Wine Reviews

5004150040SpainRaspberry and red-plum aromas are floral and fresh, but simple. This has a hard, almost metallic mouthfeel and red-fruit flavors of strawberry and raspberry. A wiry, short finish is raw and snappy in feel, with a hint of oak.The Invisible Man8717Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachCasa Rojo 2011 The Invisible Man (Rioja)TempranilloCasa Rojo
5004250041ItalyMade entirely of the Alpine grape Prié Blanc, planted in the highest vineyards in Europe, this vibrant sparkler opens with aromas of green apple, white spring flowers and a hint of resin. The palate offers ripe Bartlett pear, creamy Granny Smith and Alpine herb alongside brisk acidity and persistent bubbles.Extra Brut Metodo Classico8728Italy OtherVino SpumanteKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeCave du Vin Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle 2011 Extra Brut Metodo Classico Prié Blanc (Vino Spumante)Prié BlancCave du Vin Blanc de Morgex et de la Salle
5004350042PortugalA Portuguese classic, this fresh and fruity wine comes from a small zone in the heart of the Lisboa region. It is citrus flavored with delicious lime and pear flavors, fine acidity and a bright, zesty aftertaste. Drink now.Bucellas8712BucelasRoger Voss@vossrogerCaves Velhas 2014 Bucellas Arinto (Bucelas)ArintoCaves Velhas
5004450043ItalyA 50-50 blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Sangiovese, this has a subdued nose that doesn't give much away. The palate offers dried black cherries, blackberry extract, vanilla, licorice and new oak but the fruit is drying up quickly, leaving an abrupt, astringent finish.Arcibaldo8765TuscanyToscanaKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeCennatoio 2010 Arcibaldo Red (Toscana)Red BlendCennatoio
5004550044ItalyCedar, black currants, prune and tobacco aromas unfold in the glass. The warm, forward palate delivers dried black cherry, licorice, black pepper and tobacco alongside astringent tannins. While the tannins need to unwind, it's shy on fresh acidity and the fruit is starting to dry up—a result of the hot vintage—so drink sooner rather than later.8735TuscanyToscanaKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeSan Fabiano Calcinaia 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Toscana)Cabernet SauvignonSan Fabiano Calcinaia
5004650045ChileLime and passion fruit aromas are subtle and appealing. This delivers a fresh, alert palate and crisp, lightly brined flavors of lettuce, apple and cucumber. On the finish, it runs peppery but not overly aggressive.Reserve8710Maule ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachSanta Alba 2014 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Maule Valley)Sauvignon BlancSanta Alba
5004750046USA strong earthiness greets the nose on this appellation blend. Turned loam and black dirt show first, followed by cocoa, cran-raspberry and vanilla bean. The earth shows on the palate too, with juniper, pepper, rhubarb and rose petals balanced by a orange-rind bitterness.8720CaliforniaCentral CoastCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannSarah's Vineyard 2012 Pinot Noir (Central Coast)Pinot NoirSarah's Vineyard
5004850047USTart cran-apple fruit—some of it from 35-year-old vines—is at the heart of this vineyard-designated cuvée. It has a woody/earthy undertone, tart acids and some stiffening tannins.OSU Woodhall III8726OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Spindrift Cellars 2013 OSU Woodhall III Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirSpindrift Cellars
5004950048ItalyThis 100% Syrah offers aromas of mature black currant, charred earth and a whiff of cedar. The palate delivers dried black cherries, clove, ground pepper and powdered sage alongside raspy tannins that leave a drying, astringent finish.Marchesale8770TuscanyToscanaKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeTerre del Marchesato 2011 Marchesale Syrah (Toscana)SyrahTerre del Marchesato
5005050049ItalyA 50-50 blend of Merlot and Syrah, this easygoing wine opens with aromas of red currant, graphite and cracked peppercorn. The lively palate offers blackberries, blueberries and clove alongside tangy acidity and dusty tannins.Inedito8718TuscanyToscanaKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeTerre del Marchesato 2013 Inedito Red (Toscana)Red BlendTerre del Marchesato
5005150050FranceBurgundy- and California-based Boisset's Rhône outpost has turned out an excellent value in this medium-bodied, firmly structured 2012. Black cherry and leather notes predominate, but pick up welcome hints of espresso, black olive and clove. Drink now–2017.8711Rhône ValleyCôtes du RhôneJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzLouis Bernard 2012 Red (Côtes du Rhône)Rhône-style Red BlendLouis Bernard
5005250051SpainRipe plum and berry aromas share the nose with heavy oak notes. This Tempranillo feels dry and tannic, while initially it tastes mostly like sawdust and oak. Deep digging and patience reveal briary berry and salty notes amid a lot of wood.Barrica8717Northern SpainRibera del DueroMichael Schachner@wineschachMartín Berdugo 2012 Barrica (Ribera del Duero)TempranilloMartín Berdugo
5005350052SpainInitial aromas of wet cement, black cherry and cassis grow more rubbery, reduced and animal-driven the longer this Syrah sits around. Bright, fresh and fiercely tannic, this deals dark-berry flavors, peppery spice and raw oak on top of dry, herbal notes. Oaky but not overly charred or pushy on the finish.Parvus8724CataloniaAlellaMichael Schachner@wineschachAlta Alella 2012 Parvus Syrah (Alella)SyrahAlta Alella
5005450053FranceOne of many excellent values to be found among the 2012 Southern Rhône wines, this is supple in style, with ripe cherry and chocolate accented by vanilla and sandalwood. Drink now–2016.Esprít Barville8712Rhône ValleyCôtes du RhôneJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzBrotte 2012 Esprít Barville Red (Côtes du Rhône)Rhône-style Red BlendBrotte
5005550054USThis has a very deep-red color with a reddish-purple rim, followed by very ripe, jammy aromas like boysenberry jam with spicy, smoky oak accents. Flavors are ripe, effusive and nearly sweet, as the wine goes for broke in terms of well-ripened grape flavors and generous helpings of sweet-spicy oak.8722CaliforniaMonterey-Santa Barbara-SonomaCalifornia OtherJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsMeiomi 2013 Pinot Noir (Monterey-Santa Barbara-Sonoma)Pinot NoirMeiomi
5005650055ItalyAromas of Spanish broom, honeysuckle and a yeasty note lead the nose of this Sicilian sparkler from Mount Etna. The palate offers ripe apple, candied citrus and bitter walnuts alongside persistent bubbles and zesty acidity.Brut Metodo Classico8720Italy OtherVino SpumanteKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeMurgo 2010 Brut Metodo Classico Nerello Mascalese (Vino Spumante)Nerello MascaleseMurgo
5005750056USDried cherries, black slate, brown spice and leather greet the nose on this affordable red from the esteemed regional producer that makes many Zinfandels each vintage. The palate shows black cherries and a plum skin acidity, with some rocky elements providing further intrigue.Incredible8715CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannPeachy Canyon 2012 Incredible Zinfandel (Paso Robles)ZinfandelPeachy Canyon
5005850057ItalyMade with 85% Merlot blended with varying amounts of Petit Verdot, Sangiovese and Cabernet Sauvignon, this opens with aromas of truffle, underbrush, baked plum and dark cooking spice. The palate delivers licorice, roasted coffee bean and blueberry extract alongside astringent tannins that dry out the palate. While the tannins are still aggressive, the fruit richness is starting to dry out.Fuochi8740TuscanyToscanaKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefePoggioventoso 2010 Fuochi Red (Toscana)Red BlendPoggioventoso
5005950058ChilePolkura's first value-priced Syrah opens with earthy black-fruit aromas that are thick yet not precise in character. The palate feels wide, chunky and not particularly elegant. Flavors of baking spice and herbal blackberry finish peppery and chunky, with a touch of resiny oak.Lote D8714MarchigueMichael Schachner@wineschachPolkura 2012 Lote D Syrah (Marchigue)SyrahPolkura
5006050059USA ripe, soft and well-integrated package of mountain fruit stars in this vineyard-designate, from a site high atop the Mayacamas Mountains that is famous for Zin. Spicy cinnamon spins itself through husky layers of black fruit and leather.Monte Rosso Vineyard9055CaliforniaSonoma ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneAugust Briggs 2012 Monte Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Sonoma Valley)Cabernet SauvignonAugust Briggs
5006150060FranceThe lifted, lemony scent promises purity and poise, while the palate delivers what nature provided: pure, crunchy fruit and the flavor of stone. This is dry and clean-cut in its traditional style, with potential to develop.9015AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoBoeckel 2014 Riesling (Alsace)RieslingBoeckel
5006250061USLight and delicate on the nose with lime blossoms and damp herbs, this top-end bottling from Fred Brander shows lots of peppery energy once sipped. The tense palate is more about texture than flavors, yet wet cement, ripe lime, grass and oregano do make flashy Naturel9030CaliforniaSanta Ynez ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannBrander 2013 au Naturel Sauvignon Blanc (Santa Ynez Valley)Sauvignon BlancBrander
5006350062ItalyThis polished, savory red offers aromas and flavors of black raspberry, black currant, flint, graphite, and dried Alpine herbs. Easy drinking and well balanced, it has supple tannins and snappy acidity that make it very approachable now. It ends on a smoky note.9029Northeastern ItalyVigneti delle DolomitiKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeForadori 2012 Teroldego (Vigneti delle Dolomiti)TeroldegoForadori
5006450063USThis wine, combined with 10% Petite Sirah, impresses in grip and softness, offering big, rich waves of raspberry, cinnamon and allspice, before unveiling a leathery finish. An all-around likable wine, it's ready to enjoy now.The Sophisticate9025CaliforniaSonoma CountySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneFour Vines 2012 The Sophisticate Zinfandel (Sonoma County)ZinfandelFour Vines
5006550064USRich, ripe black-cherry and plum flavors penetrate throughout this plump, juicy Cabernet Franc. It's decadent and forward in style, but lingering notes of spice and tea leaves lend complexity to the palate.9020New YorkFinger LakesFinger LakesAnna Lee C. IijimaFox Run 2013 Cabernet Franc (Finger Lakes)Cabernet FrancFox Run
5006650065FranceRounded red apple with an edge of peppery spice and a whole lot of grapefruit zest makes for a lively, textured and vivid palate. This is fresh, pure and totally appetizing. The finish similarly leaves the impression of peppery red apples.Herrenweg9022AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoFrançois Baur 2014 Herrenweg Riesling (Alsace)RieslingFrançois Baur
5006750066USThere's a reductive element to the nose of this wine, indicating the powerful nature of the vintage but also the wine's youth. Let it open to unveil an intensity of baked apple and white peach, along with heartier highlights of crème brûlée and vanilla toast. With a medium body and length, it has enough acidity to remain vibrant. It's sourced from a who's who of the region's vineyards.Russian River Selection9035CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneGary Farrell 2013 Russian River Selection Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayGary Farrell
5006850067USThe aromas on this wine are quite reserved, while the flavors bring down a hammer of rich, tightly coiled, jammy black fruit flavors. If the aromas and flavors come together it goes up a notch or two.Angela's Vineyard9034WashingtonRed MountainColumbia ValleySean P. Sullivan@wawinereportFull Pull & Friends 2012 Angela's Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Mountain)Cabernet SauvignonFull Pull & Friends
5006950068USThe purple flowers and pomegranate fruits that hit the nose first on this bottling give way quickly to savory elements of rosemary and roasted fennel. That savoriness carries to the palate, as does an earthy character, lifted by pine and juniper-berry spice.Special Selection9030CaliforniaTemecula ValleySouth CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannCallaway 2012 Special Selection Mourvèdre (Temecula Valley)MourvèdreCallaway
5007050069USThis is a rich wine, with notes of buttermilk, toasted macadamia nut, bright Meyer lemon and orange blossom, all delivered in a measured manner. The palate shows walnut oil, orange bitters, coconut, pineapple and Gala apples, proving quite ripe but balanced by ample acidity.Estate Grown9028CaliforniaEdna ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannChamisal Vineyards 2013 Estate Grown Chardonnay (Edna Valley)ChardonnayChamisal Vineyards

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