Category Archives: California

For Medlock Ames in Sonoma County’s Alexander Valley, 2014 Was a Very Good Year

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Coming on the heels of the exemplary 2012 and 2013 vintages, 2014 yielded yet another terrific season for grape growing and winemaking in California — and it so happened to be the third consecutive year of severe drought throughout the … Continue reading

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Vina Robles ~ Two New Releases from Paso Robles, California

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Vina Robles founder/proprietor Hans Nef and Managing Partner Hans — R. Michel, both natives of Switzerland, operate their Paso Robles winery according to one essential maxim:  “European Inspiration — California Character.”  Two of their recent release wines — estate Cabernet Sauvignon and … Continue reading

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Grace Patriot | 2013 Tempranillo 91 Points | 2012 Tempriano 91 Points | Two Alluring Variations on a Classic Spanish Variety

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We first introduced you to Grace Patriot Wines and their El Dorado Tempranillo (the outstanding 2007) in 2013 (see our feature review at the LINK), and since then the Grace Family have continued to demonstrate that this classic Spanish variety … Continue reading

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Two Distinguished Paso Robles Reds from Vina Robles

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Vina Robles founder/proprietor Hans Nef and Managing Partner Hans — R. Michel, both natives of Switzerland, operate their Paso Robles winery according to one essential maxim:  “European Inspiration — California Character.”  Two of their current-release red wines — crafted by winemaker Kevin … Continue reading

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2015 WINERY & WINES OF THE YEAR: Derby Wine Estates

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As 2015 draws to a close, the National Wine Review is naming Derby Wine Estates in Paso Robles, California, as our Winery of the Year, and Derby’s 2011 Fifteen 10 White and 2010 Fifteen 10 Red as our Wines of … Continue reading

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Frick Winery | Two Rhone Blends | Dry Creek Valley | California

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Bill Frick is a genteel man and skilled practitioner of gentle winemaking. Bill specializes in Rhone varieties, which he grows on the 7.7 acre estate he founded with his late wife Judith Gannon in 1976 in Sonoma County’s Dry Creek … Continue reading

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Derby Wine Estates | Mourvèdre | Paso Robles | California | 2011 | $34 | 91 Points

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“Highly Recommended” We introduced you to Derby Wine Estates this past July, with a review of their outstanding “Fifteen 10” red and white Rhone blends (93 points each) and “Implico” Bordeaux blend (91 points). (Revisit our feature review at this … Continue reading

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Macchia Wines | “Delicious” | Barbera | Lodi | California | 2013 | $20 | 88 Points

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“Recommended” Here is another “delicious” red varietal wine from Macchia Wines’ 2013 vintage roster. (This follows our recent review of Macchia’s 2013 “Dubious” Petite Sirah — 93 Points — which you can revisit at the link: Dubious) This is a … Continue reading

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Cornerstone Cellars | Two Sophisticated Reds from Napa Valley’s 2012 Vintage

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Merlot | Oakville Station | Napa Valley | California | 2012 | $75 92 Points | “Highly Recommended”  (A Cellar-Worthy Selection) This 100% Merlot is sourced from Oakville Station Vineyard blocks in the celebrated To-Kalon vineyard in Oakville, at the … Continue reading

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Avenel Cellars | Cabernet Sauvignon | Reserve | Oakville | Napa Valley | California | 2012 | $45 | 90 Points

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Avenel Cellars Oakville Cabernet Sauvignon is crafted by veteran California winemaker Marco DiGiulio. Marco is a native San Franciscan and U.C. Davis graduate who has devoted years to mastering the oenological art that is Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon. His influence … Continue reading

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Low Places | Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa Valley | California | 2012 | $45 | 91 Points

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“HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” Named for the valley floor vineyards from which it was sourced, here is a Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon that we think hits all the right notes for fans of the “benchland” style. This is a Full Monty Cabernet … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Macchia Wines | “Dubious” | Petite Sirah | California | 2013 | $25 | 93 Points

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“HIGHLY RECOMMENDED” Macchia Wines, a Lodi, California, producer specializing in Zinfandel, several Italian varieties, and select other red varietal wines, has released its much anticipated (by NWR, at least) 2013 vintage offerings, including this “Dubious” Petite Sirah. We had reason … Continue reading

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