2006 Merlot; $14
13.5/20 — Full-bodied yet smooth, this Merlot exhibits red cherry, spice, cocoa and espresso flavors with supple tannins and a layered finish. Try with pork tenderloin.
Silver Mountain Vineyards
2007 Rosé of Pinot Noir; $18
13/20 — This dry, salmon-hued Rosé shows red cherry and flower fragrances, and watermelon, peach and cherry flavors. Pairs well with pizza.
Lee Family Farm
2006 Grenache; $24
13.5/20 — Displaying a soft mid-palate, this medium-bodied red features blueberry jam, violet, pomegranate and mint aromas and flavors.
2006 Pinot Grigio; $11
12.5/20 — Tropical aromas of pears, pineapples and ginger give way to flavors of pears and Fuji apples with hints of vanilla. Pairs well with fresh oysters.
2007 Sauvignon Blanc; $15
13/20 — Consisting of 60 percent Sauvignon Musqué, 25 percent Sauvignon Blanc and 15 percent Semillion, this medium-bodied blend reveals bright citrus and apple flavors with a light floral aroma. Pairs well with a Caesar salad.
Santa Barbara County
2005 Über Syrah; $50
15/20 — Dark and complex, this Syrah’s blackcurrant, cherry, herbal and tobacco aromas foreshadow its dark fruit and oak flavors. Pairs well with blue cheese.
Santa Lucia Highlands
2006 Twelve Clones Pinot Noir; $65 (1.5L)
13.5/20 — This medium-bodied Pinot Noir features cherry, rose petal, leather, toast, mineral and vanilla scents and flavors.
Sta. Rita Hills
Clos Pepe Estate
2007 Pinot Noir; $54
15/20 — This Pinot Noir features blackberry, blueberry and strawberry flavors with good mineral acidity. Sip now, or allow to age for up to a decade.
Santa Ynez Valley
2006 Roussanne; $25
13.5/20 — A lovely, approachable rendition, this Roussanne is at once sophisticated and easy sipping, and features aromas and flavors of stone fruit with lingering minerality.
2007 Tous Ensemble Viognier; $20
14/20 — Peach, honeycomb and lime blossom scents complement this summery wine’s soft finish and lychee, kumquat and apricot flavors.
2007 White Maximus; $28
14/20 — This crisp Sauvignon Blanc, blended with a small amount of Chardonnay and Muscat, exhibits mandarin orange, key lime and peach aromas with layered nectarine, grapefruit and pear flavors.
Cain Vineyard & Winery
Cain Cuvée; $28
15/20 — A blend of mostly Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon with a small amount of Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot, this refreshing Meritage shows a silky, light mouthfeel, a supple base and complex aromas.
Castello di Amorosa
2002 Il Brigante Red Wine; $20
14/20 — A Cabernet Sauvignon mixed with 11 percent Syrah and 7 percent Merlot, this wine shows off red currant, black cherry and earthy aromas which give way to wild berry flavors and moderate tannins.
2005 Signature Cabernet Sauvignon; $80
16/20 — Blended with Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec, this Cabernet Sauvignon features vanilla, blackberry and cassis aromas, layered black cherry, plum and espresso flavors, and a baking spice-evoking finish.
Carneros Della Notte
2005 Los Carneros Pinot Noir; $48
14/20 — This unmistakably boutique Pinot Noir features a fine structure with black plum, currant, eucalyptus and anise flavors, and a lingering, burnt caramel finish.
Rocca Family Vineyards
2006 Bad Boy Red; $32
15/20 — Comprising 54 percent Cabernet Sauvignon, 34 percent Cabernet Franc and 12 percent Petit Verdot, this red blend features bright raspberry, blackberry and vanilla oak aromas and flavors.
Russian River Valley
2007 Shone Farm Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc; $27
13/20 — This complex wine features lemongrass and passionfruit scents and flavors in addition to its refreshing acidity and herbaceousness, and minerality on the finish.
Loring Wine Company
2006 Durell Pinot Noir; $45
14/20 — This medium- to full-bodied Pinot Noir displays a dried currant, earth, mushroom and herb character, and finishes with dark berry flavors.
2005 Christian; $30
13.5/20 — This smooth Chenin Blanc features straw scents and wild tropical fruit flavors with a creamy palate. Pairs well with a chicken burrito.
2006 Cossack Riesling; $19
13/20 — Lime and tangerine scents give way to this light-bodied Riesling’s citrus and floral flavors and mineral acidity. Pairs well with fish.
2005 Art Series Chardonnay; $78
14/20 — Pear, fig, peach, citrus and yeast aromas reverberate on this full-bodied Chardonnay’s palate, which reveals a toasty finish.
2007 Moulin à Vent Gamay; $19
13.5/20 — This traditional, age-worthy Gamay exhibits a tannic structure and bright, ripe strawberry flavors with a mere hint of licorice and black pepper at the back of the palate.
N.V. Blanc de Blancs; $62
15/20 — Derived completely from Chardonnay, this creamy Champagne shows off floral, chalk, citrus and apple aromas and flavors. Makes a good aperitif.
2003 Chateauneuf-du-Pape; $40
14.5/20 — Made mostly from Grenache with a lesser amount of Syrah and Mourvèdre, this dry, full-bodied blend exhibits spice and red fruit aromas, round tannins and plum, hazelnut and cherry flavors.
2007 Donnaluna Fiano; $20
14/20 — Full-bodied and fruit-forward, this dry white wine shows off pear and hazelnut flavors with a creamy finish.
2006 Chianti; $10
13/20 — Cherry scents, soft tannins and fresh fruit flavors characterize this Sangiovese, which is blended with a touch of Merlot and Syrah. Pairs well with barbecue ribs.
2007 Pinot Grigio; $20
14.5/20 — Aged without oak, this fresh Pinot Grigio shows off minerality and bright acidity. Pairs well with tuna salad and cured meats.
2006 Ergo Rioja Tempranillo; $14
13/20 — Ripe fruit, cedar, and floral aromas give way to this medium-bodied red’s cherry, currant, coconut and raspberry flavors, oak nuances and lingering finish.
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(Updated 07/14/09 SV)