Browse Tag


Caille win

[blue quail]McFadden Family Estate “Blue Quail” 2014 Pinot Noir (Potter Valley) — Strong, but not dense. A wallop of dark fruit, followed by a few more wallops, with a finishing whap. (5/16)

Every tincture tells a story

Storybook Mountain 2011 Zinfandel Napa Estate (Mayacamas Range) — Not as hard-as-nails as I remember this being when young; has there been a regime change? It’s still structured, stony, fine-particulate zin, its darkest berries tight and glowering, but it’s entirely approachable with the right cut of flesh over enough fire. I feel like this property rarely gets the respect it deserves. (5/16)

A longer period, please

Dashe 2012 “The Comet” (Alexander Valley) — The thing I’ve always loved about Dashe’s wines is how they marry a considerable bit of Californian power with structure. I’d rarely call them elegant, but then that’s not really why I buy them. That said, this is a big thud of fairly anonymous fruit, and while it’s certainly not bad, it’s the least interesting wine I think I’ve ever tasted from this much-admired winery. Oh well. (5/16)

In front of the camel

Terre Rouge 1999 Syrah Sentinel Oak Pyramid Block (Shenandoah Valley) — This is the first (from a once-mighty stash) that I’d call fully mature, though I say that believing it’s a bit of an outlier. A thicker, pastier version of the classic Rhône “meat liqueur,” here more texturally hide-like than the norm. It’s in a really, really good place…or, at least, this bottle is. (5/16)

Knows down

Edmunds St. John 2002 Syrah “The Shadow” (California) — The crazy trajectory of this wine (ready, not ready, past ready, not ready, etc.) continues. This is the not ready version, and so the strappy, leathery tannin still battles with the deep bass throb of the fruit. I’d say time will tell, but it’s really that the next bottle will be completely different. (5/16)

The more, the terrier

[cowan cellars]Cowan Cellars 2015 “Jack’s Rosé” (North Coast) — Poised between tension and fragility, yet in the end it’s much friendlier than either. Refreshment through a gauzy historical filter. Fun, too. Let’s not leave that out. (Disclaimer: the winemaker is a friend.) (4/16)

Lytton foundation

[lytton springs]Ridge 1995 Lytton Springs (Dry Creek Valley) — While this site doesn’t produce the most graceful or complex of Ridge’s zin-heavy blends, it certainly remains the most stubborn among them. It’s the wine that makes one think, “I would have guessed it’s younger than that,” time and time again. Moreover, it often absorbs the perfumed oak that lays like dense humidity over wines like Geyserville, leaving the strong-willed fruit to do the enduring. So while there’s certainly been development towards the leathery oldberry character that is so often Lytton’s signature, the wine seems nowhere near senescence…and I would, indeed, have guessed it ten years younger than it really is. (4/16)

Turn it up

[amplify]Amplify 2013 Carignane Rosé Camp 4 (Santa Ynez Valley) — Funky and reluctant at first, but it grows into its awkwardness. While it’s a (very light) rosé of a red grape, if you told me it was an orange vermentino I’d not have blinked; there’s a sort of heavy-air salinity to it that makes it feel coastal, even if it’s anything but. A nice wine that deserves more exploration than I gave it. (4/16)


[bedrock]Bedrock 2013 “Old Vine” Zinfandel (California) — Darker berries, blended with a pinch of black pepper. All about its fruit, but with just enough supporting acidity (and not too much oppressive alcohol) to make it more than simple fun. Though it’s that, too. (4/16)


[lytton springs]Ridge 2013 Lytton Springs (Sonoma County) — Surprisingly accessible for a young Lytton, which is usually heavily structured and/or laden with the coconutty oak that’s the house style. Lytton is almost always one for the long haul…I might, in a feisty mood, argue that it outperforms Geyserville for sheer ageability…but this is already so fruit-forward and delicious, I wonder if it’s not a medium-term wine at most. Still, there’s certainly no rush. (4/16)