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Central Coast

Murrieta's Well The Whip White Blend 2015

Murrieta’s Well The Whip 2015

"Murietta's Well is a partnership between Philip Wente and Sergio Traverso, the two revitalized the estate and gravity flow winery in 1990 and released The Spur and The Whip in 2010 to commemorate the winery's 20th anniversary. A blend of 33% Sauvignon Blanc, 24% Semillon, 21% Chardonnay, and 12% Orange Muscat, the 2015 Whip is a veritable fruit salad mélange of dried pineapple, cling peaches, bruised pear, lemon verbena, with a dusting of baking spice. Round and glycerol-laden in the mouth without too much weight, the core is sweet, yet balanced with layers of orchard fruit, toasted coconut, and mandarin orange. 13.5% ABV | Sample Murrieta’s Well 9.0 Points...

Murrieta's Well The Spur Red Blend 2014

Murrieta’s Well The Spur 2014

Better on the second day, I recommend decanting on opening — a ripe blend of 48% Cabernet Sauvignon, 20% Petite Sirah, 18% Merlot, 8% Petit Verdot, and 6% Cabernet Franc from Livermore Valley — the 2014 Murietta's Well 'The Spur' opens with notes of blueberry, black raspberry, black cherry, and blackcurrants couched in dark layers of earth, leather, and baking spice. It's fairly plush on entry, with ripe, chewy tannins lending structure to a black-fruited core. 14.5% ABV | Sample Murrieta's Well 9.0 Points...

Ernest & Julio Gallo Signature Series Pinot Noir 2013

Gallo Signature Series Pinot Noir 2013

I prefer Gallo's Signature Series Santa Lucia Highlands Pinot Noir with some age on it—the 2013 offers up a bouquet of that is more dark fruited than red. Blackberries at peak ripeness, a touch of black cherry, vanilla and cola precede a wine that is swathed in fine, velvety tannins. This is a richer, more somber expression of Pinot Noir, one that is lifted by a well-placed vein of acidity and an alluring wisp of pink peppercorn. 14.7% ABV | Sample Gallo Family Wines 9.0 Points...

Robert Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay 2014

Talbott Kali Hart Chardonnay 2014

An excellent value to be found in this estate grown, Santa Lucia Highlands Chardonnay. The site lies just thirteen miles from Carmel Bay, along the northern edge of the valley—planted in 1982, in Corton-Charlemagne Chardonnay clone vines, it's a wine that delivers subtle, layered flavors of smokey baked yellow apples, figs, and lemon that torte strike a precise balance between ripeness and lifted acidity. The core is deliciously creamy, a sensation that gradually subsides to a minerally finish. 14.5% ABV | Sample Talbott Vineyards 8.9 Points...

Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Blanc 2016

Tablas Creek Vineyard Patelin de Tablas Blanc 2016

Tablas Creek has long been one of my favorite Paso Robles producers. From the care they put into their vineyards—biodynamic farming, noisy sheep, a rambunctious trio of winery dogs, and a resident shepherd—the good folks at Tablas turn out elegant wines that are nuanced, superbly balanced and long aging. For the price, they're just that much more attractive. The 2016 Patelin de Tablas is fresh, light, convivial. Lemon curd and yellow apple lifted by a starburst of white mineral acid that courses through the center. Sample Tablas Creek Vineyard 9.1 Points...

Vina Robles WHITE 4 2016

Vina Robles WHITE 4 2016

A prosaic blend of Viognier 45%, Sauvignon Blanc 27%, Verdelho 17%, and Vermentino 11%, the 2016 Vina Robles WHITE4 opens with soft tones of lemon drop and candied orange peel. There is too a slinky herbal undercurrent—but it's diffuse and hard to tease out from this wines mineral foundation. Medium bodied, with a burst of acidity that commands the stage from start to finish. All in all, a nice value. 14.9% ABV | Sample Vina Robles Vineyards & Winery 8.8 Points ...

Adelaida Cellars HMR Estate Vineyard Chardonnay 2016

Adelaida Cellars HMR Estate Vineyard Chardonnay 2016

Eccentric rings of roasted apple, dried honey, lemon curd, orange blossom, and dried Medajool figs greet the taster. The 2016 Adelaida Cellars HMR Estate Vineyard Chardonnay is flatout sexy, silkily textured, with a center of gravity that's nicely balanced against a backdrop of light toast. That classic Paso Robles calcareous vein emerges on the finish—one that exhibits an attractive creaminess and great persistence too. Bravo! Sample Adelaida Cellars 9.1 Points...

Calera Pinot Noir Jensen Vineyard 2005

Calera Pinot Noir Jensen Vineyard 2005

I had the pleasure of sampling the 2004 vintage of the Calera Jensen Vineyard Pinot Noir in 2014. The 2005 is one that I slightly prefer over the 2004—this bottle has developed beautifully and is within its drinking window. The nose, a symphony of leather, earth, spiced apple rings, Rainier cherries, raspberry, and dried lavender. Silky on entry, with a red-fruited core neatly trussed in ultra-fine tannins that subside to a mineral-tipped finish. 14.0% ABV Calera Wine Company 9.2 Points...

Bridlewood Monterey County Pinot Noir 2014

Bridlewood Monterey County Pinot Noir 2014

A nice value with a distinctive underbrush and red cherry note I attribute to Monterey Pinot Noir, particularly the acidity and what it does in the mouth—a bright burst, even though this is a more delicate, fully translucent example from the region. In addition, wafting cherry blossoms, leaves crackling underfoot, instant coffee, a touch of warm spice. It's a wine that neatly conceals it's 14.6% ABV | Sample Bridlewood Estate Winery 8.7 Points    ...

Robert Talbott Sleepy Hollow Vineyard Pinot Noir 2014

Talbott Pinot Noir Sleepy Hollow Vineyard 2014

The brawny side of Pinot Noir, Talbott’s Sleepy Hollow Vineyard is located in the Santa Lucia Highlands. There, Pommard and Dijon clones burrow deep into Chualar gravelly loam soil and sand, resulting in a wine with an equal measure of weight and acidity along with steeped raspberry, cherry, rose hip, underbrush , and spice notes. Bordering on opaque, with a core of cranberries and sour cherries, and taught acidity that crescendos with a burst of saline-edged minerality on the finish. Sample Talbott Vineyards 8.8 Points...