The North American Report

The North American Report
by Dan Williams


This Pinot Noir is the product of Hi-Time’s successful bid at the legendary Carneros Wine Alliance Annual Auction! By winning this lot, Hi-Time was able to taste through numerous barrels at the historic Buena Vista winery alongside the winemaker, to ensure that we would come up with a unique, distinctive, and delicious Pinot Noir for the money! Our wine buyer, Dan Williams, was so meticulous in his process that winery owner Jean-Charles Boisset was impressed, and commended him on his barrel selection and the final product! Fresh off the cork, the aromatics of this “Hi-Time Cuvee” Pinot Noir are very warm and inviting. Focused on red fruit, notes of an array of different types of cherries literally pop out of the glass and within minutes the bouquet was developing, showing what we could describe as a bowl of fresh red berries including strawberries, cherries and raspberries with hints of baking spices at the end. Upon first sip the aromatics pull through showcasing the red fruit that was once popping out of the glass but is now dancing across the palate. Beautifully integrated acidity balances and keeps this wine very focused! Our mouths were salivating as we tasted and in that instant we knew this would be Hi-Time worthy for your Turkey Day extravaganza!

$27.95 750ml [206500] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



The Santa Maria Valley (located within Santa Barbara County) is one of California’s coolest AVAs, with one of the longest growing seasons in the world. The region is defined by its well-drained, lean soils and the unique east/west transverse mountain ranges that act as a funnel for fog and cold winds off the Pacific Ocean. For this reason, the Santa Maria Valley is considered one of America’s premiere appellations for Burgundian varieties, such as Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. For quite some time, Byron has been touted as a quality leader within the region, and their reasonable prices make their wines very attractive! 100% of the grapes for this Pinot Noir were harvested from their historic, estate-owned Nielson Vineyard. The vineyard’s sandy loam soils are ideal for minimizing plant vigor, which creates low yields, small berries, and intense flavor in the fruit. This Pinot Noir comes from both older Pinot Noir vines planted on their own rootstock and new vines planted in high density spacing to the latest clones and rootstocks.

WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - “Kicking off the Pinot Noirs and coming all from sandy soils, the 2012 Pinot Noir Santa Maria Valley is another rocking value from this estate. Exhibiting classy cassis, toasted bread, creamy licorice and loads of spice, this medium to full-bodied, concentrated and ripe Pinot Noir has solid mid-palate depth and a great texture. Spending 15 months in 20% new French oak, enjoy it over the coming 3-4 years.”

$18.99 750ml [206870]



Clay Court sits atop a picturesque hillside in the Chehalem Mountains region of Oregon’s Willamette Valley. This 15-acre all-Pinot-Noir vineyard was planted in 2001 with the classic Pommard and modern Dijon 115 and 777 clones of Pinot Noir. These two clones contrast and complement each other in the final wine. Clay Court was purchased by Elk Cove in 2009 and is the home of founders Joe and Pat Campbell – and their beloved tennis court (get the name?). With gentle east-facing slopes, dark red Jory clay soils, and a proven track-record for producing high-quality Pinot Noirs, Clay Court Vineyard was immediately a great addition to Elk Cove’s estate vineyards. All of Elk Cove’s delicate Pinot Noir fruit undergoes the same gentle handling through their gravity flow system. This allows them to achieve the elegance, texture and luscious quality that are the hallmarks of exquisite Pinot Noir. Clay Court Pinot Noir fruit is fermented in small, temperature-controlled steel tanks, hand-punched down twice daily then aged for ten months in 40% new French oak. Elk Cove’s winemaking team then carefully blends the barrels most representative of the spicy flavors and concentrated red cherry fruit that characterizes this vineyard. Red-velvet in color with spicy plum, raspberries, forest floor and ripe red cherries on the nose, the wine entices with a smooth texture showing very concentrated red fruits of currents, fresh cranberry sauce, and raspberries falling ripe off the vine. Silky, plump, and full-flavored on the finish, this wine is sure to entice even most discerning palate!

$39.99 750ml [218910] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton are two of the best winemakers ever to come out of Santa Barbara County. Put these two winemakers in the same facility, and let them run wild with their love of Burgundy, and you’ve got some of the hottest wines in California! Brewer Clifton began working with the Machado family in 2008. Brewer Clifton’s 15-acre parcel is located adjacent to Clos Pepe, and the site is marked by a gorgeous rolling terrain with sandy clay loam soils. The vineyard is tightly-spaced, with increases color and flavor within the grapes, and the vineyard is planted to “heritage clones” such as Pommard, Merry Edwards, and Mount Eden.

WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - “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.”

$64.98 750ml [206110] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Every so often, you’ll peruse our newsletter and see that we ask why more people aren't doing things like Winery “A”. Well… this is one of those times! While the noteworthy wines from Tablas Creek have been around for a little while (and they are still exciting), their latest Patelin bottlings are shaking things up! This blend of Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre and Counoise comes from their Westside Paso neighbors who have planted vineyards using Tablas clones. In theory, this Patelin red should be tight, young, and tart… but on the contrary, this wine is rich, concentrated and immensely delicious. In fact, our buyer wouldn’t spit this wine out! Deep ruby/garnet in color, the nose is loaded with Asian spices, raspberry, currants, strawberry, black cherry, and orange marmalade while the palate follows suit and adds hints of grilled meats and graphite, and cocoa. This wine is flavorful and complex, but finishes with silky tannins, so it’s a great match for meals like Thanksgiving. This is a great value in wine, and one that just may make you ask yourself why you haven’t tried these wines before!

$16.99 750ml [268300] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



In the last year, this has become one of the favorite whites of our wine staff, and customers keep coming back for it, too! Müller-Thurgau is a white grape that is widely planted in Europe, but has only recently become a focus for more boutique producers from the United States. The grape’s inherit freshness, bright fruit characteristics, and well-placed acidity make it refreshing and a lovely pair with food! Stainless steel fermented at a low 45 degrees for freshness and maximum varietal character, this is a vibrant, zippy, and mineral-laced wine with aromas of green apples, kaffir limes, and white flowers, while the flavors show star fruit, lime, passion fruit, and granny smith apple. Clean, and with good acidity, this is an amazing value, and might possible become your new house white!

$14.95 750ml [201030] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



O.K., first off, let’s get this out of the way… this is not sweet! Now since that’s out of the way, we cannot remember the last time we had a Gewurztraminer this amazing out of California! The Valley Foothills Vineyard planted in 1995 is situated on the floor of the Anderson Valley. The 170 planted acres in the vineyard, formerly an apple orchard, has mature vines almost 30 years old. The vineyard’s unique geography includes highland meadows, plateaus and multiple river tributaries to the Navarro River which flows two directions through the coastal areas. Mixing grapes from these microclimates give this wine complexity not typically seen in California Gewurztraminer. Alsatian in style, this is dry and crisp, with tea and a slightly earthy apple aroma. Layers of spice, apple, grapefruit and pear greet your palate before leading to a crisp, clean, and vibrant finish. Only 160 cases made!

$17.99 750ml [249910] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Steve MacRostie started making Chardonnay under his own label in 1987 and MacRostie Chardonnay has been a staple at Hi-Time for nearly as long. A few years ago, MacRostie released a new wine label, with a new appellation, and newly refined style to the wine. Steve and his team noticed over the years that their best lots of Chardonnay were coming from the Sonoma side of Carneros and we must say-- this Sonoma Coast Chardonnay is delicious and with a sub-$20 price point it is stunning! Pale straw gold in color, with honey-suckle and jasmine aromas, citrus flavors, kefir lime and tangerine dominate the taste profile while the mouthfeel is elegant and full, with ripe pear and a touch of vanilla caramel from the oak. The finish is soft and smooth, very dry, but leaves lingering lush primary fruit flavors.

$17.99 750ml [238960] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



Talley’s Rincon Vineyard (eight miles northeast of the Pacific Ocean) is the oldest of their vineyards with the first plantings dating to 1982. The soil in the Rincon Vineyard is shallow and composed of loam and calcareous clay. This soil type is reminiscent of the vineyards of Burgundy, particularly those in the Côte de Nuits. The shallow soil, coupled with steep hills, facilitates drainage and results in Chardonnay and Pinot Noir yields averaging less than three tons per acre (this is very low). This wine sees the same élevage (or upbringing) as their Rosemary’s bottling, so the only difference in taste comes from the vineyard itself. Beautiful aromas of vanilla and honeydew lead into a chalky minerality in this 2012 vintage that is classic Rincon Vineyard. Saturated straw gold in color, the palate opens up with concentrated notes of citrus and lemon curd. The softer, leaner acidity of this wine leads into a smooth finish. Pair this wine with buttery seafood dishes like seared scallops… and mashed potatoes!
92 points from Antonio Galloni!

$38.98 750ml [268460] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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