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.

2010 Jaffurs Syrah Verna's, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

Beautiful wine.  Deep ruby in color, purple core.  The nose has black raspberries, iodine and slight char.  Still pretty youthful and tannic on pop and pour.  It opens nicely with some air.  Lots of black raspberry fruit with some spice.  Nice texture.  Good finish.  This was very ripe in its youth though has settled in very nice now.  It may still get a bit better but is drinking very well now.  It will go well with meats and fowl or Indian food too.  It easily has another decade left and probably a bit more.  

2016 Limerick Lane Zinfandel Block 1910, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$68.00USD

One of the better Zinfandel's that I have tasted.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, spice, slight mint and char.  On the palate, this has a gorgeous texture.  Plush, juicy and full bodied.  Black cherries and raspberry fruit with some charred wood and spice.  Delicious.  Deep.  Young and vibrant, it would be a shame not to enjoy at least one this way although it seems to have the stuffing to age for a decade.  It will work well with grilled foods or Asian foods and is great on its own.  

2006 Saxum Broken Stones, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

This is drinking quite well and at peak right now.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, roasted meats, slight white pepper and slight bacon fat.  On the palate, this is light on its feet, not ponderous yet there is alcohol in the plush texture.  Juicy black raspberry fruit.  Layers of fruit and pepper and slight earth.  Long finish.  Easily will go another decade and closer to two.  A nice match with roasted foods.  

2013 Saxum Syrah Booker Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Willow Creek, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$150.00USD

This is a blend of 67% Syrah and 33% Mourvedre.  Consumed in the NY Jets stadium parking lot prior to the Monday night game between the Browns and the Jets.  A lot of fun.  While still very young, this was a perfect wine for the occasion.  Big, bold and delicious.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, roasted herbs, plums and slight violets.  On the palate, this has a wonderfully rich texture.  The wine goes down easily.  It is also delicious.  Lots of black raspberry fruit with underlying char and a bit of pepper.  Great energy and balance.  Long finish.  Goes great with

2011 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas, USA, California, Mendocino, Yorkville Highlands, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This was in magnum and opened to celebrate the engagement of our friends daughter.  The non-wine geek crowd seemed to really enjoy it (as did the wine geeks present).  Purple in color.  The nose has boysenberries, some black pepper and slight bacon fat.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Juicy, slick and medium to full bodied.  Plenty of boysenberry fruit over a bit of char and slight dry earthiness.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  This is coming around now and just about at peak.  Even in 750ml format there is no hurry though, this should have another decade.  It will go well wit

2014 Pott Wine Viognier 20m3 Stagecoach Vineyard Pritchard Hill, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

This is an intriguing Viognier.  Much of California Viognier comes off as alcoholic or hot and certainly lacks the floral lightness of many of the Rhone counterparts.  This bottle strikes a middle round which is quite nice.  Light golden in color.  The nose has lots of grapefruit with a bit of a floral quality (white flowers?).  Medium bodied.  On the palate, this has a grapefruit juice quality but a bit livelier that say a Sauvignon Blanc.  Not really showing any age at the moment, still, I would drink this sooner than later to enjoy the freshness.  It will go well with all but the heavies

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