Expert articles and wine tasting videos profiling wines from California, California wine regions, Napa Valley, Sonoma County, & more.

2013 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Wow.  This wine should make old bones, but it is so good now, it is not likely to.  Stunning wine that seemingly gets better and better.  This bottle was consumed over 4 hours and the last glass was the best.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, graphite, cedar, blueberries and spice.  On the palate, this has a seamless texture.  Delicious.  Deep and tightly layered; it explodes in the glass.  Tons of cassis and blue berries layered with minerality and spice.  Medium tannins.  Long finish.  It does need bigger or spicier food, but it is oh so good.  

1992 Ravenswood Pickberry, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

This is a "Right Bank" styled wine.  There were some concerns over opening at age 26.  The cork looked in great shape.  The wine was decanted for sediment.  There was a lot on the side of the bottle and in the wine.  Ruby in color.  The nose is older but nice.  Cigar box, cherries, dried cherries, slight old leather and slight black cherries.  On the palate, this took a bit to open up and then it drank beautifully.  Complex and layered.  Cherries, dried tobacco, dry earth.  No tannins.  Good and in balance acidity.  Nice finish.  Not an OMG wine, but a very good wine that would compare favo

2013 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

This was very tight at first.  Probably should have decanted for an hour.  After a bit, it opened and was excellent.  Yellow/gold in color.  The nose is vanilla/lemon cream.  Although "Burgundian" certainly could be used, it is a pretty consistent nose from this vineyard.  On the palate, this has a creamy texture.  Nice lemon cream with a touch of vanilla and an underlying minerality.

2012 Torrin Law Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Torrin is a winery we have been urging people to sign up for their mailing list for a while now.  And every year they keep ratcheting up the quality.  It was nice to go back six years to try this.  Probably not yet at maturity but past the baby stages and getting close.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, char and slight roasted meats.  On the palate, this is big but concentrated and not exuberant.  Black raspberry fruit with underlying char.  It took some time to open but revealed and deep and complex wine.  Nice finish.  This needs big or spicy food but a

2012 Hobel Wine Works Cabernet Sauvignon Engelhard Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

2012 is such an interesting vintage.  An excellent one to be sure, but the wines were so open on release and they have slowly closed over time.  This one was tight and really needed a few hours of air to open up and show its stuff.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls.  The nose is great.  Very concentrated cassis, spice, leather and slight black cherries.  On the palate, this is again quite concentrated.  It opens in the glass with plenty of cassis.  Medium tannins.  A fair amount of oak/spice still left.  This probably needs five more years of good cellaring to hit its peak.  Will work

2007 Saxum James Berry Vineyard

What an amazing wine.  One of the GREAT wines of the 21st century so far.  Certainly in contention for the best!  Yes, that is how good it is.  Still youthful, it is starting to round into maturity but not quite.  Purple in color.  The nose is intoxicating.  One of those wines you could sniff all night without even sipping.  Black raspberries, decayed meats (in a good way), roasted meats, slight bacon fact, white pepper and violets.  On the palate, this is seamless.  Juicy black raspberries, layers of fruit, charred earth, leather.  Some spice.  Lots of energy and almost weightless yet powe

2007 Saxum Broken Stones, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose is intense with black raspberries, charred meat and black pepper.  On the palate, this is tight and concentrated.  Pin point black raspberries with underlying char.  It opens a bit in the glass.  Very deep, with air it unwinds in the glass.  Not opulent but by no means shy either.  Good finish.  Needs big or spicy foods but great on its own.  Lots of alcohol but not noticeable in the wine.  



2007 Saxum Heart Stone Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

2007 was the best vintage for Saxum up to now.  And, that is saying a lot.  This was just stunning.  It is in a great place right now, but, depending on the bottle, not quite at peak.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, roasted meats, black cherries, slight cedar and spice and bits of plums and peppers.  On the palate, this is lively yet weightless.  Almost seamless.  Delicious with energetic black raspberries, black cherries and underlying charred meats.  Long finish.  Great with heavier or spicy foods.  Each sip makes one want another.  

2014 Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

This was consumed over two days and distinctly better on Day 2.  Purple in color.  On Day 1, there is a lot of oak showing.  The fruit is tight.  On Day 2, the nose has nice cassis with spice and underlying char.  On the palate, medium tannins.  They integrate on Day 2 with nice cassis, black cherries and char.  Some level of complexity.  This needs a couple of years in the cellar.  The difference between day 1 and day 2 was probably 3 points in terms of accessibility, complexity and friendliness.  For a wine that retails for $40, show some patience.    Might even have more upside to it in

2010 Novy Family Wines Syrah Sonoma County, USA, California, Wine Review

Screw capped.  This retails for around $35.  It is really very good.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight black olives and a bit of black pepper.  On the palate, this has a nice sinewy texture.  Light tannins.  It is drinking quite well right now but no hurry.  Black raspberry fruit.  Good acidity.  Slight complexity.  Nice finish.  This will work with a wide variety of foods.  Drink now thru 2023.