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

2016 Robert Mondavi Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$36.00USD

No winery is more synonymous with Napa Valley than Robert Mondavi.  And while they make all sorts of wines and at all sorts of price points, this is the one that epitomizes the winery.  Somehow, they straddle the line between old and new, corporate yet having a sense of place, and making a wine that is affordable and good value for the quality.  The blend of this is 85% Cabernet Sauvignon, 7% Petite Verdot, 5% Merlot, and 3% Cabernet Franc.  It sees 17% New French Oak.  Served at a recent Intowine.com tasting, this was quite a hit.  Deep ruby in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose is

2017 Robert Mondavi Winery Chardonnay, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$24.00USD

This is a nice value for a California Chardonnay for those who like a touch of oak and slight butteriness.  Pale golden in color.  The nose has pineapple with baking spices and oak.  An interesting graphite/gravel note comes out with air.  On the palate, this has a full bodied, rich texture.  Slightly viscous with just a perception of sweetness.  Oak, lemons and melon on the nose with a touch of alcohol.  Some warmth on the finish.  Served at a tasting, this was quite popular with Napa Chardonnay lovers.  I don't think this will improve but it should dirnk well for five to seven years.  It

2018 Robert Mondavi Winery Fumé Blanc, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

Robert Mondavi long ago started calling his Sauvignon Blanc as Fume Blanc, but it is the same wine.  This is always a quality Sauvignon Blanc for a fair price.  This is actually 87% Sauvignon Blanc and 13% Semillon.  Pale golden in color with some green and copper hues to it.  Clear and bright.  The nose is pretty with oranges, limes, minerals and with air, a bit of dust and mint.  This has a rich, creamy texture that gives it a presence that most Sauvignon Blancs don't have  On the palate, there is lemon-lime, melon and a quality that is sort of like mint tooth paste (in a good way).  Very

2012 Donelan Vénus, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

This is mostly Roussane with 3% Viognier.  At age 8, it is drinking quite well.  Medium straw/gold in color, clear and bright.  The nose is very nice with peaches, white pepper, wax, and slight minerality.  Full bodied.  Round texture.  The peaches come thru along with an underlying minerality.  Nice finish.  At this point, this works much better with food.  It worked great with a thin crust veggie pizza.  This probably should be consumed over the next five to seven years.  

2015 Maybach Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Amoenus, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$175.00USD

Maybach makes great wines.  It is one of my favorite wineries.  Though the wines are expensive, given the quality, they could be even more so.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has cassis, blueberries, cedar and spice.  On the palate, this is full bodied with medium to firm tannins.  Loads of cassis with blueberries along with some oak, spice and char.  Delicious.  Deep.  This is young and will continue to mature for the next five to seven years and should be good for ten to twelve more after that.  Delicious on its own, this will need big food such as a steak or roasted veggie

2010 Kapcsándy Family Winery Roberta's Reserve State Lane Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$300.00USD

This is one of the best Merlot's made anywhere.  Period.  The attention to detail and the quality of fruit is amazing.  Certainly some vintages are better than others, but it is always phenomenal.  There is 5% Cabernet Franc in the blend.  Deep ruby/purple in color, opaque and shimmering bright.  A wonderful nose of black cherries, plums, slight kirsch, slight dark chocolate, and minerals.  Full bodied with a lush texture.  Flavors of sour cherries, black raspberries and plums intertwined with minerality, dark chocolate and slight spice.  Light tannins.  Lots of verve, it dances on the tong

2010 Rhys Pinot Noir Home Vineyard, USA, California, San Mateo County, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

This is from one of the top producers of Pinot Noir in California.  Stylistically, it is more feminine in style but still packs plenty of sunshine and fruit.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cherries and candied cherries with slight spice and earthiness.  On the palate, this is medium to full bodied.  Nice acidity.  There is some depth as it unwinds in the glass.  Still drinking quite young and this will continue to improve for the next five to seven years.  It should drink well over the next ten to fifteen years.  Great on its own, it will work well with roasted fowl or veggies.  More ce

2012 Orin Swift Chardonnay Equinox Edition 1: The Boy That Cried Wolf, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

This is a club member only wine from Orin Swift that is 100% Chardonnay.  It is a big wine, as expected, but at age 8, it is drinking very well.  Medium golden in color.  The nose has tropical fruit, baking spices and slight melon.  On the palate, this is full bodied with a slightly oily texture.  Lots of melon fruit with some oak.  Some warmth on the finish.  It does have enough acidity to carry the fruit.  This is drinking well now and should easily go another five years.  It will work with bigger food, and even a steak if you like or drink it on its own.  

2008 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon Neruda Brix Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$120.00USD

This is in a great drinking right now.  From Aaron Pott's eponymous winery, it is always fun to say you are having some Pot(t) tonight.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, minerals/rocks, slight floral notes, and a bit of mint.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this is opulent yet not over blown.  Concentrated cassis flavors with underlying gravel and slight herbal notes.  Nice finish.  Tannins are almost all resolved.  This seems to be closed to peak but certainly has five to maybe ten more years left.  Drinks well on its own and maybe a bit better with food.  Rosted meats, fowl or ve

2016 Jonata Winery Todos, USA, California, Santa Ynez, Santa Barbara

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

This is the base wine for this winery.  It seems to be a blend of the barrels that didn't make the grade of single varietal releases.  Todos means all.  That doesn't make it a bad wine by any means.  In fact, this is an outstanding wine and excellent value compared to those single varietal wines.  it is a blend 60% Syrah, 10% Cabernet Franc, 10% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Merlot, 5% Petit Verdot, with the rest Petite Sirah and Viognier.

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