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Staff Favorites - John Majeski
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2012 Viña Robles "Estate" Paso Robles Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 7-23-2014
With its alluvial sandy loam soil, good drainage and excellent exposure, the Jardine Vineyard possesses ideal conditions for growing crisp and flavorful Sauvignon Blanc, and this affordably tasty version reveals why Paso Robles has become the new California hotspot for fine wine cultivation. Tropical fruits from guava to passionfruit, highlighted by lemon and grapefruit "citricality" and a touch of minerality perform a lively dance number upon the palate. A lovely, versatile wine for parties and summer picnics with family and friends. Cheers!
2013 Foucher-Lebrun "Petit le Mont" Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 7-8-2014
Sometimes I just have to scratch my head in wonder. Foucher-Lebrun made only 250 cases of this little bejeweled bijoux of a wine, all from select parcels grown on the magical mineral border between Touraine and Haut Poitu. We're somehow (scratch, scratch) able to pass it on to your discerning palate for a song, and yes, rest assured, this little Sauvignon songbird sings~ a melodious lemony tweet, followed by a tympanic flourish of white peaches, pineapples and delicate floral notes, with an enticingly crisp, delicious finish! What a delight!
2011 Fossil Point Edna Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 6-23-2014
Because of its proximity to the ocean, Edna Valley has always been an excellent showcase for reliable, deliciously well-made Central Coast Chardonnays, often promising luscious, full-flavored fruit and balanced acidity. Fossil Point has fulfilled this tradition in an expressive wine brimming with flavors of orange rind, dried pineapple, and comice pear, complemented by a delicate creme brulee note and welcome acidity. A good match for slow-roasted chicken, baked fennel casserole or picnic ham.
2012 Seghesio Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 5-5-2014
Hey friends, spring is already well sprung and your long-dormant propane grill is restlessly channeling Jim Morrison.... "C'mon baby light my fire!" So put on the sizzle and grill up some mouthwatering beef fajitas (today is Cinco de Mayo after all!), then lightly chill and uncork a bottle or two of this sensational, well-balanced Zin, a virtual scramble among the brambles with rapturous notes of blackberry and briar seasoned with gentle oak, a dash of spice and a kiss of licorice. Nothing out of sync here, just the interplay of richly beautiful fruit, well-composed tannins and a fine, satisfying finish. Awaiting the the grill of your dreams.....
2010 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 4-18-2014
In 2010, a lingering cool spring in the Southern Rhône severely reduced crop yields and extended the harvest well into October, allowing the happy grapes to reach sublimely intense levels of both richness and structure -— the result one of the greatest vintages ever in the Rhône Valley. And who reaps the rewards? Enter E. Guigal, perhaps the Rhone's chief exponent of excellence, delivering an amazing spectrum of quality wines year after year. Their entry-level Côtes du Rhône, with redolent aromas and flavors of cherry, black plum, wood smoke and spice possesses astonishing degrees of balance, complexity and mouthwatering texture for a very modest price. Most definitely a "win-win(e)"...Enjoy!
2012 Bastide Miraflors "Vieilles Vignes" Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 4-17-2014
The Roussillon region in southwest France has been cultivating grapes for thousands of years, so it comes as little surprise that a wine of such intense, immense pleasure as the Bastide Miraflors finds its home there. Select organically-farmed Syrah and rustic old vine Grenache undergo a long maceration to generate a wine of beautiful texture, form and depth. Lively, lusty and inviting red and black fruits toned with lavender and wildflowers make for a delicious bottle of wine, one that will complement everything from Mediterranean fare to roasted poultry to grilled lamb chops. This amazingly priced wine will quickly sail from our shops, guaranteed.
2012 True Myth Edna Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 3-30-2014
The label on this Edna Valley Chardonnay depicts a gossamer-clad maiden with arms that twist into tree limbs, releasing a spectrum of colorful butterflies instead of leaves. OK, I thought, just open the wine and give it a swirl, hoping no bewinged painted ladies, blues or swallowtails fly up from the glass. Instead, the wine delivers a cascade of lilting flowers and citrus aromas, hints of lime, white pear, cut pineapple and a kiss of vanilla on the supple, expansive palate. And to be honest, when I first saw the name "True Myth" on this wine I thought, hm, oxymoron... a myth or a fact, but not both. Now I'm a believer, and for the incredible price of $12.99, you will be too!
2012 Neyers "Sage Canyon" Rhone Blend
Review Date: 3-12-2014
It doesn't take a true detective to unravel the mystery of why a particular wine delivers so much unadulterated pleasure. In the case of this natural Rhone blend from Bruce Neyers the clues first found in the vineyard end up ultimately, with good fortune, in your glass. Crafted by winemaker Tadeo Borchardt from Grenache grown in the Sierra foothills, Syrah from the Sangiacomo hillside vineyards in Sonoma, and precious parcels of 135 year old Carignane and 125 year old Mourvedre vines that have sunk their hoary roots deep into the stony Contra Costa soils in Oakley, this red blend pays generous tribute to the heart of the southern Rhone in its sultry, sun-soaked fruit and lingering lavender, warm spice and anise-inflected aromas. One sip and the mystery is solved.
2011 Dry Creek Vineyard "Heritage Vines" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 2-6-2014
Take note Zin lovers! For those of you who lust for the gracious, bountiful blue and blackberry-scented fruit, soothing warmth and pepper-inflected spice inherent in the best Sonoma County Zinfandels, take comfort in this luscious 2011 bottling. Crafted from 100 year old heritage Zinfandel cuttings grafted onto younger rootstock, this wine is an enthralling contrast between the venerable and the new, expressing its oracular old vine voice through new and vibrant pathways. A sinuous, savory blend of Zinfandel and Petite Sirah, pitched with pepper and mineral undertones that will remind you why Dry Creek Valley is still the beautiful beating heart of Zinfandel country.
2011 Château de Montfaucon Côtes du Rhône
Review Date: 1-20-2014
If you're still searching for a very well-priced Côte du Rhône red that will embellish virtually any dish that isn't a fish, then this is it. A classic, unoaked blend of Rhone varieties: Grenache, Cinsault, Syrah and Carignane, reveling in bright red and black fruit aromas with a touch of warm spice and subtle violet aftertones, this elegant, smoothly-textured beauty brings everything to your table, delivering glass after glass of harmonious pleasure.
2012 Rancho Zabaco "Heritage Vines" Sonoma County Zinfandel
Review Date: 1-14-2014
Film often informs my comments, so I just saw The Wolf of Wall Street with a flash shot of the iconic, massively bronze Merrill Lynch bull snorting like someone just stole his lunch money or last martini, which reminded me of the wine I just tasted with another bull on it, this one much smaller and on the label but inside the bottle just as much bold, brawny, effusive snort-and-stuffing as the bronzed behemoth. We're talking big bovine wine here, but in this case, one possessed of a deep red heart and fabulous imposing flavor, a wine with velvet hooves, if you will, or won't. As impressive as the full depth charge of pure, high-toned Zin fruit and lush spice is the unbelievable price. And to say I'm rather bullish on this wine, well...
2011 Pierre Henri-Morel Côtes du Rhône-Villages Signargues
Review Date: 1-8-2014
Winemaker Henri Morel spent a most memorable decade working with Michel Chapoutier and it shows in the elegant wines recently created under his own label. Cultivated from select vineyard parcels of limestone and clay soils carpeted in the signature white pebbles the size of dinosaur eggs, this attractively unoaked Grenache blend releases suave fruit and infinite charm with every swirl of the glass. Arresting flavors of bright cherry, blackcurrant and garrigue play upon the the palate, with velvety tannins leading to a structured, concentrated finish. Lovely wine and a truly remarkable value!
2011 Chalone Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-6-2013
2008 Camiana "Blue Hall Vineyards" Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 8-10-2013
Grapevines sacrifice much to gain a foothold on the thin, stony, volcanic soils that characterize Howell Mountain's unyielding, distinctive terroir. To even attempt to plant viable vines in the past often required dynamite, a lot of it, to shatter the stubborn bedrock, and those tenacious growers who succeeded were ultimately rewarded with a bit of 'heaven' high above the valley floor. In fact, Robert Louis Stevenson wrote in 1889 while honeymooning near St. Helena that he'd entered "the blue hall of heaven", inspiring the name for Blue Hall Vineyard and its alluring, artisanal mountain wines. The 2008 Camiana Cabernet Sauvignon is a high-toned, opulent beauty, made entirely with estate grown fruit from their high-elevation, 3-acre vineyard, first planted in 2001. Possessing warm, aromatic notes of blackcurrant, cedar and sweet tobacco, this ravishing Cabernet coats the palate in suave, almost creamy dark fruits and velvety plums, chocolate, baking spice and licorice flavors. Most impressive were the elegant, supple tannins and long, pure, soothing finish. A sublime wine to share with select friends over dinner and beyond.
Ariston Aspasie "Carte Blanche" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 8-2-2013
Vines have been cultivated on this tiny property in the hamlet of Brouillet for five generations, and it has remained a customer and staff favorite here for several years. Yeasty, full and complex, the Carte Blanche exhibits a fine intensely-focused bead with lively notes of tart apples, dried hazelnuts, vanilla and toast, all in all a remarkably well-built Brut that will compare well to cuvées at double the price. It is perfect for entertaining.
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