October 23, 2020
Argus Pinot Noir

Argus Pinot Noir 2018

Fruit-focused Pinot Noir with concentrated, dark red cherry and raspberry flavors and a gentle touch of sweet, toasty oak. Black licorice, cherry bitters and garden thyme flavors kick in as the wine gets more savory in the second half (i.e. back palate and finish). I found the grip of tannins when first opened quickly softened and integrated with a few minutes of good breathing. For me the Argus Pinot Noir 2018 is equally good drinking on its own and with a meal. It rightfully deserves its “Hall of Fame Value” status. The fruit comes mostly from Argus owner/winemaker Chris Dearden’s […]
October 21, 2020
Read Holland Riesling

Read Holland Riesling “Wiley” 2019

Micro-production Riesling made from mature 40+ year old vines. Introduction of tangy green apple and Meyer lemon…dry as a sun-soaked stone. As the wine breathes and quickly opens, out comes flavors of peaches, kiwis, tangerine, chamomile and chopped fresh ginger. Has the round texture and unapologetic acidity that makes Riesling the great grape that it is. Drink this delicious wine with fresh goat & sheep cheeses, fried chicken, poke bowls and potato chips. About 8% Muscat co-fermented with the Riesling. No doubt it adds aromatics, but you wouldn’t know it’s in there. 12.7% alcohol.
September 17, 2020
Peter Paul Pinot Noir Gravenstein Highway

Peter Paul Pinot Noir Gravenstein Hwy 2019

The Peter Paul Pinot Noir Gravenstein Highway has a brilliant, translucent scarlet color. Smell tree-ripened red cherries, lavender, roses and blood oranges, then taste the cherries, some raspberries and black tea. With air the wine gets more fruity and layered (note it’s a 2019…not even a year has past since harvest). It’s light, but it’s not simple, and will get markedly better with each passing month. Value rating of 5.6 is one of my highest ever…a Hall of Fame Value and then some! Peter Paul Wines is owned by entrepreneur/philanthropist Peter Paul. Martin Reyes, MW, oversees winemaking and manages sales and […]
September 17, 2020
Peter Paul Cabernet Sauvignon

Peter Paul Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

The Peter Paul Cabernet Sauvignon 2016 sports deep smells and flavors of blackberries, black currants, rosemary, black tea and dark chocolate. It’s rich, smooth and mouth-coating with a firm core of ripe Napa Cab goodness, elevated by a pulse of life-giving acidity. Napa richness with a Bordeaux-ish edge of savory tobacco and bittersweet chocolate. Enjoy this now through 2035, preferably with some gamy roast red or white meat, or earthy vegetables. Sourced from two super-high end Napa estates, one on the Valley floor, one in the eastern mountains. 8% Cabernet Franc, 4% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. 40% new French […]
September 17, 2020
Peter Paul Chardonnay

Peter Paul Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2018

The Peter Paul Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2018 straddles the style-line between crisp/refreshing and rich/round. The difference between this and most others in this Chardonnay middle ground is cohesion. What’s that mean? Often, crisp and rich don’t work together. You get a mouthful of tang then a wallop of rude oak flavor. Or the other way around: brown buttercream followed by a shriek of acidity. Not happening here. What IS happening is a top-notch, cool Sonoma Coast Chardonnay vineyards lock arms with partial malolactic and aging in 20% new French oak (rest relatively neutral). I get a boatload of citrus, especially […]
August 17, 2020
Azur Sauvignon Blanc

AZUR Sauvignon Blanc 2019

Refreshing, citrus-driven acidity at first impression, getting a little rounder and more creamy as it warms in the mouth. A tasty array of fruits, from melon to apple to grapefruit to pear, combine with subtle floral and herb sensations. While light bodied, in the realm of Sauvignon Blanc I’d say it is medium/full (due to the quality fruit and lees contact). I put this in the top 5% of all California Sauvignon Blancs. And the bottle is spectacular-just don’t plan on stacking them on their side. 100% Sauvignon Blanc from Rutherford and Oak Knoll District of Napa. Tank fermented and […]
August 4, 2020
Azur Rose

AZUR Dry Rose 2019

“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 […]
August 4, 2020
Coho Cabernet Sauvignon

COHO Cabernet Sauvignon 2016

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 […]
July 1, 2020
Three Furies Pinot Noir The Angry One

Three Furies Pinot Noir The Angry One 2018

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 […]
June 30, 2020
Three Furies Pinot Noir Constant Vengeance

Three Furies Pinot Noir Constant Vengeance 2017

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 […]
June 24, 2020
Brockmeyer Rose of Grenache

Brockmeyer Rosé of Grenache 2019

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 […]
June 22, 2020
Roche Paradis Saint Joseph

Roche Paradis Saint Joseph Bergerie 2018

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 […]
June 20, 2020
Cottebrune Faugeres White 18

Cottebrune Faugères Blanc 2018

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. […]
June 20, 2020
Cottebrune Faugeres Red 16

Cottebrune Faugères Rouge 2016

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 […]
June 13, 2020
601 Cellars Grenache

601 Cellars Grenache 2017

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 […]
June 12, 2020
St Romedius Rose

St Romedius Rose of Sangiovese 2019

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. 
June 12, 2020
St Romedius Dry Muscat 19

St Romedius Dry Muscat Canelli 2019

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. 
June 11, 2020
St Romedius Tocai Friulano

St Romedius Tocai Friulano 2019

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. 
June 11, 2020
601 Rose of Grenache

601 Rose of Grenache 2019

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 […]
June 1, 2020
Peter Paul Masters Blend

Peter Paul “Master’s Blend” 2016

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 […]
June 1, 2020
Peter Paul Pinot Noir Milles Freres

Peter Paul Pinot Noir “Milles Freres” 2017

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, […]
May 29, 2020
Peter Paul Chardonnay Bacigalupi

Peter Paul Chardonnay Bacigalupi 2018

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 […]
May 22, 2020
Post & Vine Red Wine

Post & Vine “Old Vine Field Blend” 2016

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 […]
May 21, 2020
Post & Vine Rose

Post & Vine Rosé of Carignane 2019

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 […]