Wine Reviews

3951139510BulgariaThough pleasant aromatically with lots of freshly cut grass and gooseberry notes, this full-bodied, dry Bulgarian Sauvignon Blanc has a dense, clunky mouthfeel and a bracingly high acidity. There's some decent lemon and grapefruit flavors, but plenty of tinned green asparagus as well.829BulgariaAnna Lee C. IijimaTargovishte 2009 Sauvignon Blanc (Bulgaria)Sauvignon BlancTargovishte
3951239511SpainCherry and raspberry aromas lead the charge, but as it airs out it becomes more raisiny and jammy smelling. The flavors are solid but distant, with simple red fruit, oak and barrel notes setting the pace. Highly drinkable and easygoing but not complex or elevated.Finca Ygay Reserva8826Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachMarqués de Murrieta 2007 Finca Ygay Reserva (Rioja)Tempranillo BlendMarqués de Murrieta
3951339512FranceThis blend of Vermentino (45%), Grenache Blanc (40%) and Roussanne (15%) is aged in a combination of oak and stainless steel, resulting in a round, mouthfilling wine that nevertheless remains crisp and easy to drink. Hints of smoke and marshmallow serve to accent the ripe melon, pineapple and honey flavors. Drink now.Doria8814Rhône ValleyLuberonJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzMarrenon 2009 Doria White (Luberon)White BlendMarrenon
3951439513FranceA blend of 50% Mourvèdre and 50% Syrah, this is a dark, earthy wine, featuring hints of black olive and espresso. Yet it's very lush and supple in the mouth, very forward and inviting, yet balanced by crisp acids on the finish. Drink now–2015.Les Enfants Terribles88Rhône ValleyCostières de NîmesJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzMas Carlot 2009 Les Enfants Terribles Red (Costières de Nîmes)Rhône-style Red BlendMas Carlot
3951539514CroatiaRipe melon and subtle white flowers meld with fresh apple and pear on the nose and palate of this lovely Malvasia from Ivica Matoevi´c. Quite voluptuous in style with a silky, slightly oily mouthfeel, the palate is bright with sweet stone fruit and a pleasantly bitter almond note that lingers on the finish.Alba8820IstriaAnna Lee C. IijimaMatošević 2009 Alba Malvasia (Istria)MalvasiaMatošević
3951639515USA savory sparkling wine, rich in raspberry, lime and vanilla flavors. Mainly Pinot Noir, with some Chardonnay, it's full bodied and somewhat sweet.Classic Vintage Brut8734CaliforniaGreen ValleySonomaIron Horse 2006 Classic Vintage Brut Sparkling (Green Valley)Sparkling BlendIron Horse
3951739516USGood Pinot character, but dry and unyielding. If you search for richness, you'll find a core of raspberries and cherries. Die-hard Burgundians will like the earthy, subtle complexities. Drink now.8720CaliforniaCentral CoastCentral CoastLa Fenêtre 2009 Pinot Noir (Central Coast)Pinot NoirLa Fenêtre
3951839517USRich and ripe, with tasty lime, strawberrry and yeast flavors that finish sweet and spicy. The bubbles are a bit clunky, but otherwise it's a nice brut.Brut Cuvée8722CaliforniaArroyo Grande ValleyCentral CoastLaetitia NV Brut Cuvée Sparkling (Arroyo Grande Valley)Sparkling BlendLaetitia
3951939518USRipe fruit stars in this exuberant wine. It flatters with black cherry, blackberry, anise and cassis flavors that go on and on into a lnto a long, spicy finish. Beyond that it's a little sweet, and seems best now, with a salty, peppery steak or chop.Chronology Grand Reserve8730CaliforniaSonoma CountySonomaLyeth 2008 Chronology Grand Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma County)Cabernet SauvignonLyeth
3952039519SpainGrassy and sweet smelling, with apple and lightly candied aromas. Nice and normal in the mouth, with sweet, ripe flavors of white fruits, powdered sugar and pear. Turns a bit cloying on the finish. Seems sweeter and less complex than in the past.Reserva Heredad8725CataloniaCavaMichael Schachner@wineschachSegura Viudas NV Reserva Heredad Sparkling (Cava)Sparkling BlendSegura Viudas
3952139520USThere's something softly seductive about this Cabernet. Its tannins are finely ground and acidity is low, resulting in a melted, velvety mouthfeel. The flavors are just fine, of black cherries and cedar.8720CaliforniaAlexander ValleySonomaArroba 2009 Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley)Cabernet SauvignonArroba
3952239521SpainSimple lime and salinic aromas are clean and fresh. The palate is juicy and tight, with lime, apple and dry spice flavors. Finishes balanced and citrusy, with proper length and mouthfeel. A good but regular Cava that's done right for the price.Gran Tradición Brut8710CataloniaCavaMichael Schachner@wineschachBerberana NV Gran Tradición Brut Sparkling (Cava)Sparkling BlendBerberana
3952339522USChardonnay has not been Clos du Val's strong suit, and even though this is a reserve, it's hard to fall in love with. Dry and acidic, it lacks richness by today's standards, although you could charitably call it Chablisian. Still, it's an elegantly constructed wine with some complexity.Reserve8745CaliforniaCarnerosNapa-SonomaClos du Val 2009 Reserve Chardonnay (Carneros)ChardonnayClos du Val
3952439523ItalyThis interesting Italian white is gaining a bit of a cult following in the United States. Made with organically grown Verdicchio grapes, the wine shows pristine aromas of passion and stone fruit with a crisp, zesty feel in the mouth. It would pair perfectly with sea food or light lunches.8718Central ItalyVerdicchio di MatelicaColleStefano 2010 Verdicchio di MatelicaVerdicchioColleStefano
3952539524SpainA touch murky and leafy at first, with vanilla and red fruit aromas. Runs crisp and tangy, with length, a lean structure and snappy pie cherry, red plum and vanilla flavors. Fresh and tight on the finish, with leftover juiciness. A good wine for tapas and basic salty foods.Viña Real Plata Crianza8718Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachCVNE 2007 Viña Real Plata Crianza (Rioja)TempranilloCVNE
3952639525SpainFresh, spicy cherry aromas are nice and clean. The palate is racy and staunch, with good acidity and tasty plum and berry flavors. Solid and medium-long on the finish, with a touch of minty herb flavor. Juicy and moderately oaky for a $10 value wine.Vendimia Seleccionada8710Northern SpainRibera del DueroMichael Schachner@wineschachDolmo 2009 Vendimia Seleccionada (Ribera del Duero)TempranilloDolmo
3952739526FranceFenouillet is better for its Beaumes de Venise, but this is a silky, supple charmer, a blend of 60% Grenache, 35% Syrah and 5% Carignan that's round yet tender in the mouth, delivering ample cherry fruit. Drink now–2014.Oversant87Rhône ValleyVentouxJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzDomaine de Fenouillet 2009 Oversant Red (Ventoux)Rhône-style Red BlendDomaine de Fenouillet
3952839527USThis blend of Bordeaux varieties (39% Cab Sauv, 37% Merlot, 12% Petit Verdot, 8% Cab Franc and 4% Malbec) opens with a nice purity of fruit, mainly plum and cassis and shows a deftness of blending. There's a touch of green pepper at the finish.33 Degrees North Gracie Hill Vineyard, BDX8733CaliforniaSouth CoastSouth CoastVirginie Boone@vbooneFallbrook 2008 33 Degrees North Gracie Hill Vineyard, BDX Red (South Coast)Red BlendFallbrook
3952939528HungaryPerfectly dry, yet bursting with pure, ripe red fruit, Sauska's rosé would be a refreshingly easy apéritif to be enjoyed anytime of the year. Made with a hefty dose of Blaufränkisch, it's clean and fresh on the palate with pretty wildflower notes and zippy sour cherry acidity.8719VillányAnna Lee C. IijimaSauska 2010 Rosé (Villány)RoséSauska
3953039529USShows a lovely Pinot Noir texture, feeling silky smooth and light in the mouth, with a nice scour of acidity. The raspberry and cola flavors are a little simple, but tasty.8730CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaSebastiani 2009 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirSebastiani
3953139530USA nice, flavorful and dry Syrah for drinking now with barbecue or a rich lamb or beef stew. Soft and gentle, it's rich in blackberries, cherries, currants, beef jerky, pepper and smoky oak.Clover Creek Vineyard8720CaliforniaSanta Ynez ValleyCentral CoastBrander 2009 Clover Creek Vineyard Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley)SyrahBrander
3953239531USBrander's basic Syrah is a good, dry wine, and while it's a little on the light side, it has pretty flavors of blackberries, black pepper, cola and black currants. The alcohol is nice and low, under 14%.8722CaliforniaSanta Ynez ValleyCentral CoastBrander 2009 Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley)SyrahBrander
3953339532ChileCalina usually makes a nice value Chardonnay, and this vintage is no different. The wine has a chunky dry-peach opening, which is backed by a round, smooth palate and flavors of sweet pear, baked apple and roasted corn. Honey and orange notes make cameo appearances. Good for the price.Reserva8710Casablanca ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachCalina 2009 Reserva Chardonnay (Casablanca Valley)ChardonnayCalina
3953439533ChileGreen, mildly vegetal and lightly tropical, with a tangy, acid-driven palate and citrusy, sharp flavors of grapefruit, tangerine and orange. Quick on the finish but sizzling, with an abundance of mouth-washing acidity. Very food friendly even toward the end of its prescribed lifespan.Tributo8720Leyda ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachCaliterra 2009 Tributo Sauvignon Blanc (Leyda Valley)Sauvignon BlancCaliterra
3953539534SpainThe bouquet of cherry and raspberry is sprightly and mildly leafy, with hints of leather and dried cheese. The palate is whispy, with red-fruit flavors of raspberry and plum along with mild herbal notes, cocoa powder and dry spice. A basic, lighter-bodied Rioja with a traditional tilt.Crianza8712Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachCampo Viejo 2007 Crianza (Rioja)TempranilloCampo Viejo
3953639535ItalyFastened with a pretty pink wax capsule, Taso Valpolicella is a fresh and informal wine that would pair beautifully with pasta or pizza. The wine is redolent of white cherry, blueberry and almond paste.Taso87VenetoValpolicella Classico SuperioreVilla Bellini 2006 Taso (Valpolicella Classico Superiore)Corvina, Rondinella, MolinaraVilla Bellini
3953739536ItalyThis 70-30 Corvina and Rondinella Amarone blend is slightly disjointed on the nose with contrasting aromas of toasted oak and ripe fruit. It makes a nice impression in the mouth, however, thanks to its smooth, rich texture.8736VenetoAmarone della Valpolicella ClassicoCorte Lenguin 2006 Amarone della Valpolicella ClassicoCorvina, Rondinella, MolinaraCorte Lenguin
3953839537ItalyThere's a sweet, inviting aspect to the nose here that recalls Christmas spice, nutmeg, rum cake and mature blackberry. The wine feels compact and firm on the close and would pair with roasted ham with clove under the skin.Campedel8718VenetoValpolicella Classico Superiore RipassoGamba 2007 Campedel (Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso)Corvina, Rondinella, MolinaraGamba
3953939538USA purplish Cab with smatterings of Petit Verdot, Petite Sirah, Grenache and Merlot that starts out quite tannic, mellowing into a nicely balanced dinner-table wine, with hints of cranberry and black currant and subtle oak. A great deal for a well-made Cab that should get even better with another 2–3 years in bottle.Southern Hills8715CaliforniaLivermore ValleyCentral CoastVirginie Boone@vbooneWente 2008 Southern Hills Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley)Cabernet SauvignonWente
3954039539USA bit heavy for a Pinot Noir, lacking the lively zest the grape needs in California to balance the ripe fruit. Flavors range through blackberries and plums, with oak complications. Quite good, but doesn't seem like an ager.Annadel Estate Vineyard8745CaliforniaSonoma ValleySonomaWestwood 2007 Annadel Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Valley)Pinot NoirWestwood

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