By Rick Riozza

While there’s still plenty of time to pick up a few bottles of wine for the holiday celebrations, I thought it would be of interest to feature a local wine purveyor for their recommendations. The only criteria I offered is that it would be a good wine, at a good price, and a good match for holiday fare.

Dan’s Wine Shop is located on Hwy 111 between Monterey and San Pablo in Palm Desert. As this is the wine trade season, I’ve been running into owner Dan Sullivan at various wine tasting events around town, and, he’s always keen to direct me to the wine booths with stellar stuff—appreciate that, especially when there are a beaucoup amount of tasting tables about. Anyway—he knows his wine and knows pretty much all of wine professionals in the valley.

He’s been a wine purveyor in the area for almost 20 years, and, he has a very loyal clientele. I often ask people where they predominately purchase their wine and I get a lot of “Dan’s Wine” as their go-to shop.


Calling it a wine shop is correct, like a European one: relatively smaller than the huge markets about town, and with many opened wooden wine cases exhibiting their wares. His wine selection is from all over the world and he is well stocked with California vino. There are wine and music posters on the wall and straight ahead jazz music coming from the sound system; sometimes you can catch Steely Dan.

Dan says if you really wish to treat yourself and the table, the single vineyard Carneros 2011 Cherry Pie Stanly Ranch Pinot Noir at $44.95 is the buy. “The 2011 Cherry Pie Pinot Noir is deep and concentrated. It shows weighty textural richness in its sweet, juicy red cherries, mint, cinnamon and cloves. It has tons of energy and minerality to support the dense fruit. Sweet floral notes add lift on the finish. The 2011 is a gorgeous, exuberant Cherry Pie with great balance and overall harmony.”

A more moderate price Pinot Noir is the 2012 Laetitia Estate Arroyo Grande at $19.95. In the glass, the wine is a transparent light ruby/coral in hue. Pretty perfumed aromas of red berries and cherries jump from the glass, followed by light cinnamon, clove, and cola.

It is supple and feminine in the mouth, showing just a bit of grip towards the finish. After the cooler 2010 and 2011 vintages, wineries have been looking forward to the fruits of the 2012 harvest. Enjoy this charmer now and over the next few years.”

Those wishing to do French there’s the Sables d’Azur Rosé 2012 at the great price of $9.95. Sables d’Azur blends the best selection of rosé wines from the interior Valley of Provence and Sainte Victoire terroir.This is a dry, fresh and clean rosé wine with crisp acidity – a wonderful souvenir of Provence! Salmon-colored highlights. Elegant nose with delicate hints of white flowers, small red fruit and citrus zest.”

German whites are always wonderful at Thanksgiving. The 2012 Mönchhof Estate Riesling (Feinherb) is also a great price at $12.95. From the importer: “Grown on all iron-infused Devon Slate, this wine first feels like biting into a ripe white peach, juicy, rich, creamy and sweet, with a full aroma. Yet the wine offers great minerality and acidity to balance the sweetness and make it, well…a delicious joy.”

4 Vines Biker Zinfandel at $16.95. “Exceptional Zin from Dusi and Preston vineyards with bold additions of Grenache, Tannat, Mourvedre, Syrah, and a splash of Petite Sirah keep this vintage storming through a gauntlet of aromas and flavors. On the nose, legendary blackberry aromas mix with cherries, plums, menthol, white pepper, and a touch of meaty black olives.

The palate follows with boysenberries and smoky char to balance the fruit. “No punches where pulled—and we like it that way. Biker rocks!”

2011 The Noble Botryotinia Fuckeliana Sauvignon Blanc at 19.95 (half bottle).

A racy nose to start, citrus blossom, fresh grass and marmalade mix with tropical fruits and ripe, sweet passion-fruit. It’s a heady mix of complexity and decadence.

The palate offers a spicy, zesty entry with the texture of lemon curd, all velvety and smooth with citrusy acid keeping it all in line. Layers of flavor keep on coming; includ-ing spicy orange cake, minerals and herbs. This can last as your dessert wine all season long.”

Paradoxically to the lewd sounding name, Botryotinia fuckeliana is an asexual spore, named after German botanist, Karl Wilhelm Gottlieb Fuckel. “It’s a causal agent that weakens the skin of grapes allowing the water inside to evaporate. This leaves behind sugar and nutrients which results in very sweet wines with concentrated flavor.”

Stop in and see Dan and his array of wines. Dan’s Wine Shop, 73360 Hwy. 111 #1 Palm Desert Ca. 92260 760.674.0305

Alert!! The 2013 Beaujolais Nouveau Celebration is one of the wine world’s most fun times where everyone frolics French as we celebrate the recent wine harvest and uncork the youngest wine in town. Nothing serious going on except serious partying with fruity six week old red wine from the Gamay grape that has been whooshed in from France in just days flat!

The Miramonte Resort & Spa on November 22nd from 6:30 to 8:30pm will celebrate with wine, cocktails, and heavy hors d’oeuvres along with raffle prizes. Entertainer and EMC of the night is Steve DiTullio, an interactive performer in the style of Sinatra singing the songs from the great American Songbook.  760.341.2200

Clementine Gourmet Marketplace & Café on November 21st from 5 to 7pm will be celebrating when Chef Gräbe prepares small scrumptious dishes from Lyon to pair with the famed wine. 760.834.8814

Let’s hit’em both up! CHEERS!