White Wines    Chardonnay    Sonoma County    California   
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Date Printed: 10/23/2014
Landmark Overlook Chardonnay 2009
Landmark Overlook Chardonnay 2009
(search item no. 113546)
has video

The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 10/23/2014: $21.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2011 Tasting Panel rating: 90 points
2010 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 90 points
2008 The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
2008 International Wine Cellar rating: 88 points
2008 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 88 points
2007 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2007 The Wine News rating: 92 points
2007 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 91 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2007 International Wine Cellar rating: 90 points
2006 The Wine News rating: 92 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2006 Connoisseurs' Guide rating: 90 points
2005 Wine Enthusiast rating: 90 points
2004 Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
2003 The Wine News rating: 92 points
2003 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2002 The Wine Advocate rating: 91 points
2001 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2001 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2000 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points
1999 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
1999 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
1998 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points

Winemaker's Notes:

The wine exhibits a golden honey hue with pure Granny Smith apple aromas along with distinctive notes of lime blossom and nutmeg. The mouthfeel is rich and round and unfolds to reveal shortbread and pineapple flavors that linger.

This well-structured wine will pair well with seafood entrees, roasted poultry dishes and even spicy Asian cuisine. Made with 100% Chardonnay.

My Notes:

Additional wines from Landmark Vineyards:

About Landmark Vineyards:

Landmark Vineyards was founded in 1974 in Windsor, California. In 1989, Damaris Deere Ford, became sole proprietor and relocated the winery to Sonoma Valley. Ford is a descendant of John Deere, founder of the world's largest tractor manufacturer. Landmark Vineyards is located at the base of Sugarloaf Mountain in Sonoma Valley. In 1993, world-renowned consulting enologist Helen Turley was hired to work with former winemaker, Eric Stern. Landmark Vineyard's mission is "to make great wines that enhance the joy of life." Quality and flavor begin in the vineyards. In addition to the estate vineyard, Landmark sources grapes from a range of different vineyards and those selected are the finest in the highly diverse microclimates of Sonoma County's winegrowing regions.


Champagne & Sparkling    Vintage    Champagne    France - Other regions   
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Date Printed: 10/23/2014
Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2004
Louis Roederer Blanc de Blancs 2004
(search item no. 107382)
boutique wine

Wine & Spirits rating: 95 points
International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
PRICE ON 10/23/2014: $59.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2006 Wine Spectator rating: 93 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 93 points
2006 International Wine Cellar rating: 93 points
2005 Wine & Spirits rating: 94 points
2005 Wine Enthusiast rating: 92 points
2003 Wine Enthusiast rating: 95 points
2003 Wine Spectator rating: 92 points
2002 Wine Enthusiast rating: 95 points
2002 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2002 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
1997 Wine & Spirits rating: 92 points
1997 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
1996 The Wine Advocate rating: 94 points
1996 International Wine Cellar rating: 94 points
1995 Wine & Spirits rating: 93 points
1995 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
1995 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
1993 International Wine Cellar rating: 92 points
1993 Wine Spectator rating: 88 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Very shiny golden color, with green tints. Fine regular bubbles. Delicate, young, spring-like bouquet, focusing on floral aromas (hawthorn), fresh white fruit (pear, fruit amandine) and citrus (candied lemon) with a few hints of roasted almonds. On the palate there is first of all a soft, full, creamy sensation which moves on quickly to a strong, lively, almost ‘chalky' taste — the hallmark of great Mesnil, Avize and Cramant chardonnays. In the middle, it perfectly incorporates the full ripeness of fruit (white peach), meatiness, wininess and freshness, in a well-balanced whole which is seductive and sensually gentle. The long-lasting taste is emphasized by the acidity, which although present is completely enveloped by the density and sweetness of the wine. This is a blanc de blancs which is made to last, but which already has a well-established seductiveness.
My Notes:

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About Louis Roederer:

Uncompromising Quality
Champagne Louis Roederer was founded in 1776 in Reims, France and is one of the rare family owned companies, which is still managed by the Roederer family. In 1833, Louis Roederer inherited the company from his uncle and renamed the company under his namesake. Under his leadership, the company rapidly grew while remaining true to their philosophy of uncompromising quality. Today, the company is under the helm of Jean-Claude Rouzaud and his son Frédéric who continue to place quality before quantity.

First-Rate Vineyards
Champagne Louis Roederer is one of the only French champagne producers to own nearly 75 percent of the grapes in the most desirable vineyards in the Champagne. The property is located on 450 acres in the finest villages of Montagne de Reims, Côtes des Blancs, and Valleé de la Marne. Each region is selected to produce Chardonnay and Pinot Noir with the elegance needed for perfectly balanced champagne. The Louis Roederer vineyards rate an average 98 percent based on France’s statutory 100-point classification scale.

The reserve wine is then tasted and graded by a team of Roederer specialists. They choose as many as 40 different wines from several lots for the blend. For the final touch, the wine is then added in order to enhance the cuvee and guarantee consistency while retaining the champagne's characteristics.



White Wines    Chardonnay    Santa Cruz Mountains    California   
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Date Printed: 10/23/2014
Ridge Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2009
Ridge Vineyards Estate Chardonnay 2009
(search item no. 108993)
older vintages

Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 95 points
Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
PRICE ON 10/23/2014: $34.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2012 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 92 points
2012 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2011 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 93 points
2010 Wine & Spirits rating: 93 points
2010 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 90 points

Winemaker's Notes:

Translucent gold color. Fresh tropical fruits layered with apple, pear, melon. Honeysuckle nectar, wet limestone. Cool-climate firm acid. Barrel toast and caramelized apple in finish.
My Notes:

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About Ridge Vineyards:

Ridge's history begins in 1885, when Osea Perrone, a doctor and prominent member of San Francisco's Italian community, bought 180 acres near the top of Monte Bello Ridge in the Santa Cruz Mountains. He planted vineyards and constructed a winery of redwood and native limestone in time to produce the first vintage of Monte Bello in 1892. The historic building now serves as the Ridge production facility.

Though Ridge began as a Cabernet winery, by the mid-60s it had produced several Zinfandels including the Geyserville. In 1972, Lytton Springs joined the line-up and the two came to represent an important part of Ridge production. Known primarily for its red wines, Ridge has also made limited amounts of Chardonnay since 1962.

The Ridge approach is straightforward: find the most intense and flavorful grapes, guide the natural process, draw all the fruit's richness into the wine. Decisions on when to pick, when to press, when to rack, what varietals and what parcels to include and when to bottle, are based on taste. To retain the nuances that increase complexity, Ridge winemakers handle the grapes and wine as gently as possible. There are no recipes, only attention and sensitivity.



Red Wines    Bordeaux Red Blends    Napa Valley    California   
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Date Printed: 10/23/2014
Robert Craig Cellars Affinity 2008
Robert Craig Cellars Affinity 2008
(search item no. 110002)
The Wine Advocate rating: 89 points
PRICE ON 10/23/2014: $34.99

ratings pedigree (past vintages):
2011 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 92 points
2011 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2011 The Wine Advocate rating: 90 points
2010 International Wine Cellar rating: 93 points
2010 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
2010 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2009 Wine Enthusiast rating: 93 points
2009 Vinous / Antonio Galloni rating: 92 points
2009 International Wine Cellar rating: 91 points
2009 Wine & Spirits rating: 90 points
2007 The Wine Advocate rating: 96 points
2006 The Wine Advocate rating: 92 points
2005 Wine Spectator rating: 89 points
2004 Wine Spectator rating: 90 points
2001 Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
2001 Wine & Spirits rating: 91 points

Winemaker's Notes:

A delicious nose of mélange of dark black berries, dark-roast espresso and hints of anisette opens up to reveal underlying warm mineral notes, cassis, violets and spice. Signature black and red fruit flows freely across the palate, entwined with more espresso, dark chocolate, and touches of violet and licorice. A warm mineral component echoes the wine's foothills heritage. Firm, supple tannins along the base of the wine keep the luscious fruit aloft through a generous finish, bolstered by crisp acidity
My Notes:

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About Robert Craig Cellars:

Robert Craig Winery showcases four Cabernet Sauvignons produced from Napa Valley mountain and hillside vineyards, including Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon from their estate vineyard, Affinity, a classic Bordeaux-style Cabernet, and powerhouse Cabernets from Mount Veeder and Spring Mountain. Each wine conveys a unique personality derived from the soils, climate and varietal characteristics of the growing region. Robert Craig has been a pioneer in mountain vineyard development for over 30 years. During the 1980s, he directed vineyard and winery development on Mount Veeder. Robert Craig wines debuted in 1992. The winery facility is located at 2300 feet atop Howell Mountain, with a Tasting Salon in Downtown Napa.


Champagne & Sparkling    Non-Vintage    Champagne    France - Other regions   
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Date Printed: 10/23/2014
Ayala Brut
Ayala Brut
(search item no. 113698)
Wine Spectator rating: 91 points
Wine Enthusiast rating: 91 points
PRICE ON 10/23/2014: $49.99

Winemaker's Notes:

#77 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011

Pale gold in color with a fine mousse, the wine is aromatic on the nose. On the palate, it is well balanced and shows great finesse and complexity.

Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from the best grand- and premier crus bring vinosity and delicacy together in a very harmoniously balanced blend. The complement of Pinot Meunier adds a charming touch of fruitiness and liveliness.

Delicious as an aperitif, Brut Majeur is also the perfect wine to serve throughout a meal. It will pair perfectly with sea food, scallops, lobster, crab, fresh or grilled fish, fish terrines, salmon or beef carpaccio, as well as with sushi and Asian cuisine.

My Notes:

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About Champagne Ayala:

Colombian by birth, in 1850 Edmond(o) de AYALA settled in the Champagne region - in the Château d'Aÿ to be exact. The château was the property of the Viscount of Mareuil, who soon taught Edmond the subtleties of the champagne business. In due time, Edmond married the Viscount's niece, whose fabulous dowry included both the Château d'Aÿ and the superb vineyard around it. All the conditions were in place for the creation of a Champagne House. Thus Champagne AYALA from the Château d'Aÿ came to be. Its notoriety spread fast, and quickly reached the shores of England.

When Edmond died, his three sons took over the business. In 1911 they suffered the "Vinegrowers Rebellion" - a revolt against the practices of certain unscrupulous Houses, who brought in grapes from outside of the region to be vinified and sold as "champagne". Even though Ayala was not on the blacklist (being totally innocent), it and the other Houses on the Boulevard du Nord in Aÿ were burned to ground by the angry mobs because there were no troops to defend them. The House was completely rebuilt and functioning by 1913. A public liability company was formed in 1922 that still exists today under the name "Champagne AYALA, Société Anonyme". Unabled to cope with the global economic crisis of the 1930s, then House was sold to an English bank before being bought by a Champagne vineyard owner: René CHAYOUX.

René CHAYOUX so trusted and respected Jean-Michel DUCELLIER, his partner since 1948, that he appointed DUCELLIER as his successor at the head of his businesses and estate. An estate that was made all the more impressive by the acquisition in 1961 of the illustrious Château LA LAGUNE, a Médoc Classified Third Growth in Bordeaux's Haut-Médoc region. Since 1968, Jean-Michel has with both affection and intelligence cared for the fortunes of Champagne AYALA and Château LA LAGUNE. The House of AYALA, a family business, is one of the few to have remained independent. Jean-Michel and his son Alain DUCELLIER who is today at the head of the company, both run it with energy and enthusiasm. They devote themselves to the status of the House's name worldwide, and they proudly receive their clients at their superb Château de Mareuil-sur-Aÿ.