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.

2019 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Schmiedt Road, USA, California, Lodi, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

Grabbed this one by accident (thinking it was the Sonoma County Zin).  Oh well.  A bit different and very good.  No harm done. A bit more spread out and wider, if that makes sense, than their Sonoma Zins.   Deep garnet/purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is upfront with black cherries, raspberries, bramble and baking spices.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, nice black cherries and raspberries.  Some underlying char.  Lively.  Good finish.  This should drink well for the next seven to ten years.  A nice match for pizza or a burger. 

2016 Carlisle Zinfandel Pagani Ranch Sonoma Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$58.00USD

Always a consistently top Zinfandel.  Purple in color with a thin ruby rim.  The nose is nice with black cherries, raspberries, slight bramble, and char.  Full bodied.  The fruit seems a bit darker on the palate.  Black raspberries with some plums.  Delicious.  Tight but unwinds in the glass.  Long finish.  This seems like it still needs a bit more time, even for those who like their Zins big and fruit forward.  Maybe another three to five years and it should drink well for seven to ten after that.  This drinks great on its own and will work great with bigger foods and also comfort foods li

2018 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$75.00USD

This is the "base" Cabernet from the home vineyard of Thomas Rivers Brown.  It is anything but a simple wine though.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great and surprisingly open given its young age.  Cassis, cedar, spice, blueberries and slight floral notes.  Full bodied with firm tannins.  Concentrated cassis with underlying clean earth.  Long finish.  This really does need at least five years and better to give it ten more years.  After that it should be good for another ten to twelve.  If opening sooner, than give it a long decant.  It drinks well on its own but wit

2014 Myriad Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$198.00USD

Another stellar Myriad Cab.  Purple in color, opaque and shimmering bright.  The nose is great with cassis, graphite, cedar and spice.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this has firm tannins.  Loads of cassis fruit but it doesn't come off as cumbersome or a fruit bomb.  It is a bit tight and needs some air before it opens.  Shows cassis over spice and slight char.  Long finish.  This wine really needs seven to ten more years until peak (maybe more) and should last for another fifteen or twenty years.  

2016 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Griffin's Lair, USA, California, Sonoma, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Another top notch Syrah from Bedrock.  Consumed over two days, it was better on day 2.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, black pepper and char.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, this has slightly restrained, black raspberry fruit over char and slight earth.  Deep but tight.  Good balance.  If drinking soon, give this some air.  It should continue to improve for another five to eight years and be good for ten more after that.  It drinks well on its own but would work better with some fatty/fried foods.   

2013 Saxum Terry Hoage Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Willow Creek, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$90.00USD

This is 57% Syrah, 29% Grenache, and 14% Mourvedre.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, black cherries, black pepper, slight roasted meats and herbs, and spice.  Full bodied.  Fruit forward.  Quite tasty.  This is drinking well if still young.  Lots of jammy black raspberry fruit over char and some black pepper.  Maybe a bit of black cherries.  This is a real crowd pleaser.  It should continue to evolve over the next ten to twelve years.  it drinks great on its own and will work well with roasted veggies or meats.  

2018 Martinelli Zinfandel Giuseppe & Luisa, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
87
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$48.00USD

I had high hopes for this wine, but it really didn't come together well.  Consumed over three nights, the first night was the best showing.  given the showing, it is possible this bottle had seen heat damage at some point although there were no obvious signs.  Garnet/purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has candied cherries (think cough drops) with some plums.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, the candied cherries carry thru along with a slight port-like note of alcohol.  Prune with heat on the finish.  I like these wine as a general rule and perhaps with some cellaring, this

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