2017 Pine Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Ampére, USA, California, Pine Mountain - Cloverdale Peak, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

This is a new winery for me.  It is in the newly established Pine Mountain - Cloverdale Peak AVA which is on the Sonoma side of Pine Mountain.  The wines are grown at between 2,200 and 2,800 feet above sea level.  The winery is owned by Hien Nguyen who grew up in France and made by Thomas Rivers Brown.  The wine is inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, slight minty notes and a bit of baking spices.  On the palate, this is very concentrated.  Tannic.  Lots of depth.  Cassis with underlying baking spice and slight forest floor notes.  It is hard to say how this would evo

2016 Sosie Syrah Vivio Vineyard, USA. California, Sonoma, Bennett Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

The first bottle of this I tried had likely been exposed to heat during shipping.  It is great that I was able to try a proper bottle.  Much better.  Purple in color with ruby swirls.  Interesting nose.  It is smoky with a scent that reminded me of a really good corned beef sandwich at a Jewish deli.  That is meaty, slightly salty, a bit of yeast, and slight roasted meats.  Very proper and welcoming.  This is a cool climate Syrah and it drinks very well.  There is some bacon fat too, but that wouldn't go at a Jewish Deli.  ;-)  There also is some boysenberry fruit lurking in the background.

2017 Fort Ross Chardonnay Fort Ross Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Forst Ross - Seaview, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

Gold/green in color, clear and bright.  The nose is nice.  Big.  Fresh oak, lemons and slight vanilla.  Nice acidity.  On the palate, flavors of lemon hard candy.  Slightly oily texture.  The finish has oak and lemon candies.  Long.  This has a fair amount of oak, but is also clean and energetic.  It should be good for seven to ten more years and may develop further.  It should go well with a wide range of foods from salads to pasta in a cream sauce.  

2012 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay B. Thieriot Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$67.00USD

Consistently one of the best Chardonnay's coming from Napa.  It is a hypothetical cross in style between a fatter Burgundy and a racier California Chardonnay.  It is a bit tropical and definitely shows some oak, but used deftly.  Always a hit when a bottle is opened.  Pale golden in color.  The nose has vanilla, lemons and minerals.  Complex.  On the palate, this is round but with enough acidity to make it work.  Vanilla and lemon cream.  Long finish.  This keeps unwinding in the glass.   Not a baby but not yet at peak depending how you like your Chards.  This will work great on its own or

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.  

2016 Sojourn Pinot Noir Riddle Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Sojourn makes some might fine Pinot Noir, this one included.  Ruby in color with some purple swirls.  The nose is bit but pretty with sour cherries, rhubarb, and earl grey tea.  On the palate, this has a soft texture.  Layers of sour cherries and forest floor.  Clean.  Nice acidity.  Good finish.  This will work well with lighter foods and heavier sea foods and fowl.  It is drinking well now but should last another decade or more.   

2015 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Limerick Lane, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

What a beauty.  This wine is drinking great and while it may age gracefully, it won't get more enjoyable for my tastes.  Purple in color with ruby swirls.  The nose has red licorice, black cherries, cherries and spice.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Juicy acidity.  Lots of cherry fruit over a bit of char.  Long finish.  This is delicious on its own.  Gulpable.  It will work with roasted or grilled meats, veggies or fowl but needs bigger foods.  It should be at this level for another five years and then start morphing into more of a claret style.  

2015 Sbragia Family Zinfandel La Promessa, USA, California, Sonoma, Dry Creek, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$42.00USD

My first time trying this Zinfandel.  Its a very nice "middle of the road" in style, Zin.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, cedar and slight bramble.  On the palate, this has good acidity.  Not strong but enough to support the fruit.  Overall it is softer on the palate, but the black cherry fruit comes thru.  Good finish.  It drinks well on its own and would work with all sorts of casual food.  I think it is best to drink in the next few years, but it wouldn't be surprising if this is drinking well, albeit in a claret style, in ten years.  

2015 Sbragia Family Merlot Home Ranch, USA, California, Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

This is the home winery from longtime Beringer winemaker, Ed Sbragia.  This is an accessible Merlot that is drinking well right now.  Purple in color.  The nose has cherries, slight tobacco and slight chocolate.  On the palate, there is not a lot of depth but the cherries are strong.  A bit of a char underneath.  Some tobacco on the finish.  It seems like it should probably be drunk in the next few years.  It will work well with burgers or pasta and has enough flavor to drink on its own.  It has 95% Merlot and 5% Petite Sirah.  

2016 Ramey Chardonnay Russian River Valley, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

Ramey makes some of the best California Cabs that are mass distributed.  That is not to say they are inexpensive but they are made in sufficient qualtities to be generally available.  This one has a light golden color.  The nose is pretty with peaches, cream and slight lemon curd.  Not as much oak as many Ramey wines.  On the palate, this is full bodied with a creamy texture.  The peaches and lemon come thru along with a bit of yeastiness.  Good finish.  This is a robust Chardonnay but has plenty of energy to work with or without food.  It will match up well with salads and heartier seafood

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