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

2016 Bonterra Elysian Collection Merlot, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

Purple/ruby in color.  The nose is nice with dusty cherries, raspberries and carob.  On the palate, this has a nice acidity.  Soft texture.  Some complexity.  Raspberry fruit with underlying dry earthiness.  Good finish.  Served to a group, this was quite a crowd pleaser among wine lover (not wine geeks).  This should be pretty versatile with most foods.  This retails for $25 which is a very nice value in California Merlot.  

NV Right Now Red Number 8, USA, California, Wine Review

Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+

From a Can.  Ruby in color with purple swirls.  The nose has black cherries and some raspberries.  On the palate, slight tannins.  Black cherries.  This drinks easy but tasty.  Not a lot of depth but this is a very good California red wine.  At $6, this will be great for parties.    

NV Right Now Rose Dry Wine, USA, California, Wine Review

Score: 
85
Grade: 
B

This is a canned wine.  Pretty color, sort of an electric salmon orange.  Clear and bright.  The nose has strawberries, kiwi and slight watermelons.  On the palate, this is tart with rhubarb and cranberries.  Refreshing.  Easy drinking.  For around $7 a can, this is a nice, fun wine.  

NV Right Now Alpine Stream White, USA, California, Wine Review

Score: 
78
Grade: 
C+

This is from a Can.  Unfortunately, while other wines from this producer can be recommended, this was was not.  Of course, wine is subjective, so your mileage may vary.  Light yellow gold in color.  The nose has an asparagus note to it.  With air, it gains a slight lemony quality.  On the palate, it is dry and innocuous.  There is a bit of acidity.  This actually improved with air, but given that it is in a can, it is unclear how many drinkers would decant it or even pour it into a glass.  It retails for $6 for a 375ml can.  

NV Right Now Shimmer, USA, California

Score: 
86
Grade: 
B

This  is a can of sparkling wine (12 oz).  It is rose.  It is lightly carbonated and the bubbles dissipate in the glass leaving a pretty orange/ruby wine.  Clear and bright.  The nose is nice with strawberries, slight raspberries and some rhubarb.  On the palate, this is lightly sweet.  Refreshing.  Decent acidity.  It is probably best on its own or at a party (rather than a formal dinner).  It retails for $6 a can which is about the same as $12 per bottles.  That is a fair price.  Once one gets past the gimmick, this is a wine that many people will like.  Certainly fun.  

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

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

This is a high end Napa Cabernet.  It needs some time, but it is quite good.  The retail is $95, so certainly it is not within everyone's budget.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis and chocolate.  Also a bit of graphite.  On the palate, those flavors carry through.  The fruit is pretty ripe.  Lots of black raspberry and plum fruit.  Slight heat on the finish that I suspect will calm down with some bottle age.  This should improve by a point or two with a few years in the cellar and be good for a decade after.  Will work with heavier foods and on its own.  

2014 Eagle Glen Merlot

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

Purple in color.  The nose has cherries, cassis, slight chocolate and spice.  Those flavors continue to the palate.  Light tannins.  This is a tasty, easy drinking wine.  A bit of acidity.  Will work well on its own but also with medium or heavier foods.  Good finish.  

2016 Jax Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Calistoga, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

Purple in color.  The nose has plenty of cassis, some cedar, and slight cigar tobacco.  On the palate, this is big ripe cassis fruit.  A bit of mint on the palate as well.  Some spice.  Firm tannins.  This needs a few years and should be good for another ten or more.  This needs big food and will work well on its own.  If drinking in the next few years, give it a few hour decant.  Definitely some upside potential.  

2016 Jax Vineyards Pinot Noir Y3, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

Deep Ruby/Purple in color.  The nose has sour cherries and spice.  On the palate, this has big fruit; mostly sour cherries, some cherries.  Good balance.  Long finish.  This is a big, fruit forward style of Pinot that will work very well on its own.  It is delicious.  It will work with some bigger foods as well.  Promises to be a crowd pleaser.  

2014 Lobo Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Wulff Vineyards, USA, California, Atlas Peak, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Not to be confused with the wine of the same name from the Valley floor in Oak Knoll, this is from Atlas Peak and is mountain fruit.  This is a step up in quality and price.  Inky purple in color.  Very concentrated.  The nose has cassis, dark chocolate graphite and char.  On the palate, this is tannic.  Concentrated cassis flavors.  Fine tannins.  It opens in the glass but could use some time/decanting.  Nice balance.  Good finish.  A polished wine that should improve for the next five years.  Will work on the dinner table or on its own.  $85 retail.  

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