Red Wines    Other Red Blends    Other Spain    Spain   
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Date Printed: 9/16/2014
Bodegas Castano Solanera 2005
Bodegas Castano Solanera 2005
(search item no. 92702)
The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 9/16/2014: $16.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2004 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
2003 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2002 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The name comes from "Finca La Solana" - very sunny in Spanish. From 40+ year old vines.

Varieties: 65% Monastrell, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Garnacha Tintorera

My Notes:

Additional wines from Bodegas Castano:

About Bodegas Castano:

There are only a handful of wineries remaining in Yecla since the phyloxera plague, and they are led by the forward-thinking Bodegas Castano, which has helped to reinvigorate the winemaking in the region.

Created by Ramon Castano Santa and his 3 sons, Bodegas Castano is not nearly as old as the vines it owns. Starting quite small, the family has nurtured these old plantings and re-planted other parcels and now owns 350 hectares of some of the prime vineyard land in Yecla. Today, Daniel Castano, one of Ramon's sons, runs the winery with the help of other members of the family.

The extremely talented Mariano Lopez has taken over the winemaker reins at the Bodega, and has turned the focus toward more balanced bottlings of older vine Monastrell. Both traditional and carbonic maceration techniques are used and all wines pass through malolactic fermentation. Daniel believes that the fruit and tannin structure of the Monastrell varietal stands up well to the use of oak, and as such, many of the wines pass (in varying degrees) through a barrel regime.



Red Wines    Other Red Blends    Other California    California   
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Date Printed: 9/16/2014
Matchbook Tinto Rey 2005
Matchbook Tinto Rey 2005
(search item no. 97470)

PRICE ON 9/16/2014: $12.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Tinto Rey means Red King and this is a deliciously unique red blend. Tempranillo is the king of Spanish red wines and one of the most important red varietals in our Matchbook vineyard in the Dunnigan Hills. The Spanish varietals Tempranillo and Graciano contribute spicy red berry fruit flavors; Syrah adds rich flavors of black cherry and blueberry; Malbec contributes red apple flavors; and Petit Verdot adds depth and structure to the wine. A very cool wine!

Blend: 43% Syrah, 40% Tempranillo, 7% Malbec, 6% Petit Verdot; 4% Graciano

My Notes:

Additional wines from Matchbook:

About Matchbook:

Why Matchbook? As a farm kid growing up in the late 1950s and early 1960s, Matchbook's owner, John Giguiere, was a confirmed pyromaniac starting various things on fire such as his father's wheat field. At one point, fearing total ruin from his kids burning him out of the house and farm, his father took them to the city jail for an hour stay to impress upon his brother and him the futility of their fascination with fire. John and his brother answered at a later date by graduating from random fires to the launching of rockets which often blew up at some stage of their journey resulting in more random fires and a call to the local fire department for help. They eventually grew out of this fascination with the "Matchbook" but still have fond memories of the power they possessed.

Matchbook has four products, all focusing on varietals that perform well in the warm Dunnigan Hills climate. A percentage of coastal fruit is blended into the Dunnigan Hills wines to add structure and intensify flavors.



Red Wines    Cabernet Sauvignon    Argentina    South America   
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Date Printed: 9/16/2014
Crios de Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
Crios de Susana Balbo Cabernet Sauvignon 2007
(search item no. 96824)
screw cap wine

The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 9/16/2014: $16.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2004 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2003 Wine & Spirits rating: 86 points
2001 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Intense, dark ruby color with enticing aromas of ripe, black plums and black currants. The richly textured plum and currant flavors are joined by accents of dark chocolate and some vanilla-scented oak. The ripe, vibrant tannins give the wine beautiful structure and an amazingly long finish. This is a big wine for just a little money.

Drink it now or over the next few years to enjoy the fruit flavors at their best. It will pair well with traditional Cabernet-friendly foods like grilled or roasted meats.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Crios de Susana Balbo:

About Crios de Susana Balbo:

After 22 years of winemaking, Susana Balbo has a strong sense of what she wants from her wines. From every harvest, she creates the grandest possible wines under her Susana Balbo label. To achieve this, she makes a rigorous selection of the finest barrels prior to making her final blends, dividing them into the parents (reserve level wines) and offspring or "crios."

Wines under her Crios label display ripe fruit flavors, excellent balance and concentration, and are meant to be enjoyed in their vibrant youth. These wines are produced under Dominio del Plata's code of sustainable agriculture.

Like Susana's own crios (a boy and a girl), they are extremely lovable and fun to be around. The label features a series of three connected and overlapping hands, an image inspired by a Mayan artifact. The artifact illustrates the interconnectedness of every generation, and the irony that we will be both the parent and the offspring at different times in our lives.



Red Wines    Cabernet Sauvignon    Sonoma County    California   
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Date Printed: 9/16/2014
Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
Louis Martini Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon 2006
(search item no. 97407)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 9/16/2014: $12.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 Tasting Panel rating: 89 points
2012 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2009 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2007 The Wine News rating: 92 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2005 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2003 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2002 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2001 Wine & Spirits rating: 89 points

Winemaker's Notes:

"One of the finest bargains in California Cabernet Sauvignon must be Louis M. Martini's outstanding 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma. Fabulously sweet aromas of black currants, licorice, and cedar soar from the glass of this medium to full-bodied wine. With silky tannins as well as surprising concentration, depth, and texture, this 2006 should drink well for 8-10 years."
-Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

The 2006 Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon was crafted from several of Sonoma County's most prestigious appellations and blended seamlessly to bring together the unique characteristics of each, creating a superbly balanced Cabernet Sauvignon. The wine offers many layers, featuring aromas and flavors of red cherry, blackberry and fresh sage with an underlying dry creek dustiness. Subtle herbal notes are complemented by additional layers of chocolate and vanilla, resulting in a complex, yet easy drinking, wine.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Louis Martini:

About Louis Martini:

For more than 75 years, the Martini family winemakers have crafted world-class Cabernet Sauvignon wines from the exceptional vineyards of Sonoma and Napa counties. Louis M. Martini embodied a simple, honest premise: The best grapes make the best wines. Today, Michael Martini, third generation winemaker carries on this tradition at the historic winery in Napa Valley with his range of unforgettable Cabernet Sauvignon wines.


Red Wines    Syrah/Shiraz    Other Australia    Australia   
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Date Printed: 9/16/2014
Shoofly Shiraz 2005
Shoofly Shiraz 2005
(search item no. 96814)
screw cap wine

International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
Wine Spectator rating: 87 points
PRICE ON 9/16/2014: $9.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2013 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2013 Australian Wine Companion rating: 89 points
2012 Australian Wine Companion rating: 92 points
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
2008 Wine Enthusiast rating: 88 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2008 Wine & Spirits rating: 87 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
2006 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
2004 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The 2005 Shiraz expresses oodles of spicy dark berry fruits, plums, cassis and earthy mint. On the palate, it's a succulent thunderbolt of pure Shiraz, right down to the last gulp. Made with structure and grip, the vibrant, juicy length lingers with a clean "have another glass" finish. Drink now or hide in the cellar for 3 years.

87 Points

"The 2005 Shiraz is purple-colored with aromas of smoke and blueberry. Medium-bodied, with ample spicy fruit, it offers good concentration, depth, and balance. Drink it over the next 2-3 years."
Wine Advocate

87 Points

"Fresh and lively, with a smoky edge to the blackberry and cherry flavors."
Wine Spectator

88 Points

"Dark red. Youthful pepper-accented cassis and blackberry on the nose, with a suggestion of cracked pepper. Fleshy in texture, with jammy dark berry flavors, soft acidity and a hint of floral pastille. Very persistent sweet blackberry and kirsch on the finish. Vaguely liqueur-like but there's good acid lift and thrust here. Remains just this side of sweet." Stephen Tanzer's
International Wine Cellar

My Notes:

Additional wines from Shoofly:

About Shoofly:

Shoofly's winemaker Ben Riggs is a native of McLaren Vale and has been crafting some of the region's finest for two decades. Ben knows his stuff and where to get it – his roster of grape growers is one of the most sought after contact lists in the country. Premium regions produce the best fruit and the grapes come from a "who's who" of Australian growers and viticultural neighborhoods – Barossa Valley, McLaren Vale, Clare Valley, Langhorne Creek, Adelaide Hills and Heathcote.


Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Santa Maria Valley    California   
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Date Printed: 9/16/2014
Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir 2006
(search item no. 94513)
Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
The Wine News rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 9/16/2014: $23.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
2011 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 91 points
2010 Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
2009 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2008 PinotReport rating: 91 points
2005 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 88 points
1999 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
1996 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Cambria 2006 Julia's Pinot Noir offers fresh cherry, blueberry, strawberry and cranberry fruit flavors accented with cinnamon and vanilla oak spice characters. The mid-palate has a silky texture and balanced tannins that lead into a fruity and earthy finish.
My Notes:

Additional wines from Cambria Winery:

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    Merlot    South Australia    Australia   
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Date Printed: 9/16/2014
Paringa Merlot 2007
Paringa Merlot 2007
(search item no. 96815)
screw cap wine


PRICE ON 9/16/2014: $8.69

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points
2003 The Wine Advocate rating: 85 points
2002 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2000 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Firebrick red color apparent throughout continues to the rim of the glass. Succulent raspberry and plum aromas originate initially from the glass, with an underlying violet perfume and a slight toasty spice generated from oak maturation. Soft red fruit aromas of the nose are apparent on the palate providing a perceived sweetness, while a subtle acidity and ripe tannins derived from gentle maceration produce a moderate bodied wine and a delicate lingering finish.
My Notes:

About Paringa:

Alan Robb Hickinbotham (David's grandfather) became a founder of the Australian wine industry almost by accident. In May of 1936, Hickinbotham established the Roseworthy Oenology course with the intent of furthering winemaking by instructing viticulturalists to use scientific research to produce better wine.

David eventually purchased 300 acres of prime vineyard land in McLaren Vale early in the 70's. There was no irrigation at that time so the vines were dry grown. This produced grapes of intense flavor that captured the distinctive character of McLaren Vale fruit.

The Paringa vineyard is set on about 1700 acres of prime Riverlands property about 150 miles northeast of Adelaide in South Australia. The rainfall in the region is quite low but the Paringa property abuts the historic River Murray so they have a convenient source of water for the vineyard's drip irrigation system. The vineyard has been planted to Shiraz, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Merlot, plus small sections of Chardonnay, Columbard, and Ruby Cabernet.

Yields are maintained at approximately 6 tons per acre and careful attention is paid to canopy management and irrigation technique. David Hickinbotham and winemaker Mike Farmilo both agree that the quality of the wine improves with lower yields and have made the decision to go for quality over quantity.



Red Wines    Rhone Red Blends    Barossa Valley    Australia   
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Date Printed: 9/16/2014
Peter Lehmann Seven Surveys GSM 2006
Peter Lehmann Seven Surveys GSM 2006
(search item no. 96493)
screw cap wine


PRICE ON 9/16/2014: $13.09

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

Winemaker's Notes:

Attractive black cherry red in colour. Aromas of red fruits: currants, raspberries and cherries. A wine of beautiful velvet softness and good balance, offering a delicious mix of berry and wild briary, savoury flavours, reined in by the fine tannin finish.

Blend of 48% Shiraz, 30% Grenache and 22% Mourvèdre.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Peter Lehmann:

About Peter Lehmann:

The history of Peter Lehmann Wines is intrinsically linked to the events that made the Barossa famous. Formed in 1979 by Peter Lehmann to assist the grape growers of the region who at the time were facing financial ruin, they now enjoy the rewards of longstanding friendships and loyalty. Each vintage, over 160 grape growers supply Peter Lehmann with the best fruit from over 900 of the best vineyards located throughout the Barossa. These amazing resources enable them to craft wines for every occasion, including their flagship, Stonewall. Peter Lehmann Wines has developed a reputation as one of Australia's most respected, energetic and innovative premium wine producers and today, the team continues to create wines that delight wine lovers around the globe.


Red Wines    Other Red Blends    Argentina    South America   
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Date Printed: 9/16/2014
Crios de Susana Balbo Syrah-Bonarda 2006
Crios de Susana Balbo Syrah-Bonarda 2006
(search item no. 95480)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 9/16/2014: $12.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2005 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
2004 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
2003 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2001 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Varietal Composition: 50% Syrah, 50% Bonarda

Dark reddish/purple color. Intense aroma of black raspberries. This medium-bodied, very lively wine has loads of ripe red plum and black raspberry flavors with a slightly spicy character and a long, juicy finish.

Certainly enjoyable in its youth, but will age beautifully. A fun wine to try with a wide range of red wine-friendly foods.

"The 2006 Syrah-Bonarda contains 50% of each component. It was also aged for nine months in French and American oak and bottled without fining or filtration. Purple-colored, it delivers an alluring nose of baking spice, blueberry, plum, and black raspberry. On the palate it is medium-bodied with loads of spicy dark fruit, a forward personality, good balance, and a pure finish. It too may be enjoyed over the next 3-4 years."
-Wine Advocate

My Notes:

Additional wines from Crios de Susana Balbo:

About Crios de Susana Balbo:

After 22 years of winemaking, Susana Balbo has a strong sense of what she wants from her wines. From every harvest, she creates the grandest possible wines under her Susana Balbo label. To achieve this, she makes a rigorous selection of the finest barrels prior to making her final blends, dividing them into the parents (reserve level wines) and offspring or "crios."

Wines under her Crios label display ripe fruit flavors, excellent balance and concentration, and are meant to be enjoyed in their vibrant youth. These wines are produced under Dominio del Plata's code of sustainable agriculture.

Like Susana's own crios (a boy and a girl), they are extremely lovable and fun to be around. The label features a series of three connected and overlapping hands, an image inspired by a Mayan artifact. The artifact illustrates the interconnectedness of every generation, and the irony that we will be both the parent and the offspring at different times in our lives.



Red Wines    Other Red Blends    South Australia    Australia   
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Date Printed: 9/16/2014
Pillar Box Padthaway Red 2006
Pillar Box Padthaway Red 2006
(search item no. 90759)
screw cap wine

The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
Australian Wine Companion rating: 89 points
PRICE ON 9/16/2014: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2009 Australian Wine Companion rating: 88 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 87 points
2008 Australian Wine Companion rating: 87 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2005 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2004 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2004 Australian Wine Companion rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

53% Shiraz, 37% Cabernet, 10% Merlot

Pillar Box red is an opaque red/black color with a scarlet rim. It displays aromas of sweet, ripe red berries, underpinned cinnamon spice and dark chocolate. The palate is rich and fleshy with vibrant raspberry and blackcurrant fruit intertwined with a citrus-like cedary oak complexity. The tannins are full yet soft and supple, combined with the gentle acidity to produce a lingering, harmonious finish.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Pillar Box:

About Pillar Box:

Named after the proprietor of the 19th century mail coach service which once ran through their property, the Longbottom family has created a new family tradition of winemaking with wines such as: Henry's Drive, Parson's Flat and Pillar Box.

During the nineteenth century establishment of the farming and wine industries of Southeastern Australia, horse-drawn coaches provided the only transportation of mail and passengers. The coach drivers reigned supreme on top of their coaches, and won the respect and admiration of their passengers. The coach service proprietor in this part of the state, was a certain Mr. Henry John Hill. His operation drove directly through a property owned more recently by three generations of the Longbottom family of Padthaway. Routes were known as Drives, thus the family's wine business is today known as Henry's Drive.