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Staff Favorites - Sal Rodriguez
2012 Bodegas Castano "Solanera Vinas Viejas" Yecla
Review Date: 7-10-2014
The Bodegas Castano Solanera V.V. completely over-delivers! This 2012 delivers a crisp nose of crunchy berries, dried flowers and fresh pepper. On the palate, purple and tart, dark red fruits are noticeable with a nice hint of toasted oak. Aging in American and French oak really adds a depth to this bright, fresh wine, leaving a lovely satin mouthfeel. The finish continues with herbal, eucalyptus, and blueberry flavors. Get a few bottles now. If you wait, you might miss out!
Sherman & Hooker's Shebang! "Seventh Cuvťe" Red Blend
Review Date: 7-10-2014
Big. Bold. Bright. Delicious. This version of the Shebang offers aromatic black cherry, cedar, and dark chocolate on the nose. Thereís spicy rich fruit, with cassis and herb on the palate. This has a nice satin, lingering, herbal finish and is an incredible value! You canít afford not to get a case!
1996 Eyrie "Reserve" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 6-20-2014
We sat on the deck with Jason and Paloma, at Eyrie, and enjoyed one of the best Oregon Pinots I've ever tasted, their '96 Reserve Pinot Noir! What you can expect is an incredible amount of fruit and lovely spice on the nose while reflecting the same smooth, luscious fruit and spice with herb on the palate. A rather pretty, well balanced, smooth number that might leave you pondering the infinite abyss. One thing to note is that Jason and crew essentially opened every single bottle of this wine, tossed out anything that wasn't up to Eyrie's standards, blended/re-bottled the remaining (perfect) wine, and used a diam closure to re-seal. Although it's not inexpensive, can you really place a value on a perfect bottle of aged Pinot?
2011 Eyrie Vineyards "Estate Grown" Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 6-20-2014
On occasion, you just want a pretty, expensive tasting Pinot Noir that has a lot to offer and doesn't cost a fortune. May I present the 2011 Estate bottle from Eyrie. When opening a bottle of this Pinot, there isn't the rich red/crimson coloring that you can sometimes expect from the wine, but rather, it has a brown tinged, burnt orange hue. When I see that color in a wine, I sort of expect to experience an old wine that has seen more youthful days. This "young" (25+ y/o vines) wine however, in spite of its appearance, offers up an inviting, bright, raspberry/cherry on the nose. Once on the palate you'll experience some bright crunchy fruit with a lively bit of acidity that pulls you in with a delicious hint of baking spice. Although it's drinking beautifully now, you could certainly lay this one down for a few years.
2011 Maison Ambroise Bourgogne Rouge
Review Date: 5-22-2014
This has a lovely, lifted nose of "crunchy" red fruit. A delicious, medium bodied, fruit and black pepper on the palate. It offers a medium length black cherry and herb note on the finish. It's hard not to love this delicious Pinot. At this price, it is a solid value red wine to have around the house.
Monkey 47 Schwarzwald Gin 375ml
Review Date: 5-2-2014
I canít really say I am a ďginĒ person (whatever that means), but I know what I like when I taste it. This is it! This is what I like! I tried it Ďneatí and really under-estimated what this little bottle was capable of. Letís start out with pretty flowers and juniper popping out of the glass! Another whiff and I was hit with jasmine blossom and orange peel! I didnít have to take a sip to know that I was going to be taking some of this home. I took a little sip anyhow, and some of the loveliest spices, pepper, and juniper just washed over my tongue and filled my mouth. As I try to convey into words, what this gin tastes like, it is selling out from under us! Yes, the bottle is a little expensive, but once you get the bottle home and into your glass, itíll all make perfect sense.
2012 Rancho Zabaco "Heritage Vines" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 1-14-2014
This savory, fruity and bright Zin starts with a sumptuous nose of ripe fruit and dried flowers. On the palate it delivers delicious fruit with the typical peppery notes. The earthiness and lively acidity help to make this Zin quite balanced and it ends with a velvety richness that I don't often associate with Zin, and definitely is not typical of the varietal at this price. Pick up a few bottles soon, as I'm sure this won't stick around for long.
2010 St. Clement Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-7-2013
Ripe, rich and, beautiful! From the nose to the finish, this is one seductive Cabernet. Thereís such a wonderful bright ripe delicious fruit that just envelops you and begs you to drink more. Youíll absolutely need two of these. The first one to enjoy now, and the second one so youíre not mad at yourself for only picking up one.
2010 St. Clement "Oroppas" Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 10-4-2013
Bursting with bright red fruit and eucalyptus on the nose, this blend is sure to please the palate looking to be fully enveloped in gorgeous fruit, supple tannins, and a smooth finish. This quite simply, over-delivers! Although I have been hell-bent on drinking the 07 and 09 vintages because of their delicious fruit and roundness, I may have to start reconsidering my stand on the 2010ís!