2013 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon, Knight’s Valley

In the glass, this red sports an opaque, black/purple hue. Seductive scents of crushed boysenberry and raspberry sorbet play off of the wood aromas of clove and roasted coffee. Wisps of polished leather, paraffin, milk chocolate, and the perfume of dark flowers add to the complexity. The plush mouthfeel delivers oodles of concentrated berry flavors, with the fine-grained, integrated tannins only appearing towards the end. Here, the lush fruit continues pumping to a juicy, lip-smacking finish, picking up some earthy licorice root. This is an incredible value at this pricepoint. Winemaker Kristina Werner has captured the bigger-than-life style that winery founder and namesake Richard Arrowood sought to produce.
MSRP: $35 (December 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 92

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2015 Stonestreet Estate Sauvignon Blanc, Alexander Valley

With a tip of the glass, one is struck by the brilliant, pale color. Seductive scents of ripe grapefruit, Meyer lemon, nectarine, fennel fronds, perfumed white flowers, and other, subtler, herb notes promise much. It delivers, picking up a green apple flavor. The mouthfeel is a mash up of creaminess and juicy acidity. Complex and layered, this is that rare Sauvignon Blanc that invites slow sipping and savoring.
MSRP: $35 (November 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 92

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2014 Stonestreet Estate Chardonnay, Alexander Valley

The white shows a clear straw hue. Aromas of spicy oak and popcorn butter lead to a solid core of fruit – crisp pear, fleshy peach, and apple. Showing weight and coating the palate, flavors of buttered, spiced fruit glide seamlessly to a long finish, where a kiss of rosewater and river stone minerality adds more complexity.
Through the decades, Stonestreet has been known for its iconic, broad-shouldered Chardonnays. This ranks with the best vintages of the past. Winemaker Lisa Valtenbergs is doing a tremendous job.
MSRP: $40 (November 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 93

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2013 Stonestreet Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

The wine is an opaque, dusty plum color in the glass. Varietal aromas of cassis, dark cherry, currant, and blackberry are accented by mocha, black licorice, a sprig of dill, green peppercorns, graphite, and menthol. It’s juicy in the mouth, brimming with dark, fleshy fruits that sweeten up and coat the palate. The tannins are integrated and velvety, making this a joy to drink in its youth. Are you dining at a fine steakhouse tonight? This red will outperform most labels costing twice as much.
MSRP: $45 (November 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 92

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2014 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast, Putnam Vineyard, “Pinot de Ville”

Winemaker James MacPhail continues to follow his passion for Pinot Noir. Here he fashions a young seductress bursting with sleek lines and an initially demure presentation.
In the glass, she presents with a brilliant, light ruby blush, translucent, throwing glints of orange at her rim. Enticing scents of concentrated red cherries and black raspberry are laced with vanilla, orange zest, and a note of menthol. In the mouth, a similar flavor profile picks up lower tones of earth and brown sugar. Living up to the winery’s name, she lithely trips across the palate, showing classic Pinot Noir smoothness. Make no mistake – while just a debutante now, she promises to mature and learn more nuanced dance steps until she is the belle of the ball. Enjoy her sexy cha cha now, or wait a decade for her seductive tango.
MSRP: $65 (November 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 93

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2014 Wakefield St. Andrews Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley

An opaque purple/crimson color in the glass. Intense aromas of concentrated blackberry and cassis are complemented by wood shadings of chocolate, mint, and a wisp of eucalyptus. A smooth and seductive black fruit entry to the palate gives way to notes of cigar box, leading to youthful, fine tannins at the back. This red shows a claret-like elegance and balance which should continue to provide pleasure over the next 15+ years. While perfect at a formal dinner table with all manner of prepared red meats, it is hard not to want to just grab the bottle and retire to a quiet corner, sip it, and slip into a reverie.
MSRP: $60 (October 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 94

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2014 Wakefield St. Andrews Shiraz, Clare Valley

An opaque dark purple in the glass, lightening to a bright crimson at the rim. Scents of black pepper and eucalyptus lace fleshy mulberry, black plum, and blackberry fruit. Velvety on the palate, it fills the mouth with thick black berry fruits, licorice, and a note of mocha. The long afterflavor is fruit-driven, picking up a piquant blueberry syrup note that goes on and on. This is a delicious wine now, and should drink well for another 15 years or longer. Try with teriyaki glazed red meats off the grill.
MSRP: $60 (October 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 95

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2013 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, Rutherford

One is put on notice that this is going to be a special wine when it is first poured. It is an opaque, glass-staining black/crimson, soaked with color to the rim. A quick sniff reveals hedonistic aromas of concentrated cassis, blackberry, and a hint of blueberry – all cloaked by wood scents of cedar, cinnamon, clove, and black peppercorn. Thick and mouthfilling, showing youthful, furry tannins that grab a bit at the back. Black licorice flavors pop up on the afterflavor. This is a big wine made in the modern ripe, fruit-forward style that has come to define Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. This is in contrast to the Claret style that made the winery a household name back in the 1970s and 1980s. Delicious now, this red will reward cellaring up to 20 years.
MSRP: $70 (October 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 92+

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2013 Dry Creek Vineyard Merlot, Dry Creek Valley

This red displays an opaque crimson in the glass, lightening at the rim. Forthright scents of crushed blackberries, mulberries, plum, and currant are joined by notes of dried violets, wet tobacco leaf, and white pepper. It is medium-full in the mouth, providing a juicy acidity that stimulates the palate. Powdery, youthful tannins are smooth and pop up after mid-palate. While eminently enjoyable now, this wine will provide drinking pleasure over the next 5 to 8 years. Try pairing this wine with grilled sirloin or New Zealand lamb.
MSRP: $26 (October 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 89

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2013 Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley

An opaque purple/crimson color in the glass. Varietal aromas of herb-tinged black currant and blackberry are followed by black licorice and oak notes of pepper and spice. Full and lush in the mouth, this red shows well-integrated, fine-grained tannins. Already knitting together, this wine will drink well for a decade or more. Pair it with a New York Strip steak topped with melted blue cheese crumbles.
MSRP: $26 (October 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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