OG Tasting Notes Lot 201-300

Look back on the amazing wines we have released to check out tastings notes. These are the original product notes archive for the purposes of providing product information for products that no longer have online product information. Pricing, availability and shipping content may be out of date. We make no claims of having any of these products available to sell at the pricing listed in this content. Most recent tasting notes may also be missing.


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Lot 201 | 2019 Russian River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

93-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Here are my notes from the 2018 release of this same wine. I've updated the critics scores and notes (the 2018 recently received a 97 score from prominent critic) but, essentially, the tasting notes are the exact same. The 2019 is an incredible wine and I cannot recommend this highly enough for those of you who appreciate energy and verve in your Cabernet.

This is a gorgeous and expressive Cabernet Sauvignon. A rare varietal in the Russian River Valley, this wine benefits from the same Goldridge and Altamont soils that make the Russian River Valley such an incredible growing region for Pinot Noir.

Its fully ripe at 14.4% with one of the most expressive and lively noses you'll find on the north coast. The 2018 versions scored 93+- to 97-point scores from major reviewers with comments like Super-Classic, total-knockout, and ridiculous value and the 2019 is as good, if not better. Put this in Napa Valley and triple its $65 tag.

At $240/case, its an incredible opportunity to own one of the prettiest Cabernet's in the state and one that will age phenomenally over the next 10-15 years. If you like energy in your Cabernet, don't miss this one - I'm not.

Deep and inky in the glass with an ultraviolet purple rim that stains the glass with iridescence. Explodes from the glass with soaring cassis and black cherry notes wrapped in sweet florals, crushed volcanic rock and red clay. With air, blueberry jam and fresh tobacco leaf join the fray. Immaculately balanced, its dances across the palate with black currant and dark chocolate haloed by tobacco notes. Fantastic!

98% Cabernet, 2% Merlot
50% new French oak
14.4% alc.
180 cases available
Bottled June 14th, 2021

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Lot 202 | 2019 Merlot Walla Walla

While Cabernet is King in Napa Valley, I think its safe to say the Syrah reigns in Walla Walla. I would argue, however, that the oft-overlooked Queen of both regions is Merlot.

Walla Walla is an ideal terroir for Merlot with its lean soils, high-desert winds and diurnal swing producing small berries with tougher skins (think structure), balanced acidity and more intense fruit. These are powerful wines no doubt, with all the structure and stuffing of Cabernet made all the more compelling with Merlot's trademark supple mouthfeel and hedonistic complexity.

Deep garnet in the glass with blackberry, dark chocolate, seasoned oak and warm stone leading an emerging bouquet. Smooth on entry with a robust underlying structure carrying juicy black fruit. Just a baby right now but all the parts all there...excellent energy, verve and freshness.

97% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Walla Walla Estate Vineyard
40% new French oak
14% alc.
600 cases available
Bottled June 24th, 2021

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Lot 204 | 2019 Red Mountain Meritage

Hailing from Red Mountain's legendary Ciel du Cheval vineyard and produced by one of Washington's pioneers, Lot 204 2019 Red Mountain Meritage is a spectacular bordelaise-style blend of Merlot, Petite Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon. On offer today is the the producer's blend (not Ciel du Cheval) with consistent low 90's scores for the past two vintages from Antonio Galloni and The Wine Spectator. With a mid-$50 price point at the winery, this dark, intense, meaty and muscular red is an outstanding value at $19/bottle.

Opaque and brooding in the glass yet very effusive and redolent with aromas of white flower, iron, plum, and meaty blueberry and blackberry with red rock and black pepper laced throughout. Supple on entry with plum and blackberry spreading out over robust, graphite-and red rock-laden tannins in a long, layered finish. Muscular and savory, this spectacular red blend is perfectly emblematic of Red Mountain AVA.

50% new French oak
43% Merlot, 38% Petite Verdot, 19% Cabernet Sauvignon
14.5% alc.
48 cases available
Bottled June 24th, 2021

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Lot 206 | 2018 Chalk Hill Syrah

Bit of a long story here so I will try to keep it short.

This wine was purchased and bottled into shiners in March as we had an open bottling slot. The original wine for Lot 206 had fallen out of deal so I assigned Lot 206 to this 2018 Chalk Hill Syrah.  At the time, we weren't able to get labels printed before bottling so it has been stored in shiner and well, kinda forgotten about. That is, until our bottling partners asked us at the end of the summer when the hell we were going to get this wine out of their warehouse. Oops, sorry guys.

Now, the good news is I got a HELL OF A DEAL on this wine at the time (not a lot of guys looking to buy 2018 Syrah in winter 2022) and I think you'll find the offer quite compelling. Even better, the wine now has 8-months in bottle and is drinking great.

 

The bouquet features an alluring core of blueberries, dark chocolate, and black plum with leather and cigar box spice notes providing lift and complexity. Generous, chewy and full-bodied on the palate with robust tannins nicely integrated with ripe blue fruit that fleshes out into a velvety mouthfeel and melting away in a silky smooth finish. Stylistically, this is a robust California Syrah but, at 14.3% alcohol, its richly woven tapestry of ripe fruit and potent-yet-elegant structure keeps it on the right track. Its bold and broad-shouldered but never overly-opulent or fat.

100% Chalk Hill, 100% single vineyard, estate-grown fruit
40% new French oak
14.3 alc.
300 cases available


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Lot 207 | 2019 Willamette Valley (Yamhill/Eola) Chardonnay

Its back and better than ever!

Lot 207 is essentially the same wine as N.128, which is from the same producer as N.77 2018 Willamette Valley Chardonnay (which has been quite well received by consumer and critic alike on CellarTracker). The wine is just as good if not better and at a better price to boot! Here is my write-up of the 2018 with a few adjustments to the tasting notes but the profiles are essentially the same.

Burghounds...looking for a baby Montrachet? Look no further.

Today's release comes from a producer in Willamette Valley's renowned Yamhill-Carlton district. With consistent 91-92 pt. scores for the last two vintages running from Robert Parker, Antonio Galloni/Vinous.com and the Wine Spectator, this mid-$40's-retail Chardonnay is an incredible offer at $16/bottle. The same wine the winery bottles, its absolutely freaking gorgeous stuff. Whether your thing is Sauvignon Blanc or buttery Chardonnay, the beautiful texture and seamless perfection here will have broad appeal (just don't drink it ice cold - 55-60 degrees is perfect).

Honeysuckle and hazelnut are perfectly-pitched against lemon curd, spicy apple pie and honey-poached Bosch pear in a beautifully delineated and precise bouquet with a nice white pepper perfume. Smooth and seamless on entry but vibrant with juicy citrus and orchard fruit perfectly rendered over lip-smacking mineral and wet river rock. Beautifully-textured, this wine glides across your palate dripping precisely-attenuated fruit into a river of mineral meringue, a whisp of vanilla and white pepper. Touch more richness and depth on the mid-palate than the 2018. Long and pure and chock-full of equal parts creamy, blossomy succulence and nervy tension, this classic Burgundian-style Chardonnay will absolutely knock your socks off.

100% barrel-fermented, 21% new French oak
100% Chardonnay
13.4% alc.
630 cases available
Bottling March 29th, 2021

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Lot 208 | 2019 Mendocino County Pinot Blanc

***BOTTLES EARLY JULY AND SHIPS LATE JULY WEATHER PERMITTING
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD OPTION FOR FALL SHIPPING

Lot 208 comes to us from a vineyard just outside of Hopland in Mendocino County. These 45+ year-old-vines produce a beautiful, Alsatian-style Pinot Blanc with complex, well-delineated aromas and a beautifully-balanced, mouthwatering palate expression. This same wine recently received an 89 from a prominent critic who called it fresh and lively. The producer is a personal favorite for balanced, food-friendly wines.

Shipping is included on this wine. Please use code: FREESHIPSIXPACK at checkout and it will discount the product by $19 to wipe out the shipping charge. If you click the link above the discount will be automatically calculated at checkout.

Zesty, high-toned bouquet of peach skins and green apples is haloed with honeyed blossoms and river cobble. Fresh and lively indeed on the palate with crunchy acidity carrying intense orchard fruit flavors through a long, sustained, mouthwatering and clean finish. Deftly constructed with elegance and impact in perfect balance.

100% Pinot Blanc, 100% old-vine from Mendocino County
100% stainless steel barrel fermented with lees stirring for mouthfeel
13.5% alc.
Bottled July 14th, 2021

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Lot 209 | 2018 Napa Valley Hillside Sauvignon Blanc

2018 Sauvignon Blanc? Seems a little past its prime, no?

Nope, this is purpose-built, barrel-aged Fume Blanc-style Sauvignon that spends years in barrel on its lees. The net effect is a fabulously rich and exotic Sauvignon Blanc with gorgeous aromatics and a succulent mouthfeel. However, the acidity is all there too, adding a mouthwatering component to the succulence.

This wine retails for just south of $40 and has 92-95-point scores from Decanter, Wine Spectator, Jeb Dunnock, and James Suckling. We purchased just shy of 200 cases so I am splitting this into six-packs at $12/bottle, $72/case. It is outstanding.

Creamy vanilla surrounds pineapple and peach fruit in fresh, zesty bouquet. Fig, brioche, and lemon curd add complexity. Supple on entry with ripe cantaloupe and peach notes supported by mouthwatering fruit/acid tension that keeps things interesting throughout the long, chalky finish. Delicious!

97% Sauvignon Blanc, 3% Semillon - 96% 2018, 4% 2017
100% Single Vineyard designate from hillside vineyard in the hills above Napa Valley with 30+year old vines
12.9% alc.
Bottles June 17th, 2021

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Lot 211 | 2019 Columbia Valley Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon

***BOTTLED 6/14 AND SHIPS MID-JULY WEATHER PERMITTING
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD OPTION AT CHECKOUT FOR FALL SHIPPING

Today's release, Lot 211 2019 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, is from the same boutique winery group as N.131 and N.147. Due to the overall complexity of this deal including the sampling logistics and the small quantities involved (we purchased almost 30 barrel lots from two boutique wineries that share ownership), I opted to get the wines through bottle shock and then release them closer to approachability.

However, Lot 211 was just bottled 6/14 (this was written 6/22) so I have a tiny tasting window left before it fully descends into bottle shock.

This wine is the top Cabernet Sauvignon offering from what I would call the more classically-styled winery. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, the fruit source is the best (almost - planted 1972) 50-year-old vine blocks of Cold Creek Vineyard (this is not a Chateau St. Michelle offering) aged in approximately 40% new French oak for 24 months. A portion of Cabernet fruit is blended in from the well-regarded Olsen vineyard in Yakima Valley as well.

The only consistent reviewer of this bottling is The Wine Enthusiast who has scored the wine either 93- or 94-points from 2010 through 2016 with the exception of an 89-point score in the hot 2014 vintage.

The 2019 vintage was excellent (unless you got hit by the mid-October frosts - this vineyard did not) and Lot 211 should prove to be every bit as good a vintage as the 93-point 2015 and 2016 vintages (there are no scores for the 2017 and I own the 2018 as well).

Normally priced at $58/bottle out of the winery, its an exceptional offer at $139/case - less than $12/bottle! That's right folks, what was $58/bottle is now less than $12/bottle for some seriously classy juice. Only 250 cases available.

Deep ruby in the glass. Right out of the bottle, chocolate and cassis mingle with savory umami, graphite and mushroom aromas. With air, the bouquet becomes more elegant and focused with candied black cherry and spicy violet aromas complimented with notes of English toffee, cedar, and fennel spice. Restrained with ethereal on the palate, the mouthfeel is seamless and elegant yet gains focus punctuating in a palate staining finish. This is classy, exquisitely-made Cabernet Sauvignon.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 76% Cold Creek Vineyard, 24% Olsen Vineyard
40% new French oak, medium toast
14.9% alc.
250 cases available.
Bottled June 14th, 2021

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Lot 212 | 2019 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Oh my....this is a fantastic Cabernet Sauvignon.

The winemaker has an excellent pedigree in Sonoma County working for one of the top-end Russian River Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Noir brands. He produces this wine for a $60+/bottle program (separate from the aforementioned SB and PN program) and consults on a variety of other projects including a large national brand that is itself an exceptional value at the $15 price point. In a nutshell, the guy is quite talented.

The program/brand itself is relatively new and extremely well-funded so, like Lot 193 red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon fromt he same producer, little expense was spared in the production of this wine including top-quality fruit from an eastside alluvial drainage straddling Hoot Owl creek, small-lot custom crush production, and 20-months in 40% new French oak barrels. Not much else to say other than this is an absolutely fantastic $20 bottle of Cabernet.

Beautifully extracted medium/deep purple in the glass. Starts out deep, dark, loamy and graphitic but quickly adds bourbon truffle and cigar leaf notes then cassis and black cherry as it opens up. Still a bit shocky but well-knit together for a wine with 6-7 weeks in the bottle. The fantastic lushness of the 2019 vintage comes through beautifully on the palate but the profile is classic Alexander Valley (indeed, the vineyard is owned by one of the best producers in the valley and the source for our N.120 Moon Mountain Cabernet) with ripe cassis, black cherry, and blackberry compote caressing the palate in an absolute magic carpet ride of a finish. Man, I am really loving these 2019's!

100% Cabernet Sauvignon (95% Alexander Valley plus 5% Knights Valley Cabernet we blended in from the Lot 192)
40% new French oak
14.4%
Bottled May 21st, 2021

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Lot 213 | 2019 Rutherford Single-Clone Cabernet Sauvignon

If there is one wine that exemplifies why consumers will love the classic, juicy, ripe and plush 2019's, this is it.

Lot 213 is a single-clone Cabernet Sauvignon selection from one of Rutherford's legendary Beckstoffer vineyard properties. Unfortunately, I can't mention which vineyard or clone (or the winery, obviously) but I can tell you its a moderate-to-low-yielding clone with small berries and intense florals.

The wine retails for about $150/bottle and sees approximately 60% new French oak - absolutely magnificent stuff with tremendous complexity. Giddyup!

Deep ruby verging on deep purple. The bouquet just draws you in with sweet, ripe violet florals, fresh Monte Cristo, and simultaneously perfumed and pungent fruit - the ripeness of 2019 blasting forth. Ripe black cherry and cardamon-laced blackberry fruit meld with dark earth and toasty brown sugar oak notes complexed with blackberry syrup and hints of walnut husk in an enormously complex and gorgeous bouquet. The palate displays new world depth with old-world elegance with black currant and humidor spice staining the edges of the palate with the elegant mid-palate rolls over the tongue with lifted perfume and aromatic cedar. Sexy, open-knit tannin structures make these wines plush and hedonistic but the fruit purity makes them beautifully expressive. Trust me - 2019's are going to blow your mind!

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% single-vineyard Rutherford
approximately 60% new French oak
14.2% alc.
150 cases available
Bottling mid-July

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Lot 214 | 2020 Petaluma Gap Pinot Noir

*** BOTTLED JULY 30TH AND SHIPS EARLY SEPTEMBER WEATHER PERMITTING
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD OPTION AT CHECKOUT FOR FALL SHIPPING

Crafted by a master from an incredible Petaluma Gap estate vineyard planted, Lot 214 is a first-class, no-expense-spared effort.

Small, open-top fermenters, whole cluster, co-fermented clones, native yeast fermentations, and 60% new French oak all conspire to create a beautifully rich and absolutely gorgeous Pinot Noir.

A cuvee of Pommard and Dijon clones, it has at the same time a luscious, supple texture but tremendous depth, structure and complexity. This wine will have broad appeal to Pinot lovers for its true character, but will be embraced by Cabernet, Merlot, and Syrah fans as well for its supple texture, richness and depth. Amuse Bouche par excellence.

While past vintages (2018 and 2019) of this cuvee score a consistent 92-94 points from Wine Advocate and The Wine Enthusiast and sell for just south of $70/bottle at the winery, you can enjoy the 2020 Petaluma Gap Pinot for just $15/bottle or $180/case. The vineyard, the clones, the winemaker, and the oak is all the same. This fantastic wine will drink well in its youth and age beautifully over the next 5-7 years.

Lot 214 will hit the store at $25-$30/bottle later this year so trust me on this one folks - at $15/bottle its time to back up the truck.

Medium-to-deep ruby in the glass, this is fairly dark Pinot. Lush berry fruit is complexed with a lovely sous bois earthiness in the bouquet. Aromas of dried rose petals, candied ginger, and hot cinnamon are layered with pretty cola, strawberry, and aromatic cedar notes. WOW complexity. Rich and muscular yet elegant on entry, this Pinot presents layers of texture and extract replete with strawberry and raspberry fruit nicely attenuated over a supple tannin structure lifting with an Asian spice minerality in a long, unctuous finish. Fresh throughout with perfectly integrated ripeness, this Pinot Noir will thrill your palate for years to come.

100% Pinot Noir, 100% estate fruit from Petaluma Gap
Blend of Pommard and Dijon clones (828, 667, 777)
60% new French oak (Taransaud, Freres, Damy, Latour; i.e. the best)
14.4% alc.
500 cases available
Bottled July 30th, 2021

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Lot 215 | 2019 Willamette Valley Cabernet Franc

Coolest Cabernet Franc ever!

Given that Pinot Noir grows so well in the Willamette Valley, it should come as no surprise that Loire Valley varietals perform here as well. Especially when they come from a single-clone derived from a single-block in a phenomenal vineyard farmed for ultra-premium production in the Eola-Amity Hills.

Stylistically, the falls somewhere in between the Loire and Bordeaux. Its richer on entry than a Loire Valley Cab Franc but with a prettier, red fruit-driven palate than your typical Bordeaux Cab Franc.

The wine was fermented by a California rockstar winemaker (and friend) with a multiple 100-point score pedigree. This person was very forthcoming with all the details on the wine and was particularly excited to tell me it was fermented in a small, concrete egg with a native yeast fermentation that didn't complete malo until late April! The extended fermentation gave the wine a fantastic yet elegant extraction and it has a uncommonly low total sulfur. It was then aged in 75% new French oak (Taransaud and Francois Freres) for another year. The producer, a Napa Valley winery, was aiming at the $85/bottle price point but decided to stay focused on their core varietal set. Accordingly, we were able to acquire this beauty.

It is one of the best Cabernet Francs I have ever sourced. However, please note this is not your typical Napa Valley Cabernet Franc; instead, at 13.8% alc., its a perfectly-extracted yet elegant take on the varietal probably more appealing to Burgundy fans that those of you looking for a big, rich Napa experience. But read below, you never know...

Inky, deep garnet in the glass. Redolent with spicy black cherry, rose petal, anise, leather, seasoned oak and loamy iron notes. Robust yet supple on entry with an array of red and black fruits, the wine quickly pivots on the palate and becomes decidedly more lifted and elegant with brighter red fruits riding mineral-laced tannins in along, elegant, sustained finish. Absolutely fabulous.

100% Cabernet Franc, 100% Eola Amity Hills, 100% Single Clone/Single Block in a Single Vineyard
75% new French oak, Taransaud and Francois Freres
13.8% alc.
Bottled June 24th, 2021

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Lot 216 | 2018 Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon

Dark. Inky. Precise. Chiseled. Magnificent.

Sourced from one of the best vineyards in the Stag Leap District, Lot 216 is a stunning wine from an incredible vineyard of gravelly loam on the east side of the Silverado Trail, literally next door to Shafer Vineyards and Stags Leap Winery.

There is very little critical review of this wine due, in part, to the fact the wine takes years to crack open in the bottle. Early reviews of the 2012 from the Spectator and Parker were in the 86-87 point range so the producer (an absolute legend who has made wine for cream of the crop wineries around the globe) wisely stopped bothering - there is no way this wine with just 6-12 months in the bottle, gobs of structure, and a 3.5 pH will be anything other than a black hole. This wine is made with absolute integrity as well as total disregard for critical evaluation and commercial considerations around timing. The patient will be rewarded.

So, let this be a warning: if you buy this wine you should be prepared to cellar it for years to come (it'll make a great birth year wine). The only recent review I can find is a 96pt. score from The Wine Enthusiast for the recently released, 3-years in the bottle 2015 vintage Stags Leap Cabernet at $350+ (though the wines are available for around $250/bottle on pre-release). The recommended drinking window starts five years from now. Past vintages are available for over $600/bottle.

No expense is spared is the production of this wine including 32-months of ageing in 100% new French oak. I spared no expense either as it is the most expensive wine I have ever purchased as a negociant. There are only a couple hundred cases available so I will offer it as a six-pack to make it a bit more accessible.

Inky in the glass. Monolithic on the nose with a wall of dusty, dark fruit and oak amalgam. Crushed red rock, pepper, iron and light white florals manage to escape the abyss but there is no escaping the conclusion the wine is pretty impenetrable right now. I wonder if putting it in a blender might loosen it up? :-) The palate impression is massive and intense with waves of blackberry, cassis and red rock minerality riding a wave of tightly wound but perfectly integrated tannins echoing throughout a lengthy finish. Give this 18-24 months in the bottle before opening.

100% Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Single Vineyard
100% new French oak
14.8% alc (3.5 pH for you geeks out there)
500 six-packs available
Bottling July 1, 2021. Shipping late July, August approximately

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Lot 217 | 2018 Napa Valley (Napa Carneros) Syrah

93-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Sourced from the legendary Hyde Vineyard, this Syrah is a no-expense spared masterpiece from an amazing vintage. The wine comes to us from the same producer as Lot 216 Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon and retails at the winery for just under $90/bottle.

The wine is aged in largely neutral barrels with just a kiss of new French oak to preserve and elevate the incredible Hyde fruit complexity which offers a full spectrum of black, purple and red fruits backed by the classic smoky, meaty, peppery notes of Syrah. The structure and length, not to mention the purity and complexity of this wine, is phenomenal. You are in the hands of a master of the craft here.

Like all of the wines from this producer, they are not interested in making early accessible, lush, open-knit styles. Instead, the whole portfolio is built to respect the terroir of each vineyard and varietal in any given vintage, crafting the wines such that, while they are relatively-approachable and quite sexy in their youth, they really perform with a couple years in the bottle (which is why they offer pre-release pricing on the Stags Cabernet and then raise the prices up every year from there).

Lot 217 is certainly a vin de terroir, classically-styled with integrity and the utmost attention to detail by a superb craftsperson. There are only 150 cases available of this wine and I cannot recommend it highly enough.

Opaque in the glass, offering up a gorgeous nose of blue fruit, mulberry/blackberry bramble, graham cracker, lilacs, garrigue and meaty black pepper notes complexed with raspberry, red rock, and a kiss of seasoned French oak. Seamless and mouthwatering on entry, with waves of blue and black fruit echoing across your palate with lavender-crusted lamb, fennel and cocoa notes. The tannin structure here is world class, cool-climate elegance meets power and precision perfectly-attenuated under the beautiful fruit.

97% Napa Carneros Syrah, 3% Stags Leap Cabernet Sauvignon (we added the Cabernet)
5-10% new French oak, estimated
14.7%
150 cases available
Bottled June 1, 2021

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Lot 218 | 2019 Syrah Napa Valley

92-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Please note: this wine will not ship until Late October so there is no need to purchase a Summer Hold at checkout.

Lot 218 is a stylistically right-up-the-middle, knockout Syrah that comes to us from the same producer as Lot 250 Rutherford Cabernet and Lot 222 Rutherford Merlot. Due to the recent sale of the winery and the concomitant re-sizing of the portfolio, we were able to get our hands on these three fantastic wines.

Again, this is another no-expense-spared offering including 60% new French oak. The grapes were all estate-grown and produced; interestingly enough, however, the different blocks that comprise this Syrah actually straddle both Rutherford and St. Helena so the wine is labelled Napa Valley. Rest assured, this is some killer dirt.

Previous bottlings sell out of the winery for $60/bottle. Based on my input costs, Lot 218 should be priced at $20/bottle on pre-sell; however, I paid a bit more for this than I should have just to get the three-wine deal done so I am going to eat some margin and sell the first couple hundred cases at $16/bottle - about 75% off the winery list price. Further good news: this wine has three+ months in the bottle and is enjoyable now.

Deep garnet/purple. Peppery, meaty black plum dark clay/earth are haloed by sage anise, lavender spice. Red rock and raspberry notes emerge with air. Smooth and seamless on entry with ample, well-integrated tannin carrying black fruit, earthen clay and toffee notes across lively midpalate and long, resplendent finish. Boom!

100% Syrah, 100% Napa Valley mix of Rutherford and St. Helena fruit, same vineyard
60% new French oak
14.7% alc.
Bottled June 2nd, 2021

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Lot 219 | 2019 Santa Ynez Valley Grenache Winner: Best Grenache

94-Points, Platinum Medal
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

Here is a Grenache that manages great complexity that goes from the front to the back of the experience. Ripe strawberry, white pepper and subtle dried herbs are everywhere, and focused acidity lets the flavors roam free. This may sound a bit strange, but you will understand when you taste. Delicious! A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition. 94-POINTS Sep 28, 2021

Finally, a fantastic Grenache!

I gotta tell you, good Grenache is harder to come by than just about any other varietal.

Remember the Aussie Grenache wine brand Bitch? There is a reason for that - Grenache is a supremely challenging grape to grow. Growers hate it and, subsequently, very little of it is planted.

Winemakers, however, love the grape and are largely responsible for forcing growers to plant it. As a passion project grape, however, they are loathe to part good Grenache wine in bulk.

Well, I've got a doozy for you today. This wine comes to us from the same producer as Lots 221, 223, and 224 Syrah's. It was slated for release as a $45, stand-alone, single-vineyard-designate bottling of Grenache sourced from the Vogelzang Vineyard in Happy Canyon/Santa Ynez Valley. I have been sourcing both fruit and bulk wine from this vineyard for over a decade and can vouch that this is a terrific, well-managed site. We blended in a stunning Syrah from Kimsey Vineyard in the sub-AVA of Ballard Canyon (from same producer - not Kimsey) and the results are fantastic.

My tasting notes are from a couple weeks ago, just after bottling and prior to bottle shock setting in...

Raspberry fruit, strawberry candy and sweet, powdery pink florals over dark earth and toasty, well-integrated oak. Juicy, succulent and fresh on the palate with freshly cut french oak married to mineral rock, Provencal spice and boysenberry which linger on the finish with braised lamb and clay earth notes. Silkiness pervades the mouthfeel with excellent purity of fruit underscored with meaty length and punctuated in a fine mineral finish. Serious umami bombi going on here.

75% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 100% Santa Ynez Valley
35% new French oak
14.8% alc.
200 cases available
Bottled July 1, 2021

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Lot 221 | 2019 Syrah Ballard Canyon (Hinnrich)

Lot 221 2019 Ballard Canyon, Santa Barbara County Syrah (14.1%) - All tasting notes from recently bottled wine: beautifully perfumed and floral, dried rose and lavender, freshly cut seasoned oak, black cherry and boysenberry, evolving on the palate into vanilla bean, cedar and seasoned french oak under a black pepper halo. The meaty savory character of this Syrah is there but in the background. Pretty and elegant on the palate but the more meaty, peppery character shows through here a bit more. Complex as all get out, this will knit together extremely well.

100% Syrah, 100% single-vineyard.
Fermentation in either concrete eggs or large format puncheons, 50% new.
Barrel-ageing post-fermentation typically 30-40% new French oak.
Drink 2021 to 2031 (these will get through very light bottle shock by August)
250-300 cases of each wine produced.
All wines bottled June 7th, 2021

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Lot 222 | 2019 Rutherford Hillside Merlot

Certainly one of the best Merlot's I have ever sourced, Lot 222 comes to us from a spectacular hillside vineyard in Rutherford. According to my conversations with the winemaker, this fantastic Merlot was originally intended to be the inaugural launch to fit into the wineries long-standing hillside Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve program (which sells out of the winery in the mid-$100's) but fell victim to both COVID-related balance sheet considerations and the fact there would be no 2020 version of the wine (due to the fires). The planned price point was well north of $100/bottle. NOTE: other facts have entered the picture and it now appears the winery and vineyards were sold but not the brands so original ownership is discontinuing the high-end estate programs.

A built-to-the-nines, no-expense spared offering, Lot 222 features glass staining color and is resplendent with ripe, vibrant fruit, beautiful oak, and gobs of chewy structure. This ain't no wimpy Merlot. And, due to the terrifically approachable 2019 vintage, this wine will be quite approachable even as early as this Fall. Hell, its drinking quite nicely now at 5-weeks, the depths of bottle shock.

Deep ruby, almost opaque, with a vibrant purple rim. Glass-staining, iridescent purple. High-toned purple fruit is electric and singing alongside chocolate covered cherries, leather and seasoned oak haloed in classic Rutherford Dust. Supple and smooth, even juicy, on entry turning rich and extracted in the mid-palate with robust, oaky tannins splaying out across a long, lip-smacking, hedonistic finish. Fantastic!

98% Merlot, 2% Cabernet, 100% Rutherford
60% new French and American oak, (75/25 split)
14.8% alc.
250 cases available
Bottled June 1st, 2021

***

Lot 223 | 2019 Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo County Syrah

Lot 223 2019 Edna Valley, San Luis Obispo County Syrah (14.8%) - Smooth and expressive -toasted French oak adds savory depth to the teriyaki marinated dried meats, and complexes with brown sugar barrel spice, dried provencal herbs, lavender, blueberry and plum. Smooth and seamless (and richer) on the palate with elevated lavender and plum that sings throughout and finishes with a lengthy toasted French oak and thyme finish. Can't spit this out delicious.

100% Syrah, 100% single-vineyard.
Fermentation in either concrete eggs or large format puncheons, 50% new.
Barrel-ageing post-fermentation typically 30-40% new French oak.
Drink 2021 to 2031 (these will get through very light bottle shock by August)
250-300 cases of each wine produced.
All wines bottled June 7th, 2021

***

Lot 224 | 2019 Alisos Canyon, Santa Barbara County Syrah

Lot 224 2019 Alisos Canyon, Santa Barbara County Syrah (14.8%) - This is classic, sun-drenched Santa Barbara...savory notes of aged ribeye, foothill herbs of anise and sage, ripe and juicy plums and brown sugar that lingers through the finish. Rich and focused on the palate with savory, chewy tannins laced with elegant mineral and ripe black fruit.

100% Syrah, 100% single-vineyard.
Fermentation in either concrete eggs or large format puncheons, 50% new.
Barrel-ageing post-fermentation typically 30-40% new French oak.
Drink 2021 to 2031 (these will get through very light bottle shock by August)
250-300 cases of each wine produced.
All wines bottled June 7th, 2021

***

Lot 225 | 2017 Napa Valley Zinfandel

This fantastic Zinfandel come to us from an estate, hillside vineyard carved into the cliffs above the the Wooden Valley, a Napa Valley sub-appellation east of the town of Napa. The producer is a Yountville stalwart and this Zinfandel is a component of a $30+ red blend and a $40+ Zinfandel bottling. Its absolutely delicious as a stand-alone and, if you have any appreciation for Zinfandel, I can virtually guarantee you will be blown away by this bottling..

Bottled July 12th, the wine was stored in the same facility in which we bottle. Because of its age and the fact we didn't have to move it, its barely shocked and quite pleasing to partake of now.

Deep garnet with crimson rim in the glass. Beautifully aromatic with dark fruit cake, soft raspberry and graham cracker layered with foothill spices of anise and sage with molten brown sugar and walnut husk halo. Elegant and refined on the palate with mouth watering candied raspberry evolving into contrasting tones of savory toasted graham cracker, dark clay earth, and fennel spice. Smooth as silk on the palate with layers of fruit, spice and earth lingering on the finish. Excellent complexity and structure. - it is remarkably fresh as well given its age, which speaks to the high standards of care in the winery.

100% Zinfandel, 100% estate-grown in Wooden Valley
~40% new Hungarian oak
15.1% alc.
200 cases available
Bottled July 12th, 2021

***

Lot 226 | 2019 Napa Valley Hillside Sauvignon Blanc

Lot 226 comes to us from the same producer as Lot 209 and it is the same style from the same vineyards.

This is purpose-built, barrel-aged Fume Blanc-style Sauvignon that spends years in barrel on its lees. The net effect is a fabulously rich and exotic Sauvignon Blanc with gorgeous aromatics and a succulent mouthfeel. However, the acidity is all there too, adding a mouthwatering component to the succulence.

This wine retails for just south of $40 and has 92-95-point scores from Decanter, Wine Spectator, Jeb Dunnock, and James Suckling.

The 2019 is, of course, a bit less evolved than the 2018 but 2019 is a riper vintage and the wine is coming around nicely in the bottle already. Pear, honeydew, vanilla bean, kumquat, and flint mingle with lifted lime blossom. Round and luscious on the palate, echoes of the french oak sur lie aging make this wine truly unique while the finish is laced with mineral flint, fresh acidity and candied grapefruit to remind us this is vibrant sauvignon blanc. Tremendous complexity here just unwrapping in the bottle...should be ready to go towards the end of July but this wine will age beautifully for another decade. At $9/bottle, its an incredible deal.

99.5% Sauvignon Blanc, 0.5% Semillion, 95.2% 2019, 3.13% 2017, 1.68% 2018 - producers blend
100% Single Vineyard designate from hillside vineyard in the hills above Napa Valley with 30+year old vines
13% alc.
450 cases available
Bottled June 14th, 2021

***

Lot 228 | 2019 100-Year-Old-Vine Zinfandel Mokelumne River Lodi

This delicious Mokelumne River AVA Zinfandel (the area around Lodi where the Mokelumne River drains out of the sierra foothills) comes to us from a Russian River Valley producer actually. Its a side project the winery does to produce wines that are more approachable in their youth and provide quick cash-flow return.

The grapes were grown on sandy cobble in the Mokelumne River AVA of Lodi and sourced from own-rooted, head-pruned 100+ year-old vines. Native yeasts and partial whole cluster fermentation give this wine excellent complexity and structure. Its aged largely in neutral oak and resulting fruit purity is delicious.

Medium, deep ruby in the glass. Smoke, spice, and black pepper halo robust plum, raspberry fruit and river rock. As the wines opens up, the black pepper becomes more pronounced with bourbon caramel and blackberry joining the elegant bouquet. The wine is plush yet firm on entry, super-supple and mouth-coating with ample minerality and stem tannin to carry rich red and purple fruit to long, pure finish. This wine has excellent intestinal fortitude and will age nicely over the next 5-8 years. Fantastic, sumptuous Zinfandel from the hands of a master.

Frontlining at $30/bottle, this a steal at half the price.

100% Zinfandel, 100% Single Vineyard in the Mokelumne River AVA of Lodi.
100% neutral French h oak to preserve the beautiful fruit.
15% alc.
400 cases available
Bottled July 12th, 2021

***

Lot 230 | 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain

Big, bold, rich and chewy, Lot 230 is a $50+ Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon that will knock your socks off!

A cut above Lot 240 Red Mountain Cab (which as was just awarded 90-points by James Suckling), Lot 230 comes to us from the same producer as Lot 229 Mourvedre/Syrah; however, due to supply chain issues, we were only able to bottle this wine on August 1st.

 

Deep, deep, ruby - just a shade off of inky. Newly but nicely emerging from shock with an ethereal bouquet of sweet florals and black cherry fruit complexed with red rock mineral and cocoa powder. Smooth, seamless and balanced on entry with a chewy backbone of minerally tannins beautifully balancing the vibrant red currant and black cherry fruit notes in a long, sustained finish. There is more to come here but this wine is already a delicious delight worthy of indulgence.

100% Red Mountain AVA
79% Cabernet, 15% Merlot, 6% Petite Verdot
14.7% alc.
45% new French oak
400 cases available
Bottled August 1, 2022

***

Lot 231 | 2019 Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache Columbia Valley (Walla Walla, Red Mountain)

Yep, its time to back up the truck again folks.

We took a smokin' lot of Rocks District Syrah/Grenache and blended it with some killer Red Mountain Mourvedre to make a stunning Walla Walla/Red Mountain SMG. Superlative much? Yes, indeed, but I promise the juice is worth the squeeze.

The 62% Syrah/Grenache portion comes to us from the Waterstone Vineyard in the heart of Walla Walla's Rocks District (the producer's 2018 bottling was scored 93-points in the Wine Enthusiast with a frontline price of $60/bottle). The other major component here is 38% Red Mountain Mourvedre sourced from another Red Mountain estate-producer and priced at $45/bottle - this is hands down the best Mourvedre I have ever sourced in bulk - absolutely fantastic stuff.

Priced at $16/bottle, this is a nothing short of ridiculous offer. If you liked Lot 239 GSM, you will absolutely love Lot 231.

Deep ruby, almost opaque in the glass. The ripe bouquet oozes with blueberry and boysenberry jam, roasted meats, brown sugar/graham cracker spice and iodine-kissed fennel and sage haloed with toffee and aromatic hardwoods. The bouquet is so rich you can practically drink it. Unctuous and fleshy on the palate with mouth watering acidity complements the soft, juicy midpalate, while a savory, fine tannin structure holds the explosive characters in focus. This blend has been assembled for about 3 months now and has knit together beautifully already.

57% Syrah, 38% Mourvedre, 5% Grenache
62% Walla Walla/Rocks District, 38% Red Mountain
14.4% alc.
Bottled October 26th, 2021

***

Lot 232 | 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

***BOTTLED AUGUST 2ND, 2021 - SHIPS LATE SEPTEMBER WEATHER PERMITTING

I continue to be impressed by the gorgeously fruited 2019's. The wines are lithe and sexy, showing very open-knit with mature, melt-in-your mouth quality to the tannins. This vintage will show nicely in its youth and, while not as age-worthy as the 2018's, cellar beautifully.

Lot 232 is quintessential 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet. It comes to us from a boutique, low-production estate vineyard planted carte blanche by a legendary Napa veteran winemaker on the eastern backside of Howell Mountain just couple hundred yards from the Howell Mountain AVA. The rolling hills here undulate between 800-and 1000-feet (well below the 1400-foot threshold of Howell AVA) but the soils are exceptionally well-drained mixing rocky shale with the quintessential volcanic tufa of Howell Mountain.

In short, no expense was spared in the production of this wine. Having received 92- and 93-point scores from the Advocate and Suckling for their 2016 and 2017 vintages, this wine is, comparatively speaking, a hell of a deal deal at $65/bottle when compared to other Napa Valley Cabernet's. At $24/bottle, I am confident you will be thrilled with this this excellent Cabernet. Only 250 cases available.

Deep ruby/opaque but, as is emblematic of the vintage, rich and lifted aromatically with ripe blackberry, raspberry candy, volcanic red rock, and sweet/powdered pink flower all very well-defined and all very expressive. Succulent and juicy on entry with velvety waves of blackberry, pepper, raspberry and vanilla riding ultra-fine tannins. This is a fabulous Cabernet that will drink exceedingly well in its youth and over the next decade or more.

80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petite Verdot
50% new French oak
14.8% alc.
250 cases available
Bottled August 2nd, 2021

***

Lot 233 | 2019 Napa Valley Chardonnay

93-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

The perfect Chardonnay? While this wine is an absolute crowd-pleaser, its anything but middle-of-the-road.

Quintessentially California, its beautifully crafted from from the cool climate of Jameson Canyon, just a stones throw from Carneros from a small, 10-acre estate vineyard planted in the alluvial's coming off of Sugarloaf Mountain. The producer has five decades of vineyard management and winemaking experience in Napa Valley and the consulting winemaker is an undeniable force in Napa Valley to boot.

From 2009 through 2018, this wine has 92-94-point scores from the Wine Spectator (save for an 88 and an 89 in lesser Chardonnay vintages) and retails for over $40/bottle. Its a very expressive and well-balanced expression with full malolactic fermentation,100% barrel-fermentation and lees ageing perfectly taming the vibrant acidity.This is sunshine in a bottle!

Whether you like Rombauer or Cakebread, this wine will have very broad appeal. Bottled in June, its already drinking nicely.

Beautifully expressive right out of the bottle with toasted brioche, pot de creme and hints of pineapple mixing with orange marmalade. As it opens up it, mineral notes complex the bouquet beautifully with lemon curd and toasted hazelnut joining the chorus. Creamy and succulent on entry with rich, spicy apple pie, toasted caramel and brown sugar perfectly attenuated over a suave, elegant structure with huge length. With richness and structure in perfect balance, this is likely to be our most popular Chardonnay ever.

100% Chardonnay, 100% Single-vineyard in Jameson Canyon
100% barrel-fermented, 35% new French and American oak
14.4% alc.
500 cases available
Bottled July 19th, 2021
***

Lot 234 | 2020 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 

From the same producer as Lot 201 Russian River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, Lot 234 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir hails from a legendary Pinot Noir producer whose numerous bottlings are considered a reference for the region. 

Their wines typically sell mailing list/tasting room only and have limited retail presence but they can be found for prices between $55-$70+/bottle. This a no-expense spared program utilizing approximately 25% new French oak and sourced from estate vineyards in the gorgeous rolling hills of Russian River benchmark Goldridge and Altamont soils.

I have only been able to purchase Cabernet and Syrah from them in the past. They have offered me some small Pinot lots but those were mostly press wines we weren't interested in; however, various factors collided and we were able to get our hands on a couple hundred cases of first-run Russian River Valley Pinot Noir earlier in the year. The wine is very impressive, nuanced, perfectly-balanced, elegant-yet-potent - just flat out beautiful and 100% classically styled.

You might note the older Lot number...we acquired this wine last Fall but couldn't get glass for this bottling until earlier this year. But then I got so busy both traveling and trying to dig out from the big, end-of-year software transition that it got left behind.

I like to sell wine, however, not warehouse it, so I am going to extend the Tranche One pricing even though the wine has about 8 months in the bottle now.

Deep garnet in the glass bit with vivid purple hues. Boisterous bouquet of fresh, ripe cherry and cranberry is both lovely and pure, beautifully intermingled with forest floor, leather and spicy rose petal notes while darker plum and berry brood underneath with hints of chocolate. Perfect balance and pinpoint precision on the palate with ripe fruit nicely arrayed over chalky tannins and a pretty minerality providing plenty of energy and verve. Finishes long, pure and spicy with raspberry, cherry and chocolatey oak riding pretty mineral notes. Power, precision, and elegance are all here in abundance.

100% Pinot Noir, 100% estate vineyards
Calera, Pommard, Martini and Swan clones
25% new French oak, Francois Freres VTG, Rousseau Video and Remond Troncais. 
14.5% alc.
300 cases available
Bottle date 8/13/2021


***

Lot 235 | 2019 Syrah Russian River Valley

If you liked our previous releases N.72 RRV Cabernet and N.73 RRV Chardonnay, I think you will love today's release, Lot 235 Russian River Valley Syrah.

Sexy, racy and virile with exceptional elegance as well as pitch-perfect density, this $50+ Syrah perennially scores 93-96-points from The Wine Spectator, Vinous and, more recently, the Wine Enthusiast. It is a gorgeous value at $22/bottle.

Deep garnet in the glass. Classic herbs de provence (lavender, thyme, fennel) halo cherry and red hot candies underpinned by meaty, riparian earth and brooding purplish fruit with a hint of chocolate. Elegant, seamless and focused on the palate with plenty of verve to effortlessly carry the rich density. Spice and earth provide a third dimension of depth in a long, sustained finish. Overall, great color, concentration and structure - Fabulous!

97.5% Syrah, 0.75% Mouvedre, 0.72% Carignan, 0.71% Zinfandel, 0.32% Grenache
100% Russian River Valley, 100% estate-derived
100% barrel and puncheon-aged, est. 20% new French oak.
14.8% alc, 3.7pH
125 cases available
Bottled August 12, 2021

***

Lot 236 | 2018 Alexander Valley Zinfandel

Alexander Valley Zinfandel as it should be! And it drinking great now to boot!

Lot 236 comes to us from the same boutique producer as Lots 168, 169 and 170 (Dry Creek Zin, PS and Merlot). The house style is big and rich but beautifully balanced and well-executed (14.8% alc.) - no slop, no excess for the sake of excess here. As I said, this is archetypal Alexander Valley Zinfandel from a master of the craft who's been at it in Sonoma since the 80's!

Priced at $40/bottle out of the winery, yours today for just $19/bottle.

As a 2018, this is drinking great already. Deep ruby garnet, almost opaque, in the glass. Already effusive with sarasparilla, brown sugar, walnut husk, and cherry jubilee and Santa Rosa plum. This is what Zin should be, powerfully rendered and expressive yet not overripe or cooked. On the palate the fruit dances with smoldering tobacco and cedar humidor notes, finishing with fine tannins and vibrant acidity throughout. Damn that's good.

100% Zinfandel, 100% Alexander Valley Single-Vineyard
40% new American oak
14.8% alc.
200 cases available
Bottled August 19th, 2021

***

Lot 239 | 2018 Central Coast GSM

Back up the truck folks...this offer will be the stuff of legends!

Comprised of fruit from Chelle Mountain vineyard in York Mountain sub-AVA of Paso Robles, Jespersen and Murmur Vineyard's in Edna Valley and the legendary Bien Nacido Vineyard in Santa Maria (basically a who's who of ultra-premium Rhone production on the Central Coast) and produced by a small, boutique outfit, this is another no-expense-spared production from a winemaker who's day job includes making $100+ Rhone varietals for one of the cult wineries of the Central Coast.

And, while the 2017 version of this wine sells for over $50+ out of the tasting room, Lot 239 can be yours today for just $14/bottle.

Lush and hedonistic but perfectly balanced and absolutely seamless, the chocolate cherry truffle mid-palate explosion of this GSM cellar defender extraordinaire is something to behold.

Opaque in the glass with a deep garnet rim. Right out of the bottle offers plums, saline and iron adding chocolate covered cherry, raspberry jam and savory umami with a bit of air. Amazing for a wine just bottled. However, the palate is where all the action is with dark chocolate cherry truffle, lavender, crushed walnuts, and dark earth announcing an explosive entry that is fabulously rich yet absolutely seamless, resolving into a mineral finish of rock and graphite with a whisper of herbs de provence and lingering umami/walnut, red and black plums fruit and a little Christmas date cake spice.

I cannot stress enough the seamlessness, exquisite balance, richness, depth and phenomenal oak integration here...this wine will definitely punch your yummy button!

75% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre - 35% whole cluster
65-70% new French oak
15.3% alc.
400 cases available
Bottled August 27th, 2021

***

Lot 240 | 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Red Mountain

Yes, indeed, it is time to back up the truck!

The main component is a fantastic lot of 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon from one of Red Mountain's premier producer's (their well-over $70, 2018 bottling scored 94-points from The Wine Advocate and hasn't scored below 92-points for the past nine years).

Plush yet powerful, this fantastic Cabernet is emblematic of the energetic, exuberant fruit from the thrilling 2019 vintage. Bottled in late August, the wine is already showing nicely and deliciously approachable. Man, I love the 2019's.

Dark and inky in the glass. The emerging bouquet is beautifully balanced with layers of perfume and violets, blackberry kirsch, crushed red rock, leather, and notes of black cherry, blueberry, toffee and bourbon vanilla. Wow. Juicy, focused, and palate staining, with black cherry and blueberry compote complexed with worn leather, tobacco and vanilla caressing the palate. Rich, velvety tannins escort the ripe, sexy, silky black and blue fruit to one heck of a magic carpet ride finish. Booyah.

82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 5% Petite Verdot, 2% Malbec
100% Red Mountain
70+ new French oak
14.7% alc.
450 cases available
Bottled August 22nd, 2021

***

Lot 241 | 2019 Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon

***BOTTLES AUGUST 13TH AND SHIPS EARLY SEPTEMBER
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD OPTION AT CHECKOUT FOR FALL SHIPPING.

Lot 241 2019 Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon comes to us from one of my favorite vineyards and winemakers. In fact, I used to source fruit from this vineyard many years ago for some high-end wines we produced at the old CHWine. There is no doubt it is one of the finest vineyards in the Coombsville AVA.

The Cabernet's from this vineyard are renowned for their meaty intensity, sophisticated elegance, and purity not to mention tremendous finesse due in large part to the deft-hand of their winemaker - a legend in their own right. Selling out of the winery for around $150 to $250/bottle, yours today for $49.

Deep purple/opaque in the glass. Lavender and medium-toast oak notes halo meaty blackberry, juicy red currant, and crushed red rock. Graphite, toffee and hints of black pepper are complexed with cedar/humidor notes and vanilla. The wine is plush on entry but powerfully structured with robust, chewy tannins supporting palate staining black and red fruits arrayed over minerally, mouthwatering tannins that gives the wine exceptional lift. Phenomenal!

The open knit nature of the 2019 vintage is on full display here. This is a wine that will drink beautifully in its youth and age beautifully as well.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% single vineyard, 100% Coombsville (final blend TBD)
70% new French oak
14.5% alc
120 cases produced
Scheduled to bottle August 13th, 2021

***

Lot 242 | 2019 Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

***BOTTLES AUGUST 13TH, 2021 AND SHIPS EARLY SEPTEMBER WEATHER
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD OPTION AT CHECKOUT FOR FALL SHIPPING

With 93- to 95-point scores from Vinous.com the last six vintages running, Lot 242 Diamond Mountain Cabernet comes to us from the same winemaker as Lot 241 Coombsville Cabernet. This is an exceptional mountain wine presenting waves of ethereal elegance and tremendous aromatic complexity.

This wine is priced under $100/bottle out of the winery and its a relative bargain at $35/bottle given the pedigree and the appellation. We purchased just four barrels (half of their production) of Cabernet and will finalize the blend shortly; however, I don't anticipate making more than a 1-2% change if anything - its great as is.

Deep ruby, almost opaque. Opens with blueberry pie with choclate graham cracker crust but quickly evolves past the primary notes to reveal chapparal and sage sinewing their way through black cherry and cedar dust with just a kiss of white flower. Seamless and voluptuous but beautifully balanced on entry with a cool black pepper note blasting retronasally over graphite, black cherry and red currant notes. An absolute classic, this wine should have tremendous appeal to those of who appreciate restraint and elegance.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon (at this time, blend TBD), 100% Diamond Mountain
50% new French oak
14.8% alc.
100 cases produced
Scheduled to bottle August 13th, 2021

***

Lot 243 | 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

***PROJECTED BOTTLING DATE AUGUST 12TH, 2021 - SHIPS EARLY SEPTEMBER
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD FOR FALL SHIPPING

Lot 243 is four barrels of phenomenal knock-out 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon from a $300+/bottle program sourced from Houyi Vineyard on Pritchard Hill. The 2019 barrel sample has a 95 to 97-point score from Vinous.com. Its the priciest wine I've bought this year. Not much more to say is there?

Glass-staining squid ink. Gobs of brooding blackberry jam, spice and oak mingle with mountain garrigue and dark spices in a monumental yet monolithic bouquet. Hugely rich and palate-staining with massive, ripe tannins wrapped in dark fruit, chocolate and oak. This is pretty much all oak (100% new French) and black fruit at this time but its all there. Finish is a good minute or two. Boom.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon currently and likely to bottle that way but final blend TBD
100% new French oak
~15% alc - final % TBD
Bottled August 19th, 2021

***

Lot 244 | 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek

***BOTTLED AUGUST 2ND, 2021
***SHIPS LATE OCTOBER - NO NEED TO PURCHASE SUMMER HOLD

Looking for a delicious drink-now Cabernet Sauvignon that hugely over-delivers? Look no further, Lot 244 2018 Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic, right-up-the-middle expression of Dry Creek terroir that will drink wonderfully now and age nicely over the next decade.

Like so many small lots that come our way, this is sourced from a small, tasting-room and mailing-list-only boutique winery who's family ownership has been growing grapes and producing wine in Dry Creek since the 60's. Looking to trim their inventories after being shut down for a year, they offered up this wine as a final blend - all we've done is bottle it up and offer it to you at the ridiculous price of $14/bottle ($15/bottle in 6-pack format).

The winery charges $40 which is actually quite reasonable for a wine that perennially scores in the low 90's from the Enthusiast and Wine Spectator - one of the perks of having owned your property for 50+ years.

Classic Dry Creek, Lot 244 reminds me of the old school Cabernet's from the 80's when I was just cutting my teeth in the wine business. Bone dry and well-structured but also remarkably supple, fruit-forward and approachable, it benefits from the winemakers habit of assembling the blend the summer after harvest and aging the final blend together for another 20-months in barrel. Open-knit and seamless, it will be a wonderful accompaniment to your dinner table.

Dark in the glass but quite aromatic with black cherry, sweet white flowers, sage and pencil shavings right out of the bottle adding red rock, licorice, and vanilla as it opens up. Soft and supple on entry but quite complex and very approachable with almost imperceptible tannins carrying plump, juicy black and red fruits. The integration here from extended barrel-aging makes you wonder why more producers don't age longer in barrel. Oh, that's right, cash flow :-).

80% Cabernet, 14% Merlot, 4% Petite Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc
100% Estate, Dry Creek
40% new French oak
14.9% alc.
Bottled August 2nd, 2021

***

Lot 245 | 2020 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

***BOTTLED AUGUST 25TH...SHIPS MID-TO-LATE OCTOBER

Heads up Chardonnay geeks!

Perfectly ripe and mouthwatering, this Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is sourced from two Russian River Valley sites and one site between Freestone and Occidental, just west of the Green Valley Of the Russian River Valley AVA. Its a right-up-the-middle stylistically with about 30% malolactic fermentation and 30% new oak so maybe it more accurate to say its a pretty classic Russian River style. Its not a butter and oak bomb but it is flat-out gorgeous. If you liked N.77, Lot 182 or Lot 185, you'll love the Burgundian styling here....rich and textured but always fresh and lively.

Retailing for over $55/bottle at the winery (their only outlet is their winery tasting room), this beautiful Chardonnay has 93-95 point scores from both Jeb Dunnock and The Wine Enthusiast for the 2018 and 2019 vintages. This is the exact same wine the winery just bottled. Its a steal at $12/bottle in a case or $13/bottle in 6-pack format.

A wine of precision and grace.

Limpid yellow with just the slightest hint of green. Offers a beautiful bouquet of white flowers, honeysuckle, Meyer lemon, poached pear, and mango. Racy and nervy on the palate with ripe citrus and stonefruit draped over a honeyed beam of acidity and echoing through a long finish. The interplay of purity and richness here is fantastic. Booyah.

100% Chardonnay, 65% Russian River Valley, 35% Sonoma Coast
30% new French oak, 30% malolactic fermentation
14.2% Alc.
300 cases available
Bottled August 25th, 2021

***

Lot 248 | 2018 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon


This Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon is the passion project of a winemaker for one of Napa Valley's biggest, most well-regarded wineries. With over 45-years of experience making wines in Napa and Sonoma for pioneering wine brands, very few people making wine today in Napa Valley have more experience. As an estate-grower up on the steep, volcanic slopes of Mt. Veeder for over 30-years, no one knows the regional terroir better.

We have only a couple hundred cases of Lot 248 available today. Its classically-styled, as one would expect from a winemaker who has spent 30+ years making wine from this particular estate vineyard, but, in 2018, Mt. Veeder added a particular richness to its normal, ethereal profile and that is captured in Lot 248 beautifully.

Normally $95/bottle, yours today for just $39/bottle in a six-pack.

Inky in the glass, totally opaque. Offers a ripe bouquet of blueberry, boysenberry and roasted meats haloed by brown sugar spice, clove and iodine-kissed purple flowers. Dark chocolate and licorice join the chorus with air. Rich, plush, supple and seamless on entry with ripe blue and black fruits perfectly attenuated over savory, ultra-fine tannin frame. Exhibits seamless depth and tremendous concentration throughout the long, rich finish. Fantastic!

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Mt. Veeder, 100% Estate vineyard.
60% new French oak
14.8% alc.
250 cases produced
Bottling 11/30/2021

***

Lot 247 | 2018 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

I'll be honest, I bought this for a song the other day.

The winery was a little backed up and had the wine stored offsite. The offsite location needed it out and the winery offered us a hot price to make it go away. Pretty much the same way we got our hands on Lot 239, actually.

The producer is a small Russian River boutique winery that sells primarily though its tasting room/mailing list and on-premise restaurant accounts.

With it's California "sunshine in a glass" styling, this gorgeous wine is a right-up-the-middle rendition of Russian River Valley Chardonnay, bringing purity as well as richness from partial malolactic fermentation and well-integrated barrel support. Perfectly threads the needle between rich, ripe and complex elegance.

Chardonnay Lovers: its time to back up the truck!

Elegant and luscious on the palate, with a beautifully complex bouquet of toasted vanilla, flint, Pomelo, and Meyer lemon cream. The wine complexes in beautiful layers on the mid-palate and melts in a mouth-watering crescendo, ultimately carrying a honeyed beam of minerality through the finish with a retronasal halo of crème brulee. Dyn-o-mite!

100% 2018 Russian River Valley Chardonnay
35% new French oak, medium plus toast
14.5% alc.

Lot 248 | 2018 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

This Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon is the passion project of a winemaker for one of Napa Valley's biggest, most well-regarded wineries. With over 45-years of experience making wines in Napa and Sonoma for pioneering wine brands, very few people making wine today in Napa Valley have more experience. As an estate-grower up on the steep, volcanic slopes of Mt. Veeder for over 30-years, no one knows the regional terroir better.

We have only a couple hundred cases of Lot 248 available today. Its classically-styled, as one would expect from a winemaker who has spent 30+ years making wine from this particular estate vineyard, but, in 2018, Mt. Veeder added a particular richness to its normal, ethereal profile and that is captured in Lot 248 beautifully.

Inky in the glass, totally opaque. Offers a ripe bouquet of blueberry, boysenberry and roasted meats haloed by brown sugar spice, clove and iodine-kissed purple flowers. Dark chocolate and licorice join the chorus with air. Rich, plush, supple and seamless on entry with ripe blue and black fruits perfectly attenuated over savory, ultra-fine tannin frame. Exhibits seamless depth and tremendous concentration throughout the long, rich finish. Fantastic!

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Mt. Veeder, 100% estate vineyard.
60% new French oak
14.8% alc.

Lot 249 | 2019 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Lot 249 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir comes to us from a small, family producer and friend of the de Négoce organization. Simply put, with the COVID shutdowns, they decided to trim their inventory and we purchased the lions share of the 2019 production.

The vineyard is located on a hill crest literally 50 feet from the southern edge of the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley sub-AVA. A mix of goldridge and altamont soils, this vineyard is rapidly being discovered and bottled as a vineyard designate for a variety of ultra-premium Pinot Noir brands.

Organic farming, native yeast, partial whole-cluster-fermentation, and judiciously deployed, top-quality French oak all conspire to create an absolutely fantastic Pinot Noir. Rich, ripe and lush but wonderfully structured, open-knit and transparent with beautiful, spicy fruit, Russian River Pinot lovers will not want to miss this one.
Excellent purity throughout.

Deep garnet in the glass. Gorgeous bouquet of cola spice, strawberry, sweet cherry and plum sauce underpinned with ripe blackberry, damp, woody dirt and a kiss of brown sugar. Sexy ripe fruit greets the palate but its always in perfect balance with fresh, lively acidity that carries the plush, fine-grained mouthfeel and generates excellent persistence through the long, resounding finish. Outstanding!

100% Pinot Noir, 100% single-vineyard, 100% geeky winemaking.
20% new French oak
14.5% alc.

Lot 250 | 2019 Rutherford Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon

***BOTTLED JULY 9TH AND WILL SHIP SHORTLY WEATHER PERMITTING
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD AT CHECKOUT FOR FALL SHIPPING

I could tell just by watching the inky black liqueur pour from the bottle that we had something special on our hands. The minute I tasted it I knew we had our Lot 250.

This magnificent Cabernet comes to us from one of Rutherford's pioneers with a long and storied history. The winery and estate vineyards recently changed hands; however, the brands did not. Consequently, many of the upper echelon, estate-derived red wines found their way into my hands including today's release and the previous release, Lot 222 2019 Rutherford Merlot (which I still have 78 cases of if you are interested - best Merlot I've ever sourced).

Today's release is essentially the producer's $150/bottle single-vineyard, estate-derived, hillside-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon. As you can imagine, no expense is spared in the production of this wine including 70% new oak (predominately French oak but a smidgen of new American oak as well).

This wine is on par with Lots 200 and 216, a gorgeously concentrated-yet-elegant expression of classic Rutherford terroir. The fruit is precise, plentiful, and well-delineated, perfectly balanced with the robust tannins that give the wine a fantastic structure and depth. It's already quite approachable (thanks to the wonderful 2019 vintage) and will age beautifully over the next 15+ years.

There are 300 cases available.

Deep ruby edging towards opaque in the glass but you can tell by the glycerin edge the extraction is quite elegant. The fruit is boisterous with ripe blackberry, black cherry, cola at the core with a vintage leather upholstery and vineyard dust robe. Toasted vanilla caramel and molten brown sugar provide the underpinning. Hedonistic focus and seamless flesh on the palate are framed with seasoned and toasted french oak, vanilla and cola notes in a long, resounding finish or ripe red and black fruit. Suave as hell.

Grab it before its gone!

97% Cab, 3% Merlot - 100% Rutherford estate, hillside vineyard.
70% new French oak with small amount of American Oak.
14.9% alc.
300 cases available
Bottled July 9th, 2021

***

Lot 251 | 2017 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

AG/Vinous 94-POINT scoring single-vineyard-designate Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon anyone?

OK, now, how about a $75, 94-Point scoring SHINER with 2+ years in the bottle for $30?

Sound better?

This just arrived in our warehouse in SHINER format (bottle with no label on it) and it is singing! Weighing in at 13.5% alc and aged for 24-months in completely neutral barrel, this is old school Cabernet Sauvignon at its finest and highest expression. Depth, structure and gorgeous layers of nuance conspire to produce a unique and captivating wine. This is don't miss for those of you who value balance, elegance and harmony in combination with tremendous quality and complexity.

100% Cabernet, 100% single-vineyard-designate, Sonoma Mountain
100% neutral French oak
13.5% alc.
36 cases
Bottled August 2019

***

Lot 255 | 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

Lot 255 is the Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon equivalent of our immensely popular Lot 239 GSM. Seamless integration, rich, chocolatey, open-knit mouthfeel, and the lush-yet-energetic fruit of Napa Valley's fantastic 2019 vintage all make for an incredible drinking experience.

The wine is sourced from an all-estate producer with eight vineyards from Coombsville to Mt. Veeder. Today's offering is sourced from their small properties in the west side alluvials of Oak Knoll and the lower, gravelly drainage of Coombsville. The owner/winemaker has a long history in Napa Valley and has been head winemaker at three iconic Napa Valley, ultra-premium wineries. No expense was spared in the production of this wine, including 65% new French oak, and it is absolutely delicious.

Priced at $85/bottle out of the winery tasting room, it is a steal at $22 today.

Juicy and intriguing, this wine exudes aromas of warm rain, violets, blackberry compote, aromatic cedar and spruce, and chocolate toffee. Straddling elegance and depth on the palate, lush layers of blackberry and black cherry framed with savory tones of tobacco and aromatic hardwoods lend a focused vibrancy to the lingering, chocolaty finish.

95% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot
55% Oak Knoll, 45% Coombsville
65% new French oak
15% alc.
650 cases available
Bottling Nov 30th, 2021

***

Lot 256 | 2020 Milesimato Prosecco Brut Italy

Looking for a fantastic bubbly?

The Fantinel family own over 300 hectares of vines planted in some of the best dirt in Grave, Colli Orientali del Friuli, and Collio districts in Friuli-Venezia Giulia (the northwest corner of Italy). They've been farming this land since the 60's and, under my friend Marco Fantinel's ceaseless efforts, have expanded their distribution to over 90 countries. If you are ever in the region, do not hesitate to visit their multiple estate wineries - across the board the wines are fantastic. And, while today's focus is on Prosecco and Brut Rose, we will have offers from his other wineries down the road.

On offer today is a 6-pack of vintage-dated or Millesimato 2020 Prosecco DOC straight from Marco's One and Only program. Essentially, these are single-vineyard, reserve-level quality sparklers made with tremendous precision and attention to detail.

Our Lot 256 Prosecco and 257 Brut Rose bottlings are the exact same wine you'd find under the Fantinel label for $25+/bottle at retail or $50-$60 on a wine list here in the US. On offer today for only $11/bottle in this 6-pack. As I like to say, wine doesn't cost a lot to make, it costs a lot to sell.

Bone dry, these wines have a purity and elegant structure that put them far above the average Prosecco (and if you have ever had the entry-level Fantinel Prosecco offering you know even that wine is far from average) and they'll compare favorably against just about any $40+ Champagne in terms of overall quality.

Lot 256 2020 Prosecco DOC - from the Fantinel estate vineyard in Friuli Grave, this is their highest expression of Prosecco DOC. The light straw color and beautifully persistent perlage reveal refined and elegant yet intense floral aromas complexed with crisp apple and baked bread notes. Velvety on the palate with perfectly delineated and delicate fruit essences dancing across your tongue. This is an absolutely captivating wine with a persistent finish combining elegance and purity of fruit complimented with a nice, toasty halo. Squisito!

ETA February/March 2022

***

Lot 257 | 2020 Milesimato Brut Rose Italy

Looking for a fantastic bubbly?

The Fantinel family own over 300 hectares of vines planted in some of the best dirt in Grave, Colli Orientali del Friuli, and Collio districts in Friuli-Venezia Giulia (the northwest corner of Italy). They've been farming this land since the 60's and, under my friend Marco Fantinel's ceaseless efforts, have expanded their distribution to over 90 countries. If you are ever in the region, do not hesitate to visit their multiple estate wineries - across the board the wines are fantastic. And, while today's focus is on Prosecco and Brut Rose, we will have offers from his other wineries down the road.

On offer today is a 6-pack of vintage-dated or Millesimato 2020 Brut Rose straight from Marco's One and Only program. Essentially, these are single-vineyard, reserve-level quality sparklers made with tremendous precision and attention to detail.

Our Lot 256 Prosecco and 257 Brut Rose bottlings are the exact same wine you'd find under the Fantinel label for $25+/bottle at retail or $50-$60 on a wine list here in the US. On offer today for only $13/bottle. As I like to say, wine doesn't cost a lot to make, it costs a lot to sell.

Bone dry, these wines have a purity and elegant structure that put them far above the average sparkling wine (and if you have ever had the entry-level Fantinel Prosecco offering you know even that wine is far from average) and they'll compare favorably against just about any $40+ Champagne in terms of overall quality.

Lot 257 2020 Brut Rose - again, from the Fantinel estate vineyard in Friuli Grave, this wonderful Brut Rose is comprised of 90% Pinot Nero and 10% Chardonnay. The color is a gorgeous pale pink with a hint of gold shading the background such that it is practically luminous. Fine grained bead from a long, 5-month fermentation. Red currant and delicate rendered wild strawberry essences lead the soft, generous bouquet with crusty bread, raspberry notes and a little rose perfume rounding things out. The red fruits are again crisply and delicately rendered over a mouthwatering minerality that fuels a long, velvety, elegant and persistent finish. Delizioso!

ETA February/March 2022

***

Lot 258 | 2018 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

The big brother to Lot 247 RRV Chardonnay (which we blew out a couple weeks ago), Lot 258 is the "Reserve" offering from the same producer.

As one might expect, its priced a bit higher and there are fewer cases...here is the original story, just swap out the $40 price tag with $55-$60.

Chardonnay Lovers: its time to back up the truck!

I'll be honest, I bought this for a song; however, I am passing the savings along to you.

The winery was a little backed up and had the wine stored offsite. The offsite location needed it out and the winery offered us a hot price to make it go away. Pretty much the same way we got our hands on Lot 239, actually. Same vintage as well, 2018, but the wine has been stored perfectly.

The producer is a small Russian River boutique winery that sells primarily though its tasting room/mailing list and on-premise restaurant accounts so, like most small producers with $55-$60/bottle Chardonnay, they got a little backed up during COVID shutdowns.

Lot 258 is classically opulent, rich and decadent, featuring some fantastic French oak from the Vosges forest, providing lifted notes of toasted vanilla and baking spice that complex the mouth watering white lily, pomelo, flint, and lemon creme. Explosive weight and luscious texture carry through the finish, while notes of creme brulee and seasoned french oak linger and entice the next sip. Beautifully integrated and expressive.

100% Russian River Valley Chardonnay
50% new French oak, Vosges forest
100% barrel-fermented, 100% malolactic fermentation
14.5% alc.
400 cases produced
Bottling end of April and shipping late April, early May.


***

Lot 260 | 2016 IGT Trenezie Refosco Dal Pedunculo Rosso

From the producer: Within the gorgeous frame of the vineyards in Vencò-Dolegna del Collio, a few steps from the boundary with Slovenia, Tenuta Sant'Helena stands out. The mild climate, provided by the pro-tection of the Julian Alps northwards and the openness to the Adriatic sea southwards and the fertile soil made up of sandstone marls from Eocene origin create a magnificent environment for grape growing. Ponca is, in the Friulian language, the name of this superb terroir. It represents the fundamental starting point from which particular production styles are developed, such as the cold maceration of white grapes, through a short contact with the skins, and a light raisining of red grapes, that are enriched with structure and personality. This is how wines with an intriguing aromatic set, a robust and embracing body and astonishing evolution potentialities are created.

While Friuli Venezia Giulia's (FVG) white wines re-defined what Italian whites could be in the 70's and 80's, FVG was often considered too cold and rainy for late-ripening reds like Cabernet and Merlot as well as regional natives like Refosco or Schioppettino to have too much success. However, as weather patterns have warmed and dried over the region in the last decade or two, the success and quality of FVG late-ripening reds has become undeniable.

Lot 260 2016 Refosco Dal Pedunculo Rosso (which basically translates to Refosco with red stems) is sourced from the estate vineyards of Tenuta Sant'Helena in IGT Trevenezie (DOC Friuli Grave - all Fantinel Family estate vineyard). A native grape to the region, its produced with 20% appasimento (or drying of the grapes) and aged in French and Slovakian oak barriques for 18 months. The resulting wine is robust and hearty with complex, savory fruit capable of decades of ageing. This exact wine was recently awarded 93-points by James Suckling and front-lines for approximately $38/bottle here in the states, if you can find it.

Deep garnet, medium-ruby. With a three years in bottle, the bouquet is wonderfully intense and evolved with sour cherry, savory blackberry and toasty earth complexed with black pepper, tar, coffee, dried meats and anise notes. Medium-full-bodied, seamless, well-integrated and delicately chewy with savory blackberry and dried-yet-fresh and perfumy flowers zinging across the palate.

100% Refosco Dal Penunculo Rosso, 100% estate
13.5% alc.

***

Lot 261 | 2017 IGT Trevenzie Cabernet Sauvignon

From the producer: Within the gorgeous frame of the vineyards in Vencò-Dolegna del Collio, a few steps from the boundary with Slovenia, Tenuta Sant'Helena stands out. The mild climate, provided by the pro-tection of the Julian Alps northwards and the openness to the Adriatic sea southwards and the fertile soil made up of sandstone marls from Eocene origin create a magnificent environment for grape growing. Ponca is, in the Friulian language, the name of this superb terroir. It represents the fundamental starting point from which particular production styles are developed, such as the cold maceration of white grapes, through a short contact with the skins, and a light raisining of red grapes, that are enriched with structure and personality. This is how wines with an intriguing aromatic set, a robust and embracing body and astonishing evolution potentialities are created.

While Friuli Venezia Giulia's (FVG) white wines re-defined what Italian whites could be in the 70's and 80's, FVG was often considered too cold and rainy for late-ripening reds like Cabernet and Merlot as well as regional natives like Refosco or Schioppettino to have too much success. However, as weather patterns have warmed and dried over the region in the last decade or two, the success and quality of FVG late-ripening reds has become undeniable.

Lot 261 2017 Trevenezie Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from the estate vineyards of Tenuta Sant'Helena in IGT Trevenezie (DOC Friuli Grave - all Fantinel Family estate vineyard). The wine is produced with 20% appasimento (or drying of the grapes) and aged in French and Slovakian oak barriques for 18-months. The 2015 version was the last scored wine at 91-points from James Suckling and 2017 is a similar vintage in terms of quality.

Deep ruby in the glass. Concentrated, layered, intense bouquet of blackberry, black cherry, graham cracker, sandalwood and spice with a shoe polish and leather halo with just a kiss of dried flower. Excellent, full-bodied-yet-elegant structure with seamless, focused mid-palate redolent with mineral-driven plum and blackberry layered over spicy earth and leather notes.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% estate fruit
13.5% alc.

***

Lot 262 | 2017 Collio Rosso Venko

From the producer: Within the gorgeous frame of the vineyards in Vencò-Dolegna del Collio, a few steps from the boundary with Slovenia, Tenuta Sant'Helena stands out. The mild climate, provided by the pro-tection of the Julian Alps northwards and the openness to the Adriatic sea southwards and the fertile soil made up of sandstone marls from Eocene origin create a magnificent environment for grape growing. Ponca is, in the Friulian language, the name of this superb terroir. It represents the fundamental starting point from which particular production styles are developed, such as the cold maceration of white grapes, through a short contact with the skins, and a light raisining of red grapes, that are enriched with structure and personality. This is how wines with an intriguing aromatic set, a robust and embracing body and astonishing evolution potentialities are created.

While Friuli Venezia Giulia's (FVG) white wines re-defined what Italian whites could be in the 70's and 80's, FVG was often considered too cold and rainy for late-ripening reds like Cabernet and Merlot as well as regional natives like Refosco or Schioppettino to have too much success. However, as weather patterns have warmed and dried over the region in the last decade or two, the success and quality of FVG late-ripening reds has become undeniable.

Lot 262 2017 Venko Collio Rosso is a blend of 50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc and 10% Pinot Nero hailing from the Tenuta Sant'Helena Vencó estate in located in Collio, the most highly regarded appellation in Friuli. Again, like all the other reds from this producer, about 25% of the fruit is apassimento (dried) and aged in French and Slovakian barriques for about 24-months.

Deep garnet in the glass. Bright cherry, plum and bourbon vanilla notes are haloed by an amalgam of cocoa powder, leather and fresh-turned black soil. Fantastic fruit purity on the palate with good minerality carrying velvety red fruit and cocoa-flecked savory notes to a long, delicately chewy finish.

50% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Franc, 10% Pinot Nero
100% Collio estate fruit
13.5% alc.

***

Lot 263 | 2020 Collio Pinot Grigio

Today, Friuli Venezia Giulia offers Italy's biggest line-up of outstanding white wines (Alto Adige is the only other region in Italy that boasts comparable diversity and wealth of white grape varieties and wines). No other region in Italy offers as large a selection of outstanding white wines from so many different grape varieties as Friuli Venezia Giulia does, while the region's native red grapes yield wines that are equally distinctive.

Make no mistake about it: Friuli Venezia Giulia is the region where, in the 1970s, Italy's white wine quality renaissance began. ...Collio has long enjoyed the loftiest reputation of all FVG denominations.
Vinous.com, Ian D'Agita

Sourced directly from the cellars of Tenuta Sant'Helena in Collio (meaning hills), this estate-grown Pinot Grigio is one of four offerings from this stunning lineup sourced directly from the cellars of Tenuta Sant'Helena. I promise, these are all fantastic wines, crisp and delicious, exuding the fantastic terroir from which they were born. They drink beautifully now and will benefit from further ageing for another 5+ years.

We are purchasing the exact same wine reviewed below.

FANTINEL PINOT GRIGIO COLLIO TENUTA SANT'HELENA 2020
White peach, sliced pear, lemon curd and honeysuckle on the nose. Some chalk and white pepper, too. It's medium-bodied with a creamy, rounded texture. Layered, fresh and balanced. 91-POINTS James Suckling

***

Lot 264 | 2020 Collio Sauvignon Blanc

Today, Friuli Venezia Giulia offers Italy's biggest line-up of outstanding white wines (Alto Adige is the only other region in Italy that boasts comparable diversity and wealth of white grape varieties and wines). No other region in Italy offers as large a selection of outstanding white wines from so many different grape varieties as Friuli Venezia Giulia does, while the region's native red grapes yield wines that are equally distinctive.

Make no mistake about it: Friuli Venezia Giulia is the region where, in the 1970s, Italy's white wine quality renaissance began. ...Collio has long enjoyed the loftiest reputation of all FVG denominations.
Vinous.com, Ian D'Agita

Sourced directly from the cellars of Tenuta Sant'Helena in Collio (meaning hills), this estate-grown Pinot Grigio is one of four offerings from this stunning lineup sourced directly from the cellars of Tenuta Sant'Helena. I promise, these are all fantastic wines, crisp and delicious, exuding the fantastic terroir from which they were born. They drink beautifully now and will benefit from further ageing for another 5+ years.

We are purchasing the exact same wine reviewed below.

FANTINEL SAUVIGNON COLLIO TENUTA SANT'HELENA 2020
Aromas of grapefruit zest, guava, green apple and chalk. It's medium-bodied, creamy and deliciously fruity with bright, zesty acidity. Excellent concentration. 92-POINTS James Suckling

***

Lot 265 | 2020 Collio Friulano

Today, Friuli Venezia Giulia offers Italy's biggest line-up of outstanding white wines (Alto Adige is the only other region in Italy that boasts comparable diversity and wealth of white grape varieties and wines). No other region in Italy offers as large a selection of outstanding white wines from so many different grape varieties as Friuli Venezia Giulia does, while the region's native red grapes yield wines that are equally distinctive.

Make no mistake about it: Friuli Venezia Giulia is the region where, in the 1970s, Italy's white wine quality renaissance began. ...Collio has long enjoyed the loftiest reputation of all FVG denominations.
Vinous.com, Ian D'Agita

Sourced directly from the cellars of Tenuta Sant'Helena in Collio (meaning hills), this estate-grown Pinot Grigio is one of four offerings from this stunning lineup sourced directly from the cellars of Tenuta Sant'Helena. I promise, these are all fantastic wines, crisp and delicious, exuding the fantastic terroir from which they were born. They drink beautifully now and will benefit from further ageing for another 5+ years.

We are purchasing the exact same wine reviewed below.

FANTINEL FRIULANO COLLIO TENUTA SANT'HELENA 2020
A subtler nose of apricot stones, blanched almonds and waxed lemons with some dried-fennel notes. It's medium-bodied with bright acidity and a silky texture. Mineral finish. 91-POINTS James Suckling

***

Lot 266 | 2020 Venezia Giulia Ribolla Gialla

Today, Friuli Venezia Giulia offers Italy's biggest line-up of outstanding white wines (Alto Adige is the only other region in Italy that boasts comparable diversity and wealth of white grape varieties and wines). No other region in Italy offers as large a selection of outstanding white wines from so many different grape varieties as Friuli Venezia Giulia does, while the region's native red grapes yield wines that are equally distinctive.

Make no mistake about it: Friuli Venezia Giulia is the region where, in the 1970s, Italy's white wine quality renaissance began. ...Collio has long enjoyed the loftiest reputation of all FVG denominations.
Vinous.com, Ian D'Agita

Sourced directly from the cellars of Tenuta Sant'Helena in Collio (meaning hills), this estate-grown Pinot Grigio is one of four offerings from this stunning lineup sourced directly from the cellars of Tenuta Sant'Helena. I promise, these are all fantastic wines, crisp and delicious, exuding the fantastic terroir from which they were born (in this case, the estate vines of the Fantinel family in Venezia Julia). They drink beautifully now and will benefit from further ageing for another 5+ years.

We are purchasing the exact same wine reviewed below.

FANTINEL RIBOLLA GIALLA DELLE VENEZIE TENUTA SANT'HELENA 2020
Dried lemons, apricots and peach blossom on the nose with some white pepper and honeycomb. It's medium to full-bodied with fresh acidity and a creamy, lightly oily texture. Ripe and floral expression. Delicious now. 92-POINTS James Suckling

***

Lot 267 | 2019 Mansalto 2019 Chianti DOCG La Commenda

***Mixed or Whole Case purchases only.
***Mixed cases can mix-and-match any of the four Mansalto offerings into 12-, 18-, 24 bottle quantities.
***Ships in February for March/April arrival

The Mansalto project is a massive 2,000 hectare property of wild mountainous terrain in the heart of Tuscany. Acquired by European investors in the early 2000's, no expense was spared developing the property (which is so large it includes three small municipalities and, now, gorgeous villa's for rent).

Along with my friend Marco Fantinel, legendary winemaker Andrea Paoletti of Solaia, Tignanello and Ornellaia fame as well as legendary consultant Stephane Derenoncourt of Bordeaux were brought in to develop the property and its high-altitude vineyards. Winemaker Gabriel Bruno manages the estate for Marco as well as makes the wines alongside Andrea and Stephane.

Needless to say, the wines are magnificent. Asides from a shipment of the 2016 vintage to one importer years ago, they are also non-existent here in the US and I am honored to present them to you today.

The first offering La Commenda is a DOCG-level Chianti from the sub-district of Chianti Colli Senesi and grown is the hills scaling the estate's Monte San Savino.

This wine would normally retail in the US for $20-$25 and is on pre-sell today, offered at $9/bottle. The 2018 scored 91-points from both Luca Moroni and James Suckling, the 2019 is every bit as good.

Medium garnet in the glass. Youthful bouquet of ripe cherry and rose petal are well-supported by earthy spice with pretty raspberry notes emerging with air. Rich and juicy on the palate, not at all the acidic Chianti of yore, with a well-delineated, if young, fruit and earth amalgam. Given the richness, I was shocked to find out that this wine has not seen oak. Clearly just a baby, this deftly-made DOCG Chianti has huge length and emerging complexity - a steal at $9/bottle. Drink or hold now and over the next decade.

90% Sangiovese, 10% co-fermented Cabernet/Merlot
100% Chianti DOCG, 100% estate fruit around Bucina and Monte San Savino
100% stainless steel
13.5% alc.

***

Lot 268 | 2019 Mansalto 2019 Toscana Rosso Castello Rapale

***Mixed or Whole Case purchases only.
***Mixed cases can mix-and-match any of the four Mansalto offerings into 12-, 18-, 24 bottle quantities.
***Ships in February for March/April arrival

The Mansalto project is a massive 2,000 hectare property of wild mountainous terrain in the heart of Tuscany. Acquired by European investors in the early 2000's, no expense was spared developing the property (which is so large it includes three small municipalities and, now, gorgeous villa's for rent).

Along with my friend Marco Fantinel, legendary winemaker Andrea Paoletti of Solaia, Tignanello and Ornellaia fame as well as legendary consultant Stephane Derenoncourt of Bordeaux were brought in to develop the property and its high-altitude vineyards. Winemaker Gabriel Bruno manages the estate for Marco as well as makes the wines alongside Andrea and Stephane.

Needless to say, the wines are magnificent. Asides from a shipment of the 2016 vintage to one importer years ago, they are also non-existent here in the US and I am honored to present them to you today.

The second offering from Mansalto is their Super-Tuscan Blend Castello Rapale. A blend of 60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, and 20% Sangiovese, it features a broad rich profile both aromatically and on the palate.

The 2018 version scored 93-points from Luca Maroni, the 2019 should be in the same ballpark. Regardless of the critics score, its a fantastic offer at $14/bottle vs $35.

Deep ruby, almost opaque in the glass. Broad, soft rich aromatic profile yet still brooding with tightly wound black fruit, cassis, graphite, leather and tobacco adding black cherry and an earthy dark chocolate/cocoa/mushroom funk as it unwinds on the palate. Gorgeous. Fleshy and delicious with excellent structure and balance as well as huge length swaddled in baby fat.

100% estate vineyards, Bucina, Monte San Savino, and Rapolano Terme
60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 20% Sangiovese
40% new French oak, medium and large format barrels/casks
14.5% alc.
Bottled June 2021

***

Lot 270 | 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

 

Yes, Lot 270 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir is from the same winery as Lot 247 2018 Russian River Valley Chardonnay (now SOLD OUT)  and I'll be honest, I bought this for a song; however, I am passing the savings along to you.

As I mentioned previously, the winery was a little backed up and had the wine stored offsite. The offsite location needed it out and the winery offered us a hot price to make it go away.

The producer is a small Russian River boutique winery that sells primarily though its tasting room/mailing list and on-premise restaurant accounts so, like most small producers with $55/bottle Pinot Noir, they got a little backed up during COVID shutdowns.

This is a screaming deal on, again, a right-up-the-middle stylistically, no expense spared Russian River Pinot Noir!

It has all the bells and whistles including 50% new French oak and features plenty of mid-palate richness but always with just the right amount of verve.

Medium to deep garnet/ruby on the glass this wine looks deeply extracted/brooding but it's incredibly aromatically complex. The bouquet is fragrant and spicy with aromas and flavors of dried rose petals, ripe black cherry, ginger, bay leaf, cinnamon, and orange oil contrasting with the savory notes of redwood duff/forest floor, and coriander. On the palate, the complex layers provide spicy tension to complement the long, smooth, black-fruited depth that carries through the finish and lingers with notes of toasted french oak and Asian spice. This wine exudes richness but a dichotomy of elegance and savory depth keep things on their toes at all times.

Will drink great in the near-term and age beautifully over the next 10-15 years.

100% Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
50% new French oak barrels (Francois Freres, Allier, Remond Troncais)
14.8% alc.

***

Lot 273 | 2018 Green Valley of the Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Lot 273 is part of a collection of shiners originally intended for another brand and another sales channel that I simply haven't gotten around to launching. Positioned for a much higher price point, these wines represent the best of the Lots that I sourced during the Summer 2020, just prior to the Napa fires.

It was to be priced in the $25-$30 range under my other label but sells for well-over $50/bottle under it original label and has multiple mid-90's scores from the major critics.

Classic, sophisticated, California-meets-Burgundy styling. This is an intricate, lush-yet-electric, perfectly-balanced wine that will convert just about any Chardonnay-skeptic. Produced from fruit sourced from the legendary Rued Vineyard (Rued is not the producer) and its interesting clonal mix of Old Wente and "chardonnay musque", this 100% barrel-fermented Chardonnay combines lushness and freshness with high-toned fruit aromas and exceptional mouthfeel. It is absolutely gorgeous.

Medium-deep straw in the glass. Crystalline and energetic on the nose with pretty orange blossom haloing tangerine, apricot, and kiwi fruit enriched with with lemon oil and hazelnut. Yin-yang gorgeous with fantastic sucosité on the palate with lychee, juicy tropical fruit leading to a complex, nervy, brilliant midpalate that explodes with mouthwatering meyer lemon, tangerine and Asian pear haloed with lingering layers of hazelnut and honeysuckle blossom. Tremendous persistence. Dyno-mite!

100% Chardonnay, 100% single-vineyard Green Valley of the Russian River Valley
100% Barrel-fermented, 50% new French oak
13.9% alc.
Bottled November 2020.


***

Lot 274 | 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon


Lot 274 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is part of a collection of shiners originally intended for another brand and another sales channel that I simply haven't gotten around to launching. Intended for a much higher price point of $50-$60/bottle, these wines represent some of the best of the Lots that I sourced during the Summer 2020, just prior to the Napa fires. Its an incredible offer at especially considering its been in the bottle for a year and drinking great.

This Cabernet Sauvignon comes to us from a fourth-generation Napa Valley winegrower located at the base of Spring Mountain just west of highway 29 in St. Helena. Everything here is sold mailing list only.

Lot 274 is straight out of their $150-$175/bottle Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon program, a blend of top lots from their three estate vineyards, the primary estate-vineyard located at the winery on the alluvials flowing out of the base of Spring Mountain in the St Helena appellation, the second high up on Mt. Veeder and the last an incredible site in the Howell Mountain AVA.

The style here is all about complexity, elegance and balance. This is a seamless wine from tip to tail, beautifully aromatic with rich fruit array over smooth, supple structure. Quintessential Napa Valley from a winegrower who's been making wine in Napa since the 80's.

Deep garnet in the glass. Uplifted, elegant bouquet of toasty black fruit interlaced with red rock and mineral-laced tobacco. Dark and extracted on the palate but still juicy with mouthwatering blackberry, cassis and toasted vanilla complexed with cedar, pipe tobacco and dark clay earth. The finish is long, pure, unctuous and lively with ripe, savory fruit that seems to last forever. Excellent acidity and balance throughout makes this a fantastic food wine. The open-knit 2017 vintage plus a year in the bottle makes this an even better choice for near-term consumption.

79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 4% Petite Verdot
61% St. Helena, 26% Mt. Veeder, 13% Howell Mountain - all estate vineyards.
15% alc.
250 cases produced
Bottled November 2020

***

Lot 277 | 2019 Mansalto Toscana Rosso Stroncoli


The Mansalto project is a massive 2,000 hectare property of wild mountainous terrain in the heart of Tuscany. Acquired by European investors in the early 2000's, no expense was spared developing the property (which is so large it includes three small municipalities and, now, gorgeous villa's for rent).

Along with my friend Marco Fantinel, legendary winemaker Andrea Paoletti of Solaia, Tignanello and Ornellaia fame as well as legendary consultant Stephane Derenoncourt of Bordeaux were brought in to develop the property and its high-altitude vineyards. Winemaker Gabriel Bruno manages the estate for Marco as well as makes the wines alongside Andrea and Stephane.

Needless to say, the wines are magnificent. Asides from a shipment of the 2016 vintage to one importer years ago, they are also non-existent here in the US and I am honored to present them to you today.

The third offering from Mansalto is their flagship Super Tuscan Blend, Stroncoli. An inspired blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet, Cabernet Franc and Merlot, it combines the structure of Sangiovese with the powerful flesh of Bordelaise varieties. Crafted by Super Tuscan god Andrea Paoletti and legendary Bordeaux consulting winemaker, Stephane Derenoncourt.

Medium to deep ruby in the glass. Complex yet tightly wound bouquet of almond and parmesan notes haloing cherry spice, brambled boisenberry, warm herbs/thyme, seasoned hardwoods, and earthen clay brick. Seamless and rich on the palate, with broad, sweeping tannins leaving behind juicy and enticing boisenberry and raspberry notes that linger throughout the finish with excellent minerality and length.

40% Sangiovese, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc and 10% Merlot
Aged in regular and large format tonneau
100% IGT Toscana
14.5% alc.
Bottled June 2021

***

Lot 278 | 2019 Mansalto 2019 Sangiovese Butia


The Mansalto project is a massive 2,000 hectare property of wild mountainous terrain in the heart of Tuscany. Acquired by European investors in the early 2000's, no expense was spared developing the property (which is so large it includes three small municipalities and, now, gorgeous villa's for rent).

Along with my friend Marco Fantinel, legendary winemaker Andrea Paoletti of Solaia, Tignanello and Ornellaia fame as well as legendary consultant Stephane Derenoncourt of Bordeaux were brought in to develop the property and its high-altitude vineyards. Winemaker Gabriel Bruno manages the estate for Marco as well as makes the wines alongside Andrea and Stephane.

Needless to say, the wines are magnificent. Asides from a shipment of the 2016 vintage to one importer years ago, they are also non-existent here in the US and I am honored to present them to you today.

The fourth offering from Mansalto is their flagship offering Butia. Muscular, elegant, and ethereal this high-altitude Sangiovese is and crafted by Sangiovese master Andrea Paoletti. Unique in the region stylistically, it combines the muscularity of Barbaresco with the pretty, crunchy fruit of Chianti Classico.

Initially presents with cherry candy, menthol and gobs of dark earth and coffee bean from the new French oak revealing warm and wild herbal notes of dried anise seeds and sage, tootsie roll, and truffled black cherry as it opens up. Exploding golf ball palate, perfectly balanced and exquisitely structured but also relatively impenetrable revealing hints of ripe red fruit, mineral-kissed oak, and smooth tannins lead to long and monolithic finish. Give this wine a couple years in the cellar at a minimum and age for the next two decades.

100% Sangiovese, 100% Bucine Estate
Aged in combination of regular and large format French oak barrels.
100% IGT Toscana
14.5% alc.
Bottled June 2021

***

Lot 279 | 2016 Clare Valley Shiraz 

Lot 279 is sourced from the legendary Skillogalee Winery in the Clare Valley of Australia and is from their top-of-the-line Trevarrick Shiraz program. The wine retails in Australia for just over $70 out the cellar door (2012 scored 97-Points from James Halliday) and I suspect it would be priced in the $50-60 range here in the US given the strong dollar. However, its not sold here which is why they do not mind me mentioning their name.

The winery recently changed hands and, due to COVID-related shutdowns, the new winemaker is trimming inventory as necessary. They are still selling the 2015 and we've laid our hands on the lions share of the 2016.

The Clare Valley is a relatively cool-climate versus The Barossa and produces a wine with a focused and concentrated style balanced with seamless elegance. Black pepper, fennel, leather upholstery, hot cinnamon, and cherry hard candy are topped with a lovely menthol topnote. The palate is seamless, rich and juicy with unctuous candied black cherry and savory notes of lavender-herbed lamb punctuated with fine french oak tannins in a mouth-watering finish. Remarkably energetic and fresh for a 2016 wine thanks to the large format oak combo.

A spectacular offer at this price!

100% Shiraz, 100% Skillogalee estate-grown fruit from Clare Valley
40% new French and American oak, combo of large and small format barrels.
14.5% alc.
300 cases produced
Projected bottling late January, early February for an April arrival, May/June shipping

****

Lot 280 | 2019 Barossa Valley Centenarian Old Vine Shiraz


The Barossa Old Vine Charter was established in 2009 to provide formal designations of vine age for Barossa Valley's oldest vineyards. The designations are Old Vine (35+), Survivor (70+), Centenarian (100+) and Ancestor (125+).

Lot 280 comes from the Lou Miranda Old Vine Shiraz program and is comprised entirely of Centenarian Vine Shiraz sourced from the families Winery Church Block planted in 1907. 115-years-old, head-pruned and dry-farmed, these gnarly, low-yielding old vines produce exceptionally intense fruit that has made critics swoon for decades.

In fact, I purchased this wine previously for Cameron Hughes Lot 38 2005 100 Year Old Vine Shiraz and sold it all for $20 bottle back in 2007. Lot 38 was a legend in its time.

Inky and opaque in the glass with a touch of violet around the rim. Powdered cocoa, dried black cherry and boysenberry preserves soar from the glass...cedary oak notes, worn leather, and meaty braised lamb notes complex the boisterous bouquet. Fabulously full and rich on the palate with deep extraction and palate staining focus that is beautifully balanced by a purple fruited beam of acidity that carries waves of succulence to a beautiful conclusion that last for minutes. As one reviewer wrote of the 96-point scoring 2016 vintage, a superbly weighted palate displaying outstanding fruit purity and richness, while properly structured by wonderfully pitched fine tannins. Opulent and hugely appealing. Yep, well said.

100% Centenarian Old Vine Shiraz, 100% Barossa Valley
75% American Oak, 25% French oak, 75% new
15% alc.
350 cases produced
projected bottling date late January, 2022 with late Spring arrival

***

Lot 281 | 2018 Maison Rutz 2018 Sonoma Cuvee Chardonnay

***Not available in all shipping regions

Lot 281 is the Domaine Rutz 2018 Sonoma Cuvee Chardonnay that I recently purchased in its entirety. Its a classically styled with Burgundian leanings that make it a fantastic, right up the middle Chardonnay with broad appeal. If you are looking for a terrific everyday Chardonnay that won't break the bank, this is your wine!

Normally retailing for $20/bottle, it's yours today for just $12/bottle, Shipping Included!

Limpid yellow in the glass. Pretty bouquet of ripe apple and tangerine fruit, light spice, limestone and fresh butter with just a kiss of vanilla blossom. Soft, juicy and fleshy on the palate with tropical fruit and citrus fruit in perfect balance. Warm wood and banana notes with butter/caramel enrichen the palate and mouthwatering acidity keeps thing lively and long. Again, the balance here is pitch-perfect. This Chardonnay is just entering its perfect drinking window and will show nicely for the next 3-5 years.


Ships in original packaging - screwcap closure
100% Chardonnay
Blend primarily of Russian River Valley and Sonoma-Carneros with 20% Sonoma Coast
100% barrel fermented, 100% malolactic fermentation
10 months in French oak barrels, Allier and Troncais forests
33% new, 33% 1-year old, and 33% 2-years old
14.2% Alc.
700 cases produced
Bottled July 2019

***

Lot 282 | 2018 Maison Rutz 2018 Sonoma Cuvee Pinot Noir

***Not available in all shipping regions

Lot 282 is the Maison Rutz 2018 Sonoma Cuvee Pinot Noir that I recently purchased in its entirety. Its ships in its original packaging.

This is an absolutely fantastic Pinot Noir, quaffable and lovely but with a seriously complex soul. Its sees whole berry fermentation, 50% new French oak, and is sourced primarily from iconic vineyards such as Hallberg Ranch, Baciagalupi, and Martinelli ( overall AVA's include the Russian River Valley and Sonoma-Carneros with a touch of Sonoma Coast).

Normally retailing for $25/bottle (which, on its own, is actually a hell of a deal for these barrels and vineyards), it's yours today for just $119/case, Shipping Included! Yes, less than $10/bottle, delivered!

Nicely colored in the glass, pale purple with an electric rim. Beautiful bouquet of rose petals and spicy red hots over black cherry and a kiss of tobacco and damp earth. Super-fresh. On the palate, black fruits, Bing cherries, and black raspberry ride a beam of red clay-flecked minerality complexed with cedar box. The wine is soft and smooth with an elegant core and clean-yet-persistent finish that echoes the aforementioned notes for a good 30-seconds+.


Ships in original packaging - screwcap closure
100% Pinot Noir
Blend primarily of Russian River Valley and Sonoma-Carneros with 20% Sonoma Coast
11 months in 50% new French oak barrels from Vosges and Nevers forests
14.1% Alc.
500 cases produced
Bottled August 2019

***

Lot 283 | 2018 Maison Rutz Proprietors Reserve 2018 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

The Lot 283 Rutz Russian River Valley Reserve Chardonnay is a complex, elegant, Burgundian-styled wine. Highly collectible and ageworthy, it is sourced from some of the Russian River Valley's best vineyards (Dutton Ranch, Baciagalupi, Martinelli) and will age beautifully over the next decade. With over two years in the bottle now, it is unwinding beautifully and drinking great.

Medium yellow in the glass. The first thing one notices on the nose is the creaminess, then limestone, vetiver perfume, spicy golden apple, prickly pear, fresh butter and almond blossom. While the wine has 50% new french oak on it, its a light/medium toast that elevates complexity and never overpowers. The wine enters the palate with a juicy smoothness and features orchard fruit notes, hints of citrus and mineral and a halo of vetiver spice that never seems to end. The finish is pure and lengthy, creamy and smooth with excellent complexity. the Russian River terroir

100% Chardonnay
100% Russian River Valley
50% new French oak (Allier and Troncais forests)
13.9% alc.
180 cases produced
Bottled December 2019

 

***

Lot 284 | 2018 Maison Rutz Proprietor's Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 

The Lot 284 Rutz Russian River Valley Proprietors Reserve Pinot Noir is a classically-styled, complex, elegant, Burgundian-styled wine. Highly collectible and age-worthy, it is sourced from some of the Russian River Valley's best vineyards (Dutton Ranch, Baciagalupi, Martinelli) and will age beautifully over the next 10-15 years if not longer (see note below).

With over two years in the bottle now, it is unwinding nicely, showing its classic elegance and Burgundian restraint. Make no mistake about this, this is not your ultra-ripe style Pinot (a la Kosta Brown) but, rather, a well-built, 14.1% alc wine that delivers complex fruit over a rich, powerfully-built but never-over-the-top mid-palate structure.

Medium-to-deep garnet in the glass, this wine offers pungent and savory bouquet, redolent with oak underpinned with black raspberry, black cherry and dark earth notes that become more prominent with air. As the oak peels back and the bouquet complexes with rose petal and sour cherry/orange blossom notes. You'll definitely want to decant this wine in the near term to coax out the aromatics. Smooth on entry with a black pepper halo topping primary red and black fruits seamlessly integrated with seasoned French oak in a long finish redolent with seasoned oak and haloed with cherry fruit and rose petal. Its relatively chewy with seasoned oak notes and minerally tannins that still dominate the palate - clearly this is just a baby.

I can tell you this though, along with these wines I have purchased the wine cellar going back to the early 90's and can tell you that the 1991 Proprietor's Reserve Russian River Valley Pinot Noir has aged beautifully and is still in terrific shape. As I mentioned previously, this is a highly collectible Pinot Noir that will flesh out nicely in the next few years and age beautifully over the next 20 years. It is stunning deal at this price. 24-hour decant highly recommended.

100% Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
50% new French oak
14.1% alcohol
350 cases produced
Bottled December 2019

***

Lot 286 | 2017 Rutz Maison Grand Cru Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Lets get the ugly part out of the way here, shall we? This wine originally scored 85-points in the Wine Enthusiast. However, it was scored just three-months after it was bottled and clearly out of sorts, so I recommend you take that review with a grain of salt.

Nevertheless, the wine we have in front of us today is a different animal, having knit itself together beautifully in the meantime. Clearly this is professional grade material.

The source vineyards for this wine is the legendary Baciagalupi Ranch (source for the Chateau Montelena Chardonnay that took the famous Judgement of Paris) Wente Clone Chardonnay. The wine was 100% barrel-fermented and aged in 50% new French oak. It was bottled unfined and unfiltered so it has a cloudy visage but superlative aromatics.

Amber with viscosity and slightly hazy, it presents a dense bouquet of fruit and rock. Apple and pear launch the aromas but open to reveal nectarine, spicy blossoms and beeswax haloed by pineapple, honeycomb and a prominent limestone note. Pure Burgundy, the bouquet is powerful, dense, still unwinding. The entry is dense, opulent, viscous - as palate staining as white wine gets. It's creamy throughout and redolent with orchard fruit, baked pineapple and while lilies. While exceptionally viscous, it is at the same time perfectly-balanced with a countervailing austerity of rock and sustaining minerality which contribute fantastic purity and length.

As pretty as it this wine is now both aromatically and on the palate, the monolithic structure here is just beginning to unwind...there's a lot more complexity to come.

100% Chardonnay
100% Russian River Valley
50% new French oak - Allier and Troncais
14% alc.
225 cases produced

***

Lot 287 | 2018 Maison Grand Cru Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Sourced from the legendary Dutton and Martinelli vineyards, the 2018 Maison Grand Cru Pinot Noir is an absolute classic. Crafted to be soft and elegant and utilizing the best Vosges forest French oak, it is a sophisticated, Burgundian take on Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Pale ruby in the glass, the elegant bouquet of rose petals, cranberry, pomegranate, ginger and cinnamon are framed by a dark earth and French oak amalgam. Blood orange and raspberry frambois complex the bouquet with air. Focused, bright and luscious on the palate with pitch-perfect balance, the seamless entry and mid-palate present vibrant, crunchy pomegranate, cinnamon, and herbal spice lingering through the long, elegant, lip-smacking mineral finish. The purity and integration throughout the wine are exceptionally classy and compelling.

100% Pinot Noir
100% Russian River Valley, Dutton and Martinelli Ranches
50% new French oak (Vosges), 50% one-year
14.4% alc.
270 cases produced

***

Lot 288 | 2019 Maison Grand Cru Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

I have been sourcing grapes and wine from the spectacular Notre Vue/Windsor Oaks vineyard on Chalk Hall for decades and I can tell you this is the best Cabernet I have ever tasted off of this property. Partial credit goes to the fantastic 2019 vintage, who's warmth propelled the Chalk Hill appellation into one of the best vintages in decades, with the rest going to Keith Rutz who has given us a spectacular wine at an unprecedented price.

Inky in the glass with a beautiful, nuanced bouquet of dark chocolate black cherry truffle, dried lilac, toffee, graphite, soy sauce and mineral clay all swimming in an ocean of seasoned French oak and cedar notes. Lush and juicy on entry but powerfully structured and palate staining with super succulent, luscious black fruit layered with toffee and lilac notes. This is deftly made wine with excellent verve, focused elegance and just the right amount of the classic restraint characteristic of the Chalk Hill terroir.

100% Notre Vue Vineyard, 100% Chalk Hill appellation
50% new French oak (Vosges forest)
14.5% alc.
500 cases produced

***

Lot 289 | 2020 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie

Oysters, seafood salads, crab, goat cheese or even lightly grilled fish - Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie is almost always the perfect pairing. The tangier the better!

Muscadet Sur Lie is only allowed in three regions of the Loire, the best of them being the Landreau region of Sevre et Maine (named after the Sevre Nantais and Maine rivers that flow through the region). The mica shist soils of Le Landreau produce a richer style of Muscadet that is aged on on its lees for about 8-months before bottling - typical wines will age for another 5-7 years in a good vintage. There is no disputing 2020 was an excellent vintage in the Loire Valley.

Lot 289 was purchased in tire bouche (AKA shiners or cleanskins) from a small producer sitting on a gold-mine of 50-year-old vines planted on on a rolling slope of mica schist soils.

The resulting wine combines the freshness of the Atlantic ocean breezes with the richer fruit profile of the sur lie ageing. 

White peach, white pepper and saline sea breeze dominate a bouquet of unquestionable complexity and freshness. Again, pure, fresh and round on the palate with pitch-perfect intensity and finesse showing crisp lemony alacrity, a saline halo, a little peach and a lot of cleansing damp stone minerality from the mica shist soils. Slight tangerine tang to the finish, adding cleanliness and precision and excellent length.

100% Muscadet Sur Lie Sevre et Maine
12% alc.
300 cases produced

***

Lot 291 | 2021 Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc

I visited this little 14-hectare, rolling hillside vineyard back in February. Typical of France, the vigneron was 6th generation manager of the property. I loved the wine straight from the tank, crisp, citrusy, complex and delicious to drink now - a perfect Spring/Summer White. And, while 2021 wasn't as nice to the red varietals, its was particularly good for Entre-Deaux-Mer white varietals providing excellent freshness and acidity.

Usually scoring in the 88- to 89-point range under its Chateau label (which is the range to buy when you are looking for near-term drinkers).

The vines are all over 25-years old and planted in silty, pebbly soils with a little bit of clay that helps with water retention. To preserve freshness, the wine is vinified in all stainless steel and then aged on its lees for about 2-months to push the fruit while adding suppleness and smoothness to the mid-palate. Simple method, complex wine.

The bouquet is lovely and intense with uplifted herbal aromas, pretty citrus and tropical fruit-laden minerality. Zippy and mouthwatering on entry with excellent energy and freshness with tropical fruit, grass notes and beautiful acidity in the mouth that is perfectly balanced leading to pure, supple, well-delineated finish. Bone dry.

Fresh, pure, energetic and perfect for a warm day aperitif or light fare such as seafood, fish, or goat cheese. Will age nicely over the next couple of years with the addition of the Semillon.

100% Estate, 100% Entre-Deaux-Mers (entrance of two tides referring to the two tidal rivers Garonne and Dordogne which is why the soils are so silty and gravelly).
85% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon 5% Muscadelle
12% alc.
Bottling April 17th
600 cases produced

***

Lot 292 | 2021 Cotes du Rhone Blanc 

Peaches, cream and river rock just about sums up this beautiful Cotes du Rhone Blanc. A blend of 40% Roussanne, 40% Viognier, 10% Grenache, 5% Clairette, and 5% Bourboulenc it soars from the glass with a bright, crisp, refreshing bouquet.

Another fantastic find from my friend in Bordeaux, there is not much else I can tell you about the wine, to be frank, other than the fact that it is absolutely delicious.

Medium straw in the glass, effusive with peaches and vanilla blossoms laying over warm river stone aromas complexed with pretty apple and cider notes with just a kiss of butter as the wine opens up. Butter smooth on entry but fleshy and juicy on the palate with white fruit and mouthwatering mineral riding slatey rock through a long finish featuring a nice orangesicle retronasal blast. Delicious.

100% Cotes du Rhone
40% Roussanne, 40% Viognier, 10% Grenache, 5% Clairette, and 5% Bourboulenc
13% alc.
300 cases produced

****

Lot 293 | 2021 Loire Valley Rose of Cabernet Franc

A rare bird this Loire Valley Rosé.

Only about 2,000 acres in the entirety of the Loire Valley are allowably classified as Loire Valley Rosé and considerably less of that is planted with what is considered one of the finest Rosé producing varietals, Cabernet Franc.

Lot 293 Loire Valley Rosé of Cabernet Franc was produced for us by Thierry Veron (a small vigneron actually located further east in Sancerre) and his son Frédéric, from a small parcel of shale and carboniferous limestone clay just outside Saumur's Anjou region.

Raspberry pink with glimmer of violet (in fact, there is a bit more of a light purple hue to the actual wine than seen here). Gorgeously fruited with raspberry and orange blossom uplifted by pretty minerality and a kiss of lilac. Blood orange and strawberry join the chorus with air. Succulent and juicy on entry with a mouthwatering cascade of pretty red fruits, passionfruit and mineral in a long, pure finish. This is a super-pretty wine, rich yet energetic with perfectly ripe yet nuanced fruit complexed by citrusy minerality.

100% Loire Valley Rose of Cabernet Franc
13% alc.
400 cases produced
Bottling March 21, 2022

***

Lot 294 | 2021 Rose D'Anjou

Like lush, rich, buttery Chardonnay?

Have I got the Rosé for you.

Rosé D'Anjou.

Not because its "oaky" per se, but because the succulent and juicy mouthfeel is similar to a barrel-fermented, full malolactic fermentation chardonnay.

Rich, ripe, and absolutely brimming with fruit, Lot 294 Rosé D'Anjou is a lovely wine with excellent acidity beautifully balanced with a kiss of residual sugar (20 g/l). It finishes clean and fresh and has the effect of feeling like a dry wine. In fact, I had no idea it had any RS until the producer (the highly respected Domaine des Hautes Ouches in the heart of the Anjou) sent me the lab report.

This is an absolutely delicious wine on its own but also a fantastic food wine. It will pair well with just about anything spicy like Indian or Mexican or just as a picnic aperitif. Cold cuts, charcuterie plates, lamb burgers and the list goes on and on.

Pink cherry in the glass with just a hint of lilac. Effusive bouquet of raspberry, rose petal,  and red current are mineral-fresh and lifted adding wild strawberry essence, slate and a kiss of menthol with air. Intense and delicate at the same time. Fresh and balanced on the attack, rich with red fruits but always balanced on a pretty beam of slatey minerality. Finishes clean and long and fresh. Drink over the next 3-4 years.

100% AOC Rosé D'Anjou
80% Grolleau, 20% Gamay
11% alc.
400 cases produced
Bottled April 17th 2021

***

Lot 295 | 2020 Vouvray Sec Cuvee Silex 12-bottle case

Bordeaux buddy strikes again!

Our Bordeaux contact has been been rattling his rolodex to unearth some tremendous wines for us lately. The latest find is a couple hundred cases of 2020 Vouvray Sec "Cuvee Silex" from Domaine Meunier

Sec = dry.

From 25+-year-old-vines raised in gravelled tuffeau and clay-silex flint, this is a laser-focused mineral supernova of a wine and a mouthwateringly delicious expression terroir. If you like 'em bright, effusive and refreshing you are absolutely going to love this. I have had this bottle open on my tasting table now for a week and it's still fresh as a daisy!

Pale straw in the glass. Fresh, precise and minerally turns effusive and boisterous with air, the crystalline bouquet bursting from the glass with yellow apple, almond blossoms and flint interlaced with lemon- and quince-flecked minerality. Fantastic! Mouthwatering on entry, this wine explodes on your palate, a nervy supernova of lemon, quince, rock and apple showcasing pure, pristine, precise energy. Should age beautifully over the next decade. Please be sure to enjoy this at cellar temperature to really appreciate the nuance and verve.

100% Chenin Blanc, 100% estate, 25-year-old-vines
No oak
12.5% alc.
200 cases produced
Bottled May 2021

*****

Lot 297 | 2020 Bordeaux Superior 

I tasted this wine last Fall in Amsterdam at a trade show and then again in Bordeaux last month. Both times I was blown away by the quality and value. The wine was scored 90-91 points out of the tank last summer by James Suckling and I can see why - its delicious already with silky tannins and plenty of energy.

And, while 2020 is considered a very successful vintage - the third in a series including 2018 and 2019 - the general consensus is that the best successes were from the clay and limestone soils of the Right Bank (better water retention for the relatively hot summer). And, of course, Lot 297 was sourced from precisely those soils - a small family property on a 100M high clay and limestone slope just south of the Dordogne River.

A blend of 55% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petit Verdot (lots of color and depth here), Lot 297 is rich, ripe, expressive, open knit and juicy and will have broad appeal.

In the glass it offers offers a dense ruby color with purple reflections. The bouquet is fresh with fruit: strawberry, raspberry, blackcurrant, mingle with jammy blackberry aromas underlined by a discreet touch of violet. On the palate, the fresh attack gives way to what the French like to call an "ample and greedy structure" - I love that phrase. Think hedonistic but with plenty of energy. The finish is soft and fresh, with velvety tannins and excellent purity throughout. This wine will drink well in its youth and over the next decade.

55% Merlot, 25 % Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petit Verdot
Merlot fermentation done in thermo-regulated stainless steel, the Cab and PV in concrete tanks
Aged 12-months in 1-2-year-old French oak barrels.
14% alc.
500 cases produced
Bottled April 17th, 2022

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Lot 298 | 2020 Pauillac Bordeaux Red Wine

One of the most sought after AOC's in all of Bordeaux, Pauillac is where the phrase "iron fist in a velvet glove" is perhaps most appropriately applied.

There is not much I can tell you about the producer of this wine. Like so many bulk deals in Bordeaux, they happen at a quiet restaurant far away from the watchful eyes of ones neighbor's (The Chateau owners detest those selling bulk wine, which is why so many now have third labels on top of their second labels so that they can extend their brand over the Cru Bourgeoise vineyard parcels they've purchased en masse over the last couple of decades - but that is a story for another day).

This deal happened last February at a sidewalk cafe in the city of Bordeaux on a sunny but cold winter day.

My winemaker friend met his winemaker friend, beers were had and a couple of bottles of dark red wine were exchanged. My inquiries were met with shrugged shoulders and a smile - no more information other than the appellation and final blend was forthcoming. Later on, after tasting the wine, I didn't care, I had all I needed to know.

Brilliant and intense deep garnet, this wine exudes elegance and power, the proverbial "iron fist, velvet glove", with lifted notes of violets, cassis, cigar box, leather and incense with toasted vanilla notes and primary black fruits. Still a baby, but juicy, fresh and vibrant with excellent energy and tension, this wine has a gravitas of focus and depth in the mid palate that folds into bright floral notes and black fruits. The freshness gives way to the full-bodied development, with a tannic structure worthy of the great wines of Pauillac, and carries through the long, generous finish with a hint of cedar and toasted vanilla.

100% Pauillac AOC
70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petite Verdot
Barrel regimen unknown but likely about 33% new French oak
13% alc.
400 cases produced

***

Lot 300 | 2019 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

This magnificent Howell Mountain Flagship Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is surely my greatest score from the 2019 vintage (and likely 2018 too, particularly if you prefer the warm, sexy voluptuousness and forward approachability of 2019).

Located in the rolling-hills heart of the Howell Mountain plateau at over 2000-feet of elevation, seated in iron-rich red volcanic soils mixed with layers of volcanic ash and surrounded by Dunn, Outpost, and Adamus, this is some of the best soil for Cabernet Sauvignon in Napa Valley, or anywhere else for that matter.

100% Estate, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, Lot 300 exemplifies the big, extracted flavors of Howell Mountain fruit in a balanced, voluptuously elegant package that beautifully and powerfully expresses the rocky soils and warm climate of this hallowed region.

And, while this is the most expensive "bulk" lot I have ever purchased and the most expensive "future" we have ever offered, it is all with good reason: the wine is well worth it.

Trust me.

Opaque in the glass but not over-extracted. The bouquet is gorgeous, fantastically fresh and redolent with sage and violets, cassis, blackberry, blackcurrant and red rock surrounded by well-integrated, toasty french oak. Everything is beautifully delineated, perfectly ripe and elegantly complex - ebullient but never over the top jammy. On the palate, robust and juicy on entry with plush, chewy tannins perfectly balanced with succulent, ripe black and red fruits riding a tufa-driven minerality carrying this wine to an incredible finish that echoes on your palate for a good minute+.  Polished, ethereal and punchy with tremendous verve throughout, this is a magnificent expression of Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

Lot 300 should go into the bottle beautifully and actually be quite approachable by the end of the year. It will age beautifully for another 15-20 years.

100% Howell Mountain Estate Cabernet Sauvignon
60% new French oak, medium plus toast
15% alc.
125 cases produced
Bottled August 2022