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Wine Picks April 28, 2010

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Note: This batch of wine reviews is not part of the bi-weekly Vintages Releases. Instead, it's a collection of wines outside the Vintages section in store (general list) or wines sent to me directly from wineries that may not yet be available in liquor stores. Click on the Winery or Wine Agency link to get more info.

Red Wine

Bennett Lane Winery Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley, California, United States: Dark spices and pepper on the nose followed by rich, fleshy dark fruit on the palate. Vibrant and intense. Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $80.00 Score: 92/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Bennett Lane Winery Maximus Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley, California, United States: Full-bodied weight and texture with aromas of blackberries, smoke and dark spices. Terrific balance and depth. Drink: 2010 - 2016 14% XD 750 mL $136.00 Score: 91/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Clos La Chance Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Central Coast, California, United States: Lovely balance and concentration with a velvet smooth texture. Ripe dark fruit. Drink: 2010 - 2014 966069 13.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Clos La Chance Pinot Noir 2007, Santa Cruz Mountains, California, United States: Gorgeous silky texture with vibrantly ripe cherries. Terrific style of Pinot that's very food-friendly and balanced. Bring it on! Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $30.00 Score: 92/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Duckhorn Vineyards Paraduxx Cabernet Blend 2007, Napa Valley, California, United States: Long, supple and full-bodied with big black fruit and dark chocolate aromas. Drink: 2010 - 2016 919662 14.5% XD 750 mL $52.00 Score: 91/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Duckhorn Vineyards Merlot 2007, Napa Valley, California, United States: Plush with fleshy black plums and berries. A velvet smooth texture with a satisfyingly long finish. Beautifully balanced. Drink: 2010 - 2014 24190 14.5% XD 750 mL $55.00 Score: 91/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Duckhorn Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley, California, United States: Well-structured and balanced with concentrated aromas of blackberry, cassis and blackcurrant. A long, smoky finish. Delicious! Drink: 2010 - 2016 14% XD 750 mL $68.00 Score: 92/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Educated Guess Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley, California, United States: Dark chocolate and black plums on the nose with excellent full-bodied weight and a supple texture. Terrific quality for the price. Drink: 2010 - 2013 14% XD 750 mL $24.00 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Grgich Hills Estate Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley, California, United States: Stunning concentration and depth of flavour! Layers of gorgeously ripe blackberries woven through with a smoky thread. Terrific structure and a long, supremely satisfying finish. Drink: 2012 - 2018 71407 14.8% XD 750 mL $75.00 Score: 94/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Treana Cabernet Sauvignon Syrah Merlot 2006, Paso Robles, California, United States: Treana Red is this winery's flagship wine. It's a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Syrah and a small amount of Merlot. The wine was barrel-aged for 14 months in French oak, 40% of which was new. The wine displays a dark ruby colour with concentrated aromas of clove, blackberry, and cassis. A gorgeous, rich and full-bodied wine with polished tannins and a long finish. Food matches: roast beef, leg of lamb. Drink: 2010 - 2016 11221 15.5% XD 750 mL $39.00 Score: 92/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ironstone Reserve Old Vine Zinfandel 2007, Lodi, California, United States: A juicy, fabulously delicious zin, with plush texture and full body. Bursting with brambleberry goodness. Grapes were grown on vines between 60 and 80 years old. Food matches: pasta marinara, beef fajitas, sesame pork ribs. Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $33.00 Score: 92/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Ironstone Syrah 2007, Lodi, California, United States: Big plums and blackberries on the nose with a full-bodied weight and supple texture. Magnificently delicious with a dry, satisfying finish. Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kenwood Vineyards Pinot Noir 2008, Russian River, California, United States: A silky-smooth Pinot with beautifully integrated barrel maturation. Terrific balance and structure with a mouth-wateringly dry finish. Fleshy ripe cherries dance across the palate. Seductively slippery. I often order this Pinot when I see it on a restaurant list. Drink: 2010 - 2016 943225 13.5% D 750 mL $25.95 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Kenwood Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Sonoma Valley, California, United States: Classic aromas of cassis, blackberry and blackcurrant. A good grip on the palate with full-bodied weight and excellent balance. A long, dry finish. Serve it at your next dinner party. Drink: 2010 - 2016 14% XD 750 mL $22.95 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosenblum Cellars Zinfandel 2007, Paso Robles, California, United States: Kent Rosenblum trained as a veterinarian before becoming an amateur winemaker and founding his winery Rosenblum Cellars. Today it is one of California’s benchmark Zinfandel producers. This gorgeous brambleberry/blackberry-rich Zin is loaded with dark fruit flavours, spice and vanilla smoke. It's full-bodied but supple: lip-smacking delicious! Crack one open at your next barbecue. Food matches: blackened salmon, back ribs. Drink: 2010 - 2014 284653 14.6% XD 750 mL $20.00 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Tamas Estates Zinfandel 2007, Central Coast, California, United States: Juicy, lively and bursting with fleshy ripe purple and black plums, blackberries and dark spices. Full-bodied and terrific! Perfect for potluck gatherings. Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $15.95 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Joel Gott Wines Trinchero Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, California, United States: Big ripe plums and mocha aromas on the nose. Rich and full-bodied but not heavy. Nice balance and structure. Perfect for a steak dinner. Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $20.00 Score: 89/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

RavensWood Vintners Blend Petite Sirah 2007, California, United States: Terrific vibrant purple plums on the nose mingle with fleshy ripe blackberries, blueberries and violets. A voluptuously rich texture and full-bodied weight. Yum! Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 89/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Toasted Head Shiraz 2007, California, United States: Toasted Head refers to the ends of barrels in which this wine is aged. Although most barrels on only toasted or charred on their sides, those used for this wine are also toasted on their ends. This gives a smoky, rich character to the wine. This Shiraz bursts with gorgeously ripe black cherries, mocha and hickory smoke. This is a solid value for this full-bodied red with dense black fruit notes. Food matches: red meats, spicy pasta. Drink: 2010 - 2013 42937 13.5% D 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Clos Du Bois Briarcrest Cabernet Sauvignon 2004, Sonoma Valley, California, United States: Gorgeous structure, length and depth of flavour: in a word, wow. Dark berries and other black fruits, cedar brush, cassis and cloves. Concentrated with a spectacularly long finish. Top me up! Drink: 2010 - 2018 14% XD 750 mL $45.00 Score: 94/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Concannon Pinot Noir 2008, California, United States: Lovely, juicy Pinot with ripe, racy cherries. Good acidity without too much oak: gives a smoky finish. Silky texture. Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 89/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Gnarly Head Pinot Noir 2008, California, United States: Big cherries wrapped in a lovely smoky blanket. This full-bodied, silky textured red goes down very easily. Bright raspberries on the finish. Serve with planked salmon. Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Big House Winery White Malvasia Bianca Muscat Canelli Viognier Roussanne 2008, California, United States: Outrageously great for the money! This won't last a day on the shelves once it hits stores. It's gorgeously aromatic with delicate aromas of field flowers, orange zest and peaches. So pretty! Prefect for the deck or dock. 13% XD 750 mL $9.95 Score: 89/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Big House Winery The Lineup Gsm Grenache Shiraz Mourvèdre 2006, California, United States: Nicely balanced with dark fruit, smoke and cedar spice on the finish. Black raspberries and pepper come through nicely. Drink: 2010 - 2012 14% XD 750 mL $16.00 Score: 89/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Concannon Petite Sirah 2006, California, United States: Black cherry and dark spices on the nose. Full-bodied weight with lovely layers of dark fruit flavour. Smooth and supple. Drink: 2010 - 2014 48629 13.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Brazin Old Vine Zinfandel 2007, California, United States: Spectacularly rich and concentrated with aromas of big brambleberries, blackberries and exotically dark spices. Grapes come from vines that are 50 to 80 years old. Vanilla smoke and mocha add richness in the mid-palate with the wine finishes with a lingering come-back-to-me longing. Classic California Zin in every sense. Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

337 Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, California, United States: A big, full-bodied red with a blackberry grip on the mid-palate. Alluring aromas of coffee-spice, black raspberry and blackberry. This was an excellent vintage for Lodi. The wine was fermented with whole berries which gives a plush texture. Wonderful with braised meats. Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 88/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rodney Strong Wine Estates Symmetry Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Sonoma Valley, California, United States: A wonderful cedar forest, black fruit nose that invites you in. Enticing notes of anise, blackberry and smoke that keep you there and wanting more. What a magnificently structured, balanced and developed wine. Drink: 2010 - 2018 14% XD 750 mL $89.00 Score: 91/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Parducci Petite Sirah 2007, Mendocino, California, United States: Big rich, fleshy plums on the nose with gorgeously ripe dark cherries, mocha and pepper on the palate. Juicy, round, layered and balanced. Perfect for barbecues, potlucks and good friends! Drink: 2010 - 2014 14% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Paul Dolan Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Mendocino, California, United States: Dark chocolate mingles with black plums and berries on the nose. This gives way to a richly textured, full-bodied weight with smoky dark fruit and a long finish. Beautifully structured and balanced. Drink: 2010 - 2016 135152 13.5% D 750 mL $21.95 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Cambria Julia's Vineyard Pinot Noir 2008, Santa Barbara, California, United States: Stunning fleshy cherry fruit with a supple, silky texture. Finishes with magnificent length and infused with exotic spices. This is a consignment wine. Drink: 2010 - 2016 14% XD 750 mL $35.30 Score: 93/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Justin Vineyards Isosceles Cabernet Blend 2007, Paso Robles, California, United States: Big, black fruit with juicy mouth-watering acidity. Layers of flavours and depths of concentration; sheer blackberry-black plum power. Dusty tannins, a dry finish with a cedar lift. Drink: 2010 - 2018 14% XD 750 mL $81.95 Score: 94/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards Merlot 2006, Napa Valley, California, United States: Fleshy black plums, a hint of dried tobacco, some blackberries flesh out the mid-palate. Rich and layered with a long, satisfying finish. A perfect wine for a dinner party. Drink: 2010 - 2016 14% XD 750 mL $38.50 Score: 92/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon 2006, Napa Valley, California, United States: Classic aromas of cassis, blackberry and blackcurrant. Terrific length, depth and concentration of flavour. A wonderful wine to enjoy or give as a gift. Drink: 2010 - 2018 14% XD 750 mL $59.95 Score: 93/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Whitehall Lane Winery & Vineyards Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon 2005, Napa Valley, California, United States: Balanced, yet powerful with aromas of blackberries and blackcurrants. A lovely smoky weave on the finish keeps you coming back for more. Drink: 2010 - 2018 55541 14.2% XD 750 mL $89.95 Score: 93/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Robert Mondavi Winery Carneros Pinot Noir 2008, Napa Valley, California, United States: Freshly picked summer cherry-berry character exudes from the glass. Silky texture with medium-body. Some violet-rose petal underlay, good acidity. Very sexy. Drink: 2010 - 2014 13.5% 750 mL $32.95 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Woodbridge Winery Robert Mondavi Cabernet Sauvignon 2008, Lodi, California, United States: Excellent value for this robust but extremely well-balanced red. Good mouth-watering juiciness with blackberry and cedar brush with a smoky finish. Drink: 2010 - 2012 48611 13.5% 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Robert Mondavi Winery Napa Cabernet Sauvignon 2007, Napa Valley, California, United States: This wine has presence in the mouth without being heavy or jammy. Dry chalky tannins with extraordinary structure. Leads with blackcurrant and cassis notes and some smoke. Classically styled and approachable already. Drink: 2010 - 2018 255513 14.3% 750 mL $35.95 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

White Wine

Duckhorn Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc 2008, Napa Valley, California, United States: Terrific balance in this juicy, mouth-watering white! Zesty tree fruit and limes burst from the glass. Refreshing! Drink: 2010 - 2013 13.5% XD 750 mL $68.00 Score: 92/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Grgich Hills Estate Chardonnay 2007, Napa Valley, California, United States: California Chardonnay as good as it gets! Buttery, voluptuous layers of ripe peaches, pears and other tree fruit. No malolactic fermentation so the vibrancy of the fruit character is preserved. A smoky finish. Drink: 2010 - 2015 346304 14.4% XD 750 mL $54.00 Score: 94/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Rosenblum Cellars Viognier 2007, Clarksburg, California, United States: Beautifully floral and aromatic with lychee and rose petal aromas. I'd wear this as perfume if it didn't make sticky! It's such a lovely white wine that would complement so many dishes, from medium curries and Asian dishes to seafood, pasta and chicken. Stunning! Give it as a gift to a woman you're trying to woo. Drink: 2010 - 2013 13.5% XD 750 mL $19.95 Score: 92/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Joel Gott Wines Sauvignon Blanc 2009, California, United States: Vibrant, alive and grassy good! No oak on this refreshing, patio-ready white. Very versatile with food from salads to seafood. Drink: 2010 - 2012 13.5% XD 750 mL $17.95 Score: 90/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Sea Glass Sauvignon Blanc 2009, California, United States: Refreshing herbal, grassy notes. No oak and light-bodied. Perfect aperitif for the deck. 13.5% XD 750 mL $13.95 Score: 87/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Woodbridge Winery Robert Mondavi Pinot Grigio 2009, Lodi, California, United States: Crisp and refreshing with mouth-watering notes of lemon and green melon. Clean finish. Great aperitif. 523431 12% XD 750 mL $11.95 Score: 86/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Robert Mondavi Winery Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc 2009, California, United States: Excellent value for this crisp, refreshing wine with vibrant acidity and expressive lemon-line and herbal notes. The wine was aged for a year on its yeast lees to add texture to it. 405753 12.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 88/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Woodbridge Winery Robert Mondavi Chardonnay 2008, California, United States: Good balance with green apple aromas and nicely integrated oak. Medium- to full-bodied weight. 99408 13.5% XD 750 mL $12.95 Score: 86/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Robert Mondavi Winery Private Selection Chardonnay 2008, Central Coast, California, United States: Lovely rich texture with green apple, white peach and butter notes. Full-bodied but not heavy. Terrific balance with panache. Drink: 2010 - 2014 379180 13.5% XD 750 mL $16.95 Score: 89/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart

Robert Mondavi Winery Reserve Fume Blanc 2007, Napa Valley, California, United States: Stunning, I love it! Just buy it and see what I’m referring to. Layers of hazelnut, intense Asian pear, tangerine and zesty peach. Forget dinner, let’s just drink. Drink: 2010 - 2018 147488 13% 750 mL $45.95 Score: 95/100. April 2010. Full Review Add to Shopping Cart


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