Wine Reviews


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1578115780PortugalVines over 50 years old are the background to this impressive wine. It's produced from a field blend of over 20 different varieties that assembled together give an enormous wine that's solid with tannins and lush fruits. With so much structure and concentration, it will need many years. Drink from 2018.Reserva9470DouroRoger Voss@vossrogerQuinta do Passadouro 2012 Reserva Red (Douro)Portuguese RedQuinta do Passadouro
1578215781USConcentrated in black currant and clove, this is a soft, silky wine, lengthy and substantial without ever becoming overbearing in terms of power or oak. Lovely anise accents the crisp fruit, providing a worthy example of the appellation and clean winemaking coming together in an elegant way.Estate Bottled9450CaliforniaStags Leap DistrictNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneRegusci 2012 Estate Bottled Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap District)Cabernet SauvignonRegusci
1578315782GermanyBreathtakingly blossomy from nose to finish, this is textbook Mosel spätlese. On the palate, pristine white peach and apricot flavors are cut by a razor-edged streak of acidity. Shimmering minerality and a delicately filigreed sweetness linger.Leiwener Laurentiuslay Spätlese Erste Lage9442MoselAnna Lee C. IijimaSt. Urbans-Hof 2013 Leiwener Laurentiuslay Spätlese Erste Lage Riesling (Mosel)RieslingSt. Urbans-Hof
1578415783USMany of Oregon's best winemakers are scrambling to acquire Shea grapes. This small-scale producer does a fine job. Its Shea designate is a captivating wine loaded with blueberry, blue plum, black raspberry and a touch of violets. One-third new French oak brings a vein of chocolate. The balance is impeccable. Drink this with enjoyment immediately, or cellar it through 2025.Shea Vineyard9445OregonWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine WildAire 2012 Shea Vineyard Pinot NoirPinot NoirWildAire
1578515784USStrawberry syrup, scarlet-red rose petals, warm licorice-laced cookies and dried sage combine for a brilliant nose from this reliably exciting vineyard, planted by a longtime cattle ranching family. Flavors of raspberry torte and ripe red fruits float across the palate, with added complexity from lifting mint and lively yeast elements.Boekenoogen Vineyard9449CaliforniaSanta Lucia HighlandsCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannWrath 2012 Boekenoogen Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands)Pinot NoirWrath
1578615785USThe winery's top estate-grown Cabernet, meticulously crafted to age, this is pungent in cardamon and clove, wrapped around hardbound layers of blackberry and raspberry. Elegant and refined, with chalky tannins that will further soften over time, it offers a polished, elegant expression of dried cherries, dark chocolate and brown sugar to round out the finish. This beautiful wine should continue to show well through 2030–2040.Rattlesnake94175CaliforniaSpring Mountain DistrictNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneBarnett 2012 Rattlesnake Cabernet Sauvignon (Spring Mountain District)Cabernet SauvignonBarnett
1578715786USA fruity nose of red currants and cooked cherries shows how well Greg Brewer and Steve Clifton achieve balance amidst ripeness. The palate allows a little raspberry juice, yet is powered by dill, licorice, wet sagebrush, anise and pencil lead, proving savory and supple all at once.4599490CaliforniaSta. Rita HillsCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannBrewer-Clifton 2012 459 Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)Pinot NoirBrewer-Clifton
1578815787USRaspberry and cinnamon spice hit the nose first followed by crushed cloves on this supremely balanced wine by Gavin Chanin from a vineyard that's northwest of the Sta. Rita Hills. Dried cranberry fruit leads the palate, but it's mostly powered by a potpourri of brown spices, from peppercorns to nutmeg. It's a study of restrained ripeness that's fresh and tasty.Duvarita Vineyard9450CaliforniaSanta Barbara CountyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannChanin 2013 Duvarita Vineyard Pinot Noir (Santa Barbara County)Pinot NoirChanin
1578915788GermanyVibrant aromas of rose petals, stone fruit, pastry and smoke captivate throughout this multifaceted Riesling. Semidry in style, the palate apposes sweet flavors of honey and caramel against crisp peaches and tangerine. The lingering finish is marked by a flurry of blossoms and astringent tea notes.Hochheimer Domdechaney Spätlese9437RheingauAnna Lee C. IijimaDomdechant Werner 2013 Hochheimer Domdechaney Spätlese Riesling (Rheingau)RieslingDomdechant Werner
1579015789SpainLicorice, lemon peel, nutmeg, black cherry, requisite schist and smoke aromas set up a juicy, full-bodied, tannic palate with blackberry, mocha, cassis and mild herbal flavors. Blackened toast, licorice and black-fruit flavors are draped all over a smooth, controlled finish. Best from 2016 through 2023.Mas de la Rosa94165CataloniaPrioratMichael Schachner@wineschachVall Llach 2012 Mas de la Rosa Red (Priorat)Red BlendVall Llach
1579115790ItalyYellow flower, Mediterranean herb, cut grass, crisp green apple, juicy citrus and intense mineral are some of the sensations offered by this structured and savory white. It boasts great depth and is impeccably balanced with vibrant acidity. Enjoy through 2021.Alimata9435Southern ItalyFiano di AvellinoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeVilla Raiano 2013 Alimata (Fiano di Avellino)FianoVilla Raiano
1579215791USFrom a steep, densely planted estate vineyard, this is a lilting regional example of well-integrated oak in support of black raspberry, licorice and chalky clove. Silky tannins mark it most, providing a balance to the fruit and a pronounced, entirely delectable bite of black pepper on the finish.94125CaliforniaStags Leap DistrictNapaVirginie Boone@vboonePine Ridge 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap District)Cabernet SauvignonPine Ridge
1579315792PortugalThis is a powerful wine, complex and structured. From one of the Douro's top quintas, now fully on form, this is full of red fruits, blackberries and acidity that's still so young. Concentrated and demanding aging, this should be kept at least until 2018.Referência Grande Reserva9475DouroRoger Voss@vossrogerQuinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo 2012 Referência Grande Reserva Red (Douro)Portuguese RedQuinta Nova de Nossa Senhora do Carmo
1579415793USRipe cherry aromas swirl into graphite minerality, sweet wood and sagebrush scents in this delicious Jim Clendenen wine. The density on the palate is just about perfect, as is the tannic tension and mouth-cleansing acidity, with rich flavors of chemise, very ripe raspberry and elderberry juice proving quite sultry and addictive.Isabelle9450CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannAu Bon Climat 2011 Isabelle Pinot Noir (California)Pinot NoirAu Bon Climat
1579515794USSpicy and leathery, this lovely wine unfolds with waves of red and blue fruit, from cassis to huckleberry and blueberry pie. Balanced and elegant, it has a substantive, complex finish, revisiting its black pepper introduction around a finely tuned finale of herb. Enjoyable now, it will take on deeper complexity through 2022.Black Label9475CaliforniaStags Leap DistrictNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneBaldacci 2012 Black Label Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap District)Cabernet SauvignonBaldacci
1579615795USThis blend of 50% Cabernet Sauvignon, 25% Merlot and 25% Cabernet Franc is the Creston winery's top-end offering, and it's beautiful. Aromas of blueberry, black cherry, turned earth and roasted vanilla bean meet with violet and sweet rose florals that keep you sniffing. It's dense on the palate but not overly ripe, with black-rock minerality and leather laid across blueberries and prime rib elements. The tannins are present but not in the way at all.Beau Mélange94150CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannChateau Margene 2010 Beau Mélange Red (Paso Robles)Bordeaux-style Red BlendChateau Margene
1579715796SpainReedy cherry and berry aromas are smoky and schisty, with a high level of purity and complexity. This wine is tannic but in great shape, with lockdown structure. Schisty plum, cassis, black cherry and cocoa flavors finish firm and mildly peppery tasting, with oodles of class and aging potential. Drink through 2022.Clos Figueres9485CataloniaPrioratMichael Schachner@wineschachClos Figueras 2010 Clos Figueres Red (Priorat)Red BlendClos Figueras
1579815797PortugalPacked with fruit, minerality and impressive wood-aging flavors, this is a single-parcel wine of immense power. Black fruits and tannin share the honors, giving structure and density. It's a wine for long-term aging, solid and concentrated. Drink from 2019.CV Curriculum Vitae9499DouroRoger Voss@vossrogerLemos & Van Zeller 2012 CV Curriculum Vitae Red (Douro)Portuguese RedLemos & Van Zeller
1579915798PortugalLong wood aging and a selection of grapes from old vines have produced this firmly structured and concentrated wine. It is full of black plum-jelly flavors shot through with acidity. A solid, dry core promises even further aging. At the end, acidity gives a juicy, delicious aftertaste. Drink from 2017.Santos da Casa Grande Reserva9445DouroRoger Voss@vossrogerCasca Wines 2010 Santos da Casa Grande Reserva Red (Douro)Portuguese RedCasca Wines
1580015799USThis challenging island vineyard, planted in 2007, delivers a stunningly delicate but ripe wine, with aromas of smashed cranberry and strawberry pairing perfectly to sarsaparilla and sautéed oyster mushroom elements. The continually emerging palate shows dried citrus peels, iron and sour cherries, along with riper raspberry and pomegranate juice flavors and a spicy edge.Catalina Island Vineyards9472CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannRusack 2012 Catalina Island Vineyards Pinot Noir (California)Pinot NoirRusack
1580115800USCrushed blackberries compete with a hearty bouquet of violet in this gigantically powerful and structured wine. Soft and leathery, it features spikes of black pepper, vanilla and pungent black earth amid a dense, concentrated finesse of tannin and oak, with a lengthy finish awaiting. This is power at its best, a reflection of an idyllic vintage in the hands of a skilled producer.One Point Five9480CaliforniaStags Leap DistrictNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneShafer 2012 One Point Five Cabernet Sauvignon (Stags Leap District)Cabernet SauvignonShafer
1580215801PortugalCabaços believes in releasing its wines when they are ready to drink. That's why it's possible to drink this Reserva for the first time. It's a magnificent, powerful wine, packed with dark fruits that are now mature. The opulent Alicante Bouschet is the backbone of the wine along with the more structured Touriga Nacional. Drink now.Reserva9430AlentejanoRoger Voss@vossrogerMonte dos Cabaços 2007 Reserva Red (Alentejano)Portuguese RedMonte dos Cabaços
1580315802USThere's a lemony leanness to this exquisite wine, from one of the most esteemed vineyards in its region, a site the producer has worked with for more than 20 years. Balanced, it opens with inviting aromas of white flowers and orange peel before delving into complex layers of fresh citrus, ginger snap and lavender.Hyde Vineyard9460CaliforniaCarnerosNapa-SonomaVirginie Boone@vboonePatz & Hall 2012 Hyde Vineyard Chardonnay (Carneros)ChardonnayPatz & Hall
1580415803USThis is introduced by scents of rose and cherry blossoms, with a hint of butterscotch. Once tasted it's a lush, forward, sweetly appealing wine with the impressive fruit concentration of the 2012 vintage, underscored with a layer of mineral. It's delicious already, but destined to improve. Drink some now, and put away some to taste between 2018 and 2025.Lia's Vineyard9450OregonChehalem MountainsWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine J. Christopher 2012 Lia's Vineyard Pinot Noir (Chehalem Mountains)Pinot NoirJ. Christopher
1580515804ChilePear and vanilla aromas are what you'd call basic, and there's a briney note as well. Feels about medium, with mild acidity and a dilute quality to the palate feel. Tastes of lime and green banana, with brine and fresh bell pepper thrown in.8510Central ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachoops 2010 Chardonnay (Central Valley)Chardonnayoops
1580615805USToo oaky-sweet, with buttered toast, honey and buttered popcorn flavors overwhelming the natural pineapples and tropical fruits. Lots of people will like it, but for purists, it's too much of a good thing.8526CaliforniaSanta Maria ValleyCentral CoastRiverbench 2009 Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley)ChardonnayRiverbench
1580715806USCurious on the nose with whiffs of watermelon candy and a touch of resin, this medium-bodied, late-harvest Chardonnay is densely concentrated on the palate with a distinctly tropical mango and pineapple profile. Finishes with blossomy, floral flair.8515New YorkSeneca LakeFinger LakesAnna Lee C. IijimaRock Stream 2009 Chardonnay (Seneca Lake)ChardonnayRock Stream
1580815807USSaline and sea breeze notes brighten soft, sweet vanilla and caramel flavors on this rich, oaky Finger Lakes Chard. Supple in texture, it's languid character gets a hit of verve from bright acidity on the midpalate.Reserve8520New YorkFinger LakesFinger LakesAnna Lee C. IijimaStanding Stone 2008 Reserve Chardonnay (Finger Lakes)ChardonnayStanding Stone
1580915808USThis easy-drinking Merlot has enough cherry, spice and smoky oak flavors to satisfy wine drinkers looking for a decent red. Earns extra points for the long finish.Vintner's Collection8515CaliforniaCentral CoastCentral CoastSterling 2009 Vintner's Collection Merlot (Central Coast)MerlotSterling
1581015809ChileBrambly plum and leafy berry aromas are quite typical of value-priced Chilean Merlot. The wine has a good mouthfeel and solid structure, with bright but basic berry fruit flavors. Short and generic on the finish. Good for the price.859Maule ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachSundance 2010 Merlot (Maule Valley)MerlotSundance

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