Small Production Wine Reviews
I drank these 26 wines and tasted black fruit, blackberry, bright, caramel, cherry, dark fruit, fruity, pear, red fruit, spice. The wines are aged, biodynamic, food friendly, natural, organic, organically farmed, small production and came from a variety of sources, including wine clubs, wineries, and wine stores.
Wine reviews by: Jessyca Frederick |
A beautiful example of what put Sta. Rita Hills on the map of world’s best Pinot Noir regions.
Tasting notes: red fruit, spice
A great example both of the winemaking style from Écluse Wines and and the ageability of their wines (and red wines from Paso Robles).
Tasting notes: black fruit, smooth
The nose was classic blackberry and graphite, with a hint of pyrazine. It was fairly bright for a Napa Cab, and lighter bodied than I expected, too. I tasted cedar and clove, blackcurrant, and some plum.
Tasting notes: bright, black fruit
Among the three wines I tried from Stag’s Leap Winery in April, this was my favorite. I like Merlot and I’m not ashamed to say so.
Tasting notes: smooth tannins, bright, black fruit, blue fruit
Easy-drinking, well-made California Cabernet Sauvignon featuring cherry, cassis, and soft tannins. Quite enjoyable.
Tasting notes: cherry, cassis, smooth tannin
The 2017 Envision, a blend of some of SYV’s best vineyards, represented a classic style of Pinot Noir common to the area.
Tasting notes: smoky, red fruit, bright
This was fruity and balanced and seemed more Demi-Sec than straight up sweet as the label suggests, but that could be because the wine had enough acid.
Tasting notes: balanced, red fruit, sweet
It is a medium-bodied, medium-acidity Sauv Blanc with Meyer lemon and grapefruit on the palate, more muted butterscotch than the nose, and at five years old, just a hint of oak.
Tasting notes: citrus, butterscotch, oak, tropical fruit
I enjoyed: white fruit cocktail, banana, lychee, something like Petrol (from the Picpoul), and mandarin. Still food-friendly, after all those years.
Tasting notes: bright, stone fruit
Strawberry was dominant on both the nose and the palate. This medium-body rosé has a round mouthfeel (due largely to the sur lies aging), is bright. But not too bright.
Tasting notes: strawberry, bright, round, jolly rancher
Big, mouth-coating red wine featuring dark red fruits, black fruits, and a host of other savory flavors.
Tasting notes: dark red fruit, black fruit, pepper
Magic in a bottle. Bright, caramel, bruléed pineapple, guava, and a viscosity that coats your tongue making it all last even longer.
Tasting notes: caramel, pineapple, creme brulée, tropical fruit
A complex, red-fruit forward, slightly smoky Pinot Noir that typifies the Sta. Rita Hills appellation and showcases winemaker Jessica Gasca’s love of letting the grapes shine.
Tasting notes: red fruit, smoky, smooth, cherry, cranberry
The drier, lemony flavors of the Sauvignon Blanc sort of pushed and pulled on the fruitier, more aromatic Riesling and Chenin Blanc. Lacked expected brightness.
Tasting notes: lemon, fruity
Barrel fermented for eight months, this Chardonnay was not super oaky. Signature apple and pear flavors harmonized with a touch of creaminess.
Tasting notes: apple, pear, creamy, light oak
I really enjoyed this Merlot which we paired with my spicy Turkey Chili. Flavors of dark red fruit, soft tannins, and a medium body made it quite enjoyable.
Tasting notes: red fruit, dark fruit, smooth tannin
This particular Sauvignon Blanc was not super complex, but it was bright and food-friendly — a stated goal for Michi Lorenz, who wishes to make wine “not to be loud, and to fascinate people at the same time.”
Tasting notes: mineral, saline, bright
This was not my first Zweigelt and I was excited to see it appear in this shipment. I love Pinot Noir and Zweigelt has similar characteristics, but is more acidic. It was as expected. The palate was “fruity with blackberry, cherry,” and a hint of vanilla from the oak.
Tasting notes: fruity, blackberry, cherry, vanilla, bright
I enjoyed this Cabernet Sauvignon, which I often don’t. A blend of Cab Sauv from multiple Washington AVAs and 15% Merlot to soften the edges even further.
Tasting notes: black cherry
This is an example of a wine that wasn’t especially distinctive, but was exactly as advertised, “Fresh, bright acidity matches aromatics of apple and pear.” Food-friendly, indeed.
Tasting notes: apple, pear, bright
A true Napa Cab somewhere in the middle of its transformation from young and chewy to smooth and supple. Fruit flavors are fading faster than the tannins are integrating.
Tasting notes: spice, chocolate, dark fruit, grippy tannin
It’s hard not to be a fan of Anthem Winery’s transparency on their wine bottles, but what’s in the glass is always enjoyable, too.
Tasting notes: dark fruit, stewed fruit, soft tannin
Made in a popular style, this Cabernet uses conventional winemaking techniques to achieve a specific flavor profile from medium-quality fruit.
Tasting notes: spice, mocha, cherry
A somewhat complex Chardonnay from Northern California, showcasing vanilla and caramel from the oak and stone fruit on the palate.
Tasting notes: vanilla, caramel, apricot, peach
Perfect medium-bodied, Bordeaux-style red wine to enjoy with any food not requiring a high-acid companion.
Tasting notes: red fruit, cherry, blackberry
A beautifully-made Pinot Noir from Sta. Rita Hills featuring organic fruit from top vineyards in the region: La Encantada, Sanford & Benedict, and Radian.
Tasting notes: red fruit, spice, earthy, mushroom, dried herbs
Notice: I hold no formal wine credentials. I am a wine geek who has consumed 1000+ of bottles from 100+ different wine clubs and 1000s more bottles that didn’t come from those wine clubs. I do not accept payment for wine reviews, and I do not accept payments to influence my opinions. I happily accept free wine (and I buy wine).
Why read my wine reviews: Wine taste is subjective. What I like may not be what you like. I try to leave room for you to form your own opinions, so I don’t provide a score or a rating. I do point out wines that are an incredible value or truly not worth the money. I note flaws, wines that don’t have typicity (because this matters if you are buying wine without having tasted it yourself), when wines are out of balance, and when wines lack appropriate body.
I don’t like wasting money (or anything for that matter). I’m careful about where I spend my money and my mindset as a reviewer is to be careful about where you spend yours. I don’t believe a high price tag equals quality and I know for sure there are wines of very good quality that are also a great value.