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2010 Bonny Doon Vin Gris de Cigare

Another wine, a rosé this time, in Randall Grahm’s own idiosyncratic style. Lovely nose of strawberry, melon, and flowers with a hint of vanilla at the back. Very expressive on the palate, especially for a rosé, with sweet but not cloying fruit notes, with a spine of acid and mineral running through it. Finishes long and clean. Not a wuss rosé and may be just the thing for your summer guests who are rosé-shy (if, like me, they’ve been subjected to too much bad rosé). Try with grilled shrimp. Highly recommended.
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2008 Bonny Doon Le Pousseur

A typical offering from Randall Grahm, a winemaker who doesn’t like to do things by halves.  Have to mention the also usual intriguing Bonny Doon packaging—in this case,  a label reminiscent of a medieval tarot card.  Strong notes of black cherry, chocolate, and nutmeg on the nose. Big, expressive blackberry fruit and herb (thyme) on the palate with fine structure to carry it home to a long finish. Hard not to like this one. Try with something from the grill—I think a bit of smoke and char would pair well here. Highly recommended.
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2009 Morro Bay Split Oak Estate Sur Lie Chardonnay

Citrusy notes on the nose, with perhaps a bit more lemon that one might expect. Nice flavors of grapefruit and caramel on the palate, with good acid. The most surprising aspect is that someone had a deft hand with the French and American oak. It is there but restrained and kept on a leash. Finishes very clean. Not rich but very satisfying. The best part is that the price seems to come in at around $10. Try with a nice risotto. Highly recommended.
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2008 Monthaven Cabernet Sauvignon

This is one of several releases in the Octavin Home Wine Bar system. The wine in a box, billed as eco-friendly, delivers the equivalent of four standard bottles of wine. This is a blend with minute quantities of other grapes from several parts of California's Monterey and Paso Robles areas. The wine has a deep purple color with hints of blackberry and raspberry. It is a very light-flavored glass of cabernet but no finish for the serious drinker. This wine stayed consistent from week one to week six as promised by the company.
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2009 Hahn Winery GSM

A very juicy fruit-forward wine sprinkled with white pepper and allspice. Blackberries and figs lead the attack, giving way to black cherry cola, pepper, and vanilla on the mid-palate. Tannins are sweet and smooth. Acid is quite powerful, even a little bit tingly, but should settle down over time. Drink with pork roast.
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Palate Press Wine of the Week: 2008 Samsara Melville Vineyard Pinot Noir

Subtle aromas of raspberries, wet concrete, and dried herbs lead. On the palate, it’s substantial, streamlined, and concentrated. The wine’s focused fruit resonates with varietal purity, offering flavors of blueberry tart, fresh thyme, and white pepper, balanced by dark cherry acidity and graceful tannins. It showsremarkable depth and finishes with sleek strength. Pair it with grilled quail stuffed with figs and wild mushrooms.
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2006 Lucas & Lewellen Pinot Noir

The color, a little brickish-brown, gives the appearance of older wine. Cola with a splash of birch beer is the dominant flavor. Tart red fruits, cranberry, wild strawberries, and rhubarb follow on the mid-palate. Acids and a streak of minerality give it a lot of life and the ability to cut through rich sauces. It lacks the classic Pinot arc - an initial attack, a gentle mid-palate, and a finish that grows and glows and goes on forever. Instead, it has a big attack, followed by a bigger mid-palate, then a fading finish - more typical of syrah. Drink this with pork medallions with shallot and red wine sauce.
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2008 Samsara Mellville Vineyard Pinot Noir

Subtle aromas of raspberries, wet concrete, and dried herbs lead. On the palate, it’s substantial, streamlined, and concentrated. The wine’s focused fruit resonates with varietal purity, offering flavors of blueberry tart, fresh thyme, and white pepper, balanced by dark cherry acidity and graceful tannins. It shows remarkable depth and finishes with sleek strength. Pair it with grilled quail stuffed with figs and wild mushrooms.