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

2017 Stolpman Trousseau Combe Pet'Nat, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Ballard Canyon, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
87
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

Tasted at a "Natural Wine" tasting at a local wine store.  Pet'Nat is short for Pétillant-naturel (natural sparkling) and is also known as méthode ancestrale.  It is a way that sparkling wines were historically produced having the wine bottled before the primary fermentation is finished, and without the addition of secondary yeasts or sugars.

2015 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
99
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$135.00USD

My friend Charlie came by.  Now Charlie likes his wines big and young and we both love Saxum.  That sure seemed like a great opportunity to pull and young'un from the cellar and see what it was showing.  The surprising thing was how good and accessible this was already.  It's not at peak and will improve with cellaring, but if you have more than one, it's not a tragedy to open one now.  33% Grenache, 32% Mourvedre, 24% Syrah and 11% Counoise.   Purple in color, slight ruby line at the rim.  The nose is great with black raspberries, roasted meats, white pepper and slight floral notes.  This

2015 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah North Coast, USA, California, Wine Reviews

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

Bedrock makes some great wines, but the low end of their pricing/releases gives consumers some of the best values in red wine.  This is their basic Syrah which is available to mailing list customers for around $21 delivered.  It is a classic, cooler climate but California Syrah.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, some black pepper, slight roasted meats and a bit of leather.  On the palate, this is tannic and tight.  With air, there is great black raspberry fruit with some damp earthiness underneath and a little peppery quality.  Wonderful texture.  Good finish.  Will work be

2016 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

Aaron Pott has been making great wine in the Napa Valley for a while now.  Understandably, as the high critics scores have rolled in, the prices have crept up.  While this bottle is not cheap (around $75), it is a lot less than the Pott single vineyard wines.  Since I had never had one, my wife and I decided to open one young and drink it over a couple of days.  The result is this is an outstanding wine and should age nicely for a more than a decade.  Bright purple in color with some ruby swirls.  The nose has nice cassis with a fair amount of char and spice.  On day 2, the oak blended more

2016 Flora Springs Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$29.99USD

Despite what you may think, Sideways didn't kill the California Merlot market as much as it made Pinot Noir stylish.  There are still some fine Merlots being made.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has a nice chocolate covered cherry quality to it.  Some spice as well.  On the palate, this takes about thirty minutes of air to open and then drinks very well.  It is more expressive (right now) on the palate with milk chocolate covered cherries and a nice vanilla streak.  Not candied as much as liqueur notes.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  This drinks very well on its own and would b

2016 Flora Springs Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Looking for an outstanding Napa Cabernet for $50?  This one fits just fine.  This is drinking just great right now but will easily last a decade.  84% Cabernet Sauvignon, 11% Merlot, 3% Malbec,1% Petit Verdot.  Purple in color.  The nose is great with cassis, a bit of pencil lead, coffee and a slight dusty note.  On the palate, this has medium tannins.  Great balance.  Plenty of cassis fruit over a dry earthy note.  Good finish.  This will go well with a variety of heavier dishes from BBQ to roasts.  

2016 Flora Springs Trilogy, USA, California, Napa Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

This used to be a go to wine, but its been a few years, so it was a pleasure to be able to revisit this Bordeaux Blend.  A blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec and Petite Verdot.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, cherries and spice.  With air some plums come out.  On the palate, this has a lovely texture.  Lots of juicy black currants, with black raspberries.  Firm tannins.  Nice balance.  This has not yet been released and of course, will need a few years to really show what it has.  I believe the release price will be around $80 which is fair for the quality from Napa.  It will go we

2015 Sobon Estate Zinfandel Fiddletown, USA, California, Amador, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$18.00USD

Looking for a good, not too expensive Zinfandel for parties, pizza night and just good sipping?  Here ya go!  This one retails for $20 and fits the bill.  Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose has cherries, sour cherries, a bit of sticks and stones and slight dust.  On the palate, this is easy to drink.  It is ripe but not over the top.  Nice texture presumably from the high alcohol (15%).  Good finish.  This makes a nice cocktail wine but will go with big casual food.  Sure to be a crowd pleaser.  

2016 Sobon Estate Viognier, USA, California, Amador County, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
83
Grade: 
B-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

Pale gold in color.  The nose has some meyer lemon's but is also very dusty and slightly hot.  On the palate, this has a nice oily texture.  A bit of a green streak but also some lemon notes.  It has a distracting bitter quality that is very persistent.  A shorter finish.  Screw capped.  The description makes this sound worse that it was, but this was a disappointing experience.  

2013 SonkinCellars Unmasked, USA, California, Mendocino, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Biased review.  This wine is now starting to be approachable.  Pop and pour, it is still young but in my biased opinion, showing well.  Of course, part of this is because having made the wine, it was made in a style I love.  Most of the fruit is from the Halcon Vineyard.  This is a cooler climate Syrah.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has boysenberries, slight bacon fact, leather and roasted meats.  A nice of gravel as well.  On the palate, I love the texture.  Not a monster, but juicy fruit without being over blown.  Medium tannins.  Great acidity.  This will work with roasted dishes, cas

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