Wine Reviews

8583185830USDense blackberry and blueberry-paste scents mesh with dark chocolate, milk chocolate and graphite on the nose of this bottling from the Hahn family. A lush mouthfeel with ample weight unleashes coffee and mocha flavors, blueberry and black cherry fruit, with hints of fudge and a sweet oak touch.9025CaliforniaCentral CoastCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannSmith & Hook 2014 Cabernet Sauvignon (Central Coast)Cabernet SauvignonSmith & Hook
8583285831USConsistently one of the best of Sparkling Pointe's many excellent offerings, this elegant wine shows classic expressions of apple and lemon juxtaposed with complex notes of fresh-baked brioche, nuts and cream. High-toned acidity and fine, delicate mousse fill the palate with intensity and harmony. The finish lingers exceptionally long.Blanc de Blancs9042New YorkNorth Fork of Long IslandLong IslandAnna Lee C. IijimaSparkling Pointe 2011 Blanc de Blancs Chardonnay (North Fork of Long Island)ChardonnaySparkling Pointe
8583385832USBroad aromas of grapefruit marmalade, dried tangerine skins and fresh-squeezed lemon juice show on this bottling, which is more fleshy than crisp on the nose. It's racy on the sip with razor-sharp, sizzling acidity, but also nicely rounded in the midpalate, sure to grow richer in the cellar.9024CaliforniaMontereyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannThomas Fogarty 2014 Gewürztraminer (Monterey)GewürztraminerThomas Fogarty
8583485833USA light orange-pink in color, this blend of 51% Grenache, 24% Carignan, 14% Cinsault, 5% Mourvèdre, 4% Counoise and 2% Syrah shows tangy peach, quince, red apple and tropical bubblegum on the nose. There is tremendous tension on the sip, with grippy cement minerality and fresh, brisk flavors of tangerine, light strawberry and lemon.9020CaliforniaAdelaida DistrictCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannAdelaida 2015 Rosé (Adelaida District)RoséAdelaida
8583585834SpainRipe blackberry, plum and prune aromas are smoky and generous. A lush but fresh and balanced palate rests comfortably on a bed of firm tannins. Ripe blackberry, blueberry and prune flavors end long and earthy, with chewy tannins and balsamic complexity. Drink through 2022.Señorío de la Antigua Finca Cabanela9032Northern SpainVino de la Tierra de Castilla y LeónMichael Schachner@wineschachAlvarez de Toledo 2012 Señorío de la Antigua Finca Cabanela Mencía (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla y León)MencíaAlvarez de Toledo
8583685835ItalyAromas of licorice, roasted coffee bean and grilled herb carry over to the vibrant palate along with tart red cherry, strawberry and mineral. It's still young and tightly wound, with bracing tannins that lead to a firm finish. Drink 2020–2030.Riserva9055PiedmontBaroloKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeBeni di Batasiolo 2010 Riserva (Barolo)NebbioloBeni di Batasiolo
8583785836SpainIntense, concentrated aromas of rubber band, blackened spices, mint and eucalyptus lead to a shear, rock-hard palate that offers almost zero cushion to absorb massively rugged tannins. Woody, minty blackberry flavors end with heavy oak, herbal notes and blatant astringency. Drink 2018–2030.F9085Northern SpainRibera del DueroMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Fuentespina 2011 F (Ribera del Duero)TempranilloBodegas Fuentespina
8583885837SpainFresh melon and stone-fruit aromas are laced with a mineral streak. This feels smooth, with good body weight. Flavors of orange, lemon and passion fruit finish long and stony. As a whole, this is super tasty, balanced and done just right.Pazo Cilleiro9020GaliciaRías BaixasMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Muriel 2015 Pazo Cilleiro Albariño (Rías Baixas)AlbariñoBodegas Muriel
8583985838FranceProduced from a selection of grapes, this is a bold, fruity wine that has rich tannins and a generous structure. It is all about the black-fruit flavors with balanced acidity and just hints of toast. It is now a delicious, mature wine from a fine year. Drink now.Les Tours de Cantinot9055BordeauxBlaye Côtes de BordeauxRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Cantinot 2010 Les Tours de Cantinot (Blaye Côtes de Bordeaux)Bordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Cantinot
8584085839FranceThe second wine of Château Kirwan, this has something of the same stylishness as the top wine. It certainly has structure and layers of red fruits along with acidity. Produced from young vines, it is up-front with its juicy fruitiness and fresh aftertaste. Drink from 2017.K de Kirwan9033BordeauxMargauxRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Kirwan 2012 K de Kirwan (Margaux)Bordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Kirwan
8584185840FranceThis is a ripe and tangy wine from the Bellanger family. Its green, citrus and apricot fruits are all singing together in an attractive, balanced way. It has richness that gives a full-bodied wine without detracting from the fresher, white currant and spice side. Drink now.9040BordeauxBordeaux BlancRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Roquefort 2015 Bordeaux BlancBordeaux-style White BlendChâteau Roquefort
8584285841FranceA smooth, ripe wine that has rich fruit and balanced wood and fruit tannins. With mint flavors and a generous blackberry flavor, the wine is firm, with fine aging potential. It is a full-bodied wine that will be ready to drink from 2019.9015BordeauxBordeaux SupérieurRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Rousset-Caillau 2012 Bordeaux SupérieurBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Rousset-Caillau
8584385842USThere's not much Chardonnay grown on Howell Mountain, but here's one to check out. It has an unusually pungent earthiness, leading to rich flavors of yellow apricots, lemon tart and kumquats, with a complex touch of mushroom. Bone dry and crisp, it should develop bottle complexities over the next 5–6 years.9145CaliforniaHowell MountainNapaFreemark Abbey 2009 Chardonnay (Howell Mountain)ChardonnayFreemark Abbey
8584485843USA lovely wine, unique and distinctive. Has the rich creaminess and citrus and tropical fruit flavors of an upscale Chardonnay, but with a nutty, exotic sweetness, like roasted cashews. Very fine, soft and opulent wine.Reserve Speciale9140CaliforniaSonoma CountySonomaArrowood 2008 Reserve Speciale Chardonnay (Sonoma County)ChardonnayArrowood
8584585844USDry, racy and clean. Shows real class, with plenty of zesty lemon and lime acidity, brightening the citrus, lemongrass, white peach and mineral flavors. Production was 3,500 cases.9130CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaLa Crema 2009 Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayLa Crema
8584685845USA fine trio of vineyards—Boushey, Cold Creek and Sagemoor—comprise the blend here. The fruit runs the table from cherry to blackberry to cassis, threaded throughout with fresh herbs and clean earth. Good balance with no heat from the 14.7% alcohol; the tannins are polished and drying, and the finish has a soft, leathery smoothness.Spur9145WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Lachini 2007 Spur Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley (WA))Cabernet SauvignonLachini
8584785846HungaryJust one whiff of this wine reveals an intoxicating perfume of wildflower honey marked with zesty, fresh orange peel. An intensely concentrated honey elixir, it ripples persistently on the palate with a brilliant spray of Meyer lemon juice and a rich, vanilla cream note.Red Label Aszú 5 Puttonyos - 500 ml9140TokajiAnna Lee C. IijimaRoyal Tokaji 2006 Red Label Aszú 5 Puttonyos - 500 ml (Tokaji)TokajiRoyal Tokaji
8584885847ItalyThis Brut sparkler sees Chardonnay and Pinot Nero blended together to produce a fragrant and creamy whole. Aromas here include stone fruit, mineral and sourdough bread. It feel silky, rich and offers sharp, tonic perlage that keeps the palate refreshed.Gran Cuvée Brut9169LombardyFranciacortaBellavista 2005 Gran Cuvée Brut Sparkling (Franciacorta)Sparkling BlendBellavista
8584985848USLovely delineation here, the berry/cherry fruit framed with coffee and chocolate from a 50/50 mix of French and American oak barrels. The surprise is the addition (via co-fermentation) of 6% Viognier, which stabilizes color and gives a pleasing, floral/citrus lift to the scents and flavors. Good balance and follow through.Ciel du Cheval Vineyard9135WashingtonRed MountainColumbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine :Nota Bene 2007 Ciel du Cheval Vineyard Syrah (Red Mountain)Syrah:Nota Bene
8585085849USReleased quite young, this is a wine to decant. It's big and dark and tannic, tight as a tick, with grainy, textural tannins wrapped heavily around tart blue and purple berries. Though the flavors are pure Syrah, the structure and density are Cabernet-like, and though it's a guess, the odds are this is a wine to cellar for at least a decade.Ceidleigh9136WashingtonRed MountainColumbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Efeste 2008 Ceidleigh Syrah (Red Mountain)SyrahEfeste
8585185850USDarker and richer than Amici's second label (Olema), this is anchored by ripe cassis and chocolate flavors. Cedary oak and minty accents add complexity, while the mouthfeel is velvety soft, finishing with a touch of warmth. Probably best consumed over the next few years.9135CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaAmici 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonAmici
8585285851USA Bordeaux blend of five grapes, this melds blackberry and black cherry fruit with plenty of toasty oak and ground coffee. It's a nice mix of fruit and barrel, dark and smoky, but not too heavy at 14.2% alcohol.Sur La Mer9128WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine William Church 2007 Sur La Mer Red (Columbia Valley (WA))Bordeaux-style Red BlendWilliam Church
8585385852USThere should be plenty of buzz about The Buzz. Dense and dark, loaded with black fruits, coffee grounds and ground pepper, this high-alcohol, slightly volatile wine is not unlike some cult wines selling for four times the price.The Buzz9119WashingtonWalla Walla Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Beresan 2007 The Buzz Red (Walla Walla Valley (WA))Red BlendBeresan
8585485853USA fine effort in this classic vintage, the Merlot is firm, almost muscular, and dappled with fresh herbs—cilantro and basil. The brambly blackberry fruit has the power to more than hold its own after 18 months in two-thirds new French oak.Canoe Ridge Estate9122WashingtonHorse Heaven HillsColumbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Chateau Ste. Michelle 2007 Canoe Ridge Estate Merlot (Horse Heaven Hills)MerlotChateau Ste. Michelle
8585585854USThis young, brash Cabernet is filled with adolescent power and angst. It's all sinew and potency now, in the grip of strong, masculine tannins that overshadow the blackberry fruit. It's clearly a cellar candidate, and should emerge, in eight years or so, with authority.9175CaliforniaHowell MountainNapaDiamond Terrace 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain)Cabernet SauvignonDiamond Terrace
8585685855USDark as midnight in a moonless sky, dry as dust, hard and astringent in tannins. That's the challenge this immature Cabernet presents, which makes it difficult to appreciate now. However, it has deep, fine blackberry and cherry fruit flavors, and should have a good future. The score reflects the possibilities after 5–7 years of aging.Heritage Release9190CaliforniaHowell MountainNapaLa Jota Vineyard 2007 Heritage Release Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain)Cabernet SauvignonLa Jota Vineyard
8585785856ArgentinaSlightly dry and scratchy on the nose, and definitely fully oaked in the Toso style. But once it settles deeper, black fruit notes escape. The palate is snappy and juicy due to 2008's cool harvest conditions, and the flavors are a mix of plum, berry and woodiness. Long and oaky on the finish; drink now through 2013.Alta Reserve Las Barrancas Vineyards9035Mendoza ProvinceMaipúMichael Schachner@wineschachPascual Toso 2008 Alta Reserve Las Barrancas Vineyards Malbec (Maipú)MalbecPascual Toso
8585885857ItalyJèma (a 100% expression of Corvina, one of the main grapes used in Amarone) is a new wine from the folks at Cesari that offers oak-driven notes of spice and sweet tobacco backed by blackberry, cassis and plum. In the mouth, the wine shows an elegant, almost delicate side.Jèma9049VenetoVeroneseCesari 2005 Jèma Corvina (Veronese)CorvinaCesari
8585985858FranceKirsch, black currant, cured meat and foliage notes lead the way on this concentrated, tightly structured wine. Dried black cherry and fresh garrigue herbs fill the velvety textured mouth, and linger well into the finish alongside a touch of cocoa powder flavor. Drink now through 2014.Veilles Vignes Pic Saint-Loup9025Languedoc-RoussillonCoteaux du LanguedocLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzChâteau de Lancyre 2008 Veilles Vignes Pic Saint-Loup Syrah-Grenache (Coteaux du Languedoc)Syrah-GrenacheChâteau de Lancyre
8586085859AustraliaThis wine handles its elevated alcohol level (labeled at 16.5%) well, with masses of slightly jammy fruit and a creamy, lush mouthfeel. Hints of baking spices and leather add complexity and persist through the long finish. It'd be fun to throw this in a blind tasting with some of California's top Zins.9032South AustraliaBarossa ValleyJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzHentley Farm 2007 Zinfandel (Barossa Valley)ZinfandelHentley Farm

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