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

2017 Outpost Petite Sirah The Other, USA, California, Napa, Howell Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A

This is a nice tale on Petite Sirah made from Howell Mountain grapes.  It is quite intense and will need some cellar time to reach full potential.  Inky purple in color.  Opaque and bright.  The nose is tight but has boysenberries, slight pencil lead and slight gravel notes.  On the palate, firm tannins.  Boysenberry fruit.  Very tightly packed.  Persistent finish.  It is quite tasty but clearly will have more to offer in five to ten years.  It should be best in seven to fifteen or so years.  This will drink better with food such as roasts, stews and casseroles.  If drinking soon, give it a

2017 Mending Wall Petite Sirah Palisades Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Calistoga, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

Palisades is one of the better Petite Sirah vineyards (albeit there are not that many).  This was my first time trying a wine from Mending Wall.  Their facility is where Thomas Rivers Brown makes much of his wine these days.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has boysenberries, clay, gravel and slight char.  On the palate, this is delicious already.  Medium tannins.  Reserved black raspberry fruit with a soft texture.  Surprisingly accessible at this young age.  It should still improve over the next five to seven years and be good for another ten after that.  This will work great with Indian

2017 Hobel Wine Works Cabernet Sauvignon The Arris Sodhani Vineyards, USA, California, Napa Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$110.00USD

I believe this is a new wine for Hobel.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, chocolate, some earthiness.  On the palate, this was a wonderful rich texture.  Lots of cassis fruit over a dry earthiness/dust.  Firm tannins.  This is ripe but not over done and no signs of being too ripe.  Long finish.  This seems like it is close to drinking well with a bit of air.  It will still improve over the next five to seven years.  It drinks well on its own and should work well with roasts and grilled foods.  

2017 Hobel Wine Works Cabernet Sauvignon The Grain, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

Made with fruit from the Ciminelli Vineyard.  This is the last year that Hobel will be making wine from this vineyard.  Deep ruby in color, inky purple at the core.  The nose is very nice with cassis, baking spices and a bit of char.  On the palate, this has nice black raspberry fruit and an interesting slight dark chocolate note.  There is some dustiness underneath.  Quite concentrated and complex.  It is delicious as well.  This should need about ten more years to peak but should be outstanding even if drinking a bit young (give it some air).  It was my personal favorite of the three Hobe

2017 Hobel Wine Works Cabernet Sauvignon The Figure, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

This is a project by Cameron and Bahaneh Hobel with Thomas Rivers Brown as the winemaker.  They now make, I believe, three different wines.  This is deep ruby in color with a purple core.  The nose is sweet black raspberries, spices and slight oak.  On the palate, this has nice cassis fruit, a hint of cough syrup over a bit of gravel and char.  I think this wine is more sweet than residual sugar which means that it should settle down a bit as it ages.  Medium tannins.  Good finish.  It needs about seven to ten years to all come together and should be good for ten to fifteen after that.  It

2017 William & Mary Cabernet Sauvignon Shifflett Ranch, USA, California, Oak Knoll, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A

Another winner for this relatively new winery.  Inky purple in color, ruby at the rim.  Opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, spice, and slight cinnamon.  Firm tannins on the palate.  There is cassis with underlying dry forest floor.  Tightly packed for now, it does unwind a bit in the glass.  Seems just a tad more open than the 2016 but just as delicious.  This will still need about seven to ten years to reach peak and should be good for ten to fifteen after that.  Nevertheless, it is tasty today especially with some air.  It needs bigger foods right now if serving with a meal.  There i

2017 Outpost Immigrant True Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Howell Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+

This is a blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 34% Merlot, and 29% Cabernet Franc.  Another project made by Thomas Rivers Brown.  This is a gorgeous Bordeaux blend.  I know that many critics have worried about the 2017 vintage and while the fires are a legitimate concern, I have been loving them and especially the Cab Franc and Merlot.  I loved this even more than the 2015 which I scored 97 (reviews are on this site).

2017 William & Mary Proprietary Red Shifflett Ranch, USA, California, Napa, Oak Knoll, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$95.00USD

This is a producer to watch.  A husband and wife team, Will is the assistant to Thomas Rivers Brown on a whole host of projects, and the vineyard is his wife Mary's home where she grew up.  This is a list I highly recommend signing up for.  While I only have had two vintages of these wines, there does seem to be a signature.  It will be interesting to see if this is the terroir or the winemaking, but the wines seem quite concentrated for valley floor wines.  The drink more like mountain fruit.  This is a 60/40 blend of Cabernet Franc and Merlot .  Deep ruby in color, a bit lighter at the ri

2017 Outpost Cabernet Sauvignon True Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Howell Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+

Wow.  Gorgeous wine.  With time, this likely merits a 100 score.  Inky purple in color.  The nose is intense with cassis, blueberries, slight cedar, slight baking spices, and just a hint of Earl Gray tea.  Full bodied.  The fruit is ripe but not over the top.  Cassis, blueberries over forest floor with slight cigar tobacco.  This is already showing tight layering and lots of depth.  Firm tannins.  Long finish.  Of course, to get to peak, this will need at least a decade, but it is likely to drink very well young with a bit of air.  One of the best wines I tasted on a recent Napa trip.  It n

2017 Outpost Cabernet Sauvignon Howell Mountain, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

Always one of my favorite "value" Cabs in Napa.  It is usually a very concentrated wine that takes some time to unwind.  It probably needs to be cellared longer than i typically allow, but its just so delicious young too.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cassis, blueberries, raspberries, pencil lead, slight floral notes and damp earth.  On the palate there is an elegant concentration to the wine.  Cassis, black cherries with an underlying graphite/earth.  Firm tannins.  Long finish.  This has plenty of concentration that will need some time to unwind.  Perhaps five to seven - minimum.  A

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