Boulevard Wine List Review

Boulevard

1 Mission Street

San Francisco, CA

P: 415.543.6084

http://boulevardrestaurant.com

This is an update to our review from February of this year. Our Top Picks at Boulevard have been entered into our mobile site http://m.vinoservant.com for easy viewing on your smart phone. You can also view our mobile site on your desktop. If you are using Microsoft Internet Explorer you might have some problems, so be sure to view the site with a different browser.

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 (2006 Iron Horse, Classic Vintage, Brut, Sonoma, Sparkling Wine | $65 | 2.2x | WS 90). Mark-up of 2.2x translates into a retail price of $30 a bottle, and Wine Spectator rated this wine 90 points.

Burghound – Burg | Connoisseurs’ Guide – CG | James Suckling – JS | VinoServant Top Pick – TP | Wine Advocate – WA | Wine Enthusiast – WE | Wine Spectator – WS | Wine & Spirits – WSS |

VINOSERVANT’S TOP WINE VALUES AT BOULEVARD

Sparkling Wines

32 selections that range in price from $50 to $1,200

2006 Iron Horse, Classic Vintage Brut, Sonoma | $65 | 2.2x | WS 90

1999 Gloria Ferrer, Carneros Cuvee | $80 | 1.7x | WSS 91

Billecart – Salmon, Brut Reserve, Champagne | $98 | 2.2x | WA 90

White Wines

187 selections that range in price from $36 to $550

2010 Cuvee Silice, Frances Blanchet, Pouilly Fume, Loire | $48 | 2.2x

2010 Spottswoode, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc | $50 | 1.4x | TP

2010 Cantina di Galurra, Canayli, Sardinia, Vermentino | $38 | 2.1x

2010 Nigl, Kremser Freiheit, Kremstal, Gruner Veltliner | $48 | 2.4x | WS 90 | TP

2009 Domaine Zind Humbrecht, Alsace, Gewurztraminer | $52 | 2.3x | WS 92 | TP

2001 Lopez de Heredia, Vina Gravonia, Blanco, Rioja | $56 | 2.1x | WS 90

2009 Chateau de Beaucastel, Vielles Vignes, Blanc, Chateauneuf-du-Pape | $250 | WA 100

2010 Qupe, Bien Nacido Vineyard Y Block, Santa Maria Valley, Chardonnay | $38 | 1.9x

2008 Hafner, Alexander Valley, Chardonnay | $40 | 1.9x

2010 Neyers 304, Sonoma, Chardonnay | $48 | 2.0x

2010 Romain Collet, Les Pargues, Chablis | $48 | 2.0x

2010 Roger Lassarat, La Roche, Macon-Vergisson | $55 | 2.2x

2009 Ramey, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay | $68 | 2.1x | IWC 91

2009 Dehlinger, Estate, Unfiltered, Russian River, Chardonnay | $75 | 1.8x | WA 91

2009 Brewer Clifton, Santa Rita Hills, Chardonnay | $75 | 2.5x | WA 92

2009 Sandhi Wines, Sanford & Benedict, Santa Rita Hills, Chardonnay | $80 | 1.8x | WA 90

2009 Shafer, Red Shoulder Ranch, Carneros, Chardonnay | $95 | 2.1x | WS 93

Red Wines

335 selections that range in price from $35 to $1,200

2007 Domaine Michel Magnien, Bourgogne | $46 | 1.7x | Burg 87 | TP

2007 Handley, Anderson Valley, Pinot Noir | $55 | 2.0x | WS 87 | TP

2009 St. Innocent, Zenith Vineyard, Willamette Valley | $76 | 2.1x

2009 Argyle, Nuthouse, Reserve Series, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $78 | 1.6x | WS 91 | TP

2009 Brewer-Clifton, Santa Rita Hills, Pinot Noir | $78 | 2.2x | WA 92

2007 Domaine Joseph Roty, Marsenay, Clos de Jeu | $85 | 2.2x | WA 89 | TP

2007 Domaine Tollot-Beaut, Aloxe Corton | $96 | 2.1x| WS 90 | TP

2008 Penner-Ash, Pas De Nom, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir | $165 | 1.6x | WS 95 | TP

2006 Claude Dugat, Gevrey – Chambertin | $195 | 1.7x | WS 89

2007 La Tache, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Grand Cru | $1,200 | BELOW RETAIL | WA 96 | TP

2009 Palmina, Barbera, Santa Barbara County | $45 | 2.1x | IWC 90

2007 Atrea, Old Soul Red, Mendocino | $48 | 2.2x

2007 Scherrer, Old & Mature Vines, Alexander Valley, Zinfandel | $55 | 2.0x| WS 90 | TP

2004 Ridge, Geyserville, Zinfandel | $96 | 2.3x | CG 94 | TP

2009 Alain Graillot, Crozes Hermitage | $58 | 2.1x | WA 90 | TP

2004 Jean-Louis Chave, Hermitage | $325 | 1.6x | WS 95 | TP

2009 Cep, Sonoma Coast, Syrah | $48 | 1.9x

2008 Qupe, Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, Edna Valley, Syrah | $64 | 2.3x

2009 Neyers, Rossi Ranch, Sonoma Valley, Grenache | $66 | 1.9x | WS 91 | TP

2007 Unti, Benchland, Dry Creek Valley, Syrah | $68 | 1.9x | TP

2007 Wind Gap, Griffins Lair, Sonoma Coast, Syrah | $98 | 2.2x | WS 92 | TP

2007 Alban vineyards, Reva, Edna Valley, Syrah | $185 | 1.4x | WS 94

2008 Termes, Toro | $58 | 2.3x | WS 91

2008 Tinto Pesquera, Ribera del Duero | $66 | 2.2x | WA 91 | TP

2007 Aalto, Ribera del Duero | $98 | 2.0x | WA 95

2004 Conde de Hervias, Rioja | $110 | 1.8x | IWC 92 | TP

2007 Charles Joguet, Chinon, Les Varennes du Grand Clos, Loire | $58 | 2.1x

2008 Swanson, Oakville, Napa Valley, Merlot | $60 | 2.4x

2007 Lambert Bridge, Sonoma County, Cabernet Franc | $64 | 1.0x | TP

2006 Robert Sinskey ,Vandal Vineyard, Carneros Cabernet Franc | $66 | 1.7x

2007 Duckhorn, Three Palms Vineyard, Merlot | $98 | 1.3x | WE 94 | TP

2008 Paloma, Napa Valley, Merlot | $98 | 2.0x | WA 88

1995 Chateau Haut Brion | $600 | 1.4x | WA 96 | TP

1988 Chateau Mouton Rothschild | $650 | 1.6x | WA 89

Sparkling Wines

32 selections that range in price from $50 to $1,200

2006 Iron Horse, Classic Vintage Brut, Sonoma

Retail Price: $30 at Wine.com

Rating: Wine Spectator 90

  • $65 at Boulevard | 2.2x

Winemaker’s Notes: The most traditional of the Iron Horse Sparklings. A classy blend of 75% Pinot Noir and 25% Chardonnay, aged an average of four years on the yeast in the bottle. Wonderfully rich and creamy, it sends all kinds of memory bells that say “champagne”, though the fruit is unmistakably Green Valley of Russian River Valley. It is vintage quality in every sense of the word. Food pairing The ultimate food wine. Goes with everything–sushi, fried, salty and spicy dishes, rich chicken soup (guaranteed to cure whatever ails you), with popcorn on movie night. The best no-fat dessert is Brut and fruit – a handful of fresh berries in summer or sliced mango in winter. Alcohol 13.5%.

1999 Gloria Ferrer, Carneros Cuvee

Retail Price: $46 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

  • $80 at Boulevard | 1.7x

91 points Wine & Spirits: Bright strawberry and jasmine scents contrast this wine’s toasty, mature character. Even with all the autolysis enriching the texture, this still feels sunny, its bubbles capturing the ripeness of California fruit.

Billecart – Salmon, Brut Reserve, Champagne

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

Rating: Wine Advocate 90

  • $98 at Boulevard | 2.2x

90 points Wine Advocate. This is a very good price on this elegant Grand Marque. This cuvee is mostly chardonnay, rich and also clean and refreshing. The wine has a lot of pretty green apple fruit, a creamy texture and elegant, tiny bubbles.

White Wines

187 selections that range in price from $36 to $550

2010 Cuvee Silice, Frances Blanchet, Pouilly Fume, Loire

Retail Price: $22 at Beltramo’s

  • $48 at Boulevard | 2.2x

Description from Sherry – Lehman: Produced in limited quantities, this comes from 25 year-old vines grown on Silex soil. It displays remarkable citrus and mineral notes with an uncommon purity.

2010 Spottswoode, Napa Valley, Sauvignon Blanc

Retail Price: $35 at Artisan Wine Depot, Beltramo’s & K&L Wines

  • $50 at Boulevard | 1.4x

Winemaker’s Notes: Our Sauvignon Blanc represents what we believe to be the highest expression of this varietal—a blend of Sauvignon Blanc, Sauvignon Musque, and Semillon from our Estate and from a handful of like-minded growers. We strive to create a vibrant, lovely, flavorful wine that pairs well with food. Due to its very limited production, this wine is offered only to our mailing list customers and to select restaurants around the country.

The 2010 is alive with vibrant, fresh acidity and perfectly balanced plush fruit characteristics. A very perfumey, floral nose with heady aromas of citrus and stone fruit is highlighted by wild sweet orange, apricot and ripe summer peaches. The beautifully integrated oak adds sweet cinnamon, honey and beeswax notes. A rich, fruit-filled palate with mineral expression and a soft, silky texture gives way to a lingering finish. Lovely, complex and smooth—simultaneously lush and lively!

2010 Cantina di Galurra, Canayli, Sardinia, Vermentino

Retail Price: $18 at K&L Wines

  • $38 at Boulevard | 2.1x

Description from K&L’s Site: One of our very best Italian whites year in and year out. The aroma is highly original, full and intense, and reminiscent of grapes themselves with a refreshing hint of grassiness. The taste is dry, full and addictive! Produced by one of the best cellars in Sardinia, the “Canayli” is distinguished by a refreshing hint of green peppers and a full, warm taste. Obtained in limited qualities from 100% Vermentino grapes from vineyards of the Gallura highlands where the land is poor and of a granitic nature. These vines have to struggle to survive. Bad for them, but good for us! Try it with smoked fish!

2010 Nigl, Kremser Freiheit, Kremstal, Gruner Veltliner

Retail Price: $20 at K&L Wines

  • $48 at Boulevard | 2.4x

90 points Wine Spectator: A very creamy aroma leads to flavors of ripe tangerine, honeydew melon and tropical fruits. The opulent, spicy finish features crisp, powerful acidity. Drink now through 2020.

2009 Domaine Zind Humbrecht, Alsace, Gewurztraminer

Retail Price: $22 at Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: Wine Spectator 92

  • $52 at Boulevard | 2.3x

92 points Wine Spectator: Crackling acidity sets up this dry, aromatic version, with layered flavors of lychee, fleur de sel, orange peel and smoke, joined by a hint of cantaloupe. Finely meshed, building in intensity toward the minerally finish, with lots of lingering white pepper notes. The L170 in small print in the lower left corner of the label distinguishes this from the otherwise identical label of the L17M. Drink now through 2024. 3,000 cases made. –AN (Oct 2011)

Winemaker’s Notes: It really was mentally difficult to follow up 2008 and 2007, two of our greatest Gewurztraminer vintages in the history of our estate. Gewurztraminer is a curious grape variety, because it needs lots of sunshine and heat to complete perfect physiological ripeness, but then needs to grow slowly in order to acquire complex flavours. All this seems contradictory, except in Alsace! Surely 2009 offered perfect ripening conditions, almost too good as sugars could rise quickly. For us, the profile of the vintage was very favourable to Gewurztraminer, however, in some vineyards, excessive sweetness could be wrong as acids were lower. 2009 was a record breaking vintage in Alsace for the production of late harvest wines, but we felt that in some vineyards harvesting too late would bring out the worst of this grape: heavy cloying style. This wine comes partly from the Herrenweg vineyard and also from Wintzenheim. It was clearly a wine that was constructed and blended in order to achieve a certain style.

2001 Lopez de Heredia, Vina Gravonia, Blanco, Rioja

Retail Price: $27 Average Price via Wine Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 91

  • $56 at Boulevard | 2.1x

91 points Wine Spectator: This old-school white is a faded beauty, evoking visions of candles and lace. Gentle, harmonious flavors mingle dried apple, rose petal, beeswax and vanilla, with just enough acidity to keep it balanced. Drink now. 1,833 cases made.

2009 Chateau de Beaucastel, Vielles Vignes, Blanc, Chateauneuf-du-Pape

Retail Price: $225 at JJ Buckley

Rating: Wine Advocate 100

  • $250 at Boulevard | 1.1x | TOP PICK

100 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Chateauneuf du Pape Blanc Vieilles Vignes (Roussanne) is a staggering wine of extraordinary complexity and richness. Aromas of rose petals, exotic fruits such as mango and nectarine intermixed with peach marmalade, honeysuckle and crushed pineapple emerge from this full-bodied white along with good acidity and lavish amounts of fruit and glycerin. It offers a nearly out of body wine tasting experience.

2010 Qupe, Bien Nacido Vineyard Y Block, Santa Maria Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $20 at Wine.com

Rating: See comments below

  • $38 at Boulevard | 1.9x

Winemaker’s Notes: Fresh, crisp with classic Bien Nacido aromas and taste. It displays crisp apple and asian pear flavors with a lovely savory, buttered toast finish. Alcohol 13.8%.

2008 Hafner, Alexander Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $21 @ the Winery

Rating: See comments below

  • $40 at Boulevard | 1.9x

Winemaker’s Notes: Floral, clover honey notes and citrus aromas. Round, soft entry, rich in texture, nice malolactic presence give depth. Mineral notes with toasty oak finish. Alcohol 14.0%.

2010 Neyers 304, Sonoma, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $24 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: See comments below

  • $48 at Boulevard | 2.0x

Winemaker’s Notes: We named this new wine 2010 Chardonnay ‘304’. The number ‘304’ comes from the steel industry designation for the finest grade of Stainless Steel used in the fabrication of food-grade wine tanks. The finished wine is wonderfully aromatic, with a touch of lemon zest and ripe pear. It’s crisp and fresh, and there’s loads of flavor. The high natural acidity will keep it balanced and fragrant for years, but it’s already enjoyable. We think a glass or two of it before or with dinner may be one of the kindest things you can do for yourself.

2010 Romain Collet, Les Pargues, Chablis

Retail Price: $24 at Woodland Hills Wine Co.

  • $48 at Boulevard | 2.0x

The Collet family has cultivated wines in Chablis since the late 1700s. 27-year-old Romain now represents the fourth generation to run the winery. Les Pargues is raised in stainless steel and is very mineral driven.

2010 Roger Lassarat, La Roche, Macon-Vergisson

Retail Price: $25 at Hi-Time Wine Cellars

  • $55 at Boulevard | 2.2x

Description from Importer: The rock is the touchstone for top-notch, value white Burgundy this ideal, high-altitude vineyard touches Pouilly-Fuissé and its vines feed from pure limestone and chalky soils. For us it is always the best value in white Burgundy anywhere even in the Côte d’Or!Fresh and elegant!

2009 Ramey, Russian River Valley, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $32 at Wine.com

  • $68 at Boulevard | 2.1x

91 points IWC: Bright gold. Deeper, richer and more powerful than the Sonoma Coast bottling, offering aromas and flavors of poached pear, papaya, orange zest and smoky minerals. Juicy, palate-coating orchard fruit and floral flavors are lifted by juicy acidity and sharpened by a gingery nuance. Shows very good energy and clarity on the tangy, focused, very long finish.

Winemaker’s Notes: 41% from four different Dutton ranches, 32% Martinelli, 14% King, 11% Rochioli Vineyards, and 2% from Green Pastures (a 40-year-old Wente vineyard back Felta Creek Road). A slightly warmer climate compared with our more coastal sites results in an earlier harvest from these vineyards and a somewhat richer texture and flavor.

2009 Dehlinger, Estate, Unfiltered, Russian River, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $41 Average Price Wine-Searcher

  • $75 at Boulevard | 1.8x

91 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Chardonnay Estate emerges from the glass with lemon, citrus, white flowers and spices. This mid-weight, gracious wine impresses for its balance, energy and understated personality. I loved it. Anticipated maturity: 2013-2019.

2009 Brewer Clifton, Santa Rita Hills, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $30 at JJ Buckley

  • $75 at Boulevard | 2.5x

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.

2009 Sandhi Wines, Sanford & Benedict, Santa Rita Hills, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $45 @ the Winery – SOLD OUT

  • $64 at Zuni Café | 1.4x
  • $80 at Boulevard | 1.8x

90 points Wine Advocate: The 2009 Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict opens with a burst of rich, explosive fruit, then turns decidedly more mineral and inward on the mid-palate and finish. It is a striking wine in every way, with just enough fleshiness to support an intense, focused expression of Chardonnay. The Sanford & Benedict was aged in French oak barrels (30% new) for 12 months followed by an additional 6 months in concrete. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2019.

2009 Shafer, Red Shoulder Ranch, Carneros, Chardonnay

Retail Price: $45 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Spectator 93

  • $95 at Boulevard | 2.1x

93 points Wine Spectator and #65 in Top 100 Wines of 2011: “Pure, ripe and richly flavored, with tiers of nectarine, fig, honeysuckle and smoky oak. Full-bodied, with touches of citrus blossom and lemon peel. Drink now through 2017.

Red Wines

335 selections that range in price from $35 to $1,200

2007 Domaine Michel Magnien, Bourgogne

Retail Price: $27 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

  • $46 at Boulevard | 1.7x

87 points Burghound: fresh, bright and relatively elegant nose of earthy red berry fruit aromas leads to precise, pretty and pure middle weight flavors that possess both fine depth and length. This is a lovely Bourgogne and recommended.

2007 Handley, Anderson Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $28 at K&L Wines

  • $55 at Boulevard | 2.0x

87 points Wine Spectator: Floral, jasmine and wilted rose join medium-bodied plum and black cherry in this delicate effort, ending with a nice spice and earthy touch. Drink now through 2014. 4,029 cases made. –JL

Description from K&L’s Site: By now we know that cool, foggy nights and warm, sun-filled days are necessary for ripening ever-fickle Pinot Noir, which is why there are few places in California more suited to the grape than the Anderson Valley. Milla Handley’s 2007 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir is a glassful of proof, boasting complex blue fruit aromatics tempered with softer, floral undertones. In the mouth the dark cherry acidity holds court mid-palate, held together with silky tannins for a long finish. The subtle nuances of this wine will only improve with age.

2009 St. Innocent, Zenith Vineyard, Willamette Valley

Retail Price: $36 at Pismo Wine Shop

  • $76 at Boulevard | 2.1x

Winemaker’s Notes: Our Estate wine, the 2009 Zenith Vineyard Pinot noir, has a big nose of red raspberries with smoke, cedar, and dark ground spice notes. In the mouth, layers of red and dark red fruit dominate the palate with roasted spices, dark flowers and forest floor flavors underneath. This is a richly layered wine with complex flavors and medium weight tannins. Its multidimensional components will evolve over a decade. Alcohol 13.5%.

2009 Argyle, Nuthouse, Reserve Series, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $47 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

  • $78 at Bouelvard | 1.6x

91 points Wine Spectator: Light and vibrant, this is juicy with cherry and raspberry fruit, picking up a floral note as the finish lingers enticingly. Drink now through 2017. 2,500 cases made. –HS

2009 Brewer-Clifton, Santa Rita Hills, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $35 at K&L Wines

  • $78 at Boulevard | 2.2x

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

2007 Domaine Joseph Roty, Marsenay, Clos de Jeu

Retail Price: $39 at Wally’s Wine & Spirits

  • $85 at Boulevard | 2.2x

89 points Wine Advocate: Roty’s 2007 Marsannay Clos de Jeu leads with pleasantly tart fresh purple plum and blackberry fruit tinged by black tea; underlain by rich beef marrow; and suffused with savory, saliva-inducing mineral salts that help render its finish able to entice the next sip. This isn’t at the level of performance for which its site and vintner can memorably team-up – nor can I explain the pleasant yet unexciting performance of the Roty 2007 Marsannays as a group, though I think some will break through their reductive shell – but this Clos de Jeu is far and away the longest-finishing and most impressive of them, and the one with 4-6 year potential. (June 2010)

2007 Domaine Tollot-Beaut, Aloxe Corton

Retail Price: $45 Release Price

  • $96 at Boulevard | 2.1x

90 points Wine Spectator: A ripe, modern style, featuring black cherry and raspberry notes accented by new oak. The oak needs to be integrated, but there’s sweetness on the finish. Best from 2012 through 2021. 110 cases imported. –BS

2008 Penner-Ash, Pas De Nom, Willamette Valley, Pinot Noir

Retail Price: $100 at Oregon Wine Merchants

Rating: Wine Spectator 95

  • $165 at Boulevard | 1.6x

95 points Wine Spectator: Light on its feet, with gorgeous currant, plum and wet stone aromas and flavors that remain expressive and intense without any apparent weight. The tannins are beautifully integrated, while the finish goes on and on. Drink now through 2020. 250 cases made. –HS

2006 Claude Dugat, Gevrey – Chambertin

Retail Price: $116 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Spectator 89

  • $195 at Boulevard | 1.7x

89 points Wine Spectator: Aromas of graphite and menthol give way to cherry and spice flavors. The oak lends a sharpness to the tannins as this finishes on the astringent side. Best from 2011 through 2018. 127 cases imported. –BS

2007 La Tache, Domaine de la Romanee-Conti, Grand Cru

Retail Price: $995 at JJ Buckley – SOLD OUT & $1,615 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Wine Advocate 96

  • $1,200 at Boulevard | BELOW RETAIL

96 points Wine Advocate: The 2007 La Tache amply illustrates why this monopole is the darling among most of those lucky enough to regularly taste or collect the wines of the Domaine de La Romanee-Conti. Hints of mocha, vanilla, maraschino, and almond paste lend a confectionary note to generously rich cassis and raspberry, while Latakia tobacco, peat, clove, black pepper, star anise, and cumin contribute commune-typical Vosne-Romanee personality in spades. The high-toned, sweet themes continue inner mouth, with intimation of heliotrope, rowan, and lily perfume, while the wine’s smoky, spicy elements seem to descend into a low-register undertone of roasted red meats and forest floor. As this opens to the air, a subtly sweet-saline suggestion of lobster shell reduction adds richness and succulence. Strikingly creamy in feel, this La Tache nevertheless possessed a fresh berry edge that helps convey vibrancy to a finish that practically glows in your mouth, offering another of those Burgundian paradoxes of light and dark. Here, de Villaine’s case for long-term potential is easily made, and I expect this will richly reward at least 15-20 years of attention.

2009 Palmina, Barbera, Santa Barbara County

Retail Price: $21 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

  • $45 at Boulevard | 2.1x

90 points IWC: Bright purple. Black and blue fruits on the highly fragrant nose. Broad and sappy, with deep cherry and blueberry flavors complemented by notes of candied violet and cracked pepper. Finishes with good peppery bite and length, the cherry note repeating.

2007 Atrea, Old Soul Red, Mendocino

Retail Price: $22 at Back Room Wines

  • $48 at Boulevard | 2.2x

Description from Back Room Wines: 46% Zin, 34% Syrah, 11% Pet Sirah, 9% Malbec. Byodynamic winery near Hopland in Mendocino makes exceptional wines! “Old Soul Red” blends Zin, Syrah, Petite Sirah and Grenache. Sweet oak and black peppercorns frame a jammy, spicy, creamy, deep red wine. Long & smooth finish.

2007 Scherrer, Old & Mature Vines, Alexander Valley, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $28 at K&L Wines

Rating: Wine Spectator 90

  • $55 at Boulevard | 2.0x

90 points Wine Spectator: Supple yet complex, with black raspberry and loamy licorice aromas and layered plum, cherry and spicy vanilla flavors. Drink now through 2014.

2004 Ridge, Geyserville, Zinfandel

Retail Price: $41 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

Rating: Connoisseurs’ Guide 94

  • $96 at Boulevard | 2.3x

94 points and two stars in the Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wines: 18% Carignane; 7% Petite Sirah. Of all the Zinfandels produced by this greatly respected winery, none has stood out more than Geyserville over the years. Perhaps it is the very high percentages of other grapes that are planted in the vineyard and have found their ways into the wine. Indeed, in many years, Geyserville has not reached the required 75% Zinfandel content needed to bear the varietal name. That this edition does cross that barrier is not to suggest that its character has changed much over the years. The wine is still full in body, slightly fleshy in feel, noticeably deep in fruit and perceptibly tight in its youth. It also screams to be put in the cellar for three to six years. (Jan 07)

2009 Alain Graillot, Crozes Hermitage

Retail Price: $28 at Artisan Wine Depot

Rating: Wine Advocate 90

  • $58 at Boulevard | 2.1x

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

2004 Jean-Louis Chave, Hermitage

Retail Price: $200 at Premier Cru

  • $325 at Boulevard | 1.6x

95 points Wine Spectator: This red offers a gorgeous beam of currant and fig paste, surrounded by ample supple tannins and notes of coffee, worn leather, violet, licorice snaps and iron. The long, rich finish has nice detail now, but better to cellar this for maximum effect. Best from 2008 through 2022. 3,000 cases made. –JM

2009 Cep, Sonoma Coast, Syrah

Retail Price: $25 Ferry Plaza Wine Merchant

  • $48 at Boulevard | 1.9x

Description from K&L’s Site: Have you been hearing about the exceptional cool climate Pinots and Syrahs from Peay Vineyards on the Sonoma Coast, but haven’t had the funds or the opportunity to try them yet? Well, here’s your chance. Cep is Peay’s second label, and the Syrah is made using the same exceptional estate fruit as its big brother, just the barrels that don’t make it into the final blend. The 2009 is VERY good, with charcuterie, lavender and spicy black pepper aromas supporting bright blackberry and pomegranate fruit. It all follows to the palate, blending seamlessly with added saddle leather and blue fruit notes. This medium-bodied wine is lower in alcohol than a lot of gangbusters California Syrahs, with clean acidity and a lingering finish.

2008 Qupe, Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard, Edna Valley, Syrah

Retail Price: $28 at Pismo Wine Shop

  • $64 at Boulevard | 2.3x

Winemaker’s Notes: This wine is 100% syrah from our new Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard in the Edna Valley. This is a very important wine for us in that it is our first release of syrah (our flagship varietal) from our own vines that were planted in 2005. Our vineyard site in the Edna Valley (about 7 miles southeast of San Luis Obispo) is a cool, Region One growing climate, just slightly warmer than Bien Nacido Vineyard. We have been farming the Sawyer Lindquist Vineyard using biodynamic practices since day one and in 2009 the vineyard became Demeter certified. The soil is a combination of clay, gravel and quite a bit of calcareous white mudstone and fossil matter. There is also a strong volcanic aspect to the soil and quite low pH.

2009 Neyers, Rossi Ranch, Sonoma Valley, Grenache

Retail Price: $39 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

  • $66 at Boulevard | 1.9x

91 points Wine Spectator: This pure Grenache is accessible and supple, loaded with fresh plum, blackberry, pepper, spice and tar flavors. Full-bodied, focused and dense, without being heavy. Drink now through 2017. 190 cases made. –JL

2007 Unti, Benchland, Dry Creek Valley, Syrah

Retail Price: $35 @ the Winery

  • $68 at Boulevard | 1.9x

Winemaker’s Notes: This 2007 Benchland Syrah has the tannin structure of its 2005 counterpart, only with more concentrated fruit. It shows the character we love from this vineyard site: opaque color, with intense blackberry, chocolate, anise, and smoked meat flavors. The 2007 might be my favorite Benchland Syrah to date as it is already showing complex fruit. However, this big lovable puppy has the structure to age at least 5 to 8 years from vintage. Alcohol 14.9%.

2007 Wind Gap, Griffins Lair, Sonoma Coast, Syrah

Retail Price: $45 at Pismo Wine Shop

  • $98 at Boulevard | 2.2x

92 points Wine Spectator: Complex flavors of blackberry, wild berry, cedar, spice and chicory are full-bodied and focused, with a minerally edge turning to tar and ending with chewy, gripping tannins that turn cedary as well. Drink now through 2016. 300 cases made. –JL

2007 Alban vineyards, Reva, Edna Valley, Syrah

$130 at SF Wine Trading Company

  • $185 at Boulevard | 1.4x

94 points Wine Spectator: Fresh, intense and vivid, with zesty wild berry, blackberry, cherry and kirsch flavors. Full-bodied and firming nicely, with tannins that provide traction and dimension. Best from 2014 through 2024. 1,200 cases made. –JL

2008 Termes, Toro

Retail Price: $25 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

  • $58 at Boulevard | 2.3x

91 points Wine Spectator: Both powerful and vibrant, this expressive red delivers a rich core of cassis and pomegranate, framed by toast, smoke, mineral and loam notes. A dark wine even austere, but has plenty of life. Drink now through 2016. 1,000 cases imported. –TM

2008 Tinto Pesquera, Ribera del Duero

Retail Price: $30 at Wine.com

  • $66 at Boulevard | 2.2x

91 points Wine Advocate: The dark ruby-colored 2008 Tinto Pesquera exhibits an inviting nose of cedar, spice box, mineral, violets, and blackberry. This is followed by a ripe, racy, nicely proportioned style of Tempranillo with excellent concentration and length. Give it 2-3 years to fully blossom and drink it from 2013 to 2023.

Winemaker’s Notes: 100% Tempranillo from gravel benchland and calcareous clay meseta (high elevation) vineyards between 20 and 40 years of age. An elegant middleweight vintage with pure fruit expression and minerality, good length and excellent structure for aging. Unmistakable ‘Pesquera bouquet.’

2007 Aalto, Ribera del Duero

Retail Price: $50 at K&L Wines – Pre-Arival

  • $98 at Boulevard | 2.0x

95 points Wine Advocate: The 2007 Aalto is 100% Tinto Fino aged for 24 months in French and American barriques. A glass-coating opaque purple color, it emits a super-fragrant bouquet of pain grille, pencil lead, Asian spices, black cherry, and blackberry. Dense and opulent on the palate, this loaded effort is succulent, pure, and exceptionally lengthy. It will evolve for 6-8 years and offer a drinking window extending from 2016 to 2032. Bodegas y Vinedos Aalto is a partnership between Mariano Garcia and Javier Zaccagnini. The fruit for Aalto is sourced from seven different villages with vines ranging in age from 40 to100 years.

2004 Conde de Hervias, Rioja

Retail Price: $60 at K&L Wines

  • $110 at Boulevard | 1.8x

92 points IWC: Opaque ruby. Explosively perfumed nose offers a sexy bouquet of red and dark berries, Asian spices, candied licorice, black cardamom and yellow rose. Mouthfilling red fruit flavors are wrapped in supple tannins, with vibrant minerality adding lift. Impressively fresh and focused for such flavor impact, finishing with superb mouthcoating persistence. Primal but delicious already.

2007 Charles Joguet, Chinon, Les Varennes du Grand Clos, Loire

Retail Price: $28

Rating: See comments below

  • $58 at Boulevard | 2.1x

Winemaker’s Notes: Fleshy and spicy wine with velvety tannins. Will keep until 2014 to 2019.

2008 Swanson, Oakville, Napa Valley, Merlot

Retail Price: $25 at K&L Wines

  • $60 at Boulevard | 2.4x

Winemaker’s Notes: The 2008 Swanson Oakville Merlot is a charming wine, reminiscent more of the Right Bank of Bordeaux than Napa Valley. The nose offers black cherry, plum, and dried red cherry with notes of well-integrated sweet oak and mocha. Firm, ripe tannins characteristic of our Oakville Estate vineyard fill the palate nicely. In the mouth look for raspberry, black cherry, and red licorice. The Petite Verdot contributes a graceful top note of verve and spice. Velvet-smooth and long on the finish. Should continue to improve in the bottle with the optimum drinkability continuing through 2017.

2007 Lambert Bridge, Sonoma County, Cabernet Franc

Retail Price: $65 @ the Winery

  • $64 at Boulevard | 1.0x

Winemaker’s Notes: 78% Cabernet Franc, 8% Merlot, 7% Malbec, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Petit Verdot. Our winemakers carefully hand selected specific vineyard blocks and individual barrels to assemble a blend of all of the core Bordeaux varietals for our Cabernet Franc. Multi-layered, bright and supple, the 2007 vintage abounds with fruit flavors of blueberry, raspberry and cranberries and aromas of sweet spice and cherry cola. Prominent in the mouth is the complex, layered, structure, with elegant hints of sweet straw and a long, juicy lingering finish. While tasting great now, it has an abundance of aging potential. We recommend serving a wine with this much personality and verve with osso bucco, pan seared beef filet with green peppercorn sauce or a piece of aged Gouda.

2006 Robert Sinskey ,Vandal Vineyard, Carneros Cabernet Franc

Retail Price: $38 Average Price via Wine – Searcher

  • $66 at Boulevard | 1.7x
  • $68 at Kokkari | 1.8x

Description from K&L’s Internet Site: Sinskey’s organic and Biodynamic Vandal Vineyard gives Cabernet Franc color that holds light like a deep-hued ruby. Tempting aromas of a bramble thicket, heavy with ripe berries on a hot summer afternoon, join spicy notes of licorice and vanilla in begging a sip. A taste brings black and red berries spiked with spices and sweet herbs. Ideal with lamb.

2007 Duckhorn, Three Palms Vineyard, Merlot

Retail Price: $72 at JJ Buckley

  • $98 at Boulevard | 1.3x

94 points Wine Enthusiast: A tremendous Merlot, Duckhorn’s greatest since the 2005 and one of their best ever, over many years of crafting this wine. Feels soft and smooth and yet dusty and tannic all at once, while the flavors, of red and black cherries, blackberries, licorice, minerals and spices, are vast and succulent. A great Merlot, one of the successes of the vintage. Drink now and over the next six years, for freshness.”

Winemaker’s Notes: A classic expression of Three Palms, this wine begins with enticing aromas of chocolate-covered cherries, earth, ginger spice and graham cracker pie crust before revealing a core of red-fruit dominated flavors highlighting red currant and sweet cherry. Supported by a broad, rich entry and additional layers of blueberry, plum, cardamom and coffee, this powerful Merlot has firm, robust tannins and will benefit from decanting or additional aging. Blend: 93% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon 2% Petit Verdot.

2008 Paloma, Napa Valley, Merlot

Retail Price: $50 at Beltramo’s

Rating: Wine Advocate 88

  • $98 at Boulevard | 2.0x

88 points Wine Advocate: While not as outstanding as the 2007, the 2008 Merlot Spring Mountain is a front end-loaded cuvee offering abundant silky tannins, plenty of herbaceously-tinged mocha, chocolate, black cherry and plum-like fruit and a soft, fully mature style. It is best consumed over the next 4-5 years.

1995 Chateau Haut Brion

Retail Price: $425 at Belmont Wine Exchang & $488 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: Wine Advocate 96 | 2000 to 2030

  • $600 at Boulevard | 1.4x

96 points Wine Advocate: It is fun to go back and forth between the 1995 and 1996, two superb vintages for Haut-Brion. The 1995 seems to have sweeter tannin and a bit more fat and seamlessness when compared to the more structured and muscular 1996. Certainly 1995 was a vintage that the brilliant administrator Jean Delmas handled flawlessly. The result is a deep ruby/purple-colored wine with a tight but promising nose of burning wood embers intermixed with vanilla, spice box, earth, mineral, sweet cherry, black currant, plum-like fruit, medium to full body, a high level of ripe but sweet tannin, and a finish that goes on for a good 40-45 seconds. This wine is just beginning to emerge from a very closed state where it was unyielding and backward. Anticipated maturity: 2006-2035. Last tasted, 11/02.

1988 Chateau Mouton Rothschild

Retail Price: $395 at Belmont Wine Exchange & $460 via Wine-Searcher

Rating: Robert Parker 89 | Now to 2020

  • $650 at Boulevard | 1.6x

89 points Wine Advocate: The 1988 has an aroma of exotic spices, minerals, blackcurrants, and oak. In the mouth, it is a much firmer, tougher, more obviously tannic wine than the 1989. It is a beautifully made 1988 that will last 20-30 years, but the astringency of the tannins is slightly troubling. Patience will be a necessity for purchasers of this wine. Anticipated maturity: 2000-2030

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