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

2016 Bevan Pinot Noir Petaluma Gap, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

Deep ruby/purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, spice and slight earthiness.  The palate matches the nose.  This wine is juicy with bigger tannins for a Pinot Noir.  Ripe fruit.  Good acidity.  This is a big Pinot and will work well on its own.  It was need some bigger food than some traditional Pinot matching foods but should work great with stews and meat dishes or heavy sauces.  It may still get better and will definitely mature.  Drink or hold now or in ten years.  

2013 Mojo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
87
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

Poured at a Friday Wine Store Happy Hour, this is a ripe, slightly sweet, easy drinking Cab.  A classic, it is what it is wine to take or leave.  I liked it but the group I was with was divided.  It sells for around $15.  Inky purple in color. The nose is warm, dusty with black cherry fruit.  It drinks easy and would go well with food off the grill.  Juicy ripe black cherry fruit with light tannins on the palate.  At age 6, it should probably drunk sooner than later.  

2014 Gregory James Pinot Noir Patchy Fog, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This was offered at a local wine store.  They listed the price at $20 which is a good value for a Pinot of this quality.  It is lighter in style, especially for California and that seemed popular with the crowd.  Light ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose is slightly earthy with a macerated cherry quality.  Very nice.  On the palate, there are slight tannins.  Cherries with a pretty silky texture.  A slight bitter note on the finish.  All in all this is a very pretty wine.

2017 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas, USA, California, Adelaida District Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$32.00USD

This is basically the second wine of Esprit de Tablas from Tablas Creek although they make a lot of different wines, not all available without being in their wine club (highly recommended).  This sell for around $30 and can often be found at retail shops.  It is young and will likely improve a bit over the next few years.  Screw capped!  Grenache, Syrah, Counoise and Mourvedre.  Whereas the Esprit can be compared to a Chateauneuf du Pape, this is more like a better Cotes du Rhone or even a Gigondas.  It has a deep ruby color with some purple swirls.  The nose has black cherries, slight eart

2017 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Coast to Foothills California, USA, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is the new basic Syrah offering from Bedrock.  It is from multiple appellations thus carrying the California designation.  It is recently released and (hopefully) will improve a bit.  It sells for around $28 delivered from the winery.  Purple in color.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, white pepper, slight floral notes and slight bacon fat.  On the palate, this seems a bit restrained.  Nice black raspberry fruit and easy drinking.  Not showing a lot of depth or complexity at this point.  Nice finish.  Easy drinking, this will be a nice wine with BBQ or pizza.  Will it take that

2017 Jaffurs Syrah, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

This is their basic bottling (not vineyard designated) and is a tremendous value.  It is a warmer climate styled Syrah but not over the top.  Sporting a newly revised label and under new ownership, this wine is every bit as good as those released by Craig Jaffurs.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight black pepper and roasted meats.  On the palate, this has a nice juicy acidity.  Delicious black raspberry fruit.  Nice depth although still young with medium tannins.  Nice finish.  This is a gulpable wine that goes down quite easily.  It will work with bigger and or s

2009 Torrin The Maven, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A

Torrin makes some of the best Syrahs.  They are starting to get more respect from the major critics but they still don't have the buzz of some other wineries.  That is good for those people looking to get on the mailing list or not pay three figures for a bottle.  If there is a "complaint" it is that the wines are concentrated and backward and in need of cellaring to get the most out of them.  That is difficult because they are so good on release.  Somehow, however, I managed to make this one last.  75% Grenache, 25% Syrah.  Purple in color.

2010 SonkinCellars Persona, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

This is our wine so this review is biased.  The wine was included in a blind tasting of Santa Barbara Syrahs with my tasting group.  I suspected this was it but wasn't sure (it was narrowed down to two wines).  It was quite a relief that this did not finish last and in fact, finished 4/10 with 1 first and 2 third place votes (I had it in 3rd).  Blind - my thoughts are:  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, coffee, white pepper and slight earthiness.  On the palate, this has balanced but juicy acidity.  Layers of black raspberries and earth with some meat/pepper notes.  Thi

2013 Ojai Syrah Roll Ranch Vineyard, USA, California, Ventura, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

I really enjoyed this bottle as I have in many vintages.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black raspberries, spice, black pepper and a meaty note.  On the palate, this is young and tannic.  Certainly seems like there is some upside to holding these for a while.  Chewy tannins.  Lots of black raspberry fruit and a slight char.  Long finish.  This will be great on its own or with meaty/fatty dishes.  

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