Recent articles

2018 Jaffurs Syrah, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

With Daniel Green now firmly in charge of the winery, it was good to see that the quality of these wines is just as good as ever.  The basic Jaffurs Syrah has long been an excellent value in warmer climate Syrah.  This one is no exception.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, white pepper and roasted meats with slight violets.  On the palate, this is full bodied with a lush but lively texture.  Juicy black raspberry fruit.  Depth.  Medium tannins.  Nice finish.  This will continue to get better for five to seven more years and be good for another ten after that.  It will work

2012 Jaffurs Petite Sirah Thompson Vineyard, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A-

Wow, did this bottle exceed expectations (and they were pretty high).  It really grabs one's attention.  Though still on the young side, it is drinking great.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is big with black raspberries, roasted meats, slight clove, plums and just a bit of graphite.  Full bodied.  Rich texture.  Deep and complex.  Juicy acidity.  Lots of black raspberry fruit with underlying roasted meats and herbs.  Long finish.  This seems like it is closing in on peak.  Not sure if it gets better but should easily do another ten years at this level.  Whether to open or ho

2017 Sandlands Chenin Blanc Lodi, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Sandlands makes my favorite US Chanin Blanc.  That might not be an impressive statement, but there are some great ones and this one competes with any anywhere.  Light golden in color.  The nose is very nice (if not served too cold) with almonds, orange peel, minerals and slight lemon.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, there is a nice depth.  The almonds and orange peel carry thru with a slight waxy note.  Good energy.  Nice balance.  Long finish.  This seems like it should improve a bit with age and should drink well for seven to ten years (and quite possibly more).  It will work well with li

2016 Château d'Epiré Savennières Le Hu Boyau, France, Loire, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

I love Chenin Blanc and some of my favorites come from the Loire Valley in France.  This is an excellent wine.  It was $35 on release.  Golden in color.  The nose is mostly about minerality although there is a touch or orange peel.  Very clean.  On the palate, this has a light sweetness to it.  Lots of minerality with good acidity.  It has a lot of complexity even at this young age.  Quite concentrated.  Consumed over three nights, it was best on night three.  This should easily last a couple more decades.  It will go well with lighter foods or foul and also consider Thai or similar cuisine

NV Korbel Brut California Champagne, USA, Wine Review

Score: 
85
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$12.00USD

This is one of those wines that is allowed to call itself Champagne as it is grandfathered in for the use of the name.  Of course, champagne is a region in France but this is from California.  This is one of the most popular sparkling wines sold in the US.  Ceartainly marketing and price have a lot to do with that, but it is a solid wine and, especially if being used for Mimosas or other mixed drinks, it is a reasonable alternative.  Light golden in color.  The nose is steely with lemon/lime notes.  A nice head of medium sized bubbles.  On the palate, this drinks easy.  Clean, just a hint o

2018 G.D. Vajra Langhe Nebbiolo Claré J.C., Italy, Piedmont, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This was a new wine for me.  It was very good, but also very unique and interesting.  The back label said it is made in the style of Nebbiolo that was consumed in the 17th and 18th centuries.  It is lighter, crisp, and with a light fizz.  Ruby in color, a bit frothy, but clear and bright.  Too dark to be a rose, but very light for a red.  On the nose, this has nice cherry fruit along with a slight sandalwood note.  Very energetic on the palate with good acidity.  The cherry flavors carry thru.  Slightly effervescent.  Not too unlike a quality Lambrusco but perhaps more bass tones (if that m

2006 Jonata Winery El Alma de Jonata, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Santa Ynez Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$115.00USD

This is still a bit young but rounding into peak form and almost there.  With a  bit of air, this is drinking quite well.  A blend of 95% Cabernet Franc, 4% Cabernet Sauvignon and 1% Merlot.  Purple in color.  The nose is great with black cherries, leather, cigar box, slight dark chocolate, cherries and slight spice.  On the palate, this has a lush but firm texture.  Lots of energy.  Layers of fruit and dried tobacco with a bit of char.  Complex.  Light tannins.  After about an hour, this was singing.  Long finish.  This will work with most heavier foods especially roasts or casseroles (wit

2012 Martinelli Zinfandel Giuseppe & Luisa, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

What a pretty Zinfandel.  Not a monster in any way.  Ruby in color, mostly clear and bright.  Rather light looking, just on appearance I would not have guessed Zinfandel.  On the nose, this has raspberries, slight cherries, a bit of bramble, black pepper and vanilla.  The label lists this as 17.3% Alcohol.  Whoa.  Not a trace on the nose or palate though.  Even the texture, which can be bolstered by alcohol, doesn't reveal the high level.  The palate does give cherries, slight Framboise, with underlying char.  There is depth and complexity here.  And deliciousness.  I would guess that this

2014 Domaine Pascal Cotat Sancerre Les Monts Damnés, France, Loire Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

Both Francis and Pascal Cotat wineries make some of the best Sauvignon Blancs in the world.  These are age worthy white wines that are truly unique expressions.  This one, while still young, was singing with a bit of air.  Light golden in color with some green hues.  The nose has chalk, gun powder, and pear notes.  Just a hint of caramel.  On the palate, this has a whiff of sweetness; just ever so slightly off dry.  The pears carry thru and the gun powder turns more smoky.  This is deep and complex.  It went quite well with a creamy tomato soup.  This likely will continue to improve for ano

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