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Semi-Annual VIP Wine Tasting


June 10, 2015 - 6PM to 9PM


Taste - Discover - Save



The Wines



Table 1 - California Chardonnays


2013 Calera Chardonnay Mt. Harlan, AG 93 pts, VIP Price $28.99/bottle.

"Almonds, tangerine, apricot pit and smoke meld together in the 2013 Chardonnay Mount Harlan. The flavors are bold, intense and racy, but there is plenty of underlying energy and tension in support. The 2013 spent ten months in French oak barrels, 30% new."


2013 Kistler Chardonnay Sonoma Mountain, WS 93 pts, VIP Price $53.99/bottle.

"Pure and focused, with a vivid core of white peach, nectarine and tangerine flavors. Tangy acidity gives this a chalky, minerally edge and a long, persistent and captivating finish. Drink now through 2022.— J.L."


2013 Forman Chardonnay, Napa, WA 94 pts, VIP Price $39.99/bottle.

"The Forman Chardonnay is 100% barrel-fermented, sees 10% new oak, but is never put through malolactic. The superb 2013 Chardonnay offers lots of minerality along with notions of white peaches, spring flowers, orange blossoms and poached pears. With loads of fruit, great acid and finesse, and only a hint of oak in the flavor profile, this medium to full-bodied, gorgeous Chardonnay can be enjoyed over the next 5-6 years."


2013 Paul Hobbs Chardonnay Russian River Valley, WA 90-93 pts, VIP Price $39.99/bottle.

"The 2013 Chardonnay Russian River displays lots of orange blossom and honeysuckle characteristics in a full-bodied, exuberant style with admirable minerality as well as good acidity. Drink now-2019."



Table 2  - Rioja Reds


Aalto PS Ribera del Duero 2011, WA 94 pts, VIP Price $89.99/bottle.

"The 2011 Aalto PS is their top cuvee from selected plots (Pagos Seleccionados), old Tempranillo vineyards around La Horra and La Aguilera in the province of Burgos. The nose has the characteristic dill-like aroma imparted by the American oak (malolactic is carried out in new American barrels and the aging is in French oak only) and plenty of notes of incense, cigar ash, nutmeg and clove over a core of ripe black fruit. The palate is full-bodied, and shows both elegance and power, with grainy, fine tannins and a silky, slightly dusty texture and moderate acidity. The wine aged for 20 months in barrel compared with some 30 months in the past. Regardless, the wine is still quite marked by the oak, quality oak, but plenty of oak nonetheless. This is one for the long haul that would benefit from at least a couple of years in the bottle. Drink 2016-2021."


La Rioja Alta Gran Reserva 904 Rioja 2004, WA 96 pts, VIP Price $38.99/bottle.

"The 2004 Gran Reserva 904 is Tempranillo from Brinas, Labastida and Villalba balanced with 10% Graciano from Briones and Rodezno. The grapes were fermented and macerated in inox vats for 14 days at 28º C, and malolactic fermentation lasted 28 days. The wine aged for 4 years in used American oak barrels averaging 4 years old, during which time it was manually racked 8 times. 150,000 bottles were filled. This 2004, from a superb vintage shows a beautiful light red color with a brick rim and a superb nose redolent of balsamic woods, spices, leather, well-hung meat, incense and truffles. The light to medium-bodied palate shows fully resolved tannins, great acidity and pure, pungent flavors that linger in the mouth forever and that can only be Rioja. This is a wine to smell over and over again. It might sound like an exaggeration, but this wine is still too young and you should wait a little bit and drink the superb 2001 vintage which should still be available on the market while this one matures in bottle. At this quality level the price is superb especially considering that the wine is being released 10 years after the vintage. Drink 2016-2024."


Vinedos de Paganos El Puntido Rioja 2008, WA 91-93 pts, VIP Price $44.99/bottle.

"The 2008 El Puntido, tasted from barrel, is a glass-coating opaque purple color with a classy bouquet of Asian spices, incense, lavender, black cherry, and blackberry. Layered on the palate and plush in texture, this full-flavored offering should evolve for 4-6 years and deliver prime drinking from 2014 to 2028. "


Muga Rioja Reserva 2010, IWC 92 pts, VIP Price $18.99/bottle.

"(70% tempranillo, 20% garnacha, 7% mazuelo and 3% graciano; fermented in large oak vats and aged for 24 months in oak casks of varying size): Opaque ruby. Musky, deeply pitched aromas of ripe red fruit, game, lavender and roasted coffee. Shows very good spicy lift in the mouth, offering sweet raspberry and cherry flavors and an undercurrent of smoky minerals. Finishes with excellent focus and thrust; the slowly building tannins meld smoothly with the wine's dense fruit. Age this wine for at least another five years, with confidence."



Table 3 - Washington State Greats


2011 DeLille Cellars Four Flags Cabernet Sauvignon, WA 94 pts, VIP Price $55.99/bottle.

"Even better, the 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon Four Flags is 100% Cabernet that comes from Red Mountain and is a mix from the Upchurch, Grand Ciel, Ciel du Cheval and Klipsun vineyards. Aged 20 to 22 months in French oak, it offers a full-bodied, elegant, yet classically styled profile to go with notions of cassis, black raspberry, lead pencil shavings and dried spices that show on both the nose and palate. Concentrated and rich, with excellent mid-palate density and building tannin, it nevertheless stays seamless, elegant and perfectly balanced. Give it 2-3 years in the cellar and drink it over the following 10 to 15 years."


2012 DeLille Cellars D2 Columbia Valley Red Wine, VIP Price $35.99/bottle.

The notable dark black-purple color suggests a concentrated and ripe vintage. With perfume-scented blueberries, cassis, cherries, raspberries and dried lavender, the nose is enticing. There is also wonderful oak and fruit integration displaying notes of cassis, red plums, tart cherries, cocoa nibs, cedar and Herbs de Provence. Mouthwatering ripe tannins give way to a long and dramatic finish reinforcing a rich and complete D2 that will give satisfaction for years to come. 


2011 Doyenne AIX Columbia Valley, WA 92 pts, VIP Price $35.99/bottle.

"A Provencal styled blend of 71% Syrah and 29% Cabernet Sauvignon that comes all from Red Mountain, the 2011 Doyenne Aix has beautiful richness and texture in the vintage, with ample black raspberry, blackberry, licorice, toast and hints of meatiness all flowing to a clean, beautifully balanced and overall elegant wine that will have 10 - 12 years of overall longevity. Seemingly outstanding in every vintage, it represents a superb value and is well worth checking out."


2013 Chaleur Estate White Columbia Valley, IWC 94 pts, VIP Price $29.99/bottle.

        "(A 65/35 blend of Sauvignon Blanc and semillon): Full, bright green-gold color. Noble aromas of citrus oil, apple, brioche and curry powder. Wonderfully sappy and concentrated, with guava, lime and mineral flavors complemented but not overwhelmed by sexy oak. Most impressive today on the extremely long, rising finish. I’d love to pour this incredible Washington State white wine next to a young Domaine de Chevalier blanc. Stunning quality for the price."



Table 4 - Rhone Valley Reds


2012 Domaine Les Cailloux Chateauneuf du Pape, WA 91 pts, VIP Price $39.99/bottle.

"A lighter weight, elegant and seamless example of this cuvee, the 2012 Châteauneuf du Pape exhibits beautiful sweet cherry, raspberry, crushed flowers and hints of garrigue. A blend of 70% Grenache, 17% Mourvedre, 10% Syrah and 3% Cinsault that was 80% destemmed and aged in a combination of concrete tank and 1- to 2-year-old barrels (Syrah only), this beauty is already approachable, but will evolve gracefully for 10-12 years."


2011 Domaine Ogier Cote Rotie, WA 93 pts, VIP Price $84.99/bottle.

"The 2011 Cote Roties are all brilliant, and at the upper end, some of the best wines in the vintage. Perfumed and fragrant, the 2011 Cote Rotie Classique isn’t holding much back, with loads of spice, lavender, bacon fat and sweet blackberry fruit all soaring from the glass. Very pure and lively, with great acidity, medium to full-bodied depth and superb length through the finish, this knockout 2011 will have 10-15 years of longevity." 

2011 Domaine Ogier Syrah La Rosine VdP, WA 90-92 pts, VIP Price $29.99/bottle.

"Insiders and shrewd consumers have long realized that the 30,000-bottle Syrah La Rosine Vin de Pays cuvee is a great bargain. The 2011 is a 100% Syrah from the steep hillsides north of the old Roman town of Vienne, a few miles up river from Cote Rotie. The soils are largely decomposed granite. The 2011 La Rosine is a serious Syrah displaying lots of tapenade, blackberry, charcoal and fruit. This beautifully made wine sells at a remarkably fair price as it resembles a Cote Rotie from the Cote Brune."


2011 Domaine Santa Duc Gigondas, WA 89-91 pts, VIP Price $25.99/bottle.

"The 2011 Gigondas is one of the more seductive wines in this sensual vintage. Although it is not as big as the two preceding vintages, it is an attractive blend of 75% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre and the rest Syrah and Cinsault. Aged completely in foudre, it exhibits lots of blueberry, blackberry and kirsch fruit intermixed with hints of crushed rocks and spring flowers. This medium to full-bodied, soft Gigondas is ideal for drinking during its first 6-10 years of life."



Table 5 - U.S. Cabernet Sauvignon, Part I


2010 Beringer Private Reserve Caberrnet Sauivgnon Napa Valley, WA 96 pts,

VIP Price $99.99/bottle.

"The 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Private Reserve is built from completely different sources. Sixty-six percent came from the St. Helena Home Ranch, 18% from the Chabot Vineyard, and the rest from Beringer’s estates in St. Helena, Rutherford and Coombsville. It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon that came in at 14.6% natural alcohol with a pH of 3.8. Perhaps the greatest Beringer Private Reserve since the 2007, 2005, 2002 and 2001, the 2010 offers up notes of lead pencil shavings, creme de cassis, subtle smoke, wet rocks and background oak. Full-bodied, rich and impressive, it can be drunk now or cellared for two decades."


2010 Chateau St. Jean Cinq Cepages, WA 92 pts, VIP Price $49.99/bottle.

"Far superior is their flagship offering for Bordeaux varietal blends, the 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon Cinq Cepages, which is 78% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot, 5% Cabernet Franc and the rest Petit Verdot. It possesses a deep ruby/purple color along with notes of cranberry sauce, black cherries, black currants, dusty, loamy soil, unsmoked cigar tobacco and underbrush. Medium to full-bodied and rich with light tannins as well as a textured mouthfeel, there are 7,000 cases of this beauty that can be enjoyed over the next 10-12 years."


2011 Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, WS 93 pts, VIP Price $97.99/bottle.

"Beautifully orchestrated, rich and juicy, offering an opulent array of deliciously ripe and layered red and black fruits, with black berry, currant and raspberry flavors, shaded by mocha and toasty-cedary oak nuances. Drink now through 2025"


2010 Groth Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon Oakville Napa Valley, WS 92 pts, VIP Price $83.99/bottle.

"Dense with rich, gripping tannins, this is slow to unfold but as it does it reveals a well-structured mix of dried dark berry, roasted herb, espresso and mocha. Gains depth and chewy tannins on the finish. Drink now through 2028."



Table 6 - U.S. Cabernet Sauvignon, Part II


2012 Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignon Hayne Vineyard, WA 91 pts, VIP Price $73.99/bottle.

"From one of the great sites for old-vine Zinfandel in Napa, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Hayne Vineyard is located on the back streets of St. Helena. Lots of blackcurrant fruit, tart acids, and a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel are impressive in this young, vibrant, age-worthy Cabernet Sauvignon, that should easily stand the test of two decades of cellaring. The color is saturated ruby/purple, and the wine is still relatively tight. I suggest several years of bottle age for potential owners."


2012 Nickel & Nickel Cabernet Sauvignon John C. Sullenger Vineyard, WA 91+ pts,

VIP Price $74.99/bottle.

"The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon John C. Sullenger is a softer wine than the Hayne, shows nice dark plum, black cherry, blackcurrant fruit, forest floor and a bit of spice. It is medium to full-bodied, shows light to moderate tannin and will better in 2-3 years than it shows now. The wine is long, with lots of upside potential."


2012 Cakebread Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, WA 9o pts, VIP Price $57.99/bottle.

"A classic, the 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon offers plenty of crème de cassis and spring flower characteristics as well as beautiful density, sweet tannin and good underlying structure as well as definition. Aged 18 months in French oak, it is a beautiful example of Napa Cabernet Sauvignon that can be drunk young, but will be even better in 3-4 years. It should age effortlessly for 12-15 years."


2012 Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Monte Bello Vineyard, VIP Price $47.99/bottle.

"A warm, dry, growing season began a month early, and fine weather continued through summer for an early October harvest. Rapid extraction prompted us to shorten fermentation times and frequency of pump-overs. Once natural malolactics finished in barrel, we chose lots with great fruit definition and elegant structure for the assemblage, and returned the wine to barrel for continued aging. In late fall, a complex press lot was included, providing additional depth and richness. Nineteen months in barrel has softened tannins and clarified the wine. Sensuous and enjoyable now, it will continue to develop over the next twelve to fifteen years."



Table 7 - Napa Valley Proprietary Red Blends


2011 Quintessa Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley, WE 93 pts, VIP Price $116.99/bottle.

"**Cellar Selection** For the 2011 vintage, Winemaker Charles Thomas blended Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot from the winery’s 280-acre biodynamic and organically farmed estate in the heart of Rutherford. The effect is memorable, the wine pungent in red plum and cherry. Light, layered and elegantly smooth on the palate, it has a backdrop of black pepper and clove. Cellar through 2025."


2011 Dominus Estate Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley, AG 94 pts, VIP Price $119.99/bottle.

"Savory herbs, menthol, smoke and licorice are some of the aromas that open up in the glass in the 2011 Dominus. This is a relatively immediate, expressive Dominus with plenty of near-term appeal. The style is open and succulent for the year, with lovely balance and poise. Crushed rose petals and dried herbs linger in the close. With time in the glass, the 2011 fleshes out nicely. In 2011 Dominus is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 9% Petit Verdot and 5% Cabernet Franc... As always, I tasted two bottles of each wine; the first was double decanted about 18 hours in advance, the other opened shortly before the tasting. I consistently preferred the double decanted bottles, and suggest readers follow the same approach when drinking these wines young."


2011 Joseph Phelps Insignia Proprietary Red Wine Napa Valley, WE 96 pts,

VIP Price $135.99/bottle.

"Cellar Selection. Impeccable elegance characterizes this vintage of the producer’s marquee Bordeaux-style blend, an expert finessing of 82% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Petit Verdot, 4% Malbec, 2% Merlot and 1% Cabernet Franc. Juicy in exotic black fruit, it stands tall, with silky, towering shoulders of herb, cardamom and clove that will coalesce beautifully over time. Hold through 2026."


2012 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars S.L.V. Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, WA 92-94 pts,

VIP Price $118.99/bottle.

"The 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon S.L.V. Estate Grown is a beauty. A layered, lush, Pomerol-inspired Cabernet Sauvignon, it offers up notes of Christmas fruitcake, forest floor, underbrush, plums and red and blackcurrants. Sweet tannins, a succulent, fleshy mouthfeel, beautiful concentration and texture, and a long finish result in a sumptuous, irresistible mouthful of Cabernet Sauvignon. Enjoy it now and over the next 10-15 years."


2012 Stag's Leap Wine Cellars Cask 23 Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, WA 97-100 pts,

VIP Price $198.99/bottle.

"The spectacular 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon Cask 23 appears to be the finest Cask 23 since the glory years of the mid-eighties. It boasts a dense purple color, complex notes of spice box, Christmas fruitcake, blackcurrant jam, mulberries and spring flowers, as well as a full-bodied, opulent personality. It is a profound example of this iconic wine that went through a period of mediocrity in the mid- to late-1990s prior to being sold. Drink now-2038."



Table 8 - California's Wild Side


2012 Jeff Cohn Cellars Zinfandel Cassata Vineyard, WA 95 pts, VIP Price $41.99/bottle.

"The super-rich, nicely structured, pure, full-bodied, opulent 2012 Zinfandel Cassata Vineyard possesses a heady 15.6% alcohol. This dense purple-colored effort is as good as this varietal can be. Drink now-2022."


2012 Jeff Cohn Cellars Grenache The Fallen Angel El Diablo Vineyard, WA 92 pts,

VIP Price $41.99/bottle.

"Normally, when I want great California Grenache, I look to Justin Smith at Saxum or his nearby neighbor, Matt Trevisan, or further south at John Alban in Arroyo Grande, or the incomparable Manfred Krankl at Sine Qua Non. However, Jeff Cohn’s beautiful 2012 Grenache The Fallen Angel El Diablo Vineyard is serious Grenache by any standard of measurement. Its deep ruby/purple color is followed by classic notes of lavender, kirsch and licorice. With gorgeous purity, a full-bodied texture and a finish that won’t quit, this superb, sexy Grenache can be drunk now and over the next 5-7 years."


2012 Jeff Cohn Cellars Syrah Rockpile Haley's Vineyard, WA 94 pts, VIP Price $59.99/bottle.

"The 2012 Syrah Haley’s (15.6% natural alcohol) exhibits copious aromas of blueberries, black raspberries and blackberries, sweet tannin, a full-bodied opulence and a style not dissimilar from the Buffalo Hill Syrah. Drink it over the next decade."


2012 Jeff Cohn Cellars Zinfandel The Impostor, WA 90 pts, VIP Price $29.99/bottle.

"The opaque ruby/purple-colored 2012 Zinfandel The Imposter is no shy wine at 14.9% alcohol. Mediterranean-like berry fruit is found in this opulent, multilayered, rich, full-bodied, hedonistic fruit-bomb. Drink it over the next 5-6 years."



Table 9 - Super Tuscans


2012 Tenuta Guado Al Tasso Bolgheri Rosso il Bruciato, WA 90 pts, VIP Price $19.99/bottle.

"The 2012 Bolgheri Rosso Il Bruciato is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Merlot and 15% Syrah, aged in oak for eight months. A portion of the Merlot and the Syrah must was fermented at lower temperatures to preserve aromatic freshness. The wine opens to soft layers of bright cherry and forest berry with pretty shadings of spice, licorice and grilled herb. Smooth tannins and bright acidity make this a good pairing partner to oven-roasted lasagna."


2012 Tenuta Sette Ponti Oreno Toscana, JS 97 pts, VIP Price $49.99/bottle.

"Fabulous aromas of blackberries, orange peel, raspberries and citrus. Violets too. Full body, ultra-fine tannins and a light, dusty texture. It's so fine and beautiful, racy and refined. Very structured indeed but also soulful and very, very inspiring. There's a new refinement to this wine as the winemakers search for a truly beautiful expression of the terroir. Better in 2017 but a joy to taste now."


2010 Castello di Fonterutoli Siepi Vino da Tavola, WA 95 pts, VIP Price $84.99/bottle.

"The 2010 Siepi is a monumental wine with towering intensity and opulent aromas of spice, leather and chocolate covered cherry. The texture of this hearty 50-50 blend of Sangiovese and Merlot is infinitely soft and supple. There are many big-boned wines from Italy that can compare to Siepi, but ultimately this wine is distinguished by its own, unique personality. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2030."


2011 Tenuta Guado Al Tasso Bolgheri Superiore, WA 95 pts, VIP Price $82.99/bottle.

"Forever the superstar, the 2011 Bolgheri Superiore Guado al Tasso is a delicious wine that never holds back in terms of intensity and seamless integration. Every detail has been finessed. The blend is 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc and 3% Petit Verdot. Each vineyard parcel is fermented separately to maintain varietal identity. The wine’s appearance is dark and luscious with thick extraction and a vibrant dark garnet hue. Generous aromas of dark fruit, tobacco and chocolate lift steadily from the glass. The mouthfeel is soft and yielding with a great sense of tannic persistency that holds up the finish, which can be counted in many long minutes. Give this wine five years or more to fully evolve."



Table 10 - Tesseron Cognac


Tesseron Cognac Lot 90 XO Selection Grande Champagne Cognac, VIP Price $57.99/bottle.

Lot N° 90 owes its freshness and purity to the vivacity of our eaux-de-vies. It displays an especially attractive combination of vigour and complexity, which several ice cubes bring out perfectly – a first encounter with a great cognac. Made from the finest terroirs in Cognac –Grande Champagne, Petite Champagne, Petite Champagne and Fins Bois – Lot n°90's unique character comes from long ageing in oak barrels, which adds richness and complexity...


Tesseron Lot 76 XO Tradition Grande Champagne Cognac, VIP Price $99.99/bottle.

Lot N° 76 is an exceptional blend of reserve stocks of Grande Champagne Cognac, matured to perfection in old casks. Lot n°76 immediately establishes its quality on the nose, which exhibits a wealth of caramelised peaches, almond and candied fruit aromas. This carries on magnificently through to the palate, with rich, delicate flavours of nuts and dried fruits – a wonderful rangeof tasteful sensations.


Tesseron Lot N° XO 53 Perfection Grande Champagne Cognac, VIP Price $239.99/bottle.

Lot N° 53 is a blend of our most sublime stocks of Grande Champagne Cognac. It has a sumptuous topaz colour with a bouquet of plums, figs, and chocolate on the palate. This Cognac borders on perfection, finesse and complexity complemented by a refreshing lift on the finish.


Tesseron Lot 29 XO Exception Grande Champagne Cognac, RMP 100 pts,

VIP Price $499.99/bottle.

"The Tesseron family, who made their fortune in Cognac (but are probably best known by wine lovers as the proprietor of Pontet Canet and Lafon Rochet) released tiny quantities of single vintage Cognacs. Although French law does not permit a vintage date to be used, this is all from 1929, and is very limited in availability. I'm not an expert on Cognac, but anything this smooth, silky, potent, and aromatic, is truly great stuff. It is about as ethereal Cognac as anyone could ever hope to drink." Lot N°29 is the rare jewel of the Tesseron collection of Cognacs. A unique blend of legendary Grande Champagne, the cream of our oldest and rarest stocks, lovingly aged for at least three generations. Balancing power and finesse, Exception has a floral bouquet, allied to chocolate and mocha notes. This is complemented by that elusive, ethereal nose which is so typical of only the very best old cognac. This subtle elixir has an extraordinarily long aftertaste, and its lovely amber highlights reflect its very slow ageing – the quintessence of elegance.





RMP - Robert M. Parker, Jr.

WA - Robert M. Parker, Jr.'s, The Wine Advocate

WS - Wine Spectator

JS - James Suckling

AG - Antonio Galloni

WE - Wine Enthusiast

IWC - Stephen Tanzer's International Wine Cellar

Event Information


  • By Reservation Only.

  • Day and Date: Wednesday, June 10, 2015.

  • Time: 6PM - 9PM.

  • Dress: Business Casual.

  • RSVP by Saturday, June 6th, to Circle Wine & Spirits at or 202-966-0600.

  • Light hors d'oeuvres will be served.