- Napa Valley
Rose of Syrah - Napa Valley. Stainlesssteel fermented and neutral
oak really let the fruit shine through.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Big, dark and ripe - not flashy,
but plenty of body, nice flavors and balance.
"OPC" - Napa Valley. A blend of Cabernet, Syrah, Merlot,
and Malbec. A bit grippy on the palate, this “Ol’ Pa’s
Claret” ably satisfies claret niche.
Syrah - Napa Valley. Slight floral quality to the tarry aroma
the hook here, is that four brothers established this winery in
1999. The division of labor seems to work, and the wines are nice.
- Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Packed with fruit, nice complexity
of aromas and flavors, this liable to be very food-friendly with
its excellent balance, and nice long finish.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Well, this is a definite wow!
Loads of smooth cassis and light toasty aromas and flavors, with
long seductive finish.
CANYON - Central Coast
Cabernet Sauvignon - Paso Robles. Very nice balance of flavors
here, lots of cassis and dried cherry fruit, with touches of toasted
herb. (Premier vintage - purchased fruit)
Cabernet Sauvignon - Estate. Slightly riper than the '02, and
a bit more lush on the palate, with a nice hit of bittersweet chocolate
on the finish.
the story here, is the family moving to the far eastern side of
Paso Robles (Creston, actually), and planting 9 acres of Cabernet
because "grapes seem to doing well in the area."
- Central Coast
Pinot Noir - Willamette Valley. Very nice off-sweet dark cherry
fruit, with just a touch of sappiness and earth.
"Lollapalooza" Pinot Noir - Sta. Rita Hills. Bigger
than the Oregon bottling, with plenty of nearly chewy dark fruit,
excellent balance, and very long seamless finish.
Pinot Noir - Sonoma Coast. Nice cherry and bing cherry fruit,
with just a touch of wild strawberry. Very good balance and finish.
Pinot Noir - Andreen-Gale Cuvee. Somewhat softer in mouthfeel
than the SC version, this cuvee is slightly sweeter in taste, with
a balanced long finish.
GOAT - Central Coast
Pinot Noir - Dierberg. Nice warm cherry fruit, with plenty of
acid structure to earmark this as a food wine, with some cellar
Pinot Noir - Rio Vista, clone 2A. Beautiful meaty nose, big
mouthfeel, packed with chewy fruit, and a long finish.
Pinot Noir - Rio Vista, Dijon clones. Subtle nose, very juicy
mouthfeel, lots of fruit, and lovely finish.
here's something you don't see every day - two clonal bottling -
labeled as such, from the same vineyard. But, kudos to Norm Yost
for putting these out delicious offerings.
Pinot Noir - Sonoma Coast. Spiced cherry and black cherry, with
a slightly softened mouthfeel, excellent balance and long finish.
Pinot Noir - Russian River. Absolutely killer nose of wild strawberry
and cherry, with just a touch of sappiness. Beautiful balance and
Ed Kurtzman (August West) makes these wines, and his hand with Sonoma
County fruit is quite deft. Both of these wines are very nice, but
the RRV is ...Wow!
RANCH - Paso Robles
Cabernet Sauvignon - Paso Robles. Nice ripeness on this westside
Cab, with ample aromas of currant and a touch of herb, and a trace
of heat on the finish.
"Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon - Paso Robles. Bigger,
more concentrated, and slightly riper than the regular version.
I did prefer this over the other bottling.
Syrah - Paso Robles. Initially subtle, but opens up with lots
of dark berry, and touches of herb through the huge long finish.
CELLARS - Paso Robles
Casa Mireles "Romanze" Rose - Paso Robles. This very
nice dry rose of Syrah has just a splash of Pinot in it, which see
to lift the wine a little on the palate. Think shellfish.
Syrah - Central Coast. Nicely ripened aromas of dark berry and
pomegranate, with just a touch of spicy herb and earth. Full mouthfeel,
and chewy long finish.
FAMILY - Russian River
Pinot Gris - Russian River. Lovely nose of lemony citrus with
a hint of citron. Fantastic mouthfeel and balance, with ample acids
to cut through any cream sauce imaginable. Wonderful taste and finish.
Pinot Noir - Russian River. Stelvin bottled, and I'm sure that
my imagination played trick with me here by making the wine seem
more directly fruity.
Pinot Noir - Russian River. Cork bottled. This was more to my
liking, and seemed a bit less "edgy" to me than the Stelvin
bottling. Nice fruit!
interesting idea - bottle the same wine with two different closures.
Time will be the obvious judge here.
BROWNE - Sonoma County
Rose of Pinot Noir. Lovely strawberry and charry nose, plenty
of flavor and body, with excellent balance and finish.
Pinot Noir - Sonoma Coast. Nice - almost restrained in style,
with ample cherry and black cherry fruit, excellent balance and
Pinot Noir - Russian River. Somewhat riper and bigger in both
nose and mouth, with tons of fruit, excellent balance and long chewy
what can be said about KB that hasn't already been said. They're
all about big (yet balanced) Pinots from some micro vineyard sources
in Sonoma County, and they are on a roll!
Pinot Noir - Russian River. Rich, juicy and spicy - if you want
an RRV Pinot that is drinking so well now that you can't put it
down, your Pinot has arrived.
CAP - Sierra Foothills
"American Red" - Sierra Foothills. A vintage red wine
that sells for $12, and is NOT named "Chuck"? Here's your
ticket. This Bordeaux blend has a very nice nose , and is flavorful
Cabernet Sauvignon "Reserve" - El Dorado County. Slightly
riper cassis aromas, with just a bit of herb and olive. Nice concentration,
balance and finish
CANYON - Various
Pinot Noir - Sara Lee. Immediate gratification, with lots of red
and black fruit, chewy mouthfeel and very long finish. Delicious!
Pinot Noir - Dutton, Morelli Lane. Wow! Big, but refined, with
nice little elements of flint and earth mixing with the dark cherry
fruit. Big long finish.
Pinot Noir - Carneros. From the Sonoma side, this bottling has
nice sweet ripe dark cherry fruit, seems somewhat subtle in mouthfeel,
and finishes a bit softer than the other two bottlings.
Syrah - Sonoma Coast. Smoky, spicy a roasted aromas and flavors.
Very Cote Rotie in style. Real nice!
Syrah - Russian River. Fascinating mint and clove accent the
decicious black fruit, throughout the lingering finish.
kind of a reunion of sorts - I'd stopped at the LC table the very
first time they were here -
in '03, and managed to speak with winery partner Bob Riskin
both times. It was nice to catch up - and they've been getting some
very nice reviews from the media - deservedly so!
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Lovely cassis and soft earthen
tones accent this very well-balanced, wonderful mouthful of wine.
Soft tannins predominate through the very long flavorful finish.
Craig MacLean, the former winemaker with Kelham-MacLean, was there
in his kilt, to pour a very nice Cab
Vermentino - Las Brisas Vnyd. Crisp and floral nose, with the
barest hint of citrus. Delightfully crisp on the palate, with a lightly
sweet streak - though completely dry.
Chardonnay - Gavin Vnyd, Carneros. Terrific crisp aromas. Not
at all plodding on the palate, with wonderful balance and flavors,
and long tasty finish.
Pinot Noir - Carneros. Textbook Carneros fruit, with a strawberry/cola/cake
spice quality, very nice balance and finish.
Pinot Noir - Las Brisas Vnyd. Bigger and richer in mouthfeel
than the "Carneros" bottling, with a meatiness throughout,
and very long flavorful finish. Very nice!
"oh, please try the Vermintino," the sales rep encouraged.
And, she was right, it was indeed delicious.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Disappointing! With a decent
nose, but largely tart, acidic and harsh on the palate, this was
not a rousing endorsement for one of California's older statesmen
- Alexander Valley
Merlot - Alexander Valley. Nice acid backbone will win many
food-paring fans, but those looking for luch fruit may be disappointed.
Correct, and nice enough - just a bit austere.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Alexander Valley. Somewhat vegetal and
a bit overripe in nose and mouth, with a wheaty/oaty quality that
would be more expected in an older wine.
don't know much about this producer, though they have a gorgeous
and informative website, and seemingly excellent vineyards. The
EDWARDS - Sonoma County
Pinot Noir - Sonoma Coast. Floral accents to the red cherry
nose, with very nice balance, and slightly soft textures through
the long finish.
Pinot Noir - Russian River. Bigger and more concentrated than
the SC version, with plenty of red and bing cherry, and a nearly
chewy mouthfeel, with long delicious finish.
Pinot Noir - Klopp. Gorgeous nose, with lots of spicy, floral
dark cherry and wild strawberry fruit. Seamless fruit-laden palate,
with a light touch of pink grapefruit rind on the long silky finish.
Kudos on this!
Pinot Noir - Olivet Grange. Darker in tone, this bottling is
more to the black cherry side, with more cinnamon and nutmeg throughout,
and long velvety finish.
always one of my favorite Pinot producers, I'd like to single them
out as very willing to pour some of their better offerings for events
such as these. Oh, and the wines are no slouch, either.
Pinot Noir - Estate. Intriguing nose dark cherry and rose bush.
Nice mouthfeel, a touch stemmy in flavor, with good balance and
moderately long finish.
been a long time sine I tried this producer, but I recall some excellent
Cabs from the mid-to-late '80s. They had several wines here, and
I was interested in tasting their full lineup. Unfortunately, I
happened on their table at the wrong time. Crowds weren't the issue
- but the pourer seemed more intent on making conversation with
a friend, rather than pouring wine.
- Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon - Howell Mtn. Well, another wow for me. Seductive
dark fruit, with a beautiful toasty streak of toast, vanilla, and
dusty spice. Fine-grained tannins mingle with the fruit and fill
the mouth. Beautiful balance and smoothly textured finish.
no, this is not your grandfather's Cabernet - this is 21st century
Cab! And, as much as I like rusticity, this is pure unadulterated
"Le Petite Page" Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley.
The light minty/clove quality accents the nice cassis fruit in this
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Bigger and more concentrated
than the previous wine, this offering seems more prototypical "Napa"
in its style. Still carrying some mint (where does that
come from) in the profile, this wine is well balanced, with nice
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Definitely a 'wow' nose, with
light cake spice accenting the abundant cassis/currant fruit, and
light toast. Impeccably balanced, and slightly soft and pliable
on the palate, I would expect this to gain some weight over the
next few years, though the vintage wasn't as even across the board.
as a postscript to this tasting, I had the fortunate opportunity
to recently taste a '96 Paradigm. All I can say is OMG! If this
is indicative of what to expect from this producer (winemaker Heidi
Peterson Barrett), then you may want to stock up on Paradigm.
& HALL - Various AVAs
Pinot Noir - Hyde Vnyd. In something of a 'Hirsch meets Kost
Browne' style, this wine seems to embody the best of both worlds
- balance and concentrated fruit.
Merlot - Sonoma County. Always a pleasure, the Pride Merlot
would make Miles (of 'Sideways' fame) blush at how good the grape
comes off in the right hands. OTOH, Miles was a wuse, and probably
not capable of appreciating something like this. Fruit-filled and
"Think Pink" Rose of Syrah - California. Nice, almost
meaty quality to the fruit, with plenty of "chew" on the
palate, delicious flavors, and nicely crisp finish.
"Amour Fou" Pinot Noir - RRV. Unlike previous versions,
the '04 has more acid structure to the abundant fruit. Very nice
balance and long tasty finish.
Pinot Noir - Zio Tony Vnyd. Rich and plush, the dark fruit here
is quite chewy, very flavorful, and the balance and finish works
"Box Car" Syrah - California. Built along the lines
of a Central Coast Syrah, this shows some nice fruit and structure,
softening up a bit through the finish.
formerly Central-Coast centric in its fruit sources, Red Car is
now almost entirely Russian River centric. This, coupled with winemaking
changes, and we've got a brand new road in front of us with Red
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Touch of sweet herb in the
nose and mouth of this wine, accents the beautiful cassis fruit,
excellent balance and long finish.
another Heidi Barrett effort, and it shows. Makes me want to put
together a Heidi Barret tasting.
"ASKiken" Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Still
one of the smoking deals in Cabernet, this bottling always represents
lterrific balance, moderate complexity, tons of fruit, and a real
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Similar in aroma and flavor
to the ASK, but the concentration is up another notch. Lots of chewy
delicious fruit, and long finish.
"Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Wow nose,
with tons of seductive fruit and spice. Huge mouthfeel, excellent
balance and structure, and very long tasty finish.
FAMILY - Napa Valley
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Drop-dead gorgeous nose of
cassis, vanilla, and lightly toasted herb. Slightly subtle mouthfeel
- more about refinement and balance, rather than in-your-face style
or fruit. Seamless and balanced finish.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. A big wine - especially for
the vintage. Lots of dark fruit, chewy body, seamless textures and
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Similar to the '02, but the
hallmark here is smoothness. Very nice balance, and fine-grained
Primitivo - Napa Valley. Huge dark brambly fruit - kind of Zin-like,
but obviously more refined. Lots of dark berry, smooth on the palate,
and very long smooth finish.
Zinfandel - Napa Valley. Certainly more Calif Zin-like than
the Primitivo, with added brambly, slight herbal qualities,and a
certain sweet rustic quality.
as I've noted before, the Primitivo has been pulled - regrettably.
I expect the Zin might be next, as Napa real estate demands much
more return on the planted investment. Nevertheless, this will always
be one of the best, if not the best, Primitivo's I have
CANYON - Central Coast
Rose of Syrah. Lovely rose, with nice fruity flavors excellent
balance and long finish. Gorgeous bottling, too!
Cabernet Sauvignon - Shadow Cyn. The last Cab fruit from the
"estate" vineyard, this wine shows lots of concentration
and essence of cassis fruit, very good balance, and long finish.
Syrah - Larner. Smoky dark fruit, lots of spicy peppery earthy
qualities, with touches of tar, leather and tobacco.
Syrah - Shadow Cyn. Lots of currant and spice, with just a touch
of toasted herb. Good grip on the palate, juicy acids, fine-grained
texture, and very long finish.
want to get on a "hot" mailing
list? Shadow Canyon is located in the York Mtn sub-AVA of Paso
Robles, and is much more suited for growing Rhone varieties than
for Bordeaux varieties. I profiled this winery after a visit in
'05. This was the fruit source for SQN's early Syrahs, and it
remains a fantastic source for good fruit.
ROLOSON - Napa Valley
Viognier - Lodi. Quite ripe, but still nicely done. Somewhat
thick in texture, with citrusy flavors, nice balance and finish.
Syrah. Smoky, with nice fruit, balance and finish.
"Palaterra" Rhone Blend. Lots of lightly spicy fruit,
with a meaty warm fruit quality, and touches of herb.
Merlot - Napa Valley. Lush and fruit-driven,
with plenty of chewy and moderate complexity. Very nice balance
Claret - Napa Valley. Obviously Cabernet-based, this bottling
is exceedingly well-balanced and delivers plenty of fruit for the
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Lovely aroma and flavors,
with plenty of classic Napa fruit,and that light cocoa-dusted Stag's
"Reserve" Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Lovely
cassis and toast scents. Nice chewy body, very nice flavors. Beautiful
balance and long lingering finish.
probably one of the better "values" still under the radar
in the Stag's Leap area of Napa Valley. Consistent and very reliable,
the pricing is always very accessible.
Cabernet Franc - Napa Valley. Nice toasted herb quality to the
abundant cassis/currant fruit. Somewhat sweet mouthfeel, excellent
balance and finish.
Merlot - Knight's Valley. Terrific plummy/cassis nose, with
fleshy textures, beautiful balance and long finish.An excellent
merlot by any standard.
"Adrianna's Cuvee" Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley.
Very nice fruit and mouthfeel, great balance and finish.
Cabernet Sauvignon - Napa Valley. Lovely, dusty cassis fruit
in nose and mouth. Terrific textures in mouthfeel, beautiful balance
another "sleeper" winery in Napa Valley. If you're a Cab
lover - seek them out.
"Dare" Cabernet Franc - Napa Valley. Beautiful fruit
here, with dusty, herb-infused currant, and some earthy tones. Rich
mouthfeel, very nicely balanced and long seamless finish.
Pinot Noir - Sonoma County. Nice strawberry and cherry fruit,
very good balance and long finish.
Pinot Noir - Marin County. Spicier than the SC offering, yet
a bit more understated as well.
Pinot Noir - Rosella's Vnyd. Slightly riper than the Sonoma
County bottlings, but still restrained (a good thing), with nice
fruit, balance and finish.
Pinot Noir - Garys' Vnyd. Darker in fruit profile, with similar
ripeness and thickness on thepalate as with the Rosella's.