Sake    Junmai-Daiginjo    Hokkaido    Japan   
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Date Printed: 4/1/2015
Takasago Ginga Shizuku Divine Droplets Sake (720ML)
Takasago Ginga Shizuku Divine Droplets Sake (720ML)
(search item no. 92023)
screw cap wine

International Wine Cellar rating: 94 points
PRICE ON 4/1/2015: $59.95

Winemaker's Notes:

A prominent fragrance, a clean and fresh taste, with flavor deep into the recesses. Truly one of the "Rolls-Royces" of saké.

Each year, after the temperature drops below 14 Fahrenheit, Takasago builds an Ice Dome outside the main kura building. It is an igloo inside of which the temperature stays about 28 F, with 90% humidity and no wind The low temperature means "nasty bacteria" cannot survive, allowing them to make clean, pure, ultra-premium saké. Additionally, they separate the clear saké from the fermenting rice lees not by pressing, but rather by putting it into canvas bags and allowing the saké to drip out slowly overnight.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Takasago Shuzo:

About Takasago Shuzo:

Takasago Shuzo was originally established in 1899 in Asahikawa City in Hokkaido, under the name Kohiyama Shuzo (our family name). We struggled, but continued to produce sake during the war. In 1965, we merged with another sake brewer in Asahikawa, and changed our company name, as well as the name of our sake, to Takasago. Our white-walled kura, built in 1909, is one of the more attractive buildings in Asahikawa.

Asahikawa has been called "the Nada of the North," because there was at one time a lot of sake being brewed there, and we are the oldest sakagura in the area. It is cold here, with the temperature regularly falling to -20C.



White Wines    Chardonnay    Carneros    California   
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Date Printed: 4/1/2015
Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay 2010
Patz & Hall Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay 2010
(search item no. 122967)
boutique wine
older vintages

Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 4/1/2015: $59.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2011 Tasting Panel rating: 92 points
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2006 International Wine Cellar rating: 94 points
2001 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points

Winemaker's Notes:

This is a classic expression of Hyde Vineyard, and one of our standout wines of the vintage! The aromatics are intricate and inviting, with notes of honey, hazelnut, peach, cinnamon and narcissus. On the palate, this wine offers a lovely texture and just the right amount of intensity, with vibrant orange and grapefruit flavors, sophisticated minerality and a beam of bright acidity that adds focus to the pure fruit notes. The finish lingers with cinnamon and floral notes and subtle oak-inspired hints of clove and honey.
My Notes:

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About Patz & Hall:

Patz and Hall Wine Company was founded in 1988 by Donald Patz, James Hall, Anne Moses and Heather Patz, and is dedicated to the production of hand-crafted wines. The four are long-time Napa Valley residents and wine industry professionals, with a wide variety of experiences. Patz and Hall produces Chardonnay and Pinot Noir wines from selected vineyard sources in Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino and Monterey counties. The Patz and Hall method is to work closely with each of their growers to achieve a unique expression of the vineyard site and deliver wines that reflect both the site and their vision for great wine.


Dessert, Sherry & Port    Napa Valley    California   
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Date Printed: 4/1/2015
Dolce (375ML half-bottle) 2007
Dolce (375ML half-bottle) 2007
(search item no. 126435)
Wine Spectator rating: 96 points
PRICE ON 4/1/2015: $69.99

Winemaker's Notes:

The 2007 Dolce is youthfully fruity with layered aromas ranging from fresh-baked lemon bars to honey and caramel. In the mouth, the citrus aromas shift to peach and pineapple flavors. The silky entry evolves into a creamy and coating texture that is rich yet balanced through the finish. Concentrated and fruit-driven, this vintage will reveal additional layers of aroma and flavor along with a perfumed bottlebouquet in the years to come.

Blend: 82% Semillon, 18% Sauvignon Blanc

My Notes:

About Dolce Winery:

Dolce was founded in 1989 by the three partners of Far Niente as they started pursuing the goal of creating world-class late-harvest wine in the Napa Valley. Dolce devotes itself exclusively to the production of a single late-harvest wine blended from botrytised Semillon and Sauvignon Blanc.


White Wines    Other White Blends    Other California    California   
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Date Printed: 4/1/2015
Conundrum White Blend 2011
Conundrum White Blend 2011
(search item no. 118612)
screw cap wine
has fluid
has fluid 360


PRICE ON 4/1/2015: $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:

This unique, non-traditional white wine blend was created to offer full-flavored fruit and enough complexity to match the creative dishes being offered by today's generation of chefs.

Conundrum can be served with every course from appetizer to dessert and pairs beautifully with spicy foods and full-flavored Asian cuisine. The "conundrum," or puzzle, of this wine is in guessing which grapes make up the blend.

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.



Red Wines    Rhone Red Blends    Central Coast    California   
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Date Printed: 4/1/2015
L'Aventure Cote a Cote 2008
L'Aventure Cote a Cote 2008
(search item no. 113887)
collectible wine
green wine

International Wine Cellar rating: 94 points
James Suckling rating: 92 points
PRICE ON 4/1/2015: $65.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 The Wine Advocate rating: 96 points
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 96 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 93 points
2009 James Suckling rating: 95 points
2009 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 95 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 95 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 94 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 96 points
2006 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 92 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

This wine features tea and tobacco leaf, garrigue, and jambon in the nose, as well as blueberries and pencil shavings. The mouth is full of spicy berries, licorice, and red currants. This wine is impeccably integrated.

40% Grenache, 40% Syrah, 20% Mourvedre

My Notes:

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About L'Aventure:

L'Aventure was founded in 1998 by a French winemaker, Stephan Asseo. After Stephan graduated enology school in Burgundy, the Asseo family bought their first estate, Domaine de Courteillac, in the Bordeaux area in 1982. Later, the family purchased additional properties: Château Robin and Château Fleur-Cardinale in Saint-Emilion. Stephan raised these properties to a level of great quality, while managing some other well-established domaines such as Château Guillot-Clauzel in Pomerol and Château Corbin in St Emilion.

Stephan saw in the New World a unique opportunity to expand his experience, while gaining more freedom in viticulture and vinification. He began by looking all over California for land, including Napa/Sonoma and Santa Barbara counties, but it was the terroir and climate of Paso Robles that impressed him the most.