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

2017 Epoch Estate Wines Ingenuity, USA, California, Paso Robles, Willow Creek, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

Every time I drink Epoch wines I wonder why I don't buy more.  They are expensive but given the quality, they are appropriately priced to the competition.  They are also outstanding!  This one is a blend of 36% Petite Sirah, 30% Syrah, 22% Mourvèdre, and 12% Grenache.  It is very young and would be well served by further cellaring.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, black cherries, char, black pepper, spice and roasted herbs and meats.  Full bodied with firm tannins.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Chunky black raspberries and black cherr

2016 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Esola Vineyard, USA, California, Amador, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

Another winner from Bedrock.  Purple in color with some ruby hues, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black cherries, brambles, black pepper, and an interesting beef stew note.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, fresh black cherry fruit (almost but not quite pie filling) with some black pepper and just a hint of bramble.  Lots of energy and lights on its feet.  Long finish.  This is drinking well now and should conitnue for seven to ten more years.  Nice on its own, this would work with lots of comfort foods; pizza, man and cheese, and burgers.  

2004 Pax Syrah Walker Vine Hill, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

From a different time, back when Pax Mahle was making really big wines in really big bottles.  The label lists 15.5% ABV.  For those who questioned how well a wine like this could age, at 17, this is doing just fine with years left.  Purple in color with ruby around the rim, opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black cherries, slight black raspberries, spice, slight root beer note and a wisp of smoke.  Full bodied.  On the palate, black cherries, blueberries, spice and slight earthiness.  Long finish.  No sign of alcohol in the wine.  This is fresh and vibrant.  It seems like it could

2018 Mossback Cabernet Sauvignon Chalk Hill, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is a really pleasant Cab for a pretty good price considering its from Chalk Hill.  Purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with cassis, dark chocolate, leather and spice.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is straightforward with nice cassis fruit, some black cherries with some underlying spice.  Medium tannins.  Nice finish.  This will improve with a couple more years in the cellar.  It should drink well for seven to ten more after that.  It drinks great on its own but would certainly work well with a nice steak or even Mac and Cheese.  

2019 Sbragia Family Chardonnay Russian River Valley, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

Light golden in color, clear and bright.  Expecting huge oak on this (a trademark of sorts for Ed Sbragia) and it wasn't over the top.  Still some oak, but not crazy.  The nose has some lemons, toast, and a bit of spice.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, slight lemon with a hint of vanilla and baking spices.  Medium finish.  There is certainly oak on this but it drinks easy and not too overblown.  It is nice on its own and would work with soft cheeses.  Drink over the next three to five years.  

2007 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$400.00USD

This is a really special vintage from a special winery.  In fact, this is arguably the best wine that Saxum has ever made.  A real treat to be able to try it again at age 14.  Purple in color with ruby swirls, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, slight black cherries, black olives, roasted meat and slight smoke.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this has that lovely lightness of being while still packing a wallop.  Black raspberries, char, some black olives and slight roasted meats.  Great acidity and balance.  Long finish.  Delicious.  This seems to be at matur

2008 Sine Qua Non Syrah B 20, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$400.00USD

This is a blend of 92% Syrah, 6% Grenache, and 2% Viognier.  It has really been helped by some cellar time (although it has always been great).  Inky purple in color, slight ruby rim, but showing some slight age in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, char, slight bacon fat, black olives and roasted meats.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this has a voluptuous texture.  Black raspberry fruit.  Good balance.  Light tannins.  Some anise on the finish.  This seems to be at peak.  It is still a big wine but less raucous than in its youth.  No hurry as it can do another ten years.  It

2014 Carlisle Petite Sirah Palisades Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A

Surprisingly open and drinking well with just a bit of air.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, some blueberries, slight char and a bit of black pepper.  Full bodied.  Juicy texture.  On the palate, this is deep with some complexity.  Certainly, it will gain complexity with more ageing.  Delicious black raspberry fruit with some boysenberries and underlying char.  Light tannins.  Long finish.  This will likely get better but no harm drinking now with a couple hours of air first.  It should drink well for another twelve to fifteen years.  This drink

2017 Ceritas Cabernet Sauvignon Peter Martin Ray, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$110.00USD

This is an interesting wine.  Much more about being refined and still expressing Santa Cruz Mountains than being boisterous.  Of course, some of that may also be the vintage.  Deep garnet in color with some purple hues, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose is deep with cassis, black cherries, spice and graphite/char.  Medium to full bodied.  On the palate, this has a bit of a bell pepper/herbal streak to go along with nice cassis fruit.  Some underlying char.  Medium tannins.  This has the feel that it needs more time to develop and come together.  It drank better on day 2.  Hold for another

2019 Flora Springs Malbec Ghost Winery, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This is a 100% Malbec from the Napa Valley.  The term Ghost Winery refers to the fact that the grapes come from an old 19th century winery that is no longer in use as a winery.  The building is now a residence but there are still vines growing.  These Malbec vines are on that property.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose took about an hour to open and then showed plums, black cherries, figs, baking spice and some milk chocolate.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, this took a couple of hours to really hit first gear.  Give it some air if opening now.  Flavors of plums,

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