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

2017 Exitus Bourbon Barrel Aged Red Wine, USA, California

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is another of the bourbon barrel aged wines.  While some wine nerds may scoff or even cringe at this trend, many consumers are buying and enjoying.  This comes in attractive packaging with a clear bottle and an "old timey" label.  It is a big wine that clocks in at 15.9% abv.  After tasting the bottle, I served it to a group of friends and it proved popular.  Is is a blend of Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.   Deep ruby in color.  The nose is sweet with caramel and also black raspberries.  On the palate, this has sweet black cherry fruit.  Firm tannins that are slightly

NV Sterling Vineyards Sparkling Rosé, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
86
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is a reasonably priced Sparkling Rosé from California (prior versions carried a Napa designation).  It is non-vintage.  Off the top, it is nice that it is the same price as the white version.  It makes no sense that so many sparkling wines charge a premium for a Rosé.  The packaging is quite nice. It is a blend of 65 percent Chardonnay and 35 percent Pinot Noir. The wine is light golden in color.  Not that color is critical, but everyone tasting this commented that it had, maybe, just the slightest shade of pink.  Maybe not.  I called it light gold.  Nevertheless, it has a nice mousse

NV Sterling Vineyards Blanc de Blancs, USA, California, Wine Review

Score: 
90
Grade: 
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This come sin attractive packaging.  It carries a California designation for this release.  There does not appear to be a vintage designation either.  It is the current release.  It is quite good and an excellent value for $20.  Made from 100% Chardonnay (which is what Blanc de Blanc designates).  Light golden in color with some green hues.  A nice head with lots of smaller bubbles.  The nose is elegant with lanolin, limes and a mineral base.  On the palate, this starts with a nice tartness; mostly lemons.  The mid-palate goes more of a lemon hard candy route which intensifies on the back e

2006 Heitz Cellar Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

Heitz Cellars is one of the more iconic wineries in Napa.  While they made their name from the single bottling of Martha's Vineyard, the regular Cabernet is very nice as well.  It also ages quite well.  At age 13, this one is drinking quite well.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim; this is bright and mostly opaque.  The nose has cassis, cedar, slight sandalwood, and a bit of cherries.  On the palate, there are more black cherries but the cassis is still there too.  This is clean.  Some level of depth.  Tannins seem fully resolved but not past prime.  Good finish.  This probably should be con

2013 Carlisle Syrah James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Truly one of the great Syrah vineyards in the world, James Berry Vineyard is the home of Saxum, but Justin does sell off some fruit and Mike Office gets some for his Carlisle winery.  Purple in color, dense and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, white pepper, slight roasted herbs and hints of roasted meat.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Still young with firm tannins, it opens in the glass showing black raspberries over char with a slight peppery note.  Good balance.  Bright acidity.  Long finish.  This should still develop further but no harm opening now although a few hou

2016 Sandlands Chenin Blanc California, USA, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

One of my favorite Chenin Blanc's from California.  Light golden in the glass.  The nose is mostly about minerality but there is some honey, and slight orange peel to it as well.  On the palate, this is dry but with a viscous texture.  A nice backbone of acidity.  Minerals with some underlying dried oranges.  Long finish.  One get's the feeling this could last for a long time, but to be safe, it probably should be consumed in the next five to seven years.  It will go well with Asian foods.  

2009 Epoch Estate Wines Sensibility Paderewski Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

This is a blend from Paso Robles.  It is 75% Grenache, 21% Mourvedre and 4% Syrah.  At age ten, it is still youthful but drinking great.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, graphite, black pepper and spice.  On the palate, this is big and full bodied.  Slight tannins.  Lots of black raspberry and black cherry fruit.  Great mouth feel.  Long finish.  This drinks great on its own and will work with roasts or grilled foods.  It will drink well for the next ten to twelve years.  

2017 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc Judge Family Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Bennett Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+

This is a nice Sauvignon Blanc.  Light golden in color.  The nose has nice minerality with a touch of grapefruits.  On the palate, the taste is consistent.  The best thing about this is the somewhat oily texture.  It is refreshing.  Worked well with some Shihito peppers.  It should probably be consumed in the next few years.  

2014 Bedrock Wine Co. Heritage Wine Evangelho Vineyard, USA, California, Contra Costa County

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

Evangelho vineyard is a blend featuring mostly Zinfandel.  This vineyard always seems to have a more "claret" or elegant style to it.  That can be a disadvantage at a tasting or with a group of bigger wines.  When consumed on its own, however, it can be charming.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, raspberries, slight smoke and an interesting bit of mint.  On the palate, the cherries and smoke tend to dominate at the moment.  Some depth.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This drinks well on its own but really begs for pasta, pizza or burgers.  Drink it over the next five years.  

2017 Edmunds St. John Gamay Bone-Jolly Rose, USA, California, El Dorado County, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$23.00USD

This is a rose wine made in California from Gamay grapes.  So, to start, a bit untypical.  It is made by veteran winery owner Steve Edmunds.  The wine is doing fine at age two from vintage and this year, graced our family's Thanksgiving table.  It worked out quite well.  Salmon pink in color, slightly electric.  The nose has watermelons, strawberries and slight cranberries.  On the palate, this has a lot of energy to it.  Clean with good fruit; strawberries and slight cherries.  An underlying salinity which is nice.  Long finish.  This worked well with a wide variety of foods.  It probably

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