Wine Reviews

33233322New ZealandA plump, nicely concentrated Sauvignon Blanc, the 2009 Mount Beautiful doesn't have the most intense aromatics, but is holding on to its weighty melon and fig flavors and lingering citrus finish. Drink up.8720CanterburyJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzMt. Beautiful 2009 Sauvignon Blanc (Canterbury)Sauvignon BlancMt. Beautiful
33243323ItalySangiovese is enhanced by small percentages of Malvasia Nera and Colorino to deliver a plush, plump and satisfying Morellino from southern Tuscany. There's a nice feeling of informality here that makes this wine perfect for easy meals with family and friends.87TuscanyMorellino di ScansanoPoggio Nardone 2008 Morellino di ScansanoSangiovesePoggio Nardone
33013300South AfricaThe wines of Backsberg have a distinctive, artistic quality to them that makes them ideal for collectors and drinkers who seek wines with style. This Pinotage has those qualities, with its layers of cinnamon and deep berry on the nose and smooth, integrated berry and smoke flavors. This is a real Pinotage so expect the rubbery smoke that goes along with it—but it's also elegant, offering structure and complexity with a gentle touch.8713Coastal RegionSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaBacksberg 2005 Pinotage (Coastal Region)PinotageBacksberg
33253324FranceAt first taste, the tannins dominate. Then fresher fruit shows through. The wine is firmly dry, the texture linear, the fruit showing some black currant character.8720BordeauxMédocRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Ramafort 2008 MédocBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Ramafort
33263325New ZealandSlightly more concentrated than other Marlborough Pinots in this price range, the 2008 Mana displays modest cherry fruit and an array of savory elements, including game, brine and peppery spice. It's a bit rough around the edges, yet in a charming sort of way. Drink now–2012.8717MarlboroughJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzMana 2008 Pinot Noir (Marlborough)Pinot NoirMana
33023301USThe grapes were grown on the Central Coast, mostly in Arroyo Grande, and the wine is characterized by vibrant acidity. There is an intense taste of raspberries, more usually found in a red variety like Grenache than a white wine, but Grenache Blanc consitutes nearly half the blend, along with Roussanne.Le Cigar Blanc8720CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherBonny Doon 2005 Le Cigar Blanc White (California)White BlendBonny Doon
33273326USAcidity marks this fresh, young Pinot Noir. It's as if the raspberry and cherry wine has been enlivened with a splash or three of lime juice. This primary fruit tartness may be because the wine was bottled and rushed to market too early. Don't drink it now. Give it a year or two to integrate.Morning Dew Vineyard8747CaliforniaAnderson ValleyDrew 2009 Morning Dew Vineyard Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley)Pinot NoirDrew
33033302SpainThis one takes on an orange tint, and the aromas are akin to chocolate, spice cake and even some baked beans. The palate is quite crisp and healthy, with berry fruit, citrus and length. A good wine with a racy, cleansing feel. It's not spectacular but it ranks highly among similar competitors.Brut Rosé8715CataloniaCavaMichael Schachner@wineschachCodorníu NV Brut Rosé Pinot Noir (Cava)Pinot NoirCodorníu
33283327ItalyClove and dark Indian spice is the protagonist here and background aromas of cherry and moist earth play supporting roles. The wine is smooth and soft in the mouth with a bright, zesty close.Le Vespe87TuscanyToscanaGiuliano Tiberi 2007 Le Vespe Sangiovese (Toscana)SangioveseGiuliano Tiberi
33043303ItalyThanks to its buoyant aromas of field flower, green apple, pear and dried sage leaf, you could definitely describe this as a multidimensional wine with noticeable elegance. There are musky, sweet fruit flavors on the finish.Extra Dry8719VenetoProsecco di Conegliano e ValdobbiadeneConte Collalto NV Extra Dry (Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene)ProseccoConte Collalto
33053304USSchug's regular Pinot, as opposed to their Heritage Reserve, is a dependably village-style expression of easy-drinking, cool-climate Pinot Noir. The '06, like previous vintages, shows a silky, delicate texture framing cherry, raspberry and cola flavors, with a smoky vanilla edge of oak.8722CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaSchug 2006 Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)Pinot NoirSchug
33063305USA first bottle was obviously off. A second was better, although still lacking the complexity you want at this price. It was a young Cab, dry and tannic, with a core of cassis and cherries. A few years in the cellar should soften it.Star Vineyard8780CaliforniaRutherfordNapaSt. Clement 2004 Star Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford)Cabernet SauvignonSt. Clement
33073306USOn a par with recent vintages, this four-year old Cab is soft and pleasant, with ripe cherry, blackberry, raspberry and herb flavors that are well oaked. The tannins are crunchy, but the wine isn't an ager. Best now through 2009.8727CaliforniaAlexander ValleySonomaArbios 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley)Cabernet SauvignonArbios
33083307ItalyThis is a dry Prosecco, meaning it is slightly sweeter than a brut or extra dry. Traditionally, Prosecco has this level of sugar, making it a very true rendition of what the wine is intended to taste like: Fresh peach, basil, pineapple, yellow apple and even an understated touch of banana come into play.Vigneto Giardino Dry8722VenetoProsecco di ValdobbiadeneAdami NV Vigneto Giardino Dry (Prosecco di Valdobbiadene)ProseccoAdami
33093308PortugalOne of the principle grapes of the Alentejo, Antão Vaz blends easily with the Arinto of neighboring Ribatejo. There is an attractive citrus element to this wood-aged wine, soft, open, but remaining fresh, the tropical fruit flavors well under control.Antão Vaz-Arinto87AlentejoRoger Voss@vossrogerAlentex 2006 Antão Vaz-Arinto White (Alentejo)Portuguese WhiteAlentex
33103309ItalyThe idea here is to present a more structured and sophisticated Brut with emphasis on the nutty tones and mature peach. The wine succeeds in this regard but the whole point of Prosecco is to be light and fun; this ultimately lacks those sharp, well-defined fruit tones you might expect.Brut Millesimato Motus Vitae8737VenetoProsecco di ValdobbiadeneBortolomiol 2005 Brut Millesimato Motus Vitae (Prosecco di Valdobbiadene)ProseccoBortolomiol
33293328USMade from an unknown blend of grapes, this nonvintage red is good, dry and versatile. It has juicy flavors of blackberries and pepper, with some extra layers of depth that make it a good value for a restaurant by-the-glass wine.White Label8718CaliforniaDry Creek ValleySonomaGreater Purpose NV White Label Red (Dry Creek Valley)Red BlendGreater Purpose
33303329SpainMaybe it's the Viura, becuase this $9 wine seems cleaner, rounder and slightly better than the winery's higher-priced pure Verdejos. Look for generic but fresh peach and citrus aromas and then lip-smacking citrus flavors. Finishes composed and clean, with lasting grapefruit flavor. 60% Verdejo and 40% Viura.Isabelino879Northern SpainRuedaMichael Schachner@wineschachReina de Castilla 2009 Isabelino Verdejo-Viura (Rueda)Verdejo-ViuraReina de Castilla
33113310ItalyHere is a lighter, paler shade of Prosecco with opulent and cheerful soapy and herbal qualities (thanks to 10% Pinot Bianco) backed by lemon candy and polished mineral. Yellow apple and chalk are immediately recognizable. The mouthfeel is creamy and foamy with fresh crispness that is noticeable but not exaggerated.Brut8716VenetoProsecco di ValdobbiadeneBortolotti NV Brut (Prosecco di Valdobbiadene)ProseccoBortolotti
33123311USThere's a sweetmeat, salty leatheriness to this Pinot, like beef jerky. Give it a year or so to mellow out and let the smoky oak integrate with the ripe cherry, cola and raspberry flavors. Decant for an hour or two if you pop it open now.Sangiacomo Vineyards8732CaliforniaCarnerosNapa-SonomaCastle 2005 Sangiacomo Vineyards Pinot Noir (Carneros)Pinot NoirCastle
33133312SpainGinger ale and Sprite are the first things that come to mind when you give it a sniff. The palate shows ripe and sweet orange, tangerine and pink grapefruit, while the back end is lean and citrusy but far short of complex. Good in a standard way.Reserva Raventós Brut8715CataloniaCavaMichael Schachner@wineschachCodorníu NV Reserva Raventós Brut Sparkling (Cava)Sparkling BlendCodorníu
33143313USA bit heavy handed, with lots of tannins and acidity, and the jammy cherry-berry fruit is in your face. It's made in a big, bold style that will appeal to fruit-forward fans.Turner Vineyard8740CaliforniaSta. Rita HillsCentral CoastOrtman Family 2008 Turner Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)Pinot NoirOrtman Family
33153314IsraelYear after year, the Yasmin line from Recanati proves itself to be a fantastic value, and the 2009s are no exception. This 60% Merlot-40% Cabernet Sauvignon blend is fruit-driven but appropriately spiced with a lovely mocha-infused finish. The silky texture offers approachable, dusty tannins integrated throughout the medium-weight mouth.Yasmin Kosher Red8711GalileeLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzRecanati 2009 Yasmin Kosher Red Red (Galilee)Bordeaux-style Red BlendRecanati
33163315ItalyPerfect for a pairing with lasagna or meat cannelloni with bechamel sauce, this bright Chianti Classico has the natural acidity to cut though fatty food ingredients. The wine's aromas recall white cherry and raspberry.87TuscanyChianti ClassicoTenuta di Vignole 2007 Chianti ClassicoSangioveseTenuta di Vignole
33173316USLola is a 50-50 Cabernet Sauvignon/Syrah blend, smooth and supple, with a mix of purple berries, black cherry, cassis and smoke. The tannins finish a little green, and the Cab/Syrah combo seems to nullify the clear, varietal expression of either grape, but overall this is a well-crafted wine that could stand nicely alongside a hanger steak.Lola Red8725WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Two Vintners 2007 Lola Red Red (Columbia Valley (WA))Red BlendTwo Vintners
33183317USTeeters on the verge of complexity, with dry, spicy flavors of raspberries and cherries. Good Carneros acidity makes for a brisk mouthfeel. Should develop for a year or three in the bottle.Truchard Vineyard8727CaliforniaCarnerosNapa-SonomaX 2009 Truchard Vineyard Pinot Noir (Carneros)Pinot NoirX
33193318SpainMinerally, dry and clean white wine made from 60% Xarello and 40% Chardonnay. The nose is peachy, while the palate is spritzy and bouncy, with short, slightly creamy apple, melon and papaya flavors that are true to Xarello. Finishes smooth but a little flat.Petit Albet8713CataloniaPenedèsMichael Schachner@wineschachAlbet I Noya 2009 Petit Albet White (Penedès)White BlendAlbet I Noya
33203319ItalyAvignonesi takes a traditionalists' approach to most of its wines, including this ruby-colored Rosso di Montepulciano. Slightly muddled aromas of cherry and dried raspberry mingle with tobacco, leather and spice.8719TuscanyRosso di MontepulcianoAvignonesi 2008 Rosso di MontepulcianoPrugnolo GentileAvignonesi
33213320IsraelHere's a fresh and lively unoaked Chard that's perfect for lighter fare like tabouleh salad or grilled chicken. Green apple and citrus mingle with a hint of lemon custard on the nose, while the medium-weight mouth offers more green plum and white nectarine flavors. Flavorful and refreshing; drink now.Reserve Unoaked Kosher8720Judean HillsLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzBinyamina 2009 Reserve Unoaked Kosher Chardonnay (Judean Hills)ChardonnayBinyamina
33223321SpainA snappy, high-acid wine that pulses with red fruit aromas and flavors. It's sheering, which is normal for the Graciano variety, but it also tastes nice while delivering a bolt of raspberry and red plum flavor. Oak comes up late, providing a counterweight of vanilla and dry spice. Nice but like all varietal Gracianos, it's sharp and limited.8745Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachValserrano 2004 RiojaGracianoValserrano

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