Lot 902 2020 Moon Mountain Cabernet Franc

Moon Mountain Cab Franc…  We’ll cut right to the chase – this might just be the best value Cabernet Franc we’ve ever sourced.

Today’s release Lot 902 2020 Moon Mountain Cabernet Franc comes from a high-end producer in the Mayacamas Mountain range—also home to the iconic Monte Rosso vineyard (source of some of Sonoma’s most legendary and long-lived red wines over the past several decades). Moon Mountain’s vineyards enjoy southwest exposure, basking in plenty of afternoon sun tempered by crosswinds from the Pacific Ocean and San Pablo Bay. Add in the area’s dizzying elevations (reaching up to 2,200 feet above sea level) plus a huge variation in volcanic vineyard soils and you’ve got a formula for growing perfect Cabernet Franc grapes that exude impressive depth and plenty of mouthwatering acidity. If you were to look for a Cabernet Franc bottling like this from our source’s Moon Mountain compatriots (think Repris, Kamen, Stone Edge Farm, and Pangloss) you’d be shelling out anywhere from $75 to $175+ per bottle. At a mere fraction of those high-end prices, Lot 902 is simply a can’t-miss opportunity for any Cab Francophile at just $20.

Dominated by Sonoma’s signature fruit-forward style, the core of Lot 902 is fresh and ripe with a mixture of sour red cherry, blackberry, raspberry, strawberry, and black raspberry compote on the nose. On the palate, that deep fruit core is backed by French oak, red and green pepper, and a tantalizingly tannic finish. Although drinking beautifully now, that big structure makes this a fantastic candidate to throw in the cellar for the warmer summer months and break out around the holidays.

Watch as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.

Wine Tasting Video Topics:

  • 00:00 Introduction to The Tasting Panel and Chris Lafleur
  • 00:16 Moon Mountain Appellation and Cabernet Franc
  • 01:08 Color and Legs of Moon Mountain Cab Franc
  • 01:36 On the Nose with Lot 902
  • 02:26 On the Palate with Lot 902
  • 03:25 Where does Moon Mountain Cab Franc fit in your cellar?




Lot 871 2020 Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon

Here’s a Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon value that is so good, it belongs in the winner’s circle along with Argentina’s Lionel Messi—who could probably pop the cork with the sheer force of his penalty kicks!

Had Messi been playing on the turf terroir of Lunlunta—a tiny sub-region of Mendoza, featuring small farms, beautiful sprawling orchards, and country roads for days—he’d have clogged his cleats with dirt from the heart center for Argentine Malbec. Lunlunta vineyards are scattered around the Mendoza River, abutting Maipu and Lujan de Cuyo—higher-elevation regions where Cabernet Sauvignon grows like World Champs. Lunlunta’s vines—planted at around 3,000 feet elevation—are rooted in well-draining riverbed alluvial soils and it is here that we struck our own vinous equivalent of a solid gold World Cup trophy.

Think of it this way… if Argentina’s most-famous producer (Catena) favors Lunlunta for their own appellation-specific wines, that’s a pretty good reason to pay attention to offerings from this area! Best of all, Decanter magazine has labeled the 2021 harvest in Argentina “Extraordinary”, particularly for Cabernet Sauvignon which “arrived healthy and ripe.”

Watch as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.

Wine Tasting Video Topics

  • 00:00 Introduction to The Tasting Panel and Chris Lafleur
  • 00:17 Mendoza, Argentina, Cabernet Sauvignon, and High Elevation wines
  • 00:28 Color and Legs of Mendoza Cab
  • 01:21 The Nose of Lot 871
  • 02:04 The Palate of Lot 871
  • 02:44 Aging 2020 Mendoza Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 03:06 Where does this Mendoza Cab fit in your cellar?




Lot 864 2019 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel

A Sonoma Stunner from a “near-perfect” Dry Creek Zinfandel vintage! Lot 864 2019 Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel is an amazing wine from one of the best Zin-producing regions in the state. If you’ve seen classic, gnarled Old World-style Zin vines you know there’s nothing quite like the romance…

Lot 891 2021 Suisun Valley Grenache Blanc

We’ve come across a Grenache Blanc worthy of our Lot Series program for only the third time in CHW history,  and trust us when we say we’ve tasted a LOT (no pun intended) of samples along the way.

Today’s release Lot 891 2021 Suisun Valley Grenache Blanc hails from the same pedigreed source as last week’s Viognier release (which is nearly sold out BTW). A crisp, white wine with origins in Spain and most commonly found in the Rhône region today, Grenache Blanc is still a rarity among US plantings, however, the Suisun Valley is one of those places this unique varietal absolutely thrives. Its Mediterranean-like climate due to its proximity to both the San Francisco Bay and the Sacramento Valley, allows the grapes to ripen slowly and retain their natural acidity, resulting in a finished wine with complexity, structure, and a vibrant acidity. Aged 50% in neutral oak barrels for depth and complexity, and 50% in stainless steel for that thirst-quenching freshness, this is a no-expense-spared expression of Grenache Blanc and a phenomenal deal at just $19.

Lot 891 pours a beautiful pale to medium straw yellow color in the glass with a rich bouquet of freshly-picked peaches and comice pear, underpinned by lemon curd, and a kiss of baking spice. On the palate, that beautiful fruit core really sings adding additional stone fruit notes of warm apricot, all backed by that mouthwatering freshness and acidity. This wine will pair fantastically with any rich seafood dishes, poultry, and soft-ripened cheeses, or just sip a glass or two as you enjoy a warm summer’s eve on the patio.

Watch as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.

Grenache Blanc Tasting Video Highlights:

  • 00:00 Introduction
  • 00:15 What is Grenche Blanc?
  • 00:24 Grenache Blanc’s Mutation to White
  • 00:44 Winter Whites
  • 01:10 Oak Influence of Barrels
  • 01:22 Stainless Steel Influence
  • 01:30 Color and Legs of Lot 891
  • 01:45 The Nose
  • 02:09 The Taste
  • 02:52 Where does Grenache Blanc fit in your cellar?





Lot 890 2021 Suisun Valley Viognier

Lot 890 2021 Suisun Valley Viognier comes to us from a high-end source winery in the Suisun Valley AVA which has been producing Viognier for over 4 decades – more so than almost any other winery in the state. Nestled between the Vaca and Coastal Mountain ranges, the picturesque Suisun Valley boasts a unique microclimate and diverse soils that contribute to the production of exceptional wines. Known for its cool maritime influences and warm, sunny days, its particularly well-suited for growing both Bordeaux and Rhône grape varieties like Viognier.

For those of you looking to diversify your whites selection for the Summer, look no further than this fantastically expressive varietal. The aromatics of Viognier are second to none thanks to naturally occurring high levels of terpenes (the compound that gives flowers their alluring scents). Additionally, when it goes through fermentation, that floral character is so stable that it doesn’t change, resulting in a wine that not only has a great fruit core, but a beautiful backbone of florality which keeps it fresh and lively on the nose and palate. We were only able to secure 100 cases of this gem, so grab a case or two quickly before it’s gone!

Lot 890 absolutely leaps out of the glass with beautiful aromatics of white flowers, mandarin oranges, and white blossoms underpinned by white peach and warm apricot. On the palate, that intoxicating florality is backed by stonefruit notes of peach, apricot, and lemon pith leading to a wonderfully fresh, mouthwatering finish. This is a wine to drink now and will pair exceptionally well with spicy Asian dishes, grilled or decadent seafood, or something light and playful like a summer salad with fresh-picked flowers.

Watch as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.




Lot 905 2020 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

You’d be hard-pressed to find another Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon with this level of pedigree and power at this price tag, so grab it while you can because it won’t last long!

Sonoma Valley continues to impress us with excellent Cabernets that are somehow still flying under the radar, and today’s release, Lot 905 2020 Sonoma Valley Cabernet Sauvignon fits into that category like a mighty fist in a velvet glove.

Lot 905 was sourced from a well-known producer known for its Bordeaux-inspired, European-style reds. Nestled between the Sonoma Mountains to the west and the Mayacamas Mountains to the east, the source vineyards benefit from a diverse range of microclimates and fertile soils, producing wines that exhibit richness, ripe fruit flavors, and approachability. This is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Cabernet Franc and 5% Merlot from their two vineyards, and spent 18 months in French oak (40% new) which gives this wine a rich, well-rounded structure. With yields down in 2020, you’d be hard-pressed to find another Sonoma Cab with this level of pedigree and power at this price tag, so grab it while you can because it won’t last long!

In the glass, it pours a deep purple with concentrated notes of raspberry, blackberry, blackcurrant, and cassis on the nose. On the palate, that rich black fruit is backed by graphite, grippy tannins, and judicious oak. This wine is still finding its own so give it a nice decant if you want to sip it now, or throw a case or two in the cellar for a bit as it has the structure to easily last another 10+ years.

Watch as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.




Lot 883 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc

As you know, here at CHW we’re wild about Cabernet Franc. The parent grape to Cabernet Sauvignon, it’s stylistically a chameleon depending on where you find it in the world, ranging from pyrazine bombs out of Chinon to fully-fruited, oak-blasted Napa variations, and plenty in between. However, plantings are much more scarce than their more popular (and profitable) offspring, so it’s always a treat when our treasure hunt leads us to a worthy contender. And what a star we have here.

Released April 11, 2023, Lot 883 2018 Napa Valley Cabernet Franc was sourced from Napa Valley’s St. Helena and Pope Valley AVAs, and crafted by a winery with over 40 years of experience, and a list of accolades a mile long. While Cabernet Franc is lively, spicy, and contains a lot of minerality in France’s Loire Valley, Napa Valley’s Mediterranean climate provides a richer, more robust expression of the grape while retaining the peppery spice notes on the nose, and Lot 883 is the pinnacle expression of that new-world style. At over $60/bottle under the source winery’s label, it’s yours today for half of that at just $34.

Lot 883 pours medium ruby in the glass, leading with red-toned fruit laced with pine and cedar, dusty minerals, and a pop of purple florals. On the palate, juicy plums, cassis, warm boysenberry compote, and chocolate shavings are backed by velvety tannins framing the warm-spiced fruit character followed by a flourish of crushed cocoa nibs and coffee beans on the finish. With 5 years already in the bottle, this wine is absolutely singing and would be a fantastic addition to a dinner party, or break out the BBQ and pair it with your favorite grilled meat dish.

Watch as Chris Lafleur, Sommeliers Creed for Cameron Hughes walks us through a tasting.



Lot 859 2020 Monterey County Pinot Grigio

Monterey County Pinot Grigio, where cool coastal climate meets New World fruit!

Monterey County was first planted to vine by Franciscan missionaries in the 1790s with modern winegrowing practices taking off in the 1960s and the region officially being recognized in 1984. Since its recognition, 8 sub-appellations have been designated as local terroirs, microclimates, and soil composites have come into focus. In the northern reaches, Chardonnay, Riesling, and Pinot have taken hold in the cooler coastal climate while the southern portion of the appellation generally plants Bordeaux grapes due to a warmer climate while butting up against Paso Robles.

Lot 859 may be New World fruit, but there are strong Old World bones here; classic citrus and saline are coaxed out by the cooler, coastal maritime climate that blankets the region, giving the wine an incredible sense of place, while the New World honey and pear qualities that make it a local favorite are soundly built in too. Strangely enough, this might be the tightest NDA we’ve signed with a winery in a long time as we’re unable to tell you much of anything about the source winery or winemaker. Who’d have thought a Pinot Grigio of all things would be this under lock and key? Now we’ve about seen it all.

In fact, the only thing we can tell you is the source winery fetches roughly $36/bottle in the tasting room, here, it’s yours for a fraction of that price.

Pale golden on the pour, the nose is expressive with lemon, lime, golden apple, and acacia flowers. The entry is excellently weighted with medium acidity exhibiting further citrus notes alongside honey-kissed Asian pear. The finish is not without some length for a dry white, showing a touch of saline character over crushed blossom, apple, and pear umami – an excellent accompaniment to triple-cream cheeses, shellfish, or grilled halibut steaks.

Watch as Katy Long, Director of International Wines for VWE walks us through a tasting.



Hanging open sign in the shop

Welcome to the Wineocracy!

Hey there folks, Thanks for taking a moment to watch my new video.  I know what you’re thinking – where did I come up with this crazy idea, right? And why “Wineocracy?” A marriage of the words “wine” and “democracy”, Wineocracy is the essence of what I’ve been…