November 27, 2018
Murrieta's Well Merlot

Murrieta’s Well Merlot 2015

The dark rich color and big nose of cocoa and black cherries starts you off. Smoky blackberries, dried French herbs, red curry and toasty oak flavors. A pleasant pop of acidity as you swish the wine around in your mouth. It’s rich, well built, gentle tannins, loads of flavor. Drink it with a roast pork tenderloin finished with a strong garlic/mushroom sauce. More Information I’m a big fan of Murrieta’s Well, especially since Robbie Meyer (of Peirson Meyer Winery) came on board as winemaker in 2014. All the wines are fruit-forward and rich while showing appropriate restraint in alcohol and […]
June 2, 2018
Lingua Franca Pinot Noir Avni

LINGUA FRANCA Pinot Noir “Avni” 2016

Dark wild cherries, dried red rose petals, mincemeat and truffle introduce you to this “entry level” Pinot Noir from Master Sommelier-turned-vintner Larry Stone. The taste continues on the flavors above along with dark plums and a background earthy/rocky flavor that defines its Pinot Noir-ness. Excellent balance of ripe fruit, invigorating acidity and mouth-filling texture. Drinking great now and will steadily improve through 2023, no doubt. I really like this Pinot Noir, and for $35 it’s a relative bargain. As noted above, Lingua Franca is the inspiration of Master Sommelier and great Wine Ambassador Larry Stone. (It’s also of significant note […]
June 2, 2018
Lingua Franca Chardonnay Bunker Hill

LINGUA FRANCA Chardonnay “Bunker Hill” 2016

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 owner Larry Stone and winemaker Thomas Savre, you can taste the “touch” of consulting winemaker Dominique Lafon. More Information Lingua Franca is the inspiration of Master Sommelier and great Wine Ambassador Larry Stone. (It’s also of significant note that Dominique Lafon of Burgundy’s Comtes Lafon, […]
April 22, 2018
Skinner Rose

SKINNER Rosé 2017

47% Grenache, 23% Mourvedre, 16% Counoise, 14% Cinsault. A Rhone-style “purposeful” Rosé from El Dorado/Sierra Foothills. I like the subtle yet obvious smells and flavors of fresh peaches, strawberries, black pepper, orange fleshed melon and orange zest. Very pleasing. What truly sets this Rosé apart from the masses is its round texture, ideal acidity and delicious, apparent Rosé flavors. Bright and refreshing without being severe. Skinner Winery, a Rhone-grape specialist located outside of Placerville, calls this purposeful Rosé, meaning the grapes were harvested for Rose – not saignée. First time I’ve heard this time. I like it – think I’ll […]
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 […]
February 14, 2018
Lucy Rose 17

LUCY Rose of Pinot Noir 2017

A more broad-shouldered, concentrated Rose by most definitions, the Lucy Rose of Pinot Noir smells and tastes of red rose petals, red plums and cherries, Indian spice, peach pit and cranberry. It’s all saignee (bled off juice thereby concentrating the resulting Pinot Noir) from “Pisoni Vineyard.” I like how its slight bitterness and concentration will match it with marinated and grilled or fire-cooked white meats. About Lucy Wines Lucy is the 2nd label of Pisoni Vineyard. Owner/Winemaker Jeff Pisoni makes delicious, good value wines for the Lucy label. The Rose is particularly cool because one dollar is donated to breast […]
December 9, 2017
wilson foreigner valdiguie

WILSON FOREIGNER Valdiguie 16

Second vintage for this tiny Napa winery owned/made by two families (see below for details). The grapes are from David & Christine Wilson’s family vineyard, “Rancho Chimiles,” Wooden Valley, southeast Napa’s Valley. A popular grape to grow in Napa in the 20th century, this 2 acre plot of Valdiguie is some of the last standing in Napa. 45 year old vines. Comparable to Pinot Noir in body and texture but with a more wild berry/cherry, coriander and herbal tea flavor. This has a jump-from-the-glass nose of cranberry sauce, plum jam and tea. Taste raspberries, more plums, pomegranate and Asian spice. […]