June 26, 2018
Cave Dog Albarino

CAVE DOG Albariño, Napa Valley 2017

Lemony/orange-y citrus, chalky, grapefruit, tangy nose stays pleasantly, startlingly tart in the mouth. This wine is all about yellow citrus flavors, both the juice and the zest. A chalky note, along with a smidge of bread crust from lees-aging, describes the wine’s complexity. “Liveliness and aromatic zest” is how owner/winemaker Michael Havens describes it. Indeedy do. This is an ideal high-acid Sauvignon Blanc alternative. More Information Napa winemaker/winery owner veteran Michael Havens launched Cave Dog with his 2014 red wine. There are 3 Cave Dog wines: this Albariño, a Godello (another white wine of Spanish origin) and the red, a […]
April 25, 2018
Chelsea Cabernet Sauvignon

CHELSEA Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

DDWA Members’ Special: 20% off the Chelsea Cabernet Sauvignon 2014 (makes it $28.80/bottle). Contact Dan direct with your order request. I will connect you with the winery and they will sell and get you the wine. This offer is good through May 2018. Chelsea is an Estate vineyard halfway between Calistoga and Santa Rosa, on the Sonoma side of the county line. Dark red cherry, pomegranate and black currant fruits jump from the glass along with savory layers of cigar wrapper, dried marjoram and tarragon and cola. Possesses a sweet, ripe core (14.9% alcohol) with ideal acidity to keep it all […]
April 25, 2018
Fortunati Chardonnay

FORTUNATI Chardonnay, Oak Knoll 2016

The Fortunati Chardonnay is a full-flavored, rich and powerful wine that delivers on the buttery/creamy qualities but not the oak. (100% malolactic, aged on its lees in neutral oak.) Fresh pineapple, Meyer lemon, pear and green apple are tossed in melted butter and blonde caramel. Tingling acidity goes toe-to-toe with the richness. Very impressive! About Fortunati Gary and Ellen Luchtel planted Fortunati Vineyards in the early 2000s and launched the brand a few years later. Most of their wines are estate fruit from their 10+ acres in the Oak Knoll District (everything except Cabernet Sauvignon, Pinot Noir and Zinfandel). Gary […]
April 25, 2018
Cerro Zinfandel

CERRO Zinfandel, Napa Valley 2013

DDWA Members’ Special: 20% off the CERRO Zinfandel 2014 (makes it $28/bottle). Contact Dan with your order request. I will connect you with the winery and they will sell and get you the wine. Cerro Zinfandel offer is good through May 2018. All old vine “Nichelini Vineyard” Chiles Valley (eastern Napa Valley hills) fruit. This is a Killer Zin! Intense, very concentrated briary red berries with lots of black & white pepper, roast red chili and faint rosemary smells and flavors. The big, bad, bold fruit is the star of this show ultimately. And just the shear intensity of the wine. […]
April 25, 2018
MC4 Cabernet Sauvignon

MC4 Cabernet Sauvignon, St Helena 2015

Terraced hillside, winery-owned vineyard off Highway 29 north of St Helena. Starts off with a generous nose of cinnamon stick, dark chocolate, red cherry liqueur and meat locker. In the mouth get dark red fruits with a little blueberry for good measure, warm pie spices, cocoa and French roast coffee. Medium/full bodied, fine tannins and quite open and enjoyable (already) not even three years after harvest. This wine makes me want to eat rack of lamb with it. More Information This is the only wine owners Fred Croshaw and Paul Martin produce. And in tiny amounts: between 100 and 200 […]
March 25, 2018
Benevolent Neglect Mourvedre

BENEVOLENT NEGLECT Mourvedre “Fore Family” 2016

High elevation (3200 feet) super-rocky vineyard north of Napa. Smell and taste cherry cough drops, blackberries, black truffle, roast almond, meat locker and toasty chocolate croissant. All this seamlessly moves into the taste…very generous and bold with fine palate-coating tannins. Mourvedre’s reputation of wildness is present in this wine if you look for it. About 40% new Hungarian oak adds a little polish. This wine resides in both Geekville and JustBeHappytown. More Information Owners Ben Brenner and Matt Nagy are doing a great job building Benevolent Neglect slowly but surely into one of the next New California Wine go-to labels. […]
March 25, 2018
Hirsch Riesling Zobing

HIRSCH Riesling “Zobing” Kamptal 2013

The racy acidity, intensity and of-the-earth, rocky flavor of Riesling shines through in this delicious, great value Austrian Riesling. Fruit comes from terraced, rocky vineyards in the Kamptal region, part of Austria’s top winegrowing area (along with the Wachau and Kremstal). This is loaded with smells and flavors of citrus, stone fruits, white flowers and rocks! Very dry, laser-like and intense, this shows what Austria can do with Riesling, and at a fantastic price.
March 25, 2018
Warrior Angel Red Wine


78% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot. By new wine negociant Consecration Wines, whose model is to make tiny lots of quality wines that over-deliver for the price. (Right down DDWA’s alley!) This is a 10 barrel lot, all Oakville. Initial impression is sweet rich oak and chocolate covered cherries. In minutes, more red fruits (red cherry, bright raspberry) pop out, giving the wine lift and verve. Then mocha and cherry liqueur come back. Full bodied, full-flavored, medium tannins, ripe core of fruit that Napa does so well. Boy does this ever over-deliver for forty dollars! To […]
March 24, 2018
Bressler Young Vines

BRESSLER “Young Vines” Napa Valley 2014

43% Cabernet Franc; 29% Merlot; 21% Cabernet Sauvignon; 7% Petit Verdot, all from the Bressler’s St Helena vineyard. Get a mouthful of Napa goodness: black cherry compote, cinnamon toast, cocoa, roasted coffee beans, currant, clove. Full flavored and lush, it gets richer in the mouth after a few seconds, ending in 25 second finish of deep spiced cherry and suave, toasty oak (80% new French). As a wine merchant I sold the 2012 vintage of this wine like crazy. I’d do the same thing with the 2014 if I was in the business. It’s so, so good for $45. Bordeaux-style […]
March 24, 2018
silverpoint red wine

Silverpoint Napa Valley Red Wine 2013

Four of the five Bordeaux varieties in the blend: 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot. The fruit comes from two areas of Napa Valley – Rutherford Bench and Atlas Peak. The wine starts tight and, with resuscitation, gets richer, deeper and more complex. Smell and taste very ripe black cherries, pomegranate, roast red pepper, dark caramel & dark chocolate, allspice and vanilla from the barrel (50% new French oak). With air, shows medium acidity and fine tannins. Drinks better after being opened a day, which tells me a 2-3 hour decant before drinking is a […]
March 24, 2018
Subject to Change Sauvignon Blanc

SUBJECT TO CHANGE Sauvignon Blanc “Feliz Creek” 2017

Can’t miss at first view that this is very cloudy – very unfiltered, and intentionally not lees-settled before bottling, nor cold stabilized. Minimal processing to the max. Provocative aroma of lemon custard, dry lemon peels, apple butter and day old bread crust. Taste grapefruit ice, lemongrass, quince paste and French pastry. Medium-bodied (would call it full bodied for SB), palate-coating, tangy and texturally pleasing. It’s tricky to make a delicious Sauvignon Blanc in this style, and Subject to Change has pulled it off. 40 year old, dry farmed SB vines grown outside of Hopland in very warm southeast Mendocino County. […]
March 24, 2018
villa ragazzi faraona

Villa Ragazzi “Faraona” Napa Valley 2014

“Super Tuscan” style blend of 75% Sangiovese and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. This is powerful like a lady gymnast rather than a male weightlifter.  Black currant, dark raspberry, cedar, orange tea and tobacco smells and flavors all tightly packed into this intense, youthful wine whose best days are well ahead of it (2025-2030 best drinking I think). 13.6% alcohol, medium/high tannins, low oak influence by Napa standards. If I had a child born in 2014 this would definitely make my birth year collection.   The Rodeno Family, owners and winemakers of Villa Ragazzi, take Sangiovese seriously. Their Oakville home and vineyard […]
March 24, 2018
Edaphos BARB 15

EDAPHOS Barbera “Madhavan” Sonoma 2015

Noticeably dark, rich color for Barbera. Smells like Barbera: sun-soaked wild thyme, white pepper, raspberry/wild red cherry, plums. Lots of berry flavors with bits of orange zest, that peppery spice and black olive. Where “real” Barbera can get bitter on the finish, not the case here. It’s more cherry and plum skins and dry Provence and Italian herbs. Acid and fine tannins are healthy, giving the wine a firm “punch.” This is one of the best California Barberas I’ve ever had! Edaphos is one of the wines made by Ernest Vineyards. They are quite new – 2014 is their first […]
March 24, 2018
Edaphos Chardonnay

EDAPHOS Chardonnay “Reserve” Sonoma 2014

Toasty, ripe citrus and orchard fruits and light brown caramel nose transitions to lemon pudding, roast peaches, apple pie spice and sweet butter in the mouth. This is rich and round with a delicious lemon/caramel custard quality to it. White chocolate and apple butter come through on the 30 second finish. Rich and sweeter descriptions here I realize…it’s impressive how this wine pulls off such ripe flavors and richness while keeping its “dryness” intact. In my experience, this happens with Chardonnays running $45 and up! Edaphos is one of the wines made by Ernest Vineyards. They are quite new – […]
March 24, 2018
Cave Dog Napa Valley

CAVE DOG Napa Valley Red Wine 2015

58% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Franc, co-ferment, from vineyard in Southwest Napa Valley (edge of Carneros, in fact). An honest-to-goodness Right Bank Bordeaux style, Cave Dog red shows off dark red berry & cherry compote, dry aged beef, soy sauce, lavender, and gently roasted coffee beans. While all the flavors will expand with bottle age, it is still a round, smooth-textured, delicious, gorgeous wine now. Napa winemaker/winery owner veteran Michael Havens launched Cave Dog with his 2014 red wine. There are 3 Cave Dog wines: Spanish white varieties Albariño and Godello and this red. I recommend all three wines whole-heartedly, past […]
March 24, 2018
Anthill Farms Pinot Noir

ANTHILL FARMS Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2016

Sourced from two western Sonoma Coast vineyards: near Sebastopol and 2nd ridge in from the Pacific. This wine sports mouth-coating richness, dark red cherry/berry fruit profile, warm spices and a lingering, cool-climate forest floor/blood orange edge. This has a silky, friendly, drink-me-tonight character…a “showy” Pinot by Anthill Farms standards. You get the best of both worlds: crowd pleasing and artisanal (these two qualities don’t always merge!). Anthill Farms started in 2004, not long after I opened my wine shop. I was in their first wave of buyers (“I knew them when!”). 13 years later, the team of owners/winemakers have stayed […]
March 23, 2018
Crocker & Starr Cabernet RLC

CROCKER & STARR Cabernet Sauvignon “RLC” 2014

This 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, all from St Helena, is a classic rich, spicy, fuller-flavored Napa Cabernet from the greatly skilled and dependable owner/winemaker Pam Starr. Nose of cocoa, sweet blue and blackberry  puree and sassafras moves to flavors of hard black cherry candies, kirsch, cassis, cinnamon toast and cocoa nibs. This is expressive and long: 25 second finish of fresh wild berry fruits, fine tannins, a medium/full body and a drink-me-now quality. “RLC” stands for “Rock, Loam, Clay.” These are the three predominate matters in the soils where the vines for this wine grow.    Edward Lee: Pam Starr has delivered […]
March 23, 2018
Ridge Zinfandel Three Valleys

RIDGE Zinfandel “Three Valleys” 2015

Appealing overlay of cracked black pepper and apple pie spice aromas are your introduction. Bright, briary red berries and sweet, juicy red cherries, plum jelly and spicy oak hit the palate with a refreshing kick of acidity and gentle tannins.  Medium bodied and classy, this is not made to be a showstopper, but rather a solid, classic, delicious Zin that sings with many food choices.  I do think $25-$28 is a more appropriate price for it, which is achievable with some retailers and/or a volume discount. Three Valleys is the only non-single vineyard Zinfandel made by Ridge, Three Valleys (Dry […]
March 23, 2018
Subject to Change Carbonic

SUBJECT TO CHANGE Carbonic Red Wine “Poor Ranch” 2017

85% Carignane, 15% Syrah from 65 year old, organic vineyard outside of Hopland, southeast Mendocino County. “Nouveau Style” meaning 100% carbonic maceration, bottled in December (a little later than seasonal Nouveau). On the “serious side” for a young, all-carbonic wine, get allspice/clove spiced sweet plums, fresh raspberries, cracked pepper, musk and dry-aged beefsteak. Light as 100 feathers (not A feather, if you get my drift), perky acidity, lovely red fruits throughout…a complete wine. King salmon filet, simply seasoned and grilled, would be a perfect match!   Subject to Change is a new winery started by four friends: two with a […]
March 23, 2018
Anthill Farms Pinot Noir Tina

ANTHILL FARMS Pinot Noir “Tina Marie” 2016

From Green Valley, a sub-AVA of Russian River. Shows dark red raspberry and cherry fruits, framed by allspice, cola, Earl Grey tea, red roses and vanilla cream. Really well extracted, especially considering it’s labeled as 13.2% alcohol (came across as around 14.0 to me). Has a silky texture and a surprising deliciousness already (less than 2 years old). Anthill Farms started in 2004, not long after I opened my wine shop. I was in their first wave of buyers (“I knew them when!”). 13 years later, the team of owners/winemakers have stayed true to their mission of making wines (most […]
March 21, 2018
Truchard Roussanne

TRUCHARD Roussanne 2016

Smell and taste orange zest, citrus blossoms, peaches, Meyer lemon and green tea. An “aromatic variety” by nature, this wine is certainly fragrant, but more restrained than most Cal-Rhone whites you will find. Light, satin texture is nice. Pure citrus/stone fruit/floral pleasure. nice tang of acidity on the finish is just right. While Roussanne, a notoriously late harvest grape, is prone to botrytis (“noble rot”), in 2016 the fruit came out clean as a whistle, according to Anthony Truchard. I like it both ways – with or without botrytis. Make me choose and I’ll go without. The Truchard Family has […]
March 21, 2018
Truchard Merlot

Truchard Merlot Carneros 2015

All estate, grown on heavy clay, hillside vineyards on the Truchard’s Carneros property (northern, warmer Carneros – in its “banana belt.”) 25% Cabernet Franc. Smells great: violets, ripe plums, raspberries, five spice, toasty barrel and smidge of blood orange. Real pretty. The taste is bright and refreshing and at the same time intense and expressive. Fine tannins, modest barrel influence (around 25% new French aged) and medium acidity. This is a “food wine” in the best use of the term. The Truchard Family has over 200 acres of vineyards planted on their 400 acre property on the edge of Napa […]
March 21, 2018
Dane Zinfandel

DANE Zinfandel “Chamizal” 2014

Warm spices, toasted bread, melted chocolate bar and jammy berry nose transitions to a more pronounced ripe berry/cherry flavor with the spice, cocoa and toast coming up from behind. The finish turns a little brighter (black cherries turn to red) with roast red pepper, dark soil and chocolate flavors chiming in. Low tannins, medium acidity. A pleasure to drink. More information Dane Cellars Owner/Winemaker Bart Hansen makes very small lots of vineyard-designate wines, mostly from Sonoma Valley. There’s a rustic edge to his wines that is sometimes a good thing and sometimes not-so-much. “Los Chamizal,” 2 miles north of Sonoma […]
March 19, 2018

MORGAN Chardonnay “Metallico” 2015

A no-oak, no-butter style of Chardonnay from cool-climate Monterey vineyards. Smell and taste ripe yellow and green fleshed melons, ripe grapefruit, lemon yogurt, crystallized ginger and fresh pears. Bright, fresh and medium-bodied…if anything, for the no-oak, no-butter category it could be more tangy and lighter. That said, the mouth-coating sneaky richness on the 20 second finish is all pleasure.   One of the first to make and market the no oak, no butter style of Chardonnay (they launched Metallico in the early 2000s I believe), Morgan continues to make a it clean and bright while keeping the price very reasonable. […]