2013 Adelaida Tribe ($55)   During a recent visit to Adelaida Cellars in Paso Robles, we had finished with the 'standard' tasting when our tasting room hostess reached down behind the counter and pulled out this bottle saying "I think you're going to like this one."  The Adelaida Tribe is an amazing blend of 47% Syrah, 23% Zinfandel, 10% Grenache, 10% Petite Verdot and 10% Petite Sirah. She was right. This bold, yet extremely smooth, blend is kept for wine club members and well worth the splurge.
  2011 Laetitia Winery Nadia Cabernet Sauvignon ($35)   Every time I've driven up California's 101, near Pismo Beach, I've noticed the vineyards of Laetitia Winery right along the highway. But, always heading somewhere, I've never stopped at the winery. That will change.  This blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Cabernet Franc and 2% Merlot is a traditional Bordeaux blend that is done very nicely along the California coast.  Keep a look out for this one!
  2012 Eberle Zinfandel ($25)   Gary Eberle is " The Paso Robles Pioneer " and for good reason.  Eberle continues to produce excellent wines and this Zinfandel is just another example.  Sourced from three vineyards, he describes this one as displaying " classic aromatics reminiscent of dark briar fruit, zesty raspberry infused with hints of licorice, roasted herbs and spice. "  I describe it as a winner!  Keep your eyes out for wines from Eberle; you can't go wrong.  And stop in at Eberle when you are in Paso Robles. They have a great friendly staff, a wonderful cave tour and you just might find Gary sitting out front enjoying a glass of wine. I did!
  2013 Mazzocco Alexander Valley Chardonnay ($18)   Sonoma's Alexander Valley turns out a bunch of great wines and this is a fine example. Mazzocco is known for its Zinfandel, but when I saw this Chardonnay I knew it would be good. This one has nice fruit flavors of crisp tropical fruit but the oak aging rounds it out by adding wonderful hints of vanilla. Mazzocco is an excellent winery turning out fabulous wine. Remember this name.
  2012 Seghesio Rockpile Zinfandel ($38)   This Zinfandel from Seghesio Family Vineyards in Healdsburg is an excellent one.  Coming from the Rockpile AVA which is located 1200 feet above Sonoma's Dry Creek, this wine has intense fruit flavors of currant and raspberry with a super smooth finish.
  2012 Francis Ford Coppola Director's Cut Zinfandel ($18)   Another great one from Coppola. This Zin is part of the winery's "Director’s Cut" wines which are limited production, appellation-designate wines from Sonoma. Named after the version of a film that most reflects the director's vision, the Director's Cut wines represent their winemaker's vision of varietal wines. This Zinfandel is no exception. Intense flavors and super smooth. "That's a wrap!"
  2013 Earthquake Lodi Zinfandel ($21)   I've always enjoyed Zinfandel and know that Lodi is producing a bunch of good ones. But, this one was an unexpected delight. Nice big fruit flavors and a healthy dose of oak result in a terrific Zinfandel with great character. Look for this this one!   
  2013 Balletto Russian River Valley Pinot Noir ($31)   Typically, a Pinot Noir is a light-bodied wine, especially one from the Russian River. But this Balletto Pinot Noir is much more of a medium-bodied wine with bigger, richer fruit flavors more comparable to a Merlot.  A very nice wine nonetheless.
  2012 Niner Paso Robles Cabernet Sauvignon ($28)   One doesn't typically think of Paso Robles when first considering a Cabernet Sauvignon. But, you definitely need to. This is an outstanding Cab with super fruit, moderate tannins and a wonderfully smooth finish. I picked this one up at the winery during my last visit and now wish I gotten more. Really good!
  2012 Hook & Ladder Russian River Zinfandel ($23)   Hook & Ladder is a Russian River favorite turning out dependable good wines.  This Zinfandel is no exception. Nice fruit and finish that goes with wide variety of foods. With a fun tasting room and picnic area, this one's worth stopping in to try next time you are in the Russian River.
  2015 Pessimist Red Blend by Daou Vineyards ($17)   This is one of those labels that I've seen many times but past by. It wasn't until someone mentioned it was from Daou that I took note.  This is a blend of 52% Syrah, 26% Zinfandel, 18% Petite Sirah, 3% Tannat and 1% Grenache. You get the big full-bodied Syrah, but the Zinfandel comes through too. It's a really nice blend. And, great wine at the price-point.
  2013 Daou Cabernet Sauvignon ($50)   While still a young Cab, this one from Daou in Paso Robles is a "Wow!"  Daou is making some great wines. Their "regular" Cabernet Sauvignon is terrific at $20, but this well beyond and is an exceptional wine.  And, it will only get better with age. Worth the splurge!
  2015 Hess Collection Allomi Napa Cabernet Sauvignon ($32)   At this point, one would assume that a 2015 Napa Cab is a bit too young to be ready. And, while that may be so, this Cab is already terrific. It is a blend of 92% Cabernet Sauvignon, 6% Petite Sirah and 2% Petite Verdot.  With aromas of plum, fig and raisin, and it's oak aging provides wonderful vanilla and chocolate undertones.  This Cab has unusually bright fruit flavors, is super smooth and easy. This one should only get better with age, which means it will go from terrific now to spectacular with time.   This is one that is worth getting a case and enjoying a bottle each year to experience it exceptional development. Cheers!
  2014 Hess Collection Mount Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon ($65)   Wow! Napa turns out great Cabs, and this is one of them. The blend of 81% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec and 3% Petite Verdot yields a bold yet somehow delicate collection of dark fruit flavors. Its oak aging weaves in hints of chocolate, vanilla and caramel. And the finish. Oh my!  I think it's still going.  This wine has an amazingly long and velvety smooth finish like nothing I've experienced lately.  If you're looking for a great Cab, this one will delight!
  2016 J. Lohr Gesture Viognier ($30)   Picked this one up during my recent visit to J. Lohr in Paso Robles. This Viognier is amazing. It has great fresh flavors and nice acidity while still being subtle and not over-powering.  The grapes are sourced from the Adelaida District of western Paso Robles and produce aromas of orange blossom, apricot, jasmine, and wet stone.  The winemaker notes describe it best with these aromas being complemented by the rich, balanced palate of ripe pear, Meyer lemon, white peach, and a long, textured finish.  A really great one worth seeking out!
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