DAVID CLINTON Zinfandel “Teldeschi” 2015

David Clinton Zinfandel Teldeschi

Deep dark cherries, a little jammy, black licorice and a whiff of Ruby Port introduce this bold, full-flavored David Clinton Zinfandel Teldeschi. In the mouth the liqueur-y fruit tasted darker and darker with air, moving to black cherry and blackberry after 30 minutes of “opening up.” More licorice, cracked black pepper, rocky earth and dark […]

ASPRAS Côtes de Provence Trois Frères 2015

Aspras Provence Trois Freres

The warm Provence, Southern France region and a particularly warm 2015 vintage make for a lush, deep, spicy red wine that combines crowd-friendly deliciousness and a definitive taste of the French Mediterranean. It’s mostly Grenache with Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon supporting. Get deep, dark raspberry and blueberry fruits along with black pepper, black olive, smoked […]

CASAEDA Cabernet Sauvignon 2014

Casaeda Cabernet Sauvignon

A big whiff of dark raspberry and blueberry plus cassis, anise and vanilla leads off. Taste a a big basket of mixed summer berries with a supporting cast of cedar, roast red peppers and toasty oak. 20 second finish of berries, pomegranate and sweet earth. Medium acidity, medium/low oak and smooth tannins make this a […]

FORTUNATI Syrah, Napa Valley 2015

Fortunati Syrah 2015

A powerhouse, the 2015 Fortunati Syrah shows off dark black berry fruits, cocoa powder, black licorice, lavender, roast red peppers and allspice. A beast of a wine, its concentrated flavors are supported by youthful tannins that will soften quickly (1-2 years). I look forward to trying this wine again in 2019. As for now, I suggest […]

FRITH “Frija’s Rule” Napa Valley 2013

Frith Frijas Rule

A blend of 44% Syrah, 33% Barbera and 22% Grenache qualifies it as a “Modern Red Blend” by recipe, but it’s not as “over the top” in style as most versions. This has a great nose of smushed up fresh raspberries and dark red plums plus cracked black peppercorns and coriander. Taste more of the […]

BIRICHINO Mourvedre “Old Vines” 2015

Birichino Mourvedre

Santa Cruz Winery Birichino buys these grapes from 100+ year old vineyard in the deep sandy soils of Contra Costa County. Dark plum, smoky blueberry, cigar wrapper and red curry paste smells and flavors generously flow from the glass in this medium bodied, nicely balanced wine that to me is half fruity, half savory in […]

FRITH “Flanked by Ravens” Napa Valley 2013

Frith Flanked by Ravens

Right Bank Bordeaux-style blend of 60% Cabernet Franc & 40% Merlot, all from a single vineyard in the Carneros “Banana Belt.” This is rich, very strong wine showing a lot of old-world personality. Black currants, dried blueberries sun-dried Provence herbs, cigar box and bittersweet chocolate smells and flavors, all framed by 80% new French oak […]

FRITZ HAAG Trocken Riesling 15

Fritz Haag Riseling Trocken

Apple blossoms, lemon verbena, green tea and light honey nose quickly moves to flavors of cool, crisp Granny Smith apple, ripe grapefruit and sea shells. Rich, substantial texture (due to the ripe, wonderful 2015 vintage in Mosel, and the residual sugar left behind) and a long finish of citrus, flowers and crushed rocks makes this […]

CIGLIUTI Barbera d’Alba “Serraboella” 2014

cigliuti barbera serraboella

A mix of raspberry, red currant and cranberry along with dry Italian herbs and dusty soil introduce you to this wine. Counter-acting the bright fruit are firm tannins, a pleasant tartness and a faint bitterness on the finish – classic for Barbera d’Alba and an ideal display of the hillside, very chalky “Serraboella” vineyard, Cigliuti’s […]

Silverpoint Chardonnay Sonoma Coast 2015

silverpoint chardonnay

For classic richer-style Chardonnay with great fruit to balance it out, I highly recommend Silverpoint. All from the very cool Petaluma Gap region (soon to be an AVA). Barrel fermented & aged on its lees, 50% new French oak, full malolactic. I know many lower ML Chardonnays that are heavier. Smell and taste roast hazelnut, […]


Hourglass HG3 15

Merlot based Bordeaux-style (“Right Bank”) blend with a twist: 10% Petite Sirah included. Once again, in the realm of Napa Valley Bordeaux-style reds, HG3 gives you A LOT of happiness for the price. Seductive sweet spicy oak and jammy berry/cherry nose continues on the palate along some kirsch (cherry liqueur), black truffle, cocoa and new […]

Terra Gratia Red 2014

terra gratia red wine

“Terra Gratia” (“Land of Gratitude” in Latin) is a blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot. Owned, grown, made and offered as their “entry level” wine by Marciano Estate Winery in western St Helena. Warm aromas of pie spices, deeply toasted wheat crust, dark red cherry and plums. […]

RED THREAD Red Wine Blend, Howell Mountain, Napa Valley 2015

Red Thread Red Wine

This big, rich “Mountain Red” is 40% Zinfandel, 35% Petite Syrah, 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. A sweet nose of black cherry compote, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla bean hits the tongue with firm tannins and lots of sweet, fruity extract. White pepper, lime zest, caramel and buttered wheat toast complement the rich, ripe fruit, which is […]

Chateau Montmirail Vacqueyras Deux Freres 15

Vacqueyras: Southern Rhone Valley appellation. 65% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre. Older vines at around 50 years old. Montmirail is a “traditional producer” in the best sense. Their wines are pin-point expressions of their land, see no oak, and are made with great care. Destemmed grapes, long fermentation, bottled for America unfined/uniltered. This Rhone red […]

PRIMA MATERIA Sangiovese 2015

Prima Materia Sangiovese

Ripe dark cherry fruits with notes of chocolate, dried green herbs, musk, and smoked tea leaves make this a friendly and crowd-pleasing Sangiovese that is still true to the grape. Fuller-bodied (for Sangiovese) with fine tannins and a rich texture make this a real winner. Prima Materia’s vineyard is in western Lake County. Volcanic soils, […]

Clif Family “The Climber” 2015

clif family climber red

Climber Red in 2015 is 96% Merlot, 3% Petite Verdot, 1% Malbec. Strong flavors, layer upon layer of smells and flavor and true-to-the-grape winemaking make this one of my Awesome Values and inclusion on the Best of the Best list. Get dried black currants and blueberries along with bits of cedar, tobacco leaf, bittersweet chocolate […]

SAINT REMY-EHRHART Riesling Vieilles Vignes 2015

Saint Remy Ehrhart Riesling

This dry Riesling captures the honey-textured essence of Alsace. Smell and taste caramel-coved crisp green apples, lemonheads, spring blossoms and tangy pineapple. This is beautiful Riesling that speaks clearly to the quality and value of Alsace.

SYLVAIN LANGOUREAU Hautes Côtes de Beaune 2015

Sylvain Langoureau Hautes Cotes

Tiny, family run winery outside of Puligny-Montrachet owns and farms over 20 acres in the Cote de Beaune. Their Haute-Cotes is a pure, concise, honest expression of quality Red Burgundy that’s ready to enjoy anytime. Get sweet juicy plums, wild red cherries, pink rose petals, freshly-turned soil. Ideal wine for a Burgundy “experience” on the […]

FERREN Chardonnay 2015

Ferren Chardonnay

This is a rich, powerful, complex Chardonnay along the lines of Marcassin, Kistler and Ramey. Lancel Creek lies 5 miles from the Pacific and produces intense, incredible grapes that lend themselves to this intense style of Chardonnay. Smell and taste caramel green apple, lemon oil, fresh white peach, bananas foster, cinnamon, toasted brioche topped with […]

CHEVAUSSU FASSENET Cotes de Jura Chardonnay 12

Chevassu Fassenet Jura

The distinctive style of Cotes de Jura Chardonnay comes through in spades in this tiny, family-run, winery. A honeyed, preserved citrus, apple butter nose moves to slightly dried pears, lemon blossoms, Meyer lemons and ROCKS. Typical of very good Cotes de Jura, it has a 30 second finish of salty citrus, honey and rocky soil. […]

RELIC Grenache “Paras” 2014

Relic Grenache Paras

The perfumed, sweet spice and strawberry preserves nose flies from the glass in this translucent, brilliant-colored red from the top of Mount Veeder. Taste ripe summer red berries and cherries with candied ginger, cinnamon and Earl Grey tea. Reminds me of strong Pinot Noir in its medium-bodied, satin texture. Great, smooth, long finish of cherry […]

PLANETES de VIN Priorat 2013

Planetes de Vin 2013

50-50 Garnatxes and Carinyenes (Catalan for Grenache and Carignane) aged “en amfora.” (Amphora-clay vessels. Use of Amphoras to hold wine date back to Roman times). The mountainous Priorat region in Catalonia is one of the world’s special places to make strong red wines. This fruit-driven wine smells and tastes of strawberry preserves, raspberry sauce, dried […]

WALTER HANSEL Chardonnay Cahill Lane 2014

Walter Hansel Chardonnay

For over 20 years Stephen Hansel (Walter Hansel is Stephen’s father) has made quintessential Russian River Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs in the model of Rochioli and Marcassin. That is, rich, complex wines made with full-flavored grapes so everything is in harmony. I’ve had many Walter Hansel Chardonnays over the years, and this is my all-time […]

Mourre du Tendre Plan de Dieu 2015

mourre de tendre plan dieu

Grenache, Mourvèdre, Cinsaut blend. Plan de Dieu (“God’s Plain”) received Cotes du Rhone Villages status in 2005. Located a few miles northeast of Chateauneuf-du-Pape and next to Vacqueyras, Plan de Dieu wines often have a similar concentration and fruity core as their better known neighbors. This red from Mourre de Tendre is a winner. Get dark […]