Celebrating 21 years as Raleigh's
longest running independent wine store,
Looking for a special bottle for a gift or wines for a celebration, special dinner or just to add to your collection? We not only have excellent value wines, we also stock an extensive selection of collectible and hard to find wines from the United States, Europe and Southern Hemisphere. Our selections change often and highly allocated wines sell out quickly, so check back for updates. Here are some recommendations:
"There are very few wineries in California where you can say that the original wine owners and winemaking staff are totally intact and have been, in this case, since 1978. The estate was founded by John Shafer and run with great precision by himself and more recently by his son Doug and Elias Fernandez. The team has been working together for 38 years since the first vintage in 1978. Six years earlier in 1972, John Shafer bought the property and established the vineyard in the hillsides of Stags Leap. They produce about 30,000 cases of wine – all of it noteworthy. Their Cabernet Sauvignon is true first-growth quality and their Rhône Ranger wine made from Syrah and Petite Sirah, called Relentless, is about as profound as you can get from those varietals." Robert M. Parker, Jr.
Note: We have back vintages of Shafer Hillside Select Cabernet including 1995, 1999 and a vertical of 2002-2007. Inquire about availability and pricing at email@example.com
Shafer "TD-9 2016, Napa Valley ($69.99 net) - TD-9 is a proprietary blend that celebrates a bold move. In 1973, in the space of a few months, John Shafer went from riding morning commuter trains in Chicago to teaching himself to drive a TD-9 tractor in our Napa Valley vineyard. He’d never grown grapes or made wine in his life. That spirit of risk-taking and adventure still guides Shafer today and inspired the creation of this new wine.
“This second vintage of
TD-9 offers bright, energetic aromas and flavors of red plum,
raspberry, strawberry, spice box, exotic fruit, and red
licorice. The momentum of all this enticing fruit, along with
ripe tannins, is carried through to a long, tantalizing, feast
of a finish.”
“The 2016 TD-9 exudes
raciness and total class, along with a bit better balance than
the 2015 tasted along side it. In 2016, winemaker Elias
Fernandez aged the components together, which, along with the
natural pedigree of the vintage, goes a long way in shaping the
wine's striking quality. A burst of red cherry, plum, lavender,
rose petal and spice lead into the silky, super-polished
Shafer "Relentless" 2015, Napa Valley ($97.99 net) - Relentless is a wine that originates in a rugged, sloping vineyard planted within the chaparral foothills of the Vaca Mountains, along Napa Valley’s arid, cooler southeast corridor. For more than a decade this site has produced a consistently rich, elegant proprietary blend of Syrah and Petite Sirah. ($97.99 net)
“The first pour offers an endlessly rich density of meaty, smoky, black fruit aromas while the wine saturates the mouth with deep flavors of black licorice, bramble fruit, black pepper, allspice, bacon, and char. All of this opulence is energized with underlying acidity and bound together with structured, ripe tannins built for very long term ageability.” — Shafer winemaker Elias Fernandez
“The 2014 vintage opens
with an aromatic wave of deep, intense fruit and spices such as
black plum, blackberry pie filling, cassis, and anise, along
with nutmeg, dark toast, and dried rose petals. The energy in
the nose is just as dramatic in the mouth with open, beautiful
ripeness, mocha, briar fruit, pomegranate, baking spice, and
ripe tannins that collectors will recognize as offering the
promise of sensational things to come in the cellar.”
— Elias Fernandez, winemaker
“A fascinating nose of
licorice, tarte tartin, blackcurrant compote, orange rind, ivy,
holly, pine needles, ash, Christmas cake and even raspberry
cheesecake as well as a slight minty/herbal note. The palate is
so well-knit but powerful; it's the sort of wine that takes no
prisoners. Yet the vintage shines through, and it remains always
fresh and balanced. Layers upon layers of fruit and a long,
“… one of the more restrained, understated versions of this wine I can remember tasting. Medium in body (in relative terms) and beautifully persistent, the 2014 makes its case more with a total sense of harmony rather than with bombastic power, as is sometimes the case. Moreover, the 2014 has really come together beautifully since I last tasted it. In 2014, Hillside Select is a wine of precision, with expressive aromatics and finely-knit tannins that support the mid-palate and finish nicely.” — Antonio Galloni, Vinous.com
Here are some gems from 1995 & 1999
Staglin Family Vineyards Rutherford Cabernet 1999; Napa CA ($99.00 net)
BV Georges de Latour Private Reserve Cabernet 1.5 Liter Magnum 1999; Napa, CA ($195.00 net)
Chateau Leoville Las Cases 1995; Saint-Julien, Bordeaux ($195.00 net)
Fonseca Guimaraens Vintage 1995 Port; Oporto, Portugal ($49.00)
"Orin Swift is the brainchild of a brilliant young man by the name of Dave Phinney. His Midas touch with grapes from seemingly anywhere in the world, is unusual, but the brilliance of the wines, his creativeness and unparalleled blending talents have built an incredible portfolio right out of the gate. He only started Orin Swift in 1998 and just recently sold it to the huge Gallo enterprise. Readers looking for personality filled wines of considerable character and complexity need to check out the Orin Swift offerings. They are not shy wines in any respect, but the quality is obvious, and if you are like me and believe that a wine is to be judged on just how delicious it is, you will be as impressed as I have been with the Orin Swift products." Robert M. Parker, Jr.
Orin Swift Mannequin Chardonnay 2014; California - "One of his most popular wines is the creatively packaged 2014 Chardonnay Mannequin. The label alone would draw plenty of interest. This wine, primarily Chardonnay with a few percent of Viognier, Grenache Blanc, Marsanne, Muscat and Roussane, was aged sur lie for nine months in 40% French oak. It is no shy wine at 15.5% alcohol and there is plenty of it – 8,073 cases, which is good because it is a hot-selling wine to say the least. This wine offers notes of brioche, white peach, honeysuckle and citrus oil in a full-bodied intense style, but with terrific acidity and rather restrained oak. The wine is rich, ripe and impressive. Drink it over the next 3-4 years." 92 points, The Wine Advocate #227. ($31.99)
Orin Swift Papillon Red 2014; Napa Valley - The 2014 Bordeaux Proprietary Blend Papillion (15,748 cases) was aged 16 months in 40% new French oak. Fairly priced for what the consumer gets, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec and Cabernet Franc (15.1% alcohol) exhibits notes of forest floor, graphite, blackcurrant, blackberry fruit and spring flowers followed by a full-bodied, unctuously textured, deep, rich pure wine to drink over the next 10-15+ years." 94 points, The Wine Advocate #227 ($69.99)
Orin Swift Palermo Cabernet 2015; Napa Valley, CA - I tasted three Cabernet Sauvignon-based wines from Orin Swift. The 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Palermo, all Napa Valley fruit and a blend dominated by Cabernet Sauvignon with a little Merlot and Malbec, was aged only 10 months in 35% new French oak. Bottled early to accentuate its fruit, this wine has soft, low-acid flavors, plenty of crème de cassis, chocolate and tobacco leaf, a medium to full-bodied mouthfeel and a long finish. It should drink well for the next 10-15 years, perhaps longer." 91 points, The Wine Advocate issue #227. ($49.99)
Orin Swift Machete Red 2015; California - "In 2009, the decision was made to create a new blend that featured the varietal most known for its tannins and inky color and least known for its ability to be delicate and complex. With only about 10,000 acres of Petite Sirah planted in California, we have been fortunate to literally taste through the state and discover the best regions for Petite Sirah. Coming off the success of the 2014 vintage, we were lucky to find even more vineyards whose wines met our strict standards for Machete.
A brooding hue and viscous consistency, powerful aromas of crème de cassis, boysenberry, and ripe cherries are complemented by a soft minerality and hints of dark chocolate. The entry is smooth with dark plums and a charred meatiness that floods to create a velvety texture that lingers. Petite Sirah, Syrah and Grenache aged 10 months in French oak, 40% new." Winery notes. ($49.99)
Orin Swift Abstract 2016; California - As soon as a glass is poured, aromatic notes of Luxardo cherries, ripe black plums and raspberries billow, with intricate hints of coffee, mocha and caramel in the background. The entry is expansive with dark briar fruits, cola and cocoa with tannins that are soft and dusty. The wine finishes with a hint of wild cherry and a lingering sweet oak presence.
Abstract is a blend of Napa, Sonoma, Mendocino, Amador and El Dorado County Grenache, Petite Sirah, and Syrah primarily from hillside vineyards aged 10 months in a combination of new and seasoned French oak." Winery notes. ($36.99)
Orin Swift Mercury Head Cabernet 2014; Napa Valley, CA - "A spectacular wine, the 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon Mercury Head is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from the Taplin and Morisoli vineyards and several Atlas Peak vineyards, aged 18 months in 50% new French oak. There are 5,461 cases of this wine. The wine is a classic, broad-shouldered, compelling Cabernet Sauvignon with beautiful blueberry and crème de cassis fruit, Christmas fruitcake, cedar wood, white chocolate notes and a hint of graphite and background toast. It is ripe, full-bodied, pure, multidimensional and a mouthful of succulent Cabernet Sauvignon to drink over the next 20+ years." 96 points, The Wine Advocate #227. ($119.00 net)
Chateau Montelena Library Releases 2003, 2005, 2009
The Barrett family first purchased the Montelena Chateau and Estate vineyard in 1972, believing it would produce grapes of superior quality like the great First Growth vineyards of Bordeaux. Knowing that it would take nearly five decades to prove, they cleared and replanted the vineyard, outfitted the Chateau with modern winemaking equipment, and assembled a team to oversee the vineyard and winemaking. Now, nearly 40 years into the 50-year plan, their theory is proving to be a solid one. A distinctive thread runs through the wines from this estate. Year in and year out, even with differing growing seasons, that perfect often elusive combination of earth and berry, fruit and mineral flows through these wines and is the hallmark of the Montelena Estate vineyards.
We are pleased to offer
the following library releases direct from
the winery's cellar, where the wines have
been stored since bottling:
"A big wine from the Barrett family (14.2% alcohol), this 2003 exhibits earthy black currant fruit, the restrained but intense Montelena style, full body, good richness and impeccable balance, purity and density. The color is a healthy dark ruby/purple and the wine shows lots of cassis. In spite of the restrained aromatics, the palate is rich, full-bodied, substantial and persuasive. This 2003 is approachable now, but it will be even more gorgeous 15, 20 and 25 years from now. This is a heritage wine from this great estate in northern Napa Valley." 94+ Wine Advocate, June 2013.
98% Cabernet, 2% Cabernet Franc. Aged 22 months in 100% French oak, 25% new. $149.00 net.
"The 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon at age ten is still a young, vibrant, dense ruby/purple -colored wine with lots of classic cassis fruit and a touch of earth undertones. It offers relatively soft and silky tannins by the standards of Montelena, but they’re there. It is full-bodied, rich and impressive. Cabernet Sauvignon from the northern end of the Napa Valley in Calistoga tends to be the St.-Estèphe of Napa. This wine is certainly one of the great ones. Forget it for another 3-4 years and drink it over the following 20-25." 93+ Wine Advocate, June 2015.
"Good deep ruby-red. Complex aromas of currant, licorice, graphite, bitter chocolate, smoked meat, tobacco and brown spices. Began juicy, penetrating and quite youthfully unevolved, but aeration brought a suppler, rounder texture and more generosity to this impressively structured wine. Complicating notes of bitter cherry, menthol and minerals. This will require a good eight to ten years of aging but the substantial tannins are sweet and lush. Very long, pure and powerful on the finish." 93+, International Wine Cellar May 2008.
98% Cabernet, 2% Cabernet Franc. Aged 18 months in 100% French oak, 28% new. $149.00 net.
"Montelena’s 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate wraps around the palate with serious depth. Even with all of its intensity, the 2009 has a silkiness that makes it incredibly delicious at this early stage. Red berries, flowers, tobacco and sweet herbs all flesh out on the generous, radiant finish. While many 2009s are a bit tight today, Montelena’s 2009 Estate is showing very nicely, although it is keeping some cards close to the vest. I imagine the 2009 will start to enter its prime drinking window around age 8-10 and drink well for at least another decade beyond that. Anticipated maturity: 2017-2029." 93+ Wine Advocate, Dec 2012.
98% Cabernet, 2% Cabernet Franc. Aged 22 months in French oak, 34% new. $149.00 net.
2013, 2014 & 2015 El Nido El Nido
El Nido, El Nido 2013; Jumilla, Spain - "The top of the range 2013 El Nido boasts a whopping 16% alcohol with lowish acidity. The blend is reversed from its sibling Clio, in this case mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with some 30% Monastrell, and similarly finishes its fermentation in barrique where it undergoes malolactic and 23 months aging. The nose is dominated by ripe black fruit and plenty of spices and smoky notes from the oak, but does not show any herbal aromas so often found in Cabernet. The creamy oak seems to be more present with time in the glass, and I think it is still very young. The Cabernet can ripen nicely in Jumilla, in fact you have to be careful not to go over the limit. The palate is full-bodied, with dense sweet fruit and plenty of dusty tannins, with nice balance in an XL way. It has a lot of everything and it should develop nicely in bottle. This is a particular style, for the fans of soft, ripe and generously-oaked reds, very good in its style. Better to leave it in bottle for a while and enjoy with powerful food. 6,000 bottles produced and bottled in September 2015." 94 points, Wine Advocate #225. ($129.00 net)
"El Nido, El Nido 2014; Jumilla, Spain - Glass-staining purple. Explosive, alluring scents of blueberry, boysenberry, pipe tobacco, licorice and vanilla bean. Lush and broad but juicy and firmly built, with suave candied dark fruit flavors accented by sexy floral and Asian spice qualities. Finishes broad, juicy and impressively long, with echoing boysenberry and spice notes. Pair with, rice, pasta, (noodles, spaghetti, macaroni), vegetables, mushroom, stewed meat, sausage, pork, roast meat, red and/or white meat with sauces, grilled meat, short or medium cheeses." - Winemaker notes
Wine Spectator Review: "This rich red delivers plum pudding, currant, fig paste, cocoa and cinnamon flavors, bold and heady. Well-integrated tannins support the generous texture, with enough acidity to keep this lively. In the modern style. Cabernet Sauvignon and Monastrell. Drink now through 2024. 400 cases made." -TM ($129.00 net)
El Nido, El Nido 2015; Jumilla, Spain - A blend of 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Monastrell , El Nido project is overseen by renowned Australian winemaker Chris Ringland. After a meticulous selection process, the grapes are basket pressed and fermented in oak. Malolactic fermentation occurs in new French and American oak where the wine remains for up to 26 months. This is not a shy wine; it is bursting with ripe blueberry, exotic spices, blackberries and pepper with fine yet firm tannins on the 60 second finish. It really needs at least 5 years of bottle aging before you even think of pulling the cork, but I dare you to drink it now. Always a high scorer from the wine press, the 2015 is not yet rated but based on previous vintages it will probably be in the 93+ range. ($129.00 net).