DAVID CLINTON Zinfandel “Teldeschi” 2016

David Clinton Zinfandel Teldeschi

Napa’s David Clinton Wine Cellars is a Dry Creek Valley, Sonoma Zinfandel house. Unique, and pretty darn cool. Their “Teldeschi” Zinfandel vines are up to 130 years old. What do you get with age? Think of it as rings on a tree, and each ring adds another smell or flavor. Vine age translates to wine […]

BARNETT Chardonnay Sangiacomo 2017

Barnett Chardonnay Sangiacomo

Spring Mountain, Napa winery Barnett Vineyards acquires top-notch Chardonnay from “Sangiacomo” in the Carneros to make this rich, strong-flavored Chardonnay that boasts both bright, tangy fruit AND toasty, spicy oak. Get Meyer lemons, peaches, pears and apricots as well as cinnamon stick, caramel and buttered toast. More oaky than buttery, it has both. And lots […]

APSARA Syrah “Las Madres” 2015

Apsara Syrah

Blueberries, pomegranate, five spice and black olive aromas race from the glass. Taste is more of the same along with a little bit of cocoa powder, candied ginger and a brush of acidity that elevates all these flavors. Coming in at 13.6% alcohol, this medium-bodied, perfumed, intense red is classic Northern Rhone-style Syrah. Enjoy this […]

Campesino Syrah Las Madres 2016

Campesino Syrah Las Madres

Notice the exceptionally deep, rich, dark color. The smell and taste is quintessential Syrah with its black and blueberries, smoked lamb loin, black pepper, soy sauce, tarragon, rosemary and chocolate. Medium acid, fine tannins, fantastic concentration and mouth-coating extraction while, still, keeping everything about the wine in control. Drink the 2016 Campesino Syrah Las Madres […]

POE Pinot Noir “Van der Kamp” 2016

poe pinot noir van der kamp

I really like how the Poe Pinot Noir Van der Kamp grabs the palate with ripe, smoky, slightly musky fruitiness and richness. The vineyard is a the top of Sonoma Mountain, about 1400 feet high, looking down at Sonoma and Bennett Valleys. The deep, dark cherry fruits, Indian spices and smoked beef jerky flavors are […]

The Withers Pinot Noir English Hill 2016

The Withers Pinot English Hill

“English Hill Vineyard” is under ten miles from the Pacific, outside Occidental. Cool-climate and windy. The Withers Pinot Noir English Hill reminds me of a Santa Lucia Highlands style with its exceptional concentration and richness for a cool climate Pinot. Could be the thick skins from the wind. I get ripe, slightly liqueur-ish red cherry […]

SHANE Pinot Noir “Soixante et Onze” 2016

Shane Pinot Noir Soixante Onze

Dark red cherries, pomegranate syrup, dried red rose petals and coriander are your introduction to the Shane Pinot Noir Soixante et Onze. The coolness of Sonoma Coast brings out a core of acidity and an illumination of flavors. In other words, the smells and flavors are darker and the body is brighter and more structured. […]

DAVID CLINTON Zinfandel “Teldeschi” 2015

David Clinton Zinfandel Teldeschi

Deep dark cherries, a little jammy, black licorice and a whiff of Ruby Port introduce this bold, full-flavored David Clinton Zinfandel Teldeschi. In the mouth the liqueur-y fruit tasted darker and darker with air, moving to black cherry and blackberry after 30 minutes of “opening up.” More licorice, cracked black pepper, rocky earth and dark […]

CHIRON Cabernet Sauvignon “The Paint of Moonlight” 2015

Chiron Cabernet Paint of Moonlight

Rich nose of kirsch, ripe juicy blackberries, cocoa and vanilla beans. Big hit of fresh, ripe black cherries and berries in the mouth with cocoa, mint, espresso and pomegranate syrup dancing behind. It’s a mouthful. Fine tannins and acidity to support and elevate the flavors. Really impressive. Chiron Cabernet Sauvignon The Paint of Moonlight from […]



The grapres come from an organic vineyard in the moderate climate of Sonoma’s Russian River Valley. 7 day ferment on the skins gives the wine a distinctive flavor and texture that’s akin to key lime, kiwi, green pineapple and crushed almonds. In the mouth you get aggressive acidity and a sharpness that many will like […]

SOJOURN Pinot Noir “Gaps Crown” 2016

Sojourn Pinot Gap's Crown

Powerhouse, hearty, deep and dark nose of black cherry, cola, toasted French oak and cinnamon stick. It’s a bell-ringer in the mouth with potent fruit (very ripe & dark red berries/cherries), pie spice and black licorice flavors. Full-bodied for Pinot Noir with smooth tannins and medium-low acidity. This is Sojourn’s “bigger is better” Pinot Noir […]

J. RICKARDS Cabernet Sauvignon “A.V. Select” 2016

J Rickards Cabernet AV Select

An extrovert of a Cabernet, the J Rickards “AV Select” Cabernet is full of black cherry liqueur, ripe blackberries, toasty oak, espresso and mint smells and flavors. Rich, mouth-filling, juicy and strong but not at all tannic, this sexy, simple, full-flavored Cabernet hits the bold style it’s going for bulls-eye. If I owned a steak-house […]

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 […]

SOJOURN Pinot Noir “Walala” 2016

Sojourn Pinot Noir Walala Vineyard

Western Sonoma Coast single vineyard, near Annapolis. Deep yet bright cherry liqueur-like aroma with five-spice, cocoa, violets and lavender. Warm, toasty oak (50% new French oak), already integrated into the wine, adds a layer of flavor and structure while in no way overwhelming the fruit. A textural delight. This is my favorite wine in Sojourn’s […]

SOJOURN Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2016

Sojourn Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast

Medium/rich, perfumed, floral and layered, Sojourn’s “entry level” Pinot Noir offers as much many wineries’ best bottling. Smell cherry compote, plum sauce, red roses and bread fresh out of the oven. The fruit takes the lead in the mouth with more red rose plus Earl Grey tea and violets sneaking in. Medium acidity, gentle tannins […]

SOJOURN Chardonnay “Sangiacomo” 2016

Sojourn Chardonnay Sangiacomo Vineyard

Strong smells of lemon zest, light caramel and sweet butter move to flavors that are both rich and bright: fresh green apple, pears, lemon custard, roast hazelnuts and butter pastry. Bright acidity and an almost salty note on the finish transport this richer-style Chardonnay into more mineral-driven Chardonnay style. You really get it all here […]

ARNYCA Rosé 2017

100% Pinot Noir from the heart of Russian River Valley used for this microscopic 46 case production Rosé. Deep watermelon and wild red cherry nose with a little talc and fresh red rose sneaking in there too. In the mouth, a jolt of acidity hits the palate with more melon/red berry fruit, white pepper and […]

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 […]

BENEVOLENT NEGLECT Syrah “Las Madres” 2015

Benevolent Neglect Syrah

Deep, rich color and a gorgeous Syrah nose of deep blueberry, oil-cured black olives, rosemary and baconfat make a great start. Taste all sorts of berries along with those olives and bacon plus lavender, red curry and baker’s chocolate. I love the solid core of fruit, tang of cool-climate acidity and provocative spicy and “wild” […]

BELLA Zinfandel “Hills & Benches” 2012

Bella Zinfandel 2012

Deep, ripe, soft texture and a brooding character describes the Bella Zinfandel “Hills and Benches” 2012. Smell and taste dark cocoa, Ruby Port, cracked black pepper, rosemary and fennel along with cooked blackberries and candied ginger. Low tannins, satin texture and a strong, potent finish. This is a Zinfandel for stews, smoky foods and caramelized […]

SHARED NOTES lecons des maitres 15

Blend of 80% Sauvignon Blanc, 20% Semillon. Whole grape cluster pressed (brings out fruit flavor and texture), small French oak barrel aged. to emulate the best White Bordeaux wines. The name translates to “the lessons of the masters,” the great winemakers of Bordeaux.This is loaded with lemon custard, sweet cream, grapefruit concentrate, lemongrass and whole […]