Weekend Vinopolpick – Cabernet Sauvignon

June 28, 2014
Cabernet Sauvignon around the World
Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the most popular and widely grown wine grapes, despite being a relative baby among varietals.  It began as a natural, spontaneous crossing of Cabernet Franc and Sauvignon Blanc in Bordeaux during the 17th century.  In 1997, UC Davis Professor Carole Meredith confirmed its parentage by DNA profiling.  Since the infamous 1976 Judgment of Paris, when a high-end California Cabernet beat a top-growth Bordeaux in a blind tasting, Cabernet has taken off beyond Bordeaux in both the New World and Old as a varietal wine or a blending partner for other traditional and non-traditional grapes. Unlike other varietals that struggle to create great wine outside of their region of origin, such as Nebbiolo, Cabernet is known for its ability to retain its basic character in new regions.Cabernet Sauvignon has only grown in fame and popularity since it was first developed.  There are several important traits that contribute to its popularity.  The vine does well in many climates and can produce high yields, making it a fairly easy to grow varietal.  Good producers limit the yields through vineyard techniques to produce more concentrated and complex wines.  The vine does best in warm climates with poor, well-draining soils such as the gravelly soils of the Medoc in Bordeaux.  The grapes have thick skins and tiny berries.  Not only does this make it resistant to many pests, but the high skin to juice ratio is the main reason for its high tannin content, powerful structure and rich aromatics.  Although young Cabernet Sauvignon wines have very appealing aromas, usually described as being similar to blackcurrants, violets and graphite, their chemical composition, tannin and acidity make many examples excellent candidates for long-term aging.  With several years in bottle, these wines can develop rich and complex bouquets often describes as having cigar box or spice notes.  It takes extremely well to oak aging, in both new and old oak, which helps impart further complexity in younger wine and when aged.Cabernet Sauvignon is often blended with other classic Bordeaux grapes, such as Merlot and Cabernet Franc, or with local grape varietals such as Sangiovese in Tuscany.  In the Medoc and Pessac Leognan, Cabernet Sauvignon usually plays the starring role.  The region provides an ideal growing situation with a moderate and warm climate, long growing season, and well-draining poor soils.  All of the First Growth Bordeaux properties use the grape as a significant portion of their top wine.  When playing backup in a blend, Cabernet Sauvignon enriches the tannic structure and body of lighter wines and adds dark berry aromas and increased aging potential.Cabernet helped the New World wine growing regions gain prominence after the Judgment of Paris.  Today, Napa and Sonoma in California as well as Walla Walla and the Columbia Valley in Washington State are producing fine and long-lived examples of this wine.  Free of traditional rules dictating what grape varietals a winemaker can use in blends, these areas produce many different styles including varietal wines, classic Bordeaux-style blends, and blends with grapes such as Syrah.  Around the same time as the Judgment, some Italian wine growers began increasing their use of this non-traditional varietal in an effort to make better quality wine.  Some producers gained popularity internationally for their use of Cabernet, often blended with Sangiovese.  Italy eventually relaxed some of its winemaking regulations to allow producers to experiment.  The IGT category was developed for producers wishing to create wines outside of their traditional region’s rule (while still labeling wines by varietal, vintage and producer which is not allowed under the broader Vino da Tavola category) and some DOC requirements were relaxed to allow the inclusion of small amounts of non-traditional grapes and arguably create better quality wines.

Sometimes a spice, sometimes a star – Cabernet Sauvignon is grown around the world.  We are featuring several of its expressions with a special focus on its home region of Bordeaux, its adopted state of California, and other exciting regions that grow it.


Araujo Estate Eisele Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2010 ($449.95) $379 special, 36 bottles available
Robert Parker 98 points
“Araujo’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Eisele Vineyard is a picture perfect example of the year. Vibrant, precise and beautifully chiseled, the 2010 boasts serious depth and concentration. The aromas and flavors are incredibly vivid in this textured, dazzling Cabernet Sauvignon. Hints of dark blue and black fruit, mocha, espresso and grilled herbs flesh out on the huge finish. Today the 2010 is unusually open, but it is almost certain to shut down in bottle over the next 6-12 months. The 2010 is a super-classic Eisele Cabernet Sauvignon from Araujo. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2035”

Arrowood Vineyards Reserve Speciale Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley 2002 ($119.95) $79 special, 21 bottles available
Robert Parker 96 points (
2002 retrospective in 2012) “Made from the estate’s finest fruit and aged 23 or more months in a combination of French and American oak, it comes from multiple sources in Sonoma, including the Monte Rosso Vineyard (now owned by Gallo). A wine of great stature and richness, it boasts an inky/ruby/purple color along with a stunning bouquet of loamy, dusty soil, lead pencil shavings, rème de cassis, kirsch liqueur, licorice and barrique smells. Full-bodied and opulent, with some tannin still to be shed, it is a classic, All-American style of northern California Cabernet Sauvignon that is approaching middle adolescence. It has another 20-25 years of life left. Bravo! Richard Arrowood sold his winery to Kendall Jackson and thus is no longer responsible for the Arrowood wines. However, he did make the 2002 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Speciale, which is a fabulous effort.”

Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County 2009 ($27.95) $18 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 89 points
“The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon packs serious punch. Juicy dark berries, plums, raspberry jam, grilled herbs, tobacco, cedar and sweet spices jump from the glass. The 2009 opens up beautifully with a little air. The style remains hearty and at times a bit rustic, but there is nevertheless plenty to admire here. The 2009 is predominantly Sonoma Valley fruit (85%) and includes a dollop of Petit Verdot and Cabernet Franc. This is an exceptional level of quality for a wine with a production level in excess of 10,000 cases.”

Atalon Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2010 ($34.95) $24 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Enthusiast 92 points, Wine Advocate 91 points
“Atalon’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is fleshy and generous, with plenty of fruit and terrific overall balance, not to mention considerable early appeal. Hints of tobacco, dried herbs and incense add complexity on the finish. This is a very solid wine for the money. The 2010 is 76% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 5% Malbec and 3% Petite Verdot, 1% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2021.” WA

Au Sommet Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2009 ($299.95) $149 special, 3+ cases available
Robert Parker 93 points
“The 2009 Au Sommet is a bit lighter on its feet than the 2008. Sweet, silky tannins frame the fruit. Unlike the 2008, the 2009 is not particularly wild or exotic. Instead, it is a wine that stands out for its textural finesse and understated personality. This mid-weight, gracious Cabernet Sauvignon should be cellared for another year or two and enjoyed over the following decade. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024”

Beaulieu Vineyard BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2009 ($99.95) $79 special, 22 bottles available
Wine Spectator 93 points
“Bold, rich and concentrated, focused on a dense core of blackberry, cherry, red and black licorice. Firmly tannic and chewy, with subtle earthy notes at the foundation. Best from 2014 through 2026”

Beaulieu Vineyard BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2010 ($119.95) $79 special, 3+ cases available
Antonio Galloni 94 points
(Wine Advocate): “[$125 list] The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve is a drop-dead gorgeous beauty. Freshly cut flowers, mint, spices, licorice and graphite all burst from the glass as the 2010 shows off its personality. While some of Beaulieu’s 2010s are ripe and flashy, the Georges de Latour is wonderfully fresh and alive in the glass, not to mention absolutely classic in feel. Graphite, violets and pencil shavings linger on the close. The 2010 has captured every bit of the potential I sensed last year. Drink: 2016-2030. (Nov 2013)”
Robert Parker 93 points: “[$125 list] The strongest vintage since the 2007 is the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve Georges de Latour. This beautifully ripe wine boasts a dense ruby/purple color along with abundant notes of cassis, kirsch, cedarwood, foresty and background vanilla notes, a full-bodied mouthfeel, and moderately high tannins. Given the richer fruit concentration, the tannins are easily balanced and do not interfere with currant drinkability or the potential for the wine to be cellared for two decades or more. (Oct 2013)” 93 POINTS Wine Spectator: “[$125 list] Delightfully pure and flavorful, with generous plum, blueberry and blackberry notes, framed by solid yet friendly tannins. Most impressive on the finish, where the flavors sail on. Best from 2014 through 2025. (11/15/13)”

Caymus Vineyards 40th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2012 ($69.95) $59 special, 17 bottles available

Cliff Lede Vineyards Poetry Cabernet Sauvignon, Stags Leap District 2009 ($179.95) $149 special, 1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 94-96 points “Lede’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Poetry is marvelous in its completeness. An expressive, open bouquet melds into dark cherries, plums, spices and minerals. Firm yet well-integrated tannins frame a finish defined by superb textural finesse. The blend is 75% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Cabernet Franc, 9% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot and 2% Malbec. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024”

Diamond Creek Red Rock Terrace Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2011 ($199.95) $159 special, 7 bottles available

Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 11 ($199.95) $159 special, 11 bottles available

Dominus Estate Christian Moueix, Napa Valley 2011 ($179.95) $149 special, 18 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 94 points “Savory herbs, menthol, smoke and licorice are some of the aromas that open up in the glass in the 2011 Dominus. This is a relatively immediate, expressive Dominus with plenty of near-term appeal. The style is open and succulent for the year, with lovely balance and poise. Crushed rose petals and dried herbs linger in the close. With time in the glass, the 2011 fleshes out nicely. In 2011 Dominus is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc… As always, I tasted two bottles of each wine; the first was double decanted about 18 hours in advance, the other opened shortly before the tasting. I consistently preferred the double decanted bottles, and suggest readers follow the same approach when drinking these wines young.”

Dunn Vineyards Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon 2006 1.5L ($249.95) $219 special, 11 magnums available
Wine Advocate 95 points
“The 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain is big, dark and juicy. There is an element of wildness that runs through the wine. Graphite, licorice, tar and smoke are just some of the nuances that add complexity. The 2006 boasts superb purity from start to finish. Elements of fleshiness give the impression the 2006 might drink well relatively early, until the massive tannins set in. Floral notes add freshness on the finish. This is another fabulous wine from Randy Dunn. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2036.”

Girard Artistry, Napa Valley 2009 ($39.95) $33 special, 3 bottles available
Winemaker’s note:
“The 2009 Artistry has aromas of toasted hazelnuts and festive Christmas spices. Boysenberries and currants saturate the palate aside flavors of exotic bing cherries. Well-structured tannins round out this vintage with a beautiful, tobacco and spice finish.  56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc, 11% Petite Verdot, 10% Merlot, 8% Malbec.”

Kapcsandy Family Winery State Lane Vineyard Grand-Vin Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2009 1.5L ($899.95) $679 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Advocate 98 points
“The 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Grand Vin opens with the most beguiling bouquet imaginable. Freshly cut flowers, mint, cinnamon and licorice all make an appearance as this vivid, beautifully delineated wine opens up in the glass. A model of total finesse and elegance, the 2009 wraps around the palate with what feels like endless layers of aromas and flavors. This totally seamless, polished Cabernet Sauvignon is virtually impossible to resist today, but it will be even better in another few years. The 2009 is 96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 3% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2039. Kapcsandy’s 2009s have developed beautifully over the last year.”

Newton Vineyard Red Label Claret, Napa Valley 2010 ($21.95) $16 special, 3+ cases available
Winemaker’s note:
“Mocha, espresso, hints of oak and predominant dark red cherry aromas are the signature of the 2010 Claret. Its expressive red fruit flavors on the palate are balanced with its impressive tannin structure that is bold but not aggressive.  The 2010 Claret is a wine that begs to be paired with food because it is so versatile. Anything cooked on the grill, from flank steak to zucchini tossed in olive oil and chopped oregano to barbecued chicken will find its match with Claret.  66% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petit Verdot.”

Opus One Proprietary Red Napa Valley 2010 ($249.95) $219 special, 6 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 97 points
“One of the highlights among the more recent releases, the 2010 Opus One is flat-out gorgeous. Dark cherries, plums, graphite, cassis and pencil shavings are all woven together in a fabric of notable class and elegance. The 2010 stands out for its exceptional minerality, tension and pure power. Readers will have to be patient. This is a picture perfect rendering of this great Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon vintage.”

Ramey Wine Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2010 ($59.95) $51.90 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Advocate 94 points
“Ramey’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is a spherical wine with all of its elements in place. Mocha, espresso, blackberries, incense and graphite all come together in a wine that impresses for its exceptional overall balance. White flowers, cloves and asphalt all develop later, lending an element of exoticism that is simply compelling. The 2010 is a blend of valley floor and hillside fruit. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2030….In my mind, Ramey is one of the top wineries in the United States. Readers who aren’t familiar with these wines owe it to themselves to check them out.”

Ramey Wine Cellars Claret, Napa Valley 2011 ($39.95) $33 special, 11 bottles available
Robert Parker 89-91 points
“The 2011 Claret is round, fresh, fruity and soft. It is a competently made red to drink with a steak or stew over the next 3-4years. David Ramey has long had one of the most impressive resumes for any California winemaker. He worked at Chateau Petrus in Bordeaux and for Christian Moueix at Dominus. He also consulted and worked for a number of high end Napa Valley wineries….Ramey’s early experience was primarily with Bordeaux varietals, so it’s not surprising that he continues to do a stunning job with his assortment of Bordeaux-based wines. As one might expect, the 2011s are soft, easy-to-drink efforts that many consumers may find more appealing than the 2010s, which are much bigger, richer and more classic.”
61% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, 10$ Syrah, 2% Cabernet France

Ramey Wine Cellars Pedregal Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Oakville 2010 ($219.95) $199 special, 9 bottles available
Robert Parker 98 points
“As usual, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Pedregal Vineyard is a fabulous effort. The debut vintage of this cuvee was 2004, which is still quite young (I recently rated it 95). From the Oakville appellation, it is aged in 100% new Taransaud barrels, but sadly, only about 260 cases are made. The 2010 boasts beautiful notes of fruitcake, espresso roast, chocolate and black currants in its complex, full-bodied, concentrated, multi-dimensional personality. There is a huge up-side to this beauty as the tannins have not yet fully resolved. Give it another few years of bottle age and drink it over the following two decades or more.”

Chateau Souverain Cabernet Sauvignon North Coast 2010 ($17.95) $9.90 special, 20 bottles available
Winemaker’s notes:
“Deep ruby-purple in color, this Cabernet boasts bright and vivid aromas of roasted vanilla, mocha and baking spices which meet elegant layers of blackberry and ripe cherry flavors. The full mouth feel is extracted and rich and framed by thick mouth coating tannins. The fully balanced fruit, tannins and acidity, lead to a juicy and lengthy finish.”

Stonestreet Alexander Mountain Estate Legacy Red, Alexander Valley 2008 ($69.95) $51.90 special, 12 bottles available
Robert Parker 93 points
“A blend of 84% Cabernet Sauvignon and the rest Cabernet Franc, Malbec, Petit Verdot and Merlot made by Graham Weerts, this beauty reveals a deep purple hue along with abundant notes of blueberries, black currants and crushed rocks intertwined with toast and earth. It possesses superb purity, silky tannins and a concentrated, intense mouthfeel. It should drink well for two decades or more.”
Vintager Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma 2005 ($24.95) $19 special, 10 bottles available
Importer note
“Blackened barrel edition.  Only 380 cases produced.  The vineyards are impossibly remote, but the 2005 season was abundant and yielded excellent fruit. In addition the exceptional weather during the harvest period allowed the grapes to develop to its optimal ripeness and structure.  Toasted oak releases the vanilla and softens the tannins needed to balance the concentrated black cherries and dark chocolate flavors.  After almost a decade this wine is drinking beautifully.”


Amavi Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, Walla Walla Valley 2011 ($29.95) $26 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Fresh and vibrant, this is tightly wound around fine tannins, offering a generous burst of currant and plum fruit, hinting at clove and pepper as the finish lingers harmoniously. Drink now through 2021.”

Betz Family Winery Pere de Famille Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2011 ($79.95) $66 special, 5 bottles available
Stephen Tanzer 94 (+?) points
“(blended with 9% petit verdot and 3% merlot): Good bright red-ruby. Musky red berries, licorice, thyme, rosemary and pepper on the scented nose. Creamy-sweet, suave and deep but at the same time precise and youthful, offering lovely perfumed flavors of red berries, cocoa powder (from the Taransaud oak?) and anise. Very intensely flavored cabernet with terrific lift and aromatic persistence and remarkably suave, dusty tannins. Betz describes 2011 as a year with lower total polyphenols, higher acidity and lower pHs than 2010.”

Long Shadows Pirouette, Columbia Valley 2011 ($59.95) $46.60 special, 5 bottles available
53% Cabernet Sauvignon, 23% Merlot, 15% Petit Verdot, 5% Cabernet Franc and 4% Malbec from Candy Mountain, Dionysus, StoneTree and Red Mountain. 75% new French Oak

Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2011 ($249.95) $199 special, 3 bottles available
Winemaker’s note:
“The 2011 Quilceda Creek Cabernet Sauvignon Columbia Valley is a very rich, ripe and concentrated wine with a liqueur-like texture and weight. Seemingly endless waves of blackberry, blueberry, cassis and plum fruit coat the entire palate with nuances of violets, Asian soy, smoke, cedar, vanilla, minerals and black tea. The amazingly long finish lasts for over a minute on the palate. This classic wine should age effortlessly for 20+ years. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon.”

Reynvaan The Classic Cabernet, Walla Walla Valley 2011 ($79.95) $69 special, 4 bottles available
Estate vineyard, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22 months in 40% new French oak, less than 125 cases produced

Sineann Winery Baby Poux Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2012 ($41.90) $36 special, 8 bottles available

Sineann Winery Block One Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2012 ($71.95) $66 special, 11 bottles available

Sineann Winery Red Mountain Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2012 ($49.95) $41.90  special, 9 bottles available

St Bartholomew Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley 2011 ($17.95) $14 special, 30 bottles available
Reininger Winery bottles this exclusively for their PNW distributor. Dry and dusty compared to most CV reds, appealing to those who appreciate traditional wine styles over plumping up to maximum ripeness levels.

Zanzibar Cellars Casima, Yakima Valley 2006 1.5L ($99.95) $49 special, 6 magnums available
Wine Spectator 91 points
“Smooth and velvety, this lets its tobacco- and black olive-tinged cherry and spice flavors emerge easily, lingering on the generous finish. Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and Cabernet Franc.”

Zanzibar Cellars Casima, Yakima Valley 2007 3L ($199.95) $79 special, 5 double-magnums available


Chateau de Fieuzal, Pessac-Leognan 2009 ($59.95) $49 special, 2 bottles available
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Dark and winey, with gorgeous flavors of mulled plum, black currant preserves and roasted fig laced with maduro tobacco, graphite and charcoal notes. The long finish features muscle and cut. Best from 2013 through 2021. 9,800 cases made.”

Chateau Leoville Barton, Saint-Julien 2009 ($199.95) $119 special, 3+ cases available
Wine Spectator 95 points #6 TOP 100 2012
“This is powerful Cabernet, with gutsy weight, but also polished feel to the fresh plum, warm blackberry sauce, bittersweet ganache and roasted apple wood notes. Long and tarry through the finish, but still invigorating despite its heft. Needs some time to round fully into form. Best from 2017 through 2035. Tasted twice, with consistent notes.”

Chateau Leoville-Las Cases, Saint-Julien 2003 ($279.95) $219 special, 2 bottles available
Wine Spectator 97 points
“Incredible nose of crushed berry, licorice, violets and lightly toasted oak. Pure crème de cassis. Full-bodied, with big, velvety tannins and a long, long finish. Solid. Best after 2011.”

Chateau Leoville-Las Cases, Saint-Julien 2010 ($399.95) $379 special, 3 bottles available
Wine Spectator 98 points “
*Collectibles* Stunning and pure from the get-go, with intense cassis and blackberry fruit. Ultimately takes a slightly austere approach, with a wrought-iron structure driving along while pastis, black tea, licorice snap and asphalt notes course underneath. Long and loaded with grip, this remains remarkably fine-grained. A very chiseled Cabernet that is wonderfully precise and incredibly long. Best from 2020 through 2040.”

Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien 2009 3L ($1799.95) $1499 special, 6 double-magnums available
Robert Parker 100 points
“One of the more flamboyant and sumptuous wines of the vintage, this inky/purple-colored St.-Julien reveals thrilling levels of opulence, richness and aromatic pleasures. A soaring bouquet of creme de cassis, charcoal, graphite and spring flowers is followed by a super-concentrated wine with silky tannins, stunning amounts of glycerin, a voluptuous, multilayered mouthfeel and nearly 14% natural alcohol. Displaying fabulous definition for such a big, plump, massive, concentrated effort, I suspect the tannin levels are high even though they are largely concealed by lavish amounts of fruit, glycerin and extract. Anticipated maturity: 2018-2040”

Chateau Leoville Poyferre, Saint-Julien 2010 ($249.95) $199 special, 3 bottles available
Robert Parker 98+ points
“The wine out distances both Leoville Las Cases and Leoville Barton, but all three of them are compelling efforts. Full-bodied, dense purple in color, with floral notes intermixed with blackberries, cassis, graphite and spring flowers, this full-bodied, legendary effort is long and opulent, with wonderfully abundant yet sweet tannin, a skyscraper-like mid-palate and a thrilling, nearly one-minute finish. This spectacular effort from Poyferre that should drink well for 30+ years.”

Chateau Leoville-Las Cases ‘Clos du Marquis’, Saint-Julien 2006 ($69.95) $59 special, 32 bottles available
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Offers violet and blackberry on the nose, with tar. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a fruity, minerally aftertaste. Long and silky. Very serious for the vintage. Best after 2013.”

Chateau Cos d’Estournel, Saint-Estephe 2003 ($399.95) $299 special, 3 bottles available
Robert Parker 98 points
“The prodigious, fantastic 2003 Cos d’Estournel is a candidate for ‘wine of the vintage.’ A blend of 68% Cabernet Sauvignon (unusually high for this chateau), 30% Merlot, and 2% Cabernet Franc, 17,500 cases were produced from low yields. “An inky/blue/purple color is accompanied by a compelling perfume of black fruits, subtle smoke, pain grille, incense, and flowers. With extraordinary richness, full body, and remarkable freshness, elegance, and persistence, this is one of the finest wines ever made by this estate. The good news is that it will be drinkable at a young age yet evolve for three decades or more. Kudos to winemaker Jean-Guillaume Prats and owner Michel Reybier.”

Vignobles Jean Sorge Chateau Deyrem Valentin, Margaux 2010 ($49.95) $33 special, 21 bottles available
Wine Enthusiast 92 points
“Located north of Margaux village, Deyrem Valentin is a small, family-owned property of 32 acres that represents one of the values of Margaux. This wine is smooth, polished and concentrated, with flavors of wood and a sweet-tasting blackberry. The acidity and tannins demonstrate a fine balancing act. This shows good aging potential.”

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien 2009 ($499.95) $399 special, 16 bottles available
Robert Parker 100 points
“The 2009 Ducru Beaucaillou will eclipse the brilliant wines produced in 2005, 2003 and 2000. It will be interesting to see how the 2009 fares against the 2010 after twenty years of aging, but my money is on the 2009. A blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot that achieved 13.5% natural alcohol, this inky purple, unctuous wine possesses classic aromas of graphite, creme de cassis, blueberries, violets, licorice and Christmas fruitcake. Full-bodied and intense with Ducru’s inimitable elegance and purity, it should firm up in the bottle after 7-10 years of cellaring and last for 40-50 years. Magnificent!”

Chateau Ducru-Beaucaillou, Saint-Julien 2010 ($399.95) $319 special, 12 bottles available
Robert Parker 98+ points
“With loads of minerality, a terrific opaque purple color, and slightly more structure and tannin than either Poyferre or St.-Pierre (and that’s saying something), this is a blockbuster, fabulous Ducru Beaucaillou that should be at its best a good decade from now and last 40-50 years. The proprietor is not alone in thinking this is the finest Ducru Beaucaillou since the 1961. The classic wet rock, creme de cassis, subtle oak and gravelly stoniness of the vineyard come through in this spectacular, full-bodied, gorgeously pure and intense effort. This is wine for the ages that should be forgotten for at least a decade.”

Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal, Pauillac 2006 ($69.95) $59 special, 9 bottles available
Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal, Pauillac 2006 375ML ($39.95) $33 special, 1 half-bottle available
Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal, Pauillac 2006 1.5L  ($139.95) $99 special, 1 magnum available
Chateau Haut-Bages Liberal, Pauillac 2006 6L ($599.95) $399 special, 1 Methuselah available
Wine Spectator 92 points
“Dark ruby purple in color, with aromas of currant and dried flowers. Full-bodied, with fine tannins and a delicious finish. Tight now, but pretty and balanced. Best after 2012.”

Chateau Haut-Bailly, Pessac-Leognan 2010 ($249.95) $199 special, 24 bottles available
Wine Advocate 98 points
“Deep plum/purple, Haut-Bailly’s 2010 required some coaxing to appreciate its subtle notes of barbecue smoke, lead pencil shavings and creme de cassis as well as its touches of pomegranate and forest floor. The oak is pushed far into the background and the tannins are extremely silky, but the intensity of the wine is profound and the finish lingers for close to 55 seconds. This wine is ripe yet delicate, powerful yet stylish, and essentially resembles a remarkable fashion design from a house of haute couture. This wine needs a good 7-8 years of bottle age and should keep for 40-50+ years.”


Castello di Bossi Corbaia Toscana IGT 2008 ($59.95) $45 special, 24 bottles available
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The 2008 Corbaia is striking in this vintage. A delicate, graceful bouquet gives the impression of femininity, until layers of fruit hit the palate with relentless energy and focus. The 2008 impresses for its balance and overall sense of harmony. The tannins are still huge at this stage, but I sense that as they melt away the wine’s true pedigree will begin to emerge. This is a great, great showing from Castello di Bossi. Corbaia is 70% Sangiovese and 30% Cabernet Sauvignon aged in new French oak barrels. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028.”

Felsina Berardenga Maestro Raro Toscana IGT 2007 ($59.95) $49 special, 20 bottles available
Wine Advocate 92 points
“Felsina’s 2007 Maestro Raro (Cabernet Sauvignon) issimply beautiful in this vintage. A host of grilled herbs, plums, cassis and earthiness emerge from this distinctly Tuscan Cabernet. The fruit is soft, dark and opulent, but never heavy. A soft, caressing finish rounds things out nicely. This is a terrific effort from Felsina. Anticipated maturity: 2012-2022.”

Felsina Berardenga Maestro Raro Toscana IGT 2008 ($59.95) $49 special, 14 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2008 Maestro Raro is beautiful in this vintage, a year in which Cabernet Sauvignon varietal character reigns supreme. Plums, cassis, wild herbs, leather and licorice all come together gracefully in this gorgeous, expressive wine. The 2008 impresses for its length and striking, pure finish. This is a great showing. Maestro Raro is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Sangiovese, Trebbiano and Malvasia vines that were grafted over beginning in 1984. The 2008 is understated and classy, but its all there. Anticipated maturity: 2016-2028.”

Felsina Berardenga Maestro Raro Toscana IGT 2009 ($59.95) $49 special, 23 bottles available
Wine Spectator 95 points
“Black currant, cherry, cedar, olive and coffee aromas and flavors are intense, yet match the refined structure in this classy red. The tannins are assertive and ripe, providing grip and focus. The finish evokes black currant, herb and spice notes. Best from 2015 through 2030.”

Felsina Berardenga Maestro Raro Toscana IGT 2010 ($59.95) $49 special, 20 bottles available
James Suckling 95 points
“This is extremely structured and powerful with currants, blueberries and minerals on the nose and palate. Full body yet structured and very toned. Very muscular. Give it four to five years of bottle age but revel in its youth and beauty now. Best pure cabernet sauvignon ever from here.”

Isole e Olena Collezione de Marchi Cabernet Sauvignon Toscana IGT 2008 ($79.95) $66 special, 3+ cases available
Antonio Galloni 97+ points
“At the beginning of what promises to be a long drinking window, the 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon Collezione De Marchi is stunning. Savory herbs, tar, licorice, cassis, graphite and melted road tar seduce the intellectual and hedonistic senses in a wine that has everything. A vibrant, powerful, structured wine underpinned by intense saline notes, the 2008 possesses remarkable finesse and fabulous overall balance. This is another fabulous wine from Paolo De Marchi.”

Montepeloso Gabbro Toscana IGT 2009 ($179.95) $127 special, 6 bottles available
Wine Advocate 94 points
“The 2009 Gabbro (Cabernet Sauvignon) is impeccable and refined from start to finish. This isn’t a vintage built on structure, as has been the case in the recent past, but rather a wine that impresses for its silky tannins, expressive aromatics, and overall finesse. The 2009 is quite feminine and gracious in style, but there is plenty of underlying tannin and fruit. In exchange, the 2009 should drink well earlier than some of the other, more important vintages that precede it. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2024.”

Montepeloso Gabbro Toscana IGT 2010 ($199.95) $119 special, 12 bottles available
Antonio Galloni 95+ points
“The 2010 Gabbro, Montepeloso’s 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, is all about texture. Today the flavors are completely unevolved, instead it is the wine’s towering presence and sheer personality that stand out most. With time in the glass hints of melted road tar, graphite, smoke and incense gradually being to emerge. An exotic mélange of savory herb nuances melt into veins of salinity frame the finish. Readers will have to be patient with the 2010, but it is a jewel of a wine.”

Tenuta Sette Ponti Podere Orma ‘Orma’ Bolgheri 2010 ($69.95) $59 special, 41 bottles available
James Suckling 96 points
“There is something so subtle and rich here with chocolate, red chilies and ripe plums on the nose. Full body, with velvety tannins and a juicy finish. This is so delicious now but better in 2017. Best ever from here. A blend of 50% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Cabernet Franc. From Bolgheri. Just next door to Ornellaia.”

Giuseppe Quintarelli ‘Alzero’ Cabernet Veneto IGT 2004 ($449.95) $379 special, 1 bottle available
Wine Advocate 96 points
“The stunning 2004 Cabernet Alzero is beautiful beyond words. What really stands out is the startling focus and definition of this elegant wine. Cabernet grapes are air-dried for added intensity and heft. This is unlike any other red wine made in Valpolicella. Its seamless elegance is infinite and so is its sheer might. It’s a wine that soothes the senses but that also awakens and challenges them. The 2004 vintage is a brilliant expression with evident pedigree that requires hours of contemplation and respect. It’s engineered to last. Drink 2015-2030.”