Red Wines    Other Red Blends    Tuscany    Italy   
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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Greo Colline Lucchesi 2008
Greo Colline Lucchesi 2008
(search item no. 126143)
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PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $21.99

Winemaker's Notes:

Wine is ruby red in color. The aromas are of intense wild fruits, berries, woodland leaves and elegant floral notes. On the palate, Greo leaves a delightful earthy, spicy and persistent flavor of wild blackberries. Harmonious and very soft lingering finish.
My Notes:

About Greo:

Colline Lucchesi is a little-known, up-and-coming wine DOC in Tuscany. It overlooks the celebrated and historical city of Lucca with its vineyards nestled in the foothills of the Apennine mountains. Heavenly sites and fine limestone/sandstone soils have provided excellent conditions for viticulture since the days of Napoleon.


White Wines    Chardonnay    Central Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay (Ceramic Bottle) 2011
Mer Soleil Silver Unoaked Chardonnay (Ceramic Bottle) 2011
(search item no. 118958)
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PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2006 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
2006 The Wine News rating: 90 points
2005 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2005 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Silver unites the crisp mineral essence of classic Chablis style with the tropical elements found in Chardonnay of the Pacific coastline. Using Chardonnay grown in special blocks of the Mer Soleil Vineyard in the Santa Lucia Highlands of Monterey County, we harvest the grapes when just fully ripe, their gold color hued with the green, expressing clean aromas of Chardonnay fruit and firm acidity. The wine is fermented and aged in small cement wine tanks imported from France, allowing for this varietal's clean aromas to shine bright. We're celebrating this process with a new ceramic bottle and cork finish.
My Notes:

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About Mer Soleil:

The Mer Soleil Vineyard is named for two natural forces that create its growing conditions: sea (mer) and sun (soleil). With plantings at two separate locations in the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation of Monterey County, Mer Soleil’s Chardonnay vines are nestled on east-facing lower slopes of the Sierra de Salinas range in what is one of the coolest, driest grape growing areas in California. During the growing season, warmer inland temperatures at the southern end of the Salinas Valley pull cooling morning and evening fogs into the vineyards. The afternoons, in contrast, are evenly warm and sunny. The absence of rain throughout the long growing season—harvest typically continues into November—and a pattern of brisk afternoon breezes keeps the grapes dry and pristine.

Charlie Wagner II is the winemaker and directs vineyard operations at Mer Soleil



Red Wines    Cabernet Sauvignon    Sonoma County    California   
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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Gallo Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
Gallo Signature Series Cabernet Sauvignon 2008
(search item no. 117144)
Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $33.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
2010 Decanter rating: 90 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

This wine shows full-bodied flavors of dark cherry and cocoa powder, with under tones of pepper and spice. Hints of toasty oak giveway to velvety tannins in a long, lush finish. To round out the mouth feel and create a rich complexity, Gin ablended the Cabernet Sauvignon grapes with Petit Verdot and PetiteSirah.
My Notes:

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About Gallo Signature Series:

The Gallo Signature Series honors the journey the Gallo Family started in 1933, and it celebrates how far the family has come. With some of California's best grapes at her fingertips, third-generation winemaker Gina Gallo has created three distinct wines that could only be crafted from the Gallo family's unique combination of vineyards. For Gina, the Gallo Signature Series expresses her family's unique combination of vineyards. For Gina, the Gallo Signature Series expresses her family's passion for great vineyards and great wine, and it reflects the best the Gallo Winery has to offer. The Gallo Signature Series marks a return to hands-on, artisanal winemaking for Gina, and it brings to life the enduring legacy of Ernest and Julio Gallo.


White Wines    Other White Wine    Tuscany    Italy   
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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Poggiotondo Vermentino 2011
Poggiotondo Vermentino 2011
(search item no. 116136)

PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $19.99

Winemaker's Notes:

This elegant and complex Vermentino is lively, fresh, and balanced with pronounced minerality. Generous aromas and flavors of yellow fruits, a subtle nuttiness and lovely white floral notes typical of this variety. A delicious and refreshing Vermentino!
My Notes:

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About Poggiotondo:

In the north-western corner of the Chianti region, resting on the hills between the Montalbano and Arno valley, 123 acres of vines are joined by some 2,000 olive trees on the Poggiotondo estate. Founder and winemaker Alberto Antonini is a scholar of modern winemaking earning degrees from the University of Florence, Bordeaux University, and University of California Davis in addition to his winemaking stints around the globe. The Poggiotondo vineyards enjoy a Mediterranean influence and soils are riddled with remnants of sea life that afford minerality and complexity to these modern DOCG and IGT renditions.


Red Wines    Merlot    Napa Valley    California   
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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2005
Beringer Howell Mountain Bancroft Ranch Merlot 2005
(search item no. 112044)
collectible wine

Wine Enthusiast rating: 94 points
Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $71.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2006 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2002 The Wine News rating: 94 points
2002 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2002 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2001 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2001 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
1999 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
1997 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
1997 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
1997 Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
1997 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
1996 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
1995 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
1995 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
1994 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
1993 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points

Winemaker's Notes:

This vineyard, and the relationship we've had with the Bancroft family, has always been deeply special to Ed and myself. We've been making a vineyard-designated Bancroft Ranch Merlot since the 1987 vintage when Ed first demonstrated how fantastic Merlot can be when planted in the right place. Bancroft Ranch consistently produces grapes with amazing concentration of flavors, tannins and structure. The 2005 Howell Mountain Merlot is an exceptionally complex wine, full of espresso and dark cherry aromas that lead into a rich ripe black fruit flavors with hints of cedar and orange rind, brown spice and mint. It has tremendous body, complex layers of black fruit, and a supple, lingering finish.
My Notes:

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About Beringer Vineyards:

No winery or vineyard more thoroughly embodies the timeless appeal and seductive flavor of Napa Valley than Beringer Vineyards, Napa's benchmark producer since the establishment of the vineyard in 1876.

Now in its third century of crafting classic wines from Napa's finest appellations and vineyards, Beringer today is guided by the inspired partnership of celebrated Winemaster Emeritus Ed Sbragia and Winemaker Laurie Hook. Together, they craft Napa Valley wines that speak eloquently of the rich heritage of the Beringer Vineyard, while offering cutting-edge quality and contemporary elegance. The exquisite wines crafted at the Beringer Vineyards display a single minded dedication and pursuit of excellence instilled by its founder, Jacob Beringer.



Dessert, Sherry & Port    Port    Portugal    Portugal   
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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Graham's Six Grapes Reserve Port (375ML half-bottle)
Graham's Six Grapes Reserve Port (375ML half-bottle)
(search item no. 5967)
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Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $13.99

Winemaker's Notes:

Six Grapes has a seductive, rich aroma of ripe plums, cherries and dark chocolate notes. On the palate it's complex, with an excellent structure and a long, lingering finish. Six Grapes is one of Graham's original Port blends--it is a very full-bodied, luscious wine drawn from the same vineyards as Graham's Vintage Ports. Blended from two or three years' harvests, the wine is an average of five to six years old when it is lightly filtered and bottled.

Serving and pairing suggestions
Six Grapes is bottled ready to drink after about five years of cask aging. It has a t-cap closure, which means that you don't need a corkscrew to open it and that it should stay fresh for up to two months if stored in a cool, dark place or the refrigerator. Serve it in a glass with at least a six ounce capacity so that you may appreciate the wine's aromas. Six Grapes pairs particularly well with dark chocolate, but is also fantastic on its own as a luscious dessert in a glass.

My Notes:

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About Graham's:

The firm of W & J Graham & Co has its roots in a Glasgow-based textile concern. In 1820 the brothers William and John Graham, who were then managing the company office in Oporto, accepted 27 pipes of Port wine in settlement of a bad debt.This Port was shipped to the parent company in Glasgow which initially reprimanded the brothers for not sending cash. Fortunately however, after it was sold the Port turned out to be very popular and soon William and John were being urged by their parent company to acquire and ship more of this finest of fortified wines. Within the next few years Graham's reputation grew as a shipper of fine Port, first to Scotland and gradually all over the Port-drinking world. In 1882 Andrew James Symington, a young Scot whose family was well known to the Grahams, took up a position with Graham's in Oporto. The firm of W & J Graham was acquired by the Symington family, his descendants, in 1970. Today James Symington, grandson of Andrew James, and other members of the family draw on their century of experience in the Port trade to ensure that the quality and reputation of Graham's is maintained.


White Wines    Semillon    Hunter Valley    Australia   
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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Brokenwood Semillon 2010
Brokenwood Semillon 2010
(search item no. 107903)
screw cap wine

Australian Wine Companion rating: 94 points
Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2013 Australian Wine Companion rating: 94 points
2013 James Suckling rating: 93 points
2013 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2012 Australian Wine Companion rating: 92 points
2012 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2011 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2009 Australian Wine Companion rating: 94 points
2009 Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2008 Australian Wine Companion rating: 94 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2007 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2007 Australian Wine Companion rating: 90 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2005 Australian Wine Companion rating: 95 points
2004 Australian Wine Companion rating: 94 points
2004 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2004 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2001 Wine Enthusiast rating: 87 points
2000 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

As always, a beautiful color with luminous greens. Distinctive Hunter lemongrass/straw aromas as a young wine. Sweet fruit flavors initially on the palate indicating perfect ripeness at harvest and in fact a bit riper than usual. Excellent acid structure, long flavors of lime and apple blossom. Perfect in its youth and a wine that will bottle age gracefully.
My Notes:

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About Brokenwood:

Although based in Hunter Valley, Brokenwood’s practice of multi-district blending has been a major part of the company's philosophy since fruit from other regions was first sought in 1978. This unique approach and the resulting quality wines have cemented Brokenwood's place as one of Australia's most revered and consistent labels.

Established in 1970, Brokenwood Wines has evolved from a weekend venture for self-professed hobby winemakers into one of Australia's most reputable wine labels. Brokenwood was established by a trio of Sydney-based solicitors who then paid a record price of $970 per acre for a 10-acre block in the foothills of the Brokenback Ranges. The original block, initially planned as a cricket round for the local community, was planted with Cabernet Sauvignon and later Shiraz. The first vintage picked in 1973 yielded plenty of praise and a loyal following that eventually led to increased production and the creation of a new winery just two years later.

Growth was steady until 1978 when six new partners joined allowing for the purchase of the Graveyard Vineyard the vineyard that produces the winery's flagship wine. When in 1982 Brokenwood decided to diversify into white wines, they appointed Iain Riggs as winemaker and managing director. Just a year after diversifying into white wine production, Brokenwood's output was 70 percent white.



Red Wines    Tempranillo    Rioja    Spain   
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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Seleccion de Familia Crianza 2008
Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco Rioja Seleccion de Familia Crianza 2008
(search item no. 113686)
has fluid
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Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $18.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points

Winemaker's Notes:

#59 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011

The bouquet consists of mature red berries, with hints of smoke, vanilla, and spice. Well-structured in the mouth, this Crianza is expressive and meaty and possesses a good balance of red fruit and toasted flavors. The tannins are mature and lead to an elegant, long finish. While this wine can be enjoyed now, it will also keep for 5-10 years.

My Notes:

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About Bodegas Dinastia Vivanco:

The Dinastia Vivanco Bodega is located in Briones, a privileged enclave of the Rioja Alta, in the foothills of the Cantabrian mountain range and on the banks of the River Ebro. It is an area with a mild microclimate and extraordinary calcareous-clay soils that take in old vines with a reduced and selected yield.

The Dinastia Vivanco wines are made exclusively from these family vineyards that are overseen by Rafael Vivanco and his team. This intimate knowledge of the vineyards, their unique characteristics and potential, improves the ability to make the best selection of grapes for each wine.



Dessert, Sherry & Port    Sherry    Other Spain    Spain   
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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Hidalgo Alameda Cream Sherry (500ML)
Hidalgo Alameda Cream Sherry (500ML)
(search item no. 100140)
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Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $19.99

Winemaker's Notes:

An elegant Cream, resulting from its base of fine old oloroso and just a touch of Napoleon Amontillado, only moderatly sweetened.

My Notes:

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About Hidalgo:

Founded in 1792 by José Pantaleón Hidalgo, Vinícola Hidalgo is owned by the sixth successive generation of the family. Hidalgo is a modern rarity, being the last remaining family business (and almacenista, for those familiar with this term) to produce and export its own unblended, single-solera sherries.

Just as rare is Vinícola Hidalgo's total reliance on its own vineyards, 500 acres of Palomino Fino located in the great chalk pagos ("crus") of Balbaína - the closest Jerez vineyard to the sea - and Miraflores, the great Sanlúcar vineyard renowned for the pedigree of its wines. Just as significant is the privileged location of the family's Bodega San Luis - at beach-level in Sanlúcar de Barrameda, where the Guadalquivir River meets the ocean. Here, the miracle of manzanilla is made possible by constant exposure to Atlantic breezes, laden with moisture and an ambient yeast/algae culture called flor.  This surface-growing culture thrives year-round along Sanlúcar's southwest-facing beach-front, protecting the resting wines from exposure to the air.  At the same time, flor imparts the bracing, briny smell of sea spray which is manzanilla's hallmark, reflecting its years-long maturation process within earshot of the waves.



Red Wines    Other Red Blends    Portugal    Portugal   
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Date Printed: 9/19/2014
Quinta do Vallado Douro Tinto 2009
Quinta do Vallado Douro Tinto 2009
(search item no. 115689)
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 9/19/2014: $23.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 James Suckling rating: 91 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2007 Wine & Spirits rating: 93 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2005 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2005 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The Quinta do Vallado Douro Red is dark red, with crimson highlights and an intense, mature red fruit nose, with hints of violets and "esteva" (a local Portuguese herb). The palate shows great structure and a full- bodied elegance, with mature, round tannins, leading to a long, persistent finish.
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About Quinta do Vallado:

In the heart of Portugal’s most famous wine region – the Douro Valley – near the historical center of Regua, the Quinta do Vallado vineyards, winery and guest house spread across both banks of the Corgo River at the very point where it meets the Douro. With winemaking references that date back to 1716, the Quinta belonged to the legendary Portuguese vintner D. Antonia Adelaide Ferreira, and has remained in the family through modern times.

The current owners, Joao Ferreria Alvares Ribeiro, Francisco Ferreira and Francisco Olazabal, are the sixth generation of this remarkable family, and the family’s mission to produce some of the best still wines of this fertile valley continues with the red blends and varietals that are exported worldwide. Of the 38-hectare Estate, 26 hectares are filled with vines 60 years and older. It is from these vines that Quinta do Vallado’s Red Reserve and Touriga Nacional wines are made, so it is no wonder that the wines are often found to be rated and reviewed among the best wines from the Douro.