Autumn is Harvest Time
and that means it is time for our October Wine Price Crush Sale!
October 17-24, 2021 is the perfect opportunity to stock up on your favorite wines and maybe try out a few new ones.
Here are just a few highlights of what you may find in our department at
The Annex, 10387 San Pablo Avenue, El Cerrito, CA 94530
Louis Antoine Luyt El Mismo Pais: France meets Chile! Another great natural wine from this producer who has become a favorite of ours throughout the years.
Heitz Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon: A great wine from an iconic Napa producer – spicy, lush & rich.
Guido Porro Barolo: Expressive, generous, sublime! This is a vintage to be remembered for one of the world’s greatest wines.
Olga Raffault Chinon: Full body, complex, well balanced Cabernet Franc. Drink it now or for the next several decades.
J. Lasalle Champagne is elegant, festive and delicious. It is the perfect compliment to any celebration.
Biodynamic Sancerre has finisse, freshness and a minerality that makes it delicious for the holiday table.
Save the date for our bi-annual Grand Wine Tasting on May 19th from 2 pm to 5 pm!
All wines are produced without harsh chemicals or pesticides!
Tickets: $15 | Refunded if you purchase a case of wine (at 20% off) that day (Sunday, May 19) only!
Join us for our fourth annual champagne and sparkling wine tasting and sale!
HOLIDAY BUBBLE BASH
One Day Sale and Tasting!
Sunday, December 17
Tasting: 1-3 PM ($5 per person)
Sale: 10% off any bottle of bubbly
20% off mixed cases, one-day only!
I love entertaining at home. Compared to dining out, it’s more personal, relaxed, and affordable.
As a former restaurant manager and sommelier, I have a few tips to help you pull it off effortlessly at a moment’s notice.
I find it helpful to stock up (12 or so bottles) and have diverse inventory on hand. At Annex Wine & Beer, we offer a 10% discount if you buy a case or more. Couple that with some bargain items like our Closerie des Lys Blanc for $8.99, and you get great savings. That makes racing through bottles a little easier to swallow!
Wine Shopping list:
- Copious amounts of rosé! Most are delicious with or without food. That makes it a great “cocktail wine” for impromptu visits from friends.
- A yummy white to please your friend who just wants something cold and easy to drink. We have lots to choose from in the $10 price range.
- An affordable red for those who only go for the darker juice. Again, we have a ton in the $10 to $15 range. And remember, you get 10% off if you buy a case. Mixing and matching wine is just fine!
- Reds to complement grilled items. The caramelization that happens on steaks and veggies alike calls for Pinot Noir. Try the Domaine Girard Pinot Noir from France ($12.99), Klee from Oregon ($17.99) or The Gardener Pinot Noir from right here in Sonoma ($25).
- Sparkling wine (Prosecco, Crémant, Champagne) to have on hand for a celebratory start to the gathering or mimosas in the late morning.
Our wine specialists at the Annex can help you curate a terrific summer drinking list with both familiar favorites and new varietals!
Food Prep and Shopping Suggestions:
These finger friendly bread based snacks are great for noshing at formal and informal gatherings.
Step 1: Slice 1 to 2 loaves of French bread (try an Acme baguette) into 1/4-inch-thick rounds.
Step 2: Brush each slice with olive oil (Burroughs Family Farms Bulk Olive Oil is on sale right now. And it’s delicious!) or melted butter (I love how affordable and tasty the Cadia butter is)
Step 3: Place the rounds on baking sheets and bake at 350 degrees until crisp throughout and lightly golden around the edges, about 15 minutes.
1. Spread with Coeur Chevre organic fresh goat cheese, orange marmalade (try one from Frog Hollow or Full Belly Farms, both are located right across from the cheese section) and fresh mint.
2. Spread with fig jam (Inna just delivered their black mission fig jam!), top with blue cheese (Farmstead Original Blue) and prosciutto (try La Quercia) or ham (I love True Story).
3. Spread with fig jam, top with goat cheese and chopped walnuts (grab a bunch from our bulk bins).
4. Spread with butter, top with thinly sliced bread-and-butter pickles (Woodstock or Cadia are both great choices).
5. Spread with hummus (grab our Annex made pre-packed Hummus), top with olive tapenade (try the Divina Kalamata olive spread).
These toppings are all items that are fairly easy to either keep in stock or grab quickly from one of our stores.
Here’s to happy, memory-making gatherings!
Wine Is Food
By Jake Wright
Eric Asimov, for those of you who may not be familiar with his name, writes about wine for the New York Times. I really like his writing and his perspectives, so I was quite pleased to read his recent article “Want to Pick Better Bottles? Repeat After Me: Wine Is Food” (NYT, 3/6/2017). In his clear and compelling way, Asimov describes to a T what we are all about here in our Annex Wine department. It practically reads like an endorsement of our approach.
For us at the Natural Grocery Co., wine is food, it is an agricultural product. We pay close attention to how the grapes were grown, and how they were treated in the cellar. I choose wines that, besides being delicious, are produced at least sustainably and at best regeneratively. My favorite stories from winemakers include how they took an abused parcel of land and brought it back, literally, to life.
There are certainly many people for whom wine is just a drink, and there are a lot of options out there. But for those who want more than just a cup of liquid unwind, there’s more to the story.
With customers, I often use the analogy of bread. Imagine on one end of the spectrum the highly processed, industrial, chemical-laden, food-like artifice such as Wonder Bread. This clearly makes some people happy. On the other end would be a naturally leavened loaf, made with grain from a known source (or even a known field), freshly ground, kneaded by hand, unhurried, and that is a clear reflection of its maker. Bread full of life, and deeply delicious to boot.
It’s the same with wine. I absolutely agree with Asimov that “a simple way to understand wine, to elevate the quality of what you consume and the pleasure you take in it, is to treat wine as if it were another staple of the table, just as you would the produce, meat and bread that you shop for and eat.”
Now, it was true for me, and is true for many (and Asimov also makes this point), that wine is one of the last things we think about as we procure quality ingredients for the table. I know in my life it took me a while to learn to prefer food I could relate to, where I knew the farmer and knew the story of how and where that food was grown, and where and how that food was processed. I wasn’t born a foodie: I’ve earned that title.
So now, I expect that for a significant percentage of the food I eat, and wine I drink, I know its backstory. Like all food we eat, wine is a product of the earth and an expression of our relationship to it, for better or worse. I try to choose better, and ultimately, that adds to my pleasure at table and sense of connectedness to the community and land around me.
Pleasure, connectedness, delicious clean wine and food. Surely these are among the best things in life, and for that, I can be grateful every day.
Taste 30 small production wines at the ANNEX for just $10!
We are hosting our 5th bi-annual Grand Wine Tasting and Price Crush Wine Sale. On Sunday, October 9th from 2 to 5pm come to the Prepared Food Annex (10387 San Pablo Avenue) to taste 30 wines by artisan producers. The ticket price for the event is $10. This may be the most affordable wine tasting event in the Bay Area!
If you would like to read more about us and other natural wine shops in the East Bay, check out this article.