Babcock Pinot Noir, Santa Barbara, 2000, $17 VG+
A monster, with dark brooding fruit balanced by earth flavors [11/22].
David Bruce Petite Syrah, Central Coast, 1999, $13 VG+
Big brooding jammy fruit, great mouthfeel [11/23].
Wellington Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, 1998, $15 VG+
All the elements of a great Cab in an affordable package. Classic Cab fruit, a bit of spice, and some (French?) oak. Well-balanced, but not huge [11/26].
Cline Zinfandel, California, Ancient Vines, 1999, $8.25/glass VG
This delicious wine is not as hedonistic as their plain California Zin, but is more balanced and rooted, lackings its rustic wildness, and also more concentrated and tannic (a key element of the balance), with beautiful color. Two thumbs up [12/01].
Warre's Tawny Port, Portugal, Reserve, 1987, $18 VG+
Most tawny's are a blend consisting of many vintages. This single-vintage reserve tawny is thus special. The style of this tawny is fruit-driven and light on the wood, with flavors of cherries and nuts. Although this is clearly a superb production, it's not my favorite style of tawny. I like woodier tawnies, more typical of 20 year tawnies, with more flavors of cedar and cinnamon. Still, there's no mistaking the soundness and uniqueness of this delicious wine, and if you like fruit in your tawnies, you'll love this wine [12/02].
Falkner Sangiovese, South Coast, 1998, $7 G+
Light and a little acidic to start, it ripened nicely in the bottle [12/6].
Ravenswood Zinfandel, Mendocino, 1999, $12 VG+
A truly remarkable production, especially for the price. Bursting with ripe berry fruit with just enough structure to hold it together [12/8].
Flora Springs Chardonnay, Napa, Lavender Hill Vineyard, 1998, VG
Very satisfying, with a really nice balance between foral fruit, oak, and acidity. Gorgeous gold color [12/14].
Taylor Fladgate Tawny Port, Portugal, 10 year, VG+
A very nice tawny, with pretty cherry fruit and enough wood and spice to balance the sweetness [12/15].
Estate Baccala Zinfandel, Mendocino, Old Vines, 1999, $7 G+
Light and a bit unbalanced, but with some character [12/19].
Ravenswood Icon, Sonoma, 1999, $18 VG+
Wow. It had been a while since I'd had a Syrah, so this was an especial pleasure. Poignant berry fruit exploding in the mouth and not at all over tannic. Worth savoring every sip [12/21].
Parsons Creek Zinfandel, California, Old Vine, 1999, $3 Fair
Nice bottle, tar in the nose, bitter on the palate [12/22].
Columbia Crest Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley, Reserve, 1998, $20 VG+
Ripe, rich fruit, packed with vanilla oak without being overpowering [12/25].
David Bruce Cabernet Sauvignon, Santa Clara, 1999, $19 VG
Tightly wound, but still approachable, this ought to be very nice in 3-5 years. Or maybe open it a few hours before dinner and let it breath [12/25].
Ravenswood Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma, 1999, $16 VG
Yummy all around. Rich Cab fruit, youthful but not tannic, pleasant oak providing a little chocolate [12/29].