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Crazy good deals! Close outs! Incredible savings!

1)   Rodney Strong Symmetry 2013, Alexander Valley:  $47  ($60 at one of the largest retailers in the nation!)  Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate 91 pts.  Lastly, the 2013 Symmetry is a Bordeaux blend of 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec and 4% Merlot. This is a suave, supple-textured wine with sweeter tannin, more forward personality, and loads of red and black currant fruit as well as some licorice and underbrush. It is a beauty. Medium to full-bodied and very elegant, this wine was aged 16 months in 100% French oak prior to being bottled. Drink it over the next 12-15 years.

2)   Sidebar Kerner 2014, Mokelumne River, Central Valley, CA:  $26  WE 90 pts.  A fresh, citrus like aroma and crisp flavors of grapefruit, white peach and fennel bulb make an interesting assemblage for this dry, light-bodied wine. Good, fresh acidity keeps the texture lively, and will help make it a versatile wine to pair with food. This bottling comes from the only California planting of this German grape varietal.

3)  Arbios Cabernet Sauvignon 2013, Alexander Valley:  $30.99  Great price!  Gold Medal 2017 North Coast Wine Challenge   “90 points – opens with a fragrant black currant, mint and blueberry bouquet.  On the palate, this wine is full boded, slightly acidic and rich.  The flavor profile is a ripe black currant and black licorice blend with notes of cedar plank.  I also detected hints of red plum, minerality & black cherry.  The finish is dry and its moderate tannins are well managed”  Ken’s Wine Guide May 14, 2017

4)  Praxis Viognier 2016, Sonoma County:  $20.99  Silver Medal 2017 Sonoma-Marin Fair, Bronze Medal 2017 Sonoma County Harvest Fair “We have been making Viognier for more than a decade.  Bill loves the body and flavors of this white wine varietal – and prefers to make it in a European style.  Our Viognier is crisp, dry and full bodied with a lingering finish of ripe fruit.  To retain the purest expression of the grapes, the wine was fermented in stainless steel with no oak contact.  Bill leaves the wine on lees for two months to achieve a slightly creamy mouthfeel. The color is pale straw with hints of green.  Light, fragrant floral notes rise from the glass followed by citrus flowers and gardenia.  Rich flavors of melon, lychee and guava are present immediately, while white stone fruit is more apparent on the palate as the wine opens.  The round smooth body of the wine is accented by crisp acidity and a clean finish.”

5)   Praxis Pinot Noir 2015, Sonoma Coast:  $23  Gold Medal 2017 North Coast Wine Challenge, 94 points  “Nice; silky; classic New World Pinot Noir; delicious”, Gold Medal 2017 New World Intl. Wine Competition 95 points, Silver Medal 2017 Sonoma County Harvest Fair  “Praxis is derived from the Greek word for practice as a doctor or lawyer would practice.  In our Praxis wines, Bill Arbios, owner & winemaker can hone his craft of winemaking. Since launching the label, we have also found that it is a moon of the Klingon home planet on Star Trek and a verb for domination in an on-line vampire game.  The vineyard for this 100% Pinot Noir is from the Southern end of the Sonoma Coast appellation – West of the town of Sonoma at the border of the Carneros appellation where the cool climatic conditions of San Pablo Bay influence growth and ripening. The color is ruby red with garnet highlights.  Raspberry, cherry and mushroomy earth notes fill the glass along with violet and vanilla scents.  Flavors of cranberries, raspberries, red currants and plums are complemented by a hint of allspice.  The wine is soft, balanced and alluring with bright acidity and rich velvety mouthfeel.”

6) Praxis Merlot 2014, Alexander Valley:  $22  Double Gold Medal 2017 Sonoma County Harvest Fair, Silver Medal 2017 Orange County Fair, Silver Medal 2017 Sonoma-Marin Fair Competition  “The grapes for this wine come from a vineyard on a rise in the heart of Alexander Valley – the same vineyard that we have used for over a decade.  Bill likes the drainage that the slight elevation gives.  After picking and de-stemming, the grapes are lightly crushed; the wine is pumped over during fermentation and left until dry.  The Merlot was aged about 2 years in American oak barrels from Wisconsin chosen for the extreme tightness of their grain; one third of the barrels are new every year.  Classic deep purple in color with red highlights.  Rose petal, violet, cherry and plum aromas are accented by notes of cedar and toasted coconut.  Black cherry, fig and blueberry flavors are complemented by a hint of vanilla and spice on the finish.  This juicy, plush wine has a lingering finish with soft, medium tannins and firm acidity.”

7)   Picayune Cellars Gatekeeper Red Blend 2015:  $26.79  This bright and sunshine filled wine is bursting with generous ripe red fruit and spices. The vibrant fruit flavors are complemented by hints of wild flowers and mouthwatering grilled sausage. Enjoy this flamboyant and generous wine on its own or paired with summer grilled meat, truffle pasta or whatever inspires you.  Appellation: 67% Amador County – 33% Lake County.  Varietal: 54% Mourvedre 33% Grenache 13% Syrah.

8)  The Supernatural Sauvignon Blanc 2014, Hawkes Bay:  $22  If you think you’re not a fan of New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc because it’s too one dimensional and way too citrusy, then this wine will change your mind about New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc!  This is from the upper peninsula, a region known as Hawkes Bay.  Very similar to Bordeaux!  And so the wines are big, mineraly, good acid, just yummy!  91 Lisa Perrotti-Brown – Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate  The 2014 The Supernatural has a beautiful, ripe Sauvignon Blanc nose of pink grapefruit, guava, ginger, honey drizzled pears and orange blossom. The palate delivers a lovely satiny texture and tons of citrus and ginger laced flavors with a lively acid backbone and very long finish. I look forward to seeing how this cellars!  “The Supernatural (the name refers to the estate’s viticultural practices) is farmed organically, vinified naturally and estate grown.

9)  Sonoma-Cutrer Pinot Noir 2014, Russian River Valley:  $29.79  WE 91 pts.  A bright, lovely layering of cherry and strawberry strikes first, before a jolt of rose perfume finds its complement in an earthy lilt of salt and forest. Sandalwood enhances the intrigue and complexity of this medium-bodied wine.

10)  Hunt & Harvest Cabernet Sauvignon 2016, Napa Valley:  $32.99  The nose is layered with red, blue and black berry fruits and rounded out by brambly blackcurrant and a touch of charred oak. The palate is fruit forward, supple in the mid and finishes with long soft tannins. Aging in 25% new French oak adds a sweet lick of vanilla to the finish.

11)  Reserve des Bertrands Elegance Rose 2017, Cotes de Provence:  $18.99  In color, this could be a white wine with just the faintest hint of pink when seen against a white surface. Luckily, the fruit is still there, offering flavors of tangy orange and red currant. It has pepper and spice as well as final refreshing acidity. Drink now.  Cinsault, Grenache.

12)  Chateau Pesquie Terrasses Vendoux 2015, Rhone Valley:  $14.99  On deal while supplies last!  Wine Advocate 92  “A smoking good 2015 that readers should snatch up is the 2015 Cotes du Ventoux Cuvee des Terrasses, which is 60% Grenache and 40% Syrah that’s aged in a combination of two- to four-year-old barrels and foudres. Medium to full-bodied, polished, silky and with no hard edges, it has classic Southern Rhone notes of Provencal spices, garrigue, licorice and ripe black raspberries. Buy a case and drink bottles over the coming 5-6 years.”

13)  Steele Stymie Founder’s Reserve Syrah 2014, Lake County:  $29.99  Great price!  Oak and spice components fill the aroma. The flavors are rich and concentrated, making this a big yet seductive wine. Layered and complex, this full-bodied wine is well supported by fine, velvety tannins.

14)  Sandhi Chardonnay 2015, Santa Barbara County:  $23.99   “The fruit for this bottling comes from our sites in the Sta. Rita Hills, Santa Maria and Santa Ynez appellations. The average age of most of the vines is over 30 years old from specific parcels of Wente selection that we are lucky to access. We are pleased with this entry-level offering because it is a great introduction to the style of our wines. It will always have pretty aromas of citrus flowers and fruit notes of limes and lemons along with toasty notes from oak. On the palate it will have good structure and plenty of restraint and balance making it a very food-friendly and approachable wine.”

15)  Frank Family Cabernet Sauvignon 2014, Napa:  $44  ($55 online, $48.97 at one of the largest retailers in the nation with no further discounts.  Premium Reward members get an extra 10% off at Sauer Grapes!)  A classic Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon, this wine shows its Rutherford base with bountiful aromas of cocoa, red currant, cinnamon and blackberry; full bodied with moderate tannins and a long finish, the wine sings with flavors of chocolate, kirsch, and eucalyptus.

16)  Robert Mondavi Maestro 2014:  $39.79  On deal!  Tasting Panel 92 pts.  Named for the opening of Robert Mondavi’s To Kalon Cellar in 2000, when the man himself threw a huge “cellar-bration” featuring a commissioned chamber-orchestra piece aptly named “Ode to To Kalon.” It was there that Mr. Mondavi leapt to his feet to lead the music. As a tribute to the pioneering Maestro of Napa Valley’s success, this wine—a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc and 2% each of Merlot and Petit Verdot—offers up a meaty nose of deep, dark chocolate-covered strawberries. Flavors of tobacco, soil, slate, tar and olives go long on gritty tannins, and with a wave of the baton, it finishes on a high note of lilacs and caramel-coated coffee bean.

17)  Browne Family Vineyards Petit Verdot 2013, Columbia Valley:  $34  “For the second straight vintage, veteran Walla Walla winemaker John Freeman has earned our top rating for the stately Petit Verdot bottled under the name of his boss – Precept Wine CEO Andrew Browne. The work, once again, starts at Canyon Vineyard Ranch  near Prosser, Wash., followed by 22 months in a program dominated in new French oak. That combination yields a theme of inky blueberry, black currant and plum with dusty rose petal elegance, smoky white pepper and raisin bran dust. And while there’s power to the tannins, that structure shows itself as espresso grounds with a finish of pomegranate, bittersweet chocolate and leather. Suggested pairings range from venison, elk or goat to an Oliva Serie G cigar.  Great Northwest Wine.

18)  Salentein Numina Gran Corte 2012, Valle de Uco:  $39.99  Wine Spectator 90 pts.  Buoyant acidity powers the dark currant and kirsch flavors, along the smoky paprika accents. Black olive and beefy notes emerge on the powerful finish. Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. Drink now through 2018. 3,080 cases made.

19)  Le Guaite di Noemi Valpolicella Ripasso 2008:  $51.99  The nose is the intense complex with a very very ripe fruit and hint of balsamic.  On the tongue is a very balanced with wide notes of red berries, ripe cherries, plums and red fruits. The color is ruby ​​red with a classic touch of garnet.  The wine is stored in French barriques for 30 months, then 6 months on steel tank and finally 2 years in bottle before it is released for sale.  Corvina 35%, Corvinione 35%, Rondinella 20%, and 10% local grapes.

20)  Le Guate di Noemi Rosso Veronese 2011:  $24.99  The bouquet is quite intense, complex and fine, fruity and grassy.  The taste is dry, fresh, tannic, tasty, balanced, full and recalls cherries in alcohol.  Corvina 35%, Rondinella 20%, Corvinone 35%, other grapes 10% (Oseleta and Coatina).

21)  Sanford Pinot Noir Sanford & Benedict Vineyard 2013, Santa Rita Hills:  $68  WE 93 pts.  From the producer’s iconic and historic vineyard comes this classic bottling, with red cherries, crushed brick, anise, tart plum skin, candied rose water and even a touch of tobacco on the nose. It’s crisp and fresh on the sip, where more flavors of red cherry and anise meet with thyme and bay leaf.

And the 2017 roses are starting arrive!  Here is one of the big favorites from last year:

22)  Puech-Haut Rose Prestige 2017, Saint Drezery:  $20  While considerably less than 50% of the blend of the Prestige Rose, Cinsaut makes its presence felt through the vivacious fruit and perfume of this wine. The remainder is Grenache – a fitting companion as both these grapes have a long history in the Languedoc and complement each other quite well. The pale color comes from the gentle pressing of these grapes right after harvest rather than by maceration on the skins.

23)  Diving into Hampton Water Rose 2017, France:  $22.99  Music icon Jon Bon Jovi and legendary French winemaker Gérard Bertrand have joined forces to launch this rosé wine label. The venture was inspired by Bon Jovi’s son who played a role in the brand’s creation. They were eventually introduced to Bertrand by a mutual friend and the three developed a shared vision in uniting the essence of the relaxed lifestyles of the Hamptons and the South of France.The wine is described as a fresh and lively rosé, with distinctive minerality, featuring grenache, cinsault and mourvèdre.

24)  Marc Mondavi’s The Divining Rod Divine Red 2015, Lodi:  $10.79  Deal price!  Aromas of blackberry, cedar and cinnamon. The blackberry and black pepper flavors are complemented by hints of plum and cassis, giving the wine zip and a kick. New French oak adds a pleasant mouth feel, texture and weight giving the right amount of influence to envelop the wine in a fitting tannic structure and a long finish that preserves the integrity and brightness of the Lodi fruit.  A great pairing with pulled pork in spicy tomato-based sauce, BBQ ribs, hot wings and chipotle-spiked chili.  Blend: 56% Zinfandel, 24% Petite Sirah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon.

25)  Caraccioli Cellars Pinot Noir 2011, Santa Lucia Highlands, Limited Production:  $46  Rich violet and dark ruby. Raspberry, blueberry, blackberry, dark cassis, black cherry with cola hints. Big rich mouth feel, intense blue fruit, velvety texture with acidity throughout with slightly tannic on the finish.

26)  Boen Pinot Noir 2016, Santa Lucia Highlands:  $26.99  Aromas of wild herb and earthy tones intermingled with blueberry pie, plum and a hint of toasty barrel spice. On the palate, the wine shows dark currant, black cherry and ripe plum.

27) Boen Pinot Noir 2016, Santa Maria Valley:  $26.99  The Santa Maria Valley is the second oldest appellation in California and the northern most appellation in Santa Barbara County. It is also one of the most interesting and diverse agricultural regions in North America.  Rich, dark garnet in color. Notes of cherries, strawberries and blackberries layered with hints of cola and caramel. Intense and mouth-filling palate with flavors of cherry, crème de cassis and berry pie complemented by supple acidity and firm tannins to carry through to a long, lingering finish.

28)  Vineyard 29 Cru 2015, Napa Valley:  $53.99  Great price!  $62.99 at one of the largest retailers in the nation!  92 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate  “Deep garnet-purple colored, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon Cru delivers a wonderfully plumy, baked cherry and mulberry-laced nose with hints of cinnamon, cloves, bay leaves and chocolate box. Medium to full-bodied, it offers a great intensity of ripe black fruit and spicy layers, with a grainy backbone and great freshness, finishing long. (LBP) 92+ “ (12/2017)