Wine Reviews

541540USA touch of earthy funk shows at first on the nose of this bottling, laced throughout the dark cranberry, pomegranate, crushed grapeseeds and a lavish layer of violets. The palate is heavily spiced with clove, gingerbread, a touch of juniper, lots of earthy sagebrush and a strong cranberry fruit, all seasoned by an iron-powered minerality.Bien Nacido Vineyard9360CaliforniaSanta Maria ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannFlying Goat Cellars 2012 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)Pinot NoirFlying Goat Cellars
542541USFrom one of the more exciting and westernmost vineyards in the region, this bottling shows earthy, gamey aromas alongside ripe red and purple fruits, pairing plum and black cherry with minty, musky herbs. The palate shows dried olive, tart orange peels, red plums, baked figs and pine needles, proving deliciously savory and intense.Solomon Hills Vineyard9342CaliforniaSanta Maria ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannFlying Goat Cellars 2012 Solomon Hills Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)Pinot NoirFlying Goat Cellars
543542ItalyHeady scents of pressed jasmine, honey and candied orange waft out of the glass. The concentrated but elegant palate provides layers of mature apricot, lemon drop and ginger brightened by fresh acidity. It's vibrant and well balanced, with a persistent finish.Praepositus Passito9330Northeastern ItalyAlto Adige Valle IsarcoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeAbbazia di Novacella 2012 Praepositus Passito Kerner (Alto Adige Valle Isarco)KernerAbbazia di Novacella
544543USStrong elements of black pepper and smoky oak beg for steak to be paired with this 100% varietal wine. It showcases sizable weight and a solid tannic structure, with supple expressions of black cherry and chocolate that linger long on the rich finish. This bold beauty should hold well through 2023.Cañon Creek Vineyard9375CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneMidsummer Cellars 2013 Cañon Creek Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonMidsummer Cellars
545544USFrom Paso's blending vanguards, this mix of 62% Syrah, 19% Petite Sirah, 13% Cabernet Sauvignon and 6% Malbec offers an intriguing nose of sesame, soy, cracked pepper, fresh blackberry and raw beef. There is cedar and toasted pine on the palate as well as smoked meats, black pepper, teriyaki and an elderberry-blackberry base.Reckoning9354CaliforniaTempleton Gap DistrictCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannONX 2013 Reckoning Red (Templeton Gap District)Red BlendONX
546545USThis is a gorgeous wine, blended with 8% Merlot, 1% Petit Verdot and 1% Malbec, and aged entirely in new French oak. Juicy waves of cassis and red currant are accented by dark chocolate, ultimately showcasing a lush, plush yet structured palate. It's decadent now, but should age well through 2022.Les Sommets9385CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneLes Belles Collines 2012 Les Sommets Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonLes Belles Collines
547546USCrisp green apple is the star in this well-made, balanced and elegant wine, that's tangy yet smooth, with a voluptuous tease of anise. Approachably structured, the complexity of the texture and lurking layers of further flavor suggest letting this wine open slowly to unveil its true self, and allowing it to linger on the palate.Gap's Crown Vineyard9350CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneLutum 2014 Gap's Crown Vineyard Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)ChardonnayLutum
548547USDeep aromas of dried strawberries and blueberries meet with hot bricks, dried meats, purple flowers, a touch of smoke and secondary notes of truffle on the nose of this delicious smelling and tasting wine. The layers of flavor on the palate range from black cherry to milk chocolate, framed by chalky tannins.Stolpman Vineyard93150CaliforniaBallard CanyonCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannTuriya 2011 Stolpman Vineyard Sangiovese (Ballard Canyon)SangioveseTuriya
549548USThis is the producer's highest and most westerly vineyard site. It holds back from the start, still tightly wound and somewhat reduced on the nose. As it opens, ethereal layers of wild strawberry, green tea and lacings of herb and white pepper unveil to tremendous effect.Thomas Road9385CaliforniaGreen ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneIron Horse 2013 Thomas Road Pinot Noir (Green Valley)Pinot NoirIron Horse
550549ItalyScents of perfumed dark berry, rose, cake spice and aromatic herb unfold on this structured red. On the full-bodied palate, notes of chopped mint, mocha and white pepper accent a core of mature black cherry. It's young and assertive but well balanced, with firm tannins and bright acidity. Drink 2018–2026.Resa 569390PiedmontBaroloKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeBrandini 2011 Resa 56 (Barolo)NebbioloBrandini
551550USThe estate-grown grapes for this wine come from some of the appellation's highest-elevation sites, at the base of Mount Veeder. Natural acidity is the star of the show, a nice surprise after a decadent honeyed color and bouquet. Serious texture and complexity give way to a touch of salted caramel and peach.Estate Reserve9335CaliforniaCarnerosNapa-SonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneArtesa 2014 Estate Reserve Chardonnay (Carneros)ChardonnayArtesa
552551USFrom the gorgeous, mighty Pagani, planted in 1895, comes this powerfully rich and refined wine, a study in woodsy rusticity and layers of fig, blackberry and a stick of cinnamon. Full bodied and luxurious on the palate, a lithe jolt of acidity rears its head just before the finish, trying to compete with the licorice and leather. Drink now through 2020.Pagani Ranch9346CaliforniaSonoma ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneCarlisle 2013 Pagani Ranch Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley)ZinfandelCarlisle
553552FranceComing from a remote estate on the edge of the Lubéron mountains in the north of Provence, this wine is impressively rich. It gains great concentration and structure from the Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah in the blend. Full of ripe red fruits, it is dense at the end.9320ProvenceCoteaux d'Aix-en-ProvenceRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Vignelaure 2015 Rosé (Coteaux d'Aix-en-Provence)RoséChâteau Vignelaure
554553ArgentinaSmoky, charred aromas of blackberry and blackened spices set up a bold palate with energy to spare. Blackberry and cassis flavors are rich, toasty and chocolaty, while the finish on this full-bodied, ripe Malbec is lengthy and moderately complex. Drink through 2021.Winemaker's Selection Reserva9342Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachClos d'Argentine 2013 Winemaker's Selection Reserva Malbec (Mendoza)MalbecClos d'Argentine
555554FranceNamed after the Negrel family, owners of the estate, this is the top cuvée in their range. Aging in wood gives it a surprising series of flavors ranging from caramel to spice to buttery toast. While some of the fruit is lost along the way, the wine has a rounded, very complete character that is rich and made for food.Mas Negrel Cadenet9340ProvenceCôtes de Provence Sainte-VictoireRoger Voss@vossrogerMas de Cadenet 2015 Mas Negrel Cadenet Rosé (Côtes de Provence Sainte-Victoire)RoséMas de Cadenet
556555USDiscovery Vineyard Cab makes up most of this wine, with just a splash of Champoux vineyard Franc to fill it out. Very pretty, very focused aromas of spice box, red and black fruit and herb are followed by a fruit-forward, shamelessly appealing yet still elegant, balanced palate that puts a premium on purity, with a well integrated structure surrounding it all.9375WashingtonHorse Heaven HillsColumbia ValleySean P. Sullivan@wawinereportPassing Time 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (Horse Heaven Hills)Cabernet SauvignonPassing Time
557556SpainWelcoming aromas of wood spice, plum and blackberry become more smoky with airing. This strong-boned RDD is pure and deep, with manageable tannins. Generous flavors of spiced blackberry, tobacco and vanilla finish long, elegant and with a lot in reserve. Drink from 2017 through 2030.Gran Resalte9388Northern SpainRibera del DueroMichael Schachner@wineschachResalte 2010 Gran Resalte (Ribera del Duero)TempranilloResalte
558557USWinemaker Dennis Martin puts grape grower Stephen Miller's signature on this wine, a nod to the importance of this historic vineyard. The wine shows bright strawberry and raspberry with touch of savory wood smoke as well as hibiscus-laced pastry and a pinch of thyme. Earthy sagebrush and wild herb flavors frame the palate, where cooked cherries and cranberries are spiced by cardamom and dried ginger spice.Bien Nacido Vineyard9340CaliforniaSanta Maria ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannSanctuary 2013 Bien Nacido Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley)Pinot NoirSanctuary
559558USIt's fun to rattle off a few of the numerous aromas and flavors in this exotic but subtle wine: tangerine, pastry cream, blanched almonds and a touch of honey. The wine is refreshing, dry and nicely braced with acidity, but at the same time rather broad and soothing in texture. In other words, beautifully balanced and wonderfully complex.Enigma9325CaliforniaSierra FoothillsSierra FoothillsJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsTerre Rouge 2014 Enigma White (Sierra Foothills)White BlendTerre Rouge
560559USThis mostly Syrah blends in 6% Grenache, combining the two grapes from the property's estate into an opaque, juicy expression of black licorice, tar, cigar, grilled mushrooms atop a meaty steak and plenty of black pepper. Big and bold in every sense of the word, it retains just enough acidity to maintain an inviting nature and beguiling floral backbone.Hail Mary9348CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneLimerick Lane 2013 Hail Mary Syrah-Grenache (Russian River Valley)Syrah-GrenacheLimerick Lane
561560USAs the name makes clear, this wine is made from a head-pruned, older block of very unlikely Syrah at the estate property, as seductive as rare. Plum, black cherry, leather and black pepper jump from the glass, slowly and with purpose, around a core of burly tannin and intensely floral aromatics. This is a great wine.Headpruned Block9345CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneLimerick Lane 2013 Headpruned Block Syrah (Russian River Valley)SyrahLimerick Lane
562561USIn the big, ripe and saturated school of winemaking, this wine has a deep color, oodles of black cherry and blackberry flavors and full body. It also has enough firm tannin and acidity to keep the structure lively and the finish fresh, so it's a lot of fun to drink and can take on all kinds of rich proteins at dinner.Durell Vineyard9350CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsLoring Wine Company 2014 Durell Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)Pinot NoirLoring Wine Company
563562USThis is big boisterous wine from Elias Fernandez and Doug Shafer that has been given some nice time in bottle after four years in new French oak. It's a viscous, black-as-night kind of experience. Coconut macaroon and juicy blackberry and blueberry substantiate structured, integrated tannin, finishing with an unexpected elegance.9365CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneEighty Four 2010 Petite Sirah (Napa Valley)Petite SirahEighty Four
564563USPlump black plums and concentrated hibiscus fruit meet with cola, sarsaparilla and tart dried orange rind on the nose of this bottling. The palate is more earth-driven, with crushed rocks, pine needle and mint flavors spicing up the tart plum skins and berries. The texture is excitingly grippy.Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard9348CaliforniaSta. Rita HillsCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannFlying Goat Cellars 2012 Rancho Santa Rosa Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)Pinot NoirFlying Goat Cellars
565564USSpicy cracked peppercorns, light tar, fresh picked lavender and light purple fruits show on the savory nose of this bottling. More strong pepper notes show on the palate, as do tart elderberries, sesame, soy and hoisin elements, with a nice smoked meat character adding to the delicious complexity.Fire Light9362CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannFour Lanterns 2013 Fire Light Syrah (Paso Robles)SyrahFour Lanterns
566565USThere's magic in this 65% Petit Verdot and 35% Sangiovese combination. This shows concentrated cherry and kirsch aromas, touches of shiitake and porcini mushrooms and plenty of turned, wet earth aromas. The palate, framed by chalky tannins, offers more mushrooms and truffles in a black cherry-chocolate gravy, proving quite luxurious and interesting at once.Shapeshifter93100CaliforniaCentral CoastCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannTuriya 2011 Shapeshifter Red (Central Coast)Red BlendTuriya
567566USSoftened by 6% Merlot, this lovely concoction opens with a waft of smoky cigar box, becoming a bold, loud expression of the variety dotted in classic notes of cassis and cedar. A luxuriously velvety texture is the standout, though, supported by great structure and length.If Six Was Nine Reserve9353CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneWorld's End 2013 If Six Was Nine Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonWorld's End
568567ArgentinaSmoky and intense from the get-go, this saturated, black-as-night Malbec is full of blackberry, cassis and gamy aromas. While it goes heavy on the gas, the wine's structure is up to it. Flavors of chocolate, burnt toast, salt and blackberry finish toasty and long, with savory blackened spice notes. Drink through 2023.Benegas Lynch La Encerrada Estate Vineyard9355Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachBenegas 2011 Benegas Lynch La Encerrada Estate Vineyard Malbec (Mendoza)MalbecBenegas
569568USThis is a lovely wine, classically rendered in cedar, herb and red cherry. The dried herb and forest floor elements persist on the palate, with bursts of acidity giving it life and lingering persistence, the tannins well-integrated.Reserve9370CaliforniaHowell MountainNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneW.H. Smith 2012 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain)Cabernet SauvignonW.H. Smith
570569USThe aromas are bright, with notes of barrel spice, vanilla, pineapple and lees. The palate is full bodied, with textured and richly flavored tropical fruit notes that lead to a warm vanilla-filled finish. The oak seems a bit heavy handed.La Reyna Blanca Vineyard8938WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleySean P. Sullivan@wawinereportAlleromb 2014 La Reyna Blanca Vineyard Chardonnay (Columbia Valley (WA))ChardonnayAlleromb

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