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

2014 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay Joy Road Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This is still youthful but opens nicely in the glass and as we drank it.  Light golden in color.  The nose is very nice with lemon custard and nice minerality.  Like most Rivers Marie Chardonnays, there is some oak showing but is used deftly and not at all a problem.  On the palate, this is crisp and focused.  Lemon cream and minerals.  Long finish.  This works quite well with food and also will work on its own.  It won't get better but should easily cruise thru the next decade.  

2015 Liquid Farm Chardonnay Golden Slope, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Sta. Rita Hills, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This is a winery that I have found to be hit or miss for my personal tastes.  Sometimes the oak can be a bit much and other times the wines are wonderful.  This one was quite good although it pushed my tolerance for oak.  Medium golden in color.  The nose has vanilla, lumber, peaches and floral notes (white?).  On the palate, this has a nice creamy texture.  Lots of peach fruit.  Spice and oak are present but not over bearing.  This is a rich and voluptuous style but not a caricature.  At the end, I found it quite good.  It will go well with rich see food and similar salads.  This should la

2014 Calera Chardonnay Mount Harlan, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This was a great comparison drinking side by side with a Rhys Chard.  From similar areas south of San Francisco.  This is a bit more austere although that isn't really the right word.  Perhaps not as flamboyant?  In any event, this is fantastic.  Light golden in color.  The nose is great with lemon curd, slight peaches, and a bit of lime.  On the palate, this is medium bodied with crisp acidity.  Almost seamless from the first sip to the smooth finish.  The lemon curds follow thru to the palate.  Long finish.  This is very food friendly and will work with all but the heaviest of foods.  Gre

2013 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Exposition One Weill Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$225.00USD

This is part of a three part release that was an homage to the Guigal La La wines of the Northern Rhone.  This was my first time trying any of them and they still need a bit more time.  Purple in color.  The nose has a lot of oak still to work thru.  Of course, there is plenty of black raspberry fruit so it should be able to.  There is some roasted meat and black pepper as well.  On the palate, the oak is also pronounced.  Firm tannins.  Gobs of black raspberry fruit.  Deep but impenetrable.  All of that said, it is delicious now, slightly sweet and highly enjoyable on its own.  It is more

2017 CrossBarn (Paul Hobbs) Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$22.00USD

Purchased off a restaurant list which is a great place for this if priced fairly.  It is ready to go and provides good drinking for the money.  Light green/gold in color.  The nose is more about tropical fruits than expected; mango and melons.  Maybe some peaches as well.  On the palate, this is big but not oaky.  Peaches with slight acidity.  Worked well with sushi.  This should probably be drunk up by 2022.  

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Old Lakeville Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

Nice to revisit this at age 10.  Mature and drinking well.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls.  The nose has black raspberries, black olives, charcoal and black pepper.  On the palate, this is clean with black raspberry fruit.  Some depth and complexity.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This won't get better but should hold for a decade more.  It goes great with food or on its own.  

2015 Keplinger Lithic, USA, California, Amador County, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

This is a blend of 40% Mourvèdre, 34% Grenache, and 26% Syrah.  It is a big wine that is ripe and delicious.  The nose has black raspberries, blue berries, roasted meat and herbs, black pepper and some cherries.  On the palate, this is big.  Firm tannins.  Juicy black raspberry and blueberry fruit with an underlying minerality.  It softens a bit in the glass.  It is great on its own but a difficult food match at present.  It will most certainly evolve and gain integration over the next five to ten years at which time it will be great with cassoulets and roasted foods.  No regrets about open

2008 Anderson's Conn Valley Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Estate Reserve, USA, California, Napa, Conn Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$120.00USD

Conn Valley is slightly out of the way in the Napa Valley, but this winery continues to make great wines at fair prices.  It was nice to be able to try one with a bit of age on it.  I had last tried this wine on release and from Magnum when it was more about potential.  That potential has been (mostly) realized.  There will be further development but it is close to maturity.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, slight black raspberries, a bit of cedar and spice.  On the palate, this is very concentrated.  Not a fruit bomb, but certainly of Napa.  Lots of cassis and black raspberries over

2005 Chateau Montelena Cabernet Sauvignon The Montelena Estate, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$100.00USD

This is just starting to get where it is going but should easily have two decades left.  Deep ruby in color with some purple swirls.  The nose is great with cassis, tobacco, dark chocolate and slight pencil lead.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Juicy cassis flavors intertwined with a slight earthiness a char.  It unwinds in the glass.  Pop and pour, it would be better served with a slow ox or decant.  It will go well with a wide range of food.  

2010 Roy Estate Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$150.00USD

My first time trying this wine.  It is made by Philippe Melka.  93% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petit Verdot.   2010 was a hit or miss vintage but this is quite good.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, blueberries, and coffee.  On the palate, this is drinking well.  Plenty of black raspberries and blueberries.  Lush texture.  Not a lot of acidity but enough to work with food.  Good finish.  This is not a fruit bomb and its not intense, more middle of the road in style.  Very enjoyable.  It should probably be consumed in the next five to seven years though it undoubtedly will still be d

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