Featured Wines

2013 Jackson Estate Pinot Noir, Outland Ridge, Anderson Valley

The Jackson Estate wines represent special bottlings from a specific appellation. For over forty years, the Anderson Valley has produced Pinot Noir of distinction. This is no light red Burgundy. From first glance as it sits in the glass, the barely translucent dusty garnet color promises a high extract style of Pinot. This one delivers, oozing with forward scents of sweet red fruits (cherries, raspberries, and strawberries). Additional aromas of oak spice and smoke add complexity. In the mouth, the clove-kissed fruit seems fleshy and lightly coats the palate. At the finish, syrupy blueberry lingers. Although the alcohol is a heady 15%, there is little sense of heat. Those that prefer their Pinot Noir big and jammy will enjoy this rendition.
MSRP: $35 (March 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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2013 Jackson Estate Chardonnay, Camelot Highlands, Santa Maria Valley

The Jackson Estate wines represent special bottlings from a specific appellation. For over forty years, the Santa Maria benchlands and hillsides have been producing world class Chardonnay.
This one displays a clear, deep straw color. Lashings of sweet, spicy, buttered fruit leap from the glass. A sharp note of lime/limestone and ripe Bartlett pear nicely offset the full, fleshy tropical fruits. This is a full-bodied white that coats the palate, ending with a lip-smacking buttered fruit finish that lingers for 20 to 30 seconds. It’s hard not to guzzle sip this wine on its own, but it is built to pair with a classic lobster thermidor.
MSRP: $30 (March 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 91

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2013 Edmeades Zinfandel, Mendocino

At first pour, the wine shows a nearly opaque reddish-purple hue that lightens towards the rim. Fresh black raspberries and other red fruits burst from the glass, followed by baking spices and a dash of white pepper. The label indicates 15.5% alcohol, but the sleek mouthfeel seems more medium in body, and there isn’t significant heat. A delightful sipper, this red harkens back to the early years of the winery, when fruit-forward Zins like this help put the Edmeades Winery in the top tier of California Zinfandels. Current winemaker Ben Salazar continues the tradition of this celebrated winery. And, at this price, it is in a class by itself.
MSRP: $20 (March 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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2013 Tongue Dancer Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

A clear, translucent garnet hue. The nose is intriguing, alluring, and mysterious, throwing up scents of dried cherries, unripe strawberries, and dark tea leaves that waft in and out. Adding to the complexity are undertones of dark, fleshy fruits (figs? plums?). It is sleek and feminine on the palate, where it picks up savory elements, sweet paraffin, and clove spice from the oak barrels. It glides easily to a velvet-smooth finish. A lively acidity leaves a juicy impression. Winemaker James MacPhail is an unabashed Pinotphile who keeps upping his game with each new vintage. This new project, Tongue Dancer, aptly describes his approach to paying homage to his Pinot Noir muse.
MSRP: $45 (March 2016)
Wine Lines rating: 91

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2012 Wakefield ‘The Pioneer’ Shiraz, Clare Valley, Australia

It’s called an “Exceptional Parcel Release,” meaning that the grapes were sourced from a handful of vineyard blocks identified by the viticultural team as holding the greatest promise for delivering the finest fruit come harvest time. Those team members knew what they were doing, because this is an amazing wine. Opaque black/purple in hue, it’s lavishly oaked and yet beautifully balanced, showing dark flowers, wintergreen, root beer, a hint of vanilla and a solid core of black and blue fruits. The tannins are very fine grained, which bodes well for both immediate enjoyment and long-term cellaring, and the finish is long and brimming with sweet fruit. It’s a wine that’s “Exceptional” in every way.

MSRP: $200 (February 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 97

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2012 Wakefield ‘The Visionary’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley Estate, Australia

A $200 bottle of wine sealed with a screw cap? Don’t stick up your nose; stick your nose in the glass, and prepare for a Jekyll-and-Hyde wine experience — and we mean that in a good way. You see, this is an unusual wine in that the flavor is not the nose. The aromas are woodsy and dark; the flavors are fruitful, lush and bright. There’s a big core of crème de cassis, a black olive component, and abundant eucalyptus — enough to remind one of the classic Heitz Martha’s Vineyard Cabernets of the mid- to late-1980s. The finish is seamless, with nary a hint of heat. It’s hard to believe that a wine this young can be so smooth upon release, yet it’s built to age for another decade and a half.

MSRP: $200 (February 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 96

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2015 Wakefield Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia

This is that most rare of wines: a Wine Lines Featured Wine (meaning it has earned a score of at least 90 points on our 100-point grading scale) and a Wine Lines Value Vino (meaning it has earned a score of at least 88 points and is priced at $20 or lower). You may want to buy it by the case after experiencing its apple blossom, sweet orange, honey and warm tropical fruit notes. It’s quite juicy in the mouth, where a tart apple flavor is joined by a hint of spearmint. Pair it with shellfish or schnitzel, or simply savor it solo with a good book and a warm fireplace.

MSRP: $16.99 (February 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2014 Wakefield ‘Jaraman’ Shiraz, Clare Valley/McLaren Vale, Australia

First impressions are not always correct impressions. When this wine is first opened, it’s tight and obviously young, revealing little in aroma or flavor. However, after ample aeration — which can be accomplished by simply leaving the bottle open or, more quickly, with splash decanting — a truly compelling wine emerges. The aromas evoke assorted black berry fruits, cardamom, a dash of black pepper and a hint of eucalyptus. There’s much more fruit in the mouth, including an enticing blueberry flavor. There’s a good lesson to be learned here: If a wine doesn’t smell as you thought it might, or thought it should, upon opening, give it some time. It’s quite possible that your patience will be rewarded.

MSRP: $30 (February 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2013 Pedroncelli ‘Mother Clone’ Zinfandel, Dry Creek Valley

This has been a consistently good wine through the years, garnering a rating of 88 for the 2011 vintage and 89 for the 2012. For 2013, it moves up to Featured Wine status, as its briary raspberry, melted vanilla bean ice cream and cranberry notes are easy to love. There’s also a dash of pepper that you’ll appreciate once barbecue season rolls around. Drink it now to warm your heart on a cold winter night, or save it until summer and enjoy it in the great outdoors with your favorite grilled dishes.

MSRP: $18 (January 2016)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

More than 20 vineyards. Five varietals. A mix of French and American oak barrels. Those were the components that contributed to this wine, a full-bodied beauty that seamlessly melds fruit and spice notes. Among the aromas and flavors we experienced were blackberry, boysenberry (think: fresh pie from Knott’s Berry Farm), dark chocolate, cinnamon and cedar. Another in a long line of blending success stories from Freemark Abbey.

MSRP: $50

Wine Lines rating: 91

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