Featured Wines

2013 Cambria Chardonnay, Katherine’s Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley

Sporting a brilliant straw color in the glass, initial whiffs reveal layers of butter, spice, and smoke wrapped around baked apples, lemon oil, and stone fruit aromas of nectarine and white peach. The wine is medium-full in the mouth, with a plump, pleasing juiciness that follows through to the lingering finish. It is enjoyable on its own, but would also be a perfect complement to shellfish and whitefish, especially in a cream-based sauce.
MSRP: $22 (April 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Edmeades Petite Sirah, Mendocino County

Imagine the aroma of blueberry muffins baking in the oven while your favorite French roast coffee is brewing on a counter nearby. That’s what you’ll experience when you pour this wine in a glass and give it a good airing. Swirl some more, and still more notes emerge — toasty oak… vanilla… just-picked dark berries… a hint of white pepper. Petite Sirah is an under-the-radar variety that’s worth getting to know — especially when it’s crafted by a talented winemaker like Ben Salazar (who, prior to going to viticultural school, worked at one of our favorite restaurants on Earth: the Rutherford Grill).

MSRP: $35 (April 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Patz & Hall Chardonnay, Zio Tony Ranch, Russian River Valley

In the glass, the wine sports a straw color with obvious particulate matter and density, evidence of the long sur lie aging and non-filtered bottling style employed by winemaker James Hall. In the nose, smoky butter toffee cloaks the opulent scents of green apple, sweet lemon and fleshy tropical fruits, all kissed with clove spice and vanilla cream. Rich and expansive on the palate, with a juicy acidity that refreshes the senses and begs for the next sip. There’s nary a hole in this lush yet balanced wine — all the way through to the lingering finish. Sure, you could enjoy this wine now with dishes like lobster thermodor, but it is going to be difficult holding on to that last glass for dinner once you take that first dip.

MSRP: $65 (April 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 93

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2012 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, Burnside Vineyard, Russian River Valley

Who says a California Pinot Noir can’t be light and ladylike? Sporting a translucent rose coral color that lightens at the rim, and a 13.2% alcohol level more reminiscent of Burgundy, this charmer offers up scents of rose perfume, red cherry, red berry, orange oil, sweet tobacco leaf, woodspice and vanilla cream. A supple palate impression leads to youthful, soft tannins at the back and a lingering after-flavor of spiced milk chocolate. Already drinking well, this wine will provide pleasure for a decade or more.

MSRP: $75 (April 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 93

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2012 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, Chenoweth Ranch, Russian River Valley

Unlike many high-alcohol Pinot Noirs from California, which often smell and taste like Syrah, this bottling stays true to the varietal profile and typical lightness on the palate. It is a clear, translucent ruby red in color, and bright floral and fruit perfumes rise from the glass — spiced cherry cordial, carnation, rose petal and briary berry, along with a note of mocha. With air, a cedar note emerges. And despite its hefty 14.8% alcohol level, there is no sense of heat in the mouth or the finish. This wine would be a perfect match with rare roast duck breast in a cherry reduction sauce.

MSRP: $60 (April 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 92

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2012 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, Hyde Vineyard, Carneros

This wine has a clear, translucent ruby red hue, and aromas of dark cherry, cranberry jelly, rich loam, menthol, orange and woodspice. Lithe in the mouth, showing great balance. The tannins are fine grained and silky. With aeration, a note of brown sugar emerges. This is a consummate food wine, changing like a chameleon to pair well with a wide variety of foods. There are 44 distinct blocks of grapevines planted in the Hyde Vineyard, and the grapes for this wine came from two of those blocks.

MSRP: $70 (April 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 91

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2013 La Crema Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Translucent red coral in color that lightens at the rim. Aromas of sweet red cherries jump from the glass and are joined by additional scents of green tea, sweet orange, and a dash of baking spices. True to the varietal, there is a light, uplifted touch in the mouth, while the fruit and tea flavors take on a darker edge. The youthful tannic grip is fine and unobtrusive, and the spiced fruit flavors linger at the finish. This is a refined red that stands out from the pack at this pricepoint.
MSRP: $25 (April 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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2013 La Crema Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast

Vivid straw in color. Layered scents of sweet lemon, vanilla, white peach, buttery shortbread, and spice prove seductive. In the mouth, the wine has a medium-full body, with palate-coating buttered apple and woodspice carrying all the way to the finish. Nicely balanced, eminently drinkable – this is a white that provides pleasure from first sip to the last.
MSRP: $23 (April 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Sea Smoke Chardonnay ‘Streamside,’ Santa Rita Hills

The color is a deep straw shade. Despite the obvious weight of the wine, the aromas are delicate at first, evoking comparisons to Grand Cru Burgundy. Wisps of smoke and butter give way to perfumed flowers, white nectarine, and lemon curd. Most vintages of this wine express a saline minerality – the 2012 shows more wet river stone. The wine is full and palate-coating, with tremendous length through to the finish, where the buttered stone fruit lingers on and on.
I initially tried this wine last year, right after bottling and prior to its release. At that time, it was closed down and not forthcoming. I had questions about whether the wine would evolve. Now, nine months later, that question is answered – this is now a delicious debutante ready for her coming-out ball. Savor her now for her youthfulness, but be assured that she will continue to blossom over the next five to six years.
MSRP: $60 (April 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 92

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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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