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.

2016 Bonterra Elysian Collection Merlot, USA, California, Wine Review

Purple/ruby in color.  The nose is nice with dusty cherries, raspberries and carob.  On the palate, this has a nice acidity.  Soft texture.  Some complexity.  Raspberry fruit with underlying dry earthiness.  Good finish.  Served to a group, this was quite a crowd pleaser among wine lover (not wine geeks).  This should be pretty versatile with most foods.  This retails for $25 which is a very nice value in California Merlot.  

NV Right Now Alpine Stream White, USA, California, Wine Review

This is from a Can.  Unfortunately, while other wines from this producer can be recommended, this was was not.  Of course, wine is subjective, so your mileage may vary.  Light yellow gold in color.  The nose has an asparagus note to it.  With air, it gains a slight lemony quality.  On the palate, it is dry and innocuous.  There is a bit of acidity.  This actually improved with air, but given that it is in a can, it is unclear how many drinkers would decant it or even pour it into a glass.  It retails for $6 for a 375ml can.  

NV Right Now Shimmer, USA, California

This  is a can of sparkling wine (12 oz).  It is rose.  It is lightly carbonated and the bubbles dissipate in the glass leaving a pretty orange/ruby wine.  Clear and bright.  The nose is nice with strawberries, slight raspberries and some rhubarb.  On the palate, this is lightly sweet.  Refreshing.  Decent acidity.  It is probably best on its own or at a party (rather than a formal dinner).  It retails for $6 a can which is about the same as $12 per bottles.  That is a fair price.  Once one gets past the gimmick, this is a wine that many people will like.  Certainly fun.  

2015 Mirror Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

This is a high end Napa Cabernet.  It needs some time, but it is quite good.  The retail is $95, so certainly it is not within everyone's budget.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis and chocolate.  Also a bit of graphite.  On the palate, those flavors carry through.  The fruit is pretty ripe.  Lots of black raspberry and plum fruit.  Slight heat on the finish that I suspect will calm down with some bottle age.  This should improve by a point or two with a few years in the cellar and be good for a decade after.  Will work with heavier foods and on its own.  

2014 Eagle Glen Merlot

Purple in color.  The nose has cherries, cassis, slight chocolate and spice.  Those flavors continue to the palate.  Light tannins.  This is a tasty, easy drinking wine.  A bit of acidity.  Will work well on its own but also with medium or heavier foods.  Good finish.