January 24, 2020
Violet Green Petite Sirah

VIOLET GREEN Petite Sirah 2016

This wine garners the 3 Bs: big, bold and balanced. 100% Petite Sirah from the mountains of northwestern Napa Valley. I taste dark, very ripe blackberries and blueberries that stop short of cooked or jammy fruit sensations. Also smell & taste espresso, chocolate shavings, cracked black pepper and black licorice. Classic and classy California Petite Sirah in spades. Aged in neutral French oak barrels (a whopping three of them, resulting in 75 cases.) Just now, in January 2020, entering its prime drinking window, which will last for 5 years or more. Most Napa Valley red wines of this quality would […]
August 22, 2019
Oakville Ranch Field Blend

OAKVILLE RANCH Field Blend 2016

83% Zinfandel, 17% Petite Sirah from Oakville Ranch Vineyard which looks down on The Valley on the east side…best view of the Napa Valley you’ll ever get. This wine is huge. Pours out black-ruby with some purple in there. Black licorice, nutmeg and cinnamon hit the nose along with the blackberry pie and black cherry preserves. The taste is more of the same with a dark chocolate thing moving in and lasting through its 30 second finish. I like its structure, in other words how the firm tannins and the concentration of fruit blend together. Too bad there are only […]
August 5, 2019
Clif Family Petite Sirah

CLIF FAMILY Petite Sirah 2016

From “Nichelini Vineyard” in the eastern hills of Napa Valley. Textbook, so satisfying Petite showing blueberry sauce, smoked meat, black licorice and cocoa smells and flavors. Bursting with fruit and fine tannins. Very rich and strong, just like we want out Petite Sirahs to be. 100% Petite Sirah, aged in 30% new French oak barrels for 20 months, 14.8% alcohol. Clif Family continues to make consistently tasty red and white wines from their Estate vineyards on Howell Mountain as well as from purchased fruit from Napa Valley and beyond (they also have a new vineyard in Napa’s Oak Knoll District […]
April 22, 2018
Strala Red Wine

STRALA Proprietor’s Blend, Napa Valley 2015

This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Zinfandel, Merlot, Petite Sirah and Malbec comes from a handful of Napa vineyards. A “Modern Red Blend” style for sure, this is low-acid, jammy, super-ripe and big-flavored. Toasty, seductive oak, black cherry liqueur and cocoa starts in the aroma and continues on in the flavor. Rich, spicy and chewy on the finish with black olive, new leather and melted chocolate with tannins finally kicking in on the 15 second finish. This is definitely a wine to drink with full-flavored food, especially marinated & grilled (or braised) red meats!   Strala Vineyards is the merging of […]
February 20, 2018
Red Thread Red Wine

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

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 definitely the star of the show. Young and a bit awkward at the moment…its best drinking is maybe two years out. Red Thread is owned by Gretchen and Brian Brakesman. It’s all “Summit Lake Vineyard” Howell Mountain fruit, which Brian owns with his family. Red […]
February 20, 2018
The Road Les Traveled 5

BEHRENS “The Road Les Traveled 5”

A real waker-upper, the 5th incarnation of “The Road Les Traveled” is 74% Petite Sirah, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 10% Malbec and 4% Cabernet Franc. Made from 2013 and 2014 vintages. Prepare yourself for a small explosion of cocoa-covered blueberries plus black licorice and black pepper in the mouth. Subtle it is not. Less tannic (drying) than most super-powered Petite Sirahs, so the flavors keep on going (delicious, 20 second finish). This has bacon cheeseburger written all over it.   While Behrens Family Cabernets continue to climb the price ladder due to higher and higher Cabernet grape prices, they are able […]
February 20, 2018
Merise Petite Sirah

MERISI Petite Sirah 2014

The world needs more delicious Petite Sirahs. Had this on a sunny Saturday afternoon in January around the firepit…appropriate place for the wine. Boysenberry, black pepper, blueberry, cinnamon. 50% new French oak and skilled winemaking take away the wine’s hard edges while keeping the concentration. Inky wine. Inky-dinky production. A Mom & Pop winery if there ever was one, Merisi is owned by Mandy and Nick Donovan. Mandy is the winegrower of the pair. (A wine-making veteran, she tends the vines and makes the wines while keeping her day job at a larger Napa winery). I like how their wines […]
February 20, 2018
Cerro Petit Verdot 2014

CERRO Petit Verdot Napa Valley 2014

Single vineyard, Rutherford, 100% Petit Verdot. For power, concentration and tannins, think Napa Cabernet Sauvignon. Get cocoa-covered dark red & black cherries, smushed up blackberries, roast tarragon & thyme and a pleasant, unexpected mineral earthiness at the end of the flavor and the finish. Petit Verdot is most often seen as a 5-10% addition to Cabernet to add structure. As you drink this wine, that makes sense as the tannins grab you at the end. That said, the sweetness of fruit and toasty barrel balance the tannins. This wine makes me think Argentinean firepit-cooked red meat. About CERRO Owned and […]
February 14, 2018
Teeter Totter Cabernet

TEETER TOTTER Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley 2015

Teeter Totter Cabernet Sauvignon is one of the Napa Valley’s newer “Value Luxury” Cabs. Benoit Touquette, owner/winemaker, sources grapes from multiple undisclosed Napa vineyards to assemble this rich, powerful, drink-me-tonight Cab. Blackberry jam, spicy chocolate, toasty barrel, black fig paste and cedar smoke smells and flavors reveal themselves easily. Drink this opulent, full-throttle red anytime. BEST drinking, in my opinion, starts in 2019.   About Teeter Totter Owned and made by Benoit Touquette has quickly built an artisan Napa Cabernet empire with his labels Fait-Main, Familiar Air and Teeter Totter. Speaking from experience, these are wines that Big Cab lovers […]