White Wines    Chardonnay    Santa Maria Valley    California   
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Date Printed: 7/25/2014
Cambria Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay 2004
Cambria Katherine's Vineyard Chardonnay 2004
(search item no. 85700)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/25/2014: $25.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 Tasting Panel rating: 90 points
2011 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2010 Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
2008 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
2007 The Wine News rating: 88 points
2006 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2002 Wine & Spirits rating: 89 points
2001 Wine & Spirits rating: 94 points
2000 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2000 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
1999 Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
1999 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
1999 International Wine Cellar rating: 87 points
1998 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
1997 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points

Winemaker's Notes:

"A tribute to Cambria's consistent style and character, Katherine's Chardonnay is a lush, well-rounded wine revealing vibrant tropical flavors folded over hints of vanilla and pear. The finish is enduring, made memorable by notes of vanilla and oak spice."
-Fred Holloway, Winemaker

Katherine's Chardonnay is hand-harvested from the 1,405-acre, family-owned Cambria estate. As expected from the consistency of Cambria's fruit, this vintage speaks boldly of Santa Maria Valley's ideal climate and vineyard conditions for growing Chardonnay. Formed from alluvial deposits of the Sisquoc River, Cambria's soil is gravelly and exceptionally well draining—restricting vine vigor to promote the growth of Chardonnay with lush, concentrated flavors. The maritime influences that funnel in from the Pacific Ocean, cloak the Santa Maria Valley in mild temperatures, extending the vineyard's growing season to provide ample time to balance the fruit's acid profile and develop optimal varietal characteristics.

In the vineyard, the development of Katherine's fruit sets the stage for our winemaking process and lays the foundation for flavor and quality. Cambria's vineyard management techniques, such as leaf thinning, allow more sunlight on the clusters for full, even ripening and evolution of concentrated character. In addition, irrigation is minimized to restrict vine vigor and focus the vine's energy on the grapes. Also, underdeveloped fruit is taken off the vines at verasion to promote the growth of densely flavored clusters. Together, these techniques ensure maximum quality in the Chardonnay before beginning the winemaking process.

At harvest, Katherine's Chardonnay grapes were gently whole-cluster pressed to capture the fresh flavors while avoiding any harsh tannins. Primary and secondary fermentation took place in French oak barrels to enhance oak spice integration. To heighten and balance the lush texture in the mid-palate and fruitful flavor profile, the wine was aged sur lies for a period of eight months before bottling.
My Notes:

About Cambria Winery:

Cambria is a private, family-owned estate winery that has carved out a reputation for producing lush, tropical Chardonnay, velvety-textured Pinot noir and rich, spicy Syrah since its inception in 1987. Cambria's proximity to the ocean and east-west orientation gives this 1,400-acre property the diversity it needs to grow Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah under perfectly suited conditions. As an estate property, Cambria's Vineyard Manager and Winemaker work in tandem to perfect the winegrowing process. Together, they select only the finest grapes from the estate to bear the Cambria name. Every grape is hand-harvested and crafted into wine with the utmost care and respect foe the varietal.

In recent years, Cambria has concentrated its vineyard and winemaking resources into amplifying different aspects of the Cambria estate. This effort launched an in-depth exploration of the vineyard and varieties on this cool-climate property. The result has elevated the quality of Cambria's core wines, created new site-focused and distinct winemaking styles, and dramatically highlighted the bold flavors of each variety. Today, the flagship wines, making up 90% of the production, include Katherine's Chardonnay, Julia's Pinot Noir and Tepusquet Syrah. Each wine represents the broad definition of flavor, for that variety, on the estate.



Red Wines    Other Red Blends    Central Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 7/25/2014
Big House Red Blend 2004
Big House Red Blend 2004
(search item no. 86585)
screw cap wine

Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/25/2014: $9.99

Winemaker's Notes:

Number 4 on the Wine.com 100 of 2007!

Another break-out hit for the recidivist partisans of this eclectic pan-Mediterranean blend. The varietal mix was altered just a tad this year and introduced a substantial amount of cabernet franc into the concoction. Big House Red is all about fragrance, spice and soft tannins. It has a fragrance of mint and garrigue, with insinuations of blackberry and the ubiquitous framboise. Not a wine that you would want to serve to the Queen (in virtue of its unregenerate rusticity), it is nevertheless a wine that is the perfect complement to barbecue, pasta, pizza and all of the major non-vegan groups.

"...It's really good, and proves that Randall Grahm continues to march to his own beat..."
-Wine Enthusiast

My Notes:

Additional wines from Big House:

About Big House:

The Big House wines were born of the notion that the California climate is quite hospitable to the rollicking, sun loving grapes of Mediterranean France, Italy and Spain. Big House has found that by blending, rather than relying upon a single variety, they can create far more complex, rich wines that elegantly match a very wide variety of cuisine, from pizza, to BBQ ribs to roast chicken.


White Wines    Sauvignon Blanc    Marlborough    New Zealand   
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Date Printed: 7/25/2014
3 Stones Sauvignon Blanc 2008
3 Stones Sauvignon Blanc 2008
(search item no. 98478)
screw cap wine

Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/25/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points

Winemaker's Notes:

3 Stones is New Zealand wine emblazoned with a purity of fruit and a sense of place. Falling between the 36th and 45th parallels, the temperate, maritime climate of New Zealand allows long sunshine days that infuse the wines with a distinct and spirited varietal definition. This identity has earned the country a place among the world's notable winegrowing nations.

With grape varieties partnered to vineyards and sensitive winemaking, 3 Stones emerges with all the elements of a modern, enjoyable wine.

This Sauvignon Blanc is a zesty and delicious wine from Marlborough, the famed growing region located on New Zealand's South Island. Flavors of passion fruit and gooseberry combine with mouth-watering acidity, creating a truly refreshing wine.

Richly fruited and tropical, this is a medium-bodied, slightly creamy-textured Marlborough Savvy. Flavors hint at pineapple, honey and stone fruit, yet remain zesty and clean, with a refreshing citrus zing to the finish. Stock up for the summer.- Wine Enthusiast 3-09

My Notes:

About 3 Stones:

The story of 3 stones begins in 2002, when our vineyards in Marlborough, New Zealand produced their first crop. Just before harvest, over a couple of glasses of wine, we talked about the pioneering heritage of our forefathers and the true spirit of New Zealand. Our stunning land was discovered by incredibly skilled Polynesian sailors and later shaped by brave settlers, who had travelled halfway across the planet to farm and to raise children.

The conversation turned to the time when the world was torn apart by war. Though we were far from the front lines, our young men went to fight for freedom. Upon their return, the world had changed, and some were unable to find permanent work. They travelled from farm to farm, seeking what work they could. As a signal to those who might follow, when they left a farm where the food was good and the pay fair, they would make a small stack of stones on a fencepost at the farm gate.

We celebrate that tradition with our name, 3 stones and we salute all of those who have gone before, who made it possible for us to work the soil under clear skies.



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Central Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 7/25/2014
Meiomi Pinot Noir 2010
Meiomi Pinot Noir 2010
(search item no. 112245)
screw cap wine

Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 88 points
PRICE ON 7/25/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Meiomi (May-oh-mee) is a Pinot Noir that gets its fruit from the most noteworthy coastal areas in California. The wine is crafted, lush, balanced and luxurious. Three of the California's most sought after coastal growing regions brilliantly meld together in this deeply flavored, stylish and truly balanced Pinot Noir; at its most fundamental core, it is an approachable, food friendly wine with a style and place all its own.
My Notes:

Additional wines from Meiomi:

About Meiomi:

The name Meiomi means "coast" in the language of the native, coastal dwelling Wappo and Yuki tribes, and best pays tribute to and symbolizes the origin of this Pinot Noir. Meiomi is a high style Pinot Noir that is shaped, more than anything else, by the fruit sources that lay the foundation of the blend. A pure bred enjoyment wine, built to accommodate any pairing from food to friends. Unifying California’s most noteworthy coastal areas opens the door for a dynamic and opulent wine that is ready to enjoy whenever you are.

Joseph J. Wagner is a fifth-generation winemaker from a family with farming and winemaking roots in the Napa Valley since the 1880's. In his youth, he worked many spring and summer days in the vineyard and cellar of Caymus, learning the basics from pulling leaves, to dragging hoses. Then he began to focus his efforts on what was to become his passion and career in the wine business. He is the owner of Belle Glos and Meiomi wines and has been overseeing vineyard operations and winemaking since 2002. Joseph has a perpetual goal of crafting Pinot Noirs that exude their origins and represent the best of their class in any vintage. Along with his passion for Pinot Noir, he continues his role at Caymus in viticulture and winemaking alongside his father, Chuck. When not at work, he spends time with his wife and 5 children constantly grooming the next generation in farming philosophy and practices, winemaking and the enjoyment of nature's bounty and the outdoors.



Red Wines    Cabernet Sauvignon    Columbia Valley    Washington   
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Date Printed: 7/25/2014
Columbia Crest Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
Columbia Crest Two Vines Cabernet Sauvignon 2009
(search item no. 111056)
Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/25/2014: $8.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 86 points
2003 Wine & Spirits rating: 86 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Strawberry, cherry and cola aromas and flavors harmoniously flow into the silky and soft palate that culminates into a long velvety finish.

Blend: 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, 2% Merlot

My Notes:

Additional wines from Columbia Crest:

About Columbia Crest:

Founded in 1983, Columbia Crest has grown from a small winery in a relatively unknown wine region to one of the most significant wineries in the U.S. and a major force behind Washington state's emergence as a world-class wine region. Over the years, the winery has remained committed to delivery handcrafted, small-lot wines, as well as affordable, superior quality everyday wines. In 2009, the winery reached a milestone when Wine Spectator named their 2005 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon "Wine of the Year," the first time a wine from Washington state has received the ranking. This accolade was not only a historic moment for Columbia Crest, but for all wineries in Washington and reinforced the belief that the region is among the best wine-producing areas in the world.


Red Wines    Other Red Blends    South Africa    South Africa   
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Date Printed: 7/25/2014
Warwick Estate Three Cape Ladies 2008
Warwick Estate Three Cape Ladies 2008
(search item no. 110111)
Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 7/25/2014: $17.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2005 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2004 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2001 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2000 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2000 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Each component brings its own unique qualities to this classically styled blend. This unique vintage displays lots of prune and berry compote aromas as well as peppermint chocolate and Sandalwood in the background. The Pinotage is soft and sweet while the Merlot and Shiraz offers a subtle spicieness. The Cabernet Sauvignon is the backbone of the blend with well balanced and focused tannins that will do well with cellaring. This blend brings the best of Pinotage to the classic French varieties in a complex and approachable style.

Serve with a spicy tomato stew made with sun-ripened tomatoes or a black mushroom risotto.

My Notes:

About Warwick Estate:

Warwick Estate lies in a valley enclosed by the Simonsberg, Kanonkop and Klapmutskop. Originally part of a vast piece of land known as "Good Success", this eighteenth century farm belonged to Colonel Alexander Gordon who renamed his portion in honour of the Warwickshire regiment which he commanded during the Boer War.

Years later in 1964, Stan Ratcliffe bought Warwick, where, with considerable foresight he began planting the precious Cabernet Sauvignon vines, which are still a major part of the production today. These vines produced high quality grapes and became highly sought after by wholesalers and other wineries. However, it took the arrival of Norma Ratcliffe, Stan's beautiful and energetic wife, in 1971 for the family to begin making a few experimental wines from Cabernet Sauvignon. The early results were very encouraging and served to extol the virtues of what is surely some of the best terroir in South Africa.

Michael Ratcliffe, Norma's son, has now taken over as proprietor in Stan's retirement and has wasted no time in stamping his personality on the Estate. A host of new innovative techniques, learnt during his postgraduate wine studies in Australia, are being implemented aimed at maximizing the potential of the Warwick terroir. Under Michael's leadership, the Warwick team is striving to take the next step in quality.