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

2014 Wilde Farm Wines Syrah Cardiac Hill, USA, California, Sonoma, Bennett Valley, Wine Review

Another winner from this winery making lower alcohol, cooler climate wines from California.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, char, black olives and roasted herbs.  On the palate, this is medium to full bodied.  Black raspberries with an underlying char.  Also some earthiness.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  Very food friendly with some potential upside over the next few years.  

2001 Paloma Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

This is a former Wine Spectator Wine of the Year.  It was nice to revisit this wine.  It seems to be at peak and drinking as good as it will get.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cherries, spice, chocolate and dried cherries.  On the palate, this is full bodied with a lush texture.  Just a wisp of tannins.  Layers of chocolate covered cherries and slight earth.  Long finish.  Food friendly.  Certainly one of the best California Merlot's I have had.  Even Miles from Sideways would like it.  It still has five to ten years, at least, left if well stored.  

2014 Napa Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

This is a $30 Napa Cab.  While perhaps a good price point for Napa, that is not a cheap bottle.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, spice and fresh cut lumber.  On the palate, this has one dimensional fruit but a fair amount of it.  Lots of oak showing as well.  Medium tannins.  Not much acidity, this is made to enjoy on its own on the back deck.  It is a solid wine for that purpose and for those who like fruit and oak, this is one to look for.  

2015 DuMOL Pinot Noir Finn, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Beautiful Pinot Noir.  Ruby with some purple swirls.  The nose is great with bright cherries contrasted by an earthy, damp forest floor note.  Also some spice.  On the palate, this is tight but quite good.  It needs at least five years or a long decant.  Cherries, macerated cherries, layered tightly with damp earth and spice.  Complex.  Good balance.  Long finish.  Went quite well with food.  

2015 Kutch Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, USA, California, Wine Review

This is the first bottling by Kutch from this AVA.  Perhaps not quite the focus as the Santa Cruz mountain version but still quite nice.  That may be to being a different vintage or AVA.  This is golden in color.  The nose has pears, slight vanilla, some lemon and a slightly sweaty note to it.  On the palate, this is of course young.  The pears and slight lemons come thru.  Some acidity but not a lot.  It will be good to revisit this and see if it comes more together.  That said, it is delicious now with depth to it.  Worked very well at the dinner table.  

2009 Olson Ogden Syrah Unti Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Dry Creek Valley, Wine Review

My last bottle from this now defunct winery.  Too bad as they made very good wine.  This bottle certainly was.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, roasted herbs and slight bacon fat.  On the palate, this has juicy acidity.  Black raspberry fruit.  Light tannins.  Some black olives.  Good finish.  Seems close to peak now.  Works well with food.  

2010 Jaffurs Syrah Bien Nacido Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Maria Valley, Wine Review

This wine has taken a long time to come around but it is now in a great drinking window.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, roasted meats, leather, slight floral notes and black pepper.  On the palate, this is complex with juicy acidity.  Black raspberries, charcoal, black pepper and slight roasted meats.  Great texture.  Long finish.  Very food friendly especially spicy foods.  It is close to peak and should stay here for 5 to 8 years or more.  

2012 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

I love Saxum, they are certainly one of my top favorite wineries.  But, over the years, their styles have changed.  Presumably, that has been consistent with owner/winemaker Justin Smith's preferences changing.  For my tastes, 2012 was another year of change in styles.  The wines became a bit more intense and need a decade to really strut their stuff.  That said, with a bit of air, this one was delicious at six years from vintage.  Deep purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, leather, roasted meat and black pepper.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  It is packed with delic