We chase great wine

Our work at Wine Insiders leads us to far-flung wine regions, from Bordeaux, France, to Stellenbosch, South Africa. While we’re on the trail, we sip our way through wine cellars, sample the latest vintages directly from the barrels, and take quick turns off the beaten path, hoping to discover amazing wine to share with you. Something exciting is always around the corner.

Every now and then, we find a mind-blowingly delicious wine that we are unable to share. This happens when only a small quantity of the wine is available, the wine has a specialized appeal, or the winemaker wants to protect their retail pricing and won’t let us sell their selections for our easy-to-access prices. We’re happy to say that we’ve found a way to share these hard-to-get bottles with wine-lovers who want to sip something a little more niche.

Introducing Insiders Selection by Wine Insiders

Insiders Selection is our carefully edited portfolio of specialty wines, from famous winemakers’ limited-editions to small batches from regions that are just tiny dots on the map.

These are the wines with unique flavors and interesting stories that make us geek out. We want you to do the same. When we share one of our Insiders Selection, we’ll enhance your experience by telling you just what makes your wine a conversation starter, so that you can enjoy it to the fullest.

Since we’re based in California and are constantly amazed by our state’s innovative wines, we could think of no better way to launch our Insiders Selection portfolio than with four special red wines from these sought-after California appellations.

Drink like you’re touring California wine country, one exciting region at a time

For a limited time, access lush Cabernet Sauvignon from Rutherford in Napa and the neighboring Red Hills region, and bright Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara County and the Sta. Rita Hills. Each wine is true to its region’s celebrated style.

Red Hills, Lake County, 2011

The San Francisco Chronicle recently profiled Red Hills, where Napa winemakers are rushing to produce rich and structured Cabernet Sauvignon without the baggage—and bills—that come with a Napa Valley address. You’ve probably enjoyed Red Hills wine without knowing it. Napa wineries often use grapes from their neighbor up north to round out their cuvees.
Vintage Note: 2011 was a cool and rainy vintage, and the high elevations in Lake County afforded the grapes better ripening conditions than on the valley floor in Napa.

Rutherford, Napa Valley, 2012

Rutherford is 40 miles north of San Francisco, in the middle of Napa Valley, between St. Helena and Oakville, with Lake Hennessey to the northeast. This region is known for the iconic Auberge du Soleil Hotel and the lush and opulent Cabernet Sauvignon that brings wine-lovers to Napa Valley.
Vintage Note: The 2012 vintage is causing a stir among critics. Wine Spectator says, “Everyone who makes Cabernet has been excited about this vintage for some time.”

Santa Barbara County, 2014

Sandwiched between mountain ranges that keep the weather cool and extend the growing season, Santa Barbara County is celebrated for wines made from Burgundy varietals like Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. Santa Barbara County wines offer an exciting duality, with a blend of sophistication and earthy minerality.
Vintage Note: 2014 was a drought year with lower yields. Luckily, rains fell at just the right times, and the vines kept growing, resulting in another excellent vintage.

Sta. Rita Hills, 2014

Located along the western edge of the Santa Ynez AVA, Sta. Rita Hills is known for winds and a persistent marine layer that create wines that are perfect for Burgundy lovers. 80% of local wines are Pinot Noir, with the rest being Chardonnay and, yes, you have to call it Sta. Rita, to avoid confusion with Chile’s Vina Santa Rita winery.
Vintage Note: In addition to the drought, 2014 had a warm winter with that was balanced out by a milder late summer, which lengthened the grow season.

Access the premiere Insiders Selection wines

Taste why wine-lovers flock to California with this carefully edited portfolio of specialty wines from sought-after Golden State appellations.

2011 Insiders Selection Red Hills Cabernet Sauvignon

In this big and tannic wine, aromas of fresh-cut cedar and bell pepper mingle with boysenberry on the nose. The dark fruit follows through to the palate where it meets a savory hint of olive. Decant for at least 30 minutes.

Enjoy with: grilled steak, burgers, portobello mushrooms, aged cheddar

Compare this bottle to 2011 Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon for $29

2012 Insiders Selection Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon - SOLD OUT

This wine is a rich garnet color in the glass, and the nose is oaky with enticing hints of red licorice, cherry cola, and vanilla. The palate is smooth and fruit-forward, with a hint of raspberry at the start, followed by a burst of ripe cherry and unfolding layers of blackberry and prune, leading to a silky-smooth and almost creamy finish. This wine could easily age for a few more years, but, no matter when you decide to open it, we suggest decanting to let the flavors open up, and the bits of sediment sink to the bottom.

Enjoy with: beef short ribs, grilled lamb, rosemary, gouda

Compare this bottle to: 2012 Beaulieu Vineyard BV Cabernet Sauvignon for $33

2014 Insiders Selection Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir

This wine is characteristic of Santa Barbara County, with a floral nose where violet mingles with black pepper. The palate is Burgundy-like in its earthiness, with a heavy mouthfeel and umami truffle notes balancing delicious cherry flavors.

Enjoy with: bagels with lox and dill, roast duck, ham

Compare this bottle to: 2014 Sandhi Santa Barbara County Pinot Noir for $24

2014 Insiders Selection Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir

This wine is perfect for people who prefer less-fruity reds. Its nose has a hint of spiced, candied fruit, and a greener undertone. Decant it for an hour to let the tannins soften and the palate’s strawberry notes flourish.

Enjoy with: salmon in lemon caper sauce, ginger-soy marinade, dark meat poultry

Compare this bottle to: 2014 Brewer-Clifton Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir for $45