- Item #: i_259780Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95+Vinous Media: 92-95ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 95+ POINTS - "The 2014 Relentless, made up of 89% Syrah and 11% Petite Sirah, is deep garnet-purple with a pronounced nose of black plums, blackberries and black cherries with touches of fragrant earth, black pepper and Indian spices plus a waft of lavender. Very big, full-bodied, opulent and laden with vibrant black fruits and spicy layers, it has firm, rounded tannins and seamless freshness, finishing long and peppery."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92-95 POINTS - "Shafer's 2014 Relentless is fabulous. The most expressive and varietally expressive of the three vintages of Relentless I tasted. In 2014, Relentless has 11% Petite Sirah, which, along with the personality of the year, kicks up the aromatics and flavors in a meaningful way. Lavender, mint, violets and crème de cassis notes are laced into the super-expressive finish. The 2014 is shaping up to be a real gem."
- Item #: i_259955Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94This is the premiere release for an exciting new Bordeaux-style blend from Shafer Vineyards; one of the most prized wineries in all of the Napa Valley! TD-9 is a proprietary blend that celebrates a bold move. In 1973, in the space of a few months, John Shafer went from riding morning commuter trains in Chicago to teaching himself to drive a TD-9 tractor in his Napa Valley vineyard. He'd never grown grapes or made wine in his life. That spirit of risk-taking and adventure still guides Shafer today and inspired the creation of this new wine.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "The 2016 Red Blend TD-9 is blended of 58% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Malbec. It has a very deep purple-black color and displays ready-for-biz, fragrant scents of warm plums, Black Forest cake and blueberry compote with touches of baking spices, bay leaves and potpourri. Full-bodied with a serious, firm frame of ripe, grainy tannins, the palate delivery loads of black fruit and spicy layers with bags of vivacity and panache."
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2016 TD-9 is just as impressive from bottle as it was from barrel. Bright floral notes and a rush of red cherry/red plum fruit give energy to this pliant, super-expressive wine. The 2016 has firmed up a bit since it was bottled, so a few more months should do the trick. The blend is 58% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon and 16% Malbec."
- Item #: i_262750Bottle Size: 375mlWine Advocate: 96+Vinous Media: 96**Please note, this is a half sized bottleROBERT PARKER 96+ POINTS - "This first-growth estate in St. Helena has produced a 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon that is a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot. It is certainly one of the wines of the vintage. Gorgeously opaque purple, it offers up notes of spring flowers, blueberries, blackcurrants, some baking spice and graphite. It is full-bodied, concentrated and rich, with layers of fruit. The wine builds and builds on the palate, with a great finish of 45+ seconds. This is a sensational 2014 to drink over the next 20+ years."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "Spottswoode 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon is striking. Black cherry, plum, graphite, spice and menthol are some of the signatures. Intensely mineral and savory, the 2014 comes across as a slightly restrained version of the 2013. The flavor and tannin profiles are both quite similar, but the 2014 is a bit smaller-scaled in all of its dimensions. That is not a bad thing, as the 2014 will be ready to drink sooner. This is an impressive showing."
- Item #: i_276540Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 92Vinous Media: 93ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "Few people are as passionate about Ballard Canyon as Peter Stolpman is. As President of the Ballard Canyon Winegrowers' Alliance, Stolpman is focused on bringing producers together to promote the area. To be sure, Ballard Canyon is a very distinctive region, especially for Syrah, so it will be interesting to see how things develop here in the coming years. As for his own wines, Stolpman's A-list team of winemaker Sashi Moorman and vineyard guru Ruben Solorzano keeps ratcheting up the quality level at the estate. In addition to these wines, I also tasted a few selections from the estate's library, including the 2004 Roussanne L'Avion, Syrah Estate and Syrah Angeli. Although those wines have aged pretty nicely, they also show just how far Stolpman has come in the last few years, especially with regards to cooperage. Simply put, these wines have never been better.
"Explosive and perfumed to the core, the 2012 Syrah Originals captivates all the sense with exuberant perfume and super-intense fruit, all with plenty of underlying structure. Cloves, lavender, mint and an array of spices inform the fragrant, highly expressive finish. The 60% whole clusters are impeccably balanced. This is a gorgeous showing from Stolpman."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 92 POINTS - 'In the same ballpark, the 2012 Angeli is 100% Syrah that comes from a single block of own rooted vines. It too is medium to full-bodied, rich and textured, with pretty violets, purple fruits, spring flowers and edgy minerality. Seeing 80% whole clusters and 18 months in puncheons, it has bright acidity and clean, nicely focused feel. It is another outstanding Syrah that will evolve for a decade."
- Item #: i_266520Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 91 PointsANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "I was deeply impressed with this set of new releases from Stonestreet and winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs. Specifically, the 2015 Cabernets offer a great deal of freshness for the year."
"The 2015 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon offers a terrific representation of the property. Gravel, smoke, licorice, tobacco, black cherry and plum infuse this striking, wonderfully savory Cabernet Sauvignon. All the elements simply fall into place."
JEB DUNNUCK 91 POINTS - "Aged 19 months in one-third new French oak, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate is a terrific, classic, slightly old-school effort. Blackcurrants, black cherries, tobacco and leafy herb (rosemary and California bay) notes, medium body, good concentration, and building tannin all make for a terrific and elegant Cabernet that's going to keep for a decade."
- Item #: i_266500Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 95This is not the first time that Stonestreet Chardonnay has been on our Top North American White wine list, but when we tasted the Upper Barn bottling at the winery, the group was pretty unanimous that we had to get our hands on every bottle we could and put it on our list! Stonestreet’s vineyards stand on the western ridge of the Mayacamas Mountains towering over the Alexander Valley below. High elevations, volcanically derived soils and cooling maritime breezes give winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs a unique location from which to pursue the quest of mountain winegrowing. With the soils being rich in iron, warm days, and cooling nights, Lisa produces Chardonnay of exceptional concentration, purity and depth. The majority of this bottling is produced from the Hyde-Wente clone of Chardonnay, which, in our opinion, produces the more complex and nuanced Chardonnays on the market today!
WINE ADVOCATE 95 POINTS - "The 2015 Chardonnay Upper Barn Vineyard opens with lovely grapefruit, fresh pears and apple pie notes with touches of croissant and toasted almonds plus a waft of brine. Medium-bodied, very elegant and very refreshing, the palate and a wonderfully mineral character and long, beautifully nuanced finish. 1,025 cases were made."
- Item #: i_266510Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 90Jeb Dunnuck: 92 PointsStonestreet Estate Vineyards stand on the western ridge of the Mayacamas Mountains towering over the Alexander Valley below. High elevations, volcanically derived soils and cooling maritime breezes give us a unique location from which to pursue the quest of mountain winegrowing. Of the 5,100 acres that make up the Estate, only 900 are planted to grapes (235 individual vineyard blocks) while the remaining land retains its natural biodiversity and abounds with streambeds and ancient oaks, providing a habitat to cougars, owls and black bears.
ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "The 2016 Chardonnay Estate is a terrific introduction to the Stonestreet Chardonnays. Citrus, apricot, mint and a dash of new oak add nuance to this finely cut mountain Chardonnay. The Estate Chardonnay is another wine that delivers serious quality for the money. Silky and textured, the 2016 hits all the right notes. What a gorgeous wine it is."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "Stonestreet falls under the Jackson Family umbrella and focuses on higher elevation, mountain sites. The wines, made by Lisa Valtenbergs, are rock-solid across the board."
"The 2016 Chardonnay Estate is another wine sourced from higher elevation sites and was barrel fermented and aged. It offers a classic style in its baked apples, spice, honeycomb, and marzipan profile. Deep, medium-bodied, beautifully balanced, and textured, it's a class act and should keep for 4-6 years."
- Item #: i_268610Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 93Vinous Media: 95Jeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 95 POINTS - "(aged for 18 months in French oak barrels, 35% of them new) Brilliant red. A suave, expansive bouquet evokes fresh red berries, potpourri, incense and smoky minerals. Sappy, alluringly sweet and light on its feet, offering intense raspberry, cherry and floral pastille flavors that are braced by a suggestion of bitter blood orange. Plays power off delicacy with a sure hand, showing no excess weight but displaying abundant red fruit character. Fine-grained tannins lend shape to a strikingly long, smooth finish that leaves a sexy rose pastille note behind."
JEB DUNNUCK 94 POINTS - "The 2015 Pinot Noir Rosemary's Vineyard is certainly one of the gems in the vintage. Black cherries, underbrush, crushed violets, ample spice and tons of floral qualities all emerge from this beautifully textured, seamless, silky beauty that has building tannin, impressive mid-palate density, integrated acidity and notable length. Aged 18 months in 35% new French oak, drink it anytime over the coming 10-15 years."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "Pale to medium ruby-purple colored, the 2015 Pinot Noir Rosemary's Vineyard offers up expressive black cherries, mulberries and black raspberry notes with suggestions of violets, baking spices, fertile loam and lavender. Medium-bodied, with a firm backbone of fine-grained tannins and well-integrated freshness, it gives plenty of earthy layers and great length."
- Item #: i_268420Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 94 PointsRosemary's Vineyard is located on a hillside surrounding Rosemary Talley’s home, and is characterized by white, rocky fractured sandstone and loam, with some clay in the subsoil. Rosemary's is steep, very well-drained, and because it is closer to the ocean, slightly cooler. Entirely hand-harvested, this was 100% barrel-fermented and aged for 15 months, yet there is no evidence of heaviness.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 95 POINTS - "(20% new French oak) Limpid yellow-gold. A highly complex bouquet evokes ripe tangerine, green apple, pineapple, Anjou pear and pungent flowers; iodine and fennel accents emerge as the wine opens up. Sappy, penetrating citrus and orchard fruit flavors convey both power and delicacy. Smoky lees and mineral notes build steadily on a very long, silken, finely etched finish that emphatically repeats the floral and pear notes."
JEB DUNNUCK 94+ POINTS - "One of the gems in the lineup is the 2016 Chardonnay Rosemary's Vineyard, which comes from a cool, chalky, shale site in the Arroyo Grande Valley and spent 15 months in 20% new French oak. This medium-bodied, pure, vibrant beauty has everything. Complex notes of white flowers, white peach, honeyed apples, and a distinct salty minerality all give way to a perfectly balanced, layered Chardonnay that's going to continue gaining complexity over the coming 2-3 years and will keep for 7-8 years after that."
- Item #: i_268600Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 95 PointsANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 95 POINTS - "(5% whole clusters and 30% new French oak) Deep bright-rimmed red. A highly complex, mineral-tinged bouquet evokes candied red fruits, cola, Asian spices, mocha and potpourri. Seamless and sharply delineated on the palate, offering appealingly sweet Chambord, rose pastille and spicecake flavors that deepen on the back half, with no loss of energy. Fine-grained tannins frame a strikingly long, smooth, smoke-accented finish that leaves a juicy raspberry note behind."
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93+ POINTS - "One of the standouts is the 2016 Pinot Noir Rincon Vineyard, which comes from a hillside site in the Arroyo Grande and vines planted in 1982. Aged 18 months in 30% new French oak, it's a powerful, opulent wine (especially when compared to the East Rincon release) and has awesome notes of ripe strawberries, red and black currants, spice, and forest floor. Elegant yet concentrated, medium-bodied, beautifully balanced, and with fabulous intensity, drink this gorgeous Pinot Noir any time over the coming decade or more."
- Item #: i_268440Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 93For three generations the Talley family has farmed in Coastal San Luis Obispo County, a tradition that began in 1948 when Oliver Talley founded Talley Farms and started growing vegetables in the Arroyo Grande Valley. After witnessing the success of winegrowing in the neighboring Edna Valley, Oliver's son, Don Talley, became convinced of the potential for growing high-quality wine grapes on the steep hillsides above Talley Farms. He planted a small test plot in 1982 on the west hillside of the Rincon Vineyard. In 1986 Don made 450 cases of wine, which sold out very quickly. Production increased over the next five years, until 1991, when a new winery was built at the foot of their Rincon Vineyard. Today, Don and Rosemary Talley's son, Brian Talley, runs the business after developing a passion for wine when he worked in a wine shop while attending UC Berkely.
The Talley family has a commitment to high quality and long-term sustainability which are the two principles that guide Talley Vineyards' farming decisions. Their vineyards are SIP Certified (Sustainability in Practice) by the Central Coast Vineyard Team. Biologically based farming techniques and integrated pest management practices are employed throughout the vineyards. To improve soil conditions, prevent erosion and provide fertility, cover crops are maintained in all vineyard blocks. No herbicides are used.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 92 POINTS - "(15% new French oak) Lurid red. Spice-accented raspberry and cherry aromas are complicated by hints of cola, candied rose and smoky mineral notes. Sweet and seamless on the palate, offering lively red berry flavors and suggestions of floral pastilles and blood orange that emerge with aeration. Nicely concentrated but vibrant and precise in style, delivering solid closing thrust, while smooth tannins lend shape to the long, spice-accented finish. This wine is composed of 65% Rincon and 35% Rosemary's fruit and, like the Chardonnay, it's extremely impressive for what might be called an entry-level bottling."
- Item #: i_267080Bottle Size: 750mlThis wine is a joint venture of wine gurus from two continents. The blend is a true collaboration of winemakers Bob Bertheau of Chateau Ste Michelle, along with two juggernauts from France, Michel Gassier and Philippe Cambie! They have combined their decades of experience to produce a wine that demonstrates why Washington State is one of the best growing regions in the world for Syrah!
Approximately 22% of the lots were fermented as whole clusters, with the remaining lots fermented as de-stemmed grapes. The inclusion of stems during fermentation contributes earthy, savory aromas and flavors that perfectly complement the pure fruit character of the grapes. To further enhance these complexities, about 20% of the lots also underwent extended maceration. After fermentation, a majority of the young wine was placed into neutral French oak barrels for aging, with the remainder aged in tight-grained new French and American oak barrels. The use of neutral and tighter-grained barrels helps to preserve the unique character of the wine itself. This year the wine is a blend of 90% Syrah, 4% Grenache, 4% Mourvedre, and 2% Viognier.
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 90 POINTS - "Bright, full ruby. Slightly reduced aromas of dark berries, dark chocolate and spices; less expressive and wild than the 2015 version was at the same stage. Concentrated, silky and fine-grained, displaying sexy spice and violet lift to the concentrated dark berry and licorice flavors. I find more sweetness and primary fruit character--and more generosity of texture--than in the 2015 version of this bottling. The long finish hints at chocolatey ripeness but also shows lovely violet lift and a fine dusting of tannins. This needs aeration or a year or two in the cellar to shed its reductive quality. (I should note that a second bottle was a bit less generous and sweet.) (14.5% alcohol)"
- Item #: i_268240Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 94To understand the wines made by The Hilt, one might need to come visit the hard and harsh conditions under which they are born. The unobstructed, oceancooled, east-west valley known as Sta. Rita Hills is a difficult yet rewarding area to grow grapes. The Salsipuedes Ranch (which contains three of The Hilt's vineyards) is located in the northern-facing, closest-to-the-ocean, windswept quadrant. These sites are the worst places for a grape grower but the best ones for a winemaker. The ranch is a unique, large and sprawling property that offers a range of altitudes, aspects, soil typesº and microclimates, giving winemaker Matt Dees a patchwork of vineyard parcels from which to select grapes and create wines with distinctive styles. The property, however, does have some aspects that remain consistent: the land has poor soils that force vines to dig deep; there are powerful, whipping winds and a cold maritime climate that allow grapes on the property to ripen slowly and retain acidity despite the warm daytime sun; and the vines on the property are low in vigor, allowing them to produce low yields of concentrated, complex grapes. With these grapes, The Hilt’s Chardonnay earned a whopping 94 point score from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate!
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 94 POINTS - "Showing a touch of brioche in its ripe orchard fruits, toasted bread, sweet peach and white flower bouquet, the 2014 Chardonnay Vanguard is medium-bodied, fresh, layered and focused, with lively acidity and a pure, elegant style. Give bottles a year in the cellar and enjoy over the following 5-7 years."
- Item #: i_270380Bottle Size: 1.5LWine Advocate: 95+ROBERT PARKER 95+ POINTS = "Tor Kenward is using his vast experience in the wine industry and impressive palate to find exceptional terroirs and produce fascinating wines that merit serious attention. His winemaking guru is Jeff Ames, who makes his own wines under the Rudius label."
"The 2014 Proprietary Red from Oakville is 44% Cabernet Franc, 44% Petit Verdot and 12% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is a fabulous wine and a creative blend from Kenward. With a fabulous nose of forest floor, white flowers, licorice, incense, blackcurrant and blueberry fruit, this deep, sumptuous, full-bodied wine has fabulous intensity, low acidity and finely grained, integrated tannins. There is not much of it, but it is a beauty. It can be drunk now or cellared for another two decades."
- Item #: i_276518Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96+ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 96+ POINTS - "This wine comes from a single three-acre Chardonnay vineyard introduced to Tor Kenward by Larry Hyde in 2008. It belonged to one of Larry Hyde's oldest friends in the Napa Valley, Steve Beresini, and was planted three decades ago with cuttings Larry gave Steve. This is now referred to as "Hyde Selection Wente Clone." Today it produces a minuscule crop, usually between one and two tons per acre, with clusters half the normal size. Primary coopers are Saury and three-year dry aged Francois Freres. The 2017 Chardonnay Beresini Vineyard Cuvee Torchiana opens with lifted lemon, lime and mandarin scents with fresh pears and ginger plus croissant notions. The palate is big, rich, full-bodied, decadent, lively and hedonistic, with spicy and savory layers and a very, very long finish. 314 cases produced."
- Item #: i_270050Bottle Size: 750mlA blend of 45% Viognier, 45% Marsanne, and 10% Roussanne, Treana Blanc is a stunning example of a new world Rhone blend with aromas and flavors of pineapple, dried apricot, peach and Clementine orange that combine with floral notes of honeysuckle and elder flower. Sweet notes of marzipan, honey, graham cracker along with cinnamon and vanilla round out this complex, full-bodied and racy wine.
- Item #: i_287800Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Vinous Media: 93ANTONIO GALLONI 93 POINTS - "These are the first wines from Christian Moueix's property in Oakville. In 2008 Moueix bought the Schmidt Ranch, which lies on the southeastern edge of Oakville, next to Vine Hill Ranch and Missouri Hopper. From what I have gathered, the Schmidt Ranch was once considered part of the Missouri Hopper vineyard. More recently, the fruit had gone to Swanson. The Ulysses Cabernet Sauvignon is made at Dominus (there is no winery on the property) by Tod Mostero and the team at Dominus. The wines I have tasted so far reveal the distinctly ferrous, savory and tobacco notes that are typical of this sector of Napa Valley, with less of an emphasis on fruit. Compared to Dominus, Ulysses is a warmer site, so the tannins here tend to be a bit creamier than those at Dominus. These three wines certainly point to a very bright future."
"The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon is the first commercial release from Christian Moueix's Oakville property. Sensual and alluring, yet with striking depth, the 2012 is full of sweet red cherry, raspberry jam, wild flowers, all pushed forward in a sexy, layered Cabernet Sauvignon that delivers terrific depth for a wine from this generally uneven vintage. Sweet floral and spiced notes add lift on the finish. I imagine the 2012 will reward readers with a good two decades of fine drinking."
ROBERT PARKER 93 POINTS - "I had the privilege to taste this new estate vineyard wine from Christian Moueix several months before the 2012 would be released. Moueix purchased the old Schmidt Ranch, which is just to the north of his iconic Napanook vineyard. The AVA is different, as he is on the southern border of the Oakville appellation. This is pure valley floor soil with great drainage, just to the south of Martha's Vineyard and the famous To Kalon of both Mondavi and Andy Beckstoffer. Several vintages have been made, but not yet released. The first official release is the 2012. This is a completely different style of wine than those produced at Dominus. While the property is much smaller (40 acres vs. the very large Napanook vineyard), a similar élevage is employed, with 40% to 50% new French oak, and bottling after the wine spends 20 months in wood. Moueix told me that the site, even though it is so close to Napanook, is warmer in the summer by several degrees and colder in the winter, Additionally, the soils are deeper. What Moueix has done is produce a wine that is in complete contrast to Dominus. The wines of Dominus are known for their silky complexity, and even though there is virtually no Merlot in any of the top vintages, they always have an almost Pomerol-like lushness and opulence. Ulysses, on the other hand, is a Napa version of a first or second growth Pauillac. The crème de cassis, the licorice, the purity and the graphite notes are present in all three of these vintages, just in varying degrees."
"The 2012 Ulysses (800 cases) is 95% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest other Bordeaux varietals. A structured, dense purple wine that displays plenty of cedar wood, crème de cassis, licorice and graphite, the wine is full-bodied, rich, backward and dense, but beautifully pure fruit and an almost Pontet-Canet-like purity and density are hallmarks of this brilliant wine. Forget it for 4-5 years and drink it over the following 20-25."
- Item #: i_287830Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 96Vinous Media: 95ROBERT PARKER 96 POINTS - "I had the privilege to taste this new estate vineyard wine from Christian Moueix several months before the 2012 would be released. Moueix purchased the old Schmidt Ranch, which is just to the north of his iconic Napanook vineyard. The AVA is different, as he is on the southern border of the Oakville appellation. This is pure valley floor soil with great drainage, just to the south of Martha's Vineyard and the famous To Kalon of both Mondavi and Andy Beckstoffer. Several vintages have been made, but not yet released. The first official release is the 2012. This is a completely different style of wine than those produced at Dominus. While the property is much smaller (40 acres vs. the very large Napanook vineyard), a similar elevage is employed, with 40% to 50% new French oak, and bottling after the wine spends 20 months in wood. Moueix told me that the site, even though it is so close to Napanook, is warmer in the summer by several degrees and colder in the winter, Additionally, the soils are deeper. What Moueix has done is produce a wine that is in complete contrast to Dominus. The wines of Dominus are known for their silky complexity, and even though there is virtually no Merlot in any of the top vintages, they always have an almost Pomerol-like lushness and opulence. Ulysses, on the other hand, is a Napa version of a first or second growth Pauillac. The crème de cassis, the licorice, the purity and the graphite notes are present in all three of these vintages, just in varying degrees."
"The 2013 Ulysses is absolutely mind-boggling, as so many wines from this vintage are. Gorgeous blueberry and blackberry fruit, along with the telltale cassis and floral notes, jump from the glass. Again, this is Pauillac-like, with some cedar wood and subtle barrique smells. Again produced nearly all from Cabernet Sauvignon, the wine is full-bodied, powerful, rich and long, with slightly sweeter tannins than the 2012. Production in 2013 was 960 cases, and Moueix told me that the entire growing season averaged about two and half weeks ahead of schedule from bloom break to harvest. This is a prodigious effort and will certainly stand as the great Ulysses of the first trio to be released. I suspect it will be drinkable in 3-4 years and keep for 30 or more, given the Moueix track record."
ANTONIO GALLONI 95+ POINTS - "These are the first wines from Christian Moueix's property in Oakville. In 2008 Moueix bought the Schmidt Ranch, which lies on the southeastern edge of Oakville, next to Vine Hill Ranch and Missouri Hopper. From what I have gathered, the Schmidt Ranch was once considered part of the Missouri Hopper vineyard. More recently, the fruit had gone to Swanson. The Ulysses Cabernet Sauvignon is made at Dominus (there is no winery on the property) by Tod Mostero and the team at Dominus. The wines I have tasted so far reveal the distinctly ferrous, savory and tobacco notes that are typical of this sector of Napa Valley, with less of an emphasis on fruit. Compared to Dominus, Ulysses is a warmer site, so the tannins here tend to be a bit creamier than those at Dominus. These three wines certainly point to a very bright future."
"Gravel, smoke, graphite, savory herbs, tobacco and iron are some of the signatures in the 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon. A typical wine from the eastern sector of Oakville on the border with Yountville, the 2013 is loaded with feral, savory notes, while the expression of blue/blackish fruit lies a bit more in the background. In 2013, the main signature is an expression of structure that is both vertical but also incredibly insistent through to the finish. In other words, this is a super-classic 2013 built for the cellar."
- Item #: i_271000Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 97 POINTS - "The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from a vineyard south of Pritchard Hill overlooking Oakville Cross Road, aged for 30 months in 100% new French oak. Very deep purple-black in color, it sings of fragrant blackcurrants, wild blueberries and black cherries with touches of Indian spices, menthol, chocolate box and violets plus a touch of smoked meats. The palate is full, rich, concentrated and seductive, with a firm yet velvety structure and seamless freshness, finishing long and spicy."
JEB DUNNUCK 94-96 POINTS - "Tasted out of barrel, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate sports an inky color as well as terrific notes of creme de cassis, smoked herbs, licorice, scorched earth, and spice. Full-bodied, opulent, and concentrated with a terrific texture, it's going to age beautifully as well."
- Item #: i_270770Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97ROBERT PARKER 97 - "These are legendary wines of great extract, richness and potential of longevity and complexity. No compromises are made and the credit goes certainly to the Jackson family for supporting the efforts of winemaker Pierre Seillan."
"The 2012 La Muse, which is 85% Merlot, 11% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec, is a smaller cuvee of 1,840 cases. The wine has plenty of spice box, cedar wood, Christmas fruitcake and Asian plum sauce, along with black cherry and blackcurrant fruit. Ripe, round, full-bodied and opulent, this is a wine that can be drunk now or cellared for another three decades. Interestingly, the alcohol levels are not all that high in any of these wines, with most of them rarely exceeding 14.3%. "
- Item #: i_270700Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97+ROBERT PARKER 97+ POINTS - "This winery, one of the gems of the Kendall-Jackson portfolio of boutique wineries, debuted in 1998 and has been hitting on all cylinders since. I suspect top priority is given to Bordelais winemaker Pierre Seillan's choice of the finest fruit he can find from Jackson's holdings in Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill and Knights Valley."
"The 2014 La Joie has a spicy black purple color and a big, sweet kiss of camphor, black truffle, pen ink, blackcurrants and unsmoked cigar tobacco, followed by layers of fruit and glycerin in an opulent, beautifully savory, pure and multidimensional wine. The final blend Seillan produced in 2014 was 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 13% Merlot, 7% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. This is a compellingly great effort once again. It should be given 2-5 years of bottle age, then drunk over the following three decades."
- Item #: i_270980Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 98ROBERT PARKER 98 POINTS - "This winery, one of the gems of the Kendall-Jackson portfolio of boutique wineries, debuted in 1998 and has been hitting on all cylinders since. I suspect top priority is given to Bordelais winemaker Pierre Seillan's choice of the finest fruit he can find from Jackson's holdings in Alexander Valley, Chalk Hill and Knights Valley."
"The 2014 Le Desir (53% Cabernet Franc, 21% Merlot, 21% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Malbec) has an inky purple color and a sweet kiss of chocolate, black truffle, forest floor, black raspberry and black currants. Opulent, but again structured and super-dense and pure, this is another massively concentrated wine meant for the long haul (and for our grandchildren). Give it 4-6 years of cellaring and drink it over the following 35-40 years. Remarkably, Pierre Seillan told me that 2014, while a drought year, was not actually that hot in the micro-terroirs he was working, but in terms of quality, it turned out to be the most surprisingly positive vintage he’s ever witnessed."
- Item #: i_271100Bottle Size: 750MLWine Advocate: 98Proprietors Chuck & Anne McMinn and their impressive team of winemaker/consultant Philippe Melka and viticulturalist David Abreu have turned Vineyard 29 into one of Napa Valley's brightest stars. Currently there are two, small production, estate Cabernet Sauvignons which come from the Aida Vineyard (situated between St. Helena and Calistoga) and Vineyard 29 (St. Helena) and a 3,000 or so case bottling called Cru which offers an excellent quality to price ratio for Napa Valley Cabernet.
ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 98 POINTS - "The deep purple-black colored 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Aida Estate Vineyard comes strutting out of the glass like a total rock star, giving up flamboyant notes of warm cassis, blueberry compote and preserved plums with exciting sparks of kirsch, red roses, oolong tea, star anise and cigar box plus a touch of underbrush. Full-bodied, rich, bold and wonderfully decadent in the mouth, it fills the palate with black fruit preserves and red berry layers, supported by a firm, grainy line and finishing very long."
ANTONIO GALLONI 96 POINTS - "Proprietor Chuck McMinn and longtime winemaker Keith Emerson turned out a gorgeous set of 2016s. As I wrote last year, the Vineyard 29 wines are a bit more energetic than they were just a few years ago, but remain very much bold and racy in style. The two 2017s I tasted point to another promising vintage at Vineyard 29."
"A powerful, explosive wine, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon Aida Estate possesses tremendous intensity in all of its dimensions. Super-ripe black cherry, plum, bittersweet chocolate, scorched earth, leather, licorice and menthol all run through this potent, inky Cabernet Sauvignon. The tannins are present and quite potent, but also very nicely integrated. The Aida is mostly Clone 337 Cabernet, with dollops of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot."
- Item #: i_271190Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 97+ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 97+ POINTS - "The deep garnet-purple colored 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate issues forth with a bombastic nose of creme de cassis, plum preserves, blueberry pie and Indian spices with touches of earth, tobacco, meat and wood smoke plus a waft of cedar. Full, rich, concentrated, very firm and grainy, it's lively and packed with fruit, finishing layered and long."