Shamrock Selections is a monthly subscription service that brings you the best wines from around the world. Each month’s selection is carefully chosen by sommelier Keegan Sparks and his team. He keeps a keen eye out for wines that are unique, rare, and new to our market. Shamrock Selections is ideal for enthusiasts and explorers who delight in finding hidden gems and trying new, exclusive vintages. Each month, you can join us on a journey of sampling and learning about some of the greatest wines in the world. Each selection of wine comes with detailed tasting notes and food pairing suggestions from our team.

As you might have noticed, we try to always give you wines that are seasonably appropriate. Light and crisp whites in the summer, with deeper and heavier reds in the winter. There are, of course, alway exceptions, but that’s a trend line we try to stick to. So, what do we do with a month like February? Just a few days ago it was almost 80º without a cloud in the sky, but as I write this (Valentine’s Day) it’s 45º and raining. Well, we tried to split the difference with a wonderfully delicate white wine and big, bold red. Drink them whenever and however you like, but as always, enjoy.

2013 Garnier & Fils Premier* Cru Chablis "Mont de Milieu"

I was recently helping a customer in the shop when he asked me about chardonnay, saying that he never drank it because of the “ABC rule.” He went on to explain that this stood for “anything but Chardonnay,” a rule he’d learned during college. I’ll admit that hearing him say this broke my heart, as there are just so many excellent chardonnays being produced in the world. Of course, for every great chardonnay, there is a…less great chardonnay out there lurking on the shelf (but not our shelf, we only stock the great ones). 

I tell this story because I’m sure there are several of you who’ve heard of the ABC rule, or who, in general, have a mental picture of chardonnay as a strangely buttery, flabby wine that’s often given out for free at charity events. I don’t blame you for being weary, but don’t worry, you’re entire life (or at least the chardonnay aspect of it) is about to change!

Chablis is a small commune in the Burgundy region of France where some of the world’s best chardonnay is grown. Chablis is a sexy, sports car version of chardonnay, the Beyoncé of Chardonnay if you will. A key thing to look for here is a racing acidity that serves as the wine’s backbone. It’s this acidity that allows the wine’s fruit flavors to really shine. Right off the bat, you’re sure to notice a strong lemon aroma (personally, it reminds me of a lemon cream), that’s followed up with notes of ripe peach and fresh pear. The finish here is quite long and commanded by a lingering hint of brioche or of lightly buttered baguette. 

A wine like this can really elevate a simple meal. One of my weeknight standby by recipes is for poached salmon with a beurre blanc sauce, and I can only imagine how well the wine’s acidity would balance with the salmon’s natural fat. If you’re looking for a vegetarian option, I think this would be an excellent pairing with a hearty grain-based salad with a light vinaigrette. 

*Now, if you look at the bottle, you’re going to see “1er” which is pronounced “premier.” Unfortunately, no one told me this until after I had been working at the shop for about six months. I had been pronouncing it “une-er.” Don’t make the same mistake I did! 

2011 Los Vascos Grande Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua, Chile

The second wine is from Chile’s Colchagua Valley. It takes the idea of a Bordeaux-style blend (i.e. lots of cabernet sauvignon, with other French blending grapes) and gives it a uniquely South American twist. The predominate grape here is still cabernet sauvignon (75%), with carmenere, malbec, and sryah rounding out the rest in almost equal amounts.

When I first opened this wine, I was struck by how reductive it was. That’s a fancy way of saying that the winemaker took special care to expose the wine to as little oxygen as possible. What that means for us is that this wine greatly benefits from being run through an aerator once (or even twice) or decanted for at least an hour.

Once you’ve done that, you’ll be rewarded with a surprisingly fruity wine. The most immediate fruit notes for me were plums and blueberries. Blueberries is a tell-tale sign of malbec for me, so even had I not known where this wine was from, it would have given me a hint. Where this wine really gets interesting is its finish. There was a lot of debate amongst our staff on this, but we all came away with notes of chocolate, tobacco, black pepper (that’s the syrah saying hello!), and mocha.

This wine is just aching for food, and I want to give it some meat. I think it would be excellent with steak or pork, even lamb. Likewise, I think this would really shine if paired with a hearty pasta (ooh, lasagna!). While you’re cooking, add a splash of wine to the sauce to liven things up.

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On Saturday, February 18 from 1-3pm, we’re hosting a wine tasting focusing on sweet wines. Sometimes sweet wines can get a bad reputation, with most people thinking of mass produced and poorly made products. The truth is that sweet wine have been around for hundreds of years, and for good reason: they’re delicious!

Charles & Charles Riesling

This excellent, single vineyard riesling is everything one can want from a Washington riesling. Its sweetness is held in balance by a taut acidity that accents. The resulting wine is a gorgeous, full-flavored riesling with aromas driven by stone fruit, mineral notes, wet rock, citrus, and floral scents. Its palate has a beautiful focus with lingering notes of honeysuckle and crushed rock. For those looking to try a Washington state or a new world riesling, you’d be hard-pressed to find a better one than this.

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Tintero Gramella Moscato

With this wine, the Tintero family provides a rarity among Italian moscatoes, a single vineyard bottling. The Sori vineyard is located on the southern facing slope of a hill named “Gramella” which creates a perfect microclimate for growing moscato. Full of fruit flavors like peach, apricot, and quince, this wine is an ideal pairing for light meals or an afternoon of steady sipping. Its light body and low alcohol level make it an ideal wine for parties and social events.

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Le Tertre de Lys Sauternes

Bright golden color with pale gold hue, the nose contains top notes of honeyed apricot followed by some raisin, toffee, and spice. The wine’s rich and luscious palate texture shows excellent concentration with mouth-filling flavors of honey, raisins, apricot and apple. The finish is clean with a long aftertaste of honey, apricot, and raisin. Though only a 375ml bottle, this wine is meant to be sipped and savored. Pair it with an array of sweetbreads or desserts for the end of a meal, or, opt to recreate one of the world’s best wine pairings: foie gras and Sauternes.

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Cocchi Asti

Asti Cocchi is a sweet sparkling produced in the hills, just north of the Italian city of Asti. Made from the moscato grape, the wine has a rich and intense aroma with notes of wisteria, acacia and honey on the palate. It features a well-balanced sweetness and a low alcohol content (7% Vol). It’s ideal with desserts and is a must with almond or hazelnut pastries. It also makes a wonderful accompaniment with orange juice in a morning’s mimosa. Out of all the Italian sparkling moscatoes, few achieve this level of balance. Even those who claim to not like sweet wines will be coming back to this one again and again.

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Montinore Borealis

Mouthwatering and multi-dimensional, this perennial crowd-pleaser is a blend of our favorite cool-climate whites: gewurztraminer, muller-thurgau, pinot gris and riesling. Intensely aromatic, with a nose of tropical flowers, ripe kiwi and melon, the silky soft palate is brimming with rose petals, pink grapefruit, mango and white nectarine then finishes on a high, clean note of bright key lime.

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Rosa Regale

Sparkling wine from the brachetto grape as long been a traditional sign of affection in Italy. Legend has it that both Julius Ceaser and Marc Antony sent it to Cleopatra in hopes to win her heart. Rosa Regale is a wine that fits any occasion and is an ideal match for any palate. The slightly off-dry nature of the wine makes it a perfect pairing with anything from seafood to spicy Asian cuisine. In the glass, it shines a bright and festive pink with striking fruit aromas that are followed by dramatic notes of raspberry and strawberry that dance across the palate.

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Check out this month’s staff picks. See something you like? Add it to your cart, buy it online, and pick it up in store!

Andre & Michel Quenard Chignin Mondeuse

Though mondeuse will be a new grape variety to many, it’s familiar in that it is a parent grape to syrah. This is evident in the rich and spicy character of this wine, which recalls both black and white pepper and roasted meats. It has aromas of raspberry and strawberry that cushion the soft scent of autumn flowers that develops after decanting. It’s an excellent pairing with duck, quail, or other fowl, as well as cheeses such as Reblochon and Chevrotin.

– Seth

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Montes Alpha Pinot Noir

A vibrant, full-bodied pinot noir with ripe cherry and berry aromas. In the glass, it’s a beautiful ruby red color. It was grown in Chile’s Aconcagua valley and aged for a year in French oak. It’s juicy and generous but balanced with some terrific acidity, making it ideal for salmon, mushrooms, or roast chicken.


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Domaine d’Aupilhac Languedoc Montpeyroux

The harsh rocky terrain in the village of Montpeyroux is perfectly captured by this rustic red from the Languedoc region of southern France. It is rich and full-bodied with chewy tannins. Bright acidity brings balance to the wine and helps with ageability. As the wine opens up in the glass it reveals layers of smoke, meat, and earth as well as some fresh cherry. I recommend trying it with BBQ pulled pork.


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Castello Di Meleto Borgaio Toscana

This delicious wine is a perfect way to ease into Italian wines. It’s packed notes of dried cherry and balsamic and, while it would certainly pair well with a meal, it’s light and fruity enough to enjoy on it own. The blend of sangiovese and merlot is a winning combination. The sangiovese gives the wine the deep cherry notes and classic Italian character, and the merlot adds richness and body.

– Spencer

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Domaine Georges Vernay Syrah “De Mirbaudie”

Grown on the tiny hillside of the commune of Condrieu on the banks of France’s Rhone River is this beautifully elegant syrah. This is a medium, almost full-bodied syrah that is nicely dry on the palate. The all-stainless steel fermentation process gives it expressive flavors of dried cherry, pungent herbs, and cracked pepper that are supple and sweet. It contains a firm finish with sneaky tannins and spicy persistence.

– Walker

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