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Having difficulty viewing this email? View it here.'s July 15, 2012 Monthly Newsletter.

Greetings from, now 1,874 winery listings strong.

Our summer activities have been in full force over the past month, and what a summer it’s been so far!

In mid-June, we held our (14th) annual Abalone feed. I dive for Abalone up the northern California coast with a handful of friends and each year, in the early summer, host a potluck, where each attendee is asked to bring a side, salad, appetizer or dessert. This year was a little different, in that we applied for a street closure permit and held the party (with 70+ seated) in front of our house in San Francisco. It was the (one) warm night in the City and the weather really made the event a success. As usual, there were a handful of standout dishes (like Steve’s ‘dirty rice’, full of fresh boar meat that he had hunted himself), but everything was quite tasty. On top of delicious food, we had the opportunity to open some special bottles (like the 12 liter of 1987 Diamond Creek Volcanic Hill Cabernet Sauvignon, and the 2011 Jelly Jar Rose, courtesy of one of our sponsors, which made the dirty rice sing).

The warm summer weather has given us occasion to try some new rose wines, a current favorite is Jelly Jar, one of our sponsor wines. For last minute guests, we’ve been grabbing a bottle of their 2011 Rose out of the fridge, then pairing with a lump of burrata cheese from our local grocer (a block from the house, so very convenient), sprinkled with toasted hazelnuts and a liberal douse of my brother-in-law’s honey. A hit every time.

Fourth of July week found us in the Central Coast of California. On Tuesday, we did a little family wine tasting down in the Lompoc area. (Never too early to start, right?) We started the day with Alvin at Melville, then went next door to Babcock (with a baby who is used to traveling via stroller or backpack 90% of the time, getting into the car seat for the 50 yard drive from Melville to Babcock was probably the worst part of the day), then was able to catch up with my friend Victor Gallegos at Sea Smoke. After we chatted, Victor kindly gave us a walk around the facilities, where we saw a team packing the November shipments.

On the Fourth itself, we had a delicious taste of ‘small town America’ at the Cayucos 4th of July parade. Our friend, Toni, has a house right on the route, so about a dozen of us started off with bloody Mary’s, Mimosas, and her homemade breakfast tacos while we watched about 50 ‘floats’ that included tap dancing, gymnastics, walking, and a lot of smiling and waving. After the parade, we headed down to the beach to see the sand castle contest, then walked around town for a while, ending our afternoon with some well-deserved naps. Upon waking, we broke out the homemade guacamole, and my brother-in-law’s marinated salmon. Doug fishes for salmon in Alaska every summer and does these great marinates, full of pepper, garlic, etc. The pairing of the afternoon was the 2009 Russian River Selection Chardonnay with that salmon, simply amazing.

Dinner that night found us grilling my favorite burgers - Jamie Oliver’s Elvis Burger, accompanied by corn on the cob and a watermelon/feta/pine nut/mint salad. There’s nothing like a good burger as an excuse to try some new wines. We opened a 2008 Selene Napa Valley Dead Fred Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, with its raspberry, blueberry and spice was a really nice match and a hit with the whole crowd. My buddy’s house in Morro Bay overlooks the back bay, exactly where they launch the fireworks from the barge. We were fortunate to have a clear note and friends from down the street to share in the show (and of course more wines) with us.

During our last night in the Central Coast, our dear friend, Pandee Pearson, the chef at Lido, joined us for an impromptu dinner at Randall’s. We picked up a gorgeous piece of salmon from the local fish market at the docks, the kind where it lists the name of the ship and its captain next to each catch, and Pandee grilled that for us, on a cedar plank, covered in lemon and lime zest, salt and pepper and a little olive oil. It was probably some of the best salmon that I’ve ever had.

The end of the week brought us home to a top notch dinner celebrating my wife’s cousin’s 50th birthday. Chrissie’s aunt arranged a beautiful meal at Flour + Water’s private dining room, behind the restaurant. Each course was better than the next, with some of my favorites including the lamb ravioli and the rabbit wrapped in prosciutto. I brought a handful of wines for that meal and was pleased at how the 2006 Forlorn Hope Les Deux Matieux was just perfect for the lamb, definitely a crowd pleaser. I’ll leave you with a shot of Kona, Flour + Water’s Chef Thomas McNaughton’s pet pig.

Back to the City, fog, reality, and many more weeks of summer ahead of us….

And now, onto the wine.

July 2012 Wine Releases

  • 12C Wines; 2010 Napa Valley Rutherford Beckstoffer Georges III Cabernet Sauvignon
  • 21 Cellars; 2009 Semillon
  • Abacela Winery; 2009 Malbec (582 cases, $25)
  • Adams Bench; 2009 Red Willow Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Anam Cara Cellars; 2011 Nicholas Estate Chardonnay
  • B.R. Cohn Winery; 2010 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($40), 2010 Sonoma Valley Malbec (460 cases, $45)
  • Balistreri Vineyards; 2011 Colorado Talbott Vineyard Riesling, 2007 Colorado Talbott Vineyard Syrah
  • Big Basin Vineyards; 2010 Homestead GSM (348 cases, $36), 2010 Santa Cruz Mountain Pinot Noir (97 cases, $36), 2011 Wirz Vineyard Riesling (100 cases, $25)
  • Bishop’s Peak; 2011 Riesling
  • Bourassa Vineyards; 2009 Napa Valley Harmony3 Bordeaux Blend ($49)
  • Bridesmaid Wines; 2008 Napa Valley Bridesmaid Red Cabernet Sauvignon Blend (1,800 cases, $39), 2011 Napa Valley Bridesmaid White Sauvignon Blanc/Semillon (800 cases, $19)
  • Broc Cellars; 2011 Carbonic Carignan (535 cases, $25)
  • Brown Estate Vineyards; 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon (300 cases, $60), 2010 Napa Valley Westside Zinfandel (250 cases, $50)
  • Cameron Hughes Wine; 2009 Santa Maria Valley Lot 281 Pinot Noir (250 cases), 2010 Oakville Lot 344 Merlot (3,500 cases , $16)
  • Cooper Mountain Vineyards; 2011 Willamette Valley Tocai Friulano ($15), 2010 Reserve Pinot Noir ($24)
  • dkcellars; 2008 Rocket Red Syrah, NV Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Dutton-Goldfield; 2011 Green Valley Vineyard Gewurztraminer, 2011 Marin County Riesling
  • Enkidu Wine; 2011 Tin Cross Chardonnay ($30)
  • EOS Estate Winery; 2009 Petite Sirah, 2009 Sauvignon Blanc
  • Fidelitas; 2010 Columbia Valley Merlot, 2011 Optu Bordeaux-style White Wine
  • Forlorn Hope Wines; 2011 Silvaspoons Vineyard Torrontés La Gitana, 2011 Ricci Vineyard Ost-Intrigen St. Laurent, 2006 Norgard Vineyard Les Paresseux Late Harvest Chenin Blanc
  • Franciscan Oakville Estate; 2009 Magnificat Red Blend
  • Fulcrum Wines; 2010 Sonoma Coast Gap's Crown Vineyard Pinot Noir (189 cases, $56), 2010 Russian River Valley Floodgate Vineyard Pinot Noir (95 cases, $54), 2010 North Coast On Point Christinna's Cuvee Pinot Noir (242 cases, $36)
  • Girardet Wine Cellars; 2008 Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon ($75)
  • Hugo Family Cellars; 2011 Veris Sauvignon Blanc
  • Ispiri; 2009 Pine Mountain Cloverdale Peak Cabernet Sauvignon (230 cases, $55), 2009 Rocky Red Rockpile (275 cases, $40
  • King Ferry Winery; 2011 Dry Rose, 2011 Dry Riesling, 2010 Reserve Cabernet Franc, 2011 Semi-Dry Riesling
  • Kobalt Wines; 2010 Window Pane Cabernet Sauvignon Blend ($38)
  • Lail Vineyards; 2009 J. Daniel Cuvee Cabernet Sauvignon (470 cases, $150)
  • Lucia Vineyards & Winery; 2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Susan's Hill Syrah ($40), 2010 Santa Lucia Highlands Garys' Vineyard Syrah ($40), 2009 Santa Lucia Highlands Cabernet Sauvignon ($40)
  • Luna Vineyards; 2010 Reserve Pinot Grigio ($28)
  • Madroña Vineyards; 2010 Fiore
  • Mount Veeder Winery; 2008 Mount Veeder Cabernet Franc ($50)
  • Mutt Lynch Winery; 2009 Central Coast Unleashed Chardonnay (5,372 cases)
  • Newton Vineyard; 2009 Unfiltered Chardonnay ($60)
  • Northstar Winery; 2008 Columbia Valley Stella Maris ($29), 2011 Columbia Valley Stella Blanca Semillon ($20), 2009 Walla Walla Valley Malbec
  • Passalacqua Winery; 2010 Lavender Hill Primitivo
  • Pelican Ranch Winery; 2011 Rosé of Zinfandel, 2011 Rosé of Pinot Noir, 2011 Rosé of Pinot Gris
  • Robert Craig Winery; 2010 Napa Valley Howell Mountain Zinfandel ($50)
  • Robert Karl Cellars; 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (100 cases, $15)
  • Robert Sinskey Vineyards; 2009 Napa Valley Commander Zinskey Zinfandel (130 cases, $42)
  • Saddleback Cellars; 2009 Zinfandel
  • Scherrer Winery; 2009 Platt Vineyard Pinot Noir (96 cases,$75), 2008 Russian River Valley Syrah (160 cases, $30), 2010 Helfer Vineyard Chardonnay (95 cases, $42)
  • Scott Harvey Wines; 2010 Mountain Selection Barbera ($22)
  • Seghesio Family Vineyards; 2010 Monte Rosso Zinfandel (200 cases, $38), 2010 Pagani Ranch Zinfandel (225 cases, $38)
  • Selene Wines; 2011 Hyde Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc (792 cases, $28)
  • Spann Vineyards; 2009 The Classic Four Meritage Blend, 2009 OMG Cabernet Sauvignon/Merlot Blend, 2007 Mayacamas Range Cabernet Sauvignon, 2006 Mayacamas Range Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Top of the World Cabernet Sauvignon, 2009 Cross Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Franc
  • Swanson Vineyards; 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($60)
  • Tero Estates; 2008 Walla Walla Valley Windrow Vineyards Hill Block Cabernet Sauvignon (118 cases, $53), 2008 Walla Walla Valley Windrow Vineyards Plateau Block Cabernet Sauvignon (185 cases, $55), 2008 Walla Walla Valley Windrow Vineyards Old Block Cabernet Sauvignon (110 cases, $57)
  • Terra Valentine; 2010 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc ($28)
  • The Four Graces; 2010 Yamhill Carlton Reserve Pinot Noir
  • Thomas George Estates; 2011 Russian River Valley Estate Rosé of Pinot Noir ($19)
  • Truchard Vineyards; 2008 Estate Tempranillo (212 cases, $28)
  • Vaughn Duffy; 2011 Extra Innings Rosé of Pinot Noir (79 cases, $16)
  • Wing Canyon Vineyard; 2009 Napa Valley Mount Veeder Estate Cabernet Franc (24 cases, $75)
  • Wood Family Vineyards ; 2011 Chardonnay, 2010 Grenache, 2010 Clone 30 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2010 50/50 Zinfandel/Petite Sirah, 2010 Big Wood Zin Zinfandel
  • Woodhouse Family Cellars; 2009 Dubrul Vineyards Reserve Riesling, 2010 Hudson Shah Chardonnay

August 2012 Wine Releases

  • Altamura Vineyards & Winery; 2009 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Arista Winery; 2010 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir, 2010 Russian River Valley Two Birds Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010 Russian River Valley Mononi Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010 Anderson Valley Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010 Russian River Valley Inaugural Release Harper’s Rest Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir
  • Big Basin Vineyards; 2009 Coastview Vineyard Syrah, 2010 Coastview Vineyard Pinot Noir, 2010 Coastview Vineyard Chardonnay
  • Bishop’s Peak; 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon, 2011 Pinot Noir
  • Broadley Vineyards; 2011 Willamette Valley Pinot Noir
  • Daedalus Cellars; 2009 Estate Pinot Noir
  • Hall Winery; 2009 Napa Valley Kathryn Hall Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Jean Edwards Cellars; 2009 Stagecoach Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (250 cases, $58), 2009 Napa Valley Seventy Four-Forty One Cabernet Sauvignon (125 cases, $58)
  • Lewis Cellars; 2010 Alec's Blend, 2010 Napa Valley Syrah, 2011 Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc
  • Metaphora Wines; 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (300 cases)
  • Neal Family Vineyards; 2008 Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon
  • Ram's Gate Vineyards; 2010 Carneros Chardonnay (775 cases, $36)
  • Silver Oak Cellars; 2008 Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($70)
  • TEXTBOOK; 2011 Napa Valley Fin de Journee Chardonnay's Winery Newsletters and Mailing Lists Sign Up Page: Click here.

The following 72 winery information pages have been updated since June 15, 2012:

Wine Quote of the Month: "Wine cheers the sad, revives the old, inspires the young, makes weariness forget his toil. Lord Byron

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, MARA Winery, Martin Estate, Parry Cellars, Relic Wines, Selene Wines, Stein Family Wines, VIADER Vineyards & Winery, Vineyard 7 & 8, Wharton Wines and Wrath. They help make WineRelease possible.

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