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 […]

Dancing Crow Rosé 2020

Dancing Crow Rose

83% Syrah, grown intentionally for Rosé, 17% Sauvignon Blanc for cut and dimension. On the nose this could easily be mistaken for Provence with it’s savory, spicy, orange zest, not fruity nose. In the mouth it tastes like California with apparent ripe red berry/plum and mouth-filling texture. Yet dry – very dry, with the spice […]

Roche Paradis Saint Joseph Bergerie 2018

Roche Paradis Saint Joseph

Syrah from hillside, granite-heavy soils above Chavanay (the tenderloin of Saint Joseph). Deep, spicy, rich, seductive red wine, full of black licorice, peppercorns, blue and blackberry, mole and espresso smells and flavors. Concentrated and robust yet smooth with medium acidity and rounded tannins, this is a young Northern Rhone Valley Syrah to either drink or […]

Cottebrune Faugères Rouge 2016

Cottebrune Faugeres Red 16

This Grenache/Syrah blend blend from the high quality yet relatively unknown Faugères appelation is a real gem. Growing in high density vineyards in the foothills of France’s Massif Central, Cottebrune Faugères “Les Moulins” is pure and pretty with loads of red plum, raspberry, strawberry and peppery spice pleasure. A subtle floral component-fresh violets and lavender-lurks […]

LOUIS CHEZE Saint-Joseph “Ro Ree” 2016

Louis Cheze Saint Joseph Ro Ree

Textbook style of Northern Rhone Syrah here. Violets and lavender, bright red and blue berries, peppery spice and sun-dried tarragon & thyme. Has the intensity and a bit of wildness while keeping its appeal to a crowded room. It has easy-going tannins, medium high acidity and no oak flavor to speak of. It’s nicely surprising […]

LOUIS CHEZE Cote Rotie “Bellisima” 2014

louis cheze cote rotie bellisima

Wild red berry fruits, healthy acidity, meaty and spicy describe the Louis Cheze Cote Rotie Bellisima. Generous smells and flavors both in fruit and earth-driven flavors of iron, truffle and meat locker. Medium-high acidity, easy-going tannins. The theme here is intensity rather than sheer power. Drink now through 2025. To see all the Rhone Valley […]

LOUIS CHEZE Saint Joseph “Anges” 2015

Louis Cheze Saint Joseph Anges

This is a rich, brooding Saint Joseph that delivers equal parts bold fruit and spicy olive & earthy qualities. Particularly ripe for Cheze, which is indicative of the 2015 vintage. Blueberries, blackberries, dry aged & raw leg of lamb, black olive tapenade and smoky vanilla smells and flavors permeate your sensations. Medium low acid and […]

VINCENT CLUZEL Saint-Joseph 2016

Vincent Cluzel Saint Joseph

An outstanding Northern Rhone Valley, France Syrah from the the northern portion of the 30 mile long appellation along the Rhone River. The Vincent Cluzel Saint Joseph 2016 offers up blueberry and dark wild cherry smells and flavors as it dances with classic sensations of smoky black olive, soy sauce, black pepper and bacon. Both […]

SKYHOOK Red Wine, Sonoma County 2013

Skyhook Red Wine

This “Rhone-y” red is 58% Syrah, 42% Grenache. Owner/winemaker Derek Beitler drew from three cool-climate Sonoma vineyards to make 500 cases of Skyhook Red Wine. I think the name Skyhook and the label take most down a path of expectation that requires a u-turn. Let me explain…an army of jammy, sweet-spice, soft red blends, a […]

Warrior Angel Red Central Coast 2016

Warrior Angel Syrah Red Wine

Although it doesn’t say it on the label, this is all Syrah from Monterey County. The Rhone-head that I am, I like its wild red fruits, gamey, black olive, peppery smell and flavor. Pour this for me blind and tell me it’s Crozes-Hermitage and I would have no reason to dispute it. Medium/high acidity, medium […]

FORTUNATI Rosé “Pranzo” 2017

Fortunati Rose

Made from 100% Syrah from Fortunati’s “Estate” vineyard in owner/winemaker Ellen and Gary Luchtel’s backyard. (Gary makes the wine.) A “purposeful Rosé.” Smell and taste black pepper, ripe red plums, fresh blue and raspberry, touch of lavender and coriander. I really like the slightly chewy texture while staying super-fresh and tangy. Fortunati nailed it for […]

KEEP Rose “Kahn Vineyard” 2017

Keep Rose

85% Syrah, 15% Mourvedre whole cluster pressed (which suggests a more complex and delicate Rosé than the open-the-red-grape-juice spigot method, aka saignée). Sports a dark orange color (a la Provence Rosé but a darker hue), and smells and flavors of raspberry/strawberry, black olive, crushed thyme, blood orange, peach pit and lavender. Aggressive in flavor – […]

BETTON Crozes Hermitage “Caprice” 2016

Betton Crozes Caprice

Perfumed, energetic aromas of blueberries, wild strawberries, new leather, lavender, black pepper and black olive (real Northern Rhone Syrah classic smells). The taste leads with the fruit with the spice and soil coming in strong from behind. I really like the balance of ripe, friendly fruit and Northern Rhone Syrah pronounced spice. Fleshy, structured and […]

John Duval “Plexus” Barossa Valley 2014

John Duval Plexus

A classic Australia GSM blend of 47% Shiraz, 32% Grenache and 21% Mourvedre. Blueberry sauce, roast coffee, black pepper, cola, anise, black raspberry and cherry compote smells and flavors. It has a big, rich mouthfeel yet with acidity that perks up the wine, especially on its 30 second finish. This plush, lush, full-bodied and classy […]

Domaine d’ANDEZON Côtes du Rhône 2016

Andezon Cotes Rhone

Over 90% Syrah then Grenache from a single vineyard near Avignon. Minimal handling (“natural winemaking”) and tank aged. Dark strawberry and blueberry smells and flavors here with a few twists of the peppermill and crushed thyme. A clear, concise note of acidity gives brightness. Definitely young at the time of this tasting, I’ve put on […]

CLOS du PRIEUR Terrasses du Larzac 15

75% Syrah, 25% Grenache, 5% Cinsault from the heart of the Languedoc, 30 miles from the Mediterranean & 50 miles from The Rhone Valley. Syrah’s lavender, dark raspberry and black peppercorn personality jumps out at first. With ample air, more fruit, texture and savory qualities arrive. Kalamata olive, blueberry sauce, dark strawberry, rosemary. At $22 […]