Alban Vineyards Syrah Patrina 2010

“Classic” 95 Points
“A sexy and enormously mouth-filling wine. Inky black, it reveals a terrific range of flavors including boysenberry, lavender, caramel, pomegranate, tobacco and a hint of bacon. This is an incredibly balanced and well structured Syrah with silky tannins and a seductive finish that seems to last forever. Just delicious.” The Wine Insiders

2009 Ehlers Estate Merlot

Poor Merlot, so picked on.  Bad press from snooty critics for years has not done this “Noble” varietal justice.  Then came Sideways.  The inside joke in the wine industry is that after the movie Sideways came out all of the wineries making bad Merlot changed to making bad Pinot Noir.  In the end, that’s a good thing because the bad Merlot, in many cases, has left the market.  And the good Merlot, the truly delicious bottlings, have gotten better.  My personal favorite is the Ehlers Estate.   Winemaker Kevin Morrisey cut his teeth as an intern at Ch. Pétrus so let’s face it, the man knows his way around a Merlot grape.

Another stellar reason to drink Ehlers Estate Merlot is this:  One hundred percent of the proceeds from the sale of Ehlers Estate wines go to support the Leducq Foundation, a highly regarded, not-for-profit foundation dedicated to funding international cardiovascular research.  Now, drinking wine is not only good for your health, it’s good for a lot of people’s!

Tasting Notes:  This is a complex full bodied Napa red that has the balance and structure to age for decades. It starts off bold on the attack, and continues full and plush. The flavors of raspberry and cherry cola, cocoa and black currants adorn this rich and dense expression of the North St. Helena, terroir. This wine has layers of complexity, a firm acidity, velvety mid-palate, and a long, classic Merlot finish.

This wine is available at Porthos!

Bernard Magrez Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2005

When Bordeaux magnate Bernard Magrez decided to make a Napa Cabernet, he exerted the same exacting standards that he requires at his Ch. Pape Clement (whose ’05 received 98 points R. Parker). He sourced fruit from cult producer David Abreu’s Thorvelios and Madrona Ranch vineyards, hand-picked and sorted by a team of 80 pickers directly under Abreu’s supervision. The wine was then crafted by Seven Stones winemaker Aaron Pott in conjunction with Michel Rolland, the world’s most famous winemaker. Barrel aged and then released after 7 years, this is truly one of our greatest finds to date, and until today, the Bernard Magrez Cabernet Sauvignon Napa 2005 was only available from the Magrez wine shops in Paris and Bordeaux.

Tasting Notes:  Intense yet perfectly balanced, this is chock full of raspberry, liqueur of cassis, violet, chocolate and toffee on the nose. An almost glycerin concentration, with bright acidity and a floral element lifting the flavors of dark berries, sweet spices and chocolatey oak. Luscious yet haunting it finishes with espresso, cocao and polished tannins. Perfectly aged for drinking now, will continue to reward for another 10 years.  97 points

Purchase this wine at Porthos!

2009 Alpha Omega Napa Chardonnay

The 2009 Alpha Omega Chardonnay Napa Valley is a triumph.  The exceptional conditions for growing Chardonnay that existed in 2009 are brought forth with perfect sugar to acid ratios resulting in a wonderfully balanced and elegant Chardonnay.  Plenty of tropical fruit, vanilla, toasted oak and cedar notes on the nose with a palate of fresh citrus, marzipan and honeysuckle with just a hint of buttery oak.

Purchase this wine at Porthos

2009 Stanton Estate Cabernet – Dave Phinney

Well, Dave Phinney has done it again.  Fans of his Orin Swift wines (the Prisoner, Papillon and Mercury Head, etc) should sit up and take notice of the 2009 Stanton Estate Cabernet.  Driven by that wonderful Oakville characteristic of chocolate, espresso, and ripe fruit, this wine is absolutely stunning.

The Stanton family have been growing grapes for over 40 years.  In 1999 they decided to begin producing their own wine and during the 2002 vintage hired Dave Phinney as winemaker.

“In 2009 growing conditions were ideal. The result: a wine that is intensely concentrated with expressive aromas of ripe cassis, blackberry and blueberry, masterfully integrated with 50% new French oak” – Dave Phinney.

Black Kite Pinot Noir Redwoods Edge 2009, My Favorite Pinot Noir of 2011

People often ask my favorite wine.  Like many of you, my favorite depends on so many factors that there’s no way to narrow it down to one wine.  For 2011, my favorite Pinot Noir was the Black Kite Redwoods Edge.  I found it to be heady and muscular without being overbearing.  Plenty of black tea and ripe fruit notes.  This is a Pinot that has the range to accompany a myriad of foods but can also hold it’s own as a “cocktail wine”.  Here’s James Laube’s review:

“Deliciously elegant, supple, graceful and delicate, yet rich in wild berry, plum, raspberry and floral scents. Medium-bodied and deceptively deep and persistent, with the perfumed flavors gaining all the way. Drink now through 2018.”  94 points

Available at Porthos

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