Wine Reviews

6292462923USDry, rich and balanced, with dusty tannins and balanced currant, blackberry and oak flavors. A nice, versatile Cabernet with plenty of fanciness that won't break the bank.Napa-Sonoma-San Luis Obispo8719CaliforniaNapa-SonomaNapa-SonomaX 2002 Napa-Sonoma-San Luis Obispo Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa-Sonoma)Cabernet SauvignonX
6292562924PortugalWith its well-integrated scents of cedar, plum and tobacco, this is a medium-weight wine whose hallmark is its balance. Vanilla and dried spices meld nicely with cherry and plum fruit, finishing smooth, with modest tannins. Drink now-2008.Cado8714DouroJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzCompanhia das Quintas 2000 Cado Red (Douro)Portuguese RedCompanhia das Quintas
6292662925AustraliaFrom vines planted in 1982 comes this sturdy red, which features cherry and plum flavors, smooth tannins, and an herb-anise fiish. Fresh red fruit aromas are a nice beginning.87South AustraliaMcLaren ValeCoriole 2003 Sangiovese (McLaren Vale)SangioveseCoriole
6292762926SpainLoaded with tropical fruit, with ample size to the nose and palate. Tastes more of live-wire citrus than anything else, and the zesty finish definitely hums along at a quick pace. Lasting notes of grapefruit and mineral are typical and welcome.8719GaliciaRías BaixasMichael Schachner@wineschachD. Pedro de SoutoMaior 2003 Albariño (Rías Baixas)AlbariñoD. Pedro de SoutoMaior
6292862927AustraliaA fun, youthful wine. Juicy, chewy fruit on the palate isn't overpowered by lots of oak. Ripe plum and blackberry on the nose; finishes with less verve than the palate has.d'Arry's Original8719South AustraliaMcLaren ValeD'Arenberg 2002 d'Arry's Original Shiraz-Grenache (McLaren Vale)Shiraz-GrenacheD'Arenberg
6292962928USAfter all the soft red wines lately, it's almost a relief to gag on some real tannins. Dry and spicy, with big-time black cherry pie flavors, complete with the baked, buttery crust.8724CaliforniaMendocino CountyEaglepoint Ranch 2002 Petite Sirah (Mendocino County)Petite SirahEaglepoint Ranch
6293062929ArgentinaPurple to the eye, with intense aromas of mint, licorice and saturated black fruit. The mouth is like blueberry-blackberry compote, while the oak seems heavy given the wine's higher acids and limited depth. Has plenty of positives but sings just one note.8717Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachFinca Sophenia 2003 Malbec (Mendoza)MalbecFinca Sophenia
6293162930AustraliaTangy melon and citrus flavors and a steely backbone characterize Merrill's reserve Chardonnay. There's oak here—mostly present on the nutty, toasty nose—but there's not much of it rounding out the palate, which makes it feel a little disjointed. Still, a very good wine.Reserve8726South AustraliaMcLaren ValeGeoff Merrill 1999 Reserve Chardonnay (McLaren Vale)ChardonnayGeoff Merrill
6291162910USA big improvement over the winery's last release, this '09 Chardonnay is rich and oaky and crisp in acidity. It's just delicious, with ripe pineapple jam, buttered toast, créme brûlée and vanilla flavors. Made in a big, powerful style, but balanced. Drink now.9230CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaGuarachi Family 2009 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)ChardonnayGuarachi Family
6293262931AustraliaAnother screwcapped Merrill wine that was once part of its Owen Estate label. This Shiraz (35%), Grenache (35%), Mourvedre (30%) offers plum and oak flavors, the latter of the fresh-cut pine sort. Still, the wine is forward, lively and a good value, and sports a flourish of black cherry on the end.Sz-Gren-M8720South AustraliaSouth AustraliaGeoff Merrill 2001 Sz-Gren-M Red (South Australia)Rhône-style Red BlendGeoff Merrill
6293362932USExtracted and jammy in black cherries and black raspberries, with hints of cocoa, this wine is fully dry and balanced. It tasty through the smooth finish.Ferrero Vineyard8715CaliforniaShenandoah Valley (CA)Sierra FoothillsAmador Foothill Winery 2001 Ferrero Vineyard Zinfandel (Shenandoah Valley (CA))ZinfandelAmador Foothill Winery
6291262911USA juicy wine, rich, ripe and sweet in jammy fruit and caramelized oak flavors. Black raspberries, blackberries and mocha, spiced with cinnamon and pepper, flood the mouth, wrapped into beautifully sculpted, sweet tannins. A lovely wine to drink now. The wine is mainly Syrah, with 5% Cabernet Sauvignon.Darwin9240CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaHall 2007 Darwin Red (Napa Valley)Red BlendHall
6293462933ArgentinaPerfect color combined with one of the more atypical but interesting bouquets you'll find stirs intrigue. Aromas of mint, berry syrup and most of all clove are intense, while the black licorice and espresso accents on the palate work. Not Spanish in style nor is it reserved. This is a bruising wine with a unique Mendoza identity.Finca La Linda8710Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachLuigi Bosca 2003 Finca La Linda Tempranillo (Mendoza)TempranilloLuigi Bosca
6293562934USA fine Cab whose balance and slight earthiness will enhance, not swamp, food. Delicately structured, with cherry, cassis, oak and tobacco flavors, and rich tannins.Annabella Special Selection8715CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaMichael Pozzan 2002 Annabella Special Selection Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonMichael Pozzan
6291362912FranceMade from old vines and partially fermented in wood, this is a complex wine, offering plenty of pure white fruits. It is very precise in character, crisp, tangy, the edge of wood just a hint.La Bourgeoise92Loire ValleySancerreRoger Voss@vossrogerHenri Bourgeois 2008 La Bourgeoise (Sancerre)Sauvignon BlancHenri Bourgeois
6293662935AustraliaVanilla and pepper aromas lead to sexy, vanilla and black cherry flavors on the palate and finish. A very good effort and an enjoyable wine, though a little heavy on the vanilla.Old Vine8715South AustraliaMcLaren ValeNormans 2002 Old Vine Grenache (McLaren Vale)GrenacheNormans
6291462913USThis small-production Chard is a real success for J. It's comprised of their best fruit from warmer and cooler parts of the valley. The flavors are complex, ranging from apricots and tangerines to lemons and golden mangoes, while oak adds lovely notes of buttered toast and créme brûlée. Drink now.Barrel 169240CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaJ Vineyards & Winery 2009 Barrel 16 Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayJ Vineyards & Winery
6293762936USThe most important things about this wine are its upfront oak and full-bodied character. The former brings vanilla, toast and sweet oak shadings to the black cherry and cola fruit. It's soft in acids, which may explain a certain heaviness, but it sure is tasty.8738CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaPapapietro Perry 2002 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirPapapietro Perry
6293862937AustraliaThe nose offers a host of red aromas, including stewy, almost tomatoey fruit, and pretty red pencil eraser. A medium-sized wine on the palate, this Shiraz reprises the familiar red berries-plum-earth-oak theme, but does it well.Red Dot8718South AustraliaMcLaren Vale-Langhorne CreekPenny's Hill 2003 Red Dot Shiraz (McLaren Vale-Langhorne Creek)ShirazPenny's Hill
6293962938PortugalInteresting contrast to the 20 Years Old from the same house, yielding similar walnut and caramel scents and also a touch of spirit on the nose. But quite different in the mouth, where it is blockier and more intense, with robust berry flavors. Finishes a little coarse and rustic.10 Year Old Tawny8735PortJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzPoças NV 10 Year Old Tawny (Port)PortPoças
6294062939PortugalOne of Portugal's priciest table wines, this vintage boasts cherry and plum aromas that just don't seem all that intense, followed by bright cherry flavors accented by modest cedar. The long finish is evidence of its quality, but it turns astringent and one wonders whether the fruit will outlast the tannins.Fojo8784DouroJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzQuinta do Fojo 2000 Fojo Red (Douro)Portuguese RedQuinta do Fojo
6291562914ItalyPackaged in a beautifully unique glass bottle, this collector's wine from southern Italy offers balance, intensity and cleanly etched aromas of black fruit, resin, cola, rum cake, dried violets and tobacco. The finish is elegant, polished and lingers long on the palate thanks to the drying tannins.Naturalis Historia92Southern ItalyTaurasiMastroberardino 2005 Naturalis Historia (Taurasi)AglianicoMastroberardino
6291662915SpainClean and sweet, with an aromatic touch of cookies and cream. In the mouth, it's more of the standard lemon, apple and mineral that you expect from this Galician white. Finishes easy and nice, but not too crisp.8717GaliciaRías BaixasMichael Schachner@wineschachPazo San Mauro 2003 Albariño (Rías Baixas)AlbariñoPazo San Mauro
6291762916AustraliaLight floral and honeysuckle aromas are very pretty and compelling, as is the wine's citrus-laden palate. What an introduction to the variety—it's a good value, it's correct, and it's dry. Worth keeping a few bottles around the house.8710Australia OtherSouth Eastern AustraliaRosemount 2003 Riesling (South Eastern Australia)RieslingRosemount
6291862917USRather heavy in texture, with the weight of a Rhone wine, and thick, fruity flavors of plums, heirloom tomatoes, cola, espresso and oak. Very dry, with smooth tannins. This is a big Pinot, clean and complex, although not particularly delicate.Estate8733CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaRussian Hill 2002 Estate Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirRussian Hill
6291962918AustraliaBright, bouncy cherry and plum aromas; wood and earth are interspersed with mixed cherries on the palate. A straighforward, enjoyable Grenache.Old Vine8718South AustraliaMcLaren ValeSimon Hackett 2002 Old Vine Grenache (McLaren Vale)GrenacheSimon Hackett
6292062919AustraliaPretty plum fruit and pencil-eraser aromas lead to similar flavors, with a light underlay of fresh herb. Finishes a little brief, though with gummy tannins.8719South AustraliaMcLaren ValeTapestry 2001 Shiraz (McLaren Vale)ShirazTapestry
6292162920AustraliaMocha and coffee aromas preface a palate full of dark, earthy-briary character. Medium-bodied; closes with tangy, tealike tannins.8718South AustraliaMcLaren ValeTintara 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (McLaren Vale)Cabernet SauvignonTintara
6292262921USDark and intense in spicy blackberry, cherry, cocoa and earthy flavors with a hint of bitter espresso. The rich but smooth tannins and crisp acidity of this ripe wine cry out for beef or lamb.8718CaliforniaDry Creek ValleySonomaTrentadue 2002 Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley)ZinfandelTrentadue
6292362922ArgentinaConcha y Toro's Argentinean branch makes this heavyweight wine, which goes heavy on the oak, toast and horseradish. It's opaque in color, with monster tannins backing plum and blackberry fruit. Finishes hot, peppery and short, but with a lot of texture.Golden Reserve8720Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachTrivento 2002 Golden Reserve Malbec (Mendoza)MalbecTrivento

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