Tag Archive: California wines

Luli is a delicious line of creations by the Master Sommelier, Sara Floyd and the Pisoni Family. Coming from the Santa Lucia Highlands, this line of wines was the most consistently enjoyable group on the tasting table at work.
Luli Sauv Blanc 2014
The Luli Sauv Blanc surprised me. Normally, I can’t stand Sauvignon Blanc, but in this instance, it was absolutely enjoyable. It opened as grassy, with sun-warmed straw and alphalpha. It tastes of pale minerals, hints of lime, and is deliciously floral across the palate, and flies off the palate gracefully at the finish, leaving behind only a pleasant memory. This Sauv Blanc reads more like a pinot grigio personality.

Luli Chardonnay 2013
The Luli Chard is surprisingly fruity, with pineapple, cantaloupe, and honeydew. This wine smells like a basement I was once in, in Spokane Washington. That aside, it is refreshingly crisp, with a pineapple after taste and a well time finished. What impressed me about this wine, is how beautifully balanced it was. There was excellent fruit, but enough acid to even it out.

Luli Rose 2014
This rose wine is lovely in the glass, pale antique peach roses, with the smell of musty roses, pale iced strawberries and apricots, with possible peaches. Simple, but this rose is beautiful, refreshing, and exactly as it smells. This wine is perfect for Sunday summer afternoons.

Luli Pinot Noir 2013
This pinot noir is a beautiful garnet in the glass, smelling precisely like you’d expect a pinot noir to smell, and tastes just the same. It is leather, cold weather raspberries, red cherries that are just slightly cloying. This wine is a cold weather wine, and smells like the air just before it snows. The finish is nice, though the cloying cherries might be abated by a longer opening period.


This delightful rose from Sean Minor’s 4 Bears from Carneros, California, is fragrant with dusty roses, star bright salmon colored. This wine reminds me of the pale rays of spring sun, just barely coaxing new strawberries and summer fruits into the ocean breezes. This wine is a dry balance of strawberries and kiwi acid, with banana hints, and tropical fruits. In its early stages, this wine reminds me of chardonnay. As Sean Minor’s rose opens, it becomes more approachable with cantaloupe melon, and bits of fresh pear. This wine is very fresh, and refined, but with a lot of potential that you have to stick around for. It comes across as tight, though that’s not a word you’d hear with rose, more with deeply tannic structural red wines.

This delightful Pinot Noir from the Central Coast of California is deceptive. The price would tell you that it’s a simple, standard wine with no real personality other than the varietal. Boy, was I wrong. This wine may only be about $10.99 retail, but the age on it has opened it up to become a stunningly delicious earthy, welcoming wine. It opens with a warm leathery taste, that is followed closely by pommegranate, savory herbal notes, red cherries, forest floor of dry leaves and warm dirt. This wine is like an old friend. Sean Minor’s 4-Bears Pinot Noir is refreshing, comfortable, and a welcomed friend, but as with a returning friend, it’s nuances are different, never quite the same.
I really enjoyed this wine, and I’m hoping that it will pair well with my maple/garlic-rubbed steak and white asparagus.

Three Petite Sirah 2009

Three’s Petite Sirah 2009 is an interesting wine, from Concha Costa, CA. It’s big and juicy, like rich, hand squeezed blackberries, and edges of black velvet with figs and raisins. The alcohol in this petite sirah is high, 15.5%, and quite often, wine makers have a habit of over-compensating and making the wine syrupy. Fortunately, this wine isn’t one of those. Three’s Petite Sirah is a fruit bomb with a light, easy vanishing finish. I can’t say that I love it, but it’s headed in the right direction. The philosophy of Three is good, an attempt at uniting the components of making good wine. 1. Dirt, 2. Micro-climate, 3. sustainable growth.

This sauvignon blanc from California’s north coast, the Langtry Estate Vinyards, is precisely what one would expect from a coastal white wine. It is refreshing, crisp, clean, and laced with green apples. This wine is whispers of kiwi, pineapple, miner grapefruit overtones, with clean, clear palate cleansing acid. Lillie’s Sauvignon Blanc is a surprise rain drizzle over granite boulders and white sandy beaches that leaves a hot day cool, on the edge of cold, bringing all the scents of nature into sharp relief. It even has a cucumber after-tone that is just so refreshing.

Castle Rock’s Pinot Noir 2010 is a California Cuvee from Sonoma California. It’s beautifully acidic, with green apple skins, and sharp berries. The black cherry and blueberries are mouth-wateringly tart, with a leather suede lining that softens the wine opening it up to lavender. I had this wine with Chicken Parmesan, and it was a perfect mate. The acid cut through the fat of the chicken and cheese, and in turn, the fats softened the acid. That said, the Pinot Noir would have been nice on its own as well, but when you find better, why settle?

Cameron Hughes Meritage 2012 is a young wine, but thoroughly well put together. This blend from Napa Valley consists of Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot. It’s a swirl of colder black fruit, blackberry juice, black cherry sorbet, welcoming tannins, figs, and sweet dark melons.The fruit in this wine is absolutely marvelous, in a topically enchanting sort of way. It’s like a fairy tale, beautiful, fantastical, whimsical, and tasty, with a pleasing finish of happily ever after.

Cameron Hughes California Field blend 2011 is a delicious dive into a pool of antiquity. It bursts with musky rose, sweet raspberry and black cherry juice that reminds one of hand done lace, pearls, and button up shoes. It is a dry wine, but it has a delightfully acidic balance with mouthwatering pomegranate, licorice and spice.

I have yet to have a Cameron Hughes wine that I dislike- there are some that are so delicious that they sell faster than bacon on sale to college kids. The thing about them, though, (the wines, not the college kids) is that once that blend is gone, it’s gone. Fortunately, the rest are just as good.


This Mendocino Chardonnay is a beauty of vanilla, grapefruit, and pears, finessed, and comfortable with open cocktail fruit, hints of pineapple, dried apricot, and light almond slivers. It’s body is lined with peaches, and nectarines. This wine, while oaked, is deliciously refreshing, offering everything that Chardonnay promises, and more.

Plungerhead Zinfandel 2011

This zinfandel is one of a few  made by “The Other Guys” in California. I did not get a look at whether this was the Dry Creek or the Lodi Zin. However, it was a tablecloth twirl of red cherries, anise seed, and black plum flesh.This wine is meaty, glazed with cherry Madiera sauce and seasoned with Tuscan herbs. It reminds me of the comfortable 40-something uncle you might have a back yard camping trip with, and it finishes with whisps of campfire smoke.