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Wine Advocate, Wine Enthusiast & James Suckling Scores

WINE ADVOCATE – APRIL 2018

The Calling Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2016 – 91 POINTS
The 2016 Chardonnay Sonoma Coast is scented of apple pie, poached pears and peach preserves with suggestions of clover honey and croissant. Medium-bodied with beautiful freshness and plenty of delicate nuances, it has a lovely creaminess to the texture and an invigorating finish.

WINE ENTHUSIAST – JUNE 2018

The Calling Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 2016 – 94 POINTS
Luxurious in green olive, peach and lemon, this is a complex compelling vineyard-designate, well made and in balance. Sophisticated, it offers a lingering length of toasted oak spice that complements the fruit and adds a spark to the whole. – V.B.

The Calling Fox Den Pinot Noir 2015 – 91 POINTS
Brawny and full bodied, this earthy wine shows a generosity of forest floor, cardamom and cola, before unveiling integrated layers of bright strawberry and citrus. – V.B.

The Calling Sonoma Coast Chardonnay 2016 – 90 POINTS
This wine is lovely and expressive in stony mineral, lemon rind, apple, quince and bread. It’s medium-bodied, with a pleasant lushness that unfolds on the midpalate. – V.B.

The Calling Russian River Valley Pinot Noir 2015 – 90 POINTS
Made by Winemaker Dan Goldfield, this wine is well crafted and earthy. It’s a soft, gentle expression of just-picked strawberry that’s light in approach and delicate on the palate. – V.B.

Kunde Estate Merlot (Sonoma Valley) – 89 POINTS
Sanguine and herbal, this wine is hugely concentrated in extracted and intense flavors of blackberry, red currant and cedar. It showcases meaty tannins and rich oak. – V.B.

JAMES SUCKLING – APRIL 2018

Ruta 22 Malbec 2017 – 90 POINTS
Want to drink a real Argentina Malbec? This is it with dark berry, ripe plum and light tannins. Juicy and fruity. Light and focused. Yummy. Drink now.

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Wine Spectator & Wine Enthusiast Scores

WINE SPECTATOR – MAY 2018

The Calling Dutton Ranch Chardonnay 2016 – 92 POINTS
Rich and assertive, with a mix of fig, apricot, anise, herb, sage and cedar flavors, making for a compelling mouthful of Chardonnay that gains depth on the finish. Drink now through 2023. 5,016 cases made.  –JL

The Crossings Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – 89 POINTS
Smooth and succulent, with a savory mineral edge to the fleshy melon, cucumber and peach flavors, this is stylish and juicy. Drink now. 127,000 cases made.  –MW

Girard Sauvignon Blanc 2017 – 89 POINTS
Lemon-lime flavors at the core branch out into lip-smacking Key lime pie, papaya and orange zest notes. Intense and harmonious on a vibrant and smooth frame. Drink now. 11,493 cases made.  –MW

Chateau Bonnet White 2016 – 87 POINTS
Fresh and breezy, with white asparagus, chive and lime notes streaming through, backed by a gentle-edged finish. Sauvignon Blanc, Sémillon and Muscadelle. Drink now. 75,000 cases made.  –JM

WINE ENTHUSIAST – MAY 2018

Girard Old Vine Zinfandel 2014 – 90 POINTS
Rustic tones of earth and wood meet smooth, seductive layers of vibrant strawberry and blackberry jam dipped in milk chocolate. This is full in body and rich in feel. – VB

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Wine Spectator & Wine Enthusiast Scores

WINE SPECTATOR – MARCH 2018

Quinta do Vale Meao 2015 Douro – 94 POINTS
Harmonious and precise, featuring ripe currant, linzer torte and baker’s chocolate notes balanced with graphite, spice and floral accents, this full-bodied red is well-structured, with a richly spiced finish. Well-crafted. Drink now through 2026. –GS

The Calling 2015 Russian River Pinot Noir – 91 POINTS
Fragrant rose petal, blackberry, lavender and red and dark fruit flavors make for a compelling drink. Has the density and backbone for short cellar time. Drink now through 2024. –JL

The Calling 2015 Fox Den Pinot Noir – 90 POINTS
A fresh, snappy style, with crunchy raspberry, blackberry, herb, cedar and earth notes, all adding up to something special. Drink now through 2023. –JL

Kunde 2015 Estate Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley) – 90 POINTS
Plump and lively, with black cherry and brown baking spice flavors that finish on a zesty note. Drink now through 2023. 4,800 cases made.  –TF

Chateau de Rochemorin 2015 Red – 89 POINTS
A sleek and fresh style, with damson plum and red currant fruit lined with a light iron note. Shows a sanguine thread on the finish, though the minerality lingers longest. Drink now through 2026. 12,500 cases made.  –JM

Chateau de Cruzeau 2016 White – 89 POINTS
Focused, with a fleur de sel thread adding a touch of zing to the easygoing mix of gooseberry, white peach and star fruit flavors. Light verbena shade on the finish. Drink now through 2019. –JM

Josh Cellars Reserve 2015 Cabernet Sauvignon – 88 POINTS
Strikes a nice balance between ripe, spicy dark berry and currant flavors, with modest, fine-grained tannins, making for an easy drink. Drink now. –JL

Chateau de Rochemorin 2016 White – 88 POINTS
A plump and forward style, with lemon, gooseberry and star fruit gelée notes, backed by light straw and salted butter hints. Shows a light waxy hint on the finish. Drink now. –JM

Quinta do Vale Meao 2015 Meandro – 88 POINTS
Moderate but plush tannins hug the crushed plum, black tea and currant flavors in this medium-bodied red. Mineral, dried herb and sweet spice notes linger on the finish. Drink now through 2021. –GS

Kunde 2014 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Valley) – 88 POINTS
A trim style, well done if a little skinny, with savory herb, cedar, gravel and tobacco leaf notes. Needs time. Drink now through 2030. –JL

Chateau de Cruzeau 2015 Red – 87 POINTS
Fresh and open in feel, with bright cassis, cherry preserve and singed mesquite notes. A light tarry streak gives the finish some oomph, but this is ready now. Drink now through 2022.   –JM

WINE ENTHUSIAST – MARCH 2018

Quinta do Vale Meao 2015 Douro – 98 POINTS, Cellar Selection
This quinta was created by the legendary Dona Antonia Ferreira in the 19th century and it is still owned by her descendants. While currently quite youthful, there is greatness in this wine. Its density of minerality, black fruits and rich tannins create a wine with huge aging potential. It’s rich while always elegant, balanced and ready for a long life. Drink from 2025. – RV

Joseph Carr 2014 Revelist Cabernet Sauvignon – 92 POINTS
This wine has a classic nose of pencil shavings, cedar and ripe black plum, following through on the palate in similar fashion. Full bodied and highly concentrated, it layers in flavors of cherry compote and dark chocolate. – VB

Peter Lehmann 2012 Stonewell Shiraz – 91 POINTS, Cellar Selection
This is a broody, dense and muscular wine. Ripe dark fruit, chocolate, dried oregano and vanillin oak lead into a rich, powerful palate laced with high-end French oak notes. The tannins are fine grained and tightly wound. Throw this in the cellar and forget about it for several years at least.  – CP

Quinta do Vale Meao 2015 Meandro – 90 POINTS
This is the second wine of the Vale Meão estate, showing a slightly simpler vision of the density of the estate wines. It is serious in its own right, with a firm texture and powerful black fruits. The wine’s name refers to the huge horseshoe bend of the river Douro around this iconic vineyard. Drink the wine from 2022. – RV

Clos de Los Siete 2014 Malbec Blend – 90 POINTS
This wine’s bold black fruit aromas are a touch clipped. Its saturated palate offers a massive mouthful of berry fruit and tannins and chocolate notes. On the finish, it’s peppery, toasty and stout. Serve this always reliable Malbec blend with grilled beef in the Argentino style. – MS

Ramon Bilbao 2010 Gran Reserva – 90 POINTS
A dark, gritty, spicy nose with aromas of black peppercorn, coffee and black fruits sets up a high-acid palate with lemony oak. Flavors of vanilla and creamy oak dominate, while the finish echoes what came before: oak, creamy notes and lemony acid. Drink now through 2027. – MS

Ramon Bilbao 2016 Albarino – 89 POINTS
A clover aromas leads on the nose, with white flower accents in the background. A round, healthy palate is mildly citric, with an orange note running strong. A steady finish helps this conclude well. Drink now. – MS

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Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits Purchases 50% Stake In California Wine Brand Bellacosa

Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits has acquired a 50% stake in California wine brand Bellacosa for an undisclosed sum. According to Deutsch Family CEO Peter Deutsch, the move will bolster the company’s upscale wine portfolio and create significant upside in the on-premise, where Bellacosa’s core North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon is positioned at around $15 a glass. The deal is slated to close in February.

“More and more people are trading up to this premium price segment, with Cabernet leading the charge,” Deutsch notes. “Bellacosa is a perfect fit for us, filling out the higher end of our premium wine portfolio.”

Sonoma native Dan Cohn launched Bellacosa in 2015, following the sale of his family’s Glen Ellen, California-based winery B.R. Cohn to Vintage Wine Estates. Bellacosa features a flagship North Coast Cabernet Sauvignon sourced from vineyards throughout Sonoma, Napa, Oakville and Coombsville and retailing at around $25 a 750-ml. The brand also includes a limited release Oakville Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon retailing at $100.

“Partnering with another family-owned business that recognizes the value of people is important to me,” says Cohn. “The Deutsch family understands the Bellacosa story, and I’m confident their distribution network will help get the wine in the right accounts.”

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Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits To Take On Sales And Marketing For Layer Cake

California-based Vintage Wine Estates has acquired the Layer Cake, Cherry Pie and If You See Kay brands from One True Vine for an undisclosed amount. As part of the deal, Vintage Wine Estates partner Deutsch Family Wine & Spirits will now handle sales and marketing for the Layer Cake brand nationally—by far the biggest brand in the deal. The sale is set to close on January 2.

One True Vine’s Jayson Woodbridge, founder of the three brands, will serve as a winemaking and public relations consultant for Layer Cake and Cherry Pie. While Deutsch will handle sales and marketing for Layer Cake, Vintage Wine Estates will take on responsibility for Cherry Pie and If You See Kay. The acquisition will add over 450,000 nine-liter cases to the Vintage Wine Estates portfolio, according to the company.

“We’re very excited to soon be leading the sales and marketing of Layer Cake,” said Peter Deutsch, CEO of Deutsch Family. “In partnership with (Vintage Wine Estates president and founding partner) Pat Roney and his team, we’ll drive existing and new items as part of our mission to grow the brand.”

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