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Vinous Table: Glen Ellen Star, Glen Ellen, CA

Vinous Table, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Mar 2024

I was very much looking forward to this dinner at Glen Ellen Star after a long day of tastings. The restaurant is in the small village of Glen Ellen, just a few minutes north of Sonoma, in the heart of Sonoma Valley. I spent a lot of time here when we worked on our Sonoma Valley map project a few years ago. Sonoma Mountain is just behind the restaurant, while Moon Mountain is east. Being in this unique part of Sonoma County always brings back a lot of memories.

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Vinous Table: Angler, San Francisco, CA

Vinous Table, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Feb 2024

Angler is one of my favorite restaurants in San Francisco. Like many routines, what were once regular visits were disrupted by COVID-19. This was my first time back in several years. Perhaps for that reason, I especially enjoyed this dinner.

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2022 Sonoma Preview: A First Look

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Jan 2024

Pinot Noir leads the way in what is turning out to be a surprising set of new releases from Sonoma. The 2022 growing season was marked by several key events, most notably record-setting heat over Labor Day weekend. Not surprisingly, there is some variability, but there are also plenty of stunning wines that are well worth seeking out. This Preview covers new releases from Sonoma and neighboring regions. As is our custom for this article, we will post frequent updates in the coming weeks, which we feel is the best way to keep readers current, given the sheer volume of wines released this time of year.

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Cellar Favorite: 1985 Ridge Vineyards Zinfandel Canyon Road & 1985 Monte Bello

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, United States: California

Neal Martin, Jan 2024

I am not familiar with Californian wines like some of my Vinous colleagues. However, during 2023, I enjoyed several mature bottles from Ridge Vineyards, which is certainly one of my favorite producers.

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The 2021 Napa Valley Cabernets, Part One

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Dec 2023

After the brutal 2020 vintage, Napa Valley fans will be thrilled to start exploring the 2021s. The 2021s are aromatic, refined and wonderfully expressive. I found many wines to be truly exceptional both in terms of quality and what seems to be a more finessed approach than in the past, something that is evident at many estates. Vintage 2022 presented more than its fair share of challenges, so 2021 is most certainly the vintage to focus on, at least for the time being.

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Santa Lucia Highlands: Cool-Climate Excellence in 2021

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2023

The 2021s from the Santa Lucia Highlands build on a theme of excellence seen throughout California in what has turned out to be a largely impressive vintage in many appellations. Readers will find numerous compelling wines to explore, but many of the best wines are not always the usual suspects.

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Santa Cruz Mountains – California’s Hidden Gem

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Nov 2023

Tucked into its own little corner of the world, far away from most of California’s better-known regions, the Santa Cruz Mountains is home to a number of world-class estates and equally notable vineyards. Readers who enjoy focused, nervy Chardonnays and Pinot Noirs will find much to explore, as will those who appreciate the more savory, structured side of Cabernet Sauvignon. Although I have not tasted all the wines yet, 2021 is shaping up to be an extraordinary vintage here.

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Cellar Favorite: 2003 Philip Togni Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon Estate

cellar favorite, Cellar Favorites, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Oct 2023

The 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon Estate, a library release from the winery this year, is in great shape. Rich, racy and super-expressive, the 2003 offers up an exotic mélange of ripe dark plum, hard candy, tea leaves, spice, mocha, leather and menthol. Sweet floral top notes add character to the distinctly ripe flavor profile.

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Brilliance in Santa Barbara

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Sep, 2023

Santa Barbara continues to impress with a wide range of exceptional, world-class wines. After the challenging but ultimately strong 2020 harvest, producers were welcomed with far more favorable conditions in 2021. It is a spectacular vintage for the whites, quite possibly the best I have seen in more than a dozen years of tasting these wines, but ultimately less consistent for the reds, as we will explore in this year’s report.

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Sonoma’s Sensational 2021s

featured, United States: California

Antonio Galloni, Aug 2023

After a very challenging 2020, Sonoma bounces back big time with a fabulous vintage in 2021. Bold Pinots, savory Syrahs, vibrant Chardonnays and nuanced Zinfandels are all part of the mix. Two thousand twenty-one is the best Sonoma vintage since 2018. While that may not be saying all that much in terms of the time elapsed, the 2021s are both very high in quality and consistent across the board. It’s a vintage full of stunning, compelling wines.