The All-Stars Were Shining…

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By Gary Fishman, Wally’s Domestic Wine Buyer
 
The buzz keeps buzzing about the success of Wally’s latest staging of its incomparable Napa/Sonoma All-Stars Tasting.  The event, held from 2-5pm on April 23rd in two spacious ballrooms of The Olympic Collection, drew an appreciative audience of nearly 700 serious wine aficionados who swirled and sipped their way through an array of more than 200 sensational wines. Iconic names such as Opus One, Dominus Estate, Darioush, Paul Hobbs, Shafer and Pahlmeyer led the way, providing the leading edge to a vinous embarrassment of wine tasting riches. Live music and wonderful food provided by Cowgirl Creamery and Wally’s Chef David Féau (Short Rib Sliders!) and others complemented the wines being poured. And we even snuck in the Southern California debut of Napa Valley’s latest new brewery, Barrels & Sons, with its thirst-quenchingly crisp Pilsner. Amid all the great wines, this was one of the most popular tables at the entire event.

My five new favorites from the event are listed below. My hope is that you will try one or all of them, and let me know how I’m doing!

(Note:  Wally’s special events continue with the Sunday, June 4 staging of our incomparable Grande Marque Champagne fund-raiser. This year marks the Silver Anniversary, so it is shaping up to be an extra-special affair. Click Here to learn more and purchase tickets, and I hope you will sign up soon.)

 

2016 Aril Sauvignon Blanc Kick Ranch $32

2013 Buoncristiani O.P.C. Red $40

2013 Ehlers Cabernet Sauvignon Estate $55

2014 Senses Pinot Noir Hillcrest Vineyard $65

2013 Iron Horse Ocean Reserve Sparkling $40

Wally’s Grande Marque XXII Champagne Tasting

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Wally’s kicked off the month of June in style this past Sunday, with our 22nd annual Grande Marque Champagne Tasting, held at the scenic, beachfront courtyard of the Le Merigot hotel in Santa Monica, CA. Guests began pouring in around 5pm and instantly gravitated towards the plethora of champagne tables from the finest Houses in France and the delectable offerings from renowned L.A. area restaurants such as Michael’s and Angelini Osteria. It was a perfect day for an outdoor tasting, as Bob Marley once said, “The sun was shining and the weather was sweet.”

Not only was it a day for tantalizing consumption, the underlying purpose of Grande Marque is to benefit the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation and Food on Foot. The Silent Auction items attracted much interest and sparked some very serious bidding. Wally’s has raised over $1 million for charities over the years via the Grande Marque event, and the Silent Auction is always an important source of revenue.

A huge thank you goes out to all who attended, our sponsors, participants and a BIG thanks to The David Arana Quartet for providing the smooth soundscape all evening. Until next time, au revoir.

Offerings from Wally's Cheesebox
Offerings from Wally’s Cheesebox
The Sweet Butter table was amazing.
The Sweet Butter table was amazing.
The Silent Auction room had some great items.
The Silent Auction room had some great items.
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Café del Rey returns with its sumptuous raw bar.
The Krug table was a crowd favorite
The Krug table was a crowd favorite

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The Moet Girls
The Moet Girls
The pool was cool
The pool was cool
The talented David Arana Quartet
The talented David Arana Quartet

“The 50 by 50” Tasting at the famous Neutra Kun Residence

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“The 50 by 50” Tasting at the famous Neutra Kun Residence!

Jerry Casale, musician and co-founder of “Devo”, music video director and wine fanatic, will be hosting the launch of his first wines, “The 50 by 50”, at the famous and spectacular Richard J. Neutra designed Kun Residence in the Hollywood Hills.gerald_casale

Join us on this very special evening as we taste the debut wines from Jerry’s own label, The 50 by 50; the 2012 Sonoma Pinot Noir, and the 2013 Rose of Pinot Noir.

Jerry has been obsessed with great wines since touring the world in the late 1970’s with Devo – and soon discovered a similar world of invention and adventure in many of the now iconic California chefs as he did with the new wave musical movement in which Devo was a flag bearer. When Devo toured, Jerry visited vineyards, and when home in California, he quizzed his new and influential friends (he also found out that they were fans of Devo), and eventually taught wine classes. Before he realized, the seeds of a future wine producer had started to grow, and we are thrilled to be a part of this “bud break” of his own wines.

Kun ResidenceNot only do these wines have a spectacular story, the Kun Residence has an enduring legacy as a stunning example of the many influential creations of Richard J. Neutra, considered to be one of the icons of the Modernist architectural movement – which broke barriers with the previous theories of Classical architecture, much as the music of Devo was viewed in relation to the common denominator popular music of the 1970’s. It is no coincidence that the Kun Residence shall be the perfect setting for this informative tasting.

KunNew2Built in 1936 and located in the Laurel Canyon area of Hollywood, this three-and-a-half-story single-family residence exhibits character-defining features of International Style architecture. The home was constructed between 1935 and 1936 for Los Angeles Examiner printer, Joseph Kun, and was the first home designed by Richard J. Neutra that included all-electric fixtures, and was one of the first such homes in Los Angeles. The Kun Residence is a unique and remarkable architectural achievement with sensational views, and will be a stunning setting for this debut tasting.

Wally’s at LA Weekly’s “LA Essentials”

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LA Weekly’s 6th Annual “LA Essentials”, took place this past Sunday March 9th at the spacious LA Mart in Downtown Los Angeles – and featured food from many of LA’s best restaurants and eateries along with the wine curated by Wally’s Wine & Spirits. Wally’s Cheese Box and Wally’s Events Group were also happy to be involved in this showcase of LA’s best, and we proudly served hundreds of hungry Angelenos from our very busy three booths. Wally’s was excited to be one of the last vendors standing when the dust settled.

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If you didn’t make it this year to LA Essentials don’t despair, Wally’s will be throwing their annual All-Stars Tasting coming up in April featuring over 100+ wines and treats from Wally’s Cheese Box – and we also have a Magerum Wine Company and In-N-Out Burger Tasting Event on May 3rd. And, please stop by our store – as we have the same wonderful cheeses, cured meats and wines that we served. And if you were lucky enough to enjoy the festivities, please come back to Wally’s as we’d be thrilled to see you again!

Wally’s Auctions Debuts November 13, 2013 at NYC’s Whitney Museum

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WALLY’S AUCTIONS, CRUSH WINE & SPIRITS ANNOUNCE INAUGURAL AUCTION
DEBUT SALE WILL BE HELD NOVEMBER 13, 2013 AT WHITNEY MUSEUM OF AMERICAN ART IN NEW YORK CITY

NEW YORK CITY, October 4, 2013 — Wally’s Auctions and Crush Wine & Spirits proudly announce The Inaugural Auction, the premiere joint venture of a major new auction house and an established New York fine wine retailer. The sale will be held in New York City on Wednesday, November 13th at 6:00PM at the Whitney Museum of American Art, located at 945 Madison Avenue. The Inaugural Auction includes over $3 million of fine and rare wines from the world’s most prominent, impeccably-maintained cellars, and will feature a seated dinner for registered bidders prepared by a world class chef.

Included in The Inaugural Auction is a selection of never-before released large format wines from Domaine Fourrier, including a salmanazar (9L) of Griotte-Chambertin Vieilles Vignes 2009; special releases of Dom Perignon’s Oenotheque program, making this the first auction to offer the 1982 Oenotheque; six bottles of Vosne Romanee Cros Parantoux Henri Jayer 1993; and a special collection lot of each of the Domaine de la Romanee Conti Grand Cru reds from the spectacular 2010 vintage – in original wood case.

Formed in July 2013, Wally’s Auctions is led by President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Jessen, who brings with him over a decade of experience in the wine auction industry, including overseeing the placement of $500 million of consignments. Jessen is joined by Managing Director Julia Gilbert, Director of Operations Eric Shea and Director of Logistics Jermaine Stone. Wally’s Auctions’ newest additions include Auction Director and Principal Specialist Amanda Crawford and Senior Wine Specialist Josephine Young.

The Wally’s Auctions team, created and backed by new owners Maurice, Paul and Armand Marciano, along with Christian Navarro, has quickly emerged as the most widely respected group of wine professionals in the auction industry, and is poised to become the worldwide fine wine auction house of choice. Wally’s Auctions will debut with an attractive 20% buyer’s premium, among the lowest in the wine auction industry.

In business since 1968, Wally’s Wine & Spirits is a Los Angeles institution that has long-attracted novices, collectors and connoisseurs alike. Wally’s knowledgeable staff provides unparalleled customer service which, combined with its inventory of thousands of hard-to-find wines, beers and spirits, in a relaxing and comforting atmosphere, has earned it Zagat Survey’s “The No. 1 Wine Shop in Los Angeles” status. Forbes also lists Wally’s as one of its “Top Shops.” The store is located on Westwood Boulevard in West Los Angeles, and its many unique products can also be purchased online at www.wallywine.com.

Crush Wine & Spirits was founded in 2005 with ground-breaking, modern store design and exceptional customer service, while curating the world’s greatest collectible and traditionally produced wines. Crush quickly garnered critical acclaim. The 73 foot long, back lit serpentine wall of wine has hundreds of carefully selected values from all over the world. “The Cube,” a temperature controlled, 2500 bottle fine and rare wine room, constructed of glass and steel, became an international destination for top collectors, enthusiasts, celebrities and professional athletes, who depend on Crush to source the finest and rarest of wines and spirits. The young, passionate and knowledgeable staff is considered amongst the industry’s finest, and in fact Crush was named “Best New Wine Shop In America” by Food and Wine Magazine, “Best of New York” by New York Magazine, and Zagat’s “Top Spot,” to name a few.
Wally’s Auctions President and Chief Executive Officer Michael Jessen commented, “Under the guidance of Christian Navarro and the Marciano family, Wally’s Auctions is taking advantage of a unique opportunity in the wine auction industry and we expect to quickly establish ourselves as the premier destination for buyers and sellers of fine wine. We have assembled an incredible team of experienced and principled professionals dedicated to bringing only the highest quality collections to market, and to providing exceptional client service. We are extremely excited about The Inaugural Auction on November 13th, which features the world’s best wines sourced only from top cellars.”

Christian Navarro commented, “I am incredibly proud of and excited about the team that my partners and I assembled. Their unrivaled experience in the industry, combined with our ultimate dedication to quality and service, positions Wally’s to become the best auction house on the planet.”

Maurice Marciano commented, “I’m thrilled for Wally’s to have its own auction house now. This is way overdue for Wally’s. My brothers and I have been buying wine from Wally’s for over 20 years and have always been so satisfied by the service that we received. That led us to finally buying the business of Wally’s. Over these years Wally’s has been able to build a great name and reputation as well as loyalty from its clients. All that will be very helpful to the success of Wally’s Auctions. I have no doubt that this will be a great success.”

Crush Wine & Spirits’ Managing Partner Robert Schagrin commented, “I’ve known Christian for many years and we have become friendly through our shared passion for wine, business and life in general. We have similar values and taste, so naturally, I was excited when approached about a collaboration between our two brands.”
Catalogs for The Inaugural Auction will be mailed and posted on wallysauctions.com the week of October 21. To receive a catalog, pre-register for the auction, place bids or make other general auction inquiries, please contact auction@wallywine.com, call 1-800-277-0387 or visit www.wallysauctions.com. Seating at The Inaugural Auction is reserved for registered bidders only, subject to Wally’s discretion, and advance reservations are required.

Wines of Oregon’s Willamette Valley Tasting at Maru Restaurant

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Wally’s recently hosted a wonderful tasting, featuring wines of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, at the innovative and superb Santa Monica restaurant, Maru. The food and wine pairing was spectacular, and we highly recommend that you go to this restaurant (and of course buy these wines!).blog 3

Maru, located in Santa Monica, is owned and run by chef Jason Park, creates an original menu of fresh fish, meats and produce from local farmer’s markets. The restaurant is tasteful, spacious, elegant and understated – much like Chef Park’s Asian and California influenced food – which includes sushi (some of which is flown in overnight from Japan), an unbelievably lightly-battered and crisp tempura, Korean short ribs (braised in soy sauce and sake), and a Japanese style Curry Lamb. Of particular note were the mini-Blue Crab rolls, which were outstanding, as was the Hamachi sushi, and the fresh heirloom tomato salad. The dishes are also as visually stunning as they are distinctly flavorful. Maru also takes great pride in pairing wines with their food – as many menu items have pairing suggestions, and their wine list is an impressive collection of mostly domestic high-end wines.
[Fair warning: Maru will be closed during the month of October for a floor-to-ceiling and wall-to-wall re-model. This major facelift will see Maru also come back with a new liquor license, bar, and 30 seat-capacity private dining room!]blog 2

These memorable dishes were paired with some exquisite Oregon wines – from producers Ponzi, Penner-Ash, Shea, Scott Paul, Bergström, Domaine Serene, and Domaine Drouhin Oregon.

A number of the wines tasted were of particular notice: the 2010 Scott Paul Pinot Noir La Paulee was a superb choice for the delicately prepared food – and was instantly charming with floral aromas, and flavors of bright cherries and red currants. A juicy wine with a mouthwatering finish.blog 4

The 2011 Bergström De Lancellotti Vineyard Pinot Noir had a dazzling black tea and orange rind spice which was delicious with the spicy tuna rolls.

The 2011 Penner-Ash Dussin Vineyard showed sweet cherries balanced by a deep licorice spice that was another beautiful variation on the Burgundian theme.

And don’t forget Oregon Chardonnays…….. Domaine Serene’s complex and appealing 2011 Evenstadt Reserve sent murmurs through the crowd, while a sneak-peek of the freshly-bottled 2012 Domaine Drouhin Oregon – set for an October 1st release – displayed a vibrant purity of fruit that brought to mind the crystal clear voice of a budding young female opera soprano!

Wally’s Late Summer Tent Sale!

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300x250-regWALLY’S LATE SUMMER TENT SALE – OUR BIGGEST SALE EVER — IS UNDER WAY! Thousands of folks have already taken advantage of the tremendous savings, with discounts OF UP TO 80% OFF. Nearly the entire Wally’s inventory is on sale, which means many of the MOST FAMOUS NAMES in wines, spirits, beers and other items such as cheese, specialty foods, glassware and accessories await you at extraordinarily low prices! Just a few of the great deals currently being offered:

Roederer Cristal, reg. $250/sale $189.99
Jordan Cabernet, reg. $55/ sale $40.99
NO BS Spanish Tempranillo, reg. $10/sale $4.99
Los Vascos Cabernet Grand Reserve, reg. $20/sale $13.99
Macallan 12 year-old Scotch, reg. $55/ sale $42.99
Brewer-Clifton Pinot Noir, reg. $40/sale $29.99
Aged Parmigiano Reggiano, reg. $25/sale $12.99 lb.

We will have The Grilled Cheese Truck as well as other Food Trucks here for your enjoyment.

If you can’t make it to Wally’s, SHOP ONLINE AT www.wallywine.com
The sale begins Friday, September 6th and runs through Sunday the 8th. Hours each day are 9am to 5pm.
Don’t miss it!

Somm!

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SOMM1By now, you must have heard about Somm, the current independent film receiving rave reviews, which depicts the experiences of four young sommeliers as they attempt to pass the prestigious Master Sommelier exam, a notoriously terrifying test with one of the lowest pass rates in the world. Singer (and Wally’s customer!) Pink has tweeted that she was “in love” with the movie – and we think you will love it too once you see this wonderful film. It will most assuredly have you look at drinking wine in an entirely new light – and will elevate your interest in the particulars of wines in general. And you’ll also marvel at the awe-inspiring dedication and fearlessness of those studying for the exam, who combine a sanity-defying passion, and the structured training regimen of a top-collegiate athlete, medical or law student.

Some of the accolades include: “(T)he film is an exhilarating experience. It’s funny, eye-opening and emotional all at once”, CultureMap’s Food and Drink Editor, Jessica Dupuy, who recently reviewed the film through Texas Monthly online.

“(U)ltimately engaging documentary about the folks who not only become sommeliers but also expend the extraordinary effort necessary to become master sommeliers by passing an exam so rigorous it makes grown men weep.” Kenneth Turan, Los Angeles Times.

Samuel Goldwyn films states: “The Court of Master Sommeliers is one of the world’s most prestigious, secretive, and exclusive organizations. Since its inception almost 40 years ago, less than 200 candidates have reached the exalted Master level. The exam covers literally every nuance of the world of wine, spirits and cigars. Those who have passed have put at risk their personal lives, their well- being, and often their sanity to pull it off. Shrouded in secrecy, access to the Court Of Master Sommeliers has always been strictly regulated and cameras have never been allowed anywhere near the exam, until now. How much do you think you know about wine? SOMM will make you think again. SOMM takes you on the ultimate insider’s tour into a world of obsession, hope, and friendship in red, blanc and sometimes rose.”

See the trailer here – and see you at the theatre!
http://trailers.apple.com/trailers/independent/somm/

And here is the buy/rental link from itunes:
http://www.itunes.com/Somm

Don’t Miss the Grande Marque Champagne Tasting, Sunday June 2, 2013

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This is a spectacular event every year – and after you first experience at the Grande Marque, you will be hooked for life! The tradition continues as Wally’s stages the 21st edition of its annual Grande Marque Champagne Tasting on Sunday, June 2nd from 5-8pm at Le Merigot Hotel in Santa Monica. Once again over 50 Grande Marque Champagnes will be poured, including Dom Perignon, Krug and Cristal, alongside signature dishes offered from over fifteen leading restaurants. Among those set to return this year: Café del Rey sporting a sumptuous raw bar, complete with oysters, along with Enoteca Drago, Angelini Osteria, Mélisse, Michael’s, Brentwood, Maru, Locanda del Lago, Pastina, Cézanne at Le Merigot, Sweet Butter Kitchen, Tin Roof Bistro and others. Additional taste-treats will include Petrossian Caviar, delicacies from Wally’s Cheese Box, Weaver’s Coffee…plus other surprises. The David Arana Quartet will again provide its unique, energizing array of wonderful live music.

A majority of the proceeds raised for this event benefit the UCLA Jonsson Cancer Center Foundation, Vista del Mar Child and Family Services, and Food on Foot. Last year $35,000 was donated to our beneficiaries. bringing to nearly $1 million the grand total raised since our inaugural Grande Marque Champagne Tasting in 1992. Sign up for this fantastic event today!

Scheduled to pour:
Armand de Brignac
Billecart-Salmon
Canard-Duchene
Drappier
Deutz
Domaine Carneros
Dom Perignon
Henriot
Iron Horse
J. Lassalle
Krug
Lanson
Laurent-Perrier
Louis Roederer
Pol Roger
Moët & Chandon
Paul Bara
Perrier-Jouët
Roederer Estate
Rothschild
Ruinart
Scharffenberger
Schramsberg
Veuve Clicquot
Taittinger

Special Grande Marque Room Rates Available at Le Merigot — Phone 888-228-9290 and request Wally’s Champagne Tasting rate of $259 for a superior room.

Napa/Sonoma All-Stars Tasting at Wally’s!

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Wally’s once again assembles nearly 100 proven All-Star wineries this spring, with each fielding a pair of its finest offerings. Wally’s All-Stars Tasting offers you the rare opportunity to selectively taste from nearly 200 of Napa’s and Sonoma’s finest wines poured, in many instances, personally by the winemaker or winery principal. In addition, All-Stars event special pricing on these wines will be extended exclusively to those in attendance. This is the ideal atmosphere to buy the exact wines that appeal to you!

Cheeses and bread from the Wally’s Cheese Box are included in the price of admission, highlighted by samples from the famed Cowgirl Creamery. Sweetening things up this year will be a Terry’s Toffee station, where owner’s Terry Opalek and Michael Frontier will demonstrate how well their delectably-flavored toffees pair with wines! The popular duo of “Let’s Be Frank” (amazing hot dogs) and “T’s California BBQ” (one of Los Angeles’ best BBQ caterers) will be cooking to order as well, so the very best hot dogs, sliders, ribs and skewers will also be available for purchase as a perfect accompaniment to the sensational wines being poured.

A perfect Sunday event – great wine, great food, all for one low price!

Here’s just a partial list of the wineries who will be in attendance:

Educated Guess
Entre Nous Wines
Far Niente
Faust
Ferrari-Carano
Flowers
Fort Ross
Frank Family
Freemark Abbey
Frog’s Leap
Gamble Family
Grgich Hills
HALL
Hartford Court
Heitz
Hess Collection
Heritance
Hill Family Estate
Hirsch Vineyards
Honig
Hudson Vineyards
Illumination
Iron Horse
Jordan
Joseph Phelps
Lancaster Estate
Landmark
Leviathan
LIOCO
Lola
MacMurray Ranch
Matanzas Creek
Merrry Edwards
Mi Sueño
Morlet Family Vineyards
Mt. Brave
Oakville East
Opus One
Pahlmeyer