A Window Into Tuscany: Castello di Gabbiano

    A Window Into Tuscany: Castello di Gabbiano By Thomas Madrecki A note in advance — I approach any and all media trips with a bit of skepticism, in no small part because I make a living in the world of public relations. It takes a great deal for me to be impressed, and there’s a sort of natural apprehension about “giving in” too easily. You don’t want to be that wine writer.

    1 readers - By Wine Lines

    2011 Matanzas Creek Merlot, Sonoma County

    2011 Matanzas Creek Merlot, Sonoma County Nearly opaque dark ruby/purple in hue, this wine has a dusty minerality in the nose, with whiffs of smoky oak, pencil shavings, coffee, blackberry and currant. In the mouth, the fruit impressions are both ample and balanced, and the medium-grained tannins suggest that the wine could evolve in the bottle ...

    6 readers - By Wine Lines

    2012 Paul Dolan Zinfandel, Mendocino County

    2012 Paul Dolan Zinfandel, Mendocino County The color — nearly transparent light ruby — is light for Zindandel, but the nose offers exactly what you’d expect from the terroir of Mendocino County: blackberry and black pepper, joined by a note of black olive. The fruit is sweet and jammy in the mouth, although it does dry out sligh ...

    1 readers - By Wine Lines

    2012 Paul Dolan Pinot Noir, Mendocino County

    2012 Paul Dolan Pinot Noir, Mendocino County No aging is necessary for this light-styled Pinot Noir, which is light garnet in color, clearing at the rim. Possessing medium-grained tannins, the wine’s aroma and flavor spectrum includes stewed tomato, light cherry, c ...

    1 readers - By Wine Lines

    2012 Matanzas Creek Chardonnay, Sonoma County

    2012 Matanzas Creek Chardonnay, Sonoma County Brilliant medium straw in color, with green highlights, this focused wine oozes smoky oak and clarified butter aromas, leading to flavors of poached pear, baking spice and peach. It really sweetens up in the mouth, and has a long, palate-coating finish. Another in a long line of excepti ...

    5 readers - By Wine Lines

    2014 Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County

    2014 Matanzas Creek Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County Practice your glass swirling technique, because you’re going to need it for this wine, which presents an initial impression of cat pee — not unusual for Sauvignon Blanc. But with vigorous swirling, that “aroma” dissipates, giving way to an herbal pungency that’s complemented by notes of white grapefruit, honeydew melon and fresh ...

    1 readers - By Wine Lines

    2013 Paul Dolan Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County

    2013 Paul Dolan Sauvignon Blanc, Mendocino County Floral and fruit forward, this wine presents good acidity in the mouth with a touch of rosewater viscosity. Notes of lime, white peach, banana and lemongrass entice the nose, refresh the palate and invite another sip. A real gem from the little known Potter Valley area of Mendocino County, and ...

    1 readers - By Wine Lines

    2010 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County

    2010 Arrowood Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma County If you’re a fan of lamb served with mint jelly, this wine would make a tasty companion. With small amounts of Cabernet Franc, Merlot, Malbec and Petit Verdot in the blend, this Cab exudes sweet, fleshy dark fruit — plum, cherry and a sharp note of pomegranate — joined by an impression of roasted n ...

    3 readers - By Wine Lines

    2013 Carmel Road ‘Unoaked’ Riesling, Monterey

    2013 Carmel Road ‘Unoaked’ Riesling, Monterey Riesling from California often is made in a style that surrenders complexity for sweetness. This is not one of them. A mélange of fruit impressions — apricot, pineapple, Granny Smith apple, banana chip — waft in and out of the glass, leading to a juicy mouthfeel with just a h ...

    3 readers - By Wine Lines

    2013 Carmel Road ‘Unoaked’ Chardonnay, Monterey

    2013 Carmel Road ‘Unoaked’ Chardonnay, Monterey The “Unoaked” designation provides an opportunity to taste what Chardonnay grapes smell and taste like without the addition of aromas and flavors provided by oak barrels, staves or chips. In this case, Carmel Road has crafted a light, easy quaffer with a floral aroma and additional impressions of c ...

    7 readers - By Wine Lines

    2011 Dry Creek Vineyards ‘The Mariner,’ Dry Creek Valley

    2011 Dry Creek Vineyards ‘The Mariner,’ Dry Creek Valley A blend that uses all five red Bordeaux varietals. This wine is an enigma wrapped in an unriddled bottle. Initial aromas show little fruit, with wood scents of eucalyptus/mint, mocha, and a dash of dill being prominent. With an hour in the glass, moderate blackberry and boysenberry wake up and poke through.

    6 readers - By Wine Lines

    2011 Dry Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley

    2011 Dry Creek Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Dry Creek Valley The closed nose initially gives up only occasional whiffs of tobacco leaf, dill weed, coffee, currant, and cedar. The wine is medium in body, with young, bracing tannins at the back. The good news is that, with six hours of aeration in the glass, the tannins settle down and the wine comes across as a lighter version of red Bordeaux.

    8 readers - By Wine Lines

    The Essence of Galerie

    By Glen Frederiksen For me, one of the saddest stories to tell about Napa Valley is the elimination of many varietals initially planted there in favor of the red Bordeaux varietals Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. Of course, winemaking is a business, and there is more money to be made by planting these varietals.

    3 readers - By Wine Lines

    2012 Migration Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley

    2012 Migration Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley One might get the impression that Migration winemaker Neil Bernardi enjoys the fermentation process. Consider that for this 2012 vintage, Bernardi oversaw just shy of 50 individual fermentations, creating an equal number of “lots” from which to craft this Russian River Valley cuvee.

    5 readers - By Wine Lines

    2012 Migration Chardonnay, Searby Vineyard, Russian River Valley

    2012 Migration Chardonnay, Searby Vineyard, Russian River Valley You’re in for a Rued awakening when you smell this wine — and we mean that in a good way. Anyone familiar with Chardonnay clones would take one whiff of this Searby Vineyard bottling and know that the vineyard is planted with the Rued clone — known for its strong floral component.

    2 readers - By Wine Lines
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