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.

2020 Bien Nacido Estate Viognier Viognier - Santa Maria Valley, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Santa Maria Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

Honestly, I love Viognier from the Rhone Valley, but less so the full throttle Viogniers from California (usually with high alcohol).  Despite that disclaimer, I really enjoyed this.  Unique and different as it is.  Golden in color with green swirls.  The nose has green apples, slight floral notes and just a hint of peach.  Nice acidity.  Oily texture.  Light to medium tannins.  On the palate, the apples are present with a light minerality.  Long finish.  This drinks easy on its own and will work with some lighter foods.  Drink over the next five to seven years.  

2016 Mount Eden Vineyards Chardonnay Domaine Eden, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Chardonnay

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
86
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$32.00USD

This is a "second" wine from Mount Eden, one of California's premier wine producers.  Golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose has apples, apple juice, and a slight lemony note.  Medium to full bodied.  Slightly oily texture.  On the palate, there is a sweet tart note with a slight oxidized lemony note.  Moderate acidity.  This is very mature,  not likely to be a pristine bottle, this showed much older than six years.  

2018 Salt Vine Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$200.00USD

This is a rich California Cabernet but given that, more middle of the road in styling.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, cedar, baking spice and slight graphite.  Full bodied.  Lush texture. Firm tannins.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Lots of cassis, some black cherry with underlying char and spice.  Nice finish.  This needs about ten more years until peak, but no harm drinking now.  Drink over the next twenty years.  Great on its own, this needs but food if opening now.  Brisket would work well.  

2018 Tench Vineyards Bromfield Tench Vineyard Red Wine, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$65.00USD

This is a blend of 53% Merlot, 27% Cabernet Sauvignon and 20% Petit Verdot.  It is a delicious wine that is another label different from their Cabernet Sauvignon.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has black cherries, dark chocolate, cassis, plums, cedar and baking spices.  Full bodied.  On the palate, lots of black cherry fruit with some purple fruit over char and spice.  Firm tannins.  Good energy.  Nice finish.  This is drinking well and will probably improve a bit, but either way should drink well for ten to twelve more years.  It drinks well on

2016 Frias Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Vangone Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

After just recently trying the 2018, it was nice to try something with at least a few more years on it.  Just as delicious.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, cedar, char and baking spice.  With air a slight graphite note.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  On the palate, lots of cassis, some black cherries and underlying char.  This is drinking well but will continue to develop ad mature over the next eight to ten years.  It should drink well for another ten to fifteen after that.  Great on its own, it needs big food to tame the tannins right now.  It went great wit

2010 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$110.00USD

This wine has aged brilliantly.  Golden in color, slightly deeper, clear and bright.  The nose is great with vanilla, lemon crème, and a slight butterscotch note.  Full bodied.  Deep and complex.  Good balance.  On the palate, the vanilla and lemon are joined with some grapefruits.  Long finish.  Delicious.  Drink over the next five to eight years.  

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