Spruce Wine List Review

Spruce

3640 Sacramento Street

San Francisco, CA 94118

P: 415.931.5100

www.sprucesf.com

 

Spruce Wine List Review

For most people it is not every day that you get the opportunity to eat at a restaurant with a Michelin Star, so when that opportunity arises, the last thing you want to do is to waste time looking over the extensive wine list.  Below is a snapshot of the best wines on Spruce’s wine list that are offered at less than $95 per bottle.  If money is not an issue, then consider comparing the 2004 DRC La Tache ($1,900) against the 2004 DRC Richebourg ($1,400).  As with all of our reviews, you will see the price at the restaurant followed by the mark-up over retail (2010 Round Pond Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $50 | 2.2x | This translates into a retail price of $23).

VINOSERVANT’S TOP WINE VALUES UNDER $95 A BOTTLE AT SPRUCE 

White Wines

  • 2010 Round Pond, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $50 | 2.2x | TOP PICK
  • 2010 Azur Wines, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $56 | 2.1x
  • 2010 Quintessa, Illumination, Napa / Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc | $68 | 2.0x
  • 2010 Spottswoode, Napa / Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc | $74 | 2.1x
  • 2008 Hafner, Alexander Valley, Chardonnay | $48 | 2.5x
  • 2009 Fisher Vineyards, Unity, Sonoma County Chardonnay | $78 | 2.2x
  • 2009 Forman, Napa Valley, Chardonnay | $78 | 2.0x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Elk Cove Vineyards, Williamette Valley, Pinot Blanc | $40 | 2.3x

 

Red Wines

 

  • 2009 Arterberry Maresh, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $62 | 2.5x
  • 2009 Red Car, Box Car, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir | $62 | 2.2x
  • 2009 North Valley, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $74 | 2.4x
  • 2009 Brewer Clifton Santa Rita Hills Pinot Noir | $76 | 2.3x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Copain, Les Voisins, Alexander Valley, Pinot Noir | $82 | 1.9x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Shea Wine Cellars, Shea Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $84 | 2.1x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Elk Cove Vineyards, Five Mountains, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $88 | 2.4x
  • 2007 Domaine Robert Chevillon, Vieilles Vignes, Nuits Saint-Georges | $92 | 1.7x | TOP PICK
  • 2008 Dashe, Dry Creek Valley, Zinfandel | $46 | 2.3x
  • 2009 Brown Estate, Napa Valley, Zinfandel | $78 | 2.3x
  • 2007 Muga, Reserve, Rioja | $58 | 2.2x
  • 2008 Unti, Dry Creek Valley, Grenache | $60 | 2.4x
  • 2009 Alain Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage | $64 | 2.2x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Nicolas Perrin, Crozes-Hermitage | $82 | 2.4x
  • 2009 Domaine de Cristia, Chateauneuf-du-Pape | $84 | 2.1x | TOP PICK
  • 2005 Il Molino, Di Grace, Riserve, Chianti Classico | $50 | 1.2x | TOP PICK
  • 2006 Palmina, Santa Barbara, County, Nebbiolo | $64 | 2.1x
  • 2009 Unti, Dry Creek Valley, Barbera | $68 | 2.3x
  • 2007 Swanson, Napa Valley, Merlot | $60 | 2.4x
  • 2006 Clos Du Jaugueyron, Haut Medoc | $62 | 2.0x
  • Cain Cuvee, NV8, Napa Valley, Cabernet Blend | $68 | 2.3x

White Wines

2010 Round Pond, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $23 Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: Wine Spectator 88

  • $50 at Spruce | 2.2x | TOP PICK

88 points Wine Spectator: Crisp and clean, displaying good intensity to the lemon-lime, guava and green apple flavors, with hints of mineral and grass notes, and plenty of refreshing acidity. Drink now. 2,810 cases made. –MW

Winemaker Notes: The Estate Sauvignon Blanc at Round Pond is made in a fresh, clean style with a good acidic backbone and a lively finish. The wine is a pure expression of the fruit without any influence from oak cooperage. The fruit is harvested at the exact right moment so that the wine has a nice balance between citrus and stone fruit aromas. The wine is made to drink early and will show its best on a summer day. 100% Sauvignon Blanc, 100% Round Pond Estate, 100% Rutherford, 100% Stainless steal, 0% Malolactic Fermentation, 0% Lees stirring. “My goal with this wine is to transfer the fruit from the vineyard directly into the wine glass. I shoot for the “not-quite-tropical” fruit category. Essence of white peaches in a glass.” – Winemaker Brian Brown – Alcohol 14.5%.

 

2010 Azur Wines, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $56 at Napa Style Wine Club

Rating: See comments below

  • $56 at Spruce | 2.1x

Winemaker’s Notes: Azur Wines is one of a handful of Napa Valley producers that make predominantly rosé wines, but fortunately they also make a small amount of Sauvignon Blanc! This lovely, bright wine has gorgeous unique aromatics of citrus with notes of melon sage and nectarine. There’s good complexity and minerality here with flavors of grapefruit, gooseberry, kiwi, almond and lemongrass.

2010 Quintessa, Illumination, Napa / Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $34 at Beltramos

Rating: See comments below

  • $68 at Spruce | 2.0x

Winemaker Notes – Sauvignon Blanc grapes from Quintessa and vineyards in the cool southern hillsides of Napa Valley were hand harvested and whole-cluster pressed. The wines were fermented with native and cultured yeasts in several different vessels. French oak barrels (10% new) contribute body and a round mouthfeel, egg-shaped concrete fermenters add rich texture with aromatic purity, and stainless steel tanks provide fresh unadulterated aromatics. Semillon provides texture and roundness on the palate to complement the vibrant, tangy Sauvignon Blanc. Lees stirring in tank and barrel lends additional complexity.

2010 Spottswoode, Napa / Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $35 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: See comments below

  • $74 at Spruce | 2.1x

Spottswoode approacheds their Sauvignon Blanc like the Bordelais, blending Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Musque and Semillon to create a wine that is much more complex than a lot of California SBs. Much of the fruit comes from the Spottswoode Estate in St. Helena, supplemented by grapes grown at other prestigious vineyards around Napa and Sonoma, including Krupp Brothers, Larkmead, Tofanelli and Hyde. Fermented in a combination of French oak, stainless and concrete “barrels,” the wine has wonderful texture and vibrant acidity, enticing with a fleshy orange and stone fruit nose and a palate peppered by minerals and beeswax.

 

2008 Hafner, Alexander Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $19 @ the Winery

Rating: See comments below

  • $48 at Spruce | 2.5x

Winemaker’s Notes: Floral, clover honey notes and citrus aromas. Round, soft entry, rich in texture, nice malolactic presence give depth. Mineral notes with toasty oak finish.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 91 Points – Drink: Frost and fire didn’t spoil the vintage, though quality is variable. Tight, concentrated wines.

 

2009 Fisher Vineyards, Unity, Sonoma County Chardonnay

Retail Price: $36 at Back Room Wines

Rating: See comments below

  • $78 at Spruce | 2.2x

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 to 93 Points – Drink: Cooler year showing toned-down ripeness, with more finesse and delicacy.

2009 Forman, Napa Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $39 at Beltramo’s

Rating: Robert Parker 89

  • $78 at Spruce | 2.0x | TOP PICK

89 points Robert Parker: Ric Forman’s 2009 Chardonnay Estate is an elegant, restrained, non-malolactic, 100% barrel fermented offering that sees about 10% new oak during its upbringing. Fresh, delicate notes of pears, lemon blossoms and apple skins are present in this medium-bodied, steely Chardonnay. Consume it over the next several years. Interestingly, the 2009 is Sauvignon Blanc-like in texture and crispness.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 89 to 92 Points – Drink: Cooler year showing toned-down ripeness, with more finesse and delicacy.

 

2009 Elk Cove Vineyards, Williamette Valley, Pinot Blanc

Retail Price: $17 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: See comments below

  • $38 at The Village Pub | 2.2x
  • $40 at Spruce | 2.3x

Winemaker’s Notes: The Willamette Valley has a suitable climate for this delicate grape variety—enough sunlight and warmth for ripening and cooler night temperatures to retain varietal character. To preserve the freshness, it is whole-cluster pressed, and then fermented at very cool temperatures in small stainless steel tanks, which accentuates aromatics and enhances the richness and viscosity. The fruit is hand-harvested from select hillside vineyards in the northern Willamette Valley.

 

Red Wines

 2009 Arterberry Maresh, Dundee Hills, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $25 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: See comments below

  • $62 at Spruce | 2.5x

If you’re looking for a Pinot Noir that expresses the “Red Hills of Dundee” or know nothing about Dundee, but want a fresh, foward-drinking Pinot Noir, the Arterberry Maresh will be right up your alley. It’s a fantastically red-fruited Pinot Noir, with dense Dundee flavors deftly interwoven with spice and earth notes. This is declassified Maresh fruit (planted in 1970), with some supporting fruit from the exemplary Juliard and Winderlea vineyards.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Light structures, bold flavors.

2009 Red Car, Box Car, Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $28 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: Stephen Tanzer 89

  • $62 at Spruce | 2.2x

89 points Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: “Deep red. Black raspberry and smoked meat on the nose, with a subtle floral quality in the background. Silky and gently sweet in the mouth, with firm grip and smokiness to the flavors of dark berries and violet. A firm spine of acidity adds lift to the nervy finish. Give this a little air.” (May/June 11) A fruit-forward Pinot Noir for enjoying now, the 2009 Boxcar has delightful pomegranate, strawberry and cherry fruit. but it’s not one-dimensional. It’s underpinned by hearty trumpet mushrooms and minerals and a zesty dose of intergrated acidity.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 99 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines

 

2009 North Valley, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $31 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 87

  • $74 at Spruce | 2.4x

87 points Wine Spectator: Light and silky, this Pinot delivers pretty red berry, clove and white pepper flavors on a lively, easygoing frame. Drink now through 2014. Tasted twice, with consistent notes. 5,000 cases made. –HS

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2009 vintage was generally cool but punctuated by a timely period of warmth in mid-summer and again toward the end of the growing season.  This is evident when we taste the ripe, primary fruit flavors of the 2009 North Valley Pinot Noir.  Our diverse vineyard sites provided grapes with ample sweetness and fine acidity resulting in an aromatically engaging wine marked by lush fruit, soft silken mouth feel and more complexity than might initially “meet the eye”.  Red fruits are predominant showcasing wild cherry, raspberry and marionberry with intriguing savory undertones hinting at tarragon and clove.  Bright acidity preserves the wine’s inherent sleekness and overall charm.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Light structures, bold flavors.

 

2009 Brewer Clifton, Santa Rita Hills, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $30 at Artisan Wine Depot & $35 at K&L Wine Merchants

Ratings: Robert Parker 92

  • $60 at Farallon | 1.8x | TOP PICK
  • $76 at Spruce | 2.3x | TOP PICK
  • $92 at Alexander’s Steakhouse Cupertino | 2.8x

92 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2009 Pinot Noir is a highly expressive wine. Sweet red fruit, herbs, licorice, dried flowers and mint are some of the notes that emerge from this mid-weight Pinot. The 100% stems come through in the wine’s aromatic profile and high-toned finish. This is a terrific introduction to the house style and a fabulous effort at this level. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2020.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 94 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines.

 

2009 Copain, Les Voisins, Alexander Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $42 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 88

  • $82 at Spruce | 1.9x | TOP PICK

Savory, with dried herb and berry, mineral, loamy earth and cedar flavors. Well-balanced, full-bodied and well-made, but leaves you hoping for a shade more depth and finesse. Perhaps this will gain that with time. Drink now through 2018. 2,500 cases made. –JL

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 97 Points – Drink or Hold: Almost perfect, with scores of ripe, polished, deeply flavored wines

 

2009 Shea Wine Cellars, Shea Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $40 at Wine.com

Rating: Wine Spectator 94

  • $84 at Spruce | 2.1x | TOP PICK

94 points Wine Spectator: Supple, rich and complex, layering its dark berry, black cherry, pink grapefruit and exotic spice flavors on a velvety frame, the finish lingering effortlessly. Drink now through 2019.

Winemaker’s Notes: The fruit to make this wine was harvested from throughout Shea Vineyard. The wine has a deep ruby-red color. Beautiful floral notes define the wine’s wonderful bouquet. On the palate are flavors of cherry and dark red berry complimented by sweet spices and a rich texture with fine grain tannins. Alcohol 14.8%.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Light structures, bold flavors.

2009 Elk Cove Vineyards, Five Mountains, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $36 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: See comments below

  • $88 at Spruce | 2.4x

The quality of the five mountain vineyard shines through this small production wine, and it is easily one of the finest of the 2009 Oregon pinots that we have tasted. This vineyard, Elk Cove’s newest acquisition, has produced a wine of brilliant depth and clarity. In an Oregon vintage otherwise known for abundant fruit and lush wines, Elk cove delivers a Pinot of great balance and elegance with wonderful acidity and dark, earthy flavors of cherries and clove.

According to the Wine Spectator: “Light, tight and chewy, with firm tannins around a modest core of dark berry and tar flavors. Has intensity, needs time to soften. Best after 2013.” (Web only, 2011)

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Light structures, bold flavors.

2007 Domaine Robert Chevillon, Vieilles Vignes, Nuits Saint-Georges

Retail Price: $53 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: Robert Parker 87

  • $92 at Spruce | 1.7x | TOP PICK

87 points Robert Parker, David Schildknecht – Dried and lightly-cooked cherries and leather scent and flavor the Chevillon 2007 Nuits-St.-Georges Vieilles Vignes, which offers faintly dusty tannins and a slight sense of attenuation of fruit in its modest finish. There is mouth-filling satisfaction here, but I would plan on enjoying it within the next couple of years.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 Points – Drink or Hold: Meticulous sorting resulted in very good grapes; fruity, vivid, elegant reds for early to midterm drinking. Good success in Gevrey-Chambertin.

2008 Dashe, Dry Creek Valley, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $20 at  K&L Wines

Rating: See comments below.

  • $46 at Spruce | 2.3x
  • $46 at The Village Pub | 2.3x

From Wine Enthusiast Magazine: “A pace off the 2007, but a pretty good Zin. Despite being a little too soft and candy-sweet, it sure is tasty, offering an array of ripe wild red berry, currant, licorice, cocoa, spice and sandalwood flavors.” (Nov. 2010) This classic and balanced Zinfandel showcases Michael and Anne Dashe as masters of their craft. Spicy, rich, supple and juicy, it is a great summer wine to pair with grilled hamburgers.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 93 Points – Drink or Hold: Eccentric growing season, but wines show surprising richness and balance.

 

2009 Brown Estate, Napa Valley, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $35 at K&L Wines

Rating: See comments below

  • $78 at Spruce | 2.3x

This is Brown’s tried and true go-to zin, and a bona fide classic in the brownzin lineup. Dressed up with a formal dinner party or casual with homemade pizza, our bestselling zin is a guaranteed crowd pleaser. Get it, give it, share it… you’re gonna love it, and so will they. Very evident in this wine is the complex and layered Chiles Valley vineyard component, with its ripe and succulent ruby red grapefruit, fleshy black fruit, and cascade of aromas beginning with Damask rose-hibiscus, followed by exotic spice box, leading to creamy vanilla, and ending with a zippy spicy crushed black and white pepper. Mouth feel is luxurious, long and deep, yet possesses clear structural integrity reflecting the power and extreme extraction of the 2009 growing season.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 92 to 95 Points – Drink or Hold: Punishing rains at harvest the only flaw in the season; promising, but quality could vary.

2007 Muga, Reserve, Rioja

Retail Price: $26 via Wine-Searcher

Ratings: Robert Parker 91

  • $50 at EPIC Roasthouse | 1.9x | SOLD OUT
  • $58 at Spruce | 2.2x

91+ points from Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2007 Reserva is a blend of 70% Tempranillo with the balance Garnacha, Mazuelo, and Graciano aged initially for 6 months in wood vats followed by 24 months in 60% new French and American oak prior to bottling without filtration. It displays classic Rioja aromas of cedar, leather, mineral, a hint of balsamic, and assorted black fruits. Layered on the palate but slightly austere at present, it has the structure to evolve for another 4-6 years at which point it is likely to have filled out thus meriting a higher rating. Drink this impressive Rioja from 2015 to 2027.”

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 87 Points – Drink or Hold: Cool growing season; many wines light, best are elegant.

 

2008 Unti, Dry Creek Valley, Grenache

Retail Price: $25 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: See comments below

  • $60 at Spruce | 2.4x

Winemaker’s Notes: This Southern Rhône-style wine is 75% Grenache, 13% Mourvedre, and 12% Syrah and is from our creekside vineyard, planted in 1998.  The primary component of this blend comes from a 2.9 acre block, planted to three clonal selections of Grenache Noir.  We obtained the bud-wood of the Grenache Noir from Tablas Creek and Alban Vineyards.  These clonal selections, all from Châteauneuf-du-Pape, give darker color and better structure than the majority of the Grenache clones planted in California.  The Syrah used in this blend comes from Northern Rhône clones (174 and 877) while the Mourvedre comes from three rows planted alongside our Grenache.  Our vines are planted on low-vigor rootstock to 4’x 6’ spacing.

Vintage Description: 2008 will be best remembered for its spring frost and some extreme summer temperatures. Both factors caused some uneven ripening in the grapes, challenging our crop thinning efforts. We normally drop 50 to 60% of the crop regardless, in order to limit the yield to 6 pounds per vine.  This concentrates flavors and helps achieve full ripeness without sacrificing acidity. We began harvesting our Grenache and Mourvedre October 16th through October 23rd, a tad later than usual considering the low yield of the vines.

2009 Alain Graillot, Crozes-Hermitage

Retail Price: $29 at Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: Robert Parker 90

  • $64 at Spruce | 2.2x | TOP PICK

90 points Robert Parker: Denser, with more blackberry fruit such as well as hints of licorice and cassis, the medium to full-bodied, wonderfully pure, dense 2009 Crozes-Hermitage is a winner and a big-time sleeper of the vintage. This rich, full, multi-layered wine should drink well for 10-15 years. 2009 is Alain Graillot’s finest vintage since 1990. – Robert Parker (Feb 2011)

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 96 points – Drink or Hold: Warm, dry season led to early harvest, but mid-August rain and cool nights kept grapes fresh. Reds are rich and polished, whites ripe and rounded; excellent overall and very consistent, with normal yields.

2009 Nicolas Perrin, Crozes-Hermitage

Retail Price: $34 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 91

  • $82 at Spruce | 2.4x

91 points Wine Spectator: Vivid, with superracy blackberry, black cherry and fig fruit liberally laced with graphite and black tea. A latent iron note leaves a tangy, mouthwatering finish and adds length. Drink now through 2014. 1,000 cases made. –JM

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 96 points – Drink or Hold: Warm, dry season led to early harvest, but mid-August rain and cool nights kept grapes fresh. Reds are rich and polished, whites ripe and rounded; excellent overall and very consistent, with normal yields.

2009 Domaine de Cristia, Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Retail Price: $39 at Wine.com

Rating: Robert Parker 92

  • $84 at Spruce | 2.1x | TOP PICK

92 points Robert Parker: The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape (a blend of 95% Grenache and 5% Syrah aged entirely in cement) exhibits plenty of forest floor, sweet kirsch liqueur and raspberries, medium to full body, and a luxurious mouthfeel, with silky tannins and a long, heady finish. This beauty is ideal for drinking over its first decade of life.

Winemaker’s Notes: This elegant blend of Grenache and Syrah pairs beautifully with roast partridge – fricassee of guinea fowl with raspberry vinegar. Alcohol 13.9%.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 94 points – Drink or Hold: Warm, dry growing season, with heat wave arriving after veraison so ripening was fast but even; grapes retained acidity thanks to cool nights. Reds have pure fruit and polished tannins.

2005 Il Molino, Di Grace, Riserve, Chianti Classico

Retail Price: $40 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 87

  • $50 at Spruce | 1.2x |TOP PICK

87 points Wine Spectator: Shows rich cherry and berry, with hints of orange marmalade and light toasty oak. Medium-bodied, with fine tannins and a clean mineral finish. Drink now. 2,800 cases made.  

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 88 points – Drink or Hold : Rain during harvest marred some results, but mostly wines with very good to excellent fruit and fresh acidity.

2006 Palmina, Santa Barbara, County, Nebbiolo

Retail Price: $30 Release Price @ the Winery

Rating: See comments below

  • $64 at Spruce | 2.1x

Winemaker’s Notes: Sporting a beautiful crimson color with ruby edges, the 2006 release boasts the deepest color in years. The concentrated color then leads to bursts of berry aromas that mingle with intriguing garden notes of rose and warm, stony soil. The first sip glides across the palate with elegant, long, sweet rising tannins deliver- ing texture, beautiful bright acidity and layers of fruit that range from wild raspberry to deep, dark plum. A deep molasses thread, interlaced with an entire cadre of spice that spans the spectrum of cinnamon to allspice to clove runs through the wine, enhancing rather than overpowering the elegant and lingering fruit characteristics of this enchanting wine.

2009 Unti, Dry Creek Valley, Barbera

Retail Price: $30 @ the Winery
Rating: See comments below

  • $68 at Spruce | 2.3x

Our 2009 Barbera possesses deep color, exotic fruit aromas, a juicy mouth-feel, and solid acidity.  The wine’s vibrant acidity will remind you of drinking exciting modern-style Barberas from Piemonte, which we love.  It is my favorite wine to serve when I don’t know what’s for dinner because Barbera is so versatile. Barbera this concentrated can age, but I wouldn’t let this wine make old bones!  Drink now and over the next two years. 2009 was an excellent vintage across the board for us.  We had a moderate to cool growing season that pushed harvest back to the first week of October, about 1 to 2 weeks later than normal. The grapes were able to develop mature flavors while they maintained solid acidity. The long growing season also contributes to this wine’s dark color. I think this is the best in a long line of good vintages for our Barbera.Alcohol 14.6%.

2007 Swanson, Napa Valley, Merlot

Retail Price: $25 at K&L Wine Merchants

Review: See comments below

  • $60 at Spruce | 2.4x

Robert Parker: The dark plum-colored 2007 Merlot displays notes of chocolate, mocha, roasted herbs, and some toasty oak in a medium-bodied, fruitier style. It should drink well for 7-8 years. (12/09)

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 points – Drink or Hold: Great promise in Napa, with rich and elegant wines; Sonoma offers value.

2006 Clos Du Jaugueyron, Haut Medoc

Retail Price: $31 via Wine-Searcher

Rating:  See comments below

  • $62 at Spruce | 2.0x

In most vintages this producer puts together a solid wine.  The property is just outside of the Margaux appellation and the blend is usually compromised of cabernet, merlot and petit verdot.

Vintage Description from Wine Spectator 90 points – Drink or Hold: Best are solid, tannic and racy; others slightly hollow.

Cain Cuvee, NV8, Napa Valley, Cabernet Blend

Retail Price: $30 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: See comments below

  • $68 at Spruce | 2.3x

In Cain’s multi-vintage, multi-vineyard NV8 blend, a foundation of Merlot provides suppleness and body, while mountain-grown Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc lend structure, power, and aromatic complexity for a well-balanced wine that can be enjoyed young but has the stuffing to age gracefully. The most approachable and affordable of Cain’s production, the NV cuvees possess a certain kind of “old world” rustic charm not usually found in wines from the Napa Valley today. For a Bordeaux-lover branching out to California wines, or a California connoisseur seeking something different than your go-to Cab, the NV8 is well worth a try.

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