Wine Reviews

1533115330USA medium-bodied Pinot Noir that is quite sophisticated, despite the California AVA labeling. It has lots of cherry-berry flavors, great balance, velvety texture and long finish. It is substantial in flavor, smooth, and complete.Black Pine8926CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherJim Gordon@gordone_cellarsR2 2012 Black Pine Pinot Noir (California)Pinot NoirR2
1533215331US2 Jakes smells sweet and alcoholic at first, then veers left with cranberry aromas, veers right with a pinch of cola and finishes tannic. Keep the food fatty and simple and it'll go well.2 Jakes Red Blend8514CaliforniaClear LakeVirginie Boone@vbooneDiamond Ridge Vineyards 2007 2 Jakes Red Blend Red (Clear Lake)Red BlendDiamond Ridge Vineyards
1533315332USOak stands out on this Chardonnay, offering buttered toast and vanilla flavors. The wine underneath is a little thin in fruit, but it has nice Monterey acidity.October Night8525CaliforniaArroyo SecoCentral CoastJ. Lohr 2009 October Night Chardonnay (Arroyo Seco)ChardonnayJ. Lohr
1533415333PortugalSoft, fruity wine, a perfect foil for grilled meats with its light tannin structure. Ripe and very fruity, generous and juicy.Loios Tinto8510AlentejanoRoger Voss@vossrogerJ. Portugal Ramos 2010 Loios Tinto Red (Alentejano)Portuguese RedJ. Portugal Ramos
1533515334USThis blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot and Zinfandel offers lots to like at the price. It's soft, rich and finely tannic, with savory berry and spice flavors that straddle the border between dry and sweet.Vintner's Reserve Summation8514CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherKendall-Jackson 2008 Vintner's Reserve Summation Red (California)Red BlendKendall-Jackson
1533615335USA little unripe, with some green, vegetal flavors. But it's dry, and shows enough cherry and oak richness to satisfy. The mouthfeel is nice and silky.8542CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaLa Rochelle 2008 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirLa Rochelle
1533715336USSimilar to Pinot Noir in the light, silky texture, easy tannins and cherry flavors. A good, dry wine, but rustic, and a little unbalanced in ripeness levels.8540CaliforniaCalistogaNapaMadrigal 2009 Tempranillo (Calistoga)TempranilloMadrigal
1533815337USThis was a cool, acidic vintage, and this has a fairly strong herbal streak, along with broad flavors of vanilla and tobacco. The Cabernet fruit falls a bit short of fully ripe, and the oak treatment does not completely mask the bitterness.Traditions8515WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Milbrandt 2008 Traditions Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley (WA))Cabernet SauvignonMilbrandt
1533915338AustraliaA lean, streamlined version of Aussie Shiraz, with leathery notes of dried currants that finish firm and crisp.Red Belly Black8411South AustraliaSouth AustraliaJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzAngove's 2008 Red Belly Black Shiraz (South Australia)ShirazAngove's
1534015339USThis wine's dark cherry aromas veer into lipstick territory a bit and then the North Coast-sourced Merlot becomes overly tannic and a tiny bit green. Decent for the $10 price tag but not going to convert anyone into Merlot (this one's got 22% Cabernet Sauvignon blended in as well).8410CaliforniaNorth CoastNorth CoastVirginie Boone@vbooneLine 39 2009 Merlot (North Coast)MerlotLine 39
1534115340ArgentinaHard cherry and spice aromas are varietally correct, while the palate is standard in feel, with toasty, creamy flavors of sweet berry. Has enough acidity and vibrancy to rank as juicy on the finish.Reserva8411Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachNieto Senetiner 2010 Reserva Pinot Noir (Mendoza)Pinot NoirNieto Senetiner
1534215341South AfricaAn assertive menthol streak shines through the dark fruit core, along with a hint of spice cake. Soft and somewhat flabby on the midpalate; drink now.Collection849SwartlandLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzRiebeek Cellars 2009 Collection Cabernet Sauvignon (Swartland)Cabernet SauvignonRiebeek Cellars
1534315342USOff-dry, with pineapple, lime, lemon, grapefruit and vanilla flavors, fortunately balanced with crisp acidity. A decent, clean and affordable white wine for cocktails.Private Selection8411CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherRobert Mondavi 2010 Private Selection Sauvignon Blanc (California)Sauvignon BlancRobert Mondavi
1534415343PortugalApples and strawberry combine easily in this soft, fresh rosé. It's fruity, light, with a slight prickle in the mouth.Casal Garcia848Vinho VerdeRoger Voss@vossrogerAveleda 2010 Casal Garcia Rosé (Vinho Verde)RoséAveleda
1534515344SpainPointy on the nose, with modest fruit aromas suggestive of raspberry. A bit astringent across the palate, with red plum flavors that hit hard then fade fast, leaving bitterness akin to espresso. A crisp, juicy, tight style.Viña Temprana847Northern SpainCampo de BorjaMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Aragonesas 2010 Viña Temprana Garnacha (Campo de Borja)GarnachaBodegas Aragonesas
1534615345USA nice wine in a box, and at the equivalent of about five bucks a bottle, a value. Crisp in acidity and clean, it has flavors of oranges, limes and apricots. A little too sweet, but at this price, who's counting?8420CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherBota Box 2010 Pinot Grigio (California)Pinot GrigioBota Box
1534715346USThis tastes like a hot, simple wine whose berry, cherry and bacon flavors have been acidified, making it strangely unbalanced. It finishes on the sweet, jammy side. Made of roughly equal parts Syrah, Mourvèdre and Grenache.Tres Violet8438CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastCalcareous 2008 Tres Violet Red (Paso Robles)Rhône-style Red BlendCalcareous
1534815347USAcidic and brittle, with an unnatural tartness to the sweet, jammy cherry, blackberry, cola and oak flavors. This Bordeaux-style blend is best opened now.Twisted Sisters Matriarch8420CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastCalcareous 2008 Twisted Sisters Matriarch Red (Paso Robles)Bordeaux-style Red BlendCalcareous
1534915348FranceAs its 14.5% indicates, this is a particularly rich wine. Maybe too rich, because it is all superripe black fruit without the balance of structure or acidity. Enjoy it as a blockbuster, probably not with food.Cuvée J.J. Lesgourges8417BordeauxBordeaux SupérieurRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Cadillac 2009 Cuvée J.J. Lesgourges (Bordeaux Supérieur)Bordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Cadillac
1535015349ItalyThis 80-20 blend of Durello (a native Italian grape) and Chardonnay opens with lively tones of stone fruit, white flower and honey. The wine is thin and short on the close, but also very refreshing and easy to drink overall.Durello and Chardonnay8420Northeastern ItalyVenezieDuca del Frassino 2010 Durello and Chardonnay White (Venezie)White BlendDuca del Frassino
1535115350South AfricaStraightforward raspberry and strawberry fruit aromas hit you first, followed by accents of bramble and soft peppery spice. Juicy and vibrant in the mouth with an easy structure and crisp finish. Drink now.8412DurbanvilleLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzDurbanville Hills 2009 Pinotage (Durbanville)PinotageDurbanville Hills
1535215351USA sound, everyday Pinot Grigio, with good citrus and spice flavors, brightened with crisp acidity. Gets the nod for simple richness.8410CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherGlen Ellen 2010 Pinot Grigio (California)Pinot GrigioGlen Ellen
1535315352USSoft and sweet, with a liqueur taste of raisins and crême de cassis. Dry, but hot. The official alcohol reading of 14.5% by volume tastes suspiciously low.Red Handed8444CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastHammerSky 2008 Red Handed Merlot (Paso Robles)MerlotHammerSky
1535415353USAcids and tannins dominate, at the expense of fruit, giving this Pinot Noir a hard, rustic feel. The cherry flavors aren't strong enough to bust through the dryness.Winemaker's Reserve Zora's Estate Vineyard8444CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaSuncé Vineyard & Winery 2009 Winemaker's Reserve Zora's Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirSuncé Vineyard & Winery
1535515354USSourced entirely from the Bacchus vineyard, this is an uneasy mix of dry and sweet, as if both styles were trying to come out in a single wine. The residual sugar is grainy and sweet, not quite integrated into the tart fruit flavors of nectarine and apricot.8415WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Three Rivers 2009 Riesling (Columbia Valley (WA))RieslingThree Rivers
1535615355ArgentinaResiny oak is front and center on the nose, turning any and all fruit spicy. The palate is wet and basic, with a woody feel and oaky flavors that include spices and white fruits. Offers proper weight but smells and tastes overtly resiny.Q8422Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachZuccardi 2010 Q Chardonnay (Mendoza)ChardonnayZuccardi
1535715356USA rare Washington Nebbiolo, from a recently planted Yakima Valley vineyard, this has young vine flavors of berry candy. It's high-toned and slightly volatile, with some heat in the finish.Estate8429WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Wilridge 2009 Estate Nebbiolo (Columbia Valley (WA))NebbioloWilridge
1535815357FranceA firmly tannic wine packed with both toast and blackberry fruits. It needs to soften to bring out the ripe fruitiness and jammy texture. Drink from 2015.8613BordeauxCôtes de BourgRoger Voss@vossrogerGrand Bourgeau 2012 Côtes de BourgBordeaux-style Red BlendGrand Bourgeau
1535915358USA 100% Viognier that's heady in ripe pit fruit, mostly sweet peach, and accented in nutty, floral aromas. It's full-bodied and robust, with tannins that are soft and juicy.Sunny View Vineyard8625CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneNovy 2013 Sunny View Vineyard Viognier (Russian River Valley)ViognierNovy
1536015359ItalyThis wine is dominated by aromas of oak, toast and espresso that carry over to the palate along with black cherry. Extremely astringent wood tannins cut the finish short and leave the mouth feeling dried.Oro Canova Riserva86PiedmontBarbarescoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeRessia 2009 Oro Canova Riserva (Barbaresco)NebbioloRessia

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