Wine Reviews

2857228571USIrresistible is the word that comes to mind to describe this Pinot, which is available only in magnums. The vintage was California's finest ever, and the wine shows spectacularly ripe red currant, cherry, tangerine zest, licorice and beef jerky flavors, with just the right touch of smoky oak. Yet the structural balance of acidity and fine tannins gives it the perfect architecture. Best now in its flashy youth and for the next 4 or 5 years.Precioso96150CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaKeller Estate 2005 Precioso Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast)Pinot NoirKeller Estate
2857328572USAn enormously opulent wine, brimming with gobs of red cherries, currants, mocha, clove, cinnamon and pepper flavors. Impresses for the lushness and integrity of the structure. Brilliant wine, just gorgeous, a real crowd-pleaser. With its recent track record, Kynsi enters the front ranks of California Pinot Noir producers.Stone Corral Vineyard9545CaliforniaEdna ValleyCentral CoastKynsi 2005 Stone Corral Vineyard Pinot Noir (Edna Valley)Pinot NoirKynsi
2857428573AustraliaAstralis has become one of Australia's top collectibles, and Roman Bratasiuk's 2005 version is once again top-shelf stuff. It's full-bodied and rich without being over the top, balancing dark-chocolate-covered blackberries and blueberries with more complex savory notes (spice, grilled meat). While it's a big, hulking wine at first, the finish shows great elegance and finesse, ending with silky tannins. Best from 2014. Imported by Wine Brokers Unlimited.Astralis95350South AustraliaClarendonJoe Czerwinski@JoeCzClarendon Hills 2005 Astralis Syrah (Clarendon)SyrahClarendon Hills
2857528574USThe wine is fantastic, albeit tannic. It's not a gushy one to open tonight. The tannins have a dry astringency, but even so, you can taste fabulously ripe blackberries, black cherries and currants. This wine should begin to come into its own next year and hold for many years.Mise en Place9444CaliforniaOakvilleNapaTextbook 2005 Mise en Place Cabernet Sauvignon (Oakville)Cabernet SauvignonTextbook
2857628575USStarts with an opulent, inviting aroma of smoky honey, vanilla, tangerines, Meyer lemons, yellow apricots, green apples and minerals. In the mouth, the flavors are very similar—an explosion of fruits, spices and toast. Just a tremendous wine, but for all the volume and complexity, it's completely balanced.9420CaliforniaSanta Barbara CountyCentral CoastAlma Rosa 2006 Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County)ChardonnayAlma Rosa
2857728576USAvailable only in magnums, this Chard consists of a single barrel from the estate vineyard, which is in the Petaluma area, a very cool region. The wine is very fine. It's equal parts ripe green pears, Meyer lemons and smoky oak, with a firm, steely underpinning of minerals. Should age well for a Chardonnay, especially in the big bottle.Precioso94150CaliforniaSonoma CoastSonomaKeller Estate 2005 Precioso Chardonnay (Sonoma Coast)ChardonnayKeller Estate
2857828577FranceSupersweet, but never cloying, with acidity, pear skin tannins and delicate sweet brown sugar and honey flavors. It is a great example of how Loire Chenin manages to keep its balance and freshness while still offering long-aging botrytis character. Keep for at least 10 years.Sélection de Grains Nobles9375Loire ValleyCoteaux du LayonRoger Voss@vossrogerDomaine Philippe Delesvaux 2004 Sélection de Grains Nobles Chenin Blanc (Coteaux du Layon)Chenin BlancDomaine Philippe Delesvaux
2857928578ItalyThis is a beautifully executed, amber-colored vin santo with pristine notes of dried fruit, honey, molasses and caramel. It doesn't have any of those resin-driven, smoky notes that you sometimes find and is instead very harmonious and clean in the mouth. It imparts a luscious, velvety feel that ends sweet and tart.9355TuscanyVin Santo del ChiantiFattoria Petrolo 1999 Vin Santo del ChiantiWhite BlendFattoria Petrolo
2856128560USOaky and direct in ripe tropical fruit, with a gooseberry taste more akin to Sauvignon Blanc, this Chard is unripe and simple.Special Reserve8114CaliforniaRussian River ValleySonomaMichael Pozzan 2007 Special Reserve Chardonnay (Russian River Valley)ChardonnayMichael Pozzan
2856228561ItalyThis Primitivo has a raw nose with notes of tin can and petroleum that take away from the natural integrity of the fruit. The wine is light and thin in appearance with a sour note on the close.Terra S. Giovanni8114Southern ItalySalentoValle dell'Asso 2005 Terra S. Giovanni Primitivo (Salento)PrimitivoValle dell'Asso
2858028579USThis is a very low-production, best-of-barrels selection by the winemaker. It's an extremely tight young wine, austere and almost searing in acidity, with a yeasty taste from sur lies aging. If you're looking for opulent, immediately accessible Chardonnay, this isn't for you. But the wine has tantalizing hints of grilled pineapples and nectarines, and the powerful structure suggests cellaring. Stash this away for a couple of years.Intrinity9345CaliforniaSanta Lucia HighlandsCentral CoastPessagno 2005 Intrinity Chardonnay (Santa Lucia Highlands)ChardonnayPessagno
2856328562SpainRooty on the nose, with green herb, tea and raspberry aromas. Patience and airing only brings it to the acceptable level, which means the wine's reasonably good prune and dark-fruit flavors are scuttled by a disjointed, overly acidic mouthfeel.Fill del Temps Gran Selecció8125CataloniaTerra AltaMichael Schachner@wineschachCovilalba 2004 Fill del Temps Gran Selecció Red (Terra Alta)Red BlendCovilalba
2856428563SpainThis is mucky and sweet. Its best foot is not put forward via the compost-like nose, and from then on there's little more than prune, leather and a sticky mouthfeel.808Northern SpainCariñenaMichael Schachner@wineschachCastillo de Monséran 2006 Garnacha (Cariñena)GarnachaCastillo de Monséran
2858128580ArgentinaOverdone aromas of candle wax, incense and air freshener show the musky side of the grape, while the palate is heavy with nectarine and citrus flavors. Finishes a little pithy and mealy, with a final wave of muskiness.Estate Bottled838Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachRio Seco 2008 Estate Bottled Torrontés (Mendoza)TorrontésRio Seco
2856528564USToo powerful in feline and gooseberry aromas and flavors, this dry, tart in-your-face Sauvignon Blanc just isn't ripe enough to recommend.8018CaliforniaNapa ValleyNapaElizabeth Rose 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Napa Valley)Sauvignon BlancElizabeth Rose
2858228581ArgentinaStarts out short and dry on the nose, with little fruit character. The palate is also on the hard and lean side, with tart strawberry and raspberry flavors. Short but mild on the finish; fades away fast.Saurus Patagonia Select8320OtherNeuquénMichael Schachner@wineschachFamilia Schroeder 2007 Saurus Patagonia Select Merlot (Neuquén)MerlotFamilia Schroeder
2858328582ItalyDespite good persistence and appealing earth and leather flavors, this Barbaresco fails to hit the mark. Aromas of paint thinner undermine the cherry fruit and flatten out the flavors in the mouth.Vila Riserva83PiedmontBarbarescoPier 2001 Vila Riserva (Barbaresco)NebbioloPier
2858428583USHoney-sweet and simple, with crisp, jammy flavors of berries, cherries and cocoa. It's a Bordeaux blend with a splash of Viognier.Sedulous8328CaliforniaMendocinoRivino 2006 Sedulous Red (Mendocino)Red BlendRivino
2858528584USSmells like tobacco and pepper, and then turns tannic and dry in the mouth, with blackberry flavors emerging after it warms up. A decent everyday Zin.839CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherSmoking Loon 2007 Zinfandel (California)ZinfandelSmoking Loon
2858628585USA hard, tough, tannic and acidic wine. Not showing much charm, because the cherry-berry flavors, while dry, are swamped with astringency. Zinfandel and Teroldego.Lot 310 Philosopher's Stone8332CaliforniaPaso RoblesCentral CoastCinnabar NV Lot 310 Philosopher's Stone Red (Paso Robles)Red BlendCinnabar
2858728586USVanilla, cherry, strawberry and spice on the nose is followed by slightly smokier, bigger flavors on the palate. The wine has a fruity character backed by pepper and spice. Clean and suited for myriad flavors, from seafood salad to grilled lamb.Dry8312New YorkFinger LakesFinger LakesSusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaHazlitt 1852 Vineyards 2008 Dry Rosé (Finger Lakes)RoséHazlitt 1852 Vineyards
2858828587USNot quite ripe, with an herbal, almost vegetal taste that cuts across the cherries and red currants. Acidic and tannic, too. This hard, austere wine is unlikely to improve.El Capitan8330CaliforniaSanta Barbara CountyCentral CoastJalama 2006 El Capitan Red (Santa Barbara County)Red BlendJalama
2858928588ArgentinaWayward and slightly weedy on the nose, with candied fruit notes that help it along. The palate is more acidic and rhubarby than ideal, although the tartness is offset by a creamy flavor of carob bean. Short and hot on the finish; acceptable but not well executed.Los Cardos8310Mendoza ProvinceMendozaMichael Schachner@wineschachDoña Paula 2008 Los Cardos Cabernet Sauvignon (Mendoza)Cabernet SauvignonDoña Paula
2859028589USBlack fruit, pepper and spice lead this likeable sip from Kentucky. Red berry, cranberry and plum fruit mixed with pepper and vanilla gives it dimension, and the finish is both tart and spicy. A nice everyday red perfect for winter cuisine.Estate8335KentuckyKentuckySusan Kostrzewa@suskostrzewaElk Creek Vineyards 2007 Estate Cabernet Franc (Kentucky)Cabernet FrancElk Creek Vineyards
2856628565USGreenwood Ridge often does a good job at Sauvignon Blanc, but not this year. The wine is irritating in unripe feline flavors and it's also off-dry, with 1.9% residual sugar.8018CaliforniaAnderson ValleyGreenwood Ridge 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (Anderson Valley)Sauvignon BlancGreenwood Ridge
2856728566USThis unoaked Sauvignon Blanc is really powerful in feline characteristics. Too powerful. Unless you like that peculiar smell and taste, it will turn you off.8010CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherIronstone 2007 Sauvignon Blanc (California)Sauvignon BlancIronstone
2856828567SpainThere's something not right about the way this winery is fermenting its Cavas because both this and Oriol Rossell's regular brut are excessively foamy. As a result, this gran reserva's apple and spice aromas and flavors are rendered moot by the gaseous explosion that occurs when liquid hits palate.Gran Reserva Brut Nature8027CataloniaCavaMichael Schachner@wineschachOriol Rossell NV Gran Reserva Brut Nature Sparkling (Cava)Sparkling BlendOriol Rossell
2856928568SpainEight grapes comprise this weird, peanutty, almost dirty red blend. The nose is like a salad of bitter greens and peanut vinaigrette, and the palate shows big fruit, bigger tannins and then a finish of asparagus and green beans. Imported by USA Wines Inc.Las Ocho8025LevanteUtiel-RequenaMichael Schachner@wineschachChozas Carrascal 2004 Las Ocho Red (Utiel-Requena)Red BlendChozas Carrascal
2857028569USSmells and tastes like caramel and stewed cherry and blackberry flavors that taste overtly sweet. However, this rustic blend of Syrah and Sangiovese may have its fans.Scoprire8055CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherMillésimé 2005 Scoprire Red (California)Red BlendMillésimé
2857128570USPort-like, with raisiny, baked cherry and caramel flavors. Finishes dry.Grand Reserve8040CaliforniaCaliforniaCalifornia OtherFrench Hill 2006 Grand Reserve Petit Verdot (California)Petit VerdotFrench Hill

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