2012 Dry Creek Chardonnay, Block 10, Russian River Valley

    2012 Dry Creek Chardonnay, Block 10, Russian River Valley Brilliant straw color. Initial aromas of smoky oak and buttered toast pull back to reveal cream and moderate white peach, apple, and green tropical fruits. In the mouth, the creamy fruit spreads out, picking up a note of cinnamon ...

    10 readers - By Wine Lines

    2011 Murphy-Goode ‘Liar’s Dice’ Zinfandel, Sonoma County

    2011 Murphy-Goode ‘Liar’s Dice’ Zinfandel, Sonoma County Translucent ruby color. In the nose, a moderate lacing of black pepper leads to lightly jammy blackberry and raspberry fruit. This fruit sweetens up in the mouth, while furry tannins show a young red’s grip ...

    10 readers - By Wine Lines

    2013 Murphy-Goode ‘The Fumé’ Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast

    2013 Murphy-Goode ‘The Fumé’ Sauvignon Blanc, North Coast Brilliant light straw color. Aromatically, this wine is a veritable fruit salad, releasing scents of honeydew, citrus, tropical fruits, and white flowers. In the mouth, there is ample acidity to balance against the plump fruit flavors. A ghostly impression of sugar cane, fresh from the burned fields, pops up at mid-palate.

    11 readers - By Wine Lines

    2013 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County

    2013 Ferrari-Carano Fumé Blanc, Sonoma County At its inception 30 years ago, Ferrari-Carano quickly established a reputation as a producer of world-class Chardonnay. Those of us who visited the winery back then found the Sauvignon Blanc bottlings to be similarly outstanding. Today, the yearly output of Fumé Blanc is 85,000+ cases. Clear straw color.

    11 readers - By Wine Lines

    2012 Wente ‘Charles Wetmore’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley

    2012 Wente ‘Charles Wetmore’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley Nearly opaque purple/ruby. Where the ‘Southern Hills’ bottling is a brass band, this red is more complex, more orchestral. Chocolate notes from oak part to reveal a deep concentration of black berry fruits and black plum. There’s an abundance of high-toned spice and herbs, all swirling together in harmony with the fruit.

    10 readers - By Wine Lines

    2012 Wente ‘Southern Hills’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley

    2012 Wente ‘Southern Hills’ Cabernet Sauvignon, Livermore Valley Opaque dark ruby/purple color in the glass. Varietal aromas of blackberry jam, cassis, high-toned wood spices, licorice, bell pepper, tobacco, and olive. It is juicy and fruit-driven in the mouth, picking up moderate, rounded tannins after mid-palate ...

    8 readers - By Wine Lines

    2013 Wente ‘Morning Fog’ Chardonnay, Livermore Valley

    2013 Wente ‘Morning Fog’ Chardonnay, Livermore Valley Clear straw color. The perfumed nose delivers white flowers, citrus, notes of stone fruit, vanilla, and butter. It is lively in the mouth, picking up hints of green apple. Medium in weight, this is not an over-extracted, over-oaked Chardonnay ...

    9 readers - By Wine Lines

    2012 Byron Pinot Noir, Nielson Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley

    2012 Byron Pinot Noir, Nielson Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley Nearly opaque dark ruby hue. Concentrated black cherry and plum fruit aromas commingle with a rich earthiness, smoke, high-toned herbs, and vanilla. With additional aeration, more delicate red fruit aromas emerge. This red is still a youngster, showing a masculine, chewy mouthfeel ...

    15 readers - By Wine Lines

    2012 Byron Chardonnay, Nielson Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley

    2012 Byron Chardonnay, Nielson Vineyard, Santa Maria Valley Brilliant deep straw color. Scents of smoke, toast, butter, and vanilla cloak the ample sweet citrus, apple, and pear fruit. A mouth-filling wine, the buttered fruit coats the palate. It is perfectly structured, showing trademark minerality ...

    15 readers - By Wine Lines

    A Pleasant Surprise in the O.C.’s South County

    By Bob Johnson I have to be honest: When I dropped by Rancho Capistrano Winery, located just steps from the historic mission founded by Father Junipero Serra in San Juan Capistrano, Calif., in 1776, I wasn’t expecting much. A winery in the O.C.? Well, it turns out there are at least 10 wineries in Orange County, and they’ve pooled their marketing resources to found “The Orange County Wine Trail.

    12 readers - By Wine Lines

    Bunn Thai Bistro in Grover Beach, California

    Bunn Thai Bistro in Grover Beach, California Bunn Thai Bistro By Mary Frederiksen, AKA The Happy Cooker The past two summers, we have visited Nipomo, California for an extended stay vacation. During the summer months, this town offers cool weather with daytime highs in the 70s. This is a vast improvement over our hometown of Las Vegas, Nevada, where daytime highs are in the low 100s to 110+.

    8 readers - By Wine Lines

    A Benchmark Celebration: Fiddlehead Cellars 728

    By Glen Frederiksen You may recall my discussion of this event, now in its third year, HERE. It just so happened that the Happy Cooker and Your Humble Scribe were in the Central Coast at the time of the event, and decided to cruise in. A confession: in all of my trips to the Central Coast appellation over the past three decades, I had never once visited Fiddlehead Cellars.

    7 readers - By Wine Lines

    In Conversation with Victor Gallegos of Sea Smoke Cellars

    In Conversation with Victor Gallegos of Sea Smoke Cellars By Glen Frederiksen One of the most anticipated highlights of our annual summer escape to the cool climes of California’s Central Coast is visiting with Victor Gallegos, General Manager of Sea Smoke Cellars in Santa Rita Hills.

    6 readers - By Wine Lines

    Ten Acre: Carving Out a Niche in the Russian River Valley

    By Bob Johnson Bella Vineyards is known for Zinfandel, as my recent blog on the Dry Creek Valley estate demonstrated. Proprietors Scott and Lynn Adams have worked hard to develop the brand and the reputation. But they do not live on the Bella estate.

    5 readers - By Wine Lines
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