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Our domestic rose magnum this summer! Peter and Rebecca Work of Ampelos consistently produce some of the most delicious Pinot, Syrah, Viognier, and Grenache in Santa Barbara County. Farming and sustainability are central at Ampelos - they are Demeter certified biodynamic, SIP certified, and even their bottles are produced in California. Their 2016 rose is fresh and flavorful, combining 80% Syrah, farmed and harvested specifically for rose, 15% Grenache, and a 5% splash of Riesling from recently planted vines on their estate. Juicy watermelon and strawberry blossoms, with crunchy pomegranate, blood orange, and orange zest. Ariana Rolich
Bedrock's 2014s are impressive in their freshness and balance across the board, but Evangelho is extra subtle and structured, with pink and purple floral aromas that carry onto the palate of crushed purple berries with tart, tannic skins, an abundance of blood orange and citrus oils that I associate with Evangelho, and fresh, gritty minerality. Evangelho is 40-foot-deep beach sand planted in the 1890s to Zinfandel, Carignane, Mourvedre, and more. The fine folks at Bedrock call it a "viticultural survivor- wedged betweem a PG and E plant, a Burger King, and a motel that rents rooms by the hour." Pretty and refreshingly acidic, this is a Zinfandel blend to unite diverse drinkers. Ariana Rolich
55% Zinfandel blended with Carignane, Petite Sirah, Mourvedre, Alicante Bouschet, Grenache, Syrah, Barbera and a touch of whites for aromatics from old vine plantings (up to 100 years old) around Sonoma County, fermented with native yeasts in stainless steel and raised in a nice bit of French oak for a bold, bright-fruited, silky, and satisfying wine that is unbeatable at this price.
The grapes from this vineyard (named after George Besson Sr. and Jr. whose families have lived and tended this vineyard since the 1930s) is fermented with native yeasts, using 15% whole cluster (with the rest destemmed), and racked into neutral barrels, unfined and and unfiltered. This wine envelops the palate with black cherry skin and fruit flavors, and violet, freshly rained earth, and menthol undertones. Despite the lightness and brightness of this Grenache, all the flavors resonate with an understatedly profound intensity. Pair with roast turkey with cranberry sauce or mushroom and herbed stuffing! Jonas Mendoza
The Antle Vineyard is perched at the edge of an extinct volcano, planted on granite and limestone soils at nearly 2,000' in the Chalone AVA. Several notable California winemakers have sourced fruit from this distinctive vineyard, including Enfield, Dirty & Rowdy, and the Scholium Project. Birichino's Pinot Noir from Antle Vineyard resonates with black cherry skin and tart black raspberry flavors with meaty, earthy, and herbal undertones, framed by firm and stern tannins. Jonas Mendoza
The Saint Georges Pinot is firm and bright with aromas of dried cranberries and blood orange; on the palate, macerated strawberry and salty red plum. The silky tannins frame the wine's distinctive freshness and vibrant texture. Alex Krause and John Locke sourced the grapes predominantly from a warm, yet maritime-influenced vineyard on the the southern end of the Santa Cruz Mountains and blended other single vineyard fruit. Jonas Mendoza
A Merlot that one doesn't have to look "Sideways" at. Ripe red plum and cherry compote flavors are underscored by vanilla and cloves notes and lifted red floral aromatics. Sourced from the famed Margarita Vineyard in Paso Robles. Jonas Mendoza
This is a fantastic zinfandel. The varietal character remains but the alcohol has been brought to heel and the structure is resoundingly more crystalline than many of the soupier 16% abv offerings on the market. A coiled spring, with an array of black and red berry fruits and still moderately dense with tannin, there is a fine black pepper note on the palate and the finish begins with a burst of red fruit complexity that surprised me. There is a note of funkiness brought to it by the volcanic soils of the two vineyards: Arrowhead in Sonoma and Buck Hill in Russian River. This zin is destemmed, fermented in stainless steel and concrete, and aged for ten months in neutral oak. A great wine on its own, this would be a fine partner to steak, meatball marinara, or blood sausage. Drew Farquhar
Clos Electrique is home base for Cameron winery, first planted in 1984 by John Paul and comprising 15 different clones of Pinot Noir, along with various clones of Chardonnay, and several Italian varieties. The vineyard is farmed organically, with only small amounts of elemental sulfur and copper used to prevent mildew and rot. Clover (for nitrogen), buckwheat (for phosphorus), and mustard (for drainage) are planted throughout. Geese, chickens, and goats roam the vineyards, and cover crops are used to nourish the soil and attract predatory insects to keep pests away. It’s truly a natural ecosystem at work, and is also the first certified Salmon-Safe vineyard in Oregon. Though situated on terroir of decomposing basalt (Jory soil) like Abbey Ridge, the Clos Electrique vineyard has a much higher iron and titanium content and it is of much younger origin, in terms of "when the lava flow occurred," says John Paul. The vineyard is also at only 300 feet elevation, and is one of the warmest spots in the Dundee Hills, so harvest is much earlier than at Abbey Ridge, and the fruit typically yields a more intense style of Pinot. It's hotter, but the soils give mineral depth, and the clonal variety provides level upon level of complexity, leading many to liken it's evolution in the glass to an "old world" wine. The fruits of the labor of the entire extended family at Cameron, and a wine that feels like the beautiful place it comes from, and has the warmth of the great people who tend the land. Eben Lillie
The Abbey Ridge vineyard was planted by Bill and Julia Wayne, who are partners at Cameron winery. It’s dry-farmed, with a rotating system of cover crops used to maintain moisture, and only organic treatments used in the vines. Originally planted by the Waynes in 1976, (with additional plots added in the 80s and 90s), Abbey Ridge is one of the oldest vineyards in Oregon. At around 600 feet elevation (up to 700 at its highest point), it’s also one of the highest vineyards in the Dundee Hills, which "makes a big difference on timing of bloom and when the fruit is harvested, " says John Paul. Grapes fully ripen here typically in October and are given the chance to develop high natural acidity, which in turn leads to wines with long aging potential. Everything is here! A beautiful Pinot Noir, perhaps with a Burgundian nod in the form of red fruit, rose petals, dry herbal notes, and bright acidity, but uniquely Oregonian in its own right. Though it would not be a shame to drink this in 1-3 years, it will definitely benefit from longer term aging. Eben Lillie
To make a Saignée, a small percentage of juice is "bled" off during fermentation of red wines, to balance the ratio of skins to juice, and give more boldness to the resulting wine. The run off juice is fermented separately and yields a rosé that has a considerable amount of color, compared to rosés made by direct press, or with very short maceration times. In one of his "rants " from a few years back about pink wine, John Paul writes that "one should be drawn to the wine by its color, captivated by its elegant aromas, and finally conquered by its texture and lingering flavors." The 2016 Saignée Rose delivers on all counts. It has a lovely rich pink hue, pretty strawberry aromatics, and a fascinating fleshy texture and long finish. A perfect rosé for the fall/winter months! I get the sense from John Paul that he might be getting out of the rosé game soon, as the market that was demanding rosé 4 years ago now seems to him to be saturated with them… so this may be the last time we get a chance to drink the Cameron Saignée. I'd suggest getting a bottle or two and drinking sometime in the next 1-3 years. Eben Lillie
Cooper Mountain Vineyards started in 1978 when Dr. Robert Gross and his wife, Corrine, planted the first Pinot Noir and Chardonnay vines in the unique soils of Cooper Mountain in the Chehalem Mountains of Oregon's Willamette Valley. Today, the estate has more than 100 acres dedicated to organic and biodynamic farming and winemaking. This Pinot Noir is refreshing and ripe, with brambly raspberry and cherry fruit, baking spice, and earthy flavors. Serve with a chill. Jonas Mendoza
Our love affair is going strong with Drovers Pinot Noir, a collaboration between our friends at Encore Wine Imports and Brad Ford of Illahe Vineyards. Consistently delicious, but always reflective of vintage, Drovers delivers freshness and depth and a terrific price point. In 2015 there is rich dark cherry, crushed berries, earth, cola, and spice, with more density than the 2014 and admirable balance. Ariana Rolich
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
This is a fresh and delicious Pinot that we would be happy to drink every night (happily, at $21.99, we could also afford to!). Pure fruits of dark cherry, baked strawberry and raspberry, aromas of violets, along with ripe nuances of Madagascar vanilla bean. The different vineyard selections for this vintage include Arroyo Seco & Antle vineyards and offer a satisfyingly gamey, savory contrast to the silky palate and makes this a distinctive new world Pinot Noir well worth stocking up on.
Belle Farms Pinot Noir is a perennially stunning single vineyard bottling from Ghostwriter, from 1.5 acres at 500 feet elevation, planted in 1999 to Champagne clones, just outside of the Santa Cruz Mountains AVA in the foothills of Mount Madonna. We recently learned from winemaker Kenny Likitprakong that Belle Farms was ripped out after the 2014 harvest and is currently planted with broccoli to enrich the soils before replanting (the vineyard had been struggling for years and ultimately failed). 2013 was a gorgeous vintage for these valiant vines, with aromas of dry earth, sweet cherry, birch bark, cardamom, and clove, which swirl onto the palate of crisp cranberry, rich cassis, black raspberry preserves, and spicy citrus oils, with a bold acidic core. This cuvée always needs some air, and flavors evolve on the second day open toward elegant, high-toned fruit with graceful florals and a fresh, salty, mineral layer. An aptly named vineyard! Please decant. Ariana Rolich
Reminiscent of old-school Cabernet from the 60’s and 70’s, the wine’s supple tannins and lustrous acidity frame sleek black cherry, plum, cassis, menthol, graphite, and licorice flavors. winemaker Kenny Likitprakong simply killed it with this inaugural vintage from Bates Ranch, which was planted in the 1970s at 2400 feet elevation in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Electric and bold, with 15% stem inclusion and 25% new oak (and many years ahead), this is a classic Cabernet to pair with grilled short ribs or a juicy steak for your 4th of July BBQ. Jonas Mendoza
The grapes for this inaugural (and very tiny) vintage come from parcels surrounding the legendary Maresh Red Barn and farmed by 90-year old owner Jim Maresh Sr. The blocks are own-rooted Pommard clones planted in 1978. This wine has all the brambly black fruit of the regular Maresh Vineyard bottling, but with additional power, elegance, and structure. Tasting a bottle with Kelley Fox in front of the Red Barn, the rugged tannins frame a dark core of black raspberry and cherry fruit; after several hours, the wine unfurls with flavors of blackberry, mushroom, and freshly rained earth. A truly special bottling indeed! Jonas Mendoza
We love Mike Roth's Lo Fi wines for their effortless balance, quality farming, and overall deliciousness. The 2016 rose is Cabernet Franc, farmed organically and fermented with native yeasts. Tart and refreshing, with chiseled flavors of red currant and oranges, racy acidity, and salty, mouthwatering minerality, this is a perfect first or last glass of wine of the day! Ariana Rolich
Pinot Noir/Gamay saignée rosé from Pearl Morisette vineyards in the Niagara Penninsula in Canada. This is a perfect Thanksgiving rosé, with dark savory character characteristic of saignées, and a flavor profile that reminds me of the cranberry sauce that I so love to adorn my plate with each year. A very satisfying and substantial rosé that drinks more like a thirst quenching red wine. Drink lightly chilled, but not too cold. Eben Lillie
Kudos to our friend Richard Luftig for the phenomenal quality and price of Pied a Terre Cabernet! Always one of our best-selling American reds, 2014 is a deep, ripe, and focused vintage for Pied a Terre. There is great energy and balance in this bottle, which will elevate your wintry dinners and holiday gift lists alike! Ariana Rolich
Ridge Vineyards first made Merlot in 1974 on Monte Bello; after being initially blended into their famed Cabernet, the Merlot eventually showed enough structure and complexity to merit a separate bottling. Aged nearly 20 months in a combination of 40% new and 60% 4-5 year old American oak barrels, this Merlot displays clove, anise, and allspice aromatics. The high elevation of the Monte Bello vineyard (nearly 2600 feet!) shines through with red plum skin, tart red cherry, and fennel flavors, followed by a sinewy black olive finish. A Merlot to age for the next 5-10 years! Jonas Mendoza
Sky Vineyards has been producing estate-grown and estate-bottled Zinfandel since the late 1970s, but hasn't yet achieved the reputation of other Zinfandel producers like Ridge and Turley. This is a mistake in my not-so-humble opinion. The vineyard's volcanic soil and high altitude along with its warm days and fog-chilled nights produce Zinfandels with great finesse, elegance, poise, and length. There's a panoply of flavors that radiate on the palate: black cherry skin, brambly fruit, pomegrante, steeped tea, dried herbs, garrigue, and black pepper. This wine won't clobber you over the head, but it's quite lithe and sapid with generous dark fruit balanced by earthiness and savoriness. Jonas Mendoza
Skylark Wine Company is collaboration between wine directors John Lancaster and Robert Perkins from Boulevard Restaurant in San Francisco, CA. The Cabernet comes from a heritage clone farmed organically in Rutherford on rocky and gravelly loam soils. With a sleek and lithe texture, the Alondra rests elegantly on the palate with black plum and maraschino cherry flavors with subtle hints of freshly rained earth and cracked black pepper. A lithe Napa Cabernet with bold flavor. Jonas Mendoza
This is an exciting Washington State Grenache from winemaker Joe Swick. Palest ruby in color, this wine has a sumptuous handful of fresh strawberries on the nose that mix with a touch of baking spice and a dark rumor of black tea. On the palate this wine is lush with red fruit, hinting at wild brambles, and shows great energy. Lighter in weight, its a perfect pairing for turkey, and a great companion for mashed potatoes, or roasted root vegetables. Use as a palate cleanser for anything covered in giblet gravy. Andrew Farquhar
A deep and brooding Washington Malbec from Joe Swick, this wine displays a subtle nose, with a bit of elegant dark fruit emerging from its gentlemanly reserve. Dark notes of spice and some husky minerality are clothed on the palate by a classic tannic grip. There is good structure but also fine integration of its various parts, which make it a wonderful complement for a wide range of foods. This is a great cold weather wine, that will be nice alongside rich cheeses, dark full-bodied sauces, and meats of various types, such as veal, game birds, poultry, and fine cuts of grass-fed beef. Andrew Farquhar
Before founding Clos Saron in the late 90s, Gideon Beinstock took his first steps in winemaking at Renaissance Vineyards in the Sierra Foothills. The same vineyards that he helped plant in the 1970s, in the 1990s yielded very classic, structured but elegant wines with great aging potential. Twenty years later, and with Clos Saron established as a front-runner of the New California wave, Gideon was able to reclaim some of the Renaissance wines of the 90s, and release them under his new label, Taken From Granite. These wines were resting undisturbed in the Renaissance cellars for the past 20 years. The 1997 Cabernet is in a beautiful spot right now, with the nose showing a core of dark fruit, cassis, blackberries and plums. There is a hint of sous-bois, dried violets, cedar, hay and a whiff of scattered pine needles on a craggy cliff side. The palate is very alive, with still-firm tannins and very fresh acidity. Red currants and raspberries intermingle with black fruit. The finish carries a slight menthol quality, along with more cedar and tobacco. Big, yet harmonious, this wine drinking beautifully now, but I wouldn't hesitate holding onto it for a further decade or more. Oskar Kostecki
Brian and Stephy Terrizzi's Broadside project focuses on sustainably farmed vineyards and minimalist winemaking (native yeasts, minimal handling, neutral oak), as well as purity of flavor and varietal expression.Their Central Coast Chardonnay is a quintessential example of their wine growing and winemaking philosophy; a bright and creamy Chardonnay with ripe lemon and peach flavors and a saline minerality. Jonas Mendoza
The Cameron estate Chardonnay, from 2 acres of vines planted in 1987.
It’s common to find Ramatos in the Friuli region of Italy, where the term (from the Italian word for copper: Rame) is used for the local style of skin contact Pinot Grigio. It’s not so common to find a Ramato in Oregon, but when John Paul was offered access to Pinot Grigio grapes from the Abbey Ridge vineyard, he decided to try his hand at making one. Shortly after he started making his Ramato, about 5 years ago, John Paul met Sasha Radikon, and traveled to Collio to see how he and his father (the recently deceased Stanko Radikon) approached making their Ramato. He learned that the Radikons waited much longer before harvesting, yielding a darker hued and more intense wine. Though he has embraced the Radikon style and experiments now with late harvest Pinot Grigio (aged for 2 years in neutral oak like their Pinots), this is the original version that John Paul has always made. He picks the grapes at peak ripeness, (we should note this is already later than nearly everyone else in Willamette Valley), and ferments them on the skins, extracting just a touch of tannin, and giving the wine a pleasant structure. There’s tropical and stone fruit here, and also a fascinating herbal side. It’s a beautiful color in the glass and a perfect introduction to the world of skin contact wines. Drink with a slight chill. Eben Lillie
"Giuliano," says John Paul, "is inspired by Vintage Tunina (which I am somewhat disappointed of late to see with screw caps...it was more serious wine than that!). So the main part of that wine is Friulano with inputs from several other components...Pinot Grigio, Pinot Blanc, Auxerrios and the true Jermann inspiration: une baci (a kiss) of Moscato." This has always been a beautifully textured wine and we're excited to have some of the 2016! ARRIVES 11/1 - Eben Lillie
Chëpìka is a collaboration between Master Sommelier Pascaline Lepeltier and talented Finger Lakes winegrower Nathan Kendall, aimed at highlighting the virtue and versatility of hybrid grapes (those derived from crossing different species within the Vitis genus). This delicate, frothy pet nat is made from the Delaware grape, which has a long and distinguished history as a sparkling wine grape. It is a delicious debut for Chepika, graceful and refreshing, with pert floral citrus notes, buoyant acidity, and hints of lemon balm. Ariana Rolich
Dragonette Cellars produces small lots of Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc from cool-climate vineyards in California. The biodynamically farmed Duvarita Vineyard lies just west of the Santa Rita Hills appellation on gentle, south-facing slopes of almost pure sand. Although there’s less than 15% new oak, biscuity aromas mingle with ripe peach, melon, and lemon pith flavors along with honey and vanilla undertones. Vibrant and fresh, this Chardonnay perfectly exemplifies the terroir and potential of Santa Barbara County. Jonas Mendoza
In addition to perfectly elegant, age-worthy reds, Steve Edmunds produces one of California's lightest, purest white wines from Vermentino and Grenache Blanc. Heart of Gold exudes fresh white florals, mineral water, and tingly orchard fruit aromas; flavors are bright and defined, graceful and deeply mineral, with gentle rays of citrus pith and crisp pear, golden apple, and yellow peach. Acidity is abundant and well-integated. Ariana Rolich
This wine is in the warehouse and will not be available for pick-up or delivery until after Labor Day.
Chad Stock's inspiration to make sparkling wine was Brut Nature Cava with long lees aging - a worthy fascination that should inform more new-world sparkling wine production! He has now released Experiment #17 (the same base wine as Experiment #10, disgorged after 24 months on the lees) this time disgorged after 48 months on the lees. Elegance and complexity are not guaranteed to increase with longer lees aging, but in this case the extra two years contributed great length and layers, harnessing the autolytic grit and glamour of our favorite long-aged Cavas. Creamy aromas of almond cake, agrumes, lavender honey, orange blossom, and yellow apple; the palate is dry, textured, long, and lovely, with gentle bubbles permeating the palate of yellow peach, Asian pear, meadow flowers and tea leaves, with gentle yeasty notes of bee pollen, chamomile, almond, brine, and a hint of bitter earth. This is dreamy wine, with enough breadth and complexity to compliment Captain Alex's smoked bluefish, shredded and tossed with herbs, lemon, and great olive oil, or a brunch of sliced smoked tuna with scrambled eggs. Ariana Rolich
Precedent is the personal project of Nathan Kandler, winemaker at the excellent Thomas Fogarty estate in the Santa Cruz Mountains. If you've never had California Chenin Blanc or you're never been thrilled by one, Precedent is a pure rendition of the grape from 32 year-old vines planted on pink granite and silica-rich quartz soils in northeast Lodi; foot trodden and whole-cluster pressed (with a portion undergoing a few hours of skin contact), then fermented with native yeasts in used French oak. Fresh aromas of lemon blossom, golden fruit, and peach, with a clear, tingly, mineral palate of orange citrus and stone fruit, pineapple pith, chamomile, and a hint of beeswax. Broad yet delicate, distinctive and delicious. Unfined and unfiltered with minimal sulfur additions. Ariana Rolich
Precedent is the label of Nathan Kandler, longtime winegrower at Thomas Fogarty in the Santa Cruz Mountains, a renowned destination for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Precedent illustrates Kandler's versatility and curiosity and has introduced us to some truly unique California vineyard sites. Wirz Vineyard is home to 60+ year-old dry farmed, head-trained Riesling on decomposed granite over limestone in the Gabilan mountains. We usually have an off-dry Riesling on the holiday table, but I'm happy to go in a drier direction in this case... Concentrated, gleaming apricot, citrus rind, and tropical fruit is laced with gritty, long minerality and backed by supple texture and acidic tension. Terrific with herbed root vegetables and citrus glazed poultry or fish and anything peppery or spicy. Ariana Rolich
This Chardonnay comes from younger vines in Rhys' Anderson Valley Bearwallow Vineyard, and aged for 14 months in 20% new French oak barrels. Like a riper Chablis, there are notes of zesty lemon, white nectarine, and just-ripe peach. On the palate, lemon juice, lemon pith, and saline flavors with bright acidity and a tight mineral core.A perfect introduction to Rhys' stunning Chardonnays. Jonas Mendoza
Made from a blend of foraged heirloom varieties of apples and Vermont and English cider apples grown by Sunrise Orchards in Cornwall, VT, this cider is made using the Méthode Ancestrale. Just like the grape-based pét nats we all know and love, it is bottled while it is still undergoing fermentation and is aged for two months on the lees before it is released unfined, unfiltered, and with zero SO2 added. The result is a bone-dry cider with pretty aromas of red berries, ripe pear, and apricot blossom. Gently sparkling and dangerously drinkable, this is one of my favorite releases from Shacksbury to date. Tim Gagnon
For Nathan Kandler, winemaker at Thomas Fogarty, Portola Springs is the most extreme of their Santa Cruz Chardonnay vineyards, with its very steep slopes and cool marine air influence. The Chardonnay grapes ripen very slowly and yields are frustratingly low. Portola Springs has a characteristic lemon drop and verbena with flavors of lemon oil, sea spray, and dried thyme. Pair with roasted cauilflower or chicken. Jonas Mendoza
Portola Springs Vineyard is a consistent standout in the excellent range of Thomas Fogarty Chardonnays. 2012 has riper, sunnier fruit tone than the austere 2011, without sacrificing any of Portola Springs' cool mineral core and impressive, driving acidity, owing to the low-yielding, late-ripening, nearly 40-year-old vines planted on basalt and shale. Complex and rich enough to handle poultry and pork dishes, with refreshing energy to compliment seafood and veggies. Ariana Rolich
Treasury Cider is made by our friends at Fishkill Farms, familiar to many of our local customers from their exceptional organic produce stands at the New York Greenmarkets. From Fishkill's 80 acres of apple orchards (half are certified organic; the other half are Eco-certified), apple varieties are specifically selected for this bottle conditioned cider (Esopus Spitzenberg, Roxbury Russet, Ashmead’s Kernel, Northern Spy, Cox’s Orange Pippin, and Jonamac). It ferments to dryness in tank then undergoes a second fermentation in the bottle, creating an elegant froth and fizz that flatters the dry palate of tangy green apple, citrus blossom, and pear, with savory, yeasty notes. Ariana Rolich