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Most Recent Tasting notes:

2004 Mosby
Vigna Della Casa Vecchia Dolcetto
Score: 88.0
Dolcetto, meaning "little sweet one," is a Northern Italian variety that is quite rare in California. Though this version has more fruit character (blackberry-blueberry), it also has a complex earthy note that I've not found in the original.
2005 Brassfield Estate Winery Serenity
High Valley [Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Grigio and Gewurztraminer - not listed on label]
Score: 88.0
A delicious blend of 63% Sauvignon Blanc, 29% Pinot Grigio, and 6% Gewurztraminer from the small High Valley Appellation in Lake County (North of Napa, East of Mendocino). This is a dry wine on the palate (the barely perceptible residual sugar is balanced by good acidity and a hint of spritz). Each of the variety finds its expression in the blend, and together present an aromatic wine with hints of white peach, nectarine and citrus through to the tart finish. One of our consumer panel's favorites.
2005 Mosby La Donna
Santa Barbara County [Chardonnay and Cortese] - not listed on the label
Score: 87.0
Mosby is one of the top dozen most interesting wineries in California. Mosby performs beyond expectations every vintage, turning out first rate varietal renditions of relatively obscure grapes, coming up with uniquely Californian interpretations, and never straying from classic balance and structure. La Donna is a blend of Cortese, a Piemontese variety, and Chardonnay. The Chardonnay gives it body and breadth along with its typical lemon chiffon flavor, while the Cortese provides acidity and a floral-green grass flavor. Underlying the amalgam is a vibrant green melon flavor. It?s not the most complex wine in the world, so it won?t garner high point scores, but it is a most enjoyable wine that works equally well as an aperitif or with the subtly flavored foods. Only 750 cases produced.
2005 Sobon Estate
Amador County Viognier
Score: 89.0
Some Viogniers emphasize tropical fruit. This one emphasizes floral aromas and flavors. A blend of 92% Viognier, 6% Roussanne, and 2% Marsanne, this full bodied wine offers apple blossom, lavender and honeysuckle scents, while the palate adds a hint of savory herbs. My only reservation is the hot and comparatively short finish.
2004 Trinchero Family
Monterey County Merlot
Score: 85.0
An enticing nose of cherry and raspberry jam and allspice, dry and somewhat austere on the palate, with soft tannins and good acidity. Drink now through 2012.
2005 McManis Family Vineyards
California Syrah
Score: 87.0
Dense and jammy, full bodied and velvety smooth, this flavorful wine points to plums, toasted oak and bittersweet chocolate. The soft tannins make this wine perfect for current drinking.
2005 McManis Family Vineyards
California Merlot
Score: 87.0
Ripe black cherry and loganberry compote with toasty oak overtones, soft tannin, full body and a lingering, mouthfilling finish. Excellent value.
2005 McManis Family Vineyards
California Cabernet Sauvignon
Score: 86.0
A big, mouthfilling wine with a core of dense ripe blackberry fruit accented with mocha and toast and sweet spices (allspice and cinnamon). Well structured with substantial (though soft) tannins. Good value.
2004 Shenandoah Vineyards ReZerve
Score: 85.0
Riper than its Italian counterparts. Deep plum and violet a roma and flavor. It's fuller than full bodied; it's obese, with soft tannins and a touch of dark chocolate on the overly warm finish. Only 426 cases produced.
2004 Shenandoah Vineyards ReZerve
Score: 88.0
This blend of 80% Tempranillo and 20% Cabernet Sauvignon is a powerful wine showing intense vanilla and ripe cherry caracter from the aroma through the finish. Decent balance makes it drinkable now throkugh 2011. Serve with tomato sauces, chili or steak. Only 125 cases produced.
2004 Sobon Estate
Cougar Hill Amador County Zinfandel
Score: 89.0
This blend of 84% Zinfandel and 16% Petite Syrah displays a very attractive nose of spicy raspberry. Add a touch of chocolate and the slight bitterness of cranberries on the palate. The finish is predictably warm -- the label states 15.9%. Only 400 cases produced.
2003 Dry Creek Vineyard
Beeson Ranch Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Score: 92.0
The most assured Zin form Dry Creek Vineyards in years. Deep ripe raspberry, vibrant acid, loads of spice (vanilla and nutmeg). Nees 4 to 7 years for the tannins to resolve.
2003 Dry Creek Vineyard
Somers Ranch Dry Creek Valley Zinfandel
Score: 88.0
A polished, well balanced wine with unique flavors. Its varietal definition is a little wanting, but it does serve up ripe black fruit flavors on the palate, reminiscent of tart cherries and blackberries. The tannins are soft, the texture almost silky. Only 564 cases produced.
2004 Castillo de Monseran
Carinena Spain Garnacha old vine, barrel aged
Score: 86.0
Castillo de Monseran makes two styles of Garnacha, one oak aged 6 months, the other not. This oaked version displays the same soft tannins and good acidity, but the fruit leans more toward prunes and blackberries fruit, and the oak gives it a pleasant spicyness and more body.
2005 Castillo de Monseran
Carinena Spain Garnacha
Score: 84.0
Castillo de Monseran makes two styles of Garnacha, one oak aged, the other not. This is the unoaked version, full of plummy fruit, with soft tannins and good acidity. It's an easy drinking, fruit forward wine with fine structure.