Wine Reviews

6503165030South AfricaThis solid Merlot begins with savory aromas of cloves, black cherry, and smoke, leading into like flavors in a structured, spirited package. The wine could continue to age, but makes for a good sip now. Pair with smoked meats, roasted duck.8713PaarlSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaBacksberg 2005 Merlot (Paarl)MerlotBacksberg
6503265031South AfricaThis wine starts with a combination of white flowers, spice, tropical fruit and green notes, with dry, crisp flavors of citrus and mineral on the palate. A good wine for fans of more angular whites, the wine will pair well with spicy Asian cuisine, grilled spicy fish or chicken.Beyond8712Coastal RegionSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaBuitenverwachting 2008 Beyond Sauvignon Blanc (Coastal Region)Sauvignon BlancBuitenverwachting
6503365032South AfricaThis wine offers assertive aromas of plum, mint and cherry, and on the palate, easygoing red berry and vanilla flavors. Tannins are smooth and the mouthfeel velvety. A friendly, tasty red with class. Pair with stew, grilled lamb, robust cheeses.8729CederbergSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaCederberg 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Cederberg)Cabernet SauvignonCederberg
6503465033FranceUnder the ownership of American Stephen Adams, this estate is showing promise. The wine is finely structured, a smoky bacon element mingling well with fresh red plum and firm tannins. The core is dry, solid, showing wood, finishing with vivid minerality and acidity.8717BordeauxPremieres Côtes de BordeauxRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Lagarosse 2006 Premieres Côtes de BordeauxBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Lagarosse
6503565034ItalyThere's a lemon sodalike quality to this wine that is reinforced by its citrus flavors and mouth-cleansing acidity. It delivers a tonic, crisp mouthfeel with good creamy density and silky sweetness on the finish.Vigna del Paradiso Extra Dry8621VenetoProsecco di Conegliano e ValdobbiadeneMontesel Renzo NV Vigna del Paradiso Extra Dry (Prosecco di Conegliano e Valdobbiadene)ProseccoMontesel Renzo
6503665035USThe vineyard is located between St. Helena and Calistoga, and the blend is just about 50-50 of the two Bordeaux varieties. It's a ripe, fruity, jammy wine with some sharpness in the finish.Blair Vineyard8648CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaS. P. Drummer 2003 Blair Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet Franc (Napa Valley)Cabernet Sauvignon-Cabernet FrancS. P. Drummer
6503765036SpainBaked apple and spice aromas form a recognizable bouquet, while the palate oozes with grapefruit and tart apple flavors. This is zesty, clean, a little bit lean and fresh. It doesn't offer much in the way of range or complexity, but it's more than serviceable at the price point. Imported by Freixenet USA.Brut Reserva8610CataloniaCavaMichael Schachner@wineschachSegura Viudas NV Brut Reserva Sparkling (Cava)Sparkling BlendSegura Viudas
6503865037USPatz & Hall has captured the cool-climate essence of southern Sonoma Chard with this dry, crisply acidic, and vibrantly fruity young wine. Might have benefitted from less new oak though, because the caramel and toast seem a little excessive.Dutton Ranch8639CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaPatz & Hall 2005 Dutton Ranch Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayPatz & Hall
6503965038USMade from Pinot Noir, this is a dry, crisp young blush wine of some real interest and complexity. It has flavors of unsweetened orange pekoe tea, tangerine zest and vanilla, with a scour of dusty tannins.Chiaretto8618CaliforniaArroyo Grande ValleyCentral CoastPerbacco Cellars 2006 Chiaretto Rosé (Arroyo Grande Valley)RoséPerbacco Cellars
6504065039USAnother new Rosenblum release and as usual, there is a sweet, sugary edge to the cherries, blackberries and chocolate, although very high acidity helps keep the mouthfeel lively. The official alcohol is 14.8%, but there is something ruby Porty going on.Maggie's Reserve8645CaliforniaSonoma ValleySonomaRosenblum 2005 Maggie's Reserve Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley)ZinfandelRosenblum
6501165010South AfricaFresh but earthy aromas of apple, fig and pepper give this intriguing wine extra draw. On the palate, a robust herbal character backed by an appealing slatey spin and balanced acids offer elegance and personality. Ends with a clean, lingering finish.8817DurbanvilleSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaDe Grendel 2008 Sauvignon Blanc (Durbanville)Sauvignon BlancDe Grendel
6501265011USVery dry, acidic and minerally, this is not one of those lush, decadent Chardonnays. It shows controlled flavors of citrus fruits, pears, wet stones and spices. The malolactic fermentation was prevented, giving it tangy acidity. Give it a try with shellfish and roast salmon.Old Vine8835CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaDe Sante 2007 Old Vine Chardonnay (Napa Valley)ChardonnayDe Sante
6501365012GermanyThis is different in style from the kabinett bottling, being less fragrant and charming yet broader and more powerful. It's minerally right up front, like smoky quartz, then plump and slightly creamy on the midpalate before ending in a dusting of crushed stones.Buntsandstein Weisser Burgunder Spätlese Trocken8833PfalzJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzDr. Wehrheim 2007 Buntsandstein Weisser Burgunder Spätlese Trocken Pinot Blanc (Pfalz)Pinot BlancDr. Wehrheim
6501465013ItalyThe wine opens with big cherry notes backed by plump fruit and blueberry. Still young and in need of more time to evolve, the wine shows good potential thanks to the quality and concentration of the fruit. In the mouth, it has good structure and drying tannins.88TuscanyVino Nobile di MontepulcianoIl Conventino 2006 Vino Nobile di MontepulcianoPrugnolo GentileIl Conventino
6501565014AustraliaThis wine provides plenty of drinking pleasure for a moderate tariff. Smoke, toast and vanilla aromas speak to barrel fermentation and aging, while the apple, pear, pineapple and citrus flavors show off top-notch fruit. It's all put together in a balanced, medium-weight package that finishes clean and fresh.8820Australia OtherAustraliaJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzInnocent Bystander 2007 Chardonnay (Australia)ChardonnayInnocent Bystander
6501665015GermanyAt only 7% alcohol, this packs plenty of residual sugar, but it's well balanced by crisp lime notes. Strident—almost crystalline—green apple and lime flavors dominate. There's tons of refreshing fruit in this wine, not as much minerality.Kabinett8820PfalzJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzKnipser 2006 Kabinett Riesling (Pfalz)RieslingKnipser
6501765016ItalyClove, allspice and moist earth emerge first on the nose and are followed by blackberry and dried black fruit. There's a mature note behind all the dense concentration and the wine end with a blast of black cherry and lasting spice.88TuscanyVino Nobile di MontepulcianoNottola 2006 Vino Nobile di MontepulcianoPrugnolo GentileNottola
6501865017South AfricaA bright, minerally nose and clean, elegant flavors give this wine from cool-climate Elgin a sophisticated edge. Though the wine has a refined character, there's still an abundance of rich tropical fruit and citrus flavors. The finish is refreshing and subtle.8814ElginSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaPaul Cluver 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Elgin)Sauvignon BlancPaul Cluver
6501965018ItalyInitial traces of smoky sulfur need to blow off and once they do this Brunello freely exhibits tones of blackberry, prunes and smoked bacon. The wine is a tad gritty and astringent in the mouth, so give it five more years of aging to soften those tannins.88TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoPoggio San Polo 2004 Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese GrossoPoggio San Polo
6502065019ItalyThis Brunello is definitely on the ripe side with meaty aromas of smoked bacon, bresaola, Indian spice, smoke and crushed black pepper. Fruit notes are few and far between and include dried currants and prunes. Despite the wine's chewy boldness, it does offer a much needed blast of tonic freshness on the finish.88TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoRidolfi 2004 Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese GrossoRidolfi
6502165020USTasted in Feb., 2009, this Cab still showed a lot of fresh, piquant primary fruit character. The jammy cherries and blackberries are brightened with crisp, citrusy acidity. Clean and balanced, but a bit rude now. Needs a couple years to knit together.8860CaliforniaRutherfordNapaSlaughterhouse Cellars 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford)Cabernet SauvignonSlaughterhouse Cellars
6502265021ItalyThis is an oak-driven Brunello that imparts woodshop aromas of spice, toast, mesquite and vanilla. The wine offers loads of intensity in the mouth and gains momentum thanks to its thick, warming texture. Drink it after 2012 to allow time for those oak aromas to mellow.Ugolforte8865TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoTenuta San Giorgio 2004 Ugolforte (Brunello di Montalcino)Sangiovese GrossoTenuta San Giorgio
6502365022South AfricaBright, fresh fruit mingled with a spicy toast give this wine a joyous but serious edge. Fresh but complex, with ripe fruit and spicy flavors and a lingering finish. Pair with richer seafood dishes, poultry.Sutherland8820ElginSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaThelema 2007 Sutherland Chardonnay (Elgin)ChardonnayThelema
6502465023GermanyLight, delicate and dry, this shows Ernie Loosen's Mosel touch. Lime, peach and melon notes add airy nuances over the underlying briny minerality of the Pfalz. Finishes long and slightly peppery-spicy.Trocken8812PfalzJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzVilla Wolf 2007 Trocken Riesling (Pfalz)RieslingVilla Wolf
6502565024South AfricaThis wine has a fresh, spicy green character on the nose: green pepper, mint, plum, cherry. Dark fruit flavors mingled with mint and smoke offer complexity on the palate. The wine is assertive but pretty. Pair with tangy grilled meats or stew.Old Bush Vines8821StellenboschSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaWarwick 2006 Old Bush Vines Pinotage (Stellenbosch)PinotageWarwick
6502665025USJuicy, bright, loaded with young, grapey, berry flavors. Bright and polished, with a Grenache-like character, though it is 100% varietal.Summit Reserve8810WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Washington Hills 2007 Summit Reserve Merlot (Columbia Valley (WA))MerlotWashington Hills
6502765026USA nice, drily crisp Sauvignon Blanc that needs food to show it off. It's tart now, with Meyer lemon and pink grapefruit flavors and a steely, minerally undertow. Feels elegant and clean. Nice with bruschetta topped with grilled veggies and goat cheese.8826CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaEnvy 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley)Sauvignon BlancEnvy
6502865027GermanyA bit confected and rather sweet-tasting for a kabinett (38 g/l residual sugar), but there's no denying the prettiness of the fruit. Green apples are joined and rounded out by melon notes and finish on a drier, minerally note of crushed stone.Forster Mariengarten Kabinett8820PfalzJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzEugen Müller 2007 Forster Mariengarten Kabinett Riesling (Pfalz)RieslingEugen Müller
6502965028ItalyFerrero has the heft and consistency to contend with other top Brunellos and the velvety-soft quality of its mouthfeel is extraordinary. The nose was less convincing, however, with heavy tones of old wood, cedar and liquid smoke.8845TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoFerrero 2004 Brunello di MontalcinoSangiovese GrossoFerrero
6503065029South AfricaThis exemplary Chenin starts with aromas of peach, pineapple and vanilla, rolling into juicy flavors of melon, honey and rich fruit. Balanced and with a slightly creamy mouthfeel, the wine is elegant but approachable enough for every day. Pair with salad, seafood. Imported by GBW, LLC.Gamekeeper's Reserve8816StellenboschSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaGraham Beck 2008 Gamekeeper's Reserve Chenin Blanc (Stellenbosch)Chenin BlancGraham Beck

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