Wine Reviews

1518115180ItalyThere are touches of milk chocolate and raw cherry at the start, which slowly segue into notes of spice and blackberry. The mouthfeel is rich and plush with a velvety soft texture.Alto Fhrà8716PiedmontMonferratoForti del Vento 2009 Alto Fhrà Red (Monferrato)Red BlendForti del Vento
1518215181ChileCherry and black fruit aromas are capped by a rubbery note. It feels juicy and fresh, with raspberry, red plum and vanilla flavors. Drying but fresh and nice on the finish.Crucero8710Colchagua ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachSiegel 2010 Crucero Merlot (Colchagua Valley)MerlotSiegel
1518315182FranceA firm, dry textured wine, with tannins that are now losing more fruity character. It needs at least an hour in a decanter to show its more balanced nature. Ready to drink.8718BordeauxBordeaux SupérieurRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Plaisance 2006 Bordeaux SupérieurBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Plaisance
1518415183USMade in the popular Chardonnay style, this shows buttered toast, buttercream, pineapple, mango and exotic spice flavors. Drink this rich wine now.8720CaliforniaSanta Cruz MountainsCentral CoastClos La Chance 2009 Chardonnay (Santa Cruz Mountains)ChardonnayClos La Chance
1518515184ItalySmooth and structured, this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot opens with intense aromas of ripe blackberry, red currant, exotic spice, menthol, blue flower and a hint of grilled bell pepper. The dense, concentrated palate offers juicy black cherry, raspberry, vanilla, mocha, Asian spice and a hint of game alongside velvety tannins that give it a polished texture.D'Alceo95260TuscanyToscanaKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeCastello dei Rampolla 2011 D'Alceo Red (Toscana)Red BlendCastello dei Rampolla
1518615185USBlack-cherry fruit shows on the nose of this bottling by Silicon Valley veterans T.J. and Valeta Rodgers, but it is deftly hidden behind layers of earth and herbs, from dark clay and black pepper to budding violets and rosemary. The acidity is slowly simmering on the palate, unleashing flavors of dark chocolate, cinnamon, more rosemary, blackberry and pencil-lead minerality.Domaine Lois Louise Cote Sud9562CaliforniaSanta Cruz MountainsCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannClos de la Tech 2010 Domaine Lois Louise Cote Sud Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mountains)Pinot NoirClos de la Tech
1518715186USDeliciously varietal in its huge offering of white pepper and robust black and blue fruit, this well-crafted wine boasts a lithe texture that invites sip after sip. It remains light footed throughout the palate, yet with enough complexity and balancing weight before the refined finish gives a final hit of juiciness.Dutton Ranch Cherry Ridge Vineyard9550CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneDutton-Goldfield 2013 Dutton Ranch Cherry Ridge Vineyard Syrah (Russian River Valley)SyrahDutton-Goldfield
1518815187PortugalVinha Paz is the property of surgeon, António Canto Moniz, who decided to produce wine on his family farm in the 1990s. This latest vintage of the Reserva is intense, dense, and concentrated while never losing sight for an instant of the structure and texture of the finest Dão wines. Dark berry fruits are sustained by tannins, wood aging and final acidity. Keep this wine until 2020.Reserva9550DãoRoger Voss@vossrogerVinha Paz 2012 Reserva Red (Dão)Portuguese RedVinha Paz
1518915188USThis gorgeous, full-bodied and compelling wine is made from 84% Chardonnay and 16% Pinot Noir. It has a rich golden color, slightly earthy aromas, plus bread dough and white-peach scents that lead to very opulent, sophisticated and nicely aged flavors that range from toasted walnut to honeyed peach to white pepper. While it's already nine years old, this will easily age through 2022.J. Schram95120CaliforniaNorth CoastNorth CoastJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsSchramsberg 2007 J. Schram Sparkling (North Coast)Sparkling BlendSchramsberg
1519015189USThe Novak family continue to produce an understated style of gorgeous Cabernet year in and year out. This vintage provides a fine example, a blend of 85% Cabernet Sauvignon with 10% Cabernet Franc and 5% Petit Verdot, all from the historic, 40-acre estate. Complex and smooth, it offers an exotic array of cigar, tar, black pepper and currant, the tannins soft and integrated, yet strong. Coffee and chocolate make appearances on the finish, ever so slightly, never at risk of dimming its freshness. Drink now through 2022.Family Estate Grown95165CaliforniaSt. HelenaNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneSpottswoode 2012 Family Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon (St. Helena)Cabernet SauvignonSpottswoode
1519115190ItalyA few minutes in the glass releases quintessential Sangiovese aromas of ripe dark-skinned berry, underbrush, baking spice, tobacco, leather and a floral note. The elegant, balanced palate doles out juicy Morello cherry, crushed raspberry, cinnamon and white pepper alongside polished, velvety tannins and fresh acidity. It's already almost accessible but also shows staying power. Drink from 2018 through 2025.9546TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeIl Colle 2010 Brunello di MontalcinoSangioveseIl Colle
1519215191ItalyAromas of ripe, dark-skinned berry, baking spice sunbaked soil, tobacco, grilled herb and a whiff of leather unfold on this smooth, structured red. The juicy, polished palate doles out fleshy wild cherry, crushed raspberry, cinnamon, candied orange zest, iron and nutmeg framed in velvety tannins that impart a silky mouthfeel. It's already delicious but will continue to develop complexity over the next decade. Drink through 2027.Riserva95144TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeIl Paradiso di Manfredi 2007 Riserva (Brunello di Montalcino)SangioveseIl Paradiso di Manfredi
1519315192USAromas of plum, black cherry and mulberry are enhanced by crushed graphite, clove dust, scarlet rose petals and menthol on the nose of this bottling. The palate reveals a stunning amount of depth, with eucalyptus leaf, white sage, violet petals, rose hips and pine needles giving depth to the rich black-plum fruit.Domaine Valeta Sunny Slope9582CaliforniaSanta Cruz MountainsCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannClos de la Tech 2010 Domaine Valeta Sunny Slope Pinot Noir (Santa Cruz Mountains)Pinot NoirClos de la Tech
1519415193FranceProduced from vines planted in 1900 (MCM in Roman numerals), this is a serious, major wine. It is so concentrated with its dark tannins yet never loses its elegant balance between fruit and structure. Dense dusty dry tannins are layered with black plum and damson flavors giving a surprising freshness to a wine that is still young. Drink from 2022.Vitis MCM9535Southwest FranceMadiranRoger Voss@vossrogerDomaine Berthoumieu 2012 Vitis MCM Tannat (Madiran)TannatDomaine Berthoumieu
1519515194USFairly light in color and body, this wine sings in fresh cranberry and orange before revealing a meatier underbelly of black tea and sautéed mushroom. Finessed and vibrant in minerality, it has pretty rose and fresh-picked cherry characters that dance on the palate as it evolves and unravels provocatively in the glass.Rochioli-Allen Vineyards9570CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneGary Farrell 2013 Rochioli-Allen Vineyards Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirGary Farrell
1519615195USA structured, concentrated and classically crafted 100% Cabernet Sauvignon. Sanguine red currant and rhubarb combine with darker, more brooding tangles of blackberry and clove to define this beauty, enhanced by a velvety texture and lingering accents of cedar, pine and dried herb.95160CaliforniaMount VeederNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneHall 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Mount Veeder)Cabernet SauvignonHall
1519715196FranceThe home vineyard of Madiran's star, Alain Brumont, has yielded a superb wine that is full of dark tannins and with a considerable ability to age. It is balanced, concentrated and touched by spice and toastiness from the wood aging. In tandem with that are generous fruits within a dense structure that is just beginning to smooth out. Drink from 2018–2038.Château Bouscassé9520Southwest FranceMadiranRoger Voss@vossrogerAlain Brumont 2010 Château Bouscassé Red (Madiran)Red BlendAlain Brumont
1519815197USThe producer's larger-production offering, this in no way suffers from not having a vineyard designated. Instead, it shows the prowess of blending, delivering a big, bold style with elegance and grace. Tangy cranberry and orange rind wrap themselves around powerful acidity and a silky body, finishing with notes of earth and cardamom.9548CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneMerry Edwards 2013 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirMerry Edwards
1519915198USA silky, compelling wine full of minerality, this comes from a gradually sloping site within the larger estate ranch, where the soils are tightly packed and volcanic, and the air often drenched in fog. Silky on the palate, the red-fruit profile is crunchy and juicy, the body medium in terms of strength and length.Temblor Vineyard Grace Benoist Ranch Estate Grown9475CaliforniaCarnerosNapa-SonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneEtude 2013 Temblor Vineyard Grace Benoist Ranch Estate Grown Pinot Noir (Carneros)Pinot NoirEtude
1520015199USA stunning effort from Beckstoffer's famously gravelly site, this is a 100% varietal wine from one clone, made in a tiny amount. Exquisite aromas of blackberry and leather surround a velvety texture and spiky acidity, the tannins integrated and lengthy, with room to grow over time. Powerfully full bodied, this is a classic representation of the valley in expansive celebration of a ridiculously good vintage. Drink now through 2023.Beckstoffer Las Piedras Heritage Single Vineyard94250CaliforniaSt. HelenaNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneGuarachi Family 2013 Beckstoffer Las Piedras Heritage Single Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (St. Helena)Cabernet SauvignonGuarachi Family
1520115200USAn outstanding example of balance and reserve that doesn't lack in flavor, this wine will pair well with a wide variety of foods. It has a mild color as well as spicy, woodsy aromas due to 35% whole-cluster fermentation. Satisfying flavors resemble a wine-reduction sauce but are dry and crisp.Oppenlander Vineyard9448CaliforniaMendocinoJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsPhillips Hill 2013 Oppenlander Vineyard Pinot Noir (Mendocino)Pinot NoirPhillips Hill
1520215201USThis wine features the signature, woodsy, savory aromas of Phillips Hill. It has a lighter, slightly tawny color compared with most of its peers from Anderson Valley. Flavors combine spice and fruit with meaty, mushroomy notes, giving character and personality to a delicious wine.Valenti Vineyard9445CaliforniaMendocino RidgeJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsPhillips Hill 2013 Valenti Vineyard Pinot Noir (Mendocino Ridge)Pinot NoirPhillips Hill
1520315202FranceThis is the Couture family's top-of-the-range wine from Eugénie. It is dense and layered with wood, blackberry fruits and a complex structure of tannins, smoky flavors and acidity. This is a serious wine that needs to age. It is still developing so drink from 2019.Haute Collection9440Southwest FranceCahorsRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Eugénie 2013 Haute Collection Malbec (Cahors)MalbecChâteau Eugénie
1520415203ItalyThere's a lot to love on this juicy, delicious wine, starting with aromas of ripe, dark-skinned berry, baking spice, leather, sun baked soil and menthol. The elegant, structured palate delivers ripe black cherry, cinnamon, anise and tobacco while firm, polished tannins provide support and finesse. A blast of orange zest signals the close.Coltassala Riserva9469TuscanyChianti ClassicoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeVolpaia 2012 Coltassala Riserva (Chianti Classico)Red BlendVolpaia
1520515204AustraliaGrenache is being treated with more and more respect around Australia, which means more bottlings are reaching the variety's potential. Gentle herbal notes intertwine with bunches of black cherries and a hint of vanilla in this medium- to full-bodied example. Hints of red peppercorn capture a unique combination of fruit and spice, while the finish is long and crisp.The Fifth Wave9453South AustraliaBarossaJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzLangmeil 2013 The Fifth Wave Grenache (Barossa)GrenacheLangmeil
1520615205GermanyRippling layers of candle wax and honey lend roundness and richness to this spry, citrusy Riesling. A late-release bottling, it offsets fresh, concentrated tangerine flavor with dusty spice notes and a delicious mineral oil sheen. The finish is long and quite dry.Alte Reben Bopparder Hamm Feinherb9433MittelrheinAnna Lee C. IijimaMatthias Müller 2012 Alte Reben Bopparder Hamm Feinherb Riesling (Mittelrhein)RieslingMatthias Müller
1520715206GermanyDelicate whiffs of spice and pine lend depth to crisp-tart white peach and grapefruit flavors in this spry yet penetrating Riesling. Dry on the palate, it's finely textured, as if etched by its acidity and stony mineral tones. It finishes with juicy, concentrated stone fruit flair. Drinks well now but should meld beautifully through 2024.Silberlack Trocken GG9475RheingauAnna Lee C. IijimaSchloss Johannisberger 2014 Silberlack Trocken GG Riesling (Rheingau)RieslingSchloss Johannisberger
1520815207USThe most fruit-driven of the Baxter 2013s, this wine has beautiful, bright cherry aromas, pure cherry and raspberry flavors, medium body and enough support from acidity and moderate tannins to provide an appetizing balance. The fruit is especially tasty on the tongue and continues to linger on the finish. Drink now through 2020.Ferrington Vineyard9452CaliforniaAnderson ValleyJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsBaxter 2013 Ferrington Vineyard Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley)Pinot NoirBaxter
1520915208USA wine made like this doesn't come along every day. It was 100% whole-cluster fermented with wild yeast and aged in all neutral barrels. Its rich, soothing and complex personality makes it perfect for a special occasion that involves something like roast quail, sauteed mushrooms or beef bourgignon. It has full body and layered aromas of black tea, ripe plums and cigar box, combined with both fruity and savory flavors and fine tannins.Oppenlander Vineyard Whole Cluster9460CaliforniaMendocinoJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsBaxter 2013 Oppenlander Vineyard Whole Cluster Pinot Noir (Mendocino)Pinot NoirBaxter
1521015209AustraliaIt's a shame only the equivalent of one barrel of this wine was exported to the U.S., as it means only a handful of people here will get to experience it. It's perhaps the closest thing to great white Burgundy to come from Australia; subtly smoky at first, like grilled white peaches, adding hints of lime and vanilla on the palate. It's plump and slightly creamy in texture, but finishes with crisp, acidic verve. Drink now–2025.Kevin John94109Western AustraliaMargaret RiverJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzCullen 2013 Kevin John Chardonnay (Margaret River)ChardonnayCullen

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