Goin' back to Cali...

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"... And I ran away with the bottle of wine..." - LL Cool J

When LL hit the West Coast in 1987, I'd bet that he was drinking well. It has often been said that the mid-seventies to the late eighties was a golden age for California wine. There were the classic Cabernets and Chardonnays that put the state on the map in the early 1970s. There were world-class Pinot Noirs being made in hard-to-reach pockets of the state (Chalone, Calera, Williams-Selyem, Hirsch) and outstanding Rhône-style wines from Qupé, Bonny Doon and Edmunds St. John. The era dominated by what Jon Bonné aptly termed "Big Flavor," was on the horizon, but only just.

Early in my career, I was fortunate enough to drink a lot of older wines from this era and they taught me a great deal not just about California, but about wine and winemaking in general. The people who produced them drew their inspiration and their methods from their European counterparts. But the wines were uniquely Californian, reflecting both a forgiving climate and the state's remarkable geological heterogeneity. 

Today is no different. California is rife with small estates and winemaking operations that are dedicated to making wines that express the rich diversity of its terroir. However, what has changed is the expansion of the wine world. While the winemakers of the previous golden age looked to what were considered the classic regions of the day (Bordeaux, Burgundy, the Rhône Valley), today's producers are likely as well-versed in the wines of the Gredos or the Languedoc or Sicily.

Today's offer includes reds from all over Northern California and at a variety of price points that allow for everyday drinking and special occasions alike. They are ideal for the transition into fall, as the temperature starts to dip (slowly).

**Please note - a handful of items here will arrive later this week or early next week. Each of these is noted.**

AmByth 2013 Paso Robles Grenache

AmByth's wines are about translating their holistic ecosystem of an estate, into their bottles of wine. The philosophy at AmByth is that if the whole of the vineyard is taken care of, without the use of anything synthetic, and nothing is added to or taken away from the juice of the grapes, the wines will honestly showcase their terroir. The vineyards are certified biodynamic, dry-farmed, and the vines are head-trained, producing small yields with concentrated fruit. This Grenache has a beautiful earthiness on the nose, with ripe cherry and plum, and just the beginning of secondary development. The tannins are soft and powdery giving it a nice balance with the plump, red fruits. This would be an excellent pairing for roasted pork, or some kind of fruit compote. Michelle DeWyngaert

  • red
  • 12 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Biodynamic
  • No Sulfur

Arnot-Roberts 2018 Santa Cruz Mountains Fellom Ranch Cabernet Sauvigno

Tasting this side by side with  "Clajeux," you'd be forgiven for thinking this wine was made in a different country, let alone just a couple of hours drive. This is all about dark fruit and pine needles and cedar. The Santa Cruz Mountains is home to several of the truly legendary California Cabernets (Monte Bello, anyone) and this is a wine that can easily take its place alongside those. The formidable structure and textural complexity demands your attention and while not unyielding now, this wine will clearly reward your patience. Given five years in the cellar, a brilliant wine will emerge here that would knock anyone for a loop.

Sam Ehrlich

**Arrives 10/1**

  • red
  • 1 in stock
  • $114.99

Arnot-Roberts 2018 Sonoma County Chalk Hill Clajeux Cabernet Sauvignon

What a treat to taste this. Arnot-Roberts have been producing truly scintillating wines for twenty years now and this Sonoma Cabernet has always been a star. A soaring nose here, with both red and black fruits and green herbs. On the palate, there is the sweetness of red bell pepper (almost like Habanero), silky fine-grained tannins and a cool mineral note. This is astonishingly elegant and a real throwback to the glories of the 1970s Cabernets. Sam Ehrlich


*Arrives 10/1**

  • red
  • 1 in stock
  • $104.99

  • Organic

Corison, Cathy 2017 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

Cathy Corison's wines eschew the bold, heavy-handed flavors and dollops of massive French oak embraced by her Napa Valley counterparts, instead focusing on teasing deeply concentrated, ripened fruit from the deep, stony alluvial soils of her vineyards in Rutherford and St. Helena.

  • red
  • 6 in stock
  • $109.99

Edmunds St. John 2019 El Dorado County Bone-Jolly Gamay

At this point, Steve Edmunds's Bone-Jolly Gamay is probably as influential among winemakers in the US as most Beaujolais. Twenty years ago, Steve had an idea to ask a grower he knew to plant some Gamay in the Sierra Foothills in granite soils remarkably like those of the Crus Beaujolais that he had always love. The rest, as they say...

This wine just seems to improve year after year. It's all cherry skin, strawberry and blood orange, with a touch of white pepper and incredible acid structure. Every year, I tell myself that I'm going to buy some to lay down and every year I end up drinking them all much too quickly. Sam Ehrlich

  • red
  • 7 in stock
  • $25.99

  • Organic

Enfield Wine Co. 2018 Sierra Foothills Pretty Horses Tempranillo Blen

This vintage of "Pretty Horses" is actually a blend of 70% Tempranillo, 10 % Grenache, 10% Pinot Noir and a small amount of Graciano creating a unique and perfectly food-friendly California red. Enfield Wine Co. sourced most of the fruit for this vintage from the famous Rorick Heritage Vineyard, with the rest from Shake Ridge in Amador County, and a bit of the Pinot Noir from the Heron Lake in the Wild Horse AVA. Inspired by the wines of Rioja Alavesa, this wine is designed to be drank young, though shows great structure for short-term aging. The nose shows a melange of red and blue fruits, stewed cherry, blueberry, cedar, and fresh tobacco leaves. The palate is fresh and on the fuller side of medium-bodied with easy-going tannins and opened up nicely after a few hours (even a few days) with air. Michelle DeWyngaert

  • red
  • 5 in stock
  • $32.99

  • Organic
  • red
  • 3 in stock
  • $41.99

Margins Wine 2020 Santa Clara Valley Sattler's Vineyard Counoise

Nearly all Counoise this year, with just a drop of Mourvedre in the mix. This is 100% destemmed and macerated in tank for about 10 days before being pressed and aged in neutral barrels. The fruit here is all bright cranberry and raspberry with a bit of blood orange. It's beautifully spicy and savory, almost salty at the back-end. This is reminiscent of the best reds from the late great Olivier Lemasson and truly delicious. Sam Ehrlich


**Arrives 9/25**

  • red
  • 12 in stock
  • $29.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Martha Stoumen 2020 Mendocino County Benchlands

A blend of Petite Sirah, Zinfandel and Nero d'Avola from a pair of organically-farmed sites in Mendocino, this is simultaneously charming and serious. The fruit is red and juicy, with a touch of rhubarb and spice from the stems. But there is a real feeling of complexity in the texture. There are lovely layers, alternating between tannins with real grip and a jolt of acid that keeps the wine from being weighed down. The relationship here to the high-elevation reds of the remote climbs of Sicily and Puglia is on full display. Good wine!  Sam Ehrlich


**Arrives October 1**

  • red
  • 15 in stock
  • $37.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Martha Stoumen Nero d'Avola 2020 Mendocino County Benson Ranch Rosato

While technically not red, I enjoyed this so much I am including it here. From 14-year-old Mendocino vines, gently macerated in whole bunches over night and pressed. The nose here is all green strawberry and cranberry, with pomegranate on the palate. This is bursting with energy, almost suggesting spritzy. This is a brilliant wine for the table, delicate and bright enough for spaghetti with cherry tomato and sea urchin and with enough weight and material for porchetta. Sam Ehrlich


**Arrives 9/25**

  • rosé
  • 11 in stock
  • $39.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Matthiasson 2019 Dunnigan Hills 'Tendu' Red

A perpetual favorite and staple here at CSW, Steve Matthiasson's "Tendu" Red is a blend of Barbera, Montepulciano and Aglianico. It's made in a really juicy, forward style with plenty of cranberry and dark cherry fruit, a touch of rhubarb and a distinct savory finish reminiscent of bitter dark chocolate. This cocoa nib vibe is a hallmark of these varieties and Steve has always strived to make sure they feel true. This is a real table wine in the best sense. Sam Ehrlich

  • red
  • 27 in stock
  • $21.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Railsback Freres 2020 Santa Ynez Roman Ceremony Cabernet Sauvignon

The first Cabernet from the brothers Railsback, Eric and Lyle. From Santa Ynez Valley in Santa Barbara, this is as much about red fruit as black, with notes of dried sage, roasted red pepper and a certain salty freshness that is common in Santa Barbara. There is ample acidity and enough tannic structure to suggest solid aging potential for the near-term, but I'd be hard pressed not to just keep drinking it. Sam Ehrlich

  • red
  • 12 in stock
  • $37.99

  • Organic

Ultraviolet 2019 California Cabernet Sauvignon

From Samantha Sheehan, wine maker of POE Wines. This is juicy red- and black-fruited Cali Cab, with the barest hints of violets and sage. A touch of Cabernet Franc adds freshness and there is good  acidity in this wine make up for the relatively gentle tannins. This is not a bruiser. It's all about pure honest fruit.

  • red
  • 3 in stock
  • $17.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur
Sorry, the Following have Already Sold
  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $33.99

Enfield Wine Co. 2018 Coombsville Michael Black Vineyard Merlot

100% Merlot from the Michael Black Vineyard in Coombsville, Napa planted in the early 1980's. An area that was once seen as too cool for Bordeaux varieties now sees them thrive. The fruit is 100% destemmed, with 20% of stems added into the fermentation. Gently foot-tread and then aged in neutral puncheons for 16 months, then bottled with a very small addition of SO2. This is all about elegant black fruit and fine texture. This is Napa Merlot with real texture and finesse. Good value here.

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $51.99

  • Organic
  • Low Sulfur

Porter Creek 2017 Sonoma County Old Vine Zinfandel

A classic example of Sonoma County Zinfandel. Aromatically, it has explosive cherries and berries, and on the palate it is rich and textured on the finish. Produced from hillside grown vines and blended with 5% Carignane for texture and overall harmony.


**Arrives  9/28**

  • Out of Stock
  • red
  • 0 in stock
  • $41.99

  • Organic
  • Biodynamic
  • Low Sulfur