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Ken Brown Rancho La Vina Vineyard Pinot Noir 2010

Pinot Noir lovers need to introduce themselves to Ken Brown Wines!

Located on the southern edge of the Sta. Rita Hills AVA, the winery specializes in small lot Pinot Noirs with about 3,000 cases produced annually with most lots at less than 250 cases.

I highly recommend that you stop in for a visit the next time you are in Santa Barbara as all of his wines are stunning and well priced.

The 2010 Ken Brown Rancho La Vina Vineyard Pinot Noir is absolutely irresistible!

The only thing more incredible is that the bottle only cost $39, this is especially striking when you consider that only 166 cases of the Rancho La Vina Pinot were produced in 2010.

This is a big, expressive effort whose brilliant violet color and enticing fruit aromas are just a precursor of what is to follow.

Intense, mouthwatering black cherry and blueberry flavors overwhelm the palate, while licorice and hints of raspberry can be detected in the lush rounded tannins on the exquisite finish.

I rate the wine a 9.2 on a 10 point scale.

 

 

 

Lewis Cellars Alec’s Blend 2015

 

The 2015 Lewis Cellars Alec’s Blend is a wonderfully decadent effort.

The wine is balanced and loaded with luscious fruit, racy acids and plush dusty tannins.

Syrah forms the backbone of the blend at 50%, followed by 30% Merlot, 11% Cab Franc and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon, and the fruit was sourced across selected vineyards throughout Napa Valley.

The juice explodes across the palate with waves of blackberry and blueberry flavors that are intertwined with chocolate, sweet creamy oak, licorice baking spices and flowers.

The unbridled intensity and energy that gushes from the glass truly overpowers and awakens the senses, and is more than you would expect from a wine that costs just under $60.

Now “Old World Enthusiasts” may not appreciate this opulent style, but I thoroughly enjoyed it and highly recommend it as well.

I give this wine a rating of 9.2 on a 10 point scale.

2005 Cliff Lede Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

 

 

What a massive and powerful Napa Cab!


The 2005 Cliff Lede Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon is bursting with concentrated flavors of blackberry and plums that are balanced by the cinnamon and licorice infused velvet tannins that cling incessantly on the palate.

Even after 12 years, this dark purple juice has great structure replete with an abundance of youthful fruit which together should allow this wine to continue to age another 15+ years.

I really loved this wine, and its original cost of $65 gives it a ridiculously high quality to price ratio.

 

2007 Cakebread Benchland Select

 

 

The 2007 Cakebread Benchland Select is simply gorgeous!

Fruit for this 100% Cabernet Sauvignon is sourced almost evenly from Rutherford (56%) and Oakville (44%).

After maturing for almost 10 years in the cellar, the wine is now perfectly balanced as delicious ripe fruit and juicy acids are harmonized and supported by soft dusty tannins.

The juice is a beautiful, inky purple almost black color with aromas of licorice and blackberry on the nose.

Lush flavors of dark berries, plum and cinnamon are followed by chocolate and leather with hints of earth on the satisfying and long dry finish.

Although drinking exceptionally now, the experience is amplified even more when paired with food like this roasted filet mignon.

Limited quantities of this Cab can be found for $200 or more, but current vintages retail for about $110 – $120.

2014 Goosecross Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

 

Goosecross Cellars is a boutique winery in Yountville, Napa Valley that produces about 7,000 cases of wine annually.

Their focus is mainly on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Red Blends as well as Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc, and most of their offerings range between $27 and $82.

The 2014 Goosecross Estate Cabernet Sauvignon is a lush, fruit forward effort with vibrant blackberry and blueberry fruit that wash across the palate and are followed by generous amounts of cinnamon and nuts on the creamy long finish.

This youthful Cab is drinking wonderfully now, and should provide enjoyment over the next 7 – 10 years, and at a price of $54 it won’t break the bank!

Rocca Grigsby Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2010

The 2010 Rocca Grigsby Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon is an intense and sophisticated Cab that is firing on all cylinders.

The silky ripe fruit and juicy acids are in perfect harmony with the velvet tannins that stretch across the long finish.

A dazzling deep purple with intoxicating fragrances of violets, berries and forest floor waffling up from the glass.

Only to be outdone by the killer combination of dark plum, blackberry, cedar and cinnamon flavors that cascade across the palate, highlighting different components on each sip.

Rocca is a boutique winery in Yountville with an annual case production of 2,200 across a 6 wine portfolio focused on Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Syrah.

These limited production wines make great Christmas gifts for the oenophiles on your shopping list, as 5 of the 6 wines retail between $45-$100.

The Rocca Grigsby Cabernet can be found today between $70-$80 which is a great price for such a high quality Napa Cabernet!

 

Lafond Syrah 2011

Sta. Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County produces high quality Syrah and Pinot Noir at very attractive prices.

Lafond Winery in Sta. Rita Hills has been producing fabulous Chardonnay, Pinot Noir and Syrah since the 1970s.

The 2011 Lafond Syrah SRH is a fun wine.  Blueberry and floral aromas are followed by pepper and cola flavors.

There is just enough acidity to balance the dusty tannins. 

This medium body wine is ready to drink now or over the next 2 years.

Bargain hunters will be delighted by the $23 price tag, and just as happy with the juice inside

Sanford Pinot Noir

Delille Cellars Grand Ciel from Red Mountain 2010

Bargain Hunters Delight! Big Values in California Wine Country!

Santa Rita Hills in Santa Barbara County is a treasure trove for Pinot Noir enthusiasts.

The 2012 Sanford Sta. Rita Hills Pinot Noir is the winery’s entry level Pinot and is a prime example of what this region has to offer.

Crisp raspberry, black cherry and cola flavors jump from the glass and captivate your tastebuds.

While mouthwatering acids and supple tannins allows it to pair neatly with poultry and pork dishes or to be enjoyed by itself.

And for $30 this wine is a steal!

 

Carter Cellars To Kalon OG

No better way to kickoff the weekend than with a bottle of the 2012 Carter Cellars To Kalon The O.G.

This lively wine showcases dark berries and mocha flavors with a silky long finish.

The wine retails for $150.

Turley “Buck” Cobb Zinfandel Amador County

The 2015 Turley Buck Cobb Vineyard Zinfandel from Amador County, California is not your typical jammy Zinfandel.

Instead, it is a well structured and elegant wine that has sweet blueberry and licorice on the nose. Smooth raspberry and spicy cinnamon flavors followed by zesty pepper and minerals wash across your tastebuds before leaving dusty plum notes on the finish.

This $50 effort was a pleasure to drink and is well worth the hunt to find.