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

2011 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Willow Creek Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$160.00USD

2011 is a very interesting vintage for Saxum.  They made great wines, some of the best from Paso Robles as always.  But, it seems to be accessible earlier than most and they are drinking very well today.  This one is no exception.  Seems to be at peak right now and drinking great.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, spice, slight floral quality and plums.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Deep and tightly layered, it unwinds in the glass.  Medium tannins that increase with air.  Good finish.  This will need big or spicy foods.  It is a big wine, but not

2009 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Willow Creek, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$175.00USD

Stunning wine that still may yet improve amazingly enough.  Ruby/purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, white pepper, slight clove, and slight roasted meats.  It seems that with age, the Syrah and Mourvedre components are taking precedence over the Grenache.  What a great texture.  Full bodied, yet plush, yet light on its feet.  Layers of black raspberry and cherry fruit with minerals and char.  Still some tannins left.  Some warmth (not heat) on the finish is about the only indication of the 15.8% alcohol.  No harm opening now, but a few more years of cellaring is not a bad thin

2013 Maybach Family Vineyards Chardonnay Eterium, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$115.00USD

Yellow/gold in color.  The nose has sulfur/smoke and lumber.  Someone mentioned marshmallow, and yes, that was on there too.  On the palate, this has a nice texture.  Very plush and creamy.  Lots of oak and charred oak.  A bit of lemon on the finish but also a bit of heat.  This is a stylistic thing and some will love it and for others, it is just not the type of Chardonnay the want.  If you are in the former, add a few points to the score.  If you are in the later, lay it down for 3 to 5 years and let the oak integrate a bit and hope the fruit can emerge.  

2005 Shafer Cabernet Sauvignon Hillside Select, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2005
Score: 
100
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$300.00USD

Yowza!  What a great wine.  Seems to be at peak right now though should stay here for a while.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  What a great nose.  Cassis, black licorice, spice and slight blueberries.  Very deep.  On the palate, this is deep and complex.  Lots of black cherry and cassis fruit.  Underlying minerality.  Spice.  Amazing texture; luxurious.  Lots of glycerin.  Long finish.  Will work with bigger foods.  One of those wines where each sip makes you want another.  

2007 Kapcsándy Family Winery Roberta's Reserve State Lane Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
99
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$300.00USD

Perhaps the best Merlot made in America.  This is drinking great right now, at or near peak.  Purple in color, thin ruby line at the rim.  The nose is great with coffee, cherries, black cherries, and spice.  On the palate, this has a wonderful texture.  Rich and luxurious.  Slight tannins.  Black cherry fruit.  Long finish.  This is deep and voluptuous with lots of complexity.  This should be here for a while (ten years?) and still last another decade after that.  

ZD Wines Cabernet Sauvignon Abacus II, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

This is an interesting wine.  It is a Cabernet made in a Solera style.  The first vintage had 1992 thru 1998.  This is the second vintage and then included a Solera of 1992 thru 1999.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cedar, cassis, dust and with air, an earthiness comes out.  Layered and complex on the palate,  Cassis and spice and underlying earthiness.  Good finish.  Basically, this is high end Napa Cab, but the Solera gives it a bit of complexity.  Needs big foods.  

2008 Rhys Syrah Skyline Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

This wine is a testament to the many different profiles of Syrah.  For the most part this drinks cooler climate, but then boom, a bit of warm California sunshine peeks out.  Purple in color.  The nose has boysenberries, char and black pepper.  With air some leather and black olives come out.  On the palate, this has a nice texture.  Good structure.  Seems to be drinking very well now and close-ish to peak.  Easily another decade left.  Light tannins.  Boysenberries over minerals.  But then a bit grilled meats too.  Nice acidity.  Nice finish.  Rhys is a producer more know for its Pinot Noir

2016 Rhys Chardonnay Alpine Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

From a 375ml bottle.  What a great size for a couple of glasses of white wine before moving on to reds.  More wineries should produce these and also 500ml.  Green gold in color.  This is young but already showing a lot.  The nose has vanilla and lemon curd.  On the palate, great acidity.  The lemon curd is strong with lighter vanilla notes.  Lovely texture.  Long finish.  This wine is very food friendly but also will drink well on its own.  It should improve over the next few years. 

2015 Bedrock Wine Co. Zinfandel Carlisle Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-

This is in a great spot right now.  It is still youthful and rambunctious but has calmed a bit since release.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has raspberries, slight strawberries with underlying coffee grounds.  On the palate, this is juicy with a great texture.  Delicious.  Raspberries with underlying char.  Clean.  Will work with spicy or heavier foods.  This should evolve over the next decade, but this style will fade in a year or so to be a kinder gentler wine.  Its good right now.  

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