Wine Reviews

4956149560FranceUnder the watchful eye of consultant Michel Rolland, Candale has produced an intense, powerful expression of super-ripe Merlot. The tannins are dense, powering through the dark berry fruit, rounded by the wood. It could do with 4–5 years aging.9155BordeauxSaint-ÉmilionRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau de Candale 2005 Saint-ÉmilionBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau de Candale
4956249561FranceWith its rich chocolate and spice flavors, this rolls around the mouth like velvet, its fruit so well-integrated with the wood and the vanilla that it is seamless. A delicious wine that deserves 3–4 years aging.9160BordeauxPomerolRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau l'Enclos 2005 PomerolBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau l'Enclos
4956349562USA beautiful wine that shows how Napa Valley is right up there with the best of California's Sauvignon Blancs. Dry and crisp, it was made in the interesting way of combining stainless steel and oak for textural complexity. The citrus, lemongrass, fig and pepper flavors have a touch of buttercream and smoke in the finish.Highlander9118CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaCrauford 2007 Highlander Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley)Sauvignon BlancCrauford
4956449563AustraliaD'Arenberg is better known for its red wines, but this promising effort from the Adelaide Hills is one to watch. Vanilla and custardy notes mark the nose, while the flavors turn toasty and cereal-like, backed by plenty of mixed citrus fruit. It's not overly rich or ripe, but has long, mouthwatering finish.The Lucky Lizard9135South AustraliaAdelaide HillsJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzD'Arenberg 2007 The Lucky Lizard Chardonnay (Adelaide Hills)ChardonnayD'Arenberg
4956549564ItalyThick concentration and intense notes of blackberry, currants, chocolate fudge and spice describe the nose of this rich and velvety wine. What brings the wine ultimately together is its successful balance of acidity and vibrant fruit.Dieulele Riserva91TuscanyChianti ClassicoDievole 2005 Dieulele Riserva (Chianti Classico)SangioveseDievole
4956649565USThis is a big, tough, tannic Cab that needs time in the cellar. Not showing well now due to the astringency, it has a rich heart of black cherries and minerals, liberally enriched with sweet, smoky new oak. Decanting, and pairing against charred beef, will uplift it.Hillside Reserve91100CaliforniaRutherfordNapaFlora Springs 2006 Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford)Cabernet SauvignonFlora Springs
4956749566ItalySoft, supple and inviting, this is a beautifully executed Chianti Classico that puts as much emphasis on the quality of aromas as it does on the feel the wine imparts in the mouth. It's polished and plush with lingering notes of red fruit, spice and blue flowers.9130TuscanyChianti ClassicoFontodi 2007 Chianti ClassicoSangioveseFontodi
4956849567GermanyThis stunning dry Riesling somehow manages to seamlessly combine such disparate elements as orange sherbet, smoky-briny minerality, a creamy mouthfeel and ample weight. It's a wild ride, one that values power and complexity without sacrificing elegance. Hard to know how it will age, but at least 5–10 years seems a safe bet.Vom Muschelkalk Spätlese Trocken9148PfalzJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzÖkonomierat Rebholz 2007 Vom Muschelkalk Spätlese Trocken Riesling (Pfalz)RieslingÖkonomierat Rebholz
4957649575ItalyDark, evolved and sophisticated, this brooding wine boasts rich concentration and a faithful portrayal of black currant and cherry. There's a pleasant touch of underbrush, licorice and espresso that catapult the wine into a higher level of intensity.91TuscanyVino Nobile di MontepulcianoLe Bèrne 2006 Vino Nobile di MontepulcianoPrugnolo GentileLe Bèrne
4957749576ItalyLisini delivers an extremely satisfying Brunello that is richly redolent of black fruit, plum, cola, root beer, leather and pipe tobacco. It feels vibrant and fresh in the mouth with well- integrated acidity against firm tannins. Pair this pretty wine with grilled meats.9190TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoLisini 2004 Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese GrossoLisini
4957849577USBold, powerful aromas of white pepper and blackberry explode, with a more mature bouquet of dried rose petal and sweet cigar box. Soft, lush tannins frame pure, supple berry fruit. Perfect now. —S.H.9021CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastAJB Vineyards 1997 Syrah (Paso Robles)SyrahAJB Vineyards
4957949578South AfricaThe name of the top brand from the massive KWV winery refers to the cathedral-like roof of its main winery. This is a rich, generous wine, with spice, ripe fruit and a good layer of toasty wood flavors. There is complexity also, introduced by the crisp acidity that complements the opulent fruit. Best Buy.Cathedral Cellar9012Western CapeRoger Voss@vossrogerKWV 2001 Cathedral Cellar Chardonnay (Western Cape)ChardonnayKWV
4958049579New ZealandThis relatively understated wine is less ebullient than the 2000s it was tasted alongside, but held its own, with green apple and lemon fruit underscored by smoky, earthy flavors. The lemony finish lingers a long time.8925WaiparaJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzMountford 1999 Chardonnay (Waipara)ChardonnayMountford
4956949568USThis Bordeaux blend is a complex and sappy red with plenty of raspberry, cherry and cassis fruit flavor, tangy acids and ripe tannins. Young and tart, it is structured for age, compact and quite young. The oak brings in hints of butter and caramel.Inspiration Reserve Red9148WashingtonHorse Heaven HillsColumbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Robert Karl 2005 Inspiration Reserve Red Red (Horse Heaven Hills)Red BlendRobert Karl
4958149580ArgentinaThis bold, burly wine has a pretty shine to it. Attractive honey, melon and buttered-toast aromas dance on the nose, and the creamy yet structured palate offers coconut and banana flavors along with proper acids. It's very much like the inaugural '99 wine, maybe a bit better balanced, but less concentrated. Regardless, it's still potent Chardonnay featuring plenty of high-grade oak.8932Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachLuca 2000 Chardonnay (Mendoza)ChardonnayLuca
4958249581USOn the nose, lively peach and tropical fruit aromas are kept in check by a cottony-chalky note. Not at all cloying, this Moscato is well balanced, with plenty of mango flavors. Finishes with garden-sweet honeysuckle and sunflower notes. Though Beaulac recommends it with spicy food (especially Thai), we think it'd be just as nice to sip on the beach.Sweet White8915CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherSt. Supéry 2001 Sweet White Moscato (California)MoscatoSt. Supéry
4957049569AustraliaThe Shaw and Smith M3 Chardonnay continues to be a reliable performer, with the 2007 showing more restrained oak influence than in the past. It's still smoky and toasty upfront, but backed by ample apple and citrus fruit, and on the palate there's more of a toasted-grain note rather than overt vanilla and spice. Acids are crisp, elegantly extending the finish.M39141South AustraliaAdelaide HillsJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzShaw and Smith 2007 M3 Chardonnay (Adelaide Hills)ChardonnayShaw and Smith
4957149570ItalyLa Gerla delivers a soft and succulent texture with rich tones of milk chocolate and fudge behind layers of cherry and wild berry. The plush and rich nature of this wine sets it apart and this Brunello is long-lasting and caressing on the close with bright tones of cherry and vanilla.9142TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoLa Gerla 2004 Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese GrossoLa Gerla
4957249571ItalyYou'll love the buoyant freshness and immediate intensity of this lively Brunello. The wine's aromas include blackberries, leather, root beer and wild berries. It's lean and tonic in the mouth, suggesting a pairing with cheese-topped pasta or lasagna.9165TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoLa Togata 2004 Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese GrossoLa Togata
4957349572ItalyLush richness and velvety concentration set this wine apart from most Chianti Classico. The blend includes 15% Merlot (which is a lot) and you can really taste spice, chocolate fudge and black cherry. Determined oak notes reveal themselves in the mouth and add to the wine's overall richness.Riserva9127TuscanyChianti ClassicoViticcio 2006 Riserva (Chianti Classico)SangioveseViticcio
4957449573USA good, rich and complex Bordeaux blend, with ripe fruit and plenty of smoky new oak, but also very tannic. The flavors are classic Napa, of blackberries, black currants, sour black cherries, tobacco and cedar. Should develop through 2012.9150CaliforniaDiamond Mountain DistrictNapaVon Strasser 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Diamond Mountain District)Cabernet SauvignonVon Strasser
4957549574USVery big and smoky, an impressive young Merlot that grabs you by the collar and shakes you. Made by the veteran Robert Foley, it's in his style, a ripe, powerful wine exuding massive flavors of black cherries, cassis and chocolate.Blueline Vineyard9175CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaHourglass 2006 Blueline Vineyard Merlot (Napa Valley)MerlotHourglass
4958349582AustraliaThere's nothing subtle about this wine, which layers tropical fruit and pecan aromas over flavors of buttered nuts and citrus. Turns lemony on the finish. The intense flavors are all powered by an undercurrent of gravelly nuttiness.Reserve8923New South WalesMudgeeJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzAndrew Harris 2000 Reserve Chardonnay (Mudgee)ChardonnayAndrew Harris
4958449583USNormally used as a blending grape in California, sometimes Grenache is good enough to stand on its own. This one is, with its black-cherry, spice and tobacco aromas and flavors and dry, lacy tannins. It's a soft, young wine, with plenty of jammy character.Staley Vineyard8918CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaPhilip Staley 1999 Staley Vineyard Grenache (Russian River Valley)GrenachePhilip Staley
4958549584USA big and friendly wine, with plenty of forward fruit mingling flavors of citrus, apples and pears. There is a nice blast of vanilla too, the only obvious sign of new oak aging, but the impression overall is of crisp, clean elegance. Best Buy.8913WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Chateau Ste. Michelle 2000 Chardonnay (Columbia Valley (WA))ChardonnayChateau Ste. Michelle
4958649585New ZealandComplex from start to finish, beginning with aromas of smoke, kumquats and grilled pears and ending cleanly, with tart pineapple notes. The texture is a compelling mix of gravel and custard, yet the wine never seems heavy.8922Hawke's BayJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzStonecroft 2000 Chardonnay (Hawke's Bay)ChardonnayStonecroft
4958749586AustraliaAt this price, it would be hard for this wine to live up to expectations—which is why we taste blind. But without any preconceptions, this wine was still delicious. The promising oaky aromas of honey drizzled over toast, coconut and vanilla are backed by white peach. It's tightly wound and less giving on the palate.Tiers Vineyard89120South AustraliaPiccadilly ValleyJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzPetaluma 1999 Tiers Vineyard Chardonnay (Piccadilly Valley)ChardonnayPetaluma
4958849587USFrom this Rhône specialist, a nice sipping wine with powerfully fruity flavors in a delicately structured, light-bodied wine. The pretty wild-berry and oregano flavors are surrounded by velvety tannins and soft acidity, so it goes down like silk. It's dry as dust.8918CaliforniaDry Creek ValleySonomaPhilip Staley 1998 Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley)ZinfandelPhilip Staley
4958949588New ZealandVery fresh and vibrant, filled with zesty pear, citrus and pineapple fruit. Just a pleasure to drink, balancing lush fruit with zippy acids. Hints of apples and butter linger in the background.Reserve8920CanterburyJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzSherwood Estate 2000 Reserve Chardonnay (Canterbury)ChardonnaySherwood Estate
4959049589USA spicy, earthy wine that serves up ripe currant, plum and blackberry flavors. Layers of licorice, mineral and herbs are also in evidence. The finish is tangy, with firm, supple tannins.8925CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaJade Mountain 1999 Syrah (Napa Valley)SyrahJade Mountain

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