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

2015 Sobon Estate Zinfandel Fiddletown, USA, California, Amador, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

Looking for a good, not too expensive Zinfandel for parties, pizza night and just good sipping?  Here ya go!  This one retails for $20 and fits the bill.  Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose has cherries, sour cherries, a bit of sticks and stones and slight dust.  On the palate, this is easy to drink.  It is ripe but not over the top.  Nice texture presumably from the high alcohol (15%).  Good finish.  This makes a nice cocktail wine but will go with big casual food.  Sure to be a crowd pleaser.  

2016 Sobon Estate Viognier, USA, California, Amador County, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
83
Grade: 
B-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

Pale gold in color.  The nose has some meyer lemon's but is also very dusty and slightly hot.  On the palate, this has a nice oily texture.  A bit of a green streak but also some lemon notes.  It has a distracting bitter quality that is very persistent.  A shorter finish.  Screw capped.  The description makes this sound worse that it was, but this was a disappointing experience.  

2013 SonkinCellars Unmasked, USA, California, Mendocino, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Biased review.  This wine is now starting to be approachable.  Pop and pour, it is still young but in my biased opinion, showing well.  Of course, part of this is because having made the wine, it was made in a style I love.  Most of the fruit is from the Halcon Vineyard.  This is a cooler climate Syrah.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has boysenberries, slight bacon fact, leather and roasted meats.  A nice of gravel as well.  On the palate, I love the texture.  Not a monster, but juicy fruit without being over blown.  Medium tannins.  Great acidity.  This will work with roasted dishes, cas

2014 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay Joy Road Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$69.00USD

I had meant to open this with food, but we were starting to drink reds, and I wanted to open this earlier.  And the food was still being prepared, so we drank this as a cocktail.  It was very good that way, but luckily, there was a glass (or at least a few ounces left) to try with food.  Even better.  Light golden in color.  The nose is nice with lemon cream and slight vanilla.  It took a few minutes and then really picked up.  On the palate, this is crisp with good acidity.  Plenty of depth.  Lemon cream and slight vanilla again.  Good finish.  This is young and probably could use more air

2007 Schramsberg Vineyards J. Schram, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$100.00USD

California makes some mighty fine Sparkling wines.  Sometimes they get dismissed as do many wines not from Champagne.  The truth is that there are great sparkling wines being made all over the world.  Light golden in color.  A nice bead of small bubbles.  The nose is nice with some yeast, a bit of ginger and slight strawberries.  Also some muskiness.  On the palate, this is fresh and lively.  It has a nice depth and complexity.  Decent acidity.  Worked great to start the evening but would also work great with food.  It would be interesting to watch this develop and mature over the next few

2014 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Vineyards, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This wine was stunning.  Seemingly in a great place right now.  Drunk alongside some their more higher priced wines, this seemed to be everyone's favorite.  Part of that was that the other wines need time but this was fantastic.  For $60, that is a great price for mountain fruit in Napa.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, sandalwood, blueberries, and spice.  On the palate, this has a nice juicy texture.  Medium tannins, but not rough.  Notes of cassis and blueberries over a nice mineral base.  Great finish.  This will work with medium and heavier foods.  Not sure if this gets bett

2013 Burgess Mountaineer Estate Vineyards, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$119.97USD

This is a blend of 45% Syrah, 40% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Petite Verdot and it is delicious.  Drinking very well right now, it will change over time as different varietals take more of a lead.  Right now, the Syrah is dominant.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, roasted meats, blueberries and char.  On the palate, this is a big wine and full of fruit.  It also has plenty of depth and complexity.  Juicy texture.  Great balance.  Long finish.  This wine has great acidity that will work well with roasted meats.  Indian dishes should match quite well.  

2013 Burgess Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve Estate Vineyards

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$140.00USD

Opened this and it was ok but very tight.  Checked in on day 2 and it was a bit better but not quite.  Finally on Day 3, this opened up and is drinking well.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, plums and tea along with a bit of spice.  On the palate, this is deep but will need some time to develop.  Still needs a bit more cellaring.  Medium tannins.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  Hold for three to five more and then cellar for a decade or two after that.  This will drink great on its own or work with grilled meats.  Should be some upside.  

2016 Herzog Cabernet Sauvignon Special Reserve Lake County, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is from one of the premier kosher wines in the US.  It retails for around $45.  Purple in color, with ruby swirls.  The nose has cassis, slight soap and cedar.  On the palate, this has nice cassis fruit with a bit of dusty earth underneath.  Light tannins.  This probably should be consumed in the ext five years or so.  It will work well with meats and roasts.  

2016 Burgess Cellars Chardonnay Burnside Road Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$42.00USD

This is drinking great at pop and pour though it seems like it will do five more years easily and probably ten.  Light gold in color, clear and bright.  The nose has some grapefruit with a very slight vanilla.  Very clean.  On the palate this has ripe grapefruit, minerals, slightly chalky, with slight green apples.

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