June 20, 2020
Cottebrune Faugeres White 18

Cottebrune Faugères Blanc 2018

The blend is 1/3rd each Roussanne, Grenache Blanc and Vermentino. From Faugères, 60 miles west of the Rhone Valley. Elevation and rocky schist soils make for wines of concentration and dimension here. This wine is mighty fine. Honeysuckle, orange zest and lemon custard on the nose, then taste peach purée, ripe grapefuit and mango, wrapping up with fresh ginger and chamomile on the finish. Medium body, creamy texture from neutral oak aging and stirring of lees, heartbeat of acidity. Drink this with or without food. Domaine de Cottebrune is owned, grown and made by Pierre Gaillard of Northern Rhone Valley fame. […]
June 12, 2020
St Romedius Dry Muscat 19

St Romedius Dry Muscat Canelli 2019

Muscat’s exotic aromatics pop as the high acidity from an early pick keeps the sweetness perception meter at zero. Get lemongrass, green-tinged pineapple, orange zest and white flowers in the spring. There’s a ying-yang and of tang (bordering on tart) and exoticness that makes this a joy to drink. At 10% alcohol, it’s an easy drinker. Have with fresh goat and sheep milk cheeses and green goddess dressing. I’m a big fan of the St Romedius wines for quality, uniquness and value. This is a winery to enjoy and buy from. Read all of my St Romedius reviews here. 
June 11, 2020
St Romedius Tocai Friulano

St Romedius Tocai Friulano 2019

Fresh fruity smells of white peaches, mango, honeysuckle, pineapple, crisp green apple and white grapes. The exotic, floral side of the wine steps up in the taste. Lemon bitters, lemon zest, Asian herbs and spices like coriander and lemongrass. And intense, piercing fruitiness. Gets a little creamy textured on the finish, which I like a lot. Big fan of this aromatic white wine. Owner/winemaker Robert Pintacsi sources this Tocai from a vineyard east of Placerville in the Sierra Foothills. 3100+ feet: high elevation. This is a winery to enjoy and buy from. Read all of my St Romedius reviews here. 
May 13, 2020
Cave Dog Albarino

Cave Dog Albarino 2019

Introduces itself with springtime flowers and blossoms, grapefruit and peach. Stone fruits, crisp melon, Meyer lemon and the mysterious “minerality” take turns in the taste. Typical high acidity is countered by a textured roundness (from 4 months lees-ageing is both steel and nuetral oak). It’s young, and I suspect my tasting notes will be more even more enthusiastic when I enjoy in fall 2020 and beyond. Speaking from experience, this 2019 Cave Dog Albariño is more than an aperitif wine. It went toe-to-toe with my home-made pesto pasta studded with spicy sausage and earthy broccoli greens, making a tasty pairing. I […]
May 12, 2020
Onward Malvasia Bianca

Onward Malvasia Bianca 2016

An “aromatic white” through and through, the Onward Malvasia Bianca 2016 smells of lemon verbena, wildflowers, coriander seeds and white pepper. The taste is intense, smooth and filled with fresh lemon zest, crisp pear and citrus bitters flavors. Medium/light bodied, pure and penetrating, it’s an ideal wine to pair with similarly light and strong flavored dishes. Thai and Vietnamese food both come to mind. Onward and Farmstrong Wines is the creation and passion of winemaker Faith Armstrong Foster. I very much like her vineyard-driven winemaking and affinity for the esoteric while not being too much “out there.” Oh yeah, and the […]
April 1, 2020
Prima Materia Tocai Friulano

Prima Materia Tocai Friulano 2017

California needs more wines like this! Tocai Friulano, aka Friulano in its homeland of Friuli, Italy and Sauvignon Vert in California (unless it’s Muscadelle…yeah, it’s confusing) has about 50 acres planted in California. That number recently went down when THIS vineyard, “Graziano” in Mendocino’s Potter Valley, was converted to Vermentino. Quoting Prima Materia’s Pietro Buttitta, it’s “probably a good idea, but a wistful one as this bottling has great tension and complexity.” This is true. Good Tocia Friulano needs to breathe and stretch. And enjoyed chilled not cold: 60 degrees is good. My Prima Materia Tocai Friulano 2017 tasting notes […]
February 19, 2020
Alder Springs Apex 39

Alder Springs Apex 39 2015

The fresh, luscious, aromatic Alder Springs Apex 39 is a blend of 27% Marsanne, 25% Picpoul Blanc, 24% Roussanne and 24% Voignier from Stuart Bewley’s vineyard in Northern Mendocino County. Smell citrus blossoms, jasmine, pear-apple and clover honey, moving to orchard and tropical fruit flavors with light caramel and sweet floral sensations in the mouth. I love the texture of this wine as well as the happy tang of acidity on the mid-palate. For a California Rhone-style white wine at 5 years of age, this is remarkably fresh and young. More Information While focusing on growing and selling grapes to […]
February 17, 2020
Cowhorn Spiral 36 White Wine

Cowhorn Spiral 36 White 2018

Lemon zest, wildflowers, warm candle wax and coriander lead the relatively restrained aromas. Taste ripe citrus, lemon verbena and crisp pineapple, followed by a dried floral/stony, tangy finish. The wine gets point by not being “too much” for an aromatic white, and for having refreshing acidity. If you or your friends tend to not like Rhone and Rhone-style whites, there’s a good chance you will enjoy this. Cowhorn “Spiral 36” is a blend of half Viognier, 30% Marsanne and 20% Roussanne from Cowhorn’s Demeter-certified Biodynamic and certified organic vineyard in Southern Oregon. Co-fermented in mostly neutral French oak then barrel […]
November 13, 2019
St Romedius White Wine

ST ROMEDIUS White Wine 2018

3/4 Grenache Blanc from the Sierra Foothills (near Placerville), 1/4 Muscat Canelli from Sacramento Delta (near Brentwood). Pre-fermentation skin contact time on the Muscat. Reminds me of Dry Muscat wines from Southern France’s Roussillon region in its lemon zest, lemon verbena, crushed coriander and lemongrass sensations (and less honeysuckle/floral perfume). Light haze from the skin contact and being unfined/unfiltered. Above average acidity gives the wine a pleasant tang. Lite tannins coat the gums on the long, tangy finish. The delicious, “Awesome Value” St Romedius White Wine walks a fine line of being different but not strange. This is a DDWA […]
November 8, 2019
Jolie Laide Trousseau Gris

Jolie Laide Trousseau Gris 2018

Subtle yet obvious aromas of jasmine, honeysuckle, honeydew melon and Meyer lemons. All this continues on in the taste along with some peaches and white pepper. High acidity makes it almost tangy, lots of fresh-cut melons and pear-apple (papple). Restrained right now. I think the fruit/floral/spice trinity will come forward over the short term, like by spring of 2020. I’ve enjoyed this wine since its first vintage in the early 2010s. This is the first one I have found to be wound up upon release. Goes to show that this is not a cookie-cutter wine, but one that the vintage […]
October 22, 2019
Navarro Dry Gewurztraminer

Navarro Dry Gewurztraminer 2018

Brilliant aromas of dried ginger, lychee fruit and pink grapefruit zest transition to tastes of zesty green apple, crisp pear and candied kumquat. Stepping back from my high-falutin’ descriptions, the Navarro Dry Gewurztraminer 2018 is true to its name: Dry and “Gewurz” (German for spice). Medium/light bodied, less floral and less overwhelming than many Gewurztraminers of this high caliber, which from a consumer perspective I suspect is to its benefit. This wine is too damn easy to drink. Navarro only sells their wine retail winery-direct in California and miniscule distribution outside the state. It is one of the few wineries […]
October 22, 2019
Navarro Dry Muscat 2018

NAVARRO Dry Muscat 2018

Southeast Asian herbs and spices like lemongrass, Kaffir lime and coriander on the nose along with lemon blossoms. Taste lemon zest, fresh white peaches, pink grapefruit and white pepper. Not as sweet-smelling as many Muscats…more on the floral/spicy side of things. Dances across the palate with energy and absolute freshness. Very tangy…some may call it tart…and light bodied. I love this wine with both fresh and fried Thai spring rolls as it complements each preparation in a different way. I pity the fool who shuts their minds and their mouths to this fantastic wine. Navarro only sells their wine retail […]
October 18, 2019
Navarro Riesling Deep End

NAVARRO Riesling “Deep End” 2018

Gorgeous wine, starting with its smell of honeyed Granny Smith apple, mango and green tea. Taste is fresh, ripe tropical, citrus and stone fruits with a little honeycomb and lemongrass sneaking in there. Rich and lush with a long, expansive, slightly off-dry finish. I couldn’t stop sipping this wine it’s so good. Compares nicely with Riesling from Germany’s Pfalz region: warmer than the Mosel, making for a little more body and texture. Navarro only sells their wine retail winery-direct. It is one of the few wineries that I purchase wine from on a consistent basis. Amazing values, top to bottom. […]
September 18, 2019
Truchard Roussanne

Truchard Roussanne, Carneros 2018

Truchard’s vineyards are on the outskirts of Napa on north side of Highway 12. Called the “Banana Belt” of Carneros as it’s noticeably warmer than just 2 miles south where bay influence is more consistent. The warmer weather makes for a greater variety of grapes: Truchard has 11 varieties planted, including 3 acres (out of 200 acres planted) of Roussanne. The 2018 Truchard Roussanne smells and tastes of coriander, white pepper, dried wildflowers, fresh pears and dried mangos. Medium/high acidity and a red wine-like structure make this baby one to let rest a while for full enjoyment. While some vintages […]
August 5, 2019
Clif Family Viognier

CLIF FAMILY Viognier 2017

It’s tricky to make a luscious style of Viognier without going overboard on alcohol and oak. I think Clif Family walked the fine line by achieving full flavor development and simultaneously keeping the nuance of the Viognier grape. Get honeysuckle, dried lemon peel, sliced fresh peaches, ripe apricots and melons and white pepper. Fuller flavored, as expected from a Viognier that hits 14.5% alcohol, but not “hot.” All Oak Knoll District fruit is southern Napa Valley. Mostly fermented in neutral French oak barrels. Clif Family continues to make consistently tasty red and white wines from their Estate vineyards on Howell […]
June 28, 2019
Boudinaud Blanc Rousseline 18

BOUDINAUD Blanc La Rousseline 18

40% Viognier, 40% Marsanne, 20% Roussanne from Boudinaud’s Estate vineyard. All steel tank fermented and aged. Big on the fresh citrus: lime juice & zest, orange slices, grapefruit, honeysuckle, Key lime, fresh pineapple. Medium-light bodied and a refreshing thread of acidity. At under $15/bottle this is definitely case purchase worthy. Imported and sold by Wine House San Francisco in the Dogpatch neighborhood of The City. Pay them a visit!
June 13, 2019
Navarro Gewurztraminer Deep End

Navarro Gewurztraminer “Deep End” 2017

Not your average Gewurztraminer, the tightly-spaced, hillside, low-yielding Gewurz vines used for “Deep End Blend” makes for an outstanding wine. Smell and taste grapefruit marmalade, orange zest, white pepper, mango, dried apple slices and tarragon. This is fermented dry to 13.9 alcohol, which is low by most measures for excellent California wine, but high for cool-climate Gewurztraminer. You have to go to Alsace to find a worthy comparison for the Deep End Gewurztraminer. Super-impressive. Buy some from Navarro Winery before it’s all gone.
February 26, 2019
Navarro Dry Muscat

NAVARRO Dry Muscat 2017

All lemon zest, grated ginger, white pepper and lemongrass a la dry Southern French Muscats you can find if you look very hard. Dances lightly on the tongue with acidity, spice, jasmine and fresh, cutting citrus. Glistening acidity, no oak, racy as all get out. A natural match with grilled and/or spicy shrimp dishes. Read all of my Navarro Winery reviews HERE.
November 29, 2018
Navarro Dry Gewurztraminer

Navarro Dry Gewurztraminer 2017

First off, the Navarro Vineyards Dry Gewurztraminer smells awesome. Honeydew melon, fresh ginger, peach, grapefruit, orange blossoms and white pepper. The taste moves on to orange zest, more melons and fresh-cut flowers. (Steers away from the honey/lychee/oily style of Gewurz). Medium/high acidity, typical of cool Anderson Valley wines and a ballerina-like strength and lightness. Fuji apples, green tea and a dash of peppery spice on the finish. Could drink this wine all day and night. Navarro only sells their wine retail winery-direct. It is one of the few wineries that I purchase wine from on a consistent basis. Amazing values, […]
November 28, 2018
Brooks Pinot Gris

BROOKS Pinot Gris 2017

The fresh, crisp character of top quality Oregon Pinot Gris is here. Get fresh apples, peaches, oranges, lemon zest and honeydew melon plus the mysterious “minerality” found in such wines. Flowers and citrus dance lightly over the palate, bright acidity invites food pairing ideas. Less oily than many Oregon PGs, which is an observation, not a judgment. Makes the wine more Sauvignon Blanc-like in body. More Information Oregon Pinot Gris is hard to beat when it comes to refreshing white wine to drink either alone or with lighter foods. Fresh, aromatic, dry, oily, fruity and floral. A great drink all year […]
November 27, 2018
Ragbag Albarino

RAGBAG Albarino Terra Alta 2017

Here’s a tasty, dry, no-oak Sauvignon Blanc-alternative white wine to check out. From the hills east of Lodi where Spanish varietals, like Albariño, have established a strong foothold. Smell and taste lemon verbena, grapefruit, fresh sliced peaches and a whisper of chalk dust. Medium acidity. Orange wedges and citrus blossoms on the finish. Have with whitefish ceviche or French Fries & mayo. More Information Ragbag Wines is a new label owned and made by Steven Mirassou, owner/maker of Steven Kent Winery in Livermore Valley. This Albariño is indicative of the Ragbag mission: tasty, pure and pretty weekday wines, well-priced and meant […]
November 27, 2018
Murrieta's Well The Whip

MURRIETA’S WELL “The Whip” 2016

Five grape blend, in order, of Sauvignon Blanc (33%), Semillon, Chardonnay, Orange Muscat and Viognier (10%). The aromatics of Muscat and Viognier pop from the glass. Satisfying, creamy texture of Semillon and Chardonnay. The tang of Sauvignon Blanc keeps it all fresh and lively. Really well done…fun drink. Fermented dry, which, by nature of the blend and the flavor profile, surprises some. Enjoy it with fish tacos. 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 […]
August 6, 2018
Localism Torrontes

LOCALISM Torrontes 2017

Napa winery Localism ventures out to Lodi (“Silvaspoons Vineyard,” although this is not stated on the label) for their Torrontes, a wine grape most associated with Argentina. The Localism Torrontes sports awesome aromas of citrus blossoms, grated fresh ginger, lemon cucumbers and honeysuckle. Light and easy-going in the mouth. Bright acidity, very light bodied (I’d like a little more body) and very refreshing. Delicious with sashimi, green salads and spa treatments. More Information This is Mom & Pop Winery through and through. Ryan and Nicole Knoth do it all. Ryan is the winemaker (his moonlighting job and he makes high-end […]
June 25, 2018
Olivia Brion Taquine

OLIVIA BRION “Taquine” 2017

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. Raw oysters with Taquine is the winemaker’s first choice. More Information Best known for their Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from their Estate “Heron Lake Vineyard” in Napa & Solano’s Wild Horse Valley, Olivia Brion Winery “dabbles” in small lots of interesting wines from Santa Barbara […]