OG Tasting Notes

 

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 Pricing, availability and shipping content may be out of date.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 1 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Priced at $55/bottle under the originating wineries label, this $10/bottle Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon represents an incredible bargain.

Tasting: Opaque in the glass with a dusky plum rim. Dusty blackberry coffeecake with hints of cassis that take on weight as the wine opens up. Before you know it, blueberry, dark chocolate and hazelnut come to the fore before shifting to dusty plums, graphite and earth. Youthful and gregarious, this ever-shifting Cabernet is ripe with complexity. Smooth on entry with chocolate, plums and blackberry fruit coating youthful tannins that dominate the lengthy finish. Well balanced.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - The wine that launched it all. Bourbon-soaked cherry on the nose but still dense and oaky with a great spectrum of French and American oak. Fleshy firm and generous on the palate with lots of sexy oak. Fairly approachable but still lots of unwinding to do here. Day 2: brown sugar, mocha and black licorice join the chorus, much fleshier on the palate with lots of coffee in the finish. Lots of oak to integrate here...still a baby. What a deal...

74% Napa Valley (vineyard sandwiched between Coombsville and Atlas Peak AVA's), 21% Coombsville, and 5% Rutherford.
15.1% alc.
Bottled June 4th, 2020

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Lot 2 | 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Opaque core with magenta/violet rim, this 2017 [redacted]-derived Cabernet Sauvignon leaps from the glass with an amalgam of chaparral, blackberry, black currant, rocky loam and graphite. Sappy, ripe black fruit mingles energetically with [redacted] classic dusty hillside tannins in a long finish echoing blackberry, licorice and tobacco. An archetype of the vintage (with no smoke taint), this sexy, ephemeral, hillside Cabernet front-lines for around $90/bottle at the winery. A steal at $25/bottle.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Sourced from the legendary Stagecoach Vineyard. Those of you lucky enough to have purchased this should be thrilled I think this will go down as one of the best wine deals of all time. The aromas are dense and huge and just starting to complex. Humongous fruit on the palate is mitigated by even more potent mountain structure. Decant for couple hours prior or 24-hour decant.

96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petite Verdot.
60% new French oak and 15.2% alc.
Bottled June 8th, 2020

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Lot 3 | 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc

Sourced from the same vineyard and winery as N.02 Cabernet.

Dark in the glass with an electric purple rim, this wine leaps from the glass with dark cherry, black raspberry, spicy sage and cigar box all wrapped in a halo of earthy dark chocolate. Smooth on entry with juicy red currant and black raspberry notes pinned against a solid framework of fine tannins. Exceptional quality and attention to detail is evident in every aspect of this elegant yet powerfully built red wine. It will drink well now (and is especially food-friendly) and age beautifully over the next 15-years.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Same vineyard source as N.02. Beautiful aromas, complex and elegant yet powerful with dusty tobacco leaf, dried black cherry and rose petal. Fleshy and approachable on the palate but still just a baby decant for a couple hours and enjoy now but know that this wine will age another 15 years easy.

Scheduled bottling date May 28th, 2020

98% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petite Verdot
60% new French oak
15.5% Alcohol
Bottled June 8th, 2020

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Lot 4 | 2017 Napa Valley Merlot

Plum, chocolate, and black currant give way to soaring blue fruit, blackberry and graham cracker. Supple on entry with a juicy mid-palate that delivers blue fruit, black cherry and mineral earth on a wave of silky tannins. Complex and ripe now with beautiful mouthfeel but also gobs of stuffing and 10-15 years of ageing capability. This is a gorgeous example of Napa Valley Merlot and, given its front line retail at $50-60/bottle, a stellar deal at $20/bottle equivalent.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Like N.03, opening now with deep rich fruit and maybe worth sacrificing a bottle to posterity if only to watch how this evolves over the next 15-20 years. Bourbon American oak chewy tannins, crushed rock, range of pie to fresh cherry. Dichotomy of savory oak and roasted chile are filled with lifted red fruits. Day 2: cherry, forest floor and vanilla aromas meet dense, dark fruit that goes supernova with tannins and minerality on the palate. Drinkable, but still a baby.

96% Merlot
2% Cabernet Sauvignon
2% Cabernet Franc
60% New French Oak
15.3% Alcohol
Bottled June 4th, 2020

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Lot 5 | 2018 Coombsville, Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Oh man, this is sexy juice.

Everything I love about Coombsville Cabernet is here: the intriguing meaty florals, the lush richness on the palate.

N.05 features a complex nose of powdered flower, licorice, crushed red rock and coffee bean with pretty red plum and raspberry fruit notes riding a beefy, meaty core. Plump and juicy on the palate with plum, blackberry and cocoa atop a wave of finely tuned tannins that crashes out in a long, velvety finish. This is immensely pleasurable now and will age beautifully over the next 10 years.

100% Cabernet
420 cases produced
75% new French Oak
15.1% alcohol
Bottled June 12th, 2020

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Lot 6 | 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Lively and expressive, our latest offering delivers layered aromas of black cherry, baking spices and seasoned French oak framing ripe plum and blackberry. The aromatic layers compliment the alluring mouthfeel, with a seamless mid palate that balances depth and elegance in equal measure. Sumptuous and racy, its finishes long with sexy red and black fruit riding a wave of beautifully integrated tannins.

With a seriously pedigreed winemaking team and primary sub-AVA's of Oakville and Rutherford, even at $70+ at the winery this is one of Napa Valley's better Cabernet bargains. At $22/bottle, it is a smokin' good deal.

97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petite Verdot
40% new French oak (est.)
14.6% alc.
Bottled June 8th, 2020

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Lot 7 | 2017 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

This is an absolutely gorgeous Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir.

Whole-cluster-fermented and finished in neutral oak, this wine is impressive for its purity. Pretty aromas of strawberry puree and spicy black cherry give way to vanilla-kissed raspberry and cola notes. Rhubarb and underbrush are supported on sappy, lip-smacking acidity in a long, sustained finish haloed with lilac and rose petals.

Elegant and complex, it strikes a beautiful balance between perfectly ripe fruit and balanced structure. Its no wonder this same wine scored a 92 from the Wine Spectator under its original label with a $45 price tag.

12 months in Neutral French oak
14.5% alcohol
100 cases available on re-release
Bottled June 12th, 2020

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Lot 8 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet

Deep, dark and delicious, this gorgeously brooding, primarily Mt. Veeder-derived Cabernet (full breakout below) is an absolute showstopper. Aged in a blend of 50% new American and French oak, this rich yet powerfully structured wine will thrill those of who like their Cabernet's big and bold.

Retailing just south of $100/bottle at the winery, its an incredible value at $29/bottle.

Baking spices of toasted vanilla, nutmeg and brown sugar provide a savory counterpoint to the blackberry syrup and lilac aromas. Plump, juicy layers of red and black fruit combine with mysterious deep and savory tones all lifted by the firm acidity and candied black fruit. Simultaneously lush and powerful, this hillside Cabernet will drink well in its youth while having all the structure and stuffing to go another 10-15 years in the cellar. 14.4% alc.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Deep and mysterious, chock a block with wood, mocha, vanilla, cassis, black cherry, toffee, and deeply toasted French oak, barrel spice of vanilla and cardamom on the finish. Chewy tannins and palate staining weight needs 4-5 months to integrate fruit and wood.

81% Mt. Veeder
19% St. Helena

79% Cabernet Sauvignon
12% Merlot
5% Malbec
3% Petite Verdot
1% Cabernet Franc

50% new French and American oak
50% seasoned cooperage
14.4% Alc.
Bottled June 12th, 2020

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Lot 9 | 2018 Carmel Valley Pinot Noir

The Carmel Valley AVA is not known as a cool-climate but this immediately north-adjacent vineyard to the Carmel Valley AVA border vineyard has nothing in common with the warmer valley influence. High-elevation and windblown with an incredible diurnal swing, this uplifted seabed, shale and chalky sandstone site is more reminiscent of the extreme sites of the Sta. Rita Hills with temps that rarely rise above the 70's.

Here we go folks..another $45 bottle of wine for the equivalent of $15 a bottle.

N.09 2018 Carmel Valley Pinot Noir is pitch perfect aromatically with black cherry, dark earth and clay folded into a cinnamon, ginger and rose petal aromas. Its warm and fleshy on the palate with seamless tannin's lingering in a long, spicy finish of rhubarb and lavender. Yep, sexy juice.

100% Pinot Noir
18 Months in 25% new French Oak
400 cases produced
14.5% Alc.
Bottled June 11, 2020

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Lot 10 | 2019 Napa Valley Rose

Pale salmon in the glass. Beautiful, pure nose of blood orange, peach pie spice, kiwi and wildflower are nicely uplifted on a minerally, aromatic spine. Perfectly smooth and balanced on entry fresh cherry-kiwi tension haloed with coriander spice notes in a long, pristine, lip-smackingly juicy finish.

Provencal in style yet anchored by Bordelais varieties, this rose is a study in elegant precision. Retailing for just under $40/bottle under its original label and produced by one of Napa's original cult Cabernet's from some of the finest Bordelais fruit, this St. Helena estate-derived rose is one of the best in Napa Valley. A steal at $108/case or $9/bottle.

58% Cabernet Sauvignon
21% Petite Verdot
19% Cabernet Franc
2% Malbec

13.5% Alcohol
Bottled June 22nd, 2020

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Lot 11 | 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This all-star Napa Valley Cabernet-based Meritage is sourced from legendary Rutherford and Howell Mountain vineyards with Calistoga playing a supporting role. Focused and expressive, it fully delivers with gorgeous aromas of cassis, black cherry, cigar box and Rutherford dust all accentuated by fine tannins from seasoned French oak. 15% Cabernet Franc blessed the blend bringing added layers of elegant violet aromas and savory depth. Rich and chewy, this is classic Cult-level wine from pioneers in the category; however, its still just a baby so best to cellar this and try in the Fall. Retails for $175/bottle at the winery.

190 cases produced
75% Cabernet, 15% Cab Franc, 9% Petit Verdot, 1% Merlot
60% new French oak
71% Rutherford, 25% Howell Mountain, 4% Calistoga
15% Alc.
Bottled June 22nd, 2020

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Lot 12 | 2018 Napa Valley Chardonnay (100% Estate)

Brilliant in the glass with just a hint of green tinge. The nose is equally brilliant showing banana cream, white peach and nectarine notes with a perfectly meshed with a beautiful jasmine flower, meringue, marshmallow aromatic halo. Its viscous and substantial on entry. On the palate its beautifully knit together, perfectly balanced and seamless with a rich velvety texture. Imagine nectarines over banana creme brulee in a long, lingering finish. This fantastic Chardonnay exhibits textural density without heaviness.

Produced with 100% estate fruit from the originating wineries Oak Knoll vineyard.
Aged in 15 months in 40% new French oak.
100% Chardonnay
14.3% Alcohol
Bottled June 22nd, 2020

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Lot 13 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Sourced from a single vineyard of mostly decomposed, well-drained granite from the hills back up behind Darioush winery, this Napa Valley Cabernet is concentrated and pure. Despite the relatively cool-climate, this wine is perfectly ripe and decadent with loads of boysenberry, black cherry, and cassis contrasting with the savory depths of cedar, soy, ginger spice and high-octane vanilla bean from 70% new French oak.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - This wine was a mess a couple months ago but it is coming around nicely blackberry, cassis, vanilla, red rock, and sweet florals have evolved nicely on the nose. Explosive minerality dominates the palate, however, this needs time to integrate and for the elegance to return. Mineral focus and cassis will continue to develop and shine.

400 cases produced
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
70% new French oak.
14.7% Alc.
Bottled June 19th, 2020

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Lot 14 | 2019 Sierra Foothills Rose

Everything you love about a true Provencal Rose is here...bright, nervy, energetic and truly pitch-perfect. Pale salmon in color, with aromas of fresh-cut strawberry, ruby grapefruit, jasmine, and a hint of bubblegum, this is a wine that will leave your mouth watering. Seamless, crisp and dry on the palate with cool, bright flavors of bing cherry, lychee, and notes of orange blossom, coriander spice and rose petal.

400 Cases produced
87% Mourvedre, 7% Grenache, 4% Counoise, 2% Cinsault
13.8% Alc.
Bottling dates 6/18 and 8/18 (check the sticker on the outer shipper your wine arrives in for your bottling date)

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Lot 15 | 2018 Napa Valley Merlot (Oakville/Oak Knoll)

92 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

A brooding Merlot that will change anyone's mind about the variety to the positive side. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS July 6, 2021

Its safe to say that when its comes to Napa Valley red wines, Merlot absolutely over-delivers in comparison to Cabernet Sauvignon. After the massive culling of California's Merlot vines in the wake of Sideways the movie and the early 2000's oversupply, what's left is the best performing vines wineries were loathe to part with.

Today's offering is sourced from one of Oakville's legendary eastside producers and a combination of 60% Oakville Estate Merlot and 37% from Oak Knoll's western alluvial fans (plus a dollop of 3% Atlas Peak Cabernet we feathered for added depth and focus). The result is deliciously seamless combination of perfectly ripe fruit and loamy earth. At $60+ at the winery, its an extraordinary value at $19/bottle.

Deeply colored and beautifully aromatic with blue and black fruit layered against a background of loamy olive and toasty French oak. Again, its seamless and supple across the palate with brown sugar, clove, blackberry and more toasty french oak haloed with Anaheim chile spice. The finish is long and layered. Drink now and over the next decade.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Even as a barrel sample, this wine took a few days to open up and it is finally opening up in the bottle. No surprise that it is doing so now but the evolution is still surprising from a couple months ago. Beautiful, pure, singing cherry fruit mixes with sweet florals and graphite. A true elevage of character coalescing beautifully with pomegranate, refined savory notes of humidor and aged spruce. Fleshy yet composed, extracted with restraint. Still nicely wound on the palate with pretty acidity lifting elegant red fruits. Fantastic, very classy wine from a legendary producer

60% Oakville, 37% Oak Knoll, 3% Atlas Peak
50% new French oak
600 cases produced
14.8% Alc.
Bottled June 30th, 2020

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Lot 16 | 2019 Sonoma County Sauvignon Blanc

We blended two parcels together from top $40-$50 Napa Sauvignon Blanc producers (yes, Napa producers sourcing from SoCo) to create a gorgeous wine better than the sum of its parts.

One parcel is 100% barrel fermented and the other is fermented in a variety of vessels including an array of new French oak barrels, concrete eggs and stainless steel barrels for lees contact. The fruit is sourced from top vineyard sites in Sonoma Mountain, Dry Creek and Knights Valley AVA's. The result is a sumptuous yet electric experience that, for $13.50/bottle, will blow your mind.

Jumps out of the glass with pink grapefruit, ripe honeydew melon, white peach, lemon oil, and fresh cut lemongrass aromatics. The palate is a cool breeze in the warmth of the garden showing great balance, tension and precision. Bright guava, juicy stone fruit, and hints of pineapple pair with a grapefruit acidity that lead to a long finish and a little anaheim chile kick. Frequent lees bâtonnage for both parcels adds a kiss of creaminess and more layers of complexity. This beautiful wine will age gracefully for another 5-8+ years.

Wine Details
55% Sonoma Mountain, 37% Dry Creek, and 8% Knights Valley
13.8% Alc.
Bottled July 30th, 2020

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Lot 17 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

94-POINTS! Platinum Medal
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

Sometimes Napa Valley producers eschew trends and opt for what I'll call an old school style “ one that's built to age and unwind slowly, revealing its charms down the road. That what's going on in this bottling. The good news is that it's priced in such a way as to let you enjoy its evolution over time. You won't find wines like this at this price “ so jump while you can! A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
94-POINTS Oct 5, 2021

93-POINTS!
2021 Critics Challenge Wine Competition

There's real structure here, and the oak serves to enhance the fruit and make for a layered delight. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition. Gold Medal.
93-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

Chosen for its approximation of St. Emilion's gravelly soils, this organically-farmed estate vineyard is sandwiched between Atlas Peak and Oak Knoll and situated on a broad, gravelly alluvial fan that straddles one of the creek drainages coming off of Atlas Peak and Mount George. With classic Bordelais-style super-dense vine spacing yielding only 3 tons/acre of intense, concentrated fruit, the resulting wine will be delicious right out of the bottle (once through bottle shock) but has the structure and stuffing to go another decade in the cellar.

Intense notes of blackberry, cassis, and bing cherry followed by layers of cigar box, toasty french oak and violets. Bold plum and ripe raspberry balanced with lively acidity and firm tannins usher in a flourish of vanilla and spice in a long, lingering finish. The tannins soften in the decanter adding subtle notes of brandied cherries and oiled leather. Well-balanced with beautifully attenuated fruit, this French pedigreed, First Growth-quality Cabernet is about as terroir-driven a wine as you'll find in Napa Valley.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Hurray! This wine has gone in and out of funk with cranky, leesy aromatics and an angular palate. It has come around beautifully, however, really cracking open with cassis and raspberry and a palate staining finish this wine is a total monster with an alluvial tannin profile that will continue to complex beautifully.

Wine Details
90% Cabernet, 5% Merlot, 5% Petite Verdot
25% New French and American oak, tight grain, low to medium toast
14.4% Alc.
Bottled June 26th, 2020

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Lot 18 | 2018 Napa Valley Malbec

I rarely find a stand alone varietal Malbec so this wine was a complete surprise. With a French winemaker at the helm and fruit sourced in the cooler climes of southern Napa Valley (alluvial fans east of Silverado Trail sandwiched between Atlas Peak AVA and Coombsville AVA), its Cahors-like stylings feature an inky, dark and brooding character coupled with complex aromatics. Its Reserve-level quality with 35% new French oak and mixture of one- and two-year old barrels.

Inky black in the glass with an electric magenta rim. Beguiling nose of deep plum, blackberry and sensuously meaty dark cocoa halo'd with powdered pink flower with hints of iodine/oregano spice. Fleshy and juicy on the palate with soft tannins, mouth watering acidity, and fine french oak tannins on the finish. This a captivating and sensuous wine made with a deft hand.

300 cases available
35 new French oak, remainder 1- and 2-year old French oak
14.4% Alc.
Bottled June 19th, 2020

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Lot 19 | 2018 Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot Noir

GOLD - 93-POINTS!

JUNE 2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE RESULTS

Bold black cherry gets the zesty treatment thanks to lively acidity that gives the finish real pop A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
93-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

Sourced from wind-whipped, 2000+-foot elevation vineyards high in the Santa Cruz Mountains, this estate, reserve-designate Pinot Noir normally retails well north of $50/bottle. A pioneer not just in the region but of the varietal in general, this state-of-the-art winery produces world-class Pinot Noirs balancing forward yet energetic fruit with outstanding complexity.

Elegant and layered, with black cherry, rhubarb, dark redwood earth, cinnamon and ginger, with a hint of vanilla from the lightly toasted French oak. Lovely array of baking spice and cola on the palate, framed in earthy freshness and energetic red fruit structure that offers length and power. A true classic built by the master. Will age beautifully for 10+ years.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - This absolutely classic Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot has come around beautifully. Ethereal, mouthwatering and magnificent with its muscular dijon clones just starting to unwind. Elegance, flesh, spice and depth - lifted aromatics of rose petals and dried orange peels, dried strawberry and red hard candy contrast with savory depths of Asian spice and redwood forest (redwood duff, bay leaves). Seasoned French oak lends smoked paprika and toasted vanilla. Lighter red fruit spectrum is complexed with cola and chalky tannins and pretty minerality in a potent structure. So much here.

Bottled July 15th, 2020
20% new French Oak
14.5% alc.
450 cases produced

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Lot 20 | 2018 Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

92 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Rich oak spice tempers the ripe berry fruit beautifully here. Decant now or cellar a while - I'm in favor of now for the lively spice. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS July 6, 2021

This is the Reserve offering from the same producer as N.17 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet and, of course, is produced with the same Bordelais sensibility. Its also the most expensive wine I have purchased to date but well worth it.

As a refresher, this wine is produced from an organically-farmed estate vineyard sandwiched between Atlas Peak and Oak Knoll and situated on a broad, gravelly alluvial fan that straddles one of the creek drainages coming off of Atlas Peak and Mount George. Producing less than 2 tons to the acre, this particular bottling showcases the small but intensely flavored berries of the Clone 337 Cabernet smuggled in from Bordeaux by impatient vintners in the 1980's.

The small berries of the Clone 337 are immediately evident in this virtually opaque, black hole of a Cabernet. Its remarkably aromatic however, brooding at first with dark plum, graphite, blackberry and kirschy cassis notes but then, with just a little air, its quickly lifted by beautifully integrated florals that sing out from the glass. Dark earth and clay, cedar and mocha underpin the higher-toned fruits and round out the aromas. Gorgeous. Seamless on entry, lip-smacking minerality is deftly balanced against a wave of robust, blackberry-slathered tannins in a long, pure, resounding finish. Classically-styled, this wine will age gracefully for another 20+ years in a proper cellar.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Tightly wound out of the bottle with fleeting aromas with a couple minutes of air, however, blue fruit pokes through with savory notes of cola and sarsaparilla laced with herbs of thyme and coriander, seasoned French oak and vanilla toast. Focused and extracted, rich on the palate with fine and chewy tannins throughout - needs time but gaining focus. This big boy has earned a place in your cellar. More approachable than I had anticipated with so much more to come.

100% new French oak but you wouldn't know - very tight grain.
350 cases produced
15.9% alc.
Bottled June 19th, 2020

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Lot 21 | 2018 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon

Sourced from a Howell Mountain producer famous for their dedication to only producing Cabernet from high-elevation, hillside sites, this Atlas Peak Cabernet is one of several we acquired. Intended to be the inaugural launch of a new $90/bottle Cabernet selection for their brand, they have since decided now is not the time to launch an addition to their lineup.

Inky black in the glass. The classic Atlas Peak aromas of cherries jubilee, raspberries and fresh-turned black earth, white flowers, wet rock, mocha and fresh asphalt are ever-changing and ethereal in this freshly bottled, and still shocky, Cabernet (bottled June 25). Supple on entry with ripe blackberry and raspberry fruit and an acacia flower halo just beginning to coalesce and stretch out over the tannins, its already showing well and should be drinking nicely by mid-August. Of course, the best of this wine is still to come and I think its will be wonderfully approachable by this Fall.

600 cases produced
75% new French oak
14.5% alc.
Bottled July 7th, 2020

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Lot 22 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet

Sourced from the same producer as N.21 Atlas Peak Cabernet, this is again a collection of hillside vineyard sites from some of Napa's top AVA's. Less than 300 cases produced.

41% Napa Valley (hillside vineyard just below Atlas Peak AVA)
39% Atlas Peak AVA
11% Calistoga AVA
5% Pritchard Hill AVA
4% Howell Mountain

Opaque in the glass with a hint of brick red. Rich, ripe plum and blackcurrant are nestled against acacia florals and crushed red rock. With air the nose opens up driving complexity to the fore with black cherry and dark clayey earth mingling nicely. The oak here is beautifully integrated, lifting the fruit and supporting the deeper registers but never out of place. On the palate, there's real fruit intensity and liveliness here that frames the red and black fruits and fleshes out the tannins in a long, resplendent finish.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Initial pop of leather fades into the background as cassis and blackberry join the fray but at the end of the day this is still tight and unyielding. However, its huge on the palate, tooth staining and tightly wound. Don't touch for another year.

290 cases produced
60% new French oak, lower toast (that's a guesstimate)
14.5% alc.
Bottled July 8th, 2020

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Lot 23 | 2019 Napa Carneros Chardonnay

92-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

From the same producer as N.24 Pinot Noir, N.23 Chardonnay is sourced from one of the most northeastern vineyards in the rolling hills of Napa Carneros that eventually become the Mayacamas range and Mt. Veeder. This is great dirt and about as good as it gets for the region.

From 25-to 40+-year-old vines, whole cluster pressed and 100% barrel fermented in 30-35% new French oak, this beautiful Chardonnay combines vibrant fruit and toasty oak with refined elegance. Partial 25-30% malolactic fermentation adds creaminess without being overbearing.

Gorgeous aromas of spicy pear, pineapple and succulent blossom overlay wet stone and deeper elements of ripe fig and toasty oak. Clean and bright on entry with pretty notes of baked apple and lemon/lime, its finishes with palate coating weight balanced against mineral spice. The harmony of acidity and voluminous fruit here is spectacular. At $16/bottle equivalent versus $35, its phenomenal.

Wine Details
35% new French oak
14.4% alc.
Bottled August 21st, 2020

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Lot 24 | 2019 Napa Carneros Pinot Noir

91 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

OG N.24 Pinot Noir is sourced from one of the most northeastern vineyards in the rolling hills of Napa Carneros that eventually become the Mayacamas range and Mt. Veeder. This is great dirt and about as good as it gets for the region.

Cherry red with a pretty violet purple edge. Leaps from the glass with black cherry, wild strawberry and rhubarb framed against spicy, peppery earth. Rich, ripe and silky across the palate but well supported with ample structure and delicate tannins. Fresh and spicy on the finish with hints of mushroom and herb, this is one delicious pinot you won't want to miss.

I think this Pinot is actually a good deal at the $35/bottle winery tariff. At $18/bottle, its a ridiculously good deal.

900 cases produced
35% new French Oak
14.5% alc.
Bottled August 18th, 2020

***

Lot 25 | 2018 Spring Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

94-POINTS! Platinum Medal
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

Mountainside tannins are quite tight in this young bottling, as they should be. This will unwind beautifully with extended cellaring that will soften the tannins and integrate the oak load, leaving a solid representation of the AVA. A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
94-POINTS Oct 5, 2021

Classic Spring Mountain hillside Cabernet Sauvignon! Sourced from one of Napa Valleys more impressive (not to mention naturally low-yielding) vineyards, this Cabernet Sauvignon retails well north of $75/bottle and has mid 90-point scores from either the Wine Spectator or Wine Enthusiast for the 2014-2016 vintages. This is an incredible deal at $32/bottle.

Recent review from Joe Roberts - One Wine Dude:
2018 OG de Negoce Cabernet Sauvignon N. 25 (Spring Mountain District): Punching so far above its weight class and price stature that it must have Inspector Gadget arms. A-

The dense color powerfully suggests its mountain origins. Graphite and violets halo perfumed cherry notes and a beam of pure raspberry fruit framed against savory, earthy tones of rocky clay, crushed rock, bell pepper, and seasoned oak. Blackberry and leather come out with air. Smooth and sophisticated on entry with elegant mouthfeel and subtle fruit framed against firm yet refined mountain tannins on the finish. Structure and elegance abound in this well-proportioned Cabernet weighing in at 14.2% alcohol . Drink now with a good decant and over the next 20 years.

July 2nd Update Showing quite well now and opening up nicely elegant, perfumed cherry notes match savory earthy tones of rocky clay, bell pepper, seasoned oak, elegant mouthfeel with firm mountain structure on the finish. Recommend 24-hour decant at this young stage fairly low pH and big tannin structure has kept this wine pretty tight but it should begin to really sing in the Fall

82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Cabernet Franc, 5% Malbec
100% French oak, 60% new, medium-toast mainly.
14.2% alc.
800 cases available
Bottled July 21st, 2020

***

Lot 26 | 2018 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

California's version of Montrachet, this is a ludicrously gorgeous wine. Golden in the glass and perfectly ripe with peach blossom, butterscotch and stone fruit enmeshed with a sublime amalgam of pear, apple and creme brulee. If rich, ripe and complex Chardonnay is your thing, I highly recommend this wine.

200 cases produced
100% barrel fermented
14.5% alc
Bottled August 17th, 2020

***

Lot 27 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet

N.27 is the first of three hillside vineyard release all from the same producer. The common thread here is hillside vineyards at elevation in the Vaca Mountain range. Each wine is elegantly structured and beautifully delineated with a strong sense of place. Clearly these are expertly made with a deft hand. My favorite part is the gorgeously perfumed aromatics. 60-70% new French oak, 14.7% alc. Bottled July 21st.

Originally priced between $100/ and $150/bottle, now $35/bottle.

Sourced from the producers estate vineyard in the foothills of Howell Mountain but just a stones throw outside the official AVA, N.27 Cabernet features mouth-watering red fruits and spice - black cherry, brown sugar, hot cinnamon, leather - and is smooth and fleshy on the palate with dark chocolate, cherry, fine french oak tannins and lightly toasted oak on the finish. Fantastic length and complexity.

CHECK-IN TASTING 6/29 - Cellar until Fall 2022

CHECK-IN TASTINGÂ 1/14/2022 - Day 1: Bourbon notes with humidor, leather. Super savory, extracted with oak toast and tannin. Day 2: Wow, bourbon soaked cherry, cedar, humidor, fine layer of tannins throughout the palate, firm and focused extraction, barrel spice and toast lingers on the finish

225 cases available.
Bottled August 21st, 2020

***

Lot 28 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

N.28 is the second of three hillside vineyard release all from the same producer. The common thread here is hillside vineyards at elevation in the Vaca Mountain range. Each wine is elegantly structured and beautifully delineated with a strong sense of place. Clearly these are expertly made with a deft hand. My favorite part is the gorgeously perfumed aromatics. 60-70% new French oak, 14.8% alc. Bottled July 21st.

Originally priced between $100/ and $150/bottle, now $35/bottle equivalent.

N.28 Napa Cabernet is sourced from a hillside vineyard just north of Pritchard Hill above Lake Hennessy. Expressive layers bright and vibrant on the palate violets, anise, bing cherry, plum, kiss of brett, leather upholstery and fine french oak finished tannin. Darker fruit and bit more muscle on the palate than N.27, this wine finishes long and rich.

300 cases available
Bottled August 21st, 2020

***

Lot 29 | 2018 Coombsville Cabernet Sauvignon

N.29 is the third of three hillside vineyard release all from the same producer. The common thread here is hillside vineyards at elevation in the Vaca Mountain range. Each wine is elegantly structured and beautifully delineated with a strong sense of place. Clearly these are expertly made with a deft hand. My favorite part is the gorgeously perfumed aromatics. 60-70% new French oak, 15.1% alc. Bottled July 21st.

Originally priced between $100/ and $150/bottle, now $29/bottle.

Sourced from yet another hillside vineyard in, you guessed it, Coombsville. Blackberry and cassis, red rock minerality, acacia flower and earth - lip-smacking yet plump fruit is beautifully integrated with the fine french oak flourish. With plenty of air, a blueberry and beefy iron component (a hallmark of Coombsville Cabernet in my estimation) joins the fray and echoes through the lengthy finish.

40 cases available (why so small? The total production was only 215 cases and the other inventory was sold in a 3-case collection available to the most active list members).

Bottled August 21st, 2020

***

Lot 30 | 2018 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon

97-POINTS and WINE OF THE YEAR
2021 SOMMELIER CHALLENGE INTERNATIONAL

Atlas Peak's fruit and tannin structure are hard to miss in this wine. There is an elegant rusticity to the best wines that hail from there, and this can be counted among them. Fresh blackberry and crushed rock minerality come in wave across the supple texture, and a dusty character puts a little edge on the flavors that linger well into the distance. Something smothered in a brown mushroom sauce will be a great pairing. A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
97-POINTS Oct 5, 2021

2018 OG de Negoce N. 30 Cabernet Sauvignon (Atlas Peak): Big-time yummy, and showing equally big-time amounts of craftsmanship. A-
1 Wine Dude - Joe Roberts 11/8/21

Old world meets new in this harmonious and deftly balanced high-elevation, hillside Cabernet. Densely colored with aromas of blackcurrant, plum and blackberry mingling with shiitake mushroom, graphite and white flowers and just a kiss of brown sugar oak. Well proportioned, elegant and refined throughout with a creamy texture and silky sweet tannins, this incredibly well-crafted Cabernet will have broad appeal. Drink now or hold for another decade or two.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - This is seriously classy juice. Nice, seasoned oak mocha and woody resin notes out of the bottle fruit and tertiary aromas start to punch through with air...tobacco, leather, black cherry, black current and toffee. Finally coming around and integrating the oak. Decant for a couple hours or 24-hour decant.

Wine Details
50% new French Oak
14.7% alc.
Bottled August 10th, 2020

***

Lot 31 | 2018 Dry Creek Zinfandel

Sourced from from an iconic and pioneering winery in the region, N.31 is classic Dry Creek Zinfandel in every sense of the word. Planted over a hundred years ago, this estate vineyard now features 40-to 80-year-old head-pruned, hillside Zinfandel vines and a few acres of 100+-year-old Petite Sirah that make their way into the blend.

This Zinfandel could easily command a $35-$40 price tag but the debt-free estate, along with the producers belief that good wine belongs on the table, have kept the prices reasonably in the $25 range. At $15/bottle its a pretty damn good deal too.

Fairly dark in the glass suggesting a bit more structure than your average Zinfandel. The nose is bright with ripe raspberry, blackberry and warm baking spice aromas haloed with black pepper, vanilla and toasty, chocolatey oak notes from 30% new American oak barrels. Blueberry and cocoa come up with air. Plump and jammy fruit warm coat the palate but the underlying structure keeps this wine well-balanced. Its actually quite elegant for all its richness while keeping true to its producer's belief that wine should be a part of the table (I'm quite loving it with my grilled pesto salmon right now). Berry and toasty oak finish are well-delineated in long and spicy finish. Enjoy now or cellar for another 3-6 years.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Fairly approachable but still resolving big tannins and considerable acidity. Enjoy now with robust game meats and beef as well as rich, fatty dishes where the current structure can shine

90% Zinfandel and 10% Petite Sirah
30% new American oak
14.8% alc.
Bottled 7/28

***

Lot 32 | 2018 Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

91 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Tight-knit and peppery with lots of pairing possibilities, and age-worthy to boot. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
91-POINTS July 6, 2021

Back we go to the Dry Creek but this time to a west side benchland vineyard about as far west as you can go before hitting mountainous terrain. It's an awesome site, well-drained with a microclimate a touch cooler than the rest of Dry Creek Valley largely due to afternoon down-slope winds coming off the mountains and, to some degree, proximity to the ocean. The blend below is what we purchased from the producer and, given the reason for the sale was we have more than we need, I assume their bottling blend.

I attended a zoom conference with various wine writers last week. This is the first published review for this wine. From wine blogger and reviewer, Jeff Kralik AKA the Drunken Cyclist, and published on CellarTracker.

8/14/2020 - The Drunken Cyclist Likes this wine: 91 Points
Cameron Hughes claimed that this was a $40-50 wine from perhaps my favorite Sonoma County appellation. Who am I to disagree? Dark in the glass with a fruity compote of blackberry, cassis and black pepper in the glass. The palate is fruity and inviting with plenty of acid to balance out the fruit, that black pepper, and a touch of mild tobacco. Yum. The tannins are there, but soft, suggesting a short-term cellaring here (3-5 years, max). Another winner from the wine-whisperer. Dark in the glass with an electric plum rim. Crazy, almost volcanic-like aromas of graphite, cassis, and red clay slathered with dried herbs, savory crushed plum and blackberry jam. With air, the addition of white florals and a wonderful red fruit and loam character take the complexity next level. Ripe and chewy on the palate with robust yet soft tannins that integrate nicely with a black fruit and dark chocolate oak finish.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 -The aromatics are fairly robust but the palate is beautifully resolved and seamless. Still, this wine has gobs of structure and fairly tightly wound. Decant for a couple hours and, like N.31, enjoy with rich foods.

Wine Details
84% Cabernet, 9% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec, 3% Petite Verdot
40% new French oak
14.7% alc.
Bottled July 29th, 2020

***

Lot 33 | 2018 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This is one of several wines I've purchased from sommeliers-turned-winemakers. I love the sensibility of this Cabernet: its all about beautiful aromas and juicy fruit with the fantastic acidity that makes for great food pairing. Very much a vin de terroir.

Refreshingly low in alcohol at 13.6%, this Cabernet will surprise you with ripe and lovely aromas of powdered lilac, black cherry, crushed red rock and black earth. Its juicy on the palate with pretty fruits well-delineated along a beam of chalky, cherry-slathered acidity that leads refreshingly clean and pure finish with a real crystalline quality. Rich in fruit and soft in barrel, this delightful, food-friendly Cabernet Sauvignon offers elegant fruit and nuanced complexity. Frontlines at $50/bottle, pretty good deal at $18/bottle.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Drinking beautifully now with pure fruit and nicely integrated wood. Excellent length but a good decant is certainly in order.

13.6% alc.
350 cases available
35% new French oak, low toast
Bottled August 10th

***

Lot 34 | 2018 Bennett Valley, Sonoma County Merlot

From a steep, hillside vineyard on the slopes of volcanic Sonoma Mountain (Sonoma Mountain AVA overlaps Bennett Valley and this vineyard straddles the two), this Right-Bank style Merlot is rich and powerful with intense fruit and fantastic structure. This is the best Merlot I have had in years and one of the better examples in the state. Damn...makes me want to run out to Bennett Valley and plant a vineyard of tightly-spaced Merlot (Syrah too - seeing some nice ones from here as well).

Dark and concentrated in the glass with ripe black raspberry, cassis and bergamot aromas haloed with bay leaf and dark chocolate. Smooth on entry with raspberry puree and plum beautifully uplifted with perfectly integrated oak. There is terrific concentration and structure on the palate with the acidity providing nice tension. Great Merlot!

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Same producer as N.33. This is from their estate vineyard in Bennett Valley, the home of Matanzas Creek Merlot. If you liked that wine back when Dave Ramey was at the helm, you'll love this. It is the outlier in terms of alc (14.8%), and bit brawnier and richer than the other selections; however, its delivers fantastic mouthfeel along with an elegant structure such that you would never guess the alc.

30% new French oak
14.8% alc.
400 cases produced
Bottled August 10th, 2020

***

Lot 35 | 2019 Russian River Sauvignon Blanc

This is a fantastically quaffable Sauvignon Blanc. A combination of stainless steel and barrel-fermentation, its absolutely redolent with quince, guava, key lime and a kiss on banana oil all haloed with powdered blossoms dripping with honey and toasty oak. Soft, generous and juicy on entry with ample support from chalk acidity. Finishes with a flourish of stone fruit, apple skin and pretty minerality. Deeeeelicious. Retails for $35/bottle, yours for $12/bottle.

50% stainless steel, 50% barrel-fermented
14.3% Alc.
350 cases available
Bottled August 10, 2020

***

Lot 36 | 2018 Sonoma Altitude Chardonnay

Back up the Mayacamas we go. Retailing for over $50 a bottle and sporting several low-to-mid-90's scores from the critics critics, this high-altitude-grown Chardonnay is a spectacular example of beautiful fruit lovingly draped over mountain structure. There are very limited quantities so act fast.

Rich and complex on the nose with ripe florals, spicy apple custard and honeyed citrus sitting atop a distinctive Bartlett pear note. Nicely rounded and mouth-filling on the palate with what appears to be a signature oiliness similar to the Viognier (if which, there are 19 cases left as of this writing), but with ample tension that perfectly integrates the rich fruit viscosity and vibrant acidity. Booyah.

approx. 20% new French oak
14.1% alc.
Bottled August 17th, 2020

***

Lot 37 | 2018 Sonoma County Altitude Viognier

This incredible high-elevation, hillside vineyard is located on the spine of the Mayacamas Mountains at well over 2,000 feet and just outside the Spring Mountain District. The original bottling has multiple 90+ critics scores and a $45 price point.

N.37 2018 Sonoma County Viognier was barrel-fermented in neutral oak with periodic battonage to add depth, dimension and weight to the crystalline mineral character. Its extremely aromatic with honeyed nectarine, peach and allspice aromas wrapped in notes of lovely white flower and sweet blossom. On the palate, the rich, almost oily, character of the wine imparts a perception of sweetness and an awesome length to the finish but the acidity is always there and the wine finishes with lip-smacking minerality slathered in stone and citrus fruit notes (again, bone-dry, no residual sugar).

This is a stellar example of the varietal and an incredible offer at $14. I know a case of Viognier might be hard to swallow but, once you taste this, you won't have any problems doing so :-)

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - This beauty has taken some time to come out and play due both to its 2200-foot elevation high in the Mayacamas Mountains and the low O2-transfer closure we deployed. But its here now and showing beautifully. Viscous aromas of ginger, peach, and white flower swim in saline viscous and chewy on the palate as well with schist/chalky acidity carrying ripe peach and nectarine with ginger spice. Plenty of fruit weight here and excellent structure with spicy mineral finish. Will age nicely over the next 10+ years.

14.5% alc
Barrel-fermented neutral French oak
500 cases available.
bottled on August 17th, 2020

***

Lot 38 | 2018 Sonoma Altitude Syrah

The last of our Altitude series of Sonoma County wines sourced from a high-altitude vineyard on the Mayacamas Mountain, just a stones throw from the Spring Mountain District, OG N.38 2018 Sonoma Altitude Syrah is a fantastic Cote Rotie-styled effort combining a meaty savoriness with spicy herbal notes and black and blue fruits. There's plenty of mountaintop backbone to meld the richness and power.

White pepper and mulberry pie are haloed with blueberry, tarry earth and lilac. The wine is powerfully built with a firm structure that readily supports the various layers of rich fruit and gamy earth. Seamless across the palate finishing with tons of pepper and black fruit in a silky tannin flourish. Delicious now but will age another 8-12 years easy.

100% neutral barrel
400 cases up for grabs
14% alc.
Bottled November 19th, 2020.

***

Lot 39 | 2018 Calistoga Cabernet Sauvignon

This storied Calistoga estate in the shadow of Mount St. Helena effectively put California winemaking on the map. Well-respected for their efforts to create wines of balance and restraint, the house style focuses on mating beautiful, dry-farmed fruit with very fine grain french oak that elevates and frames the fruit without overpowering it. We purchased the main component from their $60+/bottle program and then added about 10% from various small, very high-end barrel lots we hold onto for blending purposes. The resulting blend maintains the pretty fruit character while elevating the complexity.

Wonderfully uplifted and pure nose of pretty raspberry and black cherry is framed by an amalgam of red clay and dark earth kissed with cocoa dust and pink blossom. Smooth and glycerine-like on entry with juicy, nervy, energetic fruit that continues to build on the palate in a seemingly never-ending finish of red fruit and mineral. Deeeelicious.

30% new French Oak
13.7% alc.
200 cases available.
Bottled October 5th, 2020

***

Lot 40 | 2018 Diamond Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

93 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Don't go near this for at least five years, when it's likely to add a point or two to its resume. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
93-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

Dark in the glass, this gorgeous Cabernet offers up a beautiful halo of ripe acacia blossom, pretty cassis and cocoa-powdered blackberries lifted on a red-fruit scented minerality - you can taste the volcanic soils of Diamond Mountain. With just a bit of air it turns cologne-like, a beguiling and complex array of fruit, earth and oak. Its chiseled and precise on the palate with a panoply of red and black fruits riding a beam of dusty, bramble-coated minerality on a wave of chewy tannins. Gout de terroir Spectacular!

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Like 50 and 82, this wine is just pure oak at this point and a total waste of time to open. I wouldn't touch these for another year or so.

92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot
50% new French Oak
14.9% alc.
Bottled July 21st, 2020

***

Lot 41 | 2018 St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon

PLATINUM - 94-POINTS!
CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

This delivers the appellation profile over a supple structure with elegance and length. There is a reason that St. Helena is the crown jewel of the Napa Valley, and this bottling is just another example. Blackberry, cassis, faint dried herbs, subtle spice -- it's all here, and will be for a good long while. A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
94-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

Scoring 94-95 points from The Wine Advocate the last four vintages, this lush, hedonistic St. Helena Cabernet is a classic Parker, petal-to-the-metal, blockbuster-styled wine. Barrel-fermented in 100% new French oak, its packed with exuberant and gorgeously pure fruit. Sensuous as hell, with a magnificent, palate-coating, tooth-staining structure, it drinks very well now but has all the stuffing to go another 15-20 years in your cellar (but, like I said, you needn't wait, its drink really well now).

Dense purple in the glass, it exudes creme de cassis and boysenberry jam underscored with fruit cake, pencil lead, and smoky cinnamon spice from all the new French oak. Smooth and creamy on the palate with loads of black fruit preserves, dark chocolate-covered cherries and plush tannins that caress the palate in a long, sensuous finish. Fantastic!

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Heady and hedonistic, this wine will roll your eyes back in your head. Date cake and black fruit are slathered in oak at this point and weighing down the rest of the aromatic profile focused, extracted and seamless not to mention spectacularly structured but trapped in 100% new French oak for now, give this another 4-6 months for bottle bouquet development. Use 24-hour decant.

Wine Details
100% barrel-fermented in 100% new French Oak
97% Cabernet, 2% Petite Verdot, 1% Merlot
16% alc.
Bottled August 10th, 2020

***

Lot 42 | 2018 St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon

SHIPS OCTOBER 12TH

I think this may be my favorite Cabernet release to date (certainly top 3). What I love is the combination of power and elegance, the silky tannins and lush oak that perfectly frames the powerful hillside fruit. Hedonistic stuff for sure, but the meticulousness, the jewelry-making going on here, really shows through.

This is the wineries bottling blend retailing at $125/bottle and typically only available through mailing list/allocation.
Only 300 cases produced and its magnificent.
Producer at the eastern edge of St Helena appellation on a 10-acre hillside vineyard just over the Silverado Trail.
Accessible now but will age for decades.
Grab it up, this is the kind of Cabernet that put Napa Valley on the map.

Succulent florals, black cherry and black berry burst from the glass, uplifted over dark earth and subtle oak. Broad and expansive on the palate with fine tannins supporting a rich amalgam of dark stone fruits in a long, lingering finish. Ripe, yet lively and energetic throughout, this a powerful wine beautifully balanced.

75% Cabernet, 12% Petite Verdot, 10% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc.
Guessing 65% to 75% new French oak
15.1% alc
300 cases available
Bottled August 20th, 2020

***

Lot 43 | 2018 Napa (Oakville/St. Helena) Cabernet Sauvignon

This is an absurd deal. With a history of consistent 90-92 pt scores from the Wine Spectator, Robert Parker, James Suckling as well as Decanter magazine, this delicious 2018 Cabernet is 69% Oakville Cabernet from the producers estate vineyard and 31% St. Helena Cabernet. Sourced from an Oakville estate winery with an original list price of well over $65/bottle, its a screaming deal at $25!

Dark/opaque in the glass with barely perceptible crimson on the rim. Black cherry, black currant, cigar box and fresh turned earth are framed against baking spice, dark chocolate and toasty oak. Generous yet seamless on the palate with layers of ripe plum and cherry framed against the ample grip of toasty, big-grained Oakville tannins. Tons of length in the finish with plenty of mouthwatering tension. This is an incredible Napa Valley Cabernet for $25/bottle!

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Mostly Oakville Cabernet. Lovely cassis aromas mix with old school brett/leather (this is the good brettanomyces, not the band-aid smell, but for the sensitive you'll want to avoid). Plentiful acidity needs time to calm down so, for now, enjoy with richer dishes. However, this wine is headed in a very good direction and patience is required.

Check-in Tasting 1/14/2022 - Oh my! This wine has arrived - beautifully complexed aromas with layers of cherry and cassis mingle with brown sugar, vanilla, anise, and savory notes of soy, dark earth. Bright and vibrant on the front of the palate and the spice and earth evolves and complexes throughout the palate.

45% new French oak
69% Oakville (estate fruit), 31% St. Helena
14.7% alc.
Bottled August 12th, 2020

***

Lot 44 | 2018 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

92 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

WINEREVIEWONLINE.COM
The appellation speaks clearly here, with a dusty aroma and texture surrounding subtle black fruit. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92 Rich Cook July 6, 2021

This a stunning wine, classic Rutherford from tip-to-tail. The source winery has a variety of sub-appellated Napa Cabernet's ranging from $90-120/bottle and I think its fair to assume this would have slotted in that price range. Seems a hell of a deal at $32/bottle.

Dark with a kiss of cherry red, dense but not opaque. Leaping from the glass with dusty mint and crushed red rock mingling with blackberry and cassis, each precise and delineated. The pristine aromatics are striking. With air, toasty oak wraps around a deep core of dark fruits. Well-balanced on entry with perfectly-ripe and racy red and black fruits amply supported with juicy yet crystalline minerality. This wine is beautifully attenuated and super-precise, dancing on your palate with nuance and complexity. I have purchased several wines from this producer and every wine has tremendous precision and grace. My hats off to their winemaker.

100% Cabernet
approx 60% new French oak
14.3% alc.
Bottled August 7th, 2020

***

Lot 45 | 2018 St. Helena Merlot

92 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

There's a brightness to the fruit here that's hard to maintain. Red, black and blue berries are layered and elegant. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

Sourced from the same producer as Lot N.07 Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir, N.45 2018 St. Helena Merlot is a lush, delicious wine with a solid structure that delivers an umami experience like no other varietal. With 22-months in fine French oak, little expense was spared in its production.

Lush plum, blackberry and pretty cherry are bracketed by sexy, toasty oak, acacia florals, cedar and cocoa powder notes. As promised, its lush on the palate but very well supported with pretty cherry, boysenberry and chocolate toffee oak notes in a long, clean finish. Yes, its rich and ripe but also very well-balanced - clearly a deft hand at the wheel here.

50-60% new French oak (estimated) for 22 months
98% Merlot, 2% Rutherford Cabernet
16% alc - yes, its a big boy but there is no heat whatsoever on this wine.
Bottled August 7th, 2020

***

Lot 46 | 2018 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon

94-POINTS, PLATINUM MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Sourced from a Howell Mountain producer famous for their dedication to only producing Cabernet from high-elevation, hillside sites, this Atlas Peak Cabernet is number three of the four we acquired. I suspect they were loathe to part with these as they were offered a good month after the others and, well, they are fabulous (and yes, I paid a bit more for these). Intended to be the inaugural launch of a new appellation Cabernet to add to their $90+/bottle hillside Cabernet collection, they have since decided now is not the time to launch an addition to their lineup.

Dark and inky in the glass (actual wine in the picture), you can smell the mineral and structure here. Chaparral, fresh-turned earth and black fruits are haloed by toasty, cedary oak and crushed red rock notes. Remarkably supple and refined on entry with palate-coating, grainy yet fine tannins slathered in red rock and cassis in a long (though admittedly shy due to bottle shock at this point) finish. This is a magnificent Cabernet, chock full of power and structure yet ultra-refined and well-mannered at the same time. A true talent is at the helm here. At $35/bottle, this is an incredible opportunity to own world-class hillside Cabernet.

75% new French oak
400 cases available
14.9% alc.
Bottled August 12th, 2020

***

Lot 47 | 2019 Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon

94-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

A full-throttle expression of Atlas Peak, with the backbone to rest well in your cellar. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
94-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

Sourced from a Howell Mountain producer famous for their dedication to only producing Cabernet from high-elevation, hillside sites, this Atlas Peak Cabernet is fourth and final Atlas Peak Cabernet we acquired.

Again, dark in the glass but much prettier at this point than the previous AP Cab with sweet, succulent florals that initially hide the beast beneath. Soon the florals just disappear (typical of bottle-shocked wine) and you are left with a concave nose of brooding dark fruit and earth that, at this point, are fairly impenetrable. After a few minutes of air, faint wisps of black cherry, earth and rock join the re-emerging florals but its only fleeting. Clearly there is more here than meets the eye. Smooth and juicy on entry with a wonderful impression of sucosite; however, the midpalate bound up with a big woolly ball of tannin. We get going again after about 5 seconds when the tannins unfurl in a wave of pretty red fruit and rock. The ever-shifting nature of this wine is typical of a recently bottled hillside Cabernet. I am 100% confident this will be drinking with much higher coherence when it reaches your doorstep this Fall. You have my word this will be spectacular when it comes around - its an incredible value at $35/bottle

75% new French oak
300 cases available
14.6% alc.
Bottled August 12th, 2020

***

Lot 48 | 2018 Russian River Pinot Noir

From one of California's pioneering Pinot Noir producers comes this gorgeous Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Stylistically, its right up the middle seeing a relatively conservative 25% new French oak and pitch-perfect ripeness. The 2016 and 2017 versions were given 93 and 92 points respectively by the Wine Enthusiast. This 2018 is their bottling blend as well.

Dark garnet in the glass with sensuous and lively aromas of black cherry, black tea, rhubarb and Christmas cake spice. The energetic nose is mirrored on the palate with a velvety attack of ripe cherry, baking spice, and cola unfurling over firm yet supportive tannins and finishing with a flourish of red fruit-coated mineral, rose petal and bergamot tea spice. This beautiful Pinot offers length and power and fruit-forward complexity in a wine that will have broad appeal to Pinot Noir lovers. A true classic and another ludicrous deal.

Below is a review from wine blogger The Drunken Cyclist:

12/7/2020 - The Drunken Cyclist Likes this wine: 93-Points
As I wrote about on my blog a couple of months ago, it seems as though Cameron Hughes has once again found a fantastic formula: he buys already made wine in bulk and with little further manipulation, bottles it under his de Negoce label...A brilliant translucent ruby in the glass with dark cherry fruit, considerable spice (including clove), and a minty/eucalyptus aspect on the nose. The palate is fruity, rich, fairly big, but also nuanced--this is much more of a sipping Pinot than it is a food wine but damn, is it tasty. Three months or so ago, I was a skeptic before I tried the wines, but I have to say I am a total convert at this point. Delicious. thedrunkencyclist.com
Wine Details
25% new French Oak
Clones: a blend of 838, 115, 667, 777 and Pommard
14.3% alc.
Bottled August 22nd, 2020

***

Lot 49 | 2018 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

92-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

I like the lean into the red fruit side of Alexander Valley fruit here, accentuated by a dash of vanilla and well-balanced oak spice. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS July 6, 2021

OG N.49 2018 Alexander Valley Cabernet comes to us from an organically-farmed estate vineyard and winery on a steep alluvial fan in the southeast corner of Alexander Valley. Stylistically, I would classify this as fairly right-up-the-middle but with a bias towards elegance and purity of fruit over ripeness and extract. Its exquisitely-balanced and well-structured throughout with sappy, energetic fruit that resounds throughout the lithe finish. Beautiful stuff for sure and, of course given that it sell for well-over $50/bottle at the winery, a stunning value at $19/bottle. The 2017 bottling received 90pts from prominent critical journal and I think the 2018 is a better wine.

Tasting notes from final blend sample: Deep ruby in the glass, she opens up with rich panoply of dark fruits, sage florals and exotic spice. Plum, blueberry and blackberry are well-defined and pure with graphite, sage, black pepper and powdered purple flowers adding complexity. The fruit is energetic and fresh with well integrated tannins caressing the palate in a long, pristine finish featuring a lovely amalgam of blackberry and pepper spice. Delicious!

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - This wine is drinking BEAUTIFULLY right now and should be your go to. Sexy aromatics translate on the palate. Plenty of structure left here but the fruit rides over the tannins with good energy.

80% Cabernet, 14% Merlot, 4% Sauvignon Blanc, 1% Malbec, 1% Cab Franc. (producers blend)
100% Tight-grained French oak: just a kiss of new wood to preserve the pretty fruit and spice
14.5% alc.
Bottled August 25th, 2020

***

Lot 50 | 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

Its become a tradition of mine to celebrate significant numbers with significant wines. And, while we've far surpassed 50 releases already, OG N.50 represents a milestone for De Négoce sourcing. I decided early on, after watching this wine evolve in the bottle over an entire week, that this 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon would make a fantastic N.50 release. Our team traveled to Walla Walla last month and assembled the final blend in conjunction with the winery while using all estate components.

Produced by an estate vineyard and winery, this producer effectively put Washington state on the map. Their $120 to $160+ Cabernet Sauvignon's score in the mid-to-high-90's pretty much year-in, year-out. This Cabernet is nothing short of spectacular and will age 20-30 years when properly cellared. Dark and inky in the glass. The dense, brooding nose features savory, graphitic blackberry and black cherry fruit mingling with sage and sandalwood spice. With air, blackcurrant, leather and cedar join the mix. Massive and broad yet smooth and polished across the palate with expansive, powdery tannins supporting an amalgam of black and red fruits framed by tobacco and dark chocolate. Incredible acidity supports the longevity of this dynamite Cabernet.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - No TOUCHY! This wine is an impenetrable wall of tannin even with a couple days of micro-ox. There is an epic wine here, however, that will age another 20-25 years so be patient.

45% new French Oak
94% Cabernet, 2% Petite Verdot, 2% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc
15% alc.
Bottled September 4th, 2020

***

Lot 51 | 2018 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Franc

Funny story. My winemaker called me in a panic after this wine arrived at our facility and the labs came back with a 12.6% alcohol reading. A small 500 gallon lot, he surmised they must have pushed the wine through the loading hose with water and someone forgot to turn it off. I checked the sales contract and, sure enough, 12.6% was what they had listed. And, of course, the wine was lovely - beautifully perfumed with crunchy acidity. This is definite wine geek juice.

Dark garnet in the glass, crushed red rock, and sour cherry mingle with damp earth and loamy black cherry - the terroir of Sonoma Mountain is in this glass. Super fresh on the nose yet soft and juicy on entry, the wine is beautifully balanced against pretty acidity and powerful yet elegant mountain tannin's. The fruit is pristine, layered and complex in a surprisingly long, lingering finish. Uber pure, I think this wine will change some minds about what can be produced in California. It will age beautifully as well. I can't wait to see this in 5-10 years.

Check-in tasting 6.12.21 - lovely leather and cherry...less than 20 cases left. Will age beautifully.

100% Cabernet Franc
100% Neutral (used) French oak barrels
12.6% alc.
20 cases remaining as of 6.11.21
Bottled August 26th, 2020

***

Lot 52 | 2018 Chalk Hill Cabernet Franc

Winner: Best Cabernet Franc
96-points, Platinum Medal
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

Cabernet Franc fans rejoice! This wine is such an overt steal, you won't believe it. It's got the cherry, it's got the complementary green (balanced perfectly) and it's got the acidity and grip to push all the flavor out into the distance. It is perfectly extracted, and has a long life ahead. You won't regret buying a case of this. A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
96-POINTS Sep 21, 2021

N.52 2018 Chalk Hill Cabernet Franc is from same producer as N.51 2018 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Franc. Whereas the Sonoma Mountain wine site is at an elevation of approximately 700 feet, this Chalk Hill site is at approximately about 400 feet and the difference shows here shows in subtle ways with a little bit more fruit, slightly less acidity and just a kiss of unctuousness on the palate. Both weigh-in around 12.5% alc. however and are beautifully fresh and lively throughout.

Coffee beans, dark earth, rose petal and pretty cherry fruit are bright and fresh on the nose - I would not hesitate to add pleasantly piquant to that description as well. Soft and juicy on entry with crunchy acidity framed against ample tannins, it finishes with a beam of pure cherry minerality haloed by lovely rose petal florals. Absolutely delicious and eye opening to what can be produced on the north coast.

Check-in tasting 6.12.21 - It never ceases to amaze me that this elegant, beautiful wine was produced from Chalk Hill fruit. The ripeness at 12.5% alc. is surprising. Fantastic stuff and will age beautifully as well drink beautifully on a warm summers day.

100% Cabernet Franc
22 months in 100% neutral French oak
12.5% alc
Bottled August 26th, 2020

***

Lot 53 | 2018 Sonoma Mountain Merlot

From the same producer as N.51 and N.52 Cab Franc's, N.53 2018 Sonoma Mountain Merlot reflects the same ethos of low-alc elegance. Weighing in at 13.5%, this Merlot combines a terrifically fleshy structure and ripe fruit with freshness and grace. Retailing for over $55/bottle, its a steal at $19/bottle - this is a unique and compelling wine that will age nicely over the next 5-10 years.

Deep garnet with a medium ruby rim. Succulent and juicy yet elegant on the nose with loamy coffee bean/olive and raspberry preserves at first but quickly a crushed red rock, black cherry and dark plum emerge. Fantastic freshness. Soft on entry with a pristine mid-palate featuring juicy cherry and strawberry set against ripe, mineral-laden tannins. Long, pure finish of just fruit, there's little to no new oak influence.

Check-in tasting 6.12.21 - There are less than 40 cases of this left. Gorgeous, ethereal, elegant yet fully ripe and pretty as all get out. Little richer at 13.5% alc but seamless across the board. Along with the aforementioned Cabernet Francs, these unique offerings are an eye opener.

22 months in 100% neutral French oak
13.5% alc.
Bottled August 26th, 2020

***

Lot 54 | 2018 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2016 version of this wine scored 93 points from Vinous and the 2017 scored 94. 2018 is, at a minimum, on par with the 2017.

Deep ruby in the glass with a pale purple rim. Dark and brooding nose of graphite, lavender, and dark fruit at first but with air the red rock minerality and pretty cherry fruit emerge, hinting at things to come. This beauty is supple and racy on entry with the fruit swaddled in hillside baby-fat. With maceration one can get the black cherry and black tea so clearly some decanting is in order here. Plenty of length and the precision. Bottled on 8/26/20, decant for several hours now and drink this beautiful Cabernet over the next 10-15 years.

22 months in 100% neutral French oak.
13.5% alc.
Bottled August 26th, 2020

***

Lot 55 | 2019 Paso Robles Rose

Pale salmon in the glass and super pretty with a beautiful nose of strawberry and peach fruit beautifully uplifted by a fresh saline/sea breeze aromas. Its mouthwateringly delicious with precision-chiseled fruit, crushed rock and diamond-crusted mineral dancing over your palate offering tremendous length and vibrancy. Yum yum yum!

Wine Details
76% Grenache, 19% Mourvedre, 5% Counoise
13.2% alc.
Bottled October 15th, 2020

***

Lot 56 | 2019 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

92 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Classic Anderson Valley cherry aromas translate well to flavors with bracing acidity, providing a finish push. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS

Sourced from one of the small, boutique Sonoma producer's that put cool-climate, racy, nervy Pinot Noir on the map with critics over the last 15 years. This is beautifully put together and will age well over the next decade. Was $60+, now $19/bottle.

Pale-to-medium-ruby in the glass with cola spice, rainier cherry and wild strawberry fruit framed by dark earth and truffle/mushroom notes. Supple on entry turning firm on the mid-palate with cool-climate minerality melding with partial stem-inclusion tannin's providing a solid backbone with plenty of length and structure. Fleshy and juicy throughout with cherry fruit and cola spice riding lip-smacking acidity into a nice, long finish. The mid-palate is just beginning to unfurl and with five weeks in the bottle now its actually showing quite well. Should be fantastic by the time it ships to you.

Check-in tasting 6.12.21 - Nicely stretched out in the bottle now...the bottle bouquet is soaring now, adding dimension and weight with air. 13.5% alc. No reason not to decant.

25% new French oak, low toast, tight grain
100% Pinot Noir
13.3% alc.
Bottled September 15th, 2020

***

Lot 57 | 2018 St. Helena Cabernet Sauvignon

2018 OG de Negoce N. 57 Cabernet Sauvignon (St. Helena): MASSIVE, oaky and smoky. And a good version of all three. $40 A-
Joe Roberts - 1 Wine Dude

Do you folks remember N.41 St. Helena Cabernet release?

Our next release, N.57 is effectively the same wine (sorry, ignore the Franc on the bottle image). The producer decided to free up another couple thousand gallons and we bottled it on October 2nd (vs. August 10th for N.41).

I actually just tasted both wines and, funny thing, N.57 is actually showing better than N.41. This wild oscillation is typical of bottle shock (which particularly affects big Napa Valley Cabernet's) and you can expect it to wax and wane for another couple of months. The only difference between the two wines is the final blend...97% St. Helena Cabernet plus 3% Spring Mountain Merlot we blended in for structure and to carry all the ripe fruit (for similar reasons N.41 saw 2% PV and 1% Merlot in the final blend).

Scoring 94-95 points from The Wine Advocate the last four vintages, this lush, hedonistic St. Helena Cabernet is a classic Parker, petal-to-the-metal, blockbuster-styled wine. Barrel-fermented in 100% new French oak, its packed with exuberant and gorgeously pure fruit. Sensuous as hell, with a magnificent, palate-coating, tooth-staining structure, it drinks very well now but has all the stuffing to go another 15-20 years in your cellar. Once this wine is through bottle shock (probably 6 months from bottling date), it's open-knit structure will drink nicely. Of course, additional complexity will come with more time in bottle.

Dense purple in the glass, it exudes framboise, chocolate, brown sugar and boysenberry jam haloed with cedar and graphite underscored with fruit cake and Christmas spice. Incredibly lush, succulent and creamy on the palate with loads of black fruit preserves, dark chocolate-covered cherries and plush tannins that caress the palate in a long, sensuous finish. Fantastic!

100% barrel-fermented in 100% new French Oak
97% Cabernet, 3% Merlot (Spring Mountain)
16.2% alc.
700 cases available
Bottled October 2nd, 2020

***

Lot 58 | 2018 McDowell Valley, Mendocino County Petite Sirah

91 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
AWARDED BEST PETITE SIRAH
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

An approachable Petite with the stuffing to age as well - solid varietal character! A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
91-POINTS July 6, 2021

OG N.58 Petite Sirah hails from the McDowell Valley, a relatively cool, 1000-foot elevation site in Mendocino, and is sourced from 40+ year old heritage, head-pruned Petite Sirah vines. I have to admit that I am only tangentially aware of Mendocino's McDowell Valley but I found this wine to be not just compelling and unique, but downright delicious. Its dark but hardly inky, beautifully perfumed and lithe on the palate - a terrific combo of peppery, robust Petite Sirah structure and ripe blackberry jam and raspberry fruit. Gorgeous!

Dark in the glass but not inky. The nose is fresh and vibrant with peppery, meaty blackberry jam accented with rhubarb notes and haloed with powdery, perfumed rose petal and graham cracker spice. Supple on entry with ripe raspberry and white pepper/thyme top notes. Bright but extracted throughout with glycerin-coated tannins that meld beautifully with the brambly fruit and integrated oak in a long, elegant finish. This is truly classy Petite Sirah made in a style that will have broad appeal an potentially change the way you think about PS.

Check-in tasting 6.12.21 - OG N.58 Petite Sirah hails from the McDowell Valley, a relatively cool, 1000-foot elevation site in Mendocino, and is sourced from 40+ year old heritage, head-pruned Petite Sirah vines. I found this wine to be not just compelling and unique, but downright delicious. Its dark but hardly inky, beautifully perfumed and lithe on the palate - a terrific combo of peppery, robust Petite Sirah structure and ripe blackberry jam and raspberry fruit. Gorgeous!

100% Petite Sirah
20% new French oak
15% alc.
Bottled September 15th, 2020

***

Lot 59 | 2018 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon

N.59 Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from a vineyard high on Mt. Veeder, over 2,000 feet above sea level. The winemaker is a high-end Napa valley consulting winemaker in the Phillipe Melka mold and the wine sells for between $200 and $225/bottle. It is opening up nicely now and an incredible offer at $35/bottle. I recommend a 24-hour decant for this wine...decant for 2-3 hours and then put it back into the bottle overnight. Of course, the best is ahead of it and this wine will age 20 years easily.

Original tank sample notes: Dark and inky in the glass. The aromas are densely packed and brooding at this stage, pulling you down into the glass and showing lovely and pure cassis and crushed red rock aromas as well as perfect oak integration. But clearly this still just a baby. The palate is surprising voluptuous on entry but also powerful with a big ball of chewy tannins meeting you at mid-stride. Swaddled in baby fat she is, but this will be stunning wine in a few years. Its all there.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Mt. Veeder
80% new French oak
16% alc.
20 cases left as of June 9th, 2021
Bottled October 7th, 2020

***

Lot 60 | 2018 Yountville District Cabernet Sauvignon

91-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

This wine is going places. Once it calms down, the red fruit will be something to behold! A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
91-POINTS July 6, 2021

N.60 is a 2018 Yountville District Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the legendary Sleeping Lady Vineyards. The winemaker is a high-end Napa valley consulting winemaker in the Phillipe Melka mold and the wine sells for over $150/bottle. It is opening up nicely now and an incredible offer at $35/bottle. I recommend a 24-hour decant for this wine...decant for 2-3 hours and then put it back into the bottle overnight. Of course, the best is ahead of it and this wine will age 20-years easily.

Original tasting notes from tank sample: Dark in the glass, it leaves a brilliant, electric purple stain as you swirl. The oak is much more prominent on the nose here showing lots of mocha but acacia flower, lavender, dark black cherry and graphite are peeking around the corner. With air, lush plum and cassis join the chorus. Rich and explosive on the palate with energetic fruit and silky tannins fanning out across your palate. Booyah.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - What a fantastic partner wine to the Mount Veeder Cabernet. Whereas the Mt. Veeder shows the ethereal character of mountain fruit, N.60 shows the alluvial power of the western benches of Napa Valley. Deep, dark, sensuous and muscular, the aromas are gorgeous but they lead to an absolute black hole on the palate. However, that black hole goes supernova with sappy extract, tannins and oak mid palate and through the finish. The fruit impression is there but still swaddled in baby fat. A 24-hour decant and nice big steak could be a good path forward right bow but clearly the best is yet to come.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Sleeping Lady Vineyard, Yountville
100% new French oak
14.9% alc.
17 cases remaining as of June 11th, 2021
Bottled October 7th, 2020

***

Lot 61 | 2018 Dry Creek Zinfandel

This wonderful Zinfandel comes to us from one of Dry Creeks pioneers. The wines are deftly crafted with what I would call a pretty richness or boutique style that values balance, harmony, and complexity. Thankfully there are critics who appreciate what could be called a this feminine style. The 2017 version of this wine was scored 91pts. by another prominent publication who, in my opinion, is quite judicious with their scores. 2018 is certainly an as good, if not a better, vintage. Priced at the winery for $35/bottle, yours today for $16/bottle when purchased by the case.

OG N.61 Dry Creek Zinfandel comes from 40+ year-old vines. Gorgeously perfumed with powdery purple blossom and lavender notes mingling with raspberry top notes and blackberry pie bass with hints of black pepper. Pretty cherry and smoky, meaty notes emerge with air and make it all the more sumptuous. Supple on entry, its exceptionally well-balanced with chewy acidity and perfectly attenuated grip, finishing pure and velvety with cherry and raspberry notes framed by vanilla oak. Goddamn this is beautiful stuff. I would call this a Pinot-lovers Zinfandel without hesitation but it has all the structure and stuffing for broad appeal and nice ageing potential to boot.

Wine Details
18 months in 35% new oak, mix of French and American cooperage, tight grain, low toast.
98% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah
Drink now through 2030
14.5% alc
Bottled October 5th, 2020
300 cases available

***

Lot 62 | 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

92 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

WINEREVIEWONLINE.COM
Classy Russian River fruit is allowed to speak thanks to minimal oak. Pear, apple and soft spice finish in lively fashion. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92 Rich Cook Jul 6, 2021

With 93- and 94-point scores from the Enthusiast for the last three vintages running and a $40-50 price tag, OG N.62 2019 Russian River Chardonnay is an exceptional deal at $16/bottle. Its the same wine the producer bottles and is largely sourced from their estate vineyard. 100% barrel-fermented with 100% indigenous yeast before aging for 14-months in low-toast French oak (20% new), this Chardonnay is right up the middle stylistically, beautifully balanced, succulent and complex.

Orange blossoms, golden delicious apple, honey-poached pear and creme brulee are gorgeously rendered on this sun-kissed wine. It fills the mouth with citrus and stone fruit (nectarine!) and finishes with a satiny textured and long, honeyed finish. Partial malolactic fermentation offers just the right amount of butter while maintaining excellent acidity and tension. Beautiful stuff!

Check-in tasting 6.12.21 - This wine comes in at 14.3% alc but its as gorgeous a chardonnay as you'll ever see at this price point. Piercing aromatics, succulent, sexy mid-palate, resounding finish. Awesome. Chardonnay fans of all stripes will appreciate this wine.

20% new French oak, low-toast, 100% barrel-fermented, 100% indigenous yeast
100% Chardonnay - mostly estate fruit
14.5% alc.
300 cases available
Bottled October 8, 2020

***

Lot 63 | 2018 Oak Knoll Reisling

92-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Tart citrus plays well against stony minerality on a creamy midpalate through a bracing finish. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

I thought I had been transported to Australia's Clare Valley when I first encountered this Riesling. The aromatics are worth the price of entry for sure and the palate delivers as well with wonderful fruit/acid tension and long, crystalline finish. Bone dry, this wonderful Riesling is one of Napa Valley's finest with the '17 and '18 vintages scoring multiple low-to mid-90's scores from major journals. Winery priced at $25+, yours today for $14/bottle.

Succulent florals surround crisp ruby grapefruit and fresh green apple with linalool and wisps of diesel adding complexity. The palate is bright and vibrant with a panoply of orchard fruit riding a bright, mouthwatering beam of acidity in an invigorating finish.

Check-in tasting 6.12.21 - Pure wonderful. Succulent florals surround crisp ruby grapefruit and fresh green apple with linalool and wisps of diesel adding complexity. The palate is bright and vibrant with a panoply of orchard fruit riding a bright, mouthwatering beam of acidity in an invigorating finish.

PLEASE NOTE: Image is of flint (or clear), Bordeaux-style glass. We actually bottled into an amber, hock-style bottle.

100% Riesling
All stainless, no oak
12% alc.
Bottled October 8th, 2020

***

Lot 64 | 2018 Calistoga Hillside Cabernet

You know those incredible terraced-hillside vineyards you see as you drive north through Napa Valley? Ever wondered what a Cabernet from one of those vineyards would taste like?

Well, now is your chance.

Opaque, deep ruby in the glass. Sexy white flower and herb top note with blackberry jam and cassis aromas pushing through the savory animalé and iron. Remarkably supple and smooth on entry with rich fruit, licorice and iron-specked mineral playing out over robust but perfectly integrated, even sweet, tannins. One fine magic carpet ride this wine.

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - Bottled 11/10/2020, this wine is just starting to wake up with hillside, ethereal aromas and the brighter Calistoga fruit profile laid over substantial tannins. Nevertheless, I wouldn't play this wine just yet. Let it sit through to the Fall at a minimum, the best is down the road.

96% Cabernet, 4% Petite Verdot
60% new French oak
15% alc.
500 cases available
Bottling Nov. 9th

***

Lot 65 | 2018 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir

92 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Tightly wound, but showing great promise for unwinding elegantly. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS

From a spectacular estate in the rolling hills of Yamhill/Carlton AVA of Willamette Valley comes this modern-styled Pinot Noir. With 50% new French oak, this is not what Burgundy fanatics would call terroir-driven. However, its a very successful execution of what I would call a broadly-appealing Pinot Noir, plush and fruit-driven yet made with tremendous finesse while still retaining good energy. This is the exact same blend the winery bottles which retails for well over $40/bottle. The 2016 and 2017 vintages have scored between 90- and 92-points from The Wine Spectator and Robert Parker .

Fleshy, ripe wild strawberry, black cherry and black raspberry notes are seamlessly welded on top of a dark earth and toasty, perfectly integrated oak. Silky and smooth on entry turning succulent and juicy across the palate with effortless richness and energy leading to a pure, resinous finish echoing with red and black fruits. Fleshy and pure with ripe fruit and polished tannins, this Pinot Noir is made in a modern-style, perfectly executed.

July 2nd UPDATE - OG N.65 “ dark and dense out of the bottle but opens up with a few minutes of air to reveal layers of black cherry, cinnamon, earth and sincere French oak really nice wood, fine grained, Allier forest, air-dried, seasoned and toasted long and med great barrels here. The wine is powerfully built and just unwinding. 24-hour decant is recommended for near-term drinking this wine will age magnificently.

Wine Details
100% Pinot Noir, 100% estate fruit
50% new French oak
14.2% alcohol
Bottled September 16th, 2020

***

Lot 66 | 2018 Napa Valley (mostly Stags Leap) Cabernet Sauvignon

I sourced this Napa Valley Cabernet from a Stags Leap winery and, after one whiff, thought they were just trying to protect the appellation by selling it as Napa Valley. It smelled exactly like Stags Leap Cabernet - inky in the glass with aromas of graphitic black cherry and plum backed by blackberry jam and fantastic tannins. I asked the winemaker if they were holding out on me and was promptly sent a very specific appellation breakout:
73.58% Stags Leap
22.44% Yountville
3.98% Carneros

A very small appellation, Stags Leap District Cabernet has become increasingly difficult to source over the last decade. In retrospect, I guess its probably best the wine didn't qualify for Stags Leap appellation as it likely would have doubled the price. As it is, you get the best of both worlds, spectacular, all-estate-fruit Cabernet that looks and smells like Stags Leap at the ridiculously low price of $29/bottle. This is the same wine they bottle as a Napa Valley Cabernet and sell for $70+/bottle.

Inky black in the glass with just a kiss of garnet around the rim. The nose draws you down into the glass with deep, rich plum, black cherry and blackberry jam aromas. At the same time, red rock, graphite and juicy white florals are uplifted, the overall effect is a voluminous and complex nose. Supple on entry and beautifully balanced with black fruits melded perfectly with classic Stags Leap acidity and tension.

UPDATED JUNE 27, 2021

I found this wine a bit more aromatically complex a couple of months ago. Its swinging back and forth a bit still but I think finally settling in as it opened with air. Rain on asphalt, blackberry syrup and leather aromas peek through day two shows more ethereal and otherworldly but it is still tightly wound as well as working through oak integration. Fantastic structure however, give this a 24 hour decant in the meantime but best to wait until the fall.

65+% new French and Hungarian oak
78% Cabernet, 13% Merlot, 6% Petite Verdot, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc
14.6% alc.
Bottled September 30th, 2020
800 cases available

***

Lot 67 | 2018 Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

What is the most overlooked terroir in California? It is a question I am asked often. The answer is always the same: The Santa Cruz Mountains. These rugged hillsides just south of San Francisco are home to some of the world's greatest vineyards and wines. Fabulous, age-worthy Chardonnays, Pinot Noirs and Cabernet Sauvignon-based reds all flourish on these dramatic mountain sites.

Santa Cruz Mountains: California's Best Kept Secret
By Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com 2013

Well, not much has changed since Mr. Galloni wrote that in 2013. Hell, I can only name a few SCM wineries and I'm in the biz. Thats changed a tiny bit as I've spent some time up here recently on a few projects both related to the meat (Holy Grail Steak Co.) and wine businesses. Having visited a few tasting rooms, I confess I am surprised by the beautiful energy these wines posses. I think its fair to say that, if it weren't for the suburban sprawl of Silicon Valley, the Santa Cruz Mountains regions would be more widely recognized for the world-class growing region that it is. I highly recommend you visit the area for that reason alone but, given the recent fires plaguing this region, I am sure the wineries would appreciate your support as well (of course, as would all North Coast wineries right now).

Today's release is classic example of mountain-grown Cabernet. Sourced from 50+ year-old-vines grown in the Los Altos Hill area, its a medium+ weight Cabernet but loaded with energetic fruit and ample concentration. Winery retail around $40/bottle. Yours today's for $18 per bottle. Trust me, you won't find this caliber of artisanal Cabernet anywhere near this price.

Deep ruby with a medium purple hue around the rim. Nervy black cherry and red currant fruit are halo'd by a lovely perfume of dried rose petals, sage and loam. Firm, on entry with juicy, lively acidity carrying a mix of plums and red fruits melded with perfectly integrated tannins in a long, elegant finish.

UPDATED TASTING NOTES 6.29.21
Tight and awkward right out of the bottle with redwood duff and bay leaf over subdued fruit. A couple minutes of air loosens things up a bit as tobacco and cedar come through with light cassis and blackcurrant fruit. Solidly loamy underpinning. Opens up on day two with some pretty, cherry-driven elegance and emerging complexity. 24-hour decant now or wait until the Fall.

UPDATED TASTING NOTES 10.4.21
Finally cracking open! Decant now and enjoy.

Aged 22 months in mix of French and Hungarian oak, 20% new, low- to medium- toast to elevate the fruit.
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
Bottled October 1st, 2020
Drink 2021 through 2031
13.8% alc.
250 cases available.

***

Lot 68 | 2018 Sonoma County Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

92 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Toasty, chocolatey and structured, this wine is worthy of some unwinding time. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS July 6, 2021

The last offering from this stunning, high-elevation, Spring Mountain estate, N.68 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon is a classic example of the mountain breed. Dense and savory with elegantly delineated fruit, it reflects the extreme growing conditions of high-altitude vineyards. Here ultraviolet exposure combines with lean soils to produce wines (and especially Cabernet's) with bold structures and intense flavors.

Of course, N.68 Cabernet is a terrific example, an achetype for the category. After purchasing the first three wines, our team was given carte blanche access and assembled the blend from components we were provided. Since the blend is our own, its hard to directly compare prices but, I think its fair to say, you would pay anywhere from $75-$95/bottle for the components here so lets call it $80 juice for $28. Of course, beauty is in the eye of the beholder and, if you are looking for overtly rich and early expressive, this isn't your Cabernet. Deep, dark and delicious it is (and relatively approachable for a mountain Cab); nevertheless, the best of this wine is a couple years out.

Dark and brooding in the glass it starts very earthy and graphitic with lots of deep plum, chaparral, herb and licorice notes flashing with black cherry, sage and leather. Powdery purple florals, crushed volcanic rock and dark earth are constant once it opens up. Smooth and surprisingly lush and full on the palate, its focused and concentrated with chewy tannin and bright, lingering black cherry on the finish. This will be dynamite once it coalesces.

UPDATED JUNE 27, 2021

Just cracking open but still tightly wrapped in high-altitude, mountain tannins. Soy, toffee, warm wax oak aromas dominate the dark cherry fruit brooding, earthy mountain cab with graphite, chaparral herbs/anise/sage, dried black cherry, leather - smooth and lush full palate, focused and concentrated with chewy tannin and bright lingering black cherry on the finish. Day Two: Mountain chaparral begins to escape the abyss as the aromatic complexity emerges. Good fruit impression on the palate but it is tightly wound with bourbon oak and tannins. Look to the Fall.

Wine Details
77% Sonoma County, 23% Napa County
79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 7% Petite Verdot
45% new French oak
14.6% alc.
Bottled September 28th

***

Lot 69 | 2018 Napa Valley Mountain Merlot

From the same producer as N.36, 37 and 38, N.69 2018 Napa Valley Merlot is a spectacular wine from a spectacular mountaintop vineyard on the crest of the Mayacamas range and Spring Mountain. Located at over 2,000 feet, the combination of altitude and volcanic soils makes for small berries and tight clusters which equals dark, ageable wines with lots of intensity and structure -a Cabernet-lover's Merlot. With at $80+ price point and plenty of low-to mid-90's scores from the major critics, this highly revered wine is an incredible offer at $18/bottle. My understanding is this is the entire 2018 production of this particular high-end cuvee.

Dark in the glass with a dusky red rim. Deep, smoky plum, mocha, and blackberry draw you down into the glass until the sensuous red currant, powdered rose petal and graphite lift the nose adding raspberry and earth as it opens up. Just bottled on October 1, its deeply shocked at this point but there is lot here to shoot at here with every swirl of the glass revealing what are ultimately fleeting glimpses of whats to come. On entry the wine is all translucence and glycerin, the fruit shocky and swaddled in baby fat with just a pretty beam of raspberry and cherry fruit echoing against big chewy tannins to show for itself. Disappointing? Hell, no. Just shocky which is to be expected at this point. The structure and complexity are all there and the palate is rich and smooth if reticent - one thing I can promise you, this wine will coalesce into a beautiful, powerful Mountain Merlot.

UPDATED TASTING NOTES 6.29.21
Still evolving but opening up nicely with brown sugar and plum, tobacco and charred French oak aromas. Rich and open knit on the palate, ripe with plum and tart cherry but still tight through the finish with potent mineral-laced tannins. Day two: sage and chaparral join the chorus and the fruit register deepens as the palate cracks open. Quite enjoyable and certainly worthy of a 24-hour decant to enjoy now. Of course, this wine has a tremendous future ahead of it as well. Spectacularly priced...

90% Merlot, 10% Cabernet
88% Napa Valley, 12% Sonoma County
Guessing 40-50% new French oak
Bottled October 1, 2020
60 cases available
14.8% alc.

***

Lot 70A | 2019 Chehelem Mountain Pinot Noir Blend A

2019 de Negoce No. 70 “ A “ Tank Sample Pinot Noir Red, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in color, this tank sample smells of candied raspberries. In the mouth, bright raspberry pastille fruit is juicy and offers a hint of herbs. Excellent acidity. Very tasty. Score: around 9.
67% Pommard
33% Clone 115
5% new French Oak, 10% second fill, 85% neutral French oak
13.6% alc *** Lot 70B | 2019 Chehelem Mountain Pinot Noir Blend B

2019 de Negoce No. 70 “ B “ Tank Sample Pinot Noir Red, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon
Light to medium garnet in the glass, this tank sample smells of raspberry and redcurrant. In the mouth juicy redcurrant and prickly pear jam flavors are bright and juicy. Fantastic acidity. Score: around 9.
100% Dijon Clones Mix (113, 114, 115, 667, 777)
5% new French Oak, 15% second fill, 80% neutral French oak
13.4%

***

Lot 70C | 2019 Chehelem Mountain Pinot Noir Blend C

2019 de Negoce No. 70 “ C “ Tank Sample Pinot Noir Red, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon


Light to medium garnet in color, this tank sample smells of raspberry and herbs. In the mouth, raspberry and sour cherry flavors have fleecier more muscular tannins than this wine's peers. Nice acidity and length. Score: between 8.5 and 9.


37% Pommard
21% 777
19% 113
7% Wadenswil
7% 114
5% 667
4% 115
15% second fill French oak
85% neutral French oak
13.3% alc.

***

Lot 70D | 2019 Chehelem Mountain Pinot Noir Blend D

2019 de Negoce No. 70 “ D “ Tank Sample Pinot Noir Red, Chehalem Mountains, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Light to medium garnet in color, this tank sample smells of juicy sour cherry and raspberry fruit. Wonderfully bright, mouthwatering acidity lingers long with citrus peel and a touch of watermelon. Pretty killer stuff I'd drink a bottle of in a heartbeat. Score: between 9 and 9.5.
41% Pommard
26% 777
17% 114
10% 667
3% Wadenswil
2% 115
1% 113
20% second fill French oak
80% neutral French oak
13.3% alc. *** Lot 71 | 2018 Calistoga Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon

Sourced from a Howell Mountain producer famous for their dedication to only producing Cabernet from hillside sites, this Calistoga Cabernet is the fifth we acquired from this winery. I suspect they were loathe to part with this as they were offered a couple of months after the others. Intended to be the inaugural launch of a new appellation Cabernet to add to their $90+/bottle hillside Cabernet collection, they have since decided now is not the time to launch an addition to their broad lineup.

I tend to think of Calistoga Cabernet's as a bit lighter in color, more transparent with riper red fruit profiles. However, as you get into the alluvial fans on either side of the valley, the wines get deeper, darker and more intense. Today's release comes from an alluvial fan situated in the hills to the east of the Silverado trail. Opaque and inky in demeanor with palate-coating musculature, this is archetypal hillside/alluvial-derived Cabernet Sauvignon. Usually, when we get a 100% Cabernet in the barn, we like to do a little tweaking around the edges; however, this wine didn't need it; nay, it resisted it.

Inky and opaque in the glass and pungent with smoky blackberry, plum, creme de cassis, vanilla and sweet florals in what is ultimately a monolithic and brooding nose. This is going to need some time in the bottle for sure but all the stuffing is there. Smooth on entry with excellent balance, the palate is big and broad with an underlying intensity showcasing juicy blackberry and chewy tannins resonating through a long finish. This is just a baby, the patient will be rewarded here.

UPDATED TASTING NOTES 6.29.21
I was excited to get this into the bottle. Deep, dark and mysterious but gorgeously complex with foothills spice, toffee and chocolate lifted on toasty French oak. The fruit is submerged, however. Day Two: black and red fruit, mineral, rock, and succulent florals emerge still, this wine is tight, the fruit fairly monolithic and the structure intense. Its just not worth it to sacrifice one of these knowing whats to come. No touchy for now but I would definitely grab any of the 55 remaining cases as I doubt this will hit the Bottle Shop.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
75% new French oak
15.7% alc.
225 cases available.
Bottled October 7th, 2020

***

Lot 72 | 2018 Russian River Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This is a gorgeous and expressive Cabernet Sauvignon. A rare varietal in the Russian River Valley, this Cabernet benefits from the same goldridge and altamont soils that make the Russian River Valley such an incredible growing region for Pinot Noir. In fact, you can argue this has to be some of the best soil in the Russian River if it can succeed with Cabernet in such a cool region. Its fully ripe at 14.6% with one of the most expressive and lively noses you'll find on the north coast. With 93+- to 97-point scores from major reviewers, you could put this in Napa Valley and triple its $65 tag (winery price).

At $28/bottle, 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!

UPDATED TASTING NOTES 6.29.21
Color is pure WOW. The aromas are beguiling with beautiful black cherry dusted with cedar, molasses, purple fruit, tobacco leaf, sauteed peppers, savory earth and soy sauce. Focused with vibrant acidity and sexy fruit beautifully framed. Fine grained tannins that coat the finish. Just starting to open up however, this is going to be fantastic.

98.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1.5% Merlot
50% new French oak (Taransaud) but perfectly integrated
14.5% alcohol, 3.64 pH
Bottled October 1st, 2020
125 cases available

***

Lot 73 | 2019 Russian River Chardonnay

From the same producer as N.72 Russian River Cabernet, this Chardonnay hails from the same Goldridge and Altamont soils the Russian River is famous for. Pure and lush with gorgeous aromatics, it has just a 20% kiss of new French oak to elevate the fruit - a perfect Chardonnay for those of you looking for a little less oak in your wine but still want a complex and succulent Chardonnay experience.

The 2018 version of this wine was recently scored 92 points by Antonio Galloni in Vinous and priced well above $40/bottle. Every bit as good as the N.63 offered a few weeks ago, N.73 Russian River Chardonnay is first-class, first-run wine made by true experts in the field and a stellar value at $16/bottle.

Pale yellow in the glass, it features a nuanced yet zesty nose of pretty white flowers, lemon/lime, green apple and a kiss of lanolin and fresh butter. Vibrant and fresh on entry but deeply succulent and soft across the midpalate, delivering loads of citrus, mineral, and blossom that echo throughout the long, pure finish. This is a pristine, crystalline and gorgeous Chardonnay, deftly made and elegantly rendered - a wonderful accompaniment to food.

July 2nd UPDATE - OG N.73 “ super pretty and expressive right now pure orchard fruit flavors are beautifully supported by schisty acidity great lift aromatically and on the palate as well. This drinks great now and will continue to improve over the next 5-7 years.

Wine Details
100% Chardonnay (all Heritage Clones)
20% new French oak (Francois Freres, Seguin Moreau)
14.4% alc., pH 3.32
Bottled October 30, 2020

***

Lot 74 | 2018 Walla Walla Syrah

After the bulk market flipped on its head in the week after the fires first hit the north coast, I decided it was time to make a visit to Washington and Oregon. I think you'll be glad we did as we secured so much fantastic juice its mind boggling...over 40 wines representing some of the most incredible values you'll get your hands on this year.

The source winery for today's offering helped put Walla Walla and Rocks District on the map when their Syrah was awarded a mid-90's score as well as the Wine Spectators Top 100 Wines of the Year in the early 2000's. We were lucky enough to source quite a few wines from this producer but this Syrah is tremendous. Rich, meaty and redolent with spicy, dark fruit, its an archetype for the region. With a high $30's price point, its an incredible deal at $16/bottle.

Saturated black in the glass, but tremendously expressive and succulent with savory, meaty blackberry pie bass notes and a lovely, pure blueberry, black pepper, and lilac halo beautifully integrated with barrel spice and toast. Supple, smooth and rich on entry with blueberry and blackberry fruit amply supported on peppery tannins in a looong, perfectly balanced finish offering layers of fruit that will take you back to your childhood. Succulent and juicy, this lush, hedonistic Syrah is absolutely delicious.

100% Syrah
35% new French and American oak
15.2% alc,.
Bottled September 14th, 2020 and showing well already.
400 cases available

***

Lot 75 | 2018 Walla Walla Syrah

The source winery for today's offering helped put Walla Walla and Rocks District on the map when their Syrah was awarded a mid-90's score as well as the Wine Spectator's Top 100 Wines of the Year in the early 2000's. We were lucky enough to source quite a few wines from this producer but their Syrah's stand apart.

Similar to N.74 2018 Syrah (from the same producer and the same vineyard that delivered the Top 100 accolade), this offering is rich, meaty and redolent with spicy, dark fruit - archetypal for the region. With a high $30's price point, its an incredible deal at $16/bottle. Bottled in mid-September, its drinking beautifully now.

Deep plum, almost inky. The bouquet is meaty, peppery and spicy with baked bread and blackberry pie topped off with herb de provence and powdery florals. Balanced entry with savory notes mixed with succulent blackberry kirsch, baked bread and allspice in a long, sustained finish. Delicious.

100% Syrah, 100% Walla Walla, 100% Estate
35% new French oak
15.8% alc
Bottled September 14th, 2020

***

Lot 76 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

92-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Purchased prior to the fires and kept in barrel until last December, N.76 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is from one of Calistoga's premier producer's. Their estate vineyard occupies the alluvial washes draining down from Mt. St. Helena and the Palisades. And, while I often find Calistoga Cabernet's to be a bit too open knit and light in color due to the northern Napa Valley heat, here the gravelly drainage's keep yields naturally low for proper ripening and color density. Also helping balance things out is hillside fruit from St. Helena which makes up about about 40% of the wineries final blend.

The final product is an archetypal Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with broad appeal, a perennial 91-92 pt Cabernet that's as comfortable on Tuesday night as it is on Saturday night. It sells out of the winery tasting room for $65/bottle - a steal at $24/bottle.

Deep ruby in the glass - almost opaque. Opens with a jubilee of cherry, dark, dusty plum and mocha adding creme de cassis and raspberry notes with air. Allspice and pretty red rock minerality lift the nose. Terrific weigh on entry ripe with creme de cassis and vanilla-flecked cherry notes dominating the lush but well-balanced palate. The finish is long and clean with pure, pretty fruit throughout. Exquisitely balanced and built to drink well now and over the next decade.

UPDATED JUNE 27, 2021

60% Calistoga, 40% St. Helena. The warmer climes of Napa Valley make this a more fruit-forward and approachable style with less high-toast wood dominance. Singing cherry with vibrant backbone, succulent and seamless across the palate silky smooth and beautifully integrated with excellent complexity - total crowd-pleaser.

97% Cabernet, 3% Merlot
60% Calistoga, 40% St. Helena
30% new French oak
14.7% alc.
300 cases available
Bottled December 15th, 2020

***

Lot 77 | 2018 Willamette Valley (Yamhill-Carlton) Chardonnay

92-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

My creamy and crisp alarm is going off - this delivers rich fruit without overt oak influence, and finishes bright and long. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS July 6, 2021

Oh my.

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

Of course, the most vinously interesting part of the Willamette Valley isn't the valley at all but the ancient, uplifted seabeds exposed by the Missoula Floods. On these rolling hills you will find the best of Willamette Valley Pinot and Chardonnay.

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. 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 lemonhead diamond-crusted acidity. 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.

Wine Details
100% barrel-fermented, 18% new French oak
100% Chardonnay
13.4% alc.
Bottled December 12th, 2020

***

Lot 78 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Oh my, you guys are going to love this.

This is one of the best Cabernet's I've seen all year, replete with gorgeous, perfectly-integrated floral, fruit, and earth aromas atop phenomenal structure and super-sexy wood. Supremely-elegant and perfectly-proportioned, its pure and harmonious throughout. Yes, indeed lots of superlatives but you'll get when you taste it (though you shouldn't taste it too soon!).

The fruit is sourced from a legendary vineyard just 1000-feet outside the Howell Mountain AVA and is the producer's bottling blend which retails for $140/bottle. This is supple, elegant, meticulous wine/jewelry-making at its finest.

Opaque, dark ruby in the glass. Beautifully perfumed with succulent florals haloing cassis and blackberry-slathered volcanic rock. Graphite and leather play with mint and cedar in a super-uplifted and effusive nose. Perfectly-balanced on entry with a perfectly-delineated interplay of fruit, earth and oak on a super-silky structure. Pure and harmonious, this Cabernet is fantastic from tip-to-tail.

50% new French oak - tight grain, medium toast, very elegant treatment
100% Cabernet Sauvignon
97% Napa Valley, 3% Diamond Mountain Cabernet
15.1% alc
Bottled November 11th, 2020
175 cases available

***

Lot 79 | 2018 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc

Barrel-fermented in 100% new French oak, this Rutherford single-vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is a stunning wine. Produced by one of Napa Valley's premier consulting winemakers, its gorgeously scented and electric on the palate offering layer upon layer of intense fruit and beautiful mineral. Normally $60+, its a steal at $20/bottle. We will bottle just a little over 100 cases of this and, I have to say, its not cheap. But, I promise you, if the style sounds intriguing to you, you'll find the wine is amazing. I have no problem saying this is one of the best SB's in Napa Valley if not California. Reminds me of the Robert Mondavi Oakville Reserve SB's I tasted in the early 90's as a sales rep using my 40% off intra-winery discount (which, sadly, no longer exists) but better.

Incredible nose of white flowers, orange marmalade, and smoky orchard fruit with a kiss of mint to top it off. Fleshy and viscous on entry but amply supported by vibrant acidity, this wine offers wave after wave of richness and depth. Glorious.

100% barrel fermented in 100% new French oak and aged for 18 months.
13.8% alc.
100 cases available

***

Lot 80 | 2018 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

92-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

A generous style that's attractive now for its bold fruit and acidic finish pop. It'll age a while as well! A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

Best OGDN Napa Cabernet deal?

One of are the last wines I purchased before the fires, this Napa Valley Reserve-designate Cabernet Sauvignon retails under its original producer's bottling for well over $80 per bottle. A mix of hillside fruit split evenly between Calistoga and Saint Helena, it offers ripe, lush fruit, plenty of structure and routinely scores 91- and 93-points from the Wine Spectator, Robert Parker and The Wine Enthusiast. I would anticipate that in a fantastic vintage like 2018, you are looking at the upper-end of that spectrum. It offers unparalleled richness and depth for $29/bottle - definitely a candidate for the Best OG Value so far. For a program renowned for value, I think that's saying quite a bit.

Ripe blackberry, vanilla, and crème de cassis are pure and cleanly delineated with white flower, and red rock mineral notes lifting the bouquet while dark chocolate, graphite and mocha add the bass notes. Ripe, lush, and smooth on entry with blackberry and plum anchoring the palate with pretty cherry and molten licorice top notes perfectly balanced against a robust, firm tannin structure complemented with toasty oak. The finish is lengthy and powerful but also very elegant which speaks to deft winemaking here (not to mention the judicious deployment of high-quality oak).

Check-in tasting 6.23.21 - big brother wine to N.76. Darker fruit, more graphitic character and toastier oak profile. While it is dense with fruit and oak, its lithe and sexy on the palate and coming together very nicely despite its youth. Vibrant and lively with savory depth, powdered violet, black cherry, toffee and tobacco, you can really see the layers here. Silky and sexy in the middle with a backbone of freshness and excellent length. Day Two: sexy, complex, dark and sensuous aromatics with a juicy freshness that runs throughout. More to come but this is nicely knit together at this point.

90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Malbec, 3% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc.
30% new French oak
14.8% alc.
200 cases available
Bottled December 15th, 2020

***

Lot 81 | 2018 Napa Valley (Atlas Bench) Cabernet Sauvignon

In the rolling hills just below the 780-foot demarcation line for Atlas Peak AVA, straddling Soda Canyon road and bounded by Atlas Peak road to the east, lies a colossal alluvial fan known as the Atlas Bench that stretches all the way down across the Silverado Trail and into the city of Napa. On the upper right-hand corner of the alluvial, about 700 feet off the valley floor, you will find the legendary Brokenrock vineyard.

Known for the massive pile of bowling ball-to-huge pumpkin-sized boulders ripped out when the vineyard was planted, Brokenrock's lean soils are renowned for producing Cabernet's with intense fruit and potent tannins. It is also is the vineyard source for a variety of ultra-premium Cabernet producers and consulting winemakers, one of whom produced today's Cabernet. We managed to get our hands on about 400 cases of Brokenrock Cabernet available today for $29/bottle, a considerable discount to the well-over $100/bottle price tag you'll pay at the producer's tasting room.

Dense and inky in the glass with a brooding nose of blackberry, blackcurrant, mocha and plum haloed by crushed red rock with kiss of lilac perfume. Supple on entry with ripe tannins spreading out over your palate in a wave of black fruit and rock that echo throughout the finish. With plenty of depth and structure, this wine will age nicely over the next 10-15 years.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon (98% producers blend with 2% addition from the sexy Cabernet that went into N.78 for added verve)
60% new French Oak
14,5% alc.
300 cases available
Bottled November 11th, 2020

***

Lot 82 | 2018 Walla Walla Meritage

93-POINTS!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

A powerful blend that's just beginning to show its charms. Decant well near term, or age long term. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
93-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

This is certainly one of my greatest scores and perhaps the greatest deal in the wine business today. From the sister winery to N.50 Walla Walla Cabernet, N.82 Walla Walla Meritage is a blend of Cabernet, Petite Verdot and Merlot. A deep, robust and powerful wine, it has consistent mid-90's scores from the Wine Spectator, Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast and Vinous alike. I recently tasted a tank sample with with Alder Yarrow of Vinography. He was particularly smitten with this wine and wrote the following review:

2018 de Negoce No. 82 “ Tank Sample Red Blend Red, Walla Walla, Washington
Inky garnet in the glass, this tank sample smells of cigar box, black cherry, and cassis. In the mouth, rich black cherry fruit is clasped in a muscular fist of tannins. Excellent acidity keeps it quite fresh and bright. Powerful and broad-shouldered. But not overly rich. An excellent wine that will turn a lot of heads. 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 21% Merlot, 23% Petit Verdot. 45% new oak. $95-per-bottle normally. Score: between 9 and 9.5.

Check-in tasting 7.6.2021 - Powerful and brooding aromatics at first but everything opens up nicely with a couple hours of air to reveal a wonderfully complex wine that will age beautifully. 93-points, Gold Medal at the Critics Challenge.

100% Estate
56% Cabernet, 23% Petite Verdot, 21% Merlot
45% new French oak
14.8% alc.
800 cases available
Bottles Nov. 20, 2020 - ships in December

***

Lot 83 | 2019 Columbia Valley White Blend (Semillon/Chenin)

OG N.83 2019 White Blend is comprised of 70% Walla Walla Semillon and 30% Old Vine Chenin Blanc from Horse Heaven Hills. It is one of seven wines we purchased from this Walla Walla producer comprising lots N.83 through N.89. ( I bought every wine they put in front of me). Produced in 100% stainless steel to maintain freshness and vibrancy, this terrific blend should have great appeal to Sauvignon Blanc and/or crisp white lover's. White blends retail for about $30/bottle out of the winery tasting room but you can purchase this wine for $96/case or just $8/bottle. Only 150 cases available.

Pale gold in the glass. The fresh, vibrant nose is redolent with honeysuckle and pear but nicely lifted with saline and mineral, wet stone, lemongrass and a kiss of tarragon. Round on entry but energetic and fleshy with chalky pear and apple leading into a lip-smacking finish of dried papaya and blossom. Bone dry and beautiful. Bottled 12/14/20

70% Walla Walla Semillon (100% Estate), 30% Horse Heaven Hills Chenin Blanc
100 Stainless Steel
14.1% alc.
150 cases available (note: image shows Bordeaux bottle but actual bottle is Burgundy)
Bottled December 12th, 2020

***

Lot 84 | 2019 Columbia Valley Semillon

91 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

WINEREVIEWONLINE.COM
A fleshy texture carries flavors of nut, nectarine and lemon, finishing with a nice kiss of acidity. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
91 Rich Cook July 6, 2021

OG N.84 is a blend of 90% Semillon and 10% Sauvignon Blanc. This is an age-worthy and elegant white produced from all-estate fruit and barrel-fermented in neutral French oak. Selling for over $30/bottle out of the winery, it makes a unique and compelling offering for the equivalent of $9/bottle in this mixed case. This would be great with spicy Indian food.

Pale- to medium-yellow. The nose is tightly wound but loosens up in phases that reveal excellent complexity. Peach, pineapple and lanolin are haloed with honeysuckle blossom, sandalwood and a kiss of petrol. With air, starfruit and lemon oil emerge. Warm and viscous on entry, but your palate is swept clean by a knife blade of chalky, apple skin minerality revealing pretty peach and starfruit in a surprisingly long finish. There are gobs of stuffing to this wine and it should age nicely for another 5-8 years.

Check-in tasting 7.6.2021 - Flat-out gorgeous...wide-open bouquet with excellent viscosity on entry perfectly balanced with minerality and tremendous length. 15 cases left so grab it before it gone. 91-points, Gold Medal Critics Challenge Wine Competition

100% Semillon
100% barrel-fermented in neutral French oak
14% alc.
30 cases available
Bottled January 18th, 2021

***

Lot 85 | 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Franc

AWARDED BEST CABERNET FRANC
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION
91-POINTS

One of the surprises of our recent Washington/Oregon road trip was the outstanding quality of eastern Washington's (and Walla Walla in particular) Cabernet Franc's. The wines have an ephemeral quality both aromatically and structurally, placing them somewhere between a powerful Burgundy and your typical Bordeaux. These are intriguing and compelling wines with broad appeal to those looking for a complex, medium/medium full-bodied red wine experience. Food-friendliness is high here as well, with ample fortitude, ripe fruit and corresponding acidity in perfect balance.

Today's offering hails from one of the upper echelon producers of this varietal in Walla Walla, where their Cabernet Franc sells for about $50/bottle out of the tasting room. Produced from a combination of estate fruit and grapes sourced from a legendary vineyard that must remain unnamed, this wine is derived from some of the best Cab Franc blocks in Walla Walla. Aged in a combination of approximately 40% new French and American oak chosen for expression and elegance, it has all the bells and whistles and little expense spared. One of the top Cabernet Francs in Walla Walla produced from the fantastic 2018 vintage, this wine that will age beautifully and blow your friend's mind for another decade. An exceptional deal at $18/bottle.

Deep ruby in color and very aromatically expressive...black cherry and dark clay aromas open into damson plum, rhubarb, blackcurrant, lavender and herb wrapped in warm, confectionery oak notes. Fleshy and pleasingly ripe on the palate with juicy plum and rhubarb perfectly integrated with ripe tannins...excellent sucrosité . This is an exceptional wine, balanced, expressive, and complex. If you value those qualities, this is one wine you don't want to miss.

Check-in Tastings - 6.7.2021 - Elegant and focused, original tasting notes are spot on with the addition of a sweet tobacco leaf note that I love. Really enjoyed this in a big Pinot Noir stem where the big bowl allows all the complexity to shine. Just awarded the Best Cabernet Franc at the Critics Challenge Wine Competition.

40% new French and American oak
75% Cabernet Franc, 20% Merlot, 5% Carmenere
14.1% alc.
250 cases available
Bottling December 12, 2020

***

Lot 86 | 2018 Walla Walla Valley Merlot

WINNER: BEST MERLOT
95-POINTS, PLATINUM MEDAL
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

Full throttle black cherry aromas are joined by gentle vanilla and oak spice aromas, and the palate adds notes of pepper to the proceedings. All the elements ride a supple grip through a long, lively finish. And the price? Ridiculous! A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
95-POINTS Sep 28, 2021

OG N.86 Walla Walla Merlot hails from the same producer as all other offerings N.83 through N.89. These are largely estate wines and N.86 is entirely estate-derived as well, not to mention being the best wine of the bunch. Yep, my favorite.

I'm telling you, there is something about Washington State Merlot, and Walla Walla in particular. This is gorgeously crafted wine, elegant and seamless with ample heft, loads of complexity and perfectly-deployed wood. I could go on and on. In short, its a winner and I am confident it will have broad appeal for Cab-lovers, Pinot-lovers, and even Merlot-lovers (are there any of you left?).

Its an absolutely stupid deal at $18/bottle (vs. winery tasting room $50+/bottle). Looking for a daily cellar defender? You can't do any better than this.

Deep ruby in the glass, Cabernet-like. The bouquet is super-pretty with ethereal, powdery florals lightly-coating confectionary cherry truffle and raspberry puree underpinned with oak-elevated blackberry compote. Spicy too. Supple and seamless on entry (so smooooth!) yet robust with ripe red and black fruits nicely integrated with seasoned french oak and gorgeous acidity. Gobs of stuffing crest to reveal dark fruit and mineral-coated tannins unfurling a blast of raspberry/rhubarb, roasted poblano chile and a kiss of chocolate. Damn, that's good...beautifully-crafted and very expressive...nice to see oak so deftly deployed here, the light hand speaking to the quality of the fruit.

Check-in Tastings - 7.7.2021 - Wow gorgeous with pretty amalgam of cherry, dark earth, graphitic blossoms and seasoned oak. Still just a baby so give this a big decant or 24-hour decant prior to drinking. This is a stunning wine from a fantastic vintage and, quite frankly, why Merlot was and is such a big deal in Washington State. Grab this by the case and drink now and over the next decade or more.

77% Merlot, 18% Cabernet, 5% Syrah
100% estate, 100% Walla Walla Valley
17% new French oak
14.6% alc.
Bottled January 28th, 2021

***

Lot 87 | 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Petite Verdot

This is a small little winemaker project lot sourced from the same winery in Walla Walla as the N.89 Cabernet I just released.

From a single vineyard in Horse Heaven Hills (McKinley Springs Vineyard), this Petite Verdot was raised in 28% new French oak and was intended to be the the inaugural release of this tasting room only selection. Other Bordelais varieties from this particular vineyard and produced by this winery sell for $50/bottle out of the tasting room so that seems a fair price comparison (I should add virtually every wine is tasting room only for this producer). Only 275 cases available and priced at a ridiculous $18/bottle.

Deep ruby, just a shade darker than the Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon. True to the Horse Heaven Hills appellation, its opens with red fruits and gains weight, accessing the darker fruit as it opens up. Cherry and raspberry add a layer of plum and graphite with pretty powdered flower aromas coming to the fore. Wonderfully supple and smooth on entry with ripe, juicy, energetic fruit well integrated with almost unnoticeable tannins. Plush? Yes. Nevertheless, the structure is there and carries a long, resounding finish with good length. A unique offering with excellent complexity (winemakers hallmark in my opinion - always striving for balance and complexity), this is also a great everyday drinker and cellar defender and will be very approachable once its through bottle shock. Bottled 12/15, this wine should be drinking nicely for March.

Check-in Tastings - 7.7.2021...and now for something completely different! Usually a very dark and intense wine, this PV is a beautifully elegant take on the varietal. It reminds me of the N.58 McDowell Valley Petite Sirah for its elegance and restraint. Graphite and warm river rock open to plum and cherry notes and plenty of savory depth. Outstanding aromatic complexity is mirrored on the palate with deep plum, mineral, cherry, sweet tobacco and milk chocolate. Fantastic.

83% Petite Verdot, 17% Cabernet Sauvignon - 100% Horse Heaven Hills McKinley Vineyard
28% new French oak
14.9% alc.
Bottled December 15, 2020 (arriving this week, should ship out week of Jan. 25th)
275 cases available

***

Lot 88 | 2018 Columbia Valley Syrah

90-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

A very expressive nose leads to a palate with good translation of the black and blue berry fruit, with an accent of fall spice. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
90-POINTS July 6, 2021

This blue-fruited beauty is produced from the originating wineries Walla Walla estate fruit and purchased fruit from top sites in Horse Heaven Hills, the former providing richness and fruit, the later providing structure and elegance. Deftly-crafted with 20-months in barrel, the resulting Syrah combines all these qualities in a harmonious wine with complex aromatics and rich fruit in perfect balance. Selling for over $40 out of the tasting room, at $14/bottle this bottle will simultaneously warm your soul while bringing tremendous joy to a variety of robust wintry dishes like hearty beef stew or lamb kabobs.

Dark in the glass with a kiss of deep plum around the rim. Ripe, meaty blueberry, boisenberry, and graham cracker/brown sugar barrel toast notes are lifted by black pepper and iodine notes. Warm and juicy on entry with waves of robust blue fruit and piquant earthiness creating a lip-smacking complexity and a long, lingering finish. Robust and hearty yet balanced, lithe, and nuanced, it delivers the quintessential Washington State Syrah experience.

this is a supremely elegant and exquisite wine with emerging complexity and sophistication. It is still fairly tightly wound but there is exceptional balance and plenty of layers to the finish here. The Syrah connoisseur will not want to miss this one. 90-points and Gold Medal at the Critics Challenge but I am convinced another couple of months in the bottle and this is a 92-point wine.

95% Syrah, 4.5% Cabernet, .5% Viognier
32% new French and American oak
14.7% alc.
350 cases available
Bottling December 15th and shipping January/February 2021

***

Lot 89 | 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

PLATINUM - 94-POINTS
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Can almost hear this wine say Hi! I'm from Walla Walla - thanks for stopping in! That's thanks to its structure and mix of multi-colored berries offset by brilliant acidity. The finish is extremely long with attractive sweet oak tones keeping the fruit pulsing. Eighteen dollars? Where's my phone? A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
94-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

This is a stunning value, an estate-produced, no-expense-spared, top-of-the-line Walla Walla Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon that retails out of the tasting room for over $60/bottle. Its classically styled with pitch-perfect extraction and balance, deftly made by an excellent winemaker in a state-of-the-art facility. At $20/bottle, its an incredible offer.

Deep ruby in the glass. Beautifully aromatic already with meaty black cherry, dusty plum, dark earth, spice and leather leather notes. Entry is broad and supple leading to a mouthful of ripe cherry and plum notes warmly layered on juicy, mouthwatering tannins. The finish is long and smooth, redolent with fruit but never overbearing - fantastic mouthfeel. Like I said, this is deftly crafted stuff with excellent complexity. A total steal at $20/bottle!

BANG! From the best blocks of the wineries Estate vineyard comes this amazing Reserve-level Cabernet. 94-points and Platinum at the Critics Challenge. Perfumed and gorgeous, this wine exemplifies the pitch-perfect balance and tremendous depth achieved at this property.

84% Cabernet, 11% Malbec, 5% Syrah, 100% Estate
34% new French oak
Bottling January 28th, 2021
14.7% alc.
500 cases available

***

Lot 90 | 2018 Walla Walla Old Vine Merlot

93-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

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.

Today's offer comes to us from one of Washington State's pioneers and Walla Walla's foundational vineyards. Planted in the early 80's, these 30+ year-old-vines produce a fantastic wine that would easily command twice the price in Napa Valley. With previous vintages receiving low-to-mid-90's scores from Vinous and Jeb Dunnock (though I must say panned by the Wine Spectator - what gives?) and a circa $50 price tag, its an exceptional value at $19/bottle.

Opaque in the glass and brooding at first with dusty black cherry fruit poking through the darkness. However, it quickly opens up to reveal pretty violet florals combined with black cherry, blackberry, and mineral with a kiss of toasty oak and baking spice/licorice. Lush on entry but amply structured with concentrated black fruit fanning out across the palate, this wine finishes long and smooth. Powerfully built but supremely harmonious, this wine will age nicely over the next decade but drink well in its youth.

50% new French oak
88% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 2% Grenache
14.7% alc.
Bottled December 9th, 2020

***

Lot 91 | 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

Washington State continues to over-deliver!

Today's release comes to us from one of the states pioneers with fruit sourced from one of Washington's earliest planted vineyards. With 92-94 points scores for the 2016 and 2017 bottlings from The Wine Advocate (Dunnock) and Vinous (Tanzer) and a well over $50 price point, this 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet is a ludicrous deal at $19/bottle.

Densely packed and muscular but crafted with precision and grace, this classically-styled beauty could use another year in the bottle. Consume over the next 10-15 years.

Opaque and inky with just a peek of crimson around the rim. Black cherry, blackberry and leather brood amidst season french oak, graphite, licorice and dark chocolate. There's a viscous quality to the nose that is nicely accentuated by pretty white florals, menthol and damp earth but there is no escaping the densely-packed, brooding nature of the wine. Dense and firm on entry yet elegant and focused with the fruit nicely balanced against robust yet fine grain tannins. Tightly wound and chock full of stuffing, this wine will need some time in the bottle before blossoming. But this is precision winemaking, blossom it will.

82% Cabernet, 5% Petite Verdot, 5% Syrah, 4% Carmenere, 2% Cabernet Franc, 2% Merlot
50% new French oak, medium toast
14.8% alc.
Bottled December 9th, 2020

***

Lot 92 | 2018 Red Mountain Red Blend/Meritage

Hailing from Red Mountain's legendary Ciel du Cheval vineyard and produced by one of Washington's pioneers, OG N.92 2018 Red Mountain Red Blend is a spectacular bordelaise-style blend of Merlot, Petite Verdot, Cabernet and Cabernet Franc. 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 another exceptional value at $20/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
35% Merlot, 27% Petite Verdot, 22% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Cabernet Franc
14.7% alc.
Bottled December 9th, 2020

***

Lot 93 | 2018 Mendocino SVD Zinfandel

90-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

There's a rustic edge here that Zin fans will appreciate - brambly fruit, a big grip and bright pepper carry the day. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
90-POINTS July 6, 2021

$40/bottle Old Vine Mendocino County Zinfandel? That's a tough sell. How about $18/bottle?

This organic, head-trained, dry-farmed hillside Zinfandel hails from the little known but highly regarded 70-year-old Venturi Vineyard in the Calpella Valley of Mendocino County. Here alluvial fans mix with ancient riverbeds creating deep, well-drained soils virtually devoid of organic matter - perfect for dry-farming head-trained, old-vine Zinfandel.

The wine itself was produced by a boutique Dry Creek winery and the love, the care, the attention to detail are obvious. Beautiful, complex aromas and classic, supple Zinfandel fruit are built on a rock solid structure. Never over the top, this pitch-perfect wine hits on all cylinders, delivering a complex and classic Zinfandel that will absolutely change your mind about (if not introduce you to) Mendocino Zin.

Medium to deep ruby. Ripe raspberry and crisp cherry are haloed by a soaring walnut husk note in a warm, resinous bouquet. The raspberry and cherry fruit are plush and broad on entry, nicely balanced against a firm tannin framework and perky minerality. Pretty tobacco leaf notes elevate the palate and extend through the long, lingering finish. This is a fabulous Zinfandel, chock full of complexity and personality. It'll age nicely as well over the next 5-7 years.

70-year-old, head-pruned vines produce this absolute classic of a Zinfandel. Gorgeous now with a pretty bouquet, a lipsmacking mid-palate, and tons of structure and stuffing that will ensure even greater complexity over coming years.

90-points/Gold Medal at Critics Challenge.

100% Zinfandel
35% new American oak
14.9% alc.
400 cases available
Bottled January 21, 2021

***

Lot 94 | 2018 Dry Creek Merlot

This fantastic Merlot comes to us from the same Dry Creek boutique producer as N.93 Zinfandel; however, today's offering is derived from their estate vineyard. Spicy, plummy and plush, it has robust structure and terrific complexity. Past vintages are selling for $50/bottle at the winery but today you may lay your claim to a case of this yummy Merlot for just $18. Redonkulous.

Medium/deep ruby. Awesome on the nose - effusive with spicy plum and bing cherry mixed with blackberry plus a cool little dark chocolate/poblano chile sweet funk. Its incredibly inviting. The wine is plush on entry but firms up with robust, well-integrated tannins that present waves of cherry and vanilla with hints of blackberry. The finish is long and fresh and always in balance. Overall, this Merlot has great complexity and tons of varietal character - the winemaker respect for the varietal is clear. Cab lover's (hell, any red wine lover) will get a kick out of this perfectly knit together yet muscular Merlot.

fruit and oak are still marrying in this brooding monster of a Merlot. Its totally approachable and quite quaffable actually with rich fruit and chewy tannins. The best is yet to come however (should be rockin' late Fall), but this is still an amazing offer at $18/bottle! If you like big, rich, dense and chewy Merlot's, this is your wine. Highly recommended!

100% Dry Creek - 95% Merlot, 5% Cabernet
35% new French oak
15.1% alc.
350 cases available.
Bottled January 20, 2021

***

Lot 95 | 2018 Alexander Valley Merlot

N.95 Alexander Valley Merlot comes to us from the same producer as N.94 Dry Creek Merlot. Normally, these two wines are blended together into a top-end Sonoma County bottling at $50/bottle but we just liked 'em better as individual wines. N.95 is the brighter, more ethereal offering of the two, beautifully complex and powerfully elegant with seamless integration and plenty of backbone.

This is an incredible deal at $20/bottle!

Deep garnet in the glass. The bouquet is spicy with clove, singing cherry, and brown sugar notes wrapped in tobacco leaf. Rich up front on the palate with cherry and graham cracker haloed with herb de Provence and dried chile with a little Red Hot spice adding serious complexity. Vibrant acid and tension on mid palate are resinous with well-delineated red fruits singing throughout the lengthy finish. The suppleness that originally attracted me to this wine is a bit subdued from bottling, but I am confident that it will come around.

100% Merlot, we blended in 10% of the Dry Creek Merlot from same producer
40% new French oak
15.1% alc.
200 cases available
Bottled January 20th, 2021

***

Lot 96 | 2018 Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon

Woop woop. Back we go to Dry Creek for the third installment from this boutique producer. Up next is their fantastic 2018 Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon - I'd rate this a notch up from N.32 Dry Creek Cabernet Sauvignon and probably the best Cabernet I have ever sourced from this region.

Its a single vineyard designate (naming the vineyard would give it away) located on a low-yielding, hillside site planted 35-years ago in the southern end of Dry Creek Valley. There are more titillating details I'd love to share with you about rootstock, etc. but, alas, I must demur to protect the innocent.

This dynamite Cabernet has all the bells and whistles, produced, again, with great attention to detail and the care that you get from small, boutique producers. Selling for $55 at the winery, today's this fantastic Cabernet can be yours for just $19/bottle.

Dark in the glass but a shade away from opaque. The nose is complex and multifaceted - classic Dry Creek, chock full of graphite, blackberry jam and plummy bourbon oak notes up front with lilac florals and a black cherry-infused red rock minerality emerging with air. Supple on entry with a robust tannin framework carrying waves of black and red fruits interlaced with earthy, graphitic notes in a long, supple finish. Ample musculature perfectly balanced.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
35% new American oak, 15% new French oak
14.9% alc.
400 cases available
Bottled January 21, 2021

***

Lot 97 | 2019 Walla Walla Viognier

As a professed CA Viognier-hater, I have lately been encouraged by efforts to tame the cloying, overripe apricot characteristics that can dominate this varietal. Well, I have found Viognier heaven up in Washington State and this Walla Walla example, the source wineries signature white, is a pitch-perfect effort that will make you never want to touch another Washington Chardonnay.

Priced at $24/bottle and as food-friendly as all-get-out (not to mention uber-poolside-friendly), its a fantastically utilitarian purchase at $12/bottle. (this is the stainless-steel-fermented sister wine to N.98 barrel-fermented Viognier from same producer).

The nose is multi-faceted and complex with jasmine perfume and pretty orchard fruit notes lifted on spicy, honeyed mineral aromas. In contrast to the brisk bouquet, the palate is a complete head-fake; expecting bright acidity one instead finds the classic, chewy viscousness of Viognier. Smooth as a babies butt, the mid-palate serves up creamy saline on entry then turns fleshy with honeyed peach and pear fruit riding a chalky beam of minerality into the citrus-kissed sunset. Bone-dry and beautiful. Serve at cellar temp (55 degrees) with spicy Asian fare for pairing perfection.

100% Viognier
100% stainless steel
14.5% alc.
Bottled December 18th, 2020

***

Lot 98 | 2019 Walla Walla Viognier

Jumping ahead here a bit on our designer so using another image to represent.

I've often complained about the oily, overwrought Viognier's that plagued California in the 1990's and early 2000's, heavy on overripe apricot but with little delicacy, structure or reward. Since then things have gotten considerably better in California but it seems to me that Washington State is ready to give us a run for our money (the French, broadly speaking, still produce the best Viognier of course but that's a story for another time).

Today's release comes to us from one of Walla Walla's most reputable Viognier producers and this is the first of two Viognier's I purchased from them. Already in shiners, this selection is the more elegant and bright of the two (Sauvignon Blanc lovers take note) and is drinking beautifully already. Should make a lovely aperitif or as an accompaniment to lighter seafood fare. This wine normally retails in the mid-20's and has reliable 90-91 pt. Spectator scores in solid vintages like 2019 (some reds got hit by the September frosts). Another damn fine value at $14/bottle.

Pale yellow in the glass with bright citrus aromas and a kiss of apricot surrounded spicy floral top notes and honeycomb bass notes that round out an uplifted and fresh bouquet. Honeydew and pear are viscous on the palate but dance through the wine on beam of lightly-honeyed minerality. The finish is long and pristine with citrus, apricot and honeycomb notes resonating throughout. Fresh, brisk, and lovely, this is a light and pretty take on Viognier.

100% barrel fermented in neutral french oak
100% Viognier
14.1% alc.
250 cases available
Bottled December 18, 2020

***

Lot 99 | 2018 The Rocks District/Walla Walla Syrah

OG N.99 Rocks District/Walla Walla Syrah is the Reserve Syrah offering from the same winery as N.74 Walla Walla Syrah. The source vineyard is an estate property in The Rocks District of Milton Freewater. As the vineyard lies on the Oregon side of the Rocks appellation and we bottled the wine in Washington, we were unable to use The Rocks District of Milton Freewater on the label. I have no idea why this is, but it is. Rest assured, however, this Syrah is a single-vineyard-designate from the Rocks AVA (the label will say Walla Walla).

But enough bureaucratic hogwash, lets talk about the wine. This is fantastic juice, rich and ripe with an unctuous mouthfeel but supported by a brawny, chiseled structure that provides for depth and dimension. Retailing for over $50/bottle out of the winery tasting room, it's an exceptional deal at $12/bottle, $144/case. Only 150 cases are up for grabs.

Deep ruby to medium purple in the glass. Meaty aromas of blueberry, blackberry and smoky rock are topped with a kiss of acacia flower and underpinned with more smoky earth notes. The wine is broad and smooth on entry with an unctuous viscosity well supported by fine tannins. Blueberry and smoky chocolate ride to glory on a long, lip-smacking, umami-driven finish. The yum factor here is huge and its just about impossible to just have one glass.

oh baby, this is ready to rock and roll. Meaty, luscious, sexy and silky, it'll absolutely blow you mind with an hour or two of air.

100% Syrah, 100% estate vineyard in The Rocks District of Milton Freewater
50% new French and American oak
15.1% alc.
Bottled December 18th, 2020
150 cases available

***

Lot 100 | 2019 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon

The Cabernet's of the Rutherford Bench have long been amongst my favorites for their chiseled frames, ethereal elegance, and gorgeous fruit achieving a near-perfect balance of structure, texture and weight.

OG N.100 comes to us from one of the true icon's of the Rutherford. The estate is located at the southern end of the appellation, yet in the heart of the Oakville and Rutherford Bench complex of alluvial fans that drain out of the Maycamas Mountains. Here twenty-foot-deep, well-drained, gravelly as well as volcanic soils produce small clusters of intense fruit long considered the Grand Cru of Napa Valley. Prices at the winery start at well over $100/bottle but today's offering of OG N.100 2019 Rutherford Cabernet is yours for only $29/bottle.

As it is a 2019 Cabernet (purchased last summer just before the fires hit), I've arranged with the producer to keep the wine in barrel until early May 2021 when it goes into the bottle (and will ship to you shortly thereafter, weather permitting). The wine is currently composed of 100% Cabernet but we have purchased small lots of other blending components from the same producer (also in barrel) and we will assemble the final blend next year.

Dark ruby in the glass, a shade off of opaque. The nose is archetypal Rutherford, gorgeously ethereal and energetic with raspberry and cherry fruit dancing with damson plum and the quintessential Rutherford Dust. Decadent dark fruits swim below while a kiss of maple syrup sweetens the purple lilac top notes. Elegantly structured and beautifully balanced on the palate with the supple red fruits melded nicely onto minerally tannins that unwind to show the darker fruit notes underneath. The wine has fantastic weight to it and unfurls beautifully on your palate despite its youth. Should age beautifully for another 10-15-years.

100% Estate Cabernet
40% new French oak
15.2% alc.
Bottled May 18th, 2021

***

Lot 101 | 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Franc

Other than an 89 pt. blip in a particularly hot vintage, this wine has a 10-year run of consistently scoring between 91-93 points from the Wine Spectator. Granted, it was about 10-years ago and it looks like they stopped bothering once they had an audience for the wine. They continue to generate a lot of local press however with numerous Washington State press noting this bottling is considered one of the best Cabernet Franc's in Washington. Sourced from the producers estate vineyard just a stones throw from the legendary Seven Hills Vineyard, it sells out of the tasting room for around $40/bottle and yours today for just $15/bottle.

Dark garnet in the glass and showing fairly well with a few minutes of air having been bottled about two months ago (three by the time it gets to you). Classic notes of spicy cherry, red currant and beautifully perfumed florals are underpinned with dark earth, smoky oak and coffee bean. Lush, ripe blackberry, black cherry and plum notes on entry well supported by impeccable, tannins. Brighter cherry fruit mingles with smoky oak and graphitic, loamy tannins in a long, mouthwatering finish. The dichotomy between the higher-toned perfumed red fruits and the dark, savory notes is fantastic. This is a spectacular wine for $15/bottle.

97% Cabernet Franc, 2% Malbec, 1% Merlot (100% Estate)
35% new French oak
14.9% alc.
bottled November 16th, 2020
500 cases available

***

Lot 102 | 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

The 2018 vintage for red wines in Washington State was about as close to perfection as it gets. Today's release, an estate-grown, single-vineyard designate 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon, has a 10-year run of consistently scoring between 91-93 points from the Wine Spectator (other than the occasional 88-89 pt. blip in a lesser vintage). Granted, it was about 10-years ago and it looks like they stopped bothering with submissions once they had an audience for the wine. Nevertheless, what you have here is a Cabernet Sauvignon from a great vineyard in a fantastic vintage at an unheard of price.

Sourced from the producers estate-vineyard (just a stones throw from the legendary Seven Hills Vineyard), it sells out of the tasting room for around $40/bottle and is yours today for just $16/bottle. Comparable to just about any $60-$70/bottle Napa Cabernet, this is a fantastic offer at this price.

Dark garnet, almost opaque in the glass. The bouquet is redolent with spicy blackberry compote, creme de cassis, pepper and mineral-infused florals with a kiss of smoky oak. Rich, chewy and dense on entry with plenty of ripe fruit and lush, toasty vanilla notes from the American oak perfectly balanced against rock and tobacco. Rich and ripe with seamless tannin integration, this terrific Cabernet Sauvignon is a first-class effort at an INCREDIBLE price. Should be drinking quite nicely in April.

98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec, 100% Estate
40% new French and America oak
14.9% alc.
800 cases available
Bottled December 11th, 2020

***

Lot 103 | 2018 Walla Walla Malbec

The 2018 vintage for red wines in Washington State was about as close to perfection as it gets. Today's release, an estate-grown, single-vineyard designate 2018 Walla Walla Malbec, is from the same producer as N.97-N.99 and N.101 through N.106.

Sourced from the producers estate-vineyard (just a stones throw from the legendary Seven Hills Vineyard), it sells out of the tasting room for $35/bottle and is yours today for just $15/bottle. There are only 250 cases available.

Deep ruby/opaque in the glass. Fennel, sage and mushroom mingle with spicy black cherry liqueur and fig aromas in a fascinating bouquet. Firm on entry with fleshy mid-palate tannins carrying dark fruit, rock and leather with firm oak and spice on finish. Balanced, complex and unique with terrific structure, this is a wonderful Walla Walla Malbec that will age nicely over the next decade. Should be settled into the bottle by late May, early June.

99% Malbec, 1% Petite Verdot
40% new French and American oak
14.8% alc.
235 cases available
Bottled February 18th, 2021

***

Lot 104 | 2018 Walla Walla Petit Verdot

If Cabernet Franc gets more earthy and ethereal in Walla Walla, Petit Verdot gets more muscular and robust. This dense, meaty wine is a chewy, delicious take on the varietal. Sourced from the same producer as N. 74 and N. 75 Syrah, this is a first class winery and a terrific effort in a terrific vintage. There are only 150 cases available.

Inky, dense and virtually opaque in the glass. The aromas are dense too with smoky graphite, mineral, meaty black fruit and cardamom spice. Huge and chewy on the palate with robust mouth-coating tannins powering through a lip-smacking, teeth-staining finish. Fantastic structure and balance.

100% Petit Verdot, 100% estate fruit
14.8% alc.
150 cases available
Bottled on December 17, 2020

***

Lot 105 | 2018 Rocks District Cabernet Sauvignon

The "Silver Oak" of Washington State!

If you are a fan of that style, I think you will appreciate this American-oak aged Cabernet. Rich, ripe and lush but well-structured, it's right up the alley.

Estate-produced and grown, the vineyard is planted in the massive cobblestone washouts of the Rocks District of Milton Freewater, where you can dig for 40-50 feet and still hit rock. The source winery only bottles this wine in exceptional vintages (which 2018 certainly was) as a Reserve Cabernet priced at $65/bottle, now yours for just $20/bottle.

Deep garnet in the glass. Effusive and spicy on the nose, chock full of creme de cassis and raspberry with nice leather and cedar accents supported on bourbon vanilla and river rock mineral notes. Plush, sumptuous, and smooth as silk on the palate with almost shockingly imperceptible tannins (in large part due to the wines bottling phase having 40 days in the bottle), this wine is a magic carpet ride of sumptuousness.

If you are worried the wine sounds too plush and fat, don't. It's just a bottling phase...I also have next to me the hold back sample from last Fall and there's plenty of structure. Should be knit together sometime in mid-to-late-Spring.

98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc, 100% The Rocks District Estate fruit
50% new American Oak
14.9% alc.
200 cases
Bottled December 17th, 2020

***

Lot 106 | 2018 Walla Walla Tempranillo

This wine is from the same producer as N.97-N.99 as well as N.101 through N.105. I think you'll find all of these wines, even the recent bottlings, are punching waaay above their weight-class. Of course, N.106 Walla Walla Tempranillo reflects the same high-end winemaking with all estate fruit and generous, high-quality oak deployment. Happy to tell you that its one of my favorites of the bunch (along with N.98 - damn that turned out great!).

Rustic yet rich, this is a classic Tempranillo in terms of flavors but with a modern fruit profile. As I said, like the others wines from this producer, it bats way above it weight-class and is a fantastic deal at $15/bottle vs. the $30-$35 you'd pay at the winery.

Deep ruby in the glass and opaque other than for a little crimson around the rim. Bottled January 28th, its still coalescing in the bottle but but the layers are all there. Opens with piquant red fruits (pomegranate) and walnut husk turning to the more purple fruit profiles underpinned with the darker, earthier components of leather and cocoa. Should be fabulous once it comes together. Rich and full-bodied on the palate with ripe, well-integrated tannins coated with chocolatey oak notes in a long finish. Its a bit backwards right now (to be expected) but, for those of you who like them rich and powerful with plenty of oak, this will be great for May/June BBQ.

98% Tempranillo, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon
98% Walla Walla, 2% Rocks District
45% new French and American oak combo
14.7% alc.

***

Lot 107 | 2018 Yountville Petite Sirah

Situated just off State Lane on the east side of Napa Valley in the Yountville AVA, this vineyard sits close by legendary producers Kapscandy and Clif Lede. The estate Petite Sirah on offer today is itself a component of a just south of $100 per bottle red blend. The producer simply had about 600 gallons of extra Petite as the blend is usually a specific percentage split between the two varietals. Dismiss this wine as simply excess juice at your own risk.

Raised in 100% new French oak, this beautiful and powerful Petite Sirah has excellent intensity. It is, of course, inky in the glass (the hold back sample I have from September 3rd has completely stained the clear glass purple) but its beautifully perfumed with a lovely potpourri of floral aromatics haloing black cherry, blueberry, dark chocolate-covered figs and toasty oak. Its muscular yet supple on the palate with terrific density nicely balanced against excellent acidity. Raspberry compote, blue fruit, vanilla and seasoned oak mingle in this rich structure, unfurling their intensity against a wave of robust, chewy tannins. If you like it big and bold, this is your wine!

*please note: the wine was bottled in Burgundy glass, not Bordeaux as pictured above.

100% Petite Sirah, 100% Yountville District
100% New French oak
14.9% alc.
Bottled November 30th, 2020

***

Lot 108 | 2018 Fair Play District (El Dorado) Zinfandel

The vineyards of the El Dorado's Fair Play district occupy the transitional foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at elevations between 2,000- and 3,000-feet. As a result, the region has one of the larger diurnal swings in California. Renowned for powerful Zinfandel's that have, mercifully, been reigned in from the excesses of the 2000's, today the region produces wines of both power and grace and a great deal more precision.

This release is the first of several Reserve designated lots I purchased, all with 30+ price tags and all largely the winemaker's blends (we tweaked a few but just 1-2% using producer's wines). All have been in barrel until August 2020. This is an extremely well respected producer with deep roots in the region. The wines are very well made with broad stylistic appeal in that they are precisely what you would expect from the region.

Dusky, medium ruby. Springs from the glass with dusty plum, blackberry syrup and pepper dominating the nose with just a kiss of raspberry. There is chocolate too but it shows more on the palate where the tootsie roll character envelops the warm, lush palate of black and red fruits in a long, smooth finish. The wine has tremendous balance and very good weight and structure - it should age nicely for another 5-7 years.

Check-in tasting 7.11.21 - cracking open nicely and ready to go. Beautiful bouquet of raspberry, pepper and tobacco leaf with fleshy, juicy, ripe mid-palate offering terrific balance and plenty of structure with plum, pepper and tobacco on the finish. Excellent length with a tannin structure that will give it many more years of life. This is extremely well-made, quintessential foothills Zinfandel.

99% Zinfandel, 1% Petite Sirah
30% new American Oak, medium toast.
15.7% alc.
Bottled November 11th, 2020

***

Lot 109 | 2018 Fair Play District (El Dorado County) Syrah

BOTTLED NOVEMBER 13TH, 2020 AND SHIPS NOW WEATHER PERMITTING

This wine is from the same producer as N.108 Fair Play Zinfandel.

The vineyards of the El Dorado's Fair Play District occupy the transitional foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at elevations between 2,000- and 3,000-feet. As a result, the region has one of the larger diurnal swings in California. Renowned for powerful Zinfandel's that have, mercifully, been reigned in from the excesses of the 2000's, today the region produces wines of both power and grace and a great deal more precision.

This release is the second of several Reserve designated lots I purchased, all with 30+ price tags and all largely the winemaker's blends - N.109 is the winemakers blend and its 100% Syrah. All have been in barrel until August 2020. This is an extremely well respected producer with deep roots in the region. The wines are very well made with broad stylistic appeal in that they are precisely what you would expect from the region.

Medium Ruby in the glass with some sexy pale purple energy running through it...remarkably fresh looking for a 2018 wine...If I had to guess I would say it was a 2019. Vibrant and fresh nose features a lovely lilac note topping boysenberry, graham cracker and dark chocolate with the meaty, savory, peppery notes rounding out the lower register. Plush and lush yet powerfully structured on the palate with ripe purple and black fruits riding a savory mineral framework that showcases Fair Play's volcanic soils. Archetypal and Delicious! A steal at $12/bottle.

Check-in tasting 7.11.21 - Bang! Ripe, meaty boysenberry, brown sugar, violet and pepper explode from the glass. Exquisite balance and tremendous complexity make this an absolutely fantastic wine. I cannot recommend it highly enough. Best Syrah I have had out of the foothills..makes me wish I had more of this!

30% new French Oak
100% Syrah
14.9% alc.
Bottled November 13th, 2020

***

Lot 110 | 2018 Fair Play District Petite Sirah

The vineyards of the El Dorado's Fair Play District occupy the transitional foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at elevations between 2,000- and 3,000-feet. As a result, the region has one of the larger diurnal swings in California. Renowned for powerful Zinfandel's that have, mercifully, been reigned in from the excesses of the 2000's, today the region produces wines of both power and grace and a great deal more precision.

This release is the third of several Reserve designated lots I purchased, all with 30+ price tags and all largely the winemaker's blends. Our only adjustment here was to blend 2% of the producer's Syrah to this wine. This is a classic Petite Sirah produced by a master of the varietal in this particular clime. With 50% new French oak and a regular retail in the mid- $30's, N.110 is an exceptional value at only $14/bottle equivalent. Only 100 cases left as of 8.18.21.

Dense and inky in the glass but with vibrant fuchsia around the rim. Gobs of blueberry and raspberry fruit mingle with black pepper and chocolate. There's a spicy halo and wonderful freshness to the bouquet with a red rock mineral note that runs throughout, providing lift and complexity. At a reasonable 14.8% alcohol, the juicy black and red fruits are warm but never overbearing, nicely balanced against firm, chewy tannins in a long, lingering finish. Will age nicely over the next decade but should be pretty approachable in April 2021.

Check-in tasting 7.11.21 - opens with rock, flower and earth are framed with blueberry, plum, pepper and vanilla. Muscular, vibrant and chewy on the palate with ample structure and dimension just cracking open. Palate staining finish is surprisingly elegant and well-balanced - and I mean really well-balanced. All of the wines form this producer are exceptional in that way. This wine has a long life ahead but ready to rock-and-roll now.

98% Petite Sirah, 2% Syrah - all estate fruit
50% new French Oak
14.8% alc.
Bottled November 30th, 2020

***

Lot 111 | 2018 Fair Play District Tempranillo

The vineyards of the El Dorado's Fair Play district occupy the transitional foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at elevations between 2,000- and 3,000-feet. As a result, the region has one of the larger diurnal swings in California. Renowned for powerful Zinfandel's that have, mercifully, been reigned in from the excesses of the 2000's, today the region produces wines of both power and grace and a great deal more precision.

Today's release is one of several Reserve designated lots I purchased, all with $30+ price tags. This is an extremely well respected producer with deep roots in the region. The wines are very well made with broad stylistic appeal in that they are precisely what you would expect from the region.

Dark and inky in the glass. Seven weeks in the bottle now and emerging from shock so the aromas are a bit disjointed but its all there on the palate. Black fruit kirsch aromas support raspberry white chocolate bark, wood resin and cacao with a kiss of red rock minerality. Plush and substantial on the palate with gobs of fruit and tannin fanning out in a long, potent finish. Absolutely fabulous. This is a stunning deal at $12/bottle.

Check-in tasting 7.11.21 - right out of the bottle, offers classic, brooding nose of blackberry, plum, and dark earth haloed with vanilla and seasoned oak. Opens up quickly with cassis and rhubarb pie fruit moving to the fore. Its beautifully knit together on the palate with seamless amalgam of fruit, oak, and tannin. Just starting to hit its stride, this big boy is a terrific example of regional winemaking experience. Again, exquisite balance throughout.

100% Tempranillo
30% new American oak
15.1% alc.
125 cases available
Bottled November 20th, 2020

***

Lot 112 | 2018 Sierra Foothills Cabernet Sauvignon

I have not in the past been a huge fan of Cabernet's from the Sierra Foothills region. However, this wine, produced from one of the highest elevation vineyards in California, is a terrific example of mountain-grown, volcanically-derived fruit. (www.duartegeorgetown.com at 2500 feet was planted by the Duarte family of Duarte Nursery to show what the Sierra Foothills could do). Rich, ripe and beautifully balanced, its a classic expression of the variety; in fact, I think this wine could easily be confused for a hillside Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

It comes to us from the same Fair Play District winery as N.108 through N.111 and is one of several Reserve designated lots I purchased, all with 30+ price tags (this one is almost $40/bottle) and all largely the winemaker's blends (we tweaked a few but just 1-2% using producer's wines). This is an extremely well respected producer with deep roots in the region. The wines are very well made with broad stylistic appeal in that they are precisely what you would expect from the region.

Deep garnet in the glass. Aromas of blackcurrant, cassis, cedar, crushed red rock and succulent acacia flower are well-delineated and complex. Supple on entry with ripe raspberry and cassis melded with red rock minerality and nice resin top note supported on fleshy, chewy tannins. The lengthy finish is smooth and balanced presenting nuanced red fruit and rock with precision and grace.

Check-in tasting 7.11.21 - WOW! nose, complex and well-delineated sweet florals, notes of raspberry puree, blackberry syrup and red rock are absolutely soaring. Beautifully integrated on the palate with very compelling complexity and balance and an exquisite structure. This will go down as one of the best dN Cabernet deals, hands down. Wish we had more!

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Sierra Foothills
35% new French oak (estimated)
15.6% alc.
Bottled November 13th, 2020
100 cases available.

***

Lot 113 | 2019 PetiteSirah Fair Play District /El Dorado County

***BOTTLED MAY 7TH, 2021

The vineyards of the El Dorado's Fair Play District occupy the transitional foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at elevations between 2,000- and 3,000-feet. As a result, the region has one of the larger diurnal swings in California. Renowned for powerful Zinfandel's that have, mercifully, been reigned in from the excesses of the 2000's, today the region produces wines of both power and grace and a great deal more precision.

N.113 is from the same producer as the previous Petite Sirah release, N.110, but its a different animal, far more expressive due to the 30% new medium to medium+ French oak which elevates the fruit and doesn't overpowering it. As you'll recall, my recent late August tasting of N.110 found that the wine has fantastic concentration and richness, but its still integrating its oak.

What we see with N.113 is a far more expressive, terroir-driven version of the same fruit. Clearly the winemaker saw a more accessible vintage and went in another, more elegant direction. I am a huge fan and, if you like that macerated raspberry, cherry candy and pepper combo, you will be too.

Medium/dark garnet in the glass - this is not an extracted version of Petite Sirah, more like a Pinot Noir-lovers version of the varietal. Effusive white pepper rises up through fresh, macerated raspberry and expressive layers of hard cherry candy, tobacco leaf, and leather with a lovely caramel robe enveloping the bouquet. Bright and vibrant with mouth-watering acidity and palate staining focus, candied fruit, pepper and spice lingering through a terrific retro-nasal driven finish. Deeeelicious. Shocking that this wine is 14.9% alc., it drinks more like 13.8%-14% - will be fantastic with a big steak!

97.5% Petite Sirah, 2.5% Syrah, 100% Estate fruit, 100% Fair Play District
30% new French oak (medium, medium+ toast)
14.9% alc. - however, this wine drinks like its 13.8-14% with plenty of crunchy acidity
Bottled May 7th, 2021

***

Lot 114 | 2019 Fair Play District, El Dorado County Reserve Tempranillo

The vineyards of the El Dorado's Fair Play District occupy the transitional foothills of the Sierra Nevada Mountains at elevations between 2,000- and 3,000-feet. As a result, the region has one of the larger diurnal swings in California. Here decomposed granite and shale hilltops make up the lean soils that can ideally-control Tempranillo's natural vigor. Renowned for powerful reds that have, mercifully, been reigned in from the alcoholic/extract excesses of the 2000's, today the region produces wines of both power and grace and a great deal more precision.

OG N.114 2019 Tempranillo is a great example of the increase in regional quality. Aged in 30% new American oak a la Espana, where the varietal powers some of Spain's greatest wines in Rioja and Ribera Del Duero, this wine is cracking open nicely now and ready-to-drink with a good decant (bottled back in November). With a Reserve designation and well over $30+ price point, its another hell of a deal at $9/bottle, $108/case.

Medium to deep garnet in the glass. Plum, cocoa dust occupy the core of the bouquet with blackberry jam and bourbon vanilla rounding it out with seasoned oak notes. Firm-yet-juicy on the medium-full-bodied palate with an excellent balance of fruit, structure and acidity with spicy, pretty cherry fruit featured in the mid-palate. While this wine is drinking nicely now, the darker fruit of the nose versus the brighter red fruit on the palate indicates this wine probably needs another couple of months in bottle to fully coalesce. Not surprising given the power and structure here. This wine could age another 10 years with ease.

98% Tempranillo, 2% Syrah
30% new American oak
14.9% alc.
350 cases available
Bottled November 20th, 2020

***

Lot 115 | 2019 Carneros Rose of Pinot Noir

From one of Sonoma Carneros most experienced Rose producers, this delicately perfumed beauty will tickle your palate. Pale pink, elegant, crisp, bright and supremely refreshing, its retails for over $30/bottle; now only $10/bottle. Bottled December 11th, it'll be gorgeous by the time March rolls around.

Shimmering, pale salmon. Strawberry and raspberry fruit are brisk and lifted with cherry blossom, appleskin, citrus and mineral. Beautiful. Fleshy and juicy on entry...bone-dry but perfectly balanced with mouthwatering , crystalline, fruit-laden acidity accented with rose petals. Long, pure finish.

100% Pinot Noir, 100% stainless steel
11% alc.
500 cases available
bottled December 11, 2020

***

Lot 116 | 2019 Yorkville Highlands Sauvignon Blanc

Sourced from a rugged ridge top at almost 2,000 feet of elevation, this fresh and vibrant Sauvignon Blanc will make a terrific Spring-time sipper. The source winery sells this bottling for well over $20/bottle.

Pale-to-medium yellow in the glass. Gooseberry, passionfruit, green apple skins and white flowers soar from the glass with pear aromas providing a solid core. Fresh and lively on the palate with zesty apple and chalky acidity leading to a lingering finish that adds honeyed blossoms and pear notes. Clean, pure and zippy with excellent balance throughout. Spring in a bottle.

100% Sauvignon Blanc
13.6% alc.
150 cases available
Bottled December 2nd, 2020

***

Lot 117 | 2019 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

This muscular-yet-elegant Cabernet hails from the western hills of Sonoma Valley in the foothill alluvial's draining down off of the southern foot of Sonoma Mountain. The winemaker (and consulting winemaker for a variety of high-end Sonoma Valley wineries) told me he's too busy with his other clients to spend anytime selling his own wines so he's getting out of the game.

$50/bottle Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon doesn't sell itself you know.

This southern part of Sonoma Valley is relatively cool and, despite the 14.9% alc., this is an intriguing, unique cool-climate style. I know the November 2020 bottling seems early for a Cabernet but we felt the wine was ready (the 2019's are fabulous by the way).

Farmed at just one-cluster per shoot (yielding under two tons per acre), fermented in open-top redwood vats, and aged in 50% new French oak, its a steal at $16/bottle.

The nose is redolent with oak at this young stage, chock-full of tootsie roll notes from the MT+ barrels and savory, graphitic concentration. The once-vibrant black cherry/black raspberry fruit is subdued at this point (bottled just a couple months ago) but the lovely perfumed violet and red rock are on full display. On the palate, supple, elegant blackberry fruit is beautifully balanced with with firm acidity and chewy french oak tannin. The finish is long and lingering with chewy fruit echoing throughout. Rock solid and delicious now but there's a lot more complexity to come. Hold through to late Spring, early summer.

***Tasting Notes 8.19.21 - showing very nicely now with a good decant. I gave it a couple hours of air and it really began to sing with blueberry, pie crust and sage notes opening up into beautiful blackberry juice, red rock, seasoned oak and mint all well-delineated on the nose. Smooth on entry with gobs of red and black fruit and juicy tannins. Wonderfully rich with good length in the finish but clearly there is more to come in terms of complexity. There is plenty of oomph here for the cellar but this wine is drinking well now. Hell of a deal at $16/bottle!

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
50% new French oak
14.9% alc.
300 cases available
Bottled November 18th, 2020

***

Lot 118 | 2018 Chalk Hill Malbec

Oh my. Juicy, rich, ripe, deep, dark, and delicious are just a few descriptors of this fantastic Chalk Hill Malbec...while I'm at it, I would throw in lush, intense and hedonistic too.

Produced by one of Chalk Hill's finest producers from some of the finest vineyards on Chalk Hill, this is a no expense spared, built to the nines Malbec with approximately 80% new French Oak. I paid more for this wine than I did many Napa Cabernet's actually. The wine sells for well over $60/bottle at the winery under a special reserve designation and is a stunning opportunity at $24/bottle.

Bottled back on November 13th, it will largely be through bottle shock by mid-February, 2021. In fact, its drinking nice nicely already (1/14/21) but will certainly benefit from more time in the bottle.

Inky in the glass with a beautiful nose of provencal herb, brooding black cherry, smoky oak, dark chocolate and mocha notes. Plush on entry with a juicy melange of mixed dark berry fruit and spice perfectly integrated atop a chewy tannin structure. The jammy fruit is lush and hedonistic but perfectly ripe and never over the top - always in balance. The finish is long, pure, and seamless. Drink over the next decade.

100% Malbec, 100% Chalk Hill, 100% Estate-grown
80% new French oak
15.2% alc.
Bottled November 13th, 2020
500 cases available

***

Lot 119 | 2018 Chalk Hill Syrah

N.119 Chalk Hill Syrah comes to us from the same producer as N.118 Chalk Hill Malbec. True to previous form, the Syrah is an open-knit style, big and bold and immediately accessible with five-to-seven-years of ageing capability. I liked this wine so much I paid as much as, if not more than, many Napa Cabernet's I purchased. Big, bold, lush and juicy, these wines will have broad appeal. The Syrah has 90-94 point scores, year-in, year-out from the Wine Spectator. Given how good the 2018 vintage was its easy to see this wine slotting into the mid-90's again. $65 out of the winery tasting room, yours for just $24/bottle.

Deep garnet in the glass. Lovely lavender and allspice aromas halo warm boysenberry pie with graham cracker crust and dark chocolate bass notes...savory, meaty black pepper notes emerge with air. Wonderfully complex, the rocky, volcanic soils this wine was grown in show in the intense-yet-ethereal aromatics.

The palate is just as rewarding with exquisite balance and tremendous length offering up rich fruit and spicy herb notes gently attenuated over ripe tannins. Deft and complex, this wine drinks well now and will age beautifully over the next decade (I had originally given this a 5-7 year window but now that its has settled into the bottle, the structure is more obvious). Straight up fantastic.

100% Syrah, 100% Chalk Hill, 100% Estate-grown.
approximately 70% new French oak
14.2% alc.
Bottled November 13th, 2020

***

Lot 120 | 2018 Moon Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

94 POINTS, PLATINUM MEDAL!
2021 SOMMELIER CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Deep, dark and seductive! A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
94-POINTS

One of my Top Three Cabernet's from 2018, this fantastic wine is sourced from high atop the Moon Mountain AVA. The altitude and volcanic soils create an ethereal mountain Cabernet Sauvignon with a complex array of flavors, a lithe structure and incredible balance and complexity. With 75% new French oak and a price point well over $100/bottle, its an incredible offer at $19/bottle, $228/case. If you like mountain fruit, do not miss this wine!

Moon Mountain is one of Sonoma's newest AVA's. It was carved out of the Valley of the Moon AVA where it made no sense to be included given that the area carved out stretches over some of the highest elevation vineyards sites on the North Coast. The new AVA houses many notable even legendary vineyards and is one of the great secret hot spots for Cabernet (not to mention Zinfandel) in both Napa and Sonoma Counties. The source vineyards combination of elevation and red volcanic soils have made it a legendary source for many a high-end red wine program.

Deep purple, almost opaque. Black cherry and creme de mure are lifted on an amalgam of crushed rock, blossom with a kiss of lavender and bergamot. Plum and iron emerge with air to create a beautifully complex and ethereal bouquet. The wine is tight on the palate (no surprise given it was bottled in November) and just beginning to stretch out. Linear and muscular on entry with firm, big-grained tannins carrying primary black and red fruits underpinned with vanilla. The finish is incredibly long, lingering, and quite pure but clearly this fantastic Cabernet is just beginning to unwind in the bottle.

81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Malbec, 7% Petite Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc
100% Moon Mountain District
75% new French oak
14.9% alcohol
Bottled November 11th, 2020
600 cases available

***

Lot 121 | 2018 Knights Valley Sauvignon Blanc

Pale-to-medium straw in the glass. Fume- style. The aromas are gorgeous...ripe pineapple and musky honeydew/guava are haloed by a lemon cream, marshmallow fluff and little white fig. Fantastic fruit/acid tension on the palate with pretty citrus flavors melding with the ripe pineapple richness brought on by barrel-fermentation, battonage and 20+ months of barrel-ageing. Lip-smacking and lengthy finish just goes on and on...

100% Sauvignon Blanc
80% new French oak
13.5% alc.
100 cases available
Bottled December 2nd, 2020

***

Lot 122 | 2019 Dry Creek Pinot Noir

94-Points, Platinum Medal
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

Leave it to negociant Cameron Hughes to stick his thumb into an AVA not known for Pinot Noir and pull out a plum, so to speak. It's a dark side Pinot, but it has the acidity to make it work. A fine bottle to sway the Pinot haters in your circle. A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition. 94-POINTS Sep 28, 2021

Known for their huge portfolio of single-vineyard-designate Pinot's from California's best Grand Cru sites, the producer of today's release is one the pioneer's of New World Pinot Noir. To be honest, I have no idea what this little lot of Dry Creek Pinot Noir was doing in their portfolio...vineyard test, new offering sacrificed to COVID-related business concerns or maybe a wine club only offering? Who knows.

What I do know is the wine is delicious and clearly made with the same care that goes into their normal SVD bottlings. And don't let the Dry Creek appellation fool you, there are quite a few cool sites there and this is a bone-dry Pinot with good acidity and terrific structure. There is not a Pinot in this portfolio under $70 so I think you are in good hands at $20/bottle.

Medium ruby in the glass. Ripe, spicy Bing cherry and cola contrast with ethereal notes of dried rose petal and an earthen spice rack of cinnamon and cardamom. Supple on entry with pretty red fruits supported by mouthwatering yet firm acidity that lifts the ethereal tones. Red fruit echoes throughout the lengthy, medium-full-bodied finish with a kiss of seasoned french oak. Ripe throughout but bone dry and nuanced with gobs of structure. Good stuff.

100% Pinot Noir, 100% Dry Creek
14.8% alc.
250 cases available
Bottled February 11, 2021 - open June/July and drink over the next 8 years.

***

Lot 123 | 2017 Napa Valley Merlot

Definitely a Cab-lovers Merlot, this densely colored, rich, chewy red will make you wonder why you don't drink more Merlot. There is some serious fortitude as well as supple complexity to this dynamite wine.

Deep ruby in the glass with an opaque core. Beautiful, uplifted bouquet of ripe cherries jubilee, baking spice, plum, and chocolate/tootsie roll oak notes with a kiss of mineral-infused tobacco leaf and white flower. As complex as it is gorgeous. Big and rich on the palate with gobs of ripe, red and blacks fruits perfectly integrated with chewy tannins in a long, chocolatey finish.

99% Merlot, 1% Cabernet Sauvignon
50% Calistoga (hillside alluvial estate vineyard) and 50% St. Helena
40% new French oak
15.1% alc.
500 cases available.
Bottled November 13, 2020

***

Lot 124 | 2018 Napa Valley Merlot

92-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Sourced from a legendary winery and produced from a legendary vineyard, Lot 124 is an incredible offering that will have broad appeal. This an elegant-yet-powerfully-structured wine that will age beautifully over the next 15-20 years.

The winery is a Napa Valley pioneer, the vineyard is none other than the epic, sprawling S********H Vineyard high atop Atlas Peak. With a well-over $75/bottle price point, its an exceptional offer at $24/bottle - especially considering it has 8-months in the bottle.

Why didn't I release this sooner? It's one of those wines where I missed the tasting window before bottle shock set in.

And taken its time to come around it has. As you've likely heard from me before, the 2018's are powerfully structured yet elegantly fruited wines and, while they move through bottle shock normally, they are taking much longer than is typical to evolve/crack open in the bottle (just look at N.15 Merlot, we bottled that wine over a year ago and it is just now opening up).

This is a good thing, however, as it speaks to the tremendous ageing capability and most excellent stuffing of these wines.

Like N.15, Lot 128 is still unwinding but quite approachable with a long decant (or, better yet, a 24-hour decant). Its a gorgeously constructed wine with an elegant expression laid over a powerful structure that reflects its mountainside provenance; it should come as no surprise that this wine is still swaddled in baby fat.

Deep ruby in the glass. The bouquet starts with Santa Rosa plum and cherry notes juxtaposed with dark earth and coffee bean but grows ever more ethereal with air. The mountain perfume comes up slowly with raspberry hard candy and the classic sage and provencal garrigue joining the chorus. Dusty barrel spice aromas of brown sugar and cinnamon hard candy ebb and flow through the ever shifting bouquet. Supple on entry yet tightly-wound with Bing cherry notes riding over minerally mountain tannins that keep the mid palate focused and ethereal not to mention mouthwatering. The tannins crest and crash leaving baking spice and cherry fruit to caress the palate. As the fruit resolves, seasoned french oak and crushed walnuts echo through the long finish.

There is tremendous depth and complexity here just waiting to reveal itself...the patient will certainly be rewarded.

100% Merlot
40% new French oak, medium toast
14.2% alc
400 cases available
Bottled November 13th, 2020

***

Lot 125 | 2019 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir

Viva la elegance!

This pretty Pinot weighs in at just 12.2% alcohol but packs a lovely array of fruits on an elegant framework.

Organically- and Biodynamically-farmed amongst the rolling hills in the deep-end of Anderson Valley, its remarkable how fully ripe this wine is despite its low alcohol. Featuring minimal intervention and a low oak register, this is about as pure as Pinot comes. Selling for $30/bottle out of the tasting room, it can be yours for just $16/bottle. Similar wines would sell for a bit more from surrounding wineries I suspect but, as the source winery values value quite a bit, their products are usually quite reasonably priced to begin with.

Bottled on November 19, 2020, the wine just starting to come into its own. Very pale ruby in the glass. The nose shows in layers, not yet having coalesced fully but its still pretty as hell with strawberry and cola and a little woody, resinous halo suggesting a modicum of stem inclusion here for structure. Soon watermelon comes to the fore with black cherry and savory dark earth filling out the darker fruit registers and completing the bouquet. Can't wait to see how this knits together in another month or so. The palate is linear and precise with pretty red fruits well supported by crisp, exquisite minerality in a long, lip-smacking finish with more complexity to come!

100% Pinot Noir, 100% Anderson Valley, 100% Estate fruit
Not sure on percentage of new French oak but I estimate 15-20%
12.2% alc.
Bottle November 19th, 2020
400 cases available

***

Lot 126 | 2019 Anderson Valley Reserve Pinot Noir

OG N.126 is the big brother from the sister winery to OG N.125 (which needs a couple more months in bottle). In short, this is the Reserve offering from a family of high-end estates in the Anderson Valley (I use the term reserve not because the producer does, but to denote this as a higher-end cuvee).

Organic and bio-dynamically farmed, but with a higher percentage of new French oak, this Pinot is produced from select lots pulled from three estate vineyards (each of which produces a SVD priced in the mid-$60's) and sells out of the tasting room in the mid-$40's. Scores on the current 2017 bottling are 92 and 91 points from the Advocate and Enthusiast. Weighing in at 13.4%, its a broadly appealing, deeply complex, wonderfully-flavorful Pinot not to mention an exceptional value.

Beautiful, translucent garnet in the glass. Smoky black cherry is haloed with rose petal and spicy orange blossom underpinned with blackberry, black tea and forest floor notes. The palate is broad, firmly structured and seamless with juicy-yet-nuanced fruit notable for its excellent fruit/acid tension. Everything here is beautifully proportioned and elegantly rendered with pitch-perfect verve and precision.

Updated Notes August 27th, 2021

N.126 2019 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir - bigger and fleshier, N.126 is the Reserve big brother to N.125 and it shows as the wine is still tightly wound and swaddled in baby fat right out of the bottle. It opens up nicely, and would be fantastic with richer fare, but it definitely needs a good hour decant. This is a very collectible wine and patience is required.

100% Pinot Noir, 100% Anderson Valley, 100% estate fruit.
Mostly neutral French oak
13.5% alc.
300 cases available
Bottled November 19th, 2020
Please note: these tasting notes are based off of final blend prior to bottling. This wine needs another 3-4 months in bottle to coalesce.

***

Lot 127 | 2018 Columbia Valley (Wahluke/Walla Walla) Red Blend

QPR alert!

This fantastic everyday-drinker is perfect for weekday consumption as well as parties and events as things open back up - in fact, it should be drinking quite nicely by Memorial Day. A combination of primarily Malbec and Merlot from Wahluke Slope and Walla Walla, this wonderfully-vibrant, soft and juicy Red Blend offers excellent complexity and incredible QPR at $8/bottle. Was $30+!

Why so inexpensive? Simple...red blends (especially those without a high-end appellation) are valued poorly on the bulk market, regardless of quality!

Medium, deep-ruby in the glass with vibrant purple rim. Aromas of soft raspberry, blackberry bramble, and graham cracker are haloed with leather and cedar aromas in a ridiculously complex bouquet for this price point. The fruit really shines here but with just the right amount of oak. Soft and juicy on the mid-palate with a well-delineated amalgam of red and black fruits that are fresh and perky but amply-structured leading to a fairly lengthy finish. You won't find quality like this at $8 anywhere!

30% Malbec, 30% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Syrah,
10% Sangiovese
59% Wahluke Slope, 41% Walla Walla Valley
20% new French oak
14.8% alc.
Bottled January 15th, 2021

***

Lot 128 | 2019 Willamette Valley (Yamhill/Eola) Chardonnay

Its back and better than ever!

N.128 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

***

Lot 129 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

One of the last wines I bought before the fires, this archetypal Napa Valley Cabernet is sourced from a mix of estate and purchased fruit sourced from St. Helena, Chiles Valley, and Calistoga with just a smidge of Rutherford Cabernet. We upgraded the base Cabernet (which sells for $75/bottle out of the tasting room) with 20% of the same producers $100+ Reserve Cabernet. Priced today at $20/bottle, this lithe, sexy, full frontal Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is an incredible offer.

Deep ruby in the glass. Ripe and concentrated with cherry and black raspberry with notes of chaparral and cardamom, tobacco leaf, graphite and toasty french oak. Blackberry and bay leaf lurk under the surface, coming up after about an hour of air. Supple yet robust fruit is beautifully welded to velvety tannins giving the wine a perfectly balanced structure that will drink well in its youth and age nicely too. The mid-palate delivers pretty raspberry puree underpinned with blackberry fruit and chocolatey oak notes. The wine is chewy and lip-smacking throughout the long finish.

Bottled in late January, this Cabernet is still shocky; however, it should come around relatively quickly (May/June) as its made in a right-up-the-middle, classic style that is approachable now but will age nicely over the next decade.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
55% St. Helena, 25% Chiles Valley, 18% Calistoga, 2% Rutherford AVA
50% new French oak, 22 months in barrel
14.7% alc.
600 cases available
Bottled January 27th, 2021

***

Lot 130 | 2019 Napa Valley Chardonnay

This is about as terroir-driven as Chardonnay gets. From a cool, steep, hillside vineyard just east of Carneros and south of Coombsville at the southern end of Napa Valley, this Chardonnay sees no new oak. Beautifully expressive and extremely well-crafted, it weighs in at just 12.3% alc.

The 2019 bottling just received a mid-90's score from one of the more terroir-appreciative critics so, if you are a fan of crisp, mineral, Chablisienne-style Chardonnay (this is a very calcareous site), you won't to miss this highly allocated, $40-$50 retail offering now priced at just $20/bottle. Only 30 cases available.

Lovely, spicy bergamot, almond meat, and oyster shell perfume intermingles with ripe pear and apple with a kiss of nectarine. Expansive and open-knit on the palate with ample structure and chalky minerality leading to excellent mid-palate tension and energy. There's some richness there too but its still wrapped in baby fat so give this another year in bottle if you can. Should age nicely over the next decade.

100% Chardonnay, 100% Napa Valley
100% neutral oak
12.3% alc
30 cases available
Bottled February 25th, 2021

***

Lot 131 | 2018 Walla Walla Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon

***BOTTLED 3/23/21. SHIPS MID-JUNE WEATHER PERMITTING
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD OPTION TO RECEIVE THE WINE IN THE FALL

Due to the tiny quantity (125 cases) available, this wine will be offered only in six-pack quantities. 225 six-packs are up for grabs at this time.

Due to the overall complexity of this deal and 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 drinkability. This wine has almost three months in the bottle now and is starting to open up nicely but has a quite a future ahead.

Sourced from the Windrow Vineyard (the oldest planted commercial vineyard in Walla Walla Valley and early source for Leonetti and L'Ecole 41), N.131 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful example of old-vine Washington Cabernet. Robust yet elegant, its loaded with complex, mouthwatering fruit and a harmonious structure just now un-packing itself. We purchased the entire production of this old block Cabernet Sauvignon and bottled the wine as-is.

Past vintages of this wine were sold just south of $60/bottle but you can purchase a bit of Walla Walla history today for just $12/bottle, $72/six-pack.

Deep garnet in the glass. Graphite-dusted black cherry, camphor, plum and dark chocolate are enveloped in a halo of toasty french oak. Fleshy and juicy on entry with sappy black cherry and blackberry fruit melding into a currant-driven mid-palate tension that carries the pretty fruit into a long, sustained finish. Medium-full-bodied with robust yet well-integrated tannins, this wine will drink nicely over the next 10-12 years. Again, it was bottled a little less than three months ago so probably best to wait until Fall 2021.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% estate Windrow Vineyard
30% new French oak
14.6% alc.
225 6-packs available
Bottled March 23rd, 2021

***

Lot 132 | 2018 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE RESULTS
PLATINUM - 94-POINTS!

July 6th, 2021
A gorgeous representation of Howell Mountain's rustic structure that makes the bold fruit sing. It's got a long life ahead, but I bet you won't be able to hold on to it for long -- it's just so attractive right now. Considering an absolutely amazing price, you can get a case end enjoy the evolution over time. Serve with a well marbled prime rib and enjoy the extended moment of bliss. A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
94 Rich Cook Jul 6, 2021 Critics Challenge

***WINE SHIPS WEEK OF JUNE 3RD WEATHER PERMITTING
***PURCHASE SUMMER HOLD FOR $5 TO STORE YOUR WINE UNTIL MID-OCTOBER

Sourced from a $90/bottle program, this 2018 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is a classically styled wine from an incredible vintage. Since we produced less than 100 cases, Lot 132 will be offered as a single-bottle purchase at $25 per bottle - only slightly higher than the full case offer price would have been.

As far as I can tell, the producers wines have not been been professionally reviewed for some time (though Sbragia scored a 94 with a vineyard designate Cabernet from this producers vineyard. This is small, family run winery that's has been in business since early 2000's so its likely they just don't need to bother. However, I can assure you Lot 132 is an exceptional wine and it is incredibly priced. As mentioned previously, 2018 is a hell of a vintage.

Opaque in the glass. Spice, black fruits, molten licorice and an amalgam of cherry kirsch and red rock define the gorgeous bouquet (sample was bottled yesterday May 19th and hasn't gone into shock yet). White flowers and acacia wood add dimension to the nose with air. Supple and fleshy on entry with chewy tannins supporting plump black fruit and mineral-driven earth notes with black cherry and cassis echoing throughout the long finish. Pretty open-knit style that will age nicely over the next 10-15 years but drink well in the near-term.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
75% new French Oak
14.8% alc.
95 cases produced
Bottled May 19th, 2021

***

Lot 133 | 2019 Eola Amity Hills Chardonnay

The source for this release is one of Oregon's newer entrants to high-end Chardonnay, but they've quickly established themselves as one of the finest producers in the state for both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Beyond being located in the Eola-Amity Hills and scoring 93-96 points from virtually all major critics for their 2018 estate Chardonnay (as well as past vintages), there's not much else I can tell you regarding the provenance of this wine other than, like much of Oregon's Chardonnay, its a Burgundian-styled wine that would have a particular appeal to sommeliers and restaurants.

In all of my years of being a negociant, it is one of the finest Chardonnay's I have ever released (and probably the most expensive to purchase). If you can't tell, I'm particularly proud of this sophisticated wine and eager to share it with you, particularly given that it is priced about 70% off what you'd pay at the winery. (Please note: mock-up label says Willamette Valley but the wine is 100% Eola-Amity Hills).

Pale yellow in the glass. The aromas are energetic, mineral-driven and redolent with creamy lemon, jasmine blossom, dried pineapple and nectarine beautifully haloed with a honeyed bergamot/fennel perfume. Fleshy and energetic yet creamy on the palate, this wine perfectly balances richness and verve with layers of perfumed stonefruit and lemon candy building on the palate before unfurling with perfectly-attenuated energy and tension. Seamless and mouthwatering, this a very special Chardonnay that will impress with its pinpoint precision and epic, elegant length. Should age nicely over the next 5-7 years. Booyah.

100% Chardonnay, 100% Estate grown and produced, 100% Organic/Biodynamic
30-40% new French oak (est)
13% alc.
400 cases available
Bottling Date: March 29, 2021

***

Lot 134 | 2020 Lake County Sauvignon Blanc

Exotic and sexy, this beautiful Lake County Sauvignon Blanc is sourced from a Napa Valley Winery where it sells for just under $30 out of the tasting room. Not a lot of folks can sell Lake County SB for over $20 so I think you'll be suitably impressed at $12/bottle. Trust me, this is fantastic SB and should be drinking nicely come April for Spring/Summer poolside (of course, this wine was picked well before the fires and has no smoke taint).

Very light in color with a pretty green tinge. Explosive on the nose, rich with mineral-laden blossom. lychee and pear. Soft and fleshy on entry with zesty citrus notes and flinty acidity echoing in a long, pure finish. Delicious.

100% Sauvignon Blanc
Partial barrel-ferment, the rest done in stainless steel.
14.4% alc.
500 cases available
Bottled February 25th, 2021

***

Lot 135 | 2017 Mendocino 80- to 90-Year-Old-Vine Carignan

92-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

A layered Carignan that maintains its fun factor with razzleberry and spice. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
92-POINTS Jul 6, 2021

Fresh and vibrant despite having 32-months in barrel, this gorgeous Carignan has pretty, Pinot-like fruit characteristics but with Old World, Italia-style structure.

Bold and juicy yet complex and elegant, it hails from 80- to 90-year-old, head-trained Carignan vines from Piffero and Bartolomei vineyards on the rocky eastern benches of Redwood Valley in Mendocino County. The producer is one of the stalwarts of the region and knows the Mendocino county dirt better than anyone. The wine retails just south of $30/bottle out of the tasting room and is an absolute steal at $15/bottle.

Terrific and, I will bet, surprising quality. In fact, I think this might be the perfect wine to spring on guests - will make you as cool as hell.

Get yourself a nice big bowl to enjoy the beautiful aromas. Medium purple in the glass. Powdered lavender and rose petal spring from the glass, underpinned with warm brown sugar notes from the extended barrel time. Wild berry bramble, walnut husk, and graham cracker round out the glorious bouquet. Beautifully balanced on entry with a soft, medium-body delivering raspberry, anise and sage spice against a firm yet well-integrated structure. Juicy and chewy across the mid-palate with a long, pristine finish. The purity of fruit here is truly compelling.

98% Carignan, 2% Merlot, 100% Mendocino County
Sourced from Piffero and Bartholomei vineyards 80-90-year-old, head-trained vines
14% alc.
250 cases available
Bottled November 13th, 2020

***

Lot 136 | 2018 Adelaida District, Paso Robles Syrah

Oh yeah. Deep Paso, baby. The Adelaida District lies west of highway 101 and Paso Robles and its rocky, calcareous soils, high-elevation and ocean proximity make it some the best terroir in the region.

This Westside gem is one of the best Syrah's I've ever sourced, anywhere. Last years vintage scored 94-POINTS from one of the major pubs with past vintages scoring between 92 and 94 from various other major publications (I'd love to tell you who buts it just too obvious) and the wine sells for $40+.

Deep purple and fairly opaque. The nose is gorgeous, redolent with pretty pastille, powdered violet, and a pure beam of boysenberry surrounded with ethereal earthen tones and anchored with bacon fat. On the palate, layer after layer of meaty blue fruit, baking spice and wet stone are wrapped in silky elegance but finish with a chewy grip of dark, earthy berry. All the pieces are there but I would let this integrate a bit more and wait until June before cracking this beauty.

100% Syrah, 100% Estate, 100% Adelaida District
20-25% new French oak
14.4% alc.
350 cases available
Bottled December 11, 2020

***

Lot 137 | 2019 Rhone White Blend

The Adelaida District lies west of highway 101 and Paso Robles and its rocky, calcareous soils, high-elevation and ocean proximity make it some the best terroir in the region. Today's release is a tiny little 100 case lot of Rhone white blend, 60% Grenache Blanc, 26% Picpoul, and 14% Viognier. Barrel-fermented in large puncheons and neutral barrels and then aged on the lees until July, this wine is brilliantly focused and expressive. $35 out of the tasting room.

Pale yellow in the glass. Lychee, pear, ginger and honeycomb dance with orange blossom and a diamond-like, crystalline minerality in a super pretty bouquet. White fruit and honeydew melon on entry melding with honeycomb and a blossomy retronasal blast in the finish. Schisty acidity provides tension and grip and elegance. Delicious but needs more time in the bottle to integrate fully. Try this in April.

60% Grenache Blanc, 26% Picpoul, 14% Viognier
100% Estate fruit, 100% Adelaida District, Paso Robles
14% alc.
100 cases available
Bottled December 11th, 2020

***

Lot 138 | 2018 Napa Valley Family Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

N.138 is sourced from the same producer as N.80 2018 Reserve Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

A month or so after I purchased the other Cabs, they came to me with a tiny Family Reserve Lot comprised of 35% of the same wine in N.80 Reserve Cabernet plus 65% of their Family Reserve Cabernet (which sells for north, and I mean way north, of $100/bottle). Deep, dark and tantalizing, I was immediately smitten. I did consider blending this into the N.80 for a bit more stuffing (which we hadn't bottled yet due to harvest) but it was an easy decision to keep it separate.

Quick side note: the Estate Lot is 100% Calistoga Cabernet and the other a mix of Calistoga and St. Helena so it comes in just under the 85% requirement for Sub-AVA status; hence, the Napa Valley AVA.

Deep ruby, almost opaque in the glass. Right out of the bottle pretty raspberry and cherry poke out of the abyss but quickly recede as the aromas darken and cocoa-dusted Santa Rosa plums come to the fore. Silky on the palate with elegant, lifted acidity masking chewy tannins. Once those unfurl, chocolate-covered cherries and graham cracker notes echo throughout the long, superbly-balanced finish with hints of clay and dark earth keeping things interesting.

8/3 tasting update. This wine has deepened and darkened its fruit profile. Rich and chewy now with fantastic balance and potent structure. Complexity is coming through nicely - this is approachable with good decant.

94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec, 2% Petite Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc
82% Calistoga, 18% St. Helena
50% new French oak
14.8% alc.
125 cases available
Bottled January 27th, 2021
Bottled

***

Lot 139 | 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

Oh man, what a mouthful of Cabernet Sauvignon. The fruit was was sourced from two of Washington States most legendary vineyards, Champoux and Phinney Hill (located right next to each other in Horse Heaven Hills) and produced by one of Washington States most-respected producers. Both sites are renowned for their fine, dark tannins and beautifully-balanced fruit. Grace, elegance, power and precision are exquisitely captured by today's offering.

The source winery offers this wine for $60+/bottle and routinely scores in the 91-93 point range with major critics. And that's all I can say about that.

Hell of a deal at $19/bottle - that much I can assure you.

Dark in the glass, deep ruby and just a shade off of opaque. Bottled 12/18, this wine is still emerging from shock and pungent with seasoned oak, ripe but fresh cassis and cherry fruits and a deep plum backbone. Rich and chewy on the palate with robust tannins well integrated with ripe but nicely attenuated fruit finishing with an amalgam of dark chocolate and plum riding red rock infused mineral tannins. The values of precision and grace are deeply evident in this rich, dark, powerful wine.

85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot
50% new French oak
14.9% alc.
Bottled December 18th, 2020
500 cases available

***

Lot 140 | 2018 Rocks District of Milton-Freewater Syrah

From an organically-farmed, Grand Cru vineyard in the Rocks district, this powerful, elegant and alluring Syrah comes from one of the Districts benchmark producers. Meaty and peppery with lovely floral lift and elegantly rendered fruit, this tightly-coiled, well-chiseled beauty is a defining style for the region. Priced now at $60-75/bottle out of the winery, it's a fantastic offer at $20.

Medium-to-deep purple in the glass. Meaty lavender and smoky mineral dominate the brooding nose with raspberry and black cherry lurking below the surface due to bottle shock (but that will come back up, of course). Tightly wound but seamless across the palate showing tremendous finesse and elegance with delicately nuanced, if tightly wound, fruit. There is little to no new oak here so the savory fruit is very pure and, once the wine gets through shock, will be quite expressive and pretty. Definitely a Syrah purists dream.

100% Syrah, 100% The Rocks District of Milton-Freewater
Aged in large format, neutral oak for 22 months
14.9% alc. (though it feels like a lot less)
200 cases available
Bottled December 17th, 2020

***

Lot 141 | 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

Bottled back in February and coming around nicely in the bottle, Lot 141 is a no-expense spared, built-to-the-nine's Cabernet Sauvignon designed to showcase the best of the Horse Heaven Hills appellation.

I'll cut right to the chase here: The 2016 and 2017 versions of this wine scored 94- and 92-points respectively with Jeb Dunnock and a $65/bottle price tag. 2018 is considered a superior vintage so I think its safe to conclude N.141 would fall somewhere in between, if not outpace, those scores. We purchased the finished blend and bottled it as-is.

It is an incredible offer at $18/bottle.

N.141 2018 HHH Cabernet will age another 10-15 years easily and I recommend a solid decant in the meantime. Tightly wound, brooding and muscular out of the gate, with air this wine becomes very expressive and, eventually, what you'll find is a sophisticated, deftly-made Cabernet Sauvignon that delivers tremendous complexity at a ridiculous price. Perfectly-ripe and exceptionally-well-balanced at 14.3% alc., N.141 will have broad appeal to Napa Valley Cabernet and Bordeaux-lovers alike. I cannot recommend this highly enough.

Deep purple in the glass. Tightly wound, deep and concentrated at first but soon opens up to reveal pretty cassis, dusty dark fruit, graphite, cedar, and crushed red rock notes. Pretty violet florals halo while caramel and toffee notes underpin the bouquet. Broad, generous and muscular on entry but surprisingly elegant as well featuring big-grained tannins stained with cassis and black fruit that resolve into a prettier cherry and red rock spectrum as the wine echoes through a long, sustained finish. Terrific tension and lift throughout.

78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Malbec, 9% Petite Verdot
50% new French oak, light-to-medium toast
14.3% alc.
450 cases available
Bottled February 17th, 2021.

***

Lot 142 | 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Malbec

91-POINTS
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

Horse Heaven Hills Malbec? You just gotta trust me on this one folks.

From the same producer as N.143 Petite Verdot (which has been extremely well-received), N.142 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Malbec is a no-expense-spared, single-vineyard-designate offering from a deep-pocketed producer in Washington State. No expense was spared in either the construction of the winery and vineyard or the production of this wine - flagship-level juice normally priced at $65/bottle out of the winery.

Dark and rich with perfectly-ripe fruit, chocolatey oak, and a sexy structure, this Malbec delivers all the complexity of an $85+/bottle Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.

And it is spectacularly priced at $18/bottle. Not to mention the fact that it now has over two months in the bottle and is resolving nicely. I can only imagine the look on your friends faces this summer when you tell them you only paid $18/bottle for this!

Its all here folks - don't miss this one.

Inky and opaque in the glass. Rich aromas of boysenberry jam and blackberry syrup coalesce with succulent purple florals underpinned with french vanilla and perfectly- integrated sexy, toasty, chocolatey oak. Ripe yet supple on entry with ripe blue and black fruit folded over minerally, mildly-chewy tannins that carry this wine to a surprisingly elegant and gorgeous finish that goes on and on. This medium-full-bodied Malbec (14.5% alc.) delivers excellent complexity, a suave structure, ripe fruit and perfectly-integrated French oak. Ladies and gentlemen, this is first-class, deftly-made wine.

88% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot, 3% Petite Verdot, 1% Syrah
100% Horse Heaven Hills, 100% single-vineyard
14.5% alc.
500 cases available
Bottled February 17th, 2021

***

Lot 143 | 2018 Horse Heaven Hills Petite Verdot

Today's offering comes to us from a deep-pocketed producer in Washington State. The vineyards and winery were planted/built with one goal in mind - make world-class Cabernet and other Bordelais varietals. No expense was spared in either planting the vineyard or constructing the winery.

However, today's offering is not their Cabernet - that'll come later. Up first is one of my favorite wines from Washington State. This $60+ Horse Heaven Hills Petite Verdot will absolutely knock your socks off at $18/bottle.

Like everything else here, this is no-expense-spared, first-class juice. Deep, rich, and powerful, its a hell of a mouthful of wine for sure but also beautifully nuanced and savory with umami. I cannot recommend this highly enough. More Petite Verdot please Washington State.

Inky and pungent in the glass, ripe with brooding black cherry and black currant peeking through the toasty cocoa and seasoned oak framework. All saddled to a big chunk of solid rock minerality. Pretty florals are a bit subdued but once this gets through bottle shock it'll be impressive. Supple on entry and chewy across the palate with super-smooth tannins leading the lengthy finish. Everything is buttoned-up and dialed-in here, classy and sophisticated with an ample, expansive structure that will unleash its complexity shortly. Should flesh out around June but will be really singing this Fall. Will age nicely over the next 10-15 years.

100% Petite Verdot, 100% Horse Heaven Hills, 100% estate
40% new French oak
14.8% alc.
200 cases available
Bottled February 17th, 2021

***

Lot 144 | 2019 Napa Valley Chardonnay

Sourced from an estate producer located on the Atlas Bench alluvial fan dropping down off of Atlas Peak in the cooler southern climes of Napa Valley. These gravelly, well-drained soils produce wines of excellent concentration and intensity. Today's release is a wonderful Chardonnay, beautifully-crafted and refined with a terrific verve. Produced in a combination of new French oak barrels an concrete eggs (renowned for their uncanny ability to produce intense yet even fruit extraction), the resulting wine combines a rich, creamy mouthfeel but gorgeous, elegant aromatic expression. Stylistically, this wine is right up the middle, creamy, elegant and sophisticated but not overtly buttery. Exquisite comes to mind. Mid-$40's out of the tasting room, a steal at $16/bottle.

Pale, medium straw. The nose is fantastic, redolent with lemon blossom, vanilla, fresh-cut pineapple and citrus notes haloed with a lovely vetiver perfume. Fantastic on entry, round and full-bodied but super-supple. Beautifully balanced with perfectly-ripe, chalky pineapple, mandarin and honeydew melon accented with baked baguette and vetiver notes that echo through a long, elegant finish. Pristine fruit is perfectly integrated with wood and mouthwatering acidity. Shazam!

100% Chardonnay
30% barrel-fermented in new French oak, 70% concrete eggs
14.3% alc.
500 cases available
Bottled February 18, 2021

***

Lot 145 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

You might recall OG N.129 Napa Cabernet. In that release, I mentioned a particular Reserve Lot that we blended into the producers standard $75 Napa Cabernet. Today I am releasing the $100+ Reserve Cabernet lot (St. Helena and Rutherford fruit sources) which we further turbocharged with two killer lots of Rutherford Cabernet and St. Helena Merlot sourced from another high-end Napa producer. The result is a deep, palate-staining Cabernet with a seamless, chewy structure, perfectly-integrated oak and supple, vibrant fruit - never over-extracted. Its an absolute steal at $32/bottle.

Deep ruby with an opaque core. Focused layers of aromatic complexity featuring dried cherry, creme de cassis and dusty blackberry compote mingling with cedar, creme de cassis and leather. Supple and beautifully seamless on entry, well-supported with lively acidity and chewy, palate-staining tannins coated in blackberries and brown sugar with a vanilla bean top note. Medium-full-bodied (14.8% alc.) with juicy acidity and supple, nuanced, perfectly-ripe fruit, this is a beautifully-balanced, precise and powerful Cabernet Sauvignon that will age nicely over the next 10-15 years. A true Napa Valley Classic!

90% Cabernet, 10% Merlot
60% St. Helena, 40% Rutherford
50% new French oak
14.8% alc.
550 cases available
Bottled January 26, 2021

***

Lot 146 | 2017 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

This was originally offered to VIP's as a thank you. The remainder is now available in the Bottle Shop.

Big, concentrated and spicy with ripe black fruits and ripe, mouth-coating tannins, this full frontal Cabernet with absolutely knock your socks off. Priced around $175/bottle, this is no-expense spared Cabernet from one of the masters. If you like 'em big, chewy and rich with ripe layers of black fruit, this is for you. $39/bottle.

Inky, opaque in the glass. Graphite, camphor, white flowers, ripe blackberry jam, dark chocolate and cocoa powder. Plush, dense and multi-layered across the palate with blackberry compote and toasty oak interwoven with big-grained, mature tannins. Booyah. Forget about this for another couple years and then drink over the next 10-15 years.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from select vineyards in top appellations (sorry, not allowed to mention)
80% new French oak
15.1% alc.
Bottled May 18th, 2021

***

Lot 147 | 2018 Walla Walla Red (Nebbiolo/Charbono)

***BOTTLED FEBRUARY 19TH, SHIPS MID-JUNE WEATHER PERMITTING
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD OPTION AT CHECKOUT FOR FALL SHIPPING

And now for something completely different!

Like sister wine N.131, N.147 is sourced from the Windrow Vineyard, the oldest planted vineyard is Walla Walla. A blend of 69% Charbono and 31% Nebbiolo, this is a fantastically complex wine with tremendous upside for ageing...I've had this bottle open now for three days and its only now getting expressive. The Nebbiolo bottling sells for $55 and the Charbono $38, so I think its fair to say this is a tremendous value at $10/bottle.

We think the two blend beautifully together and I am thrilled with the result...while still evolving, already the bouquet is beautiful and the wine is supple and seamless on the palate with excellent length, elegance and coherence. The overall quality here is fabulous and should be well-considered by those of you for an affinity for Italian wines and a penchant for ageing same...this thing will go another 15+ years.

A mix of medium purple and medium garnet in the glass. Tight right out of the bottle so a 24-hour decant is highly recommended right now (decant for an hour or two and then decant back to bottle, let sit overnight) to get the aromatics to express. Then you get the cherry fruit, tar and rose petals from the Nebbiolo underpinned with the deep plum, a kiss of wild strawberry and rustic brown sugar notes from the Charbono. Fleshy and ultra-supple with fantastic-but-tightly-wound fruit wrapped around nicely integrated tannins - perfectly elegant but with a robust core that will allow for extended ageing and tremendous complexity down the road.

Obviously, the best of this wine is out ahead of it but I think it will be quite enjoyable this Fall so long as you give it plenty of air.

69% Charbono, 31% Nebbiolo (100% estate Windrow Vineyard)
100% neutral French oak
12.9% alc.
500 x 6-packs
Bottled February 19th, 2021

***

Lot 148 | 2019 Sierra Foothills Cabernet/Syrah

Liquid silk!

Today's offering comes to us from a high-end producer from whom I have recently purchased some fantastic wines. Its largely derived from Cabernet and Syrah from some terrific vineyards at about 2000-feet in the Sierra Foothills and then finished with a smidge of Napa Cabernet (15%) to round out the blend. The resulting wine is silky and juicy with sexy, vibrant fruit and sweet, beautifully integrated oak that's just a blast to drink.

This wine is currently only available to the source wineries mailing list as bit of a thank you so I can't really compare the prices insofar as I don't know what they are. I actually paid a lot more for this than I should have and am offering it at a price lower than I need, but I found it too delicious to pass up. So, consider it my thank you to you as well.

At the end of the day this is a wine with good complexity, lots of character, and a silky palate. It's drinking remarkably-well right now given it has less than a month in the bottle (and is likely to oscillate a bit more as it comes through shock), but I think this wine will be ready to rock in another month or two. Solid cellar defender at $16/bottle.

Deep ruby in the glass. Chocolate-covered cherries, acacia blossom and plenty of spicy cinnamon with dark berry notes and a kiss of red rock in fresh-turned black earth. Racy on the palate with silky, juicy dark berry and chocolate unfurling on a wave of big-grained yet soft and succulent foothill tannins. Brooding and super-serious? No. Just sexy fruit and a playful demeanor that's quite compelling.

60% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Syrah
85% Sierra Foothills, 15% Napa Valley
14.8% alc.
Bottled February 18th, 2021

***

Lot 149 | 2020 Rutherford Sauvignon Blanc

BOTTLES APRIL 9TH, SHIPS LATE APRIL

A very Bordelais-style Sauvignon Blanc, this wine combines barrel-fermented and tank-fermented lots to produce a zesty bouquet and rich mid-palate weight while still maintaining the mouthwatering freshness we adore in Sauvignon Blanc. $25/bottle at the winery, yours for just $11/bottle, $132/case. 200 cases available. Its fabulous.

Zesty and complex bouquet with melon and apple notes riding grapefruit/gooseberry zest and honeysuckle blossom in a beautifully uplifted, bright and effusive bouquet. The 15% new French oak and lees stirring give the wine nice weight and texture on entry with richer white fruit profiles (honeyed pear and apple) and toasted nut notes. Pretty acidity provides a wonderful mineral lift that carries the wine to a long, lingering, blossomy finish.

100% Sauvignon Blanc
25% barrel fermented (75% new French oak in that portion, 15% overall blend), 75% stainless steel fermented.
13.9% alc.
200 cases available
Scheduled bottling date April 9th. Will ship late April, early May.

***

Lot 150 | 2019 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

93-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

The story of Lot 150 started on our trip up to Washington State late last summer. Word got around that we had tidied up many a cellar and we were invited back to peruse the expansive cellars of another high-end producer. Here we found a treasure trove of largely pre-assembled barrel lots of Cabernet Sauvignon from some of Red Mountains finest vineyards like Ciel du Cheval, Quintessence, and Klipsun not to mention the producer's own estate vineyard.

We finalized two wines, the first of which is OG Lot 150 2019 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon.

A combination of barrel lots from programs that range from $50/bottle (~60% of blend) up to the mid-$80's (~40% of the blend), the result captures all the ethereal beauty of Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon for the incredible price of just $19/bottle. I do think its fair to say this wine would easily retail for $60+/bottle.

Deep ruby/opaque in the glass. Sweet violets and crushed red rock halo black cherry, leather and plum. There are layers of nuance and complexity here and a new discovery around every corner as the bouquet opens up with blackberry and brown sugar/walnut husk joining cinnamon spice. Ripe and chewy on entry with black cherry and leather resounding over bristling tannins. The finish is beautiful, playing out with richness, elegance and precision. Exceptionally-deft wine making here.

86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 1% Cabernet Franc, 1% Syrah, 1% Petite Verdot
~55% new French oak
14.7% alc.
Bottling May 27th, 2021

***

Lot 151 | 2018 Napa Valley Reserve Meritage

94-POINTS, PLATINUM MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Here is yet another very serious wine at a very unserious price from this line. It has the Napa Valley signature profile for a Bordeaux styled blend that pays tribute without sacrificing identity. In other words, the fruit is fully ripe, and it's got the structure to keep it from flying apart. Yum! A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
94 Rich Cook Sep 21, 2021

I have to admit this wine made me question my choice of the Red Mountain Cabernet for Lot 150. At the end of the day, the beautiful, classy, ethereal expression of Red Mountain won out. Given due consideration, however, I thought it appropriate to line this up next door to Lot 150 as Lot 151.

A blend of 47% Cabernet, 39% Merlot, and 14% Malbec, Lot 151 2018 Napa Valley Reserve Meritage is rich and ripe with beautiful (very expensive) oak and a lush, open-knit but still-potent structure. Complex but accessible, this magic carpet ride of a wine will have broad appeal as a cellar-defender extraordinaire.

Silky-smooth, priced at $75/bottle and Reserve-designated at the winery, its an incredible deal at $19/bottle. Will age nicely over the next decade.

Deep garnet with an opaque core. Fabulous nose of violets and ripe blackberry nestled with black cherry and leather notes. There's plenty of well-integrated oak - these are very nice barrels, medium plus toast but perfectly seasoned. The palate is where its at, however, soft and lush with ripe fruit but perfectly-balanced by the robust structure. The finish is epic and lovely with waves of red and black fruit unfurling over minerally tannins with shaved chocolate and toffee notes echoing throughout. This is Napa Valley hedonistic pleasure at its best. Insanely good for $13/bottle.

Bottled February 19th but I think this one will come around relatively quickly.

47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 39% Merlot, 14% Malbec
70% St. Helena, 16% Oakville, 14% Calistoga
45% new French oak
14.8% alc.
600 cases available
Bottled February 19th, 2021

***

Lot 152 | 2018 Russian River Chardonnay

*SHOULD SHIP EARLY APRIL WEATHER PERMITTING

This is a fantastic small-lot Russian River Chardonnay that I purchased in shiner (a shiner is a bottle of wine with no label and a non-branded cork...in this case, closed with what is known in the industry as a 1+1 cork). Bottled Spring of 2020, its drinking beautifully now. $50/bottle out of the tasting room, only $20/bottle today.

Medium straw in the glass. Gorgeous and fully expressive nose of warm butter, dried pineapple, baked apple and powdery honeysuckle blossom. Meyer-lemon custard and white lilies come up with air. Succulent and soft yet juicy on the palate with harmonious fruit and mineral integration that presents waves of baked apple spice, ginger and honey in a long, lush, beautifully-balanced finish. Like I said, gorgeous. Drink at cellar temp 55 degrees (pull out of the fridge 20 minutes before you open) to fully enjoy this wine.

100% Chardonnay from three RRV sites
40% new French oak
14.3% alc.
175 cases available
Labeled March 2021

***

Lot 153 | 2018 Columbia Valley (Walla Walla) CSM

***BOTTLED FEBRUARY 18TH, SHIPS WEEK OF JULY 19TH WEATHER PERMITTING
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD FOR FALL SHIPPING

Lot 153 comes to us from the same producer of the OG N.83 through to OG N.89. These wines are all fantastic and Lot 153 is no exception; in fact, this one was the hardest to part with it seems as it was meant to be the first CSM (Cab, Syrah, Merlot) they had produced. However, the winery, recently sold, was told to divest itself of the wine and it was offered to us late last year. The wine sees approximately 30% new French oak and is largely sourced from the wineries Walla Walla estate vineyard plus a lot of Syrah from Pheasant Run, also located in the Walla Walla Valley AVA.

Lot 153 CSM now has almost two months in the bottle and will be nicely fleshed out by mid-May. This wine was meant to retail for $60/bottle and is nicely priced at $18/bottle. Plush, juicy and ripe but with excellent depth and dimension, you will be floored by the value here. Another excellent cellar defender. There are only 200 cases left so I would advise that you move quickly on this one.

Deep-ruby, medium-purple in the glass. The aromas are a bit disjointed from bottling but still lovely, showing excellent complexity...clearly there is a lot going on here. Savory seasoned oak, deep plum and bourbon-soaked cherries ebb and flow with waves of coffee bean and candle wax notes. Again, this will need another 30 days to coalesce but it will be beautiful. Plush and chewy across the palate with outstanding structure that is at once approachable but provides plenty of stuffing for another decade of ageing potential.

48% Cabernet, 30% Merlot, and 22% Syrah - 100% Walla Walla, 100% Columbia Valley
30% new French oak
14.9% alc.
400 cases available
Bottled February 18th, 2021

***

Lot 154 | 2018 Walla Walla Malbec

Lot 154 Walla Walla Malbec is sourced from the same producer as Lots 83 through 89 as well as the Lot 153 CSM. I tell you this because you know the quality this winemaker produces - those wines are across the board fantastic and showing nicely now. Lot 154 was bottled back in February but I didn't have a tank sample to work with at the time so I waited until it was through bottle shock and opening up.

This all estate fruit from their Walla Walla property and sees approximately 18% new French oak just to elevate the fruit. The wine is lithe, precise, elegant and powerful with beautiful balance. Those of you who liked the N.86 Merlot will find this wine very attractive; in fact, the blend is very similar to N.86, just swap the Merlot for Malbec...77% Malbec, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Syrah (all estate). Again, this is precision crafted wine with deftly deployed oak that retails between $50 and $60/bottle - a screaming deal at $16/bottle.

Opaque in the glass with just a hint of ruby around the rim. Pungent aromas of chaparral, sage and violet adorn toffee-laced, candied black cherry fruit. With air, an even deeper register of black plum fruit, earthy spice and coffee join the party. Supple on entry with ample structure and interwoven tannins just beginning to unwind revealing black cherry and cedar spice finishing with with a kiss of vanilla, clove and cinnamon. This wine is beautifully balanced and complex and ready to rock-and-roll now but will continue to gain complexity over coming months.

77% Malbec, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 5% Syrah (all estate)
18% new French oak (100% barrel-aged)
14.9% alc.
500 x 6-packs available
Bottled February 12th, 2021

***

Lot 155 | 2019 Sonoma Coast Chardonnay

Update: Since I purchased this wine I actually met with the proprietor on other business and he explained to me what I really had in the bottle here. This is a legendary vineyard (Platt - as close to grand cru as we get in CA) with legendary consulting winemaker and directly out of their $100/bottle program. I wondered why it took so long to come around in the bottle! Those of you who purchased this by the case should be patting yourselves on the back right now!

This tiny little boutique production is one of the best Sonoma Coast Chardonnay's I've seen, one of four lots I purchased from this producer. Yes, its a bit pricey but its worth it.

The wine is classically styled for the region (similar to Russian River Chardonnay) with beautiful aromas and mouth-watering, crystalline minerality. First-class juice all around with about 35% new French oak and no-expense spared production including concrete eggs and large format French oak puncheons. Bottled last week so give it until May/June to spread its wings...should age nicely another 10+ years.

Medium straw in the glass. Beautiful aromas of white lily and lemon grass halo crisp notes of gala apple skin, bosc pear, and flinty river rock. Honey and fresh butter round out the nose. Smooth and seamless mid-palate with mouthwatering mineral lifting pretty white fruit and orange citrus notes to a long, flinty finish with marshmallow creme notes.

100% Chardonnay, 100% Sonoma Coast
35% new French oak
14.0% alc.
100 cases available
Bottled February 18, 2021

***

Lot 156 | 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Sourced from the same producer as N.157 and N.158, OG N.156 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay is a gorgeous, textbook example of the varietal in this region. The sensibility is decidedly Burgundian with integrated oak that lifts the fruit and beautiful mid-palate tension and verve. Selling for just around $100/bottle out of the tasting room, its a stellar deal at $24/bottle. Only 100 cases available.

Features an energetic yet succulent bouquet of honeysuckle blossom, white flower and spicy, poached pear lifted by lemon oil/ candy and ginger notes. Beautifully layered on the pale with lip-smacking acidity and nervy tension driving through a diamond-dusted mineral supernova. Incredible purity and persistence on the finish. Shazam!

100% Chardonnay, 100% Russian River Valley
60% new French Oak, low toast
14.2% alc.
20 cases remaining
Bottled February 18th, 2021

***

Lot 157 | 2019 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

94-Points, Platinum Medal
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

High toned cherry fruit aroma is the calling card here, with a pleasant kirsch vibe keeping it right up front. On the palate is where the complexity show itself, with vanilla, brown spice and rich oak toast joining the cherry fruit. There's solid structure “ feel confident about aging this a while for full enjoyment. A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
94-POINTS

From the same producer as N.155, N.156, and N.158, this phenomenal Pinot Noir hails from a legendary consulting winemaker working in a legendary vineyard (from which another producer just scored 100-points for their 2018).

All of the three wines have been bottled in the last month so my tasting notes will be cursory.

Sourced from the legendary Platt Vineyard on the Sonoma Coast just a few miles from the Pacific and renowned for its Burgundian qualities. Pale ruby in the glass...shy on the nose for now with a peek of red fruit and pretty perfume. The texture on the palate tells the story here, however, as this is beautifully structured wine with plenty of power and grace and huge, resounding length. Its all sensation at this point due to the bottle shock but its all there. Don't touch this until next year. Retails for well over $100/bottle.

100% Pinto Noir, 100% single-vineyard
60% new French oak
14.9% alc. (yes, high, but the wine is impeccably balanced)
250 cases available
Bottled February 11th, 2021

***

Lot 158 | 2018 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Sourced from same legendary consulting winemaker/producer as Lot 156 and Lot 157. This wine retails for around $200/bottle. Only 150 cases available

Inky, deep ruby in the glass. Meaty and brooding on the nose with ethereal notes of lavender and graphite managing to escape the abyss. With air, subtle, elegantly delineated graphite, black plum and cassis starting to peek through all the dark structure. Yes, this wine is deeply bottle shocked right now but its going to be fabulous, I promise. Its all here, gobs of structure, great acidity and fine french oak tannins focusing the mouthfeel and finishing with layers of graham cracker, black pepper and graphite.The fruit will come as this wine grows more agile in the bottle.

100% Cabernet, 100% Alexander Valley, 100% Estate
70% new French oak
14.6% alc.
150 cases available
Bottled February 11th, 2021

***

Lot 159 | 2018 Rutherford District Red Blend/Meritage

Deep, dark, and delicious, this Rutherford Red Blend (I would have called it a Meritage but it had 2% Petit Sirah) is ripe, chewy and muscular but also seamless and beautifully polished. Built for a $75/bottle program and to accompany an $85/bottle Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, it's a no-expense spared, flagship offering from a Napa Valley stalwart producer with significant $40-$50 Napa Cabernet program. This is their bottling blend as they simply sought to trim their case goods inventory. It's actually a reasonably good deal deal at $75/bottle and is, of course, an absolutely phenomenal deal at $20/bottle.

Deep ruby/opaque in the glass. The aromas are beautiful and vibrant in spite of the fact this wine has just one-month in the bottle. Deep, dusty plum and red cassis contrast nicely with tobacco leaf and a toasty, seasoned french oak halo with cedar notes and dark earth rounding out the bouquet. Supple and seamless on entry with finely textured tannins bringing out the leathery tones in the fleshy and rich mid-palate. Ripe black and red fruits drive the long finish. Super smooth, richly-fruited, and elegantly-structured with impeccable balance, this is a perfectly-assembled red blend.

45% Merlot, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Petite Verdot, 10% Malbec, 2% Petite Sirah
100% Rutherford, 100% single-vineyard
35% new French oak
14.9% alc.
Bottled February 19th, 2021

***

Lot 162 | 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

***BOTTLED FEBRUARY 18TH, 2021

Phew - this bad boy has finally hit its stride. Like so many of the 2018's, this very-well-structured Cabernet has taken many months to come around. Its drinking much better now but still requires a good decant and will age nicely over the next 15+ years.

Lot 162 is the big-brother to N.131 Cabernet from the same winery and vineyard so I will post that info below.

Due to the tiny quantity (185 cases) available, this wine will be offered only in six-pack quantities. 270 x six-packs are up for grabs at this time.

Due to the overall complexity of this deal and 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 drinkability. This wine has almost seven months in the bottle now and is starting to open up nicely but has a quite a future ahead.

Sourced from the Windrow Vineyard (the oldest planted commercial vineyard in Walla Walla Valley and early source for Leonetti and L'Ecole 41), N.162 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful example of Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon. Robust yet elegant, its loaded with complex, mouthwatering fruit and a harmonious structure just now un-packing itself. We purchased the entire production of this Plateau Block Cabernet Sauvignon and bottled the wine as-is.

Past vintages of this wine were sold just south of $60/bottle but you can purchase a bit of Walla Walla history today for just $12/bottle, $72/six-pack.

Dark, opaque in the glass with a garnet rim. Tightly would out of the bottle but unwinds nicely with lovely complexity showing plum, cigar box, and black cherry and then smoky blackberry and coffee. Rich and chewy tannins are just beginning to release the deep black fruit interwoven with notes of Belgian chocolate, black licorice and ground roasted coffee beans in a beautiful, asian-spiced finish.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon - 100% Plateau Block Windrow Vineyard
40% new French oak
Alc. 14.5%
185 cases produced
Bottled February 18th, 2021

***

Lot 163 | 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

With almost a year in bottle now, this single-vineyard designate Hill Block Cabernet Sauvignon from the oldest commercially planted vineyard in Walla Walla (Windrow Vineyard) is showing great!

This is from the same producer as Lots 131, 162 and 164 and the last of these releases. I am simply re-printing the copy from the previous releases below for the uninitiated.

Due to the overall complexity of this deal and 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 drinkability. This wine has almost seven months in the bottle now and is starting to open up nicely but has a quite a future ahead.

Sourced from the Windrow Vineyard (the oldest planted commercial vineyard in Walla Walla Valley and early source for Leonetti and L'Ecole 41), N.164 2018 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon is a beautiful example of Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon. We purchased the entire production of this Hill Block Cabernet Sauvignon and bottled the wine as-is.

Normally priced at $58/bottle, its a steal at $11/bottle or $132/case!

Dark and inky in the glass, its surprising elegant and beautifully balanced on the palate. On the nose, Blackberry, cassis, licorice and brown sugar are supported by seasoned oak aromas and dark earth. Smooth as silk on entry with supple black cherry and blackberry fruit mingling with juicy acidity and beautifully integrated oak and tannin structure. Excellent overall balance with persistence and length on the finish.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
100% Hill Block, Windrow Vineyard (planted 1998)
50% new French oak
14.3% alc.
300 cases available
Bottled February 18th, 2021

***

Lot 164 | 2018 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Up for grabs today is Lot 164, a $70/bottle, Reserve-designated Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon primarily from the very well-regarded, 40+-year-old-vines of Cold Creek Vineyard, one of Washington States oldest vineyard sites. Small quantities of Cabernet from Olsen Estate (Wahluke Slope AVA) and and Stone Tree (Yakima Valley AVA) populate a small portion of the blend as well.

The winemaker is, I think its fair to say, a cult rockstar winemaker known for pioneering lower-alcohol yet still dynamic wines in the region (this Cab weighs in at 14.2%) as well as one of the few winemakers to whom the Leonetti's sell fruit.

The source winery itself is a sibling to the producer behind Lots 131, 147 and 162 and part of the complicated, 30-wine purchase I made last Fall in Walla Walla (there were two wineries involved). Lot 164 was bottled February 19th but I missed the very critical week-after-bottling to finalize tasting notes and have just been waiting for them to come around in the bottle before release.

And, while the wineries may be siblings in a sense, they, like siblings, have different personalities. The style here is clearly terroir-driven and, despite the relatively low-alcohol, very densely-packed akin to a high-end Bordeaux.

Inky, deep garnet in the glass. The bouquet is still pretty locked up even after 8-months in bottle (the tale of 2018!) but, after a couple days open in the bottle, the aromatics start to lift with spring rain on violets, brambled black raspberry, pencil shavings and seasoned spruce hardwood managing to escape this densely-packed yet elegant bouquet. The palate is tightly wound, as you can imagine, reticently offering hints of purple fruit over graphitic minerality. Smooth and elegant on the finish with fine, tight-grained french oak tannins stretching out over excellent, if unrevealing, length. Definitely a wine to leave untouched for a year or so.

88% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Petite Verdot
22% New French Oak
14.2% alc.
200 cases available

***

Lot 165 | 2018 Napa Carneros Estate Pinot Noir

Oh man, I'm in love. This gorgeous, textbook Napa Carneros Pinot Noir comes to us from one of the pioneers of not just Napa Carneros, but the larger Napa Valley region. If you are a Pinot Noir fan, I am confident this wine's effortless finesse will have broad appeal. It is faaantastic, ya just gotta trust me!

Priced at $50/bottle out of the tasting room with 91- and 93-point scores from a couple of the big four reviewers (wish I could name who scored what but these folks are quite protective), it's a fantastic offer at just $19/bottle. This is the same wine the winery bottled, they just had more than they could use.

Dark garnet in the glass. Beautifully expressive nose with well-delineated strawberry and black cherry fruit accented by lilac, sweet plums, and earthy black tea and a kiss of sandalwood from the medium-toast French oak. Tons of verve here aromatically. The entry is supple and seamless with ripe red and black fruits amply supported by fresh, vibrant, mineral-driven acidity that leads to a beautiful, perfectly-balanced finish. This is fantastic Pinot Noir, deftly-made with an crystalline effortlessness that makes it nearly impossible to drink just one glass. Grabs the case folks, you won't regret it. Only 400 cases available!

100% Pinot Noir, 100% Napa Carneros Estate
35% new French oak, medium-toast.
14.1% alc.
Bottled May 25th

***

Lot 166 | 2018 Walla Walla Valley Meritage

***BOTTLED APRIL 9, 2021 - SHIPS NEXT WEEK

***THIS IS PRE-RELEASE PRICING ON A WINE WITH OVER 6-MONTHS IN BOTTLE

Lot 166 2018 Walla Walla Meritage comes to us from the same producer partners that brought us N.131, N.147 as well as Lots 162 and 164 (for those you new to dN, we moved from the N. numbering system to using Lot numbers with Lot 150. I like the sound of it better).

As I have mentioned ad nauseum, this was a complicated deal with over 30 different barrel lots. Lot 166 is a our own proprietary blend utilizing some of the best of those barrel lots. In fact, the base wine is a fantastic Walla Walla Merlot (WW Merlot easily rivals WW Cabernet Sauvignon) with portions of the same Windrow Vineyard Plateau and Hill block Cabernet's found in Lots 131 and 162 blended in. Four barrels of rather stunning Petite Verdot put some real spine into the blend too, not that Walla Walla Cab and Merlot need much help in that department.

The result is a supple and seamless yet potent blend of spicy plum, cherry fruit and robust structure. Crafted from $45-$70/bottle components, Lot 166 is a phenomenally good deal at $18/bottle.

Deep garnet in the glass. Opens up beautifully with a couple minutes in the glass. Candied pie cherry, spicy plum, brown sugar, cocoa, and toasted french oak are just now beginning to unwind. The wine is seamless and supple on entry, layered and vibrant across the palate with mouth-watering cherry, spice, and savory depths of barrel spices supported by a robust-yet-well-integrated structure that indicates there is a lot more to come here. Outstanding.

51% Merlot, 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petite Verdot
100% Estate Fruit, 100% Walla Walla Valley
~40% new French oak
14.5% alc.
400 cases available.
bottled April 9th, 2021

***

Lot 167 | 2019 Napa Valley Chardonnay

BOTTLED APRIL 20TH, SHIPS NOW WEATHER PERMITTING

A combination of fruit grown in Napa Carneros and Oak Knoll, this vibrant, exquisite Chardonnay will have broad appeal. It is 100% barrel-fermented with 100% malaolactic fermentation and 50% new French oak, yet the wine retains tremendous freshness, elegance and super-pretty citrus and stone-fruit notes. This is no Rombauer. Instead, its elegant and pristine with the fleshy, creamy texture nicely balanced by vibrant acidity on the palate. I love this style.

The current version of this wine in the marketplace is the 2017 vintage which retails for anywhere from $40-$50/bottle and has received 93- and 94-point scores from The Wine Advocate as well as Jeb Dunnock. That the 2017 is still in the marketplace is likely why we were able to get our hands on a healthy chunk of the 2019. Complex, gorgeous and layered, Lot 167 2019 Napa Valley Chardonnay is a stunningly-good deal at $12/bottle, $144/case. You simply will not find this kind of depth and dimension anywhere near this price.

Medium straw in the glass. Pretty and perfumed with white peach and keffir lime notes nestled into the richness of ripe honeydew melon and sweet almond blossoms. The depth here is simply fantastic! One critic noted this wine sashays out of the glass - that is a perfect description. Fleshy and creamy on the palate with ripe, honeyed orchard fruit getting terrific lift from crystalline acidity that delivers a sweet and blossomy yet also toasty retro-nasal kick and huuuuuge length. Perfectly-balanced and pretty throughout, this fantastic Chardonnay has a sense of effortlessness, sophistication and elegance to it I rarely find in California Chardonnay. Absolutely fantastic.

100% Chardonnay
50% Napa Carneros, 50% Oak Knoll District
100% barrel-fermented, 100% malolactic fermentation,
50% new French oak, low-to-medium-toast.
13.5% alc.
800 cases available
Bottled April 20th, 2021

***

Lot 168 | 2018 Dry Creek Zinfandel

Like your Dry Creek Zinfandel big and bold but with boutique producer attention to detail? Today's release is from one of Dry Creek's defining producers - a small, family run outfit focused on making big, rich and expressive Zinfandel and Petite Sirah's but on a small scale.

At it since the 80's, I've long been a fan of the wines but, since their productions are so small, I rarely run into them on the bulk market other than for the odd squirrely barrel or two. Fruit-driven, expressive and bold but always balanced, I am quite pleased to be able to offer you a couple hundred cases of kick-ass 2018 Dry Creek Zinfandel. This is the producer's finished blend which sells for $36/bottle, yours today for $16/bottle.

Wonderfully aromatic already with robust bourbon-soaked cherry, sweet tobacco leaf, a kiss of thyme and classic, Dry Creek foothill spice. Juicy, open-knit and absolutely delicious with cherry and raspberry and caramel notes from the well-deployed American oak splaying out in a long, harmonious finish. This is a classic style, pure and resinous, driven by oak-elevated, not oak-dominated fruit.

98% Zinfandel, 2% Petite Sirah
35% new American oak
16.2% alc.
250 cases available
Bottled April 14, 2021

***

Lot 169 | 2018 Dry Creek Petite Sirah

Dense, bold, and full-bodied, Lot 169 is a full-throttle 2018 Dry Creek Petite Sirah that will knock your socks off. Despite its lushness, this wine is perfectly-balanced, open-knit and accessible with broad appeal. Selling for over well over $40/bottle off the wineries website, its nicely priced at $12/bottle, $144/case. Unfortunately, I only have 150 cases so PS-lovers would be well-advised to move quickly.

Blackberry/blueberry pie and white flower aromas are haloed with spicy, toasty oak underpinned with vanilla. Chewy and dense across the palate but nicely-balanced with fruit and mineral spice that integrate seamlessly into the lush background of youthful tannins. The wine finishes rich and broad with mouth-coating tannins echoing with the ripe black and blue fruit.

100% Petite Sirah
50% new oak, split between French and American
14.9% alc.
150 cases
Bottled April 13th, 2021

***

Lot 170 | 2019 Dry Creek Reserve Merlot

Lot 170 2019 Dry Creek Reserve Merlot comes to us from the same small, boutique producer of the very-well-received Lots 168 Zin and 169 Petite Sirah. I have always been knocked-out by this wine but was unable to catch good notes before it shocked up completely so I waited until now, three months later.

The good news is Lot 170 drinking great and ready to rock and roll now.

And you can thank the deliciously ripe 2019 vintage for this - its perfectly ripe but also well-built with a fantastic, open-knit structure that carries the power and richness of the wine beautifully. Rich, ripe, lush and succulent yet chewy and muscular, Lot 170 is indeed a powerhouse Merlot made is a Reserve style. If you like big, reds with plenty of rich, lush fruit you are going to LOVE Lot 170.

There are only 225 cases of this $40+/bottle Reserve-designate Merlot available.

Deep ruby in the glass but not quite opaque. Sings with ripe black cherry and blueberry fruit and is pungent with passilla pepper, brown sugar and seasoned oak. Ultra-smooth on entry but big and chewy across the palate with robust yet well-integrated tannins carrying layers of black and red fruit and toasted vanilla notes in a lush, expansive finish. Fantastic overall structure and integration, as well as its ultra-plush musculature, makes this quite drinkable now but compelling over the next 5-7 years as well. Booyah!

87% Merlot, 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Malbec, 100% Dry Creek Valley
50% new French and American oak
14.8% alc.
225 cases available
Bottled May 3rd, 3021

***

Lot 171 | 2018 Sonoma Coast (Petaluma Gap) Pinot Noir

Sourced from a small, boutique producer, this beautifully-crafted Pinot Noir hails from the Sonoma Stage Vineyard. The vineyard was planted about 10-years-ago by the Hyde Family to the Swan and Calera suitcase clones, each of which, and at different times, was allegedly smuggled in from Domain de La Romanée-Conti and propagated throughout California.

Sonoma Stage Vineyard has been the source for many a high-end, boutique producer and was recently sold, leading many to assume they would no longer be able to source from the vineyard. Hence, a natural candidate when it comes to right-sizing your inventory.
This wine blew me away when I first tasted it (as did every other wine this producer put in front of me) and I think you'll find it an exceptional offering. With no expense spared in its production (including 50% new French oak), a $55/bottle price tag and solid collectible bona fides, its an incredible value at $21/bottle.

Deep garnet in the glass. The nose opens with dark, earthy fruit, graphite and gravel notes adding pretty strawberry and raspberry notes punctuated with seasoned french oak and haloed with thyme, cola and cinnamon spice accents. The nose is a bit monolithic just now but that's to be expected with these clones; however, it does indicate this wine will be best when cellared for a few years. Robust and broad on entry, its seamless across the midpalate with gobs of fleshy structure punctuated with vibrant acidity that carries all the rich fruit and muscle to a resounding and lengthy finish. And, while this is a pretty powerful Pinot that will age well over the decade, I do see it drinking nicely come this Fall.

100% Pinot Noir, 100% Petaluma Gap/Sonoma Coast
50% new French oak
14.5% alc.
210 cases available
Bottling April 13th, 2021

***

Lot 172 | 2019 Napa Valley Syrah

Today's release comes to us from a vineyard in the southern reaches of the Napa Valley, a cool-to-moderate site sitting just north of highway 12 on the hilltops above Sheehy and Soscol Creeks. Here the Mt. George volcanics mix with uplifted alluvial's to create the low-yielding conditions that can even ripen Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (which, despite the cooler weather conditions, is actually heavily-planted here). And while this is a southern valley location, this is not really a cool-climate-style (like the gorgeous N.136 Adelaida Syrah) but rather a deep, dark, delicious and perfectly-ripe example of classic hillside Napa Syrah.

The producer (located further up-Valley) spares no expense with this wine and its actually quite a reasonable value at their price range of $45-$55/bottle versus where you would normally price a hillside Syrah aged in 60% new French oak. Lush, open-knit, rich and ripe, I think this will have tremendous appeal to Syrah fans as well as Napa Cabernet-lovers. A steal at $20/bottle.

Opaque/inky in the glass. Redolent with a meaty plum and brown sugar core haloed by sweet lavender, blackberry jam and chocolate. Plush and juicy on the palate with dusty plum, cocoa, fresh blackberry and a pretty anise notes but well-structured with chewy, hillside tannins coated in rich black fruit. The finish is very long, echoing with dark fruit and seasoned oak. Fabulous.

100% Syrah, 100% Napa Valley
60% new French oak
15% alc.
Bottled May 11th, 2021

***

Lot 173 | 2018 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

Sourced from a $95/bottle program, this is a no-expense-spared effort to create a flagship Cabernet for a small boutique brand from one of Sonoma Mountain's finest (and one of the first fully organic) vineyards, Murray Ranch. Murry Ranch's mix of volcanic soils and uplifted cobblestones serves as a key source for Paul Hobbs and Arrowood (until it was sold) as well as a slew of up-and-coming winemakers eager to establish their reputations for high-end Cabernet. The winemaker for this particular project is a high-end consulting winemaker for a variety of Napa Valley Cabernet producers with $150 to $300+ price points sourcing fruit from To Kalon and George the III. In short, this guy is legit.

Stylistically, this wine is decidedly riper than the other 2018 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet currently on offer, N.54, but still weighs in at what would now be considered a moderate alcohol of 14.8%. While N.54 is ethereal and elegant with more appeal to the typical Pinot Noir drinker or the quintessential old world palate, Lot 173 is powerful yet restrained with fruit and structure in perfect balance, and more likely to appeal to the classic Napa Cabernet Lover. In fact, I'll got out on a limb here and say this wine is as good as any of the 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet's we have produced so far.

Unfortunately, there are only 40 cases left, so Napa Valley Cab Lovers should not hesitate to secure their case. It is an incredible wine for $25/bottle.

Opaque, inky in the glass with a kiss of purple around the rim. Elegant and focused aromas cover the full spectrum with white flowers, ripe raspberry, leather and spicey cinnamon (Big Red?) underpinned with crushed river rock. Supple, sinewy and beautifully attenuated on palate with a perfect amalgam of raspberry and ripe, minerally tannins with crushed red rock notes that echo through the long, sustained finish. Again, perfect balance of ripe fruit, structure, elegance and power. Fantabulous!

97% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Malbec
45% new French oak - lovely barrels, perfectly integrated.
14.8% alc.
40 cases left
Bottled April 14, 2021

***

Lot 174 | 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

$30 Russian River Valley Chardonnay for $15/bottle? Yessir.

Ready-to-drink RRV Chardonnay at $15/bottle? Hell yeah!

With six-weeks in the bottle now, Lot 174 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay is opening up beautifully! Pure aromas, concentrated flavors, and an elegant structure make it perfect for all day sipping.

The winery and vineyard are located in the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley appellation on an uplifted plateau just a stones throw from Kistler and Iron Horse Vineyards. The winery hired a few years ago a very experienced North Coast winemaker to lead the Rennaissance of the brand but COVID put a damper on the export markets as well as their tasting room business. We were able to purchase this Chardonnay as well as a very small Lot of Carneros Pinot Noir for a most excellent price.

Pale yellow in the glass. The bouquet is pure and delineating nicely with flint, river rock, and caramel apple notes with a spicy, candied ginger, ripened Bosc pear, and marshmallow halo. Opening up nicely with plenty more complexity to come. Soft, smooth and elegant on entry soft with ripe pear, a kiss of honey and marshmallow on the mid-palate with a hint of roasted cashew on the finish. The pretty, mineral-driven acidity is nicely attenuated throughout the lengthy, echoing finish. This is a pretty and elegant style of Russian River Chardonnay perfect for all year round drinking.

100% Chardonnay, 100% Green Valley of the Russian River Valley
28% new French oak
13.7% alc.
400 cases available.
Bottled May 10th, 2021

***

Lot 175 | 2019 Red Mountain/Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon

Lot 175 is the sibling to Lot 150 and every bit as good - maybe better if you like a bit more muscle in your Cabernet. A blend of 73% Red Mountain and 23% Walla Walla fruit, it is derived from some of the best vineyards in both regions and aged in approximately 60% new French oak. Similar to Lot 150, it's a blend we assembled from programs ranging from $50+ to $80+/bottle Reserve Lots.

Thanks to the Columbia Valley appellation (we would need 85% Red Mountain to make the RM appellation), I am able to offer this to you at an incredible price of $19. I'm working super-lean on the first tranche so now is a phenomenal opportunity to own some of the best 2019 Cabernet out of Washington State for a song.

The story of Lot's 150 and 175 started on our trip up to Washington State late last summer. Word got around that we had tidied up many a cellar and we were invited back to peruse the expansive cellars of another high-end producer. Here we found a treasure trove of largely pre-assembled barrel lots of Cabernet Sauvignon from some of Red Mountains finest vineyards like Ciel du Cheval, Quintessence, and Klipsun not to mention the producer's own estate vineyard. Lot 175 combines fruit from Walla Walla's legendary Seven Hills Vineyard as well.

We finalized two wines, the first of which is OG Lot 150 2019 Red Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon. The second of which is Lot 175 Columbia Valley (73% Red Mountain/27% Walla Walla). The structure has a bit more heft than Lot 150 so we kept it in barrel for a few more months and bottled it on June 7th.

A combination of barrel lots from programs that range from $50/bottle (~70% of blend) up to the mid-$80's (~30% of the blend), the resulting wine combines the ethereal elegance of Red Mountain with the power of Walla Walla hillside fruit.

Dark garnet in the glass. Beautifully lifted aromas of violets and black cherry/blackberry contrast with darker and more mysterious tones of dark earth, graphite, mulled cinnamon and crushed red rock. Excellent complexity. The silky texture is layered with fruit and chewy tannins supported by vibrant acidity punctuated with lightly toasted wide-grain French oak. Fantastic balance, power and elegance from a terrific vintage.

79% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 9% Petite Verdot, 1% Malbec
approximately 60% new French oak
14.5% alc.
800 cases available
Bottled June 7th, 2021

***

Lot 176 | 2019 Russian River Pinot Noir

94-Points, Platinum Medal
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

Here's a spicy side Pinot Noir that pops with cinnamon and cardamom over lively cherry fruit that rides a wave of cool climate acidity through a zesty finish. It will sit well on a table of fish or fowl, and it will cut through a cream sauce effortlessly. A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition. 94-POINTS Sep 28, 2021

Fleshy and racy with crystalline fruit, plenty of verve and native yeast suavage, Lot 176 2019 Russian River Pinot Noir strikes the perfect balance between the ripe/unctuous and leaner Sonoma Coast styles.

The source winemaker is a Burgundian maestro and has always been my favorite for striking just the right balance between California fruit and Burgundian nerve.

Lot 176 is sourced from a variety of top-quality Pinot Noir sites in the heart of the Russian River Valley and fermented on native yeasts (~30% whole cluster) and aged in 50% new French oak with monthly battonage. Again, no expense is spared here. The resulting wine threads the needle between ripeness and structure beautifully, delivering complexity, elegance, and concentration on a lithe, sinewy framework.

Priced between $50-$60/bottle, this wine scores, without fail, between 94- and 92-points with the major critics and is probably under-priced versus the marketplace. Pinot fans of all stripes, its time to back up the truck!

Medium garnet in the glass. Beautifully complex, balanced and layered aromas of dried rose petal, black cherry, dark earth, asian spice/ginger and a lovely bergamot tea halo that envelops it all. Air complexes the aromas further adding warm, flinty river rock, wild strawberry and a really cool, earthy layer of coastal river ravine that reminds me of the Mendocino's coastline, chock-full of verdant canopies and ferny, wooded glades. Silky smooth on the palate, medium-bodied with nuanced, delicate fruit dancing in crunchy, mouth-watering acidity and punctuated with fine French oak tannin. Damn fine wine here folks.

100% Pinot Noir - mix of Pommard and Dijon Clones
25-30% stem inclusion, Native yeast ferment, 50% new French oak, monthly battonage
14.1% alc.
600 cases available
Bottled April 22nd, 2021

***

Lot 177 | 2020 Russian River Valley Rose of Pinot Noir

90 POINTS, GOLD MEDAL!
2021 CRITICS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

A dry, herb-driven style, with subtle strawberry, cherry and zesty citrus balancing nicely. A Gold Award winner at the 2021 Critics Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
90-POINTS July 6, 2021

Russian River Rosé of Pinot Noir made from $70/bottle ultra-premium Pinot Noir fruit for just $10/bottle? Yes, please.

Sourced from a legendary vineyard in the Russian River Valley, these folks decided not to take any chances with smoke taint and produced a Rosé from their incredible Pinot Noir fruit (without maceration with the skins, smoke compounds are generally not extracted into the wine...which is why you are likely to see quite a bit of Rosé of Cabernet from Napa Valley this year).

Of course, they make a rose every year anyhow so this is all de rigeur for them; however, selling 150 cases is one thing, selling 1000 is another. Needless to say, we purchased the remainder and have it here on offer today. They price their wine just over $30/bottle (they've already released the 2020) and I have ours on offer today for $9/bottle, $108/case. We bottle in April and should ship out later in the month.

This Rose of Pinot Noir is flat out gorgeous and one of the prettiest Rosé's you'll see (sorry I don't have a bottle image but our designer is buried in label development). It's aged in neutral oak for about 5 months and comes out a lovely, pale salmon color. The bouquet is crisp and beautifully expressive with rose petal, watermelon, and crisp strawberry with hints of lemon verbena and grapefruit. Its smooth, almost creamy, on the palate with pretty, pure, nuanced fruit laid out over soft, mineral tannins that finish with a crisp, delicate elegance and sustained sucosité. Fantastic! Or, I should say, Fantastique!

100% Rose of Pinot Noir, 100% Russian River Valley, 100% Estate fruit
100% Neutral French oak barrel-aged for 5 months
13% alc.
600 cases available
Scheduled to bottle April 6th, 2021

***

Lot 178 | 2018 Mt. Veeder Chardonnay

Legendary 100-point consulting winemaker meets incredible Mt. Veeder Estate vineyard!...what more do I need to say? Oh yeah, how about that its only $25/bottle versus the well over $125/bottle they charge their mailing list for their final blend (sold in six-packs - only 100 cases and I want to spread it around) . Trust me when I say no expense was spared in the production of this wine...sub-two-ton yields, top-quality oak, etc.

Now, here's the fine print. These barrels didn't make the final blend. They started with twelve barrels and only bottled the blend of five for their final cuvee and we got the rest. Does this mean they were rejects? Hardly, the producer wanted to put their best foot forward and this clonal selection (Wente and Montrachet) was the best. Lot 178 is a fabulous wine (more Montrachet than Wente in ours), however, you have my word on that.

Green gold in the glass. Apple and brioche out of the gate but soon the honeyed citrus notes move to the fore as the bouquet complexes. Rich and broad-shouldered on entry with creamy apple supported by a citrus and mineral spine that carries the wines to a resounding finish that echoes on your palate for a good minute. Drinks nicely even with just a month in the bottle but do your self a favor and hang onto a couple of these for at least another year to watch it evolve. Should be spectacular.

100% Chardonnay
Approximately 60% new French oak, 40% second-fill French oak barrels.
14.5% alc.
100 cases (200 six-packs) available
Bottled April 19th, 2021

***

Lot 179 | 2019 Napa Valley Petite Sirah

The moose is loose!

Broad-shouldered and rich, Lot 179 2019 Napa Valley Petite Sirah is a powerhouse Petite produced by a Napa Valley consulting winemaker with a legendary focus on Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a rich, concentrated and very modern-style Petite with plenty of ripe fruit, well-integrated oak and soft, sweet ultra-polished tannins. If you liked N.41 St. Helena Cabernet or Lot 57 St. Helena Cabernet, you'll love this.

The producer is quite cagey about the sub-appellation (and would only sell it to us as Napa Valley) but the wine is clearly sourced from a particular vineyard located on the rocky, volcanic northeastern slopes of Howell Mountain yet still in the Calistoga appellation. The wine retails for $60-$75/bottle and today's offering is just $21/bottle. A stunning value for a wine of this provenance and quality.

Squid ink dark in the glass. The bouquet erupts with cherry kirsch and huckleberry framed with sarsaparilla and brown sugar with nuances of charred oak, clove and leather. The wine is full-bodied on entry with dark, luscious lush fruit splaying out over chewy-yet-silky tannins and a long, lingering cocoa and roasted coffee-infused finish. Big-and-brawny yet never overbearing, this is precision winemaking at its best. Booyah.

100% Petite Sirah
60% new French oak
15.1% alc.
300 cases available
Bottled May 11th, 2021

***

Lot 180 | 2018 Paso Robles Meritage

Sourced from one of the stalwarts of the Paso Robles region (Westside fruit, yeah!), this purpose-built Bordelaise-blend is a seamless masterpiece of ripe yet beautifully-attenuated fruit deftly-layered over a firm core of tannins. This wine has an almost Italian-style firmness to it (think Super Tuscan) despite being a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petite Verdot. Harmonious, elegant and weighing in at just 14.1% alc., this is a wonderful example of what Westside Paso Robles can do with Bordelaise varieties. Previous vintages are priced well over $35/bottle at the winery, yours today for just $15/bottle. Deep garnet in the glass. Rich plum and baking spice aromas mingle with brown sugar, leather, and dried tobacco - a total classic bouquet. The combo of French and American oak blends seamlessly here too. The wine is smooth and rich up front with plums and seasoned oak wrapping around the firm, aforementioned structure. An absolute pleasure to drink now (not to mention decidedly food-friendly), this wine will age beautifully over the next decade.

40% new French and American oak, 50/50 split
30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Malbec, 17% Merlot, 14% Cabernet Franc, 14% Petite Verdot
14.1% alc.
61 cases left
Bottled May 3rd, 2021

***

Lot 181 | 2019 Amador County Cabernet Sauvignon

Lot 181 2019 Amador County Cabernet Sauvignon was produced by a North Coast boutique winery from an exceptional crushed-granite vineyard in the Amador County foothills. With a emphasis on balance and focus while still delivering fruit-forward wines, Lot 181 was their effort to source an excellent Cabernet at a great price for their mailing list, an inaugural release that was better suited for less turbulent times in the wine business. It is one the best Cabernet's I've had from this region.

Built to the nines with well-integrated new French oak, this wine makes a fabulous everyday drinker/cellar defender delivering gobs of lush, hedonistic fruit but plenty of structure and excellent balance. It is already drinking well with just a month in the bottle. I am confident this wine would, at a minimum, retail somewhere in the $30-$40 range and it delivers tremendous value at just $15/bottle.

Medium-to-deep ruby in the glass with nice glycerine complexion. Ripe blackberry, creme de cassis and crushed red rock dominate the nose along with plenty of seasoned french oak that should integrate nicely over the coming months. Big, lush and supple on entry but balanced throughout, Lot 181 delivers Napa Valley quality black and red fruits laid out over mouthwatering acidity that beautifully lifts the ample fruit to a long, sustained finish. Absolute magic carper ride of a wine that should be ready to rock by the 4th of July!

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
approximately 40-50% new French and American oak medium+ toast
14.9% alc.
600 cases available
Bottled May 3rd, 2021

***

Lot 182 | 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Lot 182 comes to us from one of California's most revered producers of Chardonnay and the source for Lot 176 Russian River Pinot Noir. After we did the lot 176 deal, I specifically requested they put together a Russia River Chardonnay for me. We only received 8 barrels and, quite frankly, I paid more for it than I have many Napa Cabernet's - that's how much I like it.

This cuvee is mostly estate fruit with two barrels from their single vineyard program. Because of the small quantity produced, as well as the high price, Lot 182 Russian River Valley Chardonnay will be sold in six-packs.

Weighing in at 13.8%, this crystalline beauty is a Burgundian-styled masterpiece - about as good as it gets here in CA.

Medium-to-pale gold with just a kiss of green. Barrel-fermentation and lees stirring makes the bouquet leap from the glass, redolent with honey-soaked pear, spice and butter haloed with citrus blossoms. Energetic on the palate nervy acidity and ripe fruit with huge length, this is powerful, sexy Chardonnay with beautiful purity. Fantastic!

100% Chardonnay, 75% estate
20% new French oak
13.8% alc.
200 cases produced
Bottled May 24th, 2021

***

Lot 183 | 2020 Alexander Valley Rose of Sangiovese

Ripe, succulent and fresh, this absolutely glorious Rose is the ultimate crowd-pleaser. Immensely quaffable, its perfect for picnics and poolsides. If you like a richer, fruit-forward style Rose that is still dry, Lot 183 is your wine! Checkout the tasting video here!

Normally priced just under $20/bottle, this unique, purpose-built Sangiovese Rose is now available for just $13/bottle. The only reason we got our hands on it is due to a recent sale of the winery and the new owner rationalizing the inventory. Get it while the gettin's good!

Deep pink/red in the glass...you can almost smell the watermelon and strawberry just by looking at it. Lo and behold, the nose is pungent with watermelon and strawberry candy, pretty rose petal and jasmine blossom with a lovely tobacco leaf note adding complexity. The aromas have excellent dimension and are alone worth the price of entry. Opulent on entry, rich fruit rides a bone-dry structure of red-fruit-flecked minerality that leads to a long, pretty, delicately-nuanced finish. Complex, wonderful and best of all, Deeelicious.

100% Sangiovese Rose...purpose-built, not saignee.
100% stainless steel fermentation and ageing.
14.3% alc.
Bottled May 11th, 2021

***

Lot 184 | 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Folks, this is a smokin' good deal.

The 2018 version of this Pinot Noir front-lines for just under $60/bottle and scored 92-points from one of the main reviewers. The fruit is sourced from Nunes Vineyard in the Russian River Valley and produced by one of the indisputable pioneer's of California Pinot Noir. Just $16/bottle, $192/case...get it while you can folks.

Garnet in the glass and effusive with ripe strawberry, cranberry and rhubarb notes haloed with black tea-infused florals and just a bit of pepper. Supple on entry with sappy red fruit caressing the midpalate while chalky, crunchy acidity adds structure carrying the pretty red fruit and tea notes to a long, lovely, resounding finish. Ripe yet pretty, medium-weight and very approachable with just a kiss of new French oak, this is a terrific Pinot Noir that will drink well in the near-term and age nicely over the next 7-10 years. Delicious.

100% Dijon Clone Pinot Noir
approx 15% new French oak
14.4% alc.
300 cases produced
Bottled May 11th, 2021

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Lot 185 | 2019 Russian River Valley Chardonnay

Burgundian Masterpiece!

This classic expression of Russian River Chardonnay comes to us from one of the most important wine growing families in the Russian River region. And while they own and farm many of the finest Chardonnay and Pinot vineyards in the Russia River watershed, they save their best for their own small, boutique brand.

The producers bottling has already received a 92-point score from the Wine Advocate for the same wine we have in the bottle today. With a $50-price point, it will thrill you with its perfect balance of old and new world sensibility not to mention its incredible tariff of just $14/bottle!

This is an incredible offer folks, world-class Chardonnay at a fraction of the price. If you missed out on Lot 155 or Lot 156 RRV Chardonnay or love the Willamette Valley Chardonnay offerings, Lot 185 is right up your alley, presenting the best of both worlds for chardonnay...rich-yet-elegant, powerful-yet-layered with chiseled minerality and mouth-watering acidity perfectly balanced with rich fruit and well-deployed oak.

300 cases available.

Pale yellow in the glass. Opens with butter and honeysuckle blossom over a core of Honeycrisp apples. With air, caramel, Fuji apple skin, and Bosc pear mesh with flinty river rock and white lilies. Rich on entry with ripe fruit perfectly delineated over crystalline minerality. The finish is perfectly-focused with lingering toasted vanilla unfurling over ripe nectarine and white peach in an electric, mouthwatering and pulsating finish. Fabulous.

100% Chardonnay
40% new French oak, 100% barrel-fermented.
13.9% alc.
300 cases available
Bottled April 26th, 2021

***

Lot 186 | 2019 California (Solano/Napa) Chardonnay

RomButter Bomb Alert! If you like the buttery, tropical style of Rombauer Chardonnay, look no further than Lot 186. 100% barrel-fermented in 45% new American oak and 47% once-used American oak, this rich, ripe Chardonnay will knock your socks off.

The wine was actually produced by a high-end Napa Valley winery for luxury restaurant accounts in China, but recent trade wars have soured that market for CA imports. When it comes to Chardonnay, most Chinese only care that it comes from California so the fruit was sourced from a vineyard that actually straddles the Solano/Napa County line, part of it in Wooden Valley (Napa County) and the other in Suisun Valley (Solano County). Solano County has recently become quite the hot spot for Napa wineries looking for more good grape growing regions as evidenced by the Wagner Family of Caymus and Meomi fame as well as the Gallo Family (and, yes, with the Gallo's, Family should be capitalized) buying up large swaths of land there recently. Because this wine is technically California appellation, I was able to get an exceptional deal for you. Effectively, this is no-expense-spared, Napa Carneros-quality Chardonnay for just $12/bottle. I'm telling you, if you like Rombauer, you will love this!

Medium yellow in the glass. Huge nose of perfectly-ripe pineapple, caramel apple and peach surrounded by vanilla and honeysuckle blossom. Viscous on entry with pineapple and vanilla notes building into caramel, butterscotch and toasty American oak on the creamy mid-palate. There is freshness and structure throughout the wine with the peachy notes getting more evident with air. Fantastic!

100% Chardonnay, 70% Solano County, 30% Napa County
45% new American Oak, 47% once-filled American oak
14.5% alc.
500 cases available
Bottled May 24th, Shipping late June

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Lot 187 | 2019 Atlas Peak Syrah

***BOTTLES MAY 20 AND SHIPS MID-JUNE WEATHER PERMITTING
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD OPTION AT CHECKOUT FOR FALL SHIPPING

Lot 187 2019 Atlas Peak Syrah comes to us from the same producer as N.44 2018 Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon (which has excellent 93pt. reviews and only 250 bottles left in the store!) and N.45 2018 St. Helena Merlot (only 300 bottles left).

The fruit for Lot 187 is sourced from the legendary Stagecoach Vineyard and aged in 50% new French oak. The end result is a classic Stagecoach Vineyard Syrah, replete with succulent florals, blue fruit and coffee bean, and a powerful structure that will age beautifully over the coming 10-15 years. Winery priced at $70/bottle, yours today for $15/bottle, $180/case.
Only 100 cases available.

Deep ruby/opaque in the glass but not inky. Complex, beautiful bouquet of white lily, blueberry, and coffee bean with savory, earthy graphite, plum preserve and beef jerky notes rounding things out. Full-bodied and powerful on entry with blue fruit poking through a delicious amalgam of savory oak and plum reduction notes. Huge length on the finish with gobs of extract echoing across your palate. Should be nice this Fall.

100% Syrah
50% new French oak
15% alc.
100 cases available
Bottles May 20, 2021

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Lot 188 | 2019 Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet Sauvignon

This fantastic Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet is sourced from the Raines Vineyard on the steep hillsides up above Saratoga. Aged in approximately 45% new American oak (nice Canton cooperage) and priced to sell at $55/bottle, its an exceptional offer at just $18/bottle. There are only 125 cases available so SCM Cab-lovers should move quickly! Oh, did I mention, the wine is good (great, actually)? Classically-styled, it weighs in at just 14.2% alcohol and is perfectly-ripe with juicy, mouthwatering acidity.

Deep ruby/garnet combo in the glass. A core of black cherry and currant mixes with earthy graphite and crushed gravel notes with a pretty rose petal and Provence herb halo making things really interesting. Beautifully balanced and complex aromas. The palate is equally beguiling with supple, ripe blackcurrant and black cherry fruit, mouthwatering acidity and a robust, gravelly structure that carries the robust fruit to a long, sustained finish that echoes on your palate for a good minute. Yum.

93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc, 2% Petite Verdot
45% new American Oak
14.2% alc.
125 cases available
Bottled May 3rd, 2021

***

Lot 189 | 2019 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

95-Points, Platinum Medal
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

Another ridiculous value from de Négoce “ one that is alive with acidity and ripeness that just sing in the glass and in the mouth. Vanilla and a touch of mint play a countermelody to the powerful blackberry and currant, and a little heat in the finish doesn't distract. Nicely realized! A Platinum Award winner at the 2021 Sommelier Challenge International Wine & Spirits Competition.
95-POINTS Sept 21, 2021

Lot 189 is sourced from the same producer as Lot 173 2018 Sonoma Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon so I have included that write-up below. Everything holds true for the 2019 wine. Typical of the vintage, however, the 2019 is a more open-knit style with riper fruit profile - its certainly less brooding and will be far more approachable in its youth than the 2018.

Sourced from a $95/bottle program, this is a no-expense-spared effort to create a flagship Cabernet for a small boutique brand from one of Sonoma Mountain's finest (and one of the first fully organic) vineyards, Murray Ranch. Murry Ranch's mix of volcanic soils and uplifted cobblestones serves as a key source for Paul Hobbs and Arrowood (until it was sold) as well as a slew of up-and-coming winemakers eager to establish their reputations for high-end Cabernet. The winemaker for this particular project is a high-end consulting winemaker for a variety of Napa Valley Cabernet producers with $150 to $300+ price points sourcing fruit from To Kalon and George the III. In short, this guy is legit.

Unfortunately, we were only able to secure 165 cases of the 2019 Cabernet and 125 of those case are up for grabs in 6-packs. As I said previously, Napa Valley Cab Lovers should not hesitate to secure their case. It is an incredible wine for $20/bottle.

Opaque, inky in the glass with a kiss of purple around the rim. Boisterous brambly blackberry an raspberry join cinnamon spice and crushed red rock with leather and white flower in an open-knit bouquet. Supple yet juicy on entry with rich black and red fruits melded to fine, minerally tannins that echo through the long, pretty finish. Super approachable and remarkably delicious now but you'll want to let this get through bottle shock (I'm catching it now with one-week in bottle) later this Fall.

98% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Malbec
45% new French oak
14.8% alc.
125 cases available
Bottled July 14th, 2021

***

Lot 190 | 2018 Napa Valley Mountain Meritage

Bang. This fantastic purpose-built, Reserve-designated Meritage is meant to showcase the power and structure of mountainside vineyards in Napa Valley. Despite their tremendous enthusiasm for the 2018 vintage, the producer simply had a couple hundred case over what they thought they could sell. Retailing for right around $100/bottle, I think you'll find this quite the bargain at $29/bottle. It is a rockstar.

Opaque in the glass. Dark cherry is framed with Haagen Daas coffee ice cream and spicy cedar notes. The aromas are fairly monolithic and dense, as well as oak-dominated, but they'll unwind beautifully. Powerful yet supple on entry with beautiful mineral-laced, chewy tannins showcasing blackberry and black cherry fruit in a long, harmonious finish. While fairly oak-dominated, this blend is seamless on the palate and will flesh out with a good 8-10 months in the bottle. Look for this to drink nicely in its youth and age well over the next 10-15, if not 20, years. Glorious stuff.

45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, 10% Petite Verdot, 10% Cabernet Franc, 100% Napa Valley
50% new French oak
14.8% alc.
225 cases available
Bottling May 3rd, 2021

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Lot 191 | 2018 Napa Carneros Pinot Noir


***BOTTLED MAY 19TH, 2021 SHIPS NEXT WEEK WEATHER PERMITTING
***CHOOSE SUMMER HOLD FOR FALL SHIPPING

Beautifully elegant and food-friendly, this 2018 Napa Carneros Pinot Noir is sourced from a really nice vineyard in the Carneros hills. The producer is the same winery as the Lot 174 Russian River Valley Chardonnay (which is drinking really nicely now and available in a six-pack at $11/bottle!) and they shoot for a prettier expression of both Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. These are both perfect for warm summer months refreshment and both are decidedly food-friendly with good acidity and freshness. The Pinot weighs in at just 13.6% alc.

Both are fantastically priced at $11/bottle and available in 6-packs. Lot 191 is extremely limited as we have less than 200 cases total.

Deep garnet in the glass. The aromas are almost fully-knit together as the wine approaches two-months in bottle with black cherry and wild strawberry aromas haloed with rose petals and dried herbs. Soft and silky on entry with pretty red fruits arrayed over mineral-laced tannins that have excellent length. This Pinot has a terrific, elegant structure and, being a 2018, is drinking great now and will grow even more nuanced over the next 5-7 years.

If you are looking for a medium-bodied, pretty and elegant Pinot, I believe you will find this a stupendous deal at $11/bottle.

100% Pinot Noir, 100% Napa Carneros hillside vineyard
25% new French oak
13.6% alc.
360 x 6-packs total production
Bottled May 19th, 2021

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Lot 192 | 2019 Knights Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

93-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

Lot 192 comes to us from a relatively new, Napa Valley-based, boutique producer (and sommelier) sourcing fruit from a gently-sloping hillside vineyard just across the street from the well-regarded Knights Bridge Winery in Knights Valley (Knights Valley is just north of the Napa County line in Sonoma County but its volcanic soil structures are very similar to Napa Valley).

The vineyard was recently converted over to organic production by the legendary Barbour Vineyard Management. In his 30+ years as a vineyard manager and viticulturalist, Jim Barbour has planted and managed some of Napa Valley's most coveted vineyards, including Hundred Acre, Grace Family, Blankiet, Hourglass, Tom Seaver's GTS, Pride, D.R. Stephens, Revana, Fleming, Au Sommet, Amuse Bouche, Keever, Von Strasser, etc.

From the finest French oak to the best vineyard management team, no expense was spared in the production of this wine. Since the producer has yet to launch their inaugural 2018 bottling I can't give you a price comparison but I figure this wine would, at a minimum, sell for about $65-$75 and largely because its Knights Valley, not Napa Valley. This is an incredible offering at $21/bottle.

Dark, inky and opaque in the glass but lively, expressive and vibrant with aromas and flavors of lavender, black cherry and cassis, cigar box, chocolate truffle, pimento, and seasoned aromatic spruce and cedar hardwoods. Love these barrels. Supple on entry and rich on the palate with with lively, red-rock acidity that frames an elegantly-extracted spectrum of blackberry and cassis fruit with a fine coating of mineral and french oak tannins. Aromatic spruce, cocoa and violets linger on the finish.

The sommelier influence clearly shows in this wine...its beautifully extracted yet very harmonious with some killer minerality thanks to the vineyards volcanic soils. Big-yet-elegant, and it will age beautifully as well.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Knights Valley, Sonoma County
50% new French oak
14.7% alc.
500 cases available
Bottling May 18th, 2021

***

Lot 193 | 2019 Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

Uh-oh, another OG dN candidate for Value Cabernet Sauvignon of the year. Given the fruit-forward nature of the 2019 vintage (versus the powerfully structured 2018's), this wine would certainly qualify for Ultimate Cellar Defender status.

Hands-down, this is one of the best Cabernet's I have ever sourced out of the Red Hills District of Lake County and one of the best values to date out of this program. For those of you unfamiliar with the Red Hills District of Lake County, this is a nice piece here that also discusses the source vineyard for this bottling.

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 $40+/bottle program (separate from the aforementioned SB and PN program) and consults on a variety of other projects. Let me just say this wine is a relatively good value at that $40 price point and an exceptional offer at $16/bottle.

The program/brand itself is relatively new and extremely well-funded so little expense was spared in the production of these wine including top-quality fruit from Obsidian Ridge Vineyard, small-lot custom crush production and 20-months in 40% new French oak barrels. And that's about all I can say about that other than this is an absolutely fantastic $16 bottle of Cabernet.

Deep purple, almost opaque, in the glass. Bottled just 6 weeks ago but already showing nicely with rich notes of blackberry, plum and black cherry mingling with tobacco, crushed red rock and violets underpinned with tootsie roll/dark chocolate and seductive vanilla bean oak notes. Lush and vibrant on the palate with red and black fruits framed in mouth-watering acidity and a fine tannin structure. The wine explodes on the palate with a fantastic amalgam of fruit, rock, oak and tannin. Sexy, juicy and hedonistic in the best way, this wine may be the Ultimate Cellar Defender Cabernet!

100% Cabernet Sauvignon
40% new French oak
14.8% alc.
Bottled May 18th, 2021

***

Lot 194 | 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Ethereal, gorgeous, pure and elegant, Lot 194 is one of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignons.

I was at first taken aback by its somewhat un-extracted color, but immediately smitten by its complex and expressive aromatics. Sourced from a fantastic hillside site hidden back in the rather-cool climate of Wooden Valley, just to the northeast of Coombsville/Wild Horse Valley and to the southeast of Atlas Peak. (In fact, Wild Horse Valley is the coolest site in Napa Valley as the air mass that passes over Carneros cools another 10 degrees by the time it rises to the AVA. You can click this link and see the Wooden Valley running north-to-south just to the northeast of Wild Horse Valley).

The winemaker is a legend amongst winemakers but hardly a household name save for wine geeks. As one of the former winemakers on the program that put Napa Cabernet on the map as well as being a member of founding team for Opus One, this individual has 40-years of grokking Napa Valley terroir at a whole other level.

Combining the power of Napa Valley Cabernet with the elegant-yet-potent expression of Burgundy, Lot 194 is sure to impress with its cool-climate, ethereal sensibility. It will age phenomenally-well too. I cannot wait to imbibe the aromas five years from now!

Priced at $95 at the winery (the 2016, that is - the 2012 is $125/bottle), you will not find such a pretty and potent Cabernet at $35/bottle anywhere. This is world-class winemaking folks.

Medium-ruby in the glass. As noted previously and effusively, this wine is gorgeously aromatic with succulent, powdery pink florals caressing perfectly-ripe and very-pure aromas of cherry and raspberry. The oak is just a platform here, almost imperceptibly elevating the fruit. Bravo. Supple yet potent on entry presenting delicately nuanced red fruits mingling with brown sugar and tobacco leaf-tinged-yet-crystalline minerality that goes supernova on the midpalate. The minerality steals the show here, the nuanced, red fruit-flecked starburst dancing elegantly across your palate for a good minute or two. 'Gol dang...

99% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Merlot
50% light-toast French oak
14.7% alc.
400 cases available
Bottling Scheduled for May 19th, 2021

***

Lot 195 | 2019 Napa Valley Meritage

93-POINTS, GOLD MEDAL
2021 SOMMELIERS CHALLENGE WINE COMPETITION

The Prettiest Athlete in Napa Valley or YinYang Hillside Harmony?

I had originally titled this release the former but, given our seeming confusion over the sexes these days, I think I'll go with the latter. It's a better metaphor for Lot 195 anyhow, combining as it does so seamlessly the masculine and feminine qualities traditionally associated with wine.

Lot 195 comes to us from the same producer as Lot 194; however, it is purely a creation of Mark and my work on the blending table. It combines 60% Merlot (which, AFAIK, the producer does not traditionally bottle) with 20% of the Cabernet Sauvignon from Lot 194 and 20% of the Cabernet Franc that comprises Lot 196. The base Merlot component here is absolutely a stand-alone-quality wine but this blend was irresistible.

The result is a fantastic wine that combines the prettier spectrum of Bordelais aromatics with a muscular-yet-mineral-laden structure akin to more robust, age-worthy Burgundies. YinYang, indeed. The vineyard, as previously noted in the Lot 194 release, is a hillside site in the relatively cool-climate of Napa's Wooden Valley.

There are only 300 cases available of this gorgeous wine and I highly recommend it for Napa Merlot fans as well as Pinot Noir fans. It will age beautifully for another 15-20 years, growing more ethereal and elegant with time (note the 14.3% alc). The overall quality is every bit as good as the Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc which retail for over $80/bottle. At $25/bottle this is a stunning value.

Medium ruby in the glass. Soaring yet succulent bouquet with cherry candy and powdery, fresh, linen-like florals mixing with forest floor...deeper base notes of dark fruit and fresh-turned earth lie in the background. Racy and dynamic on the palate delivering nicely attenuated red and purple fruits set atop fantastic, mineral-coated tannins that go supernova on the mid-palate before presenting a constellation of pretty fruit notes that echo through a long finish. Sexy dyn-o-mite!

60% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc
100% single-vineyard
50% new French oak, light toast
14.3% alc.
300 cases available
Bottled May 19th, 2021

***

Lot 196 | 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc

The Cabernet Franc you've been waiting for is here!

Ethereal, gorgeous, pure and elegant, Lot 194 is my favorite Cabernet Franc and the best CF I've ever sourced.

Like Lot 194 from the same producer, I was at first taken aback by its somewhat un-extracted color, but immediately smitten by its complex and expressive aromatics. Sourced from a fantastic hillside site hidden back in the rather-cool climate of Wooden Valley, just to the northeast of Coombsville/Wild Horse Valley and to the southeast of Atlas Peak. (In fact, Wild Horse Valley is the coolest site in Napa Valley as the air mass that passes over Carneros cools another 10 degrees by the time it rises to the AVA. You can click this link and see the Wooden Valley running north-to-south just to the northeast of Wild Horse Valley).

The winemaker is a legend amongst winemakers but hardly a household name save for wine geeks. As one of the former winemakers on the program that put Napa Cabernet on the map as well as being a member of founding team for Opus One, this individual has 40-years of grokking Napa Valley terroir at a whole other level.

Combining the structure of moderate climate Napa Valley Cabernet Franc with the elegant-yet-potent expression of Burgundy, Lot 196 is sure to impress with its cool-climate, ethereal sensibility. It will age phenomenally-well too. I cannot wait to imbibe the aromas five years from now!

Priced at $85 at the winery, it is, well, impressively priced at $35/bottle if I do say so myself. This is a deftly-made, precision-tuned wine with exceptional complexity and true finesse. Will age beautifully over the next 10-15 years.

Medium ruby in the glass. Opens with the sweet perfume of dried rose petals and tobacco leaf haloing a core of watermelon and cherry candy, cinnamon spice and a loamy underpinning. Beautiful, pure and complex. Perfectly-ripe and supple on entry, Lot 196 is seamless and transparent across the mid-palate before unfurling pretty cherry fruit over robust tannins. The wine has excellent focus and depth a long and lingering finish.

98% Cabernet Franc, 2% Cabernet Sauvignon (same vineyard)
50% new French oak, low toast for fruit elevation
14.4% alc.
350 cases available
bottled May 19th, 2021

***

Lot 197 | 2018 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

*PURCHASED AS SHINERS - WILL SHIP AS SOON AS LABELS GO ON

Lot 197 is a 2018 Green Valley of the Russian River Valley Pinot Noir. Purchased as a shiner (bottled wine with no label on it), its been in bottle for well over a year now and spreading its wings nicely. A small cuvee of only 200 cases (150 of which are on offer today) culled from the best barrels from their three Green Valley sourcing sites (which are legendary but remain anonymous here), it represents the flagship offering from this small, boutique producer. The winemaker is fifth generation in the wine business and has access to the best vineyards in Green Valley.

If I had purchased this as bulk it would have been priced around $16/bottle, but shiners are a bit more valuable as the wine is ready to rock-and-roll. The producer prices this at $75/bottle so would still contend this is an exceptional offer at $20/bottle, or $120 for a six-pack (I am splitting this up to give more of you access to the opportunity).

Medium garnet in the glass. Immediately spicy with cherry fruit and forest floor but it takes on a deeper blue fruit dimension with air adding gunsmoke and sarsaparilla to the mix. You'll definitely want to decant this wine to take full advantage of the wide spectrum it offers; otherwise, you'll be on the last glass as it begins to open up. Balanced and seamless on entry with crunchy red fruits and schisty minerality punctuated with cacao notes from the nicely-integrated French oak. Complex and elegant with pinpoint delineation, this wine absolutely benefit from a couple more years in the bottle and will age nicely over the next 12 years or so. Gorgeous.

100% Pinot Noir, 85% Green Valley of the Russian River Valley and 15% Russian River Valley
40% new French oak
14% alc.
300 6-packs available
Bottled April 2020

***

Lot 198 | 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

94-Points, Platinum Medal
2021 Sommelier Challenge Wine Competition

Blockbuster Beauty

Lot 198 comes to us from a family-run winery's estate vineyard up on the hillsides of the Atlas bench between Atlas Peak and Soda Canyon Roads. The owner and winemaker quietly consults for a who's who of top Napa Valley Cabernet houses. On offer today is the family's top 2018 cuvee, a blend of 90% estate-grown Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Spring Mountain Merlot that they purchase from another grower.

Rich and hedonistic yet nicely balanced and never over-the-top, this is a classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with broad appeal. If you are looking for an open-knit, approachable style with lots of stuffing but also well built with class and precision, I cannot recommend this highly enough. It is absolutely delicious.

Priced at $80/bottle out of the tasting room (you won't find it anywhere else), it is actually a rather decent value given where everyone else prices their flagship wines these days...of course, its a magnificent value at $35/bottle, especially considering the incredible 2018 vintage.

Inky and opaque, nearing squid ink, this Cabernet has just a touch of crimson around the rim. Deep, dark, rich aromas of toasted french oak frames candied fig, black cherry truffle and dark chocolate contrasting beautifully with worn leather and sage notes. Lush yet explosive on entry with a fantastic, magic-carpet-ride-mouthfeel, full and fleshy, spiked with chewy tannins and resolving into a refined layer of cigar box, fennel and dark chocolate. Ridiculously Delicious! Don't miss!

CHECK IN TASTING 1/14/2022 - Dark toasted French oak frames and candied fig. Oozing with dark chocolate, black cherry with hints of truffle contrasted with worn leather and sage. Explosive mouthfeel, full and fleshy and spiked with chewy tannins, resolving into a refined layer of cigar box, fennel and dark chocolate

90% Cabernet Sauvignon (Atlas Bench area), 10% Spring Mountain Merlot (Keenan Vineyard)
80% new French oak, 60% barrel-fermented
15% alc.
400 cases available
Bottled June 14, 2021

***

Lot 199 | 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Lot 199 2019 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon comes to us from one of my Napa Valley favorite wineries for producing wines that continually punch way above their weight class.

This Cabernet retails for just under $70/bottle despite having a world class consulting winemaker, having been aged in well over 80% new French oak, produced from 40+ year-old-vines with the most recent vintage scoring 93+- to 95-point scores with critics as varied as The Wine Advocate to the San Francisco Wine Competition. I guess one of the benefits of having owned your vineyard for 40+ years is the ability to keep you prices tied more to inflation than ego. Needless to say, this is an exceptional value for a wine that will actually be approachable this Fall.

The vineyard itself is located in the west side alluvials draining off of Mount Veeder northwest of the city of Napa in the Oak Knoll appellation. Here cobbly drainage and relatively cool conditions, while problematic for commercial production in this part of the valley, are ideal for low-yielding, conscientiously produced Cabernet Sauvignon. I've long been a fan of this portion of the valley and in 2019 it performed heroically.

Despite being from a relatively cool-climate (not to mention nearly opaque), Lot 199 is remarkably open-knit and plush at a reasonable 14.8% alc. Credit many, many decades of farming experience for that.

Richly aromatic with a beautiful blackberry syrup and candied violets halo haloing crisply delineated cassis and chocolate-covered black cherry, warm river rock, a kiss of bell pepper to keep things interesting, and fresh-tilled soil with plenty of well-integrated seasoned oak. Red and black fruits are deftly-deployed over juicy, soft tannins that carry through a long, plush finish with ample flesh and plenty of verve with pretty red cassis notes echoing throughout. Classy and complex, this wine features a delicious balance between tension and hedonism.

100% Cabernet Sauvignon (96% Oak Knoll plus 4% Rutherford Cabernet we blended in for additional depth and structure).
80%+ new French oak
14.8% alc.
350 cases available
Bottled July 12th, 2021

***

Lot 200 | 2019 Napa Valley Hillside Cabernet Sauvignon

I won't belabor the point that the hillsides up above Lake Hennessy, from Pritchard Hill to the Sage Canyon area, are absolutely spectacular and as worthy of vinous praise as the To Kalon vineyard itself.; in fact, this area is often referred to as Oakville On A Mountain. Needless to say, this is as Grand Cru as it gets for hillside Cabernet-lovers.

Lot 200 is hands down the finest Cabernet Sauvignon I have ever come across in the bulk market. For that we have COVID to thank.

The source vineyard, topping out at 1500-feet of elevation, is as spectacular a site as you'll see with the vineyards scalloping like oyster shells over numerous ridges. The price per ton starts at $15,000 and ownership requires a minimum bottle price of $150 in their contracts. There are a number of winemakers who source from here and, of the two 2019 barrel-samples that have been reviewed, both have scored 96-98 points with Vinous.com and Jeb Dunnock. The client list is a who's who.

Lot 200 is the owners 2019 cuvee (yes, same wine they will bottle) produced by a winemaker with numerous 100-point scores under their belt. It sees 100% new French oak and can only be described as massive, intense, dynamic and delicious. Yet, as fantastically rich and flashy as it is, this Cabernet still retains tremendous precision, purity and focus, the hallmark of great mountain fruit.

The producer's 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon scored 96+ points and the 2019 vintage, while a bit hotter on the valley floor, was spectacular at altitude and considered by client, critic, and winery alike to be superior to the 2018 vintage.

Front-lining around $200/bottle, it's as close as any of us will come to having a 100-point wine for just $30.

If you buy just one OGdN Cabernet this year, this should be the one.

Inky hued and opaque with a glycerine, jelly-like complexion. The bouquet is strikingly aromatic and intense, unfolding with liquid dark chocolate, creme de cassis, and a beautiful amalgam of black tea, raspberry, dried flowers, sage/bouquet garni and crushed rock/red clay. The complexity is spectacular. Full-bodied and rich on the palate but tightly woven with silky, satiny tannins that caress the palate while delivering sappy, concentrated-yet-elegant fruit with beautiful purity and seamless structure. The delineation, power and intensity are stunning here and, as fantastic as this is now, it has the potential to age for another 20-30 years. Incredible!

78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Verdot, 7% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 1% Malbec
100% new French oak - only the finest
14.8% alc.
800 cases available
Bottled June 15th, Shipping late July, early August. Weather Permitting.

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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

***

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.

Here we go folks...deep, rich, ripe Rutherford/St. Helena Syrah...$60 for $16!

Get it now as it'll be $24 when it hits the Bottle Shop in a few months!

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

***

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.

At $15/bottle, this is an absolute steal. True to form, however, the quantities are small and the wine will be offered in six-packs to broaden accessibility - many of you have been clamoring for this.

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

***

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

***

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 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 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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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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

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Lot 274 | 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

***ULTRA-PREMIUM SHINERS BOTTLED DECEMBER 2020
***TO BE RE-LABELLED AND SHIPPED DECEMBER 2021

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 $25/bottle 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 available
Bottled November 2020

***

Lot 277 | 2019 Mansalto Toscana Rosso Stroncoli

***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 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.

Priced to hit $50/bottle on the shelf here in the US, its a screaming deal at $20/bottle.

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

***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 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.

Priced to hit around $60-70/bottle on the shelf here in the US, just $22/bottle today when you mix-and-match a case of Mansalto wines.

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 280 | 2019 Barossa Valley Centenarian Old Vine Shiraz

***PROJECTED BOTTLING DATE LATE JANUARY, EARLY FEBRUARY
***PROJECTED ARRIVAL SPRING 2022

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.

The Lou Miranda bottling retails today in Australia for $65/bottle; however Lot 280 can be yours today for just $25/bottle. Trust me on this one folks, this is a stupid good deal. Only 350 cases available.

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 available
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 available
Bottled July 2019

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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 available
Bottled August 2019

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


***Not available in all shipping region
***The wine is in the warehouse and ready to ship

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 available
Bottled December 2019

 

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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.

Normally priced at $35/bottle (which is quite the value actually) out of the tasting room, its yours today for under $12/bottle - just $139/case, deliveredThat's right, shipping is included.

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 available
Bottled December 2019

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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.

Selling out of the tasting room for $45/bottle, its yours today for just $199/case, DELIVERED.

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 available

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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.

Normally, sold for $60/bottle online and through the Tiburon tasting room, it is ridiculously priced at $199/case. There are only a couple hundred cases available so you'll want to move quickly here.

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 available

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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.

Priced at $65/bottle out of the tasting room, this single-vineyard, Chalk Hill Cabernet Sauvignon is a stunning value at $199/case, DELIVERED!

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 available

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Lot 289 | 2020 Muscadet Sevre et Maine Sur Lie

***SHIPS MID-APRIL TO ARRIVE EARLY MAY

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!

With Spring on the way and summer not far behind, this is a great wine to buy by the case now. It ships April 17th and should arrive into Oakland early May and ship the following week.

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. Typically retailing for $20/bottle (quite the value in and of itself; typical sur lie examples range from $20 to well over $30/bottle), it is your today for just $8/bottle, $96/case.

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 available
Ships April 17th to arrive May 3rd into Port of Oakland...should ship following week.

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Lot 291 | 2021 Bordeaux Sauvignon Blanc

***WINE FUTURE: SCHEDULED TO BOTTLE IN APRIL 17th AND SHIPPING SOON THEREAFTER, ARRIVING AND SHIPPING LATE MAY/EARLY JUNE.

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), Lot 291 is a steal at $99/case DELIVERED.

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
Approximately 500-600 cases will be produced.

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Lot 293 | 2021 Loire Valley Rose of Cabernet Franc

***BOTTLES MARCH 21 IN FRANCE AND SCHEDULED TO ARRIVE LATE APRIL/EARLY MAY INTO US.

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.

Thierry's Sancerre Rose has modest distribution here in the US at $22-$24/bottle but his Loire Rose of Cabernet Franc has never been exported so I can't provide a comparative price; however, I think its fair to say this wine would retail upwards of $20/bottle.

Its a steal at $99/case or just over $8/bottle. There are only 400 cases available.

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 available
Bottling March 21, 2022

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Lot 294 | 2021 Rose D'Anjou

***FUTURES OFFERING: BOTTLES MID-APRIL TO ARRIVE USA LATE MAY/EARLY JUNE

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
Bottling April 17th for late May arrival to USA

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Lot 297 | 2020 Bordeaux Superior 

***BOTTLES MID- APRIL WITH ESTIMATED ARRIVAL LATE MAY/EARLY JUNE.
***WE WILL HOLD YOUR ORDER FOR FREE UNTIL IT IS SAFE TO SHIP.


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.

Its a hell of a deal at $9/bottle.

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 available
Bottling April 17th, 2022