Tres Sabores is a certified organic vineyard at the base of the Mayacamas mountains in western Rutherford. It bears no resemblance to stereotypical notions of a Napa winery. I stood at their small, outdoor tasting bar just the other day, sampling upcoming releases while snow-white baby lambs bounced happily through the bright yellow mustard flowers that serve as inter-row ground cover.
Zinfandel is the Tres Sabores Vineyard’s signature grape, delivering distinctive, balanced, food-friendly wines that are very different from the jammy, heavily-oaked Zins which are so common today. The nose here offers fresh cherries and berries, huckleberry, white nectarine and sweet herbs, with just a hint of vanilla. In the mouth, it’s dry and medium-bodied with moderate tannins, very fine and lightly grippy. Flavors include cherry, dark berries, cocoa, coconut and spice. 100% Zinfandel. French and American oak, mostly neutral. 500 cases. 90 points
Wine glass and bottles via shutterstock
Aromas of dusty black fruit, dark chocolate and a scattering of dry leaves precedes a juicy palate of black cherry, blackberry, chocolate and warm dark spice. The medium-plus body and light-grained tannins mean the wine is suited to pairing with casual meals or drinking on its own. 50% Zinfandel, 35% Petite Sirah, 14% Cabernet Sauvignon, 1% Petite Verdot. Mostly French oak, some American, 40% new. 1,980 cases. 89 points
An elegant nose: blackcurrant and cocoa with a trace of bay leaf. Medium-plus-bodied in the mouth with blackcurrant, powdery mocha and dark chocolate, framed by medium-plus chalky and grainy tannins. Decant now or drink from 2015 to 2022. 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. 200 cases. 92 points
An opaque wine with black ruby color and blackberry, thick black plum and sweet dark spice. Full-bodied with generous tannins, juicy blackberry, licorice and sweet dark spice. Enjoy it this Fall with unctuous braised meat or hold it for 2 to 5 years. 200 cases. To be released end of March. 90 points
Jeff Keene brought a New Zealand accent to Cornerstone Cellars’ California operation in 2008, but also years of Napa Valley winemaking experience. He started at Havens Wine Cellars, where they focused on cool-climate Carneros wines and made America’s first varietally-labelled Albariño. Several years as assistant winemaker at Peter Franus Wine Company broadened his experience with both varieties and Napa Valley AVAs.
Made entirely from Syrah picked at 22.5 brix specifically for this rosé. The pretty, light-salmon color fits aromas of just-ripe wild strawberry and mineral with delicate floral and spice notes. Soft on the palate, owing to five months sur lie in neutral French oak, with medium-plus body, mouthwatering wild strawberries and persistent minerality. It will be just right with a light lunch by the pool. 89 points
Syrah from the Truchard Vineyard is combined with a 5% share of Carneros Merlot for an approachable, nuanced wine. Dark flowers are followed by a touch of black pepper, then earthy spice, mineral and dark fruit on the nose. The gentle palate is medium-plus in body, with tannins of chalky powder. Attractive flavors of licorice, dark and earthy spice, chocolate and dark fruit gradually give way to a mineral finish. 300 cases; Release date TBD. 90+ points