Wine Reviews

1710117100USConcentrated violets, cherry blossoms and cola aromas show on this wine by master sommelier Paolo Barbieri (who works in the cellar of friend Joey Tensley) that gets 5% Viognier added to the mix. Flavors are dense and broadly approachable, with blackberries, black cherries and purple flower elements.Anonymus9250CaliforniaSanta Barbara CountyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannBarbieri 2010 Anonymus Syrah (Santa Barbara County)SyrahBarbieri
1710217101USJuicy blackberry, cherry and leathery tannins characterize this full-bodied, dense and complex wine, which is velvety-smooth on the palate. Though the fruit is nicely developed and full figured, the tannins should continue to integrate with more time in the bottle. Cellar through 2022.9280CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneBlack Cordon 2012 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonBlack Cordon
1710317102USThis blend of grapes from four vineyards—48% Alamo Creek, 18% Bien Nacido, 18% Spanish Springs and 16% Ventana—offers dense berries and smoke on the nose as well as black pepper and tar. The tar shows strongly on the palate, as do blackberry blossoms and denser black pepper spice.Le Posseur9226CaliforniaCentral CoastCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannBonny Doon 2012 Le Posseur Syrah (Central Coast)SyrahBonny Doon
1710417103FranceThis wine is still young, very fresh in its crisp acidity and lemon and grapefruit flavors. It has the potential to age well, with an underlay of tension between fruit and mineral texture. It is complex, structured and needs to mature further. Drink from 2018.Tsarine Millésime Brut9260ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerChanoine 2009 Tsarine Millésime Brut (Champagne)Champagne BlendChanoine
1710517104PortugalThis is a rich, smooth wine that has ripe fruit and plenty of smooth plum flavors. It has some spice, balanced acidity and a fine dense texture. The wine, with its fresh aftertaste is ready to drink.Late Bottled Vintage9218PortRoger Voss@vossrogerQuarles Harris 2010 Late Bottled Vintage (Port)PortQuarles Harris
1710617105FrancePerfumed, subtle apple notes unfold on the creamy, biscuity palate. This is rounded but fresh, generous but shows tension. A central seam of acidity keeps the dry palate very supple and lets the purity of this wine speak clearly. The mousse is somewhere between creamy and frothy and thus very invigorating.9224AlsaceCrémant d'AlsaceAnne Krebiehl MW@AnneInVinoRené Muré NV Sparkling (Crémant d'Alsace)Sparkling BlendRené Muré
1710717106SpainSavory oak, tobacco, vanilla and blackberry aromas create a nice opening. This feels tight and structured, with firm tannins. Flavors of savory oak, turned earth, blackberry and cassis end with smoky echoes of barrel spice and resin. Drink through 2022.Crianza9235Northern SpainRibera del DueroMichael Schachner@wineschachResalte 2011 Crianza (Ribera del Duero)TempranilloResalte
1710817107USFrom a warm site in the heart of St. Helena's valley floor, this is a restrained, elegant version of a powerfully built wine, thick in tannin and yet nonetheless able to speak its mind. Mushroom aromas give it a Pinot Noir-esque personality at first, before layers of red and black berry provide sultry, juicy texture and flavor. The finish is chewy, asking for more time. Cellar through 2023.Varozza Vineyard9248CaliforniaSt. HelenaNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneRobert Biale 2013 Varozza Vineyard Zinfandel (St. Helena)ZinfandelRobert Biale
1710917108USFrom an area better known for red wines, this bottling by Paso Robles-based Jeremy Weintraub shows the strong white wine potential of this new Santa Barbara County appellation. Aromas of peach, cherimoya and white truffle cream lead into a waxy, restrained palate that shows golden flesh fruit, beeswax, a bit of yogurt and a minerally snap.Larner Vineyard9240CaliforniaBallard CanyonCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannSite 2013 Larner Vineyard Viognier (Ballard Canyon)ViognierSite
1711017109USSpicy, fruity and fresh, this hearty vineyard-designate is high-toned in red cherry and citrus, well-integrated and softly layered, with a blistering note of tannic power on the finish. Drink now through 2020.Hallberg Vineyard9248CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneJoseph Jewell 2012 Hallberg Vineyard Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirJoseph Jewell
1711117110USA complex blend of 76% Zinfandel, 13% Petite Sirah, 6% Mourvèdre and 5% Syrah, this opens with hints of raisins and Ruby Port, a reflection of the near-16% alcohol. But the wine is neither jammy nor hot, and the flavors bring concentrated raspberry and cherry compote, surprising acidity, and some intense herbal and stem highlights. All in all a big, chunky, potent wine that captures the distinctive style of this unique mini-micro winery.8825WashingtonWashingtonWashington OtherPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Animale 2010 Zinfandel (Washington)ZinfandelAnimale
1711217111USVery ripe and fruity, offering wave after wave of pineapple, orange, mango, peach, green apple and vanilla. Tastes honeyed and ripe in fruity essence, but fundamentally this is a dry wine. Brilliant acidity helps to provide a clean balance.Teresa's Unoaked Estate8820CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaBalletto 2011 Teresa's Unoaked Estate Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayBalletto
1711317112SpainWith full-force aromas of leather, blackberry and licorice, this Levante blend is an aggressive wine with a tight, acidic body and racy flavors of cherry and tart plum. It's forward and pushy, with rawness, plenty of acidity on the finish, and flavors that take on a dark character.Sierva8827LevanteJumillaMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Carchelo 2010 Sierva Red (Jumilla)Red BlendBodegas Carchelo
1711417113FranceCrisp and fruity, this is a classic rosé. It shows a lightness that comes from the delicately handled fruits, giving gentle berry flavors, bright acidity and a textured aftertaste.8820ProvenceCôtes de ProvenceRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau l'Afrique 2012 Rosé (Côtes de Provence)RoséChâteau l'Afrique
1711517114FranceA firm, still young wine, wearing its tannins right up front. The berry and black plum fruits are there in the background along with considerable weight. The wine, rich and full, will develop over the next 2–3 years.8812BordeauxBordeauxRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau les Ancres 2010 BordeauxBordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau les Ancres
1711617115USEnormously fruity and ripe, this Cab explodes with blackberry, blueberry, currant, and chocolate flavors that can only develop in a warm region. Yet there's enough of an acid-tannin structure to give it balance. Try pairing with steak with a gorgonzola cream sauce.Reserve8884CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastChateau Margene 2009 Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles)Cabernet SauvignonChateau Margene
1711717116USAmazingly ripe and sweet with blackberry jam, chocolate, cassis liqueur and oak. It's almost porty in its decadence, but what this blend of Cabernet Sauvignon and Petit Verdot lacks in subtlety, it more than makes up for in sheer power. Drink now–2015.L'Insolent8895CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastClos Solène 2010 L'Insolent Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles)Cabernet SauvignonClos Solène
1711817117USWinemaker Greg Morthole plays all the bells and whistles on this Burgundian-style Chardonnay. Barrel fermentation brings toast and sweet vanilla to the tropical fruit and green apple flavors, while the full malolactic fermentation adds notes of buttered popcorn. The acidity is racy and clean.River West Vineyard8830CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaDavis Bynum 2011 River West Vineyard Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayDavis Bynum
1711917118USRound, soft and approachable now in the California style, with ripe cherry, licorice, mocha and brown sugar flavors that last long, with a spicy finish. Defines the delicious, drink-me-now style of a young red wine.Bee Bee's Blend Estate8842CaliforniaCalistogaNapaEnvy 2010 Bee Bee's Blend Estate Red (Calistoga)Red BlendEnvy
1712017119ItalyThis plush Montepulciano is aged 15 months in oak barrel to deliver nicely executed tones of spice and chocolate at the back of blackberry and bold cherry. There is a touch of bitter fruit on the close that will pair next to cheesy lasagna.Riserva8823Central ItalyMontepulciano d'AbruzzoFattoria Giuseppe Savini 2007 Riserva (Montepulciano d'Abruzzo)MontepulcianoFattoria Giuseppe Savini
1712117120SpainThis is dark as night, with boysenberry, blackberry, animal fur and smooth oak aromas. For $10, it's bringing all sorts of power and quality, like oak-influenced flavors of vanilla, chocolate, blackberry and cassis. On the finish, this is full and smacks down with tannic grab.Tinto8810Northern SpainCalatayudMichael Schachner@wineschachFigaro 2011 Tinto Red (Calatayud)Red BlendFigaro
1712217121SpainThis focused, crisp Tempranillo from a nice, warm vintage offers a mix of fresh plum, raspberry, vanilla and spice on the bouquet. It's honest and correct in the mouth, with plum, cherry, dry spice and light oak flavors. A clean, mellow finish is an appropriate ending for this midtier Rioja.Cantos de Valpiedra8820Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachFinca Valpiedra 2009 Cantos de Valpiedra (Rioja)TempranilloFinca Valpiedra
1712317122USThis wine is direct and candied, with cherry and raspberry jam and and sweet oak flavors, but brightened with crisp acidity. A very good Pinot, but pricey for the quality. Keep in mind that this is not one of Rochioli's vineyard-designated bottlings.8779CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaJ. Rochioli 2011 Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirJ. Rochioli
1712417123USKimmel's Merlot is satisfying in dark cherry, vanilla and a streak of toasted coconut. Its finish is long and textured, and the wine should have a lengthy shelf life of 3–7 years more at least.8738CaliforniaMendocino CountyVirginie Boone@vbooneKimmel 2010 Merlot (Mendocino County)MerlotKimmel
1712517124SpainWith savory, leafy, balsamic aromas, this is good but sedentary on the nose. In the mouth, it's full but a little flat, with a mild pulse and meaty, balsamic flavors of earthy berry and prune. A short, earthy finish closes it out.Gran Reserva8740Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachMarques de Tomares 2001 Gran Reserva (Rioja)Tempranillo BlendMarques de Tomares
1712617125USIntensely fruity and ripe, with a fine edge of acidity and minerals. The orange, honey and nectarine flavors have a savory tang of gooseberry.Willowside8718CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaMerriam 2012 Willowside Sauvignon Blanc (Russian River Valley)Sauvignon BlancMerriam
1712717126USLush and fruit forward, Rapture, whose motto is “Don't be left behind!” is full bodied but soft, with leather and herb tones and a smoky finish. Blended with a smidgen of Petite Sirah and reaching 14.9% abv, it tastes every bit of that, with a smoky finish of oak.Rapture8759CaliforniaLodiCentral ValleyVirginie Boone@vbooneMichael David 2010 Rapture Cabernet Sauvignon (Lodi)Cabernet SauvignonMichael David
1712817127AustriaA field blend that's an Austrian tradition. It's a delicious, precocious mouth full with its apple acidity and fresh pink grapefruit flavors. It's a pleasure to drink now as an aperitif wine. Screwcap.Gemischter Satz87SüdoststeiermarkRoger Voss@vossrogerNeumeister 2011 Gemischter Satz White (Südoststeiermark)Austrian white blendNeumeister
1712917128ItalyThis is a standard Cabernet Sauvignon that sees oak aging for added layers of spice and toast. At the core is a solid base of red fruit and blackberry with easy endnotes of licorice and dried spice.Magnificat8738Central ItalyForlìDrei Donà Tenuta La Palazza 2008 Magnificat Cabernet Sauvignon (Forlì)Cabernet SauvignonDrei Donà Tenuta La Palazza
1713017129ItalyNotturno is an easy-drinking Sangiovese that delivers ripe fruit, prune and a dark garnet color. There's a darker, flatter and bolder quality to the grape farmed in the Forlì area of Emilia-Romagna compared to the same grape in Tuscany.Notturno8717Central ItalyForlìDrei Donà Tenuta La Palazza 2010 Notturno Sangiovese (Forlì)SangioveseDrei Donà Tenuta La Palazza

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