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

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.

2015 Palazzo Red Cuvee, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$50.00USD

Nice to get a chance to revisit this.  It has come together nicely and improved a bit since release.   50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot, and 25% Cabernet Franc.  This is made from those barrels which did not qualify for the top wines.  Purple in color with some ruby at the rim.  The nose is nice with cherries, tobacco, sour cherries, sandalwood and anise.  On the palate, this is drinking great.  I doubt it gets any better but certainly has another five years.  Lots of red fruits and a bit darker with some earthiness.  Light tannins.  Nice finish.  This will go with a wide variety of foods

2016 Realm Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon Beckstoffer To-Kalon Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$465.00USD

So, after an amazing wine dinner with two other couples and my wife, we did the mistake of opening this.  It was amazing but this just arrived a few weeks ago and really needs time.  That said, it really was great, it just needs at least a few more years and really five to ten.  Oh well, it was fun.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, pencil lead, tobacco, smoke and cedar.  On the palate, this has big fruit and big tannins.  Not so much a fruit bomb as the intensity.  It must be like barrel tasting Latour in a great vintage.  The finish goes for for hours.  Give this some time and

2012 Sine Qua Non Petit Manseng Shackled, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$400.00USD

A fun way to end an amazing wine evening with friends.  i believe this is made in the traditional way where the grapes are dried on (straw) mats.  Served with a cheese course it worked well.  Orange in color.  The nose has lovely apricots.  Thick and viscous.  it is a bit cloying and a little goes a long way but it is also Delicious.  The palate has hints of acidity.  Nice orange peel notes. The cheese really helps.  i doubt it gets better and while it probably last twenty years, drink it sooner to enjoy the freshness.  From a 375ml bottle.  

2016 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Rutherford, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$675.00USD

Drank this side by side with the 2012.  The 2012 was better tonight, but the 2016 is the better wine.  Hold for at least five years and patience will be rewarded.  Of course, if you can't - no worries.  It is amazing right now.  Inky purple, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, cedar, clay, graphite and sandalwood.  On the palate this has firm tannins.  Tons of cassis with tight layering of charred earth.  Great balance.  Intense and concentrated.  Long finish.  Went great with Cauliflower steaks but would work well with grilled or roasted meats.  it kind of reminds me of Mouton in a grea

2012 Scarecrow Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Rutherford, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$600.00USD

Scarecrow is one of the best wines in the world.  It is always a pleasure to be able to share some with friends!  This bottle did not disappoint.  It is not a fruit bomb but there is plenty of fruit.  This bottle is still young with some upside but drinking great today.  Inky purple with a thin ruby band at the rim.  The nose is great with cassis, violets, spice and minerality.  On the palate, this has light tannins but persistent.  Intense cassis on the palate with underlying charred earth and a bit of dark chocolate.  Layers of fruit and earth.  Long finish.  Great balance.  Delicious.  W

2013 Dalla Valle Maya, USA, California, Napa, Oakville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$499.00USD

This took a while to open up in the glass and then it was gorgeous.  It is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (57%) and Cabernet Franc (43%).  One of the Iconic California wines.  Inky purple in color, magenta at the rim.  The nose is beautiful with cassis, cedar, anise, some charcoal and slight blueberries.  With air a woodsy quality emerges as well.  On the palate, this has nice depth and complexity.  Firm tannins.  Sweet cassis fruit with some fresh tobacco notes intertwined.  Very deep.  It needs a few more years or a nice decant now.  It requires big food but will work with it or as a glass

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