- Item #: i_200015Bottle Size: 750ml7th STRAIGHT YEAR OF SCORING 90 POINTS OR ABOVE
Valerie's terroir driven one-acre Carneros vineyard has come of age and we think that vintage to vintage this one is another winner, very Burgundian. The California drought has somewhat spared us, we were able to keep the right amount of water on the vines and the added stress has created a complex wine. The winemaking attention to detail in the vineyard has never been better.
The 2014 extols a rich velvety mouth-feel and well balanced fruit, oak and tannins. The cherry/plum flavors blend with traditional Burgundian nuisances such as cola and tea. The French oak program of new and two-year old French oak from numerous makers has created a unique flavor profile and aging regimen. The wine lives no less than 18 months in the oak. Winemaker Jeff McBride and the bio-dynamic practices of Valerie's new winemaking home at Benzinger Family Winery fit our farming practices and style perfectly.
TASTING PANEL 90 POINTS - "Pale and aromatic; crisp and silky with bright raspberry and tangy acidity; clean, fresh and racy with light Burgundian style; long and fresh."
- Item #: i_201470Bottle Size: 750MLVinous Media: 93Jeb Dunnuck: 93Producers of Petite Sirah need to take note: there's a young gun out there who's going to show you some new moves! Winemaker Aaron Jackson is one amazing guy! He fully commits to whatever the task at hand is. So being the hardcore surfer that he is, you can imagine how dedicated to winemaking Aaron must be when he has to leave those firing Central Coast point breaks to head for the vineyards! His wines have been staples at our store for years, and it's amazing how he can make Petite Sirah taste so good, keep it complex yet easy to drink, and sell such a tasty wine for a reasonable price!
ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 93 POINTS - "Dark purple. Deep-pitched, spice-tinged black and blue fruit, licorice, cola and mocha scents gain energy and pick up a smoky mineral quality as the wine opens up. Densely packed but surprisingly lively black currant, boysenberry and violet pastille flavors stretch out and pick up a subtle, sweetening hint of vanilla on the back half. Conveys a suave blend of richness and energy and finishes with emphatic, dark-fruit-driven persistence and youthful tannic grip."
JEB DUNNUCK 93 POINTS - "Blackberry, blueberries, tar, toasted spice, and chocolate notes all emerge from the 2016 Petite Sirah (there's 12% Syrah in the blend) and it's ripe and polished on the palate, with full-bodied richness, silky tannins, and a great finish. This is a sexy, unabashedly California beauty to enjoy over the coming 5-7 years."
- Item #: i_201430Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 92JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "This is another blockbuster set of new releases from the talented Aaron Jackson and they’re certainly the finest wines I’ve tasted from him."
"The 2016 Trespasser checks in as a blend of 38% Petite Sirah, 32% Mourvedre, 25% Syrah, 5% Grenache that saw a long maceration (50% whole clusters and 35-40 days on skins) that spent 22 months in 20% new French oak. It offers more blackberry, scorched earth, ground pepper, and violet notes, and it too is bright, juicy, full-bodied, and opulent on the palate, with a supple, sexy texture."
- Item #: i_201360Bottle Size: 750mlBob Tillman searched for several years for the site where he could plant a truly world-class vineyard. After the family moved to the Central Coast of California and tasted the wines coming out of Paso Robles, they knew they found the right region! In 2003, Bob found this beautiful hilltop property on Adelaida Road that would become Alta Colina. All the grapes on this property are organically farmed, and the fruit is so amazing that other Central Coast producers such as McPrice Myers, Sans Liege, and Paydirt get fruit from Alta Colina.
- Item #: i_201320Bottle Size: 750mlAmalie Robert's "Heirloom Cameo" Chardonnay is fermented in a single, large format French oak barrel or "puncheon." The goal of this fermentation style is to enhance the breadth and depth of the wine through limited oak exposure and extended yeast or "lees" aging. Stylistically, this wine is made to be enjoyed throughout its time in bottle. Upon release the wine is fresh with pungent aromas and a broad mouth feel, followed by a crisp and satisfying finish. We expect this wine to age gracefully for several years and will reward a laddered approach to monitoring its development. The Chardonnay for this wine is estate grown in 1 small block. The blend is about half Dijon clone 76 and half Dijon clone 95. In most years this block ripens until a beautifully hued golden patina envelops the skins, and then Amalie Robert hand harvests all 1,089 vines.
Scintillating aromas of Meyer lemon zest, purple passion fruit and carambola sheathed in a suggestion of five spice and pheromone provide intrigue. The deftly balanced palate is silky chiffon with latent acidity providing a gentle lift, all the while the effortlessly evolving textures and aromas vex. The enduring finish echoes the virtue of presence without weight. Only 70 cases were produced!
- Item #: i_211280Bottle Size: 750mlEach year, Ancient Peaks crafts the limited-edition Oyster Ridge cuvee to exemplify their finest winemaking efforts. The name Oyster Ridge honors an outcropping that always astonishes visitors to their estate Margarita Vineyard. Here, large white oyster fossils are literally spilling out of the ground, fostering the type of calcium-rich soil that is coveted by winemakers worldwide. The 2016 vintage is a blend of 51% Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 9% Petit Verdot, 4% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Malbec, all from meticulously farmed vineyard blocks cultivated for the Oyster Ridge program.
The 2016 Oyster Ridge offers a sumptuous bouquet of black berry and black currant with notes of creme de cassis, violets, vanilla bean, cedar and graphite. On the palate, the wine is exquisitely dense and integrated, showing chewy layers of black fruits interwoven with accents of caramel, mint, cinnamon spice and new oak. Fine-grained tannins and sleek acidity bring a resounding conclusion to what is nothing less than a blockbuster vintage for Oyster Ridge. This is a wine that will generously evolve in the bottle for years to come.
2016 Oyster Ridge
93 Points - Wine Enthusiast
93 Points - Tasting Panel
92 Points - Vinous
- Item #: i_211330Bottle Size: 750mlEach year, Ancient Peaks crafts the limited-edition Oyster Ridge cuvee to exemplify their finest winemaking efforts. The name Oyster Ridge is a tribute to the large white oyster fossils that are abundant in their estate Margarita Vineyard, fostering the type of calcium-rich soils coveted by winemakers worldwide. The 2017 vintage is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (80%), Petit Verdot (10%), Malbec (5%), Cabernet Franc (4%) and Merlot (1%), all from meticulously farmed vineyard blocks cultivated for the Oyster Ridge program.
The 2017 Oyster Ridge exemplifies Paso Robles' growing renown as an elite region for Cabernet Sauvignon. The aroma profile presents a captivating intermingling of red fruits, blueberry and black currant with accents of mint, forest floor and toasted oak. An extravagantly deep palate cascades with luxurious layers of blackberry, boysenberry, black olive, chocolate, tobacco and cedar, all underpinned by hints of eucalyptus and baking spice. A plush, seamless texture exhibits a sleek sense of minerality, while firm, chewy tannins add a powerful touch to a seemingly endless finish.
- Item #: i_201750Bottle Size: 750MLJAMES SUCKLING 92 POINTS - " This has an attractive, fresh and silky feel with a very smooth, vibrant and lively set of red-fruit aromas on offer. The palate has a fresh and quite detailed core of red cherries with neatly groomed tannins. Drink or hold. Screw cap."
- Item #: i_201530Bottle Size: 750mlArrow and Branch proprietors (and Laguna Beach locals) Steve and Seanne Contursi share a great love for the wines of Bordeaux, particularly those produced with a large quantity of Cabernet Franc, such as Chateau Cheval Blanc. The couple sought out their Coombsville vineyard property with an eye to producing top-quality Cabernet Franc-based wines from Napa Valley. They bought the Arrow and Branch Vineyard in November 2007, as this vineyard was the source of Tony Soter's renowned and highly rated Little Creek Cabernet Franc. The Contursi's have maintained the organic farming and, through their work with the detail-oriented Viticulturalist Mike Wolf, are continually improving this wonderful vineyard site.
One of the rising stars of Napa Valley winemaking, Jennifer Williams, was named Winemaker for Arrow and Branch in April 2011. After years of working with and learning from legendary winemakers such as Rosemary Cakebread, Francoise Peschon, and the Novak family, Jennifer now brings her outstanding talents and experience to Arrow and Branch. In 2002, Williams joined Araujo and Spottswoode as a harvest intern, splitting her time between these two great winemaking estates. At Spottswoode, Jennifer was drawn to the philosophy of organic and sustainable farming, which Tony Soter had introduced in 1985. Following harvest, she joined their team full time, working under guru David Abreu in the fields and Rosemary Cakebread in the winery. In 2004, with a deeper understanding of the estate vineyard, she took over as Vineyard Manager and was Spottswoode's Winemaker from 2006 to 2011. The San Francisco Chronicle named Jennifer a "Winemaker to Watch" in 2007.
From their high elevation vineyard about 1300 feet atop Atlas Peak, this is their second vintage fully sourced from Stagecoach Vineyard. The cool evenings and temperate days make for ideal Sauvignon Blanc conditions. This vineyard produces fruit full in flavor while retaining a bright acidity that is signature of Arrow and Branch Sauvignon Blanc. Fermented in oak and stainless to preserve the freshness and lees aged to give the wine some roundness.
- Item #: i_201680Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92ANTONIO GALLONI'S VINOUS MEDIA 92 POINTS - "Deep lurid red. Spice- and smoke-accented cherry, raspberry and musky floral scents are complemented by building mineral and earth accents. Concentrated yet lively in character, offering intense cherry, Chambord and cola flavors that tighten up slowly on the back half. Smoothly plays power off finesse and finishes very long and appealingly sweet, with dusty tannins sneaking in late."
- Item #: i_204050Bottle Size: 750MLClark and Telephone Vineyard, located near the corner of Clark Avenue and Telephone Road in the Santa Maria Valley, is cooled by wind and fog that snakes in from the Pacific Ocean along a channel of the Santa Maria River. Established in 1972, the Clark and Telephone Vineyard was planted "own root" to the Martini clone. This heirloom clone of Pinot Noir, one of the first to grace the California coastlands, has become something of a lost treasure.
In the winery, the clusters were de-stemmed and the must underwent a cold soak. Fermentation began with the inoculation of yeast strains matched to each lot of grapes. The maceration process during fermentation consisted of a combination of punch-down and pump-over techniques, each day the techniques would be reassessed to ensure that we were riding the line between over extraction and under extraction. The wine was aged in French oak (60% percent new) for nine months and was racked once upon completion of malolactic fermentation and again upon blending.
Scarlet in color; bursting with aromas of cinnamon, caramel and hints of ginger-spiced tea. On the palate, the plush weight coats the mouth with more brown spice and sweet oak flavors, layered into the deep blueberry and strawberry base. The viscosity paired with the flavors and lively acidity lead into a long finish with supple tannins.
- Item #: i_208700Bottle Size: 750mlThis wine is very expressive of smoky espresso, cacao, raspberry, pomegranate, rose petals, and graham cracker. The fruit on the palate is juicy in a refreshing kind of way with playful dusty tannins. There is an easiness to the way the wine drinks that is soothing and comfortable like the way your favorite old pair of leather boots feel on your feet.
- Item #: i_205560Bottle Size: 750mlLast year, winemaker Edgar Torres brought us a couple wines that were simply amazing! This year is no different, other than the fact that he has a new wine that is really gets us excited! His latest bottling is called "Toro de Paso", a blend of Tempranillo, Grenache, and Cabernet Sauvignon. The Tempranillo and Grenache are a couple of the primary grapes in many Spanish reds, and coming from this Central Coast region, calling this wine Toro de Paso just made sense.
Offering plenty of underbrush, loamy earth, spice and mulled black fruits, the 2013 Toro de Paso is medium-bodied, nicely concentrated, with good fruit, but a firm, savory edge to its tannin. Give bottles a year in the cellar but plan on drinking by 2023. The blend in 2013 is 65% Tempranillo, 25% Grenache, 5% Cabernet, and 5% Merlot, all of which spent two years in oak.
- Item #: i_205800Bottle Size: 750mlJeb Dunnuck: 95JEB DUNNUCK 95 POINTS - "A blend of 60% Roussanne and 40% Viognier, the medium gold-colored (there's a touch of green) 2018 White has a fleshy, powerful style that carries beautiful notes of lemon oil, honeysuckle, toasted bread, crushed lime, and hints of minerality. It's a pure, rockingly textured, balanced white to enjoy with food over the coming 2-3 years."
- Item #: i_206620Bottle Size: 750MLIn 1980 when the Brown family stumbled upon their now renowned property in the Chiles Valley sub-appellation of the Napa Valley, it was but a ghost ranch up the hill east of Rutherford. Five years later they planted vineyards and for a decade they farmed and sold wine grapes. In 1995 the second generation, encouraged by growing demand for their fruit, established the Brown Estate label and began making their own wines.
Brown's flagship Napa Valley Zinfandel historically has borne the responsibility of being the ultimate representative of what their property and its unique microclimate have to offer — the cream of the Brown Estate zinfandel crop blended into one stellar wine. Rich magenta hue in the glass. Nose opens with abundant floral notes of hibiscus, dried rose petals, and violet followed by fruit notes of black plum, blackberry, and dried orange peels. Nose finishes with fresh cut wood/sawdust, fir balsam, and a hint of tangy soy/umami. Medium-plus palate layered with bramble fruit up front, leading into dried herbs, exotic spices, and dusty earth. Long finish with well-balanced acid and tannins. Drink now through 2028.
- Item #: i_207480Bottle Size: 750mlCakebread Cellars 2018 Two Creeks Pinot Noir is blend of several French Dijon clones and the famed Joseph Swan and Pommard clones. The grapes were night-harvested for freshness between September 20th and October 1st with an ideal balance of sugar and acidity. With the Dijon clones supplying bright fruit and acidity, the small-berried Swan clone providing intense varietal flavors, and the Pommard clone contributing mid-palate weight and a warm spice tone, Two Creeks is a fruit-forward, yet complex pinot noir showcasing the best of Anderson Valley.
The 2018 Cakebread Cellars Two Creeks Pinot Noir boasts fragrant red and black cherry, red raspberry, strawberry and rose petal aromas. It has a smooth, mouth-coating texture, velvety tannins and delightfully silky red raspberry, cherry and strawberry flavors that take on a spicy tone in the long, juicy finish. Delicious now, it will age well in bottle for at least five years.
- Item #: i_207380Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 92Under the expert farming of organic specialist Phil Coturri, Rossi Ranch has quickly returned to its former glory. Lots to be excited about here, as the fruit comes from vines planted in 1910! Medium-dark ruby-garnet. With aeration and swirling, aromas of kirsch liqueur and briery spice emerge from the glass. On the palate, tightly coiled but at the same time very poised and polished with no rusticity. Red fruits are echoed in the energetic, mineral-laden finish. Exceptionally well-balanced, this wine will age well and develop further complexity. When to drink? Wait a couple of years and then enjoy from 2020 to 2026.
WINE SPECTATOR 92 POINTS - "Features briary notes in spades, plus vibrant black raspberry, cracked pepper and anise flavors. Best from 2019 through 2027."
- Item #: i_207430Bottle Size: 750mlWine Spectator: 94Jeb Dunnuck: 94JEB DUNNUCK 94+ POINTS - "Coming from a single vineyard in the cooler Bennett Valley (although the site is so unique they don't label this wine as from Bennett Valley), the 2017 The Integral checks in as 62% Syrah and 38% Mourvedre that had the Syrah mostly destemmed and the Mourvedre fermented with 100% whole clusters. Deep purple-hued with notes of smoke blue fruits, bloody minerality, charcoal, and graphite, it's medium to full-bodied, concentrated, backward, and structured. Hide bottles for 4-5 years and it's going to keep for over a decade."
WINE SPECTATOR 94 POINTS - "A light-footed bruiser, opening with boldly expressive blackberry jam aromas before revealing a structured core wrapped in compelling currant, licorice and smoky beef flavors. Syrah and Mourvedre. Best from 2021 through 2028. 422 cases made."
- Item #: i_207450Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 94-97ANTONIO GALLONI 94-97 POINTS - "This set of 2020 releases from proprietor Mike Officer and winemaker Jay Maddox is stellar. There are so many alluring wines in this range, that I don't really know where to start. But, if I had to pick a few, they would be the Sonoma County Syrah (a fabulous value), the Carlisle Zinfandel and the Sierra Mar Syrah. Most of the wines see a cold soak of around 5 days. New oak is in the 20-30% range, and whole clusters are used with restraint. More than anything else, I was blown away by the sheer finesse of the 2018s, and the extraordinary degree to which they convey the essence of place, which is such a fundamental concept in world-class wine."
"As good as the Rosella's Syrah is, the 2018 Sierra Mar has an added kick of everything. Inky dark fruit, chocolate, spice, leather, menthol and licorice all build in a deep, expansive Syrah loaded with character. The 20% whole clusters are evident, but not at all dominant. More than anything else, the Sierra Mar Syrah possesses tremendous vertical intensity as well as purity. What a wine!"
- Item #: i_207490Bottle Size: 750mlVinous Media: 92-95ANTONIO GALLONI 92-95 POINTS - "The 2018 Zinfandel Montafi Ranch is another compelling wine in this range from Carlisle. Ripe red cherry, cedar and sweet tobacco are all beautifully lifted. With a bit of air, the Montafi starts to show its considerable weight and resonance. The 11% mixed blacks add quite a bit of character."
- Item #: i_208820Bottle Size: 750mlMade by highly-touted winemaker Julien Fayard, the grapes for thie Sauvignon Blanc come from a certified organic vineyard in the heart of the Napa Valley, and only 77 cases were produced! In the glass you'll notice its straw color with a golden tinge on the rim. The nose offers an instant waft of tropical fruit with Meyer lemon's perfume. Delicate floral aromas remind you of Spring time in the garden. On the palate the wine is expressive with a rich silkiness, a pure pleasure. A subtle spice from the small time of oak aging adds just the right mouth feel to this estate wine.
- Item #: i_210200Bottle Size: 750mlChalk Hill's Estate is a compendium of unique microclimates, exposures and soil types. They are fortunate to be able to make everything from aromatic Sauvignon Blanc to big, bold Syrah. Nowhere is this ideal situation more evident than in their Estate Red, which is just that - the best blend of the red wines made from the estate. Each variety is perfectly matched to the vineyard site. The blend will also vary from year to year, as the vineyard yields and fruit quality depend greatly on the weather during springtime bloom and set, and during harvest. Cabernet and Malbec were the stars in 2016, and form the base of this Estate Red. Grapes grown on the rocky slopes of their Estate West vineyard make up the balance of the blend. This year, the final blend is comprised of 47% Cabernet Sauvignon, 37% Malbec, 9% Petit Verdot, and 7% Merlot.
Chalk Hill's 2016 Estate Red opens with bold and intense aromas of blackberry, anise, tobacco leaf and dark chocolate. The palate is rich and savory, with layered flavors of black cherry, dark chocolate and leather with oak influences of vanilla and toast. Though firm, the tannins are rounded by a balanced acidity and a long and smooth finish. Though appealing in its youth, this wine will also age beautifully over the next 15 years.
- Item #: i_210670Bottle Size: 750mlWine Advocate: 93Vinous Media: 92Jeb Dunnuck: 92ROBERT PARKER'S WINE ADVOCATE 93 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Grower Collection Calesa Vineyard has a very pretty, delicate nose with touches of floral perfume and quince that float over a core of spiced peaches, hazelnuts, cut hay and lemon cream. The medium-bodied palate takes its time to unfurl to spicy, perfumed fruits, rounded but fresh and lively, with a long, layered finish. Lovely. 2,020 cases produced."
ANTONIO GALLONI 92 POINTS - "The 2018 Chardonnay Grower Collection Calesa Vineyard shows the more reserved side of Chardonnay. The 2018 is bright and lifted and is all about savory and mineral infused energy, while the citrus-driven fruit is very much in the background. Saline notes give the 2018 much of its persistence and overall feel."
JEB DUNNUCK 92 POINTS - "Brought up in just under 40% new French oak, the 2018 Chardonnay Calesa Vineyard shows a pure, elegant style as well as caramelized grapefruit, white flowers, and salty mineral-like aromas and flavors. Bright, juicy, and medium-bodied, drink this balanced, lively Chardonnay over the coming 3-5 years."