Darms Lane Cabernet Sauvignon 2009 – Brian Mox brings his Lewis Cellars magic to Oak Knoll

Like so many of the superb, yet “under the radar” wineries I’ve come across in my career, Darms Darms Lane 2009 Lane was a complete mystery to me until a few weeks ago. But I was intrigued when hearing about some of the winery’s recent accomplishments, so I decided to do a little digging. What I’ve discovered will convince you (as it did me) that this serious family run venture in the Oak Knoll District of Napa should be added to your list of “must haves” for benchmark Cabernets.

My curiosity was initially piqued when discovering a track record of excellent to outstanding rankings in the press for Darms Lane’s proprietary Cabernet. Known as the “Bon Passe Vineyard”, this bottling comes from a vineyard originally planted in the 1970s, when it was owned by Gil Nickel – of Nickel & Nickel as well as Far Niente Wineries. But in a twist that runs consistent here at Darms Lane, “Bon Passe” – like so much of the acreage here at the estate – was originally a Chardonnay vineyard.

That’s right; Darms Lane – becoming increasingly well-known for blockbuster, 100% Cabernets and Petit Verdots – began life as a Chardonnay stronghold. If Darms Lane has yet to become a household name for many, perhaps more will recognize the historical winery Crichton Hall. And it was precisely that winery – once known for its sultry Chardonnays – which would eventually be renamed: Darms Lane.

Located on Darms Lane road – hence the obvious choice when the time came for renaming the estate – Crichton Hall was in need of replanting by the turn of the century. One of the company’s limited partners – Richard Bump (who would eventually buy out his other partners and become sole owner) stepped up to the challenge. Terroir studies indicated Cabernet and other Bordeaux varietals as being more suitable to the vineyard, so Richard set about replanting (and renaming). The rest, as they say is history.

Today, under the wine-making guidance of one of Napa’s most experienced Cabernet experts, Brian Mox – formerly with Lewis Cellars, Etude as well as Laird Family Estates – this beautiful property, nestled against the southern hills of the Mayacamas Mountains is quietly and consistently releasing one great vintage after another. As Steve Heimoff – California editor for Wine Enthusiast – explains:

“Darms Lane is one of those wineries that travels under the radar, but it really is worthy of your attention.”

And now that yours truly has experienced their classically structured, brilliantly balanced 2009, I couldn’t agree more!

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

OR call me at my office number (866) 620-4476 to set up an account.
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



Spotted Owl Vineyards Mountain Cuvee 2008 – Ultra Rare Mount Veeder Stunner

Christopher’s Wine Country Connection2008 Spotted Owl Cuvee gif

2008 Spotted Owl Cuvee Cabernet Blend, Mt Veeder

* The Wine Spectator dubbed the SOV (Spotted Owl Vineyards): “Sensational

* Our last email on Spotted Owl SOLD OUT in 4 hours Don’t miss this opportunity to secure this incredibly rare, mountain grown wine.

* Sourced from the rugged slopes of Mt. Veeder in Napa Valley, (800-1700 ft elevation).

* This explosive Cabernet Blend was crafted by Rolando Herrera, (Mi Sueño, Stags Leap, Vine Cliff, & Paul Hobbs)

*With the tiny production, this wine is nearly impossible to find….

* NOTE: At nearly 1/2 off retail, this extraordinary wine will sell out with lightning fast speed.  I strongly recommend replying as soon as possible to secure a 15-pack or two.  This wine will pay dividends in the cellar for years to come.  It outperformed $75 Cabs at our last tasting….

2008 Spotted Owl CuveeMt. Veeder, Napa Valley
Retails at:   $45.00/btl
Your Price: $26.99/btl + Ground Shipping Included on case purchases

Winery Notes:
Seductive, sophisticated & complex – If this wine could dance it would Tango!  This luscious, full bodied wine combines the intensity of mountain Cabernet Sauvignon with the richness of cool climate Syrah fruit grown on Mount Veeder. Deep dense purple color with alluring aromas of dark berry fruit, fleshy plum, black cherry fruit hosted with slight mocha overtones follow through to the palate in this complex and layered wine.  The sensuous entry melts into a rich velvety core of dark fruit with a balanced and structured mid-palate displaying blackberry, ripe wild berry currants, cedar  and a hint of vanilla..

2008 Spotted Owl Vineyards
Mountain Cuvee, Mt. Veeder

It’s discoveries like this that make the job both exciting and rewarding.  This rare, 2008 Cuvee from the renowned Mt. Veeder AVA in Napa Valley was expertly crafted by one of our favorite winemakers, Rolando Herrera.  Rolando spent 10 years at Stags’ Leap Wine Cellars, working under legendary winemaker Warren Winiarski .  He later took a position as the assistant winemaker at Ch. Potelle, and also as the winemaker at Vine Cliff Winery before becoming director of winemaking at Paul Hobbs Consulting.

Our tasting panel was struck by the beauty of this wine.  It outperformed Napa Cabs at 2-3 times the price at our tasting…  With the limited availability of this incredibly rare Cabernet Blend, orders will be taken on a first come first serve basis.

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



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



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 chambertin@sbcglobal.net.


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,