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 Cakebread Cellars Pinot Noir Two Creeks Vineyard, USA, California, Mendocino, Anderson Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

This was an interesting Pinot Noir from northern California.  Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose has cherries, sour cherries, smoke, anise and slight menthol.  Very nice.  On the palate, this has a big, but very nice texture.  Viscous with good acidity.  On the palate, this drinks well with sour cherries, anise, sandalwood and just the faint whiff of char.  Very tasty.  A long finish.  Those who like bigger, fresh (clean) Pinot Noir should love this wine.  Drink over the next ten years.  It would go well with Salmon but also roasted chicken.

2019 Cakebread Cellars Chardonnay Reserve, USA, California, Napa, Carneros, Wine Rev iew

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This is a big, California Chardonnay in the best sense.  It is a blend of four different vineyards of Chardonnay.  Silvery gold in color, clear and bright.  The nose is big and enticing with Lemons, vanilla and nutmeg.  Full bodied with a creamy texture.  Good acidity.  Slightly oily.  On the palate, this has lemons, slight lemon peel and an interesting note of mint on the finish.  It is deep with tight complexity that unwinds in the glass.  A very long finish.  This may improve over the next year or two but either way should make great drinking for the next ten years.  It drinks great on i

2016 Beaulieu Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Georges de Latour Private Reserve, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$132.00USD

Its amazing that this wine doesn't get more buzz.  Most of that is because it has been around for so long and great, that people talk about the "newer" wines on the block.  Although expensive, this wine competes with lots of the "cult" wines that are three or five times the cost.  Of course, this is still young and if drinking soon, a five hour decant is not a bad idea.  It has 3% Petite Verdot blended in.  Inky purple in color, opaque and shimmering bright.  The nose is classic with cassis, graphite, cedar and slight tobacco.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  On the palate, this is deep but ta

2002 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2002
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$350.00USD

What a treat to get to try a Schrader this old and note, before he divided his wines into different labels.  At age 20, this is still young and just sort of getting to maturity (maybe).  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, blueberries, chocolate, spice, tar and leather.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is delicious, complex and contemplative.  Medium to firm tannins.  Notes of cassis and blueberries with chocolate over char and slight earthiness.  Long finish.  This took about an hour to open so a decant might be a good idea.  Drink over the next twenty years. 

2005 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon T6 Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$485.00USD

It's not often one gets to drink an aged Schrader and they are so good and get opened young.  What pleasure.  Actually, this is still youthful but getting closer to full maturity.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with cassis, cedar, sandalwood, chocolate and leather.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, this is delicious.  It unwinds in the glass to show layers of cassis, some black cherries along with cigar tobacco, leather and char.  Great balance.  Long finish.  It can certainly be consumed now but a few hours in a decanter would help.  Drink over the nex

2010 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Las Piedras Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$200.00USD

From yet another vineyard managed by Andy Beckstoffer in Napa.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The  nose is great with cassis, chocolate, cherries and a sea air note.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Lots of cassis, black cherries, some chocolate with a bit of char and spice.  At age 11, this opens slowly and needs time.  It kept improving all night long.  This should continue to drink well for another fifteen to twenty years.  It drinks great on its own, but a few hours in a decanter would work well.  It will work well with a steak or roast.  

2013 Realm Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
99
Grade: 
A

Another stunning wine from Realm.  Inky purple in color, shimmering bright and opqaue.  The nose is a bit jammy with cassis, blueberries, cigar box, cedar and spice.  Full bodied.  Jammy texture.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Deep if still young and tight.  Firm tannins.  Lots of cassis and some blueberries with dark chocolate, coffee beans and slight tobacco notes.  It unwinds in the glass.  Each sip makes one want another.  Lots of energy.  Long finish.  This is drinking well now but should mature slowly over the next thirty years.  Drink any time although a few hours in a decanter

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