Wine Reviews

1947119470South AfricaA firm and well-structured Merlot with intriguing notes of woody spice and cigar tobacco woven into the black plum and dark berry flavors. Medium weight in the mouth with gripping tannins and a long, peppery finish. Drink soon and try with braised meats or lamb shanks.8724StellenboschLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzMeerlust 2006 Merlot (Stellenbosch)MerlotMeerlust
1947219471USHints of tropical fresh fuit and flowers lends an exotic touch to this pretty wine, and on the palate, it offers balanced elements of crisp fruit and spicy oak. Not terribly complex but a friendly food wine.Unoaked8513New YorkNew YorkNew York OtherSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaHeron Hill 2006 Unoaked Chardonnay (New York)ChardonnayHeron Hill
1947319472GermanyThis is a plump Pinot Gris that does show a bit of its 13.5% alcohol. Pleasant smoke and citrus aromas give way to grapefruit and spice flavors that fade a bit quickly on the finish.Grauburgunder Trocken8528PfalzJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzKnipser 2005 Grauburgunder Trocken Pinot Gris (Pfalz)Pinot GrisKnipser
1947419473PortugalNormally grown in the Dão region, this grape needs poor soil to flourish. On its own, it makes a powerfully fruity wine packed with red fruits and some flavors of dark chocolate. The acidity is intense, and needs another few months to settle down.8511AlentejanoRoger Voss@vossrogerAdega Cooperativa de Borba 2006 Alfrocheiro (Alentejano)AlfrocheiroAdega Cooperativa de Borba
1947519474USAdelaida's basic Paso Cab is delicious and charming, a wine to enjoy with grilled meats or even a simple roast chicken. Direct in blackberry, currant and chocolate flavors, it finishes a little sweet.8530CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastAdelaida 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon (Paso Robles)Cabernet SauvignonAdelaida
1947619475USA light floral and toasty nose leads into this clean, slightly racy Chardonnay from New York. There's a touch of sweetness to the wine but it's balanced by good oak and an earthiness to the finish.Unoaked8514New YorkCayuga LakeFinger LakesSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaCayuga Ridge Estate NV Unoaked Chardonnay (Cayuga Lake)ChardonnayCayuga Ridge Estate
1947719476USCrisp and zesty in acid-rich lemongrass, lime, pineapple and fig flavors, this Sauvignon Blanc finishes clean and off-dry. Good with crab cakes with a tropical fruit and cilantro salsa.Reserve8510CaliforniaMonterey CountyCentral CoastConcannon 2006 Reserve Sauvignon Blanc (Monterey County)Sauvignon BlancConcannon
1947819477USHere's a pretty good white that you can have as an alternative to Chardonnay. It's creamy and full-bodied, with tangerine, peach custard and honeysuckle flavors. Could use greater acidity, because it's a little on the soft side.8515CaliforniaPaicinesCentral CoastDonati 2006 Pinot Blanc (Paicines)Pinot BlancDonati
1947919478SpainDusty and neutral on the nose, with a hint of wild flower and mineral to stir interest. The palate is dry despite having some size and plumpness; flavors of apple, peach and papaya are crisp and lean.Estate Bottled Dry8513CataloniaPenedèsMichael Schachner@wineschachSumarroca 2006 Estate Bottled Dry Muscat (Penedès)MuscatSumarroca
1948019479USA little too ripe and oaky for elegance, this is almost dessert-like, in the sweet vanilla, crème brûlée and pineapple jam flavors. Crisp acidity helps to balance.Keefer Ranch8519CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaNovy 2006 Keefer Ranch Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayNovy
1948119480ItalyHere's a thin, lean and easy-to-drink Sangiovese with a pretty aromatic ensemble of spice, blueberry and roasted nut.Tegole856TuscanyToscanaPiccini 2004 Tegole Sangiovese (Toscana)SangiovesePiccini
1948219481USA solid value from Meridian. Satisfies for its wealth of blackberry, currant, cherry, chocolate, vanilla and spice flavors that are wrapped into rich, sturdy tannins. Finishes with a fine, crisp scour.8510CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherMeridian 2005 Merlot (California)MerlotMeridian
1948319482USA very appealing nose of earthy spice starts this successful Chard, and leads into a full, rounded blanket of toasted oak and fruit. There's complexity here without heaviness, and the wine finishes big but pretty. Pair with richer seafood—like crab—or creamy poultry dishes.Barrel Fermented8511New YorkFinger LakesFinger LakesSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaWagner 2005 Barrel Fermented Chardonnay (Finger Lakes)ChardonnayWagner
1948419483SpainMatchstick, mushroom and licorice nib aromas add character to this fading but textured wine that struggles to offer peach and nectarine flavors. Expect additional softness with each passing month, and along the way you should only hope to salvage some citrus, white chocolate and melon notes.Gran Feudo Rosé8512Northern SpainNavarraMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Julián Chivite 2006 Gran Feudo Rosé Garnacha (Navarra)GarnachaBodegas Julián Chivite
1948519484GermanyMuch lighter in weight than many Pinot Gris on the market, this is a pretty, fruit-driven rendering of the variety, blending tropical fruit with ripe apples and hints of pink grapefruit. It's crisp and clean on the finish.Grauer Burgunder Kabinett Trocken8519PfalzJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzDr. Wehrheim 2005 Grauer Burgunder Kabinett Trocken Pinot Gris (Pfalz)Pinot GrisDr. Wehrheim
1948619485PortugalCrisp apples, touched with some sweetness, but finely clean and fresh, this is a great apéritif style of Vinho Verde, finishing with just a sparkle. Screwcap.Twin Vines859Vinho VerdeRoger Voss@vossrogerJosé Maria da Fonseca 2006 Twin Vines White (Vinho Verde)Portuguese WhiteJosé Maria da Fonseca
1948719486PortugalA full wine, balanced with an attractive citrus character and some creamy texture. There is also an edge of tannin that makes it a good, fresh, food wine.Coroa D'ouro Reserva8512DouroRoger Voss@vossrogerPoças 2006 Coroa D'ouro Reserva White (Douro)Portuguese WhitePoças
1948819487FrancePale yellow in color, this Gewürz has aromas of ripe apple, Asian pear and canteloupe complemented by flavors of fresh peach and light ginger spice. A round, somewhat fat mouthfeel followed by a crisp and peppery finish closes the wine nicely.Estate Bottled Kosher8525AlsaceAlsaceLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzAbarbanel 2006 Estate Bottled Kosher Gewurztraminer (Alsace)GewürztraminerAbarbanel
1948919488SpainInteresting and unique blends get bonus points, but in the long run this conglomeration of indigenous grapes from Mallorca is a touch too resiny and bland to really deserve a call out. But for soft melon and pithy flavors, and the fact that it's made from the obscure Prensal and Muscat, we like it well enough.Quíbia8515Spanish IslandsVi de la Terra Illes BalearsMichael Schachner@wineschachÀnima Negra 2005 Quíbia White (Vi de la Terra Illes Balears)White BlendÀnima Negra
1949019489GermanyFrankly sweet and almost flabby, with plenty of sugar, petrolly minerality and ripe pear flavors, but this wine lacks the buoyant citrusy zest needed for balance and length.Westhofener Kirchspiel Spätlese8532RheinhessenJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzGroebe 2005 Westhofener Kirchspiel Spätlese Riesling (Rheinhessen)RieslingGroebe
1949119490USThis Pinot Gris offers a distinctive mix of flavors, with apple, pear, pink grapefruit and sweet Meyer lemon all in the tangle of fruit. It's sappy and soft, but runs afoul of some mousy, bacterial flavors in the finish. Except for that, it would score much better.8518OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Capitello 2006 Pinot Gris (Willamette Valley)Pinot GrisCapitello
1949219491IsraelA dark, oaky Bordeaux blend with loads of cassis, black berries, vanilla and spice. Chewy and a touch herbal on the palate, it will soften when paired with food, especially red meat.Limited Edition Kosher8570IsraelLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzCarmel 2004 Limited Edition Kosher Red (Israel)Bordeaux-style Red BlendCarmel
1949319492USBarrel fermented and aged on the lees for almost a year, this is a nutty, slightly oily wine that shows the influence of the barrel, but lacks the fruit density to match it. The 14% alcohol hits the palate with some heat. High-toned and a bit harsh.Estate Reserve8518OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine David Hill 2006 Estate Reserve Chardonnay (Willamette Valley)ChardonnayDavid Hill
1949419493IsraelThe 16 months in French oak come through with strong aromas and flavors of coffee, chocolate and roasted coconut accented by black cherry, dark berry and cassis. The body lacks the structure to balance out the sweeter core, but the finish remains delectably loaded with mocha and sweet spice.Petit Castel Kosher8545Haut-JudeéLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzDomaine du Castel 2005 Petit Castel Kosher Red (Haut-Judeé)Bordeaux-style Red BlendDomaine du Castel
1949519494SpainMagenta-tinted and ready to go; that in a nutshell is this easy, no-oak blend of Tempranillo and Grenache. It's fruity to the max, with aromas of boysenberry and black cherry as well as similar flavors. Ripe and easy to drink.8510Northern SpainRiojaMichael Schachner@wineschachEl Circulo 2006 RiojaTempranilloEl Circulo
1949619495USNot one of the best Cabs from this venerable winery. Despite a cool vintage, there's a burnt edge to the blackberry pie filling flavors. Tasted in late 2007, the tannins are very astringent, and shut down the palate. Could show better after 2008.8538CaliforniaAlexander ValleySonomaFerrari-Carano 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander Valley)Cabernet SauvignonFerrari-Carano
1949719496USMade from Chardonnay, Sauvignon Blanc and Viognier, this fruity white shows lots of complexity for the money. It's crisp and off-dry, with citrus, peach, honeysuckle and spice flavors finished with a kiss of smoky, vanilla oak.The Other8514CaliforniaLodiCentral ValleyPeirano 2006 The Other White (Lodi)White BlendPeirano
1949819497USFresh toast, wooded spice on the nose is friendly and appealing. On the palate, it works too, with its playful balance of layered spice oak and fresh acidity. The wine will appeal to fans of both oaked and unoaked Chardonnay, and will make a nice addition to the table.8514New YorkFinger LakesFinger LakesSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaRooster Hill 2006 Chardonnay (Finger Lakes)ChardonnayRooster Hill
1949919498SpainApproach this simple Tempranillo with modest expectations and the jammy cherry aromas and flavors will strike you as pure and fresh. Complexity and style are not part of the equation, but an unoaked raspberry character, length and correct balance make it worthy.8510Central SpainVino de la Tierra de CastillaMichael Schachner@wineschachSpanish Vines NV Tempranillo (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla)TempranilloSpanish Vines
1950019499SpainA warm vintage (2006) may be causing this wine to expire prematurely, but tasted in 2008 it seems to be losing its drive. The nose has wild flower and melon aromas, while the palate shows simple apricot, pineapple and mango flavors. The tropical notes are here, but the texture is watery and as a whole it doesn't go the extra yard.8514Northern SpainRuedaMichael Schachner@wineschachBlanco Nieva 2006 Sauvignon Blanc (Rueda)Sauvignon BlancBlanco Nieva

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