Justin’s Isosceles has been setting the standard for red blends on the Central Coast for almost thirty years. A Bordeaux style blend, Isosceles is a big boy–weighing in at 16% ABV. The fruit is Paso Robles: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, and 9% merlot.
Twenty one months in new French oak mellows the robust black fruit and spice, making Isosceles surprisingly approachable early on–though this beauty has excellent cellaring potential. SRP 72.00
Sanford 2015 Rose of Pinot Noir
Sanford’s Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir is such a gem–no surprise then that their rose of Pinot Noir should also rock. Cranberry and and blood orange emerge on the palate–along with clean, crisp acidity–thanks to Santa Rita’s cool climate. Serve with chicken or salmon. SRP 23.00
Chimney Rock 2014 Elevage Blanc
Chimney Rock is justly famous for it’s big reds so it probably shouldn’t come as a surprise that they have created a big white–in the form of Elevage Blanc–a blend of 46% Sauvignon Blanc and 54% of the rarely planted Sauvingnon Gris.
Elevage Blanc calls to mind the great Bordeaux whites with its rich texture, aromas, and flavors–thanks to resting six months on the lees, This is a white worth cellaring. SRP 48.00
Acumen 2013 Mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon
Acumen 2013 Mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon
“Acumen”: the ability to think clearly and make good decisions–especially in practical matters”. Employing that word to name your wine implies a sense of confidence and pride.As it happens, the sense of confidence in their product and their sense of pride are both well-founded.
Acumen Mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from the winery’s hundred-plus acres of volcanic soil in the Atlas Peak AVA of Napa Valley. Organically grown, with full-time hands-on farming, the 2013 vintage saw excellent weather conditions–a long growing season, and ripening to maturity.
80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petite Verdot, 4%Malbec, and 1%Merlot with 18 months in 100% French oak. 14% ABV Only 2,500 cases produced.
Acumen lives up to its name. Expect aromas and flavors of black fruit, coffee, and dark chocolate wrapped in lush tannins. Excellent cellaring potential–if you can keep your hands off it.
Let me take you wine shopping today. We’ll splurge on some special bottles and put together what is known in the trade as a mixed case—a kind of crazy quilt of wines starting with some light whites, moving on to rich reds:
Luna Nuda pinot grigio is as clean and crisp as the mountain air in northeastern Italy’s Alto Adige region–ground zero for some of the world’s best pinot grigio. Dry, smooth, and elegant. $15.00
Torresella Prosecco Extra Dry, from Venezia, in northwestern Italy sounds really dry, but don’t let the term “Extra Dry” fool you. Counter intuitively, “Extra Dry” in the wine world is actually less dry than sparkling wines labeled “Dry.” Light and refreshing. $16.00
Scott Chardonnay comes from cool climate Estate vineyards inland from Big Sur. Extended ripening time there translates into grapes with intensely concentrated flavor and clean acidity. Lush mouthfeel, lingering finish. $25.00
Bouchaine Pinot Noir announces its presence with heady aromas of cherry and strawberry, following through on the palate with rich dark cherry and spice. All the fruit is Estate grown in Napa’s prestigious Carneros district. $35.00
Back in Italy: Tuscan Sassoregale Sangiovese perks up the senses with its ruby color, rich fruit aromas, dark flavors, and smooth body. A nice backbone of tannins makes it a good match for flavorful dishes. $18.00
Fuedo Zirtari Sicilian Red combines Sicily’s Nero d’Avola with Syrah to produce a full-bodied blend with a nicely balanced core and smooth dry finish. $14.00
Full disclosure: Franciscan Merlot and I have history. I remember being impressed by it years ago—and it still impresses. Think velvet plum. A reminder of how good a merlot can be. $23.00
Two Range is a collage of merlot, petite sirah, cabernet sauvignon, and syrah out of Napa. A rich and complex work of art by the winemaker. $25.00
Hahn Family Wines’ Smith & Hook Proprietary Red Blend is new their lineup, but wine maker Paul Clifford and his crew nailed it. The plush blend of merlot, malbec, petite sirah, and cabernet sauvignon is proof that the whole can sometimes be greater than the sum of its parts. $25.00
Predator Old Vine Zinfandel from Lodi brings on tons of red and dark fruit, a little spice, and wraps it all in smooth tannins for easy drinking. $15.00
Rutherford Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon captures the deep flavors of first class Napa fruit. A mellow product of twelve months in French and American oak. $35.00
Leviathan Red Blend—and yes, it’s huge. A concoction of cabernet sauvignon, cabernet franc, merlot, and syrah, pretty much everything about this wine is outsize: aroma, texture, body, and flavor. $48.00
Casillero del Diablo Cabernet Sauvignon
Casillero del Diablo Devilish Release Cabernet Sauvignon
Casillero del Diablo Devilish Release Sauvignon Blanc
Casillero del Diablo means “Devil’s Cellar” in Spanish, and legend has it that a wealthy man with a large wine cellar frightened the staff away from his best bottles by telling them that the devil lived in that part of the cellar.
Quaint as that story may be, there is no doubt that Concha Y Toro has a devilish good line with the Casillero del Diablo label. In fact, the “label” has a new look this year–in the form of a graphic design painted on the bottle. And for the autumn season they have taken the devil theme a little further by offering a “Devilish Release”–in the form of bottles painted with specially designed lucifer flames.(Only about $11.00 retail)
A great trick for a Halloween party–but the treat is the wine inside. While the bottles look different, the familiar quality and value are still there.
The Casillero del Diablo sauvignon blanc I sampled recently was a mouth-watering delight. Loaded with citrus and gooseberry, the devil himself would have a tough time prying a glass of this from my hand. Aromatic and intensely flavorful–long finish.
Casillero del Diablo’s Cabernet Sauvignon is such a deal. Plum and cherry come together and play nicely right along side the American oak. This one screams, “party wine”.
Rutherford Ranch Cabernet, 2014
Lander-Jenkins Cabernet, 2014
Predator Zinfandel, 2014
Rhiannon Red, 2014
Two Range Red, 2014
Scott Arroyo Secco Chardonnay, 2014
Rutherford is a sub-appellation of Napa Valley and home to some of California’s leading producers. Family owned and operated for three generations, Rutherford Wine Company labels include: Rutherford Ranch, Scott Family Estate, Predator Wines, Rhiannon Red Wine, Lander-Jenkins, and Round Hill California wines. There is something for just about every taste in this line-up:
Rutherford Ranch Cabernet, 2014 is full-bodied cab showing dark cherry/chocolate notes and a long finish with smooth tannins. Lush Napa fruit. $35.00
Lander-Jenkins Cabernet, 2014 displays aromas and flavors of blackberry, cranberry, and dark cherry. Medium-body–easy drinking. $15.00
Predator Zinfandel, 2014. Intense and full-bodied, Predator is loaded with red berries, blackberry, and smokey spice. Mouthwatering. $15.00
Rhiannon Red, 2014. A marriage of petite syrah, syrah, and barbera, Rhiannon brings Bing cherry and raspberry with a solid backbone of dark fruit thanks to the barbera component. Made for BBQ. $12.00
Two Range Red, 2014 combines merlot, petite syrah, cabernet, and syrah, producing rich tannins on a full body. Black cherry, raspberry, chocolate, and spice all come together in a lingering finish. $25.00
Scott Family Arroyo Secco (Dry Creek) Chardonnay, 2014. Barrel fermented on the lees, Scott chardonnay is a rich mouthful of citrus, apricot, and nutty cream. Lush. $25.00