Tag-Archive for ◊ Mendocino ◊

23 Apr 2009 2006 Jeriko Estate, Rose, Mendocino
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Appearance: light salmon with hint of orange core -> water-white rim

Nose: clean, medium- intensity aromas of light dried cherries and cranberry

Palate: acidity medium+, medium+ intensity flavors of dried cherries, cranberry, light chalky tannins (noticable and a bit distracting on the finish), medium length, medium alcohol (it is noticable due to the dryness and the fruit is drying out). 

Quality: The wine is a commercial quality wine that is at its peak — drink now.  The wine will not get any better due to the drying flavors, noticable tannins on the finish and noticable alcohol.

18 Apr 2009 2006 Jeriko Estate, Pinot Noir, Mendocino
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Appearance: medium- ruby core -> water-white rim

Nose: clean medium intensity simple aromas of red cherry, cranberry and red currants.

Palate: medium+ angular acidity, medium+ alcohol (slightly hot), medium- non-integrated tannins, medium length, medium+ intensity flavors of red cherry, red currant with a slightly bitter and acidity finish.

Quality: The wine is an average commercial quality targeted at mid-range by the glass pricing — $17-20 / bottle.

Notes: The wine was produced using organically-grown grapes.

16 Apr 2009 2006 Eaglepoint Ranch Winery, Grenache, Mendocino

Appearance: medium, slightly cloudy ruby core with water-white rim

Nose: medium intensity aromas of raspberry, strawberry, red fruit, warm spice

Palate: medium+ intensity, medium- soft tannins, medium- concentration/body, medium alcohol, medium+ acidity, layered flavors of fresh raspberry, cranberry, baking spices with a slightly lactic medium+ length finish.  This vintage is a thinner Grenache than the 2005 vintage.

Quality: The wine is a good to very good quality due to the overall balance, tipicity and pleasant mouthfeel.

09 Apr 2009 Taste of Mendocino – April 7th, 2009

The Taste of Mendocino was put on by the Associate of Mendocino County Grapegrowers at the Golden Gate Club at The Presidio in San Francisco.  The wine producers of Mendocino represented all of the 11 approved and pending AVAs in the larger North Coast appellation.  The sub-AVAs are: Anderson Valley (Sept 1983), Cole Ranch (May 1983), Covelo (March 2006), Dos Rios (Nov. 2005), McDowell Valley (Feb. 1987), Mendocino (July 1984), Mendocino Ridge (Dec. 1997), Potter Valley (Nov. 1983), Redwood Valley (Feb 1997), Sanel Valley (pending), Ukiah Valley (pending), and Yorkville Highlands (June 1998).  I noticed that the wines coming out of Potter Valley and Redwood Valley are showing quite a bit of complexity and layered aromas and flavors — keep an eye out for wines coming out of these sub-AVAs.

The event had 65 wineries presenting their wines from the trade and medias consideration.  I was only able to taste a few of the wines at the event.  Overall, the quality of the wines were quite good and fairly consistent.  The value for money factor is very good for the Mendocino wines in general — keep an eye out for them!

I was able to taste the following wines:

A Donkey and Goat Winery:  2008 Grenache Rose – McDowell Valley ($10.64 / 168 cases); It was a very nice light bodies and balanced Grenache Rose.  2007 Syrah – Broken Leg Vineyard ($24.61 / 245 cases); It was big, meaty syrah that was quite pleasant.  2006 Syrah – Perli Vineyard ($37 / 48 cases); this was a serious syrah and worth giving a try.  It was fun to catch up with Tracey Brandt as she and her husband starting making wine at Crushpad just slightly before I did.  We had met several times at the old Crushpad location on Bryant. 

Anthill Farms Winery:  The distributor for Anthill Farms was pouring at the event.  The Anthill Farms wines are very impressive.  The wines are some of the best examples of Anderson Valley Pinot Noir you will find.  The folks at Anthill Farms are making some impressive wines — seek out this wine to try it and share with good friends!

Bink Wines: The winemaker, Deborah Schatzlein, was pouring the wine at the table — always nice to meet the winemaker!  I tried just the 2005 Pinot Noir – Weir Vineyard ($40 / 300 cases) which was very enjoyable!  It has improved in the bottle since the WBC last year where they were pouring it at the live blogging event.

Brutocao Cellars: I tried several of the wines being poured and enjoyed all of them.  I can strongly recommend the 2006 Pinot Noir – Estate ($26 / 1770 cases) [It did very well in the 7th Annual Pinot Noir Summit blind-tasting -- more details to come in the near future.] and the 2005 Coro – Estate (50% zinfandel, 20% sangiovese, 15% barbera, 15% syrah).  Coro is blended wine that can only be produced in the Mendocino area and must have at least 40% zinfandel and a maximum of 70% in the blend, 2nd Tier Varietals: Percentage of any ONE not to exceed Zinfandel as majority component and max of 5% out of vintage. Syrah, Petite Sirah, Carignane, Sangiovese, Grenache, Dolcetto, Charbono, Barbera, Primitivo; Free Play: Up to 10% of total blend from any single or combination of vinifera source. – See this link for the entire Coro protocol.  The Coro was the best of the 5 that I tried at the event!

Chance Creek Winery: I tried all the wines and preferred the 2006 Sauvignon Blanc – SB ($21 / 200 cases) it reminded me of a well-down Bordeaux Blanc; 2005 Sangiovese ($17 / 990 cases) was a nice combination off Dark fruit, cedar, earth will a nice overall balance.

Chiarito Vineyard: I enjoyed the 2006 Nero D’Avola ($50 / 60 cases) quite a bit — a good example of Nero D’ Avola, it is on par with some of the best wines I have tasted out of Sicily [Nose: medium intensity -- perfume, red fruit; palate: juicy, red fruit (cherry and raspberry), with licorice; The 2005 Zinfandel was a nice example of Mendocino zinfandel but not the best [Appearance: opaque ruby/purple; Nose: medium intensity -- perfrume, slight medicinal quality, dried red fruit; Palate: medium, soft tannins, flavors of ripe cherry, cranberry and red currants with medium+ acidity].

Copain Wines: The wines from Copain were very good (as expected).  I had an interesting discussion about how the syrahs were produced — trying to get some pointers for my syrah!  I was told that the syrahs all had at least 15% whole clusters in the fermentation, the cap management protocol is very interesting (stopping of grapes via feet and only up to two times a day if that many — slow fermentation with minimal cap management).  I wonder how they manage to get such serious extraction and dark colors in their wines!.  The 2007 Syrah – Baker Vineyard ($35 / 205 cases) was very good with some serious aging potential. 

Eaglepoint Ranch Vineyard: I was hoping to say hello to Casey and find out how things are going at the vineyard this year — I love the syrah and petite sirah grown by Casey!  However, he was not able to attend the event which was unfortunate.

Frey Vineyards: The wines were a bit on the simple side but enjoyable quaffing wines.  The 2005 Syrah – Biodynamic ($20 / 1260 cases) was enjoyable and would be great with BBQ.

Graziano Family of Wines: Greg Graziano the winemaker was pouring at the event.  It was really enjoyable discussing the wines and grape growing in Mendocino.  Many of the wineries get at least of their grapes from the Graziano family.  I enjoyed the  2005 Barbera – Enotria ($17 / 900 cases), 2005 Coro ($37.50 / 466 cases) and a fantastic late-harvest Chenin blanc ($17 for 375ml).  The Chenin Blanc could have been out of the Loire in a good year; I highly recommend seeking this out!

Handley Cellars: Both of the Pinot Noirs are worth trying — 2006 Pinot Noir – Anderson Valley ($30 / 4062 cases) and 2006 Pinot Noir – Mendocino County ($25 / 1516 cases).

Lazy Creek Vineyards: They are a most stop when you are visiting the Anderson Valley.  They make really good Pinot Noir.  The 2006 Pinot Noir – Anderson Valley ($39 / 730 cases) is worth seeking out!

Lolonis Winery: I have really enjoyed their wine for the last 7 to 8 years.  They are a very consistent producer of reasonably priced wines.  The 2005 Petite Sirah- Orpheus ($38 / 1000 cases) is very good, very dark color, blue and black fruit will a balanced acidity that will allow this wine to age for at least 10 years.  If you like Petite Sirah, go get a bottle or two of this!  The 2002 Petros – Redwood Valley ($50 / 800 cases) was drinking very well but should not be held more than another 2 or 3 years.

McNnab Ridge Winery: I really enjoyed the 2006 Zinfandel – Cononiah Vineyard, Potter Valley ($22 / 200 cases).  It was like a combination of very good Mendocino Zinfandel and Anderson Valley Pinot Noir — silky tannins, lovely perfume, floral elements with spicy, red fruit backbone.  The 2005 Coro ($37 / 172 cases) as well.

Naughty Boy Vineyards: The 2006 Pinot Noir ($24.90 / 642 cases) was made by Greg Graziano.  The Pinot Noir had violets, cherry (red and black) on the nose; palate had cherry, kirsch, floral with a medium body, overall very balanced in intensity, acidity and alcohol with complexity in the aroma and flavor profile.

Neese Vineyards: I tried both the 2002 and 2003 Zinfandels ($14.99 and $13.40 respectively).  The zinfandels were very different but were clearly from Mendocino — light to medium body, lots of red fruit, hint of cedar and some mild spice.  The wines were not great but for the price point not a bad value.

Parducci Wine Cellars: The 2005 Coro ($35 / 395 cases) was quite enjoyable but did not have the balance and complexity of most of the other Coros.  The wine may just need to have more time in the bottle for the blend to settle down.

Roederer Estate: The sparkling wines of Roederer are almost always a very good value for the money especially being produced in the US vs. Champagnes.  The 2002 l’Ermitage ($45 / 8300 cases) was wonderful; light pear, apple with good yeast, toast and crisp acidity.  It would be easy to sit down in the warm sun with a good friend and finish off a bottle of this before you knew it!

Saracina Vineyards: I tried the 2007 Atrea — “The Choir” ($20 / 836 cases) but was not impressed.  The blend of 76% Roussanne and 24% Viognier should have been much more aromatic and the palate weight was too heavy due to the large amount of Viognier in the blend.  I prefer a lighter style of white Rhone Blend (see Lionheart Wines 2007 The Angel’s Share, Saralee’s Vineyard, Russian River Valley). 

Terra Savia: I had a good talk with Jim Milone, the winemaker, regarding how a small winery / label can be successful.  He has been in the wine business for 30 years.  He advice was start small and slowly build up the brand and keep your prices down so you can ride out the three year cycles of what is in vogue and what is not in vogue.  His 2005 Petit Verdot – Reserve ($15 / 450 cases) was a nice, solid example of Petit Verdot — red fruit, a bit of floral, warm spices o’plenty; for the price it is a great way to get introduced to Petit Verdot which is normally very expensive due to the limited amounts that are grown in California.

04 Feb 2009 19th Annual Zap tasting at Fort Mason – January 31, 2009

It was a beautiful day in the SF Bay Area!  The tasting event was really quite nice as we got in with the trade (it is much more sane than the general tasting….1500 vs. 10,000 people).  The 2006 vintage appears to be fairly good with some standouts especially in the Mendocino region.  Zinfandel has a very wide range of aroma/flavor descriptors which range from a earthy, spicey (fresh cracked black pepper) to jammy, intense fruit (often with dried fruit characteristics).  At the ZAP grand tasting, the range seems to be best described by the Bradford Mountain Winery 2006 Grist Vineyard on the cracker pepper range to the Calcareous Vineyard 2006 Kate’s Vineryard, Paso Robles.  The overall vintage of 2006 seems to be above average.  Mendocino had a very good showing in the 2006 vinetage while Napa Valley did not show terribly well based on my limited tasting.  Note: Given the number of tastings in short period of time — as it has been said, “your milage my vary”.  Please consider this a relative rating of quality.

Favorite wineries:
Bradford Mountain Winery
Calcarerous Vineyards
Selby Winery
Storrs Winery
Renwood Winery

The scale is based on 5 stars being the best possible.  Normally, I would do a 100 point scale or a WSET based detail wine description however I did not have time to do that type of analysis. 

Artezin Wines (www.artezinwines.com)
3.5 stars — 2007 Mendocino County, Zinfandel — $18
Aroma: raspberry, cherry; Palate: medium- body, light and pleasing.  This is a light  body wine that is nice now but will probably not hold longer than 12 to 18 months from now — a great summer BBQ wine.

Bella Vineyards & Wine Caves (www.bellaWinery.com)
2.5 to 3 stars — 2006 Lily hill vineyard, Dry Creek Valley — $25
Aroma: banana, blue fruit, baby powder; Palate: similar to aromas plus dried bananas but has a medium+ concentration.   The wine could have been much more given the concentration but the banana flavor/aroma is distracting.

2 stars — 2006 Dry Creek — $35
Aroma: sulphur and wet cedar on the nose; palate follows the nose.

Bradford Mountain Winery – Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.bradfordmountain.com)
3.5 – 4 stars: 2006 Grist Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley:
Aromas: cracked black pepper, baking spices, red fruit; palate: medium body, medium+ length, flavors: cracked black pepper, baking spices, red fruit

4 stars: 2005 “El Grandate”, fortified wine, 18.5%abv, 10% residule sugar (100 grams/liter):
Aromas: raisin, fig, dried currants, dried fruits; Palate: raisin,s fig, dried currants, medium+ concentrations.
This is a very nice, balanced fortified wine — good example of what can be done with zinfandel made in the port style of fortified wines.

Calcarerous Vineyard – Paso Robles, Central Coast (www.calcareous.com)
3.5 – 4 stars: 2005 “Twisted Sisters”, Kate’s Vineyard, Paso Robles — $29
Aromas: meat, soy sauce (slight), black fruit; Palate: red cherry, pomegranite, chalky/mineral, slightly dried fruit, medium+ concentration.

4 stars: 2006 Kate’s Vineyard, Paso Robles — $30
Aromas: pronounced intensity — blue fruit (boysenberry, blueberry); Color: opaque Ruby core -> ruby rim; Palate: blue fruit (boysenberry, blueberry), light baking spice; medium + concentration.
This wine has a nice level of fruit intensity, layered flavors, medium+ palate intensity.  The wine will evolved into something really nice over the next 2 years.

Cosentino Winery — Yountville, Napa Valley (www.cosentinowinery.com)
2.5 – 3 stars: 2006 Estate, Ancient Vines, Lodi — $40
Aromas: red fruit, very ripe fruit bordering on dried fruit; the fruit is a bit too dry and does not bode well for the longevity of this wine.

Dancing Lady Wines — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.dancingladywines.com)
3 stars — 2006 Old Vine & Old Vine Clone, Della Costa Family Vineyard, Alexander Valley – $20
Aromas: medium+ intensity, black fruit, red fruit; Palate: medium- tannins which are a bit drying.
The wine is definitely a drink now as the fruit is starting to taste dried up.  It is nice now but will not hold more than 12 to 18 months.
Note: this wine won a silver at the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition.

3.5 – 4 stars — 2007 Old Vine, Della Costa Family Vineyard, Alexander Valley — $30
Aromas: sweet mincemeat pie, cranberry; palate: concentration medium+, flavors: cranberry, cherry, strawberry.
The wine as a nice concentration, balance of aroma/flavor intensity and balanced acidity.  The wine is drink now but can be held for 2 to 3 years.
Note: this wine won a gold at the 2009 San Francisco Chronicle Wine competition.

D-Cubed Cellars — St. Helena, Napa Valley (www.DCubedCellars.com)
3 stars: 2006 Napa Valley — $27
Aromas/Flavors: dried red cherry, red fruit

Downing Family Vineyards — Napa, Napa Valley (www.DFWines.com)
2 to 2.5 stars — 2006 H & H Vineyard, Oakville — $29
Aromas: dried fruit, prune, diacyel (buttery); Palate: dried red fruit, oak. 
The wine tasted like it had been added a bit too long in oak as the fruit was starting to dry out vs. the tannins in the wine.  The wine should be drank now and not held.

Edmeades — Redwood Valley, Mendocino (www.edmeades.com)
4 – 4.5 stars: 2005 Piffero Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge
Aromas: pronounced intensity, ripe fruit, floral, cedar; Palate: red cherry, raspberry, cedar, with smoke on the finish; medium+ concentration, very balanced wine.

4 stars: 2007 Zinfandel, Mendocino County — $18
Aromas: blueberry, dark cherry, perfume; Palate: blueberry, dark cherry, perfume — layered, complex and very well balanced; medium+ length.
This wine is a great value for the money! It is smooth, easy drinking with a surprising level of complexity for low priced premium level wine.

3 to 3.5 stars: 2006 Ciapusci Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge, Ciapusci, Mendocino Ridge — $30
Color: medium ruby; Aromas: perfume, blue fruit; Palate: tart red cherry, blueberry, mineral.
This is a lean wine with more of an old world style which is suprising for Edmeades.

4 stars: 2006 Zeni Vineyard, Mendocino Ridge
Aroma: smoke, violets, Rainier cherry; Palate: black fruit, Rainier cherry; Medium+ concentration

Four Vines Winery — Paso Robles, Central Coast (www.fourvines.com)
3.5 stars: 2006 Maverick, Amador County
Aroma: violets, red fruit; Palate: Medium+ concentration; flavors — red cherry; medium- tannins.
The wine is at its peak from now until the next 6 months — do not cellar this wine!  If you have this wine, please break out and enjoy!

2.5 to 3 stars: 2006 Biker, Paso Robles
Aroma: slight soy sauce, red fruit; Palate: medium- tannins which are drying on the finish, red fruit, cranberry.

Note: I have really enjoyed the Four Vines wines in the past several years.  However, the quality of the wine seems to have slipped a bit.  I was disappointed with the wines I tried.

Gamba vineyards and Winery — Fulton, N. Sonoma (www.GambaWinery.com)
3.5 stars: 2007 Estate Vineyard, Old Vine, Russian River Valley — $45
Aromas: Medium intensity; red currant, cranberry; Palate: red currant, red cranberry; Medium+ acidity.
The wine was nicely balanced with lively acidity that should help it age.  The style of this wine is a change from the previous two vintages which is more concentrated, fruit bomb old vine.  I would like to see Gus (the winemaker) take the style to between the 2005 and 2007 vintage — it would be more elegant and complex.

3 stars: 2007 Moratto Vineyard, Old Vine, Russian River Valley — $45
Aroma: dried red fruit, hint of cracked black pepper; Palate: medium slightly drying tannins, flavors = dried red fruit, slight cracked black pepper.

Hendry — Napa, Napa valley (www.HendryWines.com)
3 stars: 2006 Block 7 & 22, Napa Valley — $30
Aroma: medium+ intensity, slightly lactic, red fruit; Palate: black cherry, blackberry; medium+ acidity, medium+ length.
The wine was not a good as the last several vintages of the Block 7 zinfandel.  The wine is enjoyable now but will not hold more than 2 years.

Howell Mountain Vineyards — Rutherford, Napa Valley (www.HowellMountain.com)
2.5 stars: 2006 Black Sears, Napa County, Howell Mountain — $38
Aroma: medium+ intensity, dried red and black fruit (raisin, prune); Palate: Medium+ drying tannins, flavors of dried fruit, prune. 
This wine is clearly made from mountain fruit given the tannins.  The fruit seems to have been left too long on the wine given the dried fruit characteristics coming through so strongly.

Klinker Brick Winery — Lodi, Central Valley (www.klinkerbrickwinery.com)
3.5 to 4 stars: 2006 Old Vine, Lodi — $18
Nose: floral (violet), fresh bread (brioche), banana, red fruit, cola, root beer; Palate: flavor matched the aromas, medium+ concentration, very balanced.
This is a great value, easy to get and good with so many different foods.

Ledson Winery & Vineyards — Kenwood, Sonoma Valley (www.ledson.com)
3 stars: 2005 Old Vine, Mendocino County — $36
Aroma: red fruit; Palate: medium+ fine-grained tannins, flavors: cherry, baking spice

2.5 to 3 stars: 2005 Old Vine, Sonoma County — $40
Aroma: concentrated fruit, savory; Palate: Medium+ intensity; flavors=red and black fruit, boysenberry, savory, black fruit

Limerick Lane Cellars — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.limericklanewines.com)
3 stars — 2006 Collins Vineyard, Zinfandel, Russian River Valley — $30
Aroma: slightly reduced, black & red fruit, slight black pepper, earthy; Palate: slightly drying tannins; red druit, black fruit, black olive, tangy finish.

This wine was not as good as prior vintages which is unfortunately as Limerick Lane Cellars makes tremendous and distinctive tannins — velvety soft tannins, blue fruit on nose/palate, and explosive in the mouth.

Mauritson Family Winery — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.mauritsonwines.com)
3 stars — 2006 Cemetery Vineyard, Rockpile — $39
Aroma: floral, red fruit, cedar; Palate: medium+ concentration, red fruit; medium+ tannins (noticable)

Mazzocco Winery — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.mazzocco.com)
4 stars — Pony Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley — $32
Aroma/Palate: red cherry, raspberry; Palate: medium+ concentration, round mouthfeel, silky tannins –> overall very balanced

Novy Family Wines — Santa Rosa, N. Sonoma (www.NovyFamilyWines.com)
4 stars: 2006 Papera Ranch Vineyard, Russian River Valley — $33
Aroma: toasted oak, carmel, blue fruit (boysenberry, blueberry); Palate: medium+ concentration, medium, silky tannins; flavors: christmas cake (cloves, allspice), blue fruit, toasted oak

Opolo Vineyards — Paso Robles, Central Coast (www.opolo.com)
3.5 to 4 stars: 2006 Summit Creek Vineyard, Paso Robles, Westside — $19
Aroma: black fruit( cherry, currant), floral; Palate: medium+ concentration, flavors: caramelized sugar, jammy, red & black fruit; medium+ acidity

Outpost Estate Wines — Angwin, Napa Valley (www.outpostwines.com)
2.5 to 3 stars: 2006 Outpost vineyard, Napa valley, Howell Mountain — $45
Aroma: oak, cedar, red fruit (raspberry), black pepper, violets, yellow mustard; Palate: oak, cedar, raspberry, spicy and tangy acidity on finish
The yellow mustard aroma is quite distracting.

Perry Creek Winery — Fair Play, Sierra Foothills (www.perrycreek.com)
2 stars: 2006 Zinman, Sierra Foothills — $14
Aroma: sulphur, herbaceous; Palate: herbaceous; length: medium-
The wine was on the thin side and not nearly as good as the last few vintages of this wine.

Renwood Winery — Plymouth, Sierra Foothills (www.renwood.com)
3.5 stars — 2006 Jack Rabbit Vineyard
Aroma: light intensity; red fruit, sweet spices; Palate: light body, Medium+ length

3.5 stars — 2005 Grandmere, Amador County — $35
Aroma: medium+ intensity — Cherry, cola (nearly pinot noir); Palate: red cherry, pomegranite; medium- concentration.

3.5 stars — 2005 Old Vine, Amador County — $18
Aroma: red fruit (currant, cherry), medium intensity; Palate: medium- tannins, flavors: red fruit, cherry, raspberry, red currant –> light, clean finish

Rosenblum Cellars — Alameda, Bay Area (www.RosenblumCellars.com)
4 stars — 2006 Rockpile Road Vineyard, Rockpile — $35
Aroma: pronounced intensity; aromas: maple syrup; Palate: blackberry, blackberry, baking spice, black cherry, boysenberry; medium+ concentration.
This is a made in the typical Rosenblum fruit bomb style of wines.

Selby Winery — Healdsburg, N. Sonoma (www.SelbyWinery.com)
4 to 4.5 stars: 2007 Bobcat, Sonoma County — $34
A bit closed down on the nose; Aroma: blue fruit, raspberry; Palate: blue fruit, raspberry
This is a very balanced wine with good concentrated but not great concentration.

3.5 to 4 stars: 2007 Old Vines, Sonoma County — $28
Aroma: boysenberry, red cherry, black cherry; Palate: eucalyptus, blue fruit; medium+ concentrated

Carol Shelton Wines — Santa Rosa, N. Sonoma (www.carolshelton.com)
2.5 stars: 2006 Wild Thing, Cox Vineyard, Mendocino County — $28
medium balanced, middle of road but has a poor finish (overly cedar)

2.5 stars: 2005 Maple Vineyard, Dry Creek Valley — $33
Aromas: violet, perfume, cherry, cedar; Palate: cherry, cranberry, lactic finish

St. Francis Winery & Vineyard — Santa Rosa, Sonoma Valley (www.Stfranciswinery.com)
2.5 stars: 2000 Reserve, Old Vine, Pagani Vineyard, Sonoma Valley
Aromas: wet wood, black currant, warm spices; Palate: savory, red fruit, slightly drying tannins with a bleu cheese finish (this is very unpleasant)

Storrs Winery & Vineyards — Santa Cruz, Bay Area (www.storrswine.com)
3 to 3.5 stars: 2005 Lion Oaks vineyard, Old Vine, Santa Clara County — $35
Aromas: lavendar, anise, black olive; palate: light body, red fruit, medium length pleasant finish

4 stars: 2005 Rusty Ridge Vineyard, Old Vine, Santa Clara County — $30
Aroma: slight dried fruit, rose petal, red fruit, baking spice; Palate: medium+ concentration; flavors: raspberry, cranberry, pomegranite, slight cedar; medium+ length

Stryker Sonoma — Geyserville, N. Sonoma (www.strykersonoma.com)
3 stars: 2006 Estate old vine, Alexander Valley — $26
Aroma: floral, sweet olive, raspberry, currant; Palate: raspberry, red currant, warm splices

Taft Street Winery — Sebastopol, N. Sonoma (www.taftstreetwinery.com)
3 stars: 2007 Cobblestone Vineyard, Sonoma
Aroma: prounounced intensity; fresh raspberry, allspice; Palate: cranberry, drieed raspberry

Terra d’Oro — Plymouth, Sierra Foothills (www.terradorowinery.com)
3.5 stars: 2006 Amador County — $18
Aroma: medium intensity; ripe fruit and slightly dried red fruit; Palate: medium+ concentration; flavors: red fruit (cherry, currant)