Los Altos Grill Wine List Review

Los Altos Grill

233 3rd Street

Los Altos, CA 94022

P: 650.948.3524

http://www.hillstone.com/#/restaurants/losaltosgrill/

 

Los Altos Grill Wine List Review

This is an update to our review from January 2012.  If you are looking for a restaurant on the Peninsula that has great food, and a wine list with mark-ups of ONLY $5 to $20 OVER RETAIL then check this place out. The problem with the Los Altos Grill is that it is always packed, but enjoy a few glasses of wine at the bar while you wait for a table, and have your elevator pitch ready because you will probably be sitting next to a high powered executive or venture capitalist.  BTW – they don’t charge a corkage fee, but why bring a bottle when the wine list is loaded with compelling options.

As with all VinoServant reviews, you will see the price at the restaurant followed by the mark-up over retail, and if applicable, a rating from one of the publications listed below (2008 Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs | $36 | 1.4x | WS 91 | TP). Mark up of 1.4x translates into a retail price of $25 a bottle, Wine Spectator rated this wine 91 points and it is one of our Top Picks at Los Altos Grill.

 

International Wine Cellar – IWC | VinoServant Top Pick – TP | Wine Advocate – WA |

Wine Enthuisiast – WE | Wine Spectator – WS | Wilfred Wong – WW |

 

Top 15 Wines at Los Altos Grill

2008 Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs | $36 | 1.4x | WS 91

2010 Pride Mountain, Sonoma County, Viognier | $38 | 1.0x

2010 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc | $45 | 1.1x

2009 Far Niente, Estate, Chardonnay | $55 | 1.3x | WS 92

2007 Domaine Serene, Jerusalem Hill Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $85 | 1.0x | WS 92

2009 Frank Family, Napa Valley, Zinfandel | $29 | 1.1x

2006 Altamura, Napa Valley, Sangiovese | $55 | 1.1x | WA 92

2007 Nickel & Nickel, Suscol Ranch, Merlot | $48 | 1.2x | WS 86

2006 Robert Keenan, Cabernet Sauvignon | $35 | BELOW RETAIL | WA 90

2006 Round Pond, Cabernet Sauvignon | $45 | BELOW RETAIL | WE 92

2007 Pahlmeyer, Napa Valley, Proprietary Red | $90 | BELOW RETAIL | WA 96 & WS 95

2007 Altamura, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $95 | 1.1x | WA 95 & WS 96

2008 Darioush, Signature, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $98 | 1.1x | WA 90

2004 Dunn, Howell Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon | $130 | 1.2x | WA 94

2008 Opus One | $190 | BELOW RETAIL | WS 92 & JS 94

VINOSERVANT’S TOP WINE VALUES AT THE LOS ALTOS GRILL

 

Sparkling Wines

6 selections that range in price from $35 to $80


2008 Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs | $36 | 1.4x | WS 91 | TP

2006 Iron Horse, Wedding Cuvee | $52 | 1.3x | WA 91

Henriot, Souverain Brut, Reims, France, Non Vintage | $58 | 1.7x | WA 88


White Wines

 32 selections that range in price from $24 to $76

 

2009 Swanson, Oakville, Pinot Grigio | $24 | 1.3x

2010 Pride Mountain, Sonoma County, Viognier | $38 | 1.0x | TP

 

2009 Dog Point, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc | $28 | 1.6x

2009 Cliff Lede, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $35 | 1.6x | WS 92

2010 Cakebread, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $36 | 1.4x

2010 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc | $45 | 1.1x | TP

 

2009 Macrostie, Sonoma Coast, Chardonnay | $32 | 1.6x

2010 Rombauer, Carneros, Chardonnay | $50 | 1.7x | WS 91

2009 Far Niente, Estate, Chardonnay | $55 | 1.3x | WS 92 | TP

2008 Shafer, Red Shoulder Ranch, Carneros, Chardonnay | $60 | 1.3x | WS 90 | TP

2009 Brewer-Clifton, Santa Rita Hills, Chardonnay | $65 | 2.0x | WA 92

2009 Paul Hobbs, Russian River, Chardonnay | $66 | 1.7x | WA 90

2009 Kistler, Les Noisetiers, Sonoma Coast, Chardonnay | $76 | 1.5x

 

Red Wines

 88 selections that range in price from $28 to $240

 

2009 Sequana, Sarmento, Santa Lucia Highlands, Pinot Noir | $34 | 1.1x | WS 83 | TP

2009 Romilily, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir | $40 | 1.3x

2010 Testarossa, Santa Lucia Highlands, Pinot Noir | $48 | 1.2x

2009 Foxen, Santa Maria Valley, Pinot Noir | $50 | 1.4x | WS 89 | TP

2008 Merry Edwards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir | $55 | 1.5x | WS 86

2007 David Bruce, Santa Cruz Mountains, Pinot Noir | $55 | 2.0x

2008 Radio-Coteau, La Neblina, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir | $75 | 1.5x | IWC 92

2007 Domaine Serene, Jerusalem Hill Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $85 | 1.0x | WS 92 | TP

2009 Dumol, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir | $90 | 1.3x | WS 87

 

2009 Frank Family, Napa Valley, Zinfandel | $29 | 1.1x | TP

2006 Storry, Rusty Ride, Santa Cruz, Zinfandel | $35 | 1.3x | WW 91

2009 Rombauer, North Coast, Zinfandel | $42 | 1.4x

2008 Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley, Zinfandel | $40 | 1.4x | WA 86

2010 Orin Swift, The Prisoner, Napa Valley, Zinfandel Blend | $42 | 1.1x | WS 90 | TP

2009 Brown Estate, Napa Valley, Zinfandel | $52 | 1.6x

 

2007 Showket, Sangiovese | $36 | 1.0x | TP

2006 Altamura, Napa Valley, Sangiovese | $55 | 1.1x | WA 92 | TP

 

2007 JC Cellars, Ventana, Monterey, Syrah | $44 | 1.5x | WS 88

2009 Lewis Cellars, Ethan’s, Napa Valley, Syrah | $49 | 1.1x | WS 94 | TP

 

2007 Swanson, Napa Valley, Merlot | $42 | 1.7x | WA 87

2007 Nickel & Nickel, Suscol Ranch, Merlot | $48 | 1.2x | WS 86 | TP

2007 Paradigm Napa Valley Merlot | $54 | 1.25x

2008 Shafer, Napa Valley, Merlot | $65 | 1.5x | WA 92

2008 Pride Mountain Vineyards, Merlot | $75 | 1.3x | WA 90 & WS 88 | TP

 

2006 Robert Keenan, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $35 | BELOW RETAIL | WA 90 | TP

2009 Chappellet, Mountain Cuvee, Cabernet Sauvignon | $38 | 1.5x

2006 Round Pond, Rutherford, Cabernet Sauvignon | $45 | BELOW RETAIL | WE 92 | TP

2007 Titus, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $55 | 1.6x | WA 86

2008 Ghost Block, Estate, Oakville, Cabernet Sauvignon | $80 | 1.5x | WS 93

2007 Pahlmeyer, Napa Valley, Proprietary Red | $90 | BELOW RETAIL | WA 96 & WS 95 | TP

2007 Altamura, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $95 | 1.1x | WA 95 & WS 96 | TP

2008 Darioush, Signature, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $98 | 1.1x | WA 90 | TP

2004 Dunn, Howell Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon | $130 | 1.2x | WA 94 | TP

2006 Silver Oak, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon | $150 | 1.7x | WS 88

2006 Ridge Vineyards, Montebello, Cabernet Sauvignon | $170 | 1.5x | WA 94

2008 Opus One | $190 | BELOW RETAIL | WS 92 & JS 94 | TP

 

 

Sparkling Wines

6 selections that range in price from $35 to $80


2008 Schramsberg, Blanc de Blancs, North Coast

Retail Price: $25 at Wine House & $29 at Wine.com

  • $36 at Los Altos Grill | 1.4x

91 points Wine Spectator: Sleek and vibrant, with floral apple and lemon aromas and crisp, complex flavors of pear and yeasty cinnamon that linger toward the minerally finish. Drink now through 2015.

Winemaker’s Notes: Fruity aromas of fresh lime and Granny Smith apple are accentuated by nuances of juicy pineapple and lemon grass, and are completed by warm honey and delicate hazelnut from the two-plus years of aging en tirage. On the palate, the 2008 Blanc de Blancs enters crisp and tangy with flavors of lime, pineapple and exotic tropical fruits, followed by delicious, layered flavors of lemon custard and fresh-from-the-oven brioche. The palate finishes with a delicate sweetness and generous acidity that is long and quenching. Alcohol 12.7%

2006 Iron Horse, Wedding Cuvee

Retail Price: $39 at Wine.com – SOLD OUT

  • $52 at Los Altos Grill | 1.3x

91 points Wine Advocate: Revealing tiny, well-formed bubbles, the 2006 Wedding Cuvee (86% Pinot Noir and 14% Chardonnay aged 3 years on the yeast) offers a chalky, lemon zest, and citrus-scented bouquet, a crisp, medium-bodied style with lots of minerality, outstanding purity, and good length. Hints of nectarine and lemon drops also emerge from this sparkler. It should drink well for 2-4 years.

Winemaker’s Notes: This is Iron Horse’s Blanc de Noirs, made from predominantly Pinot Noir. It has a beautiful, pale-peach hue. Rich and creamy, like pure strawberries and cream, this is without doubt the most romantic of our Sparklings. It is dangerously easy to drink. A favorite for many, Iron Horse is probably best known for this cuvée.

Marries perfectly with frisee salad with diced bacon and a Pinot Noir vinaigrette, Chinese chicken salad, scrambled eggs and caviar, rock shrimp and potato frittata, mushroom dishes such as a grilled Portobello sandwich or wild mushroom risotto, poached salmon – hot or cold, and best of all, chocolate dipped strawberries.

Henriot, Souverain Brut, Reims, France, Non Vintage

Retail Price: $33 at Artisan Wine Depot

  • $58 at Los Altos Grill | 1.7x

88 points Wine Advocate: The NV Brut Souverain is a tasty, entry-level offering laced with ripe pears, apricots, biscuit and spices. It shows lovely mid-palate presence and an accessible personality ideal for drinking over the next few years. Dosage is 8 grams per liter. This is Lot L1106921210. Disgorged December 2010. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2014.

Winemaker’s Notes: This cuvée has a clear golden hue. The effervescence is long-lasting, with very fine, regular bubbles. The high concentration of Chardonnay makes for a very elegant nose. The start is straight-forward, with a balanced, harmonious body.


White Wines

 32 selections that range in price from $24 to $76

 

2009 Swanson, Oakville, Pinot Grigio

Retail Price: $19 at Wine.com

  • $24 at Los Altos Grill | 1.3x 

Winemaker’s Notes: Our 2009 Pinot Grigio captures what have become the trademark attributes of Swanson Pinot Grigio. Aromas of lychee, Meyer lemon zest and pear can be found in the nose, and are echoed in the mouth. Very long and smooth on the palate, with ample body, this wine is reminiscent of fresh, ripe Pinot Grigio grapes. Alcohol 13.6%

2010 Pride Mountain, Sonoma County, Viognier

Retail Price: $42 @ the Winery

  • $38 at Los Altos Grill | 1.0x

Winemaker’s Notes: Our estate Viognier is the first release from the 2010 vintage, and with its lovely aromatics and sumptuous flavors, is a perfect herald of spring! The vines are planted along the very crest of our Spring Mountain property where they soak up the afternoon sunlight that ripens them to perfection. While the 2010 vintage was full of surprises and a heat spike led to sunburn in many Napa Valley vineyards, our ambient temperatures never exceeded the 90’s and our vines up above the fog line were unaffected. Grapes were harvested in six passes between October 12th and October 26th and were then fermented in 50% stainless steel and 50% neutral (at least five years old) oak barrels, with periodic lees stirring to create texture and weight.  Alcohol 14.8%.

 

2009 Dog Point, Marlborough, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $17 at JJ Buckley

  • $28 at Los Altos Grill | 1.6x

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2009 Sauvignon Blanc gives intense passion fruit and pineapple aromas with nuances of matchstick, meal and toasted almonds. Medium bodied, crisp, concentrated and zesty, this is a Sauvignon with great texture and a long and minerally finish. Drink it now through 2014.

2009 Cliff Lede, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $21 at Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: Wine Spectator 92

  • $35 at Los Altos Grill | 1.6x

92 points Wine Spectator: Vibrant, bursting with mandarin orange juice and tropical whiffs of mango and passion fruit, but also plenty of grass and hay notes. There’s a very refreshing acidity, and the flavors sing on the finish. Drink now through 2014.

Winemaker’s Notes: Gravenstein apple and Meyer lemon greet the nose with floral, high notes of peach blossom. Pineapple and lychee are supported by fine-tuned minerality. A luscious mid-palette expands into a rich and long finish. Alcohol 14.7%.

2010 Cakebread, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $25 at K&L Wine Merchants

  • $36 at Los Altos Grill | 1.4x

Winemaker’s Notes: Due to the coolness of the vintage, our 2010 Sauvignon Blanc is especially fresh, crisp and vibrant, offering bright honeydew melon, pink grapefruit, gooseberry and vanilla aromas and rich, mouthwatering, citrus, nectarine and melon flavors. An ideal apèritif wine, it also beautifully accompanies a wide and diverse range of foods, from shellfish and lighter seafood dishes to roast chicken, Caesar Salad and pasta primavera. Enjoy it over the next 1-2 years.

2010 Merry Edwards Russian River Valley Sauvignon Blanc

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

  • $45 at Los Altos Grill | 1.1x

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.

2009 Macrostie, Sonoma Coast, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $20 at K&L Wine Merchants

  • $32 at Los Altos Grill | 1.6x

Pale straw gold in color, with ripe pear and bright honeydew melon aromas, and just a touch of vanilla.  In the mouth it is full and round, with baked apple, fresh pineapple, and hints of rich lemon pie.  The long clean finish begs for another sip.

2010 Rombauer, Carneros, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $30 at K&L Wine Merchants

  • $50 at Los Altos Grill | 1.7x
  • $50 at Waterfront Restaurant | 1.7x

91 points Wine Spectator: This ripe, exotic style boasts gobs of fruit but also a measure of finesse. Ripe, sweet-tasting flavors of pear, fig and tangerine are intense and focused, leading to a long, clean, lingering finish. Drink now through 2017. 70,000 cases made. –JL

Winemaker’s Notes: Golden yellow color with a pale hue. Seductive aromas of peach, melon, and citrus are balanced with honeysuckle and vanilla. On the palate, flavors of pears, peaches and melons are backed with lively acidity. A nice touch of vanilla-scented oak provides an added flavor dimension. The creamy palate has a lingering finish of melon and citrus fruit with a satisfying buttery complexity.
Our favorite pairing for this wine includes scallops in a cream sauce, pasta carbonara, chicken risotto and Cornish game hen.

2009 Far Niente, Estate, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $43 at K&L Wines

  • $55 at Los Altos Grill | 1.3x

92 points Wine Spectator: The best Far Niente Chardonnay in some time. This delivers very complex aromas and flavors, with subtle tiers of ripe pear, honeydew melon, fig and apricot, as well as hints of toasty, vanilla-scented oak. Drink now through 2018.

2008 Shafer, Red Shoulder Ranch, Carneros, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $45 at K&L Wine Merchants

  • $60 at Los Altos Grill | 1.3x

90 points Wine Spectator: “Intense and spicy, delivering a mix of floral scents, with notes of taut pear and green apple. Full-bodied and graceful, ending with a pithy, leesy edge and a long, focused finish. Best from 2011 through 2016.

2009 Brewer-Clifton, Santa Rita Hills, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $30 at JJ Buckley & $35 at K&L Wines

  • $65 at Los Altos Grill | 2.0x

92 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Chardonnay is an absolutely gorgeous wine. Understated and classy from start to finish, it shows off layers of ripe fruit, subtle oak and spices. There is plenty of acidity to balance an expression of fruit that is generous, but just short of hitting tropical notes. Anticipated maturity: 2011-2018. No one has done more to carry the banner for the Santa Rita Hills than Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton. Both together at Brewer-Clifton and separately in their other projects, Brewer and Clifton consistently deliver delicious wines that are also deeply thought provoking with regards to the potential these vineyard sites hold. The Pinots in particular are compelling.

2008 Paul Hobbs, Russian River, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $40 at JJ Buckley

  • $66 at Los Altos Grill | 1.7x

90 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Chardonnay is a gorgeous, polished wine bursting with rich, varietal fruit. Subtle hints of butter and oak frame the finish. This is a great entry-level wine from Paul Hobbs. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2015.

2009 Kistler, Les Noisetiers, Sonoma Coast, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $50 at Pismo Wine Shop

  • $75 at Zuni Café | 1.5x
  • $76 at Los Altos Grill | 1.5x

Winemaker Notes – Kistler Chardonnay is made using traditional French techniques, with the winemaker himself performing the cellar work on the wines. Kistler Chardonnay has a distinct character. It is completely barrel-fermented using indigenous and cultured yeasts, is aged in 50% new French oak barrels unracked and in contact with all its fermentation lees, has undergone a malolactic fermentation, receives minimal handling and processing, and is bottled unfiltered and, generally, unfined after 11-18 months of barrel age. Our low-yielding (pruned and thinned to yield about two tons per acre).

 

Red Wines

88 selections that range in price from $27 to $240

 

2009 Sequana, Sarmento, Santa Lucia Highlands, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $30 at K&L Wines

  •  $34 at Los Altos Grill | 1.1x

83 points Wine Spectator: Simple cherry and strawberry-rhubarb flavors have modest appeal. Drink now. 6,202 cases made. –JL

2009 Romilily, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $30 at Beltramo’s

  • $40 at Los Altos Grill | 1.3x

Winemaker’s Notes: This wine is a blend of two Dutton Ranch farmed vineyards in the Green Valley of the Russian River Valley. Since our first vintage in 2006 we have sourced from the Morelli Lane vineyard. The second vineyard is the Winkler vineyard, which we incorporated in 2009. Generally this wine is cold soaked for 3-4 days and then inoculated with Assmanshausen yeast. The wine is punched down 1-3 times a day depending on temperature and extraction. Upon completion of fermentation the wine is pressed and barreled down to 1/3 new oak, 1/3 once used barrels and 1/3 neutral wood. Here the wine will go through malolactic fermentation and maturation, being bottled after 9-10 months. From this point the wine spends another 7-9 months in bottle before release.

2010 Testarossa, Santa Lucia Highlands, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $39 @ the Winery

  • $48 at Los Altos Grill | 1.2x

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2010 SLH release is another classic example of Pinot Noir from the Highlands – ripe black cherry and plum flavors, with a full mid-palate and a light touch of spicy oak on the finish. The trademark bright acidity makes the wine incredibly versatile for food-pairing. Traditional pairings include roast chicken, duck, or salmon. Or try it with lamb and a mushroom risotto.

2009 Foxen, Santa Maria Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $35 at K&L Wines

  • $50 at Los Altos Grill | 1.4x

89 points Wine Spectator: Fragrant wilted rose and lavender notes are medium-bodied and delicate, with spicy wild berry, mineral, sage and cedar flavors. Impressive for its taut focus and refreshing finish. Drink now through 2018. 3,000 cases made. –JL 

2008 Merry Edwards Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $36 at Merry Edwards Winery

  • $55 at Los Altos Grill | 1.5x

86 points Wine Spectator: 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 David Bruce, Santa Cruz Mountains, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $27 at K&L Wines

  • $55 at Los Altos Grill | 2.0x

Description from K&L Wines: David Bruce’s Santa Cruz Mountains Pinot comes from the winery’s estate vineyard, with some supplemental fruit sourced from nearby family-owned vineyards that benefit from the same cooling Pacific Ocean influences. There’s a lot of dense black cherry fruit on the nose, with brighter red cherry, baking spice, black pepper, mineral and forest floor developing in the glass with some air. Much of the fruit carries over to the palate, which has nutty and minerally overtones, soft tannins and solid acidity.

2008 Radio-Coteau, La Neblina, Sonoma Coast, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $50 at K&L Wines – SOLD OUT

  • $75 at Los Altos Grill | 1.5x 

92 points IWC: Medium ruby. Sexy, expressive aromas of dark berries, licorice, sassafras and smoky minerals. Juicy and tightly wound, even youthfully tangy, with a pliant structure and a restrained sweetness to the flavors of black raspberry, cherry preserves, minerals, rose and licorice pastille. Becomes spicier toward the back, finishing with silky tannins and impressive purity. This wine’s lively fruit makes it enjoyable now.

2007 Domaine Serene, Jerusalem Hill Vineyard, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $85 Average Price Wine – Searcher

  • $85 | 1.0x | WS 92

92 points Wine Spectator: A bit firm for the light flavors, but the cinnamon-scented black currant, cherry and floral notes come through strongly against the fine tannins on the finish. Needs time to settle into itself, but this is a keeper. Best from 2012 through 2020. 400 cases made. –HS 

2009 Dumol, Russian River Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $70 at Beltramo’s

  • $90 at Los Altos Grill | 1.3x

87 points Wine Spectator: Intense, with forest floor, savory herb and dried berry notes that turn dry and minerally. Like all the 2009 DuMOL Pinots, this comes across subdued, lacking vitality. Drink now through 2018. 3,770 cases made. –JL

Winemaker’s Notes: Bright garnet red. Beautifully pure aromas of ripe red cherry then darker wild berry with a subtle grassy rhubarb edge. Opens with cranberry freshness and intense raspberry then deeper kirsch notes with a licorice/ sassafras edge. Supple mid-palate that is harmonious and remains focused and lively despite the building richness. Complex savory elements build toward a spicy/peppery finish. Serve at 60 degrees to fully experience the wine’s deft balance of freshness and richness.

 

2009 Frank Family, Napa Valley, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $25 at JJ Buckley

  • $29 at Los Altos Grill | 1.1x
  • $48 at EPIC Roasthouse | 1.9x

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2009 Zinfandel is bright scarlet in color and possesses aromas of raspberries, plums, leather, brown sugar and white pepper. Medium bodied on the palate, flavors of sweet plum and caramel are balanced with silky tannins, earthiness and a kick of spice and acidity. Alcohol 15%.

2006 Storry, Rusty Ride, Santa Cruz, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $26 at Bevmo

  • $35 at Los Altos Grill | 1.3x 

91 PTS WILFRED WONG. Impressive, once again, the ’06 Storrs Rusty Ridge Zinfandel sails onto the palate with a load of berries that stay bright and lively aftertaste; pretty in the finish. 

2009 Rombauer, North Coast, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $30 at Wine.com

  • $42 at Los Altos Grill | 1.4x

Winemaker’s Notes: 94% Zinfandel, 6% Petite Syrah.  Bright purple-ruby color; vibrant aromas of ripe dark berry fruit and subtle vanilla. Plush, focused jammy flavors of blackberry and plum balance with black pepper and nutmeg for a rich mid-palate. Smooth tannins present a lingering finish. Our favorite pairings for this wine include rib-eye steak with bleu cheese, Cajun-spiced sausage and blackberry cobbler with vanilla ice cream. Alcohol 15.9%.

2008 Chateau Montelena, Napa Valley, Estate, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $28 at K&L Wine Merchants

  • $40 at Los Altos Grill | 1.4x

86 points Wine Advocate: The 2008 Zinfandel Estate displays more pepper, herb and a Provencal-like garrigue character, but the wine finishes short and lacks some stuffing. Drink it over the next several years.

Winemaker’s Notes: A 60/40 blend of primitivo and zinfandel. The spring frost caused “cold damage” leading to smaller crop levels, noted assistant winemaker Matt Crafton.” 

2009 Orin Swift, The Prisoner, Napa Valley Zinfandel Blend

Retail Price: $38 at JJ Buckley

  • $42 at Los Altos Grill | 1.1x

90 points Wine Spectator: Not the distinctive Zin statement this once was, but still a bold, rich red blend that’s jammed with flavor. Aromas of blackberry and caramel lead to ripe plum, licorice and spicy vanilla flavors. Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Petite Sirah, Syrah, Charbo 68,100 cases made. 

Winemaker’s Notes: Dark red, almost garnet hue with bright red on the rim. Ripe cherry and cedar on the nose with hints of dried rose petal and sweet oak. Lovely entry that leads into a fat and savory mid palate. Ripe fig and black currant dominate the finish with a breadth of soft, well integrated tannins.  44% Zinfandel, 26% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Syrah, 9% Petite Sirah, 2% Charbono, 1% Grenache.

2009 Brown Estate, Napa Valley, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $32 at Cellar Collections & $35 at K&L Wines

  • $52 at Los Altos Grill | 1.6x

Description from K&L: 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.

2007 Showket, Sangiovese

Retail Price: $35 Release Price

  • $36 at Los Altos Grill | 1.0x 

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2007 Showket Vineyard Sangiovese is a special wine for all of us at Showket Vineyards. It is the first vintage that was taken from the vine to the bottle with our new winemaking team and 2007 was the perfect vintage with which to start.  From the second you first pour the wine, it demands your attention with a dark ruby color and aromatics which bound from the glass. This is a big concentrated  wine. It has a compelling nose of black cherry, plum, and vibrant spices. It has a lively texture that makes it a perfect accompaniment to traditional Italian cuisine. With decanting, the wine exhibits secondary scents of tobacco and roasted herbs. We consider this to be our finest Sangiovese yet. 95% Sangiovese and 5% Cabernet Franc.

2006 Altamura, Napa Valley, Sangiovese

Retail Price: $50 via Wine – Searcher

  • $55 at Los Altos Grill | 1.1x

92 points Robert Parker: “The dark plum/ruby-hued, seductive 2006 Sangiovese exhibits notes of sweet cigar tobacco intermixed with plums, balsamic, strawberries, and black cherries. Round, generous, medium to full-bodied, and disarming, it should be consumed over the next 4-6 years.

 

2007 JC Cellars, Ventana, Monterey, Syrah

Retail Price: $30 at Solano Cellars

  • $44 at Los Altos Grill | 1.5x

88 points Wine Spectator: Rustic and earthy, chewy and spicy, with dried currant, espresso and berry fruit. Savory and full-bodied, ending with drying minerality. Drink now through 2016. 129 cases made. –JL

2009 Lewis Cellars, Ethan’s, Napa Valley, Syrah

Retail Price: $43 at K&L Wines – SOLD OUT

  • $49 at Los Altos Grill | 1.1x 

94 points Wine Spectator: Intense and distinctive for its meaty, gamy, spice and fresh earth character, trim yet rich, with a lively, vibrant pace as the flavors unfold; full-bodied, yet ending with a mix of subtle fruit, mineral and spice notes that glide on. Drink now through 2022.

 

2007 Swanson, Napa Valley, Merlot

Retail Price: $25 at K&L Wine Merchants

  • $42 at Los Altos Grill | 1.7x
  • $60 at Spruce | 2.4x

87 points Wine Advocate: 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)

2007 Nickel & Nickel, Suscol Ranch, Merlot

Retail Price: $39 at Napacabs

  • $48 at Los Altos Grill | 1.2x

86 points Wine Spectator: Lean and concentrated, but distinctly herbal, showing notes of currant, toasty oak and spice. Drink now through 2015. 1,124 cases made. –TF

2007 Paradigm Napa Valley Merlot

Retail Price: $43 via Wine Searcher

  • $54 at Los Altos Grill | 1.25x

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.

2008 Shafer, Napa Valley, Merlot

Retail Price: $44 at K&L Wines

  • $65 at Los Altos Grill | 1.5x | TOP PICK
  • $66 at Waterfront Restaurant | 1.5x | TOP PICK
  • $80 at EPIC Roasthouse | 1.8x | TOP PICK

92 points Wine Spectator: Elegant and focused, with black cherry and toasty oak aromas that lead to supple red currant, spice and herb notes. Finishes with firm but ripe tannins. Drink now through 2016. Alcohol 15.3%.

Winemaker’s Notes: The lengthy spring and summer offered seemingly endless stretches of warm, sunny days and cool nights. A gentle heat spell warmed up our vineyards in early September at exactly the right time to usher in the harvest of gorgeous fruit.

2008 Merlot has a lively, perfumy nose that begins the moment the bottle is opened – delicious aromas of red cherry, raspberry, red plum, cherry kirsch. In the mouth are rich, juicy, palate-enveloping flavors of pure red and black fruit, red licorice, and hints of mint and toasted almonds. The tannins are round and smooth and part of the long, pleasing finish. Alcohol 15.3%.

Blend: 80% Merlot, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon

2008 Pride Mountain Vineyards, 28% Napa & 78% Sonoma, Merlot

Retail Price: $59 via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 88 & Robert Parker 90

  • $75 at Los Altos Grill | 1.3x

88 points Wine Spectator: Dense and tight as a drum, yet there’s a rich core of fruit at the heart of this Merlot. Aromas of red currant, mocha and minerals lead to firm plum, cedar and spicy herb flavors, which finish with a grip of tannins. Best from 2013 through 2017. 5,052 cases made. –TF

90 points Robert Parker: The 2008 Merlot (72% Sonoma fruit and 28% Napa) reveals abundant aromas of black cherry and mocha-infused fruit intermixed with hints of white chocolate, roasted herbs and coffee. It is a sexy, full-throttle, heady Merlot to drink over the next 7-8 years.

Winemaker’s Notes: The Merlot from 2008 was packed with such expressive varietal character that little blending was required. The final blend is composed of our 12 Merlot blocks polished with 7% Cabernet Sauvignon from our Rock Arch and Rim Rock blocks. Blue-black color tinged with garnet is the first indication that the 2008 vintage is something special. Black and red cherries, plum preserves and currant mingle with spice notes including sweet anise. The texture on the palate is supple and viscous, with elegant tannins that are not overbearing. 93% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Sauvignon. Alcohol 14.5%

2006 Robert Keenan, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $47 via Wine – Searcher

  • $35 at Los Altos Grill | Below Retail

90 points Wine Advocate: The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon 30th Anniversary exhibits a dark ruby color, lush tannins (not an easy achievement in 2006), sweet dark fruits, subtle barrique, and damp earth characteristics. Consume this attractive, seductive Cabernet over the next decade. Given this estate’s remarkable upswing in quality over the last 5-6 years, I can’t wait to taste the 2007s next year, which should be the high point of Michael Keenan’s wine career so far. However, there are plenty of Robert Keenan wines that consumers should be seeking out. – Robert Parker (Dec 2008)

2009 Chappellet, Mountain Cuvee, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $25 at Rye Brook Wine & Spirit Shop

  • $38 at Los Altos Grill | 1.5x

Winemaker’s Notes: Our 2009 Mountain Cuvee shows the appealing depth and nuance of a true Bordeaux blend. The aromas offer a complex mélange of spicy red fruit, rum raison, cedar, sweet tobacco, clove, cinnamon, dark chocolate and bay leaf. On the palate, the texture is smooth and lush, with lingering flavors of sweet cherry and plum. Though there is ample weight and richness, elegance is really the theme of this complex and balanced wine. 56%, Cabernet Sauvignon, 32% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc, 4% Petit Verdot, 2% Malbec. Alcohol 14.5%.

2006 Round Pond, Rutherford, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $58 via Wine – Searcher

  • $45 at Los Altos Grill | Below Retail

92 points Wine Enthusiast: Cellar Selection. A worthy followup to the 2005 bottling, the ’06 shows similarly explosive flavors of blackberries, cherries, blueberries and violets, with plenty of new oak. It’s bone dry and tightly wound in tannins now, and needs time, but should make for a fine bottle. Best 2011–2014.”

Winemaker’s Notes: This singular wine is a rich and elegant blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot and Syrah. Highlighted by complex aromas of wild berry, cinnamon, cloves and pepper, the 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon displays typical Rutherford structure with boysenberry syrup, blueberry and plum accents. Balanced, with lively acidity, and suedy tannins, this wine emphasizes cool fermentation, early pressing and lees stirring adding to depth on the palate. Aged for 22 months in Tronçais and Allier tight grain new French oak, this wine will cellar beautifully up to 15 years.

2007 Titus, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $34 at Napacabs

  • $55 at Los Altos Grill | 1.6x

86 points Wine Advocate: An attractive, elegant effort, the medium dark ruby-hued 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon possesses cedar and spice notes as well as medium body. Its mid-palate is slightly lacking and the finish is somewhat short, but it should offer pleasant drinking over the next 6-8 years.

Winemaker’s Notes: Our 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon has a shimmering, intense purple and ruby color. The nose is alluring and complex with aromas of black cherry, blueberry, lavender, currant, apple, sweet basil leaf and exotic notes of toasted chocolate, crème Brule and oak spice. The mouth-feel is full-bodied and rich with well integrated, fine grain tannins give way to lush, juicy flavors of blackberry and blueberry accompanied by dark chocolate, and anise. The finish is long and velvety with sweet cherry, clove spice, tobacco and pencil shavings. Recommended drinking time is five to ten years from vintage. Maximum suggested aging is fifteen years from vintage. Alcohol 14.5%.

2008 Ghost Block, Estate, Oakville, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $55 at K&L Wine Merchants

  • $80 at Los Altos Grill | 1.5x

93 points Wine Spectator: A big, rich, expressive style that’s intense and concentrated, with ripe, firm, vibrant black cherry, blackberry, currant, anise and spicy, toasty oak, which adds a nice flavor dimension. Best from 2009 through 2014. 1,700 cases made.

Winemaker’s Notes: This wine is made from organically grown fruit sourced from the Rock Cairn vineyard in Oakville, one of the Napa Valley’s top sub-appellations. Yields were low in 2008 because of funky weather through the growing season, but that just adds to the concentration of this powerful Cab. This vintage smells like rose petals, tobacco and Asian spices mingled with cassis and cherry, and the aromas follow seamlessly to the palate, where there’s just a hint of bittersweet chocolate and a squeeze of citrus that brightens everything up. Full-bodied with supple tannins, the finish is long, with lingering spice and roasted coffee bean notes.

2007 Pahlmeyer, Napa Valley, Proprietary Red

Retail Price: $111 Average Price via Wine – Searcher 

  • $90 at Los Altos Grill | Below Retail
  • $179 at Bobo’s | 1.6x

96 points Wine Advocate: The sensational 2007 Proprietary Red Wine (a 7,000-case blend of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, and Malbec) is slightly more restrained aromatically than the Merlot, but there is no doubting its extraordinary bouquet of subtle smoked meats, oak, mountain wild flowers, blueberries, blackberries, coffee, and cassis. Super-rich and full-bodied with noticeable, but stunningly sweet tannins, it possesses a rare minerality and definition, characteristics that seem to be found across the board in Napa’s 2007s. This dense, powerful red needs 3-5 years of cellaring, and should have 25 years of life ahead of it.

95 points Wine Spectator: A rich, explosive style, packed with layers of currant, blackberry, wild berry and black cherry fruit woven together in a tight way. Full-bodied, turning supple and polished on the finish, where the fine-grained tannins are ripe and let the fruit flavors flow freely. Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now through 2020. 6,400 cases made. –JL

2007 Altamura, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $85 at Artisan Wine Depot

  • $95 at Los Altos Grill | 1.1x

95 points Robert Parker: Probably the best Cabernet Sauvignon I have ever tasted from Altamura, the 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon is aged 30 months in 70% new oak from the same high-elevation vineyard as the Sangiovese. Notes of espresso roast, graphite, black currants, sweet black cherries and earthy, loamy terroir are all present in this dense purple, full-bodied, exuberant, concentrated and expressive Cabernet Sauvignon. It can be drunk now or cellared for two decades.

96 points Wine Spectator: A profound effort, offering wonderful purity of flavor, with tiers of anise and black licorice, generous yet structured and elegant. This shows both power and finesse, ending with a wonderful burst of dark berry fruit. Best from 2012 through 2024.  #5 Wine Spectator TOP 100 of 2010.

Winemaker’s Notes: Since 1985, Altamura has been quietly and consistently producing among the finest Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignons and Sangiovese since 1993.  An exacting, no compromise policy in the vineyard each year where up to half of the crop is dropped to the ground produces focused, concentrated fruit flavors and an enriched texture.  Using only free run juice gives Altamura wines the purest expression of both the varietal and the vintage.  It is a long term approach that Altamura fans can count on vintage after vintage.

2008 Darioush, Signature, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $88 at JJ Buckley

  • $98 at Los Altos Grill | 1.1x

90 points Wine Advocate: A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Merlot, 4% Malbec and 3% Cabernet Franc, the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Signature exhibits a dark ruby/purple color along with a lovely perfume of black currants, licorice and spice, an attractive texture, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel and elegance combined with substance. This is a classic Cabernet Sauvignon to enjoy over the next 12-15 years.

2004 Dunn, Howell Mountain, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $106 via Wine – Searcher

  • $130 at Los Altos Grill | 1.2x

94+ points Wine Advocate: I don’t know whether it’s me, the vintage character, or whether Randy Dunn and his son have intentionally softened their wines, but these 2004s are more opulent and up-front than previous renditions. Yet, they lack neither concentration nor richness. Those of us who have been cellaring Dunn’s wines for twenty years, waiting for them to reach maturity should be thrilled by this new development. The Howell Mountain is denser and richer with blacker fruits as well as more body. Both are full-bodied, powerful Cabernets very much in keeping with his style. However, the tannins are softer and the wines reveal surprisingly developed aromatics. The 2004 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon should last for 20-25 years. It is a brilliant achievement.

2006 Silver Oak, Napa Valley, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: $90 at Wine.com

  • $103 at The House of Prime Rib | 1.1x
  • $239 MAGNUM at The House of Prime Rib | 1.3x
  • $150 at Los Altos Grill | 1.7x

88 points Wine Spectator: The unmistakable signature of vanilla bean and coconut scents fold in nicely with taut yet supple tiers of cedar, black cherry, currant and berry jam notes. Full-bodied, ending with firm, structured tannins. Drink now through 2018. 34,500 cases made. –JL 

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2006 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is a complex and refined wine that develops beautifully in the glass to reveal multi-layered nuances of aromas. It has a dark ruby color and an enticing nose of cassis, black truffles and violets. On the palate, the wine has an elegant attack and bursts with flavors of fresh forest fruit, potpourri and Asian spices. It has a long finish with smooth well-integrated tannins. With proper cellaring it should give drinking pleasure through 2026.

Our 2006 Napa Valley, a blend of wine from vineyards throughout the appellation, is 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. We blended the vineyard lots in early 2007 and transferred the wine to 100% new American oak barrels for aging. Blending prior to barreling allows us to achieve a balance of the wine’s primary elements, such as fruit and tannin, before they are influenced by oak. The wine was then aged in barrel for approximately 25 months and another 20 months in bottle to harmonize its components before release. Alcohol 14.1%.

2006 Ridge Vineyards, Montebello, Cabernet Sauvignon

Retail Price: Magnum $110 at K&L Wine Merchants & $124 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

  • $170 at Los Altos Grill | 1.5x
  • $220 at EPIC Roasthouse | 2.0x
  • $265 at Harris’ Restaurant | 2.4x
  • $290 MAGNUM at The House of Prime Rib | 1.3x

94+ points Wine Advocate: While it is eclipsed by the brilliance of the 2005, the 2006 Monte Bello (68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot, 10% Petit Verdot, and 2% Cabernet Franc) is a very strong effort. Its dense purple color is followed by copious aromas of creme de cassis, licorice, spice box, and a touch of oak. Well-balanced, dense, pure, layered, and rich, its big, rich style is similar to the 2003. This cuvee should keep for 25-30 years in a cool cellar.

2008 Opus One

Retail Price: $221 Average Price via Wine – Searcher & ½ Bottle $100 at Artisan Wine Depot

  • $190 at Los Altos Grill | Below Retail
  • $135 (1/2 bottle) at House of Prime Rib | 1.3x
  • $225 at The House of Prime Rib | 1.1x

92 points Wine Spectator: Graceful and elegant, very understated and delicate, with floral, spice, mint, bay leaf, currant, cedar and tobacco notes that are complex and vibrant. Full-bodied, gaining on the finish, then firming and drying. Cabernet Sauvignon, Petit Verdot, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Malbec. Drink now through 2021.

Winemaker Michael Silacci noted that this wine features the highest percentage of petit verdot to date. And he’s convinced that co-fermenting it with the cabernet sauvignon diminished the natural rusticity of petit verdot. (May/June 2011)

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