Matt Kettmann

Contributing Editor

Reviews wines from California

Matt Kettmann reviews and reports on wines from the Central and South Coasts of California for the magazine. Santa-Barbara based Kettmann is senior editor for the weekly newspaper The Santa Barbara Independent, for which he has covered local news, lifestyle and beverage beats since 1999, and has reported on local and general wine topics for the New York Times, Time Magazine, Smithsonian, Sunset and Wine Spectator. In addition to organizing successful regional wine food and drink events in Santa Barbara and moderating at the annual Paso Robles CAB Collective seminar at the California Wine Festival last fall, in 2009, Kettmann cofounded New Noise Santa Barbara, an annual music conference and festival, and also serves on the board for Notes for Notes, a nonprofit providing free access to musical instruments and recording studios for music-interested youth.

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Showing 1 thru -8 of 1,022
94
points

Jada Vineyard & Winery 2012 Strayts Merlot-Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles)

  1. $48

This Willow Creek winery hits a home run with this blend of 75% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Sauvignon. Aromas of dried black cherries, cola, soy sauce and balsamic reduction are pleasing. The sipping experience is cohesive, with blackberry fruit, black pepper spice, plum skin tartness and an expert amount of tannins.

 — M.K.  (3/1/2015)
94
points

Lexington 2011 Apex Gist Ranch Estate Red (Santa Cruz Mountains)

  • Cellar Selection
  1. $95

This is the top bottling of Thomas Fogarty’s ambitious Bordeaux-aimed brand, and it shows, with regionally distinctive aromas of crushed rocks, blueberry, tar and smoke. The intriguing palate is elegance defined, with sexy tannins and mineral-driven flavors of black dirt, wet slate and squeezed blueberry. It makes for enlightening drinking now, but offers measured…

 — M.K.  (3/1/2015)
94
points

Jada Vineyard & Winery 2012 Passing By Red (Paso Robles)

  • Cellar Selection
  • Online Exclusive
  1. $59

Winemaker David Galzignato is making bold but layered wines from the Willow Creek district, including this blend of 94% Cabernet Sauvignon, 4% Merlot and 2% Petit Verdot. It offers aromas of cherry-vanilla cream soda with wild mint in the background. Solid tannins frame the palate, which boasts rich flavors of blackberries, root beer, black dirt and port reduction…

 — M.K.  (3/1/2015)
94
points

Jaffurs 2012 Kimsey Vineyard Syrah (Santa Barbara County)

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $50

This wine from a newer vineyard in the recently named Ballard Canyon appellation offers aromas of boysenberry, black pepper and a judicious amount of creosote. It’s elegantly structured along a line of ripe purple to tarry black flavors—think burnt ends of beef tip coated in smashed wild berries and crushed Indian spices.

 — M.K.  (3/1/2015)
94
points

Margerum 2012 Black Oak Vineyard Syrah (Santa Barbara County)

  • Editors' Choice
  • Online Exclusive
  1. $36

This wine that Doug Margerum makes from the Los Alamos Valley vineyard owned by Dan and Meghan Reeves presents intriguing complexity on the nose, from violet and rose petals to smashed boysenberry, thyme, rosemary and roasted boar meat. Blueberry, blackberry and black cherry soak the palate, which is evened out by pine sap, cedar, purple flowers and shiitake…

 — M.K.  (3/1/2015)
94
points

Law 2011 Audacious Red (Paso Robles)

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $65

This booming, boozy blend of 38% Cabernet Sauvignon, 36% Syrah, 18% Grenache and 8% Petite Sirah is properly named, opening with fragrant notes of red berries, toasted sage and mocha. It’s juicy up front, then gets serious in the midpalate, with tobacco and wild game. Acidity shines through the alcohol on the end.

 — M.K.  (3/1/2015)
94
points

Larner 2010 Reserve Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley)

  • Online Exclusive
  1. $65

Michael Larner is making savory Syrahs to sit on. This one from 2010 offers perfectly ready black and white pepper scents along with blueberry, black licorice candy and violet flowers. It’s viscous on the palate, with mace and all sorts of peppery flavors, picking up a bit of scorched lemon tartness and remaining a bit tannic. This may get even better in years to come.

 — M.K.  (3/1/2015)
93
points

Austin Hope 2012 Hope Family Vineyard Syrah (Paso Robles)

  1. $42

Aromas of lavender and ripe dark fruit abound on the nose, while forest floor and pine tar add nuance. The flavors are full of deep plum and black cherry, wrapped around an elegant butter-herb sauce quality.

 — M.K.  (3/1/2015)
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