2015 Varner Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard Santa Barbara County

2015 Varner Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard Santa Barbara County

VARNER

2015 PINOT NOIR
LOS ALAMOS VINEYARD
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY

2015 Varner Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard Santa Barbara County
Twin brothers Bob and Jim Varner handcraft balanced, emotion-invoking wines enriched with value. Referencing a string of successful wines, Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate called them “One of the stars of the Central Coast,” noting, “Few winemakers do… Pinot Noir better.” Their 2015 Los Alamos Vineyard Pinot Noir is subtly expressive and delicately balanced, impressive at any price, but ridiculously great at $23. 
 
The wind-swept slopes of Los Alamos Vineyard are centered between Santa Maria and Santa Ynez Valleys, offering the best characteristics of both regions, with pristine freshness. 
 
Varner’s Los Alamos Pinot combines clone 777 grown in shallow soils with low fertility and older vine Pommard clone, contributing opulence and floral character. The Wine Spectator’s Vintage report notes that Santa Barbara Pinot Noir shined in the 2015 vintage. Varner is a stunning example.
 
VARNER
2015 PINOT NOIR
LOS ALAMOS VINEYARD
SANTA BARBARA COUNTY
 
Your Price: $23
 
 
“The 2015 Pinot Noir Los Alamos Vineyard has a pale garnet color and a classic nose of woodsmoke, cranberries, Bing cherries, tree bark, dried citrus peel, pipe tobacco and dusty earth. In the mouth, it’s light-bodied and delicate with finely grained tannins and juicy freshness, finishing long and amaro-tinged. Drink 2019-2026.”
91 Points
2018 My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles

2018 My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles

MY FAVORITE NEIGHBOR

CABERNET SAUVIGNON
2018 PASO ROBLES

2018 My Favorite Neighbor Cabernet Sauvignon Paso Robles
Created in a collaborative spirit that calls on the best, sustainably farmed fruit from a collection of neighboring vineyards, Eric Jensen of My Favorite Neighbor believes it takes a village to make great wine. His circle includes favorite neighbor Stephan Asseo of L’Aventure, and friend Justin Smith of Saxum, whom Eric spent five vintages with, gleaning top-level winemaking. This wine gives Paso Robles an unmistakable voice, powerful enough to be heard in Napa. A $50, 96 Point Cabernet from anywhere is a dominating force.  
 
Guided by inspiration, Eric interferes as little as possible during the winemaking process, resulting in elegantly balanced wines with a salient sense of place. Modeling consistency, this wine’s cumulative average rating from Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate over the past six consecutive vintages is an astounding 96 Points.
 
Impeccably farmed, Eric’s 100-acre certified organic estate vineyard on Paso’s Westside produces noble quality fruit. The 2018 blend includes 77% Cabernet Sauvignon accented with Bordeaux and Rhone varieties, aged 18 months in oak.
 
MY FAVORITE NEIGHBOR
CABERNET SAUVIGNON
2018 PASO ROBLES
 
Your Price: $49.99
 
 
“…deep purple/ruby-hued and has slightly more red fruits with lots of black raspberry, cassis, toasted spice, unsmoked tobacco, and incense aromas and flavors. It almost has a Margaux-like perfume and is medium to full-bodied, seamless, and wonderfully balanced on the palate. Some chalky minerality comes through with time in the glass, and it has plenty of tannins and a great finish. It’s not an over-the-top blockbuster and impresses just as much for its elegance as its richness.”
96+ Points
 
“… Deep ruby-black in color, it gives up luscious crème de cassis, blackberry pie, kirsch, mint chocolate, vanilla bean, coffee and grilled meats scents with touches of tobacco and sweet spices. Medium to full-bodied, it offers intense, expertly managed, ripe fruits and loads of spices with a firm, finely grained frame and great freshness, finishing long and spicy.”
93-95+ Points
 
“Dark, bright-rimmed purple. Deeply perfumed aromas of ripe black/blue fruits, sandalwood and potpourri take on a smoky mineral nuance and a spicy top-note with air. Palate-staining blackberry, cassis, cherry-vanilla, spice-cake and mocha flavors are joined by suggestions of candied rose and cola on the back half. Finishes on an alluringly sweet dark berry preserve note, with well-knit, gently gripping tannins and sharp definition.”
94 Points
2017 Alma Rosa Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills

2017 Alma Rosa Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills

ALMA ROSA

2017 CHARDONNAY
STA. RITA HILLS 

2017 Alma Rosa Chardonnay Sta. Rita Hills

 
Alma Rosa’s story is of an unparalleled wine region with cool Pacific breezes, unique geography, a winery’s commitment to land stewardship, and crafting balanced wines expressing their origin. Top-level winemaking and unwavering standards of excellence merge, resulting in vibrant, layered wines that exude value. Selected as Editors’ Choice with a 93 Point Score by Wine Enthusiast, this $24 Chardonnay is something special. 
 
Winemaker Samra Morris’s skills gleaned as harvest-intern for Thomas Brown and on the cellar team at Michael Mondavi winery are met with consulting winemaker Tony Biagi’s decades of experience at Paraduxx, Plumpjack, Cade, and Hourglass.
 
Ample winter rain and a warm 2017 growing season yielded powerfully complex Chardonnay in Santa Barbara, as noted by the Wine Spectator. Alma Rosa’s version sports a wide range of tropical fruits, rich texture, and balance far exceeding expectations at its value price.
 
ALMA ROSA
2017 CHARDONNAY
STA. RITA HILLS
Retails at: $30
 
Your Price: $24
 
 
“Especially for an appellation blend, this is a wondrous, regionally indicative bottling, starting with clean and fresh aromas of honeysuckle, Asian pear and lime pith. There’s a flashy sizzle of acidity on the sip, where lily and honeysuckle flavors meet with kiwi and restrained guava, wrapped up in a delicate texture.”
93 Points, Editors’ Choice
2018 Paydirt Going For Broke Proprietary Red California

2018 Paydirt Going For Broke Proprietary Red California

PAYDIRT

GOING FOR BROKE
PROPRIETARY RED
2018 CALIFORNIA

2018 Paydirt Going For Broke Proprietary Red California
Paydirt is an idiom about striking gold, defining a valuable or rewarding discovery, which is the feeling you’ll have when you taste this wine. The secret behind the palpable quality is in the dirt. With a core of Dusi Vineyard fruit, followed by Bokisch in Lodi and other vineyards in Paso Robles, Oak Knoll, and St Helena, Paydirt is deeply-rooted in heritage clones from ancient parcels. Jeb Dunnuck recently tasted the 2018 and alerted readers to this “delicious drinker,” so now would be the perfect time to stake your claim on a case. 
 
The 2018 blend married 81% old vine Zinfandel with Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Mourvèdre, Barbera, and Cabernet Sauvignon crafted by winemaker Kent Jarman. Kent is also the winemaker at Coup de Foudre and Kenefick Ranch and was previously the assistant winemaker at Duckhorn. 
 
This wine made its debut in 2010, and the winery proved they could hold-their-own in the competitive $30 red blend category. Now entering the 2018 vintage, they’re onto a new challenge in the sub $20 price range and based on the quality, they’re poised to dominate it.
 
PAYDIRT
GOING FOR BROKE
PROPRIETARY RED
2018 CALIFORNIA
 
Your Price: $19.99
 
 
“Brambly herbs, plum, framboise, and violet notes emerge from the 2018 Going For Broke, which is a Zinfandel-dominated blend that includes small amounts of Grenache, Petite Sirah, Syrah, and Mourvèdre. Balanced and medium to full-bodied, with both richness and elegance, it’s a delicious drinker to enjoy over the coming 4-6 years or so.”
90 Points
2017 Justin Isosceles Paso Robles

2017 Justin Isosceles Paso Robles

JUSTIN

2017 ISOSCELES 
PASO ROBLES 

2017 Justin Isosceles Paso Robles
Justin pioneered Bordeaux grape varietal blending in Paso Robles more than 30 years ago and named their flagship wine Isosceles for the three varieties that go into it; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, and Merlot. Today, they’re one of the most recognizable producers in the region, and Isosceles unwaveringly delivers rich layers of lavish fruits and remarkable complexity. At around $60, it’s a lot of wine for the price.
 
Justin planted their vineyards in the Santa Lucia Mountains, where abundant fossilized limestone and enormous diurnal temperature swings proved ideal for ripening Bordeaux varietals and producing powerfully expressive flavors. 
 
The 2017 release is centered around a core 83% Cabernet Sauvignon, enhanced with Cabernet Franc and Merlot, and then aged in 100% new French oak barrels for an impressive 21 months. If you’re looking for a full-bodied red with deep, enthralling flavors and stunning complexity, this is it. 
 
JUSTIN
2017 ISOSCELES 
PASO ROBLES
Retails at: $76
 
Your Price: $59.99
 
 
“Highly aromatic and complex with lush, ripe black cherry, black currant and boysenberry with vanilla, cinnamon spice, sweet tobacco and savory notes of leather, camphor and cedar; Full bodied and luxuriant with ripe black fruit, mostly cherry and black currant with mixed ripe berries and barrel spice on entry. The mid-palate features continued fruit with subtle savory elements of autumn leaf, leather, and cedar with rounded, plush tannins that extend into a long finish featuring black cherry and camphor notes. The 2017 ISOSCELES is a full, complex and rich wine that is drinking nicely on release and will offer added complexity in a few years. 15% alcohol.”
2018 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

2018 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains

MARTIN RAY

2018 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 
SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
2018 Martin Ray Cabernet Sauvignon Santa Cruz Mountains
The Santa Cruz Mountains AVA produces powerful Cabernet Sauvignons with appealing savory elements, firm tannins, and intriguing red and black fruits. Martin Ray sources their Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet from three high-elevation sites that produce intensely concentrated fruits. Our panel loved their 2018 vintage, but we weren’t the only ones. With a 95 point score, I’d jump on this sub $35 Cabernet before it’s too late.
 
Martin Ray’s Santa Cruz Mountains Cabernet comes from high-elevation vineyards, Fellom Ranch, Cooper-Garrod, and Beauregard, each sharing large diurnal temperature fluctuation shifts, which result in powerfully concentrated fruit. 
 
The 2018 release is a blend of 100% Cabernet Sauvignon and fermented on its skins for a month, which extracted the deep purple color. They stored the wine for 18 months in French and American oak barrels, which added compelling vanilla and spice elements.
 
MARTIN RAY
2018 CABERNET SAUVIGNON 
SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS
Retails at: $35
 
Your Price: $33
 
“Loads of forest floor, mushrooms, leaves and dark fruit on the nose. It’s full-bodied with juicy fruit and chewy tannins. Hints of toasted oak and cedar, too. This is a structured red that needs two or three years to soften, then you can give it a go. Best Santa Cruz Mountain cab for a long time from here. Try after 2023.”
95 Points
 
“Notes of dense cassis with touches of nutmeg and cherry. Blackberry brush and mountain sage with bright acidity and a touch of graphite. Firm, chalky tannins and well-integrated oak.”
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.”
2018 Sans Liege The Offspring Proprietary Red

2018 Sans Liege The Offspring Proprietary Red

SANS LIEGE

2018 THE OFFERING
PROPRIETARY RED

2018 Sans Liege The Offspring Proprietary Red
Sans Liege The Offering is a fusion of Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre that was inspired by the deliciously complex wines from the Southern Rhone Valley, and crafted with the New World winemaking freedom. Each subsequent vintage develops an even more intense following, and it’s the wines’ magnetic style, with a plush mouthfeel and abundance of complexity that makes it so unforgettable. All of that combined with a retail price of under $30, and the quality is unmatched when it comes to juicy red blends. 
 
With origins from top vineyards in California’s iconic Santa Barbara County, winemaker Curt Schalchlin selects each vineyard based on flavor characteristics and distinct qualities that add layers to the diversity of the overall blend. 
 
This remarkable and highly-expressive blend spent around 16 months in barrel, and Curt made it with a technique of utilizing partial whole cluster fermentation, contributing to greater depth and structure in the wine.
 
SANS LIEGE
2018 THE OFFERING
PROPRIETARY RED
 
Your Price: $29.99
 
“The early fall breeze brushes through the orchard, bringing with it aromas of red plum, cinnamon bark, cocoa, and freshly oiled leather. The harvest table is bountiful; friends and family all gather round. Wooden bowls full of green olives and mixed berries are passed as you warm your hands on a rustic mug filled with anise black tea.”
MCPRICE MYERS HIGH ON THE HOG 2017 PROPRIETARY RED

2017 McPrice Myers High On The Hog Proprietary Red

MCPRICE MYERS

HIGH ON THE HOG
2017 PROPRIETARY RED

MCPRICE MYERS HIGH ON THE HOG 2017 PROPRIETARY REDConsumers seeking robust, textured reds with endless character, and value prices, may already know winemaker “Mac” McPrice Myers. For years his Barrel 27 wines were a staple in the value section of our shop, and in 2013 he rebranded the project as his Blue Collar Series. One of my favorites is his High on the Hog Red, which was also a former Barrel 27 wine, and it’s a full-throttle blend of primarily Grenache, Syrah, and Mourvedre. With 93 Points and Editors’ Choice from Wine Enthusiast, you’ll feel like you’re high on the hog, and at a price that will make you smile.  

Mac built the 2017 vintage of High On The Hog from carefully chosen sites in California’s Central Coast, including Luna Matta and Santa Barbara Highlands. The wine is made in a highly-expressive, deep, and showy style and offers a harmony of crushed berries, smoked meats, black pepper, wild plum, and violets. 
 
He then fermented the grapes in multiple different vessels, including Stainless Steel, Concrete, and open-top fermenters. For added depth and structure, Mac utilized 20% whole cluster fermentation in the process. At twenty bucks, you simply have got to try it… 
 
MCPRICE MYERS
HIGH ON THE HOG
2017 PROPRIETARY RED
 
Your Price: $19.99
 
“Aromas of fresh boysenberry, baked pastries, caramel and savory smoke lead into a well-integrated palate of fruit, herb and wood flavors that are framed by firm yet polished tannins. It’s fresh with acidity and yet dense, finishing on a touch of pine needle.” 93 Points, Editor’s Choice
 
“Deep vivid ruby. Powerful red and blue fruit preserve, candied licorice and exotic spice aromas pick up a smoky nuance with air. Broad, fleshy and seamless in texture, offering palate-coating black raspberry, cherry cola, fruitcake and mocha flavors sharpened by a zesty, peppery nuance. Clings with authority on the long, smoky finish, which leaves behind a sweet violet pastille note. For fans of bold, full-throated but not overbearing red wine, there’s serious value here. 20% whole clusters.”  91 Points
2018 Loring Wine Company Spanish Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir

2018 Loring Wine Company Spanish Springs Vineyard Pinot Noir

LORING

2018 PINOT NOIR
SPANISH SPRINGS VINEYARD
ARROYO GRANDE VALLEY

2018 Loring Wine Company Spanish Springs Vineyard Pinot NoirWhen a passionate winemaker immerses into a single varietal like Pinot Noir, then crafts around a dozen individual wines, it can be challenging to choose just one. Brian Loring’s Pinots are always captivating, expressive, and will make you fall in love with the wine and its origin. We tasted through a half-dozen of his 2018 single vineyard releases, and they were all great, but the Spanish Springs Vineyard was everything that I look for in Pinot, and it was a real highlight during our tasting.

The Spanish Springs Vineyard drew Brian in for its proximity to the Pacific Ocean, and not only is it the closest in all of San Luis Obispo County, but it’s also the closest in the entire Golden State. 
 
The vines are grown in a complex mix of sandstone, shale, and limestone at the base, and the grapes themselves perfectly reflect the earth beneath, as well as the powerful maritime influences that make this site so unique. 
 
LORING
2018 PINOT NOIR
SPANISH SPRINGS VINEYARD
ARROYO GRANDE VALLEY
Retails at: $54
 
 
“Sour red-plum and dewy sagebrush aromas show on the nose of this single-vineyard expression. The palate is more ripe with wild berry and cranberry flavors, cut by orange-rind and bay leaf touches.”  90 Points