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

2016 Cline Cellars Zinfandel Ancient Vines, USA, California, Contra Costa Country, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$14.00USD

Another great value from Cline.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, raspberries, bramble and cedar.  Medium bodied.  Some depth and concentration.  The cherries come thru to the palate along with some black cherries.  Nice texture.  Drinks well on its own right now but will work with pizza or pasta or burgers.  This probably should be consumed in the next year or so.  

2018 Cline Cellars Mourvedre Ancient Vines Rosé, USA, California, Contra Costa County, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

Cline makes some of the best values in wine.  This is certainly one of them.  Pale salmon pink in color.  The nose has nice watermelons and a bit of cranberries.  Light bodied.  Silky texture.  Good acidity.  The palate is more strawberries with cranberries.  Moderate finish.  This is refreshing.  it will go well with lighter foods and drinks fine on its own.  It should be consumed in the next year.  

2015 Schramsberg Vineyards Crémant Demi-Sec, USA, California, Calistoga, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$38.00USD

This is an interesting blend.  It is 67% Flora, 19% Chardonnay, and 14% Pinot Noir.  Flora is a crossing of Semillon and Gewürztraminer that was created in 1938 by Harold P. Olmo at the California Agricultural Experiment Station.  Light golden in color.  The nose has seltzer, slight marzipan and peach.  On the palate, this is slightly sweet.  Apples and apricots.  Turns sweeter on the finish.  This is enjoyable on it own but would work with a not too sweet peach/apricot dessert.  Drink over the next couple of years.  

2014 Jaffurs Syrah Larner Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 

Purple in color.  The nose is very nice with black raspberries, black cherries, roasted herbs and slight violet notes.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  It is a big wine, but not over blown.  Notes of black raspberries over a char and dry earth.  Good balance.  Long finish.  This is still young and will likely improve.  It needs about five years until peak and should be good for ten to fifteen after that.  Syrahs like this go well with Indian food and also meat based dishes.  

2009 Paul Hobbs Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer Dr. Crane Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$260.00USD

Deep purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is great.  Very Bordeaux-like in a Californian way.  Cassis, cherries, baking spices with a slight black licorice.  On the palate, this is young but showing some maturity.  Light to medium tannins.  On the palate, the fruit is more black cherry than cassis.  Some oak still showing.  Some minerals and dry earthiness underneath.  Nice finish.  This is a beautiful wine that is probably at the start of peak.  It will mature more over the next ten years and be good for another ten to fifteen after that.  

2012 Sine Qua Non Grenache Stein, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$225.00USD

Few people make Grenache in California at a level of this.  Manfred Krankl, the owner/winemaker here, does it consistently.  It skirts the line of being large yet having elegance.  This is a blend of 76% Grenache, 16% Syrah, and 8% Mourvedre.  Just a delicious wine.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has great raspberry fruit along with black raspberries, char, black pepper and spice.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, the raspberries and black raspberries come thru.  Wonderful lush texture.  Underlying pepper and char.  Long finish.  This needs about five more years until peak an

2010 Schrader Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon RBS Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$350.00USD

A really great wine.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, chocolate, char, slight camphor note and coffee.  This is a rich, big wine.  Delicious.  Flavors of cassis, blueberries with slight chocolate over spice and char.  Juicy acidity.  Medium tannins.  Long finish. This needs about 5 to seven more years until peak and then should be great for ten to twenty more years.  It will work with big foods like steak or roasts.  

2013 MacDonald Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$575.00USD

Wow.  This wine was decanted  for 10 hours in a Magnum size decanter prior to serving.  It needed every bit of that.  Inky purple in color.   What an awesome nose.  Cassis, moist earth, baking spice and slight cigar box.  On the palate, this has firm tannins.  Loads of cassis, some black cherries over a rich earthiness with some cedar.  Great balance.  This is a powerful wine but not a monster in that sense.  Lots of fruit but with pin point attack.  Long finish.  This needs at least ten years to get close to peak but if you can't resist, a decant of at least 12 and even 24 hours is needed.

2010 Abreu Howell Mountain, USA, California, Napa, Howell Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$335.00USD

A wow red blend to be sure.  This has 63% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot, 8% Malbec and 5% Merlot.  Still young, this was pop and pour and rocking from the get-go.  Purple in color.  The nose is great with cassis, plums, cigar box, graphite, baking spice and slight cedar.  On the palate, this is full bodied yet very concentrated.  Powerful and intense.  Lots of cassis, some blueberries, plums wound with tobacco, chocolate and slight char.  Medium tannins.  Long finish.  This kept evolving in the glass.  It probably won't peak for another five years or so and should

2007 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$395.00USD

Wow.  This is in a great place right now (and has been for a while).  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is classic, Californian, and amazing.  Cassis, blueberries, pencil lead, spice and slight chocolate.  Amazing texture.  Full bodied.  Racy yet, powerful.  There are light to medium tannins.  At age 12, this is still not yet at full maturity.  Flavors of cassis, blueberries, slight chocolate and char.  Great balance.  Long finish.  One of the great wines of the world.  

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