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

2014 Quilt Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

This was consumed over two days and distinctly better on Day 2.  Purple in color.  On Day 1, there is a lot of oak showing.  The fruit is tight.  On Day 2, the nose has nice cassis with spice and underlying char.  On the palate, medium tannins.  They integrate on Day 2 with nice cassis, black cherries and char.  Some level of complexity.  This needs a couple of years in the cellar.  The difference between day 1 and day 2 was probably 3 points in terms of accessibility, complexity and friendliness.  For a wine that retails for $40, show some patience.    Might even have more upside to it in

2010 Novy Family Wines Syrah Sonoma County, USA, California, Wine Review

Screw capped.  This retails for around $35.  It is really very good.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight black olives and a bit of black pepper.  On the palate, this has a nice sinewy texture.  Light tannins.  It is drinking quite well right now but no hurry.  Black raspberry fruit.  Good acidity.  Slight complexity.  Nice finish.  This will work with a wide variety of foods.  Drink now thru 2023.  

2016 Cooper & Thief Bourbon Barrel Aged Red Wine Blend, USA, California

This is quite interesting.  They apparently take a wine called Dark and Jammy and age it in Bourbon Barrel's for 3 months.  The result is a unique wine that was quite popular when served to friends.  A little goes a long way and it works more like a "port" than a dinner wine.  Nicely packaged in a shorter stout bottle.  Ruby/purple in color.  The nose has vanilla with black cherries and slight sweet bourbon notes.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Lots of jammy black cherries, vanilla, some bourbon/alcohol notes.  Overall though, it is smooth and the 16% Alc is not a problem.  It w

2016 Treasury Wine Estates emBrazen Red Blend, USA, California, Wine Review

This is a series of new wines honoring "Brazen" women.  This one honors Josephine Baker whit was a 1920's showgirl and spy.  Purple/ruby in color.  The nose is a bit dusty with tart cherries.    It is better on the palate.  Dark cherries, some cassis.  Easy drinking but some depth.  Sour cherries on the finish.  Some alcohol shows despite it being listed at 13.5%.  This is a solid wine that needs some hearty food.  It will benefit from a bit of air.  

2017 7 Moons Dark Side Red, USA, California, Wine Review

This is a blend of Syrah, Merlot, Petite Sirah, Zinfandel, Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Grenache.  It is a very drinkable wine that lists 13.5% Alc.  It retails for around $10 and this is a great value.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, cocoa and plums.  On the palate, this is slightly sweet.  Light tannins.  A nice varietal complexity.  Tart acidity. Long finish.  This probably should be drunk in the next few years.  Will work with a wide variety of foods.  Easy drinking and fun.  

2016 Miriam Alexandra Cabernet Sauvignon Napa County, USA, California, Wine Review

Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is dusty with cassis, slight tobacco and slight cocoa.  A bit drying on the palate.  Nice cassis fruit.  Some depth, there may be some upside to cellaring this wine for a few years.  Light tannins.  Not a huge wine at all.  Will work with a wide variety of foods.   Available at  

2016 Camille Benitah Cabernet Sauvignon Foncé, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Purple/ruby in color.  The nose has cassis, dust and a bit of spice.  On the palate, this has firm tannins.  Slightly tart acidity.  Plenty of cassis fruit with an underlying grittiness which is interesting.  It is a big and easy to drink Napa Cab but should have some upside over the next few years.  Plenty of fruit and not over ripe.  Will work with medium and heavier bodied foods.  Available at

2017 Jacqueline Bahue Sauvignon Blanc Carte Blanche, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Screw capped.  Pale silvery/green/gold in color.  The nose is a mythical combination of New Zealand and old school California.  That is to say, lots of tropical fruits (guava and pineapple) and also a grassiness to it.  Very pleasant and easy.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  The tropical fruit carries thru.  Nice acidity to counter.  Dry.  Slightly oily texture (a good thing).  Long finish.  This is an easy drinking wine, but has some depth.  Works with lighter and medium bodied foods.  It probably won't get better but should drink well for a few years.  Available at

2011 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Golden in color.  The nose is classic Rhys and gorgeous.  Lemon cream and vanilla with an underlying rocky minerality.  On the palate, this is almost seamless in a creamy texture.  Lemon and vanilla notes.  Bright fruit.  It is not as big as some vintages but this is not reticent either.  Delicious.  Still youthful.  It opens in the glass and improves in the bottle.  So good right now it might not be worth risking holding, but it should still get better.  One of the best California Chardonnays I have had.  

2015 Carr Vineyards & Winery Syrah, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is dusty with black raspberries and some roasted meats.  On the palate, this has sweet black raspberry fruit.  It approaches cloying but not quite.  Also some blueberries.  This is a big jammy fruit filled wine.  It will probably a difficult food match but drinks easy and great on its own.  Hard to say how long it will age but drinking in the next five years should be safe.