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Showing posts with the label california

2018 Flora Springs Winery Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley

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  To me, this wine screams, "I am a perfect daily drinker and something that most everyone can afford."  This wine won't break the bank but it will allow you to experience a classic tasting Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon.  It's one of those that will be a great gift as well.  The 2018 Flora Springs Winery Cabernet Sauvignon is exactly what I've learn to expect from this producer over the years.  You get a wine with forward, mouth-watering aromas of blackberry, seared oak, baking spices and vanilla.  It's a beautiful burgundy color with tiny tannin and a ton of flavor.  While a young wine, you can really taste the dark fruit, bold coffee bean and vanilla, followed up with hints of juicy, ripe plum.  This wine is a solid pleaser. ABV:  14.2% Napa Valley, CA Suggested retail price:  $50.00 Drink The Bottles score:  90/100

2018 Patland Estate Vineyards Select Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

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  What really impressed us by this Cabernet Sauvignon is the huge structure, sustainability and tasting profile that went along with this young wine.   The  2018 Patland Estate Vineyards Select Barrel Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon is the eleventh year for this limited edition wine and you'll have to jump on this quickly if you want to secure yours.  At only 3,540 bottles, the allocation surely runs out quickly, and for good reason!  Medium to dark garnet color with pomegranate, leather, black cherry and mint on the nose.  In the mouth is a medium-tannin, polished wine with dark red fruits, leather, vanilla and droplets of soy sauce towards the finish.  For such a young wine it drinks effortlessly and is as sexy as it can be for the greatest grape varietal in the world!  If you are lucky enough to acquire this wine, get as many as you can.  Drink one now and age the others for 5, 10, 15, 20 years.  Enjoy! ABV:  14.8% Napa Valley, CA 295 cases produced Suggested retail price:  $200.00

2017 Patel Winery Sauvignon Blanc

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  I wish you all could have been here to experience this wine with me.  That's not me bragging, but rather telling you that you are missing out on an incredible opportunity if you don't seek out this wine!  For Sauvignon Blanc lovers, this wine will prove to be something out of the ordinary and wonderfully delicious.  This wine was tasted at room temperature (67°) as are all of our white wines. Most of the time when we think of Sauvignon Blanc, we think brightness and lemongrass.  And most of the SB on the market taste very similar - until now.  The 2017 Patel Winery Sauvignon Blanc is unlike any in recent memory.  Medium golden in the glass with focused aromas of lemon peel, nutty cheese and dried spices.   The  wine has a fuller mouthfeel than most Sauvignon Blanc, but does not feel weighted or heavy in any way.  The flavors of lemon candy, basil, mint and oak are dominant but again, a lovely, smooth mild cheese flavor presents itself in the back end.  In some ways this wine

2017 Baldacci Vineyards Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon Stags Leap District

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  What an amazing way to start off the new year!  If this bottle is any indication of how 2021 is going to treat us, then bring it on.  If you don't know by now, 100% Cabernet is my absolute favorite wine (if I had to choose just one).  The Baldacci Vineyards 2017 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap District) will leave your mouth watering just after the first whiff or two.  This is one of those "make a fist" while taking in the powerful and layered aromas of blackberry, barn wood, dried figs and subtle spices.  This wine is young but you wouldn't know it by the amazing blackberry, tobacco, cocoa powder, hints of raspberry at times and baking spices that introduce themselves and marry for a remarkable tasting experience.  The wine glides in the mouth effortlessly and finishes as smooth as as any wine in recent memory.  To me, this is one of those wines that you shake your head at in disbelief that something could taste this good.  I would love to re-visit this

2016 Patel Napa Valley Malbec

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  Malbec can be hit or miss for us, personally.  But when it's on fire like this one, you are absolutely delighted that you had the chance to experience the wine.  This 2016 Malbec from Patel Napa Valley is a very sexy dark burgundy in the glass.  Aromas of new leather and ripe red fruits swim freely.  Some wineries try to get cute with Malbec and manipulate it or blend it with some Cabernet for structure and flavor enhancements.   This wine has none of that nor does it need it!   This fruit is from the acclaimed Stagecoach Vineyard (a personal favorite of ours), producing wonderfully ripe and flavorful grapes.  There are wonderful flavor layers of blackberry, cola, tobacco, leather and small suggestions of dark chocolate here, all working in harmony beautifully.  We would say without a doubt that this is one of our favorite Malbec in the last 5 years, hands down.  Being such a young wine, we did allow this some quality air time after the initial taste.  It gets better and better.

2016 Baldacci Vineyards Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon

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  We love thinking about wine and what was happening in the vineyards when grapes are picked and turned into a lovely wine like this one.  You have to wonder how gorgeous the fruit must have looked to create a wine that is as black a night with such power and lovely mouthfeel.  The 2016 Baldacci Vineyards Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon is a wonderful example of the unique and beautiful fruits that come from the Stag's Leap District (Napa Valley).  Amazing and definitive aromas of black licorice, raspberry pie filling and baking spices abound.  The color of this wine is hauntingly gorgeous and we knew as soon as we popped this cork we were in for a real treat.  Wonderful, layered flavors of black cherry, chocolate pudding and cinnamon were most dominant, but with additional time in the glass we picked up some very distinct espresso powder and allspice.  We should have decanted this wine for about 30-45 minutes prior to tasting, but Jeff couldn't hold back.  He absolutely LOVES

2017 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon

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Any time we are afforded the opportunity to taste a Cathy Corison wine, we know that we are in for a real treat.  The soon-to-be-released 2017 Corison Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) is absolutely no exception.  This bottle was tasted in a line up of other Napa cabs about seven weeks ago and we have purposely held off writing about it until the release date is near.   What immediately struck us was how mature and fine this wine appeared in the glass and on the nose, introducing layers of fresh violet bouquet, cedar plank, dusty spice box and whiffs of tar.  The wine is 100% Cabernet Sauvingon and it rewards the taster with black cherry, plum, blackberry pie with a sweet crust and dried spices.  The violets are always dancing in the glass.  The finesse on this work of art is evident by the long and memorable, effortless finish.  You get mesmerized by the amazing fragrances and stunning color of this wine and it is truly one that makes you wish your glass was bottomless.   Incredible!

Gary Farrell Winery Pinot Noir Tasting

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Wow, weren't we the lucky ones?   On Tuesday, August 11th, we had the distinct pleasure of taking part in a virtual wine tasting with some great media folks, Sam Folsom of Folsom + Associates and the lovely Theresa Heredia, winemaker at Gary Farrell Winery.  We had a fantastic line up for 7 single vineyard Pinot Noir and want to share our thoughts on some of our favorites.... Here's the line up of these unique and delicious wines that we sampled.  We actually made an afternoon of it, ordering a charcuterie board and inviting a few friends.  It would be a shame to have 7 bottles of wine go to waste.  A few of the folks from our group had never tasted Gary Farrell wines, so this was a win-win for everyone! 2016 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Maria Valley 2016 Fort Ross Vineyard Pinon Noir, Fort Ross-Seaview 2016 Hallberg Dijon Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley (Green Valley) 2016 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir, Russion River Valley (Green Valley) 2016 Martaella Vineyard Pino

2016 Knights Bridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon Knights Valley

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This wine was the second bottle of the night and had so much going on.  The first bottle was an 'every day drinker' that we have a case of at the house.  Immediately upon popping the cork, we were pretty confident that we had something very special with this 2016 Knights Bridge Estate Cabernet Sauvignon.  On the nose was a wonderful mix of violets, blueberry, tobacco leaf and suggestions of cedar.  This is one of those wines that really make your mouth water as you're pouring your first drops in the glass.  We were very pleased how smooth this wine is and what full flavors jumped out of the glass.  Dark cherry, cocoa powder and grilling spices were all showing their colors and left a gorgeous feel in the mouth and at the finish.  This is a wine that will really hold up well for the next decade or longer.  It is absolutely appealing to the Cabernet lover!  We encourage you to reach out to the winery to pick up this wine here:  2016 KB Estate Cabernet Sauvignon ABV:  14.5% Kn

2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Fraternity

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If you are looking for a wine that pairs with just about anything in your pantry or freezer, you have found it in the 2018 Baldacci Family Vineyards Fraternity blend.   Don't roll your eyes and scoff about red blends....certainly not this  one!  The picture above should really be all that you need to know about how much we enjoyed this wine.   The bottle is empty!  This blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (45%), Merlot (36%), Cabernet Franc (10%), Syrah (7%) and Petit Verdot(2%) is exceptionally balanced and a real palate masseuse!  This wine opens with grandma's homemade preserves, dried spices and some incredible hints of earthiness.  It is absolutely full of fruit flavors like juicy bing cherries, ripe plum and multi-berry cobbler, including the taste of spice racks flavors in the crust.  It is always incredible to sip a wine like this, sit back and just laugh at how wonderful it is at this price point.  This wine is young but it drinks like it has been bottled for 10 years.  The co

2017 Pope Valley Winery Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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We absolutely LOVE trying new wines!  And we get super-excited when we get a chance to work with someone we have never tasted before, as is the case here.  This is the 2017 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley) from Pope Valley Winery.  As you can see, in the glass what you would expect from a beautiful Cabernet - dark to the rim.  This young wine was swirled extensively and the cherry and spice aromas leaped effortlessly from the glass.  In the mouth was blackberry preserves, cedar, at times a hint of dark chocolate and a very solid and definite finish.  Despite teetering the 15% ABV mark, this wine is not hot in any way, which is testament to the winemaker and time in the barrel.  The tannin was surprising small and soft.  The winemaker states that this wine spent 26 months in oak before bottling and we absolutely love the youthfulness and potential to age this wine.  This would be a fun one to open again in a year, 3 years and 5 years.  At this price point, you really can't go wrong

2016 Coquerel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon

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"You really can't find any great wines under $100 per bottle" is a huge disagreement that you and I can have all day, every day.  It simply isn't true.  This 2016 Coquerel Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is perfect example of what I'm talking about today.  This wine is wonderfully delicious and won't kill your bank account.  And with only 322 cases produced, this wine surely won't be available much longer. In fact, the magnum is sold out, so you have been warned! This wine is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (about 82%) with a smart blend of Malbec remaining.  This gorgeous color reminds me of black raspberry pie in a glass.  It's deep and the aromas are soul-filling and mouth-watering.  You can really  appreciate the ripe black and red fruits, hint of cedar and dried spices and a bit of vanilla-y graphite.  In the mouth is a powerfully fruit-forward wine that introduces micro tannins with every sip, creating a sleek and persistent finish.  You can certainly

NV Winking Owl Merlot

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Why would you buy a bottle of wine for $2.49 you ask?  I honestly don't have an answer.  Curiosity probably got the best of me.  Flashbacks of "Two Buck Chuck" bounced around in my head as I passed this at Aldi several times yesterday.  But I like to keep an open mind and I'm always up to a challenge so I figured at this price, I'm really no worse for wear.  This bottle is less than a cup of coffee at most restaurants and I've spent far more money on less satisfying objects in my lifetime.  So, without further ado, I present the non-vintage Winking Owl Merlot..... I should start by saying that I am generally perplexed by anyone  who can put wine in a bottle for this price.  After all, sans juice, you still have the bottle, the cork, the label, the capsule, the outer packaging, the marketing, etc, etc to take into consideration of the total cost at checkout.  So when you remove those items from the cost of the bottle of wine, what do you have?  I would guess ab

Navigating Wine Country During a Pandemic (aka let's help each other)

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There is little doubt that the first half of 2020 has been anything less than unexpected from what most would consider a 'normal' daily life.  The global pandemic has affected every person in some way, and most people significantly enough to alter their lifestyle, even if temporarily.  Work, school, daycare and financial hardships have reached into most homes, creating a fear of uncertainty and anxiety for many.  But all is not lost.  Whether it is a false sense of security, the need to return to an accustomed lifestyle or a belief that the worst of this virus is over, people are starting to venture out of their homes and travel.   There is no doubt that a large number of the world's population are still cautious and some, even frightened, about the health of the world and those around us.  It's difficult to control the actions of those around us, but by using common sense and social distancing, we can begin to appreciate the lives we are customary of enjoying.  I, for

The $200 Wine Tasting Fee and Why You Should PASS!

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I recently followed up with a contact from a Napa Valley winery who I had virtually met about two years ago.  We are currently planning a trip to wine country in late August and she had previously left an open invitation to host me and a guest for a private tasting the next time we were in town.  I have always been a fan of this particular winery and they make ONE varietal every year.  Their inaugural vintage was beautifully crafted, and according to popular ranking publications, each year seems to get better and better (or so the points would leave us to believe).  While the winery itself is about 10 years old, the family behind the juice has been making wine for decades, in fact, multiple generations. Before I get into this article further, let me say that I wholeheartedly believe that wineries should charge for tastings.  There is no doubt about it.  I think that paying for the tasting experience cuts down on the weekenders who are looking to just get loopy (aka "Wine Country&q

2018 Calculated Risk Sonoma County Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

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Full disclosure here.   I purchased a few different cases of "close out" wines from an online discounter just to have some cheaper, every day drinking wine.  One of the purchases was this 2018 Calculated Risk Sonoma County Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon .  I bought 4 bottles and for the price (and free shipping), I thought it was worth the..................wait for it...............calculated risk.  (Insert laughter here).  I digress. This wine really didn't disappoint.  Of the wines that I purchased from the discount vendor, this one was one that I preferred over many that were less than spectacular.  There was a very distinct Cabernet nose and medium red color.  Sometimes you can open a cheap Cabernet only to find that you struggle to identify the aromas that typically accompany these grapes.  This was not the case here.  Dried fruit with dark chocolate yielded to dark, ripe cherries and a faint dusty book taste.  The finish wasn't incredibly long but it was pleasant an

2016 Boeschen Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

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I have never sat in a French bistro overlooking the Champs Elysees while enjoying the finest cuisine.  I have never read a first print of The Call of the Wild  while sitting amongst the finest literary classics a prestigious library.   But those are two feelings that I get when tasting the  2016 Boeschen Vineyards Estate Cabernet Sauvignon .  This wine is an extraordinary example of winemaking with passion, care and diligence.  Many Napa Valley Cabernet examples are very fruit forward, but this one is more reserved, a big and powerful statement that is held back by the door of opportunity in a wine that can be enjoyed now or for the next 20+ years.  Dark purple, almost inky, this wine has a balance of dark cherry, tobacco leaf, cassis, and antique spice cabinet with satin-like tannin.  This wine was tasted at room temperature multiple times (hence, the wine streaks on the label!) with and without food and was a true champion every time.  I would recommend this with braised short r

2016 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon

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Every once in awhile you taste a wine, taste it again, and then have to scratch your head at the price tag.  Could a wine this wonderful, a 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Napa Valley, really be just $50 retail?  Am I seeing that correctly?  The  2016 Priest Ranch Cabernet Sauvignon is an unfiltered beauty that really pushed be back in my chair!  Absolutely mouth-coating and full of delicious dark fruits, dark chocolate, whisps of dried spices and incredibly satisfying tannins that dance on the palate from beginning to end.  I'll be honest with you.   I spent minutes just swirling and smelling this wine, both at the beginning and throughout the tasting experience.  It's that good.  And remember, you could go to a restaurant and spend $12 - $16 for a glass of wine from a $20 bottle that is mediocre or you go visit the Priest Ranch Winery web site and purchase a few bottles of this Cabernet, knowing that you are getting more than your money's worth!  Highly recommended.

2016 Coquerel Cabernet Franc Bennett's Vineyard

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Admittedly, I am not a huge Cabernet Franc fan because historically most of it has left me wanting more, often wondering if all Cab Franc was lackluster or if I had just been unlucky.  After today, I am putting all of that behind me and all Cabernet Franc will be judged against this 2016 Coquerel Bennett's Vineyard Cabernet Franc.  Yes, you read that right.   This wine spoils you because it is a 100% varietal and made from a single vineyard - and it shows!   Incredible dark maroon color with lifting aromatics of very ripe blackberries, cassis, hints of barn wood and cherry show the same on the palate with very juicy tannins and a finish that is surely a fist clencher.   I know it was for me.  This wine would pair well with braised short ribs but if you truly love Cabernet Franc, I would recommend this wine with a good book or a lazy Sunday on the sofa.   It's truly a work of art and at only 96 cases you should grab this quickly! ABV:  14.8% Napa Valley, Cali

Arns Winery NV Impromp2 2 Cabernet Sauvignon

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This non-vintage 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from Arns Winery started out as an experiment in wine aging and Sandi Belcher and her team have hit a home run.  This wine is a fine example of smart blending, expert wine making and risk taking that paid off in a big way.  This wine has three separate vintages in a single bottle.  This wine is rooted in a gorgeous purple color and presents lung-filling aromas of ripe blackberries, chocolate, saddle leather and toasty cedar.  There's a great mid palate feel with this one and generous flavors of dark berries, cedar, dark chocolate, tar and spice box.  This is everything you want to see in a quality Cabernet Sauvignon and I think this is an experiment that went extremely well!  I love seeing winemakers step outside of the box and I think you'll love this too.  Only 200 cases were produced and at this price point, it won't last long. ABV:  14.5% Napa Valley, California Suggested retail price:  $65.00 Drink The Bo