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Staff Favorites - Ryan Woodhouse

Ryan Woodhouse

Reviews

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2013 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (1.5L)
Review Date: 01-15-2019
A Napa icon in fine form. Everything people have come to know Silver Oak for is on full display with their 2013 Napa Cab release. Big, deep fruit (blackcurrant, cassis, plum) loamy earth, polished toasty oak, ripe, fine tannins, and beautiful length. A rich style but not over the top; the oak profile is classic Silver Oak but not distracting from the quality of fruit from this fine vintage. The legend continues.
Price: $249.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2014 Marqués de Murrieta "Finca Ygay" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 01-15-2019
This has the exact flavor profile I expect when I think of Rioja. It's beautifully done. Earthy, loamy characters with deep brooding dark red fruits, leather, umami spice and cured meat. Medium bodied with lovely interplay between fruit and savory components. A good structural frame but accessible from the get-go. Fantastic value. A dependable wine that delivers the goods time and time again.

2013 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (3L)
Review Date: 01-15-2019
A Napa icon in fine form. Everything people have come to know Silver Oak for is on full display with their 2013 Napa Cab release. Big, deep fruit (blackcurrant, cassis, plum) loamy earth, polished toasty oak, ripe, fine tannins, and beautiful length. A rich style but not over the top; the oak profile is classic Silver Oak but not distracting from the quality of fruit from this fine vintage. The legend continues.
Price: $599.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2013 Silver Oak Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (6L)
Review Date: 01-15-2019
A Napa icon in fine form. Everything people have come to know Silver Oak for is on full display with their 2013 Napa Cab release. Big, deep fruit (blackcurrant, cassis, plum) loamy earth, polished toasty oak, ripe, fine tannins, and beautiful length. A rich style but not over the top; the oak profile is classic Silver Oak but not distracting from the quality of fruit from this fine vintage. The legend continues.
Price: $1,199.99 Add To Cart
WS 90

2015 Sixto "Roza Hills Vineyard" Columbia Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 01-14-2019
Considering Charles Smith's larger than life personality and the bold, boisterous nature of many of the K Vintners wines the Chardonnays bottled under the Sixto label are refined, mineral infused and fairly subtle. Golden stone fruit, brioche, dried apricot. Round, soft texture on the palate but finishing dry with good tension and acidity. A chalky mineral tinge adds complexity and length. Quite intriguing, multifaceted wine. This special sharp price won't be around for long.

2016 Bethel Heights "Estate" Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 01-14-2019
Back in early Summer 2018 I was fortunate enough to spend a few days in the Williamette Valley attending "Oregon Pinot Camp" - a wine industry event that provides a tremendously in-depth look at Pinot Noir being produced in the region. During the event I must have tasted close to 500 wines. This particular wine was an absolute standout from the crowd! I think taken on all its merits it impressed me more than any other single wine at the event. The quality is seriously impressive. The price point is very modest. It's pure, it's truly representative of place, it's food friendly and first and foremost it's just a delicious, quaffable glass of wine. I was not surprised in the least when it subsequently picked up multiple big scores from top critics and having tasted it several times since my trip to Oregon, I remain convinced that it is a benchmark expression for the region despite its sub $30 price point.
Top Value!
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart
JS 93 WS 93

2016 Margerum "M5" Santa Barbara County Rhône Blend
Review Date: 01-14-2019
A simply stunning Rhône inspired red blend…for sure one of the best $20 wines I have ever tasted from anywhere. Period. This wine really illustrates the ability of California's Central Coast...especially Santa Barbara County... to produce knockout Rhône varietal wines at exceptional values. Everything melds together so seamlessly in this wine. It's rich without being heavy, structured with being harsh. It has beautiful length and balance on the palate. A very complete wine that is absolutely singing right now but will continue to do so for 5+ years for sure.
Top Value!

2015 Snowden "Brothers Vineyard" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 01-09-2019
A powerful wine with great structure complimenting the boisterous dark fruit. Exotic floral notes and subtle oak spice lead the way into blackcurrant, ripe plum, espresso, cool embers, dry earth and cedar. Full bodied but dry. Not overly jammy but still mouth-filling. The wine has a long finish with good tannin integration suggesting at least mid-term ageing potential if you can resist the wine's more hedonistic, youthful allure. It's increasingly rare to find wines of this quality and with such emphatic critical acclaim at this price point...so I suggest jumping on this one like we did!

2015 Bee Hunter "Docker Hill Vineyard" Mendocino Pinot Noir
Review Date: 01-07-2019
A lovely expression of varietal and place. Soaring aromatics of forest berries, pomegranate, sandalwood, clove, bramble, truffle oil, loamy earth. Fresh and vibrant with beautiful purity of fruit balanced by some more savory and spice elements. Elegantly textured but nicely concentrated and flavorsome. Really well executed Pinot that checks all the boxes. Definitely a producer to keep your eyes on - huge potential here.
Price: Hidden View Price
WE 96

2017 Pax "Sonoma-Hillsides" Sonoma County Syrah
Review Date: 01-04-2019
A real statement wine. Pax has produced a distinctive whole cluster driven style with 100% stem inclusion and fermentation in concrete. Fruit comes from some of the most celebrated cool climate Syrah sites in California including Griffin's Lair, Nellessen and Castelli-Knight vineyards. Aromas of tart blackberry jam, bramble fruit, bracken, cracked peppercorns and cocoa nib. Medium bodied with sinewy tannins and plenty of mouth filing fruit. Whiffs of smoky reduction and gamy characters hark back to Cornas or St.Joseph. A wine built for the long haul with boundless energy and drive.
Price: $47.95 Add To Cart

2015 Avennia "Valery" Columbia Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 12-11-2018
A seriously impressive bottle. Explosive aromas of ripe plum, red currant, briary undergrowth, pipe tobacco and wintergreen. Medium to full bodied but not at all heavy or jammy...just perfectly ripe flavors and refined tannins. A wine that really has one foot in Bordeaux and the other in Washington! Avennia's "Valery" (named after the patron saint of St. Emilion, France) pays a fitting homage to the great wines of the right bank. I think this will probably age with the best growths in St. Emilion too...it's a very serious wine that continued to improve and flesh out over three days of tasting.

2015 Avennia "Gravura" Columbia Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 12-11-2018
Avennia is a real staff fave here at K&L where we tend to enjoy wines with a little more elegance and poise that are food friendly and hold up well in the cellar. This is a beautiful wine from this producer that specializes in stunning Bordeaux style blends from Washington state. Highly aromatic with blue fruits, floral tones, cassis, freshly picked mint, cedar and gravelly minerals. Medium bodied with fine grained tannins. Lovely food wine, great focus and purity. Very refined and precise. Great value!

2012 Roederer Estate "L'Ermitage" Anderson Valley Brut Sparkling Wine
Review Date: 12-05-2018
As I poured the new release of Roederer Estate's 2012 L'Ermitage around the office two things were said time and time again..."I think this is the best domestic sparkling wine there is"...and..."this tastes like actual Champagne." We hold Champagne in very high regard here at K&L, I think it's the most adored category in store and there are very few sparklers from elsewhere that can compete qualitatively. That said, Roederer Estate's top L'Ermitage bottling is a perennial challenger that measures up very favorably to it's French cousins at a very reasonable price point. I once had lunch with Roederer Estate's winemaker Arnaud Weyrich (who worked for many years at Champagne Louis Roederer in Reims as Chief Technical Officer) who told me the same exacting methods and quality checks that are used for Cristal are applied when producing L'Ermitage. The very best parcels from the very best vintages, reserve wines dating back 10+ years, 5+ years of ageing on lees, extra time ageing on cork before release. This is the real deal and the wine truly speaks for itself. A luxurious toasty nose, brioche, Tarte Tatin, freshly zested citrus. Lovely weight and texture on the palate, fine bubbles, mouth-watering acidity and saline minerals. Long, long persistence on the finish, stays with you for many minutes. Wow.
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart
WS 95 CG 93

2015 Wind Gap Sonoma Coast Syrah
Review Date: 12-03-2018
My personal favorite wine we bought from Wind Gap in this latest run of ludicrous deals - The 2015 Sonoma Coast Syrah illustrates just how good Pax Mahle is at crafting cool climate Syrah. If you need anymore proof...Vinous dropped a perfect 100 point score for another of Pax's Sonoma Syrahs earlier this year! Due to historically low yields in 2015, this bottling contains the fruit that typically goes into single vineyard designates for $45+. Combine that with our 50+% discount off the original SRP of $36 and this is another not-to-be-missed opportunity to stock up on a highly rated wine for a budget friendly price point. Lifted aromatics of dark forest berries, black peppercorns, rose petals and smoked meat. Medium plus bodied with lovely fruit, tannin, acid balance. Effortless poise and composure, every element clicks. This wine certainly has the stuffing to go 10 years...but I think it's drinking beautifully right now and will be serving some up to friends and family this holiday season for sure. Enjoy!
Price: $16.99 Add To Cart
VN 94

2016 Angels & Cowboys Sonoma County Red Blend
Review Date: 11-26-2018
A rich, explosive nose of ripe red fruit, Asian spice, mocha tones and summer berry compote. Soft, silky and mouth filling. This is a straight up crowd pleaser if ever I tasted one. Great all around party wine, drinks perfectly on its own or with food. Low tannin, rich fruit, beautifully polished and complete. I was excited to sell this wine just on the strength of how good it tastes...then Decanter dropped a 96 point score so we doubled down! How often do you get 96 points of deliciousness for under $20?
Top Value!
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart
DC 96

2016 Gainey Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 11-26-2018
A California Chard for white Burgundy lovers! This is a beautifully focused, bright, mineral driven Chardonnay with tons of verve and brisk ocean air qualities. No big, gloopy / oaky / buttery here...this is more like Chablis, with zingy citrus tones, green apple, salty minerals, freshly baked bread and a bright crisp finish. A lovely Chard for seafood...maybe Crab or scallops. Amazing value when you consider it is entirely estate grown and bottled, from mature vines, in the super-premium region of Sta. Rita Hills. This is very tough to beat...don't miss this razor sharp price!
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
VN 91 WE 90

2016 Gainey Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 11-26-2018
Gainey is truly a stalwart in Santa Barbara County. This 4th generation farming family have been integral to the growth of premium wine from the region. With estate plantings dating back to the early 1980's, the Gainey family have been instrumental in forging the excellent reputation of Sta. Rita Hills grown Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. When you look at the price tag on this estate grown and bottled, Sta. Rita Hills AVA wine you might be surprised by how inexpensive it is! But don't be fooled, this is the real deal, cool-climate Pinot that defines the region. Bright red fruits, bramble, dusty spice, juicy acidity from the cool ocean breezes and lovely lingering minerals from the white diatomaceous soils. A balanced, pure, quaffable wine with lots of character and drive. Such a value when you consider many of their neighbors are at least twice the price!
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
WE 93 VN 92

2016 Limerick Lane "Estate" Russian River Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 11-19-2018
A very concentrated and vibrant expression of Zinfandel with a lovely balance of richness and energy. Blue / purple fruit and violets abound. Asian spice, pepper and smoke. Gobs of juicy fruit, bright acidity and brambly qualities. A very intense wine but not overly alcoholic or extracted...just one with clear pedigree and class. I can see why the critics universally went nuts over this wine...It's quite a stunner and really stands out in a crowd. It has an obvious freshness and vitality from the much needed rains that finally came to California during the winter of 2015/16.

2015 Chalk Hill "Estate" Chalk Hill Red Blend
Review Date: 11-19-2018
A simply delicious proprietary blend of Bordeaux varietals that is packed with luscious dark fruit, baking spice, dark chocolate and cedar. Really shows its class with lovely purity and highly polished, silky tannins. This can stand shoulder to shoulder with much more expensive propriety reds from the big guns in Napa Valley. A seriously impressive wine from the folks at Chalk Hill, and a perfect gift wine for the holidays with is big points and luxurious heavy bottle.
Top Value!
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2014 Stolpman "Hecho Por Ruben" Ballard Canyon Syrah
Review Date: 10-17-2018
As much as we talk about soil and climate influencing wine, it's also a very "human" beverage. From cultivating the land to tending the tending the vines and crushing the grapes; the human hand is integral to how a wine tastes through every stage of the process. Few hands are as experienced or as skilled as those belonging to Ruben Solorzano. Ruben has farmed Stolpman's estate for 25 years. He knows every block intimately and is dedicated to the very best farming possible. He is known by everyone in the regions as THE vine whisperer and is respected by all whom know him. Starting in 2008 the Stolpman family encouraged Ruben to step from the vineyard into the cellar and make a wine based on his personal assessment of the many hundreds of blocks he has spent much of his life farming. The result is simply stunning and tangible proof that great wines are truly made in the vineyard!
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
RP 93 WE 93

2016 Lucky Rock Wine Co. "County Cuvee" Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-16-2018
A mind boggling value in California Pinot Noir. Lucky Rock is made by a couple young guys driven by one singular mission...to make delicious and affordable Pinot Noir. There's no pretense or stuffiness here...but there is great raw materials and savvy wine making know how. The fruit is sourced from three highly acclaimed vineyards: Vista Verde Vineyard (Williams-Selyem) Dutton Ranch's Morelli Lane Vineyard (Dumol) and White Sage Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands right next door to Hahn's famed Doctor's Vineyard! Fruit from all of these vineyard sites typically makes its way into $50-$60+ single vineyard wines. However the Inman brothers have used their deep connections in the wine business to secure the fruit and combine the parcels into what it is just a flat out delicious, fruit forward, easy drinking, crowd pleasing Pinot. Oh...and it's less than $15! Get some ASAP.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price

2015 Dierberg "Dierberg Vineyard" Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-15-2018
Following up on the best selling 2014 Chardonnay this new 2015 Dierberg release, from their home estate vineyard, is simply stunning. Packed with perfectly ripe golden tree fruits, salted butter, rye toast, and saline minerals. A mid-weight wine with lots of flavor intensity and cool climate acidity. The flavors just go on and on. The crystalline acidity is so refreshing and food friendly. It's easy to see why so many of the regions top producers make single vineyard designates from this "Grand Cru" site...most for a lot more money than the winery's own bottling...especially at our super sharp price! Fantastic value for money here.
Top Value!

2012 Bodegas Muga "Selección Especial" Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 10-08-2018
I really enjoyed this release from Muga. It has great concentration and powerful fruit but is also very refined and precise. Nothing is out of place, the fruit is ripe but not overly so, the oak is exotic and spicy but not overbearing, the tannins notable but fine and polished. It's a beautifully composed wine that shows its class through and through.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
JS 95 RP 92

2017 Abbazia di Novacella Schiava Alto Adige
Review Date: 10-08-2018
A strikingly elegant, playful wine packed with crunchy berry fruit, woodsy spice, leaf litter and sandal wood. Drinks somewhere in between Gamay and Nebbiolo...at least that was my take. Totally delicious and crazily inexpensive.
Top Value!
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2015 Buehler Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-06-2018
In a world of ever increasing prices and several vintages of drought influenced low yields, it has become almost impossible to find high quality Napa Valley Cab for under $20...but that's exactly what is in this bottle! For years now Buehler have been a fairly under the radar staff favorite at K&L but the 2015 is better than ever and picked up several 90+ reviews. Our long relationship with this property has allowed us to offer this 2015 beauty at the lowest price in the country. It doesn't get any better than this for Napa Cab at this price.
Top Value!
Price: $19.95 Add To Cart
VN 91 JS 90

2014 Woodward Canyon "Artist Series #23" Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 10-06-2018
A Washington classic. The Woodward Canyon Artist Series Cab is a perennial benchmark Cab for the region. Sourced from some of the oldest and most celebrated parcels of Cabernet in the state this is a truly legendary bottling. Fruit from Champoux, Sagemoor and Woodward Canyon's old vines (planted in 1977) combine to produce and luxurious Cab with rich, plush fruit underpinned by savory, fine grained tannins and wrapped in exotic, smoky oak. This can be enjoyed now with a good decant or put away for 10-15 years comfortably. There is so much pedigree and quality wrapped up in this bottle is shocking we can offer it at such a modest price.
Drink from 2018 to 2018

2013 Andrew Will "Sorella" Horse Heaven Hills Red Blend
Review Date: 10-06-2018
A typically powerful, brooding, intense wine from Andrew Will. The 2013 Sorella is almost monolithic at this youthful stage but it easy to see the pedigree, purity and refinement in this 20+ year wine. Tightly wound smoky black fruits, scorched earth, dried herbs, pipe tobacco and briary notes. The tannins are muscular but interwoven with sleek, polished ripe fruit and perfectly integrated oak. After time in the decanter the nose broadens and gives more floral notes, hedgerow and blackberry. Clearly a wine with world class potential that is worthy of a spot in any cellar. We're delighted to be offering it at by far the best price in the country after taking a serious position on this epic wine.
Drink from 2020 to 2020

2015 Framingham Marlborough Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-03-2018
At this razor sharp hidden price this is probably top of the list for best pound for pound Pinot Noir in the store. We love the Framingham wines here at K&L, they offer some much substance and style at modest price points. This wine is brimming with dark cherry fruit, bramble, all-spice, hints of dried flowers and leaf litter. Medium bodied, silky smooth with super fine tannins and ripe acids. I love that the fruit is so pure and juicy but underpinned by some savory complexity that is rare in Pinot Noir in this price point. 2015 was a great vintage in Marlborough with low yields and lots of concentration. This wine is just hitting its stride and I think will continue to shine for another 3-5 years at least.
Top Value!
Price: Hidden View Price
WE 91 RP 90

2017 Orin Swift "Eight Years in the Desert" California Red Blend
Review Date: 10-02-2018
Like the Prisoner of old this wine is sourced from premier Zinfandel vineyards across the state from the Sierra Foothills to West Side Paso. Dave told me he couldn't (or wouldn't) be able to tell me the exact composition as he blends the wine with a strictly imposed double blind tasting process. He doesn't want anything to influence him away from simply making the best tasting California Red Blend he can. The wine comes from some 200+ potential lots, all small individual ferments that he singles out one at a time and incorporates into the master blend. This wine is everything you'd hope it would be and more and is sure to be a top seller this approaching holiday season (if there's any left by then)!
Price: $44.95 Add To Cart

Jonata "La Miel de Jonata" Santa Ynez Valley Semillon - Sauvignon Blanc (375ml)
Review Date: 10-02-2018
Mostly vin de paille style wine made from dried fruit. Unctuous, honeyed, wonderfully complex nutty, sherry-esque notes. I’m looking forward to showing off this wine during the holidays.
Price: $44.95 Add To Cart
ST 93

2014 The Paring (Jonata) Red Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 10-02-2018
So here’s where you can make a very savvy purchase: Jonata estate fruit that doesn’t quite make the cut for the wine above trickles down into this Paring bottling—for twenty-five bucks! 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Petit Verdot. Aged in the very best French oak money can buy, including Taransaud and Sylvain. Bottled unfined and unfiltered. It’s a ludicrous value for the money, mostly intended for by-the-glass pours in restaurants—but we got our hands on some!
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2014 Jonata '"El Desafio de Jonata" Santa Ynez Valley Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 10-02-2018
This wine really shows the Screaming Eagle connection. Dominated by 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, this is very serious wine that will age like the very best Cabernet based wines from anywhere in the world. 20-plus years of potential…if you have the patience! Very reminiscent of Left Bank Bordeaux, with tons of black currant, cassis, cedar, tobacco, graphite. Fine but grippy tannins, subtle wisps of oak. Stunning.
Price: $139.99 Add To Cart
JD 97 RP 93

2015 The Hilt "Estate" Sta. Rita Hills Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-02-2018
A perfect reflection of Sta. Rita’s soil and climate, capturing the cool sunlight, saline breezes and white soils. White flowers, crunchy orchard fruit, oyster shell, brown butter, raw almond. Lovely drive and brightness.

2014 The Hilt "Blanc de Blancs" Sta. Rita Hills Sparkling Wine
Review Date: 10-02-2018
The diatomaceous and flint soils in Sta. Rita Hills, plus the cold, ocean-influenced growing conditions seem to lend themselves perfectly to sparkling wines, though you don’t see too many people producing them. This bottling is one to take notice of. Super focused and racy; citrus, quince, rye toast, chalky acid and electric acidity.
Price: $46.99 Add To Cart
JD 93 RP 92

2015 Rusack "El Rancho Escondido" Santa Catalina Island Zinfandel
Review Date: 10-02-2018
Perhaps the coolest climate Zin grown anywhere!? These vines were cuttings from a 120-plus-year-old derelict vineyard on Santa Cruz Island re-propagated on Catalina. Beautifully perfumed, elegant Zinfandel of top quality. This wine really stopped us in our tracks and was the favorite wine of the whole trip for several folks. Classic Zin fruit flavors but only medium-bodied, with juicy acidity and super fine tannins.
Price: $69.95 Add To Cart
RP 94 VN 91

2015 Rusack "El Rancho Escondido" Santa Catalina Island Pinot Noir
Review Date: 10-02-2018
Grown in clay loam soils in a very cool climate, this wine has ethereal textural softness and elegance. An intensely aromatic wine with crushed rose petals, baking spices, berry compote and wet clay. Medium-bodied with layers of brambly fruit and spice. Light on its feet but packed with flavor. Wow.
Price: $69.95 Add To Cart
RP 95 VN 90

2015 Rusack "El Rancho Escondido" Santa Catalina Island Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-02-2018
The first thing that comes across from this wine is the sense of place…a beautiful salinity, freshness, lightness of touch, oyster shell minerality. Perhaps something in common with the very best Sonoma Coast Chards, but more elegant and linear…Chablis? Pure, refined, delicious Chardonnay that challenges the very best restrained styles from anywhere.

2015 Rusack Santa Barbara County Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-02-2018
The day before our Rusack visit we had extensively tasted some of the most highly regarded Chardonnays in the region (Tyler, Sandhi, The Hilt, Deovlet). Yet this wine more than held its own. Classic drive and racy quality from the cool sea breezes, lovely spiced orchard fruit, quince, nectarine. Lovely weight and density but never loses focus.

2016 Rusack Santa Barbara County Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 10-02-2018
A precise varietal rendition of Sauvignon Blanc. Beautiful, juicy aromas and flavors of ripe citrus, passion fruit, and lychee. Crunchy and fresh on the palate, ultimately refreshing. Long, shimmering finish with river stone minerals.
Price: $22.95 Add To Cart
VN 90

2015 Roserock (Drouhin Oregon) Eola-Amity Hills Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-06-2018
I've tasted this wine on several occasions and it never disappoints. It's a beautifully, balanced, authentic expression of Williamette Pinot Noir. The Roserock property combines some of the maturest vines in the region with Drouhin's four generations of grape growing and wine making experience dating back to 1880 when the family domain was founded in Burgundy. It's a mid weight style of Pinot Noir that really captures the seductive side of the varietal. Floral notes lead into wild berries, woodsy spices, underbrush, dried leaves and subtle lavender. The silky, polished texture is just as seductive as the nose. Mouth filling and rich without any over ripeness or unwanted extraction. Very pure and fluid on the palate, with a long layered finish. An exceptional value given the quality and pedigree.

2016 The Crusher California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-05-2018
An outstanding value in Pinot Noir. After my first sip of this wine I put the bottle in a brown paper bag to pour blind for my colleagues...I just wanted to make sure I wasn't losing it...a $9.99 Pinot Noir...that tastes this good! After pouring it blind for a few folks guesses started coming in...Flowers, Patz & Hall, Failla...everyone was guessing $30-50 Pinot Noirs! My palate wasn't deceiving me...it really was a great bottle of California Pinot for under Ten bucks. Lots of fruit, but not jammy, silky tannins, fresh, juicy, easy drinking...varietally correct! Not much more you could ask for at this price point. And they even pour it at AT&T Park!
Top Value!
Price: $9.99 Add To Cart
WE 91

2015 Eisele Vineyards "Altagracia" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 09-04-2018
Having tasted many Altagracia bottlings over the years the 2015 is clearly a more refined, site specific expression of this legendary terroir. On a recent visit to the vineyard, General manager Antoine Donnedieu explained how Altagracia now consists of more than 90% estate fruit from four contiguous blocks of the Eisele Vineyard (Tecolote, Piedras, Jardin and Rincon). The fruit is farmed and vinified in the exact same way as the estate's premier bottling. The soils and exposure of these blocks simply lend themselves to a more forward, accessible style of Cabernet and have a different tannin structure than those blocks whose soils are more influenced by the alluvial deposits of Simmons Creek. The wine is simply stunning in its elegance and purity. Whilst the folks at Eisele consider this to be their softer, more open knit bottling; after tasting extensively around the valley on this trip, I found the 2015 Altagracia to be one of the more precise, linear, fine grained expressions of Napa Cabernet I tasted. The intricate character of this storied vineyard is on full show, and the Bordelais sensitivities of its new owners have brought more restraint and refinement to the expression. This is very classy, polished, pure Cabernet that is sure to age beautifully whilst being accessible when young. I tasted it along side 2013, 2014 and 2015 premier Eisele Cabernet bottlings and it showed very well in tough company!
Drink from 2018 to 2018
Price: $139.95 Add To Cart
JS 95 RP 94

2016 Ridge Vineyards "Geyserville" Alexander Valley Zinfandel
Review Date: 09-04-2018
An absolute stunner from Ridge. The 2016 Geyserville and Lytton bottlings are so good it's staggering that they still sell for under $40. Zinfandel from some of the best Zin vineyards on the planet, made by a winery with arguably more pedigree with the varietal than anyone on earth, with a track record going back many decades. Let's be honest, if this was old vine Cab, from one of the best vineyards in Napa, made by an iconic producer we'd be adding a zero to the price tag. After walking both vineyards recently I truly think this is one of the best modern day values in wine.

2016 Hahn "SLH" Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-30-2018
Year after year this is an exceptional Pinot Noir in the sub-$20 price point. I don't know how Hahn deliver such beautiful, pure fruited, Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir time and time again for this price! The 2016 bottling has a little extra bounce in its step this year after the severe drought broke and California finally got some rain. The vines were obviously replenished as the fruit here is just singing. Pure red berries, ripe raspberry, cherry, sandalwood, clove. Nice richness, weight and forward fruit on the mid-palate but still very "Pinot" in its expression. Silky, expressive and balanced. Drinks well above its price point. Fantastic party wine or daily drinker; lots of character and class for a very modest price.

2013 Wild Horse "Cheval Sauvage" Santa Maria Valley Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-30-2018
There's a lot to love about this top bottling from Wild Horse. As one of the founding wineries of Santa Maria Valley, this release represents the very best fruit from their top two vineyards. Half the fruit comes from Garey Vineyard that sits right next to it's more famous neighbor Bien Nacido. The other half is from Rancho Real (aka Murmur Vineyard) which is quickly becoming known as one of the top sites in the region and sits next door to the iconic Soloman Hills vineyard. Selection of this wine is the creme de la creme of barrels blended as the winemaker's ultimate expression of Santa Maria Valley in a given vintage. The winery sells this top tier bottling at $65. A true expression of cool climate Pinot Noir, wild brambly fruit, dusty dark cherry, dried herbs, forest floor and truffle. The palate is wonderfully elegant and silky; the time in bottle has allowed the tannins to soften and meld into something beautiful textural and soft. Whilst the primary fruit is still shinning the wine is just hitting its stride with more complex secondary characters and subtle nuances beginning to show. This price is just crazy good. You have to taste this to believe it...but don't hesitate...this was a take-all deal...when it's gone it's gone.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart
WE 93 WS 92

2017 Margerum "Riviera" Central Coast Rosé
Review Date: 08-27-2018
One of the most zesty, dry, refreshing rosés this summer. Tart, crunchy red fruits, citrus, lime peel, white blossom. Zippy and fresh on the palate, zero sweetness and plenty of snappy acidity. A rosé you can sip on all day with its very modest alcohol. Reminiscent of the very leanest, driest Provencal styles. Seafood, fresh goat cheese, even oysters work with this crisp profile. Delicious stuff!
Price: $15.95 Add To Cart
WE 92 W&S 90

Tequila Montejima Blanco (750ml)
Review Date: 08-15-2018
My new house Blanco! Lovely floral nose, crystaline quality on the palate, great texture, bright, pure, fresh. Can be sipped straight or mixed. Killer value thanks to Andrew's negotiating skills. Great work!
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2011 Roda I Reserva Rioja
Review Date: 08-15-2018
Interesting that this producer is considered part of the modern wave of Rioja producers. Founded in the late 1980s Roda is a relative baby in a region with a rich history going back centuries. However as Decanter magazine writes: "Roda has become the essence of fine-tuned classicism." Whilst being known for "modern" techniques such as the use of new French oak and detailed, scientific clonal selections of Tempranillo; the wine itself certainly comes across as classic and restrained, even in a hot, dry vintage such as 2011. Dusty dark red fruits, leather, red currant and baking spice. Medium plus bodied with good structure and direction. No easy sweetness, but plenty of fruit and layers framed with a good lick of quality oak. A scorched earth minerality pervades the finish with fine grained tannins suggesting great cellaring potential. Lots to like here and the best is yet to come.
Drink from 2020 to 2020
Price: $79.99 Add To Cart
JS 98 DC 95

2016 Substance "Sunset Vineyard" Columbia Valley Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 08-15-2018
A bright, crunchy, mineral infused wine with lots of juicy citrus and white peach. Fresh cut herbs add a very Sancerre inspired green tinge. Lots of drive and vivacity on the palate with lingering oyster shell salinity. Not a fruity tropical style but one much more about restraint, minerality and mouth watering acidity. Great value.

2016 Joseph Phelps "Freestone Vineyards" Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 08-08-2018
A very complete bottle of Chardonnay beautifully representing the balance between richness and restraint, power and elegance. The Freestone project from Joseph Phelps represents an entirely dedicated estate, winery and winemaking team in the hills surrounding the small town of Freestone in the western part of the Sonoma Coast towards Bodega Bay. These fog soaked hillsides produce elegant wines with impeccable balance and purity. This 2016 Chardonnay evokes notes of dew soaked apples and orchard blossom that fills the air in this part of Sonoma. Riper notes of nectarine and poached pear are balanced by saline minerals and subtle toasty oak. Flavorful yet focused and energetic. This has the lovely fruit one expects from Sonoma Coast Chardonnay but with a little finer balance and more detail than most. A very well executed, top level California Chardonnay that I consider a bench mark for the region.

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