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

2017 Stone the Crows Cabernet Sauvignon Three Twins Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

Another wine made by Thomas Rivers Brown.  This one is a bit more elegant than many of his wines but it is still a powerful wine.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is dusty with cassis, a bit of cedar, slight plums and a bit of char.  On the palate, this is more advanced than many of the TRB 2017's I have tasted so far, but still needs another five to seven years.  Once there, it should have another ten years or more.  Cassis over cedar and slight dry earth.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  This will work well at a steakhouse or with roasted fowl or vegetables.  

2016 Selah Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Howell Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$110.00USD

This is another new wine for me that is made by Thomas Rivers Brown.  The winery is owned by Joe and LeeAnn Blanton up on Howell Mountain in Napa.  Purple in color.  The nose is a bit dusty with cassis, black cherries, an interesting orange peel note, and mint.  With air, the fruit seems a bit darker on the nose.  The palate has firm tannins.  Plenty of depth although concentrated.  Cassis with underlying tea and leather.  Good balance.  Long finish.  I think this will still need another four to six years to really open.  It should be good for another ten to fifteen after that.  This will g

2017 Pine Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Ampére, USA, California, Pine Mountain - Cloverdale Peak, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

This is a new winery for me.  It is in the newly established Pine Mountain - Cloverdale Peak AVA which is on the Sonoma side of Pine Mountain.  The wines are grown at between 2,200 and 2,800 feet above sea level.  The winery is owned by Hien Nguyen who grew up in France and made by Thomas Rivers Brown.  The wine is inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, slight minty notes and a bit of baking spices.  On the palate, this is very concentrated.  Tannic.  Lots of depth.  Cassis with underlying baking spice and slight forest floor notes.  It is hard to say how this would evo

2017 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Panek Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, St. Helena, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$110.00USD

From the eponymous winery of Thomas Rivers Brown.  They make some stunning Cabs and this one is always one of my favorites.  The 2017 version is no exception.  The only real question is just how good it will get.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, blueberries, slight floral notes, sandalwood and a roasted wood quality.  This is one wine where the descriptor of sexy will work.  The palate is tight but in the glass opens with cassis, slight blueberries over a a nice hard, dry earthiness with gravel and graphite.  Some sandalwood on the finish.  Medium to full tannins.  This should c

2017 Outpost Zinfandel Howell Mountain, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

This is consistently one of my favorite Zinfandels.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose is nice with cherries, slight wintergreen, and sandalwood.  On the palate, this seems a bit lighter than prior years.  Good acidity.  Light tannins.  Nice cherries and raspberries with some underlying bramble.  Good finish.  Drinking well right now, it probably should be consumed in the next eight to ten years.  It will be interesting to see if it develops more or puts on body.  It is actually very food friendly and will work with a wide variety of medium and heavier foods.  

2017 Seaver Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon GTS, USA, California, Napa, Diamond Mountain District, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+

This is former baseball great Tom Seaver's wine project.  He may be a celebrity but this is a serious project with the wines being made by Thomas Rivers Brown.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is great with minerals, cassis, roasted herbs and a slight minty note.  On the palate, this is concentrated.  Black raspberry fruit over a dry forest floor.  The roasted herbs carry thru to the finish.  Firm tannins.  This needs five to seven more years to really open and then it should be good for another twelve to twenty.  A delicious wine on its own, with air or cellaring this will work

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

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