Wine Reviews


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5835158350USThis Chardonnay has a prominent scent of dusty chalkboard, with background tones of toasted butterscotch, sweat and pear. The flavor intensity is subdued on this light- to medium-bodied wine, with a discreet note of hydrogen peroxide that surfaces late.8015VirginiaVirginiaStanburn 2011 Chardonnay (Virginia)ChardonnayStanburn
5835258351ChileThis is leafy and red smelling at first, then becoming raw and candied tasting, with a herbal note.8010Central ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachoops 2011 Carmenère (Central Valley)Carmenèreoops
5836658365FranceWith signs of new wood on the palate, this is a wine that maintains the polished feel of the wines from Pichon Lalande. It has a stronger presence of Cabernet Sauvignon in the blend than in the past, making it more structured than its predecessors, with a dominance of black currant flavor. It shows the soft side of the vintage, but is also meant for aging.96BordeauxPauillacRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande 2010 PauillacBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Pichon Longueville Comtesse de Lalande
5835358352FranceThis is a magnificently solid wine, initially even a bit severe. At this young stage, the tannins dominate, but it's also full of black fruit notes. Very dense and concentrated, this is a wine that's even better than the legendary 2005. The structure tells of its extraordinary aging potential: don't even attempt to drink this for 10 years.100150BordeauxSaint-JulienRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Léoville Barton 2010 Saint-JulienBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Léoville Barton
5835458353FranceA wine of architectural strength and classical proportions, this has straight lines that mark the packed, concentrated fruits, which are sustained by its tannins. This is certainly the best wine that Léoville-Poyferré has produced, sumptuous while so finely structured.9892BordeauxSaint-JulienRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Léoville Poyferré 2010 Saint-JulienBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Léoville Poyferré
5835558354USThis shows the trifecta of winemaker Ehren Jordan's deft hand, the fabulous Hirsch Vineyard and the wonderful 2010 vintage. Even if you knew nothing of the wine's pedigree, you'd be dazzled by its sheer richness of raspberry, cherry, cola and herb flavors, plus the firm, stone-driven minerality, the dryness, the feral mountain hints, the acidity and the overall dazzling structure. The alcohol level is comparatively restrained, providing just the right touch of warmth. New oak clocks in at only 30%, imbuing the wine with a nice seasoning of smoke. Definitely worth searching for, but only 375 cases were produced. Drink this wine now–2022.Hirsch Vineyard9770CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaFailla 2010 Hirsch Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)Pinot NoirFailla
5836758366USThis spectacular brut-style sparkler that's made from Chardonnay and Pinot Noir still has plenty of tart acidity and yeastiness, providing the backdrop for rich, concentrated flavors of lime, raspberry, orange, brioche, mineral, vanilla and spice. It's enjoyable now, a tête de cuvée that is among the best California bubblies of the year, and it will continue to develop bottle complexity for many years.J. Schram Late Disgorged 150th Anniversary Release96200CaliforniaNapa-Monterey-MendocinoSchramsberg 1997 J. Schram Late Disgorged 150th Anniversary Release Sparkling (Napa-Monterey-Mendocino)Sparkling BlendSchramsberg
5835658355USWinemaker Matthias Pippig brings Syrah to a whole new level with this stunningly dramatic bottling. Don't worry about the California appellation, a peculiarity of the winery's ownership. It's made entirely from Santa Barbara grapes, namely from Watch Hill in Los Alamos and Bien Nacido in Santa Maria Valley. The intensity of fruit defies description. It suggests enormous blackberry and creamy-sweet chocolate, larded with bacon and sprinkled with black pepper—and that doesn't even begin to describe the toasty sweetness of the 100% new oak barrels. This is the best California Syrah of the vintage, and one of the greatest Syrahs the state has ever produced. This opulence comes at a cost, however: The alcohol is high.Six White Horses9775CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherSanguis 2009 Six White Horses Syrah (California)SyrahSanguis
5836858367FranceFor anybody looking for classic Bordeaux, this is the bottle to seek. “Classic” here means a wine with a tannic structure that also relies on a black currant flavor, with acidity providing freshness but not losing any concentration or aging potential. Keep for many years.95BordeauxSaint-JulienRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Gruaud Larose 2010 Saint-JulienBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Gruaud Larose
5836958368USThis is a Chardonnay for red wine lovers. It's full bodied and oaky, and it grows better as it warms in the glass. Airing brings out sweet honey, orange jam, apricot and tropical fruit favors, yet the acidity and minerality also develop, providing balance. The oak develops too, with buttered toast and butterscotch notes bringing additional richness.Edwards James Estate Bato Selection9575CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaPaul Hobbs 2010 Edwards James Estate Bato Selection Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayPaul Hobbs
5835758356FranceThis is quintessential Pauillac, a great wine with its Cabernet proudly at the fore. It ranks with the 2009 and, with its tannins, is sure to age longer than that vintage. Solidly structured, powerful and dense, with fruit promised for the future, it succeeds with its weight and great concentration.97BordeauxPauillacRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Pichon Longueville 2010 PauillacBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Pichon Longueville
5835858357FranceOne of the top Margaux wines, this is in top form, finely balanced and as elegant as it is powerful. It is darkly structured, dense yet balancing tannins with ripe black plums. It expresses the complexity of the vintage. A wine for serious, long-term aging.96BordeauxMargauxRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Rauzan-Ségla 2010 MargauxBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Rauzan-Ségla
5837058369PortugalThis ripe and full-bodied wine from Cristiano van Zeller is powerfully concentrated, showing all the right weight while also providing generous fruitiness. Rich black fruits and sweet tannins are layered with acidity. This is a wine for long-term aging.Vintage9557PortRoger Voss@vossrogerQuinta Vale Dona Maria 2009 Vintage (Port)PortQuinta Vale Dona Maria
5835958358USThis is a pinnacle of the modern style of winemaking in Napa Valley. The tannins are strong but not aggressive. The acidity is just enough to provide balance for the tremendously rich blackberry, black currant, Kahlua and olive flavors. The oak is powerful, but the wine wears it easily. The finish is thoroughly dry, long and spicy. And although the alcohol is high, it's not impossible. You can drink it now, although the tannins could benefit from 6–8 years in the cellar.Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard96275CaliforniaOakvilleNapaPaul Hobbs 2009 Beckstoffer To Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)Cabernet SauvignonPaul Hobbs
5837158370PortugalA small quantity of Warre was declared as a vintage in 2009, to commemorate the 200th anniversary of the liberation of Oporto from Napoleon by Anglo-Portuguese forces. The is made in the dry, firm Warre style, dense and packed with solid tannins. At the same time, it has a perfumed character, leaving the tannins to return on the finish.Vintage95PortRoger Voss@vossrogerWarre's 2009 Vintage (Port)PortWarre's
5836058359FranceThe new-wood smokiness is an important element of this creamy-textured wine. The richness bares flavors of honey, botrytis, almond and orange peel. Ripe and age worthy, this wine's opulence is just beginning to show.96111BordeauxSauternesRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Suduiraut 2009 SauternesBordeaux-style White BlendChâteau Suduiraut
5836158360USA dramatic Cabernet, complex and layered, this shows deeply concentrated blackberry essence, black currant, dark chocolate and raisin flaors that are intricately woven with a sweet, smoky oak influence. The tannic structure is thick and furry, but just about perfect. Should age for many years, gradually losing primary fruit, but it's drinkable now after decanting.Plus Game Ranch Single Vineyard Selection96150CaliforniaOakvilleNapaGoldschmidt 2007 Plus Game Ranch Single Vineyard Selection Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)Cabernet SauvignonGoldschmidt
5836258361FranceThe superb palate boasts richness, with honey and orange zest notes. It shows fine balance between the flavors of orange jelly and the intense botrytis-driven notes. It has a light, delicate texture and acidity.96126BordeauxBarsacRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Climens 2009 BarsacBordeaux-style White BlendChâteau Climens
5836358362PortugalThe concentration of old vines is very evident in this wine, which uses fruit that was sourced from a portion of old vines in Niepoort's Quinta da Pisca. There is a touch of bitter cherry, as well as a firm, dense core that shows a fine balance of acidity. This is powerful, full-bodied and packed with dark fruit—for long-term aging.Bioma Vinha Velha Vintage96100PortRoger Voss@vossrogerNiepoort 2009 Bioma Vinha Velha Vintage (Port)PortNiepoort
5836458363USIf the first duty of a wine is to be delicious, this tiny production bottling succeeds beyond all measure. The Black Bear Block is almost always Zaca Mesa's best Syrah among its many releases, and so it is again in 2009. Take one sip and you're dazzled by the refined tannins, dryness and complexity of flavors: blackberry, cassis, plum sauce, mocha, bacon, smoky oak, white pepper, chamomile tea and licorice. What's harder to express is the sheer pleasure of the mouthfeel. This is an exciting Syrah, and may just be at the beginning of a long journey. Drink now and for many years as it slowly changes.Black Bear Block Estate Grown and Bottled9660CaliforniaSanta Ynez ValleyCentral CoastZaca Mesa 2009 Black Bear Block Estate Grown and Bottled Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley)SyrahZaca Mesa
5836558364FranceThis sumptuous wine is driven by perfectly ripe fruit as well as dense, dusty and dry tannins. Great swathes of blackberry sweep across the palate, followed by juicy acidity. Such a combination will make this impressive wine a delight to drink in 10 years and beyond.96BordeauxPauillacRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Lynch-Bages 2010 PauillacBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Lynch-Bages
5837258371FranceThis closed, reticent wine promises to pack a rich, generous punch in the future. Its potential shows in the botrytis flavor and the touches of smoky wood and apricot jelly. With this leashed power, it promises to be a very fine wine.95BordeauxSauternesRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Rieussec 2009 SauternesBordeaux-style White BlendChâteau Rieussec
5837358372USSanguis combines its signature of exceptional power with finesse, producing a wine that is so dramatic as to defy belief. Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon provide the blackberry jam and chocolate richness, while Viognier brings a bright floral note, and even Roussanne has something to say by way of orange tartness. New oak is evident, but perfectly in balance with the wine's volume. Stunning and dramatic, but not an ager, so drink up.Gravity9570CaliforniaSanta Barbara CountyCentral CoastSanguis 2009 Gravity Red (Santa Barbara County)Red BlendSanguis
5837458373USThere isn't a Chardonnay out there as rich, opulent and delicious as this one. It dazzles with tropical fruit, pear, peach, green apple, honey, vanilla and cinnamon spice flavors. Brisk, lime-driven acidity provides beautiful balance. It's oaky, but the smoky, buttered-toast and butterscotch notes are nearly perfect. Drink now with rich crab, lobster or scallop dishes.Edwards James Estate Wente Selection9575CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaPaul Hobbs 2010 Edwards James Estate Wente Selection Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayPaul Hobbs
5837558374USLight in color, alcohol and texture, this dynamic wine has a fresh pepper flavor, and is gorgeous all around, like drinking fresh rose petals. This could be enjoyed all day long, every day, but with only 51 cases produced, get it now or you'll miss out on it.Cedarville9524CaliforniaSierra FoothillsSierra FoothillsVirginie Boone@vbooneLa Clarine Farm 2011 Cedarville Mourvèdre (Sierra Foothills)MourvèdreLa Clarine Farm
5837658375USA tremendous wine, this appeals to the senses as well as the intellect. Dry, tart in acidity and somewhat tannic, it shows complex flavors of raspberry and cherry pie, bacon, cinnamon, white pepper and sandalwood. The finish goes on and on. So delicious now, you can hardly keep from drinking it, but this is a Pinot Noir that will age for 6–8 years, gradually losing primary fruit and gaining interesting mushroom and dried fruit notes.Van der Kamp Vineyard9540CaliforniaSonoma MountainSonomaLa Follette 2010 Van der Kamp Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Mountain)Pinot NoirLa Follette
5837758376FranceGenerous, rich and ripe, this boasts black fruits and sweet tannins. With layers of new wood, this is a wine that shows attractive fruitiness now and has considerable aging ability.95BordeauxSaint-ÉmilionRoger Voss@vossrogerLa Mondotte 2009 Saint-ÉmilionBordeaux-style Red BlendLa Mondotte
5837858377FranceThe 2009 Les Cailloux is a classically built Châteauneuf that should age well through at least 2025. The blend of 65% Grenache, 20% Mourvèdre, 12% Syrah and 3% Cinsault starts off with lovely notes of wild thyme and dark fruit, then adds herbal complexity and chocolaty richness. It's full bodied yet firm, with some dusty but elegant tannins on the finish. It's excellent now, but will be even better in 2016 and beyond.Les Cailloux9560Rhône ValleyChâteauneuf-du-PapeJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzAndré Brunel 2009 Les Cailloux Red (Châteauneuf-du-Pape)Rhône-style Red BlendAndré Brunel
5837958378FranceGiscours shows an initial character of great style and elegance. The shining fruit and concentrated tannins follow, making it both a seductive wine and one with a long-term future.95BordeauxMargauxRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Giscours 2010 MargauxBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Giscours
5838058379FranceThis rich, full wine shows the chateau to be at the top of its form. It's finely balanced, pushing both its fruit and acidity, with the tannins taking the supporting role. With its power leashed, this shows the stylish side of Saint-Julien, although it will certainly age for many years.95BordeauxSaint-JulienRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Branaire-Ducru 2010 Saint-JulienBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Branaire-Ducru

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