1st Bottle Red: Valravn Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County 2019

For the wine snob: Hand-sorted grapes undergo an extended cold-soak followed by primary fermentation in stainless steel. Following primary, the wine is racked to French oak barrels for 18 months aging.  Decidedly ripe-vintage Bordeaux inspired – 92% Cabernet Sauvignon & 8% Merlot, Cabernet Franc, Malbec, and Petit Verdot.

For the rest of us: Savory and sweet that is immediately apparent in the clove/baking spice meets cassis/dark berry aromatics. Smooth tannin structure with high tones, opulent fruit, and notes of espresso and dark chocolate.

1st Bottle White: Koehler-Ruprecht, Pinot Blanc Kabinett Trocken (2021)

For the wine snob: 100% Pinot Blanc vinified bone dry but very ripe. A late-harvest selection of older vines (40-50 years old) planted in limestone soils mostly from the Steinacker and some from Saumagen. Mineral-driven and creamy with a touch of acidity.

For the rest of us: A sleek and delicate dry Pinot Blanc with crisp pear and green bean aromas. Appealing combination of restrained creaminess and animating red apple freshness.

2nd Bottle Red: Sierra Cantabria, Rioja Crianza (2018)

For the wine snob: The wines of Sierra Cantabria are wines in a modern Rioja style, leaving the oak in the background and making the fruit and the intensity stand out. Known to be supplying wines to the Spanish Royal Family, Sierra Cantabria is at the height of wine making in Spain.  100% Tempranillo.

For the rest of us: Intense Cherry. Fine toasted notes (cocoa and coffee) and ripe fruit with definite expression. Powerful palate, smoky with well-balanced toasty notes of oak and fruit.

2nd Bottle White: : Grey Wacke Sauvignon Blanc 2022

For the wine snob: Fruit sourced from various prime vineyard sites in Marlborough’s Southern Valleys and the central Wairau Plains.  Soil types vary from the young alluvial soils of Rapaura and Renwick, which contain high proportions of greywacke river stones.  Harvested at night into half-ton bins. The grapes are lightly pressed and the resulting juice was cold-settled prior to fermentation in stainless steel, primarily using cultured yeast for cool, slow fermentation.

For  the rest of us: Aromas of cassis and passionfruit are first to emerge, with guava, crisp pear and white peach adding a delicious intricacy. On the palate, it is generous yet refreshing, with ripe pineapple and a lime sherbet zing, layered with elderflower and hints of citrus blossom.

1st Reserve Bottle Red: Daniel Chotard Sancerre Archer Rouge 2020

For the wine snob: The Chotards are some of the lucky few who have parcels that are ideal for growing Pinot Noir, and theirs have been planted to Pinot for well over fifty years, so the vines are at full maturity. From this south-facing, Kimmeridgian limestone terroir, the family makes a serious wine—dark, juicy, and delicious, ready to drink now after a long élevage on its lees of nearly two years in old wood. A glimpse of great things to come.

For the rest of us: This is perfumed and sweetly fruited, with summer berry compote filling the mouth. The tannins are juicy and sweet, with a velvety texture.

1st Reserve Bottle White: 2022 Plumpjack Reserve Chardonnay, Napa Valley

For the wine snob: A gorgeous, multi-faceted wine fermented and aged in 66% stainless steel tanks and 34% French oak Burgundy barrels. Cool fermentations (52–54°F) preserve the fresh fruit aromatics. The stainless steel tanks help retain the fresh, varietal character, while the oak adds depth, texture, and complexity.

For the rest of us: The nose delivers layers of aromas—apple, baked pear, and lemon curd mingle with white peach, apricot, and honeysuckle with a dash of nutmeg and cinnamon just beneath the fruit.

2nd Reserve Bottle Red: Luca Old Vine Malbec, Argentina 2018

For the wine snob:  Located in La Consulta and Gualtallary (Uco Valley). The grapes are hand-harvested early and aged 14 months in 35% new French barrels and 65% 2nd use French barrels.  All Luca wines are certified sustainable through Bodegas de Argentina.

For the rest of us: Spice and black cherry cola aromas with notes of cocoa. The berry flavors pop on the palate from its depth and lively acidity, finishing with hints of espresso.


2nd Reserve Bottle White: Domaine Roland Lavantureux Petit Chablis

For the wine Snob: The region is best known for its Kimmeridgian soils, a highly prized terroir of limestone and clay infused with tiny, fossilized oysters. The intensely chalky sea-shell minerality lends deep complexity to whites, making this region an ideal home for the Chardonnay grape.  Fermented and aged in stainless steel.  The wine is aged on the lees for 5-10 months, depending on the vintage.

For the Rest of us: Notes of citrus with a hint of peach and apple. A slightly sweet, medium-bodied, dry chardonnay with some acidity. Long finish and Well-balanced.