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

Cuvaison 2022 Chardonnay, Kite Tail

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$70.00USD

Kite Tail has always been a very expressive Chardonnay and this iteration is no exception. It deviates from traditional Chardonnay and delves into richer, more mature elements. What’s surprising then is that this iteration has less oak and less malolactic time than previous versions. Yet this still retails a wonderful acidity, character and aroma, not to mention a palate experience that brings in oak-like notes, without the cumbersome oak heaviness. All estate grown, all Chardonnay, this offers a nose of soft muted lemon, resin and butterscotch/gardenia.

MacRostie 2022 Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$38.00USD

A terrific Pinot considering the price, this affordable wine showcases the rustic quality of Sonoma Coast fruit. Obvious strawberry, red raspberry, light pomegranate, and plum fill the palate. The weather along the Sonoma Coast also produces a brambly quality, more macerated deeper and richer red fruits along with an ideal acidity and moderate tannins. Winemaker Heidi Bridenhagen wisely chose to keep the oak treatment minimal, using only 30% new French oak with reduced toast levels. These choices make this great with food - a delicate Pinot Noir that offers some heft and swagger.

Argyle 2022 Estate Reserve Pinot Noir

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$40.00USD

One of the great things typical of Oregon Pinot Noir is that these wines have an earthiness to them that California Pinot does not necessarily possess. The fruit is more subdued, and in the case of this Argyle, you get a nice balance, something reminiscent of Burgundy that has expressive fruit, but an earthy, mellow aged quality that drinks very well.

Calera 2020 Pinot Noir, Ryan Vineyard

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

When Pinot Noir vines hit around 20 years of age, they typically show a beautiful maturity of fruit. At a grow elevation of 2,200 feet and planted in limestone soils Calera’s wines show an intensity and acidity other wines only strive for. Soft and lithe, this Pinot is an easy drinking, very amenable wine. There are fruit notes with a little more earthiness, light mushroom and damp leaf. You’ll notice rhubarb, pomegranate, very light cherry with a firm tannic structure to support the acidity. Perhaps curiously, there are not certain flavors that dominate this Pinot, as is typical of many.

Acumen PEAK 2021 Cabernet Franc

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$125.00USD

It’s always exciting to see a winery launch a new wine and for Acumen, this is their first ever Cabernet Franc. True, they have grown and used Franc for years, just not as its own bottling. This offers tight, dusty tannins supported by a mélange of dark red and black berry fruits. There is an earthy core with light black tea leaves, cigar notes and pomegranate. The oak program is evident (60% new French oak was used) but not overwhelming. Comprised mainly of Cabernet Franc, there are small amount of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot added in to finesse this already lovely wine.

Calera 2021 Mt. Harlan Chardonnay

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$65.00USD

Calera winery has been making wine for almost 50 years. But few people ever visit this winery. It’s way off the normal wine experience, being sequestered in the Gavilan Mountain range near the tiny town of Hollister. But that is also its best quality. There is a lovely viscosity to this Chardonnay - a thickness that rolls over the tongue. Yes, you will find the requisite lemon chiffon, lime kefir, white peach, green apple and Asian pear.

Bodega Cerro del Toro 2020 Tannat

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
93
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$25.00USD

It’s not easy to find an approachable Tannat, one that drinks well right out of the bottle. One of the reasons is that the Tannat grape has more, and larger, seeds than other grapes therefore the tannins are more aggressive. Tame that and you’ve got it nailed. Uruguay is a country pushing Tannat to the world and with great results. This 2020 is a lively robust wine that will change your mind about this misunderstood grape.

Dow 2020 Vale do Bomfim DOC Douro Red

Vintage: 
2020
Score: 
91
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$15.00USD

Dow has a long history with Port wines, but over the last few decades they have been making great strides with still red and white wines. They have consistently produced quality still wines that I have reviewed for several vintages. Their “everyday” red and white wines from Vale do Bomfim - line priced at a mere $15 - are terrific quality for the price. This red, a blend of traditional Port grapes not made into a sweet wine, includes Touriga Nacional (40%), Tina Roriz (30%) and smaller amounts of Tinta Franca and Tinta Barroca.

Bouchaine 2022 Vin Gris of Pinot Noir

Vintage: 
2022
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$29.00USD

Bouchaine has consistently made this wine and has consistently made it well. What sets this apart from many California rosé is that it straddles the line between fruit and acidity, allowing the wine to be a part of any meal. It offers strawberry, lemon-lime, resin, light apricot and loquat. There is also a slight tartness to it, a hint of green apple that helps define this as a multi layered wine. Since the wine sees no oak at all, the freshness, the brightness and the clean fruit shines through. 1,500 cases. ORIGIN: Napa Valley, Carneros. ALCOHOL: 13.5%

Acumen 2021 Mountainside Cabernet Sauvignon

Vintage: 
2021
Score: 
92
Grade: 
A
Current Price: 
$85.00USD

Most wineries, like Acumen, love fruit grown on hilly terrain. The grapes have proper drainage, the addition of breezes keeps the leafy vines healthier and soils are richer in nutrients. Therefore, this Mountainside Cabernet has everything going for it. This wine requires a little bit of patience however, and decanting this for a few hours will be well worth your time. This shows the obvious black cherry, blueberry, boysenberry, and huckleberry notes that Cabernet typically has.

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