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South America
Vine Connections

South American Wines - Deep in the Southern Hemisphere along the spine of the Andes mountain range, you will find two of the most exciting winemaking countries in the world: Argentina and Chile.  Both countries boast landscapes of desert, jungle, glaciers, mountains and sweeping valley vistas.  Yet, within the dramatic beauty of the Extreme South, some of the world’s most incredible terroirs have been discovered by winemakers that produce wines with unparalleled character.  These are wines that combine the best of the New and Old Worlds – varietals from the Old World made in a New World arena.  Today wines from Argentina and Chile are balanced, complex, elegant, luxurious and, above all else, overdeliver in quality every time.  And the best part?  With the incredible amount of continued innovation happening in both countries, these show-stopping wines are only just the beginning of the Argentinean and Chilean Wine story.

Vine Connections - In the mid-nineties Ed Lehrman joined his good friend and wine colleague, Nick Ramkowsky, on a trip to South America that changed both their lives. They visited wineries in Mendoza, Argentina and quickly came to the conclusion that they had to introduce America to the best wines from the world’s 5th largest (but still fairly unknown) wine producing country, and formed a wine importing and national sales and marketing company, Vine Connections, in 1999.  About a year later, Ed and Nick discovered the joys of premium Japanese sake made by ancient, traditional, family-run brewers, and in May 2013, launched the most dynamic premium Chilean portfolio ever assembled and brought to the US. Today, Ed, Nick and the Vine Connections team represent 31 brands between Argentina and Chile and 14 from Japan.  Vine Connections is recognized as a pioneer and leader in all three categories.

 

CASA SILVA - The Silva family pioneered grapegrowing in the Colchagua Valley with the first vineyards back in 1892. Their cellar is the oldest in the valley. They strive to innovate in their vineyards and to pioneer new terroirs in the Colchagua Valley. They are paving the way for Carmenere by investing in research studies in their vineyards to study clones and microterroirs.

CASA SILVA 2012 COOL COAST SAUVIGNON BLANC

WINE AND SPIRITS MAGAZINE 92 POINTS - "Paredones, at the far western reaches of Colchagua, falls under the influence of the cold Pacific. Casa Silva released its first sauvignon from this far coast vineyard in 2009. This latest vintage needs decanting to bring out the rich aromas of citrus and fresh herbs. The density of its flavor is cut by saline acidity, best enjoyed in the company of oysters.”

Tasting Notes:  Expressive nose with intense pineapple and lime citrus aromas complemented with mineral notes. The palate is round and firm, dominated by citrus notes with refreshing acidity and a salty background.

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BEN MARCO - In 1999 Susana Balbo crafted a line of wines to showcase the ripe fruit expression of her sustainably-farmed Mendoza vineyards. The philosophy is a simple one: grow great grapes and make wines that are true to their place. Minimal intervention during the growing season and through harvest allows the true fruit character to develop. Combine this with Susana’s winemaking skills and the result is wines that express the powerful fruit flavors, the ripe tannins and the incredible length and balance that can only come from this one place: Mendoza.

BEN MARCO 2012 EXPRESSIVO

JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "Wow. I like the aromas to this with black currants, tangerines, and licorice. Full body, firm tannins and layers of pretty fruit plus just a hint of vanilla bean. So energetic and exciting. 45% malbec, 20% cabernet sauvignon, 15% tannat, 15% syrah and 5% bonarda. Better in 2016."

Tasting Notes:  An old vine blend with layers of ripe currant fruit, dense black cherry, and notes of brown spice, dark chocolate and sandalwood.

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CHAMAN - The Reginato family has been growing grapes in the Uco Valley of Argentina for over 60 years. Since 2002, Luis Reginato has been making wines for some of the top wineries from Argentina. In 2013, a new brand was born - Chaman. After seeing and tasting from vineyards across Mendoza, Luis had a vision for a great blend. He saw the grapes in his family’s vineyard – especially the Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot – and saw potential, lots of potential. The quality of the Petit Verdot was so high that when the vines matured, he decided to make it a focal point. La Consulta is a great place for these grape varieties because it is cool climate but still gets full ripening, so you get intense wines with structure and balanced acidity.

CHAMAN 2011 RED BLEND

WINE ADVOCATE 89 POINTS - “It has an attractive bouquet of blackberry, cassis, violets and a touch of cedar. The palate is medium-bodied with fine, slightly grainy tannins. There is a core of earthy black fruit laced with licorice and tar, leading to a well-defined, very composed, peppery finish with a hint of dark chocolate on the aftertaste. This is a promising debut.”

Tasting Notes:  An ethereal and elegant red blend from expert winemaking brothers, Luis and Pepe Reginato.

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GRAFFITO - Over the last 15 years working with wineries in Argentina, Australia and California, Jimena Lopez developed a very personal set of fine winemaking principles: use fruit from old vines in a special location, handle all the winemaking steps herself, and put her stamp of approval (a thumbprint) on the label. Jimena’s goal has been to craft a wine using these principles, so when she came across the 7-acre, Cantella vineyard in Lujan de Cuyo farmed entirely by Don Pepe and his family, she finally put her plan into action. This low-yield Malbec vineyard planted by his father in 1908 produces small, intense berries that produce a wine not only with deep dark color, like graphite, but also amazing concentration, complexity and structure.

GRAFFITO 2011 MALBEC

WINE SPECTATOR 90 POINTS - “Notes of baking spices, licorice and smoke lead in this rich red, sporting a solid core of dark cherry and macerated plum.”

Juicy and medium-bodied with loads of mouth-coating ripe tannins common in old vine Malbecs. The ultimate steak wine.

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LUCA - Laura Catena grew up in a wine-making family in Mendoza. Although she now splits her time between Mendoza and San Francisco (where she is an Emergency Room Physician, university professor, mother of three, and accomplished tango dancer!), Laura’s heart remains in Argentina and winemaking. She had a vision of creating a new breed of Argentine wines: small quantities, artisan quality, and true to their individual terroirs. A true pioneer of small-grower relations in Mendoza, Laura’s incredible, limited production wines come from some of Argentina’s best fruit from low-yield, high elevation, family-owned vineyards. Her final varietal blends deliver power along with complexity and finesse. They are the ultimate expression of rigorous vineyard management, viticultural experimentation, strict irrigation controls, skilled winemaking, and a quest for quality at any cost.

 

LUCA 2011 CHARDONNAY

WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - “The 2011 “G” Lot Chardonnay is barrel-fermented and undergoes 70% malolactic before being aged for 14 months in 30% new oak. It offers an attractive nose of brioche and almond that is well-defined and neatly envelops the oak. The palate is medium-bodied, with subtle notes of wild honey, Turkish Delight, almond and hazelnut. The finish is crisp and focused with a long tail. This is excellent. Drink now-2016.”

Tasting Notes: Pale-gold enticing aromas of lemon creme and baking spices. A stony/mineral flavor finishes long with just a kiss of oak. Exceptional balance.

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LUCA 2012 MALBEC

WINE SPECTATOR 93 POINTS - "Very suave and polished, with ripe, pure flavors of blackberry, hoisin sauce and black pepper. Finely textured, this is packed with tar and roasted plum notes, showing plenty of licorice snap and dark chocolate accents on the powerful finish. Best after 2020."

Tasting Notes: A superb example of Mendoza Malbec: Loads of spice and black cherry cola aromas, berry flavors, and a bottom note of freshly brewed espresso.

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LUCA 2010 BESO DANTE

WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - “The 2010 Luca Beso de Dante is a blend of 60% Malbec and 40% Cabernet Sauvignon from Vista Flores, Altamira and Agrelo that is aged for 14 months in French oak, 70% new. It has a billowing bouquet of dark cherries, cassis, bay leaf and a hint of espresso that is beautifully defined. The palate is medium-bodied, with tobacco infused black fruit tinged with black pepper and a touch of green bell pepper. There is a welcome touch of austerity towards the finish that begs another sip, with tobacco then lingering on the aftertaste. This is superb.”

Tasting Notes: Named for Laura’s second son, this blend of Cabernet and Malbec is medium-bodied, plump and juicy with luscious flavors of red and black currant fruit.

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LUCA LABORDE 2010 DOUBLE SELECT SYRAH

WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - “The 2010 Syrah Laborde Double Select was sourced from 48-year-old ungrafted vines and aged for 14 months in 50% new French barriques before bottling without fining or filtration. It sports an expressive perfume of smoke, bacon, game, leather, pepper, and blueberry. Smooth-textured and elegant on the palate.”

Tasting Notes: The Laborde Syrah vineyard was planted by a double massal selection of Syrah vines brought back from France’s Rhône Valley over a half century ago by renowned viticulturist, Luis Laborde.

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MENDEL - Mendel Winery embodies the union of Roberto de la Mota - one of Argentina’s most respected and experienced winemakers - with a nearly century-old Argentine family, whose sole objective is to produce wine of unquestionable, superior quality. Proprietor and longtime wine lover, Anabelle Sielecki, diligently tracked down the very best talent Argentina had to offer when seeking Mendel’s winemaker, and with utmost charm and perseverance, brought Roberto de la Mota on board. Roberto, son of legendary winemaker Raul de la Mota, has an impressive winemaking record and a lifetime of winemaking education and practice. Together, they choose the best blocks from their ancient vineyards, and every artisan winemaking step is rigorously performed. Extraordinary vineyards, passionate people, experience and friendship are all blended to create these truly remarkable wines.

 

MENDEL 2011 UNUS

WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - “The nose is elegant and complex with subtle notes of soil, a little backward, combining ripe and fresh notes of fruit, hints of cured meats, orange peel, with a great sense of harmony. The palate is full-bodied, a good combination of the backbone of the Cabernet Sauvignon, the meat of the Malbec and a good punch in the palate helped by the Petit Verdot. The blend works really well, both in the nose and the palate. A great blend, quite classical, that should age well.”

Tasting Notes: A rich blend of Malbec and Cabernet Sauvignon. Big, yet suave with dark cherries, plums, roasted cocoa and ripe, soft tannins.

$39.95 750ml [380849] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

MERINO - René Merino is a physician who got into the wine business through his family’s agricultural background. The winemaker is José Pablo Martin, one of the most exciting young winemakers in Chile who has worked with top Chilean and French producers.

MERINO 2012 SYRAH

WINE AND SPIRITS MAGAZINE 91 POINTS - “Imagine a blender filled with fresh-picked blackberries. This smells & tastes like those berries after they’ve been pureed, as vibrant as it is soft & juicy. Added to that gentle, smooth feel, there’s a hint of meatiness giving the wine extra power & complexity.”

Tasting Notes: A deep and brilliant dark purple introduces a rich nose of ripe blackberries and raspberries. Finishes with minerality along with spicy violets and wild berries.

$14.95 750ml [383101] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

TIKAL - Tikal wines reflect the spirit of Mendoza: the sense of pride, love, celebration, and even a bit of craziness. Ernesto Catena spent his childhood in the vineyards of Mendoza among wine-growers and local pundits. A skilled horseman, software developer, and book editor, Ernesto pursues all that gives pleasure in life. This hedonism (in the best sense of the word) shows through in his wines. It is a style meant to provide enormous pleasure rather than provoke contemplation; an expression of emotion rather than intellect.

 

TIKAL 2012 PATRIOTA

WINE SPECTATOR 91 POINTS - “A rich red, packed with concentrated flavors of blackberry, dark plum and mocha, featuring plenty of dark chocolate notes. Offers a ripe texture, with creamy accents and hints of savory herb on the long finish.”

Tasting Notes: Bonarda and Malbec. Big body yet balanced, with layers of raspberry, cherry, cocoa, and a hint of baking spice.

$15.95 750ml [381267] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

TIKAL 2012 JUBILO

WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - “An elegant and refined red, offering bountiful flavors of dark plum, roasted cherry and blackberry pie that are lush and open-textured. Intense notes of dark chocolate and raspberry preserves linger on the spice-infused finish.”

Tasting Notes: Cabernet Sauvignon and Malbec. Unfolds in layers of black currant, oak, black cherry liqueur, dark chocolate, and roasted coffee. Lush without seeming heavy.

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The North American Report

California and Beyond Report by Dan Williams

ROBERT MONDAVI 2011 RESERVE CABERNET SAUVIGNON
NAPA VALLEY

The icon of icons for Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has been released! The Robert Mondavi Reserve Cabernet has become one of the benchmarks for greatness in the Napa Valley… and for good reason! The fruit comes entirely from the famed To Kalon Vineyard (ancient Greek for “the highest beauty”), and To Kalon has become recognized as one of the “first growth” vineyards of the new world. The vineyard is densely planted so vines are forced to compete with each other for sustenance, resulting in lower yields, smaller berries and more intense fruit flavors. Couple that with an uncompromising work ethic and talented winemakers and you have the reason why Robert Mondavi Winery is always regarded as one of the best each and every year. A stunner, this Cabernet’s deep, engaging aromas of cassis and early-season blackberries weave harmoniously with dried herbs, violet-floral, garrigue (a fresh minty-sage character) and a sense of minerality, in a silky ribbon of flavor that flows elegantly into a long, lingering finish. So amazing for the vintage, esteemed wine critic Antonio Galloni scored this at 94 points!

ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - “The 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve To Kalon Vineyard is the first year in which the Reserve is made exclusively from To Kalon fruit. The power and intensity of this site, along with the structure of the year, comes through loud and clear in a focused Cabernet Sauvignon loaded with class and personality. Bright floral, spiced and red-toned fruits are a reminder of the long, cool growing season. Readers should give the 2011 at least a few years in bottle. It will be interesting to see how the Reserve in its new incarnation develops. There appears to be plenty of potential though. The 100% new oak barrels are integrated beautifully.”

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FOXEN 2012 “LA ENCANTADA” PINOT NOIR SANTA RITA HILLS

Bill Wathen and Dick Doré have been making wine together since 1985, when they founded Foxen Vineyards & Winery at the historic Rancho Tinaquaic in Northern Santa Barbara County. Since that time their dedication has remained the same: the creation of small production, sustainably-farmed, vineyard-focused wines using a straightforward and minimalist approach to winemaking. They seem to be doing all the things right, as they now have an amazing following, and their tasting room has become a Santa Barbara Wine Country destination! This bottling comes entirely from the La Encantada Vineyard. This “charmed place” was planted by Richard Sanford in 2000. It is located on the western fringe of the Santa Rita Hills appellation, where its northern exposure makes it one of the coolest sites in the Santa Rita Hills AVA. Yields are minuscule, as Foxen typically gets less than 2 tons per acre, but scores tend to be high. This year’s release earned 94 points from Antonio Galloni!

ANTONIO GALLONI 94 POINTS - “The 2012 Pinot Noir La Encantada Vineyard is another of the many highlights in this range. Here the flavors are dark, smoky and gamy. Dark red cherry, plum, tobacco and cured meats flesh out in a resonant, highly expressive Pinot endowed with notable depth, especially within the context of the vintage. Hints of dried rose petal and violets linger on the finish. From start to finish, the Encantada is superb.”

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AUTONOM 2012 “LAW OF RETURN” GRENACHE CALIFORNIA

Proprietor and winemaker Paul Wilkins came out of the gate screaming with his 2007s and subsequent vintages have the same exciting results! The Law of Return Grenache is comprised of 100% free run juice...NO PRESSED JUICE! Very few producers employ this practice as it increases overall costs dramatically. But Paul feels that this gets him the best possible wine he can put in the bottle, and considering the price, it kind of makes you wonder why others charge more, yet their quality isn’t as high??? As they say, the proof is in the pudding, and the 2010 earned 91-93 points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate!

WINE ADVOCATE 91-93 POINTS - “Ripe, full-throttle and serious efforts, these wines are made by Paul Wilkins of Alta Maria Vineyards. Showing lots of stem, pepper and earth, the 2010 Grenache Law of Return is much deeper and concentrated than the perfumed 2010 Grenache Dare. Ripe, voluptuous and brilliantly pure, with layers of black fruits, smoked meats, licorice and pan drippings, it hits the palate with a full-bodied, rich feel, solid mid-palate depth and a blockbuster finish. It’s a ripe, decadent effort geared for drinking over the coming 5-6 years. Drink 2014-2020.”

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RAMEY 2012 CLARET NAPA VALLEY

David Ramey is held in the highest esteem as a true innovator, a talented wine artisan and an industry revolutionary. More than 30 years ago David helped lead the charge away from technically proficient, squeaky clean wines toward natural winemaking methods that embrace the importance of terroir, creating distinctive wines of unique character. His deft hand has helped to create ground-breaking wines while he was at Chalk Hill, Dominus and Rudd. Dave thinks 2012 summed up to be a perfect vintage, with clear sunny days and cool evenings. The Claret is a blend from several amazing vineyards up and down the Napa Valley, and the final blend is 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 2% Malbec, 2% Syrah, 1% Cabernet Franc, and 1% Petit Verdot. Earning 90-92 points from Robert Parker, this wine has a very vibrant ruby/garnet color along with a rich and fragrant nose of crushed flowers, red and black cherries, framboise, and herbs. Warm and caressing on the palate, the flavors suit, adding plums, anise, baked cherries, currants, and a hint of cinnamon. Full-bodied and with supple tannins, this is enticing how, but should evolve for another decade plus!

ROBERT PARKER 90-92 POINTS - "The 2012 Claret appears to be another outstanding example of value-priced Cabernet Sauvignon. A 6,000-case blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot and the rest Malbec, Syrah, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, consumers will love this beauty because of its forward, classic Cabernet style. It should drink well for 5-8 years."

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YARDEN 2012 “MOUNT HERMON RED” GALILEE

The Yarden wines have become “core” wines here at our store; so popular that, at times, they’re hard to keep on the shelves. We tasted the newest lineup of wines in early August, and to say we were impressed would be a severe understatement! Grapes come from Galilee (or Galil), the most northern, and generally considered the best, appellation in Israel. The highest quality area within the appellation is the Golan Heights (or simply the Golan), the coldest region in Israel. The vineyards on this volcanic plateau rise from 400 meters (1,300 feet) above sea level to 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) and receive snowfall in the winter. A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot, this 2012 displays strong notes of ripe red and black fruits such as currants, raspberries, black cherries, and plums, alongside hints of fresh herbs. Medium- to full-bodied and with fine-grained tannins, the Mount Hermon Red is ready to enjoy now and should hold its own for the next 2-5 years.

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YARDEN 2011 CHARDONNAY GALILEE

Just like Yarden’s reds, the Chardonnay is grown in vineyards up to 3,900 feet in elevation, helping to produce exceptional Chardonnay year after year. This wine was fermented and aged for seven months in French oak barrels, of which about 50% were new; while that does add some richness, the elevation of the vineyard helps to keep the wine fresh and lively. The 2011 Yarden Chardonnay presents bright lemon, floral, lime, pear and white peach notes rounded out with hints of spice and French oak. This classic medium- to full-bodied Chardonnay is wonderfully flavorful and eminently drinkable.

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RUDIUS 2011 “HYDE VINEYARD” CHARDONNAY CARNEROS

Growing up in Memphis and Mobile, Alabama in a family of lawyers, the thought of becoming a winemaker never occurred to Jeff Ames. But after deciding not to pursue his law degree, a part time job in a local wine shop in Memphis sparked his passion for wine. In 1998, he worked with Lynn Penner-Ash at Rex Hill, but his even bigger break came just a few short years later. In 2001, he was able to return to production when he became Thomas Brown’s assistant winemaker at brands including Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and Tor. Among winemakers and wine geeks alike, the name Hyde Vineyard is legendary. This site has been the source of several of the top California Chardonnays ever produced and has earned its reputation for quality over the last 20 years with wines of profound depth and longevity. Rudius’ inaugural 2011 Hyde Chardonnay shows amazing minerals and citrus notes, characteristic of the Hyde Vineyard, with a refreshing floral component with hints of honeysuckle and apple blossom. On the entry, this wine has medium weight with a delicate crystalline quality to the fruit. The mid-palate is flush with Meyer lemon and subtle hints of flowering rosemary, while the acidity keeps the finish bright, lengthy and fresh. The 100% Malolactic fermentation gives this Chardonnay great body and texture but the inherent acidity from the site carries this weight perfectly. Because of this distinct balance, this Hyde Chardonnay is not one to drink too cold, and decanting can do wonders for the wine, and letting it warm to near room temperature will allow you to experience all the unique aspects of this inaugural Chardonnay.

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BARBOURSVILLE 2013 VIOGNIER VIRGINIA

Virginia has a long and renowned winemaking history. It has even been recorded that Thomas Jefferson, one of our nation’s founders, collected some of the greatest wines in the world and planted vineyards in Virgina! Against the advice of bankers, government officials and other land owners who wanted him to plant tobacco, Gianni Zonin acquired the Barboursville plantation in 1976 with the seemingly ridiculous expectation of creating a vineyard. Nearly forty years later, Barboursville has set the standard for a region now populated by more than 200 wineries. Situated on the broad, rolling plateau and foothills of the Southwest Mountains in Virginia, the terroir lends itself to the consistent production of exceptional vintages in wines marked by extraordinary varietal integrity. Among the first to abandon the use of oak and malolactic fermentation, this Viognier demonstrates a striking balance between its flavor concentration and flesh. Welcoming aromatics lead to juicy and bright pear, passion fruit and hints of citrus on a gently herbal frame. Broad and expansive on the palate like most Viogniers, this wine is clean and refreshing on the palate instead of being overtly rich, which is a refreshing and welcomed difference.

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Wine of the Month

GUENOC 2013 CABERNET SAUVIGNON CALIFORNIA

Guenoc is part of the Langtry Estate, purchased by well-known personality and actress Lillie Langtry (1853-1929) in 1888. The Langtry Estate is located in the picturesque Guenoc Valley of Lake County, CA. With over 23,000 acres of land (Lillie’s initial purchase was for 4,200 acres), Langtry’s vast property spans throughout Lake County and into the northern tip of Napa Valley.

The Guenoc Lake County Wines are produced at their Lake County Winery from primarily estate grown fruit. Known as perennial “best buys”, these wines deliver the goods when it comes to quality-- and once the wine buyers tasted it, we knew we had “The One” for October (we’re suckers for excellent juice at fair prices!).

The nose on this California Cab is classic California-- plenty of ripe red fruits, cherries, redcurrant, with a layer of carob/chocolate and earthy dust. In the mouth, the fruit flavors are quite forward, with sweet cherries again in the lead, as cherry cousins (cola, lambic, Kirsch) tag along. Acidity is ample and keeps the sweet fruit honest as a hint of rose petal and more loamy earth and a brush of cocoa expands the profile. This is both an easy-drinker and comfy quaffer-- but it also keeps one foot in the erudite row of wine profiles with depth and range of flavors, full frontal acidity and smooth tannins.

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Wine of the Month 2

MORODER 2011 ROSSO CONERO AION

This is a relatively new wine in the Moroder stable. The vineyard sits about 200 meters in altitude and is heavily influenced by the sea being less than one mile away. Soils are Clay and Calcareous Marls. Ferment temperatures reach about 25 degrees with the wine fermented and aged in cement. 100% Montepulciano.

We’ve long been fans of the Montepulciano grape-- it makes for fantastic wine on the tasting front (climate, terroir and winemaking acumen permitting) and tends to not break the bank. Great wine for a song? We’re constantly on the lookout for that scenario. And this month, Aión delivers, capturing our Wine of the Month 2 slot.

Spicy bright red fruits, cherries, dried strawberry, black tea and touches of floral perfume, cedar and smoke fill the nose with velvet ease. The tannins on the palate are as smooth and lush, backed up by excellent, zippy acidity. Upon tasting, a nice mix of fruits and spices stand out: more forward red fruits, cherries, cranberries, red plum and pomegranate, meet up with clove and brown spices and a dash of black pepper. These flavors meld with a rich earthiness and stoney minerality, leading to a fruit-filled lengthy finish. Great bang-for-the-buck wine, Aión drinks way out of its niveau. Enjoy with pizza or Italian braised meats/meat sauces: Bolognese, carbonara, osso buoco, etc.

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Champagne of the Month

ANDRE ROBERT 2006 BLANC DE BLANCS "LE MESNIL" GRAND CRU

The Robert family has been in the Champagne growing business for well over a century, but it wasn’t until 1961 that André Robert established the family’s own estate brand and production cellars. In 1997, André’s son Bertrand took over management of the operation. Today he farms some 27 acres split into dozens of tiny garden-sized parcels. His vines average between 25-30 years of age with the lion’s share being Chardonnay planted in the Grand Cru of Le Mesnil. Bertrand practices viticulture raisonnée, a protocol that emphasizes natural measures to control pests and rot with chemical treatments used only as a last resort. So once again, as we have seen with other top grower producers, the quality of this Champagne is a natural outgrowth of family pride combined with generations of local knowledge.

Along with high quality, Andre Robert Champagnes are particularly notable for their excellent pricing. Indeed, for the past two years their Blanc de Blancs has been our “go to value play” for vintage Chardonnay-based Champagne. Two months ago Bertrand and his charming daughter Claire dropped by to check out our cellar and to preview their 2006 Le Mesnil. At that time we had two thoughts; first, that the ’06 is even better than its predecessor and secondly, Bertrand is going to lower the boom and announce a hefty, albeit deserved, price increase. Well, amazingly enough, he didn’t raise the price so this bottling remains one of Champagne’s rare “too good to be real” deals. For this vintage Blanc de Blancs the family uses grapes exclusively from their older (30-plus years) Chardonnay vines all planted in their famed home base village of Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. As always, this bottling was raised and stirred for seven months in 225-liter oak barrels with no malolactic fermentation. These practices contribute texture and complexity without sacrificing structure and longevity. For us this vintage shows the ripe character we loved in the 2005 but with more freshness and cut. In the glass one encounters ebullient aromas of apple jelly, Wonder Bread and chalk dust. The palate is at once rich and lively with tangy flavors of apple sauce, pears and honey toned with undertones of Meyer lemons and limestone. Here, then, is a perfectly balanced, multifaceted Champagne that exudes class and rivals vintage Grand Marque Champagnes selling for sixty dollars and more a bottle.

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Titans of Champagne

During the recent Dog Days of Summer two highly anticipated Champagne releases from the vaunted 2002 vintage quietly took respite in our cool temperature-controlled wine cellar: Salon’s Cuvée “S” and Bollinger’s R.D. In addition to being released, more or less, at the same time, these fabled Champagnes were just accorded virtually perfect 99 Point Scores by veteran wine pundit James Suckling. While hardly inexpensive, demand from collectors for these icons always overwhelms their limited supply because they have long stood as Titans that straddle both the prestige cuvée Champagne and fine wine markets.

 

BOLLINGER 2002 EXTRA BRUT R.D.

JAMES SUCKLING 99 POINTS -”Super fresh, this is striking given the 10 years in the cellars; it has a fine citrus nose – plenty of lemon, grapefruit, yellow chalky notes, some lighter floral elements too. The palate is super dry (dosage at 3-4g) and there’s a silky, sherbet-like texture, smooth, fine and long. The citrus flavors give way to the driving surging acidity, thunderous acidity, really driving and powerful. The finish twists very slowly through to light-toasted cashew fruit flavors, but lemon citrus prevails. This is thrilling Champagne. Disgorged 22nd October, 2013. Drink from 2016.”

R.D. is the result of Madame Bollinger’s great vision: an expert wine with aromas enhanced by its exceptionally long maturation. Since the 1952 vintage, a tiny portion of the Grande Année production has been held back in Bollinger’s cellars and disgorged at a later time as R.D. (récemment dégorgé, or recently disgorged); in this case ten years after the vintage. This 2002 is a blend of 60% Pinot Noir and 40% Chardonnay. The cuvée was assembled from 23 crus: 71% Grands Crus and 29% Premier Crus. R.D. is released as an Extra Brut, with three to four grams of sugar per liter, whereas a typical Grande Année will have around seven or eight grams. Only the very best among Bollinger’s vintage Champagnes become Bollinger R.D.: 2002 is, of course, one of the most promising vintages of our generation.

$319.98 750ml [352681] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

SALON 2002 BRUT CUVÉE “S” BLANC DE BLANC

JAMES SUCKLING 99 POINTS - ”The 2002 Salon is phenomenal quality. I tasted it in New York City yesterday. I was mesmerized. It is a subtle and intense Champagne that shows complex character of lilac, minerals, sliced lemon, apple, and white pepper. It is full body and dense yet racy and agile with a lightness and freshness. It has a gloriously long finish. It changes every moment in the glass. It has such clarity. It’s magnificent to drink now, but shows great texture and structure for aging.”

Salon’s uniqueness stems from the fact that is always one varietal (Chardonnay) from one (superior) vintage sourced from one village: Le Mesnil-sur-Oger. This 2002 is only the 38th vintage of Salon released since 1905. Salon Delamotte president, Didier Depond, considers 2002 to be the perfect image of Salon, of Blanc de Blancs, and of Le Mesnil. As great as this wine is now he believes it will take another ten years for it to define itself.

$369.98 750ml [375863] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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Germany

SCHLOSS HALLBURG 2012 PINOT GRIS DRY ESTATE GROWN, FRANKEN, GERMANY

This is an unusually rich, flavorful, yet totally dry, Pinot Gris (Grigio) from the Franken region of Germany. On the nose you find aromas of green melon, spiced pears and white peaches. In the mouth this wine delivers rich, viscous stone fruit flavors balanced with citrus notes and good acidity. The finish is long with excellent minerality. While this crisp white has some similarities to the Pinot Grigios found in Italy, it is easy to tell that it comes from Germany.

The stunning Schloss Hallburg (schloss = castle) in Franken dates to 1284. It is bordered on the north-west by the Main River and to the east by a canal. The surrounding towns of Hallburg, Nordheim and Sommerach form a triangular region around it flanked by water, thus creating an “island” of quality wine-making in the heart of the region. The castle was acquired by the von Schonborn family in 1806. The vineyards are farmed organically and biodynamically under the direction of Georg Hünnerkop, named Estate Manager of the Year in Germany by Gault–Millau in 2009. His style of winemaking features vigorous, refreshing whites without oak or “makeup.” These are pure tasting wines from a great, ancient site in the bone-dry Franconian tradition.

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Rhône Round Up

Château Des Tours - The spirit of Jacques Reynaud, the godfather of Châteauneuf-du-Pape, is always present. When the legendary founder of Château Rayas died suddenly in 1997, his wife asked their nephew, Emmanuel Reynaud (pictured above), to take the reins at both Château Rayas and Château Fonsalette. Already making wines at his father’s Château des Tours, Emmanuel agreed.

He is somewhat reclusive, and can be found working his vineyards at most any time of day, every day. Emmanuel does not revel in the fame and notoriety that come with making such sought-after and acclaimed wines, but he continues to carry the mantle of his famous forebears, producing hauntingly aromatic wines at his three estates: Château Rayas, Château des Tours and Château de Fonsalette.

Situated in an old house flanked on both sides by tall towers (hence “des Tours”), Château des Tours is Emmanuel’s own family estate, which he took over from his father, Bernard, in 1989. Emmanuel is, at heart, a farmer, and here he grows food for his family, in addition to grapes. Like all Reynaud vineyards, these are tended with the same organic methods, manually plowed, harvested much later than other producers and centered around a reverence for old-vine Grenache. Château des Tours is located in Sarrians, Côtes-du-Rhône, just outside Châteauneuf-du-Pape. Weighty, complex and savory, the wines produced here are among the most well-regarded, sought-after bottles of the appellation.

 

 

CHÂTEAU DES TOURS 2010 CÔTES DU RHÔNE $33.99 750ml [333922] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

DOMAINE DES TOURS 2010 VAUCLUSE $21.99 750ml [333923] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

CHÂTEAU DES TOURS 2007 VACQUEYRAS

ROBERT PARKER 92 POINTS - “Perhaps the finest Vacqueyras Des Tours has produced since the 1989 and 1990 is the 2007. This powerhouse boasts stunning levels of kirsch, garrigue, pepper and framboise, a big, full-bodied mouthfeel and super freshness, purity and overall equilibrium. It will benefit from another several years of bottle age and keep for 12-15 years."

$54.99 750ml [333921] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button 12 Bottles Available

 

LE VIEUX DONJON 2012 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE

eROBERT PARKER 91-94 POINTS - “Most likely even better, the 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a classic effort from this estate that could come from nowhere else than the south of France. Garrigue, lavender, pepper, sweet kirsch and blackberry-styled fruits are just some of the notions here and this medium to full-bodied, supple and nicely concentrated 2012 will benefit from short-term cellaring once released. It should have 12-15 years or ultimate longevity. Drink 2016-2027.”

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PIERRE USSEGLIO 2012 CHÂTEAUNEUF TRADITION

eROBERT PARKER 89-92 POINTS - “As a group, the 2012s should surpass the 2011s. A blend of 80% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah and the rest Cinsault and other varieties, the 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is a medium to full-bodied, fruit-loaded effort that has beautiful texture and richness. Sweet black raspberry, cassis, leaf tobacco and violets all come together nicely. This beauty should be approachable on release, yet evolve gracefully through 2024. Drink 2014-2024.”

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BOSQUET DES PAPES 2012 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE TRADITION

eROBERT PARKER 92-94 POINTS - “Moving to Boiron’s 2012s, the straight 2012 Châteauneuf-du-Pape is stunning. Black cherry, ground pepper, bouquet garni and new leather-like aromas and flavors all flow from this medium to full-bodied, textured and seamless effort. While traditional in style, it’s remarkably polished and elegant, with no hard edges and very fine tannin. It should have 12-15 years of longevity and should not be missed. Drink 2015-2027.”

$47.99 750ml [333781] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

BOSQUET DES PAPES 2012 CHÂTEAUNEUF-DU-PAPE
A LA GLOIRE DE MON GRANDPERE

eROBERT PARKER 94-96 POINTS - “Looking just as good, with a slightly more approachable profile, the 2012 Chateauneuf du Pape A La Gloire de Mon Grand-Pere is a field blend of close to 100% Grenache that comes from the Gardiole lieu-dit. Aged all in demi-muid, it is an awesomely textured, seamless effort that boasts knockout aromas and flavors of kirsch, wild strawberries, herbs de Provence and red licorice. Not quite as backwards or concentrated as the Chante Le Merle, it should be approachable at an earlier age and drink brilliantly for 15 years or more. Drink 2015-2027.”

$64.99 750ml [333779] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button 12 Bottles Available

Best Buys

CHÂTEAU BIZARD 2011 GRIGNAN-LES-ADHEMAR
MONTAGNE DE RAUCOULE

ROBERT PARKER 90 POINTS - “Two outstanding efforts include the 2011 Grignan-Les-Adhemar Montagne de Raucoule, which is dominated by Syrah but also includes a good bit of Grenache. It reveals lots of blackberry, black cherry, licorice and forest floor characteristics, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, gorgeous texture, and a sensual, complex style with impressive purity. Consume it over the next 4-5 years.”

$13.95 750ml [333903] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

DOMAINE CABIRAU 2011 CÔTE ROUSSILLON

eROBERT PARKER 91 POINTS - “Brightness and invigoration from tart skins and crunchy seeds render the fresh blackberry and black raspberry delivered by the Cabirau 2011 Côtes du Roussillon Malgre les Functionnaires proof against any negative effects of its nearly 15% alcohol. Tar, Latakia tobacco and black pepper incisively accent this smoky, rich blend of Grenache with roughly 20% Syrah and 15% Carignan, leading to an infectiously juicy and positively mouth-shaking finish. Here is a wonderful example of the vivacity and energy that can be conveyed by ripe Roussillon fruit, not mention an exceptional value. I expect it to drink well through at least 2017.”

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Cathan's Corner
by Cathan Cokas

Finally, the summer burning heat has left us and now by Cathan Cokas we are in our mild-mannered Southern California fall season. With October arriving, so does a cornucopia of fresh hop IPAs to complement the jack-o-lanterns, candy and falling leaves that take over the streets. Obviously IPAs are the one of the most dominant styles you will see in our beer room and in Southern California in general. Like any other crop harvest, this is the time of the year where all the hops have been recently harvested and they are at their freshest state for our enjoyment. Fresh Hop IPAs portray a massive bouquet of aromas that are hinted in the other seasons' IPAs but are brought to a major forefront in these fall season brews. Instead of focusing in on particular beers or breweries that offer these kinds of hoppy delectable treats, we wanted to focus in on some of the hops that are the backbone of the IPAs a lot of Southern California loves.

Amarillo- Yes, it is the same word for yellow in Spanish but don’t let that fool you about where this hop is coming from. Created in Washington state, this hop is similar to a few that we will be talking about in that it is only produced at one single farm-- so that creates a demand for it that the farmers and creators of this hop love. This hop has a somewhat citrusy spicy taste with a large orange-dominated bouquet. Some beers that portray the great flavor of the Amarillo hop and that we currently carry are: Hangar 24 Amarillo Pale Ale, Rogue Yellow Snow IPA, Dogfish 60 minute IPA, and Green Flash Hop Head Red.

Mosaic- If you have enjoyed an IPA or Pale Ale over this summer, then a beer brewed with Mosaic hops has probably graced your palate at least once. This hop has recently taken a stronghold in our beer room as a hop that is perfect for the summer or session IPAs that we all have been enjoying. This hop has been tied to a very famous predecessor hop, the Citra hop, as it is somewhat similar in flavor with its mango, lemon and tropical fruit notes. It differs in that the earthy pine and stone fruit notes come out with a vengeance that the Citra hop usually lacks. This beer is a newcomer to the brewing world but it is most definitely here to stay. Some beers
that we currently offer at the moment containing Mosaic hops are: El Segundo Mosaic Blue House IPA, Stone Go-to IPA, New Belgium Rampant IPA, and Epic Santa Cruz Brown. just to name a few.

Columbus- Now this hop is probably the most widely hop over all levels of brewing. From the biggest craft breweries in the world to our local home brewers, all of them have played around with Columbus hops. This is because it is a pinnacle for the strong earthy aroma style which leads to it being a great hop used for dry hopping, a process used to enhance the IPA’s aroma. Just to name a few out of many of beers that call our beer room home: Anderson Valley Hop Ottin', Flying Dog Snake IPA, Oskar Blues Deviant Dales, and Bear Republic Racer 5.

Simcoe- This hop came around in 2000 from Washington State and instantly became a sensation in the craft brewing world. Simcoe hop brewed beers should contain tons of rich pine notes and come through with a high bitterness citrusy taste. These beneficial qualities make Simcoe one of those hops that every brewer likes to mix into their regular and double IPA’s. Some locals of our beer room are El Segundo Two 5 Left Double IPA, New Belgium Ranger IPA, Port Brewing Wipeout, Green Flash West Coast IPA and the one that graces our presence the least often, Russian River Pliny the Elder.

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October Spirits

Selvarey Rum - In much of the world, rum is worshiped as the pinnacle of civilization. Yet too many Americans associate the sugarcane spirit with cartoon pirates, cruise ship blenders and hangovers. Selvarey (in Spanish, Selva = Jungle and Rey = King), is determined to change what you expect from your rum.
  • The White, a delicate blend of 3 and 5 year old rums aged in bourbon casks, is pure enough to be sipped on the rocks.
  • The Cacao, a rich 5 year old rum infused with locally sourced chocolate, is out of this world delicious.

Special Pricing through the end of December, 2014!

SELVAREY WHITE

Co-founded by musician Bruno Mars, Selvarey (pronounced Sel-vuh-ray) is far from just another celebrity brand. Rather, Mars worked with legendary master blender Don Francisco “Pancho” Fernandez, the former Cuban Minister of Rum and thirty-five year veteran of Havana Club, to create a new standard of white rum. In the midst of sugarcane fields on the coast of Panama, Don Pancho crafts Selvarey White from a blend of three and five-year-old rums, distilled in 1922 copper column stills, aged in American oak and carbon filtered to remove the color without losing the deep flavors imparted in the aging process. The 3 year-old rum brings the youth and vibrancy which is rounded off by the full-bodied richness of the mature 5 year old. Unlike many white rums, Selvarey has been painstakingly designed with the distinct goal of being fine enough to sip on the rocks. But it has garnered an incredible amount of press for its prowess as a mixer in high-end cocktails. It’s already earned numerous accolades including a 94 rating from the Tasting Panel Magazine, the highest rating ever awarded to a white rum in the history of the publication.

Sale $19.98 Normally $24.99 750ml [104711] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

SELVAREY CACAO

With Selvarey Cacao, Don Pancho hand selects a rich five-year-old rum whose inherent flavor is brought out by the infusion of natural chocolate. The result is a spirit that elevates coffee cocktails, mudslides, or chocolate martinis into a luxury experience yet it’s an absolute a pleasure just to sip on its own. Selvarey Cacao has quickly become one of the most awarded new spirits in recent memory, receiving an astounding 95 rating from the Tasting Panel Magazine as well as winning the gold medal at the 2014 Miami Rum Fest and the coveted Chairman’s Trophy at the 2014 Ultimate Spirits Challenge in New York City, the first flavored rum ever to do so.

Sale $24.99 Normally $29.99 750ml [104710] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


The Lost Distillery Company

The Lost Distillery Company is an independent boutique Scotch Whisky company. They are obsessive about their craft and uncompromising when it comes to whisky quality. Their mission is to create present day expressions of legendary whiskies that belonged to the craft of whisky distilling almost a century ago. This is illustrated in their icon – the Triskele, an ancient Celtic symbol depicting reincarnation. Their interpretation of the Triskele incorporates the core components of the whisky making process – the barrel, the water and the barley. We were fascinated by the idea and impressed by the whiskies-- and, in their own words, here's why:

"There is no magic formula to what we do. We don’t have a warehouse full of old forgotten whisky, we don’t have a secret recipe or DNA analysis and we don’t have plans to reopen any of these lost distilleries. The answer to what we do lies in the history books…The process begins with our Archiving Team led by Professor Michael Moss from The University of Glasgow. Focussing on the 10 key components that influenced the original character of these long lost whiskies, the Archiving Team play a pivotal role in evidencing how that spirit might have tasted when it was last distilled. While we could argue that there are a number of elements of the production process that are pivotal to the final taste of the whisky, we focus on what we consider to be the ten most important. Depending on the availability of information from our research, we are able to make certain assumptions as to what the profile of these whiskies might have been.

The 10 Key Components:

1. ERA – The date of the last distillation is critically important. As with most manufacturing businesses, fashions and processes change. Mechanisation brought increased consistency to the process, while expansion of the railways sponsored the construction of much bigger distilleries.

2. LOCALITY – Neighbouring distilleries may have used similar sources of water, barley and yeast. They may have shared expertise that still survives today in working distilleries.

3. WATER – A core ingredient used to make the spirit and also to dilute the product to bottling strength. Was the water soft or hard? What was the mineral content?

4. BARLEY – The most important aspect of the barley is the phenolic content. Where was the barley grown? Was it local? Which strains of barley were used? How consistent was the yield?
5. YEAST – Why is some sourdough bread better than others? Why do some bakers retain a starter dough for decades? Yeast matters in the process and ultimately has an impact on the final product.

6. PEAT – Was the malted barley peated or unpeated? How much peat was used and was it sourced locally? How did this translate to the phenol content of the finished product?

7. MASH TUN – What material was it constructed from? Was it open or closed, and how was the temperature controlled? Volatile temperatures would inhibit yeast activity.

8. WASH BACK – These would have been made almost exclusively from Douglas Fir; chosen for its straight grain and lack of knots. While some distilleries still use these, most have converted to stainless steel versions that impart no character to the product.

9. STILL – The shape and size of the still deeply influence the overall character of the spirit. For example, a smaller dumpy still will typically allow more contact between the copper and the spirit meaning that it produces a heavier, more viscous spirit.

10. WOOD – After production, what type of wood was used to store or transport the whisky to its destination? Did this have an impact on the final flavour? What did the barrel have in it before it was used for whisky? This would have had a significant effect on the whisky’s taste.

While these 10 key components are essential, it’s just as important to recognise what wasn’t in the whisky. A century ago there was no such thing as chill filtration or caramel colouring of the final product. That’s why, at The Lost Distillery Company, we don’t do either of these things today.
Following the detailed work of our Archivists, our team of whisky makers begin to interpret the research to pick out some of the eight key flavour nuances of the whisky:
Peaty • Floral • Fruity • Cereal • Winey • Woody • Sulphery • Fenty

The third part of our process is arguably the most interesting and challenging. We call this ‘The Debate’. Our Archivists and Whisky Makers, along with a panel of selected ‘noses’, attempt to bring to life the evidence before them. They create a blend of single malts from different distilleries and with different flavour profiles, tweaking the composition to sit easily with both the evidence of the archivist and the interpretation of the whisky makers. This process takes considerable time and experience but only when everyone is comfortable with the result does the whisky receive The Lost Distillery Company seal of approval – when we are happy that we have created a present day interpretation of that long lost whisky legend." - www.lost-distillery.com

 
AUCHNAGIE SERIES I BLENDED WHISKY 92 PROOF

Appearance: Dull gold, with very slight haze (suggesting lack of chill-filtration), and good thick legs (indicating good texture).
Aroma: Slight nose prickle. The top notes are juicy and fruity – bruised pears, grapefruit, fresh orange peel. Behind this there is a light biscuit note (Rich Tea biscuit) and a trace of steam engine. A little water introduces estery pear drops, soft apples and oiled leather
Taste: Very sweet to taste at bottled strength, with considerable spice across the tongue and a warming, medium-length finish. Fruity boiled sweets in the aftertaste. At reduced strength it is less sweet and less spicy, but remains fruity, with a trace of vanilla sponge – Eve’s Pudding.
Comment: Spicy and vigorous at full strength; soft and pleasant with a dash of water.

$61.99 750ml [105322] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

AUCHNAGIE VINTAGE BLENDED WHISKY 92 PROOF

Appearance: Pale gold. Lemon lights.
Aroma: Sweet malt in the foreground, rapidly followed by fruity notes – tinned pears – with traces of spun honey. The sweet cereal now in the background as sweet biscuit. Water introduces hemp rope and wet cardboard, but still with a fruity top-note.
Taste: Sweet to taste at bottled strength, with considerable spice across the tongue and a warming, medium-length finish. At reduced strength it is less sweet and less spicy, but remains fruity, with a trace of apple sponge and vanilla.
Comment: Pleasantly sweet and spicy, with the ‘hemp rope’ an old fashioned scent.

$249.99 750ml [105317] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

STRATHEDEN SERIES 2 BLENDED WHISKY 92 PROOF

Appearance: Full gold, with khaki lights. Thin but slow-running legs.
Aroma: A dense, leathery nose with traces of dry fruit-cake, madeira cake and tinned pears, and a suspicion of scorched newspaper in the background. After a while a hint of pastry, hard toffee and sweet tobacco. A drop of water increases the pastry note, now buttery, and replaces the fruity notes with waxy green apple.
Taste: Sweet and peppery to taste, at bottled strength, with a trace of salt and a warming, medium-length finish. Lingering heat. Similar profile with water, at reduced levels, but without the salt and warm finish.
Comment: Like Auchnagie, this is strikingly spicy at full strength; pleasantly mouth-cooling and easy to drink with a dash of water.

$61.99 750ml [105321] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

STRATHEDEN VINTAGE BLENDED WHISKY 92 PROOF

Appearance: Full gold.
Aroma: A dense, leathery nose to start, then dry fruit-cake, madeira cake (with Maraschino cherries) and tinned pears. After a while a hint of pastry, hard toffee and sweet tobacco. A drop of water introduces pastry made with lard and adds a brown-paper note to faint pears.
Taste: Surprisingly sweet and peppery to taste, at bottled strength, with a trace of salt and a warming, medium-length finish. Lingering heat. Similar profile with water, at reduced levels, but with more fruit.
Comment: Similar in style to the ‘non-vintage’ edition, but with greater complexity.

$279.99 750ml [105316]

 

GERSTON SERIES 3  BLENDED WHISKY 92 PROOF

Appearance: Full gold
Aroma: Light malt loaf to start, with sultanas and a trace of allspice. After a while a very slight steamy/smoky note, and hints of hard toffee. The smoky/maritime note increases over time, but becomes dirty (exhaust fumes) when water is added.
Taste: Smooth texture, sweet taste with smoke in the finish and a mineral twist. Water softens the texture; less sweet but still smoky, and a lingering smokiness in the aftertaste.
Comment: The flavor profile is just what you would expect from a 19th Century distillery.

$61.99 750ml [105323] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

GERSTON VINTAGE BLENDED WHISKY 92 PROOF

Appearance: Pale amber.
Aroma: A relatively closed nose; clean and fresh, with traces of linen and herbal fabric freshener. Laura Ashley? After a while a light, spicy prickle emerges, topping a fruity/doughy note: apple dumpling, made with suet and dusted with nutmeg.
With a drop of water the paper note advances, joined by warm leatherette and a trace of steam.
Taste: Smooth texture, sweet taste and a surprising amount of smoke in the finish – more coal smoke/steam engine than peat smoke. An unusual, antique taste, which holds up well with a drop of water, although the smoky element is reduced.
Comment: Interesting and vaguely ‘old fashioned’, especially without water.

$279.99 750ml [105315] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


Lost Spirits Distillery
Monterey County, California

"Flavor lovers and tiki drink drinkers, here's a rum for you!" - A Mountain of Crushed Ice

"Lost Spirits Navy Style Rum stands alone among American made rums, offering a profile that recalls authentic spirits from another era." - examiner.com

"Best over proof rum we have ever had hands down." - Spirits Review by Chris Carlsson

 
LOST SPIRITS CUBAN RUM 151 PROOF - $35.99 750ml [105582] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

LOST SPIRITS "POLYNESIAN" RUM 132 PROOF $37.99 750ml [105583] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

LOST SPIRITS NAVY STYLE RUM 114 PROOF $32.99 750ml [108773] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

LOST SPIRITS NAVY RUM 136 PROOF $42.99 750ml [108774] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button


GEORGE DICKEL HAND SELECTED by Hi-Time 14 YEAR
SINGLE BARREL 106 PROOF

"Born 40 years after the signing of the Declaration of Independence, George A. Dickel was an established Nashville merchant. In 1867, he visited Tullahoma with his wife, Augusta. Three years later, Cascade Hollow would be home to the Dickel Distillery. Declaring his whisky of equal quality to the finest scotch, George Dickel followed in the Scottish tradition of spelling whisky without an “e.” George Dickel discovered that whisky made in the winter was smoother than whisky made in the summer. That’s why our whisky is chilled before charcoal-mellowing. This extra step filters out oils and acids, and to this day, we’re the only Tennessee distiller to do it." - GeorgeDickel.com

This barrel was hand-picked by Hi-Time for its outstanding flavor, smoothness and character-- we love it and think you will too!

$59.99 750ml [104570] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

GLENFARCLAS 25 YEAR

“My great-great grandfather, John Grant, born in 1805, purchased Glenfarclas Distillery for £511.19s.0d on the 8th of June 1865. To this day, Glenfarclas Single Highland Malt Scotch Whisky is distilled and matured at our family owned and run distillery, which thanks to the foresight of my forefathers remains independent. Creating a great malt whisky is a time-honoured process. Here in the heart of Speyside, my family has cherished the skills and traditions of fine malt whisky making, handing them down through six generations. We are proud to share our secrets with you”. - John L. S. Grant (glenfarclas.co.uk)

Nose: Macadamia nuts, hints of lime and honey
Flavor: This is such a wonderful surprise, especially for its price point. I was taken aback by its texture and flavor. If silk and cashmere were liquid this would be it. It tastes like dark chocolate truffle laced with walnuts. On the second sip, subtle notes of white cracked pepper lace the tongue on the finish, though the main profile is dominated by dark chocolate. With a few drops of water, it becomes more creamy, with emerging notes of honey laced with cashmere. If you’re looking for a gift for someone and want to impress them, get this Glenfarclas 25-year as this is an incredible price. I feel strongly that Glenfarclas makes exceptional expressions, yet they’ve managed to keep their price points remarkedly low. It is quite hard to find a 25-year-old Scotch at this price point, and for it to taste amazing it is just a lovely treat. It is highly approachable and gentle on the palate, yet delivers a wavering texture and mouthfeel that keep the imbiber on his/her toes. - Linh Do

$149.99 750ml [111420] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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Sake
By Trayce Holliday

Sake Tasting - Sake is back! We will taste at least 8 different sakes and enjoy a midweek respite from the madding world.

Wednesday, October 15th
6:00-8:00 p.m., $20 w/snacks

KEN DAIGINJO 720ml

Delicious, dry and fragrant Ken is a solid Daiginjo hailing from Fukushima prefecture. It has aromas of cedar & light stone fruits. Honeydew melon, citrus & minerals coat the palate. The finish is dry & sharp, so it pairs extremely well with a wide variety of foods including grilled sea-eel with salt & salad with anchovy dressing. Please serve chilled.

$66.99 720ml [365652] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

 

KIKU MASAMUNE HONJOZO 720ml

This Honjozo Sake is super & performs best at room temp or lightly warmed. Aromas of banana, pumpkin & sweet potato are there. Earth & mushroom like flavors are on the palate & will pair fantastic with cooked meats, salted fish, & fresh mountain vegetables. The finish is dry & gamey, superb!

$19.99 720ml [365669] Hi-Time Wine Cellars add to cart button

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The Smoke Shack

Cigar of the Month

DAVIDOFF COLORADO CLARO

Davidoff Colorado Claro cigars are part of a rare series produced in very small quantities for cigar smokers who crave a unique taste experience. With a decidedly Cuban flavor profile, these cigars stand out from the rest. Since they’re also part of a highly exclusive series, and thus are very hard to come by. Davidoff is well known for only using the most premium, well-aged tobaccos available to create their blends, while perfecting the creation of their cigars. Each cigar is rolled using the most authentic, traditional methods in existence. Each cigar starts with a blend of 4-year-old aged tobaccos, carefully selected by Davidoff’s experts in the Dominican Republic, wrapped around this tasty blend is a shimmering reddish-brown Ecuadorian sun-Grown Connecticut wrapper. From there they are given to only the highest grade cigar rollers, who painstakingly create them before sending them to Santiago, to age in the aging room at the Davidoff facility. With a much stronger taste, a spicy start rounds off to creamy flavors of sweet wood and continues to build towards a full-flavored and complex smoke with a fantastic, alluring aroma.

AVAILABLE IN FIVE SIZES:
Special T (pictured) -
$21.00 [117521]
Special R -
$17.50 [117523]
Anniversary #1 -
$22.00 [103934]
Double R -
$30.00 [119113]
Short Perfecto -
$15.00 [117522]

Pair with:
George Dickel 14 year Single Barrel - Sku 104570-
$59.99

New Cigars

NEW WORLD by A.J. FERNANDEZ

The New World cigar brand is the first blend in which A.J. Fernandez and father Ismael Fernandez have worked together to create a cigar. New World is a unique cigar that pays homage to the discovery of Tobacco by European explorers as the discovered the New World. The New World blend is a box-pressed cigar, adorned with a cigar band that depicts the European landing on the shores of the New World. As with every A.J. Fernandez brand, New World is a carefully, handcrafted cigar that was blended under strict supervision of A.J. in its Esteli, Nicaragua-based factory. This cigar is a medium-to-full-bodied cigar with amazing aroma. With hints of sweetness and spicy elements in a very balanced and refined cigar.

AVAILABLE IN THREES SIZES:
Robusto Navegant -
$5.99 [105497]
Belicoso Almitant -
$6.25 [105498]
Gordo Virrey -
$6.49 [105499]

 
QUESADA OKTOBERFEST

Quesada Oktoberfest cigars showcase 100% Dominican tobaccos for binder, fillers, and wrapper. The Dominican Habano wrapper leaf hails from the Cibao Valley, where the most premium leaves in the country are grown. Inside the filler you’ll find Dominican Cuban-seed Criollo, Olor Viso, and ligero tobaccos, creating a slightly complex but medium to full-bodied experience with a smooth, elegant finish. You’ll experience notes of sweet chocolate and earth, with a hint of hay and leather on the finish...which perfectly pairs with your favorite Oktoberfest beer.

AVAILABLE IN TWO SIZES:
Bavaria 5 1/2x52 -
$8.49 [105475]
Uber 6x65 -
$9.25 [105474]

A Dominican-made puro blended to pair with your favorite beer, Quesada Oktoberfest cigars will thoroughly relax your mood.

Pair with:
Spaten Oktoberfest 6-pack
$9.47 [496111]
Ninkasi Oktoberfest 22 OZ.
$4.37 [473702]
Boulder Brewery Dragonhosen Oktoberfest 22 OZ. -
$7.97 [498775]

New Cigar Accessories

CRAFTMAN’S BENCH  GENTLEMAN’S GIFT SET

The gentleman’s gift set is perfect for anyone who enjoys pairing fine cigars with premium spirits. Wrapped in a handsome walnut finish, this humidor’s simple and unique design makes it a great addition to any connoisseur’s bar. Features a Spanish cedar interior and also includes:

  • Pouring spout
  • Bottle stopper
  • Black and silver flask
  • Humidifier
  • Hygrometer
  • Holds up to 65 cigars
  • 10 ¼” x 8 ¾” x 4 ½”

$99.95 [105517]

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