July 25, 2018
Arnaud Mortet Gevrey Chambertin

ARNAUD MORTET Gevrey Chambertin 2016

A “friendly” young Gevrey Chambertin. From nose to the end of its 25 second finish get dark ripe cherries (griottes!), more ripe berries, plums and pomegranate, ripe tannins, a little cocoa and dry aged beef. Very accessible for such a young one. You could drink this tonight without guilt. More Information Owner/winemaker Arnaud Mortet is the winemaker and co-owner (with family) of Domaine Denis Mortet. These wines are made side by side, by Arnaud, with the Denis Mortet wines. This Gevrey is the first I’ve had of the Arnaud Mortet wines. I look forward to having more, and future vintages! […]
July 25, 2018
Buisson Charles Meursault

BUISSON CHARLES Meursault 2015

Impressive how so much aroma and flavor is packed into the 750 ML bottle. Starts smoky and bright with roasted whole lemons, citrus blossoms, sliced white peaches and fresh from the oven biscuits. Taste lemon sorbet, caramel, buttered wheat toast, roast hazelnuts (naturally!) and apple butter. This is super-intense. If the same wine was a Premier or Grand Cru, and labeled as such, you would not doubt its provenance and think it a glorious bargain. Instead, it’s “just” a village Meursault.
July 25, 2018
Jerome Gradassi Chateauneuf du Pape

JEROME GRADASSI Chateauneuf du Pape 2016

This is a blend of 75% Grenache, 25% Mourvedre. It has a deep, ripe core of sun-ripened blue and blackberries with a supporting cast of black currants, cola, leg of lamb (gamy), black pepper and mint. I like the power, and with a one hour decant I’d be happy to drink it tonight. But I think the best move is to cellar this short term. 2022-2030 drink zone sounds about right to me. For power, complexity and price (especially price), the Jerome Gradassi Chateauneuf du Pape takes me back ten years, when this was my favorite appellation. But with escalating […]
July 25, 2018
Santa Duc Quatre Terres

SANTA DUC Cotes du Rhone Les Quatre Terres 2015

Domaine Santa Duc Quatre Terres is a blend of 70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvedre and 5% combined of Cinsault, Carignane and Clairette. Grapes grow in four distinct plots owned and farmed by Santa Duc. (See below for more on this.) The wine marries ripe wild strawberries and plums with new leather, veal stock and black pepper character. It’s a straightforward red that delivers the goods for those looking for a good, honest Cotes du Rhone. More Information Santa Duc calls this Cotes du Rhone “Les Quatre Terres” because the fruit comes from four estate vineyards, one each in the […]
July 25, 2018
Collusion Red Wine

COLLUSION Red Wine 2016

Collusion Red is a blend of 43% Merlot, 34% Cabernet Sauvignon, 19% Malbec and 4% Syrah. The grapes come from sub-appellations Red Mountain and Horse Heaven Hills. Napa producer Grounded Wine Co makes the wine in Washington. Fruit-forward, medium-full bodied, big smooch of oak (30% new French oak-aged), soft tannins, medium acidity and, finally, cocoa & cinnamon on the finish point this toward the grill or a big pot of home-cooked beans. This is a high-quality quaffer that brings it for $22/bottle. More Information Collusion is one of the wines owned/made by Grounded Wine Co in Napa Valley. Created in […]
July 23, 2018
Deovlet Pinot Noir Sanford Benedict

DEOVLET Pinot Noir “Sanford & Benedict” 2015

Man oh man, this Pinot Noir from owner/winemaker Ryan Deovlet has it all. Aromatic: red roses, musk, cologne, dark wild cherries. Loads of fruity taste in the mouth. Dark raspberries, plums and cherries with licorice, cinnamon and cedar lurking behind. Full bodied for cool-climate Pinot Noir. With air it gets deeper and richer. All this is going on while keeping its uplifting acidity that comes so naturally to Sanford & Benedict Vineyard. For a special occasion Pinot Noir, regardless of price, this is at the top of my list. At $60 it’s a relative bargain. Check out all the Deovlet wines […]
July 23, 2018
Deovlet Chardonnay Sanford Benedict

DEOVLET Chardonnay “Sanford & Benedict” 15

California Chardonnay doesn’t get much better than the Deovlet Chardonnay Sanford & Benedict to my taste. From 40+ year old, own-rooted vines in the very cool confines of western Santa Barbara County. Intense, richness, buzzing acidity. The rocky soil, citrus and stone fruits and light-handed winemaking all come together to make a “Chablis-like” Chardonnay in the words of owner/winemaker Ryan Deovlet. Smell and taste fresh, crunchy stone fruits, lemon custard, peach pulp, fresh croissants, river rocks, etc etc. It’s easy to get “geeky” about this wine because there’s so much going on. Don’t have to, though. Just no that it’s outstanding. […]
July 23, 2018
Allimant Laugner Brut Rose

Allimant Laugner Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose

A house favorite, and a Napa Valley favorite, the Allimant Laugner Cremant d’Alsace Brut Rose is 100% Pinot Noir, methode traditionelle (in line with the French appellation laws of Cremant. This is a delicious $20 or under sparkling. Medium dosage for Brut, meaning you can pick up a twinge of sweetness. Strawberry, blood orange, rose petal, medium acidity for bubbles. It’s all nicely balanced, perky and clean. This is a big time crown pleaser. On that note, look for Magnums – if your wine shop has the 750s, they can probably get the magnums. Price should be just double the […]
July 19, 2018
Y Rousseau Cabernet Sauvignon

Y ROUSSEAU Cabernet Sauvignon Le Roi Soleil 15

A whole lot of love was put into every bottle of the Y Rousseau Cabernet Le Roi Soleil. From the northern Pritchard Hill portion of Stagecoach…pretty awesome grapes. Just over 2 barrels made, so Yannick Rousseau could watch the wine development like a daddy watching his newborn child. This is 100% Cab Sauv, aged in 80% new French oak for 20 months. Typical of high end Napa Cabernet, particularly “Stagecoach” Cab, the wine sports ripe, slightly sun-shrunk black cherries, vanilla bean, blueberry liqueur, cinnamon and black licorice. It’s creamy and long on the finish (30 seconds by my count). If […]
July 19, 2018
Y Rousseau Tannat Musketeer

Y ROUSSEAU Tannat “The Musketeer” 2013

You won’t happen upon high end Tannat every day. Napa’s Yannick Rousseau specializes in it, Reason One is he’s from the grape’s homeland: Gascony. (More about this in the next paragraph.) This 100% Tannat from the slightly mystical “Alder Springs Vineyard” in northwest Mendocino County is impressive. 85% new French oak aged makes for sweet, sexy barrel aromas. Not too much barrel, though, as deep dark raspberry and blueberry fruits hit the palate along with black licorice, dry-aged beef and bittersweet chocolate. This is a powerful, rich wine with fine tannins and a 25 second finish. Eat as d’Artagnan would […]
July 19, 2018
Y ROUSSEAU Tannat 2014

Y ROUSSEAU Tannat 2014

For a little taste of France in a California wine, this Y Rousseau Tannat is a good choice. All the Tannat is from “Alder Springs Vineyard” in northern Mendocino County with 5% each Merlot and Cab Sauv from Sonoma and Napa, respectively, rounding out the wine. Aggressive on first sip, this wine is like a jump into a cool pond on a hot day: quick shock, then you get used and really enjoy it. You’ll get cinnamon, beef blood, aged leather, red currants, blueberries, black oil-cured olives and roasted coffee beans. The fruit takes the lead in your mouth with […]
July 18, 2018
Hayfork Cabernet Sauvignon

HAYFORK Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

Every Napa Cabernet lover who’s comfortable dropping $75 on a bottle of wine should buy at least a case of the HAYFORK Cabernet Sauvignon 2015. It’s very ripe yet neither jammy or syrupy, luscious, a little spicy, and directly to the point, a big mouthful of pleasure. The oak (70% new French oak) is obvious but not too much. The fruit, you can tell, is picked at above-average ripeness, and it’s so good. I’m a big fan. It deserves to qualify for a better Value Rating, but, as we know, Napa Cab is not the place to look for values on […]
July 18, 2018
Coho Cabernet Sauvignon

COHO Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Straightforward and immediately gratifying, the COHO Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 does not disappoint. Its toasty barrel, sweet black cherry, blackberry pie, cappuccino with cinnamon sprinkles flavors and creamy texture make for a slam-dunk recommendation for all Napa Cab drinkers. A good value for delicious, unctuous Napa Cabernet at $65/bottle. More information Since 2002 Coho Winery has produced small lots of delicious red wines full of character and generosity. Owner Gary Lipp took full ownership of Coho in 2014 and brought on Philip Titus (Chappellet, Titus Vineyards) as his winemaker. The Coho Wines are delicious and as good as they’ve ever been. […]
July 18, 2018
Coho Merlot Michael Black

Coho Merlot Michael Black 2013

A stunningly good wine, the Coho Merlot Michael Black 2013 delivers a Right Bank Bordeaux aroma along with a Napa Valley ripe fruit and textural impact. Sweet and savory are in unison. There’s black licorice, espresso, oiled leather, black truffle and ripe cherry that starts dark red and moves to black as the wine breathes. Also, as it opens, the wine gets more bold, spicy and broader on the finish. Damn this is good. One of the best $55 Napa Valley Bordeaux-style wines I’ve ever had. More information Since 2002 Coho Winery has produced small lots of delicious red wines full of […]
June 25, 2018
Post & Vine Old Vine Field Blend

POST & Vine “Old Vine Field Blend” 2014

The Post & Vine Old Vine Field Blend is equal parts Petite Sirah, Carignane and Grenache from 60+ year old vines in Redwood Valley, eastern Mendocino County (warm!). This is a special red wine that combines ripe berry fruits, healthy acidity, dried spice and exotic flower smells and flavors. The brambly berry, spicy, bold flavors would make you think this is a Zin, or partly Zin, but there’s none (unless a little Zin is hiding in the field blend, which is possible). Modest tannins, well structured, light on the oak. I love drinking this wine, especially with grilled white and […]
May 7, 2018
Frogs Leap Rose

Frog’s Leap Rosé 2017

Stalwart Napa winery gets Carignane (92%) and Valdiguie (8%) to make their purposeful Rosé. “Provencal style,” in the words of Frog’s Leap founder, owner and co-winemaker John Williams. This has a light orange/brick red color then gentle aromas of lavender, strawberry, thyme, orange tea and crushed white peppercorns. Taste is more of the same, falling as much into the citrus as the red berry fruits. It has subtle flavors yet a mighty intensity. I put this in my “the drier the better” style of Rosé. “Le Grenouille Rouganté” = “the blushing frog. Rosé is a blush…. More Information I am […]
April 22, 2018
Y Rousseau Son of a Butcher

Y ROUSSEAU “Son of a Butcher” 2016

Blend of 45% Tannat, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, and 15% Cabernet Franc. Get ripe, dark blackberries and blueberries, cocoa, allspice, roast coffee beans, black licorice and black pepper. Medium acidity, low tannins, ripe but not overly so, rich and super-easy to like. If you’re familiar with Tannat you might expect high tannins. Not the case…this is smooth and supple. Pour this for a group and all will enjoy it!   Aged for 18 months in 15% new and 85% neutral French oak barrels. From Y Rousseau Winery: “French winemaker Yannick Rousseau’s love affair with wine began at age five with […]
September 27, 2017
Taplin Cabernet Terra 9

TAPLIN Cabernet Sauvignon “Terra 9” 2013

Oh man, the Taplin Cabernet Sauvignon will knock your socks off with power, persistence and deliciousness. Smell and taste chocolate covered black cherries, black licorice, blackberry liqueur, roast beef fat, cedar cigar box… classic Napa Valley floor Cabernet sensations. All this is nicely framed by sweet, toasty oak – carefully added. Drink now or hold for 10-15 years. This is an amazing value for killer Napa Cabernet! More Information Taplin is a family vineyard in west St Helena (in fact, it’s part of the Lewelling family purchase in the 19th century and neighbors “Lewelling Ranch.” I think this is the […]