When the founding fathers of the Napa Valley carved out new sub-AVAs (American Viticultural Areas) in the 1980s, Soda Canyon Ranch was not yet on anyone’s map. The vineyard is neighbored to the northwest and west by the winegrowing districts of Stags Leap District and Oak Knoll District, respectively, which were among the early pioneers of California Cabernet Sauvignon to attain global fame. To the northeast and southeast—and further off the beaten path—were Atlas Peak and Coombsville, thought to be the next frontiers for the emerging wine-producing region.
With richness and depth of flavor, the 2018 Timeless Napa Valley is the embodiment of patience and attention to detail. Decades of experience at Soda Canyon Ranch allow winemaker Nate Weis and team to highlight the individual merits of each block. Combining the strongest lots from each resulted in a refined and harmonious bottling.
In 2018, the diurnal shift at Soda Canyon Ranch produced a darker, lusher fruit profile of Cabernet Sauvignon. Simultaneously, the overnight recovery periods resulted in expressive and refined Merlot, giving the wine a pleasant profile of bright, red fruit. With an extended harvest window, the signature, plush density and structure of Petit Verdot is also prevalent in the final blend. Cabernet Franc thrived in 2018 with its predilection for the cooler soils and the climate of blocks 5, 6, 16, 20 and 21—areas we call the Transition Zone and Hardpan Alley. The variety’s floral and tobacco-like aromatics are accentuated, and its more aggressive nature for back-end tannins tamed.
Once blended, the 2018 vintage rested in French oak barrels for 16 months, developing flavors of vanilla and baking spice. Velvety tannins dance across the palate of bright and lingering cassis. With a smooth finish, this is a comforting wine of elegance and depth—a sophisticated expression of the sedate summer.
This is a little old-school and shows lots of dark berry, chocolate and dried fruit. It’s full, dense and layered with fleshly sensibility. Velvety texture.
-James Suckling 93 Points
Alain Jaume Domaine du Clos de Sixte Lirac is made from 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre
An intense red garnet color. On the nose, aromas of red and black ripe fruit (kirsch and wild blackberry). The mouth is full, with aromas of blackcurrant liqueur and spice. Tannins are both harmonious and elegant thanks to the fleshiness of the wine. Hints of licorice and vanilla on the finish, which gives the wine length and complexity.
Soil type LIRAC vineyard is facing Chateauneuf du Pape, opposite side of the Rhône river. As showed by the picture and following geologist George Truc, soils are almost similar in both side. They are marked by the violence wrought by the Rhone river. It consists of a layer of marine molasses of the Miocene period covered by alpine alluvium. The presence of a great number of rounded stones known as "galets" in the earth is evidence of the time when the Rhone, then a torrent, tore fragments of rock from the Alps and deposited them on the plain. LIRAC is one of the up-coming best area from the southern Rhône valley, as it delivers outstanding wines. Winemaking & ageing Traditional wine-making in stainless still vats. Hand sorted bunches, crushed and destemmed grapes. Fermentation temperature : 30°C. 18 days of vatting with pigeages.
"Another top-notch vintage for this property, the 2018 Lirac Domaine du Clos de Sixte looks as if it may rival the 2016. It's 50% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 15% Mourvèdre, aging in concrete (70%) and barrels (30%). Floral notions mark the nose, while flavors of raspberries and apricots appear on the full-bodied palate. This seems creamy-supple at first, with steadily building tannins on the lengthy finish. - Joe Czerwinski"
- Robert Parker's Wine Advocate (Issue #245, October 2019), 91-93 pts
It is hard to imagine with the Lithology range receiving 298 points out of 300 for the three single-vineyard wines, that there could possibly be a wine above them. But there is, and it is our Estate wine. Blended several times very intently by masters of their craft Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, this is the ultimate expression of our house’s work. Positive, full-bodied, and quite powerful, there’s the expected crème de cassis and blackberry from St. Helena Cabernets, with mineral, herb, subtle tobacco and vanilla, plum skins, and pie crust, purple flowers, forest-conifer notes, and very fine tannic structure. It is a magnificent, and magnificently elegant expression of this house, and when asked recently, Monsieur Rolland stated plainly to me, “oh yes indeed – this is the best one, the best yet…”
The flagship 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Alejandro Bulgheroni comes from a selection made by winemakers Philippe Melka and Michel Rolland, mostly from Rutherford and Oakville fruit. Aged 20 months in 78% new French oak, it has incredible aromatics of black and blue fruits, spring flowers, and graphite to go with a massive, full-bodied, concentrated style on the palate that somehow stays graceful, weightless, and elegant. This tour de force in Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is guaranteed to put a smile on your face over the coming 20-25+ years.
-Jeb Dunnuck 99 Points
Alejandro Bulgheroni Lithology Beckstoffer Las Piedras Cabernet Sauvignon is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
From a St. Helena vineyard planted by early Napa settler Edward Bale more than 150 years ago, and later serving as the estate vineyard for the area’s first winery built by Henry Pellet in 1860, the Las Piedras site always gives us our prettiest wine. When placed next to Dr. Crane and To-Kalon wines, the Las Piedras show a certain elegance, with a very graceful entry and finely detailed complexity. We produce it with at least 75% new French oak, so there is a floral, spicy, and vanilla accent to the intense red and black fruits, cassis, and black cherry liqueur. What distinguishes this bottling is the beautifully fine tannins, delicate texture, and stunning purity. (Less than 100 cases made.)
Fermentation 70% Oak, 24% Concrete, 6% Puncheon
"The 2018 Cabernet Sauvignon Lithology Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard comes from a world-class site outside of St. Helena and is all Cabernet that spent 20 months in 80% new oak. It offers a touch more red fruit as well ample cassis, spring flowers, loamy earth, and spice-like aromas and flavors. It has a wonderful sense of minerality, ultra-fine tannins, a dense, layered texture, and incredibly purity of fruit. It’s another just about off the charts release from this estate."
- Jeb Dunnuck 98 Points
Argot Chardonnay Sonoma County is made from 100 percent Chardonnay.
Pouring a green-tinted gold, our Sonoma County Chardonnay is a beautiful wine from word go. Radiating from within, a blast of apple/pear fruit informs this wine both aromatically, and on the palate. As flavors unfurl, a progression of orange blossom, pineapple, white peach, and hazlenut are followed by a finish dominated by ginger, baked apple, with a trailing kiss of mint’s freshness. A stunning wine — wholly informed by the perfection of 2018’s growing season — defined by its dichotomy of massively intense flavors, and superb acidity and freshness.
Raised by minimalistic methods, often associated with the classic Chardonnay winemaking techniques of Meursault. With a focus on the coolest Chardonnay region in Sonoma County, 2018’s long, even growing season favored our vineyards’ moderate climate, old vines and deep volcanic soils. These grapes were allowed an extended ripening period on the vine, resulting in perfect balance and concentrated flavors.
Argot Pinot Noir Sonoma County is made from 100 percent Pinot Noir.
Everything you have come to expect from an Argot Pinot Noir, shone through the filter of a textbook-perfect vintage. We simply can not get over the quality of fruit this wine displays! Intense, yet fresh; fruity, yet spicy; brambly, yet juicy; immediate, yet lingering. A Pinot Noir that displays the variety’s natural come-hither attitude, while succinctly capturing its intriguing nature. There are not enough superlatives to describe this wine. Almost too easy to love!
VINEYARD Multiple vineyards throughout Sonoma County, including both valley floor and high-elevation hillside sites
PRODUCTION 600 cases
VARIETAL 100% Pinot Noir
CRUSH Night harvested by hand beginning in mid-September, concluding at our coolest sit on October 13. Cluster and berry sorted by hand, de-stemmed, no crushing
FERMENT 7-day cold soaks, followed by native fermentation in open-top containers, with the grapes fermenting on their skins for an average time of 14 days.
AGING 16 months, French oak barrels, 7% new, remainder once-used. Never racked prior to bottling. Bottled un-fined, unfiltered.
NOTES Singularly great. 2018 was an all-time vintage for California’s North Coast, achieving rarely before experienced heights. A mild summer gave way to Autumnal perfection, allowing cooler areas the opportunity to ripen their crop while chemistries remained perfect. What arrives in bottle is nothing short of a pinnacle representation of Sonoma County Pinot Noir — profound depth of pure, red Pinot Noir fruits, caressing textures balanced by deep minerality and a quenching acidity.
Minius Godello is made from 100 percent Godello.
Minius is a wine with a very live yellow color with green reflections. Highlighted on the nose are the citrus and floral aromas, along with white fruits notes and herbs like fennel. It is soft and elegant in mouth that together with the acidity gives a fresh and persistent finish.
Strict and careful grape selection in the vineyard and winery before destemming. Cold maceration at 10ºC during 3-4 hours. Presing. Alcoholic fermentation begins at 16,5 ºC in stainless steel under an automatic temperature control. Stabilization of the wine in isotermic tanks, filtering and bottling. Resting in the bottle during 30 days prior distribution.
Pairs with apperitives, rices, grilled seafood, white fish in sauce, cheeses, poultries
The Valminor Estate
One of the newcomers, Adegas Valmiñor was founded in 1997 and is based in Rosal and boasts a new, ultramodern winery that produces 25,000 cases yearly of 100% Albariño "Valmiñor". (Note: “Adegas” means “bodegas” [winery] in the local Galician dialect). Owner, Carlos Gomez, makes about 3 different white wines, but Albariño is his speciality.
Carlos Gómez started Valmiñor in 1997 and headed up the project to build and open the new facilities in 2001. A trained executive with extensive experience in the wine business, Carlos founded Valmiñor and has since continued to expand the group's capacity to include Bodegas Ebano in Ribera del Duero in 2004, and more recently acquired a second Rías Baixas producer, Viñas o Torroxal. Today the group also includes a distribution company, as well as an agricultural services organization.
he winemaker Cristina Mantilla has been working as Valminor's winemaker since the very beginning in 1997. She obtained a Chemical Degree at the prestigious University of Santiago de Compostela and post-graduated in Oenology and Viticulture in Madrid. She started working in Rías Baixas but as her experience grows she also works beyond the Galician borders. In 97 Carlos Gómez founded the winery and Cristina Mantilla decided to join and give birth to a new and dynamic project with a very clear idea in mind.
Cristina has been the sole winemaker from the very first vintage of all the wines elaborated at Valminor and the bodega in Ribera del Duero, EBANO.
Cristina has furthered her carreer by producing white wine from 100% Loureiro grapes (skin contact versions) and she made the first ever Rosé style wine in Galicia. She is definitely a pioneer in making unique wines in Galicia.
The Valminor Vineyards
Galicia has a mild climate without dramatic changes in the weather, a soil rich in minerals and excellent conditions for maturing and it makes this valley the perfect place for growing quality varieties like Albariño, Loureiro and Treixadura.
Adegas Valmiñor owns 34 hectares in O Rosal, and uses purchased fruit from two prime growing areas: 40% Cambados and 60% Arbo fruit (a unique micro-climate that is a touch warmer than other areas). The Cambados region is located on the coast and provides acidity and freshness to the wine. Together the two fruit sources make a superb blend. Valmiñor means "minor valley" and today Valmiñor has built a new winery in O Rosal.
Palacio del Burgo Tinto is made from 85% Tempranillo, 10% Garnacha & 5% Mazuelo.
Very bright, deep and clean violet color; blackberry and licorice aromas in the nose; long-lasting, powerful and smooth taste in mouth.
Enjoy it with cheese and red meat.Very bright, deep and clean violet color; blackberry and licorice aromas in the nose; long-lasting, powerful and smooth taste in mouth.
"A fruity and plummy wine with just a hint of strawberry jam. Full body. Velvety tannins and a flavorful finish. Dense and layered. Some may find it a little heavy, but it’s lively. Drink now." - James Suckling (July 2019), 90 pts
Bourdieu Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux is made from 87% Merlot, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon and 3% Cabernet Franc.
Chateau Bourdieu Blaye Cotes de Bordeaux offers a beautiful red ruby color deep and intense. It exhales red fruits and blackcurrant aromas, completed by notes of redcurrant. The mouthfeel is round and juicy, with a smooth, well integrated tannins that offers a nice structure and a long finish.
Perfect with a magret de canard (duck breast) or a filet of beef.
"Flamboyant and deep, with ample, lush and fresh forest fruits, bramble and cassis, with cascading sweet spice swifty following. A super, brooding wine which will shine brighter with time"
Decanter, (November 2020), Platinum Medal - 97 points
Romariz Fine Ruby Port is aged in oak for three years. Fruit and pepper character, well balanced, and ample body
Bright golden color, balanced acidity and sweetness. Taste of cinnamon, vanilla, liquorice and clay. Pleasant finish with bitter herbs.
In 1904 Cherubino Valsangiacomo produced the first vermouth bottle, afther 100 years, the fifth generation of the Valsangiacomo familly STILL making it with the ancestral formula devised by Benedetto Valsangiacomo.
White Vermouth, flavored fortified white wine base, together with aromatic mediterranean herbs such as fennel, chamomille and tyme, sweeted with sugar, and grape must caramel.
Ideal as an aperitif, on the rocks with an lemon slice. Also very good with cured and pickled products.
Jip Jip Rocks Chardonnay is made from 100 percent unoaked Chardonnay.
Light yellow with a pale straw hue. A classic nose of lemon, fresh stonefruit and melon. The palate is clean and fresh with mineral characters underpinning ripe pineapple and lime flavours. This wine will age beautifully over the next 4-5 years.
Winemaking report: Gentle pressing and free run juices create the base of this wine. Traditionally Jip Jip Rocks Chardonnay is a 2/3 blend fermented and matured in stainless steel and 1/3 fermented in stainless steel, which receives extended lees contact to add texture and complexity to the palate.
Attractively fruited and fragrant, the wine shows golden peach, baked fig, vanilla and lemon peel aromas on the nose, followed by a succulent palate that’s creamy and lingering. Beautifully styled and highly enjoyable. At its best: now to 2023. AU$23.00. Dec 2019.
-Wine Orbit 92 Points
Zombie Zin Zinfandel is made from 95% Zinfandel and 5% Syrah
Be careful if you go out at night. The Zombie Zin is designed to be consumed in hiding with the only friends you have left... post apocalypse.
The Zombie Zin is sporting a new label design with a torn look, that suggests a window into another world. The colors are more vibrant earth-tones and the capsule is a deep red.
The Zombie Zinfandel is very dark in color, almost a black-purple. The aromas are of ripe, dense black fruits and a hint of dried herbs. The flavors are complex and rich, sporting succulent blackberries, powdered cinnamon, cola and cherry jam. Just a hint of black pepper in the long finish.
The grapes for the Zombie are sourced throughout California, mostly from the dry, hot sandy soils of the Delta region and the Central Valley. The final blend benefitted from some inky Syrah grapes that came from the Central Coast. The wine was fermented in Stainless Steel and aged for about a half a year in American oak.
Pairs well with bloody BBQ meats, sinister soups with eye of newt, bubbly caldron of fleshy stew.
The Grade Cabernet Sauvignon Serpent's Back Napa Valley is made from 100 percent Cabernet Sauvignon.
The 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon Serpent's Back shows a more aromatic, high-toned side of this site. Bright red/purplish berry fruit, pomegranate, cinnamon and sweet floral accents are all laced together. The Serpent's Back is the most refined of these three Cabernets, but it has plenty of Calistoga punch.
-- Antonio Galloni 95 Points
Weller-Lehnert Piesporter Domherr Grosses Gewachs Riesling is made from 100 percent Riesling.
Made in accordance with the stringent production criteria of the classification of the Bernkasteler Ring, wines with the designation “Grosses Gewächs Bernkasteler Ring” represent the premium line of the association’s dry wines. These Grand Crus can only come from the best sites of the steep slopes and are distinguished by their exceptional aging potential. To be awarded the status of “Grosses Gewächs”, selective hand-harvesting, a restriction of yields to 50 hl/ha and the passing of a stringent sensory examination by a highly qualified professional panel are required.
Piesporter Domherr is the ancient and original Piesporter Goldtröpfchen. It lies in the heart of Piesporter Goldtröpfchen right by the Mosel River. It consists of 4 hectares that are south-southeast facing.
The locatio on the river creates a mirror effect, offering optimum conditions for the production of outstanding mineral wine with fine, fruity elegance. Because of its prolonged vegetation period, Riesling (frequently referred to as the “queen of white varieties”) is often capable of expressing the characteristics of its terroir like no other.