Wine Reviews

8679186790SpainHusky on the nose but mostly it comes across as wild, with jumpy, loud pear, melon and apple aromas. The mouth is spunky and all over the map, while flavors of tangy yellow fruits carry an acidic, herbal twinge and even a grassy quality. Lacks perfect poise but it can't be called timid or dull.Pazo Barrantes8619GaliciaRías BaixasMichael Schachner@wineschachPazo de Barrantes 2008 Pazo Barrantes Albariño (Rías Baixas)AlbariñoPazo de Barrantes
8679286791USA bit overripe, with a raisiny taste behind the black currants, and also quite dry and tannic, with a hard, mouth-locking, dusty astringency. The combination definitely strikes you as unbalanced, and not likely to age out.Alexis8675CaliforniaOakvilleNapaSwanson 2006 Alexis Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)Cabernet SauvignonSwanson
8679386792USThis is cool-climate fruit, from a vintage the winery describes as “the coolest year we have ever seen.” Nonetheless they have made a good wine, with balanced scents and flavors. It's definitely herbal, but also brings some cured meat and tart, wild cherry flavors into play.8635OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Amalie Robert 2007 Syrah (Willamette Valley)SyrahAmalie Robert
8679486793SpainOpens with bright, popping cherry aromas that are straightforward, much like the rest of the show. The palate is regular and healthy in feel, with standard cherry and raspberry flavors. Finishes the slightest bit toasty and warm. Nice but basic Rioja.Viña Zaco8615Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Bilbainas 2007 Viña Zaco (Rioja)TempranilloBodegas Bilbainas
8679586794USA nice, fairly rich wine made from this classic blend of two varieties. It's dry and crisp, with zippy citrus fruits made more complex with notes of peaches and pears and a touch of spicy vanilla.Devin Estate Grown8624CaliforniaSanta Ynez ValleyCentral CoastButtonwood Farm 2008 Devin Estate Grown Sauvignon Blanc-Semillon (Santa Ynez Valley)Sauvignon Blanc-SemillonButtonwood Farm
8679686795USA bit jammy and simple, with fresh, primary flavors of blackberries and cherries that are almost sweet. Oak adds creamy, smoky notes. Drink now.8648CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaC. Beck 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonC. Beck
8679786796USThe winery mentions neutral oak barrels, though the immediate aromatic impression is still on the toasty/oaky side. The fruit comes up more slowly, along with residual CO2 that gives a spritzy mouthfeel. Yeasty, light and tart, with green apples the strongest fruit flavor.8622OregonColumbia Valley (OR)Oregon OtherPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Cathedral Ridge 2008 Chardonnay (Columbia Valley (OR))ChardonnayCathedral Ridge
8679886797USIn contrast to the winery's big, rough and tumble style of Merlot, this Cabernet is lightly fruity. It shows cherry and cranberry hard candy fruit flavors. The tannins are rough and substantial, and quickly take over the finish.8624OregonSouthern OregonSouthern OregonPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Cliff Creek 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (Southern Oregon)Cabernet SauvignonCliff Creek
8679986798USCola, Dr. Pepper, cherry coke all come to mind, as this has a strong emphasis on those flavors, or sassafras as some define them. It's tasty, forward and light, with a lightly herbal aftertaste. Perfectly pleasant, though not showing much depth.Estate8634OregonMcMinnvilleWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Coeur de Terre 2008 Estate Pinot Noir (McMinnville)Pinot NoirCoeur de Terre
8680086799USAromatic and floral, this forward and fruity Pinot mixes spicy raspberry and strawberry fruit leading into a cherry cola core. That's where it remains through a quick fade. Good near-term drinking.8620OregonMcMinnvilleWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Coeur de Terre 2008 Pinot Noir (McMinnville)Pinot NoirCoeur de Terre
8680186800USLots of briary wild blackberry, cherry and exotic spice flavors in this Zin, with cola, tobacco and mushu plum sauce complexities, and the finish is dry. Compromised by a hit of sharp acidity, but rich barbecue will help.DeMayo Vineyard8630CaliforniaLivermore ValleyCentral CoastDarcie Kent Vineyards 2007 DeMayo Vineyard Zinfandel (Livermore Valley)ZinfandelDarcie Kent Vineyards
8680286801SpainGrapey and potent as Rioja crianzas go, with a medium-to-full-sized palate that's full of bright acidity and standard but solid berry fruit flavors. It's the slightest bit creamy and thick on the finish, but overall it's about as middle of the road as any wine on the market.Crianza8615Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachFinca Nueva 2006 Crianza (Rioja)TempranilloFinca Nueva
8680386802FranceSoft wine, light in texture, some spice and tropical fruits. There is freshness, well integrated into an attractive, ready-to-drink wine. Screwcap.8615AlsaceAlsaceRoger Voss@vossrogerHelfrich 2008 Pinot Gris (Alsace)Pinot GrisHelfrich
8680486803UruguayDark, roasted and smelling of licorice, root beer, savory oak and smoke. The palate is hard and saturated, with smack-down tannins that are surely due to the 46% Tannat in the blend. Syrah and Petit Verdot are the remaining elements in this roasted, sweet, oaky wine that finishes with burnt marshmallow.Identity8520CanelonesMichael Schachner@wineschachGimenez Mendez 2007 Identity Red (Canelones)Red BlendGimenez Mendez
8680586804USGood and dry, with a firm scour of acidity and an earthiness to the pineapples and pears. This is a fine everyday Chardonnay at a fair price.8511CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherGnarly Head 2009 Chardonnay (California)ChardonnayGnarly Head
8680686805USIntense aromas of day lilies, honey and spiced canned peaches abound in this not quite “dry” Riesling. The mouth feels a bit confected with so much sunny orange marmalade and lemondrop flavors, but the finish ends drier with a hint of bitter orange pith.Dry8524New YorkNew YorkNew York OtherAnna Lee C. IijimaWaters Crest 2009 Dry Riesling (New York)RieslingWaters Crest
8680786806SpainFruit overload and gumball richness define the syrupy, super ripe nose on this Monastrell (Mourvèdre) Cabernet Franc blend from Valencia. This is big stuff, with blackberry, prune and chocolate cake qualities. It's thick, intense, tannic and will continue to be lively and drinkable for another six or seven years. A surprise wine; 100 cases produced.Minimum9165LevanteValenciaMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Rafael Cambra 2003 Minimum Monastrell (Valencia)MonastrellBodegas Rafael Cambra
8680886807PortugalDark fruits are the backbone of this fine wine, with flavors of blueberries, black cherry and figs along with smooth, polished wood. It is certainly big and dense, the tannins soft but concentrated. The finish is juicy and fruity, but dry.Reserva9135DouroRoger Voss@vossrogerCARM 2004 Reserva Red (Douro)Portuguese RedCARM
8680986808ItalyThis blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot exhibits excellent intensity and sweet, spice-box fragrances that are long-lasting and seductive. The wine's intensity is enhanced by crisp red apple and sharper tones of cherry cola and root beer.Conte Ferdinando Guicciardini Tricorno9149TuscanyColli della Toscana CentraleCastello di Poppiano 2003 Conte Ferdinando Guicciardini Tricorno Red (Colli della Toscana Centrale)Red BlendCastello di Poppiano
8681086809GermanyThis is rather sweet—loaded with honeyed peaches and tropical fruit—but all of those ripe, rich flavors are brought into focus by the citrus- and mineral-edged finish. It's luscious now, but in 5–10 years it should be a complex, filigreed table wine.Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spätlese9130Mosel-Saar-RuwerJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzDr. F. Weins-Prüm 2005 Wehlener Sonnenuhr Spätlese Riesling (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer)RieslingDr. F. Weins-Prüm
8681186810ItalyA lively Cabernet Sauvignon with dark extraction and intense aromas of blackberry, plum, dark chocolate, cola and tar. The wine is dense and thick, but not heavy at all. In fact, it boasts bright acidity and refreshing fruit flavors.Tavernelle9141TuscanySant'AntimoCastello Banfi 2004 Tavernelle Cabernet Sauvignon (Sant'Antimo)Cabernet SauvignonCastello Banfi
8681286811ItalyThere's a modern touch to this wine thanks to its generous and long-lasting tones of espresso bean and chocolate backed by fruity cherry aromas. Beyond those standard characteristics are tones of dried herbs that recall coastal Tuscany. It's huge in structure but should also be ready to drink in two or three years.9160TuscanyBolgheri SuperioreCastello di Bolgheri 2004 Bolgheri SuperioreRed BlendCastello di Bolgheri
8681386812ItalyThis blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Franc and Malvasia Nera delivers chocolate, cherry, blueberry and coffee bean, and it's built like a rock with solid tannins and engaging power.Rosso delle Miniere9132TuscanyMontescudaioFattoria Sorbaiano 2004 Rosso delle Miniere Red (Montescudaio)Red BlendFattoria Sorbaiano
8681486813ItalyThis wine is not as bulky or dense as others from Bolgheri and boasts a more austere, yet elegant nose. But there's character and depth here thanks to its chewy tannins and long cherry finish.Impronte9150TuscanyBolgheriGiorgio Meletti Cavallari 2004 Impronte (Bolgheri)Red BlendGiorgio Meletti Cavallari
8681586814ItalyA smoky, masculine Cab-Merlot blend with deep highlights of cigar box, old spice, black cherry and leather. The wine is compact and firm in terms of its aromatic offering and is focused on sophisticated, tobacco-like notes. In the mouth it delivers bursting red fruit and tight, chewy tannins and makes a great, long-lasting impression on the finish. Drink after 2010.Gaudo al Melo Rosso9126TuscanyBolgheriPodere Guado al Melo 2004 Gaudo al Melo Rosso (Bolgheri)Red BlendPodere Guado al Melo
8681686815ItalyMadre is a 50-50 blend of Sangiovese and Cabernet from one of Montalcino's best producers. It delivers a full rack of spicy aromas as well as fresh fruit and forest berry. However, in this vintage the emphasis is placed on the wine's solid structure.Madre9176TuscanyToscanaPoggio Antico 2004 Madre Red (Toscana)Red BlendPoggio Antico
8681786816ItalyThis “queen” (regina) Syrah boasts aromas of cherry candy, blueberry pie, coffee, leather and smoked meat. You'll pick up cherry cough drop, root beer and licorice midpalate: The mouthfeel is still a bit raw and needs two more years.Regina di Renieri9140TuscanyToscanaRenieri 2004 Regina di Renieri Syrah (Toscana)SyrahRenieri
8681886817ItalyAs its brawny name suggests, Roccato (Sangiovese and Cabernet) is a thickly concentrated wine with powerful blasts of plum, dried herbs, mint candy, licorice and white talc powder. It's ripe and ready to drink now.Roccato9153TuscanyToscanaRocca delle Macìe 2003 Roccato Red (Toscana)Red BlendRocca delle Macìe
8681986818ItalyCrognolo is a warm and sunny super Tuscan with bursting notes of cherry, earth, spice, herbs and leather. The aromas are pristine and clean and the wine seems to emphasize elegance and harmony over intensity and penetration, closing with bright freshness and cherry cola flavors.Crognolo9134TuscanyToscanaTenuta Sette Ponti 2005 Crognolo Red (Toscana)Red BlendTenuta Sette Ponti
8682086819PortugalThe estate wine from Casal Branco is impressive and structured, with dried berry fruits, dark, dry tannins and a solid structure. The acidity is very present, helping to keep the wine fresh, but the complex dark flavors and spice are certainly there to allow the wine to age over the next 3–4 years.9110RibatejoRoger Voss@vossrogerQuinta do Casal Branco 2004 Red (Ribatejo)Portuguese RedQuinta do Casal Branco

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