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The Hit List: The Spanish Table

The Hit List: The Spanish Table

Daniel Santos,  Contributor

Daniel Santos, Contributor

One of the great joys in life is traveling and discovering the great cultures that exist all over the world. Those discoveries are even better when the cultures have such a rich history in wine and food like the Spanish do.  Bringing back or discovering that rich history is now easier than ever to do especially when you find a true culinary treasure like The Spanish Table nearby.  With four stores located in Seattle, Berkeley, Santa Fe, and Mill Valley you can easily be transported away to Spain as you enjoy shopping for Spanish food and wines in one of their wonderful locations. To those who are not nearby one of the physical storefronts, never fear, you can get your Iberian fix by shopping online.

The Spanish have been making wines since Roman days and they enjoy a rich history in viticulture.  With over 600 varietals planted throughout their wine regions, many of those grapes are native Spanish varieties that can only be found in Spain.  We visited the Berkeley location, which opened in 2001.  They have a great wine selection from all over Spain and their staff are very knowledgeable and willing to help you choose and select the right wine for any occasion.   For those who might be new to Spanish wines you will be happy to know that the wines span many different varieties and styles, from bubbles in Cava, to Tempranillo in Rioja, as well as other more familiar varieties such as Granacha (Grenache), Cabernet, and Sauvignon Blanc.  The Spanish Table in Berkeley has a wonderful selection of all these different styles and varieties.   

An interesting thing to note is that in 2013 Spain became the world’s top producer of wine beating their historic rivals France and Italy.   This was in large part to a perfect growing season in Spain that meant a bumper crop for many of its wine producing regions.   This surplus of fine wine will be a definite plus for those who are in the know.  If you’re looking for great new wines to discover in 2015, at an affordable price, you should become familiar with Spanish wines.  

On the day we visited the Spanish Table in Berkeley we were there to pick up some Spanish Chorizo sausage, and Spanish Paella for a dinner we were prepring that evening. The Spanish Table is Paella supply heaven, not only do they carry all the cookware, spices, and special Spanish bomba rice, but they also carry a variety of Spanish groceries, Olive oils, and Spanish ham known as Jamón Ibérico.

2007 LAN Rioja Reserva.jpg

We asked for some help with a bold red wine that would pair well with the Paella, something with rich fruit and a nice amount of smoke and spice.  The wine steward recommended a 2007 LAN Rioja Reserva, a 91 Point TWA (Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate) wine that is about 90% Tempranillo and spends up to 15 months in both French and American Oak barrels, at about $17.99 it was a definite winner.  We plan to return to the Spanish Table and pick up some more LAN Reserva, we recommend you do the same.

Don't forget to capture your wine and paella experiences using the VAULT29 app.


Be Thankful, Drink Wine

Be Thankful, Drink Wine

In celebration of Thanksgiving, we're sharing our 7 Wines of Thanks. "Wine Mic Monday" and "The Hit List" will resume next week. Happy Thanksgiving Winelovers! Don't forget to capture your wine experiences using the VAULT29 app.

"7 Wines of Thanks" By Jen Loh & Naya Echiribel, VAULT29 founders

Year round, there is so much to be thankful for. We can begin compiling a ‘Thankful” list, which would include: health, happiness and love, but the reality is without wine our list would be incomplete.  Wine producers spend countless hours, days, and years to produce a bottle providing us the opportunity to taste their wine. We are truly blessed to be able to share our experiences with you in hopes you discover a new favorite. Here are seven memorable wines we’ve experienced thus far in 2014: 

2013 Rosé - Charles & Charles

This rose from Columbia Valley, Washington is a project collaboration between self-taught winemaker/Food & Wine Magazine “2009 Winemaker of the Year”, Charles Smith (K Vintners, Charles Smith Wines) and Charles Bieler (Three Thieves, BIELER Père et Fils, Gotham Project).  You can still find this wine at your local Whole Foods or wine shop.

  • $11-$15 per bottle
  • 90pts - Wine Spectator
  •  Wine Enthusiast ”2014 Top Buy"



2012 "Clements Hills" Grenache - Lava Vine

In August, we made a trip to Calistoga to taste the wines at Lava Vine. The crowd pleaser was the light to medium body Grenache.  This wine experience is unlike any other we’ve had. Winemakers went from pouring wines to playing the guitar, while the winelovers tasted, paired, laughed and sung along. The best part about it? Dogs are welcome too! 








2012 "Amor Fati" Pinot Noir - Rob Murray Vineyards 

Amor Fati means “Love your fate which is in fact your life”. The 2012 Pinot Noir was sourced from Murmur Ranch Vineyard located in the southern area of Santa Maria Valley, close to the ocean. Rob Murray planted the “virgin land” vineyard himself when he purchased it in 2007. Be on the lookout for Tooth & Nail winery opening this November in Paso where Amor Fati wines will be poured! 






2012 "Further" No Pasa Nada

We came across this red blend (65% zinfandel) from Paso Robles at a winetasting event aimed to help small family-owned wineries. No Pasa Nada is just that - small and boutique - producing approximately 900 cases winery-wide. You can only get this wine directly from the winery.

  • $20 per bottle
  •  Free Shipping – US addresses only






2013 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc - Long Meadow Ranch

This wine is the ninth vintage of sauv blanc from LMR’s Rutherford Estate in Napa Valley. The nose alone draws you in with the fruitiest of fruit flavors, like melon and pineapple. Clean, crisp, and refreshing is what comes to mind when describing this wine. At $20 per bottle, it goes perfect with pizza, crab cakes and bruschetta. When visiting the winery you must dine at Farmstead, their restaurant on the property – It’s divine! 





2006 “Materium” - Maybach Family 

When dining at Bottega, in Yountville, our friends insisted we drink a 2006 Maybach Family “Materium”. This highly acclaimed Weitz Vineyard Oakville Cabernet received 96pts from Wine Spectator and did not disappoint. You may find it on the wine lists of several fine dining restaurants in California, like Press, Gary Denko, and Jardiniere, as well as Per Se, Grammercy Tavern, Jean Georges, and others in NYC.  It’s definitely a memorable experience!    






2013 Paragon Grüner Veltliner - Tatomer

An amazing sunny day sipper from Edna Valley (Central Coast). We were so fortunate to experience this wine at Ad Hoc, a Thomas Keller restaurant in Yountville, CA. The set menu, which changes daily, is four-courses of American “home-like” foods which can be paired with wine, if you so wish to spend a little more money. This Tatomer Gruner Veltliner was paired with thyme biscuits, local honey, and goat cheese. Talk about party-in-your-mouth!!

Wine Mic Monday: Emeritus Vineyards

Wine Mic Monday: Emeritus Vineyards

"Wine Mic Monday" is a new VAULT29 series based on an "open mic concept" where wineries take over our blog to write about aspects unique to them and their wines. This week, we are proud to feature Emeritus Vineyards from the Russian River Valley. Their 2011 Hallberg Ranch Pinot Noir was just named #26 in Wine Spectator's Top 100 wines in 2014.

"Dry Farming" By Mari Jones, Emeritus Vineyards

You know when you get a summer tomato from the farmers market, you’ve been eating tomatoes from the grocery store all winter and spring and when you take a bite you instantly remember what a tomato really tastes like? I love that moment, it connects me with the farmer, the land and the food I’m eating. I remember that someone planted the tomato, tended to it and picked it. It grew in a field, in soil not in a greenhouse, not hydroponically. 

That’s the feeling I get when I taste a wine that is made from non-irrigated grapes, or dry-farmed. Dry farming is not widely practiced in California, as we don’t have rainfall during the summer growing season. In almost all other grape growing regions of the world there is summer rainfall. Our practice of dry farming evolved from a conversation my dad, Brice Cutrer Jones, had with his Burgundian friend and former business partner Aubert de Villaine. They were developing a vineyard together when my dad was given a life-changing lesson: “When you irrigate you change the signature of the wine.” We have been working at this practice since 2008, trying to capture the terroir of our incredible vineyards and create the most honest wines. 

Hallberg Ranch - Goldridge Loam & Sandy Clay with Roots

Hallberg Ranch - Goldridge Loam & Sandy Clay with Roots

After 3 years of weaning our vines off water, they were capable of sustaining themselves just on rainfall stored in the soil and not needing any supplemental irrigation. And we were dry farming! It wasn’t easy to get there, but it was worth it. When a grapevine is irrigated, the roots of the vine will only grow where the water diffuses in the soil, which is a shallow area underneath the vine, and almost like growing the vine hydroponically. When vines are cultivated without irrigation they will grow roots deep and wide in search of water, especially in a drought as we are in now.

So what does all this mean for our wines? We’ve found that the grapes achieve full physiological (flavor) ripeness at a lower sugar level, so we have less extracted and cooked fruit flavors in the wine and lower alcohol levels. We find the grapes retain more acid so we have a more acid driven wine, even in warmer years. And we see smaller berries which creates more concentrated wines and a tannic structure. The wine has so many more dimensions, in our early vintages our wines were “classic Russian River Valley”, bold fruit flavors, low tannin, and higher alcohol wine. They were all personality with very little character.  My dad always says, "The character of a wine comes from the soil, the personality from the climate."

Hallberg Ranch Vineyard

Hallberg Ranch Vineyard

After a couple vintages of totally dry farmed vines, I’ve seen a shift in the balance of our wines. They still have lots of Russian River Valley personality, bright fruit flavors and the like, but they are more elegant, more restrained and grounded with the character of our soils, which lends earthy and spice flavors, but also brighter acidity and a soft tannin structure. The wines express their vineyards, they express their vintage, and they express the people who care for the vines every day - just like the tomato from the farmers market, more complex, more exciting and more honest.

When Mari isn't drinking Emeritus, she enjoys wines from Stony Hill, Benovia, and DRNK.

Be sure to add your Emeritus experiences in the VAULT29 app! 

A Winetasting Event You Don't Want to Miss!

A Winetasting Event You Don't Want to Miss!

Saturday's Grand Tasting will showcase over 40 phenomenal pinot producers!

  • Sample hundreds of highly acclaimed pinots from Russian River Valley, Sonoma Coast, Anderson Valley, Santa Rita Hills, Oregon and more!.
Family Winemakers_inside__2011.jpg

An LA winetasting event hits Los Angeles this weekend! We have partnered with Pinot Days to offer you a special discount of 33% on all tickets. Simply enter the Promo Code V29SC14 when purchasing your tickets.

When: Saturday, Nov. 15th, 2014 2-5pm
WhereSkirball Center - Guerin Pavilion, Los Angeles 2701 N Sepulveda Blvd, Los Angeles, California 90049                         Regular Price: $75                                       Participating Wineries: Click here

  • Meet the winemakers
  • Discover and celebrate pinot noir in its many diverse styles, ranging from modern to earthy to elegant
  • Explore new producers, find wines you love, and become a pinot devotee if you are not one already
  • Capture every moment using the VAULT29 app, now available in the iTunes App Store! 

We call it Serious Fun. Tell your friends. Hope you can join us!

The Hit List: LA's Beach Cities

The Hit List: LA's Beach Cities

Wine drinkers always want to know:  Where can I find a good glass (or bottle) of wine?  Well, we have you covered!  This week in "The Hit List," we feature our favorite spots in LA's beach cities:

The scene at Bodega Wine Bar, Santa Monica.   Photo credit:

The scene at Bodega Wine Bar, Santa Monica.  Photo credit:

Bodega Wine Bar, Santa Monica:  Affordable wines paired with a trendy atmosphere.  Come early and claim a window seat – perfect for sipping and people watching! 814 Broadway, Santa Monica

Zinque, Venice Beach:  Higher end wine bar with boutique selections paired with small plates.  If available, try the Emeritus Hallberg Pinot Noir from Sonoma or a “GSM” (Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre) from the Paso Robles region. 600 Venice Blvd, Venice

A patron enjoys the bar at Zinque.   Photo Credit:

A patron enjoys the bar at Zinque.  Photo Credit:

A wine flight at Barsha 

A wine flight at Barsha 

Barsha, Manhattan Beach:  A diverse collection of wines, from affordable to high end, and old world to new world.  Grab a seat at the tall rustic tables and try a featured wine flight.  We also recommend their monthly wine club - wines are personally selected by the owner. 917 N. Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach

Inside the Vintage Shoppe.  Photo credit: Foursquare

Inside the Vintage Shoppe. Photo credit: Foursquare

The Vintage Shoppe, Manhattan Beach:  Higher end wine shop with casual tastings.  A nice variety of French, Spanish, Italian and California wines. 3500 N. Sepulveda Blvd, Manhattan Beach 

Friends of the Vine, Redondo Beach:  If you’re looking for rare, hard to find wines, this is the place.  Spoil yourself with a bottle of Peter Michael Les Pavots or Howell Mountain’s O’Shaunnessey Cabernet, order some charcuterie and enjoy! 221 Ave Del Norte, Redondo Beach

The wine selection at Uncorked.   Photo credit: 

The wine selection at Uncorked.  Photo credit: 

Uncorked, Hermosa Beach:  Steps from the beach, come in for wine tastings and leave with a new favorite! Great, affordable wines like the Jackhammer Pinot and the Broadside Cabernet. A current offering: the 2012 Foxen Chenin Blanc from Santa Barbara. 302 Pier Avenue, Hermosa Beach 

Got your own favorites? Be sure to add them to the VAULT29 app! Cheers and happy discovery!

Welcome Wine World, We're Live!

Welcome Wine World, We're Live!

Thanks for checking out VAULT29 and welcome to our community! 

We created VAULT29 with one goal in mind – to exist as a true, open community where people share their favorites for others to discover. Whether you’re looking for a boutique pinot noir, a great happy hour spot with friends or the perfect food and wine pairing, we invite you to discover something new and share your personal favorites for others to enjoy. Cheers!