White Wines    Pinot Gris/Grigio    South Australia    Australia   
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Date Printed: 7/23/2014
Robert Oatley Pinot Grigio 2009
Robert Oatley Pinot Grigio 2009
(search item no. 106350)
screw cap wine

Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/23/2014: $23.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

2009 was a tale of two distinct harvests in the Adelaide Hills. An excellent lead into the growing season was followed by warmer than normal conditions making site selection and timing of harvest important. Our earlier harvested Pinot Grigio escaped the heat resulting in grapes with freshness and clarity of flavor.

Texture and structure are the hallmarks of our Pinot Grigio. We aim to capture the delicate pear, ginger and spice notes of the variety. We ferment some parcels with more solids to promote palate weight. The wine's natural partridge-eye hue has been retained in a wine that is crisp and fresh with the pure flavor of Pinot Grigio.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Robert Oatley:

About Robert Oatley:

Famed Australian Vintners, Bob and Sandy Oatley, founders of Rosemount Estate, began their next wine venture to pay homage to the many terrific regions of Australia and the grapes most suited to the terroir.

Wherever he makes wine, Bob Oatley's underlying philosophy is to find the right vineyard with the right soil and match it to the right variety.

With the guidance of winemaker, Larry Cherubino, Robert Oatley Vineyards shares the expression of regions, such as Margaret River, McLaren Vale, Yarra Valley, Great Southern and Central Ranges.



Red Wines    Bordeaux Red Blends    Sonoma County    California   
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Date Printed: 7/23/2014
Ravenswood Pickberry Vineyards 2006
Ravenswood Pickberry Vineyards 2006
(search item no. 100320)
Wine Enthusiast rating: 94 points
International Wine Cellar rating: 93 points
PRICE ON 7/23/2014: $44.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2008 Wine & Spirits rating: 94 points
2008 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2007 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
2005 International Wine Cellar rating: 93 points
2005 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The Pickberry Vineyard is located on the slopes of Sonoma Mountain on the western side of the Sonoma Valley. Pickberry Vineyard got its name many years ago by then two-year-old Kristin Strotz, daughter of owners Cris and Lorna Strotz, due to the irresistible blackberry vines that grow on the property. Pickberry fruit (in this case grapes, as opposed to blackberries) has traditionally produced opulent, berry-saturated, Bordeaux-style wines and with the 2006 vintage, these indisputable virtues are even more dramatic.

Deep ruby color, expressive aromas of smoky cherry, blackcurrant and baking spices. Suave dark berry flavors show liqueur-like depth and intensity, with dusty tannins adding shape and grip and carrying through the finish.

Blend: 74% Merlot, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon

My Notes:

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About Ravenswood:

Fueled initially by the inspiration and winemaking skills of Joel Peterson, aided and abetted by his business partner W. Reed Foster, Ravenswood winery has been dedicated to top quality, hand-crafted wine since the first crush in 1976. Every Ravenswood wine carries a unique vintage and vineyard identity in addition to the intense powerful – gothic – character with which the winery has come to be associated.

A key to Ravenswood’s success is our long-standing relationships with over 60 independent grape growers. Vineyards are chosen for their location, age, yield and special flavor characteristics. At Ravenswood, we are devoted to working with growers who share our philosophy about high quality.

Ravenswood Vineyard Designate wines are made employing what winemaker Joel Peterson refers to as “stubborn and impractical” Old World enological practices. Wines are fermented in small wooden tanks using wild, natural yeasts and punched down by hand three to five times per day. The wines are characterized by intense, spicy aromas supported by rich, berry flavors and long, clean finishes.



Red Wines    Bordeaux Red Blends    Veneto    Italy   
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Date Printed: 7/23/2014
Maculan Brentino 2008
Maculan Brentino 2008
(search item no. 105977)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/23/2014: $16.95

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2004 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 86 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Deep ruby-red with garnet hues, Brentino offers seductive aromas of blackberries and dark cherries, along with hints of cedar and forest due to the year spent aging in French barriques. On the palate, the wine is dry, full-bodied and harmoniously balanced with a firm tannic backbone and distinct bold flavors. Recommended with roasted and grilled meats, as well as hearty winter stews or pastas.
My Notes:

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About Maculan:

For three generations the Maculan family has been selecting and vinifying the best grapes in Breganze, an enchanting village set like a small jewel at the foot of the Alps in Italy’s Veneto region. The surrounding mountains protect the area from cold winds, creating a perfect microclimate for the cultivation of vineyards. But it is Fausto Maculan’s drive and commitment, rather than any accident of nature, which set these wines apart and distinguish Maculan as an innovative and dynamic winery. Designed by Fausto himself, the winery is one of the most stunning small wineries in Italy, an amazing mixture of ingenuity and style. The new winery provides the theatre for a marvelous combination of antique traditions and modern techniques using the latest winemaking technology. Long-held family traditions are respected: from using specially selected vineyards and the careful selection of the bunches of grapes, to aging in new, small oak barrels and conserving the grapes on racks for the production of Torcolato. The fusion of tradition and innovation results in a selection of fresh and fruity whites, well-structured reds and delicious dessert wines. Designed by Fausto himself, the winery is one of the most stunning small wineries in Italy, an amazing mixture of ingenuity and style. The new winery provides the theater for a marvelous combination of antique traditions and modern techniques using the latest winemaking technology. Long-held family traditions are respected, from using highly selected vineyards and the careful selection of the bunches of grapes, to aging in new, small oak barrels and conserving the grapes on racks for the production of Torcolato. The fusion of tradition and innovation results in a selection of fresh and fruity whites, well-structured reds and delicious dessert wines.


Red Wines    Other Red Blends    Tuscany    Italy   
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Date Printed: 7/23/2014
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2005
Tenuta San Guido Sassicaia 2005
(search item no. 95415)
collectible wine

Wine Spectator rating: 94 points
The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
PRICE ON 7/23/2014: $169.00

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 James Suckling rating: 94 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 96 points
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 94 points
2010 James Suckling rating: 94 points
2009 James Suckling rating: 98 points
2009 Decanter rating: 98 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 97 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2009 Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
2008 James Suckling rating: 97 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 96 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 94 points
2008 Wine & Spirits rating: 93 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 95 points
2007 Wine Enthusiast rating: 95 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 97 points
2006 International Wine Cellar rating: 95 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 94 points
2006 Wine Enthusiast rating: 94 points
2006 Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
2004 Wine Enthusiast rating: 97 points
2004 International Wine Cellar rating: 97 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 94 points
2004 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
2003 Wine & Spirits rating: 96 points
2003 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2001 International Wine Cellar rating: 97 points
2001 Wine Spectator rating: 94 points
2000 Wine & Spirits rating: 95 points
2000 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2000 International Wine Cellar rating: 93 points
1998 Wine Spectator rating: 95 points
1998 International Wine Cellar rating: 94 points
1998 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
1990 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
1990 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points

Winemaker's Notes:

In 1944, Mario Incisa acquired a number of Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc vine cuttings and planted them on a sloping hillside of the San Guido estate, called Castiglioncello after the 11th-century castle at the vineyard's upper edge. This tiny, 3.75-acre vineyard stood alone until 1965, when a second Cabernet vineyard was planted with cuttings from the Castiglioncello parcel; the gravelly, 30-acre plot would give the wine its name: Sassicaia, "the place of many stones". This and a slightly more elevated microclimate of 20 acres, called Aianova, were planted in phases between 1965 and 1985, bringing plantings to the present extent of 90 acres in vines averaging 20 to 25 years of age.

Since the late 1960s, Sassicaia has represented a standard of production that is without compromise. The grapes are hand picked, destemmed, crushed and fermentation is set off by natural yeasts in stainless steel tanks. For the first week, pumping over of the must takes place three times daily; during the second week, this is reduced to once daily until the end of the 14-day fermentation period. The wine is pressed from the skins and undergoes full malolactic fermentation. Aging takes place in 225-litre Allier and Tronçais oak barriques, approximately 30 percent of which are new, for 18 to 22 months depending on vintage.

Sassicaia is a unique interpretation of the Cabernet variety, a wine of great breadth, complexity and longevity. The intense blackberry and cassis aromas, offset by notes of smoke and spice, are confirmed on a palate of lush concentration underscored by firm, ripe tannins carrying into a long, elegant finish.

My Notes:

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About Tenuta San Guido:

The Tenuta San Guido is a 7,500-acre estate located in the province of Livorno on the western coastal outskirts of Tuscany near the village of Bolgheri. Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta acquired it through his marriage to Clarice della Gherardesca in 1940.

The legacy of Sassicaia began in 1944, when Mario Incisa acquired a number of Cabernet Sauvignon and Franc vine cuttings and planted them on a sloping hillside of the San Guido estate, called Castiglioncello after the 11th-century castle at the vineyard's upper edge. This tiny, 3.75-acre vineyard stood alone until 1965, when a second Cabernet vineyard was planted with cuttings from the Castiglioncello parcel; the gravelly, 30-acre plot would give the wine its name: Sassicaia, "the place of many stones".

With the radical changes in the D.O.C. system of regulations as of the 1994 vintage, Sassicaia's extraordinary reputation was acknowledged through the Italian government's granting the wine its own appellation.

Sassicaia is today considered to be the new plus ultra of Italy's great red wines for its consistent excellence and its intuitive spirit. Acclaimed by the wine world's most respected voices, Sassicaia remains the legacy of its creator, Marchese Mario Incisa della Rocchetta, and his son, Marchese Nicolò Incisa della Rocchetta.



Red Wines    Syrah/Shiraz    Central Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 7/23/2014
Zaca Mesa Santa Ynez Valley Syrah 2005
Zaca Mesa Santa Ynez Valley Syrah 2005
(search item no. 97723)
green wine

Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/23/2014: $16.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
2009 Decanter rating: 90 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2008 Wine Enthusiast rating: 87 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2006 Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
2006 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 91 points
2004 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
2001 Wine & Spirits rating: 89 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Our Syrah displays rich blackberry, cassis, espresso, mocha and our signature sage spice aromas and flavors. The silky finish lingers from the ripe tannins and smoky oak. This full-bodied wine should be enjoyed over the next ten years. A traditional pairing for this wine is a rack of lamb marinated in rosemary and garlic. However, a peppercorn steak or mushroom risotto would work incredibly well.
My Notes:

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About Zaca Mesa Winery:

Foremost, Zaca Mesa, where our vineyards are rooted, is a place. This elevated plateau with its extraordinary vistas lies within the unique Santa Barbara coastal mountain corridors. Here, the land is softly pained by sunlight, directly cooled by the Pacific windstreams. For over 2000 years its bounties and its beauty were revered by the Chumash Indians. The Spanish settlers who arrived in the 17th century were the ones who named it "La Zaca Mesa," borrowing the word "Zaca" from the Chumash-meaning "peaceful" and adding their own "Mesa" meaning "table."

At over 1,500 foot elevation, the Zaca Mesa vineyards are among the highest in Santa Barbara County. Warm sunny days and cool, breezy afternoons produce temperature conditions ideal for our Rhone varietals: Syrah, Grenache, Mourvedre, Viognier, Cinsaut and Counoise.

This land has always driven our approach to farming. Way back in 1978, when Zaca Mesa was established, it was the first Santa Barbara County winery to plant the lush and luscious red/black Rhone grape Syrah. Zaca Mesa's estate program is now dominated by the incredible, blend-able Rhone superstars.

We are committed to the highest quality grapes, so year-round, twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week, Ruben and his crew manage our 246 vineyard acres to maximize the unique character of our fruit. This means conservative cropping, resulting in fewer tons per acre, careful pruning to achieve that delicate balance between vigor and crop, and leaf pulling to encourage healthy cluster development.

Our wines are true to the uniqueness of our estate fruit, with a focus on quality. We are always working with new and exciting varietal blends, wines that pair perfectly with the cuisine of today. A little something off the grill and a glass of Zaca Mesa Syrah (or Chardonnay. or Z Cuvee. or Z Gris), we are proud to bring you our vineyard to your glass.



Red Wines    Other Red Blends    Tuscany    Italy   
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Date Printed: 7/23/2014
Belguardo Serrata Maremma 2005
Belguardo Serrata Maremma 2005
(search item no. 98213)
green wine

Wine & Spirits rating: 94 points
PRICE ON 7/23/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2004 The Wine News rating: 90 points
2003 Wine & Spirits rating: 93 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The pioneering Mazzei family, owners of Chianti Classico's highly esteemed Castello di Fonterutoli, took the helm at the Belguardo estate in Maremma, Tuscany in the 1990s after recognizing the potential for superb quality winemaking in the local terroir. In the years since, the Mazzeis have established a name for Belguardo among the top producers in this exciting, fast emerging wine region.

Hand harvested grapes undergo temperature-controlled fermentation and maceration for 16-18 days. The resulting wine matures for 12 months in French and American barriques, 30% of which are new.

Ruby red in color, and aromatic, with scents of ripe cherries, raspberries and vanilla. Full-bodied, soft and well structured, with flavors of wild berries, spice and herbs.

"This edgy, almost sanguine blend is grown in a rocky mix of limestone and sandstone soils on the coast near Grosseto. While the wine's naturally brisk acidity shows the cooling influence of the coastal air, what's most striking is the savory, elegant feel of the tannins. At once powerfully mineral and smooth, they frame deep flavors of dried porcini, ripe cherry and fresh sage in a way that feels vibrant and firm. The complexity is here to age this for a decade, although it would be irresistible now with roast leg of lamb."
Wine & Spirits
Best Buy 94/100

My Notes:

About Belguardo:

The pioneering Mazzei family, owners of Chianti Classico’s highly esteemed Castello di Fonterutoli, took the helm at the Belguardo estate in Maremma, Tuscany in the 1990s after recognizing the potential for superb quality winemaking in the local terroir. In the years since, the Mazzeis have established a name for Belguardo among the top producers in this exciting, fast emerging wine region.

The Belguardo estate is located on the hills between Grosseto and Montiano, about six miles inland from Italy’s west coast. It comprises a total of 70 hectares (173 acres), including 32 hectares (79 acres) of specialized vineyards, making it one of the most important estates in Maremma.

Belguardo’s logo is fashioned after a geometrical symbol sketched by Leonardo da Vinci, which represents a union between precision and perspective. It is emblematic of the Mazzeis’ commitment to combining Maremma’s exceptional growing conditions with the family’s centuries of winemaking expertise to yield concentrated, complex wines that are extraordinarily elegant and aromatic.



Red Wines    Bordeaux Red Blends    Columbia Valley    Washington   
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Date Printed: 7/23/2014
Desert Wind Ruah 2005
Desert Wind Ruah 2005
(search item no. 91029)
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/23/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Crafted from fruit grown in the Columbia Valley of Washington, the Desert Wind Ruah is an affirmation of eastern Washington's viticultural prowess. This full bodied, Bordeaux-inspired blend is enveloped in a lush core of concentrated blackberry fruit with a hint of anise on the palate.

The wine has hints of toasted oak and almond spice, as well as a rich garnet color, which is complemented by soft, velvety tannins and a lingering finish.

Enjoy the Ruah alone or with grilled meats, tomato based entrees, and soft cheeses. Drink now through 2011.

My Notes:

About Desert Wind:

The concept to create this brand began with the idea to create a blended red wine. The intent was to make a Bordeaux-like blend using Washington fruit, this objective in turn led to the creation of Desert Wind. Desert Wind was first the name of the vineyard site. It had come about simply enough, coined by Jo Ann Fries; it implied the climate in eastern Washington where the vineyard was planted. Desert Wind came to be synonymous with the superior wines it was capable of producing and thus was translated into the winery name. The theory behind Desert Wind is small lots of fruit, longer barrel aging techniques and something that is created to be very unique and personal.


White Wines    Chardonnay    Central Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 7/23/2014
Mount Eden Vineyards Arroyo Seco Chardonnay 2007
Mount Eden Vineyards Arroyo Seco Chardonnay 2007
(search item no. 98533)
Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/23/2014: $19.99

Winemaker's Notes:

Sourced from vineyards in the Arroyo Seco area of Monterey, these Chardonnay grapes exhibit bright acidity and depth of fruit, thanks largely to very little oak use. The wine has delicious citrus and apple aromas making it a wonderfully balanced, fresh Chardonnay.

My Notes:

About Mount Eden Vineyards:

Mount Eden Vineyards is a small historic wine estate located on a 2000-foot peak in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Founded in 1942 by Martin Ray, their estate vineyards have consistently produced world-class Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Cabernet Sauvignon for over a half-century. In addition to their estate wines, they purchase Chardonnay grapes from the mature MacGregor Vineyard in the Edna Valley Appellation outside of San Luis Obispo.


Red Wines    Sangiovese    Tuscany    Italy   
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Date Printed: 7/23/2014
Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico 2004
Castello di Bossi Chianti Classico 2004
(search item no. 95396)
Wine & Spirits rating: 93 points
PRICE ON 7/23/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2009 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2008 Wine Enthusiast rating: 88 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2003 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2001 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points
2000 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2000 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Made from 100% Sangiovese grapes. The grapes were crushed and macerated in contact with the skins for 7 days. After fermentation was complete, the wine was transferred to stainless steel tanks and barriques for 18 months.

Sweet sensations of berry and toasted oak are matched by aromas of ripe cherry and violet. Fruit, tannin and alcohol achieve an elegant balance that carries through to the lingering finish.

Chianti is the quintessential match for the earthy, rustic quality of traditional Tuscan cooking. Pairs well with bean dishes, pastas and roasted meats.

My Notes:

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About Castello di Bossi:

The Bossi Castle is located in the town of Castelnuovo Berardenga, the southernmost appellation of Chianti Classico, amidst evergreen woods and long rows of vines. With a history dating back to the 9th century A.D., the estate embraces modern technology, while at the same time respecting the traditional character of the lands of Chianti. This balance has been a key part of Marco Bacci's vision as he has brought Castello di Bossi to the highest ranks in the realm of international wine.

The estate is led by a dynamic team that never shies from technological innovation, while also remaining true to the terroir of Chianti. Marco Bacci is the mastermind of Castello di Bossi, following with careful attention to detail all the operations from beginning to end.



White Wines    Rhone White Blends    Other California    California   
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Date Printed: 7/23/2014
Qupe Santa Ynez Valley Marsanne 2007
Qupe Santa Ynez Valley Marsanne 2007
(search item no. 99414)
Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 7/23/2014: $18.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2002 Wine & Spirits rating: 93 points

Winemaker's Notes:

This wine is 53% Marsanne from the Ibarra-Young Vineyard in Los Olivos, 18% Marsanne from the Demetria Vineyard just north of Los Olivos (what used to be Andrew Murray Vineyard), 17% Marsanne from the Purisima Mountain Vineyard and 12% Roussanne from the Stolpman Vineyard, both just west of Los Olivos. Ibarra-Young is organically farmed. Demetria and Purisima Mountain are both farmed biodynamically.

We've been making Marsanne since 1987 and have pretty much stayed with the same style… picked at the low end of ripeness while it still has plenty of acidity and refreshingly low alcohol. Marsanne in this style, and this 2007 is a great example, exhibits what I call "wet stone" minerality along with hints of almonds, honey, citrus and flowers.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Qupe:

About Qupe:

Qupe was founded in 1982 by Bob Lindquist. Located at the Bien Nacido Vineyard in northern Santa Barbara County, Qupe's current production is about 25,000 cases. Varietals produced include Chardonnay, Syrah, Marsanne, Viognier, a Syrah/Mourvedre blend, a Viognier/Chardonnay blend and Roussanne.