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

2017 Dark Horse Wines Cabernet Sauvignon The Original Dark Horse, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
86
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$8.00USD

This was served recently at a party that I attended.  It was a chance to try a wine that I normally would not taste.  Full retail is around $13 but it can usually be found for a lot less.  Purple in color, shimmering bright.  The nose has black cherries, dust and slight sawdust.  On the palate, this has a lot of black cherry fruit.  Slightly drying tannins.  A bit of warmth going down.  Overall, it is a nice party wine that is great for crowds that are standing around a nibbling.  It is made for immediate drinking but probably good for another few years.  Distinctly better than I expected a

2016 Carlisle Compagni Portis, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

Mike Officer makes some really nice wines at fair prices.  His whites might even be better values than his reds.  This is a field blend of Gewürztraminer, Trousseau Gris, Riesling and other white grapes.  Pale silvery gold in color.  The nose is great with lychees, peaches and floral tones.  On the palate, this is slightly viscous.  Dry and refreshing.  Peaches and slight pears with good minerality.  Nice finish.  This is drinking quite well now and it probably should be consumed over the next couple of years.  It will go well with salads, sushi or even Thai food.  

2005 Outpost Cabernet Sauvignon True Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Howell Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

A friend opened this bottle for me.  I believe this was their first release of this wine.  Although I believe Outpost is making better wines now than they were then, it was a pleasure and an insight into how well these wines can age.  This is drinking beautifully and still on the youthful side.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, black cherries, spice and slight dried floral notes.  On the palate, this is concentrated.  It has a wonderful texture.  Juicy black cherry fruit.  Long finish.  It still has some lighter tannins to resolve.  This will go well with medium and heavier foods.  It

2014 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Materium, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$390.00USD

This is showing to be the equal of the 2007 and the best wine ever made by Thomas Rivers Brown which is no faint praise.  An exceptional bottle of wine that while young now is incredible and may still improve.  It will certainly evolve.  One can debate if a 100 point wine can get better on a philosophical basis.  There is no question that this is a 100 point wine now, so what happens if it does improve?  In any event, this is a shimmering, bright, opaque purple in color.  The nose has cassis, graphite, blueberries, cedar and starting to show a charred earth note.  On the palate, this is sea

2012 Bevan Cellars Ontogeny, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$190.00USD

Bevan Cellars makes some of the best wines anywhere but his Napa Cabs are very expensive.  So is this one, but it is half the price of the others and that makes this a great value in the rarefied air of top Napa Cabs.  On release, this was $95.  This is 65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Petit Verdot and 10% Cabernet Franc.

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.  

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