Category Archives: $51 to $100

Hansen Cabernet Sauvignon ‘Barrel Select’ 2006

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $55
Mature dark berries and roasted plum integrated with subtle spice, bay, caramel, loamy soil, chalk and a hint of cocoa. Robust, forward flavors, a bit rustic, with a firm tannin structure. Aged 3-1/2 years on new French oak. Something of a curmudgeon — he knows more than you, he does things his own way, and there’s no shyness about letting you know. This ain’t your father’s Napa Valley Cab. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 12/30/12)

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Filed under $51 to $100, Cabernet Sauvignon, California

Two Sisters Pinot Noir Lindsey’s Vineyard 2007

SANTA RITA HILLS | CALIFORNIA | $65
Boysenberry and young red plum deliver up-front fruit with a perk of acidity, and notes of black cherry, cranberry, allspice, cedar and bay bring interest and complexity. Integrated and on the light side of medium bodied, this wine is — improbably — substantive yet weightless. Silky in the mouth with a slight chew, there’s both a quaffable and savoring sensation here. This date is worldly, knowledgeable, deep thinking, conversational, introspective…and easy. A very good wine. (Reviewed 12/27/12)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Pinot Noir

Chateau de Beaucastel Blanc 2007

CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE | FRANCE | $96

Crisp minerals greet the nose with melon and pear on the palate, accented by grapefruit pith, honeysuckle, stoney minerals and a hint of oak. Fresh, clean and slightly weighty satin mouthfeel. Complex and well-integrated with exceptional balance — one note leads to many others with soft grace. She wears layered white linen this early Spring day, the sun still low in the sky and the air impossibly both warm and cool, and seemingly created anew for just this morning. 80% Rousanne, 20% Grenache Blanc. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 10/28/12)

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Filed under $51 to $100, France, Vigonier | Rousanne | Marsanne

La Bastide Saint Dominique 2009

CHATEAUNEUF DU PAPE | FRANCE | $54

Medium-bodied cherry, raspberry and rhubarb supported with earthy flavors of forest floor, redwood and camphor, and a slight chai-spice back note. Chamois-like, slightly grainy texture offers a hand-hewn feel to this well-crafted bottling. An intriguing muscularity-and-agility counter-play captures attention and holds interest. He’s a slight fellow, of lean, sinuous muscle, firm sun-baked features and a cerebral tenacity; quite strong for his build, his focus and grip are solid and nearly unyielding, but to a point. 100% Grenache, fermented in tanks. A very good wine. (Reviewed 10/28/12)

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Filed under $51 to $100, France, Syrah/Shiraz | Grenache | Mourvedre

Goldeneye Pinot Noir 2009

ANDERSON VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $55

Supple cherry fruit interwoven with aromatic woods, earthy peat and deep spices. Wonderfully complex, with each sip revealing new threads in the fabric: dried orange peel, redwood, bay, juniper berry, oak, soil, cedar, nutmeg. Oh so well-integrated and balanced with fruit and savory elements coming together as one, inseparable and indistinguishable — neither dominates, neither recedes. Medium bodied and softly textured offering a slight tooth. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 10/21/12)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Pinot Noir

Linne Calodo ‘Rising Tides’ 2004

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $72

Superbly integrated showing deep blackberry fused with earthy redwood, cocoa, tobacco and chalk. Notes of dried dark fruit, forest floor and clove, and a texture of suede further the experience. Fruit and savory flavors exist as one in this complex, well-balanced universe. There is no separation of the species: One’s sunset is another’s sunrise — from where does the water come to rise the tides, and where does it go when they ebb? How can it be that 15.8% alcohol, undetected, yields a medium-bodied wine? Oh, that spiritual miracle is in this bottle. 40% Syrah, 40% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre. Nothing less than a most excellent wine. (Reviewed 10/13/12)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Syrah/Shiraz | Grenache | Mourvedre

A.P. Vin Pinot Noir Kanzler Vineyard 2010

SONOMA COAST | CALIFORNIA | $52

Deep dark berry fruit with cherry and plum notes, forest floor, cigar box and woody spices. Medium bodied — substantial for a Pinot Noir — and well integrated, its complex horizontal flavors excite the palate. Each sip brings an exploration of its own: one delivers concentrations of ripe fruit, another discovers organic earth undertones with traces of smoke, yet another evokes chai-spice tea. In a world of strawberry-rhubarb Sonoma Coast Pinots (superb, they are), this wine takes another path and zags while others zig. It works. And works well. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 9/13/12)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Pinot Noir

La Vie Pinot Noir ‘Pretty in Pinot’ 2007

SANTA CRUZ MOUNTAINS | CALIFORNIA | $55

Soft, mature Bing cherry and raspberry plus notes of pomegranate and rhubarb, integrated with earthy flavors of cedar, organic soil, dry leaves and tar. Suggestions of camphor and caramel, and a pinpoint of citrus pith breaking through just as the finish comes on. Nicely structured, medium bodied with a satin texture and a nice chew. Anecdotal evidence suggests this one may be more alcoholic than the 14.5% ABV as labeled. Pretty, she says. Seductive, she is. A headache, she’ll be. A very good wine. (Reviewed 8/4/12)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Pinot Noir

Treana 2003

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $52

Soft dark plum and cherry fruit with hints of bay, wood spice, earth and cedar. Carries a chalky, distinctly Paso Robles, calcium minerality, finishing with a slight zing of acidity. Rounded with bottle time — many would prefer it younger when the fruit might better hold its definition — but age has done this beauty well, giving her grace and elegance to match her exquisite lines. 70% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Syrah, 10% Merlot. A very good wine. (Reviewed 11/13/10)

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Filed under $51 to $100, Cabernet Sauvignon, California

L’Aventure ‘le Grand Verdot’ 2008

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $75

Intense, concentrated blackberry and blueberry fruit supported by firm tannin structure that renders unnoticed a very high 15.9% alcohol. Complex notes of bay, cola, loam and chalk come through over a satisfying suede-like texture. Woody tannins combine with a pop of natural fruit acidity on the finish. Suave and rugged, this bloke out-charms and out-muscles his rivals. Petite Verdot with Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah. An excellent wine.(Reviewed 1/15/11)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Petit Verdot