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STAFF FAVORITES

 

DON'S PICKS

Chasseur Chardonnay Durell Vineyard Sonoma Coast 2011

This standout is Chasseur’s best-ever Durell. The nose is richly concentrated and offers focused aromas of crisp apple skin, baked apple pie, white peach and hints of lemon, pineapple and minerals, over a sweet-natured backdrop of honey-dipped nuts.  More

Benovia Zinfandel Cohn Vineyard Sonoma County 2010

Rich, exotic and full of dark fruits and spices, this is textbook old vines Zin. The nose pours-out notes of black raspberry to contrast brighter scents of Santa Rosa plum and lots of black and Schezuan peppercorn...More

Chamisal Chardonnay Califa Selection Edna Valley 2009

Both attractively ripe and fully mature, this creamy-rich Chardonnay sports a bouquet of sweet ripe peach, pineapple soufflé, pear liqueur, toasted hazelnut and hints of coconut cream pie and crushed white flowers. It is almost heady-rich on the palate, where ripe white peach, melon...More

Arns Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009

This wonderfully elegant Cabernet offers rich, sweetly fruity aromas of Michigan cherry, red current, vanilla, mocha, baking spices and tobacco over a subtle minerally-earthy background. As with the nose, there is a wonderful sense of polish on the palate, where flavors of sweet...More

Porter Family Sandpiper Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley 2008

This delicious Meritage displays the juicy richness so often seen in the frost-concentrated 2008 Napa Cabs. The nose offers a forthcoming mix of cherry jam, pomegranate syrup, sweet vanilla and baking spice scents, along with a hint of peppercorn...More

L’Amante Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Howell Mountain 2009

Like so many ‘09 Howell Mountain Cabs, this wine is already extremely appealing. The nose is a deep, focused, beautifully ripened, yet elegant mix of rich mulberry and blueberry, with a citric boysenberry note and pretty vanilla rising above undercurrents of dried sage, laurel, tobacco and minerals. The sense of bright fruit is even more captivating on the palate and that keeps the flavors bright and in the forefront. More

Moone Tsai Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard Sonoma Coast 2010

Famous Cabernet maker Philippe Melka produced less than 500 hundred cases of this lovely Chardonnay, which sports seductive aromas of spiced green apples, lemony citron, dried pineapple, vanilla cream, nutmeg & toasted nuts. More

Caraccioli Brut Cuvee Method Champenoise Santa Lucia  Highlands Sparkling Wine 2007 

The nose of this delightfully forthcoming Sparkler delivers a rich marriage of fresh green apple scents to notes of sweet biscuits and panettone, along with some mineral hints and subtle wisps of bottled cherry and wild strawberry. Wonderfully zesty flavors of Fuji apple. More

Malk Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District 2009

This fine Cabernet already puts forth an impressively evolved bouquet, as aromas of sweet blackberry, Cassis and a rich core of dark cherry are layered by savory notes of mocha, baking spices, date molasses and sweet tobacco. The wine is very rich on the palate, where the flavors shift into red current, red cherry... More


 

JOHN'S PICKS

Whitehall Lane Cabernet Sauvignon Leonardini Vineyard St. Helena Napa Valley 2010

This is a deeply fruity and beautifully composed Cabernet, with the tannic structure for long life and a supple texture that allows for some early enjoyment. The nose pushes-forth deep blueberry, cherry, black currant, vanilla, baking spice, cedar and dark tobacco scents in a rich and expressive display. More

Dragonette Grenache Santa Barbara 2011

Primarily a blend of fruit from the John Sebastiano (Sta. Rita Hills) and Thompson Vineyards (Los Alamos Valley), this seductive, feminine Grenache is a model of varietal purity and balance.  Gorgeous red cherry, red plum, and ripe strawberry notes are wrapped with accents of allspice, cinnamon bark, bay leaf...More

JRE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Howell Mountain 2009

Yet another great Howell Mountain ‘09 Cab, this already impressive bottling wraps gorgeous aromas of sweet cherries, blueberries, mulberries, vanilla and baking spices into a beautiful package. Things are just as expressive in the mouth, although some tannic grip counterpoints its palate-coating (if slightly grapey) impression...More

Dragonette Sauvignon Blanc Grassini Vineyard Happy Canyon 2011

Taut, linear, and full of vibrant intensity, this expressive Santa Barbara Sauvignon Blanc beautifully conveys its vineyard source.  Tart green apple and white grapefruit lead the way supported by touches of pear and lemon/lime zest.  The assertive minerality..More

Lacuna Rhone Style Red (Syrah & Petite Sirah) CALIFORNIA 2010

This 58/42 blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah is reminiscent of a ripe-vintage Cote-Rotie.  On the nose, a dense core of blackberry and blackcurrant fruit is wrapped with accents of plum sauce, violets, smoked beef jerky, vanilla, black peppercorn, and mocha. More

Rocca Family Merlot Grigsby Vineyard Yountville 2009

Juicy, luscious, and immediately appealing, this Yountville Merlot jumps out of the glass with aromas of black plum, blueberry compote, violets, and baking spices.  On the palate the wine is just as generous and forthcoming, offering up an elegant, sweet/spicy combination of blueberry...More


 

BILLY'S BARGAIN PICK

Verdad Paragon Vineyard Albarino Edna Valley 2012

This cool climate Albarino is another great example of how this grape is producing beautiful wine in nontraditional areas.  A bit shy strait out of the fridge, the nose shows subtle hints of key lime, young honeysuckle and flecks of slate...More


 

MIDORI'S PICK

Deovlet Chardonnay Santa Barbara County 2010

The aromas of this fine Chardonnay are a hint low-key, but classy, as scents of white peach and sweet apple find a graceful harmony with others of lemon zest and honeysuckle. In the mouth, the texture is racy and gently palate-coating, and the flavors of baked apples, pear liqueur...More

Pahlmeyer Chardonnay Napa Valley 2010

Wine Advocate: 93 POINTS 

Winemaker's Notes: "This Chardonnay exhibits a bright yellow hue, and tropical fruit and nutmeg spice on the nose. The core is highlighted by a mouth watering viscosity balanced with a tightening acidity...More

Fama Winery Chardonnay Hudson Vineyard Carneros 2009

This elegantly luscious bottling is fruity, spicy and appealingly oaky to the nose, where scents of Fuji apples, lemon zest, peaches and pears find harmony with equally pretty notes of vanilla and baking spices. More


 

YUKARI'S PICK

Sandhi Chardonnay Rita's Santa Rita Hills 2011

This is a Chardonnay that delivers focused, concentrated fruit, in a feminine style. The aromas fan-out as a pretty mix of fresh apple, lemon, pear skin and mineral scents, with hints of orange blossom in the background. It is richer and juicier than expected on the palate...More

Benovia Pinot Noir La Pommeraie Russian River Valley 2010

This is a flashy Pinot from start to finish. The aromas surge forth as a bright, vivid perfume of red plum, Boysenberry, red raspberry and dark cherry, over slightly more subtle notes of grain, tobacco and minerals. More