Obsidian Ridge The Chief 2017

Obsidian Ridge The Chief

Ideally ripe, structured and complex, the Obsidian Ridge The Chief is an outstanding, limited production Cab-based blend. The estate vineyard in Lake County’s Red Hills AVA is over 2500 feet high planted in obsidian/volcanic rock. Decant at least two hours (important) then taste roast herbs de Provence, wild blueberries, dried black cherries, dried cedar and […]

PRIEST RANCH “Coach Gun” Red 2015

Priest Ranch Coach Gun

The Priest Ranch “Coach Gun” is a blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 30% Petit Verdot and 20% Malbec from the Priest Ranch, and now “Somerston Estate” vineyard and winery, on the eastern edge of the Napa Valley AVA. The 2015 Coach Gun is pretty awesome. Dark berry flavors everywhere with loads of dark chocolate, black […]

Coho Headwaters 2016

Coho Headwaters

The Coho Headwaters, always a Bordeaux-style blend, is different in 2016 with its large portion of Petit Verdot. The blend, 39% Merlot, 37% Cabernet Sauvignon and 24% Petit Verdot, all from the cooler Napa region of Coombsville, makes for a Napa red that could be confused for Bordeaux. Savory sensations such as bittersweet chocolate, roast […]

Peter Paul “Master’s Blend” 2016

Peter Paul Masters Blend

Martin Reyes, Master of Wine, crafted this wine by sourcing barrels of wine from a handful of great Napa wineries and making a blend. It is Cabernet Sauvignon and Cabernet Franc-heavy with Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot adding nuance. An old-world nose of smoky berry/cherry, musk, cedar and pencil shavings, along with its heartbeat of […]

Cave Dog Napa Valley Red 2016

Cave Dog Red Wine

This blend of 58% Merlot and 42% Cabernet Franc from “Beau Terroir,” a vineyard in southwest Napa Valley, could easily be confused for a high end Right Bank Bordeaux from an exceptional vintage. It’s that good. All the expected Bordeaux descriptions rattle off my typing fingers: tobacco, black currant, blackberry, pencil shavings, cedar and sandalwood. […]

Hudson “Phoenix” 2017

Hudson Phoenix

Blend of 58% Merlot and 42% Cabernet Franc from the relatively cool-climate (for Napa) Hudson Estate in The Carneros. Bright, deep red berry and cherry aromas with a pretty frame of French oak (90% new French used, seems to be light to medium toast). Flavors move to more fruit, including dark red plums, new leather, […]

Elizabeth Rose Chockablock 2016

Elizabeth Rose Chockablock

A Bordeaux style blend of 37% Merlot, 37% Malbec, 15% Cabernet Franc, 11% Cabernet Sauvignon from the Hoxsey family’s estate vineyards in Yountville and Oakville. This is fruit-forward and rich with soft tannins and a sturdy frame of toasty oak. Chockablock has all the classic deep, rich flavors we seek from Napa Cabs and dark […]

PEIRSON MEYER “Maquette” 2015

Peirson Meyer Maquette

Blend of 45% Cabernet Sauvignon, 35% Merlot and 20% Cabernet Franc. A “Right Bank Bordeaux-style blend” in the words of Peirson Meyer Winery. I absolutely love this wine for its expressive yet under-control fruitiness, underscore of savory flavors like tobacco, anise and dry aged beef and fine, gum-coating tannins. All the smells and flavors are […]

Crocker & Starr AVA Napa Valley Red 2017

Crocker & Starr AVA Napa Valley Red

“Red Blend of Cabernet Franc” states the front label. The blend, exactly is is 60% Cabernet Franc, 23% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot and 6% Malbec. Fruit-forward with classic Napa Valley richness, the Crocker & Starr AVA Napa Valley also boasts a savory mixture of tarragon, cocoa, clove, pipe tobacco and black olive. Structured and layered, […]

RAPP RANCH “Cutter’s Reserve” Napa Valley 2014

Rapp Ranch Cutters Reserve

A reverse Bordeaux-style blend as it leads with Petit Verdot (45%) and Malbec, then Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Very dark, concentrated and powerful, I call it a “brooder” because of all its roasted pie and Indian spices, black berry/cherry flavors, smoke and dark cocoa smells and flavors. You might expect a punch of hard tannins […]

Podere SAPAIO “Valpolo” 2015

Podere Sapaio Volpolo

From Bolgheri (Maremma) Tuscany. A “Super-Tuscan” in every sense except the price. It’s a bargain. Mostly Cabernet Sauvignon with a smidge of Merlot and a dollop of Petit Verdot. This rich, dense, strong Tuscan Cab Sauv also shows licorice, French roast coffee and cola flavors. It’s a little monster in the mouth – the kind of […]

COHO “Headwaters” Napa Valley 2014

Coho Headwaters

“Most representative of Coombsville wine I’ve released,” states owner Gary Lipp. Ironic, since it’s not labeled as Coombsville (sometimes Coho Headwaters doesn’t hit the 85% AVA threshold – it does in 2014). The blend is 56% Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot. Speaking of Coombsville style, you get the savory character of the southeast […]

STEADY STATE Red Wine 2015

Steady State Red Wine

Steady State Red Wine is a blend of 73% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Malbec, 7% Cabernet Franc, 6% Merlot and 6% Petit Verdot. Put this in your Cabernet Sauvignon section as the dark fruit flavors and the chewy texture point to Napa’s “King Grape” in style. Smell and taste black cherries, blueberries, some mint, vanilla bean and […]

PETIT BATARD Napa Valley 2013

Petit Batard Red Wine

1/3rd each Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Malbec from Lewelling Ranch, St. Helena and Oakville Station, Oakville. A sturdy, spicy frame of toasty oak (38 months in 1/3rd new French) introduces the wine. Then ripe blackberries, kirsch, black licorice, clove and dark chocolate step forward. Big flavor throughout, firm structure yet supple with sweet sensations. This […]

Trinoro “Le Cupole” Rosso 2015

Le Cupole Trinoro

Since the late 1990s Tenuta di Trinoro’s Bordeaux-style red blends have been some of the world’s buys. The 2015 Trinor0 Le Cupole Rosso is 58% Cabernet Franc, 32% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot. All “Estate” fruit located in the southeast corner of Tuscany. Powerful, dark, spiced and very structured (tannic) today, this is built […]

WARRIOR ANGEL Red 2014

Warrior Angel Red Wine

78% Merlot, 12% Cabernet Sauvignon, 5% Malbec, 5% Petit Verdot. By new wine negociant Consecration Wines, whose model is to make tiny lots of quality wines that over-deliver for the price. (Right down DDWA’s alley!) This is a 10 barrel lot, all Oakville. Initial impression is sweet rich oak and chocolate covered cherries. In minutes, […]

BRESSLER “Young Vines” Napa Valley 2014

Bressler Young Vines

43% Cabernet Franc; 29% Merlot; 21% Cabernet Sauvignon; 7% Petit Verdot, all from the Bressler’s St Helena vineyard. Get a mouthful of Napa goodness: black cherry compote, cinnamon toast, cocoa, roasted coffee beans, currant, clove. Full flavored and lush, it gets richer in the mouth after a few seconds, ending in 25 second finish of […]

Silverpoint Napa Valley Red Wine 2013

silverpoint red wine

Four of the five Bordeaux varieties in the blend: 62% Cabernet Sauvignon, 15% Merlot, 15% Cabernet Franc, 8% Petit Verdot. The fruit comes from two areas of Napa Valley – Rutherford Bench and Atlas Peak. The wine starts tight and, with resuscitation, gets richer, deeper and more complex. Smell and taste very ripe black cherries, […]

CAVE DOG Napa Valley Red Wine 2015

Cave Dog Napa Valley

58% Merlot, 42% Cabernet Franc, co-ferment, from vineyard in Southwest Napa Valley (edge of Carneros, in fact). An honest-to-goodness Right Bank Bordeaux style, Cave Dog red shows off dark red berry & cherry compote, dry aged beef, soy sauce, lavender, and gently roasted coffee beans. While all the flavors will expand with bottle age, it […]

TETHER Napa Valley Red Wine 2014

Dan Dawson's Wine Advisor

65% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Cabernet Franc, 14% Merlot, then Petit Verdot & Malbec. All five of the (modern day) Bordeaux grapes used. Howell Mountain, Calistoga and St Helena fruit (all vineyards with reputations of making bold, dark, structured wine). Bullseye hit by Tether in making a rich, strong, lush and accessible Napa Cab style, at […]

FRITH “Flanked by Ravens” Napa Valley 2013

Frith Flanked by Ravens

Right Bank Bordeaux-style blend of 60% Cabernet Franc & 40% Merlot, all from a single vineyard in the Carneros “Banana Belt.” This is rich, very strong wine showing a lot of old-world personality. Black currants, dried blueberries sun-dried Provence herbs, cigar box and bittersweet chocolate smells and flavors, all framed by 80% new French oak […]

HOURGLASS “HG3” 2015

Hourglass HG3 15

Merlot based Bordeaux-style (“Right Bank”) blend with a twist: 10% Petite Sirah included. Once again, in the realm of Napa Valley Bordeaux-style reds, HG3 gives you A LOT of happiness for the price. Seductive sweet spicy oak and jammy berry/cherry nose continues on the palate along some kirsch (cherry liqueur), black truffle, cocoa and new […]

Massiglia Red Napa Valley 2014

massiglia red Napa

“Massiglia” (the ancient name of Marseilles, the French Mediterranean home-town of owner Maurice Marciano) is a blend of 71% Cabernet Sauvignon and 29% Cabernet Franc. It is owned, grown and made and by Marciano Estate Winery in western St Helena. This is a generous, very rich, provocative red that, at first whiff, you know it’s one […]

Terra Gratia Red 2014

terra gratia red wine

“Terra Gratia” (“Land of Gratitude” in Latin) is a blend of 37% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Merlot, 18% Cabernet Franc and 9% Petit Verdot. Owned, grown, made and offered as their “entry level” wine by Marciano Estate Winery in western St Helena. Warm aromas of pie spices, deeply toasted wheat crust, dark red cherry and plums. […]