PRIMA MATERIA “Arcanum No III” Red

Prima Materia Arcanum III

“Arcanum” is a Dolcetto-based, non-vintage red blend. This dark berry fruit, brooding, earthy/spicy quality is not what you expect from Dolcetto (I wonder what % is Dolcetto? Guessing around 50%.) Smell and taste black figs, blackberries, dry aged beef, pipe tobacco, tea leaves. Ripe core of fruit in the middle with savory flavors all around […]

St Romedius Rose of Sangiovese 2019

St Romedius Rose

Bright cherry, blood orange and dried Italian herb nose, moving to a tangy, juicy, mouth-watering taste of red berries, cherries, red plums, white pepper and fresh violets. Its sharp corners were rounded by a brief aging in neutral barrels. This friendly Rosé wine, while classically light, has enough “meat on its bones” to pair nicely […]

St Romedius Dry Muscat Canelli 2019

St Romedius Dry Muscat 19

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 […]

St Romedius Tocai Friulano 2019

St Romedius Tocai Friulano

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 […]

PRIMA MATERIA Sangiovese 2016

Prima Materia Sangiovese

A beefier style of Sangiovese. Smell and taste dark red berry and cherry fruits, dry-aged beefsteak, sun-soaked thyme and tarragon. Smooth tannins and medium acidity contributes to its immediate pleasure at first taste, and still the wine opens up and improves as it breathes. A rocky earthiness, spice and beefy sensations come emerge with air. […]

Prima Materia Tocai Friulano 2017

Prima Materia Tocai Friulano

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, […]

601 CELLARS “Super Tuscan” Napa Valley 2017

601 Super Tuscan

Blend of 80% Sangiovese (from “Solari Vineyard” in Calistoga), 12% Merlot, 8% Cabernet Sauvignon (both from Coombsville). Cherry preserves, cocoa and dusty garden herb aromas move on to a rich, warm, fruit-driven flavor. The berry/cherry flavors, dark and sun-ripe, are supported by cinnamon, ruby grapefruit and a crushed rock-like earthiness. Medium to full bodied, velvety […]

601 CELLARS Sangiovese “Reserve” 2016

601 Sangiovese Napa

Ripe red cherry nose with a smidgen of cocoa powder and cigar wrapper. The juicy cherry/raspberry flavors jump out. Classic Sangiovese flavors of cola, white pepper and tobacco complement the fruit. Fine, firm tannins, medium acidity on the palate. Finish is long, becoming more lush and rich. Aged in “neutral” French oak, allowing the fruit […]

601 CELLARS Sangiovese Sierra Foothills 2016

601 Sangiovese Sierra Foothills

Dusty, dried cherry, tangy aroma moves to tastes of wild red cherry, cola, beef broth and white pepper. Savory finish, in other words the flavors are more about spice and earth than fruit. Medium/medium light bodied. Bright, tangy and an excellent companion with fatty fish and lean pork dishes. (Brian of 601 says it’s great […]

PESTONI Sangiovese 2017

Pestoni Sangiovese

Red snappy fruits, dusting of white pepper, crushed thyme leaves and tobacco leaf point to a very Italian-style of Sangiovese. Coming from the heart of Napa Valley, it’s a pleasant surprise. Fine tannins and healthy acidity, this is a food wine through and through. The wine’s 18 months in barrel (all French, small % new) […]

KEEP “Delta White” 2018

Keep Delta White

Cortese and Falanghina: two grapes of Italian origin (Cortese in Piedmont-northern Italy, Falanghina in Campania-southern Italy). They are two of the many lesser-known (you could say esoteric) grapes grown at “Lost Slough Vineyard” outside the town of Rio Vista (on Highway 12 west of Lodi). Made to drink young and bright like a lot of […]

Random Ridge Fortunata 2016

Random Ridge Sangiovese

A bright, beautiful, perfumed expression of Sangiovese from the high reaches of Mt Veeder District. The wild cherry, raspberry, white pepper, and garden thyme/tarragon smells & flavors are a joy. Medium bodied, medium/high acidity and lightly oaked – appropriate and perfect, in my opinion, for the Sangiovese grape. This rare wine is a great value […]

INIZI “Hi Jump Red” 2016

Sangiovese, Dolcetto, Montepulciano and Cabernet Sauvignon are the “Fab 4” in this Cal-Italian red blend. Very impressive how the four grapes play together. The fruit, aromas and perky acidity of the three Italian grapes each add their unique qualities. The Cabernet adds structure and darkens the wine a bit. Get fresh raspberries, wild strawberries and […]

MagnaVita Brothers Blend 2016

MagnaVita Brothers Blend

Here’s a strong, tasty, unique blend of Lagrein and Refosco, two grapes of Northeast Italian origin. These grapes come from El Dorado County, Sierra Foothills’ “Lone Pine Vineyard.” Field blend/co-ferment (in other words, the grapes grow together and ferment together). Get a big hit of wild dark red berries with bits of black pepper, black […]

MASSICAN Gemina White Wine 2017

Massican Gemina

¾ Pinot Grigio, ¼ Greco (Wine geeks, think Greco di Tufo white wine from Campania, Italy). Massican Gemina is an intense wine, full of palate-tickling acidity and all parts of the lemon (zest, juice, seed, and don’t forget the lemon blossoms!). It’s bright acidity/nervy energy and food-friendly mineral edge is what we’ve come to expect […]

Hudson “White Study” 2017

Hudson White Study

Light, bright and intense, “White Study” is a unique, tiny-production wine that Hudson Vineyards makes as much for their own pleasure as to sell. Four grape blend: three Italian varietals Ribolla, Arneis and Friulano and Albariño (Spanish origin) finishing it off at 18% of the blend. Steel tank & neutral oak fermented and briefly aged. […]

PHILIP STALEY Sangiovese Rosé 2017

Philip Staley Sangiovese Rose

On the denser, fuller-flavored side of Rosé, Sangiovese’s character comes out (from picking a touch later…this is 14.1% alcohol). Smell and taste wild cherry (cherry skins keep coming to mind – a texture thing), red plums, dry Italian herbs, peach pit, pomegranate and a  touch of cracked black pepper. While it’s graceful and has the […]

EDAPHOS Barbera “Madhavan” Sonoma 2015

Edaphos BARB 15

Noticeably dark, rich color for Barbera. Smells like Barbera: sun-soaked wild thyme, white pepper, raspberry/wild red cherry, plums. Lots of berry flavors with bits of orange zest, that peppery spice and black olive. Where “real” Barbera can get bitter on the finish, not the case here. It’s more cherry and plum skins and dry Provence […]

VILLA RAGAZZI Sangiovese 2014

villa ragazzi sangiovese

All Calistoga fruit, which as the hottest AVA of Napa Valley belies the old-world style of this wine. All red fruits here (raspberry sauce, cranberry, wild red cherry) with intriguing savory qualities like beef broth, cremini mushroom, pink grapefruit and pink peppercorns. At 13.3% alcohol, shining acidity and low oak influence, this is easily confused […]

PRIMA MATERIA Sangiovese 2015

Prima Materia Sangiovese

Ripe dark cherry fruits with notes of chocolate, dried green herbs, musk, and smoked tea leaves make this a friendly and crowd-pleasing Sangiovese that is still true to the grape. Fuller-bodied (for Sangiovese) with fine tannins and a rich texture make this a real winner. Prima Materia’s vineyard is in western Lake County. Volcanic soils, […]