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Staff Favorites - Patrick Cu
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2011 Chalone Vineyard Monterey County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 12-2-2013
Here's a great value Pinot for well under $15! It has scents of black cherries, rose petals, and a hint of earthiness. There are flavors of more black cherry, raspberries, and light spice that are all supported by good acidity. The 2011 Chalone will work wonders for parties or just a casual night at home.
2012 Lea (Tensley) Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-24-2013
For lovers of the fruit-forward, ripe, and jammy style of Pinot Noir, here is one for you. The 2012 Lea from Tensley is lush and loaded with ripe raspberries, a touch of spice, and gentle acidity. No need to wait, this is drinkable now.
2010 Dunn Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-19-2013
Another stunner has arrived from Dunn! Out of the glass are complex aromas of leather, blackberries, toasty cedar, and mint. Flavors of cassis, blueberries, black tea, and mocha persist at length, providing great depth. A long, long finish seals the deal and reinforces what many know already: Dunn Vineyards is amazing. Despite being from the newest vintage, it is approachable and drinkable now with decanting. This is a balanced, nuanced, and delectable Cab for the holidays.
2011 Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-10-2013
Surprising what $12 can get you. Louis Martini reminds us that great values are still to be had. The 2011 Cab has big, ripe fruit on the nose that lead to flavors of cinnamon, toasty oak, loads of vanilla, blackberry, and dark chocolate melded seamlessly together. This will be a hit at parties and even just a casual night at home.
Sean Thackrey "Pleiades XXIII" Old Vine Red Blend
Review Date: 11-10-2013
There is great news to be had for fans of Sean Thackrey. His new bottling of the Pleiades red blend is fantastic and picks up where the last edition left off. The savory, floral, and black cherry aromas are there. On the palate are raspberries, bing cherries, and a light peppery spice. This wine is still elegant, medium bodied, and well rounded. Itís a great value for twenty dollars, and should do well for Thanksgiving!
2012 Charles Smith "Kung Fu Girl" Evergreen Columbia Valley Riesling
Review Date: 11-4-2013
Fun in a bottle! This is easy to drink and easy on the wallet. Tastes of lemon & lime citrus with Asian pears combine with nice acidity and a touch of sweetness. The whole package together makes for a great pool side guzzler, or better yet, a nice companion for spicy dishes.
2010 Chalone "Limited Release" Chalone Chardonnay
Review Date: 9-24-2013
California Chardonnay fans rejoice! There is a great deal here in the Chalone Limited Release Chardonnay. This Central Coast Chard packs a lot of richness in for just $13. Smells of lemon citrus and vanilla cream give way to flavors of lemon meringue, oak, and buttered pears. It's an appealing package best suited for those looking for bargains. So easy to drink you could buy by the case.
2011 Stolpman "Estate" Santa Ynez Valley Syrah
Review Date: 8-31-2013
This Syrah has gorgeous aromas of violets, herbs, spice, blackberries, and savory oak. The spice continues onto the palate with dense, dark fruit notes emerging, alongside light notes of raspberry jam and dark cherry cola. To boot, a very soft mouthfeel makes this wine incredibly easy to drink and enjoy. I can see this being a big hit with many fans of Central Coast Syrah!
2007 Korbin Kameron "Estate" Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 8-12-2013
This is a fantastic example of a serious Cab with bottle age at a great price. The 2007 Korbin Kameron Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon offers a pretty nose of vanilla, violets, cinnamon spice, blueberries, and cedar. It leads into a really pleasant mouth feel, with flavors of blackberries, dark chocolate, and vanilla, that are well integrated with oak and spice. Those flavors linger graciously well after the wine has been savored. This wine will whet anyone's appetite for a Cab that is ready to drink now.
2011 B Side Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 8-4-2013
This is a gem for fruit-forward, Napa Cab drinkers. For less than $20, the bottle delivers jammy blackberry and blueberry, notes of cassis, cinnamon spice, milk chocolate, and vanilla. B Side is as easy drinking and accessible as it gets for Napa Cabernet.
2010 Tamarack Cellars Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 7-29-2013
This Washington Cab does not disappoint. It is a solid offering of blackberry, light spice, and oak aromas that lead into a well rounded, balanced delivery of delicious cassis and a slight earthiness. The structure of the wine allows for a persistent and medium length finish that is extremely pleasant. Tamarack Cellars has put out another fantastic bottling.
2011 Bench Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 7-8-2013
The Bench Cabernet Sauvignon from Brack Mountain remains a staff favorite from year to year. The 2011 is very approachable and well rounded in flavors. The oak is nicely integrated with blackberry and light spice. This will be great with steak or other red meats.
2011 Artezin Mendocino County Zinfandel
Review Date: 5-26-2013
This is the Zinfandel for summer barbecues. It over delivers for the price. The nose is full of black cherries, raspberries, peppercorn, and a slight savoriness. The palate is juicy with red fruit and a touch of oak. Very easy drinking and enjoyable, it'll be great for parties.
2010 Terra Valentine "Estate" Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 4-23-2013
There is a great, big nose of cedar, cassis, espresso, and mint to welcome California Cab drinkers to this tasty deal from Terra Valentine. The palate sings of blackberry and toasty oak that are framed by nice, firm tannins. The finish is fine and lingers pleasantly. For the price, this is a winner.
Compass Box Hedonism Grain Scotch Whisky 750ml
Review Date: 3-25-2013
This is my absolute favorite bottling of grain whisky and one of my favorite Scotch whiskies. It's deliciously decadent as the name implies. I tried this after becoming acquainted with most of the entry level single malt Scotch whisky expressions available on the market. Hedonism is a breath of fresh air in the midst of single malt mania. It shows how Scottish grain whisky can be so elegant and amazing when blended right. Tastes of vanilla, cinnamon, toffee, coconut, and lightly toasty oak are on display. I've presented this to non-whisky drinkers and even made them fans.
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