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

2021 Tree Fort Pinot Noir Lush & Juicy, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$17.00USD

This is a Pinot Noir from Santa Barbara.  Its rare to find good Pinot for under $20, but this manages to do it.  Screw capped.  Pale, ruby in color with some blueish hues.  clear and bright.  The nose is tight but opens to show some rhubarb and cranberries.  Medium bodied.  Light tannins.  On the palate a sort red currant, slightly medicinal note (better than it sounds) along with red berries.  A bit of menthol on the finish.  After about an hour, its more of a cherry cough drop note.  A solid Pinot that is nice on its own, but improves with food.  This went well with vegetarian taco roll-u

2014 Robert Keenan Winery Mernet Reserve, USA, California, Napa, Spring Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$100.00USD

This is a 50/50 blend of Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon.  Purple in color, shimmering bright.  The nose is dusty with black cherries, cassis, and some char.  Full bodied.  Soft texture.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, this is tight but complex.  It unwinds slowly.  Black cherry fruit with some spice.  Good finish.  This is drinking well and will work well with many foods.  Certainly, it would be nice with Rotisserie Chicken.  Drink over the next seven to ten years.   

2018 Samsara Syrah, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$48.00USD

Ruby in color, mostly opaque and partly bright.  The nose has cherries, strawberries, slight black olives and slight black pepper.  Medium bodied.  Lower acidity.  On the palate, black cherries and cherries with a soft texture and light tannins.  Easy drinking and approachable.  Seems more cooler climate in style.  Nice finish.  More on the delicate/feminine side of Syrah.  Nice on its own, this will work well with foods, but stay away from foods that may overpower it.  Pan roasted chicken breast would work well.  Drink over the next five to eight years.  

2018 Beta Chardonnay Chuy Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Moon Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Green/gold in color with a bit more green than most Chardonnays.  The nose is sweaty with slight smoke and plenty of green apples.  very nice slick texture.  Good acidity, yet the mouthfeel is softer.  Of course, young, but showing a fair amount.  The  palate has apples, vanilla, and some char.  Long finish.  Overall, this is very good and seems to be built for the long haul.  This is not "lean and mean", but it is also not a fruit bomb.  Drink over the next seven to ten years.  Great on its own, it would be a classic pairing with a seared peppercorn Tuna Steak.  

2021 Halter Ranch El Pecado, USA, California, Paso Robles, Adelaida District, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

From a 500ml size bottle.  The name translates to "The Sin".  This is a dessert wine from Paso Robles that is made from 78% Tannat and 22% Grenache grapes.  The grapes are air dried on wooden racks and then go thru a fermentation.  During that process the wine is infused with hand roasted coffee beans and cocoa nibs.  It is a really enjoyable wine, but let's talk about the wine.  First, the drying process is supposed to increase sugar levels by 40%.  It is unclear how ripe the grapes were at harvest.  The wine is listed at 15% abv, which seems very high for a dessert wine that is not fortif

2015 Kutch Pinot Noir McDougall Ranch, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Deep ruby in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose has cherries, cranberries and slight rhubarb along with some spice and char.  Wonderful semi-plush texture.  Good balance.  Light tannins.  The palate is riper/stronger than the nose (in a good way).  Cherries and Kirsch with some char.  Long finish.  This has some complexity and depth as it nears peak.  Drink over the next ten to fifteen years.  Very nice on its own, this would be great with Roasted Duck.

2022 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah California, USA, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$23.00USD

Always one of my go to value wines, but that does this a disservice.  It is an excellent wine that if, I could keep my hands off, would probably age well for a decade.  But, that's not why I buy a case.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, black pepper, grilled meats and spice.  Medium to full bodied.  Great balance and acidity.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Some level of complexity.  Open and drinking well.  Mild tannins.  This drinks easily on its own and would be a great pairing with a (veggie) burger.  Drink over the next ten years if you

2017 Andremily Syrah No. 6, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$200.00USD

Beautiful bottle (again) of this Syrah.  Purple in color, opaque and shimmering bright.  The nose has black raspberries, smoked herbs and meats, and slight (purple) floral notes.  Full bodied.  Medium to firm tannins.  Great balance.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Young, but delicious.  Black raspberry fruit with some black pepper and char.  Deep.  Long finish.  This is still young and will likely improve.  Great plush texture.  Drink over the next twenty years.  Right now, its better on its own, but with time will work better with bigger flavorful dishes.  Roasted root vegetables will

2014 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Her Majesty's Secret Service Stagecoach Vineyard

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, slight blueberry, cedar, spice and nice minerality.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  Good balance.  On the palate, this is still youthful.  Vibrant cassis with minerality and light char.  Long finish.  This is not a bold wine, but has a lot of energy.  Drink over the next ten to fifteen years.  It is very nice on its own and will work with bigger foods.  It went well with roasted peppers stuffed with rice.  

2019 Caterwaul Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, USA, California, Napa, Wine REVIEW

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is the basic Cabernet and for a wine made by Thomas Rivers Brown, this is one of the better values out there.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with cassis, cigar box, spice and slight vanilla.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  On the palate, this is still primary.  Cassis with some char.  Deep.  Delicious.  Long finish.  This is drinking nicely but will get better with some time in the cellar.  Drink over the next fifteen to twenty years.  Best on its own at this point, but with age it will be nice at the dinner table.  

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