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

2012 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2023
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$115.00USD

Checked in on this recently.  At age 11, it is still drinking beautifully.  It took about an hour to open and then soared.  Medium golden color, clear and bright.  The nose has the vanilla note along with lemon cream.  Full bodied.  Showing more depth and complexity although less vibrancy than in its youth.  Long finish.  Delicious.  This went great with Hungarian Mushroom Goulash.  

Goldeneye 2020 Pinot Noir Gowen Creek

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$90.00USD

I have reviewed, favorably, the Pinot Noir from Gowen Creek for years. When you find a wine that offers such consistency, you stick with it. What Gowen offers is a sublime melding of fruit like black cherry, red raspberry, boysenberry, blackberry acidity, minerality and judicious use of oak. This wine has those in spades. Though the word “balance” is tossed around a lot in the wine industry, when you taste one, you know. Not only is this wine balanced, it is simply enjoyable to drink.

2020 Wander + Ivy Cabernet Sauvignon California, USA, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
85
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$8.00USD

These come in 187ml individual servings packaged in an attractive glass bottle with a plastic stopper and screw on top.  Garnet in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose is  tight but opens to show cherry aromas.  Perhaps a touch of volatile acidity as well which helps life the nose.  Medium bodied.  Medium tannins.  Nice balance.  On the palate, black cherry fruit.  Moderate finish.  This is a fun, easy drinking wine that would be nice for picnics.  Drink now.  

Decoy Unlimited 2021 Alexander Valley Merlot

Vintage: 
2023
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

This offers nicely balanced red fruit with minimal oak, solid acidity and decent tannic structure. Not an easy thing to find in a Merlot, and a Merlot at this price. Black cherry, black berry, huckleberry, red currant, light cedar and vanilla notes dominate and this is a very comprehensive wine. Mainly Merlot, there are small percentages of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Malbec. It was aged for 14 months in French oak, only 40% of which was new, hence the light wood touch. What this ultimately offers is a robust Merlot that is well worth the price.

Cherry Pie 2021 Pinot Noir, Toro Hills

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

Any vineyard facing San Pablo Bay, like Toro Hills, is buffeted by wind and fog coming off the water. Typically fruit grown here is more fully developed. This Toro Hills Pinot has that depth of flavor, less bright strawberry notes and more raspberry, huckleberry, blueberry and blackberry with soft black cherry, spring wildflowers, and a slight earthiness. The acidity is spot on allowing for expressiveness with food while the mild barrel aging (10 months in barrel with just 30% new French oak) allows for a balanced approach and fruit over wood. ORIGIN: Sonoma County. ALCOHOL: 14.9%

2015 Christopher Tynan Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Old Vines Meleagris Gallopavo, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$325.00USD

Christopher Tynan's wines do not get enough attention.  The Syrahs are great but this is stunning.  Inky purple in color, opaque and shimmering bright.  The nose has cassis, blueberries, camphor, baking spices, fresh tobacco and chocolate.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  Great energy and balance.  This is still very young but starting to open up.  On the palate, cassis, pencil lead, and chocolate with some underlying char.  Long finish.  This needs another five to ten years to get closer to peak and then should be great for another twenty to thirty after that.  Great on its own, this needs bi

2018 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Herb Lamb Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
99
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$241.00USD

The home winery for Thomas Rivers Brown, one of Napa's premier winemakers.  This is a new (albeit classic) vineyard for TRB.  Inky purple in color, opaque and shimmering bright.  The nose is great.  Complex and clean with cassis, blueberries, pencil lead, sandalwood and menthol.  Full bodied.  The palate is also complex if tight.  Cassis and blueberries with some spice and slight char.  Long finish.  This is obviously young but already drinking great.  Still, another decade in a good cellar will take this to the 100 level.  Great on its own, it will need big food now to match the firm tanni

2016 Fairchild Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Stones No. 3 Tench Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

Interesting bottle with what looks like a pewter disk for a label.  Made by Phillipe Melka.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, tobacco, clay and spice.  Firm tannins.  Great balance.  On the palate this is complex but still very young.  Cassis, black cherries, spice and slight cedar.  Long finish.  This needs another five to ten years in a good cellar.  It should age for fifteen to twenty after that.  Great on its own, it will need big, fatty meats in its youth.  Plenty of upside potential to improve.  

2013 Kapcsándy Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Grand Vin) State Lane Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Yountville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$425.00USD

Wow.  Talk about a Bordeaux styled wine made in Napa, this is it.  Just a beauty.  87% Cabernet Sauvignon, 12% Merlot and 1% Petite Verdot.  Ruby/purple in color, opaque and shimmering bright.  The nose is gorgeous, if young.  Cassis, black cherries, blueberries, smoke, tobacco, earthiness, cedar and spice.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  Great energy.  On the palate, this is complex and tightly layered.  Cassis and black cherries with earthiness and smoke.  Long finish.  Delicious.  This is not a huge fruit bomb at all.  Not yet at peak but well on its way.  This has another twenty to thirty

2019 Daou Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Patrimony, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$199.00USD

This wine is proof that Paso Robles can make world class Cabernets (in addition to Rhone Varietals).  The Daou brothers second vintage of this wine is very young but easily could be a 100 pointer with some bottle age and development.  As it, it is outstanding right now.  Inky purple in color, ruby at the rim, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, chocolate, graphite, cigar tobacco, and cedar.  Great texture.  Firm tannins.  Concentrated.  Nice balance.  On the palate, concentrated cassis with graphite, and chocolate and slight tobacco.  It unwinds in the glass.  Long finish.  If drinking

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