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

2017 Dry Creek Vineyard Zinfandel Heritage Vines, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

This is a solid wine and a nice value in Sonoma Zinfandel.  A blend of 77% Zinfandel, 21% Petit Verdot & 2% Carignane.   Ruby in color with purple swirls.  The nose has raspberries, spice and dust.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, this is slightly brawny with red fruits.  Easy drinking.  Light tannins.  Best to drink now or in the next few years.  Works well with pizza or burgers.  A nice wine for a party.  Shop around as its MSRP is $26 but its widely available ranging from $15 and up.  

2016 Rhys Alesia Chardonnay Santa Cruz Mountains, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

The Alesia wines from Rhys are made with purchased fruit.  It is similar to the Rhys Chards but for my tastes, not quite at that level.  Light gold/green in color.  The nose is nice with lemons, vanilla cream and spice.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Nice acidic cut.  The lemon and vanilla carry thru.  Good clean finish.  This drinks well on its own but will work well with sea food or lighter dishes.  Drink over the next ten years.  

2014 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This can be a polarizing wine.  For some people, it is the definition of a fruit bomb and in a bad way.  To add insult to injury, those people seem incensed that the wine is so popular.  For others, this is one of the top Napa Cabs on the market.  There is no denying its success in sales volume.  It is purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has tons of cassis, some black cherries, toasty oak, and spice.  On the palate, this is jammy black raspberry fruit.  Light tannins.  Plenty of toasty oak.  It is big and for me, borders on too much but stays withing bounds.  It is tasty.  I would

2009 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Griffin's Lair, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$43.00USD

This is drinking quite well now.  A great example of a cooler climate Syrah from California.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, and slight bacon fat.  On the palate, this is very concentrated.  Boysenberry fruit with char underneath and a slightly meaty taste.  Medium to full bodied.  A wisp of tannins.  Nice acidity.  Long finish.  This is great with roasted veggies (and would be with meat or fowl) and would also work with Indian food.  No hurry, this should be good for another seen to ten years.  

1999 Arietta Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1999
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$75.00USD

On release, these were big, bold wines made, at least in part, by John Kongsgaard.  Of course, its now 21 years since vintage and one wold be hard pressed to call this anything but right bank if tasting blind.  Part of that is one doesn't expect a Napa Merlot to age this well.  It does have 10% Syrah in the blend so that may be part of it.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose is dusty with cherries, black cherries, slight cedar and some earthy funk.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Black cherry fruit with a touch of dark chocolate and underlying earthiness.  This is complex and also vib

1999 Vérité La Joie, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1999
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$150.00USD

This was purchased by me on release back when it was merely expensive.  Today, this is one of the top guns of the Kendal Jackson empire and the pricing has gotten prohibitive for the newer releases.  If trying this blind, a good guess might have been a 1999 Bordeaux, maybe Graves or maybe even 1998.  it was quite good and certainly just about at peak.  A 60/40 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot.  Purple/ruby in color with just a hint of browning at the rim.  The nose has some brett but plenty of cassis, cherries and an earthy funk too.  On the palate, this is complex.  Layers of fruit (

2001 Charles Krug Winery (Peter Mondavi Family) Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2001
Score: 
84
Grade: 
B

Of course, this bottle should have been consumed long ago, but it happens.  This acquitted itself very well, all things considered.  Deep ruby in color, some browning but not much at the rim.  The nose is dusty, earthy with some dried and macerated cherries.  On the palate, this has some layering going on, fresh cherries, dried cherries and forest floor notes.  Tannins are all resolved.  A bit tart.  Good finish.  This improved a bit with food.  I worked well with a vegetarian bean cassoulet.  These should be drunk up.  

2012 Carlisle Syrah Papa's Block, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This is one of the best Syrah's out of Sonoma County.  It is built for the long haul so make sure to let it rest in the cellar or give it plenty of air.  Purple in color, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose has black cherries, black raspberries, roasted meats and slight root beer note which was interesting.  Full bodied.  On the palate, lots of black raspberry fruit starting to layer with a charred earthiness and slight bacon notes.  This still has medium tannins.  Great balance and energy.  Long finish.  This may yet improve, but is more likely about as good as it will get.  No hurry, this

2015 Carlisle Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$47.00USD

Nice to revisit this wine.  It was quite rambunctious on release and while still more of a brawny Zin it has started the evolution to more claret in style.  Purple in color with ruby swirls.  The nose has raspberries, black cherries, some spice and black pepper.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  Plenty of raspberries and cherries with some dry charred earthiness.  There is some warmth on the finish but not enough to be a concern.  There does seem to be enough fruit to last, so the question is what you are looking for in a Zinfandel.  If you want big and bold drink now, but if claret s

2018 Myriad Cellars Sémillon McGah Family Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Rutherford, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is a nice white from Mike Smith at Myriad.  Light golden in color.  The nose is a bit waxy with lemon (a slight furniture polish note) and nice minerality.  slightly viscous and slightly oily in texture.  On the palate there is a nice lemony note along with underlying minerality.  Crisp.  Good finish.  This is drinking well now.  it probably should be consumed in the next few years to enjoy its vibrancy but no doubt it can last longer.  It will go well with chicken salad or other lighter foods and sea foods.  

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