Connoisseurs’ Guide to California Wine
88 Points; One Star: Fine example of a type or style of wine. Without notable flaws.
“As we complete our fortieth year of existence and head into the next forty, it is fitting that this year has seen some of the finest wines yet produced in California. This Issue not only brings the seasonal releases of Cabernet Sauvignon front and center but also reviews and recommends our favorite wines of the year. This is the season for celebration and everything about this Issue joins in the party. Our annual look at the best bubblies from Champagne adds to our coverage of California’s ever-improving sparkling wines, and whether one is looking for an everyday, reasonably priced bottling, which means, in our humble opinion, turning first to California, or wants the best available, you will find plenty of bubbles from both sides of the Atlantic to make you happy with the fizz.
Year In Review this year breaks new ground of sorts. Not only do we commend Sauvignon Blanc, of the 2012 vintage, to you as one of the year’s most exciting tasting surprises, but we have chosen and heartily call your attention to our Winery Of The Year: Daou Vineyards & Winery from Paso Robles. It is too easy to dismiss Paso Robles as the home of wines whose ripeness has gotten ahead of their fruit. Daou is proving otherwise, and it is joined by both established wineries like J. Lohr and Adelaida and newcomers like Proulx, Epoch, Law and Hammersky in writing a new and exciting chapter in the evolution of wines from that area.”
2010 J. Lohr Hilltop Cabernet Sauvignon
“Generously fruited and on the clear varietal track with elements of olive-tinged currants backed up by a complementary dollop of sweet oak, this supple, tannin-firmed offering conveys plenty of substance and depth without a great deal of the toughness that can attend young Cabernet. It is nonetheless balanced in a way that suggests good mid-term potential, and we would opt for a few years of age before drinking.”