Weekend Selection

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Hacienda Monasterio Ribera del Duero 2014

Hacienda Monasterio is owned by Carlos del Rio whose family has been in the sherry business for decades. Being fortunate enough to own some prime, south-facing parcels on the right side of the river, Carlos hired Peter Sisseck, the owner/winemaker of the famed Ribera estate Pingus to take over the winemaking in 1995. Peter has helped to turn this old estate into a Ribera powerhouse with wines that can age for years.

A blend of 80% Tinto Fino, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Merlot and aged for 17 months in French oak (30% new). Deep bright red with ripe sweet berry fruits aromas and earthy mineral notes. On the palate fresh ripe cherry, strawberry and blueberry flavors with fine smooth tannins with hints of light spice. The finish lingers ending with some oak and smoke tones. Drinks well now, but needs some time to tone down the ripe fruit!

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Mount Eden 2014 Edna Valley Chardonnay

Mount Eden Vineyards is a small wine estate perched at 2000 feet overlooking Silicon Valley in the Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation, about 50 miles south of San Francisco, founded in 1945. Mount Eden’s lineage of estate bottled Chardonnay and Pinot Noir is the longest in California. Planted in austere, infertile Franciscan shale on a cool, exposed mountaintop, these low-yielding estate vineyards have consistently produced great wines for over a half-century. In 2007 Mount Eden acquired an additional 55-acre wine estate in the Saratoga foothills, which was christened Domaine Eden.

Opening a bottle, the color is a bright golden straw with aromas of stone and tropical fruits with some floral spices. On the palate crisp pear and lemon zest with a touch of sweet floral spice. Nicely balanced with acidity, the finish is about medium and ends with citrus mineral notes. Drink now for its freshness! Great value on this Chardonnay!

Cheers!

Exceptional White

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Orin Swift Mannequin 2015 Chardonnay

The history of Orin Swift Cellars dates back to 1995 when on a lark, David Swift Phinney took a friend up on an offer and went to Florence, Italy to spend a semester “studying”. During that time, he was introduced to wine, how it was made, and got hooked. A few more years of university led to graduation and eventually a job at Robert Mondavi Winery in 1997 as a temporary harvest worker. Deciding that if he was going to work this hard, it would eventually have to be for himself, so in 1998 he founded Orin Swift Cellars; Orin is his father’s middle name and Swift is his mother’s maiden name. With two tons of zinfandel and not much else, he spent the next decade making wine for others as well as himself and grew the company into a multinational brand that now includes 300 acres of vineyards in the Southwest of France. This international ambition has led to projects in Spain, Italy, Corsica, Argentina and other locations around the globe. Despite the growth, Orin Swift Cellars continues to operate as a small, passionate team of friends and family dedicated to making great wine.

The wine is a blend (and changes each vintage) of 90.6% Chardonnay, 5.8% Sauvignon Blanc and 3.6% Muscat, aged in 40% new French oak for 9 months. The grapes were mostly sourced from Sonoma Coast and Atlas Peak AVA’s. Bright straw with aromas of stone and tropical fruits with floral spice. The palate shows flavors of peach, melon and apple with hints of sweet lemon and wet stone. The wine is well balanced with integrated oak, crisp, lively acidity and a long finish ending with a burst of minerality. Very nice alternative to the 100% California Chardonnay!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia Reserva 2004

It all started in the middle of the nineteenth century when French negociants visited the Rioja region to find alternative sources of quality grapes to transform into wine, since the phylloxera epidemic had decimated their vineyards. Don Rafael López de Heredia y Landeta, a knowledgeable and enthusiastic student in the art of wine making, followed closely in their footsteps. Don Rafael fell in love with the region and especially the area around Haro, the mythical capital of the Rioja Alta region. He observed that there was a magical combination of soil and climate that would offer the perfect environment for producing wine that would eventually become world famous. Around 1877 he began the design and construction of the complex that is today known as the López de Heredia bodega (winery), the oldest in Haro and one of the first three houses in the Rioja region. Bodegas López de Heredia stands out as one of the few family-run bodegas regulated by the Denominación de Origen Calificada Rioja – DOC (Appellation region).

A blend of 75% Tempranillo, 15% Garnacha, and 10% Mazuelo and Graciano, and aged for 6 Years in old American oak barrels! Nice!! Light Ruby with complex aromas of red fruit, spices and smoke. On the palate raspberry and cherry flavors with herb spice, vanilla, smoky oak, leather and hints of pepper. Well balanced with smooth tannins, vivid acidity and a long lingering finish ending with earthy spice tones. Still young! Very Nice!

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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Cakebread Cellars 2015 Two Creeks Vineyards Pinot Noir

Over 30 years ago, Jack Cakebread came to photograph the Napa Valley for a book and while there, he casually mentioned his interest in one day owning a vineyard to some family friends who had a ranch in Rutherford. When he returned home that afternoon, the phone rang and it was the family friends offering to sell their property. He headed back up to the valley that same afternoon to make his best offer, and Cakebread Cellars was born.  Today, the winery owns 13 sites totaling 982 acres, 460 of which are currently planted.  The Cakebread Website is full of interesting information and loaded with recipes, lots of great recipes, so be sure to check out the website, you won’t be disappointed.

Had this at a restaurant, went well with the Sushi Grade Tuna I ordered! A blend from 2 different Vineyards (52% Apple Barn & 48% Annahala) and aged for 10 months in French oak (37% new). Aromas red and dark berry fruits with earthy spice notes. On the palate, raspberry, cherry and plum flavors, rich and complex with nice mouthfeel, integrated spice and oak. Fine smooth tannins with good balance of acidity has plenty of room to develop. Lingering finish, an outstanding wine.

Cheers!

Exceptional Red

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Napa Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

The winery was founded by Charlie R. Woods on five and a half acres of prime Oakville soil. In the 1970s, he built a geodesic dome there to store barreled wine, and he concentrated on making reds, in particular Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon. The winery changed hands a number of times before being purchased in 1996 by Koerner Rombauer and Rich Frank. A decade later, the Trinchero family was looking for a winery property that would capture the essence of Napa. Napa Cellars, with its ideal Oakville location and fame for luscious Chardonnay and authentic Napa reds, was the obvious choice. Winemaker Joe Shirley came on board a year later, in 2007.

Grapes selected from a collection of prime Napa Valley vineyards, including Atlas Peak and Spring Mountain, 91% Cabernet Sauvignon and 9% Merlot, aged for 15 months in 98% French oak and 2% American oak (30% new). Deep red with aromas of ripe red fruits with pepper spice. On the palate, cherry and blackberry flavors with cacao and espresso notes, has an underlying sweetness. Full-body, fine juicy tannins, nicely integrated, balanced with acidity ending with earth and mineral notes. Nice value!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Franck Bonville Grand Cru Les Belles Voyes Blanc de Blancs N.V.

Franck and his wife Jeannine after the second war commercialized the first bottles of champagne from a vineyard already connected on the lands of Avize and Oger for over twenty years. Today, Giles and his wife Ingrid Bonville, together with their son Olivier spend time tending to the operation of the winery, including updating and modernizing the facility. Their goal is to grow grapes of the highest quality and produce great wines which are fresh, delicate and elegant. If you read the label, you will see the words “Récoltant Manipulant” or “RM” on the bottle of Franck Bonville, which means that the grapes are grown on the Estate, the Champagne is produced at the Estate and the Champagne is bottled at the Estate. The grower has full control over the quality of the wine from the vineyards to your glass. If you search well, and are an informed Champagne lover, sometimes these Champagnes cost less than the “big” guys, reason, NO marketing budget. For example Franck Bonville Brut only costs $35 as compared to Veuve Clicquot at around $45 (No “RM” on Clicquot label). The quality between the 2, does not compare.

The “Belles Voyes” is one of the best Blanc de Blancs I have tasted, made from the less than 2 acres Belles Voyes vineyard in Oger, from vines planted in the late 1920’s, with juice aging in old casks before bottling. Compares to those $350 boutique bottles! Showing 100-year old vine complexity, wonderful aromatics fine bubbles with a tantalizing mousse an intense bouquet of ripe fruits. The palate shows creamy flavors of white flesh fruits, apples and pears, with chalky mineral qualities, lemons with an underlying sweetness. The wine was elegant, well balanced with bright acidity, minerality and lingering tangy finish. Enjoy the 4th!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Cade 2013 Howell Mountain Napa Cabernet Sauvignon

In 2005, John Conover, Gavin Newsom and Gordon Getty founded CADE Estate Winery on Howell Mountain as a complement to the valley floor terroir of PlumpJack Winery. Like PlumpJack, CADE takes its name from Shakespeare, who used the term to refer to the wine casks or cades used to transport wine from Bordeaux to England in Elizabethan times.

Deep purple red with concentrated aromas of black berry fruit and subtle spice, a blend of 87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot and 6% Merlot. The palate blackberry, plum and cacao flavors with pepper and cinnamon, very complex, with cedar notes. Well structured with firm tannins, great mouthfeel on a lingering finish ending with earthy tones. Elegant and Nice! Will age well!

Cheers!

Cellar Selection

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Robert Mondavi Oakville BDX 2012

Robert Mondavi established his namesake winery in 1966 with a vision to create Napa Valley wines that would stand in the company of the world’s finest. He chose To Kalon Vineyard in the heart of the Napa Valley as the home for Robert Mondavi Winery. This first-growth vineyard, located in Oakville, California, is renowned for producing some of the finest wines in the world.

A special wine not produced every vintage, BDX presents a different expression of Oakville in a Bordeaux blend of 91% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot. The wine sat on French oak (55% new) for 28 months. Aromas of rich ripe berry fruit with oak spice and floral notes. On the palate blackberry and cherry flavors with cacao and cedar spice, great balance and structure. Smooth tannins with matching acidity on a lingering finish ending with a slight tangy character. Outstanding, like all of RM wines.

Cheers!

Weekend Selection

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Laurent-Perrier Cuvée Rose Brut N.V.

Founded in 1812, Laurent-Perrier has been crafting Champagnes for nearly two hundred years, making it one of the largest family owned brands. Located in the northeastern region of France, the Champagne region has one of the coolest possible wine producing climates, which is moderated by the Marne River and the region’s proximity to the ocean. Laurent-Perrier is based in the picturesque village of Tours-sur-Marne – an ideal location at the intersection between Champagne’s three foremost sub-regions: Montagne de Reims, Vallée de la Marne and Côte des Blancs.

The Cuvée Rosé from Laurent-Perrier is the most recognized rosé champagne in the world. It is also one of the few rosés still made by the saigtnée method (juice and skin contact). Held in an elegant bottle inspired by King Henri IV, it has been widely acknowledged for its consistent high quality for more than 40 years, and it is the benchmark for rosé champagne around the world.

Made with 100% Pinot Noir from 10 different “crus ” (or villages), from the North and South areas of the Montagne de Reims, as well as the famous Cote de Bouzy. Deep pink with big aromas of berry fruit and citrus mineral notes wrapped in a delicate mousse. On the palate raspberry and strawberry, bright acidity with spicy notes and orange zest. Lingering silky finish, earthy mineral character on yeasty finish.

Cheers!