Featured Wines

2012 Kendall-Jackson Merlot, Grand Reserve, Sonoma County

In the glass, it sports an opaque purple/black color. Aromatically, heady, layered scents of violets, cassis, syrupy boysenberry, cedar, polished leather, roasted nuts, and high-toned herbs and spice. These follow through in the mouth, picking up notes of coffee and chocolate. Young, silty tannins poke through at mid-palate. For years, the Grand Reserve level of Kendall-Jackson wines has been a reasonably priced, reliable choice when dining out at fine restaurants; since using only estate-grown, Sonoma County fruit, Kendall-Jackson has stepped it up a notch.
MSRP: $26 (December 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 91

2012 Sea Smoke Pinot Noir, “Southing,” Santa Rita Hills

Nearly opaque crimson color, turning to coral at the rim. In the nose, vibrant aromas of perfumed dark flowers, black raspberry, cherry, cola, orange rind, and notes of black pepper and baking spices begin the seduction of the senses. This continues in the mouth, with a silky feel and juicy acidity. The finish lingers, continuing to pump ripe black fruit with a pleasant earthy note. This red has a refined elegance that makes it hard not to drink it now in its youth, but it is sure to evolve and provide pleasure for another decade or more. This is the best Southing we have tasted.
MSRP: $60 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 94

2012 Sea Smoke “Sea Spray” Sparkling Wine, Santa Rita Hills

This sparkler is a very pale salmon color with a persistent, medium bead mousse. The winery has chosen the proprietary name Sea Spray for this bottling, and it is easy to see (or, more to the point, smell) why. The first wave of aromas conjures up memories of days at the beach, basking in cool, salt-edged breezes. The second wave of scents delivers perfumed white flowers, tangy citrus, and fresh baked bread. Once in the mouth, it blossoms into juicy flavors of Red Delicious apple, cherry pit, and fresh raspberry. The mouthfeel has an effervescent, creamy presentation. Made from 100% Pinot Noir grapes from the Sea Smoke Estate vineyard, this is an exquisite example of the best sparkling wine to come from the New World.
MSRP: $80 (November 2014)
Wine Lines rating: 94

2012 Chappellet ‘Signature’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Glass-staining, nearly opaque dark purple-crimson in hue, this is a big, intense, perfumed, full-flavored wine that needs time to reveal itself. Lavishly oaked, it initially shows off baking spice and roast coffee aromas, while the fruit component is tightly wound. We decided to let it sit overnight, giving it an opportunity to open up more. Wise decision! With that additional aeration, the fruit comes through — think: black plum, black cherry and blackberry. The coffee note returns in the long finish, joined by a kiss of dark chocolate. Built to age for more than a decade, this wine can be enjoyed now, but only with splash decanting… or a good night’s sleep.

MSRP: $52 (November 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 92

2012 Kendall-Jackson ‘Grand Reserve’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County

This wine exudes high-toned dill along with ample fruit (including black cherry, blackberry and currant), dark chocolate and herbs. Full-bodied and nicely knit, its earthy, dark fruit-laden finish lingers. A nice companion to a beef roast with veggies, or other dark meat dishes.

MSRP: $28 (November 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 90

2012 Parducci ‘True Grit’ Reserve Petite Sirah, Mendocino County

Opaque crimson-black in the glass, this wine is peppery yet sweet in the nose, with a prickly Zin-like petulance. Jammy fruit notes of black plum and fig intermingle with dark berries and a whiff of toasted nuts and dark flowers. This is a wine that is light enough to drink now with roasted/grilled game meats.

MSRP: $29 (November 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 91

2012 Patz & Hall Pinot Noir, Jenkins Ranch, Sonoma Coast

Nutmeg, cherry, jammy strawberry, clove, cinnamon, orange rind and cherry cola aromas are forward and promising. And the promise is kept, as the wine coats the mouth, picking up a youthful, earthy, tannic grip after mid-palate, then cascades to a long, lingering finish.

MSRP: $46 (November 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 92

2013 Kendall-Jackson ‘Vintner’s Reserve’ Riesling, Monterey County

A pear blossom perfume gives way to effusive ripe peach and apricot in the nose. In the mouth, sweet orange emerges. In the past, many California Rieslings have been overblown, flabby and not particularly distinctive. Could this party in a glass mark a new chapter in the variety’s evolution in California? Enjoy as an aperitif, or with fruit salads, white meats, spicy Asian foods, or fruit-based desserts.

MSRP: $13 (November 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 90

2011 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Nearly opaque dark ruby in color, this Napa Cab exudes warm earth tones and high-toned spice, along with a varietal note of bell pepper — a classic red Bordeaux profile. Mix in some Rutherford dust, cedar, clove, red currant and a hint of polished leather, and you have a classic, Old World, Claret-style gem, rarely seen in California today. The fruit is well integrated, and the finish lingers. Enjoyable now, but will age gracefully to accommodate mid-term cellaring. Many people have dismissed the difficult 2011 vintage in Napa, but here’s a complex wine from that year that’s worth seeking out.

MSRP: $50 (November 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 90

2012 Pedroncelli ‘Block 007’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley

Opaque purple/black in color, this concentrated Cab has a nose with some definite high notes, full of fleshy black cherries, baking spices, lavender/field herbs, mocha and a note of shoe leather. It’s a layered wine with a rich mouthfeel and young, medium-grained tannins toward the back end.

MSRP: $25 (November 2014)

Wine Lines rating: 90