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

2013 Jaffurs Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, roasted meats, some black pepper and hints of violets.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Lush and almost seamless.  Black raspberries layered with spice and slight roasted meats.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  This would work great with heartier foods or spicy ones too.  Drinking quite well though not yet at peak.  It might have some more upside as it continues to develop.  A real crowd pleaser but if drinking soon, give it some air.  Probably will peak in five years and be good for a decade or more after that.  

2012 Ledge Syrah James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, some char and a bit of leather.  On the palate, this is nice with black raspberry fruit.  Some complexity.  It doesn't seem like this will improve.  It is a very good wine but, this is from perhaps the best Syrah vineyard in California.  The expectations were high and this did not meet up to those expectations.  That may be unfair, but there it is.  This sold for around $50 on release.  

2013 Saxum Cuvée Rocket Block James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

From Magnum.  Consumed over 4 days, it was probably best on day 3 and day 4.  100% Grenache.  16.4% Alcohol and not noticeable.  Purple in color.  The nose has cherries, dark cherries, some coffee grounds, spice and slight floral notes.  On the palate, this is not as big of a wine as expected.  Wonderful seamless texture.  Delicious.  Dark cherries, cherries, spice along with light tannins.  Long finish.  Will work with a wide variety of foods.  This is still quite young and has a few more years until maturity and a good decade or more after that.  One of the top examples of California Gren

2014 Sine Qua Non Syrah Piranha Waterdance, USA, California, Wine Review

81% Syrah, 8% Petite Sirah, 6% Mourvèdre, 4% Touriga Nacional and 1% Graciano.  Inky purple in color.  This is very different for an SQN wine.  It does have 15.8% Alc but there is no sign of that.  The nose has black raspberries, blueberries, some roasted meats and herbs and black pepper.  On the palate, this is almost elegant.  It has a refined quality but also the intensity and concentration one expects.  Black raspberry and blueberry fruit on the palate with underlying coffee grounds and char.  Great texture.  Long finish.  This is still quite young and has some upside even as good as it

2010 Quintessa, USA, California, Napa, Rutherford, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is nice with cherries, cassis and chocolate.  Also some dustiness.  On the palate, this is very elegant.  Not the big fruit bomb I was expecting.  Cassis, layered with chocolate and char.  Great texture.  Nice balance.  Good finish.  Will work with a wide variety of foods.  Seems to still be youthful.  There might be some upside but it is delicious now.  

1997 Viader Proprietary Red, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Cabernet Franc.  Purple in color.  The nose is dusty with cassis, tobacco, and slight cherries.  On the palate, this has cassis and cedar over some tobacco and clay.  Nicely layered, this wine is drinking great right now.  Another Napa Cab that drinks like older Bordeaux with some years.  If you like mature wines, this is at peak, if you like fruit powerhouses, this is past.  It is balanced and very food friendly.  Drink up.  

1997 Opus One, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, tobacco, it is slightly dusty and cedar.  On the palate, this still has some tannins left and plenty of fruit but is fully mature.  Cassis with some black olives.  This seems like a good bottle.  There is a nice complexity to it.  Very smooth.  Very food friendly.  Blind, i think most people would guess mature Bordeaux.  Of course, with a wine of this pedigree, there is always a lot of anticipation, but I think this is probably the wine producers were trying to  make back in 1997.  It succeeds at that if a very different wine from most 1997's.  

2003 Frias Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Spring Mountain, Wine Review

From a Magnum.  Pretty etched bottle/label.  Purple in color.  The nose is dusty with cassis and a bit of rosemary.  On the palate, there is cassis with some plums on the finish.  This is deep and concentrated and seems to be drinking at about peak right now.  It starts out with tight layers in the glass and then opens very quickly.  Good finish.  Works well with heartier foods.  No hurry, but no reason to wait to open a bottle.  

2016 Denner Theresa, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

One of the great white Rhone wines from California.  50% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, 10% Vermentino, 10% Picpoul, 10% Marsanne.  Green gold in color.  The nose has slight limes with some citrus and slight wax.  On the palate, this has a wonderful plush texture with great crispness on the wine.  Deep and complex despite its youth, it unwinds in the glass.  Slightly oily.  Long finish.  Works with or without foods.  This will likely age well, but is so good now, I don't think it gets better, just different.  

Pages