Blog Archive

Sunday, November 6, 2016

Ten Tips To Make It A Holiday To Remember

  • Every celebration starts well with the pop of sparkling wine. And, with its richness of texture, acidity and fine bubbles, it goes with most of what graces our Thanksgiving table. Pair it with raw oysters in a champagne and shallot vinaigrette as an appetizer. We’ve suggested the local Foundry, but we’ve curated a varied selection of both California and French Champagne for every budget.
  • Serve crab for your feast - the fishery is open and dungeness makes for fun festivities. If there’s butter involved, I root for buttery oaky Chardonnay. Our pick: Laird 
  • If your main course is a roast, lamb, venison or game bird, a more earthy Pinot or Dolcetto is in order. 
  • Even a dry bird is moistened by the high acidity and low tannins of a Pinot Noir. Your holiday ham will benefit from this match-up, as well. Our selection here. 
  • Add Port or Red Dessert Wine to your turkey brine; it will lend a toasty fruit flavor with a burnished glow. Drink the rest with your chocolate dessert. J.R Storey is our best seller.
  • Braise your root vegetables (carrots, parsnips, fennel, leeks, celery root) in a cast iron pan with two cups of Pinot Noir. Drink the rest with the bird or a brisket, both classic red wine pairings. Try the value priced Weatherborne or Outlier featured below. 
  • Turkey is fairly easy to pair with, but the array of side dishes are more complicated. The recommendations below are versatile enough to go with a variety of side dishes, from green bean casserole to a gourmet hazelnut and rosemary stuffing. 
  • Everyone will think you’re a real Martha Stewart (minus the jail-time) if you float some sliced peaches or berries in a martini glass filled with Moscato. Add a sprig of mint and piece of biscotti or shortbread and you’re done in time for the game. Click here for a selection of Moscato and after-dinner dessert wines 
  • Buy enough! You don’t have to open it all and there’s always Christmas and New Years. Better to have too much than too little. Here’s a handy formula:
    • Guests x hours x 2 = glasses. Glasses / 4 = bottles. Or, one bottle per average wine-drinking guest over the course of the afternoon/evening.

  • Reconstitute your leftovers with leftover white wine. It will moisten as you re-heat and add flavor, as well.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

2016 Wine Trends from Your Experts at Bacchus & Venus

Better Wine = Better Sex
and other need-to-know
developments in the world
of wine from your experts
Bacchus & Venus

Have no regrets about the year 2015, drinking Ros├ę or chugging wine-in-a-can!
We've got big plans for 2016 -- count on Bacchus & Venus to keep you on top
of the New Year's biggest wine trends.
Could drinking red wine lead to better sex?
A new study out of Harvard University and the University of East Anglia found that
consuming foods and drinks rich in flavonoids, found in red wine, berries, and tea
may lead to a decrease in erectile disfunction.
Flavonoids may also reduce the risk of conditions including diabetes and
cardiovascular disease. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah and Pinot Noir
contain the highest concentrations of antioxidants and flavonoids.
Try 2013 Damselfly Petite Sirah for just $19/bottle or
Eighty-four 2010 Napa Petite Sirah for $78/bottle.
Thrice the Spice is Nice!
Spice consumption nearly tripled over the past half-century. A few years ago,
Sriracha was the unpronounceable hot sauce that you might find in Chinatown.
Now, you can get a Subway chicken sriracha melt with a side of sriracha potato chips!
Studies suggest eating spicy food more frequently can lower risk of death, and conditions such as cancer, heart and respiratory diseases.
Spicy foods are known to pair with fruity white wines like Viognier, and Gew├╝rztraminer, but you can also match spice with lighter red wines. Low to medium tannin wines generally work best. As a rule, look for reds that are fruitier and/or spicy in style and have a good level of acidity.  Try 2014 Last Summer Grenache $39/bottle (only 90 cases made) or Parador 2011 Napa Tempranillo $34.
Harissa is the new Sriracha!
Restaurant analyst Maeve Webster believes the next sauce to experience a sriracha-like rise is harissa, a spread of dried chiles, garlic, tomatoes, caraway, paprika, coriander, and olive oil that's as common as ketchup in Tunisia. Try it with Clavo Albarino from Paso Robles $30/bottle.
Flutes are flying the Coupe
Will 2016 mark the death of the Champagne flute? Sommeliers and wine experts are forsaking the flute in favor of glasses that better show off their fizz. While flutes are festive, it's much harder to detect aromas from the tiny opening of a flute glass. Many sommeliers are opting to pour Champagne and sparkling wines into white wine glasses or Burgundy balloons.

Sparkling wine is not just for special occasions anymore - consumption is up nearly 10% over last year. Bacchus & Venus carries about half French and half California Sparkling. Our new favorite is from the Foundry Winery -- Blanc de Blanc Sangiacomo Vineyard 2013 ($56/bottle). 
Horizons are Broadening
Take Unoaked Chardonnay, for example. The wines have fresher, fruitier aromas and rich textures without the harsh overlay of oak.  For this reason, stainless steel and egg-shaped concrete tanks are gaining popularity over oak barrels for fermentation and aging. Pellet Sonoma Coast Sunchase Vineyard Unoaked Chardonnay is one of our favorites at $40/bottle or
Y. Rousseau Mt. Veeder
no-malolactic (read: clean, not cream) with just 20% oak at $42/bottle.

On the other hand, one of our most popular white wines of 2015 was Vogelzang Sauvignon Blanc - aged in oak barrels - not traditional at all! It's proof that a growing number of consumers are breaking out of the box. And, if the varietal name is a tongue-twister with a few accent marks, people want to drink it. We've got a following for California-grown Graciano, Fiano, Malvasia Bianca, Tempranillo, 100% Petite Verdot, to name a few! 
Urban Wineries
Urban wineries are on the rise -- wines are being trucked to places like Treasure Island in the middle of the San Francisco Bay. (Try Bravium Anderson Valley Pinot Noir $45/bottle.) Bluxome Street is in the heart of the city. (We love their Bluxome Street Chardonnay made in SF from grapes grown in the Russian River $37/bottle.) Now, Neighborhood Vineyards is growing a half acre plot of Pinot Noir in a city farm in the Portola area of San Francisco. No, that's not a castle overlooking the vineyard, it's subsidized housing. The vines are young still, so for now, try their lovely Cabernet Franc, soft and elegant at $28/bottle. 
Wine in a Can!
Portable, fun, and safer for poolside, boating, and outdoor concerts like the Sausalito Jazz Festival. Fiction Central Coast Pinot Gris in an ice cold can at just $10 -- there's no chance of broken glass and it looks like you're having an energy drink. We sold hundreds of these last Summer!  
Please call or email if we can help you find more wines to suit your tastes, your budget or your dinner party. You can reach us by telephone at (415) 331-2001 or by simply responding to this email.
Cheers to the New Year!


Your Wine Experts at Bacchus & Venus in Sausalito

Top 12 Wines of 2015
We Ship to All States
Damselfly Petite Sirah
Urban Winery Neighborhood VineyardsCabernet Franc
Save [10%]
Mention this 2016 Trends email and take 10% off any of our wine selections not already discounted.
Or, Join Our Wine Club and get even deeper discounts.
Offer Expires when the wine runs out.
Bacchus & Venus Wines, 769 Bridgeway, Historic Downtown Sausalito, CA 94965

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Values that tip the scales - great value wines that taste twice the price

  Logo Leaf

Every wine lover dreams of finding a wine that tastes like twice its price. Here are a few that won't break the bank, are crowd-pleasers, and taste like they should be much higher in price.

Gold Crush Chardonnay 

California 2014 
Most of the Maldonado family wines are twice the price and twice as oaky. But their second label Chardonnay is rich, creamy and complex for half the price. Bursting with notes of crushed nectarines and warm vanilla, it rolls onto the tongue buttery and smooth, finishing with a hint of spice. It is an exceptional wine for the value.


Mix Six Price - $20 

John Anthony Syrah 

Oak Knoll, Napa Valley 2011 
Seamless from start to finish, beginning with aromas of dark cherry intertwined with notes of toasted vanilla. Coffee and chocolate follow. Well-rounded with elegantly woven tannins giving traction and dimension to the lingering flavors on the palate. Easily stands up to much more expensive wines including a Cabernet Merlot. Definitely a crowd favorite.  

Retail $48

Mix Six Price - $39

Desparada Sackcloth & Ashes Cabernet Blend 2013

Winemaker Vailia Esh has been making wine under Desparada for just a few years; last year she submitted her wines for the first time to Parker - all of her reds scored 94pts. He says "A new producer for me, these are rock-star releases from Desparada, which is based out of San Luis Obispo. All three of the reds are smoking values and deliver serious depth and richness while staying pure, classy and very drinkable. The quality/price ratio is crazy here, so don't miss this!" 

Retail $38

Mix Six Price - $34

Korbin Kameron Cab Sauv 
Moon Mountain, Sonoma 2012 

In the Mayacamas Mountains Moon Mountain Appellation abuts Napa's Mount Veeder. Without the Napa Appellation on the Korbin Kameron label, this wine is half the price of its neighbors just a half mile away. The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is a brooding powerhouse but ready to drink now. It has a deep inkiness with aromatics of cola, plums, espresso beans, and a hint of allspice. 

Retail $55

Mix Six Price - $49  

Mix Six or 12 for maximum savings!

Call Us 

Friday, October 9, 2015

Cab Franc - The Next Big Grape


Fun with Franc

If you have yet to reach for Cabernet Franc, now's the time to try the lighter, crisper, and more aromatic cousin to Cabernet Sauvignon.
For a while we just couldn't find any that were good without being super pricey. But suddenly Napa had enough to use for its Bordeaux Blends and still have enough to make some 100% Cab Francs. These are in the style of Bordeaux's bigger, more opulent approach but not too heavy.
Here are a few worth your attention:
Peter Franus 2011 Cab Franc
Napa Valley

We were blown away when we tasted Peter's 2011 Cabernet Franc. It exhibits everything we love and enjoy about 100% Cabernet Franc. One of the best qualities about such a wine is its versatility at your dinner table. This Cabernet Franc is the ultimate food pairing wine. Medium bodied, this wine has an amazing herbaceous characteristic that pairs beautifully with Mediterranean foods, most meats and a slew of grilled or roasted vegetables.

A seductive ruby color draws you into a beautiful mélange of perfumed aromas rose petal, lavender, cherry, cardamom, and white pepper. The mouth offers a firm entry with a lively textural impression as well as a wonderful enduring finish. It's the definition of elegance.

Only 100 cases produced - Regular $46 -
Mix Any Six Price $41 
Sika 2013 Cab Franc
Napa Valley

The Sika Cabernet Franc hails from one of the biggest name wineries in the Napa Valley (Sorry, we can't disclose who, so don't even ask). The wine was originally earmarked to be a high-end, vineyard designated bottling at $70 a bottle.

On the nose there are hints of mint, black currants and even a touch of eucalyptus. Dare we say it...imagine a delicious Girl Scout Thin Mint Cookie! The palate confirms the flavors and introduces so many more. Silky layers of complex flavors so well-integrated, one is hard pressed to name them. It certainly takes its place as one of the best Cabernet Francs in Napa Valley and certainly one of the best values. The wine is drinking wonderfully now, but will benefit from being cellared until 2018.

Only 250 cases produced - Regular $49 - Mix Any Six Price $44
Titus 2012 Cab Franc
Napa Valley

The Titus Cabernet Franc, a blend of 75% Cab Franc, 14% Cab Sauv and 11% Malbec, is complex with well-defined fruit flavors, gentle acids and naturally balanced tannins. If one were able to liquefy a perfectly faceted rhodolite garnet, it would be the exact color of this gorgeous wine.
The taste of Candied red fruits with a slightly exotic flare - think cherries and red currents with a fleeting kiss of ripe dragon fruit and pomegranate - and hints of mocha and clovey oak tingle the back of your mouth. A touch of green bell pepper, sweet oak and balanced acidity bring it all together, enhancing the long finish and generous-but-not-overpowering mouth feel.The smoothness of this wine will bring you back for more.

Only 360 cases produced - Regular $44 - Mix Any Six Price $40

                        Take 10% off any 6-pack

                                      Call Us

Fun Franc Facts:

  • The grapes are purple and look quite similar to Cabernet Sauvignon.
  • It is the primary ingredient in what many regard as Bordeaux's finest wine, Cheval Blanc.
  • Along with the usual cherry-and-berry aromas, Cabernet Franc normally sends up a seductive whiff of herbs, spices,violets and even a sweet tobacco scent.
  • Canada's premier winery, Inniskillin, uses it to produce one of its vaunted ice wines.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Wines of Santa Barbara

Take a trip down to Santa Barbara Wine Country with this stunning six pack saver! 
We can't help but love wines
from Santa Barbara County. Most of these wineries we have to seek out because their production level is so tiny. These unique wines always taste great and hardly ever carry the hefty price tag of Napa and Sonoma wines. Here are six Santa Barbara stunners to sip and enjoy!

"No viticultural region in America has demonstrated as much progress in quality and potential for greatness as... the Santa Barbara region, where the Burgundian varietals Chardonnay and Pinot Noir are planted in its cooler climates." -Robert Parker

Normally $175, but just $155 when you buy all six!
Frequency "SBC" Santa Barbara County Syrah 2013 
We seem to fall in love with everything winemaker Zac Wasserman puts into bottle. Whether it be his GSM or white blends, his Syrah is no exception. Sourced from various vineyards throughout Santa Barbara County, this meaty and full-bodied Syrah is the perfect complement to your summer barbecues!  
Neighborhood Vineyards Pinot Noir 2013 
Winemaker Ellie Hartshorn is quite a character. She makes wine throughout the Central Coast and spends much of her time planting grape vines in the city of San Francisco. Her Pinot Noir is perfection: nice and elegant, with plenty of fruity and floral notes to please any palate. Put a little chill on the bottle and enjoy!   
Folkway "Revelator" Santa Barbara Cabernet Blend 2013
One of our most popular wines each and every year. It is a breath of fresh air to see an inexpensive bottle of Cabernet that is easy drinking. The Folkway is not 100% Cabernet. It is blended with a little Cabernet Franc adding earthiness and spice and also a little bit of Merlot to add a nice fruity pop to an otherwise full-bodied and complex Cabernet.
Neighborhood Vineyards Albarino 2014 
We love California Albarino! It is the perfect wine for the summer--nice and aromatic but beautifully dry on the palate. This wine almost smells as aromatic as a Rhone-style Viognier but much more lean and dry on the palate. Eating a lot of seafood where you're staying this summer? Neighborhood Vineyards Albarino is the perfect accompaniment to any sort of shellfish dish!
SR 246 Zotovich Pinot Noir 2013 
Zotovich Cellars is a family-owned winery located in coastal Lompoc, California. Winemaker Ryan Zotovich is coming most recently from Sea Smoke. Prior to working at Sea Smoke, Ryan was the assistant winemaker at Palmina. Much like the Neighborhood Vineyards Pinot, this wine will please everyone. There are plenty of strawberry and raspberry characteristics that explode from the glass to sip all day long. 
Liquid Farm Rose of Mourvedre 2014
Dare we say, the most addicting rose we have ever sold? A bit more feminine this year than previous vintages, the wine still has the same mineral verve with a bit more expressiveness on the nose. There are overwhelming notes of fluer de sel hints of white raspberry and strawberry. We call it PINK CRACK for a reason--just ask anyone from Bacchus & Venus, we all love it!! 

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

The Wine of West Marin

Mary Stubbs at home with her potbelly pig

Marin County is the first county over the Golden Gate Bridge from San Francisco, and starts with our own town of Sausalito. It’s not necessarily what one would call “Wine Country” since there are only 15 vineyards in the entire county. Pinot Noir and Chardonnay grapes flourish in our fog-influenced cool climate, which is surrounded by the San Pablo Bay and the Pacific Ocean.

High in the hills of West Marin, smack in the middle between San Pablo Bay and Tomales Bay at the ocean, is the 600 acre Stubbs Family Farm, organically farmed and operated by Mary & Tom Stubbs for the last 20 years. Visiting Stubbs is above and beyond the average wine tasting experience. Trying to find it among the rolling hills of West Marin, where the roads have no signs or lines, is all part of the adventure. When you see the giant horns of the exotic South African cattle (called Watusi) roaming around, you know you’ve found the right place.

Chickens, emus, pot-bellied pigs and llamas strut the grounds filled with unusual steampunk-style architecture and art, all the creation of the Stubbs, who live “off the grid”, free of electricity and gas.  They use the technology of wine and solar to power their farm and make their wines. Of these 600 acres of bucolic rolling hills, just 11 are dedicated to growing grapes.

The fog of Tomales Bay and nearby Point Reyes can blanket the vineyard over many months, but Stubbs Vineyard enjoys Indian summers (as does Sausalito) in September or early October. This late hit of warm sunshine helps the fruit fully ripen.

Tasting Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the vineyard

We are extremely happy to feature both the Chardonnay ($39) and Pinot Noir ($49) from Mary and Tom. Wines from Marin County, while rare, are incredibly delicious and worth a try for anyone whose palate is driven towards the elegant, food-friendly Burgundian styles of wine. 

Their Chardonnay is a focused wine, with crisp citrus overtones and hints of tropical fruits - mango and papaya. The bright acidity adds to its pairing capabilities -- balanced fruit without too much oak to overwhelm your meal. 

The Pinot Noir is inviting with an aromatic nose featuring essences of rhubarb and cranberry. In the mouth, the rich palate hints at toasted coriander spice and the lively acidity leads to rounded tannins up front and a lingering finish of black cherry. We recommend this beautifully balanced cool-climate Pinot with locally caught Salmon grilled on a wooden plank.