Wine Reviews

81978196New ZealandOne of Brancott's best Sauvignons in recent memory, the 2008 B is intensely herbal on the nose, featuring green tomatoes and bell pepper, but only mildly vegetal on the palate--well within the bounds of acceptable varietal character. It's on the full-bodied side of the spectrum, with a long, mouth-tingling finish. Try with sole Basquaise.B9126MarlboroughJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzBrancott 2008 B Sauvignon Blanc (Marlborough)Sauvignon BlancBrancott
81988197FranceOwned by France's national agricultural research institute, this estate has been curiously underperforming until the last two vintages. This 2007, almost entirely Sauvignon Blanc, continues the improvement, a deliciously fresh, herbaceous wine, with a currant freshness on top of grapefruit and lime.91BordeauxPessac-LéognanRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Couhins 2007 Pessac-LéognanBordeaux-style White BlendChâteau Couhins
81998198FranceThieuley's vineyard is on a ridge in the heart of Entre-deux-Mers. This top white cuvée, with its light wood aging, shows the wonderful freshness of the vintage while also giving some rich, full white fruits, spice and a smooth, creamy texture.Cuvée Francis Courselle9123BordeauxBordeaux BlancRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Thieuley 2007 Cuvée Francis Courselle (Bordeaux Blanc)Bordeaux-style White BlendChâteau Thieuley
82008199USDoes a great job at providing identity to this variety that can often seem a bit muddled. With the structure of a fine Cabernet Sauvignon, it's softer, with more of a red fruit and red currant taste. Feels elegant and distinguished from beginning to end. Drink now.9128CaliforniaSonoma CountySonomaViansa 2006 Merlot (Sonoma County)MerlotViansa
82018200USA very good wine that easily earns its score, but is not perfect. It's a bit on the fruity-sweet, one-dimensional side, with jammy pineapple and apricot flavors, enriched with sweet, smoky, vanilla-accented oak. Yet fine, firm coastal acidity provides needed balance.9148CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaHeintz 2007 Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)ChardonnayHeintz
82028201USFull-bodied, complex and delicious, with extraordinarily ripe flavors of blackberries, cherries, currants, chocolate, grilled meat, tamari, violets, sweet fresh herbs and black pepper. Quite dry and tannic now, with a youthful, primary fruit character that suggests ageability. Best 2010–2012.High Slopes9135CaliforniaSierra FoothillsSierra FoothillsTerre Rouge 2006 High Slopes Syrah (Sierra Foothills)SyrahTerre Rouge
82038202AustriaSoft and perfumed, the flavors are elegant but intense at the same time. The acidity gives a great freshness to what is in fact a rich wine, the apple and pear flavors going deep down to the steely core. It would be worth aging this wine—maybe 3–5 years.Loibenberg Smaragd9160WachauRoger Voss@vossrogerAlzinger 2007 Loibenberg Smaragd Riesling (Wachau)RieslingAlzinger
82048203AustriaThere's power in this concentrated wine. The texture is rich, velvet, touched by pepper, ripe acidity and pear skins. Along with its creamy, rounded character, the wine has the bite of tight spice and a dry, firm core.Steinertal Smaragd9160WachauRoger Voss@vossrogerAlzinger 2007 Steinertal Smaragd Grüner Veltliner (Wachau)Grüner VeltlinerAlzinger
82058204FranceOwned by the Cathiard family of Château Smith Haut-Lafitte since 1994, the vineyard of Cantelys neighbors both Smith Haut-Lafitte and the Lurton-owned Rochemorin. The wine is rich, smooth, the wood well integrated, allowing fine wafts of herbaceous citrus and currant flavors to come out of the glass. It's ready to drink now, but could age over 2–3 years.9135BordeauxPessac-LéognanRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Cantelys 2007 Pessac-LéognanBordeaux-style White BlendChâteau Cantelys
82068205FranceRipe, with a touch of honey as if the botrytis for the sweet wine landed on these grapes as well. This dry white has creamy wood, spice and apricot flavors, making a delicious ripe wine, even with a touch of sweetness to the finish.Ygrec91BordeauxBordeaux BlancRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau d'Yquem 2006 Ygrec (Bordeaux Blanc)Bordeaux-style White BlendChâteau d'Yquem
82078206FranceIn its youth, this is intensely grassy, the grapefruit and green pepper flavors adding to the general crispness of the wine. It will be an attractive wine, full of pep, with a fine edge of minerality, spice and vivid white fruits.9125BordeauxGravesRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Ferrande 2008 GravesBordeaux-style White BlendChâteau Ferrande
82088207FranceOne of the best sparkling Vouvrays, this 2005 vintage has an extra richness from the year. It has the mineral, chalky edge of Chenin Blanc, but this is rounded out with pear, white peach and sweet almond flavors. Good to drink now, but also worth aging for 2–3 years.Cuvée Prédilection Brut9119Loire ValleyVouvrayRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Moncontour 2005 Cuvée Prédilection Brut (Vouvray)Chenin BlancChâteau Moncontour
82098208USFoxen's UU bottling is practically an insurance policy for great Chardonnay in any vintage. With 2012, the winery was granted a balanced, even harvest, with the resulting wine showing brisk acidity and subtle fruit and mineral flavors, touched with sweet oak. It defines a cool-climate style of Chardonnay in a most delicious way.Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU9234CaliforniaSanta Maria ValleyCentral CoastFoxen 2012 Bien Nacido Vineyard Block UU Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley)ChardonnayFoxen
82108209PortugalThis is a big, ripe and fruity wine. It is now maturing well into a rich, solid, complex wine. This second wine from the Mouchão estate in Alentejo is gorgeous, opulent and rich. The black fruit character is powerful, with delicious acidity and a darkly tannic character. It is still very young, so drink from 2017.Ponte das Canas Colheita9225AlentejanoRoger Voss@vossrogerMouchão 2009 Ponte das Canas Colheita Red (Alentejano)Portuguese RedMouchão
82118210USThe alcohol on this Cabernet is fairly high, yet the wine tastes and feels dry, supple and balanced in the mouth, with tannins so smooth, they're drinkable now. The flavors offer an interesting mélange of blackberries, black currants, green olives, sage and cinnamon. This is certainly an ageable wine that will reward your patience through 2020 or so.Alexis9275CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaSwanson 2010 Alexis Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonSwanson
82128211USThis Syrah's outstanding feature isn't the ripe blackberry, cherry, currant, cocoa and smoked meat flavors, although they are delicious. It's the balance. The tannins are lovely, the acidity is just right and the finish is spicy and complex. The wine frames the Syrah argument in California in a new way.Block 99248CaliforniaDry Creek ValleySonomaTerlato 2010 Block 9 Syrah (Dry Creek Valley)SyrahTerlato
82138212USThis is a new cuvée for Trisaetum, from a vineyard in the Red Hills of Dundee. It shows some old vine character in its brambly, Burgundian elegance. Light flavors of raspberry and cherry float above a bed of clay, yet there is enough muscle for the wine to extend gracefully through a lingering finish, with a lick of chocolate. Enjoy it over the next decade or more.Wichmann Dundee Estate9255OregonDundee HillsWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Trisaetum 2011 Wichmann Dundee Estate Pinot Noir (Dundee Hills)Pinot NoirTrisaetum
82148213GermanyYellow freesia and sweet peach abound in this deeply floral, fruity auslese. Feather light in texture, yet deeply concentrated in flavor, it's penetratingly sweet yet finishes with a flurry of crushed minerals and lime-pith astringency.Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese9257MoselAnna Lee C. IijimaJoh. Jos. Prüm 2011 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Auslese Riesling (Mosel)RieslingJoh. Jos. Prüm
82158214GermanySmoke and crushed-stone notes lend dramatic minerality to this dry, full-bodied Riesling. The palate is juicy with grapefruit flavor, but elegantly balanced with dried savory herbs and fine, focused acidity that reverberates from start to finish.Scharlachberg Bingen GG Erste Lage Trocken9271RheinhessenAnna Lee C. IijimaRheingraf 2011 Scharlachberg Bingen GG Erste Lage Trocken Riesling (Rheinhessen)RieslingRheingraf
82168215FranceWhile still young, this is a wine that's full of potential. It's weighty and rich on the palate with concentrated apple and lemon flavors, but balanced with intense acidity and a lingering touch of toast. It will need aging, so drink from 2016.Montmains Premier Cru Les Vieilles Vignes92BurgundyChablisRoger Voss@vossrogerPascal Bouchard 2011 Montmains Premier Cru Les Vieilles Vignes (Chablis)ChardonnayPascal Bouchard
82178216FranceThis is a structured, firm wine that's intensely tannic, but full of potential. Still brash and youthful, it's full of concentrated black-cherry and berry flavors that are unabashedly forward. The texture is dry and dense, but with age the wine should integrate. Drink from 2016.92BurgundyAloxe-CortonRoger Voss@vossrogerPatrick Javillier 2011 Aloxe-CortonPinot NoirPatrick Javillier
82188217FranceRounded and soft, this is a wine that is still developing. It exhibits ripe, powerful fruit flavors, but with a spicy edge. Hints of wood aging show through as the wine opens up, but it's still young, and will need time to bring out its complexity. Drink from 2016.Les Clousots92BurgundyMeursaultRoger Voss@vossrogerPatrick Javillier 2011 Les Clousots (Meursault)ChardonnayPatrick Javillier
82198218ItalyThis delicious blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc and Merlot has an inviting fragrance of cedar wood, black currant and a whiff of toasted oak. The palate delivers a solid core of black cherry, raspberry, white pepper and a tobacco note along with firm but refined tannins and just enough fresh acidity. Drink 2015–2020.Re di Renieri9240TuscanyToscanaKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeRenieri 2010 Re di Renieri Red (Toscana)Red BlendRenieri
82208219USGive this wine 3–5 years in the cellar to let the parts come together. Right now, it's an unconnected mélange of sweet cherry pie, mocha, licorice, toasty oak and dusty tannins. By 2016 it should start to find its harmonious sweet spot.Reserve9255CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaRutherford Hill 2010 Reserve Merlot (Napa Valley)MerlotRutherford Hill
81918190USMonterey's cool-climate flavors of lemons and limes marry richer, more tropical Santa Barbara notes in this creamy smooth Chardonnay. Oak plays a prominent role, lending an edge of vanilla and buttered toast. This is a very good price for the quality.Grand Reserve9121CaliforniaSanta Barbara-MontereyNorth CoastKendall-Jackson 2007 Grand Reserve Chardonnay (Santa Barbara-Monterey)ChardonnayKendall-Jackson
81928191USAchieves the difficult feat of tasting sweet but finishing dry. The pineapple custard, peach pie and butterscotch flavors are impossible to resist, yet the wine firms up on the finish, with a scour of dry acidity.Estate9136CaliforniaYorkville HighlandsNorth CoastMaple Creek 2007 Estate Chardonnay (Yorkville Highlands)ChardonnayMaple Creek
81938192USStash this in the cellar for a while, because even though it's well over three years old, it's still a big, immature wine. Dry and tannic, it explodes with jammy blackberries, cherries, chocolate, cola, licorice, orange zest and pepper flavors, wrapped into sweet, smoky oak. The parts should begin to come together by the end of 2009.Estate Bottled Reserve9158CaliforniaSanta Ynez ValleyCentral CoastSunstone 2005 Estate Bottled Reserve Syrah (Santa Ynez Valley)SyrahSunstone
81948193ItalyA new product from Rotari, this Riserva sparkling wine (from 90% Chardonnay and 10% Pinot Nero) demonstrates great intensity and round, toasty flavors of fresh baguette, baked apple, honey and fruit. The wine rests on the lees for 48 months for extra creaminess.Talento Riserva9119Northeastern ItalyTrentoRotari 2003 Talento Riserva Sparkling (Trento)Sparkling BlendRotari
81958194FranceAlthough this tastes younger than some recent bottlings of this great nonvintage, it is still a fine wine. Its apple flavors meld effortlessly with citrus, grapefruit zest and just a touch of toast to show the depth of flavor that will emerge after a few more months in bottle.Premier Brut9147ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerLouis Roederer NV Premier Brut (Champagne)Champagne BlendLouis Roederer
81968195USHere's a big, bold Pinot Noir that's almost like a Grenache in its full-bodied juiciness. It's very bright and ripe in black and red cherry, raspberry, milk chocolate and toffee flavors, with interesting spicy nuances of anise, cinnamon and pepper. Now through 2011.9136CaliforniaSanta Lucia HighlandsCentral CoastCinnabar 2007 Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands)Pinot NoirCinnabar

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