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

2017 Carlisle Syrah Sonoma County, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

This is the base Syrah from Carlisle and is always a great value.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, black cherries, black pepper and coffee.  Very nice.  On the palate, this is medium to full bodied.  cooler climate in profile.  Black cherries, black raspberries, slight earthiness.  Lighter tannins.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This is drinking well right now and may get a bit better over the next few years.  It should easily do another ten years.  This will go great with Indian food or meat/veggie stews and chili.  Sometimes, these wines don't get enough respect as the ge

2014 Rivers-Marie Cabernet Sauvignon Corona Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$150.00USD

The home winery for winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown.  This Cabernet is exceptional if still young.  Deep purple in color.  The nose has plums, cassis, coffee and slight pencil lead.  On the palate, this is very concentrated.  Lots of cassis, some plums intertwined with some char and earth.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  Firm tannins.  This needs about five more years to sort things out and should be good for ten to twenty years after that.  It will go well with grilled meats and roasted fowl, meat or veggies.  It may still get a bit better.  

2013 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon The Arsenal Greer Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Rutherford, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$190.00USD

This was the last vintage for this wine.  Rob Greer now makes his own eponymous label wines which are also excellent.  Purple in color.  The nose is wonderful with cassis, coffee, mocha and slight floral notes.  With air a bit of cedar comes out.  On the palate, this has a wonderful full bodied texture.  Lots of cassis with and underlying coffee grounds and earthiness.  Long finish.  This will still develop and may improve a bit.  it is drinking very well now as well.  Drinks great on its own but will work with a steak or roasted meats and veggies.  

2013 Realm Cellars The Tempest, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

OK, I have a confession to make.  I love Merlot.  There, I said it.  But, it has to be good.  Sometimes, because Merlot is so accessible young or so delicious, it gets short shrift when compared to Cabernet.  And don't get me started on the Sideways effect.  And yes, there is a lot of crap out there from all over the globe.  But, there is a lot of really great Merlot as well.  And, this is one.  Actually, it is 86% Merlot and 14% Cabernet Sauvignon.  Purple in color.  The nose shows black cherries, dark chocolate, cassis, leather, slight menthol and a bit of earth.  On the palate, the textu

2017 Dark Horse Wines Chardonnay The Original Dark Horse, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
85
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$10.00USD

A nice compliment to their Cabernet.  This is an inexpensive Chardonnay that strikes a mostly middle ground.  It is a good choice for large parties or the casual wine lover.  Light to medium golden in color.  The nose has vanilla, caramel, and slight baked apples.  On the palate, the apples are a bit fresher while the vanilla and caramel remain.  Broad with an acidic bite.  Just a bit of butter.  Easy to drink on its own.  Made for immediate consumption.  

2017 Dark Horse Wines Cabernet Sauvignon The Original Dark Horse, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
86
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$8.00USD

This was served recently at a party that I attended.  It was a chance to try a wine that I normally would not taste.  Full retail is around $13 but it can usually be found for a lot less.  Purple in color, shimmering bright.  The nose has black cherries, dust and slight sawdust.  On the palate, this has a lot of black cherry fruit.  Slightly drying tannins.  A bit of warmth going down.  Overall, it is a nice party wine that is great for crowds that are standing around a nibbling.  It is made for immediate drinking but probably good for another few years.  Distinctly better than I expected a

2016 Carlisle Compagni Portis, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

Mike Officer makes some really nice wines at fair prices.  His whites might even be better values than his reds.  This is a field blend of Gewürztraminer, Trousseau Gris, Riesling and other white grapes.  Pale silvery gold in color.  The nose is great with lychees, peaches and floral tones.  On the palate, this is slightly viscous.  Dry and refreshing.  Peaches and slight pears with good minerality.  Nice finish.  This is drinking quite well now and it probably should be consumed over the next couple of years.  It will go well with salads, sushi or even Thai food.  

2005 Outpost Cabernet Sauvignon True Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Howell Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

A friend opened this bottle for me.  I believe this was their first release of this wine.  Although I believe Outpost is making better wines now than they were then, it was a pleasure and an insight into how well these wines can age.  This is drinking beautifully and still on the youthful side.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, spice and slight dried floral notes.  On the palate, this is concentrated.  It has a wonderful texture.  Juicy black cherry fruit.  Long finish.  It still has some lighter tannins to resolve.  This will go well with medium and heavier foods.  It

2014 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$390.00USD

This is showing to be the equal of the 2007 and the best wine ever made by Thomas Rivers Brown which is no faint praise.  An exceptional bottle of wine that while young now is incredible and may still improve.  It will certainly evolve.  One can debate if a 100 point wine can get better on a philosophical basis.  There is no question that this is a 100 point wine now, so what happens if it does improve?  In any event, this is a shimmering, bright, opaque purple in color.  The nose has cassis, graphite, blueberries, cedar and starting to show a charred earth note.  On the palate, this is sea

2012 Bevan Cellars Ontogeny, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$190.00USD

Bevan Cellars makes some of the best wines anywhere but his Napa Cabs are very expensive.  So is this one, but it is half the price of the others and that makes this a great value in the rarefied air of top Napa Cabs.  On release, this was $95.  This is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot and 10% Cabernet Franc.

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