Lush and elegant, showing its mountain origins in the dusty tannins. A really beautiful wine, with perfectly ripened blackberry, plum, cola, coffee and spicy oak flavors, and those tannins are rich, ripe and refined. Buy by the case, then open one bottle a year as it slowly evolves.— S.H.
Break out the prosciutto, potstickers and other delicious appetizers for this crisp, fruity wine. The zesty acidity brightens fresh flavors of lemons, limes and kiwis. Shows how beautifully this little appellation in the Salinas Valley treats white wines.— S.H.
A soft, round Malbec with nice texture and depth, its flavors dominated by blackberry and boysenberry with a spicy cinnamon and vanilla finish. Pair it with beefy, meaty dishes and all will be well in the world.— V.B.
Give this young puppy a few years to shed its babyfat. It’s a bit tannic and hard now, although the blackberry, currant and cedar flavors are just fine. But it’s not a longterm ager due to some raisining.— S.H.
Lots of juicy blackberry, cassis and cedar flavors in this dry, full-bodied young wine. But it’s also very tannic, with a lockdown astringency. Seems to have the stuffing for more than six years in the cellar.— S.H.
A well-made, earthy Carignane, this tastes of cinnamon and plum cobbler, with subtle layers of bacon and smoke on the finish. Full-bodied, but also softly round, this is just right for hearty dishes like braised lamb or roasted pork.— V.B.
A superdark, marshmellowy Petite Sirah that’s grapey good, very jammy, surrounded by cinnamon and nutmeg. Grown eight miles east of the Santa Cruz Mountains, Martin Ranch’s Petite is of course, not petite, but chewy and good, in search of a good hunk of meat.— V.B.
The valley is today’s modern Silicon Valley, but used to be one of the most famous placenames in California wine. This Syrah is dry and classy, with a Côtes-du-Rhône berried deliciousness and a soft, immediate appeal.— S.H.