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Top Cabs of 2013 In our December issue we focus on our picks for the best wines of the year
CABERNET CAL-ALSACE CAL-ITALY CHARDONNAY DESSERT WINES
KOSHER MERLOT PINOT NOIR SAUVIGNON BLANC SPARKLING
SYRAH, GRENACHE, VIOGNIER, ETC. ZINFANDEL

INTRODUCING THE RIVERAIN WINES-- FIRST RELEASES AND MADE BY SUPERSTAR WINEMAKER THOMAS BROWN!

After more than a decade of "visits" to the wine country to purchase hand crafted boutique wines, and to enjoy the spectacular scenery, Steve Nordhoff, and a group of close friends decided to start the journey of creating a wine project that reflects their passion, past experiences, and love for Napa and Sonoma. If you have ever been to the Napa Valley, Steve's story needs very little explanation as most visitors catch "the fever" upon arrival. But with Steve's numerous years of collecting many of the greatest wines produced around the world, his educated palate would be what sets his story apart; he has gained the knowledge of what separates truly world class wine, and what makes a nice wine. Steve wants world class! With the help of friends, and with his winemaker being Thomas Brown (who also makes the wine at Pulido-Walker, Maybach, Outpost, and Schrader), the Riverain wines are truly on their way to stun the wine world!



RIVERAIN 2011 CABERNET SAUVIGNON OAKVILLE

From the Tench Vineyard in eastern Oakville (bordering Screaming Eagle & Rudd), the 2011 Riverain Cabernet is a classic expression of the vintage and vineyard. The acidity in the wine amplifies the tremendous length that gives the perception of a limitless finish to the black cherry, black currant, plum, toasty oak, red fruit mélange and subtle anise. Full-bodied, yet restrained and in amazing balance, a healthy decant will be required to coax this wine out of its early reticence, however those with some patience will find themselves duly rewarded over the next 8-10+ years. Only 147 cases produced!

$97.95 750ml [277530] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



RIVERAIN 2011 SYRAH "CARDIAC HILL" BENNET VALLEY

This Syrah comes from the highly acclaimed Cardiac Hill Vineyard located in the Bennett Valley - AVA. With gorgeous views and a beautifully farmed property, it's no surprise that this location has been producing incredible Syrah for over a decade. Riverain's unique one acre block is Northeast facing and located on an extremely steep terrain. The soils and the vigor allow for a naturally balanced yield. The vineyard, which is exclusively Estrella River clone (our favorite), produced just over two tons of fruit in 2011. In 2011, the growing season was unseasonably cool, but fastidious farming and diligent sorting allowed Thomas Brown to produce a dense wine, with a deep violet purple color. He included 28% whole cluster for aromatic complexity. The wine was aged 15 months in one year and older French Oak barrels. In its youth, a healthy decant will be required to coax this wine out of its early reticence, however those with some patience will find themselves duly rewarded over the next 8-10+ years. Only 140 cases produced!

$44.95 750ml [277570] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



BRIDESMAID 2012 PROPRIETARY WHITE NAPA VALLEY

Founders Pam Starr and Drew Neiman bring together the diverse terrain of Napa Valley and Napa winemaking styles into delicious and affordable wines. Bridesmaid Wines are framed from classic Bordeaux blends but all Napa Style, designed for wine lovers and collectors. These bold, alluring wines way over-deliver for the price. Cellar worthy and ready to enjoy now! Bridesmaid White is a blend of great Napa Appellation Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Individual vineyards picked and pressed and fermented in tanks and barrels. The final Bridesmaid White is a classic combination where the Semillon brings "jelly to the belly" of the "sauvage" of Sauvignon Blanc. A very pleasing color greets the eye and hibiscus flowers, lime blossom, kumquat, loquat stone, Yosemite minerals for the nose. Just the right amount of crispness satisfies the senses and finishes round and creamy like the meringue on a pie. The Semillon brings "jelly" to the more austere Sauvignon!

$18.95 750ml [206230] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



PALMINA 2012 DOLCETTO SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

When Steve Clifton isn't doing his part to help craft the phenomenal, Burgundy-inspired, high-scoring wines at Brewer-Clifton, he and his wife Chrystal make their own wines at Palmina! Both Steve and Chrystal have always shared a love for all things Italian, and both have spent numerous years in Italy learning about their grape growing and winemaking techniques. They have brought that knowledge to California, and are making the best renditions of "Cal-Ital" wines that have come into our store! "Dolcetto" translates to "little sweet one"- not because it is a sweet wine (it is perfectly dry) - because it is a friendly and easygoing grape to work with and so pleasurable in the glass. Even Dolcetto's hue speaks to its easy going nature, with a deep and bright ruby color inviting a sip. The nose is spicy and very berry, with a hint of spice mingling with blackberry aromas that waft from the glass. On the palate, there is a perception of hard-candy sweetness that mingles with a beautifully balanced acidity and soft tannin structure. Concentrated black raspberry and plum preserve flavors are interlaced with a subtle earthy minerality that leaves a lasting impression of raspberry, a hint of "red vine" licorice and toasted almonds at last sip.

$17.99 750ml [249040] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



CADE 2010 CABERNET SAUVIGNON NAPA VALLEY

Cade is the "sister winery" for one of Napa Valley's superstar producers; Plumpjack! But make no mistake, this isn't "Plumpjack 2". Cade brings more structured, minerally, black fruit-driven wines, sourced from several of the most revered vineyards in napa! Their 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is made with fruit from Kenefick Ranch Vineyards in Calistoga, Beckstoffer's Melrose Vineyard in Rutherford and Dr. Crane Vineyards in St. Helena, and Heitz Cellars in Pope Valley. Blended with small amounts of Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc, this has stunning color, great intensity, and balanced mature tannins. The wine has aromas of black cherry, plum, cassis, brown sugar, rose petals, hazelnut, and blackberry compote. The palate is full of toasty oak, baking spice, boysenberry, blueberry, and milk chocolate flavors. The tannins are integrated, smooth, and mouth coating. The oak barrels used add a velvety texture and a touch of vanilla bean, maple, and caramel to the finish.

$59.95 750ml [208030] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



DRAGONETTE 2013 ROSÉ SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

Some producers have the magic touch, and Dragonette is one of those producers! It seems that anything these guys make is absolutely fantastic; from their Pinot Noirs, to their Sauvignon Blancs, to their Syrahs...and even this Rosé! This is a southern French inspired blend of Grenache and Mourvedre, specially farmed for Rosé at the Vogelzang vineyard. Dragonette harvests these blocks in several cool night and early morning picks, and bring them straight to the winery where they are gently, whole cluster pressed over a long slow press cycle to provide just the right amount of skin contact while gently extracting maximum flavors. Beautiful light pink to copper color, on the nose, aromas of wild strawberry and raspberry, peach skin and blood orange, with a touch of pine and earth. On the palate, the wine delivers flavors of strawberry, raspberry, pear, nectarine, Fuji apple and Crenshaw melon, with acidity-inspired notes of orange peel and stony minerals. Light to medium bodied, but expressive and completely dry, the wine has a smooth velvety texture and a long, clean finish.

$18.98 750ml [215900] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


TWO NEW KNOCKOUTS FROM PASO "DARLING" HALTER RANCH!!!

Nestled in the rolling hills of Paso Robles lies Halter Ranch. Surrounded by oak trees, a natural spring, and wildlife as far as the eye can see, one only needs to look down at the ground and instantly know what makes this so special for wines. The limestone and clay soils combined with several different microclimates makes this place ideal for growing many different grapes, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Grenache, and Malbec. The grapes are sustainably-farmed, and Halter Ranch even uses chickens to control pests, goats as natural "lawnmowers", and cover crops to naturally return nutrients to the ground. Kevin Sass brings his talented hands and years of expertise as winemaker, and these wines may just be the best yet produced from this gorgeous estate (you really should make the trip up there!). While the 2011 vintage may not have been so good in other regions of California, if these two new releases are any indication, 2011 in Paso Robles was absolutely amazing!



HALTER RANCH 2011 CABERNET SAUVIGNON PASO ROBLES

This is the first full vintage (from glape-to-glass) with their new winemaker, Kevin Sass. The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses excellent balance with aromatics of dark fruits and cherry pie. Bright and rich on the palate, this wine is brimming with flavors of blackberries, red currants and cassis. Well integrated tannins guide this wine through a long, seamless finish. Delicious now with grilled steak and lamb, prime rib, and other hearty meat dishes, it will continue to develop for another 7-10 years.

$22.95 750ml [228020] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button



HALTER RANCH 2011 "COTES DO PASO RED" PASO ROBLES

Our California wine buyer tasted this and was floored by what was in the glass, feeling like this is a downright steal! We made the French wine buyer taste it, and he thought the exact same thing! A blend of 48% Grenache, 27% Syrah, 19% Mourvedre, and 6% Tannat, this red Rhône blend emphasizes fruit and acidity with seamless integration. Bright and focused, this showcases red fruits such as strawberries, raspberries, cherries, a hint of plum, light spice, and white flowers. Vibrant, succulent, and mouthwatering, this wine has enough weight to be enjoyed on its own, but has just enough structure to pair with a meal. Bravo!

$22.95 750ml [228110] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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