4 Tasting Notes from Our Fall Wine Club Meeting


The fall meeting proved to be an interesting one for sure. We only had 1 red wine, which is probably a first when no theme is scheduled. The wines all seemed to be very close in quality. We also had some great food with stuffed clams from Stowe’s in West Haven, pheasant marsala, crab cakes and mushroom ravioli with truffle oil.

  • 2016 Louis Jadot Pouilly-Fuissé – France, Burgundy, Mâconnais, Pouilly-Fuissé
    Tasted blind. Aromas of grape, petrol, slate and mineral. Flavors of pear, mineral, slate, star fruit and anise. Ends with a mineral driven finish of 25+ seconds. I had this pegged for a Alsatian Riesling. I’ve seemed to have trouble with identifying Pouilly-Fuisse in previous blind tastings if I remember. I gave this 92 points and it finished 3rd on the night. (92 pts.)
  • NV Charles de Cazanove Champagne Brut Rosé – France, Champagne
    Tasted blind. Aromas of cherry, raspberry, mineral and toast. Flavors of cherry pit and raspberry tart. This didn’t have a wide range of flavors but must admit I have never had such cherry flavor come through in a Rose sparkling wine before. It was quite interesting. Ended with a cherry finish of 20+ seconds. I nailed this one and gave it 91 points. Finished 4th on the night. (91 pts.)
  • 2008 Louis Jadot Meursault – France, Burgundy, Côte de Beaune, Meursault
    Tasted blind. Aromas of almond, vanilla and a bit of buttered popcorn. Nose was a touch closed down in the beginning. Might have been a little too cold. Flavors of vanilla, slate, apple, mineral and a touch of nut. Ends with a nice 25+ second finish that touched on the primary flavors. I nailed this as a White Burgundy so I was happy with that. Wasn’t over the hill or anything but could taste and see it was aged. An interesting wine. (92 pts.)
  • 2012 Concrete Zinfandel Old Vine – USA, California, Central Valley, Lodi
    Tasted blind. Aromas of blackberry, currant, cherry and earth. Flavors of blackberry, mint, currant and touch of iron. Ends with a 25+ second finish with currant notes. I again was wrong as I had this pegged as a Sonoma Cabernet. Was a bit surprised when it was a Zin, but I have had some trouble with some funkier Zins in the past. Was surprised to see this was 15.5% alcohol because it wasn’t heavy or hot at all. I gave this 92 points and it was the wine of the night. (92 pts.)

5 Great Wines for Thanksgiving Dinner

While Christmas gets all the attention for trees and presents, the Thanksgiving holiday focuses on food. And as you know if there is food, a bottle of wine can’t be far behind. Here are 5 great selections currently in stock at Oxford Liquor Shoppe that will go perfect for your Thanksgiving dinner.

1. Pannier NV Champagne Brut Sélection $29.99

Pannier NV Champagne Brut Selection

Sparkling wines may be the best wine to pair anything with and turkey and gravy are no exception. But this can go anywhere in the meal or even be served first as a aperitif. $30 is basically the price of entry these days for Champagne and this delivers for the money. Some great notes of ginger, lime, slate and shortbread goes with a nice mineral driven finish.

2. De Wetshof 2016 Chardonnay Limestone Hill $16.99

2016 De Wetshof Chardonnay Limestone Hill

Most people shy away from this wine because it is from South Africa but I’d be willing to put this in a blind tasting and most people would think it’s a Chablis. They don’t call it Limestone Hill for nothing. Not a touch of oak is in this and for people who appreciate minerality in wines will love this. Don’t be fooled though, the fruit sings with lime and Fuji apple notes. It’s just more old world than new world.

Wine Spectator 91 Points

“A fresh white, with a quinine edge giving the core of green fig, yellow apple and white peach flavors extra zip through the floral-edged finish. Drink now through 2018.”

3. Weingut Tesch 2015 Laubenheimer Karthäuser Riesling $19.99

Riesling is the perfect wine to match with Turkey. Turkey is not a fatty meat so white wines pair very well with it. Riesling, sweet and dry, both work. The sweet works because the sugar works in the same way cranberry sauce does. The dry works because the turkey is lean so it doesn’t need the tannins of a big red wine to pair with the fat. The Tesch is a dry Riesling that has some great smoke and mineral notes. The acidity on this just washes over your palate, begging you to take another sip.

Wine Advocate 92+ Points

“Subtle, pure and flinty on the nose, the 2015 Laubenheimer Karthäuser Riesling Trocken intertwines ripe, but very precise and fresh white fruit aromas with a spicy flavor. On the palate, this is a very intense but also racy, vital, firm and salty Riesling. It has remarkable elegance and complexity. It is quite powerful and has a very good potential to age. Keep this wine for at least another four years.”

4. Chanson Pere & Fils 2015 Bourgogne $19.99


2015 is a great year in Burgundy. They say in the great years buy the entry level wines and bad years by the top wines. This Bourgogne is entry level but delivers very high quality with textbook notes of cherry and mushroom.

Wine Spectator 90 Points

“This has some density to the cherry, berry, spice and smoke flavors, but remains ripe and charming. Firms up on the finish, where earth and spice notes mingle. Drink now through 2023.”

5. Borgo Scopeto 2015 Chianti Classico $13.99

2015 was also a great year for Chianti and this wine from Borgo Scopeto is an insane value! Heavy enough to please the hardcore red wine drinker but light enough to pair well with the Thanksgiving meal, this Chianti Classico will leave you wanting more! All this for only $14! You will not be disappointed!

Wine Spectator 90 Points

“Bright cherry, strawberry, floral and earth aromas and flavors are the hallmarks of this elegant red. Firm and balanced, persistent on the finish. Give this a year to integrate. Drink now through 2028.”


Tasting Notes on 6 Wines from our Summer Wine Club Meeting


Our Summer meeting we decided to do Rose. Figured it would be nice in the Summer weather but we could not have picked a worse day to have the meeting. It was pouring outside. So much for grilling and having the meeting on the deck.

We did not let the weather keep us down though. We tried some interesting Rose’s and had some great food. We started off with a great selection of cheeses I picked up at Bon Appetit in Hamden and had a great shrimp dish in a slightly spicy marinade. We also had a great beef dish called Bulgogi with rice, a potato salad specifically to pair with Rose and a selection of sliced, cured meats. But the real stars of these meetings are the wines.

Picture of the bottles from the Summer Wine Club meeting

  • NV Scharffenberger Brut Rose Excellence – USA, California, North Coast, Mendocino County
    Tasted blind. Nose wasn’t giving up much. All I was really getting was strawberry. The palate made up for it though with flavors of strawberry, raspberry and lime. Ended with a rather short finish and seemed to loose it’s bubbles quite quickly although I did not receive a huge pour. A nice easy drinking wine but just shy on complexity. This wine finished tied for 2nd and I gave it 89 points. (89 pts.) In Stock
  • 2017 Château d’Esclans Whispering Angel – France, Provence, Côtes de Provence
    Tasted blind. Nose was badly corked although it wasn’t showing up on the palate yet. Tried to do the saran wrap thing. Brought the corked nose down a notch but it was still really bad. NR (flawed) In Stock
  • 2017 Château de Trinquevedel Tavel – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Tavel
    Tasted blind. This was my favorite wine of the night. Had some great aromas of watermelon and strawberry that lead to flavors of watermelon, strawberry and cherry. Ends with a great finish of about 20 seconds with strawberry notes. To me, this wine showed the most complexity on the night and just edged out wine #4 with a slightly better finish. This finished 1st on the night and I gave it 91 points. (91 pts.)
  • NV Roederer Estate Brut Rosé Anderson Valley – USA, California, North Coast, Anderson Valley
    Tasted blind. Aromas of strawberry, mousse, lime and slate. Flavors of strawberry, raspberry and lime. This also had a nice strawberry finish that wasn’t quite as pronounced as wine #3. Bit surprised this was the Roederer because I thought it was French. Guess they have done good replicating their operation in California. This wine finished 5th and I gave it 90 points. (90 pts.) In Stock
  • 2016 Francis Ford Coppola Sofia Rosé – USA, California, Central Coast, Monterey County
    Tasted blind. Got some strawberry on the nose but this was even more shut down than wine #1. Some simple flavors of cherry and strawberry on the palate and ended with a rather short finish. My least favorite wine of the night and my score was probably a little generous. This wine finished tied for 2nd and I gave it 88 points. (88 pts.)
  • 2017 Bieler Père et Fils Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence Rosé Sabine – France, Provence, Coteaux d’Aix-en-Provence
    Tasted blind. Aromas of strawberry, watermelon and cherry on the nice. One of the more fragrant noses on the night. Flavors of strawberry, watermelon and lime. Ends with a decent 15 second finish. This is a nice, easy drinking Summer sipper. This wine finished 4th and I gave it 89 points. (89 pts.) In Stock

Overall another successful meeting. One thing I will say is the wines we had tonight were a lot more similar than different. Lot of the same flavors and aromas with only a few differences here or there. Would be interested to find a Rose that offered more in terms of complexity.

Tasting Notes On 6 Wines From Our Spring Wine Club Meeting

SEYMOUR WINE CLUB MEETING 4/21/18 – Home of the Alapatt’s (4/21/2018)

We had another interesting meeting. For food we had a few different types of breads, a selection of fines cheeses, shrimp cocktail, chicken pot pie and a few other things I can’t remember at this point. The wines were stellar as always but we had a ringer thrown in that really stumped everyone.

  • 2007 Turley Zinfandel Dragon Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley, Howell Mountain
    Tasted blind. Aromas of dried raspberry, dried cherry, spice and pepper. Flavors of boysenberry, raspberry, blueberry and tomato. Ends with a boysenberry and blueberry infused finish of 25-30 seconds. I guessed a Turley Zin and got it. Still had some nice fruit although not as vibrant as these can be in their youth. Kind of surprised this was holding on so well. I gave this 92 points and it finished 3rd on the night. (92 pts.)
  • 2015 Maysara Winery Pinot Noir 3° – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley, McMinnville
    Tasted blind. Aromas of mushroom, earth and cherry led to flavors of cherry, mushroom and earth. Ends with a nice finish of about 25 seconds. This improved as the night went on. Nice value for $20. I gave this 90 points and it finished 5th on the night. (90 pts.)
  • NV Tisdale Vineyards Chardonnay – USA, California
    Tasted blind. Aromas of kiwi, grapefruit and lychee led to flavors of lychee, pear and kiwi. Finish lasted 20 seconds and I compared it next to the other white that night, the Chanson, and it had a longer finish. I guessed a Viognier, others guessed Gewurztraminer. Only one person pegged this a Chardonnay. Did not taste anything like one in my opinion. A perplexing wine and would be lying if I said I didn’t like it. Could be one of those wines that after a glass it becomes undrinkable. I gave this 90 points and it came in 2nd on the night! (90 pts.) In Stock
  • 2013 Bocale Montefalco Rosso – Italy, Umbria, Montefalco, Montefalco Rosso
    Tasted blind. Aromas of cherry, earth. Nose was a tad shut down, especially compared to the other wines. Flavors of cherry, earth, touch of tar and a touch of iron. Ends with a 25 second finish of cherry and earth. I gave this 90 points but it came in 6th place on the night.
  • 2006 DuMOL Syrah Jack Robert’s Run – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Tasted blind and decanted for 1 hour. Aromas of cherry, game, raspberry and flowers. Flavors of cherry, raspberry, coffee and earth. Finished last 35 seconds with cherry and game notes. This tasted so young. Never would have guessed it was 12 years old. This, for me, was by far the best wine on the night. I gave it 94 points and it finished 1st. (94 pts.)
  • 2015 Chanson Père & Fils Viré-Clessé – France, Burgundy, Mâconnais, Viré-Clessé
    Tasted blind. Aromas of nut, kiwi and sweet banana. Flavors of pear, nut, lychee. Had a great acidity to it but a shorter finish than all the other wines. I guessed a Godello but was wrong. I gave this 89 points and it finished 4th on the night. (89 pts.) In Stock


5 Great Wine from our Winter Wine Club Meeting

This past weekend we had our Winter wine club meeting. It was an open meeting so everyone could bring whatever wine they wanted to bring. The wine was great of course and we also had some delicious food. We had some short ribs cooked in the crock pot, perogies, three different pies from Roseland Pizza and a blueberry pie for dessert. Onto the wines!

The wines of the meeting

The wines below were all tasted blind and are listed in the order tasted.

  • 2007 Shea Wine Cellars Pinot Noir Homer Shea Vineyard – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Tasted Blind. Aromas of dried cherry, mushroom and earth. Flavors of dried cherry, mushroom and dried strawberry. This still had quite a bit of fruit in it and really opened up over 30 minutes. Ends with a beautiful 30+ second finish. I was surprised because of the quality of the vintage overall and the previous 07 Shea’s I have had have been so so. I gave this 93 points and it won wine of the night. (93 pts.)
  • 2011 Pago de Vallegarcía Syrah Vallegarcía – Spain, Castilla-La Mancha, Vino de la Tierra de Castilla
    Tasted blind. This had a lot of matchstick on the nose when it first opened up but slowly wore off. Also had aromas of plum and grapefruit, which was strange. Flavors of plum, cherry and raspberry lead with way. Predominately dark fruits on this. Ends with a 25-30 second finish. I guessed a grenache blend from Chateauneuf du Pape. This wine finished 3rd on the night and I gave it 92 points. (92 pts.)
  • 2012 Chateau Montelena Zinfandel Estate – USA, California, Napa Valley, Calistoga
    Tasted blind. This one was a tad shy on the nose with aromas of cherry and strawberry. Flavors of cherry and mulberry. Did not like this as much as the others on the night although it was not a bad wine. Ends with a 20+ second finish. This wine finished 5th on the night and I gave it 89 points.
    Note: the next day this really improved. More fruit started to come out and could really see the Napa pedigree. Score above reflects night 1 only. (89 pts.) Available
  • 2012 Grgich Hills Chardonnay – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Tasted blind. Aromas of nut, lime and beeswax. Got some flavors of shortbread, lemon and mineral. Ends with a nice 25+ finish. This was very Burgundian and I guessed White Burgundy. I have had Grgich Chardonnay before and have never been impressed but this was pretty nice. I gave this 92 points and this finished 4th on the night (92 pts.) Available
  • 2014 Joseph Phelps Chardonnay Freestone Vineyards Sonoma Coast – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Tasted blind. This had some great stone fruit, slate and mineral on the palate. Flavors of sour apple, bread dough and some subtle tropical fruit. Ends with a 30 second finish. As this got warmer it got fuller and better. As Grgich got warmer, it wasn’t as good. I gave this wine 93 points and it finished 2nd on the night. (93 pts.) In Stock


Wine Spectator’s Top 100 Wines of 2017 at Oxford Liquor Shoppe

At the end of every year, Wine Spectator comes out with their Top 100 Wines of the Year. Once the wines are announced, there typically is a mad dash to obtain these wines. The Wine of the Year instantly becomes very hard to find and goes up in value. Some people say it might be a little over-hyped and there are plenty of good wines not on the list but one thing that can’t be denied is the wines on the list are all high quality.  The list contains a nice variety of red wine, white wine, sparkling wine and dessert wine as well as a good balance between imported wine and domestic, including selections outside of California. Oxford Liquor Shoppe has done a good job over the years bringing in these wines, most of the time we have them in stock before the list is announced.  For the last few years we have been posting what wines we have in stock from the current year’s list as well as wines we may have from a previous years list.

Top 100 Wines of 2017

nv roederer estate brut

#25 NV Roederer Estate Brut Anderson Valley Price $23.99

Wine Spectator 92 Points

“A voluptuous and expressive sparkler, with floral red apple, brioche and cinnamon spice aromas and rich, vibrant flavors that finish on a luxurious note. Drink now through 2018. 80,000 cases made.”
2015 Santa Ema Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva

#29 2015 Santa Ema Cabernet Sauvignon Reserva $16.99

Wine Spectator 91 Points

“Dark plum and dried red berry flavors dominate this muscular red, with plenty of minty and savory accents. Medium-grained tannins support chocolate and cream details on the finish. Drink now through 2021.”

Sidebar 2015 Sauvignon Blanc

#32 2015 Sidebar Sauvignon Blanc High Valley Price $19.99

Wine Spectator 91 Points

“Focused and precise, with detailed lemon meringue, orange blossom and lime zest flavors that are intense, fragrant and harmonious on the long, crisp finish. Drink now.”
2014 Spring Valley Federick
#39 2014 Spring Valley Frederick Red Blend Price $64.99
Wine Spectator 94 Points
“Refined and impeccably structured, with floral black cherry and dusty dried spice aromas, and complex plum, olive and mocha flavors that glide toward polished tannins. Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Petit Verdot and Malbec. Drink now through 2023.”
2016 Matua Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc

#40 2016 Matua Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough $10.99

Wine Spectator 90 Points

“Succulent, fleshy peach and nectarine flavors are accented by Key lime, mango and ruby grapefruit notes. Shows nice intensity on the long, expressive finish. Drink now.”
2015 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino

#46 2015 Il Poggione Rosso di Montalcino Price $19.99

Wine Spectator 91 Points

“Bright, delicate and vibrant, with berry and floral flavors. Accents of earth, tobacco and spice add interest as they linger on the finish. Well-rounded and long. Drink now through 2023.”
2016 mason sauvignon blanc
#57 2016 Mason Sauvignon Blanc Napa Valley Price $17.99
Wine Spectator 90 Points
“Clean, smooth and crisp, offering a lip-smacking mix of pear, melon and Key lime flavors, with plenty of intensity on the finish. Drink now. 4,900 cases made.”
2015 the Calling Chardonnay Dutton Ranch

#67 2015 The Calling Chardonnay Russian River Valley Dutton Ranch Price $34.99

Wine Spectator 91 Points

“Ultra rich and extracted, offering a firm core of pear, apple, melon and spice flavors. A truly impressive effort, with depth and dimension. Drink now through 2022.”
Past Glories Still Available

Top 100 Wines of 2016


#42 2014 Vina Montes Cabernet Sauvignon Colchagua Valley Classic Series Price $9.99

Wine Spectator 90 Points

“There’s minerally freshness to the ripe dark plum, blackberry and cherry flavors, with peppery hints. Well-structured and crisp midpalate, featuring Asian spice and black fig notes on the finish. Drink now through 2020.”
2013 kung fu girl

#45 2015 Charles Smith Riesling Kung Fu Girl Price $12.99

Wine Spectator 90 Points

“Tangy and zingy, with lively acidity that balances against gobs of ripe pear and apricot flavors, carrying through the long, lime-accented finish. Drink now through 2020.”


#70 2014 Ravines Riesling Finger Lakes Dry Price $16.99

Wine Spectator 90 Points

“A taut, dry style, with pure lime, kiwifruit and pippin apple flavors backed by a slate note that gives the finish good tension and length. Very solid. Drink now through 2017. 5,475 cases made.”

#73 NV Korbel Brut California Organic Grapes Price $14.99

Wine Spectator 90 Points

“Crisp and luscious, this is a winning bubbly for a big party. Aromas of cinnamon, ginger and citrus lead to creamy flavors of pear and blanched almond. Drink now.”

#75 2014 Bodegas Godeval Vina Godeval Valdeorras Cepas Vellas Price $16.99

Wine Spectator 91 Points

“Pear, peach and quince flavors mingle in this expressive white, while notes of mineral, tangerine and ginger add complexity. Shows depth and focus, with a clean, juicy finish. Drink now.”

Top 100 Wines of 2015

#16 2009 Taylor Fladgate Late Bottled Port Price $22.99

Wine Spectator 93 Points

“Dense and rich, with amply spiced flavors of ripe dark plum and cherry compote. Mineral notes emerge midpalate, leading to a lush, chocolate-filled finish. A fresh and engaging style. Drink now.”

#21 2014 Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc Marlborough Price $29.99

Wine Spectator 93 Points

“Stylish and generous, exhibiting a complex array of flavors, from white grapefruit and lemon curd to candied ginger, lemon verbena, honeysuckle and lime zest. Achieves elegance, power and refreshment in lovely harmony. Drink now.”

#35 2013 Rombauer Chardonnay Carneros Price $38.99

Wine Spectator 93 Points

“A creamy-textured, charming style that’s easy to drink yet is deceptively complex and layered, with a mix of vanilla-scented oak and vibrant peach, nectarine, honeydew and apricot flavors. Long on the finish. Drink now.”

#78 2012 Chateau St. Jean Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley Price $29.99

Wine Spectator 91 Points

“Exhibits ripe and juicy yet firm flavors of currant and blackberry amid a gravelly earthiness before finding focus on the finish, where the tannins are chewy, revealing a licorice touch. Drink now through 2025.”

Top 100 Wines of 2014

#16 2012 Two Hands Shiraz Bella’s Garden Price $79.99

Wine Spectator 95 Points

“Utterly seamless, focused, powerful and elegant, layered with cherry, boysenberry and red plum fruit, revealing glints of coffee, jasmine and cardamom that add extra nuances. Delivers complexity without extra weight. The finish won’t quit. Drink now through 2022.”

Top 100 Wines of 2007

#7 Robert Mondavi 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Reserve Points Price $102.99

Wine Spectator 95 Points

“Weaves together a complex array of ripe, rich currant, anise, smoky oak and black cherry. Dense, concentrated and persistent, with great depth and focus. Ends with an amazingly long, richly flavored finish. Best from 2008 through 2018.”

Top 100 Wines of 2002

#37 Rosemont 1999 Syrah McLaren Vale Balmoral Price $32.99

Wine Spectator 93 Points

“A bit more aristocratic than most Aussie Shirazes, this one strikes a beautiful chord of rich blackberry and currant fruit, hinting at anise and pepper. Has a fleshy frame, with sweet spicy notes darting in and out through the long, harmonious finish. Drink now through 2010. 10,000 cases made.”

7 Great Wines from our Wine Club Meeting

Our Fall wine club had some great wines and delicious food. There was no theme so people could bring whatever wine they wanted. For food, we had stuffed breads (eggplant and pepperoni) smoked salmon that was caught in Alaska by one of our members, shrimp scampi, some breads and cheeses and blueberry pie for dessert. Overall it was a really fun meeting. Quite the diversity in wines but they were all quite good!

  • 2015 Hartford / Hartford Court Zinfandel Old Vine – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Tasted Blind. Aromas of huckleberry, raspberry, pepper and licorice. Flavors of raspberry, blueberry and wild cherry. Upon first tasting this it was still a tad tight but when I re-tasted 30-45 minutes later it had really opened up so I raised my score. Ended with a great 25-30 second finish. This really packs a lot of flavor in there without any heat. My wine of the night and the Group’s #2. (94 pts.)
  • 2011 Ponzi Vineyards Chardonnay Reserve – USA, Oregon, Willamette Valley
    Tasted blind. This nose was really closed down upon my initial tasting. Believe it was served too cold. Once it warmed up it started to show aromas of mineral, lime and flowers. Had flavors of graham cracker. Touch of oak on there was quite nice. Had this pegged for a White Burgundy. I had this tied for 3rd and it was the group’s 5th wine of the night. (92 pts.) In stock!
  • 2015 Dark Horse Wines Chardonnay The Original Dark Horse – USA, California
    Tasted blind. Aromas of kumquat, mineral and tropical fruit. Flavors of tropical fruit, lime and slate. Had a nice finish of 25 seconds. I had this pegged as a Viognier because it was cold and that’s what it really tasted like. Certainly not a Chardonnay. I had this tied for 3rd and it was the group’s 4th favorite of the night. I tasted this after the big reveal when it had some time to warm up and it changed quite a bit. Definitely not a Viognier at that point and would have dropped my score. So the secret here is to keep it really cold and this can be a really nice, inexpensive wine. (92 pts.) In stock!
  • 2014 Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Tasted blind. This has some big aromas of blackberry, plum and current. Got flavors of blackberry, currant, cherry, touch of earth and a touch of green pepper. Ends with a nice 30+ second finish. This is a big wine in the style of Caymus but leaves a little to be desired in structure. Still, for those that like the style this is considerably cheaper than Caymus and in the same ballpark. I guessed a Malbec because of the big fruit on this. This was my 2nd favorite wine of the night and the Group’s wine of the night. (93 pts.) Available
  • 2010 Cantina Terre Del Barolo Barbaresco – Italy, Piedmont, Langhe, Barbaresco
    Tasted blind. Aromas of rosewood, tar and flowers with more tar, cherry and earth on the palate. I guessed Chianti because I did not get big overwhelming tannins on this so figured it could not be Nebbiolo but I was wrong. Ended with a 25+ second finish. I did enjoy this wine but the group rated it 6th on the night. (91 pts.)
  • 2015 Cherry Pie (Hundred Acre) Pinot Noir – USA, California, Sonoma County, Sonoma Coast
    Tasted blind. Aromas of mushroom, leaves and toast. Flavors of cherry, mushroom, strawberry. Lots of cherry on this. Big wine but not incredibly complex. Finish last about 25 seconds. I had this pegged for a Oregon Pinot Noir because of the earthiness but was shocked to see the Cherry Pie. This has always been a good value. I had this in 6th and it was the group’s 3rd wine. (90 pts.) Available
  • 2000 Di Meo Fiano di Avellino Selezione Erminia – Italy, Campania, Fiano di Avellino DOCG
    Tasted blind. Aromas of mint, mineral and crushed rock. Flavors of mineral, stone and a touch of slate. Ends with a 20 second finish. Certainly a unique wine but certainly not the 95 points Wine Advocate gave it. I had this tied for 6th and the group had it tied for 5th. (90 pts.)

Highlights from Napa and Sonoma Trip

Over the course of four days, I was able to taste at several wineries in Napa and Sonoma. I was only able to take very general notes during the tastings but they give you a good idea of my thoughts towards the wines.

Thursday August 17th

Ramey Wine Cellars

Ramey Wine Cellars Tasting

I started off in Sonoma on Day 1 and bounced in and out of the Russian River Valley. The day started off with a 10AM tasting at Ramey Wine Cellars. We here at Oxford Liquor Shoppe have been carrying the Ramey wines for years, big fans of the Chardonnays, the Caret and Cabernet Sauvignon. David Ramey tries to achieve a very balanced style and is not trying for a heavy handed wines. It proved to be a very enjoyable tasting.

2014 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast **2010 is in stock $33.99

This wine was light and crisp with a nice acidity. A good introduction to the house style for the white wines. 91 points

2014 Chardonnay Russian River Valley *available

This was a touch fatter but still done in a very restrained style that Ramey is famous for. Got some tropical fruit on this. 92 points

2014 Chardonnay Woolsey Road *available

From a vineyard specifically allocated for Ramey by Martinelli, this was bigger than the regional blends and ended with a longer finish. 93 points

2014 Chardonnay Hyde Vineyard *available

My favorite of the four Chardonnay’s. Was the biggest but provided great depth of flavor and still not overpowering. Excellent. 94 points

2014 Syrah Sonoma Coast *available

This wine was dark with notes of coffee and dark berry. 91 points.

2015 Claret Napa Valley *2014 available

Always well done, this had notes of blackberry, currant and a long finish with a touch of iron. 93 points

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley **2012 in stock for $77.99

This Cab was quite silky compared to the other cabs I tasted on the trip with soft tannins. Ended with a nice dark berry finish. 92 points

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Annum *available

Big but nuanced. Provided the longest finish of the four reds. Can probably use a little more time in bottle. 94 points

Hartford Family Winery

I then headed over to Hartford Family and it was the first time I have ever had their wines. I came away very impressed. They make Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel and were strong across the board!

2015 Chardonnay Four Hearts Vineyard *available

This was bigger than the Ramey but was beautiful and not overpowering. More traditional in style but had some finesse to it. 93 points

2014 Chardonnay Stone Cote

This was even bigger than the Four Hearts and very buttery. But for all it’s size, it’s style was quite refined for a bigger wine. 94 Points

2015 Chardonnay Russian River Valley *available

A step down from the first two wines but also a lower price point. Solid and delicious. A nice introduction to their style. 92 points

2014 Pinot Noir Land’s Edge *available

This is beautiful with a lot of Pinot character. Again, a bigger style but balanced and not overpowering. 94 points

2014 Pinot Noir Velvet Sisters *available

More similar than different compared to the first two Chardonnays but very awesome wine with a long finish. 94 points

2014 Pinot Noir Warrior Princess Block *available

From Oregon, there was a clear difference here compared to the first two Pinot Noir’s. It definitely showed that Oregon terrior. 94 points

2015 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley

Some bing cherry on this and actually got some tannins. A clear step down but again a lower price point wine. 91 points

2015 Zinfandel Russian River Valley *available

This was extremely impressive. Made like a Pinot, has that silkiness to it. Not your typical Zin fruit bomb. 94 points

2014 Zinfandel Dina’s

This was just awesome. Lots of fruit but refined like their Pinot’s. Shocked to see over 15% alcohol on here because it felt much lower. 96 points.

2014 Zinfandel Hartford

Another excellent bottle but bigger and heavier than the others. More fruit explosion on this. 95 points.

2012 Syrah Outer Limits

A nice effort. Not heavy and dark like a typical Syrah that can be a little too much sometimes. 93 points

2014 Zinfandel Port

I usually don’t go for “ports” outside of Portugal but this was quite nice. Not very heavy for a port style wine. Silky. 93


Have come onto my radar the last few years for their entry level Chardonnay and Cabernet Sauvignon, which are really good values for the money. They also do several higher end bottlings that are right up there with the tops wines in California.

Stonestreet Winery

This is a photo in the front of the winery looking at their mountain vineyards way off in the distance.

2015 Sauvignon Blanc Estate Cuvee

This Sauvignon Blanc had lots of grapefruit on the nose along with kiwi and grapefruit on palate. Ended with a nice finish. No oak on this. 90 points

2014 Sauvignon Blanc Aurora Point

The oak influence shows on the nose of this but the palate has flavors of kiwi and lime. 90 points

2014 Chardonnay Estate Cuvee *available

This is a very nice Chardonnay for the money with notes of lemon meringue and done more in a classic California style. 91 points

2014 Chardonnay Upper Barn *available

This proved to be more elegant than the estate. Where the estate could be a little raw around the edges, this provided a more refined option with greater depth of flavor. Nice long finish. 95 points

2014 Chardonnay Gravel Bench

The biggest of the three Chardonnays. Lots of toast and butter on this one. Probably could use some short term cellaring. 95 points

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Cuvee *available

Like the 2012, just a wonderful Cabernet Sauvignon for the money. This has big berry aromas with some dark fruit on the palate. A fine introduction to the Stonestreet style. 93 points

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Rockfall *available

The Rockfall was a real crowd pleaser with some bigger tannins but a longer finish than the estate. 95 points

2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Christopher

The oak on the nose of this wine was very noticeable but provided wonderful notes of blackberry, currant and chocolate. A bit of a style change from the Rockfall but a nice contrast. 95 points

Alpha Omega

Visited here the last time I was in Napa and they really have top notch wine. The winery is beautiful and was shocked to see they now offer valet parking. Pretty fancy! That aside, the wines were just as good as I remember them.

Alpha Omega Chardonnay

2014 Chardonnay Reserve **2012 Regular Chardonnay in stock $65.99

A fine Chardonnay with notes of pineapple, mango and citrus. Honestly don’t recall a big difference between this and the regular bottling. 93 points

2015 Chardonnay Toyon

Very similar in style and quality to the Reserve but just a hair behind in my opinion. 92 points

Alpha Omega Red Wines

2012 Proprietary Red

This was a big tannic wine still with notes of cassis, chocolate and plum. 94 points

2013 Proprietary Red *available

The most backward of all the red wines with very drying tannins. Notes of currant, blackberry and cherry. 93

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon *available

Again, very tannic but fruit was open for business for a 2014. Notes of herb, cherry blackberry and plum. 94 points

2015 Cabernet Sauvignon To Kalon Barrel Sample

Drinking pretty awesome right now for such a young wine. Note even as tannic as the other red wines but could have seen more air. A clear step up from the other 3. 96-98 points

2011 Late Harvest

Notes a honey, peach and apricot. Close to the Honig Late Harvest. 93 points

Robert Mondavi

Robert Mondavi Winery Statue in Front

First time visiting even though I’ve been to Napa twice before. Went mainly to try the I Block, which is only available at the winery. Beautiful winery and by far the biggest tourist attraction as far as wineries are concerned.

Robert Mondavi Winery

2014 Fume Blanc To Kalon I Block

From the oldest Sauvignon Blanc grapes planted in North America. This is beautiful with no sight of grapefruit. So balanced and refreshing. Think this will improve with age. History says it will. 94 points

2015 Sauvignon Blanc Stag’s Leap District

Tons of grapefruit on this. Not nearly on the level as the I Block. 89 points

2014 Fume Blanc Oakville

Enjoyed this more than the Stag’s Leap. No grapefruit. Like the oak influence here. 91

2013 Maestro

Solid wine but expected a bit more from this. Not near the level of the reserve. 91 points

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve

Really nice. Balanced. More old world but still definitely California. An often overlooked wine in this day and age but most of it still comes from To Kalon vineyard. 95


Robert Mondavi 2003 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve $99.99

Robert Mondavi 2004 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve $102.99


Have always admired Honig for their quality wines and affordable prices. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the best values in all of Napa Valley.

Honig Birdbox and Fan

We took a tour of the entire vineyard which was a great experience. Above shows a birdbox that they have throughout their vineyards and wind machine to prevent frost.

2015 Sauvignon Blanc Rutherford *available

Always enjoy Honig’s Rutherford bottling. Touch more refined than the regular Sauvignon Blanc and you can really see the quality. 91 points

Honig Cabernet Sauvignon Grapes

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon *available

Another fine vintage for this Cabernet. Notes of blackberry, mocha and cherry throughout. 92 points

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Campbell

First time having this wine. Slight step up in quality from the regular Cab bottling. 93 points

2013 Cabernet Sauvignon Bartolucci *available

The Bartolucci is just like the Sauvignon Blanc in the respect that I can always see the bump up in quality, although the difference between this and the 2014 regular Cab is a lot smaller this time. 93 points

2015 Late Harvest

Always been a fan of the Late Harvest although it seems to have crept up in price. Very refined and more balanced than the 2016 with flavors of honey and apricot. 93 points

2016 Late Harvest

Still a well made dessert wine but this just needs time to settle down in the bottle. 91 points

Joseph Phelps

Could say we saved the best for last? We did a pretty comprehensive tasting at Phelps. We tasted through their latest releases but then did something I had never done before. Every year Phelps does experiments with different barrels of their wines. So we had the chance to taste their 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon that was aged in 4 different types of oak barrels. The first was neutral oak, the second was French oak (medium toast), the third was American oak (medium toast) and the fourth was French oak (heavy toast). It provided quite an interesting education on the effects of oak on the wine.

Joseph Phelps same wine aged in 4 differnent oak barrels

Below are the notes from their current releases. Phelps Cabernet Sauvignon has always been good but they have done a lot of work to improve their other wines.

2016 Sauvignon Blanc *available

Always been a fan of their Sauvignon Blanc’s but this needs some time. Little too spry at the moment. 91 points

2014 Chardonnay Pastorale

A well made Chard done in a very classic style. Not overdone. 92 points

2014 Pinot Noir Pastorale

Although a nice wine, this was definitely overshadowed by the Pinot’s we had in Sonoma. 90 points

2014 Cabernet Sauvignon *available

Their regular Cab can be really nice in good vintages and this was one of those vintages. Still has some tannins to resolve but can be drunk now with a long decant. 93 points.

2013 Insignia *available

Just a classic vintage of this great wine. I have always been a fan of this and when it hits it really hits. Right up their with the top wines of the trip. 98 points.


Joseph Phelps Vineyards

A fabulous White Bordeaux and 3 Outstanding Cabs

DINNER WITH FRIENDS – Home of the Slywka’s (4/15/2017)

Got together with friends and drank a great white along with 3 great Cabs Cooked a great Surf and Turf with stuffed lobster tails I got at Stowe’s in West Haven and filet mignon.


  • 2013 Château Smith Haut Lafitte Blanc – France, Bordeaux, Graves, Pessac-Léognan
    Lovely nose of apricot, pineapple, cut grass, lime and mineral. Wine is really unique with a lot going on. Flavors of mineral, guava, blood orange and like this sour patch kid thing going on. Sounds kind of weird but it had this crazy sour but sweet thing happening. Ended with a 30-35 second finish. Been a while since I’ve had the regular bottling since I’ve been drinking the second label. Not as good as the great 2005 but this is a killer bottle. (95 pts.)
  • 2014 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Three Twins Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Decanted for 3 hours. Big nose of vanilla, currant, blackberry, cherry and a touch of earth. Nose was really jumping out of the glass. On the palate, flavors of blackberry, currant, toasty oak and fig. This really had a big attack and the finish sailed on for 40-45 seconds. A big wine for sure but well made and tons of fruit. My favorite of the 3 Cabs we had but really splitting hairs. (96 pts.)
  • 2013 Sinegal Estate Cabernet Sauvignon – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Decanted for 3 hours. Nose of blackberry, bell pepper, currant and cherry. The nose on this started off the same as the Myriad but quickly changed in the glass with some air. Flavors of currant, cherry, raspberry and earth. This came through as more balanced than the first wine with out that bombastic attack. Ends with a beautiful 40 second finish. A fantastic showing for this wine. (95 pts.)
  • 2013 Stone the Crows Cabernet Sauvignon Three Twins Vineyard – USA, California, Napa Valley
    Decanted for 3 hours. Tough to follow up the Myraid and Sinegal but this really held its own. Aromas of vanilla, blackberry, earth, iron and black cherry. This was more different than similar to the first two wines. Flavors of blackberry, cherry, currant and a touch of earth. Again, not as bombastic as wine 1 and more balanced like wine 2. Ended with a great 40 second finish. Thomas Rivers Brown does a great job with Schrader and you can see a bit of the same style in this wine. (95 pts.)

Overall had 4 really strong wine. It was interesting seeing the difference between the 2014 and 2013 Cab’s. Obviously, winemaker and vineyard play a part hear but the Myriad and Stone the Crows are from the same vineyard so it was nice to see the comparison. The Cabs were exceptionally high quality but all under $100, which is the going rate for high end Napa cabs nowadays. For what they were, they were a relative bargain.

Tasting Notes on 6 Wines from our Winter Wine Club Meeting

On February 25th, we got together for our Winter wine club meeting. We didn’t have a theme for the meeting so everyone could bring whatever they wanted. We were fortunate enough to have someone bring some Pepe’s pizza which was very good. We also had some homemade perogies, an assorted mixture of apps, some desserts and probably the greasiest eggplant rollatini I have ever had (I brought that, can’t always pick a winner). The meeting proved to be very interesting with a lot of the wines scoring very closely together.


SEYMOUR WINE CLUB MEETING 2/25/17 – Home of Lew Stanio (2/25/2017)

  • 2014 Merry Edwards Sauvignon Blanc – USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley
    Tasted blind. Aromas of Honeysuckle, lemon, beeswax and flowers. Flavors of citrus, honeysuckle, lemon and melon. Had a beautiful acidity on this. Finish went on for 30+ seconds. I guessed the Merry Edwards that I brought and I was right. This was my wine of the night and was the #2 wine overall. Available to order. (93 pts.)
  • 2014 Kendall-Jackson Pinot Noir Vintner’s Reserve California – USA, California
    Tasted blind. Aromas of plum, cherry and earth on the nose. Flavors of cherry, earth and raspberry. Fruit really shines through on this and nicely balanced. Finish went on for 25 seconds. I had actually tried this earlier in the day and recognized it as the Kendall Jackson. Excellent for the money. This was the #3 wine on the night. In stock. (90 pts.)
  • 2012 Adobe Road Redline – USA, California, Sonoma County
    Tasted blind. Aromas of plum, fruitcake and coffee. Flavors of plum, cherry pie, mocha and a touch of iron. Ended with a long finish of 25+ seconds. Guessed a red blend from California. Definitely tasted some petit sirah in there. Turns out I was right. This wine finished 5th on the night. (91 pts.)
  • 2014 Calera Chardonnay Central Coast – USA, California, Central Coast
    Tasted blind. Aromas of honey, mineral and slate. Flavors of pear, apple, mineral and note of star fruit. More settle than the previous wines. Finish lasts about 25 seconds. Guessed a Chardonnay from France. Note surprised when the bag came off. Wine finished 6th on the night. In stock. (90 pts.)
  • 2015 Daou Vineyards The Pessimist – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
    Tasted blind. Aromas of licorice, cinnamon, and Asian spices. Smells older than it actually is. On the palate, this had flavors of plum, licorice and smoked herbs. Finish went on for abut 30 seconds. This one threw me for a loop. I guessed a Chateauneuf-du-Pape. This was my #2 wine and it was the wine of the night. (92 pts.)
  • 2015 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône Blanc – France, Rhône, Southern Rhône, Côtes du Rhône
    Tasted blind. Aromas of peach, honeysuckle, citrus and flowers. Flavors of citrus, grapefruit and tangerine. Great acidity on this. Took me a while to figure this out. At first though it was a New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc because of the grapefruit but settled on a Viognier from the Rhone. This is going to be great in the Summer. Finished 4th on the night. In stock. (90 pts.)