Wayfare Tavern Wine List Review

Wayfare Tavern

558 Sacramento Street

San Francisco, CA

P: 415.772.9060

www.wayfaretavern.com

Wayfare Tavern Wine List Review

Wayfare’s wine list has a number of exceptional values across all price points.  The list is comprised of 153 selections, with a number of limited production wines so it changes frequently.  Please drop us a note if one of the wines we recommend is no longer available and we will update our review.

If money is not an issue, then start your evening with the 2010 Peter Michael, L’ Apres-Midi, Sauvignon Blanc for $95 and follow it up with the 2007 Scherrer Winery, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir for $79 or the 2007 E. Guigal, Brune et Blonde, Cote-Rotie for $108.

As with all VinoServant reviews, you will see the price at the restaurant followed by the mark-up over retail (2000 Gloria Ferrer, Carneros, Cuvee, Sparkling Wine | $76 | 1.9x | This translates into a retail price of $40).

 

VINOSERVANT’S TOP WINE VALUES AT WAYFARE TAVERN

Sparkling Wines

8 selections that range in price from $40 to $295.  4 are under $80 a bottle.

  • 2000 Gloria Ferrer, Carneros Cuvee | $76 | 1.9x
  • Delamotte Brut Non-Vintage | $78 | 2.1x

 

White Wines

38 selections that range in price from $28 to $160. 18 are under $60 a bottle.

  • 2009 Pio Cesare, Arneis, Langhe | $43 | 2.0x
  • 2010 Cold Heaven, Santa Ynez Valley, Viognier | $44 | 2.2x
  • 2010 Groth, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $39 | 2.4x
  • 2011 Cloudy Bay, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc | $48 | 2.3x
  • 2010 Pascal & Nicolas, Reverdy Cuvee Les Coutes, Sancerre | $56 | 2.1x
  • 2009 Grieve Family, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $64 | 1.6x | TOP PICK
  • 2010 Merry Edwards, Russian River Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $68 | 1.8x
  • 2010 Peter Michael, L’ Apres – Midi, Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc | $95 | 1.7x | TOP PICK

 

  • 2009 Melville Estate – Verna’s, Santa Barbara County, Chardonnay | $40 | 2.2x
  • 2009 Fort Ross, Sonoma Coast, Chardonnay | $52 | 1.9x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Stuhlmiller, Alexander Valley, Chardonnay | $53 | 2.3x
  • 2010 Lewis Cellars, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay | $76 | 1.8x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Varner Home Block, Spring Ridge Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, Chardonnay | $79 | 2.1x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley, Chardonnay | $89 | 2.0x
  • 2008 Joseph Drouhin Meursault $90 | 1.9x | TOP PICK
  • 2008 Mount Eden Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains, Chardonnay | $92 | 1.7x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Paul Hobbs Russian River Valley Chardonnay | $95 | 2.1x
  • 2009 Brewer – Clifton, 3D, Santa Rita Hills, Chardonnay | $103 | 1.9x
  • 2008 Ridge, Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains, Chardonnay | $108 | 2.2x

 

Red Wines 

107 selections that range in price from $36 to $550.  40 are under $80 a bottle.

  • 2008 Saintsbury, Carneros, Pinot Noir | $45 | 1.9x
  • 2008 Domaine Serene, Yamhill Cuvee, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $71 | 2.0x | TOP PICK
  • 2008 Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune du Chateau | $72 | 2.0x
  • 2008 Merry Edwards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir | $78 | 2.1x
  • 2007 Scherrer Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Noir | $79 | 2.2x | TOP PICK
  • 2008 Willakenzie Estate, Kiana, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir  | $84 | 2.2x
  • 2009 Melville, Carrie’s, Santa Rita Hills, Pinot Noir | $91 | 2.0x
  • 2009 Anthill Farms, Anderson Valley, Pinot Noir | $92 | 2.3x
  • 2009 Joseph Drouhin, Morey Saint Denis | $95 | 2.2x
  • 2008 Ceritas, Escarpa Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir | $98 | 1.8x | TOP PICK
  • 2007 Robert Stemmler, Ferguson Block, Carneros, Pinot Noir $104 – 2.4x
  • 2009 Brewer-Clifton, Ampelos, Santa Rita Hills, Pinot Noir | $120 | 2.1x
  • 2009 Kistler, Kistler Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir | $135 | 1.2x | TOP PICK

 

  • 2007 Bonny Doon, Le Cigare Volant, Santa Cruz | $46 | 1.5x | TOP PICK
  • 2008 The Ojai Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, Syrah $52 | 2.2x
  • 2009 Neyers, Old Lakeville Road, Sonoma County, Syrah | $56 | 2.1x
  • 2009 Tablas Creek, Esprit de Beaucastal, Paso Robles, Rhone Blend | $97 | 2.1x
  • 2006 Martinelli, Hop Camp Vineyard, Gravel Lens, Russian River Valley, Syrah | $99 | 1.3x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Domaine la Barroche, Signature, Chateauneuf du Pape | $103 | 2.1x
  • 2007 E. Guigal, Brune et Blonde, Cote- Rotie $108 | 1.6x | TOP PICK
  • 2008 Radio-Coteau, Dusty Lane, Russian River Valley, Syrah | $108 | 2.2x
  • 2008 Shafer, Relentless, Napa Valley, Syrah $126 | 2.0x
  • 2008 Lillian, California, Syrah | $128 | 1.5x | TOP PICK
  • 2008 Saxum, Booker Vineyard, Paso Robles, Rhone Blend | $190 | BELOW RETAIL | TOP PICK
  • 2005 Sine Qua Non, The Naked Truth, Grenache | $550 | 1.1x | TOP PICK

 

  • 2009 Ridge, East Bench, Dry Creek Valley, Zinfandel | $54 | 2.2x
  • 2009 Stuhlmuller, Vineyards, Alexander Valley, Zinfandel | $55 | 2.3x
  • 2007 Storybook Mountain Vineyards, Antaeus, Napa Valley, Zinfandel | $68 | 1.7x | TOP PICK
  • 2008 Bodega Catena Zapata, Vista Flores, Malbec | $40 | 2.0x | TOP PICK
  • 2008 La Badia, Coltibuono, Chianti Classico | $42 | 2.1x
  • 2006 Produttori del Barbaresco | $75 | 2.5x

 

  • 2007 Paradigm, Napa Valley, Merlot $78 | 1.7x | TOP PICK
  • 2009 Duckhorn, Vineyards, Napa Valley, Merlot | $95 | 2.1x

 

  • 2007 Robert Sinskey POV Napa Valley Cabernet Franc $74 | 2.2x
  • 2008 Keenan Winery, Spring Mountain Cabernet Franc | $98 | 1.8x | TOP PICK

 

  • 2008 Domaine Eden, Santa Cruz Mountains, Cabernet Sauvignon | $62 | 2.1x
  • 2006 Saddleback Cellars Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon | $63 | 1.1x | TOP PICK
  • 2006 Chateau Larruau, Margaux | $72 | 2.1x
  • 2006 Long Meadow Ranch, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $80 | 1.4x | TOP PICK
  • 2006 Silverado Vineyards, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $84 | 2.3x
  • 2008 Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $91 | 2.0x
  • 2007 Jordan, Alexander Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $95 | 2.1x
  • 2007 Paradigm, Oakville, Cabernet Sauvignon | $108 | 1.8x | TOP PICK

SPARKLING WINES BY THE BOTTLE

8 selections that range in price from $40 to $295.  4 are under $80 a bottle.

2000 Gloria Ferrer, Carneros Cuvee

Retail Price: $39 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 87

  • $76 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.9x 

87 points Wine Spectator: Appealing nutty, yeasty aromas join with citrus and fresh ginger, leading to clean, crisp flavors that finish with a spicy flourish. Drink now. 7,674 cases made. –TF

Winemaker’s Notes: A complex, effusive nose offers ripe apple and rich Asian pear aromas interlaced with bright berry notes, hints of marzipan and biscuity, toasty yeast tones. On the palate, this wine is creamy, plush and remarkably fresh, with layers of lemon curd, baked apple, vanilla and pear flavors intermingling in a very elegant, vibrant and enduring finish.

 

Delamotte, Brut, Non-Vintage

Retail Price: $37 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: Wine Enthusiast 92

  • $78 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

92 points an Editors’ Choice, Wine Enthusiast: “There is good bottle age here the wine full and ripe with an integrated dosage that is relatively high. Flavors of sweet pastry go with white nectarines and pears. It’s so deliciously balanced, finishing with a soft, fresh aftertaste.” (12/09)


WHITE WINES BY THE BOTTLE

38 selections that range in price from $28 to $160. 18 are under $60 a bottle. 

2009 Pio Cesare, Arneis, Langhe

Retail Price: $21 at Wally’s Wine & Spirits

Rating: See comments below

  • $43 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.0x 

Winemaker’s Notes: Slightly aromatic, with reach and ripe fruit, round, refreshing and crispy fragrance. It is leasant to drink and should be consumed rather young, keeping in the cellar for only two to three years maximum. Alcohol 12.5%.

 

2010 Cold Heaven, Santa Ynez Valley, Viognier

Retail Price: $20 at K&L Wines

Rating: See comment below

  • $44 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.2x

About the Winery: Cold Heaven Cellars has been producing dreamy, balanced Viognier wines from cool climate vineyards in the Santa Barbara County since 1996.  Pinot Noir & Syrah  were added to the cellar in 2002 to further showcase these cool climate treasures.

 

 

2010 Groth, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $16 at K&L Wines

Rating: See comments below

  • $39 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.4x

Winemaker’s Notes: Sauvignon Blanc 97%, Semillon 3%.  Our 2010 Sauvignon Blanc was produced from grapes grown in various microclimates of the Napa Valley. The warmer Napa Valley microclimates give us grapes that result in wines with a lush, full melon/citrus character in the aroma and in the flavor. The cooler Napa Valley fruit provides a solid, crisp backbone that gives the wine an exciting liveliness that balances the rich creaminess from “sur lie” aging. Pair with:Dungeness crab and arugula salad with lemon vinaigrette. Alcohol 14.5%.

 

2011 Cloudy Bay, Marlborough, Sauvignon, Blanc

Retail Price: $20 at Artisan Wine Depot & $25 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: See comment below

  • $48 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

From the winery: “Pale straw green in colour and enticingly fragrant, the 2011 Sauvignon Blanc offers lifted aromas of ripe stonefruit and juicy citrus with underlying notes of blackcurrant leaf and tomato plant spice. The palate is fine yet succulent, with zesty citrus flavours and fresh acidity. There is an appealing plushness about this wine especially as it leads into a lingering and characteristically crisp finish.” It makes a great partner to oysters in the half shell and would complement the tart, tangy, and herbal flavors and texture of an herbed goat cheese salad.

 

2010 Pascal & Nicolas, Reverdy Cuvee Les Coutes, Sancerre

Retail Price: $27 at Backroom Wines

Rating: Wine Advocate 89

  • $56 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x 

89 points Wine Advocate: This lovely Sancerre reveals caramelized melon-like fruit intermixed with crushed rock, white currant and lemon zest characteristics. Enjoy this medium-bodied, fresh, crisp, refreshing white over the next 2-3 years.

Description from Backroom Wines: Very steep, chalky, vineyard. 40-50 year old vines, low yielding. This is outstanding Sancerre with real zing. Loaded with mouth-watering citrus flavors, chalk and fine green herbs. Sancerre lovers will adore the flavor and the crunch of the Reverdy. Classic food match is goat cheese. We like it with a green salad (spicy greens like arugula are great) with crumbled goat cheese. 

 

2009 Grieve Family, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $40 Grieve Winery

Rating: See comment below

  • $64 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.6x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: The Early Pick was more transparent to the oak flavors, even from the older barrels. The Early pick flavors of grapefruit, lemongrass, and jasmine signify the cool climate in Lovall Valley and allow the expression of distinct minerality. The Late Pick was oily and rich, with a very compelling mouthfeel that balances the acidity and leaner characteristics of the Early Pick. It was hugely tropical, with loads of banana and pineapple, and had over-the-top aromatics of melon, peach and orange blossoms. The finished wine is very lively with grapefruit, pear, peach, lemongrass, jasmine, orange blossom and a weighted texture and acidity to extend the flavors on the palate. Alcohol 14.7%.

 

2010 Merry Edwards, Russian River Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $30 at the Winery, Wine.com $45 – SOLD OUT & $40 at Sherry-Lehman

Rating: See comments below

  • $68 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.8x

Winemaker’s Notes: This wine “struts its stuff’ in a sophisticated and stylish fashion. The aroma is floral and mouth­watering, layered with ripe melon, peach and subtle mineral highlights. In the mouth, it is rich and seamlessly well balanced, kicking in a hint of grapefruit, cirrus and pear on the lingering finish.

2010 Peter Michael, L’ Apres – Midi, Sonoma County, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $54 at Beltramo’s

Rating: See comments below 

  • $95 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.7x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: Intense and multi-layered, the bouquet is dominated by spring flowers, honeysuckle, lily, vine blossom, Reine claude plum, lemon, lime, apricot, grapefruit, honey, and minerals. The rich and delicate flavors follow seamlessly from the aroma. Layered, elegant and very long, the estate’s signature wet stone minerality balances the richness lending a superb refinement to the finish. 2010 L’Après-Midi is already revealing itself as a superb expres- sion of our estate’s terroir and displays characteristics similar to that of the superb wines of Pessac-Leognan in Bordeaux.  Alcohol 15.2%.

 

2009 Melville Estate – Verna’s, Santa Barbara County, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $16 at K&L Wine Merchants & $20 at JJ Buckley

Rating: Stephen Tanzer 90

  • $40 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.2x

90 points from Stephen Tanzer’s International Wine Cellar: “Bright gold. Subtle aromas of lemon, melon, tarragon and white flowers. Dense and supple on entry, then silky but firm in the middle, with reticent but complex honeydew and orange flavors and a hint of herbs. Finishes with very good length and a hint of spice.” (Nov/Dec ’10)

 

2009 Fort Ross, Sonoma Coast, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $27 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Enthusiast 95

  • $52 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.9x | TOP PICK

95 points Wine Enthusiast: “A brilliant Chardonnay. Almost nothing quite like it out there. Great, zesty acidity makes the mouth water, and oak is strongly there but perfectly vindicated by the power of the underlying flavors. They suggest ripe pineapples and tropical fruits, peaches, honeysuckle and a firm, stony minerality that has to come from the soil. For all the richness, the wine is terrifically dry.

2009 Stuhlmiller, Alexander Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $23 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Spectator 87

  • $53 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.3x

87 points Wine Spectator: An elegant show of ripe pear and honeydew melon that’s medium-bodied, clean and pure. Smooth-textured and ready to drink. Drink now through 2014.

Winemaker’s Notes: From its beautiful bright lemon color to its inviting aromas of citrus fruit, lemon blossom, ginger, white nectarine, wet stone and spice, this is a vibrant and refreshing wine. On the palate, perfectly balanced oak and alcohol support lovely notes of green pear and apple, white flowers and citrus oil.  Alcohol 14.1%.

2010 Lewis Cellars, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $43 at Napacabs & $45 at JJ Buckley and K&L Wines

Rating: See comments below

  • $76 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.8x | TOP PICK 

Winemaker’s Notes – Our Sonoma Chardonnay is sourced from some of the oldest Dutton Ranch plantings in the Russian River Valley, yielding unique character and complexity at harvest every year. Record cool temperatures during the early 2010 growing season pushed picking dates later than any vintage since 1998 – and it was worth the wait. Layers of lemon-lime citrus, honeysuckle and toasty tangerine are shot through with orangey spices. Succulent citrus flavors are fresh and lively on the palate while preserving a supple texture that gradually turns crisp with a final wash of mouthwatering natural acidity. 1,200 cases produced.

 2009 Varner Home Block, Spring Ridge Vineyard, Santa Cruz Mountains, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $37 at Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: Robert Parker 95

  • $79 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

95 points Wine Advoate: The 2009 Chardonnay Home Block is fabulous. It is rather inward and reticent, but the wine’s personality is impossible to miss. Ash, minerals, earthiness are some of the notes that add complexity to the intense fruit. This is another sweeping, totally elegant wine from Varner. I find the Home Block a little less mineral than the Amphitheater. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2019.

2009 Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $45 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: Stephen Tanzer 90 & Wine Advocate 89

  • $89 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.0x

90 points Stephen Tanzer: (just 10% new oak used; the winery cherry-picked the fruit for this bottling and sold off the rest in bulk): Bright yellow. Lively aromas of apple, citrus fruit, mint and licorice. Juicy and vibrant, with almost painful mid-palate cut. Still youthfully tight, but this no-malo chardonnay displays good underlying density. The persistent finish shows good cut. Clearly the product of a moderately cool growing season. Montelena’s chardonnay is vinified to dryness in tank, then ages for several months in 10% new oak, on the fine lees but without stirring. I suspect this will evolve slowly.

89 points Wine Advocate: Speaking of non-malolactic, the reserved 2009 Chardonnay exhibits delicate pear and honeysuckle notes as well as crisp, fresh acidity, medium body and a steely purity. This is often referred to as the Ric Forman style, but Montelena has been doing it as long as Ric has (as have such legendary wineries as Stony Hill). (12/10)

2008 Joseph Drouhin, Meaursault

Retail Price: $46 at Wine.com

Rating: Wine Spectator 90

  • $90 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.0x | TOP PICK

Wine Spectator Review: “Clean, fresh and lemony, with support from pastry and oak spice flavors. This is lively and balanced, leading to a long, vibrant finish. Needs six months to a year to integrate. Best from 2012 through 2018. 1,300 cases imported.”

2008 Mount Eden Vineyards, Santa Cruz Mountains, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $53 Average Price via Wine-Searcher & $56 at Wine.com – SOLD OUT

Rating: Wine Spectator 95

  • $92 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.7x | TOP PICK

95 points Wine Spectator: #13 Wine Spectator Top 100 of 2011. Very rich and intense, this deeply concentrated and perfumed white delivers detailed flavors of white peach, honeysuckle, fig and citrus. Full-bodied, sleek and leesy, with a long, lingering finish. Drink now through 2018.

Winemaker’s Notes: The full-bodied Estate Chardonnay displays fine underlying acidity and a long finish. Hints of cardamom, anise and hazelnut add interest to the core lemon, mineral flavors. Of all Mount Eden’s estate-grown wines, the Chardonnay is most in need of further bottle aging at release, requiring an additional two to four years to fully reveal its true character. Many vintages are still fresh and enjoyable after fifteen years, explaining why Mount Eden Estate Chardonnay is considered one of California’s longest-lived white wines.

2009 Paul Hobbs, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $46 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: Wine Advocate 91 to 93

  • $95 at Wayfare Tavern – 2.0x

91 – 93 points Robert Parker: The 2009 Chardonnay Russian River possesses tropical fruit, honeysuckle, cinnamon and subtle oak notes in a nicely etched, medium to full-bodied style. The irrepressible Paul Hobbs fashioned a beautiful portfolio of Pinot Noirs and Chardonnays in both 2008 and 2009. His style of Chardonnay comes directly from the Burgundy handbook, meaning cool vineyard sites, full malolactic fermentations, lots of lees contact and the use of well-established clones, such as the old Wente and occasionally some of the newer Dijon clones. The 2009 Chardonnays are slightly more perfumed as well as lower in alcohol.

2009 Brewer – Clifton, 3D, Santa Rita Hills, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $53 at JJ Buckley

Rating: Wine Advocate 93

  • $103 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.9x

93 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Chardonnay 3-D is quite fresh and vibrant. Lime, lemon, minerals and saline notes emerge from this energetic Chardonnay. The wine’s vibrancy follows through nicely to the focused finish. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2019.

2008 Ridge, Monte Bello, Santa Cruz Mountains, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $50 at JJ Buckley

Rating: Wine Spectator 93 & Wine Advocate 95

  • $108 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.2x

93 points Wine Spectator: Offers a full-bodied mix of ripe fig, honeydew melon, spice and dried apricot flavors, taking on a slight honeyed note and expanding on the finish, yet retaining a pleasant measure of restraint and finesse. Drink now through 2018. 750 cases made. –JL

95 points Wine Advocate: The 2008 Chardonnay Monte Bello emerges from the glass with layers of rich, varietal fruit supported by firm minerality and just a touch of French oak. The Monte Bello spends an additional three months in neutral oak and therefore also sees more stirring of the lees, yet it remains fresh, vibrant and beautifully focused all the way through to the finish. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2018…I think the wines Draper is making today will prove to be far superior to the wines of decades past, many of which are rightly considered legendary. (08/11)

 

RED WINES BY THE BOTTLE

107 selections that range in price from $36 to $550.  40 are under $80 a bottle.

2008 Saintsbury, Carneros, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $24 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: See below

  • $45 at Wayfare Tavern – 1.9x 

According to Wine Spectator: “Blackberry, cola, rhubarb, spice and mineral aromas are firm and tannic, with a pebbly edge that lingers through the finish. Drink now through 2014.” (09/10) The Carneros Pinot Noir is Saintsbury’s flagship wine, vintage after vintage a fantastic representation of the winery’s house style and the Carneros appellation. Aged for 10 months in 30% new French oak, the wine smells like cherry-spiked Earl Grey tea, with forest floor undertones, all of which carry over to the palate. Medium- to full-bodied, it has an earthy-loamy element and a hint of spice on the finish.

2008 Domaine Serene, Yamhill Cuvee, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $35 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: Wine Spectator 91, Robert Parker 91 & Wine Enthusiast Magazine 90

  • $71 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.0x | TOP PICK

91 points Wine Spectator: “Pure and focused aromatically, with blueberry, plum, spice and loam aromas leaping from the glass. The firm tannins have bite, but the complex flavors shoot through on the lively finish. Shows depth and grace. Best from 2013 through 2018.” (Web only, 2011)

91 points Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2008 Pinot Noir Yamhill Cuvee is medium ruby in color with an expressive nose of spicy red fruits and considerable terroir character. On the palate the fruit leans to the dark side of the spectrum with intense black cherry and black raspberry flavors as well as excellent grip, balance, and length. This tasty effort can be enjoyed now but has the stuffing to evolve for 2-3 years.” (10/10)

90 points from Wine Enthusiast Magazine: “Drinkable now, but certainly cellar-worthy, the most widely available cuvée from Domaine Serene shows the strength of the 2008 vintage. Fully ripe, assertive and full-bodied, it brings scents of berry and herb into play, leading into a thick and tannic wine with coiled power. Decant it, or give it a few years in the cellar. (6/1/2011)

2008 Bouchard Pere et Fils, Beaune du Chateau

Retail Price: $36 Average Price via Wine – Searcher & $45 at Wally’s Wine & Spirits

Rating: See comments below

  • $72 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.0x

Description from Mad Wines: Medium red. Nicely aromatic nose offers sour cherry, flowers and underbrush. Not especially complex but sappy and fairly intense, with sweet red fruit and spice flavors complicated by musky nuances of leather and game. Finishes with dusty tannins.

2008 Merry Edwards, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $36 at Merry Edwards Winery

Rating: Wine Spectator 86

  • $78 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

Wine Spectator Review: Very dry, herbal and earthy, showing a strong mineral and pebble edge, with graphite and dried berry notes. Medium- to full-bodied, ending on a chewy, tannic finish. Drink now through 2016. 4,450 cases made. –JL

2007 Scherrer Winery Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $35 at K&L Wine Merchants & JJ Buckley

Ratings: Stephen Tanzer 91 & Allen Meadows 90

  • $79 at Wayfare Tavern – 2.2x | TOP PICK

91 points Stephen Tanzer: Deep, vivid red. Perfumed nose offers medicinal redcurrant and black cherry, flowers and Asian spices. Broad but energetic and spicy on the palate, with very good sweetness and a lush texture to its red fruit flavors. An emerging element of white pepper adds cut and lift. Finishes with fine-grained tannins, a note of anise and a lovely light touch. I like this wine’s tactile quality. (May/June ’10)

90 points Allen Meadows’ Burghound:  A ripe, stylish and nicely complex nose features aromas of dark berry fruit, plum, earth and a hint of underbrush that is in keeping with the earthy character of the delicious, supple and textured medium-bodied flavors that are balanced and solidly persistent. The tannins are firm but integrated and this should easily reward 5 to 7 years of cellar time and last for years longer. (Oct. 1, 2009)

2008 Willakenzie Estate, Kiana, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $39 at JJ Buckley

Rating: Wine Spectator 91

  • $84 at Wayfare Tavern– 2.2x

91 points Wine Spectator Insider: Lithe and distinctive for the meaty, toasty undertones to the red berry and spice flavors, lilting on the long, light-textured finish. Drink now through 2015. (May 11, 2011)

 2009 Melville, Carrie’s, Santa Rita Hills, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $45 at JJ Buckley

Rating: Wine Advocate 91

  • $91 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.0x 

91 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Pinot Noir Carrie’s is the most overt wine among these Pinots. It shows plenty of intensity, inner palate richness and body. It is also the only Pinot where the alcohol is just a bit noticeable. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2017.

2009 Anthill Farms, Anderson Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $40 at Beltramo’s

Rating: Burghound 88

  • $92 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.3x

88 points Burghound: A very pretty and fresh nose of high-toned cherry and raspberry aromas leads to delicious, round, supple and clean middle weight flavors that are supported by soft and pliable tannins, all wrapped in a solidly persistent, dusty and mouth coating finish that offers moderate depth.

2009 Joseph Drouhin, Morey Saint Denis

Retail Price: $44 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 90

  • $95 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.2x

90 points Wine Spectator: Ripe and succulent, this red delivers black cherry, blackberry and spice flavors wrapped in a vibrant, harmonious package. The tannins are buried for now, and this leaves a fresh, fruit-filled finish. Drink now through 2020. 375 cases imported. –BS

2008 Ceritas, Escarpa Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $54 at Vinfolio – SOLD OUT

Rating: Stephen Tanzer 93

  • $98 at Wayfare Tavern – 1.8x | TOP PICK
  • $105 at Gary Danko – 1.9x
  • $119 at Michael Mina – 2.2x
  • $120 at Spruce – 2.2x 

93 points Stephen Tanzer: Vivid red. Spicy red berries, cherry, anise and potpourri on the nose, all lifted by a smoky mineral topnote. Succulent and rich but juicy as well, offering nervy dark berry flavors and notes of candied rose and spicecake. Impressively fresh and focused pinot with excellent mineral-driven extract and building notes of tangy cherry skin and herbs. Finishes with silky tannins, refreshing energy and wonderful clarity. This is complex enough to enjoy now but I’d wait on it for a few more years. From vines planted on schist- and quartz-laced soil in 1978, which Raytek says gives “the sort of energy I want in pinot.

2007 Robert Stemmler, Ferguson Block, Carneros, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $43 via Wine-Searcher & Release Price $44

Rating: Wine Spectator 91

  • $104 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.4x

Spicy wild raspberry and strawberry flavors have an intriguing loam and mineral edge, with floral, plum, pomegranate and fresh herb details. Well-structured, with firm tannins that give power to the harmonious flavors. Drink now through 2016. 375 cases made. –MW

2009 Brewer-Clifton, Ampelos, Santa Rita Hills, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $57 at Wally’s Wine & Spirits

Rating: Wine Advocate 92

  • $120 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

92 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Pinot Noir Ampelos comes across as quite energetic and tightly wound. Dark cherries, plums, sweet spices and menthol emerge, but only with great reluctance. Sweet floral notes and licorice appear later, adding complexity and nuance to the red fruit. There is marvelous integrity in the glass; the only thing needed is time. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2021. 

2009 Kistler, Kistler Vineyard, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $110 at Vinfolio

Rating: Wine Advocate 91 to 93

  • $135 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.2x | TOP PICK

91 to 93 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Pinot Noir Kistler Vineyard exhibits abundant notes of raspberries, black cherries and underbrush in a medium to full-bodied, elegant, mid-weight format. Enjoy it over the next 5-7 years.

 

2007 Bonny Doon, Le Cigare Volant, Santa Cruz

Retail Price: $30 at K&L Wine Merchants

Rating: Robert Parker 89

  • $46 at Wayfare Tavern |1.5x | TOP PICK

89 points Robert Parker: “The 2007 regular bottling, the Le Cigare Volant (Normale), is almost Burgundian in its floral, black cherry, plum, and foresty notes. The wine is round, medium-bodied, elegant, and should drink nicely for 4-6 years.” (8/10) This is Bonny Doon’s 23rd edition of Le Cigare Volant, and it just keeps getting better. The 2007 blends together Grenache and Syrah with just a dollop each Mourvèdre and Cinsault for a gamey, peppery, red-fruited wine that drinks well now and will continue to do so for another decade.

2008 The Ojai Vineyard, Santa Barbara County, Syrah

Retail Price: $22 at K&L Wine Merchants & $25 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: See comments below

  • $52 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.2x

According to Robert Parker’s Wine Advocate: “The 2008 Syrah presents a decidedly masculine expression of blue and black fruit. Deceptively medium in body, the Syrah shows excellent depth and balance. This is mostly Bien Nacido Syrah, with small amounts of Grenache and Mourvedre. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2023.” (08/11)

2009 Neyers, Old Lakeville Road, Sonoma County, Syrah

Retail Price: $27 at Artisan Wine Depot & $28 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Advocate 91

  • $56 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x
  • $65 at The Village Pub | 2.4x

91 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Syrah Old Lakeville Road has lots of smoky lard, bacon fat, blackberry and cassis, a dense purple color, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel, elegant, soft flavors, and a delicious finish. This wine is already showing complexity and should continue to drink well for 7-8 years. (02/11)

2009 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastal, Paso Robles, Rhone Blend

Retail Price: $45 at Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: Wine Advocate 94

  • $97 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

94 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel, tasted from foudre, is very, very young. The wine literally explodes on the palate with a rush of dark fruit enshrouded within a wall of muscular tannin. The 2009 is a dark inward Esprit that will require patience, but when the wine opens up it will be a jewel. Actually, it already is. In 2009 the blend is 40% Mourvedre, 28% Syrah, 27% Grenache and 5% Counoise. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2009 Esprit de Beaucastel shows a deep, spicy nose with dark fruit, crushed rock, cocoa and licorice. The palate shows blackberry, black raspberry, and currant fruit highlighted by a persistent minerality, lush texture and substantial but fine-grained tannins. The power of the tannins and the concentration of the wine suggest that it will benefit from short- to mid-term cellaring, and drink well for two decades or more. Alcohol 14.5%.

2006 Martinelli, Hop Camp Vineyard, Gravel Lens, Russian River Valley, Syrah

Retail Price: $75 Hart Davis

Rating: Wine Advocate 91

  • $99 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.3x | TOP PICK

91 points Wine Advocate: From a vineyard planted in rocky soils, the 2006 Syrah Hop Camp Vineyard (the debut release for this wine) is a backward, tannic, northern Rhone-like Syrah offering hints of charcuterie, cured meats, black fruits, roasted herbs, and leather. This full-bodied, powerful effort requires 2-3 years of cellaring, and should be consumed over the following 10-15.

2009 Domaine la Barroche, Signature, Chateauneuf du Pape

Retail Price $50 at The Wine House

Rating: Wine Advocate 93

  • $103 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

93 points Wine Advocate: Even better is the 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Signature, which possesses the densest ruby/purple color of this trio. Expansive, broad notes of blueberries, blackberries, kirsch and garrigue are found in this full-bodied, sexy, opulent, stunning Chateauneuf du Pape. The forwardness and lusciousness of the 2009 vintage is brilliantly well-displayed in this offering. Drink it over the next 10-15 years. Young Julien Barrots three cuvees of bottled 2009s showed better this year than they did last year always a fabulous sign. I tend to underrate these wines initially, only to add points after they spend time in the bottle. Barrot is one of the young turks that appears to no longer be up and coming, but has arrived. This 30-acre estate is spread throughout the appellation, and in most vintages, three cuvees are produced Terroir, Signature and Pure, the limited production, remarkable, 100% Grenache cuvee made from century old vines planted in pure sandy soil from the lieu-dit known as Grand Pierre. The Terroir and Pure are aged in foudre and the Signature in foudre and steel tank.

2007 E. Guigal, Brune et Blonde, Cote Rotie

Retail Price: $64 via Wine-Searcher, $63 at Zachy’s & $68 at Sherry-Lehman

Rating: Robert Parker 91 to 93 & Wine Spectator 91

  • $108 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.6x

91 to 93 points Wine Advocate: Guigal produces more Cote Rotie Brune et Blonde than any other producer of the appellation. The Brune et Blonde often spends up to three years in small oak casks and is always a blend of purchases from approximately four dozen small growers with his estate fruit. There are about 45,000 cases of this cuvee, which generally contains 8-10% co-fermented Viognier. Even more evolved is the 2007, which offers up sweet aromas of cherry jam, raspberries, bacon fat, Provencal herbs and black olives. This exuberant, flamboyant, fleshy Cote Rotie can be drunk over the next decade.

91 points Wine Spectator: Lively, with a tangy sanguine edge up front, followed by juicy red currant, pomegranate and red licorice notes that run through the cedar-tinged finish. Rock-solid, with honest grip. Drink now through 2019. 17,500 cases made.

2008 Radio-Coteau, Dusty Lane, Russian River Valley, Syrah

Retail Price: $50 at the Winery

Rating: Stephen Tanzer 94

  • $108 at Wayfare | Tavern | 2.1x

94 points Stephen Tanzer: Inky purple.  Sexy, exotically perfumed nose combines boysenberry, candied violet, bitter chocolate, five-spice powder and woodsmoke. Sweet, lush and expansive but lively, with captivating flavors of dark berry preserves, floral pastilles, gingerbread and dark chocolate.  Finishes juicy, spicy and very long, with fine-grained tannins and impressive energy.  This is Sussman’s first vintage for this wine, which comes from a vineyard in a very cool, coastal-influenced hillside vineyard west of Sebastopol; it was slated to be bottled in May 2011.

2008 Shafer, Relentless, Napa Valley, Syrah

Retail Price: $55 at Beltramos & $64 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: Wine Advocate 95

  • $118 at Harris’ Restaurant | 1.8x
  • $126 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.0x 

95 points Wine Advocate: Another thoroughbred in the making is the 2008 Relentless. Full-bodied with sensational extract and richness, its opaque purple color is followed by terrific smoky barbecue notes, full-bodied opulence and tremendous depth, power and richness. This stunning Syrah can be drunk over the next 15-20 years. 

2008 Lillian, California, Syrah

Retail Price: $85 SF Wine Trading Company

Rating: Stephen Tanzer 94

  • $128 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.5x

94 points Stephen Tanzer: Glass-staining purple. Deeply pitched aromas of black and blue fruits, incense, olive tapenade and fruitcake, with smoke and violet notes gaining power with air. Rich and broad but almost shockingly energetic, offering sweet, liqueur-like blackberry and boysenberry flavors and exotic spice and floral pastille qualities. Intense and focused on the extremely long finish, which strongly repeats the floral and spice notes. I had the chance to retaste the 2007 Lillian this fall, and while it appears to have closed down a bit since this time last year, it is still a complex, compelling and extremely alluring wine. As rich as it is, it doesn’t come off as overblown or overtly decadent.

2008 Saxum, Booker Vineyard, Paso Robles, Rhone Blend

Retail Price: $205 at Vinfolio, $300 at Napacabs & $75 Release Price

Rating: Wine Advocate 98 & Wine Spectator 96

  • $190 at Wayfare Tavern | BELOW RETAIL | TOP PICK
  • $195 at Boulevard | BELOW RETAIL | TOP PICK

98 points Wine Advocate: The 2008 Booker Vineyard (92% Syrah and 8% Mourvedre, which had also been bottled immediately before my visit) has an opaque purple color and a wonderfully sweet nose of black cherry, black currant, licorice, incense, and some Asian spices. The wine has seamless lushness, a voluptuous texture, stunning purity, and a very long, 40-second-plus finish. Booker is another top site that I believe was planted with Justin Smith’s help. It is a 40-acre vineyard sitting on similar limestone soils. This incredible wine would probably benefit from a couple of years of cellaring, as the structure is more present, no doubt due to the high level of Syrah in the wine. It should evolve for 10-15 more years.

96 points Wine Spectator: Starts out open-knit, rich and fleshy, yet builds intensity. Powerful, yet with a measure of restraint, delivering supple plum, blackberry and wild berry fruit, with touches of mineral and black licorice. This wows you with both gushing fruit and a dancing delicacy of finesse. Ends with chunky fruit flavors. Syrah and Mourvèdre. Best from 2012 through 2024. 280 cases made. –JL

2005 Sine Qua Non, The Naked Truth, Grenache

Retail Price: $490 at Santa Rosa Fine Wine

Rating: Wine Advocate 97

  • $550 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.1x | TOP PICK

97 points Wine Advocate: 2005 The Naked Truth: Manfred Krankl’s obvious love for his wife Elaine seems very apparent with the 2003, followed by the 2004 Ode to E, and here again, a sketch of his wife unclothed (sorry, back view only) appears on the label of the 2005. (I only know it’s his wife because I asked him!) A blend of 90% Grenache and 10% Syrah (any Mourvedre added to the Grenache is now a thing of the past), this wine, made totally from the 11 Confessions Vineyard in the Santa Rita Hills, is young, yet like all the SQN wines, approachable in its glorious display of fruit, purity and freshness. Dense purple, and offering up notes of cranberries, pepper, boysenberries, raspberries and cherries, a cornucopia of red and black fruits emerge from the aromatics, gently dosed with some spicy oak and Provencal herbs. Full-bodied, gutsy and fleshy, with loads of glycerin, a heady mouthfeel and a long finish, this wine has beautiful freshness and delineation, and should continue to drink well for 10-12+ more years. How did this label get past the puritanical bureaucrats at BATF?

 

2009 Ridge, East Bench, Dry Creek Valley, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $24 at Napacabs

Rating: Wine Advocate 91

  • $51 at Harris’ Restaurant | 2.1x
  • $54 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.2x

91 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Zinfandel East Bench is a big, burly wine loaded with dark cherries, flowers, tobacco and sweet herbs, all of which come together on a medium-bodied frame. It shows lovely length and personality, although some rough edges remain. With air, though, some of those angular contours begin to soften. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.

Winemaker’s Notes: This is our fourth vintage from vines on the benchland overlooking Dry Creek Valley from the north east. The soils are identical across the bench as are the climatic conditions giving the wines the chance to demonstrate consistent character as they mature. The original vineyards were abandoned around 1920, but the blocks have been gradually replanted over the last thirty years. This wine is from vines replanted in 2000, using several selections of budwood from our own old-vine vineyards. The East Bench zinfandel is classic Dry Creek – rich and structured with brambly dark fruit and chalky yet balanced tannins.

2009 Stuhlmuller Vineyards, Alexander Valley, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $24 at The Wine House

Rating: See comments below

  • $55 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.3x

Winemaker’s Notes: From its gorgeous wild berry and cream aromas to its lush flavors of black raspberry, strawberry, red currant, vanilla, coffee and sweet baking spices, this is an inviting expression of Zinfandel. Good acidity gives this wine elegance and a nice refreshing lift, underscoring the pure varietal fruit. Alcohol 14.4%.

2007 Storybook Mountain Vineyards, Antaeus, Napa Valley, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $39 at SF Wine Trading Company

Rating: See comments below

  • $68 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.7x | TOP PICK

94 points and named as a “Best Buy” in Wine and Spirits Magazine “Zinfandel brings out the delicate side of cabernet in this blend from the Seps’s estate in the hills above Calistoga. Jerry Seps farms organically and ferments the wine without inoculated yeast, allowing the purity of the fruit character and the layers of earthy complexity to show though. The wine hits an astonishing balance in this vintage, rich without weight. And while I have notes on the multihued berry flavors, the floral scents of violets and Earl Grey tea, it’s the texture that sets this wine apart, the love child of cabernet’s growling tannins and zin’s gentler caress. Not to be missed.”  This is a blend of Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon with small percentages of Petit Verdot and Merlot blended in. Think of it as a marriage between Bordeaux and one of CA’s top Zinfandel experts.

 

2008 Bodega Catena Zapata, Vista Flores, Malbec

Retail Price: $20 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 90

  • $40 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.0x | TOP PICK

90 points Wine Spectator: Rich and polished, boasting lots of pure cassis, blackberry and boysenberry fruit that courses along, carried by alluring spice, integrated toast and a nice, lingering anise note. Drink now through 2011. 185,000 cases made. –JM

2008 La Badia, Coltibuono, Chianti Classico

Retail Price: $20 at Wine.com

Rating: Wine Spectator 90

  • $42 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

90 points Wine Spectator: On the herbaceous side and high-toned, showing floral, berry and mineral flavors. This is distinctive and intense, gaining complexity with aeration. Decant now, or give this some time. Best from 2013 through 2020.

2006 Produttori del Barbaresco

Retail Price: $30 at Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: Wine Advocate 92

  • $75 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.5.x

92 points Wine Advocate: The 2006 Barbaresco is a gorgeous, generous Barbaresco loaded with ripe dark fruit. This is an especially harmonious, refined Barbaresco from the Produttori that is also somewhat unusual for its dark, brooding personality. Licorice, leather and tar linger on the powerful finish. Today the wine is remarkable for its depth and concentration, while the aromatic complexity will develop in bottle. If the regular Barbaresco holds this much power, I can only wonder what the Riservas might have in store. Simply put, this is a marvelous effort. This is Lot 9.125 Anticipated maturity: 2011-2031.

 

 

2007 Paradigm Napa Valley Merlot

Retail Price: $46 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Ratings: See comments below

  • $78 at Wayfare Tavern – 1.7x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: Ripe black plum and red cherry aromas. Sweet dense ripe flavors flow across the mid-palate. Bright, pure flavor, a fat round middle with good length and intensity. 90% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot.

2009 Duckhorn Vineyards, Napa Valley, Merlot

Retail Price: $46 at Beltramo’s

Rating: See comments below

  • $95 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

Winemaker’s Notes: This wine displays all of the benefits of slow, even ripening during a mild growing season. Though there is fullness and a lush character to this Merlot, there is also restraint and elegance. Promising aromas of cherry, red plum, raspberry, and dried herbs lead to a clean fresh entry with impeccably balanced acidity supporting intense red fruit flavors of cranberry, plum and raspberry. Round, supple tannins provide an enticing framework for the flavors and contribute to a lingering finish. Alcohol 14.5%.

 

2007 Robert Sinskey, POV, Napa Valley, Cabernet Franc

Retail Price: $33 at K&L Wine Merchants

Ratings: See comments below

  • $74 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.2x

The color is a high-gloss, deep, ruby-tinged purple, nearly opaque at its core. Dense and intense aromas escape the glass, and elicit an immediate Pavlovian response with suggestions of ripe plums and blueberries. But oh, there is so much more: a blast of wild fennel, a dash of vanilla, a touch of violet! The aromas find substance with a sip, resplendent on the luxurious, high thread count texture woven by dense, ripe tannins. Impressive structure underpins the flavors, inviting culinary suitors and hinting of the possibilities of a long-term relationship, at least until the end of dinner. Shockingly delicious.

2008 Keenan Winery, Spring Mountain, Cabernet Franc

Retail Price: $55 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Advocate 94

  • $88 at Harris Restaurant | 1.6x | TOP PICK
  • $98 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.8x | TOP PICK

94 points Wine Advocate: The 2008 Cabernet Franc (100% Cabernet Sauvignon from estate vineyard planted at a 2000 foot elevation) now represents 524 cases. Cabernet Franc has performed brilliantly at this height, and this is another example of the potential of Spring Mountain. This dense purple-hued wine is richly fruity with a beautiful floral, blueberry, raspberry and black currant-scented nose, good underlying minerality and a gorgeous fruit intensity without any sense of heaviness (14.3% alcohol). Elegant, pure and well-textured, this is a stunning Cabernet Franc to drink over the next decade.

 

2008 Domaine Eden, Santa Cruz Mountains, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $30 at The Wine Stop

Rating: See comments below

  • $62 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

Winemaker’s Notes: While the Estate is a singular voice, the Domaine is a chorus. Complex, given the five varieties in the cepage, this Cabernet has aromas of briary currant, sage, mint and sweet oak. Less tannins and acidity on the palate than is evident in the Estate, there is an earlier window of enjoyable drinking.

2006 Saddleback Cellars, Oakville, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $58 at the Winery

Ratings: See comments below

  • $63 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.1x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: Wonderful, Wonderful, heady aromas of ripe black cherries, peppery spice rack, and cigar box are emitted from this wine’s fragrant bouquet.  This full-bodied wine has opulent, jammy black fruit flavors layered over silky and supple tannins with an amazingly smooth lingering finish.  A perfect accompaniment with grilled steak or short ribs.

2006 Chateau Larruau, Margaux

Retail Price: $33 via Wine-Searcher

Ratings: See comments below

  • $72 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.2x

One of the most underrated Chateaux in all of Bordeaux. Most of the vineyards owned by Chateau Larruau surround those of 1st Growth Chateau Margaux. Robert Parker declares the wines “intensely concentrated” and says that one of his “personal goals is to taste more wines from Bernard Chateau,” the owner and winemaker of Larruau.

2006 Long Meadow Ranch, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $55 at the Winery

Rating: See comments below

  • $80 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.4x | TOP PICK

Winemaker’s Notes: Beautifully balanced, our Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon may remind you of a classic Bordeaux. Garnet in color, the wine offers pure black fruit flavors with a hint of leather and cigar box notes. Alcohol is moderate (13.2%); the finish is long and sophisticated.

2006 Silverado Vineyards, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $36 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: See comments below

  • $84 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.3x

Winemaker’s Notes: The grapes were harvested at an average degree brix of 25.0. Fermentation was conducted in small stainless steel tanks where the wine spent an average of 18 days on the skins. After draining and pressing the must, the wine was put into 59 gallon oak barrels to undergo malolactic fermentation. Forty-eight percent of the barrels were new oak, of which thirty-six percent were French oak and 12 percent were American oak, overall blend – 85% French oak, 15% American.  Alcohol 14.8%.

2008 Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $45 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Advocate 88

  • $91 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.0x

88 points Wine Advocate: The 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon offers sweet black currant fruit, roasted herbs, earth and spice characteristics presented in an attractive, medium-bodied style.

Winemaker’s Notes: The deep garnet color of this wine hints at the big extraction and dark flavors to follow. Very rich aromas of pipe tobacco, chocolate and caramel beautifully complement the black currant and ripe black cherry fruit. The palate opens soft but builds big and fast, showing a great acid backbone, moderate weight tannins, and a mouthfeel that is full but not heavy or overwhelming. Rich, ripe, sweet black cherry dominates the fruit and is nicely complemented with plum and red berry high tones. Barrel spice is prominent on the finish. Blend: 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc. Alcohol 14.2%.

2007 Jordan, Alexander Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $45 at K&L Wines

Rating: See comments below

  • $95 at Wayfare Tavern | 2.1x

Winemaker’s notes: The 2007 growing season made this vintage a winemaker’s dream. A smaller crop yielded more concentrated flavors in the grapes, and moderate temperatures allowed the fruit to mature slowly and beautifully. A seamless wine, the 2007 Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon exudes beautiful, dense, blackberry aromas that echo through the mid-palate. The mouthfeel is silky-smooth with soft, round tannins accented by a vanilla quality from aging one year in primarily French oak barrels. Enjoyable now or worthy of cellaring through 2020. 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot and less than 1% Malbec, aged for 12 months in 70% French oak and 30% American oak.

2007 Paradigm, Oakville, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $60 at K&L Wines

Rating: See comments below

  • $108 at Wayfare Tavern | 1.8x
  • $122 at EPIC Roasthouse | 2.0x
  • $125 at Boulevard | 2.1x

Description from K&L’s site: Made by famous Napa Valley winemaker Heidi Peterson Barrett, this wine is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon, with 7% Merlot, 2% Cabernet Franc and 1% Petit Verdot added to the blend for extra dimension. A powerful wine from an excellent vintage, the 2007 offers a sweet mocha and blackberry nose accented by a touch of sweet black licorice in the mouth it is full and lush, with mouth-filling berry fruit, vanilla and spice underscored by a bit of tobacco. A powerful wine now, this will age nicely in your cellar over the next decade, maybe even more.

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