Staff Favorites - Ryan Woodhouse

Ryan Woodhouse

Reviews

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2015 Frog's Leap "Estate" Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-18-2018
A pillar of poise and balance. A wine that never falters in keeping the tradition of classically styled Napa Cabernet alive and well. Archetypal "Rutherford Dust", dry tobacco leaf, blackcurrant, bramble, leather and loamy earth. Medium bodied with firm but groomed tannins, refreshingly bright acidity and fine, elegant persistence on the palate. This isn't Napa Cab that you have to scrap off your tongue, it's one that invites you to take another fresh, vibrant sip and keep working on that New York Strip. A phenomenal value when you consider the pedigree and all estate Rutherford fruit.
Price: $49.95 Add To Cart
VN 94 W&S 91

2016 Fromm "La Strada" Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 07-12-2018
Another world class offering from this Marlborough icon - Fromm Winery. Picked from some of the maturest vines in the region; this block surrounding the winery consistently produces one of NZ's finest expressions of Sauvignon Blanc. Juicy citrus fruit, passion flower, kumquat, fresh cut herbs, stony minerals. Electrifying acidity and mouthwatering freshness. A perfect example of why Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc is famous the world over. Thanks to our direct import relationship we can bring you this estate grown, organically certified wine for less than $17!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
BC 92 JS 92

2015 Tongue in Groove "Cabal Vineyard" Waipara Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-12-2018
The Cabal Vineyard bottling from Tongue in Groove continues to go from strength to strength. A few years back it was clear to see the potential from this site with its purity of fruit, exotic spice and suave mouth feel. Now it seems winemaker Lynette Hudson is teasing even more depth, structure and nuance out of the wine. This is the most complex and compelling showing yet. A darker fruited, more concentrated wine this year with forest berries, ripe plum, mole, and clove. Lovely weight on the palate with fine silky texture from the clay rich soils. So layered and luscious finishing with floral tones and a juicy mouthwatering lift. There is so much "pinosity" crammed into this bottle. Drinking beautifully now but sure to delight for another 5-8 years. K&L Staff Favorite.

2016 Pence Ranch Estate Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 07-09-2018
Great Pinot Noir under $20 is rare. Great estate grown, organically farmed, Sta. Rita Hills AVA Pinot Noir is like Unicorn rare! I had to ask our supplier three times over if this was the right wine...how could it taste this good, be so inexpensive and have huge critical acclaim...something had to be wrong...but nope, it was just one of those special moments when things that are too good to be true actually happen! Fresh red fruits, spice, loamy earth, underbrush, and a bright floral lift. A fruit forward and accessible Pinot but one that retains elegance and some lovely savory aspects along with the purity of fruit. Expertly crafted by famed winemaker Sashi Moorman (Sandhi, Domaine de La Cote). One of the best deals on our shelves today.
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WE 92

2016 Wines Of Substance Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-06-2018
The 2016 Substance Cab from K Vintners is yet again an exemplary bottling showing how impressive even entry level price point Washington Cabs can be. Packed with black and blue fruit, currant leaf, cigar box, dried herbs and spice. Lovely varietal definition, refined tannins and plush texture. As Jeb Dunnuck suggests: “Just pretend you paid three times the price.”
Top Value!

2015 Scattered Peaks Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (SOLD OUT)
Review Date: 07-05-2018
Dense and structured Cabernet with enough flesh and richness to be enjoyed young but surely destined for a long and glorious future. Made by one of the greats of Napa Cabernet, Joel Aiken, this wine is long in pedigree, and class. Smokey, dark fruits, blackcurrant and cassis, scorched earth, cocoa nib, graphite and charred oak. Full bodied and powerful but not a fruit bomb. No excessive ripness here, just pure, concentrated Cab with muscular tannin and warm, earthy undertones. We had been working with this wine long before the huge Decanter score dropped...I love it when an old favorite comes up good! Get it while you can...and plan ahead for a decade of enjoyment.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
DC 97

2017 Eisold-Smith "Guilt" El Dorado County Zinfandel Rosé
Review Date: 06-26-2018
From 40-year-old Zinfandel vines in the Sierra Foothills. The fruit is hand-picked and direct pressed to keep the color light; gently settled then spontaneously fermented. It spent five months on less and did not go through malo. As the winery says: “This is not your Aunt Joan’s White Zinfandel!” A lovely Zin rosé—dry, fresh, crunchy, lovely ripe soft red fruits but mouthwatering acidity to keep it super refreshing. Amazing value for everyday drinking. My pick for Fourth of July celebrations for a truly American take on rosé.
Price: $11.99 Add To Cart

2016 Kaiken "Ultra" Malbec Mendoza Las Rocas
Review Date: 06-21-2018
Loaded with gobs of purple fruit, plum, cassis, blackcurrant all wrapped up in exotic spice and mocha oak tones. Explosive and hedonistic but with enough acidity and structure to keep it from going over the top. A remarkable value given the obvious quality of fruit and oak. A modern, flashy expression that is sure to make a lot of friends especially at this sharp price point.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2017 Château Léoube Côtes de Provence Rosé
Review Date: 06-21-2018
A benchmark expression of Provencal rose. Bright, fresh red fruits on the nose, alpine strawberry, red currant, hints of spice and pepper. Fresh and dry with zesty acidity but a soft, amply textured feel on the palate. It has you coming back time and time again for another sip. A summer thirst quencher with a little extra class than most.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2015 Mount Langi Ghiran "Cliff Edge" Shiraz Victoria
Review Date: 06-21-2018
This wine allows you to get a taste of one of the most highly acclaimed estates in all of Australia for an absolute song! This wine is crafted entirely from estate fruit on Mt. Langi's property in Victoria's Grampian Mountains. Showing a lot of the same characters as its big brother, the 2015 Cliff Edge is wildly aromatic with juicy black and blue fruit, lifted spices, cracked black pepper and violets. On the palate this mountain grown Shiraz is concentrated and fruit forward but never loses focus with bright acidity and beautiful line and length. Such an energetic and vibrant wine exuding wave after wave of exotic fruit and spice. Rich but light on its feet with long fine tannins and floral lift in the finish.
Price: $22.99 Add To Cart
JH 96 VN 92

2015 Bodegas Abanico Hazaña Viñas Viejas Rioja
Review Date: 06-21-2018
What a value! I was shocked when I saw the price tag of this delicious little Rioja. It delivers juicy, bright fruit, dusty earthy notes, dried spice, and a lick of woodsy notes to round it out. Beautifully balanced and drinking perfectly right now. This will be a go-to for many of us this summer. A super versatile wine that over-delivers in many ways.
Top Value!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
JD 91

2012 La Fortuna Brunello di Montalcino
Review Date: 06-21-2018
Real, authentic Brunello at a steal of a price. This bottling of La Fortuna delivers plenty of what Brunello drinkers know and love - deep, brooding, dusty red fruit; scorched earth, worn leather, dried herbs. Medium - full bodied, drinking well now but has the stuffing to age for another decade. Great value.

2014 AXR Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-14-2018
This is a wine of pedigree. Made by Jean Hoefliger the winemaker of celebrated Napa winery Alpha Omega. This dynamic Chardonnay sits stylistically between a rich, powerful white burgundy (think Corton ish) and a more restrained California expression of Chardonnay. It has powerful concentration with baked orchard fruit, nectarine, quince, cornmeal, and spiced apple pie. There is some classy French oak present but playing a supporting role to the fruit, never interrupting. The wine has a beautiful acid line adding tension and retaining focus into the long, persistent finish showing beautiful clarity. If this were Burgundy...you could expect to pay at least twice this price...maybe significantly more.
Top Value!

2016 Martin Ray Sonoma County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-13-2018
This delivers everything you could ask for in a classic Sonoma Pinot Noir at a ridiculously low price. Our longtime partners at Martin Ray have simply packed this wine full of juicy, brambly, spicy red fruit. Hints of warm earth, baking spice and summer berry compote fill the palate. Fruit forward and crowd pleasing, yet with enough restraint and fresh acidity to appeal to lovers of more restrained Pinot also. The fruit comes from some of the most highly regarded vineyards in Russian River and Carneros. I'm not sure how they made such a dynamite Pinot for this price point...but I'm certainly not complaining!
Top Value!
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2010 Calera "de Villiers" Mt. Harlan Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-13-2018
I'm just ecstatic to be able to offer this bottling direct from the winery and in pristine condition. I've long been a fan of Calera and the true magic of these wines often takes time to reveal itself. This 2010 release of De Villiers is drinking beautifully at 8 years of age with a captivating nose just staring to show some secondary aromas of dried mushroom, forest floor and leather. On the palate the wine is still concentrated and vibrant. Lots of dark berries, dried fruits, meaty elements. Plush and rich in texture, with beautifully resolved soft tannin. Decant for 30 mins to let the wine unfold and you'll be delighted by how many layers this has to show off.

2013 Jonata "Todos" Central Coast Red Blend
Review Date: 06-06-2018
I love this wine from Jonata as it really shows the quality of what is going on at this incredible estate. Todos meaning "everything" is a conceptual wine that is designed to capture the entire vineyard in one bottle by incorporating all the varietals that are planted here. Jonata's vineyard is the sandiest spot in Ballard Canyon a small AVA quickly becoming known as one of the best places to grow Rhone varietals in all of California. The blend is dominated by Syrah (78%) bringing rich dark fruit, muscular structure, smoky, meaty nuances and scorched earth. Other varietals seem to add some floral nuances, spice, and soft silky tannins to embrace that powerful core. A really complete, balanced and expressive wine. In 2013 Jonata sacrificed almost 75% of their initial fruit set in favor of keeping yields very low and concentrating the wines. This absolute dedication to quality is clear to see in this wine.
Drink from 2017 to 2017
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 95 RP 94

2015 Mount Edward Pinot Noir Central Otago
Review Date: 06-06-2018
Could this be the best ever Mount Edward Pinot Noir? It's fairly early to say but it might just be! This is showing beautifully right out of the bottle; a perfect varietal mix of bright, floral, perfumed, exotic fruit combined with wild thyme, brambles and earthy nuances that are utterly seductive. Central Otago Pinot Noir almost always has great fruit but very few have the layers and complexity this wine possesses. On the palate the texture is silky and svelte; fresh, juicy and expressive as a young wine but clearly packed with character and intrigue that will continue to unfold for many years to come. Mount Edward has long been a staff favorite and perennial best seller here at K&L and this wine will no doubt cement that position - it's rocking wine I couldn't be happier recommending.
Top Value!

2014 Ramey Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 06-05-2018
Another stellar release from this Napa Valley stalwart; Ramey's 2014 Napa Cabernet is yet again an immaculate rendition of what makes this valley so special for growing Cabernet. Packed with deep, brooding, smokey dark fruit; plum, cassis, dried herbs, graphite, embers and cedar shavings. Full bodied but dry and nicely structured around well defined tannins. Nice purity of fruit with a nod back to a time of more classically styled wines; it shows a lovely combination of ripe fruit and generous texture without becoming jammy or over the top. At our special hidden price this is a Napa Valley classic you don't want to miss!
Top Value!

2016 Ojai "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-04-2018
A brisk nose of salt air, chamomile, quince paste and rye toast. This is a racy, bright wine beautifully the expresses the cool, coastal influenced position of Bien Nacido Vineyard in the foggy Santa Maria Valley. The palate has drive and verve with stony minerals and bright yellow tree fruit. Some savory stone ground flour like notes add complexity. A swipe of citrus acidity tingles on the palate. Focused and poised but with ample layers and depth from the old vines. The wine is notably devoid of oak influence allowing the sense of place to take center stage. A very faithful and delicious rendition of this legendary vineyard.
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart
RP 94

2015 Robert Craig Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-17-2018
This stunning release from Robert Craig reinforced to me once again that Mt. Veeder is my favorite sub-region in Napa for Cabernet Sauvignon. Cool breezes from the pacific ocean and poor, rocky mountain soils bring forth a classic, balanced, structured expression of the grape. The aromatics boast briary, dark red fruit, pipe tobacco, shaved cedar and dry spices. The palate is powerful, but quite linear and focused. Nothing jammy or sweet about this flavor profile; instead it's much more restrained and savory then many modern expression of Napa Cab. Redcurrant, plum, mulberry and dried fig. The tannins are long and polished and acidity beautifully integrated with the fruit. All the components are beautifully tuned and working in unison; an effortlessly powerful wine with regal pedigree. Don't miss this last of an era Pym Rae vineyard Robert Craig release, it's quite a swan song.

2016 Halcón "Alturas" Yorkville Highlands Syrah
Review Date: 05-16-2018
One of the finest examples of this varietal to grace our shelves here at K&L. This is a truly spectacular expression of Syrah regardless of place or price point. The purest nose of crushed violets, mulberry, seared steak and ground spices. On the palate the wine is beautifully focused, elegant and vibrant. The tannins are notable but not at all aggressive or astringent, instead they are perfectly refined to give length and grip that will assure a long life. With time in the glass the wine unfurls showing off layer after layer of black and blue fruits, exotic spices, floral high tones and meaty, smokey bass notes. The real deal. I'm so glad to see the folks at Halcon getting the critical acclaim they have long deserved.

2015 Smith Story "Pickberry Vineyard" Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-04-2018
This Cabernet comes from a cool, northeastern facing aspect high on Sonoma Mountain. The vines, now just shy of 40 years old, have deep roots in the rocky, gravelly soils bringing a powerful minerality to the wine. The fruit is wild and brambly with blackberry, brairy notes, thyme, mint and freshly turned earth. Quite an old school flavor profile with bright acidity and varietal correct tannin structure. What a fantastic release from the Smith Story. All of us here at K&L were excited to see how this new endeavor would go for Eric and Ali (both K&L Alums) and it's so satisfying to see them rewarded with top notch press from the best wine writers in the land. Congrats guys on a sunning wine!
Price: $59.95 Add To Cart
VN 95

2017 Brander Rosé Los Olivos District
Review Date: 05-02-2018
A bit of an outlier among our rosé selections that are dominated by Pinot Noir and Rhône varietals but nonetheless delicious! This Merlot (70%) and Cabernet Sauvignon (30%) based rosé comes from Brander’s Los Olivos estate and Mesa Verde vineyards, both in the Los Olivos District of Santa Ynez Valley. The fruit was grown and picked specifically for rosé production and picked early for bright flavors and acid retention. A crunchy, zesty wine with white strawberry, lemon, cranberry and spearmint, this is also a very versatile food wine for alfresco dinners this summer season.
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart

2017 Tyler Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir Rosé
Review Date: 05-02-2018
A tart, crunchy take on Pinot Noir rosé showing some of the more savory, sultry elements of the varietal, this is made from the free-run juice that collects in the picking bins as the clusters of Pinot get squeezed under their own weight. A patchwork of fruit from across Santa Maria Valley and the Sta. Rita Hills. Very fragrant and floral. Alpine strawberry, bramble, wild thyme and orange peel. The wine also has a distinct saline, mineral quality, maybe from Sta. Rita’s calcareous soils. Super elegant and refreshing rosé.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2017 Vaughn Duffy Mendocino Carignane Rosé
Review Date: 05-02-2018
A very interesting wine from an 80-year-old patch of Carignane near Ukiah in Mendocino County. A focused, dry style with macerated raspberries, citrus zest, baking spice, rose petals and flint. Made by husband-and-wife team Matt Duffy and Sara Vaughn, whose wines continue to impress me across the entire range. Watch out for this semi-under-the-radar brand; they also make dynamite Pinot Noir, Syrah and Sauvignon Blanc that are not to be missed.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart

2017 Bedrock Wine Company "Ode to Lulu" California Rosé
Review Date: 05-02-2018
A fantastic edition of this wine, Ode to Lulu pays homage to the great Lulu Peyraud of Domaine Tempier in Bandol, the origin of some of the finest rosé wines the world has ever seen. The 2017 Lulu is composed of 75% Mataro (Mourvèdre) and the rest Grenache, all from very old vines. Light in color but packed with crunchy berry fruit flavors, mulling spice, dusty earth and torn herbs de Provence. Very Bandol-like indeed. Another wine I plan to drink plenty of this summer…at least until the supply runs out.
Price: $21.99 Add To Cart
VN 91 RP 90

2017 Copain "Tous Ensemble" Mendocino County Pinot Noir Rosé
Review Date: 05-02-2018
Another perennial favorite of mine and this year truly fantastic, this subtle salmon pink wine shows aromas and flavors of golden raspberries, melon, peach and brioche. Quite a lees-driven style with some nutty elements adding complexity to the fruit. A soft mouth-filling texture with racy acidity to finish intertwined with stony minerals. Very quaffable.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2017 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir Rosé
Review Date: 05-02-2018
In a few short years Flowers’ rosé of Pinot Noir has quickly become a benchmark wine. Made from some of the finest Pinot Noir fruit the Sonoma Coast has to offer (including a good chunk of their Sea View Ridge estate vineyard). The hand-picked grapes are whole-cluster pressed on a gentle cycle and juice is fermented with native yeast in stainless steel and neutral French oak. Malolactic is partially blocked to keep the acidity zesty and fresh. Aromas of tart alpine strawberry, yogurt, spiced orange peel and bramble leaf. Flavors follow suit. The palate has a subtle creamy feel and then the bright acidity rushes back, drawing out the wine to a juicy, mouthwatering finish. A pure, fresh, aromatic take on Pinot Noir rosé and one that is sure to be a favorite again this year.
Price: Hidden View Price

2016 Fine Disregard "Lost Row" Stags Leap District Syrah
Review Date: 05-02-2018
From a single row of Syrah planted to an old Barossa Valley massale selection in Napa Valley’s Stag’s Leap District. The rest of the vineyard has been re-grafted but Mike picks this one row, plus a few other single vines of Sémillon that rejected their re-graft, in order to co-ferment this wine. Hauntingly perfumed with the quintessential violets, cracked pepper and smoked meat that signifies to me that I’m likely in for a treat. Bursting with juicy, purple fruit, dried Provençal herbs, pink peppercorns, beef drippings; mid-weight with lively acidity and appropriate tannins; this is a lifted, elegant Syrah but one that certainly has a serious muscular core and plenty of longevity all but assured.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart

2015 Fine Disregard "Millhouse Vineyard" Oak Knoll Semillon
Review Date: 05-02-2018
Inspired by his time making wine in Australia’s Hunter Valley, Mike is somewhat infatuated with Sémillon. He strives to make a style purely expressive of its site. This wine is from a special half-acre block in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley. Fermented in stainless steel (one-third) and neutral oak (two-thirds), this wine perfectly captures Sémillon’s textural weight and presence plus the searing acidity that ensures it long ageability. White blossom, preserved lemon, key lime and baked bread. The length on the palate is seeming endless. A wine that is sure to age beautifully.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 El Lugar "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley
Review Date: 05-02-2018
Predominantly from old-vine, own-rooted blocks planted in the 1970s with some younger vines from 1999, this is based on Pommard and Martini heritage clones. It’s a brooding wine, showing the more savory side of Pinot Noir. Beyond wild raspberry and dark rose petals is forest floor, rocky earth, dried porcini and truffle. The palate is mid-weight and layered with fine tannins. Very serious Pinot Noir that deserves to be savored.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2015 El Lugar "Rincon Vineyard" Arroyo Grande Valley
Review Date: 05-02-2018
A fantastically fresh, bright, crunchy Pinot Noir with compelling forest berry fruits, sweet herbs, bramble and mulling spice. The floral, lifted nose is followed up perfectly by the expressive, energized palate. Nothing big or sappy here; this is pure, focused, elegantly proportioned Pinot Noir with drive and vibrancy in spades. Love it. Just 96 cases made.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

2015 Ann Albert Wines "Bien Nacido Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-02-2018
From an old block of Bien Nacido Chardonnay vines planted in 1973. A very concentrated, textural wine. Still tight and refined but with an innate sense of density and power, likely from the old vines, this is more in the baked orchard fruit spectrum: roasted pears, golden pie crust, raw almond and toasted chestnuts. A creamy, lees-derived mid-palate texture is beautifully counterbalanced by bracing acidity that this cool site is known for. A very complete wine with layers and intrigue.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Ann Albert Wines "Zotovich Vineyard" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-02-2018
A beautifully focused, mineral-tinged, mouthwatering Chard that is electric on the palate. The soil here is mostly diatomaceous earth and sand, producing highly aromatic wines with a distinctive saline, oyster shell minerality. Eric’s expression combines this soil-driven character with zesty citrus and crunchy quince. Beautifully pure and unadulterated. Very Chablis inspired. Fantastic crab wine.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2014 Carlisle "DuPratt Vineyard" Mendocino Ridge Zinfandel
Review Date: 05-02-2018
From a high elevation, relatively cool climate vineyard site in the remote Mendocino Ridge AVA, Carlisle’s DuPratt Zinfandel is sourced from 97-year-old vines and provides a different expression of Zin than the big, broad, lush Russian River or Sonoma Valley bottlings most people are more familiar with. While still being very powerful and ripe, there is more “crunch” to the fruit, some savory, briary notes and wonderfully bright acidity. Brooding slate-like minerals and woodsy spices linger. Such a cool wine.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
VN 94

2013 Amapola Creek "Monte Rosso Vineyard" Sonoma Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 05-02-2018
From arguably the most famed Zinfandel planting in the world, a site declared a “first growth vineyard” by the inimitable Robert Parker. These gnarly vines were 123 years old when this fruit was picked! This parcel of fruit was expertly crafted by Richard Arrowood who himself has 50-plus years of vinous wisdom under his belt. I love how it beautifully captures the rich and exuberant fruit that old-vine Zinfandel gives but also retains a drinkability and balance. No over-extraction or excessive residual sugar here. Just pure, brambly, lush old-vine fruit immaculately presented for a very reasonable price, especially when you consider the pedigree of both the fruit source and craftsman!
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
RP 95

2015 Vöcal "Bates Ranch" Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-02-2018
Old-school Cabernet that harks back to an era (largely) gone by. This wine is more reminiscent of the styles being made and consumed back when these vines were adolescents. Planted in the 1960s, these are own-rooted, dry-farmed, head-trained Cabernet vines in the shadow of Mt. Madonna in the very southeastern corner of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA. The fruit has real “Cabernet” character: that is to say, plenty of leafy, herbaceous notes mingling with huckleberry, plum, graphite and subtle lavender. The tannins are firm but fine and the acidity is markedly present, giving great staying power on the finish and begging for food.
Price: $64.99 Add To Cart

2013 Fog Monster "Bedrock Vineyard" Sonoma Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 05-02-2018
Fog Monster is a very cool project from dynamic winemaker Andrea Mullineux. Andrea is better known for her namesake South African-based wines “Mullineux Family” with her husband Chris in the Swartland region north of Cape Town. Andrea was named global “Winemaker of the Year” by Wine Enthusiast Magazine in 2016 and is revered by all who know her in the wine world. A native of the Bay Area, Andrea returns to California annually and makes tiny amounts of the Fog Monster wines from unique sites across the state, often experimenting with unusual winemaking techniques. This wine is a very elegant, perfumed, light-touch expression of one of the state’s most highly regarded old vineyards. Planted in the 1880s, this vineyard is a diverse field blend of interplanted varieties. Driven by Zinfandel (60%) and Carignane (20%), the remainder consists of 20-plus mixed grapes.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart

2015 Precedent "Old Vine White - Wirz Vineyard" Cienega Valley
Review Date: 05-02-2018
From a patch of 60-plus-year-old, organically farmed, dry-farmed Riesling (and some other mixed whites) in the rugged Cienega Valley. The soils here, mixed up by tectonic movement, are a complex mix of decomposed granite, shale and limestone. Raised in neutral oak foudre not for flavor but for the wondrous texture the lees aging gives the wine, it reminds me of some of the best Rieslings out of the famed Morstein vineyard in Rheinhessen…that effortless power and density while retaining a filigreed expression and delicacy.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Philip Togni "Estate" Spring Mountain District Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-01-2018
A wine that was badly affected by the low yields of 2015, with production down by half. What tiny amounts are available are truly special and yet again make my list for potential wine of the vintage. I say “potential” wine of the vintage because this wine’s true colors won’t reveal themselves for a decade-plus…maybe two. The low yields and drought stress, however, have given this wine a little more softness than in some prior years. There is a dark, sweet core of fruit wrapped around the sinewy, firm structure that defines Togni’s Spring Mountain Cab. Gravelly mountain soil minerals and green tobacco notes linger with long-chain tannins and beautifully preserved acidity. A classic.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart
RP 96 VN 94

2015 Chateau Montelena Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-01-2018
Brand new from this Napa Valley icon, the 2015 Cab is simply delicious, super accessible, forward and open-knit. Quite perfumed, floral, with fresh-picked blackberries, liquored cassis, subtle vanillin oak and warm earth. Medium-bodied, with ripe, smooth tannins and moderate acidity. Drinking beautifully upon release but will no doubt provide plenty of pleasure down the road as well.
Price: $49.95 Add To Cart
JD 92 VN 92

2015 Forman "Château la Grande Roche" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-01-2018
A very classic take on Napa Cab. This wine shows the more restrained side of 2015, as one would expect from Ric Forman. This is very serious, age-worthy Cabernet. More savory tones of pipe tobacco, bay laurel, red currant and bramble here, and then some darker plummy fruit comes through on the palate, with lovely grainy tannins, crushed rock and cedar. Beautiful old-school Cabernet. Drink now with a bone-in ribeye or in 5–10 years with a French trimmed rack of lamb.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Blacksmith "C.L.R.T." Napa Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 05-01-2018
I was simply blown away by the quality of the Blacksmith wines and couldn’t believe the prices being quoted as I was tasting them. Fruit for the 2015 C.L.R.T. (aka Claret) is predominantly from Oakville. It’s quintessential Napa Valley stuff: loamy earth, ripe plum, cassis, briary notes. The balance is striking, with beautifully refined structure and purity. Drinks way above its modest price point. Also check out Blacksmith’s 2015 Reserve Oakville Cabernet…simply stunning.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Resolute (Aerena) Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-01-2018
This tastes like a big, saturated, mountain fruit Cab from some cult Napa producer—except it’s $19.99! Blackcurrant, cassis, mocha, charred oak and graphite. A full- bodied Cab but one that is true to the varietal and an exceptional value.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Arnot-Roberts "Watson Ranch" Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-01-2018
This has been a perennial favorite of mine for quite some time. I have always found it to be a compelling California Chard that can stand toe-to-toe with the top-notch white Burgundy that still seems to remain the benchmark for high-quality Chardonnay. This fruit comes from a cool, exposed site in southeast Napa. The soils are quite unusual for the region, being highly calcareous, and it really shows in the wine’s intense minerality. Despite the wine’s very low 12.5% ABV there’s no lack of ripeness and texture. It’s actually quite a rich, dense wine (perhaps from the thick-skinned grapes this windy site produces). Golden orchard fruit, baked pear, dusty white flower and saline mineral tinges linger in the nutty lees-driven finish. Lots of savory umami elements here.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
VN 94 JG 93

2015 Shea Wine Cellars "Shea Vineyard" Willamette Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-01-2018
I’ve tasted some fantastic Chardonnay from the Willamette this year. I had long known its potential to produce world-class Pinot Noir but had only scratched the surface of what the Chards have to offer. The Shea vineyard is world-renowned for Pinot Noir but this wine shows just how special their Chardonnay can be as well. This wine is from vines planted in 1998 on a hillside of fractured sandstone. It is packed with bright yellow stone fruits, apricot pit, baked bread and grainy minerals. The oak (just 16% new) delicately frames the freshness and energy of the wine. Beautifully judged and very refreshing.
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

2015 Copain "Les Voisins" Anderson Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-01-2018
A wine that is powerful and restrained all at once. From the famed Ferrington vineyard, replanted in 1996 to heritage clones Robert Young and Old Wente that both give concentrated yet vibrant fruit with phenolic density and bright acidity. The wine has a musky, raw almond type character that reminds me of Meursault, great weight on the palate and intensity of flavor, yet crunchy, tangy acidity that teases out on the long finish. Golden tree fruit, baked apple, toasted rye and a nice citric zest on the back end. Really compelling Chardonnay.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart

2015 Baxter "Oppenlander Vineyard" Mendocino Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-01-2018
I first tasted this Chardonnay with winemaker Phil Baxter at the Aromatic White Wine Festival in Anderson Valley and was floored by its unique saline minerality and shimmering acidity. Phil makes this wine from just a couple tons of Chardonnay fruit from the Oppenlander vineyard in a remote part of coastal Mendocino. Just eight miles inland from the town of Mendocino, the site is very cool with lots of ocean influence. The vines are planted on their own roots (ungrafted) in a mix of gravelly loam soil. The wine is fermented with native yeast in entirely neutral oak and aged on fine lees. This wine is much more about soil, or terroir-driven nuances than any particular fruit profile; I find it utterly delicious and find new flavors with every visit.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart

2015 Domaine Drouhin "Arthur" Dundee Hills Chardonnay (375ml)
Review Date: 05-01-2018
A lovely new release from Domaine Drouhin, “Arthur” is named for Dominique Drouhin’s son and comes from mature (30 year old) vines on the estate. The wine was fermented partly in French oak and partly in stainless steel. The two resulting wines were then married together to create what Dominique likens to a Meursault meeting a Chablis. There’s ripe orchard fruit, with honeysuckle and pear blossom floral notes, warm pie crust and stone ground flour. The palate has great texture and weight without being overly heavy or creamy. The wine has fantastic length and purity on the palate.

2016 Hanzell "Sebella" Sonoma Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-01-2018
A very deliberate, fresh, zesty, crisp style of Chard made without the use of new oak and without the wine going through malolactic fermentation (for those uninitiated, malolactic is typically what gives Chardonnay a rounder, creamier feel in the mouth—“buttery,” if you will). Made mostly from younger vines on Hanzell’s spectacular estate plus some parcels from other top growers on the Sonoma Coast, this is a fantastic value given Hanzell’s pedigree and the quality of the wine. Try with seafood like crab, scallops or moules marinières.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

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