2012 Melville Sta Rita Hills Estate Pinot | “Gorgeous, Radiant Wine” says Galloni

Thanks Nancy Pastor, The Wall Street Journal for the picture

Melville Estate – Tops in 2012 for Sta Rita Hills!

If Santa Barbara isn’t squarely on your radar, it should be.

Galloni opened his July 15 review with,

“A palpable energy and the thrill of discovery accompanied my tastings in Santa Barbara this year.”

Looks like big name Pinot producers from Napa and Sonoma have some competition on their hands. Melville in particular.

A long-time favorite, Greg Brewer and his team turned in a set of 2012s that flat out stunned Mr. Galloni. From fruit grown on their estate in the Santa Rita Hills AVA, Melville’s 2012 Pinot was the best of the bunch.

Galloni dubbed it

“One of the most polished, refined and aromatically expressive wines I have tasted from Melville…”

crowning it 94 points and saying

“What a gorgeous, radiant and totally sexy wine…”

Melville’s Lompoc estate, planted on various sub soils – predominantly Lompoc dune sand, clay loam and shale – performed brilliantly in 2012. The increased hang time allowed by the lazy, foggy mornings added up to picture perfect growing conditions. Brewer was able to harvest gorgeous fruit, with acidities to balance the striking fruit profiles and stunning aromatics.

Personally, these remind me of his ’07s – bursting with pleasure, balance like none other.

Gorgeous stuff, indeed!

Best price around is here for a short while:melville-2012-estate-pinot-noir-sta-rita-hills



Olson Ogden Milla’s Blend 2009 ~ A Rhone Blend for Pinot Enthusiasts

Christopher’s Wine Country Connection

Olson Ogden 2009 Milla’s BlendOlson

* Rarely do you find a wine that the world’s most respected wine critics can all agree on…

* Olson Ogden quickly became a fan favorite, with their consistent reviews, realistic prices and new and unique blends.  The winery is closing its doors Be sure to take advantage of this opportunity to stock up on this fantastic blend.

Here are some of the Reviews….

~ From the Connoisseurs’ Guide:
“…Rich, well-balanced…shows a real sense of winemaking polish from front to back….fresh berries…sweet oak…refined flavors…lively, long-lasting fruit..”
90 points

~ From the Rhone Report:
An electric, fun blend….fruit-driven…beautifully put together, this should have 5-6 years of prime drinking.
89 points

~ From Steve Tanzer:
Aromas of dark berry preserves….Juicy and precise, offering tightly wound blackberry, and mulberry flavors that show very good focus...
90 points

~ From the Wine Enthusiast:
full of flavor…concentrated and thick…the finish is long..”
91 points


2009 Olson Ogden Milla’s Blend
Retails at:  $35.00/btl
Your Price: $25.50/btl + Ground Shipping Included on Case Purchases

 ~ WCC Notes:
Enchanting aromas of raspberry cobbler, vanilla and ripe plum.  Impeccably balanced flavors of ripe red berries, sweet oak, spices and brambleberry vanilla silk.  Very elegantly presented, this is a Rhone Blend for Pinot drinkers, and fans of interesting and unique red wines.   The finish is long and memorable.  Drink now through 2015″.
91 points

Olson Ogden

2009 Milla’s Blend

From a Star Studded lineup of vineyards, that reads like a who’s who list of some of California’s Best, including Alder Springs, Kick Ranch, Unti and Stagecoach.  This unique and delicious Blend is very well balanced, and elegantly presented.   Just 365 cases produced, this wine is sure to impress.

Olson Guys


Olson Ogden delivered some fantastic wines over the last several years.  This is a rare opportunity to stock up on their 2009 Milla’s Blend at a truly fantastic price.  The winery is closing their doors, and this will likely be your last chance to secure a case or two of this delicious wine.   The last 100 cases will be sold on a first come first serve basis….



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


DuMOL Pinot Noir Estate 2011 – One of America’s True Grand Crus

Christopher’s Wine Country Connection

DuMOL Pinot Noir Estate 2011Dumol Estate Pinot
(93-95) points Wine Advocate

~ When it comes to reference point Pinot Noir, there are TWO estates on the planet which growers of this uber-luscious, ever-fickle varietal consider vanguards: Domaine de la Romanee Conti & Domaine Leroy.

~ So when DuMOL’s 2011 Estate recently recorded a potential 95 point ranking from The Wine Advocate, serious Pinot aficionados took note!

~ Why? For vintage 2011, The Wine Advocate bestowed a similar 95 points upon Domaine Leroy’s Grand Cru Richebourg.

~ The difference? Leroy’s 2011 Richebourg will set you back a cool $3000!

~ DuMOL’s 2011 Estate Pinot:

Retails at:  $100/btl
Your Price: $94.99/btl

From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:

The flagship 2011 Pinot Noir Estate DuMol Estate is all about balance and harmony. Nothing in particular stands out, just the wine’s stunning balance and proportion. Deep, rich and voluptuous yet backed up by serious tannins, the 2011 is an infant today. It will be great fun to see where this goes. Today, the Dumol Estate is pure sexiness in the glass! Amazingly, these vines are just seven years old. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2026.” 
(93-95) points


From The Pinot File:

“Since its beginning in 1996, DuMOL has had a stellar lineup of wines which today includes Pinot Noir, Syrah, Chardonnay and Viognier. Partners Michael Verlander, Kerry Dumol CellarMurphy and winemaker/partner Andy Smith tend to lead a low profile with very minimal public exposure and let their wines speak for themselves.

Verlander and Murphy met in 1990 when Murphy was dining in Verlander’s Walnut Creek restaurant. Murphy had been collecting wines from Burgundy since he sold his family tire business, Murphy’s Inc., to Goodyear in 1987. The two men decided to start DuMOL in 1996. The first year they produced 300 cases split evenly between Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Dutton Ranch.

The winemaker and viticulturist since 2000 is talented Andy Smith who became a partner in the winery in 2005. Prior to coming to DuMOL, he studied under Neil McCallum (Dry River, Martinborough), Ted Lemon (Littorai) and Paul Hobbs.”

If your account is set up, hit reply and indicate your desired order.

Or contact our office to establish an account and place your order: (866) 620-4476

All the best in wine & life,

Wine Country Connection


DuMol Single Vineyard Selections for 2011 ~ “One of the superstar sources” RP

Christopher’s Wine Country Connection

~ Robert Parker, when discussing the otherworldly, simply majestic Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs from DuMol said it best:

~ “This is one of the superstar sources of tremendous Chardonnay and Pinot Noir…. Proprietor Kerry Murphy and his brilliant winemaker, Andy Smith, are huge fans of Burgundy and have searched out some of the coolest climate regions of the Russian River and Sonoma Coast to produce these wines, which all show impressive aging potential….DuMol continues to be one of the most reliable names in winedom for high quality Pinot Noir and Chardonnay.” ~ Robert Parker, Wine Advocate

~NOTE: The 2011’s are tightly allocated…Orders will be taken 1st come 1st serve… 3 bottles of each would make the perfect 15 pack!

2011 DuMOL Chloe Chardonnay Dumol CHLOE
Retails at:  $68.00/btl
Your Price: $63.99/btl
From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:”A big, broad-shouldered wine, the 2011 Chardonnay Chloe Ritchie Vineyard stands out for its pure structure, volume and richness, all buttressed by beams of acidity. The 2011 is all about balance and richness, but without excess heaviness. This is going to be another fascinating wine to follow. Anticipated maturity: 2015-2023.”
(93) Points

2011 DuMOL Clare Chardonnay Dumol Clare Chardonnay
Retails at:  $68.00/btl
Your Price: $63.99/btl
From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate: “DuMol’s 2011 Chardonnay Clare Hyde Vineyard is a classic expression of Carneros. Warm, rich and resonant (for the year), the 2011 saturates the palate with the essence of orange peel, mint, spices and a hint of French oak. The 2011 is laced with endless intensity of flavor and great overall balance. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2023.”
(94) WA

2011 DuMOL Ryan Pinot NoirDumol Ryan Pinot 2
Retails at:   $95.00/btl
Your Price: $89.99/btl
From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:The 2011 Pinot Noir Ryan Widdoes Vineyard stands out for its deep, implosive personality. Juicy dark cherries, incense, hard candy and spices all flesh out in this large-scaled, voluptuous Pinot. This is a surprisingly structured powerful wine with a seemingly bright, bright future. Today, the smokiness from the medium-toast Remond barrels is a bit noticeable, but if that element subsides over time, I expect the 2011 Ryan will come at the high end of my rating. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2023.” (92) WA

2011 DuMOL Estate Pinot NoirDumol Estate Pinot
Retails at:  $100/btl
Your Price: $94.99/btl
From Robert Parker’s The Wine Advocate:The flagship 2011 Pinot Noir Estate DuMol Estate is all about balance and harmony. Nothing in particular stands out, just the wine’s stunning balance and proportion. Deep, rich and voluptuous yet backed up by serious tannins, the 2011 is an infant today. It will be great fun to see where this goes. Today, the Dumol Estate is pure sexiness in the glass! Amazingly, these vines are just seven years old. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2026.”  (95) Points

2011 DuMOL Eddies Patch SYRAH Dumol Eddies Patch
Retails at:  $95.00/btl
Your Price: $89.99/btl
Wine Advocate Review on the 2010 Eddie’s Patch:DuMol’s 2010 Syrah Eddie’s Patch Hoppe-Kelly Vineyard is beautifully centered. Savory herbs, licorice, graphite, menthol and blackberries all jump from the glass. Vibrant and totally alive, the 2010 stands out for its focus and sheer verve. Another year or two in bottle should only help the 2010 show even better. Layers of fruit build to the explosive, intense finish. Simply put, this is dazzling juice. Wow! Anticipated maturity: 2015-2025.”
95 WA

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



Morgan “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir 2012 ~ A Santa Lucia Highlands Overachiever

Christopher’s Wine Country Connection

2012 MORGANTwelve Clones” Pinot NoirMorgan Tweleve Clones 2

* Previous Vintage accolades include Wine Spectator top 100 wines of 2012, and 92 Points Wine Spectator….

* Sourced from Morgan’s much higher end Vineyards, including the renowned “Double L” Vineyard (Morgan’s single vineyard Double L goes for upwards of $50/btl)…

* Your search for the perfect Pinot to serve for Thanksgiving is over…

2012 Morgan “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir
Retails at:   $34.00/btl
Your Price: $23.99/btl

WCC Notes: “The 2012 Morgan Twelve Clones showcases powerful aromas of fresh cherry, plum, dark chocolate and cola. On the palate the wine is well-concentrated, with deep broadening flavors of black cherry, vibrant wild berry, sweet red fruits, black tea and vanilla. The wine is rich and deep, with superb balance and a long, luscious finish.

2012 MORGAN “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands

Morgan Vineyards is located in the heart of the Santa Lucia Highlands, in an area of hillside vineyards that some consider to be the “Cote d’Or” of California. Their neighbors include Sleepy Hollow, Mer Soleil, Rosella’s and Garys’ Vineyards.

The new Morgan “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir comes from the finest vineyards of the Santa Lucia Highlands appellation, including Morgan’s own organically farmed “Double L” estate, which accounted for 63% of the final blend. (The “Double L” Pinot sells for upwards of $50)…

It was no surprise that the Wine Spectator has awarded major kudos to Morgan’s “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir in the past.  At under $25/btl the Morgan “Twelve Clones” Pinot Noir is without a doubt one of the finest Pinot Noir values on the planet. If you are searching for a seriously high quality Pinot Noir at a great price, look no further than the new Morgan Twelve Clones.

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


Donatiello Pinot Noir Russian River 2010 ~ the Anthill Farms Connection


Christopher’s Wine Country Connection

DONATIELLO Pinot Noir 2010
Russian River Valley

* Winemaker Webster Marquez gained much of his experience working at highly respected Pinot producer Williams-Selyem…

* Marquez also co-owns the highly sought after Cult Pinot label called Anthill Farms…

Retails at:  $40.00/btl

Your Price: $33.99/btl

(That’s over 20% OFF) + Ground Shipping Included on Case Purchases

 “Powerful aromas of black cherry, cola, dried cranberries and plum; Deep, layered flavors of black raspberry, dark plum, chocolate, rhubarb, & cola. The big forward fruit, combined with ultra-fine tannins create a fabulous length, and very pleasurable velvety finish. This is a Pinot for those who enjoy delicious forward fruit, concentration and the classic silky finish that only great Pinot Noirs can deliver!

~2010 Donatiello Russian River Pinot~

This tremendous Russian River Valley Pinot find has all the pedigree to become the Next Cult Pinot Producer. Winemaker Webster Marquez already has a cult like following for his Anthill Farms Pinots, and combined with his experience at highly respected Pinot producer Williams-Selyem, the new Donatiello Russian River Pinot is a wine to secure now! At a special price of less than $34/btl and with the added benefit of shipping included on case purchases, the new Donatiello Pinot is one of our best discoveries this year. I strongly recommend adding a 15 bottle case or two of this magnificent Russian River Pinot to your cellar. This reminds me of when we first discovered Pinot producers such as Ketcham Estate, Pey Lucia and Walter Hansel….

The Prince of Pinot – writing in his Pinot File – defined Webster while discussing the Anthill Farms project,


Webster Marquez grew up on the East Coast and attended college in Virginia. Here he began working as an assistant winemaker at Jefferson Vineyards. He then moved to Sonoma County where he joined Williams Selyem. Currently he is the winemaker at C. Donatiello Winery in Healdsburg. The trio’s goal is to craft Pinot Noirs that “express the growing site and the characteristics of the vintage, and above all else, taste good.” They disdain the riper style of Pinot Noir, looking more for freshness of flavor and acidity.”
~ The Pinot File

Fans of exceptionally high quality, Russian River Valley Pinot, I strongly recommend jumping on board with this up and coming Cult Pinot, before the rest of the world catches on….

To order, reply to this post, email at the address below or call my office…

All the best in wine & life,
Wine Country Connection


New Days, New Digs, New Beginnings – And a couple of New Wine Notes


Today marks the end of October, 2011 and the beginning of so very much more. Personally, the past couple of years have witnessed some truly tumultuous times in my life. Professionally, thanks to a reversal of fortune of late, I have witnessed a re-birth. As determined as I was to make a real name for myself in the wine trade while remaining on my home turf, I knew it was inevitable. The real players in the biz – those who truly change the landscape and alter the playing field – more times than not will find themselves doing so from California. And sure enough, just months before my 45th birthday, I would relocate to this Golden State (vinously speaking) to begin anew my quest to be the best.


With dueling glasses of my favorite beverage – Pinot Noir – beside me, as I once again contemplate penning a vinous note (or two), my thoughts drift to and fro; these past four months in my new locale have surely flown by. And while I cannot guarantee that time will allow for regular updates to this blog as it did it times past, I will consider the infrequent down times as opportunity to share thoughts as they pertain to my vinous encounters.


My new position as Buyer began in July. I was interviewed over the phone from my office in Dallas where I had taken a half day from my duties as Manager and Buyer from a recently acquired position for Central Market. I cannot explain how amazingly odd it felt to have TWO opportunities from which to select from in less than a few months span; this after two years of NOTHING.


In no time flat, I was on a plane (at 5 AM), in a meeting with the owner, and back on a flight to Dallas. By mid-July, I would board another flight – this one a 1-way flight – and my career would begin anew. To say that everything transpired in a whirlwind is quite the understatement! The family packed up, travelled across country from Texas to California, and we now call the Bay Area home. Transitioning has been easier than I ever imagined for my family; and I have settled into my role as Buyer – covering the wines of France and Italy for my new employer (a role I’ve come to know intimately these nearly 30 years in the trade) – as comfortably as I had hoped.


Today, I have before me two of my all time favorite producers. And while the procuring of the products from one of them doesn’t fall under my umbrella, the tasting of his wines most certainly continues to bring me pleasure. Comparing and contrasting these two wines is a fantastic study in the absolute differences between New and Old World – and the pleasures to be found in both.


2007 Scherrer Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

From Fred Scherrer, the man who brought to fame the great Dehlinger wines, we have this fantastically complex version of his multi-plot Russian River Pinot. The 2007 RRV is deep crimson red to the core and beautifully aromatic. This showcases classic Scherrer aromatics of sassafras, cola and dark Pinot fruit nuances all married to additional, intense and room filling aromas of black cherry. As with most Scherrer Pinots, this is immediately approachable, medium to full-bodied on the palate, with the cola and dark Pinot nuances from the aromatics being showcased on the palate. This is delicious now and promises another 3-5 years of continued improvement and drinkability. 90 points


2008 Domaine Perrot-Minot Charmes Chambertin Vieilles Vignes

DECANTED 72 HOURS EARLIER. Christophe Perrot Minot was first reviewed in these pages here: http://bit.ly/tZugMQ and has been a regular in my personal cellar since the 1990s. To say these are stunning examples of Burgundy is not an overstatement. Beautiful ruby, crimson in color. Clarity to the rim, no sign of oxidation in color or aromatics even after 72 hours of decantation. Stunning aromatics to include baking spices: clove, ginger, cardamom, star anise; and fruit skin: orange zest. Dark Pinot fruit combines on the nose with mineral and hints of slate to offer an unmistakable Burgundian impression, yet with the time in decanter, the sweetness of the fruit has opened up to suggest what this wine will be with a decade in the cellar. On the palate, this is still youthfully gripping and stern, but the sweet, dark Pinot fruit is prominent. The finish lingers a minute plus and the impression on the palate is stunning. A 25 year wine, easily. 94 points


In closing, I hope to find more time to share with my long time readers and friends some of the magical wines that daily come across my desk.


And I hope to hear from more of you with your thoughts and ideas as these days unfold…


All the best in wine and life.