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
What a terrific value. Great balance of fruit, oak and structure. Elements of currant along with other red fruits that deliver a great finish. I really enjoyed this not too overpowering as some other Aussie Cabs tend to be.
"Fermented in small batches, some given extended maceration post-fermentation, then given 14 months in French oak (40% new). The colour is bright and clear, and there is a most appealing nature to the blackcurrant and redcurrant fruit; the oak and tannins are perfectly balanced." (08/12) - 95 James Halliday - Australian Wine Companion
95 Points James Halliday - Australian Wine Companion
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
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 bottle is simply delicious and a great buy at this amazing price. Full bodied and glass coating, this Syrah shows off its Rockplie pedigree effortlessly with pronounced notes of blueberry, crushed river rocks, graphite and an intense Northern Rhone-like bacon fat note. Plush and velvety on the palate with a savory, 30 second plus finish, this is all about power. Drink this outstanding find now, or age for up to the next five years
"The 2008 Syrah Rockpile exhibits an opaque blue/purple color followed by a dense nose of blueberry pie intermixed with blackberry, pepper, flower and new saddle leather aromas. Dense, rich and full-bodied with silky tannins and a heady finish, it should drink well for 5-6 years. It would be terrific news if one day the winemaker behind all these brilliant wines, Jeff Cohn, gets his own winery and vineyard. He certainly has a knack for putting together super wines, generally from Rhone Ranger varietals, but also Zinfandel." (12/10) - 93+ Robert Parker - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
93+ Points Robert Parker - Robert Parker's Wine Advocate
One of the more intriguing Super Tuscans that I have ever tasted, the 2007 Dofana is already gorgeous. A very distinctive blend of half Sangiovese and half Petite Verdot from a single vineyard at the organically run Carpineta Fontalpino
estate, this marries the pretty cherry fruit of the Sangiovese and the dark, rich spice of the Petite Verdot perfectly. Full bodied with a dark, brooding black fruit core wrapped in silky tannins, this really shines at this modest price.
"Fabulous on the nose, with dark fruits and smoky, meaty undertones. Full-bodied, with velvety tannins and a long, fruity finish. There's a lovely richness and slight decadence to this. Equal parts Petit Verdot and Sangiovese. Best after 2012. 400 cases made. -JS" (10/10) - 93 Wine Spectator
"This is richer and has more fruit than the 2006. Super clean ripe fruit, think raspberries and currants. A very long finish on this wine. It still needs some time in the bottle but is very hard to resist now. Half Sangiovese and half Petit Verdot. Try to wait until after 2012." (04/13) - 93 James Suckling
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!
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
It's Pinot Time
You could say it's always Pinot time and be right, but now as we head into Thanksgiving and holiday
parties this is my red. This Pinot Noir is from the Willamette Valley of Oregon so it has a little more of
the earth and deeper fruit taste, something I look for when pairing a wine for Thanksgiving dinner. It has the ability to stand up to all foods on the Thanksgiving table and not get clobbered by the stuffing.
This wine over deliverers for the price,It may be an expression that is over used but in this case it works. Bang for the buck one of the best Pinots out there, Big enough fruit for any holiday dinner or just to drink by itself on a winter night.
"Smooth and already a seamless, complex and compelling whole, this estate-grown reserve overdelivers for the price. Roughly one-fifth new oak balances the modest alcohol, and the just-ripe berry and pomegranate fruit. Light hints of earth, coffee grounds and sassafras add further detail through a lingering finish. -P.G." (06/12) - 91 Wine Enthusiast
If you're looking for a great alternative to Chianti, Burgundy or Oregon Pinot give this a whirl. 2007 has been widely acclaimed as one of the best vintages for Brunello this millennium. The dry, warm summer lead to a very forward drinking vintage, essentially expediting the aging process by four or five years. Bottom line, this is a $30 Tuscan, drinking now but with a long life ahead of it.
"Textbook Brunello nose from a warm vintage. It grabs from a wide array of elements at its disposal, with balsam, cola and humus, backed by ripe fruit and dark cherry. More layers appear as leather, earth and cured meat. Great complexity and balance. Closes elegant, fresh and clean. -M.L." (05/12) - 93 Wine Enthusiast
"This vineyard in Sant’ Angelo in Colle, in the southwestern district of Montalcino, produces a traditional style of brunello. Scents of forest floor, fruity mushrooms, figs and cherries build complexity in this 2007, its tense sangiovese structure focused along a tight, elegant line. Approachable now if decanted and served with braised duck or other meaty game, this will benefit from several years in the cellar." - 93 Wine & Spirits
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
A dark, garnet color with a lighter ruby edge, Simi’s 2010 Cabernet Sauvignon is an exceptional wine. This wine won a Silver Medal at the San Francisco International Wine Competition this year! The aromas of cedar, cinnamon, and mint chocolate are accompanied beautifully by lush flavors of blackberry, plum, black pepper, and clove spices, along with a lush, velvelty finish and dark cocoa tannins. Although this medium-to-full bodied wine consists of mostly Cabernet, it is elegantly complimented by Merlot, Malbec, Petit Verdot, and Cabernet Franc. This wine brings out the best in roasted mushroom, grilled meats, and asiago-onion salad. Don’t miss out on this outrageous value!!
Talk about a stunning $30 red! We were able to score an amazing deal on the 2004 Paramo De Corcos Ribera Del Duero Reserva, a wine that originally had a list price of $58! We are selling the same wine for just $29.99! Rated 93 Points by the Wine Spectator, this is a tremendous, ready to drink red from an outstanding vintage. "This red shows beautiful structure, with a lovely balance of tannins, freshness and depth, which showcases black currant, cedar, stone and light herbal flavors. A traditional style, sturdy yet graceful. Drink now through 2015. 6,000 cases made. -TM" (06/10) - 93 Pts Wine Spectator
"This red shows beautiful structure, with a lovely balance of tannins, freshness and depth, which showcases black currant, cedar, stone and light herbal flavors. A traditional style, sturdy yet graceful. Drink now through 2015. 6,000 cases made. -TM" (06/10) - 93 Wine Spectator
"A very nice wine from a solid producer. The nose displays blackberry, coffee, earth and vanilla aromas, while the palate is pure, respectably tannic and starts with a short but pointed blast of black fruit followed by mocha and vanilla. Makes it to the upper echelon of Ribera wines; drink now through 2012. -MS" (12/09) - 91 Wine Enthusiast
"Ruby-red. Ripe dark berry and cherry compote aromas are complemented by vanillin oak, brown spices and a hint of rooty sassafras. Supple and sweet, with strong cherry and blackberry flavors and velvety tannins. Lots of oak spice here but there's also deep, weighty dark fruit that seems to be up to the wood tones. Finishes with very good persistence and lingering spiciness." (09/09) - 90 Josh Raynolds - International Wine Cellar
I love surprises...and tasting this Chardonnay from Italy was quite the eye opener! Crisp, clean, and bright, this can rival some great White Burgundies, with notes of green apple, pear, white flowers, and an incredible sense of minerality. At $25, this is a beautiful Chardonnay from a country you might not think to produce top flight bottlings!
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