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

2006 Jaffurs Petite Sirah Thompson Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

This is starting to come into its own but still is young and really needs more time.  Pop and pour, this should have been decanted.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, an underlying char with some peppery notes.  On the palate, this is concentrated but has a lot of black raspberry fruit.  Dense.  Medium tannins.  Worked well with spicy Chile Relenos.  It could use a few more years of cellaring and there is some slight upside for that.  

2011 Halcon Vineyards Syrah Alturas, USA, California, Mendocino, Wine Review

Halcon is making great wines just north of Napa in the Yorkville Highlands.  The wines are stunning values and everyone should sign up for their mailing list and e-mails.  This is a cooler climate Syrah and 2011 was even a bit cooler than typical.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight bacon fat, grilled herbs and a floral note.  There is concentrated fruit but this is more about the minerality.  Complex, this is not yet at peak but getting close.  On the palate, this is medium bodied with some tannins.  Black raspberry fruit.  Sinewy texture.  Great acidity.  Nice finish

2015 Jaffurs Syrah, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Jaffurs makes a lot of wine, this is their basic Syrah and it is one of my favorite value wines from California.  77% Syrah, 9% Grenache, 9% Petite Sirah and the Mourvèdre.  This is warm climate Syrah that will drink early and cellar well.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, grilled meats, slight black pepper and a bit of roasted herbs.  On the palate, this has a lush texture.  It is delicious and always a crowd pleaser.  Deep with complexity that opens in the glass but will emerge with more cellaring.  Great on its own or with hearty of fatty foods.  Definite upside potentia

2009 Groth Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Groth is one of those wineries that used to get a lot of buzz.  Now, they are somewhat yesterday's news although the truth is, Groth is still making excellent California Cabernet and deserves to still be in the conversation.  This one was from Magnum.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is dusty with nice cassis fruit.  Some baking spice as well.  On the palate, this is drinking well.  Probably not at peak yet.  Complex layers of cassis and spice with some dry earth.  Medium tannins.  There is a strong backbone of acidity here that is helped by fatty foods.  Nice finish.  At around

2015 Outpost Zinfandel Howell Mountain, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

This is a great take on Zinfandel using mountain fruit which gives it a bit more concentration and less exuberance.  Purple in color.  The nose  has black raspberries, some blueberries, a bit of bramble and spice and slight black pepper.  On the palate, this has a great dense and lush texture.  Lots of black raspberry fruit.  This is still young and should broaden out over the next decade with cellaring.  That said, it presents a really powerful and enjoyable Zinfandel right now as well.  Works with hearty foods.

2015 Carlisle Zinfandel Papera Ranch, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

My favorite vineyard from my favorite Zinfandel producer!  Purple in color.  The nose is black raspberries, slight cedar, slight bramble, spice and pepper.  With air, some dark cherries emerge.  My favorite part of this wine is the texture which seems consistent over vintages.  It is rich and lush yet the wine glides down the palate.  Flavors of black raspberry and minerals and slight char and pepper.  Complex and deep.  Each sip leaves one wanting another sip.  Then the bottle is drained.  Works with a wider variety of food than imagined.  Long finish.  A spectacular wine.  

2012 Torrin Akasha, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Torrin is one of the most underrated wines out of California.  Maybe underrated is not the right word.  I just don't understand why it doesn't get the buzz it deserves.  To my mine it is one of the five top wineries producing Rhone varietals in California.  Yes, the wines are big, but so far, they seem to be ageing just fine.  This one is fantastic.  These are big, warm climate Syrahs that are similar in style to SQN or Saxum.  Purple in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, grilled meats, and hot tar.  On the palate, this is lush with lots of fruit and medium tannins.  Black ra

2014 Denner Syrah, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, blueberries, spice, slight grilled meats and black pepper.  On the palate, this is a bit more restrained than I expected but still outstanding.  Black raspberries, blueberries, and slight earthiness.  With air some charred earth as well.  Nice texture.  Some complexity.  Enough acidity to work with hearty foods.  Good finish.  There is plenty of fruit and slight tannins; this seems like it might improve or it might just age out.  Either way it easily has a decade or more left.