Lail Vineyards – A TRUE American Tale!

Lail House

Having been in the biz this long, I’m often guilty of wandering back to Europe when writing about California wines – I’ve even been called out on it… But this is a family’s story so deeply rooted in the vinous fabric of America that even I can’t think of anywhere else but Napa when sharing their story. Follow me now; this one has a lot of forks in the road… It all began in the late 19th century when Robin Lail’s Great Grand-Uncle Gustav Niebaum (ya’ the one and only!) built Inglenook Vineyards – talk about an American icon. By the turn of the 20th century, American wine had no rival. Niebaum’s Inglenook passed down to his Great-Nephew, John Daniel Jr. in 1936 after Prohibition, and Daniel Jr. would be the catalyst for bringing many of Niebaum’s dreams to life. Daniel Jr., along with Robert Mondavi, made the Napa Valley appellation a reality. The sale of Inglenook in the 1960s made history, as it signified a family’s legacy in the Napa Valley. Enter Robin Lail – John Daniel Jr.’s daughter. She inherited the Napanook Vineyard (again, ya’ the one and only!) and, after a brief hiatus, “went on to co-found Dominus in 1982 with her sister Marcia Smith and the brilliant winemaker Christian Moueix”. Pride of ownership beckoned (obviously) and after a successful run with Bill Harlan, Robin sold her portion of Dominus and Merryvale, hooked up with rock-star wine-maker Philippe Melka in 1998, and gave the world Lail Vineyards!Lail Logo

Check out the new releases here


Turley “The Label” Cabernet 2011 ~ The Zin Man “Actually Likes It”!

Christopher’s Wine Country Connection
Your Direct Source to Exclusive Offers from Wine Country

2011 TURLEY “The Label”Turley The Label

Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena
(92 points): Outstanding; Tanzer

~ “Larry Turley bought this property next to his winery north of St. Helena in 2009 and promptly pulled out the merlot and replanted it to cabernet sauvignon

~ “Aged in one-third new oak, vs. 20% for the zinfandels here; tasted from tank a day or two prior to bottling…

~ “Good full red.  Nice lift to the aromas and flavors of currant and pepper.  Sweet, supple and scented, in a gentle, seamless style.  An herbal quality contributes to the wine’s juicy character and light touch.  Finishes seamless and persistent, with noteworthy purity of flavor.  ‘I actually like it,’ says zin man Turley.”
(92 points) ~ Tanzer

~ The above referenced notes come to us via Tanzer and indicate a wine in keeping with the long-standing reputation of Turley; a wine which true enthusiasts should be buying before it’s gone!

2011 “The Label” Cabernet

Turley Wine Cellars, St. Helena

Retails at:  $45.00/btl

Your Price: $42.99/btl

2011 TURLEY “The Label”

Cabernet Sauvignon, St. Helena

Larry Turley

Larry Turley (left) & Ehren Jordan

2011 marks the 2nd release of “The Label” Cabernet from legendary producer Turley Cellars. This surprisingly impressive Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced from magnificent 20+ year old vines in a single, organically-farmed vineyard that recently became part of the Turley Estate in St Helena.

The wine undergoes aging in 100% French oak (33% new), which imparts a nicely integrated seamlessness and toasty spice. It’s packed full of ripe black and blue fruits with pretty floral notes. Balanced and inviting,

“The Label” represents a refreshing take on Napa Cabernet and deftly balances New World charm with Old World refinement.

If you’ve ever wondered just how good the wines of Turley can be, I strongly recommend securing a case of this limited Cabernet for your wine collection.

To order simply call my toll free number: 866-620-4476

(if your account is already established you may order by replying to this email)

All the best in wine & life,
Wine Country Connection

Arietta “Quartet” Proprietary Red, Napa Valley ~ The Screaming Eagle Connection

Christopher’s Wine Country Connection

2011 ARIETTA “Quartet” Proprietary Red, Napa ValleyArietta Quartet 1

*From Stephen Tanzer, one of the toughest critics in the industry…

Dark red-ruby. Expressive aromas…Dense and sweet…boasts excellent energy...” 92-94

*Accomplished Napa winemaker Andy Erickson (Made Screaming Eagle from 2005-2010 with 2, 100 Point Wines, & assisted at Harlan Estate…)

*The Vineyard, located in the red hot Coombsville AVA in Napa Valley, was planted by world renowned viticulturist David Abreu…

$64.99/btl + Ground Shipping Included on Case Purchases

Dark red-ruby. Expressive aromas of black raspberry, pepper, mocha, leather, menthol and coffee. Dense and sweet but youthfully tight, with a sappy impression of firm acidity energizing the mid-palate. Finishes savory, peppery and perfumed, with a firm tannic spine. Not a thick wine but one that boasts excellent energy and supporting spine.”92-94 Tanzer

2011 ARIETTA “Quartet”
Proprietary Red, Napa Valley
62% cabernet, 19% cabernet franc, 17% merlot & 2% petit verdot

At a tiny fraction of the price that you would see a bottle of Screaming Eagle or Harlan Estate going for in the marketplace, Arietta’s “Quartet” packs in more bang for your buck in this price range than seemingly possible.   An expertly crafted blend by accomplished winemaker Andy Erickson

During Andy’s five year tenure making Screaming Eagle, he expertly crafted two 100 point perfect wines, the 2007 & 2010.   Andy was also the former assistant winemaker at Harlan Estate, is currently involved in his own label Favia, and is also winemaker at cult producers Dalla Valle, Dancing Hares and Ovid…  If you still aren’t quite convinced, Stephen Tanzer who is well known for being one of the toughest critics in the business raved about the 2011 Quartet and awarded it 92-94 points.   I strongly recommend securing a 15 bottle case of this magnificent red for your cellar….

If your account is already established, simply reply to this post to order.

OR call me at my office number (510.749.0325) to set up an account.

All the best in wine & life,

Wine Country Connection


Aurielle Napa Valley Cabernet 2008 ~ A Howell Mountain Superstar You need to know

Christopher’s Wine Country Connection

2008 Aurielle Napa Valley, Cabernet SauvignonAurielle

~ The April 2012 issue of Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine – wherein they reviewed 118 Domestic Cabernets to include Caymus Special Selection, Shafer Hillside Select, Stag’s Leap Fay and many other of the “big boys” – awarded its highest score to none other than AURIELLE Cabernet Sauvignon; bestowing a whopping 94 points (placing this beauty ahead of some very serious competition).

~ “Rich and complex, deep and boasting plenty of still youthful yet outgoing curranty fruit, this wine is about as close to classic as a wine of its size and expressiveness is likely to get…wonderfully complementary oak in its makeup …it is also a wine of great sophistication. … the wine’s depth is matched to its underlying sense of balance…”
94 points, #1 Cabernet,
Volume 36, Issue 6: April 2012

MSRP:  $90.00/btl

Your Price: $65.00/btl (That’s Nearly 30% OFF) + Ground Shipping Included on Case Purchases


Aurielle produces Super Premium Cabernet Sauvignon from vineyards on Howell Mtn and Mt. Veeder in Napa Valley. This powerful Cabernet will have you on the edge of your seat, and the silky, fine grain tannins really extend the finish and will have you begging for another sip.

The wine is produced from extremely low yields of less than 2 tons per acre. This results in powerful, intense berries that make a truly memorable and very classy Cabernet Sauvignon.  Just 358 cases were produced of this ultra-premium Cab. I strongly recommend adding a 15 bottle case to your cellar.

If your account is already established, simply reply to this post to order, or call me at my office number below to set up an account.
All the best in wine & life,

Wine Country Connection


2011 Caymus Special Selection Cabernet ~ Multiple Wine of the Year Winner


Christopher’s Wine Country Connection

Caymus Special SelectionCaymus SS Btl Shot
2011 Cabernet Sauvignon

* Caymus’ legendary, flagship bottling “Special Select” consistently scores in the 97-100 range…

* The Caymus Special Selection has the distinction of being the only wine EVER to be honored twice, as the #1 Wine in the World on the prestigious Wine Spectator’s Top 100 List.

2011 Caymus Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

Retails at: $150.00/btl

Your Price: $121.99/btl + Ground Shipping Included on Case Purchases

Black as night, the 2011 Special Select boasts intense, powerful and captivating aromatics that explode right out of the glass.  The flavors are rich and lavishly oaked with a bold flavor profile jam packed with black cherry, crème de cassis, mocha, dark berries, crushed rock and vanilla oak.  The layers continue to unfold throughout the long sensational finish

~ Caymus Special Selection ~

Caymus launched their first vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon in 1972, and they have built a rock solid reputation among

Chuck Wagner with his 570 Liter bottle of Caymus Special Select Cabernet Sauvignon

Cabernet enthusiasts since day one thanks to remarkably high quality and unique, delicious Cabernet Sauvignons.

Their flagship bottling, labeled “Special Selection” is produced from the crème de la crème of their barrel selections.

Caymus achieves incredibly rich, supple Cabernet Sauvignons in part due to longer than usual “hang times”. The resulting wine –  Caymus Special Selection – is the only one in history to have achieved the honor of #1 Wine in the World from the Wine Spectator (in the annual top 100 list) on multiple occasions….


Simply put, this is one of the all time classic, great American Cabernet Sauvignons! It consistently garners top scores while thrilling with every glass. Get yours while quantities remain…

To order simply reply to this post, or call / email me at my office number below.

All the best in wine & life,


Wine Country Connection


Wine Country Connection ~ New Digs ~ New Offers

HUNDRED ACRE 2010 BottleShot

With more than a decade as the owner of Christopher’s Fine Wines (Houston, TX) a fond memory, my family and I relocated to the San Francisco Bay Area where I have spent the past few years as the Senior Buyer for one of this nation’s most recognized Inc-500, on-line retailers, JJ Buckley. Now, having greatly expanded my contacts both in Europe as well as here on the West Coast, I am thrilled to once again be able to return to the business of offering some of my favorite vinous discoveries directly to those of you I have known for so many years (as well as quite a few new folks I have been referred to along the way).

Having recently joined a new company – Wine Country Connection – as their European Wine Buyer and Account Manager, I thought this would be a great time to begin posting about some of the wonderful wines my company has access to being based right here in the middle of wine country. Wine Country Connection is based in Sonoma, and as such has direct access to some of this country’s most sought after wines. Now that I’ve had a week of sending offers to my client base via email, here’s one recap of some of our most oft-requested wines.

(I’ll endeavor to upload more of my offers to this blog so my readers here have an opportunity to see what Wine Country Connection is all about.)

If you’re reading my blog and would like to receive these weekly offers via email, please send me a note via


Cabernet & Proprietary Red Blends Update:

As Cabernet continues its dominance as the most important and popular varietal in the States, I have received multiple inquiries as to our current availability of the more important offerings from the North Coast.

Within this list you will find our most up to date offering to include some of the most prominent vignerons of the current generation. Names such as Philippe Melka, Luc Morlet, Heidi Barrett and Jayson Woodbridge are just a few of the great winemakers we work with to build our coveted collection.

Please email me directly with your preferences and I will update you with current availability as well as pricing.

And if you know of someone who would appreciate receiving this list, PLEASE forward to them with my appreciations!

AURIELLE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008 – 94 points CG

DARIOUSH Cabernet Sauvignon Signature Napa Valley 2008 – 90 points RP

MELKA “CJ” Napa Valley 2008 – 90 points RP

SADDLEBACK Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2008 – 92 points WE


ANOMALY Cabernet Sauvignon St Helena 2009 – 92 points WE

SEAVEY “Caravina” Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009 – 92 points WA

DARMS LANE Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009 – 93 points WE

DOMINUS 2009 – 97 RP

ROBERT MONDAVI Cabernet Sauvignon “Reserve” Napa Valley 2009 – 94 points WA & ST

MORLET Cabernet Sauvignon “Coeur de Vallee” Oakville, Napa 2009 – 95-97 points RP

PAHLMEYER 2009 – 94 points WS

ROBERT FOLEY Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2009 – 94 points WS

SEQUUM Cabernet Sauvignon “Four Soil” Napa Valley 2009 – 94 points WE

STAGLIN Cabernet Sauvignon Rutherford, Napa 2009 – 95 points RP

WORLD’S END Cabernet Sauvignon “Good Times, Bad Times”

Beckstoffer To Kalon, Oakville, Napa – 96 points WE


ALTAMURA Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2010 – 94 points WS

BLACK CORDON Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2010 – 93 points CG

DOMINUS 2010 – 100 points RP

HOLLYWOOD & VINE Cabernet Sauvignon “2480” Napa Valley 2010 – 93 points WA

HUNDRED ACRE Cabernet Sauvignon “Ark” Howell Mountain, Napa 2010 – 95-97 points WA

KAMEN Cabernet Sauvignon Sonoma 2010 – 93+ points WA

LA SIRENA by Heidi Barrett Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley 2010 – 93-94+ points WA

MONTAGNA Cabernet Sauvignon “Tre Vigneti” Napa Valley 2010 – 92 points WA

PAHLMEYER 2010 – 95+ points WA

ROBERT FOLEY Claret Napa 2010 – 96 points RP

VINEYARD 29 Vineyard 29 “Cru” Napa 2010 – 93 points WA

All the best in wine & life,