Featured Wines

2014 Wakefield Estate ‘Taylors Jaraman’ Chardonnay, Clare Valley and Margaret Valley, Australia

Wakefield sources fruit from two distinct areas for two distinct reasons for this wine. The grapes from Margaret River provide “restraint and elegance,” while the Clare Valley grapes provide “mid-palate freshness.” The result is a Chardonnay with absolutely no “holes” — just plenty of enjoyment from first sniff to last swallow. Extremely easy drinking, it shows off notes of peach, melon and oak spice, framed by a creamy texture.

MSRP: $25 (August 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Murrieta’s Well ‘The Spur,’ Livermore Valley

The Livermore Valley is one of California’s most history-steeped winegrowing regions. Murrieta’s Well dates back to the 1880s, has had its ups and downs through the years, but has been crafting sublime blends from estate-grown grapes for the past quarter-century. The red blend is known as “The Spur,” and combines Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Merlot, aged in a mix of American, French and Eastern European oak barrels. The 2012 vintage melds the fruit and oak flavors beautifully, displaying blueberry, baking spice, cherry and dark chocolate. Perfect for pairing with a grilled steak.

MSRP: $25 (August 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2014 Wakefield Estate ‘St. Andrews Single Vineyard Release’ Riesling, Clare Valley, Australia

Rarely do we recommend cellaring a Riesling from Australia’s Clare Valley. Such suggestions are reserved for the Rieslings of Germany and Austria. Normally, Clare Valley’s renditions are packed with fruit flavors and ready to enjoy upon release. But this is an exception to the “rule” — just lightly floral, and showing only mild hints of lemon and lime, along with a hint of nuts. That said, there’s sufficient acidity to ensure a happy future for this wine; it should be ready to shine by 2017.

MSRP: $40 (August 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Wakefield Estate ‘St. Andrews Single Vineyard Release’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Clare Valley, Australia

We tasted this wine over a period of two days because, upon opening, it was quite closed. There wasn’t much aroma wafting from the glass, and there weren’t clearly identifiable flavors in the glass. But what a difference a day made. On day two, the nose was a mix of violets and other dark flowers, joined by a cocoa note. In the mouth, the fruit flavors shined through — a delicious melding of blackberry, black currant, black cherry and a hint of black raspberry. If you like the flavors of dark berries, you will love this wine… but if you plan to drink it before 2025, also plan to decant it.

MSRP: $60 (August 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 93

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2014 Sonoma Collection District 3 ‘Growers Reserve’ Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast

When a winery or vintner makes the decision to eschew oak barrel aging, they’re taking a calculated risk: Without the aromas and flavors imparted by oak, the aromas and flavors of the grapes must stand on their own. Well, that “risk” turned out to be a sure thing with this wine, as it’s brimming with engaging fruit flavors — from citrus to peach to banana to lemon. The wine is aromatic like Viognier, bright and fresh like Sauvignon Blanc, and complex in flavor — yes, like Chardonnay.

MSRP: $18.99

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2013 On Point Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast

Among winemakers who procure grapes from other than estate vines, two of the most coveted sources in the Sonoma Coast AVA are the Sangiacomo and Gap’s Crown vineyards. They provided all of the fruit for the 2013 On Point Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, a wine defined by its sweet fruit flavors — red cherry and assorted berries. Nearly translucent light garnet in hue, the wine also shows off warm baking spices (cinnamon, vanilla, brown sugar), along with hints of menthol and earth. It’s light upon entry, but has a juicy acidity that lingers and makes it extremely food friendly.

MSRP: $36 (June 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2013 On Point ‘Christinna’s Cuvee’ Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley

This is a young Pinot Noir that is quite approachable now — which is the point of the On Point label from the folks at Fulcrum Wines. As winemaker David Rossi explains, “Every barrel of wine is really a distinct ecosphere… Some barrels are darker, and have pronounced tannins and very complex structures. These become Fulcrum wines. Others are incredibly vibrant, with silky tannins and the immediately alluring personality that defines On Point.” Indeed, the 2013 On Point Pinot Noir is a vibrant translucent light garnet color, evoking impressions of menthol, clove, vanilla, cherry cola, black cherry and a hint of raspberry. The baking spices expand in the mouth, where the sleek and feminine personality of the wine engages, leading to a finish that shows just a hint of earth. A little bit of grip in the back end bodes well for mid-term aging, but why wait? This gem is ready to enjoy now.

MSRP: $36 (June 2015)

Wine Lines rating: 90

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2012 Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Alexander Valley

Opaque purple/black in the glass. Scents of herbs and tobacco infuse the rich core of blackberry, black currant, and cassis aromas and flavors. The black fruit thickens and coats the mouth, while a juicy acidity keeps it fresh and youthful. Silky tannins make this a pleasure to drink now. Small dollops of Merlot, Malbec, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot add to the complexity and approachability.
MSRP: $36 (May 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 91

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2013 Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Pinot Noir, Anderson Valley

A translucent light crimson color in the glass. Vivid aromas of sandalwood, black cherry, orange, and a tart note of blueberry define the cool-climate Anderson Valley fruit. What the nose promises it delivers on the palate, where the wine picks up an additional earthy note of sweet licorice root. Delightful to drink now, this red should provide pleasure over the next six to eight years. Enjoy with a classic pairing of duck breast served with a cherry or orange reduction sauce.
MSRP: $30 (May 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 90

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2013 Kendall-Jackson Jackson Estate Chardonnay, Santa Maria Valley

The wine displays a golden straw color in the glass. Smoked butter and vanilla cream complement the honeyed stone fruit and fleshy tropical fruit aromas and flavors. It enters the mouth full and viscous, then becomes more refined and lady-like after mid-palate. For three decades, the hillsides and benchlands in the Santa Maria Valley have produced Chardonnays with this signature profile, and this 2013 bottling is a classic expression of the terroir and the grape clones.
MSRP: $28 (May 2015)
Wine Lines rating: 91

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