|DOMESTIC90 Wente Vineyards 2006 Chardonnay, Riva Ranch, Arroyo Seco, Monterey ($18)
Burnished, toasty and smooth with silky texture and bright acidity; lovely flavors and balance. 93 Chateau Ste. Michelle 2007 Eroica Riesling, Columbia Valley ($22)
Made in partnership with Ernst Loosen, pure with searing fruit acidity; lime, peach and gorgeous fruit; certainly the best Riesling made in the US. STIMSON LANE VINEYARDS & ESTATES90 Foxen Vineyard 2006 Chardonnay, Tinaquaic Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley ($34)
Dry-farmed; concentrated and rich with ripe fruit and complex balance. 90 Spencer Roloson Winery 2006 Viognier, Noble Vineyard, Knights Valley ($34)
Spicy and aromatic with lovely texture, juicy and forward apple and peach fruit; vibrant. 93 Morlet Family 2006 Proportion d'Orée, Sonoma County ($60)
Silky and luscious with creamy fruit, subtle oak, spice and softly pronounced acidity; 66% Semillon, 32% Sauvignon Blanc, 2% Muscadelle.
MILLENNIUM WINE GROUP/WEST COAST WINES92 Snows Lake Vineyard 2004 Two, Red Hills Vineyard, Lake County ($38)
Balanced and fresh with lovely fruit and a nice long finish; 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Cabernet Franc.91 O'Brien Estate 2005 Seduction, Napa Valley ($40)
Ripe plum and berry fruit; silky, long and nicely structured; Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot.90 Star Lane 2005 Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Ynez Valley ($50)
Luscious with lovely sweet new oak, rich plum and blackberry fruit; dense with notes of chocolate and spice.93 Flora Springs 2004 Trilogy, Napa Valley ($65)
Ripe plum and berry fruit and excellent structure; a well-crafted and delicious Bordeaux-style blend. 94 Quintessa 2005 Rutherford, Napa Valley ($135)
Another winner from this Napa super-premium; rich and spiced with velvety texture and a firm acid structure; elegant, balanced and built to last.IMPORTS88 Pio Cesare 2007 Arneis, Langhe, Italy ($NA)
Bright and creamy with tropical fruit, smooth texture and lovely balance; long, juicy and fresh.
MAISONS MARQUES & DOMAINES89 Mount Nelson 2007 Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough, New Zealand ($16)
An Antinori family project in New Zealand; bright with gooseberry, spice and citrus; tangy and fresh with lovely texture and vibrant fruit. [TWISTY]
VINTUS88 Adegas d’Altamira 2006 Brandal Albariño, Rías Baixas, Spain ($17)
Fresh, clean and aromatic with lively peach, minerals and balance; bright and charming.
QUINTESSENTIAL89 Giovanni Almondo 2006 Arneis, Ciliegie, Roero Arneis, Italy ($27)
Very clean with citrus and tangy acidity; long, pure and juicy with a focused linear finish.
MICHAEL SKURNIK WINES90 La Chablisienne 2006 Chablis Premier Cru Côte de Léchet, France ($30)
Very pure, with a core of minerals and tangy acidity; clean, focused and long with charm and finesse.
MONSIEUR HENRI91 Bodegas Ateca 2006 Atteca Old Vines Garnacha, Calatayud, Spain ($17)
Ripe blackberry fruit; bright and juicy with vanilla and tangy acidity; intense and gorgeous.
FINE ESTATES FROM SPAIN 92 Vistalba 2004 Corte A, Mendoza, Argentina ($45)
40% Malbec, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Bonarda from a vineyard planted in 1928; rich black raspberry, blueberry plus notes of chocolate and smoke; velvety and balanced with lovely gentle grip.
SAN FRANCISCO WINE EXCHANGE94 Two Hands 2006 Shiraz, Bella’s Garden, Barossa, Australia ($60)
Dark and dense with rich blackberry and notes of vanilla, cinnamon and spice; concentrated and quite remarkable.
TERLATO WINES INTERNATIONAL90 Domaine du Mas Blanc 2006 Banyuls Rimage La Coume, France ($65)
A dense Grenache-based vin doux showing tobacco, spice and ripe plum flavors; silky and balanced. [TWISTY]
VINEYARD BRANDS93 Tenuta di Arceno 2004 Arcanum II, Toscana, Italy ($95)
Plummy and juicy with dense tannins and rich structure; complex and lifted; built to age for decades; 90% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Cabernet Franc.
JACKSON WINE ESTATES INTL.ROSÉS88 La Vieille Ferme 2007 Côtes du Ventoux, France ($9)
Fresh and racy with lovely rose color, tangy with strawberry and raspberry fruit; juicy, long and bright. [TWISTY]
VINEYARD BRANDS88 Château de Pampelonne 2007 Côtes de Provence, France ($13)
Notes of sweet strawberry balanced by snappy acidity; glowing and lively.
ANGELES WINE AGENCY88 Yangarra 2007 Single Vineyard Rosé, McLaren Vale, Australia ($15)
Made using the saignée method; a rich rose color with clean and lovely berry fruit and fresh acidity. [TWISTY]
JACKSON WINE ESTATES INTL.88 Macari Vineyards 2007 Rosé, North Fork of Long Island ($15)
Dry, juicy and fresh with lively acidity, a little spritz and clean, snappy flavors; 85% Cabernet Franc, 15% Merlot.
VALUE AND BY-THE-GLASS RECOMMENDATIONS88 José Maria da Fonseca 2007 Twin Vines Vinho Verde, Portugal ($9)
Spritzy, crisp and bright with lively citrus and apple fruit; fresh and long. [TWISTY]
PALM BAY IMPORTS88 Stellina di Notte 2006 Pinot Grigio delle Venezie, Italy ($10)
Smooth with a core of juicy, ripe fruit; aromatic melon and apple flavors and a luscious mouth feel.
DIAGEO CHATEAU & ESTATES88 Dynamite Vineyards 2006 Sauvignon Blanc, Kelsey Creek Vineyard, Lake County ($11)
Buttery and floral with bright acidity and juicy apple fruit; rich yet fresh.
DIAGEO CHATEAU & ESTATES88 Lockwood Vineyard 2006 Chardonnay, Monterey ($14)
Juicy, fresh and clean with racy acidity and bright fruit; balanced and lively. 88 Robert Mondavi 2006 Solaire Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands ($15)
Ripe with lush texture and nice tangy acidity; clean and long with balance and style.
CONSTELLATION88 Banfi 2006 Col di Sasso, Toscana, Italy ($10)
Spicy, racy and fresh with bright plum and berry fruit; simple yet charming; 30% Sangiovese, 70% Cabernet Sauvignon. [TWISTY]
BANFI VINTNERS89 Veramonte 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon, Reserva, Colchagua Valley, Chile ($12)
Unusual notes of green in among the plum and berry fruit notes; lush and nicely made with juicy acidity.
CONSTELLATION88 Michel Torino 2007 Malbec, Cuma, Salta, Argentina ($14)
A lovely and mellow organic wine; smooth and fresh with youthful, spiced plum and soft tannins.
FREDERICK WILDMAN AND SONS91 Bodega Tres Sueños 2005 Sexto, Terra Alta, Spain ($15)
Laely Heron’s six-variety (mostly Garnacha) Spanish blend is searing and nervy with ripe plum and blackberry fruit; modern in style with stunning balance.
92 360 Vodka, USA ($29)
Made to be eco-friendly, this vodka is smooth with silky vanilla and meringue; lush and creamy with spice and lovely texture.
MCCORMICK DISTILLING 92 Orzel Vodka, Poland ($35)
Smooth and silky with very mellow flavors; dry, long and light with a lush balance and finish.
HERITAGE BRANDS92 Xellent Vodka, Switzerland ($40)
Delicate with soft hints of fruit and a lush texture; lots of vanilla and creamy yet dry, clean, fresh and quite elegant.
PATERNO IMPORTS88 Cockspur Fine Rum, Barbados ($20)
Medium amber color; lovely toasted oak and molasses nose; silky and dry with nice brown sugar flavors; spicy and balanced
HOOD RIVER DISTILLERS94 Armazem Vieira Onix Cachaça, Brazil ($90)
Creamy and smooth with sweet, rich, complex flavors; lush, elegant and aromatic.
Ripe agave with notes of toasted oak; soft, mellow, clean and showing vanilla and spice; rich, smooth and lovely.
90 Cane Cachaça, Brazil ($28)
Leafy, smooth and earthy with vegetal notes; basic, fresh and thrilling with lovely purity and balance.
U.S. CACHAÇA TRADE COUNCIL100 Bowmore 42 Year Old Single Malt Scotch ($4500)
It’s 10 minutes later and I can still taste it; you wouldn’t believe what the empty glass smells like. The darkest whisky I have ever seen—haunting, voluptuous, toasted and offering rich Islay smoke, chocolate, tamarind and coffee; incredibly complex and intense.
SKYY SPIRITS92 Alexander Grappa di Moscato, Italy ($38)
Spicy and bright with notes of lemon and sweet fruit; smooth and mellow with complex flavors.
PALM BAY IMPORTS96 Frapin Cognac Extra Grand Champagne, France ($577)
Smooth and luscious with intensity and complexity; incredibly long, silky and spicy with soft, lush texture and toasty vanilla and spice notes; warming, elegant, deep and subtle yet powerful.
PALM BAY IMPORTSBLUE REVIEWS FEATURETTEAce of Champagnes
The Cattier Champagne house in Chigny-les-Roses dates back 200 years, but it wasn’t until Jay-Z’s “Show Me What You Got” video in 2006 that the U.S. caught the Cattier buzz. In the video, Jay-Z sends back a bottle of Cristal in exchange for a bottle of Cattier’s newest brand, Armand de Brignac. Jay-Z certainly has great taste; the Armand de Brignac champagnes are delicious. Its vineyards are rated premier cru, and the cellars are also among the oldest and deepest in the Champagne region.
One of Champagne’s elite families, the Cattiers have been making wine in the Marne region since the 1700s. These new prestige cuvée champagnes are a labor of love for the family. They are the product of senior Cattier, Jean-Jacques, who has worked at the winery for the past 35 years as its “resident connoisseur,” and his son Alexandre, who has taken the role of winemaker. There is no Cattier family member named Armand as of yet, but rumor has it there may be one on the way. (The brand name was made up by the family in mid-20th century, based on a character in a novel.)
These champagnes are easily recognized by their glimmering metallic “Ace of Spades” bottles, which make quite a statement tableside. In addition to the gold brut bottle, the Cattier family has recently added silver blanc de blanc and pink rosé bottles to the lineup. These champagnes are definitely a class act.
Cattier champagnes are imported by Sovereign Brands.95 Armand de Brignac NV Brut Gold Champagne ($300)
Made from 25% reserve wine; creamy and very elegant with delicate mousse and luscious fruit; exquisite and extremely refined with a seductive finish. 94 Armand de Brignac NV Blanc de Blancs Champagne ($500)
Fragrant and elegant, long, refined and stunning with bright flavors and a pinpoint mousse.
94 Armand de Brignac NV Rosè Champagne ($500)
Delicate salmon color; strawberry, raspberry and very elegant acidity and fruit that fills the mouth; great style, finesse and breeding.