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

2014 Realm Cellars The Tempest, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$145.00USD

This is a blend of 62% Merlot, 33% Cabernet Sauvignon and 5% Petit Verdot.  It is a delicious wine that while still young is drinking well.  Purple in color.  The nose has black cherries, cassis, cigar box, plums and baking spice.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  Lots of black cherry and cassis with forest floor.  Thick tannins.  Long finish.  Obviously young, this will continue to improve for another seven to ten years and then be good for at least ten to fifteen after that.  It drinks well on its own and will work with roasts or casseroles.  

2017 Duckhorn Vineyards Chardonnay Huichica Hills Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Carneros, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$58.00USD

This is very nice take on a California Chard.  It is more mineral driven than I expected and doesn't show much sign of malo (butter).  There is a fair amount of oak showing, but that will likely subside as it matures.  Golden in color.  The nose has a nice peach quality along with a bit of vanilla and slight toasty oak.  On the palate, this is full bodied but enough acidity to give it a bit of crispness.  Nice mouthfeel.  The peach flavors come thru.  Good finish.  This is drinking well now, but should improve for a few years and be good for seven to ten years at least.  It drinks well on i

1992 Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon Special Selection, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
1992
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$180.00USD

Opened for our 27th Anniversary.  At age 27, this wine is doing well.  Of course, when a wine gets this old, every bottle is different.  This was a good, if  not great bottle.  Opened an allowed to breathe for 30 minutes, then enjoyed over the next couple of hours.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has cassis, rust, and slight brown sugar.  The last two suggest a slight oxidation and slight exposure to heat.  It was better, however, on the palate.  Deep and complex with slight layers of cassis and earth.  There was a hint of oxidation on the palate as well but the fruit was still youthful enou

2003 Paloma Merlot, USA, California, Napa, Spring Mountain, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2003
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

Time has been quite kind to this wine.  On release, this was a bit disappointing after the stellar 2001 and 2002's.  At age 16, however, it has put on weight, aged slowly and is a terrific Merlot.  Purple in color with ruby swirls.  The nose has milk chocolate, cherries and just a bit of raspberry.  On the palate, this has nice layering of fruit and earth.  Tannins are all resolved.  Easy drinking.  Good finish.  This won't get better and should be drunk in the next few years.  It will go well with roasts and casseroles of all types.  

2013 Torrin Tsundere, USA, California, Paso Robles, Willow Creek District, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

Torrin makes some of the best Rhone styled wines anywhere.  This is 30% Grenache, 30% Syrah, 20% Cabernet Sauvignon, and 20% Tannat, so not completely a Rhone styled wine.  Close enough.  There wines are big and generally need at least five years to start to be approachable for my tastes.  This one is just getting there.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, plums, slight black cherries, blueberries, slight dust and spice.  It's great.  On the palate, this is big and wide.  Great texture.  Loads of black raspberry fruit with some blueberries and a bit of black cherries.  It's d

2002 Terry Hoage Vineyards Syrah The Hedge, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2002
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

This is a classic example of how well these high octane Syrah's from Paso Robles can age and mature given the chance.  The bottle lists this at 16.5% ABV.  On release, many naysayers said it would fall apart after five years.  They complained about the heat and taste, many without even tasting it first.  Now, I will admit that I liked this wine young.  And, at age 17, I liked it even better.  Of course, if you didn't like it young, you probably won't like it now I suppose.  But, it clearly has not fallen apart.  It is delicious, complex and has years left.  This wine was made by Justin Smit

2017 Gemstone Cabernet Sauvignon Alluvial Selection, USA, California, Napa, Yountville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is nice with black cherries, char, and spice.  On the palate, this is a bit thinner than the Heritage Selection (but still a big wine).  A bit more complexity if not depth.  On the palate, black cherries continue thru over a smokey (not fire related) base.  Good acidity.  Long finish.  This needs five to seven years to peak and should be good for ten to fifteen after that.  It does drink well now on its own and will work well with grilled foods.

2017 Heritage School Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Calistoga - Napa Valley Casey's Lakeview Vineyard, USa, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

Heritage School is what used to be known as Harris Estate Wines.  David and Linda Jenkins purchased the property in 2014 and renamed the winery and the three vineyards on the property.  Thomas Rivers Brown is the winemaker.  I was able to taste a couple of these wines and both were excellent.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has black cherries, cassis and baking spice.  Maybe a touch of soy sauce.  On the palate, this has a pretty texture.  Cassis and black cherries over an interesting chalky base along with some baking spices.  Good balance.  Firm tannins.  Nice finish.  This w

2017 Mending Wall Cabernet Sauvignon Tournahu Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2017
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

This was my first time trying a wine from this vineyard.  It is excellent.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cassis, blueberries, slight coffee, and spice.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Firm tannins.  Lots of cassis, some blueberries with underlying minerality and dry earth.  Good finish.  This needs seven to ten years and should be good for a decade after that.  It will work with medium and heavier meats and fowl.  

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