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

2012 Halcon Vineyards Esquisto, USA, California, Mendocino, Yorkville Highlands, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$27.00USD

This is a blend of 65% Grenache, 30% Mourvedre and 5% Syrah.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries and plums along with some spice and earthy funk.  On the palate, this is complex.  Layers of black cherries and black raspberries with damp earthiness.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This is drinking very well right now.  It should be at this level for another five to ten years.  It goes well with roasts and casseroles.  

2017 Beringer Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$22.00USD

This is a great value in California Cabernets.  Purple in color with ruby swirls.  The nose is very nice with cassis, baking spices, slight figs and slight fresh oak.  On the palate, this drinks easily but also has some structure to it.  Cassis flavors wrapped with spice and char.  Medium tannins.  This drinks well on its own now but will continue to mature and likely improve slightly over the next ten years.  This will work well with grilled and roasted meats or fowls.  

2015 Keplinger Vermillion, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This is the "second label" of star winemaker Helen Keplinger's home winery.  It is made from 31% Sonoma Grapes and 69% Sierra Foothills Grapes.  A blend of 55% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 18% Syrah, and 5% Petite Sirah.  A delicious wine.  Purple in color with ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, spice, gravel and slight plums and earth.  On the palate, this is full bodied but very lively with lots of energy.  Black raspberries dominate at the moment but the black cherries are also present.  There is also a layer of gravel and scorched earth that is a lovely counte

2013 Campesino Grenache Steel Plow Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

An excellent wine.  I have been a big fan of Macario Montoya's wines for a while, but I believe this was the first time trying this wine.  I am not sure if there is anything else in this blend other than Grenache.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, chocolate, spice and slight oak notes.  On the palate, this is full bodied with a wonderful texture.  Medium tannins.  Black raspberries, black cherries, slight blueberries and a bit of chocolate over a mineral base.  Long finish.  This wine grabs your attention but it is not overblown.  It should last another decade at least.  It

2000 Atalon Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2000
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

The 2000 vintage was not well received on release.  Indeed, in Napa terms, it was one of the rare vintages that was not at least very good or better.  Yet, many of those wines have aged just beautifully.  At age twenty many are a bit past prime but still offering wonderful enjoyment.  Of course, that depends on how you like your wines.  Purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.

2012 Scherrer Winery Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This reminded me of a "classic" Russian River Valley Pinot Noir from twenty years ago.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has black cherries, a bit of cola,, spice and a slight funk.  Pretty.  On the palate, this has sweet black cherry fruits.  Moderate tannins.  Good acidity.  Some depth and complexity.  Lot of energy.  This is in a great place right now.  It should be at this level for another 5 to ten years.  It will go well with roasted fowl or meats.  

2015 Kunde Estate Zinfandel Sonoma Valley, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is a reasonably priced Zin.  It is slightly sweet and on the lighter style of Zin so factor that into your buying decision.  I quite enjoyed it.  Drunk over two nights, it was better on Night 2.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, spice and dust.  On the palate, the cherries come thru.  No tannins to speak of.  Easy drinking.  Slightly sweet/ripe.  Nice finish.  

2018 Apothic Rose, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
86
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$12.00USD

This is blended from red grapes.  I was told that it is Zinfandel and Cabernet Sauvignon, but I have not been able to verify this.  It is a light salmon pink in color.  The nose has some strawberries and a bit of simple syrup.  On the palate, this is off dry with some tart notes.  Somewhat like Sweet Tarts.  Light cherries.  This is simple easy drinking.  For those looking for this style, this fits the bill nicely.  It probably would be best to drink these up this year.  

2016 Cline Cellars Zinfandel Ancient Vines, USA, California, Contra Costa Country, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$14.00USD

Another great value from Cline.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, raspberries, bramble and cedar.  Medium bodied.  Some depth and concentration.  The cherries come thru to the palate along with some black cherries.  Nice texture.  Drinks well on its own right now but will work with pizza or pasta or burgers.  This probably should be consumed in the next year or so.  

2018 Cline Cellars Mourvedre Ancient Vines Rosé, USA, California, Contra Costa County, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

Cline makes some of the best values in wine.  This is certainly one of them.  Pale salmon pink in color.  The nose has nice watermelons and a bit of cranberries.  Light bodied.  Silky texture.  Good acidity.  The palate is more strawberries with cranberries.  Moderate finish.  This is refreshing.  it will go well with lighter foods and drinks fine on its own.  It should be consumed in the next year.  

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