April 4, 2021
Dancing Crow Rose

Dancing Crow Rosé 2020

83% Syrah, grown intentionally for Rosé, 17% Sauvignon Blanc for cut and dimension. On the nose this could easily be mistaken for Provence with it’s savory, spicy, orange zest, not fruity nose. In the mouth it tastes like California with apparent ripe red berry/plum and mouth-filling texture. Yet dry – very dry, with the spice taking the lead start to finish. Touch of black pepper-dusted peach and mandarin orange on the finish. This could be the only Rosé I drink all summer with no complaints. Winemaker Notes: This 2020 wine was grown and harvested specifically to be a Rosé. By […]
April 4, 2021
Dancing Crow Old Stake

Dancing Crow Old Stake 1901 2018

Eight principal grape (+ a couple dozen other red and white grapes) field blend, co-harvest, co-ferment. The old vines date as far back as 1901.  Refreshing, briary red berry fruits and sun-dried garden herbs the initial impressions. Starts quite tight, almost light. An hour of splashing or open bottle overnight brings deeper color, darker fruit profile, more brooding, deep spicy and rich character. The transformation was amazing. Dark raspberry, mocha, cocoa, black pepper and pomegranate flavors come at you all at once after it has stretched a bit. Rich, distinctive, versatile wine that has a long life ahead of it. […]
March 20, 2021
Olivia Brion Tempranillo

Olivia Brion Tempranillo “Shake Ridge” 2016

Napa winery Olivia Brion stretches out by acquiring Tempranillo from the outstanding “Shake Ridge Ranch” near Sutter Creek in Gold Country, Sierra Foothills. Smells great, like red cherry compote, dark pomegranate, dried red rose petals and cracked black peppercorns. Medium-bodied, loads of fruit yet not overly fruity because of the floral/spicy/earthy flavors going on. Its fine tannins make the wine stand tall. Really lovely…full-flavored yet with a graceful restraint. Fantastic food wine. Pair as you would a structured, complex Napa Valley Merlot. More Information With a history focused on Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from “Heron Lake Vineyard” in Wild Horse […]
March 11, 2021
Post & Vine Rose

Post & Vine Rosé 2020

Old-vine Carignane was whole cluster pressed after a short soak on the skins. Dark-ish salmon skin color, peppery watermelon, raspberry and blood orange and herbs de Provence smells and flavors, all neatly packed in a dry, vibrant Rosé that’s equally fruity and spicy. I tasted this in early March 2021 and, typical of early release Rosé wines, will taste even better (significantly better) this summer. With 61 cases made and an $18 price tag, it won’t be available come summertime. Plan ahead. Post & Vine Owners/Winemakers Rebekah Wineburg and Erica Kinkaid launched with their 2012 Old Vine Field Blend. In […]
March 11, 2021
Post & Vine Red 2017

Post & Vine Old Vine Field Blend 2017

The 2017 Post & Vine Old Vine Field Blend is a blend of Zinfandel (34%), Carignane (32%), Petite Sirah (30%) and Grenache (4%) from 65 year old vines in Mendocino’s Redwood Valley. In true field blend method, all four varietals are harvested and fermented together. The old vines give the wine its spicy, earthy soul. Skilled farming and winemaking explain the layers of fruit and texture. The Post & Vine 2017 is brambly, brushy with smells & flavors of violet candies, ripe dark plum, raspberry sauce, cinnamon, garden thyme and crushed black peppercorns that are first shy then blossom and […]
March 8, 2021
Boheme Pinot Noir Taylor Ridge

BOHÈME Pinot Noir Taylor Ridge 2018

The Bohème Pinot Noir Taylor Ridge 2018 has an honest Burgundy-like savory-ness from start to finish. Wild red cherries, blood orange, bone broth, cracked peppercorns, cola, black tea and cooking herbs please the senses and take me on an olfactory journey. Is it Sonoma Coast? Is it Old World? Texturally Bohème Taylor Ridge Pinot is strong and fit with fine tannins and mouth-watering acidity. It’s young and shows it. A wonderful sensory exploration now for sure, yet you’re cheating yourself a bit by drinking it now. I suggest drinking 2024-2034. From Kurt Beitler, owner/winemaker of Bohème: Taylor Ridge Vineyard is […]
March 8, 2021
Boheme Pinot Noir Occidental Hills

BOHÈME Pinot Noir Occidental Hills 2018

The Bohème Pinot Noir Occidental Hills comes from an undisclosed vineyard farmed by Kurt Beitler. The site’s particularly cool micro-climate allows for extended hang time, resulting in a nicely developed, ripe and beautifully balanced Pinot Noir. Ripe red cherries, brown pie spices, anise, blueberres, black tea and cola flavors are generous and expressive even in this wine’s relative infancy. Either drink now or hold for 10+ years: either way you’re a winner here. From Kurt Beitler, owner/winemaker of Boheme: “The components of this reserve coastal cuveé include six Pinot Noir selections grown on three distinct soils. Averaging 34% stem inclusion, […]
March 8, 2021
Boheme Chardonnay English Hill

Bohème Chardonnay English Hill 2017

The Bohème Chardonnay “English Hill” 2017 immediately grabs the nose with caramelly lemon, roast hazelnuts, bright green apple slices, freshly cut pears and a sqeeze of lime. In the mouth it’s both vibrant and voluptuous with all the aforementioned aromas translating to flavors with an extra hit of caramel and apple butter. The rich Bohème English Hill Chardonnay is full of vigor due to its core of cool-climate acidity ringing through. Yep, I’m a big fan of this wine. I would easily recommend it if it were $70, so at $49 it’s a crazy-good value. The numbers don’t “work” particularly […]
February 20, 2021
Fortunati Pinot Noir 2018

Fortunati Pinot Noir 2018

2021 addendum to April 2020 posting: Re-tasted with Gary Luchtel then took it home to make video below. Youthful glow remains. Has the same arousing aromatics noted last year as well as its bright, intense berry/darker citrus and herbal tea flavors. It was a most enjoyable drink. That said, I’ve recalibrated my optimum drinking zone to 2023 and beyond. April 2020: Grabs you with its sweet, ripe dark red cherry nose, quickly moving to framboise, blood orange and red roses. More of the same in the taste along with coriander, black licorice and a careful touch of French oak (2/3rd […]
February 17, 2021
Becheur Syrah

Becheur Syrah, Mt Veeder

Deep, purplish-red color. Savory aroma full of Syrah goodness: dry aged beef, black peppercorns, oiled leather, black olive. Don’t forget the blackberry/blueberry…it takes a couple of minutes to emerge then BAM you get a basket of berries too. Everything’s integrated, soft tannins, dandy acidity, seamless transitions from nose to taste, taste to finish. Is this really “just” $20? More or less, yes (see Becheur’s dynamic pricing system). Get this while you can. It’s Syrah from Mt Veeder, made and raised by a winery that accidentally topped off this 2016 with 2015 wine, making it non-vintage and sinking that wine’s battleship. […]
January 15, 2021
Cufflinks White Wine

Cufflinks White Wine Napa Valley

Cufflinks White is a blend of 72% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon, 6% Ribolla Gialla and 2% Chardonnay (mostly 2018 vintage). A high-end negociant wine (buy unbottled, blend it, bottle it), this unique white blend has a little bit of just about everything. While lemony citrus holds the throne, honeysuckle, mango, mandarin oranges, Honeycrisp apples, crushed almonds and mandarin oranges contribute in this refreshing, versatile white wine. On the long, 20 second finish a leesy richness blossoms as well as kiss of lemon bitters and almond skin. The Cufflinks white has a little something for most every palate. Imbibe at cellar […]
December 18, 2020
Prima Materia Aglianico

Prima Materia Aglianico

Dark color, spicy ripe berry nose, strong flavor with low acid and soft tannins. The dark cocoa, wild mushroom and black licorice complement the oodles of concentrated blackberry, black currant and dried black fig flavors. While not so many wine drinkers know Aglianico, many do know strong red wine and like it. Such drinkers will very much like the Prima Materia Aglianico. Notes from Prima Materia owner/winemaker Pietro Buttitta: “Grown at 1450’ elevation on red, obsidian-strewn soil resulting from Mt. Konocti’s volcanic upheaval, Aglianico is Prima Materia’s most important bottling. Our biggest, boldest red. Black fruits with black cherry, licorice, baking […]
December 15, 2020
Jolie Laide GSM

Jolie Laide Grenache Syrah Mourvedre 2018

Ripe and sweet-smelling blueberries, black licorice, dry-aged beef, violets and lavender and earthy spices come to mind on the Jolie Laide GSM’s deep, complex nose. In the mouth, the wine is layered, intense and youthful. Red berry and plum fruits peek through along with mandarin orange, new leather and cracked black pepper. Built to last and evolve with its healthy acidity and fine tannins, the wine will reach its optimal drinking plateau around 2025 and stay there for 10+ years. Co-owner/winemaker Scott Schultz: “Shake Ridge is an undulating and diverse 46-acre vineyard nestled about 1750ft. up in the Sierra foothills, […]
December 15, 2020
Jolie Laide Gamay

Jolie Laide Gamay 2019

Stealing from co-owner/winemaker Scott Schultz, the Jolie Laide Gamay “Barsotti” 2019 is “Wild strawberry and summer herbs with cranberry tartness.” Running alongside the strawberry nose is watermelon Jolly Rancher, dried orange peels, violets and black tea. Tartness indeed, although I prefer tangy…same thing but sounds better. Because I know the vines grow in granite, I taste the rock (just like I do in Cru Beaujolais – nothing wrong with riding the power of suggestion) plus peach pit, white pepper and lots of baby strawberries and raspberry. Its healthy tannic structure unwinds with plenty of air – I find the wine […]
December 9, 2020
Poseidon Chardonnay The Bench

Poseidon Chardonnay The Bench 2018

Utterly delicious, the Poseidon Chardonnay The Bench possesses new world ripeness, cool Carneros acidity and deft winemaking that in tandem has created a bright, fruity, textured, quintessential California Chardonnay. Buttery croissants, crunchy pears, lemon cream and green tea smells and flavors delight from nose to finish. Round, creamy texture, mouth-watering acidity and comforting, warm sensation of fresh bread and nutmeg on the finish make for a complete, outstanding Chardonnay. “The fruit was pressed whole-cluster in small batches and then barrel-fermented in 20% new, 300-liter barrels that were lightly toasted specifically for this wine. These special, larger-format barrels provided all the […]
December 9, 2020
Poseidon Chardonnay Sea Change

Poseidon Chardonnay “Sea Change” 2019

Engagingly crisp fresh bread crust and textured nuance on the back end, the Poseidon Chardonnay Sea Change succeeds in their version of the oft-attempted tangy, naked “alternative style.” First impressions are yellow grapefruit, quince, lemon blossoms, lemon squeeze then bread crust and white chocolate flavors peek through at the end. Pleasingly tart and layered, this polished Chardonnay is an extremely versatile wine at the dinner table. Alex Beloz, Winemaker: “The fruit was harvested by hand in mid-September when we felt acidity was at its peak. The grapes were pressed whole-cluster into a stainless steel tank to preserve freshness, then allowed […]
December 8, 2020
Obsidian Ridge The Chief

Obsidian Ridge The Chief 2017

Ideally ripe, structured and complex, the Obsidian Ridge The Chief is an outstanding, limited production Cab-based blend. The estate vineyard in Lake County’s Red Hills AVA is over 2500 feet high planted in obsidian/volcanic rock. Decant at least two hours (important) then taste roast herbs de Provence, wild blueberries, dried black cherries, dried cedar and sweet pomegranate seeds. Structured and bright from its natural acidity, the wines attributes are cohesive and harmonious. Again, you must decant well prior to imbibement for the full effect. Better yet, cellar until 2030 and enjoy through 2040 and beyond. % of Malbec and Petit […]
December 8, 2020
Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon

Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon 2017

The 2017 Obsidian Ridge Cabernet Sauvignon has a Cabernet Franc-esque aroma of fresh bay leaves, sage and thyme. Black currants, dried blueberries and dark pomegranate make a pointed entrance on the mid-palate. Structure and vibrancy persist start to finish, attributable to the 2600 feet high, sloping vineyard on deep volcanic soil. Bittersweet chocolate and black cherry liqueur are at the core of the wine, showing themselves on the back palate and early finish before mountain tannins take over. A meat-eater’s wine, it would make a great foil with a grilled ribeye or New York strip. 2% each Malbec and Petit […]
December 8, 2020
Poseidon Rose

Poseidon Rosé For The Bay 2019

The Poseidon Rosé for the Bay is an altruistic venture and a damn good wine to boot. 100% Pinot Noir from Poseidon’s Carneros Estate vineyard, picked intentionally for Rosé. Wild red cherry, watermelon Jolly Rancher, lime sqeeze and dried orange peels come to mind in this crisp, vibrant Rosé that is both restrained yet not lacking in any way. True it’s a “summer wine” at heart…in MY heart it’s a 365 day wine (366 in leap years). From the winery: “Poseidon Rosé for the Bay is vinified in support of the San Francisco Baykeeper. Peter Molnar, Co-Founder of Poseidon Vineyard, […]
December 1, 2020
Olivia Brion Taquine

Olivia Brion Taquine 2019

The Olivia Brion Taquine 2019 is a unique blend of 50% Viognier, 38% Gewurztraminer and 12% Chardonnay. Fruit sources are Amador, Russian River and Wild Horse Valley respectively. A tart, cutting aroma of Meyer lemon zest, Kaffir lime leaf, orange blossoms and white peach points to its racy, aperitif style. Taste grapefruit, blanched almonds, Macintosh apple (skin on) and lemon verbena. The slightly pinched finish softens with briny, just-shucked oysters (winemaker Kira Ballotta says “go Kumamoto”).  13.4% Alcohol. More Information Best known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their Estate “Heron Lake Vineyard” in Napa & Solano’s Wild Horse […]
December 1, 2020
Olivia Brion Pinot Noir Willamette

Olivia Brion Pinot Noir Willamette Valley 2016

Bright, ethereal and snappy, the Olivia Brion Pinot Noir “Sunny Mountain” captures the classic light and intense Pinot Noir style that made Willamette Valley famous. Get bay leaf, raspberries, tarragon, cranberry pastry, ruby grapefruit and a savory, salty finish. This is a Pinot Noir I drink happily on its own – and with a mouthful of fatty fish (salmon typically) I drink it with great joy. A la Burgundy, this is a “food wine” first and foremost. More Information Best known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their Estate “Heron Lake Vineyard” in Napa & Solano’s Wild Horse Valley, Olivia […]
November 29, 2020
Prima Materia Arcanum III

PRIMA MATERIA “Arcanum No III” Red

“Arcanum” is a Dolcetto-based, non-vintage red blend. This dark berry fruit, brooding, earthy/spicy quality is not what you expect from Dolcetto (I wonder what % is Dolcetto? Guessing around 50%.) Smell and taste black figs, blackberries, dry aged beef, pipe tobacco, tea leaves. Ripe core of fruit in the middle with savory flavors all around it. Reminds me of a Southern Italian red: nice and rustic. $21 is a great deal for this wine. More Information Prima Materia’s vineyard is in western Lake County. Volcanic soils, 1500 feet elevation, continental climate (very hot days and cool nights). Not your typical […]
November 24, 2020
Becheur Mourvedre

Becheur Mourvedre 2018

100% 100+ year old vine Mourvedre from the Sacramento Delta (vineyard is near the town of Pittsburg). Generous amounts of dark plum, blueberry and blackberry fruit, nicely complemented by Mourvedre’s black licorice, earthy truffle, crusty cigar wrapper and black pepper flavors. Good, brightening acidity and fine, firm tannins. Ready to enjoy now…fantastic choice for a “house wine” because of its versatility with food as well as its tastiness on its own. The value speaks for itself. One of my highest ever Value Ratings of 5.6 – Hall of Fame Value. If you know Mourvedre a little bit or a lot, […]
November 2, 2020
Priest Ranch Coach Gun

PRIEST RANCH “Coach Gun” Red 2015

The Priest Ranch “Coach Gun” is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Petit Verdot and 20% Malbec from the Priest Ranch, and now “Somerston Estate” vineyard and winery, on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley AVA. The 2015 Coach Gun is pretty awesome. Dark berry flavors everywhere with loads of dark chocolate, black licorice, oil-cured black olive and black mole flavors adding impressive complexity. It’s rich, lush and surprisingly velvety for such an extracted “mountain wine.” This wine is drinking like a champ now and will stay on top for the next 15 years easy. Somerston Estate (formerly […]