Lot 860 2020 Lodi Malbec

When we went to source Lot 850 for our program – the spiritual successor to Lot 540 – we were presented with the opportunity to taste some additional wines that could possibly be added in to augment the juice, most notably some Petite Sirah (which became Lot 861) and some Malbec. Both were identified by our in-house team as awesome expressions, and as they say, the rest is history!

Lot 860 is as equally nurtured by our Napa team and barrel program as its sister wines and showcases a more Bordelaise lean than one would expect from traditionally fruit-forward Lodi wines. In part, this was achieved by an early harvest due to the 2020 fire season (and a deft field team knowing to cut before the onset of smoke), however, the real magic was the 12+ months in French oak, making for a more Bordeaux-styled expression in bottle with plenty of nuance and character. This is not like the high-altitude expressions from Argentina, nor is it trying to be like those. This is wonderfully dirty, dusty Malbec with a strong sense of place.

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

Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Intro
00:22 Lodi and Malbec
00:51 The Color
01:07 The Nose
02:08 The Palate
02:53 Oak Program
03:29 Where in your cellar?




Lot 850 2020 Lodi Cabernet Sauvignon

When one speaks about a cult following, usually things like the movie Blade Runner, or the “Marquee Moon” album from the band Television come up in context; in our world certain Lots come to mind: 200, 609, 643, 717, just to name a few. It’s been quite some time since we finished the incredible run of fan favorite and often asked about (still, today) Lot 540. Today, we finally bring you the spiritual successor to that cult followed Lot, and considering the inflation we’re all faced with nowadays, at an outstanding price for the members of this list!

Lot 850, much like its predecessor Lot 540, is a Lodi fruit-bomb Cab that we brought in and amped up with a more-refined barrel program (Napa barrels with Lodi fruit – a tried and true pairing, just ask the cult fanbase of the predecessor). Nurtured and completed in-house by our Napa winemaking team, the result is a very approachable Cab that’s just as at home with takeout as it is with a slab of Wagyu direct from Japan (the idea of all that buttery steak umami with a wash of this vanilla-flecked, fruit-forward Cab has a few stomachs rumbling around these parts).

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

Tasting Video Highlights:

00:00 Intro
00:20 Lodi and Cab Sauv
01:16 The Color
01:33 The Nose
02:24 The Palate
03:23 Drink now or lie down?
04:02 Where in your cellar?




International Tempranillo Day

Tempranillo is a Spanish red grape variety whose name alludes to its nature of ripening earlier than the other Vitis vinifera of Europe (temprano = early).  Tempranillo has a very, very long history in the Iberian Peninsula, and is most likely as old as the discovery of wine…

Lot 855 2020 Saint-Émilion Bordeaux

A Right Bank bottling that will leave you pondering; to cellar, or defend!?

Saint-Émilion, renowned for its incredible structures and beautiful landscapes, is globally recognized for its wine. Unlike the Left Bank wines of the Médoc, the Right Bank Saint-Émilion wines are dominated by Merlot, generally followed by Cabernet Franc, then maybe a little Cabernet Sauvignon or another permitted grape in the region as a winemaker sees fit. The cooler soils of the region make a great home for Merlot, but don’t always bring Cabernet Sauvignon to full ripeness, hence the Merlot dominated trend in the region – which makes these wine approachable much younger than the Médoc bottlings across the river, and subsequently a bit more popular in the marketplace.

Lot 855 comes to us from a long-established house in the region – the structures dating back a few centuries alone – and a winemaker with more notches in their belt than the average winemaker in the region. An extremely tight NDA restricts much of what we’d love to gush over regarding this wine, but we can tell you it’s grown in older vineyards (stateside, we’d call it “Old Vine,” “Reserve,” or something of the like), comprised of largely Merlot with a touch of Cab Franc rooted to sandy loams, and aged for 8 months before going to bottle. Extensive vine maintenance is observed including double Guyot pruning, bud maintenance, and leaf trimming. The result is a wine imbued with a fruited nose wrapped in all the earthy, leather terroir that makes for a fleshy and well-structured wine ready to nap in your cellar.

Much like its sister, Lot 854, Lot 855 is built to age, but excellent today with a very healthy decant, and getting a Bordeaux this young can only mean one thing: value alert!

Red fruits and leather open the nose on this elegantly extracted example from Bordeaux, underpinned by dried herb bouquets and blue fruit at the core. The entry is youthful and tightly wound at this stage – showing the need to decant for a good 3 hours+ before diving in, ultimately waking up a welcoming, terroir-laden palate with accents of fruit dancing around new leather over medium acidity and supple tannins. The finish is long and dry, begging for another sip, a slice of fatty ribeye, some duck confit, or all the aforementioned, because, why not?

Watch as Nicole Muscari, your Pocket Wine Advisor, walks us through a tasting and discusses this exciting French Bordeaux wine.

Wine Tasting Highlights:

00:00 Intro and Langhe
00:47 The Color
01:06 On the Nose
01:42 The Palate
02:28 Where in your cellar?

Tasting Video Transcript:

00:00:08:02 – 00:00:28:15
Nicole Muscari
Welcome to the CH Wine Tasting Room. I’m Nicole Muscari your pocket wine advisor and I am bringing you something truly exciting today. This is LOT 855. A wine from Saint-Émilion Bordeaux. Let’s get into it. So where is Saint-Émilion Bordeaux? Saint-Émilion Bordeaux is a designated area in the region of Bordeaux, located in the southwestern part of France.

00:00:28:17 – 00:00:48:09
Bordeaux is really divided into three areas. You have the left bank, the ultra, the in the middle, and then the right bank, which is where some 2 million lies. The real big difference is in the soil. The left bank has these gravelly soils more better suited to Cabernet Sauvignon, but the right bank has more clay, heavy soils better suited to merlo and Cabernet Franc.

00:00:48:10 – 00:01:06:12
Why is that? Well, Merlot can handle the water stored in those clay soils, so it can really take in that water to make those berries nice and big. Which is really a trait of Merlot. Now, don’t let Merlo scare you. I know the movie Sideways threw us all off a little bit, but this is the home of Merlo and really thrives.

00:01:06:12 – 00:01:27:13
And this is probably the most, if not my favorite expression of Merlot here. So we are blending it with a little bit of Cabernet Franc. Cabernet Franc is going to add some structure, a little bit of spice and acidity. So I can’t wait to get into it. But first, let’s take a look at the color. So looking at this wine, it’s a nice rich, deep ruby color, really beautiful.

00:01:27:18 – 00:01:52:20
The rim goes a little bit brick, but definitely not showing any aging quite yet on the nose. Oh, that is delicious. Now, what’s so exciting about this is I can just tell the quality of the wine just by smelling it. And what’s super exciting is that wines from this region usually are going for 2 to 3 times more the price than this wine here.

00:01:52:20 – 00:02:27:06
So the value here is unmatched. Let’s get to the nose. Bright red, juicy plums. It’s not overripe. It’s definitely more juicy. A little bit of raspberry and sweet spice, maybe some cigar box and tobacco. I’m getting some capsicum or green pepper just a little bit from that cabernet franc and maybe some dried herbs as well, like dried sage or dried thyme.

00:02:27:08 – 00:02:56:17
Wow. That is fresh. That is lively. Sometimes we think of Merlo and we think of, you know, full, full bodied wines with a lot of alcohol. A little bit too plush, a little bit too lush. But not this wine. This wine is perfectly well balanced between that great mid palate texture that is a little bit softer. But that cabernet franc is really going to just make everything super lively, lift that fruit, add this spice, add that acidity, and it’s just so delicious.

00:02:56:18 – 00:03:19:08
So where does this fit in your cellar? Bordeaux is typically known to last a very, very long time. The structure of these wines are solid. I always tell people structure of a wine is like structure of a house. You need a great foundation so the house can last a long time. And this has that foundation. It has the fruit concentration, the acidity and the tannin to really go the long haul.

00:03:19:10 – 00:03:39:22
I would recommend buying a few cases if you like fruit-forward wines, drink it. Now it’s fall 2023. This is a 2020 red, if you like that fruit forwardness drink it now. But if you like to see those tertiary notes develop over time, get a few cases and open them as you go. If I were you, I would pair this with a big chateaubriand.

00:03:40:03 – 00:03:47:12
Share it with your loved ones. Special holidays and special occasions. You really can’t go wrong. From my glass to yours. Cheers.



Lot 829 2019 Langhe Nebbiolo

An incredible steal from the north of Italy!

Lot 829 came to our attention from one of the premier wineries in the Piemonte region, focusing on low-yield vines, hand-pruning to optimize clusters and ripeness, then hand selecting clusters that make it to press before aging in oak with a bit of further bottle conditioning before release. From cured meats to fried foods, from oven-roasted to charcoal-grilled meats, it’ll be harder to find a more ideal, versatile pairing wine, leave alone one at over half off the original winery’s price!

Perfectly pale garnet in the glass, the nose is everything you’d love to find in a Nebbiolo: cranberry, cherry, and rose wrapped in soft, new leather accented by dusty clay pot. The entry is terroir-driven with bright, juicy cranberry acidity, sweet tobacco, further clay pot, and tar with infinitely small, dusty, mouth-filling tannin. The finish is medium length, dry and clean, anchoring this quaffable delight right in between a solo-sipper and your next cheeseburger’s best friend.

Watch as Nicole Muscari, your Pocket Wine Advisor, walks us through a tasting and discuses this exciting Italian red wine.

Wine Tasting Highlights:

00:00 Intro and Langhe
00:47 The Color
01:06 On the Nose
01:42 The Palate
02:28 Where in your cellar?

Tasting Video Transcript:

00:00:08:02 – 00:00:31:16
Nicole Muscari says
Welcome to the CH Wine tasting room. I’m Nicole Muscari your pocket wine advisor here today with LOT 829 from the Langhe. My Italian ancestors would be very excited right now. So where is the Langhe? The lake is in the region of Piedmont in northern Italy. Now, some of us know Piedmont to have Barolo. That’s probably the most well known wine here.

00:00:31:20 – 00:00:56:07
But the Langhe is just as exciting. And why is that? It produces wine from Nebbiolo, just like Barolo does. But the value here is completely unmatched. So without further ado, let’s get into the color. So what I love about this color is that it has this medium garnet. It’s a little bit translucent, and as it goes out to the rim, you see that Garnet become more pale.

00:00:56:08 – 00:01:23:09
This is very, very common for Nebbiolo. This specific color, this does not mean that it’s aged by any means. This is just a characteristic of the grape variety. On the nose. That is so delicious. This could actually fool me into thinking it was a very, very expensive Barolo because it has that classic tar and roses. And that’s what I always find on Nebbiolo wine.

00:01:23:11 – 00:01:56:04
And every time I say tar and roses, it sounds like the next hip restaurant, doesn’t it? Okay. Other than that, we have this bright red cherry almost going tart red fruit, so sour cherry, cranberry, a little bit of sweet spice and dried herb. Ooh, it’s just really delicious. Let’s get into the palate. Oof! That is great. The fruit concentration here is perfect.

00:01:56:10 – 00:02:17:22
That mid palate, it really hits. It’s like a burst of flavor. Everything that I had mentioned on the nose, those tart red cherries, those cranberries, a little bit of tobacco and sweet spice, a little bit of dried rose petals. It’s all there. What I think is very notable about this wine is it has a very, very high acidity and also very, very high tannin levels.

00:02:17:22 – 00:02:38:00
So that means your mouth is really going to dry out here. But that also means that this wine can age for a very long time. If you wanted it to, even up to five years, I would say. So where does this fit into your cellar? Well, as I mentioned, this wine can definitely age up to five years. I think if you really love that mouth drying feeling you can sometimes get from a red wine.

00:02:38:04 – 00:02:56:21
You can drink this now, but over time, those tannins are really going to soften and integrate into the wine. And I just think that’s going to be even more enjoyable. What I would pair this with, well, I always say what grows together goes together. I would put this with a truffle risotto with mushrooms. Think about those white truffles from Piedmont.

00:02:57:00 – 00:03:03:15
That would just be a perfect pairing. And now my mouth is watering for my glass to yours. Cheers




Lot 885 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

For those of you that are fans of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, this is a release not to miss.

Lot 885 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir was sourced from an ultra high-end program nestled between the Mayacamas Mountain Range and Sonoma Mountain in the heart of Sonoma Valley. Although we can’t disclose the exact source, we can tell you that the winery has been a Sonoma mainstay since the 1980s, and its cellar has played host to some of the most celebrated and award-winning winemakers in California history. Maybe a few rock stars too. Their entry-level Pinot regularly scores 90+ points from respected critics, and Lot 885 is coming out of their reserve-level Pinot program which sells for over $50 a bottle. Simply put this top-notch RRV juice and a screaming deal at just $24.

Lot 885 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir pours a beautiful ruby color in the glass with notes of ripe cherries, blueberries, and fresh earth. On the palate, that pretty cherry core and dark fruit are perfectly framed by that forest floor, earth element, all rounded out nicely by new French oak, ending in a long, dry finish. This is a beautiful balance between new-world fruit and old-world terroir and oak and will pair nicely with an array of cuisines or simply sip it as you enjoy a Summer evening.

Watch as Katy Long, Director of International Wines for VWE walks us through a tasting of 2019 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir.

Wine Tasting Video Topics:

  • 00:00 Introduction to the Tasting Panel and Katy Long
  • 00:15 Russian River Valley Pinot Noirs General Information
  • 00:41 Color and Legs of Russian River Valley Pinot Noir
  • 01:00 On the Nose with Lot 885
  • 01:11 Give this RRV Pinot a Taste
  • 02:03 Aging and Enjoying Lot 885 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir





Street view of the town of Saint Helena California in wine country

St. Helena AVA

Welcome to beautiful St. Helena, located in the northern part of the Napa Valley, just north of Rutherford, south of Calistoga, and sandwiched between Spring Mountain to the west and Howell Mountain to the east. Home to over 80 wineries, the St. Helena AVA was blessed in the…

Attractive Asian woman eating fried chicken drumstick over white brick background

National Fried Chicken Day!

No one, ourselves included, need to tell you how amazing fried chicken is. In a sandwich, with waffles, on its own, slathered in a sauce…the list just goes on and on. Today is the day to treat yo’self, put the diets on pause, head to your favorite locale,…

Lambrusco Day celebrated with a glass full of bubbly red sparkling wine from Italy

What is Lambrusco?

Two reasons for this Lambrusco post:  First, we’re sorry to all the customers who still continue to call or email and inquire if we will ever have anymore Della Robbia.  We will not, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t a similar, just as delicious product out there!  Enter…

Happy friends drinking sangria wine at exclusive boat party

3 Summer Wine Ideas

With the summer fast approaching, how will you be enjoying the weather and your wine this year? Here are 3 great ideas for enjoying the outdoors without losing touch with your wine-loving lifestyle! A Picnic: Choose Your Destination Break out the blanket or grab a table at your…