12 PICKS Winter 2022
2019 Tobias Cabernet Sauvignon “Formation” Rockpile & Mendocino
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 92 Points This is a gutsy, youthful, impressively concentrated Cabernet that opens with focused aromas of dark cherry, black raspberry, clove, cedar and dark pipe tobacco poised above a background of dried laurel. The rich core of sour dark cherry and black raspberry dominates in the mouth as well, while cedar, mace, tobacco and coffee bean notes prove a harmonious, slightly less intense counterpoint. There is a good spine of tannin on the palate and through a lingering finish that bodes well for service with steaks, fatty dark meats and winters rich stews. A 50%/50% mix of fruit from the Rockpile and Mendocino appellations. 1000 cases produced.
2019 Whitehall Lane Merlot Napa Valley
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 93 Points This may be the richest Merlot Whitehall has released. The nose is focused and notably ripe and it offers dark cherry, Cassis, blackberry,sandalwood, cedar and baking spice scents that roll out in fine harmony. It is both tongue-coating and zesty on the palate, where tannins firm the texture but stay subordinate to the fruit and spice medley. A flavorful lingering yet slightly less evolved finish indicates that the wine should improve for another year or two at least and suggests that in its youth it will show its best with darkly flavorful roasts and rich winter entrees.
2020 Falcone Syrah Paso Robles
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 92+ Points This is an intensely flavorful Syrah with loads of personality. The nose melds scents of blueberry syrup, black raspberry, violet and pomegranate molasses with others of black peppercorn, leather, toasted herbs and grilled game. It’s plush in fruit and forthcoming on the palate where a polished spine of tannin streamlines the texture and brings an attractive gutsiness to a long-lingering finish that is packed with dark fruits and savory spice. A great companion to roast lamb right now, it is likely eighteen to thirty-six months from its full maturity. Blended with 6% Petite Sirah, 446 cases made.
2020 Cochon “Whole Hog” Rhone Grape Blend Sonoma County
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 91+ Points Elegant yet expressive, the nose of this well made GSM offers aromas of grenadine, strawberry jam, raspberry coulis, and white and pink peppercorn along with suggestions of nut husk, sandalwood and rattan. It is texturally rich and gently piquant on the palate, with enough tannic grip to create a streamlined carriage for the wines mid-palate push of grenadine, raspberry, pomegranate and cherry pit. The finish is lingering and balanced for food service and the wine should grow ever more delicious over the next eighteen months. A blend of 60% Syrah, 20% Grenache, 10% Mourvedre. 7% Carignane, 2% Cinsault & 1% Viognier. 180 cases produced.
2020 Balletto Pinot Noir Russian River Valley
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 91+ Points This is an elegant yet clearly ripe Pinot with sweet-natured if youthful Russian River fruit. The nose opens with scents of Bing cherry, black cherry and pomegranate syrup that rise above suggestions of peppercorn, hazelnut and bouillon. It is firm and seems every bit as as youthful in the mouth, where cherry, pomegranate and emerging flavors of blueberry counterpoint notes of pink peppercorn and hazelnut. The finish lingers well and at this stage the wine should perform its best with roasted pork or seared duck breast. It should further develop and become an even more versatile dinner companion in another twelve to twenty-four months.
2020 Sobon Zinfandel “Fiddletown” Lubenko Vineyard Amador County
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 90 Points This is a soft-edged and richly fruity Zin with aromas of dark cherry, sweet red plum, dried cranberry, raspberry and star anise which rise above undercurrents of black peppercorn. It is just as fruity on the palate, with a plump mouth-feel and all the promised flavors along with notes of violet and blueberry. Long, balanced and satisfying all the way, it is a pleasure now and may be more so next year. 1100 cases produced.
2018 Bailarin Chardonnay Manchester Ridge Vineyard Mendocino Ridges
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 94 Points The aromas of this distinctive bottling are a medley of baked green apple, fresh golden apple, green melon, honey, chamomile, vanilla wafer and nougat scents poised above a chalky, mineral undercurrent. On the palate, those chalky, mineral notes achieve a chiseled balance with flavors of golden apple, honey, lemon curd, apple core and vanilla wafer. Everything comes on strong on the finish, where golden apple, fresh apple skin, honey-lemon tea chamomile, vanilla and a hint of hazelnut are focused and uplifted by the mineral notes. Perfectly food-balanced, it is ready to enjoy.
2021 Alma de Cattleya Sauvignon Blanc Sonoma County
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 92 Points The is a spicy, vibrant, forthcoming and beautifully balanced Sauvignon Blanc that delivers focused aromas of lemon grass, lemon sorbet, grapefruit pith, gooseberry, honeydew melon and white pepper. It is lean yet richly textured on the palate, where piquant freshness and flavors that mirror the nose lead to an extremely long and satisfying finish that is as sharply dry as it is fruit-packed. Delicious by itself , it will be notably more satisfying if paired with sauced seafoods, raw oysters, grilled chicken or Thai curry. 2000 cases produced.
2021 Seghesio Vermentino Russian River Valley
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 91+ Points Vibrantly fresh, focused and immediately appealing, this dinner worthy bottling opens with aromas of lemon, green melon and apricot pit braced by saline minerality. It is bone dry, focused and refreshing on the palate where flavors of apricot pit, lemon peel, tangerine, honeydew melon, and chamomile counterpoint slate-like mineral undertones. The finish is dry, sharp-edged and lingers with a notable saline note which makes this wine a terrific accompaniment to shellfish and a myriad of other appetizers. 1400 cases made.
2018 Trevieso “La Llorena” White Rhone Grape Blend Camp 4 vineyard Santa Ynez Valley
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 92 Points Generous and immediately attractive the nose of this pretty Rhone blend delivers harmonious aromas of honeysuckle, lemon zest, peach, guava and white pepper. It is rich and gently creamy on the mid-palate where dry peach, guava, baked apple, lychee, preserved lemon and honey flavors seem to float on the plush texture. Those flavors linger nicely and a note of honey-grilled grapefruit joins in at the end. It is ready to enjoy. A blend 32 % Viognier, 34% Marsanne & 34% Roussanne. 80 cases produced.
2020 Clothesline Rousanne Lodi
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 91 Points This intriguing wine is somewhat exotic if not particularly dramatic to the nose where suggestions of pineapple soufflé, guava and cantaloupe are main themes. On the palate it proves richly textured and broader in expression, as flavors of pear, quince, toasted meringue and hazelnut nougat add depth to its core of tropical fruit. Zest and mineral notes bring balance and dryness to the lingering finish, adding a dinner worthy balance to what is a distinctive Roussanne. It is ready to enjoy. 100 cases produced.
2021 Lorenza Rosé Lodi
San Francisco Wine Panel Score 92 Points Fruit forward and complex, the aromas of this seductive “Bandol-style” bottling are a focused medley of sour red cherry, grenadine, strawberry-rhubarb, watermelon, blood orange and pink and white peppercorn scents. These elements prove every bit as evident on the mid-palate, where zest and mineral contributions accent yet never distract from the wines forthcoming push of fruit. Long, fresh, food worthy and satisfying, this is a gorgeous Rosé. A blend of 44% Mourvedre, 27% Carignane, 17% Cinsault & 12% Grenache. 3600 cases made