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Having difficulty viewing this email? View it here.'s January 15, 2013 Monthly Newsletter.

Happy New Year!

I hope everyone's year is off to a great start and that you enjoyed your holidays. It seems like a whirlwind looking back, but our December/January has been filled with many great dinners and time with friends.

My wife celebrated a "milestone" birthday in December and one of the activities I planned was a thirteen course dinner at our house (prepared by me and my buddy Randall and my two nieces helped) for five of her girlfriends. We started with bacon wrapped dates, adult goldfish (pastry and anchovy paste, baked into crackers), steamed shrimp, etc. Other courses included my infamous butternut squash, little gem lettuces done Spanish style with anchovies, garlic, oil & sherry vinegar; ceviche; rack of lamb encrusted with rosemary, panko breadcrumbs, and honey mustard; a medley of vegetables including roasted beets, mashed potatoes, and brussel sprouts; crab prepared three ways; and sea urchin on crostini. To end, we had a molten chocolate cake with chopped hazel nuts. Needless to say, half of the fun of the meal with pairing the wines with each course, and with such an array of food, we had a lot of choices with our wines.

One of our favorites of the night was the 2008 Lewelling Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Wight Vineyard, one of our sponsor wines. Notes of cr�me de cassis, smoke, and floral characteristics are quite evident in this deep, rich cab with plenty of tannin and the pairing with the lamb was exquisite.

Other December events found us under a few feet of snow, at my in-laws' in the Sierra mountains. Luckily I packed enough wine to get us through the three day trip. In particular, the family enjoyed Just Joshin 2007 Sierra Foothills Tempranillo (which I thought was quite fitting for the occasion). One of our sponsor wines, and a nice everyday tempranillo, this wine was much lighter bodied than most American tempranillos, holding notes of both dark and red fruit, really possessing a nice finish and very enjoyable with the hearty soups that my mother-in-law made to get us through the chill.

On Christmas eve night, we joined about 20+ of my family (mom, my siblings, their families, my aunt & uncle, my cousin & his family) at my mom's house for her traditional dinner of homemade ravioli with garlic bread and salad. The week before, a subset of the group got together to make the ravioli's at my cousin's house. I don't know about you, but there's something so 'homelike' to me about a nice meat ravioli (stuffed with beef, veal, pork, swiss chard, cheese, egg, etc) served in a nice meat sauce. On Christmas night, another large group of us (25+) enjoyed a fabulous prime rib, hosted by my cousin, Scott and his wife, Barbara. The occasion was the perfect opportunity to break out a bottle of the 2010 DARE by Viader (Cabernet Sauvignon), with its hints of sugar plum, ripe cherry, fig and raspberries. Viader has been a long-standing sponsor of Wine Release and we never run out of the right occasion to break out their delicious wines.

After Christmas, my wife and I had a few days of downtime, attempting (unsuccessfully) to give our new bocce ball set a spin at the courts at Justin Herman Plaza, on the Embarcadero in San Francisco, but getting a lot of things done around the house. New Year's Eve found us with friends (13 adults and 2 babies), enjoying a night of sparkling wine, oyster shooters, fresh steamed crab, ravioli, great friends, and even better wines.

Last weekend, the break in the weather afforded us the opportunity to play bocce ball on the (relatively) unflooded courts and we had a great time. Look closely and you can see my newly walking toddler, getting a head start on chasing the balls.

I hope this year becomes one of your very best.

And now, onto the wines...

January 2013 Wine Releases

  • Acorn Winery; 2009 Alegria Vineyards Axiom Syrah (336 cases, $34), 2009 Cabernet Franc (347 cases, $30), 2009 Alegria Vineyards Medley (197 cases, $38)
  • Adelsheim Vineyard; 2011 Willamette Valley Caitlin's Reserve Chardonnay (230 cases, $45)
  • Arista Winery; 2012 Anderson Valley Ferrington Vineyard Gewurztraminer, 2011 Anderson Valley Pinot Noir, 2011 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir, 2011 Russian River Valley Longbow Pinot Noir, 2011 Russian River Valley Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2011 Russian River Valley Mononi Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Axios Wine; 2007 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Betz Family Winery; 2010 Pere de Famille, Cabernet Sauvignon (1,100 cases), 2010 Clos de Betz Bordeaux Blend (1,020 cases)
  • Big Basin Vineyards; 2009 Grizzly Grenache/Syrah ($48), 2010 Alfaro Family Vineyard Pinot Noir ($44)
  • Bishop's Peak; 2011 Edna Valley Chardonnay, 2010 Malbec, NV Red Wine, 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Bokisch Vineyards; 2010 Single-Barrel Tempranillo, 2010 Single-Barrel Graciano
  • Brochelle Vineyards; 14 Anniversary Cuvee Red Wine Blend (25 cases, $75), NV Velvet Late-Harvest Zinfandel Ruby Style Port (45 375ml cases, $44), NV Cashmere Late-Harvest Zinfandel Tawny Style Port (45 375ml cases, $44)
  • Cameron Hughes Wine; 2010 Atlas Peak Lot 318 Meritage (2,000 cases, $16), 2010 Rutherford Lot 337 Meritage (2,225 cases, $20)
  • Charles Smith Wines; 2010 Royal City Syrah (75 cases, $140)
  • Colibri Ridge Winery; 2006 Fair Play Mourvedre ($22.50), 2007 Estate Primitivo ($21.50), 2007 El Dorado Barbera ($20.50)
  • Coniglio Wines; 2006 Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon ($45)
  • Crazy Flower Wines; 2010 Carneros Merlot
  • Creekview Vineyards; 2010 Santa Clara Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Cristom Vineyards; 2010 Willamette Valley Eola-Amity Hills Marjorie Vineyard Pinot Noir ($65)
  • Domaine Carneros; 2011 Carneros Pinot Clair White Wine Pinot Noir (310 cases, $52)
  • Dutton-Goldfield; 2010 McDougall Vineyard Pinot Noir (239 cases, $58)
  • Flat Creek Estate; 2012 Blanco Brio
  • Gundlach Bundschu Winery; 2010 Sonoma Valley Merlot (5,018 cases, $30)
  • Hall Winery; 2010 Ellie's Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Indigen� Cellars; 2009 Pinot Noir
  • J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines; 2011 Arroyo Seco Arroyo Vista, 2012 Napa Valley St. Helena Carol's Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, 2011 Arroyo Seco Fog's Reach Pinot Noir
  • Joseph Phelps Vineyards; 2010 Freestone Vineyards Pinot Noir ($55), 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($65)
  • Karl Lawrence Cellars; 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Lakewood Vineyards; 2010 Pinot Noir
  • Lula Cellars; 2010 Mendocino Coast Pinot Noir (500 cases, $40)
  • Madro�a Vineyards; 2011 Barbera
  • Martin Estate; 2010 Eight Barrel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Melville Vineyards and Winery; 2011 Clone 115 Indig�ne Estate Pinot Noir, 2011 Sandy's Estate Pinot Noir, 2011 Terraces Estate Pinot Noir, 2011 Carrie's Estate Pinot Noir
  • Merritt Estate Winery; NV Winemaster's Choice Cabernet Franc/Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot/Marchal Foch
  • Novy Cellars; 2011 North Coast Four-Mile-Creek Red Table Wine (3,465 cases, $14), 2011 Novy Russian River Valley Chardonnay (427 cases, $19.50)
  • O-S Winery (Formerly Owen-Sullivan Winery); 2009 Red, 2010 Elephant Mt Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 Elephant Mt Merlot, 2010 Sonas
  • Perry Creek Vineyards; 2011 Altitude:2401 Chardonnay ($22)
  • Pessagno Winery; 2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Chardonnay (478 cases, $32), 2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Four Boys Vineyard Pinot Noir (186 cases, $55), 2010 San Benito County Idyll Times Vineyard Zinfandel (509 cases, $21), 2010 San Benito County Idyll Times Vineyard Syrah (145 cases, $35), 2010 Hames Valley Vineyard Late Harvest Orange Muscat (175 375ml cases, $35)
  • Quilceda Creek; 2010 Columbia Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Quivet Cellars; 2011 Napa Valley Calistoga Kenefick Ranch Vineyard Syrah (46 cases, $38), 2012 Napa Valley Oakville Tench Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (94 cases, $25), 2011 Carneros Las Madres Vineyard Syrah (47 cases, $40)
  • Rideau Vineyard; 2010 Santa Ynez Valley Camp 4 Vineyard Sangiovese ($40)
  • Rombauer Vineyards; 2010 Fiddletown Zinfandel ($43)
  • Sapolil Cellars; 2009 Dwelley Cabernet Sauvignon ($32)
  • Schrader Cellars; 2011 St. Helena Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 RBS Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Shane Wine Cellars; 2011 The Charm Pinot Noir, 2012 Grenache Blanc, 2012 Ma Fille Rose', 2009 Santa Lucia Highlands The Villain Syrah
  • Siduri Wines; 2011 Keefer Ranch Vineyard Pinot Noir (312 cases. $52), 2011 Sonatera Vineyard Pinot Noir (307 cases, $49)
  • Single Leaf Vineyards & Winery; 2008 Estate Zinfandel ($17), 2009 Petite Sirah ($20), 2009 Cabernet Franc ($18), 2011 Viognier ($17)
  • Skinner Vineyards; 2010 Walla Walla Valley Estate Grown Mule Merlot ($45)
  • Sleight of Hand Cellars; 2010 Columbia Valley Archimage Cabernet Franc/Merlot/Cabernet Sauvignon/Petit Verdot, 2010 Columbia Valley Illusionist Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Sojourn Cellars; 2011 Sonoma Coast Sangiacomo Vineyard Pinot Noir (600 cases, $48), 2011 Sonoma Coast Gap's Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir (800 cases, $54), 2011 Sonoma Coast Rodgers Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir (550 cases, $48), 2011 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir (1,250 cases, $39), 2010 Napa Valley Rutherford Beckstoffer Vineyard Georges III Cabernet Sauvignon (225 cases, $95), 2010 Sonoma Valley Home Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (150 cases, $48), 2011 Sonoma Coast Sangiacomo Vineyard Chardonnay (250 cases, $45)
  • Talley Vineyards; 2009 Mano Tinta Red Wine, 2011 Estate Chardonnay
  • Terry Hoage Vineyards; 2011 Pik Pool Picpoul Blanc ($38), 2011 The Gap Cuvee Blanc Grenache Blanc/Roussane/Picpoul Blanc ($38), 2011 Roo Sahn Roussane ($38), 2010 The Skins Grenache ($48), 2010 The Pick Grenache Cuvee Grenache/Syrah/Mourvedre/Couniose ($48), 2010 The 46 Grenache/Syrah ($48), 2010 5 Blocks Syrah Cuvee Syrah/Mourvedre/Grenache/Couniose ($48), 2010 The Hedge Syrah ($48), 2010 The 34 Syrah ($80), 2006 Skins Reserve ($65)
  • The Four Graces; 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2011 Dundee Hills Pinot Noir
  • Titus Vineyards; 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon ($41)
  • Vino Noceto; 2012 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc (900 Cases, $25)
  • Westport Winery; 2010 Lighthouse White Riesling/Gewurztraminer
  • Wind Gap; 2010 Chalone Brosseau Vineyard Chardonnay (100 cases, $40), 2011 Chalk Hill Windsor Oaks Vineyard Pinot Gris (122 cases, $32), 2010 Sonoma Coast Syrah (380 cases, $36), 2011 Sonoma County Sceales Vineyard Old-Vine Grenache (425 cases, $36)

February 2013 Wine Releases

  • Acorn Winery; 2009 Alegria Vineyards Acorn Hill (95 cases, $45)
  • Andis Wines; 2010 Painted Fields Red Blend, 2012 Rose
  • Cakebread Cellars; 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Carol Shelton Wines; 2009 Rockpile Florence Vineyard Rocky Reserve Zin Zinfandel ($33), 2009 Sonoma County Bastoni Vineyard Karma Zin Zinfandel($33), 2012 Mendocino County Rendezvous Rose ($15)
  • Carter Cellars; 2010 Table 5 Napa Valley Red
  • Chappellet Vineyard; 2010 Napa Valley Pritchard Hill Cabernet Sauvignon (2,400 cases, $135), 2010 Napa Valley Pritchard Hill Cabernet Franc (650 cases, $65)
  • Dutton-Goldfield; 2011 Anderson Valley Angel Camp Vineyard Pinot Noir (214 cases, $58)
  • Flora Springs Winery; 2010 Trilogy Red Wine
  • Fort Walla Walla Cellars; 2008 Walla Walla Valley Merlot
  • Freemark Abbey Winery; 2008 Sycamore Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Gundlach Bundschu Winery; 11 Sonoma Coast Estate Chardonnay (3,550 cases, $27)
  • Hafner Vineyard; 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Indigen� Cellars; 2009 Ambiente Tuscan Blend
  • J. Lohr Vineyards & Wines; 2009 Paso Robles Cuv�e POM Red Blend, 2009 Paso Robles Cuv�e PAU Red Blend, 2009 Paso Robles Cuv�e St. E Red Blend, 2012 Monterey County Estates Bay Mist White Riesling, 2011 Paso Robles Estates South Ridge Syrah, 2010 Paso Robles Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Jelly Jar Wine; 2012 Rose' (200 cases, $18)
  • Klickitat Canyon & Columbia Gorge Winery; 2011 Chardonnay
  • Kobalt Wines; 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Lakewood Vineyards; 2010 Cabernet Franc
  • Lewis Cellars; 2010 Napa Valley Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Napa Valley Reserve Chardonnay, 2011 Russian River Valley Barcaglia Lane Chardonnay
  • Lobo Wines; 2009 Napa Valley Atlas Peak Cabernet Sauvignon (100 cases, $65), 2010 Wulff Vineyards Pinot Noir (175 cases, $40)
  • Lula Cellars; 2012 Mendocino Dry Gewurztraminer (300 cases, $19)
  • Martinelli Winery; 2011 Giuseppe & Luisa Zinfandel
  • Praxis Cellars; 2012 Viognier, 2012 Gew�rztraminer
  • Robert Karl Cellars; 2012 Malbec (100 cases, $22)
  • Silver Oak Cellars; 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Skylite Cellars; 2007 Big Red Hiney Wine (1,100 cases, $15)
  • Terra Blanca Vineyards; 2009 Onyx Red Wine
  • Terra Valentine; 2009 Napa Valley Spring Mountain District Marriage Red Wine Blend
  • Thomas Michael; 2011 Napa Valley Calistoga Frediani Vineyard Charbono (50 cases, $42), 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (50 cases, $42), 2011 Carneros Napa Valley Bryson Vineyard Pinot Noir (50 cases, $42)
  • Uvaggio; 2012 Rosato (450 cases, $14) 2012 Moscato 'secco' (1600 cases, $14) 2012 Moscato 'dolce' (250 case, $14)
  • Vino Noceto; 2011 Napa Valley Twenty Rows Cabernet Sauvignon (6,000 cases, $25)
  • Wharton; 2012 Napa Valley Rose (250 cases, $18)
  • Zeitgeist Cellars; 2010 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (300 cases, $70), 2012 Russian River Valley Trousseau Gris (390 cases, $25)'s Winery Newsletters and Mailing Lists Sign Up Page: Click here.

The following 67 winery information pages have been updated since December 15, 2012:

Wine Quote of the Month: "Age is just a number. It's totally irrelevant unless, of course, you happen to be a bottle of wine. Joan Collins

Till next month.

Neil Monnens

Special thanks to the following sponsors of Alysian Wines, Forlorn Hope Wines, Fulcrum Wines, Jelly Jar Wine, Kimmel Vineyards, Lewelling Vineyards, Parry Cellars, Relic Wines, Rosenthal - The Malibu Estate, Selene Wines, Stein Family Wines, VIADER Vineyards & Winery, Vineyard 7 & 8, Wharton Wines and Wrath. They help make WineRelease possible.

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