Wine Reviews

2139121390USThis new Syrah from Betz is medium-bodied and displays light details of herb, olive, sage, a hint of lemon verbena, and tight red currant and berry fruit flavors. There is a pretty, finishing kiss of caramel and toasted almonds.La Côte Patriarche9155WashingtonYakima ValleyColumbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Betz Family 2007 La Côte Patriarche Syrah (Yakima Valley)SyrahBetz Family
2139221391France90—92 Barrel sample. Fresh, rich, with attractive acidity and crisp, green apple and cream flavors. Well balanced, this wine shows excellent botrytis and sweetness properly together.Barrel sample91BordeauxBarsacRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau de Myrat 2006 Barrel sample (Barsac)Bordeaux-style White BlendChâteau de Myrat
2139321392France90—92 Barrel sample. Go to this wine for freshness, crispness. It tastes like a Loire Sauvignon Blanc in its freshness, but adds to that with some toast.Barrel sample91BordeauxPessac-LéognanRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Latour-Martillac 2006 Barrel sample (Pessac-Léognan)Bordeaux-style White BlendChâteau Latour-Martillac
2139421393France90—92 Barrel sample. Vibrantly fruity wine that shows freshness. It has lift, fresh blackcurrants, layers of acidity, while the tannins hide in the background.Barrel sample91BordeauxPessac-LéognanRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Les Carmes Haut-Brion 2006 Barrel sample (Pessac-Léognan)Bordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Les Carmes Haut-Brion
2139521394France90—92 Barrel sample. Dry botrytis is the theme here, with richness rather than sweetness. Somewhere under all that dryness is acidity and flavors of sweet pears, but these are a long way off.Barrel sample91BordeauxBarsacRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Suau 2006 Barrel sample (Barsac)Bordeaux-style White BlendChâteau Suau
2139621395France90-92 Barrel sample. On the austere side initially, but then ripe fruit comes through, giving a wine that has potential power. There is a suspicion of super-ripe Merlot, a plump cushion. But the tannins will keep it together.Barrel sample91BordeauxSaint-ÉmilionRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Canon 2008 Barrel sample (Saint-Émilion)Bordeaux-style Red BlendChâteau Canon
2139721396USThe 2005 continues along the established path of this rising star winery. It's big, no holds barred, rich and jammy, and just a bit warm at 14.8% alcohol. The fruit is nicely woven together, brambly and dark, and coated with clean barrel flavors of coffee and chocolate. Everything is balanced and forward, but you get the sense that this wine is holding something back for the future.9136WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Bookwalter 2005 Merlot (Columbia Valley (WA))MerlotBookwalter
2139821397USBecause he blends shortly after fermentation, Matt Loso's wines attain a seamless complexity early on; it's a hallmark of the winery. This beautifully crafted Claret has no rough edges; in fact, no edges at all. It is a supple, elegant wine, loaded with fruit flavors that run from berry to cherry to plum, while the oak gently adds spice and toast.Claret9130WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Matthews 2004 Claret Red (Columbia Valley (WA))Red BlendMatthews
2139921398USQuite roasty-toasty, this is heavily scented with coffee and smoke. Smooth tannins surround plummy fruit, and there is enough concentration for a good, long finish. The blend includes 8% Cab Sauvignon, 4% Petit Verdot and a splash of Merlot. Just 150 cases were made.9140WashingtonWalla Walla Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Northstar 2004 Cabernet Franc (Walla Walla Valley (WA))Cabernet FrancNorthstar
2140021399USThis is top drawer—elegant, detailed and richly varietal. The fruit is tart and tangy but not sour or thin. Mixed green fruits, apple, citrus, and a lightly toasty nose set up a wine with impressive length. The midpalate richness includes ripe melon, butterscotch and cinnamon spice. It's all barrel-fermented in neutral oak. This is a real strength of the brand.Stillwater Creek Vineyard9118WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Novelty Hill 2005 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (Columbia Valley (WA))Sauvignon BlancNovelty Hill
2140121400ArgentinaA year or two ago when Paul Hobbs began consulting for Toso things changed for the better. This is the rare Best Buy that can swim with the big fish and give them a run for the money. Pop the cork and enjoy lusty dark aromas of Turkish tobacco and berry compote. In the mouth, there's a riot of fruit flavors to ponder followed by a smooth, lusty finish.Maipu Vineyards9112Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachPascual Toso 2006 Maipu Vineyards Malbec (Mendoza)MalbecPascual Toso
2140221401ItalyThis is a showcase wine for the region of Abruzzo that delivers mature notes of peach, rounded toasted notes of honey and pear. As a whole, it is harmonious and flowing and is surprisingly fresh and tonic despite the hot vintage.Marina Cvetic9150Central ItalyColline TeatineMasciarelli 2003 Marina Cvetic Chardonnay (Colline Teatine)ChardonnayMasciarelli
2140321402USI can see why so many of Washington's winemakers love this young vineyard. It is already expressing the sort of subtleties that most viticulturalists would kill for. The fruit is ripe but not too sweet or jammy. It is annotated with citrus, leaf and stem, along with streaks of smoke and herb and mineral. It's all mixed together seamlessly and focused into a firm, almost muscular style with real authority.Stillwater Creek Vineyard9128WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Novelty Hill 2004 Stillwater Creek Vineyard Syrah (Columbia Valley (WA))SyrahNovelty Hill
2140421403USAlways an interesting wine, Talbott's '03 Diamond T is so distinctive, it's almost eccentric. The candied apricots and cinnamon flavors have a baked pie-filling taste. With high acidity and a minerally edge, this Chard will develop nutty complexities over the next three to five years.Diamond T Estate9165CaliforniaMonterey CountyCentral CoastTalbott 2003 Diamond T Estate Chardonnay (Monterey County)ChardonnayTalbott
2140521404USThis is 100% Riesling, and the intense, floral aromas suggest a smattering of Gewürztraminer, at least in essence if not in fact. Beeswax, lemon candy, orange blossom and other juicy citrus components swirl around the palate, making this an exceptionally complex and beguiling wine. Though labeled dry, it carries an impression of fruit sweetness, rather than the bracing minerality of some other dry Rieslings. A wine that is almost Germanic in its attack, and a truly lovely bottle.Dry9120WashingtonYakima ValleyColumbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Apex 2006 Dry Riesling (Yakima Valley)RieslingApex
2140621405USA great Zin from Napa, this shows the classic structure of a claret, but with Zin's distinctive personality. Briary, brambly wild berries, mocha and masses of white pepper are the aromas and flavors.Kilt Lifter Brown Vineyard9132CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaCrauford 2005 Kilt Lifter Brown Vineyard Zinfandel (Napa Valley)ZinfandelCrauford
2140721406FranceYeasty, fresh-baked bread aromas, followed by an impressively fresh wine full of white fruits; white currants and pink grapefruit follow on the palate. It's well rounded with a soft aftertaste and well-balanced acidity, but there's no sign of maturity yet.Palmes d'Or91120ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerNicolas Feuillatte 1997 Palmes d'Or (Champagne)Champagne BlendNicolas Feuillatte
2140821407ItalyA blend of Sangiovese, Sagrantino, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon and Syrah, this is a wine that imparts great intensity and a wide range of aromas including red fruit, dried mint leaf, root beer and white truffle. It boasts a beautiful color, firm tannins and smoky flavors in the mouth.L'Andrea9145Central ItalyColli PeruginiCastello Monte Vibiano Vecchio 2003 L'Andrea Red (Colli Perugini)Red BlendCastello Monte Vibiano Vecchio
2140921408ArgentinaHeavily toasted and loaded with black cherry and blackberry aromas, this blend of Cabernet, Malbec and Petit Verdot pushes cola, chewy plum and black-fruit flavors. The back end is all about coffee, mocha and bitter chocolate, and as a whole this wine shows Argentina in a fine light. As for the winery, Chakana almost always gets it right.Estate Selection9125Mendoza ProvinceLuján de CuyoMichael Schachner@wineschachChakana 2004 Estate Selection Red (Luján de Cuyo)Red BlendChakana
2141021409CanadaIt's no surprise that excellent icewine is being made in the Niagara region of Canada, but this Vidal offering from Jackson-Triggs is a pleasure nonetheless. With its layered aromas and flavors of orange, apricot and honey lifted by crisp acidity, this is both approachable and collectible. A serious wine with a fun and flirty side. Imported by Icon Estates.Proprietors' Reserve Icewine9120OntarioNiagara PeninsulaSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaJackson-Triggs 2005 Proprietors' Reserve Icewine Vidal Blanc (Niagara Peninsula)Vidal BlancJackson-Triggs
2141121410FranceOn the dry side, showing crisp white currants, grapefruit and a chalky structured texture. A delicious wine, firmly in the refreshing apéritif Champagne camp, floating its fruit with considerable delicacy.Blanc de Blancs Réserve Privée Brut9159ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerBruno Paillard NV Blanc de Blancs Réserve Privée Brut Chardonnay (Champagne)ChardonnayBruno Paillard
2141221411FranceMainly from grand cru vineyards in Cramant, this is a ripe, smooth, creamy wine whose minerality is subordinated to rich white fruits and a pure, dense structure. Despite its relative youth, the richness means this wine is ready to drink now.Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut91ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerColin 2001 Grand Cru Blanc de Blancs Brut Chardonnay (Champagne)ChardonnayColin
2141321412FranceThe name indicates that this Champagne gets its delicate onion skin pink from the grape skins and not the addition of red wine, as with most rosé Champagnes. Does this make it any better? It's certainly a well integrated wine, the berry fruits very much part of the overall richness and, the acidity in a great supporting role.Rose de Saignée Brut91ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerDuval-Leroy NV Rose de Saignée Brut Pinot Noir (Champagne)Pinot NoirDuval-Leroy
2141421413CanadaThis 100-percent varietal wine is balanced and textural, with compact, spicy fruit. The barrel treatment is superb, adding cinnamon, spice and chocolate in wave after wave of lush flavor. It just keeps on coming; what a finish!9133British ColumbiaOkanagan ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Fairview Cellars 2005 Cabernet Franc (Okanagan Valley)Cabernet FrancFairview Cellars
2141521414USThe most structured of Sterling's recent releases and hence our favorite, the 2004 Diamond Mountain Ranch Cabernet boasts notes of cinnamon, cassis and clove, framed by firm tannins and finishing with a hint of anise. Drink 2008–2015.Diamond Mountain Ranch Vineyard9165CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaSterling 2004 Diamond Mountain Ranch Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonSterling
2141621415USThis is a big wine that's not ready now—it's too tannic. That gives it a lockdown, numbing quality that blocks a full appreciation of the fruit. But what fruit! Blackberries pure and simple, reduced to their quintessence. Such is the inherent integrity of this wine that it should effortlessly negotiate 4 to 6 years, gradually softening.Garys' Vineyard9154CaliforniaSanta Lucia HighlandsCentral CoastTestarossa 2005 Garys' Vineyard Syrah (Santa Lucia Highlands)SyrahTestarossa
2141721416ItalyAlthough this aged Amarone offers rich notes of dried prune, spice, resin and leather, you should not wait to drink it. Behind the fruit notes are somewhat tired notes of old spice and dried flowers. It has firm tannins and good length.Morar9150VenetoAmarone della Valpolicella ClassicoValentina Cubi 1997 Morar (Amarone della Valpolicella Classico)Corvina, Rondinella, MolinaraValentina Cubi
2141821417USThis Bordeaux blend has a surprisingly broad aspect, with very young fruit that opens up and then sits on the midpalate. It's much more open and expressive than the last few vintages. At first it seems dumbed down on the finish, but it slowly opens, and retasted on the second day it has filled out with muscle and verve.Artist Series #139144WashingtonColumbia Valley (WA)Columbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Woodward Canyon 2004 Artist Series #13 Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia Valley (WA))Cabernet SauvignonWoodward Canyon
2141921418New ZealandA strong followup to the excellent 2005, Amisfield's 2006 Pinot Noir seems riper and weightier, marrying dark black cherry and plum fruit with hints of chocolate and spice cake. Finishes with soft tannins and a slightly dusty feel. Drink now–2015.9139Central OtagoJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzAmisfield 2006 Pinot Noir (Central Otago)Pinot NoirAmisfield
2142021419FranceA beautifully balanced non-vintage, in the lighter style that is Ayala's hallmark. It is fresh, but shows a good amount of blend with older wines to give weight and complexity. The green fruit flavors are well balanced with secondary aromas of almonds, green berries and lively, but not dominant acidity.Brut Majeur91ChampagneChampagneRoger Voss@vossrogerAyala NV Brut Majeur (Champagne)Champagne BlendAyala

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