Wine Reviews: California New Releases

Posted by | Posted in Wine Reviews | Posted on 08-06-2023

Two from Meyye Wines

This week I’m back with more California new releases, including some well-known names and new-to-me producers.

Justin’s Paso Robles-based wines are widely available and they have a diverse lineup. I have three of their staples this week that would be great for this late summer, vacation-y time. A Far Niente Cab brings a lot of Napa goodness at a reasonable price, and I also have one of the best bargain California Pinots I’ve found to date in The Pinot Project’s offering.

This is my first dive into Meyye Wines, and I’m already a huge fan. Immediately, I knew something was different with this producer. As a wildlife photographer and bird nerd, the intricate labels embossed with local birds drew me in, and the wines include the names of the birds in the Coast Miwok language. And the wine inside the bottle is just as excellent as I was hoping. Winemaker Rob Campbell — a member of the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria (Coastal Miwok/Southern Pomo) — launched this project after working with Story Winery in Amador County until 2019, realizing his long-time dream to found a winery honoring his heritage.

“I’m intentionally using the Coast Miwok language since the language was considered ‘officially dead’ in the past, but my people are making a concerted effort to restore it,” Campbell says. “In addition to being ultra-premium wines that taste great, it’s my small way of preserving our language by sharing with native and non-native people alike.” These small production wines are available from the winery’s site, and soon some restaurants, and certainly worth checking out.

These wines were all received as trade samples and tasted sighted.

2022 Justin Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $18
Medium yellow color. A vibrant pop on the nose of gooseberry, white peach, orange peel, along with peach blossom, honey, tropical flowers, and honeysuckle. The palate has a juicy and rich texture with flavors of white peach, honey-glazed pears, drizzled with some lemon juice, a ripe yet balanced appeal. Floral and perfumed with honeysuckle, orchard fruit blossoms galore, along with some celery seed and mint tones. Fun, vibrant, fresh, quite complex and a solid bargain. (88 points IJB)

2022 Justin Vineyards Rosé – USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $20
The color of ripe watermelon and peach. The palate shows a bright mix of white raspberry, peaches, wild strawberries, with tones of chalk dust, sea salt, some crushed sweet tart and flinty/herbal vibes. The palate sports chunks of pineapple, slices oranges, mango, lime juice, delightful stuff, along with floral, perfumed nuances and tones of white pepper, mint, and celery seed. A base of whole-cluster Syrah, super fun and crowd-pleasing, but complex as well. (90 points IJB)

2020 Justin Vineyards & Winery Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Central Coast, Paso Robles
SRP: $30
Vibrant purple color. The nose shows suave plums and currants, laced with smoky earth and coffee, notes of pepper, roasted red pepper, some roasted chestnut, hints of dark chocolate. Juicy and ripe on the palate with sweet tannins, a pleasantly chewy feel, with moderated acidity. Flavors of juicy plums, raspberry jam, with currant jam, and the fruit is mixed with tones of anise, tobacco, sage, along with coffee, mocha, and anise cookie. Fun and ripe but nuanced and balanced, too. Great grill-out, crowd-pleasing Cab at a reasonable price. Aged 14 months in 25% new American oak. (89 points IJB)

2021 The Pinot Project Pinot Noir USA, California
SRP: $13
Light ruby color. Ripe and fun on the nose with fresh strawberries, raspberries, some cherry pie, topped in sliced rhubarb, some white pepper, bay leaf, tobacco nuances. Juicy and fresh on the palate with soft tannins and medium acidity. Available nationwide, it’s rare to find a Pinot Noir of this price point that taste this real and expressive. Great bargain Pinot for late summer parties and cookouts. (88 points IJB)

2019 Charles Krug Winery (Peter Mondavi Family) Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $41
Ripe purple color. Aromas of raspberry jam, plum cake, with black cherry sauce, along with toffee, mocha, vanilla, and elements of sweet pipe tobacco, earth, and charcoal. Plush texture, ripe tannins, juicy and accessible feel but vibrant acidity. A saucy appeal with ripe black cherries, plum cake, and black currant jam, and the fruit is blended well with tones of roasted bell pepper, sweet pipe tobacco, vanilla, coffee, and toffee. Juicy and generous, with solid complexity as well and a delightfully fruity appeal. (89 points IJB)

2021 Post & Beam Cabernet Sauvignon USA, California, Napa Valley
SRP: $55
Rich purple color. The aromas have deep but inviting tones of black currants, tangy red and black plums, with complexities of anise, black pepper, sage, tobacco, dried violets, some stony, earthy vibes – lovely. Full and juicy on the palate but really fresh with fine-grained tannins. The fruit is tangy and crunchy with deep black cherries, currant, some fig paste, and it is sprinkled with elements of pencil shavings, menthol, rocky-earthy notes, along with nuances of coffee grounds and cedar. Suave, fresh, has a really delightful mouthfeel, making this a delight to drink young, but will do well in the cellar, too. (92 points IJB)

2020 Meyye Wines Chardonnay “Kuluppis” USA, California, Napa / Sonoma, Carneros
SRP: $55
Rich yellow color. The nose is juicy and deep with apricot and orange marmalade, some lemon curd, honeyed biscuits, but also it has these breezy, floral vibes, with tropical flowers, daisies, and dandelion. The palate shows pleasant creaminess and ripeness but it is nuanced and shows vibrant acidity, with flavors of pear butter, orange marmalade, and bruised yellow apples. The notes of almond, biscuits, whipped honey, and dried mango are nuanced and delicious, and there’s no overbearing oak. A clear, ripe but vibrant finish with notes of minerals and chalk dust over top of biscuit dough. Delicious stuff from Sangiacomo Vineyard. (91 points IJB)

2019 Meyye Wines Pinot Noir “Omay” USA, California, Sonoma County, Petaluma Gap
SRP: $75
Deep ruby color. So alive and vibrant on the nose, with the freshest chilled strawberries and raspberries, some cranberry relish, with nuances of rose hips, sage, white pepper, and tobacco. So silky and refined on the palate with dusty tannins and crisp, refreshing acidity. The fruit is pure and delicious (juicy black cherries, tangy strawberries, cranberry relish) laced with tobacco, sage, tilled soil, fallen leaves, clove, white pepper. A ton to unpack here, this is an intricate, refined, and expressive Pinot Noir. Delightful now, but I’d love to cellar it for four or five years. From Sangiacomo and Roberts Road vineyards. (93 points IJB)

2019 Meyye Wines “Sokootok” USA, California, Sierra Foothills, California Shenandoah Valley
SRP: $60
Pretty, deep ruby color. Ooh, the nose is enticing with these black cherries and saucy plums laced with mesquite, smoky charcoal, pepperoni, graphite, roasted red pepper, tobacco, some violets. The palate is rich but balanced with a fleshy feel but nice grip on the tannins and moderate acidity. Flavors of deep black cherries and spicy cranberry jam, and the fruit is blended wonderfully with tones of tobacco, creosote, mesquite, charcoal, roasted red pepper, leather. Delicious now but things will really start to integrate in the next three to six years and those intricate savory tones will really pop. A blend of Grenache, Syrah, Petite Sirah, Counoise, and Zinfandel from Amador County. (92 points IJB)

2015 Meyye Wines Zinfandel “Palachchak” USA, California, Sierra Foothills, California Shenandoah Valley
SRP: $70
Vibrant ruby color. The nose is sweet and ripe with crushed raspberries and red cherries, with sliced rhubarb, chewing tobacco, sweet roses, red licorice, some leather – a cool mix. Full and ripe on the palate, refined, integrated tannins with fresh acidity. Big but fresh with juicy raspberry and strawberry fruit, mixed with elements of dusty earth, savory spices, some cola, tobacco, and mint. A lot of fun, and drinking great right now. (90 points IJB)

Comments are closed.