Staff Favorites - Gary Norton

Gary Norton

Reviews

2016 Halcón "Alturas" Yorkville Highlands Syrah
Review Date: 05-15-2018
Halcon has been on a qualitative roar for some time now and this bottling is no different. With qualities akin to top-vintage Cote Rotie or Hermitage, it boasts massive concentration, great purity of fruit and full-bodied richness - all for less than thirty bucks. Dried violets, game, black olives, blackberries and hints of leather, this one truly has it all. Pull the cork tonight or let it develop for a decade plus - totally up to you.

2015 Smith Story "Pickberry Vineyard" Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 05-04-2018
Galloni's glowing review of Smith Story's 2015 releases only affirmed what we already knew - that these are incredible wines that will soon be virtually impossible to find. The collective experience that Eric and Ali (Story and Smith, respectively) bring to the table is nothing short of impressive in its own right, now compound that with the pair of rock star advisers they have in Katy Wilson and Ross Cobb, and you have one of the most impressive quartets in the business. The entire range of wines is nothing short of astonishing and frankly, I'd put them up against California's best any day of the week.
Price: $59.95 Add To Cart
VN 95

2014 Leeuwin Estate "Art Series" Chardonnay Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 03-28-2018
This lovely wine features an expressive nose of white flowers, ripe citrus, mango and baking spices. The palate is clean and sharp, yet subtly rich at the same time, adding more notes of citrus and pit fruits towards the back-end. Finishes long - a great wine for the money. Drinks more like Chassagne Montrachet than Aussie Chardonnay.

2013 Bodegas Aleanna "Gran Enemigo" Cabernet Franc Gualtallary Argentina
Review Date: 02-21-2018
After pouring a glass, this is one of those wines that continues to develop and become more and more nuanced by the second. To say the least, the 2013 Bodegas Aleanna "El Enemigo" is an absolute knockout. It is dark-fruited with a floral edge that tapers into subtle notes of black peppercorns and licorice. All of this is framed within a perfectly structured body and wraps up with an incredibly fine tannin. This multidimensional wine is one that should line the walls of your cellar. A true drink or hold.

2013 Leeuwin "Art Series" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 01-11-2018
I reviewed the 2012 vintage of this wine nearly a year ago and my adoration of the property has only magnified since then. A perennial over-achiever, this gem has the chops to withstand a few decades of cellaring and at the price-point, there isn't much to compare it to. This beauty shows classic Margaret River structure and notes of dried herbs, menthol and dark fruits. There's a very good reason Robert Mondavi was mulling over the notion of purchasing the estate back in the '70s - as it produces world-class wines with each passing vintage. This one is a no-brainer. Drink now and over the next twenty years.

2016 Domaine Lafage "Novellum" Chardonnay Pays d'Oc
Review Date: 11-20-2017
Hands down, this is one of the best pound-for-pound Chardonnays in the store right now. Boasting notes of grapefruit, white nectarine, chamomile and a touch of oily richness - there is no reason that this value white should not be featured on your Thanksgiving dinner table. It's the perfect dinner companion for any occasion really, but especially those coming up in the next few months!
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2015 Domaine Lafage "Bastide Miraflors" Côtes du Roussillon
Review Date: 10-04-2017
This is on my short list of price-performers in the store right now. Very delicate, dark-fruited and floral on the nose with hints of smoked meats to wrap it up. The palate doubles down on the aforementioned, with the addition of sweet berry fruit and baking spices. Personally, I'll take a shot on any sub-$13 dollar wine that a major critic compares to SQN, but rest assured, this one is worth every cent and then some.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
RP 94

2013 Red Stitch Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 08-31-2017
We never see small production Cabernet with a Napa Valley designation that comes with a sub-$100 price tag. Compound that with the fact that the wine is from arguably the strongest vintage we've seen in the last 40 years and you have one of the best pound-for-pound values on the market. Load up on these because there isn't much to go around.
Price: $99.99 Add To Cart
WS 93

2014 Red Stitch "Sierra Mar Vineyard" Pinot Noir
Review Date: 08-31-2017
Easily the best SLH Pinot Noir I've tasted this year - it's rich, expressive and dark-fruited. Great entry weight on the palate and flavors of black fruits, dark berries and rose-hips come together gracefully to form one of the most complete wines I can remember tasting from the AVA, ever. It's a mid to near-term drinker so pull the cork on this micro-production Pinot before the season ends and enjoy it until the last pitch.
Price: $54.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

2014 Faust Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (375ml)
Review Date: 08-05-2017
This is easily one of the best sub-fifty dollar values on the market right now – a wine that Robert Parker described as “deep, wonderfully fruited, rich and savory…” He later admitted after tasting Faust along with Quintessa that it was “probably the best set of wines [he had] yet tasted from the Huneeus family…” Frankly, it’s tough not to believe such a statement after tasting it and knowing that virtually all of the fruit comes from AVAs such as Rutherford, Coombsville, Atlas Peak, Mount Veeder or St. Helena – some of Napa’s most prized valley and mountain terroirs. It’s a beautifully layered, unctuous wine and an absolute steal for the money. In a climate where your entry level Napa Cab is hovering within the fifty dollar price point, you should take a hard look at Faust, as most wines in this category simply lack the acclaim and raw materials to compete with it.
Price: $25.99 Add To Cart
JS 94 RP 90

2014 Quintessa Rutherford Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 08-02-2017
Quintessa's 2014 portfolio is unquestionably the best set of wines they have ever released. Perhaps it's their rock-star winemaker, Rebekah Wineburg (tremendous name too, I know) they have employed, or the amazing vineyards they have, or the state of the art winery they built, or the culmination of all of these factors. Frankly, I don't know. What I do know is their proprietary red blend is an absolute knock-out. Medium to full bodied, dark fruited, complex, ethereal - it's got it all. Drink it this evening or cellar it for twenty years. This is one of the most versatile wines I've ever had the pleasure to taste.

2015 Te Mata "Coleraine" Bordeaux Blend Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 07-19-2017
It's a classic Bordeaux style blend that's always rich, opulent and layered - showing notes of blackberry, graphite, white pepper and bay leaves. Dark fruited and full bodied, this is one that you can pull the cork on tonight or put it down for 15+ years. It's been dubbed New Zealand's First Growth for good reason.

2015 Flowers Sonoma Coast Chardonnay
Review Date: 06-02-2017
Flowers has recently shifted towards a more finesse-driven style and frankly, it's relieving. Not to say that I wasn't a fan before this, but there is no shortage of big, viscous Chardonnays in Sonoma and I've been hoping for something to change. I was fortunate enough to taste this wine a few weeks ago and was astonished by the length and balance that is possessed - notes of lemon flesh, white peach, marzipan, cloves and a lovely saline quality on the finish. Very impressed by the direction of this winery, not to mention they are going to take over the old VML property in Healdsburg, which should be nothing short of awesome!

2011 Felsina "Fontalloro" Toscana
Review Date: 05-26-2017
Savory red fruit, dried herbs, mocha and leather are the hallmarks of this wine. Great restraint and length here as well, especially considering how hot 2011 was in Tuscany. It's a vintage that demands some selectivity, depending on what characteristics you gravitate towards. With a few years of bottle age on it already, the wine still has plenty left in the tank. Ten years at least in my opinion. There is no shortage of price to value ratio here - a true drink or hold.

2015 D'Arce, Côtes de Castillon
Review Date: 01-05-2017
It's certainly a more modern iteration from Bordeaux, but full of pretty red fruit and blueberry notes. The palate is lush and soft with a lot of fruit up front; it then moves into licorice, dark currant and dried herbs. The finish is elegant with touch of grip on the back end. Great little weeknight sipper.

2014 Ancient Peaks/K&L Wine Merchants Paso Robles Zinfandel
Review Date: 11-08-2016
Gobs of black plum, dark cherry fruit and a plush, spicy finish. Oh, all for less than twenty five bucks? Count me in. Pair this wine with your next round of grilled tri-tip or ribs. This co-branded Zin is easily my top value-red coming out of the Paso Robles.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

Wine Club

$19.99

2014 Forman "Château la Grande Roche" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 11-02-2016
Year after year I'm impressed by Forman's "Chateau La Grande Roche" Cabernet. I often find myself underwhelmed by second labels and understand why they didn't make the cut for a classified bottling. Not this one. It's structured and grippy, with notes of graphite, tobacco and black fruits. Drink this guy in a few years or give it an hour in a decanter. Great buy.
Price: $44.99 Add To Cart

2014 Center of Effort "Effort" Edna Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 10-14-2016
The 2014 Center of Effort EV Chardonnay is one of a few show-stoppers that I have tried recently. I've tasted it twice now (in line-ups of other domestic Chardonnays in the $10 to $30 range) and have been astounded by the purity and fruit quality of the wine. Without knowing otherwise, I'd price the bottle at upwards of thirty or forty bucks, but it costs less than twenty! This wine is a rock star within a wildly impacted and competitive category. My suggestion: come grab a few before they're gone.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
WE 93 RP 90

2013 Brassfield "Eruption - Volcano Ridge Vineyard" High Valley Red Blend
Review Date: 10-14-2016
A blend consisting of 38% Malbec, 36% Syrah, 16% Mourvèdre and 10% Petite Sirah, this is a very serious wine for sixteen dollars. Dark fruit, dark berries, solid fruit depth without any indication of jamminess. It's full-bodied and has a well-integrated, dusty tannin structure on the finish. Need I say more?
Price: $15.99 Add To Cart
WE 92

Michel Arnould Verzenay "Reserve" Brut Champagne (1.5L)
Review Date: 10-03-2016
This is a fantastic non-vintage bottling from Michel Arnould. The blend consists of a heavy dose of Pinot Noir (75%) and the rest Chardonnay, which creates a wonderfully delicate and floral nose that leads into heaps of red fruit and red berries. The finish is clean and citric. A truly special bottle of bubbles.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

2010 Bois-Malot, Bordeaux Supérieur
Review Date: 09-08-2016
There's good reason as to why this wine is a perennial staff and customer favorite. It's a dark fruited, earthy, intense Bordeaux blend (50% Cab, 30% Merlot & 20% Cab Franc) at a very approachable price point. Pair this wine with a juicy hamburger or red meat of your choice. This is an absurdly serious wine for less than fifteen bucks.
Price: $10.99 Add To Cart

Westland Sherry Wood American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-06-2016
My personal favorite of our current Westland lineup. Aromas of Fig Newtons, toasted pecan, mocha and dried yellow fruits to cap it off. It isn't too oily or sweet, it's an honest, lively whiskey that begs to be had neat, or with a single rock.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart
WE 95

Westland Peated American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-06-2016
In the spectrum of American single malts, Westland is at the apex of my list. Each and everything they offer is of incredible quality and reasonably priced. Their peated whiskey, priced at $69.99, rivals most Scotch whiskeys that command upwards of $100.00. It's rich, focused and balanced, showing notes of smokey creme brulee, vanilla, pie crust and scorched orange peel. Easily one of the best American whiskeys on the market today.
Price: $69.99 Add To Cart

Westland American Single Malt Whiskey (750ml)
Review Date: 08-05-2016
Westland's American Single Malt is truly a show stopper. It houses very pure single malt Scotch-like characteristics (reminiscent of a classic Speyside) while adding some additional notes of vanilla extract, espresso bean and dried Medjool dates. This could be a game changer for you, come scoop a bottle and you'll understand what I'm talking about.
Top Value!
Price: $59.99 Add To Cart
WE 93

2014 Napa Cellars Napa Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 05-07-2016
It's rich, ripe, buttery, and yes, it's back!! Partially barrel fermented, this wine has a softer texture than it has had in previous vintages. Viscous and lush, this is a wine with a built-in fan base and a price point that makes it move quickly.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart

2009 Trimbach "Cuvée Frédéric Émile" Riesling Alsace
Review Date: 04-06-2016
The Trimbach family tradition of viticulture dates back to 1626. Yes, you read that right, they have been in the industry for 390 years! Read the above ratings from the critics (and below from our in-house critics!) to see exactly what this wine is all about. On the nose, the wine is youthful and bright with faint aromas of petrol and apple skin. On the palate, the wine bursts with citrus, pear, apple and finishes clean with lingering acidity. This is a truly special one. Drink now or hold. Your choice.

Deligeroy "La Petite Marquise" Cremant de Loire Brut
Review Date: 04-05-2016
It's toasty and light, floral and fruity, drinkable and inexpensive. Enough said, right? While lovely all by itself, it's also a bottle that you don't feel guilty adding a dash of crème de cassis to for a brunch-time sparkling cocktail.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2013 Paul Hobbs "Crossbarn" Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 03-23-2016
On the nose, this wine shows notes of dark currant, cassis, red licorice, mocha and wilted purple flowers. Fruit-forward on the palate, it's full bodied, herbaceous and darkly fruited. Drink now though 2026.
Price: $49.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 RP 93

2007 Marques de Murrieta "Castillo Ygay" Gran Reserva Especial Rioja
Review Date: 02-24-2016
A composition of 86/14 Tempranillo/Mazuelo, this young Rioja has a long life ahead of it. Don't get me wrong, the wine is showing exquisitely well already, but your patience will pay off if you can keep your hands off of it for another 5-8 years. It's woody, spicy and deliciously dark fruited. This wine has a delightfully youthful nose of coconut meat, vanilla, dark berries and black currant. A great wine that will only get better.

Michel Arnould "Reserve" Brut Verzenay Champagne
Review Date: 12-30-2015
This is a fantastic non-vintage bottling from Michel Arnould. The blend consists of a heavy dose of Pinot Noir (75%) and the rest Chardonnay, which creates a wonderfully delicate and floral nose that leads into heaps of red fruit and red berries. The finish is clean and citric. A truly special bottle of bubbles.
Price: $32.99 Add To Cart

Antech "Brut Nature" Blanquette de Limoux
Review Date: 11-12-2015
With no dosage added, this is the driest of the Antech line. Always crisp and refreshing, it's my opinion that Antech produces the highest quality value-driven sparkling wine on the market right now. The perfect bottle for a wedding, party, or just another Tuesday night.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2012 Tinto Negro Malbec Uco Valley
Review Date: 11-11-2015
Another sub $10 hit! Meaning "Black Wine" in Spanish, this full bodied beauty is singing right now. Dark fruit, dark berries, vanilla, and a pronounced minerality that highlights the expressive nature of wines from the Uco Valley. Stop by and grab a few today.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RP 91 W&S 90

Louise Brison "L'Impertinente" Brut Rosé Champagne
Review Date: 08-13-2015
These bubbles are derived from 100% Pinot Noir and emit wonderful fragrances of cassis, wild strawberries and a tinge of minerals. Upon entry, this sparkler is crisp and light, while continuing to show a tenacious amount of strawberries, red fruit and toast. Enjoy these bubbles with a grilled pork loin, a sunset and good company!
Price: $39.99 Add To Cart