2) Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Napa Valley: $52.99 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 90 pts. Made up of 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc, the 2016 Cabernet Sauvignon is very deep garnet-purple in color and displays expressive notions of baked plums, warm cassis and licorice with hints of bay leaves and scorched earth. Medium-bodied, it fills the mouth with juicy black fruit and earthy sparks, finishing chewy.
3) Ramey Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa Valley: $53.79 Great price! $65 on website! Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 93 pts. The 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is a blend of 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 7% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot. Medium to deep ruby, it has an incredible nose of licorice, dried flowers and mint chocolate over black berries and black cherries, cedar shavings and pencil lead, plus spicy clove and star anise touches. Medium to full-bodied, it floods the mouth with plush flavor layers wrapped in chocolate-textured, pixelated tannins and great freshness to counter, finishing long and luscious.
4) Guarachi Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa Valley: $89.99 The initial push of vivid raspberry and currant picks up herb and earth notes, gaining a measure of elegance and grace before ending with firm tannins. Sourced from two distinct vineyard properties:
Broken Rock Vineyard grapes contain complex hillside structure and a rich valley floor flavor. The positioning of this stunning vineyard, provides plenty of afternoon sun for the 2,000 vines that were planted per acre. Blessed with high drainage and low fertility soil on the Eastern Ridge of Napa Valley and at the foot of Atlas Peak, Broken Rock consistently produces wines of unusual intensity and concentration.
Beckstoffer Las Piedras is known for its rich, gravely soil and traces its roots back to the original land grants of over 150 years. These vines help to produce a mineral driven Cabernet Sauvignon. It is characterized by long summer days with gentle breezes, from the Mayacamas Mountains from the Pacific, throughout the afternoon.
5) Trione Block Twenty One Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Sonoma County: $62.99 Reminiscent of a classic left bank Bordeaux. Silky and Cab dominant but balanced, textured and lingering on the palate. Aromas and flavors of currants and black raspberry pie are in the mind and on the nose. This wine is age worthy and will continue to develop for the next 5-10 years.
6) Santo Stefano Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Rutherford: $41.99 Enticing aromas of vanilla and spice are followed by ripe flavors of blackberry, currant, and black cherry. The finish shows hints of bittersweet chocolate. Within each handcrafted bottle, we celebrate the achievements of our family and all the pioneers of the California wine industry. Blend: 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot.
7) Mirabelle Brut, North Coast: $27.99 “Big, buttery aromas of baked apple, lemon curd, nutmeg, malt and bread dough. A whiff of buttered toast leads to balanced flavors of citrus, white flowers and butterscotch. Citrusy, nutty finish refuses to fade.”
8) Schramsburg Blanc de Noirs 2016: $37.79 “The 2016 Blanc de Noirs expresses generous aromas of peach, toasted almond and fresh red apple, which gradually layer with fragrances of strawberry, citrus blossom and marzipan. A juicy entry generously coats the mid-palate with orange and vanilla spice, followed by crisp and tart flavors of raspberry, grapefruit and lemongrass. A lively and balanced acidity gives way to a clean, fresh and mouthwatering floral and mandarin orange finish.- Winemakers Sean Thompson and Hugh Davies
9) Schramsburg Rose 2017: $36.79 Very good price! “The 2017 Brut Rosé has generous aromas of strawberry, watermelon and raspberry. Its fruitful nose is complemented by notes of red cherry, pomegranate and cranberry-lime. On the palate, there are lush flavors of mango, mandarin orange and peach, with soft touches of brioche, orange zest and vanilla. The fruitful finish has a juicy center with bright acidity.” – Winemakers Sean Thompson and Hugh Davies Varietal Composition: 72% Pinot Noir, 28% Chardonnay.
10) Schramsburg Blanc de Blancs 2017: $32.79 Great price! “This 2017 Blanc de Blancs has bright aromas of Meyer lemon, golden apple, Bosc pear, marzipan and vanilla cookie, which intermingle with hints of warm pastry and cinnamon. Granny Smith apple, candied lemon, and baked pineapple bring fruit-ful notes to the mid-palate, ending with a long, clean and vibrant finish.- Winemakers Sean Thompson and Hugh Davies
11) Adaptation by Odette Petite Sirah 2017, Napa Valley: $55.99 Expressive and full-bodied, this wine saturates and stains the palate with a deep black/purple hue, blackberries, violets, raspberries, hints of cloves and baking spices. Generous and focused, lingering on the long finish.
12) Plumpjack Merlot 2018, Napa Valley: $64.99 Our Merlot vineyard is in the Oak Knoll region of the Napa Valley, and is nestled up to the Mayacamas Mountain Range on the west side of the valley. The mild climate and alluvial soils in this region lend this wine great balance and structure. The mild temperatures allow these grapes to develop bright aromatics and flavors, along with a beautiful natural acidity and elegance. The alluvial soils bring darker fruits to the nose and palate, and give this wine its structure and concentration. The 2018 vintage has a beautiful and complex nose – black cherry, boysenberry jam, plum, and fresh cut flowers come through first, then cardamom, nutmeg, and a touch of cocoa and vanilla enter giving the nose depth and intrigue. The palate too has great depth and complexity – flavors of red cherries, muddled berries, and dried herbs, with a creamy texture and silky tannin complimented by a fresh, vibrant acidity.
13) Plumpjack Syrah 2018, Napa Valley: $72.99 Hold the phone. Bar the door. This Syrah is officially out-of-control good. It’s incredibly plump and succulent, brimming with flavors of huckleberry pie, blueberries, white and black pepper, and a savory, meaty character. Just killer Syrah! Do yourself a favor and smoke some beef short ribs on an oak fire, prep the horseradish, and Go. To. Town.
14) Plumpjack Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Oakville: $159.99 Jeb Dunnuck 95 pts. The 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate from this great estate checks in as 89% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, and 3% Petit Verdot. Its deep, saturated purple color is followed by a beautiful bouquet of blueberries, red plums, toasted spices, incense, and pen ink. This is a big, rich, pedal-to-the-metal beauty that stays remarkably well-balanced, has notable freshness and purity, and sweet tannins, which can be hard to find in the 2017 vintage. It’s an undeniable success.
15) Odette Cabernet Sauvignon 2017, Stags Leap District: $169 “The 2017 Odette Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District is a full bodied wine poised with charisma and energy, carrying notes of wild raspberries, luxardo cherries, plums, crème de cassis, lilacs, rose petals and potpourri that all marry together seamlessly as they dance across the palate. Multifaceted, layered and vibrant, this thrilling example of Cabernet Sauvignon brings precision and focus to the long persistent finish.”
16) Katherine Goldschmidt Stonemason Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2018, Alexander Valley: $19.99 Winemaker Notes: “The color is bright and deep. Purple edges with deep red middle. The nose is immediately fruit driven. Ripe raspberries, black cherry and plum. In other words it smells just like a Cabernet grape. In the mouth complexity is the key. Lush ripe cherries and ripe blue berries on the front of the tongue. The mid mouth is all about power and richness. Comprised of dark plum and chocolate. The finish has supple round tannins with a long elegant finish.”
17) Eric de Suremain Rully 1er Cru Preaux 2015: $52 Certified Organic/Biodynamic at strictest levels. Beautiful, fruit-forward, elegant flavors of red berries with surprising length and a sweet, strawberry finish. His wines are long-lived and will drink well up to ten years or more.
18) Clos Cibonne Tibouren Cuvee Speciale des Vignettes Rose 2017, Cotes de Provence: $36.99 Orange-pink color. Potent, mineral-accented aromas of dried red fruits, floral oils, herbs and spicecake, with smoke and anise overtones. Offers an array of red fruit and floral flavors, with bitter orange peel and mineral qualities adding lift and focus. Wild, singular pink wine, with strong finishing power and lingering lavender, mineral and cherry pit qualities. Not your father’s rose, but maybe his great-grandfather’s.
19) Mirabelle Rose North Coast: $26 Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 90 pts. It’s attractive, but even better is the outstanding NV Mirabelle Brut Rosé, 64% Pinot Noir and 36% Chardonnay. This shows a light pink color, beautiful delicate notes of strawberries and currants, crisp acids, a fresh, lively zesty style and medium body. Both of these are meant to be drunk upon release and are probably at their best within the first year or two of aging.
20) Flora Springs Trilogy Red Blend 2016: $74 $90 on the website. Trilogy is Flora Springs’ flagship wine, one that dates back to 1984 when our family decided to make the finest wine possible by selecting the highest quality wine lots culled from our estate vineyards in Napa Valley. Back then it was one of Napa Valley’s first proprietary red blends, and today this Bordeaux-style wine continues to be sourced from our own Komes-Garvey estate vineyards. In 2016 this iconic wine brings together Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Malbec grown in St. Helena, Rutherford and Oakville. A spectacular vintage yielded a deep, full-bodied red with dense flavors of black cherry and crème de cassis layered with dark chocolate, espresso bean, hints of licorice and wild chaparral. Warm and generous on the palate, the wine’s time in both French and American oak adds a spicy vanilla character to the mix, while the velvety tannins bring it to a long and satisfying finish. If you’re a steak lover, you can’t go wrong enjoying this Cabernet-dominated blend with a generously-peppered rib eye hot off the grill. It also works nicely with rosemary-sprinkled lamb chops or creamy polenta with a dusting of Parmesan cheese.
86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 6% Malbec.
21) Vasse Felix Tom Cullity Cabernet Sauvignon Malbec 2015, Margaret River, Western Australia: $137.99 Suggested retail: $165 WE 96 pts. Cellar Selection. The third vintage of Tom Cullity is the best to date. This premium bottling offers threads of graphite, currants, black olives, nori, tomato leaf and roasted green peppers. These flavors, along with spicy French oak, are tightly woven with fine chalky tannins. Power and elegance share the limelight, and linearity trumps roundness and richness. Cellar through 2039.
22) Vilafonte Series M 2012, South Africa: $79.99 I love this wine! And it should be at its best drinking time! I used to rep this wine 18 years ago. Its my pleasure to share it with you! Don’t miss this! The series M 2012 exhibits a dense purple color with a brilliant red rim. Aromatically the wine offers a smorgasbord of red fruit characters: plums, dark cherry preserves, and dried cranberries. Underlying these are more mature aromas of dried flowers, balsamic and fruitcake. Open and inviting, his vintage is notable for its silky, succulent entry, lovely weight, resolved tannin, ripe red fruit flavors, and long finish. With only a modest maturation in new French Oak, purity and clarity of aromatic expression characterize this elegant blend of the series M Malbecs, Merlots, and Cabernets from our Vilafonte Vineyard.
23) Ransom Auxerrois 2016: $19.99 Auxerrois is a little-known grape grown almost exclusively in Alsace. The key word here is “almost” because the Sunnyside Vineyard has some of the few plantings outside of Alsace alongside its Riesling and Gewurztraminer. 2016 was a warm vintage but ended with some cool summer nights, allowing the Auxerrois to develop beautiful fruit flavors while maintaining its natural acidity. Made from a combination of whole cluster and de-stemmed grapes followed by a short amount of skin contact pre-fermentation, the wine is bright and slightly cloudy in the glass. Aromas of honey, pear juice, golden apples, and luscious green melon lead into flavors of starfruit, kiwi, with hints of savory green herbs. A touch of mushroom and blossoming field flowers round out the complex palate and long finish.
24) Trione River Road Ranch Pinot Noir 2016, Russian River Valley: $39.99 Wine Advocate, 90 Points “Pale to medium ruby-purple colored, the 2015 Pinot Noir River Road Ranch opens with notes of crushed black cherries, mulberries and raspberry tart with a wonderfully spicy undercurrent of cinnamon toast and allspice notions. Medium to full-bodied, it gives a lovely savory character in the mouth with soft tannins and background acid, finishing with all those spices coming through. 1,269 cases produced.”
25) Lucien Lardy Beaujolais Blanc 2018: $19.99 Domaine Lucien Lardy is a small-scale, artisanal wine producer, practicing responsible farming. All wines are hand harvested, estate produced, natural wines. A third generation winemaker, Lucien Lardy cultivates some of the best plots of vineyards in Fleurie and throughout Beaujolais. His vineyards are very old and carefully tended, divided between the cru villages of Fleurie, Morgon and Moulin á Vent. Just 2% of all of Beaujolais is planted to Chardonnay- in this case the vines average 60 +years of age and are vinified in all stainless steel after completing full malolactic fermentation. . The result is a pure and concentrated take on Chardonay- with richness inherent to the varietal and the clean minerality of its terroir unencumbered by oak. Responsible farming, Hand harvested, Estate produced. Natural wines.
26) Jean Baptiste Duperray Glou Glou 2019: $16.99 Father & Son partners practice sustainable farming on their vineyards throughout Beaujolais. These grapes from come 45 year old vines planted in silt and clay. These wines are fermented whole cluster at a cool temperature before aging for 5 months in cement. The result is bright and fresh fruit- great with a chill for the Charleston Heat. ** The French word glou-glou, semi-obscure for as long as anyone can remember, has now—for better or for worse—crossed over into international wine parlance. A glou is what Anglophones call a “glug”; a wine that is glou-glou is one that invites glugging:)
27) Pascal Aufranc Chenas Vignes de 1939, 2018: $20.99 The smallest and rarest of the Crus, the name Chénas refers to the ancient oak forests that once covered the hillsides. This is also the coolest Cru and the last to start harvest each year grown at the highest altitudes of the region. This estate, way off the beaten track, is located on the En Remont hill at 350 meters high. This wine comes from very old vines planted in the 1930’s on steep slopes surrounded by fields and trees, and are interference free from neighboring cultivating practices Appropriately, the wines often have a ‘woodsy’ quality, but it has rich red fruit and their floral notes of rose and iris, plus silky tannins.
28) Pascal Berthier Saint Amour ‘ Esprit Seduction’ 2018: $24.99 Saint-Amour is the most northerly Cru, as well as one of the smallest. Designated as a Cru in 1946, Saint-Amour is known today as the most romantic Beaujolais of all. This wine comes from 50+ year old vines planted in granitic sand. Partial destemming of the grapes depending on their conditions, maceration for 10 days with control of temperature to preserve fruity notes and a nice aromatic before aging for 9 months in cement. Firm and structured, this rich wine also has considerable tannins. Its solid structure, touches of minerality and youthful acidity make this a serious competitor to their more Northern cousins in Burgundy.29) Domaine Laurent Gauthier Morgon Grands Cras 2018: $21.99 The second largest of the Crus, Morgon is comprised of six climats, all with slightly different styles. Their unifying feature is the decomposed schist soil called roches pourries or “rotted rocks” and locals believe this contributes to the ripe cherry aromas found in all the wines. Laurent and his sons both born in Morgon take incredible pride in their work. This wine comes from the ‘Grands Cras’ located in the South of Morgon famous for its blue granite. The 70+ year old vines planted are planted in compacted volcanic ashes and decomposed blue granite this imparts a seriousness to the wines. Each year they destem between 30-80% of the grapes, depending on the season and harvest conditions before a two week maceration and aging in old Beaujolais Foudres.