Dosnon Champagne Recolte Noire

Dosnon Champagne Recolte Noire

Subtle red fruit scents of raspberries, strawberries and cherries with violets and apricot sneaking in. The low dosage (about 5 Grams/Liter residual sugar, which is low) and earth-driven base wines make for an athletic Champagne with power and intensity. The Dosnon Champagne Recolte Noire is less fruity and more earthy than most Blanc de Noirs […]

OLIVIA BRION “Taquine” 2017

Olivia Brion Taquine

Blend of Viognier, Chardonnay, Vermentino and Orange Muscat. Orange blossoms, honeysuckle, mango and Meyer lemon aromas move to tastes of the same with a food-friendly bittersweet note of lemon bitters and peach pit. Floral, exotic, fresh and MORE than just exotic and fun. The chalky/lemon herbal finish makes for an interesting wine for food pairings. […]

CAMPESINO “Alina” White Wine 2015

Campesino Alina 2015

A Northern-Rhone Valley-style white wine, “Alina” falls into the “aromatic white” category with its bright citrus, apple blossom, honeysuckle, peach nectar personality. This is half Marsanne, half Roussanne, co-fermented in tank then aged in neutral barrel. Get white peach, fresh Meyer lemon, fresh pineapple and Key lime, all lightly coated with a springtime flower aroma. […]

GATHER Rosé of Tempranillo 2017

Gather Rose

So darn tasty…wild strawberry, peach, Meyer lemon and white pepper nose transitions to flavors of blood oranges, berries and that peppery spice. I love the acidity…high enough to make it come across as VERY dry, yet it allows the ripe fruit to come forth. All is balanced to a T. While on the higher side […]

JEAN VESSELLE Champagne, Brut “Reserve”

Jean Vesselle Champagne

I know this Champagne well. It’s as good as ever. In the broad-shoulders category of Champagne because of it’s blend (80% Pinot Noir, 20% Chardonnay) and the region (Bouzy, Montagne de Reims – clay-rich soils). Smell and taste baked red apples, red currants, raspberry, pink roses and tellicherry peppercorns. Mouth-filling, moderately creamy, roasted almond/roasted lemon […]

LONGTABLE “The Gathering” Red 2013

Longtable The Gathering

A Southern-Rhone style blend of 50% Grenache, 47% Syrah and 3% Petite Sirah from a single vineyard on Mount Veeder. It’s “Estate” in that the vineyard is winery-owned, but winemaking happens elsewhere, so it’s technically not. Smell and taste deep, dark black and blueberries with allspice, black licorice, cola and smoked red meat back-ups. Strong wine, […]

HUDSON Grenache Rosé 2017

Hudson Grenache Rose

On the lightest, crispest side of Rosé. Smell and taste wild strawberries, pink rose petals, red plums, peach, fennel and green tea. Tangy, fat-cutting acidity and intense. A much better food companion than a porch-sipper. I compare this more to a cool northern French (Loire, Burgundy) Rosé than a southern French style. One of Hudson […]


Tres Sabores Rose

Equal parts red berries, citrus and orchard fruit, this very dry style Rosé stands out for its crisp, floral, subtle yet intense style. Smell and taste raspberries, lemon blossoms, white pepper, guava and grapefruit. Meant for food, especially grilled or poached shrimp, smoked trout, charcuterie and oysters on the half shell. More information Made from […]

Hudson “White Study” 2017

Hudson White Study

Light, bright and intense, “White Study” is a unique, tiny-production wine that Hudson Vineyards makes as much for their own pleasure as to sell. Four grape blend: three Italian varietals Ribolla, Arneis and Friulano and Albariño (Spanish origin) finishing it off at 18% of the blend. Steel tank & neutral oak fermented and briefly aged. […]

TERRIEN Chardonnay 2012

Terrien Chardonnay 2012

It’s not everyday I taste and review 6 year old California Chardonnay. The stand-out Terrien Chardonnay is an exception. Starts with dried lemon peel and Granny Smith apple wedges, lightly roasted hazelnut, citrus blossoms and oyster shells. The taste starts with the same good stuff plus honey-drizzled grapefruit and quince paste. Like White Burgundy, acidity […]

COCHON “Whole Hog” 2015

Cochon Whole Hog Red Wine

44% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 15% Carignane, 10% Cinsault, 5% Mourvedre, 1% Viognier. Napa Valley and Lodi are the two main sources for the grapes. The Syrah (from Phoenix Ranch in Southern Napa) takes centerstage with its dark blueberry/blackberry, black olive, peppery, intense smell and flavor. This is rich, ripe and strong. You get a lot […]

LINGUA FRANCA Chardonnay “Bunker Hill” 2016

Lingua Franca Chardonnay Bunker Hill

Bright, rich and substantial. Smell and taste lemon-honey, Macintosh apples, grapefruit, lime, pineapple, fresh pie crust and hazelnut. The crisp citrus and orchard fruits burst out in the mouth along with bits of buttercream, brine and chalk. This is intense and full-bodied while at the same time being impressively “fit.” While giving due respects to […]

CAMPESINO Syrah “Las Madres” 2015

Campesino Syrah Las Madres

Pours out dark purple and rich. Smell and taste crushed, ripe blueberries, lavender, fire-roasted leg of lamb, dark coffee, crushed black peppercorns, black currants, soy sauce, cocoa. 30 second finish gets more smoky and spicy (passilla pepper, clove). Sweet, ripe sensations, rich, medium acidity and smooth tannins. This, to my taste, is the best style […]

CAMPESINO “Isa” Rosé 2017

Campesino Rose Isa 2017

This single-vineyard Grenache from eastern Sonoma Coast AVA (between Sonoma and Petaluma) is picked to make Rosé (“intentional”), fermented and aged 6 months in neutral French oak barrels. Equally citrus and stone fruits as red berries. I get blood orange, ripe peach, and wild strawberry along with white pepper, tarragon and mint tea. Has bright […]

FORTUNE 1621 Cabernet Sauvignon 2015

FORTUNE 1621 Cabernet Sauvignon

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” […]

Darms Lane Chardonnay 2015

Darms Lane Chardonnay

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 […]

OTRA VEZ Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Otra Vez Cabernet Sauvignon

Otra Vez Cabernet Sauvignon is the companion label for Calistoga’s Vincent Arroyo. This is a delicious, well-made Cabernet made in a “balanced style,” i.e. grapes picked ripe but not “too ripe,” resulting in 13.8% alcohol. With that, it’s light on the barrel, letting the natural flavors of Cab Sauv come forth. Smell and taste black […]


Innocent Bystander Pinot Noir

The highly regarded yet rather unknown wine district Central Otago is on the southern half of New Zealand’s South Island (that’s pretty far down there). Being so far south makes for a higher-risk/higher reward dynamic for fine wine, especially Pinot Noir. Innocent Bystander hit the mark and, unusual for the region, sells for the reasonable […]

INNOCENT BYSTANDER Sauvignon Blanc 2017

Innocent Bystander Sauvignon Blanc

If you’re wary of Marlborough, New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc, you’re not alone. It falls into the “too ___” complaint box, as in too grassy, too green, too tart. I suggest you give this a try as it possesses the distinctive flavors of NZ SB but not too much of anything. Smell and taste lime blossoms, […]

BROKENWOOD Semillon, Hunter Valley 2016

Brokenwood Semillon

If you’re a fan of bright-acid white wines that sing even sweeter with food, then quality Semillon from Australia’s Hunter Valley should be in your repertoire. And here’s an excellent one to start, or continue. Smell and taste grapefruit, crisp green apples, lemon oil, lemon/lime, kiwi (frankly, if you can think of a fruit that […]

Chateau de Vie Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Chateau de Vie Cabernet

This plush, rich, spicy (from the oak) Cabernet would be “over the top” stylistically for some and perfect for others. I know lots of Cab drinkers who would call it perfect. Smell and taste blackberry jam, melting dark chocolate, allspice, black licorice and toasty/smoky oak. It’s mouth-filling, strong and just a tad sweet…definitely a “modern […]

ABIOUNESS “Amrita” 2017

Abiouness Amrita

Mighty floral and aromatic from start to finish. Get orange blossoms, lemon zest, fresh ginger, pineapple and honeysuckle…and lots of them. It sits lightly yet intently in the mouth with fruit, floral and spice all playing their part. Fermented completely dry. That said, this super-aromatic white wine is the type some will call “sweet” by […]

KEEP Counoise 2017

Keep Counoise

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 […]

KEEP Ciliegiolo 2017

Keep ciliegiolo

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 […]