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

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace, USA, California, Santa Cruz Mountains, Wine Review

Ruby in color, purple at the core.  The nose has cherries, spice, sour cherries, slight vanilla, and cranberries.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Sour cherries, slight vanilla, cherries and slight spice.  Slight tannins.  Long finish with a cherry/anise candy quality.  This still seems a bit shy of maturity and there may be some upside.  It has a full bodied wonderful texture that show sunshine without being a fruit bomb.  Long finish.  

2010 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

From Magnum.  Inky purple in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, plums, grilled meat, white pepper and char.  On the palate, this has an incredible texture.  Smooth and velvety yet powerful and muscular.  Notes of black raspberries, spice and slight charred earth.  This is deep and complex yet still has a long life left.  This vintage has opened and shut a few times since release but seem like it has settled and is open.  There is a lot of alcohol but it doesn't show up anywhere in the glass.  One of those wines that each sip makes you want to have another.  Spectacular wine. 

2015 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, cedar and char.  On the palate, cassis and tarragon which is nice.  Medium bodied.  Some tannins.  This has some depth and complexity.  This drinks very well right now and would work with a wide variety of foods.  This retails for around $20 and sometimes less making this a great value in California Cabernet.  I would drink in the next few years but it should last five more if well stored.  

2015 Bonterra Vineyards Merlot, USA, California, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is dusty with tart bing cherries.  On the palate, the tart cherries continue along with some plums.  This has some depth to it.  Light tannins.  Drinks easily with nice acidity.  This will work with a wide variety of foods.  It does have the slightest bit of sweetness to it.  Enough to notice, but not enough that is an issue one way or another.  Retails for around $16 or less.  Made from organic grapes.  

2017 Bonterra Vineyards Rosé, USA, California, Mendocino, Wine Review

Pale salmon/orange in color.  The nose is very tight.  With air, it shows some light strawberries.  On the palate, this has oranges and strawberries.  Slightly tart.  This is a bit innocuous but it also works easily with a very wide variety of foods.  The grapes used are organic.  No faults to this wine but nothing super exciting either.  That said, at $16 retail (or less), this is fairly priced.  

2017 Simi Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County, USA, California, Wine Review

Light silvery gold in color.  The nose is big with lots of yellow grapefruit.  On the palate, this is not as big but nice.  Minerals and clean.  A slight bitter note.  The finish shows the return of the grapefruit.  This took about 30 minutes to open and improved after that.  Its an easy drinking wine that is very food friendly.  No hard edges.  It proved to be quite popular with friends.  

2017 Bonterra Dry Muscat, USA, California, Lake County, Wine Review

This is made from organically grown grapes.  Very pale, silvery coppery gold in color.  The nose has a great orange peel quality.  Kind of like the spray that happens when one peels and orange.  Slightly viscous in texture.  It has a perception of sweetness but the wine is dry.  On the palate, this is very good.  Mild fruit, sort of like a tart strawberry.  The mid-palate returns to citrus with a tart (in a good way) grapefruit on the finish.  Good acidity, this worked quite well with summer foods.  Surprisingly more complex than it seems at first.  Refreshing.  This turned out to be a crow

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Monte Rosso Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

This is one of the classic vineyards in California.  A whole host of wineries use this to make some very fine Zinfandels.  Carlisle's version tends to be middle of the road.  Interestingly, it also tends to be a pretty straightforward Zin the Carlisle lineup.  Of course, that is not a bad thing.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black raspberries, black cherries, spice and a bit of anise.  Those qualities carry thru to the palate.  This is on the bigger side but far short of many and certainly not jammy.  A nice depth to it.  If you like more of a claret style, these have sho

2005 Jaffurs Syrah Upslope, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

This is a special blend made from the best barrels of Jaffur's Thompson, Verna's and Bien Nacido Vineyards.  Deep purple in color.  The nose is very nice.  Black raspberries, grilled meat with a bit of burnt crust, and white pepper.  On the palate, this is seriously ripe.  It will not be for everyone.  Not so much powerful (although it is) bit ripe/sweet.  It took some time to get used to and then it was wonderful.  Sweet and jammy black raspberry fruit.  There is some depth here.  Still drinking quite young.  Nice finish.  This makes a great drink on the back deck but may prove to be a mor

2009 Saxum Syrah Booker Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Having had the 2006 just a few days prior to this, it was surprising how much younger and tighter this was.  It does seem like there was a bit of a style shift starting in 2007 and rather than the wines really opening up at age 5, it is now closer to 10.  This one took a few hours to really open and then was singing if still on the youthful side.  Inky purple in color.