Featured Wines

2013 Arrowood Chardonnay, Sonoma County

In the glass, it is a brilliant straw color. The nose is classic Arrowood – spicy oak, vanilla, and butter scents lead to ripe apple and plump tropical fruit, with just a touch of sweet citrus. It is expansive in the mouth, leaving a creamy impression that seems weightier than the 13.5% alcohol listed on the bottle. At the finish, the spicy oak and juicy buttered fruit continue to linger long after the last sip. You could pay twice as much for this level of drinking pleasure – but why would you?
MSRP: $25 (February 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 91

2011 Hess Collection Cabernet Sauvignon, Mount Veeder/Napa Valley

The Hess Collection reputation was initially built on the refined quality of its estate Cabernet Sauvignon bottlings in the 1980s. So, how did they do in the quite challenging 2011 vintage? Just fine, thank you. Opaque black in the glass, this red shows a solid core of black and blue fruits which are cloaked by tobacco and barrel aromas of coffee, vanilla, chocolate and woodspice. Brash tannins speak to the wine’s youth. A few years in the cellar should help round out the wine nicely.
MSRP: $60 (February 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

2012 Atalon Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

It is an opaque dark crimson color in the glass. Sweet and fleshy black fruit aromas and flavors are accented by dark flowers, vanilla, high-toned herbs, and cocoa powder. Soft, furry tannins make this a Cabernet Sauvignon ready to drink now. Enjoy alone, or with hearty, savory meat dishes.
MSRP: $40 (January 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 91

2012 Atalon ‘Pauline’s Cuvee,’ Napa Valley

With 75% of the blend consisting of Merlot, this could also be considered a varietal bottling, although it was structured to mimic the supple red wines of the Right Bank in Bordeaux, famous for Merlot and Cabernet Blanc blends. Nearly opaque dark ruby in color. The ample soft fruits (black cherry, blackberry and plum) meld deliciously with sweet oak scents of cinnamon and clove. Additional notes of tobacco and milk chocolate add to the complexity. Plush and velvety, this is an eminently likeable Bordeaux red blend ready to drink now.
MSRP: $30 (January 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

2013 J Vineyards Chardonnay, Estate Grown, Russian River Valley

In the glass, it is a brilliant straw color. Initial scents of vanilla cream and clarified butter lead to enticing aromas of grilled pineapple and lemon curd fruit. It is silky in the mouth, where the flavor spectrum broadens to include ripe peach and pear, along with notes of clove and rosewater. This white is impressive for its perfect balance of acidity and plumpness. The buttered fruit lingers at the finish. This may be the best Estate Chardonnay in years.
MSRP: $28 (January 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

2011 Saxum “Broken Stones,” Paso Robles

A blend of 78% Syrah, 18% Mourvedre, and 4% Petite Sirah. Alcohol 15.6%. Inky purple/black in the glass. It sports an effusive nose, full of concentrated, syrupy blackberry and boysenberry fruit, soapy lavender, polished leather, pectin, and crystal minerality. Once in the mouth, it spreads and coats the palate, picking up some shadings of orange oil. After an hour of aeration, black licorice comes to the fore. The red is full through to the finish, showing little heat from the high alcohol, and persists for 30+ seconds.
MSRP: $79 (January 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 95

2005 Heitz Cabernet Sauvignon, Martha’s Vineyard, Napa Valley

Opaque purple/black in the glass, just beginning to lighten at the rim. After 90 minutes of decanting and aeration, the nose nearly leapt from the glass, full of lush cassis and other black fruits, eucalyptus/mint, and Christmas spices. With more time in the glass, notes of chocolate, vanilla, and cedar emerged. At ten years of age, the mouthfeel is plush and decadent with refined, integrated tannins, unlike the Heitz Martha bottlings from the 1970s and 1980s (prior to replanting in the early 1990s). A youthful red, it is quite enjoyable now for the forward fruit. It should age gracefully and provide pleasure for several decades.
Market Price: $200 (January 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 93

2009 Clos de la Tech Pinot Noir, Domaine Lois Louise Estate, Santa Cruz Mountains

The color in the glass is a nearly opaque crimson with a streak of violet. The heady nose is full of fleshy black cherry, strawberry compote, and black plum fruit, followed by celery stalk and a sprinkling of baking spices and polished leather from French oak. In the mouth, it has a masculine, muscular feel, with significant grip. Still young, this red should age gracefully for a decade or more, picking up secondary aromas and flavors as it matures. This is an intense style of Pinot Noir, and quite satisfying. It went well with a gingered beef stir-fry over jasmine rice.
MSRP: $42 (January 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 92

2010 Wakefield Estate ‘The Visionary’ Cabernet Sauvignon, ‘Exceptional Parcel Release,’ Clare Valley Estate, Australia

Lavishly oaked, this wine has a sweet and seductive aroma, and one senses a rich core of dark fruits bubbling beneath the oak cloak. Plush rather than fleshy, the palate reveals minty eucalyptus and oodles of blackberry, boysenberry and loganberry fruit that falls delectably between creamy and jammy. In the long, lingering finish, a note of licorice root emerges. Even deeper and more layered than the 2009 vintage, yet ready to drink now with splash decanting — or lay it down for up to 25 years.

MSRP: $180 (December 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 95

2009 Wakefield Estate ‘The Visionary’ Cabernet Sauvignon, ‘Exceptional Parcel Release,’ Clare Valley Estate, Australia

Tightly wound upon opening, this wine takes a full day to open up fully, ultimately revealing impressions of coffee grounds, blackberry, boysenberry, currant, dark flowers and black olive tapenade. It has very fine grained tannins and juicy acidity, and the coffee impression grows deeper with time in the glass, joined by a hint of tobacco leaf. Still a baby, it could use another five years of bottle aging, and figures to still be drinking nicely through 2040.

MSRP: $150 (December 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 92