Issue #150, April 2021

 

In 1990 Tom Stolpman discovered what he believed to be one of the greatest viticultural sites in the world.  Nestled within the hills of California’s Central Coast was a rare limestone outcropping which benefits from the Pacific Ocean wind.  This unique spot within Ballard Canyon was perfectly suited to growing both Syrah and Roussanne grapes using the environmentally conscious and sustainable practices that Tom was so keen to explore.  Tom stated at the time that if his dream of owning a vineyard was to come true, it would not be on the backs of people being taken advantage of.

One of the things we most admire about Stolpman is their almost unique focus and dedication to their vineyard and the team who farm it for them.  In an era when so much of the wine industry is moving towards mechanisation the Stolpman vines are touched only by the hands of La Cuadrilla, the name given to their crew of vineyard workers. Not a single tractor will be spotted on their land!  Stolpman made the decision early on to offer their vineyard team full-time, year round employment as opposed to the norm; casual, seasonal contracts.  This has enabled them to benefit from a highly skilled workforce with a focus on meticulous vineyard management.  To quote the team at Stolpman, “We take care of them and they take the most precise care of our vines.”

One of the stars of this decision is without doubt Ruben Solorzano, chief vigneron at Stolpman.  Ruben arrived in the US from Mexico at age 19 in 1989 and after three years of legal work, spent the next couple of years working as an illegal immigrant before Tom Stolpman made it possible for him to get the legal papers needed to remain in the US and become a US citizen.  Tom told US immigration that he didn’t have another guy who could farm the same quality of grapes that Stolpman vineyards needed.  After several years of endless interviewing and waiting he was finally granted permission to stay.

Today, Ruben is well established as one of the leading growers in California.  Matt Kettmann, editor of Wine Enthusiast, gave Solorzano the nickname of ‘The Grape Whisperer.’  He has a unique gift of knowing how to bring out certain nuances of a grape in order to give winemakers the attributes they desire. Solorzano developed his technique, through much trial and error by experimenting with sunlight, water, canopy management, pruning and harvesting.  Solorzano has had a long journey towards becoming a grape expert and he now controls not only Stolpman but also several of the best sites in the region.

One of Ruben’s proudest achievements was creating the La Cuadrilla program. Named after the vineyard crew, this program was created to bridge the gap between farm worker and winemaker.  “The first year, we gave the workers three rows of grapes. We told them they would farm these rows and we would make wine from these grapes, and the wine will be for them,” explains Solorzano. “But I also told them I wouldn’t tell them how to do things. They had to design everything. Whatever they wanted to do, I would support them.”  Ruben worked on this with his team for a few years before revealing the project to Mr Stolpman.  Tom was thrilled and initially gave all of the wine produced to the team for their own consumption.  The project continued to grow and now 10% of the vineyard’s production goes into these wines. To fully complete the circle with this project, all of the profits from the sales of the resulting wines are now given back to the crew as year-end bonuses.

After assistant winemaker Matt Nocas returned from a surf trip with the 2015 La Cuadrilla “agave sickle” label tattooed down the length of his forearm, Ruben promised to get the next vintage’s label inked. It would be his very first tattoo. Artist Kari Crist took the design very seriously – creating Ruben’s “spirit animal” an Aztec hawk floating above Ballard Canyon. When Ruben sent them all the photo of his tattoo from a Puerto Vallarta beach, the asymmetrical bird, obviously drawn on with henna, it proved to the team that Ruben was never serious about an actual tattoo.

So in 2018, Kari gave Ruben several tattoos via photoshop on the wine’s label.  All of these tattoos revolve around Ruben, his family, and his life’s passion – the vineyard.

The Para Maria blend, which we also have in our range, is another of Solorzano’s project wines, produced as a 50/50 partnership with Stolpman.  Named after Ruben’s shy and hard working wife, Maria is an inspiration to anyone who sees her perpetual motion around the vineyard.  As instrumental as her husband, Maria teaches La Cuadrilla new techniques and encourages experiments, often figuring out practical ways of farming ridiculously high-density vineyards by hand or training canopies for ideal shading and wind-flow.

The Stolpman Estate Syrah is the most representative “flagship” bottling of the vineyard, Estate Syrah has become the calling card not only for Stolpman, but for the Ballard Canyon AVA. The Estate Syrah also symbolizes the evolution in viticulture and winemaking at Stolpman Vineyards.  In the 1990s and well into the 2000s, this wine was made in a more heavy-handed style - employing extended macerations, forcefully extractive punch-downs multiple times daily, and new French oak barrels, all in an effort to make bigger, more powerful wines.  Today they rely on concentration derived from their version of dry-farming with no irrigation from fruit-set through picking.  They are able to harvest small, undiluted grapes at the peak of freshness without the jammy flatness associated with dehydrated fruit.  Confident that their grapes provide plentiful colour, flavour, and texture; they now manage the fermentations much more gently – delicately circulating the juice in an effort to eliminate harsh tannin and elevate the purity and nuance of the finished wine.  All in all, Estate Grown Syrah now reaches a finer balance and is more delicious drunk both young, and fully mature.

The Originals Syrah cuvee incorporates only the initial Syrah plantings that Tom Stolpman put into the ground in 1992.  These vines are not only Stolpman’s Original planting, but they are the oldest vines in Ballard Canyon AVA.  The wine made from these vines generated the Syrah-planting fervour which eventually led to the publication of Ballard Canyon AVA – the only appellation in the United States dedicated to the grape Syrah.

Stolpman have always felt that they have a singular opportunity to make opulent, intriguing Roussanne.  Their southern location near 34 degrees latitude gives the Roussanne grapes intense solar radiation to tan the fruit their namesake “Rousse” or Rust colour.  Limestone soils and pacific-influenced cold nights combine to maintain acidity late in the year.  Low humidity and high winds keep the grapes clear of mould and for better or worse, they never get significant rainfall through harvest.  They are able to “wait out” the late-ripening grape until it is perfectly golden and concentrated.  La Cuadrilla make every possible effort in the vineyard to optimise the potential of the Roussanne fruit. In the late summer they pull every leaf away from the fruit to allow for full sun penetration.  Then, about a month prior to harvest, when the sun-exposed side of each cluster tans, but the inside remains green, every grape cluster is gently hand-rotated 180 degrees to facilitate an even sun-tan. They could not make L’Avion without the focus and determination of their full time crew.  Wine destined for L’Avion must go through three cuts.  First, only the two older blocks of Roussanne are eligible for L’Avion.  Then, only the prettiest, evenly “Rousse” - or sun tanned - clusters are selected by La Cuadrilla.  At last, they include only their favourite barrels for L’Avion.  At the end of the day, L’Avion accounts for 25-33% of the total Roussanne production each year. In the late 1930s, teenage cattle rancher Anchor Johnson and his buddies landed their rickety plane down the straight chute where Roussanne is now planted.  The young men would park the plane under the oak tree at the end of the dirt strip.  Roussanne rows now run lengthwise along the old runway, creating the inspiration for the lanes on the L’Avion label.

 

Stolpman Vineyards L'Avion Roussanne 2017

98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “In the late summer, team Stolpman pull every leaf away from the fruit to allow for full sun penetration.  A month prior to harvest, when the sun exposed side of each cluster tans, but the inside remains green, every grape cluster is gently hand rotated 180 degrees to facilitate an even suntan. The focus, determination and attention to detail provides one of the best new world Roussannes, in my opinion. Spiced pear, apple, buttered citrus, tangerine skin, orange blossom and honey unfold majestically from the glass. There’s theatre, with golden hues whilst the viscous intensity grips the side of my glass with all its life. The palate is concentrated, full bodied with waves of honey and buttered fruits covering every facet. There’s a spiciness (fresh ginger) which gently starts at the tip of my tongue and continues to lay a path of warmth all the way back. Intensity is the core of this wine, with minerality and acidity providing some welcome relief. With time, honeysuckle and peach emerge, but so too does the spiciness, which I love. Emphatically long; never-ending to be perfectly honest and will continue to provide an extraordinary wine experience for many years to come. Do not overchill. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware”.

 

"The focus, determination and attention
to detail provides one of the best
new world Roussannes, in my opinion"

 

98-99 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "I adore its aromas, which are truly luxuriant. It hypnotises with a combination of minerals, citrus and toast all-in-one. Ripe yellow limes, orange, buttered citrus with notes of toasted almonds and marzipan. A whiff of smoke completes this sensational perfume beautifully. The palate mirrors the aromas perfectly, which is just what I was hoping for given its spellbinding power. Super textural and utterly mesmerising, it is irresistible today, but I imagine this will only improve if you have enough patience to allow it some time. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux Glass following half hour of decanting"

£35.95 per bottle

 

Stolpman Vineyards Estate Roussanne 2017

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “The bouquet reveals itself with honey, beeswax, melted candle wax, orange blossom and a wonderful floral lift – Smoked minerals develop with more aeration. As expected from Stolpman, the palate feel is luxurious, but the flavours are not overworked. There’s a real northern Rhône feel to the flavour profile and structure with buttered citrus, honey, slight bitter marmalade, honeysuckle and quince laying ribbons of flavour across my palate. There is intensity, but the vineyard’s limestone soils and cold nights provide just the right dose of acidity for perfect control. I find the super long finish particularly interesting as subtle, spiced orchard fruits develop with the presence of fresh, grated ginger… Drinking beautifully today and will do so for at least 5-8 years. Do not overchill – cool, room temperature being ideal. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

97 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Glossy, liquid gold colour and exuberant perfume which makes for a grand entrance. The aroma carries serious floral intensity with honeysuckle and roses intermixed with honeyed pears, Seville orange marmalade and beeswax. The abundance of stone fruit and citrus continues to cascade on the palate with a great bite of orange zest. Textural and layered with unctuous flavours, everything is spot on giving us a harmonious and sensuous experience. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux Glass without decanting."

£23.95 per bottle

 

Stolpman Vineyards Para Maria Red Wine 2017

96+ - 97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “This is simply gorgeous and so appealing straight from the bottle. The bouquet is fabulous with blueberry compote, plum, black cherry, leather, spice and a little dried herbal character. The palate is a real joy and is drinking a lot better than I recall (I first sampled this around 12 months ago). 40% of the Syrah component underwent carbonic maceration which provides a glorious feel of freshness and lifts the wine’s palate feel (such freshness). The fruit is ripe and generous with cherry, blueberry, mulberry and creme de mure – all flowing effortlessly. Graceful, joyous and must be the ‘red wine for the summer garden 2021.’ Irresistible and fabulous value. Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. 80% Syrah / 20% Petit Verdot.”

£21.50 per bottle

 

Stolpman Vineyards La Cuadrilla Red Wine 2018

97 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Pete Stolpman’s assessment is spot on; “A model of the ripe yumminess, the heavenly 2018 vintage will go down in history.” The bouquet offers an impressive concoction of soused cherry and sweet spices along with hypnotic potpourri, vanilla and liquorice. I love the aromatic depth.  The palate is expansive and weightier compared to the Para Maria. Layer upon layer unfold with ripe blue and black fruits – there’s a plumpness and sheen to the fruit with lavender, sweet spices and a little menthol contrasting beautifully. The tannins are silky smooth. Perfectly pure and for twenty-quid, this will leave you weak at the knees. Excellent.  Drink now to 2025. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware. 70% Syrah, 15% Sangiovese, 15% Grenache.”

£21.50 per bottle

 

Stolpman Vineyards Estate Grown Syrah 2017

97++ - 98 Points - Stuart McCloskey “Pete describes this wonderful wine as ‘screamingly delicious’ and yet again, this is a perfect summary. What a wine (it’s incredibly addictive) – the bouquet draws you into a heady mix of super-ripe blueberry compote, the sweetest and most heavenly spray from potpourri, the spicing is sweet and exotic. I love the minerality and sea kelp (a strong sense of marine if you swirl and leave for 30 seconds before inhaling). Hypnotic, in a word and worthy of  100 points. The palate is just a joy with mineral-laced blueberry, red cherry compote and unmistakable floral pastille followed by swathes of sweet spices. Velvety in texture and super-fresh. I implore all lovers of high quality Aussie Shiraz to try this – I bet £100 (donated to charity) that we will not receive one negative review. I am stunned. 98% Syrah 2% Viognier. Decanted for two hours and served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

£25.95 per bottle

 

Stolpman Vineyards Originals Syrah 2013

Jeb Dunnuck (RobertParker.com)  “What's becoming the flagship Syrah for the estate, the 2013 Syrah Originals Estate comes from the original planting of the estate from 1992. It offers more texture, depth, richness and elegance over the Estate Syrah and possesses beautiful notes of creme de cassis, barbecue smoke, crushed pepper and violets. Medium to full-bodied, ripe and textured, yet always pure and balanced, it will have a decade of longevity.”

£39.50 per bottle

 
 

Colgin IX Estate Red Wine 2016 (Case 3x75cl) OWC

100 Points - Lisa Perrotti-Brown (RobertParker.com) “The 2016 IX Proprietary Red Estate is a blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot. Deep garnet-purple, it comes strutting out of the glass with flamboyant Black Forest cake, blueberry compote and plum pudding notions plus hints of spice cake, unsmoked cigars, menthol, licorice and dusty soil and accented by wafts of tar and black tea. The palate is full-bodied yet incredibly poised and vibrant with amazing freshness and very fine-grained, very firm tannins. It possesses the most provocative earthy sparks, providing arresting depth to the very long, beautifully perfumed finish. Stunning”.

 

"It’s another magical wine from
winemaker Allison Tauziet that
just could not be any better."

 

100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck "Another perfect wine is the 2016 IX Estate, which is made from 68% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 10% Merlot and 7% Petit Verdot, all from the hillside vineyard at the estate, high up on Pritchard Hill. It’s another ethereal, pure, seamless wine that does everything right. Huge notes of crème de cassis, ground herbs and tobacco, graphite, chocolate, and spring flower notes all emerge from this full-bodied 2016 that has building tannins, incredible depth of fruit, no hard edges, and a terrific finish. I wrote “wow” three times in my notes on this beauty. Hide bottles for 3-5 years if you can, and it’s capable of lasting for 3-4 decades. It’s another magical wine from winemaker Allison Tauziet that just could not be any better."

£1,370.00 per case IB / £1,652.03 per case DP

 

Colgin IX Estate Syrah 2016 (Case 3x75cl) OWC

100 Points - Jeb Dunnuck “Lastly, the 2016 Syrah IX Estate reminds me of the otherworldly 2010 and is as profound as Syrah gets. Tasting like Guigal’s Côte Rôtie La Mouline (maybe on steroids) with its huge notes of bacon fat, spring flowers, blue fruits, barbecued meats, and incense, it’s full-bodied and massive yet also thrillingly pure, seamless, elegant, and weightless. It’s certainly approachable today yet is going to benefit from 2-4 years of bottle age and keep for two decades.”

£900.00 per case IB / £1,088.03 per case DP

 

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

99 Points - Jeb Dunnuck “The flagship is the 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon mostly from Champoux with the balance from Palengat and Wallula vineyards. Crème de cassis, graphite, black licorice, unsmoked tobacco, and hints of chocolate and emerge from this beauty and it continues to gain depth and nuance with time in the glass. Full-bodied, deep, and layered with an incredible purity and elegance on the palate, it's already accessible but has more than enough tannin, depth, and balance to evolve for two decades or more.”

£181.95 per bottle

 

Gramercy Cellars Lagniappe Syrah 2015 (Case 12x75cl)

98 Points – Jeb Dunnuck “Always one of my favorite releases from this estate, the 2015 Syrah Lagniappe is 100% Syrah (mostly from the Red Willow Vineyard in Yakima, with 5% from the Forgotten Hills Vineyard just south of Walla Walla). Deep ruby/plum-colored and loaded with Côte Rôtie-like (Côte Blonde?) notes of black raspberries, crushed flowers, tapenade, and crushed flowers, this beauty is medium to full-bodied, seamless, and silky on the palate, with incredible finesse and elegance. It's going to benefit from 3-4 years of bottle age and knock your socks off over the following decade or more. It’s unquestionably one of the wines of the vintage.”

£480.00 per case IB / £608.14 per case DP

 

Gramercy Cellars John Lewis Syrah 2015 (Case 12x75cl)

98+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck “Another tour de force, the 2015 Syrah John Lewis offers more lavender, violets, and minerality, as well as incredible black and blue fruits. This peppery, meaty, rich, full-bodied effort has building tannin, awesome purity, and integrated acidity, and it's certainly one of the finest Syrahs in the vintage. It's more tannic than the Lagniappe Cuvée and is going to benefit from short-term cellaring, with two decades of overall longevity. Bravo! This vintage comes from a single block in the Les Collines Vineyard, in Walla Walla, isn’t destemmed, and spends 19 months in 7% new French oak puncheons.”

£710.00 per case IB / £884.14 per case DP

 

Paul Lato "East of Eden" Pisoni Chardonnay 2016

97+ Points - Jeb Dunnuck "Coming from a terrific site located at the southern end of the Santa Lucia Highlands, the 2016 Chardonnay East of Eden Pisoni Vineyard boasts phenomenal notes of ripe citrus and white peach fruits, white flowers, and freshly crushed rocks. It's clean, incredibly pure, and elegant on the palate, with a level of tension and vibrancy you don't find too often in the vintage. I followed this bottle for two days and it only improved with air. It's a brilliant Chardonnay from Lato that’s going to benefit from a year or two of bottle age and age gracefully for a decade or more. Don’t miss it!"

£92.25 per bottle

 
 

Anthill Farms Campbell Ranch Pinot Noir 2018

98+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “Perhaps not the most complex in their collection however, the deep-set flavours satisfy me beyond description. Odd for some to understand, but I have a nostalgic / emotional connection and there is not much more I can add save for, it is comparable to hugging an old friend you haven’t seen for years. The bouquet is breathtaking and evocative with wild strawberry, black raspberry, sweet spice, cedar, pencil wood and orange peel. Scents of autumnal woodland emerge with more aeration. It’s so homely and incredibly inviting – I'm swooning! The palate is perfectly balanced. The fruit is judiciously ripe and balanced with a zip of blood orange acidity and super-fine tannins. The harmony, grace and presence are as attractive as the fruit itself – ethereal and exquisitely defined. Poured with Zalto Burgundy glassware and straight from the bottle. Decant if you wish (one hour will suffice). Exceptional now but has the potential to age for 8-10 years. Unquestionably, my favourite and most sustaining Pinot Noir in 2020…”

 

"Unquestionably, my favourite and
most sustaining Pinot Noir in 2020"

 

98 Points - Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Sampled after decanting. Beautiful perfume oozes from the glass, alluring and almost exotic. Strawberries, wild forest fruit with a dusting of spice and a great citrus lift. Although young, the palate shows incredible texture with summer fruits infused with sweet spice and filigree tannins. What a beautifully crafted Pinot Noir – sensuous, lively and so effortless. The expectations here were high given my fond memories of the 2012, 2013 and the superb 2014 vintage. What a brilliant Campbell Ranch! I’m impressed."

£45.50 per bottle

 

Anthill Farms Campbell Ranch Syrah 2018

94-97 Points - Antonio Galloni  "One of the stars in this range, the 2018 Syrah Campbell Ranch is exceptionally beautiful. Inky, unctuous, spice, lavender and menthol infuse the 2018 with tons of flavor complexity, but it is the wine's textural richness that stands out most. The 2018 is simply dazzling. That's all there is to it."

£36.95 per bottle

Anthill Farms Baker Ranch Pinot Noir 2018

94-96 Points - Antonio Galloni "The 2018 Pinot Noir Baker Ranch is another stellar wine in this range from Anthill Farms. Exotic spice, star anise, blood orange, mint, incense, and succulent red cherry notes all run through the 2018. Deep, dense and creamy, with tremendous fruit richness, the Baker Ranch is vivid and wonderfully complete."

£45.50 per bottle

 

Anthill Farms Anderson Valley Pinot Noir 2013

Winemaker "With this Pinot, we look to create a food-friendly, nuanced wine that represents the unique character of the Anderson Valley. Somewhat remote from most of Northern California’s wine-growing districts, this valley shelters a surprisingly harmonious blend of the wild and the civilized: in one vista, one can see sheep ranches, redwood groves, apple orchards, and impenetrable oak scrub."

£35.50 per bottle

Anthill Farms Comptche Ridge Pinot Noir 2018

94-96 Points - Antonio Galloni "Another stellar wine in this range, the 2018 Pinot Noir Comptche Ridge is fabulous. In this vintage, the Comptche Ridge is a bit richer and deeper than it has been, while avoiding some of the austerity this wine can show. Beguiling in its aromatics and finely sculpted, the 2018 is marvelously complex. There is plenty of tannin, and the acids are bright (as they are for all these wines), but the 2018 is deep and so multi-faceted. It will appeal most to readers who enjoy taut, structured reds."

£45.50 per bottle

 

Anthill Farms Harmony Lane Pinot Noir 2018

94-96 Points - Antonio Galloni "The 2018 Pinot Noir Harmony Lane is one of the most complete, arrestingly beautiful wines I have ever tasted from Anthill Farms. Dark, rich and unctuous, the 2018 possesses notable depth and yet it remains translucent, nuanced and super-expressive. The 50% whole clusters are not especially evident. Lavender, mint and blue/purplish fruit infuse this exquisitely layered, inviting Pinot."

£48.50 per bottle

Anthill Farms Hawk Hill Pinot Noir 2018

93-95 points - Antonio Galloni "The 2018 Pinot Noir Hawk Hill is one of the more refined wines in this range. Crushed flowers, sweet red berries, mint, chalk and blood orange give this mid-weight Pinot striking aromatic presence. Understated, vibrant and classy, the 2018 is so finessed and so sculpted. It is one of my favorites in this range.

£45.50 per bottle

 

Anthill Farms Peters
Syrah 2016

Winemakers notes "Much like the 2016 Campbell Syrah, the aromas of the Peters are monumental. Violet, lavender, tar with added notes of green peppercorn and baking spices show off in the aromas. Here there is more precision and penetrating flavors. A wine with deep and intense flavors, it remains light on its feet thanks to this cool coastal site’s high acids and rounded tannins."

£32.50 per bottle

Anthill Farms Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir 2016

Antonio Galloni "The 2016 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast) is endowed with terrific depth in this vintage. Beautifully expressive and resonant, the 2016 offers notable richness in its succulent red cherry, plum and spice nuances. This open-knit, juicy Pinot will drink well with minimal cellaring. This is a fabulous appellation-level Pinot."

£32.95 per bottle

 
 

JC's Own Sierra Nevada Foothills Pinot Noir 2016

Jaysen Collins "I'm going to be honest, winemaking was not my first choice of career - I'm a frustrated 5"7 wannabe point guard that had dreams of making it as a basketballer in the NBA. If only I was another foot taller I kept telling myself.

What's this got to do with wine you ask? I've always wanted to spend some time in the USA amongst the basketball culture, see some games, buy some pimped out shoes - but life in general sometimes delays these goals. In 2015 I finally got to spend an extended amount of time on an amazing holiday property in California, right amongst the Sierra Nevada range. I have travelled back every year since and have come to know this vineyard like a second home.

This site well away from the razzle dazzle of the Napa. Exposed limestone, 2,000 feet above sea level - a bit foreign to my Barossa home. So I was able to grab a tonne of Pinot Noir and have a bash at something different. So I kept it simple - 100% whole bunches, foot stomped, large oak ageing and into a bottle. So I've brought back with me a bit of a reminder of home away from home."

£21.50 per bottle

9 bottles remain

 

JC's Own Sierra Nevada Foothills Chardonnay 2018

97+ Points - Stuart McCloskey “A mere 552 bottles produced which, and save for our small offering, the remainder of his barrel is sold out. The bouquet is fascinating and I am scratching my head to pinpoint the exact aromatics (given the kaleidoscopic range on display). Citrus, yuzu, salt / saline, minerals fall into breathtaking jasmine. Vivid, immaculate and so, so pure… As planned, there is noticeable phenolic grip but the overriding texture glides on a sheet of silk. The flavours range from a delicate floralness, a little green apple, citrus peel, pangs of grapefruit, chalk and a lovely, warming sense of freshly grated ginger which lasts for minutes. The palate feel is outstanding, fresh and beautifully balanced. So vivid and full of energy… This beauty served with a large bowl of fresh west coast langoustine and lemon mayonnaise would be nirvana. Do not overchill. Drink from now to 2028. Served using Zalto Bordeaux glassware.”

 

"The palate feel is outstanding,
fresh and beautifully balanced.
So vivid and full of energy"

 

97 Points – Magdalena Sienkiewicz "Impressively poised perfume filled with pears, citrus and delicate floral notes. Much more sophisticated than I was expecting from the region of heat-loving Zinfandel and Syrah. But the foothills of the Sierra Nevada mountains also benefit from higher altitude and cool nights, which makes many pockets of their hilly slopes a perfect home for Chardonnay. The palate is much softer and less grippy when compared to JC’s Lobethal Chardonnay, but nevertheless, it carries great structure. Supple textures flow gracefully with juicy pears and limes, while a touch of ginger warms the palate gently on the finish. JC’s non-conformist spirit shows in what is clearly another exciting wine in his curious line-up. Sampled using Zalto Bordeaux glassware without decanting."

£27.50 per bottle

 
 
 

Ridge Lytton Estate Petite Sirah 2016

Antonio Galloni (Vinous.com) “The 2016 Petite Syrah Lytton Springs is another fabulous wine in this range. Dense and powerful, the 2016 is endowed with striking depth and tons of character. The Petite tannins are nicely tamed in a wine that offers superb quality and pedigree. Creme de cassis, graphite, lavender and mint are front and center. The 2016 remains quite primary though, so readers need to be patient.”

James Suckling "This exuberant variety is tamed into a very composed and polished style with an array of ripe red plums, mulberries and boysenberries. Super chalky and crunchy tannins here. This is a superb wine. Pure petite sirah. Drink or hold."

Was £42.95

Now £37.95 per bottle

 

Cristom Vineyards Estate Viognier 2016

The 2016 Cristom Vineyards Estate Viognier exhibits the pure, and nearly textbook, characteristics of this varietal, with aromas of orange blossoms, honeysuckle, clover, and anise as well as the ripe fruit aromas of peach, apricot, and lychee. Slightly viscous on the palate, with bright and mouth watering acidity that support the fruit structure of the wine, it is well integrated and perfectly balanced.

£28.50 per bottle

15 bottles remain

 

Varner Wines Amphitheater Block Chardonnay 2013

95 Points - Antonio Galloni "Varner's Chardonnay Amphitheater Block is rich, ample and super-expressive. Lemon peel, almonds, chamomile, earthiness, dried apricot and sage meld together effortlessly. The 2013 Amphitheater is a classic Varner Chardonnay built on phenolic intensity and plenty of savory/floral notes that add nuance, while the fruit is pushed a bit into the background."

£42.95 per bottle

 

Raen Freestone Occidental Pinot Noir
Bodega Vineyard 2015

95 Points - Antonio Galloni "The 2015 Bodega (Freestone Occidental) is the deepest and richest of these wines but it has somehow achieved all of that intensity while retaining its translucent personality and feel. Lavender, violet, plum and an array of blue stone fruit flavors give the Bodega its distinctly dark profile. At the same time, the 2015 is endowed with remarkable aromatic freshness and nuance. The whole clusters are evident, but also beautifully woven into the wine's fabric."

Was £99.95

Now £89.25 per bottle

14 bottles remain

 

Raen Fort Ross Seaview Pinot Noir
Home Field Vineyard 2015

95 Points - Antonio Galloni "A wine of total allure, the 2015 Home Field (Fort Ross Seaview) is also the brightest of the three Pinots in the range. Sweet red cherry, raspberry, pomegranate, blood orange and chalk are some of the many notes that run through the 2015. Bright, tense and salivating, the 2015 possesses terrific energy, with beams of underpinning salinity that drive the wine forward. This is another captivating wine from Raen."

Was £99.95

Now £89.25 per bottle

7 bottles remain