Blend $33
This wine is an assemblage in homage to my cellar hand Christof, a cheesemaker from the Jura. It’s a blend of Pinot, some Merlot, and some Chardonnay that developed a bit of flor.

Jauma Pet Nat $36
We’ve been working on our Pet Nat since 2013, now it’s time to unleash our light and pretty Grenache bubbles. Imagine all the aromatics of Mclaren Vale Grenache squeezed into a water bomb exploding in your face…Boom. Yep, she’s fun.

Jauma Chenin $41
Originally planted for white port-style wines, this is a little drop of historical gold in the McLaren Vale. These vines were planted in the 1940s, vines in white beach sand interspersed with schist and quartz..

Jauma Cabernet Franc $41
The red sandy soil on the Seaview ridge overlooks McLaren Vale and the South Coast beaches. I’m finally coming to grips with the fact that McLaren Vale can produce amazing Cabernet Franc. Electric purple in the glass, this wine sings with powerful raciness, black berries and briary spice.



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THURSDAY, December 7th, 6-9pm
$20, fee waived with $100 purchase

Bénédicte Leroy’s parents were sheep farmers who settled in Champagne in 1975. In the 1980s they planted some grapes and started selling to the cooperative. Little by little, they created a domaine which today is four hectares, not including the garden and small pasture they kept for their own animals. In 2009, Bénédicte took over the domaine. She converted to organics and started bottling her own wine. The family’s commitment to simplicity led them to make wine completely without additives. They are now the only domaine in Champagne that bottles all of their wines without additions: no sugar and no sulfur. Needless to say, we are obsessed. We commence the flight with a lovely Blanc de Noirs from Piollot: organically farmed and no sugar added. It’s our go-to champagne for holiday parties, luxurious brunches, and impromptu sabering.

Champagne Piollot Come de Tallants $45
100% Pinot Noir. Grown on a single-acre parcel on a hill with direct southern exposure. Organic farming. 5000 bottles produced.

Champagne Ruppert-Leroy 11, 12, 13 $63
Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The first non-vintage cuvée, it is a solera-style blend of reserve wines from 2011, 2012, and (you guessed it) 2013. Saline grapefruit and a bit more evolved flavors from the reserve wines.

Champagne Ruppert-Leroy Fosse-Grely $70
50% Pinot Noir, 50% Chardonnay from red clay soils. The richest cuvée of 2013, combining zesty citrus and lime curd to make a well-balanced, powerful Champagne. 2300 bottles produced

Champagne Ruppert-Leroy Les Cognaux $72
100% Pinot Noir from gray clay soils. Bursting with almond blossom and fresh cream flavors, aromatic and fresh on the palate. 2600 bottles produced.

Champagne Ruppert-Leroy Martin Fontaine $78
100% Chardonnay from white limestone soils. Exotic citrus flavors backed up by mid-palate richness. 3000 bottles produced.

Saturday Tasting with ROMAIN PLAGEOLES

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Saturday, November 18th, 1-4pm

We are stoked to have our friend Roman Plageoles pouring his wines this coming Saturday. His grandfather Robert started the domaine, focusing on bringing back the lost indigenous varieties of Gaillac, often exploring the forest to find wild vines, and then going to seed banks to resurrect these grapes. Pretty cool. Robert’s son Bernard continued this work, and now his sons Florent and Romain have taken up the cause of natural wines in Gaillac. The wines are super fun to drink; they combine the warmth and elegance of Bordeaux with a rustic freshness that can only come from these heritage grapes.

Saturday Tasting: KEEP WINES

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Saturday, November 11th, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines
fee waived with $100 purchase

Keep Wines first started floating about the shop two years ago. A case or two would show up like a surprise and then leave just as quickly. An Albariño full of vivacious spritz, a Syrah with a savory density–the wines were no longer on the shelves, but their memory lingered all year. Johanna and Jack Roberts have slowly grown their winery while working demanding day jobs at places like Broc, Scholium and Matthiasson. Those experiences show in the wines, which combine lovely restraint and poise with lush California fruit.  Now with a bit more wine to go around, we are thrilled to host them at the shop this Saturday. We will pour all of their new wines.

2016 Picpoul/Grenache Blanc 22
2014 Albarino 28
2016 Counoise 28
2016 Carignane 38
2014 Syrah 38

$10 fee waived with a $100 purchase.


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Saturday, November 4th, 1-4pm

This month’s selections remind me, once again, that the wine club is pretty amazing. Come by Saturday and check out four new wines. If you join, the tasting is free for you and a friend.


Louis-Antoine Luyt, Pipeño Santa Juana 2016

Though a native of Burgundy, Louis-Antonie Luyt has become the leading figure in the fight for independent, terroir-driven winemaking in Chile. In a country dominated by massive corporate wine production, L.A. has taken the opposite course: seeking out independent farmers, insisting on dry farming, horse plowing, organic viticulture and native yeast/no intervention winemaking. L.A.’s oldest vines have roots dating back to 1660.  These vines are of the Pais variety, a clonal variation of Listan Negro, which was brought over from the Canary Islands by Spanish Missionaries. The vineyards in Chile do not suffer downy mildew nor phylloxera, and thus the roots live for centuries. Despite their impressive age, L.A. is committed to using these vines to make traditional, thirst-quenching wine, called “Pipeño.” He has formed relationships with tiny farmers throughout Chile, all of whom make their wines the old-fashioned way: hand picked, manually destemmed using a thatched zaranda, and then fermented and aged in huge wooden tanks called lagar. He helps each farmer make their wine in the cellar, then pays them well before bottling and shipping the wines all over the world. -Bradford

The Santa Juana vineyard is in the Bió Bió valley, right in the middle of the country, where Luis Burgos and his wife Sara tend vines that are close to 300 years old—which is just insane. The steep vineyards are composed of red clay over gravel and flint, which combined with a wet cool climate, results in a racy and fresh expression of Pais. It calls out for warm, comforting food. A basket of empanadas comes to mind. Or, of course, a Thanksgiving feast. Put a chilled liter of this on the table and be everyone’s favorite cousin. -Bradford

Laurent Cazottes, Champêtre Blanc 2016

Laurent is well-known for making the world’s greatest fruit distillates. This is not hyperbole. Go to any Michelin three-star restaurant and you will see his liquors lining the menus. If you get a chance to buy a bottle, do it! They are amazing. His green tomato liqueur is mind-altering.

Laurent also makes a small amount of wine, which is what we get really excited about. Unlike most winemakers we work with, his grape vineyards represent just a tiny fraction of his overall production, and are therefore treated in the same way as his apricots, peaches, almonds, tomatoes and the many other products from his polycultural farm. For me, this results in a direct, unmediated rusticity, stripped of the fetishes that so easily accumulate around the “wine.” These wines have a fresh crunch that conjure up the actual grapes you might see for sale at the Lake Merritt famers market—wine is just grapes after all! Laurent’s passion for the local fruits and vegetables of his native Gaillac translates into his decision to work with local grape varieties, such as Mauzac, which composes this cuvée. The wine is made simply: organic fruit is pressed into tank, fermented naturally, and then bottled with a tiny bit of sulfites. The result is fresh and floral white wine that smells like fleur d’orange and tastes like just-ripe peaches and pears. Again, a perfect wine for autumn. Put it on your Thanksgiving table; or, if you are feeling irreverent, braise your turkey legs in some yellow curry and serve this bottle alongside. That would be tasty. -Bradford


Côte de Cailloux Blanc 2016

The first time I visited Jacques of Côte de Cailloux, it was like I had entered another universe. We were on our monthly field trip about a year ago, and after tasting deep, beautiful reds with Tony Coturri, as well as some brighter, elegant but still rich wines with Nic Coturri (Sonoma Mountain Winery), I was feeling a bit loopy. Nic took us on an unexpected excursion to visit Jacques, whom Nic had been working with. Matthieu lives on a beautiful estate, in a house at the top of a hill overlooking his endless home vineyard. The sun was setting, Matthieu’s unreasonably tall and handsome son Cody poured for us and served us snacks, and Matthieu tasted us through eight vintages of gorgeous Rhône blends. I’d never had a tasting experience that felt so homey while still having such intention. On another visit last month, after beating us all at pétanque despite being sick, he took us on a tour of a new house he’s building on his property (his current house will become his winery). He’s also an architect, and inspired by Medina and Mont Saint-Michel, he positioned all the windows in the home so that there is no view of any other man-made structure. This is the California dream—living on one’s own terms, out on the frontier. 

Matthieu grows all Rhône varieties (Grenache, Syrah, Marsanne, etc.), making true California wine: rich, deep and well-structured, perfect reflections of the climate. Quentin describes the Blanc as “shiny and crystalline, like pear captured in lactic crystal.” This wine would be fantastic with whole trout, farro and herbs, or with pork butt and grilled peaches. -Kara

Valentin Morel Poulsard 2016

Situated between Burgundy and Switzerland, the Jura is a hilly, cool-climate region which was a major part of my personal conversion to natty wine. This region produces structured, often rich but saline and elegant whites, and reds that are fresh, pale, juicy and floral—when served chilled, they remind me of childhood autumn afternoons crunching leaves in Central Park. The wines produced here are the inverse of the conventional wines I was used to drinking, and are a great example of how a specific terroir can really make a wine.

Valentin Morel’s father and grandfather planted 10 hectares of vineyards in 1978. They sold grapes to the local coop until 1985, when they began bottling their own wines. Valentin’s father, Jean-Luc, had been involved with the local “Confederation Paysan” for some time, and with influence from the organization, stopped using herbicides in the vineyard in 1999. After earning a Master’s in international law, Valentin was taken by the work of biodynamic icon Rudolf Steiner and decided he would rather make wine. Valentin studied winemaking in Alsace, and was influenced by the likes of shop favorite Bruno Schueller. Valentin joined his family domain in 2014. Les Trouillots is Poulsard from 35-year-old vines. Hand harvested and fermented in steel tank with a 15-day maceration. This wine benefits from air—decant it and let it hang for a bit to open up before drinking. Fabulous wine to bring lightness to Thanksgiving dinner. -Kara



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Friday, November 17th, 6pm-late

For the second year, Quentin has coordinated with 23 West Coast winemakers, asking them to bottle a small amount of their 2017 juice for Ordinaire’s West Coast Nouveau party. All the wines have been so far untouched (no filtration, no additions, etc.), offering the first vivid snapshot of the 2017 vintage, in all of its raw glory. Most of the wines will only be available to drink this one night. It’s a great chance to celebrate the end of a very difficult harvest, and to meet the winemakers that persevered through it.

Come thirsty and hungry. It’s the party of the year. PLUS Chris Kronner will be slinging Kronnerburgers and other surprises.

Saturday Tasting: J.Brix

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Saturday, October 28, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines
fee waived with $100 purchase

Jody Brix Towe and Emily Towe are a husband-and-wife winemaking duo hailing from San Diego. Despite being often overlooked on the wine map of California, San Diego has a tight community of like-minded wineries to which J. Brix is central. Jody and Emily like to highlight Southern California’s emerging potential, sourcing fruit from San Luis Obispo, San Diego County, as well as tapping into some of the unique and established growing sites of Santa Barbara. They ferment the wines naturally and add little or no sulfur, with total amounts often under 10ppm (a rarity in California). All wines are made in tiny tiny quantities. We get a small amount each year, and are excited to pour them for you.

Riesling “Augur” Kick on Ranch, S. Barbara 2016 $24
A perennial favorite at the shop, this Riesling is bone dry, and kicking with acidity. It’s what I think of when I think of California Riesling. “Wake Up” Wine.

Chardonnay “Limestone + Schist,” Rorick Heritage Vineyard, Calaveras 2016 $28
Jody and Emily were lucky enough to score some fruit from Matthew Rorick’s vineyard in Gold Country. After losing the fruit to frost for two years, they managed two barrels of this Chardonnay in 2016. Stunning, untouched juice from one of California’s prized sites.

Pinot Noir “Audire” Kick on Ranch, S. Barbara 2016 $32
The dark, spicy aspects of this Pinot bely its 12.7% alcohol. From the sandy soils of Kick On Ranch, this is fermented with native yeasts, then aged for one year in old French barrels.

Hornswoggle “Stay in Bed” Red 2016 $27
Cinsault, Carignan and Syrah sourced from sustainable vineyards. This is their table wine, made for drinking with your family at Thanksgiving. Juicy and Natty.

Syrah “La Belle Reveuse” S. Maria 2016 $29
After losing their Syrah vines to drought, Jody and Emily shuffled and found some more superb Syrah vines in an adjacent corner of this vineyard. Always my favorite wine from these two: savory, spicy and fresh. Enjoy.


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$10 for 6 wines
fee waived with $100 purchase

Nadia was one of the first people I met after opening Ordinaire. She has an infectious energy that expresses itself in huge smiles, enthusiastic drinking and impromptu flamenco dancing. She just started Floraison Selections, which now represents most of the growers formerly connected to Joli Vin, where Nadia worked for a number of years. It’s exciting to see Nadia–whose taste has always struck me as both uniquely independent and prescient–in full control of her own import company. We are thrilled to host one of her first public tastings. To celebrate, we are pouring really, really good wines.

Domaine de Sulauze “Galinette Blanc” 2016 $21

Domaine de la Tournelle “Fleur de Savagnin” 2014 $36

Domaine de l’Ecu “Muse” Rose $21

Julien Sunier Beaujolais-Village “Wild Soul” 2016   $26

Domaine Rimbert “Cousin Oscar” VDF $15

Domaine de la Tour Grise Chenin Noir 2014 $21

fee waived with $100 purchase


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Saturday, September 30th, 1-5pm
$10 to taste six wines
All proceeds from tasting and bottle sales will be donated

Our friends in Mexico need some help. So happens we had planned a tasting with Bichi for this coming SaturdayBichi is located in Tecate, Baja, where Noel Tellez crafts pure, rich, sun-kissed beauties that make you feel alive.

All tasting fees and bottle sales will go directly to Brigada de Rescate Topos Tlaltelolco, a search and rescue team that we trust. They do amazing work, which you can read about here.

If you have been waiting to try the Bichi wines, this is a perfect time to buy them: you will also be supporting a country that brings so much beauty to our world.

Pét Mex 2016 $28

Santa 2016 $25

Listan 2016 $25

Místico 2016 $28

Flama 2016 $28

No Sapiens 2016 $28


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SATURDAY, September 23rd, 1-4pm
$10 for five wines
fee waived with $100 purchase

As recently as a two years ago I thought of Alsace as a curious but rather stultified region, comprised of byzantine grand cru vineyard sites, inscrutable labels, and conservative winemaking practices. But thanks to a wave of young producers—inspired by natural wine pioneers like Binner, Schueller, Meyer and Ostertag—Alsace is pretty much the most exciting region in all of France. In truth, this evolution has been underway for quite sometime (Japan and France are all over it) but American importers and cavistes have just now begun to catch on. And we can’t get enough.

Lucas Rieffel hails from Mittelbergheim, where he is surrounded by an energetic cadre of forward-thinking producers. With holdings in some of the best vineyards in the region, he produces a stunning range of wines, all fermented with native yeast and with little or zero added sulfur. Here is an in depth piece on Lucas.

The wines exhibit what makes Alsace so special: dizzying aromatics, lush fruit, and beautiful texture.

On Saturday, we host Brett Pallsen from The Soil Expedition, a fledgling importer that can’t seem to make a false step. I can’t help but correlate Brett’s open and generous personality with the way these wines seem to immediately embrace the drinker: soulful, joyful and energetic all at the same time.

Cremant d’Alsace Brut 2015 $25
Pinot Blanc “Gebreit” 2015 $26
Riesling Grand Cru Zotzenberg 2013 $33
Pinot Noir Nature 2016 $27
Pinot Noir Runz 2016 $39

$10 tasting fee waived with $100 purchase.

Saturday Tasting: DOMAINE DU PERRON (François Grinand)

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September 16, 2017

The Rhone river plunges past the town of Villebois oblivious to all that surrounds it, flush from Alpine glaciers, and intent on finding the Mediterranean. There is something mesmerizing about its impassive, headlong force. The surrounding hills rise up around it, rich in green vitality, sloping up to the southernmost escarpment of the Jura Massif, and beyond that, the Alps. This is where François Grinand makes wine.

Though often associated with Savoie, the Bugey region is situated on the Southern tip of the limestone-rich Jura massif. In their natural state, the wines, too, often resemble Jura to the North and Burgundy to the West, with which Bugey is historically affiliated. Francois’ approach aims to restore this less common face of Bugey, favoring low-yielding vineyard management, hand-harvesting, and elevage-intensive cellar work. On a mere 2 hectares, he farms Pinot Noir, Gamay, Mondeuse, Altesse and Chardonnay. The vineyards are farmed entirely without chemicals and only occasional biodynamic treatments.

François’ Gamay and Pinot Noir are fermented whole-cluster in upright fiberglass vats. His Mondeuse, by contrast, is de-stemmed to avoid bitterness. Unlike some of his natural winemaking colleagues in the region, who prefer maceration for their aromatic white grapes, François’ whites are pressed directly without being de-stemmed. Grapes are pressed through an upright press with a rock basin, then transferred to old oak barrels, where they age until François decides they are ready to bottle, generally 12 to 18 months. Since 2010, François bottles all of his wines without filtration or the addition of sulfur dioxide.

François talks about wine the way he might talk to one of his piano students about scales, prioritizing process and practice over whimsy and improvisation. Scales are transparently simple, but also inscrutably complex in their array of potential combinations. One does not master them through experimentation, but instead through daily practice, a repetitive labor that requires attention to detail, trusting that beauty will organically arise out of the mysterious interaction of disparate elements.

These are amongst the rarest wines we carry at the shop, and we are thrilled the 2015 vintage yielded enough juice for us to host a tasting this Saturday.

2015 Couffe Chien (Jacquère) $37

2015 Katarina (Chardonnay) $37

2015 Serene Blanche (Altesse) $37

2015 Ermitures (Gamay) $32

2015 Etapes (Pinot Noir) $37

2015 Persanne (Mondeuse) $37

$10 to taste all six wines. Fee waived with a $100 purchase.


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$10 for six wines

Located in Banyuls, just before crossing the Spanish border, Casot de Mailloles has always stood out for the unapologetic embrace of its warm Mediterranean climate. While the wines exude the freshness and drinkability we all love, they also plunge into the deeper, more exotic territory of garrigue, pepper, fig and olive. They are some of my favorite wines: big reds that are fresh enough to drink before dinner, and whites that paradoxically pair with roasted lamb. They have an energy that transcends traditional pairings.

Founded and cared for by Alain Castex, a card-carrying Communist and man of the vines—his tawny neck bears an uncanny resemblance to a centenarian Grenache Gris trunk—the domaine is now under the new direction of Jordi Perez. Jordi worked alongside Alain for two vintages before taking over completely in 2016.

Jordi has done an astounding job carrying on Alain’s legacy. Cavistes around the world let out a sigh of relief when they tasted his handiwork. In addition to preserving Alain’s well-known vineyard-specific bottlings (Soula, El Niño, Visinum), he has also found new vineyards to work with, which will be the primary focus of this tasting.


Rosé de Zaza 2015 $31
Stop overpaying for heavily filtered Provençal rosé. This is the real deal.

Obreptice 2016 $31
100% Vermentino from vines just outside the Banyuls appellation. Aromatic, tropical, and zingy.

Blanc du Casot 2015 $57
One of Alain’s cuvées, this is a blend of Macabeu, Grenache Blanc, Grenache Gris and Vermentino. It is regal and wild, like a mad king, combining dense fruit with oyster shell salinity.

Comax Ethlyx 2016 $27
A new wine from Jordi, this is all Syrah. It’s got spice, verve, and brambly blue fruits.

Roc Blanc 2016 $32
Another 100% Syrah cuvée from Jordi, it is a warm, dark, olive-y wine that you should chill down and serve with stuffed squid covered in squid ink and cinnamon. Just an idea.

Clos de Taillelauque 2016 $57
Alain stopped making this wine a while back, but Jordi decided to revive it as a single-vineyard bottling. A field blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Counoise, Carignan, etc. Special stuff.


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featuring wines


& food by


pork rillettes “Ordinaire” 7

pork belly confit, capers, egg yolk 9

pork shoulder ragout, smoked pepper 10

crispy pork trotter, mushrooms, foie gras oil 10

pork chop for 2, eggplant caviar 19

gratin dauphinois, “Bayley Hazen” blue 8

Saturday Tasting: Partida Creus

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August 26th, 1-4pm
$10 for six wines

Massimo Marchiori and Antonella Gerona are an Italian couple from Piedmont who moved to Barcelona to work in architecture. In 2000, they bailed on the big-city lifestyle and found themselves a little piece of land in the Baix Penedes. A growing interest in farming led them into viticulture, which developed into a preservation endeavor that focuses on recovering ancient grape varieties that are native to the Massis de Bonastre, where they live and work. They search the area for unique and abandoned vines in hopes of farming them back into fruit-yielding health, virtuous work opposite the monolithic face of Spanish industrial viticulture. All wines are fermented with natural yeasts, and no SO2 is added at any point in the winemaking.

-Quinn Kimsey-White

Saturday Tasting: Swick Wines

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Saturday, July 29th
1-4pm, $10 for 6 wines

Last year, Joe Swick needed an introduction. Now he doesn’t. He makes unadulterated wines in Oregon. Like the man himself, the wines speak quietly, but with an edge that can catch off you guard. We love the wines so much that we regularly order some lower-production cuvées directly from the winery. We are stoked to have Joe in town this Saturday. Swing by and taste the best natural wine in Oregon.  And everything is under $30.

2016 Chardonnay $24
2016 Rosé $20
2016 Willamette Pinot Noir $26
2016 Columbia Valley Grenache $26
2016 Columbia Valley Mourvedre $26
2016 Columbia Valley Malbec $26

Saturday, 1-4pm. 6 wines for $10. fee waived with $100 purchase.

Saturday Tasting: Hervé Villemade

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Saturday July 22nd, 1-4pm

$10 for 6 wines
Fee waived with $100 purchase

Hervé Villemade is a pillar in the Loire Valley, where his family has been making wine in Cheverny for generations. In 1995, he took charge of Domaine du Moulin and, inspired by the wines of Lapierre and Puzelat, started making wines without yeast or sulfur. He quickly learned that hands-off cellar work requires pristine fruit, so he converted to organics and never looked back. Today, he makes benchmark natural wines that range from liters of glou-glou Gamay to deep, kaleidoscopic Romorantin. Along with Thierry Puzelat, his lineup of wines offers the most complete portrait of the Loire Valley that I know of. Hervé also hunts, and makes terrine out of the animals he shoots. I always think about that when I drink these wines. Just makes sense. 100% Old School.

Bulles Pet Nat $21
Made from a blend of Chardonnay, Chenin Blanc, and a local grape called Menu Pineau that sees a full year élevage on the lees before release.

Sauvignon 2016 $18
Made with négoce fruit fermented and aged in tank. An easygoing quaffer for everyday drinking.

Cheverny La Bodice 2015 $23
A blend of Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, it is aged in a combination of 500L barrels and foudre which he blends together in tank before bottling. Structured and dense.

Cour-Cheverny Les Saules  2015 $30
His entry-level Cour-Cheverny, this is 100% Romorantin (the only grape allowed in this AOC ). Vines planted in clay and silex soils over limestone. Fermented in tronconic vat; aged in concrete egg.

Bovin Rouge 2015 $18
Bovin is another négoce wine made from 100% Gamay. øø glou-juice in a liter bottle.

Cheverny Les Ardilles 2015 $25
Mostly Pinot Noir with the rest Gamay, it is sourced from a single parcel of old vines planted in clay over limestone. 3 week maceration, fermented in concrete tank and aged in a combination of amphora and neutral barriques. Burgundy in the Loire.

Saturday Tasting: Vinca Minor

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July 15th, 1-4pm
$10 for 5+ wines

Jason Edward Charles arrived at winemaking through a circuitous route, bouncing around Latin America and Europe taking photos, then waiting tables in New York, and then staging here and there before finding a place to put down roots—literally. For him, planting vines means linking one’s identity to a fixed place, establishing permanence and structure.

The wines balance these two poles: they have a lively, restless personality which expresses itself in spritely acidity and zesty aromas; but they also contain a certain sinew and complexity derived from the extremely old vines Jason has decided to work with. The wines seem to be engaged in an internal dialogue between young and old, mobility and stasis.

He’s committed to working naturally: sourcing organic fruit, fermenting with wild yeasts, never filtering or fining, and only using small amounts of sulfur. This Saturday, we taste his three new releases alongside two back vintages of his Mendocino Carignan. Come say hi and taste the goods. Saturday 1-4pm. $10.

16′ Sonoma Valley Chardonnay
16′ Carignan Rose
16′ Mendocino Carignan
15′ Mendocino Carignan
14′ Mendocino Carignan

Saturday Tasting: Sonoma Mountain Winery

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Saturday, July 8th, 1-4pm
$10 for 5+ wines

Sonoma Mountain Winery is the most exciting winery in California at the moment. It combines a deep attachment to the tradition of natural winemaking in California with an affinity for the avant-garde styles of wine coming out of France, Italy and Spain. While informed by his father Tony’s unwavering approach to natural farming and winemaking, Nic is committed to making wines in his own style: energetic blends of red and white grapes, lush and unfiltered Chardonnay, and atypical bottlings of Zinfandel, Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon. They conjure a hazy image of Sonoma before the Pinot Noir craze, when it was still a patchwork of orchards, fields and vineyards populated by Italian immigrants, hippies and farmers. Nic also makes the wines for Côte des Cailloux, a tiny project focused on Rhône Varieties. All the wines are made with organic grapes and without any additions ever. Come meet Nic and his affable band of teammates this Saturday, and taste the future of California
natural wine. It’s probably different than what you imagine.

2016 Sonoma Mountain Winery Chardonnay $30
2016 Sonoma Mountain Winery Pinot Noir $35
2016 Sonoma Mountain Winery Merlot $26
2016 Côte des Cailloux Grenache $30
2016 Côte des Cailloux Syrah $30
and others…

Saturday Tasting: Domaine Les Bottes Rouges

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Saturday, June 17th, 1-4pm

$10 for six wines

Why is it that natural wine’s most beloved region in France is also the smallest and most obscure? We could chalk it up to bad luck or try to analyze and compare flavor profiles, but I suspect that there’s something about the Jura’s extreme marginality that is alluring in of itself. There’s lots of talk these days about how natural wine has finally made it to the big time, been accepted by the wine press, and can be found in airports and at Bevmo. That’s all fine, but there’s something important about clinging to the marginal, and celebrating the tiny, that natural wine culture should never disavow or take for granted.

Jean-Baptiste Menigoz worked with special needs children for ten years in Arbois, while simultaneously become obsessed with natural wines. He slowly acquired more and more vines, and with the help of his wife Jacqueline, and his good friend Florien, now organically farms close to 7 hectares of vines. Always experimenting, Jean-Baptiste makes a dizzying array of wines, ranging from broad and waxy Savangin, to delicately perfumed and seductive Poulsard.

Our buddies at Selection Massale are importing them for the first time. Saturday will be the debut tasting in the United States. We can hardly wait.

Pepee Pinot Noir ’13 $38
Jose Trousseau ’14 $38
Tou ou Tard Ploussard ’15 $36
Sky my Husband ’15 $44
No Milk Today  (Savagnin) ’16 $50
Leon Chardo ’15 $35

Saturday Tasting: François Saint-Lô

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Saturday, May 27th, 1-4pm

$10 for five wines

It was an idyllic night. We grilled Côte-du-Boeuf and feasted on a huge farm table that stretched the length of an old granite cellar, warmed by the conviviality close friends. Quentin in full sommelier mode, vying for command of the floor with Philippe; Quinn softly grinning and swirling; Matt discoursing on the relative merits of the Turnpike and the A6; Josh insisting people sit down and eat like humans.

brad josh lilian house

The night was getting on, and sensing the impending stupor, Quentin boxed out Philippe’s bottle of old Ganivets and splashed around a big bottle of turbid, rose-hued nectar. It brought the table to silence, just briefly, before an eruption of laudations and conjectures woke the room. We remembered the duck breasts and a second dinner began in earnest.

It was François Saint-Lô’s Grolleau. One of the most vivid and uplifting wines I’ve ever tasted. It reminded me why the Loire Valley made me fell in love with wine.

This Saturday we are pouring five new wines from François, including his new Grolleau. We’ve been waiting a long time for this vintage to arrive. There is very little. And it rocks.

Saturday Tasting: La Onda

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Saturday, May 13th, 1-4pm

Dani Rozman’s vinous curiosity has led him from the cellar of Sierra Foothills master Gideon Bienstock to the Maule Valley of Chile and back again. His adventurous back-and-forth has produced La Onda, a winemaking project rooted in both hemispheres. When we first tasted his Cinsault-based blend a few years ago, we were struck by the way it harnessed the savage rawness of old-vine Sierra foothills fruit within a lithe framework that made it imminently drinkable. These are wines that please seekers of the sun and lovers of the ocean.

Come meet Dani on Saturday. Taste the new wines (including an amazing cuvée from Chile!) and explore a few back vintages that he is pulling from his cellar.

La Onda 2016 Blanco de Tinto $30
La Onda 2015 Cinsault/Pais (Itata) $28
La Onda 2015 Carignan: $28
La Onda 2014 Cinsault/Syrah (library)
La Onda 2013 Syrah/Cinsault (library)

$10 to taste. Fee waived with $100 purchase.

Saturday Tasting: Escoda-Sanahuja

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SATURDAY APRIL 29th, 1-4pm

Joan Ramón Escoda has firmly established himself as one of Catalonia’s most important leaders in what is, largely thanks to him and Laureano Serres, a blossoming natural wine community. As some of you may have experienced at Brumaire, Joan Ramón’s infectious goodwill and thirst for agua—aka, real wine without junk put into it—is the stuff of legend. Given his rock n’ roll personality, I’m always a little surprised when I taste the wines. Yes, he makes some of the most irresistibly crushable juice, but he also manages to craft more classically styled wines: a lush but stony Chenin Blanc, a dense and broad Tempranillo, and others. These are wines that I turn to whenever I am eating outdoors: the briny whites work extremely well with grilled prawns or anything spicy, while the reds seem specifically made for meats cooked over open flames. On Saturday we will pour five of our favorite wines from Joan Ramón. Taste them, and then pick up some bottles for the weekend.

Five wines for $10.
Fee waived with $100 purchase.

Pet Nat
Els Bassotets
Mas de Gaio
Nas del Gegant

Saturday Tasting: Bruno Schueller

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SATURDAY April 8th, 1-4pm, $10 for 5 wines

There are very few winemaking estates where history and nobility intersect with the avant-garde. But when it happens the results can be revelatory. Since the mid 1990s, Bruno Schueller has been at the helm of the family domaine built by his father, Gerard, in the 1960s. Over the course of two decades, Bruno has developed a style entirely his own. While paying tribute to his father’s patient and meticulous manner of viticulture, he has challenged local orthodoxy in the cellar, molding the definition of Alsatian wine in his own image. Here’s a picture of his cellar.

schueller cellar

When we visited Bruno and his wife Elena last summer, Elena cooked us a shoulder of pork from a pig they slaughtered just for the occasion. Bradford was really excited to be drinking unsulfured Riesling and eating choucroute garnie. They gave him a local napkin.

bradford schueller
Later on, after tasting from a bunch of barrels and playing a round of foosball (Bruno crushed us), we managed to get Bruno into an Ordinaire tank. He was excited, and plans to use it this summer for hiking and cycling.

bruno ordinaire tank
Among the wealthiest and most conservative regions of France, Alsace is hardly known for experimental winemaking, particularly among the region’s Grand Cru vineyards. In this context, Bruno’s wines often appear iconoclastic. But generalizing the dozen or so cuvées he produces each year can be difficult. Most whites, such as his Edeldeluxezwicker field-blend, are throwbacks to 19th century-style winemaking, when it was normal for Alsatian wines to finish malolactic fermentation in foudre and filtration was considered anathema to their aromatic complexity. On the other hand, some of the key twists in Bruno’s approach come from an affection for the natural wines of Italy, the birthplace of his wife, Elena. He experiments with varying amounts of maceration on Gewürztraminer and Pinot Gris, giving the already aromatic varieties of Alsace a layer of brooding complexity. Finally, Bruno’s rare and mysterious Pinot Noirs are uplifting expressions of the variety, as heady and
delicately perfumed as they are powerful.
schueller dos
At their best, Bruno’s wines are deep, structured, and ornately detailed masterpieces that force us to question mainstream wine’s attachment to typicity, which for Bruno is not a goal, but a point of reference. These are noble wines, from a noble region, that through the kaleidoscopic lens of a truly creative mind, look more exciting than ever before.
-Quinn (with interjections from Bradford)

We received very few wines–between 6 and 18 bottles of each cuvée–so come early and taste before they are gone.

Pinot Blanc Cuvee H 2015
Sylvaner 2015
Edeldeluxezwicker 2015
Pinot Gris Réserve 2011
Le Verre est Dans le Fruit 2014

We will also have several other cuvées for purchase.

December 2016 Wine Club

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Ryan Stirm 2016 Riesling Nouveau
Riesling is a bit of a divisive variety. Though at its best it’s touted and even fetishized by many sommeliers and wine folks, there’s such a glut of the stuff on the market that it’s easy to have a poor experience with wine made from the grape. While waiting tables at restaurants, recommending Riesling is often met with eye rolls, and the expectation of cloying aromatics and sweetness. Ryan Stirm, a true advocate for Riesling, would change any scoffer’s mind with his wines. Stirm believes that “this terpene-rich grape is the most dynamic, the most transparent, and the most exciting” grape for making wine. Stirm makes strikingly pure wines with a focus on vintage and terroir. He ferments with whole clusters and native yeasts, producing wines that let the vines, climate, and region speak for themselves. This 2016 Riesling Nouveau comes from his plot at Kick On Ranch in Santa Barbara, which he farms organically. Stirm bottled it without sulfur for our West Coast Nouveau party, and we loved it so much that we asked him for more. Fermented dry, this wine’s delicate, pretty aromatics and zing of acidity make this wine delicious as an aperitif or paired with dinner, especially one with a bit of spice. -Kara

Swick Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2015
Faced with the daunting onset of the new year, there’s a buzzing tension in the air. The right kind of anti-establisment sentiment, no matter the arena, has been hitting a deep sweet spot. One of my favorite small subversive activities at the shop is encouraging people to try wines that they wouldn’t otherwise choose. A perfect answer for both Loire Valley enthusiasts, looking for bright pretty reds, as well as for west coast wine enthusiasts exhausted by the typical heavier wines that come from our region, is Joe Swick’s elegant take on Pinot Noir. Joe is a quiet but mighty rebel in the face of conventional west coast wine. Using the grapes traditionally grown in Oregon, he overturns expectations with wines that speak with a wry, sassy whisper. Having made wine in California, New Zealand, Italy, Australia and Portugal, myopia is impossible for Swick. His experience shows in his wines, which are beautifully-balanced, quiet riots. The 2015 Willamette Valley Pinot is berry-fruited with soft herbs, cool-toned and warming at the same time. – Kara


2012 Domaine Belluard Mont Blanc
I was first poured this wine from the neck of a cleanly sabered bottle after-hours at the shop. My drunk and drifting reach extended a glass to catch a cascade of softly spiced, honey-yellow bubbles. It came as an after-midnight revelation, and was just what I needed to give me the energy and composure to suggest that our buddies safely make their way home. Some drunkenly content sleep was in order for everyone that night. As I cleaned up the shop, every five minutes I would pause in order to revisit the wine, trying my best to keep up as it expanded and tempered into completeness. Bubbles dissipated and edges softened as it turned towards vinous. Fruit turned to spice, acid and minerality married, and just as the switch was flipped and the shop went dark for the night, I finished my last sip.
Mont Blanc is the top sparkling cuvée from Dominique Belluard, who makes wine for his family’s estate nestled in the Haute-Savoie, at the base of the Alps and just a stone’s throw away from Switzerland. Gringet is the grape; single variety, single vintage, one year on it’s lees. It’s a unique local variety that was close to extinction before Belluard championed the variety and showed the world its potential to make striking and contemplative wines. No abstract thought or intellect is required in order to understand them, and drinkers from all corners of the wine world are drawn toward their transportive abilities. These are mountain wines. Not the brambly, rustic kind, but noble and upright. There is a sense of polished luxury. Sleek and supple, like the leather upholstered seat of a European sports car with horsepower to lend. Mont Blanc can be a drink of celebration, but it is so much more. If given the time and attention it can truly take you places. -Quinn

2015 Vini Viti Vinci A Gégé
Like with any form of art or expression, sometimes a wine becomes so much more with context. When the wines of Nicholas Vauthier first arrived here in the shop, the labels were a constant topic of conversation with customers. They are weird, whimsical, and provocative. One of the more overtly risqué of the bunch was the label for his Bourgogne Grand Ordinaire “a Gégé”. It depicts a woman insouciantly reclining and reading a book with her legs spread, wearing nothing but what look like galoshes. The stark red, square Vini Viti Vinci label is placed very intentionally, framing her genitalia. For a time I thought nothing of it, just assuming it was inspired by the same naughty humor behind many natural wine labels.
Then we visited Nicholas at his winery in Northern Burgundy. We tasted through his cellar, and eventually approached a barrel of Gégé. As he filled his pipette and slipped us all a little taste of bright, juicy, cool Gamay, he provided us with some context. Gégé was Nicholas’ best friend, who unexpectedly passed away in his sleep on the last night of Vini Viti Vinci’s first harvest, in 2009. To honor him, Nicholas had a label designed that is inspired by the famously erotic oil painting “l’Origine du Monde” by Gustave Courbet, which Gégé had a print of hanging in his home. Courbet was an important leader of the Realist movement who rejected academic convention and was known for the audacity of his work. Shares some parallels with the natural wine movement, no? But anyways, just like that, a wine that I previously drank with simple pleasure has taken on another dimension of deeper meaning. R.I.P. Gégé, whose memory lives on in this spirited and expressive wine, made by the affectionate hands of his best friend. -Quinn

Nicolas Vauthier Tasting

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Saturday, September 10th, 1-4pm, $10

I’m sitting here in Chicago. It’s 7 o’clock at night and it’s 92 degrees. I’m cooking dinner for my kids and the little A/C unit is too small to compete with the pork I’m braising and too loud for me to think, so I turn it off, open the windows, and just let the heat engulf me. Why did I braise pork? That was stupid. I just focus on the cool juice leaking out of the bloody tomatoes and the green turgidity of the cilantro bunch that I’m maliciously chopping into nothingness.

Francisco has decided that he wants an egg. Truth is that the pork is not going to be done until 8:30 and with all the prep and Lupita’s leisurely bottle, it probably makes sense for me to just treat the pork like five-star leftovers, serve him an egg with a wedge of cheddar, give him a bath, and call it a night.

“You want an egg?”

“Ya, oggy dada.”

“Ok. I’ll cook you an oggy.” At least it’s a really expensive egg from some farm.

I open the fridge to get the egg and there, down by the mustard and the coconut water, is this bottle of red wine, shrouded in a crescendo of fog that has bloomed from the violent clash of domestic climates. I actually try to swipe the fog away with a backhanded motion. I feel like Frodo Baggins, or maybe even Hamlet. I bend down close to look at this thing I forgot existed, grab the neck, and twist it around. It clanks against the other bottles, remnants of other hot nights, living out their days in cool lassitude. Sweat beads on the bottle like a hundred spider eyes.

It’s Nicolas Vauthier. A Pinot Noir from Northern Burgundy. It takes over my life. I fumble for a corkscrew and tear the bottle open, pour it into the closest vessel and gulp it with a melodrama that doesn’t make me feel self-conscious one damn bit.

I cook the egg without breaking the yolk. Give Lupita her bottle. Put the kids in bed. Take out the pork and eat it until pleasure has become entirely divorced from necessity.

Come to the shop this Saturday, 1-4pm, to taste all the new Vauthier wines. $10. They are the fucking best and I’m so happy we have them in the shop. Ciao.


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Saturday 1-4pm, $10, with winemaker Chad Hinds

When a bunch of industry folks get together in the afternoon and start drinking and eating, 99% of the time they start with something European, usually French. But a couple of months ago, a bunch of us were prepping a suckling pig for a big going away party, and the first wine we cracked open was the Wunderkind Chenin Blanc from Chad Hinds. We poured it around into tumblers and everyone gulped it down like it was lemonade. We actually started just calling it lemonade. Someone poured it over ice and slaked their thirst while manning the spit. It was a perfect wine: unfiltered, bursting with flowers and stone fruit, and with a certain energy that kept me coming back for more. I can’t think of another California wine that I wanted to drink so much. Sure, there may be “greater” white wines being made in California, but nothing this crushable. Chad even bottled a little bit of it without any sulfur additions, just for Ordinaire. Look for the little Ø on the back.

Chad is going to pour a full line-up of wines on Saturday: three Chenin Blancs and two Cabernet Francs, some of which are being pulled straight from the barrel. They are delicious wines that make me excited about the next generation of California winemakers. They are also extremely well-priced, so swing by, taste, and grab a few bottles for your weekend BBQ. Also, Chad is a great dude, whom you should all meet!


2015 ‘Wunderkind’ North Coast Chenin Blanc (Zero Cuvee)

2014 Vista Verde Vineyard San Benito County Chenin Blanc

2015 Vista Verde Vineyard San Benito County Chenin Blanc (Barrel Sample)

2015 Alegria Vineyard Russian River Valley Cabernet Franc (Zero Cuvee)

2015 Bates Ranch Vineyard Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Franc (Barrel Sample)

New Wines from Clos du Tue Boeuf

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SATURDAY JULY 16th, 1-4pm, 6 wines for $10

Thierry Puzelat turned fifty this year and, in a way, so did natural wine. I don’t mean to say that natural wine was born in 1966; in fact, it started millennia ago, somewhere in Mesopotamia, I assume. Rather, it seems to me (and I’ve only been in the game a few years so take this with a grain of salt) that natural wine as a cultural movement is at a certain historical juncture where it has begun to reflect on its own conditions of being, its identity as a movement, and the contours of its future. And while most movements, 50 years on, either fizzle out into ill-defined grayness or splinter into fractious sects, natural wine has proved capable of both broadening its walls and maintaining its lively communal character. I think a lot of this has to do with people like Thierry and the wines he makes with his brother at Clos du Tue Boeuf. Whatever else these wines might be—complex, terroir-driven, whole-cluster, naturally-fermented—they are above all generous, like the people who make them, proven by the drives of friends who traveled across the world to celebrate with Thierry. The claim these wines make on the drinker is that they be enjoyed without restraint, preferably in the company of friends, with simple food full of fat and salt. On Saturday we will pour all six of the new releases. Drink up. Get a plate of charcuterie. And raise a glass to Thierry.

We will taste:

VDF Rosé
VDF Rouge
P’tit Blanc
P’tit Buisson

La Garagista, 5/28, 1-4pm

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This Saturday we are excited to host the incomparable Deirdre Heenkin, the woman behind La Garagista, a winery in Vermont that is changing how people think about farming, terroir, and wine in general. She attended Brumaire in March after receiving a travel scholarship from Ordinaire. In exchange, she wrote a short vignette answering the question “Why do you make Natural Wine?” Below you will find her answer.

On Saturday we will taste:

Ci Confondre Pétillant Blanc
Ci Confondre Pétillant Rosé
Brianna Pétillant
La Crescent, Vinu Jancu
Frontenac Noir, Loups-Garroux

All the wines are $39 retail. The tasting costs $10. Deirdre will also be signing her new book, An Unlikely Vineyard: The Education of a Farmer and Her Quest for Terroir. Come early. The wines are as unique as they are rare.

Why do I make natural wine?

Standing  here in our homefarm vineyard pruning on an elemental March day, I feel the warm sun on my back.  It’s supposed to still be winter here, but instead it’s a strangely mild day on our alpine hill.  The air is slightly damp, and I can smell the woodsmoke of vine prunings burning.  I think of roast sausages and onions over the fire.  Suddenly the slow accumulation of these sensory experiences transports me to a sunny spring day in the gray stone clad hills above the ancient temples of Paestum in southern Italy.   Something about the opaque spring sun is familiar.  

My husband Caleb and I drive on a rutted Roman road with our good friend Bruno.  Bruno is a winegrower in the south of Italy, the garden of Italy, in the region of the Valle di Diano, a fertile countryside, a meeting of mountain and sea.  We drive up a steep incline into a small parcel of vines tucked on the backside of a hill. In my memory it faces south-east, turned slightly away from the Mediterranean lapping at the shores, somewhere below. 

Bruno’s car is low slung and as the vehicle grinds to an abrupt stop, he curses elegantly into the still morning air.  Very quickly the situation becomes clear that the car is stuck in the track below the vines, a couple of grooves in white, friable soil that is damp and dark , wet even underneath, grooves made by a tractor, or another car,  or a chariot from another time.  We leave it for later, putting off pushing the car out of its trap, or calling for help.  Instead,  we grasp at more immediate pleasures, and we walk up into this young vineyard, neatly pruned  and planted with oats grown to mid-thigh.  Bruno says it’s time to cut.  Instinctively all three of us brush the furry fruits at the top of the oat stems with our fingers as we swish through the growth.

Bruno tells us these burgeoning vines are all native Falanghina, their little leaves of green unfurling from tight buds, moving slowly toward the sunlight.  The air smells of heat, wet clay, wet stones,  and an indefinable green perfume that comes from the chartreuse leaves pushing out everywhere, on all the trees and new plants and flowers from the hedgerow.  We speak of farming.  Cover crops.  Plant teas.  Copper.  Sulphur. Compost.  Moon cycles.  We speak of family farms, the beauty and difficulties, the differences and the solidarities.  We speak of his brother-in-law, whom he says has a perfectly attuned palate for these vineyards that the family farms together, especially and in a particular for one of their vineyards planted to the noble Aglianico.  Bruno tells of how his brother-in-law walks the rows of ripening, dark fruit close to harvest, tasting berries here and there, gauging, sensing, listening.  When the flavors coalesce in a way that calls to his intuition, he calls the pick and the crew rallies and the black ruby fruit comes in.

In Bruno’s telling, I am mesmerized by this story, by the notion that someone might know a vineyard so well that he or she can intuit that singular moment in which the minor tragedies and glories of a season unfold in layers of flavor, texture, acidity, tension in a way that foretells the future of the fermention and the fruit into the wine.  At that moment, this little diamond -like revelation  is so shiny that the magpie in me becomes enchanted and wants to understand this kind of magic.  I want to be able to do this too.

By then I knew I wanted to be a good farmer, this was why we had come to Bruno to learn, but this was really before I was aware of the fluid notion of natural wine,  of what it meant to be a vigneronne, a winegrower, a person who acted as an intuitive guide and a companion to her vines as well as the wine.  This was before I knew about the limestone and various clays in the valley soils of Vermont, or the volcanic shists, quartz, amphibolites, slates, and garnets  of our homefarm and mountain vineyard.  It was before  I knew how to identify horsetail and stinging nettle, wild white yarrow in our hedgerows.  This was before we had planted more than a hundred vines on our land that had long ago been home to herds of sheep stolen from Spanish nobility.  This was before we would meet a man at a dinner party who knew a man with a local vineyard who might be willing to sell me some fruit.  This was before Bruno sat at our own dining table in a farmhouse in snow-clad Vermont mountains and tasted wines that I had made in buckets in our claw-footed bathtub from grapes without provenance bought at market in Boston and that had traveled from California.  This was before Bruno would give me a knickname, that of Capotosta, or hardheaded.  This was before Bruno would give me my first task when we learned from the man at the dinner party who knew a man with a local vineyard that we could come pick fruit.  

Taste the fruit.  See the fruit.  Pick the fruit by hand, he said to me.  Choose your clusters.  Destem by hand.  Sort the berries.  Crush by your feet.  Press in a simple ratchet press.  Ferment in glass jars.  Do it the way the old farmers  did it.  Become a peasant.  

This was the moment in which desire and hope entwined and while I didn’t understand what it meant, I knew what I felt and what I wanted to do, had to do.  As I looked out over the intimate little vineyard embraced by the shifting and swaying oats and mixed flowers and we followed Bruno around the perimeter and he showed us how to identify and pick wild asparagus beneath the trees, I became electric.  This was the first piece in a large and ever-evolving puzzle in which I would take the first steps down this thorny but beautifully scented path, this was when I knew I wanted to be a winegrower, someone like Bruno who was passionate and thoughtful and learned in the ways of the vineyard, and someone like his brother-in-law who could see the story of a place and  a vintage in the world of a single ripe grape.   This was the moment when I knew I wanted to grow wine that could be luminous with history, nostalgia, love, spirit, purity, and honesty.  This was the moment when, for the third time in my life, I stood poised on an edge.  And jumped. 


Cruse Wine Co. with Mike Cruse

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Saturday, May 14th, 1-4pm, $15

Like most people who work in wine, I always get a little bit happier when Mike Cruse walks through the door. He’s a seemingly bottomless reservoir of goodwill, quick wit and—how to put this?—thirstiness. And I don’t just mean thirst for wine. I mean thirst for just about everything. Thirst for conversation, for knowledge, for gossip, for recent discoveries, for tales of child rearing, for an opinion on the recent elections in France, for your idea of how a Pet Nat should be made, how duck liver should be cooked, or how a bottle of Beaujolais should be consumed. You tell him, and then, just like that, he starts telling you what he thinks, and he’s got these long, well-reasoned opinions that are so fun to hear. There’s this lovely balance between the idle flow across disparate topics and a certain reflective rigor that gives texture and direction to the conversation. I could talk to Mike all damn afternoon.


I can picture Mike reading this paragraph, thinking: this is where Bradford is supposed to draw an analogy between my personality and my wines. Mike’s thinking: are my wines down to earth? gregarious? friendly? Is that a good thing?


The truth is that Mike makes a range of wines, from a lightly fruited sparkling Valdiguié to a brooding and structured Syrah. The wines go where they want to go. They bear the mark of a winemaker who is still fascinated by what he can learn from grapes, and who delights in the mysteries of fermentation even as he attempts to discern its rational core. The wines themselves are buoyed by this tension: between a playfulness that moves lateral to analysis and a seriousness that propels one to become involved in the wine’s complex matrix of flavors.


Perhaps it is for this reason that Mike is one of the few winemakers able to move easily in almost all wine circles: slamming bottles of Beaujolais at Ordinaire on Wednesday, then sniffing old Burgundy with the somm set on Friday. And always finishing with Champagne.


On Saturday, we will pour all of Mike’s new wines. Because he keeps getting mentioned in the New York Times and showing up on celebrity Instagram accounts, many of the wines are only sold direct to consumer. But we are going to pour everything on Saturday, including the stuff that doesn’t get released to retail. So it’s a chance to get the wines if you aren’t on the mailing list. More than that, it’s a chance to chat with Mike. See you then.



2015 Muscat

2014 Chardonnay

2015 Sparkling St. Laurent

2015 Sparkling Valdiguié

2015 Valdiguié (Magnum)

2015 Monkey Jacket Red Wine Blend

Hervé Villemade: 20 February, 1-4pm

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We deeply believe in every wine that we sell. But each for different reasons. Often our favorite wines are confusing, mercurial, recalcitrant, cerebral, fragile, or ephemeral. Robinot comes to mind. Philippe Jambon, of course, and many others. We love these wines not in spite of these eccentricities, but because of them. But we also have wines that are downright dependably delicious every single time: wines that are soulful, well-structured and immediately satisfying. Julien Guillot comes to mind, as does Thierry Puzelat. And Hervé fits into this second category. His wines are well-priced and always good: bright, fruity, complex and refreshing. They are benchmark natural wines that always have a place in the shop.
His family has been making wine in Cheverny for generations. In the nineties, after farming conventionally for a few years, he decided to start converting to organics, and after tasting the results, he never turned back. He works with Gamay, Sauvignon, Chardonnay, Cot, Pinot Noir, Menu Pineau and Romorantin. He has a deft touch in the cellar, preferring large, neutral fermentation vessels and very small amounts of sulfur. He also hunts, and makes terrine out of the animals he shoots.

This Saturday, Hervé will visit the shop and pour six of his wines, including a back vintage of Romorantin just so you can get a sense of this grape’s unique evolution.

1-4pm. $10.

2014 Villemade Cheverny Blanc $18
2012 Villemade Cheverny Blanc Les Bodices $26
2014 Villemade Cheverny Rouge $18
2012 Villemade Cheverny Rouge Les Ardilles $25
2014 Villemade Cour-Cheverny Acacias $37
2008 Villemade Cour-Cheverny Petit Acacia $40

If you can’t make the tasting but would like to purchase the wines, reply to this email. We’ll try to figure something out.

CHAMPANGE TASTING: Beaufort, Collin, Lassaigne, Tarlant, Pascal

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THURSDAY JANUARY 17th, 6-10pm. $20.

This Thursday evening, we feature the Champagnes of Farm Wine Imports. Recently, they acquired a whole slew of amazing producers and I’ve been eagerly awaiting the holidays so that we could pour nice fat lineup. The inimitable Keven Clancy will be in residence, pouring the wines (and drinking them too). Some of the wines are super limited, so come early. Should be fun.

2010 André Beaufort Brut Millésime Blanc de Blancs $85
Domaine André Beaufort has formed organically since the 1970s. They are known for producing powerful and rich champagnes that age for decades. Recently, the son Amaury has started making the wines without the addition of sugar (Brut Nature), resulting in wines that are fresh, vibrant and more accessible in their youth. I find this 2010 more akin to Burgundy than Champagne. This stuff is what F. Scott and Zelda were drinking with their buddies in Antibes. The addition of no sulfites (or anything else) makes this wine aromatically exuberant and unabashedly rich. My wine of choice for New Year’s Eve. Pair with whole lobster tail and a lobe of foie gras.

Ulysses Collin Les Pierrières Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs $80
Collin works in the far south, where the famous chalky soil of Champagne is right at the surface, mixed with a high proportion of silex, which imbues these wines with a wonderful mineral component. What makes them unique is Collin’s commitment to harvesting at maximum ripeness, allowing for a judicious amount of oxidation, and fermenting and aging exclusively in old Burgundy barrels. This year, the wine shows richness and depth: succulent apricot, white peach and Bosc pear intermingle with a savory constellation of raw carrot, wet soil and slate. A gastronomic champagne.

Jacques Lassaigne Le Cotet Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs $70
From a parcel of 40+ year-old vines growing in the clay and chalk soils of Montgueux. The parcel is distinguished by his proportion of silex (flint) in the soil, which lends the wine a distinct mineral component. Picked at maximum ripeness and then allowed to undergo native fermentation without the addition of sulfites. Aged for two years in old barrels, then hand-disgorged, corked and released. Mineral, fresh, exuberant. A pure blanc de blancs that calls out for a giant fruits de mer tower.

Jacques Lassaigne La Colline Inspirée Extra Brut Blanc de Blancs $86
Again, all Chardonnay from Manu Lassaigne, but form only the oldest vines. This wine undergoes fermentation and aging only in barrel. Slightly more unctuous, honeyed and broad, but also showing a very intriguing savory dimension that is reminiscent of great Burgundy. The palate combines baked apple, quince and raw mushroom. It’s more muscular and and mouth-filling than Le Cotet, but still bursting with energy. I would drink this with duck breast.

Champagne Tarlant Brut Zero $50
When I first tasted this wine from Tarlant, i wasn’t convinced. Sure, it was clean and bright, with an electric streak of acidity that would wake up your palate. But it was also a bit simple. I recently retested the wine and couldn’t believe the difference a few months in bottle had made. Still zingy and citrusy, but now showing a complex bouquet of red fruits and white flowers. Made from organic fruit, it’s a blend of 1/3 Pinot 1/3 Chardonnay and 1/3 Meunier from the Vallée de la Marne. A wonderful (and affordable) portrait of Champagne terroir.

Franck Pascal Tolerance Rosé $60
A biodynamic estate in the Chatillon area of the Vallée de la Marne. He eschewed chemicals after realizing that vineyards sprays were derived from the same methods as the chemicals he was trained to use in the French military. He also tries to avoid sulfur because it can de-center the energy of living organisms, such as grapes, or a bottle of Champagne. Whatever you think about biodynamics, the results are difficult to argue with. This is the rosé, made by blending 6% red wine from the lowest yielding parcels of Pinot Noir and Meunier. It’s bright and red-fruited, showing a subtle tannic texture that draws out the acidity and accents the lovely fruit. Unique and beautiful stuff.

Clos Saron Tasting

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I talk about Clos Saron a lot, so I’ll keep this short. Gideon Beinstock makes wine in the Sierra Foothills. He is committed to making natural wines with no corrections or make-up. Wines very simply made: hand-picked, foot-stomped, moved to old oak barrels, and then bottled. They are the most compelling wines being made in California. Today we offer a small cross section of Gideon’s work. His wines are not cheap, but they are worth it. Made in ultra-small quantities, they are unique expressions of California mountain terroir.

$10 for the tasting

2014 Tickled Pink Rosé $35
Our Tickled Pink is a light rosé made from early harvested Syrah and various other red and white varieties. Starting with 2013, the rosé ferments on some white skins/stems and is barrel aged for 12-18 months before bottling.

2014 The Pleasant Peasant $35
A new addition to our family of wines.  Fruit sourced from own-rooted vines planted in 1900 in Lodi. You may think of it as a distant relative of our “Blue Series” (Old-vine Cinsault based wines), having been planted by the same family as that vineyard… A fun wine, with a serious side.

2013 Home Vineyard Pinot Noir $60
Our “Home Vineyard” is north-east facing, at 1530-1600 ft altitude. Overall, the top soil is alluvial clay-loam on volcanic ash, fractured granite, and quartz sub layers. Own-rooted vines, comprising about a dozen known and unknown clones, were densely planted (3’x6′). The vineyard is farmed with zero chemicals and minimal irrigation. Fertilization is provided by grazing livestock animals (sheep, geese, and chickens), supplemented with additional organic compost.

2012 Stone Soup Syrah $60
2009 announced the first vintage of our Stone Soup Syrah. At about 2000ft. altitude, this vineyard is located about one mile up the hill from our home, on our friends John and Ellen Trezevant’s property. This Syrah’s expression is strongly individual: lighter than most in body and alcohol, it has very deep color, vibrant acidity, and fresh aromas. This 2-acre site is a textbook Syrah vineyard: south-facing, steep, extremely rocky, granitic, well drained. The challenge here is getting the vines established in this extreme low-vigor, arid hot-spot, but the early results are highly promising. About 10% of the vineyard is planted Viognier, which has been co-fermented with the Syrah starting with the 2013 vintage.

If you would like to purchase any wines, but are unable to make the tasting, just send me an email at We are happy to take an order over the phone. We also ship all over the United States.

Partida Creus: Saturday Tasting 1-4pm

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Before we talk about the amazing wines we’ll be pouring, I first want to say that local wine celebrity Colin Peter Casey (aka D.J. CPC) will be spinning vinyl on Saturday afternoon, and we’ll be passing out candy to anyone wearing a costume. So come for the wines and stay for the fresh beats.

Ok, the wines…

On our recent trip to Spain and the south of France, the wines of Partida Creus were inescapable to the point of comedy. At every cave, wine bar or restaurant where we gave the servers carte blanche, the wines would hit the table again and again. At first we asked ourselves whether or not it was a hoax. No way these wines could be from Catalunya. Why are they everywhere? Just a flash in the pan trend maybe? But once we stopped thinking about it so hard, I noticed that we were drinking the wines. Fast. I reached a point where my parched and road-worn palate found few wines to be more agreeable. I was repeatedly mesmerized by the the snowy-white opacity of the whites and the electric coral-colored reds.  Fresh, thirst-quenching, and exuberant. We guzzled Partida Creus with friends old and new, and the recurring conversation always brought everyone a little closer.

Massimo Marchiori and Antonella Gerona are an Italian couple from Piedmont who moved to Barcelona to work in architecture. In 2000, they bailed on the big-city lifestyle and found themselves a little piece of land in the Baix Penedes. A growing interest in farming led them into viticulture, which developed into a preservation endeavor that focuses on recovering ancient grape varieties that are native to the Massis de Bonastre, where they live and work. They search the area for unique and abandoned vines in hopes of farming them back into fruit-yielding health, virtuous work opposite the monolithic face of Spanish industrial viticulture. All wines are fermented with natural yeasts, and no SO2 is added at any point in the winemaking. -Quinn Kimsey-White

2014 Vinel.lo Blanco: A rustic but elegant field blend of Garnatxa Blanco, Macabeu, Moscatell, Panse, Parellada, Vinyater, and Xarello. A whisper of barnyard funk gives way to fields of little white flowers, lavender, cannabis, and honey dipped exotic fruit.

2014 Vinel.lo Tinto: Another patchwork of native Catalan Varieties: Garnatxa, Garrut, Sumoll, Trepat, Queixal de Llop, Samsó, and Ull de Perdiu. Separate whole cluster macerations in tank with various times on their skins, ranging from 20 hours to 3 days. Bright and herbal, with iridescent red fruit and wet earth, supported by a rigid mineral backbone.

2012 Sumoll: Dense and sappy, with grippy black fruit and flowering herbs. The most layered and serious of the line-up.

We’re very excited to have these wines in the shop, and supplies are currently limited, so come out and drink them with us! And if you can’t make it this weekend or don’t live in the Bay Area, we now ship throughout the USA. Hit us up. Reply to this email or email

Clos du Tue-Boeuf, Oct 24th, 1-4pm

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Clos du Tue-Boeuf is a 10-hectare family estate in Cheverny, a small appellation in the Touraine region of the Loire Valley. They organically farm Pinot Noir, Gamay, and Sauvignon Blanc (the main varieties of the region), alongside an array of less ubiquitous grapes, such as Pinot Gris, Chenin Blanc, Sauvignon Gris, Menu Pineau, and Côt. All wines are naturally fermented and aged without the use of sulfur, with only occasional additions at bottling, never exceeding 15ppm.

Alright, boring technicalities are out of the way. The thing to know about these wines is that they are made by two brothers, Jean-Marie and Thierry Puzelat, who are, arguably, the most important fixtures in the world of natural wine.


Since the early nineties, they have acted as formal and informal mentors to a generation of younger winemakers, encouraging them to take risks despite market demands and other global pressures. They’re not only rigorously committed to organic viticulture and traditional winemaking; they also embody a certain joie de vivre that turns wine tastings into electrifying parties overflowing with abundant generosity and good will.


And their wines translate this ebullience. They range from quirky to thought-provoking to opulent, without ever losing their ability to evoke thirst.

This Saturday, we pour every cuvée that is imported to the west coast, seven in all. For $10. 1-4pm. Come early because Keven has to go to a Bar Mitzvah.

Touraine Blanc Brin de Chèvre. 100% Menu Pineau. $30
Lively nutty nose. Citrusy and energetic.

Touraine Blanc Frileuse. Sauv Blanc, Sauv Gris, Chardonnay. $23
Plump fruit aromas. Onctuous and generous, with zest.

Touraine Rouge La Butte. 100% Gamay. $20
Fuller than most Touraine Gamay. Brambly aromas find their home in a thicket of raspberries.

Touraine Rouge Le Guerrerie. 50% Gamay, 50% Côt. $26
The odd one out, with Côt exuding its rustic personality. Purple fruits and good grip.

Cheverny Rouge Rouillon 60% Pinot Noir. 40% Gamay. $23
Benchmark Cheverny. Smells and tastes like Pinot, but with punchy Gamay texture.

Cheverny Rouge Caillère. 100% Pinot Noir. $30
The most reclusive. Sweet fruits poke out of the forest floor.

Cheverny Rouge Gravotte. 100% Pinot Noir. $30
Gourmandise. Regal Burgundian aromatics, soil, spring rain.

NOTA BENE: If you can’t make it to the tasting, but would like to purchase the wines, please contact us. We are happy to set aside some bottles for you. We also ship all over the US of A. Email me at We will set you up.

Nicole Deriaux from Domaine de Montbourgeau, Oct 8th, 6-9pm

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I think I shared the experience of many natural wine lovers, when I stopped into a wine bar (probably Terroir in San Francisco) and ordered a “Chardonnay,” and was confronted with this crazy thing that smelled like spring rain and chicken broth and wet rock and raw almond and was thinking, what the hell is this?! And then tasting it and being overcome by a depth of complexity that was utterly unlike any Chardonnay I’d ever tasted. Domaine de Montbourgeau’s “Cuvée Special” Chardonnay was a totally formative wine for me: it got me hooked on the Jura and oxidative styles of wine-making more generally.

Nicole Deriaux has stewarded her family’s ninety-year-old estate since 1986. She is here on one of her rare visits to the United States. We are very luck to host her. We will pour an array of her wines, which express both the unique terroir of l’Etoile (a tiny appellation in the Jura) as well as the rigorously traditional style of winemaking they employ.

Thursday October 8th, 6-9pm. $10 for the tasting.

If you can’t make it to the tasting, but would still like to purchase the wines., fear not! We now deliver all over the United States. Send an email to to set up delivery.

JURA IS NOT DED, Oct 10th, 1-4pm

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This Saturday, myself, Quinn and Cory Cartwright are going to pour some rocking Jura wines from Les Dolomies and Domaine des Marnes Blanches. Some of the cuvées are not available almost anywhere else in the United States. They’re also tasty. We’ll pour 5 or 6 cuvées, including some Chardonnays, a Poulsard, a Trousseau, and a Savagnin. They’re all very exciting, transcending the current discourse about Jura being a fad for wine hipsters–which is a discourse I find just kinda stupid, because the wines are authentic expressions of unique terroir, farmed and vinified by real people who couldn’t give one shit about their wines being hip or whatever. And thank god not all wines are from Burgundy. That would suck.

Anyway, come out and taste some really, really cool wines, and take a few home if you like them.

Saturday October 10, 1-4pm, $10.

If you can’t make it to the tasting, but would still like to purchase the wines., fear not! We now deliver all over the United States. Send an email to to set up delivery.