Category Archives: California

Roar Pinot Noir 2012

SANTA LUCIA HIGHLANDS | CALIFORNIA | $40

Deep cherry fruit with plum, dried strawberry and blackberry, and earthy flavors of leather, redwood and cola, plus hints of violets and orange pith. Evolves nicely on the palate from subdued dark fruit, to savory umami flavors, to aromatic floral and dried-fruit notes. Complex, well structured, massaging chamois-smooth texture. A blockbuster wine, superior to many in the royalty box. She sits quietly at the table — dark, brooding, observing — reluctant at first, but soon to open — terse, then loquacious — and then there it is, a smile. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 10/25/14)

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

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)

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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).

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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)

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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)

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

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)

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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)

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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)

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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)

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

Anglim ‘Cameo’ 2010

CENTRAL COAST | CALIFORNIA | $24
Pear and white grape with notes of grapefruit, jasmine and stony minerals. Delicately flavored, slightly floral and balanced with intricate interplay between fruit, soil and acidity. Very easy drinking. But no small-roll performer, she; we have a player, albeit one less recognized. 48% Grenache Blanc, 47% Viognier, 5% Rousanne. A good wine and a real value. (Reviewed 8/10/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Vigonier | Rousanne | Marsanne