2016 Keplinger Vermillion, USA, California, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

This is the second label for Helen Keplinger.  The grapes are sourced 69% from the Sierra Foothills and 31% from Sonoma County.  It is a blend of Grenache, Mourvèdre, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Counoise and Cabernet Sauvignon.  This is a great value in California blends.  Purple in color.  The nose has a lot going on with black raspberries, plums, some cassis and cherries along with a bit of spice and roasted meat.  On the palate, plenty of black raspberry fruit, some sherries over a charred earth quality.  Lush texture.  Delicious and easy drinking but with a bit of complexity to it.  Medium tan

2015 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$45.00USD

Tablas Creek has some great levels of wine clubs which offer up wines not available outside the winery or in different formats.  This one is easily available although this particular bottle was from a 375ml bottle ($25).  It is a blend of 49% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, 21% Syrah, and 5% Counoise.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  A lovely nose of black raspberries, raspberries, spice and anise.  On the palate, this has firm tannins but the fruit is open and drinking well.  Juicy black raspberries, raspberries, over a clean dry earthiness with just a touch of char.  This is a big wine but no

2016 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas, USA, California, Paso Robles, Adelaida District, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$55.00USD

This is blend of 46% Mourvedre, 31% Syrah, 18% Grenache, and 5% Counoise grapes.  Tasted from a 375ml bottle.  In a full bottle, these will age wonderfully.  In this format, they should still age well, but this was a great chance to check in on the wine.  Deep ruby in color.  The nose has plums, black raspberries, black cherries, spice and char.  On the palate, this has a lovely texture.  Energetic.  Medium tannins.  Right now, the black cherries dominate but that will change as it ages.  Delicious.  Good finish.  This should be versatile with food and go well with fowl or meat dishes and r

2012 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
97
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

A blend of 43% Grenache, 29% Mourvedre, 18% Syrah and 10% Counoise.  This wine is still on the young side but is open and with a bit of air, was drinking great.  Inky purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, slight charred wood, black pepper, roasted herbs and roasted meats.  On the palate, what a wonderful texture.  Almost seamless.  Juicy black raspberry fruit.  Underlying char and roasted meats.  Great energy and balance.  This will continue to mature for the next five to ten years and be good for ten to fifteen after that.  The alcohol is high, but there is hint of it although

2004 Tablas Creek Esprit de Beaucastel, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2004
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

This was possibly the oldest EdB I have had and it was great.  Showing a bit of age but certainly not over the top.  Pop and pour, it improved on opening and then held constant for the evening.  Purple in color, some bricking at the rim.  The nose has cherries, some black cherries and baking spices.  On the palate, this has a nice texture.  Still lively but balanced acidity.  Cherries with a bit of earthiness and the baking spice finishes the palate.  I doubt it gets better from here but it certainly seems like it would have at least five more years before a slow decline.  This will go grea

2013 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2013
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$60.00USD

40% Mourvedre, 28% Syrah, 22% Grenache, and 10% Counoise.  This is still pretty young but quite delicious.  Sort of like a California version of a Chateauneuf du Pape.  Deep ruby in color with some purple swirls.  The nose has cherries, plums, cedar, spice and slight cocoa powder.  On the palate, the spicy red fruits dominate at this stage.  Good acidity.  Nice finish.  This has tight layers that unwind in the glass.  This will work with a wide variety of foods.  It may improve a bit from here but easily has a decade and probably two left in it.  

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

2015 Saxum James Berry Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
99
Grade: 
A+
Current Price: 
$135.00USD

My friend Charlie came by.  Now Charlie likes his wines big and young and we both love Saxum.  That sure seemed like a great opportunity to pull and young'un from the cellar and see what it was showing.  The surprising thing was how good and accessible this was already.  It's not at peak and will improve with cellaring, but if you have more than one, it's not a tragedy to open one now.  33% Grenache, 32% Mourvedre, 24% Syrah and 11% Counoise.   Purple in color, slight ruby line at the rim.  The nose is great with black raspberries, roasted meats, white pepper and slight floral notes.  This

2015 Xavier Vignon Châteauneuf-du-Pape Cuvée Anonyme, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
95
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

An outstanding CdP.  A blend of 60% Grenache, 25% Mourvèdre and the rest Counoise, Vaccarèse and Muscardin.  This is ripe, juicy and delicious if not the "classic" CdP in style.  Purple in color, ruby swirls.  On the nose this has boysenberries, sandalwood, char and slight floral notes.  On the palate, this is juicy with big boysenberry fruit.  There is a nice under layer of spice.  Long finish.  One of those wines that each sip tastes so good you want to have another.  It will be interesting to see this age and lose the baby fat.  Probably should last another fifteen years anyway.  Will wo

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