2017 Quintessa Proprietary Red Rutherford

2017 Quintessa Proprietary Red Rutherford

QUINTESSA

PROPRIETARY RED
2017 RUTHERFORD

2017 Quintessa Proprietary Red Rutherford
Winemaker Rebekah Wineburg describes the Quintessa 2017 as eloquent and “a clear expression of what has made our estate so unique.” The wine vividly expresses both the property and the vintage and is shaped by the soils, clones, and climate. It’s remarkably elegant, harmonious, and penetrating, and with double 95 point scores, don’t wait to acquire this great vintage.
 
Rebecca and her team brought this vintage forth from eleven biodynamically farmed vineyard blocks located on Rutherford’s Eastern edge, where each small plot is cultivated, harvested, and fermented individually so that the unique nuances of the land shine through. The 2017 release was eloquently shaped by Rebekah, who honed her skills at Rudd and Buccella before becoming the winemaker at Quintessa. 
 
Their 2017 release has profound elegance, and the vintage features more than 90% Cabernet Sauvignon, providing the power and structure for the wine. After 22 months in high-quality oak barrels, this wine is remarkably stunning right now.
 
QUINTESSA
PROPRIETARY RED
2017 RUTHERFORD
 
Your Price: $199.99
 
“… the 2017 Quintessa displays a deep garnet-purple color. The nose needs a little coaxing before it reveals bold, expressive notes of crushed red and black plums, black currant jelly, wild blueberries and kirsch with nuances of camphor, cloves, cedar and lilacs plus a hint of oolong tea. Medium to full-bodied, the palate has beautifully expressed, elegant red and black fruit layers, with a sturdy, grainy frame and plenty of freshness, finishing long and earthy. Drink 2020 – 2047 ” 95 Points
 
“Crushed berries, incense and blackberries with black-olive undertones. Extremely perfumed. Medium to full body. Very intense for a 2017. Crafted and polished. Long and caressing. Elegant. Drink or hold.”
95 Points
 
“The 2017 Quintessa is eloquent in its message. The wine is powerfully structured, with an elegance to its tannins, and new layers of complexity that reveal themselves as the wine opens in the glass and as it ages in bottle. The aroma begins with notes of black cherry and cassis, covered by dark chocolate. Notes of thyme and sage interplay with hints cinnamon, cedar and incense. The wine enters with lively acidity that balances gracefully alongside layers of red and black fruit to create a wine of elegance and finesse. Following with savory characters of tar and tobacco, this wine has structure and drive, and a long lingering finish of fine tannin.”
2015 Chateau Soussans Margaux

2015 Chateau Soussans Margaux

CHÂTEAU SOUSSANS

2015 MARGAUX 

2015 Chateau Soussans Margaux
Our weekly tastings are done unbiased, with the retail price often unknown until after a wine makes our selection. We choose them based on quality, varietal and regional standards, and many other determining factors. Once a wine passes that test, the price comes into play, and we look for wines that outperform others in the same price category. I had pegged Château Soussans 2015 Margaux as a $50-$60 outstanding and classic representation of the region and vintage. When I found out that I could offer it to you for $36, I grabbed all I could…
 
Shaped from the highly sought after 2015 vintage, which the Wine Spectator describes as “truly special” in Margaux, Château Soussans is the second wine of Château Deyrem Valentin. Christelle Sorge tends the vines and manages both Estates, and she stands apart for her pure, traditional processes in the vineyards and winery, where her wines are 100% organic and natural. 
 
Christelle’s wine team forged Château Soussans from a small 5-acre parcel planted equally to Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot and located within the Deyrem-Valentin property. The 25 + year-old vines follow the same routine as Deyrem-Valentin, and the wine balances elegance with power and beautifully defined flavors that are classic to the region. 
 
CHÂTEAU SOUSSANS
2015 MARGAUX
 
Your Price: $36
 
“The Chateau Soussans 2015 is a beautiful, elegant achievement that begins with an intriguing nose with red plums, powdered stone, white flowers, forest ferns, and saddle leather. The palate has waves of mixed berries, red cherries, liquid minerals, and vanilla spice. It is a beautiful balance between power and elegance, which is everything you want from a Margaux.”
94 Points
 
“Made with 50% Cabernet Sauvignon and 50% Merlot the wine is soft and silky with perfumed strawberry jam on the nose. Ripe plum and cream come through on the palate which has supple tannins and an attractive, lively red fruit finish. This elegant Margaux will be lovely to drink, share and enjoy over the next decade.”
2017 Joseph Jewell Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

2017 Joseph Jewell Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

JOSEPH JEWELL 

2017 PINOT NOIR
RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY

2017 Joseph Jewell Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
Inspired by the North Coast’s unique micro-climates, Joseph Jewell Winery began with 50 cases of Pinot Noir made in a garage in Windsor and has evolved into a boutique winery run by a passionate proprietor that works with a collection of vineyards on the North Coast. Their Russian River Pinot made my top five wines of the year list on two separate occasions, and the value is abundant in the newly released 2017 vintage.
 
The 2017 Russian River Pinot combines fruit from renowned vineyards Hallberg, Starscape, and Bucher Vineyards and a new site called 800 vines, which sits just feet from the winemakers home. 
 
This release is vibrant and beautifully knit with intense black cherry, ripe raspberries, rhubarb, and wild rose on the palate. Like the previous vintages, the fleshy, rich textures are sublime and have become a hallmark of this brand.
 
JOSEPH JEWELL 
2017 PINOT NOIR
RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY
Retails at: $40
 
 
“The 2017 release is another beautiful Pinot Noir expression that Joseph Jewell produced in their Russian River Valley offering. The bright, elegant nose begins with mixed berries, red cherries, cola, white flowers, and light baking spices. The mouthfeel is supple with an elegant, lush texture, carrying a beautiful combination of concentrated cherries, red plum, red currants, and a touch of vanilla. The finish is seamless with a beautiful balance of fruit and complexity and drinks great now.” 92 Points
2016 Rafael et Fils Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

2016 Rafael et Fils Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

RAFAEL et FILS

2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 
ESTATE, NAPA VALLEY

2016 Rafael et Fils Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley
In winemaking, state-of-the-art equipment and acclaimed fruit sources never hurt, but the human element of having passionate people involved can be as evident as the terroir itself. Marc Rafael is infectiously passionate, spirited, and an all-around nice guy. His wines are some of the most balanced, honest, and well-rounded interpretations of Oak Knoll terroir that I’ve tasted. Even at the winery retail price of around $70, this wine is memorable and overachieving. At our price, it’s one of my favorites in the shop. 
 
Fans of a more Bordeaux styled Napa Cabernet that’s long and persistent, with remarkable balance and subtle early qualities, should look closely at the Western side of the Oak Knoll district. The area’s complex soils and micro-climate that’s one of the coolest in Napa Valley enable the fruit to develop concentrated flavors at ripe sugar levels with refreshing, balanced acidity. 
 
Rafael et Fils Cabernet is all about balance, with complex, lengthy, lingering flavors. Marc ages the wine for 23 months in 30% new French oak barrels to showcase the fruit’s purity. If you’re looking for a Cabernet that will impress even the most discerning palate, give this boutique producer a shot, and I’m confident that you’ll be delighted that you did.
 
RAFAEL et FILS
2016 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 
ESTATE, NAPA VALLEY
Retails at: $69
 
 
“The 2016 Rafael et Fils Oak Knoll Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 perfectly reflect Marc Rafael’s humble style and grace. It is a refined and elegant wine with absolutely every element beautifully arranged and styled in a stunningly harmonious fashion. It begins with deep, seamless aromas of dried currants, blackberries and cassis, combined with subtle tobacco and cedar. On the palate, it is a symphony of red and black fruits, with every nuance in perfect balance. The rich, smooth, complex finish drifts off into infinity with amazing poise, leaving me with a captivating, warming glow.” 93 Points 
2018 Domaine Guy Robin Chablis Vieilles Vignes

2018 Domaine Guy Robin Chablis Vieilles Vignes

DOMAINE GUY ROBIN

2018 CHABLIS 
VIEILLES VIGNES

2018 Domaine Guy Robin Chablis Vieilles Vignes
Vieilles Vignes means old vines, and Guy Robin is one of my favorite producers of old vine Chablis. He began collecting old Chablis parcels back in the 60s, and few other Chablis estates have such a rich collection of older vines. As a result, few wineries can deliver Chablis wines of such character and complexity. At $33, his Chablis VV offers dynamic complexity, laser focus, and optimum balance.
 
Guy’s daughter Marie-Ange leads the Estate and shares her father’s passion for old vines. She creates their Vieilles Vignes Chablis from vines averaging four decades in age, and many of the neighboring plots are premier cru sites, sharing similar soils and climate. 
 
Guy Robin hand-harvests their Chardonnay grapes at the pinnacle of ripeness. He immediately presses them at the winery, where they’re held in a tank for 24 hours to settle naturally. The winery ferments in temperature-controlled, stainless steel tanks, and they also age in tanks to preserve the fruit’s most natural expression.
 
DOMAINE GUY ROBIN
2018 CHABLIS 
VIEILLES VIGNES
 
Your Price: $33
 
“Bright, citrusy aromas, with liquid minerals and white flowers, immediately grab you in the nose. On approach, the palate has an amazing richness, with concentrated, penetrating flavors including stone fruits, key lime, and an incredibly focused center palate. The finish is mesmerizing, with an amazing balance of richness and freshness. This is certainly one of my favorite Chablis, each vintage.” 94 Points
2018 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile

2018 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile

TURLEY

2018 ZINFANDEL
JUVENILE

2018 Turley Zinfandel Juvenile
Turley Wine Cellars prides itself on being stewards of historic vineyards and producing forty-seven wines from over fifty Certified Organic sites. The winery has been a benchmark producer of Zinfandel for nearly three decades, which started with their first vintage of 1993 Hayne Zinfandel when it ranked #11 on the Wine Spectator Top 100. They’ve remained a paragon in their field ever since, and their Juvenile Zin made from younger vines is a beautiful introduction to the magic of Turley. 
 
They created the 2018 Juvenile from vines ranging 6 to 25 years pulled from a vast selection of renowned vineyards, including Hayne, Pesenti, Salvador, Fredericks, and Turley Estate. This release encompasses 29 separate vineyards and offers a beautiful snapshot of the vintage and Turley’s winemaking style. 
 
The winery has always attracted some of California’s most talented winemakers, beginning with Helen Turley. Helen passed the torch to winemaker Ehren Jordan, and now Ehren to Tegan Passalacqua, who worked under Jordan before becoming Director of Winemaking.
 
TURLEY
2018 ZINFANDEL
JUVENILE
 
Your Price: $29.99
 
“The 2018 Zinfandel Juvenile has a medium ruby-purple color and gentle aromas of perfumed red berries and earth. The palate is medium-bodied with soft, restrained fruits, a grainy frame, good freshness and an easy finish.”
90 Points
 
“The 2018 Zinfandel Juvenile is a pretty, fragrant wine that will drink well right out of the gate. Bright floral and red-toned fruit notes convey a real sense of energy in this perfumed, entry-level Zinfandel from Turley. This is such a pretty wine. I very much like the energy here.”
89 Points
 
“A luscious fruit bomb, jammed with fresh cherry and spiced caramel flavors that flesh out on a long, fruit-friendly finish. Drink now through 2025…”
89 Points
 
“Bright, vibrant pepper and spice with lovely lifted red fruits, satiating acidity and a hint of blue fruits as well. Lithely textured with pure precision and tons of energy on the palate.”
2015 Anthem Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Estate

2015 Anthem Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Estate

ANTHEM

2015 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 
MOUNT VEEDER ESTATE

2015 Anthem Cabernet Sauvignon Mount Veeder Estate
Every decision making Anthem impacts the quality of wine that they produce, and their production team is free to vinify without regard to cost or other extraneous factors. You can taste their relentless drive for creating the highest quality wine possible from their Estate in every glass. The wines are crafted by Jeff Ames, who mentored under Thomas Rivers Brown at Schrader, Maybach, Outpost, and TOR before becoming head winemaker at TOR in 2005. Jeff is also the owner/winemaker at Rudius, which was my #1 wine in 2019.
 
Mount Veeder arose from an ancient seabed, and it’s the coolest Mountain AVA in Napa, known for producing complex, savory and age-worthy Cabernets. Jeff accentuates those flavors in an elegantly balanced way and doesn’t lose the sense of place.
 
Anthem’s Cabernet is all about balance, length, and escalating intensity, and the 2015 vintage is stunningly rich with penetrating red fruits laced with savory characteristics. The vines yielded just 1.9 tons per acre of super-concentrated berries, and after 18 months in barrel and three years in the bottle, this wine rocks.
 
ANTHEM
2015 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 
MOUNT VEEDER ESTATE
Retails at: $135
 
 
“A juicy and fruity red with chocolate, red peppers and hints of herbs. Full body, round and succulent tannins and a flavorful finish. Lovely mountain wine. Drink or hold.” 93 Points
 
“A polished and lush version, with boysenberry and blueberry reduction notes forming the core of flavors, while licorice snap and fruitcake hints fill in. Features a roasted apple wood backdrop, though the fruit easily takes center stage through the rich finish. Best from 2020 through 2035…” 92 Points
 
“… Deep garnet-purple in color, it opens with notes of prunes, raisin cake and spice box with hints of fresh figs, tobacco and new leather. Full-bodied with a plush frame and loads of evolving baked berries layers, it has tons of spices coming through on the finish.” 91 Points
 
“Our 2015 Mt. Veeder Estate Cabernet is a blockbuster mountain Cabernet from Anthem’s own vineyards located at 400 feet in Napa Valley’s Western hillsides. The lower yields in 2015 produced fruit with intense, plush dark berry flavors that Winemaker Jeff Ames crafted into an exquisitely rich Mt. Veeder Cabernet.”
2017 Cade Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain

2017 Cade Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain

CADE 

CABERNET SAUVIGNON
2017 HOWELL MOUNTAIN
 
2017 Cade Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain
CADE’s vision is to produce a modern Howell Mountain Cabernet that articulates their majestic grapes’ power while balancing all of the other components from acidity and tannins to oak. They’re able to achieve this with state-of-the-art equipment, organically farmed grapes, and a talented winemaking team led by Danielle Cyrot, who spent six years at Stags’ Leap Winery. Jeb Dunnuck calls their 2017 “a brilliant value,” and with a 96 point score, don’t hesitate to secure some.
 
Composed from five of the best vineyards on Howell Mountain, including Ink Grade, Eagle Summit, Cold Springs, Cade Estate, and Cade 13th, this wine offers a vivid glimpse into the power of Howell Mountain fruit.  
 
After developing for 19 months in barrel and more than a year in the bottle, the 2017 release is stunningly complex, polished, and laced with intriguing minerals. The wine is rocking right now and promises another decade or more of improvement.
 
CADE 
CABERNET SAUVIGNON
2017 HOWELL MOUNTAIN
Retails at: $110
 
Your Price: $99.99
 
 
“Coming from estate fruit on Howell Mountain and made from 88% Cabernet Sauvignon and 4% each of Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Merlot, the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate offers a darker, more mineral-driven style compared to the Napa release. It has beautiful blackcurrant, cassis, forest floor, graphite, and tobacco leaf-like aromas and flavors. Deep, full-bodied, beautifully polished and elegant, it’s another remarkable effort from this team. As Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon goes, it’s a brilliant value!” 96 Points
 
“The 2017 Cade Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, blended with 4% Malbec, 4% Petit Verdot and 4% Merlot, is deep garnet-purple colored and a little closed, slowly giving up warm cassis, blackberry tart and mulberries with touches of spice box, pencil shavings and Marmite toast. The full-bodied palate is firm, grainy and muscular with an earthy expression and just enough freshness, finishing on a lingering mineral note.”  94 Points
 
“The wine has aromas of blueberry, blackberry, coco nibs, cran- raspberry, roasted coffee, clove, cinnamon, black pepper, mint, and fruit leather. The wine has a velvety texture with lush and prominent tannins and bright acidity. There are flavors of boysenberry, blueberry pie, red cherry, cola, vanilla, graham cracker, and chocolate truffles.”
2016 Westwood Annadel Gap Estate Syrah

2016 Westwood Annadel Gap Vineyard Estate Syrah

WESTWOOD

2016 ESTATE SYRAH
ANNADEL GAP VINEYARD

2016 Westwood Annadel Gap Estate Syrah
Westwood spares no expense in both farming and winemaking, and the level of care is obvious in their wines. Their vineyard is one of a handful of Demeter-certified Biodynamic vineyards in North America, and Philippe Coderey, a legend in organic and biodynamic viticulture, farms it. Westwood’s winemaker is Philippe Melka, whose vast experience includes winemaking at Bryant Family, Quintessa, Hundred Acre, and Dominus. In a word, their Syrah is riveting, so don’t miss it. 
 
Westwood’s Estate Syrah arose from the cool, wind-swept Annadel Gap, located between Mt. Hood and Sonoma Mountain. The 2016 vintage is deep, rich, and profoundly layered with classic notes of smoked meats, bacon fat, ripe berries, and wildflowers. 
 
Philippe and his winemaking team paid attention to every detail and picked each clone at the pinnacle of ripeness, before being carefully sorted by hand and fermented in individual lots. The wine was gravity-fed into French oak barrels, where it spent the next 16 months developing on the lees.
 
WESTWOOD
2016 ESTATE SYRAH
ANNADEL GAP VINEYARD
Retails at: $82
 
 
 
“Medium to deep garnet-purple colored, the 2016 Syrah Annadel Gap Vineyard has evocative scents of warm black plums, wild blueberries, Sichuan pepper, smoked meats and violets. Full-bodied and packed with rich, ripe black fruit flavors, it has a firm backbone of rounded tannins and just enough freshness, culminating in a long peppery finish.” 91 Points
 
 
 
“Outstanding Syrah in a rich, complex style. It is full bodied, supple in texture, and intensely flavored (blackberry, black licorice, cedar, pepper, violet, cassis, toasty oak), with good balance and a very long finish. Lightly tannic, warrants aging. Great Value. ” Exceptional | Very Highly Recommended 5 Stars
 
 
 
“2016 was truly a phenomenal vintage and it delivered everything we love in a great Syrah from the Annadel Gap. With gorgeous notes of blackberries, freeze-dried blueberries, smoked meat, and a core of cherry liqueur. As the 2016 Westwood Estate Syrah continues to open, a juicy wash of salted violets, black pepper, and blueberry cedar linger for a long and complex finish.”
2017 Luke Goldschmidt Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

2017 Luke Goldschmidt Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

LUKE GOLDSCHMIDT

CABERNET SAUVIGNON 
2017 ALEXANDER VALLEY

2017 Luke Goldschmidt Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
Alexander Valley is celebrated for producing value Cabernets with a bold structure, mouth-quenching acidity, and intense dark fruits that are age-worthy and can be captivating on release. Nick Goldschmidt has produced some brilliant examples over the years, and he’s well-versed in the region, having made SIMI wines since the early 90s. Luke Goldschmidt is a partnership between Nick and his son Luke, and like his father, Luke has vast experience making wine all over the world from Chile, France, Spain, Argentina to New Zealand. At $22, this wine is rocking.
 
The 2017 vintage is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from low-vigor vines, yielding just 3.5 tons per acre of highly concentrated berries. The wine is deep and rich on the palate, and layered with red and black fruits, cocoa, cherry pipe tobacco, and dried herbs. 
 
Nick and Luke fermented this release in a combination of French, American, and Hungarian Oak barrels, which added compelling spice notes and vexations of toasty oak. Just like in previous Goldschmidt Cabernets, this beauty out-performs others at double its price.
 
LUKE GOLDSCHMIDT
CABERNET SAUVIGNON 
2017 ALEXANDER VALLEY
Retails at: $25
 
Your Price: $22
 
 
“Nicely focused red cherry and red raspberry aromas. Loaded with red berry fruit flavors with a touch of caramel, dark chocolate, and toasty oak. Full and well-structured from the long hang time. The texture is smooth and the mouth medium bodied. White pepper and spice in the finish with long and supple tannins.”