WHAT A LAWC VALUE TOO!!
Oak Ridge Winery
This Chardonnay is succulent and crisp. Flavors of pear, tropical fruit and pineapple add to this bright varietal. Floral notes create a well-balanced wine with a full body.
Chicken, Salmon, Tilapia, Duck, Pizza, Green Salad, and Pasta.
Double Gold San Francisco International Wine Competition 2015, 98 points
Gold California State Fair Wine Competition 2015, 94 points, "Best of Class of Region"
This Bourgogne Chardonnay is matured in stainless steel with about 15% new oak aged wine added to the cuvee to reveal, peach quince, grapefruit, lime and vanilla on the nose. In the mouth, there is a pleasant lemon flavour complimented by the oak and balanced minerality leading to a long and refined finish. This vintage is a blend from different Burgundian origins but each plot is 100% Chardonnay. 50% is from the Côte de Beaune, with vineyards located by the Villages of Meursault, Puligny and Chassagne. The second part is from Maconnais (45 %) and a small part results from the Côte de Nuits (5 %). The Soils are all argilo-limestone with a dominace of marl-limestone for the Maconnais and the Côte de Nuits and a rather clayey marl for the Côte de Beaune. The vineyards are generally located at the bottom of hillsides with moderated slopes. Vineyards are on average 40 years old, in other words at peak maturity in terms of grape quality and production yields.
It goes very well with frog's legs, browned scallops, a Carpaccio of salmon and why not with a matured Camembert.
||HERE WE GO AGAIN!
Double Gold Medal San Francisco Chronicle
The fruit for the 2013 Mountain Zinfandel was sourced from eight vineyards in Paso Robles, an appellation justly famous for producing intense fruit forward zinfandels. Opolo sourced the fruit for the Mountain Zinfandel from vineyards located in the historic Santa Lucia Mountain range. The climate of these Westside Paso Robles vineyards are characterized by slightly cooler growing conditions due to coastal temperatures and austere soils which produce a fruit with exceptional varietal character and expression.
After two vintages of below average temperatures, warm weather returned to the Central Coast! A mild winter followed by a warm spring and near perfect temperatures during the summer months allowed the grapes to mature at optimal levels. The near perfect temperatures coupled with very little rain during the harvest months combined to make 2013 a near mythic vintage.
The grapes were handpicked early in the morning and gently de-stemmed into both closed topped stainless steel fermentation vessels as well as small open top fermenters. After fifteen to twenty days of fermentation, the must was gently pressed and aged on oak for 10 months.
Rich raspberry and plum mingle with spice, dried cherry, cocoa and cedar. Layers of zesty ripe red fruit wash over the palate and lead to a lively and complex finish. Pair this versatile wine with spicy Asian pork ribs or bacon and feta stuffed chicken.
60% Mourvedre and 40% Grenache
Mas de la Deveze
Cotes du Roussillon Villages
Cotes du Roussillon
"The 2012 Cotes du Roussillon Villages offers classic Mourvedre flair with its gamey, meaty profile. Smoke, toasted spice and loads of dark fruit also show here, and this beauty hits the palate with medium-bodied richness, excellent mid-palate depth and a lively, focused finish. A blend of 60% Mourvedre and 40% Grenache, enjoy bottles over the coming 7-8 years." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 90 pts.
"I've written many times about the incredible values coming out of Roussillon, France and here is another-but this one comes with a twist. 60% Mourvedre, usually a supporting grape, is taking a lead role in this wine. Perhaps taking a page out of the Beaucastel playbook, this wine from Mas de la Devèze is, at the same time, exotic but very modern in style. Imagine a hypothetical blend of a Rhone Ranger from Paso Robles and Beaucastel and you might end up with this wine, except at a much higher price point. At $17, this is one of the top deals of the year. A 90 point rating by the Wine Advocate confirms that (as though you needed it). I would go a point higher, perhaps due to a little more time in the bottle."
(Nickel & Dime)
BRIGHT AND REFRESHING!
"Lip-smacking lemon and lemon zest flavors are bright and refreshing in this crisp, light-bodied wine, showing a hint of lemon thyme on the finish. Drink now. 58,250 cases made. –MW" (WS)
Wine Spectator: 86 pts.
Domaine Jean Royer
"Looking at the 2012s, the traditional 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape is a blend of 85% Grenache and the balance Syrah, Mourvedre and Cinsault. Aged one-third in barrel and one-third in tank, it offers up sweet cassis, raspberry, flowers and hints of underbrush to go with a medium to full-bodied, rich and beautifully textured profile on the palate. Relatively soft and supple, it should be approachable on release and drink nicely for 8-9 years. Drink 2014-2021. This tiny estate is run by the talented Jean-Marie Royer, with consulting help from Philippe Cambie. The estate covers 10 acres, primarily in the southern part of the appellation, and the wines are Grenache-dominated, with transparent colors, perfumed aromatics and silky textures. They're gorgeous efforts well worth tracking down." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 89-92 pts.
"Deep red. Vibrant mineral- and spice-tinged red fruits and fresh flowers on the seductively perfumed nose. Sweet, seamless and focused on the palate, offering intense raspberry and lavender pastille flavors that deepen with air. Shows excellent clarity and cut on the long, fruit-driven finish, which features smooth tannins and lingering floral character." (VM)
Vinous Media: 92 pts.
DUE FALL 2015
"I clearly underrated this wine from barrel. The finest wine made at this estate since 1982, this opaque black wine is a sleeper of the vintage, with oodles of blackberry fruit interwoven with hints of charcoal, forest floor, licorice and damp earth. Deep, rich, chewy, full-bodied and opulent, this is a fabulous Meyney that, because of its low acidity and very ripe tannin, can be drunk in 3-4 years or cellared for two decades. Bravo!" (WA)
Wine Advocate: 92 pts.
"Green olives, spices and currants on the nose. Full body, with velvety tannins and a juicy finish. Lovely layers of ripe tannins and ripe fruit. Best after 2018." (JS)
James Suckling: 93 pts.
"Ripe dark fruits, licorice, smoke, earth and spice aromas open to a medium/full bodied, soft, round, forward wine that can be enjoyed in its youth or aged, as there is enough stuffing for this wine to improve for at least a decade or more. 91 points - Tasted Jan 28, 2014" (JL)
Jeff Leve: 91 pts.
"Decidedly minerally, this has extra layers of wet stone and tar around a core of dark berry and cherry fruit, finishing with intensity and richness. The finish persists. Drink now through 2022. 1,160 cases made. -HS" (WS)
Wine Spectator: 92 pts.
"The 2012 Foreshadow Cabernet Sauvignon (there's 4% Syrah in the blend) exhibits lots of scorched earth and licorice characteristics to go with ample blackberry and currant-style fruits. Full-bodied, open, supple and textured, enjoy this hedonistic beauty over the coming 4-5 years." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 91 pts.
"After starting out somewhat reduced, this becomes aromatic with notes of char, coffee grounds, toast, herbs and dark cherries. It's seamless, silky and rich in feel, with layered fruit and barrel flavors and a beguiling sense of texture. -S.S.(7/1/2015)" (WE)
Wine Enthusiast: 91 pts.
BUY THIS NOW!
RICH, CREAMY, BUTTERY, OAKY!
A TRIPLE WOW!
With rich characteristics of apple and spice, this lovely opulent wine is made in the style of a traditional Burgundy Chardonnay. Butterscotch and tropical palate, along with vanilla notes from the barrel fermentation. This Chardonnay ends with a smooth, crisp, enjoyable finish.
OUR TASTING NOTES: VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Always leery of sugary-sweet bulk-juice efforts at this price range, we were absolutely floored when we tasted this! Here's what we found: Inviting aromas of poached pear and toasty, smoky oak are followed by spice and pear tart, with a touch of lemon curd and vanilla. More creamy than buttery, there's a caramelized aspect to the oak and a pleasant crispness. Deftly balanced with underlying complexity and finesse. Finishes strong, with lip-smacking anticipation of the next sip.
|| SPECIAL OFFER!
Santa Rita Hills
"Rich and ripe, this combines firm, dense red and dark berry fruit with pretty floral and spicy notes that gain depth, hold focus and offer persistence on the finish. Drink now through 2024. 675 cases made. -JL" (WS)
Wine Spectator: 94 pts.
"Even better, the 2012 Pinot Noir Machado has sappy, grippy texture to go with notions of rose petal, earth, underbrush and both blackberry and raspberry-styled fruit. Medium to full-bodied, rich, textured and beautifully balanced, I love the overall energetic vibe here, and it should evolve nicely for upward of a decade." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 94 pts.
"Bright red. Very fresh, intensely perfumed aromas of red fruit liqueur, potpourri, smoky minerals and Asian spices. Smooth, dense and energetic, offering sappy red fruit and floral pastille flavors lifted and sharpened by juicy acidity. Finishes very long and sweet, with supple, harmonious tannins that fade smoothly into the wine's juicy fruit." (VM)
Vinous Media: 93 pts.
"Incredibly delicious aromas of blackberry syrup, strawberries, cherry pie and cinnamon sticks make for a very juicy introduction to this single-vineyard bottling by Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton. The veil of ripeness carries to the palate, but it proves more serious and restrained, with graphite minerality, bergamot and sage elements. It's complex and yet easily. -M.K. (7/1/2015)" (WE)
Wine Enthusiast: 95 pts.
|| BACK IN STOCK!
"A pretty note of apple blossom runs through this elegant Champagne, which is bright and juicy, offering flavors of green and yellow apple, tangerine and ground ginger, with a hint of graham cracker. Shows lovely texture, with a mouthwatering finish. Drink now through 2018. 42,000 cases imported." (WS)
Wine Spectator: 92 pts.
"Light golden color. Funky, wild, rich, creamy, yeasty, and earthy nose. The leaf mold character is fascinating. As it opens, sweetness balances against the strong sauvage character. On the palate, #4 is full-bodied, dense, and chewy, with superb mouth feel. It's particularly lively and seems to dance on the palate. We suspect that this is an outstanding food Champagne. Stressing power rather than grace and elegance, #4 kept improving in the glass. Excellent quality." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 93 pts.
"($52) (roughly 60% pinot noir, 30% chardonnay and 10% pinot meunier; L037415C108930): Bright yellow-gold. Mineral-accented lemon curd and green apple on the nose, with a spicy topnote. Penetrating and dry on entry, then fleshier in the mid-palate, offering intense orchard fruit and buttered toast flavors with a touch of bitter cherry pit. Shows impressive focus and lift on the taut, stony finish, which features a suave floral quality. This bottling is consistently among the very best big-house "basic" NV Champagnes." (VM)
Vinous Media: 91 pts.
"Juicy and well-built, with a solid core of black and red currant fruit wrapped with anise, graphite and smoldering black tea leaf hints. Nicely packed, but stays racy through the finish. Rock-solid. Drink now through 2020. 1,200 cases imported. -JM" (WS)
Wine Spectator: 92 pts.
"The 2010 Gigondas La Gille has a dense ruby/purple color and sweet cassis notes intermixed with crushed chalk and acacia flower. It is dense, full-bodied, textured and impressive." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 88-91 pts.
"Vibrant ruby. Red berry compote, cherry and potpourri on the intensely perfumed nose. Pliant, palate-staining red fruit flavors take on weight with air and are lifted by juicy acidity and a spicy nuance. Packs a serious punch but comes off elegant and precise, finishing sweet, seamless and very long." (VM)
Vinous Media: 92 pts.
"The 2013 Hütte Riesling Kabinett starts with a very clear, elegant and delicately aromatic and lovely flinty nose. Bottled with 7.5% alcohol this is a full-flavored, sappy and stimulating Kabinett with a lovely salty finish and piquant aftertaste. It's already very accessible and demonstrates the great talent of Max von Kunow for this specific German wine category. Maximilian took over his father Eberhard von Kunow's estate von Hövel in Oberemmel/Saar in 2010 when he was still a freelancing consultant oenologist in Luxembourg and Germany. He shifted the von Hövel wines toward purity, lightness and finesse and has become the shooting star on the Saar since then. His 2013s are excellent again and Max is quite happy with the character of the vintage. "2013 is a classic Saar vintage: very elegant, low in alcohol and high acidity." He harvested very late, as always, and yielded "70 per cent less than usual." Max claims he did not de-acidify: "Although we picked with acidity levels of 12.5´to 13 grams, we bottled our wines with 10 and 11 grams of acidity of which 60-70% is tartaric acid." Kunow ferments spontaneously and 90% of his wines are fermented in fuder. His Kabinett wines are among the finest on Planet Wine, whereas I am not fully convinced yet by the dry wines. By the way, Max is a tame member of the VDP and as such has implemented their partly baffling decisions. The wine range of von Hövel are now structured as the "VDP quality pyramid" is demanding it: Estate wine, Village wine and Grand Cru (the VDP Mosel has just Grosse Lagen, no Erste Lagen like the Rheingau, Rheinhessen or the Pfalz). Apropos Grand Cru: The world famous Scharzhofberger is now called Scharzhofberg and the reason for this is, as Max von Kunow puts it: "Because the VDP asked me to rename it." Aha." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 92 pts.
WHAT A DEAL!!
Tinta de Toro
Toro, Castilla Leon
"The 2007 Valpiculata was sourced from 100+-year-old, ungrafted Tinto de Toro vines and aged for 18 months in new French oak. Purple/black with a brooding bouquet of pain grille, graphite, espresso, spice box, black cherry, and blackberry, on the palate this full-bodied wine has terrific volume and concentration, layered fruit, savory black fruit flavors, and exceptional length. In the scheme of things, it is a great value in serious red wine. Valpiculata's wines are bottled without fining or filtration, directly into the bottle from the cask." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 92+ pts.
"Deep ruby. Smoky, deeply pitched aromas of blackberry, cherry compote and cola, with sexy oak spice nuances and a hint of pipe tobacco. Plush and sweet but focused, showing very good depth to its dark fruit and spice flavors. Picks up energy and a hint of candied red fruits on the long, smooth finish. I'd drink this now for its exuberant fruit." (VM)
Vinous Media: 90 pts.
Dry Creek Valley
"The finest of this Zins is the 2012 Zinfandel Reserve, a selection of St. Francis' finest cuvées that spent 20 months in French oak. Full-bodied with copious notes of black cherries, black raspberries, earth, bouquet garni, pepper, spice box and vanillin, this dark ruby/purple-colored, full-bodied, opulent, still young and vigorous Zin should drink well for at least a decade." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 93 pts.
||ONE OF THE K-J GEMS!!
Santa Maria Valley
"From a cooler climate and gravelly soils, the 2012 Chardonnay Jackson Estate Camelot Highlands comes from 40-year-old, ungrafted vines, is 100% barrel-fermented and aged eight months in 52% new French oak. Abundant aromas of tropical fruits, an opulent, exotic personality, huge richness, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, good acidity and surprising length suggest a Chardonnay that could easily sell at twice the price. There are just over 4,300 cases of this wine. It should drink well for 4-5 years. Readers who are not familiar with the late Jess Jackson, who created the huge Kendall-Jackson empire from scratch should read the book by Pulitzer Prize-winning author Edward Humes titled A Man and His Mountain. It reveals just about everything you want to know about Jess Jackson, with whom I used to taste regularly, and admired and respected enormously. From his millions of cases of Vintner's Reserve Chardonnay to his small production, boutique and cult wineries that are clearly world-class, Jackson was a visionary. His influence on both the value end of the wine market and the more sophisticated, luxury echelon can never be underestimated. Following are the current and upcoming releases from Kendall-Jackson, which is now run by Jess Jackson's wife, Barbara Banke. Their longtime winemaker, Randy Ullom, and his team are responsible for these wines. The remarkable thing about all of these offerings is that they are from estate vineyards. While the Jackson family has been criticized for using the generic California or regional appellations, the quality is in the bottle, and after all, wine is about the enjoyment of consumption, not for collecting dust in a museum." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 92 pts.
Marchesi de Frescobaldi
Castello di Nipozzano Riserva
"The cherry and raspberry flavors are singed by black pepper in this elegant, vibrant red. Firms up, ending with fine length and a spicy aftertaste. Drink now through 2019. 28,500 cases imported. -BS" (WS)
Wine Spectator: 90 pts.
"Absolutely decadent and chewy rich from start to finish, the 2011 Chianti Rufina Riserva Nipozzano shows the heat and voluptuousness of the vintage. The bouquet delivers soft tones of jammy red cherry, Indian spice, prune and dark chocolate. Sangiovese's streamlined sharpness and fresh acidity definitely come through on the close. Despite its broad shoulders, the wine never feels too bulky or heavy. The importance of Frescobaldi to the Chianti Rufina denomination cannot be exaggerated. This powerhouse Tuscan winery has done much to bring prestige and worldwide visibility to this often-forgotten appellation. The brand is also symbolic of the stylistic flexibility offered in Rufina: Frescobaldi undoubtedly delivers the most international style in this most traditional of wine regions. And, they consistently do a great job of it too." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 91 pts.
"A chewy, rich red with blueberry and blackberry character, a full body and a firm tannin backbone. Always an excellent, well-structured Chianti. Drink or hold." (JS)
James Suckling: 91 pts.
"Aromas of dark berry, menthol, leather and savory herb take shape in the glass. The refined palate offers ripe morello cherry, cinnamon, white pepper, eucalyptus, sage and a hint of orange zest. It's smooth and well balanced with supple tannins. -K.O. (7/1/2015)" (WE)
Wine Enthusiast: 90 pts.
Chapoutier and Laughton
"Deep garnet-purple, the 2010 Cluster M45 Shiraz has lovely floral and herbal notes wafting over a solid core of youthful blackberries and black cherries with nuances of Chinese five spice and cloves. Great intensity and balance in a rather modest medium-full body with great graininess to the tannins and plenty of freshness. It finishes long. Note that no 2011 Cluster M45 was produced. This illustrious partnership between Michel Chapoutier from France's Rhone region and Ron Laughton of the Heathcote estate, Jasper Hill was founded in 1997 and the project yielded its first vintage in 2003. Formerly called "Cambrian," "Cluster M45" is now the U.S. label for this wine, known as "La Pleiade" elsewhere. It is made from 100% Shiraz from a 20-acre single vineyard just south of Jasper Hill's Georgia's Paddock, which is planted with a 50/50 mix of vines taken from Jasper Hill and Chapoutier's vineyards (imported from France). In December 2014, I visited with Ron Laughton in Heathcote and tasted through a vertical of every vintage made of La Pleiade/Cluster M45." (WA)
Wine Advocate: 97 pts.