Wine Reviews

3270132700PortugalThis wine is firmly tannic, while promising fine fruitiness as it develops. The acidity and black fruits are about to break through the imposing tannic edifice. This wine will be best from 2017.Follies Nossa Senhora da Vandoma9011BairradaRoger Voss@vossrogerAveleda 2013 Follies Nossa Senhora da Vandoma Touriga Nacional-Cabernet Sauvignon (Bairrada)Touriga Nacional-Cabernet SauvignonAveleda
3270232701USConcentrated lilac and violet flowers paint a pretty picture to the beef char and creosote darkness on the nose of this bottling from a Los Olives vineyard. The palate blends boysenberry, blackberry, coffee and bittersweet dark chocolate, loaded atop a very firm structure.Intrigue9035CaliforniaSanta Ynez ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannBernat 2010 Intrigue Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley)SyrahBernat
3270332702USPure purple fruit aromas arise on the nose of this bottling by pioneer Fred Brander, as do heady cocoa, leather and herb-crusted beef roast scents. Fresh black currant and espresso cream flavors show on the palate, with a chalky tannic structure that steadily reveals more layers of flavor, from blackberry to dried dill.Reserve9050CaliforniaSanta Ynez ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannBrander 2013 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Santa Ynez Valley)Cabernet SauvignonBrander
3270432703USRustic cola, wood smoke, fresh-squeezed black cherry and slate emerge on the very compelling and complete nose of this bottling from the longtime winery's estate property. A load of baking spice powers the palate, enhancing the dark blackberry fruit. Its tannic structure is firm, allowing the layers of flavor to emerge with patience.Estate9039CaliforniaSanta Cruz MountainsCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannByington 2012 Estate Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mountains)Pinot NoirByington
3270532704USThis graceful wine, from a cool vintage, nicely expresses the more elegant side of Pinot Noir. There are ample fruit flavors of plum, cherry and blueberry, and a pleasantly musky note overlays the maturing fruit. It's rolling along smoothly into a fully integrated finish. Drink now through 2020.Estate9045OregonWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Carlton Hill 2011 Estate Pinot NoirPinot NoirCarlton Hill
3270632705USThis is a pretty rose hue, and follows in a light, tart style. Despite its apparent simplicity, it shows surprising depth of flavor, highlighted with fresh strawberries and Bing cherries. There's a touch of Juicy Fruit gum also, and the wine should be consumed now through 2020.Estate9045OregonWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Carlton Hill 2013 Estate Pinot NoirPinot NoirCarlton Hill
3270732706ItalyMade with 80% Sangiovese and 20% Merlot, this opens with aromas of prune, scorched earth, toast and a hint of black currant. On the structured palate, notes of grilled bell pepper, espresso and dried herb accent a core of dried black cherry alongside fine-grained tannins that give it a firm finish.Vigneto La Casuccia Gran Selezione90210TuscanyChianti ClassicoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeCastello di Ama 2011 Vigneto La Casuccia Gran Selezione (Chianti Classico)Red BlendCastello di Ama
3270832707PortugalA blend of 50/50 Touriga Nacional an Castelão, this is a firm, structured wine. It has plenty of ripe blackberry fruits that are beginning to fill out and mature. It has a juicy character: ripe and full of sun. Drink now, although the wine will be better from 2017.Cabeça de Toiro Reserva9014TejoRoger Voss@vossrogerCaves Velhas 2013 Cabeça de Toiro Reserva Red (Tejo)Portuguese RedCaves Velhas
3270932708PortugalFirmly tannic, this young, wood-aged wine is dark and brooding. It has a dense texture and the potential of ripe black fruits and powerful tannins. With a fine future ahead of it, the wine needs to age. Drink from 2018.9045AlentejanoRoger Voss@vossrogerCortes de Cima 2013 Trincadeira (Alentejano)TrincadeiraCortes de Cima
3271032709PortugalAfter searching for a cool climate for vines, Hans Jorgensen planted only two miles from the Atlantic Ocean south of Lisbon. This Alvarinho is as fresh as if it came from the far north of Portugal. It is bright with citrus and rich, as befits an Alvarinho. Hints of apricot and spice finish this attractive wine. Drink now.9024AlentejanoRoger Voss@vossrogerCortes de Cima 2014 Alvarinho (Alentejano)AlvarinhoCortes de Cima
3271132710FranceThis is a wine that varies year by year according to the quality of the harvest. With 2015 a very good vintage in the Southwest, the 100% Duras wine shows well. It's ripe and earthy with sustaining tannins and flavors of ripe plums and rhubarb. It's a wine to age for a few years to soften the tannins and bring it all together. Drink from 2018.Le Monde en Parle9018Southwest FranceGaillacRoger Voss@vossrogerDomaine des Terrisses 2015 Le Monde en Parle Duras (Gaillac)DurasDomaine des Terrisses
3271232711FranceWhen this wine was launched in 1987, it was the first in the region to be fermented in wood. That wood aging has continued. This latest release (Sauvignon Blanc, Mauzac and Muscadelle) by Jean-Marc Balaran gives a beautiful wine that is finely balanced between tightly crisp fruit and smoother, creamy spice and wood flavors. The wine is ready to drink.La Vigne de l'Oubli9022Southwest FranceGaillacRoger Voss@vossrogerDomaine d'Escausses 2012 La Vigne de l'Oubli White (Gaillac)White BlendDomaine d'Escausses
3271332712FranceJust off dry, this is a delicious, honeyed wine. Made to drink as an apéritif or with a paté, it is soft and stylish. Aromatic apricot and baked apple flavors give this wine fruitiness while the background is full of bright acidity. Drink now.Premières Grives9019Southwest FranceCôtes de GascogneRoger Voss@vossrogerDomaine du Tariquet 2015 Premières Grives Gros Manseng (Côtes de Gascogne)Gros MansengDomaine du Tariquet
3271432713USBlack cherry, smoked beef jerky, burned caramel and a touch of maduro cigar show on the nose of this study of a popular Syrah clone. The palate is equally savory, with smoked meats, blackberry fruit, crushed black pepper, soy and a tarry edge, bolstered by sparkling acidity.Clone 1749030CaliforniaSanta Ynez ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannFirestone 2012 Clone 174 Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley)SyrahFirestone
3271532714USThis is a well-made wine, supple and soft with velvety, integrated tannins and a relatively light body and sense of power. Chocolate and brown sugar play off of black cherry and cassis for a richness that never becomes cloying.Walking Tree9030CaliforniaAlexander ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneGeyser Peak 2012 Walking Tree Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley)Cabernet SauvignonGeyser Peak
3271632715USThe excellent Carabella vineyard supplies the fruit, which is fermented and aged in a mix of stainless and oak barrels. Juicy and tight, this offers melon, lemon, apple and pear, framed with citrus-rind phenolics. A little bite to the finish suggests that another year or two in bottle might help to soften it.8928OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Alchemist 2013 Chardonnay (Willamette Valley)ChardonnayAlchemist
3271732716USThough 2014 is a fine, accessible vintage for many Oregon Pinots, this one is rather stubbornly shut down. At first it shows stem and herb flavors, along with chewy tannins. With hours of breathing time, the fruit emerges, a mix of rhubarb, cherry and a dash of cola.Reserve8950OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Aubichon Cellars 2014 Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirAubichon Cellars
3271832717USElderberry and black currant fruit mesh with cedar, smoked beef and pencil lead on the nose of this impressive bottling of a rarely solo grape. A pointed graphite minerality shows on the palate, where blueberry and black-plum fruit are enhanced by tobacco and dark-chocolate nuance.8922CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannBroken Earth 2012 Petit Verdot (Paso Robles)Petit VerdotBroken Earth
3271932718SpainThis opaque Graciano from Toledo weighs in at 15% abv and smells like black currant and grape juice concentrate. An intense, loud palate features smooth tannins but abrasive acidity. Limited but lusty flavors of blackberry and black plum finish juicy and with medium length and depth. Drink through 2019.Latitud 408940Spain OtherSpainMichael Schachner@wineschachCarmen Lopez Delgado 2013 Latitud 40 Graciano (Spain)GracianoCarmen Lopez Delgado
3272032719PortugalFrom vines in the upper Douro region (the Cima Corgo), this is ripe and soft. It has attractive juicy black fruits and soft tannins. There is a juicy, perfumed character from the Touriga Nacional in the blend. Drink the wine now.Alma Grande Reserva8914DouroRoger Voss@vossrogerCaves Velhas 2012 Alma Grande Reserva Red (Douro)Portuguese RedCaves Velhas
3272132720ItalyWild berry, dark baking spice, aromatic herb and espresso aromas are present along with a floral note. The linear palate offers raw red cherry, dried sage and a white pepper note framed in vibrant acidity and firm, fine-grained tannins.Riserva di Famiglia8935TuscanyChianti ClassicoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeCecchi 2013 Riserva di Famiglia (Chianti Classico)Red BlendCecchi
3272232721USMore immediately accessible and affordable than the producer's great estate bottling, this wine invites the nose with petrol, smashed white flower, wet chalk, lemon curd and pink-grapefruit aromas. The acidity is finely pointed on the refreshing and bitter sip, with lime skin, mandarin-orange pith, quinine and pink grapefruit flavors.8920CaliforniaCentral CoastCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannClaiborne & Churchill 2014 Riesling (Central Coast)RieslingClaiborne & Churchill
3272332722USPowdery, dusty tannins form the core of this wine, which is soft in plum, currant and cedar, with a leanness to the palate. The acidity provides a freshness before speckled pillows of cocoa powder appear on the finish.8950CaliforniaAlexander ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneCorner 103 2013 Cabernet Franc (Alexander Valley)Cabernet FrancCorner 103
3272432723USFrom a single vineyard site in the appellation, this is a structured, even slightly austere wine, juicy yet enclosed in sturdy tannin. Clove, leather and tobacco drive the flavor, with a shot of black pepper on the finish.Charming Creek8935CaliforniaOakvilleNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneHilary Goldschmidt 2013 Charming Creek Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)Cabernet SauvignonHilary Goldschmidt
3272532724USThis is a tempting and sylish wine. A seductive aroma influenced by new oak resembles toasted baguette slices, cedar and cardamom, then generous flavors like ripe black cherry and blueberry come on. It's medium to full bodied, broad and smooth in texture with enough fine-grained tannin to give it some heft.Henry Hayes Ranch9042CaliforniaLivermore ValleyCentral CoastJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsVasco Urbano 2012 Henry Hayes Ranch Syrah (Livermore Valley)SyrahVasco Urbano
3272632725ChileAromas of baking spice, dusty berry and Band-Aid introduce a rugged palate, with an intense joining of extraction, tannins and acidity. Plum, raspberry, cassis and cola flavors hold form on a ripe, generous finish this Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot blend.El Principal Andetelmo9070Maipo ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachViña el Principal 2011 El Principal Andetelmo Red (Maipo Valley)Bordeaux-style Red BlendViña el Principal
3272732726USThis is solidly anchored in its ripe cherry fruit, a rich mouthful that represents the best of the winery's 2012 lineup of reserve bottlings. Highlights of citrus fruits elevate the acids, and there is a pleasing hint of toast across the full midpalate.Carlton Hill Vineyard Reserve9040OregonWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Walnut City WineWorks 2012 Carlton Hill Vineyard Reserve Pinot NoirPinot NoirWalnut City WineWorks
3272832727USThis has a vivid, gold color with just a touch of pink, which makes sense considering Pinot Gris is not really a white wine grape, but a gris or gray shade in between blanc and noir. Aromas are like buttered popcorn, toasted almond and a touch of honey. It is undeniably flavorful, lush in texture and full bodied. The blend is 75% Pinot Gris and 25% Pinot Blanc.Nesserre Vineyards9024CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsWargin Wines 2013 Nesserre Vineyards Pinot Gris (California)Pinot GrisWargin Wines
3272932728USThis grabs attention quickly, with a dark color and potent jam and brown sugar aromas. Next come dazzling strawberry syrup flavors backed by thick tannins and good acidity. The texture is astringent and tight, but the flavors are so full that they meet the tannins half way. Best now through 2019.Whiplash9015CaliforniaLodiCentral ValleyJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsJamieson Ranch 2012 Whiplash Zinfandel (Lodi)ZinfandelJamieson Ranch
3273032729SpainAlta Alella is a Cava producer worth watching. This nicely packaged offering opens with baked orange, bread and savory aromas along with a hint of sulfur. A round, layered palate is home to bready, burnt-orange flavors and a toasty finish with tangerine and nectarine notes.Privat Laietà Iluro Reserva Brut Nature Rosé9036CataloniaCavaMichael Schachner@wineschachAlta Alella 2011 Privat Laietà Iluro Reserva Brut Nature Rosé Sparkling (Cava)Sparkling BlendAlta Alella

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