Wine Reviews

17111710USThis Central Coast vineyard has produced an extraordinarily rich, vibrant Viognier, brimming with tropical fruit, wildflower, honey and vanilla-spice flavors. It benefits from crisp acidity, and finishes clean and off-dry.Vista Verde Vineyard8625CaliforniaSan Benito CountyCentral CoastVinum Cellars 2006 Vista Verde Vineyard Viognier (San Benito County)ViognierVinum Cellars
17121711SpainWhile we'd suggest waiting for the 2007 to hit the market, this softer-styled wine is showing mature melon, tropical fruit and bee's wax aromas in front of mild citrus, lemon and pineapple flavors. It has a medium-weight body and almost a honeyed roundness. Drink now.8510Northern SpainRuedaMichael Schachner@wineschachAnalivia 2006 Verdejo (Rueda)VerdejoAnalivia
17131712AustraliaSeems almost sweet, with cherry and chocolate flavors that dominate the palate. Drink now.8520South AustraliaMcLaren ValeJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzBattle of Bosworth 2005 Shiraz-Viognier (McLaren Vale)Shiraz-ViognierBattle of Bosworth
17141713ItalyThis Sangiovese from a hot vintage definitely seems past its peak. It has a very sweet-smelling, cherry-driven nose with a touch of marmalade that is blasted by a sudden rush of oak wood.Birba8529TuscanyToscanaLa Gerla 2003 Birba Sangiovese Grosso (Toscana)Sangiovese GrossoLa Gerla
17151714PortugalA firm wine, with dark chocolate and coffee flavors. The fruit flavors are dark fig and stewed plums; there is a bitter edge to the tannins.Reserva8520DouroRoger Voss@vossrogerQuinta do Grifo 2004 Reserva Red (Douro)Portuguese RedQuinta do Grifo
17161715IsraelRaspberry and cherry mingle with essence of mocha, tomato and pepper. Solid structure, full flavors and smooth tannins create a clean yet gripping texture, finishing strong and lengthy.Kosher Reserve8523GalileeLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzRecanati 2004 Kosher Reserve Shiraz (Galilee)ShirazRecanati
17171716USHere's a likeable Chard, with peach, pear and fig flavors that have a distinctly herbal edge, like dried sage. Turns buttery and vanilla-y on the finish.8519CaliforniaCarnerosNapa-SonomaSt. Clement 2006 Chardonnay (Carneros)ChardonnaySt. Clement
17181717PortugalA soft, lightly sweet style of rosé, flavored with strawberries and a touch of caramel. Fresh, and flavorful, with balancing acidity, this is a good apéritif wine.8511RibatejanoRoger Voss@vossrogerQuinta da Alorna 2006 Touriga Nacional (Ribatejano)Touriga NacionalQuinta da Alorna
17191718SpainThis wine is a “product” in every sense of the word. It's consistent from year to year, and if you know Esmeralda, with its sweet blend of Moscatel and Gewürz, then you know that it delivers simple but pleasant lime, kiwi and cantaloupe flavors with a certain watery freshness.Viña Esmeralda8515CataloniaCatalunyaMichael Schachner@wineschachTorres 2006 Viña Esmeralda Moscatel (Catalunya)MoscatelTorres
17201719USWith a honeyed edge of sweetness to the pineapple and lime flavors, this wine also has a zesty acidity that makes it finish with mouthwatering cleanness. It's easy to like, a nice late afternoon cocktail sipper, and good with baked ham or pot stickers.8510CaliforniaLodiCentral ValleyRenwood 2006 Pinot Grigio (Lodi)Pinot GrigioRenwood
17211720SpainClean, wet, a bit sweet and rather formulaic, this Verdejo has a soft, chummy personality and seemingly more than a dash of residual sugar. Still, it manages to push tasty apple cider, papaya and other fuller-bodied, less acidic flavors.8510Central SpainVino de la Tierra de CastillaMichael Schachner@wineschachTapeña 2006 Verdejo (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla)VerdejoTapeña
17221721SpainThe winery has dialed back the time in oak for its barrel-fermented Viura to two months from five or six, and it's a decidedly less oaky wine than in years prior. Now it shows a controlled lees character along with lemon and apple flavors. Limited in what it offers, but made well.Blanco Fermentado en Barrica858Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachMarqués de Cáceres 2006 Blanco Fermentado en Barrica White (Rioja)White BlendMarqués de Cáceres
17231722SpainWhite raisin and touches of lettuce and celery give this multigrape blend some richness but also a bit of green character. The palate shows lemon, green apple and pineapple, and this lean quality is confirmed by the wine's modest 11% alcohol level. Drink now to catch it at its scouring, sorbet-like best.Versatus8510GaliciaRibeiroMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Campante 2006 Versatus White (Ribeiro)White BlendBodegas Campante
17241723AustraliaTart blackberry and vanilla flavors mark this bold Shiraz that shows its 14.5% alcohol. There's a rubbery note on the nose that's a bit distracting but should be taken care of by a quick decanting, while black olive and coffee notes emerge on the slightly warm finish.Nine Gums Vineyard8530South AustraliaMcLaren ValeJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzBrick Road 2005 Nine Gums Vineyard Shiraz (McLaren Vale)ShirazBrick Road
17251724USThe earthy spice character of this masculine but poised Pinot makes it a unique and stylish pick for red wine lovers. Flavors are balanced, the acids are in check and the finish is delicate but spicy. Overall, a nice wine with class.Barrel Select8522PennsylvaniaPennsylvaniaSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaChaddsford 2005 Barrel Select Pinot Noir (Pennsylvania)Pinot NoirChaddsford
17261725USLayers of round, appealing Chardonnay aromas lead into this nicely balanced offering from New York. Earthy spice and good acidity give the wine both complexity and elegance, and the finish is lengthy. A good wine for solo sips or pairing with poultry and fish.8518New YorkNew YorkNew York OtherSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaVentosa 2005 Chardonnay (New York)ChardonnayVentosa
17271726SpainFor classic Rioja, Monte Real is always a good bet. This offering delivers textbook aromas of dried raspberry and cherry offset by fallen leaves and a pinch of seashell. The palate is still quite fresh, while black cherry, raisin, spice and cocoa flavors finish smooth and long, with a touch of oxidation and a Sherry note for added complexity. Drink through 2022.Monte Real Gran Reserva9247Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Riojanas 2006 Monte Real Gran Reserva (Rioja)TempranilloBodegas Riojanas
17281727FranceLaced with acidity, this is a complex, structured wine with great freshness as well as a dry core of botrytis. It has a rich potential, closed at the moment but holding dense texture and balance between lemon and honey. Drink from 2019.92BordeauxSauternesRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau de Malle 2011 SauternesBordeaux-style White BlendChâteau de Malle
17291728USComing from an extreme coastal vineyard three miles north of Cambria, this cool-climate study offers aromas of blistered cherry tomatoes, Eastern European goulash spices and crushed peppercorns of all colors. It's fresh and lively on the palate, with hints of rose and tart raspberry. At the same time, it's quite vegetal, with green notes that will evolve into more balanced umami flavors from 2017 to 2022.Steiner Creek Vineyard9248CaliforniaSan Luis Obispo CountyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannPresqu'ile 2012 Steiner Creek Vineyard Pinot Noir (San Luis Obispo County)Pinot NoirPresqu'ile
17301729USFrom a vineyard 1,700 feet above the small town of Corralitos comes this tasty wine that begins with aromas of smoked apple, lemon zest, honeysuckle and sea salt, as well as a struck-match element. The palate shows flavors of fresh apple, chamomile and a dusting of crushed vanilla, all set against a chalky grip.Split Rail Vineyard9230CaliforniaSanta Cruz MountainsCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannSante Arcangeli 2013 Split Rail Vineyard Chardonnay (Santa Cruz Mountains)ChardonnaySante Arcangeli
17311730USA blend of fruit sources used for the winery's three single-vineyard wines, this bottling saw no new oak and is light golden in color with reserved notes of mineral, almond, pineapple and lees. Full bodied, rich and layered with a creamy feel, it's appealing now but should have a long life ahead.Uncovered9235WashingtonWashingtonWashington OtherSean P. Sullivan@wawinereportSixto 2012 Uncovered Chardonnay (Washington)ChardonnaySixto
17321731USThis blend of Syrah, Mourvèdre, Carignan, Counoise, Grenache and Cinsault immediately appeals with its aromas of plum, candied raspberry and garrigue, with no oak influence anywhere in sight. It's fruit laden, focused and supple, with a feel that dazzles the senses and pure fruit flavors that just won't quit.Subduction9220WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleySean P. Sullivan@wawinereportSyncline 2013 Subduction Red (Columbia Valley (WA))Rhône-style Red BlendSyncline
17331732ItalyClassic Sangiovese aromas of underbrush, pressed powder, violet and wild berry mingle in the glass. The vibrant palate offers layers of black cherry, dried red cherry, white pepper, truffle and savory herb alongside firm but refined tannins and bright acidity. This is all about polish and finesse. Drink 2018–2028.9290TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeLambardi 2010 Brunello di MontalcinoSangioveseLambardi
17341733FranceRounded and rich, this generous, full-bodied wine comes from a single parcel in the heart of Saint-Émilion. Black fruits are structured with dense tannins and a firm tension between ripeness and dryness. The wine is powerful, finishing with pepper and spice. Drink from 2018.92135BordeauxSaint-ÉmilionRoger Voss@vossrogerLe Carré 2012 Saint-ÉmilionBordeaux-style Red BlendLe Carré
17351734USWhereas many Syrahs from this vintage from the Rocks District show more fruit than usual, this wine is clearly rooted in the stones. It's aromatically expressive with black olive, crushed flowers, mineral, black pepper and an earthy funk. Flavors are silky soft in feel, with a well-balanced mixture of fruit and savory notes that leads to a lingering finish.Some Days Are Stones Stoney Vine Vineyard9240WashingtonWalla Walla Valley (WA)Columbia ValleySean P. Sullivan@wawinereportTwo Vintners 2012 Some Days Are Stones Stoney Vine Vineyard Syrah (Walla Walla Valley (WA))SyrahTwo Vintners
17361735USThis blend of Les Collines (60%), Lewis (20%) and Portteus (20%) vineyards, which saw 25% new French oak, offers blueberry and huckleberry along with herb and dark chocolate accents. It's supple and soft in feel, deft but with depth to the fruit flavors.9240WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleySean P. Sullivan@wawinereportVa Piano 2012 Syrah (Columbia Valley (WA))SyrahVa Piano
17371736ItalyThis opens with an enticing fragrance of rose, violet, dark berry and underbrush. The firm palate delivers juicy wild cherry, cinnamon and star anise alongside firm but fine-grained tannins and bright acidity. Drink 2018–2028.Ugolforte9250TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeTenuta San Giorgio 2010 Ugolforte (Brunello di Montalcino)SangioveseTenuta San Giorgio
17381737USIan Brand explores fringe growing regions to deliver well-priced and fun wines for this label. This shows aromas of tight nectarine and Granny Smith apple, and the flavors are laser-focused with apple skins, yellow grapefruit pith and steely gunmetal. Its intense energy is a little wound up now, but will blossom with time.Jack's Hill9222CaliforniaMonterey CountyCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannLe P'tit Paysan 2013 Jack's Hill Chardonnay (Monterey County)ChardonnayLe P'tit Paysan
17391738ItalyAromas of tilled earth, leafy forest floor, porcini mushroom, truffle and ripe berry lead the nose. The palate offers wild cherry layered with medicinal herb, black pepper and grilled sage supported by firm tannins. It's still young and a bit disjointed so give it time to come together. Drink after 2018.Riserva9280TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeLisini 2008 Riserva (Brunello di Montalcino)SangioveseLisini
17401739USThe aging program for this Syrah, which comes from a vineyard near the intersection of the Carmel and Salinas valleys, results in a solidly balanced wine. Pepper, boysenberry and game consume the nose, with blackberry fruit, mint, tobacco and a greenish bitterness keeping the palate interesting.9229CaliforniaArroyo SecoCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannMesa Del Sol 2009 Syrah (Arroyo Seco)SyrahMesa Del Sol

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