2019 Grenache by Sierra Vista, El Dorado CA

2019 Grenache by Sierra Vista Vineyards and Winery, El Dorado CA

Deep ruby color. Out of the bottle the air fills with bright berries. Strawberry, raspberry, and red cherries over a backdrop of damp hay, herbs and sweet tea.

Body shows good balance, greeting the palate with a touch of sweet citrus. This draws good tension across a soft, silky if not creamy body of raspberries and cranberries. A subtle sweet vanilla caramel softens an otherwise dry body, elevates the fruit and rounds out crisp, fully integrated tannins. Well played. Hints of spice warmth accompany the experience. Lips are rendered parched in a long dry finish for a Grenache.

Overall a subtle, nuanced wine. Great composition and restraint while remaining approachable to a broad spectrum of palate. I recently had the pleasure of tasting with winemaker Ryan. His style is a bit of a departure from the norm in the region. I look forward to exploring his wines with you. Check them out!

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2019 Artist Blend by William Chris Vineyards, Texas Hill County

2019 Artist Blend by William Chris Vineyards, Hye, Texas Hill Country.

47% Grenache, 32% Syrah, 15% Maurvedre, 6% Tannat.

Nose is all terroir up front with a dusty, clay-like leather. Hints of zest and cola. Touch of plum and dark cherry that slowly develop a subtle honey beeswax essence. A faint touch of herbal eucalyptus notes. As it opens up, a prominent smokey cocoa emerges.

Body is beautifully balanced. Greeting with a gentle acidic attack, dressed in a soft, silky mouth feel. This draws a nice subtle tension across a supple body. Notes of under-ripe dark cherry, plums are nicely complemented by a subtle buttery oak vanilla. Hints of banana peel and cola so faint you’d likely miss them. This whole melange slowly fades across the palate leaving behind a slowly intensifying grip and hint of spice.

What a gorgeous wine. This has to be one of the top 3 GSM blends I’ve had yet. Very nicely executed from its components down to their respective vineyards. Even in a side-by-side tasting against some of the top GSMs in my cellar, it really showcases the the high level of the winemaking program at William Chris. The work Chris and his team do cannot be overstated. Nicely done guys!

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2019 Pinot Noir by Morgan, Santa Lucia Highlands, CA

2019 Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands) by Morgan Winery, Salinas, CA

Bright, clear, ruby color. Shy nose, greets with wet hay, subtle raspberry, cherry and sweet cranberry. Swirling unlocks red vine licorice, honey nectar, and a sweet citrus afternote reminiscent of Meyer lemon. All mere suggestions at their most intense. Sophisticated.

Body greets with a gentle, soft, weighted, zesty, viscous composure. Once the palate adjusts, a soft, bitter, licorice, wet wood, cranberry, and slightly under-ripe raspberry dominate the expression. The overall expression is familiar yet different. This is clearly Santa Lucia Highlands, one of my favorite regions for Pinot Noir. A crisp, refined oak caramel vanilla rounds out the body without distracting the palate and rendering the mouth feel more plush and luxurious. This whole act quietly vanishes leaving the palate slightly dry and moist, completely neutral. Impressive. That’s a first.

This iconic region and its fairly neutral terroir among other key factors make it the perfect place for growing and making rich, nuanced, exquisite Pinot Noir with a unique expression of its fruit characteristics. In this way, this wine showcases this iconic region so well. By blending so many clones it becomes a true celebration of SLH and Pinot Noir. What a great representation. Nicely done!

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2019 Rosé of Pinot Noir by Dawn’s Dream Winery, Carmel by the Sea, California

2019 Rosé of Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands) by Dawn’s Dream Winery, Carmel by the Sea, California

Rose gold color. Aromatic nose greets with strawberry, white cranberries, wet wood and a hint of honey. Swirling intensifies the nose, adding a bit of cantaloupe and dusty earthy essence. This is Pinot Noir!

Body greets with a punch of citrus lemon, under-ripe strawberry and a faint, crisp caramel. This creates a slightly viscous, weighted mouth feel. Hints of white pepper pop up randomly as the body fades, leaving behind a dry grippy lemon zest, touch of minerality and a tingle of spice.

I keep thinking Bougie Rosé 🤣🤦🏽‍♂️. This wine is proof that Rosé is best when made from Pinot Noir. Clean, crisp, light and refreshing.

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2019 White Blend by Peterson Winery, Healdsburg CA

2019 White Blend by Peterson Winery, Healdsburg CA

Equal parts Vermentino, Verdelho, Vernaccia.

Nose is a little shy up front with primary earthy notes of damp, grassy fields. slightly under-ripe strawberries, white cherries, citrus. Swirling vigorously intensifies the old dusty sedimentary leather. I like a white wine that shows earth notes like this.

Body is dry, slightly viscous and greets with a touch of crisp acidity which adds good tension. These complement each other nicely. Slightly under-ripe strawberries and white cherries carry over nicely. A touch of white pepper. A certain tartness emerges towards the finish. I can’t tell if it’s minerality or from skins. Almost like a lemon zest. It slowly coats the palate. Good mild to medium finish.

This is a slow sipper. The blend brings great dimension and body. An understated, dry, terroir driven blend. This winemaker presents a serious, straightforward wine, without frills or pretenses. Well worth a look for those curious to understand this region and its expressions.

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2019 GSM by E16 Winery, Fair Play, Sierra Foothills, CA

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 GSM (Red Blend – Baby Rattlesnake Vineyard, El Dorado) by E16 Winery, Fair Play, Sierra Foothills, CA

43% Syrah, 30% Grenache, 27% Mourvedre

Dark, slightly opaque color. Intense aromatic nose with slightly ripe plums, dark cherries, granite leather with a hint of butterscotch and licorice.

Body shows good balance front to back. Weighted. Fruit carries over albeit in the form of slightly under-ripe plum and dark cherries. Interesting. It is fairly dry, with bold fruit character. This is very much in line with this region. Longer ripening season yields intense fruit flavors. Tannins are a fully integrated, fine grained dusty suspension that slowly precipitates upon the palate, building up layers of intensity. A slightly dry, bitter cola takes over the transition to finish leaving the palate slightly dry with a mild warm spice.

This is a Classic GSM from the Sierra Foothills. Nicely done with a great expression and sense of place. I love what Robert and his team at E16 are doing. I highly recommend taking a look at their wines. All very small batch, limited production, expressive wines.

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2019 Pinot Noir (Wholer Vineyard) by Sojurn, Sonoma

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 Pinot Noir (Wholer Vineyard – Russian River Valley) by Sojourn Cellars, Sonoma, CA

Dark ruby color. Aromatic nose with red berries, raspberries and that all too familiar Sonoma Dirt up front. This is where my mind goes every time I think of Sonoma Pinot – the dirt. Damp earth mixed with dry grass/hay. Sometimes more forest floor, sometimes more mushroom, open field as is the case with this one. Swirling vigorously adds a touch of red vines licorice. The entire bouquet intensifies. Almost intoxicating. Love it!

Body is balanced right down the middle, front to back. A soft plush mouth feel greets the palate with light raspberry, touch of strawberry all wrapped in a weighted, silky texture. Tannins are barely noticeable and secondary, providing just enough structure. A gentle spice warmth gradually emerges towards the back as the body fades, leaving behind subtle bitter cola. The two gently coating the lips. And just like that, with little fanfare, the show is over. Time for another sip!

I love what Sojourn is doing with their Pinot Noirs. You can’t go wrong here. Great, faithful Pinot from Sonoma. Highly recommend. You won’t be disappointed!

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2019 Cabernet Sauvignon by Acheson Wine Company, Sacramento CA

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 Cabernet Sauvignon (Overlord) by Acheson Wine Company, Lodi Apellation, CA

Full bright berry nose with lots of Ripe plum and cherries. Wet oak wood and subtle fine dusty terroir.

Body is soft, mild, restrained. Not as fruit forward as the nose would suggest. Subtle dark plums, and cherries and a noticeable, and pleasant crisp refined caramel reminiscent of neutral French oak. A very subtle bitter cola permeates the experience. Thin crisp tannins round out the affair.

This is a great refreshing chillable red. Simple, clean, crisp without being overly abstract. A pleaser of a wine that should appeal to a broad spectrum of palate. One of the latest and welcomed additions to the local wine scene here in Sacramento, I think Acheson is onto something. Serving well made wine exclusively on tap, via refillable 1 litre growlers/pop-cap bottles is just one of the many ways they are challenging the norms, rethinking convention, driving sustainability, reducing their carbon footprint from vineyard to table and keeping their wines accessible.

I was very much intrigued during my recent visit and will be exploring more of this emerging trend. Nicely done Acheson!

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2019 White Blend by Panther Creek, Willamette Valley, Oregon

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 White Blend (Chardonnay, Pinot Noir – Willamette Valley, Oregon) by Panther Creek Cellars, Woodinville, WA.

Bright and light up front with soft notes of citrus, peach, green apple, subtle damp old dried grassy leather, and a hint of butterscotch so faint you’d likely miss it. It’s a bit shy on the nose and needs to be teased out.

Body is dry, balanced right down the middle. White cherries burst onto the stage, aloof, as a slightly silky mouth feel follows closely, filling the stage. A crisp refined caramel suggestion is barely noticeable, more like nectar. This then rolls over to a very light slightly bitter citrus, like lemon zest. This marks the transition to finish as the entire stage vanishes, leaving behind a subtle warm spice tingle and faint tannic grip.

This wine is a gentle reminder that white blends really need to be a thing. I have never quite enjoyed white wines as much because they generally lack this kind of body, balance and expression. This wine embodies the best both varietals and their highly complementary characteristics. The body, subtlety and nuance of Pinot Noir with the bright crisp of clean expression of Chardonnay. A great, well executed combination.

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2019 Rosé of Tempranillo by Passaggio Wines, Treasure Island, San Francisco

Tonight’s Occasion: 2019 Rosé of Tempranillo (Clarksburg) by Passaggio Wines, Treasure Island, San Francisco

Crisp, clean, slightly weighty, viscous mouth feel. Crisp dry, firm finish. Good balance. Dry cherries, raspberries and gentle floral aromas.

Perhaps my shortest review yet but for good reason. I was under the illusion I could actually pull it off in the hot tub. Needless to say it’s a challenge to do anything other than just kick back with this Rosé by one of my favorite winemakers off the beaten path. A perfect way to end the week. Nicely done Cindy!

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