June 8, 2018
Vivier Rose

VIVIER Rosé of Pinot Noir 2017

Pinot Noir’s wild cherry and violet/rose jump out on the nose along with some talc and blood orange. The taste is pure pleasure…a smack of melon, plum and red berry/cherry and bright acidity that lifts the fruitiness up a couple of notches. Has a lightness and tang that appeals to those that seek the driest style of Rosé, and the fruit to remind you what wine is made from. Stephane Vivier is one of Northern California’s best winemakers. His (and his wife’s) Vivier wines focus on Pinot Noir. He also makes Long Meadow Ranch’s Anderson Valley wines and continues on […]
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 […]
April 24, 2018
The Withers Bel Canto

THE WITHERS Bel Canto 2016

Blend of 73% Grenache, 22% Mourvedre, 5% Syrah. Very pretty, high-toned aromas of strawberries, raspberries, lavender, black pepper and crushed garden herbs. Fruit, spice and herb play nice together on the palate…all have a voice. Touch of ruby red grapefruit and pomegranate sneak into the taste too. Finish is more about the peppercorn, lavender, bay leaf and thyme. It all works together like a charm. More Information “Cool climate wines from the Sonoma Coast and Sierra Foothills” states The Withers on their website. The talent and passion is there, including David Low as winemaker (he is co-owner & co-winemaker for […]
April 24, 2018
Pestoni Family Rose

PESTONI Rose 2017

Made from 61% Sangiovese and 39% Merlot. Saignée method (juice bled off soon-to-be red wine). Pretty aromas of watermelon jolly rancher, fresh peaches, plums and lilacs. Taste is bright, refreshing and friendly: wild cherry, fresh watermelon, dark peach, strawberry and fruit blossoms. Sits lightly in the mouth but with delicious fruit flavors and texture. One of the best Napa Valley Rosés I’ve had. More Information The Pestoni Family proudly claim their 125 year history of grape growing and wine making in the Napa Valley. Andy and Shannon Pestoni have returned to the “family business” after selling their Jelly Jar label […]
April 24, 2018
Poseidon Pinot Noir

POSEIDON Pinot Noir, Carneros 2015

While the fruit is, naturally, a key here, it’s the spice, floral, and sweet earth sensations that set the Poseidon Pinot Noir apart from the pack. Smell and taste wild red cherries, rhubarb, raspberry, dried violets and red roses, black tea, meat locker and blood orange. Medium bodied, gentle tannins and savory. I like that this Pinot gives so much more than “just” fruit, but rather a food-friendly, layered, more savory wine. I won’t classify it as Burgundian, but it does lean in that direction. DDWA Members are VIPs! As a member of Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor, receive complimentary tastings […]
April 23, 2018
Olivia Brion Vin Gris

OLIVIA BRION Vin Gris of Syrah 2017

A savory nose of dried orange zest, red currant and peppery greens transitions to myriad flavors that cover fruit, spice and earth. Taste raspberry, apricot, spiced orange tea, green banana, dried blueberry and citron. Finish leads with the spice then comes in with red, crisp fruits (red plums, currants blood orange). Nice mouthfeel and core of acidity. Because it being all Syrah, “purposeful” Rosé and bottled in late March, I expect the flavors to blossom by July 4. More Information Best known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from Wild Horse Valley, Olivia Brion Winery “dabbles” in small lots of […]
April 23, 2018
Eugene Carrel Rose


Made from 80% Gamay and 20% Mondeuse from Carrel’s Estate vineyards in the Savoie, base of the French Alps. Refreshing acidity, crisp red fruits, citrus zest, suggestions of fine herbs and peppery spice define this light, intense, very food-friendly Rosé.  The texture is spot-on…the short time resting on its lees before bottling gives the wine needed mouth feel. This is very dry without being tart. Great with food – I think a cold salmon mousse would be just about the perfect match! More Information The Carrel is picked for Rosé: pressed off, fermented in tank, arrested ML fermentation, briefly aged […]
April 23, 2018
Obsidian Ridge Half Mile

OBSIDIAN RIDGE “Half Mile” Cabernet 2015

Deep, dark ruby/purple color stands out. Smell and taste black currants, French roast coffee, blackberry liqueur, cola, cedar, roast almonds, dark chocolate. A powerful, complex Cabernet, Obsidian Ridge “Half Mile” is both fruit-forward (the Petite Sirah helps in this regard) and very structured (i.e. firm tannins). While it does have dryness, the fruit is so ripe and concentrated that everything balances out. Drink now or wait 5-10 years. More Information Obsidian Ridge is an “Estate” vineyard by every definition except the winery is located in Sonoma. Half mile elevation (thus the name…2300-2640 feet elevation), this is a tiny production, “Reserve” […]
April 23, 2018
Cochon Pape Rocks Red Wine

COCHON “Pape Rocks” 2015

70% Grenache, 15% Syrah, 10% Mourvèdre, 5% Cinsault. An ode to Châteauneuf du Pape at a much better price than most CdPs. For $21, this wine is ridiculously good. Brooding, dark berry fruits with Rhone-like complements of black olive, black pepper, dark soy, mint and lavender. Robust, fruity and spicy finish with ripe tannins that give structure but don’t dry your mouth out. This is a real find for wine lovers, especially fans of Southern Rhone and Cal-Rhone red blends.  Most of the fruit in Pape Rocks comes from Lodi and nearby. Great fruit, but “affordable,” allowing a $21 price […]
April 23, 2018
Belharra Rose

BELHARRA Rosé of Syrah 2017

Ripe raspberry, black pepper, pomegranate and dried lavender hit the nose quick. Taste more of the same along with some dark strawberry and candied orange peel. Medium-bodied for Rosé, freshness from cool-climate acidity, robust enough to pair with grilled, full-flavored meats and vegis (as expected from Syrah Rosé). If you’re having a Rose themed dinner party, start with something lighter (like the Vivier) and then move to Belharra Rosé of Syrah. More Information Belharra is a new, micro-winery owned, made and operated by two ladies with notable day jobs. Anne Fogerty (Rivers Marie) and Camille Gaio (Covert Estate). I really […]
April 23, 2018
Cochon Rose Wine

COCHON Rosé 2017

Made from 60% Cinsault, 30% Carignane, 10% Grenache. Smell and taste wild red strawberries, watermelon, cracked pepper (between black & white…can I call them gray peppercorns?), kiss of lavender and thyme. Sits light and dry in the mouth with juicy, tangy sensations and some mouth-coating texture. To me, this hits the mark for flavor, lightness and acidity. I put this in the Southern Rhone style of Rosé over Provence as the strawberry/watermelon flavors point more to a Rhone style. I highly recommend you get to know the three labels under the Cochon “umbrella.” They are Cochon, Odisea and Élevé. They […]
April 23, 2018
Retro Petite Sirah

RETRO Petite Sirah Elevation Old Vine 2012

Briar patch/berry liqueur and peppercorn nose transitions to flavors of fresh blackberries and dark plum with support from a little tarragon/thyme and cigar wrapper. Rich and intense Petite Sirah with focus, uplifting acidity and fine, slightly chalky tannins. Delicious, especially now that it’s almost 6 years old. Time has been its friend. Retro is owned and made by Mike and Kara Dunn. Mike is Howell Mountain Cab pioneer Randy Dunn’s son. Retro has made tiny lots of Petite Sirah for 15 years. They are always delicious and highly recommended for complexity, power and grace…as graceful as Petite Sirah can be! […]
April 23, 2018
Sojourn Pinot Noir Walala Vineyard

SOJOURN Pinot Noir “Walala” 2016

Western Sonoma Coast single vineyard, near Annapolis. Deep yet bright cherry liqueur-like aroma with five-spice, cocoa, violets and lavender. Warm, toasty oak (50% new French oak), already integrated into the wine, adds a layer of flavor and structure while in no way overwhelming the fruit. A textural delight. This is my favorite wine in Sojourn’s current line-up. More Information Sojourn Cellars began in 2001 with 100 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon. They now make around 12,000 cases a year, spread over 20 wines (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon). Their style in a nutshell: California-rich style with appropriate restraint. Check out the […]
April 23, 2018
Sojourn Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

SOJOURN Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2016

Medium/rich, perfumed, floral and layered, Sojourn’s “entry level” Pinot Noir offers as much many wineries’ best bottling. Smell cherry compote, plum sauce, red roses and bread fresh out of the oven. The fruit takes the lead in the mouth with more red rose plus Earl Grey tea and violets sneaking in. Medium acidity, gentle tannins and an overall brightness make this an easy Pinot to enjoy a lot. More Information Sojourn Cellars began in 2001 with 100 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon. They now make around 12,000 cases a year, spread over 20 wines (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon). Their style […]
April 23, 2018
Sojourn Chardonnay Sangiacomo Vineyard

SOJOURN Chardonnay “Sangiacomo” 2016

Strong smells of lemon zest, light caramel and sweet butter move to flavors that are both rich and bright: fresh green apple, pears, lemon custard, roast hazelnuts and butter pastry. Bright acidity and an almost salty note on the finish transport this richer-style Chardonnay into more mineral-driven Chardonnay style. You really get it all here – body, texture, brightness and earth. Really nice. I’ve had many vintages of this wine from Sojourn, and this vintage is my favorite. More Information Sojourn Cellars began in 2001 with 100 cases of Cabernet Sauvignon. They now make around 12,000 cases a year, spread […]
April 23, 2018
Omen Red Wine

OMEN Red Blend 2016

A unique blend of 50% Syrah, 27% Barbera, 16% Petite Sirah and 7% Zinfandel. Fresh berry and spice aromas, bright and pure red fruits, palate-perking acidity, low oak, touch of dried herbs de Provence and black pepper. This is a super-tasty “Bistro Red” that drinks really well with or without food. More Information Omen and Oro Bello is owned and made by Alex Remy – born and raised in Languedoc region of France, he now lives and works in Napa as a winemaker, business owner, teacher and winemaking consultant. His Oro Bello wines are delicious, honest expressions of the grapes […]
April 23, 2018
Oro Bello Chardonnay

ORO BELLO Chardonnay 2016

Rich, fruity and creamy, this fine-value Chardonnay beats most in this competitive wine category ($15-20 Chardonnay) for quality. Butterscotch, lemon curd and gentle toasty nose moves to tastes of butter-poached pears, ripe fig, peach and pie spice. Creamy texture, medium acidity (enough to keep the wine fresh as you drink) and plenty ripe, but not sweet, orchard fruits. This is a Chardonnay drinker’s Chardonnay for sure. Still, it offers more layers of flavor and quality than most sub-20 Cal Chardonnays. This is 70% Lodi, 30% Chalk Hill, Sonoma fruit. Oro Bello is owned and made by Alex Remy – born […]
April 23, 2018
Clif Family Rose

CLIF FAMILY Rose of Grenache 2017

Brilliant peach skin/orange/pink color. Smell and taste jasmine, fresh strawberries, pink rose, mandarin orange, watermelon, white pepper. Acidity swirls through. Fresh and invigorating with a strong fruity core while keeping its delicacy. This is a Rosé that drinks great both with or without food. If it is time to eat, I suggest pairing the Clif Family Rose with fresh cheeses, vegis and humus and simple salads and white meats. Grapes harvested for Rose (“purposeful Rose”). At 13.9% alcohol, they must have waited longer than most for their Rosé harvest, which I like: more and better flavor! Clif Family is one […]
April 22, 2018
Fine Disregard Semillon

FINE DISREGARD Semillon 2016

Sourced from three Semillon vineyards in Napa – you’d think they have cornered the Semillon market in Napa. Get preserved lemons, lightly toasted almonds, tangy yellow grapefruit, chamomile, dried peaches. What makes it special, for me, is its texture: both viscous and vibrantly acidid. This is a splendid look into the soul of Semillon. More importantly, it’s very tasty, and an ideal companion to oily fish, slightly aged cheeses and root vegetable dishes. From the winemaker: Whole cluster pressed and spontaneously fermented in 50% neutral Burgundy barriques and 50% stainless steel. Aged sur lie for eight months, eschewing batonnage, acidulation […]
April 22, 2018
Subject to Change Carignane

SUBJECT TO CHANGE Carignane 2017

From one of California’s cherished, 100 year old vine, head-pruned, dry-farmed Carignane vineyards in eastern Mendocino (this vineyard is near the town of Hopland). Get brushy dried herbs, cracked black pepper, crushed raspberries, blueberries, lavender. Intense flavors, gentle tannins, perky acidity. As is the case with Carignane, not a complex wine. Luckily, a wine doesn’t have to be complex to be good. And interesting. Enjoy with grilled chicken, pork, red bell peppers and fingerling potatoes.   Subject to Change is a new winery started by four friends: two with a long history in the winemaking and wine sale business. Sourcing […]
April 22, 2018
Oro Bello Rose

ORO BELLO Rosé of Syrah 2017

You can tell this Rosé is made Syrah – raspberries, lavender dark strawberry and black pepper smells and flavors. Medium acidity, no barrel flavor, more texture than the average Rosé. A stronger style for sure, but still it is unequivocally Rosé. An ideal fire-pit cooking wine. More Information Napa producer Oro Bello sourced the Syrah for their Rosé from Madera in the Central Valley. 10% Sauvignon Blanc is added for acidity, more freshness and complexity. Oro Bello is owned and made by Alex Remy – born and raised in Languedoc region of France, he now lives and works in Napa […]