Thanksgiving Wine Pairing Ideas

Well, it’s that time of year again and I’m already salivating at the thought of my Dad’s Stuffing, it’s the best!  I wanted to share some of my favorite holiday pairings with all of you.

Turkey/Gravy, there are so many things you could pair with this light meat but this year I’ll be mixing it up a bit with a good German Pinot Noir (Wasem anybody?) and a series of Dry Rieslings such as 2005 Johann Maximilian, 2006 Barth Charta and 2006 Gutzler GS

Honey Baked Ham, I’ve always loved Cru Beaujoulais with ham but I would also recommend doing something with a touch of Residual Sugar.  I love a Spatlese Semi-dry with this such as 2005 Barth Hattenheimer Hassel or 2006 Blees Ferber Piesporter Gartchen.

Sweet potatos, candied yams or glazed carrots, this is a great place for a nice light semi-dry Kabinett and the 2007 Thanisch Kabinett Feinherb would be a perfect match.  The winemaker Jorg thinks it’s the best Kabinett that he has ever produced.

My Dad always makes some sort of Gratin, whether Cauliflower, Broccoli or Potato a nice dry Kabinett such as 2007 Blees Ferber Trittenheimer Apotheke Dry is fantastic, a sparkling wine such as the 1999 Gutzler Riesling Sekt from a first growth site (Liebfrauenstift Kirchenstuck) would work brilliantly too.

My favorite part of any meal is always dessert and particularly when it’s pie.

So for pumpkin, apple and pecan I would look at something with a good bit of botrytis, any Beerenauslese or Trockenbeerenauslese could be life altering.  Try 1994 Wassem Huxelrebe TBA with flavors of caramel, butterscotch and honey would be a surefire hit.  For value I would look to either the Siegerrebe or Huxelrebe Auslese from Hinkel, both would work very well.  Both of these grapes have ties to Gewurztraminer and give off a cinnamon and ginger like spice.

For Lemon Meringue pie, a sweet Spatlese or auslese would take the cake (the pie)!  Try 2006 Blees Ferber Piesporter Goldtropchen Sweet or the 2005 Barth Auslese

You can always call us at the shop 858-270-9463 and we would be more than happy to make some recommendations based on your budget and preferences.  Also be on the lookout for our Thanksgiving Wine Kit that features everything you need to make your Holiday truly memorable including a free bottle of 2005 Rauen Auslese.

From everyone here at Truly Fine Wine have a safe and happy Holiday Season!

All the best,

Damon, Sabrina and Dustin

Published in: on October 31, 2008 at 1:19 pm  Leave a Comment  

2007 Gutzler White Pinot Noir

We just received a new shipment and there is one wine in particular that I am absolutely thrilled about. A white Pinot Noir from Gerhard Gutzler. White wine from Pinot Noir? That’s right!

The wine was fermented without any skin contact, similar to the way they make Champagne and Pinot Grigio.

The wine is very aromatic, with a floral notes like rose petal and jasmine, medium bodied with ripe apple, honeydew melon and candied lemon. This wine is very unique in the U.S. market, but is apparently is quite common in Germany, which makes sense because German producers make some of the best white wine in the world. This is a wine-geek wine that shouldn’t be missed!–Dry_p_17-15.html

Published in: on October 3, 2008 at 2:06 pm  Leave a Comment  

Join us at Avenue 5 Restaurant in Banker’s Hill

We would like to invite you to Avenue 5 Restaurant for a wonderful dinner prepared by Chef Colin MacLaggan. Tuesday, September 23rd @ 6pm

Avenue 5/Truly Fine Wine German Wine Dinner

1st Course: Salad of Pickled Beets, Aged Blue Cheese, Pancetta, Julienne Apple

1999 Gutzler Riesling Sekt, Rheinhessen

Quite simply the best sparkling wine we have ever tasted from Germany.

This traditional method sparkler is luscious, sexy and nothing short of

inspirational. Old world style with great depth, super tight bubbles, a rich creaminess with bold German Riesling acidity. A brilliant vintage Sekt in a Krug style bottle from one of the best sites in Germany.

2nd Course: Diver Scallops with Saffron-Vanilla Cream, Baby Spinach, Endive, Tapioca Pearls

2006 Thanisch 1648, Riesling, Mosel

With a nose of petrol, stony minerals and a touch of peach blossoms, this wine is edgy and showcases the wonderful flavors of a dry Riesling. Warm summer citrus and lemon zest create a tart, bold acidity that finishes with a hint of apricot.

The 1648 was built out in the estate’s signature style to commemorate its founding in 1648. It was crafted as a food pairing wine and can accompany any lighter cuisine from seafood to chicken and pasta.

3rd Course: Braised Short Ribs, Herb Gnocchi, Forest Mushrooms, Pumpkin

2005 Wassem Pinot Noir, Rheinhessen

The town of Ingelheim has planted Pinot Noir since the early Middle Ages, when Charlemagne brought over vines from Burgundy. With a microclimate similar to Burgundy, this wine is representative of a soft and well-balanced Pinot, with full berry, plum and lavender aromas. It has a silky smooth texture, is round in the mouth and finishes with a hint of soft tannins.

Holger Wasem has done an amazing job with this 05’ vintage and it is among our favorites. Pair this wine with simple to complex dishes as it is the most diverse food pairing Pinot that we carry.  And it will also continue to open for hours on end, only improving…

4th Course: Jasmine Pot de Créme, Tea infused Custard

2005 Barth Riesling Auslese, Hattenheimer Schutzenhaus, Rheingau

Created during the outstanding 05′ season, this wine was harvested with a heavy amount of botrytis and is loaded with tropical fruit aromas. It has a big full body and is quite amazing on the back palate. It comes packaged in a 750ml bottle, making it a great bargain for a dessert wine.

Published in: on August 28, 2008 at 11:56 am  Leave a Comment  

2005 Hans Lang “Johann Maximilian” Signature Dry Riesling

One of my new favorite wines in our portfolio is the signature dry Riesling from Hans Lang.

Johann Maximilian Lang is the full name of wine grower Hans Lang. This wine represents a very selected harvest of his finest vineyard sites. Harvested roughly 10-12 days after normal ripeness this wine boasts a weight and richness not often seen in German Riesling. A rich creamy mouthfeel, with lemony accents and a trickly of honey is balanced beautifully by racy acidity and mineral laden finish.

I recently tasting this wine with some Sommelier friends of mine a one of our monthly tastings and this wine was the hands down favorite amongst some of the finest small productions wines we tasted.


Dustin Jones

Published in: on August 6, 2008 at 2:25 pm  Leave a Comment  

Sommelier Favorites

I have received quite a few emails from TFW fans inquiring what the Sommelier drinks from our Portfolio. So without further ado…

Johann Maximiliam Lang is the full name of wine grower/winemaker Hans Lang. This signature dry Riesling is hand selected late harvest Riesling from some of the top sites in the Rheingau. At 13% alcohol this represents one of the fullest dry Rieslings I’ve had to date. A rich, creamy mouthfeel has tremendous weight on the palate with flavors of red apple skins and bosc pear, lemony accents, a trickle of honey followed by a refreshing mineral laden finish.

2006 Gutzler “Gutzler Select” Riesling is a very special wine that is meticulously hand crafted to be a bigger dry style Riesling with bold and intense characteristics. This wine has so much going on that I would recommend decanting it for 30 minutes before drinking. It opens up to a nose of wonderful spring grass, beautiful minerals and great acidity, this wine can handle a variety of cuisine and is suited for seafood ranging from white fish through lobster. I used to pair this with butter poached lobster and Chilean seabass, but could easily stand up to pork loin and chicken.

1999 Gutzler Riesling Sekt

A clear, concentrated yeasty aroma characterizes this vintage Traditional Method Sparkling Riesling or “Sekt” from one of Germany’s first growth vineyards, the Liebfrauenstift-Kirchenstück. This Sparkler beams with acidity and structured fruit. An elegant aroma of dried apricot with hints of peach, mango and maracuja create distinct complexity. Because of the extended time on the yeast, fine bubbles pearl in the glass and create a Sparkling wine with lots of power and structure.

This Sekt was made according to the traditional champagne method: After a fermentation in stainless steel, a second fermentation took place in the bottle. The sparkling wine was hand riddled and only recently disgorged.

Recommended Value Wines

2007 Hans Lang “Sabrina”

Sabrina’s Riesling is a semi-dry Riesling made in the traditional Rheingau style, accentuating the elegant interplay between delicate fruit and refreshing acidity. The wine was hand-crafted by vintner Hans Lang to commemorate the importer’s wife, who grew up in the Rheingau.

This semi-dry has the beautiful aroma of ripe summer melon combined with soft citrus. It is a great bargain for the price and pairs great with starters, chicken, pasta, fish, spicy foods and more, but can be enjoyed on its own!

Til next time,



Published in: on July 16, 2008 at 3:18 pm  Comments (1)  

Lotus of Siam

Well, I just back into town from Las Vegas.  Although it was a business trip rather than the usual fun & games, I had a incredible experience at Lotus of Siam.

If you don’t know Lotus of Siam in Las Vegas, you absolutely should next time you’re there.  It has been rated the best Thai experience in North America.

It is an experience that true foodies have flocked to Vegas for quite some time to have.  The restaurant is not in a grand Hotel or swanky strip mall.  In fact quite the opposite, Lotus resides in a large semi-run-down stripmall in an offbeat neighborhood not too far from the strip.  No flashing lights, no monstrous buildings that look like New York, Paris or Egyptian Pyramids.  No Castles, fountain shows or gondalas.  Just unbelievable food, at reasonable prices with a wine list that could sooth the inner wine geek in anyone.

While flipping through the 12 pages of Rieslings,I almost wept.

NOTE:  Riesling is to Thai food as Cabernet is to Lamb, no ifs, ands, or buts, it just works!

Robert Parker called it one of the best Riesling lists in the U.S. and I can’t argue with that at all. So many options, so few days in Vegas. The sommelier does such an amazing job find high quality wines, including some great Southern Rhone selctions from a variety of vintages.  Chateauneuf-du-Papes work so well with spicy food because of their softness and lack of oak.  The only thing better than the selection is the prices the wines were barely marked up over retail pricing.

I found it particularly helpful to ask the staff what they recommend.  Extremely knowledgeable, in fact my friend was very allergic to peanuts and bean sprouts and he felt completely comfortable with the whole experience.

I recommend the Thai Jerky, Green Papaya Salad, Tom-Kha soup was the best I’ve ever had and I order it everytime I eat Thai food.  The duck was fantastic, noodles dishes are unbelievable.

If you like Thai food this is the spot!  If you’re a food and wine pairing type then Lotus of Siam will blow your mind!


Dustin Jones

Published in: on June 24, 2008 at 1:39 pm  Leave a Comment  

2005 Gutzler Pinot Noir Blanc de Noirs

This summer I have been drinking quite a bit of interesting refreshing white wines and the Gutzler Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) Blanc de Noirs is one of the most interesting I’ve tasted yet!

Spatburgunder is the German word for Pinot Noir, literally translated it means “late Burgundy.”  Late because it is a late ripening varietal and Burgunder for the fact that Pinot Noir was brought over to Germany from Burgundy, France.  Blanc de Noir literally translates to a white wine made from black grapes.  This grape is very finicky but when treated properly and in a good vintage these wines account for some of the finest wines in the world.  Anybody ever heard of DRC, Comtes de Vogue, Domaine Dujac?

This wine from Gerhard Gutzler is from Rheinhessen region of Germany, known for it’s Burgundian like soil, clay, loes and limestone with gentle rolling hills and a touch warmer of a climate than the Mosel for example.  The grapes are treated like white wines, they go through a process of being pressed off of the skins.  Grape juice is almost always a clear like juice, and red wine gets all of it’s color from the maceration of the grapes and leaving them in contact with the skin.  Grape skins are responsible for color and tannins in wine.  That is why you won’t find much tannins in white wine.  After pressing, the juice is fermented in stainless steel, the wine is too light and elegant too see oak. 

The resultant wine is beautiful, with very subtle blood orange and almost strawberry notes on the nose, a clean minerality remiscent of fresh rain.  On the palate, citrus, ripe apple and pear.  With just a hint of that soft red fruits from the nose.  This is a great wine for casual patio drinking, but really works well with food.  I’ve paired it with crab, grapefruit and avocado and all I can say is “Delicious.” 

This wine is a virtually steal under $20 and if you’re looking to try something different this summer you should be drinking the 2005 Gutzler Spatburgunder Blanc de Noirs.

Til next time,



Published in: on May 31, 2008 at 1:24 pm  Leave a Comment  

Summer is here, are you drinking Riesling yet?

Thoughout my time in the wine industry I have seen a lot of trends come and go.  One trend that I’m starting to see, is that people are discovering the pleasures of Riesling grape.  For years, Master Sommeliers and Wine Professionals have championed drinking wines made from the Riesling grape.  It almost reminds me of when I started in the industry and the professionals were all talking about Pinot Noir and how versatile it is.  After years of talking it up, the movie Sideways and the increased quality domestically many of people finally figured out what all the fuss was about.  I was working as Wine Director in La Jolla at the time and all of a sudden I couldn’t keep Pinot Noir in stock.  Merlot sales tanked and Pinot Noir became the new trend and all the rage in the U.S. 

Well, with that in mind I’m going out on a limb and saying that if you’re not drinking Riesling you should be and probably will be when the movie comes out.  Just kidding, I don’t think that they are making a movie about Riesling, but maybe they should.  The Riesling grape has been produced in Germany and Alsace France for hundreds of years.  It is considered one the the nine noble varietals, and in my opinion is a wine that we should really be enjoying more of. 

Here is my reasoning for saying that Riesling should be in your glass!

This grape is virtual blank canvas for “terroir”, meaning that this grape has the ability to show the flavors from where it was grown like no other white grape.

The range of Riesling is enormous, it can be syrupy sweet like a TBA, bone-dry like a Charta and virtually any style in between the two.  It has more variances of style than any other grape in the world. 

Acidity, Acidity, Acidity!  In order for a wine to be considered “Food Friendly” it should have a high proportion of acidity.  Acidity does a lot for a wine and is a vital component to the length of finish, quality, and balancing the fruit/sugar.  It also allows for the wine to be paired with a variety of foods, because the acidity will cut through the fat and proteins.  Riesling has extremely high acidity, which is why it can be produced with residual sugar and not be cloying.

Value, Value, Value.  In times of economic uncertainty and continually rising wine prices wouldn’t it be nice if you could drink a really high quality wine for under $20?  You can certainly do that with German Riesling!

So I ask the question, “What’s in your glass?”

If you’d like to learn more about dry Riesling and explore German Wine for yourself check out our website at

Cheers til next time!




Sparkling Wine Production


Production Methods: 

Methode Champenoise &

Methode Traditionale

The “Champagne Method” is the natural and traditional way to produce sparkling wines. Outside of Champagne, France; this method is typically called Methode Traditionale. The basic process involves first fermenting your base wines until they are dry like a normal wine. Once fermented, the wines are blended and put into bottles, to which has been added a small amount of yeast and an exact amount of sugar called the liqueur de tirage. The bottles are then capped, and a secondary fermentation ensues which creates a small amount of alcohol and carbon dioxide. When the secondary fermentation is complete and the wine is carbonated, the yeast in the bottle must be removed. The bottles are put into A-frame racks at an angle and put through the process of riddling or remuage where the bottles are rotated a quarter turn once a day as the yeast is slowly forced into the neck of the bottle. Once the yeast plug is formed, the wine goes through degorgement where the neck of the bottle is frozen to lock the yeast away from the wine, the cap is removed and the pressure inside the bottle forces the yeast plug out resulting in a clear wine. The bottle is then topped off with the liqueur d’expedition – a combination of wine and sugar. This dosage of sugar is what determines the sweetness of the sparkling wine. Once added, the bottle is corked and ready to age or consume.

Classic examples: Champagne, Spanish Cava, California Sparkling Wines, German Sekt. 

Charmat Process or Bulk Method

To create carbonation in sparkling wines using the Charmat Process, the wine goes under the secondary fermentation not in individual bottles, rather in large, pressurized tanks. This process is more efficient, cheaper, and easier than Methode Champenoise, but the result is a wine of lower quality and less character.

Classic Examples: Italian Prosecco, Italian Asti & Moscato d’Asti, and inexpensive American Sparkling Wines

Dosage Levels & Sweetness:

Most sparkling wine producers around the world use the Champagne system of describing the sweetness level of a particular wine. From driest to sweetest, those classifications are:

Extra Brut – Extremely dry, no sugar at all

Brut – Very dry, the most common style

Extra Dry – Off-dry, very common style

Sec – Lightly sweet

Demi-Sec – Sweet

Doux – Very sweet, more than 5% R.S. 


– Sekt is the name for sparkling wines from Germany. Although most Sekt is inexpensive and poorly made, high quality Sekt is produced using Methode Champenoise methods.

– High quality Sekt is produced from Riesling, Weissburgunder (Pinot Blanc), or Rulander (Pinot Gris) grapes.

– Fine Sekt is typically vintage dated. 

Next time you’re looking for a great value sparkling wine think of German Sekt as a great alternative, to

Published in: on May 21, 2008 at 4:16 pm  Leave a Comment  
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Gutzler Dinner @ Anthology SD


We had a great time at Anthology in Little Italy last night, where wine, food & music combined for a culturally diverse evening!



We started with the night with a Chardonnay Blanc de Blancs German Sparkling Wine from Rheinhessen.


Dungeness Crab Salad

          Grapefruit, Haas Avocado, Meyer Lemon Vinaigrette


2006 Gutzler Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir) Blanc de Noir.  A white Pinot Noir that accentuated the sweetness of the crab and really played well with the Grapefruit segments which accentuated the richness in the wine.


Tuna 3 ways

          Big eye tuna tartare, avocado, hamachi tartar, watermelon, ponzu sauce, Sashimi of big eye tuna and hamachi


The 2006 Gutzler “Gutzler Select” Dry Riesling, this was the best pairing of the night, fatty fish with dry riesling is one of the best combinations ever.  The sweetness of the watermelon with the tartar and the creaminess of the avocado puree was brilliant with the acidity in the “GS”.


Duck Leg Confit

          Potato Rosti, Chive Crème Fraiche


2005 Gutzler Spatburgunder (Pinot Noir), Pinot and Duck is a classic combination for a reason, if it ain’t broke don’t fix it.  Elegant lighter style Pinot was a nice change of pace, soft and delicate with well integrated fine tannin and a good bit of acidity that balanced the rich duck confit.


Warm Peach Financier

          White Chocolate Ganache, Candied Almond Ice Cream


2004 Gutlzer Riesling Auslese, this was my favorite course the dessert was so fresh and had this terrific savory component, the candied almond ice cream was smooth and delicious.  Auslese was brimming with peaches and stonefruits which worked itself into the dish seamlessly.


Our private dining room was right above the stage and Les Nubians began promply as the first course arrived.  There were a lot of our friends there and combined with the music, ambiance, food and wine everyone had a great time? 


If you missed it don’t worry, we’ll be doing a lot more of these dinners in the future!




Dustin Jones