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December 2006

New wine releases from around the world



Arroyo Grande Valley

Signature Selection 2005 Pinot Grigio; $19
13/20Exotic floral, kiwi and litchi aromas. Harvested ripe and gently whole-cluster pressed, which brings out the wine's tropical essences.

Atlas Peak

Atlas Peak
2003 Claret; $86
14.5/20Concentrated fruit flavors of ripe cherry and luxuriant blueberry. The Cabernet is inky, dark and concentrated exhibiting a lush, rich and bold tannin structure.

Central Coast

Concannon Vineyard
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Selected Vineyard; $10
12.5/20Well-structured and full-bodied, with dark berry, black cherry and vanilla oak flavors. Hints of earth, cedar and fine tannins provide for a soft, smooth, lingering finish.

Concannon Vineyard
2004 Limited Release Assemblage Red Wine; $14
13/20 This blend of mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with touches of Merlot, Petite Sirah and Petit Verdot has flavors of dark berry, cherry and chocolate, with silky tannins.

Concannon Vineyard
2004 Limited Release Stampmakers White Wine; $13
13.5/20 Primary aromas of stone fruits—peaches and apricots. A creamy vanilla character complements the fruit flavors on the palate of this mostly Viognier blend.

Concannon Vineyard
2004 Merlot Selected Vineyard; $10
13/20 Medium-bodied Merlot has cherry and deep blackberry flavors with a soft, clean finish. Pairs with beef dishes as well as spinach- or prosciutto-wrapped shrimp.

Dry Creek Valley

Rancho Zabaco
2004 Stefani Vineyard Zinfandel; $28
14.5/20Intense aromas and flavors of jammy blackberry and black cherry are supported by rich, chewy tannins that linger on the palate.

Rancho Zabaco
2003 Reserve Zinfandel; $24
13.5/20Deep, violet color with intense aromas of black spice, clove and earth. Concentrated flavors of black jammy fruit and ripe plums marry well with the bold, lingering tannins.

Edna Valley

Edna Valley Vineyard
2005 Chardonnay Paragon Vineyard; $12
13.5/20Smoky aromas of vanilla oak and sweet spice balance white peach, pineapple and citrus aromas. Similar flavors join with a finish enhanced by fullness on the palate.

Edna Valley Vineyard
2005 Pinot Noir Paragon Vineyard; $15
13.5/20Shows rich black cherry and strawberry fruit, backed by caramel and vanilla notes. It has a full, luscious palate, soft tannins and a lingering, smoky finish.

Edna Valley Vineyard
2005 Sauvignon Blanc Paragon Vineyard; $15
13/20Fruit flavors include zesty lemon, white grapefruit, juicy pear and melon, which balance traditional grassy notes. A bit of Pinot Gris was added for weight and body.

Howell Mountain

Atlas Peak
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $86
14.5/20Powerful fruit flavors create a long, lingering finish of rich blueberry on the palate leaving the mouthfeel of firm velvet and generous, but not harsh tannins.


Signature Collection 2005 Pinot Grigio; $19
No RatingIntense, exotic floral, kiwi and litchi aromas with a good balance. Crisp, yet smooth, this wine is versatile when pairing and can be enjoyed with a variety of cuisines.

Signature Selection 2005 Sauvignon Blanc; $14
13/20Ripe, tropical fruit flavors, with crisp grapefruit, gooseberry and herbal qualities. Pairs well with tomato-based Italian foods like Bruschetta and shell-fish dishes like paella.

Chalone Vineyard
2005 Chardonnay; $10
14/20Citrus-pineapple tropical fruit aromas, combined with luscious pear flavors, crisp acidity and bright floral aromas. Impressive up front, the wine shows a very long, elegant finish.

Chalone Vineyard
2004 Merlot; $14
13/20Fresh, spicy aromas of berry and clove are followed by luscious flavors of dark cherry, accentuated by the soft vanilla character of the oak.

Chalone Vineyard
2005 Pinot Noir; $14
13.5/20Rich aromas of tart black cherries with hints of clove and nutmeg. Ripe flavors of raspberries and cola follow, while a small amount of Petite Sirah adds richness.

2005 Pinot Noir; $14
13/20Offers sweet cherry, fresh raspberries, cola and nuts for a medium-bodied wine with a smooth finish.

Mount Veeder

Atlas Peak
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $86
15/20Good structure, shows rich purple color and has briary, brambly flavors of wild blackberries, as well as hints of spice, pepper and herbs like lavender, anise and sage.

Napa Valley

CE2V by Mitch Cosentino
2005 Chardonnay; $40
No RatingLime and other citrus, floral and limestone aromas are similar to Chablis. There are very intense flavors and superior balance, with crisp, clean, citrus notes.

CE2V by Mitch Cosentino
2003 Meritage; $100
15/20Rich and exotic mineral notes that intermingle with black fruit flavors and currants of warm oak. Concentrated and intense, this full-bodied blend has ripe tannins and a long finish.

2004 Cabernet Sauvignon; $20
13.5/20The deeply fruited nose opens to black currant and vanilla. The medium full-bodied palate continues with these flavors of ripe cassis, vanilla and hints of blackberry.

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $35
13/20Hints of spicy oak and vanilla complement aromas of blackberry jam, chocolate and cassis. Flavors are full-bodied and intense, yet maintain balance and an elegant finish.

2003 Merlot; $28
15/20Aromas of black cherry and blackberry compote with notes of vanilla, nutmeg and clove. Flavors show a combination of fruit and oak that create a lingering palate.

2005 Sauvignon Blanc; $20
14/20Aromas of grapefruit, lime and melon, with subtle floral notes. Deep textural characters on the palate lead to a long, refreshing finish.

Russian River Valley

2004 Cherry Ridge Vineyard Syrah; $35
15/20Aromas of blueberry, black cherry and nutmeg are followed by plush tannins that carry dark flavors of black cherry, boysenberry and toffee with a lingering sweet finish.

2005 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay; $35
14/20In the nose, lemon cream pie jumps out, with overtones of caraway seed, ginger and a touch of tangerine. A core of citrus and bright acid in the mouth with ginger spice.

Foppiano Vineyards
2003 Petite Sirah; $23
14/20Complex aromas of spices and black pepper, with concentrated flavors of ripe berries and chocolate from the inviting nose to a rich silky finish.

Rancho Zabaco
2005 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc; $18
14/20Aromas of boxwood, fresh-cut grass, lime peel and lemongrass. Shows crisp flavors of citrus and passion fruit with a balanced acidity that leads to a long, mineral finish.

San Lucas

Lockwood Vineyard
2005 Block 7 Estate Pinot Noir; $20
13.5/20Aromas of rose petals with an essence of mulled spice. With generous layers of fruit, all flavors show bing cherry with a brisk hint of blueberry.

Sonoma County

Gloria Ferrer Vineyards
2004 Carneros Chardonnay; $18
13/20The bouquet is filled with aromas of fresh pineapple and citrus blossom, interwoven with an appealing graham cracker element. Sweet lemon and butterscotch flavors.

Gloria Ferrer Vineyards
2003 Carneros Merlot; $19
13.5/20Palate is filled with black currant and roasted cocoa bean flavors that become focused within the wine's elegant, lengthy finish. Aromas of black plum, blackberry and mint.

Gloria Ferrer Vineyards
2002 Carneros Syrah; $19
14/20Complex aromas and flavors of blueberry, violets, black currant, clove and roasted oak. Palate texture is lush up front, with a fruit richness held in check by polished tannins.

Legends from Larry Bird and Mitch Cosentino
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon; $28
14.5/20Aromas of spice and mineral elements. It will become more defined after leaving open for 30 minutes. Flavors of blue and black fruits, with notes of pepper, anise and mint.

Rancho Zabaco
2003 Sonoma Heritage Vines Zinfandel; $18
13.5/20Aromas of dark plum, black cherry and spice matched with warming coconut and vanilla. The mouthfeel is soft, with deep flavors of berry pie, jam and spice.

Sonoma Valley

Rancho Zabaco
2004 Toreador Zinfandel; $50
15.5/20Aromas of bright raspberry and ripe plum followed by peppery, clove spice flavors. Hints of chocolate and nuances of vanillas, linger in a long and lasting finish.

Spring Mountain District

Atlas Peak
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $86
No RatingWines from Spring Mountain often display more moderate fruit definition, and a suppler mouthfeel. Shows lots of soft tannins, wrapped in intensely rich red stone fruit.

St. Helena

Cosentino Winery
2003 Reserve Cabernet Franc; $45
15/20Some of the fruit was punch cap fermented in one ton bins for between seven and eleven days. Each lot was barrel aged separately in French oak for 34 months, then rack and blended one before bottling.

California (grapes from more than one AVA)

Chateau Diana
1221 Cabernet Cuvée; $20
13.5/20Fruit dominant on the nose, ripe and brambly. The taste profiles include bold, vibrant, fleshy Cabernet Sauvignon characteristics. Rich in texture, layered and full-bodied.

Crystal Valley Cellars
Syrah 2003 California; $18
13.5/20Mineral, black fruits, red meat and spice in the nose. Big, ripe, deep fruit notes on entry, focused and intense with elements of currant, rhubarb and other black fruits.

Crystal Valley Cellars
The Chard 2003 Chardonnay; $16
13/20Chardonnay from vineyards in the Carneros, Yountville and Solano County. Mostly cold fermented and aged in stainless steel with a small portion in French oak barrels.

Happy Camper
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon; $8
13.5/20Delivers aromas of wild black fruit, plum and spice. This segues into more expressive berry flavors and finishes with silky, soft tannins that linger with black fruit.

Happy Camper
2005 Chardonnay; $9
12.5/20Crisp apple and pear with fresh fruit aromas combine after a desert rainstorm. Thirst-quenching cool climate apple and pear flavors with a refreshingly lively mouthfeel.

Happy Camper
2004 Merlot; $9
13/20Blackberry, plum and spice on the nose. Similar flavors along with currant, that give way to luscious fruit that becomes supple, smooth tannins on the finish.

Huntington Wine Cellars
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $14
13/20Aromas of sweet black plum and candied cherry, pretty French oak, spice, cedar and coffee. It has rich, layered fruit flavors and shows off a refined elegance.

Huntington Wine Cellars
2002 Merlot; $14
13.5/20The nose opens with a wealth of bright plum and cherry flavors balanced by a nice streak of supportive acidity softly blanketed by subtle tannins.

Huntington Wine Cellars
2005 Petite Sirah; $14
13.5/20Aromas of black fruit, chocolate, currant, blackberry and black cherry. The palate is rich and full, blanketed with soft tannins.

Oak Grove Vineyards
2004 Reserve Petite Sirah; $7
13/20Concentrated nose of lush cherries, black pepper and spice. Delicious fruit flavors of blueberry and raspberry explode on the palate followed by a long, spicy finish.

Oak Grove Vineyards
2005 Reserve Pinot Grigio; $8
13.5/20Lighter bodied yet full of flavor, try as a first course with chilled prawns or serve along side antipasti in a festive setting.

Oak Grove Vineyards
2005 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc; $8
13.5/20Fresh, crisp flavors of apples and grapefruit that lead into a delicate fruity finish. It goes well with a variety foods including veal, pasta and seafood.

Oak Grove Vineyards
2004 Reserve Shiraz; $8
13/20Intense and full bodied, it delivers peppery notes of black cherry and blackberry. Pairs with robust, full-flavored dishes.

Oak Grove Vineyards
2004 Reserve Viognier; $7
13/20Sometimes compared to Chardonnay, Viognier has a more perfumed and floral character. It is rich and full-bodied.

Oak Grove Vineyards
2005 Reserve Zinfandel; $7
13.5/20Aromas and flavors of wild raspberry and plum accented by a hint of black pepper.

Riverside by Foppiano
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon; $6
13/20Flavors of sun-drenched cherries, soft hints of clove and a spicy berry finish on the palate. Great for enjoying with pepper crusted steak, pad Thai or barbecue oysters.

Riverside by Foppiano
2005 Chardonnay; $8
12.5/20Adorned in a bright, tropical bottle, this Chardonnay has flavors of equally tropical melon and vanilla, with a subtle citrusy finish on the palate.

Riverside by Foppiano
2005 White Zinfandel; $8
12/20This is juicy strawberry flavors, subtle hints of cranberries and a delicate sweet rose finish on the palate. Try pairing it with veggie polenta, fish tacos or seared ahi.

2005 California New Vine Chardonnay; $14 for 1.5L bottle
13.5/20Floral aromas accented with lemon-lime and freshly crushed ginger. Bold and bright entry, with rich citrus and spice flavors that lead into ripe peaches and nectarines on the palate.

2005 California Old Vine Zinfandel; $14 for 1.5L bottle
13.5/20Deep rich colors and peppery aromas of blackberry and cherry. On the palate, it is thick and bursting with berry flavors followed by hints of chocolate and toasty oak nuances.


Finger Lakes

Chateau Frank
1999 Blanc de Blancs; $30
13/20 Crisp acidity accompanied by citrus, floral and hazelnut aromas. Extended lees aging gives it noticeable yeast autolysis character with notes of toast and beeswax.

Chateau Frank
2000 Blanc de Noirs; $35
12.5/20Start spreadin' the news. This New York bubbly is made with Pinot Blanc and Pinot Meunier. It displays a green apple aroma with a clean, smooth finish.

Chateau Frank
2000 Brut; $25
13/20A great balance is achieved between the fruity contributions of Pinot Noir and the acidic backbone of the Chardonnay resulting in a long clean finish.

Chateau Frank
NV Célèbre; $20
13.5/20Made from Riesling grapes, this Cremant-style sparkler has apple, honey and spicy aromas with a solid acidic backbone that gives the wine balance and a fruity forwardness.

Chateau Frank
NV Célèbre Rosé; $21
13/20Made in tradition French Rosé style and from 100 percent Pinot Meunier grapes, this pink sparkler offers fruity raspberry and strawberry aromas with luscious cherry flavors.


Willamette Valley

Willamette Valley Vineyards
2005 Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir; $40
14.5/20 Aromas of red fruits, violets, clove and tea leaf. Flavors mirror aromas with juicy bing cherry, lavender, earth and mineral followed by an elegant, lingering finish.

Willamette Valley Vineyards
2005 Pinot Noir; $25
13.5/20 Aromas of black and red fruit, earth and spice. Flavors of black cherry, currant and dried plum, with a round, warm mouthfeel and a long, lingering finish.


Columbia Valley

Domaine Ste. Michelle
Frizzante; $8
12.5/20 A creamy sparkling wine, with notes of apple, pear and candied apples, it is balanced and refreshing.


Maipo Valley

Lota 2004 Red Wine; $50
15.5/20Aromatics of fully ripened blackberries. Velvety and subtle texture with multi-layered flavors packed with black currants, cola and touches of cedar, espresso and pecans.



Lucien Albrecht
Brut Blancs de Blancs; $30
13.5/20Combines fruit, power, balance and the expression of Champagne terroir in one blend of 20 percent Chardonnay, 40 percent Pinor Noir and 40 percent Pinot Meunier.

Lucien Albrecht
Brut Rosé; $13
13.5/20Made from the strictest methode traditionnelle, this 100 percent Pinot Noir has a fresh palate with small red berry flavors and is delicious on its own.

Chouilly Épernay

Nicolas Feuillatte
Brut Blue Label; $30
13/20Combines fruit, power, balance and the expression of Champagne terroir in one blend of 20 percent Chardonnay, 40 percent Pinor Noir and 40 percent Pinot Meunier.

Nicolas Feuillatte
Brut Rosé; $40
14/20Flavors of blackberries, raspberries, red currants and strawberries, that delicately linger. On the palate it is fruity and well balanced.

Nicolas Feuillatte
Palmes d'Or 1997; $120
17/20Prestige Champagne made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir grapes. The dance of aromas, between the Chardonnay's hints of citrus, and the Pinot's suggestion of a Vienna two-step, presages a supple, round and buttery mouth.

Nicolas Feuillatte
Vintage Cuvée Spéciale; $65
No RatingBiscuit, spice and mineral aromas and flavors. Full-bodied and well-integrated, serve with roasted fowl, fish in cream sauce, shell fish and fine aged cheeses.


Charles Heidsieck
"Blanc des Millénaires" Brut Vintage 1995; $95
16.5/20Elegant notes of fresh bark lead to spices and macerated fruits. Charming, smooth and serene on the palate, with a dry, slightly candied finish with notes of marrons glacés.

Charles Heidsieck
Brut Réserve NV; $40
No RatingNotes of fully ripe fruit, such as nectarines and cherry plums. Full and intense with notes of warm bread blending with discreet notes of ginger and coriander.

Charles Heidsieck
Brut Rosé Vintage 1999; $80
No RatingAromas of strawberries that become more intense with hints of mild pepper, vanilla pods and sandalwood. The texture has the silky-rich smoothness of pomegranate.

Cuvée Brut NV; $30
14/20Aromas of spring blossom lead into more fruity notes such as apple and pear. On the palate it is lively and fresh, while the finish resonates with toast and citrus notes.

Rosé Sauvage; $45
No RatingAroma notes of citrus fruits, mandarin and blood orange with a hint of cinnamon. It expresses the slight acidity of red fruit, then mellows and lingers with hints of strawberry, blood orange, plum and a welcome sensation of warmth.

Cuvée Sublime $37
No RatingGenerous notes of dried fruit, caramelized pear, licorice, cinnamon and vanilla. There is a finish around mild spices, vanilla and cinnamon.


Brut Millésimé 1997; $60
15.5/20Stylish aromas of grapefruit, peaches and oranges. The palate shows preserved orange peel and a vanilla-like finish. The texture is silky and very fine, with lingering crispness.

Cuvée Rosé Brut; $80
15/20Bright, fresh and intense nose, with notes of raspberries, strawberries and black cherries. There is fresh fruit on the palate, followed by a full-bodied, yet elegant mouthfeel.

Grand Siècle La Cuvée; $110
No RatingHoneyed, nutty aromas with hints of almonds and freshly baked brioche. Round and rich taste, with an amazing dichotomy of complex elegance and power.



Badia a Coltibuono
1998 Vin Santo Del Chianti Classico; $25
15.5/20Made from the native white Tuscan grapes Trebbiano and Malvasia. After harvest, grapes are hung up and left to dry for at least three months before being pressed.

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(Updated: 03/23/11 JC)

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