Tag Archives: California

Anthill Farms Pinot Noir 2012

SONOMA COAST | CALIFORNIA | $40

Bright red cherry, cranberry and raspberry with nuanced flavors of bay, wet soil, graphite, violets and orange bitters. Light bodied, delicately complex, up-front fruit, silky smooth on the palate, showing soft tannins. Finishes nicely acidic with lingering floral and citrus notes. Its refreshingly low 13.1% alcohol must not go unmentioned. A beautiful wine all around. As intricate and delightful as the burrows and shafts anticipated with one’s Uncle Milton Ant Farm, without the uphill maintenance (and the man/child-is-master-of-all-living-things creepiness). A very good wine — very, very good. (Reviewed 1/14/15)

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

Thacher ‘Vin Rouge’ 2010

PASO ROBLES | CALIFORNIA | $38

A full-bodied Syrah-Grenache blend showing concentrated plum, black cherry and boysenberry with butterscotch, chalk and baking spice. Forward glossy fruit balanced by robust savory notes. Substantive heavy-silk mouthfeel with a finish that reveals this wine’s more intricate flavors. Proof positive here that plus-size angels also may frolic en masse, as their more svelte counterparts, on a needle’s point. 71% Syrah, 29% Grenache. A very good wine. (Reviewed 1/6/15)

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

Iron Horse ‘Russian Cuvee’ 2009

RUSSIAN RIVER VALLEY | CALIFORNIA | $42

Golden Delicious apple, Bartlett pear and Meyer lemon with vanilla creme and blanched almonds. Bold flavors, broad on the palate with pin-prick effervescence and a so-pleasant sweet-tart finish. A beautifully balanced sparkler, apropos of a wine originally crafted for the Regan-Gorbachev Summit ending the Cold War. Ah, detent! Perhaps these times call for another bottle. An excellent wine. (Reviewed 12/31/14)

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Filed under $21 to $50, California, Sparkling Wine

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

Chock Rock Pinot Noir Chock Rock Vineyard 2011

MONTEREY COUNTY | CALIFORNIA | $32

Red plum, strawberry and cherry with rhubarb, cardamom, leather, tobacco and orange peel. A medium-bodied Pinot with well-integrated, complex flavors stimulate the palate and the mind. Finishes long with a pleasant acidic perk of sour cherry. There’s a freshness here, with a seeming lack of heavy-handed manipulation that can yield an overwrought wine. Instead, a beautiful hand-hewn quality prevails. The expressiveness of a lone, breathy saxophone prevails over the sterile polyphony of layers of synthesizer upon synthesizer. A very good wine. (Reviewed 9/10/14)

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

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