Category Archives: $51 to $100

Ken Brown Pinot Noir Rancho La Vina Vineyard 2010

SANTA RITA HILLS | CALIFORNIA | $60

Deep blackberry and purple plum with a touch of black cherry and savory notes of cedar, bay, coriander and orange peel. Beautifully forward fruit, yet superbly balanced; a full-flavored Pinot, bold and daring. Substantive, a touch weighted, with a satiny mouthfeel and a lingering finish. Be ready for this belle — she’ll match your witty repartee with racy barb or two that’ll have you struggling to ebb your blush. A very good wine. (Reviewed 12/28/14)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Pinot Noir

Thomas George Pinot Noir Lancel Creek Vineyard 2010

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $55
Deep black cherry, Mission fig and dried mulberry with earthy flavors of allspice, Ceylon cinnamon, molasses and bay. Seriously complex, slightly fruit forward and decidedly on the grander side of medium bodied — no austere wine, this. A perk of acidity adds a tenor voice; otherwise, it’s all baritone. No Three Tenors here. For a better match, check iTunes for Morphine (the band, please). A very good wine. (Reviewed 12/20/14)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Pinot Noir

Idella Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

NAPA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $95
Full-bodied boysenberry fruit masterfully balanced with complex flavors of licorice, violets, black cardamom, cacao and tar. A big, muscular wine, inky deep ruby-red, with forward fruit, savory mid-notes and firm, chewy tannins. Grand proportions, indeed, yet presented with a satin-smooth texture and a refreshing counterpoint of delicate natural-fruit acidity. We have not merely a symphony; we have a grand symphony; we have The Choral — LVB’s Symphony No. 9. A very good wine. Wine provided by Idella Wines. (Reviewed 11/16/14)

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Filed under $51 to $100, Cabernet Sauvignon, California

Idella Syrah 2010

SANTA BARBARA COUNTY | CALIFORNIA | $65
Easy blackberry with roasted plum and orange peel, plus notes of clove, crème de cassis, leather and forest floor. A satisfying and exceptionally balanced wine, medium-full bodied, superbly integrated, with complex flavors coaxed gently on the palate by a luxurious, soft-grain texture. I’d suggest this a Syrah for Cabernet lovers — really — absent the glossy, fruit-forward nature common in Central Coast Syrahs, this wine shows excellent fruit-savory proportions that allow organic notes to sing to the heavens. 93% Syrah, 5% Grenache, 2% Petit Sirah. An excellent wine. Wine provided by Idella Wines. (Reviewed 11/8/14)

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

Idella Pinot Noir Mendocino Ridge Vineyard 2012

MENDOCINO RIDGE | CALIFORNIA | $55

Lush strawberry fruit with ripe red cherry, watermelon and rhubarb, plus notes of wet clay, leather, cacao and grapefruit pith, notably on the finish, with just a hint of allspice. A sublime balance of well-integrated fruit and savory flavors — complex, yet easily approachable. Beautifully translucent in the glass, medium-light on the palate, silky texture with a bare whisper of grain. She’s gentle, quiet, soft-spoken, wicked smart — doubt her not; in the dimmest of light, she knows where your eyes are looking. A very good wine. Wine provided by Idella Wines. (Reviewed 11/1/14)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Pinot Noir

Papapietro Perry Pinot Noir Elsbree Vineyard 2010

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $56

Raspberries and strawberries, rhubarb, cardamom, camphor. Aah. Forrest floor, cola and citrus zest. Aah. Fruit, savory, earth and sour. Aah, indeed. An incredible wine that is a story in a glass. A wandering tale with convenient roadside rest stops. Beautiful fresh fruit up front, backed by an organic-savory structure, and finishing with a pleasant perk of acidity that sings on the palate seemingly forever. Time in the glass or a gentle decant will reward. There are books, there are novels, there are epic tales — we have the later. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 10/25/14)

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Filed under $51 to $100, 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)

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

Caymus Cabernet Sauvignon 40th Anniversary 2012

NAPA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $70
Rich, ripe blueberry and purple plum with complex notes of licorice, cacao, graphite, tar and bay. A big Cab, inky, with a powerful nose and robust, meaty palate-lingering flavors, exceptional balance and integration. Classic, true to its roots, delivers as expected, always a crowd pleaser — Mick, Keith and the boys have nothing on this one. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 7/20/14)

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Filed under $51 to $100, Cabernet Sauvignon, California

Foxen Pinot Noir Block 8 Bien Nacido Vineyard 2008

SANTA MARIA VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $55
Black cherry and roasted purple plum with a hint of cranberry and notes of cardamom, graphite and orange peel underneath. A deep-flavored Pinot, full bodied yet but from saturated. Refined, well integrated and complex with some gaminess that comes through, yielding an element of daring. Suave, denonaire, and yet a devil-may-care swashbuckler — in like Flynn. A very good wine. (Reviewed 7/11/14)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Pinot Noir

A.P. Vin Pinot Noir Clos Pepe Vineyard 2010

SANTA RITA HILLS | CALIFORNIA | $52
Black cherry fruit with dried plum, bay, allspice, cocoa and orange peel. Complex and well integrated revealing a labyrinth of intricate flavors with each taste. Medium bodied — full for a Pinot — with a satin-smooth texture and lengthy finish. An abundance of riches. He earned his considerable wealth by his own hands and shares it generously, and while others might, in these same circumstances, call a measure of attention to such deeds, he feels no need to make much fuss. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 3/30/14)

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Filed under $51 to $100, California, Pinot Noir