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The Weekly Dozen - California & More California

Holidays are a delightful time to celebrate and have a change of pace, but, for better and for worse, they take us away from our normal eating and drinking routines. We snack more, eat a lot of rich foods we normally don’t, and we drink a lot of bubbles.

While I love Champagne and all the other sparkling wines as much as the next Bubble-Head, it’s good to start a new year by getting back to some serious, lusty table wines.  Let’s start with a dozen from California, mostly big and complex reds mixed in with a few Chardonnays.

A toast to 2020!

2018 Flat Top Hills California Chardonnay ($13). Appealing, straight-forward apple fruitiness.

2017 Sequoia Grove Carneros Chardonnay ($26). Lively fruit, mellow oak, medium body.

2018 ZD California Chardonnay ($38). Warm, luscious, rounded apple flavors – the wine equivalent of an oven-fresh pie.

2017 Flat Top Hills California Cabernet Sauvignon ($16). Your basic Cab with clean cherry flavors, medium body and good acidity.

2017 Fort Ross “Sea Slopes” Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir ($31). Mix of bright and dark cherry flavors, a little cola, good structure, mild tannins.

2017 Gary Farrell Russian River Pinot Noir ($39). Medium-bodied with somewhat tangy cherry fruit and considerable spiciness; leaner than most Sonoma Pinots.

2016 Anaba “Bismarck Vineyard” Moon Mountain Syrah ($48). Rich and earthy with great-tasting, fruit-forward raspberry flavors, though just a tad hot on the palate.

2017 The Prisoner “Eternally Silenced” California Pinot Noir ($50). Great texture with rich but tart flavors of almost-ripe blackberries.

2018 ZD Carneros Pinot Noir ($58). A great-tasting, well-rounded Pinot with rooty, cola and cherry flavors. Long on the palate.

2015 J. McClelland “50 Harvests” Napa Valley Meritage Red ($60). Big and intense, fruit-forward with concentrated dark berries. Give it some time to open.

2016 Sullivan Vineyards Rutherford Cabernet Sauvignon ($105). Very nice – warm and generous with rich, muddled-cherries flavors, baking spices and a pleasant touch of bitters at the finish.

2016 Newton Mt. Veeder Cabernet Sauvignon ($187). A great, complex Cab with a combo of ripe blackberry and black raspberry fruit, distinctive savory notes and just a hint of dark chocolate. Don’t feel obligated to share this with anyone.

Prices listed are generally SRP or from

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