wN's pop 12 list of 2010

these are the wines most of you raved about and kept coming back for, again and again...

1. Castelvero Cortese 2009 | 9.99

a break from the usual Pinot Grigio, this fresh and unique, lively dry white is from the Piedmont region of Italy in the north; made of all Cortese, which is the same grape used in Gavi. This is a gem, expect lots of lemon - lime citrus fruit and a very welcome fresh acidity.

2. The Pinot Project 2009 | 13.99

hand crafted from the finest California grapes showing pure aromas and flavors; black cherries kissed by oak and complimented by just the right amount of Asian spice. An extremely versatile wine with a host of your favorite dishes.

3. Summit Lake Zinfandel 2003 | sale 15.99

the vintage is full bodied with just the right amount of dusty Howell Mountain tannins. Seductive and penetrating with its fragrant aromas wound in black pepper, sweet oak, plums and currant. A Zinfandel that sparks with elegant flavors of dark fruit and blackberry.

4. Castello D'Albola Chianti Classico 2007 | sale 10.99

a find from Radda in Chianti in the Province of Siena where the cultivation of vines dates back to Etruscan times. A brilliant Tuscan red, fine and elegant with scents of ripe dark fruit and violets. Appealing with persistence; this is what Chianti should taste like - dark cherry and floral aromas with flavors that scream Sangiovese.

5. Flora Springs Trilogy 2006 | sale 34.99

this blend of Cabernet, Merlot with Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot is absolutely delicious. Its notes of cedar, black currant and sweet dark cherry make this is a heady glass of red with elegant texture, purity and length kept in focus with stunning balance.

6. Orsolina Barbera D' Asti Caminata 2008 | 12.99

this Italian was at more parties last year than Charlie Sheen. Ripe and dark fruit that hints at chocolate and spice. Incredibly silky tannins caress the palate from start to finish, this Barbera is all about understated finesse and there is no shortage of that here.

7. Orin Swift Saldo Zinfandel 2008 | sale 29.99

at 38, winemaker Dave Phinney is at the top of his craft. His hugely successful Orin Swift wines are at an almost cult stage and regardless of price, everyone wants them. A Zin that's rich and stylish with aromas of spicy blackberry with sexy layers of black cherry and licorice, pulsing with flavors of subtle vanilla and toasty oak.

8. Argante 2006 | sale 24.99

the white and silver label of this red is the perfect introduction to an elegant wine that fits any occasion and is at home on any table. Argante is forged of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot into a delicious and generous wine that offers notes of dark berries, cassis and herbs with a hint of anise.

9. Obsidian Ridge Cabernet 2007 | sale 24.99

a true canvas with inviting color and depth; well made by Michael Terrien. With attractive red and black currant fruit mixed with licorice and spice box this is a beautiful Cabernet. Raw with natural, curvy and juicy flavors this red is delicious now, but will be totally seductive with a little more age.

10. Hall Sauvignon Blanc 2009 | sale 19.99

intriguing with its blood orange flavors balanced with expressive white fruit and a backbone of lusty, vibrant citrus and minerality that appears almost poetic.

11. Dante Cabernet Reserve 2008 | sale 9.99

just another character in what seems to be an ode to wine from Michael Pozzan. He makes several wines we enjoy and they are all different and free of convention from a particular style or profile. The colors of this California wine sway between red and deep purple framing a core of black cherry, plum and currant finishing with delicious hints of herb and spice.

12. Annabella Chardonnay 2008 | sale 10.99

another Pozzan you love; this is a wonderfully balanced Chardonnay with notes of tropical fruit and vanilla that are not over the top. The wine is crisp with bright citrus and apple that finishes with very subtle caramel and smoke.

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