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Shiba Sommelier

2012 Robert Sinskey Vineyards Scintilla Sonoma Vineyard Vin de Terroir Abraxas

This is a quality producer in California producing some really excellent Old World style (in this case, Alsatian) juice! Lemon, pear, Golden Delicious apple skin with white and yellow flowers. Hints of honeysuckle and saffron. Some waxy notes along with green pepper, grass, and cashews. Hints of lychees right before the finish. 

4/5 bones

$$$

Riesling, Pinot Blanc, Pinot Gris, Gewurztraminer

13.5% abv

Los Carneros, California, USA

2009 Bodegas Muga Selección Especial

Ripe red cherries, blackberries, dried cranberries, and raspberries. Savory serrano ham note. Cloves and cardamom. Bourbon vanilla. 

4/5 bones

$$$

Tempranillo (some Garnacha, Mazuelo, Graciano)

14% abv

Rioja, SPAIN

1998 Krug Brut

I’m sittin’ pretty with my favorite champagne! Oh boy, this is such special stuff. It smells like a boulangerie on a sunny day in Paris. Whiffs of brioche French toast and crusty country bread. Apples, mushrooms, lemon dessert tarts, and chalk. Beautiful mousse (bubbles). Lovely, bright acidity. Baked apples on the palate with lots of toast, yeast, and caramel notes. There’s even a tease of red currants and boysenberries, but just a tease. DELICIOUS.

5/5 bones

$$$$$

Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, Pinot Meunier

12% abv

Champagne, FRANCE

2013 Azienda Agricola Arianna Occhipinti SP68 Sicilia Rosso IGT

GIRL POWER! I am a huge fan of Arianna Occhipinti and everything she makes because she is awesome. A young female winemaker in a male-dominated industry, Arianna is a real trail-blazer. Black fruit, aged balsamic, clove, cedar box, olive tapenade, purple flowers, and a hint of cola. Grippy tannins with nice acidity. Blackberries, black currants, and anise on the palate. 

4/5 bones

$$

Frappato, Nero d’Avola

12.5% abv

Sicily, ITALY

2002 Dominus Estate Christian Moueix

I’m a Christian Moueix fangirl and I’m not afraid to show it! This wine is epic every time. Fruit leather and ripe, ripe fruit on the nose along with tobacco, leather, mint, eucalyptus, vanilla, dill, clove, mixed color peppercorns, plums, prunes, and cocoa. Just on the nose! Beautiful palate of cassis, plum, tobacco, leather, and mint with a green pepper finish!

5/5 bones

$$$$$

Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot

14.1% abv

Napa Valley, California, USA

2013 Bodegas del Palacio de Fefiñanes “Albariño des Fefiñanes”

As you know, Albariños are always welcome in my house! This one’s got lots of peach, sea shells, sea salt, and fresh white flowers on the nose with a hints of candied lemon peel. Mouthwatering acidity on the palate with lots of pear and marine (salt/shells) notes. A bit of a tingle on the tongue. This guy gets more candied as it opens. 

3/5 bones

$$

Albariño

12.5% abv

Rias Baixas, SPAIN

2009 Brygon Reserve Bin 888 Cabernet Sauvignon

So this is a Cab from Australia, the land of Shiraz! Pretty cool! Lots of black currants, shiitake mushroom, and smoked ham on the nose. More tart red cherries and blackberries on the palate, where it’s a little thin for my taste. 

3/5 bones

$$

Cabernet Sauvignon

13.5% abv

Margaret River, AUSTRALIA

1995 Casanova di Neri Tenuto Nuova Brunello di Montalcino DOCG

Feeling slightly bashful around a Casanova… Red currants and black cherries. Horse and leather on the nose with cardamom and cinnamon. Hint of purple flowers. Mushrooms and cinghiale. Tannins are very present and drying on the palate. Tart cherries with more wood, earth, and mushroom notes. 

3/5 bones

$$$$

Sangiovese

13.5% abv

Tuscany, ITALY

2012 Caymus Vineyards 40th Anniversary Cabernet Sauvignon

A special occasion like a 40th anniversary calls for steak! Double steaks! A wine like this needs to be opened some hours (I chose 2) before drinking. It’s pretty rich stuff - blackberries, black plums, and even some blueberries. Bourbon vanilla, molasses, caramel, dark chocolate, coconut, and clove. Hint of banana peel. Bacon fat and sweet, chewy ham hock. Dig in!

4/5 bones

$$$$

Cabernet Sauvignon

14.6% abv

Napa Valley, California, USA

2010 E. Guigal Château D’Ampuis Côte-Rôtie

I’m somewhat overwhelmed by the awesomeness of Guigal wines. This one’s all rock ‘n roll, baby. Beautiful balance of fresh olives, red and black cherries, and pepper. Lovely depth to the nose of this wine. Beautifully integrated and complex on the palate with cherries, green pepper, olives, and lavender. Finish for days. Think “French fajitas” and you’ll get this wine. 

5/5 bones

$$$$$

Syrah

13.5% abv

Côte-Rôtie (Rhône), FRANCE