Clos Du Val Carneros Pinot Noir

The Clos Du Val Winery is located in the heart of Napa Valley’s famed Stags Leap District.  The Winery is renowned for its Cabernet Sauvignons, but it also produces award winning Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays as well as Merlot, Petit Verdot, Zinfandel and Cabernet Franc.  The wines are all fairly priced with the base Cabernet Sauvignon priced at under $50.

The 2008 Clos Du Val Pinot Noir from Carneros is a Burgundian style Pinot, as evidenced by its low alcohol content of 13.5% and subtle earthy fruit.

It is an elegant, food friendly wine that is well balanced between its juicy acids and silky tannins.

The crystal, ruby colored juice has faint black cherry aromas followed by soft rounded cherry cola and earthy pepper flavors on the short finish.

This is a simple but enjoyable Pinot Noir, that is best with food, and retails for a reasonable $30

Nickel & Nickel State Ranch

Nickel & Nickel is the sister winery to Oakville’s legendary Far Niente.

Nickel & Nickel is also based in Oakville, and is devoted exclusively to producing 100% varietal, single-vineyard wines that best express the distinctive personality of each vineyard.  Nickel & Nickel produces single-vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon from all over Napa Valley.  They have multiple offerings from St Helena, Oakville, Yountville, Rutherford and Oak Knoll.  I love this estate because it truly allows one to see how deeply terroir impacts wine.

Unlike my beloved Giants, the Nickel & Nickel 2007 State Ranch from Yountville is a winner!

This full bodied beauty exudes lovely aromas of cherry, blackberry and dark fruits balanced neatly between juicy acids and velvety tannins with traces of blueberry and mushrooms on the finish.

The wine retails for $99.99.

Chimney Rock Stags Leap District Cabernet Sauvignon

2010 was another outstanding vintage in Napa Valley.

This Stags Leap District Cabernet is a perfect representation of the high quality juice produced throughout the Valley that year.

The wine’s lush balanced structure easily supports its blackberry and creamy toasted oak flavors, while the velvety finish keeps me reaching for another sip.

This $70 beauty will appeal to Napa Valley Cab fans!

Feudi di San Gregorio Serpico

Napa Cabernet Lovers need not apply!

The 2003 Serpico from Feudi di San Gregorio is ideal for my friends that like dry rustic earthy wines.

This well balanced medium bodied wine starts out with juicy sour cherry and mineral flavors before transitioning to soft dusty cigar box and ash notes on the finish.

Serpico is 100% Aglianico, which is grown mainly in Southern Italy in the Campania region, and is drinking perfectly right now.

This is an intense wine that should be decanted for an hour or two.

The wine can be found for about $55, and is highly recommended.

Brancaia Ilatraia

Being a Cabernet lover I have always been partial to Super Tuscans, especially those from Bolhgeri and Maremma Toscana.

The 2013 Brancaia Ilatraia from Maremma checks all of the boxes.

Lively dark fruit and blackberries are supported by soft tannins with hints of clove and floral undertones on the finish.

Brancaia Ilatraia is a blend of 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 40% Petit Verdot and 20% Cabernet Franc.  The wine was aged 18 months in French barriques – half of them new – and then matured for 12 months in the bottle, prior to release.

With a retail price of $55, this wine is a must add to any Cab lover’s cellar.

Delille Cellars Grand Ciel

Delille Cellars is one of my favorite wineries in Washington State.

I love everything they produce, and recommend their wines every chance I get.

The 2010 Grand Ciel from Red Mountain is their flagship wine, and it is Magnificent!   The wine explodes with lush fruit, cinnamon and clove flavors on a backbone of smooth round tannins.

This is a complex, concentrated wine that is the perfect compliment to a T-Bone or any other hearty dish.

The wine’s suggested price is $135, but it can be found at as low as $89 at a few on-line stores.  At that price the Grand Ciel is a cheap alternative to its rival high end Napa Cabs.


Sanford Pinot Noir

Delille Cellars Grand Ciel from Red Mountain 2010

Bargain Hunters Delight! Big Values in California Wine Country!

Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County is a treasure trove for Pinot Noir enthusiasts.

The 2012 Sanford Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir is the winery’s entry level Pinot and is a prime example of what this region has to offer.

Crisp raspberry, black cherry and cola flavors jump from the glass and captivate your tastebuds.

While mouthwatering acids and supple tannins allows it to pair neatly with poultry and pork dishes or to be enjoyed by itself.

And for $30 this wine is a steal!


Bennett Lane Red Maximus

The 2007 Bennett Lane Maximus Red Feasting Wine was the perfect wine to celebrate my sister’s birthday.

This Cabernet based wine has healthy doses of Merlot and Syrah added in to round out the tannins and augment the jammy berry flavors.

This 10 year old wine was still oozing these youthful blackberry and blueberry fruits accompanied by rich polished tannins.

The wine was fun and easy to drink, which allowed us to focus on the celebration.

The wine retails for about $30, which is unheard of for a quality Napa Valley proprietary red blend.


Chateau Rocher Calon

I was cleaning the cellar and noticed this wine that I purchased back in 2003 for $12.99. I tried it when I got home that day and found it to be too bitter and tannic.

So over the years I kept skipping over it as I selected wines to drink. So today I decided to popped the cork with the expectation that I would pour it down the drain.

Well to my surprise, I noticed this wine still had a dark purple color as I poured a glass. Intrigued I took a long sniff and was blown away by the fruit aromas.

My first sip overwhelmed me with young ripe berries and creamy oak flavors. This was followed by a long velvety finish.

I am glad I decided not to skip over this little gem, as it brightened an otherwise grey cold day.

Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape


This is just a beautiful wine!

The berry, plum and baking spice flavors are perfectly melded together with traces of rose petals on the finish.

The 2012 Domaine Charvin Chateauneuf du Pape is supported by elegant tannins and would pair nicely with your Thanksgiving dinner.

The wine retails for $70, but I was able to get this bottle from my favorite store for $45.  Which I must say is an absolute steal for a wine of this quality.