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Top 10 Wines of the Week


Five Syrahs make this week’s list, a first for my Top Ten Wines of the Week. The Valley of the Moon and Bianchi are good values.

Later today, I’m going up to the Napa Valley Vintners for the second in a series of large blind tastings they’re setting up for me. I’m looking forward to 4 or 5 hours “in the zone.” Will spend the night up there because, even though I’ll be spitting, enough alcohol gets into the bloodstream that I don’t want to drive back to Oakland, especially on a Friday getaway afternoon. I’m never very hungry after a big tasting, so I’ll probably head over to ZuZu for dinner and have a couple little plates of tapas, with some soul-refreshing Sherry.

Donelan 2008 Richards Family Syrah, Sonoma Valley. $90, 140 cases, 14.2%. This is the winery formerly known as Pax, owned by Joe Donelan. The wines are crafted by Tyler Thomas. Also their 2009 Kobler Family Vineyard Syrah, from Green Valley, and the 2008 Cuvée Keltier Syrah, with a Sonoma County appellation. Serious Syrahs.

Marimar Estate 2008 Doña Margarita Vineyard Chico’s Run Pinot Noir, Sonoma Coast. $49, 146 cases, 14.9%. Also Marimar’s 2008 Don Miguel Vineyard La Masia Pinot Noir. Marimar Torres strikes gold with her new ‘08s.

Thomas Fogarty 2008 Rapley Trail Vineyard Block M Pinot Noir, Santa Cruz Mountains. $70, 71 cases, 13.5%. What interesting things Fogarty is doing these days. They are producing some of the best Pinot Noirs in the Santa Cruz Mountains. Also their Block B Pinot, from the same vineyard, and the Windy Hill Vineyard.

Highway 12 2007 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Sonoma Valley. $38, 175 cases, 15.1%. A big, warming wine, made by Michael Sebastiani, of the famous family.

White Oak 2006 Syrah, Napa Valley. $26, 2,046 cases, 14.9%. Good price for a Syrah this good, and easy to find.

Maclaren 2008 Dry Stack Vineyard Syrah, Bennett Valley. $35, 173 cases, 14.5%.

Windstream 2009 Sarmento Vineyard Pinot Noir, Santa Lucia Highlands. $40, 250 cases, 14.9%. The vineyard has been source of good Pinots from Sequana, Tudor, Windbreak and others.

Calcareous 2008 Viognier-Marsanne, Paso Robles. $28, 437 cases, 14.5%.

Bianchi 2006 Heritage Selection Syrah, Paso Robles. $18, 825 cases, 14.3%.

Valley of the Moon 2008 Syrah, Sonoma County. $16, 3,600 cases, 13.5%.

  1. Dear Steve:

    I invite you to visit Ceja Vineyards and Bistro Sabor in downtown Napa on First Street. Gracias!

  2. Nice to see that at least Syrah can be “serious,” unlike lowly Zinfandel. And at far lower alcohol than Marimar’s Pinot Noir. Oh, this damned stuff is so confusing.

  3. Hang in there, Hosemaster, and keep studying. You’ll figure it out someday!

  4. James McCann says:

    Good for Miramar, a very smart and classy lady.

  5. Thanks, Steve! Love your blogs — and glad you like our new bottling, the 2008 Chico’s Run Pinot, named after my Springer Spaniel! Bonita’s Hill is the other “dog wine” (we call them Dog Red and Dog White) – she gets the Chardonnay. Our dogs are definitely part of the team at Marimar Estate!


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