VML 2020 Chardonnay, Ritchie Vineyard

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

A delightfully seductive Chardonnay that veers away from traditional, California Chardonnays, this offers deeper, richer notes of resin, honeysuckle, butter rum, light orange zest, apricot, and quince. It has a creaminess and lithe viscosity that rolls over the tongue. With only 33% new oak used on this you might think it would be more prevalent, but the fruit itself shines forth, the volcanic soils providing and earthiness and minerality. ORIGIN: Russian River Valley, Sonoma. ALCOHOL: 14.7%

Chalk Hill Estate 2020 Chardonnay

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$48.00USD

Chalk Hill celebrated 50 years in 2022. One way to celebrate is with this 2020 Chardonnay. Comprised of nine different Chardonnay clones, the result is a creamy, smooth wine with a wonderful viscosity that fills the palate with notes of crème brûlée, honeysuckle, poached pair, red delicious apple, vanilla, light resin, and lime meringue. Though aged in oak for a scant 10 months only 35% of that oak was new, so that you still have a moderate classic oaky butter quality, but not over the top. This is a very enticing Chardonnay. ORIGIN: Russian River Valley. ALCOHOL: 15%

2019 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$48.00USD

This is my personal favorite of the Zinfandels in the Carlisle lineup.  It seems a bit softer yet plenty of fruit and depth.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black cherries, black raspberries, char and spice.  Medium bodied.  Light tannins.  On the palate, black cherries and spice.  Great texture.  Good balance.  Long finish.  Drink over the next eight to ten years.  Great on its own, this is a nice match with a (Veggie) Burger.  

Cattleya 2021 Cuvée Number One Pinot Noir

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$65.00USD

Like any good cuvée, this blend of Pinot Noir clones 115, 667, 777, Calera and Mt. Eden showcases how a blend can exceed its individual components. A mix of fruit and earthy notes, this cuvée showcases Sonoma’s premier Pinot region, the Russian River Valley. There is subtle black cherry, red raspberry, rhubarb, cola, green tea leaf, boysenberry,  and firm tannins and an almost subversive acidity. The oak program is judicious and still allows the fruit to shine through while the oak provides some structure for the wine on the mid-palate and concentrated finish. 486 cases.

2020 Ladera Chardonnay, Pillow Road Vineyard

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

Ladera launched in 1998 and has consistently produced impressive wines. For their 2020 Chardonnay, they aged the grapes sur lie in new French oak barrels for 15 months (58% of which were new), which means this definitely offers a creamier style, however it is well balanced so you get a classic Chardonnay, but a silky smooth one. This offers light pear, lemon chiffon, lime meringue, candied almond, slight resin, and hints of guava. This is a lovely, tactile wine that drinks beautifully with, or without food. 289 cases. ORIGIN: Russian River Valley.  ALCOHOL: 14.1%

Gary Farrell 2020 Pinot Noir Russian River Valley Selection

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

Gary Farrell has always produced interesting Pinot’s – meaning, not the typical California strawberry driven kind. And this 2020 is no exception. Pulled from seven different vineyards, the art is in the blending. Upfront there is pomegranate, plum, green apple, then it turns to black tea, black raspberry, mild strawberry, dried tobacco, light cola and coriander. The acidity is solid and the tannins appropriate to the task. This is what comes from the art of the blend.

2012 Williams Selyem Chardonnay Olivet Lane Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

What a treat to try this at age 10.  Deeper gold but with a bit of yellow hues, clear and bright.  The nose has lemons, minerals, slight hazelnut and some oak/spice.  Full bodied.  Nice velvety texture.  On the palate, lemons and minerals.  This is slightly past its prime but drinking well.  Plenty of depth and interest.  This drinks well on its own but probably better with food at this point.  It would pair well with lobster.  Drink over the next few years.  

2018 Buehler Vineyards Chardonnay, USA, California, Sonoma County, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
86
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

Green gold in color, clear and bright.  The nose has slight grapefruits and baking spices.  Light bodied.  Thin.  On the palate, slight grapefruits with no oak showing.  Clean.  Refreshing.  A bit clipped on the finish.  This is solid with no faults but not particularly exciting.  However, an RRV Chardonnay at this price point is rare.  It drinks better on its own.  Drink over the next year.  

2019 Simi Pinot Noir Reserve, USA, California, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is a 100% Pinot Noir from California's Russian River Valley.  It is designated as a "Reserve" although there doesn't appear to be any such designation on the label.  The way to tell is that it does say Russian River Valley on the label.  Either way, this is an outstanding Pinot Noir and more than fairly priced for the quality.  Deep ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose has fresh cherries with slight cherry pie filling, licorice and slight cola notes.  While not a delicately styled Pinot, it is also not huge.  More middle of the road for a California Pinot.  Medium to full bodied.

2007 Carlisle Syrah Papa's Block, USA, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

This took about 30 minutes to blow off bottle stink and open after removing the cork.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, smoke and a nice earthiness.  Full bodied.  On the palate, black cherries and black raspberries with a bit of smoke and underlying minerality.  The tannins are all resolved and this is ready to drink.  Good balance.  Long finish.  Drink over the next five years.  It drinks great on its own and will work well with foods off the grill (although not sea food).  

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