Wine Reviews

7272172720USSeven Hills and Les Collines provide the grapes for this 80-20 Cab-Merlot blend. The cool 2011 vintage was especially noticeable in Walla Walla—here expressed as light strawberry and cranberry fruit, caught in a shell of acid. The wine ultimately turns tannic, with light barrel flavors of caramel and mocha. More bottle age may help to further meld the components.8740WashingtonWalla Walla Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine North by Northwest 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Walla Walla Valley (WA))Cabernet SauvignonNorth by Northwest
7272272721AustraliaThis is a terrific introduction to the Rutherglen style, sweet, fortified, but with decent balancing acids. It offers bold aromas of bergamot, honey and fig, flavors of caramelized pineapple and flamed orange zest and a moderately long finish.9016VictoriaRutherglenJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzChambers Rosewood Vineyards NV Muscadelle (Rutherglen)MuscadelleChambers Rosewood Vineyards
7272372722AustraliaLike Chambers' entry-level Muscadelle, this Muscat offers an affordable introduction to the Rutherglen style of sticky. The Muscat is full and round, with relatively simple notes of spiced orange and crème caramel and a finish that is sweet but balanced.9016VictoriaRutherglenJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzChambers Rosewood Vineyards NV Muscat (Rutherglen)MuscatChambers Rosewood Vineyards
7272472723South AfricaSoft oak and sweet-spice aromas add interest to the rich berry core of this red blend. Notes of raspberry and strawberry fill the medium-weight mouth, framed by soft yet present tannins and spicy hints of licorice and black pepper that linger through the finish. Harmonious and attractive, this is ready to drink now.The Left Bank9015Western CapeLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzNeil Ellis 2011 The Left Bank Red (Western Cape)Red BlendNeil Ellis
7272572724USThis approachable Cab is from both estate and sourced fruit, all Cabernet Sauvignon. It opens with a waft of tropical coconut before delving classically into smooth black cherry, cranberry and licorice, the tannins still monstrous and the oak packing a punch.9065CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneJanzen 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonJanzen
7272672725USYoung and vibrant, this is the winery's smaller production from a special selection of barrels. A soft, burly expression of strawberry, raspberry and ripe boysenberry, it is accentuated by generous portions of toasty oak and baking spices, a faint hint of dried herb on the finish.Precioso9075CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneKeller Estate 2012 Precioso Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)Pinot NoirKeller Estate
7272772726AustriaPeppery, berry-ish, full-fruited smokiness leaves no doubt that Blaufränkisch is in the glass. This has verve, energy and dark blackberry fruit while freshness lends focus. Very enjoyable indeed.Goldberg Reserve9035BurgenlandAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoKirnbauer 2012 Goldberg Reserve Blaufränkisch (Burgenland)BlaufränkischKirnbauer
7272872727ChileFor an inaugural effort, this coastal Pinot Noir is on the money. Dark and slightly charred-smelling on the nose, the wine is not shy. Full, oaky and moderately tannic, it shows roasted plum, char and toasty flavors in front of a brawny, oaky finish. Best from late 2015 through 2017.Costa9035Colchagua ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachKoyle 2012 Costa Pinot Noir (Colchagua Valley)Pinot NoirKoyle
7272972728USThis warm-vintage wine strikes a perfect mix of restraint and intensity, with its abundant notes of peach and pear. It's lightly creamy in feel, with deft fruit flavors that show an exquisite sense of balance throughout.9022WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleySean P. Sullivan@wawinereportL'Ecole No. 41 2013 Chardonnay (Columbia Valley (WA))ChardonnayL'Ecole No. 41
7273072729AustriaDelicate notions of white blossom join hints of Galia melon on nose and palate, where the yeast-buffered weight makes itself felt. This is creamy, rounded but elegant and already delicious with its immense floral charm.Reserve9037NiederösterreichAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoMartinshof 2013 Reserve Weissburgunder (Niederösterreich)WeissburgunderMartinshof
7273172730USSourced from all over the Napa Valley, this wine blends 87% Cabernet Sauvignon with 1% Syrah and other unnamed red varieties. The effort works, resulting in a glass of concentrated red cherry, herb and spice, the tannins tight yet approachable enough for the wine to remain juicy.9025CaliforniaNapa CountyNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneOberon 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa County)Cabernet SauvignonOberon
7273272731USThis is a savory wine, alive in spicy black fruit. The acidity prickles the palate before waves of vibrant strawberry, raspberry and black cherry flavors follow, supported by medium-bodied layers of soft tannin and a finish of herb.9024CaliforniaCarnerosNapa-SonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneOwl Ridge 2012 Pinot Noir (Carneros)Pinot NoirOwl Ridge
7273372732ItalyAromas of blackberry jam, candied cherry, cake spice and graphite waft out of the glass. The thick palate delivers spicy plum, crushed black cherry, chocolate, clove and mint alongside velvety tannins. It's not very complex but it's seductively smooth and delicious.Elegia Riserva90Southern ItalyPrimitivo di ManduriaKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeProduttori Vini Manduria 2011 Elegia Riserva (Primitivo di Manduria)PrimitivoProduttori Vini Manduria
7273472733ItalyA blend of Nebbiolo, Vespolina and Croatina, this opens with a medley of aromas that include ripe berry, underbrush, truffle, menthol, leather and spice. The firm palate delivers crushed black cherry, game, grilled herb, ground pepper and a balsamic note. It still has youthfully assertive tannins that need to unwind and soften. Drink 2016–2026.Uvaggio9035PiedmontCoste della SesiaKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeProprietà Sperino 2011 Uvaggio Red (Coste della Sesia)Red BlendProprietà Sperino
7273572734AustraliaTobacco, cassis and vanilla notes bring the aromas and flavors, while the wine's firm structure gives a medium-weight feel and dusty texture. Drink now–2025.Little Venice Single Vineyard9085South AustraliaMcLaren ValeJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzD'Arenberg 2011 Little Venice Single Vineyard Shiraz (McLaren Vale)ShirazD'Arenberg
7273672735AustraliaThis is a pretty lean, tightly focused wine. Grilled pineapple and citrus notes broaden slightly on the midpalate, then come together again on the crisp, lemony finish. Drink now through the end of 2015.Tate9015Western AustraliaMargaret RiverJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzFranklin Tate 2013 Tate Chardonnay (Margaret River)ChardonnayFranklin Tate
7273772736South AfricaThere's an herbal streak to the red currant and strawberry hull aromas on the nose of this wine, alongside additional hints of sweet smoke, cured meat and fennel fronds. The palate offers riper notes of red cherry and plum, with touches of cinnamon and thin mint in the background. It's plush and velvety, with fine yet present tannins and ample acidity. Drink now–2016.9045Hemel en AardeLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzHamilton Russell 2011 Pinot Noir (Hemel en Aarde)Pinot NoirHamilton Russell
7273872737AustraliaMade in an elegant, filigreed style, this wine delivers understated hints of smoke, pear and melon. Given time in the glass, some peach notes emerge. Pleasantly plump on the midpalate, the flavors and textures tighten on the crisp finish.Finisterre9033Western AustraliaMargaret RiverJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzRobert Oatley 2013 Finisterre Chardonnay (Margaret River)ChardonnayRobert Oatley
7273972738USA blend of Merlot (58%), Syrah (35%), Petite Sirah (5%) and Primitivo, this hedonistic wine offers appealing suggestions of coffee, vanilla and cherry. Ripe, silky soft milk chocolate flavors finish warm.Rock Island9020WashingtonWahluke SlopeColumbia ValleySean P. Sullivan@wawinereportRyan Patrick 2012 Rock Island Red (Wahluke Slope)Red BlendRyan Patrick
7274072739USA coferment of Syrah and Sangiovese from Ballard Canyon, this vintage offers deep, velvety aromas of violet and purple fruits, with hard black licorice candy. The palate trends quite dark, with pipe tobacco and rich blue fruits, but also delivers slightly bitter and sour elements.La Croce9066CaliforniaSanta Ynez ValleyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannStolpman 2012 La Croce Red (Santa Ynez Valley)Red BlendStolpman
7274172740AustriaStill closed, this emanates earthy notes at first while the palate shows pink grapefruit zest hugged by very ripe, lemon-toned peach with tropical overtones of fresh and canned pineapple. A textural, structure-giving phenolic element on the midpalate leads to an earth- and lemon-tinged pineapple finish.Steinertal Smaragd9042WachauAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoTegernseerhof 2013 Steinertal Smaragd Riesling (Wachau)RieslingTegernseerhof
7274272741USIn this intriguing wine blended with 10% Grenache, the aromas, flavors and feel aren't entirely connected. It's aromatically very reserved, with notes of mineral, coffee and red fruit. It has a incredibly supple, dazzling texture with the throttle pulled back on the alcohol and extraction.Riviere Galets Estate Vineyard9034WashingtonWalla Walla Valley (WA)Columbia ValleySean P. Sullivan@wawinereportTertulia 2012 Riviere Galets Estate Vineyard Syrah (Walla Walla Valley (WA))SyrahTertulia
7274372742CanadaA lush fruit bowl of a wine, this brings delicious flavors of melon, peach, apple and pear, along with a buttery finish. There are some pleasing spicy highlights, and a residual smack of butterscotch invites the next sip.9019British ColumbiaOkanagan ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Tinhorn Creek 2013 Pinot Gris (Okanagan Valley)Pinot GrisTinhorn Creek
7274472743USMarked by oak and thick, dark blue fruit, this wine also conveys a buoyant softness and prettiness. The study in yin and yang characteristics starts with a bang and develops complexity in the glass.Semper Silver Eagle Vineyard9085CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneTuck Beckstoffer 2010 Semper Silver Eagle Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)Pinot NoirTuck Beckstoffer
7274572744USThis aromatic offering has notes of pear, peach and flowers. The apricot and other stone fruit flavors are medium bodied, simultaneously light and rich, giving the perception of sweetness leading to a lingering finish—an elegantly styled wine that walks the balance beam quite well.9025WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleySean P. Sullivan@wawinereportWilliam Church 2013 Viognier (Columbia Valley (WA))ViognierWilliam Church
7274672745FranceA Journal is an old Burgundian measurement for just under one acre. From a portion of this Grand Cru vineyard, this wine is perfumed, powerful and has great concentration. Already it is showing dark fruits, ripe plum and good texture. Acidity cuts through the wine, giving a great lift at the end. Drink from 2022.Les Quatre Journaux94580BurgundyRomanée-St.-VivantRoger Voss@vossrogerLouis Latour 2014 Les Quatre Journaux (Romanée-St.-Vivant)Pinot NoirLouis Latour
7274772746FranceFirm and structured, this still shows much of the ripe red fruit of the vintage. It has a round, warm feel, along with weight and density. Fresh berry flavors cut through the powerful texture. Drink from 2023.94BurgundyGrands-EchezeauxRoger Voss@vossrogerHenri de Villamont 2014 Grands-EchezeauxPinot NoirHenri de Villamont
7274872747AustraliaThis vintage, VF's flagship red is a blend of 77% Cabernet Sauvignon, 16% Malbec and 7% Petit Verdot. Although it's full-bodied and lush, it's by no means the world's biggest or ripest Cabernet blend. Instead, it's impeccably balanced and gentle, serving up cassis, vanilla and a touch of baking spices in generous swirls that reach a crescendo on the long finish. Drink now–2030.Heytesbury94110Western AustraliaMargaret RiverJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzVasse Felix 2012 Heytesbury Red (Margaret River)Bordeaux-style Red BlendVasse Felix
7274972748ItalyFragrant and loaded with finesse, this opens with scents of blue flower, rose, perfumed berry and a hint of dark spice. The bright palate delivers ripe black cherry, crushed raspberry, white pepper and cinnamon alongside tightly wound but remarkably refined tannins. Drink 2017–2022.Monvigliero9470PiedmontBaroloKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeBel Colle 2012 Monvigliero (Barolo)NebbioloBel Colle
7275072749USHappily, production of Les Dijonnais has climbed to 800 cases, while the quality remains as good as ever. This smooth and supple wine is velvety in the mouth, with flavors of raspberry, blue plum and black cherry. Its palate-pleasing thickness carries a vein of licorice and dark chocolate. Drink now through 2025.Les Dijonnais9452OregonRibbon RidgeWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Brick House 2014 Les Dijonnais Pinot Noir (Ribbon Ridge)Pinot NoirBrick House

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