Red Wines    Cabernet Franc    Loire    France - Other regions   
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Date Printed: 12/20/2014
Jean-Maurice Raffault Les Galuches Chinon 2009
Jean-Maurice Raffault Les Galuches Chinon 2009
(search item no. 108039)
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 12/20/2014: $15.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2005 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The Les Galuches vineyard lies near the river on sandy-gravel soil made up of old alluvial deposits. This terroir warms very early, so the wine attains a sweet and lush texture.
My Notes:

About Jean-Maurice Raffault:

Jean-Maurice Raffault's famed Chinon estate is now run by his son Rodolphe. Chinon is located in the central Loire valley, near Tours, and is the northernmost French red wine appellation. The family has been vignerons in Chinon since 1693 and the estate now comprises 40 hectares spread over 6 communes. Raffault harvests his Cabernet Francs as late as possible and vinifies each parcel separately. Fermentation can last up to one month with daily pumping over for maximum extraction of color and flavors. The wines are then aged in Bordeaux barrels in his remarkable 54 degree cellar (caves cut into the limestone slopes) and are bottled without filtration. Raffault is one of the few Chinon producers still using oak barrels to produce stable, tannic wines with impressive structure and intensity of fruit. It's fascinating to taste the ultimate expression of the Cabernet Franc varietal in the range of styles made by this very talented winemaker.

Rodolphe Raffault obtained a post graduate degree in Chemistry in Tours and then studied for the National Diploma in Oenology from the University of Dijon. After taking his degree, Rodolphe spent 2 years in Burgundy as a stagiere, followed by another stage at a Loire Co-op. In 1997, he joined his father Jean-Maurice, at the family domaine in Chinon which had by then grown to 40 hectares. He has been in charge of the vineyards and winemaking since the 2000 vintage. Rodolphe is proud to perpetuate his family's heritage as wine-growers, which began in 1693. He is particularly motivated to continue his late father's innovation of single-site bottling in Chinon, for example with his revival of the historic Clos des Capucins vineyard. Going forward, Rodolphe Raffault is evolving his vineyards in the direction of sustainable and organic viticulture.

Raffault’s Chinons are wonderfully expressive wines which go together with a wide variety of classic French dishes but their natural fruity acidities make them fine matches for Asiatic cuisine, grilled fish, and spicy American foods. For wines with such depth and complexity, they also represent remarkable value.



White Wines    Pinot Blanc    Alsace    France - Other regions   
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Date Printed: 12/20/2014
Lucien Albrecht Cuvee Balthazar Reserve Pinot Blanc 2008
Lucien Albrecht Cuvee Balthazar Reserve Pinot Blanc 2008
(search item no. 106186)

PRICE ON 12/20/2014: $12.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The Pinot Blanc Cuvée Balthazar is named for Balthazar Albrecht who settled in Orschwihr in 1698.

This wine, made 100% from Pinot Blanc, is unoaked and fresh with a soft dry fruit. It is the wine to drink at home as an aperitif or with all casual family meals. Picked when very mature, harmonious with a lively spring finesse.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Lucien Albrecht:

About Lucien Albrecht:

The history of the Albrecht family as winegrowers can be traced back to 1425 with Romanu Albrecht, who was established in the town of Thann.

The fifteenth century was golden era for the Alsace wines and it was during this period that the winegrowers guild of Alsace was founded. Each year, the most deserving vinegrower was elected by the guild of the winegrowers as Bangard, a highly respected positions. It was held by 8 generations of Albrecht's, between 1520 and 1698.

Domaine Albrecht experienced a major development under the guidance of Lucien Albrecht, the father of Jean, to become one of the most important in Alsace with holdings in 9 villages surounding Orschwihr. Lucien Albrecht, extended the winery with new cellars and expanded the sales of his wines in bottles. In 1972, Lucien Albrecht was also a pioneer of Cremand d'Alsace. Today the Cremant is one of their specialities and a major part of the business.

150 years were needed to make up the Domaine Albrecht located in the very best Alsace terroirs. Jean Albrecht is now the ninth generation settled in Orschwihr, leading the Domaine.



White Wines    Pinot Blanc    Alsace    France - Other regions   
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Date Printed: 12/20/2014
Hugel Pinot Blanc Cuvee Les Amours 2007
Hugel Pinot Blanc Cuvee Les Amours 2007
(search item no. 106027)
International Wine Cellar rating: 87 points
The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
PRICE ON 12/20/2014: $15.29

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 87 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 87 points
2004 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Delicate, subtle and well built, it makes an excellent apéritif because, although nicely rounded, it is also refreshing. The perfect all-purpose dry white wine.
My Notes:

Additional wines from Hugel:

About Hugel:

In the cellars, the oldest of which dates back to 1551, can be seen rows of oak wine casks, over one hundred years old, crafted by the forefathers of the present generation of Hugels now running the company. Near them is the oldest cask in the world still in use: the Sainte Caterine, which has a capacity of 8,800 litres. It was built in 1715, the year in which Louis XIV died.

The company has always maintained its family character and is determined to keep it that way. The vineyards are owned and farmed by individual members of the family whereas the company owns the buildings and machinery.



Red Wines    Sangiovese    Tuscany    Italy   
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Date Printed: 12/20/2014
Felsina Fontalloro 2007
Felsina Fontalloro 2007
(search item no. 106652)
collectible wine

International Wine Cellar rating: 96 points
The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
PRICE ON 12/20/2014: $49.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Wine Enthusiast rating: 95 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
2010 James Suckling rating: 94 points
2010 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 94 points
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 93 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 95 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
2004 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
2004 International Wine Cellar rating: 94 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2003 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
2001 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
1999 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
1999 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
1997 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
1997 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
1997 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points

Winemaker's Notes:

A rich, brilliant ruby red. Good spice on the nose, with generous notes of tobacco and wet earth (and of dry earth as well). The palate is supported by a hefty charge of medium-smooth tannins to ensure the required lengthy ageing. Superb weight and structure, with a classic finish. Significant cellar potential.
My Notes:

Additional wines from Fattoria di Felsina:

About Fattoria di Felsina:

In the 17 published editions of Gambero Rosso, Italy’s acclaimed wine rating guide, this Tuscan estate has won the coveted Tre Bicchieri (Three Glasses) award 17 times. They are a favorite of IWM, Robert Parker, and any Tuscan wine enthusiast. And they did it by revealing the true essence of the Sangiovese grape and the Chianti Classico terroir. What this tells us is that this is a winery of consistency, producing Chianti Classicos with the ability to age up to two decades for the right vintage. Much like the great Brunello estates, it is the marriage of an ideal microclimate and the uncompromising commitment of a dedicated staff that educes the full character of Tuscany's noble grape, even in off vintages. Even more importantly, this is a producer who creates compelling wines and releases them at contained prices, making Felsina accessible to all wine enthusiasts and one of Italy's greatest values!


White Wines    Viognier    North Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 12/20/2014
Cline North Coast Viognier 2009
Cline North Coast Viognier 2009
(search item no. 104670)

PRICE ON 12/20/2014: $8.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Cline Viognier shows big pineapple, peach and apricot flavors mixed with citrus and fl oral notes. This full-bodied flavorful wine is an excellent match for Mediterranean stews, Thai curry and spicy Mexican dishes.
My Notes:

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About Cline:

Fred Cline founded Cline Cellars in 1982, in Oakley, California. In 1991, the winery facilities relocated to the Sonoma Valley on a 350 acre estate in the Carneros District. The Cline Brothers, Fred and Matt, are Zinfandel and Rhone varietal specialists. Their holdings include some of the oldest and rarest vines in California. They are best known for the one hundred year old plantings of Carignane, Mourvedre and Zinfandel grapes they farm in Oakley, California. The Mourvedre represent approximately 85% of the state's total supply of this fascinating and versatile varietal. This treasure is the inspiration for Cline Cellars many "Rhone style" bottlings.


Red Wines    Bordeaux Red Blends    St-Emilion    France - Bordeaux   
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Date Printed: 12/20/2014
Chateau La Rose Brisson St-Emilion Grand Cru 2006
Chateau La Rose Brisson St-Emilion Grand Cru 2006
(search item no. 101182)
has video


PRICE ON 12/20/2014: $19.99

Winemaker's Notes:

Fine elegant fruit on the nose giving way to firm velvety fruit on the palate. Wonderful structure and lingering classy finish.


View the video of Anthony Foster, Master of Wine, on assignment in Bordeaux for Wine.com:

My Notes:

About Chateau La Rose Brisson:

Chateau La Rose Brisson, in Vignonet near Saint-Emilion, is owned by Martine Galhaud. This is a beautiful vineyard in the plains of 6 hectares planted mainly with Merlot (80%) and Cabernet Sauvignon on sandy-gravelly soils and deep sands. Winemaker Pascal Poussevin combines knowledge and tradition to develop a wine of great breed.


White Wines    Albarino    Rias Baixas    Spain   
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Date Printed: 12/20/2014
Morgadio Legado del Conde Albarino 2009
Morgadio Legado del Conde Albarino 2009
(search item no. 106812)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 12/20/2014: $12.97

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2013 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2012 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2011 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

A full-bodied, serious, dry Albariño similar to its sibling Morgadío incorporating wines made from the first pressing in a comparatively softer and more floral style.
My Notes:

About Morgadio:

In 1984 a farm named " Morgadio" in the Rias Baixas sub district of Condado do Tea near aldea of Albeos was consolidated from multiple existing owners, and planting began. Vineyard areas were gradually expanded to its current 50 acres. Within Rias Baixas there are three sub districts: El Rosal and Val do Salnes on Galicia's rainy Atlantic coast, and Condado do Tea inland on the north bank of the Mino River, a situation remarkably reminiscent of Germany's Rheingau. Condado's benign climate, southern exposure and soil of brilliantly reflective granite sand serve to maximize the Albarino's concentration.

BODEGA: As important as the great Albarino grape to the production of world-class white wine is adequate winemaking equipment. Just in time for the 1988 harvest, Morgadio finished a state-of-the-art gravity-flow facility at the bottom of the vineyard amphitheater, which includes pneumatic presses and isothermic stainless steel tanks. From the 1996 vintage, the Mendez family of Orense has increased investment in the bodega for maximization of the estate's production, with a current capacity for annual production of 100% estate-bottled Albarino of 10,000 cases.



Red Wines    Bordeaux Red Blends    Pomerol    France - Bordeaux   
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Date Printed: 12/20/2014
Chateau Gazin  2004
Chateau Gazin 2004
(search item no. 100755)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 12/20/2014: $37.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
2011 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2011 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
2010 James Suckling rating: 95 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 96 points
2008 Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
2006 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2005 Wine Spectator rating: 94 points
2005 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
2005 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2005 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 91 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2001 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
1998 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Feminine and delightful due to the dominance of the Merlot. An excellent accompaniment to white and red meats and game, as well as to almond, caramel, vanilla and red fruits desserts.
My Notes:

About Chateau Gazin:

The Château GAZIN vineyards cover 64.2 acres in a single lot, with 56.8 acres under vines, located on the renowned clay-gravel plateau of Pomerol. The estate can produce up to 100,000 bottles a year. A second AOC Pomerol wine "l’Hospitalet de Gazin", was created in 1986 in order to reserve the best of the harvest for Château GAZIN.

The grapes are fermented in small cement vats. The wine is aged for 18 months in oak barrels (50% new) according to the Bordeaux tradition: malolactic fermentation in casks, rackings to separate the fine wine from the lees, fining with egg whites and, if necessary, light filtration.



White Wines    Sauvignon Blanc    Napa Valley    California   
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Date Printed: 12/20/2014
Freemark Abbey Sauvignon Blanc 2008
Freemark Abbey Sauvignon Blanc 2008
(search item no. 105037)

PRICE ON 12/20/2014: $15.99

Winemaker's Notes:

The 2008 Sauvignon Blanc is pretty with a light greenish straw color. The initial aroma is white peach, with lemon grass, subtle mandarin orange and a slight oak spice. The flavor expresses a minerality complimenting fruit components of citrus, green melon, lemon grass and mandarin orange.
My Notes:

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About Freemark Abbey:

The history of Freemark Abbey began in 1886, when Josephine Marlin Tychson became the first woman to build and operate a winery in California. The historic site where Josephine's winery, Tychson Cellars, once stood is now known as Freemark Abbey.

Josephine, a native of San Lorenzo, California and her husband, John Tychson, a Danish immigrant, moved to St. Helena in 1881. For $8,500, they purchased 147 acres north of St. Helena, which later became known as "Tychson Hill".

Shortly after her husband's untimely death, Josephine began construction of a fifty square foot redwood winery which would grow to hold a capacity of about 30,000 gallons. In addition, she hired Nils Larsen, an experienced vintner, as her foreman. Josephine successfully produced wine for the next eight years and then sold the winery to Larsen in 1894. In turn, Larsen leased the winery to Antonio Forni, a good friend of Josephine's. Forni later purchased the property in 1898. Forni is responsible for building a new winery on the old site of the Tychson structure.

In the years that followed, Freemark Abbey went through a period of several different owners until 1966, when a group of partners purchased the winery. In 1993, Winemaker Ted Edwards became a partner. Edwards assumed the role of managing partner in addition to maintaining the responsibilities he has held as winemaker since 1985.



Red Wines    Syrah/Shiraz    Victoria    Australia   
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Date Printed: 12/20/2014
Taltarni Pyrenees Shiraz 2005
Taltarni Pyrenees Shiraz 2005
(search item no. 105828)
Australian Wine Companion rating: 94 points
PRICE ON 12/20/2014: $15.29

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 Australian Wine Companion rating: 94 points
2008 Australian Wine Companion rating: 92 points
2007 Australian Wine Companion rating: 89 points
2007 Wine Enthusiast rating: 88 points
2006 Australian Wine Companion rating: 94 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2004 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2003 Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
2003 Australian Wine Companion rating: 90 points
2002 Wine Enthusiast rating: 89 points
2002 Australian Wine Companion rating: 88 points
2001 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2001 Australian Wine Companion rating: 89 points
1999 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
1998 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
1998 Australian Wine Companion rating: 90 points
1997 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
1997 Wine Enthusiast rating: 89 points
1996 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

A vibrant magenta red colour showing youthfulness whilst sophisticated on the nose with concentrated aromas of blueberries and mocha. Very appealing to drink now but built to cellar with confidence for at least ten years.
My Notes:

About Taltarni:

Established in 1969, Taltarni was one of the founding wineries in the iron-rich Pyrenees wine region in Victoria. John Goelet, a direct descendant of the Guestier wine merchant family of Bordeaux, discovered the Taltarni Vineyard through a worldwide search for a site comparable to the great vineyards of Bordeaux. From the outset, Taltarni has a strong French influence with the initial plantings of Bordeaux varieties including Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot. Soon after, Taltarni extended its plantings with Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay. The Goelet family also sources Shiraz, Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier. Taltarni has built its reputation on elegant sparkling wines that are crafted using methode traditionale techniques, as wells as producing exceptional red and white wines. The distinctive labels, featuring a 17th century cartouche, represent the attention to detail and the French elegance and finesses that are hallmarks of all Taltarni wines.