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

2019 Tablas Creek Counoise, USA, California, Paso Robles, Adelaida, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is a single varietal wine that is part of their wine club offerings.  A very cool wine to try to get to understand this grape usually used in blending.  Light ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose is different with cranberries, strawberries, nutmeg and slight clove notes.  On the palate, there is strong acidity.  Tart "red" berries (similar to the nose).  Light tannins.  This is somewhat like a cross between a rose and a less ripe Grenache, but not quite.  It will work better with food.  Lighter salads but also duck or roasted chicken would be nice.  Drink over the next five to se

2020 Tablas Creek Dianthus, USA, California, Paso Robles, Adelaida, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$24.00USD

This is a Rose made in the style of Bandol, that is, a heartier style of Rose.  It is 48% Mourvedre. Light ruby/orange in color, clear and bright. The nose is  nice with cherries and slight orange notes.  On the palate, this is slightly viscous with cherries and a slight red licorice note.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  A very pleasant rose that will work well on its own or with all sorts of food off the grill.  Drink over the next few years.  

2019 Tablas Creek Grenache Blanc, USA, California, Paso Robles, Adelaida, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

Golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose has apples, golden raisins, and slight lemon notes.  On the palate, this has a slightly viscous texture.  Apples and pears with a nice streak of acidity.  Moderate finish.  This drinks smoothly right now on its own.  It will work well with lighter foods.  Drink over the next few years. 

2014 Llamas Family Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Reserve, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$175.00USD

Another new winery for me.  This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Stage Coach Vineyard.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is very nice with cassis, black cherries, baking spices and a dry earthiness.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is really concentrated and intense but not a bomb in any way.  Black cherry fruit leads with some cassis notes.  There is a dry rocky, earthy under it all.  Medium tannins.  Nice finish.  This drinks well now but will continue to improve for three to five years.  It will drink well on its own, but will be better with hearty, fatty foods but also ro

2018 Frias Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Vangone Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$260.00USD

A new winery for me.  Wowza!  Of course, this is also a great vintage.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with cassis, blueberries, baking spices, and slight chocolate.  Full bodied with a lovely lush texture.  On the palate, lots of lush fruit without being a fruit bomb.  Medium tannins.  Delicious.  Still young and primary, it is hard to see where it goes, but I suspect it ages beautifully over the next twenty years or more.  While patience will be rewarded, there will be no regrets opening one now.  Probably better on its own now, as it ages it will work great w

2013 Torrin The Banshee, USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$90.00USD

This is a blend of 48% Syrah, 32% Grenache, and 20% Mourvedre.  Still young, this is really starting to sing.  Purple, opaque and shimmering bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, plums, some black cherries, spice, black pepper and roasted meats.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Lots of black raspberry and black cherry fruit.  Lovely texture.  Deep but tight layers.  Lots of energy.  Long finish.  This should drink well for the next ten to twelve years.  Great on its own, this will work well with spicy foods off the grill such as wings or ribs.  

2005 Alban Vineyards Syrah Reva Alban Estate Vineyard, USA, California, Edna Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$120.00USD

This is drinking great and probably at peak.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries with black pepper and some roasted meats and herbs.  Full bodied.  Complex.  Still lots of upfront black raspberry fruit but lots of depth and layering with earthiness, char and black pepper.  Delicious.  Long finish.  This should go another five to ten years but won't get better.  Great on its own, this will work well with roasted meat or veggies.  I last had this in 2009, so it was great to be able to see what happened to all that potential it showed in its youth.  

2014 Von Strasser Cabernet Sauvignon Agira Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Diamond Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

Great showing for this wine.  Young, but tasty.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, graphite, and spice.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is a big wine.  It is jammy and full of fruit, so make sure you share it with people who like that style.  I did, and they loved it.  Lots of cassis, some blueberries with some spice and graphite as well.  This is still primary with a lovely texture.  Delicious.  Long finish.  This probably drinks better on its own right now but would work with a grilled steak.  Drink over the next ten years or so.  

2005 Lillian Winery Syrah, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

California Syrah bottled in Oregon by Maggie Harrison.  Some of the best Syrah out there.  I last had this about ten years ago.  At age 16, this was at peak and gorgeous.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, slight roasted herbs, and a hint of gamey meat.  Full bodied.  Lots of vibrancy and energy.  Great lush texture.  On the palate, still plenty of fruit, light tannins with depth and complexity.  Black raspberries over pepper and gravel.  Long finish.  This drinks great on its own and is perfect with roasted meats, fowl or veggies.  This prob

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