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An Amaro Love Affair


“Amaro,” the word for “bitter” in Italian, is also a broad and loosely defined category of bittersweet, Italian-born, herbal spirits flavored through maceration. While consistently enjoyed in Western Europe for hundreds of years, only recently has American interest and excitement in amari (plural for amaro) been renewed. In San Francisco, one can visit places like Locanda and Trick Dog just to taste the range of amari available in the U.S. today.

One of amaro’s unique traits is that it epitomizes a true sense of terroir; the flavors of these liqueurs are defined by either the botanicals that grow in the region in which they are produced, or by ingredients heralded centuries ago for their medicinal benefits. The bitterness of amari is one of the reasons they are so versatile in cocktails. It balances quite well with sweeter spirits like rum and bourbon.

We’re excited to offer a fantastic selection of Italian amari so you can explore the terroir and history of Italian spirits. Which is your favorite? Be sure to try our new amaro cocktail recipes, created for us by Josh Harris of The Bon Vivants and Trick Dog, and experiment on your own!  Tweet us your favorite amaro cocktail!

AmaroMelettiMeletti Amaro | Marche, Italy | $19.99
Meletti is a bit astringent for an amaro; its somewhat hot and bright entry is tamed quickly by sweetness. The initial flavors are of orange zest, chocolate, and licorice. Subsequent sips show cardamom and cinnamon. In 1870, Silvio Meletti began producing a popular anise-flavored liqueur bearing his name. Years later, he added an amaro to the line. Meletti is unique in a few ways, principal among them is the addition of saffron—quite an expensive ingredient indeed.

AmaroLucanoLucano Amaro | Basilicata,  Italy | $26.99
Silky like a liqueur, both bitter and sweet in varying degrees, aromatically complex, and quite simply delicious and fascinating. A sophisticated exploration of over 30 herbs, including Roman absinthe, wormwood, clary sage, orange peel, elderberry, and aloe. Amaro Lucano’s roots go back to 1894 in the tiny village of Pisticci, of the Lucania region in the province of Matera, where Pasquale Vena created a special recipe in the backroom of his famous cookie bakery, which is still a well-kept secret today.

amaroMonetnegroMontenegro Amaro | Bologna, Italy | $29.99
This bitter is flavored with licorice root, saffron, and orange peel. Despite its light rust color, this Amaro from Bologna has rich herbal aromas that segue to deep, slightly sweet flavors and a citrusy finish. Amaro Montenegro, “The liqueur of the virtues,” was created in 1885 by distiller and herbalist, Stanislao Cobianchi. The name Montenegro is a homage to the second queen of Italy, Princess Elena Petrović-Njegoš of Montenegro, on occasion of her marriage in 1896 to Victor Emmanuel III, the Itlian sovereign at the time.

AmaroVarnelliVarnelli Sibilla Amaro | Marche, Italy | $54.99
Named after the impressive mountain range in the Southwestern corner of the Marche, this spirit is a must-try for amaro fans. The flavor profile definitely leans toward the drier, more herbaceous end of the spectrum and will seem quite bitter if you are used to Averna or Montenegro. The botanicals are wood smoked before maceration which adds a degree of complexity seldom found in Amari. Mountain honey is used sparingly to balance the bitter flavors. I have found Sibillia to be a delicious digestive, but also quite delightful at the shore when mixed with tonic and an orange rind.

AmaroFernetContratto Fernet | Piedmonte, Italy | $44.99
Based on the original 1920s family recipe this traditional Fernet puts a heavy emphasis on anise, licorice, saffron, clover, and chamomile. The grappa base complements the complex floral aromas well and the layers of flavor don’t come across as too bitter or too sweet. There are so many wonderful ways to drink this old-school liqueur.

AmaroAmaraAmara Amaro d’Arancia | Sicily, Italy | $34.99
Made in Sicily from blood oranges grown near the volcanic slopes of Mount Etna, it’s a citrus-dominated liqueur with only a slight bitterness that marries well with hints of baking spice. The finish is like the purest expression of citrus peel I’ve ever tasted in a spirit, giving the Amara a versatility that is simply off the charts. You can sip it after dinner as a digestivo, add soda water to make a spritz, mix it into a Negroni, or simply pour it over ice.


Que Sera Syrah?


Five years ago, there was an inside joke in the wine world: “What’s the difference between a case of Syrah and the flu? You can get rid of the flu.” That’s how sad the state of Syrah was. Consumers were confused about Syrah, from the rich, fruity, Australian Shiraz style to the savory, mineral-driven wines of the Northern Rhone. California Syrah winemakers were confused about which style to emulate, as they attempted to create wines that would score points with critics.

Luckily, much has changed in five years: California winemakers are more confident and are sourcing the grape from sites that are better-suited for Syrah. They look towards the Rhone Valley for inspiration, from elegant, floral Crozes-Hermitage to savory and powerful Côte-Rôtie. With this renewed, unified focus on Syrah, this is the best time to start exploring this beautiful grape from California to the Rhone Valley.

Visit the Markets and speak to our wine specialists, and start exploring the nuanced world of Syrah with a few of our favorites:



Copain “Tous Ensemble” Syrah | $19.99
With savory character and notes of black olives, this Syrah shows restraint instead of anything over top. Winemaker Wells Guthrie looks toward Northern Rhone with his elegant Syrah; the Tous Ensemble comes from three vineyards in Mendocino County.



Emmanuel Darnaud “Mise en Bouche” Crozes-Hermitage | $24.99
Bistro friendly and easy to quaff, this entry-level cuvée is made from a selection of younger vines with the trademark aromas of black fruits, violets, and olives. Emmanuel Darnaud is a rising star in Crozes-Hermitage and anyone who has tasted his remarkable Syrah understands.



Clusel-Roch “Classique” Côte Rôtie | $61.99
Aromas of violets and blackberry with savory flavors of bacon and olives, this is a stunning wine from one of the best producers in Côte-Rôtie. Named after its owners, Gilbert Clusel and Brigitte Roch, Clusel-Roch is a biodynamic producer in the Northern Rhone – this is textbook Syrah from one of the best appellations for it.


Drink Strong

Strong_beer_ webWest Coast beer drinkers love strong beer, as evidenced by popular breweries in California known for their IPAs.  Breweries including Lagunitas, Stone Brewing Co., Ballast Point, and Bear Republic are all well-known for their expertise with India Pale Ales. However, it was brewmaster Vinnie Cilurzo of Russian River Brewing who took it to the next level when he created Pliny the Elder, the first Imperial IPA (or Double IPA, as it is more commonly known). The double refers to the two letter I’s in the Imperial IPA (IIPA) and not double the strength or hops. Imperial IPAs  have a lengthier brewing process and higher alcohol content, roughly 10% ABV versus IPAs at 7.5% ABV.

Though Pliny the Elder was the first of its kind and the most popular (we sell out in one day at our Mission location), there are plenty of other California breweries that are putting their own twist on this style and making wonderful Imperial IPAs that should be celebrated. Easier to acquire than Pliny, they’re uniquely delicious and drinkable in their own right.  Next time you’re in the Markets, “Drink Strong” and choose a new Imperial IPA.



Ballast Point “Dorado” 22 oz | $8.99
Dorado Imperial IPA immediately hooks you with massive hops that never stop. Mash hopping, kettle hopping, and dry hopping make this beer a serious hop-lover’s prize catch. It’s an amazingly drinkable, award-winning beer that’s as beautifully balanced as it is big.

FirestoneWalkerFirestone Walker “Double Jack” 22 oz | $7.99
Aggressively hopped and flawlessly balanced, the Double Jack opens up with bright grapefruit and tangerine hop aromas, with notes of stone fruit and pine.



Lagunitas “Hop Stoopid” 22 oz | $4.99
Big in flavor, aroma, and hops! This Imperial IPA has a well-balanced malty backbone and pine/citrus forward hop character. Crisp, refreshing, and easy drinking.



Port Brewing Co. “Mongo” 22 oz | $7.99
Named in honor of the brewery’s cat, this Imperial IPA has aromas of orange and mango with a citrus and piney bitterness.

Shop our entire selection of Imperial IPAs in our Markets or through our online Market for convenient delivery within an hour!


Celebrate SF Beer Week with our Exclusive Ricanelas Ale!

BeerWeek2016_V4_Web Banner

SF Beer Week is coming to Bi-Rite!
Visit the Markets from January 22 through January 31 to discover our favorite local breweries like Fort Point Beer Company and Calicraft Brewing Co., save $2 on each day’s featured beers, and celebrate the debut of our exclusive Ricanela’s Cream Ale brewed by Woods Beer Co.

BeerWeek2016_V4_Web CanOur friends (and 18th street neighbors!) from Woods Beer Co. are brewing a special, Bi-Rite exclusive ale based on Bi-Rite Creamery’s perennial favorite Ricanelas (cinnamon-infused ice cream with chopped Snickerdoodles), premiering at both Markets on Saturday, January 30.  Brewed with caramelized sugar, cinnamon, and Madagascar vanilla, the Ricanelas Cream Ale will be canned in 32-ounce crowlers (can growlers) in limited quantity.  Be sure to stop by the Divisadero Market on Saturday, January 30 from 2-4pm for a taste!

Each day of Beer Week, from Saturday, January 23 to Sunday, January 31, Bi-Rite Divisadero will be hosting a different local brewery for an in-store tasting. We will also be offering $2 off ALL beer titles brewed by the day’s featured brewery! This sale includes offerings at both markets.



Make Franc Your Friend!

franc_FRANCCabernet Franc is an underdog variety, always in the shadow of its more popular relative, Cabernet Sauvignon.   We can understand though, with its green herbaceous notes and austere fruit, Cabernet Franc can be a challenging to like; but we have a soft spot for the underdogs and more interesting varietals (this is one of our favorites!).

Cab Franc can make truly phenomenal wines when given the chance. It is an incredibly versatile food wine, able to pair deftly with nearly everything from goat cheeses to braised meats. Now that our El Niño winter has officially arrived, make friends with Franc over a dinner of Braised Lamb Shank Ragu with Baia Pasta (read on for our recipe).  From the Loire Valley to the West Coast, we’re featuring producers who are making some of the best examples of this variety – we’re looking forward to introducing you to our friend Franc.

BaudryChinonBaudry Chinon “Les Granges” Loire, France 2014 | $19.99
Bernard Baudry is one of the superstars in Chinon. He is blessed with having varied soil types in his vineyards, and showcases them through different cuvees. He has a light touch with Cab Franc so the terroir really shines in his wines. Les Granges is Baudry’s first release and most youthful wine, that is meant to drink young. It is supple and fruity with smoky cherry fruit. It is the perfect wine for simple food and cheeses.

BretonNuitsdIvresseBreton Bourgueil Nuits d’Ivresse 2014 | $34.99
Catherine and Pierre Breton are passionate about biodynamics and organic viticulture. They work with several sites and makes different cuvees from them. Their wines are made with such great integrity but also have wonderful charm and generosity.  The Nuits d’Ivresse, “Drunken Nights,” is the name of a special cuvee of selected old vines in Bourgueil. It’s an homage to natural wine pioneer Jules Chauvet, and does not see a drop of sulfur throughout its lifetime. We also have a limited amount of Breton Bourgeuil  “Les Perrieres” 2003 ($79.99). This is the Breton’s greatest red, from one of the most prized hillside parcels in Bourgeuil. It’s also special treat to have a 12-year-old bottling that is drinking beautifully right now.

Lang&ReedLang & Reed Cabernet Franc North Coast, CA 2013 | $24.99
Lang & Reed was started by Tracey and John Skupny in 1996 to focus solely on Cabernet Franc in Napa Valley, a rarity to this day. They were inspired from their trip to notable wine regions in France: Loire and Bordeaux. They seek to produce similar wines here in California and have found much success. This Cab Franc is a bold “true-to-varietal” expression from California. It has aromas of raspberry and cherry with highlights of herb and wet stone. Really mouthwatering, this is best served with family and friends.

AirGuitarBow & Arrow “Air Guitar” Cab Franc Willamette, Oregon 2014 | $24.99
Bow & Arrow wines was started by winemaker Scott Frank and his wife, Dana Frank. Both are obsessed with the Loire Valley, and seek to make wines inspired by the Loire but made in Portland. The Air Guitar proves that Oregon is not just Pinot country: this is a blend of Cab Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon from two very cool vineyards. Fresh red and black fruits and a dash of herbal charm, this is great with roast chicken.


Bubbles & Bites to Ring in Your New Year!


New Year’s Eve conjures images of Champagne corks popping and bubbly flowing, as party goers sing “Auld Lang Syne” while the clock strikes midnight to ring new hope for all. While we advocate drinking Champagnes throughout the year (not just for celebratory purposes), we understand that New Year’s Eve is Champagne’s time to shine as the center of attention at many parties. Here are three Champagnes that are perfect to toast with and even better with food, especially caviar and beautiful cheeses. Visit our online Market for your one-stop-New-Year’s-shop delivered to you within one hour.  Or, visit our either Market on New Year’s Eve to pick up your Champagnes and a complete spread of assorted oysters, caviar, and chef-cooked New Year’s nibbles.

VeuveFourny1Veuve Fourny Champagne Vertus Brut “Grand Cuvee” 1er Cru n/v | $44.99
Located in the prestigious Côte des Blancs, in the premier cru village of Vertus, brothers Charles-Henry and Emmanuel Fourny craft beautiful Champagne from mostly Chardonnay grapes. This Grand Cuvee is a classic Côte des Blancs style, with a fine bead, rich, deep aromatics, and a complex minerality. It’s fantastic with cheeses like Brillant Savarin and Cowgirl Creamery Mt. Tam.

LassalleJ. Lassalle Champagne Brut Reserve “Cachet d’Or” 1er Cru | $39.99
The Bi-Rite workhorse Champagne from Kermit Lynch, the women of J. Lassalle (Olga and Chantal) simply make crowd-pleasing Champagne for everyone.  Crisp and bright with notes of pears, anise, and ginger this will complement any hors d’oeuvre thrown its way. It’s really good with La Quercia Speck Americano or Essex Street Comte Cheese.

HenriotHenriot Champagne Brut Souverain n/v | $49.99
Founded in 1808, Henriot is one of the last independent and family-owned houses in Champagne. For seven generations, the family has selected only the best vineyards for their cuvees. The Brut Souverain is soft with notes of yeasts, baked bread, with aromas of brioche and fresh apples.  Serve this with the Laura Chenel’s Chevre Black Truffle Goat Cheese.

Cheers and Happy New Year!



4 Boozy Gifts to Show You Care







It’s the holidays, and on top of everything else, we stress about finding just the right gifts. Of course you want to give your loved ones something you know they’re really going to use. Holidays aren’t just about ornaments, or the ornamental. That’s when you get someone a bottle of booze, and not just any bottle of any tipple – one that will surprise and delight. Our staff selected the following unique beverages to gift, and if it’s special to us, it will be special for your loved ones. 

This is the 41st annual Christmas Ale bottling from San Francisco’s oldest brewery, Anchor Brewing Co. It’s only sold from early November to mid-January, and the recipe is unique every year, as is the tree on the label. The tree for the 2015 bottling is the Deodar Cedar, better known as the California Christmas Tree. This ale is meant to age, so the good folks at Anchor also bottled this beer in a 1.5L-sized bottle. While it’s tasty now, I’ve tasted through several older vintages of this beer and it just gets more complex the older its get. A great gift for your beer-geek friends.

Mas de Daumas Gassac Rouge
Languedoc, France 2012 | $49.99BiRite-HOLIDAY-2015-Grocery-019
The Guibert family of Mas de Daumas Gassac has stood at the forefront of the quality revolution in the Languedoc region of Southern France. Once known only for its bulk wine production, this region now is now a hotspot for young producers, all of whom have Aimé Guibert to thank for their inspiration. Guibert championed biodynamic farming and started planting the appropriate varietals with respect to the region’s terroir, enabling the best possible expression for each grape. Now under the supervision of Aimé’s eldest son, Samuel, the winery Mas de Daumas Gassac continues to make world class wines from the Languedoc. Made primarily from Cabernet Sauvignon, this classic red from the famed Mas de Daumas Gassac shows what exquisite farming and amazing terroir can contribute to producing world class wine.  With aromas of herbs and blackberry along with a rich, supple texture, it’s no surprise critics refer to this wine as the “Lafite of the Languedoc”.
L0051Occidental Road Gravenstein Apple Brandy | $49.99
Proprietor Ann Hatch asked St. George Spirits in Alameda to produce this stunning apple brandy made from her Gravenstein apples in Sonoma. Gravenstein apples are a local heirloom variety that was planted in Sonoma in the early 1800s. It’s now being threatened, as more orchards are being ripped up in favor of more profitable wine vineyards. Aged for 5 years in barrels, this brandy has notes of baked apples, caramel, and vanilla spices. This is a wonderful gift for any Calvados fan, plus you will be drinking to save our local Gravenstein apples from disappearing!

Signatory Vintage Imperial Scotch 1995 | $74.99
This special Scotch bottling is from the Imperial Distillery, located in Carron, Speyside. There have only ever been two official bottlings of Imperial, a 15-year-old from Allied and this 18-year-old bottling from Signatory. Unfortunately, the distillery was demolished in 2013, so this will be the only time we can taste this rare Scotch from a historic distillery. Exclusive to Bi-Rite, this rare Scotch has notes of fruit and licorice with hints of ginger, biscuits, and orange zest. A treat for any Scotch lover, and a stunner of a whiskey that will end any holiday meal in style!  Extremely limited!
Visit our Markets to shop these gifts and more!  Or, order from our online Holiday Market for in-store pick-up.


Last Chance of the Year for 20% Off Wine!


ChristmasblingIt’s your last chance to get blitzed with us!  Our final Wine Blitz of the year is happening NOW through this Sunday, December 13th – the perfect time to snag the limited-selection wines you want before the year is done! Gearing up to host family or a holiday party?  Getting ready for a sparkling New Year?  Now is the time to save 20% on 12 or more bottles across our entire selection.  Stop by either Market before the weekend is through, speak with one of our knowledgeable staff members, and save on all of your holiday wine needs.

Here is a sneak peak at some of our favorite featured, limited-quantity wines for this Holiday Wine Blitz that you won’t want to miss!

BermejoBermejo Brut Nature Sparkling Rosado Canary Islands, Spain n/v
Regular Price $44.99 Blitz Price $35.99 (save $5!)

We were stunned speechless when we tasted this exotic sparkling wine from the Canary Islands. Located in Lanzarote, it is the easternmost of the Canaries – a chain of seven islands off the coast of Morocco. Made from a red grape called Listan Negro, this sparkling is elegant but shows power and depth that rivals any Champagne. We have only a handful of this special wine so be sure to give us a call before it’s gone (415.241.9760 for 18 Street, or Divis at 415.551.7900).

PoeChardonnayPoe Chardonnay “Ferrington Vineyard” Anderson Valley, CA 2013
Regular Price $44.99 Blitz Price $35.99 (save $9!)

Our Divisadero Wine Manager, John Herbstritt, professed his love for California Chardonnay after having this wine at the winery, and we couldn’t agree with him more.  Winemaker Samantha Sheehan sourced the grapes from the Ferrington Vineyard in Anderson Valley, which was first planted in the late 1960s.  This Chardonnay is quite expressive with notes of golden apples, yellow flowers, and mineral notes.

EnderleEnderle & Moll “Liaison” Pinot Noir Baden, Germany 2013
Regular Price $34.99 Blitz Price $27.99 (save $7!)
The estate known as Enderle & Moll is really just two guys, a tiny cellar, a basket press, a few hectares of old vines, and a hell of a lot of buzz – their wines are that compelling. Sven Enderle and Florian Moll work with very old vines, farm biodynamically, and use barrels from Dujac in Burgundy.  This all adds up to a stunning Pinot Noir from Germany.

MoulinChateau Moulin de Tricot Margaux Bordeaux, France 2009
Regular Price $49.99 Blitz Price $39.99 (save $10!)

I love Bordeaux but with Parker and Wine Spectator overvaluing their worth for years, all the “growths” producers are priced out of my wallet.  Luckily, there are importers like Neal Rosenthal who seek out amazing small family producers who are not part of the Parker’s elite club. Chateau Moulin de Tricot was founded in the 19th century by the ancestors of the current proprietor, Bruno Rey. This wine is the definition of Margaux: elegant with complex flavors that could age for decades.


‘Tis the Season for Holiday Wine Blitz (Dec. 7-13)



Now that Thanksgiving is past, the leftovers have been eaten, and you probably opened all the wines that you bought from our Fall Wine Blitz, it’s time to start restocking and save on wine for that holiday party or family gathering you’ll be hosting before the new year. Our Holiday Wine Blitz (December 7-13) is almost here and it’s the last chance of the year to save 20% on any purchase of 12 or more bottles from our entire selection.

Join us at 18 Reasons this Thursday, December 3, for our Blitz Preview Tasting, where you can taste nearly 30 of our featured Blitz wines. It’s a great opportunity to meet the folks behind the wines and talk to our wine staff for recommendations, plus a perfect time to place your pre-order to ensure you get the wines you want before they’re sold out.  There are still a few tickets available for each session, either 6-7pm or 7-8pm.  This is our last Wine Blitz of 2015 and we’re going out with a bang!

As the year comes to a close, the winter holidays are a great time to stock up on Champagne and sparkling, as we’ve added more selections from one of our favorite importers Kermit Lynch. Try these two wonderful selections from this famed, local importer:LasalleFourny

J. Lassalle Champagne “Cachet d’Or” 1er Cru Brut
Regular Price $39.99 Blitz Price $31.99  (save $8!)
A favorite at Bi-Rite, this value-driven Champagne over delivers for the price.  Female owned and operated, this estate is run by three generations of the Lassalle family, Olga, the matriarch, her daughter Chantal, and granddaughter, Angéline. The Cachet d’Or is a blend of all three varietals from the region (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Meunier) and is an astonishingly complex and mineral-driven Champagne.

Veuve Fourny & Fils “Vertus” 1er Cru Brut 
Regular Price $44.99 Blitz Price $35.99 (save $9!)
Champagne Veuve Fourny is a family domaine dating back to 1856. Brothers Charles-Henry and Emmanuel Fourny produce classic grower Champagne, raising pedigreed fruit and adhering to high standards in the vineyards and winemaking. This is a classic Blanc de Blancs (100% Chardonnay) with fine beads, deep aromatics, and fresh mineral notes.


Planning a roast as the centerpiece for your holiday dinner? We have a wide range of full-bodied wines that will make the perfect pairings for prime rib, leg of lamb, or goose. Here are some of our favorites right now:

Castel Noarna “Mercuria” Rosso Noarna
Regular Price $24.99 Blitz Price $19.99 (save $5!)
With a castle and old vineyards located high up in the Dolomites, it doesn’t get any more picturesque than Castel Noarna. Marco Zani has been the winemaker on his family’s estate since 1989, and the Mercuria is his Claret blend (Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot). This is a serious steak wine with savory, earthy notes along with bright black fruit notes.


IrelougeyAmeztia Irouléguy Rouge 
Regular Price $29.99 Blitz Price 23.99 (save $6!)
Irouléguy is located in the Basque region of France; the main grape here is Tannat, and as the name suggest, it’s known for being full-bodied and tannic.  In the hands of lesser growers and winemakers, it certainly can be harsh. Fortunately, winemaker Jean-Louis Costera knows how to tame this wild varietal and his expression of this varietal shows elegance. The wine is still rich and full-bodied, but the texture is supple while the tannins are much more integrated. This is the wine to have with a brisket or a prime rib.

GigondasDomaine de Piaugier Gigondas 
Regular Price $22.99 Blitz Price $18.39 (save $4.60!)
Everybody loves the Kermit Lynch Cotes du Rhone at Bi-Rite, but it’s the holiday season and time to step it up a notch in the Rhone Valley category. This is Gigondas, a region that is known for Grenache and Syrah and is becoming a great value for people looking for a “poor’s man” Chateauneuf-du-Pape. Jean-Marc Autran of Domaine de Piaguier is the fourth generation in his family to make the wines and his Gigondas are some of the best value in the region. Made from old vines (between 20 and 45 years old) with rich dark fruits and peppery spice, this is a phenomenal wine to have with a roasted leg of lamb.



Our Favorite Wines, Ciders & Spirits for Thanksgiving

fall-leavesThanksgiving is fast approaching and it’s one of our favorite meals of the year, because with all of the different dishes served it’s the perfect opportunity to enjoy a variety of libations. At Bi-Rite, we believe in the idiom that variety is the spice of life, that we should celebrate all of the wonderful wines, spirits, and ciders that are available to us now. Here are some of our favorites for your Thanksgiving dinner.

SparklingSparklings are a festive way to start a meal, and we could not think of a better Champagne for the occasion: the Champagne Cordeuil Extra Brut* ($44.99) is made from mostly Pinot Noir with a touch of Chardonnay, and is aged for 7 years on the lees to give it a nice round texture and bready, yeasty aroma. It’s perfect with a soft, triple cream cheese, like Cowgirl Creamery’s Mt. Tam – this dense and buttery cheese is a favorite of our guests and a must for any celebration.

If Champagne is too much on the budget, check out the amazing ciders from Eric Bordelet. We have a couple in the Markets but the Eric Bordelet Granit Poire* ($22.99) is our top choice. Made from pears of 60-foot-tall, 300-year-old trees, the Granit is very dry and complex with tiny bubbles that can stand tall next to fine sparklings.

pinot_nouveauBeaujolais Nouveaus
are made to celebrate the end of harvest for winemakers. Usually simple and boring with bubblegum and banana flavors, it was never thought of as a serious wine to drink with dinner, though it is always associated with Thanksgiving because the release date is always the third Thursday of November. Lucky for us, one of the best Beaujolais producers, Jean Foillard, decided to make a Beaujolais that you can be proud to serve at your holiday table, the Jean Foillard Beaujolais Nouveau 2015 ($21.99). It is made with old vines (40-60 years) from vineyards near the cru Morgon; it is bright and juicy with a hint of cracked black pepper. If you’re looking for a spin on tradition and seeking something domestic (it is an American holiday after all), Samantha Sheehan of Poe Wines makes an excellent Nouveau from her Pinot Noir grapes. The Poe Pinot Nouveau ($19.99) is lovely with fresh strawberry notes and some earthy spice notes.


OccidentalThe French have a tradition of drinking a small amount of brandy or Calvados (apple brandy) between courses to settle the stomach and reawaken the palate, what they call le trou normand. The Occidental Road Apple Brandy* ($49.99), by St. George Spirits, made with Gravenstein apples in Sonoma and aged 5 years in oak barrels, is the perfect choice for your Thanksgiving trou normand.  This apple brandy is rich and deep with caramel and spice notes. Normally only available at restaurants, this unique apple brandy is only available to us for retail.

Whether your celebrations are large or small, stop by our Markets to shop our complete selection of holiday wines, ciders, and spirits to round out your Thanksgiving festivities.  Cheers to a fantastic meal!

WineBlitzLogoLooking for wine for holiday parties, gifts, or family gatherings?  Don’t forget, our Holiday Wine Blitz is December 7-13! Save 20% on purchases of 12 bottles or more, mix and match throughout our entire selection.  Join us at 18 Reasons for a Preview Tasting on Thursday, December 3, from 6-7pm or 7-8pm and place your pre-order!

*These holiday wines, ciders, and spirits are available for convenient pre-order and pick-up from our online Holiday Market and view our complete selection.