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

2012 Saxum Syrah Booker Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$150.00USD

The 2012 Saxums have been pretty open since release although they did recently (last two years) go into a slightly shut down phase.  No worries, this bottle was pop and pour and drinking quite well. A blend of 73% Syrah and 27% Mourvedre  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, slightly roasted meats and spice.  Full bodied with a lovely big texture.  Lots of black raspberry fruit on the palate with some blueberries over a bit of char and pepper.  Long finish.  There is a lot of alcohol here but it is not noticeable.  This is delicious if not for everyone.  Most

2017 Dry Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside & Benchland, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

I am always looking for reasonably priced wines and this one sells for around $25 locally.   It is a very nice wine that is worth picking up a bottle or two of if you like Sonoma Cabs.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, slight cassis, slight tobacco and spice.  On the palate, this is ready to drink now.  The black cherry fruit carries thru.  Light tannins.  Some depth and complexity.  Solid finish.  It will work well with burgers or grilled foods.  It should be consumed in the next five years.  

2015 Mt. Brave Cabernet Sauvignon Mt. Veeder, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

  This is a blend of 87.5% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Merlot, 3% Cabernet Franc, 3% Malbec and 1.5% Petit Verdot.  It is a big wine that seems like it will still get better with cellaring.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has cassis, dust, and an interesting citrus quality.  On the palate, this is very concentrated.  Notes of cassis, some dark chocolate and orange peel (?) come thru.  It is deep with firm tannins that will need time to open.  Long finish.  This needs another five to ten years of cellaring and should be good for ten to twelve after that.  Right now, it should be given an eight h

2016 Dutton-Goldfield Pinot Noir Dutton Ranch, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$32.00USD

This is a medium bodied, very accessible Pinot Noit that seemed to be a crowd favorite.  It is ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose has cherries, raspberries and is a bit candied.  With air, a bit of sour cherries come thru.  This has a lot of ripe fruit.  Cherries and black cherries, raspberries all coat the palate.  This is easy drinking and enjoyable.  Not about complexity or contemplation.  Good finish.  This is probably better on its own but should work with roasted fowl.  It should be consumed in the next few years.  

2018 Treasure Hunter Wines Chardonnay Trophy Wife, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

Treasure Hunter is a winery that searches for declassified juice (I am not sure if they also buy grapes) from wineries and restaurants that have unsold barrels at a large discount.  They maintain the integrity  of the winery by not divulging their sources.  In some years, this can be better than others.  It all depends on whether there is a grape glut or scarceness, though it should be said, that these wines are for the most part of top quality for their respective price points.  Which brings us to this wine.  This is a very nice, bigger, RRV Chardonnay.  Golden in color with a slight coppe

2017 Treana Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is a reasonably priced Cabernet.  I had not tried a vintage of this in a while.  It is still a solid wine and a great value.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cassis, some cherries, a bit of dust and sandalwood.  On the palate, this is medium bodied.  It has ripe, slightly sweet fruit but enough structure to handle it.  Cassis and cherries.  Medium tannins.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  Right now, this is probably better on its own but with a little age, it will work well with roasts and other meat dishes.  It should be consumed in thee next five to seven years.  

2014 Epoch Estate Wines Possibility Paderewski Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Willow Creek, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

I had never heard of this wine before although I enjoy the winery very much.  It is a blend of 79% Syrah, 21% Grenache Blanc from the Paderweski Vineyard.  It is 17% ABV but not fortified.  Bottled only in 375ml bottles.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, black cherries, chocolate and crème brûlée.  On the palate, this is sweet and does border on cloying.  The right food brings it back under control - something chocolaty but not too sweet.  The black raspberries and dark chocolate notes carry thru.  Not a lot of acidity.  A little goes a long way.  I suspect this lasts a lon

2014 Robert Foley Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

Bob Foley is one of Napa's great winemakers.  This is from his eponymous winery.  It is a typical Bob Foley Cab which is to say, big and fruit while at the same time, ageable and having a sense of class.  It is still quite young right now.  Purple in color.  The nose has cassis, sandalwood and baking spice along with a touch of pencil lead.  On the palate, this has sweet cassis fruit.  Firm tannins.  It is drinking well on its own today and will take bigger food to not be overwhelmed.  However, with another ten years this should mature nicely into something that will be more flexible.  It s

2017 Ceritas Chardonnay Trout Gulch, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

This winery is fast becoming one of my favorites for Chardonnay and Santa Crus is definitely my favorite region in the world for Chardonnay.  That is a pretty bold statement but there it is.  Light golden in color.  The nose has lemons, lemon candy, minerals and slight vanilla.  On the palate, this is ever so slightly sweet/ripe with lemons and great minerality.  It has such great energy and cut.  It glides down the palate, and lasts forever.  Delicious.  Complex.  This is obviously young but seems like it should be a twenty year wine.  It drinks great on its own but will work well with sea

2017 Exitus Bourbon Barrel Aged Red Wine, USA, California

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This is another of the bourbon barrel aged wines.  While some wine nerds may scoff or even cringe at this trend, many consumers are buying and enjoying.  This comes in attractive packaging with a clear bottle and an "old timey" label.  It is a big wine that clocks in at 15.9% abv.  After tasting the bottle, I served it to a group of friends and it proved popular.  Is is a blend of Zinfandel, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.   Deep ruby in color.  The nose is sweet with caramel and also black raspberries.  On the palate, this has sweet black cherry fruit.  Firm tannins that are slightly

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