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

1997 Opus One, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, tobacco, it is slightly dusty and cedar.  On the palate, this still has some tannins left and plenty of fruit but is fully mature.  Cassis with some black olives.  This seems like a good bottle.  There is a nice complexity to it.  Very smooth.  Very food friendly.  Blind, i think most people would guess mature Bordeaux.  Of course, with a wine of this pedigree, there is always a lot of anticipation, but I think this is probably the wine producers were trying to  make back in 1997.  It succeeds at that if a very different wine from most 1997's.  

2003 Frias Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Spring Mountain, Wine Review

From a Magnum.  Pretty etched bottle/label.  Purple in color.  The nose is dusty with cassis and a bit of rosemary.  On the palate, there is cassis with some plums on the finish.  This is deep and concentrated and seems to be drinking at about peak right now.  It starts out with tight layers in the glass and then opens very quickly.  Good finish.  Works well with heartier foods.  No hurry, but no reason to wait to open a bottle.  

2016 Denner Theresa, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

One of the great white Rhone wines from California.  50% Roussanne, 20% Grenache Blanc, 10% Vermentino, 10% Picpoul, 10% Marsanne.  Green gold in color.  The nose has slight limes with some citrus and slight wax.  On the palate, this has a wonderful plush texture with great crispness on the wine.  Deep and complex despite its youth, it unwinds in the glass.  Slightly oily.  Long finish.  Works with or without foods.  This will likely age well, but is so good now, I don't think it gets better, just different.  

2014 Keplinger Syrah Hangman's Hudson, USA, California, Carneros, Wine Review

95% Syrah, 5% Viognier.  Purple in color.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, leather, roasted meats, and black pepper.  Deep.  On the palate, this is delicious.  Black raspberries, char, black pepper along with some earthiness.  More lower tones (if that makes sense).  Good balance.  Kept opening up.  This has a long life left.  Needs bigger foods.  

2015 Carlisle Zinfandel Pagani Ranch Sonoma Valley, USA, California, Wine Review

Carlisle conitnues to pump out some of the best Zinfandels.  Period.  That they cost under $50 is even better.  Purple in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, slight bramble, char and black cherries.  On the palate, the texture is wonderful; lush yet precise.  Lots of black rasberry and boysenberry fruit.  Depth.  Needs spicy or big foods.  Long finish.  Just a delicious wine.  

2014 Jaffurs Syrah, USA, California, Santa Barbara County, Wine Review

This is the basic Jaffurs Syrah.  It is one of the great values in warmer climate Syrah from California.  It typically retails for around $30.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is great with black raspberries, roasted meats, slight violets and black pepper.  On the palate, there is a nice energy.  Bright black raspberry fruit.  Underlying roasted meats and earthiness.  Great texture.  This drinks great on release and continues to improve for a decade.  Goes well with medium or heartier foods and especially Indian foods.  If you are not on this wineries mailing list, you should be

2014 Denner The Ditch Digger, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

60% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre, 5% Cinsault, 5% Counoise.  Inky purple in color.  The nose is great with black raspberries, leather, plums, slight earthiness, char and some black cherries.  On the palate, this has a wonderful rich texture.  Medium tannins.  It is young but bursting with fruit without being over the top.  Black cherries, black raspberries, underlying earthiness and char.  Long finish.  This is a big wine and needs either big or spicy food.  It is still probably 7 years from maturity and will last another 10 after that (at least).  That said, it is delicious and enjoy

2013 Ravenswood Zinfandel Dickerson, USA, California, Wine Review

The perils of buying wines off store shelved that have been there a while.  This wine, recently bought, did not appear to be in perfect shape.  Still, it offered up enough pleasure that it was worth drinking.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has a slight aquarium note along with a bit of balsamic.  There is also some red fruit fighting to be heard.  The palate was pretty much the same.  There is some complexity here.  Probably a very nice wine as it fought with likely poor storage and heat.  Too bad.  

2012 Pott Wine Cabernet Sauvignon The Arsenal Greer Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Rutherford, Wine Review

Named after the soccer team, from one of the top vineyards in Napa.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is great with cassis, slight blueberries, dust, a bit of chocolate and spice.  On the palate, this drinks well with just a bit of air.  Deep black raspberry fruit; it unwinds in the glass to show layers of spice, blueberries, dark chocolate and black cherries.  Medium tannins.  Wonderful texture.  Long finish.  This is a big wine, but it also has that super concentration.  The flavors just keep growing and growing.  Great finish.  No hurry here, this has a decade or two remaining