Holiday 2017


Seriously, the holidays already? Wasn’t it just August?
As I write this, harvest is winding down. The heat of summer got things rolling in a hurry, then things cooled down a bit to bring things back down to ‘normal’. In the last couple of days, light frost has been reported in a few of the cooler spots (Walla Walla in particular) but nothing to lose any sleep over. Most of the whites are already done, and of course, so is Ben Smith. Ben is the king of getting things buttoned down fast and this year he did not disappoint. If his 2017’s are anything like the 2014’s we just tasted, look out world. Come taste these gems at our holiday tasting on December 2nd.At this time last year, we had been dealing with some serious storms and almost-storms, wind, rain and generally blustery fall weather. So far this year, it has looked like an Andrew Wyeth painting with puffy clouds, blue skies, gentle breezes and billowing leaves the color of Crayola crayons fluttering down.
As our various Washington wine clubs continue to prosper, we are getting calls for some clubs to focus on some of the other regions of the world as well, so check out the first of these new clubs inside. All you Francophiles will pretty much go bonkers over this one.
As we prepare for the craziness of the holiday season, we are also preparing for our annual and much anticipated ‘Compass Wines Holiday Advent Calendar’. An email a day from December 1-24 with some incredible values, big ticket gift items, special package deals, instant wine cellar case lots and the like. However, you must be on our email list to receive these offers. We always give priority to our mailing list and email list members in terms of announcements and special offers. If, and I really mean ‘if’ there is wine left after an email offering, it may end up on our web site or on line, but often these wines are sold out before the general public even knows that we have them. If you have not yet added your name to the email list, you may want to do it now, while you are thinking about it.
Our annual holiday party and storewide sale is on December 2 this year. This very well may be the most impressive lineup we have ever had for this event. See the back page for all the details and also information on special hours through the holiday season. This is a free event, but we do ask that you bring some non-perishable foods or cash to donate to the local food bank, so that those in the area can have a festive holiday as well.
We do now have a brand new employee as part of the Compass Wines family. On your next visit to the shop, or maybe even over the phone, you may see a fresh new face or two, or hear a new cheerful voice. Please give warm welcome to Candace when you stop by or call.
Bring on the Apple Cup!
Ho, Ho, Ho and Gobble Gobble Gobble!
Doug, Will, Laura, Sandy, Brandi, Candace and Theodore (remote, as usual)

Gio Della Venezie Pinot Grigio 2016 $9.99
A couple months back, I sent out an email regarding a delightful Pinot Grigio rose, and it literally sold out in a matter of minutes. Well, don’t despair as this is the kissing cousin of that wine. Pinot Gris (Grigio) is actually not a ‘white’ grape as most would have you think. The skin is actually a rather bronze/peach color, not unlike certain fake tanning products and the folks who tend to wear them. When the wine is produced by leaving it on the skins, as in the manner of red wine production, the wine ends up as a very pale salmon color. In the vast majority of facilities, the wine is not left on the skins, but rather pressed off immediately and in this case, the resulting wine is the white wine we know as ‘Pinot Gris’ or ‘Pinot Grigio’, depending on where it comes from. This is basically the same exact wine as the rose version we sold out of so quickly, but in this batch, the wine was pressed off rather than fermented on the skins. Same winery, same vintage, same grapes, just a different technique this time. Classic Pinot Grigio character of green apples, lemon pie and slightly green papaya. 
Saget la Petite Perriere Sauvignon Blanc 2016 was $11.99, now $9.99
Sauvignon Blanc from the Loire valley is a whole wine category by itself. From Sancerre to Pouilly Fume, some of the most sought after versions of this wine on the planet hail from here. Crisp cool nights, even in the heat of the summer, plus the cooling influence of the Loire river all contribute to the refreshing acids that the wines from the Loire exhibit. This is a fantastic bargain using fruit from all over the appellation, thus it cannot be labeled as any one of the more famous cuvees. Lots of white flower notes, green grass, that hard to describe note often referred to ‘minerality’ (imagine the smell when a rock breaks in to pieces), hints of citrus and a bone dry finish. This is the season for oysters and Sauvignon Blanc is one of the classic wines to serve with these briny bivalves, whether raw or cooked. Also delectable with clams, halibut and prawns. Very versatile in the summer for sure, but just as useful on the table this time of year.
Cote Mas du Sud Rouge Intense 1 liter 2016 $10.99
Talk about a party wine! From the Languedoc, where many a French wine value originates, this delightful jug wine is just the ticket for all those holiday parties. A classic Languedoc blend of mostly Grenache and Carignan, with the remainder being Cinsault, Merlot and Syrah. Whereas many blends like this are ‘field blends’, in which the grapes are all picked and fermented together, in this case, each of the varietals is vinified separately, then blended to make up the final wine. When produced in this way, a winery has the ability to attempt to replicate the same wine year after year. This is critical when designing wines to be poured in bistros and by the glass in restaurants, as this wine is. Bright cherry and raspberry fruit, with notes of black and green peppercorns, rosemary and just a tingle of acid in the finish. No oak goes near this wine, so it is a delightfully aromatic wine for turkey or ham. It also comes in a full liter bottle, so you get basically 1/3rd more wine than is in a normal A fantastic bargain.

2016 Domaine de la Graveirette "Ju de Vie" Rhône Valley $11.99
We do love our Rhones here at Compass Wines and with a stunning wine like this, we love them even more. While the monumental 2015 vintage is getting all the press, wines like this one can sneak in unnoticed and get snatched up by folks like us. When the press unanimously raves about a vintage, one can assume the wines are pretty tasty. When the reviews are mixed, one needs to take it with a grain of salt. I was just in northern Italy tasting the wines from the 2014 vintage, which the reviewers passed off as a mediocre vintage. In reality, the top producers will often declassify their best wines and put them into their daily drinkers actually making them better than in a normal year. The jury is still out on 2016 in the Rhone, but it is safe to say that the big hitters will not be getting the scores that the 2015’s are. However, the entry level wines like this one are simply delicious. Cranberry, raspberry, clove, cinnamon and just a kiss of lavender. Perfect for your holiday meals
Bervini Millesimato Prosecco 2016 $13.99
Every year at this time, we search for a delightful bubbly for all the festivities which will be taking place between now and New Year’s Day. This year, we found a delightful Prosecco at a fabulous price to fill this slot. Prosecco is arguably the hottest bubbly in the world right now with so many options out there from bone dry to medium sweet and everything in between. This is an ‘extra dry’ version, so it has just a kiss of fresh pear and melon to go with all those tingly and scintillating bubbles, a zippy and crisp finish and a price which makes it all the more a party wine. Yes, we do love real Champagne, but this time of year, one also needs a sparkler in the fridge which can be used for cocktails, Mimosas, punch or in a flute all by itself and dropping a Ben Franklin for a daily drinker just doesn’t cut it. A delicious bottle here and a pretty package for gift giving as well.
The Burgundy of the Month club! 
Yep, you read that right Burgundy. Arguably the ‘king of wines and the wine of kings’, Burgundy is really dear to my heart. Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays produced in Burgundy are without question, the benchmarks to which every other version of these wines is compared. Without Burgundy, there would not even be a Napa Chardonnay or Willamette Valley Pinot Noir. In this club, you can pick either red or white, or let us mix it up for you (this is how I would do it). Every month, we will pick a fantastic wine for you to try. As is true of all of our clubs, there is no fee to join and the discount you get on the club wine applies to that same wine every time you come back for more, until we are sold out. The price per month on this one will vary, but typically it will be in the $30-$50 range per month. Pre-pay for a year and pay and even $450. A fantastic gift idea for all those French wine snobs you know.


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