Richard Stetler's Fine Wines & Tastings

The Best Cellar  *  New Location - June 1, 2009 - 1408 NE 26th St..  *  Wilton Manors, FL  *  33305
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Wine Tasting - October 9 ~ 10, 2020

2017 Mathews Blackboard Red Wine (Washington State)
92 points, James Suckling: Very pretty plums and cherries with some orange-peel and chocolate character. Medium to full body, round yet fine tannins and a flavorful finish. Blends from 3 Washington AVAs - Columbia Valley, Red Mountain, and Walla Walla Valley. Varietal blend of 55% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc, 1% Syrah and 1% Malbec. Drink now.

2017 Duckhorn Merlot (Napa Valley, CA)
92 points, James Suckling: A nicely crafted red with berries, plums and hints of dark chocolate on the nose and palate. Medium body, creamy tannins and a savory finish. Pretty fruit at the end. Drink or hold.

2017 Matthews Claret (Washington Estate)
91 points, James Suckling: Lots of crushed blueberries with chocolate and hints of vanilla. Medium to full body. Creamy tannins. opulent, yummy and plush with a flavorful finish. Bordeaux blend of 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 24% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 4% Malbec and 3% Petit Verdot. Highly selected from best small plots in 3 vineyards. Aged for 18 months in 45% new French oak barrels. Only the best tasting 81 barrels went into the final blend.

2017 Tuck Beckstoffer Mad Hatter (Napa, California)
92 points, James Suckling: Tobacco and blueberry aromas, as well as violets and cassis. The palate has impressive tannin structure with good carry and balance. Plenty of blueberry, plum and chocolate flavors on offer. Blends 67% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Sirah, 3% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. Drink or hold.

2015 Viticcio Chianti Classico Reserva
95 points, Wine Spectator: Intense aromas of black currant, blackberry, flint, iron, tar and black pepper mark this powerful red, which is vibrant and solidly tannic, yet all the components are in the right place. There's terrific energy on the lingering aftertaste of dark fruit and mineral.

Wine Tasting - July 10 ~ 11, 2020

2017 Maritana Hudson Hill Vineyards Chardonnay (Russian River, CA)
95 points, James Suckling: Very subtle and complete with cooked lemons and apples and a complement of straw and gunpowder. Full-bodied, deep and layered with an ever attractive finish of fruit and minerals. Why wait? Drink now.

2016 Montinore Pinot Noir Reserve  (Willamette Valley, Oregon)
90 points, Wine Advocate: Pale to medium ruby-purple with a black cherries and blackberries nose with accents of wood smoke, dusty earth, cola, clove and underbrush. It's medium-bodied with firm, grainy tannins and good freshness to lift the black fruits, finishing long with spice and earth notions.

2018 Orin Swift 8 Years in the Desert (Napa, CA)
92 points, Wine Advocate: Blends 53% Zinfandel, 23% Syrah, 20% Petite Sirah, and 4% Grenache. Aged for eight months in American oak barrels 37% new. Deep garnet-purple colored, roars out of the glass with notions of baked black cherries, raspberry preserves, blueberry tart and potpourri plus hints of garrigue, tobacco leaf and cinnamon stick. Full-bodied, the richly fruited palate has a pleasantly chewy texture and loads of savory layers coming through the finish.

2018 Orin Swift Abstract (CA)
92 points, Wine Advocate: Aged for eight months in oak 27% new, 57% was French oak. Blends Petite Sirah, Syrah, Grenache and Cabernet Sauvignon. Deep garnet-purple colored, it offers up bombastic notions of crushed black cherries, warm plums and blueberry compote with hints of dried herbs, spice box and new leather. Full-bodied, the palate explodes with rich, ripe black and blue berry preserves and a velvety texture, finishing long and vibrant.

2015 ChateauRauzan Segla Margaux (Bordeaux, France)
92 points, James Suckling:
Very fresh and bright with strawberry, mineral and flower aromas that follow through to a medium body, fine and polished tannins and a fresh and clean finish. Harmonious. Beautiful second wine. Hard not to drink now. 54% Cabernet Sauvignon, 41% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc.

Wine Tasting - July 3 ~ 4, 2020 

2017 Forge Cellars Dry Riesling Classique (Seneca Lake, Finger Lakes, New York)
91 points, Wine Spectator: Jasmine and mustard seed notes lead the way here, backed by a mix of yellow apple, mirabelle plum and citrus oil flavors. Good intensity through the finish.

2018 Mont Gravet 100% Cinsault Rose (South West France)
Winery Notes:
A wonderfully fresh and fruit forward dry Rosé wine, with lovely aromas of raspberry and blackberry. Full bodied and long on the palate.

2017 Quinta de la Rosa(Douro, Portugal)
90 points, Wine Enthusiast:  Produced mainly from a vineyard with 30-year-old vines, this wood-aged wine follows in the fine tradition of the estate with elegance showing as well as intense black fruits and acidity. Has the full bodied richness for aging, with its fruitiness still right to the fore. Blends Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Roriz and Sousão.

2017 Black Bird Vineyards Aerena Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Hills, Lake County, CA)
Winery Notes: Not afraid to show its true Cabernet core, has enticing aromas of blackberry with hints of black licorice and graphite. Rich, concentrated notes of plum and black cherry on the mid palate leading to layers of dark chocolate with soft tannins that finish with cocoa and vanilla.

2016 La Jota Howell Mountain Cabernet Franc (Napa, CA)
97 Points, Wine Advocate: Deep garnet-purple colored. 100% Cabernet Franc. Exuberant bramble fruits, baked raspberries, mulberries and wild blueberries with suggestions of pencil shavings, kirsch, rose hip tea and tobacco leaf. Full-bodied and with a very firm frame of ripe, grainy tannins. Has wonderful perfume and depth, finishing long and mineral laced. Drink through 2044.

Wine Tasting - June 26 ~ 27, 2020 

2018 Haut-Blanville Chardonnay Reserve (Pays d'Oc, South France)
Winemaker Notes: Aromatic suggestions of ripe fruit and baked apples invade the senses. The  palate is bright, exhibiting floral notes that converge with a hint of  spice and a decadence that should develop further with time. This  Reserve Chardonnay is harmonious from beginning to end with a precise  elegance and balanced acidity.

2014 Finca Museum Tempranillo Reserva
89 points, Wine Enthusiast:  Earth, oak and cherry aromas introduce this burly Tempranillo. It's heavy on the palate, with hard, grippy tannins and ripe flavors of berries, black plums and oak. A raisiny note lingers on the finish.

2016 Raats Cabernet Franc, Stellenbosch, South Africa
5 Stars out of 5, John Platter Wine Guide: Off low-yield decomposed granite soils; shows why Raats leads pack of Cab Franc exponents in South Africa. Extremely expressive with black olive, under brush, mulberry and aromatic baking spices. Oak aged 15 months in French oak, 25% new.

2016  Hickinbotham Trueman Cabernet Sauvignon (McLaren Vale, South Australia)
94 points Wine Advocate: An inky purple super Cabernet Sauvignon, with classic aromas of pencil shavings and cassis on the nose, that delivers rich waves of velvety but structured fruit on the full-bodied palate. It's perhaps a bit too monolithic, but it's a young wine and should add layers of complexity with enough time in the cellar. Not unapproachable now, but probably won't fully hit its stride for at least five years and then be drinkable for at least a decade more.

2014 Galerie Latro Cabernet (Knights Valley, Sonoma, CA)
94 points Wine Advocate: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon aged 20 months in two-thirds new French oak before being bottled unfined and unfiltered. Has a touch of roasted Provençal herbs in it, with some white chocolate and terrific blackcurrant intensity intermixed with a hint of graphite. Full-bodied, opulent and flamboyant. A beauty to drink over the next 15 or so years.

Wine Tasting - June 19 ~ 20, 2020 

2017 Maritana Chardonnay La Riviere(Russian River Valley, CA)
95 points, James Suckling: Very subtle and complete with cooked lemons and apples and a complement of straw and gunpowder. Full-bodied, deep and layered with an ever attractive finish of fruit and minerals. Ageworthy and enjoyable on release.

2017 Lafage Tessellae GSM (Roussilion, South France) 92 points, Jeb Dunnuck.An Old Vine blend of 50% Grenache, 40% Syrah, and 10% Mourvèdre, fermented mostly in concrete. Blackberries, kirsch, spice, incense, dried flowers, and baking spice notes all flow to a full-bodied, gorgeously texture effort. Another gem from this team.

2017 Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa, CA)
92 points, Wine Spectator: Made from riper grapes, with a vivid beam of creamed plum, açaí and boysenberry fruit flavors, glistening with vanilla-accented toast through a polished finish. Aimed squarely at the hedonist crowd. Drink now through 2022. Owned and made by Joseph Wagner in the Caymus Vineyards family.

2015 BV Tapestry Reserve (Napa, CA)
92 points, Wine Advocate: Blends 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot, aged for 22 months in a 60% new oak mix of French, American and Hungarian oak. Deep garnet purple color,  a quite a toasty nose, giving way to a beautiful perfume of roses and lilacs with a core of cassis, redcurrant jelly and blackberry tart plus a touch of cedar chest. Full, velvety and seductive, layers of perfumed red and black fruit, very long finish.

2015 Viticcio Chianti Classico Riserva (Tuscany, Italy)
95 points, Wine Spectator: Intense aromas of black currant, blackberry, flint, iron, tar and black pepper mark this powerful red, which is vibrant and solidly tannic, yet all the components are in the right place. Terrific energy on the lingering aftertaste of dark fruit and mineral. 90% Sangiovese, 5% Merlot, 5% Syrah.

Wine Tasting - June 12 ~ 13, 2020 

2017 Ponga Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough, New Zealand)
Winery Notes: Pale straw in appearance with brilliant clarity. Vibrant aromas of ripe citrus and tropical fruits on the nose lead into a refreshing palate full of white peach and grapefruit. The crisp and clean aromas are accented with chalky, mineral tones. A vibrant wine with great acid backbone and a deliciously satisfying finish.

2018 Domaine Sangouard-Guyot (Pouilly-Fuisse, Burgundy, France)
An excellent Chardonnay that is a fine follow up to the 92 point 2016 vintage. Cuvée Quintessence comes from Le Clos des Croux Vineyard, which is one of the best vineyards of Vergisson. The nose is complex and reveals so much about the personality of the wine. It shows aromas of citrus and gently toasted fruit. On the palate, a nice minerality perfectly balanced with the subtle toasty notes provided by the oak.

2015 Red Car Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast, California)
93 points, Wine Enthusiast: Delicate layers of raspberry and strawberry define this coastal wine, which is deliciously layered and lightly complex. Pomegranate and blood orange flavors give it an additional lift of freshness and focus within its restrained style.

2016 Barnett Estate Merlot Spring Mountain (Spring Mountain, California)
90 points, James Suckling:  From high altitude vineyards in Spring Mountain, Napa, California.  A beautiful deep dark purple Merlot.  Rich black plum, violets and fresh blackberries fill the glass. Further aromatics of cinnamon, white pepper and gravel pop out. Rich and lush, as expected from low yielding mountain Merlot. The palate is more blueberries and mocha, with beautifully integrated chalky tannins. The acidity is softer than previous years but still within balance alongside a lingering plum finish. A wonderfully lush Merlot that will age nicely over the next decade. 

2013 San Lorenzo Bramante Brunello (Brunello di Montalcino, Tuscany, Italy)
91 points, Wine Enthusiast:  Opens with aromas of black-skinned berry, tobacco and underbrush. The juicy polished palate delivers ripe black cherry, licorice, star anise and a hint of white pepper alongside fine-grained tannins.

Wine Tasting - June 5 ~ 6, 2020

2017 Daou Chardonnay Reserve (Paso Robles, CA)
93 points, Tasting Panel:  Aromas of honeyed pear and tangerine introduce this rich, mouth-filling white. The favor profile speaks to charred marshmallow, lemon drops, and crème brûlée. Decadently good.

2017 Flowers Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir
94 points, James Suckling:  Beautiful dark berries with ripe strawberries and hints of decadence and richness. Some meat, too. Full-bodied, dense and rich with tight and linear tannins. Needs a year or two to soften. Better in 2022.

2016 Finca Villacreces Pruno Ribero del Duero
92 points, Jeb Dunnuck:  A blend of 90% Tempranillo and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon that spent 12 months in used barrels. Offers loads of blackberries, black raspberries, toasted spice, and hints of oak as well as some graphite in a ripe, concentrated yet pure style. A beautiful wine, developing a touch of minerality with time in the glass, and has both richness and freshness.

2015 Izadi Rioja Reserva Tempranillo Spain
92 points, Jeb Dunnuck:  Ripe and undeniably sexy, this 100% Tempranillo boasts a deep purple/ruby color as well as complex notes of blueberries, vanilla, scorched earth, and earthy, herbal undertones. Rounded, layered, and concentrated on the palate, it has terrific purity, no hard edges, and loads of character, and it sells for a song. Drink any time over the coming 7-8 years.

2014 Ravenswood Teldeschi Zinfandel Dry Creek
95 points, Tasting Panel:  Wild berry, coffee and earth define the perfume arising from this single vineyard Zinfandel, which also blends in 19% Petite Sirah and 5% Carignane. Aged for 19 months in French oak, and boasting 15.1% alcohol this inky black wine is a zinphony of taste and texture. Creamy blackberry and anise adds weight and coats the tongue, while dark chocolate melts on a black pepper path.

Wine Tasting - March 11 ~ 14, 2020

2018 Angeline Russian River Pinot Noir, California
92 pts, J. Suckling: Aromas of plums, strawberries and hints of toasted oak and smoke. Medium to full body, creamy tannins and an attractive, bitter, smoky finish. Some citrus, too. 

2017 Catena Dom Nico "La Savante" Pinot Noir, Uco Valley, Argentina
95 pts, Wine Advocate:  I loved the elegance of the 2017 La Savante Pinot Noir, a pure Pinot Noir from Gualtallary, from the vineyard informally called El Mirador, in the monastery part of the appellation. I loved the flinty reduction and the Chambolle-like elegance of the wine. The palate revealed tons of chalky minerality and comes through as tasty, salty, elegant, insinuating and harmonious. I loved the nuance and subtleness here.  Domaine Nico is the world's first extreme high-altitude parcel of Pinot Noir and a labor of love for the Catena family.

2014 Meeker Handprint Merlot, Sonoma County, California
Winemaker Notes:  This 2014 Handprint Merlot is a classic. Dark fruit like currants and cherries marry on the nose with hints of toffee and caramel. The wine explodes on your palate with more cherries, and hints of the best strawberry rhubarb pie you've ever had. There's no shortage of subtle, toasty oak and big, powerful tannins throughout the palate and finish of this wine.

2014 Freemark Abbey Cabernet, Napa Valley, California
93 pts, J. Suckling:  This shows hot stones, ash, undertones of citrus, slate and oyster shell. Lots of blue fruit on the palate with licorice character to define the full body, tight yet grippy tannins and fruity yet minerally finish. 

2009 Puro Uno Quatro Limitado, Lujan De Cuyo, Mendoza, Argentina
Winemaker Notes:  Sourced from fruit out of the famous Lujan de Cuyo area of Mendoza, the 2009 Puro Uno Quadro Limitado is a blend of 48% Malbec, 21% Syrah, 18% Tempranillo and 13% Cabernet Sauvignon. Only around 600 cases of this wine produced. The aromatics offer a plethora of red fruits, currant, plum and cherry, accentuated with sweet spice, mocha and tobacco leaf. Medium full to fuller bodied, this has a nice mid palate suppleness giving this a smooth texture with finer grained, ripe tannins on the backend carried by good acidity that helps keep the fruit fresh. A nice spice component is interwoven into the fruit which comes through on the finish.

Wine Tasting - March 4 ~ 7, 2020

2018 Ler Charmel Rose Cotes de Provence
90 points, Ken's Wine Reviews: This pale pink colored wine opens with a fragrant watermelon, wet stone, and Maraschino cherry bouquet with a hint of strawberry. On the palate, this wine is medium bodied, slightly acidic and mouthwatering. The flavor profile is kind of tropical. It features, a mineral infused mild mango and tangerine blend with hints of banana. The finish is off-dry and lingers nicely. This Rose is a good value beach or pool wine. Serve is slightly chilled on a hot summer day.

2015 Wakefield Shiraz Clare Valley, Australia
90 points, Wine Enthusiast: This big luscious wine has lashings of black cherry, plum, chocolate, licorice, white pepper and dusting polish oak notes. Plush and juicy-fruited, with American-oak-derived spice, this could be drunk now with a burger in one hand, or cellared for up to ten years.

2015 Bodegas Renacer Milamore Red Blend
92 points, James Suckling: Aromas of dried strawberries, blueberries plums, and a hint of licorice. Full body, round and soft tannins and a powerful, fresh finish. 45% Malbec, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Bonarda, and 5% Cabernet Franc. 

2014 Kanonkop Cabernet Sauvignon
Winery Notes: A dense full bodied 100% Cabernet Sauvignon showing notes of supple blackcurrant, black plum, cedar wood and spice which follows on to the palate. The palate offers additional characteristics of pencil shavings, tea leaf and molasses, it's balanced with a good acidity and integrated ripe tannins. A lingering finish to complete a wine that will benefit from future bottle maturation of up to 20 years from vintage date.

2012 Puro Uno "Artist Series" Super Premium Malbec
Winemaker notes:  Working alongside Michel Rolland for nearly 15 years, Marcelo Pelleriti has progressed to  world-class master winemaker.  Frankie Baroudi with  his own style and finesse compliments Marcelo's fine work to finish  the blending process to his exacting standards, and Viola ... we introduce the MEGA Malbec Artist series from Puro  Uno.  Our new Mega Malbec Artist Series wines will  impress first with the art, but then will overwhelm with the abundant  fruit yet refined and perfectly balanced acidity and tannins. With over three years of aging in new French oak, in the  best cooperages available anywhere, using only  single vineyard fruit from 103 year old vines, these are no ordinary  wines.

Wine Tasting - February 26 ~ 29, 2020
Italian Fest

2017 Argiano Toscana Rosso Non Confunditur (Tuscany IGT)
93 points, James Suckling: A savory, spicy red with dark berries and chocolate and a hint of vanilla on the palate. Medium to full body, very chewy tannins and a flavorful finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah and Sangiovese.

2016 Tenuta di Arceno Chianti Classico Riserva (Chianti, Tuscany)
93 points, Wine Advocate: A nicely integrated and seamless wine with satisfying fullness and richness. A bouquet with black cherry covered in chocolate. The wine is thinner in the mouth, and the tannins make their presence known. But overall, a very streamlined construction. Pairs well with French onion soup. 90% Sangiovese and 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, aged in French barrique for 12 months.

2016 Poliziano Vino Nobile (Montepulciano, Italy)
92 points, Wine Spectator, #54 Top 100 of 2019: Bright black cherry, plum, earth, vanilla and toasty oak flavors are the hallmarks of this well-crafted red. Balanced but needs a few years to integrate more fully and extend the finish. Firm grip. 85% Prugnolo Gentile, 15% Colorino, Canaiolo & Merlot.

2013 Selvapiano Fornace (Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy)
93 points, Wine Spectator: Fragrant, this red exudes red berry, sweet smoke, rose hip and spice aromas and flavors. Quickly firms up in the manner of the linear 2013s, leaving a firm, long, smoke-infused aftertaste. 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc.

2015 Vajra Barolo Albe (Piedmont, Italy)
93 points, Wine Advocate: This Barolo offers a more immediate approach, with lots of dark berry followed by spice, tilled earth and black truffle. Pours to a medium dark color and lays out a mid-weight texture, with bright primary fruit that is expertly woven into the wine. Clear acidity and firm tannins.

2016 Vigna San Francesco Cabernet (Sicily, Italy)
94 points, Wine Advocate: Opening to a thick impenetrable appearance, a velvety and seductive wine glides over the palate with elegance and power. Blackberry, plum and dark prune segue to spice, tobacco and tar. There is a touch of rosemary essence, but basically this well-ripened Cabernet Sauvignon doesn't register the distracting aromas that distant past vintages had. Closes with a warm-vintage sweetness.

 2013 Tenuta Arceno Valadorna (Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy)
95 points Wine Advocate:  The Valadorna is yet another home run in this blockbuster collection of new releases from Tenuta di Arceno A firm and tightly knit expression that is packed tight with black fruit, tobacco, tar and dark chocolate. Enormous aromatic intensity, 74% Merlot, 13% Cab Sauvignon, 12% CabFranc, 1% Petit Verdot.

2013 Arceno Castelnuovo Arcanum Toscana (Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy)
96 points, Wine Advocate: 73% Cab Franc, 17% Merlot, 10% Cab Sauvignon.  Steely notes of black fruit are followed by wild sage and rosemary oil. A powerful red wine pushes the boundaries of extract and intensity. Maybe ten wines from the region can take on such a full-bodied and opulent approach. Will improve with age for years to come.


Wine Tasting - February 19 ~ 22, 2020

2018 Bodega Garzon Pinot Noir Rose (Maldonado, Uruguay)
92 points, Wilfred Wong of The Garzon wines are well worth further exploration, and not only the excellent Tannat. This Garzón Pinot Noir Rosé is on a par with the best pink wines in the world. Fresh and well-balanced, with aromas and flavors of bright strawberries and a shading of minerality,  A beautiful pairing choice with Japanese Sashimi - a delicacy of fresh raw fish or meat sliced into thin pieces, usually with soy sauce.

2009 Fort Ross Pinot Noir (Fort Ross Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, CA)
93 points, James Suckling: Super nose of leather, chili, shiitake mushroom, and berries. Full-bodied, with wonderfully focused tannins and spices. So refined and pretty. Gorgeous.

2013 Selvapiano Fornace (Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy)
93 points, Wine Spectator: Fragrant, this red exudes red berry, sweet smoke, rose hip and spice aromas and flavors. Quickly firms up in the manner of the linear 2013s, leaving a firm, long, smoke-infused aftertaste. 40% Merlot, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc.

2013 Tenuta Arceno Valadorna (Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy)
95 points Wine Advocate: The Valadorna is yet another home run in this blockbuster collection of new releases from Tenuta di Arceno in the southern part of Chianti Classico (Castelnuovo Berardegna). This is a firm and tightly knit expression that is packed tight with black fruit, tobacco, tar and dark chocolate. The wine shows enormous aromatic intensity, but then it slims down to just a touch in the mouth to offer an elegantly tapered finish. 74% Merlot, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc, 1% Petit Verdot.

2016 Brown Estate Vineyards Chaos Theory (Napa, CA)
93 points, Beverage Tasting Institute: Deep ruby color, smooth, and luscious, blended seamlessly. Rich, deep, and juicy with balance and complexity. 50% Merlot, 25% Petite Sirah, 25% Zinfandel.

Wine Tasting - February 12 ~ 15, 2020

2015 Bellingham Chenin Blanc Bernard Series Old Vines (Coastal Region, South Africa)
90 points, Wine Enthusiast: Lush and expressive, with forward notes of wood-grilled apple, buttered toast, caramel corn and honeydew on the nose and mouth. The mouthfeel is round and creamy, with ample acidity to cut the wine's weight and dense, rich flavors. Flavors of honeycomb and sweet spice hang on to the close. Drinkable any time.

2016 Copain Tous Ensemble Rose of Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley, CA)
Winery Notes: Staying true to Copain's philosophy of producing wines that emulate the French style of winemaking with lower alcohol and higher acid wines, vineyard were picked on the early side. This resulted in juice lower sugar levels, typically an average Brix of 20.7%. Additionally, the Pinot Noir grapes are sourced from handpicked lots.

2014 Finca Museum Reserva Tempranillo (Cigales, Spain)
89 points, Wine Enthusiast: Earth, oak and cherry aromas introduce this burly Tempranillo. It's heavy on the palate, with hard, grippy tannins and ripe flavors of berries, black plums and oak. A raisiny note lingers on the finish. Drink through 2024.

2013 Clos Du Bois Red Blend Marlstone Vineyard (Alexander Valley, Sonoma, CA)
Winery Notes: Inky black color with a ruby red hue, complex aromas of blackberry, black current, mocha, cedar, and hints of tobacco leaf. In the mouth, dense concentrated black fruit flavors of black cherry, blackberry and black current. The wine has a lush silky texture that finishes with round chewy tannins. Blends 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Merlot, 6% Petite Verdot, 5% Malbec, 2% Cabernet Franc.

2015 Slo Down Wines Love Hammer Cabernet (Napa, CA)
Winery Notes: Love Hammer brings the complete spectrum of Cabernet Sauvignon flavors that one would expect from small, hand-harvested, meticulously farmed vineyards in Napa. Powerful fruit tannins are softened by an explosion of flavors of brambly blackberry, and dark cherry. A subtle dash of new French and Hungarian oak barrels add structure as well as some notes of mocha, spice and tobacco.


Wine Tasting - February 5 ~ 8, 2020

 2017 Klinker Brick Old Vines Zinfandel Lodi
90 points, Wine Enthusiast: This wine puts bold, spicy, flashy oak at center stage, and introduces a good supporting cast of gorgeous blackberry and black-plum flavors. Firm tannins lend support and balance out the performance nicely.

2017 Rombauer Vineyards California, Zin
90 points, Wilfred Wong, Rich and rounded on the palate. Fragrant berry aromas and flavors combine with an off-dry finish that pairs well with grilled chicken and chocolate-sauce. 95% Zin and 5% Petite Sirah. Blends across the counties of El Dorado (60%), Sierra Foothills (23%), Lake (14%) and Napa (3%). Aged 16 months in American and French oak, 10% new.

2017 Orin Swift 8 Years in the Desert Zinfandel
93 points Wine Advocate: Blends 56% Zin, 34% Petite Sirah, 10% Syrah, Aged 8 months in 30% new French oak. Deep garnet-purple colored, bursts forth with blackberry pie, warm cassis, licorice and raspberry pie with touches of tree bark, garrigue and potpourri. Full-bodied, rich and jam-packed with opulent berry preserves and exotic spice layers. Velvet textured, wonderfully fresh, finishes very long.

2017 Limerick Lane Russian River Zin
94 points Jeb Dunnuck: A dark, brooding wine, the 2017 Zin Frank's Block Teldeschi Vineyard offers a super-classic expression of  Dry Creek. Black fruit, leather, lavender and spice give the 2017 distinct baritone inflections to match its substantial depth and overall resonance. Better if patiently aged.

2013 Elyse Korte Ranch Napa Zin
90 points, Wine Enthusiast: From a ranch planted many decades ago, this wine includes mixed grapes such as Grand Noir and Carignane, adding juicy red and black fruit to the mix. Smoke, cinnamon and leather highlights are kept firm by an integrated tannic structure.

2017 Hartford Russian River Old Vines Zin
93 points Wine Spectator: A lively beam of crisp acidity paires with complex and precise blueberry, raspberry, white pepper and licorice flavors that build richness toward a long finish.

2016 Saint Francis Old Vine Reserve Zin Dry Creek
90 points, Wine Advocate: Deep ruby-purple color. Aromas of blueberries, boysenberry, raspberries and cherries with touches of apricot, cocoa, and a spicy current. Medium full bodied palate of fruits, firm and chewy tannins, juicy acidity, and a long, sweet spice-laced finish. Only 640 cases made.

Wine Tasting - January 29 ~ February 1, 2020

2016 Pence Ranch Chardonnay Santa Rita Hills, California
90 points, Wine Spectator: Lively and rich-tasting, with well-crafted pear tart, apple cobbler and peach flavors that are supported by bright acidity. Light buttery notes show on the finish. Drink now through 2021.

2017 Alma de Cattleya Red Blend, Sonoma County, California
92 points, Wine Spectator: 
A handsome red, well-built and polished, with expressive blackberry, peppered meat and licorice notes that gather richness toward refined tannins. Syrah (60%), Merlot (35%) and Cabernet Sauvignon. Drink now through 2028. 268 cases made.

2015 Muga Reserva, Rioja, Spain
94 points, James Suckling: Complex nose with ripe black cherries, deeply integrated cedary oak, baking spices, dried flowers, leather, fresh tobacco and earthy notes. This is silky and mellow with long, laid-back tannins that deliver ripe dark plum flavors into a spicy and earthy finish.

2015 Muga Seleccion Especial, Rioja, Spain
96 points, James Suckling: 
70% Tempranillo and the balance Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano that's an old vine and terroir selection. Aged 6 months in new oak followed by 24 months in 90% French oak and 10% American oak, it has a beautiful bouquet of blueberries, black raspberries, crushed violets, incense, and cedar. This gives way to a full-bodied, rich, powerful wine that has an incredible sense of elegance and finesse on the palate. It's a brilliant Rioja that can be drunk today or cellared for 10-15 years or more.

2011 Muga Prado Enea, Rioja, Spain
99 points, James Suckling: The most structured Prado Enea ever. A reduced center palate that is so compact with dark fruit, dark mushrooms and cedary spice. Full body. Wonderfully polished tannins and a long, long finish. Electric acidity. Muscular and well toned. This is a new classic that reminds me of great Spanish wines from the 1940s and 1950s. Better after 2021, but already so impressive.


Wine Tasting - January 22 ~ 25, 2020
(Sauvignon vs Franc)

2015 Bodega Garzon Cabernet Franc Reserve, Uruguay
91 points, This wine is superb and a pure example of this grape. Its aromas and flavors of black fruit and dried herbs should make it a lovely pairing partner with a rosemary and garlic-rubbed roast leg of lamb.

2016 Vina Cobos Cocodrilo Corte Cabernet Sauvignon, Mendoza, Argentina
93 points, James Suckling: A beautiful 2016 with fine tannins, currant, blackberry and hazelnut character. Medium-to-full body, tight and silky tannins and a flavorful finish. Bordeaux blend. Drink in 2019. 

2016 Vinum Cellars 'The Scrapper' Cabernet Franc, El Dorado AVA, Sierra Foothills
Winemaker Notes: Made from 100% head-pruned, low-yielding (2 tons/acre) Cabernet Franc from a 25 year-old vineyard from the El Dorado AVA in the Sierra Foothills, this wine is extracted and rich with a core of sweet fruit like black cherry and cassis supported by complex varietal flavors of black pepper & leather.

2015 Aia Vecchia Sor Ugo Bordeaux Blend, Tuscany, Italy
93 points, James Suckling: Pretty ripe fruit with fresh flowers and iodine. Full body, round and chewy tannins and a linear finish. Shows focus and tension. 

2016 Raats Cabernet Franc, Stellenbosch, South Africa
90 Points, Wine Advocate:  The wine starts with aromas of dusty cherry with the soft herbal edge and subtle oak tones. In the mouth, the wine is spicy with a dusty minerality, while showing firm structuring tannins that linger on to the finish. Medium to full-bodied, the wine ends with a very pleasing aftertaste of dusty red fruit bowl.

 2016 Vasse Felix Cabernet Margaret River, Australia
92 points, Wine Spectator:  Expressive and dense, with fresh loam notes and herbal accents of sage and rosemary that mingle with a muscular core of dried currant, huckleberry and green tea flavors. Shows wonderful harmony on the finish, where a spicy, cedary detail kicks in. Drink now through 2033.

2013 Arceno Arcanum Tuscany, Italy
96 points, Wine Advocate:  73% CF, 17% M, 10% CS. The Cabernet Franc element is obviously strongest, and you get steely notes of black fruit follow by wild sage and rosemary oil. This is a powerful and thickly layered red wine that pushes the boundaries of extract and intensity, especially for a Tuscan red wine.  This wine should age forward for many years to come.

2015 Keenan Napa Cabernet, Napa Valley, California
92 points, Wine Advocate:  Produced from 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and displaying a deep garnet-purple color and nose of expressive blackberries, blueberries and pencil shavings plus lovely dried leaves, rose hip tea and fragrant earth nuances, the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon is medium to full-bodied in the firm, taut, energetic and lively mouth, with grainy tannins and a long, earthy finish.

2016 La Jota Cabernet Franc Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
97 points, Wine Advocate:  The deep garnet-purple colored 2016 Cabernet Franc Howell Mountain (100% Cabernet Franc) gives up exuberant bramble fruits, baked raspberries, mulberries and wild blueberries with suggestions of pencil shavings, kirsch, rose hip tea and tobacco leaf. Full-bodied and with a very firm frame of ripe, grainy tannins, it has wonderful perfume and depth, finishing long and mineral laced. 

2014 La Jota Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain, Napa Valley, California
95 points, Wine Advocate:  Robert Parker's Wine Advocate: 75.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Cabernet Franc and the rest Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec, aged in 89% new French oak. The wine displays the great fruit that is possible from these two sites owned by the Jacksons. It has an opaque purple color, a big, sweet kiss of crème de cassis and blackberry with a touch of lead pencil shavings, vanilla and incense. It is full-bodied and dense, with moderately high tannins but beautiful sweetness and fruit.

Wine Tasting - January 15 ~ 18, 2020

2016 Ordonez Verdejo Les Suertes Rueda Old Vines
92 points, Jeb Dunnock: 100% Verdejo that spent 12 months sur lie in a mix of French oak puncheons and demi-muids. It offers terrific notes of buttered citrus, pineapple, white flowers, mint, and hints of salty minerality. Vibrant, concentrated, and rich, yet with bright acidity and a great finish, it's a beautifully layered, balanced white that will shine on the table. It's impressive.

2014 Château du Retout Haut-Médoc Cru Bourgeois, Bordeaux, France
90 points, Wine Spectator: Delightfully ripe, with an inviting core of plum and blackberry preserves, picking up an anise edge on the finish. A solid alder spine runs throughout, adding length and definition.  Drink now through 2020.  Blend: 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16.5% Petit Verdot, 7.5% Merlot.

2017 Saint-Cosme Côtes-Du-Rhône, AOP Côtes-du-Rhône, France
91 points, James Suckling: Beautiful, garrigue herbs and flowers across fragrant, red berries. The palate has a very deep-set, plush and ripe core of dark-berry flavors, amid glossy, ripe tannins. Great value.  100% Syrah.

2015 Bodegas Mendel Estate Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina
93 points, James Suckling: Deep, bright medium ruby. Very ripe on the nose, offering scents of singed black raspberry, licorice and Baker's chocolate. Fatter and less refined than the 2015 Cabernet but the superripe dark berry, plum, spice and chocolate flavors spread out nicely to saturate the palate. Finishes with dense, broad, smooth tannins and very good length. Aged in 40% new oak; from vines averaging 89 years of age.

2013 Robert Foley Napa Cabernet, Napa Valley, California
98 Points, Wine Advocate: 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Atlas Peak and Calistoga. Opaque purple to the rim, with beautiful notes of charcoal embers, melted road tar, truffle, blackberry and cassis, this big, unctuously textured, full-bodied wine has incredible density and richness, a full-bodied mouthfeel and a phenomenal finish. It is young, but undeniably impressive. Give it another 2-3 years of cellaring and drink it over the following two decades-plus.

Wine Tasting - January 8 ~ 11, 2020

2016 Copain "Les Voisins" Chardonnay, Anderson Valley, Mendocino, California
91 points, Wine Advocate:  Aged 16 months in 10% new French oak. It opens with youthful notes of toast and light oak spices, slowly revealing almonds, golden apple, dried hay, chamomile and an orange blossom hint. The palate is medium-bodied and rounded and offers lovely balance between toasty oak and ripe fruits, with juicy acidity and a long, textured finish. This will benefit from another year in bottle.

2015 Bodegas Artevino Orben, Rioja, Spain
93 points, Wine Spectator: This red shows depth and density, with black cherry and blackberry flavors supported by firm, well-integrated tannins and juicy acidity. Notes of smoke, licorice and mineral emerge on the finish. Harmonious. Drink now through 2028. 2,080 cases made.

2013 Lapostolle Cabernet "Alexandre Cuvée", Colchagua Valley, Rapel Valley, Chile
94 points, James Suckling: Deep and dense yet agile and fine. Full body, blueberry and black currant character, and a seamless silky finish. Gorgeous pure Cabernet Sauvignon. Biodynamically grown grapes. Drink or hold.

2013 Carpinetta Vino Nobile Di Montepulciano, Tuscany, Italy
95 points, #11 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2018:
 Brilliant ruby red color with a tendency to garnet.  The stunning bouquet of ripe black cherry black currant, leather, and woodsy spice notes is enticing, while the sweet fruit is a match for the dense structure.  The lengthy finish lingers with tobacco, eucalyptus, and iron accents.  Drink now through 2030.

2018 Caymus Cabernet, Napa Valley, California
90 points,  This wine is ripe, smooth, and delectable. Enjoy its lovely aromas and flavors of ripe fruit and oak with a well-seasoned roast leg of lamb.  {This wine is sold in a one liter bottle}
Winemaker Notes:
Caymus has a signature style that is dark in color, with rich fruit and ripe,  velvety tannins as approachable in youth as in maturity. We farm  Cabernet grapes in eight of Napa's 16 sub-appellations, with  diversification enabling us to make the best possible wine in a given  year. Our Cabernet offers layered, lush aromas and flavors, including  cocoa, cassis, and ripe dark berries.

Wine Tasting - January 2 ~ 4, 2020

2018 Lafage "Miraflors" Rosé Languedoc-Roussillon, France
91 points, Jeb Dunnuck: Light pink-colored, this is another great vintage for this cuvée.  It has beautiful white peach, orange zest, and salty sea breeze aromas and flavors in its vibrant, crisp profile. It's as pure and vibrant as it gets, a classic, Provençal-style beauty to drink over the coming summer months.

2013 Bacio Davino "Pazzo" Red Blend, Napa Valley, California
90 points, Wine Enthusiast: A Sangiovese-based blend named for the expression "Call me Crazy," this wine also contains small amounts of Merlot, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon. Crazy or not, it works, providing a thicket of black and blue berry, smoky cinnamon and a juicy, medium build, meant to please, not to over-ponder.

2016 Garzon Tannat Single Vineyard, Uruguay
92 points, Wine Enthusiast: This dark-colored Tannat is intense and iron-fisted, with aromas of coconut and spicy black fruit. Blackberry, cassis, toast and peppercorn flavors run long on the palate, carrying to the generous finish. Drink through 2021.

2015 Dom de la Charbonniere Châteauneuf du Pape, France
93 points, Wine Spectator: A rich, yet silky and suave, style, with raspberry pâte de fruit and mulled red currant flavors infused heavily with incense, dried anise and black tea notes. The long finish shows a sandalwood echo and a well-buried mineral hint. So charming, this is approachable now, but there's no rush.

2014 Betz "Père de Famille" Cabernet, Columbia Valley, Washington
97 points, Wine Advocate: 
A cellar selection from different sites in the Columbia Valley, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Pere de Famille is deeper in color than the Clos de Betz and offers fabulous notes of crème de cassis, graphite, crushed flowers and violets. Just screaming Cabernet, it offers full-bodied richness, incredible purity of fruit, and ultra-fine tannin, all of which make for a sensational Washington State Cabernet Sauvignon that's going to evolve for upwards of two decades.


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