January 16, 2019
Lagier Meredith Syrah and olives

Success With Syrah – Two Stories

 
November 27, 2018

Livermore Valley Wine Country – Why go?

     
October 29, 2018
Sparkling Wine Banner

Champagne and Sparkling Wine Edition

     
October 1, 2018
Rancho Chimiles Vineyard

Winery Profile: WILSON FOREIGNER

“The smack of Californian earth shall linger on the palate of your grandson.” Robert Louis Stevenson, Silverado Squatters. As you learn about Wilson Foreigner Winery and taste their wines, which I hope you do, keep this quote in your mind. To me it summarizes why they make wine. Let your mind go as you drink a bottle of Wilson Foreigner and you might believe it’s how they make wine, too. As much as I’d like to say I pulled this quote from my internal library, I got it from the Wilson Foreigner website.  (You can also find the Stevenson paragraph […]
August 27, 2018
DDWA Banner of bottles

Such a Thing as TOO Alcoholic?

     
August 11, 2018
Wine Tasting Guide from Dan Dawson's Wine Advisor

Your Go-To Wine Tasting Guide and Itinerary, Part 3

     
August 10, 2018
Wine Tasting Guide from Dan Dawson's Wine Advisor

Your Go-To Wine Tasting Guide and Itinerary, Part 2

 
July 30, 2018
Wine Tasting Dawson Wine Advisor

Your Go-To Wine Tasting Guide and Itinerary, Part 1

     
July 26, 2018
Dan and Value Rating Bottles

The Value Rating – How It Came To Be

     
July 18, 2018
Y Rousseau and Coho Wine Tastings

Visit Napa Valley Up Close – REAL Close

June 19, 2018
wine glasses red white and rose

Value of Membership – Cold, Hard Numbers

June 18, 2018

Sparkling Wine Every Day

June 8, 2018
Sauvignon Blanc Display

Navigating the Sauvignon Blanc Sections

June 1, 2018
FORTUNE 1621 Cabernet Sauvignon

FORTUNE 1621 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Dark berry and cherry compote, cocoa and cinnamon nose moves to more of the same fruits, pomegranate syrup, dark chocolate and blueberry pie flavors. Rich, smooth, and very satisfying. I am so impressed with how good this wine is, year to year, for under $30/bottle. Napa Cabernet fans looking for a reasonably priced “House Wine” should buy this by the case. 13% Merlot, 4% Petit Verdot in the blend. 30% new oak, mostly French oak. Fortune 1621 Cabernet Sauvignon eaasily makes my Best of the Best list. I tasted this at Darms Lane, overlooking their vineyards in Napa’s Oak Knoll […]
June 1, 2018
Darms Lane Chardonnay

Darms Lane Chardonnay 2015

I genuinely like this style of California Chardonnay. Oak, cream and butter go hand-in-hand with melon, citrus and bright apple smells and flavors. I like its youthful spirit (comes from healthy acidity and fresh fruit flavors) and at the same time has those luscious Chardonnay sensations (toasty barrel, unsalted butter, caramel) that work so well with the grape. I could hardly believe the wine is only $28 (the function of owning your vineyards for the last 28 years). This easily makes my Best of the Best list. All Oak Knoll District (Southwest Napa benchland) fruit. The relatively moderate temperatures (relative […]
May 24, 2018
Keep Counoise

KEEP Counoise 2017

Usually found in France’s Southern Rhone Valley as a minor player in a Chateauneuf-du-Pape blend, it makes a delicious wine on its own. Keep made this wine using the carbonic method (whole grapes slowly break apart as they ferment). What a fun, wild red wine this is. Spiced strawberries, red earth, wild herbs, pomegranate, white pepper. Wildness in a good way. Very low tannins and medium acidity. While this wine is not a show-off, it will be noticed. I’m thinking grilled salmon is my #1 match. More Information KEEP is an up-and-coming, husband & wife made/operated tiny winery based in […]
May 24, 2018
Keep ciliegiolo

KEEP Ciliegiolo 2017

Good chance this is an addition to your mental grape encyclopedia. It was for me when I tasted this earlier this year. Ciliegiolo is found in Tuscany and Umbria, central Italy. Keep found a plot of it growing in Lodi and think it is the only Ciliegiolo growing in California. The name translated to “little cherry” and I can see why. Lots of wild cherry flavor, and along for the ride get fresh red roses, lavender (it’s very floral!), and a wild Mediterranean spice/red fruit flavor that I can’t put my finger on. Medium acidity and Keep-typical modest alcohol (12.5%). […]
May 24, 2018
Keep Picpoul/Grenache Blanc

KEEP Picpoul / Grenache Blanc 2016

Picpoul and Grenache Blanc, grapes commonly found in Southern France, are the ingredients in this tangy, low-alcohol (10.5%), mouth-watering white wine. I get “Lemon Three Ways,” as in lemon zest, lemongrass and lemon pulp. Green apples and honeysuckle too. If a wine can be called fun, this would qualify. Serve well chilled with shellfish, vegetable platters and fresh cheeses. Or all by its lonesome. All the grapes for this wine come from a “Windmill Vineyard” near Woodland and about 25 miles Northwest of Sacramento. More Information KEEP is an up-and-coming, husband & wife made/operated tiny winery based in Napa. They […]
May 22, 2018
Poseidon Chardonnay

POSEIDON Chardonnay 2016

Begins with aromas of ripe pears, lemon curd and fresh, toasty biscuits. Taste honeydew melon, quince paste, ripe lemon, honey-grahams and pear tart. Pie spice, fresh butter and toasty brown pie crust on the finish. This has all the flavors that make rich Chardonnay drinkers cry, “YES!”  It’s a full-flavored Chardonnay with grace. What the heck does Chardonnay with grace mean? California sunshine soaks the Estate vineyard after cool Carneros fog lifts just before lunchtime. Malolactic, lees aging and some new oak aging. There’s your full-flavor. As for grace, that comes from growing killer grapes, the acidity from the foggy […]
May 16, 2018

Burgundy on a Budget

April 30, 2018
West and Wilder Rose

WEST and WILDER ROSÉ Can

Each snazzy-looking can has 1/3rd bottle, thus a 3-pack box is 750 ML-same as a standard size bottle. Pinot Noir-based Rosé from unspecified California coastal vineyards. Get wild strawberry, white pepper, talc, fresh skin-on peach, green tea, red plums and cherries both on the nose and in the mouth. Texture is prickly in a good way with healthy acidity, no oak, and a refreshing intensity. On the poundable side…1/3rd can will disappear in a hurry. Important to note that my $20 price tag is for 3 250 ML cans. This makes a fair Value Rating comparison with bottles. I definitely […]
April 23, 2018
Cochon Pape Rocks Red Wine

COCHON “Pape Rocks” 2015

70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault. An ode to Châteauneuf du Pape at a much better price than most CdPs. For $21, this wine is ridiculously good. Brooding, dark berry fruits with Rhone-like complements of black olive, black pepper, dark soy, mint and lavender. Robust, fruity and spicy finish with ripe tannins that give structure but don’t dry your mouth out. This is a real find for wine lovers, especially fans of Southern Rhone and Cal-Rhone red blends.  Most of the fruit in Pape Rocks comes from Lodi and nearby. Great fruit, but “affordable,” allowing a $21 price […]
April 23, 2018
Cochon Rose Wine

COCHON Rosé 2017

Made from 60% Cinsault, 30% Carignane, 10% Grenache. Smell and taste wild red strawberries, watermelon, cracked pepper (between black & white…can I call them gray peppercorns?), kiss of lavender and thyme. Sits light and dry in the mouth with juicy, tangy sensations and some mouth-coating texture. To me, this hits the mark for flavor, lightness and acidity. I put this in the Southern Rhone style of Rosé over Provence as the strawberry/watermelon flavors point more to a Rhone style. I highly recommend you get to know the three labels under the Cochon “umbrella.” They are Cochon, Odisea and Élevé. They […]
April 23, 2018
Retro Petite Sirah

RETRO Petite Sirah Elevation Old Vine 2012

Briar patch/berry liqueur and peppercorn nose transitions to flavors of fresh blackberries and dark plum with support from a little tarragon/thyme and cigar wrapper. Rich and intense Petite Sirah with focus, uplifting acidity and fine, slightly chalky tannins. Delicious, especially now that it’s almost 6 years old. Time has been its friend. Retro is owned and made by Mike and Kara Dunn. Mike is Howell Mountain Cab pioneer Randy Dunn’s son. Retro has made tiny lots of Petite Sirah for 15 years. They are always delicious and highly recommended for complexity, power and grace…as graceful as Petite Sirah can be! […]