Wine Reviews

1980119800USThis Super-Tuscan-style wine won't be confused as anything from Tuscany. It's soft, tannic and very fruity, with a sugary finish. Bring on the hamburgers.Sassolino8324CaliforniaCienega ValleyCentral CoastPietra Santa 2009 Sassolino Sangiovese-Cabernet Sauvignon (Cienega Valley)Sangiovese-Cabernet SauvignonPietra Santa
1980219801SpainThe aromas on this wine are borderline offputting, with petrol and diesel exhaust leading the way. It's a viscous, blowsy offering with 15% abv and powdery, sugary flavors of melon and tropical fruits, particularly banana. Heat and bitterness control the finish.Moscatel de la Marina8320LevanteAlicanteMichael Schachner@wineschachEnrique Mendoza 2011 Moscatel de la Marina Moscatel (Alicante)MoscatelEnrique Mendoza
1980319802SpainThis overpriced Cava is all about the packaging and not much about the quality of the wine in the bottle. It smells acrid and burnt, and while the mouthfeel is fine, it tastes sulfuric and dried out, with a bitter finish. And that's not saying anything about the gold glitter flakes that float throughout this weird, pricey Cava.Brut Gold8370Spain OtherSpainMichael Schachner@wineschachAntier NV Brut Gold Sparkling (Spain)Sparkling BlendAntier
1980419803ArgentinaThis is pricey for what you get. It's a blend of 50% Riesling with 40% Albariño and 10% Sauvignon, and frankly it smells a bit oily and stalky, while the palate is soft and the flavors suggest underripe green melon and apple. On the finish, it's a bit green.Tiara8330Mendoza ProvinceLuján de CuyoMichael Schachner@wineschachViña Alicia 2011 Tiara White (Luján de Cuyo)White BlendViña Alicia
1980519804ChileThe oak on this basic Cab offers a nose that is pasty and lactic, while the palate and finish are resiny. In between, there are rubbery tannins, berry fruit flavors and a lot of vanilla and carob.8312Central ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachCono Sur 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Central Valley)Cabernet SauvignonCono Sur
1980619805SpainNormally I'm a fan of Juvé y Camps. This bottling is bland on the nose, with a cleaning-solution aroma. The palate is foamy in feel and short in flavor, with a strange blend of bitter lettuce, brine and green herbs. Frankly, it's not up to par, a possible reflection of the below-average 2008 vintage.Brut Nature Gran Reserva Reserva de la Familia8317CataloniaCavaMichael Schachner@wineschachJuvé y Camps 2008 Brut Nature Gran Reserva Reserva de la Familia Sparkling (Cava)Sparkling BlendJuvé y Camps
1980719806ChileThis inky, unfiltered Merlot is a chore to get through. For starters, the saturated bouquet is murky and less than fresh. In the mouth, expect a blocky, extracted mouthfeel and roasted flavors of herbal berry and raisin. Lastly, there's a tannic grab as well as particles and chunks floating about.Unfiltered8315Casablanca ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachLoma Larga 2009 Unfiltered Merlot (Casablanca Valley)MerlotLoma Larga
1980819807FranceThis is a soft, unfocused wine that only hints at fruitiness. It is rounded and full bodied, with a touch of pepper as well as lemon zest acidity at the end.Brut d'Argent Brut Blanc de Blancs8314France OtherVin MousseuxRoger Voss@vossrogerLa Cheteau NV Brut d'Argent Brut Blanc de Blancs Sparkling (Vin Mousseux)Sparkling BlendLa Cheteau
1980919808USOther than being very sweet, this dessert wine has little to recommend it. It's soft and rich in white sugar flavors, with traces of oranges, red currants, chocolate and anise. High alcohol gives it a peppery burn.Black Magic Late Harvest8320CaliforniaSonoma CountySonomaCarol Shelton NV Black Magic Late Harvest Zinfandel (Sonoma County)ZinfandelCarol Shelton
1981019809ArgentinaAlmost citrusy aromas of candied berry are jammy and unconvincing. The mouth is narrow and pinched in feel, with herbal, wiry berry flavors that finish minty and hot.Reserva8313Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachFat Gaucho 2010 Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza)Cabernet SauvignonFat Gaucho
1981119810ChileGiven the $27 price, this “limited edition” Sauvignon is lacking in many places. The nose is challenging, with a strong scent of bathroom cleanser, while the palate delivers acid and citrusy flavors but no middle tier. On the finish, it's like scallions and tarragon, with cutting acidity.Bill Limited Edition8327Casablanca ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachWilliam Cole 2011 Bill Limited Edition Sauvignon Blanc (Casablanca Valley)Sauvignon BlancWilliam Cole
1981219811ChileFunky on the nose, then tangy and briny in the mouth, with lemon, green notes and pickled flavors that lose clarity and fruit content with airing. This tastes green, ashy and stretched on the finish. Not a good value at $45.Brut Nature8345Casablanca ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachMorandé NV Brut Nature Sparkling (Casablanca Valley)Sparkling BlendMorandé
1981319812ChileInitially this smells perfumed and powdery, like a grande dame preparing to go out for the night. On deeper inspection, it smells grassy and citrusy, then tastes and feels dilute. At best this is a quaffing wine due to minimal character but good acidity.Albamar8312Casablanca ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachWilliam Cole 2012 Albamar Sauvignon Blanc (Casablanca Valley)Sauvignon BlancWilliam Cole
1981419813USA whiff of leather opens this wine, which is well along its aging curve. There's a bitter edge to the tannins, along with some rounded cherry cola flavors.8338OregonWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Lazy River 2007 Pinot NoirPinot NoirLazy River
1981519814USA simple wine, soft and candied, with raspberry and cherry flavors. It's a Rhône-style blend based on Syrah.Rendezvous Halter Ranch8332CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastChateau Lettau 2010 Rendezvous Halter Ranch Red (Paso Robles)Rhône-style Red BlendChateau Lettau
1981619815USVery pale, almost transparent, despite alcohol over 14% abv, this very light, citrusy wine carries a background flavor of vitamin pill, and feels a bit flat in the mouth.8319OregonRogue ValleySouthern OregonPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Ledger David 2011 Sauvignon Blanc (Rogue Valley)Sauvignon BlancLedger David
1981719816ChileTake a cool year like 2010—which is tough to begin with—on a late ripener like Cabernet, and throw in a ton of char and burnt oak, and what you get is a wine that smells like a smoldering campfire. The palate is tannic, while roasted flavors of charred black fruits and burning wood end with molasses.Gran Reserva8320Colchagua ValleyMichael Schachner@wineschachTerraNoble 2010 Gran Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley)Cabernet SauvignonTerraNoble
1981819817ArgentinaSmoky and dark, with serious aromas of black licorice, earth and lush berry. The palate has a great feel to it along with huge flavors of cassis, blackberry, black peppercorn, coffee and sweet coconut. It's stellar from front to back, with coffee, mocha and silky tannins on the finish. Composed of 60% Malbec with 35% Cabernet Sauvignon and small parts Tannat and Petit Verdot. Drink now through 2013.Amano Remolinos Vineyard9350Mendoza ProvinceAgreloMichael Schachner@wineschachFinca Decero 2007 Amano Remolinos Vineyard Red (Agrelo)Red BlendFinca Decero
1981919818FranceA powerful wine, packed with solid tannins, giving rich fruit over the hard, youthful structure. Black tannins and complex bitter chocolate and acidity suggest this is a wine that still needs time to knit together. The final is big and generous.93BurgundyGrands-EchezeauxRoger Voss@vossrogerHenri de Villamont 2007 Grands-EchezeauxPinot NoirHenri de Villamont
1982019819FranceLuscious and seriously structured, this is a wine that offers the dense texture of a Gevrey Grand Cru vineyard. It has rich fruit, touched by chocolate and licorice, as well as ripe black fruits. For aging over 4–5 years and more.93BurgundyMazis-ChambertinRoger Voss@vossrogerHenri de Villamont 2007 Mazis-ChambertinPinot NoirHenri de Villamont
1982119820FranceFoursquare, almost chunky, the tannins dominate black fruits, dark chocolate and spice flavors. There is considerable concentration here, along with initial high acidity. Straight from bottling, the fruit is subdued. The weight of the wine, though, confirms that this is going to be a powerhouse.93279BurgundyEchézeauxRoger Voss@vossrogerLouis Latour 2008 EchézeauxPinot NoirLouis Latour
1982219821AustriaRegarded as a Styrian Grand Cru, the Kranachberg produces landmark Sauvignon Blanc. In the hands of Wilhelm Sattler, the richness of the fruit, with its almost tropical spice element, is tinged with elegance as well as great concentration. There is a fresh, racy aftertaste.Kranachberg9345SüdsteiermarkRoger Voss@vossrogerSattlerhof 2008 Kranachberg Sauvignon Blanc (Südsteiermark)Sauvignon BlancSattlerhof
1982319822FranceFirm and solid, this is a wine marked by blackberries, solid and dense tannins. The concentration will bring all the elements together to give an important wine, while never losing the 2008 acidity.Les Porrets St.-Georges Premier Cru93BurgundyNuits-St.-GeorgesRoger Voss@vossrogerBouchard Père & Fils 2008 Les Porrets St.-Georges Premier Cru (Nuits-St.-Georges)Pinot NoirBouchard Père & Fils
1982419823ItalyCantine Barbera has produced a beautiful Passito dessert wine that shows feminine harmony and balance. The natural intensity is here; Aromas of apricot, honey, candied fruit and almond paste emerge with confidence from the nose. In the mouth, the wine is particularly sweet and smooth.Albamarina93Sicily & SardiniaSiciliaCantine Barbera 2008 Albamarina White (Sicilia)White BlendCantine Barbera
1982519824FranceSoft and ripe, with a sprinkling of pepper and spice, this is a rich, gentle wine. The tannins are open, lying under the lively black and red berry fruits. It will age over the next few years, but is not for the long-term.Les Epenots Premier Cru93BurgundyPommardRoger Voss@vossrogerDomaine Parent 2007 Les Epenots Premier Cru (Pommard)Pinot NoirDomaine Parent
1982619825ItalyFrom the distant 1994 vintage, this Vin Santo blend of Trebbiano and Malvasia has been aged an astonishing 15 years in small oak barrel. You can detect some of that evolution on the bouquet thanks to aromas of dried apricot, marron glacé, maple syrup and candied fruit with cinnamon spice. It's a sweet, thick wine with great intensity and the potential to age many more years to come.Riserva93140TuscanyVin Santo del Chianti RufinaFattoria di Grignano 1994 Riserva (Vin Santo del Chianti Rufina)White BlendFattoria di Grignano
1982719826USBig, round and lush, this is the fourth vintage for this wine, one of the best Chardonnays in Washington state. In this vintage it did not go through full malolactic, leaving a nice underlying acidity with a leesy, creamy freshness. Golden apples, stone fruits and a lick of butterscotch add to the luscious, generous finish.Big Sissy Conner Lee Vineyard9335WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Gorman 2009 Big Sissy Conner Lee Vineyard Chardonnay (Columbia Valley (WA))ChardonnayGorman
1982819827FranceA powerful wine, offering a dark, textured view of Clos de Vougeot. It is muscular, packed with ripe fruit and a layer of spice and wood. Black plums and prunes provide extra, delicious flavors.93BurgundyClos de VougeotRoger Voss@vossrogerHenri de Villamont 2007 Clos de VougeotPinot NoirHenri de Villamont
1982919828FranceRelatively light and fruity with tight tannins. The wine has fresh acidity that still dominates the texture. There is a delicious spicy element that edges around the tannic core. It seems firm, not yet ready to soften into middle age.Clos Saint-Jacques Premier Cru93BurgundyGevrey-ChambertinRoger Voss@vossrogerLouis Jadot 2004 Clos Saint-Jacques Premier Cru (Gevrey-Chambertin)Pinot NoirLouis Jadot
1983019829USA stunningly good, young Cabernet, marked by rich, ripe flavors of blackberries, black currant and cedar flavors, wrapped into strong but fine tannins. Lovely and sweet now, with some decanting, and should develop bottle complexity over the next 6–8 years.9365CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaMaterra Cunat Family Vineyards 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonMaterra Cunat Family Vineyards

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