White Wines    Pinot Gris/Grigio    Trentino-Alto Adige    Italy   
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Date Printed: 3/29/2015
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 2008
Santa Margherita Pinot Grigio 2008
(search item no. 99758)

PRICE ON 3/29/2015: $24.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2002 Wine Enthusiast rating: 87 points

Winemaker's Notes:

A pale straw yellow. Clean, crisp fragrance with intense yet elegant hints of quince. Fresh, harmonious fruit set off by slight sweetness with a long finish full of delicate, tangy flavor.
My Notes:

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About Santa Margherita:

Santa Margherita introduced Pinot Grigio in 1980, and has become one of America's favorite premium wines. Recently voted the most popular imported wine, red or white, in top restaurants for the 11th consecutive year (Wine & Spirits 4/06), Santa Margherita remains a favorite among wine enthusiasts for its crisp, ripe character and consistent quality.


Red Wines    Cabernet Sauvignon    Napa Valley    California   
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Date Printed: 3/29/2015
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
Joseph Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon 2005
(search item no. 92634)
Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 3/29/2015: $71.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2011 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 92 points
2010 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 94 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2010 Decanter rating: 90 points
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2009 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 91 points
2008 James Suckling rating: 92 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2006 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
2006 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2002 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2002 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2001 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
2000 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
1999 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
1999 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
1998 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
1998 International Wine Cellar rating: 87 points
1995 The Wine Advocate rating: 97 points
1995 International Wine Cellar rating: 93 points

Winemaker's Notes:

90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot and 4% Petit Verdot from estate-owned vineyards (75%) and independent growers (25%).

The dark ruby-colored 2005 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon resembles a classic Bordeaux both in aromatics and flavor. A rich bouquet of cinnamon, spice, licorice, graphite and caramel are followed by integrated layers of cherry, currant, fresh cream and balanced, sweet tannin, all of which contribute to a youthful, bright, multi-layered wine.

My Notes:

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About Joseph Phelps Vineyards:

Joseph Phelps Vineyards is a family-owned winery committed to crafting world class, estate-grown wines. Founded in 1973 when Joe Phelps purchased a former cattle ranch near St. Helena in the Napa Valley, the winery now controls and farms nearly 375 acres of vines on eight estate vineyards in St. Helena, the Stags Leap District, Oakville, Rutherford, Oak Knoll District, Carneros and South Napa Valley. In 1999, the Phelps family added 100 acres of vineyard property near the town of Freestone on the Sonoma Coast, where Phelps now grows Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.

Phelps is best known for its flagship Napa Valley blend of red Bordeaux varietals, Insignia, first produced in 1974. Awarded Wine Spectator's "Wine of the Year" in 2005, Insignia is widely regarded as a qualitative benchmark for California winemaking.



Red Wines    Zinfandel    Sierra Foothills    California   
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Date Printed: 3/29/2015
Terra d'Oro SHR Zinfandel 2004
Terra d'Oro SHR Zinfandel 2004
(search item no. 90370)

PRICE ON 3/29/2015: $28.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2007 Tasting Panel rating: 94 points
2000 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Blackberry flavors are spiked by black pepper. Petite Sirah adds a little tannin, plenty of rich blue-black color and black fig spice. Barbera lightens up the mix with red plum and red cherry juicy fruit. There is also a fourth dimension of exotic sandalwood, vanilla, cola and smoky meatiness.

The structure, depth, and complexity of this wine leads itself perfectly to an herb crusted leg of lamb, spiced couscous, and roasted root vegetables.

My Notes:

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About Terra d'Oro:

For more than 150 years, fortune seekers have been lured to California's rugged Sierra Foothills. Though they once came for the gold, these days they come for the wine—Terra d'Oro, to be more specific. Handcrafted from some of Amador County's most historic vineyards, Terra d'Oro wines are rich indeed, full of the character and intensity that perfectly captures the essence of this "Land of Gold."


White Wines    Other White Blends    Other California    California   
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Date Printed: 3/29/2015
Conundrum White Blend 2008
Conundrum White Blend 2008
(search item no. 101318)
screw cap wine


PRICE ON 3/29/2015: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
2010 Wine Enthusiast rating: 87 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

What is that wonderfully robust, floral and bright tropical taste? Is it green apple, tangerine or honeysuckle? Could it possibly be apricot, melon, pear or light vanilla? That's the Conundrum. Our proprietarily secretive blend of California white grapes create a lush, creamy texture that leads to the mouth-watering question, "Mmmm, what's in there?" We're not telling. Can you guess?

Conundrum's success as a unique, complex blend of white grapes from California continues with the 2008 vintage in this fresh, lively, deeply-flavored wine.

This is the first vintage to be produced at the new production-only Conundrum winery in the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County. Our wine's core profile remains thoroughly Californian, with Sauvignon Blanc grapes from the Napa Valley, Muscat Canelli from Tulare County on the Central Coast, and Chardonnay and Viognier from our vineyards in Monterey County. The "puzzle" of Conundrum lies partly in guessing the range of grape varieties we use, because we never reveal its exact composition.

We continue to have success in the twist-top closure. As a winemaker and someone who insists on wines without faults, I believe this closure is the right tool to protect the aromas and flavors that developed in the vineyards and were preserved in the bottle.

Gorgeous aromas of apricot, honeysuckle, and vanilla and lime zest enhance a deeply-flavored palate of tropical fruit, peach, pear and honeydew melon flavors. The complexity of this wine is brought into balance with a rich, round, soft texture; fresh, supportive acidity; and a stunning, satisfying finish.

My Notes:

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About Conundrum:

It was the summer of 1989, a year ripe with possibilities and promise. All around the globe, old ways of thinking were giving way to new ideas. In the culinary world, traditional dishes were being reinvented by a generation of chefs who were open to the possibility of exploring adventurous new cuisine. At Caymus, we were similarly inspired to break free of the norm and began to redefine white wine. And in 1989, Conundrum was born.

From our very first vintage we were determined to make a dramatically different white-wine blend that would surpass the scope of single-varietal wines. Just as chefs were exploring the fusion of flavors from classic to contemporary, from east to west, often combining savory, spicy, herbal and fruity flavors in one dish, we explored how non-traditional combinations of grape varietals would work together. We wanted each varietal to be distinctive but still complementary to blend as a whole. After experimenting with eleven different white wines, we chose a select few that we consider the 'key ingredients'. For over twenty years we have continued to perfect the fine art of blending a 'conundrum' of varietals together, to create a remarkably complex, yet harmonious symphony of flavors. More recently we adapted the same approach for the Conundrum Red blend creation when we released the first vintage in 2011.

To make each wine even more complex, we take great care in keeping each parcel of fruit separate throughout the entire winemaking process. As a result, when the time comes to blend the wine, we have a lot of diversity in aromas, flavors and textures to work with. That's when the creative juices begin to flow. The proportions of each varietal vary slightly each vintage, as Mother Nature hands us new "ingredients." But our goal is always the same: a highly styled, complex and delicious wine that is excellent as an apéritif and pairs beautifully with the wide-ranging, global dishes we are eating as chefs and home cooks experiment with new, cutting-edge cuisine.