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.

2009 Epoch Estate Wines Sensibility Paderewski Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is a blend from Paso Robles.  It is 75% Grenache, 21% Mourvedre and 4% Syrah.  At age ten, it is still youthful but drinking great.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, graphite, black pepper and spice.  On the palate, this is big and full bodied.  Slight tannins.  Lots of black raspberry and black cherry fruit.  Great mouth feel.  Long finish.  This drinks great on its own and will work with roasts or grilled foods.  It will drink well for the next ten to twelve years.  

2017 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Judge Family Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Bennett Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+

This is a nice Sauvignon Blanc.  Light golden in color.  The nose has nice minerality with a touch of grapefruits.  On the palate, the taste is consistent.  The best thing about this is the somewhat oily texture.  It is refreshing.  Worked well with some Shihito peppers.  It should probably be consumed in the next few years.  

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Evangelho Vineyard, USA, California, Contra Costa County

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

Evangelho vineyard is a blend featuring mostly Zinfandel.  This vineyard always seems to have a more "claret" or elegant style to it.  That can be a disadvantage at a tasting or with a group of bigger wines.  When consumed on its own, however, it can be charming.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, raspberries, slight smoke and an interesting bit of mint.  On the palate, the cherries and smoke tend to dominate at the moment.  Some depth.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This drinks well on its own but really begs for pasta, pizza or burgers.  Drink it over the next five years.  

2017 Edmunds St. John Gamay Bone-Jolly Rose, USA, California, El Dorado County, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$23.00USD

This is a rose wine made in California from Gamay grapes.  So, to start, a bit untypical.  It is made by veteran winery owner Steve Edmunds.  The wine is doing fine at age two from vintage and this year, graced our family's Thanksgiving table.  It worked out quite well.  Salmon pink in color, slightly electric.  The nose has watermelons, strawberries and slight cranberries.  On the palate, this has a lot of energy to it.  Clean with good fruit; strawberries and slight cherries.  An underlying salinity which is nice.  Long finish.  This worked well with a wide variety of foods.  It probably

2015 Christopher Tynan Wines Syrah Judge Family Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

Tynan makes a top cab for which he is probably better known for.  This was my first time trying this wine and it is impressive.  Inky purple in color.  Opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, white pepper, slight bacon fat and roasted herbs.  With air, a slight lavender/violet comes out.  Wonderful lush but energetic texture.  Delicious.  Firm tannins.  This is still young but drinking wonderfully on its own.  Black raspberries layered with pepper and charred earth.  Great acidity.  Long finish.  This will continue to improve for the next five to seven years and be at peak for a

2017 A. Rafanelli Zinfandel, USA, California, Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$42.00USD

Rafanelli followers are some of the most devoted in the Zin world, and rightly so.  They make some of the best Zins.  In style, the wines are middle of the road.  They have a lot of fruit, but are not bombastic.  They have an elegance but are not in a claret style.  They also age nicely.  This one is purple in color.  The nose has raspberries, black raspberries, black cherries, slight bramble and spice.  On the palate, this has a lot of energy.  Good acidity.  Plenty of black cherry fruit with a bit of raspberries over a char/smoke and spice.  Medium bodied with a lovely texture.  Good fini

2017 Roots Run Deep Winery Chardonnay Educated Guess, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is a fairly priced Chardonnay from the Sonoma Coast.  Msrp is $25 but can often be found for less.  Light golden in color.  The nose is nice with vanilla, slight lemons and baking spice.  Creamy texture.  Moderate acidity.  On the palate, the vanilla and slight lemons come thru.  Good finish.  This drinks easily on its own.  It will work well with heavier sea foods, pasta or fowl.  Drink over the next few years.  

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