Wine Reviews


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6002660025USWith its high-toned sparkle of lemon zest and orange, this lovely wine evolves to show rich oak and apple pie notes, evoking baked Gravenstein apple, cinnamon and nutmeg. Medium-bodied, it wears its concentration of flavor and texture well, finding a well-earned balance through the lengthy finish.Old Wente9555CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneLynmar 2015 Old Wente Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayLynmar
6002760026USAustin Hope's latest releases are all about power and ripeness, and this blend of 35% Grenache, 35% Mourvèdre and 30% Syrah achieves balance and elegance amidst that strength. Cuban coffee, fig jam, dried blueberry and chocolate aromas lead into a pillowy-soft palate that's layered with espresso, cocoa, roasted fig and plum jam flavors. Steady acidity and finely chiseled tannins frame it all.Avery #3 The Magic Sun9575CaliforniaTempleton Gap DistrictCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannAustin Hope 2014 Avery #3 The Magic Sun G-S-M (Templeton Gap District)G-S-MAustin Hope
6002860027EnglandA restrained but impressive notion of honeyed oatmeal on the nose makes for a promising opening. A crisp green-apple note plays alongside ripe lemon. The palate shows fine, elegant mousse, amplifying those restrained aromas of honey, oatmeal and biscuit. This wine is at a perfect juncture of freshness and evolution, with wonderfully developed autolytic notes and great balance. The finish is long and moreish.Three Graces9550EnglandAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoChapel Down 2011 Three Graces Sparkling (England)Sparkling BlendChapel Down
6002960028FranceA very shy closed nose gives little away but the palate reveals all. A beautifully lithe and fluid synthesis of ripe and tart orchard fruits is leavened by bright citrus, green pear, Cox's apple and pure ripe Amalfi lemon. There also is a fine hint of discreet herbal lift—chamomile and chervil can be glimpsed here and there. What an aromatic, statuesque beauty. Alluring now but absolutely certain to become spectacular with some age. The finish is totally dry, aromatic and long. Drink 2017–2037.Kastelberg Grand Cru9572AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoDomaine Gresser 2014 Kastelberg Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace)RieslingDomaine Gresser
6000160000FranceA hint of smoke and a touch of earth precede the fresh lemon notes of the nose. The dry palate, with its vivid impression of very pure, bright and incisive lemon freshness, still seems tightly wound. There is something brooding and alive about this—it can be felt below the surface, disquieting but promising. This has barely started on its journey and will take a while to develop fully but it's all already there, dormant and ready to unfurl with a little more bottle age. The pure, long and intense finish is a delicious promise. Drink 2017–2037.Grossi Laüe9585AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoHugel 2011 Grossi Laüe Riesling (Alsace)RieslingHugel
6003060029FranceHay flowers, honey and ripe yellow pear create an alluring nose. The palate adds even more fruit, with juicy mirabelle and peach carried by boost of residual sugar. This richness is aptly countered by lemon and tangerine zest. This joyful exuberant medium-sweet wine has a tightrope balance and incredibly deep and rich dimensions of fruit. The finish is lasting and pure. Drink 2017–2037.Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru9574AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoDomaine Marcel Deiss 2012 Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru White (Alsace)Alsace white blendDomaine Marcel Deiss
6000260001USClean lines of nectarine, lemon blossom, orange sorbet and wet rock show on the lovely nose of this bottling from Trey Fletcher. Boisterous energy and a chalky grip power the palate, where citrus freshness dominates, and the acidity is powerful but not overblown. It will age with beauty and grace. Drink 2018–2035.9545CaliforniaSanta Maria ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannSolomon Hills 2015 Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley)ChardonnaySolomon Hills
6000360002EnglandBeautifully delineated fruit constitues the nose, with ripe, yellow plum playing alongside crisp, green apple. The palate layers a sonorous tone of sourdough bread with rich hints of yeast, green-apple briskness and gentle yellow plum. The notions unite with the fizzing, fine mousse. On the midpalate and the finish, the depth of this wine becomes clear: Profound and rich but in a totally slender, unassuming and convincing fashion. The finish is pure and lasting. Drink 2017–2027.The Trouble with Dreams9580EnglandAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoSugrue Pierre Ltd. 2010 The Trouble with Dreams Sparkling (England)Sparkling BlendSugrue Pierre Ltd.
6000460003FranceDefinitely dry, this impressively crisp wine is tightly textured, mineral in character and with great fruit. Its acidity and taut tangy character are part of a sophisticated wine that is still maturing. The hints of toast are there, but this beautiful wine will take a while to show its full potential. Drink from 2019.Vintage Extra Brut9580ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerBillecart-Salmon 2007 Vintage Extra Brut (Champagne)Champagne BlendBillecart-Salmon
6000560004FranceAt 35-years-old, this golden wine may be old, but it is still glorious. Still honeyed, with hints of its past yellow and bitter-orange fruit still there, the wine is intense, with toast, almonds and a richness that is so concentrated. Drink now.9564Loire ValleyCoteaux du LayonRoger Voss@vossrogerMoulin Touchais 1982 Chenin Blanc (Coteaux du Layon)Chenin BlancMoulin Touchais
6000660005USThe nose of this bottling explodes with exotic cherry scents and compelling strokes of iron, rose, carnation and cinnamon. It's refreshingly tart and earthy on the palate, where dewy sage, mint and tarragon touches lift its youthful raspberry and green olive flavors. Easy to guzzle, yet intriguingly complex.Twin Creeks9544CaliforniaEdna ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannClaiborne & Churchill 2015 Twin Creeks Pinot Noir (Edna Valley)Pinot NoirClaiborne & Churchill
6000760006FranceThe musky touch of botrytized fruit appears immediately, adding even more allure to the golden color. An explosion of golden apricot and luscious peach provide mouthfilling sweetness on the palate. All this is countered by very concentrated lemon freshness. This is not one of the tooth-achingly sweet SGNs—this is fresher and still has vivid fruit flavors. The finish has so much freshness it is lip-smacking. This will be a killer with fruit-centered desserts. Its sweetness-acid balance is of utter poise and a wonderful class act. Drink 2017–2050.Clos Saint-Théobald Rangen Grand Cru Sélection de Grains Nobles95108AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoDomaine Schoffit 2012 Clos Saint-Théobald Rangen Grand Cru Sélection de Grains Nobles Pinot Gris (Alsace)Pinot GrisDomaine Schoffit
6000860007USBrine and oak accents cradle this impressive wine's elegant green apple, wet stone and lime notes. Bold and concentrated yet complex, it's balanced by lively acidity and persistent freshness.Monastery9555CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneLynmar 2015 Monastery Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayLynmar
6000960008USAn inviting hint of butter shows on the nose of this big, bold and concentrated wine. It displays craftsmanship through its embrace of lightly toasted oak, which accents vibrant apple and pear notes. It's lushly textured, with persistent acidity and a lemon peel flourish on the close.Quail Hill Vineyard9560CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneLynmar 2015 Quail Hill Vineyard Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayLynmar
6001060009FranceA lovely touch of orange zest teases the nose and there also is a lovely hint of chervil. The streamlined palate comes in with bundled citrus notes. The tart flesh of tangerine and the zest of lemon are softened and enriched with orange oil and ample concentration. This is pure and racy, linear and bold. There is something salty and energetic, something incredibly fresh and vibrant at the core. The palate and finish are absolutely dry, the echo is long and clean. Blastingly fresh right now, sure to evolve. Drink 2019–2037.Zotzenberg Grand Cru9538AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoBoeckel 2015 Zotzenberg Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace)RieslingBoeckel
6001160010USThis new cuvée is sourced from a 2008 planting of the Swan clone, rare in Oregon. The aromatics are dazzling, with a lightly peppery, meaty aspect around slightly muted notes of herb and rock. The fruit is especially generous, with blackberry and boysenberry predominant. The wine is stylish, with cut and precision. Though truly exceptional, it needs your complete attention and some extra aeration to show its best.Cygnus Block9565OregonMcMinnvilleWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Brittan Vineyards 2014 Cygnus Block Pinot Noir (McMinnville)Pinot NoirBrittan Vineyards
6001260011USThis rich and voluptuous wine wins one over with its baked pear and vanilla sumptuousness, etched with an apple blossom aroma. Robust and velvety on the palate, it's balanced by fresh citrus and wet stone nuances. The lifted acidity provokes both succulence and complexity.Brumaire9540CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneEnRoute 2015 Brumaire Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayEnRoute
6001360012FranceA funky whiff of yeast has to blow off before wonderfully pure orange zest notes appear. The palate has a wonderful richness of texture, something earthy with a pithy, beautiful grip. The flavors are still taut, for now (just zesty aromatic orange peel) but much more still hides and sleeps below the surface. This is powerful and concentrated, with a lovely and enduring backbone of freshness. This needs bottle age to come into its own. The finish is fresh, clean and lasting. Drink 2020–2037.Hengst Grand Cru9556AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoDomaine Barmès-Buecher 2015 Hengst Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace)RieslingDomaine Barmès-Buecher
6001460013FranceThe nose at first is all about aromatic orange zest but with a little more air there are lovely hints of jasmine and honeysuckle. The palate adds a judicious bitterness and counters this with residual sweetness. The counterpoint here is between texture and full fruit. This is incredibly powerful, as if some inner force was at work. This seems like a genie in a bottle—willful, driven and deliciously aromatic. The finish is off dry and long. Lovely now but sure to last. Drink 2017–2040.Clos Saint-Théobald Rangen Grand Cru9549AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoDomaine Schoffit 2015 Clos Saint-Théobald Rangen Grand Cru Muscat (Alsace)MuscatDomaine Schoffit
6001560014USThis head-turning wine was made from vines planted in the 1970s and 1990s—a selection that shocks with its complex beauty. Pine forest and Christmas spice notes accent cranberry, rhubarb and tart citrus flavors, all seemingly infused with seductive smoke. At its juicy core is an earthy, mushroomy component.Rochioli Vineyard9575CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneGary Farrell 2015 Rochioli Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirGary Farrell
6001660015FranceA touch of luscious peach plays among the ripe lemon notes of the nose. A heady chamomile lift hints at some evolution. The absolutely dry palate is still vividly fresh and has barely begun to unfurl its store of rich aromas. For now the luminous freshness and brightness of pure ripe lemon zest still dominates. Here and there a touch of candle wax, stone and chamomile appears. From the 2011, this has barely begun its journey. A lovely, incisive, intense but elegant wine with a clean refreshing finish. Drink 2017–2030.Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru9560AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoGustave Lorentz 2011 Altenberg de Bergheim Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace)RieslingGustave Lorentz
6001760016FranceHeady notes of chamomile and dried hay flower stream from the glass immediately hinting at a wine with some evolution. A touch of candied lemon peel makes the nose even more enticing. The palate is generous but dry, showing off the pristine pear fruit and wonderful phenolic texture that gives as much structure to this wine as its fine pure lemony acidity. Savored slowly, the full depth of pure pear fruit becomes apparent. This is a class act just coming into its drinking window now, with ample potential for further aging. Drink 2017–2035.Grossi Laüe9575AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoHugel 2011 Grossi Laüe Pinot Gris (Alsace)Pinot GrisHugel
6001860017FranceA tender but enticing touch of peach rises from the glass. There also is a glint of smoke and a touch of lemon zestiness. It is lemon and tangy citrus that takes over on the taut linear palate. Zestiness fizzes and gives the concentrated palate a wonderfully weightless feel that belies the depth of fruit. This is totally appetizing and refreshing with a dry, moreish finish. Drink 2017–2035.Wiebelsberg Grand Cru9545AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoJean Biecher & Fils 2016 Wiebelsberg Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace)RieslingJean Biecher & Fils
6001960018FranceA funky earthy touch hovers on the nose before hints of nettle and lemon balm add an aromatic edge to lemon freshness. On the exquisitely dry palate, it is the vivid, bright and intense lemon freshness that takes over, but those earthier notes still flash up around the edges, adding interest and depth. They will unfurl more as time passes. While this is linear, incisive and precise now, it will truly shine with bottle age. Drink 2017–2037.Kastelberg Grand Cru9545AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoMarc Kreydenweiss 2014 Kastelberg Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace)RieslingMarc Kreydenweiss
6002060019USThis classic Napa Cabernet is juicy in explosive black cherry and cassis flavors that pair with firm, integrated tannin and an elegant structure. The oak is restrained, contributing complementary baking-spice accents. Long and sublime on the finish. Best from 2024–2040.Martin Stelling Vineyard95165CaliforniaOakvilleNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneNickel & Nickel 2014 Martin Stelling Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)Cabernet SauvignonNickel & Nickel
6002160020FranceNow at its peak, this impressive wine has moved from fruit to maturity, adding toastiness to its acidity and giving the wine richness. It's full and ripe while keeping the taut, steely edge proper to a Chardonnay Champagne. There's no need to age further. Drink now.Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs Brut95300ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerPerrier Jouët 2004 Belle Epoque Blanc de Blancs Brut Chardonnay (Champagne)ChardonnayPerrier Jouët
6002260021FranceThis estate, owned by the same family since 1787, has amazing stocks of old sweet wines maturing in its cellars. With red apple, honey and apricot aromas, this wine, mature and yet so fresh, is proof of the aging ability of Chenin Blanc. It is the balance between the ripe honeyed flavors and the intense acidity that keeps it so vibrant. Drink this superb wine now.9555Loire ValleyCoteaux du LayonRoger Voss@vossrogerMoulin Touchais 1996 Chenin Blanc (Coteaux du Layon)Chenin BlancMoulin Touchais
6002360022FranceMade from equal parts Pinot Noir and Chardonnay, this still young Champagne is rich in the Taittinger style, with an elegant poise that is impressive. The wine, with its apricot and ripe apple fruit, is generously tempered by bright acidity and a crisp edge. Drink from 2021.Millésimé Brut9597ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerTaittinger 2012 Millésimé Brut (Champagne)Champagne BlendTaittinger
6002460023FranceDried lemon peel and hay flowers make for an inviting nose. On the palate, the vivid brightness of lemon brightens notes of tart apple and the merest touch of earth and stone. This is precise and pure, absolutely dry and magnificent. The freshness is incisive and invigorating. It's another one of those gloriously bright and unapologetically fresh 2014 Rieslings. Clearly a vintage for adults only. The finish is lip-smackingly clean and utterly moreish. Drink 2017–2037.Schlossberg Grand Cru9536AlsaceAlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoPaul Blanck 2014 Schlossberg Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace)RieslingPaul Blanck
6002560024USMade from vines planted several decades ago, this wine shows its worldly sophistication with pungent, smoky earth and gravelly texture. The overall impression is sensual and seductive, enriched by bright blackberry and raspberry flavors and appreciable acidity.Headpruned Block9550CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneLimerick Lane 2015 Headpruned Block Syrah (Russian River Valley)SyrahLimerick Lane

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