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

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.  

2015 Schramsberg Vineyards Crémant Demi-Sec, USA, California, Calistoga, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$38.00USD

This is an interesting blend.  It is 67% Flora, 19% Chardonnay, and 14% Pinot Noir.  Flora is a crossing of Semillon and Gewürztraminer that was created in 1938 by Harold P. Olmo at the California Agricultural Experiment Station.  Light golden in color.  The nose has seltzer, slight marzipan and peach.  On the palate, this is slightly sweet.  Apples and apricots.  Turns sweeter on the finish.  This is enjoyable on it own but would work with a not too sweet peach/apricot dessert.  Drink over the next couple of years.  

2014 Jaffurs Syrah Larner Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 

Purple in color.  The nose is very nice with black raspberries, black cherries, roasted herbs and slight violet notes.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  It is a big wine, but not over blown.  Notes of black raspberries over a char and dry earth.  Good balance.  Long finish.  This is still young and will likely improve.  It needs about five years until peak and should be good for ten to fifteen after that.  Syrahs like this go well with Indian food and also meat based dishes.  

2009 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$260.00USD

Deep purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is great.  Very Bordeaux-like in a Californian way.  Cassis, cherries, baking spices with a slight black licorice.  On the palate, this is young but showing some maturity.  Light to medium tannins.  On the palate, the fruit is more black cherry than cassis.  Some oak still showing.  Some minerals and dry earthiness underneath.  Nice finish.  This is a beautiful wine that is probably at the start of peak.  It will mature more over the next ten years and be good for another ten to fifteen after that.  

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