Reviews 2016

WINE REVIEWS

B-Sharp 2013 Red Table Wine

With a balanced mixture of red and black fruits, this playful yet stylish wine is loaded with attractive aromas and bright flavors of red cherry, fresh currants, blackberry, roasted espresso, vanilla, tobacco, and cedar. The luscious texture is further complemented with an admirable burst of vibrant acidity and a long dry finish. It’s a great wine to share with friends, family, and holds up well when opened for a few days too. 140 cases.
Food pairings: Gourmet pizzas, grilled veggies, pulled pork, lamb sliders, beef bourguignon. Overall, a fabulous food-friendly wine—especially for the price!
Score: 93 points

Singer Cellars 2012 The Rhapsody, Napa Valley

Enchanting Bordeaux-style blend of Merlot and Cabernet Franc with lofty aromas of red berries, earth, wild sage, and spice. On the palate, the flavors are highlighted with notes of ripe raspberry, plum, cranberry, and cocoa.  Overall, the wine is soft, elegant, and refined. And as a side note, I originally tasted this wine when it won a Double Gold at the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. Love the way it’s matured with more time in the cellar. A great wines to get your hands on before it’s all gone. 120 cases.
Food pairings: Risotto with wild mushrooms, Ahi tuna with espresso rub, pork chops, duck breast with plum sauce, and rare red meats.
Score: 95 points

Singer Cellars 2013 The Rhapsody, Napa Valley

From the stellar 2013 vintage, the latest offering of the signature Bordeaux-style blend from Singer Cellars features 68% Merlot, 23% Cabernet Franc and 9% Cabernet Sauvignon. From the minute the cork is popped, the wine seduces the senses with deep aromas of dark fruits, wild berries, forest floor, layers of spice, cedar, and a hint of black walnut. In the glass, the wine profile expands with deep flavors of blackberry, ripe cherry, blueberry, vanilla, cinnamon, cardamom and clove; nice firm tannins; rich texture; and a long, rewarding finish. Robust, complex, and rewarding. 88 cases.
Food pairings: Stuffed portabella mushrooms, gourmet sausage, roasted chicken, pork tenderloin, beef wellington, and barbequed meats.
Score: 96 points

Singer Cellars 2013 Aria Red Wine, Napa Valley

With a deep heritage in the Bordeaux region of France and more recently in Napa Valley, Petit Verdot is a magnificent grape variety known for its dark color and deep flavors. A fabulous new example is the Aria Red Wine by Singer Cellars. Made with 70% Petit Verdot with smaller amounts of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Cabernet Franc grapes grown in the Oak Knoll District of Napa Valley, this gem immediately captures attention with enchanting aromas of fresh bay laurel, ripe berries, licorice, savory spices, and fine French oak. From there, the flavors open up with notes of briary blackberry, black raspberry, ripe currants, blueberry and a hit of cassis. As the wine opens up, the smooth tannins and velvety texture lead to a long lingering finish. Overall, a great combination of power, finesse, and sophistication in each sip. 65 cases.
Food pairings: Blue cheese, wild game, hearty Italian cuisine, slow roasted pork, lamb shank, grilled steaks.
Score: 95 points

Singer Cellars 2013 Song Cabernet Sauvignon, Coombsville, Napa Valley

With so many big, powerful and bold styles of Napa Valley Cabs now in the market, it makes it that much more special when you find a boutique producers that is more focused on wines that are elegant, graceful, and approachable when young yet still have the ability to age in the cellar.
A fine example of this style is Singer Cellars “Song” Cabernet Sauvignon. Made by Barry Singer with fruit from the warm growing region of Coombsville south of Napa, the nose opens up with fragrant aromas of dark fruits, licorice, dark chocolate nibs, fresh mountain herbs, and cedar box. The flavors are equally gracious, with deep flavors of dark cherry, boysenberry, dusty blackberry, cassis and layers of spice, silky texture, and a long engaging finish. A real find. 122 cases.
Food pairings: Gourmet mac n’ cheese, grilled salmon, hearty stews, roasted lamb, juicy steaks and chocolate.
Score: 92 points

Winfield Estate 2013 Pinot Noir, Proprietor’s Reserve, Oregon

The legacy of Pinot Noir vines planted in Oregon dates back over five decades. And while much of the early credit for the success of the state goes to the Willamette Valley between the metropolitan hubs of Portland and the state capital of Salem; an exciting new phase of working with Pinot Noir grapes has begun in the Rogue Valley appellation near the center of the state.
Among the important leaders of this movement are Winfield Estate Wines and gifted winemaker Joe Dobbes, who have teamed up to bring the flavors of Willamette Valley and the Rogue Valley together in their delicious new release of the Winfield’s Proprietors Reserve Pinot Noir from the admirable 2013 vintage.
From the moment the cork is popped, this lovely wine opens up with fragrant aromas of ripe red fruits, tobacco, hibiscous, sage, and earth.
In the glass, these complex notes help enhance the fresh flavors of plum, cherry, wild strawberry and milk chocolate; a burst of bright acidity; and an elegant finish that makes every sip count!
With food, try this sophisticated medium-bodied wine with medium cheeses, heirloom tomatoes, wild mushrooms, gourmet sandwiches, fresh seafood, grilled chicken, and roasted pork tenderloin.
Score: 93 points

Spinnaker 2013 Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley
This year marks the 50-year anniversary of planting the first Pinot Noir vines in Oregon’s Willamette Valley, a magnificent agricultural area only 45 minutes southwest of the metropolitan center of Portland.
Needless to say, a lot has happened since then. This is especially true over the past three decades, as special Pinot Noir selections from top producers have become hot commodities on wine lists at top restaurants across the nation and led to the more recent emergence of more boutique producers in the region.
One of the hot new producers is Spindrift Cellars, a small family-owned operation based in the lovely city of Philomath, Oregon. The spirited new release from the husband-wife team of Matthew and Tabitha Compton is the Spinnaker 2013 Pinot Noir.
Named after classic spinnaker-style sailboats seen cruising along the lovely coastline of Oregon; this wine is inviting from the moment it’s poured in the glass. The aromas are fresh, elegant and playful with notes of bright red fruits, fresh lavender and sea spray. The flavors are equally charming with lively notes of raspberry, strawberry, cherry, ginger, white pepper, and a hint of sandalwood on the long, lingering finish.
For food pairings, the medium-bodied style makes it ideal Pinot Noir to serve with tangy cheeses, tuna tartare, heirloom tomato gazpacho, wild rice salad, gourmet sandwiches, grilled salmon, roasted chicken, pork tenderloin, and a wide range of Asian cuisine. Get some before it’s gone!
Score: 93 points

Sempre Vive 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Old Vine, Estate Grown, Napa Valley

In Napa Valley, the advantage to making an “estate” wine is that it allows the winemaker, vintner or proprietor to have control of the destiny of the grapes. This estate concept is what Frank and Gena Romeo had in mind when they purchased a historic site which eventually became the Romeo Vineyard near Calistoga.
Located between dense forest on the surrounding hillsides, this special vineyard is home to a rare collection of old Cabernet Sauvignon vines which made it through the 1990s, a tumultuous period when many of the other vineyards in Napa Valley had to be replanted due to the spread of phylloxera, a terrible disease started by the spread of the root louse. With this in mind, the Romeos named their brand Sempre Vive, which means “always alive” in Latin.
Thanks to the powers of these mature vines, the wines made with these exceptional grapes have the ability to be aged for long periods of time in fine oak barrels and inside the bottles before being released. The latest example of this natural phenomenon is the Sempre Vive 2011 Old Vine Cabernet Sauvignon.
From the moment the wine is poured in the glass, the charm of the vineyard immediately shines through with dazzling aromas of dark fruits, cassis, vanilla, rocky loam, and forest floor. On the palate, the flavors are highlighted with generous notes of dark cherry, wild berries, cocoa, caramel, roasted walnuts, and cedar. And in the end, it’s an elegant wine with a soft, velvety texture, balanced tannins, and a long, engaging finish.
With fine cuisine, try this stately Cabernet Sauvignon with risotto with wild mushrooms, slow-roasted pork, grilled steaks, lamb shank, chocolate truffles, or something as simple cheddar popcorn while watching movies or relaxing by the fire during the cooler months of winter.
Score: 95 points