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January 08, 2013



Gerald Weisl is back in the Friday WSJ talking about Spanish Cavas. Here's the excerpt:

Cavas priced at $10 or less make up about 95% of Cava sales at Weimax Wines & Spirits in Burlingame, Calif., according to proprietor Gerald Weisl, who had an interesting Cava-related encounter recently: A group of students studying in a Wine & Spirits Education Trust program showed up at his store looking for Cavas with "rubbery aromas" for a blind tasting.

Mr. Weisl explained that he didn't stock such Cavas and considered "rubbery" a flaw. He later wrote to the Wine & Spirits Education Trust in London and asked why it instructed students to search for rubbery Cavas. The response came back that WSET students were taught that that was a characteristic aroma of Cava, probably because "most Cava sold in the U.K. is cheap, whereas better-quality Cava is sold in the States."

I'm (the journalist, not me) not sure whether that's true, but a quick look through wine-searcher.com's U.K. listings revealed that the Cavas sold there are quite different from the fairly wide range of Cavas sold in the U.S.


The country got the benefit of Gerald's wine wisdom again this past weekend in the WSJ:

Gerald Weisl, the proprietor of Weimax Wines & Spirits in Burlingame, Calif., will be urging customers to be adventurous and “explore the world of wine” when choosing gift bottles. He emailed me a long list of wines he would suggest, including Spanish reds such as Rioja; red and white wines from Austria and Bordeaux; and Champagne—except Veuve Clicquot. “It seems they spend more on marketing than they do on winemaking,” he said.

Veuve Clicquot isn’t on JR Battipaglia’s list either. “Veuve Clicquot is so played out,” said Mr. Battipaglia, the manager of Manhattan’s Garnet Wines and Liquors. And besides, there are many lesser known wines that are much better deals, he added. (For the record, Garnet does carry Veuve Clicquot—the non-vintage costs $46.)


So skip the orange-labelled Veuve and search out some of the better bubblies out there for Christmas and New Year's celebrations. We're on a kir royale kick for the holidays and Weimax is carrying a few different cassis varieties to choose from.

Bruce Dickinson

Thanks for the reminder Joe and Bruce Dickinson does go to Weimax and the Wine Stop when I need something for a grab'n go type of occasion, as it were. I would be remiss if I didn't say that there is another dynamite LumVinary, though not technically in Burlingame, so don't know if it deserves the title officially, but I feel the need to plug because of the story I'm about to tell you.

This place is called Vineyard Gate on Broadway in Millbrae, of all places. It is rare that Bruce Dickinson walks the streets of Millbrae, as the diarrhea architecture of these new condo complexes causes intense revulsion, but Millbrae still has a gem of a downtown if you look past the Towers of Travesty to architecture. I was riding along with one of my chef's assistants to the Millbrae Farmer's market to pick up a few veggies and stumbled upon this shop.

Now folks, I have about 6,700 bottles in my cellar and as many of you already know, I'm working on starting my own label of Pinot Noir, with the land I purchased recently in the Anderson Valley. As part of the recipe for success in any endeavor, when you want to be the top dog and stay there, you put your ego aside and do this (listen up young ones, as this is advice on how to win in life): always sample the competition and be dead honest about it.

So I'm at Vineyard Gate and asked the owner for 5 pinot noirs, many from the Willamette Valley, and all under $40 a bottle, or maybe even $30, I don't know exactly, but were all very cheap. What he carried and recommended, quite frankly, blew my socks off!!! And to boot, these were small boutique makers that didn't produce a lot of cases.

I went back, asked for every Pinot Noir he carried including some new ones due to come in, and me, my horticulturalist, and several of my chef and sommelier friends had a 5 hour Pepsi Challenge, if you will, sampling the Pinot Noirs from this shop, in a blind taste test. These puppies were tasting at the same or better level than Pinots from the Anderson Valley, Santa Rita Hills, Santa Barbara, the Carneros, a couple of Burgandys and other higher end new world Pinot Noirs. It was a big wake up call to everyone and now we are back to the drawing board in bringing out the best of the grapes I'm growing.

I went back a third time, this time asking for european right and left bank Bordeauxs as well as Burgandys at several price points. I featured some of these at one of my legendary and lavish Dickinson parties and all of them were dynamite!!! Between Weimax and Vineyard Gate, I can say with high confidence that Burlingame and its surrounds have all the bases covered when it comes to bringing the best of the world of wine, at any price point, period, right in your own backyard! Yet another reason why we live in such a dynamite town!


Our local lumvinary was quoted again this weekend in the WSJ about the use of "baby" in selling wines. The journalist, Lettie Teague, notes:

In the past several months, I’ve been offered highly touted Baby Brunello and Baby Sancerre and even Baby Bâtard-Montrachet in wine merchants’ emails. The word Baby didn’t appear on the labels but was, rather, the way the wines were characterized by the sellers—a shorthand I suspect would actually mystify many customers.

Gerald Weisl, owner of Weimax Wines & Spirits in Burlingame, Calif., isn’t a fan either. “There is a reliance on associative marketing to help convince a consumer they ought to give this probably more obscure, likely less prestigious wine a try,” he said in an email. To him the word has the drawback of being useful only to a customer with some knowledge of wine. If you don’t know Barolo, you will hardly understand what “Baby Barolo” means.
One can always count on Gerald to set things straight.


A photo of Gerald Weisl graced the front page of the Daily Journal yesterday as the reporter was hunting up good quotes about Champagne sales for the New Year. She went to the right place!

Weisl cited a famous Winston Churchill quote on Champagne — “In victory I deserve it; in defeat, I need it” — to prove this point.


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