Wine Reviews

1284112840USThis refreshing sparkling wine made mostly from Pinot Noir grapes has a light-gold color and slightly toasted or earthy aromas. It feels lively and frothy in texture, nicely crisp in balance, and medium bodied. Ripe apple and peach flavors emerge with each sip.Blanc de Noirs Brut8841CaliforniaNorth CoastNorth CoastJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsSchramsberg 2011 Blanc de Noirs Brut Sparkling (North Coast)Sparkling BlendSchramsberg
1284212841ItalyBaking spice, perfumed berry and crushed floral scents mingle together on this bright red. The straightforward palate offers black cherry, white pepper and clove accompanied by zesty acidity and fine-grained tannins. Drink through 2018.8825TuscanyChianti ClassicoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeSetriolo 2013 Chianti ClassicoRed BlendSetriolo
1284312842USThe standout fruit flavors are melon and grapefruit, with a backing of wet stone and spice. It's a refreshing style, and a useful white-wine choice for shellfish and other white fish or simple poultry dishes.8824OregonRogue ValleySouthern OregonPaul Gregutt@paulgwine South Stage 2014 Pinot Blanc (Rogue Valley)Pinot BlancSouth Stage
1284412843ItalyA blend of Sangiovese, Canaiolo and Cabernet Sauvignon, this opens with aromas suggesting mature dark-skinned fruit, toast, sunbaked earth and cooking spice. On the polished, straightforward palate, hints of clove, orange peel and anise back up a core of dried black cherry while close-grained tannins provide the framework. Drink through 2018.8820TuscanyChianti ClassicoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeTenuta Cappellina 2012 Chianti ClassicoRed BlendTenuta Cappellina
1284512844SpainHot, tarry aromas of plum and berry rank as gritty and rough. Clampy, jagged tannins make for a tough mouthfeel, while a mix of herbal and jammy red-berry flavors turn salty before finishing with rubbery tannins. Drink through 2023.Selectus8870Central SpainVino de la Tierra de CastillaMichael Schachner@wineschachAljibes 2010 Selectus Red (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla)Red BlendAljibes
1284612845USFull bodied, and firm textured, this wine emphasizes complexity and mouthfeel over simple fruitiness. It smells like ripe plums, tastes like cardamom and black cherry, and shows good balance between flavors, acidity and body.8814CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsDachshund 2013 Cabernet Sauvignon (California)Cabernet SauvignonDachshund
1284712846PortugalWhile the Arinto is normally found further south in Lisboa, this wine comes from vines that have the same ocean influence. That keeps it fresh even through the oak aging, so the wine is both rich, toasty and cut with attractive citrus acidity. This one is still young and will be better from 2017, although it is ready to drink now.Marquês de Marialva Reserva8812BairradaRoger Voss@vossrogerAdega de Cantanhede 2014 Marquês de Marialva Reserva Arinto (Bairrada)ArintoAdega de Cantanhede
1284812847USBrisk and lively, this wine is a bit shy on the nose at first, then reveals red and purple flowers, dark fruit, brown spice and a touch of shattered asphalt. The palate is quite tarry despite being lighter, with blackberry-juice flavor and lots of acidic pizzaz.8848CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannAlta Colina 2012 Grenache (Paso Robles)GrenacheAlta Colina
1284912848ItalyAromas of dark berry, toast, coffee and a whiff of forest floor lead the nose while the vibrant, light-bodied palate offers crushed black cherry, star anise and a note of grilled herb. Fine-grained tannins and bright acidity lend polished, easygoing support.8823TuscanyChianti ClassicoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeBorgo Salcetino 2013 Chianti ClassicoRed BlendBorgo Salcetino
1285012849ItalyA blend of Sangiovese and 20% Merlot, this offers aromas of red currant, espresso, aromatic herb and French oak. The taut palate shows tart red cherry, coffee, toast, star anise and powdered sage while close-grained tannins leave an astringent, mouth-puckering finish.Riserva8840TuscanyChianti ClassicoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeBrancaia 2013 Riserva (Chianti Classico)Red BlendBrancaia
1285112850ItalyAromas of French oak, toast and spiced blueberry lead the nose. Showing the challenges of the cool, wet vintage, this is leaner than previous years but still offers wild cherry, coffee bean and anise alongside bright acidity and polished if not very persistent tannins. All in all an impressive effort for 2014. Drink soon.8828TuscanyChianti ClassicoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeCastello di Fonterutoli 2014 Chianti ClassicoRed BlendCastello di Fonterutoli
1285212851ItalyAromas of ripe dark-skinned berry, purple flower and a whiff of cake spice waft out of the glass. The firm palate offers black cherry, red plum and a note of ground pepper while fine-grained tannins and nervous acidity provide the framework.Vigna Casi8843TuscanyChianti ClassicoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeCastello di Meleto 2013 Vigna Casi (Chianti Classico)SangioveseCastello di Meleto
1285312852FranceThis is the second wine of Château de Chambert, one that's made to be drunk young. It has bright red fruits and soft tannins that are well integrated into aromatic fruits that burst from the glass. Drink this wine now for its delicious fruitiness or wait until 2018 for the exuberant fruit to calm down.La Tour Chambert Cuvée des Hauts Coteaux8816Southwest FranceCahorsRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau de Chambert 2014 La Tour Chambert Cuvée des Hauts Coteaux Malbec-Merlot (Cahors)Malbec-MerlotChâteau de Chambert
1285412853FranceThis pure Malbec is generous and ripe. It has concentration and dark berry fruits that come strongly through the tannic structure. As it develops, its texture will become increasingly more velvety, bringing out richness. Wait until 2018.Tertre-Perdigous8816Southwest FranceCahorsRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau du Port 2014 Tertre-Perdigous Malbec-Merlot (Cahors)Malbec-MerlotChâteau du Port
1285512854USSlightly funky aromas of dried, composting red and purple roses meet with crushed mint, vanilla and red berries on the nose of this complex bottling. Pomegranate, red plum and strawberry fruit show on the palate, bolstered by wet gravel, thyme and black-pepper spice.Reserve8830CaliforniaCentral CoastCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannClos LaChance 2013 Reserve Grenache (Central Coast)GrenacheClos LaChance
1285612855AustraliaReally nicely done, with bold cassis aromas tinged with hints of tomato leaf and vanilla and then waves of cassis, vanilla and dried spices on the palate. It's full bodied and lushly textured, with a long, velvety feel to the finish. Best from 2010–2020.Phoenix9120South AustraliaCoonawarraJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzPenley Estate 2006 Phoenix Cabernet Sauvignon (Coonawarra)Cabernet SauvignonPenley Estate
1285712856SpainSolabal captures the essence of Rioja reserva with this fairly oaked, fruity wine. The palate is tight and demanding, with proper acid-to-tannin balance. Flavors of wild raspberry and plum are lively, while the finish shows some creaminess, tobacco and warmth. Drink now and over the next two years.Reserva9128Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachSolabal 2004 Reserva (Rioja)Tempranillo BlendSolabal
1285812857AustraliaThis intriguing stickie is predominantly (94%) Chardonnay—an unusual choice for a botrytized wine. Dried apricot and ripe pear aromas lead the way, with the flavors leaning toward intensely honeyed apricot preserves. It's full-bodied, lush and candy-sweet, with a mouthcoating finish.The Noble9119South AustraliaAdelaideJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzD'Arenberg 2006 The Noble Chardonnay-Semillon (Adelaide)Chardonnay-SemillonD'Arenberg
1285912858USStructure, minerals and lees mark this elegant Chardonnay. You'll find ripe pear and tropical fruits that taste like they were baked into a pie, but ripe fruit is easy to achieve these days. It's the architectural integrity that makes this wine so fine.Dutton Ranch Kyndall's Reserve9136CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaDutton Estate 2006 Dutton Ranch Kyndall's Reserve Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayDutton Estate
1286012859ItalyHekate is an amber-colored dessert wine made from a blend of overripe grapes in central Sicily. Its aromas recall apricot, orange peel and chestnut honey and the wine offers special floral notes that last long over its silky mouthfeel. Hekate is named after a Greek goddess who bestowed kindness and wealth and was a guardian of youth.Hekate Passito9130Sicily & SardiniaSiciliaFeudo Arancio 2006 Hekate Passito White (Sicilia)White BlendFeudo Arancio
1286112860PortugalToffee and vanilla aromas give an intensely sweet, molasses and caramel flavored wine in an almost syrup-like consistency. It is very ripe, with some honey, balanced with a surprisingly fresh citrus character.Branco Colheita91125PortRoger Voss@vossrogerWiese & Krohn 1964 Branco Colheita (Port)PortWiese & Krohn
1286212861SpainA leader in user-friendly Monastrell from Jumilla is Luzón. Altos is the winery's high-expression baby, and if you like a bruiser with char, toast, coffee and other nocturnal characteristics, then look no further. Dynamite in terms of ripeness, with monster black-fruit, chocolate and coffee flavors. Not for the weak.Altos de Luzón9119LevanteJumillaMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Luzón 2006 Altos de Luzón Red (Jumilla)Red BlendBodegas Luzón
1286312862PortugalBeautifully balanced wine, showing slight age and maturity but also flavors of spice and orange marmalade. It has just the same balance between freshness and maturity as a 10-year old tawny, and gives as much pleasure.10 Anos White91PortRoger Voss@vossrogerJ. H. Andresen NV 10 Anos White (Port)PortJ. H. Andresen
1286412863USThe Meyer Vineyard, in the Red Hills of Dundee, ripened especially well in 2006, bringing forth concentrated fruits that mix raspberry, cranberry, pie cherry and finishing hints of rhubarb. Spice and sharp acids add definition to the midpalate, and the careful barrel aging has introduced accent notes of nutmeg, licorice and black tea. Despite its heft and substantial 14.6% alcohol, this wine has a sleekness that carries it gracefully into a lengthy, elegant finish.Meyer Vineyard9148OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Lemelson 2006 Meyer Vineyard Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirLemelson
1286512864USIf you prefer your California Chards on the minerally side instead of the flamboyant, superripe style, try this one. With its stony or metallic and citrus-inspired flavors and extreme dryness at low alcohol, it can be described as Chablisian. Hard to believe the oak is 100% new, as it doesn't taste oaky despite the streamlined profile.Cupa Grandis9145CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastEOS 2006 Cupa Grandis Chardonnay (Paso Robles)ChardonnayEOS
1286612865USThis Bordeaux-style blend, which this year contains a bit of Syrah, seems to vary vintage to vintage. The '05 is based on Cabernet Franc. It shows a fine structure and is very dry and tannic, but needs time to soften. However, the oak-infused black cherry, black currant, violet and anise flavors are impressive. Best after 2010.Proprietary Red Wine9155CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaCorley 2005 Proprietary Red Wine Red (Napa Valley)Red BlendCorley
1286712866USWhat's so interesting about this wine is the savory minerality, racy acidity and extreme dryness that make it completely different from 99% of the Sauvignon Blancs in California. It's not without fruit. You'll find mouthwatering Meyer lemons, sweet Kaffir limes and spicy figs. Just beautiful, and a real sommelier's wine.9122CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaCrinella 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley)Sauvignon BlancCrinella
1286812867PortugalThis small, independent producer has made a rich, unctuous, mouth-filling wine, with intense fruit and honey flavors, only just hinting at the spirit. A big, ripe wine, intensely flavored.White91PortRoger Voss@vossrogerJ. H. Andresen NV White (Port)PortJ. H. Andresen
1286912868USLe Cadeau's Equinoxe Cuvée is the winery's most limited offering, just 110 cases. Quite distinctive, it carries a high, piercing caraway note, but also offers rich, ripe, chunky cherry fruit and streaks of cola and caramel. It's concentrated and chewy, a substantial wine with a soft, lengthy finish incorporating earth, leaf and pepper.Equinoxe9147OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Le Cadeau 2006 Equinoxe Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirLe Cadeau
1287012869AustraliaThis mature, ready-to-drink example of Coonawarra Cab offers complex aromas and flavors of leather, cedar and black cherry, plus hints of mint and roasted beef. The tannins are smooth, the mouthfeel moderately rich and the finish long and mouthwatering. Drink now-2015.9130South AustraliaCoonawarraJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzLeconfield 2003 Cabernet Sauvignon (Coonawarra)Cabernet SauvignonLeconfield

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