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

2013 Mira Winery Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

A blend of 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Syrah, 2% Petit Verdot.  This was a new winery for me.  So many choices which is great!  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, some black cherries, cedar, baking spices and dust.  On the palate, this seems to be drinking well.  Just slight tannins.  Cassis fruit.  Some depth.  Solid finish.  This probably won't get better but should continue to drink well for another five to seven years.  It will go well with grilled burgers or steaks and most medium to heavier foods.  

2004 La Sirena Syrah, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

From Magnum.  This is the home vineyard for Heidi Barrett, former winemaker for Screaming Eagle.  I think sometimes, her wines get short shrift as they are not Screaming Eagle.  At age 15, however, this one was outstanding.  Purple in color.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, black cherries, black pepper, and some roasted meats.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Energy, it dances across the palate.  Flavors of black raspberries, slight chocolate over gravel and char.  Nice finish.  Tasted again on day 3, it was just as strong (out of magnum).  Nice finish.  This will go

2009 Staglin Family Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, USA, California, Napa, Rutherford, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$189.00USD

Another gorgeous California Cabernet.  They are blessed in Napa.  This one is drinking very well right now.  Cassis, pencil lead and cedar on the nose.  With air a slight cigar box emerges.  On the palate, this is ripe but not over ripe.  A classic example of Napa without being too far to the extreme.  Cassis with some tobacco and fresh turned earth.  Nice balance.  The layers unwind in the glass; cassis, tobacco and cedar.  Medium tannins still.  This will certainly mature more over the next five years.  Not sure it gets better.  No hurry though, this has a decade left and likely more.  It

2012 Ridge Monte Bello, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$175.00USD

One of the great wines of the world.  This was tasted right after a huge Aussie Shiraz and it took a sip or two to re-calibrate, but once that was accomplished, this wines class shown thru.  Still a young wine, this has a long future ahead.  A blend of 64% Cabernet Sauvignon, 22% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Franc and 4% Petit Verdot.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, cedar, an herbal note (in a good way), spice and slight forest floor.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Full bodied but by no means brawny or a fruit bomb.  Nice purity of cassis fruit over some roas

2016 B Cellars Blend 27, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

This a blend of 60% Merlot, 30% Cabernet Sauvignon and 10% Petite Verdot.  A Napa version of a Right Bank Bordeaux wine but this is really a pretty big wine.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, plums, slight spice and char.  On the palate, the black cherries continue.  There are firm tannins.  Low acidity.  A bit of underlying forest floor comes out with air.  Medium finish.  This makes a nice drink on its own.  It should continue to evolve and become more food friendly with age.  Another five years to peak and then another seven to ten after that.  This was around $80 on releas

2014 Saxum G2 Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$225.00USD

This is a blend of 58% Mourvedre and 42% Grenache.  Purple in color.  Opaque.  The nose has black cherries, plums, cedar, and roasted meats.  On the palate, the Grenache seems to dominate at this point, but with age that should change.  Black cherry fruit intertwined with smoke and slight earthiness.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This seems young but not a ton of tannins.  It will be interesting to watch this age.  It should go well with spicy Asian cuisine of stews and chili.  Drinking well now, I don't think it gets better but should morph over the next decade or more.  

2010 Morgan Pinot Noir Twelve Clones, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Santa Lucia, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010

Perhaps its a style thing, but this one was not up my alley.  Maybe it just hasn't held up well or not optimally stored.  Ruby in color.  The nose is ok, with cherries and cherry juice.  On the palate, this is sweet.  Has to be some residual sugar I would think.  Candied cherries.  Not much depth.  Not much acidity.  Frankly, I couldn't wait for the finish to end.  I know some people would love this wine, but I am not one of them.  YMMV.  Given that I just don't like this style it doesn't seem fair to score it.  

2015 Cardinale Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$250.00USD

This is one of the gems in the Kendall Jackson portfolio.  This is a world class Cabernet.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, cedar, milk chocolate, and a bit of char.  On the palate, this has a wonderful muscular texture.  Firm tannins.  Lots of cassis fruit.  Deep and complex if still tight.  Lively with great balance and precision.  Long finish.  This is delicious but grabs your attention.  It still has some upside as it ages and probably at least seven to ten years from peak.  It should easily last two more decades, plus.  It should be versatile to go well with most medium and heav

2016 Wayfarer Chardonnay Wayfarer Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Fort Ross - Seaview, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$75.00USD

This is a wine from Pahlmeyer.  I first tried it back in 2012 before it was released, but had not seen it since.  So when a friend put this on the table I was excited to revisit it.  An excellent wine and not your typical California Chardonnay.  Light gold with some green swirls.  The nose explodes from the glass with peaches, marzipan, some citrus and even a touch of green apple.  With air, a waxy quality come thru.  On the palate, this is just as vibrant.  Oranges, peaches with an under subtle oak.  A bit of salinity right at the end.  This is drinking very well right now and it would be

2013 Next of Kyn Syrah No~7 Cumulus Vineyard, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$315.00USD

From the producers of Sine Qua Non, this is the 7th edition of this wine.  The label says 15.8% but there is no hint of heat.  This vintage is a blend of 45% Syrah, 29% Grenache, 15% Petite Sirah, 5% Mourvèdre, 4.5% Touriga Nacional and 1.5% Roussanne.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, red licorice, black pepper, baking spices with a bit of leather/earth.  On the palate, this is rich.  Almost seamless.  It took quite a while to really open up suggesting that this wine still needs about five years depending on your tastes.  Delicious with flavors of black raspberries an

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