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SUBMISSION PERIOD
Through December 31, 2017
LATE SUBMISSION PERIOD
January 1 to 31, 2018
JUDGING
February 12 to 14, 2018

CAVES SAO JOAO FREI JOAO

VINTAGE 1990

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION BAIRRADA DOC
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 225.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Perfectly made wine full of life developed mature good tannin.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Who doesn’t love a great deal on mature and still ageworthy wine? Caves Sao Joao was bonded in 1920 originally as a Port house. When laws changed regarding where Port could be produced in the country, they pivoted to do business in Bairrada. In the 1950’s, inventory of their reserve-tier wines started backing up and accumulating, and without a keen eye to export markets, continued to do so until the winery began offering cellar releases at jaw-droppingly fair prices. The 1990 Frei Joao Bairrada Riserva is a stunner. Tasted from Magnum, this Baga-based wine shows excellent freshness, youthfulness and comes off as very Bordelaise. Notes of mahogany, tart cherry liqueur, tobacco, leather and forest underbrush explode from the glass, and the aromatic promise is delivered on the palate with beguiling silkiness. While this 26 year-old bottle is ready to drink, there is plenty of stuffing and structure to keep the wine humming for another few years. This is a magnificent calling card for a region that is unfamiliar to most wine drinkers, and when you see the price, finding a bottle to purchase feels like you’re receiving a gift from a new friend.

TERRES SECRETES CROIX JARRIER

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION MÂCON-VERZÉ AOC
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 15.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Typical; round; fleshy; melon; ripe yellow apple; honey dew; generous / giving; creamy texture - great gateway from California to France/Burgundy

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Flavors of yellow apple, Bosc pear, violets, lemon and lime make this incredibly classic wine jump out of the glass. The wine has a slight leesy creaminess, with flinty minerality and a rich mouth-feel with a briny finish. 100% Chardonnay from the town of Verzé in Burgundy, this wine walks the line between terroir and grape character. Beautiful acidity meets rich flavor and texture. The 2015 Croix-Jarrier Macon Verzé from Vignerons de Terres Secretes is a beautiful, elegant step up to most wines at this price point coming out of this part of
Alexandra Cherniavsky

Williams & Humbert Dos Corados,
Rare Old Dry,
Palo Cortado

Non-Vintage

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Jerez DO
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 46.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Very very intense; concentrated; roast chestnuts; christmas spice; complex; savory and saline; streamlined; super dense and focused

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

From a region deeply rooted in tradition comes a layered wine produced by an estate with a 150-year history. Williams Hubert was founded in 1877 by Sir Alexander Williams, who had an affinity for the fortified wine, and business partner Arthur Humbert. This very old Sherry sees aging for over 20 years in the traditional solera system. Palo Cortado is a rare, dry style of Sherry that falls partway between an Amontillado and Oloroso. The first layer offers a refreshing kick of lemon peel, grilled hazelnuts and olive brine, which unfolds into dried sultana raisin, orange marmalade and fig paste. The freshness and salinity from the aromas alone will initiate salivation. An excellent aperitif, it will wake up your palate with racy acidity. Then you can enjoy experiencing the layers of complexity unfold.

Ancient Peaks Merlot

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION California, Paso Robles
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 18.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Very well structured; bacon; big; rich; ripe fruit; sweet plumby fruit; very drinkable.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Located in the southernmost vineyard area of Paso Robles, Ancient Peaks Winery was founded by three winemaking families on soil that was once beneath the ocean and is now surrounded by mountains. My first encounter with this wine was profoundly unexpected. I was greeted expeditiously by sweet floral aromas intermingled with rich and ripe dark fruit as well as a fantastic texture that echoes the generosity and pleasure of a California wine that has a sense of place. Comprised of mostly Merlot—with a touch of Malbec and Zinfandel—this wine offers a warm, spice-driven aromatic perspective in the glass. Santa Margarita Ranch was recently awarded appellation status as one of eleven American Viticultural Areas within Paso Robles. Located a scant fourteen miles away from the Pacific, you can imagine the interplay of coastal breeze and sunshine imbuing the wine with its rich, easy-going personality.

Siduri Pinot Noir

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Russian River Valley
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 35.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Med translusence; deep rich flavor; great conentration fleshy texture acid driven w/ good concentration of fruit; ruby color w blue hints.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

The first vintage under the new Jackson Family ownerships shows this winery hasn’t missed a beat. Started on a shoestring budget by Adam Lee in 1994 with the idea to deliver high quality and great value in Pinot Noir, the 2015 Siduri Russian River Valley Pinot Noir continues this ethos today. Boisterously aromatic and energetic, this is a fleshy, fruit-driven style of Pinot Noir from a low-yielding, warm vintage. Siduri painted with a wide palette of both French Dijon clones and American heritage clones to increase the complexity here. Whole cluster, stem inclusion was minimal in this vintage due to the relatively early harvest not providing enough stem ripeness except for the longest hanging clones. With no signs of over-ripeness, this blend of Russian River’s five “neighborhoods” is a textbook example of why Russian River Valley remains one of the world’s great regions for Pinot Noir production.

GUSBOURNE RESERVE BRUT

Non-Vintage

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION ENGLAND
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 59.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Floral elder flower rich mouth feel with fresh acidity; honeyed development delicious

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

This mouth-watering English sparkler from Gusbourne on the southeast English coast in Kent is wonderfully approachable, balanced and complex. The 2013 Brut Reserve is a blend of 55% Pinot Noir, 27% Pinot Meunier and 18% Chardonnay with a Brut level dosage of 9 grams per liter. The wine ages 28 months on the lees in the bottle, developing wonderful autolytic flavors that make sniffing the wine a bit like walking past a bakery. Gusbourne is at the top of the English sparkling wine pyramid along such other quality minded peers as Nyetimber, Ridgeview and Balfour. The Gusbourne Brut Reserve shows concentration with dexterity, and high-toned aromatics with ripe fruit. This bubbly has a pale gold hue with flecks of copper and a fine mousse with tight bubbles. The aromas emanating from the glass include white and yellow flowers, white cherry, strawberry, Meyer lemon, pear tarte tatin, and fresh croissant. More brioche, chalky stony minerality, tart citrus and salinity emerge in the glass. The finish is long and driven by acid, minerals and sweet lemon and cherry. Extremely complex, and well worth seeking out!

Cavino Rotwein Trocken

VINTAGE 2009

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION PDO Nemea
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 18.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Elegant; lovely acidity. Excellent. Everything I would hope for. Bright; high toned; black fruit. Smoke; vanilla; cedar. Layered.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

“Blood of Hercules,” the Pelepponese colloquialism for the Agiorkitiko-based wines of Nemea, seems entirely appropriate for the Cavino Grande Reserve. Although there is a Nemean trend toward blending Bordeaux varieties with the indigenous Agiorgitiko, the makers of this exemplary wine chose to let the grape stand on its own. A distinctive ferric earthiness and ruddy character leads on the nose, followed by scents of ripe plums, mulberries, black cherry liqueur and roasted herbs. Savory and meaty, this moderately full-bodied wine is seasoned for two years in mixed cooperage of French and American oak barrels, then rests in bottle for additional two years before release. Fruit sourced from high altitude vineyards results in remarkably fresh acidity levels while soft, cottony tannins provide just the right amount of structural support. Toothsome and delectable, this would be a perfect foil for an herby, roasted leg of lamb.

DAVIS BYNUM CHARDONNAY

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION SONOMA COUNTY, RUSSIAN River Valley
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 25.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Burgundian style ; buttered popcorn. yellow apple and Bosc pear ; well integrated oak; textural complexity ; age worthy.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Innovation in wine is one of the many things that keeps it interesting. When the wines of California started to emerge in the 1970’s, there were a handful of people at the front of the movement. One such man was the late Davis Bynum, who bottled the first single vineyard wine in California while also serving as a strong proponent for Sonoma’s Russian River Valley as a special source for wine grapes. Today, his namesake winery is a leader in quality wine production from this viticultural area, and their River West Vineyard Chardonnay from the 2014 vintage is an absolute treat. This ripe white wine has classic flavors of green and golden delicious apple as well as notes recalling green plum and baked pear. Effective use of French oak lends
Eric Crane CWE

Domain Mega Spileo Cabernet Sauvignon

VINTAGE 2009

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION PGI Achaia
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 25.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Tastes like a cabernet should. Intense; complex; and elegant at the same time. Black currant; cedar.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Often when we think of Greek wines, a lengthy list of intimidating, hard-to-pronounce Greek varieties come to mind from the vibrantly crisp Assyrtiko, to the rich and inky Mavrodaphne and the old faithful, sweet and resin-y Retsina. What Greece is consistently doing well on the Pelopennese mainland are more those more widely recognized international varieties that we know and love—and also know how to pronounce. These wines are not only produced with a unique regional style, but with elegance and finesse. This is especially with Domain Mega Spileo, a producer known as one of the oldest monasteries in Greece located in the Achaia PGI at the northwest part of the wine region. There’s a rustic feel to this wine with distinctive notes of black cherry syrup and coffee. Signature green notes and evidence of oak are present, but not dominant offering excellent structure and a hint of sweetness.
Aaron Patrick

THREE BROTHERS WINERIES DEGREE OF RIESLING, MEDIUM DRY

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION FINGER LAKES
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 16.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Fruitiness; petrol; lightly sweet; creamy; pit fruits; intense finish; well balanced.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Three Brothers Winery brings a playful approachability to their wine, with three wineries and a brewery on property. The winery that makes this wine—Stony Lonesome Wine Cellars—is perhaps the most serious, situated right along Seneca Lake. In addition to delicious Riesling, they work with Chambourcin, Grüner Veltliner, Gewurztraminer, Pinot Noir and Zweigelt. The way they indicate sweetness on the back label provides an intuitive gauge for consumers. They call this wine medium-dry. Their other Rieslings, reflecting different residual-sugar levels, have a different degrees—for example, second degree is sweeter, and so on. Aromas are floral-driven first—magnolia, honeysuckle and orange blossom. The fruit is very fresh and firm and expresses itself without hesitation. Flavors of white peach, green apple, guava and starfruit play with notes of petrichor, that smell of rain on hot pavement. The palate is very generous with the fruit and finishes just off-dry with firm apricots and clementines. There is something else on the finish that reminds me of the silkiness of baby powder. Strange, but taste it and you’ll see what I mean. P.S. Try saying “Riesling” out loud without smiling. Betcha can’t do it.
Julie Dalton

LITTLE BEAUTY SAUVIGNON BLANC

VINTAGE 2016

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION NEW ZEALAND
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 25.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Ripe; tropical fruit; passion fruit; plush and round; weighty texture; some juiciness; perfume.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

This highly aromatic Sauvignon Blanc from Little Beauty comes from New Zealand’s world-famous Marlborough region, known for refreshing, pungent, lively wines just like this. Crafted by Eveline Fraser, the former winemaker of Cloudy Bay, it’s an excellent value. She delivers a classic with this lovely, tangy white. It leaps from the glass with loads of aromatics. Honeydew, pink grapefruit, jalapeño, sliced bell pepper, basil and citrus blossoms dominate. But there is a plethora of other sweet herbs, tart citrus and tropical fruits. On the palate the wine is refreshing and bright with more perfectly ripe, tart tropical fruits such as green papaya, green banana and guava. More pink and yellow grapefruit show on the palate as well as Key lime and sweet basil. Light, stony minerality and salinity emerge on the finish with banana leaf, wet grass and general green chlorophyll flavors that balance the multitude of ripe fruits. A very well made New Zealand patio pounder for sure.

CHATEAU MUSAR HOCHAR, PERE ET FILS

VINTAGE 2012

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION BEKAA VALLEY
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 36.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Of all of the storied wine regions in the world, Lebanon’s Bekaa Valley is truly one of a kind. Located over 3000 feet above sea level in Eastern Lebanon, the region is famous for everything from poppy seeds to cotton to grape vines. One of the most influential wineries of the region is Château Musar. Started by Gascon Hochar in 1930, this winery has risen to stand shoulder to shoulder with some of the greatest estates in the world. The 2012 bottling of the Hochar is certainly a testament to their skillful winemaking. Produced from a blend of Cinsault, Grenache, Cabernet Sauvignon, and Carignan, this wine is rich with flavors of blackberries, ripe plums, and dried strawberries. A kiss of oak imparts cinnamon as well as other spices, and there is also a pleasant undertone of funk to this bottling. This wine would pair successfully with everything from a Tuesday night Cheeseburger to a Sunday night Slow Roast. Among the many attractions of this wine is that it is sourced from such a remarkable and unexpected place.
Eric Crane CWE

PIEVALTA SAN PAOLO

VINTAGE 2013

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION CASTELLI DI JESI VERDICCHIO RISERVA CLASSICO DOCG
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 30.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Biodynamics is a holistic approach to farming that is both organic and sustainable in nature. It doesn’t always translate into great or even good wines but the results can be phenomenal when it does. Verdicchio Castelli di Jesi, from the Marche, was initially made famous for its amphora shaped bottle and quaffable wine, but serious styles of this indigenous grape should not be overlooked. Pievalta winery was founded in 2002, and the conversion to biodynamics was started in 2005. The vineyards are located in the heart of Castelli di Jesi district, with most of the vines planted in the 1970s. San Paolo is a high altitude site planted on granitic sandstone, ideal for contributing the mineral finish you’ll find in the wine. If external points of comparison might prove helpful, it embodies the fresh citrus notes found in Chenin Blanc along with the richness of Chardonnay.
Aaron Patrick

HANNA SAUVIGNON BLANC

VINTAGE 2016

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 20.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Pale almost colorless; straw intense pungent lemon lime kiwi and honeydew melon stony minerality.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

These days, New World Sauvignon Blanc is often most associated with New Zealand where wines from this variety are powerfully aromatic and bracingly vibrant Sauvignon Blanc in style. But sometimes you crave something just as delicious, but perhaps a little less… intense. For that, turn to California, and in particular, this bottle of Hanna Sauvignon Blanc. Family owned and overseen by Christine Hanna since 1993, the Hanna Winery has made their Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc the centerpiece of their portfolio. The wine is bit lusher than its New Zealand counterpart, with ripe fig and tropical fruit adding to the classic grapefruit and herb character. But don’t let the extra weight and texture scare you–there’s a thread of
Christy Frank

HOLDVÖLGY VISION

VINTAGE 2013

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION TOKAJI
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 24.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Very balanced

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

This brilliant light gold and silver blend from Holdvölgy named ‘Vision’ is fresh, floral and full of character. A blend of 65% Furmint, 25% Hárslevelü and 10% Kabar, this wine comes from seven different classed cru vineyards in the heart of Hungary’s Tokaji region that were demarcated in 1733. This dry white blend is an ambitious project undertaken by founder Pascal Demko to resurrect the enchanting dry white Furmint blends that were wildly popular in the 15th and 16th centuries when the village of Mád first became the hub for a bustling wine trade in Northeast Hungary. This dynamic blend is wildly floral with fresh lilies, honeysuckle, citrus blossoms and peach blossoms. You will also find ripe white and yellow peach, Meyer lemon zest, apricot, nectarine and Chamomile tea. The flavor on the palate is rich and lush with the same mélange of ripe and tart fruits, heady flower notes, vibrant acidity and balancing stony mineral qualities. The finish is extremely long and pulls the drinker back in with an expansive blend of tart fruits, minerals and flowers. Bravo!

SANTA CAROLINA CARMENÈRE

VINTAGE 2013

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION D.O. VALLE DE RAPEL
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 19.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Pretty floral notes; very ripe to balance the oaky taste. A lot of complexity easy to understand. crowd pleaser. This wine just screams for a rib eye steak.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Sometimes wine-producing countries in South America get a bad rap for wines that fail to show anything but fruit character. Carmenere, which until the early 1990s was mistaken for Merlot in Chile, inherently has great vegetal and savory characteristics, but even this grape can get a bad rap for lacking nuance. What a pleasant surprise, then, that Santa Carolina’s 2013 Carmenere Reserva de Familia delivers a very well balanced and structured wine. Growing grapes in the Rapel Valley of Chile, Santa Carolina uses careful selection and longer macerations to achieve a wine that still carries roasted dark blackberries and cassis plus great herbal notes to the mid-palate and delivers a warm, yet lovely finish. Santa Carolina has two different areas in the Rapel Valley from which they pull grapes, with the idea of balance in mind. Los Lingues, closer to the Andes range, boasts powerful fruit and tannin character. Alternatively, they source from Pichedegua, closer to the Coastal Range, which adds red fruit and acidity. This wine is elevated by nuance from the herbal and spice notes while maintain a lively acidity.

WEINGUT ROBERT WEIL RIESLING, TROCKEN

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION RHEINGAU
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 19.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Broad white flowers.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

German wines continue to confound many consumers. Though the language can be difficult to interpret, the different classification systems are also troublesome to navigate. But in 2012, a new system from the VdP, the consortium of producers who focus on wine quality in Germany, was put in place that is making German labels more approachable in the long run. A leading producer in this new system is Robert Weil in the Rheingau region. This area of Germany has long been known for powerfully structured, dry white Riesling rather than the sweeter styles found elsewhere in Germany. This regional wine labeled as Rheingau Riesling Trocken (dry) is an excellent introduction to the wines of Robert Weil. With hallmark aromas of orange blossoms and a mineral-driven palate with bright, refreshing acidity this wine is pristinely clean and delicious. A supreme example of what the Rheingau region has to offer.

COLLE MASSARI POGGIO LOMBRONE

VINTAGE 2012

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION MONTECUCCO SANGIOVESE
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 64.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Delicious and savory. Tomato leaf; cranberry and cherry. Persistent. I would like this to be my house wine. Nice body.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Colle Massari is a family owned and operated estate that has producedd exceptional Tuscan wines since its inception in 2000. Sister and brother owners, Maria and Claudio Tipa, are more famously known for their legendary Brunello, Poggio Di Sotto. The Montecucco Sangiovese is a more modern approach to Sangiovese, with bolder, brighter fruit that make it massively appealing in youth. It is the product of the rigorous selection from Colle Massari’s best vineyards in the high hills of Upper Maremma. The Colle Massari Poggio Lombone typifies modern Sangiovese with its bombastic, red cherry fruit and powerful, steak-worthy tannins. The impeccable balance is complemented with a finish that doesn’t quit, with fresh acidity that keeps you coming back for more.

YAMHILL VALLEY VINEYARDS PINOT NOIR

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION OREGON, WILLAMETTE
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 40.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Pleasant cherry fruit; well structured; cedar mushroom; silky ; long; sexy ; savory.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

The McMinnville AVA is primarily noteworthy for its diversity of soil types ranging from volcanic Jory soils and sedimentary Willakenzie marine soils to ancient alluvial riverbeds. Pinot Noir grapes from these soils tend to fall on the dark, concentrated, and structured end of the spectrum. In a vintage like 2014, the so-called “vintage of the century,” with temperatures that remained consistently warm not only during the daylight hours but at night as well, Pinot Noir can achieve a power and intensity that belies the typical delicacy of the variety. Yamhill Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir Reserve, a blend of wines chosen from the winery’s various blocks, harnesses the muscularity of this unique vintage to produce a lush and ripe, yet elegant “Mac AVA” expression

Brennan Vineyards Roussanne

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Texas High Plains
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 18.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Fresh honey dew melon. White flowers. Creamy body. Juicy acidity. Pleasing fleshiness. Ginger spice.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

It all started with a farmhouse. In 1997, Dr. Pat and Trelisse Brennan purchased the “McCrary House,” thinking it would be a nice weekend retreat from Dr. Brennan’s job at Harris Methodist Hospital in Fort Worth. Then in 2002, Dr. Richard Becker convinced the Brennans to plant a few vines and supply grapes to his winery. Two years later, the Brennans decided to build a winery of their own, and in 2007, their 2006 Comanche County Viognier received Top Texas Wine honors. What had started out as a weekend getaway was ascending to Texas wine stardom. This bottling, a Roussanne from grapes grown at the Reddy Vineyard in Texas Hill Country, continues that steak of success. Rhône varieties like this one are proving excellent mates to the soil and climate conditions of the Lone Star State. The best — and this is one of the best — show all the classic notes associated with the grape variety: honeycomb and subtle citrus with a rich, mouth-coating texture that’s whisked clean by zesty acidity. And it all started with a farmhouse.
Christy Frank

HOUSE FAMILY VINEYARDS CABERNET SAUVIGNON

VINTAGE 2012

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 56.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Silk road of flavor; classic fruit cabernet; expressive oak and tannin; long lingering finish; luscious; bring on the roast beef

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

House Family Vineyards’ vision was to make wine the right way from the very beginning—starting with their first vintage in 2006. They began their exploration with the premium wine country of Santa Cruz Mountain Appellation, a.k.a. “Chaine D’or” or “Chain of Gold.” Seventy-four acres of now-named Old Oak Vineyard were carefully examined for soil content to match up with classic Old World varietals like Cabernet Sauvignon. The House family admired Santa Cruz Mountains’ rich history in successful Cabernets from predecessors such as Ridge Vineyards and Mount Eden. To ensure the highest of quality, Jeffrey Patterson of the historic winery Mount Eden Vineyards helped launch the winemaking for House Family. For the past decade the

Esk Valley Merlot-
Cabernet
Sauvignon-
Malbec-
Cabernet
Franc

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Hawkes Bay, Gimblett Gravels
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 18.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Juicy; fleshy fruity; bright texture and style; purity of fruits; round palate; long finish.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

New Zealand isn’t just for Sauvignon Blanc. When we think of red wines from New Zealand, it’s usually Pinot Noir dominating the shelves. But when it comes to the east coast of the North Island, the story is this little place called Gimblett Gravels. In the 1860s, a destructive flood exposed the stony bed of the Ngaruroro River, and Gimblett Gravels terroir was born. Stony soils bring to mind big red wines, such as Bordeaux and Châteauneuf-du-Pape, and Gimblett Gravels delivers these, too. This blend from Esk Valley Estate is 44% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Malbec, 11% Cabernet Franc. All grapes are vinified separately in concrete, then aged for 12 months in French Oak, of which 15% is new. Despite its contribution by percentage in the blend, the Cabernet Franc expresses itself quite nicely. The bouquet is high-toned, with notes of violets and tobacco leaf. Mint and a touch of bell pepper tell us unequivocally that we’re dealing with cooler climate Bordeaux varieties. It’s refreshing on the palate, with a crunchy vibrant mouthfeel. The oak isn’t a very important contribution to the conversation. Notes of cinnamon and clove whisper in the background. This wine is all about the gorgeous, bright fruit and stony minerality.
Julie Dalton

Dassai Junmai
Daiginjo

VINTAGE 2016

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Yamaguchi Prefecture
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 80.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Beautiful apple, cherry, fruit, cascades of pleasure.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

The renown accorded the Sakes produced by Asahi Shuzo under the name Dassai is well founded—but perhaps still inadequate to the quality coming from this producer. This Sake brewery, located on the southern tip of Honshu in Japan, focuses on every detail to a degree that might seem maniacal to others. Sake essentially consists of only 3 ingredients: Water, Rice and Koji. Keen attention to all three is where they begin their effort to produce some of the world’s preeminent sakes. They source only Yamaha Nishiki rice from nine contracted growers. This rice is widely believed to be the best variety for sake production, and they mill it down to minute proportions to ensure they get only the pure, starchy core of the grains. Additionally, they dug a well on their property to provide a source for pure, soft water to enhance quality and imprint their locality on the finished product. Finally, they are adamant about the purity of the Koji, allowing no one to enter the room when it's being introduced to the rice. A team of passionate sake artisans (rather than “brewers”) is employed to brew the sake. They are resolutely committed to improvement, continually considering ways in which their craft might be refined. Toward this end, the firm even owns its own rice milling machines, allowing them to fully control the process at every turn. This release, identified as “23,” is made from rice milled down to 23% of the original grain. This admirable, virtually unheard-of level of milling pays manifest dividends in the final product, which is richly textured and vinous to a degree recalling top white wines from the northern Rhône. A truly exemplary beverage by any standard and by reference to any category.

Rancho Loma Vineyards RLV, III, Still
White

VINTAGE 2016

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Texas High Plains
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 38.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

There’s an immediate draw to a bottle of Rancho Loma Vineyards wine, thanks to the smart share of information on the back label. Hide the origin listed and ask a wine-savvy friend to guess it. They will likely not think of Texas, but they should. This new project, a destination winery concept with restaurant and boutique hotel in West Texas, shows strong intention and a clear vision for the future. Texas grape-growing pioneer Dr. Vijay Reddy provides the initial fruit—tiny amounts of Viognier, Roussanne and Marsanne—and winemaker Kyle Johnston consults with Guenhael Kessler from France and Texas viticulturist Dr. Ed Hellman. Already expressive regardless of place, these white varieties are blended with the dinner table in mind. Ripe fruit and florals perfume the glass. Peach, nectarine, orange citrus and bit of new oak for luxury offer a terrific West Texas alternative to Chardonnay.
Amie Hendrickson

TABOR HILL PORT, CABERNET FRANC

VINTAGE NON-VINTAGE

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION LAKE MICHIGAN SHORE
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 31.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Lovely aged fortified character; caramel ; really dried black fruit; extremely mouth feeling and long; spicey back pallette.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Port from Cabernet Franc Grapes? Port from Michigan? Yes and yes! Tabor Hill Winery has been making wines in Michigan since 1970, and Michael Merchant has been winemaker since 1979, helping to make this winery in the Lake Michigan Shore AVA one of the most renowned producers in the Midwest. This Cabernet Franc-based Port style wine is blended from four different vintages, aged in both American and French oak. The alcohol is remarkably well integrated with the wine’s other components, making this wine light enough to drink on its own after dinner, but it is also well suited to pairing with desserts like cherry or pecan pie,
Alexandra Cherniavsky

La Chablisienne La Sereine

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Chablis AOC
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 21.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Textbook for Chablis AC; stoney minerality; spicey; floral; magnolia/night jasmine - white floral; extracted; mouth watering acidity; pleasurable drink; over performer for AOC level.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

In the wine world, the word “cooperative” is often associated with low quality due to the high-volume production. That is not the case with La Chablisienne which is responsible for 25% of all wine produced in the region of Chablis, France. Being the northernmost appellation, Chablis is the real gateway to the treasure that is Burgundy and where you will find inimitable Chardonnay. La Chablisienne works with 300 growers and produces 30 different crus every year, allowing them to express the incredible terroir diversity that exists in this region. They pride themselves on producing classic Chablis that shows the minerality so unique to these wines. Cuvee La Sereine is a blend of many plots, all of which touch the Sereine River running through the region. The 2014 vintage has a lovely bouquet of Golden Delicious apple, Meyer lemon and aged cheese rind. The palate has a satisfyingly broad texture with flavors of brioche, bitter almond and yellow pears. The intense minerality and bright acidity carry the long finish, leaving you with a salty freshness.

Le Grand Courtage Grande Cuvée, Brut Rosé

Non-Vintage

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION France
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 19.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Delicate red currant. ripe berry nose. clean; pure focused expression. creamy mousse. delicately juicy. fresh strawberry. perfect balance of sweetness and acidity. very pretty and bright.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Produced in Burgundy and sourced from vineyards all over France, this rosé wine is positioning itself to be your new go-to bottle for everything from cocktails to special occasions. Juicy red fruit with notes of strawberry, cherry and rose petals are the dominant flavors here. Immensely quaffable, this wine is incredibly bright and juicy, with a dry finish. “Le Grand Courtage” translates to “the great courtship” and refers to the interplay of French and American styles, New World and Old World grapes and regions, and the individual life struggles of the proprietor, Tawnya Falkner, an American who took a risk and moved to France to create this brand. The back of the bottle asks you to “Embrace Life. Dream Big. Accept all Invitations.” And that’s what this wine is meant for. It’s meant for the backyard barbecue, making Mimosas, and as a toast at your wedding. It’s meant for everyday and for making every day special.
Alexandra Cherniavsky

ARINZANO GRAN VINO BLANCO

VINTAGE 2010

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION VINO DE PAGO DE
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 79.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Classic; nice salinity; well integrated oak; almond nugget; minerality; very fresh long finish; refined.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Throughout the wine world, legal appellations of origin force producers to meet a minimum set of criteria so as to uphold a particular quality standard. So what happens when a producer goes above and beyond to the point of almost not fitting within that classic appellation? Senorio de Arinzano’s answer was to create its own appellation within the area of Tierra Estella in Navarra, Spain. This is called a Vino de Pago; it recognizes a producer’s reputation for exceeding the minimum legal standards and creates a new area of origin. When discussing a wine’s quality, one would be remiss to not mention that these have essentially changed the game. In particular, Arinzano Gran Vino white is a varietal Chardonnay that is grown at higher elevation and aged in French barriques. This wine displays a full concentration of juicy tropical fruits such as ripe pineapples, sliced bananas and mangos. The fruity character is complemented with rich oak notes of vanilla and a kiss of cinnamon. The richness is unmatched by its competitors and delivers exceptional value.

TYRRELS WINES VAT 1, SEMILLON

Non-Vintage

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION VINTAGE 2011
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 64.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Developing aromas of straw toast; honey lime. waxy. lemon balm and fresh endive. wonderful acidity. superb freshness and length. just coming out of shell. drinkable now; but will develop for another 10-15 years.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

emillon is not consumers’ usual go-to wine, but when anyone is intent upon rediscovering the beauty of a presently underappreciated variety, this is certainly a strong candidate for attention. And Australia’s Hunter Valley—located in the state of New South Wales—is almost certainly the place to look. The Hunter’s particularities of soil and climate are very well suited to the grape’s needs, and the appellation produces remarkably age-worthy New World “Hunter Riesling,” as Semillon is called in the region. This classic Hunter Valley bottling of Semillon opens with aromas of Golden Delicious apples, lemon zest, and orange blossom. The texture of the wine is what makes it most remarkable: beeswax and lanolin coating the palate offer a prolonged and satisfying mouth-feel. Complex, layered, and definitely pleasing.

TYRRELS WINES SHIRAZ

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION HUNTER VALLEY
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 24.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Good example of region style. savory red fruit. nice stony earth. touch of leather. elegant. structurally refined. lovely texture. sneeky long finish.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

The Tyrrell Family has roots dating back to 1858 in the Hunter Valley and is probably the most widely known family winery in the region. This bottling is what I would call an elegant Aussie Shiraz that is more medium bodied, nuanced and supple than some of their Shiraz counterparts in warmer climate regions such as Barossa and McLaren Vale. This Shiraz is the “little brother” to Tyrrell’s famous Vat 9 Shiraz. In the glass, this pure wine is a bright cherry red with pink accents. The bouquet is loaded with wild red flowers and ripe red fruits including cherry, cranberry, raspberry jam, strawberry and tomato. This was fermented in old-school open top fermenters that helped create the tremendous complexity of the aromas in this wine. In the mouth, more complexities reveal themselves including black pepper, red currant, sweet red licorice, apple skin, dried twigs, sun-baked earth, iron and dried leather. Round and supple on the lengthy finish, this Tyrrell’s Hunter Shiraz will provide a delightful surprise for lovers of less boisterous styles of Shiraz.

Vignobles Des Doms Bieler Père & Fils, La Jassine

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Côtes du Rhône Villages AOC
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 14.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Pure raspberry; vibrant; polished.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

This establishment was founded by Philippe Bieler and his children in 2005, and this 2015 Côtes du Rhône Villages rendition is the inaugural release for their red wine. For the past decade, the winery focused solely rosé on wine, but in 2015 they were able to source some fruit from a family in the village of Valreas in the Southern Rhône. This village is hillier and higher in elevation than most others in the region, and the elevation allows for cooler nights to offset the general warmth of the region. This provides valuable freshness in the finished wine, a characteristic that is especially welcome in a vintage such as 2015, which produced many excellent wines but also plenty of over-ripe ones. Made from nearly two-thirds Grenache, with the balance comprised by Syrah, this displays a depth and intensity of flavor more reminiscent of a Châteaneuf-du-Pape than a Côtes du Rhône Villages. A superb effort from a potentially great vintage.

Dr. Loosen Blue Slate, Riesling Kabinett

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Mosel
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 19.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Lively - fresh; youthful.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

“I want authenticity; without it, a wine is simply another beverage,” the declarative words of Dr. Ernst Loosen who delivers this vision of authenticity with Dr. Loosen “Blue Slate” Riesling Kabinett 2015. Blue Slate is a part of an estate series that focuses on the classic representation of Mittel-Mosel terroir. Here, Riesling is at its apex on these Blue Devonian slate slopes. This captures the essence of Riesling with liquid precision. Laden with slate, springy stone fruits, and high-toned white floral notes, the palate sharpens the senses and leaves the mouth watering with its striking acidity and unique, smoke-y minerality. With just one taste, one is transported to the famous vertical vineyards rooted in soils around the winding Mosel River. The terroir and natural aromatics of Riesling is captured with liquid precision. At only 8% alcohol, this wine can be enjoyed at any part of the day or season! Indeed, it is just what the doctor ordered!

Barefoot PINOT NOIR

Non-Vintage

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION California
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 6.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Cherry red; ripe strawberry; red plum; touch of oak; long finish.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Wines as refined as this one are, quite simply, a privilege to experience. The enticing bouquet of slightly bruised green apple, honeysuckle, blanched almonds and toast imparts two divergent temptations: to simply gulp down the wine, to continue attentively “listening” to all that it has to say. Taittinger began making this wine in 1952. All fruit is sourced from the Côte de Blancs Grand Cru villages of Avize, Le Mesnil sur Oger, Chouilly and Cramant. About five percent is barrel-fermented—a practice they incorporated in the 1989 vintage. Vintage
Julie Dalton

Artemis Karamolegos Winery Assyrtiko-Aidani-Athiri

VINTAGE 2016

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION PDO Santorini
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 28.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Smells like sunrise. Makes one feel poetic. Best wine today. Gorgeous. Bottled poetry. Alive; juicy; pure. Magic. Zesty; floral; rich and delicate at the same time.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

The Island of Santorini sits in the Aegean sea, surrounded by beauty. The island is known for its picturesque white buildings stacked side-by-side and along the edges of cliffs. Though it’s often praised for its beautiful beaches, dramatic ocean views, and fresh seafood Santorini also produces some amazing wines. The vineyards are visually unique for their spiraled appearance, using a traditional vine training method called Stefani, which resembles large baskets or wreaths. Artemis Karamolegos has roots in this region dating back to 1952. In 2004, the winery was overhauled with a goal towards modernization to compliment quality production practices. Today, the winery produces ten different labels with emphasis on mapping out microclimates and the volcanic soils of the island. The Santorini is 90% Assyrtiko with Athiri and Aidani making up the rest of the blend. The wine has a refreshing crispness with green apple, under-ripe peach and a cravable salinity.

Kenefick Ranch Pickett Road Red

VINTAGE 2013

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Napa Valley, Calistoga
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 65.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

anise; licorice; minerality; full bodied; well balanced; strong tannins; brooding wine

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Kenefick Ranch sits up against the Palisade range in Calistoga, one of the warmest parts of Napa Valley. Neurosurgeon-turned-vintner, Tom Kenefick, has put more than 20 years of hard work into one of the most heralded vineyards in the valley and the 2013 Pickett Road Red showcases the greatness of this site. A 400-case micro cuvée based on Petit Verdot, this is a flashy, unapologetically American wine from the heralded 2013 vintage. Pickett Road stains the palate with blueberry liqueur, violets, graphite and a generous dose of new French oak. Embryonic in its development today, this is a wine built for the cellar. Brooding and imposing right out of the gate, this is a wine that requires significant aeration if opened young and begs for heavily marbled steak to buttress the massive tannins. A great value if you consider many of their neighbors charge much more for wines with arguably less appeal.

Taittinger Comtes de
Champagne,
Brut Blanc de
Blancs

VINTAGE 2006

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Champagne AOC
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 198.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Lovely gold green hues. very fine creamy mousse. elegant. layered and rich autolytic. creamy; buttery brioche characters. Tight spine of acidity.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Wines as refined as this one are, quite simply, a privilege to experience. The enticing bouquet of slightly bruised green apple, honeysuckle, blanched almonds and toast imparts two divergent temptations: to simply gulp down the wine, to continue attentively “listening” to all that it has to say.
Taittinger began making this wine in 1952. All fruit is sourced from the Côte de Blancs Grand Cru villages of Avize, Le Mesnil sur Oger, Chouilly and Cramant. About five percent is barrel-fermented—a practice they incorporated in the 1989 vintage. Vintage Champagnes from the 2006 show both richness and brightness, and this wine provides a shining case in point. High tones show on the nose, followed by toasty and honeyed ones on the palate. Comtes de Champagne is always aged for 8 to 10 years on the lees, providing remarkable intricacy—but also that temptation to gulp.
Julie Dalton

MARQUES DE LA CONCORDIA

VINTAGE 2009

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION RIOJA DOCA
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 19.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Big velvety ; bold fruit expression; bolder style velvety tannins; leathery mature; complex; complex tertiary; long lingering finish

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

The wine estate of Hacienda Marqués de la Concordia began of humble origins as an old sugar factory. Though located in Rioja Baja, the most southerly region of Rioja, this wine is made from Tempranillo grown at a 680-meter elevation in Rioja Alavesa. Its rather high altitude was a point of ridicule for locals who scoffed at the difficulty to farm such a vineyard. But with soils of nutrient-rich sandstone, the roots surged deep into the earth, struggling to find water, which in turn yielded fruit with remarkable freshness and vibrant acidity. This wine shows a depth of concentration coupled with beautiful balance. It is aged 24 months in both new American and French oak barrels. While some Rioja wines muddle the true character of Tempranillo when blended with other grapes, this wine shows elegant structure for this grape with an intense backbone that is classic for Rioja.
Aaron Patrick

CAVES SAO JOAO POÇO DO LOBO, ARINTO

VINTAGE 1995

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION BAIRRADA DOC
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 50.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Real complex deep rich and yummy.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

When you see a 22 year-old Portuguese white wine from an obscure varietal at an insanely affordable price, skepticism is not an uncommon feeling. But, in the glass the 1995 Caves Sao Joao ‘Poco de Lobo’ Colheita Arinto comes dazzlingly alive, showing a freshness not often afforded to aged whites, while still offering the complexity we expect from an aged White Burgundy or Rioja Blanco. In 2013, the Costa Family decided to dig in to their cellars and offer older vintages of wines all the way back to 1959—and we’re lucky they did. This wine is 100% Arinto sourced from vineyards planted in 1950 in the coastal region of Bairrada in central Portugal. It was fermented with skin contact, which adds a unique umami flavor, and aged in cement tank for 24 months before it was tucked away in their cellars slowly maturing waiting for its’ release. Arinto is typically a grape that is used to help add freshness and acidity to blends and its’ that acidity that has enabled these wines to age so gracefully. Driven by a surprising amount of primary fruit notes such as sweet citrus, poached yellow apples, and baked stone fruit. The fruit is complemented by nuttier flavors due to the prolonged oxidation alongside truffles, mushrooms, wax, toast, and savory notes. A fantastic value for all but especially for lovers of Sherry, Jura, and aged Chenin Blanc.
John Filkins CSW

Carol Shelton Wines Pizazz Zin, Old Vine Zinfandel

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Lodi
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 19.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Savory; little earthy. juicy and balanced. elegant. ripe. but with a warm finish. opened up in glass. opens in glass and becomes rich and expressive. tight midpalate. lingering finish.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Piazza Ranch Zinfandel from Lodi is protected from the cooling influence of the San Pablo Bay and is ideal growing territory for Zinfandel. Planted in 1973 in fine, powdery Hanford Sandy Loam soils, Piazza Ranch evokes an image of a lunar landscape adorned with vines basking in California sunshine. Contrary to the higher alcohol Zinfandel bottlings commonly found in this region, Carol pulls her fruit a wee bit earlier than many of her neighbors and makes a wine of symmetry and freshness that is otherwise uncommon in this neck of the woods. Weighing in at only 14.3% alcohol, this wine delivers all the brambly, full-tilt hedonism one hopes to find in Zinfandel without taxing the palate.

TIN BARN VINEYARDS VINEYARDS ZINFANDEL

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION SONOMA COUNTY, RUSSIAN
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 29.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Dark purple and opaque; black raspberry; dark cocoa; berry cobbler.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Russian River Valley isn’t just for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, kids. There are some seriously delicious, juicy and friendly old-vine Zinfandel wines hailing from this region as well. This Tin Barn is a fantastic example. Juicy, fresh, vibrant and deceptively lacking the heat you might expect on a wine boasting a whopping 15.6% alcohol. These 65-year old Zinfandel vines root in a vineyard called Glisson comprised largely of sand and loam. Soils like these produce an unabashedly fruit-forward, less savory style of Zinfandel, which is exactly what we have here. The 14 months in American Oak—20% of which is new—accent this wine’s approachability with vanilla and cocoa overtones. The velvety tannins persist on the palate underneath a radiant core
Julie Dalton

Mirassou Winery Sauvignon Blanc

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION California
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 12.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Ripe clean fresh citrus fruits; touch of mandarin orange. ripe palate.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

With a history of winemaking in California spanning more than 150 years, the Mirassou family has established itself as a reliable producer of well-made, affordably priced wines. This 2015 Sauvignon Blanc is truly deserving of a long look. At first, it leads with inviting tropical aromas of ripe mango, juicy honeydew melon, and succulent peach, weaving in layers of pink grapefruit, wild herbs, and honey on the palate. Crisp with a supple texture and super-friendly “sweet-tart”-like quality, this wine is not at all shy. An exotic mix of wildflowers mingle with slightly spicy chili notes in the finish, imbuing an interesting wrinkle of depth. This is a gem of a Sauvignon Blanc and absolutely delivers quality far above its price point. A must try.

Fetzer Vineyards Anthony's Hill, Chardonnay

Non-Vintage

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION California
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 9.99

JUDGES’ PANEL

Canteloupe. Cavaillon. Fresh.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Take a moment to survey your surroundings. Are you prepared for an experience that will make you realize the importance of being yourself; of just letting go? Do you also happen to be a loyal California Chardonnay drinker? Great! Here’s an answer to all of life’s problems for you: Fetzer Vineyards Anthony’s Hill Chardonnay. Golden apple, spiced lemon, and buttered toast aromas persuasively whisper, “it’s wine o’clock!” Produced primarily from vineyards in Mendocino, Anthony’s Hill is an excellent value offering from Fetzer. Lacking a vintage date, this wine is built to remain consistent year after year. I like the idea of that. Only available in 1.5-liter bottles, Anthony’s Hill is ready to deliver you to happy times at your next family gathering, dinner with friends, or plain old bedtime.

ROUND HILL CABERNET SAUVIGNON

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION CALIFORNIA
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 8.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Well balanced. A big Cab. Ready to drink with a big steak. Complex. Red plum and anise.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Sometimes you want a wine that comes with a story, something involving monks or an old forgotten chateau or a vineyard where the vines grow likes trees and are tended by elves. And sometimes you just want something great to drink with a Tuesday dinner. The Round Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2015 is that wine. It’s plush and bright with juicy red fruits, a hint of tobacco leaf and a kick of sweet baking spices—and it goes with virtually anything you can put on the table.
Christy Frank

DEICAS TANNAT

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION URUGUAY
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 42.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Uruguay is the fourth-largest wine-producing country in South America, largely staking its territory among the continent’s world-famous Malbecs and Cabernet Sauvignons. But it’s Tannat, the “national” grape in Uruguay, which originated in Southwest France, that’s largely become synonymous with this South American country. Canelones is its most important region, and this is where Familia Deicas calls home. In an area parallel to the winemaking regions of Santiago, Mendoza and Southern Australia and with a rainfall equivalent to that in Bordeaux, the vine flourishes. Familia Deicas was established 15 years ago, and they’re best known for their select vineyard sites. This award-winning wine is from Mar de Piedras, or “Sea of Stones,” vineyard, a name reflective of its minerality, which adds balance to the deep blackberry fruit and its savory black olive and jalapeño character. This wine would age well, but also is ready to drink today and perfect with any type of red meat.

HORTON VINEYARDS PETIT VERDOT

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION VIRGINIA, ORANGE COUNTY
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 25.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Stunning aeromatics; delicious!

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Single-varietal Petit Verdot, especially one from Virginia, is not the most common wine to see on a store shelf. If you come across this one, buy it! Horton Vineyards focuses on Bordeaux and Rhone varieties, as well as grapes native to Spain, Portugal and the United States. For nearly 30 years, Dennis Horton has been growing grapes and making wine in Orange County, Virginia, in vineyards with views of the Blue Ridge Mountains. As he has gained acreage, he has increased the variety of grapes and styles of wine. Juicy, lush fruit flavors of sour cranberry and black raspberry and the aroma of violet
Alexandra Cherniavsky

KLEIN CONSTANTIA SAUVIGNON BLANC

VINTAGE 2015

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION WO CONSTANTIA
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 30.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

When you look at the label on this bottle, the first thing that jumps out is the name of the winery, Klein Constantia, followed by, “Est. 1685.” Yes, you read that correctly…1685. Klein Constantia, which transliterates to, “Little Constantia,” is part of a group of estates that now occupy the once internationally famous Constantia estate as originally bounded. The property became famous for producing late harvest wines that were sought after by foreign dignitaries the world over. Indeed, it was famous enough to be mentioned by Jane Austen in her book Sense and Sensibility “…[F]or its healing powers on a disappointed heart.” French Poet Charles Baudelaire compared the wine’s taste to that of his lover’s lips. Today, the estate specializes in cool climate dry table wines, but also makes a “Vin de Constance” which is an homage to the legendary old style. The vineyards for this bright and zingy Sauvignon Blanc are two special blocks that have been singled out for their unique character. The high elevation of the sites furnishes the refreshing acidity that is so prominent in this wine. Fruit notes recalling grapefruit, passionfruit and lime are both generous and refreshing. This is a wonderful example of what is possible on the cool, coastal terrain of the Cape.

Two Vintners Some Days are
Diamonds,
Syrah

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Horse Heaven Hills
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 50.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Rockin'; lovely violet floral aromas layered with a touch of gun metal; rich on the palate; strong on the midpalate; seamless integration;smoked meat; sexy elegant; nice minerality.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Oh Syrah, how delicious you are. When will you be able to steal away the prom king crown from Cabernet Sauvignon? Tall, dark and handsome winemaker Morgan Lee is not shy about his obsessive small-lot productions. This bottling, Some Days are Diamonds, is 100% Syrah from the May’s Discovery Vineyard in the southern reaches of the Horse Heaven Hills AVA of the Columbia Valley in Washington State. In typical production format of Mr. Lee, roughly 1,200 bottles were produced. The vines producing this fruit are on their twelfth leaf and this is Morgan’s sixth vintage of ‘Diamonds.’ He likes using only native yeasts and experimenting with whole cluster fruit and this bottling saw roughly 40%. The oak regimen is modest—only 12% new French Puncheon. Find a lamb shank, sit down, and sink your teeth into this dense, chewy, savory wine. Black pepper and dried Kalamata olive shavings accent the fresh dense black fruit that is the soul of this wine.

Spy Valley Riesling

VINTAGE 2014

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION Marlborough
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 19.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

Complex aromas; petrol; lime; loaded with mineral; texturally complex; dances on the palate.

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Can you hear me now? 2014 Spy Valley Riesling from Marlborough finds the origin of its name from an old U.S. spy station within earshot (wink, wink) of the vineyards. Marlborough is at the northern top of the south island of New Zealand and is known for Sauvignon Blanc. It may be difficult to source much Riesling from the area, but producers such as Spy Valley have committed to making what is there great. Riesling is grown all over the world and usually has a negative image due to its widespread, mass-produced sweet profile. But dry Riesling can be some of the highest quality white wine in the world. Spy Valley shows why. Leanness, minerality and crisp acid provide the foundation for this wine. Reaching 13% alcohol, it has tremendous weight to complement its sour green apple, lemon and lime flavors. Its racy acidity makes it that much more appealing when chilled and enjoyed in warm weather.

VINKARA WINERY BOGAZKERE

VINTAGE 2011

SPECIFICATIONS

APPELLATION TURKEY, ANATOLIA
ALCOHOL 0
SRP $ 29.00

JUDGES’ PANEL

SOMMELIERS’ PANEL

Bow-aahz-keh-reh (BOGAZKERE) as a grape does not instantly conjure up any classic wine comparisons but Vinkara’s 2011 BOGAZKERE Reserve, sourced from outside the capital city of Ankara in Turkey, delivers an incredible nuance usually sought after in several different categories of grapes. Visually, the dark ruby color of this wine fades out to brilliant reflections of rose-red highlights. Smokey and meaty tones lead the senses followed by a waves of fresh wild strawberries and bing cherries. The 30 months in neutral 225-liter French barriques sourced from Burgundy bring reveal a tangible sense of roundness and the palate along with hints of vanilla bean that deliver a strong balance of fruit and earth character. This beautiful wine showcases the complexity of indigenous Turkish grapes and begs the question, why don’t we see more wines like this everyday?