March 16, 2018
Eugenia Rose

EUGENIA Rose of Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast 2017

Peach skin/orange color that looks more Provence Rosé color than California Pinot Noir. Bright, aromatic nose of pink rose petals, plums, and mandarin oranges. Taste continues on with these fruits along with white pepper, talc and cherry blossom. I really like how this Rose has pleasing crisp acidity and a back rend round, mouth-coating texture. Great price for what you get…too bad there’s only 100 cases made. Eugenia is one of the wines made by Ernest Vineyards. They are quite new – 2014 is their first vintage. The Rosé was part of my first tasting of the Ernest Vineyard wines. […]
March 14, 2018
Selbach Oster Riesling Himmelreich

SELBACH OSTER Riesling Himmelreich Halbtrocken 2016

I tasted this wine amongst a hundred different wines of every type within 2 hours, so my notes are limited. I scribbled down one word: perfect. Not a perfect wine per se, but is perfect for what it is. And that is, fruit galore (lemon-apple-peach-kiwi), high acidity, a little residual sugar to balance the tangy, and on the finish that long “taste of the land” you invariably get from steep hillside Mosel Valley Riesling. One thing you can count on life is that a bottle of Selbach Oster Riesling will be very good! Current caretaker/winegrower Johannes Selbach is a hands-off […]
March 14, 2018
Vincent Dampt Chablis 2015

VINCENT DAMPT Chablis 2015

Pretty, aromatic nose of lemon blossoms, Meyer lemon, mango and lime precedes flavors of the same plus butter pastry, lemon tea and white chalky earth. Has lively acidity, fresh fruit all over the place and just enough “taste of the land” to make it interesting. Undeniably tasty and versatile: good drinking by itself and particularly tasty with meaty white fishes (like halibut) and straight-forward white meat preparations. Dampt grows this Chardonnay in a vineyard between two Premier Cru vineyards across town from Chablis’ Grand Cru sites. 40 year old vines on average. Steel tank fermented and aged. More Information Vincent […]
March 14, 2018
Torre Zambra Montepulciano Maggio

TORRE ZAMBRA Montepulciano d’Abruzzo “Colle Maggio” 2013

Deep rich color and a nose of ripe black cherry and boysenberry framed by dark fertile soil is your introduction. The smells move on to the flavors along with tarragon, mint and dark tobacco. I really like how rich and mouth-filling the wine is. It expertly balances its fruit with savory earthy qualities. Drinking great tonight. Probably because I just made this, but a tomato sauce with mild Italian sausage and mushrooms goes great with this wine. Abruzzo: rugged, ancient region east of Rome on the Adriatic Sea. While Montepulciano has been known in recent history to be a medium/light […]
March 14, 2018
Wassererhof S Maddalena

WASSERERHOF St Maddalena, Vino Rosso, Alto Adige 2015

94% Schiava and 6% Lagrein, two grapes native to Alto Adige in far northern Italy. High-toned, aromatic, light-bodied and pleasantly herbaceous, this is wonderfully typical of good red wine from the region. Smell and taste tangy red plums, crushed ripe cranberries (no green ones), black tea, violets, thyme and sage. Key to this wine is its ripe middle…just fleshy enough. St Maddalena is a hill overlooking the village of Bolzano. Wines of the same name are made by various producers in and near the area (about 45 producers all told). Schiava is king of this hill. The grape is also […]
March 14, 2018
Wassererhof Pinot Blanc

WASSERERHOF Pinot Bianco, Alto Adige 2016

This is high-quality Pinot Bianco (aka Pinot Blanc, aka Weissburgunder) as it should be. Lovely, bright fruit, ample acidity, more mouth feel than Grigio, crisp and lingering 15 second finish. In the fruit realm get pears, green apples, Meyer lemon and nectarine. Aging on its lees is for body, not flavor. This is a great anytime drinker.
March 14, 2018
Ca Lojera Lugana

CA’ LOJERA Lugana Bianco 2016

Made from 90% Verdicchio (aka Trebbiano di Lugana). This light, solid-structured white wine smells & tastes of kiwi, lime, river rocks, fresh white flowers and honeydew melon. All steel tank ferment and aged. This is crisp and refreshing as all get-out and still with a texture that gently lingers on the 15 second finish. Drink this by itself or with vegetable pasta & light fish dishes. Lugana: an Italian DOC in Lombardy, which sandwiched between Veneto and Piedmont in Northern Italy. Ca’ Lojera is located on the southern end of the impressive Lake Garda, and 20 miles west of Verona.
March 14, 2018
Barbadillo PX Cilla

BARBADILLO Pedro Ximenez Sherry “La Cilla”

Dynamite “PX” Sherry. Candied orange, dark honey, caramel, stewed and spiced apple. Super sweet, seductive, buttery and just plain yummy. Obviously, this is for dessert wine lovers. I deny those who eschew dessert wines to not enjoy this. For what you get, $32/bottle is a screaming-good deal.   Barbadillo is a big operation with many arms (different wines and labels, including private label wines) but you don’t see too often in the U.S., especially in California. While it’s very popular in Spain, Japan, the U.K and Belgium particularly, the U.S. is not “hip” to Sherry in general. The myriad styles […]
March 14, 2018
Barbadillo Amontillado Principe

BARBADILLO Amontillado Sherry “Principe de Barbadillo”

A gorgeous Amontillado. Round and powerful in the mouth with flavors of lemon honey, dried apple, salt cured green olives and Filbert nuts. Dry, with a richness that substitutes for sweet (from the near 15 years of aging: 8 under the flor, 7 without). Extremely versatile in your evening (with dinner, or before with cheese & nuts, or after with cheese & nuts), I prefer it as my nightcap.   Barbadillo is a big operation with many arms (different wines and labels, including private label wines) but you don’t see too often in the U.S., especially in California. While it’s […]
March 14, 2018
l'enchatoir saumur puy notre dame

l’ENCHANTOIR Saumur Puy Notre Dame 2015

100% Cabernet Franc growing in chalk and limestone. Organic farming (certified organic as of 2016). This is the real deal in Loire Valley Cabernet Franc. Smell and taste red currants, pomegranate, ruby red grapefruit, white pepper, blueberry, sage and Oolong tea. Has a healthy core of flavor to support the natural high acidity and firm, fine tannins. The newer appellation Saumur Puy Notre Dame, when grown well, made well and in a very good vintage (check check & check) offers fantastic value. From Importer Skurnik Wines: “Domaine de l’Enchanoir work a remarkable site of largely ancient limestone. 150 meters altitude, […]
March 14, 2018
Jacky Blot Rose Triple Zero

JACKY BLOT Petillant-Naturel Rosé “Triple Zero”

An ever-so-subtle smell of flavor of red currant and sun-dried cherry clings to grapefruit, lime and crushed rock in this perky, super-refreshing “Pet-Nat” (single fermentation wine that finishes in bottle). A delicious, very dry sparkler that balances, just so, its fruit, high acidity and lees-aged character. A delicious, unique wine that is a steal for under $30! All Gamay. called Triple Zero because it is Zero Chaptalization, Zero Liqueur at bottling, Zero dosage. Ferment and aged 2 years on its lees in neutral barrel before bottling to finish fermentation. Taille Aux Loups is the property of Mountlouis producer Jacky Blot […]
March 14, 2018
Jacky Blot Triple Zero

JACKY BLOT Petillant-Naturel “Triple Zero”

100% Chenin Blanc. Crisp and brooding nose of bright citrus, pears, white spring flowers and chalk. Taste is 2 parts soil, 1 part fruit: river rocks, oyster shells, lemon-apple, quince. The concern is that this will be dry to the point of being mean, but not so. The lees-aging in barrel gives just the right amount of flesh. Really delicious, and a bargain for this quality and character. A Pet-Nat, which is single fermentation that finishes in bottle. 100% Chenin Blanc, called Triple Zero because it is Zero Chaptalization, Zero Liqueur at bottling, Zero dosage. Ferment and aged 2 years […]
March 14, 2018
Blacksmith Cabernet Sauvignon

BLACKSMITH Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley 2015

Rich nose of toasty barrel and jammy dark berries and cherries is your introduction to the BLACKSMITH Cabernet Sauvignon Dry Creek Valley. Generous bright, fold fruit flavors: blueberries, boysenberries, Bing cherries. Healthy acidity levitates the fruit. On the simple side…not overly complex. What is here is delicious, concentrated and well made, making it an Awesome (Hall of Fame?) value at $20. This is from hillside, east-facing vineyard in Dry Creek Valley, northern Sonoma County. 18% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot. More Information Winemaker Matt Smith is based in Alameda on the San Francisco Bay. His wines are always well-made, delicious and […]
March 14, 2018
J Rickards Cabernet Sauvignon

J. RICKARDS Cabernet Sauvignon “Five Sisters” 2014

All-Estate Cabernet whose neighbor is Silver Oak (I’m told J. Rickards keeps their very best grapes and sells the rest to Silver Oak). Smell and taste blue and black fruits, cola, sweet dark plums and cassis. Mouth-filling, high glycerine, uplifting acidity and fine tannins, all framed by an elegant frame of oak. If you’re looking for delicious Cabernet for under $40/bottle, this all-Estate Cab does the job. “Five Sisters” refers to the five Bordeaux grapes used…so Merlot, Cab Franc, Malbec and Petit Verdot are blended into the Cabernet.
March 14, 2018
Planet Oregon Pinot Noir

PLANET OREGON Pinot Noir 2016

Deep, rich color (especially for a value-priced Willamette Vallley Pinot Noir). Ripe, slightly liqueur-like dark cherry flavors with support of cinnamon stick, rosewater and cola. Has polished tannins (i.e. smooth!), making for a nicely rip, silky finish. There is lots and lots of pleasure here! Noting the AVA on the bottle is Oregon, the 2016 Planet Oregon Pinot Noir is all Willamette Valley fruit. More Information Planet Oregon Pinot Noir is owned and made by Willamette Valley’s Soter Vineyards. Planet Oregon/Soter’s Give Back mission and policy: “In our work, we labor with the earth to create our products. It is […]
March 14, 2018
Benevolent Neglect Counoise

BENEVOLENT NEGLECT Counoise “Eagle Point Ranch” 2016

Fruit-driven nose of plum jam, violets and dried ginger. Taste ripe and dark raspberries, black licorice, wild thyme and dry-aged beefsteak. Smooth, friendly texture sort of like a silky California Pinot Noir. If I were describing this wine to someone in a wine shop, I’d say, “it’s 40% geek-wine and 60% crowd-pleaser.” The Counoise comes from a tiny plot in Ukiah, Mendocino County. The City of 10,000 Budhas, a Buddhist Temple & Colony, is next door. More Information Owners Ben Brenner and Matt Nagy are doing a great job building Benevolent Neglect slowly but surely into one of the next […]
March 14, 2018
Nigl Gruner Veltliner Freiheit

NIGL Gruner Veltliner “Freiheit” Kremstal 2017

Nigl, one of Austria’s best known wineries for making quality wine, presents Freiheit (Freedom in German) as their entry-level Gruner. It’s lip-smacking good. Medium-high acidity, apple, grapefruit and crunchy pear smells and flavors along with subtle, tell-tale varietal sensations of white pepper, celery root, fennel and green lentils (not to intimidate you with the last three…you need to search for these flavors to get them, really). Enjoy this as you would a dry, crisp Sauvignon Blanc or Pinot Grigio…a really good one!
March 14, 2018
Benevolent Neglect Syrah

BENEVOLENT NEGLECT Syrah “Las Madres” 2015

Deep, rich color and a gorgeous Syrah nose of deep blueberry, oil-cured black olives, rosemary and baconfat make a great start. Taste all sorts of berries along with those olives and bacon plus lavender, red curry and baker’s chocolate. I love the solid core of fruit, tang of cool-climate acidity and provocative spicy and “wild” personality of world-class Syrah. There is a synergy of great Syrah vineyard and skilled artisan winemaking that makes this wine shine. More Information Owners Ben Brenner and Matt Nagy are doing a great job building Benevolent Neglect slowly but surely into one of the next […]
March 14, 2018
Torremilanos Montecastrillo 16

TORREMILANOS Ribera del Duero “Montecastrillo” 2016

This Great Value, 100% Tinto Fino (Tempranillo) from the tenderloin for great red wine in Spain would make a fantastic House Wine (or restaurant By The Glass wine if you’re in that business). Smell and taste ripe red and blue berries and kisses of peppery spice and mint. Medium acid, gentle tannins and a medium full body…more complete than most $12 red wines on this planet. Buy yourself a case. I was introduced to Torremilanos last month at a tasting event. They make delicious, honest, great value wines. Their vineyards are Demeter certified biodynamic and are a stew of limestone, […]
March 14, 2018
Pessoa Touriga Nacional

PESSOA DA VINHA Touriga Nacional, Douro 2015

All Touriga Nacional grape (this is the #1 grape for quality used in Port). Deep, dark color. Dark berry fruit flavors laced with cocoa, coffee beans and roasted Mediterrean herbs. A substantial wine with ripeness, healthy tannins and life-giving acidity. Gentle oak aging (about a year, small % new) gives the wine polish. Well-made, concentrated and with character – three qualities that point to a Hall of Fame Value for $16!
March 14, 2018
Vincent Dampt Chablis Lechet

VINCENT DAMPT Chablis “Cote de Lechet” 2015

I’ve quickly become a big fan of Vincent Dampt’s Chablis wines. His Cote de Lechet, from 55 year old vines growing in limestone and marl (Kimmeridgian soil) is classy, bright, perfectly ripe and earthy (especially on the finish). Get preserved lemons, apple butter, fresh sweat, chalk, lemon thyme and green tea. Round and tingly on the palate. 25 second finish of citrus fruits and chalky soil. Steel tank ferment and aged on its lees. Vincent Dampt grew up in a winegrower family in Chablis. He went to winegrower school at the ripe old age of 14. Before returning home, he […]
March 14, 2018
Maison l'Envoye Pinot Noir

Maison l’ENVOYE Pinot Noir “Two Messengers” Willamette Valley 2016

Fruit comes first, spice flowers and earth come after in this generous, dark red berry/cherry flavored, just-plain-good Oregon Pinot Noir. Backing up the fruit are smells and flavors of red roses, violets, allspice and toasty barrel (all quite subtle). Perfect ripeness in my opinion so the fruit shines, yet avoiding raisin or jam flavors. Medium/full bodied, gentle tannins, medium acidity. An excellent buy for $30! Maison l’Envoye is an international wine project. The owners (Importer/Producer Old Bridge Cellars and Oregon Vintner Mark Tarlov) focus on the three Burgundy grapes (Pinot Noir, Chardonnay and Gamay) from the three most “Burgundian” wine […]
March 4, 2018
Bos Ode to Fume

BOS “Ode to Fume” Napa Valley White Wine 2015

100% Sauvignon Blanc from organic or biodynamic vineyards at the base of Atlas Peak and Calistoga. Showing zippy acidity and loads of citrus (lime, grapefruit and lemon in that order), lemongrass and Macintosh apple smells and flavors. Particularly mouth-filling for a pure, not oaky Sauvignon Blanc…the high quality grapes provide the body. Going on three years after harvest, the acidity is well integrated into the wine now. I find this to be an excellent no-food sipper, but really blossoms with salty proteins (bacon wrapped shrimp, teriyaki chicken).   Owner Dave Bos is a biodynamic vineyard manager for small vineyards in […]
March 4, 2018
Dan Dawson's Wine Advisor

TETHER Napa Valley Red Wine 2014

65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, then Petit Verdot & Malbec. All five of the (modern day) Bordeaux grapes used. Howell Mountain, Calistoga and St Helena fruit (all vineyards with reputations of making bold, dark, structured wine). Bullseye hit by Tether in making a rich, strong, lush and accessible Napa Cab style, at a relatively accessible price. All dark, sun-soaked, deep black berries/cherries with fragrant Indian spices, toasty barrel, vanilla bean and dark chocolate all over the place. This is a rock-solid Cab Sauv based blend recommendation for $50. The talented Anna Monticelli, winemaker and co-owner (with Napa […]