Red Wines    Rhone Red Blends    Languedoc-Roussillon    France - Other regions   
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Date Printed: 7/22/2014
Bila-Haut by Michel Chapoutier Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon-Villages 2010
Bila-Haut by Michel Chapoutier Bila-Haut Cotes du Roussillon-Villages 2010
(search item no. 118613)
The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/22/2014: $14.29

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

#38 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2012

Deep garnet red, with aromas of black cherry. This wine is fleshy, well-structured with the warm and savage soils of the Roussillon area.

Pair with a nice cut of beef or Mediterranean food.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Bila-Haut by Michel Chapoutier:

About Bila-Haut by Michel Chapoutier:

Domaine Bila-Haut is owned by the well known Rhone Valley Oenologist, Michel Chapoutier. The name refers to an old farm villa which was built high into the mountain slopes , among some old vineyards. The Domaine comprises 75 hectares of land cultivated under bio-dynamic farming techniques and is characterized by steep pebbly slopes rising from almost 150 meters above sea level. The soil has 3 components…Schiste, Gneiss and Clay, and the Grape varieties are Grenache, Carignan, and of course Syrah. The cool winters and very hot summers combined with little rain, and the drying Mistral breeze during the growing season is perfection for these varietals…in some respects better than in the Rhone Valley. The Domaine is located in the commune of Latour-de-France…just about as close as you can be to Spain, but still be located in France, with a great deal of history related to the Nights Templar, and the Cathar movement, hence the T in the title of the Domaine shaped like the Nights Templar Cross.The wines exhibit the distinctive pepper and spice of Syrah, but are bigger and rounder in the mouth, with great complexity coming from the Carignan and Grenache. Here is A Rhone producer getting the best out of the Terroir in Lanquedoc… a superb combination! And one of the best Wine Makers in France.


Red Wines    Syrah/Shiraz    Argentina    South America   
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Date Printed: 7/22/2014
Luca Syrah Laborde Double Select 2009
Luca Syrah Laborde Double Select 2009
(search item no. 108181)
The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 7/22/2014: $26.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2010 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Beautiful deep purple color, tilting the glass the shallows are a soft rose. The nose is like walking into a gentlemen's poker parlor: aromas of cigar, leather, and smoked meat fill the nose with hints of toasty oak, forest floor and baking spice. Rich, lush, and mouthfilling on the palate. Well structured tannins support big fruit flavors of blackberry jam, black spiced cherries, ground black pepper and just a hint of rhubarb. Nice, long, lingering finish. L3—lush, long and loveable. Pairs well with grilled or smoked meats such as beef, pork, and lamb, and dishes prepared with mild cheeses or wild mushrooms.
My Notes:

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About Luca:

Laura Catena is a fourth generation winemaker who grew up in a traditional Argentine-Italian winemaking family in Mendoza. Laura splits her time between Mendoza and San Francisco, California, where she is an emergency physician, university professor and occasional tango dancer. Laura had the vision of creating a new breed of Argentine wines: small quantities, artisan quality, and true to their individual terroirs. A pioneer of small-grower relations in Mendoza, Laura's incredible, limited production wines come from some of Argentina's best fruit from low-yield, high-elevation, family-owned vineyards. The wines are named after her children - Luca, Dante and Nicola - and the background of the label is the McDermott coat of arms of her American husband, Daniel McDermott.


Red Wines    Other Red Blends    Sicily    Italy   
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Date Printed: 7/22/2014
Benanti Rosso Di Verzella Etna Rosso 2008
Benanti Rosso Di Verzella Etna Rosso 2008
(search item no. 117708)
boutique wine

Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
PRICE ON 7/22/2014: $19.99

Winemaker's Notes:

Rosso Di Verzella Etna Rosso is red ruby. The aromas are ethereal, intense, with hints of vanilla and ripe fruit. On the palate, this wine is elegant, harmonic, and remarkably persistent.
My Notes:

About Benanti:

At the end of the 1800’s, Giuseppe Benanti, grandfather of Dr. Giuseppe Benanti, began the production of wines on one of his father’s old farms on the slopes of Mount Etna, at Viagrande (Catania). In 1988, Giuseppe Benanti revived the family’s old passion, with an extensive and selective study of the Etnean soils highly devoted to viticulture. He also investigated particular clones of indigenous vines and new oenological techniques to reproduce ancient fragrances using the most modern practices of vinification, in a perfect union of history and reality. From this five year study, wines of unique taste were produced recreating old flavors and keeping them intact over time.

Our wines have a strong personality and carry the culture and passion for wine of the Benanti family, always driven by respect for the places, terroir and old 'palmenti'. This passion, after revealing the marvels of the Etnean territory, has guided them to Pantelleria and then Pachino. Today the company, also run by Giuseppe Benanti’s sons, Antonio and Salvino, is placed in a market range of high quality level products and the request for its wines is strongly increasing. This is mainly due to the quality of its wines, known throughout Italy and abroad, and attested by many awards given annually by the most important national and international competitions.



Red Wines    Malbec    Argentina    South America   
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Date Printed: 7/22/2014
Tikal Natural Organic Malbec 2010
Tikal Natural Organic Malbec 2010
(search item no. 114013)
green wine

Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 7/22/2014: $17.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

This is Malbec in its most natural expression of untouched grapes shining through and capturing the true essence of the Vista Flores vineyard where they were picked. It has a beautiful pomegranate color and aroma of fresh red cherries with light French oak undertones. The palate is fresh and lively with black raspberry and spiced mocha notes. A great companion to barbeque or burgers, and incredibly easy to drink on its own. A real crowd pleaser.
My Notes:

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About Tikal:

Tikal is owned by Ernesto Catena and is named after his son. Ernesto spent his childhood in the vineyards of Mendoza among wine-growers and local pundits. Since then, he has experienced a kaleidoscope of cultures, living in New York, Buenos Aires, Berkeley, Cambridge (MA), Milan and London. But his heart remains in his homeland of Argentina (where he now lives), with its natural beauty of mountains, streams and vineyards, its wines, and its people who hold a special passion for living.

There are few wine brands that reflect the sensibilities of their owner more than Tikal. A skilled horseman, fashion designer, software developer, and book editor, Ernesto pursues all that gives pleasure in life. This hedonism (in the best sense of the word) shows through in the wines. It is a style meant to provide enormous pleasure rather than provoke contemplation; an expression of emotion rather than intellect. He has named his wines with passion in mind: Patriota (Patriot), Corazon (Heart), Amorio (Love Affair), Jubilo (Rejoice).

Luis Reginato is the winemaker at Tikal as of the 2002 vintage. Luis is young, but is already a highly trained and respected vineyard consultant and winemaker with long experience at his family's winery in Mendoza. Truly an up and coming talent, Luis and his wines are already garnering high praise from U.S. wine critics. Definitely a winemaker to watch.



Red Wines    Bordeaux Red Blends    St-Emilion    France - Bordeaux   
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Date Printed: 7/22/2014
Chateau Pipeau  2008
Chateau Pipeau 2008
(search item no. 115288)
has fluid
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The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/22/2014: $29.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2005 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2005 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2004 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

From one vintage to the next, one of the strengths of Chateau Pipeau is to offer consistent style and personality. It is a wine with expressive fruit, an opulent nose of red berries, roundness on the palate, with good length and a harmonious and elegant finish. Chateau Pipeau is very delightfull when young but it also has all the qualities for laying-down of a really great Saint-Emilion!
My Notes:

About Château Pipeau:

In the beginning was the Castle Pipeau. His vines now have nearly half a century of middle age and are derived from the work of three generations of the family Mestreguilhem. Rooted three kilometres from Saint-Emilion, the property was the subject of much attention. And the lines slopes as vines climbing to close ranks gave substance to a Grand Cru Saint-Emilion.

Over time, the family passion has expanded, upgraded the vineyard while developing the reputation of the castle. The application of its winemakers a fact that they are the fruit exceptional grapes that are harvested. And winemaking combines juvénilité technical advances in art acquired and transmitted to force vintages. Thus was born the character of Castle Pipeau. Thus continues its reputation.

A family art, always independent and sincere.



Red Wines    Rhone Red Blends    Cotes du Rhone    France - Rhone   
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Date Printed: 7/22/2014
Dom. La Garrigue Vacqueyras 2009
Dom. La Garrigue Vacqueyras 2009
(search item no. 98191)
The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 7/22/2014: $21.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2005 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2004 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The robe has great depths. On the nose, black fruit with a touch of licorice and very elegant spicy notes. The mouthfeel is full and fleshy with long-lasting fruit flavors. A blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 5% Cinsault.
My Notes:

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About Dom. La Garrigue:

Domaine de la Garrigue is one of the oldest estates in the southern Rhone Valley region and is owned by the Bernard family. The family owns one of the most famous restaurants and inns in the area called "Les Florets" which is located on the hillside facing the Dentelles in Gigondas. Fashioning some of the most beautiful bottlings of Vacqueyras, Eric Solomon worked with the property to create a custom cuvee of Cotes du Rhone from de-classified Vacqueyras called "Cuvee Romaine."

The climate in the Southern Rhone is extremely warm in the summer, with consistent temperatures in the 90's during July and August. This makes rich, full-bodied, and spicy wines. The soil is similar to that of Chateauneuf-du-Pape, with massive rocks called "galets" dotting the vineyards. The old bush vines of Garrigue are planted on these "galets" and for most of the vineyards, there is not soil present to the eye, just rock.

This property focuses on making wines with minimal manipulation to let the terroir speak through the wines. The old vines of Domaine de la Garrigue were planted in the late 1940's, just after the Germans left the area following the second World War. Before the war, the area was planted primarily to other crops, including sunflowers and tomatoes. However, the Romans were making wine here centuries ago and shipping it hundreds of miles away. Hence, the cuvee name "Cuvee Romaine".



Red Wines    Rhone Red Blends    Vacqueyras    France - Rhone   
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Date Printed: 7/22/2014
Arnoux et Fils Vacqueyras Cuvee Jean-Marie Arnoux 2010
Arnoux et Fils Vacqueyras Cuvee Jean-Marie Arnoux 2010
(search item no. 117531)
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The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 7/22/2014: $18.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points

Winemaker's Notes:

This 70% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 5% Mourvèdre blend has a deep purple color which erupts in the mouth, giving you a strong bouquet of red fruit embellished with hint of spices. In the mouth you'll find a fullness of volume structured by elegant tannins.
My Notes:

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About Arnoux et Fils:

Since 1717, the cultivation of the vine is perpetuated in our family. This tradition and this heritage has become a passion. Even today, we produce our wines in the greatest respect for ancestral traditions, to be able to offer and you return all the authentic flavors of our land. The homestead covers 40 hectares on the plateau Garrigues, a plateau to the west of the appellation, and extends to Chateauneuf du Pape. These soils are prone to low yields of highly concentrated grapes tannins and aromas.


Red Wines    Syrah/Shiraz    Central Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 7/22/2014
Kinton Santa Barbara Syrah 2006
Kinton Santa Barbara Syrah 2006
(search item no. 102399)
Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
PRICE ON 7/22/2014: $15.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2005 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

At Kinton, we are dedicated to producing Syrah from some of the finest vineyard sites in Santa Barbara County. Our wines are dense and concentrated, elegant and sleek. It's not by accident that Kinton is located in Santa Barbara County--one of California's most celebrated appellations for Syrah. The unique conditions of our region let us create Syrahs displaying both intensity and balance.

The 2006 is deep and concentrated with plum and dark berry, lifted with high notes of cherry, spiced with black pepper, and scented with hints of smoky dark chocolate.

My Notes:

About Kinton:

Peter Fraser oversees all of the viticulture and winemaking at Kinton Vineyards. At the ripe young age of 30, he has worked extensive hours making wine in Australia, Spain and France. Since 2003 he has traveled to the United States during harvest to work as consulting winemaker in Santa Barbara, California. This experience helped him to identify the vineyards and techniques that would form the foundation of Kinton.

When it comes to winemaking philosophy, Peter believes it is less about technique and more about preserving the essential taste of the vineyard. While he employs traditional winemaking methods such as open-top fermentation, hand punch-down, and wild yeast fermentations, Peter knows that intelligent viticulture is the key.



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Central Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 7/22/2014
Lincourt Lindsay's Pinot Noir 2009
Lincourt Lindsay's Pinot Noir 2009
(search item no. 112694)
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James Suckling rating: 92 points
PRICE ON 7/22/2014: $18.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The 2009 Pinot Noir is a beautiful example of classic Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir—delicate, subtle and endlessly layered. Notes of black cherry and worn leather explode on the nose followed by a rich brown sugar spice. Blueberry cobbler, lemon zest and freshly ground cardamom round out the palate. Full, ripe and harmonious, this is an intricate yet friendly wine and will resonate with all lovers of Pinot Noir.
My Notes:

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About LinCourt Vineyards:

Founded in 1996 by Bill Foley, Lincourt is a producer of ultra premium wines from the Santa Barbara County. Named in honor of Bill and Carol’s two daughters, Lindsay and Courtney, the Lincourt winery is located in the heart of Santa Barbara wine country, on Alamo Pintado Road in the Santa Ynez Valley. Originally a dairy farm, the 30 acre property retains the rural charm and simplicity of an earlier era. The quaint tasting room is located in the former farmhouse, a 1926 Sears Craftsman kit home. The barns have been converted to a winery and barrel room, and equipped to allow for handcrafted, premium winemaking.

Great fruit, dedicated winemakers, incredible climate and a serene setting – Lincourt embodies the best of Santa Barbara wine country.



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Willamette Valley    Oregon   
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Date Printed: 7/22/2014
Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir 2009
Bethel Heights Estate Pinot Noir 2009
(search item no. 112379)
Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
PRICE ON 7/22/2014: $35.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2011 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2010 Tasting Panel rating: 90 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2000 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
1999 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
1997 Wine Spectator rating: 86 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Black pepper, cloves, nutmeg, and anise open the bouquet, gradually giving way to raspberries, royal anne cherries, and orange zest. The palate opens with pure black cherries framed by bright, juicy acidity and fine grain tannins. The wines of 2009 are expressing their fruit early, but we believe this wine has the structure and acidity to age gracefully for 10-15 years.
My Notes:

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About Bethel Heights Vineyard:

Planted between 1977 and 1979, Bethel Heights was one of the first vineyards in the Eola Hills, a chain of hills in the center of Oregon's Willamette Valley. The estate winery was established in 1984 and currently produces 10,000 cases of wine annually, most of which still comes from the 50 acre estate vineyard. Bethel Heights specializes in Pinot Noir, but also produces Chardonnay, Pinot Gris and Pinot Blanc.