Expert articles and wine tasting videos profiling wines from California, California wine regions, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, & more.

Top Ten California Syrahs - 2016

I tend to taste and drink a lot of wine over the course of a year. I am in a few tasting groups, sometimes the wines are consumed at various local wine store tastings and a number drunk with friends and family.

Wine To Go Buy This Week – New Year’s Edition -Domaine Carneros 2008 Le Reve Blanc de Blancs – 90 Points

France’s Champagne Taittinger started its U.S label with the opening of Domaine Carneros in 1987 and has gone on to create world-class sparkling wines in America, of which their flagship Le Reve has always been a consistent standout. This Blanc de Blanc is comprised of five Chardonnay clones from the Domaine’s Carneros estate fruit.

2016 Once & Future Wine Zinfandel Frank's Block Teldeschi Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$48.00USD

So, I am in Chicago on vacation and stop by a local wine store.  This is on sale and having never tried it, bought a bottle.  Good move as this is a really nice Zin.  While it seems like it will age and get more claret like, it was delicious and accessible now.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has black cherries, some bramble, a bit of dark chocolate and cherries.  On the palate, this has a nice texture.

2004 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This was possibly the oldest EdB I have had and it was great.  Showing a bit of age but certainly not over the top.  Pop and pour, it improved on opening and then held constant for the evening.  Purple in color, some bricking at the rim.  The nose has cherries, some black cherries and baking spices.  On the palate, this has a nice texture.  Still lively but balanced acidity.  Cherries with a bit of earthiness and the baking spice finishes the palate.  I doubt it gets better from here but it certainly seems like it would have at least five more years before a slow decline.  This will go grea

2014 Andremily Mourvedre, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$140.00USD

I love the Andremily Syrah, but this was my first time trying the Mourvedre.  It was sensational.  It does contain 14% Syrah.  Inky purple in color.  The nose is great with grilled meats and slightly gamey meats (a good thing) along with black pepper, lavender and spice.  On the palate, this has a lush wonderful texture.  Plenty of acidity behind the fruit.  Very primary today.  Consumed over a few days, there really wasn't much difference.  Lots of black raspberry fruit with some black cherries and an underlying earthiness.  This will certainly take at least five and closer to ten years to

2015 Ceritas Chardonnay Charles Heintz Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

My first time trying this and it was excellent.  Pop and pour and enjoyed with a shishito pepper dish that worked quite well.  Pale silvery/gold in color.  The nose has a salinity that is nice with minerals and slight green apples.  On the palate, this is not as austere as I had been led to believe.  In fact, it is very round and full bodied.  Nice apple fruit with underlying minerality.  Great acidity.  Long finish.  Delicious wine that is drinking well today but probably has a decade left.  It seems like it has the stuffing to mature and gain in complexity so probably still some upside.  

2016 William & Mary Cabernet Sauvignon Shifflett Ranch, USA, California, Napa, Oak Knoll District, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$110.00USD

My first time trying this wine.  William Segui works closely with Thomas Rivers Brown at Rivers Marie, Outpost and other TRB projects but this wine is he and his wife's own project.  The vineyard has been in his wife Mary's, family for 70 years.  The wine itself is excellent and for their first time at bat, they hit a home run.  Inky purple in color, magenta at the rim.  Pop and pour, this took some time to open and was still getting better when the last drop was consumed a couple hours later.  Bright and opaque.  The nose is really unique.  Sure, it has cassis and a bit of blueberries, but

2016 Boen Wines Pinot Noir, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

This is a bigger styled RRV Pinot Noir but the fruit seems a bit less ripe.  It makes for an interesting wine.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose shows rhubarb, slight cherries, a hint of cola and plenty of oak/spice.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  It feels high in alcohol without having any heat.  It is smooth and easy drinking with a ton of rhubarb and some cherry flavors.  Slight tannins.  This probably makes a better drink on the deck than at the dinner table.  Probably best drunk over the next couple of years.  

2014 Pahlmeyer Chardonnay Napa Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

Always a top Chardonnay known for its richness, this does not disappoint.  Light golden/green in color.  The nose has tropical fruits, melon, and a bit of a vanilla/floral note.  Very pretty.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  Enough acidity to make it lively.  Melons with a touch of butteryness.  Long finish.  It is a delicious wine and drinks well without food.  It will work with richer foods or even a lighter salad.  Drinking at peak right now, no hurry but probably should be consumed in the next five years.  

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