Tablas Creek Mourvèdre 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $40
Blackberry, purple plum and Mission fig fruit with savory notes of bay, chalky minerals and sage, plus grapefruit and raisin on the finish. Meaty, perhaps a little gamey, with well-integrated, complex flavors that delight the palate. Full bodied, but not over the top: a big-shouldered wine with little pretense and no attitude. You get what you get, and that’s plenty. I asked what wine she desired, she replied, “I want no more white. I want Mourvèdre.” A very good wine. (Reviewed 10/2/14)

Leave a comment

Filed under $21 to $50, California, Syrah/Shiraz | Grenache | Mourvedre

Tensely Syrah Colson Canyon Vineyard 2009

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY | CALIFORNIA | $38
Extracted blackberry and pomegranate fruit with elements of licorice, moist earth, cedar and lavender. Full bodied and jammy (15% alcohol, no less). A big, brooding, fruit-forward wine with massive flavors, a satin texture and a tannin-dry finish. Like a storm on the horizon, purple-black clouds, damp organic soil in the air and a wisp of Spring flowers to come. A very good wine. (Reviewed 9/21/14).

Leave a comment

Filed under $21 to $50, California, Syrah/Shiraz | Grenache | Mourvedre

Cargasacchi Pinot Noir Cargasacchi-Jalama Vineyard 2011

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY | CALIFORNIA | $36
Red cherry and roasted plum fruit showing notes of leather, violets, cacao, sage, black cardamom and a hint of orange peel. A vigorous wine brimmed with flavor, medium bodied, full for a Pinot, nicely complex and superb fruit-savory integration. Super satisfying and thoughtful — altogether enjoyable. He’s a complex, soft-spoken gent who gets things done — he tells it like it is, and the results, they speak for themselves. A very good wine. (Reviewed 9/13/14)

Leave a comment

Filed under $21 to $50, California, Pinot Noir

Tolosa Pinot Noir Estate 2012

EDNA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $32
Cherry, strawberry and cranberry with accents of rhubarb, cola, oak and soil. Complex, well integrated with thoughtful interplay. An entirely enjoyable wine: light-medium bodied, full flavors, forward fruit, solid structure, velvet texture. “Good natured, by and large,” as he puts it, and that has made Mr. Hanks the most likable in Hollywood — who can disagree? A very good wine. (Reviewed 9/13/14)

Leave a comment

Filed under $21 to $50, California, Pinot Noir

Cristom Pinot Noir ‘Mt. Jefferson Cuvée’ 2011

WILLAMETTE VALLEY | OREGON | $27
Subdued cherry and red currant fruit with subtle notes of redwood, camphor and orange peel with a wisp of petroleum. Medium bodied, lightly flavored, evenly balanced with a perk of acidity and drying green tannins on the finish. A stoic wine, brooding, perhaps contemplative. We have here Walter White before Heisenberg. A good wine. (Reviewed 9/13/14)

Leave a comment

Filed under $21 to $50, Oregon, Pinot Noir

Domaine de Terrebrune Rose 2012

BANDOL | FRANCE | $29
Barely-there salmon-pink color with light fruit flavors of pink grapefruit guava, pear and watermelon, plus notes of hibiscus, savory, coin minerals and lemon zest. Complex yet subtle, quaffable yet thought provoking — here’s a wine for the hoi palloi and bougouis alike. She plays in a Czech folk band alongside grizzled gents twice and three times her age and girth, and holds together rhythm and melody with virtuositic prowess wielding a contemporary bass guitar amongst others’ vintage-relic instruments. 50% Mourvèdre, 25% Grenache, 25% Cinsault. A very good wine. (Reviewed 9/13/14)

Leave a comment

Filed under $21 to $50, France, Syrah/Shiraz | Grenache | Mourvedre

Au Bon Climat Pinot Noir ‘La Bage Au-dessus’ 2009

SANTA MARIA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $30
Mature strawberry fruit with rhubarb and black cherry notes, plus satisfying earthy flavors of cedar, nutmeg, cardamom and sweet, damp soil. A suede-like texture gently massages the palate with a well-integrated blend of fruit and savory. Svelte in profile, reserved in nature, yet superbly complex with seemingly effortless balance. The decadent party up above, indeed. A very good wine. (Reviewed 8/15/14)

Leave a comment

Filed under $21 to $50, California, Pinot Noir, Uncategorized

Flying Goat Pinot Noir Salsbury Vineyards 2009

SAN LUIS OBISPO COUNTY | CALIFORNIA | $38
Ripe black cherry and fresh strawberry fruit with rhubarb, forest floor, cola and aromatic bitters. Light-medium bodied, full flavored, nicely integrated and quite complex. Easy-but-present acidity and a delightful fruit-savory interplay makes this a supurb food-friendly wine as well as one to be enjoyed alone. Spins, leaps and bounds — this goat flies. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 8/23/14)

Leave a comment

Filed under $21 to $50, California, Pinot Noir

Mueller Pinot Noir ‘Tempi’ 2010

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $48
Deep yet soft cherry fruit with notes of plum, allspice, cedar and forest floor. Medium bodied with chamois smoothness and a touch of palate-massaging grain. Well-integrated complex flavors provoke contemplation yet deliver easily accessible satisfaction for everyone. It’s a classic. A “thinker,” indeed; Auguste Rodin would be proud. A very good wine. (Reviewed 7/11/14)

Leave a comment

Filed under $21 to $50, California, Pinot Noir

Red Car Estate Syrah 2009

SONOMA COAST | CALIFORNIA | $60
Raspberry, young cherry and light plum fruit with notes of cola and caramel, and hint of watermelon rind. Medium bodied, lean for a Syrah — a refreshing diversion from the glossy Central Coast bottlings (not that there’s anything wrong with that) — with unexpected range at the high end and refreshing, food-friendly acidity. Well balanced, perhaps lacking depth for some, thoughtful and a joy to behold. Nimble at the wheel, road-sensitive and thrillingly responsive, not at all a mattress-on-wheels Caddy, you’ve a 911 in your hands. A very good wine. (Reviewed 7/26/14)

Leave a comment

Filed under $51 to $100, California, Syrah/Shiraz | Grenache | Mourvedre