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Staff Favorites - Thomas Smith

Thomas Smith
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Tom Smith


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2016 Sidewood Shiraz Adelaide Hills South Australia
Review Date: 09-11-2019
My first introduction to Sidewood came with their 2016 Pinot Noir, which is jaw-droppingly fantastic: light and ethereal, intensely aromatic with tons of acidity. My response was disbelief: "Wait. This is from South Australia!?" What’s so surprising about Sidewood is the effect of its unique, high-altitude, cool-climate site on the style and quality of their wines. Take for instance, their 2016 Shiraz. The nose has elements of cherry liqueur, charcoal, and savory elements with just a faint touch of mint. Fragrant, pretty, and elegant. When was the last time you heard anyone say that to describe a Shiraz? The palate has plenty of acidity, medium weight, beautiful fruit expression. There’s not an ounce of excessive weight on this--it's lifted and incredibly bright. There’s been a lot of press this year about “New Australian Wine,” i.e. Australian wines that are moving to a style that is more balanced, acid driven, and lower in alcohol. I can’t think of a better example of what’s going on in Australian wine right now than this. Open it up an hour ahead of time, and you'll be gladly rewarded.

2016 Black Slate "Porrera" Priorat
Review Date: 09-11-2019
I love the concept of identifying single vineyard sites within Priorat. It makes perfect sense to do this. When tasting the single-site wines of Black Slate together in a lineup, each has their own nuances, and characteristics that speak in a detailed way to the place in which it was grown. The Porrera has always been my favorite of the single vineyard sites. The nose is gamey and untamed. There’s a clear wild strawberry note to the aromas, along with deeper richer notes that you’d sooner spot in a glass of well aged port. On the palate, there is this big wave of soft fruit, sweetness, and bare traces of of tannic structure with plenty of acid to help bite through the rich palate. One of those remarkable Priorats that keeps you returning to your glass again and again.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
JD 94 RP 92

2017 Susana Balbo "Signature" Malbec Mendoza
Review Date: 09-11-2019
Incredibly elegant nose with black fruits, spice and sour plum. The palate on this is full and rich, soft and plush with just a hint of sweetness. Clean, powerful and velvety smooth this is a totally sexy glass of wine.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 94

2018 J. Bouchon "Canto Sur" Maule Valley
Review Date: 09-11-2019
Touches of green bell pepper on the nose, offset with brighter fruitier red cherry and strawberry elements on the palate. Good, crackling structure, and clear clean fruit expression, this is a heck of a lot of full-bodied red wine at its price. I would drink this in a heartbeat.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
DC 95

2016 Alain Jaume "Terrasses de Montmirail" Gigondas
Review Date: 09-11-2019
The Terrasses de Montmiral displays a soft, garrigue-filled nose with slight nuances of black fruit and cherries. But the palate is where this wine really speaks to me. Intensely concentrated, and equal parts fruit and earth with black cherry, tar, and black raspberry. Well-structured with a balance that leans into power, this easily sits among my favorite Gigondas wines Moulin de la Gardette and Domaine des Bosquets.

2013 Kaesler "Stonehorse" Shiraz Barossa Valley
Review Date: 09-05-2019
Kaesler is one of the most prominent producers of old-vine Shiraz in the Barossa. They have been continuously farming since 1893, and their wines are among the most classic representations of Barossa Shiraz. Named for the horses that used to pull boulders from the vineyards, the Stonehorse Shiraz is sourced from 15- to 40-year-old vines vines planted on deep red-brown soils. The aromas here show hints of rosemary and dry herbs above a broad-shouldered display of blackberry and black cherry fruits, among smokier and savory notes. On the palate, the wine is big and rich; mouthcoating structure and softened tannins. For all its weight, underlying acidity still gives it lift and brightness. I almost never see wines of this quality at this price, this is a perfect contender for a house red that vastly over-performs.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart
WS 91

2017 Viña Zorzal Garnacha Navarra
Review Date: 09-04-2019
Full disclosure: I’ve loved this wine for multiple vintages now. I bought a ton of this a few years ago while I was going through a cool climate syrah phase (still happening). This appeals to me for a lot of the same reasons that I love cool climate syrah. There’s a savoriness, there’s a black pepper note, there’s a rigid but accessible tanic profile, and plenty of acidity. So distinctive. So unique. This is a beautifully crafted, supremely aromatic wine with body and power. Malbec? Argentina? Who cares. This wine is killer and one that I regularly pull out of my cellar.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
RP 90

2018 Bodega Chacra "Sin Azufre" Pinot Noir Rio Negro
Review Date: 09-04-2019
This is always the first red wine of the new vintage in the door, not only because it’s from the Southern Hemisphere, but because this wine is all about freshness and vitality. Floral and bright, this is raspberry and flowers all the way. Slightly savory undertones give it a wild quality, along with just a tug of tannic structure to even out all the fruit. A super unique pinot noir, but one that anyone will gladly appreciate, this is one of the benchmark natural wines in the store, and is a great place for anyone looking to explore these wines.
Price: $35.99 Add To Cart
JS 96

2018 Aurore Dezat Sancerre
Review Date: 09-04-2019
The aromas on this wine are so intense. This is dripping with wet cobblestones. Texturally, the fruit is round and soft with an acid line that pierces right through the middle. Plenty of tart honey crisp apple and gentle lime notes with a touch of chalk towards the back palate. It ends with a clean finish, that slowly unfolds with echoes of the palate. This is classic Sancerre that definitely punches above the under $20 crowd.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
DC 90

2017 Quivira "Alder Grove" Dry Creek Sauvignon Blanc
Review Date: 09-03-2019
I’ve made my opinions known in the past that with the exception of a few key producers, Napa Sauvignon Blanc is not really my thing. I think the quality and value in places like Sonoma and Santa Ynez trump Sauvignon Blanc from the Napa Valley nearly every time. Case and point: Quivira from Dry Creek. Explosively aromatic, there’s plenty of bright Meyer lemon, classic grassy notes, and it just hints at Bordeaux blanc character. Bright and citrusy on the palate, this is lean, zippy, and angular. Complex, there’s plenty to explore here--it keeps you coming back to the glass again and again.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
WS 93

2015 Peake Ranch Santa Maria Valley Chardonnay
Review Date: 09-03-2019
The nose on this is just beautiful. Soft, creamy tones. Touches of spice. The fruit on the palate is absolutely penetrating. Lemon curd and zest above touches of marzipan with a texture that is somehow weighted and serious, but lively acidity keeps it light on its feet.
Price: Hidden View Price
JD 94

2017 BOLD Wine Co. Monterey County Pinot Noir
Review Date: 09-03-2019
What a nose on this. Gorgeous notes of cranberry, cherry, and strawberry come raging out of the glass here, along with great fruity followup on the palate. Incredibly smooth, soft and supple while gushing with red fruit, this is a lot of great Pinot for the price.
Price: $18.95 Add To Cart
WE 93

2017 Xanadu "Exmoor Drive" Chardonnay Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 08-23-2019
Named for the road that borders the vineyard and leads to the village of Margaret River, the Exmoor Drive sees less new oak than the estate Chardonnay (only 5%) yet still has a creamy texture and tons of pear, citrus, and melon, and a bright, crisp finish.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JH 92 W&S 91

2018 Xanadu "DJL" Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 08-23-2019
With a blend consisting of 63% Sauvignon Blanc, 35% Semillon, and 2% Muscadelle, you might expect the 2018 Xanadu “DJL” to have more of an Old World sensibility. But that notion is turned entirely on its head by its sheer vibrancy and brilliance. Clean, bright and focused, this white Bordeaux blend showcases passionfruit, flint, and lime, with stunning length of finish.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart

2015 Xanadu Chardonnay Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 08-23-2019
This is a beautiful take on bigger, richer-styled Chardonnay. With 30% new French oak, the wine takes on added weight and texture while still maintaining impeccable balance. White peach, citrus, and grapefruit all play out on the palate wonderfully, with a razor sharp bite.

2015 Bilancia Chardonnay Hawke's Bay New Zealand
Review Date: 08-23-2019
Warren Gibson and Lorraine Leheny have developed this small label, Bilancia, as a side gig to Warren’s day job as winemaker at Trinity Hill in Hawke’s Bay. The 2015 Bilancia Chardonnay is sourced from vines planted at La Colline, Bilancia’s own vineyard that is terraced across the slopes of Roy’s Hill, above Gimblett Gravels. This Chardonnay does not undergo malolactic fermentation, and is racy, bright, and focused. With a mix of citrus and stone fruits, and lifted, airy texture, this wine is full of minerality and tension. This is an incredible display of New Zealand Chardonnay.

2017 Mount Edward Chardonnay Bannockburn Central Otago
Review Date: 08-23-2019
Sourced entirely from Morrison Vineyard, located in the Lowburn subregion, the 2017 Mount Edward Chardonnay Bannockburn has nectarine and almond on the nose, and a palate that is light-bodied, with an invigorating texture. The tension, focus, and linear character of this wine perfectly displays Central Otago’s terroir.
Price: Hidden View Price
JS 93

2017 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 08-23-2019
If anyone understands the distinct regions of Marlborough, it’s Astrolabe winemaker Simon Waghorn, who has spent his career focusing on distinctive sub-climates. From nine vineyards, each presenting a unique expression of Sauvignon Blanc, his 2017 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough interweaves parcels from the Wairau, Awatere, and Kekerengu Coast seamlessly, creating a wine of balance and power.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
RC 92 WS 90

2018 Mount Edward Pinot Noir Rosé Central Otago
Review Date: 08-23-2019
Hands down, this is my favorite rosé wine of the 2019 rosé season. 100% direct-pressed Pinot Noir from one of the best vineyards in Central Otago, this is bone dry, pale in color, and incredibly sophisticated. With its soft strawberry tones on the palate and beautiful floral aromas, this is light and delicate. It’s elegant rosé at its best. This is a must-try wine for anyone who loves rosé.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
JS 90 - 91

2016 Yering Station Estate Chardonnay Yarra Valley
Review Date: 08-23-2019
The Yarra Valley is Australia’s Burgundy, known for cool-climate Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Yering Station was the first vineyard and winery there, and was originally planted in the 1850s. This Chardonnay is acid-driven, with bright citrus elements and flinty minerality. Weighted and rich, creamy, yet racy, this is a gorgeous Chardonnay that dramatically performs above its price.

2017 John Duval "Entity" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 08-21-2019
This is it. This is the big one. This is the breakthrough Shiraz of the year. John Duval spent nearly 30 years as a master winemaker crafting Penfolds Grange, Australia’s most heralded Shiraz that can easily cost upwards of $800. Striking out on his own to craft the wines at John Duval, the 2017 Entity clearly puts this mastery on display. The concentration and minerality on the nose wavers between warm, detailed fruit and more mineral, graphite driven aspects that remind me of Bordeaux like Leoville Barton, with a fruit expression that has seemingly endless depth. Black raspberry, black cherry and whiffs of spice tinged smoke are all at play here. The palate has fiery dynamics, velvety tannins, and a bright whip of acidity that pushes down the palate. All in all this is stunning in its complexity, balance, and focus. It may be awhile before I see anything that even comes close to the value here. It’s no wonder that James Halliday named this No.1 on his list of best Australian Shiraz this year.
Price: $34.99 Add To Cart
JH 99

2014 Leeuwin "Art Series" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 08-20-2019
Leeuwin continues to produce one of the best Australian Cabernets year after year. The 2014 Leeuwin Art Series Cab is the most elegant rendition of this wine I have had to date. Filled with soft aromas of subtle mint, faint touches of nutmeg, along with whifs of cinnamon, and vanilla. On the palate, the wine is broad and full. Bright acid pushes cassis, blackberry, and black cherry elements to the forefront. In the background there is plenty of minerality that gives the flavor palate definition. This is so well balanced and nuanced. Every minute this wine is in my glass it is getting better. So many complex elements of when you look at it closely, but an equally delicious drinking experience that anyone will love.

2015 Leeuwin Estate "Prelude" Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 08-13-2019
It’s not often you can find a benchmark Cabernet producer whose wines keep getting better and better, yet still has a price like this. Year after year Leeuwin’s Prelude Cabernet continues to be one of the best values in Cabernet, not just from Margaret River, but from anywhere. The nose on this is incredibly masculine. Full of black fruit, charcoal and cassis. After 5 minutes in my glass, the wine just blooms into spicy black cherry, mint and graphite. The way this wine opens and evolves in the glass over a short time is nothing short of remarkable. On the palate, there’s more blackberry, black raspberry and cassis notes. The tannin profile here is just perfect: it hits you right at the mid palate, and just dissolves through the finish. Incredibly well balanced with a great mix of both fruit and earth, this wine is absolutely captivating.

2016 Azelia Langhe Nebbiolo
Review Date: 08-13-2019
What a reminder of how delicious and beautiful Nebbiolo can be. Spicy and peppery on nose with beautiful floral elements amid touches of tobacco leaf. It’s not often I describe red wines as ethereal, but this one certainly fits the bill, all while still being accessible. On the palate, it's more fruit driven with forward tannin and acid drive. I would gladly drink this any day of the week.
Price: $17.99 Add To Cart
RP 91

2018 Skouras Moscofilero Péloponnèse Greece
Review Date: 08-13-2019
Clear as glass, this shows melon, mint, and faint creamy notes along with more forward touches of stone fruit. The body of this wine is medium weight with just a subtle hint of sweetness. The acid here is fierce, but I don’t mind it all--actually, I think it’s perfect. This wine is so in my wheelhouse its crazy. I want this with cheese. I want this with pizza. I want this with everything.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
W&S 92 RP 90

2015 Kir-Yianni "Ramnista" Naoussa Greece
Review Date: 08-13-2019
As sold as I am on Greek white, we see a lot less Greek reds day to day around here.. Enter: Ramnista. The aromas in this wine absolutely suck you in. There are elements of dark fruits, plum intermingling with mushroom and other earthy components. You smell the wine in the glass and there’s something about it that says, “hold on, this is going to be intense”. Explosive on the palate components of sarsaparilla, and mocha framed by bright acidity, and rigid, rustic tannin. This is an excellent example of Greek red at its best. Ultimately, this is a really compelling wine that is true to its place, and shows it off in the best light. Lamb shank anyone?

2016 DeLille "Chaleur Blanc" Columbia Valley White Bordeaux Blend
Review Date: 08-06-2019
I'm a sucker for good Bordeaux blanc. The brilliance, the complexity, the richness and the power all collide into a perfect storm for me. And typically, I tend to be a little skeptical of domestic white wines that parade themselves as Bordeaux blanc. With the Delille Chaleur Blanc, not the case. Minerality, passion fruit, and savory undertones are all in force here, along with beautiful build and release. It's a touch more fruited, but every bit better for it. I could drink this over and over and over.

2016 Craggy Range "Te Kahu" Bordeaux Blend Gimblett Gravels Hawke's Bay
Review Date: 08-04-2019
This a wine that is surprising, exciting, and exceptional, year after year after year. I am thrilled to see that people are starting to take notice of this wine for what it is and giving it the credit it deserves. For a New World Cabernet-based blend, it definitely skews more Bordeaux than Napa. Blackfruits, cassis and spice give this an incredibly attractive nose, that hides deeper elements of iron, sage and savory. A dense and concentrated element of fruit is present on the palate, with more acidity than you would generally expect, but in away that is totally welcoming. The tannin structure is likewise big, ensuring that you can stash this away for years and watch it improve--a pretty tall order for a Hawke’s Bay Bordeaux Blend. But with a quick decant and a little air in the glass the tannin soften beautifully and the fruit opens up, and you are left with a staggeringly delicious wine.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
DC 97 JS 93

2016 Xanadu Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Margaret River Western Australia
Review Date: 07-31-2019
Since 1962, the Melbourne Wine Show reviews thousands of wines submitted from across Australia, and after several rounds of eliminations, awards the Jimmy Watson Memorial Trophy to the best wine in the competition. In 2018, this was that wine. Named for the Melbourne wine legend who helped revolutionize fine wine in Australia, these wines typically sell out across the country overnight after winning. I’m so thrilled we were able to secure an allocation of this incredibly sought-after wine. As for the wine itself, there is a level of focus and intensity that is, by far, the best I have ever tasted from Xanadu, and possibly Margaret River. There is mint, smoke, cassis, black fruits, and graphite, seamlessly interwoven into a gorgeous, full, and complex palate. Slightly more fruit-forward, this is a big, powerful Cabernet with racy acidity that perfectly supports the fruit. The tannin is fine, giving structure while allowing the wine to be open and drinking beautifully now. What a stunning achievement. This is a Margaret River Cabernet for the record books.
Price: $24.99 Add To Cart

2016 La Massa "La Massa" Toscana
Review Date: 07-30-2019
I have customers coming into the store all the time looking for a great wine to take to dinner with their boss or in-laws, and need a wine that’s both extremely impressive, but at a great price point. Enter La Massa. This wine is a bullseye every, single time. Full bodied and bold, while well-balanced and full of black cherry fruit and fine tannin structure, this is one of the most consistent, hits-above-its-price-point wines in our Italian selection. You know you’re onto something good when those customers come back into the store a week later raving about how everyone at the table loved it.

2006 Jonata "Todos" Central Coast Red Blend
Review Date: 07-25-2019
Unmistakably from Santa Ynez. A little bloody on the nose, this wine presents both savory aromas along with mixed red and black fruit. On the palate, it’s intensely structured. Super different. There are so many fine details in the construction of this wine: the vertical structure of tannin, the ever-present and yet almost unnoticeable acidity, the huge dynamic palate that hits you in broad waves. This is a forceful and powerful red--one without a hint of over-extraction or fruit-bombiness. Excellent wine.
Price: Hidden View Price
JD 94 ST 90

2018 Massican "Annia" Napa Valley White Blend
Review Date: 07-25-2019
Right off the bat there are powerful aromatics of lemon and jasmine. Bright and zippy, full of intriguing textural elements. This wine would be killer with food, especially cheeses. Plenty of Meyer lemon and grapefruit on the palate with just a sly edge of sweetness on the finish. I love how different, and yet still delicious this wine is. A style of wine I seek out regularly, but rarely see coming out of California.
Price: $29.95 Add To Cart
WE 97

2016 Château de L'Ou "Secret de Schistes" Côtes Catalanes
Review Date: 07-24-2019
Wow. The quality of this wine is apparent the moment the wine hits the glass. Dark, different, intriguing. There are definitely some Cornas-like things going on here: that sort of sour plum, black pepper and mineral drive. The fruit expression is a little more pure than what I’ve had from this producer in the past, it feels like the oak is just a touch more restrained. On the palate this is classic big Syrah. Rich and decadent fruit, with soft, smoothed tannins. This should be on anyone’s radar who love producers like Saxum or Booker. The wine is clean, modern, incredibly concentrated and powerful.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JD 95 RP 91

2017 Château de L'Ou "Compartir" Cotes du Roussillon Villages Rouge
Review Date: 07-24-2019
Château de L’ou continues to set the bar on power reds from Roussillon. Full of incredibly deep, dark, at times nearly black fruit, there is a ton of richness to this wine. This wine with an incredible amount of force and power, encased in a thick, velvety exterior. What’s most unique is that despite the amped up level of fruit, there is a significant mineral portion somewhere between graphite and iron that gives it dimensionality and compelling character. Fans of richer, more modern-styled Châteauneuf-du-Pape take note: This will knock your socks off at ½ the price.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
JD 96

2018 Villa Maria "Taylor's Pass" Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 07-24-2019
Perched on a sequence of terraces above the Awatere river, Taylor’s Pass Vineyard is an exceptional site for Sauvignon Blanc, sheltered from cooler easterly winds and planted on gravelly soils. The 2018 is one of the most strikingly aromatic Sauvignon Blancs I have ever had. Ripe Papaya and guava notes abound among hints of white pepper. There’s aromatic richness here that is flat-out off the charts. The palate follows up equally with big fruit and well balanced acidity. Elderflower liqueur, preserved pineapple, and a breathtaking mineral finish. What makes this wine truly stand out is not that it tastes different from Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc, it's that it manages to turn the volume up to 11 while maintaining balance. Possibly the best Sauvignon Blanc I’ve had this year?

2018 TWR (Te Whare Ra) Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 07-21-2019
There is not a single producer in the store that I value more than Te Whare Ra. In the ocean of bulk wines coming out of Marlborough, Jason and Anna Flowerday continue to produce wines at a small scale that possess incredible finesse, balance, and remarkable quality, vintage after vintage. The nose here is soft and fragrant. Elements of papaya, whiteflowers, and guava with just a hint of savory displays a sense of elegance. On the palate, there's more density, weight and power where citrus, lemongrass, and hints of stone fruit come through in waves. Beautifully bright and incredibly well balanced, the 2018 may be the best Sauvignon Blanc they have produced to date. I would argue that the TWR Sauvignon Blanc represents not just the height of quality wine production in Marlborough, but among the Sauvignon Blanc produced all over the world.

2016 Greywacke Pinot Noir Marlborough
Review Date: 07-17-2019
Another outstanding wine from Kevin Judd. The nose here is dark, smokey, and full of black fruits that remind me of other cool climate Pinot Noir regions. On the palate, this wine is an absolute powerhouse of fruit and texture. With mouthcoating weight and searing intensity, it is exceptionally structured, delivering powerful fruit with tannins that start soft and punch right through at the finish. An unbelievable value at this price.

2014 Greywacke Chardonnay Marlborough
Review Date: 07-17-2019
For the most part, Marlborough Chardonnay has flown under the radar. Sauvignon Blanc has continued overshadow other varieties, making up nearly 90% of all the wine produced in Marlborough last year. Yet, there have been a handful of small producers quietly handcrafting beautiful Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from select sites along the cooler Southern Valleys. Enter Kevin Judd. The 25 year winemaking veteran from Cloudy Bay has been producing masterful Chardonnay since 2009. The 2014 is his best to date. On the nose, there is a sense of flinty minerality, with citrus blossoms and stone fruit that is full of tension and purity. The Palate is racy and elegant with elements of buttercream and lemon curd. Superbly compelling, full of power and rich fruit, the quality here is absolutely exceptional.

2016 Sidewood Estate Pinot Noir Adelaide Hills South Australia
Review Date: 07-16-2019
The moment this wine hit my glass I knew I was going to love it. Soft, pale red and bursting with aromatics, it has a light touch has a great center of fruit on the palate. The acid is nice and bright, and all together I thought it was great Pinot Noir, from an unexpected place: the Adelaide Hills. Then I saw the price and my jaw just about fell on the floor. I immediately bought everything that was available--which wasn't much. No way you're going to find a better Pinot Noir than this at $15. Get this one while it lasts.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
SK 92

2017 Domaine du Somail "Vin de Plume" Minervois
Review Date: 07-10-2019
You really don’t find wines that push the envelope on breadth and power like this anywhere near $15. Meaty as all hell. There’s iron, blood and brambles all within a cloak of deep, black fruit.. Despite its dark character, beneath there is a rawness, a freshness, almost wild aspect to this Minervois. There’s plenty of big fruit on the palate that are offset with very well integrated tannin. The acidity brightens up the fruit and brings it into balance. Incredibly compelling, totally delicious, an easy pick for a tasty and distinctive from one of France’s best offbeat wine regions.
Price: $14.99 Add To Cart
RP 92

2015 Rodney Strong "Reserve" Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-03-2019
There is a ton of dark, black cherries on the nose of this wine. At moments, nearly reminiscent of cherry cordial, this is a big, rich and velvety Cabernet. The palate the tannin is softened, with just a hint of tannin and plenty of sweet fruit. This is all about soft, delicious, decadent fruit character. Really nice wine.
Price: $39.95 Add To Cart
DC 97

2015 Beaulieu Vineyard Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon
Review Date: 07-03-2019
When I had the chance to taste the 2015 BV Rutherford, my nostalgia went into high gear. This is old school Napa Cabernet: fragrant, structured, and bright. The nose is incredibly aromatic, with softer elements of vanilla and spice above medium red fruit, and a totally welcomed hint of bell pepper. Medium weight on the palate, this is really the polar opposite of a fruit bomb with a palate that expresses graphite, tobacco leaves and cassis. The tannic structure really stretches across the palate here. This is proper Napa Cabernet that tastes way more expensive than it is and harkens back to a more balanced, beautiful style of Napa Valley.

2017 Seabold Cellars "Olson Vineyard" Monterey Chardonnay
Review Date: 07-03-2019
I really love the fruit from Olson vineyard, and have had the pleasure of working with fruit from this vineyard during my time in wine production. There’s a level of intensity and distinctiveness that is racy, even thrilling and is at a whole different level than most of the vineyards in Monterey County outside of Santa Lucia. Here, the Seabold shows soft aromas with elements of honeysuckle and meyer lemon. On the palate it is intense and powerful. Tons of linear acid and drive. The zippiness almost has some Chablis-like elements, but with a rounder core of fruit on the center and a big lime note.This is a guns ablazing Chardonnay that would be phenomenal with food. And with a nice, crisp clean finish this is a perfect wine chilled for a summer day.
Price: $29.99 Add To Cart
WE 94

2018 Astrolabe Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough
Review Date: 07-02-2019
Part of Simon’s brilliant craft is his ability to build beautiful blends from multiple vineyard sources within Marlborough, each with their own subclimates and flavor profiles. The end result is a masterful blend that balances complexity, brightness, and gorgeous fruit character. The 2018 Astrolabe has an elegant nose with notes of honey comb, lemon blossoms, and subtle hints of passion fruit and flint. On the palate, you’ll find plenty of lime, stone fruits and minerality. There is just a touch more weight on the body of this wine than a typical Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc and along with its bright snap of acidity, this is a serious wine that shows how good the best of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc can truly be.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
BC 95

Nicolas Maillart "Platine" Brut Champagne
Review Date: 06-27-2019
An absolutely stunner of a Champagne. Full fruited, pure, clean citrus with hints of white cherry. On the palate, this is full of energy and vigor and clear fruit expression. Another unbelievable value in the line-up of gorgeous grower producer Champagnes. This is going into my regular rotation of Friday night Champagne.

2017 Torbreck "Woodcutter's" Shiraz Barossa Valley South Australia
Review Date: 06-05-2019
When you think of Australian icons, there are a few names that come to mind: Penfolds. Henschke. Torbreck. The Woodcutter’s Shiraz is a pristinely executed wine that brings the obsessive attention to detail in the vineyard and thoughtfulness in the winery you would expect from a globally recognized producer. What I really love about this wine is its undeniable varietal character--there’s black pepper, charcoal, gamey elements. It might be going a bit too far to call this smoked meat in a glass--but not that far. On the palate, its extremely well balanced. You have excellent, moderate acidity that doesn’t take over the palate, but still provides lift and structure to the wine. There’s a slight element of rich sweetness of fruit that brings weight and texture, and a sizzling spicy character that nearly makes you reach for a glass of water. Even with its benchmark status, this is a phenomenal value at this price.
Price: $19.99 Add To Cart
JS 93 WS 93

2017 The Pinot Project California Pinot Noir
Review Date: 06-05-2019
This is an absolute rare gem in the world of under $15 Pinot Noir. In fact, there probably should not even been a category for great Pinot Noir under $15, if not for this. At its core, it is a fairly serious Pinot Noir masquerading as a simple table wine. For me, it’s all about that burst of black fruit on the nose, whifs of brambly tannin, and warm strawberry/bing cherry fruit on the palate. This has a lot of elements going on that liken it to much, much more expensive wines. Such a savvy buy.
Price: $11.95 Add To Cart
JS 91 WE 90

2017 Domaine Lafage "Cuvée Centenaire" Côtes du Roussillon Blanc
Review Date: 06-05-2019
There is something that is undeniably wonderful about the wines of Lafage. Easy to drink, outright delicious, and quality that blows away everything in its price point away. Take the 2017 Centenaire for instance: lovely aromatics of melon, stone fruit and mild citrus tones--the palate is full with big fruit and nimble acidity that keeps you coming back to the glass again and again. Every little corner and detail of this wine is reigned in and perfected. This is an effortlessly joyful glass of wine.

2018 Tania & Vincent Carême "Terre Brulée" Chenin Blanc Swartland
Review Date: 05-14-2019
A beautiful nose of citrus and whiteflowers, incredibly delicate brightened by a hint of grapefruit. Bright on the palate with razor sharp acidity and mellow weight. There is plenty of drive and verve, making this a brilliant little Chenin Blanc that's has South African texture and fruit, but with nuances reminiscent of the Loire. An absolutely insane quality for price.
Price: $12.99 Add To Cart

2017 Cantina Andrian Pinot Grigio
Review Date: 05-08-2019
A lovely nose that’s soft and inviting. Very aromatic, the notes of melon and honeysuckle simply pour out of the glass. On the palate, there is a generous amount of fruit--this wine is so friendly and welcoming. Offering way more than its price point, this is a delicious Pinot Grigio that everyone will love.
Price: $13.99 Add To Cart
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