What's great in wine, beer, fine dining,
places to stay, & places to visit
in California State

Wine Pick of the Week

    N/V Shiraz    Rex-Goliath  Appellation: California  Alcohol: 13.5%  Suggested Retail: $8.99   “This is a popular wine and for many reasons. In a world of too-cute names and labels, the Rex Goliath line is fun without being cloying. It celebrates the memory of a 47-pound rooster (Rex Goliath), alleged to be an attraction of a Texas Circus over a century ago. The non-vintage Rex Goliath Shiraz is big, too, showcasing gobs of fruit. It is comprised of 76% Syrah (same grape defined as 'Shiraz' in Australia, and occasionally in the U.S.), with the balance coming from grapes loosely…
    2010 Paragon Chardonnay    Edna Valley Vineyard  Appellation: San Luis Obispo County  Alcohol:13.9%  Suggested Retail: $15.50   “This review marks a departure. In years past we would taste dozens—sometimes hundreds—of new and current releases every week. The 'Pick' was always the wine we liked best, regardless of grape variety or category. The tasting of new wines and subsequent note-taking really is time-consuming and has taken a back seat lately to other business needs. Henceforth, we'll use our 'Pick' to select a wine and discuss it, not necessarily laud it. “To oversimplify, Chardonnay tends to reflect either crisp citrus…
    2009 Cinq Cépages    Producer: Chateau St. Jean  Appelleation: Sonoma County  Alcohol: 14.4%  Suggested Retail: $75   “Our sample bottle had been opened for about an hour when first tasted. What a disappointment it seemed. Yes, there was a lot of big California fruit, but where was the complexity, the layered flavors, the subtlety that was expected?  “This Cinq Cépages, a blend of five Bordeaux grapes, was a wine I'd loved from earlier vintages. The 2009 edition is mostly Cabernet Sauvignon (77%), Merlot (12%) and Cabernet Franc (8%), but there are small percentages of Malbec (2%) and Petit…
  2011 Charamba   Producer: Aveleda Wines Appellation: Douro (Portugal) Alcohol: 14% Suggested Retail: $8   “Here's a red table wine with some personality at a very affordable price. Charamba is said to be named after a Portuguese folk dance and is a blend of red grapes likely to include Touriga Nacional, Touriga Franca, Tinta Barroca and Tinta Roriz. There are Raspberry and blackberry fruit characteristics up front, but especially appealing is a dusty, spice/white pepper component in the background. This provides an intriguing, but not overpowering, counterpoint. Fans of “old-style” California Zinfandel might enjoy this nicely balanced Iberian wine.”…
  2011 Chenin Blanc   Producer: Clarksburg Wine Company Appellation: Clarksburg, California Alcohol: 12.5% Suggested Retail: $16   “The Clarksburg Appellation, which is located just south of Sacramento, produces well made and well priced wines from several different grapes, but it's the Chenin Blanc that really is the signature variety here. Wineries located in other parts of California are eager to source Chenin Blanc from this region. Aromas of pear and green apple precede flavors of ripe peach and pear in this offering from the small-production Clarksburg Wine Co. The taste is fresh and clean, yet also rich. There's almost…
  2010 Foggy Oaks Chardonnay   Producer: Dry Creek Vineyard Appellation: Russian River Valley (Sonoma County) Alcohol: 13.5% Suggested Retail $20   “Several of our staff liked this one. Sourced from the cool (and often foggy) Russian River Valley in the western part of Sonoma County, this Chardonnay delivers a lot of character for $20. There's plenty of fullness/richness from mostly malolactic fermentation (85%) and oak aging, but it doesn't stint on the freshness of the fruit. Appealing citrus and pear aromas, followed by flavors citrus, pineapple and a bit more pear. This Foggy Oaks wine is in the full…
2011 Riesling   Producer: Chateau Ste. Michelle Appellation: Columbia Valley Alcohol: 11% Suggested Retail: $9   “Chateau Ste. Michelle produces a consistently high-quality Columbia Valley Riesling. Though they make fine examples of the variety in other styles, both drier and sweeter, this is their flagship product. The aroma of this 2011 Columbia Valley Riesling evokes pears, freshly-sliced green apples, some lime zest and maybe just a hint of cinnamon and/or nutmeg. Its flavor reprises those pear and apple characteristics and has a little of the 'minerality' that is a hallmark of good examples of this variety. Germany has an arcane…
  2009 Herrick Red   Producer: Conn Creek Appellation: North Coast* Alcohol: 14.5% Suggested Retail: $20.   “Herrick Red is the second of two blended red wines produced by Conn Creek. Their flagship wine is bottled as “Anthology,” and is predominately Cabernet Sauvignon (66% in the current 2008 release), with the balance made up of other traditional varieties native to Bordeaux—Malbec, Merlot, Petite Verdot and Cabernet Franc—grown in various parts of the Napa Valley. It is priced at $55 and is everything you would expect in a wine of its style and price. We found the Herrick Red, also comprised…
2012 Shiraz   Producer: Charles Shaw Appellation: California Alcohol: 12.5% Suggested Retail: $2.49   “Some fruit aromas with a little dusting of white pepper. Restrained flavors of blackberry and blueberry with a subtle spicy nuance. Finish continues an overall 'softness,' but doesn't really seem overly sweet. While it won't make fans of Penfolds Grange change their preferences, there's nothing to really dislike about this wine. Were it to be put to consumers in a 'blind tasting' of Shiraz/Syrah wines priced $10-20 more, it might not finish last. It's a damned decent table wine and a remarkable value at the price.…
2009 Cabernet Sauvignon   Producer: Grgich Hills Estate Appellation: Napa Valley Alcohol: 14.6% Retail Price: $60   “Another fine effort from one of the Napa Valley's most reliable producers. Legendary winemaker Mike Grgich--though nearly 90 years of age--is still involved, but the day-to-day winemaking chores are now handled by his nephew, Ivo Jeramaz, who has overseen the move toward use of only organic and biodynamicly-grown grapes.” “Aromas of blackberry and dark cherry most obvious, but a little spice and powdered chocolate touches become apparent after wine's been in glass for a while. There's a plush feeling in the mouth as…
Sparkling Pink Moscato (N/V)   Producer: Angove Family Winemakers Appellation: South Eastern Australia Alcohol: 8% Suggested Retail: $12   “This sparkling Moscato was a sample shipped on behalf of its American importers. Tasting all wines sent the magazine is a matter of professionalism, but we did not anticipate much from this one. Pink? Sweet? Fizzy? Trendiest grape in the business? In spite of being all of these, we really like the Zibibbo Sparkling Pink Moscato.” “This wine is made from Muscat of Alexander grapes and it, like all Muscat varieties, is very fragrant. Here were floral aromas like those of…
  2010 Collection Series Chardonnay    Producer: Echelon Vineyards Appellation: Napa Valley Alcohol: 13.5% Suggested retail: $14.99   “This Chardonnay is from Echelon's upper tier Collection Series. Winemaker Kurt Lorenzi has produced a bottle of Napa Valley Chardonnay at a very reasonable price, and he's done so in a style we find appealing. The combination of stainless steel fermentation and sur lie aging in 33% new French oak gives a complexity while preserving a fresh fruit quality. We like the pear and green apple character and what might be a bit of white peach, too. This Chardonnay has a hint…
J Brut Rosé (N/V)   Producer: J Vineyards & Winery  Appellation: Russian River Valley  Alcohol: 12.5%  Suggested Retail: $38   “Attractive packaging—clear glass bottle adorned by the simple scripted J, shows off the wine's pink/coral hue. Predominantly Pinot Noir (64%), this rosé is lighter and more sophisticated than most. There's another 2% of red juice from Pinot Meunier, the other traditional red variety in Champagne, but the Chardonnay component (34%) may be what gives such elegance to this wine.” “Aromas of strawberry, peach and maybe a little green apple. Crisp flavors of raspberry and strawberry follow with a hint of…
  2009 Bacigalupi Vineyard Pinot Noir   Producer: Tudal Winery Appellation: Russian River Valley Alcohol: 14.1% Suggested Retail: $42   “The winery calls this 'Burgundian-style Pinot Noir.' While we don't agree with their characterization, we think it's a high quality representative of this varietal as grown in one of California's premier Pinot Noir regions. It's big—maybe even powerful, but not overpowering. Lots of black cherry fruit, but has some of that earthiness that is the hallmark of Burgundy and, at times, good California and Oregon Pinot Noirs. Food Affinity: “Pair with something rich and flavorful. Maybe slow-roasted lamb shanks or…
    Cabernet Sauvignon (N/V)   Producer: Camelot Vineyards & Winery Appellation: California Alcohol: 13.5% Suggested Retail: $7   “Actually, this is a pretty nice Cabernet in a lighter style. Slightly herbal overtones with predominant blackberry and cherry flavors. Good value.” Food affinity: “Stuffed breast of veal, Grilled chicken marinated in oil and vinegar dressing with red pepper flakes.”
2011 Dry Chenin Blanc   Producer: Dry Creek Vineyard Appellation: Clarksburg Alcohol: 12.5% Suggested Retail: $12   “Dry Creek Vineyard is situated, fittingly enough, in the Dry Creek Valley of Sonoma County, but for years the winery has sourced Chenin Blanc grapes from an area more than a two-hour drive to the southeast. Clarksburg's vineyards lie along the banks of the Sacramento River just south of the State Captiol. Other grape varieties grown there produce good quality wines, but Chenin Blanc is the star of their show. Once very popular in California when made in a slightly sweet style, Chenin…
    2009 Cabernet Sauvignon   Producer: Mettler Family Vineyards Appelleation: Lodi Alcohol:14.5% Suggested Retail: $24.99   “A big wine and an attractive one. The Lodi appellation has long held a fine reputation for Zinfandel, but Cabernets like this show the region should not be dismissed lightly when considering their other varieties. Composition is 86% Cabernet Sauvignon, 8% Petite Sirah, 4% Cabernet Franc and 2% Petit Verdot. We have tasted several vintages of Mettler Cabernet and this one seems the best yet.” “Big—lots of fruit. Blueberry and plum qualities with some cedar and leather aspects.” “More power than finesse, but…
    2008 Meritage   “Bordeaux Blend”   Producer: Dry Creek Vineyard Appellation: Sonoma County Alcohol: 14.5% Suggested Retail: $30   “Meritage is a term created for wines made of one or more of the grapes typically grown in Bordeaux in the southwest of France. Though made from grapes grown in Sonoma County, this wine contains all five of the predominant red varieties native to Bordeaux—Cabernet Sauvignon (33%), Merlot (30%), Cabernet Franc (17%), Malbec (14%) and Petit Verdot (6%). Wines made from blends of more than one grape are perceived by many as being more complex than those vinified from…
  2008 The Vineyard House   Cabernet Sauvignon   Producer: The Vineyard House Appellation: St. Helena (Napa) Alcohol: ? Suggested Retail: $200 “Though this wine is predominantly Cabernet Sauvignon (85%), the balance of its composition is from Cabernet Franc (6%), Merlot (6%) and Petit Verdot (3%). “The Vineyard House Cabernet is the creation of Jeremy Nickel, son of the late Gil Nickel of Far Niente, Dolce and Nickel & Nickel renown. While $200 might seem a shocking price for such a recent entry to Napa's cult wine derby, The Vineyard House isn't overpriced by the standards of that club, nor…
  2012 Nouveau Rosé of Pinot Noir   Producer: River Road Vineyards Appellation: Russian River Valley Alcohol: 12.5% Suggested Retail: $14.95   “This wine is a riff on a French tradition. Each year at the third week of November, Beaujolais Nouveau is released. It's a red wine made from Gamay grapes that were still on the vine a couple of months earlier. Supposedly an early indicator of quality of the vintage, it's also something of a marketing triumph. The fervor has quieted these days, but plenty of Gallic hype used to go into the race to see which cafes and…
Page 10 of 10

Copyright © 2005 - 2017. Taste California Travel. All rights reserved. | Phoenix Website Design by CitrusKiwi