A can’t-miss Cabernet with a rich nose of blackberry, plum, coffee and oak. It’s so dense that the cassis, wood, and coffee flavors come across as being tarry. The smooth, stylish finish is packed full of woodiness, licorice and fine tannins. Simply put, it’s full of style and a whole lot of fun to drink.
The first California winery to create an oak-aged, Burgundian-style Chardonnay, Hanzell’s been producing rich, creamy Chards for almost 50 years. This wine continues the tradition. Peach, hazelnut and crème brûlée notes, considerable acidity, and great focus on the palate. This is a wine with a history of aging well.
This grower-turned-vintner pulls out all the stops. This is as good as the appellation gets. Displays classic Cabernet notes of cassis and olives, framed in gorgeously smoked oak. Dry, luscious tannins, creamy acids. If there's a criticism, it's a little too obvious. Think finesse. Napa has it. So far, Sonoma Valley, even at this level, doesn't.
The aroma is a great burst of mineral and tropical fruit, so good you just have to taste it. Follows through brilliantly, with all sorts of fruit flavors, lavishly oaked and with a steely, stony nerve. The finish is spicy and acidic. This is a distinguished single-vineyard wine, not a me-too, but an authentic product of terroir. For this kind of quality, it’s also…
This is one of the most interesting Merlots of the vintage because it combines fruity ripeness with herbal and vegetal notes to create a complex wine. Blackberry and cassis, a bit of stewed tomato and mushroom, grilled meat, green olives and roasted coffee beans only begin to describe it. Dry and harmonious.
This is a connoisseur’s wine, and requires understanding to appreciate. If you’re a fan of blowsy Chards, the lean, mineral and citrus flavors will pass by unnoticed. Impressive with its rich, oaky complexities and layers of flavor and texture.
A big, dark, dense young wine that is flamboyant now, but give it a few years to really stun. As soft as velvet, with huge stuffing of berries, chocolate, herbs, coffee and oak, but carefully balanced. Winemaker Tom Mackey’s first Meritage, an unusual blend dominated by Petit Verdot and Malbec.
Clearly stands above the competition for its exquisite harmony. Completely dry but totally ripe, with well-developed spicy blackberry and dark chocolate flavors, and wonderfully rich, sweet tannins. So balanced, you don’t notice the 15.6 percent alcohol. Only in California, and a world class wine.