CORNERSTONE Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Cornerstone Sauvignon Blanc

Bright-as-the-sky smells and flavors of tangerines, Granny Smith apple paste and lemon ice are your first impressions of the Cornerstone Sauvignon Blanc 2017. Backing up this fruit-first wine is baked pie crust and a slight creamy texture (comes from partial concrete egg ferment, lees-stirring and gaining in a small amount of new oak and acacia […]

CHIRON Cabernet Sauvignon “The Paint of Moonlight” 2015

Chiron Cabernet Paint of Moonlight

Rich nose of kirsch, ripe juicy blackberries, cocoa and vanilla beans. Big hit of fresh, ripe black cherries and berries in the mouth with cocoa, mint, espresso and pomegranate syrup dancing behind. It’s a mouthful. Fine tannins and acidity to support and elevate the flavors. Really impressive. Chiron Cabernet Sauvignon The Paint of Moonlight from […]

BOHÈME Pinot Noir “Stuller” 2014

Boheme Pinot Noir Stuller

“Stuller Vineyard,” located a couple miles northwest of Occidental, is a very cool site. The Boheme Pinot Noir Stuller, standing to reason, is perfumed, ethereal and intense. Yeah, it’s the real-deal in California Pinot Noir. I love the nose: bouquet of red roses, cranberry sauce, squished up fresh raspberries. Then it tastes like really good, […]

Crocker & Starr AVA Napa Valley White 2017

AVA Napa Valley White

“White Blend of Sauvignon Blanc” states the front label. The blend is 90% Sauvignon Blanc, 10% Semillon. Smell and taste fresh white peaches, lemon/lime, honeydew melon, salty sea air and kaffir lime leaf. Medium/high acidity, no barrel flavor, texturally pleasing (from the Semillon and, I imagine, some lees-stirring. A DDWA Awesome Value (and member of […]

BRANDLIN “Prince & Pedro” Red 2015

Brandlin Prince & Pedro

Almost a Bordeaux style blend, Brandlin Prince & Pedro Red Blend  is 60% Merlot, 15% Syrah (the outlier), 10% Cab Sauv, 10% Cab Franc, 5% Malbec. Lots of fruit, medium/full body, ripe and dark berries and cherries, and SPICE! The Syrah and Malbec, at 20%, make an impact. Black licorice, white pepper, mint and spicy cocoa weave […]

Warrior Angel Red Central Coast 2016

Warrior Angel Syrah Red Wine

Although it doesn’t say it on the label, this is all Syrah from Monterey County. The Rhone-head that I am, I like its wild red fruits, gamey, black olive, peppery smell and flavor. Pour this for me blind and tell me it’s Crozes-Hermitage and I would have no reason to dispute it. Medium/high acidity, medium […]


Lagier Meredith Syrah

Syrah’s spicy/smoky side introduces you to the Lagier Meredith Syrah 2015. Cracked black pepper, cocoa, black olive and bacon, not “too much” mingle with blue/black/raspberry (all good & ripe) from start to finish. A big burst of briary berries, dark red and blue mostly, slaps the mid palate. And the spice keeps on going, all […]

William Hill Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

William Hill Cabernet Sauvignon

Powerful, 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from William Hill Winery’s Estate Vineyards along the Silverado Trail in Southeast Napa Valley. Smell and taste dark chocolate, blackberries, dark red cherries, toasted rye bread and an unlit $50 cigar. Tannic just-opened, it quickly opens up and softens as it breathes. Protein (red and dark white meats, beans), nicely salted, […]

CAMINO Chardonnay “Soberanes” 2015

CAMINO Chardonnay Soberanes

All from Monterey’s Santa Lucia Highlands, where the wines are not shy. Camino Chardonnay Soberanes is rich, spicy and complex. Smell and taste lemon custard, apple butter, peach purée, nutmeg and roast coffee. With this richness comes an undercurrent of acidity that levitates the wine. I really like how the nutmeg-y spice and roasted flavors […]

ANNE AMIE Műller-Thurgau 2016

Anne Amie Muller Thurgau

Műller-Thurgau, the 2nd most planted grape in Germany, is also grown in neighbor countries, and in spots around the world, like Oregon! I love what Anne Amie does with Műller-Thurgau. Smell and taste fresh green apples, honeysuckle, lemon zest, peach skins, maybe a little tangerine, white pepper and a rocky/earthy character on the finish, giving […]

Crocker & Starr AVA Napa Valley Red 2017

Crocker & Starr AVA Napa Valley Red

“Red Blend of Cabernet Franc” states the front label. The blend, exactly is is 60% Cabernet Franc, 23% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot and 6% Malbec. Fruit-forward with classic Napa Valley richness, the Crocker & Starr AVA Napa Valley also boasts a savory mixture of tarragon, cocoa, clove, pipe tobacco and black olive. Structured and layered, […]

CORNERSTONE Cabernet Franc 2015

Cornerstone Cabernet Franc

Valley floor, west of Highway 29 vineyard owned by the University of California system (UC Davis Department of Viticulture and Enology controls and runs it). A very intriguing and tasty wine that straddles the line of “Bordeaux Style” (darker, richer) and “Loire Style” (brighter, more red fruits) to me. Smell and taste ripe red plums, […]

KONGSGAARD Albarino Napa Valley 2017

Kongsgaard Albarino 2017

From a tiny plot of Albariño in “Hudson Vineyard” planted specifically for Kongsgaard. Orange zest, mineral and citrus blossom nose. Then take a sip: tangy! Almost, but not quite, tart. First sip grabs you with acidity, then the palate adjusts and it’s a joy. Lemonheads, yellow grapefruit, Macintosh apple, lemongrass flavors come to mind. Lees-stirring […]

CHIRON Cabernet Sauvignon “Candor” 2015

Chiron Cabernet Sauvignon Candor

100% Cabernet Sauvigon from “Bear Flag Vineyard” north of Calistoga at the base of the Mayacamas mountains. Bordeaux-ish nose of dry aged beef and dried shiitake mushrooms sprinkled over ripe blueberries and Bing cherries. Taste is fresh dark red berries and cherries, slightly liqueur-ish, and a mineral/crushed rock earthy edge. Very firm tannins that cut […]

CHIRON Pinot Noir Las Hermanitas 2016

Chiron Pinot Noir

Ripe, juicy red cherries, raspberries and sweet cranberries on the nose along with violets and candied ginger introduce you to the Chiron Pinot Noir. Great start. Taste continues on the same path with oolong tea and black truffle flavors sneaking in. Perfect ripeness in my opinion, healthy acidity and structure to make it last for […]

Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano 2015

Poliziano Rosso Montepulciano

A delicious red for drinking anytime, the Poliziano Rosso di Montepulciano is around 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot. Flavors of briary, dark red raspberries and strawberries plus red currants, black tea and tarragon. Nice and intense in the mouth with soft tannins, bright acidity, no oak, and a big rush of white pepper-dusted berry fruits […]

Coteaux des Travers Cotes du Rhone 16

Coteaux Travers Cotes du Rhone Char a Vin

The Domaine des Coteaux des Travers Côtes du Rhône Char à Vin is 50% Grenache, 30% Carignan, 10% Mourvèdre, 10% Syrah. Certified biodynamic winery. Opaque ruby color, nose of cooked fresh raspberries and cracked black peppercorns. It’s wild berry fruits first in the mouth with tasty, peppery spice and dried herbs de Provence swirling about. Soft tannins, […]

COMMUNICATION BLOCK Cabernet Sauvignon 2011

Communication Block Cabernet 2011

Deep, juicy red berries, cherries and pomegranate at the core. Surrounding the fruit are cedar, bay leaf, black olive and allspice in the Communication Block Cabernet 2011. Toasty barrel lightly frames the wine. The fruit, the vineyard and the place (top of Mt Veeder) are co-stars. Barrel lends support. Dynamite Cabernet, at 7 years of […]

CARLO REVELLO Barolo “RG” 2013

Revello Barolo RG 2013

Called “RG” because this is a blend of two of Revello’s Cru vineyards:  Rocche dell’Annunziata and Giachini. Shows a depth of fruit, richness, underlying soil, earthy spice and firm, fine tannins that puts it in the conversation with all the best from the region. Boasting power, great structure and complexity, the Revello Barolo RG will […]

REVELLO Barolo 2013

Fratelli Revello Barolo 2013

Red cherry liqueur, black tea and musk on the nose moves to ripe plums, black truffle and dried violets in the mouth. Relatively soft and quite approachable (the vintage made a more accessible style in Barolo, which is nice), The Revello Barolo 2013 is one to enjoy now through at least 2023. I would call this a […]

BLACKSMITH Merlot Stag’s Leap 2014

Blacksmith Merlot Stag's Leap

Single vineyard Stag’s Leap District Merlot (location within SLD undisclosed). Red cherries, plum jelly, rare roast beef, coriander, thyme and tarragon smells and flavors is what I get in the Blacksmith Merlot 2014. Medium body, low tannins, medium acidity – classic Napa Merlot “softness.” All lightly framed by toasty, sweet oak. This is a Merlot […]

BLACKSMITH Chardonnay Carneros 2016

Blacksmith Chardonnay

Loads of fresh fruit flavors with a background of caramel and toast are in this “classic” Carneros Chardonnay. Partial malolactic and neutral French oak aged accounts for the low butter flavor. The fruit is the star here, and it’s a blend of tropical, pear/apple and citrus. The Blacksmith Chardonnay from Carneros hits the mark! More […]

J. LAURENS Crèmant de Limoux Rosé

J Laurens Cremant de Limoux Rose

Delicious, fruity, crisp and clean mèthode traditionelle sparkling from the Languedoc, southern France. The J Laurens Cremant de Limoux Rosé cuvée is Chardonnay, Mauzac, Chenin Blanc and Pinot Noir. Get red plums, raspberries, fresh violets, blood oranges. A little creaminess, medium acidity, crystal-clear flavors and a little floral/spicy flavor on the back end & finish. […]


Lagier Meredith Mondeuse

A big bear of a wine, the Lagier Meredith Mondeuse 2015 smells and tastes of black currants, black & blueberries, dried rosemary, thyme and tarragon, Indian spices, lavender and violet (dried). Takes a lot of air to capture the wine’s personality today…its natural dark color and high acidity call for a long decant or better […]