Located on Mount Veeder, Brandlin is the sister winery of Cuvaison. In the very capable hands of winemaker Steve Rogstad, his 2021 offers classic notes of light kiwi, lemon-lime zest, gooseberry, light resin, tart green apple and a whisper of butterscotch. This expresses what people want in Sauvignon Blanc – something light, crisp, and fresh. But Brandlin adds a bit of texture to the wine due to fermenting in large French oak barrels, then aging 11 months in oak (just half the barrels were new) to add a noticeable viscosity.
The idea of a Super Tuscan wine has been around for decades, but they tend to be a higher price point. So in 1993 Carpineto launch they value version, Dogajolo. This wine offers good tannic structure and acidity. This leads to notes of blackberry, black cherry, light blueberry with soft strawberry, pomegranate and huckleberry. These fruits are muted though, not overt and jammy - the fruit is balanced with the oak, acids and tannins so the wine is ideal for food.
In France and Portugal, you’ll find Alicante Bouschet. But few other countries make it. So to find a stand-alone bottling from the Symington family (best know for their Ports), my interest was piqued. Soft tannins and mild acidity give way to blackberry, blueberry, ripe black cherry, a hint of huckleberry jam, and back notes of sage, wildflower and rose water. Unique unto itself, this is definitely a wine worth seeking out, if for no other reason than you won’t find this grape bottled very often.
Paraduxx was started in 1994 with the sole purpose of offerings blended wines to the public. Whereas many wineries espouse 100% varietal, the blend is, and always has been, the ability to craft a wine that is greater than the sum of its parts. Though this is 60% Cabernet, there are six other grapes playing a part, including Zinfandel, Grenache and Malbec. This is a soft wine that offers noticeable fruit: black cherry, huckleberry, blueberry and blackberry along with light vanilla, green tea and baked apricot. The tannins help to solidify the structure, being potent but not aggressive.
With fruit coming from Heintz Ranch, which has been operational since 1912, this wine offers soft and delicate fruit, it does not pretend to be overt. There is noticeable, black cherry, strawberry, huckleberry, with earthy under notes and light green tea. Whereas the acidity is in check, there is a velvety quality to this, a tactile, drinking experience. 186 cases. The judicious use of oak aging allows for purity of fruit. ORIGIN: Russian River Valley, Sonoma. ALCOHOL: 13.5%.
I have reviewed, favorably, the Pinot Noir from Gowen Creek for years. When you find a wine that offers such consistency, you stick with it. What Gowen offers is a sublime melding of fruit like black cherry, red raspberry, boysenberry, blackberry acidity, minerality and judicious use of oak. This wine has those in spades. Though the word “balance” is tossed around a lot in the wine industry, when you taste one, you know. Not only is this wine balanced, it is simply enjoyable to drink.
This offers nicely balanced red fruit with minimal oak, solid acidity and decent tannic structure. Not an easy thing to find in a Merlot, and a Merlot at this price. Black cherry, black berry, huckleberry, red currant, light cedar and vanilla notes dominate and this is a very comprehensive wine. Mainly Merlot, there are small percentages of Cabernet Franc, Petit Verdot, Syrah and Malbec. It was aged for 14 months in French oak, only 40% of which was new, hence the light wood touch. What this ultimately offers is a robust Merlot that is well worth the price.
Any vineyard facing San Pablo Bay, like Toro Hills, is buffeted by wind and fog coming off the water. Typically fruit grown here is more fully developed. This Toro Hills Pinot has that depth of flavor, less bright strawberry notes and more raspberry, huckleberry, blueberry and blackberry with soft black cherry, spring wildflowers, and a slight earthiness. The acidity is spot on allowing for expressiveness with food while the mild barrel aging (10 months in barrel with just 30% new French oak) allows for a balanced approach and fruit over wood. ORIGIN: Sonoma County. ALCOHOL: 14.9%
Calera has farmed their separate but distinctive vineyards since 1973. Limestone rich soil, high elevation, native yeast and whole cluster pressed are just some of the attributes of Calera’s program. These work together year after year to produce stellar wines. The Reed Vineyard fruit has more of an earthy quality to it. There are darker notes of black cherry, blackberry, huckleberry, raspberry and faint herbs The acidity is mild as are the tannins, yet it drinks very well, and cries out for food to help show off the fruit.
More mature than past vintages, this has nice tight tannins and acidity to make the fruit work well for aging long-term. The dusty fruit of blackberry, black cherry, blueberry and huckleberry gives way to light vanilla from the oak influence and slight cocoa notes. The oak certainly plays a major influence here, but it does not detract from the beautiful fruit that has been harvested for this wine. Though this wine has a lot of production, the quality is still amazing for the number of cases it produces That takes control, and focus by the winemaking team at Duckhorn.