Dorey Cellars Petite Sirah: Big Wine, Bigger Value

For those among you with eagle eyes and an elephant’s memory, the name “Dorey Cellars” may be familiar.  For our second deal in the space of just two days (after a very long drought) we’re offering the 2008 Dorey Cellars Petite Sirah, the big brother of the ’07 Dorey Cellars Workbench Zinfandel that was the very first of 10 days of deals for our 10th anniversary in August last year.

The Workbench was a huge seller, and we expect that with a discount of more than 44%, the petite sirah on offer today will fly out da door:  We have just 18 cases available for $9.99 per bottle when you purchase six or more—down from regular retail of $17.99, our “bottle one” price.

If it is tacky marketing to discuss price before extolling the attributes of the product, then label me a knave. . .in these cost-conscious times I’m just trying to get your attention.  In truth, all it takes to rivet your senses is a splash of this juice in the nearest wine stem.

Winery Tasting Notes:  “The clay in Clarksburg is making quite a stir in one of California’s newest AVAs where petite sirah clearly thrives.  Big and bold, dark and inky, paired with a steak or even a cigar, this wine will bring your taste buds to attention.”

In the process of transcribing these notes, I made a slight mistake and wrote “Big and bold, dark and kinky”, perhaps simply a Freudian slip; more likely the lusty, sensual, provocative qualities of this wine (falling just a bit short of “sexy”) could be blamed for any cognitive slippage.  For a paltry 10 bucks, this wine kicks ass.

It has a pretty, lavender nose juxtaposed against muscular, brawny fruit in the glass.  This wine’s tannic backbone and acidic exoskeleton provide a rock solid framework for the blackberry and licorice flavors.  The finish is nice, if not epic.  After five years in the bottle, this wine is begging to be consumed right now (and in that spirit, I’m working on draining this bottle at dinner tonight).

What I found particularly interesting about this wine is the source of the grapes.  Dorey Cellars purchased fruit from the Winchester Vineyard in Clarksburg, an AVA that has produced some mammoth petite sirahs.  Most notable is Jeff Runquist’s entry, which in years past has dominated competition at the California State Fair.

As with the 2008 Inheritance Heritage Red that was brought to your attention in yesterday’s GWDW, this juice is scarce. . .a search on produces no results.  That may be because just 240 cases were produced.  Whatever, we’ve got a limited quantity to sell, and when it’s gone. . .well, that’s it!

Now all that is left for you to do is step up to your computer, dig your toes into the dirt, tap your bat on the plate and then crush the “Buy Now” button like you are smashing a hanging curveball over the left field wall.  It just feels good, doesn’t it?


“Vive La France” is Almost Like Being There

Ah, it’s spring time and there is no better season to travel to Paris. . .for lovers and foodies alike. But if you’re stuck at home—like we are—not to worry, because Chef Alexander’s next prix-fixe menu has the power to transport us across the pond. . .faster than first class in a Concorde.

“Vive La France” is a four-course gastronomic primer of classic dishes steeped in a tradition of simplicity and dependent on fresh seasonal ingredients that form the foundation of French elegance. Chef Alexander’s annual, Parisian-inspired menu taps deeply in to his training at the Culinary Institute of America and it sells out every year. So check your calendar between April 23 and 27, and make your reservations now by calling 530-823-0320, or go to As usual, there are options for each course, a vegetarian solution and the cost is $49++ per person.

Click here to see the full menu, but over the next couple of weeks, we’ll be sharing Chef Alexander’s inspiration for dishes he will be preparing, starting with the appetizer, Classic Beef Tartare. “I’ve always wanted to feature Beef Tartare on our regular menu, but because of execution and preparation issues, it can be a challenge, he explained. “But with a prix-fixe menu, it is perfect.”

Staying in tune with seasonal ingredients “is exactly the way the French would do it,” he said. “We start with top round of Kobe beef, hand cut and diced. We keep it simple with chopped onions, cornichons (French pickles), game capers and a fresh, raw quail egg.”

Sound awesome? Make your reservations now. . .and stop drooling all over your laptop.

Show Mom the Love at Carpe Vino on May 12th

mom tattooCarpe Vino open on a Sunday for dinner? Hey, we’re willing to do whatever it takes to help our customers honor their mothers in style. Chef Alexander is still working out the details, but look for a very special menu that is sure to satisfy everyone in your clan (as long as they are 21 years of age or older).

We’ll be announcing the menu soon, but we suggest that you make reservations now by calling 530-823-0320. Watch this space for details!

Heed Jay’s Advice and “Take The Road Les Traveled”

Road Les Travelled(Note from Gary: As Care Vino continues to grow, we’ve been able to hire some very talented people; all are pros. . .like Jay Johnstone, our very first personal wine consultant. You may have encountered Jay in the restaurant or perhaps he has been in touch by phone. To help you get to know him better, we’ve asked him to share his favorite wine selections through Window on Old Town. This dude is golden, so take his advice. . .I sure do! In the months ahead you’ll be hearing from others on our staff.)

As many of you know, my career has been deep in traditional restaurant/hotel beverage management. I rose through the ranks quickly, yet after a number of years in the business I truly love, I wanted more. Over time, I had created a path that was safe, and well traversed. However, sometimes to get to your true destination, you have to take a route less traveled.

Hence, my first recommendation for you is a wine by Les Behrens, co-founder with Lisa Drinkward of Behrens Family Winery. Theirs are some of the most sought-after California cult wines: extremely low-production, allocated and most less than 350 cases made.

His signature wine is a non-vintage blend called The Road Les Traveled (get the pun here?). All of the juice that goes into making this blend is sourced from his cellar, such as the cabernet sauvignon that forms the backbone of this wine; it is the precisely the same as his flagship cab. All of the top quality grapes that make up The Road Les Traveled II, are in the other Les Behrens wines like The Heavyweight, and The Knockout.

This second edition NV wine is comprised of grapes from the 2008, 2009, and 2010 vintages. To make sure this fabulous juice found a home, Les creates a big earthy blend that is chewy, has a great balance and a palate stimulating spice that just may make this your “house red.”

I have a real connection to this wine because like it, I have taken the road less traveled, creating a new route in my career that brought me to Carpe Vino. I encourage you to take a chance, too, and try this fabulous bottle. –Jay

Winery Tasting Notes: “This is our second offering of this non-vintage wine. It is fat and lush with ripe plums and earthy, cedary notes. Flavors of black cherry and sassafras are forward in this plush, seductive and balanced wine. We like to think of this as the wine equivalent of comfort food and are excited to have this in our repertoire. This is a serious wine, but one you still can afford to open on a Tuesday night.” –Les Behrens

Blend: 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 5% Tempranillo; 598 cases.

We have 10 cases in stock at Carpe Vino, ready to be picked up and/or shipped today. Feel free to order by calling Jay directly at 530.906.5020. Or, if you prefer, simply email your order to Also, for your convenience, you can order this online, and enter JayJ in the customer notes section.

See you in the wine bar,



What’s with the Yellow ABC Sign in the Window?

The short answer is Carpe Vino has not been sold. That’s typically the assumption when one of these yellow signs appears in an establishment’s window. . .the new proprietors have applied for a liquor license.

In our case, the posting is the result of a change in corporate ownership. Until recently, our S Corporation consisted of three principals. Drew and I completed a purchase agreement and by law are required to amend our license, which required the formal posting of a notice for 30 days, ending on April 21.

The California ABC is keenly interested in who owns the businesses to which liquor licenses are issued. Those who ignore the rigorous requirements put their licenses—and livelihoods—in peril.

So, not to worry. Drew and I aren’t going anywhere!

See you in the wine bar,



Polish Your French; Next Prix-Fixe is April 23-27

All of the smart set will be dressed to the nines for the next prix-fixe. Better make your reservations today!

All of the smart set will be dressed to the nines for the next prix-fixe. Better make your reservations today!

With lovely citrus flavors still lingering, we must shake off the reverie of Chef Alexander’s March triumph and prepare for the next prix-fixe week that will celebrate all things French—the cuisine and wine. Mark your calendar in ink for these dates: April 23 to 27 for our next four-course adventure. Same deal, $49 per person, plus tax and tip.

Last year, we put more derrières in the seats than for any prix-fixe event. So word up, make your reservations early to get the day/time you prefer. Call the shop at 530-823-0320 or make your reservations online at

More information
Carpe Vino (Find Us) 1568 Lincoln Way Auburn, CA 95603
Phone Number: 530-823-0320
Get Directions to Carpe Vino
Retail/Wine Bar Hours Tuesday - Saturday
Noon - 10:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Dining Hours Tuesday - Saturday
5:00 p.m. - 9:00 p.m.
Closed: Sunday and Monday
Make A Reservation Guests must be 21 years of age or older.
Reservations are suggested for preferred seating, especially on weekends.