2018 Rhys Chenin Blanc Mt. Pajaro Vineyard, USA, California, Santa Cruz, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
88
Grade: 
B+
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

I am a huge fan of Rhys Chardonnays and also a big fan of the Chenin Blanc grape so it was with great anticipation that this got opened.  Its a very nice wine, but not at the level for me of the Chardonnays.  I believe this was the first vintage so perhaps Kevin Harvey and his team will zero in on growing this varietal and making the wine they want.  Tasted over three days, it didn't really change, so perhaps this is the proverbial "needs more time" wine.  In any event, light golden in color with the slightest copper hue.  On the nose, some orange rind, a bit of honey, peaches and some mine

2018 Domaine des Rutissons Mas P'Tit Gars, France, Isere IGP, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$26.00USD

This is an IGP wine, a European designation that has replaced Vin d'Pays in France.   Isere is the mountainous region on the eastern border of France between Savoie and the Rhone.  This particular wine is made from Gamay.  Not surprisingly, this is a Lyle Fass Selection wine.  A very unique wine.  Garnet in color, mostly clear and bright.  The nose shows cherries, slight sour cherries, mint, damp earthiness and just a hint of floral.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, this is tart cranberries and cherries with a slight underlying funk.  It has strong acidity and accordingly, works better with

2008 Kapcsándy Family Winery Cabernet Sauvignon (Grand Vin) State Lane Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Yountville, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
98
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$450.00USD

Opened to celebrate my 63rd birthday.  Pop and pour and consumed over several hours.  This is 87% Cabernet Sauvignon with the rest  made up of Merlot, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is great.  Cassis, slight black cherries, cedar, slight camphor, spice and a hint of leather.  Full bodied.  Medium to firm tannins.  On the palate, this is still not at maturity but has started to move in that direction.  No doubt it will improve but certainly enjoyable now.  Cassis, plums, slight sour black cherries with underlying spice and a bit of dried

2014 Torrin Akasha, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$80.00USD

Torrin continues to make some of the best, fruit forward, Rhone varietals anywhere.  These are big wines that benefit from extended cellaring.  This one is 100% Syrah.  Inky purple in color, opaque and bright.  The nose is intense with black raspberries, black pepper, slight iodine, roasted meats and herbs and spice.  Full bodied.  Medium tannins.  Great lush texture.  On the palate, concentrated black raspberry fruit, some blueberries, black pepper with underlying meatiness and char.  Nice acidity.  Lots of energy.  Long finish.  This will still get better over the next five years and drin

2014 Becklyn Cellars Cabernet Sauvignon, USA, California, Napa, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$85.00USD

This is their regular (not single vineyard) Cabernet.  The better barrels typically go to the single vineyard releases, but the blends seem to have more complexity (if less depth) but cost less.  This is an excellent wine.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim, opaque and bright.  The nose is great.  Cassis, slight blueberries, black licorice, spice and slight leather. There is a juicy texture. Full bodied.  Cassis and black licorice along with a bit spice. Moderate tannins but they are silky. Good balance.

2018 First Crush Winery Sangiovese Rapture, Massachussets, Cape Cod, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
86
Grade: 
B
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

This is an interesting wine.  The grapes are grown at Lanza Vineyards in the Suisun Valley, which is located to the east of the Napa Valley in California (there is a Lanza Sangiovese also on the market) and shipped to Cape Cod where they are crushed and vinified.  Sangiovese is of course the pre-eminent red grape of Tuscany and nearby regions of Italy.  It has been an elusive grape to grow in California (or anywhere else for that matter).  It makes more sense to judge these types of wines on their own rather than comparing to Italy (i.e.

2014 Rivers-Marie Chardonnay B. Thieriot Vineyard, USA, California, Sonoma Coast, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$69.00USD

One of the top producers of Sonoma Chardonnays.  At age 7, this is in a nice sweet spot between youth and maturity.  Light gold in color with some green hues.  Clear and bright.  The nose has grapefruits, vanilla, and spice.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Vibrant.  Notes of grapefruit, lemons, pears, vanilla with underlying char.  Great acidity.  Long finish.  This is drinking well now and should continue for another ten to fifteen years.  Great on its own, this would work well with scallops or other shellfish.  

2014 Sineann Riesling, Washington, Columbia Gorge, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

Sineann makes some great whites in addition to their more well known Reds.  This is a dynamite Riesling from the Columbia Gorge, one of the few AVA's that cross state lines.  Light golden in color, clear and bright.  The nose is nice with pineapples, slight honey and minerals.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, just the slightest perception of sweetness.  Minerals, peaches with slight tropical fruit notes.  Good finish.  A different drink than a European Riesling, but this hits the spot on a warm summer evening.  Drink over the next ten years.  It drinks very well on its own but will work with

2018 Caterwaul Cabernet Sauvignon Regusci Vineyard, USA, California, Napa, Stags Leap District, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2018
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$99.00USD

This is a great bottle of Napa Cabernet even if a bit young.  And that, is a great thing about Napa Cabs versus Bordeaux; they drink so well young.  Purple in color, opaque and shimmering bright.  The nose is great with cassis, slight blueberries, cedar, slight cigar box and spice.  Also some char.  Full bodied.  Firm tannins.  On the palate, there is lush cassis fruit with some blueberries.  Underlying cedar and char.  Lots of depth.  Great balance.  Delicious.  Long finish.  This will continue to mature for another eight to ten years and drink well for ten to fifteen more after that.  Wit

2007 Château Fortia Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée du Baron, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

From the ripe vintage of 2007, this bottling got just average scored from Robert Parker/ The Wine Advocate.  It is easy to see why, but that is not a reflection on quality as much as style.  This bottling was quite enjoyable but certainly an outlier from the traditional Châteauneufs.   A blend of 55% Grenache, 35% Syrah, and 10% Mourvedre. Ruby in color, clear and bright.  The nose has lovely cherries with some strawberries with a hint of dried flowers and spices.  Medium bodied.  On the palate, this is elegant and lighter.  Charming might be a good descriptor.  Cherries, with slight cranbe

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