Category Archives: California

PICK for the SUMMER: Cornerstone Cellars | Rocks! | White | California | 2014 | $15

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“RECOMMENDED” Rocks! is Cornerstone Cellars’ “house wine” label, and the wines — white, rosé, and red — are each blends of several grape varieties sourced from various vineyards across California. The 2014 Rocks! white is blended from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc, Viognier, and … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Stolpman Vineyards | Syrah | Estate | Ballard Canyon AVA | Santa Barbara County | California | 2012 | $30

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90 POINTS | “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED”  Thomas Stolpman founded Stolpman Vineyards in Ballard Canyon in 1990, but not until years later — in 2013 — was Ballard Canyon designated as an American Viticultural Area (AVA). Ballard Canyon is nestled within the … Continue reading

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PICKS of the RACK: Cornerstone Cellars | Two Rosés for Summer Sipping (and Beyond)

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Cornerstone Cellars | “Corallina” |Syrah Rosé | Napa Valley | California | 2014 | $25 90 pts | “HIGHLY RECOMMENED” A selection from Cornerstone Cellars’ Artist Series, Corallina is sourced from the Oak Knoll District AVA on the southern end … Continue reading

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PICK of WINE COUNTRY: Selections from Derby Wine Estates | Paso Robles | California

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The Rhone Rangers are American wineries with a passion for producing wines from traditional Rhone grape varieties. This past June, twenty three Rhone Rangers assembled in Washington, D.C., to showcase the best of their Rhone-style varietal and blended wines. Some … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Seven Rings | Cabernet Sauvignon | Oak Knoll District | Napa Valley | California | 2013 | $28 | 89 pts

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89 POINTS | “RECOMMENDED” Crafted by the California winemaking team of Alison Crowe and Barbara Ignatowski, Seven Rings is named for the number of years it takes for a newly-planted grapevine to begin producing wine-quality fruit. Their 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon … Continue reading

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PICKS of the RACK: Two Appealing Cool-Climate California Chardonnays

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Girard | Russian River Valley | Sonoma County | California | 2012 | $20 | 90 pts Based in Napa Valley, Girard Winery sources its Chardonnay from Dutton Ranch vineyards in Sonoma County’s cool-climate Russian River Valley (RRV). Dutton Ranch … Continue reading

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PICKS of the RACK: Two Big Reds from Macchia Wines | Sangiovese & Petite Sirah | California | 2012 | 91 pts Each

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Macchia Wines, located in Lodi, California, produces a range of Zinfandel bottlings, Italian varietals, and select other red varietal wines sourced from vineyards in the low-elevation Lodi American Viticultural Area (AVA) and the higher-elevation Amador County AVA. Macchia wines showcase … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Ceja Vineyards | Vino de Casa | Napa Valley | California | 2009 | $25 (Avg.) | 88 pts

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An unusual blend of Pinot Noir (60%) and Syrah (40%), the Ceja family’s “house wine” fulfills its self-designated role with equal measures of refinement and dexterity. Syrah is dominant on the nose, offering brawny aromas of dark fruit, smoked meat, … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Corralitos Vineyards and Winery | Syrah | Santa Cruz Mountains | Santa Cruz County | California | 2012 | $18 | 91 pts

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Corralitos Vineyards & Winery is the second label of Alfaro Family Vineyards & Winery, owned and operated by Richard and Mary Kay Alfaro on the south side of Santa Cruz County just a few miles inland from Monterey Bay. Their … Continue reading

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EVERYDAY VALUE WINE PICK: Bogle Vineyards | Petite Sirah | California | 2012 | $12 (Avg.) | 86 pts

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Bogle delivers a terrific value here — an affordable Petite Sirah sourced from vineyards in Clarksburg and Lodi that confidently expresses all the hallmarks of the variety. It is a fresh and savory red, with aromas of mulberry, red plum, and pine … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: The Federalist | Zinfandel | Dry Creek Valley | Sonoma County | California | 2011 | $23 (Avg.) | 90 pts

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Here is an intriguing and unconventional Zinfandel from Sonoma County’s Dry Creek Valley that offers much complexity and individuality at a modest price. This is no jammy fruit bomb; it is driven, rather,  by savory earth, spice, and botanical  impressions — notably aromas of campfire, smoked meat, and incense … Continue reading

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PICK of the RACK: Honig | Cabernet Sauvignon | Napa Valley | California | 2012 | $35 (Avg.) | 91 pts

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Honig Vineyard & Winery, located in Rutherford, Napa Valley — family-owned and operated since 1964 — focuses its production on two varieties that flourish particularly well in the region:  Sauvignon Blanc and Cabernet Sauvignon. This wine is Honig’s most attainable Cabernet, sourced from select … Continue reading

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