Wine Reviews

2217122170USRich in ripe, forward fruit, with oaky influences, this dry Syrah has pepper-infused black currant and cherry flavors, with a nice, smoky finish. It's a full-bodied wine whose tannins are strong but sweetly ripe, in the modern style. Drink now.8736CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastLa Capilla 2005 Syrah (Paso Robles)SyrahLa Capilla
2217222171ItalyA blend of Sangiovese, Cabernet Sauvignon and Merlot, the 2003 Rovaio is surprisingly light and delicate considering the hot vintage that shaped it. Aromas include Amaretto, root beer, blueberries and blue flowers. The wine is lean and fresh in the mouth, with very good persistence.Rovaio8730TuscanyToscanaLa Lastra 2003 Rovaio Red (Toscana)Red BlendLa Lastra
2217322172USTastes a bit forward and simple right now in cherry pie filling, raspberry tart, framboise and orange datenut cookie flavors, with a silky texture and fine, ripe tannins. Could develop interesting bottle complexities over the next 6–8 years.8735CaliforniaSanta Barbara CountyCentral CoastOjai 2005 Grenache (Santa Barbara County)GrenacheOjai
2217422173ItalyOn first impact, the wine is earthy smelling with dim tones of Brie and Camembert. Wait a few minutes, and spicy blueberry notes to appear. Overall, this is a simple, no-fuss wine that would pair well with risotto or pasta.Intenso8717TuscanyToscanaPodere la Marronaia 2005 Intenso Red (Toscana)Red BlendPodere la Marronaia
2217522174USWith an edge of sweet red currants and slightly sugared herb tea, this Zin can't really be called completely dry. But the tannin-acid balance is very fine, and makes the wine balanced and enjoyable. Should be great with pasta with a marinara sauce.8725CaliforniaFiddletownSierra FoothillsRenwood 2005 Zinfandel (Fiddletown)ZinfandelRenwood
2217622175ItalyThe blend is Sangiovese, Cabernet and Merlot, and this, the estate's second wine, is a less intense, less sophisticated interpretation, with lingering notes of bright fruit and light smoke.Casa Boschino8715TuscanyToscanaSan Fabiano Calcinaia 2005 Casa Boschino Red (Toscana)Red BlendSan Fabiano Calcinaia
2217722176USThis zippy, fruit-forward wine opens with bright raspberry and pungent spice aromas, adding in milk chocolate streaks through a supple, medium-weight middle. The finish gets a little tight, with some plastic flavors creeping in.8724OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Spindrift Cellars 2005 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirSpindrift Cellars
2217822177USRarely bottled on its own, Pinot Meunier is better known as a blending component for Champagne. This bottling is like a Pinot Noir in its lightly silky texture and cherry, cola and vanilla flavors. It's very elegant, yet doesn't quite rise to the classic status of Pinot Noir.Van der Kamp Vineyard8760CaliforniaSonoma MountainSonomaTandem 2006 Van der Kamp Vineyard Pinot Meunier (Sonoma Mountain)Pinot MeunierTandem
2217922178ItalyGuidoalberto is the “pocketbook-friendly” alternative from the same estate that makes Sassicaia. But for $60, you could ask for more. This is a chewy, succulent wine with good length on the close. The aromas are awkward in places with espresso, chocolate yogurt and a touch of cheese rind.Guidalberto8760TuscanyToscanaTenuta San Guido 2005 Guidalberto Red (Toscana)Red BlendTenuta San Guido
2218022179USYou might think this was a big Pinot Noir, like a Santa Lucia Highlands, if you blind-tasted it. It's thick and forward in blackberry, currant and cherry flavors, with a firm tannic structure, and very dry. Shows enough balance to age for up to six years.Old Vine8725CaliforniaContra Costa CountyCentral CoastTrinitas 2004 Old Vine Mataro (Contra Costa County)MataroTrinitas
2218122180ItalyThis 50-50 Merlot-Cab Franc blend is priced irresistibly low. Aromas include red cherry fruit, chocolate and spice that give it a modern edge. It has plenty of dimension and some oak nuances in the mouth.8710TuscanyToscanaVilla Pillo 2005 Red (Toscana)Red BlendVilla Pillo
2218222181SpainCastilla y León can be good bargain country, and all of the 2006 Volteo wines are Best Buy qualifiers. This varietal Tempranillo has a clean, fruity nose backed by bright berry flavors built on a floor or two of structure. It's a composed quaffer with pure flavors, adequate length and overall balance.878Central SpainVino de la Tierra de CastillaMichael Schachner@wineschachVolteo 2006 Tempranillo (Vino de la Tierra de Castilla)TempranilloVolteo
2218322182ItalyA 60-30-10 blend of Sangiovese, Merlot and Syrah, Carato is a vibrant, cheerful wine elegant aromas that recall the small berry fruit and blue flowers usually associated with Sangiovese. The wine has a clean and balanced delivery and ends with crisp acidity.Carato8716TuscanyToscanaErik Banti 2004 Carato Red (Toscana)Red BlendErik Banti
2218422183SpainNice and familiar, and very much in the sweet, creamy style. There's almond candy and caramel on the palate and then maple syrup on the finish. Soft and sweet throughout, with just enough acidity and complexity to save it from being boring.Oloroso Dulce Cream8711AndaluciaJerezMichael Schachner@wineschachOsborne NV Oloroso Dulce Cream Sherry (Jerez)SherryOsborne
2218522184USEaston continues to be devoted to its Barbera, which as always is a big, tannicly dry mountain wine. It's packed with blackberry, coffee, chocolate and spice flavors, with a distinctly baked quality, like macaroons. Should age forever.8722CaliforniaShenandoah Valley (CA)Sierra FoothillsEaston 2005 Barbera (Shenandoah Valley (CA))BarberaEaston
2218622185SpainMature and a little waxy on the nose; this is a plump, fruity, semisoft wine with apple, pineapple and melon flavors. It's round and fairly mild, with plenty of taste, width and drinkability. Drink soon before it softens even further.El Bino8713GaliciaRías BaixasMichael Schachner@wineschachEl Bully 2006 El Bino Albariño (Rías Baixas)AlbariñoEl Bully
2218722186ItalyHere's a Cab with aromas of beef broth, cigar box and spice. It's distinctive nose is framed delicately by dusty mineral tones and black licorice, while the mouthfeel is fresh and vibrant.Campora87TuscanyToscanaFalchini 1998 Campora Cabernet Sauvignon (Toscana)Cabernet SauvignonFalchini
2218822187SpainCepas Vellas refers to old vines, but what's most noticeable on this wine is the popcorn and cream that characterizes both the nose and mouth. In between the oak-aided folds there's melon, waxy papaya and banana flavors sitting on a plump, cushioned palate. It's a holdover from 2005, so drink it while you have it.Aquis Celenis Cepas Vellas8718GaliciaRías BaixasMichael Schachner@wineschachFernando Diéguez Otero 2005 Aquis Celenis Cepas Vellas Albariño (Rías Baixas)AlbariñoFernando Diéguez Otero
2218922188USThe winery has struggled with Pinot made from this warm, sunny highland appellation, which is more suitable for Zinfandel. Their '06 is a savory wine, dry and rich in cherries and oak, with a silky texture. But there's a heaviness that makes you think Pinot isn't the best grape to grow this far above the Anderson Valley fogline.8727CaliforniaMendocino RidgeGreenwood Ridge 2006 Pinot Noir (Mendocino Ridge)Pinot NoirGreenwood Ridge
2219022189PortugalIt may be a second-rate grape in France, but in Portugal Alicante Bouschet has really come into its own. This is a ripe, smooth wine, with dark plum skin tannins, red peppers and intense concentrated spice. Drink now.8611AlentejanoRoger Voss@vossrogerAdega Cooperativa de Borba 2006 Alicante Bouschet (Alentejano)Alicante BouschetAdega Cooperativa de Borba
2219122190USAn acidic, bone-dry Chardonnay, brilliant in fruit, that doesn't seem to have been touched by oak. It's so pure in zesty Meyer lemon, lime and kiwi flavors, with a mouthwateringy clean finish.White8615CaliforniaMontereyCentral CoastAmerican Roots 2006 White Chardonnay (Monterey)ChardonnayAmerican Roots
2219222191FranceHints of fresh mint leaves highlight the brooding black currant and dark fruit aromas. The balance of Cabernet and Merlot has been successfully achieved, as the wine is beautifully structured with a firm backbone of ample tannins and a rich, supple mouthfeel.Kosher8632BordeauxHaut-MédocLauren Buzzeo@laurbuzzBarons Edmund Benjamin de Rothschild 2003 Kosher (Haut-Médoc)Bordeaux-style Red BlendBarons Edmund Benjamin de Rothschild
2219322192USThis is quite light, almost ephemeral, with tart raspberry and red licorice flavors and a strong metallic/mineral streak. It is delicately made, and interesting, but comparable to a simple Bourgogne rather than a wine priced at this level.Momtazi Vineyard8645OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Boedecker Cellars 2005 Momtazi Vineyard Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirBoedecker Cellars
2219422193USThis is a light, leafy wine, with tannins that taste of green tea and leave a sensation of astringency long after the wine is swallowed. Sounds like Burgundy! In a world where so many Oregon wineries are making Pinot Noir that is superripe, extracted and alcoholic, this shows why the Burgundy comparison is still valid.8635OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Capitello 2005 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirCapitello
2219522194USPierre Léon is a selection of different clones from the winery estate. Maybe it's the vintage, but the wine seems dilute. The flavors of tart wild berry, earth and herb have a thin, edgy character; and the tannins seem greener than what would be optimal.Pierre Léon8636OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine WillaKenzie Estate 2005 Pierre Léon Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirWillaKenzie Estate
2219622195ItalyToh! offers excellent value in the form of fragrant aromas of peach, honey, melon and light floral tones. The wine is lean and compact, yet offers that creamy smoothness that is characteristic of the Friulano grape.Toh!8510Northeastern ItalyFriuli GraveDi Lenardo 2007 Toh! Friulano (Friuli Grave)FriulanoDi Lenardo
2219722196USThis opens with a strong scent of herb and bud; it's sharp and aggressively leafy. The wine follows with similar flavors. The light fruit flavors of plum and berry are quickly suffocated with leaf, herb, earth, spice and tannin. Time may be the answer.8530OregonWillamette ValleyWillamette ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Domaine Meriwether 2004 Pinot Noir (Willamette Valley)Pinot NoirDomaine Meriwether
2219822197South AfricaPepper, plum and smoke on the nose starts this wine off with a sultry kick. On the palate, it offers medium bodied, smoky spice flavors that linger. pair with lamb, wild game or blue cheeses.8513DurbanvilleSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaDurbanville Hills 2005 Shiraz (Durbanville)ShirazDurbanville Hills
2219922198South AfricaA magnetic nose of cinnamon spice and cigarbox leads this elegant Cabernet from Excelsior, and it's followed by balanced cherry and blackberry fruit flavors. Firm tannins, good acidity and an overall spicy touch give the wine energy and pluck. Good for everyday sipping and ready to drink now.8510RobertsonSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaExcelsior 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon (Robertson)Cabernet SauvignonExcelsior
2220022199USA brisk, savory Sauvignon Blanc with rich flavors of citrus fruits, lemongrass, green melons, figs and smoky vanilla spice. Tastes a little on the sweet side.Ghielmetti Vineyard8517CaliforniaLivermore ValleyCentral CoastFenestra 2007 Ghielmetti Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc (Livermore Valley)Sauvignon BlancFenestra

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