Featured Wines

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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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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