Due Vigne 2006 Viognier

We picked this one up at Blackwell’s Wines and Spirits during our recent visit to the Bay Area largely on the recommendation of Sara (and pray forgive us, Sara, if we have spelled your name wrong).
By Due Vigne Di Familia in the Napa region, the wine is a class act with 86 percent Viognier, eleven percent Roussanne and a scant three percent of Marsanne, aka a classic blend of three Rhone white grapes. Sara told us that the panel almost passed on the 2006 vintage because they didn’t think it was dry enough.
It was dry enough. The golden color in the glass had a nose of lychee nuts and banana on the first sniff and some citrus on a second smell. There was also some of the honeysuckle aroma. The rich mouthfeel first tasted of anise – licorice or fennel to some – that led into a hint of peach at the back of the mouth. The finish was decent and you could tell they used the oak sparingly.
The best part was that the wine was only ten dollars. You could certainly enjoy this wine buy itself. But try it with a creamy seafood bisque now or grilled scallops next spring. The wine certainly plays well with others and should have that chance. The catch is that at this price, if it’s still in the store, it won’t last.

Blackwell’s Wine and Spirits

We wouldn’t normally feature a retailer here, but we had such a great time at San Francisco store Blackwell’s Wines & Spirits, that we couldn’t resist posting about it.

We were up in The City over Thanksgiving to visit Her Ladyship (Anne’s daughter) and while taking a walk on Friday, we stumbled onto this charming little store.  It’s laid out beautifully.  The prices are reasonable and the wine selection is exceptional.  Yes, you’ll find Napa cabs and pinot noirs here, including some that will please the pinot geeks among us.  But most of the stock is made up of unique gems such as Tavel (rosé from Provence, France).

Best of all, is the staff.  When we went in that Friday morning, Sarah was the only person on the floor.  She and Mike got into an extended conversation about making wine and sharing their experiences, plus she pointed us toward some interesting stuff.  She knew what was in just about everything and explained that every wine in the store had been tasted by the owner and by most of the staff.  That’s important, because she and her co-workers will be able to steer you to a wonderful bottle, no matter what your needs are.

Even as more and more of us get comfortable with wine as a part of our daily lives, there is still a lingering fear wrapped up in finding the “right” bottle.  While it is true that some wines are better than others, and some of us like one thing and not others, it is a little frustrating that there is still so much discomfort among wine buyers.  We say if people judge you on what you’re drinking, to hell with them.  Order the white zin – or better yet, order one from an obscure label.  Sip it with ecstasy (the emotion, not the drug) and let them wonder what they’re missing.

And they are the ones that are missing out, trust us.  Yes, a Napa cab or a first growth Bordeaux can be an utterly transcendent thing.  But you don’t need transcendence every day, nor are those the only wines that offer the possibility of transcendence.  Wine is as much about the situation as it is about the flavor.  A Two-Buck Chuck sipped quietly over a dinner of cheesy mac hamburger casserole with someone you love is perfectly wonderful.  Great wine?  No.  But a perfect wine for the right time, place and person.

It’s the experience that counts, which is why finding a place like Blackwell’s is such a joy.

Blackwell’s Wines & Spirits


5620 Geary Boulevard
San Francisco, CA 94121-2215
(415) 386-9463