Category News and Opinion

A Killer Single Vineyard Red Burgundy for $26

May 10, 2017 Daily Drinkers  No comments

FullSizeRender-4Burgundy is the most expensive wine region in the world, and it frankly has a spotty track record - when the wines are on, they are breathtaking, but when they are off, they are expensive disappointments.  This seems to be changing for the better, but time will be the judge.  Knowing this, I'm always excited to try a well reviewed burg in the $30 or less range.  Most choices in this range are generic "bourgone", but I recently had a chance to drink a wine from a single parcel in the southern Santenay region that really impressed me.

From vines ranging in age from 30 to 80 years old, the 2014 Domaine Vincent & Sophia Morey Santenay Les Hates could almost fool you as a California wine on the nose, with good ripeness and a little oak showing.  On the palate earthy burgundy flavors

Read More

The Brilliant Wines of Ridge

October 4, 2016 News and Opinion  No comments

IMGP6222In the last year I've had the pleasure of visiting two of Ridge's most famous vineyards: Lytton Springs in Sonoma and Monte Bello in the Santa Cruz mountains high above Silicon Valley.  Those two vineyards, along with Geyserville, make up the top bottlings for Ridge, and have for over 40 years.   During that time, very little has changed and the result is one the longest-lived wines in the U.S. (Monte Bello) and two of the most American wines (Lytton Springs and Geyserville).

Here are some of the reasons I love Ridge:

Monte Bello is one of the longest-lived wines in the country.  This year, I tasted a vertical of the '88, '03 and '12 and they were all brilliant.  That's especially impressive considering '88 was a poor vintage in California and the wine was 28 years

Read More

A Favorite Pinot Value – 2013 Talbott Kali Hart ($14.95)

January 15, 2016 Uncategorized  No comments

Talbott Kali Hart 2013 Pinot Noir LabelDuring a recent trip to the Monterey peninsula, I made it a point to stop by Talbott's Carmel Valley tasting room.  I've always admired their wines, especially their Kali Hart bottling which represents one of the very finest values in both Chardonnay and Pinot Noir.

We tasted through all of Talbott's bottlings, and though their higher-end pinot and chardonnay is excellent, the clear value is the Kali Hart.  This wine is 100% estate fruit from Talbott's highly regarded Sleepy Hollow Vineyard.  It's up-front and juicy yet has the depth to age for several years.

Talbott was recently sold to Gallo winery.  Hopefully they allow Talbott to continue the roll they've been on for the last decade.
Buy Here: 2013 Talbott Kali Hart Pinot Noir $14.95

Read More

A Top Notch Tempranillo Blend from… California ($14.95)

October 6, 2015 Uncategorized  No comments

firefall_red_blend_LRGUntil a few years ago, I had only experienced good Tempranillo, make that any Tempranillo, from one place: Spain.  That was until I had Epoch's Tempranillo from Paso Robles.  That is a mind blowing wine that will make you wonder why more California growers aren't experimenting with this grape.

Luckily for those of us "in the know" (the readers of this blog), another winery is doing just that.  As the Sierra Foothills region of California is starting to make a name for itself with Rhone varietals, Firefall, from a single 2400 ft elevation vineyard called "Little Rattlesnake", blends Rhone grapes with 27% Tempranillo to create a delicious red wine.

This is a polished wine with big fruit and great length.  It's a true crowd pleaser and would make a fun wine to throw into a blind

Read More

The Best Chardonnay Values Right Now (from $12.95)

July 22, 2015 Uncategorized  No comments

Summer is white wine season and the best Chardonnay values are coming from France - you know, the people who put Chardonnay on the map!  The Burgundy region of France produces some of the most collectible whites in the world, but if you know where to look, there are great values as well. Burgundy's Mâcon region and neighboring  Pouilly Fuissé are where I look for values and there are none better than two wines from Marie-Pierre Manciat.


The 2012 Les Morizottes is from a 25 year old vineyard and is one heck of a $13 wine.  It already has going on three years of age on it and has a crisp mouthfeel and great length.  It received 89 points from the Wine Advocate with the following rating:


"The 2012 Macon Morizottes is a little delight. The bouquet is very

Read More

Another Winner from Ridge – 2013 Geyserville ($31.95, AG 92-94)

June 17, 2015 Uncategorized  No comments

Ridge GeyservilleAs I've mentioned several times on these pages, Ridge makes a couple of my favorite wines - Geyserville and Lytton Springs.  They are both Zinfandel-based blends, both age-worthy and both remarkably consistent.  They are also some of the best values in American wine.  These are truly top-notch reds in the low $30s.  Compare that to a Cabernet of the same heritage and we would be looking at 2-4x the cost.

Though I haven't had a chance to try either wine this year, I popped a 2012 Geyserville in preparation for this post and only a little over a year after release, it's open for business.  Remarkably, this wine ages well, with some examples from the 70s still drinking well.  Not that it's likely to last that long in my cellar...
Buy Here: 2013 Ridge Geyserville $31.95
Magnums

Halfs

Read More

My Top Wines of 2014

January 12, 2015 News and Opinion  No comments

This is the time to reflect on the year behind us and to anticipate about the year ahead.  So naturally, I'm reflecting on the best wine I drank in 2014.
Wine of The Year:
2007 Sine Qua Non Pictures (Grenache), Santa Rita Hills, CA

This is a wine that only those who have waited 10+ years for inclusion on the mailing list or are willing to pay the $500+ asking price on the secondary market, get to taste.  A generous friend brought this to dinner at my house and it did not disappoint.  Not only was it the best wine I drank all year, but it was the best Grenache I've ever tasted.
Honorable Mentions:
2009 Torrin Syrah Akasha, Paso Robles, CA

If it wasn't for the above mentioned wine, this one would have taken the cake.  This is a wine of outrageous

Read More

Another Bigtime Rhone Value – 2011 Chateau de la Negly $16.95

October 27, 2014 Uncategorized  No comments

Negly

Here's another killer value from the up-and-coming Languedoc appellation in France's southern Rhone Valley.  I drank this last week with friends at Chicago's Bite Cafe and it was a big hit at the table.  It's a deeply concentrated blend of 50% Carignan, 20% Grenache, 20% Mourvedre and 10% Syrah, which in addition to the concentration, features complex dark berry flavors and great length.


In addition to the complex flavors, this wine features a complex name: Chateau de la Negly Coteaux du Languedoc la Clape Cuvee de la Cot.  As I've said before, France, and especially Rhone, needs to take care of their naming conventions and they would sell tons more wine.  This one's naming convention is the name of the winery (Chateau de la Negly) the name of the

Read More

Chappellet Winery: Pioneers Then and Now

October 9, 2014 News and Opinion  No comments

Chappellet Modern ArtOur most recent visit to Chappellet Winery concluded with a chance meeting with Cyril Chappellet, who had just pulled up in his Chevy Volt – a fitting end to a beautiful afternoon where the family’s focus on the place, their product and most important, the sustainability of both, became a theme.

 A ‘Natural’ Passion

We were greeted by our gracious hosts, Mary Pat and Candice when we arrived in the reception lobby of the winery, where we also found founder Don Chappellet hard at work at his desk.  Uniformly, the natural passion displayed by Chappellet’s staff exceeds that of any winery staff I’ve met.  Nothing is contrived, but their excitement about their property, vines and wines permeates everything they do.


As we made our way

Read More

What I’m Drinking – Week of 9/14/2014

September 26, 2014 News and Opinion  No comments

These posts are meant to provide commentary on my favorite wines, independent of price or value.  I will be scoring these wines as a point of reference.  The price listed is the average retail price.  Many times I have been able to purchase the wine cheaper at online auctions and discount retailers like LA Wine Company.  Often, I use a Coravin device to pour a single glass from an unopened bottle.
2006 Montagna Tre Vigneti Napa Valley Cabernet ($50)
The first release from this fantastic Pritchard Hill winery, this 2006 is tasting better than ever.  As with many 2006s this wine is starting to come alive aromatically.  It seems to have gained weight in the last few years as well.  This winery, which borders David Arthur, Colgin, and Continuum, is one to seek out - and the vintages only

Read More
1 2 3 26