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

2011 Bryant Family Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$280.00USD

Bryant is one of the classic Napa Cabs.  The wines generally take years to develop but this one seems to be about as good as it will get.  Of course, time will tell.  Inky purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, some celery, and a slight floral note.  On the palate, the green/celery note is gone and there is plenty of bright cherry fruit.  Good balance.  Nice finish.  This is an excellent wine but knowing how good this wine can be in better vintages, this wine does not reach those heights.  Still, it worked well with a Roasted Eggplant dish and would work with roasted meats

2011 Au Sommet Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Atlas Peak, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$200.00USD

I didn't remember until I got home that I had this once before.  Probably because the last bottle was good but it did not show this well.  Not quite sure why.  It might have been me, the circumstances, the food or just bottle variation.  This bottle was opened and allowed to breathe for an hour so perhaps that had something to do with it.  That's why we pop the corks though.  This bottle was outstanding.  It is a project of the famous winemaker Heidi Barrett.  In a vintage like 2011, this one managed to be clean, ripe and without any green streaks.  Very impressive.  Purple in color, ruby a

2012 Rhys Chardonnay Horseshoe Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$110.00USD

Rhys is one of my favorite wines and this particular bottle was opened at a dinner alongside an Aubert and a Marcassin from the same vintage.  It was interesting for a few reasons.  It really demonstrated the "Burgundyness" of the Rhys wines.  It also showed that Rhys can hold its own against the best Chardonnays California produces.  It has a silvery green/gold color.  The nose has nice lemon cream and vanilla with underlying minerality.  Great mouthfeel and texture.  On the palate, the lemon cream with a touch of vanilla comes thru.  With air some green apple notes emerge.  Great balance.

2012 Marcassin Chardonnay Marcassin Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
99
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$375.00USD

This wine took a long time to open up and was still improving four hours later when retasted at the end of the night.  The first impression score was maybe a 90 and eventually it got up to 99.  Really impressive but if opening, give it air or time.  Medium deep golden in color.  The nose has oak, vanilla and lemon.  With air a metallic not comes and goes.  Then a buttery quality which stays although moves more into the background.  Eventually, some orange citrus and floral notes with a great underlying minerality.  The palate also goes thru a wild ride starting off tight and oak driven, the

2012 Aubert Chardonnay CIX Estate Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$225.00USD

Light green/gold in color.  The nose is tight at first but opens quickly.  Showing dust, slight vanilla and lemons.  With air, more of the oak shows as fresh cut lumber.  It has a slightly oily texture which is very nice.  On the palate, more red apples.  As the oak subsides a bit with air, the depth and complexity take front stage.  This is really deep and complex and even at age 7, still needs a bit more time to get to peak though it is drinking well right now.  The finish is a bit sweet and very long.  This should go well with a wide variety of foods and in this case was perfect with a B

2016 Bevan Pinot Noir Petaluma Gap, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

Deep ruby/purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, spice and slight earthiness.  The palate matches the nose.  This wine is juicy with bigger tannins for a Pinot Noir.  Ripe fruit.  Good acidity.  This is a big Pinot and will work well on its own.  It was need some bigger food than some traditional Pinot matching foods but should work great with stews and meat dishes or heavy sauces.  It may still get better and will definitely mature.  Drink or hold now or in ten years.  

2013 Mojo Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
87
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

Poured at a Friday Wine Store Happy Hour, this is a ripe, slightly sweet, easy drinking Cab.  A classic, it is what it is wine to take or leave.  I liked it but the group I was with was divided.  It sells for around $15.  Inky purple in color. The nose is warm, dusty with black cherry fruit.  It drinks easy and would go well with food off the grill.  Juicy ripe black cherry fruit with light tannins on the palate.  At age 6, it should probably drunk sooner than later.  

2014 Gregory James Pinot Noir Patchy Fog, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$20.00USD

This was offered at a local wine store.  They listed the price at $20 which is a good value for a Pinot of this quality.  It is lighter in style, especially for California and that seemed popular with the crowd.  Light ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose is slightly earthy with a macerated cherry quality.  Very nice.  On the palate, there are slight tannins.  Cherries with a pretty silky texture.  A slight bitter note on the finish.  All in all this is a very pretty wine.

2017 Tablas Creek Côtes de Tablas, USA, California, Adelaida District Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$32.00USD

This is basically the second wine of Esprit de Tablas from Tablas Creek although they make a lot of different wines, not all available without being in their wine club (highly recommended).  This sell for around $30 and can often be found at retail shops.  It is young and will likely improve a bit over the next few years.  Screw capped!  Grenache, Syrah, Counoise and Mourvedre.  Whereas the Esprit can be compared to a Chateauneuf du Pape, this is more like a better Cotes du Rhone or even a Gigondas.  It has a deep ruby color with some purple swirls.  The nose has black cherries, slight eart

2017 Bedrock Wine Co. Syrah Coast to Foothills California, USA, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$35.00USD

This is the new basic Syrah offering from Bedrock.  It is from multiple appellations thus carrying the California designation.  It is recently released and (hopefully) will improve a bit.  It sells for around $28 delivered from the winery.  Purple in color.  The nose is nice with black raspberries, white pepper, slight floral notes and slight bacon fat.  On the palate, this seems a bit restrained.  Nice black raspberry fruit and easy drinking.  Not showing a lot of depth or complexity at this point.  Nice finish.  Easy drinking, this will be a nice wine with BBQ or pizza.  Will it take that

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