By Rick Riozza

One of the most respected and admired wine enthusiast in our valley is Costa Nichols.  He and his wife, the culinary maven Zola, are owners of the venerable Desert Wine and Spirits that is now located within the larger venue of GO-DELI MARKET, located at the Sun Center in Palm Springs—you know the place where South Palm Canyon and Indian Canyon Dr. converge to become a two-way street.

This culinary couple has a distinguished history here in Palm Springs.  They moved down from northern California wine country and opened The Vintage Market Place in 1999 with a California Mediterranean menu focusing on freshly made pasta dishes. In 2004, they opened Desert Wines, Spirits & Gifts where Costa had his way in amassing some wonderful rare, hard-to-find & quality vintage wines, and top-shelf liquors.

As a result and since that time, his clientele has reached out to the Hollywood jet-set, where many a wine lover visiting or vacationing would find their favorite wines and liquor.  And thank God for that; many of the locals were so pleased a decade ago to finally have a premium wine store to enjoy. And during these years, Costa has had many a wine dignitary visit, speak and pour at his shop.


We all knew Costa was planning to move to a larger venue to add a wine and beer tasting bar and gourmet deli.  Finally, after all the bureaucrats “sanctioned and allowed” the move to a much larger space, the celebration was on! In 2014, they moved across the parking lot to a 4,800-square-foot location and changed the name to Go Deli to reflect the new direction.  Zola of course adds, “But we are also still the home of Desert Wine, Spirits and Gifts!

And speaking of “gifts”, this is the perfect Christmas Shopping spot for any and all to enjoy in keeping our wine lovers happy over the holidays.  Plenty of wine accoutrement for stocking stuffers and impressive table gifts, i.e. beautiful bottles of wine to decorate the halls and holiday spread; gift wrapping included.

And what will make the jaunt over here even more appealing, is the opportunity to taste some world class premium wine by the glass.  Yep—step right up! Ladies and Gents to the automatic wine dispensing machine that pours at your pleasure either a one, three, or five-ounce tasting of some of the wines you’ve only heard or read about.  What a great occasion to taste the wine before considering buying the bottle!    Special wine tastings each Saturday from 4 to 5:30 p.m.  $10 per customer with $5 credited toward the purchase of select wines.

Alright! Since we’re doing some shopping and grabbing some delicious tastes, why not go to the deli side of the shop and enjoy a quick but absolutely tasty sandwich. The deli features Boars Head cheeses and meats including ham, Genoa salami, roasted chicken breast, smoked or oven roast turkey, roast London broil beef, corned beef and pastrami. Made on the premises daily are egg salad, tuna and chicken salad, as well as a variety of pasta salads.

And now, some Christmas wine picks on sale now!

I was recently at Costa’s Saturday Wine Tasting event and enjoyed a slew of wine from the Duckhorn Vineyards Company.  Now whether you’re having the traditional Christmas Goose, Duck, Turducken, or simply Ham’ing it up, the Duckhorn brand is a holiday classic with their premium Napa Valley wine and characteristic fowl terms and designs on the label such as Decoy, Migration, Goldeneye, and Paraduxx.

As usual around this time, I like to have Costa drive this column with his holiday recommendations.  He loves his store and tells me he’s recommending all his wine.  But we looked at each other and agreed: Let’s treat ourselves—why not delicious Duckhorn?

2014 Duckhorn Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley, $23.99

This elegant wine is a blend of Sauvignon Blanc and the addition of the Sémillon adding depth and complexity to the aroma and palate, enhancing the ripe citrus and tropical flavors of the Sauvignon Blanc.

2013 Duckhorn Chardonnay, Napa Valley $29.99

From the coolest regions of the valley with vivid aromas of white peach, lime, melon and vanilla bean, followed by undertones of praline, fresh pie dough and a hint of pistachio. On the palate, flavors of pear, apple and lemon are underscored by beautifully balanced oak, a long, silky finish.

2012 Goldeneye Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley $47.00

Duckhorn began making high quality, cool-climate Goldeneye Pinot Noir from the estate winery in the Anderson Valley in 1997. Blending grapes from four estate vineyards enhances depth and complexity. The wine received a 92-point rating from Wine Spectator.

2012 Duckhorn Merlot, Napa Valley $48.00

A complex blend of several individual vineyard lots, incorporating fruit from Duckhorn’s Estate Vineyards and from top independent growers throughout the Napa Valley. It is a rich and cohesive expression of the entire Napa Valley, reflecting the varied microclimates and soils of the appellation. The wine is quite pretty, with ripe currant flavors, some chocolate and hints of blueberry. It has medium body, firm tannins and a crisp finish.

2012 Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Vall $65.00

This really is a lovely expression of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with aromas of black raspberry, red currant, vanilla bean and milk chocolate. On the palate, firm yet supple tannins add weight and structure, supporting layers of plum, raspberry and cinnamon spice. There is a fine balance of sweet oak and earth. The blend is 79% Cab Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 2% Cab Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

2013 Canvasback Cabernet Sauvignon, Red Mt., Washington $37.00

Needless to say, named after a duck.  It offers generous notes of dark coffee, espresso bean, dark cherries, sage and vanilla, with a pleasing interplay between fruit and barrel.  I’ve been to this wonderful Washington appellation—Cheers !

Store hours: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. daily.  611 South Palm Canyon, Suite 22, Palm Springs(760) 327-7701