Wine Reviews

2760127600ItalyRed berry, wild mint, crushed rose, forest floor and new leather are just some of the aromas you'll find on this fragrant delicious red. Seamlessly boasting structure and finesse, the full-bodied palate displays layers of succulent morello cherry, raspberry compote, licorice and cinnamon while firm velvety tannins lend support and a polished texture. A savory saline note wraps up the lingering finish. Drink 2018–2026.9645TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeIl Colle 2011 Brunello di MontalcinoSangioveseIl Colle
2760227601ItalyBeautifully balanced, this opens with alluring scents of wild berry, rose, baking spice and whiffs of chopped herb. Seamlessly combining ripe fruit and the firm's trademark finesse, the bright elegantly structured palate delivers juicy wild cherry, crushed raspberry, white pepper and a hint of black tea framed in polished tannins and fresh acidity. It's already tempting but the best is yet to come. Drink 2021–2031.Riserva96540TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeBiondi Santi 2011 Riserva (Brunello di Montalcino)SangioveseBiondi Santi
2760327602FranceNext door to the top grand cru of Chambertin, this vineyard, with its east-facing exposure, is one of the stars of Gevrey-Chambertin. This vintage is hugely rich—ripe with voluminous fruit and smoky hints from the wood aging. It has density and the potential for long aging. Drink from 2025.96474BurgundyChambertin Clos de BèzeRoger Voss@vossrogerLouis Jadot 2014 Chambertin Clos de BèzePinot NoirLouis Jadot
2760427603USA testament to the power of Paso Robles' wines, this blend of 37% Grenache, 34% Mourvèdre and 29% Syrah is dense, dark and viscous, showing candied blackberry, crème de cassis and pressed violet aromas, accented with cola and mocha notes. Soft, lush tannins massage the palate, growing grippier with time, while boisterous acidity releases blackberry, espresso and crushed slate flavors. Immensely likable now, it will also last for years.Sagacious9570CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastMatt Kettmann@mattkettmannLaw 2013 Sagacious Red (Paso Robles)Rhône-style Red BlendLaw
2760527604ItalyTruffle, forest floor, baked plum and cake spice aromas mingle with whiffs of new leather and pipe tobacco on this bold full-bodied red. The enveloping palate seamlessly combines concentration and finesse, doling out fleshy black cherry, crushed raspberry, cinnamon, licorice and mocha alongside big velvety tannins that give the finish nice grip and a polished texture. This will give decades of enjoyment. Drink 2020–2037.VV95125TuscanyBrunello di MontalcinoKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeLe Ragnaie 2012 VV (Brunello di Montalcino)SangioveseLe Ragnaie
2760627605FranceThis grand cru bottling comes from vines owned by Louis Jadot. It's firmly structured, as befits a wine from this village, and shows a predominance of red fruit and acidity. However, with its dry core and concentration, it will need to age. Drink from 2025.95286BurgundyChapelle-ChambertinRoger Voss@vossrogerLouis Jadot 2014 Chapelle-ChambertinPinot NoirLouis Jadot
2760727606USThis is made in tiny amounts, which is heartbreakingly sad given its deliciousness and provenance, the grapes hailing from the Rochioli Sweetwater site on Westside Road. Spice box and sweet black-cherry flavors are lightly oaked and layered with velvety texture, the wine full-bodied and totally balanced.Judgment Tree9570CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaVirginie Boone@vbooneHoldredge 2014 Judgment Tree Pinot Noir (Russian River Valley)Pinot NoirHoldredge
2760827607GermanyElectric acidity and pure, pristine fruit collide in this full-bodied Riesling. Dry in style, it offers layers of crisp green melon, apple and lime flavors, with a textural density that's profoundly majestic. While beautiful already, its mineral richness should only intensify over the next decade.Westhofen Morstein Trocken GG9592RheinhessenAnna Lee C. IijimaWittmann 2015 Westhofen Morstein Trocken GG Riesling (Rheinhessen)RieslingWittmann
2760927608ItalyYou'll need to swirl the glass a few times to release the enticing scents of yellow stone fruit, Alpine herb and an intriguing smoky note. The savory vibrant palate is more expressive, delivering layers of crunchy green apple, zesty tangerine and juicy yellow peach set against crisp acidity. A flinty mineral note graces the lingering finish, lending even more depth. Drink through 2020.Praepositus9525Northeastern ItalyAlto AdigeKerin O’Keefe@kerinokeefeAbbazia di Novacella 2015 Praepositus Kerner (Alto Adige)KernerAbbazia di Novacella
2761027609USLots of mushrooms in the nose, giving it a lively, gamy, forest floor quality. The fruit is there as well, wild berries and cherries, and the finish lingers through layers of complex, interesting flavors.Vintner's Cuvee XXI8810CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Rosenblum NV Vintner's Cuvee XXI Zinfandel (California)ZinfandelRosenblum
2761127610USSweet, spicy fruit, with nicely matched toasty oak framing it. Everything balances out; this actually has the best balance and most seductive fruit of the three Lolonis bottlings, and certainly represents the best value.8820CaliforniaRedwood ValleyPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Lolonis 1998 Zinfandel (Redwood Valley)ZinfandelLolonis
2761227611USInky, opaque and tight, this wine offers a bouquet of black fruits and toast. Though the mouthfeel is full and supple, it is presently very closed and yields scant flavor definition beyond the presence of a very good depth of dark fruits and well-charred oak. Finishes dry, with somewhat more discernable blackberry and vanilla notes and moderately puckering tannins. Best for keeping; try in two-plus years.St. Peter's Church Vineyard8840CaliforniaSonoma CountySonomaRosenblum 1998 St. Peter's Church Vineyard Zinfandel (Sonoma County)ZinfandelRosenblum
2761327612CanadaWow, is this sweet—tooth-achingly sweet. The aromas and flavors are relatively pure and free of botrytis; instead you get boatloads of ripe pear and melon flavors, huge thickness and weight, and decent acidity. Almost too rich and sweet for its own good.Ice Wine8850OntarioNiagara PeninsulaJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzCave Spring 1999 Ice Wine Riesling (Niagara Peninsula)RieslingCave Spring
2761427613USBig, ripe, chocolaty wine, with lots of forward, smooth, oaky flavors. Easy to like, with a plush, creamy mouthfeel, and tons of new oak flavor.Bismark Ranch8845CaliforniaSonoma ValleySonomaPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Hanna 1997 Bismark Ranch Zinfandel (Sonoma Valley)ZinfandelHanna
2761527614FranceA delightful blend of cracked black pepper, blackberries and hung game aromas lead into a surprisingly plush mouthfeel that's laden with cherry and berry fruit. The finish blends in some dark coffee flavors for extra complexity.Cuvée Sommelongue8810Rhône ValleyCôtes du RhôneJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzDomaine Andre Brunel 1999 Cuvée Sommelongue Red (Côtes du Rhône)Rhône-style Red BlendDomaine Andre Brunel
2761627615USThe ripe berry flavors wear a veil of deeply toasted oak in this smooth and supple wine, but does it with finesse. Flavorful, smooth and not weighty, it has a pleasing, even texture on the tongue and displays good persistence with berry, pepper and dark toast flavors lingering on the back end. Perhaps over-oaked, but suavely so.Rhodes Vineyard8827CaliforniaRedwood ValleyConsilience 1998 Rhodes Vineyard Zinfandel (Redwood Valley)ZinfandelConsilience
2761727616South AfricaThe earth, smoke, saddle-leather aromas and flavors are powerful and distinctive but probably not to all tastes. The lavish high-toast oak is nearly over-the-top, but a creamy mouthfeel and long finish tip the scales to the pleasure side. Complex and challenging … but not for those averse to the elements mentioned.Kevin Arnold8830StellenboschWaterford 1999 Kevin Arnold Shiraz (Stellenbosch)ShirazWaterford
2761827617USLovely attack, plummy and evolved, with no rough edges. The fruit is soft and sweet, layered and full, and the overall palate impression is of elegance and balance. This is a terrific drink-me-now bottle with nicely aged flavors.8816CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Beaulieu Vineyard 1997 Zinfandel (Napa Valley)ZinfandelBeaulieu Vineyard
2761927618FranceThe dark color tells you right away this is no ordinary vin de pays. Then you sniff it and get cedar, black currants and blackberries. The finish has juicy acidity and dusty tannins, suggesting a couple years' cellaring may be warranted. Impressive.8814Rhône ValleyVin de Pays du GardJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzMas de Guiot 1999 Cabernet Sauvignon-Syrah (Vin de Pays du Gard)Cabernet Sauvignon-SyrahMas de Guiot
2762027619South AfricaBarrel fermented in French oak, this wine is made in a full style with plenty of nut, herb and fig aromas and flavors. Big, even fat on the palate, it offers considerable weight and texture. The lengthy finish with herb and mineral accents is particularly appealing.8813StellenboschJardin 1999 Fumé Blanc (Stellenbosch)Fumé BlancJardin
2762127620AustraliaA round, ripe pear and lemon nose opens this medium-weight, full flavored white. Grapefruit, spice and green apple coat the palate, the texture is fairly rich—maybe even fat for Riesling—but there's good acidity to support the fruit. Finishes long with white peach and mineral notes.Reserve8818South AustraliaEden ValleyPenfolds 2000 Reserve Riesling (Eden Valley)RieslingPenfolds
2762227621FranceSure it's oaky, but it tastes good, with the subtle menthol and bold vanilla flavors serving to highlight bright cherries. The silky texture is a highlight, then the finish shows off juicy fruit and fine tannins.8811ProvenceCôtes de ProvenceJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzLe Rouge de Saint-Louis 1998 Red (Côtes de Provence)Red BlendLe Rouge de Saint-Louis
2762327622USThe blackberry fruit is wrapped in very deeply toasted oak. Aromas and flavors of cassis, vanilla, coffee and licorice mingle to display a dark flavor profile but positive tart-sweetness. Full and even on the tongue, this black beauty finishes with lingering spice and espresso notes.8824CaliforniaAmador CountySierra FoothillsRobert Craig 1998 Zinfandel (Amador County)ZinfandelRobert Craig
2762427623USSpicy, ripe fruit, with an edge to it. Well-defined wine, which shows briar, toast, berry and coffee flavors sprinkled throughout. Well-built, sturdy, a little hot, but balanced and long.Catfish Vineyard8814CaliforniaClear LakePaul Gregutt@paulgwine Wildhurst 1998 Catfish Vineyard Zinfandel (Clear Lake)ZinfandelWildhurst
2762527624CanadaVidal has a peculiar bouquet that I have a hard time describing. This one boasts muskmelon, litchi and kumquat aromas, backed by a honeyed sweetness and grapefruit-like acids. Intense—verging on overblown—this is a fine example of what this French-American hybrid is capable of producing.Special Select Late Harvest8725OntarioNiagara PeninsulaJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzHenry of Pelham 1999 Special Select Late Harvest Vidal Blanc (Niagara Peninsula)Vidal BlancHenry of Pelham
2762627625USOld vines from Russian River and Alexander valleys go into this spicy, briary, gamy Zin. There's a dark undercurrent of tar, pipe tobacco and smoke that runs through the finish. The fruit is subsumed to clove and tobacco flavors; best with strongly spiced grilled foods.Old Vines8718CaliforniaSonoma CountySonomaPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Rodney Strong 1997 Old Vines Zinfandel (Sonoma County)ZinfandelRodney Strong
2762727626South AfricaDark cherry, toasted oak and licorice notes mark the nose of this fairly full wine. Sweet and sour flavors, a smoky note, and an even finish with tarry elements all have significant appeal. The toasted-oak notes seem a bit heavy handed, but tasty.8720StellenboschLongridge 1998 Pinotage (Stellenbosch)PinotageLongridge
2762827627South AfricaThis well-balanced Merlot displays a deep ruby/purple color and plenty of plum flavors. Coffee and herb notes add a touch of complexity, and the texture is smooth and even. The finish has good length for a modestly priced red.8710StellenboschLongridge Bay View 1999 Merlot (Stellenbosch)MerlotLongridge Bay View
2762927628South AfricaThis well-oaked Chardonnay has a full apple and caramel bouquet, flavors that follow in suit, and a pleasing, round mouthfeel. There are no surprises here, but no letdowns either. A middle-of-the-road pleaser with nice toast and butterscotch notes on the back end.8719StellenboschLongridge (S.Af) 1999 Chardonnay (Stellenbosch)ChardonnayLongridge (S.Af)
2763027629USCherry-scented, clean and fruity. Good concentration mid-palate, with no discernable new oak, just a balanced, firm attack and a strong, chewy finish. Only 123 cases made.87CaliforniaDry Creek ValleySonomaPaul Gregutt@paulgwine Taft Street 1998 Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley)ZinfandelTaft Street

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