Outstanding California Wines
New reviews of Syrah, Zinfandel, Chardonnay and more from across the Golden State, each priced under $40
2010 Landy Sweetwater Springs Petite Sirah - 93 pts Wine Spectator. A huge wine, not for the faint of heart. Offers vivid aromatics of coffee and campf...
"This fruit comes from the sloping hillsides of John Caldwell's vineyard in Napa Valley that overlooks Napa. We are proud to be releasing our second vintage of this flamboyantly aromatic and enormously concentrated wine." -Jeff Cohn
A perfect combination of California ripeness and the soul of the Northern Rhone is found in this Syrah. A wild blackberry and cassis fruit bomb that is laced with hints of smoked game, roasted herbs, vanilla bean and lavender. A perfect wine for grilled meats and hearty stews.
2007 Caldwell Vineyard Syrah – Napa Valley l $45 l 91 points
Both rich and fleshy, intense and concentrated, with dark berry, pepper, spice and anise flavors. Full-bodied and expressive, ending with a complex mix of spicy, beefy berry flavors. Drink now through 2016. 104 cases made. –JL
From Coombsville's cool climate, the dense ruby/purple-colored 2006 Syrah Caldwell Vineyard reveals a complex floral, blueberry, and black raspberry-scented perfume, sweet, noble tannins, and a layered finish. Drink this superb Syrah over the next 8-10 years.
Pure, rich and complex, sleek and focused, full-blown yet well-proportioned, with a medley of ripe blackberry, spice, mineral and sage all woven together and ending with firm, minerally tannins. Drink now through 2014. --J.L.
Exhibits a scorched/volcanic earth-like character along with notions
of roasted herbs, espresso, cassis, and blackberries. This heady,
Hermitage-like effort is distinctive, it should benefit from another
year or so of bottle age and drink well for a decade or more.
From its dramatic, intensely peppery aromas of blackberries and ripe
plums to its plush, positively mouthfilling flavors, the wine simply
oozes concentrated berries and spice while getting a big boost from its
very rich oak. Yet, for all of its mass and evident stuffing, it is
remarkably well-balanced and buffers its heat with extract to spare. As
this very deep wine and its impressive mates clearly attest, winemaker
Jeff Cohn understands richness when it comes to Syrah.
This Syrah boasts a deeper, darker, blue/purple color as well as a
big, sweet nose of blueberries, black raspberries, licorice and crushed
rocks. Full-bodied and harmonious, with sweet tannin as well as
expansive richness, this beauty can be drunk now and over the next
A bold, dark, rich and delicious Syrah, with tiers of blackberry,
wild berry and chocolate brownie flavors shaded by smoky, toasted oak
and chicory. Intense, firm and concentrated, with anise, licorice and
chewy tannins folding together on the palate. Decant. Best from 2007
Intensely aromatic and redolent of fresh raspberries with a good bit
of oaky sweetness, hints of cocoa and a touch of peppery spice, this
ample wine is unabashed in its ripeness but avoids the palate sprawl
that can affect such wines. Its solid sense of wild berries holds well
into its slightly hot finish, and its fine-grained tannins suggest that
it will be drinking quite well by the time of its third or fourth
If a tad less sizable imposing than Cohn's Rockpile bottling, this
wine is just enough more refined to rate very highly on its own. Its
sweet, jammy, concentrated aromas are certainly keyed first on ripe
blackberries and chocolate, and it picks up peppery and richly oaky
characteristics along the way. Plush and coating in feel, it is not
unexpectedly hot at the finish, and it asks for a few years of quite
cellaring to come into its own.
Medium-dark purplish ruby color; attractive, complex, spicy, herbal,
earthy, plumy, dark currant and black raspberry fruit aroma with notes
of vanilla (though not quite as intense as some of the other top rated
wines in this group); full body; big, dense, concentrated, highly
extracted, cedary, jammy, creamy, very rich, ripe black cherry and
blackberry fruit flavors; well balanced and structured; lingering
aftertaste. Shows distinctive varietal character and developed with
airing in the glass too. Should reward a few more years of bottle
aging. Very highly recommended.
From the southern Napa Valley, this wine (from the sol-called Aiken
soils, primarily reddish soils with volcanic ash and rocks) is a
French-styled, Côte Rôtie-like effort offering notes of crème de
cassis, dried herbs, black fruits, flowers, underbrush, subtle toast,
and roasted meats. This dense, full-bodied beauty reveals admirable
purity, a wonderful texture, and a long finish. It should drink well
for 7-8 years.
Dark, plush and deeply concentrated, with a pure, rich, syrupy core
of amazingly complex blackberry and wild berry fruit, yet it manages to
retain a sense of elegance and finesse, finishing with potent vanilla
and espresso bean flavors. Drink now through 2009.
A spectacular effort, the full-bodied, layered, serious 2001
Caldwell Vineyard Syrah exhibits notes of truffles, damp earth,
blackberries, licorice and a hint of pepper. This full-throttle, young
but accessible Syrah should hit its stride in 2-3 years, and last for
Ultrarich and unctuous, with lots of depth to currant, cola, beef,
roasted herb, cassis and black cherry flavors. Ripe tannins carry
through the finish, along with nicely integrated toasty oak. Drink now