Retailer Wine Selections


***** (97) Bollinger Special Cuvee Pinot Noir/Chardonnay NV (France). Seamless aromas of oatmeal and bread dough complemented by flavors of white chocolate and raw mushrooms; great length on the mid-palate with crisp racy acidity; pairs well with creamy wild mushroom risotto. ($56)

***** (97) Domdechant Werner Hochheim Domdechany Riesling 2003 (Germany). “Erstes Gewachs” is the “grand cru” of Germany; the Werner estate has been family-owned since 1780; boldly aromatic with floral and tropical fruit notes, it totally coats the palate with fruit and creaminess; stunning; pair with grilled Northwest king salmon. ($45)

***** (96) Jordan Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma 2001 (California). Smooth and elegant yet possessing enough soft tannins to make it approachable now and possible to cellar for 10 more years, as well; clean cherry flavors and a note of vanilla and toasty oak rounded out by cedar wood and tobacco; superb with rack of lamb, venison or rib-eye steaks. ($58)

***** (96) La Selvaccia Brunello 1999 (Italy). A dazzling display of truffles, mocha, anise, black currants and tar all swirled together in this exceptional Tuscan masterpiece; product of its incredible vintage and masterful winemaking, it’s drinkable now and for the next decade. ($40)

***** (95) Poggio Le Coste Barolo 2000 (Italy). Exquisitely crafted and exceptionally complex, this beauty begs for a porterhouse or leg of lamb; wild berry flavors combine with sweet spices, lavender and rose petal to culminate in a full-sensory explosion on the palate; delicious now and sure to improve with a few years of bottle age. ($40)


***** (95) Domaine El Bordj Coteaux de Mascara A.O.G. 2000 (Algeria). What a delicious, food-friendly wine at an incredible price! A.O.G. (Appellation d’Origine Garantie) is the equivalent of France’s A.O.C.; predominantly grenache and carignan; cinsault, syrah, mourvedre, cabernet sauvignon, alicante bouschet and local varieties are present; great with roasted leg of lamb and couscous. ($9)

***** (95) Ottella Lugana D.O.C. 2004 (Italy). Lugana is in Lombardy at the southern end of Lake Garda; made from trebbiano di Lugana; fragrant with floral and fresh pear notes; creamy on the palate with hints of melon and pineapple, crisp and dry on the finish; elegant; serve with crab vermicelli. ($18)

***** (95) Domaine Leflaive Puligny Montrachet Les Pucelles 1995 (France). A youthful wine, full bodied with citrus, honey and a pretty spicy component; rich and powerful yet perfectly balanced with an impeccable lengthy finish. ($75)

***** (94) Niebaum-Coppola Cask Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (California). Opaque-ruby red color, aromas of black cherries and violets, flavors of sweet black cherry, dark chocolate and rum raisin; great with prime NY strip sirloin & roasted prime rib. ($45)

***** (93) 2 Up Shiraz 2004 (Australia). From the Kangarilla Road winery comes this delightful, less expensive shiraz named for a popular game of chance played in pubs throughout Australia; the wine is dense, dark and delicious. ($15)

***** (93) Rombauer Vineyards Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (California). Rich, ripe and juicy flavors of berry, currant, plum, and blackberry; hints of pepper, and spice; super-smooth; serve with roasted duck or beef. ($44)

***** (93) David Bruce Sonoma Pinot Noir 2003 (California). Fantastic effort from David Bruce; elegant, fruit-forward, friendly, just plain yummy to drink by itself or with roast chicken, grilled veggies or with simple salmon and tuna. ($28)

***** (93) Fabula Rosso Monteregio 2003 (Italy). Aromas of cherry, black olives and forest; pronounced flavors of dark cherry and black olive abound in a crisp, medium-bodied package that shows abundant but beautifully integrated tannins; grilled lamb with rosemary and black olives are a seamless match. ($15)

***** (92) Murphy-Goode Snake Eyes Ellis Ranch Zinfandel 2002 (California). This is a huge zin with gobs of fruit, pepper and spice; will need a couple of hours airing out; long finish; have with a thick Tuscan steak or T-bone. ($39)

***** (92) Schramsberg Brut Rose 2002 (California). This flavorful, complex, and dry sparkler is well balanced with strawberry/raspberry flavors and subtle notes of creamy vanilla and spiced orange; grilled salmon with a selection of summer vegetables off the grill, or seared Ahi tuna with micro greens, and aged (2 to 3 years) Vermont Shelburne Farms cheddar are all excellent pairings. ($32)

***** (92) Giacomo Conterno, Barbera d’Alba 2001 (Piedmont, Italy). A guardian of traditional wine making, Conterno represents textbook barbera; lush and rich black cherry flavors abound, balanced with good acidity; good with pan roasted duck breast with an espresso fig sauce, chestnut purée. ($22)

***** (92) Domaine des Baumard “Trie Special” Savennieres 2001 (Loire, France). Made from 100% chenin blanc, this wine could stylistically be mistaken for white Burgundy; round and succulent fruit with a soft opulent finish; pair with scallops. ($25)

***** (92) 2002 Dashe Dry Creek Zinfandel 2002 (California). Features ripe raspberries and baking spice flavors tailored for finger-licking good barbeque. ($23)

Rating System

***** Five Stars (92-100)
A top-flight wine. Superior
in taste and character and
providing an outstanding
price/value relationship.

**** Four Stars (86-91)
A very good wine and an
excellent value. A wine for
which customers will keep
coming back.

*** Three Stars (80-85)
An above-average wine,
at a reasonable price
point, which many
customers will enjoy.

** Two Stars (70-79)
An average wine.

* One Star (50-69)
A below-average wine.

***** (92) Culley Sauvignon Blanc 2005 (New Zealand). Big, rounded, well-balanced, refreshing gooseberry; great with salad and green vegetable courses; good with lighter fish meals done with a lemon sauce or caper/tomato component. ($12)

***** (92) Bourassa Odyssey Zinfandel 2003 (California). Big and attractive with floral notes; spicy pepper, red cherry and raspberry fruit aroma with notes of pepper and mint with an added layer of vanilla; barbequed beef ribs slow roasted over an open flame, or gourmet hamburgers and pizza, of course. ($32)

***** (92) Sonoma Coast Vineyard “Sonoma Coast” Chardonnay 2002 (California). Beautifully balanced with a finish that lingers on the palate; dry and elegant; match with lobster and light chicken dishes. ($44)

***** (92) Tyrus Evan Claret Walla Walla 2003 (Washington). Dark garnet/purple, with a full, lush bouquet of bright red fruit aromas (cherry and raspberry) beautifully framed by oak; some sweet licorice and cassis notes peek out as well; medium-bodied and dry on the palate, it shows off a good punch of fruit flavor, with raspberry, Bing cherry and oak spice, all accented by almost citrusy acidity; good tannin and a long finish; pairs with hearty meat dishes. ($30)

***** (92) B.R. Cohn Silver Label Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (California). A rich and intense cabernet with the perfect balance of acidity and tannin; open an hour before serving and pair up with your favorite cut of beef or bison. ($20)


**** (91) 2001 Avignonesi Vino Nobile di Montepulciano 2001 (Tuscany, Italy). From one of the finest producers in Tuscany comes this Sangiovese-grape based wine; bright cherry fruit flavors with earthy notes of cedar and light spice; pappardelle pasta with a ragout of oxtail. ($15)

**** (91) Ichanka Torrontes 2004 (Spain). Produced from the indigenous torrontes grape; aromas of pear and honeysuckle burst from the glass; the wine is medium-bodied and fresh, combining some of the best qualities of riesling, viognier and chenin blanc. ($8)

**** (91) Gaja “Promis” 2002 (Tuscany, Italy). A blend of merlot, syrah and sangiovese; freshly-shaved cedar tossed with a medley of sweet raspberries, black cherries & alpine strawberries; medium-bodied and smooth, with focused cherry jam, kirsch and a micro-sprinkle of lavender; generous acidity leads to small dose of sweet velvety tannins; try this food-friendly wine with a center-cut rib eye. ($45.55)

**** (91) Kurt Angerer Kies Gruner Veltliner 2003 (Germany). The newest and hippest food-friendly grape around; smooth, lush and crisp; serve it with salads, pasta dishes, chicken, fish with lemony sauces and cream sauces, too; seafood loves this wine, especially lobsters. ($13)

**** (91) Trimbach Pinot Gris Reserve 2002 (Alsace, France). No oak, no residual sugar to give complete dryness; flavors of peaches and pear, high acidity; pair with crab cakes, clams casino, tuna tartare and steamed clams with white wine and garlic. ($23)

**** (91) Santa Rita Reserva Sauvignon Blanc 2003 (Chile). A bright and energetic sauvignon blanc with a wonderful, refreshing finish; melon and grapefruit flavors make this a perfect wine for fish or pair with leaf lettuce salad, pine nuts, blue cheese and vinaigrette. ($14)

**** (91) Courtney Benham Sauvignon Blanc 2004 (California). Crisp flavors of green apple softened by a mellow touch of peach and pear are evidence of the wine’s complexity and changing flavors that lead to a satisfying finish; a great choice with seafood stews and broiled salmon with buerre blanc. ($12)

**** (91) Domaine des Aubuisiers Vouvray 2004 (France). Probably the most food-friendly French wine; enough base to drink with red meats but perfect with everything from Asian food to Thai to barbecue chicken. ($17)

**** (90) E. Guigal Hermitage 2001 (France). Medium/dark purple, with a garnet/ruby edge; full-bodied and round on the entry, with firm acidity arriving quickly; red and black cherries dominate the palate, with herbal accents and firm tannins drifting in the background; goes with simple grilled or roasted meats, and once it sheds a bit more tannin, will make a good match for game birds. ($55)

**** (90) Scott Harvey Amador County Mountain Selection Barbera 2002 (California). A gorgeous example of what California can do with a great Italian variety; a bouquet of violets and blackberry leads to rich ripe flavors of cherry, mocha and sweet, toasty oak; supple tannins balance out this gem; serve with your favorite pasta dish. ($20)

**** (90) Hill of Content Pinot Noir 2003 (Australia). Dry cherry fruit balanced by just the right touches of oak; match with grilled salmon steaks. ($19.50)

**** (90) The Gatekeeper Shiraz 2002 (Australia). Very flavorful for the price; great varietal flavor without being overly fruity; try with hamburgers or grilled pork tenderloin. ($15)

**** (90) Donnafugatta, “Tancredi” Nero d’Avola 2001 (Sicily, Italy). Hints of mint and licorice with structured fruit flavors of cherry and bilberry; serve with veal chop, bone-in filet mignon and veal marsala. ($30)

**** (90) Tassinaia Castello del Terriccio 2001 (Italy). Mouthfilling flavors of blackberry and plum; cabernet, merlot, sangiovese blend; velvety finish make it very adaptable for food. ($38)

**** (90) Joseph Phelps “Innisfree” Cabernet Sauvignon 2003 (California). This entry-level cabernet has a lot going for it; excellent nose of currants and dark red fruits gives way to a long, lingering finish; goes great with your favorite steak. ($25)

**** (90) Chappellet Mountain Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon 2001 (California). Cherry, blackberry and cedar mingle with bay leaf and white pepper to provide a nice accompaniment to rib-eye steak and mushrooms. ($25)

**** (90) Riefle Classique Gewurztraminer 2002 (Alsace, France). This dry gewürztraminer with honey and grapefruit notes blend seamlessly with the structure and texture, which is open and airy; nice lingering aftertaste of rose and grapefruit; salmon served with a fresh fruit salsa, as well as sushi and foie gras are both excellent pairings. ($22)

**** (90) Ch. de Nages Rouge Reserve 2003 (France). An enticing blend of grenache and syrah that shows intense forward flavors of black cherry and blackberry as well as hints of anise; shows a surprising depth of flavor as well as the complex breadth outlined above in its medium to full bodied frame; the finish is fairly long with ripe tannins and a splash of black pepper; grilled pork chops with Provençal herbs make the ideal match for wonderful wine. ($12)

**** (90) Yasa Garnacha 2003 (Spain). From the gold mine for grenache in Spain, Calatayud, comes this bright red fruit bomb; on the crisp side, with plenty of raspberry, cherry and spices, the high acidity and light body make it ideally suited to a wide range of foods, especially salmon; its low price makes it an astounding bargain. ($6)

**** (90) Charles de Frere Reserve Brut Rose Dry NV (France). Eye appealing and palate appealing; crisp, aromatic; great with appetizers, fish, and even chili; great value. ($9)

**** (90) Allegrini Classico Valpolicella 2003 (Veneto, Italy). Fresh cherry aromas with moderate tannins and intense fruit flavors; pairs with veal parmigiano, chicken scallopini, bruschetta. ($15)

**** (90) Geyser Peak Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (California). Rich, lush, deep fruit; a long finish; goes well with a variety of hearty meats. ($20)

**** (90) Oyster Bay Pinot Noir 2004 (New Zealand). Aromas and flavors of ripe cherry and plum; gentle with sweet tannins; has great length and structure; pair with grilled salmon or pork loin. ($18)

**** (89) Chianti Classico Villa Carfaggio 2002 (Italy). Soft and elegant with hints of dried fruits with a soft vanilla texture; pasta, pizza and hard cheese go wonderfully with this Chianti. ($24)

**** (89) Tamarack Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon 2002 (Washington). Dark ruby, with a light yet complex bouquet of red fruit, herb and oak aromas; medium-full and dry; bright cherry and wild berry flavors, and tasty oak and mocha spice notes emerge on the crisp, dry finish; a natural for veal or roasted pork dishes. ($26)

**** (89) Hartford Pinot Noir 2004 (California). A nice, soft fruity style of pinot; nose of cherry and cola; soft tannins and rich fruit to back it up nicely; lingering finish; good value in today’s sometimes overpriced pinot market; matches well with poultry and pork. ($23)

**** (89) Yamhill Valley Vineyards Pinot Noir 2001 (Oregon). Lots of cherry fruits and very versatile; goes with everything from burgers to pizza to steak. ($16)

**** (89) Lincort Santa Barbara Pinot Noir 2002 (California). A medium-bodied pinot noir with flavors running towards the dark foods; goes well with tuna, salmon and roasted pork dishes. ($19)

**** (89) Senorio del Cid (Osborne Seleccion) Crianza Ribera del Duero 2000 (Spain). This-tempranillo based wine is deep in color with intense flavors of ripe blackberries, strawberries, some spice and hints of tobacco; pairs with roasted prime rib with herb mashed potatoes and grilled seasonal fall vegetables. ($20)

**** (89) Louis Latour La Chanfleure Chablis 2003 (France). Pure and fresh, white dough rising out of lemon-driven citrus tones; great balance, refreshing and clean; a classic match with freshly-shucked oysters. ($20)

**** (89) Vincent Girardin Satenay Clos des Mouches 2002 (Burgundy, France). Solid example of pinot noir ­ black cherry, plum, and smoke, earthy finish. ($31)

**** (89) Navarro Chardonnay Mendocino 2002 (California). Definitely one of California’s cleanest and most fruit-driven chardonnays; orange-blossom aromas, with the fruit to match; add a few citrus-tones, a bowl of clams and mussels poached in white wine, orange and fennel and you have a memorable meal. ($16)

**** (89) Zenato Ripassa Valpolicella, Superiore 2001 (Veneto, Italy). Dark berries abound in this classic Veneto wine; medium bodied and very well balanced; pairs surprisingly well with sushi made with fatty fish. ($16)

**** (89) Santa Barbara Winery Syrah 2001 (California). Big and full with an earthy undertone, exotic spices and cherry wood; round and bright in the mouth with a good solid middle and the backbone and finish that allows it to work so well with your favorite red meat dish. ($22)

**** (89) Markham Merlot 2002 (California). Rich, dark black cherry and cedar aromas; fat and wide; with its solid grip of ripe tannins, this wine is wonderful paired with a bone-in New York strip steak. ($23)

**** (88) Cuvée Catherine Vouvray 2004 (France). French chenin blanc at its best; lovely floral qualities in the nose; the crisp, fresh flavors of Vouvray; marries perfectly with turkey. ($13)

**** (88) Dr. Pauly Bergweiler Bernkasteler Badstube Doctor Berg Kabinett 2003 (Germany). Typical peach and tropical fruit flavors, but it’s the obvious character and lengthy finish that make it a great food wine. ($17)

**** (88) Napa Valley Vineyards Chardonnay 2003 (California). A great Thanksgiving turkey wine; lots of butter followed by soft oak; all of the traditional fixings for turkey dinner would be happy to pair up with this. ($13)

**** (88) Loimer Lois Gruner Veltliner 2004 (Austria). Crisp and steely, this fresh Gruner from Austria has loads of minerality and taut acidity; great with clams and oysters on the half shell, or drink it by itself as an aperitif. ($12)

**** (88) Domaine Desmures Chiroubles Georges Duboeuf 2003 Beaujolais (France). Few wines work better with food than Cru Beaujolais; this rich, yet lively Chiroubles pairs well with fish, fowl or white meats; try with roast chicken spiced with herbs de Provence and some roasted potatoes. ($12)

**** (88) Columbia Winery Cellarmaster’s Riesling 2004 (Washington State). A slightly sweet riesling with flavors of pear and apricot and a smooth finish; should pair well with shrimp, shellfish and even Thai dishes. ($11)

SI02Cab_Label_high copy**** (87) Simi Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley 2002 (California). Medium/dark purple, with a full bouquet that shows some sharpness to the cherry and cassis aromas, with new wood in the background; medium-bodied and quite dry, with tart cherry flavors and ample tannin, but maintains good balance, and should improve with age; right now, it is perfect for a medium-rare steak or pot roast. ($20)


**** (88) Chateau St. Jean Robert Young Vineyard, Alexander Valley Chardonnay 2002 (California). Flavors of honeysuckle, apple and citrus framed by solid French oak giving it a nutty, vanilla and caramel middle and a full-length finish; serve with grilled salmon, full turkey dinners and chicken dishes. ($30)

**** (88) Renwood Select Series Viognier 2003 (California). Rich, creamy pear and lemon flavors with a background of sweet vanilla and figs; serve with Chinese, Thai and Indian dishes. ($12)

**** (88) 2004 Trumpeter Chardonnay 2004 (Argentina). Possibly one of the greatest values in wine these days; floral aromas; shows excellent depth of fruit; nice, long finish; will drink well for a couple of years; matches well with roasted chicken, and great with sea bass. ($9)

**** (88) Marquis Philips Holly’s Blend Verdelho 2004 (Australia). A fuller verdelho that has subtle spice and notes of apple, lemon and melon; good with goat cheese or shellfish. ($13)

**** (87) Red Knot Shiraz 2004 (McLaren Valley, Australia). Medium-bodied with gobs of strawberry, blueberry and spice flavors layered harmoniously throughout; the American oak throws the right nuances of cedar and vanilla to the palate. ($13)

**** (87) Lindemans Reserve Cabernet 2002 (Australia). Good value, good body and flavor that is not usually found in a wine at this price; try with steak or roast beef. ($10)

**** (87) Pascal Jolivet Sancerre 2004 (France). Aromas of ripe fruit and white flowers; toasty, smoky flavors of ripe apple and herb flavors; serve with raw bar of oysters, little neck clams and crab cocktail. ($18)

**** (87) Merryvale Antigua, Muscat de Frontignan NV (California). This brandy-fortified muscat delivers sweet orange-zest, caramel and nutty flavors, with a solid background of brandy scents; match this dessert wine with the caramelized sugar crust of crème brulée. ($33, 500 ml)

**** (86) Trefethen Dry Riesling 2002 (California). Aromas of jasmine and hyacinths; zesty lime and juicy green apple flavors mingle in front of a solid background of ripe citrus; sweet and weighty, making a formidable match for spicy Asian-influenced dishes. ($18)


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