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Venta Morales 2009 Tempranillo La Mancha ($8.99)- "The 2009 Venta Morales is 100% Tempranillo raised in stainless steel. Deep crimson-colored, it emits aromas of spice box and fragrant black cherry. On the palate licorice and other black fruits emerge leading to a finish with no hard edges. Drink this excellent value over the next 2-3 years.  87 points."


Bodegas Juan Gil 2007 Juan Gil Jumilla ($15.99)- "The Busuness Card2007 Juan Gil is also 100% Monastrell from 45-year-old vines aged for 12 months in French and American oak. Purple-colored with an enticing bouquet of underbrush, cedar, plum, and blueberry, on the palate it is dense, sweetly-fruited, and concentrated. Drink this nicely balanced effort over the next 4-5 years.  90 points."


Bodegas Muga 2009 Rioja Rosado ($11.99)-"The 2009 Muga Rose is a mix of red and white grapes, 60% Garnacha, 30% Viura, and 10% Tempranillo which spends 2 months in American oak vats. Medium pink-colored with a pretty nose of strawberry and rhubarb, on the palate it is dry, crisp, and tasty in a slightly austere style which more sophisticated imbibers may find appealing. Drink it over the next 12-18 months.  88 points."


Numanthia 2006 Termes Toro ($32.99)-"The 2006 Termes is inky black with an enticing perfume of mineral, spice box, leather, and blackberry. Succulent, concentrated, and impeccably balanced, it has enough structure to blossom for another 2-3 years but can be approached now. 92 points."  [Bodegas Numanthia-Termes was sold by the Eguren family to Moet-Hennessey prior to the 2006 vintage. What this might ultimately mean for quality or style of the wine remains to be seen but there is no questioning the performance of the 2006 and 2007 vintages.]



Pinot Press 



Sequana 2007 Pinot Noir Russian River "Sundawg" ($54.99)- "This distinctive Pinot Noir...is totally dry and silky and firm in acidity, yet soft in fine tannins. You might call it noble. It's eruptive in cherries, sweet smoky bacon, raspberry granola and oaky sandalwood. Gorgeous, seductive and brilliant, a truly great Pinot Noir that's impeccable now.  97 points - Editor's Choice." - Wine Enthusiast


St Innocent Winery 2006 Willamette Pinot Noir "Seven Springs" ($53.99) -

"The 2006 Pinot Noir Seven Springs Vineyard offers a complex bouquet of pain grille, spice box, damp earth, black cherry, and black raspberry. This is followed by a medium- to full-bodied wine with gobs of dark fruits, intense, savory flavors excellent depth and concentration, and a 45-second finish. 92 points. Drink it from 2010 to 2018." - Wine Advocate


St Innocent Winery 2007 Willamette Pinot Noir "White Rose" ($55.99) - "The 2007 Pinot Noir White Rose Vineyard is the most elegant wine of the portfolio. It offers up a nearly ethereal perfume of spice box, mineral, rose petal, incense, and assorted red fruits. Medium-bodied, velvety, and complex, it has a nervy energy that makes it hard to resist now. However, it has the balance to provide pleasure for another 8-10 years.  92 points." - Wine Advocate


St Innocent Winery 2006 Willamette Pinot Noir "Shea" ($53.99) -"The 2006 Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard is a candidate for Shea of the vintage as well as my choice in this portfolio. It is the richest, most concentrated, and complex as well as the best balanced, nicely concealing enough structure to evolve for 4-5 years, about as much as one can expect from this vintage. It should be at its best from 2012 to 2021.  94 points." - Wine Advocate





Elk Cove Mount Richmond 


"There is a quiet kind of excitement in the Willamette Valley after harvest 2008. Phrases and clichés keep rolling on such as classic cool climate, vintage conditions that are only dreamt of, potential to show the best of what Oregon has to offer. Add to this, repeated references to perhaps one of Oregon's best vintages, 1999 and understandably many in the valley are smiling. Oregon's 2008 growing season started late, with bud break on average ten days to two weeks behind schedule and followed with a relatively cool growing season. Thoughts of the recent wet and cool harvest of 2007 had many aggressively thin vineyards to concentrate fruit and speed up ripening and ward off disease pressure. Yet as in 1999, a beautiful Oregon autumn saved the day! Fall was spectacular with sunny days and cold nights, producing the tiny berries and small clusters not seen since the 1994 and 1998 vintages, laying the foundation to produce extraordinary wines." 


Elk Cove Vineyards 2008 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley "Mount Richmond" ($44.99) -"Smooth and silky, delivering a root beer-like sassafras and anise character weaving through the blackberry, cherry, and spice flavors with transparency and vibrancy. Picks up some cream and tobacco as the finish lingers. 94 points.  Best from 2012 through 2018." Wine Spectator (May 19, 2010)


Grand Veneur 


I've been patiently waiting for this one to resurface.



Domaine Grand Veneur 2007 Lirac "Clos de Sixte" ($23.99)- 93 points - Robert Parker: "The 2007 Lirac Clos de Sixte is composed of 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 15% Mourvedre. Abundant licorice, graphite, black cherry, and blackberry characteristics are offered in a full-bodied, deep, fleshy style. Liracs generally do not age as long as Chateauneuf du Papes, but this effort is capable of lasting 5-7 years where well-stored as it is a big, impressively endowed wine."  (MSRP $26.99)


Varner "Bee Block" 



Now having been in the wine business for almost fourteen (14!) years, I've become skeptical (or desensitized) of higher and higher wine ratings.  Current wine-making manipulation and resultant grade inflation often assign the highest scores to the biggest gorilla in the room (Shiraz is a fantastic example).  So when I saw a 95er from RMParker for the Varner Bee Block Chardonnay, I would expect to be beaten down by a butter-soaked, toasted-oak ax handle.  I was wrong.


Fortunately, at trade tasting last Sunday, I had the opportunity to meet Jim Varner and he presented his Bee Block Chardonnay.  Here's the reviewers spin: 


"95 points.  The incredible 2007 Chardonnay Bee Block is a tour de force in mountain Chardonnay. Honeysuckle, crème brulée, buttered citrus, white peach, and baked apple characteristics emerge from this full-bodied, intense effort. With great acidity as well as fabulous precision and purity, it can be enjoyed over the next 7-8 years." - Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate 

New Arrival 


Château de Ségriès 2008 Tavel Rosé ($14.99) - "A brilliant, big-boned, brawny, dry rosé with plenty of flavor. It cuts a savory, heady feel across the palate. Enjoy it over the next 8-12 months. 90 points." - Wine Advocate

Chateau Smith


A mixed bag, including:




K Vintners 2006 "Chateau Smith" Cabernet Savignon Columbia Valley  ($19.99) - "Delicious Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromatics galore-cigar box, pencil lead, cedar and currants with super refined tannins and a long, fine finish. French? No. Chateau Smith? OUI!"


Food & Wine Magazine 2009 American Wine Awards Winemaker of the Year By Richard Nalley.  "Nine years ago, this California native was managing a rock band in Copenhagen when he made an unusual career shift: 'I left my life in Denmark and moved to Walla Walla, Washington, where I knew exactly one person.' That was Cayuse Vineyards' Christophe Baron, who had rhapsodized to Smith about the potential of Washington Syrah. Smith taught himself how to make wine by creating minuscule lots of Syrah for his own K brand. Now his wines are some of Washington's most sought-after. And Smith's The Magnificent Wine Company wines (House Wine Red and White) and "modernist" Charles Smith Wines (The Velvet Devil Merlot, Kung Fu Girl Riesling and more) are among the best values anywhere. Despite his success, Smith remains a rocker at heart, with the 80-mph motorcycle habit to prove it."


New Values


Cava has recently been an easy "go-to" for under-$10 sparkling wine values.  Here's a new one, with simply-stated packaging to go with it - Dibon NV Cava Brut Reserve ($9.99):


  • Wine Enthusiast 88 points -  A Best Buy: "Dibon is new to us, and after tasting this complete, well-made Cava we are happy to makes it acquaintance. The nose offers regal yeast and richness, while the palate has complexity to prop up apple, citrus and grapefruit flavors. Solid from front to back, with health and freshness."
  • "A true bargain, with subtly sweet apricot flavors balanced by tart grapefruit." Bon Appetite
  • A "Good Value" designation from Wine & Spirits Magazine: "Dried apricot and marzipan flavors meet the nutty bitterness of this cava. A sweet, soft wine to serve with herbed goat cheese in pastry shells."

On the heels of last Friday's successful Cono Sur Chardonnay comes the Cono Sur 2008 Carmenère ($9.99) - Until 1991, much of the Carmenère in Chile was mistaken for Merlot.  Carmenère produces a depp red wine somewhere between Cabernet and Merlot in style..."Good/Very Good. Best value.  Rich, round, peppery and lively, with ripe, dark fruits and surprising acidity. Soft enough for easy enjoyment, but with plenty of verve, too." - Wall Street Journal


New vintage for the Finca El Reposo 2009 Mendoza St Jeannett ($9.99)

Esencia Valdemar 2006 Rioja Tempranillo SALE!! ($7.99 was $11.99) "This wine is made with 100% Estate-grown Tempranillo.  Its fruity aromas of licorice and blackberries along with it round and easy-drinking style make it a perfect match for most first courses, meats, barbecues, and pizza."


New vintage for the Rabbit Ridge 2008 Paso Robles "Allure de Robles" Rhône Ranger ($8.99) - "The first vintage of Allure was in 2005 and was non-vintage as the vines were too young to produce the Rhone blend they wanted. That first year they sold 299 cases. In 2006 they sold 456 cases. In 2007, they sold 7,514 cases. And in 2008, they sold 8,477 cases. As of October 2009, they have sold 22,000 cases. The Russell's think this is a sign that people are realizing the ALLURE of California Rhone style wines. With the soft economy and many of the French Cotes du Rhone wines becoming more expensive, savvy consumers still want to drink good wine but at a reasonable price."


December 7th, 2009...Spectator TOP 100

Wine Spectator Top 100

Here's what we have left from the Top 100 list...get them while you can.


#21 :: Neyers 2007 Chardoonnay Carneros ($34.99)- "Complex aromas of smoke, fig and citrus fold over to the palate. Full-bodied, with fine structure and acidity, along with flavors that end up giving this a delicate feel. The aftertaste is delicious. Drink now through 2012.  93 points."


#29 :: Chalone 2007 Chardoonnay Estate ($24.99)- "Exhibits a complex mix of subtle pear and mineral with pleasant earthy notes and floral scents. Tight and full-bodied, ending with a long, persistent finish. Drink now through 2012.  92 points." - We opened this last Friday!


#61 :: Monte Antico 2006 Toscana Sangiovese/Merlot/Cabernet ($15.99) - "Bright plum, dried cherry and flowers on the nose. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and refined berry and cherry flavors. Drink now.  90 points."


#62 :: Loosen Bros 2008 Mosel QbA Riesling "Dr. L" ($12.99) - "Sleek and tangy, showing apricot, lime and mango flavors matched to a lively structure. There's good harmony and persistence through the finish. Drink now through 2018.  91 points."


#76 :: Clos la Coutale 2007 Cahors ($16.99) - "There's a sense of elegance to the well-defined, concentrated flavors of dark cherry, blackberry and plum, followed by notes of sage, dark chocolate and tobacco leaf on the long, powerful finish. Drink now.  90 points."


Busuness Card#80 :: Argiano 2007 Toscana "Non Confundiur" ($27.99) - "Offers an interesting combination of currant, raspberry and meat on the nose. Full-bodied, with chewy tannins and a spicy dried fruit aftertaste. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Sangiovese and Syrah. Best after 2011.  91 points."


#83 :: Bodegan Juan Gil 2006 Jumilla ($16.99) - "This polished red shows black cherry, licorice, mineral and tobacco notes, harmonious and deep, supported by firm tannins. Medium-bodied, well-integrated and stylish. Drink now through 2012.  90 points."


#91 :: Four Vines 2007 Zinfandel Paso Robles "Biker" ($24.99) - "Ripe and gutsy, but there's enough finesse and personality to make it a complete package. Aromas of wild berry and white pepper lead to briary but complex plum, anise and toasty sage flavors that finish with fine, loamy tannins. Best from 2011 through 2015.  91 points."



December 4th, 2009...Chardonnay


Contrast in Chardonnay - one of the most widely-planted grapes in the world, and still America's most popular white wine.  Even still today, most people do not realize the Pouilly-Fuissé is Chardonnay.  I'll dig around to see if there's a White Burgundy around to throw in...

ConosurViña Cono Sur 2009 Chardonnay Central Valley Chile ($9.99)- Wine Spectator's Daily Pick for December 3rd:  "Juicy, with a tangy mix of green apple and apricot flavors backed by melon notes on the open-knit finish. Drink now. 9,000 cases imported.  85 points."



Calera 2007 Chardonnay Central Coast California ($17.99) - "The 2007 Chardonnay Central Coast reveals notes of honeysuckle, orange blossom, and white peaches, medium body, and fine depth as well as purity. A good value, it can be enjoyed over the next 1-2 years.  88 points." - Wine Advocate


Viña Cobos 2007 Chardonnay "Felino" Mendoza Argentina ($21.99) - "Paul Hobbs has the touch with Chardonnay. The 2007 Felino Chardonnay from a vintage that Hobbs calls "dicey because of rain", was 70% fermented in stainless steel and 30% in barrel. It is medium gold-colored with a bouquet of toasty apple, poached pear, and tropical fruit aromas. Smooth and seamless on the palate, it has surprising depth, ripe flavors, and a pure finish. Drink this awesome bargain over the next two years.  91 points." - Wine Advocate


December 2nd, 2009...FOODS

New Foods


Mothais Goat CheeseMothais sur Feuille Goat Cheese ($9.99)- This cheese was born in the Deux-Sevres region, where it is still produced on the farms. Goat's cheeses, unlike mothais, are generally ripened in drier and better ventilated cellars than most of the other cheeses. The Mothais is the exception as it is matured in a very humid cellar with no ventilation. The flavour is soft and delicate, it literally melts in ones mouth.


As the Cheese begins to age it gets darker and the chestnut leaf imparts a  fragrant woodsy flavor to the cheese, Serve with a light, delicate red wine.  
I really don't like to say "No" to customers.  So, after saying no so many times to the question, "Do you carry truffel oil?" I can now say "YES!!!"

SabatinoSabatino Tartufi Truffle Olive Oils - Just after the turn of the century, in 1911, Sabatino Tartufi was founded. Sabatino Balestra and his wife Giuseppa began in a small storefront in Montecastrilli, Umbria, catering to local families by distributing truffles, olives, olive oil and sardines.  Their vision and philosophy to always maintain the highest quality standards and to provide the freshest products has been passed on to three generations and today is embodied to its fullest in the Sabatino Tartufi legacy as it exists today.


Sabatino WhiteWhite Truffle Oil ($13.99) - Truffles are one of the world's most complex and enticing foods. They add the maturity and complexity that refined diners crave. In this truffle seasoning, the rich flavor properties of the white truffle, also known as "the fruit of the woods," is mixed with olive oil.  It takes only a few drops to make a rich enhancement to the flavor of salad, pasta, risotto, fried eggs, mushroom dishes and mashed potatoes.


Asparagus with White Truffle Vinaigrette (Sabatino)

2 tablespoons of Sabatino Tartufi White Truffle Oil
1 1/2 lbs. of asparagus, washed and trimmed
1 1/2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon champagne wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
Fresh ground black pepper



White Truffle Oil Vinaigrette:
In bowl whisk together Sabatino Tartufi White Truffle Oil, olive oil, champagne vinegar, lemon juice, sea salt, and few grindings of black pepper. Set aside and be sure to serve at room temperature.

Blanch asparagus in lightly salted water for about three minutes, do not over cook. Remove from heat and place under cold water; drain. Toss asparagus with truffle vinaigrette to lightly coat. Arrange on serving platter.

Makes about 4 servings



Sabatino BlackBlack Truffle Oil ($11.99) - The basic ingredient is, of course, our excellent olive oil processed according to the old traditonal methods. This product mixes the robust, earthy characteristics of black truffle with olive oil.  This product gives its best results with first or main courses. Also, consider using Black Truffle Oil on a sliced loaf or warm garlic bread. Remember, just as with the White Truffle Oil, a little goes a long way.


Wild Mushroom Risotto with Asparagus & Black Truffle Oil By St. Supéry chef, Ron Barber


Risottos seem a bit complicated at first glance, but once you get the hang of it they are a great addition to any cooks repertoire.  The basic preparation of the rice remains the same while allowing you to be creative in the choice of ingredients:


½ pound assorted wild mushrooms - sliced (morel, porcini, chanterelle or whatever is available)
1 cup asparagus - sliced on the bias into 1/2" long pieces
¼ cup shallots finely chopped
1 teaspoon garlic - minced
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon zest - grated
1 ½ cup arborio rice
4 cups veal stock or low sodium beef broth - hot
½ cup cabernet sauvignon (St. Supery of course!)
½ cup Italian parsley - chopped
¾ cup parmesan cheese - freshly grated
1 tablespoon black truffle oil
salt and pepper


Place 2 tablespoons of the butter and the olive oil into a large sauté pan. Sauté the shallots, mushrooms and asparagus over medium heat until just cooked. Season to taste with salt & pepper. Set aside.

Bring the stock to a simmer in a medium saucepan.  Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan and sauté the rice and garlic for about 5 minutes - stirring constantly. Add the wine and cook until absorbed. Add the hot stock, one cup at a time until each addition is absorbed.  The rice should be fully cooked but not mushy.  Add the asparagus/mushroom mixture, parmesan, lemon zest and parsley.  Adjust the seasonings and divide between 4 warm bowls.  Drizzle with black truffle oil and serve.

Serves 4 as a main course.


November 26th, 2009...New Arrivals

New Arrival


Owen RoeOwen Roe 2007 Syrah Columbia Valley "Ex Umbris" ($27.99) - "Smooth and velvety, offering a plush mouthful of spicy cherry and red berry flavors, playing against plush tannins and hints of milk chocolate on the long, vivid finish. Syrah. Drink now through 2014. 3,000 cases made.  92 points." - Wine Spectator


Roagna 2007 Dolcetto d'Alba ($18.99) - "The 2007 Dolcetto d'Alba offers an explosion of dark red fruit, flowers, licorice and tar with lovely inner perfume and gorgeous balance. With air this medium-bodied wine puts on weight as balsamic notes emerge, adding further complexity. Roagna's Dolcetto saw an incredible 30 days of maceration on the skins followed by a full year in oak, an unusual regime in Piedmont these days to say the least, but one which gives this wine notable complexity for Dolcetto. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2011..  89 points." - Wine Advocate



November 25th, 2009...New Arrivals

New Arrivals!!


Just in time for Thanksgiving - more Bitches.  And this time, they're Fizzy Bitches!!  Bitch Bubbly NV Sparkling Wine ($9.99, $3.99 375ml) - A blend of Chardonnay, Shiraz and Grenache from Riverland, Barossa and McLaren Vale districts. Pale strawberry in color with a vibrant nose of sweet strawberries and raspberries with some toffee notes. Fresh berries, sweet candy and citrus on palate with a long, luscious creamy finish. Crown cap.  Reserve yours today!  (This stuff writes itself).


Bodegas Luzón 2008 Jumilla Red Wine "Luzón" ($8.99) - "Opaque ruby. Blackberry, cracked pepper and anise on the nose, with a suave floral overtone. Vibrant dark berry flavors are nicely framed by silky tannins and given depth by a note of bitter chocolate. A note of violet lingers on the juicy, gently sweet finish. Hard to imagine getting more complexity for the money.  89 points." - Steve Tanzer, International Wine Cellar


Loosen Bros. 2008 QbA Mosel Riesling "Dr. L" ($12.99) - "Sleek and tangy, showing apricot, lime and mango flavors matched to a lively structure. There's good harmony and persistence through the finish. Drink now through 2018.  90 points - Best Value - Top 100  #62." - Wine Spectator.  Great for Thanksgiving, too.


And "Thank You!" for your continued patronage.


November 24th, 2009...More BEERS!!

Even More Seasonal Beers 


Sierra Nevada Celebration Ale - Crack in a bottle.  "The long, cold nights of winter are a little brighter with Celebration® Ale. Wonderfully robust and rich, Celebration® Ale is dry-hopped for a lively, intense aroma. Brewed especially for the holidays, it is perfect for a festive gathering or for a quiet evening at home."   "...best beer ever made in America."- Stan Sessor, San Francisco Chronicle.  6.8% abv.  Six-packs and twelve-packs.


Tröegs "Mad Elf" Ale  - "The Mad Elf, a cheerful creation to warm your heart and enlighten your tongue. The combination of Cherries, Honey, and Chocolate Malts delivers gentle fruits and subtle spices. Fermented and aged with a unique yeast, this ruby red beer has significant warming strength that underlies the pleasant character of this intriguing yet delicious Ale. The Mad Elf, a jolly and delicious beer for the Holidays."  11% abv.


Southern Tier "Old Man" Winter Ale - "With the onset of winter, the brewer's mind turns to providing warmth. For our winter seasonal, we offer a rich and complex amalgam of hops and barley that will put the feeling back in your toes and lift your spirits above the snow. OMW throws a deep and inviting hue with a thickness that clings to the glass and the warmth of an open flame. Because of its high alcohol content, Old Man is a heady brew that encourages sipping and pondering its essential richness. Drink it fresh now, or cellar a few bottles to see how this old man becomes wiser with age."  7.2% abv.


Southern Tier "Phin & Matt's" Extraordinary Ale - "When we sat down to collaborate on this beer, we knew we had to create something extraordinary. After sampling a wide array of great beers, we hit upon an idea: use vast amounts of whole hops, the finest malted barley North America has to offer, and crystal filtered artesian water. Thus creating this classic American style pale ale."  5.4% abv.


Anderson Valley Brewing "Winter Solstice" - Listen to THIS!! "From the first sip of Winter Solstice Seasonal Ale, your senses will be aroused with the vision of a glowing fire, warming the hearth and home, as gently drifting snow flakes silently blanket the trees outside. Each lingering sip will gently warm your soul with thoughts of family and friends, gathering around the table for the feast. Luscious, creamy, smooth, and warming, this medium bodied ale is brewed with Caramel and crystal malts to give it just a hint of sweetness, then paired with our private blend of holiday spice. Winter Solstice Ale is great alone or as an accompaniment to any meal, and it has been known to liven and spice up nearly any social event. This coveted and much sought-after brew is released in November, just in time for the holidays, and by the first of the New Year will be only a fond memory."  6.9% abv.  Who could pass that up??

November 20th, 2009...BEERS!!

More Seasonal Beers 


Bells BrownBell's Best Brown ($10.99) - Best-selling beer in the store currently.  "Rich brown ale perfect for the fall and winter. Plenty of malt character and smooth sweet finish give this brown ale its distinct character." 5.8% abv.


Bels WinterBell's Winter White Ale ($10.99) - "A Wheat Ale brewed with American Wheat and a proprietary blend of Hefe and classic Belgian-style yeasts. A refreshing winter alternative created from the subtle fusion of two classic flavors."  5.0% abv.


Lagunitas "Brown Shugga" ($11.99) - "How come you taste so good?? 200 pounds of pure brown sugar in each 30-barrel batch, that's how! This strong ale leaves a lot of stories in its wake."  9.5% abv.


SUMPIN' EXTRA!!Lagunitas "A Little Sumpin' Extra! Ale"  ($4.99/22oz) - No brewery description.  Big ratings from RateBeer and Beeradvocate..."Another tremendous brew from Lagunitas and a great DIPA. The price-quality ration remains extraordinary for these 22 Oz. bombers and Lagunitas keeps on doing masterful twists and turns to their hoppy craft. This one has a deceptively mild, almost light, body for a dipa and the high IBUs are not that high but the way that they have being worked here is fantastic, and how the aroma follows taste and pushes up the body is a great pleasure. Hop Stoopid packs a bigger hoppy punch and offers a bigger provocation in that area, A Little Sumpin´ Extra instead offers a more balanced version with a common outstanding craft and delight."  8.74% abv.


New Holland Oatmeal Stout "Poet" ($11.99) - "The Poet has a rich, smooth malt character enveloped in tones of roast and chocolate. A soft mouth-feel brings luxurious flavors and soothing aroma. Any time of year, The Poet is as versatile as it is delicious. It pairs wonderfully with earthy flavors such as mushrooms and beef, while remaining the perfect accent to any chocolate dessert."  5.2% abv.

 Busuness Card

New Holland Brown Ale "Cabin Fever" ($11.99) - "Robust in character yet smooth in delivery, Cabin Fever is a roasty brown ale and a hearty, comforting companion for long, mind-bending winters. Its rye, roast and raisin notes play off a subtle caramel sweetness and culminate in a dry finish. Excellent with roasts, stews, caramelized onions and snowfall."  6.0% abv.


Victory Stout "Storm King" ($14.99) - "With a huge, Pacific Northwest hop aroma & character upfront, Storm King subsides into massive, roast malt complexity. More flavor than mere words can adequately describe. Rich and substantial, it will warm your heart."  9.1% abv.



Victory Ale "Yakima Twilight" ($14.99)

- "The tenacious grip of big, juicy hop aroma and character slides smoothly into rich, dark malts. This heavyweight battle between fresh, Yakima Valley hops and dark, roasted malts is resolved harmoniously as the flavors merge to deliver complex satisfaction with a warming edge. Enjoy the 'twilight' for the bright and brassy hops!"  8.7% abv.


November 19th, 2009...SALE!!

Red Wines on Sale!!


Busuness CardChâteau Greysac 2005 Médoc Bordeaux ($15.99 was $25.99)

- "Has a very pretty nose of Indian spices, currant and Christmas pudding. Full-bodied, with soft tannins and a long, caressing finish.  89 points." - Wine Spectator



Capçanes 2005 Mas Donis "Barrica" ($13.99 was $17.99)

- "Mas Donis Barrica is a custom cuvee made for importer Eric Solomon using old-vine Garnacha (80+ years) and Syrah (30+ years). The 2005 Mas Donis Barrica is 85 % Garnacha and 15% Syrah aged for 8 months in French and American oak before bottling without fining or filtration. It offers up an expressive nose of slate, mineral, licorice, violets, black cherry, and blueberry. Layered, long, and complex, this spicy, hedonistic effort has 2-3 years of aging potential but can be enjoyed now without guilt. It is a great value.  91 points." - Wine Advocate


d'Arenberg 2006 Shiraz McLaren Vale "Dead Arm" 375ml ($29.99 was $37.99) - "D'Arenberg's flagship is the 2006 The Dead Arm Shiraz. Opaque purple-colored, the nose is reticent but gives up aromas of meat, bacon, game, truffles, blueberry, and blackberry. Firm, layered, and complex, this beautifully rendered Shiraz demands a decade of cellaring. It will be superb from 2018 to 2036.  95+ points." - Wine Advocate


Escarot 2007 Garnacha Navarra Spain ($7.99 was $9.99) - Selected from the top cuvees of garnacha. Ruby red in colour with aromatic fruits on the nose. Soft jammy fruits on the palate with soft tannins and low acidity. Great body with a fine structure and soft dry finish.


Moris-Parentini 2006 Morrelino di Scansano ($13.99 was $17.99) - "The 2006 Morellino di Scansano is a quintessential wine for the region. It shows the more delicate, feminine side of Morellino in its flowers, fresh berries and spices. It is as always accessible and easy to drink, but the warmth of the vintage has given the wine a little more volume than is often the case. This, too, is a great value and would also be a terrific choice for a house wine. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2010.  89 points." - Wine Advocate


November 18th, 2009...New Beers

New Winter Beers 


Bells XmasBell's Christmas Ale ($11.99) - "A malt driven scotch ale, made with 100% Michigan grown barley and a blend of Pacific Northwest and Michigan hops."


Bell's Rye Stout ($14.99) - "An abundance of rye grains provide a spicy twist to otherwise traditional stout flavors. A unique approach to an entirely new style of stout."


Sam Smith's Winter Welcome ($11.99) - "This is the 20th year that the arrival of Samuel Smith's Winter Welcome Ale has heralded shorter days and the end of the warm months - Winter Welcome was the first imported winter seasonal beer, first brought to the US in 1990.  Winter Welcome's rich honey-amber color; creamy, complex flavor and firm strength; the incomparable Samuel Smith signature of great balance and refinement . . . these are reasons to look forward to fires, warm sweaters, and the cozy days of fall and winter."


SchlaflySchlafly Reserve Iimperial Stout ($13.99) - "Roasty, rich and malty, our Imperial Stout is aged for several months in freshly-emptied Jim Beam bourbon barrels, where it pick up the essential character of oak, caramel and bourbon flavors."


Victory Baltic Thunder ($6.50) - "Truly a worldly beer. Baltic Thunder represents the Baltic Porter style admirably. Exhibiting the enticing, toffee roast of the British porter that originated the style in the 18th century, and the soothing, subtle fruit nuance of contemporary brews that flourish from Helsinki to Vilnius today, this dark lager honors the Baltic god of thunder.  Created by an inspired collaboration of brewers and tempered with a touch of turmoil, Baltic Thunder rolls on to bring you enchanting light as the darkness fades."


DogfatherLaughing Dog Imperial Stout "The Dogfather" ($9.99) - "I got a brew you can't refuse. The Dogfather is one of the biggest brew we have ever made, weighing in a 10.85% alcohol. 7 malts and 4 hops give it a complex flavor profile. Over 11 month in the making some of the DogFather has been barrel aged. This is a very limited release with only 40 keg equivalents in draft and only 300 case made."


October 23rd, 2009...New Arrivals

Corvidae (Owen Roe) 2008 Chardonnay Columbia Valley "Mirth" ($13.99):  We grabbed the last five cases of this, as the winery is now sold out (We will have this for the 15 under 15 tasting as well, if you can't make it tonight.)  LA Times Wine of the Week, Sept. 3, 2009: "A project of Oregon's Owen Roe Winery and offshoot Corvidae winery, Mirth Chardonnay is a rare commodity -- a moderately priced Chardonnay that drinks beautifully. The 2008 vintage, from Washington grapes, is clean and crisp and not over-oaked. Notes of apple and citrus coupled with a bright acidity give this less-than-$20 Chardonnay an appealing freshness and elegance.  It's a great Indian summer basic, easy drinking and perfect with pretty much anything light, from omelets and frittatas to seafood pasta or risotto dishes, seared sea scallops and fried calamari.  "Corvidae" is named for the family of birds that includes crows and ravens. Crows have a long history in folklore and mythology. David was inspired to name the label Corvidae by the many crows that circle the sky over his winery in Yakima.


Tait 2007 Shiraz Barossa "The Ball Buster" ($19.99):  The name itself DEMANDS that we open this up - Crazy Australians..  "The Ball Buster blend has been an annual Best Buy and, even at the current asking price, the 2007 The Ball Buster is an awesome value (at least for hedonists). It is composed of 72% Shiraz, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 11% Merlot aged for 12 months in seasoned French and American oak. Opaque purple-colored, it has a nose of cedar, leather, spice box, and blueberry that leaps from the glass. This is followed by a plush, full-bodied wine with gobs of flavor and superior length. This easy-to-understand effort defines the meaning of over-delivering and will do so for another four years.  Tait has established a well-deserved reputation for full-blown, pleasure-filled wines.  92 points." - Wine Advocate


CR SHEERAZChris Ringland 2007 Shiraz Barossa "Ebenezer" ($21.99):  "Chris Ringland has received the most 100pt scores from Wine Advocate of any winemaker.  He puts his name on 2 bottlings: Chris Ringland Shiraz which retails around $500 and Ringland Ebenezer Shiraz. Ebenezer Vineyard is Chris Ringland's favorite site and the wine certainly speaks to it. Previous vintage was a Parker 93.


October 14th, 2009...New Press

New Press 


FoxGlove 2007 Zinfandel Paso Robles ($15.99):  We've More news for this line from Varner - for FOOD & WINE's "Best wines $20 and under" list, they chose the Foxglove for their Zinfandel pick.  Bob and Jim Varner of Varner Wine know what's right with Zinfandel (big flavors) and what's all-too-often wrong with it (alcohol overload). By sourcing grapes for this second label from Central California's Paso Robles region and adding in 14 percent Petite Sirah, they have made a tangy red with classic wild berry fruit and a satisfying touch of jamminess."


October 12th, 2009...New Press

New Beers 


Brooklyn Black Chocolate Stout ($8.99/4pk):  We've been anxiously waiting for the seasonal release, especially on a dayBear Stout like this - overcast and cool - and look for something inviting and comforting.  Super rich, dark, and smooth - the Brooklyn Black Stout is just the ticket.  RateBeer 1706 reviews with a 4.01/5 rating, and BeerAdvocate "A-" with 1441 reviews.  10.0% ABV.


While we're on the stout train, the Bear Republic Big Bear Black Stout ($5.99/22oz) has arrived:  "Big Bear, as the name implies, is a hefty, black, Russian Imperial-style stout. This bold stout boasts a rich, caramel sweetness lavished by a robust, deep-roasted heartiness you can sink your teeth into. ...Big Bear's bold flavors are produced using a blend of Belgian and English roasted barley and crystal malts. Some unique flavors come forth in the malt character. ...Louisiana sweet molasses and dark brown sugar. This dark brew is well hopped with Chinook and Cascade hops, which are somewhat, masked by the malt. This is a balanced bold brew boasting an A.V.B. of 8.1% that can creep up on you, "so don't get mauled"


Terrapin StoutTerrapin Midight Project Brew Two 2009 "Depth Charge" ($9.25/22oz):  The second in the Midnight Project series.  "Be wary of the calmsahtea before the storm.. This creamy, deeply delicious milk stout will seduce you into submission while the explosion of hand roasted gourmet espresso will blow you into next week.  8.1% ABV." Brewed with a blend of espresso roasted coffee beans made just for this project by Jittery Joe's Coffee, Athens, GA.


And if coffee's not your thing, how about some Chai Tea?  Dogfish Head "Sahtea" ($12.99/750ml):   "If you read the great Dogfish profile in The New Yorker last fall, this is the beer we test-batched while the writer was visiting. This beer is a modern update on a 9th century Finnish proto-beer.  Brewed with rye, we caramelize the wort with white hot river rocks, then we ferment it with a German Weizen yeast. In addition to juniper berries foraged directly from the Finnish country-side we added a sort of tea made with black tea, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, cloves, and black pepper.  The spicing is subtle and balanced and Sahtea is a highly-quaffable, truly-unique brew with a full-mouth feel.  9% ABV."



October 2nd, 2009...New Press

Thursday Notes 


Wine Enthusiast just released their Top 100 "Bets Buys" for 2009.  Here are some highlights...


KungFu Girl 2008 Riesling (Columbia Valley):  This 2008 is the third vintage for this extraordinarily popular Riesling, again showing bright, vivid, punchy citrus fruit and juicy acids. Residual sugar is about 1.5% and once again it is sourced from the Evergreen vineyard. With production climbing to 20,000 cases, this should be easy to find at least until fall.  89 points.


Condes de Albarei 2008 Salneval Albariño (Rías Baixas):  The"value" label from Condes de Albarei is always a good bet. Oceanic aromas and a spritz of lime make the nose just right, and the lively palate of lemon, melon and banana is charged up. Tight on the finish, with citrus and almond skins, and then a lasting impression of pineapple. Young and raring to go.  88 points.


Saint-Hilaire 2005 Brut (Blanquette de Limoux): A pretty and remarkably drinkable sparkler with soft green apple, tangerine oil and faint yellow floral notes accented with hints of lavender. There's medium carbonation and weight in the mouth, and pear and apple flavors abound with suggestions of honeydew in the finish. Drink now.  89 points.


A to Z Wineworks 2008 Pinot Gris (Oregon): A to Z puts out a lot of Pinot Gris-more than 32,000 cases of this 2008-but the quality is consistently fine. Lovely spices wrap around fresh citrus and pear, then move into a smooth midpalate that lingers gracefully through a clean and very refreshing finish.  89 points.


Woop Woop 2007 Shiraz (South Eastern Australia): Not simply a jammy mouthful of fruity richness, the 2007 Woop Woop shows enough structure to ably partner food rather than replace it. Notes of raspberries, roasted coffee and vanilla are slightly confected, but the firmness on the finish proves this is not a cocktail wine. Burgers, anyone?  89 points.  INBOUND


September 26th, 2009...New Arrivals

New Arrival 


ALAIN JAUME 2007 Lirac "Clos de Sixte" - SALE!! $21.99 (was $25.99):  "A brilliant effort, the 2007 Lirac Clos de Sixte is composed of 50% Grenache and the rest Syrah with some Mourvèdre. It is a rich, full-bodied, dense purple-colored Lirac offering sweet blueberry and blackberry fruit as well as hints of smoky oak, pepper, and herbs. Should evolve nicely for 5-7 years.  92 points." - Robert Parker, Wine Advocate


THORN-CLARKE 2008 Shiraz "Shotfire" Barossa ($17.99)
- It's new!!  It's improved (so I'm told)!!  The latest and greatest Shotfire is in the House!!  We'll open this next Friday (10/2), along with the following vintages:  2007, 2005, and 2003.  And maybe another if I can find one...Shotfire Ratings History


September 23rd, 2009...New Press

New Press 


Montes Syrah

Robert Parker's "Wine of the Day" Sept 23rd
MONTES 2006 Syrah Chile Apalta Vineyard "Alpha" ($21.99)
"The 2006 Alpha Syrah Apalta Vineyard is purple colored with an enticing nose of game, espresso, earth, and blueberry. This leads to an elegantly-styled Syrah with spicy blue and black fruit flavors, good depth, and a fruit-filled finish.. Enjoy it over the next 4-6 years.  91 points..

Under the enlightened leadership of Aurelio Montes, the Montes winery remains one of the standard-bearers for Chilean wines. The Carmenere-based Purple Angel is one of the two or three best of its type; the Folly is arguably Chile's finest Syrah, and the Montes Alpha M one of the Cabernet-based icons."


September 22nd, 2009...New Arrivals



September 20th, 2009...New Arrivals

ZILLIKEN 2006 Riesling Kabinett Saarburger Rausch SALE!!! $19.99 was $25.99 Save $6)

The Zilliken 2006 Saarburger Rausch Riesling Kabinett offers crisp, juicy apple fruit, with hints of mango and grapefruit. Smoky and wet stone notes, combined with a palpable extract-rich palate lend this a serious, even slightly austere palate presence today. But the finish pours forth fresh fruit and salts along with crushed stone, leaving long and invigorating traces. Here is a concentrated Kabinett to put away for 5-7 years, and then enjoy for that long again. 90 points."  - Wine Advocate
"A light-weight, lively style, showing lemon-lime, apricot and slate notes. Ripe, yet tightly wound, with a bracing finish. Needs time to show all its facets. Best from 2009 through 2022. 600 cases imported.  88 points." -
Wine Spectator


End of Vintage - STUHLMULLER 2007 Chardonnay Anderson Valley ($26.99) - "Stuhlmuller's 2007 Chardonnay (5,600 cases) is a beauty. Lemon oil, honeysuckle, white currant, white peach, and poached pear characteristics are present in this beauty along with terrific freshness, medium to full body, a layered mouthfeel, and a long, pure, dry finish. Drink this knock-out Chardonnay over the next 2-3 years.  92 points." - Wine Advocate
"Tangy lime and citrus notes join riper green apple and honeydew melon in this supple, full-bodied, complex and elegant offering. The finish is long and clean. Drink now through 2011. 5,600 cases made. 91 points - Smart Buy!" - Wine Spectator

September 10th, 2009...New Arrivals


FOXGLOVE 2008 Chardonnay Central Coast  ($15.99) - "The sensational 2008 Chardonnay Central Coast, which is fermented and aged completely in stainless steel with no malolactic fermentation, is a 30,000-cuvee of fabulous Chardonnay. Loads of tropical fruit, honeysuckle, and orange blossom notes fill the olfactory sense, as does the luscious medium-bodied texture on the palate. The wine is buttressed by crisp underlying acidity, and the result is a fresh, naked expression of Chardonnay that is top-flight. Drink it over the next year or so.  91 points."
Foxglove ZinfandelFOXGLOVE 2007 Zinfandel Paso Robles ($15.99) - "The outstanding 2007 Zinfandel (86% Zinfandel and 14% Petite Sirah) is another winner and phenomenal bargain. This is classic Zinfandel with loads of berry fruit, pepper, earth, and roasted Provencal herbs. The wine is pure, full-bodied, ripe, with not a hard edge to be found. Drink it over the next 2-3 years.  90 points." 
Foxglove CabernetFOXGLOVE 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles ($15.99) - "Foxglove also scores highly with their 10,800-case cuvee of 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon. A blend of all-Paso Robles fruit and composed of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Petiti Verdot and Cabernet Franc, the wine has a dense ruby/purple color and plenty of black fruit intermixed with loamy soil undertones, licorice, and spice. The wine is luscious and. medium to full-bodied , with silky tannins and a heady, opulent finish. Drink it over the next 2-4 years, although it could last a lot longer.  89 points."



September 4th, 2009...New Arrivals

Busuness CardBODEGAS Y VIÑEDOS SHAYA 2008 Verdejo Rueda Old Vines ($14.99) - This new project is a joint venture between Jorge Ordonez, Enrique Busto and the Gil family of Jumilla, from fruit sourced from very old low yielding vines whose average age is between 75 and 112 years old. "Quite rich, but still graceful, this white shows melon, orange blossom, green almond and lime zest flavors in a thick texture. Vibrant acidity keeps this lively. Drink now through 2010. 5,500 cases made.  89 points." - Wine Spectator
RABBIT RIDGE 2007 Paso Robles "Allure de Robles" ($8.99) - "The 2007 growing season was fantastic for Rhone varietals in Paso Robles and experts say it was the best Rhone varietal growing season in the history of France.   Allure de Robles is an estate grown wine that is produced in Côtes du Rhône style.   This wine is primarily a blend of Grenache, Syrah and Mourvèdre.   The clones of the grapes are predominantly from Tablas Creek Winery and Vineyard Nursery, meaning they are cuttings from both the Château Beaucastel in the famous Châteauneuf-du-Pape region of France and French Entav budwood.   The vineyard is still young so it is producing a wine similar in style to a Cotes du Rhone but one which should age well for several years.  This wine is medium bodied with strawberry and cherry overtones from the Grenache, body from the Syrah and earthiness from the Mourvèdre. Bottled on April 27, 2009.   6,131 cases produced." - Winery Notes.  [Caveat - no one would expect a CdPape for $9, but the depth and even complexity if this wine gives it a big QPR (quality/price ratio) score, and a whopping 15.4% abv.]  Enjoy with BBQ ribs, Kung Pao chicken, or Nathan's Own and baked beans.

September 3rd, 2009...New Arrivals

J.K Carriere 2007 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley "Provocateur" (SALE!! $27.99 was $31.99) - "The 2007 Pinot Noir Provocateur is a blend of all the single vineyards that Prosser purchases. Darker colored than is typical in 2007, it offers up expressive cherry and black raspberry aromas leading to an elegant wine with enough structure to evolve for 1-2 years. With excellent grip and concentration and a lengthy finish, this is a 2007 Pinot Noir that over-delivers for its modest price90 points." - Wine Advocate

August 21st, 2009...New Arrivals

PAZO SEÑORANS 2008 Albariño Rias Baixas Spain ($24.99) - "The 2008 Albarino is sourced from the oldest vines in Rias Baixas, fermented in tank and aged on its lees with batonnage. Light gold-colored, it delivers an attractive nose of mineral, white peach, and lemon zest. Smooth textured on the palate, tropical flavors emerge along with lively acidity.  Pazo de Señorans is usually a candidate for Albarino of the year made by anyone other than Raul Perez.  91 points." - Wine Advocate

OWEN ROE 2006 "Murphy's Law" Columbia Busuness CardValley Red Wine ($15.99) - "A ridiculous blend of Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Sangiovese from some of the region's top sites.  An inky-dark hue. Vibrant nose of plum, cherry and cassis. The palate is filled with plums and grilled meats with hint of smoke and black mission fig. The sturdy tannins along with classic Washington state acidity stretch into the long and elegant finish. "Supple, silky, and generous with its olive-inflected cherry and blackberry flavors, billowing in the easy breeze of a long finish.  90 points - Smart Buy!" - Wine Spectator

CLOS LA COUTALE 2007 Cahors ($16.99) - Just received 90 points and a "SMART BUY" from Spectator.  "There's a good sense of elegance to the well-defined, concentrated flavors of dark cherry, blackberry and plum, followed by notes of sage, dark chocolate and tobacco leaf on the long, powerful finish."  Malbec with some Merlot - old school, authentic stuff.  Cahors is seeing some resurgence with its "Black Wine" lately with the heightened interest in Malbec and reinvestment in this old French region.  This is where Malbec was born, true to its roots.

August 21st, 2009...New Arrivals

Benegas 2005 "Don Tiburcio" Red Wine Mendoza ($12.99) - "Bright ruby. Smoky dark berries, black cherry, plum, violet and chocolate on the nose. Suave and vinous, with harmonious acidity giving definition and grip to the sweet dark berry flavors. Structured and mouthcoating. A very clever blend, and a great value.  89 points."  Tanzer's International Wine Cellar.  Michel Roland consults here, and frankly, this wine is better than the 89 rating. 

"The purple-colored 2005 Don Tiburcio Malbec contains 16% Cabernet Franc and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon aged for 10 months in French oak. It reveals aromas of cedar, clove, cinnamon, and black cherry. Elegant, medium-bodied, and layered on the palate, it has plenty of savory, spicy fruit, 2-3 years of aging potential, and excellent length. Drink this tasty effort over the next 8 years.  90 points. MSRP $21!" - Jay Miller for The Wine Advocate

July 17th, 2009...New Arrivals

Killer deal on Willamette Valley Pinot Noir - Panther Creek NV Pinot Noir only $23.99!! NV??  Sounds like the economy is catching up with even the untouchable Willamette Valley.  Back stock blending into a super deal.  "Panther Creek made 1750 cases of a Non-Vintage Pinot Noir which is 50% from the 2007 vintage and 50% from the 2008 vintage. Medium ruby-colored, it has an alluring nose of cinnamon, clove, cherry, and raspberry. On the palate it has plenty of lively sweet fruit, good acidity, and enough structure to ensure a 5-year lifespan. It is a super value in Pinot Noir.  89 points." - Jay Miller for The Wine Advocate
Albet i Noya 2008 Xarel-lo Classic Penedes Spain($13.99): Xarel-lo is one of the main grapes in Spain's sparkling wine, Cava (like Chardonnay in Champagne). Organically grown, fiesty, zippy, summer pleaser.


July 10th, 2009...New Arrivals

White - Pink - Red 

COLUMBIA-CREST 2007 Chardonnay "Horse Heaven Hills" Columbia Valley ($14.99) - "Vibrant and generous, with a spicy edge to the soft, ripe pear, cream and lime aromas and flavors, lingering on the expressive finish. Drink now through 2011.  90 points - Smart Buy!" - Wine Specatator
ALBERTÍ 154 2008 Rosé Malbec Mendoza ($12.99) - "This limited release Malbec Rosé is made from premium lots of Malbec grapes with a touch of Chardonnay to give it a distinctly French style. It has a balanced acidity that makes it a great wine to drink as an aperitif or as accompaniment with lighter foods."
LES VIGNERONS DE TAVEL 2008 Côtes du Rhône Sol' Angélys ($9.99) - Grenache, Syrah, Carignan, Mourvedre.  Well-made and straight-forward - kirsch, cherry and a whiff of spice.  Great value for summer enjoyment.


July 4th, 2009...New Arrivals

DOMAINE MORDORÉE 2008 Côtes du Rhône Rosé "La Dame Rousse" ($13.99) - "90 points.  Spend a few dollars more and get a sensational 2008 Cotes du Rhone La Dame Rousse rose, a classic Provencal rose offering copious quantities of sweet and sour cherries, framboise, spice, and flowers."  2 cases in stock.
INBOUND:  DOMAINE SÉGRIÈS 2007 Côtes du Rhône "Clos l'Hermitage" ($27.99) - "94 points.  Even though the 2007 Cotes du Rhone Clos de l'Hermitage is over the $25 limit for this value report, I have included it because it is such a remarkable wine, and even at $30 a bottle, it represents a fabulous bargain. Made from 40-year-old vines, it is an equal part blend of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. Its opaque purple color is followed by a bouquet that smells more like a Cote Rotie than a Cotes du Rhone. Flowery notes intermixed with tapenade, ground pepper, roasted meats, and copious black cherry and blackberry fruit soar from the glass. The wine possesses fabulous density, a rich, full-bodied style, and present, but sweet tannin. It should drink gorgeously for 10-12 years, perhaps longer." 

June 30th, 2009...New Arrivals

New Arrivals 


We've been carrying Domaine de la Janasse wines since we opened in 1996.  Parker's Wine Advocate was very enthusiastic about Janasse's wines, and rightly so.  During a trip to France back in 2000 (Elizabeth was pregnant with Jenner), I was fortunate to visit Domaine de la Janasse.  We were met by Christophe Sabon and his crew.  The estate was founded in 1976 by Aimé Sabon, Christophe's father, who still oversees the vineyards and farms organically. The property consists of 40 Hectares, spread over as many as 70 different parcels throughout the appellation.
PAJOTWe tasted samples from vat and barrel.  We tasted a Châteauneuf from just an average vintage from the 70s ('74?) - it was delightful.  We ended with a late-harvest Grenache that was simply out of this world.  The experience and the Sabons' hospitality were first-rate.
In light of this, we will have Stan Davis here from Roanoke Valley Wine Company to open and discuss:
DOMAINE de PAJOT 2008 VdP Gasgogne "Les Quatre Cépages" ($9.99) - Just to get things rolling.  Colombard, Ugni-Blanc, Gros-Manseng and Sauvignon Blanc.  Sounds like summer grapes to me.  Cold-fermented in stainless tank - refreshing.  Organic.
DOMAINE de la JANASSE 2008 Viognier VdP Orange ($21.99) - 100% Viognier - Condrieu selection - on lees with stirring during 6 months including 25% of new barrels.  Condrieu is the best place on the planet to grow Viognier.
BUSSIEREDOMAINE de la JANASSE 2007 VdP Orange "Terre de Bussière" ($17.99) - 65 Merlot/35% Syrah, 12 months in oak, 30% new.  "Quality soars with the well-made 2007 Vin de Pays Terre de Bussiere, a blend of 65% Merlot and the rest Syrah and a dollop of Grenache. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by abundant aromas of fruit, camphor, cassis, white chocolate, and berries offered in an opulent, full-bodied, lush style. It's hard to beat this wine for the price.  89 points."  Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
JANASSE RHONEDOMAINE de la JANASSE 2008 Côtes du Rhône  ($19.99) - Curiously, the 2007 vintage was never offered in this market, so we're on to the 2008!  This wine consistently rates in the high 80s, but I've always felt that was a couple numbers short.  50% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 15% vieux Carignan, 5% Cinsault.  6 to 9 months in vat.  Dark cherry, garrigue, and minerals.  Usually more austere to start, then softens after a few months.


June 20th, 2009...New Arrival

New Arrivals 

The WSJ recently released their 12 best wine buys in America. VAN RUITEN 2007 Old Vine Zinfandel was picked "Best Zinfandel" @ $23!! - Please see the link below:
Regular price is $19.99 - we'll let it go at $17.99

MORE ROSÉ!!! - The Sorin Provence rosé is sold out.  The Gipsy rosé is sold out.  PLAN B!!
C&C Music FactoryCHARLES & CHARLES 2008 Syrah Rosé Columbia Valley ($12.99) - "How many guys named Charles does it take to make a good pink wine? Two should be just right, especially if both are among the more dynamic American wine producers of recent years: Charles Bieler (of Three Thieves / Rebel Wine Co. and BIELER Père et Fils) and Charles Smith (of K Vintners, Magnificent Wine Co. and Charles Smith Wines). Their collaboration--aptly named Charles and Charles--has yielded a single vineyard dry rosé from the Wahluke Slope of Washington State, just now released.  Smith made this 2008 rosé of syrah from the Talcott Vineyard from the Wahluke Slope (AVA) in the traditional Provencal way--grapes picked at the early edge of ripeness, sent straight to the press without any extended cold soak, and fermented and aged in stainless steel tanks at cooler temperatures. New World fruit, Old World methods, what's not to like?" Those Smith people...
pedroncelli rosePEDRONCELLI 2007 Zinfandel (Dry) Rosé Dry Creek Valley ($10.99) - What's old is new again!  I cut my teeth on Sutter Home White Zinfandel back in the late 80s.  Kind of sweet and easy to naively enjoy.  We all did it - kind of the next step up from Sun Country and Bartles & James Wine Coolers.  (Remember those commercials?  "Thank you for your support."  YouTube it.)    So now we're back to pink Zinfandel - but dry, adopting the European ideals of true rosé.  "Who says you can't make a good rosé from Zinfandel? This is lush, yet crisp and dry, with fresh raspberry and spicy vanilla flavors. Drink now.  87 points." - Wine Spectator.  Restaurant Wine ****.  Wine X "96 points."
Busuness Card
LUNEAU-PAPIN 1995 Muscadet "L d'OR" ($32.99) - Ever wondered what old, really well-made Muscadet tastes like? - Me too.  Nearly every review of Muscadet says "DRINK NOW!"  One exception is Wine Advocate's David Schildknecht review of Marc Ollivier's 2005 Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie "Clos des Briords" - "It is one of those Muscadets you can safely sock away for at least 8-10 years - just make sure you lay in enough to enjoy on an ongoing basis!"  The Luneau-Papin 1995 "L d'Or" is no exception.  It might get weird, but it is not flawed, per se.  "It's an extraordinary wine that still tastes so fresh after 13 years, but for a Muscadet it's almost unbelievable. Yet, here is this citrus and white currant flavored wine that still shows high acidity and liveliness as well as a depth of texture that has come during its aging. Probably at its peak now.  93 points." - Wine Enthusiast



June 10th, 2009...New Arrival

New Arrivals and Press:



VITANZA 2004 Brunello di Montalcino ($48net)"This is impressive for the vintage, with loads of crushed berries and spices, as well as hints of leather and flowers. Full-bodied, with soft and silky tannins and a long finish of sweet fruit. Rich and exciting. Better than the 2001. Best after 2010. 8,000 cases made.  94 points." - Wine Spectator ARRIVING FRIDAY 4/12

NUMANTHIA 2006 Toro "Termes" ($28net) - "Muscular yet expressive, this red offers roasted plum, bitter chocolate, tobacco and hot stone notes. Thick, with rich, ripe tannins and just enough acidity to keep it lively. Best from 2010 through 2020.  93 points - Highly Recommended." - Wine SpectatorI IN STOCK

ALAIN JAUME 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Vieux Terron" ($34.99) - 70% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre.  "The deep ruby/purple-tinged 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Vieux Terron" exhibits a sweet nose of creosote, black cherries, cassis, roasted herbs, and pepper. Well-made and richly fruity, with lots of sucrosite as well as a long finish, it can be consumed over the next 7-8 years.  (89-91) points." - Wine Advocate IN STOCK

DOMAINE de la JANASSE 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Chaupin" ($85net) - "I have had so many terrific examples of the Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Chaupin" that it's hard to say the 2007 is the finest of all, but it is truly an amazing, old vine Grenache cuvee. Just under 20,000 bottles were produced from sand and clay soils. This inky/purple-colored wine reveals exquisite aromatic fireworks consisting of creme de cassis, black raspberries, licorice, incense, and spice, awesome fruit, major concentration, and a serious finish of close to a minute. For a wine of such enormous size, it is remarkable for its overall equilibrium and freshness.  (96-99) points." - Wine AdvocateI 6b AVAILABLE

2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape "V.V." ($89.99net) - "The newest baby, the 2007 Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Vieilles Vignes," is a blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Mourvèdre, and 10% Syrah. All of these wines are from the estate's three major holdings in the northern part of the appellation, on the high plateau of Mont Redon and Cabrieres, and in the northeastern sector, near Beaucastel. The 2007 Vieilles Vignes represents the essence of Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Inky/purple to the rim, with extraordinary full-bodied aromas of roasted porcini, meat juices, blackberries, cassis, smoke, and grilled herbs, it is intense to the point of almost over-extraction, but it has no rough edges. It possesses great purity, an amazing texture, and a massive, full-bodied finish with noticeable tannin. Because of its high percentage of Mourvedre and Syrah, it requires 6-7 years of bottle age, and should keep for 30-35 years.  (95-97+) points." - Wine Advocate



June 4th, 2009...New Arrival

New Arrivals 

FINCA el REPOSO 2008 Saint Jeannet Mendoza ($9.99) - New vintage of old favorite.  St Jeannet, originally from, Southern France, this white grape was first introduced by Tiburcio Benegas more than 80 years ago (this the actual age of the vines of Saint Jeannet planted in this vineyard). There is very little to none information about this grape variety in the world except that it was used in the past to increase the level of acidity of sparkling wines as this grape naturally produces wines of very good acidity (taking a long time to ripen).  Back for the summer.
MAS DONISCAPÇANES 2005 Mas Donis Montsant ($17.99) - "Mas Donis Barrica is a custom cuvee made for importer Eric Solomon using old-vine Garnacha (80+ years) and Syrah (30+ years). The 2005 Mas Donis Barrica is 85 % Garnacha and 15% Syrah aged for 8 months in French and American oak before bottling without fining or filtration. It offers up an expressive nose of slate, mineral, licorice, violets, black cherry, and blueberry. Layered, long, and complex, this spicy, hedonistic effort has 2-3 years of aging potential but can be enjoyed now without guilt. It is a great value.  91TERMES points." - Wine Advocate
InboundNumanthia 2006 Toro "Termes" ($31.99) - "Muscular yet expressive, this red offers roasted plum, bitter chocolate, tobacco and hot stone notes. Thick, with rich, ripe tannins and just enough acidity to keep it lively. Best from 2010 through 2020. Tempranillo - 4,000 cases imported. 93 points." - Wine Spectator


May 25th, 2009...New Arrival


BorealisThat aside, we will have tasting at 4pm, including a new project from Oregon's Montinore 2008 Borealis ($12.99)!  "We've been wanting to make a wine like this for some time. After experimenting the last few years, we've put together a blend we really like. This wine was born of a desire to capture the incredible aromatics and flavors of our cool climate white varieties in one expressive white wine.  It pours a pale gold, and grapefruit, pineapple and fresh flower aromas leap from the glass. On the palate a crisp, fresh entry is balanced by succulent ripe fruit flavors of peach, grapefruit and quince, culminating in a fresh, lingering finish. It's great with a variety of lighter dishes and cheeses - or just for sipping by starlight."  Technical data...Organic 60% Müller-Thurgau, 23% Gewürztraminer, 17% Pinot Gris. 


May 21st, 2009...New Arrival


DOMAINE GRAND VENEUR 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape "Les Origines" ($47.99net) - "The 2007 Châteauneuf du Pape Les Origines may turn out to be one of this estate's finest cuvees, although one should not overlook the 2006 Les Origines. A luxury cuvee sold at a reasonable price, the 2007 boasts a dense blue/purple color as well as a sweet perfume of blueberries, charcoal, creme de cassis, graphite, smoked meats, and herbs. Dense, full-bodied, and exceptionally pure, with a multilayered texture, moderate tannin, and a stunning finish, it will benefit from 2-4 years of cellaring, and should drink well for 20-25.  (93-96) points." - Wine Advocate




May 14th, 2009...CLOSEOUT!!

Closeout SALE!!! 

GERBEAUX 2007 Pouilly-Fuissé "Intimite" $17.99!! (was $26.99) - The Domaine des Gerbeaux, was founded in 1896 by Jacques Charvet, forbear of Hean-Michel Drouin.  The vines, aged between 45 and 85 years old, are located in the villages of Solutré and Fuissé.  The 45 plots of land of the property are cultivated traditionally and harvested manually. The soils are producing floral and mineral wines with citrus fruit, honey or spices notes.  The estate is farmed organically following traditional methods.
GUILLEMOT 2005 Corton $59.99!! (was $99.99) - Wine Spectator vintage rating: 95 points. "Beautifully balanced wines, with vibrant structures; rich in fruit and tannins. The top wines will age well; best since 2002 and 1999."
LAVANTUREUX 2005 Petit Chablis $12.99!! (was $19.99) - "Lavantureux makes Chablis with a little more nerve than those of Savary. Maybe that explains why they age so effortlessly-his 1997 in magnum last year was simply superb, and his older vintages tend to develop a nose of white truffle, which is never a bad quality in my book, au contraire. His Petit Chablis, far from being petit, is from vineyards right next to his Chablis vineyards with the same type of soil. Look at it as sort of a discount created by France's appellation contrôlée system." - Kermit Lynch, Importer
PHILIPPE COLIN 2005 Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru "Vergers" $49.99!! (was $89.99) - "Aromas and flavors of pear, lemon cream, vanilla and white flowers; this couldn't be anything but Chassagne-Montrachet. Sweet, silky, round and full; the fattest and most complex 2005 here to this point. Very suave and elegant wine with a broad, mouthcoating finish but no undue impression of weight. 91(+?) points." - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
PHILIPPE COLIN 2006 Chassagne Montrachet 1er Cru "Maltroie" $49.99 was $89.99
ARGYLE 2006 Pinot Noir Willamette Valley "Reserve" $29.99 (was $49.99) - "Open-textured, with a welcome transparency to the blackberry, currant and plum fruit and the shadings of star anise and black pepper. The finish sails on with minimal impediment from tannins. 92 points." - Wine Spectator
GEORGES DESCOMBES 2006 Brouilly $17.99 (was $21.99) - This well-balanced red has sweet and smoky spice notes weaving through a subtle mix of strawberry, black cherry and cream flavors. Fresh acidity keeps it clean and lively, leading to a lingering finish. Drink now. 75 cases imported.  88 points." - Wine Spectator
CATHERINE & PIERRE BRETON 2006 Chinon "Beaumont" $19.99 (was $23.99) - "Firm, with a nice structured edge to the black cherry, olive, tobacco and iron notes. There's solid length through the finish. Drink now through 2010. 50 cases imported.  89 points." - Wine Spectator

May 6th, 2009...New Arrivals

New Arrivals, SALE 

BABICHSALE!! - BABICH 2008 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough ($12.99 - was $15.99):  Babich has been a mainstay here for NZ Sauvignon Blanc due its quality track record and reasonable price, now even more so - the 2006 was in Spectator's Top 100 list.  "Bright and fruity, with pear and lime flavors most prominent. Shows a peppermint edge on the silky finish. Drink now. 50,000 cases imported.  88 points." - Wine Spectator  
"Good now but definitely a wine for the future. This wine has herbaceous, green grass and slightly tropical aromas that pave the way for good fruit concentration and an elegant acidity. Quite opulent and with good persistency this wine should develop beautifully in the coming months."  4 STARS;  Best Buy, TOP TIP - Top Tip is given to wines that are of exceptional quality regardless of price.  -TiZwine.com    
"Joe Babich favors a fuller, riper, softer style of Sauvignon Blanc.  It's not a jump out of the glass style, but the wines develop well.  The latest releases reflect a rising input of grapes from the company's Cowslip Valley vineyard in the Waihopai Valley, which gives less herbaceous fruit characters than its other Marlborough vineyards.   The 2008 vintage is aromatic, crisp, dry and zingy, with strong, ripe limey, slightly minerally flavors, showing good vibrancy, delicacy and punch. 4 STARS."  -Michael Cooper's Buyers guider to New Zealand Wine 2009
END of VINTAGE:  J.P BRUN 2007 Chardonnay Beaujolais BRUN CHARDONNAY"Terres Dorées" ($17.99) - "The Terres Dorées 2007 Beaujolais Blanc Chardonnay displays a gorgeous aroma of diverse flowers, white peach, lime, grapefruit, and ocean breeze. There is positively chewy substance on the palate, yet the wine remains refreshing and lilting in personality. The chalky, leesy sense of extract is palpable, yet floral nuances and delicate peach and lime fruit positively soar into the finish, along with savory, saline, sweet, scallop-like notes. This beauty is more reminiscent of a fine Chablis or even Riesling than of a Chardonnay from the Macon or Cote d'Or. A revelatory example of what is possible in this appellation and vintage, you can enjoy the Brun 2007 Blanc over at least the next 2-3 years.  The prevalence of chalky soils in the south of Beaujolais is the principle reason why this area is classified merely as "Beaujolais" rather than "Beaujolais-Villages." But it is also a reason why Chardonnay can achieve outstanding results here, even if there are few examples (even fewer of which carry the "Beaujolais Blanc" rather than "Bourgogne" appellation). Jean-Paul Brun's is not just a too little-known treasure of Beaujolais; it is among the handful of consistently finest value Chardonnays on the planet.  91 points." -
Wine Advocate


INBOUND:  DOMAINE GRAND VENEUR 2007 Côtes du Rhône Villages "Les Champauvins" ($17.99) - The 2007 is just arriving on the heels of the 2006 sellout.  The source for Les Champauvins is located just next to the boundary for Châteauneuf du Pape.  "An outstanding sleeper of the vintage, the 2007 Cotes du Rhone-Villages Les Champauvins is an amazingly good effort displaying a dark ruby/purple hue as well as a big, sweet bouquet of black raspberries, kirsch, pepper, garrigue, and earth. Dense, full-bodied, and ripe, it is as good as many producers' Chateauneuf du Papes. It should drink well for 7-8 years or more. This estate, owned by the Jaume family, has been on fire over the last decade. The wines are made in a polished, civilized, modern style, but they do not lack Provencal or Châteauneuf du Pape typicity. In 2006, they added a third cuvee of Châteauneuf du Pape, an old vine cuvee that was mostly all Grenache in 2006, but a different blend in 2007. The real bargain among the Châteauneuf du Papes is their traditional offering. Over the last 4-5 years, Grand Veneur has produced a bevy of terrific Côtes du Rhônes, and the following two cuvees are indicative of what they are capable of achieving.  91 points." - Wine Advocate




April 30th, 2009...New Arrivals

FantinAffordable 2005 Bordeaux - CHÂTEAU FANTIN 2005 Bordeaux Supérieur (SALE!! $13.99 was $15.99) - Mostly Merlot, rounded out with some Cabernet Franc and Cabernet Sauvignon.  "Notes of plums and black forest fruits are present on both the nose and the palate of this medium to full-bodied effort, with a supple texture that makes it perfect for consumption now."

ROCAS VVAnd the much-anticipated LAS ROCAS 2006 Garnacha Vinas Viejas Calatayud ($17.99) - 91 points from both Wine Advocate and International Wine Cellar.  Five six-packs available:
"The old-vine cuvee, the 2006 Las Rocas Vinyas Viejas, was recently reviewed in the Value issue but is worth reprinting because the 2007 has yet to be released. Aged entirely in French and American oak, it is purple-colored with a cedary, spicy, cherry and cranberry bouquet. More structured than the "regular" bottling, it has layered fruit, savory flavors, excellent depth, and a fruit-filled finish. Drink it over the next 3-4 years." - Wine Advocate
"Glass-staining ruby. Powerfully aromatic, sexy bouquet of black raspberry, Asian spices and smoky minerals. Plaint red and dark berry flavors are energized by juicy acidity and framed by supple tannins. Spicy notes build with air and carry through the long, silky finish. This is showing extremely well today. As usual, an amazing value." - International Wine Cellar
And a kick-ass Dolcetto from A&L ROAGNA 2007 Dolcetta d'Alba (SALE!! $16.99 was $18.99) - "The 

2007 Dolcetto d'Alba offers an explosion of dark red fruit, flowers, licorice and tar with lovely inner perfume and gorgeous balance. With air this medium-bodied wine puts on weight as balsamic notes emerge, adding further complexity. Roagna's Dolcetto saw an incredible 30 days of maceration on the skins followed by a full year in oak, an unusual regime in Piedmont these days to say the least, but one which gives this wine notable complexity for Dolcetto. Anticipated maturity: 2008-2011. 89 points." - Wine Advocate. This sounds like more than '89' to me.  I've always liked the 89ers, because an up to '90' means more $$ for a one-point rating increase.  You don't see that kind of nonsense between 86 and 87.


April 23rd, 2009...New Arrivals

Ridge 2006 Lytton Springs Dry Creek Valley ($41.99)International Wine Cellar (November-December 2008, Issue 141): "Deep ruby-red. Vivid red and dark berry aromas are complemented by dusty floral and mineral notes, with a suave rose quality gaining power with air. Deep cassis and bitter cherry flavors are energized by tangy minerality, picking up exotic floral pastille and candied licorice nuances of the back end. Smooth and sweet, with fine-grained tannins and a long, sappy finish. This is balanced to reward at least another five to seven years of patience.  92 points."
Wine & Spirits (February 2009): Year"s Best Zinfandel - "Bright spice drives through the complex dark fruit of this old-vine blend, which includes petite sirah (16 percent) and carignane (4). The zesty acidity makes it more versatile than most zins, especially with roast turkey or duck with cherries.  91 points."

Ridge 2006 Geyserville Red Sonoma County Alexander Valley ($41.99): International Wine Cellar (November-December 2008, Issue 141): "Ruby-red. Black raspberry, blueberry, smoked meat and dried violet on the fresh nose. Juicy, sharply focused red and dark berry flavors are dusted with suave minerals and firmed by supple tannins, with an exotic floral pastille note emerging on the back. Finishes sappy, sweet and long, with a deeper cherry note. Already quite complex.  91 points." 
Wine & Spirits (February 2009): Year"s Best Zinfandel - "A plump, juicy zinfandel, this manages to be vibrant and savory at once. The ancient vines at Geyserville yield spicy berries, their tannins as black as bittersweet chocolate. The impression from the alcohol is generous, while the finish remains clean and cool. Best with at least ten years of cellar time.  92 points."  

Robert Biale 2006 Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard ($59.99)SOLD OUT Wine Spectator "Rustic and full of personality, with wild berry, fresh sage and loam aromas and briary blackberry pie, toasty oak and smoky cracked pepper flavors that with finish with prickly tannins. Drink now through 2014. 577 cases made. 90 points." 

Frog's Leap 2006 Zinfandel ($29.99): Wine and Spirits - "John Williams dry farms this organically-grown zin, which contributes to its restrained style and relatively low alcohol (13.5 percent). It comes off as taut claret; the fresh raspberry flavor takes on a pleasing shape as it wraps around scents of pine, herb and earth. The wine has the kind of transparency that makes room for food. Serve this with grilled quail. 93 points."
Trinitas 2004 Zinfandel Contra Costa Bigalow Vineyard ($25.99): Wine Enthusiast "A powerful wine expressing the wonderful dusty raspberry and blackberry flavors, which exemplify the Oakley terrior, with additional characteristics of white pepper, coffee and chocolate nuances. aging in new and used wood has lent this wine a subtle vanilla quality that compliments the explosive fruit notes. Enjoy this wine presently for its effusive black fruit or cellar for 5 to 7 years. This Zinfandel is an integration of the best climate, soil types and winemaking, which is an expression of the Trinitas philosophy.  90 points."

Seghesio 2006 Zinfandel Sonoma County "Old Vines" ($38.99)
: Wine Spectator "This is what great Zinfandel is all about. Ripe but balanced with lively acidity, jammy but concentrated and well-structured. Offers fresh wild berry, raspberry, vanilla and cracked pepper notes, but with layers of intriguing sage, lively mineral and smoke accents. Drink now through 2014. 8,600 cases made.  92 points."  We can't even get the regular Sonoma bottling any longer.  The Old Vines is truly a treat.


April 11th, 2009...New Arrivals

New Arrivals

DOMAINE de la MORDOREE 2007 Chateauneuf-du-Pape "La Reine des Bois" ($89.99net) - The Reine de Bois from 2007 is exceptional.  And the stronger dollar has knocked the price down a bit from last year.  3 six-packs available.  Offer runs through the weekend.  "(96-97+) points.  The purple-colored 2007 Chateauneuf du Pape Reine des Bois is loaded. Although still primary and backward, it reveals an extraordinary depth of juicy blackberry and cassis fruit interwoven with notes of roasted herbs, meat juices, camphor, and a touch of licorice. The wine boasts great depth, a superb texture, and a full-bodied richness nicely framed by high yet velvety tannins and fresh acidity. The vintage's remarkable aromatic complexity and freshness are apparent in this big, substantial, authoritative wine. It will need 3-4 years of cellaring, and should keep for 20-25 years.

This superb Chateauneuf du Pape estate is run by Chrisophe Delorme and his brother from their cellars in Tavel. They produce spectacular Chateauneuf du Papes as well as top-notch Liracs, and glorious Cotes du Rhones and Tavel roses. Their Chateauneuf du Papes have been recognized by the village vignerons in their Festival of St.-Marc, where Mordoree frequently finishes first or second in those blind tastings." - Parker  


April 3rd, 2009...New Arrivals

Face WineSAN LORENZO 2006 Montepulciano d'Abruzzo ($11.99) - Montepulciano from Abruzzo has a bit of the "Rodney Dangerfield" aspect aboutSLM it - no respect.  (Abruzzo is central Italy on the East Coast - San Lorenzo is inland (mountains) and up the coast from Pescara.  Now you know.)  The San Lorenzo, however, provides a mouthful of plummy, dark fruit and supple tannin - a lot more going on than the Fiasco of lame Sangiovese, and definitely worth the upgrade.  Very satisfying.  
DIEVOLE 2006 IGT Toscana "Rinascimento" ($14.99) - As the "FACE" wine, the "Rinascimento" is composed of a selection of Tuscan native grapes from different vineyards as Sangiovese, Ciliegiolo, Canaiolo, and Foglia Tonda grapes. The grapes have been harvested by hand and pre-selected.   Nice switch from the Black Rooster.








New Arrivals - Lions - 6 March


March came in like a lion on Sunday with several inches of snow to close school on Monday.  So, too go along with this theme, we'll be opening some new wines from the California arm of Australia's Grateful Palate "R Wines." 
Based in Australia, R Wines produces wine from vineyards all over Australia including Riesling from Western Australia, Pinot Noir from Victoria, Shiraz from McLaren Vale and the Barossa just to name a few. R Wines was founded in 2005 by partners Dan Philips, and Chris Ringland. Chris is one of world's leading and most gifted winemakers. He leads teams of winemakers and viticulturalists managing vineyards Australia wide. R Wines that make it to the shelf are not merely sound and well-made, but are stylish, compelling, hand-crafted and peerlessly delicious. We believe that what goes on the bottle is as important as what goes in the bottle and work with world-class designers to create innovative, loud, brilliant labels that speak to consumers in ways unique to the wine world.
Green Lion is a California winemaking project with the singular mission to make ultra-value wine from Napa using the same Australian winemaking techniques that have led the Shiraz revolution in the wine world in the last ten years.
Red Lion ChardonnayThese are regularly priced at $19.99, but we'll keep them on SALE for $17.99 through March.
RED LION 2007 Chardonnay California - A distinct mineral nose with citrus notes that continue to the palate. Supported by rich, stone fruits and mouth-filling white melon.  A racy and lingering acidity makes this a great wine to enjoy with food.
GREEN LION 2006 Merlot Napa Valley - This Green Lion MerlotMerlot show characters typical of the vintage. Densely structured with loads of rich, ripe, redberry fruits that coat the palate and are accentuated by subtle sweet oak notes. The ripe berries per­sist giving the wine a classic elegant finish.
Red Lion Cabernet 
RED LION 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon California
- A tight, reserved bouquet slowly opens to ripe black cherries and a hint of spice. The palate is rich, classic Cabernet cassis and cedar wood, given volume by an elegant tannin structure. A lingering finish with distinct black current notes.
See you then.

NOTES:  If you are a fan of the DOMAINE LA GARRIGUE Cuvée Romaine, we have less than three cases left of the '07 - and that's it.
In the "good news" end, we're getting five more cases of the GRAND VENEUR 2006 Côtes du Rhône-Villages "Les Champauvins" ($16.99) - The estate Cotes du Rhone-Villages is always a winner, and the 2006 Cotes du Rhone-Villages Les Champauvins is again a classic example of southern France. It is a pure wine, with notes of garrigue, meat, and sweet kirsch in a medium to full-bodied, ripe, lovely style meant for drinking in its first 4-5 years of life.  90 points." - Robert Parker, Wine Advocate.  This wine is produced from grapes grown just outside the Chateauneuf boundaries and with slightly higher yields allowed by the Côtes du Rhône-Village appellation.


More New Press - 27 Feb

From the latest Wine Advocate Issue #181 (just released!!)  
SHOTFIRE!!THORN-CLARKE 2007 Shiraz Barossa "Shotfire" ($19.99)
- "92 points.  The 2007 Shotfire Shiraz was aged for 12-18 months in a mix of new and used French and American oak, 40% new. A saturated purple/black in color, this glass-coating effort has a nose of wood smoke, bacon, mineral, and blueberry that leaps from the glass. Rich and intense on the palate, it has layers of flavor, excellent balance, and a pure finish. It way over-delivers for its humble price. Drink it over the next six years."

BODEGAS BORSAO 2007 Garnacha Campo de TRES PICOS!!Borja "Tres Picos" ($15.99) - "91 points.  The 2007 Tres Picos Garnacha is a worthy successor to previous vintages of this always remarkable value. Sourced from low yielding vineyards on the slopes of Moncayo Mountain, the wine was aged half in stainless steel and half in French oak for 10 months. Purple-colored, it offers up sexy aromas of cedar, underbrush, mineral, and black cherry. This leads to a layered, intense, spicy, rich Garnacha with gobs of succulent fruit, excellent balance, and a plush finish. This may well be the finest Tres Picos to date. It is likely to improve in the bottle for 2-3 years but there is no reason to delay your gratification."



New Press - 24 Feb

TEXIER BREZEMETEXIER 2006 Côtes du Rhône "Brézème" ($19.99) - "Dark and winey, with a great sanguine note piercing through the core of raspberry ganache, melted licorice and sweet spice notes. The long, juicy finish has nice underlying grip.  100% Syrah.  Drink now through 2010.  91 points - Smart Buy!" - Wine Spectator.  ORGANIC.
MONTES 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Leyda Vineyard MONTES SAUV BLANCLimited Selection Chile (SALE!! $13.99) - "A very crisp and minerally style, with a prominent chalky edge that carries the flint, chive and fleur de sel notes.  Very lengthy. Drink now.  90 points - Smart Buy!" - Wine Spectator.  "The 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Leyda Vineyard, a more serious effort, is an unoaked cuvee with an expressive bouquet of spring flowers, citrus, and fresh herbs. Light- to medium-bodied, it exhibits lively white fruit flavors, vibrant acidity, and excellent balance. This exceptional value has a pure, fruit-filled finish.  90 points." - Wine Advocate. 
More press for STUHLMULLER 2007 Chardonnay Alexander Valley ($26.99) - "Tangy lime and citrus notes join riper green apple and honeydew melon in this supple, full-bodied, complex and elegant offering. The finish is long and clean. Drink now through 2011.  91 points - Smart Buy!" - Wine Spectator.  (Also 92 points from Robert Parker.)
TRES PICOSBORSAO 2007 Garnacha Campo de Borja "TRES PICOS" ($16.99) - "Inky ruby. Highly complex bouquet of cherry, dark berry liqueur, iron, tobacco and dried flowers; reminded me a wine from Graves. Tangy cherry and cassis flavors are on the primal side initially but soften and gain sweetness with air. Fine tannins add grip to the long, spicy finish, which repeats the iron note. This is very promising.  90(+?) points." - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar
CHÂTEAU de BEAUCASTEL 2006 Châteauneuf-BEAU BEAU CdPdu-Pape ($116.99) - "Powerful, with a round, almost creamy core of blackberry and raspberry fruit all layered with cocoa, sweet toast, mesquite and fig paste. Long and rich through the finish. Still quite primal, with lots in reserve. Best from 2010 through 2030. 7,500 cases imported.  95 points - Collectible." - Wine Spectator.  (The 2005 was in the Wine Spectator Top 100 at #8!)  ORGANIC.
SEGRIES CdRHONEWe also just received in ten cases of DOMAINE de la SÉGRIÈS 2007 Côtes du Rhône ($9.99) - The reviewers are doing both back and front flips for the 2007 Rhône vintage.  The Ségriès '07 shows a perfect beam of cherry/raspberry fruit with a accent of pepper and fine tannins.  Great value for a house red.  And it's also ORGANIC

New Arrivals - 20 Feb

codaxThe only Albariño left around under $15 - the MARTIN CODAX 2006 Albariño Rías Baixas ($14.99) - "This white shows weight and focus, with vivid flavors of green peach, grapefruit, wet stone and smoke. Very fresh and clean.  88 points." - Wine Spectator
Argentina reload - LUIGI BOSCA 2006 Malbec Mendoza (SALE $18.99, was $19.99) - "Full ruby-red. Musky, vinous aromas of blackberry, mocha, espresso and tobacco. Suave, juicy and palate-coating, with a distinctly saline element adding complexity to the BOSCA!!flavors of raspberry, tobacco, smoke and green olive. Finishes with fine-grained tannins and lovely aromatic lift. A distinctly soil-inflected wine with loads of personality-and an excellent value.  90(+?) points." - Steve Tanzer, Int'l Wine Cellar
And its partner - LUIGI BOSCA 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Mendoza (SALE $18.99 was $19.99) - I ordered the 2005 but the '04 showed up.  No review.  Let's do our own!
MartiniLastly, another Cabernet on sale - LOUIS MARTINI 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma County (SALE!! $13.99, was $15.99) - "One of the finest bargains in California Cabernet Sauvignon must be Louis M. Martini's outstanding 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma. The good news is there are 140,000 cases produced. Fabulously sweet aromas of black currants, licorice, and cedar soar from the glass of this medium to full-bodied wine. With silky tannins as well as surprising concentration, depth, and texture, this 2006 should drink well for 8-10 years.  90 points."  Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate


 Feb 2009



Montes Close-Out:  Alpha M & Folly

Both of these wines' MSRP $90+
Now on sale for $55!!!
MONTES 2004 "ALPHA M" Santa Cruz -  The slopes of Apalta in Colchagua (in the Central Valley) enclose a half-moon shaped area with a unique micro-climate, defined by the mountains and one of Chile's widest rivers, the Tinguiririca. The best slopes in this valley, with a 15% average inclination and over 45° in the upper slopes, are found on our property where we grow the grapes for MONTES ALPHA "M". Having a west-south-west exposure allows for exactly the right number of hours of sunlight and provides us with an ocean breeze (the sea is only 30 kms away). The very warm days but cool winds at night with their lowering temperatures give a micro-climate particularly suited for growing red grape varieties. Add to this, the poor soils with little organic matter, drip irrigation, and the high density of vines (over 4.800 per hectare) make growing conditions "just right."
"An alluring nose of Kenya AA coffee and bittersweet cocoa, with polished, racy notes of black currant, fig and loam on the palate. The long, fine-grained finish has a nice minerally spine. Not as dense as the 2003, but with better integration. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2012. 4,000 cases made.  94 points." -Wine Spectator


MONTES 2004 "FOLLY" Santa Cruz - Montes Folly is grown on the very highest slopes of our "la Finca de Apalta" vineyard, in Apalta Valley, with an inclination exceeding 45º degrees. Denomination of Origin is Santa Cruz, within Colchagua. These high reaches are home to the superb grapes that become Montes Folly, Chile's first ultra-premium Syrah. Yields are extremely low at less than 4 tons per hectare, with grapes and clusters that are much smaller and even more concentrated than in the vineyard's lower slopes. As a result, they deliver more colour and tannins, making Montes Folly richly colored, complex and powerful, with over 14% alcohol. Montes Folly's blockbuster style and lingering finish attest to its pedigree.
"Shows lovely crushed blueberry and currant fruit aromas and flavors, with well-integrated toast and plenty of mineral, briar, mocha and bacon notes on the round, full-bodied finish. Could use some modest cellaring, but this is approachable now.  Syrah.  Drink now through 2009. 2,000 cases made.  93 points." - Wine Spectator
Thursday - February 26th - 7pm  
Paitin Barbaresco, et al


I've been trying to plan this one together for a while, and the timing finally seems good. 
HISTORY:  Paitin is one of the most venerable Barbaresco estates in the Neive area, with a winemaking history going back to the 18th century and Benedetto Elia's purchase of two hectares in Serra Boella.  Currently the estate is overseen by father Secondo and brothers Giovanni and Silvano along with consulting enologist Beppe Caviola.  
With 17 hectares (42 acres) of vineyards in the coveted Bricco di Neive section of Barbaresco and in the Roero, Paitin produces wines with uncommon flavor, silkiness and power.  Southwest-facing exposition combined with low yields results in opulent, rich wines.  
The Barbaresco "Sori Paitin," first bottled in 1893, is aged partly in barrique and partly in large barrels and offers a bouquet of perfumed violets, mint and dark berry fruit, with a rich and persistent finish ("Pommard-like in its solidity" - Tanzer.).  1999 was the inaugural vintage release of the "Vecchie Vigne" (old vines) Barbaresco, from vines averaging 40-50 years; it was awarded "Tre Bicchieri" from the Gambero Rosso and 93 points from the Wine Spectator (who called it "a blockbuster.").
Paitin's less expensive red wines are top in their categories -- from gorgeous, silky Dolcetto (One of the most remarkable Dolcettos ever tasted - Parker on the 1999 vintage) to the floral and lush barrique Barbera.  

Paitin 2007 Dolcetto - $18.99 (Wine Advocate 88)
Paitin 2006 Barbera "Serra Boella" - $19.99 (NR)
Paitin 2004 Barbaresco "Sori Paitin" - $47.99 (Wine Advocate 92)
Paitin 2003 Barbaresco "V.V." - $77.99 (NR)
Paitin 1997 Barbaresco "Sori Paitin" - $79.99 (Tanzer 92)
Paitin 1995 Barbaresco "Sori Paitin" - $79.99 (Wine Spectator 92)
Paitin 1990 Barbaresco "Sori Paitin" - $92.99 (NR)
We rarely get to try older, fine wines, much less those that have been held back at the property until now.  Cost is $35 and includes a tasty treats and a Riedel Glass.  So, get out your planner and write in Wine Tasting - February 26th 7:00 pm.


New Arrivals - 20 FEb 2009

SIEGLER 2006 Pinot Blanc Alsace ($14.99) - "Siegler is one of the best producers in Mittelwhir a part of Alsace that produces wines of purity, high acidity, and focused fruit character. The aroma has fresh apple and pear with minerals and high toned citrus (lime or lemon as opposed to grapefruit or orange) the flavor exudes brightness and clarity of fruit that pairs well with trout, flounder, bay scallops, steamed shrimp, and the last oysters of the season as well as rice noodles, and pad Thai." - Didier Simonin, Importer
CortenovaCORTENOVA 2007 Pinot Grigio Venice Italy ($7.99) - "Brilliant straw color with emerald reflections.  Fresh and floral bouquet with a hint of pears, apricots and bananas. Fresh and inviting with bright fruit and an easy drinking style with a pleasing hint of almonds in the aftertaste.  Pairs well with seafood dishes, risottos with scampi, spaghetti with clams, sole in white wine.  Perfect also as an aperitif." - Fran Kysela, Importer
Strong ArmsR WINES 2007 Shiraz South Australia "STRONG ARMS" ($11.99) - New vintage.  Strong Arms Shiraz is blended from fruit sourced from vineyards in McLaren Vale, Riverland, and the Barossa Valley, and then aged in both French and American oak. "Sweet-fruited vibrant nose of fragrant violets, plums, cherry and musk. The palate has rich blackberry, raspberry, licorice and tar. Finishes with a creamy, vanillin oak and slightly smoky character." - Dan Philips, Importer


A new offering from Grateful Palate Imports - ParingaPARINGA 2007 Chardonnay Riverland Australia ($9.99) - Interesting and refreshing OZ Chardonnays for $10 seem to be on the downside (Trevor Jones is up to $20, at least here in the Commonwaelth).  Try this out.  "Brilliant clarity displaying a light golden hue, with a depth of color extending to the meniscus of the glass. Rich, ripe fruit profiles with distinct tropical characters of pineapple and nectarine, balanced with subtle citrus aromas of lemon and lime. Intense fruity flavors consistent with the nose provide a perceived sweetness which is balanced with crisp clean acidity and a luscious moderate finish."  Sounds good to me - all for a sawbuck.
HOGUE 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley HOGUE($10.99) - As you might guess, we really don't go mainstream here, but I've been looking around for a decent value in a Washington State Cabernet, and finally found one.  "Bright and flavorful. A juicy, focused mouthful of raspberry-tinged currant and spice flavors, finishing with a velvety texture. Drink now through 2011.  89 points - BEST VALUE." - Wine Spectator
Some Valentine's Day ideas:
TEMPTATIONALEXANDER VALLEY VINEYARDS 2005 Zinfandel "TEMPTATION" ($11.99) - "Temptation Zinfandel was born out of our twenty-five plus years making Sin Zin Zinfandel. First produced in 1978, with 100% Alexander Valley grapes, Sin Zin has developed a cult like following for its abundant raspberry fruit and freshly crushed black pepper character. In 2001 we launched Redemption Zinfandel, a 100% Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel that displays rich blackberry, blueberry and spice rack qualities that is a terrific counterpoint to Sin Zin. And yet, something was amiss... Sin leads to Redemption, and yet what leads to Sin? Temptation Zin was born." - AVV
LAUREL GLEN 2006 Zinfandel Lodi California REDS"REDS" ($11.99) - "The 2006 REDS is delicious, spicy, and rich with zinfandel providing dark raspberry fruit, carignane adding an exotic tang of white pepper, while the petite syrah tones down the tendency of zinfandel to become too jammy and pulls the whole blend together with its deep color and black pepper flavors. Enjoy, as always, with Mediterranean cuisine, and bistro, burgers, and barbeque!" - Laurel Glen


More New Beers
HennepinOMMEGANG Hennepin ($6.75/750ml) - Farmhouse Saison.  "As you pour this rich golden ale into your glass, consider your surroundings. Are you in a restaurant? Outside on the deck? Is it hot and humid? Cold and brisk? Take a drink. Feel the way Hennepin is bright and lively in your mouth with a warming mix of spicy gingersnap and citrusy hops. Refreshing. Relaxing. It's true: no matter where you are, Hennepin is the perfect ale for all seasons."
OMMEGANG Chocolate INDULGENCE ($13.99/750ml) - OmmegangJust in time for VALENTINE'S DAY!!  "Chocolate Indulgence comes with a thick tan head of foam resting on top of the rich onyx-colored liquid. The aroma immediately speaks of dark chocolate and dark malts. The gentle herbal nose of Perle hops compliments the darker notes, making the beer savory to the senses.  The taste continues with the intense Belgian dark chocolate gliding across the tongue; starting sweet up front but giving way to rich cocoa flavors at the back. Through it all, a subtle fruitiness from our special Belgian yeast gives the beer brightness otherwise foreign to a beer style normally associated with gray foggy skies."
PangeaDOGFISH HEAD Pangea ($7.25/750ml) - "Brewed with ingredients from every continent (crystallized ginger from Australia, water from Antarctica, basmati rice from Asia, etc...), this is slightly spicy ale, with a mouthful of rich flavors."

And we now, by special request, have DUVEL ($3.75/330ml) in the Duvelsmaller bottles.  "Four generations of the Moortgat family have brought together Pilsner malts, Bohemian hops, and a unique yeast strain to create this intense, aromatic and beguiling ale. This Belgian favorite is best enjoyed chilled (40 - 50 F) with discerning friends or good-looking strangers."



New Beers - 24 Jan 2009
Some are seasonal, some are just limited production. 
Blue Mountain is just south of Afton, near (sort of) Wintergreen.  Stop by if you're in that neighborhood between Wednesday and a Sunday.  Most of their beer is sold at the brewery - very little makes it to retail, especially the specilalty beers.
Dogfish Head was recently featured in Southern Living, and their 60-minute IPA is on the beer list at Ruby Tuesday's.  (So is Abita Turbo Dog.)  Hopslam
Bell's experienced 30% growth last year, and for good reason - their beers are well-made and reasonably priced - and still bottle-conditioned.  We are fortunate to receive their limited production bottlings.  Batch 9000 is on the horizon.
BELL'S Hopslam ($15.99/6pk) - "A biting, bitter, tongue bruiser of an ale. With a name like Hopslam, what did you expect?" Larry Bell.  Very Limited - under 4cs right now.  Beer Advocate "A" Rated with 854 reviews.  
StoneSTONE Collaboration ($4.50/12oz) - Limited Edition Special Spiced Holiday Ale, a collaboration between Stone Brewing (California), Jolly Pumpkin Brewing (Michigan), and Nøgne Ø (Norway), brewed with spices:  "We quickly decided to try and use one indigenous ingredient from each of our brewing regions, Southern California White Sage, Juniper Berries (we couldn't get Norwegian, unfortunately, so we used Italian Juniper Berries, at least they are from the same continent), and (mostly) Michigan Chestnuts. Kjetil suggested brewing with rye malt and Ron suggested adding some caraway to complement the rye, so we decided to brew a full-bodied, spiced ale with 25% rye malt."  12 bottles available.  Truly, one-of-a-kind.MIDAS TOUCH
DOGFISH HEAD Midas Touch ($14.99/4pk) - "Midas Touch Golden Elixir is a beverage based on the residue found on the drinking vessels in King Midas' tomb. Our recipe highlights the known ingredients of barley, white Muscat grapes, honey and saffron. Somewhere between a beer, wine and mead, this smooth, dry ale will please with Chardonnay or I.P.A. drinker alike."

DOGFISH HEAD Olde School ($15.99/4pk) - "Inspired by a tale of a cask Olde Schooldoctor who brought sluggish ales back to life by suspending a fig in them. Brewed from 100% Maris Otter pale ale malt, a blend of fine hops and conditioned on dates and figs. User Instructions: open bottle, pour contents into two snifters. Enjoy. ALTERNATIVELY: Walk hand-in-neck with bottle into the middle of the woods. Use shovel to dig 2x2 hole three feet deep. Seal bottle in plastic bag. Place in hole and pack with dirt. Memorize location and leave. Return exactly one year later. Dig up bottle, open and enjoy."
NHDMNEW HOLLAND Dragon's Milk ($8.50/22oz)  - "Dragon's Milk is a 17th century term used to describe the strong beer usually reserved for royalty. This strong ale was aged in oak for over 120 days. The aging process extracts flavors from the wood, which contribute to its complex character. Hints of bourbon flavor perfectly compliment its roasted malts to produce a beer fit for a King."
BLUE MOUNTAIN Lights Out ($12.99/6pk) - "How do you survive three months of turkey, re-gifted fruitcakes, and decorating four different times from the end of October to January? A lot of really good beer. This traditional Old Ale exhibits a pronounced full, rounded malt flavor accented by English Goldings and Fuggles hops."
DOGFISH HEAD Fort ($18.99/750ml) - "The World's Strongest Fruit Beer with over a ton of Oregon and Delaware raspberries that were dosed in, slowly, over a two month primaryEVIL 8 fermentation. This process produced lots of complex fruit aromas and flavors without being too sweet. Warrior hops, 45 IBUs. 915 pils malt and 9% malted wheat."

BLUE MOUNTAIN Evil 8 ($12.99/6pk) - Belgian-style Dubbel.  "A truly spiritual ale, Evil 8° will blur the lines of what you think you know about American beer.  Brewed in the Belgian Abbey style using caramelized Biscuit malt, Goldings hops and a unique strain of brewers' yeast."


New Arrivals - 23 Jan 2009
NeyersNEYERS 2007 Chardonnay Carneros ($31net) - "Complex aromas of smoke, fig and citrus fold over to the palate. Full-bodied, with fine structure and acidity, along with flavors that end up giving this a delicate feel. The aftertaste is delicious. Drink now through 2012. 93 points." - J.L. Wine Spectator
STUHLMULLER 2007 Chardonnay Estate StuhlAlexander Valley ($24net) - "It is hard to find a 92-point Chardonnay for $24 a bottle, but Stuhlmuller's 2007 Chardonnay (5,600 cases) is a beauty. Lemon oil, honeysuckle, white currant, white peach, and poached pear characteristics are present in this beauty along with terrific freshness, medium to full body, a layered mouthfeel, and a long, pure, dry finish. Drink this knock-out Chardonnay over the next 2-3 years." - Wine Advocate

RAMEYRAMEY Chardonnay Russian River Valley Ritchie Vineyard 2006 ($63net) - "Deliciously complex and full-bodied, this is layered with flavors, showing citrus and tropical fruit, with hints of anise and buttery oak, yet the acidity keeps the flavors tangy and vibrant. Drink now through 2012. 1,300 cases made.  95 points - Highly Recommended."   -JL, Wine Spectator
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New Arrivals - 9 JAN 2009
Happy New Year!  2009 has arrived!
So while the economy melts down, let's open some new wines.  
Marques de Casa Concha 2007 Chardonnay Chile ($19.99) - This label never seems to disappoint.  And as $20 Chardonnays go this is touohg to beat - maybe by the Catena from across the Andes.  "Very ripe, but with great, underlying juiciness to the quince, Jonagold apple and pear flavors. The long, pure finish keeps you coming back for more. Drink now through 2010.  91 points." - Wine Spectator
Felino CabernetViña Cobos 2007 Cabernet Sauviignon "Felino" ($21.99) - "The purple-colored 2007 Felino Cabernet Sauvignon offers up spicy black currants and blackberry. Smooth-textured and layered, it has excellent balance and a lengthy, pure finish. It's hard to think of a better value in Cabernet Sauvignon. 91 points.

Viña Cobos is Paul Hobbs' winery in Mendoza. He is better known (at least for the moment) to USA connoisseur/collectors for his namesake winery in Napa Valley which has received many accolades (including 100-point scores from Robert Parker) for its Cabernets, Pinot Noirs, and Chardonnays. What is less well known is that Hobbs is a pioneer in fine wine production in Argentina, having started there in 1988 with Nicolas Catena. Senor Catena gives Hobbs much credit for the success of Catena-Zapata's Chardonnay program. He has since extended his consulting efforts both in Argentina and Chile but the capstone of Hobbs' work is Viña Cobos which began in 1998 and moved into its own winery facility in 2007."  Wine Advocate
And it's that time of year again - Girl Scout Cookies.  We have the sign up sheet here at WSP - order early, order often.


STILL the Deal of the Week!!

Lockwood 2004 Syrah Monterey "Shale Ridge" (SALE!! $7.99 was $11.99) - "This wine's briliant ruby color is just a prelude to its bright aromas of red cherry and dark plum. A hint of vanilla from French oak aging is evident in the nose while a soft tannin structure, coupled with a full-bodied mouth feel, makes this wine immediately enjoyable." - Lockwood Winery

After receiving a gift of some lamb, we opened a half bottle of the Ken Wright Cellars 2006  Pinot Noir "SheaTres Piicos Vineyard" ($29.99/375ml).  I know the economy is all whacked out, but if you're going to cry over a glass of wine, pick this one.  Deep, lush, dark cherry fruit with the characteristic loaminess of the Shea terroir.


Also - last call for the Bodegas Borsao 2007 Campo de Borja "Tres Picos" ($16.99) - last three vintages have scored Wine Advocate 91 points, and the 2005 was in Wine Spectator Top-100 list.


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New Arrivals

HAlf Price Sale on Northern Rhône

Domaine du Colombier


Every now and then, we get an offer to good to refuse. 


Domaine du Colombier is located in the Northern Rhône Valley, in the left bank of the Rhône River. The estate has been part of the family since the First World War. The owners gradually moved from a sharecroppers status to that of owners. Florent Viale joined his father in 1990 and decided to bottle part of their production in 1991. Now they sell 80% in bottle, 20% in bulk.





Domaine du Colombier 2004 Hermitage Rouge (SALE!!! $39.99 was $79.99) - "Nicely defined on the nose, with precise spice and herbal notes that add complexity to the crunchy red fruit flavors. Ripe tannins and an easy finish make for an approachable Hermitage that should be consumed on the young side. Drink now-2015.  90 points."  Wine Enthusiast





Domaine du Colombier 2005 Crozes-Hermitage "Cuvée Gaby" (SALE!!! $15.99 was $29.99) - "Full aroma, peony and blackberry fruit. An unforced genuine appeal. Good spring in its step. Vibrant berry finish. Decanter Rating: 3/5 stars."




New Arrivals
There such a flurry this time of year that notices get backed up.  It's pretty much a one-man show here, do the tech guy is on the floor the bulk of the time pushing wine, stocking shelves, and doing paperwork.  The writer gets to stay up late and publish.
Domaine de la Garrigue 2007 Côtes du Rhône "Cuvée Cuvee RomaineRomaine" ($16.99) - This Rhône has been a regular here since the 1998 vintage.  The price has remained stable as has the quality.  (During a visit in 2000, we left the property with magnums of 1995 Vacqueyras - what a blast.)  As usual, the Cuvée Romaine is all compressed and awkward with bottle shock upon arrival.  History should show that it will come around Spring grilling season and develop over the next few years.  The critics are doing back flips over the 2007 Southern Rhône vintage.  Patience will be rewarded with the Cuvée Romaine his wine.  Buy a case and stuff it away until May Day.  "The 2007 Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Romaine, a custom cuvee for importer Eric Solomon made from 60 to 90-year old vines, is a joint project of Solomon and the Bernard family that owns the wonderful Gigondas restaurant, Les Florets, and the brilliant oenologist, Philippe Cambie. A sensational blend of 65% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre, and 10% Syrah, it boasts a dense purple color along with a gorgeous nose of creosote, kirsch, blackberries, licorice, and hints of smoked herbs and roasted meats. The wine possesses fabulous ripeness, fresh acidity, full body, and layers of both flavor and depth. It is a remarkable effort, but readers who purchase it should be sure it has the Eric Solomon strip label as the same wine, bottled much later, is sold in other markets. In my opinion, those wines have lost a lot of their freshness.  92 points."  Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate.  Creosote?
ShotfireThorn-Clarke 2005 Shiraz Barossa "Shotfire" ($10.99/375ml) and Thorn-Clarke 2007 Shiraz Barossa "Shotfire" ($17.99) - The Shotfire Shiraz has also been in the WSP stable since the 2002 vintage.  (Upon the 2007 release, we did a quasi-vertical of the Shotfires.  The 2005 was the crowd favorite, followed by the 2007 and 2003; the 2006 seems to be in a weird phase of awkwardness and trying to figure out its footing.)  The 2007 has not been rated, but its youthful exuberance cannot be ignored.  For the 2005:  "The 2005 Shiraz Shotfire Ridge beefs up the oak and fruit intensity in a full-bodied, chocolaty, rich, ball buster styled Barossa Shiraz that coats the palate, stains the teeth, and provides an intense mouthful of wine. It should drink well for 10-12 years. It is a remarkable value.  92 points."  Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate.  "Deep, saturated purple. Dusty deep aromas of espresso-tinged blackberry, blueberry and blackcurrant. Lush, velvety and sweet, the blackberry and blueberry flavors veering toward liqueur-like but retaining focus and clarity. I suspect that many hard-core Old World palates might find this a bit too much but I'm impressed.  90 points."  Tanzer's International Wine Cellar
Old LoirePicasses
Olga Raffault 1995 Chinon "Les Picasses" ($32.99)Olga Raffault 2002 Chinon "Les Picasses" ($19.99)
At Domaine Olga Raffault, Olga herself is legendary. Now in her 80's, but as spry and vivacious as ever, she has all but retired and the winemaking is continued by her son, Jean, while her daughter-in-law and grandchildren manage the estate. She is still much in demand for her opinion and expertise and recently appeared on a local radio show about red winemaking in the Loire.

The estate has terrific plots of land in the Savigny-en-Véron district hard by the Vienne riverbanks. The 'Les Picasses' vineyard stands out from the rest: old vines of 50-ish years on a fairly steep slope from the riverbank that is alluvial clay with a chalk limestone base. The fruit is particularly expressive of dark fruits of cassis and dark cherries with a terrific mineral content and good acidity for structure. The winemaking is most traditional at this estate. The grapes are, of course, handpicked and fermented in stainless-steel. The wines are then aged in larger, neutral oak and sometimes chestnut - a traditional barrel wood in the region. The 'Picasses' spends two to three years in oak, to reduce the wine and soften the tannins, and is usually released about 4 years after the vintage.

Raffault's 'les Picasses' often has a light garnet color belying the depth of fruit flavor and complexity. Its style is rustic, quite earthy, with hints of orange zest and deep, dark cherry flavor. The tannins are soft, but present, and the mineral complexity in the finish is superb. - Joe Dresser
And if you like older Muscadet from a prominent producer (with some Wine Enthusiast press:
L d'OrLuneau-Papin 1995 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine "L d'Or" ($32.99) - "It's an extraordinary wine that still tastes so fresh after 13 years, but for a Muscadet it's almost unbelievable. Yet, here is this citrus and white currant flavored wine that still shows high acidity and liveliness as well as a depth of texture that has come during its aging. Probably at its peak now.  93 points." - R.V. (11/2008)
Luneau-Papin 1999 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine "L d'Or" ($26.99) - "The granite soil of the vineyard is dominant in this textured, mineral wine with its kerosene aroma and its taut, almost austere acidity. While the primary fruit has gone, this is still nowhere near mature, a wine that shows considerable freshness, life, potential.  92 points." - R.V. (11/2008)
Pierre et Monique Luneau-Papin head this 30-hectare estate in Le Landreau, in the heart of Muscadet country, where small hamlets dot a landscape of vineyards on low hills. Their estate, also known as Domaine Pierre de la Grange, has been in existence since the early 18th century when it was already planted with Melon de Bourgogne, the Muscadet varietal. Pierre and Monique are the eighth generation of winemakers in the family. Pierre is a genial, low-key, distracted professor type. He's the winemaker and vineyard work supervisor. His wife Monique, lively, energetic and equally genial, is the business manager.

Muscadet is an area where, unfortunately, a lot of undistinguished bulk wine is produced. Because of the size of their estate, and of the privileged terroir of the villages of Le Landreau, Vallet and La Chapelle Heulin, the Luneau family has opted for producing smaller cuvées from their several plots, which are always vinified separately so as to reflect their terroir's particular character. The soil is mainly micaschist and gneiss, some plots are a mix of silica, volcanic rocks and schist. The estate has a high proportion of old vines, 40 years old on average, up to 65 years of age.

The harvest is done by hand, also a rarity in the region, to avoid any oxidation before pressing. There is an immediate light débourbage (separation of juice from gross lees), then a 4-week fermentation at 68 degrees, followed by 6 months of aging in stainless-steel vats on fine lees. This is the classic Muscadet-sur-lie process, where the wine is kept on its lees, with a fair amount of CO2 as protection, until bottling in the spring following the harvest. The only modern technique used here is macération pelliculaire (maceration of lightly crushed berries before pressing), which varies in proportion according to the cuvées.  The L d'Or, the estate's top cuvée and the longest-lived, is big, fat, and its mineral character mingles with floral and citrusy notes. - Joe Dressner



Saturday - December 27th - 2-5pm 
2nd Annual Champage Tasting - Grower Champagnes
Please RSVP so we can get a handle on the numbers attending
Please feel free to forward to a friend if you wish.  There is a link at the bottom of the page!


Champagne Tasting Update! - While the previous Specialty Tastings have been after hours and closed to the public, this event will be free of charge and wide open.  We only ask that those participating contribute to a charity of your choosing.  We have a few suggestions (with links in the headings) :


Dana Farber Cancer Institute: A good friend of mine, John Blackburn, has decided to run the Boston Marathon in 2009.  It is possible to gain entry to this elite field of runners by raising enough money for charity.  John has chosen to raise money for the Dana Farber Cancer Institute, a worthy cause and obviously one with special significance for John as his father continues his battle with cancer.  There is a minimum amount that John must raise in order to qualify; John's goal is $10,000.  I'm writing to ask you all to please consider supporting John in this challenge and donate to the DFCI on his behalf.


Rockbridge Area Free Clinic - The Rockbridge Area Free Clinic is serving low-income, uninsured people throughout the Rockbridge area. Children, adults, disabled, elderly, any race or religion, male or female can come to the Free Clinic and receive basic health care that they otherwise could not afford. We seek to deliver quality health care in a caring atmosphere to improve people's lives.

Habitat For Humanity - Rockbridge Area HFH is a locally run affiliate of Habitat for Humanity International, a nonprofit, ecumenical Christian housing organization. Habitat for Humanity works in partnership with people in need to build and renovate decent, affordable housing. The houses then are sold to those in need at no profit and with no interest charged.  Volunteers provide most of the labor, and individual and corporate donors provide money and materials to build Habitat houses. Partner families themselves invest hundreds of hours of labor - "sweat equity" - into building their homes and the homes of others. Their mortgage payments go into a revolving Fund for Humanity that is used to build more houses.  What Your Donation Can Buy
$10 can buy a box of nails
$100 can buy a sink
$500 can buy shingles for a roof
$1000 can build one child's bedroom
$5000 can build the kitchen for one home


Tom Bjornsen will be here to pour samples, discuss, and answer questions about Roanoke Valley's portfolio of Grower Champagnes.  Simply put, grower Champagnes are just that - produced by the people who grow the grapes.  Production levels are in the low-thousands of cases.   All NM houses purchase their fruit from independent growers.


Most of Roanoke Valley's Grower Champagnes are from Grand Cru sites.  They are competitively priced vis-à-vis the Grand Marques, but have so much more character and expression.  Their Champagnes were featured in Virginia Living's December 2008 issue, and were just recently reviewed in and up-and-coming publication i-winereview.com.  More to come on this, but here's their review of the Gatinois NV "Cuvée Tradition" Grand Cru Brut ($44.99/$24.99375ml): "Gatinois' Brut is a blend of 90% Pinot Noir and 10% Chardonnay. It reveals a medium lemon color with a red tint. It is rich and creamy in the mouth with clean delicious flavors of pear and light dried cherry fruit with yeasty notes. Gatinois achieves great mouth feel without using any oak. This is a wine of power and delicacy made by a first-class winemaker from a top vineyard site.  93 points."  Gatinois sells the bulk of their fruit to Bollinger.



SUMMARY:  "The Champagne region in France is dominated by a handful of brand names. These négoçiants [NM] and coopératives produce 80% of the total output in Champagne, yet they only own 12% of the vineyards.  They may, by law, purchase as much of their grapes or pressed juice or already made sparking wine (known as sur-lattes) as they wish from all over the region. They bring to market a mass produced commodity - the most successful processed agricultural product in human history - a Champagne made in a "house style." This is a sparkling wine made in a highly interventionist and formulaic way with swift pressing, extensive use of chaptalization, acidification, cultured yeast strains, enzymes, nitrogenous yeast nutrients and rapid temperature controlled fermentations. They produce many millions of cases annually.  (The Champagne growers own 88% of the vineyards but account for just 22% of the sales. Only 30 growers own more than 12 hectares, and produce in excess of 6,500 cases per year!!
By contrast, Small Growers, or "récoltant-manipulants, [RM]" may purchase only 5% of their fruit and handcraft their limited quantities of Champagne from individual villages and parcels where the inherent qualities of the vineyards imprint themselves into the wines. These winemakers are brave souls in an Industrialized age: growing, crafting and bottling their own Champagne, offering it to the world as their life's work. They deserve your support." - Terry Theise, Importer.


Pinot Sale - Cru Beau

This time of year I look around the shop and profess:  "Gee whiz.  Look at all of this "_____" that's hanging around.  This year the "_____" is Pinot Noir.  So, from today until next Friday the 19th, we'll discount all Pinot Noir purchases 10%, and on up to 15% on case purchases - solid or mixed.  Many selections are limited in supply.  Current selection is here - WSP - Pinot Sale
But, if you think Pinot Noir's supply/demand curve is a little out of kilter (but still like the style), we've assembled a six-pack of 2006 Beaujolais Crus.  The purity and precision these wines offer, for the money, is truly amazing.


Descombes Brouilly 
Coudert Clos de Roilette Fluerie ($21.99) - Advocate 91pts
 ·        Chermette Vissoux Moulin-à-Vent "Les Trois Roches" ($21.99) - IWC 90pts  
 ·        Tete Clos du Fief Julienás ($19.99) - Advocate 90pts
 ·        G. Descombes Morgon ($19.99) - Advocate 90pts
 ·        G. Descombes Brouilly ($21.99) - NYR
 ·        G. Descombes Brouilly V.V. ($28.99) - NYR 


We have a few more things inbound - Domaine La Garrigue 2007 Cuvée Romaine Côtes du Rhône, some older Luneau-Papin L d'Or Muscadet, and Shotfire Ridge 2005 Shiraz Half Bottles.

As we approach our twelfth Holiday season, a lot has happened over the years.  If you are reading this, you have likely either purchased wine from Washington Street Purveyors, have made an inquiry as such, or stumbled upon our website gopherwine.com and signed up for updates. 


Looking back: Back in June of 2003, the Thorn-Clarke 2002 Shotfire Ridge Barossa Shiraz was graced with a 94-point rating form Robert Parker.  If you did a Google search for this wine back then, we were the fifth entry on the first page of results!  And this was using plain old Micrsoft FrontPage!  And then the Las Rocas 2001 VV followed.  Almost too much of a good thing.  But we gained a lot of folks interested in our operation. 


Nowadays, those kinds of results are generated through sophisticated IT departments using state-of-the-art SEO programming or through expensive subscriptions or web advertising - neither of which we plan to pursue.  (If you search Shotfire Shiraz 2007 today, we're on page eight - still respectable considering our resources, but off the radar for all intents and purposes.  And at $17.99, a good price.) 


The internet is an amazing resource.  Three years ago, Google was averaging 250M searches a day - now it's over a billion.  In many ways, wine (even First Growths) has become a commodity, and price wars abound.  And for most cases, if a buyer can't get Wine A at price A from Seller A, then they won't likely buy it for the higher Price B from Seller B.  It just doesn't 'feel right.'  (True Story - A buyer from Palm Beach recently had a case of wine shipped from New Jersey to a friend of his up the street from WSP here in Lexington for less than what I could sell it to him.  That's the current state of the landscape.)


It's been some time I've sent something out to the readership, as I prefer our announcements to be informative and meaningful - something that you will open and remember.  We have some new arrivals coming in for the holidays - we'll get those out as soon as we can. 


For the most part, according to engines such as Wine-Searcher and WineZap, we're pretty much in the middle of the pack in regards to pricing - we do what we can and try to provide a quality product at a competitive price and with prompt service, weather permitting.  It's an old-school model, but has broad applications. 


Again, as always, thank you for your patronage an attention.  Have a great weekend.

Vieux Telegraphe 2005 Chateauneuf
du Pape
#5 Wine Spectator TOP 100 Wines for 2008

Seghesio 2007 Zinfandel Sonoma County
Seghesio Zin
#10 Wine Spectator TOP 100 Wines for 2008
PRICE: $21.99
Concha y Toro 2005 Cabernet
 Sauvignon "Don Melchor"
Don Melchor 
#12 Wine Spectator TOP 100 Wines of 2008
PRICE: $74.99



October 27th, 2008 - New Arrivals and Filling the Backlog:

Too many distractions.  To summarize:  Loire, Argentina, Australia, Beaujolais, Spain

New Arrivals

As it goes, some wines come in under the wire to prevent more advance notice - business as usual.


Forstreiter 2007 Gruner Veltliner Austria "GROONER" ($11.99) - Served next door - crisp and refreshing.  Awesome alternate to Pinot Grigio or Sauvignon Blanc.


Michel Tête 2006 Julienas ($19.99) - "Michel Tete's 2006 Julienas displays positively kinetic intensity and an almost white wine-like vivacityClos Coutale Cahors and refreshment, so that blind I would have guessed it to be a 2007. Red raspberry, rhubarb, smoked meat, and mineral salts are the key themes here, and there is a penetrating brightness to the finish that will leave you amazed. It needs another six months in bottle, and certainly will be worth following over the course of 2-3 years during which its sheer audacity may be tempered and mysteries revealed.  90 points." - Wine Advocate


Spater-Veit 2005 Riesling Spätlese Piesporter Goldtropfchen ($25.99) - Organic, native yeast, purely Riesling.  Great Value.


Coutale 2005 Cahors ($15.99) - 80% Malbec, 20% Merlot.  Full of black fruit and terroir.  Not from Argentina.


New Arrivals - Tasting

guardaHenry LaGarde 2002 Mendoza "Guarda" ($24.99) - "This 218ha estate is located in the Zona Alta of the Mendoza River, considered one of the best growing regions in Argentina. Temperatures are hot in the day and cool at night, encouraging ripeness but preserving aromatic character.  Excellent quality - the best harvest of the last ten years with healthy, mature grapes. The weather conditions played an important role in the quality of the grapes and wines. The winter was mild, without intense low temperatures. The wine had a year in french oak and a further year in barrel before release."  Malbec/Cabernet/Merlot/Syrah.
Vega Sindoa 2007 Navarra Grenache "El Chaparral" ($14.99) - Plan B intil the Las Rocas is released.  "Bright ruby. Extremely rich nose displays black raspberry, plum and flowers. Juicy dark berry flavors are liqueur-like in depth and power but given lift by zesty minerality. Finishes with expansive red and dark berry flavors and excellent persistence. It's amazing that this can sell for under $30, much less $15.  91 points!" - International Wine Cellar.
Cueva de las Manos 2007 Mendoza Bonarda "Old Vine Reserve" (SALE!! $11.99 was $13.99) - "100% Bonarda.  Manual harvest. Aged for 12 months in French oak barrels; aging in the bottle for a minimum of 6 months.  Deep red color with violet hints. Wild berries and violet aromas, round and velvety tannins and a long finish."


New Press


93 POINTS - Seghesio 2007 Zinfandel Sonoma County ($21.99) - "A seductive and vigorous Zinfandel, with smoky black cherry and blueberry aromas and youthful wild berry, sage and cracked pepper flavors that have a lingering finish and zesty tannins. Drink now through 2012." - Wine Spectator.


90 POINTS - WhiteHaven 2007 Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough New Zealand ($18.99) - "Bright, pale straw. Knockout nose combines lemon, lime, pear, melon, flowers, licorice and jalapeno, with a spicy ginger quality emerging with air. Then deep and fresh on the palate, with juicy pineapple and grapefruit flavors complicated by a hint of crystallized citrus peel. There's an element of varietally typical herbaceousness but this wine is ripe, balanced and long." - International Wine Cellar



- Domino de Eguren 2006 Protocolo Tinto ($7.99) - "100% Tempranillo.  Inky purple.  Dark cherry and blackberry aromas are complicated by black pepper and licorice; smells pretty complex for this price point.  Sappy dark berry flavors are well-focused and pliant, picking up a spicy quality with air.  Clean and juicy on the finish, which repeats the blackberry note.  This is a superb bargain, as usual. " - International Wine Cellar


87 POINTS - Domaine de la Pépière 2007 Muscadet de Sevre et Maine sur Lie ($14.99) - "Mark Ollivier's 2007 Muscadet de Sevre et Maine Sur Lie smells of fresh almond, bitter-sweet flowers, and oyster shell. With a surprising softness for its genre, and with a juicy generosity of apple and almond that reminds me slightly of a true Pinot Blanc, this deposits subtly bitter chalk and iodine notes in its finish." - Wine Advocate


New Arrivals from Beaujolais

Brun2007ChardonnayJean Paul Brun 2007 Beaujolais Chardonnay "Terres Dorées" ($17.99)
- "91 points.  The Terres Dorees 2007 Beaujolais Blanc Chardonnay displays a gorgeous aroma of diverse flowers, white peach, lime, grapefruit, and ocean breeze. There is positively chewy substance on the palate, yet the wine remains refreshing and lilting in personality. The chalky, leesy sense of extract is palpable, yet floral nuances and delicate peach and lime fruit positively soar into the finish, along with savory, saline, sweet, scallop-like notes. This beauty is more reminiscent of a fine Chablis or even Riesling than of a Chardonnay from the Macon or Cote d'Or. A revelatory example of what is possible in this appellation and vintage, you can enjoy the Brun 2007 Blanc over at least the next 2-3 years.

The prevalence of chalky soils in the south of Beaujolais is the principle reason why this area is classified merely as "Beaujolais" rather than "Beaujolais-Villages." But it is also a reason why Chardonnay can achieve outstanding results here, even if there are few examples (even fewer of which carry the "Beaujolais Blanc" rather than "Bourgogne" appellation). Jean-Paul Brun's is not just a too little-known treasure of Beaujolais, it is among the handful of consistently finest value Chardonnays on the planet."  David Schildknecht, Wine Advocate.



Domaine du Vissoux 2007 Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes "Cuvee Traditionelle" ($18.99) - "90 points Chermette's 2007 Beaujolais Vieilles Vignes Cuvee Traditionelle reflects more rigorously than his (likewise unfiltered) "Pierre Chermette" cuvee the selection of top-quality fruit and vinification without chaptalization or yeasting and with a minimum of added sulfur. Surprisingly dark in color for a wine so light in body (at 11.5% alcohol) this displays pure red berry and cassis fruit, sweet floral notes, citrus rind pungency, saline minerality, and a kinetic inner intensity that will leave your palate refreshed and invigorated. There is also a darker, woodsy undertone here, which will emerge interestingly as this Beaujolais - which currently acts the white wine want-to-be - matures. Enjoy letting this wine demonstrate to you its versatility over the coming 18-24 months.

From his base in southern Beaujolais, Pierre Chermette (like nearby Jean-Paul Brun) has become one of the beacons of Beaujolais quality, as well as a landholder in the "crus" of northern Beaujolais. (Since his label now features his name writ large and "Vissoux" in tiny letters, I have listed accordingly.)"


New Arrivals - Shotfire Ridge 2007 Shiraz

Most everyone knows the history on this, but if you don't, here's the run-down:  The winery owners are David and Cheryl Clarke (born Thorn) and their son Sam is the manager of the winery. The Thorn-Clarke family has a long history in the Barossa - six generations of involvement in the region's world famous wine industry. The Thorns have been grape growers in the Barossa since the 1870's. David Clarke's passion for the wine industry lead to the planting of the Kabininge vineyard outside of Tanunda in 1987, which represents the start of a deeper involvement by the family in the Barossa wine industry. 


Thorn-Clarke Wines was launched in 2002 as a result of the 37 year marriage between David and Cheryl Clarke (nee Thorn). The Thorn family have grown vines in the Barossa since the 1870's and still proudly own and manage some of the oldest vineyards in the region.
The wine is another reward for geologist David Clarke and his family. The family has planted four diverse Barossa vineyards over the last 20 years, enabling them to blend wines grown from different terroirs which adds complexity and richness to the wine.

SHOTFIREThorn-Clarke 2007 Shiraz Barossa Valley "Shotfire Ridge" ($17.99 ON Special) 
"Deep red in color. The lifted nose has plums and sweet spice - cardoman and cinnamon, with choc mint oak characters. The palate is full bodied but refined with some expressive berry fruit, plums, liquorice and complex spicy oak. There is a great depth of fruit which will ensure the longevity of the wine and also gives it wonderful mouthfilling sensation. The tannins are velvety and combined with the rich fruit and spicy oak gives the wine great length of flavor."  So, we'll also put up the 2003, 2005 and 2006 vintages for tasting.  NOTE:  Only the 2005 (half bottles) and 2006 are still available for sale.The Shotfire Ridge Shiraz has consistently rated 90-plus points since the 2002 vintage from Robert Parker, Jr., and Wine Spectator - the 2003 AND the 2006 were in Wine Spectator's Top-100 list.


New Food



Gearharts Chocolates bars from Charlottesville.  Four different flavors - savor it.  Really, really good.  Really.


New Beer

Busuness CardNew Holland Brewing "Ichabod" Pumpkin Ale $9.99
- What I like about the Ichabod is its conservative use of pumpkin and spices - that is, it doesn't taste like pie.  "Ichabod combines malted barley and real pumpkin with cinnamon and nutmeg in a delicious and inviting brew. A rewarding complement to many dishes, Ichabod pairs well with autumnal foods such as poultry and root vegetables. After dinner, try it with your favorite dessert!"
Oskar Blues Brewery Dale's Pale Ale $17.99 12pk
-"World's Best Canned Beer" - Details Magazine.  "Top American Pale Ale" - New York Times.

Back in Stock: 


Salneval 2007 Albarino - $12.99 Despite the weakening dollar and increasing popularity of Albarino (from Galicia, Spain), this Salneval reamins a great bargain.  The Pazo Senorans Albarino is in the high $20s now, but it's not twice as good as the Salneval.  So refreshing and seafood friendly, amd also just favorably reviewed in the New York Times Albarino focus. 


New Arrivals - Dry Whites
Bodega NQN 2007 Picada 15 Blanco - $11.99 "55% Chardonnay, 40% Sauvignon Blanc and 5% Pinot noir.  Plenty of tropical fruit braced with a bit of citrus.  Great cocktail wine or pair with lighter fish or poached chicken.  Drink immediately - like right now."
Anton Bauer 2006 Gruner Veltliner "GMORK" - $12.99 Those Austrians and their crazy names.  But this is seriously good Gruner for a great price.  Super clean - think of a melony Muscadet with less cut but more body.
Salneval 2007 Albarino - $12.99 Despite the weakening dollar and increasing popularity of Albarino (from Galicia, Spain), this Salneval reamins a great bargain.  The Pazo Senorans Albarino is in the high $20s now, but it's not twice as good as the Salneval.  So refreshing and seafood friendly, amd also just favorably reviewed in the New York Times Albarino focus. 

August 13th, 2008 - New Arrivals and Filling the Backlog:

Finally back in after a Dog Days R&R.  We took in a some shows at the Sleeping Bear Dunegrass Music Festival and toured the New Holland Brewery while we were out.  And these Olympics are killing me - so much drama.  Thanks again for your support - Back on Board!!


(Some) New Arrivals - Muscadet:  
There is a book worth reviewing titled The Battle for Wine and Love: or How I Saved The World from Parkerization by Alice Feiring.  The theme follows the film Mondovino's "it's all about ratings" and "old-world wines are dead" vein.  Alice's writing can be abrasive at times, and gets a little long-winded toward the end, but her passion for her cause is literally palpable.  She brings to question, and rightly so, the trendy green movement toward organic and biodynamic wines, the terms being used more for marketing purposes than for quality wine-making.  You can start with organically-grown grapes, but what happens after that can be startling, and the wine is still "organic."  She states the focus should really be on "natural" or "authentic" wines; those that demonstrate a sense of place, or terroir.  All of the winemakers' manipulations have removed the terroir from these wines; their personality, their soul.  "And for what," you ask?  Points.  Scores from Wine Spectator and Robert Parker's Wine Advocate.  Points = money.  Wine is now manipulated into product that critics will score higher.
During her journey, Alice finally meets and befriends "Big Joe."   Joe is a wine importer, and his company focuses on these wines that Ms. Feiring is hunting for.  It's Joe who provides the term "natural" for Alice's le mot juste
"Big Joe" is Joe Dressner, as in Louis/Dressner Imports.  One of the wines in Joe's portfolio is Marc Ollivier's Domaine de la Pépière.  Back in February of 2000, I had the opportunity to visit Marc's property.  It was the day after walking down to Omaha Beach, investigating the crosses in the Normandy American Cemetery, and then up the coast the D-Day Café for a plate of raw oysters and a chilled bottle of Muscadet.  The weather was grey with frequent drizzle, but not too chilly.
Marc Ollivier farms organically, hand-harvests (a rarity in the region), and ferments using native yeasts (those on the skins).  The result is a fabulous expression of the Muscadet - brilliantly fresh and pure, and for 2007, more intensity.  Lemon/lime, granite, and sea air.  For summertime enjoyment, it doesn't get much better.  Try it with shrimp, scallops, or oysters.  And the pairing of oysters and Muscadet is cheaper than Viagra.  Not to mention it's healthier. 
So for Friday, a series of Muscadet ranging from the latest 2007 release back to 2004.  Who says you must consume Muscadet within twelve months of release.  Balderdash!
Busuness CardDomaine de la Pépière 2007 Muscadet Sur Lie ($14.99) - The only downside on this one is that the 2005 started at $10.99 a bottle.  The vines are at least forty years old, and all the vineyards are from original stock: Ollivier is the only grower in the Muscadet who does not have a single clonal selection in his vineyards.
Domaine de la Pépière 2007 Muscadet  Sur Lie "Clos des Briords" ($17.99)
- This is a deal of a lifetime.  Ollivier also produces a very-old-vine cuvée of Muscadet from a single-plot vineyard in schist, the Clos des Briords. These are among the oldest vines in his estate (they were planted in 1930) and they enjoy a particularly good exposition. Also, when most of his estate's vines are planted on poor, shallow soil with hard granite very close to the surface, the Clos des Briords has a much deeper top soil of clay and silica over a brittle granite subsoil: this ensures excellent drainage in wet years, and better moisture retention in dry summers. Ripening is slower, and the longer hang-time before harvest allows for optimal maturity to be reached.
Domaine de la Pépière 2006 Muscadet  Sur Lie "Clos des Briords" ($15.99)

Domaine de la Pépière 2005 Muscadet  Sur Lie "Granit de Clisson" ($21.99) - "Granite de Clisson" is a special bottling done by a select few producers of Muscadet who work in the most traditional methods. It is a selection of old vines planted in granite (which accounts for only 5% of the soil in the entire AOC), which undergo a 24 month elevage sur lie. 2005 marks the first time Marc has participated in this project.
Luneau-Papin 2004 Muscadet Sur Lie "L d'Or" ($19.99)
- Not Ollivier, but another Dressner selection.  Pierre et Monique Luneau-Papin head this 30-hectare estate in Le Landreau, in the heart of Muscadet country, where small hamlets dot a landscape of vineyards on low hills. Their estate, also known as Domaine Pierre de la Grange, has been in existence since the early 18th century when it was already planted with Melon de Bourgogne, the Muscadet varietal. Pierre and Monique are the eighth generation of winemakers in the family. Pierre is a genial, low-key, distracted professor type. He's the winemaker and vineyard work supervisor. His wife Monique, lively, energetic and equally genial, is the business manager.  The L d'Or, the estate's top cuvée and the longest-lived, is big, fat, and its mineral character mingles with floral and citrusy notes.


New Arrival:
Just in the door...

Razor's Edge!Razor's Edge 2006 Shiraz-Grenache McLAren Vale Australia ($12.99)- "Polished, round and expressive. A gorgeous mouthful of ripe blackberry, plum, cherry and exotic spices, with hints of leather and brown sugar nibbling at the edge. The finish rolls on and on against superfine tannins. Drink now through 2016.  91 points." - Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Week."  


UpdateThe new Montes Alpha 2006 Syrah is now in stock - $21.99 ($19.35 through the weekend).  "Defined freshness in a bouquet that imparts black cherry, plum, licorice and espresso bean. Accessible black cherry flavors with a compote-like sweetness. Dry, spicy finish imbued with fine-grain tannins and a suggestion of black pepper.  92 points." - Wine News.  


Recent Press Domaine Serene 2005 Pinot Noir

Willamette Valley "Evenstad Reserve"

- Lithe in texture, with a distinctive range of red cherry, black cherry, cinnamon and mocha flavors that ride smoothly over a graceful frame, lingering nicely on the clear, expressive finish. Drink now through 2015. 93 points." - Wine Spectator.  ($38.99 half-bottle/ $64.99/ $135 magnum.)



June 13th, 2008 - New Arrivals

New Arrivals - Two New-Old Favorites


Way back when, right after WSP first opened its doors, we ran with a Chardonnay from the South of France called Capion.  The difference in the Capion was that it was aged on the lees from a Viognier fermentation.  (Lees are the spent yeast cells that settle to the bottom of the formation vessel.  You may see some wines described aged sur lie, still on the lees, which means the wine was not filtered before aging, and usually the lees are stirred up [batonnage] to add complexity and texture.)  The Viognier lees in the Capion added to a richer texture and a honeyed and slightly floral aroma to the Chardonnay's.  It was a huge success - a clean Chardonnay (no oak) but with a mellow character.  It had great reviews and was inexpensive.  The importer had a falling out with the Capion folks and the wine was dropped.  The Novellum label tried to resurrect the idea, but it wasn't quite the same.  Our supplier Roanoke Valley Wine is now introducing the Prochaine 2007 Chardonnay Vins de  Pays ($11.99).  The Capion winemaker is making the Prochaine.  We're excited to have it back in the ranks.


FaunusPoggio le Volpi 2005 Cesanese del Piglio "Faunus" ($11.99)

- This Roman red was also a big hit a few years ago.  We lost contact with the supplier for a little while but we are now back on board.  The Faunus is 80% Cesanese with the balance Barbera and Montepulciano.  The Cesanese provides a solid core of fruit, framed by the zippy Barbera and silky Montepulciano.  Moderate use of oak rounds the texture.  Great with all sorts of hearty Italian dishes.


NOTES: It's been a little hectic around WSP the last few weeks with W&L graduation, grade school ending and family visits.  Like around the holidays, I feel like the plate spinner you would see on TV circus shows, trying to keep all those plates spinning on their sticks while the crowd marvels at the artist's desperate attempts to keep everything up in the air.  Gads.  Thanks to everyone for their patience and support.  Summer is here.


And the polling shows enthusiastic support for some after-hours tastings of more high-end and from-the vault wines.  Details to come.

Also, the Marques de Caceres 2007 Rioja Rose is absolutely delicious as I write these notes.
In Stock!! 
Grand Veneur 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape
"Vieilles Vignes"
Busuness Card
"The 2006 Vieilles Vignes is as impressive as a 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape can be and looks to be one of the candidates for the wine of the vintage. The wine has an absolutely magnificent density and an inky purple color, huge, powerful flavors, and a finish that goes on well past a minute. This is a wine for very patient connoisseurs as it is meant for long-term aging. It is an exquisite expression of Chateauneuf du Pape and Grenache. This tannic, awesomely endowed wine has everything going for it. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2030+.  (95-98) points."- Wine Advocate
Price: $97.99
For Father's Day!!
Catena 2004 Nicolas Catena Zapata Cabernet Sauvignon
Busuness Card
"Catena Zapata's flagship is the Nicolas Catena Zapata, a Cabernet Sauvignon-Malbec blend. The 2004 Nicolas Catena Zapata is composed of 72% Cabernet Sauvignon and 28% Malbec. It spent 18 months in 100% new French oak. A saturated black purple in color, it has an aristocratic perfume of pain grille, mineral, espresso, saddle leather, cassis, black currant, and black raspberry. Opulently textured, complex, ripe, and sweet on the palate, it maintains a sense of elegance as well as power. It demands 10-15 years of further cellaring and should still be providing pleasure at age 50. It strikes me as being Argentina's equivalent of a great vintage of Lafite-Rothschild. 98+ points." - Wine Advocate
Price: $114.99

Concho y Toro 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon "Don Melchor"

Don Melchor
"Still very tight, but the tannins that lead the way now are sleek and refined, and should easily meld into the huge core of roasted chestnut, black currant paste, warm fig and tar. Has a long, coffee- and loam-tinged finish. Best from 2009 through 2019.  96 points - Highly Recommended." - Wine Spectator.  (The 2003 was #4 in Spectator's Top 100 of 2006. Don Melchor Cabernet consistently rates in the 90s, with three 95 or above out of the last six vintages.)
Price: $74.99




May 19th, 2008 - New Arrivals


New Arrivals - Even More Rosé, and OZ


Marqués de Cáceres 2007 Rosé Rioja ($9.99) - Tempranillo with some Grenache.  "Pale strawberry red color. Charming, lively bouquet with pleasant notes of strawberries and blueberries and a slight depth of fragrant flowers in the background.  An ideal match for Mediterranean cuisine, barbecues and open-air parties, vegetables sautéed in olive oil, paella, pasta, and lightly spiced dishes (thyme, laurel, oregano, etc.)."  This rosé consistently rates in the upper-80 point range.  Another nice deal from Europe.


Chris Ringland Returns


From the R Wines people (Evil, Boarding Pass, First Class, Green Lion, etc.,) comes the latest from Australian Midas-touch winemaker Chris Ringland and marketing madman Dan Philips - more Roogle.  The Roogle is a fictional hybrid of the kangaroo and the eagle, symbolizing this continuing Aussie-American relationship.


Marquis Philips 2007 Roogle Riesling WesternBottle Australia  ($11.99) - The encouraging part of this title is 'Western Australia.'  The climate on the west coast is more maritime (cooler) than the south.  Riesling likes this cooler temperature, allowing more even ripening and not cooking up.  The 2007 Riesling is light straw-colored with a lovely perfume of mineral, spring flowers, and honeysuckle with a hint of tropical fruits in the background. Just off-dry (10 grams residual sugar), round, and intensely flavored, this is very sexy Riesling at a great price. Could this be the booty-call wine of the year?  90 points."  - Jay Miller, Wine Advocate


BottleR Wines 2007 Roogle Red Southeast Australia  ($11.99) -Frankly, it's nice to see a not-totally-Shiraz from Down Under.  I chose this blend because it's a little different from the rest.  Yes, it's based on Shiraz, but the Merlot and Cabernet add some complexity and interest, not unlike the sold-out Henry's Drive Pillar Box.  "The 2006 Red is composed of 50% Shiraz, 30% Merlot, and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon. It was aged in seasoned French and American oak for 12 months. Dark ruby-colored, it offers attractive aromas of cedar, cassis, blueberry, and plum. Plush and fruit-driven on the palate, this is a ripe, tasty wine for casual quaffing with burgers and pizza over the next 4-6 years. It is a superb value.  90 points."  - Jay Miller, Wine Advocate


R Wines 2007 Shiraz "Strong Arms" Southeast BottleAustralia  ($11.99) -  "The 2006 Shiraz is composed of 46% McLaren Vale, 44% Riverland, and 10% Barossa Valley fruit. It was aged in seasoned French and American oak for 12 months. Opaque purple-colored, it has a nose of cedar, spice box, and blueberry. Fruit-driven, supple-textured, rich, and easygoing, the wine has remarkable class for its giveaway price. It actually has 2-3 years of aging potential but no one that I know is going to defer their gratification. Strong Arms has been bottled with 6 different but similarly themed labels.  91 points."  - Jay Miller, Wine Advocate


Q Tonic WaterNOTES:  Now that the temps are running in the 80s, the Q-Tonic we featured a couple weeks ago is really gaining traction.  It's one of those experiences that is really eye-opening.  After mixing a G&T with the Q, Schweppes and Canada Dry (dry?, HA!) truly taste bloody awful.  Why drown your Tanqueray, Bombay, or Beefeater's (my favorite) in nasty goo?  Try the Q - I'll cover it if you are not delighted.

April 17th, 2008 - New Arrivals

Better days ahead for Rosé this weekend!!  My car's thermometer read 84F today, and we had frost this morning!?  I love Spring.  My tulips do not, however.


New Arrivals:


More Mordorée Rhône: 


The Vineyard: The vineyard consists of 55 hectares (135 acres), on 38 different parcels, which provide with a rich, wide range of soils and climates. The soil is a mix of clay, chalk and sand with pebble stones. The improvements at the Domaine have been incredible: new pneumatic presses, new stainless steel vats, new destemmer, new vinification and aging plant, aging in oak barrels for the top wines. All the grapes are raised by "culture raisonnée" which is very close to organic viticulture (intervention in the vineyard only when necessary).  The yield is reduced in the vineyard by ébourgeonnage (de budding in spring) and "vendanges vertes" in summer (green harvesting).  No expense is spared at this Domaine to achieve quality.


Domaine Mordorée 2007 Côtes du Rhône Rouge "La Dame Rousse"  ($15.99) - This one of the best Rhône deals this Spring.  Still under the $15 mark, this 2007 is fantastic right now.  Unlike the Janasse and Garrigue "Cuvée Romaine" that need some time to settle in, the Mordorée is consistently hits stride right out of the gate.  Full of sap and depth.  "50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 10% Cinsault.  20 year-old vines.  Deep red color. Blackcurrant and violet aromas. Melted and fine tannins, good finish.  Food pairing: cold meats and delicatessen, grilled meats, semi-mature cheeses." - Fran Kysela.


Domaine Mordorée 2006 Lirac Rouge  "La Dame Rousse"  ($19.99) - Older vines, lower yields, longer skin contact leads to bigger wines.  Still a little tight, this Lirac has the structure for longer-term aging - Fantastic after four-hour decant.  "Age of the vines is 40 years old.  50% Grenache, 50% Syrah.  Raspberry, black-currant and violet aromas. Full bodied, rich and ample on the palate. Nice concentration and a long finish.  Pairs well with red meats, grilled meats, game and cheeses." - Fran Kysela.


2005 Henry's Drive Shiraz Dead Letter Office SyrahHenry's Drive 2005 Shiraz Padthaway "Dead Letter Office" ($32.99) - "The 2005 Dead Letter Office is composed of 98% Shiraz and 2% Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine was barrel-fermented and aged in 95% American and 5% French oak, 15% new. Purple-colored, it exhibits a smoky nose with notes of scorched earth, pencil lead, game, and blueberry. Full-bodied, ripe, and sweet, the wine has well-concealed tannins that will support 2-3 years of further bottle age. Drink this solid value through 2015. Henry's Drive is owned by Kim and Mark Longbottom with Kim Jackson as winemaker. This task was previously handled by Sparky and Sarah Marquis but in this, the second vintage after their departure, Henry's Drive has not missed a beat.  90 points." - Wine Advocate


"Ruby-red. Seductive aromas of vanilla-accented blackberry and blueberry are complicated by rose oil and dried lavender. Sweet, plush dark berry flavors are gently supported by harmonious tannins and take a liqueur-like turn with air. The blackberry quality carries through the long, juicy finish. Impressively balanced for a wine with this much fruit impact, and easy to drink, especially if fruit bombs are your bag.  90 points." - International Wine Cellar


Q Tonic WaterIMPORTANT NOTES:  For those of us in the "enough of the HFCS" camp, and just in time for summer highballs of Gin&Tonic (or Vodka, depending on how you roll, or Rum) comes Q-TONIC!  "Q-TONIC is dedicated to making the world's best tonic water - a clean, crisp, completely ungeneric beverage that enhances the finest spirits or stands proudly on its own. We've used the best ingredients we could find. We went to the slopes of the Peruvian Andes for hand-picked quinine and to the Mexican countryside for organic agave, a sweetener better than honey with a gently rounded sweetness. We meticulously refined our recipe with both food scientists and mixologists. Then we worked with one of New York City's best design shops to develop a bottle as beautiful as the liquid it holds. We think we've come up with a superior tonic water. One that's good enough for the gin, vodka, or rum you'd choose to mix it with. And good enough to change the way you think about tonic water." $2.49/187ml bottle, $9.99 a six.  It ain't cheap, but the best never is.  All natural.  Unlike other tonic waters, Q Tonic is made with:

  • Hand-picked quinine from the Peruvian Andes
  • Organic agave as the sweetener
  • 60% fewer calories than regular tonic water
  • All natural ingredients
  • No high fructose corn syrup
  • 85% lower glycemic rating than other tonic waters

Q TONIC tastes clean and crisp, as tonic water was intended, with a quick sharpness and a gently rounded sweetness. The bottle is perfectly proportioned for one proper drink.

And there's a reason it's called tonic. Q Tonic's natural quinine is believed to improve circulation and accelerate digestion. For centuries natural Peruvian quinine has been used by naturalists and herbalists to improve health, increase energy, and stimulate blood flow.  More important information here, including cocktail recipes, quinine history, and company information:  http://qtonic.com/.



April 10th, 2008 - New Arrivals

New Arrivals:

Rosé!!  Again, not the sweet pink stuff.  This is the light, dry, ethereal wine that is on every café table in Europe during the summer months while the reds get a little more maturation in bottle.  Most are made by the saignée (French for 'bleed') method.  After the red grape must goes into tank for fermentation, some juice is 'bled' off to boost solids percentage in the remainder for color and structure.  This runoff has a slight pink color due to the brief skin contact in the tank.  Rosés are fabulous for summer enjoyment - they pair very well with nearly every light summer dinner meal - salads, poultry, fish, cold soups, etc.  Or just on the deck or porch for aperitif.


From Wine Spectator on the 2007 vintage from the Southern Rhône:  Châteauneuf-du-Pape's vignerons are once again crowing about the quality of their harvest-the Southern Rhône once again looks strong.  In 2007, the southern Rhône was spared the viticultural difficulties spawned by poor weather in other French wine regions, including the northern Rhône and instead enjoyed a warm, dry growing season that mirrored other recent vintages, including 2003 and 2005. After a wet spring, with nearly four inches of rain during May, the season turned dry and warm-drier and warmer than 2004 through 2006.


MordoreeDomaine Mordorée 2007 Côtes du Rhône Rosé "La Dame Rousse"  ($13.99) - "40% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 15% Cinsault, 10% Carignan, 5% Mourvèdre from 20 year-old vines.  Pink, slightly orange color (Mordorée color).  Aromas of crystallized oranges and cherries, slightly aniseed. Very round palate, fresh and a long finish. Food pairing: cold meats and delicatessen, fowl, white meats, grilled lamb with Provence herbs, fish soup, fried fish, pastas, pizzas and all Asian dishes." - Fran Kysela


Domaine Mordorée 2007 Tavel Rosé "La Dame Rousse"  ($21.99) - 60% Grenache, 20% Syrah, 10% Cinsault, 10% Clairette.  Steady brilliant pink color.  Very complex nose with flowers, red and white fruit aromas. Round, full bodied with a long lasting aniseed and fruity finish." - Fran Kysela


SegriesChâteau de Ségriès 2006 Tavel Rosé ($12.99) - Ever wonder about the staying power of Rosé?  Here's a holdover from last summer.  "Lovely, light and flavorful, with cherries, raspberries and a touch of orange zest. Clean and fresh, with good balancing acidity. A complete wine. Excellent with food.  VERY GOOD - BEST OF TASTING." - Wall Street Journal

Domaine Mordorée 2006 Chateauneuf du Pape "Reine des Bois"
"Since 1996, their Chateauneuf du Pape Cuvee de la Reine des Bois has been one of the stars of the vintage. The blue/purple-hued 2006 exhibits aromas of charcoal, creme de cassis, roasted herbs, meat juices, licorice, and camphor. Full-bodied, dense, and concentrated with sweet tannin, adequate acidity, and a stunningly long finish (40+ seconds), this beauty is one of the vintage’s most complete and concentrated wines. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2023.  (92-95) points." - Robert Parker, Wine Advocate
Price: $119.99
End of vintage!!
Capçanes 2006 Mas Donis Montsant "Barrica"
Celler de Capcanes Mas Donis Barrica Montsant
"The 2005 Mas Donis Barrica is 85 % Garnacha and 15% Syrah aged for 8 months in French and American oak before bottling without fining or filtration. It offers up an expressive nose of slate, mineral, licorice, violets, black cherry, and blueberry. Layered, long, and complex, this spicy, hedonistic effort has 2-3 years of aging potential but can be enjoyed now without guilt. It is a great value.  91 points." - Wine Advocate 
Price: $16.99

Domaine Mordorée 2007 Côtes du Rhône Rouge "La Dame Rousse"

ORGANIC!!  For some reason, this seems to fall short in the reviews, but shines in the store tastings.  Very consistent and a great value.
Price: $14.99


April 10th, 2008 - New Arrivals

New Arrivals:


Back from Spring Break.  What a ride.

What's with the weather on Thursday's anyhow?


Sitios De Bodega Conclass Rueda 2006Con Class 2006 Rueda ($11.99) - "This broad-shouldered white has a muscular structure, but remains graceful thanks to vibrant acidity. The flavors are less expressive, offering pear, grapefruit, mineral and herb, but this should bloom. Drink now through 2009.  89 points - Best Value." - Wine Spectator.  The wines are produced from organically farmed fruit planted on pure chalk at high altitude.



Varner 2007 Chardonnay "Foxglove" Edna Valley ($15.99) -
Just off the truck and into the rack.  The previous two vintages of this Chardonnay rated 90 points from Robert Parker.  "Pale gold in color with a brilliant clear rim, the nose is clean with aromas of green pineapple and apple. On the palate flavors of pineapple, mineral, apple, and lime zest are very clear. This chardonnay is very clean and sharp. For the third vintage of this wine I think it has come closer to the taste of Chablis terroir than ever before. The wine is nervy and tense for a young Chardonnay. This is not something often found from California." - Mark Ricca


Resonata 2006 Nero d'Avola Sicilia ($6.99) - The grapes are soft pressed and the juice is placed in stainless steel along with the skins for a maceration of 8 to 10 days with daily pumping over of the juice to extract more color and sweet tannins. The must is then racked and lightly filtered. Fermentation then takes place with selected yeast under controlled temperatures. The finished wine is placed in stainless steel holding tanks and bottled on order.  Lush and ripe bouquet full of mulberries, blackberries and spice.  Harmonious and well balanced with good berry fruit in a spicy background.  Food pairing:  Excellent with lamb, grilled and barbecued meats, dishes with olives or capers and seasoned cheeses. - Fran Kysela, Importer


Thorn-Clarke 2006 Shiraz South Australia "Milton Park" ($9.99) - I don't recall if we've opened the 2006 or not, but I just bought a bunch more to get a premium wine out of supplier jail.  This is likely the last load at ten bones due to increasing pressure for   "The 2006 Shiraz contains 6% Nebbiolo. Crimson-colored, it has an attractive nose of spice box, blueberry, and blackberry. Medium-bodied, it has more than ample ripe fruit, good depth, and solid length. It is a Best Buy in savory Shiraz.  The Milton Park label is produced by Thorn-Clarke. The wines have been Best Buys year after year and the current releases continue the pattern.  89 points." - Wine Advocate


NOTES:  There is about a one-week supply left of the Hahn Chardonnay before they switch distributors.  Future supply unknown.  Plan B:  Runaway Chardonnay.  Same juice, different label.  Supplier just waiting for label approval from the Feds.  Everybody wins!!


Back in Stock!!
Lot #46
Old Vine Red Lot #44
This is the Zinfandel blend we tried a few weeks ago.  Back on board.
Price: $13.99
Back in Stock!!
R Wines 2006 Cabernet "EVIL"
California Pinot Noir for under $10?  Perhaps not as silky as the Mark West, but still hard to beat at $9.99
Price: $9.99
Wine Advocate - 91 Points!
Domaine de la Garrigue 2005
Côtes du Rhône Cuvée Romaine
"Readers looking for an absolutely fabulous value should check out the 2005 Domaine La Garrigue Cotes du Rhone Cuvee Romaine...This is all that a Cotes du Rhone should be, and it is essentially declassified Vacqueyras, but better than many of the wines of Vacqueyras. Full-bodied, rich, with explosive levels of kirsch liqueur, licorice, and Provencal herbs, this wine is luscious, heady."
Price: $15.99




March 13th, 2008 - New Arrivals

Spain and Wine Advocate #175


We're in the middle of changing households, and chaos is reigning currently.  So for this update, we are doing just a simple cut and paste.  Have a great day.


"Spanish wines continue to be en fuego in a highly competitive wine market. There are literally hundreds of great values priced at $20 or less." - Dr. Jay Miller


Bodegas Alto Moncayo 2005 Alto Moncayo "Veraton" Campo de Borja ($32.99) - "The 2005 Alto Moncayo Veraton is 100% Garnacha aged in new French and American oak for 17 months. Dark ruby-colored, it exhibits an alluring nose of toasty new oak, mineral, spice box, black cherry, and black raspberry. This leads to a wine bordering on opulence, with layers of fruit, some structure, and a long, pure finish. Drink it over the next 8-10 years.  93 points ."- Dr. Jay Miller, Wine Advocate


Bodegas Alto Moncayo 2005 Alto Moncayo Campo de Borja ($44.99) - "The 2005 Alto Moncayo is a selection of older Garnacha vineyards. Purple colored, it is more expressive aromatically with enticing aromas of pain grille, spice box, floral notes, black cherry and black raspberry. Richer, more layered, and intense, this superb effort has a 60+ second finish. Give it 2-3 years to unfurl and drink it through 2020.  95 points ."- Dr. Jay Miller, Wine Advocate


Bodegas Alto Moncayo 2005 "Aquilon" Campo de Borja ($159.99) - "The 2005 Aquilon has a splendid perfume of slate, violets, and cherry compote. There is beautiful integration of oak, tannin, and acidity, a smooth texture, layers of flavor, and exceptional length. There is enough structure to support 6-8 years of cellaring and it will provide pleasure through 2030.  97 points ."- Dr. Jay Miller, Wine Advocate LIMITED

Borsao 2006 Garnacha "Tres Picos" Campo de Borja ($15.99) - "Bodegas Borsao consistently delivers great bang for the buck. Several of their value-priced wines are listed on the Best Buy chart at the end of this report. If I had to select just one Spanish wine that consistently over-delivers year after year, it would be Tres Picos. The 2006 Tres Picos Garnacha has an enticing bouquet of wild cherry, spice box, and floral notes that leaps from the glass. Remarkably rich, balanced, and intensely flavored, this wine can be best described as cherry pie in a glass. It is for hedonists only. As always, it is an awesome value.  91 points ."- Dr. Jay Miller, Wine Advocate.
Celler Can Blau 2006 Can Blau Montsant ($16.99)- "The 2006 Can Blau is one of the finest values in the marketplace. Composed of 40% Carinena, 40% Syrah, and 20% Garnacha, this purple-colored wine has great aromatics for the price point. It offers up smoke, pain grille, pencil lead, scorched earth, blueberry, black cherry, and blackberry. Balanced, round, and ripe on the palate, the wine already reveals some complexity and enough structure to blossom for another 2-3 years. Drink this lengthy effort over the next 6-8 years.  92 points ."- Dr. Jay Miller, Wine Advocate.
Celler de Capçanes 2005 Mas Donis "Barrica" Montsant ($16.99)- "Mas Donis Barrica is a custom cuvee made for importer Eric Solomon using old-vine Garnacha (80+ years) and Syrah (30+ years). The 2005 Mas Donis Barrica is 85 % Garnacha and 15% Syrah aged for 8 months in French and American oak before bottling without fining or filtration. It offers up an expressive nose of slate, mineral, licorice, violets, black cherry, and blueberry. Layered, long, and complex, this spicy, hedonistic effort has 2-3 years of aging potential but can be enjoyed now without guilt. It is a great value.  91 points ."- Dr. Jay Miller, Wine Advocate.
Descendientes de Jose Palacios 2006 Bierzo "Petalos" ($24.99) - "The 2006 Petalos del Bierzo is purple-colored with a fragrant nose of violets, lavender, mulberry, and blueberry. Ripe, supple, and sweetly fruited, it will evolve for 2-3 years and drink well through 2015. This estate was started in 1998 by Alvaro Palacios. It has steep hillside vineyards and 60- to 100-year-old vines planted in 100% Mencia, a varietal indigenous to Bierzo, a cool-climate D.O.  91 points ."- Dr. Jay Miller, Wine Advocate.
Alonso del Yerro 2005 Ribera del Duero ($37.99)- "Purple/black-colored, the 2005 Alonso del Yerro has a brooding nose of earth, mineral, blackberry, and blueberry compote. This is followed by a smooth-textured, opulent wine with tons of flavor. It has a long, pure finish and several years of aging potential. It is an excellent value for a Ribera del Duero of this quality. Vinedos Alonso del Yerro was purchased in 2002 and Stephane Derenoncourt was hired on as consultant. Malolactic fermentation was in new French oak followed by aging sur-lie for 12 months with batonnage.  94 points ."- Dr. Jay Miller, Wine Advocate.
Finca Luzon 2005 Altos de Luzon Jumilla ($16.99)- "The 2005 Altos de Luzon is 50% old-vine Monastrell, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 25% Tempranillo (not commonly seen in Jumilla). It was barrel fermented in new French and American oak where it remained for 12 months. Dark ruby-colored, it offers up an enticing perfume of mineral, garrigue, blueberry, and blackberry. Layered and ripe with enough structure to evolve for 2-3 years, this pleasing effort can be enjoyed now and over the next 8-10 years.  89 points ."- Dr. Jay Miller, Wine Advocate.     


January 24th, 2008 - Specials


Valentine's Specials:


Amrhein 2003 Late Harvest Vidal Blanc (SPECIAL!! $15.99 reg. $25.99) - Just in the door from a supplier end-of-lot:  32 bottles remaining.  "Intensely sweet tropical fruit. A touch of Traminette brings floral aromas and a hint of spice to this luscious dessert wine."  The 2001 vintage won the 2003 Governor's Cup.  The  2003 fared well also: Double Gold Tasters Guild; Gold Governor's Cup; Gold Indy International.  If you or your like them sweet, then you'll LOVE this.  And there's enough acidity to keep it from being cloying.  Stop by for a taste - it's open right now.  Sneaky good.


O'Brien Estate 2005 Napa Valley  05 Seduction"Seduction" (SPECIAL!! $29.99 reg. $39.99) - "Seduction is a proprietary red blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot from the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley appellation.  [David Yorgensen, our winemaker, worked with renowned winemaking consultant Philippe Melka at Seavey Vineyard.]  Deep, dense purple throughout, this wine displays wonderful aromas of sweet black cherry, warm licorice, cedar, oak and toasted espresso bean. Intense currant, berry and créme de cassis flavors on the palate are framed by fine grained tannins in this full bodied, supple, well concentrated blend. This wine will age well for 10 years or more."


NV Mumm Cramant BrutMumm NV Cramant Grand Cru "Blanc de Blanc (SPECIAL!! $44.99 reg. $54.99) - "Mumm's "Mumm de Cramant" non-vintage...to quote the charismatic Pierre-Antoine Rovani..."just rocks my world"...and can still be purchased for $65 or so bucks at discount stores...100% chardonnay...100% grand cru...and 100% delicious..." - Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate.


February 4th, 2008 - Catch Up


A special Oregon Pinot Noir from Jerry Sass.  This is a blend of fruit from Wind Winds, Brigadoon, and Crow Valley vineyards, each contributing different characteristics to the final blend.  This special blend has been designated "Cristi's Cuvée," in honor of Christi Crutchfield, who was the office manager for Roanoke Valley Wine Company and one of their first employees, and an annual attendee to the Nouveau dinners at Michel's.  She died unexpectedly last fall.  Jerry Sass is donated part of the proceeds to Christi's daughter's college fund.  $29.99


Finca el Reposo 2007 Saint Jeannet Mendoza ($9.99) - Saint Jeannet? Huh? It's actually a long lost Italian variety planted in Argentina over 90 years ago (!) and the only varietal wine of its type available in the USA.  (I read that this is the only planting of Saint Jeannet left on the planet, so we're almost tasting a fossil.  "Campo Negro is the producer of this fine wine. A small, 93 year-old vine vineyard of only 2 acres, planted in 1912, it is located in Cruz de Piedra, Mendoza, Argentina. This region is becoming renowned for its distinctive Cabernet Sauvignon, but it is an area where this old Italian variety grows well too.  The small, state of the art winery is located in the midst of these vineyards. The character of the wines are impacted by a stony, very poor soil, located just east of Lujan de Cuyo and at an altitude of 3214 feet above sea level. This wine was fermented in

stainless steel and has 100% malolactic fermentation. Being old-vine, the vineyards yield very little fruit - tonnage was only 2.7 per acre.  Tasting: Vibrant yellow with greenish highlights. Soft, fine fruit aromas of pineapple, mango, citrus, pear and honey. In the mouth, it is lingering and tasty."  A super alternate to Sauvignon Blanc.


Quinta do Crasto 2005 Douro Reserva "Old Vines" Portugal (Red Wine) ($37.99 MSRP $40) - "Deeply colored, with intense yet refined aromas and flavors of kirsch, boysenberry, dark cherry and spice. The fruit is supported by focused notes of mineral and graphite, and the finish is loaded with dark chocolate and medium tannins. Drink now through 2015. 1,500 cases imported.  95 points - Highly Recommended." - Wine Spectator.


Anderson's Conn Valley 2005 Napa Valley "Right Bank" ($49.99net) - "Their Napa Valley Cheval Blanc look-alike is called Right Bank, usually a blend of two-thirds Merlot and the rest Cabernet Franc, although it can change somewhat depending on the vintage. This is a thrilling wine that comes as close as just about any wine in Napa to mimicking a great Right Bank Bordeaux. The 2005 Right Bank (70% Merlot, and 30% Cabernet Franc) is sensational as well. Exhibiting a deep ruby/purple color and notes of blueberry, blackberry, smoked game, cedar, licorice, and some camphor and leather, the wine is complex, fleshy, full-bodied, and a total hedonistic turn-on. Drink it over the next 15 or more years.  95 points." -Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate 



This another of Chris Ringland's projects - including Bitch (also back in stock), First Class, Boarding Pass, 3 Rings, and Deisen.  We will open these Evil wines on Friday, but if you can't wait, we're open until 7. For re-review:


R Wines 2005 Chardonnay Southeast Australia "Pure Evil" (SPECIAL!! $9.99 - reg. $11.99) - The 2005 Pure Evil Chardonnay spent some time in French oak. It is light gold-colored with an attractive perfume of butterscotch, spice box, baked apple, and poached pear, more like the nose of a wine three times the price. Medium-bodied, it delivers intense, ripe, spicy flavors buttressed by good acidity and a long finish. This is an awesome value in Chardonnay.  90 points." - Jay Miller, Wine Advocate.


R Wines 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Southeast Australia "Evil" (SPECIAL!! $9.99 - reg. $11.99) - The 2006 Evil Cabernet Sauvignon saw 25% of the wine aged in French oak. It reveals a fragrant bouquet of cedar and black currants. Fruit-driven, full-bodied, with tons of flavor, this Cabernet is an exceptional value. It will provide pleasure over the next 6-8 years.  90 points." - Jay Miller, Wine Advocate.


January 24th, 2008 - Catch Up

Still playing "catch up" with the site and finishing inventory.  Frustrating that it's been six weeks since anything new.  Stay tuned for more new and exciting arrivals!

SALE!! Barrel 27 2005 Syrah Central COast ($14.99 was $19.99) – Mac's and Russell's considerable winemaking talents combined with one of the best growing seasons ever on the Central Coast, have resulted in the best B27 Syrah yet. Yeah, yeah, we say that every year, but the wines just keep getting better and better! The 2005 exhibits a deep garnet-purple color, with seductive aromas of raspberry jam and crème de cassis, sweet cherry, black plum and blood orange fruit, with rose petal, anise/black licorice, vanilla and Asian spices adding layers of complexity. The mouth is round and dense, with a full mid-palate lifted by excellent acidity. The long finish begins with rich, red fruit and ends on a trailing spicy note that goes on and on. The best structured of Barrel 27's Syrahs yet, it will add weight and even more complexity over the next 2-3+ years and hold well after that.


December 6th, 2007 - New Arrivals


New Arrivals: 

Hogue Cellars 2005 Pinot Grigio Columbia Valley Washington ($12.99) – THE WINE: “Pinot Grigio continues to gain popularity throughout the U.S. Known as Pinot Gris in France, the grapes are named for their characteristic grayish color, but they actually take on a pink and even purple hue as they ripen. Pinot Grigio is a refreshing white with plenty of fruit character. The 2005 vintage has up front aromas of pear and white peach, with hints of almonds, vanilla and cherries.

Flavors are similar: rich and soft, with pear and peach. Serve this wine with light pasta dishes, shrimp, chicken fettuccini Alfredo, or anything you would pair with Chardonnay.” – Winemaker Notes

Cantina Nalles 2005 Pinot Grigio  Trentin0-Alto Adige ($12.99) –  Zesty and dangerously drinkable.

Domaine de la Janasse 2005 Côtes du Rhône ($15.99) It never fails.  Just when the current vintage comes into form it sells out.  (The current vintage, 2006, we’ll open next week.)  James Molesworth from Wine Spectator writes, “Compared with 2004, which produced outstanding wines with fresh, racy profiles and open-knit textures, 2005 is what vignerons call a "vin de garde" vintage, meaning the wines should cruise through two decades of cellaring. I rate the vintage at 97 points overall, on par with 1998 (though the two years are different in style) and better than 1990, not least because there are far more domaines producing great wines now than there were then.”  The Janasse Côtes du Rhône was not rated, but the Domaine has an excellent history.  And the Janasse is included in our December Six-Pack.

"The 2005 Cotes du Rhone has excellent color, low pH (which is characteristic of the vintage), sweet strawberry and black cherry fruit, good, crisp acidity, hints of minerals and spice, and a moderately long finish. Over the last decade Domaine de la Janasse has become one of the half dozen or so finest estates in Chateauneuf du Pape. However, they also produce an impressive range of Cotes du Rhones.  87 points." – Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

Infinitus 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon ($8.99) – New vintage from a very popular Spanish label.  From La Mancha.  The great plains of Central Spain (yes this is where the rain in Spain falls mainly…) is actually the largest wine growing region in the world. Larger in fact, than Australia and Chile combined! More importantly, it is here that we have ideal conditions for producing grapes from limitless varietals…Cabernet, Chardonnay, Viura, Merlot, Viognier, Tempranillo, Syrah, Sauvignon Blanc, Tempranillo and more.

Something for everybody! 

For yourself, for a friend, for a weekend.


December Six-Pack - $89


St Hilaire 2003 Blanquette de Limoux Sparkling

Henry’s Drive 2006 Padthaway Red Wine “Pillar Box”

Domaine Janasse 2005 Côtes du Rhône

A to Z 2006 Oregon Pinot Gris

Montes 2005 Syrah Chile (Spectator #30 Top 100)

Joel Gott 2006 Chardonnay Monterey


Wine Spectator TOP 100 for 2007 Six-Pack - $170


Mollydooker 2006 Shiraz “Carnival of Love” (#8)

Thorn-Clarke 2006 Shiraz Barossa “Shotfire Ridge” (#57)

Montes 2005 Syrah Chile “Alpha” (#30)

Palacios 2005 Mencia Bierzo Petalos (#95)

Seghesio 2005 Zinfandel Sonoma County (#91)

D’Arenberg 2006 Marsanne-Viognier “Hermit Crab” (#84)


Shiraz All-Stars - $425


Amon Ra 2005 Barossa “Ebenezer” [98 points - Wine Advocate]

Kay Brothers 2004 McLaren Vale “Block 6” [98 points - Wine Advocate]

Mollydooker 2006 McLaren Vale “Carnival of Love” [97 points - Wine Advocate]

De Lisio 2004 McLaren Vale [96 points - Wine Advocate]

Massena 2005 Barossa “The Eleventh Hour” [98 points - Wine Advocate]

Elderton 2002 Barossa “Command” [95 points - Wine Advocate]


Oregon Pinot Noir Single-Vineyards - $235


St. Innocent 2005 Willamette Valley “Shea”

St. Innocent 2005 Willamette Vallley Seven Springs”

Patricia Green 2006 Yamhill County “Four Winds”

Patricia Green 2006 Ribbon Ridge “Whistling Ridge”

Patricia Green 2006 Ribbon Ridge “Estate”

Ken Wright 2006 Eola Hills “Carter Vineyard”


November 10th, 2007 - New Arrivals

New Arrivals:


A few goodies:  We found a few remaining Château Beaucastel 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape.  We're working on additional 2003 as well.  Also detailed below is one of the more-reasonably priced and Wine Advocate highly-rated Tuscans - Isole e Olena Cepparello.  And a few hot Ozzies.


Rhône (limited):Busuness Card


Château Beaucastel 2004 Châteauneuf du Pape ($89.99) - "One of the great successes of the vintage and certainly better than their 2003 is Beaucastel's 2004 Chateauneuf du Pape. Deep ruby/purple in color with loads of licorice, smoked game, black cherry and blackberry fruit, along with incense and truffle, the wine has fabulous richness, high tannin, medium to full body, and beautiful length, richness, and purity. This is a beauty and one of the vintage's finest wines. Give it 4-6 years of bottle age and drink it over the next 25+ years. It has the potential to be one of the longest-lived Chateauneuf du Papes of the vintage. 93 points."  - RobertParker, Jr., Wine Advocate 


"Thoroughly primal, with a torrent of raspberry and boysenberry fruit rushing forth. Only shows hints of its full range, with licorice, incense, graphite and mocha flavors fluttering in the background. Has an iron-clad structure, with a long finish that shows great cut and grip. Best from 2009 through 2025.  96 points - Collectible." - James Molesworth, Wine Spectator

domaine paul autard, châteauneuf-du-pape, côte ronde 

Paul Autard 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Cuvée La Côte Ronde" ($52.99/$109.99 magnum) - "94 points.  The 2005 Châteauneuf-du-Pape "Cuvée La Côte Ronde" is undeniably the best wine Autard has made since the 1998 rendition of this cuvee. This got a big "Wow!" when I smelled it. A stunning nose of black truffles, melted licorice, blackberries, and sweet cherries is followed by a multi-dimensional, multi-layered, full-bodied wine with tremendous power, richness, and a hint of barrique. One could say this is modern, but the Provencal personality jumps from the glass of this meaty, dense wine. Give it 2-3 years of bottle age and drink it over the following 15+ years. At times proprietor Paul Autard has clearly moved into the modern school of Chateauneuf-du-Pape with the use of barriques, still very much a minority school, but like so many who have experimented with new oak for the Syrah or Mourvèdre components, there seems to be a gradual shifting back from the percentage of new oak to larger barrel formats such as demi-muids, etc. I felt this was Paul Autard's strongest lineup of wines since his 1998s." -Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate



Tuscany (limited):


Isole e Olena 2004 IGT Toscana "Cepparello" ($59.99) - "95 points.  The estate's 2004 Cepparello (100% Sangiovese aged in French oak, 1/3 new) was made from minuscule yields of just 600 grams per plant and is even better than the 2003. It exhibits a livelier color, fresher aromatics and a nuanced personality, all the products of a more balanced growing season. It boasts layers of vibrant fruit intermingled with subtle mineral and licorice notes, showing outstanding length on the palate and fine, noble tannins. A wine of extraordinary elegance, it has been stunning on the two occasions I have tasted it so far. That said, readers who want to experience this wine's full array of tertiary notes will have to give this wine time to mature in the bottle. It is highly recommended." - Antonio Galloni, Wine Advocate


Henry's Drive Pillar Box Red Padthaway Shiraz Cabernet Sauvignon MerlotOz:


Henry's Drive 2006 Padthaway "Pillar Box Red" ($11.99) - "91 points. The 2006 Pillar Box Red is 50% Shiraz, 42% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 8% Merlot aged in a mix of used French and American oak. Purple-colored, it offers an enticing, fruity nose including aromas of cassis, black cherry, black raspberry, and blueberry. Full-bodied, ripe, and layered with flavor, this wine totally over-delivers on my hedonist's meter. Drink this awesome value over the next 2-3 years. Pillar Box has a powerful pedigree; fruit sourced from Henry's Drive and winemaking consultation from the renowned Chris Ringland."  - Jay Miller, Wine Advocate


R Wines is a new company founded by importer and marketing genius, Dan Philips, along with co-owner, renowned winemaker, Chris Ringland. Winemakers for R Wines are Chris Ringland,Bitch Barossa Grenache 2005 Lisa Wetherell, Andrew Hercock, and John Hughes. It encompasses four familiar labels, Marquis Philips, 3 Rings, Roogle, and Bitch, along with 13 others created especially for R Wines. Needless to say, the packaging of these wines is amazingly creative but, more importantly, what is in the bottle consistently over-delivers from low-end to high-end.


BottleR Winery 2006 Grenache Barossa "The Bitch" ($11.99) - "90 points. Bitch Grenache is sourced from 40- to 60-year-old vines from the Ebenezer sub-region of the Barossa. With the price of Cotes du Rhone soaring due to the weak dollar, I am hard pressed to think of a better value in full-flavored Grenache. The 2006 Bitch Grenache received no oak treatment. Medium ruby-colored, it presents an alluring bouquet of earth, smoke, rhubarb, cherry, and strawberry. Supple, sweet, and tasty, this wine totally over-delivers for its humble price and is an exceptional value." - Jay Miller, Wine Advocate



R Winery 2005 Shiraz South Australia "Boarding Pass" ($19.99) - "92 points.  The 2005 Shiraz was aged in French and American oak for 12 months. Purple-colored, it is very expressive, with a nose of smoke, spice box, blackberry, and blueberry jam. Layered, supple-textured, sweet, and full-bodied, this seamless, crowd-pleasing wine offers a remarkably long finish for its humble price. Drink this awesome value over the next 6-8 years. The Boarding Pass label is just that, a dead ringer for an airplane boarding pass. According to Dan Philips, it is like going on a trip to Australia without leaving home while the First Class is a luxury upgrade. Aside from the humor, these two wines have more in common with Fed-Ex, deliveringBottle the goods right on time." - Jay Miller, Wine Advocate 


R Winery 2005 Shiraz South Australia "Boarding Pass - First Class" ($32.99)  -  "94 points. The 2005 Shiraz "First Class" was barrel-fermented and aged for 18 months in new and 1-year French and American oak. More complex aromatically, it has a lovely bouquet of toast, smoke, cedar, lavender, blueberry, and blackberry. Opulent, velvety, and seamless, it has great depth, spicy blue and black fruit flavors with hints of licorice and chocolate, and a very long finish. Drink it over the next 10 years. The Boarding Pass label is just that, a dead ringer for an airplane boarding pass. According to Dan Philips, it is like going on a trip to Australia without leaving home while the First Class is a luxury upgrade. Aside from the humor, these two wines have more in common with Fed-Ex, delivering the goods right on time." - Jay Miller, Wine Advocate [It seems that Chris Ringland and Sparky Marquis are dueling it out in an Australian-Shiraz King-of-the-Hill contest, transforming the whole playing field as they do so.] 




Manciat CharnayDomaine Jean Manciat 2005 Mâcon-Charnay "Franclieu" ($14.99) - New York Times pick and a WSP Top Seller.  Think Thanksgiving.  "Rich and taut with lemon, mineral, and herbal flavors."


Audelssa 2005 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast ($23.99) "Starting in 1990 the Schaefer Family starting planting vines high up on the Mayacamas Mountain Range (1800 feet) above sea level. Over the years wineries such as Pahlmeyer, Pax, Ramey, Arrowood and many others have been purchasing the grapes. Starting in 1999 with the help of Richard Arrowood the Shaefer Family starting making their own wine under the Audelssa label and today the wine is made by Evcich Bradley who studied under Richard Arrowood and David Ramey, two of the finest winemakers in the world. Many wineries are lined up to purchase these grapes and they demand the highest price per ton in all of Sonoma Country.  The fruit comes from two sites one on top of Sonoma Mtn. and the other from Sonoma Coast giving this wine lots of tropical fruits, melons and citrus notes. Only 880 cases made."

October 1st, 2007 - Bordeaux Deal SOLD OUT

Good Bordeaux in the backwater of Lexington is hard to get at reasonable prices.  By the time they make it to our market, it’s gone through so many channels that you can buy it at retail up in D.C. cheaper than our laid in cost.  Burgundy is the same way (which is why the Cru Beaujolais is such a great deal) – the Brits and other major markets oick through all the good stuff and we get overpriced leftovers.  But we keep hunting.

So here’s a little gem offered to us on sale (gasp!) from the crazy hot 2003 vintage in Bordeaux.  “Clos Badon is located between Pavie and Larcis Ducasse, parallel to Canon la Gaffeliere in St. Emilion.  This is a classic “right bank” Bordeaux blend of 70% Merlot and 30% Cabernet Franc from 30 year old vines.  Owned and vinified by Jean Luc Thunevin of Chateau Valandraud.  Deep, dark berry/cherry flavors supported by noble tannins and brilliant structure.  Pure and rich in the mouth with layers of fruit and spice, supreme mouthfeel and an incredibly long finish.  The 2003 is the greatest Clos Badon to date (1st vintage, 1998)!  Only 1,000 cases produced.” - Grand Cru Imports

Like many 2003s, this offers an early drinking window.  And while the lower acidity helps in this regard, long-term (20+ more years) is not a likely option – but you never know.  It’s good for at least another ten (IMO).

Clos Badon (Thunevin) 2003 Saint-Emilion Grand Cru (SALE!! $24.99 SALE – was $44.99)

 “This dark ruby/purple-hued St.-Emilion reveals opulent black currant and cherry fruit interwoven with notions of toasty oak. A modern-styled, generously endowed effort with low acidity and copious glycerin, it will drink well for 7-8 years. Very tasty stuff. (88-90) points.  Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate. 

 “Pretty aromas of mocha, berry and light vanilla follow through to a full-bodied palate, with soft and fine tannins and a long finish. Best after 2006.  88 points.  James Suckling, Wine Spectator

September 27th, 2007 - Cru Beau SIX-PACK

Gamay is the Rodney Dangerfield of red wine.  Beaujolais, for that matter, is the red-headed cousin of Burgundy; acknowledged, but ignored of any potential to do anything noteworthy.  But the combination of a fantastic vintage and some very particular winemakers can produce some extraordinary results.   The following 2005 Crus are some premium examples.  And with Pinot Noir prices, especially from Oregon and Sonoma, these Beaujolais Crus are absolute steals.  For the money, these Gamays have more complexity, balance, and sheer enjoyment then any Pinot Noir I've tasted from America.  And the variety is too interesting to pass up.


Chateau Thivin Cote De Brouilly 2006Chateau Thivin 2005 Cote de Brouilly ($19.99) "Rated: 90(+?) points.  Bright violet. Vibrant but tightly wound nose features precise, mineral-driven redcurrant and wild strawberry aromas. Brisk, energetic red fruit flavors show a strong mineral underpinning. Finishes with bright, peppery spice character and terrific thrust but should be even better as it develops some more flesh on its bones with bottle aging. This wine has an admirable track record for ageworthiness."  [Not yet tasted, but willingly rolling the dice based on track record, review and vintage strength.]

Pascal Granger Julienas 2005


Domaine Pascal Granger 2005 Julienas ($19.99)

-  "Rated 90 points.  Bright red. Ripe, precise raspberry and blackberry scents are suavely accented by violet and white pepper. Then lush and weighty on the palate, with ripe dark berry compote flavors, soft tannins and gentle acid lift on the long, juicy finish. A distinctly ripe, fleshy wine, with the concentration to pair with heartier fare." [This Gamay has darker fruit than the Fleuries and a little more structure.]


Clos De La Roilette Fleurie 2006Clos de la Roilette 2005 Fleurie ($18.99) - "Rated 90(+?) points. Dark red. Initially powerful and brooding on the nose, but quickly opened to reveal deep, ripe cherry and dark berry aromas, with intriguing notes of graphite, cured meat and chocolate. Dense, lush and concentrated, with strong dark fruit character and firm but nicely integrated tannins. This serious Beaujolais needs a couple years of cellaring. Give this one some air if you plan to open a bottle anytime soon."  [Coudert's Fluerie is a regular in the WSP stable.  It seems a little closed right now, but based on track record, this should shine again by Thanksgiving and beyond.]


Domaine Jean Calon 2005 Morgon ($19.99) - (Comments from 2005 Morgon, Vieilles Vignes Domaine CalotNorth Berkley Imports) "Calot's Morgon Beaujolais is birthed from 100-year old Gamay vines-short, gnarled fingers that form a goblet, as is the tradition in Beaujolais. These vines are as inefficient as Ferrari is an inefficient automobile maker, so to speak. The quality of the grapes far outweighs the precious little fruit produced. Recently while tasting with Calot in his cellars in Villié-Morgon, he casually mentioned to us that we may be his only customers who still want an old-vine cuvée aged in used Burgundy barrels. This fact made him sad. Calot is one of the winemakers who first gave us the idea to explore the full and historic potential of cru Beaujolais.  Calot told us his French clients complain that our traditional cuvée makes them think too much, that it is too serious and not "gai" or merry like Beaujolais is supposed to be. For us and Calot this traditional elevage is the only way to achieve the full potential of cru Morgon.

One more "gai" note on monsieur Calot: he plays music to his wine while it ferments. Sometimes the vintage calls for Michael Jackson; sometimes an active fermentation requires classical music. Overall, Calot's musical choice is a closely guarded professional secret.  [This wine combines the freshness and verve of the Vissoux Fleurie and the structure of the Diochon Moulin-à-Vent.  Drink and hold.]


Domaine Diochon Moulin A Vent Vielles Vignes 2005Domaine Diochon 2005 Moulin-à-Vent Vieilles Vignes ($18.99 on Sale) - "Rated 92 points "Bright red. Intense raspberry and strawberry aromas are given an exotic twist by notes of black tea, mocha and dried rose. Full and lush, with sweet red berry and cherry flavors, supple tannins and impressive power on the aftertaste. A big, polished wine that marries power and finesse.  I recently drank a bottle of this from 1989 and it was gorgeous." [Hold for at least a year and revisit.]


Domaine du Vissoux 2005 Fleurie Poncie ($21.99) - "Rated 90Vissoux Poncie points. Medium red. Intensely spicy, focused aromas of raspberry and wild strawberry are subtly accented by zesty minerality. The lush red and dark berry flavors are supported by gentle acidity and fine-grained tannins. Boasts building sweetness on the finish, with a sexy spice note emerging with aeration to contribute freshness to the bright berry flavors." [This is so good right now it's hard not to ignore or wait.  Drink now or hold if you have the restraint.]


Reviews are written by Josh Raynolds from Steve Tanzer's International Wine Cellar.  [Bracketed comments are from yours truly.] 


NEXT UPDATE:  Bordeaux deal from Clos Badon Thunevin 2003 St. Emilion Grand Cru.


August 9th, 2007 - Mollydooker

New from Mollydooker Maker Sparky Marquis…


2006 'The Boxer' Shiraz ($19.99net)

This Shiraz is a knock out! The 2005 was an enormous hit, after receiving 95 points from Robert Parker and being selected by him as the "Best Value Wine in the World under $20".

The 2006 will knock you out again with exuberant fruit, incredible flavors and color, and great length. The fruit is sourced from our Shiraz vineyards in McLaren Vale, Padthaway & Langhorne Creek. 

Excerpts from Reviews of the 2005 Boxer
The Boxer Shiraz exhibits a black/blue purple color, an incredible density of fruit, along with that tell tale purity, blackberries, white flowers, melted chocolate, sweet licorice and subtle wood. Full bodied, beautifully textured and layered, with an awesome finish it should drink well for 4-6+ years. 95 points. Robert Parker Jr Wine Advocate # 165

SMART BUY. Dark and dense. A big wine yet lively with nutmeg-and cinnamon scented blackberry, cherry and licorice flavors, balanced against firm but well integrated tannins. Needs some time to soften. Best from 2007 through 2014. 91 points. Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator Nov 15 2006

The 2005 Boxer was #68 in the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2006.


2006 'The Scooter' Merlot ($19.99net)Mollydooker The Scooter Merlot 2006

Well, firstly we must explain where the name came from. The very first day Sarah met Sparky, he was scootering around the University Campus. Sparky used to race scooters (yes, we mean the one you had as a kid) back in his home town and was known as 'The Man with the Scooter', as it was very rare in those days.

Why make a Merlot? Well fashions come and go, but classic wine styles endure for ever. It's a wine we personally enjoy. Our Merlot grapes come from Gemtree's vineyard in McLaren Vale, an area which has lovely fruit intensity, and Scott & Cheryl Longbottom’s vineyard in Padthaway which is renowned for highlighting the beauty and elegance of the variety.

The combination is a delightful, delicious, charming wine to relax with at the end of a busy day.


Mollydooker Two Left Feet 20062006 'Two Left Feet' Blend ($19.99net)

A blend of Shiraz, Cab, Merlot, the 2005 vintage was selected by Robert Parker as the 2nd "Best Value Wine in the World under $20". The 2006 is even better as the vintage produced fruit which was absolutely awesome.

The dancing couple on the label represent the influence of both a male and female palate in our winemaking.
Sarah, February 2007 

Excerpts of Reviews of 2005 Two Left Feet

The 2005 Two left feet is blend put together by Sarah Marquis. It boasts an inky purple color, superb intensity, a big, sweet, full bodied nose of crème de cassis, graphite, white choclate, black olives, blackberry liqueur, anmd spice, and a spectacular, voluptuous, even unctuous texture. This is a big, powerful, classic southern Sustrlian red made with no compromises. Drink it over the next 3 years, though I suspect it will last a decade or longer.
94 Points.
Robert Parker Jr Wine Advocate #165

Dark, dense and chewy. Not heavy, yet the meaty, smoky black cherry and plum flavours persist impressively on the solid finish. Needs time to soften. Best after 2007. Score 90
Harvey Steiman, Wine Spectator Nov 15 2006



Mollydooker Maitre D' Cabernet 20062006 'The Maitre D' Cabernet ($19.99net)

The feedback we got from our release of the 2005 the Maitre D’ was amazing. People were astonished at the depth and voluptuousness. It sold out instantly. As with all our wines, we believe that the 2006 vintage is better than the 2005. Sourced from our cooler climate vineyards, it is rich, intensely flavoured, yet elegant in style.

Excerpts from reviews of 2005 Maitre D'
Distinctively ripe and spicy. Not at all herbal and remarkably open textured, with a bundle of juicy plum, currant and blackberry fruit shaded by hints of clove and allspice. The finish remains focused against fine grained tannins. Best from 2007 through 2013. Score: 90


Harvey Steiman Wine Spectator, Nov 15 2006
The 2005 Maitre D' is a superb Cabernet offering creamy crème de cassis notes intermixed with hints of licorice, new wood, and spice box. Full bodied, with great intensity. Purity, density and opulence as well as a voluptuous texture, rich mid palate, and long, full bodied supple finish displaying notions of roasted coffee and white chocolate, it is hard to believe Cabernet Sauvignon can hit this level of quality at this price point. These wines are meant to be consumed young, but it is hard to believe these knock out reds won’t last for 5-10 years.
Robert Parker Jr, Wine Advocate #165


2006 Gigglepot Cabernet ($49.99net)

This gorgeous Cabernet was named after the Mollydooker Gigglepot, Sarah and Sparky's daughter, Holly.

Last year if a Cabernet had a Marquis Fruit Weight™ (MFW) score of 80% it was included in the Enchanted Path. This year it is in our new wine, Gigglepot. We are so proud of it. It is full of flavor, rich, supple and elegant – the very essence of Cabernet. When you taste it you will see what S+S mean when they say that we try to market our wines at 2 price points below their intrinsic value. This wine is stunning! Unfortunately there is very little of it.


Molly Dooker Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz

2006 Blue Eyed Boy Shiraz ($49.99net)

This joyous wine was named after the Mollydooker Blue Eyed Boy, Sarah and Sparky’s son, Luke.

Just wait till you taste this wine! Sarah and Sparky blended it last week. They let me have a taste after they had decided on the blend. I couldn't believe it. There were 3 major components, but the blend was exponentially better than any of them. I don’t understand how that happens. It had the best features of all three of the components – depth and complexity from one, velvety unctuousness from another, intensity and color from the third, and then a something extra - a life force of its own. Magic!
Janet, Sparky’s mum and GM

We are so happy to be able to bring you this new wine, which we believe is a great wine at an affordable price, perfect for celebrating, sharing with friends, or relishing on your own.

The grapes for this wine come from Scott and Cheryl Longbottom’s and Darren and Belinda Joppich’s vineyards.


2006 Goosebumps Sparkling Shiraz ($49.99net)

We are thrilled to bits to be bringing you this new wine. To tell you the truth, we love drinking Sparkling Shiraz ourselves so we thought we would make some and share it with you. Our aim is for you to experience a taste sensation similar to the qualities of our Shiraz, enhanced with creamy bubbles – a perfect wine for special occasions, or simply sharing with friends for the fun of it. There could be no better name for it than "Goosebumps" – you get them both from the bubbles and from the amazing intensity of flavour!.

The Shiraz has been selected from Scott & Cheryl Longbottoms' vineyard in Padthaway and Darren & Belinda Joppichs' vineyard in Langhorne Creek, both of which are producing grapes which exude incredible flavour and complexity.




July 9th, 2007 - Gamay

Pinot Noir Plan B - Gamay

For summer enjoyment in a red wine, many turn to Pinot Noir.  It's lighter and more versatile with summer fare than the Cabernet Sauvignon or Shiraz.  But with popularity of Pinot Noir pushing prices up, is there an alternative?  Oui!! 

It's Burgundy, or in this case, Cru Beaujolais.  This is not DuBouef industrial Beaujolais Nouveau, whose dark shadow is cast far out into the Cru Villages of Beaujolais, staining this area's image in America.  (Thus, thankfully, Beaujolais is still frowned upon and dismissed by most Americans, keeping prices steady.)  This is the good Beaujolais you sometimes hear about but rarely see, and a fantastic alternate to Pinot Noir.

The 2005 vintage for Burgundy was superb.  Despite the weak dollar, prices are still attractive for Cru Beaujolais.  Fleurie and Moulin-à-Vent are two top crus, exquisite in their display of terroir.  Both are on granite; the Moulin-à-Vent is rich in manganese.  Curiously, "Beaujolais" does not appear on the labels of Cru bottlings.


VissouxDomaine Vissoux (P-M Chermette) 2005 Fleurie "Poncié"($21.99) - "Medium red. Intensely spicy, focused aromas of raspberry and wild strawberry are subtly accented by zesty minerality. The lush red and dark berry flavors are supported by gentle acidity and fine-grained tannins. Boasts building sweetness on the finish, with a sexy spice note emerging with aeration to contribute freshness to the bright berry flavors.  90 points." - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar  Diochon


Domaine Diochon 2005 Moulin-à-Vent "Cuvée Vieilles Vignes" (SALE $18.99 reg. $21.99) - Bright red. Intense raspberry and strawberry aromas are given an exotic twist by notes of black tea, mocha and dried rose. Full and lush, with sweet red berry and cherry flavors, supple tannins and impressive power on the aftertaste. A big, polished wine that marries power and finesse. I recently drank a bottle of this from 1989 and it was gorgeous.   92 points." - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

Clos De La Roilette Fleurie 2005


Clos de la Roilette 2005 Fleurie ($18.99) - Dark red. Initially powerful and brooding on the nose, but quickly opened to reveal deep, ripe cherry and dark berry aromas, with intriguing notes of graphite, cured meat and chocolate. Dense, lush and concentrated, with strong dark fruit character and firm but nicely integrated tannins. This serious Beaujolais needs a couple years of cellaring. Give this one some air if you plan to open a bottle anytime soon.  90+ points.” - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar


P.S. Pingus 2004 Ribera del Duero "Flor de Pingus" ($69.99net) - "In the wonderful 2004 vintage, owner/winemaker Peter Sisseck has outdone himself. If I were just starting to build a wine collection and had limited income, I can think of no better foundation than a dozen bottles of 2004 Flor de Pingus. In the context of the world's great wines, it is a stupendous value, a steal. It is 100% Tempranillo from very low yields and is aged 14 months in 100% new French barriques. Opaque purple in color, it emits already complex aromas of smoke, toast, coffee, blueberry, blackberry, and licorice. Lush on the palate, super ripe and sweet, as well as multi-dimensional, this great effort can be drunk now, but I'd opt for cellaring it for 6-8 years to allow further evolution.  97 points."  Jay Miller, Wine Advocate.  11 bottles in stock.

July Rosé Six-Pack Sampler

Domaine du Dragon 2006 Provence

Château de Ségriès 2006 Tavel

Las Rocas de San Alejandro 2006 Calatayud

Grange Philippe 2006 Vins de Pays d'Oc

Tegernseerhof 2006 Austria

Mas de Gourgonnier 2006 Provence 

$70 - Save 10%


June 7th, 2007 - Ribera


 We’ve waiting for some time for these Spanish beauties to arrive.  (I recall fondly the '95 and ‘96 Hacienda Monasterio – I should have put some away.)  Both have been out of the local market for a few years, so it’s nice to see their return.  Supplies are limited, so please act quickly.  We have ample storage to hold orders until the weather moderates.



Villacreces Ribera Del Duero 2004Finca Villacreces 2004 Ribera del Duero ($35.99net) - “The 2004 Tinto is 86% Tempranillo, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% Merlot fermented in barrel and aged in French oak for 16 months. Inky purple, it has an expressive bouquet of mocha/espresso, pain grille, graphite, wild blueberrys, and blackberry liqueur. This is followed by a full-bodied, full-flavored, plush wine with layers of spicy black fruits, impeccable balance, and a long, pure finish. The tannins are well concealed but this superb effort should evolve for 4-6 years and drink well through 2027.  95 points.” – Jay Miller, Wine Advocate #169, Feb 2007



Hacienda Monasterio 2004 Ribera del Duero Crianza ($44.99net) - “Regarding Hacienda Monasterio, all you really need to know is that the wine is made by Peter Sisseck, the man behind Pingus. The vineyards are located half way between Pesquera del Duero (Pesquera) and Valbuena (Vega Sicilia). The 2004 Crianza is 80% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo), 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot. Purple-colored, the wine has an open and expressive nose of violets, lilies, spice box, black currant, and blackberry liqueur which leaps from the glass. It has an intense entry with layers of concentrated sweet fruit, excellent balance, and a sense of elegance. It is lacking only in complexity which is sure to follow with more time in the bottle. Drink this hedonistic effort now and over the next 20 years.  94 points.” - Jay Miller, Wine Advocate #169, Feb 2007



May 20th, 2007 - Summer Six-Pack


We haven’t written much from Big Lex in the last several weeks.  Breaks, taxes, frosts, sick kids, etc.  But it looks like warmer weather has finally arrived, and with it, MUSCADET.  I think every wine enthusiast should experience these wines as the summer breaks in, and have a few cases stashed to get you through the dog days if you haven’t switched to highballs by then.  Granted, oysters are supposed to be off limits in summer months, but the Muscadet is a fun foil for lighter fish as well.  We are offering six-pack of mixed 2004 and 2005 choices.  The ‘04s to demonstrate how well Muscadets will age over a year or two (I thoroughly enjoyed my last Domaine Pépière 2004 earlier this Spring, a year after release – it was singing.  Drink within a six months of release?  I think not.)  The ‘05s are included because it was an exceptional vintage and will provide incentive for deeper purchasing.  Supplies are beginning to run low and the ‘06s(!) now inbound.

Reviews follow…SIX-PACK PRICE $80  SAVE 10%

Domaine de la Pépière 2005 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie

Domaine Luneau-Papin 2005 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie “Clos des Allées”

Domaine Luneau-Papin 2004 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie “L d’Or”

Domaine de l’Ecu (Bossard) 2004 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie “Expression de Orthogneiss”

Domaine de l’Ecu (Bossard) 2004 Muscadet Sur Lie Sèvre et Maine “Expression de Granit”

Domaine La Haute Fevrie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie

Domaine de la Pépière 2005 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie ($10.99) - “Bright straw. Fresh, stony and pure on the nose, with green apple, pear, jasmine and mint aromas accented by dusty talc. Crisp and focused but also juicy, with hvibrant Anjou pear and bitter peach skin flavors supported by gentle acidity. Seductively pliant on the long finish. This is from 40-year-old vines on a single granite-rich site, unusual for the appellation.  90 points.” - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

Domaine Luneau-Papin 2005 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie “Clos des Allées” ($13.99) - “Green-gold. Citrus fruits, lanolin and minerals on the nose, with orange zest and white flower accents. Full, fleshy and deep, with spicy citrus and quince flavors, bright firming acidity, and a finishing white pepper note. This almost numbs the palate with peppery intensity and would be sensational with raw oysters or sashimi.  91 points.” - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

Domaine Luneau-Papin 2004 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie “L d’Or” ($19.99 - low stock) - “Pale yellow. Slow-building citrus, pear and musky mirabelle aromas display outstanding depth and power, picking up a quinine note with air. Concentrated, mineral-driven citrus and orchard fruit flavors possess great intensity but are also tightly wound, suggesting that this needs to be socked away for a bit. Strongly mineral, very persistent finish. Wow!  92 points.” - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

Domaine de l’Ecu (Bossard) 2004 Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie “Expression de Orthogneiss” ($15.99) - "Light gold. Bright, mineral-dominated citrus and green apple aromas are sharpened by dusty mineral and fresh herb notes. Dry and focused, with excellent depth to the ripe tangerine, peach and fresh fig flavors. This is showing more depth and roundness than the Granite bottling today, with more sweetness to the peach and tangerine flavors. Exotic cherry pit and honeycomb notes arrive on the deep, impressively long finish.  90 points.” - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

Domaine de l’Ecu (Bossard) 2004 Muscadet Sur Lie Sèvre et Maine “Expression de Granit” ($17.99) - "Green-gold. Pretty floral-laced pear, white peach and quince on the nose, with subtle mineral and lanolin accents. Surprisingly gentle orchard fruit and orange flavors are lifted by an easygoing minerality. Sneaky acidity and mineral tones on the back tighten and focus the flavors through the spicy, long finish. Lingering notes of juicy, fresh peach and floral honey add depth and an impression of richness. A powerful, complex wine that's delicious now but will also reward cellaring.  91 points.” - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

Domaine La Haute Fevrie Muscadet Sèvre et Maine Sur Lie ($9.99) - "Bright straw. Clean, minerally nose features fresh lemon, lime and quince accented by quinine and jasmine. Brisk, focused and pure, with a light body but potent citrus and pear flavors. Energy, spicy finish shows impressive concentration, focus and length.  89 points.” - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

NEW Spain (Villacreces, Hacienda Monasterio) INBOUND...

March 20th, 2007 - Springtime Six-Pack

More than a few customers have requested a monthly mix-pack or six-pack – something along the lines of the Thanksgiving and Christmas six-packs we assembled for easy holiday entertaining.  So for March, few wines say Spring more loudly than Viognier.  Viognier’s floral (honeysuckle) and fruity (peach) aromas and juicy flavors deliver a refreshing change from wintertime’s robust and hardy reds.

Viognier cluster.

Altas Cumbres 2006 Viognier Argentina
Laurent Miquel
2005 Viognier Languedoc
Cline Cellars
2005 Viognier California
Yalumba 2006
Viognier “Y” South Australia
The White Knight
2005 Viognier Clarksburg
Carina Cellars 2005
Viognier California Central Coast

$75 - save 10%

March 8th, 2007 - New Arrivals

Bodegas Castano 2005 MonastrellBodegas Castaño 2005 Monastrell Yecla ($7.99) – “The 2005 Monastrell is an insane value produced from three vineyard sites ranging in age from 40-60 years. Opaque purple-colored, it gives up fragrant aromas of blue fruits, plums, and prunes. Ripe, layered, and full-flavored, this hedonistic effort can be enjoyed now but will surely evolve for 2-3 years. Match it with beef and lamb.  90 points." – Jay Miller for Wine Advocate   SOLD OUT

Domaine Grand Veneur 2005 Côtes du Rhône “Les Champauvins” ($15.99) “Consistently one of the best values and sleeper selections from the southern Rhone is Grand Veneur’s Cotes du Rhone-Villages Les Champauvins. This wine is consistently outstanding, seemingly regardless of vintage conditions, and 2005 is another knock-out offering. Full-bodied with a deep ruby/purple color, hints of licorice, kirsch liqueur, raspberries, and loads of fruit in a full-bodied luscious style, it should drink well for 4-5 years.   90 points.” – Robert Parker, Jr.

Borsao 2005 Tres Picos GarnachaBodegas Borsao 2005 Garnacha Campo de Borja “Tres Picos” ($14.99) “This remarkably hedonistic wine has been a perennial Best Buy in the pages of this journal. The 2005 Tres Picos Garnacha is purple-colored with a cherry-scented nose that roars from the glass. It is intensely fruity, with terrific depth and concentration, oodles of sweet fruit, and terrific length. This wine, which can be likened to cherry pie in a glass, is an awesome value. Drink it over the next 1-2 years.  90 points.” – Jay Miller for Wine Advocate

Villa Mercedes 2005 Chardonnay San Juan Argentina “ZAMBA” ($9.99) – Zamba’s Chardonnay is a value that any wine fan can appreciate! Entirely tank fermented, this Chardonnay includes a hint of Viognier to brighten the aromatics and layer the flavor profile a bit. It is a delicious fruit driven style with just enough richness to please a discriminating palate.  

Finca el Reposo 2004 Malbec Mendoza Argentina ($12.99) The source of grapes for this 100% Malbec is located in the high zone of the Uco valley (aproximately at 3,150 ft above sea level) consisting of 11 hectares of 15+ year old Malbec.  Its location enables the vines to have more exposure to the sun which, coupled with the high altitude, translates into wines of deeper color. The temperature difference between days and nights is so high (25 degrees Celsius) that the level of acidity is naturally higher in these grapes, which translates into wines of greater structure and ageing potential.  SMART BUY.

March 1st, 2007 - New Arrivals


Back in 1998, a couple years after WSP first opened its door, my lovely wife (a geology professor here at Washington & Lee University) and I made a trip to the California North Coast.  Our geography was off and we made seemingly endless trips over the mountains between Napa and Sonoma.  One of our more memorable stops was at Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards.  Gus (a retired orthodontist from Waukegan, IL) welcomed us.  During our tour he jokingly commented that the principal architect he had in mind (Princeton architect Michael Graves) was already under contract by Jan Shrem over at Clos Pegase, so he had to make due with his own barn and caves.  Gus’ son Todd (a geophysicist) cored their acreage to determine which clone of vine was to be planted at which spot. 


Conn Valley Vineyards is a welcome understatement to the Disneyland feel of the Napa Valley.  They are located over near Lake Hennessey, just next door to Seavey, on the far East side of the valley, south of Howell Mountain.  There is little glitz and glamour, and the old-world feel of the caves and Gus’ own cellar of treasured Bordeaux was refreshing.


We shared some picnic munchies and Gus pulled a bottle of their new Fournier Vineyard (Carneros) Chardonnay that had just been released from another contract.  100% barrel fermented with no malolactic fermentation.  He also produced a bottle of their new Éloge Bordeaux blend.  (The Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is just that – 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Their Cabernet tends to be more classically styled than the super-concentrated cult bombs from over the mountain.)  We were offered the remaining Éloge bottle to enjoy later that evening, which we did. 


Sadly, we haven’t returned to California since then.  We did have a memorable stay at the River’s End Resort in Jenner, where the Russian River meets the Pacific.  Our daughter is named Jenner (it’s not what you’re thinking – she was born in 2000).  We plan to take her there some day.


So, here’s an offer of a few of Gus and Todd’s wines that should please a discriminating collector:


Anderson’s Conn Valley 2003 Napa Valley Caberenet Sauvignon Reserve ($59.99)


“Since 1990, Cabernet Sauvignon has an enviable track record at Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyard. Moreover, they should last for 20-30 or more years. My instincts suggest 2002 may be one of the finest Cabernets yet produced here, but the 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve is better every time I re-taste it. Its smoky, gamy, cedary, creme de cassis, tobacco, and leather-scented bouquet is Pauillac-like. Full-bodied with abundant ripe, silky tannin, this gorgeous effort may not be as seamless as the 2002, but it should last nearly as long ... at least two decades. 94 points.” Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate


Anderson’s Conn Valley 2003 Napa Valley Proprietary Red Wine “Éloge” ($74.99)


Eloge is a Bordeaux-styled red composed of approximately two-thirds Cabernet Sauvignon, nearly one-third Cabernet Franc, and tiny dollops of Petit Verdot and Merlot. Aromas of soy, tea, damp earth, spicy oak, flowers, black currants, and cherries emerge from the 2003 Eloge. Full-bodied, powerful, complex, and broad, this gorgeous offering is irresistible at present, and should evolve for 15+ years. 96 points.” Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate (Caveat - the Éloge stock is extremely low.)


Anderson’s Conn Valley 2003 Napa Valley Proprietary Red Wine “Right Bank” ($49.99)


The Right Bank proprietary offering is generally a blend of 60% Merlot and 40% Cabernet Franc (similar to modern-day blends of the famed St.-Emilion, Cheval Blanc). It is an enticing effort with good weight, great aromatics, and a wonderful texture. The 2003 Right Bank displays a distinctive menthol character interwoven with blackberries, licorice, smoke, and flowers. Full-bodied, opulent, and moderately tannic, with broad, savory flavors, it should age nicely for 15 or more years. 93 points.” Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate

Purchase a trifecta for $165 and save 10%.

February 22nd, 2007 - Domaine Costal

Domaine Costal 2005 Chablis "Les TruffiÈres" ($29.99) - Kermit Lynch had an opportunity to buy 75 cases of a special Chablis (from a vineyard that gives the wine an aroma of truffles) made by a vigneron who is best friends with Bernard Raveneau.  So KLWM put out an offering for 15 cases each to the first 5 importers who responded.  We bought two cases from our supplier, and they arrived today.

February 20th, 2007 - Ken Wright Pre-Sale

Due November 2007: Ken's Pinot's have risen again on the radar, with the 2004 Canary Hill hitting #57 in Wine Spectator's Top 100 for 2006, and all 2004s earning at least a 90-point rating.  Curiously, this wine had been sold out for some time.  There are a few 2005s in residence, yet to be reviewed.  Ken is torqued about the 2006s.  And Ken's prices have remained rather stable over the last several vintages.

Ken Wright 2006 Pinot Noir Savoya Vineyard ($54.99) - This is the first vineyard directly owned and developed by Ken Wright Cellars. The vineyard is located in the Yamhill-Carlton District northeast of Carlton. Planting began in 1999 with 4.5 acres of clones 777 and 115 on phylloxera resistant rootstock.. Total planted acreage as of spring 2002 is approximately 17 acres. Vine spacing is 6.5’ x 4’ and the elevations averages 450’. The soil is comprised of marine sediments known as Wellsdale and Willakenzie. These are sandy soils which drain quickly and hasten the ripening process. Our first commercial crop, 2002, has produced a muscular wine that has aromas of dense black fruit, seared meat, cedar and anise. Approximately 240 cases are produced. Ken and Karen Wright are owners. The vineyard is managed by Mark Gould.

Ken Wright 2006 Pinot Noir Canary Hill Vineyard ($54.99) - Located at the southern end of the Eola Hills and faces southeast. The vines were planted in 1982 and 1983. They are vertically trellised and are of the Pommard clone. Elevation is 450' to 550'. The soil is a mix of Jory and Nekia. Both are formed from igneous rock and have a reddish-brown tint. This site, however, has less depth than similar soils in the Dundee Hills. Wine from this vineyard is typically very forward, with aromas of black cherry and cola. Approximately 625 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned by Dick and Nancy Daniel, and managed by Mark Gould.

Ken Wright 2006 Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard ($54.99) - Located just 1 mile from Canary Hill in the Eola Hills, Carter Vineyard is lower on the hillside yet has a leaner and less fertile soil. It is mainly Nekia soil, which is formed from weathered basic rock. It lies at an elevation of 325' and was planted in 1983. This bottling is comprised of the Wadenswil, Dijon 777, Dijon 667, Dijon 115, and Pommard clones. The wine is firmer than Canary Hill in its youth but evolves beautifully after a few years in bottle to show black fruits and fresh, healthy earth scents. Approximately 650 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned by Jack and Kathleen Carter, and managed by Mark Gould.

Ken Wright 2006 Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard ($54.99) - This site is in the Yamhill-Carlton District just west of the Chehalem Valley. Our fruit is sourced from three small blocks, one of which is planted to the Pommard clone, one to the Dijon 114 clone and the last to Dijon 777 clone. Soils are primarily of the Goodin and Melbourne type which are sedimentary in origin. The three blocks range in elevation from 450 to 600 feet and were planted in 1989. The wine from this vineyard has a complex array of aromas and flavors including black and red fruits, particularly blueberry, spice and earth. Approximately 725 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned by Dick and Deirdre Shea and managed by Javier Marin.

Ken Wright 2006 Pinot Noir Guadalupe Vineyard ($54.99) - The vineyard was planted in 1989 and represents the definable change of the Jory soils of the Dundee Hills to the sedimentary soil of the Yamhill-Carlton District. It is spaced 7’ by 5’ and is planted to the Wadenswil clone. The soil, known as Willakenzie, is a well-drained shallow soil over siltstone. It lies at an elevation of 350'. The vineyard consistently produces small berries and clusters that are intensely colored. The wine possesses the character of black fruits, cocoa, leather and earth. Approximately 400 cases are produced. Jim Stonebridge and Kathleen Boeve own the vineyard. It is managed by Joel Myers.

Ken Wright 2006 Pinot Noir Freedom Hill Vineyard ($54.99) - Freedom Hill Vineyard is located in the Coast Range just south of Dallas, OR. The soil type is known as Bellpine, which is sedimentary in origin. The fruit from our 2.85 acre block is wholly Pommard clone. The vineyard was planted in 1980. Wines from this site are the firmest and most structured that we work with. They have great longevity. Approximately 340 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned and managed by Dan & Helen Dusschee.

January 30th, 2007 - New Arrivals

Kay Brothers 2004 Shiraz Block 6 Padthaway ($99.99) From Shiraz vines planted in 1892.  “There are 1,400 cases of the flagship cuvee, the Block 6 Shiraz, which is aged 28 months in 60% new American oak and 40% new Hungarian oak. Typically, it possesses between 15-16% alcohol and is always a candidate for twenty or more years of cellaring. The 2004 Shiraz Block 6 is the finest example of this cuvee since the 1998. It is an awesomely concentrated Shiraz with an inky/plum/garnet/purple color and a sweet nose of roasted meats, dried herbs, ground pepper, blackberries, and cassis. This intense, full-bodied effort boasts a profound depth and richness as well as layer upon layer of awesome concentration and length. While approachable, it should hit its peak in 5-6 years, and last for two decades or more.  98 points.” — Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #167 (Oct 2006).  12 bottles in stock.

Rudsen 2005 Barossa Shiraz “Stockade” ($24.99) — “The 2005 Stockade is a 1,000-case cuvee of 100% Shiraz that spent time in neutral French oak. It exhibits a deep ruby/purple hue, an opulent, fruit-forward personality, plenty of blackberry and smoky notes, a ripe, heady mouthfeel, and a nicely defined finish. With 14% alcohol, neither of these wines (also referring to Bakery Hill Cabernet) is over the top. If you haven’t yet noticed, Christian Canute (Rusden) is one of Australia’s finest young mavericks. At the ripe old age of 28, he’s doing work that suggests someone with twice as much experience.  92 points.” — Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #167 (Oct 2006). 12 bottles in stock.

Henry’s Drive 2005 South Australia Shiraz “Dead Letter Office” ($32.99) — The 2004 was rated 93 points from Parker.  Egads.  He wrote, “This 100% Shiraz was aged in 100% American oak, of which 80% was new. It is one of those modern-styled, exuberant, super-concentrated Aussie Shiraz that drives Eurocentric wine tasters crazy. The wine is too good to be true, does not have to be explained, and does not make any pretension to being a terroir wine. It offers oodles of blackberry and cassis fruit, smoky oak, an unctuous, opulent texture, and thrilling levels of fruit and glycerin. This is exactly what wine should be all about ... fun and pleasure. Enjoy it over the next 5-7 years.” 12 bottles in stock.

Order 2 of each and save 10% - $284

Also, for those looking for a Pinot Noir alternative whose price won’t hit you between the legs, we recommend the G.D. Vajra 2005 Lange Rosso ($14.99/$162case).  The Rosso is a blend of Nebbiolo, Dolcetto, Barbera and Freisa from this first-rate Barolo producer.  Medium-bodied with bright flavors of black cherry, herbs and spice (cinnamon).  Light tannin and great balance.  Not a blockbuster, but loads of personality, this is a fantastic alternative to $25 Oregon Pinot Noir.



January 22nd, 2007

Latest Mollydooker drop SOLD OUT.  No word yet on next landing...

January 16th, 2007 - INBOUNDPillar Box Red 2005

Henry's Drive 2005 Pillar Box Red Padthaway ($9.99/$108case) — “There are 70,000 cases of the 2005 Red, a blend of Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot from young vines. However, this is no wimpy wine at 15% alcohol. An unbelievable value, it boasts a dense ruby/purple color as well as an uplifted, projected nose of sweet red and black fruits, earth, and spice box. Supple-textured with a voluptuous mouthfeel and unbelievable richness, this wine clearly over-delivers. Enjoy it over the next 2-3 years. 91 points.” — Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #167 (Oct 2006)  IN STOCK!

Kay Brothers 2004 McLaren Vale Shiraz “Block 6” ($89.99NET) — “There are 1,400 cases of the flagship cuvee, the Block 6 Shiraz, which is aged 28 months in 60% new American oak and 40% new Hungarian oak. Typically, it possesses between 15-16% alcohol and is always a candidate for twenty or more years of cellaring. The 2004 Shiraz Block 6 is the finest example of this cuvee since the 1998. It is an awesomely concentrated Shiraz with an inky/plum/garnet/purple color and a sweet nose of roasted meats, dried herbs, ground pepper, blackberries, and cassis. This intense, full-bodied effort boasts a profound depth and richness as well as layer upon layer of awesome concentration and length. While approachable, it should hit its peak in 5-6 years, and last for two decades or more. 98 points.” — Robert Parker,
Wine Advocate #167 (Oct 2006) LIMITED 12 bottles available.

Sarah and Sparky Marquis, who live by the motto, “We make wines that make people go wow - through attention to detail and commitment to excellence,” have hit pay dirt with these brilliantly packaged, screw cap-finished wines with labels that resemble Broadway vaudeville acts from the mid-thirties. Even more innovative, their back labels have a small postage stamp with all the relevant information so restaurant consumers can remember the wine by pulling off the stamp and taking it home.

Mollydooker 2005 McLaren Vale Shiraz “Carnival of Love”($99.99) — “Amazingly, the 2005 Carnival of Love ratchets up the level of quality. A selection of the finest Shiraz barrels, it boasts an extraordinary black/purple color, gorgeous notes of blackberry liqueur, camphor, and smoke, and an enormous voluptuousness that would make even Pamela Anderson jealous. Great purity, symmetry, and harmony as well as remarkable balance for such a rich, intense wine, as it sat in the glass espresso, vanillin, white chocolate, and additional black fruits also emerged. It should drink well for a decade, although the winemakers suggest it be consumed over the next four years. If you are wondering what to serve with this beauty, Sarah and Sparky Marquis recommend such fish as marlin, hammerhead, and great white shark, white meats such as snake and crocodile, red meats such as emu and kangaroo, and aged wallaby mild cheese. Yum! 99 points.” — Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #167 (Oct 2006) LIMITED

Mollydooker 2005 South Australia Shiraz “The Boxer” ($19.99net/$240cs) — "The 2005 The Boxer Shiraz (primarily from McLaren Vale, followed by Langhorne Creek and Padthaway) exhibits a black/blue/purple color, an incredible density of fruit along with that tell-tale purity, blackberries, white flowers, melted chocolate, sweet licorice, and subtle wood. Full-bodied, beautifully textured and layered with an awesome finish, it should drink well for 4-6+years.  95 points.” — Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #167 (Oct 2006)

Mollydooker 2005 South Australia Red “Two left Feet” ($19.99net/$240cs) “The 2005 Two Left Feet is a 65% Shiraz, 19% Merlot, and 16% Cabernet Sauvignon blend assembled by Sarah Marquis. The fruit is sourced from McLaren Vale, Padthaway, and Langhorne Creek, and the wine is aged for 9-12 months in a combination of American and French oak (about 50% new and 50% one-year old).  It boasts an inky/purple color, superb intensity, a big, sweet, full-bodied nose of creme de cassis, graphite, white chocolate, black olives, blackberry liqueur, and spice, and a spectacular, voluptuous, even unctuous texture. This is a big, powerful, classic southern Australian red made with no compromises. The good news is that there are 6,500 cases of this superb value. Drink it over the next 3-4 years, although I suspect it will last for a decade or longer. 94 points.” — Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #167 (Oct 2006) LIMITED

Mollydooker 2006 McLaren Vale Verdelho “Violinist” ($14.99net/$180cs) — “The 2006 The Violinist (100% young vine Verdelho from McLaren Vale) is a gorgeously full-bodied Verdelho that was fermented and aged in both new and old French and American wood, then bottled early. No malolactic was used. It is a powerful white boasting notes of honeyed melons and other tropical fruits, beeswax, and crisp citrus. There is good underlying acidity, an explosively rich mid-palate, and a fresh, lively, elegant, creamy texture as well as finish. Speaking from experience, this stunning wine works spectacularly well with Maryland’s soft shell crabs. Enjoy it during its first year of life. Sadly, there are only 1,300 cases.  92 points.” — Robert Parker, Wine Advocate #167 (Oct 2006) LIMITED

December 28th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Looking ahead...rarely have I felt the excitement and anticipation of the 2005 vintage across Europe.  Not the Bordeaux and Burgundy, but the Rhône, the Langudoc, Germany, Italy and Spain.  The French are still having some challenges in the marketplace - hopefully they will get more aggressive with their prices (regardless of the dollar's recent demise) to regain market share - the time is right.  The 2005 Southern Rhônes show the qualities of the preceding vintages (2003 and 2004) in a synergistic package.  We plan to offer a pre-sale on 2005 Mordoree, Grand Veneur, Alain Jaume, Janasse, Marcoux, etc., when we get this information to pass along.

The 2005 Germans show the combination of intensity, complexity, terroir, and balance that makes 2005 such an exciting vintage across the range.  Prices are stable, and considering the quality, the wines are excellent values.  


December 28th, 2006 - New ArrivalsBitch Barossa Grenache 2005

the bitch 2005 Barossa Valley Grenache  ($11.99) - No words, just style.

Thorn-clarke 2005 Barossa Valley Shiraz "Terra Barossa" ($10.99) - "An unreal bargain is the 2005 Shiraz Terra Barossa. Super-deep with amazing QPR, it boasts an inky/ruby/purple color along with deep blackberry liqueur, smoky camphor, grilled meat, and toasty oak notes. Full-bodied, rich, and mouth-filling, this is a stunner to drink over the next 5-6 years. 91 points.”  Robert Parker, Jr.

VArner 2005 Enda Valley Chardonnay "Foxglove" ($13.99) - “A new offering, the 2005 Foxglove is basically a second label. It is a combination of estate grown fruit blended with Edna Valley grapes. About 15% is barrel fermented in old oak. The result is an outstanding white wine possessing attractive aromas of lemon oil, white corn, crushed rocks, and white currants as well as a steely crispness reminiscent of top-notch Chablis. Drink it over the next 1-3 years. 90 points.”  Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate

Mollydookers currently SOLD OUT

December 14th, 2006 - New Arrivals

Caymus Vineyards 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon "Special Selection” ($135NET) - "The brilliant, super-rich 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection (this cuvee is now aged only 15-16 months in barrels compared to older vintages that spent almost twice as long in wood) boasts an inky/purple hue, and sweet notes of lead pencil shavings, creme de cassis, licorice, and charcoal. This dense, full-bodied, opulent, seamless, heady Cabernet is ideal for drinking over the next 15+ years. 96 points.”  Robert Parker, Jr.

“Has aromas of lead pencil, currant and blackberry. Tightly wound, dense and concentrated, with a dash of earthiness. Finishes with a supple texture and a complex range of flavor. Score range: 92-94 points.”  James Laube, Wine Spectator

We were plugged in Wall Street Journal's Weekend Journal section on February 18th, 2005.  Without the patronage of you wine-lovers out there (since 1996), this would not have been possible.  THANK YOU!!
Our 15 minutes of fame...

December 8th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

LogoPaolo Scavino 2000 Barolo Riserva "Rocche dell'Annunziati" ($195NET) - "The nose is pure, freshly crushed berries and cherries with lilacs. Full-bodied and very, very concentrated, with big, ripe, powerful tannins, but it's all in harmony and length. Layers of fabulous fruit. It's just a baby. Wait and watch it grow up into something amazing.  99 points."  Wine Spectator (Feb. 2006) VERY LIMITED.

thorn-clarke 2005 Shiraz "Milton Park" ($7.99/$86case) - "A superb value, the 2005 Shiraz Milton Park is unbelievable for this price point. It reveals copious amounts of blackberries, black cherries, tar, licorice, and a hint of oak. Beautifully textured, rich, full-bodied, and lush, it should be consumed over the next 3-4 years.  90 points." - Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate
grand veneur (Alain Jaume) 2005 Cotes du Rhone-Villages "Les Champauvins" ($14.99/$162case) - Not yet reviewed.  But consider the 2003 and 2004 both rated 90 points by Robert Parker.  And the 2005 vintage will be better.  The 2003, 2004 and 2005 Southern Rhone vintage overall ratings from RMP - 90, 90, and 95 points.  Rocket Science.

November 30th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Haart labelreinhold haart 2005 Riesling Spätlese Mosel-Saar-Ruwer Piesporter Goldtröpfchen ($33.99) - "Exotic, showing apricot, nectarine and mandarin orange notes, this is intense and elegant at once. It’s shot through with a lovely acidity, keeping it fresh and lively on the long, apricot-tinged finish. From Germany.200 cases imported.  94 points." - Wine Spectator  OMG!!


Seavey 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($86.99) - "No doubt because of its unusual micro-climate, this winery produced a better 2003 than 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon. The brilliant 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in 50% new French oak) boasts a dense purple color as well as a big, sweet nose of scorched earth, creme de cassis, licorice, spice, and a roasted meat-like character. Full-bodied, opulent, and rich, with tremendous intensity, huge texture, exceptional balance, and sweet tannin, this stunning Cabernet will be drinkable reasonably early in life (a rarity for a Seavey Cabernet Sauvignon), but should easily last 15-20 years. Seavey seems to remain under the radar for many wine connoisseurs, but it is a top-flight source for long-lived Cabernet Sauvignon.  96 points.” – Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate.  Very low inventory!


Chateau Montelena 2002 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Estate ($89.99) - "A relatively flamboyant effort. Its opaque purple color is followed by a gloriously pure nose of crème de cassis, licorice, earth, truffles, and flowers. Full-bodied, powerful, and rich, with high tannin as well as concentration.  95+ points.” – Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate.  Very low inventory!

November 28th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Mueller 2003 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley "Emily's Cuvee" ($39.99) - "Fragrant rose petal and crushed raspberry aromas turn elegant and stylish on the palate, with fresh, lively acidity and a sleek, rich aftertaste. Wonderful balance, finesse and delicacy. Finish sails on. Drink now through 2010. 1,595 cases made.  93 points." - Wine Spectator #54 Top 100 Wines for 2006.  SOLD OUT

November 28th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Penfolds 2001 Grange ($224.99net) - "It is always a treat to taste Australia’s most famous wine, Penfolds’ Grange cuvee (the word Hermitage has been dropped because of legal issues). The 2001 Grange is one of the few vintages of this cuvee to be composed of 100% Shiraz (the others being 1951, 1952, 1963, 1999, and 2000). Aged 17 months in 100% American oak, and tipping the scales at 14.5% alcohol, the 2001 is undeniably one of the top examples of this wine. At this stage, it appears to eclipse the 1998 and 1996. Inky/blue/purple to the rim, with a stunning perfume of blueberries, blackberries, chocolate, graphite, and earth, it boasts good acidity, huge tannins, magnificent concentration, and a multilayered, textured mouthfeel. It is a big, but impeccably well-balanced Shiraz that should shed some of its structure and tannin over the next 4-5 years, and be at its best between 2010-2030+.  98 points.” – Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate.  Very low inventory!

L’Aventure 2003 Syrah Estate ($45.99 reg $59.99) – The 2003 Syrah exhibits more jammy pain grille characteristics interwoven with less nuanced blackberry and cassis fruit, a flavorful opulence, considerable intensity, and abundant spice. It is more forward than its siblings, and should drink well over the next 7-10 years.  91 points.” – Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate. 

Fonseca 2003 Vintage Port ($84.99) – Saturated deep ruby. Brooding, reticent nose of cassis and kirsch; there's nothing cooked about this one! Then massive, sweet and superrich in the mouth; explodes with exotic ripeness. Intriguing note of graphite. This coats every nook and cranny of the palate and clings and builds on the back end in a way that no other wine of this vintage can match. Huge, sexy and wonderfully lush Fonseca, built for the long haul. As impressive as the best 2000s, and, along with the Quinta do Noval Nacional, is an early candidate for port of the 2003 vintage.  97 points.” Steve Tanzer, International Wine Cellar…Sporting an opaque, black-colored robe with dark purple trim, the 2003 Fonseca Vintage Port exhibits a nose of profound depth. Its sweet black mass of dark fruit and spice aromas leads to a character of immense depth, richness, and weight. Full-bodied, viscous, and almost impenetrable, this dense, backward port is powerful and exceptionally long in the finish. Possibly the most masculine Fonseca I’ve ever encountered, it coats the taster’s palate with licorice, jammy black fruits, and notes of chocolate that last for over a minute. This blockbuster will require at least three decades to fully blossom. Anticipated maturity: 2035-2060.  96 points.” – Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate.

November 25th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Las Rocas Vinas Viejas San Alejandro 2004 (Spain)Bodegas San Alejandro 2004 “Las Rocas” Garnacha Viñas Viejas ($15.99) - “Inky violet.  Aromas of blueberry, boysenberry, iron and cracked pepper show excellent intensity and focus.  Spicy, concentrated and deep, with fine, dusty tannins giving spine to, but not intruding on, the sweet dark fruit flavors.  Finishes sweet, juicy and long, with a persistent blackberry quality. 91 points.” Steve Tanzer, International Wine Cellar 66 bottles in stock.

Marquis Philips 2005 “Holly’s Blend ($11.99)“The 2005 Holly’s Blend (100% Verdelho, 30% of which was barrel-fermented) exhibits aromas of honeysuckle and tropical fruit as well as oodles of personality. It is best consumed over the next year.  90 points.” – Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate


INBOUND Mollydooker!!

November 10th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Ken Wright 2005 Pinot Noir Savoya Vineyard ($49.99) - This is the first vineyard directly owned and developed by Ken Wright Cellars. The vineyard is located in the Yamhill-Carlton District northeast of Carlton. Planting began in 1999 with 4.5 acres of clones 777 and 115 on phylloxera resistant rootstock.. Total planted acreage as of spring 2002 is approximately 17 acres. Vine spacing is 6.5’ x 4’ and the elevations averages 450’. The soil is comprised of marine sediments known as Wellsdale and Willakenzie. These are sandy soils which drain quickly and hasten the ripening process. Our first commercial crop, 2002, has produced a muscular wine that has aromas of dense black fruit, seared meat, cedar and anise. Approximately 240 cases are produced. Ken and Karen Wright are owners. The vineyard is managed by Mark Gould.

Ken Wright 2005 Pinot Noir Canary Hill Vineyard ($49.99) - Located at the southern end of the Eola Hills and faces southeast. The vines were planted in 1982 and 1983. They are vertically trellised and are of the Pommard clone. Elevation is 450' to 550'. The soil is a mix of Jory and Nekia. Both are formed from igneous rock and have a reddish-brown tint. This site, however, has less depth than similar soils in the Dundee Hills. Wine from this vineyard is typically very forward, with aromas of black cherry and cola. Approximately 625 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned by Dick and Nancy Daniel, and managed by Mark Gould.

Ken Wright 2005 Pinot Noir Carter Vineyard ($49.99) - Located just 1 mile from Canary Hill in the Eola Hills, Carter Vineyard is lower on the hillside yet has a leaner and less fertile soil. It is mainly Nekia soil, which is formed from weathered basic rock. It lies at an elevation of 325' and was planted in 1983. This bottling is comprised of the Wadenswil, Dijon 777, Dijon 667, Dijon 115, and Pommard clones. The wine is firmer than Canary Hill in its youth but evolves beautifully after a few years in bottle to show black fruits and fresh, healthy earth scents. Approximately 650 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned by Jack and Kathleen Carter, and managed by Mark Gould.

Ken Wright 2005 Pinot Noir Shea Vineyard ($49.99) - This site is in the Yamhill-Carlton District just west of the Chehalem Valley. Our fruit is sourced from three small blocks, one of which is planted to the Pommard clone, one to the Dijon 114 clone and the last to Dijon 777 clone. Soils are primarily of the Goodin and Melbourne type which are sedimentary in origin. The three blocks range in elevation from 450 to 600 feet and were planted in 1989. The wine from this vineyard has a complex array of aromas and flavors including black and red fruits, particularly blueberry, spice and earth. Approximately 725 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned by Dick and Deirdre Shea and managed by Javier Marin.

Ken Wright 2005 Pinot Noir Guadalupe Vineyard ($49.99) - The vineyard was planted in 1989 and represents the definable change of the Jory soils of the Dundee Hills to the sedimentary soil of the Yamhill-Carlton District. It is spaced 7’ by 5’ and is planted to the Wadenswil clone. The soil, known as Willakenzie, is a well-drained shallow soil over siltstone. It lies at an elevation of 350'. The vineyard consistently produces small berries and clusters that are intensely colored. The wine possesses the character of black fruits, cocoa, leather and earth. Approximately 400 cases are produced. Jim Stonebridge and Kathleen Boeve own the vineyard. It is managed by Joel Myers.

Ken Wright 2005 Pinot Noir Freedom Hill Vineyard ($49.99) - Freedom Hill Vineyard is located in the Coast Range just south of Dallas, OR. The soil type is known as Bellpine, which is sedimentary in origin. The fruit from our 2.85 acre block is wholly Pommard clone. The vineyard was planted in 1980. Wines from this site are the firmest and most structured that we work with. They have great longevity. Approximately 340 cases are produced. The vineyard is owned and managed by Dan & Helen Dusschee.

Order one from each vineyard in a set of six for $300 - save 10%

November 8th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Deisen 2003 Shiraz Barossa ($49.99net) - A small boutique operation in one of my favorite sectors of Barossa, Marananga, Deisen has fashioned a beautiful 2003 Shiraz. Its dense opaque purple color is followed by a big aromatic display of camphor, roasted herbs, blackberries, cassis, and licorice. A fabulous texture, tremendous purity, and a full-bodied, layered finish suggest this classic Barossa Shiraz will drink well for 10-12 years.  95 points." Robert M. Parker, Jr.

Step Road 2005 Chardonnay Adelaide Hills Australia ($15.99) – Personally, I am not a huge fan of Australian Chardonnay.  At this price point, I feel white Burgundies offer more complexity, better balance and purity through conservative use of new oak.  This Aussie is a true exception, with a minerality I have rarely found in Chardonnay from Down Under.  "Bright yellow. Mineral-driven citrus, pear and smoked meat aromas, with strong leesy, buttery nuances; this hardly smells New World, unless you're talking $60+ renditions.  Silky in texture and strikingly fresh, with excellent purity to the complex flavors of pear, quince, iodine, white truffle and clove.  Blind, I'd be smack in the middle of Chassagne-Montrachet. Easily the best-value chardonnay I've tasted this year, with the clarity and depth to squash plenty of wines that cost more per bottle than a case of this, and I say that as a white Burgundy fool.  91 points.International Wine Cellar.  This is a fantastic Chardonnay for the money.

November 1st, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

schwarz 2004 "Nitchke Block” Shiraz Barossa - SOLD OUT!

October 27th, 2006 - New Arrivals, UpdateYalumba The Octavius 2002

Yalumba The Signature 2002Yalumba 2002 Cabernet/Shiraz “The Signatures” Barossa ($44.99net) - "The 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon/Shiraz The Signature reveals more purple in its color along with a cooler climate mouthfeel, massive, concentrated blackberry and cassis fruit, and additional floral and cherry notes. Full-bodied and rich, with good freshness as well as huge concentration and length, it should drink well for 15-20 years.  95+ points." Robert M. Parker, Jr.    24 bottles in stock

Yalumba 2002 Shiraz “The Octavius” Barossa/Eden Valley ($99.99net) – “A spectacular effort, the 2002 Shiraz The Octavius (100% old vine Shiraz aged 22 months in both French and American wood) is a noteworthy successor to the phenomenal 2001 released last year. Aromas of figs, chocolate, blackberry and cassis liqueur, roasted meats, and barbecue spice emerge from this hugely extracted, full-bodied monster. Reminiscent of some Grange Hermitage cuvees from the early seventies, it is a wine of supreme quality, with a singular personality as well as 20-25 years of aging potential. This stunning Shiraz is one of the greatest wines made in South Australia.  96+ points."  Robert M Parker, Jr.   6 bottles remain

Anderson’s Conn Valley Vineyards 2003 “Éloge” Napa Valley ($64.99net)  - "The Eloge, a brilliant Bordeaux-styled blend of primarily Cabernet Sauvignon with some Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and occasionally Petit Verdot, is one of California’s most exciting proprietary reds. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc, and 15% Merlot and Petit Verdot, the rich, full-bodied 2003 Eloge reveals aromas and flavors of creme de cassis, licorice, Chinese black tea, earth, and spicy oak. It is an opulent, rich, full-bodied effort with savory, broad, expansive flavors that coat the palate. Although it may not have the seamlessness of the 2002, it is a beautifully made, complex red to enjoy now or cellar for 15+ years.  95+ points." Robert M. Parker, Jr.  6 bottles in stock

Trouillard Brut Champagne Cuvée de Fondateur 1995 ($64.99) – “Elegant, lush and toasty, this blanc de blancs delivers plenty of citrus, honey and mineral with balance and finesse. There’s a crispness around the edges, keeping it fresh and clean on the finish. Drink now through 2020.  25 cases imported.  94 points." Wine Spectator    5 bottles in stock

 October 24th, 2006 - SALE, Update

Making room for more Australian Wine Sale!!

 Looking around the store while realizing that new Fall arrivals are just around the corner, we need to make some room! New Oregon Pinots (Ken Wright, Patricia Green), Epicurean Imports (Amon-Ra [Magnums, even], Mr. Riggs, Tatiarra, Gleatzer), Mitolo, California (Anderson’s Eloge), and others…

NOTE: Sale runs through October 31st.  For your consideration…

d’Arenberg 2002 McLaren Vale Shiraz “The Dead Arm” ($50 net) - "The 2002 The Dead Arm Shiraz was a challenge to effectively analyze. After the magnificent 2001, it comes across as lighter-styled, more elegant, but also closed and restrained. Several hours of aeration were beneficial, but this cuvee seems to be playing it close to the vest. However, there is power underneath the tannic structure. A deep ruby/purple color is followed by a backward, full-throttle Shiraz lacking the exuberance, unctuosity, and stunning concentration of the 2001 and 1998. It has noble breeding, but appears to be totally shut down at present. Anticipated maturity: 2009-2020. 92+ points.”  Robert Parker, Jr.  I tasted this again last night, and after about four hours of air I believe it surpasses the 92+ and into 94 points.  Delicious.  Lighter style?  Not in my book (CNS).  26 bottles available

d’Arenberg 2003 McLaren Vale Shiraz “The Dead Arm” ($50 net) – "The d’Arenberg The Dead Arm Shiraz was awarded the Super-Premium Red Wine of the Year at the Australian Liquor Industry Awards gala dinner in Sydney last Wednesday night. Voted by retailers and restaurateurs across the country the award caps off a successful six months for d’Arenberg’s Icon Shiraz. Last month the 2003 Dead Arm Shiraz received 95 points from acclaimed US wine writer Robert Parker, Jr., and in August the wine received Langton’s Classification as ‘Excellent’ in the wine auction house’s Top 101 Australian Wines. The wine was pitted against a stellar line up of industry nominations including; Penfolds Grange, Henschke Hill of Grace, Orlando St Hugo Coonawarra Cabernet Sauvignon, Penfolds St Henri Shiraz, Rockfords Basket Press Shiraz, Redman Cabernet Merlot, and Penfolds Bin 707 Cabernet.

 “A deeper, richer, fuller-bodied offering that spent time in equal parts French and American oak, it possesses an opaque purple color, great intensity, and a fabulously sweet nose of blackberries, cassis, asphalt, earth, and oak. Powerful, super-concentrated, and obviously fashioned from low yields and old vines, this is a classic McLaren Vale old vine Shiraz that should age nicely for 15+ years. 95 points.” Robert Parker, Jr.  4 bottles available

d’Arenberg 2001 McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon “The Coppermine Road” ($50 net) - The colossal 2001 The Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon exhibits an opaque purple color in addition to a gorgeous perfume of lead pencil shavings intermixed with blackberry and cassis fruit, vanilla, Asian spices, and white flowers.  Still primary and young, with great intensity as well as tremendous upside potential, it requires 5-6 more years of aging, after which it will last for two decades.  93+ points.” Robert Parker, Jr.  10 bottles available

d’Arenberg 2002 McLaren Vale Cabernet Sauvignon “The Coppermine Road” ($50 net) - "The 2002 Coppermine Road Cabernet Sauvignon possesses a sweet perfume of roasted herbs, black currants, blackberries, Lead pencil shavings, and background oak. Full-bodied and structured, drink it over the next 12+ years. 94 points.” Robert Parker, Jr.  SOLD OUT

D'arenberg Ironstone Pressings 2002d’Arenberg 2002 McLaren Vale Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre “The Ironstone Pressings” ($50 net) – The 2002 Ironstone Pressings GSM may be the finest example of this cuvee I have yet tasted. A blend of 75% Grenache, 20% Shiraz, and 5% Mourvedre, its deep ruby/purple color is accompanied by an explosive perfume of dried herbs, black fruits, ground pepper, licorice, and old oak. This full-bodied, powerful, opulent blend boasts loads of fruit, wonderfully sweet glycerin, and a long finish with outstanding purity, definition, and structure. 93 points.” Robert Parker, Jr.  12 bottles available

d’Arenberg 2003 McLaren Vale Grenache/Syrah/Mourvèdre “The Ironstone Pressings” ($50 net) –The 2003 Ironstone Pressings is a gorgeous blend of 70% Grenache, 25% Shiraz and 5% Mourvèdre. It explodes form the glass with notes of Provencal herbs, black cherries, cassis, pepper, licorice and incense. A wine of great intensity, richness, body and purity with terrific balance as well as a layered mouthfeel, this superb Australian red should be consumed over the next 10-12 years. 92 points.” Robert Parker, Jr.  4 bottles available

d’Arenberg 2002 McLaren Vale Grenache “The Derelict Vineyard” ($30 net) – “The explosively perfumed, rich, multidimensional 2002 The Derelict Vineyard Grenache displays a dense ruby, purple-tinged color.  This wine, which emerges from head-pruned vineyards, possesses classic kirsch liqueur notes intermixed with licorice, smoke, spice and earth. Medium to full-bodied, with a nicely layered midpalate, loads of fruit, good glycerin, and a succulent finish, this is a delicious Australian red to drink over the next 7-8 years. 90 points.” Robert Parker, Jr.32 bottles available

Deisen 2003 Barossa Mataro ($30net) "Deep, bright red. Licorice-laced rose petal, cherry and pomegranate aromas show terrific verve. Spicy and focused, with the firm, tangy cherry fruit lifted by the wine's fresh mineral bite.  This shows almost tooth-jangling tart cherry fruit but finishes on a rounder, silky note, with very fine tannins.  Should be a fascinating wine to follow over the coming decade. 90+ points.” International Wine Cellar   29 bottles available

Again, Sale runs through October 31st

Clos des Cazaux 2003 Vacqueyras “Cuvée des Templiers” SALE!! $9.99 (reg. $12.99) - The 2003 Vacqueyras Cuvee des Templiers (a 50-50 blend of Grenache and Syrah) is a rich, full-bodied, exuberant effort with high alcohol, plenty of sweet, exotic, overripe black cherry and raspberry fruit, hints of figs and plums, low acidity, and plenty of plump, meaty chewiness. Drink it over the next 2-3 years.  89 points."


October 20th, 2006 - Notes, New Arrivals, Update

Ken Wright 2005 Pinot Noir inbound...

October 4th, 2006 - Notes, New Arrivals, Update

Brief notes from our Thorn-Clarke Barossa Shiraz "Shotfire Ridge" vertical tasting last Friday...

2000 – at peak, surprising depth - a customer brought it along.
2002 – at peak, lighter style, less oak, nice focus and balance from a bit more acidity
2003 – coming along nicely, more oak, a little closed (Wine Spectator 93 points? then, but not now). Will it improve and develop like the 2002 and 2000?
2004 – a nice drop, more oak and richness (second bottle - first one was waaay off)
2005 – youthfully exuberant, forward and fun with some baby fat 


September 28th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Laurel Glen 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma Mountain - $59.99

Classic Laurel Glen, a Cabermet stuffed with dense, thrillingly ripe fruit, yet surrounded by dusty mountain tannins that warrant cellaring. The flavors are as intricate as a tapestry, weaving together black currants, blueberries, plums, cocoa, macaroons, spices and sweet oak. Thoroughly dry, this is great Laurel Glen. Decant now; drinkable through at least 2015.  95 points.” - Wine Enthusiast    

Bright ruby. Reticent but complex nose combines minerals, licorice, leather, mocha and chocolate, with lovely floral lift. Suave and aromatic in the mouth, but extremely backward and dominated by its powerful acid/tannin structure today. Brooding flavor of inky blackcurrant shows superb penetration and snap. Finishes very long and firmly tannic. The pH here is 3.75, on the high side for Laurel Glen, and this 2002 may be the biggest wine yet from this winery. But this cabernet needs a good eight to ten years of cellaring.  92+ points."  Steve Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

September 25th, 2006 - INBOUND, Update

September 20th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Alvear Pedro Ximenez Solera 1927

Thorn-Clarke 2005 Barossa Shiraz "Shotfire Ridge" ($17.99) - "Deep, saturated purple. Dusty deep aromas of espresso-tinged blackberry, blueberry and blackcurrant. Lush, velvety and sweet, the blackberry and blueberry flavors veering toward liqueur-like but retaining focus and clarity. I suspect that many hard-core Old World palates might find this a bit too much but I'm impressed.  90 points." - Josh Raynolds for Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

Alevar Pedro Ximenez 1927 Solera ($19.99/375ml) - "The impressive 1927 Pedro Ximenez Solera, from a Solera begun nearly 80 years ago, boasts a dark amber color as well as an extraordinary nose of crème brulée, liquefied nuts, marmalade, and maple syrup. Huge and viscous, yet neither cloyingly sweet nor heavy, it is a profound effort priced unbelievably low. It is meant to be drunk alone at the end of a meal.  96 points.Robert Parker, Jr.

Dominio de Tares 2004 Bierzo Mencia "Baltos" ($15.99) - "Ruby-red.  Vibrant aromas of cherry, rhubarb and wild strawberry, with pepper and mineral accents.  Richer and more obviously ripe on the palate, with vivid red and dark berry flavors and deeper notes of chocolate and espresso.  Finishes on a tangy, spicy note of fresh cherry, with impressive length.  90 points." - Josh Raynolds for Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar


 September 13th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update


W.H. Smith 2005 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast Maritime Vineyard - $57.99

W.H. Smith 2005 Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast - $32.99

Yalumba 2002 Octavius Shiraz ~$100 (Parker 96+, IWC 93)

Mettler 2003 Petite Sirah Lodi - $21.99 (Parker 91)

September 8th, 2006 - News, Update

More news about Joe Dressner HERE.

Also, Shafer sets now sold out - waiting for additional allocation.

Parker on some Jorge wines...

Bodegas Niño Jesús 2003 Calatayud Figaro Tinto (SALE!!! $5.99 msrp $8.99) – “Another delicious 100% Grenache, aged in old oak. Figaro’s 2003 Tinto exhibits a supple texture, and attractive, elegant aromas of black cherries, pepper, and loamy soil. Dark ruby-colored, medium-bodied, and deliciously round and fruity, it is meant to be consumed over the next 1-2 years. 87 points.”

Bodegas Nekeas 2005 Vega Sindoa Chardonnay Navarra ($12.99) – “…Also a superb buy, the 2005 Vega Sindoa Chardonnay was barrel-fermented in French oak with batonnage, and aged for six months in wood.  Past examples have occasionally possessed too much wood, but the winery appears to have nailed the fruit/wood balance for 2005.  A note of subtle smoky oak is present, but it is nicely blended with copious quantities of honeyed lime, lemon, and white peaches.  This is a medium-bodied, unbelievably flavorful wine with far more intensity than one would expect at this price.  89 points.  Bodegas Nekeas is synonymous with great value.”

Finca Luzon 2004 Altos de Luzon Jumilla ($15.99) – The seriously endowed 2004 Altos de Luzon is a blend of 50% old vine Mourvedre (52 years) and equal parts Cabernet Sauvignon and Tempranillo, aged 12 months in a combination of French and American oak. A dense ruby/purple color is followed by beautiful aromas of smoky licorice, black currants, cherries, and earth. Offering wonderful ripeness, an alluring texture, sweet tannin, and adequate acidity, it certainly over-delivers for its price. Drink it over the next 2-4 years.  90 points.”

August 31st, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Spinifex was conceived by Magali Gely and Peter Schell in 2001 with the ambition to hand make wines from ultra-select vineyards in the finest terroirs of the Barossa Valley. Magali and Peter, partners in both life and business, have lived in the Barossa since the early 90's and worked with some of the Valley's leading small wine producers. Magali has a family history of wine growing near Montpellier spanning over ten generations, whilst Peter's ancestors were amongst the earliest to settle in the Barossa Valley. This gives their union and commitment to premium wine production a sense of history and place. Peter, a trained oenologist, has made wine in Burgundy, Switzerland, Provence, the Minervois, the Languedoc, Bordeaux, New Zealand and Australia. These experiences have been central in forming the belief of the absolute primacy of the vineyard in the production of unique, ultra premium wines, and the requirement for a fastidious approach to vineyard selection based on old vines and distinguished sites.  Spinifex 2004 Barossa "Esprit" ($24.99) - "A blend of grenache, shiraz, mataro and cinsault. Ruby-red. Flamboyant, pungent nose offers a wild combination of ripe red and dark berry aromas, fresh flowers, pipe tobacco, high-grade chocolate and roasted coffee. On the palate, the red fruit element speaks strongest today, even if the finish takes a darker turn toward blackberry liqueur and blackcurrant. Sweet and lush in texture and nicely framed by fine, well-integrated tannins. Finishes with superb length and concentration and a distinctly sappy impression. This highly successful blend should be given at least a few years of cellaring.  92 points." - Josh Raynolds for Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar 

On deck:  Bonaccorsi (still), new Jorge Fernandez wines.

August 29th, 2006 - Update

Shafer Sets:  One (1) remaining.

August 24th, 2006 - Update

SALE - Michele Casrellani 2001 Valpolicalla Classico Sureriore Ripasso D.O.C "San Michelle" ($9.99!! reg. $24.99) from Valpolicella Classico, hilly district, tuff, clay and limestone soil with south-west facing slopes at 200 meters of altitude :: Gambero Rosso Two Red Glasses!!

August 23rd, 2006 - Update

Glaetzer 2004 Barossa Shiraz “The Bishop” ($45.99) – “Smooth and round, with a fine zing of acidity to balance the rich, classic cherry, blackberry and licorice flavors, hinting at Provençal herbs and black pepper as the finish sails on and on. Beautifully balanced and harmonious, this is built to grow with age.  94 points – Hot Wine!” – Wine Spectator (Harvey Steiman)

Kaesler 2004 Barossa GSM “Stonehorse” ($19.99) – Smooth and polished, with a lovely core of black cherry and currant fruit, dripping with dark chocolate and smoky spice notes as the finish goes on.  Impressive for its balance and length.  91 points – Smart Buy!”

August 22nd, 2006 - Update

Latest press from Wine Spectator’s James Molesworth on Domaine de la Mordorée…

Domaine de la Mordorée 2004 Châteauneuf-du-Pape La Reine des Bois ($99.99) A powerhouse for '04, with loads of blackberry and black currant fruit held at bay by tar, loamy tannins and thick layers of cocoa and coffee. This is marvelously balanced despite its weight, with fruit and terroir coursing through the finish. From 60-year-old vines, this is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsault, Counoise, Syrah and Vaccarèse. Best from 2008 through 2027. 135 cases imported.  95 points.”

Domaine de la Mordorée 2004 Lirac La Reine des Bois ($25.99) This offers layers of succulent fruit—blackberry, fig and plum—along with terroir-driven garrigue, mineral and tobacco notes. Long finish has solid grip, but is fresh enough to drink now. Quite impressive for the appellation—this drinks like a Châteauneuf. From 40-year-old vines, a blend of equal parts Grenache, Mourvèdre and Syrah.  Drink now through 2011.  300 cases imported.  91 points.”

Domaine de la Mordorée 2005 Tavel Rosé “La Dame Rousse” ($16.99) "Bold cherry color, with lots of ripe cherry and raspberry fruit on a lushly textured frame. Great stony undertow really stretches out the finish to let the fruit linger. From 40-year-old vines. 60 percent Grenache, along with Cinsault, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Bourboulenc and Clairette.  300 cases imported.  90 points.”

Domaine de la Mordorée 2004 Lirac La Dame Rousse ($15.99) — “Vivid, with concentrated boysenberry and currant fruit supported by notes of tar, tobacco and garrigue.  Muscular but fresh through the finish.  Now through 2009.  89 points.”

Domaine de la Mordorée 2005 Côtes du Rhône La Dame Rousse ($10.99) This offers lots of dark ripe blueberry and blackberry fruit, layered with tar, graphite and mineral notes. Solid, smoky finish. Drink now. 650 cases imported.  89 points.”

On deck – Bonaccorsi 


August 18th, 2006 - Inbound, Update

Doug Shafer’s wines are some of the most sought-after in the country.  His Hillside Select Cabernet reached “cult” status years ago, and his Relentless Syrah/Petite Sirah blend was in the Wine Spectator Top 100 Wines of 2005 #37, 94 points).

To summarize:

Two bottles  - 2003 Merlot  Parker 90 points…“The 2003 Merlot was performing beautifully out of bottle. An elegant blend of 85% Merlot and nearly equal portions of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc, it possesses a refined deep ruby/purple color along with scents of berry fruit, sweet cherries, and hints of smoke and mocha. Drink this lovely Merlot over the next 6-7 years.”  Wine Enthusiast 92 points…“Here’s a Merlot with all the hallmarks of Shafer’s approach to Cabernet. It’s big, ripe, flamboyant, oaky, complex and immediately enjoyable. Cherries and blueberries are the flavors, accented by sumptuous sweet vanilla. The tannic structure is sweetly rich. Drink now for its youthful beauty.”  Tanzer 90 pointsGood red-ruby color. Wild aromas of bitter cherry, spice cake, tobacco, meat and leather; conveys a strong impression of soil. Supple, pliant and deep; round but firm. This boasts a lovely sugar/acid balance and firm underlying structure. Intriguing hints of minerals, fresh herbs, leather, tobacco and mint on the long finish.  Merlot with real personality, which is hard to find in California.”

 Two bottles  - 2003 Relentless (80% Syrah/20% Petite Sirah) Parker 93+ points“The 2003 Relentless reveals a similar dense purple color [as the 2002 - The inky/purple-hued 2002 Relentless possesses a fabulously exuberant, extroverted nose of black fruits, creosote, flowers and pepper along with huge, sweet blueberry, chocolaty, espresso notes. Flamboyant, rich, full-bodied and intense, but not overweight...] in addition to a full-bodied, concentrated style, but not the sweetness or glycerin of the 2002.  More structured, with slightly more aggressive tannin, it should be cellared for another 1-3 years, and drunk over the following 10-15.”

Two bottles  - 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon - Parker 89 pointsShafer’s elegant Cabernet Sauvignon … consistently reveals fine breadth of flavor and depth …[the 2002 Cabernet displays an attractive, sweet nose of cassis, high-class cigar tobacco, loamy soil and subtle oak followed by an elegant, medium-bodied, long finish].  The 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses more aggressive tannin in its big, corpulent personality. It should drink well for a decade."  Connoisseur’s Guide 91 points…Mild but very evident top notes of loam and woodsy spice lend a touch of complexity to the solid, patently varietal aromas of black currants and cherries, and the same character shows up in this wine's moderately deep and well-formed young flavors. A bit ripe in bias, yet mostly defined by its fruit, the wine is supple and plush on the palate with fairly soft tannins providing a fine and flexible spine. We see it improving for three to five years, but it would be hard to persuasively argue against enjoying it considerably sooner.”

Two bottles  - 2004 Red Shoulder Ranch Carneros Chardonnay - Parker 93 points “The 2004 Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch, a non-malolactic cuvee that sees 50% new oak, continues the success they have had with this full-throttle, widely available Chardonnay (over 5,000 cases produced). Shafer’s earliest harvested Chardonnay on record, the 2004 exhibits abundant fruit, honeysuckle, apricot, and citrus oil characteristics in its classic, full-bodied personality. With good acidity as well as abundant oak, this beauty should be enjoyed over the next 2-3 years.”

One bottle - 2002 Cabernet Hillside Select Parker 100 points…2002 [HSS] is one of the most profound California Cabernets I have ever tasted. It possesses phenomenal intensity, a multilayered mid-palate, and a finish that lasts for over a minute. Combining extraordinary power, texture, richness, and depth with remarkable complexity, elegance, and seamlessness.

Two (2) sets remain at this writing.  For what it’s worth, the 100-point HSS Cabernet has been going for $350-$500 in the open market:  if it hasn’t sold out.

TOTAL RETAIL $650 separately…


July 24th, 2006 - Inbound, Update

Yalumba 2005 Viognier “Y” South Australia ($11.99) - “Highly complex bouquet of peach, orange peel, lemongrass and smoky, cured meat.  tangy and bright in the mouth, the citrus flavor precise but also nicely filled in, with a note of dried peach lingering through the powerful, spicy finish...another outstanding example of this variety at a remarkable price from this Australian Viognier pioneer... 90 points." - Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar 

St HenriJuly 20th, 2006 - Inbound, Update

Penfolds 2002 St Henri Shiraz  ($35.99 NET) –  “One of the finest releases ever of this benchmark shiraz, with an alluring and slightly meaty fragrance of dark plums, blackberries, dark chocolate, backed by spicy and smoky undertones. Made in the traditional velvet-smooth Australian ‘burgundy’ style, it’s soft and juicy, with a deeply flavoured and layered palate whose deep, dark core of vibrant dark fruit flavours is tightly wrapped in fine, approachable tannins. Marvellously long, it finishes with freshness and acidity, with underlying hints of mineral. (Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, $70 retail, approx., 97 points, drink 2022-2032+).” Jeremy Oliver

“A vibrant crimson colour with a purple core. Savoury aromas laced with bay leaf/spice. Some blackcurrant/blackberry aromas show, most likely due to the 9% Cabernet, albeit from warmer climes in a cool year. There are some secondary characters, demi-glace/soy, no doubt from 14mths in large oak vats. classy young St. Henri - elegance, balance, substance and persistence. Dark fruits with background liquorice and dark spices reflect Barossa and McLaren Vale origins. The palate is tight and defined, yet texturally round and soft, with ripe tannins and no oak interference. Now formative and youthful, the 2002 St. Henri is already complete and integrated, with the potential to be a complex, long lived wine.” Peter Gago

St Henri often doesn’t shine as a young wine but I reckon this release does – in a purely St Henri fashion. Flooded with aromatic kirsh, true and sure in the mouth, fruity and plummy and licoricey but most of all, crammed with the most remarkable all-spice seasoning – this is quite gorgeous. I often see vanillin oak in St Henri (even though it’s not supposed to have any) but here I can’t see a trace of it. Every bit in the St Henri style, this is an unmistakably superb release – like the 1998, it’s even possible to drink this young. Drink: 2006-2020. 95 points.” Campbell Mattinson, Winefront Monthly

Powerful cherry, blackberry, black currant, tobacco and Asian spices on the nose, with lovely floral accents.  Lush, superconcentrated, and remarkably deep, showing an almost candied sweetness to the dark berry flavors, along with fruitcake and licorice notes.  This is sweeter than any vintage of St. Henri I've seen to this point.  Finished with supple tannins and superb length.  In the current batch of Penfolds releases,  this one gives the new Grange some stiff competition93 points."  Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

July 18th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Guillemot-Michel 2003 Mâcon-Villages “Quintaine” ($19.99) –  “This bio-dynamic estate is un-questionably one of the most consistently outstanding producers of affordable white Burgundy. A sumptuous, concentrated wine, the 2003 Macon-Villages explodes from the glass with copious quantities of spicy ripe white fruits. This wonderful offering bursts with richness yet remains fresh, pure, and delineated. Its flavor profile exhibits lush layers of pears and apples as well as an ethereal minerality that lingers in its prolonged finish. Drink it over the next 5 years.  92 points.” – Pierre Rovani, Wine Advocate

Calvet Thunevin Cuvee Constance 2004Domaine Calvet-Thunevin 2004 VdP Catalanes “Cuvée Constance” ($13.99) –  “A brilliant effort from St.-Emilion's bad boy, Jean-Luc Thunevin, and the Calvet firm, this 2004 was produced from a 25-acre old vine vineyard planted with 60% Grenache, 30% Syrah, and 10% Carignan. After aging in concrete vats, it was bottled unfined and unfiltered. It boasts tremendous intensity as well as a big, sweet bouquet of creme de cassis, black cherry liqueur, licorice, and roasted meats bathed in Provencal herbs. With superb purity, full body, and no hard edges, this savory, mouth-filling red will drink well for 2-3 years.  90 points.” – Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate

Seghesio Family Vineyards2004 Sonoma County Zinfandel ($16.99) – “The finest value here is the 2004 Zinfandel Sonoma (a 60,000-case blend of 90% Zinfandel and 10% Petite Sirah). A classic Zin, it offers a dark ruby/purple color along with raspberry and cherry fruit intermixed with notes of pepper, herbs, and earth. Tangy acidity, medium body, and good varietal character make for a delicious wine… Drink it over the next 2-3 years.  89 points.” – Robert Parker, Jr., Wine Advocate

John Duval Wines 2004 Plexus Barossa Valley ($39.99net) – “(49% shiraz, 27% grenache and 24% mourvedre) Inky violet with a bright rim. Brilliantly focused aromas of blackberry, cassis pastille, bitter chocolate, black cardamom and violet. A remarkably pure, vibrant midweight, whose dark fruit flavors offer lovely clarity and lightness as well as superb concentration. The dark chocolate note takes charge on the finish, which features dusty, very fine tannins and a lingering note of kirsch John Duval again shows a deft hand with this blend, and at an amazing price compared to the legendary vintages of Grange he crafted.  92 points.”  Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar 

John Duval Wines 2004 Shiraz Entity Barossa Valley ($44.99net) – “Inky violet color. Densely packed, almost muscle-bound scents of crystallized violet, black raspberry, boysenberry, cassis, graphite and subtle vanilla. Broad, intensely flavored and sweet, with flavors of crème de mure, blackcurrant, cola, espresso and sexy oak spices. But there's amazing energy here, too. This has remarkable clarity and precision for its depth and intensity of flavor, with a juicy quality that carries through the long, potent finish. A fabulous combination of power, weight, sweetness and focus, not to mention a stunning bargain for the quality.  93 points.”   Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

Deisen 2003 Shiraz  Barossa Valley ($49.99) “Dense ruby.  Sweet, sexy blackberry, blueberry and crème de cassis on the nose, with complicating notes of baking spices, charred meat and candied licorice.  Lush, supple and thick, the dark berry flavors revealing excellent depth and expanding across the palate.  Broad, rich and velvety on the finish, picking up sweet underbrush and vanilla.  This could only be from Barossa.  91 points.  Only 960 bottles produced.”  Josh Raynolds, International Wine Cellar

Eguren 2005 Protocolo Rosada ($6.99) – “A dry, zesty rosé with surprising body, a fragrant personality (strawberries and cherries), and a crisp, zingy finish. It is a blend of 50% bobal and 50% tempranillo.  89 points.”  Robert Parker, Jr., BusinessWeek

June 28th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Domaine Pépière 2005 Muscadet S&M "Clos des Briords" ($14.99/$29.99 magnum) - The anxiously awaited 2005 "Clos des Briords" has finally arrived for the summer heat and humidity.  Magnums available this go around, but limited.  The regular cuvée is in as well at $9.99.

Argyle 2003 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir "Nuthouse" ($49.99) - “Polished and rich in texture, a bit hot but expanding beautifully to show off its ripe cherry and blackberry and faint notes of earth and shiso that linger along with the fruit, wrapped in a light veil of toasty oak.  93 points - Highly Recommended.” - Wine Spectator

Virgin Hills 1999 Cabernet/Shiraz/Merlot (SALE!! $14.99 reg. $29.99) - Only one wine is made at Virgin Hills, it's predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, and both the 1998 and 1999 vintages are truly great. You need to get both. The experience starts with the nose, a complex melange of exotic spices, blackberry/cherry fruit and hints of new oak. With an additional year of bottle age, the 1998 is showing exceptional complexity on the palate, deep, layered fruit and a Bordeaux-like finish of firm, yet ripe tannins. It will continue to improve for least 10 years in the cellar but is thoroughly enjoyable now. However, as good as the 1998 is, the '99 may prove better yet. It's slightly fatter and more lush than the 1998, showing a bit more Shiraz influence and flatteringly youthful fruit. I suspect it will close up a bit in the next year or two, much as one would expect from a classified growth Bordeaux. Getting a bottle or more of each is clearly the best decision, but the more forward 1999 may be a bit easier for many to appreciate."  Ben Gilberti for the Washington Post

Moreau Chablis Vaillion 2004

and also just in...Old World Chardonnay  Christian Moreau 2002 Chablis 1er Cru "Vaillons" (SALE!! $19.99) - Lemon, minerals, flint and smoke on the nose. Juicy and fine-grained on entry, with firm mineral character giving it a youthful tightness. Then opens out and expands nicely on the backEmilio Moro Ribera del Duero 2001 (Spain) -- Rated 89 half, finishing with ripe, sweet notes of lemon, dried nuts and spices.  89 points.” Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

Emilio Moro 2001 Ribera del Duero (SALE!! $19.99) - Good deep red-ruby. Slightly reduced aromas of black raspberry, currant and tobacco. Dense but juicy, with an intriguing saline character and a rather sophisticated texture. This boasts lovely balance and depth of flavor, as well as considerable impact. Finishes with chewy, building tannins and excellent length.  91 points.” Stephen Tanzer, International Wine Cellar

Moulin d'Eole 2003 Costières de Nîmes - SALE!! $10.99; $8.99case; $6.99 3case) - Deep red color. Powerful nose with notes of red fruits, violet and spices. Fat on the mouth with nice tannins. Long lingering and elegant finish. (Kysela)"  Decant for two hours (WSP).

INBOUND - Shafer 2003 Napa Valley Merlot $49.99 LIMITED

June 20th, 2006 - Update

Back in the box after a short break and new laptop load.  More to come....

Specials/sale items coming in...

Emilio Moro Ribera del Duero 2001 (Spain) -- Rated 89Virgin Hills 1999 Cabernet/Shiraz/Merlot...

Shafer 2003 Napa Valley Merlot...

Emilio Moro 2001 Ribera del Duero...

Moulin d'Eole 2003 Costières de Nîmes

June 6th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

St Innocent 2004 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir "Shea" ($39.99) - "I believe that Shea Vineyard produces a very classic style of Pinot noir. These Pinot noirs emphasize elegance with good acidity, balanced flavors, well concentrated fruit, and nuances that are specific to the terroir of the vineyard. Because of their ripe tannins and supporting acidity, this style of Pinot noir is an excellent match with richly flavored foods...2004 was a classic, as well as a great, Oregon Vintage. The grapes were fully ripe, maintained good acidity and were free of rot. The Pinot noir harvested from Shea Vineyard was the most perfect fruit that we received in 2004...This Shea is a dark ruby color. Its nose is full with roasted spices, lavender, and dark flowers with black fruit aromas underneath. Initially rich with spice and dried floral flavors, it crescendos into a powerhouse of dark flowers, dried berries, and a touch of smoke. Sweet, spicy fruit persists well into its long finsh and is supported by substantial ripe tannins. It may very well be the greatest Shea I have produced. I expect it to peak in 8-12 years." - Mark Vlossak

May 30th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Muga :: ReservaBodegas Muga 2001 Rioja Reserva (SALE $11.99/375ml) - "Readers should be purchasing the 2001 Muga Reserva by the case. It is a stunning, unfiltered Rioja made from 70% Tempranillo, 20% Grenache, and the rest Mazuelo and Graciano. A big, rich bouquet of raspberries, cherries, graphite, and tobacco leaves is accompanied by abundant fruit, an expansive, medium to full-bodied palate, elegant, lush flavors, sweet tannin, and hints of cedar and white chocolate. This beautiful Rioja should drink well for a decade.  92 points." Robert Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

May 22nd, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Bodegas y Viñedos Alion 2001 Ribera del Duero ($59.99net) - "Bright ruby-red. Musky aromas of currant, roasted herbs, Cuban tobacco, black olive and black pepper. Lush and supple but firmly built, with wonderfully velvety, multilayered flavors of outstanding depth. This combines the solid structure of a top Bordeaux with the sheer sweetness of fruit possible in Spain. As rich as this is, there's no impression of excess weight. The finish features very fine-grained tannins and outstanding palate-saturating persistence. Clearly the finest vintage to date for this wine.  95 points." - Stephen Tanzer,  International Wine Cellar

"The finest Alion I have tasted from this project owned by the proprietors of Vega Sicilia, the 2001 is a sensational effort. Moreover, while it's not inexpensive, 25,000 cases are produced. A deep ruby/purple color is followed by a glorious, smoky nose of espresso, dried herbs, roasted measts, sweet black currants, new saddle leather, plums, and cherries. This provocative, rich, complex, full-bodied Ribera del Duero possesses wonderful glycerin, fabulous purity, and a long finish that lasts for 40+ seconds. It is an opulent, voluptuously-styled wine with great stature. Drink it over the next decade.  95 points." - Robert Parker, Jr., The Wine Advocate

May 20th, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

2004 Las Rocas de San Alejandro, Garnacha, CalatayudLas Rocas de San Alejandro 2004 Calatayud Garnacha ($9.99/$108) - "Good red-ruby. Perfumed aromas of liqueur-like dark berries and black cherry, licorice and spicy oak. Smooth, ripe, fat and full, with an enticing dark cherry flavor. This is wonderfully lush and pliant for a red wine under $10. Finishes with big, mouthdusting tannins and lingering sweetness. Exceptional value." (Sep/Oct 05)  89 points Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar IN STOCK
A good slug of the 2004 Garnacha VV is blended in this year.  Calatayud benefits from a continental climate with vast temperature differences between night and day. Harvests are much later than in other parts of Aragon (the region in which Calatayud lies) and the acidity/maturity/alcohol ratios tend to be more balanced. As most of the vineyards lie on what was (thousands of years ago) an old river basin, the soil is comprised of brown limestone and loam over slate and gypsum. This particular soil is also quite good for production of olives, cherries, and other fruits.  Better than the 2003 in our opinion.


May 3rd, 2006 - New Arrivals, Update

Domaine des Entrefaux 2003 Crozes-Hermitage MAGNUMS ($41.99) - "A fabulous sleeper of the vintage as well as a super value from the Northern Rhone, this intensely concentrated, inky/purple-colored 2003 exhibits notes of roasted herbs, chocolate, blackberries, and cassis. With huge body, abundant glycerin, low acidity, and a monster finish, this amazing wine tastes more like a Hermitage than a Crozes-Hermitage.  92 points." – Robert Parker, Jr.Finca Luzon Verde 2004

Finca Luzon