2010 J. Lohr Carol's Vineyard St. Helena Napa Cabernet Sauvignon ($42)   This is a tremendously smooth Cab from Napa. The J. Lohr Carol's Vineyards, named for Jerry Lohr's late wife, are in the perfect location in St. Helena for producing Bordeaux-like wines.  This wine was amazing from the moment the cork was pulled - didn't need any decanting or time to breathe.  Great fruit flavors of dark cherry and black plum with just the right amount of toasted oak. A real treat that I picked up at their Paso Robles tasting room. Can't wait for my next visit!  It's really good!
  2015 Silver Stag Cabernet Sauvignon ($75)   This was an unexpected find and a truly great Napa Cab. Unfortunately, I stuck it away and just recently opened it. Otherwise, I'd have rushed out and bought more. I'll keep my eye open for another one and you should too. Exceptional! 
  2014 Antica Napa Valley Chardonnay ($29)   A wonderful Chardonnay from Atlas Peak in Napa Valley. This one's a real winner. California Chardonnay doesn't get much better!
  2014 Grey Wolf 'The Sentinelle' White Blend ($28)   A great white blend from a favorite winery in Paso Robles. This combination of 40% Roussanne, 40% Marsanne and 20% Viognier is a wonderful wine that combines the nice fruit flavors, but oak aging adds richness and structure to this one. Amazingly well balanced and delicious
  2015 Sean Minor Napa Valley Cabernet Sauvignon ($25)   This one easily make the "Great Wines" section of my reviews, but at the price, it's an outstanding value from Napa Valley that is also worthy of the "Great Values" section. Great black fruit flavors of dark cherry, blackberry, and black currant. And, there's also a hint of raspberry. The oak adds wonderful spices that makes this Cab exceptionally smooth, balanced and finishes with elegance. Look for this one!
  2013 Robert Young Estate Petit Verdot ($39)   I’ve made a few trips to Alexander Valley in Sonoma but hadn’t visited Robert Young until my most recent trip. They’re just off the main highway, but well worth the visit. Every wine I tasted there was outstanding, including this Petit Verdot. It is very rich in flavors and complex with great dark fruit flavors, wonderful oak and an extremely easy finish. This is a great one!
  2012 Lone Madrone Barfendel Red Blend ($38)   Lone Madrone in Paso Robles is another great find that you might otherwise pass by. I am always on the lookout for a great Barbera and this blend of Barbera and Zinfandel (hence Barfendel) was execellent. This blend of 42% Zinfandel, 34% Barbera and 24% Petite Syrah is an outstanding one!
  2009 Hess Collection 19 Block Cuvée ($25)   I’ve come to really enjoy the Hess Collection wines and this red blend is no exception. And, at this price, it a steal. A great blending of Malbec, Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon that’s just amazing!
  2016 MacPhail The Flyer Pinot Noir ($50)   If you love Pinot Noir, this one is for you! It’s got wonderfully delicate flavors of red cherry and raspberry, very easy tannin and a melt in your mouth finish.  MacPhail wines are a collaboration between Tim and Sabrina Persson, 5th generation Hess Family, and well-known Winemaker Matt Courtney.  These amazing Pinot Noir grapes are from the Sangiacomo Lakeville Vineyards in the Petaluma Gap region of the Sonoma Coast.  Produced from the 777 and 23 clones of Pinot Noir, these hand-picked grapes are 100% de-stemmed, undergo 100% Native Fermentation and spend 11 months in 100% French oak with 30% of it being new oak. The unfined and unfiltered wine was directly bottled.  As Winemaker Matt Courtney says, this wine has “… provocative layers of black fruits - specifically dried cherries and black raspberries that are supported by beautiful acidity and silky tannins. A hint of vanilla oak sweetness shows through a lengthy and persistent finish .” I can’t agree more! As a Sonoma Pinot lover, this one’s tops! The Flyer is not to be missed. It’s super!   Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission:  I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.  Sample Provided by Donna White of Donna White Communications
  2015 Left Coast Cellars Right Bank Pinot Noir ($42)   Here’s another very nice Pinot Noir from Left Coast Cellars. This ‘Right Bank’ Pinot is from their highest elevation vineyard that is planted entirely with Pommard clone Pinot Noir. From 100% Pinot Noir, this wine gets 50% fermentation in French Oak and 50% in Stainless Steel. It is then aged 19 months in 100% French oak.  As with most Pinot’s from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this one does indeed have the dark fruit flavors along with the forest floor aromas.  And, while I do read winery notes and back labels, they are often generic or lean a bit too much on the marketing side of things. But, in the case of this wine, I have to say that their notes are quite accurate.  The Winemaker’s Tasting Notes state “ Our Right Bank Pinot Noir overflows the glass with black cherry, currant, and forest floor aromas. Dark, rich flavors of plum and black fig intertwine with a rich texture and well-dressed tannins. ” I think that’s pretty well said.  Then, the back label states that “ The intensity of the summer sun and the long growing season creates a Pinot Noir that can be characterized as robust with some muscle .” Indeed! That’s what Oregon Pinot is all about.  So, if you love the Pinot’s of Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this Left Coast ‘Right Bank’ is right on the mark. Cheers!   Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission:  I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.  Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications
  2015 Left Coast Cellars Truffle Hill Pinot Noir ($42)   This Truffle Hill Pinot Noir is another excellent offering from Oregon’s Left Coast Cellars. It gets its name from the five-acre vineyard that is also home to four acres of European Black Truffle-inoculated hazelnut trees, shrub roses and holly oaks.  Produced from 100% Wadenswil 3309 clone Pinot Noir, it is fermented in 65% French oak and 35% stainless steel. Then, it spends 19 months aging in 70% French oak and 30% neutral French oak.  As is with most Pinot Noir from Oregon’s Willamette Valley, this one has black fruit and forest floor aromas, crisp raspberry along with dark fruit flavors of plum, currant, and black cherry. It has firm tannin and distinct acidity on the finish.  This is a delightful Pinot Noir that should be on your watch list. It’s a good one!   Disclosure of Wine Sample Submission:  I received this wine at no cost for review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.  Sample Provided by Will Rogers of Donna White Communications
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