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.

2013 Benovia Zinfandel, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, slight bramble, and a bit of pepper.  On the palate, this is lighter in style.  Cherry fruit.  Some warmth.  It doesn't seem like this will improve but it makes for enjoyable drinking.  Works better especially well with spicy Indian food.  Probably should be drink in the next few years.  

2013 Jaffurs Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, roasted meats, some black pepper and hints of violets.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Lush and almost seamless.  Black raspberries layered with spice and slight roasted meats.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  This would work great with heartier foods or spicy ones too.  Drinking quite well though not yet at peak.  It might have some more upside as it continues to develop.  A real crowd pleaser but if drinking soon, give it some air.  Probably will peak in five years and be good for a decade or more after that.  

2012 Ledge Syrah James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, some char and a bit of leather.  On the palate, this is nice with black raspberry fruit.  Some complexity.  It doesn't seem like this will improve.  It is a very good wine but, this is from perhaps the best Syrah vineyard in California.  The expectations were high and this did not meet up to those expectations.  That may be unfair, but there it is.  This sold for around $50 on release.  

2013 Saxum Cuvée Rocket Block James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

From Magnum.  Consumed over 4 days, it was probably best on day 3 and day 4.  100% Grenache.  16.4% Alcohol and not noticeable.  Purple in color.  The nose has cherries, dark cherries, some coffee grounds, spice and slight floral notes.  On the palate, this is not as big of a wine as expected.  Wonderful seamless texture.  Delicious.  Dark cherries, cherries, spice along with light tannins.  Long finish.  Will work with a wide variety of foods.  This is still quite young and has a few more years until maturity and a good decade or more after that.  One of the top examples of California Gren