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.

2011 Saxum Heart Stone Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$95.00USD

During this period of "Stay Home", it helps to every once in a while open something really good.  Even during the middle of the week (to the extent I can keep track of what day it is).  The 2011 Saxum's are drinking beautifully.  That vintage seems to be maturing a bit faster than most.  This is a blend of 58% Syran, 27% Grenache and 5% Mourvedre.  inky purple in color with a thin magenta line at the rim.  The nose is great with black raspberries, black cherries, roasted meats, dried floral notes and slight chocolate.  On the palate, this has a lovely texture.  Rich but not overblown.  Smoo

2017 Bedrock Wine Co. Riesling Wirz Vineyard, USA, California, Central Coast, Cienega Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

This is an interesting take on Rielsing.  Light golden/yellow in color.  The nose has an interesting citrus quality with a bit of sea air.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Dry.  It is mostly about the minerality/salinity on the palate.  Somewhat concentrated.  Consumed over three nights, it was at its best on night 2.  Not the most expressive Riesling but very enjoyable.  It is very food friendly and will work with almost any food.  Fired chicken would be a great pairing.  Drink now and for at least ten to twelve years.  

2016 Becklyn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Missouri Hopper, USA, California, Napa Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$140.00USD

This is an amazing bottle of wine.  Very young, of course.  Deep purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, slight cedar, char, slight floral notes and just a bit of background earthiness.  On the palate, this has a lush texture.  It still has firm tannins.  Lots of black raspberry fruit.  Very concentrated.  An underlying earthy/tobacco-ness.  Lots of lively energy.  Delicious, this drinks very easily.  While it drinks well today, this will continue to mature for ten years and be good for ten to fifteen more after that.  A nice match with a roasted spagh

2016 Realm Cellars The Bard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$140.00USD

What an amazing wine.  This is one of the more "affordable" Cabernet's from Realm.  It is still very expensive, but this is some of the best that Napa has to offer.  It is about 70% Cabernet Sauvignon and 30% Merlot.   Purple in color, opaque and shining bright.  The nose is great with cassis, blueberries, cedar, spice and char.  Just a gorgeous texture.  Lush and velvety but with enough cut to not be cumbersome.  Plenty of cassis and blueberry fruit with underlying tobacco and chart.  Long finish.  This is still young but just delicious.  With time, this will show more complexity although

2014 Von Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Vineyard Diamond Mountain, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

A really nice showing for this wine and above my high expectations.  It is a blend of 80% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Malbec, and 5% Petit Verdot.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, cedar, plums, graphite and char.  On the palate, this is full bodied with medium tannins.  Lots of cassis fruit intertwined with char and oak.  Good length on the finish.  This is still on the young side of mature but drinks like a classic Napa Cabernet.  That is great fruit with some oak and plenty of depth.  This should continue to mature for another seve to ten years and be good for ten to

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah North Coast, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

This is one of the great values in Syrah.  I drink these while waiting on the single vineyard wines to mature.  Unfortunately, that means I rarely get a chance to let this age past a couple years.  Somehow, this one lasted, so good for me!  Purple in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, roasted meats, slight black olives and spice.  On the palate, this is medium to full bodied.  Nice black raspberry fruit with underlying char.  Some depth and complexity.  Light tannins.  Very fresh.  Nice finish.  Seems like it could easily go another seven to ten years.  A nice match for India

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