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.

Chappellet 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hideaway Vineyard

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$175.00USD

Chappellet excels at most anything they do. So this Hideaway Vineyard Cabernet, a 100% Cabernet, should be no surprise that it’s a deftly made wine. From the outset this is a rich, structured wine. It begins with moderate to heavy tannins, which support black cherry, blackberry, light campfire smoke, rhubarb, black tea leaf, soft cedar, wild flower and herbs, and light clove. Aged in mainly new French oak to subdue the tannins, this high elevation Cabernet fruit from Pritchard Hill is classic Napa Cabernet – ripe but restrained.

Cabernet Sauvignon

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Exposition Three Weill a Way Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A

This is 84% Syrah and 16% Viognier from Sonoma.  There are three version of this wine which Robert Parker compared to the three Guigal Lala wines from the northern Rhone.  Luckily, they were not that expensive back on release.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, roasted meats, bacon fat, slight dried flowers, spice and char.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, this seems mature and close to peak.  Flavors of black raspberries, slight blueberries, spice, and a hint of earthiness.  Long finish.  This wine is complex and deep.  This is great on

2018 Fingers Crossed Syrah, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$249.00USD

Whoa.  This is a big wine.  It is also Fantastic!  It is 93% Syrah, 3% Roussanne, 2% Grenache and 2% Mourvedre.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, blueberries, roasted meats, spices and herbs.  Full  bodied.  Medium to firm tannins.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Deep with loads of black raspberries, blueberries, some black cherries, spice and char.  Long, long finish.  This is great now, but if you can wait five years, it will be even better.  That said, drink over the next ten to fifteen years.  Great on its own, this would work well with Chili

2023 Flora Springs Soliloquy White, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2023
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

One of my favorite whites from Napa.  This is a blend of 85% Sauvignon Blanc with the rest Malvasia and Chardonnay.  Pale golden in color with a touch of light green hues, clear and bright.  The nose is lovely with a slight grassy note along with peach, Granny Smith apples.  Medium bodied.  Polished texture.  Good balance.  On the palate, this is refreshing with peach, green apples and nice minerality.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This is very nice on its own and will work well with all but the heaviest foods.  It went wonderfully with Dal and Spinach Paneer dishes.  Drink over the next fi

Chappellet 2021 Cabernet Franc

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$120.00USD

Chappellet has been growing Cabernet Franc for 35 years, planted at a time when Franc was merely considered a blending grape. Comprised of 78% Cabernet Franc (there are small amounts of four other grapes), Chappellet had a made bold choice to produce a stand-alone wine from this grape. Sure, Franc has been made in the U.S. as a stand-alone, and the Loire Valley is ripe with iterations of Franc - most notably in Chinon and St. Dennis. But Franc in California and Franc in France are quite different. That difference aside, Chappellet does an admirable job crafting a very enjoyable wine.

Papapietro Perry 2021 Pinot Noir Pommard Clones, Russian River Valley

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$82.00USD

A moody Pinot Noir, this offers deeper expressive fruit, easy drinkability and makes for a solid food companion (I had this with pesto pasta but the suggestions are quite extensive – game, duck, salmon, hearty vegetarian, etc.). This presents black cherry, blackberry, plum, and light rhubarb with back notes of dried tealeaf, wildflowers, cola and sandalwood. The specific use of Pommard clones gives this some darker fruit elements.

Pinot Noir Pommard Clone. Russian River Valley, Sonoma

Chappellet 2023 Signature Chenin Blanc

Vintage: 
2023
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$75.00USD

Chappellet has long been devoted to its Chenin Blanc, even when it wasn’t really in favor. This iteration - frankly the best in years - offers lovely aromatics and a soft mouth feel, a white wine that doesn’t want to be aggressive, but one that seduces you. There are notes of light resin, lemon peel, lime kefir, hints of apricot, tangerine and orange zest. The acidity is what really supports this wine, allowing it to be a food companion for a variety of diverse foods, or even a stand-alone cocktail wine with a cheese platter.

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