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.

2017 Epoch Estate Wines Ingenuity, USA, California, Paso Robles, Willow Creek, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

Every time I drink Epoch wines I wonder why I don't buy more.  They are expensive but given the quality, they are appropriately priced to the competition.  They are also outstanding!  This one is a blend of 36% Petite Sirah, 30% Syrah, 22% Mourvèdre, and 12% Grenache.  It is very young and would be well served by further cellaring.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, black cherries, char, black pepper, spice and roasted herbs and meats.  Full bodied with firm tannins.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Chunky black raspberries and black cherr

2016 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Esola Vineyard, USA, California, Amador, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

Another winner from Bedrock.  Purple in color with some ruby hues, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black cherries, brambles, black pepper, and an interesting beef stew note.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, fresh black cherry fruit (almost but not quite pie filling) with some black pepper and just a hint of bramble.  Lots of energy and lights on its feet.  Long finish.  This is drinking well now and should conitnue for seven to ten more years.  Nice on its own, this would work with lots of comfort foods; pizza, man and cheese, and burgers.  

2004 Pax Syrah Walker Vine Hill, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

From a different time, back when Pax Mahle was making really big wines in really big bottles.  The label lists 15.5% ABV.  For those who questioned how well a wine like this could age, at 17, this is doing just fine with years left.  Purple in color with ruby around the rim, opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black cherries, slight black raspberries, spice, slight root beer note and a wisp of smoke.  Full bodied.  On the palate, black cherries, blueberries, spice and slight earthiness.  Long finish.  No sign of alcohol in the wine.  This is fresh and vibrant.  It seems like it could

2018 Mossback Cabernet Sauvignon Chalk Hill, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is a really pleasant Cab for a pretty good price considering its from Chalk Hill.  Purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with cassis, dark chocolate, leather and spice.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is straightforward with nice cassis fruit, some black cherries with some underlying spice.  Medium tannins.  Nice finish.  This will improve with a couple more years in the cellar.  It should drink well for seven to ten more after that.  It drinks great on its own but would certainly work well with a nice steak or even Mac and Cheese.  

2019 Sbragia Family Chardonnay Russian River Valley, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

Light golden in color, clear and bright.  Expecting huge oak on this (a trademark of sorts for Ed Sbragia) and it wasn't over the top.  Still some oak, but not crazy.  The nose has some lemons, toast, and a bit of spice.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, slight lemon with a hint of vanilla and baking spices.  Medium finish.  There is certainly oak on this but it drinks easy and not too overblown.  It is nice on its own and would work with soft cheeses.  Drink over the next three to five years.  

2007 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$400.00USD

This is a really special vintage from a special winery.  In fact, this is arguably the best wine that Saxum has ever made.  A real treat to be able to try it again at age 14.  Purple in color with ruby swirls, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, slight black cherries, black olives, roasted meat and slight smoke.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this has that lovely lightness of being while still packing a wallop.  Black raspberries, char, some black olives and slight roasted meats.  Great acidity and balance.  Long finish.  Delicious.  This seems to be at matur

Pages