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

2011 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$110.00USD

This was a difficult vintage in most of California, but Saxum seemed to handle it just fine.  The wines, do, however, seem to be drinking a little earlier than most vintages.  The 2011 Saxum's are ready to drink but no hurry on any of them.  This one has at least another decade but it probably won't get better.  That is fine because it is outstanding.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, smoke, black cherries, red currants and slight bacon fat.  On the palate, there is nice black raspberry fruit with some black cherries over some pepper and charred earth.  A nice backbone of a

2016 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay B. Thieriot Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

Rivers Marie is more known for their Pinot's and Cab's but they make a tremendous Chardonnay as well.  It does have some oak showing but its use is deft and all but the most oakaphobes among us should LOVE this wine.  The 2016 is still a bit young but is drinking very well.  These wines seem to age pretty well, but the truth is, i rarely am disciplined enough to let mine age.  Yellow gold in color.  The nose has lemons, vanilla and slight sawdust.  On the palate, this is like a slightly sweet/sour lemon candy with a touch of vanilla.  Great acidity.  Long finish.  This particular bottle was

2014 Torrin The Banshee, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

Another stunning wine from Torrin.  Still a bit young but starting to show some development especially with a few hours in a decanter.  This is 50% Syrah, 26% Mourvèdre and 24% Grenache.  Inky purple in color.  The nose is great with a  meatiness reminiscent of the northern Rhone but vibrant fruit that says California sunshine.  There is also some black pepper, plums and slight floral notes.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Black raspberry fruit intertwines with black pepper over a smoke and earth base.  It is pretty big right now with firm tannins.  This should continue to develo

2013 Donelan Cuvée Moriah, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

This is a mostly Grenache wine (87%) with the rest Syrah from Dry Stack Vineyard.  It is a delicious and charming wine that is drinking well right now and for the next five years or so.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight saw dust, black pepper and slight sour cherries.  On the palate, this is soft with a nice complexity.  Good acidity.  Black raspberry fruit and a bit of oak.  Light tannins.  Nice finish.  This drinks easy but has enough depth to get your attention.  It works well on its own or with medium or hearty fare.  

2015 Kutch Chardonnay Sonoma Coast, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$42.00USD

This was a worrisome bottle.  The top was sticky due to a leaking cork.  On opening, the cork was a mess and had leaked and apparently self sealed at some point.  Still, the underlying wine was excellent.  Light golden in color.  The nose has green apples, slight lemon custard and hints of vanilla.  On the palate, this has a creamy texture but sharp acidity.  Nice lemon fruit with some vanilla.  Slight tannins.  Long finish.  Drinks like a wine I would expect from the Sonoma Coast.  No idea how the leaking cork affected the development of this wine.  Will work great with veggies and spicy f

2013 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

40% Mourvedre, 28% Syrah, 22% Grenache, and 10% Counoise.  This is still pretty young but quite delicious.  Sort of like a California version of a Chateauneuf du Pape.  Deep ruby in color with some purple swirls.  The nose has cherries, plums, cedar, spice and slight cocoa powder.  On the palate, the spicy red fruits dominate at this stage.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This has tight layers that unwind in the glass.  This will work with a wide variety of foods.  It may improve a bit from here but easily has a decade and probably two left in it.  

2017 Carlisle Zinfandel Sonoma County, USA, California, Wine review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

A great value int eh world of Zinfandel.  This is a very good wine year in and year out and 2017 is no exception.  These will probably last for a decade but they are so good young and it is easy to just keep popping the corks never seeing how well they age.  Purple in color.  The nose is peppery with black cherries and some raspberries.  Also some char.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Thick but juicy.  Lots of black cherry fruit and spice.  Nice finish.  Not a monster by any means but great fruit.  Will work with all but the lightest of foods.  

2010 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Pleine de Chene Hudson Vineyard North, USA, California, Carneros, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$33.00USD

This is drinking quite well right now.  Reminiscent of a Crozes Hermitage.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black raspberries, roasted meats and some minerality.  On the palate, this has some complexity.  Good acidity.  Lots of black raspberry fruit.  Nice finish.  This is food friendly and would be great with roasts or stews.  It won't get better but no hurry as it has five to ten years left at peak.  

2015 Realm Cellars The Bard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$145.00USD

A question that comes up on occasion is whether a $125 bottle can be considered a value.  In this case, I say yes.  A Napa Cab of this quality often costs 4 times the price and rarely less.  The Bard is consistent from vintage to vintage and a truly great wine.  This is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 18% Merlot and the remaining grapes are Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  Inky purple in color.

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