Cigar Old Vine Zinfandel, 2018

A terrific Zin might make some people think of cigars. Not me–I’ll take the Zin–especially this one–and leave the cigar. Comprised of Lodi Zin with a bit of Petite Syrah, Petit Verdot, and a splash of Cabernet Sauvignon, there is no way Cigar Zin is not going to be a big guy. Sure enough, it weighs in at a hefty 15.4 abv. Full-bodied and layered with mouth-watering dark fruit, Cigar carries through with graceful power. And yes, there should be a picture of steak somewhere on the label. 20.00

Cigar Old Vine Zinfandel, 2018

Not Your Grandmother’s Sherry

Bodegas Williams & Humbert may not be a household name in this country, but if you want to discover what great sherry should be, Williams & Humbert Dry Sack 15 Year Solera Especial and “Don Zoilo” Pedro Ximenez would be a hell of a good place to start.

Dry Sack 15 Year Solera Especial is a medium sweet sherry made using the Solera method–a time-honored method of blending tiers of sherry barrels of different ages–in this case with an average age of 15 years. Time works its magic to produce aromas and flavors of raisins, figs, nuts, and vanilla. Makes a great aperitif.

If Dry Sack makes a great aperitif, “Don Zoilo” Pedro Ximenez 12 year-old sherry is the ideal dessert wine. Rich and sweet, Don Zoilo lingers on the palate with lingering and complex flavors of raisins and figs.

Williams & Humbert Dry Sack 15 Year Solera Especial and “Don Zoilo” Pedro Ximenez

A To Z Bubbles Up

A To Z is a Cracker Jack Oregon winery that takes its wines seriously–but likes to have some along the way–hence, Bubbles sparkling Rose. Bubbles 750ml bottle comes with a bottle cap top, or in handy 250ml cans. Both are just made for taking along with you. Bubbles is happy marriage of Pinot Noir with a splash of Chardonnay for good measure. Party wine for sure. 20.00

A To Z Bubbles

BV Super Stars

Beaulieu Vineyard is one of California’s oldest wineries–and it wears its age well. Whether it’s the entry level BV Coastal brand, or BV’s premium labels, you get a lot of bang for your buck.

BV’s Tapestry Reserve Red Blend Napa Valley and BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley will hold their own with some of the best old world offerings.

BV’s Tapestry Reserve Red Blend Napa Valley, 2016 is a Bordeaux style blend–a magical five-varietal blend–a Tapestry of aromas and flavors, seamlessly woven together. Look out France, BV has your number. 65.00

BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 2016 is an American Classic. 97% Cabernet Sauvignon, with just a dash of Petite Verdot, George de Latour is the sort of bottle you you can stash for years–or as long as you can keep your hands off it. WA gave this vintage 97 points–not surprising. What a gem–and gems don’t come cheap. 145.00

BV’s Tapestry Reserve Red Blend Napa Valley, 2016
BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, 2016

Ruffino 2016 Modus

Modus, a Ruffino blend of Tuscan grapes ( Sangiovese, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon) never disappoints. Year after year this modern style Super Tuscan excells. Full-bodied, with silky tannins, Modus lays down the dark fruit and hints of chocolate. Bella Italia! 26.00

Modus 2106 Super Tuscan from Ruffino

Da Luca Sparklers: Italian Stars

Gotta love a nice Prosecco–even nicer when it has a beautiful Italian cousin in the form of a Sprakling Rose. Da Luca Prosecco is 100% Glera (Prosecco) and originates from Sicily. It’s fresh, bright, nicely balanced, and a hell of a deal at about 11.00

Da Luca’s success with Prosecco took their winemaking team to create an impressive Sparking Rose from Merlot and Raboso grapes sourced in the Veneto region of Northern Italy: zingy and delicious with lip-smacking raspberry and strawberry. 14.00

Da Luca Sparkling Rose

Gary Farrell 2017 Russian River Selection Pinot Noir

Top Vineyards, top fruit, top Pinot: Gary Farrell. Wonderful extraction of flavor from some of the finest Pinot Noir grapes in California. Dark cherry, raspberry and spice come together on a silky finish. Impressive gift or dinner wine. 45.00

2017 Gary Farrell Russian River Valley Selection Pinot Noir

Lions Head Luxury Collection–Gems From Hess

The Lions Head Collection features top of the line wines from Hess Family Wine Estates. A fifth-generation, family-owned company, Hess has always been about quality–in all their labels: The Hess Collection, Lions Head Collection, Hess Select, MacPhail, and Artezin from California–and Bodegas Colome and Amalaya in Argentina.

The Lions Head label was established by the latest generation of the Hess family to showcase premium fruit from California’s finest vineyards:

2017 Panthera Russian River Chardonnay is 100% Russian River fruit aged to creamy perfection in new French oak. At 14.8% abv, this Chardonnay is more a little decadent. 45.00

2017 Lion Tamer Cabernet Sauvignon gets its name from the 8% Malbec (used to tame the “Cabernet lion”)…there is also Petite Sirah in blend–adding even more color and depth. Mouthwatering and layered: mocha, berries, toast–all wrapped in silky tannins. Yikes. 60.00

2017 Panthera Russian River Chardonnay
2017 Lion Tamer Cabernet Sauvignon

Lucienne Single Vineyard Pinot Noirs–Sublime

2017 Luicenne–Hahn Family Wines‘ premium single vineyard Pinot Noirs establish bragging rights for these three Santa Lucia Highlands (SLH) superstars. High above the Salinas Valley, the Santa Lucia Highlands have proven ideal for producing exceptional Chardonnay and Pinot Grigio. Hahn chose to showcase three of their prize vineyards with single vineyard labels: Doctor’s Vineyard, Lone Tree Vineyard, and Smith Vineyard.

Paul Clifton, Hahn’s award-winning Director of Winemaking, likes to point out that great Pinot happens in the vineyard–and he’s not kidding:

Hahn Family Wines’ Single Vineyard Lucienne Pinot Noir

Doctor’s Vineyard is 200-plus acre patch square in the middle of the SLH–a drier and slightly milder climate producing a ripe, hearty Pinot Noir–smooth, round, and lingering. 50.00

Lone Oak Vineyard is a smaller, cooler climate location yielding an aromatic, cherry/spice Pinot whose complexity carries on and on to the end. Outstanding reviews. 50.00

Smith Vineyard was Hahn’s first estate vineyard and it has been producing impressive cool-climate Pinots since the 1970s. Soft raspberry/cherry flavors on a soft but solid body. 50.00

FEL Pinot Gris, 2018

Crazy aromas and mouthwatering flavors explode from FEL‘s tantalizing Pinot Gris. It’s hard to imagine this is the same grape that produces Pinot Grigio. Gooseberry and stone fruit flavors are all over the place. Worth a shot just to see what this little grape can do. Perfect for spicy Asian dishes or white meat. 25.00

2018 FEL Pinot Gris

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