If you're looking for a high quality Riesling that wont break the bank, this is definitely the one! A lot more peachy overtones here rather than those ripe green apple notes you get in a lot of other Rieslings. This hits you with a modest dose of residual sugar, counteracted by a GLORIOUS acidic back. This really is a great example of what one of the most underrated wine regions can do.
"Like many of the best wines of the vintage, this Finger Lakes Riesling seems rich at the outset, in its white peach scent and golden peach flavors. Those flavors, while mouth filling, are conveyed by an energy that takes over the wine and leads to a beguiling spiciness. As intense as it is luxurious, this has impressive length." (08/13) - 93 Wine & Spirits
Rhone style blend from Maremma, Tuscany produced by prominent winemaker Elisabetta Foradori?? Sold!! I first had Kepos 3 years ago while dining in New York City and immediately fell in love. I've been a devotee ever since! A blend of Grenache, Mourvedre, Carignan, Alicante Bouschet and Marselan, this wine has a beautiful bright red ruby color with aromas of raspberry, cherry, spice, herbs and tobacco. As it matures, Kepos will undoubtedly continue to gain complexity and intensity. My most recent food pairing?? Sausage and Broccoli Rabe on fresh Italian rolls.....PERFECTION!!!
"The 2010 Kepos is striking in this vintage. Dark cherries, plums, spices, licorice and tobacco are some of the notes that jump from the glass. Sweet herbal nuances appear later, adding complexity and aromatic lift. This is a hugely intriguing wine from Ampeleia that constantly changes in the glass. The Kepos will be fascinating to follow over the next handful of years as it starts to settle down in bottle. Anticipated maturity: 2014-2020."
"I was deeply impressed with the wines I tasted from Ampeleia this year. Every time I went back to the wines, I found a new shade of dimension. A gradual conversion to biodynamic farming and an increased use of cement vats are stripping these wines to the bare essentials, and what comes through more often than not these days is pure class." (06/12) - 92 Antonio Galloni - Vinous
"A lovely strawberry and raspberry nose. Aromatic and perfumed. I like the acidity; turns savory. Delicious and clearly outstanding. A Maremma red from Foradori's Elisabetta Foradori from Trentino." (04/13) - 91 James Suckling
"Full, bright ruby-red. Redcurrant and pomegranate on the nose, with spicy and herb notes emerging with air. More wound-up and less fruity than the Unilitro bottling, hinting at sweet red berry and spice flavors with a strong undercurrent of underbrush. Gains flesh with air but this will need a couple years in the cellar to open fully. Finishes firm and very persistent. One of the better Kepos vintages to date." (09/12) - 90+ Ian Dagata - International Wine Cellar
Time to expand your world of wines with a different white wine. Sure we all know chards and sauvignon blancs but here is one that any lover of white wine should try. It has hints of butter and citrus at the same time. The blend is 53% Grenache Blanc, 38% Roussanne and a spash of Viognier and Bourboulenc. It has the weight to go with full bodied foods and the fruit to match up with spicy dishes at the same time. The beauty of this wine is that you can just drink it on its own and every glass may taste a little bit different. The last vintage sold out fast grab some while this one is sill around.
"Another white Chateauneuf du Pape look-alike, the 2012 Nostre Pais Blanc was produced by the brilliant Michel Gassier assisted by his equally talented oenologist, Philippe Cambie. Made from a blend of 53% Grenache Blanc, 38% Roussanne, 6% Viognier and 3% Bourboulenc, aged six months on its lees in French oak, it exhibits lots of buttered citrus along with caramelized pears and apricots, a medium to full-bodied texture, and a crisp, zesty, dry finish that is loaded with fruit. Consume it over the next year." (11/13) - 91 Robert Parker - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"Ripe and lush, with green and yellow apple and melon flavors, lined with singed almond and salted butter notes. A quinine edge adds needed cut and freshness on the finish. Drink now through 2014. 2,600 cases imported. -JM" (10/13) - 90 Wine Spectator
91 Points Robert Parker - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
It's time to start thinking about whites again, and at the forefront of my mind is the 2012 Contacto Alvarinho from Vino Verde master, Anselmo Mendes. Contacto is one of the greatest Vino Verdes produced and with one sip you will see why. "Contacto" references this wine's extended skin contact and it is well that it is featured so prominently in the name. That is what makes this wine so interesting. The fullest and richest way to make a light and airy wine... the epitome of balance and the meeting of wayward points. The perfect white for the changing seasons? Effusive notes of white flowers, peach, and lychee are joined by a rich and creamy sensation which wrap around the palate on the finish. A gorgeous and sublimely interesting wine!
"Anselmo Mendes, who has worked as a winemaking consultant in Vinho Verde and the Douro since 1992, began making his own wines in 1998. "Contacto" refers to skin contact, which he pushes in these grapes from riverside vineyards in Moncao and Melgaco. That contact includes a cold maceration prior to fermentation for 12 hours at 12 degrees C. In a lesser vintage, this wine can be youthfully tannic, but in 2012, the lusciousness of the fruit builds dynamism with the structure, the architecture of the wine holding its peach density like a national monument to alvarinho. This lasts with the floral notes of fresh cream, the smokiness of the grape skins and the sumptuous richness of the fruit. Built to age." (08/13) - 94 Wine & Spirits
"The 2012 Alvarinho Contacto comes in at 13% alcohol. This brand is fast becoming one of my very favorites from Mendes. It is usually a great intersection of quality and price. This is a wonderful follow-up to the very fine 2011. Take the power, finish and grip of its sibling, the very nice 2012 Alvarinho Muros Antigos reviewed this issue. Now, add yet a little more intensity, a full bodied feel and additional complexity. It results in an impressive wine, one that should age beautifully and have the stuffing to hold up well to many foods. Beautifully balanced as well, it is still tightly wound in its youth, precise, pure and focused. There is actually a lot more going on here than at first seems apparent. While never losing its balance, it showed, as it warmed into the 60s F (and THEN over several hours and THEN the next day in particular), what lurked underneath - transparency as well as some laser like bursts of acidity. It may have been at its best on Day 2 actually - and how many times have you heard that about Vinho Verde?--and at the end of the day at that, some 6 hours after the first taste. It likely will be better with a year or so of cellaring, even though it is certainly wonderful now. Stock up on this. Note: The "Contacto" is so named because it emphasizes prolonged skin contact. It is also a bit different in that it comes from a different terroir and soil type than Mendes' Muros Antigos Alvarinho - rolling stones rather than sandy. Drink now-2020." (04/13) - 92 Mark Squires - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
I just tasted the 2006 Vinas Artadi Pagos Viejos Rioja. It's 9:47am on a Saturday, and in all my years of experience, training and travel, I count this wine as one of the best Spanish wines I have ever experienced. Big words, and rarely would I insist you not miss this opportunity, but that is precisely what I am telling you.
The 2006 Artadi Pagos Viejos boasts biodynamically grown fruit from the estate's oldest parcels, averaging 75+ years of age, matured in large oak barrel. Made by Rioja's legendary winemaker Juan Carlos López de Lacalle, this wine humbled me -- thunder in a glass: gorgeous, beautifully delineated, savory, layered and richly textured that unfolded gloriously with air. It reminds me of a cross between Chateauneuf du Pape and Barolo, but distinctly Spanish.
Yes, this release scored double 94 point scores and was just named Winery of the Year by Spain's most important critical wine trade publication, Penin Guide. But here's the bottom line: if you're a fan of powerful earth-driven reds with a flair and stle that is both classic and sublime, this release is nothing short of magical.
"The 2006 Pagos Viejos is sourced from Tempranillo vines over 75 years of age and aged for 18 months in new French oak. The wine is inky purple with a sublime nose of pain grille, graphite, black cherry, wild blue fruits, and blackberry. This leads to a dense, plush, remarkably elegant wine which is already exhibiting some complexity. While rich enough to be enjoyed now, it will improve for 5-7 years and be at its best from 2015 to 2030." - 94 Jay Miller - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
"Inky ruby. Spicy red and dark berry aromas are complicated by smoky minerals, anise and fresh rose; smells like a great Barolo. Juicy black raspberry and cherry flavors are impressively deep and pure, taking on weight with air while maintaining focus. This hits every nook and cranny of the palate and betrays no rough edges. Spiciness builds on the finish, which is long, nervy and gently sweet." - 93 Josh Raynolds - International Wine Cellar
94 Points Jay Miller - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
This was one of my favorite finds of late! I almost missed my chance to try this wine...and good thing I was able to keep that appointment! This wine from Chateau de la Negly is a blend of two grapes on the not often heard from club: Bourboulenc and Roussanne. Both grapes are used is white blends in the Rhone, but seeing a more focused cuvee with these two is a rarity! Grown on limestone soils near the Mediterranean, this white is crisp and bright, with notes of white peach, saline, lemon, and chamomile. This is one of those refreshing whites where you find yourself pouring another glass without thinking! Perfect for the spring and summer, its acidity gives it versatility with food, from raw oysters to pork roasts.
This was a super find. The 2012 vintage of this is remarkably fresh and clean, but has great body and weight for a wine of this price. Loads of minerality and clean fruit flavors are perfectly framed in this incredible value. This is easily worth twice the price.
"A discreet touch of wood sets off an interesting and layered nose of apricot, peach and resin. There is a textured mouth feel to the opulent and impressively concentrated flavors that coat the mouth on the delicious finish. This isn't especially complex but it's a competent effort within the context of the appellation." - 86-88 Allen Meadows - Burghound
This Sryah is all class. Parker mentioned the 2010 vintage as "One of the finest values in Sryah," and this followup is better. Full bodied, but well refined, yummy deep blackberries with rounded sweet tannins. Elegance!
he '09 Quinta De Pancas Reserva is a wonderful blend of Cab Sauv, Merlot, Touriga Nacional, Alicante Bouschet, and Petit Verdot. These varietals seamlessly blend together to form a solid, smooth wine. Full-bodied, with some small notes of spice, intense plum flavor. Drink it now or through the next five years.
"This is beautiful, with smooth, polished tannins and a spice note from the wood aging. It is layered with black plum, chocolate and licorice flavors, along with structure. The fruit is rich and likely to come forward in the next 3-4 years. CELLAR SELECTION. -R.V." (10/12) - 93 Wine Enthusiast
currant, blackberry, cherry, bell pepper, olive, asparagus, spice, ginger, oak, vanilla, black cherry, plum, smoke, toast, tar, ripe cherry, peppercorn, cinnamon, red fruit, dark ripe cherry, dark berry, blueberry, lead, cedar, molasses, dark fruit
currant, blackberry, cherry, cedar, cigar box, violet, rose, truffle, earth, coffee, leather, ripe cherry, peppercorn, cinnamon, plum, red fruit, dark berry, black cherry, mocha, vanilla, tobacco
All of the expectations we have of Rioja is captured in the 2005 Vina Olabarri. This is a big fulfilling wine with great notes of dark fruits and spice. Vina Olabarri is 80% Tempranillo /20% Mazuelo and Graciano,aged for 24 months in American and French vats. I just can’t get enough of this attractive, velvety wine with smoothly integrated tannins. If you like Rioja this is a Must Have!
"This is almost exactly like the winery's excellent 2004 Gran Reserva, proof that Olabarri knows how to make this style of Tempranillo. This is smooth and concentrated, with a deep color and ripe plum, blackberry and tobacco aromas. Flavors of mossy berry, fresh prune, chocolate and vanilla come with light herbal accents. This is elegant, with aging potential. Drink now-2020. -M.S." (06/13) - 92 Wine Enthusiast
"Licorice, espresso, smoke and mineral notes frame a core of plum and leafy flavors in this savory red. Compact yet dense, with light, firm tannins and a slightly chewy finish. Drink now through 2020. 3,750 cases made. -TM" (10/13) - 91 Wine Spectator
Super interesting wine. 80% Agioritiko that comes from vines up to 80 years old and 20% Cabernet that comes from vines averaging 35 years. The result is a wine full of fruit and spice with just enough tannins and acidity for balance. There's also a bit of leather that comes from the old vines and the oak is really well integrated. This is a great lesson for what old vines do for grape flavors and for the price not terribly expensive to experience it.
"The 2008 “Megas Oenos” is a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon (20%) and old vines Agiorgitiko (80%) aged in French oak for 20 months. Quite tinged by oak in its youth, this elegant wine is still well-structured, showing both the backbone to age and acidity necessary to lift the fruit. The mid-palate is not terribly concentrated, but the wine should come around well, with some potential for improvement in the cellar. A little hard edged at the moment, it could use a bit of time to settle down, even if approachable now. As time went on, it evolved beautifully, becoming a bit more austere, absorbing some oak and showing quite beautifully. Drink 2013-2020.
This is a very nice lineup from Skouras this issue. The best news is that there are a lot of nice values. With the exception of the 9906 solera, these all provide some value and some seem like terrific deals if you like their styles. Bargain hunters take note." - 90 Mark Squires - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
90 Points Mark Squires - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
A flat out incredible bottle of wine for $20. Big, rich and full bodied with plenty of fruit, yet well structured so it doesn't come off over the top. This is the go to producer for incredible Syrah from California. While this vintage has yet to be scored, the last vintage earned a 92 Point score from Robert Parker himself. Awesome!