2016 M. Chapoutier Côtes du Rhône Belleruche, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2016
Score: 
89
Grade: 
B+

This is a go to wine at parties, weddings, etc. as it is often served due to its low price.  It retails for around $13 and is an exceptional value.  Of course, in great vintages, it is usually even better and 2016 is another great vintage.  Purple in color.  The nose has boysenberries, dark cherries, charcoal and pepper.  On the palate, there is some fruit here but this is not a fruity wine.  It has nice fruit with an underlying minerals/earthy streak and good balance.  Works well with a wide variety of food.  Drinks easy but has some interest and depth.  

2006 Château de Saint-Cosme Gigondas Valbelle, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2006
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Gigondas is often thought of as a "poor man's" Chateauneuf du Pape and for a lot of reasons that is true.  But, the best Gigondas producers are certainly on a par with many of the better Chateauneufs and Saint-Cosme is certainly one of the best Gigondas producers.  At 12 years from vintage, this seems to be at about peak.  2006 was a very good if not remarkable vintage.  Being caught between the classic 2005 and the ostentatious 2007, it got a bit over looked.  Purple/ruby in color.  The nose has cherries, spice, minerals, slight tobacco/dried leaves and dried cherries.  On the palate, this

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

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
96
Grade: 
A

I love Saxum, they are certainly one of my top favorite wineries.  But, over the years, their styles have changed.  Presumably, that has been consistent with owner/winemaker Justin Smith's preferences changing.  For my tastes, 2012 was another year of change in styles.  The wines became a bit more intense and need a decade to really strut their stuff.  That said, with a bit of air, this one was delicious at six years from vintage.  Deep purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries, leather, roasted meat and black pepper.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  It is packed with delic

2014 Turtle Rock Willow's Cuvee Turtle Rock Vineyard, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A

This is excellent.  From a winery who will undoubtedly raise their prices once the critics start scoring their wines.  This is a GSM blend.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose has cherries, black raspberries, char, leather and spice.  On the palate, this has a great texture.  Firm yet sinewy.  Great black raspberry and cherry fruit with some spice.  Deep and will undoubtedly age well.  Good finish.  Works great on its own or with food.  A winery to follow.  

2007 Domaine Daniel et Denis Alary Côtes du Rhône Villages Cairanne La Font d'Estévenas, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2007
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

Possibly my favorite Cotes du Rhone wine.  I bought a case of this back on release and this was the last bottle.  No regrets, but it would be fine if I still had more.  It is drinking just fine.  It might be a good idea to try and track some down from the 2016 vintage.  Purple/ruby in color.  The nose is nice with black cherries, black pepper, slight earthiness, garrique and still some floral notes.  On the palate, this has some complexity.  Slight layering.  Still some sour cherry and black cherry fruit.  Tannins are integrated.  Good acidity and balance.  At around $15 per bottle on relea

2011 Keplinger Lithic, USA, California, Amador County, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2011
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

Purple in color.  The nose is nice with leather, plums, black raspberries, pepper, dark cherries and spice.  On the palate, this is full bodied.  Very nice texture.  Lots of black cherry and black raspberry fruit.  Depth.  Drinking quite well now but still youthful.  Worked well with spicy food.  This is ripe but not over ripe.  Possibly some upside but easily has another decade or more of life left.  

2008 Carlisle Two Acres, USA, California, Sonoma, Russian River Valley

Vintage: 
2008
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A-

This is a field blend of mostly Rhone varietals and some Petite Sirah.  The Petite Sirah seems to take over more and more as this wine ages.  Purple in color.  The nose has boysenberries, plums, char and some roasted herbs.  On the palate, this has boysenberries, some black cherries and spice.  Nice medium bodied mouth feel.  some complexity.  Slight tannins.  Good finish.  Probably at peak now, but no hurry at all on this.  

2014 Tablas Creek Esprit de Tablas, USA, California, Paso Robles, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2014
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A

I love it when I can find an affordable great wine in a 375ml format.  These are (sometimes) available directly from the Tablas Creek web site.  While this wine is still young, it makes a nice glass or two (or three) while waiting for the full bottles to develop.  Great for the times you just want a bit of wine.  40% Mourvèdre, 35% Grenache, 20% Syrah and 5% Counoise.  Purple in color, ruby at the rim.  The nose is really nice with dark cherries, black raspberries, some black pepper.  Nice sensuous texture.  Great fruit.  This has depth but it is quite primary right now.  Delicious, but wil

2015 E. Guigal Côtes du Rhône, France, Rhone, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2015
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-

Really a tremendous value.  The annual production for this wine is four million bottles.  To make that much wine and be so consistent and of such quality is an amazing thing.  This is certainly a wine where vintage does matter and 2015 is a very good vintage.  For around $15 or less, it is hard to find a better red wine.  Purple in color.  The nose is nice with black cherries, some black olive and a bit of black pepper.  On the palate, this has nice black raspberry and black cherry fruit.  Some depth.  Medium bodied.  Good acidity.  Works well with food.  I would drink these right away.  Th

2012 Gallica Suzuri Series Shake Ridge Ranch, USA, California, Amador County, Wine Review

Vintage: 
2012
Score: 
87
Grade: 
B

This is a GSM blend.  Purple in color.  The nose has black raspberries and a hint of herbal notes.  On the palate, this carries thru.  The green note is a bit distracting.  One dimensional.  Easy drinking.  Its a fine wine but for $52, I find it a bit lacking.  Maybe with age?  I don't think so, but who knows.  

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