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Sonoma County

Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

Louis M. Martini Sonoma County Cabernet Sauvignon 2013

One of Napa Valley's best kept secrets, Louis M. Martini's 2013 Sonoma Cabernet Sauvignon is brimming with juicy blackberries, blackcurrants, and cassis. Leather, dried leaves, and trail dust along with an attractive top note of vanilla round out the nose. It's sleek and softly textured on the palate with fine tannins and a medium+ finish. At this point in its evolution, it's totally accessible and offers real drinking pleasure for a modest price. Sample Louis M. Martini 9.0 Points...

Au Contraire Pinot Noir 2014

Au Contraire Pinot Noir 2014

The 2014 Au Contraire Pinot Noir is vastly more charming than I expected it to be given the price point. A well-crafted Pinot for less than $25.00 is a rarity and this bottle exceeds expectations. Swoon-worthy aromas of seedy raspberry, black cherry, underbrush, dried rose petal, and warm spice surge from the glass. In the mouth, caressing layers of silky tannins gracefully enfold raspberry turnover and rhubarb compote. It's well-balanced and admittedly hard to put down. 14.3% ABV | Sample Palm Bay International 9.0 Points  ...

Morlet Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Mon Chevalier 2010

Morlet Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon Mon Chevalier 2010

My first Cabernet Sauvignon from Morlet Family Vineyards—I've only been lucky enough to taste and have been dazzled by their sublime Chardonnays. That said, the 2010 Mon Chevalier didn't disappoint, displaying classic Knight's Valley character, it's a treasure trove of cassis, black currants, incense and sandalwood, tar and menthol. Black pepper and spice box. The palate is a layered as the nose, with a dark-fruited succulent core framed in an understory of fine, mouth-coating tannins. 15.0% ABV Morlet Family Vineyards 9.5 Points ...

Rock Wall Wine Co. Jack's Dry Creek Petite Sirah 2014

Rock Wall Wine Co. Jack’s Dry Creek Petite Sirah 2014

Baritone and lush, the 2014 Rock Wall Jack's Dry Creek Petite Sirah is a spicy melange of juicy black cherries, plums, cedar, and bay leaf. Inky and dark in the glass, this Sonoma County Petite Syrah is equally hedonistic on the palate, a riot of black fruit and ripe tannins pierced by a jaunty vein of acidity. 14.8% ABV | Sample Rock Wall Wine Company 8.9 Points...

J Vineyards Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2014

J Vineyards Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2014

Flat out pretty, J Vineyards Estate Grown Pinot Noir 2014 is sourced from the Russian River Valley, and is a shade more nimble than expected. Robed in translucent garnet, and delivering a pent-up array of woodland berries and raspberries still on the vine, underbrush and rose petal and a dusting of warm spice. It's a poised wine, impeccably balanced with silky, fine and fully integrated tannins. A pleasure to drink. Sample J Vineyards 9.2 Points ...

J Vineyards Pinot Noir Monterey, Sonoma, & Santa Barbara Counties 2015

J Vineyards Pinot Noir Monterey, Sonoma, & Santa Barbara Counties 2015

J Vineyards & Winery Pinot Noir is a blend of Pinot Noir from three AVAs: Monterey County, Santa Barbara County and Sonoma County. It's a big, voluptuous wine, not quite opaque and neatly inlaid with black cherry, roasted strawberry, warm brown spices, and decaying rose petal. Silky on entry, with well-integrated tannins—the acidity hits at the midpoint and glides to the close. It’s ever so slightly hot on the finish. 14.6% ABV | Sample J Vineyards 8.8 Points...

Square Peg Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2014

Square Peg Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2014

Lovely purity of fruit in Square Peg's 2014 Estate Block 8 Dry Farmed Pinot Noir from Green Valley. Grown at an 800' elevation a mere eight miles from the Pacific Ocean—winemaker William Knuttel has coaxed red berries from this cool climate Pinot along with nuanced aromas of underbrush, rose petal, dried orange peel, and baking spice. I particularly love this wine's rather linear acid—it courses through a tart cherry and cranberry core, a spray of arrows, homing in on a mouthwatering finish tipped in white pepper. Sample Square Peg Winery 8.9 Points...

J Vineyards Brut Rosé NV

J Vineyards Brut Rosé NV

I had the chance to visit J Vineyards in 2015, and was impressed (no pun intended) by the large Coquard press flanking the processing bay of the winery. The Coquard press is traditionally used by Champagne houses, and is extremely gentle. J's Brut Rosé NV is as I remember it, fresh and vivacious, brimming with red apple skins, fresh from the market raspberries, and white flowers. The color of rose gold, the attack is clean and bright, kissed with pomegranate, pomelo and limestone that meanders to a lingering finish. Sample J Vineyards 8.9 Points...

Louis M. Martini Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

Louis M. Martini Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon 2012

The profile of the 2012 Louis M. Martini Alexander Valley Cabernet Sauvignon is consistent with the profile of the 2013 I reviewed last spring—how did I manage to get the vintages out of order? No matter, these are wines with great aging potential, they can be squirreled away for a decade or more. Black currants, plums, cola, dried mint and aged leather—it's satiny-smooth on the palate, with ample concentration and suave yet ripe tannins. A hedonistic Sonoma Cab with a modest price tag. 14.3% ABV | Sample Louis M. Martini 9.0 Points...

Frei Brothers Dry Creek Zinfandel 2014

Frei Brothers Dry Creek Zinfandel 2014

Blackberries, black cherries, plums, smoke and spice grace the nose of this Dry Creek Zinfandel from Frei Brothers. It's an easy-going Zin, with velvety tannins and a moderate level of acidity. Certainly, this is a food friendly wine, but it's also one that can be enjoyed on its own. As is typical with Dry Creek Zinfandels, there are some nice herbal notes on the back palate; tobacco, cloves, freshly cracked black pepper. 14.9% ABV | Sample Frei Brothers 8.9 Points...