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

2012 Clos du Val Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

This was from Magnum.  Most anyone who has been drinking Cabernet for any time has run into this wine.  It is a reasonably priced, classic Napa Cab that sells for around $35.  Of course, Magnums often taste better, but maybe that's because there is probably a party going on.  This is a really solid wine that is fairly priced.  It worked well with a wide variety of foods and drank quite easy.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is dusty with cassis and spice.  On the palate, this is medium bodied with medium tannins.  A fine texture.  Cassis with some depth.  Some spice/oak as well.

2013 Buoncristiani Syrah Artistico, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose is deep with black raspberries, blood and grilled meats.  Some vanilla and spice and black pepper.  On the palate, this is deep and tight.  Delicious.  Black raspberries.  Plenty of tannins.  Long finish.  This is quite young and tight but it has bold black raspberry fruit.  Probably should hold for a few more years and then drink over the next decade plus.  Impressive.  This retails for around $55 which is a fair price.  

2009 Shane Pinot Noir The Charm, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Deep ruby in color, purple at the core.  The nose is nice with sour cherries, cola and spice.  On the palate, this is a big wine.  Very reminiscent of a Kosta Browne wine in style.  Black cherries, some cola and some spice.  Has a nice depth and tight complexity.  Enough acidity to carry food.  Lots of fruit.  Good finish.  Delicious wine.  Doesn't seem to be at peak yet and showing little signs of age at this point.  

2012 Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Kosta Browne wines are some of the most sought after Pinots in California.  They are also wines that people tend to love or hate because they are to the ripe and jammy side of Pinot Noir.  Its always fun to drink one and listen to the comments.  This is deep ruby in color.  The nose has bright black cherries with some baking spice.  With air, some root beer and Faygo Red Pop notes.  On the palate, there is a lot of cherry, black cherry notes along with a bit of cola.  It is big and fruity and also delicious.  Would work with bigger foods and most traditional Pinot foods (salmon, etc.).  Lon

2008 Rhys Pinot Noir Swan Terrace, USA, California, Santa Cruz Mountains, Wine Review

Ruby in color, purple at the core.  The nose has cherries, spice, sour cherries, slight vanilla, and cranberries.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Sour cherries, slight vanilla, cherries and slight spice.  Slight tannins.  Long finish with a cherry/anise candy quality.  This still seems a bit shy of maturity and there may be some upside.  It has a full bodied wonderful texture that show sunshine without being a fruit bomb.  Long finish.  

2010 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

From Magnum.  Inky purple in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, plums, grilled meat, white pepper and char.  On the palate, this has an incredible texture.  Smooth and velvety yet powerful and muscular.  Notes of black raspberries, spice and slight charred earth.  This is deep and complex yet still has a long life left.  This vintage has opened and shut a few times since release but seem like it has settled and is open.  There is a lot of alcohol but it doesn't show up anywhere in the glass.  One of those wines that each sip makes you want to have another.  Spectacular wine. 

2015 Simi Cabernet Sauvignon Alexander Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, cedar and char.  On the palate, cassis and tarragon which is nice.  Medium bodied.  Some tannins.  This has some depth and complexity.  This drinks very well right now and would work with a wide variety of foods.  This retails for around $20 and sometimes less making this a great value in California Cabernet.  I would drink in the next few years but it should last five more if well stored.  

2015 Bonterra Vineyards Merlot, USA, California, Wine Review

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is dusty with tart bing cherries.  On the palate, the tart cherries continue along with some plums.  This has some depth to it.  Light tannins.  Drinks easily with nice acidity.  This will work with a wide variety of foods.  It does have the slightest bit of sweetness to it.  Enough to notice, but not enough that is an issue one way or another.  Retails for around $16 or less.  Made from organic grapes.  

2017 Bonterra Vineyards Rosé, USA, California, Mendocino, Wine Review

Pale salmon/orange in color.  The nose is very tight.  With air, it shows some light strawberries.  On the palate, this has oranges and strawberries.  Slightly tart.  This is a bit innocuous but it also works easily with a very wide variety of foods.  The grapes used are organic.  No faults to this wine but nothing super exciting either.  That said, at $16 retail (or less), this is fairly priced.  

2017 Simi Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County, USA, California, Wine Review

Light silvery gold in color.  The nose is big with lots of yellow grapefruit.  On the palate, this is not as big but nice.  Minerals and clean.  A slight bitter note.  The finish shows the return of the grapefruit.  This took about 30 minutes to open and improved after that.  Its an easy drinking wine that is very food friendly.  No hard edges.  It proved to be quite popular with friends.