Special Purchase of Delicious Rhone Red!
We just brought in an incredible value that cannot be ignored. We were able to make a special purchase on a delicious Rhone red and it's hard to believe a wine can deliver so much flavor and sell for under $10.00 per bottle! We are thrilled to offer a terrific wine from well-known Rhone producer Michel Chapoutier. While some of his wines sell for hundreds of dollars, the Chapoutier team takes full advantage of the abundant sunshine and lower land cost of the Costieres de Nimes to deliver an incredible value. La Ciboise is a deeply fruited Rhone blend that delivers the goods with lush, perfectly ripened grapes showing off what this legendary producer is capable of.
This rich and robust red comes from Chapoutier's biodynamically farmed vineyards in the Costieres de Nimes, the most southern appellation of the Rhone. It is comprised of Grenache and Syrah and is an easy to like, palate pleasing, juicy wine. The Wine Enthusiast tasted this wine and gave it a score of 91 Points calling it "a full-bodied, invigorating red." James Suckling tasted this wine in barrel and gave it a 90-91 Point rating, noting its "array of ripe, purple fruit." We agree with both reviews and find this wine so enjoyable at an everyday drinking price-point.
The grapes benefit from the warm, dry growing season and the Mistral winds which affect the vines in a very positive way. The strong winds virtually eliminate all cloud cover and ensure bright, sunny days which are perfect for ripening fruit. They also moderate temperatures and eliminate excessive moisture in the vineyards, ensuring healthy grapes. The result is a supple and rounded style that's ready to drink and so easy to like.
We are happy to offer this crowd-pleasing wine at the lowest price in the nation! This wine is a no-brainer which over-delivers and at less than $120.00 per case represents an amazing value.
CHAPOUTIER 2017 LA CIBOISE COSTIERES DE NIMES
JAMES SUCKLING 90-91 POINTS - "An array of ripe, purple fruit here with an air of dark, rose-like perfume. The palate carries a wealth of smooth, chalky tannins and bright raspberries. Crisp finish."
WINE ENTHUSIAST 91 POINTS - "Notes of crisp raspberry, bramble and crushed stone introduce this full-bodied yet invigorating red. Blackberry and mulberry flavors are juicy yet vital, edged by hints of mineral and a zesty mid palate. Peppery, fine tannins linger on the finish. This lovely sip is ready now but should hold through 2023."
New High Scores for San Filippo's 2015 Brunellos!
There are many Brunello di Montalcino wines out there these days, but there are particularly distinguished producers that can be relied upon for consistently great wines. San Filippo is one such producer, and the latest releases from the lauded 2015 vintage are proof! They are not only delicious in their primacy (decanted for a couple hours), but are age-worthy as well.
The "Insider" edition of Wine Spectator has just joined in with James Suckling's great reviews, starting with the classic Brunello:
SAN FILIPPO 2015 BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO
JAMES SUCKLING 98 POINTS - "The transparency of fruit to this wine is so pretty with sliced black cherries and orange peel. Fresh and aromatic. Full body. Tight and polished with ultra-fine tannins and an intense and focused finish. A beauty. Drink after 2022."
WINE SPECTATOR; INSIDER 95 POINTS - "Fruity and elegant, with cherry, strawberry, floral and mineral notes plying the lacy texture. Shows terrific balance and complexity. There is no shortage of structure and the finish blazes a path to glory."
$59.95 750ml 
Just as in other great winemaking regions, there are distinguished vineyards that take it to the next level. San Filippo's vineyard, "Le Lucere," is one of those, and the critical reviews reflect the greatness of the site:
SAN FILIPPO 2015 "LE LECURE" BRUNELLO DI MONTALCINO
JAMES SUCKLING 100 POINTS - "Decadent aromas of ripe fruit, such as plums and peaches with black truffles and porcini mushrooms. Full body, with layers of ripe fruit and round and chewy tannins. Lots of chocolate and fresh mushroom at the finish. A thoroughly terroir-driven red. Try after 2022."
WINE SPECTATOR; INSIDER 97 POINTS - "Effusive aromas of black currant, blueberry, violet and iron mark this expressive red. Supple and harmonious, with a firm backbone of tannins that are refined and integrated. Shows terrific length and complexity."
$89.95 750ml 
Founded back in 1972, the San Filippo estate is located in what some consider to be the classic part of Montalcino, just southeast of the town, overlooking the idyllic Orcia valley (a UNESCO heritage site).
93 Point Bordeaux Almost Too Good to be True is Back!
If Chateau Belle-Vue isn't on you radar, it should be! We (happily) taste a lot of wine in the course of sourcing the best for Hi-Time and reject thousands of offerings that don't make the cut. The 2016 Belle-Vue was immediately appealing and several members of our wine staff lingered over this bottle and enjoyed more than one sample in the arduous and noble pursuit of further research.
This ready to drink Bordeaux is showing aromas of violets, black currants, blackberries and dark cherries. Subtle notes of vanilla, baking spice and earth added interest. On the palate, this wine is on the richer side of things, full-bodied and oh so silky smooth.
The quality of this wine is impressive and totally over-delivers for its humble price-point. Noted critic Jeb Dunnuck awarded this wine 93 Points stating Belle-Vue has "ultra-fine tannins and fabulous balance" and "it's almost too good to be true and should be snatched up by readers."
James Suckling said the wine "tastes like a very good Margaux!" This is high praise and actually right on point as Chateau Belle-Vue is located a stone's throw away from the Margaux classified growth, Chateau Giscours.
This rich, juicy, crowd pleasing wine will impress those who are not easily impressed. Even better, we bought everything they had and are selling it at the best price in the nation!
The quality to price ratio for this wine is off the charts and makes this an absolute no brainer.
CHATEAU BELLE-VUE 2016 HAUT MEDOC
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "The 2016 Chateau Belle-Vue is one awesome Haut-Medoc as well as an incredible value. Deeply colored, with a powerful bouquet of creme de cassis, black cherries, leafy herbs, and earth, it's medium to full-bodied, has ultra-fine tannins and fabulous balance. A blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot, and 20% Petit Verdot, aged in 30% new French oak, it's almost too good to be true and should be snatched up by readers."
JAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - "Thanks to its fragrance and discreet succulence, this tastes like a very good Margaux. That should be no surprise, because Belle-Vue's vineyards lie immediately south of that appellation. Long and elegant finish. A blend of 45 per cent cabernet sauvignon, 35 per cent merlot and 20 per cent petit verdot. Drink or hold."
WINE ENTHUSIAST 92 POINTS - "This wine has a rich, generous character that gives it a full, dense texture. It has spice, ripe tannins and opulent blackberry tones."
Spectacular 97 Point Chateaneuf du Pape at Great Price!
"This delivers a lush, enticing blast of cassis and raspberry and boysenberry preserve flavors...Dreamy" - Wine Spectator
"Possessing sweet tannin, impeccable balance and a finish that won't quit" - Jeb Dunnuck
"Juicy, penetrating and concentrated yet lithe, displaying impressive power" - Josh Raynolds, Vinous
The 2015 Domaine de Cristia Vieilles Vignes (Old Vine) is simply a spectacular Chateauneuf du Pape and one of the wines of the vintage. This wine displays near perfection with the concentrated fruit of the excellent 2015 vintage yet maintains a freshness and long finish that leaves you begging for more.
We have carried this exact wine for a couple of years now and have loved it since its release. We recently had an opportunity to re-taste this wine and it has only gotten better. This is a seamless expression of lush, perfectly ripened fruit framed with fine-grained silky tannins. We were so inspired that we re-contacted the distributor and bought every last drop they had.
Domaine de Cristia was created by Etienne Grangeon 70 years ago and was expanded by his son Alain, who joined the domaine in 1963 and created the identity of Cristia, based on his knowledge and respect of the soils. In 1999, Baptiste and Dominique joined their father. Their priorities were to concentrate on selecting the best parcels in order to produce a wine of a great quality and ageing potential. This 100% Grenache Chateauneuf-du-Pape Vieilles Vignes is made from 95 year old vines grown on sandy clay known as "Cristia."
DOMAINE CRISTIA 2015 CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE VIEILLES VIGNES
This gorgeous wine from Domaine de Cristia is as much of a sure thing as you can get. This is a wow wine that is pleasing now, but will only get better with time. Even better, we have it at the best price in the country!
WINE SPECTATOR 97 POINTS - "This delivers a lush, enticing blast of cassis and raspberry and boysenberry preserve flavors, carried by a silky structure that lets the fruit play out at length, giving adequate time for black tea, singed apple wood, dried anise and fruitcake notes to fill in throughout. Dreamy. Grenache. Best from 2020 through 2040."
A Wonderful High Scoring Cabernet Under $15!
If you're looking for a dry, bold red that's under $20, we've got another winner for you! James Suckling scored the 2018 Durigutti Cabernet Sauvignon at 94 points, and we're pricing it at just $14.98! Formed in 2002 by brothers Hector and Pablo Durigutti, this winery is an example of the modern Argentina that seeks to reflect its place of origin rather than compromise with an international style. Their 'Black Label' Cabernet Sauvignon is a good introduction to their winemaking, which shows juicy, but restrained ripe fruit, and the bright natural acidity that comes from the high-altitude, sun-bathed vineyards of La Consulta in the Uco Valley and Agrelo in the Lujan de Cuyo, along with the softening of texture provided by a year in neutral oak barrels.
DURIGUTTI 2018 'BLACK LABEL' CABERNET SAUVIGNON
PRACTICING ORGANIC FARMING
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "This does a wonderful balancing act between concentration and freshness from the outset on the nose. Black cherries, dark plums and blackberries all intermingle with fresh herbs, minerals and spices. The palate is so finely cut with well-integrated threads of blue fruit, interlaced between sturdy tannins. Medium on the finish. Drink now or hold."
"Smoking Value" 94 Point Red from a Former Screaming Eagle Winemaker!
In the wine world, there are a small number of winemakers that garner just a little extra attention from us buyers. That's because these select few winemakers are known for perennially producing some of the best wines from a given region...Andy Ericson is one of those winemakers! Andy started his winemaking career at Harlan, then Staglin, and has been the winemaker at Screaming Eagle, Staglin, Ovid, Dancing Hares and others!
With years of winemaking and vineyard-walking under his belt, Andy was often given the "inside scoop" on vineyards that make extraordinary wine, but were "under the radar" by most winemakers. Taking this information, Andy created Leviathan in 2004. The goal was simple: to create one, unique red wine, drawn from some of the best vineyards in Northern California. The resulting bottling, was born of a passion for blending Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah, Merlot and Cabernet Franc, to create a full-bodied wine with a character all of its own. Since then, he has remained true to the goal of producing a rich, distinctly Californian red blend, year after year.
Receiving high praise and scores isn't new to this wine, as this is the third year in a row this wine has received 94 points. The consistency is there, and the wine is here at Hi-Time for you!
LEVIATHAN 2017 RED CALIFORNIA
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "Based on Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, and Syrah brought up in 25% new French oak, the 2017 California Red Wine sports a deep ruby/purple color as well as a rich, powerful, opulent style that certainly puts a smile on your face. Notes of currants, chocolate, spice box, and earthy, herbal notes all emerge from this sexy, seamless effort that has full-bodied richness, ripe tannins, and outstanding finish. It's a smoking value to enjoy over the coming 7-8 years."
Huge Score for Iconic World Class Red!
Tucked away in a broad, dramatic amphitheater of the Aconcagua river valley in Chile, an organic and biodynamically farmed vineyard belonging to the Vina Errazuriz winery forms the foundation for a wine that feels equally broad and dramatic. This now-iconic wine was named Sena for the "signal" its creators wanted to send to the world that Chile was capable of making more than value table wine. It's a tapestry of Bordeaux varieties, driven by Cabernet Sauvignon with the details and accents of South American favorites Malbec and Carmenere, and hints from Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.
Luxury wine drinkers will appreciate the attention to detail that goes into crafting Sena, which owes much to two big names of Napa and Bordeaux. The wine began as a collaboration between Eduardo Chadwick of this family-run winery, which goes back to 1870, and Napa icon Robert Mondavi, along with the help of internationally renowned Bordeaux specialist, Michel Rolland. The result is a wine that has reached the heights of critical acclaim, and will satisfy fans of concentrated Napa Valley reds, super-Tuscans, and modern Bordeaux. Even better, this sunny, semi-Mediterranean land offers their best at a value compared to the ever-increasing prices of those other regions!
VINA ERRAZURIZ 2017 SENA
52% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec, 15% Carmenere, 10% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot
JAMES SUCKLING 99 POINTS - "The aromas of blackberries, cedar, sandalwood and black tea are compelling. Black olives. Rosemary and sage undertones. Full-bodied, rich and powerful...impressive and powerful tannins, yet harmony and balance. Fruit-forward. Lightly chewy. Fresh and energetic wine in a hot year."
A Fantastic High Scoring Everyday Red!
With a ruby tone at the center with a dark deep color and lively edge, the nose on this Rioja is beautiful front-loaded with bright notes of cherry and blackberry jam. Further nosing reveals that the wood, although noticeable, complements the openly fruit character of the wine, adding some cinnamon and toasted vanilla notes to the aroma's finish. The palate is full with potent impression, which supports the balance between good acidity and a velvety feel. Primary flavors center on vibrant red and blue mixed berries. On the finish, it shows a mix of dairy and marinated fruit. It shows body, good complexity, strength and richness of nuances in the mouth as well as good persistency. If Rioja isn't already bookmarked on your world wine map, drop a waypoint ASAP and discover more amazing values like this Montebuena.
Located in the south east of the village of Labastida and covering more than 160 hectares, the size and quality of the Montebuena vineyards allows the winegrower to exercise complete control over their production from the vine to the bottle. But what truly sets Montebuena apart is its unique position where the river Ebro is closest to the Sierra Cantabria mountains, creating a blend of Mediterranean and Continental climates that prevents an excess of rain and extreme cold. In addition, the shallow, calcareous soil limits the yield of the harvest and the size of the grapes while increasing the volume of the skin, resulting in deeper color and greater concentration of flavor.
MONTEBUENA 2016 RIOJA
Bodegas Montebuena has been putting its extensive knowledge and experience into making quality wines. Montebuena continues this tradition today thanks to what is considered one of the best vineyards in Rioja Alavesa.
ANTONIO GALLONI; VINOUS 91 POINTS - "Vivid ruby-red. Sexy, oak-tinged red berry and floral pastille scents pick up vanilla and licorice flourishes with aeration. Juicy and focused on the palate, offering sweet black raspberry and cherry flavors that unfold and spread out steadily on the back half. Shows impressive clarity and spicy persistence on the lively finish, which is given shape by smooth, even tannins."
An Amazing Coastal Super-Tuscan from Castello Romitorio!
From the innovators at Castello Romitorio (makers of another of our featured wines, "IL TORO") comes this modern take on the rustic coastal Tuscan winescape. The Maremma coastal region is well known for its sunshine, beaches, verdant Mediterranean hills, and of course its "Super-Tuscan" wines featuring French grape varieties. The native Sangiovese, though, has been growing for at least a few hundred years around the inland town of Scansano. Just like the other Sangiovese hotspots, it goes by its own local name, which in these parts is Morellino ('little dark berry"). It's here that the Romitoro folks set up their second winery, Ghiaccio Forte (ghee-AH-choh FOR-tay). Wines going by the name Morellino di Scansano are made with at least 85% Sangiovese, and Ghiaccio Forte makes full use of this flexibility, partnering it with Syrah.
"The name [Ghiaccio Forte] derives from an ancient Etruscan settlement five minutes from the cellar and translates to mean 'strong ice', a term probably deriving from the fact that nearby caves were filled with packed snow and used as ancient refrigerators in the summer months."
85% Sangiovese, 15% Syrah
GHIACCIO FORTE 2017 MORELLINO DI SCANSANO
Scansano wines are known for being particularly "rustic" in style, though this one from Ghiaccio Forte has its edges softened a bit by that dollop of ripe, round Syrah. The mellow perfume combines the savory, violet, and dark-berry accents of Syrah with the sour cherry, plum, and dried herb character of Sangiovese, and very subtle coffee and woody notes from well-seasoned oak. The wine fleshes out with air, balancing the mouth-filling, chalky tannin with a plump, full-bodied "vinosity" that grows with time in the glass. The character of the nose carries into the mouth, with a mouth-filling combination of ripe fruits, dried herb, and licorice root, which are given more life by the brightness that Sangiovese is known for. Those qualities, along with the grippy finish from ripe tannins make this a great match for Italian-style pizza and rustic pasta sauces, especially with sausage!
Rockin' Rhone Value to Grab by the Case!
We are excited to announce our Wine of the Month for March. We tried numerous wines before selecting the crowd-pleasing Clos des Lumieres Cotes du Rhone. This is a fantastic wine and amazing value, boasting stunning purity with oodles of fruit in a medium to full-bodied frame. The Grenache brings a lovely round, silkiness to the red-fruited character while the Syrah brings gentle spice and darker fruits into play. This is a joy to drink with absolutely no hard edges!
A classic blend of 70% Grenache and 30% Syrah, Le Clos des Lumieres delights both nose and palate and is a great fit for this month as we move from Winter to Spring. As the days begin to grow longer and our menus move from heartier to fresher and more vibrant fare, we like a wine that can handle both-- something to sip during the still-chilly nights with rich foods while being equally at ease for sunny Sunday brunches. This is it!
Domaine le Clos des Lumieres is a 50-hectare family farm founded in 1946 by the grandfather of the domaine's current vigneron, Gerald Serrano. The ambitious and talented winemaker is solely responsible for the recent ascendance of this estate - Prior to taking things over in 2003 Gerald's father was selling all grapes on the estate to the local cooperative. Having grown up on the property, Gerald is intimately familiar with the terroir here. The oldest vines now edge 60 years in age and this land really seems to "pack the character in."
Clos des Lumieres is a delicious wine and an amazing value. Buy this with confidence as an easygoing daily drinker to share with family and friends.
LE CLOS DES LUMIERES 2018 COTES DU RHONE ROUGE
The nose is rich and layered with dark red fruits leading to citrus, earth, incense, spice and sweet red plum. The mouth is viscous and rounded with soft acidity and balanced tannins that bolster the flavors of mixed red fruits and berries (red plum and blueberry stand out), light earth and Rhone-y spice, pepper, garrique and a finish of salted plum and kirsch. Very comfortable in its skin and offering quality that's way out of its price point, Lumieres is certainly a bright spot on the wine landscape and easily deserves the spotlight this month.
A Fantastic New Rum from Foursquare!
"Another rum from Foursquare and another exceptional cask. Which is fine with me as these rums have been amongst the best and most affordable premium rum releases over the past few years.
Sagacity is the eleventh release in the Exceptional Cask Series. Like Premise before it and the Port and Zinfandel Casks rums released even earlier this is a lower proof rum. The rums have crept in ABV but this has not been released at Cask Strength.
The rum has been bottled at 48% ABV. We have a blend of Pot and Coffey Column distilled rums aged for 12 years. A portion of the rum in this blend is aged for the full 12 years in ex-Bourbon casks the other in ex-Madeira casks.
In the glass Foursquare Rum Distillery Sagacity is a dark/golden brown with orange and red flashes.
Nosing Sagacity reveals a real fruity sweetness. Bright red berries and some blackcurrants. It's very fragrant and slightly floral on the nose. Further nosing reveals toasted coconut, a very slightly smokiness and a complex array of rich warming oak spices. Balance wise this is pretty much perfection. There are no off notes or anything spoiling the overall experience.
Sipped Sagacity is drier and more complex than the nose suggests. Initial sips are quite spicy with lots of oak spice and ginger. A touch of red wine and some port make an appearance as you move into the mid palate. Red grapes and rich warming oak spices with just enough bite to keep things interesting. At 48% ABV it is amazingly easy to sip on.
The Madeira cask influence gives a less sweet rum than the Port or Zinfandel casks rums. It has a bit more bite and more complex flavor than Premise. Particularly the wood influenced notes.
Finish wise it has a real zest to it. With a fair hit of orange marmalade mingling alongside the spicy ginger and fiery black pepper notes. The oak notes are robust and slightly tannic with lots of red wine tingling the tongue. It's a very long complex finish. Very satisfying." - The Fat Rum Pirate [thefatrumpirate.com]
FOURSQUARE SAGACITY SINGLE BLENDED RUM 12 YEAR EX-BOURBON & EX-MADEIRA AGED
Aromas leap out of my glass and make me think of a coconut covered marshmallow or Tunnock's Teacakes with the buttery biscuit base. This is just the beginning, however, as I then smell sawdust and fresh oak barrels. On tasting, I then get all the rewards of the Madeira barrel and am hit with dried fruits, prunes, raisins and morello cherries. The transparency that the Foursquare Distillery offer is not to be snuffed at, with no added sugar or colouring, just lots of lots of flavour from having distilled and aged some very tasty liquid indeed. This transparency is causing a bit of battle in the Rum world at the moment, due to regulation across the category, especially in Barbados where Richard Seale and others are trying to create tighter regulations on the rules for Rum produced in Barbados. Foursquare Sagacity Rum is exceptional value for money and a must-try for any Rum lover or indeed anyone interested in aged spirits. If you're a fan of interesting barrel finishes on Rum then there are plenty of Rums out there for you, including various other Foursquare Rums.
A 94 Point Cabernet from the Mountains of Napa!
Dripping with terroir; between the volcanic soils, altitude and terraced vineyards, Mount Veeder produces wines that taste unique from the rest of Napa Valley thus earning its AVA status. The small clusters of grapes grown on this mountain site produce powerful wines with depth and structure along with savory, brambly tones. Mount Veeder is nestled on the Mayacamas Mountain range that seperates Napa and Sonoma Valley. While only gaining its AVA status in the early '90s, wine production on this mountain dates back almost 50 years before the prohibition era of the 1920s. Vineyards within this AVA are all steeply terraced, carved into the side of the mountain. The steepness of the angle (up to 30 degrees) gives the vineyards benefits of more direct sunlight and better drainage.
MOUNT VEEDER 2016 ESTATE CABERNET SAUVIGNON
The Mount Veeder Winery has history dating back to the '60s with its debut wine released in 1973. The vineyard was converted from a plum orchard by Michael and Arlene Bernstein after being given a bundle of vine clippings. Michael's attention was focused on planting a vineyard and theirs ended up being the first in Napa to have all 5 Bordeaux varietals planted. Since that first vintage, Mount Veeder Winery has expanded to three vineyard ranches high in the Mayacamas Mountains and continues to produce powerful, bold wines that are a true expression of this unique wine-growing region.
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "This displays a pure core of black cherry, cassis and plum puree flavors before the back end clamps down, revealing grippy tar and apple wood notes. Shows freshness and drive, with a pervasive sagebrush detail. Give this time to round into form. Best from 2022 through 2038. 39,041 cases made. - JM"
A Fantastic 94 Point Red Under $17!
We have a new Spanish red that is so distinctive in relating its origins and winemaking style that we felt compelled to bring to your attention. It doesn't hurt that James Suckling rated it 94 points and it's only $16.98!
Coming from the Terra Alta region of Catalonia, the "Via Edetana" from Bodegas Edetaria is, above all, a wine about mouthfeel. Its aromas show resinous wood and subtle ripe berry, while in the mouth there is a cool and mellow quality with a mouth-filling mix of chalky and crushed velvet tannin, along with other skin extract, which seem to meld onto the palate. The flavors are dominated by restrained boysenberry and old mahogany wood, with a subtle licorice-like sensation. The tapered finish shows a glint of brightness before ending with the flavor of perfectly ripe fruit skins and a warming sensation. Overall, there is a firmness and restraint in this wine's character that sets it apart from some of its "internationally-styled" Catalonian neighbors. It's also an appetizing wine that can be chewed over, perhaps along with a New York strip or slow-cooked Lamb shank!
The winemaking is traditional with some modern improvements: the grapes are grown organically, then kept cold before being fermented with native yeast, and ageing takes place in medium-sized French oak barrels that are more appropriate for Garnacha.
The varieties that compose the wine are familiar throughout the Catalonian wine regions like Priorat and Montsant: Garnacha, Syrah, and Carignan. But there are actually two types of Garnacha at play here: the more common Garnacha "Fina" along with a type that evolved a fuzzy leaf-bottom, called Garnacha "Peluda." It's the latter that winemaker Joan Angel Liberia particularly likes to include in the family wines, as it brings a richer extract, brighter acidity, and lower alcohol to the mix.
Another key to this distinct wine is, of course, where it comes from in Spain: the southern Catalonian wine region of Terra Alta ("highland"), which encompasses foothills and valleys on the inland side of the small but dramatic mountain range that separates them from the Mediterranean Sea (the famous Priorat wine region is further up that range). This makes for a mostly Mediterranean climate with some extreme inland influence, which is particularly great for growing ripe but balanced Garnacha and Carinena grapes!
The "Via Edetana" was the ancient Roman road leading from the Mediterranean coast of Catalonia to inland Zaragoza, passing through Bodegas Edetaria's home of Gandesa.
BODEGAS EDETARIA 2017 TERRA ALTA "VIA EDETANA"
Try a bottle today and taste this dramatic landscape in liquid form!
JAMES SUCKLING 94 POINTS - "I love the licorice accents here, which work so well with the overtones of blueberries, citrus, boysenberries and brambles. Firm and tight on the taut palate, which is medium-bodied and so lithe and restrained. Clear-cut and precise. Drink now."
Melville's "Tremendous" 95 Point Estate Pinot Noir!
In the wind-swept, rolling hills of western Santa Barbara County, you will find one of the best cool-climate growing regions on earth. And in this area, you will find one of the more consistent Pinot Noir producers in California!
Ron Melville and his family have been farming high quality grapes for over 30 years. After finding success in Sonoma County, Ron's desire to grow cold-climate Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Syrah brought Melville Vineyards to the Sta. Rita Hills. The Sta. Rita Hills AVA is unique, as it is one of the few grape growing regions in California whose valley runs west to east. In doing so, the cooling air from the Pacific Ocean is able to rush through the area, keeping the daily temperatures low, and providing a long growing season that maximizes flavors. The soils at Melville are a mix of sand and clay, giving Pinot Noir beautiful aromatics combined with ripe, but not overpowering fruit. In addition, Melville plants their vines at a denser spacing than most. In doing so, root systems must compete with each other, inhibiting rigorous growth, naturally lowering yields and furthering the development of flavor and concentration. Farming at Melville is sustainable at a minimum, but often done organically.
MELVILLE 2016 PINOT NOIR STA. RITA HILLS ESTATE
Melville's "Estate" Pinot Noir is a collection of 16 different Pinot Noir clones fermented in small 1.5 ton open-top fermenters. Yields were just 1.5 tons per acre! This is the type of small yields that you typically see for Pinot Noirs selling for $75-$100+...but Melville's wine sells for way less than that! Combine that with the stellar 95 point score from critic Antonio Galloni, and you'll see why this has been one of our favorite wines to sell for the past several years! This is the first vintage "from grape to glass" that Chad Melville has produced since taking over from Greg Brewer, and if this is any indication, the Melville wines are destined for continued greatness!
ANTONIO GALLONI 95 POINTS - "The 2016 Pinot Noir Estate is a blend of the seventeen clones on the property. Freshly cut flowers, spice, mint, blood orange and dried flowers give the Estate beguiling aromatic complexity and nuance. There is a sense of translucent beauty in the 2016 that is fabulous, while the 40% whole clusters are very nicely integrated. This is such a tremendous wine."
Our Valentine to You: A Great Deal on a Pinot Noir!
We have a great deal for fans of intensely aromatic, lithe-bodied wines! This is no gimmick, just really good wine that tastes of its place. It's the Cobblestone 2013 "Te Muna" Pinot Noir, previously retailing for more than $30, but which we're able to offer at the no-brainer price of $11.95!
New Zealand has been a hotspot for Pinot Noir for some time now, from the more concentrated Central Otago style to the often lighter, everyday drinkers of Marlborough. But on the North Island, the Martinborough region has developed a somewhat quiet reputation for New Zealand's most complexly perfumed Pinot Noir, often said to be more "Burgundian" after the variety's spiritual & physical homeland in France. The road that cuts through some particularly great vineyards here (Te Muna, meaning "secret place") is the address for a number of lauded vineyards and wineries such as Escarpment and Craggy Range.
It's here that California winery, Cobblestone, found a second home in which to make some Pinot Noir with New Zealand's hallmark intensity of aroma and flavor, and racy brightness in the mouth. At six years, the 2013 Te Muna Pinot Noir is in peak form, beaming out the variety's distinctive savory and forest floor qualities, ripe red fruits and citrus, along with subtle, well-meshed oak that enhances with woodsy accents. Supple, juicy, and with just a dusting of tannin on the palate, it finishes on a ripe but refreshingly bright cherry note. At $11.95, it's definitely a must buy, especially with a well-matched dish like cedar-plank Salmon. You might find a new house wine (while it lasts)!
COBBLESTONE 2013 TE MUNA PINOT NOIR, NEW ZEALAND
JAMES SUCKLING 91 POINTS - "A more cedary oak influence here. Woody, savory complexity with blood oranges, red cherries and a slightly smoky thread leading into the palate. Plenty of ripe, fleshy cherry flavors. Glossy, ripe tannins to close. Drink or hold."
The family-run Cobblestone winery was founded in 1971 in Monterrey County, expanding to Atlas Peak in Napa in 1997. They began their New Zealand enterprise in 2008.
Wine Spectator's Insider 93 Point Value Pick of the Week!
Pioneering Marlborough winemaker Allan Scott helped plant some of the first wine grapes in Marlborough in the 1970s, and then established his eponymous brand as one of the first independent wineries in the region with his wife, Catherine, in 1990. Now their children are working in the family business, with son Josh as chief winemaker. The wines have never skipped a beat, and this wine is a stunning example of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, bursting with intense flavor and lingering long on the finish. Scott harvests and presses grapes in the cool of the night to preserve aromatics, and this wine shows the hallmark of a warmer 2019 vintage, with fruit flavors veering toward the tropical, with a hint of passion fruit.
ALLAN SCOTT 2019 SAUVIGNON BLANC, MARLBOROUGH
We have a soft spot in our hearts and palates for the incredible Sauvignon Blancs out of New Zealand-- particularly the ones that deliver tons of new world charm and the scintillating, racy flavors and attributes this grape from this country can display. And when they are as good as this Allan Scott 2019 bottling, at this incredibly low price? Winner, winner, lamb chop dinner! With a deserving 93 point score and placement as Wine Spectator's "Value Pick of the Week," this will warm up the chilly, sunny weekend afternoons as we gravitate toward Spring. Bright, fresh, beautiful wine!
WINE SPECTATOR INSIDER 93 POINTS 'WINE OF THE WEEK' - "Stylish, generous and intense, featuring lemon curd, apricot and lime sherbet flavors that are vivid and mouthwatering, accented by details of matcha green tea, white pepper and passion fruit. Delivers terrific follow-through on the finish. Drink now."