Wine Reviews

2160121600USThis Red Mountain cuvée falls nicely between the winery's Columbia Valley and single-vineyard offerings. Raspberry and cassis fruit, young and compact, is underscored with chalky minerality and suggestions of dried herbs. The tannins are ripe and astringent. This is a spot-on steak wine.9140WashingtonRed MountainColumbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Januik 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Mountain)Cabernet SauvignonJanuik
2160221601FranceOne of the two luxury wines from Château d'Esclans, Les Clans is rich, wood-aged and full of ripe and rounded fruit flavors. With the extra year of aging, it has lost some initial freshness but has gained complexity and structure. The wine is full-bodied while remaining very stylish. Drink now.Les Clans9170ProvenceCôtes de ProvenceRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau d'Esclans 2012 Les Clans Rosé (Côtes de Provence)RoséChâteau d'Esclans
2160321602FranceThis ripe wine has jammy red fruit flavors. The fruitiness is given structure by the stalky tannins and the dry, wood-aging flavors. Black cherries and juicy black currants show strongly. It needs to age, so drink from 2016.Verité du Terroir9120ProvenceCôtes de ProvenceRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau la Gordonne 2010 Verité du Terroir Red (Côtes de Provence)Red BlendChâteau la Gordonne
2160421603FranceThe wine feels rich, dense and packed with ripe fruitiness. Delicious, refreshing acidity gives these red fruits a lift and crispness. This is a serious wine, demanding food.Le Cloître de Sainte Roseline9125ProvenceCôtes de ProvenceRoger Voss@vossrogerChâteau Sainte Roseline 2013 Le Cloître de Sainte Roseline Rosé (Côtes de Provence)RoséChâteau Sainte Roseline
2160521604ArgentinaGenerous, sizable aromas of cassis, blackberry and violet are inviting. This is juicy, with slightly wiry acidity creating a racy mouthfeel. Flavors of berry and cassis are loamy on their own but ride comfortably on a wave of tartaric acidity, while the finish is lifted and lively, with black-fruit flavors.9127Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachDoña Silvina 2011 Malbec (Mendoza)MalbecDoña Silvina
2160621605ItalyThis Taurasi, made from Southern Italy's noble Aglianico grape, unfolds with earthy aromas of tilled soil, black fruit and flint. The palate delivers a core of tight black cherry, tobacco, white pepper and smoke notes along with big velvety tannins.Riserva9150Southern ItalyTaurasiKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeDonnachiara 2008 Riserva (Taurasi)AglianicoDonnachiara
2160721606ArgentinaRipe berry, cassis and grilled meat aromas presage a fresh, zesty palate with free-flowing acidity that pumps up cherry, red plum, cassis and loamy earth flavors. It stays fruity, stout and smooth on the finish. The wine is ripe and fully representative of Mendoza and winemaker Alejandro's Vigil's style.9130Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachEl Enemigo 2011 Cabernet Franc (Mendoza)Cabernet FrancEl Enemigo
2160821607South AfricaToasty peach and guava notes unfold on the bouquet, followed by secondary hints of orange essence, woody spice, peach pit and honeycomb. Round and smooth, this shows a certain decadence on the palate. Lush tropical and melon notes are spiced by touches of vanilla and sweet spice but finish clean and mouthwatering. Drink now–2016.Signature9130Western CapeLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzJean Daneel 2012 Signature Chenin Blanc (Western Cape)Chenin BlancJean Daneel
2160921608USMade from a blend of 62% Grenache and 38% Syrah, this is a classically dry, refreshingly crisp rosé, pink-salmon in color that's intense yet soft, crafted in a Provence style. The grapes come from Rutherford, Atlas Peak and Sonoma County's Kick Ranch, tasting of fresh raspberry and spring flowers, a bite of wet stone on the finish.9122CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaVirginie Boone@vbooneKale 2013 Rosé (Napa Valley)RoséKale
2161021609ItalyMade with organically farmed fruit, this wine opens with an enticing fragrance of white flower and stone fruit. The savory palate delivers juicy white peach, saline and mineral sensations alongside bright acidity.Vigna di Mandranova9129Sicily & SardiniaSiciliaKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeAlessandro di Camporeale 2012 Vigna di Mandranova Grillo (Sicilia)GrilloAlessandro di Camporeale
2161121610USViognier is half the blend, with the rest Roussanne and Riesling, yielding a delightfully aromatic, lightly honeyed wine, with a lush array of ripe fruits. Apricot, papaya, pineapple and banana are all here, with supporting acidity. Overall, this is one of the most delicious and unique white wines in Washington.Oriana9122WashingtonYakima ValleyColumbia ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Brian Carter Cellars 2012 Oriana White (Yakima Valley)White BlendBrian Carter Cellars
2161221611FranceA perfumed, aromatic wine, dry yet full of fresh, fragrant white fruit flavors. A steely edge is followed by hints of currants and a complex, still-youthful texture. Drink from 2015.Osterberg Grand Cru9138AlsaceAlsaceRoger Voss@vossrogerCave de Ribeauvillé 2010 Osterberg Grand Cru Riesling (Alsace)RieslingCave de Ribeauvillé
2161321612USThis is certainly dramatic in structure, akin to a young Pauillac from Bordeaux, with concentrated currant, cherry, pencil lead and cedar flavors wrapped into youthfully hard tannins. It needs time, and should soften with increased complexity by 2009. Could reward with even longer cellaring, but '04 was not a great vintage.Pickett Road93150CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaVine Cliff 2004 Pickett Road Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonVine Cliff
2161421613USA lush Cabernet that feels soft and delicious right now, but has layers of complexity that make it a cellar candidate. Dry and oaky, the wine is enormously rich in blackberry, cassis, cocoa and cedar flavors, with considerable tannins. The wine is wonderfully balanced. Drink now through 2010, at least.9390CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaEtude 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonEtude
2161521614USL'Attitude needs a warm vintage to succeed, and it got one in '04. The wine, a blend of Carignane, Syrah and other Rhône reds, is dry and complicated, offering rich, earthy, Provençal herb flavors with fruitier tastes of cherries, blackberries and cola. Notable for balance, elegance and power. Drink now through 2010.L'Attitude 399318CaliforniaMendocinoFife 2004 L'Attitude 39 Red (Mendocino)Rhône-style Red BlendFife
2161621615PortugalThe white and red Pêra-Manca are cult wines in Portugal, only released in the best years. The white has partial barrel fermentation, giving great richness and depth of flavor, as well as smooth toastiness. With its high proportion of Antâo Vaz, it is very white Burgundy in its richness and sense of mineral terroir. Delicious acidity rounds the wine out.Pêra-Manca93AlentejoRoger Voss@vossrogerCartuxa 2005 Pêra-Manca White (Alentejo)Portuguese WhiteCartuxa
2161721616USRaspberries, cherries, cola, tea, rhubarb pie, licorice, vanilla and sweet leather flavors flood the mouth, wrapped in a delicately silky, complex texture, and the finish goes on and on in oak-inspired fruit and Asian spices. Compellingly delicious; drinks now and through 2009.Marimar Estate Vineyard9348CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaW.H. Smith 2006 Marimar Estate Vineyard Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)Pinot NoirW.H. Smith
2161821617USThe vineyard is source of high-quality fruit, but also intense mountain tannins that require time to melt. Under those tannins is dramatically rich black currant and carob fruit flavor, easily big enough to sustain 100% new French oak. By 2009 this 100% Cab should begin to soften and sweeten, and it will drink beautifully for at least six more years.Hillside Reserve93108CaliforniaRutherfordNapaFlora Springs 2004 Hillside Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford)Cabernet SauvignonFlora Springs
2161921618GermanyRich and thickly textured, this wine features intense botrytis aromas of dried apricots, backing them up with flavors of honey and orange marmalade. Long and intensely sugary on the finish, with enough sugar to genuinely stand up to desserts. Imported by Chapin Cellars, LLC.Erdener Treppchen Trockenbeerenauslese93144Mosel-Saar-RuwerJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzStephan Ehlen 2005 Erdener Treppchen Trockenbeerenauslese Riesling (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer)RieslingStephan Ehlen
2162021619GermanySweet and bracingly tart at the same time, with racy acidity framing sweet orange and lime flavors. Flourishes of bergamot and cinnamon add complexity on the nose and reprise on the long finish.Graacher Himmelreich Vat 46 Eiswein93143Mosel-Saar-RuwerJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzS.A. Prüm 2001 Graacher Himmelreich Vat 46 Eiswein Riesling (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer)RieslingS.A. Prüm
2162121620GermanyMade from an early picking of botrytized grapes from the Bernkasteler Lay vineyard, this is a sweet, plump wine, filled to the brim with lush tropical fruit flavors. The aromas show remarkably pure pear and pineapple scents, with just a touch of dried apricots but also a sense of slate-driven minerality. With 300 cases imported, it should prove relatively easy to find.Beerenauslese9355Mosel-Saar-RuwerJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzDr. Loosen 2006 Beerenauslese Riesling (Mosel-Saar-Ruwer)RieslingDr. Loosen
2162221621USThis is one of the most successful Pinots the winery has produced, and I have no doubt it's because the vintage was so cool. The wine is absolutely dry and has bracing acidity, with extraordinarily long, deep flavors of grapes that achieved maximum ripeness but remain balanced. Cherries, raspberries and blackberries flood the palate, enriched with earthier notes of balsam, cola, soy, licorice and spice. Drink now through 2011.Chenoweth Ranch9355CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaPatz & Hall 2005 Chenoweth Ranch Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirPatz & Hall
2162321622USBill Smith is better known for his Pinot Noirs, but he founded La Jota and knows a thing or two about Howell Mountain Cabs. This is a big, dry, tannic mountain wine, virtually undrinkable now for its hard astringency. However, it's a fine cellar candidate. Brims with ripe blackberries and cherries that just need time. Should begin to open in 2008, and develop for another 8 years or so.Purple Label9354CaliforniaHowell MountainNapaW.H. Smith 2005 Purple Label Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell Mountain)Cabernet SauvignonW.H. Smith
2162421623SpainThis is sweet Amontillado in fine form. The nose is centered around a core of molasses and brown sugar, while the palate bubbles with maple and toffee. Yes, it's a sweeter-styled Amontillado, but the sugar fades on the palate, leaving only the complex residue of caramel, espresso and burnt cinnamon. A lovely wine for any fan of serious Sherry.Amontillado9320AndaluciaJerezMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Dios Baco S.L. NV Amontillado Sherry (Jerez)SherryBodegas Dios Baco S.L.
2162521624USThis is the best Potelle Syrah I've ever had, but be forewarned: It's an extraordinarily tannic wine that shows its 1,800-foot mountain origins. It clocks in at 13.9% alcohol, yet it's bone dry. The fruit is powerfully concentrated in blackberries enhanced with sweet, smoky oak. If ever there was a Syrah for the cellar, this is it. Best now (if you like young tannic wines, but please decant) and for at least eight years, as it gradually mellows.VGS9375CaliforniaMount VeederNapaChâteau Potelle 2004 VGS Syrah (Mount Veeder)SyrahChâteau Potelle
2162621625USShows the precision and control of Smith's previous Maritime Pinot, marked by a tense, exciting structure. Crisp acids and fine, dusty tannins dance with earthy cherry and cola fruit, herbs and oak to create a complex, tremendously rewarding palate experience. Best now through 2010.Maritime9354CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaW.H. Smith 2006 Maritime Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)Pinot NoirW.H. Smith
2162721626GermanySweet and slightly viscous in texture, this wine lacks some aromatic flourishes, sacrificing complexity for purity of its pineapple, apple and citrus flavors. Yet because of its balanced, crisp acidity, the wine still sings, finishing long and mouthwatering. Drink now–2030.Niersteiner Oelberg Beerenauslese9348RheinhessenJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzSeebrich 2006 Niersteiner Oelberg Beerenauslese Riesling (Rheinhessen)RieslingSeebrich
2162821627SpainUltra concentrated and sticky, with unctuous but wholesome raisin aromas taken to a level that's almost heavenly. In the mouth, the maple, cinnamon and brown sugar flavors are lusty and satisfying, and the finish never ends. This is P.X. in awesome form.Don PX9329AndaluciaMontilla-MorilesMichael Schachner@wineschachBodegas Toro Albala, SL 2004 Don PX Pedro Ximénez (Montilla-Moriles)Pedro XiménezBodegas Toro Albala, SL
2162921628USThe Rutherford vineyard has been the source of well-regarded Cabs for Monticello and the '04 is the latest. Compact and ageworthy, it shows well-ripened blackberry, cherry and cola flavors that have been generously oaked. The tannins are firm and sticky now, suggesting development. Best 2008–2012.Tietjen Vineyard9258CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaMonticello Vineyards 2004 Tietjen Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley)Cabernet SauvignonMonticello Vineyards
2163021629USThis is Gainey's basic '05 Pinot, and it shows the quality of the vintage. The wine is dry, crisp in acidity and under 14% in alcohol, with dramatic cherry and boysenberry fruit complexed with leather, cola, Chinese five spice and balsamic notes. Fairly tannic, it's best now and for a few years.9230CaliforniaSta. Rita HillsCentral CoastGainey 2005 Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills)Pinot NoirGainey

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