89 points

Royal Oaks 1999 Aristocrat Red (Santa Ynez Valley)

From the warmer, inland part of the valley, this Bordeaux blend is dominated by Cabernet Franc. Herbs—rosemary, thyme and oregano—highlight the aroma, with a hint of berries. The flavors are much fruitier, and the acid-tannin balance is fine. —S.H.  — S.H.   Published 4/1/2002
89 points

Royal Oaks 1999 Reserve Merlot (Santa Ynez Valley)

Rich and concentrated, this South Coast wine has berry and stone fruit flavors and a cut of herbs and olives. It’s a little low in acidity, but very silky on the palate, and finishes with an elegant flourish. —S.H.  — S.H.   Published 4/1/2002
88 points

Royal Oaks 2000 Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)

From a great appellation, this wine displays true Pinot notes of raspberry and tomato, sautéed mushroom and crushed hard spices, smoke, vanilla and toast. There’s a scent of wild honey that carries through the finish, but the wine is fully dry. Light and evanescent, it has lots of charm. —S.H.  — S.H.   Published 4/1/2002
88 points

Royal Oaks 1999 Los Alamos Vineyard Reserve Chardonnay (Santa Barbara)

Rich and packed with spicy tropical fruit. New oak imparts smoke and vanilla notes. The texture is creamy and smooth, kind of custardy, with high acidity that makes it drink whistle-clean. A very nice wine.  — S.H.   Published 5/1/2001
87 points

Royal Oaks 2001 Westerly Vineyard Viognier (Santa Ynez Valley)

An exotically opulent wine, filled with flair and zest. The mélange of flavors includes pineapple, breadfruit, white peach, honeysuckle, vanilla, and all sorts of other fruity, flowery things. But it’s dry, with a pretty streak of acidity.  — S.H.   Published 12/31/2003
87 points

Royal Oaks 1998 Westerly Vineyard Merlot (Santa Ynez Valley)

A little more full-bodied than Royal Oaks’s regular bottling, it also has black-cherry notes, but it’s also earthier—and oakier, too—with currents of vanilla and dark chocolate. Still has a bite of acidity, which stings the palate, and demands food.  — S.H.   Published 6/1/2001
86 points

Royal Oaks 2000 Westerly Vineyard Merlot (Santa Ynez Valley)

From the warmest part of the appellation, this is a well-ripened, juicy wine whose cherry, berry and tobacco flavors are easy to like. Soft and silky on the palate, a gentle sipper with some spicy complexities.  — S.H.   Published 3/1/2004
86 points

Royal Oaks 2000 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Ynez Valley)

Pretty, grassy aroma, with hay and dried straw and more than a hint of cat pee. But it tastes richer and creamier than it smells. Dry and balanced, it’s a nice mouthful, by itself or with food. —S.H.  — S.H.   Published 4/1/2002