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Cure Chardonnay Boredom With These Great White Alternatives

Michael Kunz - Wednesday, March 26, 2014

As we head into Spring (hopefully someday!), I know many of you will likely increase your white wine consumption.  But what do you do if you're a Chardonnay lover suffering from Chardonnay Burnout?  Watch the video below for our suggestions to cure Chardonnay boredom.  You'll love Chardonnay even more if you give it a break!  Absence makes the heart grow fonder, right?

Featured Chardonnay Alternatives:

Sans Liege Sancha 2012
Bottle Price: $31.99/bottle
Case Price: $27.34/bottle!

100% Marsanne – French grapes, American sunshine. Honeyed butterscotch brilliance from a young winemaker whose winery name translates as "No Allegiance".

Fumanelli Terso 2006
Bottle Price: $36.99/bottle
Case Price: $31.62/bottle!
50% Garganega 50% Trebbiano aged in French Oak for 9 months.  This is like a lovechild of white Chateauneuf-du-Pape and white Burgundy.  So good!

Xavier Chateuneuf-du-Pape Blanc 2011
Bottle Price: $53.99/bottle
Case Price: $46.15/bottle!
40% Roussanne, 30% Clairette, 20% white Grenache and 10% Picpoul, Bourboulenc and Ugni blanc.  This is fresh!!  Mineral, peach,  and spice from one of CdP's best winemakers!

Email me if you're interested!

- Michael Kunz

Classic Rhone Closeout

Michael Kunz - Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Dear Friends,

Here is a brilliant closeout offer for the classic wine lovers!  With a nose slightly reminiscent of, albeit slightly less rich than, Domaine de Pegau, this is a wonderful Rhone value for people looking for something distinctly French and classically styled. This wine is loaded with dark fruits, and features those enticing, funky notes of leather and forest floor that, when done correctly, add an addictive dimension, depth, and character to many great European reds. Oh, and did I mention it's 2007 vintage?! '07 was one of the best vintages in the Southern Rhone yielding delicious age worthy wines. Even with 6 or so years of age already, this wine still has years of life left, but it's drinking brilliantly now. If you're a fan of the style you'll adore this wine, and should not miss out. All others should check this out to explore a style of wine you really don't see in America. Being a closeout deal, this is a chance to do so at great price! I personally enjoy this style with or without food, but meat eaters would find this brilliant with Lamb Chops or a grilled steak.  Please reply to reserve yours now before this closeout beauty is gone!

Château Redortier Beaumes-des-Venise Rouge 2007 
Originally: $29.99/bottle 
Closeout Bottle Price: $22.99/bottle 
Closeout Case Price: $18.99/bottle*

This wine is typically a blend of 50 year old Grenache, Syrah, and Counoise vines fermented in concrete, and finished in large French oak. The fruits are dark, in the fig and plum family, with lots of baking spice, and the aforementioned leather and earth. One of the most intriguing things about this wine is it's lack of over-extraction. There's richness, but also acidity, lending a feeling of tension to this classically full-bodied wine. I like to call this, "rich, but not fatiguing."  Great wine at a great price!

About Chateau Redortier 
In 1956 Etienne de Menthon came upon this one-of-a-kind site in Suette, some 1400 feet up the famed mountains of Dentelles de Montmirail. Etiene is a gentleman's gentleman: tall, rugged, and a deep well of knowledge for this land he fell in love with . Through the 60's and 70's he built his bas tide (farmhouse). The site itself was considered the finest stronghold of the region in the Middle Ages, as its commanding view gave notice of any who would attempt to invade.

Twin sisters Sabine and Isabelle de Menthon are maestros with old vine Grenache and Syrah. Hands-on from vine to pressing and in the cellar. This is the best known, yet best keep secret in the southern Rhone since 1956. High altitude plantings fermented in cement tank using native yeast. No "Home Depot" winemaking here.

About Beaume-de-Venise 
Probably more well known for the sweet, fortified wine Muscat de Beaumes de Venise, this rugged, rustic landscape northeast of Chateauneuf du Pape also yields fantastic dry reds that are a step above average Cotes du Rhone with a minimum of 50% Grenache and 25% Syrah.

Please email me if you're interested in any of this great deal wine.

Michael Kunz
Wine Consultant 
shop: (404)872-0904 
Murphy's Wine Shop 
977 Virginia Ave. NE 
Atlanta, GA  30306 

*Case is 12 bottles mix/match

New Year's Wine Resolution in 5 Parts

Michael Kunz - Saturday, January 04, 2014

As we begin the new year, here's some "wine for thought" to help you get the most out of buying wine in 2014:

1) Don't Let Anyone Tell You What You Should Like
Oh, you only like sweet wine? Great! You only like wines that smell like a horse stable? Great! 
The human range of taste perception is huge. Not only does the number of taste buds vary dramatically from person to person, but there's a bevy of psychological factors that can effect your perception, as well as specific health issues (for example, medication can radically effect the flavor of wine). So don't feel guilty liking what you like. Find a trusted source like Murphy's Wine Shop that can help you find wines that YOU enjoy.

2) Be Adventurous
This may sound slightly contradictory to item #1, but part of the fun of wine is finding out what you DO like. It's a big wide world of wine out there with unbelievable variety. Sure, there's some great wine from Napa Valley, and maybe you feel comfortable knowing what you're going to get, but who wants to eat pizza EVERY day. If you like big, dark reds, try some Tempranillo from Northern Spain, or some of Tuscany's modern marvels. The Rhone Valley offers some delicious, concentrated values, and even Bierzo in Western Spain may surprise you with the Mencia grape. There's even some surprisingly great non-fortified reds from Portugal that will shock you for the price. Avoid California Pinot Noir burnout by exploring styles from France's Burgundy and Loire Valley (especially the Gamay/Pinot blends). You may find you really like Cru Beaujolais, or affordable Nebbiolo and Barbara from Italy's famous Piedmont region. There's far too many to mention, but just like I think it's a good idea to explore other cultures and cuisine to broaden your tastes and perspective, I think it's a good idea to explore new wine!

3) Venerate Wine As More Than Just Alcohol
I'm not saying don't enjoy a good buzz. Definitely not saying that (!), but there's something different about wine than just being a medium to party. It's a living, changing, entity capable of inducing profound experiences of emotion and pleasure. From the vines struggling in harsh conditions, to hands that pick and sort the grapes, to the years of expertise that go into artisanal winemaking, I think it's a good idea to at least think about this when your drinking and buying wine. In a wine world of increasingly homogenous styles, mass-production, and marketing gimmicks, I think it's more important than ever to seek out wines that have individual character, heart, and that old catch phrase, "A Sense Of Place." I think this is one of the many reasons to shop with a Wine Consultant. We taste so much wine, and learn so much about them, that you

4) Treat Yourself
It's good to keep yourself honest! You don't' need to drink expensive wine every night, but every once in a while it's good to treat yourself with a wine that might normally be out of your league. It may just remind you why you drink wine in the first place, and help you appreciate the good values when they come. Plus, it's nice having something to look forward to for that special occasion, or dinner with friends. A good rule might be to toss in one really good bottle for every case or so you buy. Put it away, forget about it for awhile, and rejoice when you finally pull it out.

5) Share
Wine is almost always better when shared with good company and conversation. Turning people on to wine is an exciting endeavor, and something people won't forget you for. Encourage your friends to buy better wine too so you're not always the one popping the good stuff. Good wine, food, friends can be one of the great joys of life. Spread the joy!

Michael Kunz
Wine Consultant
shop: (404)872-0904
Murphy's Wine Shop
977 Virginia Ave. NE
Atlanta, GA  30306

5 Reasons Everyone Needs Tawny Port Around The House

Michael Kunz - Saturday, November 09, 2013

We're well into Autumn now, and with the impending near-doomsday-cold forecast for next week I think it's time we accepted the upcoming season and settle in.  And though many turn to whiskey's various incarnations for the cold months, and many more go for dark, seasonal beers, I believe it's imperative that everyone keep a bottle of 20 Year (or older, cost permitting) Tawny Port around the house.


1. It Almost Smells Like "The Holidays" - with rich notes of fig, raisin, fruit cake, clove, and it's inherent nuttiness and popcorny finish, Tawny Port is nearly the liquid embodiment of sitting around a fireplace in a warm sweater.  My parents never drank the stuff, but sipping it always unlocks some strange nostalgia.

2. A Little Can Go A Long Way - sure, it may be a little pricey compared to that average bottle of Cabernet you buy, but with Tawny Port clocking in around 20% alcohol you're not going to need such a big glass.  This slower sipping may even lead to a more relaxed, contemplative state.  It may be a tad hyperbolic to call this liquid meditation, but there's a case to be made!

3. It's Not As Strong As Bourbon or Scotch - you can get the fun, dark, sweet flavors, and a bite of alcohol, without accidentally finding yourself asleep on the couch.  

4. It Can Last - unlike the short shelf life of it's unfortified siblings, Tawny Port, once opened, can stay in really good shape for a month or two.  Longer, really, if you're not too picky about freshness.  This means you avoid waste, which when taken into account makes the price tag not seem to bad.  It makes for an easy nighttime nip that you can keep going back to.

5. Yum! - aged tawny Port is just delicious.  Sweet, but not too sweet, and the good stuff is complex and contemplative with a sensuous mouthfeel.  With dessert, or by itself, it's a calming after dinner beverage that everyone should have around the house for friends, and especially for a romantic evening around the fire.

I'm currently drinking Graham's 20 Year Tawny Port, and we just added it to Murphy's By-The-Glass list.  Graham's is one of the great Port houses, and I think is the only one that is still owned by just one family.  They've put their 20, 30, and 40 Year Tawny in some gorgeous new bottles, and I highly recommend them all.  That being said, I think the value is in the 20 Year since it maintains freshness, and a darn good price point, while offering all the great Tawny notes.  The 40 is totally spectacular, but at well over $100 it's more than most would like to spend.

Graham's 20 Year Tawny Port - email me and mention this blog, and I can get a bottle or more of this to you for $50.42.

Happy Fall!

- Michael Kunz

Murphy's Wine Shop: Ancestor Paso Robles

Murphy's Wine Shop - Wednesday, June 26, 2013

You loyal readers know I don't spend a ton of time carrying on about the virtues of wines from Paso Robles.  Certainly there are a lot of great wines from this area, and many are well-enjoyed, but I don't personally fall in love with too many wines from Paso.  Yesterday I caught a glimpse, a shimmer from the eye of the beauty that can be Paso Robles, and felt the faint flutter of chemistry that left me both excited and intrigued.  The layered complexity of today's offer is not to be missed, and left a lasting impression on my wine-heart.  Despite the high alcohol, this wine comes off as balanced, harmonious, and elegant, I imagine not too unlike the way an elephant can come off as beautiful and graceful - surprisingly light on its feet, but still towering, massive, and impressive. The cool-story about this wine, and the reason for its name, is that the world's largest coastal oak resides inside this vineyard.  It's massive - so much so that it dwarfs the nearby winery!  This massive, ancient tree (experts peg this between 450-600 years old), given the name Ancestor, is the namesake for Halter Ranch's top bottling:

Halter Ranch "Ancestor" 2010 
Bottle Price: $49.99/bottle 
Case Price: $42.73/bottle!! 

39% Cabernet Sauvignon 
35% Petit Verdot 
26% Malbec 

18 months in 50% New French Oak 
Only 900 6-packs made

Multi-layered, intensely complex, and remarkably classy (especially for 15.5% Alcohol).  Notes of cinnamon, more on the cinnamon-sugar/cinnamon-bun side of things (Bob called it Streusel), dark inky fruit, lavender, hints of mineral and chocolate.  The palate enters gracefully, but present, and the surprising mid-palate is led by the Cabernet's mineral charge that is lusciously tempered by the rich, dark chocolate coating that wraps itself comfortingly around your tongue.  The smooth, long, lingering finish is graceful, charming.  Fantastic wine!  Not really so much for you power-junkies, but fans of big, yet graceful wines will love this!  Especially for the price.  The unusually high percentages of Petit Verdot and Malbec make this a really unique wine, and an absolute beauty at this mid-price point.  Its drinking remarkably well right now, but has the good stuffing to even improve in the cellar.  Halter Ranch is also a an extremely eco-friendly winery - SIP Certified, and with a Green Winery that even has rainwater harvesting built into the roof, floors, and drains around the facility.

These guys don't submit for press so I don't have a glowing Parker review for you, but I hope mine will suffice!

Please email Michael Kunz if you're interested in ordering any of this brilliant wine.

Like this write-up??


- Michael

Serious Wine, Serious Value!

Murphy's Wine Shop - Friday, May 10, 2013

The Finca Villacreces "Pruno" is a fantastic value year after year, but the 2010 is a very serious wine for a seriously low price.  This Tempranillo/Cabernet blend from vineyards adjacent to the famous Vega Sicilia in Ribera Del Duero, Spain, received 94 Points from critic Robert Parker where he exclaimed:

"Wow! . . . Normally, one would expect to pay $75 to $150 for a wine
that tastes like this, but this beauty can be yours for $20 or less!
Moreover, it will keep for a decade."  - Robert Parker -

This wine is in stock (as of May 10, 2013) here at Murphy's Wine Shop, and if you put together a case the price is under $20/bottle!  Don't miss this one.

Finca Villacreces Pruno 2010

Bottle Price: $21.99/bottle 
Case Price: ​$18.79/bottle!
Solid 12 Bottle Case: $225.48 + tax

90% Tempranillo 
10% Cabernet Sauvignon 
D.O. Ribera del Duero

94 Points Robert Parker

Estate vineyards from younger vines located adjacent to the famous Vega Sicilia 
2296 foot elevation

12 Months French Oak

Here's the 94 Point Review from Robert Parker:
"Wow! From a vineyard adjacent to Spain’s greatest as well as most expensive red wine, Vega Sicilia, this 2,500-case cuvee made for Eric Solomon is spectacular. Full-bodied with an opaque purple color in addition to an extraordinary bouquet of charcoal, wood smoke, creme de cassis and blackberries intermixed with hints of acacia flowers and licorice, this stunning, multidimensional 2010 is loaded. Its texture, richness, complexity, purity and length result in a wine that considerably over-delivers. Normally, one would expect to pay $75 to $150 for a wine that tastes like this, but this beauty can be yours for $20 or less! Moreover, it will keep for a decade."

Decant this one!

100 Point '09 Bordeaux Pop-Up Wine Dinner

Murphy's Wine Shop - Sunday, January 20, 2013

What a crazy week in wine over here at Murphy's!

This Wednesday, Tom Murphy hosted a 100-Point '09 Bordeaux Dinner that featured some purely stunning wines, and an amazing 4-Course Fine-Dining menu from Chef Ian Winslade!

Several of our guests were generous enough to bring earlier vintages of these great Bordeaux so we were able to do some side-by-side tasting.  Personally, I thought the '03 Chateau Clos Fourtet was drinking the best, but all the '09's showed incredible depth and concentration.  Hope to taste them again in 15 years!

We're helping people plan more great wine events at Murphy's this year so if you're interested in a high-end wine/food event for some friends or clients contact a Murphy's Wine Consultant at

Here's a clearer shot of some greatly enjoyed empties.  That '96 Dujac in the foreground was an "off-topic" treat from one of our guests.  Don't make those like they used to!

One of the Very Finest Buys in Pinot from Anywhere! 93 POINTS under $30 case price!

Murphy's Wine Shop - Monday, January 14, 2013

In an oversaturated field of solid American Pinot Noir, it is rather rare for one to rise above the noise so casually - like we knew all along this wine would be amazing, and tasting it just quietly confirmed our instincts.  Approachable, but unexpectedly complex.  Food friendly, but perfect for conversational sipping, contemplative, nerdy, from a winery of deep pedigree, and reasonably priced.  So let’s start off the year with one of my favorite $30 Pinot Noirs I’ve tasted in recent memory, and easily one of the best values in Pinot Noir today:

Domaine Eden Pinot Noir 2010
Bottle Price: $34.99/bottle
Case Price:  $29.91/bottle!! 

Universally delicious, this wine strikes some chord with me – like hearing late 50’s Miles Davis for the first time and thinking “ahh, that’s what jazz is.” This is some benchmark for $30-$35 California Pinot Noir that deserves attention. 

Here’s the 93 POINT Review from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate
“A fabulous introduction to the Domaine/Mount Eden Pinots, the 2010 Pinot Noir is flat-out beautiful in the way it captures the essence of the Santa Cruz Mountains and the house style. Sweet dark cherries, flowers, mint and herbs caress the palate. There is a purity of fruit that is stunning in its beauty. Partial use of whole clusters (20%) gives the wine much of its fragrance, but ultimately the Domaine Eden bottling is all about class. At $35 it represents one of the very finest buys in Pinot Noir from anywhere, including the hallowed vineyards of Burgundy. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.” 
About Mount Eden Winery
Historic wine estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA, not too far from Ridge.  Founded in 1945, it is recognized as on of the original “boutique” California wine properties, and has been for years one of the greatest places to look for classically-styled, age-worthy Chardonnay, Pinot, and Cabernet.  In fact, I put their Chardonnay in the running as one of America’s best.  The Domaine Eden wines come from a mountaintop wine estate just a mile from the original estate, and are made in a similar fashion.

Please email me if you would like me to reserve some for you before this spectacular vintage goes away! 

Cheers, Happy New Year, and thanks for being a Friend of Murphy’s!

Michael Kunz
Wine Consultant

The Form of Chardonnay

Murphy's Wine Shop - Thursday, November 29, 2012
Plato argued that the true essence of physical objects is their Form– the non-physical concept of that particular thing’s ideal.  In short, it’s really tough to actually make a perfect circle in the physical world, but we all know what a perfect circle should be – we understand it’s form.  I think certain wines can have a Form in Plato’s sense of the word.  Some perfect ideal of what they should be . . . where the fruit, acid, earth, and oak (if appropriate) exist in perfect harmony for that specific grape, and for that specific region.  In some respects, I think this is how we all evaluate wine – holding up each sip to some ideal experience that we somehow comprehend, but only exists somewhere in the ether.  For me thisForm is especially strong for the Chardonnay grape, and it’s particular incarnation found in the heart of Burgundy’s Cote de Beaune.  I can’t proclaim that today’s offer is a perfect Chardonnay, but it must be close to some archetype for modern,reasonably-priced Meursault, hinting at the universal, ethereal,Platonic Form.  This is a stunning Meursault from it’s own walled vineyard site, brand new to the Georgia market, and there are only a few cases available so please reply-to-reserve yours now.  I love this wine!

Chateau Genot-Boulanger Meursault
Clos Du Cromin 2009

Bottle Price: $69.99/bottle

Case Price: $59.82/bottle!!

You white Burgundy fans will rejoice at how delicious this wine is, and will appreciate that this is actually a great value. Toasted brioche, and hints of baked apple with a beautiful mineral character. Like most great Meursault, there is a richness set around a firm, acidic core that holds this tight on your palate, and hints at this wine’s longevity.  There’s a whiff of something not too different than the aroma of bird seed that sits gently alongside the oak character, lending complexity.  The finish is long, but in a clean, sophisticated way that makes each sip feel complete.  Like the satisfaction of finishing a jigsaw puzzle, but then all you want to do is start another one.  Drinkable now, but I would love to see how this evolves over the next decade.

There is very little of this wine made, and there’s only a few cases available in Georgia.  The wine will be here Friday, so pleasereply-to-reserve yours now.  This would be a great gift for wine nerds, or any Chardonnay fans on your shopping list (yourself included!) who want to experience what Burgundy is all about.

Please email me if you're interested in any of this beautiful Meursault!

Michael Kunz
Wine Consultant
shop: (404)872-0904
twitter: @murphyswine

Looking for the perfect Thanksgiving Wine Pair? Try our 4-Packs

Murphy's Wine Shop - Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Thanksgiving dinner can be a tad tricky for wine pairing.  From salty stuffing, to lean turkey breast, maybe some pig, cranberry sauce!, and whatever that weird dish only your family makes is, it's tough to pick a wine that covers them all . . . which is why picked 4!  And no, there's no Cabernet on the menu 'cause Cab doesn't really go too well with the standard Turkey Day fare!

We've hand selected TWO different 4-Packs this year - one at $89.99, and one at $49.99 to fit into everyone's budget. These are also incredible values with around $30 in savings for the higher end offer!

If you're interested in either of these, please email Michael, or call the wine shop (404)872-0904 to reserve yours! Pickups are scheduled to coincide with Murphy's Thanksgiving To Go pickup Wednesday, November 21st, the day BEFORE Thanksgiving.  However, special arrangements can be made for early pickup if necessary.

No substitutions please, but all wines are available individually and by the case - prices included below.

Here are the 4-Packs!

($120 Value)

For a slightly more discerning crowd, this 4-Pack features some of our best-pairing house favorites.  2 dry whites (one a Murphy's Exclusive!), 1 medium body red, and 1 full-bodied red.
Best Value - Save 25%!!

1) Kuentz-Bas Pinot Gris 2009 - Alsace, France (**Murphy’s Exclusive!**)
Bottle Price: $23.99/bottle
Case Price: $20.50/bottle!!
I love Alsatian whites with Turkey dinner, and this is an incredible example of Alsatian Pinot Gris.  Focused, clean, refreshing, and loaded with Turkey-friendly mineral.  This laser beam will turn some heads!
2) Domaine Cherrier Sancerre 2011 – Loire Valley, France
Bottle Price: $29.99/bottle
Case Price: $25.63/bottle!!
Sancerre is one of the great homes of Sauvignon Blanc, and this is quintessential Sancerre!  Bright citrus, straw, honey, vibrant with flinty mineral and chalk.  This will perfectly cleanse the palate and keep you coming back for more. 
3) The Four Graces Pinot Noir 2010 – Willamette Valley, Oregon
Bottle Price: $28.99/bottle
Case Price: $24.78/bottle!!
91 Points Wine Spectator. Darker berries, toasty oak, vanilla, dried green herbs, meaty mineral, licorice, and a long, focused finish.  Beautiful, and just on the richer side of classy!
4) JC Cellars “The Impostor” – California 2009
Bottle Price: $36.99/bottle
Case Price: $31.62/bottle!!
This wine is all about Thanksgiving!  An amazing, juicy, intense blend of Zinfandel, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Grenache, Mourvèdre and Viognier.  Still not sure I’ve tasted anyone on this wine yet who wasn’t blown away - 91 Points Wine Spectator: “Exotic and altogether distinctive, with aromas of smoky black cherry and Asian spice that lead to rich, lush flavors of huckleberry and date bread.”
($60 Value)

An incredible value, this 4-Pack offers a wide variety of flavors for a tiny price tag.  Sweet Riesling (one of my family’s Thanksgiving staples), a vibrant, dry Alsatian white, a unique Italian treat from one of Southeastern Italy’s best producers, and one of the greatest value American reds we’ve seen all year.

1) Kiona Riesling 2011 – Washington
Bottle Price: $13.99/bottle
Case Price: $11.96/bottle!!
Kiona has been making Riesling in Washington for over 30 years!  Light, approachable, with a touch of sweetness.
2) Kuentz-Bas Alsace Blanc 2010 - Alsace, France
Bottle Price: $14.99/bottle
Case Price: $12.81/bottle!!
60% Sylvaner, 15% Pinot Auxerrois, 15% Chasselas, 10% Muscat.  This amazing blend offers the flavors of Alsace in an affordable package. This “little brother” to their Pinot Gris shows an enticing nose of citrus, smoke, and a great amount of acidity to keep your palate clean. 
3) La Quercia Aglianico 2011 – Puglia, Italy
Bottle Price: $15.99/bottle
Case Price: $13.67/bottle!!
This is a rare example of an Aglianico made in a fresh, immediate style.  A stunning wine we pre-ordered specifically for Thanksgiving. Intriguing plum and white pepper on an approachable, yet structured frame.  Just a beautiful wine from the master of Montepulciano.
4) House of Independent Producers Bacchus Vineyard Merlot 2010 – Columbia Valley, Washington
Bottle Price: $15.99/bottle
Case Price: $13.67/bottle!!
Single vineyard Merlot!  From the sustainably-farmed Bacchus vineyard.  Seriously, one of the best values in American merlot!  Focused herbed red fruit, coffee, chocolate, graphite, and earth.