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December 2009

New wine releases from around the world





2007 White; $25

13.5/20A crisp Rhône-styled white blend—comprising nearly equal parts Viognier and Marsanne—exhibiting citrus blossom and jasmine scents with stone fruit, pear, pineapple and honey flavors on the palate.

Arroyo Grande Valley

2006 Brut Rosé; $28

13.5/20Made from Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this bubbly Rosé offers subtle floral aromas, which give way to bright berry flavors.

Arroyo Seco

J. Lohr
2006 Late Harvest White Riesling; $25 (375 ml)

14/20A golden-colored and sweet Riesling dessert wine exhibiting dried apricot, peach, pear and candied orange aromas and flavors.

Monterey County

Francis Coppola
2008 Sofia Sparkling Blanc De Blancs; $19

13/20A This sparkling white (not a rose, as the pink-tinted packaging suggests) offers accessible flavors and is a blend of three white varietals: Pinot Blanc, Riesling, and Muscat.

Paso Robles

2006 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah; $28

14/20Half-and-half Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, this full-bodied red blend exhibits blueberry, cassis and earthy flavors with plum hints and silky tannins.


William Hill Estate Winery
2007 Napa Valley Chardonnay; $22

13.5/20Crisp flavors of ripe pineapple, pear and citrus fruits give way to a creamy finish, making this Chardonnay a good companion to meals of grilled red snapper or tuna.


Frank Family Vineyards
1997 Signature Brut; $65

14/20This elegant champagne is pale straw in color and exhibits a fine mousse of tiny, persistent bubbles. It is perfect with your holiday dinner.


Rocca Family Vineyards
2006 Syrah; $45

15/20Aromas of smoky cherry and wild plum with hints of dried lavender and nutmeg are echoed in this Syrah’s flavors.


Dry Creek Valley

2007 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel; $20

13/20With 7 percent Petite Sirah added, this elegant Zin features a plum and briar patch character in the nose and mouth, making it a good pairing with barbecued ribs and hamburgers.

Russian River Valley

J Vineyards
2007 Nicole's Vineyard Pinot Noir; $65

15.5/20A smooth entry leads into a rich and fleshy mid-palate, ending with a long spicy finish with notes of fig, dark cherry and fennel mixed with caramel undertones.

Iron Horse
2002 Brut LD; $85

14/20Flavors of Meyer lemon and green apple—and a creamy mouthfeel—are followed by a lingering finish.

J Vineyards
N.V. J Brut Rosé; $35

14/20This sparkling rosé opens with flavors of cherry, blood orange and citrus peel, all underlined by a bright acidity.



South Coast Winery
Black Jack Port; $38

13.5/20This blend reflects opulent ripe berry fruit and nutty aromas with a warm, silky finish.

N.V. Cuvée de Frontignan; $24

12.5/20Made from the Muscat grape, this sparkling wine is light and fruity with a crisp acidity.


2002 J. Schram; $100

15/20This youthful sparkler bursts with aromas of green apple and pineapple, followed by flavors of candied grapefruit and glazed pineapple.

Domaine Chandon
étoile Rosé Sur lees 2003; $50
14.5/20 Elegant and restrained with fresh aromas of plum, raspberry and nutmeg followed by subtle flavors of cocoa powder.

Domaine Chandon
Rosé; $22
14/20 A bold and creamy wine that gains its structure from the addition of Pinot Noir at triage. Enjoy it with lamb.

Merlot; $20

13.5/20A non-vintage Californian Merlot with a round mouthfeel and supple flavors of plum, dark stone fruit, spice and smoke.

Zinfandel; $20

13.5/20This Californian Zinfandel exhibits bright berry flavors, with vanilla and licorice on the nose.


Lynfred Winery
2008 Illinois Seyval Blanc; $20

12.5/20Tropical, canned peach aromas complement this medium-bodied Seyval Blanc’s mineral-driven and fruity flavors and crisp finish. Pairs well with shrimp and salads.



Cooper Mountain Vineyards
2007 Reserve Pinot Gris; $15

12.5/20This white wine exhibits lush fruit flavors ranging from hints of tangerine, grapefruit and mango to layers of apple and pear.


2007 Brut Rosé; $45

13.5/20A blend of Pinot Meunier and Pinot Noir, this sparkling rose offers clean minerality with mild tannin.


2005 Brut Rosé; $48

14.5/20Composed of equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this sparkler offers a bouquet of rose petal, minerals, biscuit, strawberry and raspberry.

1999 Extended Tirage Brut; $50

13.5/20This sparkler offers rich and creamy flavors of lemon and grapefruit citrus, Anjou pear and apple leading into a long and vibrant finish with fresh baguette and caramelized sugar.



Kluge Estate Winery and Vineyard
2004 SP Rosé; $28

13.5/20TA fruity and floral nose leads into flavors of cherry, rose petal, and raspberry, with a touch of toast.



Casa Madero
Shiraz MV; $22

14/20This intense yet balanced red pairs perfectly with rack of lamb.




Francois Baur
Cremant d'Alsace Brut Reserve; $23
This biodynamic sparkler offers pear and peach aromas, and is creamy with balanced fruit and acidity.



Henry Fessy
2007 Régnié Gamay; $19
This Gamay features blueberry flavors with a touch of raspberry jam, and bright acidity. Pairs well with cheeses, barbecued ribs and exotic foods.


Champagne Taittinger
2003 Comtes de Champagne Rosé; $300
This Brut features ripe strawberry, raspberry and honeyed apple on the nose with flavors of red apple. The finish is rich and refined with a hint of minerality.

Champagne Veuve Clicquot
1998 La Grande Dame; $125
Composed of 64% Pinot Noir and 36% Chardonnay, the Grande Dame is crystal clear with extremely fine bubbles and great aging potential; A silky palate ends with a lively, long finish.

Champagne Henriot
1998 Brut Millésimé; $95
Fresh, delicate aromas give this cuvée richness and elegance; a creamy mouthfeel magnifies aromas of apple, grapefruit and tea.

Champagne Pol Roger
1999 Brut Blanc de Blancs; $120

16.5/20This youthful offering made from 100% Chardonnay boasts a freshness that calls out for a pairing with fresh fish or a light appetizer.

Champagne G.H. Mumm
Mumm de Cramant; $75

16/20A citrusy bouquet leads to an elegant palate of fresh lime and grapefruit flavors; pairs well with prosciutto and melon and grilled swordfish.

Champagne Henri Giraud
2000 Ay Grand Cru, Cuvée Fut de Chene; $349

16/20Comprised of 70% Pinot Noir and 30% Chardonnay, this rich and creamy sparkler offers intense complexity.

Champagne Perrier-Jouet
2000 Fleur de Champagne; $140

16/20Opening with a nose of magnolia and fruit, this cuvée displays a distinctive mouthfeel and the vinosity of an exceptional grand cru blend.

Champagne Pommery
1999 Grand Cru Brut Millésimé; $85

16/20This silky and well-rounded Grand Cru exhibits superb finesse and structure, and offers white fruit and lemony floral aromas.

Champagne Henriot
N.V. Rosé Brut; $65

15.5/20Deep copper-pink in hue, this fresh Rosé Champagne is a good aperitif, showcasing mineral, strawberry and raspberry aromatics and lingering red fruit flavors.

Champagne Paul Goerg
2000 Lady Cuvée; $95

15.5/20Comprised of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir, this mature wine displays a fresh bouquet with notes of citrus, peaches and pears.

Champagne de Venoge
2000 Brut Millésimé; $70

15.5/20Similar to the Brut Cordon Bleu, this vintage has relatively low acidity yet is round and mellow.

Champagne Vranken

1999 Diamant Blanc Millésimé; $140

15.5/20Tender and fleshy on the palate, this finely developed Champagne offers flavors of dried fruit and spices leading into a roasted coffee finish.

Champagne Besserat
2002 Brut; $70

15/20This vintage is composed of 54% Chardonnay; 15% Pinot Noir; 31% Pinot Meunier. It is full on the palate with a fruity, persistent finish.

Champagne Charles de Cazanove
2003 Le Millésime Brut; $60

15/20Exhibiting an intriguing nose of chalk and citrus with light floral notes, this vintage is rich, full and elegant on the plate. The finish is complex and long.

Champagne Charles de Cazanove
1998 Le Stradivarius; $82

15/20With a nose of pear and citrus, this elegant sparkler boasts a palate of fruit, chalk and rich creaminess complemented by very fine mousse.

Champagne Henri Giraud
Code Noir; $
15/20This warm, well-balanced sparkler exhibits a mature and fine nose with pear, cherry and notes of vanilla and white pepper.

Champagne Taittinger
N.V. Cuvée Prestige Rosé Brut ; $70
A blend of 70% Pinot Noir/Pinot Meunier and 30% Chardonnay, this sparkler displays balanced fruit complexity and bouquet.

Champagne de Venoge
Rosé Brut; $60

15/20A blend of red and white Pinot Noir wines, this light rosé with a fine froth is perfect served as an aperitif or with red berry fruits.

Champagne Vilmart & Cie
Grand Cellier Brut; $75

15/2070% Chardonnay and 30% Pinot Noir, this sparkler offers delicate aromas of white flowers and is an ideal aperitif.

Champagne Besserat de Bellefon
Cuvée des Moines Brut; $50
14.5/20 This full-bodied bubbly is sweet and well-rounded, with woodland flowers, pears and candied fruit on the nose and a fresh, assertive finish.

Champagne Besserat de Bellefon
Cuvée des Moines Brut Rosé; $65
14.5/20 —Aromas of wild strawberries, almonds and red currant jelly on the nose set the stage for the fleshy blackcurrant and red fruit flavors in this vino, which pairs well with pizza.

Champagne Heidsieck & Co Monopole

Brut Rosé Top; $48
14.5/20Of note is the wine's composition: 52% Pinot Noir; 18% Bouzy Rouge; 20% Chardonnay; 10% Pinot Meunier. It is a well-balanced, light and fruity ros

Champagne Henri Giraud

François Hémart Aÿ Grand Cru; $89
14.5/20This medium-bodied Champagne offers pear and dried apricot flavors complemented by a finish of orange zest and chocolate.

Champagne Henriot
N.V. Brut Souverain; $45
14.5/20Opening with a bouquet of white flower and citrus, this cuv
ée offers a balanced and harmonious palate.

Champagne Jean Milan
Carte Blanche Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut; $50
14.5/20Displaying aromas of citrus, this fresh and light Champagne is perfect as an aperitif.

Champagne Laurent-Perrier
Brut L-P; $49
14.5/20This pale-gold sparkler offers fine, persistent bubbles with delicate citrus aromas and rounded flavors.

Champagne Paul Goerg

Brut Rosé; $43
14.5/20Comprised of 85% Chardonnay and 15% Pinot Noir, this rose exhibits notes of fresh red fruits and is light on the palate.

Champagne Perrier-Jouet

N.V. Blason Rosé; $75
14.5/20Medium salmon in hue, this pink bubbly originates from Pinot Noir, Pinot Meunier and Chardonnay, exhibiting raspberry scents with lingering strawberry and citrus flavors.

Champagne Philipponnat
2002 Grand Blanc; $80

14.5/20Exclusively blended from 1er Cru and Grand Cru Chardonnay grapes, this crisp and clean Champagne displays good vivacity and a long finish.

Champagne Philipponnat
N.V. Réserve Rosée Brut; $70
14.5/20This dry, pink-hued Champagne shows off strawberry and red currant aromas. Pairs well with smoked meats and berry desserts.

Champagne Ayala
Rosé Majeur; $60
14/20Chardonnay accounts for more than 50 percent of this cuvee, giving it a delicacy, with finesse and elegance.

Champagne Charles de Cazanove
Brut Rosé; $50

14.5/20Comprised of 50% Pinot Noir; 20% Pinot Meunier; 15% Chardonnay; and 15% Bouzy Rouge, this Champagne is complex and offers aromas of red fruits and flowers.

Champagne Chartogne-Taillet
Sainte-Anne Brut; $40
14/20This sparkler is silky with notes of leather, butter and apples.

Champagne Delamotte
N.V. Brut; $55
14/20With an agreeable freshness, this powerful wine offers a supple roundness on the palate and a clean, fruity finish.

Champagne Diebolt-Vallois
N.V. Brut Cuvée Tradition; $57
14/20A blend of the region's three grape varieties (40% Chardonnay; 40% Pinot Noir; and 20% Pinot Meunier), this sparkler is fresh with lively notes of citrus.

Champagne G.H. Mumm
Brut Rosé; $55
14/20Deep fruity notes of red currant and strawberries are balanced by the Chardonnay (22%); Pairs well with oysters and fresh shellfish.

Champagne Heidsieck & Co Monopole
Blue Top Brut; $38

14/20A stong and generous nose of toasty aromas leads into a full and fruity palate; Pairs perfectly with seafood and white meats.

Champagne Jacquart
Brut Mosaique Rosé; $40

14/20With a salmon-pink hue and fine bubbles, this rosé boasts a palate that starts with red fruit flavors and finishes with hints of peach and apricot.

Champagne Nicolas Feuillatte
Brut Rosé; $38

14/20This pink/copper-colored Champagne exhibits blackberry and raspberry scents with a fruit-driven palate. Pairs well with pheasant, goat cheese or strawberries.

Champagne Perrier-Jouet
Grand Brut; $40

14/20Aromas of tropical fruit and spice lead into flavors of fresh apples and lemons.

Champagne Philipponnat
Royale Réserve; $40

14/20This sufficiently mature wine offers a full mouth that remains fruity with some biscuity and baked bread notes; a perfect aperitif.

Champagne Pierre Morlet
2002 Millésime Brut; $50

14/20A blend of Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this refreshing Champagne is composed of Premier and Grand Crus.

Champagne Pierre Morlet
Rosé Grande Réserve; $45

14/20Derived entirely from Pinot Noir, this pink, full-bodied Champagne exhibits raspberry and cherry flavors in the mouth.

Champagne Paul Goerg
Blanc De Blancs; $38
14/20 Derived entirely from Chardonnay, this pale yellow, smooth Champagne is crisp and lemony on the palate.

Champagne de Venoge
Cordon Bleu Brut Select; $32
14/20 Aromas of flowers evolve into buttery scents; enjoy as an aperitif or with simple first courses.

Champagne de Venoge
2000 Blanc de Blancs; $62
14/20 With a nose of toast and yeast, this elegant sparkler boasts a palate of apple and vanilla complemented by delicate bubbles. Pairs well with seafood.

Champagne Ayala
Brut Majeur; $40

13.5/20A pale golden color, this sparkler offers appealing fruitiness and a long finish.

Champagne Bonnaire
N.V. Brut Rosé; $37

13.5/20Coral pink in color, this rosé offers fullness, fine grain and balance; perfect for Spring and Summer celebrations.

Champagne Gonet-Medeville
Tradition Brut; $39

13.5/20Comprised of 70% Chardonnay, 25% Pinot Noir and 5% Pinot Meunier, this lightweight premier cru is an appealing aperitif.

Champagne Jacquart
Brut Mosaique; $31

13.5/20A fresh bouquet with grape, pear and notes of bread crust leads into fresh and fruity flavors; pair with seafood or soft cheeses.

Champagne Pierre Morlet
Grande Réserve Premier Cru; $42

13.5/20This sparkler has a round and elegant body with notes of raspberry and wild strawberry, mingling with hints of violet.

Champagne Rene Florancy
N.V. Premier Cru; $27

13.5/20This crisp and elegant sparkler gives fresh citrus aromas balanced with soft honey and biscuit flavors.

Champagne Charles de Cazanove
N.V. Premier Cru; $50

13/20Exhibiting fine mousse and texture, this Champagne offers crisp fruit flavors with balance.

Champagne Charles Lafitte
Brut Prestige; $9

13/20A mouth revealing apple and other white-fleshed fruits combines with a slightly menthol finish.

Champagne Demoiselle
Brut Rosé; $42

13/20This sparkler displays a nose of red berries and is light and fruity on the palate.

Champagne Diebolt-Vallois
Blanc de Blancs Brut ; $32

13/20Lively and elegant, this Champagne offers apple and citrus flavors; perfect as an aperitif.


Louis Bouillot
Rosé Perle d’Aurore; $20

13/20This "Pearl of the Dawn" rosé offers fruity notes with a nice acidity.


Côtes du Rhône

Louis Bernard
2007 Bonus Passus; $10

13.5/20Packaged in a lightweight plastic bottle, this Grenache (with a bit of Syrah and Mourvèdre added) offers strawberry jam fragrances with red berry flavors and a soft palate.



Novecento Riserva; $45

14.5/20With an intense ruby color, this dry and full-bodied Chianti exhibits plum, coffee and cocoa flavors.

Da Vinci
2006 DOCG Chianti; $16

14/20This well-balanced, medium weight wine bursts with flavors of ripe plums, cherries and red fruit; pairs well with pasta and meat dishes.


N.V. Prosecco Royal Cuvée; $19

13.5/20Aromas of wild flowers and ripe fruit mingle with hints of hazelnut.



40 Years Old Tawny Porto; $162

15.5/20Masterfully aged in oak casks, this fine amber port seduces with warm aromas of nuts, raisins and vanilla; On the palate, flavors of dried fruits and walnuts lead to a long complex finish.



N.V. Cava Brut; $12

13/20This cava offers creamy texture with flavors of orange and spice.



Black Swan
2008 Shiraz; $8

12.5/20This purple-colored, medium-bodied Shiraz features licorice and blackcurrant scents with black cherry, pepper, mocha and vanilla oak flavors.


Brut Taché; $20

14/20A blend of Chardonnay and Pinot Noir, this sparkling wine exhibits a salmon-pink color, red berry and rose petal aromas, and citrus, peach and yeast flavors.




2008 Pinot Noir; $18

13.5/20Aromas of black cherries, raspberry and plum lead to a round, soft palate with black current and blueberry notes mingling with hints of cola.


2007 Carmenère; $12

13/20This deep red Carmenère shows off strawberry, raspberry, herb and toasty coffee aromas and flavors along with a juicy mouthfeel and lingering aftertaste. Pairs well with braised short ribs.

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(Updated: 10/26/10 MS)

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