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Summer 2016 12-Picks

Red Wines

2010 Korbin Kameron Cabernet Sauvignon Moon Mountain Sonoma Valley
Already nicely evolved, the bouquet of this gutsy mountain Cab is a rich perfume of sweet dark plum, mulberry, black cherry, red and black currant, blueberry, caramel, date sugar, cedar, graphite, sandalwood, tobacco and star anise scents. It is juicier, gutsier and more youthful on the palate, where dried herb and mineral accents join tannic grip to firm up the backbone. The finish is a firm melange of hard mineral elements, dark fruit and earthy spice, where notes of leather, clove, licorice root and cola join flavors that mirror the nose. It is a fine match for churrasco grilled meats and dark roasts. 800 cases produced.

2013 Owl Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley
This is a truly gorgeous Cabernet at a terrific price. The nose is an expansive perfume of black currant, blackberry, mulberry, blueberry, violet, sweet dark tobacco, date sugar, licorice root, cedar and vanilla. Black raspberry, black currant, violet, plum jam, black fig, baking spice, licorice root, peppercorn and sweet tobacco flavors are prominent on the palate, where the texture is sleek, the fruit focused and the intensity continues to build with exposure to air. Full of lingering fruit and spice and already seductive, it is sure to grow more so for another few years. 289 cases produced.

2013 Singer Petit Verdot Blend “Aria” Napa Valley
This wine's Petite Verdot component is evident in its dramatic color, body, rich mid-palate fruit and in its gutsy constitution. The aromas are a forthcoming mix of purple plum, black cherry, blackberry, violet, peppercorn, cedar, old leather, baking-spice and tobacco scents. It is plump and juicy on the palate, with fruit at center-stage and plenty of intensity overall. The finish is a plush, zesty, gutsy composite of bright fruits, supported by lingering sweet-savory spice notes that include licorice root, dates, black peppercorn, leather, tobacco, chocolate and baking-spices. Already delicious, it should be even more so a few years down the road. A blend of 70% Petite Verdot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot & 8% Cabernet Franc. 50 cases produced.

2014 Luli Pinot Noir Santa Lucia Highlands
Luli is always a fine value and an easy drinker, but this vintage displays an extra layer of dark richness. The nose offers Italian Maraschino cherry, dark boysenberry, dry red rose, sumac berry, black peppercorn, toasted grain and humidor-spice scents. The wine is plump and round on the palate, yet offers appropriate zest and attractive grip, which frame-in dark cherry, boysenberry, blood orange and tobacco flavors that fan-out and linger. Generous and satisfying by itself, its balance makes it extremely food-friendly for summer or winter service. 7200 cases produced.

2013 J. Rickards Zinfandel 1908 Brignole Vineyard Alexander Valley
This is a very full, yet dinner-friendly Zinfandel that possesses a rich core of purple plum, blackberry, blueberry, star anise, bay leaf and vanilla scents beneath it’s more assertive aromas of violet and black pepper. Flavors of dark plum, blackberry, black cherry, blueberry, violet, sandalwood, licorice root, cracked black pepper and some earthy forest-floor notes fan-out to coat the palate. Those flavors are long, with an appealing suppleness, and the lasting memory is of fresh dark berries and sweet licorice root. Delicious already, it will be even better next year. Planted in 1908, this is a Zinfandel “field blend” which includes six other grapes. 834 cases produced.

2013 Sans Liege Syrah “Long Way Home” Santa Barbara County
This Syrah provides knockout quality at a modest price, and its panorama of black currant, blackberry, blueberry, dark cherry, violet, lavender, peppercorn, jerked meat, dark chocolate, soy sauce, charcoal, sage and rosemary proves as focused on the palate as it is to the nose. The texture is sleek, yet palate coating, and the spicy-fruity flavors linger with enough intensity to suppress the tannins. Complex and moderately age-worthy, it is already deliciously dinner-friendly. 475 cases produced.

White Wines

2014 Whitehall Lane Chardonnay Carneros
Among the richest of Whitehall Lane Chardonnays, this pretty bottling marries aromas of baked apple, fresh green apple, white peach, quince and lemon blossom to sweet-savory pie crust and toasted nut scents. It is plump and round on the palate, with plenty of zest to support its lingering apple, lemon curd, quince, dry peach, vanilla wafer and toasted nut flavors. Ready to enjoy, it is perfect for summers richer fish and fowl entrees, and will prove a fine pool-side sipper as well. 493 cases produced.

2015 Folkway Sauvignon Blanc Santa Barbara Highlands Vineyard Santa Barbara County
Brightly fresh and altogether distinctive, the aromas of this super-value white are a deftly-balanced mix of lime and grapefruit zest, guava, white peach, green plum, melon rind, green peppercorn and lemongrass scents. Zest almost entirely trumps richness on the palate, where focused grapefruit sorbet, green peppercorn, guava, melon rind, jalapeno pepper, lime oil, coriander seed and brioche flavors provide lingering refreshment. Ready to enjoy, it will be a terrific lunch companion and a near-perfect summer thirst quencher. 300 cases produced.

2012 Chalone Pinot Blanc “Heritage Vines” Chalone District
Plush fruit and cutting zest prove ideal counterpoints in this delicious ‘old-vines’ bottling. In the nose, bright pear, peach, apple skin, grapefruit zest, lemon cream pie, yellow rose and white pepper scents form a sweet-natured harmony. The fruit is extravagantly plush on the mid-palate, where soft-edged flavors of Crenshaw melon, lychee, apple sauce, pear and lemon cream pie push-forth. Those same flavors - along with some kumquat, yellow rose, dried pear and peach tart additions - are tamed by piquant zest at the finish. This guilty-pleasure will prove as tasty with hamachi sashimi as with baked chicken or buttery crab legs. 702 cases produced..

2014 Mahoney Vermentino Carneros
Textbook in varietal character, fruit-packed and wonderfully food-friendly, this is a gorgeous Vermentino. The nose offers salt-preserved lemon, white peach pit, fresh apple, dried peach, cucumber, lemongrass, white pepper and mineral scents of impressive richness and focus. All those elements follow through on the palate with even greater distinction, to join flavors of Meyer lemon sorbet, green plum, pink peppercorn, dried mango, nut husk, oyster shell and mineral salts to linger in a rich, yet cutting-crisp finish. A joy with many dishes and cuisines, it should be at it’s best with flavorful sea foods. 400 cases produced.

2014 Ojai Viognier Roll Ranch Ventura County
This is a vividly-focused, varietally perfect Viognier that fans-out a bright perfume of Royal Riviera pear, yellow peach, vanilla wafer, white pepper, jasmine, orange blossom and honeysuckle scents. The wine is every bit as fruit-forward on the palate, yet that fruit is counter-pointed by cutting acidity and hard minerality, which makes the flavors of lime zest, fresh pear, pear skin, lychee fruit, Gravenstein apple, white peach, white pepper, jasmine, honeysuckle and peach pit stand out in high relief. The finish is piquantly refreshing and very long, with mineral hints bringing stony dryness at the end. 321 cases produced.

2013 Palmina Tocai Friulano Honea Vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
Delightfully fresh, the aromas of this easy-drinking refresher are a focused mix of lime, quince, white peach, lemon sorbet, yellow rose, hay, straw and honeysuckle. In the mouth, quince, fresh lime, lemon curd, honeydew melon, tangerine sorbet, white currant and honeysuckle flavors glide on a sleek texture toward a refreshing finish that lingers with quiet undercurrents of star anise and river-stone minerality in support. It is ready to drink and will add an extra layer to the pleasures of summer. 301 cases produced.