Category Archives: California

Broadside Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Paso Robles Impulse

Broadside 2014 Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon

Fellow wine lovers, for many today and yesterday are snow days, and I feel like we need a big warm Cabernet to cozy up to. I’ve long been a fan of the boldness, purity, and beauty of Paso Robles wines, but they are not very well represented here in Washington State. In many ways, I think of Paso Robles as the Washington of California. When I visited the region a few years ago, I found the culture of the wine industry there to be very similar to our own, and the winemaking style is somewhat similar as well, yet distinctly different. The wines of Paso Robles are a tremendous value, and often can go toe to toe with a big bold red from Napa for half the price, which is certainly the case for today’s Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon

Broadside Winery 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles $14.99 (Regularly $18)

In the short time they’ve been around, the Broadside wines have been written up by the New York Times, San Francisco Chronicle, Jon Bonne, and even been reviewed by Channing Tatum and Snoop Dogg. Husband and wife team Brian and Stephanie Terrizzi run the show as owners and operators, with Brian focused on the winemaking and Stephanie on the viticulture. Stephanie has degrees in enology, chemistry, and plant science, and was recently nominated as winegrape grower of the year in San Luis Obispo County. Brian spent several years making wine for others in Italy, Sonoma, and Santa Barbara County, before the couple decided to start a home and a winery in Paso Robles

Wine Enthusiast Magazine has called Broadside, “A go-to brand for everyday sipping,” and personal I agree. It’s a smooth and easy drinking wine with lots of deep dark color. Pretty aromas jump out of the glass immediately, showcasing the popular style of ripe and dense reds which Paso Robles has come to be known for. There are scents of menthol, blueberries, and dark cherries on the nose. The palate is velvety smooth, with flavors of stewed plums, raspberry jam, Chambord liqueur, trailed by hints of cedar, cola, and leather.

Broadside Winery 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

Broadside Winery 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon

Click here to order the Broadside Paso Robles Cabernet

Region: Santa Margarita Ranch & Estrella District Sub Regions, Paso Robles AVA, California

Grape(s): Cabernet Sauvignon

Aging: 14 Months in Neutral French & American Oak

Drinkability: Now through 2020

Body: Full

Alcohol: 13.9% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Argentine Malbec, Napa Cab, California Zinfandel



Red Car Chardonnay

Sonoma Impulse

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Fellow wine lovers, happy new year! It seems Sonoma has caught my attention as of late, thus we have an outstanding deal on a beautiful Chardonnay today. I found a Chardonnay by Red Car, whose Pinot Noir we so recently enjoyed, which has just a few years of age on it. It’s still rather fresh, but has had the time to build a bit of extra character.

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay $25.99 (Regularly $40)

The Red Car 2012 Chardonnay received a score of 92 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine. They describe it as , “Blended from several amazing vineyard sites, including Ritchie and Hawk Hill… It shines in exotic florals and a creamy mouthfeel followed by a dry, bright finish of fresh-squeezed grapefruit and tangerine. This is one to enjoy entirely on its own or with a myriad of appetizers.”

It’s aged completely in French oak barrels, 10% of which is new, giving it just a smidge of vanilla, toast, and oak flavors, coexisting nicely with hints of butter and smoky flint notes, underneath a layer of lemon custard, white currant, and yellow apple. The coastal nature of this charming wine means that it comes with a lower alcohol percentage of 13.7, while bearing crisp acidity and clean minerality from the mid-palate to the finish.

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Red Car 2012 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Click here to order the Red Car Chardonnay

Region: Sonoma Coast

Vineyard(s): Weeks, Ritchie, Hawk Hill, Zephyr Farms

Grape(s): Chardonnay

Aging: 100% French Oak, 10% New

Drinkability: Now through 2017

Body: Medium

Alcohol: 13.7% by volume

Drink This if you Like: Flowers, Failla, La Crema

Press: 92 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine

Food Pairing: Cheeses

Production: 73 barrels



Red Car Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Flash Impulse: 30% Off Pinot Noir Today Only

Red Car 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Fellow wine lovers, I have a bit of lead time on today’s flash sale, allowing me to do a more thorough write-up. Coming in at just over 30% off, it’s an excellent Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir which sells on the winery’s own site for $45, but we have it for $29.99 just for the day. All orders must be in by midnight tonight, Friday December 16th, or until it sells out, whichever comes first

Red Car Winery is a newer one, launched around 2000. They take their name from the Red Car Trolleys which once traversed the streets of Los Angeles. They hold the belief that wine should embody the place from which it originates, and this sentiment is summed up nicely in their own words, “Wine is important because it connects us to nature. But to offer meaning beyond itself, a wine has to come from a certain place, not just any place. And the winemaker must stand aside and allow that place to transmit its story without manipulation. This is our never-ending pursuit at Red Car.”

It’s rated 91 points by Wine Enthusiast Magazine, with the following tasting note provided:  “This wine draws from a handful of tremendous vineyard sites, including the producer’s estate, Platt and Clary Ranch, all cool-climate and windswept. It’s a tight, light and minimally messed-with wine…”

At Red Car Winery, they’re believers in cooler climate viticulture, hence their sourcing from the Sonoma Coast. The grapes for this Pinot Noir come from cooler sites which are both at higher elevation and close to the coast, yet the wine is still ripe and luscious- not thin and ultra-light as we’ve seen with many Pinot Noirs lately. It’s fermented with 13% stem inclusion to add some meat and earth notes, then aged in 100% French oak barrels, 10% of which are new. Ripe dark cherry and strawberry jam, hints of rose petals, cedar, dried leaves, just a touch of vanilla, are what drive this wines tasty profile.

Red Car 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Red Car 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Just a few cases are available, and they are first come first serve.

Click here to order the Red Car 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Region: Sonoma Coast AVA, California
Vineyard(s): Red Car Estate, Platt, Bohemian Station, Falstaff, Riddle Ranch, Hagan, Clary Ranch
Grape(s): Pinot Noir
Aging: 100% French Oak Barrels, 10% New, 90% Used
Drinkability: Now through 2019
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 13.3% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Failla, Flowers, La Crema, Littorai, Patz & Hall
Press: 91 Points Wine Enthusiast



Failla Pinot Noir

Sonoma Impulse

Failla 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Fellow wine lovers, I rarely offer up California wines on Impulse, not because I don’t like them but because it can be difficult to find a good value which isn’t mass produced and readily available. Everyone once in awhile, however, something catches my eye and today that’s Failla.

Failla Winery is a mom and pop operation in St Helena, but husband and wife Ehren Jordan and Anne-Marie Failla are firmly focussed on Chardonnay and Pinot Noir from Sonoma. Ehren boasts an impressive resume which include making wine with the likes of Turley and Neyers – he was also named Winemaker of the Year by the San Francisco Gate a few years back. I don’t see much of their Failla wines represented outside of California, as they are of rather limited availability, you can’t even order them off the winery’s own website.

Failla 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir $34.99

This is classic well made Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir – elegant yet dense, ripe and supple yet delicate and balanced. It’s a blend of a handful of different vineyards, including one of my personal favorites, Hirsch Vineyard, alongside some of Failla’s own estate plantings. All vineyard lots are fermented individually, with native yeasts and some whole clusters included as well. The cooler nature of the Sonoma Coast climate means that this wine comes in at under 14% alcohol, and is served by just a kiss of oak. It’s aged in 10% new French oak barrels, 65% neutral French oak, and 25% stainless steel. It presents classic Pinot elements of soft strawberries, hints of cedar, red cherries, and a touch of rose petals and cardamom. Easy drinking, versatile with food, and a good value.

Failla 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Failla 2013 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Click here to order the Failla Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Region: Sonoma Coast AVA, California
Vineyard(s): Hirsch, Failla Estate, Occidental Ridge, etc…
Grape(s): 100% Pinot Noir
Aging: 10% New French Oak, 65% Neutral French Oak, 25% Stainless Steel
Drinkability: Now through 2020
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 13.9% by volume
Drink This if you Like: Pinot from Hirsch, Pillow Road, Flowers
Food Pairing: Pork, Wild Boar, Pasta with Tomato Sauce



Wish Wine Co. 2011 Zinfandel

Wishing Impulse: Wish Wine Co. 2011 Zinfandel

Fellow wine lovers, we can all use a wish now and again, and no doubt many wine lovers are always wishing it was easier to find good and affordable wines. With Wish Wine Co. you can consider your wish granted.

Last year, we had a sweetheart deal on a Zinfandel by Wish Wine Co., and that deal is back again for round two. A small winery founded by David Bender- my good pal, and fellow local Sommelier- Wish Wine Co. is focused on making affordable wines, and utilizing earth friendly practices, such as their sustainably farmed vineyards in Mendocino California.

Wish Wine Co. 2011 Zinfandel $12.99 (Regularly $17)

You won’t run out of wishes, so long as your cellar is well stocked. On the back of every bottle reads the Wish Wine Co. mantra, ““Thee Who Has The Bottle’s Final Drips Is Entitled To A Single Wish,” granting a wish every time you finish a bottle.

Coming from the slightly cooler climates of the Mendocino, California, the Wish Wine Co. Zinfandel is lighter than a typical California Zinfandel, not quite as big and jammy. It’s more restrained, with less oak, while still tasting like a classic Zin. It has notes of strawberry preserve and red plums, with hints of bramble and wild berry vines. It’s medium bodied, and easy drinking, with the more elegant style lending better to being drank with food than a lot of other Zins- still great by itself too.

A great value at $12.99, down from its typical $17 tag. Only 400 cases were made, and we have just 4 cases available to offer.

Click here to order the Wish Wine Co. Zinfandel
Wish Wine Co. 2011 Zinfandel

Region: North Coast, Mendocino, California
Vineyard: Estate Vineyards
Grape: Zinfandel
Drinkability: Now through 2016
Body: Medium
Alcohol: 14.5% by volume
Food Pairings: Roast Beef, Prime Rib
Production: 400 cases
Availability: 4 cases

Best Wishes


Bonny Doon 2010 “Le Pousseur” Syrah

I recently had the pleasure of meeting Randall Grahm, one of the most enigmatic wine minds of our time. He’s part mad scientist, part poet, and just an all around great winemaker.

He likes to poke the occasional fun at the “establishment”, in fact, the theme of his whole winery is a jab at chateauneuf-du-Pape’s arcane and UFO paranoid laws. There they have an old time decree on their official books, strictly forbidding the use of flying saucers and flying cigars (blimps) within the area. At least their hearts were in the right place, given that they passed these laws in order to protect their vineyards from the unknowable negative effects that may result from visiting UFO’s.
Here’s a small translated version of what was decreed.

“The Mayor of Chateauneuf-du-Pape decrees:Article 1. – The overflight, the landing and the takeoff of aircraft known as flying saucers or flying cigars, whatever their nationality is, are prohibited on the territory of the community.Article 2. – Any aircraft, known as flying saucer or flying cigar, which should land on the territory of the community will be immediately held in custody.”

Bonny Doon 2008 ‘le Pousseur’ Syrah $22.99 (Regularly $26)
Central Coast, CA

The infamous FLYING CIGAR!

The infamous FLYING CIGAR!

Bonny Doon’s Syrah is planted using vine cuttings taken from the famous Chapoutier vineyards in the Cote Rotie. Even though his wine labels are a bit mocking of the Rhone, Randall Grahm does have a lot of respect and admiration for their wines, and his Pousseur Syrah could be tasted against the best of them. It delivers lots of smoky tobacco notes, a mouth watering meatiness, and aromatic black pepper, all balanced with great acidity. I could go on telling you more about the wine, but Randall Grahm is an absolute master wordsmith, so I’ll let him tell the story for himself.

“…syrah is deeply and elementally feminine-is perfumed elegance. Enchanting and  captivating rather than overpowering, it disarms by its strangeness… One will wander the world till the end of one’s days, its sublime, haunting fragrance gradually displacing all thoughts and memories, including the knowledge of one’s own name… Initially very closed when you first meet them. Air (and time) lures them out of their protective cocoon. Nose of anise, raw meat, bacon fat, leather, plum, and wet stone. In the mouth, what is most noteworthy is the texture – sleek, almost oily. Then there is the enormously savory, umami-intensive, almost saline aspect of the wine. Palpable acidity, medium tannins and discreet fruitiness evocative of confiture of fraises de bois.

The 2010 vintage was incredibly cool (in every sense), producing among the most “classic” expressions of syrah that I have ever observed in California (at very discreet levels of alcohol. Certainly the most expressive vintage and possibly finest vintage of Pousseur we have produced to date. Our ’10 Syrah “Le Pousseur” is named for an alchemist and trickster, but is withal an incredibly accessible wine, great by the glass but also a felicitous partner to all manner of roasted meats, poultry, game, wild mushrooms, and well aged cheeses.”

I couldn’t have said it any better
Only 5 cases are available, so get before it’s snatched up by UFO!

Click here to order this wine