The Freighting Game

Autumn is the time to let your fingers do the stocking

Nevada may not have a lottery, but its residents do benefit from something other than just fewer taxes: Most wineries, out-of-state wine stores and fulfillment houses are willing and able to ship wine here! A number of hip wine sites (see below) take advantage of bulk-purchase agreements and pass the savings on in the way of deep discounts. Mind you, this is not something you would want to try midsummer. Your wine will roast for days in a truck or at an airport before you receive it. Luckily, this weekend marks the arrival of fall, and soon, cooler temperatures.

So what am I stocking up on? Anything by Sinatra Family Estates.

I was tucking into a lovely charred octopus salad at Due Forni not long ago when proprietor Alex Taylor mentioned that the wine brand had quietly folded. Scandal aside, I remembered those wines fondly—the cult-worthy result of collaborations between top winemakers and the Sinatra family. Within minutes, and between bites of octopus, I had dispatched a friend to Costco to snatch up bottles of the 2008 Sinatra Family Estates “Nothing But the Best” Napa Valley cabernet sauvignon and had ordered a bottle of the 2008 Famiglia Sinatra “La Voce” Toscano from Hart Davis Hart Wine Co. ($50, As any good fine-wine dealer should, they will hold my bottle till the time is right.

Here are a few more wines to fall for right now:


2011 Horton Vineyard Viognier, Orange County, VA., $20 at

“Possibly the best example of this varietal from anywhere in Virginia. I love the tropical ripeness supported by refreshing acidity. [To enjoy,] I would reminisce about driving through the Shenandoah Valley and be mesmerized by the foliage turning so many different colors … This wine plus fall weather equals inner peace.” – Bruno Bonnet, sommelier, Comme Ça in the Cosmopolitan.

2010 Cave Spring Riesling, Niagara Peninsula, Canada, $15 at

“Fantastic with spicy Thai food and great with oysters. The scent of wet slate is at the fore, with tropical fruit aromas of guava and pineapple alongside notes of peach and ruby grapefruit in behind. The palate is off-dry and medium-bodied, with great density and concentration, underpinned by well-extracted mineral textures. Flavors of pink grapefruit, yellow plum and spice dominate, carried long onto the finish by a taut acidity.” – Anna Arfaras, sommelier, Otto Las Vegas.

2011 Barrymore Pinot Grigio, Venezia Italy, $18 at

“I was at a wine and food festival in California and actually met the producer of this great wine. Since I have a restaurant that shares the name I was immediately drawn to it. It’s an easy-drinking wine with great citrus and grass notes. As soon as I got home, I looked it up and ordered; we even it put it on our wine list at Barrymore!” – Billy Richardson, owner, Block 16 Hospitality.

2011 Domaine Vacheron Sancerre Rosé, $30 at

“A delicious mineral-driven rosé made from pinot noir. Clean and refreshing, with a medley of strawberry/bing-cherry flavors and delicate spice notes. An excellent pairing with grilled fish, fruit-based salads or casual conversation on the patio.” – Kirk Peterson, beverage director, B&B Hospitality Group.

2007 Montevertine Le Pergole Torte, $99 at

“It’s 100 percent sangiovese from Radda in the Chianti Classico region. People seem to have such passionate descriptions of this wine—the 2009 vintage has been described as ‘viscerally thrilling’ by Antonio Galloni—and I am dying to try it.” – Chloe Helfand, wine director, La Cave in Wynn.

Taking Orders

2009 Gentleman Farmer Red, $35 at

“From the dream team partnership of Scott Tracy (wine director for more than 20 years in Napa Valley), winemaker Jason Moore and with fruit from Pam Starr. A smoking value.” – Stephanie DeMasi, managing partner, Juslyn Vineyards/Lot18 curator.

2009 David Reynaud Domaine Les Bruyères Cuvee Georges Reynaud, Crozes-Hermitage, France, $30 at

“All his wines are grown on organic and biodynamic principles. This wine has a violet and smoked-meat fragrance so typical of syrah in this style. The bright purple color hints at the concentration to follow. The tannins have a wonderful texture that integrates beautifully with medium body and moderate acid. Black bramble fruits are juicy, but not overripe on the palate, giving way to a lengthy, savory finish of black pepper and olives.” – Anna Arfaras, sommelier, Otto Las Vegas.

2011 Karthäuserhof Eitelsbacher Karthäuserhofberg Riesling Spätlese Trocken, Ruwer (Mosel), Germany, $35 at

“An amazing wine only made in small quantities. Full of fruit on the mid-palate with a dry finish, light and full of finesse. A cult winery, with a reputation of being some of the best, and longest-aging wines of the Ruwer. Dry wines are rare in the Mosel region, and such when they are made in rare occasions they are breathtaking.” – Christian Adams, west coast sales manager, Rudi Wiest Selections.

2010 Fürst Centgrafenberg “Pur Mineral” Pinot Blanc, Franken, Germany, $33 at

“Fürst is one of the top producers of red wines in Germany, but their white wines are just as impactful. The “Pure Mineral” wines are crisp and clean with a very big focus on stone fruit and acid-driven minerality. Fürst is one of three top Franken producers imported into the United States, and by far No. 1 out of all three.” – Christian Adams, west coast sales manager, Rudi Wiest Selections.

2007 Gaja “Gaia & Rey” Chardonnay, Langhe, Piedmont, Italy, $209 at

“I recently had this wine for the first time on a family vacation to Italy and absolutely fell in love with it. It’s a full-bodied chardonnay with great citrus notes. As soon as I got home I looked it up and placed an order!” – Billy Richardson, owner, Block 16 Hospitality.

2011 Laura Aschero Pigato Riviera, Ligure di Ponente, Liguria, Italy, $30 at

“Offering flavors of peach and lemon verbena, with a slightly salty aroma reminiscent of fresh sea air, Pigato provides a wonderful complement to myriad seafood dishes, from sushi and oysters to grilled scallops and fried shrimp. An uncommon wine of exceptional character.” – Kirk Peterson, beverage director, B&B Hospitality Group.