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Occasionally during our French wine visits, the topic of French ambivalence to Americans comes up. One of our quirks that the French tend to dislike is that we that we Americans seem to be obsessed with putting ice cubes in everything. Adding ice to Champagne is viewed as tres gauche because the ice disturbs its delicate flavors and bubbles.

Mon Dieu!  We were more than a little shocked a few years ago when Moët et Chandon, Champagne’s largest House, broke with convention and created Moët Ice Impérial, the first and only Champagne especially created to be enjoyed over ice. It is uncanny how its higher dosage falls into balance with the slight dilution caused by the ice while still being able to retain its bright fruitiness and tingly palate. From Tahiti to Las Vegas it take didn’t long for Ice to become a hit with the jet setter crowd. However at sixty dollars a bottle Moët Ice is big splurge for most of us.
Luckily Chandon, Moët’s California subsidiary, has now introduced Délice, a semi-sweet sparkler which perfectly captures the festive spirit and style of Moët Ice without the latter’s hefty tariff.



Délice is a scrumptious, ice-loving bubbly that is tailor made for pool side or patio. Its rich pear and nectarine flavors can be accented with a squeeze of lemon or ruby grapefruit and garnished with mint leaves or cucumber slices.

A great way to way to savor the waning days of summer.

SALE $16.99 750ml [276404] Regularly $18.98 Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

“Wines Like This Will Save the Lesser (Bordeaux) Properties from Extincition"
- Robert Parker

That's a pretty big statement from Mr. Parker-- but we think he's spot on and, upon tasting this wine, you will probably agree as well...

"It is wines such as this that will ultimately save the lesser properties from extinction. A blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cabernet Franc from a humble appellation with a great price tag, this inky/purple-colored 2011 reveals copious amounts of black fruits. Straightforward and powerful, this sleeper of the vintage will offer a serious mouthful of wine over the next 3-4 years." -Robert Parker

The kernel for Pezat is a vineyard planted literally a pace outside of the Saint Emilion Appellation – towards the river from Château Teyssier near to Branne. Previously this large vineyard consisted of high trellised vines planted 3 meters apart – the norm in Entre-des-Mers where grapes are machine picked.  Planting down the middle of the rows gave the same density as a vineyard in Saint Emilion. Additionally, on the original vines, a sucker-per-vine was allowed to grow. At which stage the original vine was cut off, almost halving the height of the vines down to what one would expect from a hand-picked vineyard in Saint Emilion. The vines are now pruned on the ‘double guyot’ system. The secondary shoots are removed and the vines deleafed and bunch-thined. The grapes are handpicked and vinified as the other wines of the Chateau – to the standard of a Saint Emilion Grand Cru.


We enjoyed this 'big/little' wine, a blend of 85% Merlot and 15% Cab Franc-- it offers a ton of flavor and big tannins for not a lot of dough.  The nose is filled with bright cherries and berries, vanilla spice and nighttime florals.  The sweet cherry with a touch of kriek lambic continues in the palate as more mixed red and blue berries see a touch of earthiness round out the mid-palate.  Forward acidity and fairly big tannins blaze a beautiful trail on the palate to a fruit-filled finish.  Fire up the grill (from burgers to tri-tip, ribs or bison) and let this big red get to work.

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A Fantastic Italian Red Under $10!

The lands of Castello di Meleto extend around the medieval town for about 2,470 acres: of these, 300 are reserved for growing grapes. Sangiovese is the main varietal used in the production of the Chianti Classico DOCG. Other varietals planted in the 1980s include Merlot and Cabernet, but since the late 1990s there has been a process of replanting aimed at enhancing the traditional heritage of grapes in Tuscany, also introducing some white varieties such as Vermentino.

This Borgaio, mostly Sangiovese with some Merlot, is from grapes grown in the Fonti and Meleto vineyards (for the Sangiovese) and San Piero (for the Merlot). The vineyards are from 360 to 380 meters above sea level and were planted between 1974 and 1997. Aging is primarily in stainless steel tanks with 10-12 months spent in 2nd or 3rd fill barriques. With Fall approaching we wanted to jump into a red wine for our wine of the month but needed a special one as September is still a very warm month. This Borgaio is the one-- it's all about the fresh fruit, while retaining excellent acidity; it's not a heavy wine but has rounded tannins and a lush mouthfeel; it has a subtle complexity about it yet is very approachable and user-friendly.


The nose leads with sweet berries, strawberry and raspberry, adding in scents of violets, underbrush, hickory and spicebox. In the mouth, the sweet berry fruits are joined by orange rind and a dash of red plum, all ensconced in a nice viscous package loaded with lush tannins and kept clean and uplifting by acidity-- refreshing yet rich, a good lead-in to the cooler months and an all-around fantastic September red.

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A Stunning and High Scoring Cabernet from Washington State!

Chris Upchurch is the Proprietor / Winemaker for Upchurch Vineyards. Chris’s love for wine began in his youth traveling through Grand Cru wine-growing regions in Europe along with California’s famous AVAs. After earning his Bachelors of Science, Chris jumped into the Wine Industry working for a handful of Seattle’s best-known restaurants allowing him to hone his palate for wine. Fast-forwarding, Chris has been Winemaker at DeLille Cellars, one of Washington’s most coveted wineries for over 2 decades crafting world class wines. It was in 2007 that Chris started Upchurch Vineyards teaming up with Dick Boushey as Vineyard Manager. Dick is a pioneer in the Washington wine industry known for his farming techniques which earned him a 2009 wine-grower of the year award. Upchurch Vineyard is sustainably farmed, Certified L.I.V.E (Low Input Viticulture and Enology) and Certified Salmon safe.

Intense floral notes seem to be a signature of this 2012 Cabernet. Here the aromas lead off with cherry blossom, lavender, currants and lilacs that are wrapped around its ripe berry characters. There are also earthy, cigar box nuances as well as black pepper and orange zest spices. The flavors are rich and generous; black currants, black berries, and blueberries, dark chocolate and vanilla coffee beans. This wine has great Red Mountain structure, good lift and an endless and savory finish.


WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "Another sensational Cabernet from Chris Upchurch, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Upchurch Vineyard has flat-out great aromatics of crème de cassis, licorice, graphite, crushed rock and toasted bread. This gives way to a full-bodied, elegant, seamless 2012 that has no hard edges, prefect balance and a blockbuster finish. While the Red Mountain tannin and structure are both present here, the polish, balance and purity are exceptional. It offers ample pleasure today, but will evolve for two decades."

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The First Vatted Straight Rye Whiskey!

This is a complex blend of hand-selected straight rye whiskeys aged from 4 to 15 years. Curated from distilleries across North America including Kentucky, Pennsylvania, Indiana and Alberta. Blended at the Hochstadter;s distillery in Pennsylvania and allowed to marry in vats until it arrives at the optimal level of Harmonization. The vatting process creates a smoother, more flavorful straight rye whiskey that stands apart from the many one dimensional ryes on the market.


This 100 proof no chill-filtration, unfiltered rye is the ultimate expression of maximum intensity, robust flavor and impeccable balance. Tasting notes of blackstrap, nutmeg, mace clove, German-Style rye bread and sour cherry. Ideal for drinking straight or as a rich cocktail ingredient for classic rye-based cocktails such as the Old Fashioned, Sazerac, The Manhattan and the Julep.

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The Return of Spottswoode’s Sauvignon Blanc!

In addition to their Estate grown Cabernet Sauvignons that have garnered 100-point scores, Spottswoode always produces one of our favorite Sauvignon Blancs out of California! In addition to their own estate Sauvignon Blanc, Spottswoode gets grapes from other noteworthy vineyards, such as Hyde, Inkgrade, Stagecoach, and a handful of others, then carefully blends in a small amount of Sauvignon Musque. Spottswoode's method of fermentation—using a combination of small stainless barrels, French oak and concrete, egg-shaped cuves—means that they manage up to 100 individual fermentations each year. This technique results in a complex, rich, and vibrant wine that stands well on its own, pairs beautifully with food, and is further enhanced with a bit of cellaring.


The 2014 Spottswoode Sauvignon Blanc is quintessentially Californian, with a beautiful ripeness balanced with wonderful structure and acidity. An inviting, expressive nose of white peach, tangerine peel, and guava, with orange blossoms and a wisp of gardenia, gives way to a mouth-filling and round palate of beautifully ripe pears and tangerine cream. Smooth and rich, exhibiting wonderful structure and balance, this compelling and exciting wine makes us long for the warm spring and summer days!

$37.95 750ml [262630] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

Uber-Delicious and An Incredible Value!

This Chilean Cabernet-Sauvignon is Uber-delicious and such an incredible value. The Siegel Reserve Uber Cuvee is an over-achiever, delivering full-bodied flavor with ripe fruit and nicely integrated oak flavors. It is very approachable with a crowd pleasing style, which makes it the perfect wine to serve at parties or with dinner during the week. It has terrific balance and refinement and tastes like a wine which should come with a price tag of $20.00 or more. The cost is beyond reasonable, especially for a well-reviewed wine and we are confident this wine is destined to become a hit with our customers.

Alberto Siegel was born in Santiago as part of the third generation of an Austrian family in Chile. His grandfather was an architect who built some important buildings in downtown Santiago, including the Chilean Federal Reserve. His father, Don Germán, was a viticulturist who spent most of his career in charge of Viña San Pedro’s vineyards in Molina. Alberto literally grew up in the middle of the vines and studied Agronomy at the University in Santiago. A few years later, he became a successful wine and grape broker, before founding Viña Siegel with his father. Together, they built a winery which produces a range of delicious wines. Enjoy this Uber-rific wine now or over the next 3-5 years.


VINOUS MEDIA 90 POINTS - "Opaque ruby. Heady, spice-accented cherry and dark berry scents show good clarity and gentle smokiness. Sappy and seamless on the palate, offering bitter cherry and cassis flavors that become sweeter with air. Shows very good energy and lift on the finish, which is firmed by supple, slow-building tannins."

$11.95 750ml [378417] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button 3 or more $9.99 per bottle

An Iconic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon from An Epic Vintage!

Pine ridge has long been one of the cornerstones of Napa Valley's Stags Leap District. Utilizing the deft hand of winemaker Michael Beaulac, their wines have gone from fantastic to incredible! With the winery's commitment to quality and innovation, a vision emerged in 2003 to produce a wine that would embody the absolute best their estate vineyards have to offer. By carefully constructing a tête de cuvée from those vineyard blocks that emerge as standouts from the vintage, regardless of appellation, Pine Ridge has created an ultra-reserve Cabernet, dictated only by the philosophy of "simply the best." Only the finest blocks of the most outstanding fruit are selected from our 200 acres of estate vineyards across the Napa Valley for this special bottling. Every vintage, the appellation composition of this wine will vary depending upon the performance and character of each vineyard. For 2012, the blend is composed of 37% Stags Leap District, 30%, Oakville, 21% Howell Mountain and 12% Rutherford fruit. It should offer delicious drinking over the next 20-25 years.


ROBERT PARKER 96 POINTS - "The flagship, black-labeled 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Fortis Napa Valley is truly a brilliant wine. Everything is perfectly proportioned: wood, acidity, alcohol and tannin. Notes of black cherry, blackcurrant and blueberry soar from the wine’s aromas. A touch of wood, lead pencil shavings and spring flowers are also present. The wine is full-bodied, but delicately strung together, à la high fashion. This is a real beauty – full-bodied, yet stylish. While drinkable now, it promises to continue to age well and possibly evolve for another 12-15+ years."

$174.99 750ml [251330] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

Absolutely Stunning!

Cantina Scacciadiavoli was founded in 1884 by the Prince of Piombino and is the oldest winery in the Montefalco appellation in Umbria. Scacciadiavoli, means “cast out the devils” and takes its name from a 19th century exorcist who lived in the small village bordering the vineyard. He was known to use the wines while performing his ritual of ridding poor souls of demons. Today, the Pambuffetti family owns the estate and produces this well-made 2007 Scacciadiavoli Sagrantino.

Although not widely known, the Sagrantino grape is recognized for its ability to produce wines of the highest quality (Montefalco Sagrantino DOCG) under the appellation laws of Italy. It is characterized by the flavorful, structured red wines it produces and really starts to strut and show its beauty with age when the aromas become pronounced and the tannins soften. That is definitely the case with this wine, which is in that sweet spot of its evolution where it is drinking perfectly. This is not a one note wonder; it features layers upon layers of harmonious flavors coming together to create a symphony for the palate. Truly a wine to savor and enjoy as it evolves in the glass, it is absolutely stunning!


Dark ruby in color with staining of the tears. This bouquet is sensual and complex with dark red fruits, violets, baking spices, potpourri, holiday spices, cinnamon and minerals. On the palate, this wine is full-bodied and lush with smooth, integrated tannins due to bottle age. The palate follows the aromatics with ripe kirsch notes, red currants, licorice, minerals, fresh tilled earth, leather, tobacco, cinnamon and warm holiday spices. This wine is well put together with everything in its place and culminates in a long finish. The fruit, acid and tannin balance is seamless and this wine is ready to drink now. Terrific with meat based dishes or on its own.

WINE ADVOCATE 91 POINTS - "The 2007 Montefalco Sagrantino shows off layers of dark fruit, juniper berries and sweet medicinal herbs in a sumptuous expression of Sagrantino. All of the elements come together nicely here, as the hard Sagrantino tannins and some of grape's wildness have been tamed but without the loss of too much varietal character. A lush, refined finish rounds things out nicely. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019." (6/2011)

$39.98 750ml [302703] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

We’re Not Sure Whether it Will Make Us Live Longer,
But We are Sure it’s Delicious!

We’ve had quite a few customers inquire about Sardinian wines after watching Oprah or Dr. Oz touting the benefits of drinking Cannonau wine. Dr. Oz is a prominent heart surgeon, professor and television personality who has spoken extensively about places in the world with the greatest life expectancy. One of the areas with an unusually high percentage of centenarians is Sardinia off the coast of Italy. Oz attributes the Sardinians longevity to a healthy Mediterranean diet, including the moderate consumption of Cannonau-based wines on a regular basis. It is believed that Cannonau wines from Sardinia have the highest levels of polyphenols of any wine. Polyphenols are full of antioxidants and wonderful for your arteries.

Known as Grenache or Garnacha in other parts of the world, very little Cannonau makes its way to the United States. We have been on the prowl for a great example of this variety at an affordable price and we found it. This small production wine by Antonio Sanguineti is flat out gorgeous, unoaked and pure. It is without a doubt the greatest value priced Cannonau we have ever tasted. We’re not sure whether it will make us live longer, but we are sure it’s delicious. Here’s a toast to your health!


Brilliant ruby in color, on the nose, high-toned red fruits-fresh cherries, red currant and pomegranate predominate along with some earth, pekoe tea and sweet spice nuances. On the palate, the wine is lively, lifted and very smooth. The fruit is perfectly ripe and expressive, once again with red fruits including dusty cherries, red plum and currants. There are no hard edges to this this medium-bodied red which allows for a broad range of food pairings. We recommend serving slightly chilled with easy fare such as fish, chicken or pasta.

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A High Scoring Traditional Chianti at An Affordable Price!

Those looking for traditional Chianti at an affordable price need look no further. The Fattoria Rodano Chianti Classico has new world purity and old world soul with the fantastic Tuscan flavors we love! On top of that, Wine Spectator designated this wine as a "Smart Buy." Rodano is located in the heart of Chianti Classico in the famed region of Castellina with the original farm dating back to the Middle Ages. Rodano’s pristine, organic vineyards are in the perfect location to create classic, soulful Chianti Classico. The estate has been in the Pozzesi family since the 1950's with Vittorio Pozzesi managing the winery. The Pozzesi’s believe in the native Italian varietal and as Vittorio says, "The whole world can make Cabernet or Merlot, but only we can make Sangiovese. Why change it?"


Medium ruby in color. This wine has deep cherry, black fruit and fresh berry aromas. On the palate, silky tannins frame the luscious plum, wild strawberries and pure cherry flavors. Notes of cinnamon and forest floor add complexity to this sultry Chianti Classico. The fruit is well-balanced and brightened by great acidity. This wine is elegant and lengthy on the finish. Unfined and unfiltered, to preserve every bit of the perfect Sangiovese fruit.

WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINT 'SMART BUY' - "Shows maturity in the form of truffle and sweet decaying cherry fruit aromas and leafy underbrush flavors. A little dry, yet silky in texture and full of sweet fruit. Decant. Drink now through 2018."
$19.98 750ml [303359] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

A Stunning 94 Pointer from DeLille Cellars!

In the 1990’s Washington State’s winemaking trends had clearly shifted to Bordeaux varietals, such as Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Sauvignon Blanc. In 1992, Delille Cellars started with 2 wines, both blends of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc. In 1995, the same philosophy contributed to the creation of the Chaleur Estate Blanc, a Bordeaux style white wine blend of Sauvignon Blanc and Semillon. Since that time, the lofty scores and high praise for the Delille wines have come through year after year. This year’s release of their Sauvignon Blanc-blend may be the best yet off their vineyards in Washington’s Columbia Valley.

After graduating with a Bachelor of Science degree from the University of Washington, Chris Upchurch began his career as a wine merchant, working with several of Seattle’s best-known restaurants. This experience allowed him to hone his palate while tasting wines from around the world. Chris then developed a successful grape-brokerage business contracting grapes from Washington State and selling them to winemakers. Chris uncovered his true calling once he started spending endless hours in the vineyards. That love of the land, the vine and its fruit, fostered Chris’ passion of winemaking and his passion for charting a course in Washington State.

An acclaimed professional winemaker for over twenty years, Chris still spends much of his time in the vineyards of Washington State, primarily Yakima Valley and Red Mountain AVA’s. Reflecting on the great European winemaking tradition, he remarks, 'The truly long-lived wines are made in the vineyards. I expect to be here for many years to come.'


ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "Another stunning white from this team is the 2013 Chaleur Estate Blanc. A blend of 65% Sauvignon Blanc and 35% Semillon that barrel fermented, it sports a light gold color to go with a sweet bouquet of buttered citrus, crushed rock, white flowers and toasted almond. One of the few serious white Bordeaux blends being made in the US, this medium to full-bodied beauty has a core of sweet fruit, integrated acidity, sensational purity and dry, clean finish. While I suspect it will age just fine, I see no reason to delay gratification and would drink bottles over the coming couple of years."

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Absolutely Perfect for Summer!

With the warmth of summer still upon us, we thought it might be fun to highlight some relatively obscure Italian white wines most people have never heard of. These have all been selected by our Italian wine buyer, Patty Quick who tasted through hundreds of Italian whites to find wines worthy of our shelf space. (Yes, we know it’s a tough job, but someone has to do it!) It might be helpful to know what Patty looks for and values in this category. She favors white wines from Italy that are crisp and lively which display freshness and a pure expression of the grape varietals.

The wines below are made with little or no oak, resulting in a fresh style which highlights the purity of the fruit. With such interesting indigenous grapes, why would anyone want to do anything that would detract from the signature style of the grape varieties? As an added bonus, the wines listed below all cost less than $20.00. Have fun trying one or all of these unique wines which are absolutely perfect for summer!


This wine features the Passerina grape from the Marche region. Beautiful light straw color. The wine has notes ranging from citrus to durian fruit to sage and pine. Medium body with nice acidity.

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This wine features the Bianchello grape from the Marche region. Fresh and lively, it offers a creamy edge to its bright apple, melon and light herb notes, which carry the zesty finish.

$13.95 750ml [302606] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


This wine features the Ribolla Gialla grape from Friuli. It is floral and fragrant with strong minerality and citrus flavors.

$19.95 750ml [301343] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


This wine features the Falanghina grape from Campagna. Sporting a lovely green-gold color, the Cantina’s Falanghina offers an especially intense, perfumed nose of pear and melon. In the mouth the wine’s pineapple and pear fruit characters announce themselves before segueing to a distinctive, vibrant mid-palate of perfumed minerals, lemon and wintergreen.

$14.95 750ml [301013] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


This wine features the Insolia grape from Sicily. It has has aromas of citrus and jasmine with nice acidity and very fresh fruit.

$13.95 750ml [301932] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


This wine features Kerner from Alto Adige. Kerner is a genetic crossing of Trollinger and Riesling and makes one of the most aromatic and delicious wines in all of Italy. It is strikingly fresh, displaying some characteristics of Riesling and pleasing minerality.

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A Rum: Four For Summer!

With images of sailboats, sunshine and the seaside firmly in mind, we wanted to highlight four special rums that are fantastic in their own right as well as being outright deals. Look at the prices of other spirit categories and how much similarly aged versions sell for. And the kicker is that rum, in general, is as friendly on the palate as it is the wallet. These four we're featuring today, specifically, are delicious... if you're not familiar with sipping rums, these might just convert you..


In 19th century England, one of the most prized delicacies was a thing called "pineapple rum", a sipping spirit par excellence.  Unfortunately, like many good things from the past, it eventually fell out of use and its memory has faded... unless, of course, you're a reader of Charles Dickens' immortal Pickwick Papers, in which it is featured prominently as the favored drink of the esteemed Rev. Stiggins.  Well, "esteemed" is a strong word.  It would take a perverse reader indeed to consider Mr. Stiggins as anything but a hypocrite for preaching sufferance while largely existing on a diet of free drinks at Mrs. Weller's pubs.  But it would take a reader just as perverse to deny his connoisseurship in the matter of those drinks.  His endorsement of Mrs. Weller's pineapple rum is good enough for us.

Ripe Queen Victoria pineapples were infused in rich, aged Plantation Original Dark Rum for 3 months.  Meanwhile, the bare rind of the fruit was macerated, also in rum (the rind is where the pineapple's essential oil chiefly resided), which was then distilled , creating a bright pineapple essence to blend with the lushness of the infused Plantation rum.  It was created partly out of curiosity (by A. Gabriel & D. Wondrich), but also as a thank you to all the apprentices at Tales of the Cocktail (the annual premier cocktail festival in New Orleans) for all the hard work they do.

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Kirk and Sweeney

KIRK AND SWEENEY was a wooden schooner, best known for smuggling rum from the Caribbean to the Northeast during the early years of Prohibition. In 1924, it was seized off the coast of New York with a massive amount of rum aboard. The schooner was subsequently re- named “Chase” and pressed into duty as a Coast Guard trainer, serving until the late 1940’s when it was retired and salvaged.


Kirk and Sweeney was distilled using traditionally harvested sugar cane and aged in oak for 18 years to fully develop its profile-- an enticing scent of sherry and molasses, followed by the taste of deep vanilla with a hint of caramel and dried fruits.  Immensely smooth all the way through, this rum unwinds in the finish with a gently wavering sensation of oak, sherry and raisin.

$36.99 750ml [106918] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


Looking at its deep amber and iridescent copper color, it's clear this 23-year-old rum is uniquely charming.  Its nose teases with toasty, dried fruits and a hint of honey and toffee, while the taste delights through an evolving sensation of fruit, vanilla and sherry.  Finishing off each decadent sip, you’ll find endnotes that range from a distinct caramel, to sherry, to a well-balanced blend of almond and vanilla.

$40.99 750ml [106917]


This is an amazing deal for a 30-year-old rum from Costa Rica.  The rich color and deep aromas of toffee, chocolate and caramelized brown sugar reflect in the palate, adding vanillins, more cacao and rich spices.  The palate weight is luxuriously viscous and the finish is lengthy and sweet with molasses, toffee and more vanilla.  Ron Centenario also has a 25-year-old version ($55.99 #101074) that is excellent-- but the 30 takes it to the next step.  It really showcases the strength of rum in flavor, consistency and aroma while trumping just about every other sipping spirit category in terms of value.  More and more folks are discovering the joy of rum thanks to many individuals, groups, bartenders and associations who focus on this 'magic' spirit, and if you like to sip as much as we do, you might want to give this a try.

$89.99 750ml [107001] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

A Great Direction in Kiwi Wines: New Zealand's Astrolabe!

Waghorn is a winemaker. Astrolabe Wines is a winemaker label. An Astrolabe is a navigational device whose name translates as “star taker”, and it was used by navigators to determine latitude by the stars. As well as being a navigational instrument, L’Astrolabe was the name of the ship of French explorer Dumont d’Urville who explored the Marlborough coast of New Zealand in 1827. Simon chose the name Astrolabe because of the historic ties with Marlborough, and he liked the connotations of exploration and discovery.

Simon’s winemaking career began in South Australia and took him and his family from Te Kauwhata to Gisborne, eventually settling in Marlborough. In 1996, together with old friends Paul Davenport and Sally Lewis, Simon and his wife Jane decided to have a go at making wine under their own label… and so began Astrolabe. Simon's winemaking career began in 1982; his skill and experience combine to capture the essence of Marlborough in wines of purity, focus and elegance.


We are big fans of New Zealand wines and particularly the Sauvignon Blancs they make-- this Astrolabe showcases why that is.  The nose is classic with scents evoking gooseberry, lime citrus, white peach, honeysuckle and river rock.  The palate is lush and viscous as tropical fruit flavors, green melon, lichee, pineapple, are kept aloft with excellent acidity as minerality and a touch of salted caramel bolster the bright fruits in the finish.  Big but balanced, beautiful wine.

"A blend of wines made in the four distinctly different
Marlborough sub-regions: Awatere Valley, Waihopai, Wairau Valley and Kekerengu. The result is about as true a representation of a regional style that I could imagine. Flavoursome Sauvignon Blanc with gooseberry, red capsicum, nectarine and lime plus a suggestion of passion fruit flavours. Classy wine with an ethereal texture and lingering finish. Delivers everything a Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc drinker expects ... and more." -Bob Campbell

"Smart Buy: Impressive and delicious, evoking the supple, fleshy texture of biting into a ripe, white peach. Features plenty of mouthwatering acidity and notes of lemon, ruby grapefruit and pineapple, accented by details of lemon verbena, sea salt and dried honeysuckle. Shows terrific persistence on the finish. Drink now. 30,000 cases made." –MW, Wine Spectator

$18.98 750ml [382597] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


Initially we were going to feature the above Sauv Blanc solo.  Upon tasting this Pinot, it was an easy call to include it and make this a dynamic duo play-- this is a solid Pinot Noir with a Burgundian accent to its Kiwi soul.

The nose is inviting with notes of smoky cherry and red plum fruits, black pepper flecks and rose petals in the background.  Upon tasting, the fruits continue with sweet cherry and mixed red fruits intertwined with gorgeous silky tannins making for a lush mouthfeel.  The chewy red fruits are bolstered by a touch of spice and earth.  The finish lasts and lasts with cherries in the foreground and a supporting cast of raspberry, smoky bacon, cherry cola and earth.  Drink now through 2017 (if you can hold off!).

What to eat with this wine?  Suggested foods: venison, lamb, wild game and game fowl, Asian-style duck, seared tuna, swordfish and Italian dishes such as lasagne and pizza.

$26.95 750ml [383300] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

A Big and Pleasurable Impact on All the Senses!

Donatella Cinelli Colombini was born into a family of wine producers and her ancestors were owners of these Tuscan estates dating back to the end of the 16th century. Donatella has always had a passion for wine and was instrumental in greatly expanding wine tourism in Tuscany. In 1998, she decided to focus on winemaking and contacted the enology school in Siena to see if she could hire a good student. She was told she had to wait a year, however there were many “women wine technicians” available. This is how the Prime Donne Project started, eventually growing into an entirely female staff including the enologist. The wines of Colombini are refined, complex and harmonious.

The 2010 vintage marks an unprecedented year for Tuscany’s much beloved Sangiovese-based red, Brunello di Montalcino. Winemakers, the wine press, and seasoned wine professionals unanimously agree that this is the Brunello vintage of a lifetime, even outclassing the outstanding 2006 and 1997 vintages.

The Wine Advocate’s Monica Larner writes of the 2010 vintage, "possibly reaching iconic status. Montalcino has some great wines in store for us and the barrel tasting I did while visiting estates was nothing short of exhilarating. Rest assured: The hype and the buzz … is not hyperbole. Many vintners I spoke with describe it as a 'dream vintage.'"


ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "Donatella Cinelli Colombini's 2010 Brunello di Montalcino makes a big and pleasurable impact on all the senses. First, it hits the nose with a wonderful medley of ripe, dark fruit, spice, tar, tobacco, leather and dried herbs. The wine is impeccably made and the quality of fruit is outstanding. Ultimately, your patronage of this brand depends on whether you like this bold, softer style. If you do, this Brunello delivers satisfaction in spades. Fleshy oak tones of cinnamon and clove round off the finish. It is extremely soft and smooth to the touch. This wine can be enjoyed in the near or long-term. Donatella Cinelli Colombini has gained a loyal fan base over the years. She is an able communicator, but more importantly she has steadily maintained consistency in quality wines throughout last ten years that I have been following her work. I can't ever remember being disappointed in her wines and this batch of new releases is some of her best work yet."

$49.98 750ml [301021] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


WINE SPECTATOR 96 POINTS - "Features terrific fruit, with forthcoming aromas and flavors of cherry, raspberry and plum, accented by licorice, leather and tobacco details that add depth. Well-structured, but stays balanced and precise, adding mineral and woodsy elements on the finish. Excellent length. Best from 2019 through 2035. 3,750 cases made."

$69.98 750ml [301128] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

96 Points for Leonetti Cabernet Sauvignon!

Leonetti Cellars is one of Washington State’s first true cult wineries. For over two decades, the Figgins family has been crafting unctuous wines by blending the best fruit from three distinctly different vineyards in the Columbia Valley. Their vehemence for quality (even in poor vintages), sustainability, and consistency is what has made them the top of the food chain for Washington wine lovers. To be honest, there’s no chi-chi story, and no overt flashiness, because that’s not their style. What they are about, is incredible wines…year in and year out!

In addition to their Cabernet Sauvignon, we have also received small amounts of their Cabernet-Blend, Merlot, and Sangiovese; all of which received between 94 and 98 Points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate! These wines sell out every year, and with the hype and strength of the 2012 vintage, they may be gone sooner rather than later!

Quantities are limited so don't hesitate to order. First come, first served.


ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96 POINTS - "The 2012 Walla Walla Cabernet Sauvignon is similar to the Reserve, yet slightly more elegant and streamlined at present. Made from 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot that spent 22 month in new and once-used French oak, it exhibits terrific aromatics of leafy herbs, spring flowers, violets, lead pencil shavings and ample cassis and black raspberry-style fruit. Full-bodied, seamless and perfectly balanced, with a stacked mid-palate and building tannin, it’s another candidate for short-term cellaring and will have 2-3 decades of overall longevity."

$104.99 750ml [237370] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The only 2013 I was able to taste from Leonetti, the 2013 Merlot (includes 8% Cabernet Franc) is a blockbuster from this team that’s certainly one of the best examples of this variety in the state. Giving up gorgeously pure notes of blackcurrants, licorice, charcoal and Asian spice, this medium to full-bodied beauty has a voluptuous, layered and seamless texture, building, fine tannin and a terrific finish. Seeing 15 months in new and once-used French oak (small barrels, puncheons and oval botti), it will have 20 years of longevity."

$82.99 750ml [237340] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The finest vintage of this cuvee to date, the 2012 Walla Walla Sangiovese exhibits brilliant black cherry, dusty spice, leather and crushed herb-like qualities to go with a medium to full-bodied, layered, exceedingly pure profile on the palate. The blend here is 80% Sangiovese, 12% Syrah and 8% Aglianico, all of which spent 22 months in neutral puncheons and oval botti. I don’t have much experience with track record of this variety, but I’ve no doubt this will continue to evolve nicely for at least another decade."

$71.99 750ml [237450] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

The Enchanting Ornellaia!

We are pleased to present the 2012 vintage of Ornellaia, a truly remarkable cuvee crafted from the exceptional terroir of their estate in Bolgheri. Considered one of the Italian ‘First Growths’, Ornellaia has a pedigree and grace, which set it apart. The Cabernet-based Bordeaux blend is always on the must have list for wine collectors or those looking for a bottle to enjoy on a special occasion. The 2012 vintage was characterized by an abundance of sunny, dry weather resulting in an even, consistent ripening process which yielded a generous, full-bodied wine with enticing aromatics.

This wine is remarkably appealing and seductive. In fact, the winemaker is so taken with this vintage, he chose to define it with the word, Incanto (Enchantment). This year, for the first time on the 750ml bottle, Ornellaia commissioned an artist to create a special label for its wine. Contemporary Swiss artist John Armleder was selected to interpret L’Incanto with a unique design which includes his signature. This brilliant crimson-splashed adornment is applied to one bottle in each wooden 6-pack of Ornellaia. This makes this world class wine even more collectable and we suspect this first edition will be followed by different artwork in subsequent years. Purchasing 6 bottles in the wooden box will guarantee you will receive the special Enchantment bottle.


The 2012 Ornellaia is classic wine in every sense. It possesses a beguiling bouquet with amazing florals and gorgeous ripe fruit. The palate is full and generous with glossy well-integrated tannins. Its fantastic overall balance, makes the wine accessible in the near term with decanting, yet there is enough structure to reward those who wish to cellar it and enjoy the wine as it evolves over the years.

JAMES SUCKLING 97 POINTS - "A tight and silky red with compacted fruit and tannin texture featuring blackcurrant, mushroom and bark undertones. Full body, firm tannins and a minerally finish. Excellent structure and mouthfeel. A cooler style of Ornellaia, bringing it back to the classicism of this celebrated region. Bordeaux blend. Better in 2018."

$179.99 750ml [301238] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

"Mind boggling Quality for the Price" - Wine Advocate!
The Marques de Murrieta wines are always among our favorites from Rioja and one of our best sellers. Their tradition of winemaking dates to 1852 when they became the first producer of wine in Rioja Alta and their knowledge definitely translates into a delicious glass of wine. The 2010 vintage in Rioja is highly acclaimed as producing ripe and balanced wines with enticing aromatics. Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate practically gushes with praise, describing the wine as having “gob-smacking precision and elegance, astonishing purity and harmony” and being the “best Reserva from Murrieta in recent times.” Finally, he declares the wine as having “Mind boggling quality for the price!” We tasted this classically styled Riojan wine and wholeheartedly agree!

WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The blend for the 2010 Rioja Reserva varies depending on the growing season. In the warm and ripe 2009 it was 93% Tempranillo, 4% Mazuelo and 2% Graciano and 1% Garnacha Tinta, always from their own vineyards and hand-harvested between October 2 and 23. Maria the winemaker thinks the Garnacha does not add much to their blend. The grapes fermented separately in stainless-steel vats and the wine aged for 21 months in American oak barrels. There is gob-smacking precision and elegance here. It's a pure wine with no oak that is super harmonious, floral and fragrant. I simply fell in love with the nose. Now onto the palate. The entry is really fluid, and then it explodes in your mouth, filling it along a thread of fine acidity making it long and tasty. It has the same astonishing purity and harmony, focus and precision found in the nose. This has to be the best Reserva from Murrieta in recent times. Bravo! One million bottles produced, but all the wine is one single lot and all the bottles you can find are exactly the same just they are bottled continuously for four months. Mind boggling quality for the price asked."
$20.99 750ml [380422] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

One of the Greatest Values for Bordeaux-style Wines!

Chile has been an increasing source of quality wines, which are very easy on the pocketbook. The Blend by Primus is a great example and is consistently one of the greatest values for Bordeaux-style wines. This fantastic tasting wine is a blend of power and finesse that merges Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Carmenère, which is fast becoming the signature grape of Chile. Carmenère contributes exotic spice and a rich, sensuous texture to blends.

Primus employs winemaking techniques similar to Napa Valley’s top Cabernet-based blends, but Chile’s economic advantage delivers world-class quality at less than half the price of similar blends from the new world. Ripe, generous fruit is the hallmark of this wine, which comes across as big and bold yet with remarkable balance. The tremendous complexity and long textured finish delivers a wine that will surprise you and will have you asking for more.


Deep ruby with purple highlights. The nose is complex with assorted red and black fruits, earth, spice and grilled herbs. On the palate, the wine is full-bodied with lush and silky well-integrated tannins. The mouth-coating flavors of this complex wine include cherries, blackberries and blueberries, along with cocoa nibs and baking spices. The finish is long and persistant.

JAMES SUCKLING 93 POINTS - "Lots of dark berry, licorice, mint and terra cotta aromas. Full body with fine tannins and a balsamic and dried berry character in the aftertaste. Real balance and drinkability to this. Drink or hold."

$15.98 750ml [381731] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

"Don't Miss" White Burgundy from the Fantastic 2013 Vintage!

We just received our yearly allocation of the premier cru and grand cru bottlings from Domaine William Fevre. All are from the fantastic 2013 vintage and showcase Fevre’s ability to make high quality Chardonnay in Chablis. Hand harvesting, rigorous sorting and attention to detail at every stage of the process results in wines of complexity, purity of fruit and remarkable balance. The minerality imparted by the Kimmeridgian soils from these vineyards is renowned and endows these wines with a sense of breadth and depth without ever being heavy. The good news is these wines from Fevre are excellent across the board. The bad news is our allocation was smaller than we would like due to the lower yields. These wines are highly regarded and highly rated and will certainly please lovers of fine white Burgundy.

Quantities are limited so don't hesitate to order. First come, first served.


BURGHOUND 93-95 POINTS "DON'T MISS" - "This is perennially one of my favorite wines and one that I buy virtually every vintage. The 2013 version displays a deft touch of oak that again is sufficiently subtle as to allow the ripe and very fresh white and yellow orchard fruit, sea breeze and iodine scents to shine. There is excellent punch as well as fine detail to the almost aggressively mineral-driven flavors that possess good power but also a lovely sense of refinement on the wonderfully long and impeccably well-balanced finish. Exquisite."

$97.99 750ml [322223] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


BURGHOUND 91-94 POINTS "DON'T MISS, OUTSTANDING" - "A ripe, elegant and strikingly layered nose features notes of dried flower, citrus, mineral reduction and a smoky hint. There is really lovely detail and intensity to the beautifully mineral-inflected medium weight plus flavors that possess excellent richness before terminating in a complex, balanced, long and markedly dry finish. A moderately firm acid spine shapes the flavor profile and as it usually is this is a wine of class and grace."

$54.99 750ml [322224] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


BURGHOUND "DON'T MISS" 91-94 POINTS - " There is good Chablis character suffusing the expressive nose that is composed primarily of green fruit and sea water. There is knockout intensity to the highly energetic big-bodied flavors that display plenty of citrus on the moderately austere and highly persistent finish. This is not as complex and certainly not as refined as the best of these grands crus yet there is plenty to admire all the same."

$89.99 750ml [322485] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


BURGHOUND "DON'T MISS" 92-94 POINTS - " Here too the nose is trimmed in just enough wood to notice though it does not interfere with the clear appreciation of the fresh, cool and restrained aromas of green fruit, lemon peel and a plenitude of Chablis character. Like the Bougros this is a big-bodied wine with ample size, weight and mid-palate density as the abundant dry extract imparts a suave and opulent mouth feel before culminating in an impressively rich and persistent finish. There is a touch of youthful austerity that I suspect will quickly pass and overall, this should come together slightly sooner than the Vaudésir."

$109.99 750ml [322487] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


BURGHOUND "DON'T MISS! OUTSTANDING" 91-94 POINTS - "This is more aromatically complex still with its broad-ranging nose of floral, pear, citrus peel, apple and tidal pool scents. There is a really lovely sense of underlying tension to the concentrated and sleekly muscular flavors that possess excellent depth on the balanced, harmonious and decidedly dry finish. This too is a wine of class and grace."

$64.99 750ml [322647] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


BURGHOUND 92-95 POINTS "DON'T MISS" - "A very ripe but again not really exotic nose offers up notes of various dried yellow fruit scents together with hints of iodine and algae and is trimmed in enough wood to notice. There is impressively good concentration to the very rich, round and opulent flavors that are underpinned by both good minerality and firm acidity on the saline and dry but not austere finish. I very much like the balance here and in particular the superb persistence. This beauty should reward up to a decade of cellar time."

$88.99 750ml [345113] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

We are Thrilled to Announce the Arrival of "Baby Sassicaia"!

We are thrilled to announce the arrival of “Baby Sassicaia” at Hi-Time. Of course, Tenuta San Guido’s Sassicaia needs little introduction and is regarded as not only one of the greatest wines in Italy, but of the entire world. A few years ago, Tenuta San Guido began producing Le Difese and this is the first time we have been able to obtain an allocation and bring it into the store. Even better, we are able to offer it at an attractive “Everyday Drinker” price point!

A true pioneer of the Super Tuscan movement, Tenuta San Guido broke the rules governing Tuscan winemaking by making a Cabernet Sauvignon-based wine in Bolgheri. Initially shunned by Italian authorities, they were forced to label their wine simply as vino da tavola (table wine). The quality was undeniable and Sassicaia was finally awarded DOC status. In fact, it remains the only wine from a single estate in Italy to have its own appellation, Bolgheri Sassicaia DOC.

Le Difese is a fresh and approachable wine which shares the family traits, that make Sassicaia so famous. It displays delicious purity of fruit and a richness, which belies its price point. For those making case purchases, it will be hard to resist drinking all of your bottles in the short term as this wine is drinking beautifully now. For those with patience, this wine can be enjoyed over the next 5 years or so.


WINE ENTHUSIAST 91 POINTS - "This fresh, savory blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Sangiovese offers a bouquet of blue flowers, cedar, wild berry and light cooking spices. The vibrant, focused palate doles out juicy wild cherry, ripe red currants and white pepper alongside silky smooth tannins and bright acidity. Drink through 2020."

Sale $22.99 Release Price $35 750ml [304000] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

Great Producers Do Make Great Wine!

Imagine two incredible producers coming together to craft wines in the rolling hills of Tuscany. Now imagine the parties involved are the great winemaker from Chianti, Castellare di Castellina and the legendary Bordeaux producer Lafite-Rothschild. Their Rocca di Frassinello project couples Castellare’s experience in growing Sangiovese with Lafite’s experience growing classic French varietals including Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. The inspiration for the project came when the Rothschild’s took note of the high quality Super Tuscan wines produced in Bolgheri by Sassacaia, Ornellaia and others. They chose a site in Maremma near Bolgheri where the vineyards are nestled among rolling coastal hills bathed in sun and cooled by the ocean.

Poggio alla Guardia from Rocca di Frassinello is a fantastic wine with a pedigree that is evident in the glass. The Sangiovese grapes are blended seamlessly with Cabernet and Merlot to create a wine of substance and character that is so delicious and pure. This successful marriage of Italian-French wine confirms what we already knew, great producers do make great wine!

The winery is very impressive and was designed by noted Italian architect Renzo Piano, the man behind the Pompidou in Paris and the renovated Morgan Library in New York. The building itself is considered a piece of art with the Italian government declaring the winery must be open for the enjoyment of the public a minimum of one day per week. In fact, elegant ceremonies and performances have been held in the stunning barrel room. As beautiful as it is, the building is also very functional. The vineyards extend right up to the winery, allowing freshly harvested grapes to be gravity-fed directly into the winery. To view larger photos of this amazing winery, simply click on the picture.


Medium ruby in color with purple highlights. A bouquet of violets, ripe red fruit and spices greet the nose. On the palate, the wine is dry and full bodied with fresh, vibrant fruit including cherry, black raspberry and currant flavors. Subtle earth and spice add complexity and interest to this wine which culminates with a surprisingly long finish.

WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - "Graphite and cherry aromas lead off, augmented by raspberry, mineral and cedar flavors. Structured and vibrant, with a long, spicy aftertaste. Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangioveto. Best from 2016 through 2028.”

$16.95 750ml [301442] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

Saturday Spirits!

So an American, Irishman and Mexican walked into a bar... and this is what they drank! August is a month for easy sipping and relaxation-- maybe a trip to the river or beach camping, poolside siestas or mountain retreats. These are what we will be sipping on-- one of our favorite Bourbons, one of the best whiskies out of Ireland and a new lineup of Tequila we've been enjoying.


Eagle Rare is probably one of the boldest bourbons on the market today. Buffalo Trace Distillery has won over 30 medals (more than half of which being Gold!) for Eagle Rare alone since 2001 and it’s no mystery as to why. This is a whiskey that is magnificently bold and complex with flavors which range anywhere between sweet honey, to dried herbs, spicy tobacco, leather, rich vanilla, toasted almond, cacao nibs, and the list goes on. That being said Eagle Rare 10 Year Old Single Barrel Bourbon is about as masculine as they come and is no whiskey for the faint at heart. This is a whiskey that begs to be enjoyed neat with maybe a single ice cube or a splash of water if you must.

$27.99 750ml [163121] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


We were out for a while, but now it's back! Green Spot is a non age statement Single Pot Still Irish whiskey and is comprised of Pot Still whiskeys aged between 7 and 10 years. The whiskey has matured in a combination of new bourbon and refill bourbon casks as well as sherry casks. Only small quantities of Green Spot are bottled each year. No real reason why. Drink some more and they say they'll bottle more.
The breathtaking crackle of pot still whiskey, infused with gentle wintergreen.
Taste: Full bodied with no apologies. Oily linseed cooled by strains of gentle menthol, joined by some spiciness towards the end.

$43.99 750ml [104500] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button
This is a relatively new line of Tequilas we have been enjoying during these hot summer months... 888 Tres Ochos Tequilas captures the heart of Mexico and the spirit of agave. Tres Ochos are premium 100% pure blue weber agave tequilas traditionally distilled and rested or extra-aged in white oak barrels (for the repo and añejo). Mexico’s gift to the world delights the palate with an elegant smooth finish. Enjoy neat, chilled or combined.
TRES OCHOS ANEJO TEQUILA $43.99 [199586] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button
TRES OCHOS REPOSADO TEQUILA $36.99 [199585] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button
TRES OCHOS SILVER TEQUILA $31.99 [199584] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

The Perfect Summer Quaffer Under $10!

Aged 100% in stainless steel, sur lies, this wine will make the dog days of August, those lazy, hazy, crazy, most-often-incredibly-hot days of summer, much easier to bear. This unusual white blend works on all cylinders-- Chenin Blanc (originally from the Loire Valley, France), known for acidity, minerality and a neutral nature that allows terroir to shine through, works quite well with the Sauvignon Blanc (whose origin is from the French Bordeaux region) and it's acidity and fruit profile. And when it's hot out, white wines that are heavy, buttery and ponderous (I'm looking at a few of you Chardonnays out there) really tend to drag down the drinker, while dry white wines with good acidity, forward fruits and minerality are thirst-quenching and uplifting. This Cult Blanc definitely falls into the latter category.


The nose is like a walk through an orchard split by a mountain-fed stream, lined with honey suckle and assorted florals, maybe even a citrus patch. Stone fruits, minerality, florals, clover honey, lemon zest-- bright and brilliant scents. The palate continues the theme as peach/apricot plays alongside Meyer lemon and well water flavors with pear in the finish. The mouthfeel is rich but tempered by the acidity that keeps this light and a foil for scorching days and sultry nights. Give me a tambourine and a robe and sign me up for this Cult.

$9.98 750ml [211040] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button