“Intentional Rosé” made from Syrah and Grenache. Sierra Foothills and Oakville, Napa Valley fruit. Yellow plum and watermelon rind nose suggest a very dry, tingly style of Rosé wine. Take a big sip and that’s exactly what you get: very dry and bursting with acidity. With the tang are definitive flavors of cracked black peppercorns, pink roses, tangy raspberries, cotton candy and those yellow plums and melon rind. Azur absolutely nails the style they are going for, which is a very dry Provence style. The bulls-eye along with the fantastic packaging warrants the “luxury market” Rosé price. Azur Winery is […]
Earthy and savory aromas play with black currants and blackberries on the Bordeaux-ish nose. Dark berry/cherry fruits, baker’s chocolate, expensive cigars and cedar flavors play nicely on the palate with gently toasted oak (all French oak, 50% new) framing it all. Ripe, structured and layered with healthy acidity, the 2016 Coho Cabernet Sauvignon will age and improve for the next 10 years and stay at its drinking plateau for another 10. Makes me think of quality Left Bank Bordeaux in a very good vintage. Includes small percentages of 14% Petit Verdot and 10% Merlot in the blend. More information Since […]
Ripe dark red cherry, bordering on kirsch, on the nose along with black licorice, plum tart and a kiss of toasty barrel. (“Very Santa Lucia,” says the wine geek.) Generous and easy to like, even in its youth. With all that simple goodness, there is also a steady light of acidity to bolster the Pinot Noir. Delicious now – so much so you could make a case to drink it all up now. But restrain yourself for greatest enjoyment from 2022-2028 in my estimation. Three Furies is a new(er) winery co-owned and made by Martin Mackenzie of Napa. Martin’s resume includes […]
The Three Furies “Constant Vengeance” 2017 starts with earth-driven aromas of crimini mushroom, oiled leather and rare beefsteak. A few minutes in the glass opens the door for wild red cherries, raspberries and mandarin orange to join the party. The same fruits (along with some red plums), soil and spices team up on the currently wound up, structured palate. Impressive how it quickly evolves in the glass with the different flavors marrying up. Firm, youthful tannins that, while natural to the Santa Rita Hills vineyard from which it comes, can be attributed to the low yields of 2017. I expect […]
Orange/pink, peach skin color points to the dry, savory style of Rosé that this is. Cracked black pepper, light strawberry and fresh bread crust (from brief aging on the lees). The taste combines weight and a healthy acidity. Flavors of tarragon, red berries, peach pit, watermelon and light caramel – all in unison. Bone-dry, medium bodied, a bit creamy, spicy throughout and a pleasant tang of acidity. Because of it’s broader shoulder style I’d pair it with stronger flavored foods than most Rosé wines – red sauces, pesto, BBQ white meats, pepperoni pizza. Sourced from 125 year old (!) Grenache […]
Syrah from hillside, granite-heavy soils above Chavanay (the tenderloin of Saint Joseph). Deep, spicy, rich, seductive red wine, full of black licorice, peppercorns, blue and blackberry, mole and espresso smells and flavors. Concentrated and robust yet smooth with medium acidity and rounded tannins, this is a young Northern Rhone Valley Syrah to either drink or hold. Great value for a high-impact Syrah. Domaine de la Roche Paradis (“Rock Paradise”) is the creation of Yann Menager, whose day job is vineyard manager for the prolific Yves Cuilleron. Menager recently started purchasing special yet underappreciated vineyards in the Northern Rhone and making […]
The blend is 1/3rd each Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Vermentino. From Faugères, 60 miles west of the Rhone Valley. Elevation and rocky schist soils make for wines of concentration and dimension here. This wine is mighty fine. Honeysuckle, orange zest and lemon custard on the nose, then taste peach purée, ripe grapefuit and mango, wrapping up with fresh ginger and chamomile on the finish. Medium body, creamy texture from neutral oak aging and stirring of lees, heartbeat of acidity. Drink this with or without food. Domaine de Cottebrune is owned, grown and made by Pierre Gaillard of Northern Rhone Valley fame. […]
This Grenache/Syrah blend blend from the high quality yet relatively unknown Faugères appelation is a real gem. Growing in high density vineyards in the foothills of France’s Massif Central, Cottebrune Faugères “Les Moulins” is pure and pretty with loads of red plum, raspberry, strawberry and peppery spice pleasure. A subtle floral component-fresh violets and lavender-lurks in the background. Medium bodied, gentle tannins, healthy acidity and no oak flavor (only the Syrah is barrel-aged – third use so pretty neutral) make for a wine that is both distinctive AND easy to enjoy. Domaine de Cottebrune is owned, grown and made by […]
Peppery spice (helped by 6% Syrah in the blend) and dark wild strawberry nose proudly announces this Grenache. Taste is those dang strawberries, bit of pomegranate, lavender, candied ginger and cocoa. Medium body, medium/low acidity, fine tannins and spice galore in this tasty little number. 601 Cellars is owned and made by husband/wife Brian Doody and Laura Larson. Their focus is on Napa Valley Sangiovese but they “dabble” in other regions (like their Sierra Foothills Sangio) and other grapes. I’m impressed with the quality of the wines particularly because they (particularly Brian who heads the winemaking) is self-taught. For all my 601 […]
Bright cherry, blood orange and dried Italian herb nose, moving to a tangy, juicy, mouth-watering taste of red berries, cherries, red plums, white pepper and fresh violets. Its sharp corners were rounded by a brief aging in neutral barrels. This friendly Rosé wine, while classically light, has enough “meat on its bones” to pair nicely with chicken and pork hot off the grill or fire pit. I’m a big fan of the St Romedius wines for quality, uniquness and value. This is a winery to enjoy and buy from. Read all of my St Romedius reviews here.
Muscat’s exotic aromatics pop as the high acidity from an early pick keeps the sweetness perception meter at zero. Get lemongrass, green-tinged pineapple, orange zest and white flowers in the spring. There’s a ying-yang and of tang (bordering on tart) and exoticness that makes this a joy to drink. At 10% alcohol, it’s an easy drinker. Have with fresh goat and sheep milk cheeses and green goddess dressing. I’m a big fan of the St Romedius wines for quality, uniquness and value. This is a winery to enjoy and buy from. Read all of my St Romedius reviews here.
Fresh fruity smells of white peaches, mango, honeysuckle, pineapple, crisp green apple and white grapes. The exotic, floral side of the wine steps up in the taste. Lemon bitters, lemon zest, Asian herbs and spices like coriander and lemongrass. And intense, piercing fruitiness. Gets a little creamy textured on the finish, which I like a lot. Big fan of this aromatic white wine. Owner/winemaker Robert Pintacsi sources this Tocai from a vineyard east of Placerville in the Sierra Foothills. 3100+ feet: high elevation. This is a winery to enjoy and buy from. Read all of my St Romedius reviews here.
Black peppercorns, blood orange rind and red roses come forth on the deep and savory nose. The same goodness continues in the taste – strawberries and blood orange for sure, but spice, flowers and texture are the major takeways where. And balance: not too fruity nor light nor rich. It hits the middle ground in this particularly complex and “serious” Rosé. The making of this wine is as impressive as the wine itself: top-notch, much sought-after Grenache fruit from Rutherford’s “McGah Vineyard,” intentional Rosé, one barrel made. 601 Cellars is owned and made by husband/wife Brian Doody and Laura Larson. Their […]
Martin Reyes, Master of Wine, crafted this wine by sourcing barrels of wine from a handful of great Napa wineries and making a blend. It is Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc-heavy with Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot adding nuance. An old-world nose of smoky berry/cherry, musk, cedar and pencil shavings, along with its heartbeat of acidity, definitely remind me of Bordeaux. In the mouth the density and expansiveness of Napa Cabernet comes through as flavors of creme de cassis, blackberries, leather handbag, cumin and toasty barrel with a drop of vanilla glide by. You can tell this wine comes from […]
Bright wild cherry, fresh violets, pomegranate and black truffle shavings come to mind at first sip in this elegant, persistent Pinot Noir. As the wine breathes it relaxes, gaining richness and a velvety texture. I like its deep core of fruit-focused flavor and stimulating acidity throughout that makes it an ideal match with fatty fish like salmon and grilled duck breast. The heart of this wine is “Terra de Promissio Vineyard” in the Petaluma Gap. All French oak, 50% new, used during its 14 month elevage. Peter Paul Wines is owned by entrepreneur/philanthropist Peter Paul and managed by Martin Reyes, […]
A beauty of a Chardonnay from start to finish, the Peter Paul Bacigalupi Chardonnay starts with smells of caramel green apples, clover honey, fresh baked bread, roasted peaches and pears. In the mouth the wine is unapologetically rich and full-bodied while keeping a heartbeat of citrus-flavored acidity. Taste lemon custard, toasted coconuts, roast almonds, caramel, nutmeg and baked pears. Make no bones: This is a Chardonnay for fans of the bigger, bolder style…the style that we in the wine business hear the most vocal consumers inexplicably eschew. That’s OK – more for the rest of us. Peter Paul Wines is […]
60ish year old vine field blend of Petite Sirah (30%), Carignane (29%), Zinfandel (25%), and Grenache (16%) from Redwood Valley’s “Testa Vineyard.” The fresh, snappy red and blue fruits, peppercorn spice, potpourri and crushed Provence herbs make for an intense yet restrained red wine that is very versatile at the dinner table. At 14.2% alcohol, the wine shows purity and generous flavors without a port-like or jammy character. I think this will drink at its best from around 2023 to 2030. Post & Vine Owners/Winemakers Rebekah Wineburg and Erica Kinkaid both have “day jobs” making super-high end (and pricey) Napa […]
The tiny-production Post & Vine Rosé of Carignane has a bright, brilliant red color, a pronounced tang of acidity, focused flavors of tangy raspberry, watermelon and strawberry plus peppery spice, tarragon and white roses. As it breathes the fruitiness comes out, softening the wine’s cutting acidity. Reminds me of Italian Sangiovese Rosato in this way. I preferred it on Day 2…common for Rosé wines not even a year old and recently bottled. Post & Vine Owners/Winemakers Rebekah Wineburg and Erica Kinkaid both have “day jobs” making super-high end (and pricey) Napa Valley Cabernets and such. Post & Vine is their […]
This blend of 58% Merlot and 42% Cabernet Franc from “Beau Terroir,” a vineyard in southwest Napa Valley, could easily be confused for a high end Right Bank Bordeaux from an exceptional vintage. It’s that good. All the expected Bordeaux descriptions rattle off my typing fingers: tobacco, black currant, blackberry, pencil shavings, cedar and sandalwood. The fruit is a smidge more pronounced than its old world counterparts because, hey, it’s Napa. Ultimately the vineyard speaks the loudest with its savory, soily, spicy character showing in the wine. Medium bodied, acidity skates about, fine tannins, complementary French oak. As good as […]
Starts off with an engaging, controlled nose of dried flowers, candle wax and citrus zest. Tangy and rounded texture in the mouth as flavors of baked green apples, mangoes, Meyer lemons and river rocks take their turn. I really like the beeswax texture of the wine – I’d guess it is Semillon if tasted blind because who would guess Godello? Impressive how delicious this wine is at such a young age. This is 100% Godello (a grape native to the Iberian Peninsula) from Sonoma Valley. Grafted over from another variety in 2009, this was the first and maybe still the […]
Begins with smells of plum preserves, lavender, fresh ginger and blueberries. The taste continues with the same goodies plus blood orange, bay leaf, pomegranate and licorice. Everything complementary…not one sensation overwhelms the others. Medium bodied, healthy acidity, smooth tannins. Super-good alone, better with food. Grilled salmon with a soy/ginger/sesame drizzle would be a glorious match. Halcyon Winery is a champion of Cabernet Franc. They make around 6 Cab Francs a year, including 2 sparkling. These are the type of wines that define the next phase of California artisan winemaking as they bring intrigue, personality, passion and risk. Oh, and great […]
Introduces itself with springtime flowers and blossoms, grapefruit and peach. Stone fruits, crisp melon, Meyer lemon and the mysterious “minerality” take turns in the taste. Typical high acidity is countered by a textured roundness (from 4 months lees-ageing is both steel and nuetral oak). It’s young, and I suspect my tasting notes will be more even more enthusiastic when I enjoy in fall 2020 and beyond. Speaking from experience, this 2019 Cave Dog Albariño is more than an aperitif wine. It went toe-to-toe with my home-made pesto pasta studded with spicy sausage and earthy broccoli greens, making a tasty pairing. I […]
An “aromatic white” through and through, the Onward Malvasia Bianca 2016 smells of lemon verbena, wildflowers, coriander seeds and white pepper. The taste is intense, smooth and filled with fresh lemon zest, crisp pear and citrus bitters flavors. Medium/light bodied, pure and penetrating, it’s an ideal wine to pair with similarly light and strong flavored dishes. Thai and Vietnamese food both come to mind. Onward and Farmstrong Wines is the creation and passion of winemaker Faith Armstrong Foster. I very much like her vineyard-driven winemaking and affinity for the esoteric while not being too much “out there.” Oh yeah, and the […]
Rusty orange color like Provence Rosé. Spicy, savory aroma of cherry skins, ruby grapefruit zest, arugula and pomegranate. Tasty, non-fruity flavors of dry herbs de Provence, red apples, spiced cherry, crushed almonds and cherry pit. Delicious non-fruity flavors, textured and multi-dimensional. Not your fruity, easy going bottle of bubbles…this is a sparkling wine for grown-ups. Here’s a primer on Pétillant Naturel if you need it. Onward and Farmstrong Wines is the creation and passion of winemaker Faith Armstrong Foster. I very much like her vineyard-driven winemaking and affinity for the esoteric while not being too much “out there.” Oh yeah, […]