New(er) on the wine scene, Flywheel makes tiny amounts (under 100 cases per wine is normal) of high character wines. I particularly like this Brosseau Chardonnay from Chalone AVA on the eastern edge of Monterey County. As much about texture as flavor, and they compliment each other. Get baked pears, white figs, lemon custard, candied ginger and a pleasing kiss of toasty oak. Rich on the palate with dryness and relative (for CA) earthiness. Fair to call this “Burgundian.” From past experience with “Brosseau” Chardonnay, it needs the bottle time this has now received to strut.
85% Prugnolo Gentile (the local clone/name of Sangiovese), 15% Colorina, Canaiolo and Merlot. I like this wine’s wild red fruit intensity, dried violet & lavender notes, complimentary soil, black olive and black truffle and finally its careful use of oak (mostly once previously used). Perky acidity and a grip of fine tannins that dissolve with roasted flesh and/or olive oily fare. This is a very satisfying Southern Tuscany red for the dinner table.
Tiny Red Burgundy producer from the Côte Chalonnaise, south of the Côte d’Or. Seek and you shall find delicious, classic Red Burgundies for reasonable prices. If you know where to seek! Here you’ll get dark cranberries, roasted herbs de Provence, Indian spices, wild cherries. Medium acidity, excellent concentration for Chalonnaise Red Burg (2015 is a ripe vintage in Burgundy – good for drinking young). Enjoy this any time you’d like.
Sonoma producer of wine (and excellent olive oil) purchased western Marin County grapes to make this tropical fruity, creamy, lightly toasted, cool-climate Chardonnay. Get buttered pears, caramel, roast hazelnut, light oak, roasted apples. While the acidity is healthy and it’s plenty “fresh,” the ripe fruit flavors and creamy texture mean there’s no mistaking that this is California Chardonnay. This is a very reasonable price for such high quality.
Delicious, full-flavored, unabashed high-end Napa Cabernet that “delivers the goods.” Get chocolate covered cherries, roast beef cracklins’, toasty marshmallow, blackberry pie. Tannins are round and supple. Flavors grow on the palate. Consulting winemaker Thomas Rivers Brown hit the mark in making a lip-smacking good, rich, drink me tonight premium Napa Cab. While it only rates an OK on my value rating scale, it is nevertheless a very good buy for folks who are comfortable buying in this price range. 18% Merlot, 2% Petit Verdot blended in.
Just released, mature vine (60 years old, I am told) Carignane from northern, inland Mendocino County. I like the wine’s Pinot Noir-like silky structure and spicy red fruit smells and flavors. Get berries and cherries for sure, then add pomegranate and pluot, tea and coriander and thyme. While it’s one of the most expensive Carignane’s you’ll find, Horse and Plow deliver a high-quality, unique and worthy wine that delivers for the price. DDWA Score: 90. Value Rating: 2.6. GOOD Value. @horseandplow #carignane #mendocinowine
Blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon. Whole grape cluster pressed (brings out fruit flavor and texture), small French oak barrel aged. to emulate the best White Bordeaux wines. The name translates to “the lessons of the masters,” the great winemakers of Bordeaux.This is loaded with lemon custard, sweet cream, grapefruit concentrate, lemongrass and whole grain wheat toast smells and flavors. Creamy texture and 40 second finish of toast, citrus and stone fruit and tea with milk. It’s tricky to make such a wine “work.” Takes an excellent fruit source, talented farming and talented winemaking. Check, check and check. Shared […]
Blend is approximately 1/3rd Petite Sirah, 1/3rd Carignane, 1/5th Zinfandel, 1/5th Grenache. 60 year old, head-trained vines in northeast Mendocino County. Co-ferment in classic “field blend” tradition. Neutral French oak aged. Bold flavors of black and blue fruits with integrated black pepper, pie spice, cocoa and anise notes. Medium/low acidity, smooth tannins and restrained (14.0%) alcohol. For a bigger red, this is very easy to drink. Post & Vine Owners/Winemakers Rebekah Wineburg and Erica Kinkaid both have “day jobs” making super-high end (and pricey) Napa Valley Cabernets and such. Post & Vine is their passion-project. I so love this wine, […]
Napa Valley producer with Paul Hobbs-consulting winemaker. The Sixteen by Twenty Cabernet grapes come from a handful of Hobbs’ favorite vineyards for his and his clients’ wines. Typical of 2014 Napa Cab, this is drinking great now. Get blue and black berry/cherry, tobacco, olive, cocoa and ripe plum smells and flavors. Cabernet’s natural dry herb and cassis character peaks through, which I like very much…some don’t. Sports uplifting acidity, fine tannins and a multi-faceted character. About Black Cordon David and Karen Dunphy launched Black Cordon in the mid 2000s with their home “Black Cordon Vineyard” that looks over north […]
Sixteen by Twenty and Black Cordon, the winery’s highest end line, has been making world-class Cabernet and Chardonnay for ten years. Paul Hobbs has been their consulting winemaker from Day One. Here’s a top-notch Sonoma Coast Chardonnay with a little “Hobbs Magic” for a relative bargain. Get toasted brioche and oak from the barrel (the 40% new French oak will assimulate into the wine with time), ripe citrus, pears and peaches. This has an outstanding concentration of fruit and richness that comes from excellent grapes and skillful, thoughtful winemaking. About Black Cordon David and Karen Dunphy launched Black Cordon […]
Husband-wife owned & run, tiny, artisan Meursault house. “Les Tillets,” a village vineyard above the town, is worthy of Premier Cru status (as are many Meursault vineyards). Drink this and understand the power and persistence White Burgundy can offer. Get lemon zest, dried pineapple, apple butter, hard caramel candies and that mysterious, old world rocky/earthy flavor. Long and strong finish. Surprisingly good now for such a young White Burgundy. Will evolve and drink at its very best starting in 2022 I’m guessing.
Newer (since 2012) small producer in the Maconnais, southern Burgundy. Farms biodynamic, non-intervention winemaking. This is super-pretty…loaded with wild red fruits, flowers and earth-driven spice. Has a sweet core of fruit to balance its naturally high acidity. Excellent Red Burgundy on a budget.
Cattleya Winery’s 2nd label, “Alma (‘Soul’) de Cattleya,” is a beautifully-crafted, full-flavored, ready to drink Pinot Noir for anytime enjoyment and nice restaurant by the glass programs. Get dark red fruits, pie spices, sweet floral, vanilla bean & toasty oak notes. Ripe fruit, medium/low acid, soft tannins. It’s a delicious Pinot Noir for all. More Information Cattleya Winery is owned & made by the talented and energetic Bibiana Gonzalez Rave. Alma (Soul) de Cattleya (a type of orchid and the national flower of Columbia, Bibiana’s native country) is her “2ndlabel.” This and its sister-wine Alma de Cattleya Chardonnay are two of […]
Estate Vineyard, 4 1/2 miles from the Pacific, between Paso Robles and Santa Barbara counties. High natural acidity in the ripe grapes balances the full malolactic and careful use of French oak. Get citrus basket, caramel, toasted brioche, fresh pineapple & Macintosh apple. I was surprised it was full malolactic, which speaks well to its style. Excellent “food Chardonnay” as it’s full-flavored but not “too much” in any way.
Made from 100% Chardonnay Extended lees aging (disgorged when ordered by the importer, so looking at 8-9 years on its lees) and great Estate fruit make for a delicious Champagne that’s at perfect maturity. Smell and taste lemon custard, roast hazelnuts, dried apple slices, baguette crust. When drinking this, you just can’t help but relax and enjoy the moment. While this doesn’t get a great Value Rating because of the price, it IS a glorious value in the Champagne realm. You can spend the same for a big house non-vintage Champagne with a big marketing budget if you want, but […]
Last decade Napa’s Revana winery looked north to produce “Burgundian” Pinot Noir & Chardonnay. This Chardonnay hits the mark. Smell & taste green applebutter, Meyer lemon, brioche toast crumbs (that means just a little toast :-)), crushed almonds. Sports mouth-watering acidity and a layered finish. I’d pour this by the glass if I was in the restaurant business. DDWA Score: 88. Value rating: 4 (Wine Factor 1). GREAT Value. Check out @dawsonwineadvisor to learn what all the numbers mean. @alexanawinery @willamettevalleywines #chardonnay
Navarro continues to produce some of California’s best Alsace varieties. Navarro’s overall track recored: very delicious, impressively consistent and wonderful values. This Riesling is top-notch. Smell and taste lemon oil, both fresh and dried Granny Smith apples, citrus blossoms, tea with honey and just a smidge of German-esque Riesling fusil. A good wine for all…my wife, who normally eschews Riesling, is a fan. I am slowly converting her :-). For all my Navarro wine reviews, GO HERE.
This Cote de Beaune village/appellation lies above Meursault. Whites are generally better…generally. This Taupenot Merme Saint Romain delight. Get wild red cherries, dried herbs, a little Pinot spice and taste of the land. Nicely balanced and drinks well in its youth. Looks, smells and tastes like good red Burgundy – as good a compliment as one can make for Burg at this very fair price. More Information Check out all Red Burgundies reviewed on Dan Dawson’s Wine Advisor here. Learn more about Burgundy here.