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

2011 SonkinCellars Persona, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

WARNING - Biased review.  2011 was a difficult vintage.  The fruit was bursting open on the sorting line.  It never got as ripe as we wanted.  We ended up putting in a bit of Petite Sirah from Lodi to get the final wine where we wanted it to be.  This was the only vintage with PS in it.  In the end, we really liked the wine and were proud of the final product.  It is an outlier in many respects from our other wines though.  This wine has drunk well from the start whereas most of our wines have needed time.  Now at age 7, I think it is mid-peak.  It won't get any better and should be at this

2010 SonkinCellars Persona, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

WARNING - Biased Review.  this wine continues to drink well now that it has finally re-awoken from its slumber.  Purple in color.  The nose is very nice with black olives, black raspberries, roasted meats and slight floral notes.  Except for the bright fruit, it shows very northern Rhone-like.  On the palate, this is deep with layers that unwind in the glass.  Earthy notes along with black raspberry fruit.  Good acidity.  Works with heartier foods.  This is closing in on peak but should have a decade left so no hurry.  A bit of air before serving is a good idea but this no longer needs a lo

2009 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Corona Vineyard

Wow.  This was excellent.  This is why you let the better California Cabernet's age.  Sure, they are delicious young.  Juicy and full of fruit and energy.  But at age 9, this has all of that still but also starting to show some development.  This wine could easily go another two decades though it will undoubtedly lose fruit and sunshine.  For those lucky enough to have a bunch, it will be fun to watch this.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, cedar, slight dust and saddle leather.  With air, some black cherries come out.  On the palate, this took about an hour or two to really start to

2016 Seghesio Family Vineyards Zinfandel Angela's Table, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose has red berries, dust, warmth and some sour cherries.  On the palate, the red fruits continue.  This is ripe.  Not deep but tasty.  Easy drinking.  Went well with roasted acorn squash and butter sauce.  Good finish.  This older winery has a range of nice wines.  This one was $16 and its hard to beat that value.  Drink up in the next year or two.  

2010 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas, USA, California, Yorkville Highlands

This continues to develop and open.  It is finally at a point where it can be opened without too much air.  This bottle was pop and pour and enjoyed over several hours.  A lovely cooler climate Syrah.  Purple in color.  The nose has roasted meats, black raspberries and black olives. On the palate, this opens in the glass with a nice complexity.  Medium tannins.  Nice boysenberry fruit with undertones of roasted meats and earthiness.  Good finish.  Works with heartier and spicy foods quite well.  Nice finish.  Should be good to go for the next seven to ten years.  

2016 Peter Michael Sauvignon Blanc L'Apres-Midi, USA, California, Sonoma, Knights Valley, Wine Review

Silvery green in color.  Very nice nose with chalk, minerals, tarragon and slight lemon notes.  Decidedly more mineral driven than fruit.  On the palate, the lemon comes out a bit more along with a bit of peach.  Plenty of minerals as well.  A very nice oily texture.  Great balance and acidity.  Long finish.  This is a energetic and persistent wine that is lean and goes great with food.  It has depth and complexity as well and probably be drinking just fine in ten years, but the energy will be gone, so it is best enjoyed in the next few.  

2013 Treasure Hunter Wines Petite Sirah The Lion Tamer, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

This is really drinking well right now.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, underlying graphite and slight black pepper.  On the palate, there is nice black raspberry fruit.  Good texture.  Plenty of depth.  Still drinking on the young side of maturity.  Medium tannins.  Good acidity.  Worked well with food.  Not a monster wine but plenty of fruit and delicious.  Still some development to go and possible upside.  

2014 B Wise Vineyards Wisdom, USA, California, Sonoma, Moon Mountain, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is dusty with slight aquarium notes.  Also some cherries and black cherries.  On the palate, there is a lot of heat and it seems disjointed.  Tart cherries but brown sugar.  Alcohol on the finish.  Again, this appears to be a poorly stored bottled, but how to know for sure or where the issue is.  Drinkable for sure, but doesn't work with food at this point.  Hopefully, this bottle was not representative.  

2013 Jax Vineyards Pinot Noir Y3, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Ruby/purple in color.  Cloudy.  The nose is sweaty socks.  Perhaps some macerated cherries.  On the palate, this is very soft.  Very sour cherries with some dank earthiness.  It is a style of Pinot that I like but this seems either mishandled or way past prime at this young age.  Not sure if this bottle was representative  It reminds me of some of the unclean Burgundies that were more prevalent 25 years ago.  That is not to say undrinkable or even bad, as this wine is certainly offering some nice and interesting notes, but more to say, what this might have been (or a pristine bottle is).

2017 Bedrock Wine Co. Sauvignon Blanc, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Light green gold in color.  The nose is nice with minerals and melons.  On the palate, this is tight.  Obviously it's young, but still it took some time to open.  The melons carry thru to the palate along with a slight grass note.  Good finish.  Works well with or without food but needs a bit of air.  Very solid but seems like some patience may be rewarded. Good now, but will greatness develop?  I think so.