Category Archives: $21 to $50

Tablas Creek ‘Cotes de Tablas’ 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $35
Purple plum and black cherry fruit up front followed by notes of licorice, violets and toasted sesame. Nicely textured with a slight tooth, medium bodied with an off-dry finish that lingers. A rich wine with restraint, altogether satisfying, full of flavor, thoughtful and still easy to approach. Not merely a book, but a transcendent novel with complexity and prose to suffice the literati yet accessibile for the everyday bibliophile — ah, Hemingway. Grenache 46%, Syrah 39%, Mourvèdre 10%, Counoise 5%. A very good wine. (Reviewed 8/3/14)

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

Williams Selyem Pinot Noir 2006

SONOMA COAST | CALIFORNIA | $46
Superbly integrated with subtle boysenberry, cherry and mature, nearly overripe strawberry, and notes of cedar, moist earth and cola. Complex fruit and savory notes neatly interweave, producing a fabric of inseparable flavors. Velvety texture gently massages the palate and natural acidity adds buoyancy. She’s mature, yet vivacious as ever, with a joie de vivre many, perhaps years younger, openly envy. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 8/3/14)

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

Baileyana Pinot Noir ‘La Entrada’ 2012

EDNA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $33
Blackberry and purple plum with complex flavors of tar, caramel, Mission fig, bay and forest floor. Medium bodied, muscular and deep — a fairly big Pinot but well balanced with nice fruit and soil integration and refreshing highlights. A real man without a need to prove it — it’s what George Clooney has all over, say Arnold Schwarzenegger. A very good wine. (Reviewed 7/27/14)

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

Foxen Chardonnay Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU 2008

SANTA MARIA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $32
Nectarine, guava and Meyer lemon with flavors of chervil, jasmine, oak, stone minerals and a hint of grapefruit. Viscous and lush, blanketing the palate with complex fruit, then revealing herbal, floral and mineral flavors, and finishing with a happy perk of acidity and lingering tartness. A regal one, she, bejeweled and adorned with the best of the court, graceful among all, and blessed to be full of personality and wicked smart — ever so the surprise when she delivers that bawdy repartee. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 7/27/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Chardonnay

Longoria Tempranillo 2010

SANTA YNEZ VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $36
Bing cherry with a hit of blackberry and notes of orange peel, caramel, redwood and smoke. Light-medium bodied, full flavored, well integrated and nice fruit-savory balance with easy tannins. Dances playfully on the palate, delivers complex flavors, and satisfies. As good as it gets for a California Tempranillo. A joy to drink, a really happy wine, and isn’t it just fun to say “Tempranillo”? An excellent wine. (Reviewed 7/20/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Spanish Varietals

Domaine Comte Abbatucci Cuvée Faustine 2010

AJACCIO | FRANCE | $36
Mature plum, black cherry and boysenberry with deep notes of graphite, tar, mace and a hint of cacao. Medium bodied with an interesting slightly rustic quality and present tannins providing a pleasant chew. A real charmer. Not a big-city sophisticate, mind you, but a character who rolled in from another town and got things done — with wit, guile and a little force. 70% Sciaccarellu, 30% Neillucciu. A very good wine. (Reviewed 6/7/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, France

Longoria Chardonnay 2011

SANTA RITA HILLS | CALIFORNIA | $30
Guava, pear and green apple with a hint of grapefruit and notes of jasmine, stony minerals, green tea and a bare hint of oak. Nicely crisp with a natural fruit acidity making a refreshing drink to cool the summer afternoon or pair with a cream-sauced or light-protein meal. She enjoys a cruller and coffee, her reflection caught in the shop window as she gazes at jewelery she hopes someone will at one time gift her. A very good-plus wine, near excellent. (Reviewed 6/7/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Chardonnay

Villa Creek Mourvèdre ‘Damas Noir’ 2007

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $40
Black fruit times three: black cherry, black currant and blackberry, plus notes of licorice, cacao, chalk and hints of chai spice. Concentrated fruit, well-balanced (its 15.2% alcohol undetectable) and complex. A big wine, indeed, with wonderfully gamey flavors of wild fruit and earth tamed by barrel and bottle to subtlety. As Jeeves to Wooster. 100% Mourvèdre from Denner Vineyard. A very good wine. (Reviewed 5/24/14)

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

Baileyana Pinot Noir ‘Firepeak’ 2012

EDNA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $30
Mature cherries with strawberries and rhubarb, notes of organic soil, cedar, exotic spices and dried porcini with hints of cherry candy orange zest. A medium-bodied wine (the vintner says “big Pinot,” I just don’t get that), well integrated and satisfyingly complex. Forward fruit, nicely acidic with savory organic flavors providing structure and balance. Her siblings garner attention with skilled repartee, but she prefers observation and contemplation and fewer words; our loss if we overlook her. A very good wine and solid value — it can be had for nearly $20 at the right seller. (Reviewed 5/24/14)

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

Dashe Grenache ‘Les Enfantes Terribles’ 2010

DRY CREEK VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $24
Soft fruit of red cherry and raspberry with notes of nutmeg, organic soil, asparagus and petrol. Medium bodied, textured mouthfeel, easy to drink with prominent low notes and lively acidity. A playful wine, indeed, but terrible children? Eh, not so much. A good wine. (Reviewed 4/13/14)

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