article placeholder

2006 Shafer Relentless – Napa Valley

This deeply opaque Syrah blend spent 30 months in very tightly grained new French oak. It is already terrific and has years ahead of it. Tannins are very sweet. Flavors comes in waves, with tremendous depth. Blackberries are the lead dark fruit among several, along with the meaty/smoky flavors of the crisp end of a prime rib, including the rub of leafy spices like sage and rosemary. Excellent, and very highly recommended.
article placeholder

2008 Shafer Red Shoulder Ranch Chardonnay – Napa Valley

This is a well-balanced and luxurious Chardonnay. It is made with 25% in stainless steel and 75% in new medium-toast French Oak. It does not undergo malolactic fermentation. The wine was rich and creamy but clean, with good acids and without the distinct dark toast that seems trendy in Napa Chardonnay. Flavors were several different types of apples, from fresh green apples to slightly baked Pink Ladies, pears, and a touch of citrus. The finish was long.
article placeholder

An American Wine Identity For the Next Generation

Less than a hundred feet away from my desk a handful of young Frontenac and St. Croix vines are entering their third year here in Salt Lake City, and maybe they aren’t the only ones around. A few industrious pioneers and forward-thinking visionaries are betting blood, sweat, and acres on a ridiculous proposition: to create an authentically American, native grape capable of transforming the wine world.
article placeholder

A Tasting with Joe Davis of Arcadian Winery

Unlike many of his colleagues, Joe Davis, the founder and winemaker of Arcadian Winery, does not come from a long line of winemakers. On the contrary, his people were Monterey fisherman—with first-hand accounts of John Steinbeck’s peccadilloes, no less! But he was not destined for the family business.
article placeholder

Farm Versus Fish: Water Use in the Russian River Valley

It takes guts to grow premium wine grapes—plus a sizable amount of cash, a love of farming, and the fortitude to deal with the ongoing challenges, both environmental and political, of producing a great glass of wine. Frost may not be the biggest of a grower’s concerns, but it has become a vexing problem here in California’s Russian River Valley, where the rights of farmers sometimes go head to head with the rights of fish.
article placeholder

Rhône Rangers: Distinctive California Wines from Old World Varieties

Last month, I had the pleasure of attending the 13th annual Rhône Rangers Grand Tasting in San Francisco, featuring over 500 wines from more than 100 wineries. Rhône Rangers has grown from the original 13 producers to include 200 wineries from California, Oregon, Washington, Idaho, Michigan, and Virginia. In order to join, a winery must produce at least one Rhône-style wine, comprising a minimum of 75% of one or more of the 22 Rhône grape varieties approved in the Cotes-du-Rhône. Probably the best known of these are syrah, grenache, mourvèdre, and the white threesome of viognier, roussanne, and marsanne.

2009 Cornerstone Cellars Napa Valley Sauvignon Blanc

The first white wine from Cornerstone Cellars, this single vineyard Sauvignon Blanc is the color of pale straw or the delicate liquid of honeysuckle sparkling in the first morning light. Bright and citrusy on the nose, with aromatics of pear, tropical fruits and gooseberry; it’s more Loire Valley Old World than New World pipi du chat. It opens up to a warm pleasant nuttiness. Once in the mouth, there is a luscious creaminess I don't usually associate with Sauvignon Blanc; smooth on the tongue and seductive on the palate, without sacrificing bright citrus, red grapefruit and a zesty acidity. Balanced and sophisticated, the lingering finish offers firm minerality. Read more on Another Wine Blog.
article placeholder

2006 Twomey Cellars Soda Canyon Ranch Merlot

Merlot sometimes gets a very bad rap, but more examples like this would redeem it. Blended with Cabernet Franc, this one reminded me of a good Right Bank Bordeaux. Deep, bright ruby colored, with aromas of blackberry, vanilla and blueberry that carry over onto the palate along with a hint of rhubarb, this is a merlot with some muscle that also highlights this subtle grape. Read more at Another Wine Blog.