Rodney Strong

2007 Meritage


$55.00 a bottle

Rodney Strong Vineyards first opened it’s winery in Sonoma County back in 1959. Rodney Strong was one of the first Sonoma County pioneers to plant pinot noir grapes in the Russian River Valley. Today their wines are produced from grapes that come from Alexander Valley, Russian River Valley, Chalk Hill, and Sonoma Coast. I just recently had a great visit to Rodney Strong Vineyards and was unable to leave without the purchase of their really incredible meritage, “Symmetry”. This meritage, is definitely one of the most elegant I’ve had. Made with only the best hand picked and selected grapes. Symmetry is more like a European style meritage and spends 25 months in oak barrel, giving it a very smooth velvety taste. This 2007 Symmetry is a blend of 85% cabernet sauvignon, 10% malbec, 3% merlot, 1% cabernet franc, 1% petit verdot. The aroma’s of this wine are strong blackberries and light plum. First tasting the blackberries and plum and finishing with a cherry wood, light spice, and hint of chocolate. Definitely very rich, powerful and full of flavors making this wine irresistible. This meritage is a must try. Wine Enthusiasts gave Symmetry 94 points. Other great varietals Rodney Strong produces are sauvignon blanc, chardonnay, pinot noir, zinfandel, merlot, and cabernet sauvignon.

Starkey’s Court

2008 Carneros


$25.00 a bottle

I just recently did a blog on J. Keverson’s awesome Alton Lane Zinfandel, so I’m not going into too much detail about the winery, only the wine. J. Keverson winery is located at Old Roma Station in Healdsburg, CA. While I was visiting J. Keverson winery and winemaker John Hazlewood a few weeks ago I was also given a bottle of their ‘08 Starkey’s Court Chardonnay. With the recently changing of my palate with chardonnays, from liking really buttery oak tasting chardonnays to unoaked more fruit forward chardonnays I was very pleasantly surprised with this wine falling right in the middle of both types. Really being able to taste the fruit but also finishing with a creamy very light oak taste. This Starkey’s Court Chardonnay comes from the Green Acres Vineyard in Carneros. The aroma’s of this wine are strong citrus, slight pineapple, and light oak. Tasting first light green apple and citrus. Finishing with a creamy vanilla, light oak taste. Not only does this wine have great acidity but a great finish. This chardonnay won a gold medal at the 2010 Sonoma County Harvest Fair and a double gold at the San Francisco Wine Competition. Definitely a great chardonnay. Again J. Keverson Winery makes some other great wines, winning 9 medals all together at the 2010 Sonoma County Harvest Fair.


‘05 Rockpile Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon

$44.00 a bottle

I was very excited to find another winery that made Rockpile wines since my favorite wines come from this appellation. To my surprise Stryker winery in Alexander Valley makes a few different varietals from this appellation. This is definitely my kind of winery. The winery is located in the heart of the beautiful Alexander Valley. Their winery deck has some incredible vineyard veiws. You can definitely find serenity here. A couple weeks ago I was able to visit Stryker and meet for the first time one of my twitter friends Brian, who works there. It was great to finally meet him and he was very generous in letting me try all of their Rockpile wines. It was no surprise that after tasting all of them that their 05 Rockpile Cabernet Sauvignon was my favorite. Stryker’s Rockpile Vineyard is located 25 miles west of Lake Sonoma and 10 miles east of the Pacific Ocean at an elevation of 1900 feet. This high elevation and shallow red rocky soil stresses the vines and produces a grape so intense and rich with flavor. This is why I love RockPile wines so much. The aromas of this cabernet are of pepper and tobacco. First tasting of bell pepper and spice. This wine definitely has that genuine earthy smooth cabernet finish. Huge structure with this wine. Very hardy and screams to be paired with a great steak. This 05 Stryker Cabernet comes highly recommend. Stryker also makes other great RockPile wines which include a Merlot, Cabernet Franc, and Petit Verdot.

J. Keverson

Alton Lane Vineyard

07’ Russian River Valley


$35.00 a bottle

J. Keverson winery is located in the heart of Sonoma County wine country in Healdsburg, California. J. Keverson winery is a small winery producing only 1300 cases a year. Making chardonnay, pinot noir, sangiovese, and zinfandel. This small winery all began several years ago with four friends and a game of bocce ball. These four friends John, Kevin, Scott, and Doug would meet up for bocce ball games and drink wine. Their love of good wine lead these four to venture together into the wine making business which all started in a garage. This foursome soon learned that they were actually very good at making wine and within a matter of time outgrew the garage.
A few weeks ago I was able to visit J. Keverson winery for the first time and taste their wines with the wine maker John Hazlewood. Again I am not a big zinfandel fan but I instantly fell in love with his Alton Lane Zinfandel. This 2007 zinfandel was a gold medal winner at the 2009 Sonoma County Harvest Fair. The aromas of this wine are wonderful! Very floral with lots of deep berries and spice. At first tasting lots of berries but very dry not sweet or jammy. Finishing with a very elegant creamy finish, very smooth with low acidity. There are very few zinfandels I like but this J. Keverson Alto Lane Zinfandel comes very highly recommended. This 2010 Sonoma County Harvest Fair Left J. Keverson winery with 9 medals one being a best of class with their 08 Starkey’s Court Zinfandel. This wine is a definitely a must try!

Cynthus '05 Cabernet


‘05 Napa Valley

Cabernet Sauvignon

$39.00 a bottle

I attended a great art and wine festival last Saturday in Bodega Bay, CA. This event had a lot of great wineries attending and great wines to taste. One wine I had tasted that afternoon that I really enjoyed but had never heard of their Winery was an ‘05 Cynthus, Napa Valley Cabernet. When I learned they specialized in Cabernet Sauvignon, I had to try. I was very pleasantly surprised how awesome their Cabernet was. I also was given a taste of their 2000 Cabernet which was also very good. Cynthus Cabernet comes from the Stagecoach Vineyard which is located in the rugged eastern hills of the Napa Valley. These low yielding vines in rocky clay volcanic soil makes this a great complex Cabernet. After tasting this wine and really enjoying it I was able to talk to the owner of the winery who very generously gave me a bottle of their not yet released 05 Cabernet. This Cabernet has an aroma of cigar box and light smoke. First tasting of light red berry with a strong oak, earthy taste. This Cabernet finishes with a smooth creamy, slightly chocolate taste. Cynthus Wines does not have a tasting room. They make and bottle their wines in Graton, CA. You can purchase Cynthus wines online and I definitely recommend thier Napa Valley Cabernet.

Carol Shelton

Rocky Reserve

‘06 RockPile


$33.00 a bottle

She is known to many as the “Queen of Zin” and last Saturday I was able to celebrate a decade of Carol Shelton Wines with her at her open house. RockPile being my favorite appellation, I was very excited to attend this event after learning a few of her wines come from the RockPile appellation. Carol Shelton’s RockPile grapes are grown 2000 feet. above Lake Sonoma and the Dry Creek Valley. This Rocky Reserve is a blend of 96% Zinfandel and 4% Petite Sirah. At this open house I was able to taste a vertical of this RockPile Zinfandel from the year 2000 to her soon to be released ‘07. Like all RockPile wines this Zinfandel is highly structured and complex in flavors. This by far one of the best Zinfandel I have had. I love this Zinfandel because it’s robust, rich with flavors and yet not too sweet or jammy. Strong aromas of berries, must, and soil. First tasting of dry unsweetened black berries then ending with an earthy, oak cream finish. It definitely does not surprise me that Carol Shelton has been honored “Winemaker of the Year” numerous times. This Zinfandel comes highly recommended! Other RockPile wines that she makes that were also excellent were her Cabernet Sauvignon and Petite Sirah.

Moshin ‘07

Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir

$40.00 a bottle

I attended a wine tasting event in downtown Santa Rosa, California a few weeks ago where I was introduced to Moshin Vineyard’s wine located in the Russian River Valley of Sonoma County. Moshin Vineyards winery began back in 1989 when the Moshin family purchased a ten acre Pinot Noir Vineyard. Today the family now owns 28 acres of grapes mostly which are Pinot Noir. After tasting their wines that night I knew I needed to make a trip to the tasting room. In the tasting room I was given a side by side tasting of their ‘ 07 Russian River Valley Pinot and their ‘ 07 Sonoma Coast Pinot. Being that my favorite Pinot’s usually come from the Russian River Valley, I was very surprised to find I liked their Sonoma Coast Pinot over their Russian River Valley Pinot. Both Pinot’s were very good but the Sonoma Coast Pinot really stood out to me. This is definitely not a lite Pinot. Very Robust and full bodied with tons of flavor. This Pinot’s aroma is of red currant and earthy soil. Tasting first of cherry and spice but having a very smooth creamy velvety finish. I really enjoyed this wine! If you are a Pinot lover and in the Russian River Valley area Moshin Vineyards is a must stop. Known mostly for their great Pinots, Moshin Vineyards also makes Sauvignon Blanc, Chardonnay, Merlot, Petite Sirah, and Zinfandel.

Trecini '06 RockPile Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

Trecini '06 RockPile
Sonoma Valley Zinfandel

$30.00 a bottle

Trecini Cellars was started back in 1999 by John Vicini who brought his passion for wine making from the town of Jera, Italy. Together with his wife Cathy and son David, the three Vicini's ( Trecini ) grow and sell their own Russian River Valley grapes and make their own wines. They make five different varietals Sauvignon Blanc, Syrah, Merlot, Pinot Noir, and this RockPile Zinfandel. I must tell you I am usually not a big Zinfandel fan but only because it usually seems too sweet and jammy for my liking. I felt this Zinfandel was excellent. Last Friday I was very pleasantly surprised when I was able to taste this wine for the first time with the owner John Vicini. RockPile has always been one of my favorite appellation's because the grapes are so stressed that they always seem to produce a wine intense and rich with flavors. This Trecini Zinfandel was excellent and again showing how great the wines from the RockPile appellation can be. Definitely zero sweetness and full of flavors. This wine aroma's were of berries and plum with a slight hint of smoke. First taste of this Zinfandel is of bold but unsweet berries and spice. Wine finishes with an intense earthy plum taste. Love the complexity of this Zinfandel. This Trecini Zinfandel comes highly recommended! I wasn't surprised to learn this wine has won several gold metals.

La Jota Vineyard CO. Cabernet Sauvignon

La Jota Vineyard CO.
'06 Howell Mountain Cabernet Sauvignon

$60.00 a bottle

I opened a really great bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon last night and definitely needed to share. This Cabernet comes from a volcanic mountain named Howell Mountain located above the Napa Valley. This mountain harvests some very incredible Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. The altitude which these grape vines grow keep the evening temperatures warmer and the day time temperatures cooler then that of the valley floor. These vines get twice as much rainfall then the valley but the thick rocky soil allows for less water to accumulate which then stresses the fruit. In turn making these grapes very rich, complex, and more intense with flavors. This Cabernet is incredibly structured and smooth. Very hardy with strong flavors of plum and berries and finishing with that genuine earthy Cabernet taste. This Cabernet will definitely be added to my list of favorite Cab's. I can't wait to explore more wines from this area.

Taft Street Russian River Pinot Noir

Taft Street '07 Russian River Valley Pinot Noir

$25.00 a bottle

I was invited to attend a great wine event last Saturday April 3rd. at Taft Street winery in the small Russian River Valley town of Forestville, CA. This wine event was Taft Street's "Founders Day" a celebration of the start of Taft Street Winery back on April Fool's Day, 1982. Their wine making all began in a small garage on Taft Street in Oakland, CA. back in the 1970's. Together, John Tierney and Mike Martini began this wine making adventure. At this event I was lucky enough to meet and chat with Taft Street's very talented and humble wine maker, Evelyn White. Evelyn started at Taft Street Winery in 2000. Prior Evelyn had worked at Clos du Bois for twelve years before her move to Taft Street. Taft Street has a large variety of many great wines both white and red, yet the winery still has a very warm small town feel to it. Their Russian River Pinot Noir is definitely one of my favorite Pinot's. This Pinot has strong aroma's of berries and spice. Fruit forward with a very nice creamy almost vanilla finish. Not too earthy tasting. Definitely lots of flavors in this Pinot. The finish on this wine is my favorite part. I strongly recommend this wine and many of their other wines. Taft Street prices are very reasonable compared to many other wineries in the area.

Paradise Ridge Rockpile Cabernet

Paradise Ridge '06
(Elevation) Rockpile
Cabernet Sauvignon

$40.00 a bottle

I wanted to write my next wine blog on one of my favorite Cabernet Sauvignon's. That would definitely be Paradise Ridge's (Elevation) Rockpile Cabernet! I discovered this wine back in 2006 at Paradise Ridge Winery in Santa Rosa, CA. Cabernet is my favorite varietal but this Paradise Ridge Rockpile cab definitely stands all alone. This appellation is located in Northern Sonoma County at the northwest corner of Dry Creek Valley. Rockpile is situated between Lake Sonoma and the Pacific Ocean. The rockpile vineyard is over 2000 feet above sea level. The combination of high elevation, extreme terrain, and unique climate make this appellation unlike anything else in the world. The increasing sun exposure and decreasing moisture stressing the vines, gives these grapes their bold powerful flavor's. This wines aroma is full of deep fruits. Tasting lots of different fruits at first but has that genuine Cabernet finish of tasting rustic, earthy soil. Very hearty, yet very smooth like a good Cabernet should be. I'd have to say the flavor's of this Cabernet are much more intense then most Cabernet's. This is why the Rockpile appellation is one of my favorite's. This is a very exquisite wine!

Jacuzzi '07 Legrein

Jacuzzi '07 Lagrein

$28.00 a bottle

I've recently discovered a new favorite wine. I discovered this wine at Jacuzzi Family Vineyards in Sonoma, California. A red wine varietal called Lagrein. This red grape is native to northern Italy. Just north of Bolzano, near the border of Austria. Outside Italy this varietal is rare. With only 15 producers in Australia, found only in the cooler south-eastern regions. A few plantings in California and only five acres planted in Oregon. Lagrein produces a very deep rich red color wine. This wine contains lots of intense flavors. Jacuzzi Winery gets their Lagrein grapes from a vineyard in Paso Robles which receives less than eleven inches of rain per year. Jacuzzi's Lagrein spends ten months in the barrel to give it it's perfect color and taste. This wine has a fruity sour cherry taste to start and finishes off with the taste of chocolate. Was pleasantly surprised by the chocolate finish, yet it was not too over powering. Jacuzzi's '07 Lagrein is very intriguing and complex with flavors and comes strongly recommended!