This small article looks at a new release from California that I wasn’t able to get into recent regional reports. In addition to plenty of 2018s and 2019 barrel samples, it also includes some new projects from a number of notable winemakers.

Looking first at the Adversity releases, these are made by Russell and Heidi Bevan and these 2019s are their first release. The focus is on vines that struggle and these are classic Russell Bevan wines that have ample upfront fruit yet stay balanced and structured, with building tannins. In addition, I was able to taste through new releases from  Harbison Estate and Chase Cellars, both made by Bevan.

Next, I was also able to taste through a new project from the Central Coast, Optik, which is a collaboration between winemaker Joey Tensley, of Tensley Wines, and the Miller family, who own Bien Nacido Vineyard. Longtime readers will know I consider Bien Nacido to be one of the great sites in Santa Barbara County, and this new line includes numerous single block cuvées from this Grand Cru site. While these are small production releases, the goal is to grow the production over the coming years. The quality is certainly there and the wines represent a myriad of styles.

Italian lovers should not miss the wines from Aeris, which come from Kevin Harvey and his team at Rhys, with the focus on Italian varieties that they’ve planted and farm. I’ve yet to find anyone from California doing these varieties at this level and these are gorgeous wines.

I was also able to look at some late releases from Jean Hoefliger and the report includes impressive wines under the AXR, The Debate, Clark-Claudon, and Medlock Ames. I still have a few wines from Jean to still review, and will do my best to get those into an upcoming report.

Lastly, don’t miss the reviews from Ovid, TOR, Opus One, Carter Cellars, and Big Basin, all included in this report.

I apologize for grouping these all into a single report, but with COVID restricting travel and multiple large regional tasting going on at the same time in my office, sometimes you just have to do what you can.

Happy hunting,


By Jeb Dunnuck
Founder & Wine Critic
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