Wine Reviews

7452174520New ZealandWhat a clean, pretty fruit-and-flowers nose this has, and theflavors don't disappoint. Melon and citrus dominate, but it's all ripe fruit and not the least bit lean. The tail end is lengthy and layered, if maybe a bit chalky. But all in all this wine delivers the goods with a smile.9015MarlboroughKonrad & Conrad 2001 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough)Sauvignon BlancKonrad & Conrad
7452274521ItalySuper ripe, with vivacious, youthful plum and berry fruit. This Sangiovese/ Cabernet Sauvignon blend from near Scansano is solid and sassy, with lots of spunk. The finish is long and very fruity, with lively tannins. It can be drunk now, but it could probably use a couple of years to fully come together.Ceccante9043TuscanyToscanaMichael Schachner@wineschachIl Grillesino 1999 Ceccante Sangiovese (Toscana)SangioveseIl Grillesino
7452374522ItalyFans of full-bodied reds should like this Cabernet/Merlot blend for its pure berry and mint aromas, its ruby luster, and dry, clean raspberry and chocolate flavors. There are full tannins now, indicating that it will age well for about five years, maybe more. And it finishes nicely.Excelsus9073TuscanySant'AntimoMichael Schachner@wineschachCastello Banfi 1998 Excelsus Red (Sant'Antimo)Bordeaux-style Red BlendCastello Banfi
7452474523USAnother beautifully crafted wine from Chehalem, this combines inviting citrus, melon and papaya fruit with just the right amount of buttered popcorn flavors from new oak. Silky and elegant, it is delicious now but will cellar well.9019OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyChehalem 2000 Chardonnay (Willamette Valley)ChardonnayChehalem
7452574524FranceAmong the range of Jolivet's 2000 Sancerres, Les Cailottes is the winner, hands down. It's zesty, with chalk and mineral qualities. The nose is clean, stony and pungent, while the flavors that come next are pure and ripe citrus and melon, with just a nip of honey. It closes out firm, round and full, and with elegance.Les Caillottes9022Loire ValleySancerrePascal Jolivet 2000 Les Caillottes (Sancerre)Sauvignon BlancPascal Jolivet
7452674525FranceThe tight bouquet tosses off a touch of mustard seed, lemon and lees. The mouth is full and round, bordering on plump. There is pineapple and mango to the sweet-fruit finish, and it goes down easily. It's the quintessential ready-to-drink Loire white.9024Loire ValleySancerrePascal & Nicolas Reverdy 2000 SancerreSauvignon BlancPascal & Nicolas Reverdy
7452774526New ZealandPink grapefruit, gooseberries and a floral accent mark the attractive bouquet of this winner. Round melon, kiwi and natural spice flavors do a dance on the palate, which also features red currants and more of the grapefruit present in the nose. The finish is lengthy and amply layered, so it goes out the way it comes in: with class.9015MarlboroughShepherds Ridge 2001 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough)Sauvignon BlancShepherds Ridge
7452874527FranceThe catch-all nose offers grass, grapefruit, flint, vanilla and baking spices. What follows is a tasty blend of citrus, green herbs, Granny Smith apples and a welcome chalkiness. Round yet structured, this bottling offers most of what's great about Loire Valley white wine.La Croix du Roy9020Loire ValleySancerreLucien Crochet 2000 La Croix du Roy (Sancerre)Sauvignon BlancLucien Crochet
7452974528USSweet fruit, pure and crystal clear defines this single-vineyard effort from King Estate. It's a crisp, tight Pinot with firm fruit and a concentrated, spicy middle. Nothing jammy or over the top, but well made and knit together. This is the third year they have made the wine, though just the second “official” release.Pfeiffer Vineyards8940OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine King Estate 1999 Pfeiffer Vineyards Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirKing Estate
7453074529ItalyFrom near the Tuscan coast comes this Bordeaux-style blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Cab Franc. It's a little rusty in color, with aromas of molasses and plums. The balance is classic, and there's a hint of Médoc earthiness to it, maybe from the Cab Franc. With softer tannins than many, it's already drinkable.Le Marze8940TuscanyToscanaMichael Schachner@wineschachElisabetta 1998 Le Marze Red (Toscana)Bordeaux-style Red BlendElisabetta
7453174530USAt the top of the Rancho Zabaco hierarchy are the Zinfandels from the company's Chiotti and Stefani vineyards. Unfortunately there will be no Stefani in 2000, but the Chiotti is very good. It's very young, and takes a bit of coaxing to tease out aromas of toast, dried spices and blackberries before flowing smoothly across the palate in a wave of briary fruit. Finishes with firm acidity and a bit of black pepper. Drink now.Chiotti Vineyard8925CaliforniaDry Creek ValleySonomaRancho Zabaco 2000 Chiotti Vineyard Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley)ZinfandelRancho Zabaco
7453274531USThis limited (250 case) production, Dijon-clone wine shows the ripe, bright flavor profile of the "new" Oregon Chardonnays. Oily and slightly hot, with opulent, assertive, high-toned aromas, it is a big wine that finishes with a burst of sweet vanilla.Estelle8925OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine WillaKenzie Estate 1999 Estelle Chardonnay (Willamette Valley)ChardonnayWillaKenzie Estate
7453374532USSmells young, fresh, and oaky, with flamboyant black-cherry fruit as well as roasted coffeebean and oriental spices. Very rich and extracted, with dry-cherry fruit and a creamy texture. It's a bit hard now with tannins, so give it a few years, or drink it sooner with duck or lamb.Reserve8948OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyYamhill Valley 1998 Reserve Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirYamhill Valley
7453474533FranceA bit tighter than some of the other wines, even showing some sulfur aromas that gradually ease up. Toasty wood notes accent pear and lime fruit, developing into dried spice nuances on the long, minerally finish.Sous Le Puits8944BurgundyPuligny-MontrachetLouis Latour 2000 Sous Le Puits (Puligny-Montrachet)ChardonnayLouis Latour
7453574534ItalyInteresting and complex, combines sweet raspberry and black cherry flavors with earthy notes. Soft tannins make it instantly accessible, while crisp acidity provides balance. Turns simple in the middle palate, but is saved by a rich finish. A blend of 85% Sangiovese and 15% Merlot.8928TuscanyToscanaLucente 1998 Sangiovese (Toscana)SangioveseLucente
7453674535USFrom the get-go it's a big, full grapefruit-driven wine that's laced with smoke and vanilla. Citrus, mostly lemon, is the taste profile, while good lively acids power the tight, lemony finish. Serve chilled alongside a platter of tasty appetizers.8922CaliforniaSonoma CountySonomaMatanzas Creek 2000 Sauvignon Blanc (Sonoma County)Sauvignon BlancMatanzas Creek
7453774536USThis is soft, forward and fruity, with a somewhat flat mouthfeel. Soft, buttery oak rounds out into a smooth, silky finsh. Very seductive and caramel flavored, long, satiny finish. A drink-now bottle, not for aging.Nuthouse8928OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Argyle 1999 Nuthouse Chardonnay (Willamette Valley)ChardonnayArgyle
7453874537ItalyThis is a complex bruiser that will appeal to those willing to give it at least three years in the cellar; it's that tight and young now. Oak is a big player on the nose and in the mouth, and the acids are very alive, so as a result some might find it aggressive (all the more reason to lay it down until 2006). There is plenty of earth and minerals throughout, and it's tight as nails on the finish.Asinone8945TuscanyVino Nobile di MontepulcianoPoliziano 1998 Asinone (Vino Nobile di Montepulciano)SangiovesePoliziano
7453974538New ZealandSharp, piercing aromas of pineapple and steel yield a bit prior to a tangy, citrusy palate. There's some chalk and slate on the finish, which adds an element of complexity. The only noticeable fault here is a candied sweetness at the tail end8917MarlboroughOmaka Springs 2001 Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough)Sauvignon BlancOmaka Springs
7454074539USThis is the first reserve for Bridgeview. It's a block selection, treated the same as their regular bottling; i.e., all stainless, no malolactic. That said, it has an extra dimension, good texture, more elegance and lovely fruit.Reserve8916OregonOregonOregon OtherPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Bridgeview 2000 Reserve Pinot Gris (Oregon)Pinot GrisBridgeview
7454174540USThis is a very clean, well-balanced wine, with nice hints of honey but not too much, and a lightly spicy finish.Cuvée Forets Diverses8925OregonOregonOregon OtherPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Hamacher 1999 Cuvée Forets Diverses Chardonnay (Oregon)ChardonnayHamacher
7454274541ItalyThis relative newcomer from near Pisa is three-fourths Sangiovese and the remainder Merlot, and the mix is delightful. Black-plum aromas are hardened by the background scents of tar and leather, while soft, smooth tannins allow for a chocolaty, soft mouthfeel that steals the show. Rich, sweet and smooth.Belcore8924TuscanyToscanaMichael Schachner@wineschachI Giusti e Zanza 1999 Belcore Sangiovese (Toscana)SangioveseI Giusti e Zanza
7454374542ItalyThis 100% Cabernet Sauvignon from near Montalcino shows plenty of youthful character. It has deep earth, tobacco and tar notes on a black-fruit nose, expansive cassis and blackberry flavors, and a tight, structured mouthfeel that should relax if given the three or so years it deserves. Very New World in style.Tavernelle8941TuscanySant'AntimoMichael Schachner@wineschachCastello Banfi 1998 Tavernelle Cabernet Sauvignon (Sant'Antimo)Cabernet SauvignonCastello Banfi
7454474543ItalyAs an expression of pure power, this wine is hard to beat. It has the classic Brunello color—red with edges of brick. The aromas are of bitter coffee, herbs and mature, ripe fruit. On the palate, the concentration is enormous, the tannins pack a serious punch and the supermature fruit is black and bright. All this gives it a one-dimensional, if impressive quality.89TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoRoger Voss@vossrogerCastiglion del Bosco 1997 Brunello di MontalcinoSangioveseCastiglion del Bosco
7454574544USThree different clones are used, all estate grown. There's a lovely wild clover scent to it, and very tart, dark fruit. Though it needs more time to smooth out, it shows streaks of iron and mineral, adding excellent flavor and depth. Structured to age.8929OregonUmpqua ValleySouthern OregonPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Abacela 1999 Tempranillo (Umpqua Valley)TempranilloAbacela
7454674545FranceIn contrast to many of the other wines, this one starts off tight, with only faint lime and mineral notes on the nose. But it blossoms with air, stubbornly yielding up taut citrus flavors that flow over the palate with an almost gritty, powdered-rock texture.Chateau De Blagny Premier Cru8940BurgundyMeursaultLouis Latour 2000 Chateau De Blagny Premier Cru (Meursault)ChardonnayLouis Latour
7454774546USWinemaker Laurent Montalieu really shines with Pinot Gris, and the vibrant nose and lush textures of his 2006 Soléna continue an unbroken string of successes. Packed with fresh pear fruit, annotated with pineapple and laced with vanilla, this delicious wine keeps resonating through the palate and into a lively, spicy finish. No malolactic fermentation, no oak. Just a lovely expression of great fruit.9120OregonOregonOregon OtherPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Soléna 2006 Pinot Gris (Oregon)Pinot GrisSoléna
7454874547USThe Zin is cut with 15% Syrah, a nice choice. Smooth and plummy and loaded with spice cake flavors, it's a moderate 13.5% alcohol—light for Zin—but has plenty of oomph in the mouth, ripe fruit and a pleasing chocolaty finish. Great presence and polish elevate this well above the ordinary.9136WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Michael Florentino Cellars 2005 Zinfandel (Columbia Valley (WA))ZinfandelMichael Florentino Cellars
7454974548FranceThis full-bodied, richly textured rosé is wonderfully aromatic and floral, with dried spices, plums and cherries all mingling on the nose. Made from 80% Mourvèdre, it behaves almost like a good red wine, but with extra zest and freshness. You could sip it on its own, with white meats or even burgers or steaks.Réserve9127ProvenceCôtes de ProvenceJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzDomaine Saint-André de Figuière 2007 Réserve Rosé (Côtes de Provence)RoséDomaine Saint-André de Figuière
7455074549USHere's a very tight, young Pinot, one you'll want to put some bottle age on. It's marked by acids and oak flavors that have not yet been integrated into the underlying fruit. Give it through 2008, by which time the smoky wood and vanilla should marry with the cherries and Dr. Pepper flavors to produce a rich, complex sipper.Starr Ridge Vineyard9150CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaGary Farrell 2005 Starr Ridge Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirGary Farrell

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