New Savings with your reward Card!

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Now is a great time to sign up for a Cellar Rewards Card and/or the Wine Club and stock up! The savings are fantastic. Just take a look at this week’s specials:

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    • Bailey’s 750ml –  Everyone needs to have a little Baileys for the Holiday’s.  Save $2.00   $19.99
    • Canadian Club 1.75 – One of those brands that continues to grow year after year.  Great Value at $19.99
    • Grey Goose Vodka 1.0 liter– Still one of the best, smoothest Vodka’s around.  Save $2.00 $ 39.99
    • Skinny Girl Cosm– An addition to the margarita, now you can have a Cosmo for very little calories.  Only $12.99
    • Hob Nob Pinot Noir– This French Pinot has become extremely popular and is a great value.  Perfect with Turkey!  Only $9.99
    • Popppy Pinot Noir–  From Monterey’s, California this smooth Pinot continues to be consitant from year to year.  Packs a punch for only $14.99
    • Orin Swift Abstract – A new red blend from Orin Swift, if you like his other selections then you must give this one a try.  A blend of Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Syrah.  Only $29.99, Save $2.00
    • Wente Chardonnay– This wine shows hints of Rombauer for a fraction of the price.  Great deal at only $11.99 per bottle.
    • Cavit Pinot Grigio– The #1 selling Italian Pinot Grigio, perfect for large parties.  Only $11.99 for the 1.5 liter bottle!

We will be serving free Starbucks coffee every Saturday through the end of the year.  Stop by and have a cup while you shop!


November Wine Club Selections


November Oconee Wine Club Selections








Behind the name of Albino Armani there is a dynamic reality, which has always grown and evolved. The name represents a widespread family estate, which now includes three large wineries in the excellent wine-growing regions of Veneto, Trentino and Friuli Venezia Giulia. The wine cellars preside over umptuous
extensions of wine-growing cultivation.

Since 1962 the heart of this project has been in Dolcè, in the Adige Valley of Verona, which is the birthplace of the product line called Albino Armani. The
central winery headquarters, at Dolcè, is very spacious, and has a barricaia, grape-drying area, tasting room and laboratory, which manifests the company’s
commitment to research and innovation.

Further north, in the region of Trentino, where 400 years ago the Armani family were winegrowers, we find the area producing the grapes for the Io Domenico Armani product line. Now, let us move to Magredi friulani, where we discover the vineyards for the Claps product line, and a beautiful wine cellar made of copper in 1998. And, back to Veneto, in the hills of the Valpolicella, we discover the birthplace of Egle, Albino Armani’s most recent product line.

IO Pinot Nero 2010  $ 14.99

This red is extremely difficult to produce, requiring great professional attention, as well as the winegrowers strong will to discover how to bring out its roundness and balance. Sensory profile: Garnet red in color, this Pinot Nero offers a complexity of sensations. It’s warm and silky texture offers aromas of
strawberry, blueberry and black cherry fruits. It evolves into a complex masterpiece with vegetal tones of truffles and liquorice. Elegant and well balanced in the mouth.
Food pairings: Red and white roasted meat.

Production zone: Vallagarina, in Trentino South Tyrol

Grape varieties: 100% Pinot Noir, with the best Italian and French clones.

Soil composition: Autochthonous, very complex, mainly composed of marly and calcareous stones.

Vinification: Maceration in stainless steel tanks, in contact with the skins for 7-10 days. Reassembly and “delestage”- the complete remixing through the emptying and refilling of the tanks – are only done during the first few days of fermentation, without damaging skins and seeds. The maturation occurs in stainless steel and large wooden barrels.

IO Pinot Grigio 2010   $ 13.99



At Chizzola, in the part of Val d’Adige towards Trento, we cultivate this grape variety.  However, its origin derives from a mutation of Pinot Nero. The direction that the hill faces and the constant wind make this area ideal for growing Pinot Grigio.


Sensory profile: Straw yellow in color with light ash-grey flecks typical of Pinot Grigio. The scent has traces of white flowers and mature pear. In the mouth it has great structure and balance, and is long and complex.

Food pairings: Goes well with hearty soups, risotto, light white meats and fried or baked fish. It is also a pleasant aperitif.

Production zone: Valle dell’Adige in Trentino – Chizzola

Grape varieties: 100% Pinot Grigio – Vineyard age from 15 to 40 years.

Soil composition: Morainic soil, light and warm.

Vinification: Whole grape pressing at low pressure with a long fermentation at 20°C in stainless steel tanks. Maturation in contact with its own yeasts and partial malolactic fermentation is allowed.







November Connoisseurs Club Selections


Jean-Paul & Benoit Droin Premier Cru Chablis 2009  “Vaillons”     $ 32.99

The Droin family has been in Chablis since at least 1547, when the first records indicate that one Jehan Droin owned one parcel of vines in the Clos.



Since then, the family has always owned property in the village and is among the oldest land owners in the area. Since the year of 1620, fourteen generations of vignerons have transmitted their “savoir-faire” down from father to son. Jean-Paul Droin took over the property in 1983 and helped to establish the property as among the best of the AOC. In 1999, his son Benoit joined the property and is now the principal winemaker at the estate.


Chablis is a village of 2,600 inhabitants situated 160 kms southeast of Paris and 150 kms northwest of Dijon. The village gave its name to the surrounding vineyards which stretch west for about 15 kms on both banks of the river Serein. The area under vines is about 4.300 ha and encompasses about twenty villages.


93 Points Robert Parker!


The 2009 Chablis Vaillons is wonderfully alive in the glass. A gorgeous, well-articulated bouquet resonates on the palate, where layers of crystalline fruit emerge with notable pedigree. The Vaillons shows terrific energy and focus all the way through to the finish. Hints of lemon peel, grapefruit and jasmine linger on the pointed finish. This is a gorgeous wine from Droin. The Vaillons was aged 20% in wood.


Seven Hills Columbia Valley Cabernet 2007  $ 26.99

Established in 1988, Seven Hills Winery is one of Walla Walla Valley’s oldest and most respected wineries. Guided by founder, winemaker and fourth generation farmer, Casey McClellan, Seven Hills Winery crafts an
acclaimed portfolio of vineyard-designate and appellation-inspired wines.  Focusing on benchmark Cabernet Sauvignons and Bordeaux-varietal reds, the wines at Seven Hills have played an important role in establishing the region’s reputation for world-class wine-making, and are recognized as some of the finest wines in the Northwest.


They work with grapes from a diverse, complimentary set of sites within the Columbia Valley. This is a finely balanced, medium-bodied Cabernet of strong red-purple color. The nose shows ripe plum and raspberry, with sweet oak spice and vanillin.   The palate opens with ripe fruit and berry over balanced tannins. Lengthy ripe fruit, with hints of dried herb and pepper completes the finish. Pair beautifully with medium-bodied meat dishes.   This wine should age well for 3-5 years from release if properly cellared.

90 rating Wine Spectator!

Bright and lively, focusing its pomegranate and cherry flavors in a beam of flavor, hinting at
cedar and bay leaf as the finish lingers harmoniously. Tannins slide in easily.  Drink now through 2014. 2,100 cases made. –HS



Wine Tasting tonight at Filet Steak & Seafood!

There are still spots open for tonight’s wine tasting at Filet Steak & Seafood.  The cost is only $10 per person and you will enjoy some great wines, most rated over 90!  Actually one was rated as high as 93 by Robert Parker!  You will taste 2 whites and 4 reds and sample some gourmet cheeses.  It starts at 6:00 tonight.  If you plan on attending please call 706-453-0420 or email us at .

Wine Tasting at Spotlight Theater Sunday

Extreme Makeover: Home Edition visits Madison, Georgia
Sunday October 9th
6:00 -7:30

Wine Tasting provided by The Oconee Cellar and Wynn Pennington, brother of Tye Pennington, host of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.

Taste 10 different wines from Wynn’s portfolio from Hand Picked Selections then see the show on the big screen at 8:00 pm.

$ 2 per person to watch the show
$ 15 per person for the wine tasting

Portions of the proceeds will go to the Fran Faxon Scholarship Fund for the Rucker Family.

On Sunday October 9th, Spotlight Theatre will show the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition filmed in Madison Georgia. The show is building a new home for Anaiah Rucker and her family. Anaiah was seriously injured earlier this year saving her younger sister, Camry, by pushing her out of the way of an oncoming truck.

While Camry avoided the truck, Anaiah was struck. The fourth-grader had massive, life-threatening injuries. Doctors had to amputate her left leg. Bus driver Loretta Berryman is credited with saving Anaiah’s life. Berryman performed CPR on her following the accident.

Come by and support the family and all the volunteers that worked very hard to make this a resounding success! Try some great wine from Ty’s brother’s portfolio and watch the show on the big screen!

Great Deal for Wine Lovers

Matt Garofalo, Owner of the Oconee Cellar gives his review of two great Wines at fantastic prices with the Cellar Rewards Card. This week’s specials – Beuhler Napa Cabernet, and Borsao Garnacha Granache. If you don’t have a Cellar Rewards Card yet, come by, sign up, and start saving!

Value and Quality – Spanish Wine

[imageeffect type=”shadowreflect” align=”alignleft” width=”424″ height=”283″ shadow=”shadow-medium” alt=”Vineyard in Catalonia, Spain” url=”/wp-content/uploads/2011/08/vineyard_catalonia_spain.jpg” titleoverlay=”yes”]Did you know that Spain is the most widely planted wine producing country in the world with over 2.9 million acres of planted grape vines? Only Italy and France produce more wine due to the fact that Spanish vines produce less juice because of their dry, infertile soil.

There are over 600 varietals planted with only 80 percent of the country’s wine production coming from 20 different grapes including such varietals as Tempranillo, Albarino, Garnacha, and Monastrell to name a few. Spain is also known for its sherry production in the Jerez region along with many different Cava’s (Sparkling wine) made in the Catalonia region.

Spain’s wine-making history can be traced back sometime between 4000 and 3000 BC. Under Roman rule, Spanish wine was exported and traded throughout the Roman Empire. As the colonization of the New World began, Spanish wines where then exported to South America. The major turning point occurred in the mid 19th century when the phylloxera (sap sucking insect that feeds on the roots and leaves of grapevines) epidemic ravaged European vineyards, most notably the vineyards in France.

This sudden shortage of wine made countries turn to Spain as an alternative. Many wine makers took their expertise and winemaking methods over to Rioja, Navarre, and Catalonia. Although phylloxera did eventually make its way to Spain, the remedy of grafting American rootstock to European vines had already been discovered and utilized.

Today, due to the influx of commissioned wine makers and the release of restrictions on irrigation, Spain has become a major player in the production of high quality wines.

Spanish wine laws follow the European systems of classification. Their wines are classified under a five tier system:

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  • Vino de Mesa – This is the equivalent of most country’s table wine. This gives winemakers flexibility to blend the grapes the way they want.
  • Vinos de la Tierra – This level is similar to the vin de pays system in France and normally designates the larger regions with broader geographical locations.
  • Vinos de Calidad Producido en Region Determindada – These wines are considered on step closer to the DO status.
  • Denominacion de Origen – This designation is for the mainstream quality-wine regions and consists of nearly two thirds of the total vineyards in Spain.
  • Denominacion de Origen Calficada – Designated for regions with proven track records for high quality wines and is a step above the DO status. Regions such as Rioja, Priorat, and Ribera del Duero will belong in this classification.


Although it is reported that Spain produces over 600 different varietals, Tempranillo is the most widely planted red grape followed by Garnacha. It is predominately grown in Rioja and Ribera del Duero, while Garnacha is the main grape grown in the Priorat region. White varietals such as Albarino and Verdejo are popular in the Rias Baixas and Ruedo regions respectively. As the Spanish wine industry continues to grow, more notable varietals such as Cabernet, Chardonnay, Syrah, Merlot and Sauvignon Blanc have emerged as major players.

Spanish wines are known for being extremely good values in today’s heavily competitive wine market. Consumers can easily find wines with high 80 to low 90 Ratings for under $15 a bottle. Wine Enthusiast Magazine published its “Top 100 Best Buy Wines for 2010” and guess what is #1? That’s right, a great Spanish wine called Borsao 2008 which is blend of 75% Garnacha and 25% Tempranillo and sells for under $10 a bottle!

So what are you waiting for, get out of your comfort zone of buying some boring Merlot or Chardonnay and try some of the great wines that Spain has to offer!

Spanish Wine Suggestions all under $20:
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  • Burgans Albarino 2008 – One of many great food wines made in Rias Baixas, this white wine is clean and crisp with bright acidity and pairs well with shellfish.
  • Tarima Monastrell 2009 – You can’t miss this one on the shelf, the label displays a beautiful picture of a passion flower. This value player comes from Jumilla and displays flavors of Licorice, chocolate and hints of dark violets.
  • Las Rocas Garnacha 2007- This 90 Rated Robert Parker beauty is made in Calatayud and will blow you away at the quality. If you have never tried a 100% Garnacha before, start here and I promise you will want to give others a try!
  • Marques de Riscal Reserve Rioja 2005 – Another 90 Rated Robert Parker wine that is a perfect introduction to classic Rioja, this 100% Tempranillo can be cellared for over 20 years! Try to find that in a California wine for under $20. Classic flavors of cedar and dense black cherry dominate on the palate. Give it a try with a nice Rib Eye Steak!