Saturday, September 23, 2023

ADVERTISING: Advertorial — The high end…

by GEORGE BALLING/the dinner party
| October 26, 2022 1:00 AM

Every wine consumer, including Mary and I, have our “budgetary sweet spot” of wines we like to consume. It is why we carry wines from $9 up to prices many of us won’t consider spending for a bottle of wine. While we sell far more bottles in the lower price ranges there is on going demand for those more expensive bottles, it is why we carry some of the hardest to find offerings. We just recently received many of these offerings during the fall release from the highest end winemakers. So, for those of you so inclined here are some of the recent arrivals.

The fall release from the legendary Spottswoode Winery located on the southern edge of the town of St. Helena is one of the most anticipated every year. Their estate Cabernet is very sought after and sells out before we ever receive the bottles. Sadly, their Sauvignon Blanc ($60, wine club price $54) kind of gets lost in the shuffle. It is one of the most spectacular SBs made and for white wine enthusiasts, it is a must have. The wine is all pink grapefruit focused in flavors and aromas and has amazing texture that walks the fine line between richness and crispness.

Kistler Winery located in Sebastopol in Sonoma County is regarded as perhaps the best producer of Chardonnay in the country. One sip of the 2020 Kistler les Noisetiers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay ($87, wine club price $78.30) will tell you that story. The wine is all we love about the varietal and the appellation with chalky minerality on the nose and a palate laden with apple and pear flavors along with ample butter and oak noting balanced by perfect acid. The wine is in a league of its own.

The untold secret of Kistler though is that they produce equally spectacular Pinot Noir, that is actually more difficult to come by than the Chardonnay. We just received a case of the 2020 Kistler Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($95, wine club price $85.50) and we are thrilled as we don’t always get an allocation of the wine. It is dense and rich with opulent cherry flavors and shows mildly earthy aromas. The palate weight and mouth feel are silky and elegant. It is a spectacular wine that will shine with your Thanksgiving dinner, if you are having a more intimate gathering.

On the same truck we received a case of the 2019 Failla Estate Fort Ross Seaview Pinot Noir ($120, wine club price $108). Ehren Jordan is one of our absolute favorite winemakers and his deft hand with Pinot Noir shows in every sip of this show stopper wine. Like the Kistler it is dense and rich with the classic Sonoma Coast flavors and aromas of world class Pinot Noir. It is the first time we received an allocation from this most noteworthy of Ehren’s vineyards.

We also received a tiny 6 bottles of the 2019 Failla Hayne Vineyard Syrah ($90, wine club price $81). The wine shows a savory meatiness on the nose with rich flavors of black cherry and spice all framed by ample tannins for a great alternative wine for the Cabernet drinkers on your gift list. Like all that Ehren Jordan makes the wine maintains varietal perfection with an artistic and innovative winemaking flair that is unrivaled.

A wine we recently tasted and found to be delicious but is not allocated or particularly hard to come by is the 2018 Santa Rita Triple C red wine ($52, wine club price $46.80) from Chile. The wine is a blend of Cabernet Franc, Cabernet Sauvignon and Carmenere, thus the name. The wine is a rich, tannic and extracted wine that will be perfect with your hearty winter meals including your Christmas prime rib. It has all the heft to stand up to that meal and other meat dishes.

While much of our recent shipment contained our higher end favorites the same distributor sent along the 2021 Domaine du Salvard Cheverny ($30, wine club price $27). The Cheverny has been the best-selling white wine in the shop for many years. We were not able to get the wine though for more than a year. Well, it is back and fabulous again. The wine is an unoaked blend of mostly Sauvignon Blanc and some Chardonnay. The wine is crisp and clean but with still generous texture and lovely flavors of citrus and green apple. Once you try it you will know why it has been the best-selling white wine we carry.

Come by the shop to taste all that is new, we have wines for every budget but when the special wines arrive it is sure fun to write about them.

• • •

George Balling is co-owner with his wife, Mary Lancaster, of the Dinner Party, a wine and gift shop in Coeur d’Alene by Costco. The Dinner Party has won the award for best wine shop in North Idaho twice, including for 2018.

George is also published in several other publications around the country. After working in wineries in California and judging many wine competitions, he moved to Coeur d’Alene with Mary more than 10 years ago to open the shop.

You can also follow us on Facebook at!/dinnerpartyshop or visit

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