Kosta Browne, Turnbull, J. Lohr and the Texas Hill Country

I recently had the pleasure of tasting some wines from Kosta Browne (from Sonoma County) with winemaker Julien Howsepian, and some wines from Turnbull (Napa Valley) with winemaker Peter Heitz.


Long heralded as some of the best Pinot Noirs on the planet, with limitations on buying from the mailing list, Kosta Browne also has two world-class Chardonnays. Tasted:

Kosta Browne El Diablo Chardonnay Russian River Valley 2018

Beautiful, restrained fruit.  Elegant with an amazing 3.2 Ph (for those who care about such a statistic)!  Lively, fresh and a kiss of oak  at $160.

Kosta Browne Cerise Chardonnay Anderson Valley 2017

More floral, richer palate and more like a great Meursault at $160.

Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Russian River Valley 2019 and Kosta Browne Pinot Noir Sonoma Coast 2019

I usually prefer the Sonoma Coast.  The 2009 Sonoma Coast was named the number one wine in the Wine Spectator Top 100 wines one year. To me, these are close to equal, with the Sonoma Coast being a little less fruit forward and a bit more earthy – like forest floor. Each beautiful at $115.

Kost Browne Pinot Noir Gap’s Crown 2019

One of several Kosta Browne single vineyard offerings, each of which are hard to find because of small production and high demand.  Native fermentation and hands off winemaking to the extent possible, to bring out the terroir. Blueberries and cherries.  Superb  at $165.


I love all the Turnbull Cabernets. With Peter Heitz, I tasted three of their very best:

Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Amoenus Vineyard 2019

Peter says that unlike 2018, which was uniformly a great vintage for Napa Valley, 2019 had lower lows, but higher highs, and these three wines actually outperformed the 2018s!  Amoenus is a fabulous vineyard in the middle of over 100 gorgeous acres in Calistoga nestled against Storybook Mountain on the west side of the valley.  Dark and rich with succulent fruit,  like a great black tea with black cherries, dusty blackberries and a long, satisfying, persistent finish at $145.

Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Fortuna Vineyard 2019

Fresh with quite a lift!  Delicate and a pretty wine with depth.  Seductive and beguiling at $145.

Turnbull Cabernet Sauvignon Napa Valley Leopoldina Vineyard 2019

From a 36-acre vineyard on the eastern side of Oakville. Opulent, with the natural acidity of a fine Bordeaux along with the beautiful fruit of Napa Valley.  Cassis, blackberries and black cherries at $145.


Once again, out of the myriad wines of the wine world entered in the current Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo – this was the 90th – J. Lohr was honored as Top All-Around Winery, and in addition won the Grand Champion Best of Show Award with its 2017 J. Lohr PAU, a Pauillac look-alike, primarily Cabernet Sauvignon.  J. Lohr is certainly one of my favorite wineries!


Texas wines have made a giant leap forward in the last ten years, with the late discovery that wines from Spain, like Tempranillo, wines from Argentina (originally from France) like Malbec, and wines from the Rhone Valley, like Syrah and Mourvédre, would shine here.  And the Texas Hill Country, primarily Stonewall and Fredericksburg, is where you can enjoy them over a fabulous weekend.

Tickets are now on sale for the Wine & Wildflower Journey, which will be happening from April 1st through April 22nd at over 40 wineries.  The event is the second of four self-guided passport events Texas Hill Country Wineries host throughout the year, allowing consumers to experience a world of wine at a variety of participating wineries.

With the purchase of a digital Event Passport, consumers can taste at up to four wineries per day, as well as receive exclusive discounts on bottle purchases.

Passport tickets are $100/couple or $65/individual and are valid for the duration of the celebration.  With the average winery tasting fee being $25/person, the total value of the passport is over $800. Visit https://texaswinetrail.com/wine-wildflower-journey/.