Sterling SVR Reserve 2006- Tastes like 100 bucks for $21.73

March 16, 2010 Cellar WorthyHigh End ValuesSpecial Occasions  One comment

I haven't been a big fan of the 2006's from Napa.  In fact,  so far, the BV Tapestry has been the only one that I really liked, especially compared to prior (and future) years.  But this is a serious exception and Internet Wines have taken exception to its normally serious price.

Sterling's SVR Reserve is a Bordeaux blend of Cabernet, Merlot and Petit Verdot.  I decanted for a couple of hours and was rewarded with a big oaky, complex nose.  This is a full bodied wine with tons of dark fruit, that I'm confident will only improve with age.  The SVR (does that stand for Stevie Ray Vaughn?) is a mouthcoating wine that reminds me of some of the high end valley wines like Groth and George de Latour.  Buy a few.  Try one now and hold onto a few bottles for at least 3 more years and it should develop nicely.

After my first bottle, I bought four more of this wine locally for $28 and still feel like I got a great deal (after shipping it's about a wash anyway).  I recently drank an '06 Chateau Montelena at a restaurant (and had ample opportunity to taste it as our table of six went through six bottles), and this blows it away.

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Single Vineyard Howell Mountain Cabernet Under $20 WE91

March 15, 2010 Cellar Worthy  No comments

It's not often that you can find a Napa Cabernet for under $20 let alone a single vineyard Howell Mountain Cabernet.  Mountain wine is notoriously expensive and, in my opinion, for good reason.  The 2005 Bella Vetta "Ami's Vineyard" Howell Mountian Cabernet has a knock out nose and a long,  lingering finish, in typical mountain style.  It's medium to full bodied with lots of fruit, but not in an over-ripe style sometimes found down the hill in the valley.

Watch for this wine to get much more expensive as the vines get some age- this is the wineries first offering from the 2 acre Ami's Vineyard.  But if you had told me the vines are 15 years old, I wouldn't have thought twice.  Only 248 cases were made, and I wouldn't be surprised if K&L bought a healthy percentage of it.  I

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Gloria Ferrer Brut ‘Royal Cuvee’ 2001- Great Sparkling Deal WS93

March 13, 2010 Special Occasions  4 comments

Last night I had the pleasure of celebrating a special occasion with this awesome bottle of sparkling wine from Carneros.  Gloria Ferrer is usually known for their Sonoma wines, but this vintage reserve bottling uses Napa grapes, to great effect.  Unlike many California sparklers, this wine is nuanced and very dry, much like a Champagne.  With 2/3 Pinot Noir and 1/3 Chardonnay, you get some of the smokey and nutty flavors of the Pinot coming through as well.

For me, it's fun to drink vintage sparkling wine, not just because of complexity gained during the 7-8 years in the bottle, but because I like to think about all the effort that went into creating it.   If you haven't read up on the complicated process of making champagne and other sparkling wine, it's worth a read.  It will make

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Top Wine Deal Site: WTSO.com

March 11, 2010 Nickel & Dime Retailers  3 comments

From time to time I'm going to be discussing the best places to buy wine (for great prices).  One of my favorite online wine retailers is WTSO.com a.k.a Wines 'til Sold Out.  I've bought a few cases of wine from these guys and I've always been impressed.  WTSO lists wines a few times a day- with the main event at midnight EST- and sells them until, you guessed it, they are sold out.  It's a great way for an unnamed major wine retailer to get rid of excess inventory and, truth be told, wineries and distributors are selling wines to WTSO at MAJOR discounts to get rid of their own inventory.

Major benefits:

Free shipping with minimum purchase (usually between 1 and 4 bottles)
Quick delivery
Major names unlike some "one wine deal a day" sites

Let me give you some examples of the

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Dead Soldiers: Avalon Cabernet 2005, Faust Cabernet 2005, Monte Antico 2006, San Simeon Chardonnay 2006

March 8, 2010 Daily DrinkersHigh End ValuesSpecial OccasionsWines under $10  No comments

Tonight I start my weekly dead soldiers post.  Sundays or Mondays I will be summarizing the prior week in wine with my "dead soliders" post.  I've already blogged about a couple of these wines, and the other two are likely to show up in later posts so we will leave it at this:  3 under $10 wines (Avalon, Monte Antico and San Simeon) and a $50 wine (Faust).

It's not every week that I drink a $50 wine, but wow- this is a great one.  If you can still find the 2005 Faust Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley at under $50, get a few bottles.  It's made by Quintessa and shows as such.  Avalon Cabernet is a great go-to wine that is widely available at groceries and wine stores.  And the other two have already been reviewed.

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Great White Deal- San Simeon Chardonnay for $9

March 6, 2010 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  One comment

Tonight I made the mistake of not decanting my red (Faust Cabernet 2005- coming in a later post), so I had a glass of my wife's Chardonnay while the red opens up.  What a great surprise!  The San Simeon Chardonnay is from Monterey, and comes entirely from the Riboli family estate vineyards in the Arroyo Seco appellation.  This is a Chardonnay worthy of medium term aging and shows much better than it's price point.  I just got back from a trip to Santa Barbara county where they make a ton of great chards and this stands up to the best of them.

A bit of citrus and mineral on the nose is followed by a buttery mouthfeel and a nice touch of oak and smoke on the finish.  My wife also notes a floral quality in the wine which I totally agree with.

Bottom line: This Chardonnay stands up with

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Monte Antico Rosso Toscana 2006- 90WS under $10

March 5, 2010 Daily DrinkersWines under $10  2 comments

One of my favorite daily drinkers is Monte Antico 2006.  As you can see from the picture of tonight's dinner, it's great with pizza, but it really shows much better than your average Tuscan pizza wine.  At 85% Sangiovese (with the rest Cabernet and Merlot), it's very dry but has nice fruit once it opens up.

One of my favorite wine retailers, LA Wine Company, is currently selling this great wine value- which ranked #61 on the 2009 Wine Spectator Top 100- for only $8.99.  At that price, I would (or should I say did), pick up a case or two.  This is a very solid wine value.

2009 Wine Spectator Top 100: #61

"Bright plum, dried cherry and flowers on the nose. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and refined berry and cherry flavors. Drink now." (WS)

Monte Antico Rossa

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2006 BV Tapestry- RP93 for under $25

March 3, 2010 Cellar WorthyHigh End ValuesSpecial Occasions  One comment

For my first post I want to bring to my loyal readers' attention a great deal for a major Napa producer.  I brought this wine to Chapeau! in San Francisco ($20 corkage) and although it's very young now, it shows great potential.  It's complexity is currently hidden by strong tannins right, but give it three or four years and it's going to be very good.  It's dense, big and fruity.

BV Tapestry sells for $45+ at the grocery but right now, CityWineCellar.com has it for $24.99.  That's a crazy price.  Pick up a few bottles, put it away for a while, and you will be rewarded.


2006 BV Tapestry- City Wine Cellars $24.99 + shipping


93 Points - Robert Parker


"The 2006 Proprietary

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