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November 2006
New wine releases from around the world



Alexander Valley

2004 Broken Road Chardonnay; $35
14.5/20Flinty lemon-lime, ripe apple and pear flavors finish with a ribbon of caramel. Gently structured and medium-bodied with a mineral core and a rich, evolved finish.

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $30
12.5/20Layers of fleshy blackberry and current flavor. The supple mid-palate glides focused tannins into a seductive finish accented by notes of cedar, herbal minerality and mocha.

2004 Chardonnay; $25
13.5/20Aromatic tropical accents, layered with peach and pineapple ending with a slight lemon-lime mineral component. Body is medium yet elegant and there is a very long finish.

2004 Red Point Chardonnay; $30
15/20Aromatic tropical accents, layered with peach and pineapple ending with a slight lemon-lime mineral component. Body is medium yet elegant and there is a very long finish.

2004 Upper Barn Chardonnay; $40
14.5/20Seamless profile of orange and lemon blossom enhanced by layers of spicy butterscotch and pineapple. The finish is rich and long showing tremendous purity.

Chalk Hill

Chalk Hill
2004 Chardonnay; $45
14.5/20 Intense aromas of Asian pear, green apple, toasted hazelnut and integrated oak. Creamy, crisp flavors of lemon pie and exotic spice, all buoyed by the bright, fresh acidity.

Chalk Hill
2005 Sauvignon Blanc; $29
14/20 Lush floral aromas of honeysuckle and kaffir lime combine with a vibrant band of gooseberries and tropical fruit. Try pairing it with a Thai-influenced dish.

Central Coast

2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $12
13/20Full-flavor development and good acid balance. Rich layers of currant and cherry, framed by nicely integrated oak.

2004 Merlot; $10
12.5/20Ripe cherry fruit complemented by hints of spice and vanilla from nicely integrated French and American oak barrels.

2002 Syrah; $10
12.5/20Features a dense core of blueberry and blackberry fruit, supported by layers of spice and rich vanilla tones.

Sterling Vintner's Collection
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon; $13
12.5/20Aromas of dark fruit, cassis, dried herbs, cocoa powder and vanilla. Flavors of blackberries with hints of caramel, root beer and vanilla. Chewy tannins and a long finish.

Dry Creek Valley

2003 Proprietary Red; $45
15.5/20 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon with complex aromas of ripe blackberry, mocha, vanilla and sage that are intertwined with briar nuance.

High Valley

Two Angels
2005 Syrah; $26
13.5/20On the palate, it has a supple, balanced mouthfeel and good grip, with flavors that mimic the aromas of ripe raspberry, plum, licorice and smoke.

Brassfield Estate
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $40
13/20Dark fruits of blackberry and dried currants predominate, with subtle elements of earth, eucalyptus, leather and black olive.

Brassfield Estate
2005 Pinot Grigio; $14
13.5/20Tropical fruit aromas with subtle flinty notes. The flavors of lemon custard and apple are framed by a crisp and balanced acidity with a long, lingering finish.

Brassfield Estate
2004 Pinot Noir; $23
12.5/20Luscious dark plum and dried cherry aromas dominate the nose with nuances of vanilla, cherry and toasty oak. Well-structured with modest tannins and a good acid base.

Brassfield Estate
2005 Sauvignon Blanc; $14
13/20This slightly fizzy, crisp wine features citrus aromas with a hint of mineral are intertwined by complex bouquets of gooseberry, grapefruit and tarragon. A dash of Semillon adds more body to the mid-palate. Taste is slightly metallic.

Brassfield Estate
2005 Serenity White Table Wine; $14
14/20Mostly Sauvignon Blanc and Pinot Grigio, with a bit of Gewürztraminer and Semillon. White peach and nectarine flavors with a creamy vanilla, slightly off-dry finish.

Brassfield Estate
2003 Syrah; $29
13.5/20Aromas of dark fruits, lavender, cola nut and toasty oak intertwine amongst the elegant flavors, along with a touch of soy and smoky cedar.


Chalone Vineyard
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon; $14
13.5/20Full-bodied with aromas of berry jam and cocoa. Rich with juicy blackberry flavors and notes of vanilla/oak. It has nicely balanced tannins and a medium long finish.

2003 Chardonnay; $10
13/20Features a lush tropical fruit core, balanced by crisp acidity and nicely integrated oak.

2005 Pinot Noir; $12
13/20Rich wine that features bright cherry and raspberry with hints of spice, leather and cedar.

2004 Riesling; $9
13/20Fresh peach and apricot notes, framed by firm acidity. The "off-dry" or slightly sweet style makes the wine ideal for pairing with food.

2005 Chardonnay, Sleepy Hollow Vineyard; $18
14.5/20Aromas of pineapple, fresh-cut honeydew melon, and lemon meringue. Banana, rich yeasty character and ripe Fuji apple flavors are framed by citrus acid on the palate.

Talbott Vineyards
2002 Talbott Diamond T Estate Chardonnay; $65
15/20Aromas of lemon, citrus zest, kiwi and pear with a light toasty French oak character. Broad, expansive palate tapers to a lean finish and lingers.

Talbott Vineyards
2004 Talbott Sleepy Hollow Chardonnay; $42
14.5/20The wine's intense tropical aromas are framed by a hint of French oak and toasty yeast character. In the finish, bracing acidity and good grip help the wine finish long and clean.

Napa Valley

Atlas Peak
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $42
14/20Flavors of ripe dark fruits and blueberries, surround by subtle hints of vanilla bean. It is juicy, strong and robust. The tannins are soft and supple.

Cosentino Winery
2005 Chardonnay; $28
13.5/20Barrel fermented and aged on the lees for nine months. It is not inoculated for malolactic fermentation and thus it retains all of its natural acidity.

Cosentino Winery
2003 Hoopes Ranch Estate Cabernet Sauvignon; $75
14/20Punch cap fermented in lots of less than one ton. The wine was barrel aged in selected French oak barrels for 32 months and is unfined.

Domaine Carneros by Taittinger
Brut 2003; $28
13/20The subtle, ripe fruit richness of the Pinot Noir is balanced by the elegant depth and structure of the Chardonnay, converging in notes of toast and vanilla.

Domaine Carneros by Taittinger
Le Rêve Brut; $65
13.5/20Components of toast, cream and citrus enhance these scents of fruits and flowers, creating a thoroughly rich body.

Mount St. Helena
2003 Cabernet Sauvignon; $25
14.5/20With a touch of Merlot and Cabernet France, this wine is well-structured with a touch of menthol over tart cassis, tobacco and black pepper. There is a clean, persistent finish.

Schramsberg Vineyards
Schramsberg Blanc de Blancs 2003; $35
14.5/20On the nose are hints of tropical fruit and roasted pecans, which on the palate, translate into flavors of citrus fruit, baked apple and ripe pears. Pairs well with oysters and crab cakes.

Source Napa
2004 Gamble Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc; $28
14.5/20Intense and exotic aromas with traces of peach, mango, oolong tea and grapefruit. The finish is drip crisp and clean with firm acidity.

Source Napa
2003 Heritage Sites Red Wine; $38
15/20This Meritage of mostly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon has bright flavors of raspberry and currant with a sturdy, acid-tannic balance.

Paso Robles

Bianchi Winery
Heritage Selection Zen Ranch 2004 Zinfandel; $18
13.5/20Aged for one and a half years in oak, toasty spice and rich coconut aromas are evident. Flavors are juicy with ripe raspberry, light earth notes and a touch of chocolate mocha.

Tablas Creek Vineyard
2004 Côtes de Tablas; $22
14/20This blend of mostly Grenache features that varietal's fruitiness balanced by the spice and structure of Syrah, and the meaty, earthy notes of Mouvèdre and Conoise.

Tablas Creek Vineyard
2005 Côtes de Tablas Blanc; $22
No RatingThis blend of mostly Viognier and Roussanne features spicy aromas of herbs, stone fruits and minerals followed by flavors of apricot and rich texture with a long finish.

Tablas Creek Vineyard
2004 Esprit de Beaucastel; $40
15/20Elegant, layered palate shows spicy plum and cherry, smoky flavors and ripe tannins. The long finish shows flavors of mineral and black cherry.

Tablas Creek Vineyard
2004 Mourvèdre; $35
15/20Nose of roasted meats, cherries, mocha and spice. Juicy and full in the mouth, with ripe tannins, lingering notes of coffee, chocolate and leather. It should drink well for decades.

San Luis Obispo County

Edna Valley Vineyard
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon; $13
13.5/20Blackberry, chocolate and coffee flavors, with spicy aromas of black pepper and vanilla. Full, slightly masculine tannins and a bit of oak, with a creamy finish.

Santa Lucia Highlands

2004 Stonewall Vineyard Pinot Noir; $25
14.5/20Elegant fruit aromas complimented by soft notes of rose petals. Ripe, bright fruit flavors accented by silky tannins and minerals. Spicy yet sweet oak lines the lengthy finish.

Sonoma County

Gloria Ferrer
2003 Blanc de Blancs; $24
14/20The fourth vintage of this sparkler, the 2003 is crafted from hand-harvested Chardonnay. Grapes received extended hang time to soften acidity and promote ripe flavors.

California (Grapes from more than one AVA)

Beaulieu Vineyard
2004 Cabernet Sauvignon; $9
13/20Aromas of red cherries and blackberries with subtle toasty vanilla and chocolate notes. Big, round, fruit-centered tannins along with toasted flavors that linger in the finish.

Red Wine Vintage 2005; $10
12.5/20Try this mix of several varietals when friends show up for pizza. Ripe berry character with jammy pie flavors and some black pepper make this wine rich and hearty.

Blancs de Blancs; $35
No RatingAlluring aromas of tropical fruit and subtle hints of roasted pecans. On the palate, it has citrus characteristics and baked apple and ripe pear flavors that lead to a long finish.

2003 Blancs de Noirs; $35
15/20Bright, aromatic mixture of tropical fruits, toasted coconut and roasted almonds. The wine is smooth and polished, while also zesty and quenching.

Brut Rosé; $40
15/20Lively, tropical fruit and strawberry aromas with a hint of crème fraiche leap out of the glass. Refreshing and juicy on the palate with cranberry complimenting tangy grapefruit.


Columbia Valley

Columbia Winery
2005 Cellarmaster's Riesling; $8
12/20This sweet wine features a floral, honeyed aroma with hints of apricot, pear and allspice. Rich and full-flavored fruit on the palate is balanced by clean, crisp acidity.

Columbia Winery
2005 Gewürztraminer; $12
12.5/20Hints of allspice and pink grapefruit accent the sweet fruit palate. Crisp finish with a good balance of acidity. Versatile with spicy Pacific Rim cuisine.

Columbia Winery
2005 Pinot Gris; $14
12.5/20Bright hints of citrus and sweet fruit are accented by subtle mineral tones. Fresh melon and lemongrass fill the crisp, lively finish.

The Hogue Cellars
2004 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon; $30
14/20Aromas are of very ripe, fresh cherries and black olive with caramel and soft, aromatic cedar. Firmly structured with ripe plum, cassis and black cherry flavors.

The Hogue Cellars
2004 Reserve Chardonnay; $22
14/20Aromas of cream, well-integrated oak, brioche and a touch of allspice and almond. It is rich and creamy on the palate with flavors of pear, cream, brioche and marzipan.

The Hogue Cellars
2003 Reserve Merlot; $22
13.5/20Complex aromas with black olive, cocoa and roasted coffee beans complementing ripe cherry and cassis flavors that mingle with toasty oak and mocha notes.


Maipo Valley

Antiguas Reservas Cabernet Sauvignon 2004; $14
14/20Medium-full in body, it is supple and elegant with layers of flavors, including blackberries, black tea, mocha and light toasty oak.

Antiguas Reservas Chardonnay 2005; $14
13/20Aromas of golden delicious apples, lime, pink grapefruit and a hint of hazelnuts and crème brulée from the barrel fermentation.



Gewürztraminer; $20
15/20Spicy and suave, it can be enjoyed on its own, but makes a marvellous accompaniment to rich, spicy dishes, smoked fish and Asian cuisine.

Le Mesnil Sur Oger

Champagne Delamotte
Brut; $44
No RatingPowerful, but not aggressive, with an agreeable freshness, supple roundness on the palate and a clean, fruity finish. The bouquet has hints of citrus and white flowers.


Champagne Taittinger
Brut La Française; $45
14.5/20The fragrant berry and white fruit aromas, underscored by toasty, yeasty notes are confirmed on the ample, elegant palate which is strongly marked by Chardonnay.

Champagne Taittinger
Brut Millésimé; $65
No RatingThe fragrant white fruit and berry nose is offset by nuances of toast and minerals which carry onto the crisp, full palate. It has a clean, refined acidity and a persistent finish.

Champagne Taittinger
Comtes de Champagne Blanc de Blancs Brut Vintage 1996; $140
17/20Produced only in years of exceptional quality, this is a Champagne of great refinement, elegance and delicacy with a clean, aristocratic Chardonnay fragrance offset by warm, toasty nuances.

Champagne Taittinger
Comtes de Champagne Rosé Brut Vintage 1999; $210
17/20Made solely from Pinot Noir grapes in years good enough for production. The sweet, berry fragrance is offset by very subtle notes of earth and minerals. Clean, vibrant fruit flavors are confirmed on the generous palate.

Champagne Taittinger
Prestige Rosé Brut; $60
15/20Classic, aromatic Pinot fragrance of red raspberries and strawberries is offset by elegant, subtle floral and earth nuances. Ripe, full-berry flavors are vibrant yet refined.

Champagne Taittinger
Nocturne Sec ; $65
No RatingOn the palate, it is first soft and mellow, remaining very fresh. It is dominated by flavors of raisins and fruit in syrup. The finish is long and soft, with an enjoyable sweetness.

Champagne Taittinger
Prélude Grands Crus; $90
15/20The subtle, fresh nose leads from mineral aromas into floral and elderflower scents. White peach flavors with hints of fresh citrus are followed by a long and expressive finish.


Hawkes Bay

Stone Paddock by Paritua Vineyards
Sauvignon Blanc 2005; $16
13.5/20Hints of passion fruit, nectarine, pineapple and lemongrass in the aroma. The palate is rich and weighty with an overlay of fresh fruit and a delicate touch of oak.


2005 Pinot Noir; $18
13.5/20Bright cherry aromas with soft touches of oak. Ripe strawberry, cherry and plum flavors are accented with earthy characters and some spice. Smooth tannins and spicy finish.

2006 Sauvignon Blanc; $15
14/20Zesty herbaceous notes and rich tropical fruit. Intensely varietal qualities of gooseberry and passion fruit combine in a vibrant bust of flavor with a lingering, crisp finish.


Tierra de Castilla

2005 Garnacha (Grenache); $10
13/20Bright aromas and flavors of fresh blackberries and cherries fill the glass. It has a velvety finish with whispers of pepper and exotic Spanish spice.

2005 Tempranillo; $10
13/20Luscious red cherry fruit wrapped around an earthy, intense center. The finish is long and layered with a hint of coffee and chocolate, and a pinch of spice.

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(Updated: 12/31/08 SCV)

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