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

2012 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

A blend of 43% Grenache, 29% Mourvedre, 18% Syrah and 10% Counoise.  This wine is still on the young side but is open and with a bit of air, was drinking great.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight charred wood, black pepper, roasted herbs and roasted meats.  On the palate, what a wonderful texture.  Almost seamless.  Juicy black raspberry fruit.  Underlying char and roasted meats.  Great energy and balance.  This will continue to mature for the next five to ten years and be good for ten to fifteen after that.  The alcohol is high, but there is hint of it although

2013 Laurel Glen Cabernet Sauvignon Counterpoint Sonoma Mountain, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon and 15% Merlot.  If you are looking for a Cab that is under $40, this may be your ticket.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls.  The nose has cassis, tobacco, slight milk chocolate and spice.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  Plenty of cassis and cherries, a bit of tobacco earthiness and a good dollop of oak.  Medium tannins.  Medium finish.  This could use another couple of years to allow the oak time to integrate.  If it does, this will merit another couple of points.  Drinking today is still nice if a more difficult food match.  

2010 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$90.00USD

This would be another wine that might be polarizing.  It is far on the end of the big, fruit laden wine spectrum.  That's a great thing about wine; something for everyone.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, plums and cedar.  On the palate, this has light tannins.  Bold cassis fruit, blueberries and some plums.  Very ripe.  Somewhat sweet.  Like drinking a piece of mixed berry pie.  A little goes a long way but a glass was delicious.  And enough for me.  This will be a tough food match but would drink well with dessert of fruits and/or chocolate.  

2017 Flora Springs Cabernet Franc All Hallows Eve

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

So this is apparently produced for the Flora Springs wine club.  They make 330 cases of it.  It has a really fun label and I guess the idea is to serve it for Halloween parties.  Seems like a pretty specific target audience, but I salute them for having fun with it.  They actually have a whole series of Halloween wines.  The wine itself is outstanding and I am not sure if it gets some short shrift due to the fun label.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has black cherries and spice.  On the palate, black cherry fruit.  Slight tannins.  Some depth.  Drinking well now.  I suppose the obvious food

2013 Thirty-Seven Winery Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

Garnet in color, clear and bright with darker swirls.  The nose is very nice with cherries, candied cherries, some salinity and slight mint.  A nice mouthfeel/texture.  On the palate, flavors of cherries with a slight spice under them.  Light tannins.  Good finish.  This is a middle ground styled Pinot for the Sonoma Coast.  It will go well with salmon or fowl and also lighter salads.  It seems a touch on the young side still so there may be some upside improvement.  It should easily last another decade. 

2017 Sterling Vineyards 375 ml Aluminum Bottle Cabernet Sauvignon,

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$8.00USD

The third of three wines tasted in this format.  It comes in a 375ml aluminum bottle with a wider screw cap.  This is a great idea for bringing wine places where glass is more difficult or not allowed.  At $8, it is a very good value in a California Cabernet.  The grapes are from three different vineyards in California's Central Coast.  The nose has cassis, cherries, some confectioners sugar.  Bright.  On the palate, this has black cherries with some mint.  Light tannins.  Slightly sweet.  It is tasty.  A bit short on the finish.  Easy drinking.  It worked well with just a slight chill to i

2017 Sterling Vineyards 375ml Aluminum Bottle Rosé, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$8.00USD

This is one of three wines available in an aluminum bottle.  375ml.  It is also screw capped.  This is a very portable way to carry wine to picnics and other events.  It would be great by the pool or at the beach as well with no worries about broken glass or having an opener.  This is mostly Syrah and Tempranillo from the Edna Valley in California with some Zinfandel.  Salmon pink/orange in color.  The nose has very pretty strawberries.  Clean.  On the palate, the strawberries come thru along with some cherries and a bit of citrus.  There is also a pleasant tea like bitterness.  This is ver

2017 Sterling Vineyards 375 ml Aluminum Bottle Chardonnay, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$7.00USD

This is mostly about the packaging although the wine is very nice as well.  This comes in an aluminum bottle that holds 375ml of wine.  The Chardonnay is designated as California.  The top screws off but is a bit wider than a traditional screw top bottle.  The Aluminum is interesting as it chilled down nicely but really needed a cold pack to stay cold.  That said, this is a great format for taking wine to picnics and concerts (that allow it).  No worries about broken glass.  Easy to open and really could be consumed directly although we shared it in glasses.  The wine itself is good.  It ha

2009 Kapcsándy Family Winery Estate Cuvée State Lane Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Yountville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

This is not their Grand Vin but "just" the regular blend.  Not sure what that says more about, this wine of their top wines.  It is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon of different clones of Cabernet.  This was made by the late Denis Malbec.  Inky purple in color.  The nose is great with cassis, slight pencil lead, chocolate and slight roasted herbs.  On the palate, this has a beautiful, almost seamless texture.  Plenty of depth.  Cassis fruit with slight dry tobacco and earthy notes.  Also a bit of chocolate.  Long finish.  Light tannins.  This is just about  mature, maybe a bit more to go.It should b

2014 Grgich Hills Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

One of the historic names from Napa, it's always a pleasure to see a bottle end up at the table.  This is true to form.  Purple in color with ruby swirls.  The nose is classic with cassis, slight bell pepper, a touch of chocolate and some fresh cut lumber.  On the palate, still young with firm tannins.  Plenty of cassis fruit and some oak.  Needs another few years to develop and mature.  That said, it is drinking fine today as well.  Good drinking for 15 years at least.  This will work well with roasted or grilled meats and/or fowl.  These days it's a pretty good value in Napa Cabs.  

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