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1)   Tornatore Etna Bianco 2016:  $22.99 Suggested retail: $30  Wine Enthusiast 93 pts. 2017 Top 100, #60!  A few swirls of the glass release this white’s heady stone fruit, Spanish broom and Mediterranean brush aromas. Mirroring the nose, the vibrant palate delivers green apple, lemon, tangerine and white peach flavors framed by crisp acidity. It has nice length and a hint of ginger that caps the finish.  100% Carricante.

2)   Bear Flag Zinfandel 2016, Sonoma County:  $25.79 Tasting Panel 93 pts. Based on a California Republic Proclamation from 1846, this wine offers a nod to Sonoma’s place in history. It was the location for the Bear Flag Revolt, a fight for Californian independence. We see this as a great representation from one of the state’s best growing regions for this variety. With 78% Zinfandel, 9% Petite Sirah, 6% Teroldego, 5% Malbec, and 2% other varieties, the majority of the fruit hails from Dry Creek Valley. With classic Zin aromas of peppered nettle and blueberry tart, the palate is rich, dense, and forward. This plucky Zin shows brightness, with a rustic, textured mouthfeel.

3)   Saintsbury Sangiacomo Green Acres Chardonnay 2014:  $45.79 WE 92 pts. Dark golden color gives way to a taste of yellow apple, pear and a touch of ginger spice, with the midpalate mellow and veering on rich. A punch of guava and lime is accented in vibrant acidity on the lingering finish.

4)   Saint Clair Family Estate Sauvignon Blanc 2017, Marlborough:  $23 Tropical notes of passionfruit, guava and blackcurrant combine with nettle and subtle chalky mineral notes. A rich full palate of tropical flavors including passionfruit guava and blackcurrant, leads to a long, mineral finish.

5)   Smoking Gun Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, St. Helena, Napa:  $49 WE 91 pts. Perfumed lavender opens the way to a softly layered, structured wine that’s medium bodied and restrained in tone. Cassis and red cherry are matched by bright, lingering acidity that provides a welcome succulence through-out.

6)  Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay 2016, Santa Lucia Highlands:  $24 WW 90 pts. “I have tasted nearly every vintage of Mer Soleil since the wines were first produced in the early 1990s, and the wines are amazingly consistent. The 2016 Mer Soleil Reserve Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay is just I expect it to be.  This wine offers ripe citrus and plenty of creamy oak in its aromas and flavors. Its rich palate invites a pairing of lobster in a cream sauce.” (Tasted: July 18, 2018, San Francisco, CA)

7)   Nicolas Maillart Platine Extra Brut:  $48 WE 92 pts. With vines on the Montagne de Reims, this producer has a good line in Pinot Noir, which forms 85% of the blend. The wine is rich while well balanced and ripe. Now with just the right amount of bottle aging, it is full in the mouth, showing attractive apple and ripe pear flavors. The aftertaste is soft and fresh.

8)   Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa:  $79.79 Pretty aromas of ripe boysenberry, dark cherry and cassis, coupled with scents of sweet oak and herbal spice, introduce plush, deeply concentrated, black fruit flavors bolstered by bright acidity and well-structured tannins. This classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon boasts a long, lovely finish featuring savory fruit, spice and mineral tones. Delicious now, it will age gracefully in bottle for another 7-10 years.  Blend: 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc

9)   Chateau Simone Palette Rose 2016:  $69 As befits such a singular estate, Chateau Simone’s Palette Rosé transcends the category itself. Whereas, nearly every other rosé entering the market this upcoming season is from the just-harvested 2016 growing season, we will be premiering Simone’s 2015. And those who know the wine know that it can age and improve effortlessly for a decade.  It is primarily composed of Grenache and Mourvèdre but its special character reflects the presence of a mélange other grape varieties, albeit in small proportion, including Cinsault, Syrah, Carignan, Cabernet Sauvignon, Castet, Manosquin, Théoulier, Tibouren, Picpoul Noir and Muscat de Hambourg.

10)  Idlewild The Flower- Flora & Fauna Rose 2017, Mendocino:  $24.99 Composed on an unusual blend of fifty-one percent Dolcetto, twenty-five percent Nebbiolo and twenty-four percent Barbera. The wine is a fairly deep rosé color and offers up a fairly complex nose of cherry skin, wood smoke, a touch of blood orange, lovely soil tones and a top note of dried rose petals. On the palate the wine is full bodied, balanced and nicely vinous in style, with a good core, good framing acids and fine length and grip on the focused finish. There is almost a whisper of backend tannin here, which really works nicely with food.

11)  Maxville Cabernet Franc 2014, Napa:  $54 Suggested retail: $67 WE 90 pts.  Rounded in texture, this wine boasts a juicy mid-palate and well-integrated oak tones. Cigar, tar, cranberry, currant and a pleasing bouquet of violet give it lingering character and a lasting impression.

12)  Duckhorn Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, Napa:  $49.99 ($62.99 at one of the largest retailers in the nation!)  Beginning with a gorgeous nose of boysenberry, cherry, strawberry, cedar, sage, and licorice, this lush and lively Cabernet captures the rich diversity of Napa Valley. On the palate, the alluring fruit flavors are underscored by bright acidity, firm polished tannins, and notes of fig, licorice, and cinnamon that linger on the well-structured finish.  Blend: 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 6% Petit Verdot, 2% Cabernet Franc.

13)  Paraduux Proprietary Red 2015:  $34 ($39.99 at one of the largest retailers in the nation!)  On the nose, this aromatic wine displays inviting layers of black raspberry and blackberry pie, along with notes of cinnamon stick, vanilla bean and a touch of brown sugar. The lush fruit character continues on the palate where rich currant and cherry flavors are supported by bright acidity and velvety tannins that draw the wine to a silky, berry and spice finish.  Blend: 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Merlot, 16% Zinfandel, 11% Petit Verdot.

14)  Joseph Carr Chardonnay 2016, Carneros:  $18.79 The bouquet is intensely aromatic and features notes of ripe peach and lemon. Flavors of toffee and almonds emerge on the palate, bolstered by lively acidity, a creamy mouthfeel, and a long finish.

15)  Quinto do Crasto Douro DOC 2015 Reserva:  $42.79 94 points Wine Spectator “Powerful, rich and refined, with a lithe mouthfeel and flavors of boysenberry, sandalwood, macerated cherry and damson plum. Very minerally as well, featuring loads of spicy notes on the well-structured, lingering finish.”

16)  Quinto do Crasto Flor de Crasto Douro 2016:  $12.79 Flor de Crasto red wine is deep ruby in color with red fruit aromas (raspberries and plums). It is balanced and quite fruity on the palate. It also shows good structure and light tannins which make it an incredibly pleasant wine.

17)  Quinto do Crasto Superiore Douro DOC 2015:  $25.99 93 Points and 25th in Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2015 – “Well-crafted and suave, with refined flavors of raspberry tart, red plum and cherry pastry, matched to cardamom and savory spice notes. Silky tannins and a plush, creamy finish offer chocolate mousse accents. Drink now through 2022.” – Kim Marcus 35% Touriga Nacional, 35% Touriga Francesa, 20% Tinta Roriz, 5% Souzao, 5% Old Vines.