Kale “Home Run Cuvee” 2016

Kale Home Run Cuvee

Rhone-style wine specialist Kale Anderson’s Syrah/Grenache blend (about half of each) from the hillside “Kick Ranch” vineyard is outstanding. After just 20 minutes of breathing it shows lots of black pepper, kalamata olives and smoke accessorizing a the rich, ripe dark berry fruits (blackberry, mulberry, blueberry). Expansive in the mouth with fine tannins and a […]

Belharra Syrah Las Madres 2017

Belharra Syrah

A big nose of smoky, peppery, licoricey blackberries and violets introduce you to the 2017 Belharra Las Madres Syrah. Berries galore in the mouth, yet Syrah’s distinctive character is the star: bittersweet chocolate, smoked strip steak, leather handbag and anise. This cohesive, intense, “very Syrah” Syrah is a delicious, rich red wine. French oak aged…20% […]

Becheur Mourvedre 2018

Becheur Mourvedre

100% 100+ year old vine Mourvedre from the Sacramento Delta (vineyard is near the town of Pittsburg). Generous amounts of dark plum, blueberry and blackberry fruit, nicely complemented by Mourvedre’s black licorice, earthy truffle, crusty cigar wrapper and black pepper flavors. Good, brightening acidity and fine, firm tannins. Ready to enjoy now…fantastic choice for a […]

601 Cellars Grenache 2017

601 Cellars Grenache

Peppery spice (helped by 6% Syrah in the blend) and dark wild strawberry nose proudly announces this Grenache. Taste is those dang strawberries, bit of pomegranate, lavender, candied ginger and cocoa. Medium body, medium/low acidity, fine tannins and spice galore in this tasty little number. 601 Cellars is owned and made by husband/wife Brian Doody and […]

Hudson Grenache Pick Up Sticks 2018

Hudson Grenache

I was taken with the 2018 Hudson Grenache “Pick Up Sticks” at first smell. Grenache’s dark strawberry compote, licorice, cinnamon and lavender are sweet and sexy. In the mouth it’s medium bodied, both fruity & savory and spicy with firm tannins at first – resuscitation in the glass or a decanter soften those tannins in […]

Lunar Ridge Syrah, Coombsville 2017

Lunar Ridge Syrah

Begins with dark, brooding smells of blueberry and blackberry compote, bittersweet chocolate, cumin and grilled sweet red chili peppers. At first taste the wine is soft and a little too smooth, and with 15 minutes of air the wine expands and gains texture. Tannins linger in the background like a distant chorus. After an hour […]

Dirty & Rowdy Mourvedre “Enz” 2018

Dirty Rowdy Mourvedre Enz

Brooding nose of dark chocolate, roasted tarragon & thyme, black olives and roast coffee beans. Big yet light-footed, to the credit of the limestone/granite based “Enz Vineyard” and obsessive vineyard monitoring by Dirty & Rowdy co-owner/winemaker Hardy Wallace, the wine is a joy to drink now and will get much better with time. How much […]

Quigley Family Syrah “Las Madres” 2018

Quigley Family Syrah

A beautiful, albeit very youthful, Syrah from the spectacular “Las Madres Vineyard” southeast of Sonoma. Like myriad Las Madres Syrahs, it is expressive and true to the grape. Dark deep cherry, dried blueberries, olive tapenade, lavender, fine black pepper and tamarind smells and flavors are strong yet cooped up in its infancy. I love the […]

ANDREW MURRAY Esperance 2016

Andrew Murray Esperance

This GSM (60% Grenache, 25% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre) from Santa Barbara County’s Santa Ynez Valley is big-time winner for $25. A rich and spicy red through and through, get dark strawberry preserves, cocoa, cinnamon, black pepper, licorice, lavender and smoked beef jerky. It’s round and luscious in the mouth with a long finish that combines […]

DIRTY & ROWDY Familiar Mourvedre 2018

Dirty & Rowdy Familiar

A bottle of Dirty & Rowdy Mourvèdre is a look into the future of California winemaking. A champion of the grape, co-owner and winemaker Hardy Wallace has put the grape on his shoulders and introduced it to the next generation of wine lovers through his engaging use of social media. “Familiar” Mourvèdre tastes like ripe […]

NEYERS Sage Canyon Red 2017

Neyers Sage Canyon

Smells and tastes of fresh raspberries, red cherries, pomegranate, lavender, rosemary, black pepper and anise. Medium bodied…like a stronger Pinot Noir. Fine tannins cover the gums and palate, giving the wine body and force. Neither heavy nor light, this is right in the middle, making it ideal with a broad range of foods from roast […]

ANDREW MURRAY Syrah “Tous les Jours” 2016

Andrew Murray Syrah Tous les Jours

Rich, lush, smooth and tastes like Syrah. Blackberry liqueur, smashed up black cherries, dark chocolate, a little black pepper and woodsmoke in there. This is a mouth-filling, medium-full bodied, seductive, easy for all to like red wine. Crazy you can get something this good from California for $15. This is a DDWA “Hall of Fame” […]

NEWFOUND Carignane “Colombini” 2017

Already delicious at a very young age, the 2017 Newfound Carignane Colombini Vineyard is full of dark raspberry and plum flavors with lots of support from white pepper, tarragon and lavender sensations. This medium-bodied, structured, very flavorful and food-friendly red wine is very good now and will get even better with short term aging. Check […]

Benevolent Neglect GSM 2016

Benevolent Neglect GSM

This GSM is 70% G (Grenache), 20% M (Mourvedre) and 10% S (Syrah). A gorgeous wine, full of spice, sweet & uplifting strawberry and plum fruits, sweet earth and cured olive smells and flavors. The smell reminds me of Southern Rhone with its potpourri, fennel, musk and minty qualities. Perfectly ripe red fruits with a […]

Halcon Syrah Alturas 2016

Halcon Syrah Alturas

If it’s true that the best vineyards grow in extreme circumstances, Halcon Vineyard gets high marks for extreme-ism alone. 2500 feet altitude (very high for California vines), rocky, windy, wild, remote (southern Mendocino, many miles from a highway), vines planted super-tight. Paul and Jackie Gordon, owners of Halcon, sell their grapes as well as make […]

LAMPYRIDAE Grenache Mt Veeder 2017

Lampyridae Grenache

A decadent wine, the Lampyridae Grenache 2017 tastes of dark ripe blueberries, strawberry liqueur, melted chocolate, licorice and cracked black peppercorns. It’s mouth-coating and smooth from start to finish. Enjoy this with stronger far like braised beef short ribs and rich tomato sauce-heavy dishes. Drink it, and food match it, as you would a Napa […]

The Withers In Hand Red Wine 2016

The Withers In Hand

69% Mourvedre, 31% Syrah, from El Dorado County vineyards in the Sierra Foothills (1800-2800 feet elevation, granite & volcanic-heavy soils.) This has a fruity, ripe, juicy berry character, complemented by the two grapes’ natural spicy/earthy character. The spice: black pepper, anise, cinnamon stick. Earth comes across as black olive and forest floor. Medium bodied, soft tannins, […]