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

2020 Simi Sauvignon Blanc, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$14.00USD

This has 99% Sauvignon Blanc and 1% Semillon.  A nice refreshing wine that is a great summer aperitif.  Very pale, slivery green in color.  The nose is interesting with orange citrus and lemon zest notes.  A nice, slightly creamy texture.  On the palate, flavors of grapefruit and grapefruit zest.  Some warmth on the finish.  With a bit of air, a Sweet-Tart quality comes out which is enjoyable.  This drinks nicely on its own but worked with tomato Bruschetta.  Drink over the next year.  Nice value.  

2010 Cain Vineyard & Winery Cain Five, USA, California, Napa, Spring Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2010
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

From Magnum.  This is a blend of 58% Cabernet Sauvignon, 17% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 5% Petite Verdot and 5% Malbec.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is dominated by Brettanomyces which comes across as a "ripe" barnyard.  Some people love this while others are averse.  This is a spoilage yeast that will only bloom when the bottle sees warmer temperatures.  In addition, there are plums and cassis with some green bell pepper and spice.  Full bodied.  On the palate, this drinks a bit cleaner.  Very earthy with cassis, bell pepper and black cherries.  Medium tannins.  Long fin

2018 Jax Vineyards Pinot Noir Y3, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

This is very nice but curiously seemed a bit behind the two prior vintages of this wine.  Perhaps a bit shutdown.  Still, it was very good. Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose has cherries, slight smoke and an herbal streak (rosemary/tarragon?).  Medium bodied.  On the palate, there is nice cherry fruit, a bit stemmy with an underlying damp earthiness.  Moderate finish.  This will work better with food.  Pasta with mushrooms would be a nice choice.  It will be interesting to watch it develop Drink over the next five to seven years.  

2009 Torrin The Banshee, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2009
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

This is a blend of 60% Syrah, 22% Mourvedre, and 18% Grenache from Torrin Vineyard.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, black pepper, some black olives and smoke.  Full bodied.  Great, rich texture.  Nice balance.  On the palate, this is still youthful but starting to open a bit. Black raspberries, plums, black cherries with underlying scorched earth.  Long finish.  Delicious.  This may still improve but it will make great drinking for another ten to twelve years.  Great on its own, this will work well with braised meats or roasted vegetables.  

2018 Pride Mountain Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$75.00USD

This is 70% from the Napa side of Pride Mountain and 30% from the Sonoma side.  Very young but an excellent wine.  Long gone are the days of Bob Foley's full throttle wines from Pride.  Different, but just as good.  Purple in color with ruby swirls, mostly opaque and bright.  The nose shows cassis, spice, fresh tobacco and slight char.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  On the palate, cassis and black cherry fruit with some tobacco and underlying earthiness.  Deep and complex if tight.  This will need about seven to ten years to develop to get near peak and then should drink for ten to fifteen

2018 Shafer Chardonnay Red Shoulder Ranch, USA, California, Carneros, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$46.00USD

This is a classic California Chard in style and pedigree.  Golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose has butter, spice, lemons and slight white flowers.  Full bodied.  Rich, full bodied texture.  On the palate, this is round and full of fruit and structure.  Lemons, slight smoke and spice.  A nice backbone of acidity counters the oak nicely.  Long finish.  This should continue to integrate over the next ten years with the oak taking a step back.  Whether to wait or not really depends on how you like your Chardonnay.  This drinks well on its own and will work well with sea food but also p

2017 Scherrer Winery Zinfandel Old and Mature Vines Scherrer Vineyard Alexander Valley, USA, California, Sonoma, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

This is a nice Zin that takes its foot off the gas just a bit in this vintage.  Purple in color with some ruby swirls.  The nose has raspberries, slight bramble and spice.  Medium bodied.  14.8% ABV.  On the palate, raspberries with some underlying char and a bit of black pepper.  Nice finish.  This is the type of Zin that should age pretty well.  Drink over the next ten to twelve years.  This is probably better with food; pizza or a burger are nice choices.  

2017 Keplinger Hangman's, USA, California, Carneros, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$69.00USD

Very impressive Syrah with about 5% Viognier added.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose has black raspberries, blueberries, white pepper, black olive and roasted meat.  Full bodied.  On the palate, the black raspberries and blueberries are intense but concentrated.  A bit of pepper and some underlying char and meatiness.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This will still get a bit better but is drinking well now.  Maybe another five years of cellaring and drink for fifteen to twenty after that.  This drinks well on its own and will work well with fattier meat dishes and stews.  

2011 Hobel Wine Works Cabernet Sauvignon Engelhard Vineyard, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$65.00USD

2011 was a challenging vintage in Napa but for some wineries it offered a chance to find wines that are ready a bit earlier than most vintages.  That was true for Hobel and their winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, slight spice/oak and a hint of fresh herbs.  Medium to full bodied.  Light tannins.  On the palate, there is some depth.  Cassis with a bit of an herbal streak.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  This seems to be at peak but should drink well for another eight to ten years.  It drinks better with food.  Pasta with Bolognaise sauce is

2016 Jaffurs Syrah Larner Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Barbara, Ballard Canyon, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

From on of the top Syrah vineyards in Santa Barbara County.  Purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great with black raspberries, slight bacon fat, black olives and roasted herbs.  Wonderful texture.  Juicy acidity.  On the palate, black raspberry fruit with underlying char and slight dry earthiness.  This is delicious if a bit young.  This will get a bit better over the next few years.  Let it cellar for another five years and drink for ten to twelve after that.  It will drink great on its own and work well with roasted pork or even Indian food.  

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