Featured Wines

2010 Arcanum ‘Il Fauno,’ Tuscany, Italy, IGT

This is a Super Tuscan blend of four Bordeaux red varietals – 56% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 1% Petite Verdot. Winemaker Pierre Seillan has fashioned a remarkable wine combining New World forward fruit and ripeness with Old World refinement and balance. In the glass, it is an opaque deep crimson hue. Over several hours of aeration, waves of aromas emerged from the glass. Initial whiffs of raspberry and cassis, along with snap peas, gave way to scents of roses and other dark flowers, sassafras, spiced black plum, cherry cordial, and a note of leather. The wine is medium-full in the mouth, where fleshy fruit is joined by a drop of chocolate. Youthful, fine-grained tannins pop up towards the finish. While enjoyable now with a splash decanting and a few hours of aeration, it should develop additional complexity over the next decade.
MSRP: $30 (April 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 91

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2012 The Hess Collection Chardonnay, Mount Veeder/Napa Valley

Little by little, winery by winery, vintage by vintage, the style of “California Chardonnay” is evolving. The big, rich, buttery renditions that defined the “genre” for more than two decades are giving way to lighter, brighter, cleaner and more harmonious wines — wines like this one, crafted from grapes grown in Napa Valley’s Mount Veeder appellation. A very pretty wine, it has a perfumed nose of white flowers, melon, sweet citrus, white nectarine and vanilla. And if you swirl the wine and close your eyes (in that order, please), you may even pick up a whiff of orange-sicle that’s common in Chardonnay from South Eastern Australia. The wine’s deft lightness makes it a good match for everything from fruit salads to orange chicken, and even dishes with white or Alfredo sauces.

MSRP: $40

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Murphy-Goode ‘Terra A Lago’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

This is a tightly wound wine, so the first aromatic impression comes from the cinnamon, clove and vanilla notes, rather than the fruit. With time in the glass and plenty of swirling, however, enticing impressions of chocolate-dipped cherries and assorted berries emerge, along with a whiff of field lavender. A mouth-filling wine, it picks up a youthful, medium-grained tannic grip after mid-palate, along with a Syrah-like sense of meat and smoke. In the finish, a hint of cocoa powder mingles with the big dark fruits. Needs four to six years in the cellar to fully blossom.

MSRP: $40 (March 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 91

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2012 Murphy-Goode Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

The nose of this wine offers up notes of black cherries, cinnamon, black currants, black licorice, and hints of brown sugar and cloves. In the mouth, there’s ample, plump dark fruit with a sweet edge, and the velvety tannins subside to reveal a nice chocolate note in the finish. Do you know someone who is ready to make the move from Merlot to Cabernet? This would make an ideal “bridge” wine, and best of all, it’s ready to drink now.

MSRP: $26 (March 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Murphy-Goode ‘Poker Knight’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Knights Valley

Combine the power of Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon with the much earlier accessibility of Alexander Valley Cab and what do you get? Most likely, a bottle with “Knights Valley” on the label, and this wine from that appellation can be enjoyed now or put away to evolve for up to a decade. The nose suggests blackberry, black currant, black plum, a hint of black licorice and a vague whiff (amidst all that “darkness”) of red cherry. The wine has a full mouthfeel, and the juicy black fruits offer plenty of flavor through the finish, where integrated, fine-grained, silty tannins make an appearance — and that red cherry impression re-emerges, joined by a hint of mocha. Impressive now, and may be even more so a decade down the road.

MSRP: $45 (March 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 91

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2012 Murphy-Goode ‘Single Deck’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

This wine has a powerful, focused, concentrated nose that you’d normally experience only in a $150 Napa Valley Cabernet from a good vintage. Think: assorted red, black and blue fruits, joined by notes of cedar, tobacco leaf, graphite and a minerality not found in Murphy-Goode’s other 2012 Cabs. It’s all wrapped in youthful, medium-grained tannins that suggest long-term aging will be rewarded. On the label, you’ll find “crushed velvet” amidst the verbiage, and we can’t think of a better way to describe the plush mouthfeel, coupled with the tannic quality. Complex and delicious.

MSRP: $45 (March 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 92

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2012 Colomé Estate Malbec, Argentina

In the last 10 years, the United States wine marketplace has exploded with the importation of hundreds of Argentinean imports, most of which are varietal Malbec. This lesser-known grape from the Bordeaux region of France has flourished in the mile-high steppes of the Andes mountain range. High quality and low prices have made this a popular everyday red. This wine is a glass-staining, opaque purple/black color. The nose delivers boisterous aromas of fresh blackberry, boysenberry, and pomegranate fruit, followed by notes of sandalwood and polished leather. In the mouth, it shows a medium-full body, with fine-grained, integrated tannins. Argentineans love to grill and char their red meats, and this wine is perfectly suited to pair with these entrées.
MSRP: $30 (March 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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2013 McIntyre Estate Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands

The Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, on the east-facing side of the mountain range in Monterey County, has developed a reputation for being a world-class region for Burgundian varietals. This wine is a translucent dark coral/ruby color, hinting at the concentration and extraction in this bottling. Fresh berry scents are upfront in the nose, leading to darker cherry cola and chocolate impressions, followed by a kiss of clove. It is light, boisterous, and juicy in the mouth, showing an elegant, silky texture. At the end, some earthy, youthful grip pops up.
MSRP: $42 (March 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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2013 McIntyre Estate Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands

Although this is a young wine, all the flavors and aromas have already melded together in harmony. It’s a full-throttle California Chardonnay, exhibiting rich nose impressions of smoke, toast, spice and butter, all wrapped around light scents of nectarine, sweet lime, and tropical fruit. Despite its bigness, this white shows a refinement more associated with Old World Burgundies. It is delicious on its own, but would also be a marvelous foil for a seafood pasta with Alfredo sauce.
MSRP: $36 (March 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 92

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2012 Fulcrum Petite Sirah, Landy Vineyard, Russian River Valley

One of the most misunderstood grape varietals is Petite Sirah. Brought to California in the later 1800s, its deep color and tannic backbone made it a perfect addition to the typical field blend reds of the time. These same drying tannins made varietal bottlings hard, astringent, and generally disagreeable. Modern winemaking technique has learned to tame the tannic bite, resulting in deeply hued reds that are plush and soft enough to enjoy with grilled red meats and sharp cheeses.
This example shows many of the common descriptors for modern-day Petite Sirah. It is an opaque, inky black in the glass, with scents of dark flowers, restrained aromas of blackberry and blueberry fruit, pencil shavings, and licorice root. It is full and palate-coating, yet the tannins are refined and velvety. Time will tell how much of the tightly-wound core of fruit blossoms with several years in the cellar. Everything is in balance for a long lived wine – this red can be enjoyed now with smoked red meats or can be cellared a decade or more to appreciate the secondary aromas and flavors of a mature wine.
MSRP: $42 (March 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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