Two Very Disappointing, $75 California Wines

The Lambert Bridge Chardonnay and Cab Franc from the 2016 vintages.

My wife grabbed these on her recent girls’ trip to Napa, having enjoyed the tasting room and experience very much. She was excited to pop these wines. So while young, always worthwhile to check in on wines that you have never had, to see where they are at and where they might go.

Sadly, these both got dumped. Panned. And not just by me, the Franco-snob, but also by my wife, who enjoys wine very much but will never say to you that she has a critical palate.

The Chardonnay was varietally correct, also showcasing that ubiquitous butter popcorn note found in so many Cali Chards, but also finished with a bitter green, astringent clip. The Cab Franc could have been any red, IMHO, but will concede it was bright and crisp, something I generally enjoy. But, it had no tell-tale signs of Franc, and nothing really of note other than being red and of alcohol. I hate panning wines made by what appears to be good people with a nice operation, but these wines were terribly boring. They are not bad, just not good. Like if I had to rate either of them, I’d say 80 points, something I’d grab off a grocery store shelf.

PS. With expedited shipping and an ice pack, these wines were $92.50 each. Big. Ouch.

Did you consider letting either of them wait for a day? For science?


Yes. We did. And did.

Even followed the Franc over 2 nights.

Not sure the point. There is nothing in my post that says I popped these right off the delivery truck.

I’m shocked there could be a $75 chard from a dry creek producer. Haven’t been up there in years, used to be the place to tool around and find some good, affordable zins and red blends.

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Alan, I have not seen the full damage yet from her trip, but it looks like most of the wines were $75 and up, even a Zin that I have never heard about.

Damn man. All that coin could have bought a lot of Lanessan…aged Lanessan, even!

And how did she end up in Dry Creek from Napa? lol. This is sounding a bit like a driver that gets kick backs from unsuspecting patrons.

Did she like it when she tasted it at the winery? I’m assuming these weren’t the wines that sat out in the sun on your porch.

I’ve had many that tasted better at the winery. Not sure if it was my mood or there is something more to it.

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Drinking cheap, old California reds is all which I can manage. Given this horror story, I will stop complaining about my fate.


Alan, I have not seen the full damage yet from her trip, but it looks like most of the wines were $75 and up, even a Zin that I have never heard about.

Could have tasted it later in the day and at that point could be palate fatigue. Zin over $75 and you have never heard of it? That is some expensive juice for a Zin.

Understand on the shipping issue
I meant after opening the wines
Thanks for the clarification.


FWIW, the chardonnay is from a vineyard in the western edge of the Fountaingrove AVA, not far from the boundary with the Chalk Hill AVA. The $75 still seems steep.


New California vintages exist to amortize real estate loans. Drinkability is a byproduct, if any.

Lol, the porch wines are now family reunion wines!

And the answer to your first question - which I asked as well - was yes, she thinks. Well, she can’t recall…

Producing a new California vintage is someone’s job…their employment. Most people use the pay from their work to pay their mortgage, buy food, care for the family, etc. Wine producing is no different.
As I continue to remind people, wine growing and producing is a BUSINESS.

Drinkability is largely subjective, would you not agree?

Yep, Merrill is correct that it is entirely subjective.

One ‘challenge’ when it comes to these varieties is that folks have ‘expectations’ of what to expect from them. I’ve generally been disappointed by the majority of domestic cab francs because they don’t have the pyrazine quality I think is the tell tale sign of the variety - and without that, they might as well just be ‘red wine’. Not everyone agrees about ‘typicity’ when it comes to specific varieties like Cab Franc, but to each their own.

And $75? Yep, that will go MUCH farther down here in Santa Barbara County for the most part :slight_smile:


Dude, I got a great LB story for you. Right up your alley.