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

2018 Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$23.00USD

This is the Robert Mondavi Winery's version of a Sauvignon Blanc.  It is actually 87% Sauvignon Blanc and 13% Semillon.  It is also a great value in California Sauvignon Blanc.  Light golden with some green hues in color, clear and bright.  The nose shows a slightly grassy note with plenty of tropical fruits.  Also a bit of citrus.  It has a very creamy texture which is nice and enough acidity to come off as crisp.  On the palate, mostly guava and papaya fruits.  Ripe and delicious.  Drink this over the next few years.  This drinks great on its own and will work well with lighter foods.  A

2019 Prisoner Wine Company Chardonnay, USA, California, Carneros, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2019
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

The Prisoner Wine Company makes, ironically, a "Take No Prisoners" style of wine.  They are lush, big and delicious and make no apologies for their style.  And, why note,  millions of people love them.  This Chardonnay with a touch of Roussanne, and Gewürztraminer) is no exception.  Golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose is big with oak coming off as vanilla and crème brûlée, along with some lemon cream.  With air, some baked apple notes emerge.  Full bodied with light oak tannins.  On the palate, this has a lot of oak but enough acidity and fruit to give some balance.  Lots of vanill

2018 Fingers Crossed White, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+

This is my first time trying this producer.  It is a blend of 72% Roussanne, 24% Chardonnay, and 4% Viognier.  Opened and allowed to breathe for an hour prior to consuming.  Delicious.  Golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose shows some toasty oak, roasted almonds, Lemon flan, and slight wax/vanilla.  Yet, for all those oak notes on the nose, it takes a back seat on the palate which has lemons, waxy lemons, and slight ginger notes.  It is a big wine, but not a fruit bomb, more of a presence.  Enough acidity to carry the fruit.  Long finish.  This is delicious on its own, but also worke

2006 Jaffurs Syrah Verna's, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

This is in a great spot right now.  At peak.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, roasted herbs and slight bacon fat.  Full bodied.  Ripe but not overt.  On the palate, nice black raspberry fruit with great acidity.  Deep and complex.  It opens beautifully in the glass.  Also, delicious.  Long finish.  This won't get better but should drink well for another five to seven years.  It works well on its own and would work with Thai or Indian food, or just a burger.  

2007 Lillian Winery Syrah (Gray Label), USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

A beautiful Syrah from this Oregon based producer (although the fruit is Californian).  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, char, roasted herbs, gamey meat and black pepper.  Full bodied but not over the top.  14.8% abv.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Black raspberry fruit, ripe, but not sweet with a touch of black pepper.  Lively.  Good energy.  Long finish.  Delicious.  Drinking really well right now, at or close to peak.  This should drink well for another ten to twelve years.  This drinks great on its own and went well with a roasted veggie sandwich

2017 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay Joy Road Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

Another great showing for this Chardonnay.  There is a deft use of oak that is noticeable here, but well done and well within reason.  Light golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose is nice with lemon curd, vanilla and hint of grapefruit.  With air a nice minerality emerges.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is still young but drinking well.  It improves in the glass showing lemon curd with slight vanilla and spice.  Nice balance and structure.  Long finish.  This seems like it should easily do another decade or more.  Great on its own, this will work well with duck, salmon or just a s

2008 Sine Qua Non Grenache The Duel, Eleven Confessions Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Santa Rita Hills, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$365.00USD

There are not a lot of great producers of Grenache in California, but there are a few who excel and at the top is Manfred Krankl and his Sine Qua Non wines.  At age 13, this is just hitting its stride and just outstanding.  A blend of 82% Grenache, 14% Syrah, 2% Viognier and 2% Roussanne.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black cherries, black raspberries, roasted meats and spices.  Full bodied.  15.8% abv but no heat.  On the palate, black cherries with some black raspberries over a bit of char.  Deep and powerful.  Delicious.  Long finish.  The kind of wine that

2015 Orin Swift Equinox Edition 6 - No Vacancy

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

This is a Pinot Noir from the new Orin Swift Cellars.  Like many of his wines, there will be a subsection of people who won't like it because it is too big and too ripe.  Those people will also dismiss those who do like it as being "the masses".  The thing is, "the masses" are not buying $50 Pinot Noir's.  It is a matter of style and preference.  Ruby in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose has cherries, baking spices, slight chocolate and figs.  Full bodied.  On the nose, this has raspberries, slight confectionary sugar notes, a hint of black pepper with some cherries on the finish. 

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