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Summer 2019 12-Picks


2016 Silver Trident “Playing With Fire” Proprietary Red Napa Valley
This is a dinner-balanced wine of polished elegance and fine focus, which seduces as it airs. The aromas are a marriage of dark plum, black currant and mulberry, with hints of pomegranate syrup, red rose and violet, all poised above a background of cedar, clove and baking spices. It is sleek, supple and quietly gripping on the palate, where flavors of plum, black currant, mulberry, black fig, sour red cherry, clove, cedar, sandalwood, leather and laurel gradually fan out. The finish has a graceful, lingering Bordeau-esque feel, and if the wine is already very satisfying, it should be more so in another twelve to eighteen months. A blend of 32% Malbec, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Grenache, 12% Syrah, 4% Viognier (co-fermented with the Syrah), 2% Mourvedre. 350 cases made.

2016 Chanin Pinot Noir Santa Barbara County
Bright, focused and elegant, the nose of this lovely Pinot Noir offers scents of whortleberry, strawberry, grenadine, orange zest, pink peppercorn, sumac berry, hazelnut nougat and a hint of ginger. At opening the texture is firm and the flavors seem a slightly less evolved echo of the aromas, being a bit tighter in fruit expression and richer in oak. As the wine airs, the mouth-feel grows more supple and the flavors grow into a rich and lingering panorama of red plum, red currant, grenadine, bottled red cherry, blueberry, rose, mulling spices, sandalwood, sumac, peppercorn, baking-spice and nougat. Delicious now, it will be more so in another year. 1000 cases produced.

2017 Ukiyo Pinot Noir Karah Estate Vineyard Petaluma Gap Sonoma Coast
This delightfully gulp-able Pinot showcases focused fruit and sweet-savory spice notes at a terrific price. The nose weaves black cherry, red plum, red raspberry, whortleberry and pomegranate fruit expressions into easy harmony with scents of dried red rose, pink peppercorn, mulling-spice, sweet tobacco leaf and vanilla. It is medium-light in body, soft-edged and forthcoming on the palate, where its lingering display of red fruits and sweet-natured spices carry the zest to create a dinner-friendly balance. It is ready to enjoy. 375 cases produced.

2016 Once & Future Mataro (Mourvedre) Oakley Road Vineyard Contra Costa
Legendary winemaker Joel Peterson has crafted an elegant and age-worthy wine from these ancient vines. The nose is deep and seductively rich, and black cherry, Italian Maraschino cherry, blueberry syrup, black plum, licorice root, roasted beet, bouillon, toasted herbs, mulling-spice, dark earth and forest mushroom scents gradually fan-out. It is forthcoming, rich in body, darkly fruity and herbal-accented on the palate, where dark earthy impressions, black tea, forest mushroom, bouillon, roasted beet and mace flavors support others of dark plum, blueberry, dark cherry galette, licorice root, mace and peppercorn. The finish is supple, long and gently zesty, with tannic grip well suppressed. Built for prime rib, steaks, full-flavored stews and the like, it will grow ever more intriguing over the next four to eight years. 250 cases produced.

2016 Runquist Zinfandel Massoni Ranch Amador County Sierra Foothills
Superbly focused and vivid from the gate, this is a near-ideal expression of Amador Zin. The nose is a gorgeous perfume of Santa Rosa plum jam, cranberry sauce, Amarena cherry, violet, pink and red rose petal, cracked black pepper, mace, nutmeg and iron-ore scents. A pinpoint balance between bright red fruits, hard minerality, tannic grip and an engagingly supple texture creates a feeling of poised energy to the palate, and the sparkling fruits promised by the aromas retain their chiseled clarity, while the harmony of parts is delivered with intensity through a lingering, brilliantly food-worthy finish. It should be a sensational match to fatty pork roasts, barbecued ribs, beef stew or grilled meats of all kinds. 1100 cases produced.

2014 Gregory Graham Grenache Crimson Hill Vineyard Red Hills Lake County
Elegant and quietly zesty, this wine offers aromas of red currant, Kirsch, raspberry galette, red plum, strawberry, pink peppercorn, sandalwood, mace and a hint of bay leaf. Raspberry, Kirsch and pink peppercorn take center-stage on the mid-palate, where more prominent zest and a bit of tannic grip bring a drier edge and impressive food-worthiness. A lingering finish brings in more of the promised savory hints, as well as suggestions of cumin seed and canella. If a fine companion to roast pork shoulder right now, it will surely improve for the next twelve to eighteen months. Blended with 17% Tempranillo & 6% Petite Sirah, 450 cases produced.


2018 Whitehall Lane Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford Napa Valley
Bright, fresh and showing focused varietal character, this Sauvignon Blanc delivers intense aromas of grapefruit, lemon sorbet, lime, lemongrass, green melon rind, white rose and white pepper. It is crisp and racy on the palate, with rich notes of melon and white rose tied to sharper ones of lemongrass, grapefruit zest, preserved lemon, and white pepper. Long and subtly rich, it will be a fine companion to sole in butter sauce, cold chicken or grilled pork with apples.

2018 Kinero Grenache Blanc "Alice” Paso Robles
Fresh, pretty and expressive, the nose of this delightful white offers genteel scents of sweet lemonade, lime zest, green melon, pear skin, Persian raisin and a hint of white pepper. It proves just as bright and citric in the mouth, where flavors of grapefruit zest, lime, lemon sorbet, Persian raisin, chalk and melon carry their harmony and elegance through a long, sharply dry finish. Refreshing and a great foil to summer meals, it is a delicious sipper as well. 400 cases produced.

2018 La Marea Albariño Kristy Vineyard Monterey County
A true expression of its grape, this wine is fruity, spicy and mineral-laced, delicious alone and notably food-friendly. The aromas are a vibrant mix of green apple, pineapple core, cantaloupe, tangerine, lemon, lime, yellow rose, cucumber, celery seed, coriander seed and brioche scents. Mineral salinity is a notable counterpoint to the fruit on the palate, where pink grapefruit joins with the elements promised in the nose, to fan-out in a dry-edged, food-worthy panorama. Built for salty-spicy appetizers, it will of course be a perfect companion to Tapas. 1000 cases produced.

2017 Stolo Chardonnay "Estate” Cambria San Luis Obispo County
Bright, yet creamy-rich, the aromas of this Chardonnay are a focused medley of peach, baked apple, golden mulberry, Meyer lemon, nutmeg, baking-spice, honeysuckle and hazelnut buttercream. On the palate,  flavors of lemon, peach, melon, pineapple core, white rose, brioche, honeysuckle, hazelnut, nutmeg, bees wax and a hint white pepper are poised above chalky mineral undercurrents. Lingering and well balanced for service with rich entrees right now, it should grow in dimension over the next few years. 394 cases produced.

2018 Odisea Cochon Old Vine Rosé California
Undramatic yet vividly focused, racy and distinctive, this ancient vine Rosé sports aromas of white cherry, cherry pit, wild strawberry, pink peppercorn, white and pink rose, dried orange peel and “riverstone” mineral notes. It is piquantly fruity, mineral-laced yet genteel on the palate and stony dry, and its iron ore and chalk-like mineral hints frame-in the lingering white cherry, watermelon, wild strawberry, pink, white and Schezuan peppercorn and white rose flavors. It is brilliantly food balanced and will prove attractive with a very wine range of cuisines. 400 cases produced.

2018 Brooks Note Pinot Blanc Mendocino
This easy-drinking white is distinctive in aroma, texture and in its lingering flavors. The nose sports bright, forthcoming scents of apple skin, white peach pit and lemon blossom, with undercurrents of Meyer lemon sorbet, clove and white rose. It proves zesty, yet surprisingly tongue-coating in the mouth, where suggestions of green melon, gooseberry and honeysuckle join with the peach, apple and lemon notes. The finish is piquant, yet rich, and it lingers, adding white rose, honeysuckle and lavender as a gentle counterpoint to fuller notes of apple skin, melon and gooseberry. It is refreshing and ready to enjoy. 150 cases produced from Revino Vineyard fruit.




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