Wine Reviews

4521145210New ZealandSaint Clair's main 2008 Pinot Noir features tart, pie-cherry fruit with some slightly woody, stemmy notes running through it. It's medium-bodied, with a bit of bitter char to the finish. Drink now.8420MarlboroughJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzSaint Clair 2008 Pinot Noir (Marlborough)Pinot NoirSaint Clair
4521245211ItalyTiamo is a playful (and organic) expression of Sangiovese that opens with sweet fruit and spice followed by thin crispness and tonic freshness.8412TuscanyChiantiTiamo 2009 ChiantiSangioveseTiamo
4521345212FranceBright, fresh wine with a light wood touch. The acidity highlights black currant flavors exacerbated by some greenness.La Patache8410BordeauxMédocRoger Voss@vossrogerDomaines Lapalu 2008 La Patache (Médoc)Cabernet SauvignonDomaines Lapalu
4521445213USFrom Guenoc a blend of Bordeaux varieties (43% Cabernet Sauvignon, 31% Petite Verdot, 20% Merlot, 6% Cabernet Franc) that veers into the overly tannic side of Cab without quite the right balance of fruit. Not much on the nose or finish.8420CaliforniaLake CountyVirginie Boone@vbooneGuenoc 2007 Meritage (Lake County)MeritageGuenoc
4521545214ItalyHere is a delicious and fine Ripasso, with a hint of aged sophistication on the bouquet, that relies on a steady stream of spice, barbecue and dark fruit to gain momentum. The wine's texture is smooth, rich and velvety.Saustò9037VenetoValpolicella Classico Superiore RipassoMonte dall'Ora 2007 Saustò (Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso)Corvina, Rondinella, MolinaraMonte dall'Ora
4521645215ItalyCherry liqueur, smoke, black pepper, licorice, brown sugar, hummus and steak sauce open the nose of this hearty Amarone. Sweet fruit flavors that recall prune, raisin and currant characterize the close and add a sweet, succulent note to the overall picture.Riserva del Fondatore9065VenetoAmarone della ValpolicellaMontresor 2006 Riserva del Fondatore (Amarone della Valpolicella)Corvina, Rondinella, MolinaraMontresor
4521745216USThis 100% Sangiovese from this Sierra Foothills Sangiovese specialist has a giant mouthfeel, full of plummy and earthy dark cherry and caramel molasses. As big as the wine is, the tannins are softened and the wine has a long finish. An excellent wine to pair with Italian sausage, risotto or so many other Italian-inspired meals.Marmellata9028CaliforniaShenandoah Valley (CA)Sierra FoothillsVirginie Boone@vbooneNoceto 2008 Marmellata Sangiovese (Shenandoah Valley (CA))SangioveseNoceto
4521845217ItalySperi's delicious Ripasso offers thick concentration and pulpy notes of chocolate and black cherry. The wine is soft, velvety and would pair well with oven-baked pasta topped with hearty meat ragú.9025VenetoValpolicella Classico Superiore RipassoSperi 2009 Valpolicella Classico Superiore RipassoCorvina, Rondinella, MolinaraSperi
4521945218ItalyVintner Gaetano Bertani delivers a dark and delicious Amarone with bright fruit tones, loads of dried spice, leather and tobacco. The wine presents a soft, sweet sensation in the mouth thanks to its chewy tannins and fruity finish.9075VenetoAmarone della ValpolicellaTenuta Santa Maria alla Pieve 2006 Amarone della ValpolicellaCorvina, Rondinella, MolinaraTenuta Santa Maria alla Pieve
4522045219ItalyThis Riserva Amarone shows drying aromas of polished mineral, ash, smoke, dried fruit and black licorice. There's a touch of sweetness on the close followed by brown sugar and teriyaki sauce. Drink now.Brolo delle Giare Riserva9070VenetoAmarone della Valpolicella ValpantenaTezza 2003 Brolo delle Giare Riserva (Amarone della Valpolicella Valpantena)Corvina, Rondinella, MolinaraTezza
4522145220ItalyA careful wood regime has helped to shape dark and sophisticated aromas of leather and tobacco followed by brighter tones of cola and red cherry. The wine doesn't vaunt huge aromatic intensity, but it does delivers delicious length and persistency instead.La Bastia Ca' dè Rocchi9028VenetoAmarone della Valpolicella ClassicoTinazzi 2007 La Bastia Ca' dè Rocchi (Amarone della Valpolicella Classico)Corvina, Rondinella, MolinaraTinazzi
4522245221ItalyHere's a well-evolved and sophisticated expression of Corvina, Rondinella and Molinara grapes (the traditional blend of most Valpolicella wines) that opens with intense aromas of barbecue spice, dark chocolate, prune, cola and cherry liqueur.Semonte Alto9025VenetoValpolicella Classico Superiore RipassoVenturini Massimino 2007 Semonte Alto (Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso)Corvina, Rondinella, MolinaraVenturini Massimino
4522345222USThe grapes from this blend come from some of Napa's best vineyards. The wine is soft, fruity and frankly delicious, with waves of berries, cherries, spices and caramelized new French oak. Dazzles now for sheer decadence, but so rich, it's hard to tell where it's going.Proprietary Red Wine9088CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaAlpha Omega 2008 Proprietary Red Wine Red (Napa Valley)Bordeaux-style Red BlendAlpha Omega
4522445223FranceAttractive orange- and pink- colored Champagne, dry and fruity, with intense acidity to go with the lemon and pink grapefruit flavors. The wine feels light, delicate, the aftertaste very crisp.Rosé Majeur Brut9053ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerAyala NV Rosé Majeur Brut (Champagne)Champagne BlendAyala
4522545224USLots of zingy acidity in this Pinot, but also lots of fruit. Explodes in sunny California raspberries, cherries, blackberries and pomegranates, with a rich coating of sweet oak. Drink this flashy wine now and through 2015.Cohn Vineyard9062CaliforniaSonoma CountySonomaBenovia 2009 Cohn Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma County)Pinot NoirBenovia
4522645225FranceA surprisingly soft wine, showing as much richness as minerality. The wine has weight, some yeasty character with peach and citrus. It finishes with a round, full and creamy character.Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut9075ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerBillecart-Salmon NV Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Chardonnay (Champagne)ChardonnayBillecart-Salmon
4522745226USA delightful wine made from this increasingly popular variety, and a great followup to the 2009. Bright acidity frames fresh flavors of oranges, white flowers especially gardenias, and cinnamon. The finish is rich in honey, but somehow manages to be totally dry.9015CaliforniaMontereyCentral CoastBirichino 2010 Malvasia Bianca (Monterey)Malvasia BiancaBirichino
4522845227ItalyThis is a fantastic Ripasso with deep layers of Nutella, chocolate fudge, roasted espresso bean and sweet blackberry pie. It delivers a lush, rich texture and a soft, velvety mouthfeel and impressive intensity on the long finish.Pa' Riondo9026VenetoValpolicella Classico Superiore RipassoBrunelli 2009 Pa' Riondo (Valpolicella Classico Superiore Ripasso)Corvina, Rondinella, MolinaraBrunelli
4522945228USA round, fruit-powered, appealing mix of delicious citrus, berry and plum flavors. Highlights of orange peel and baking spices are underscored by bracing acidity. Sourced entirely from the Clawson Creek estate vineyard.Angela9050OregonWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Clawson Creek 2009 Angela Pinot NoirPinot NoirClawson Creek
4523045229USNew oak dominates this wine, giving it aromas of toast and vanilla. After decanting, the air brings out interesting notes of dried herbs and blackberries. Tastes very rich and flamboyant, almost sweet, like a chocolate berry pastry, and should develop over the next few years. Mainly Cabernet Sauvignon, with Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Petit Verdot.Meritaggio9055CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaDavid Arthur 2008 Meritaggio Red (Napa Valley)Red BlendDavid Arthur
4523145230FranceA ripe and rounded wine with a touch of oygenation to give extra complexity and ripe fruit. Flavors are of pineapple and peach as well as a good citric content. Elegant and fresh as well as rich.Blanc de Blancs Réserve Brut9056ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerDe Sousa & Fils NV Blanc de Blancs Réserve Brut Chardonnay (Champagne)ChardonnayDe Sousa & Fils
4523245231FranceA sweet wine, but lively, touched by honey, its acidity coming through as delicious final fruit and spice.Herrenweg de Turckheim Vieilles Vignes9055AlsaceAlsaceRoger Voss@vossrogerDomaine Zind-Humbrecht 2009 Herrenweg de Turckheim Vieilles Vignes Gewurztraminer (Alsace)GewürztraminerDomaine Zind-Humbrecht
4523345232GermanyFor a 2009, this has wonderfully vibrant and racy acidity, which balances its slight sense of sweetness perfectly. Scents of petrol and damp moss give way to tart apple, pineapple and citrus flavors, which finish long and crisp.Herrenberg Superior9062MoselJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzMaximin Grünhäuser 2009 Herrenberg Superior Riesling (Mosel)RieslingMaximin Grünhäuser
4523445233ChileSaturated and black as night, with floral aromas mixed with earth, juniper and pruney fruit. Meaty and dark flavors ride on a bed of leathery, grabby tannins. Spicy, meaty and a touch herbal on the grinding, tannic finish.9086San AntonioMichael Schachner@wineschachMatetic 2008 Syrah (San Antonio)SyrahMatetic
4523545234USThis has been an interesting wine from Niner. Last year's bottling was terrific. So's this 2006. At the ripe old age of five, it's still firm in tannins and even has a cut of acidity that gives the blackberry and blueberry fruit a bite. Tastes fresh and lively, and could improve with 5–6 years in the bottle.Fog Catcher9058CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastNiner 2006 Fog Catcher Red (Paso Robles)Bordeaux-style Red BlendNiner
4523645235USA blend of all five Bordeaux varieties (61% Cab Sauvignon, 14% Merlot, 11% Petit Verdot, 7% Cab Franc and 7% Malbec), mostly from the Del Arroyo Vineyard, Supremacy is young winemaker Collin Cranor's showcase of what the right fruit and the right winemaking in Livermore Valley can do with the right vision. Juicy, full and fruity, the wine has considerable length and texture, great cherry-berry flavors, the whole package decently balanced.Supremacy9045CaliforniaLivermore ValleyCentral CoastVirginie Boone@vbooneNottingham Cellars 2008 Supremacy Red (Livermore Valley)Red BlendNottingham Cellars
4523745236USRex Hill makes a wide assortment of Pinots; this sports the black label and is widely available and fruit forward. It's loaded with raspberry and cherry flavors and dusted with a bit of clean earth. There is a typical (for Oregon) streak of Dr. Pepper flavor as well. Overall a nice bottle for immediate enjoyment.9033OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Rex Hill 2009 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirRex Hill
4523845237FranceA well-balanced Champagne, its apple and citrus texture going well with the bottle-age toast. The wine has richness and bitter almond flavors with a crisp, dry aftertaste. It shows all the fine structure of the vintage.Brut Millesimé90ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerThiénot 2004 Brut Millesimé (Champagne)Champagne BlendThiénot
4523945238FranceWell on the dry side of brut, this wine pushes acidity and the freshest citrus along with an apple-skin texture. It shows some bottle age toastiness, while offering a delicious bright finish.Extra Brut Premier Cru90ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerJ. Dumangin Fils NV Extra Brut Premier Cru (Champagne)Champagne BlendJ. Dumangin Fils
4524045239USA beautiful Pinot Noir, crisp and silky, for drinking now. It emphasizes ripe cherry, raspberry, cola and dusty exotic spice flavors that finish dry and fascinating.9032CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaJigar 2009 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirJigar

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