California Wine and Cheese
Tom and Janet Dugan
115 W. Foothill Blvd
Monrovia, CA 91016
Hours of Operation: Tuesday through Thursday: 11 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. /
Friday and Saturday: 11 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. /
Sunday: Noon to 6:00 p.m. /
Tastings: During all open hours, with new wine line-ups starting each Friday at 5:p.m.
California Wine and Cheese is located in the heart of the San Gabriel Valley in Monrovia, California. We are a retail wine and cheese shop with a tasting bar. Our focus is California produced wines and gourmet cheeses from around the world.
Our shop is also an art gallery with new installations every six weeks. We invite you to explore our shop, sample some wine and cheese, and discover some of California's gold right here in the San Gabriel Valley.
We also carry a variety of gourmet food and wine country gift items in our shop.
About the Proprietors, Tom and Janet Dugan
First and foremost, we should confess that despite our love of wine and cheese, Janet and I have no prior professional experience as wine buyers, sommeliers or cheese mongers! We have not been in the “trade” in any fashion; Not even remotely. Having opened in November 2006, we certainly have gained experience and knowledge, but we’d be foolish to hold ourselves out as “experts.” Like the people we hope to attract to our shop, we have simply found that we thoroughly enjoy wine and cheese, together or separately, alone or with a meal. We hope to grow in our knowledge along with you. Ask us questions about wine and/or cheese and we’ll try to answer you with our best advice. Share your own experiences with us and that will allow us to provide more guidance to other guests in our shop.
If you really need to know, I was a federal law enforcement agent for 33 years. Janet has, and continues to be, involved in hospital administration. She’s darn close to being a native Californian, whereas, I grew up in a variety of locations on the other coast. We live nearby, and with the possible exception of Ireland, couldn’t imagine living anywhere else. If Janet had been a winemaker and I was the sommelier at Valentino’s, I wouldn’t feel compelled to have told you about that other stuff, but it seemed like “About Us” should tell you something about us!
Each week, when new wines arrive in the shop, or maybe when a wine we have not carried in a while returns, I’ll provide some reviews and/or information about the wines. View our Latest Newsletter HERE to stay up to date on new arrivals!
Wine Enthusiast rated the following two wines:
- The Wine Guerrilla 2006 Zinfandel Coffaro Vineyards Dry Creek was described as an old style field blend type of wine … A big tannic, juicy, fruity wine, potent in jammy blackberry, blueberry, currant, dark unsweetened chocolate, coffee and pepper flavors… Rating 89
- The Loring 2005 Pinot Noir Cargasacchi Vineyard Sta Rita Hills was described as… a compelling Pinot Noir, dry and crisp in acids, enormously complex, with the cherry, pomegranate, cola and fruit flavors made more interesting with the tastes of earth, mushrooms, balsalmic and expresso. Rating 94
Robert Parker is a big fan of Walter Hansel Wines:
- He described the Walter Hansel 2006 Chardonnay Cahill Lane Russian River Valley as exhibiting …a steely, stony nose intermixed with peach, pear and brioche notes. It has … terrific up front fruit, decent acidity, and a plump, medium to full bodied mouthfeel. Rating 94
Robert Parker reviewed some of the Thompkin Cellars wine.
- The 2005 3ie Degré(a blend of 50% Syrah, 25% Grenache, and 25% Mourvedre) possesses a dark ruby color as well as an attractive perfume of roasted Provencal herbs, and sweet strawberries, cherries, and currants. Medium-bodied, soft, and silky, this hedonistic red should be enjoyed over the next 3-4 years. Rating: 90
- The 2006 Mourvedrehas a dark ruby color and an earthy nose with hints of porcini mushrooms intermixed with blue and red fruits. The wine is medium-bodied, it is a bit narrow compared to the other bottlings, but very pleasant. Rating: 86
- The 2004 Couchantis a blend of 85% Cabernet Franc and 15% Syrah. It exhibits a deep ruby/purple hue as well as blackberry, cassis, cedar, and spice aromas. Playing it close to the vest, this linear, structured 2004 should evolve for 5-7 years. Rating: 86
- The 2006 Grenache has a medium ruby color (lighter than the two previous wines) and a classic nose of kirsch liqueur, licorice, and spice. It is medium-bodied, simple, fruity, and best drunk over the next 2-3 years. Rating: 86
- Gary Vaynerchuk recently featured the TV Celadon 2006 Grenache BlancEsperanza Vyd Clarksburg on an edition of Wine Library TV (10-08-08). Gary rated it a 91+. He pointed out the creaminess and pineapple flavors, with a nice residual sugar that will appeal to many; gorgeous guava and papaya on the back-end; a little honey comb; creamy; very tropical (like Capri Sun drinks); with a lot of white flowers; smokey.
The Radio Coteau 2006 Syrah Las Colinas was also reviewed by Robert Parker.
The 2006 Syrah Las Colinas seems even bigger and richer than the 2005, with an opaque purple color, full body, and notes of road tar, black truffle, camphor and blackberry. It behaves like a Hermitage. This wine is stunning and should drink nicely for 7-8 years.
California Wine and Cheese was created to highlight the undiscovered gold of California. Our focus is on California produced wines and cheeses from around the world, as well as California specialties like chocolates, olive oils and a variety of gourmet food and wine country gift items.
Wines are produced in California that express our varied climate and topography. Many of the wines are unique to California because of this terroir. But beyond the great California styles, there are wines which artfully mimic the classic old world wines; Bourdeaux and Burgundy of France, Sangiovese blends of Northern Italy, Tempranillos and Garnachas of the Iberian Pennisula, along with Rieslings and Gewurztraminers of Germany and Austria.
Today, California artisan and farmstead cheese makers are crafting creamy soft cheeses, washed rind cheeses, a variety of blues and many others, all sourced from cows, sheep and goats. Like the wine, these cheeses will be available both in the shop or to go, and we often have small samples out for nibbling.
In addition, there will always be 9-10 wines available for tasting, as well as flights of wine on Friday and Saturday evenings. Both tasting pours or full glasses are available.
We offer Wine 101 classes at various times during the year. These classes focus on the basics of wine tasting and sensory evaluation, as well as the characteristics of various wines and their relationship to “Old World” wines of Europe. Periodically, we also offer special guided tastings where opportunities for enhancing your wine knowledge are hosted by our resident “Wine Geek.” Beyond these learning opportunities, we host a Winemaker generally once a month and provide an opportunity to sample their wines and ask questions about the art, science and magic of going from grape to wine.
We are pleased to welcome everyone to stop by during our regular hours for a tasting. We can’t wait to meet you! Check back often to read about special events and wines that we carry.
One of the best ways to explore wines and find new favorites is at a wine tasting bar. At our bar there will always be at least eight to ten wines available by the pour (1.5 oz) or by the glass (5 oz). Tasting is available whenever the shop is open (although we stop pouring 30 minutes before closing).
Each Friday, a new line-up of wines is offered for tasting. The wines are generally grouped in two flights, one red and one white. The wines in each flight are usually all of the same varietal or from the same winery (or just seemed like they would work well together). You have the option of buying a flight in order to sample and compare each of the four or five wines in the group, or pick and choose wines from the flight either by the pour or the glass. We hope that by exploring a variety of wines, you expand your knowledge and enjoyment of wine.
In addition to the wine, Cheese Plates, designed to complement the wines, are always available. From our selection of 40-50 cheeses, we design two plates each week. One plate is intended to work with either the red or white wines on offer, while a second plate is usually made up of rich blue cheeses and tends to work best with the red wines.