Pinot Grigio

Ruffino – Italy | $8/$30
Medium bodied, a touch of minerality lingers in the finish, with notes of lemon peel.

Terlato – Friuli, Italy | $42
Different from the sweeter Santa Margarita
version, fuller-bodied with zesty minerality

Cabernet Sauvignon

Conn Creek – St Helena​​ | $15/$59
Notes of dark plum, spice, chocolate and licorice

Duckhorn – Napa  | $88
Vibrant red and blue fruit, silky tannins, balanced acidity

Frank Family – Napa | $84
96% Cabernet Sauvignon, 2% Petite Verdot, 2% Merlot

Joel Gott – Napa | $45
Black raspberry, with a kiss of caramel

Josh Cellars “Craftsman” – North Coast​​ | $9/$35
Bouquet bursts with intense dark fruits, cinnamon, clove

 Mt. Veeder | $74
Dark fruit, baked plums, baking spices, dark chocolate

Stags Leap Wine Cellars “Artemis” | $99
From the winning winery at the 1976 Judgement of Paris

Intrinsic – Washington | $47
Jammy flavors with a little kick of tannins at the end

Chateau Greysac Cru Bourgeois – Medoc | $50
Merlot 65% , 29% Cab, Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot

Orin Swift Papillon – Napa | $90
Cab, Merlot, Petit Verdot, Malbec, and Cabernet Franc

Prisoner – Napa | $94
Zinfandel, Cab, Petite Sirah, Syrah, & Charbono

Pinot Noir


Brewer Clifton – Santa Rita Hills | $62
Neutral barrels for our estate whole cluster fermentation

Emeritus – Russian River | $19/$68
Noted for a bolder character than a classic Pinot Noir

Foxen “John Sebastian Vineyards – Santa Rita Hils | $99
New oak, aging for 16 months, a rich wine

Kenwood “Six Ridges” – Russian River | $15/$62
High-toned tart red fruit is overtly ripe and the wine full bodied in style

Landmark – Sonoma | $12/$45
Blueberry and black cherry flavors in this full-bodied wine

Merry Edwards – Russian River | $95
Aged sur lie for nine months in 55% new French oak

Milagro – Corrales | $51
Balanced acidity with fine tannin on a long finish

Patz & Hall – Sonoma Coast | $77
Bing cherry, strawberry, carnation flowers and licorice

Shug – Carneros | $48
Balanced with ripe flavors, silky texture and crisp acidity


Domaine Drouhin – Dundee Hills | $72
Hand-picked and sorted with four-level gravity flow 

PINOT NOIR/Washington

Benton Lane – Willamette Valley | $11/$42
True expression of cool-climate Oregon pinot noir 

Milgrano – Corrales | $48
Lighter in color than Cab, of which it is the parent

Pedroncelli “Barrel Select” – Sonoma } $39
lighter in color and lower in tannin than cabnert Sauv


This Will Not Be Your Typical Wine Review Site. You Have Been Warned

I do not place a stigma on ‘vegetal’ or ‘brett’ as each has a place in a complex wine discussion. Over-ripeness, over-extraction, high alcohol and the issues each contribute to balance and aging will be dealt with on a case-by-case basis.

Fruit is king, acid and balance paramount. Those who associate earthy descriptors with flawed or unpleasant wines will be disappointed on a regular basis. Wine is alive and basal and reeks of life and sex and sweat in addition to sumptuous layers of spice and fruit. Varietal-correctness and typicity will always win, and jammy concoctions designed for the tourist-trade will be left behind.

All wines receive identical treatment in the same room in the same glass at the same time nearly every day. In addition to classic producers, I am constantly looking for smaller labels which run under the radar of *usual bling suspects* on social media. Enjoy the ride. Wine is life.   Steve McConnell 


Sarah Sommelier is a Free Study Guide for Those Preparing for the Court of Master Sommeliers exams, Using Carefully Curated Videos, Graphics and Information From the Most Respected Experts.

Passing the Sommelier Certified exam can be challenging, even if you attend the course. I was not able to afford the time or fee, so I built a website to teach myself in four months. This is the new-incarnation of that site, and I am taking the time and $ to share it with those who need someone in their corner. You can study alone, with your phone, anytime, anywhere.

The three portions of the Certified exam, Theory, Tasting and Service require such different skills that even seasoned restaurant, winery or hospitality staff hesitate taking the Certified, feeling satisfied by passing the Introductory, or Level 1 exam. The difference in the Introductory to the Certified is the Tasting and the Service; besides working the grid with a tasting group, I can offer “Miss Jane” Nickles technique which helped me break down the contents of the wine via the architecture of the glass, and when I tell you I was green, I did not know the difference between “Aroma” and “Bouquet”.

The service is 75% relaxed confidence, and a good International wine list to go with your “clients” orders. I wasted way too much time on the menu, so have included a couple of good ones to tuck into and pull some interesting pairings. Oh, and don’t forget to have some Vins doux naturels (VDNs) up you sleeves.

I left the Service portion in a daze, but returned with next group using breathing exercises. To quote David Glancy, “have the heart of a servant”.