More Red Wines of Lake County

Bell Hill, Lake County, Merlot 2005 When first tasted in July 2009, I wrote: the nose features sweet notes of vanilla and cherries while the mouth repeats with ripe tannins, just to let you know they are there – very nice.

Tasted again in May 2012, the tannins have resolved a bit further and the fruit still shines. This wine displays the softness that we associate with the grape without being innocuous. In a time when people are still bashing Merlot, it is a pleasure to revisit this one.

The grapes for this wine were sourced from Bell Hill in Big Valley, on the south side of Clear Lake. P&B in Kelseyville 13.5% $30 at the Blue Wing Bell Hill

Gregory Graham, Red Hills Lake County, Crimson Hills Vineyard, Syrah 2007 Like other wines from Greg, this is lush, filling out the whole palate with flavor – yum. Grown, produced and bottled in Lower Lake 14.4% $35 for a full bottle at the Blue Wing Gregory Graham Wines

Shed Horn Cellars, Lake County, Zinfandel 2009 The nose shows a big heft of oak, preparing the way for a rich experience in the mouth of black fruit, sweet oak and chocolate. This is a full-bodied Zin with ample tannin to pair with that steak you’re planning to barbecue tonight – nice. Cellared and bottled in Middletown 14.4% $28 at the Blue Wing Shed Horn Cellars

About RJ

Ray Johnson is the Executive Director of the Wine Business Institute at Sonoma State University. He writes about food and wine, his travels and the business of wine. He makes his home in Sonoma County, California.
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