Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Yarra Valley    Australia   
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Date Printed: 6/26/2016
Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir 2009
Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir 2009
(search item no. 104763)
screw cap wine

International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
PRICE ON 6/26/2016: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2014 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 90 points
2013 Australian Wine Companion rating: 91 points
2013 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 90 points
2012 Australian Wine Companion rating: 93 points
2012 Decanter rating: 90 points
2011 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2010 Australian Wine Companion rating: 89 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2008 Australian Wine Companion rating: 90 points
2007 Wine & Spirits rating: 88 points
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2005 Australian Wine Companion rating: 90 points
2005 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The nose explodes with dark cherries, cranberries and fresh raspberries backed by subtle nutmeg and cinnamon spices. Underlying truffles and meaty, wet earth and mushroom notes add complexity. The juicy palate displays fresh berries with a slippery, rich and slightly tart finish. The perfect match for chargrilled quail and rosemary, or Peking duck pancakes.
My Notes:

About Innocent Bystander:

The idea behind Innocent Bystander is to produce great value, food friendly wines that are not your run of the mill varietal blends. Taking fruit from various sources in Central Victoria (in particular Sangiovese, Shiraz, Pinot Gris and Viognier) the team at Innocent Bystander is inspired to utilize and showcase the natural qualities of each region in their unique blends.

As a group of winemakers and viticulturalists who eschew the bland direction and market dominance increasingly exerted by the large corporate winemaking groups, the folks behind these wines see themselves as innocent bystanders. They remain accountable to their craft, not shareholders.



Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Other California    California   
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Date Printed: 6/26/2016
Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2008
Au Bon Climat Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2008
(search item no. 104352)
Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
PRICE ON 6/26/2016: $19.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

This wine is just easy to drink. Whether with fresh grilled salmon or left-over roast chicken or just in a glass by itself, the pretty plum and spring strawberry flavors of ABC SB Pinot are simply delicious. There is nothing pretentious here, just well balanced, nicely textured, brightly fruity wine that seems to go with everything.
My Notes:

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About Au Bon Climat:

Au Bon Climat was created to produce high quality handcrafted wine from the traditional Burgundian varietals. They are one of the few California wineries to explore the gamut of these varieties: Aligote, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. The winery is located within the Bien Nacido Vineyard, the source of the majority of their fruit.


White Wines    Riesling    Columbia Valley    Washington   
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Date Printed: 6/26/2016
Pacific Rim Wallula Vineyard Biodynamic Riesling 2007
Pacific Rim Wallula Vineyard Biodynamic Riesling 2007
(search item no. 99554)
green wine
boutique wine

Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 6/26/2016: $24.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2008 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2008 Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Wallula is farmed according to the Biodynamic principles and is certified Biodynamic by Demeter USA. From its beginnings, Wallula vineyard was planted as a Biodynamic vineyard on virgin land without disturbing the native vegetation. Dan Nickolaus, the vineyard manager at Wallula, uses no pesticides and no herbicides and he is working to make this vineyard self sustainable. Dan uses all the Biodynamic preparations with an emphasis on horn manure, silica, stinging nettle and horsetail teas. Dan also makes his own compost and has a herd of sheep to control the weeds in the vineyard.

2007 was well suited for Biodynamic wines because the acidity in the grapes was high. The wine aromas are fairly ripe with some guava and grapefruit notes. The wine was aged on lees for a few months and displays wonderful yeastiness, jasmine on the palate and great minerality with a dry, bright finish.

My Notes:

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About Pacific Rim:

Riesling, simply, is the most versatile, complex and food-friendly of all the noble grapes. if you enjoy inspiring your palate, then Riesling is your ideal wine. No other varietal so purely expresses terroir. Washington's Columbia Valley - home of Pacific Rim - provies the ideal soils and climate for growing Riesling. Purity is at the core of Pacific Rim's winemaking philosophy. They exclusively use stainless steel tanks, allowing the true character of Riesling to speak for itself, they do not use malolactic fermentation and their wines are fermented only with native yeasts. Pacific Rim produces 10 different Rieslings from bone dry to sticky sweet, and Riesling represents 95% of all the wines they produce. Pacific Rim is an Organic and Biodynamic certified winery.


Red Wines    Malbec    Argentina    South America   
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Date Printed: 6/26/2016
Durigutti Malbec Clasico 2008
Durigutti Malbec Clasico 2008
(search item no. 107374)
The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 6/26/2016: $14.29

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2014 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2014 James Suckling rating: 90 points
2013 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 90 points
2012 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 88 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

#74 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2010

Their standard Malbec bottling, Durigutti's Malbec "Clásico" representswhat the brothers do best-combine elegance with a certain blue-collarrusticity. While this is in many ways due to the two differingbackgrounds the brothers bring to the table, it is also largely due to thefruit. High altitude fruit from La Consulta adds structure, depth, andpower, while bright fruit from Vistalba adds brightness and suppletexture.

Lush nose laced with black-berry and plum fruit. Soft yet focused on thepalate, with additional flavors of strawberry and wild herbs. Mediumtannins and balanced acidity. A terrific everyday drinker!

My Notes:

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About Durigutti:

Two brothers of diverse wine-making backgrounds come together in the elaboration of Durigutti wines. Pablo, who nourished the American new world concept, and Hector, enriched by the European tradition, joined their individual styles to create the maximum expression present in this play of concepts represented by the wines of Familia Durigutti.


Dessert, Sherry & Port    Yakima Valley    Washington   
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Date Printed: 6/26/2016
Pacific Rim Vin de Glaciere Riesling (375ML half-bottle) 2007
Pacific Rim Vin de Glaciere Riesling (375ML half-bottle) 2007
(search item no. 95762)
screw cap wine

Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 6/26/2016: $9.99

Winemaker's Notes:

We pick the Vin de Glacière Riesling grapes around 22.5% sugar in order to preserve the natural acidity of the grapes. The grapes are then frozen. We press the grapes frozen, resulting in a concentrated press juice (about 36% sugar) and a low yield (about half the regular yield). The concentrated juice is fermented until we reach 16% Residual Sugar. The wine shows loads of pear, and some honey and horse radish. On the palate, the wine is surprisingly light and aromatic but not syrupy or heavy. This has to do with the great acidity (0.88%) in the wine. The 10.4% Ethanol makes the wine very refreshing and quite food friendly.

The alcohol is 10.4%, acid is 0.88%, pH is 3.14 and Residual Sugar is 16.0%


Watch the Pacific Rim Brand Video:

My Notes:

Additional wines from Pacific Rim:

About Pacific Rim:

Riesling, simply, is the most versatile, complex and food-friendly of all the noble grapes. if you enjoy inspiring your palate, then Riesling is your ideal wine. No other varietal so purely expresses terroir. Washington's Columbia Valley - home of Pacific Rim - provies the ideal soils and climate for growing Riesling. Purity is at the core of Pacific Rim's winemaking philosophy. They exclusively use stainless steel tanks, allowing the true character of Riesling to speak for itself, they do not use malolactic fermentation and their wines are fermented only with native yeasts. Pacific Rim produces 10 different Rieslings from bone dry to sticky sweet, and Riesling represents 95% of all the wines they produce. Pacific Rim is an Organic and Biodynamic certified winery.


Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Russian River    California   
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Date Printed: 6/26/2016
Inman Family Russian River Pinot Noir 2006
Inman Family Russian River Pinot Noir 2006
(search item no. 107768)
International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 6/26/2016: $24.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Aroma: Sweet cherry, white chocolate, strawberry, fresh ginger and nutmeg.

Flavor: Sweet cherry, strawberry, and vanilla. Secondary flavors include roasted meat and savory herbs, dried cranberries, caramel and baking spices - cloves, nutmeg and ginger. The texture is voluptous and fills your mouth while the acid perks up the taste buds and give the wine a "salivacious" quality. The finish is long and complex.

My Notes:

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About Inman Family:

Kathleen grew up in Napa, CA and moved to England with her husband in 1983. In 1998 she returned to CA to start her vineyard and winery. Inman was officially established in 2000. In September 2010, Inman Family Wines opened a tasting room at the new, ecofriendly winery at Olivet Grange Vineyard, in the heart of Sonoma County’s beautiful Russian River Valley. A commitment to organic gardening, recycling and treading lightly on the environment has been a central tenant in Kathleen’s personal philosophy. Kathleen’s goal is to grow grapes and make wines as naturally as possible, with as little human intervention as possible, to ensure they embody not only the pure personality of the grapes from which they’re made, but also the singular character of the place where they’re born while at the same time making the smallest impact possible on the land, water and air around us. Inman produces about 4000 cases annually.


Red Wines    Pinot Noir    Carneros    California   
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Date Printed: 6/26/2016
MacRostie Pinot Noir 2007
MacRostie Pinot Noir 2007
(search item no. 104654)
PinotReport rating: 93 points
Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 6/26/2016: $29.99

Winemaker's Notes:

Very dark garnet in color, this Pinot is a positive explosion of big ripe black cherry fruit. The aromas are enhanced by hints of cinnamon and clove. In the mouth the wine is full and luscious, soft and round, but with lots of impact. The balance is nearly perfect. Almost too delicious not to drink now, but should still age quite nicely.
My Notes:

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About Macrostie:

Over the past three decades, MacRostie Winery and Vineyards has established itself as one of the Sonoma Coast’s defining wineries, and a leader in a bright, balanced and age-worthy style of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir. Today, MacRostie is guided by Sonoma County visionary and winery founder Steve MacRostie, and talented winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen, who together are making the finest wines in the winery’s storied history.

Using grapes farmed by legendary winegrowing families including the Duttons, Sangiacomos, Martinellis and Bacigalupis, and from Steve’s own Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, MacRostie’s Sonoma Coast wines have established themselves as benchmarks, offering a rare intersection between labor-intensive small-lot winemaking, fair pricing and the complexity that can only be achieved by working with the finest vineyards.

Though founded in 1987, the seeds for MacRostie Winery and Vineyards go back to 1974—to the early days of Sonoma County winemaking—when Steve began his career at Hacienda Winery. At a time when most California winemakers were fixated on Bordeaux varieties and Napa Valley, Steve and a handful of other pioneers took a different path, embracing the fog-shrouded vineyards of Sonoma County and their untapped potential for producing some of the finest Chardonnay and Pinot Noir in the world. Steve quickly gained renown as a winemaker capable of making exceptional Burgundian-variety wines. He also began to develop his own style, favoring crispness, complexity and vineyard character, as opposed to overt opulence.

In 1987, Steve established MacRostie. To make his earliest wines, he reached out to growers he knew and respected—leaders of Sonoma County winegrowing, like the Sangiacomo family. MacRostie’s wines were soon widely hailed for their unique balance of cool-climate structure and vibrant fruit. In 1992, years before the modern Pinot Noir boom, MacRostie added Pinot Noir to its portfolio, and quickly developed a devoted following for the pure and elegant style of these wines.

Several years later, inspired by a desire to cultivate his own great piece of land, Steve discovered an amazing mountainside ranch in the Petaluma Gap region on the borderlands of the Sonoma Coast. Planted to Steve’s specifications, this windswept site has become Wildcat Mountain Vineyard, and the cornerstone of the winery’s vineyard program. At the same time, in its drive to represent the entirety of the Sonoma Coast, MacRostie has continued to explore ever-farther west, to sites like Dutton Ranch and Goldrock Ridge, just a few miles from the Pacific Ocean. To capture the rich expressiveness of the entire appellation, MacRostie works with more than 30 Chardonnay vineyards and over 15 Pinot Noir sites—a remarkable level of diversity for a small winery.

In 2015, MacRostie unveiled its new state-of-the-art Pinot-focused winery and MacRostie Estate House on Westside Road in the Russian River Valley, which is also the home to Thale’s Vineyard, named after Steve’s wife. "I have always wanted a home for MacRostie that expresses who we are as a winery and what we believe in as clearly as our wines do," says Steve. "Our new home in the Russian River Valley is a culmination of everything we have learned over our first quarter century, and a statement about who we plan to be over the next 25 years."



Rosé Wine    Rosé    Argentina    South America   
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Date Printed: 6/26/2016
Crios de Susana Balbo Rose of Malbec 2009
Crios de Susana Balbo Rose of Malbec 2009
(search item no. 100260)
screw cap wine

The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
PRICE ON 6/26/2016: $11.29

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2014 Wilfred Wong of Wine.com rating: 91 points
2013 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 88 points
2012 International Wine Cellar rating: 89 points
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 87 points
2011 Wine Enthusiast rating: 87 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 87 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points

Winemaker's Notes:

A beautiful, deep, vibrant rosé color. Has a surprising amount of body for a rosé wine, and beautiful aromas of fresh, ripe wild strawberries. On the palate, the flavors of strawberries and young cherries come rushing in, accompanied by some spice notes and a clean, dry finish. This is the perfect chicken wine and a charming companion to mildly spicy Asian cuisine. Keep one in the fridge at all times and you'll always have a delicious wine to enjoy with light snacks and cheeses. Best consumed in its youth.
My Notes:

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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    Pinot Noir    Chile    South America   
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Date Printed: 6/26/2016
Ritual Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir 2008
Ritual Casablanca Valley Pinot Noir 2008
(search item no. 103005)
green wine

Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 6/26/2016: $14.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2015 James Suckling rating: 93 points
2014 James Suckling rating: 93 points
2014 Wilfred Wong of Wine.com rating: 92 points
2013 James Suckling rating: 94 points
2012 James Suckling rating: 93 points
2010 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2009 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

#87 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2010

"2008 Ritual opens with striking aromas of black cherries, raspberry and plum. The mid palate is round, soft and elegant with black currant and blueberry notes mingling with hints of cola. Its rich, yet restrained tannins provide depth and lead to a luxurious finish."
Paul Hobbs, Consulting Winemaker

Ritual is the result of Veramonte's decade-long quest to make delicious and affordable Pinot Noir from Chile's Casablanca Valley. Agustin Huneeus partnered with American winemaker Paul Hobbs to produce a small bottling of a super premium Pinot Noir from the renowned Casablanca Valley. From planting each vine at our Casablanca Valley estate to hand harvesting in small batches, we apply the same time-honored methods to our Pinot Noir in the vineyard and winery as the great wines of Burgundy. Consulting Winemaker Paul Hobbs harvests at first light in the cool morning fog, introduce native yeast fermentations to bring out the vineyard's expression and use only gentle gravity handling to produce Ritual, a Pinot Noir characterized by elegance and grace.

My Notes:

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About Ritual:

Ritual wines come from the Veramonte winery. Veramonte represents a return to Agustin Huneeus' Chilean roots. When he spearheaded development of the Veramonte Estate in 1990, there were less than 100 acres of grapevines planted in the Casablanca Valley.

The coastal mountain ranges surrounding the Casablanca estate create a unique terroir with a diversity of microclimates. The valley floor's cool climate is reminiscent of Carneros and ideal for growing premium Chardonnay. The foothills are warmer, akin to the more Northern reaches of the Napa Valley. Here, the climate is more suited to varieties like Carmenëre, the lost Bordeaux grape that has become Chile's citizen and the basis of Primus, our racy, exotic Chilean blend.

Using the latest viticultural technology developed in California, rootstock has been matched to each vineyard block and clone. Vertical trellising and dense vine spacing balance growth and fruit production. Veramonte's Casablanca vineyard produces significantly lower yields than other grape growing regions in Chile, resulting in grapes with more intensity and concentration.

Recognizing that the region also had potential as a tourist destination for its proximity to Santiago, Huneeus began to plant the estate and in 1995, constructed the first Napa Valley style hospitality center in Chile. The first wines were released in 1996.



Red Wines    Other Red Wine    Austria    Other Europe   
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Date Printed: 6/26/2016
Pfaffl Austrian Cherry Zweigelt 2008
Pfaffl Austrian Cherry Zweigelt 2008
(search item no. 103330)
screw cap wine

Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 6/26/2016: $15.29

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2013 Wine Enthusiast rating: 89 points
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 87 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Deep ruby red color. Pronounced fresh cherry and sour cherry aromas with spice notes. Round and juicy on the palate, with flavors of dark cherry and spice against a backdrop of soft tannins.

Wonderful with steak and burgers thanks to its concentration of fruit flavors, and versatile enough to pair with pasta dishes and pizza.

100% Zweigelt

My Notes:

About Pfaffl:

Roman Pfaffl has stood at the helm of his family’s acclaimed Austrian wine estate for over 30 years. During this time Roman, together with his wife and children, has focused on crafting impeccable wines that reflect authentic Austrian terroir through their depth, minerality and balance. The family’s dedication to quality has earned Weingut R&A Pfaffl a reputation as the leading winery in Weinviertel, Austria’s largest and best-known wine region. The estate produces fine wines from 57 hectares of vineyards in 10 villages throughout the Weinviertel. “The Dot” is Pfaffl’s fun, food-friendly, accessible line of wines.