Very tasty Zinfandel, coming from old vines growing in the sandy vineyards of the Sacramento Delta. Loads of fruit smells and flavors: blackberry preserves, cherry compote, candied orange peel. Spices galore too such as allspice, black pepper and cinnamon. Very concentrated, smooth tannins. This young Zinfandel is a good drink now. Enjoy it anytime. Not shy on alcohol, coming in at 15.7%. Everything’s in balance, which is not surprising anymore. Skilled winemakers are able to create not-hot wines from very ripe grapes – wasn’t often the case 10-20 years ago. More Information Wilson Foreigner is a two-family-owned winery. David & […]
The complaints I usually hear about Chardonnay has to do with the oak. Sometimes it’s the butter, but usually the oak. Best parts of Chardonnay by most accounts, including mine, are the complexities of fruit and the texture. The best parts and complaints are addressed in this uniquely delicious Napa Valley Chardonnay. Lemon curd, Asian pears, mangos, almond paste and fresh pie crust. Refreshing acidity, layered, a little creamy and juicy. There are plenty of quality Chardonnays made like the Favia Carbone in Napa Valley. Somehow, this wine is more delicious than its peers. $48 stretches the limits of value […]
Bright, very aromatic, fresh red wine, skillfully blended to add layers of flavors and textures. On the bright red spectrum of flavors: pomegranate, raspberries, cranberry and cherry. On the savory side, get crushed garden thyme, green tea, white pepper and bay leaf. Light bodied, high intensity, long mineral-driven finish. I’ve tasted this once so far, without the pleasure of food to accompany. I will fix this in the near future – probably on Thanksgiving. Following was taken from the Jolie-Laide website: “Likely the most ‘Outré Vin’ in the lineup, a vinous Californian pastiche inspired by our reverence of the […]
From a tiny hillside vineyard north of the East Bay Area town of Lafayette in the relatively unknown Lamorinda AVA. About half each Petite Sirah and Syrah. Big red wine – deep, dark ruby-red color. Smells and tastes of blackberry and blueberry preserves, cracked black pepper, cloves, bittersweet chocolate, anise and roasted mushrooms. The St Romedius Red Wine 2017 is robust and extremely concentrated. It sets itself apart by keeping its big tannins in check and carrying its 15% alcohol with ease. I recommend it with full flavored bean dishes, slow-cooked stews and roasted or grilled red meats. Also read […]
3/4 Grenache Blanc from the Sierra Foothills (near Placerville), 1/4 Muscat Canelli from Sacramento Delta (near Brentwood). Pre-fermentation skin contact time on the Muscat. Reminds me of Dry Muscat wines from Southern France’s Roussillon region in its lemon zest, lemon verbena, crushed coriander and lemongrass sensations (and less honeysuckle/floral perfume). Light haze from the skin contact and being unfined/unfiltered. Above average acidity gives the wine a pleasant tang. Lite tannins coat the gums on the long, tangy finish. The delicious, “Awesome Value” St Romedius White Wine walks a fine line of being different but not strange. This is a DDWA […]
Subtle yet obvious aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle, honeydew melon and Meyer lemons. All this continues on in the taste along with some peaches and white pepper. High acidity makes it almost tangy, lots of fresh-cut melons and pear-apple (papple). Restrained right now. I think the fruit/floral/spice trinity will come forward over the short term, like by spring of 2020. I’ve enjoyed this wine since its first vintage in the early 2010s. This is the first one I have found to be wound up upon release. Goes to show that this is not a cookie-cutter wine, but one that the vintage […]
Made from 60-90 year old vine Zinfandel from Ukiah and Redwood Valley. A dollop of other grapes come from a field blend block within one of the two vineyards sourced for the Navarro Zinfandel Old Vine Cuvee. Warm aromas of black cherry preserves, black pepper and allspice transitions to tastes of smushed up blackberries and very ripe raspberries + bay leaf, Thai basil and black tea. I love the generosity of fruit and sturdy frame of spice & exotic herbs. Medium acidity and smooth tannins…I think this is drinking fantastic now. Navarro only sells their wine retail winery-direct in California […]
An outstanding Chardonnay from the Sonoma County side of the Mayacamas mountain range, The Chiron “Chuy’s” Chardonnay is a complex, textural, tangy, intense wine. You’ll smell and taste fresh lemon custard, white peaches, fresh pineapple chunks, oven-warm scones and buttered wheat toast. These are descriptors many top-notch Chardonnays share. The Chiron is unique in that it carries the richness of Chardonnay while keeping an unmistakable citrus-flavored tang. Made in the fashion of high end White Burgundy: barrel fermented, native yeast ferment, aged on its lees in barrel for 15 months with no racking. One difference is the light use of […]
A blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 38% Merlot and 5% Petite Sirah, Chiron Virtue and Vice is almost all mountain fruit (Spring Mountain Cab, Howell Mountain Merlot). I really like how this red blend flies out of the gate with ripe black cherry and raspberry flavors followed by black pepper, vanilla and clove. Mouth-filling, full-bodied and easy-going tannins point to a “bigger” red wine made for drinking anytime. It will last longer than you’ll keep it around. Virtue and Vice was aged for 2+ years in all French oak, 20% new. Microscopic production at 70 cases. Starting with the 2015 […]
Brilliant aromas of dried ginger, lychee fruit and pink grapefruit zest transition to tastes of zesty green apple, crisp pear and candied kumquat. Stepping back from my high-falutin’ descriptions, the Navarro Dry Gewurztraminer 2018 is true to its name: Dry and “Gewurz” (German for spice). Medium/light bodied, less floral and less overwhelming than many Gewurztraminers of this high caliber, which from a consumer perspective I suspect is to its benefit. This wine is too damn easy to drink. Navarro only sells their wine retail winery-direct in California and miniscule distribution outside the state. It is one of the few wineries […]
Southeast Asian herbs and spices like lemongrass, Kaffir lime and coriander on the nose along with lemon blossoms. Taste lemon zest, fresh white peaches, pink grapefruit and white pepper. Not as sweet-smelling as many Muscats…more on the floral/spicy side of things. Dances across the palate with energy and absolute freshness. Very tangy…some may call it tart…and light bodied. I love this wine with both fresh and fried Thai spring rolls as it complements each preparation in a different way. I pity the fool who shuts their minds and their mouths to this fantastic wine. Navarro only sells their wine retail […]
Gorgeous wine, starting with its smell of honeyed Granny Smith apple, mango and green tea. Taste is fresh, ripe tropical, citrus and stone fruits with a little honeycomb and lemongrass sneaking in there. Rich and lush with a long, expansive, slightly off-dry finish. I couldn’t stop sipping this wine it’s so good. Compares nicely with Riesling from Germany’s Pfalz region: warmer than the Mosel, making for a little more body and texture. Navarro only sells their wine retail winery-direct. It is one of the few wineries that I purchase wine from on a consistent basis. Amazing values, top to bottom. […]
$50-ish per bottle quality level Pinot that Goldberg bought for a song, labeled it and sell for $22. Fruit’s from “Reuling Vineyard,” north of Sebastopol and 10 miles from the Pacific. The wine delivers the goods: dark red cherry and raspberry flavors, brown spices and a little vanilla from the barrel. It’s rich and full-bodied compared to most any other $22 California Pinot Noir. If you like Pinot Noir as your house wine, this is a good candidate. Stop by or call Cellar Collections and pick one up. You’ll probably come back for more.
60 year old vine, cool climate, high acid grapes and classic Grand Cru Burgundy winemaking* makes for an excellent and versatile Chardonnay. Honestly, I’m surprised this Sleeping Giant Chardonnay was made in this style as the green apple/quince, mouth-watering acidity and rocky “crunch” lead me tasting notes. While butter and toast do play a part in the wine, these two flavors are way in the back. I think the crisp, tangy style is to the wine’s benefit as so many eschew the oaky/buttery style of Chardonnay these days. Personally, I like both styles equally. *Indigenous yeast, barrel fermented, 100% malolactic, […]
A beefier style of Sangiovese. Smell and taste dark red berry and cherry fruits, dry-aged beefsteak, sun-soaked thyme and tarragon. Smooth tannins and medium acidity contributes to its immediate pleasure at first taste, and still the wine opens up and improves as it breathes. A rocky earthiness, spice and beefy sensations come emerge with air. From an organic vineyard planted and owned by Prima Materia. Neutral oak aged, miniscule sulphur addition, unfined and unfiltered. A fantastic and “honest” Sangiovese. In the words of Prima Materia the wine “reflects our region while respecting its Italian heritage.” A real bargain at $25. […]
Rhone Valley producer Vignobles Boudinaud ventures outside the Southern Rhone for Grange des Rouquette. This is 60% Syrah, 40% Grenache all tank fermented and briefly aged before bottling. This delicious “quaffer red” is full of dark red strawberries, black pepper, black licorice and fresh violet smells and flavors. Perfectly ripe – neither jammy nor green – makes for good drinking for all. Roast chicken is a natural match, but it’s a friend for all types of dishes and cuisines. Worth having 6-12 bottles around and easy access.
As good of an example of Carneros Pinot Noir that you’ll find. The wine sports strong smells and flavors of dark red cherries and berries plus cocoa, tarragon and light toast. Soft tannins and bright, cool climate acidity complement the dark Pinot Noir fruit personality. At just two years of age, the Sleeping Giant Pinot Noir 2017 is already seamless and delicious drinking. That said, I expect it to get better over the next 3-5 years. Owner/winemaker Chris Dearden planted his Pinot Noir vineyard on Carneros’ “Las Amigas Road” in 2006. This is the first vintage I’ve had of this […]
Generous, silky, long-lasting fruitiness sets the Stellareese 2015 Cabernet apart from its peers. I get dark red cherry, blue plum and strawberry preserves with bits of pomegranate, pink peppercorns, black tea with dried rose petals, cocoa nibs and cigar wrapper lending support. The flavors and textures are generous and long. This is a very good example of how a Cabernet can be full-flavored and rich while, at the same time, float on your tongue. Enjoy this delicious Cabernet now through 2025. More Information Rachel Stellareese Davies started Stellareese in 2007 while at T-Vine Cellars, working for Greg Brown. In 2013 […]
This GSM (60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre) from Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley is big-time winner for $25. A rich and spicy red through and through, get dark strawberry preserves, cocoa, cinnamon, black pepper, licorice, lavender and smoked beef jerky. It’s round and luscious in the mouth with a long finish that combines ripe, dark fruitiness and spice. Not to be confused with a Rhone Valley, France GSM as the California sunshine shows in the Andrew Murray Esperance 2016.
Red snappy fruits, dusting of white pepper, crushed thyme leaves and tobacco leaf point to a very Italian-style of Sangiovese. Coming from the heart of Napa Valley, it’s a pleasant surprise. Fine tannins and healthy acidity, this is a food wine through and through. The wine’s 18 months in barrel (all French, small % new) adds structure while staying in the background in flavor. This is delicious outlier of a Napa Valley red wine to be enjoyed with red sauces, pork and chicken sausages and roast pork shoulder with root vegetables. Pestoni Sangiovese is sold exclusively at the winery from the […]
Merlot and Sangiovese from Pestoni’s vineyard between their winery and Highway 29 is the source for this dry, spicy Rosé wine. All saignée, which is surprising based on the peach skin color. Lite spice, fresh strawberries, blood orange, peppercorns, etc. You know, all the good Rosé smells and flavors. Very dry and nicely fruity too. This is sold exclusively at the winery from the tasting room and to Pestoni Family wine club members, so buy online or visit Pestoni Family’s winery & tasting room in Rutherford to get this. Andy Pestoni returned to the family business, Pestoni Estate (previously called […]
A bottle of Dirty & Rowdy Mourvèdre is a look into the future of California winemaking. A champion of the grape, co-owner and winemaker Hardy Wallace has put the grape on his shoulders and introduced it to the next generation of wine lovers through his engaging use of social media. “Familiar” Mourvèdre tastes like ripe smoky raspberries and dry French herbs. Lightness a la Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir. Hardy says it’s “like yacht rock for space pirates.” Funny, I was thinking the exact same thing! I haven’t nailed down my perfect food pairing but it includes roasted eggplant and cremini […]
Truchard’s vineyards are on the outskirts of Napa on north side of Highway 12. Called the “Banana Belt” of Carneros as it’s noticeably warmer than just 2 miles south where bay influence is more consistent. The warmer weather makes for a greater variety of grapes: Truchard has 11 varieties planted, including 3 acres (out of 200 acres planted) of Roussanne. The 2018 Truchard Roussanne smells and tastes of coriander, white pepper, dried wildflowers, fresh pears and dried mangos. Medium/high acidity and a red wine-like structure make this baby one to let rest a while for full enjoyment. While some vintages […]
The Poseidon Estate vines grow next to the Napa River: the wide part where the salty waters and ocean breezes from the San Pablo Bay waters make for an environment very different than the narrow Valley to the north. The cooling breezes and lower temps make this land golden for Pinot Noir and Chardonnay. The owners of Poseidon Vineyard figured this out before most, planting their vineyard in 1973. They’ve made wine from their grapes since the early 2000s. The 2017 Poseidon Chardonnay is a winner at twice the price. It’s rich and satisfying for the full-bodied Chardonnay camp and […]