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Murrieta's Well Dry Rosé 2016

Murrieta’s Well Dry Rosé 2016

Rosé for Valentines Day? Yes, why not. The 2016 Murrieta's Well Dry Rosé is an excellent candidate. Composed of 55% estate-grown Grenache and 45% Counoise, it's a pretty shade of orangey-pink salmon and delivers lifted aromas of bruised peach, Queen Anne’s cherries, melon, baking spice.Medium-bodied and crisp, the palate is awash in red berries and melon flavors, culminating in a rose hip and peach pit finish. 13.5% ABV | Sample Murrieta’s Well 88 Points ...

Aubert Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2007

Aubert Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2007

Now a decade on, the 2007 Aubert Sonoma Coast Chardonnay slowly unfurls to reveal lemon curd, poached pear, and baked apple notes, couched in mellow and toasty tones of salted butter, brioche, caramel, and vanilla. Nice delineation on the palate, where voluptuous spiced orchard fruit is neatly intersected by a firm acidic spine and beautifully integrated toast. The persistence on the finish is impressive, it goes on for over a minute, an alluvial fan of lemon zest and oyster shell. Aubert Wines 94 Points...

Robert Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay 2015

Robert Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay 2015

A suffusion of smokey minerals, creme brûlée, toasted coconut flake, mandarin and grilled pineapple. Robert Talbott's 2015 Kali Hart Chardonnay is made from the winery's Sleepy Hollow estate vineyard, a hillside parcel that is relatively close to the Pacific Ocean—where cool maritime breezes lend a moderating effect. The effect of this microclimate on the palate is a spike of citrusy acidity, piercing through a creamy tropical fruit core. 14.5% ABV | Sample Talbott Vineyards 89 Points...

William Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

William Hill Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

A winery that narrowly avoided last October's fire, William Hill Estate has been turning out solid Napa Valley Cabernets for more than thirty years. The 2013 vintage is opaque in the glass with a violet to the edge to the rim. Dusty blackberries, plums, and black currants with a decidedly savory edge. In the mouth, its full of soft, jammy fruit neatly wrapped in velvet and toast. Nicely balanced despite a hefty 15.2% ABV—you'd never know it's there. Cedar, and a touch of mocha on the finish. Sample  William Hill Estate Winery 8.9 Points  ...

Murrieta's Well The Whip White Blend 2015

Murrieta’s Well The Whip 2015

"Murietta's Well is a partnership between Philip Wente and Sergio Traverso, the two revitalized the estate and gravity flow winery in 1990 and released The Spur and The Whip in 2010 to commemorate the winery's 20th anniversary. A blend of 33% Sauvignon Blanc, 24% Semillon, 21% Chardonnay, and 12% Orange Muscat, the 2015 Whip is a veritable fruit salad mélange of dried pineapple, cling peaches, bruised pear, lemon verbena, with a dusting of baking spice. Round and glycerol-laden in the mouth without too much weight, the core is sweet, yet balanced with layers of orchard fruit, toasted coconut, and mandarin orange. 13.5% ABV | Sample Murrieta’s Well 9.0 Points...

Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

One of Napa Valley's best kept secrets, Louis M. Martini's 2013 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon is brimming with juicy blackberries, blackcurrants, and cassis. Leather, dried leaves, and trail dust along with an attractive top note of vanilla round out the nose. It's sleek and softly textured on the palate with fine tannins and a medium+ finish. At this point in its evolution, it's totally accessible and offers real drinking pleasure for a modest price. Sample Louis M. Martini 9.0 Points...

Murrieta's Well The Spur Red Blend 2014

Murrieta’s Well The Spur 2014

Better on the second day, I recommend decanting on opening — a ripe blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petite Sirah, 18% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc from Livermore Valley — the 2014 Murietta's Well 'The Spur' opens with notes of blueberry, black raspberry, black cherry, and blackcurrants couched in dark layers of earth, leather, and baking spice. It's fairly plush on entry, with ripe, chewy tannins lending structure to a black-fruited core. 14.5% ABV | Sample Murrieta's Well 9.0 Points...

Au Contraire Pinot Noir 2014

Au Contraire Pinot Noir 2014

The 2014 Au Contraire Pinot Noir is vastly more charming than I expected it to be given the price point. A well-crafted Pinot for less than $25.00 is a rarity and this bottle exceeds expectations. Swoon-worthy aromas of seedy raspberry, black cherry, underbrush, dried rose petal, and warm spice surge from the glass. In the mouth, caressing layers of silky tannins gracefully enfold raspberry turnover and rhubarb compote. It's well-balanced and admittedly hard to put down. 14.3% ABV | Sample Palm Bay International 9.0 Points  ...

Ellipsis Lovett Vineyard Petite Sirah 2014

Ellipsis Red Hills Lovett Vineyard Petite Sirah 2014

Lake County wines are admittedly a new discovery for me. Thus far, the feeling is that the appellation deserves more attention than it currently sees, at least outside of California. Known for it's high-elevation mountain vineyards with predominantly volcanic soils, the wines from the AVA are graced with intensity and poise. The 2014 Ellipsis Red Hills Lovett Vineyard Petite Sirah is no exception—a powerhouse wine that conveys both richness and freshness—it's a fruit-laden core of roasted strawberries, raspberry turnover, and blackberries that is rendered more complex by a resonant undertone of blackstrap molasses that dissolves into damp earth, coffee grounds, and char. Ellipsis Wines 9.2 Points...

Robert Mondavi To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Robert Mondavi To Kalon Vineyard Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Tasted in Transylvania of all places at the ROVINHUD wine show, during a master class led by MW Patrick Farrell. The 2014 proves to be as sumptuous and profound as the 2013. Opaque as a starless night, it's a deep plunge into blueberry and crème de cassis bliss, followed by sandalwood and vanilla, dried mint and spice. Full, luscious and round on the palate—firm, chewy tannins hint at its youth—I'd give it another decade or so in the cellar. A wonderful expression of To Kalon. Sample Robert Mondavi Winery 9.6 Points...