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

2011 Carter Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon The O.G. Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, WIne Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

Purple in color.  The nose has nice cassis, a bit of blueberries, spice and cocoa dust.  On the palate, this is very good but lacks intensity.  Lots of cassis fruit along with some chocolate.  Good finish.  This won't get any better but should be good for another ten years.  Will work with medium and heavier foods.  

2009 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

So, I was visiting my sister in the Los Angeles area for Thanskgiving.  I went to a local wine store in Chatsworth and there on the shelf was this wine.  I doubt it had been stored pristinely, but, It ook a chance and was rewarded with my favorite Carlisle Zinfandel with some age on it, something I don't seem to have the patience or discipline for.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose was nice with black cherries and bramble and slight pepper and cedar.  On the palate, it has that wonderful texture that I love about this wine.  A good amount of black cherry fruit and also some raspb

2013 EMH Cabernet Sauvignon Black Cat Special Selection, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  This is very tight and in fact, much less forgiving than bottles tried a year and two years ago.  The nose is dusty with black cherries.  On the palate, cassis and medium tannins.  It opens a bit with air, but at this point, it should probably sleep for five years.  If you must open one, give it 8+ hours of air.  There is a nice wine in there once it opens up, but a much higher potential.  

1999 Dehlinger Syrah, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1999
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

Purple/ruby in color.  The nose has some volatile acidity which blows off to a slight degree.  It is also dusty with cherries.  On the palate, tart black cherries.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This seems past prime and moving slowly downward.  It needs to be consumed soon.  That said, it still provides plenty of pleasure at age 19.  Food would certainly help.  

2016 Arkenstone Sauvignon Blanc, USA, California, Napa, Howell Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

Silvery green/gold in color.  The nose has minerals and wax with slight tropical fruit.  On the palate, this is soft with low acidity but still quite refreshing.  The Semillon seems to dominate at this point.  Blind, it drinks like a ripe white Bordeaux.  Peaches and minerals with some waxiness.  Should work with a lot of foods.  It will be interesting to see how this improves, if at all, with some age.  

2013 Mayacamas Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Mt. Veeder, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+

This cab is known for being backwards and taking a long time to come around, yet, this, while still in need of cellar time was drinking quite well.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, and spice with some black cherries.  On the palate, cassis, spice and black licorice notes with firm but manageable tannins.  Goof balance and finish.  If drinking before 2013, give it some air, but it should go well with heavier or roasted dishes.  There is certainly some room for improvement.  One of the best Mayacamas Cabs in years!

2014 Spottswoode Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, USA, California, Napa, St. Helena, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Do not open this bottle now without a long 8+ hours of decanting.  This is tight as a drum.  86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Cabernet Franc, and 4% Petit Verdot.  Bright purple in color.  The nose has cedar and cassis.  With air, blueberries, chocolate and spice emerge.  On the palate, this has an almost seamless texture.  Shut down completely at first though and showing no fruit.  With air the cassis emerges along with a wall of tannins.  It seems like all the pieces parts are there, but in a four hour tasting, it never really opened.  Based on prior history with this winery and how it did sho

2012 Jarvis Winery Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has sweet plums, black cherries and sandal wood.  Firm tannins.  On the palate, black cherry pie.  Delicious if ripe.  Some heat.  This is more of a cocktail wine to be drunk on its own.  It will prove to be a difficult food match.  Perhaps is settles down with some cellaring.  Drink in the next five to be safe but who knows, it might last twenty.  

2015 Shafer Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch, USA, California, Carneros, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Green/gold in color.  There is plenty of oak on the nose along with an enticing lemon creme.  On the palate, this is very rich.  There is a lot of oak, but it seems to start integrating in the glass and no doubt, will continue to do so if well cellared for the next few years.  Plenty of lemon and vanilla too.  An almost seamless texture which is very nice.  Depending on your tastes, this is drinking well now or needs five years.  Retail is $60.  It will work with richer but lighter foods.  

2014 Domaine de la Côte Pinot Noir Bloom's Field, USA, California, Santa Rita Hills, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Very pale ruby in color.  Some Rose's are deeper in color.  Of course, with Pinot Noir, that is not really an indication of much about the wine.  The nose is dusty with cherries.  Some underlying earthiness.  Deep.  On the palate, this is already showing a nice complexity.  Soft texture.  Layers of cherries, bitter cherries and earth.  Balanced but not strong acidity.  Good finish.  This is very food friendly and should go with a wide variety of foods.  It seems of its place, that is to say, California with sunshine and fruit but it is made in a more earthy style.  It will be interesting to

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