From the Cellar: Grab Bag of California Reds and Whites

From pinot noir to petite syrah, California dreamin' with wine

Sometimes our tasting notes have a theme to explore or a point to be made. Don’t look for one here. Just peruse and choose — there’s something for everyone.

2012 J California Pinot Gris ($15). Soft and fragrant creamy pears that expand across the palate. Takeaway: A mellow wine for when you want to feel mellow.

2012 Geyser Peak California pinot grigio ($12). Sweet and spicy with a soft texture. Pleasant, but could use more acid crispness. Takeaway: A Monday-to-Thursday, stay-at-home wine.

2012 CrossBarn by Paul Hobbs Sonoma Coast rosé of pinot noir ($20). Uh, there’s candied apricot in the middle with some rose petals hanging around the edges. Minerally. Finishes a bit short. Takeaway: Great rosés have flavors and freshness — this one hangs too much on the flavor part of the equation.

2011 Hahn California pinot noir ($12). Lush fruit with a minerally underlay, very fruit-forward and a little candied in its flavors. Takeaway: An enjoyable wine, but maybe they were trying to do too much with it — perhaps it would have been better made simpler.

2011 Cuvaison Carneros pinot noir ($15). This is my kind of California pinot — spicy with cola/rooty flavors with a touch of tanginess at the end. Dark fruity, fairly well-structured, clean finish. Takeaway: This is what winemakers mean when they say start with good fruit.

2010 Spellbound California petite sirah ($15). A perfect example of how a basic red wine should taste — ripe, dark cherry fruit, good texture, and weight. The finish starts with dusty chocolate and goes to semi-crisp. Takeaway: A basic wine for most occasions.

2010 Cakebread Napa Valley syrah ($52). Classic syrah flavors of fresh black raspberry melded into a chocolate brownie earthiness. Smooth body, lean finish, great texture. Takeaway: I could sip this one forever.

2010 Little Black Dress "Divalicious" California red ($9). Lots of berry flavors, quite sweet in the finish. Takeaway: A wine for your parents who don’t drink wine.

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