Wine experts Bartholomew Broadbent and Loren Sonkin answer user submitted questions about wine.

Chappellet 2021 Cabernet Sauvignon, Hideaway Vineyard

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$175.00USD

Chappellet excels at most anything they do. So this Hideaway Vineyard Cabernet, a 100% Cabernet, should be no surprise that it’s a deftly made wine. From the outset this is a rich, structured wine. It begins with moderate to heavy tannins, which support black cherry, blackberry, light campfire smoke, rhubarb, black tea leaf, soft cedar, wild flower and herbs, and light clove. Aged in mainly new French oak to subdue the tannins, this high elevation Cabernet fruit from Pritchard Hill is classic Napa Cabernet – ripe but restrained.

Cabernet Sauvignon

FIOL 2021 Prosecco Rosé

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$22.00USD

FIOL was only founded in 2010 but has since created a strong following. Their 2021 iteration is a blend of 15% Pinot Noir and 85% Glera, which together create creamy bubbles that lead into a soft and pleasant patch of strawberry, raspberry, light lemon notes, hints of cranberry and red delicious apple. This is not an overly complicated wine, it is deceptively simple, and simple sometimes is difficult to create. This is a very enjoyable wine, especially during the summer months when all you want is something pleasing and flavorful.

Chappellet 2021 Cabernet Franc

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$120.00USD

Chappellet has been growing Cabernet Franc for 35 years, planted at a time when Franc was merely considered a blending grape. Comprised of 78% Cabernet Franc (there are small amounts of four other grapes), Chappellet had a made bold choice to produce a stand-alone wine from this grape. Sure, Franc has been made in the U.S. as a stand-alone, and the Loire Valley is ripe with iterations of Franc - most notably in Chinon and St. Dennis. But Franc in California and Franc in France are quite different. That difference aside, Chappellet does an admirable job crafting a very enjoyable wine.

Art of Earth 2022 Riesling

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A-
Current Price: 
$11.99USD

Riesling is something of an odd duck. Most people believe it’s always made in a sweet style, and certainly when made in California typically it does have a sweeter profile. But Riesling can range from bone dry to luxurious dessert wine For those unfamiliar with German Riesling, the vast majority have a light smell and taste of what is called petrol, yes, as in gasoline. But you’re not drinking gasoline. The weather, soil and the clones of Riesling that Germany typically uses offer these aromatics and it’s quite common and actually something very unique to the Riesling grape.

Papapietro Perry 2021 Pinot Noir Pommard Clones, Russian River Valley

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$82.00USD

A moody Pinot Noir, this offers deeper expressive fruit, easy drinkability and makes for a solid food companion (I had this with pesto pasta but the suggestions are quite extensive – game, duck, salmon, hearty vegetarian, etc.). This presents black cherry, blackberry, plum, and light rhubarb with back notes of dried tealeaf, wildflowers, cola and sandalwood. The specific use of Pommard clones gives this some darker fruit elements.

Pinot Noir Pommard Clone. Russian River Valley, Sonoma

Chappellet 2023 Signature Chenin Blanc

Vintage: 
2023
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$75.00USD

Chappellet has long been devoted to its Chenin Blanc, even when it wasn’t really in favor. This iteration - frankly the best in years - offers lovely aromatics and a soft mouth feel, a white wine that doesn’t want to be aggressive, but one that seduces you. There are notes of light resin, lemon peel, lime kefir, hints of apricot, tangerine and orange zest. The acidity is what really supports this wine, allowing it to be a food companion for a variety of diverse foods, or even a stand-alone cocktail wine with a cheese platter.

Côte Mas 2023 Rosé Aurore Pays

Vintage: 
2023
Score: 
90
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$11.99USD

Summertime is always a great time for rosé, but of course, all year long is even better. Rosé should always be low alcohol with light, bright fruit, and a wine that works with a variety of foods, and should be a wine that is not overly complicated. Côte Mas, which I have reviewed for several vintages, is a consistently good, inexpensive rosé that works well pretty much whenever. This iteration is comprised of mainly Grenache with Cinsault and Syrah. It offers bright strawberry, cranberry and pomegranate, light rhubarb and fresh cherry.

Papapietro Perry 2021 Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$61.00USD

This is really a classic California Pinot Noir, offering bright expressive fruit, easy drinkability and a good food companion. Black cherry, rhubarb, cherry compote, blackberry jam, dominate and there are back notes of light floral, vanilla, and cherry cream pie. This is not a difficult Pinot to grapple with, it is straightforward enjoyment that makes your day better. An array of oak was used - only 11 months in total - with a variety of new and older barrels, which allows the wine to retain its brightness and liveliness while having structure and light tannins. Enjoy now through 2026.

Kosta Browne 2021 Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir, Gary’s Vineyard

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
94
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$175.00USD

What’s unusual about this iteration of Pinot from Kosta Browne is that it really straddles the line between an earthy mineral driven Pinot noir, and a more traditional California style of bright strawberry and bright red fruits. Perhaps that’s no surprise as the Santa Lucia Highlands AVA has enough diverse soils to produce intriguing fruit and diurnal swings due to its close proximity to the Pacific Ocean. This Pinot works and works very well.

Greenwing 2022 Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$30.00USD

Washington’s Columbia Valley has long produced Cabernet. Though vine plantings started in the 1960s, it was the 1930s that saw the plantings of traditional grapes like Cabernet and Chardonnay. Now the Valley is well know and producing some very good wine. On initial opening of the 2022 Greenwing Cabernet, there is noticeable jammy fruit and as first an overt sweetness. But this Cabernet needs time to evolve and within 45 minutes the sweet fruit has subsided and the tannins and oak take over, giving you a quality Cabernet.

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