Reviews

2014 Bootleg Red Blend: Illicit Quality

Though to “bootleg” means to hide contraband, or illegally make something, the 2014Bootleg Red Wine offers nothing but transparency. A kitchen sink blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Verdot, the fruit is mainly from Napa with about 13% of it coming from Mendocino. There’s a rustic, almost unfinished qualityto this, a sense of hand worked and not company-made. It’s full of blackberry, blueberry,cocoa powder, red raspberry, rough and tumble tannins and a slight edginess.

Bonfort’s Wine of The Week: 2013 Freemark Abbey Cabernet Sauvignon, 95 Points

Josephine Tychson became the first female winemaker on record in the Napa Valley when she established what would become Freemark Abbey in 1886. We don’t know forcertain how good the wines were then, but the 2013 Cabernet would make her proud.Pulled from five different vineyard sites, all located in Rutherford, this is a winecombining grace, structure and finesse. Comprised mainly of Cabernet, there areadditions of 8.6% Merlot, 9.7% Petit Verdot and 2.9% Cabernet Franc.

Summer in a Can

Barefoot Moscato Spritzer: Sometimes, simplicity is best. Barefoot’s line of canned spritzers are in that vein, simple beverages but delightfully executed and quite tasty. The Moscato uses Muscat of Alexandria and Chenin Blanc along with carbonated water then adds natural flavors of peach, tangerine and honey making this wildly drinkable. Yes there is an element of sweetness to the Moscato and floral notes to the peach and honeysuckle, but it’s all so well balanced that you’d be forgiven for drinking more of this than you probably should.

The Meaning of Sake

Did you know that in the Japanese language the word ‘sake’ merely means ‘alcohol?’ It does not necessarily mean ‘rice wine’ like Western countries have mistakenly defined in our books and our laws.  In Japan the word ‘sake’ can refer to any wine, beer, or even distilled spirit. The Japanese word ‘sake’ is kind of like the colloquial word ‘booze,’ is for Western countries. The correct word in Japanese which refers to rice wine in particular is ‘Seishu.’

Wine of the Week: : 2016 Murrieta’s Well The Spur, 90 Points

Though Livermore Valley has a long and enviable wine history dating back to the 1840s when grapevines went into the ground, it nonetheless has been overshadowed by its northern neighbors. That oversight is being corrected with a slew of exceptional wines.

Murrieta’s Well traces its heritage back to 1884, and though The Spur was only created as a blend in 2010, it shows what this Valley can produce.

Ragged Branch Wheated Bourbon, 92 Points

Ragged Branch Wheated Bourbon Whiskey is the four-year-old brainchild of Alex Toomy (owner of Ragged Branch) and the late, great distiller, Dave Pickerell. The whiskey was released in September of last year and since then it’s received its share of positive reviews from consumer and trade journals. And it’s about to get another one from us.

90 proof, Ragged Branch Wheated Bourbon Whiskey includes 66% corn, and 17% malted barley and is distinctly Virginia.

Levendi Legacy 15th Anniversary Edition, Cabernet Sauvignon 2015, 97 Points

This deep cherry colored wine, with the most subtle hint of amber makes for a wonderful pour. We let this breathe for a bit and it paid off in spades. Blueberry, blackberry, and currant turn to subtle licorice on the back palate. Cedar on the aftertaste. The flavors glide along and the mouthfeel is exquisite. This is a robust but graceful wine. A wonderful trade-up for Napa cab-loving customers. Get this one on your wine menu.

Levendi Sweetwater Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2016, 96 Points

Dark cherry red in color, this wine sparkles, adding to the appearance of any restaurant dining table. First impression on the nose is clove (in careful measure). Dry delivery to the palate, dark fruit aromas, followed by restrained mocha. This wine layers flavor without piling it on. Upon second entry, we noticed distinct dark cherry and blackberry notes. Ready to serve, but solid acidity and overall balance make this an age-worthy wine.

Levendi Estate Chardonnay, Napa Valley 2016, 93 Points

Stunning clarity, in a straw crystal clear appearance, this chardonnay epitomizes what Napa fans hope for. Abundant ripe fruit on the nose in the form of dried pineapple is met with less-ripe flavors of apple to alert the senses that something wonderful is about to happen. You’ll spot the perfected balance on the palate, with that tropical fruit flavor bursting through, prompting immediate salivation. It holds back at the end though, so as not to build. Apple again on the aftertaste keeps it fresh. Upon each entry, the process starts again. This is a crowd-pleaser and a safe bet for any on-premise menu.

Bare Bone Vodka, 96 Points

The case is made time and again. A vodka must have something different to justify its space on the already overcrowded shelves at on- and off-premise. Why take down one vodka to make room for another? The answer is always the same: flavor profile. Bare Bone Vodka is proof that if the product in the bottle stands out, then the trade, and ultimately the consumer, will make room for it.

Bonfort’s WOW, Groth 2015 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

It was 1981 when Dennis and Judy Groth purchased a 121-acre parcel of land in Napa and from that day to this the focus has been on producing a handful of wines but specializing in Cabernet Sauvignon. Their 2015 Reserve Cabernet is such a comprehensive Cabernet, allowing the fruit to be the star power with support from 100% new French oak barrels. Harvested over a two-week period in Oakville, this lush fruit reaches out with blackberry, blueberry, cassis, black currant, plum, and cedar box with an acidity that belies the structure of the wine.

Hertelendy Vineyards 2014 Signature Mountain Blend – 96 Points

A beautiful example of high mountain fruit, the 2014 offers a deep and complex nose that shows the high-quality fruit at its peak flavor. Deep black in color, the fruit shines through with a well-balanced but subtle wine with character. Impressive and balanced tannins, with dark stone fruit, blackberry and a hint of black cherry, create an elite wine that stands near the top. A beautiful example of high mountain fruit, the 2014 offers a deep and complex nose that shows the high-quality fruit at its peak flavor. Deep black in..

Hertelendy Vineyards 2014 Chardonnay – 95 Points

Intense oak floods the glass with an opulent aroma. If you like big, oaky chardonnay this is the wine for you. Fruit forward with beautiful straw color and clarity, the wine over delivers with a lush viscosity that encapsulates the palate. Layers of rich fruit includes gooseberry and melon. A superb and richly made wine. Intense oak floods the glass with an opulent aroma. If you like big, oaky chardonnay this is the wine for you. Fruit forward with beautiful straw color and clarity, the wine over delivers with a lush viscosity that encapsulates the palate.

2013 Northstar Merlot: Finding True North

A silky smooth version from Washington State, this is a middle of the road Merlot, allowing non-Merlot folks to step towards this grape without sacrificing what they want in terms of flavor, structure and drinkability. There is plenty of boysenberry, blackberry, blueberry and black cherry, with back notes of resin, minerality, cedar and vanilla. 2013 Northstar Merlot is a blend in the truest sense of the word, Mainly Merlot with 23% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 2% Petite Verdot, this is fruit from 10 different vineyards with vine age averaging…

Wine of the Week: 2015 Chappellet Cabernet Franc, 92 Points

Chappellet Winery has been crafting wine for over 50 years. It has always been a Cabernet Sauvignon house, but hiding in the shadows is its stellar Cabernet Franc. Made of Cabernet Franc with 15% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 4% each of Malbec and Petite Verdot, this is a generous wine, popping with red and black berry flavor and giving you something different, something softer, smoother and more approachable. There are strong notes of blackberry, black cherry, boysenberry, sweet vanilla, smoke and anise make the wine in your glass immensely drinkable…