Advance Buying Guide - Domaine des Baumard

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Advance Buying Guide - Domaine des Baumard

PHOTO MICK ROCK/CEPHAS

Buying Guide

The Le Mont vineyard of Domaine Huet l’Enchansonne in Vouvray, source of some of the

world’s finest Chenin Blancs. In the distance is the city of Tours.

Special Advance Release

Reviews appearing in the

September 2009 issue, in home August 5

FOR ADDITIONAL RATINGS AND REVIEWS

www.winemag.com/buyingguide


LOIRE WHITES

SANCERRE

94

Alphonse Mellot 2006 Cuvée

Edmond (Sancerre); $94. With some

wood aging, Cuvée Edmond is generally released

a year later than other whites from Alphonse

Mellot. The wine is beautifully rounded, a rich,

complex Sauvignon Blanc that shows ripe apricots,

pears, spice and sweet, luscious acidity.

Imported by Domaine Select Wine Estates.

—R.V.

92

Alphonse Mellot 2007 Génération

XIX (Sancerre); $84. The current

Alphonse Mellot is the 19th to bear the name,

always passed in the family from father to son.

Made from 80-year-old vines, aged on the lees

before bottling, the wine has a fine concentration,

giving generosity, a hint of yeastiness, spice,

pink grapefruit and even a final burst of opulence.

Imported by Domaine Select Wine

Estates. —R.V.

92

Domaine Vacheron 2006 Les

Romains (Sancerre); $59. A fine

combination of apples and cream flavors and a

powerful mineral texture, showing a generous side

of Sauvignon Blanc, with apricots and peaches as

well as an intense layer of citrus. The final flavors

are of spice, vanilla mixed with crisp acidity.

Imported by North Berkeley Imports. —R.V.

89

Alphonse Mellot 2007 La Moussière

(Sancerre); $39. The 80-acre

Domaine de la Moussière is Alphonse Mellot’s

principal vineyard in Sancerre. This entry-level

cuvée from the vineyard is already sumptuous

enough, with fine, concentrated grassy flavors,

laced with green apples, kiwi and citrus. Imported

by Domaine Select Wine Estates. —R.V.

88

Château de Sancerre 2007

Sancerre; $25. Fresh grapefruit and

textured apples and cream flavors dominate this

finely made wine. The fruit is all there, very forward,

crisp and herbaceous, ready to drink now

with its soft finish. Imported by Moët Hennessy

USA. —R.V.

88

Domaine Vacheron 2007

Sancerre; $30. A classic, crisp, herbaceous

style of wine that shows its green fruit,

grassy character well. Grapefruit and other citrus

flavors dominate, spiced with almond essence

and a firm, green apple skin structure. Imported

by North Berkeley Imports. —R.V.

87

Château de Sancerre 2006 Cuvée

de Connetable (Sancerre); $33.

Wood-aged Sauvignon Blanc is always a difficult

balancing trick. This wine, the top cuvée from

Château de Sancerre, doesn’t quite make it, with

the spicy wood dominating the lighter fruit. The

hints of fruit suggest pears and pink grapefruit,

but always the wood intervenes. Imported by

Moët Hennessy USA. —R.V.

86

Remy-Pannier 2008 Sancerre; $25.

Crisply made, herbaceous Sauvignon

Blanc, relishing hedgerow fruits, green, crisp

berries and a creamy texture. Pure fruit drives

the wine, the structure coming from acidity and

pear skins. Imported by Palm Bay International.

—R.V.

86

Xavier Flouret 2007 Domaine

Chatelain French Blonde

(Sancerre); $23. The Xavier Flouret range

includes wines from both Spain and France. This

expression of French Sauvignon Blanc is maturing

well, its primary grassy character softened by

flavors of almond paste, the acidity tamed but

still pulsating through the wine. There is a good

apple skin texture to add complexity. Imported

by Cognac One, LLC. —R.V.

SAVENNIÈRES

96

Clos de la Coulée de Serrant 2007

Savennières-Coulée de Serrant;

$90. It is not easy to describe one of the majestic

wines of France. This 2007 is still a wine in the

making. All the elements are there: the intensity

of dry fruits, the richness of spice and white fruit

jams, opulent and austere at the same time. It is

an extraordinary wine, with freshness, sweetness,

dryness and acidity all just about perfectly balanced.

Give it at least seven years. Imported by

Vintus LLC. Cellar Selection. —R.V.

94

Domaine des Baumard 2007 Trie

Spéciale (Savennières); $35. A special

selection of grapes has given a fascinatingly

exotic and rich wine that remains resolutely dry.

The fruit flavor dominates now, showing pear,

white peach, a touch of lime with pepper, all

rolled into an opulent wine with acidity and

spice. Worth aging. Screwcap. Imported by Ex-

Cellars Wine Agencies, Inc. Cellar Selection.

—R.V.

93

Domaine des Baumard 2006 Clos

du Papillon (Savennières); $32.

Baumard’s signature wine, named after the butterfly

shape of the vineyard, is pure, exotic

Chenin Blanc, rich, but not losing sight of the

essential minerality of Savennières, its stony element

coming through in the tight texture. This

should certainly age—drink now, or wait for five

years. Screwcap. Imported by Ex-Cellars Wine

Agencies, Inc. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.

92

Château de la Roche-Aux-Moines

2007 Clos de la Bergerie (Savennières-Roche-Aux-Moines);

$60. Everything

is so fascinating in this wine. Clos de la

Bergerie is salty and sweet, as if sea salt had been

gently sprinkled on the ripest of mangoes and

sweet peaches. It is poised, like a dancer, while at

the same time being full and powerful. Finally,

the mineral, chalky character of pure Chenin

Blanc comes through. Age this wine for at least

five years. Imported by Vintus LLC. —R.V.

92

Domaine des Baumard 2005

Savennières; $22. Showing both the

crispness necessary for Savennières, and the

ripeness of 2005, this is a finely balanced wine. It

is full, open and generous, but still has a center of

green, crisp acidity and minerality. Age for 10

years. Screwcap. Imported by Ex-Cellars Wine

Agencies, Inc. —R.V.

91

Domaine aux Moines 2004 Savennières-Roche-Aux-Moines;

$22.

Green vegetable aromas mingle with fresh kiwi

and lime and a touch of pepper and salt. The

wine is going through the sort of closed-up phase

common with Chenin Blanc, the fruits just a hint,

the texture smooth. Give it another 3–4 years,

and the fruits will come together with mature

almond flavors. Imported by WineWise. —R.V.

91

Domaine du Closel 2006 Château

des Vaults Clos du Papillon

(Savennières); $35. Madame de Jessey’s spectacular

property has a portion of the Clos du

Papillon vineyard. This wine from the well-balanced

2006 vintage shows freshness above all, the

exotic spice element layered with white peaches,

just an edge of dry almond paste and acidity that

wraps around all the flavors. Imported by Louis

Dressner Selections. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.

89

Château de Varennes 2006 Savennières;

$17. A great rich waft of wood

and peach sets the scene for a powerful, concentrated

wine, its flavors of spice, yellow fruits and

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


oasted peanuts enhanced by a slice of toast, butter,

the acidity cutting right through everything.

If there is a fault, it is the suggestion of heat,

which comes from the alcohol. Imported by 57

Main Street Wine Co. —R.V.

89

Domaine des Baumard 2006

Savennières; $22. For a normally

crisp style, this Savennières is soft, open, almost

hinting at sweetness. It makes for a wine that is

more accessible, certainly, giving delicious, nut

and pear flavors edged with a dusty texture of

red currants. Hard to say if this will age, it is certainly

a pleasure to drink now. Screwcap.

Imported by Ex-Cellars Wine Agencies, Inc.

—R.V.

88

Château de la Roche-Aux-Moines

2007 Les Vieux Clos (Savennières);

$40. White, almost jammy fruits, mingle

with acidity, minerality and tight tannins. This

is a wine that offers spice, superrich fruit and

intensity of flavor. Like all the wines produced

by Nicolas Joly, this is made from biodynamically

grown grapes, offering pure flavor and nothing

else. Imported by Vintus LLC. —R.V.

88

Domaine du Closel 2007 Château

des Vaults La Jalousie (Savennières);

$20. Young, dry Chenin, showing

almond and marzipan paste flavors, the pear

fruit coming through slowly. There is some pepper

along with fresh acidity, which is still working

its way into the wine. It needs a few months

more to integrate completely, but then fruits

should dominate. Imported by Louis Dressner

Selections. —R.V.

VOUVRAY

95

Domaine Huet l’Echansonne 2007

Le Haut-Lieu Demi-Sec (Vouvray);

$45. More off-dry than medium sweet, this is a

fabulously concentrated wine. It has honey, spice,

lemon and sweet pear flavors, which give it a

bright, vivid character in its youth. Expect it to

close up for 3–4 years, before emerging again as a

wine with elegance, balance and complexity.

Imported by Robert Chadderdon Selections.

Cellar Selection. —R.V.

94

Domaine Huet l’Echansonne 2007

Clos du Bourg Sec (Vouvray); $38.

The Clos du Bourg vineyard has produced a concentrated

wine, definitely dry, but with richness

rounding it out magnificently. The texture is

tight, flavors of ripe apples and cream surrounded

by dense, complex mineral, almond and

spice. Age for at least 7–10 years. Imported by

Robert Chadderdon Selections. —R.V.

93

Domaine Huet l’Echansonne 2007

Le Haut-Lieu Sec (Vouvray); $35. A

dry Vouvray from the clay soils of the Haut-Lieu

vineyard. This rich but crisp, full-bodied wine

shows intense green apple flavors, with a chalk

texture, and is beautifully balanced. Like all

Huët’s biodynamically farmed wines, this is likely

to last for years. Imported by Robert Chadderdon

Selections. —R.V.

93

François Chidaine 2006 Le

Bouchet (Vouvray); $0. Chidaine,

based across the Loire in Montlouis, has only

recently begun making wine from Vouvray as

well. Le Bouchet is an off-dry wine that balances

a core of minerality and acidity against intense

richness. Flavors of sweet plums, apricots and

almonds ride beautifully into the soft finish.

Imported by Louis Dressner Selections. —R.V.

92

François Chidaine 2006 Les

Argiles (Vouvray); $0. A dry Vouvray,

but one that has so much richness it seems

almost sweet. It’s a great contrast of flavors—

apricots alongside fresh apple juice, lemon,

honey and a rich, soft texture. A wine that is delicious

now but, with its mineral character, will also

age magnificently. Imported by Louis Dressner

Selections. —R.V.

89

Domaine de Vaugondy 2007 Ph.

Perdriaux Sec (Vouvray); $14. A

floral wine, dominated by apple blossom and

baked apple flavors. It may be dry, but it is deliciously

soft, its fruits very forward at this stage,

only just edged with a grapefruit acidity. A great

moment to drink now, but it may well close down

for the next few years. Imported by Global Quality

Import. Best Buy. —R.V.

89

Laurent Kraft 2008 Sec (Vouvray);

$18. It’s worth noting the sec (dry) note

on the label, because this is bone-dry Chenin. It

does, though, have enough richness to bring a

fine balance, with crisp apples, a mineral and

steel character, and a taut-as-a-string texture.

Drink now, or age for 2–3 years. Imported by

Robert Kacher Imports. —R.V.

87

Chateau Moncontour 2007 Demi-

Sec (Vouvray); $16. A soft, open style

of wine, it shows sweet pear and apple flavors,

winemag.com

stewed white fruits and a hint of raisins. The

acidity is there, but as an afterthought to the

comparative sweetness. Drink now, but consider

aging 4–5 years for the whole style of the wine to

change and deepen. Imported by Multiple U.S.

importers. —R.V.

87

Domaine du Petit Coteau 2007 Le

Noyer Demi-Sec (Vouvray); $19.

Given the crispness of much white Loire 2007,

this vintage of demi-sec from Domaine du Petit

Coteau is better than the sec. It just needs that

flavor of white pear juice, smoothing out the

acidity, emphasizing nuts, with the taut, mineral

structure an added complexity. Imported by

Chartrand Imports. —R.V.

86

Domaine de Vaugondy 2007 Ph.

Perdriaux Demi Sec (Vouvray);

$14. Chalky in texture, the wine has an edgy texture

lightened by sweet currant flavors. It has

freshness from sweet apple acidity, the sweetness

kept in check by minerality and structure.

Imported by Global Quality Import. —R.V.

86

Domaine du Petit Coteau 2007

Les Grenouilles Sec (Vouvray);

$19. Tight, crisp, dry, full of ultra-fresh apples,

this is a pure wine, its fruit from biodynamic

grapes, its flavors showing apple skin, grapefruit

zest and an edge of green almonds. It needs 2–3

years at least. Imported by Chartrand Imports.

—R.V.

ANJOU

92

Domaine de Juchepie 2006 Le Sec

de Juchepie Le Clos (Anjou); $26.

From biodynamically grown grapes, a wine with

intensity of flavor but also freshness, crispness

and a mineral and stone texture. The yellow

fruits—peach and fresh pineapple—are ripe, full

in the mouth, helped by some nutmeg spice and

a touch of caramel. Worth aging for another year.

Imported by Bon Vivant Merchants. Editors’

Choice. —R.V.

90

Domaine de Juchepie 2007 Le Sec

de Juchepie Les Monts (Anjou);

$22. Pears, ripe quince and yellow fruits frame

this intense, fruity wine. While, yes, it is sec (dry),

it is more rich, a mouthful of concentrated white

fruits layered with acidity, giving a finely creamy

texture just touched with spice. Imported by Bon

Vivant Merchants. —R.V.


90

Richard Leroy 2007 Les Noëls de

Montbenault (Anjou); $0. Rich,

creamy Chenin Blanc, with flavors of lime and

yellow plums, with a vibrant acidity that gives

freshness but also ripeness. Red currant flavors

go along with a final juiciness. Showing delicious,

mouthfilling, easy fruit, it is ready to drink now.

Imported by Weygandt-Metzler. —R.V.

89

Domaine de Montgilet 2007

Anjou; $0. Characteristic almond paste

and yellow fruit aromas lead to a fresh wine flavored

with apples and custard. There is a tight

edge of citrus, but this is a wonderfully fresh,

accessible wine that relishes its open, nutty flavors.

Imported by David Bowler Wine. —R.V.

88

Richard Leroy 2007 Les Clos des

Rouliers (Anjou); $0. The lighter of

Richard Leroy’s white Anjou wines, this is fresh,

crisp, with a fine touch of minerality under the

apricot and pear fruits. There is a good layer of

apple skin structure, while the intense acidity

gives the finish a great lift. Imported by Weygandt-Metzler.

—R.V.

86

Domaine des Sablonnettes 2008

Le P’tit Blanc (Anjou); $12. Perfumed

Chenin Blanc, honey and almonds followed

by fresh, creamy apples. There is a fruit

skin edge, giving a tannic structure, but it is

mainly crisp, ready to drink. Imported by World

Wide Wines. —R.V.

85

Château de la Guimonière 2006

Anjou; $12. Soft, rather bland wine,

which seems to play down the crispness of good

Chenin in favor of a wood-dominated style.

Baked apple and cream flavors are present, with

some juicy green plum acidity somewhere in the

background. Imported by 57 Main Street Wine

Co. —R.V.

MUSCADET

87

Domaine de la Quilla 2007 Muscadet

Sèvre et Maine; $13. Almost

searingly fresh, this is a wine that demands fish.

The acidity is dominant, cutting through the

grapefruit and green fruit flavors. With its tight

texture, this could age for a few more months,

but it will be great this summer. Imported by

Robert Kacher Imports. —R.V.

86

Domaine Saint Martin 2007 Muscadet

Sèvre et Maine; $13. Initially,

the creaminess dominates. Then the crisp, green

pea flavor and tight, structured acidity comes

through for a cool, mineral, pink grapefruit-edged

wine. Imported by Robert Kacher Imports.

—R.V.

OTHER WHITE WINES

94

Domaine des Baumard 2006

(Quarts de Chaume); $68. The aromas

of dried fruits do not show the sweetness and

unctuousness of this ripe, botrytized wine. It has

sweet honey flavors, spice, orange peel and a pure

streak of acidity. This wine can age well, but it

could also be drunk this year. Screwcap. Imported

by Ex-Cellars Wine Agencies, Inc. —R.V.

93

Château de Suronde 2003 500ml

(Quarts de Chaume); $86. Rich,

finely balanced, an intense botrytis wine, full of

sweet spices, honey, baked apples and sugar. Add

in a texture of ripe pear skins and the layer of

vivid acidity, and this is a great sweet wine. It will

age for 10 years at least, but it can be drunk now.

Imported by Robert Kacher Imports. Cellar

Selection. —R.V.

90

Domaine de Juchepie 2006 Les

Churelles de Juchepie (Coteaux

du Layon La Faye); $30. This rich botrytized

wine is certainly sweet. But the intense dry botrytis

character is much more evident, with an edge

of bitter honey, crushed brown sugar and tight,

taut acidity. Put all this down to youth, because

this potentially delicious wine needs aging for at

least another five years. Imported by Bon Vivant

Merchants. —R.V.

89

Domaine Alain Assadet 2008

Menetou-Salon; $21. A densely

grassy, almost New Zealand style of Sauvignon

Blanc, packed with intense flavors. It is crisp, but

the green fruits are rounded out and given

greater flavor by red apple juice, a tight texture

and vivid finishing acidity. Imported by Robert

Kacher Imports. Editors’ Choice. —R.V.

89

Domaine de Terrebrune 2006

Cuvée Prestige (Bonnezeaux);

$42. Intensely liquorous, this is a wine whose

richness comes from concentrated botrytis over

honey and lemon acidity. It is very ripe, rather

than hugely sweet, with a final burst of freshness,

giving a positive lift. Delicious, it needs aging for

5–10 years. Imported by International Vineyards.

—R.V.

88

Domaine de Montgilet 2008

Coteaux de l’Aubance; $0. The

Aubance is part of the network of small rivers

that eventually flows into the Loire in Anjou. The

appellation produces gently sweet wines like this

one, from Chenin Blanc. This is as much fresh as

sweet, with light ripe apple flavors and pear juice

acidity. Drink now, but it is worth aging over five

years. Imported by David Bowler Wine. —R.V.

86

Château Belle Rive 2005 Quarts

de Chaume; $40. Quarts de Chaume,

producing botrytized Chenin Blanc, should be

one of the glories of the Loire. This example

from Château Belle Rive, is only half there. Its

rich, almost toffee character is certainly supersweet,

but it misses on the acidity, which is an

essential part of the character. Too velvet for its

own good. Imported by 57 Main Street Wine Co.

—R.V.

86

Domaine Cordaillat 2007 Tradition

(Reuilly); $17. Attractive, ripely

structured Sauvignon Blanc with a touch of

herbaceousness and layered richness from apricot

and green plum flavors. There is a good,

green fruit structure to hold it all together.

Imported by International Vineyards. —R.V.

86

Remy-Pannier 2008 Sauvignon

(Touraine); $13. Open, tropical Sauvignon,

with mango and lychee flavors, ripe, soft

and very cleanly made. A pleasure to drink as an

apéritif, the edge of acidity and texture holding

all the ripe fruit flavors together. Imported by

Palm Bay International. —R.V.

85

Domaine des Hauts de Sanziers

2008 Saumur; $16. A very soft,

immediately attractve wine with flavors of honey

and baked apple. There is a hint of almond

underlying the tight texture. The finish, though,

is rounder, with a full, almost green olive oil finish.

Imported by Robert Kacher Imports. —R.V.

85

Domaine du Petit Clocher 2008

Chardonnay (Vin de Pays du Val

de Loire); $10. The Loire produces a crisp

style of Chardonnay, and this one emphasizes

fresh lime and other citrus flavors. It has structure,

a crisp core of pear skins with a floral, green

finish. Imported by Deprez Wine & Spirits.

—R.V.

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


85

Domaine Joël Delaunay 2008 Le

Bois Martin Sauvignon Blanc

(Touraine); $16. A soft, relatively ripe style of

Sauvignon Blanc, moving towards white fruits,

even hints of lychee spice. But the wine also has

an herbaceous element, showing young, green

plum juiciness. It is simple,fresh and attractive

to drink now. Screwcap. Imported by Robert

Kacher Imports. —R.V.

ITALY

SARDINIA

ISOLA DEI NURAGHI

RED

92

Capichera 2006 Mantènghja (Isola

dei Nuraghi); $0. Here’s an oak-aged

expression of Carignano that shows the very best

of winemaking on the Italian island of Sardinia.

This is an important wine with alluring complexity

and sophistication. The aromas include elements

of red fruit, mineral and spice. It imparts

sweet, enduring tannins in the mouth. Imported

by Vias Imports. —M.L.

91

Argiolas 2004 Turriga (Isola dei

Nuraghi); $70. Turriga is this estate’s

top red wine that boasts the extraction and

sophistication to pair with Gouda or sharp Cheddar.

This vineyard-designate wine is mostly Cannonau

(85%) with smaller percentages of

Carignano, Bovale and Malvasia Nera. It’s firm

and pulpy with young tannins. You can age this

wine five years or more. Imported by Winebow.

—M.L.

90

Mesa 2006 Buio Buio Carignano

(Isola dei Nuraghi); $40. Buio Buio

is one of this estate’s best wines. The first vintage

of this 100% expression of Carignano was in

2004 and the wine benefits from calcium-rich

soils and oak aging. It delivers aromas of blueberry

and blackberry with spice, tobacco and

almond nut. Imported by Vias Imports. —M.L.

90

Pala 2005 S’arai (Isola dei

Nuraghi); $0. Named after the Sardinian

word for “plow,” S’arai is a blend of Cannonau,

Carignano and Bovale (vinified separately

and aged in oak) that offers a full palate of exotic

spice and mature fruit. It boasts excellent concentration

and soft, drying tannins. Imported by

Banville & Jones Wine Merchants. —M.L.

89

Argiolas 2006 Is Solinas (Isola dei

Nuraghi); $40. Carignano is enhanced

with a small percent of Bovale (5%) for extra

structure, tannins and alcohol. This is a mature

wine with thick concentration and intense aromas

of sweet spice and clove over a wealth of

black fruit. Imported by Winebow. —M.L.

89

Argiolas 2006 Korem (Isola dei

Nuraghi); $50. Made with Bovale

(60%), Carignano and Cannonau, Korem is a

deeply layered and intense wine with high complexity

and deep concentration. This is a generous

and full wine with smooth tannins and a sour

hint on the close. Imported by Winebow.

—M.L.

88

Capichera 2005 Assajè (Isola dei

Nuraghi); $60. Capichera is definitely

specialized in white wines (especially those made

from the Vermentino variety), but this luminous

Carignano also shows a deft winemaking hand.

There’s beautiful spice here with a fresh and

buoyant quality of fruit. Imported by Vias

Imports. —M.L.

88

Pala 2006 Essentija Bovale (Isola

dei Nuraghi); $0. You don’t see many

wines made from the Bovale grape; it once faced

extinction but is now being slowly replanted in

Sardinia. Essentija represents a style the winemaker’s

grandfather once made and offers compact

color and structure with slightly rustic

aromas of mature fruit and light spice. Imported

by Banville & Jones Wine Merchants. —M.L.

87

Pala 2006 Silenzi (Isola dei

Nuraghi); $NA. Here’s a fruity red

wine from Sardinia with rich flavors of black

cherry, prunes, blackberry, spice and a very slight

hint of tobacco. The wine glides smoothly over

the palate thanks to its easygoing, soft tannins.

Pair it with pasta or easy home cooked meals.

Imported by Banville & Jones Wine Merchants.

—M.L.

CARIGNANO DEL

SULCIS

91

Cantina Santadi 2005 Terre Brune

(Carignano del Sulcis); $68. Terre

Brune is a benchmark wine for the Mediterranean

island of Sardinia. It is made with Carignano

(with 5% Bovaleddu, a native grape) and

shows superior concentration and richness thanks

to extremely low yields in the vineyard. The wine

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is elegant and shows extraordinary harmony of

fruit, spice, softness and structure. Imported by

Empson (USA) Ltd. —M.L.

89

Cantina Santadi 2006 Rocca Rubia

Riserva (Carignano del Sulcis);

$28. One year of oak has helped to shape this

bright Carignano with evolved aromas of mature

fruit and spice. The tannins are soft and round

and the wine has balanced acidity that makes this

Sardinian wine especially food-friendly. Imported

by Empson (USA) Ltd. —M.L.

87

Mesa 2007 Buio (Carignano del

Sulcis); $28. Buio is a fresh expression

of Carignano with nice fruit tones, a bright ruby

color and easy flavors of cherry and forest berry.

It’s an informal but food-friendly wine with good

acidity and genuine character. Imported by Vias

Imports. —M.L.

86

Cantina Santadi 2007 Grotta

Rossa (Carignano del Sulcis); $13.

Made with Carignano grapes, Grotta Rossa is a

simple, fruity red wine with jammy notes of

strawberry, prune and plum. Natural spice tones

are woven within (although this wine sees no oak)

for an easy and fresh-tasting ensemble. Imported

by Empson (USA) Ltd. —M.L.

CANNONAU DI

SARDEGNA

90

Tenuta Soletta 2004 Keramos Riserva

(Cannonau di Sardegna);

$45. Here is a beautifully elegant expression of

Cannonau made with slightly late harvest grapes

that see a sophisticated winemaking and oak

aging process. You’ll get aromas of mature cherry

and prune backed by soft spice and mellow tannins.

Imported by Tricana Imports. —M.L.

87

Argiolas 2007 Costera (Cannonau

di Sardegna); $18. Costera is a Cannonau-based

wine (with some Carignano and

Bovale) that sees a very light passing in wood.

The result is a fruit-driven wine with a pinch of

exotic spice and soft tannins. The real protagonist

here, however, are the jammy, ripe berry notes.

Imported by Winebow. —M.L.

86

Meloni 2006 Terreforru (Cannonau

di Sardegna); $24. This is a

simple, fruit-forward wine that ends on a bitter

cherry note but that delivers spice, wild berry


and raspberry along the way. You could stretch its

pairing potential to include baked or fried fatty

fish thanks to the linear and fresh feel the wine

gives in the mouth. Imported by BelVino LLC.

—M.L.

84

Tenuta Soletta 2005 Corona

Majore (Cannonau di Sardegna);

$33. Made with 100% Cannonau grapes that are

vinified in stainless steel, this is a fresh and fruity

wine that shows signs of volatility on the nose. In

addition to wild berries and raspberry, you’ll get

aromas of pungent green apple. Imported by Tricana

Imports. —M.L.

OTHER SARDINIAN

REDS

91

Sella & Mosca 2004 Tanca Farrà

(Alghero); $29. Tanca is the Sardinian

word for “closed,” and farrà means “iron.” This

important wine (a 50-50 blend of Cannonau and

Cabernet Sauvignon) is the product of clay and

iron-rich soils. The wine is dark and dense with

lingering flavors of black cherry and exotic spice.

Imported by Palm Bay International.

—M.L.

90

Cantina Santadi 2005 Shardana

(Valli di Porto Pino); $30. Shardana

is a joint venture between Sardinia’s Cantina Santadi

and importers Neil and Maria Empson. The

opulent wine consists of Carignano with a small

percentage of Syrah and the result is a rich and

deeply penetrating wine with aromas of black

cherry and mature fruit. Imported by Empson

(USA) Ltd. —M.L.

90

Sella & Mosca 2003 Marchese di

Villamarina Cabernet Sauvignon

(Alghero); $75. This is a pure expression of

Cabernet Sauvignon that has been sweetened

and softened by the warm Sardinian sunshine.

The wine is elegant and fine with aromas of

spice, blackberry and tobacco. The mouthfeel is

firm but also smooth. Imported by Palm Bay

International. —M.L.

86

Argiolas 2007 Perdera (Monica di

Sardegna); $16. Monica is a native

grape of Sardinia with loads of fruit nuances and

less in the way of structure or tannins. You normally

drink it young and fresh with seafood or

summer pasta dishes thanks to its easy perfumes

of wild berries and blue flowers. Imported by

Winebow. —M.L.

86

Argiolas 2008 S’elegas (Nuragus

di Cagliari); $16. You don’t see many

wines made from the indigenous Nuragus grape

in the United States. This fresh wine offers finely

etched mineral and saline notes over green fruit,

kiwi and lime. Imported by Winebow. —M.L.

86

Meloni 2006 Jaccia (Monica di

Sardegna); $24. This is a simple red

wine from the Mediterranean island of Sardinia

that delivers ripe aromas of mature blackberry,

prunes, plums and candied fruit. The wine is executed

in a simple style—with an emphasis on the

fruit and oak aging—and closes with bright berry

flavors. Imported by BelVino LLC. —M.L.

WHITE WINES

92

Capichera 2006 Vendemmia Tardiva

Vermentino (Isola dei

Nuraghi); $84. The producer claims this is the

first Vermentino in the world to be aged in barrique.

Indeed, this is a spectacular late-harvest

wine (not sweet though) with full and generous

tones of apricot and honey. This is a big and bold

white wine that can still use another few years of

cellar aging. Imported by Vias Imports. —M.L.

90

Capichera 2007 Classico Vermentino

(Isola dei Nuraghi); $73.

Capichera’s Vermentino has been in production

for more than 20 years. The wine is evolved,

complex and sophisticated and promises a long

aging future ahead. The aromas recall apricot,

peach and honey. Imported by Vias Imports.

—M.L.

89

Cantina Santadi 2007 Villa di

Chiesa (Valli di Porto Pino); $40.

Villa di Chiesa is a sophisticated 50-50 blend of

Vermentino and Chardonnay that remains in

contact with the lees and is fermented in oak for

a generous and creamy feel in the mouth. The

wine boasts bright notes of exotic fruit and fresh

peach backed by vanilla and almond. Imported

by Empson (USA) Ltd. —M.L.

89

Mesa 2007 Opale (Vermentino di

Sardegna); $40. Opale is a sophisticated

and rich expression of Vermentino (10% is

fermented in oak) with both heft and freshness.

The aromas recall peach, butterscotch and apricot

and the wine is a perfect match to crustaceans.

Imported by Vias Imports. —M.L.

87

Cantina Santadi 2008 Cala Silente

(Vermentino di Sardegna); $17.

Cala Silente represents a special selection of Vermentino

that delivers warm and filling aromas of

passion and exotic fruits, peach and pear. The

wine is smooth and generous in the mouth with

balanced acidity that would work well next to a

plate of fried fish. Imported by Empson (USA)

Ltd. —M.L.

87

Mesa 2008 Giunco (Vermentino di

Sardegna); $28. Refined only in stainless

steel, this is a fresh and crisp white wine

from Sardinia that makes a natural companion to

light pasta and seafood. There are green notes of

kiwi, lime and exotic fruit and the acidity will

leave your mouth refreshed. Imported by Vias

Imports. —M.L.

87

Pala 2008 Stellato (Vermentino di

Sardegna); $0. Pala’s Stellato is a

luminous and bright Vermentino with fragrant

aromas of passionfruit and citrus with a tonic,

fresh feel in the mouth. Grapes are harvested

about a month later than usual to give the wine

added dimension and grip in the mouth.

Imported by Banville & Jones Wine Merchants.

—M.L.

87

Tenuta Soletta 2008 Chimera

(Vermentino di Sardegna); $28.

Fresh and tonic with Sauvignon Blanc-like aromas

of exotic fruit and fresh green herbs, this is

an excellent example of Vermentino from Sardinia.

The bouquet is extremely perfumed and

fragrant and the mouthfeel is sharp and crisp.

Imported by Tricana Imports. —M.L.

86

Argiolas 2008 Costamolino (Vermentino

di Sardegna); $16. Costamolino

is from this producer’s base line of

products and offers a very correct expression of

food-friendly Vermentino. The wine is redolent of

peach and exotic fruit and offers slightly sweet

softness in the mouth. Imported by Winebow.

—M.L.

AUSTRALIA

SHIRAZ

92

Kurtz Family 2006 Boundary Row

Shiraz (Barossa); $30. Full-bodied,

rich and admirably concentrated, this is a topnotch

example of Barossa Shiraz at a still-affordable

price. Aromas of espresso, blackberry and

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


cedar give way to blueberry and blackberry fruit

on the palate. The creamy texture makes it easy

to drink, and leaving behind a mouthwatering

sensation on the lengthy finish. Drink now–2016.

Imported by Southern Starz, Inc. Editors’

Choice. —J.C.

92

Passing Clouds 2006 Reserve Shiraz

(Bendigo); $35. For consumers

used to Barossa-style Shiraz, this will prove an

interesting diversion. The aromas and flavors are

crisper and spicier, ranging from floral notes and

blueberry to star anise and stone fruit. It’s round

in the mouth and lushly textured, yet not

unstructured, suggesting 10 or more years of ageability,

although it is delicious now. Imported by

Southern Starz, Inc. Editors’ Choice. —J.C.

90

Domaine Terlato & Chapoutier

2006 Shiraz-Viognier (Victoria);

$25. For the second consecutive vintage, this

wine comes close to mimicking those elusive floral

and spice elements of the northern Rhône.

The flavors combine apricot and blueberry fruit

with licorice, black olive, coffee and cracked pepper.

A medium-bodied Shiraz for near-term consumption,

but loaded with complexity. Drink

now–2012. Imported by Terlato Wines International.

Editors’ Choice. —J.C.

90

Steve Hoff 2006 Shiraz (Barossa);

$30. The mouthfeel is full and creamy

textured, the finish long and velvety in this easydrinking

example of Barossa Shiraz. Lovely

vanilla and spice shadings mark the nose, accenting

the flavors of ripe berries, licorice and chocolate.

Drink now–2015. Imported by Southern

Starz, Inc. —J.C.

89

Grant Burge 2006 Filsell Old Vine

Shiraz (Barossa); $36. Full-bodied

and thickly textured, this is a darkly fruited Shiraz,

loaded with scents of espresso and blackberries,

accented by hints of dried spices and

roasted meat. Turns cedary on the long finish;

best from 2010–2016. Imported by Wilson

Daniels Ltd. —J.C.

88

Flinders Run 2006 Shiraz (Southern

Flinders Ranges); $30. This is

pretty oaky stuff, loaded with toast and cedar aromas,

but still showing some lush blueberry fruit

underneath. It’s a wine that’s fleshed out by supple

tannins, moderately high alcohol and

drenched in eau de fût neuf, yet finds a precarious

balance among those items. Probably best to

drink now. Imported by Southern Starz, Inc.

—J.C.

88

Grant Burge 2006 Miamba Shiraz

(Barossa); $27. Not quite as intense

or concentrated as Burge’s Filsell Shiraz, but

made in a similar style, with notes of roasted coffee

and grilled meat accenting raspberry fruit.

The tannins are creamy, balanced by crisp acids

on the finish. Drink now–2013. Imported by Wilson

Daniels Ltd. —J.C.

88

Loose End 2006 Shiraz (Barossa);

$23. Loose End is a line of wines produced

by former Penfolds viticulturist Rob Gibson

to offer immediate accessibility. This slightly

tarry, plummy offering meets that goal at a resonable

price. A small Viognier addition provides

aromatic lift and contributes to the creamy, supple

mouthfeel. Imported by The Country Vintner.

—J.C.

87

Innocent Bystander 2006 Shiraz-

Viognier (Victoria); $20. Shows a

dark, savory side of Shiraz in its aromas of blueberries,

blackberries and black olives, then adds

some espresso-like notes on the palate. It’s

medium-bodied and supple enough to drink now.

The Viognier component is a barely noticeable

3%. Imported by Old Bridge Cellars. —J.C.

CABERNETS & FAMILY

93

Cullen 2005 Diana Madeline Red

Table Wine (Margaret River); $94.

With only 50 cases imported, this review will be

of only academic interest to most consumers, but

for those lucky enough to latch onto a bottle or

two, try to hold off opening one until 2015 or so.

Right now, it’s oh so promising, but also very

tight. Scents of toasted almonds, vanilla and cassis

only stubbornly emerge, and the wine is

clearly packed with potential but also showing a

lot of tannin on the finish. Imported by Old

Bridge Cellars. Cellar Selection. —J.C.

92

Parker 2005 Terra Rossa First

Growth (Coonawarra); $75.

Parker’s First Growth has developed into something

of a Coonawarra classic, and this vintage is

as strong as ever. Densely packed with cedar, cassis

and vanilla, this is a youthful pup that packs

considerable tannic clout on the finish. Drink

2013–2020. Imported by Rathbone Wine Group.

Cellar Selection. —J.C.

winemag.com

91

Penley Estate 2005 Chertsey

(Coonawarra); $65. Chertsey is a

blend of 57% Cabernet Sauvignon, 28% Merlot

and 15% Cabernet Franc. The 2005 is very ripe

and open, offering plum, chocolate, cedar and

tobacco, underscored by some earthy, almost

Graves-like notes. Admirable concentration and

complexity come together in this creamy-textured

blend. Drink now–2015. Imported by Old

Bridge Cellars. —J.C.

90

Cape Mentelle 2004 Cabernet

Sauvignon (Margaret River); $45.

This shows classically leafy Cabernet character

balanced by deep cassis fruit, well integrated oak

and supple tannins. It’s slightly creamy without

being overly soft or plush, retaining Cabernet’s

distinctly restrained feel on the palate. Long and

smooth on the finish. Now–2016. Imported by

Moët Hennessy USA. —J.C.

90

Henschke 2004 Cyril Henschke

Cabernet Sauvignon (Eden Valley);

$110. I suspect the Cyril Henschke Cabernets

show better after additional bottle age, but

on release they are invariably difficult to read.

There is no denying the attractive scents of mint,

smoke and cassis in the 2004, nor the ripe plum

and cassis-driven flavors, but the wine seems

tight and reined in on the palate. Try after 2012.

Imported by Negociants USA, Inc. —J.C.

89

Glen Eldon 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Barossa); $27. This open-knit,

easily accessible Cabernet exhibits classic aromas

and flavors of cassis and toasty oak. The soft, velvety

texture and vanilla-tinged flavors should give

it plenty of mass appeal. Drink now–2015.

Imported by Epicurean Wines. —J.C.

89

Picardy 2005 Merlimont (Pemberton);

$21. As you might surmise from

the name, Merlot plays a dominant role in this

reasonably priced blend from Western Australia.

Cassis, tobacco and savory spice notes add up to

an enjoyably complex wine that’s just a bit

coarsely textured and probably not for long-term

aging. The stats: 53% Merlot, 24% Cabernet

Sauvignon, 23% Cabernet Franc. Imported by

The Country Vintner. —J.C.

89

Smith & Hooper 2006 Hundred of

Joanna (Wrattonbully); $19. This

blend of Cabernet (54%) and Merlot (36%) also

includes a bit of Shiraz (10%). The Cab and Merlot

show some herbal tendencies and drying tannins,

imparting plenty of firmness to this


full-bodied wine. Black cherry fruit dominates at

this stage, but expect to see some tobacco and

cedar emerge over time. Drink 2012–2020.

Imported by Negociants USA, Inc. —J.C.

88

Koonowla 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Clare Valley); $30. This is a

slightly plummy, chocolaty Cabernet that’s a bit

on the round, soft side for a region known more

for structure and restraint. That said, it offers a

hefty mouthful of concentrated, ripe fruit, finishing

clean. Drink now. Imported by Southern

Starz, Inc. —J.C.

88

Philip Shaw 2006 No. 17 Merlot-

Cabernet Franc-Cabernet

(Orange); $25. Former Rosemount winemaker

Philip Shaw is the leading champion of the

Orange GI, which boasts higher altitudes and

cooler night temperatures than many of Australia’s

wine regions. As a result, his No. 17 features

lightly herbal, minty aromas and flavors of

cassis and tobacco, all framed by firm tannins.

Try in 2011. Imported by Lion Nathan USA.

—J.C.

88

Yering Station 2005 Cabernet

Sauvignon (Yarra Valley); $18. A

solid example of cool-climate Australian Cabernet,

Yering Station’s 2005 boasts slightly lifted

aromas of dried spices and wintergreen, easing

into cassis and mint on the palate. It’s a bit austere

and firm right now, worth holding 2–3 years.

To drink now, pair with rare beef or lamb.

Imported by Rathbone Wine Group. —J.C.

87

Tahbilk 2002 Eric Stevens Purbrick

Cabernet Sauvignon (Nagambie

Lakes); $60. This is classically styled Australian

Cabernet, which is to say it’s not overly weighty

or rich, opting instead for restraint and archetypal

aromas and flavors of tobacco and cedar. It

evinces bright and fresh fruit on the finish—a

welcome antidote to the otherwise preponderant

vanilla and oak-derived spice. Imported by Total

Beverage Solution. —J.C.

85

Nugan Family Estates 2004 Alcira

Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

(Coonawarra); $25. This effort shows regional

Coonawarra character in its minty-leafy-tobaccolike

aromas and flavors alongside cassis fruit, but

lacks the flesh and rich textures of the region’s

top examples. It’s cleanly made, just a bit lean,

tart and astringent on the finish. Imported by

Southern Starz, Inc. —J.C.

85

Reilly’s 2005 Barking Mad Cabernet

Sauvignon (Clare Valley); $17.

Starts off with aromas of stewed plum and wintergreen,

then takes a turn toward leather and

chocolate on the palate before ending with a hint

of coffee. The end result is a touch heavy and

overripe without straying too far off course.

Imported by Southern Starz, Inc. —J.C.

SHIRAZ-CAB BLENDS

92

Wolf Blass 2004 Black Label 32nd

Vintage (South Australia); $75.

This traditional blend of Cabernet and Shiraz has

been enlivened in recent years with a touch of

Malbec (9% this vintage). It’s a full-bodied, richly

extracted wine, featuring ample spice notes of

cinnamon and clove to go with flavors of cola,

coffee and dark-skinned fruit. Muscular and tannic;

try after 2010. Imported by Foster’s Wine

Estates Americas. Cellar Selection. —J.C.

90

Henschke 2005 Keyneton Estate

Euphonium (Barossa); $45. This

blend of 63% Shiraz, 18% Cabernet Sauvignon,

10% Merlot and 9% Cabernet Franc starts off

with herbal, smoky, green-peppercorn aromas,

but really rounds into shape on the palate, where

it offers blueberry fruit and hints of maple syrup

and vanilla. It’s full-bodied and lush in texture,

suggesting early maturation. Drink now–2013.

Imported by Negociants USA, Inc. —J.C.

89

Bleasdale 2005 Shiraz-Cabernet

Sauvignon (Langhorne Creek);

$13. The Potts family of Langhorne Creek continues

to turn out some mighty tasty and mighty

affordable red wines. This round, supple blend

features slightly minty notes, cassis fruit and a

touch of vanilla. Easy to drink and enjoy,

now–2012. Imported by Southern Starz, Inc.

Best Buy. —J.C.

89

Yalumba 2007 The Scribbler

Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz

(Barossa); $18. A relatively new wine in the

Yalumba stable, the Scribbler evokes a blend of

cherries and cassis, with almost floral herb and

tea nuances. It’s full bodied and creamy in texture,

with a long, lushly textured finish. Drink

now–2015. The blend is 63% Cab, 37% Shiraz.

Imported by Negociants USA, Inc. —J.C.

88

Brothers in Arms 2005 No. 6 Shiraz-Cabernet

Sauvignon (Langhorne

Creek); $20. Full bodied and showing a

bit of alcoholic warmth on the palate, this spicy,

savory blend of Shiraz and Cabernet folds in flavors

of plum and cola, cedar and cinnamon.

Drink now. Imported by Vintage Point. —J.C.

88

Heartland 2007 Stickleback Red

(South Australia); $13. From star

winemaker Ben Glaetzer, this is a full-bodied,

moderately rich blended red consisting of 52%

Cabernet Sauvignon, 33% Shiraz, 10% Dolcetto

and 5% Grenache. A solid value, it offers slightly

smoky scents alongside baking-spice and dark

fruit aromas, followed by cassis and cherry flavors.

Drink now. Imported by Epicurean Wines.

Best Buy. —J.C.

88

TLC 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon-

Shiraz (Limestone Coast); $16.

Vibrant and open on the nose, revealing scents of

vanilla, mint and ripe cherries. For its modest

price, this is surprisingly creamy and opulently

textured, bursting with cherry and vanilla flavors.

Drink now. Imported by Calcareous Vineyard

LLC. —J.C.

87

Inkberry 2007 Mountain Estate

Shiraz-Cabernet Sauvignon (Central

Ranges); $14. Starts off promising, with

some dark fruit aromas and an attractive tea-like

nuance, then delivers simpler, somewhat grapy

fruit flavors. It’s full bodied, but with a certain

reserve or austerity to its mouthfeel, finishing

firm. Probably best in another year or two.

Imported by Lion Nathan USA, Inc.. —J.C.

86

Five Friends 2007 Forever Red Shiraz-Cabernet

Sauvignon (Central

Ranges); $10. Scents of black tea and cassis

mark the bouquet of this 60-40 Shiraz-Cabernet

blend. Muscular without being fleshy, the flavors

of cassis and vanilla are pleasant yet don’t offer

much in the way of depth or complexity. The

result is a solid weekday partner for red meats.

Imported by Lion Nathan USA, Inc. Best Buy.

—J.C.

OTHER BLENDED REDS

91

Massena 2006 The Moonlight

Run Grenache-Shiraz-Mataro-Cinsault

(Barossa Valley); $35. Featuring a

complex blend of cherry fruit, herbal overtones

and hints of cinnamon and green peppercorns,

this is exciting just to smell. Then similar flavors

unroll across the palate, which is full, round and

welcoming. For all its complexity, this is easy to

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


drink, which should make it appealing to experts

and novices alike. Drink now–2011. Imported by

Epicurean Wines. Editors’ Choice. —J.C.

90

Cascabel 2006 Tipico Grenache-

Monastrell-Shiraz (McLaren Vale);

$23. This full-bodied, creamy-textured wine is a

bit peppery and herbal but also filled with lush

cherry fruit, making for a dynamic, engaging contrast.

The slightly dusty, peppery edge to the finish

will help it stand up to fattier cuts of beef or

lamb. Imported by Southern Starz, Inc. Editors’

Choice. —J.C.

89

Gemtree 2006 Cadenzia

Grenache-Tempranillo-Shiraz

(McLaren Vale); $28. “Cadenzia” is a name

McLaren Vale winemakers have earmarked for

Grenache-based blends. This one is 60%

Grenache, which gives a soft, round, cuddly feel

to the wine. The balance of the blend is equally

split between Tempranillo and Shiraz, resulting

in aromas of cherries laced with cinnamon, dusty

earth and mocha. Drink now. Imported by

Gemtree Vineyards. —J.C.

89

Murray Street 2005 The Barossa

(Barossa Valley); $30. This venture is

only about five years old, but already turning out

some pretty smart wines. This blend of Shiraz

(49%), Grenache (34%), Cinsaut (10%) and

Mataro (7%) features a medium- to full-bodied

blend of savory, meaty, spicy aromas and flavors

that emphasizes dark fruit and earth. Relatively

open knit and ready to drink. Imported by

Michael Jahnke Wines. —J.C.

88

Coriole 2005 Contour 4 Sangiovese-Shiraz

(McLaren Vale);

$18. This blend comes across as less weighty and

extracted than many Australian reds, but instead

offers a medium-bodied blend of cherry, plum,

cola and baking-spice flavors. It’s creamy in texture

but fully dry, with a touch of coffee on the

lingering finish. Drink now. Imported by Robert

Whale Selections Inc. —J.C.

88

Kurtz Family 2006 Seven Sleepers

Siebenschlafer (Barossa Valley);

$18. An unusual blend that includes 25% Petit

Verdot, the Kurtz Family’s Seven Sleepers features

an intense, welcoming bouquet of black

cherries, cinnamon and coffee backed by cherry

fruit and earthy flavors. It’s got enough muscle to

stand up to steaks and burgers, and should drink

well through 2016. Imported by Southern Starz,

Inc. —J.C.

NEW ZEALAND

PINOT NOIR

90

Cloudy Bay 2007 Pinot Noir (Marlborough);

$35. CB is getting it right

these days, almost regardless of variety. This

Pinot Noir features pretty cherry and vanilla

shadings and a hint of briary complexity. It’s

round and plump on the palate, marked by crisp

acids and silky tannins on the finish. Drink

now–2012. Imported by Moët Hennessy USA.

—J.C.

89

Oyster Bay 2007 Pinot Noir (Marlborough);

$20. Remarkably good for

such a large production Pinot Noir (45,000 cases;

3,510 imported), this wine offers bright cherry

fruit augmented by hints of baking spices, brown

sugar and toasted almonds. The silky texture is

spot-on, and it even finishes well, leaving behind

nuanced bits of fruit. Drink now. Imported by

Oyster Bay Wines. Editors’ Choice. —J.C.

89

Saint Clair 2007 Pioneer Block 14

Doctor’s Creek Pinot Noir (Marlborough);

$27. This soft, easygoing Pinot Noir

boasts plenty of cherry fruit, accented by herbal

notes and scents of button mushrooms and forest

floor. Silky and long on the finish. Drink

now–2012. Imported by Winesellers Ltd. —J.C.

89

Tohu 2007 Pinot Noir (Marlborough);

$30. A Maori-owned company,

Tohu has been crafting solid wines for close to a

decade. The 2007 Pinot Noir features standard

cherry and cola notes, accented by some darker,

coffee-like aromas and flavors. The tannins are

negligible, with crisp acids providing the necessary

punch on the finish. Drink now. Imported by

Total Beverage Solution. —J.C.

88

Catalina Sounds 2007 Pinot Noir

(New Zealand); $20. This attractively

priced Pinot Noir combines fruit from Nelson

and Marlborough to create a fresh, snappy blend

of plum and black cherry fruit. Some slightly briary-herbal

notes and silky tannins add interest,

smoothed out by hints of brown sugar and baking

spices. Drink now–2012. Imported by Epicurean

Wines. —J.C.

88

Forrest Estate 2007 Pinot Noir

(Marlborough); $20. Burgundy

purists might turn up their noses, but that’s their

loss, as Forrest’s 2007 Pinot Noir offers a lush,

winemag.com

round mouthful of black cherry fruit, providing

ample drinking pleasure. Coffee and vanilla

nuances are testament to its oak-derived complexity,

helping the wine go down easily. Drink

now. Imported by The Australia-New Zealand

Wine Connection. —J.C.

88

Nautilus 2007 Pinot Noir (Marlborough);

$25. Made in a bold, fruitdriven

style, the 2007 Pinot Noir from Nautilus

places black cherry fruit front and center, surrounding

it with just enough cola, mushroom and

gentle spice to make for pleasing complexity.

Acids and tannins are a bit firmer than most Marlborough

Pinots, so try pairing it with roast lamb or

beef. Imported by Negociants USA, Inc.

—J.C.

87

Main Divide 2007 Pinot Noir

(Marlborough); $27. Main Divide is

a subsidiary label of Pegasus Bay, based in

Waipara, but they’ve sourced this fruit from

Marlborough. The aromas are attractive and

intense, offering woodsmoke and black cherries,

but the wine is rather crisp on the palate, finishing

with tart, almost tomatoey flavors. Drink up.

Imported by Meadowbank Estates. —J.C.

86

eco.love 2007 Pinot Noir (Marlborough);

$18. Slightly herbal

upfront, with aromas and flavors that head

toward cherry tomato balanced by brown sugar,

baking spices and coffee. Silky-textured, decent

Pinot for the environmentally overconscious at a

decent price. Imported by Lineage Imports,

LLC. —J.C.

86

Tohu 2007 Marlborough Cuvée

Pinot Noir (Marlborough); $18.

Tohu’s entry-level Pinot Noir features some classic

Pinot attributes: hints of tomato, beets and

mushrooms that dress up tart berry fruit. Turns

crisp and cranberryish on the finish. Imported

by Total Beverage Solution. —J.C.

CHARDONNAY

91

Northfield 2007 Frog Rock Vineyard

Chardonnay (Waipara); $30.

This is an extraordinarily lush and tropical

Chardonnay, yet one that manages to achieve this

without excessive alcohol or weight. Guava and

pineapple fruit is framed by just enough toasty

oak, while the texture is almost custard-like. Best

in the next year or two. Imported by Oceania

Wine Group. Editors’ Choice. —J.C.


90

Cloudy Bay 2007 Chardonnay

(Marlborough); $29. Full-bodied,

rich and custardy, with ripe melon and pineapple

fruit framed by toasted grain. This is a big, powerful,

opulent Chardonnay, yet it also shows the

finesse expected from Cloudy Bay. Drink it over

the next year or two. Imported by Moët Hennessy

USA. —J.C.

90

Jackson Estate 2007 Shelter Belt

Chardonnay (Marlborough); $24.

The deft oaking of this wine has left only the

imprint of toasted almonds layered across the top

of this richly textured, citrusy wine. The end

result isn’t that dissimilar from lemon brioche,

but an exceedingly fine and elegant version that

finishes dry and clean. Drink now and over the

next few years. Imported by Scott Street Portfolio.

Editors’ Choice. —J.C.

90

Kumeu River 2006 Hunting Hill

Chardonnay (Kumeu); $40. This

vineyard designate was previously a major part

of Kumeu River’s estate blend and bears a close

resemblance to that wine, yielding aromas of

melon and citrus set off by understated oak. It’s

medium bodied, with a succulence to the fruit

that leaves the mouth watering on the finish.

Drink now–2012. Imported by Wilson Daniels

Ltd. —J.C.

89

Mountford 2006 Estate Chardonnay

(Waipara); $75. The aromas are

mildly toasty, but also vibrant with yellow plums,

while the flavors are rich and almost sweet-tasting,

ranging from caramel to melted butter to

exceedingly ripe peaches. The finish is lush and

lingering. To be fair, this is a very good wine, it’s

just that so many other top NZ Chardonnays cost

so much less. Imported by Leucadia Cellars &

Estates. —J.C.

88

Grove Mill 2007 Chardonnay

(Marlborough); $18. This is a plump

and rounded Chardonnay that manages to

deliver citrus and melon fruit alongside ample

notes of toasted grain. It’s harmonious and elegant,

leaving it extremely easy to drink now and

over the next year. Imported by Palm Bay International.

—J.C.

88

Kumeu River 2006 Estate

Chardonnay (Kumeu); $33. Like all

of the Kumeu River Chardonnays, this wine,

blended from several vineyards, boasts great harmony

and balance. A touch of creaminess brings

an elegant texture to flavors of pear, vanilla, citrus

and toasted grain. Crisp and citrusy on the finish,

capable of holding 3–4 years. Imported by Wilson

Daniels Ltd. —J.C.

88

Omaka Springs 2007 Falveys

Chardonnay (Marlborough); $21.

Bears a bit of resemblance to some Monterey

Chardonnays, offering smoky notes of grilled

sweet corn and peaches and a bold, powerful

palate presence. Shows perhaps a little too much

toast on the finish, but this is a boldly flavored

Chardonnay that can stand up to grilled salmon.

Imported by T.G.I.C. Importers. —J.C.

86

Kumeu River 2007 Village

Chardonnay (Kumeu); $19. The

entry-level Chardonnay from Kumeu River gives

just a taste of what heights its Chardonnays can

achieve. With only one third aged in oak, the

wine comes across as rather fruity and direct,

with pleasant pear, pineapple and melon flavors

and a round, easygoing style. Imported by Wilson

Daniels Ltd. —J.C.

85

Freefall 2007 Chardonnay (Marlborough);

$16. A blend of batches

made in neutral oak and stainless steel, there’s

no obvious toast or vanilla to this fruit-driven

Chardonnay. Apple, pear and citrus notes lead

the way, showing decent weight on the palate

before ending slightly short. Imported by Station

Imports Inc. —J.C.

RIESLING

90

Carrick 2007 Riesling (Central

Otago); $20. With 13 g/l residual

sugar, this is a soft, off-dry style of Riesling that

boasts admirable purity to its melon and lime flavors.

It’s medium bodied, with a softly lingering

finish that imparts great elegance, a character

sometimes missing from Otago wines. Imported

by Leucadia Cellars & Estates. Editors’ Choice.

—J.C.

90

Spy Valley 2007 Riesling (Marlborough);

$21. This packs in more

intensity than the 2008 version, offering limesherbet

and mineral notes rounded out by ripe

stone fruit flavors. It’s medium-bodied and offdry,

nicely balancing sweetness with crisp acidity.

Imported by Broadbent Selections, Inc. —J.C.

89

Barker’s Marque 2008 3 Brooms

Riesling (Marlborough); $12. This

bargain-priced Riesling starts off with scents of

petrichor—roughly, wet stones—and lime, then

transitions into fruitier flavors of green apple and

citrus. It’s off-dry in style, with a finish that features

balanced sweetness and acidity and a honeyed

tinge. Imported by Grange Wine

Marketing. Best Buy. —J.C.

89

Villa Maria 2008 Private Bin Riesling

(Marlborough); $18. This

medium-bodied dry Riesling is nicely balanced

between apple and lime, with hints of petrol and

spice to bring home its Rieslingness. Drink now

for the vibrance and freshness of the fruit, but it

should age well for at least a few years. Imported

by Vineyard Brands. —J.C.

89

Wairau River 2007 Riesling (Marlborough);

$19. Despite having 6.2 g/l

residual sugar, this intense, concentrated Riesling

comes across as being dry, powered by

assertive lime, tangerine and stone fruit flavors.

Drink it over the next couple of years for its bold

fruit. Imported by Terlato Wines International.

—J.C.

88

eco.love 2008 Riesling (Marlborough);

$15. This is a plump, succulent,

off-dry Riesling that should have broad appeal.

Apple, lime and honey notes are fruity, forward

and harmonious, persisting well through the finish.

Drink now. Imported by Lineage Imports,

LLC. —J.C.

88

Forrest 2008 The Doctors’ Riesling

(Marlborough); $16. At only 8.5%

alcohol, this is on the racy, lean side, although

there’s sufficient residual sigar to balance the

crisp acids. Aromas of lime and crushed stone

give way to crisp fruit-driven flavors that artfully

balance sweet and tart. Imported by The Australia-New

Zealand Wine Connection. —J.C.

88

Mount Grey Estate 2008 Riesling

(Waipara); $17. This is a mediumbodied,

off-dry Riesling. It’s very fruit-forward,

verging on tropical, with hints of banana and

guava in the mix, balanced by brighter, more

pineappley notes. Drink now for its exuberant

youth, or try in 2–3 years for a more settled, spicy

flavor profile. Imported by Luxe Vintages.

—J.C.

88

Paritua 2007 Riesling (Central

Otago); $26. More and more New

Zealand Rieslings are being made in this relatively

high alcohol (12%) style, yet still retaining

some residual sugar (in this case, 17 g/l). The

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


esult is a rather broad, soft wine, with honey and

melon flavors and a very easy finish. Drink now.

Imported by Oceania Wine Group. —J.C.

87

Muddy Water 2007 James Hardwick

Riesling (Waipara); $23.

Muddy Water’s 2007 James Hardwick Riesling is

made in a ripe, off-dry style, marrying high (for

Riesling) alcohol of 13% with considerable residual

sugar (16 g/l). The result is a medium-bodied

wine combining subtle mineral and lime shadings

and lingering sweetness balanced by tart

acids. Imported by Via Pacifica Imports. —J.C.

87

Omaka Springs 2007 Riesling

(Marlborough); $16. A wine of interesting

contrasts, the 2007 Riesling from Omaka

Springs takes the strident lime-sherbet and wetstone

notes often associated with dry Rieslings

and marries them with an off-dry style. It’s

medium in body, with those minerally notes helping

to balance the sweetness on the finish.

Imported by T.G.I.C. Importers. —J.C.

87

Saint Clair 2008 Vicar’s Choice

Riesling (Marlborough); $15. This

entry-level Riesling from St. Clair features

strongly fruit-driven, almost confected aromas

that range from apple to strawberry. Thankfully,

there are mineral-petrol underpinnings that

serve to give the wine greater depth and complexity;

drink it over the next 2–3 years. Imported

by Winesellers Ltd. —J.C.

87

Spy Valley 2008 Riesling (Marlborough);

$21. At 12% alcohol, this

is a reasonably weighty Riesling that verges on

being dry to the taste. Apple, lime and spice

notes dominate the aromas and flavors, picking

up a minerally edge of crushed vitamin tablets

on the finish. Imported by Broadbent Selections,

Inc. —J.C.

85

Babich 2007 Dry Riesling (Marlborough);

$15. This light to mediumbodied

offering displays crisp and tangy lime and

green apple flavors. It’s a bit tart and austere

overall, but features a lingering finish that would

pair well with raw shellfish. Imported by Select

Fine Wine. —J.C.

FOR MORE WINE RATINGS,

VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT

winemag.com

SAUVIGNON BLANC

89

Craggy Range 2008 Te Muna

Road Vineyard Single Vineyard

Sauvignon Blanc (Martinborough); $26.

While the leafy, nettley notes provide Sauvignon’s

trademark herbaceousness, this wine’s ample

weight and slightly creamy texture provide a gentler

counterpoint that should make the wine

exceptionally versatile at the table. Grapefruit flavors

finish long, with gentle herbal overtones.

Imported by Kobrand. —J.C.

89

Forefathers 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

(Marlborough); $18. Lightly pungent,

with pronounced notes of nettle and tomato

leaf that add intensity to the tropical fruit flavors.

Nicely concentrated, with a slightly creamy, oily

texture and a long finish. Imported by Goldschmidt

Vineyards. —J.C.

89

Holmes 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

(Nelson); $25. Produced from certified

organic grapes grown in Nelson, this wine

starts off smoky and herbal, almost vegetal in

character, but then settles down to offer flavors of

celery stalk and nectarine. It’s a bit oily in texture,

finishing fresh, not overwhelmingly herbal

or green. Imported by Organic Vintners.

—J.C.

89

Palliser Estate 2008 Sauvignon

Blanc (Martinborough); $19. The

2008 Palliser Estate SB is an interesting blend of

ripe fig and melon fruit with grassier notes that

finish on capsicum (bell pepper) notes. It’s round

and weighty enough to pair with some slightly

richer dishes, like herbed chicken, not just

seafood. Imported by Negociants USA, Inc. —J.C.

89

Wither Hills 2008 Sauvignon

Blanc (Wairau); $15. A Marlborough

standard for many years, Wither Hills’ 2008 SB

reveals mainstream aromatics of fresh-cut herbs

and mown grass wrapped around riper hints of

melon and nectarine. Finishes grassy, fresh and

long. Good value. Imported by Lion Nathan

USA, Inc.. —J.C.

88

Ata Rangi 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

(Martinborough); $26. Less agressively

grassy and herbal than most New Zealand

Sauvignon Blancs, the 2008 from Martinborough

star Ata Rangi instead delivers ripe melon and

fig balanced by gentle grapefruit flavors, while a

winemag.com

subtle gingery note adds complexity. Drink

now–2010. Imported by Epic Wines. —J.C.

88

Woollaston 2007 Sauvignon

Blanc (Nelson); $15. Shows some

slightly flinty notes on the nose, while the bulk of

the flavors run more toward citrus and nectarine.

Round and fleshy, with a touch of honey on the

finish, while remaining dry in style. This is a relatively

young winery that’s still getting its feet

under it, but looks to have a promising future.

Imported by Wells Wine Communications.

—J.C.

86

Torlesse 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

(Waipara); $16. Mainly melon and fig

here, without the green notes or pungency that

New Zealand Sauvignon Blanc has become so

noted for. It’s a pleasant, medium-bodied white

that should prove versatile at the table for just

that reason. Imported by L & R Imports LLC.

—J.C.

85

Borthwick Vineyard 2008 Sauvignon

Blanc (Wairarapa); $18.

From an area just outside Martinborough, this is

a rather restrained Sauvignon Blanc, one dominated

by melon and white grapefruit. It finishes a

little soft, but with a quick herbal burst of flavor.

Imported by Robert Bath Imports. —J.C.

85

Mount Grey Estate 2008 Sauvignon

Blanc (Waipara); $16. This

shows a slightly smoky or fumé character on the

nose, then melon and citrus notes. It’s on the

lean, zippy side of things, without any overt tropical

fruit or herbaceousness yet ending on a limelike

note. Imported by Luxe Vintages. —J.C.

SOUTH AFRICA

RED WINES

CABERNET SAUVIGNON

91

Boekenhoutskloof 2006 Cabernet

Sauvignon (Franschhoek); $47.

Concentrated black fruit aromas with a cedary

spin start this classy, ageable Cab from Marc

Kent. On the palate, leather, mocha and big

berry flavors have a masculine, serious edge. A

bit chewy but very good balance and finish. Pair

with grilled meat, game dishes. Imported by

Vineyard Brands. Cellar Selection. —S.K.


90

Glen Carlou 2006 Gravel Quarry

Cabernet Sauvignon (Paarl); $45.

This sophisticated red offers aromas of mocha,

smoke and cinnamon spice, and flavors of blackberry,

pepper and smoke in a smooth, rich package.

Complex and unfolding, with ripe tannins

and a lingering finish. Pair with lamb, beef or

game. Imported by The Hess Collection. —S.K.

90

Guardian Peak 2006 Lapa Cabernet

Sauvignon (Stellenbosch);

$37. Black currant, red berry, tobacco and spice

give this robust wine a masculine edge. Luscious

berry combined with savory spice and leather is

backed by rich, sturdy tannins and a long, serious

finish. Can age, but is excellent to drink now.

Imported by Terlato Wines International. —S.K.

90

Thelema 2006 The Mint Cabernet

Sauvignon (Stellenbosch); $45.

Savory, sultry dark chocolate, red berry and pepper

aromas lead into full, rich black currant,

plum and pepper flavors in this alluring Cabernet.

Full-bodied and spicy but with a velvety

mouthfeel, the wine has power and elegance.

Imported by Cape Classics. —S.K.

88

Hartenberg 2004 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Stellenbosch); $32. This lush

Cabernet features aromas of rich red berry,

cherry, spice and violet, with flavors of berry,

leather, smoke and pepper. Medium bodied with

good structure and a spicy finish. Pair with grilled

lamb, steak, stews. Imported by Terry Seitz.

—S.K.

SHIRAZ/SYRAH

90

Brampton 2007 Shiraz (Coastal

Region); $14. Savory, luscious and aromatic,

with waves of dark chocolate, spice and

wild berries, this wine is meaty and rich in character

with a spin of smoke. Blended with a touch

of Mourvèdre and Viognier for added depth, it’s

smooth but sturdy and has aging potential.

Imported by Cape Classics. Best Buy. —S.K.

89

Cirrus 2006 Syrah (Stellenbosch);

$58. Like most of Ernie Els’ wines, this

Syrah has a sophisticated but assertive character.

Black fruit, pepper and vanilla on the nose leads

into mouthfilling, fruity flavors with a bright,

cheerful edge. Good structure and a long, spicy

finish. A no-brainer hit for an elegant occasion.

Imported by Terlato Wines International.

—S.K.

89

Fairview 2006 Eenzaamheid Shiraz

(Paarl); $36. This single-vineyard

Shiraz from Fairview has both pluck and poise.

The nose offers red fruit, spice and a touch of

flowers. On the palate, rich, upfront red berry

flavors are balanced with minerality, acid and a

nutty oak spin. Good, long finish. Imported by

Vineyard Brands. Editors’ Choice. —S.K.

89

Glen Carlou 2006 Syrah (Paarl);

$22. Spicy blackberry and vanilla starts

this savory, rich Syrah from Glen Carlou. On the

palate, lush blackberry is laced with meaty, balsamic

and smoke flavors. Rich and mouthfilling,

with a touch of lively spice. Imported by Hess

Collection. —S.K.

86

Cape to Cairo 2006 Syrah (Western

Cape); $24. This introverted but

elegant Syrah starts with full, spicy blackberry

and violet aromas. Flavors of spice, oak and black

fruit are restrained and clean in a more traditional

Syrah style. The finish is spicy and dry but

lingers. Ageable and an excellent food pairing

wine; think spicy grilled meats, cheeses.

Imported by The Triton Collection. —S.K.

86

Nederburg 2006 Manor House

Shiraz (Coastal Region); $20. A sultry

nose of pepper, jammy berry and plum is

touched with a little barnyard earthiness in this

distinctive Shiraz. Leather, pepper and smoke,

paired with firm tannins, unfold on the palate.

Pair with grilled, spicy ribs. Imported by Dreyfus,

Ashby & Co. —S.K.

86

Nederburg 2007 Manor House

Shiraz (Coastal Region); $20. The

nose on this Shiraz starts with black pepper, black

fruit, raspberry and chocolate, leading into flavors

of black fruit, smoke and spice. Fruit-forward but

with a firm structure, the wine will benefit from

aging. Enjoy with heartier meat dishes. Imported

by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. —S.K.

85

Radford Dale 2006 Shiraz-Viognier

(Stellenbosch); $35. This Shiraz/Viognier

starts with the fragrant aromas of

Viognier—apricot, honey—mingled with the

smoky spice of Shiraz. On the palate, smooth,

integrated flavors of rich fruit, herbs and pepper

are serious, but the wine has an easygoing edge.

Good minerality keeps it clean. A versatile food

wine. Imported by Vinnovative Imports. —S.K.

85

Goats do Roam Wine Co. 2007

Goat-Roti Syrah-Viognier (Coastal

Region); $20. Aromas of clove and spice start

this assertive, easydrinking blend of Syrah and

Viognier. Forward blackberry and cassis flavors

mingle with oaky spice and sturdy tannins. Aromatic

and friendly, the wine will pair well with

lamb and beef. Imported by Vineyard Brands.

—S.K.

BLENDED RED WINES

90

Kanonkop 2007 Kadette (Stellenbosch);

$13. Full-bodied with juicy

flavors of berry and plum underscored by smoke,

spicebox and leather, this blend of Cabernet

Sauvignon, Pinotage, Merlot and Cabernet Franc

has an ageable and elegant character whose slight

rigidity will soften over time. Pair with grilled

meats, robust cheeses. Imported by Cape Classics.

Best Buy. —S.K.

88

Guardian Peak 2007 Frontier

Cabernet Sauvignon-Shiraz-Merlot

(Western Cape); $15. Cinnamon, pepper

and black cherry aromas start this ageable blend

of Shiraz, Merlot and Cabernet. Flavors of plum,

clove, pepper and tobacco are intricate and need

to time to soften in the bottle. Overall, assertive

and offering a minerally lift that gives it food

pairing appeal. Imported by Terlato Wines International.

—S.K.

88

Painted Wolf 2007 Cape Blend

(Coastal Region); $15. This lively

blend of Shiraz, Pinotage, Merlot and Mourvèdre

offers a vibrant nose of allspice, black currant and

mocha, followed by poised black fruit, spice and

pepper on the palate. Medium-bodied with a

fresh, juicy finish. Imported by Southern Starz,

Inc. —S.K.

87

Black Rock 2007 Red Blend

(Swartland); $24. This intricate blend

of Shiraz, Carignan, Grenache, Mourvèdre and

Viognier offers aromas of cherry, herbs, spice and

blueberry, followed by berry and spice flavors

with a refreshing mineral backbone. A more

restrained style with a complex finish. Imported

by Vinnovative Imports. —S.K.

87

Edgebaston 2007 The Pepper Pot

Finlayson Family Vineyards (Stellenbosch);

$15. As the name suggests, this

wine is all about peppery spice. Aromas of white

and black pepper and red berry are followed by

intricate, lively flavors of spice, leather, smoke

and red berry. Grippy but unfolding, with a

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


clean, dry finish. Imported by Southern Starz,

Inc. —S.K.

87

Goats do Roam Wine Co. 2007

Goats in Villages Shiraz-Pinotage

(Coastal Region); $14. Rich and ripe, this

Shiraz/Pinotage blend start with savory spice and

red berry aromas, followed by juicy, integrated

black fruit, pepper and complex spice. Good

minerality and structure with a friendly, easygoing

appeal. Imported by Vineyard Brands. —S.K.

87

Juno 2007 Cape Maidens Cabernet-Shiraz-Merlot

(Western

Cape); $10. A dense nose of savory spices,

molasses and dark chocolate give this affordable

red blend added appeal. Cloves, pepper, leather

and a touch of smoke on the palate give it a masculine

edge. Tannins are firm but friendly. Pair

with grilled ribs, sausage. Imported by Confluence

Wine Importers. Best Buy. —S.K.

86

Goats do Roam Wine Co. 2007

Goats do Roam Red (Coastal

Region); $10. Red fruit, cassis and spice

abound in this medium-bodied blend, whose

mouthfeel is full but spicy. Balanced and full of

fruit but displaying a dry, clean style overall, the

wine is fun and easygoing. Imported by Vineyard

Brands. Best Buy. —S.K.

SOUTH AFRICA

WHITE WINES

CHARDONNAY

90

Neil Ellis 2008 Chardonnay (Stellenbosch);

$20. Fresh, floral and stylish,

this Chardonnay offers vibrant aromas of

citrus and herbs, and appealing flavors of peach,

lemon and pepper. The finish is soft but memorable.

A flirty, food-friendly wine that will pair

well with seafood and salads. Imported by Vineyard

Brands. —S.K.

89

Warwick 2006 Chardonnay

(Simonsberg-Stellenbosch); $15.

This alluring, layered Chardonnay starts with

pear, toast and apple aromas, leading into fresh,

full fruit flavors backed by vanilla and spice. Balanced

and complex, the wine has an overall crisp,

elegant flavor that will pair well with spicy cuisine.

Imported by Broadbent Selections, Inc.

Editors’ Choice. —S.K.

88

Glen Carlou 2007 Chardonnay

(Paarl); $16. Citrus, spice and minerals

give this balanced, refreshing Chardonnay a fun

start. Though it has rotund fruit flavors and complexity,

it’s also easydrinking and food friendly. A

mouthwatering wine with a lingering spice finish.

Imported by The Hess Collection. —S.K.

88

Hartenberg 2005 The Eleanor

Chardonnay (Stellenbosch); $49.

Named after Eleanor Finlayson, the late matriarch

of the former owners of the estate, this

Chardonnay has a stately, timeless character that

gives it extra appeal. Aromas of citrus, apple and

vanilla are followed by flavors of vanilla, spice,

melon and fresh Chardonnay fruit. Round,

medium-bodied and layered, it’s a wine to linger

over. Imported by Terry Seitz. —S.K.

87

Brampton 2008 Unoaked

Chardonnay (Coastal Region);

$11. Tropical fruit and citrus lead on this clean,

refreshing Chardonnay from the folks at Rustenberg.

Medium-bodied with balanced fruit and

acidity, the wine offers an easygoing character that

will pair well with spicy Chinese or Thai cuisine.

Imported by Cape Classics. Best Buy. —S.K.

87

MAN Vintners 2008 Chardonnay

(Coastal Region); $10. This elegant

white offers enticing aromas of minerals, citrus

and peach and flavors of white fruit, citrus and

crisp apple. Clean but complex, it’s a great choice

for varied seafood and poultry dishes. Imported

by Vineyard Brands. Best Buy. —S.K.

86

Excelsior 2008 Chardonnay

(Robertson); $10. Fresh but creamy

with layers of orange blossom, toast and citrus, this

Chardonnay offers a vibrant, multifaceted character

at a very reasonable price. Minerality lifts the

fruit and gives the white a food pairing advantage.

Imported by Cape Classics. Best Buy. —S.K.

86

Juno 2008 Cape Maidens

Chardonnay (Western Cape); $10.

Balanced and fresh, with aromas and flavors of

citrus, spice and honey, this flirty Chardonnay

has some toasty weight that gives it a shot with

heavier dishes. Imported by Confluence Wine

Importers. Best Buy. —S.K.

86

Paul Cluver 2007 Chardonnay

(Elgin); $16. A lively nose of citrus and

toast starts this elegant wine from Cluver. Ripe

fruit, toasted oak and a hint of spice add to the

complexity. A bigger style Chardonnay that will

winemag.com

pair with richer dishes like lobster and cream

sauce. Imported by Vinnovative Imports. —S.K.

85

Mulderbosch 2006 Chardonnay

(Stellenbosch); $21. A very pretty

nose and palate of white fruit, citrus, melon and

flowers gives this white a stylish twist. A touch of

toast gives the otherwise crisp, fruity wine extra

dimension. Great for pairing with seafood—think

meatier, richer bites like tuna or lobster.

Imported by Cape Classics. —S.K.

SAUVIGNON BLANC

90

Neil Ellis 2008 Sauvignon

(Groenekloof); $18. Fresh and zingy,

with aromas of lemon/lime, tropical fruit and

flowers. On the palate, expressive waves of fruit,

minerals and herbs give the wine complexity and

lift. Balanced, clean and intriguing. Imported by

Vineyard Brands. Editors’ Choice. —S.K.

89

Graham Beck 2008 Sauvignon

Blanc (Coastal Region); $15. This

zippy SB from Graham Beck starts with a nose of

gooseberry and grass followed by lemon, minerals

and tropical fruit. Clean and classy, it will pair well

with spicy cuisine, grilled chicken, fish. Imported

by The Maritime Wine Trading Collective. —S.K.

89

Morgenhof 2008 Estate Sauvignon

Blanc (Simonsberg-Stellenbosch);

$19. Gooseberry, citrus and green

pepper lead on this full-bodied white from Morgenhof.

On the palate, round flavors of gooseberry

and lemon are lifted by a crisp acidity,

though the wine is generally bigger than it is

fresh. A serious Sauvignon Blanc that can be

sipped alone or with spicy cuisine, seafood.

Imported by Terry Seitz. —S.K.

89

Sauvignon Republic 2008 Sauvignon

Blanc (Stellenbosch); $20.

This fresh but curvy Sauvignon Blanc starts with

gooseberry, tropical fruit and minerals on the

nose, followed by clean, elegant flavors of citrus

and fruit on the palate. Juicy but refreshing, it has

a cracking, fun character. Pair with curries, grilled

fish. Imported by Wilson Daniels Ltd. —S.K.

FOR MORE WINE RATINGS,

VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT

winemag.com


88

Buitenverwachting 2008 Sauvignon

Blanc (Constantia); $15. This

bright, vivacious white starts with fig, citrus,

gooseberry and spice on the nose and offers flavors

of fig, lemon and pepper spice on the palate.

Clean but complex, it’s a wine that will pair with

elegant seafood and poultry dishes. Imported by

Cape Classics. —S.K.

87

Backsberg 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

(Coastal Region); $14. This lively

white starts with big aromas of flowers, gooseberry

and tropical fruit, followed by citrus and

pepper on the palate. Fresh and fruity with good

acidity, it’s a poised, food-friendly wine with character.

Pair with oysters, fresh fish. Imported by

Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. Editors’

Choice. —S.K.

87

Southern Right 2008 Sauvignon

Blanc (Walker Bay); $19. From the

esteemed Pinot, Pinotage and Chardonnay producer

Hamilton Russell, this vibrant SB starts

with gooseberry, fresh-cut herbs and spicy pepper

on the nose, and on the palate, citrus. Gooseberry

and lemon peel. Has a richer character

than many South African SB’s. Complex and

unfolding. Imported by Vineyard Brands. —S.K.

86

Douglas Green 2008 Vineyard

Creations Sauvignon Blanc (Western

Cape); $11. This light-bodied white starts

with a nose of tropical fruit and citrus, leading in

to flavors of creamy pineapple and fruit lifted by

a crisp acidity. The wine has a lively character

with a peppery spin. Pair with grilled seafood,

fresh oysters. Imported by Cape Wine Ventures.

Best Buy. —S.K.

86

Indaba 2008 Sauvignon Blanc

(Western Cape); $10. Gooseberry,

citrus and minerals comprise the nose and the

palate of this lively, approachable white.

Restrained and elegant, the wine features a crisp

minerality beneath the fruit to give it poise. A

refreshing warm weather choice. Imported by

Cape Classics. Best Buy. —S.K.

86

Neil Ellis 2008 Sincerely Sauvignon

Blanc (Western Cape); $14.

This dry-style Sauvignon Blanc offers aromas of

pepper, gooseberry and spice, with round but

crisp tropical fruit, herb and pepper on the palate.

Balanced and textured with a slightly puckering

finish. Imported by Vineyard Brands. —S.K.

CHILE

CABERNET SAUVIGNON

93

Concha y Toro 2006 Terrunyo Old

Pirque Vineyard Block: Las Terrazas

Cabernet Sauvignon (Pirque); $41.

Thick and rich, with hedonistic black-fruit aromas

and all the accents of leather, tobacco and

olive that come with a great Chilean Cabernet. In

the mouth, everything comes together in a commendable

knit, and it doesn’t sacrifice anything,

be it berry fruit, herbal accents, tannic grip or

acidity. Drink now through 2013. Imported by

Banfi Vintners. Editors’ Choice. —M.S.

92

Errazuriz 2006 Viñedo Chadwick

Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley);

$180. Haven’t seen this excellent wine in a

couple of vintages, and while the $180 price tag is

sky high there’s no denying the wine’s quality,

which centers around cedar and tobacco aromas

and fine core fruit. Flavors and aromas of cassis,

berry and plum have tobacco and balsamic

accents, while the feel is warm and lush but

structured. Imported by Vintus LLC. —M.S.

92

Santa Rita 2005 Casa Real Cabernet

Sauvignon (Maipo Valley);

$100. Very stout and rich, but nothing soft about

this perfectly healthy, benchmark Chilean Cab.

The nose pours forth with earth, licorice, balsamic

notes and sly plum aromas, while the palate is

cuddly but agile, with good balance and pure flavors

of black fruits and chocolate. Drinkable now

but ageable through 2014. Imported by Palm Bay

International. Editors’ Choice. —M.S.

91

Miguel Torres 2006 Manso de

Velasco Old Vines Cabernet

Sauvignon (Curicó Valley); $35. Stocky on

the nose, with a mix of leather, smoked meat,

sauvage fruit and aromatic integrity. Saturated in

terms of feel but not heavy or clunky, Manso

offers heady balsamic, tobacco and baked berry

flavors. Cuddly and never aggressive, it should

be drunk now and over the next three years.

Imported by Dreyfus, Ashby & Co. —M.S.

90

Casa Lapostolle 2007 Cuvée

Alexandre Apalta Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley);

$24. Steady more than flashy or exotic. There is

no shortage of cassis, berry and plum aromas,

and the palate is packed, tannic and brings the

full allotment of berry, plum and cassis flavors.

Right now it’s a bit rough and tough, but that

means it should hold for several more years.

Imported by Moët Hennessy USA. —M.S.

90

Gillmore 2005 Hacedor de Mundos

Reserva Cabernet Sauvignon

(Loncomilla Valley); $25. Solid, juicy Cabernet

that has a lot of fresh berry and black cherry

on the nose. The mouth is forward and fruity,

with slick plum, berry and cherry flavors. Not the

most complex or layered Cab you’ll find but it

sure is good, thick and tasty. Powerful, too.

Imported by The Rising Star Group. —M.S.

90

Odfjell 2007 Armador Cabernet

Sauvignon (Maipo Valley); $13. A

top-notch value Cabernet with no flaws. The fruit

on the nose is pretty and stylish but doesn’t force

the issue, while the palate is juicy and fresh with

flavors of cola, cassis and wild berry. Not a complicated

wine, but one that pushes all the right

buttons. Ripe and friendly to the last drop. A lot

of wine for the money. Imported by Select Fine

Wine. Best Buy. —M.S.

89

Montes 2007 Alpha Cabernet

Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley);

$24. Dense and structured, with aromas of

smoked meat, ripe berry fruit and a certain

marshmallow-vanilla sweetness that comes

straight from the barrel. The feel is big and

grabby, with strong tannins framing flavors of cassis,

blackberry, vanilla and chocolate. And it’s

quite creamy and sweet on the finish. Imported

by T.G.I.C. Importers. —M.S.

89

Viña Requingua 2007 Puerto Viejo

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

(Curicó Valley); $10. A well-done, affordable

Cabernet with all the qualities it should have.

There are flowery, lavender notes to the black-fruit

bouquet, and ripeness, depth and solid tannins in

the mouth. The flavor profile of cola, blackberry

and chocolate works just fine, and the finish is long

and hints at bitter chocolate and tobacco. Imported

by Puerto Viejo Wines. Best Buy. —M.S.

87

Chilcas 2007 Single Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon (Colchagua

Valley); $19. Ripe, round and a little reduced

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WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


on the nose, this delivers rich fruit, full tannins,

and flavors of dark berries, cassis and mocha. The

finish of coffee and chocolate is likable, and overall

you can dismiss a bit of syrupy heft because

the wine has integrity and true Cabernet flavors.

Imported by Vici Wine and Spirits. —M.S.

86

Domaines Barons de Rothschild

(Lafite) 2007 Los Vascos Cabernet

Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley); $14. Bold,

rubbery, lively Cabernet, with plenty of color, tannin

and body. The palate is a bit angular and

sheering, with snappy red-fruit flavors that rank as

good but generic. The mouthfeel pops courtesy

of blazing acidity, while the finish has some scour

to it. Fresh, forward but not super generous.

Imported by Pasternak Wine Imports. —M.S.

86

Errazuriz 2007 Estate Cabernet

Sauvignon (Aconcagua Valley);

$14. Aromas of olive, mineral and tar convey a

dark, meaty personality, but in the mouth the

wine is basic and approachable. Expect richer

than average plum, prune and buttery herb flavors,

followed by a chunky, easy-riding finish.

Drink now into 2010 and keep your expectations

tempered. Imported by Vintus LLC. —M.S.

86

Gracia de Chile 2007 Porquenó

Reserva Lo Mejor Cabernet Sauvignon

(Maipo Valley); $19. Out of the chute

it lays low in the glass, with heavier blueberry

and jammy black-fruit aromas. The palate is full,

tannic and medicinal, with chocolate mint notes

and some raisin. What delineates this wine from

Gracia’s other Cabernets is ripeness and density;

trouble is, it loses some balance and elegance.

Imported by Great Wines Corpora U.S. —M.S.

86

Luis Felipe Edwards 2007 Family

Selection Cabernet Sauvignon

(Colchagua Valley); $14. Light on the nose,

with strawberry, cola and a cheesy undertone to

the bouquet. The body here is pretty trim and

fresh, while the flavors are of slightly reedy red

fruit, vanilla and cream. What makes this Cab

attractive is that it doesn’t overstride; it’s light to

medium in body, and it isn’t rubbery, oaky or out

of balance. Imported by Admiral Imports.

—M.S.

86

Suńdańce 2007 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Maule Valley); $9. For an

under-$10 Cab, this is good red wine. There’s a

smooth nose based on classic aromas of cassis,

blackberry and earth. It draws you in, and the

palate is bright with flavors of currants, plum and

cherry. With a touch of mint and coffee on the finish,

it even gives a sense of style. Imported by

IBESC Wine Distributor. Best Buy. —M.S.

85

Santa Ema 2007 Selected Terroir

Cabernet Sauvignon (Maipo Valley);

$10. A just-the-facts, bare-bones kind of

Cabernet that delivers just enough fruit, balance

and finish to make it fully worthwhile as a value

special. The nose is complete but not complex,

and that’s pretty much the formula here. Flavors

of red cherry and raspberry are simple but nice,

and the finish is fresh and manageable. Imported

by T.G.I.C. Importers. Best Buy. —M.S.

85

Simone 2007 Special Reserve

Cabernet Sauvignon (Maule Valley);

$12. A little soft and syrupy on the nose,

with vanilla and blackberry aromas. The palate is

full but clumsy, with jammy berry flavors and not

a whole lot of precision or focus. Fleshy late, and

always a bit wayward. Good enough if not put to

the test, but among so many Chilean Cabernets it

doesn’t distinguish itself. Imported by Simone

International. —M.S.

85

Viña Bisquertt 2007 Casa La Joya

Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon

(Colchagua Valley); $11. Deep and dark to

the eye, with oily, slightly herbal black-fruit aromas.

The palate is super dense but flat, with little

tannic grip or acidic bite. And the flavors are

generic albeit dark, with herbs and weight. Quiet

on the finish and soft and fleshy overall. Drink

soon. Imported by Prestige Wine Group.

—M.S.

CABERNET BLENDS

91

O. Fournier 2007 Centauri Cabernet

Sauvignon-Merlot-Carignan

(Maule Valley); $25. A wine with a strong

constitution, Centauri is a model for the new

Maule. Structure is key here, but so is the bright

red-fruit flavors fronted and backed by mineral

and toasty oak. Somewhat Bordeaux in style, but

more forward and vivid. Imported by Fine

Estates From Spain. —M.S.

91

J. Bouchon 2006 Mingre (Maule

Valley); $40. Full-bodied, rich and

packed with sweet fruit, Mingre signals that J.

Bouchon is ready for prime time. A blend of

Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, Carmenère and

Syrah that tips the scales with heft and concentration.

It’s slightly herbal and warm, with a

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creamy, well-oaked palate and flavors of blackberry

and black plum. Needs some time in bottle.

Imported by Vindino Wine. —M.S.

90

Tamaya 2006 Reserva Especial

Cabernet Sauvignon-Carménère-

Syrah (Limarí Valley); $23. Very nicely done,

with coffee, leather, smoked meat and other

inviting aromas. With stout but nongrating tannins,

there’s spine to this wine and also attractive

flavors of cola, black cherry and berry. Masculine,

tight, muscled and clean. Probably the best

wine we’ve tried from Tamaya. Imported by

National Refrescos Import Company, LLC..

—M.S.

89

Emiliana 2006 Novas Limited

Selection Carmenère-Cabernet

Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley); $17. Fullbodied,

slightly rustic on the nose and loaded

with prime Colchagua fruit. Novas is a solid,

deep, jammy wine that spreads out wide on the

palate and delivers potent but classy berry and

plum flavors. It has grip and tannic bite, but

overall it pushes things in the right direction.

Imported by Banfi Vintners. —M.S.

89

Estampa 2006 Reserve Cabernet

Sauvignon-Carmenere-Petit Verdot

Assemblage (Colchagua Valley); $16.

Perfectly ripe, with hints of raisin, licorice and

blackberry on the nose. So mature and ready that

it has sweetness, but it’s natural and offset by a

backbone of fine tannins. Cola and chocolate

come into play on the finish, while overall it

drinks like a sun-drenched but well-made red

wine. Imported by Estampa USA. —M.S.

89

Luis Felipe Edwards 2005 Doña

Bernarda (Colchagua Valley); $29.

Very much a classic, high-quality Chilean Cabernet.

The nose features traditional aromas of mint,

tobacco, rubber band and herbs, but also deep

black fruits. The acidity is right up to the max

level, so the fruit flavors are pushed toward the

red end of the spectrum, while accents of vanilla

and dill are welcome. Some cola hints and heat

work the finish, as do notes of black olive and

cedar. One of Luis Felipe Edwards’ best wines in

years. Imported by Admiral Imports. —M.S.

85

Nuevomundo 2006 Reserva

Cabernet Sauvignon-Carmenère

(Maipo Valley); $16. The nose features eucalyptus,

mint and plum aromas, while the palate is

chunky and a bit flat, with soft tannins, jammy

dark-fruit flavors and accents of vanilla and syrup.


Gets softer as it airs out, and in the end it fades

away quietly. 450 cases made. Imported by

Organic Vintners. —M.S.

CARMENÈRE

92

Errazuriz 2006 Kai Carmenère

(Aconcagua Valley); $80. The four

Rs are covered here: The wine is robust, roasted,

ripe and ready. Kai is a very dark and sultry style

of Carmenère, with huge waves of blueberry and

blackberry fruit darkened up by chocolate, coffee

and mint. The palate is lush but well structured;

it’s soft, pure and velvety, but also very natural.

Imported by Vintus LLC. —M.S.

92

Montes 2006 Purple Angel Carmenère

(Colchagua Valley); $71.

The nose of black olive, grilled beef and black

fruit is made elegant via a floral perfume, and

overall this big-boned Carmenère is beautifully

balanced and loaded with cola, blackberry,

licorice and chocolate. Dark as night on the finish,

and ageable for a few years. Imported by

T.G.I.C. Importers. —M.S.

91

Concha y Toro 2006 Terrunyo

Peumo Vineyard Block: 27 Carmenère

(Peumo); $41. As in previous years,

this wine delivers earthy, proprietary aromas and

flavors on a structured frame. The palate has forward

berry and plum flavors, while the feel is

rich, only mildly tannic and 100% healthy. Never

does it sag, and with adequate acidity it doesn’t

lack for purpose or a finish line. Drinkable now

into 2011. Imported by Banfi Vintners.

—M.S.

91

Montes 2007 Alpha Carmenère

(Colchagua Valley); $24. Fans of

this Chilean specialty should be thrilled because

this wine is well made and complete. Mint, plum,

blackberry, cola and fine leather grace the nose,

while the palate sings with forward but balanced

black fruit and tobacco flavors. Elevated Carmenère;

great for the faithful as well as newcomers.

Imported by T.G.I.C. Importers. —M.S.

91

Santa Rita 2005 Pehuén Carmenère

(Apalta); $70. In just its second

vintage, this high-end Carmenère is worthy

of praise. The bouquet is well-built on aromas of

mint, chocolate and herb-infused black fruit, and

the palate feel is woven from fine tannins, generous

extraction and good acids. Flavors of lush

plum, berry, vanilla, spice and coffee make for

serious drinking and pondering. Best now

through 2010. Only 500 cases made. Imported

by Palm Bay International. —M.S.

90

Santa Rita 2007 Medalla Real

Special Reserve Carmenère

(Colchagua Valley); $20. The Medalla Real

line now includes Carmenère. And this first

effort is excellent. It has licorice, mint and ripe,

balanced black fruit in all places, including the

nose, mouth and finish. Around the edges,

accents of cola, chocolate, olive and leather only

add to its authenticity. Drink now into 2011.

Imported by Palm Bay International. —M.S.

89

Casa Lapostolle 2007 Cuvée

Alexandre Apalta Vineyard Carmenère

(Colchagua Valley); $35. This is the

first Cuvée Alexandre Carmenère from Lapostolle,

and it has its merits. The only negative is a

reduced bouquet of scrambled eggs that then dissipates

to reveal nicer, more true berry and herb

aromas. As for flavors, look for round berry tastes,

cola and some vanilla from the oak. Imported by

Moët Hennessy USA. —M.S.

89

Odfjell 2007 Armador Carmenère

(Central Valley); $13. Big and ripe,

with inviting aromas of cola, mint, dark chocolate

and black fruit. The feel and flow on the wine are

just right, while the blackberry and chocolate chipmint

flavors are tasty and even a bit complex. Long

and layered on the finish, with a round, succulent

final wave of meaty, serious flavors. Imported by

Select Fine Wine. Best Buy. —M.S.

89

Santa Ema 2006 Amplus One

(Peumo); $24. Powerful on the nose,

packed with aromas of black olive, plum and

herbs. This is a staunch wine that’s 75% Carmenère

with 20% Syrah and then Carignan; it is

snappy and lively, with no shortage of wild berry

and plum flavors. The finish holds on for some

time, and overall it is very respectable Carmenère.

Imported by T.G.I.C. Importers. —M.S.

88

Chilcas 2007 Reserva Carmenère

(Maule Valley); $13. Nice and dark,

with a generous set of raisin, earth and mineral

aromas to go with more standard blackberry

scents. Saturated and balanced across the palate,

with acidity and a good set of moderate tannins

supporting flavors of baked plum, soy sauce and

other savory, slightly herbal flavors. Very good for

everyday Carmenère. Imported by Hemingway

& Hale. Best Buy. —M.S.

88

Misiones de Rengo 2007 Carmenère

(Central Valley); $10. The

basic cuvée from Misiones may be the best value

of its wines because it is deep and earthy, with

only the slightest herbal character. The palate has

dark, meaty fruit flavors but also good balance.

Not overly complex, but the blackberry and

herbal plum notes are on the money. Imported by

Total Beverage Solution. Best Buy. —M.S.

88

San Pedro 2007 1865 Single Vineyard

Carmenère (Maule Valley);

$18. Starts with a powerful Carmenère nose of

herbs, olive, berry fruit and pepper. Nice mouthfeel,

with savory, mildly herbal flavors accenting

core berry and plum. A nice, expressive, honest

varietal wine. An easy drinker with plenty of

body. Imported by Shaw-Ross International

Importers. —M.S.

88

Simone 2007 Special Reserve Carmenère

(Maule Valley); $12. Very

nice, with aromas of olive, herbal plum, bacon,

salami and leather. It’s fresh and lively in the

mouth, but with some weight and heft. The flavors

of raspberry, plum have a controlled herbal

element, and the finish is long, clean and alert. A

very healthy, well-made wine. Imported by

Simone International. Best Buy. —M.S.

88

Tamaya 2007 Winemaker’s Selection

Single Vineyard Carmenère

(Limarí Valley); $20. Big and bold, but also a

tiny bit herbal on the nose. The palate is generous

and plump, with plum, blackberry and herbal

accents typical of Carmenère. The finish is fleshy

and round, with cuddly tannins and good depth.

One of Tamaya’s best wines. Imported by

National Refrescos Import Company, LLC..

—M.S.

88

Viña Bisquertt 2006 Casa la Joya

Gran Reserve Carmenère (Colchagua

Valley); $15. Dense, slightly foresty and

typical, meaning there’s olive, herbal notes and

licorice on the nose and palate. In addition, the

wine has a saturated feel to it and flavors of

prune, blackberry and chocolate. It’s warm, meaty

and fairly big, but rich and easy to understand.

Imported by Prestige Wine Group. —M.S.

87

Aresti 2007 Reserva Carmenère

(Curicó Valley); $18. Rich, with thick

but appealing tar, chocolate and blackberry aromas.

The acidity, tannins and structure all seem

right. Flavors of bright berry and plum are youthful

and friendly, and there’s a hint of vanilla to the

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


finish. Decidedly not herbal or forced. Imported

by Broadbent Selections, Inc. —M.S.

87

J. Bouchon 2006 Las Mercedes

Reserva Especial Carmenère

(Maule Valley); $16. A little herbal and greenish,

but not too much so. The nose has varietal

aromas of pepper, bramble and oregano, but the

palate is smooth and medium in depth, with cola,

licorice and creamy vanilla accents working off a

solid core of plum. Finishes reasonably long and

warm. Imported by Vindino Wine. —M.S.

87

Misiones de Rengo 2007 Reserva

Carmenère (Rapel Valley); $13.

Mildly herbal black-fruit aromas carry notes of tea

and bell pepper, but it’s not decidedly vegetal. The

palate is full but carries some acidic snap, and the

flavors of blackberry, black cherry, chocolate and

Chinese plum sauce are good. Finishes with an

espresso coffee-bitter bite and some woodiness.

Imported by Total Beverage Solution. —M.S.

86

Arboleda 2007 Carmenère (Colchagua

Valley); $19. Huge and opaque,

with an herbal nose that has some green to it. The

feel is tight and narrow, with serious tannins and

lively flavors of cherry, plum, herbs, bell pepper

and coffee. A little tough, but there’s no mistaking

this wine for anything but Carmenère. Imported

by Frederick Wildman & Sons, Ltd. —M.S.

85

Viña Tabalí 2007 Reserva Carmenère

(Limarí Valley); $15. This

bruiser is purple in color, while the nose is deep

but sort of medicinal. Time in the glass helps it

along, but still it’s bulky, bullish and untamed, with

slightly syrupy plum and boysenberry flavors. Colorful

and bold, but not that refined or structured.

Imported by Southern Wine Group. —M.S.

OTHER REDS

89

Morandé 2006 Edicion Limitada

Carignan (Loncomilla Valley); $22.

A snappy, ageworthy Carignan from 58-year-old

vines. Fresh as can be, with dynamic red-fruit flavors

coming on top of earthy, mineral-laden aromas.

Firm to the point of being sharp, but then it

dials back to show a mellower side. Could age for a

decade or more due to its acid level and structure.

A true old-vines winner. Imported by Morande

USA.

CHARDONNAY

90

Casa Lapostolle 2007 Cuvée

Alexandre Atalayas Vineyard

Chardonnay (Casablanca Valley); $24. Buttery

and rich, this is probably Lapostolle’s best

Chardonnay to date; it has sweet, alluring baked

pear, apple and peach aromas followed by an

intensely toasty but balanced palate that shows

flavors of papaya, banana, pear and fine French

oak. A wine to drink as soon as you can pop the

cork. Imported by Moët Hennessy USA. —M.S.

89

Concha y Toro 2007 Amelia Limited

Release Chardonnay

(Casablanca Valley); $37. Rich, candied,

nutty and moderately sweet, with a bit of popcorn,

baked apple and banana on the nose. In the

mouth, it’s more citrusy and forward, with juicy,

acid-based flavors of apple and a full allotment of

spice to add complexity. This vintage finds the

right blend of ripeness and oak. Drink now.

Imported by Banfi Vintners. —M.S.

89

Veranda 2007 Oda Chardonnay

(Bío Bío Valley); $25. Toasty and

warmed up on the bouquet by butterscotch and

peach melba, but overall it keeps its cool-climate

personality. The palate is juicy, but that only helps

propel the apple, green banana and nut-driven

flavors in the wine. Slightly creamy on the finish.

Imported by Schneider Selections. —M.S.

88

Maycas del Limari 2007 Quebrada

Seca Chardonnay (Limarí Valley);

$55. Maycas is Concha y Toro’s Limarí Valley

project, and the wines show terroir and personality.

However, $55 is a lot to ask for this minerally,

reserved style of Chardonnay. The palate and

nose are narrow and stony, with pineapple and

citrus flavors and tight, driving acidity. 500 cases

made. Imported by Banfi Vintners. —M.S.

88

Montes 2008 Classic Series

Chardonnay (Curicó Valley); $12.

A good and lively bargain-priced Chard. Light

toast, honey and pear aromas draw you in, and

the balanced white-fruit palate is convincing.

Sophisticated and with good acidity. Imported by

T.G.I.C. Importers. Best Buy. —M.S.

87

Chilcas 2007 Single Vineyard

Chardonnay (Casablanca Valley);

$18. Flashy and fresh on the nose, with some

applesauce and cider to give it gravitas. The

palate has pulsing acidity and flavors of apple,

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melon, pineapple and toast. Call it sweet if you

like, but there’s enough verve to it so that it’s not

seem heavy or candied. But drink it now.

Imported by Vici Wine and Spirits. —M.S.

87

Veramonte 2007 Reserva

Chardonnay (Casablanca Valley);

$11. Apple and pear aromas are elevated by a

whiff of toast, while the tropical palate is weighty

but propped up by solid acids. Apple, melon and

pineapple flavors are perfectly healthy, and the

finish is composed and only slightly pithy. Drink

right away before it loses its vitality. Imported by

Huneeus Vintners. Best Buy. —M.S.

86

Arboleda 2007 Chardonnay

(Casablanca Valley); $18. Metallic

gold in color, with oily, popcorn aromas that

announce fairly aggressive oaking. But just when

you want to dismiss it as overoaked, it dials back

to show conventional apple and nut flavors along

with freshness. It’s also ringing, jangled and

overexcited. Imported by Frederick Wildman &

Sons, Ltd. —M.S.

86

Calina 2008 Reserva Chardonnay

(Casablanca Valley); $10. The quality

to price ratio on this wine has always been

positive, and this vintage is typically clean, a

touch sweet and sticky, and loaded with pineapple,

peach, tropical character and just the slightest

brush of oak. Imported by Jackson Family

Wines. Best Buy. —M.S.

86

Santa Rita 2007 Reserva Chardonnay

(Casablanca Valley); $12. The

nose is dusty, with apple and banana aromas leading

to a palate that’s plump and tastes entirely of

green apple and melon. Core acidity keeps the

wine fresh and only on the finish does a hint of

cream and weight enter the game. Drink now to

capture the wine’s remaining freshness. Imported

by Palm Bay International. —M.S.

85

François Lurton 2008 Hacienda

Araucano Chardonnay (Central

Valley); $12. Slightly nutty and salinic on the

nose, but mostly it’s just neutral. Seems like an

early maturing wine, meaning it’s soft in its delivery

of melon and apple flavors. Dry and a touch

pithy on the finish. Imported by Winesellers

Ltd. —M.S.

85

V iu Manent 2008 Reserva

Chardonnay (Casablanca Valley);

$14. Seemingly more oily, rich and waxy than

the 2007, with woody elements and sweet but


land cantaloupe-driven flavors. There’s a light

essence of citrus, but overall it’s plump, melony

and at or already past its prime. Drink immediately.

Imported by Baystate Wine Co.. —M.S.

VIOGNIER

87

Cono Sur 2008 Viognier (Colchagua

Valley); $10. Quite a tropical

style, but it works. The bouquet is ethereal and

light, with tangerine and mango aromas that lead

to peach and mango flavors. It’s fresh and lashing,

but while it’s candied on one hand it is entirely

fruity and refreshing on the other. Imported by

Vineyard Brands. Best Buy.—M.S.

86

Viña Bisquertt 2007 Casa La Joya

Reserve Viognier (Colchagua Valley);

$11. Slightly oily and nutty on the nose,

but mostly you get orange peel and citrus blossom.

The palate is round, full-bodied and pithy,

with dry, nearly oxidized flavors of peach, walnut

and melon. Finishes just fresh enough, but without

any of the haunting, exotic flavors that characterize

Old World Viognier. Imported by

Prestige Wine Group. Best Buy. —M.S.

85

Cono Sur 2008 Visión Viognier

(Colchagua Valley); $15. Visión has

good peach, apricot and other stone fruits on a

largely quiet nose, while the palate is surprisingly

spry and tangy as it tastes like lemon-lime and

pineapple. Finishes long and acid-washed, so

overall it seems zesty and jumpy. Imported by

Vineyard Brands. —M.S.

85

Viña Tabalí 2008 Reserva Viognier

(Limarí Valley); $12. Oily and sort of

muddled at first, but soon it gathers its legs and

focus. The body is fairly full and round, while the

flavors of citrus and melon are solid but pithy.

With grapefruit and orange on the finish, it slides

toward citrusy while delivering more than adequate

punch and kick. Imported by Southern

Wine Group. —M.S.

CALIFORNIA

RED WINES

PINOT NOIR

95

Miner 2007 Gary’s Vineyard Pinot

Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands); $60.

An outstanding Pinot, absolutely, decadently

good, that combines attributes of the fine vintage

with some fine parcels from this celebrated vineyard.

Softly lush, it shows fabulous flavors of

cherries, red currants, licorice, cola, orange peel,

sandalwood and Asian spices, but never loses

structural balance and control. —S.H.

94

Goldeneye 2006 Gowan Creek

Vineyard Pinot Noir (Anderson

Valley); $75. There’s a wild, feral quality to this

fine Pinot Noir. It has forest flavors of wild mushrooms,

thyme, fennel, anise and pine, along with

more familiar flavors of red cherries, cola and

sandalwood. Elegant and ageable. Now through

2012. —S.H.

94

Goldeneye 2006 Confluence Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley);

$75. An extraordinary wine, although it’s

very young and thick now and needs time in the

bottle. Totally dry, it shows elaborate flavors of

cherries, raspberries, cocoa and sandalwood, with

exotic notes of wild fennel, violets and nutmeg.

Distinctive and compelling. —S.H.

94

MacPhail 2007 Goodin Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast); $65.

Made with Dijon clones from a vineyard in a cool

corner of Sebastopol, this rich young Pinot brims

with fresh acidity. It has complex flavors of cherries,

cola, pomegranates, rhubarb, sandalwood

and pepper, wrapped into a silky texture. Just a

delight, and should age over the next six years.

—S.H.

93

Arista 2007 Perli Vineyard Pinot

Noir (Mendocino Ridge); $56. This

is a big, rich Pinot Noir, showing the ripeness of

the vintage. It’s delicious in primary fruit flavors

and oak, but too thick and immature to drink now.

With its flamboyant raspberries, cherries, licorice,

bacon and smoky sandalwood, it should evolve

into quite an interesting wine after 2011, if you

can keep your hands off it. Cellar Selection.

—S.H.

93

Goldeneye 2006 Ten Degrees

Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley);

$100. This is a barrel selection in honor of the

winery’s 10th birthday. It’s the densest Pinot Noir

Goldeneye has ever produced, a rich, thick wine

that’s a bit Rhônish right now. The idea is ageability.

The flavors show equal parts of red, ripe

cherries and berries and herbs, spices and mushrooms.

Just 320 cases were produced. Try after

2010. —S.H.

93

MacPhail 2007 Frattey Shams

Vineyard Pinot Noir (Anderson

Valley); $60. Three things mark this Pinot: considerable

oak, acidity and fruity ripeness. Offers

decadently delicious waves of cherry pie filling,

raspberry tart, anise, cinnamon, vanilla and cedar.

Needs time for all these elements to meld. Best

2010–2013. —S.H.

93

Miner 2007 Rosella’s Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands);

$60. Just beautiful, so well-crafted and

balanced. With an edge of tannins and acids,

could be an ager for a while. Shows a delicate

structure, with cherry cola, raspberry, orange

peel, vanilla and anise flavors that taste sweetly

appealing, but are really bone dry. Now though

2012. —S.H.

93

Ojai 2006 Fe Ciega Vineyard Pinot

Noir (Sta. Rita Hills); $56. Delicious,

massive, full-bodied, almost heavy, this Pinot

needs time. It’s a concentrated, powerful red

wine, showing huge flavors of black cherries,

blackberries, mocha, Asian spices and toasty oak.

Feels firm and muscular, with almost the weight

of Syrah, yet delicate and balanced. Better

2011–2013. Cellar Selection. —S.H.

93

WesMar 2006 Balletto Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast); $40.

Made in a lighter, silkier, more accessible style,

this is an elegant Pinot Noir that suggests lamb,

roast salmon and other upscale dishes. It’s easy to

drink, but also complex, with intricately layered

flavors of cherries, raspberries, red currants,

licorice, sassafras, sweet smoky cedar and Asian

spices. —S.H.

92

Cambria 2006 Clone 2A Pinot Noir

(Santa Maria Valley); $48. The alcohol

is pretty high, but the wine is nice and dry,

and shows impressively ripe flavors of red cherry

pie filling, red licorice, beef jerky, Dr. Pepper

cola and smoky cedar. The texture is pure silk

and satin. Best now with lamb, steak, even a

super burger. —S.H.

92

Goldeneye 2006 The Narrows

Vineyard Pinot Noir (Anderson

Valley); $75. Here’s a bright, accessible but

complex young Pinot Noir, appealing for its

savory flavors of red cherry pie filling, cocoa,

bacon, nutmeg and pepper. Elegantly crisp and

silky now, it should develop for 4–6 years.

—S.H.

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


92

MacPhail 2007 Toulouse Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Anderson Valley); $50.

The cool vintage shows in the crispness and dryness

of this young Pinot Noir. Long hangtime has

yielded rich, deep flavors of sour cherries, raspberries,

orange peel and peppery spices, accentuated

by smoky, cedary new oak, and the texture

is as fine as silk. Decant, and should develop

through 2013. —S.H.

92

MacPhail 2007 Pinot Noir

(Sonoma Coast); $45. A blend of two

Sebastopol vineyards, this Pinot shows the fine

qualities of the vintage. It’s bone dry and quite

crisp, with complex flavors of red cherries, red

licorice, cola and spicy new French oak. Really

elegant. Drink now through 2011. —S.H.

92

Ojai 2006 Bien Nacido Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Santa Maria Valley);

$45. Dark, tannic and full-bodied, a wine that

needs time in the cellar to soften. Shows jammy

flavors of black cherries, anise, bacon, dark

chocolate and pepper. Give it until 2010, and

should drink well through 2012. —S.H.

92

Ojai 2006 Clos Pepe Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills); $45.

Dark and fairly big for a Pinot, almost Grenachelike

in its weight and full-bodied mouthfeel.

Tastes rich in cherry pie with the crust, blackberry

jam, licorice, bacon, cola and black pepper. Dry

and luscious, but a bit muscular now. Needs time,

and should improve by 2012. Cellar Selection.

—S.H.

92

Roessler 2007 Sanford & Benedict

Pinot Noir (Sta. Rita Hills); $48.

Tannic and thick now, this is a Pinot Noir you

want to cellar. It’s dark and jammy, with blackberry,

cherry, raspberry, cocoa and cedar flavors.

The vineyard is well known for the necessity of

aging its Pinots, and there’s no reason that this

one shouldn’t improve between 2011–2015.

—S.H.

92

Roessler 2007 Blue Jay Pinot Noir

(Anderson Valley); $32. This is the

most approachable of Roessler’s ’07 Pinots, and if

you’re looking for something to drink now, it

offers the most pleasure. Balanced and crisp, it

has a lightly silky texture, with a good depth of

cherries, raspberries, licorice, bacon, smoky

vanilla and sandalwood. Just lovely. —S.H.

92

Roessler 2007 Savoy Pinot Noir

(Anderson Valley); $46. Savoy is one

of the best-known vineyards in Anderson Valley,

and with the rich, ripe 2007 vintage, Roessler has

produced a Pinot of considerable heft. It’s a big,

thick wine, showing primary flavors of black

cherries, mulberries, raw beef, soy and cedar.

Feels drily tart and sandpapery now, and should

be better after 2011. —S.H.

92

Sequana 2007 Dutton Ranch

Pinot Noir (Green Valley); $40.

Green Valley is the coolest part of Russian River

Valley and the wine shows the wind and fog in its

crisp acidity and minty quality. But there’s a

wealth of roasted cherries, along with rich smoky

cedar, and the mouthfeel is silky and refined.

Should develop over the next six years. —S.H.

92

Small Vines 2006 Pinot Noir

(Sonoma Coast); $65. Tremendously

fruity, offering an orchard-burst of delicious

cherry, red plum, raspberry pie filling, cinnamon

toast, anise and cola flavors. Shows the silky texture

and racy acidity of a fine coastal Pinot Noir.

—S.H.

92

Sojourn 2007 Sangiacomo Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast);

$48. Here’s a Pinot that’s so beautiful and

beguiling, it’s perfect to drink right away. Feels

delicate and silky, with lush flavors of cherries,

cotton candy, bacon, sassafras, orange peel and

dusty Asian spices. —S.H.

92

Testarossa 2007 Pisoni Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands);

$65. This is the best of Testarossa’s

Spring-release Pinots. It shows the pedigree of

the vineyard, a big, rich, almost heavy young

Pinot Noir whose cherry, spice and smoky cedar

flavors are accented with fine acidity and rich

tannins. Should age well for up to a decade.

—S.H.

92

Williams Selyem 2007 Pinot Noir

(Sonoma Coast); $42. Beautiful and

lush, with wonderfully rich flavors of cherry pie

filling, licorice, rosehip tea, sandalwood and cola,

with a dash of cinnamon, pepper and vanilla

powder. Gorgeous now, and will develop for at

least four years. —S.H.

91

Goldeneye 2006 Pinot Noir

(Anderson Valley); $55. Very rich,

very fine, this Pinot is a blend of Goldeneye’s best

vineyards. It shows a molten density, like liquid

silver, lush in red cherries, licorice, cinnamon,

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coco, dried herb and orange zest flavors, and

should develop in the bottle through 2012. —S.H.

91

Molnar Family 2007 Poseidon’s

Vineyard Pinot Noir (Carneros-

Napa Valley); $30. A bit more concentrated

than the ’06, but similar in lush, appealing flavors

of cherries, raspberries, cedar, cola, vanilla

and spices. With a silky texture, it should develop

through 2013. —S.H.

90

Baker Lane 2007 Raymondo Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast);

$42. Here’s a big, rich, extracted young Pinot

Noir, almost Grenache-like in its full-bodied

cherriness. Other interesting flavors include cola,

sandalwood and peppery spices. Very dry, and

wants some time in the bottle to soften and mellow.

Best between 2011–2015. —S.H.

90

Chateau St. Jean 2007 Pinot Noir

(Sonoma County); $20. A delicate,

silky and sensual Pinot Noir that shows real value.

Firmed and toned by racy acidity, it shows polished

flavors of cherries, raspberries, sassafras, cola

and cinnamon spice. Editors’ Choice.

90

La Crema 2007 Pinot Noir (Anderson

Valley); $50. Lots of crunchy

acidity in this fresh, young wine. Thoroughly dry,

and with a silky texture, it shows pleasant flavors

of red cherries, raspberries, cola, , orange zest,

persimmons and vanilla. Very fine, and should

age gracefully for six years or so. —S.H.

90

Migration 2007 Pinot Noir

(Anderson Valley); $34. This second

label from Goldeneye is a soft, silky and complex

Pinot Noir, dry and balanced, with blackberry,

cherry, cola, nutmeg and cedar flavors. Very deft,

and fine to drink now. —S.H.

90

Robert Stemmler 2006 Estate

Grown Pinot Noir (Carneros); $36.

The most successful of Stemmler’s ‘06 Pinots, this

beauty shows the silky texture and crisp acidity of

cool-climate Carneros. It offers immediately pleasurable

flavors of cherries, raspberries, pomegranates,

cola, cinnamon spice and sandalwood. —S.H.

FOR MORE WINE RATINGS,

VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT

winemag.com


90

Roessler 2007 La Brisa Pinot Noir

(Sonoma Coast); $30. Dark, fullbodied

and extracted, this young Pinot Noir is a

big wine. It explodes in jammy black cherries,

red currants, licorice, cola, bacon and smoke,

wrapped into sturdy tannins. Dry and moderately

ageable. Drink now through 2012. —S.H.

90

Summerland 2007 Wolff Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Edna Valley); $44. Displaying

the crisp acidity of this cool coastal appellation,

Summerland’s Pinot Noir has vibrant

flavors of cherries, raspberries, cola, cinnamon,

anise and pepper. It’s lush and silky and fully

ready to drink now. —S.H.

89

Baker Lane 2007 Hurst Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast); $36.

Much different from last year’s bottling, and better,

but also more expensive. It’s a big, rich,

Rhônish Pinot that requires some age to calm

down. Shows tannic flavors of cherries, blackberries,

cola, anise, sassafras and sandalwood. —S.H.

89

Kendric 2006 Pinot Noir (Marin

County); $33. This is a big, mouth-filling

Pinot Noir, stuffed with candy and pie-filling

flavors. Shows cherries, black raspberries, cola,

granola, orange peel, cedar, smoke, vanilla and

cinnamon spice flavors, brightened with crisp

coastal acidity. Could develop for a few years.

—S.H.

89

Roessler 2007 Griffin’s Lair Pinot

Noir (Sonoma Coast); $45. This is a

dark, big wine, almost like a Syrah, and lacking in

the subtlety and silky texture you want in a Pinot

Noir. Its flavors are of blackberries, currants and

cedar, and it’s pretty tannic. But it could develop

interestingly over the next 6–8 years. —S.H.

89

Sojourn 2007 Gap’s Crown Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Sonoma Coast);

$48. The most full-bodied of Sojourn’s new Pinot

Noirs, a rich, thick wine of Grenache-like proportions.

Although it’s delicious now in cherries, red

currants, licorice, cocoa and sandalwood, it’s a bit

heavy and tannic. Could emerge like a butterfly

from this cocoon sometime after mid-2010.

—S.H.

FOR MORE WINE RATINGS,

VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT

winemag.com

89

WesMar 2006 Pinot Noir (Sonoma

Coast); $35. Very light in color and

silky in body, but rich and elegant in flavor, this is

a fine Pinot. It shows dry flavors of cherries, cola,

sassafras, cedar, vanilla and dusty Asian spices.

Drink now. —S.H.

89

Williams Selyem 2007 Pinot Noir

(Central Coast); $34. A pretty, polished

and elegant Pinot Noir, impeccably made

and finely balanced. May lack some of the depth

of Williams Selyem’s other ’07s, but it shows a

complex array of cherries, cola, mocha, sandalwood

and smoke. Drink now. —S.H.

88

La Crema 2007 Pinot Noir

(Sonoma Coast); $25. A good Pinot

that shows a fine coastal influence. Dry and silky,

it displays flavors of ripe cherries, Dr. Pepper

cola, red licorice and sandalwood, with a cinnamon

and pepper flourish. Drink now. —S.H.

88

Morgan 2007 Twelve Clones Pinot

Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands); $32.

The first of Morgan’s ’07 Pinots to be released,

this is a full-bodied wine that needs some time in

the bottle to mature. Not a lot, maybe a year or

two, will allow the cherry, currant, mocha and

cedar flavors to integrate with the oak and tannins.

—S.H.

88

Robert Stemmler 2006 Ferguson

Block Pinot Noir (Carneros); $45.

There’s something old-fashioned but richly satisfying

about this Pinot Noir. It’s a bit heavy and

quite ripe, with flavors of cherry preserves, black

raspberry marmalade, cola, sweet heirloom tomatoes

and new oak, wrapped into a sturdy mouthfeel.

A bit soft, and ready now with a grilled steak.

—S.H.

88

Sequana 2007 Sarmento Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands);

$32. Dry, silky and crisp in acidity, this

Pinot offers easy flavors of red cherries, cola,

licorice, orange zest and cedar, with a vast array

of peppery spices. At its best now. —S.H.

88

Testarossa 2007 Brosseau Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Chalone); $54.

Tannic and heavy now, a shut-down Pinot that’s

so full-bodied, it tastes like Grenache. Shows a

multitude of red cherry jam, root beer and anise

flavors, with herbs and earthy mushrooms.

Should age. Better after 2011. —S.H.

87

Beauregard 2006 Trout Gulch

Vineyard Estate Grown Pinot Noir

(Santa Cruz Mountains); $45. A nice Pinot,

lush and complex, offering rich flavors of cherry

jam, cinnamon, pepper and smoky sandalwood.

Balanced with crisp acidity, it should hold its own

for the next four years. —S.H.

87

Beauregard 2006 Bald Mountain

Vineyard Estate Grown Pinot Noir

(Ben Lomond Mountain); $55. Good, but

feels tartly acidic and unintegrated now, with buttery

new oak sticking out, and plenty of jammy

sour cherry and red currant fruit. Shows all the

signs of an ager, but the window of opportunity is

narrow. Roll the dice and try 2010–2012. —S.H.

87

Clos du Val 2007 Pinot Noir

(Carneros); $30. Made in a lighter, but

pleasant, style, this Pinot shows bright Carneros

acidity framing flavors of cherries, cola, bacon,

sandalwood and peppery spices. Drink now.

—S.H.

87

Clos Pegase 2007 Mitsuko’s Vineyard

Pinot Noir (Carneros); $37.

Bright in cherries, orange peel, raspberry Newton

and cinnamon pepper, this Pinot is racy in acidity.

Finishes light and delicate. Drink now. —S.H.

87

Fogdog 2006 Pinot Noir (Sonoma

Coast); $40. Soft and a bit heavy, with

jammy flavors of cherries, raspberries, anise,

cedar and mocha. Delicious in the sheer voluptuousness

of these tastes, but could use firmer

structure. —S.H.

87

Herzog 2006 Special Reserve

Pinot Noir (Edna Valley); $36. A

savory, delicious Pinot Noir that delivers plenty of

flavor. Dry and showing the crisp acidity of this

cool coastal region, marked by candied flavors of

cherries, raspberries and vanilla, and a rich edge

of smoky sandalwood. Kosher. —S.H.

87

La Crema 2007 Pinot Noir (Los

Carneros); $38. Here’s a pretty, polished

Pinot for drinking now. It’s dry, silky and

rich, with gratifying flavors of ripely crushed red

cherries, cocoa, cinnamon and smoky oak. —S.H.

87

Nicholson Ranch 2006 Artist

Series Cactus Hill Pinot Noir

(Sonoma Valley); $50. You’ll find luscious flavors

of sour red cherries, anise, pecan pie, cola

and smoke in this dry wine. But it’s a little too

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


soft, structurally, which will limit development.

Drink now. —S.H.

87

Paraiso Vineyards 2007 Pinot Noir

(Santa Lucia Highlands); $25.

Paraiso’s basic Pinot gets the job done by delivering

a finely silky, dry and flavorful Pinot Noir.

Shows nice flavors of cherries, raspberries, cola,

anise and pepper, enriched with smoky oak.

Drink now. —S.H.

87

Paraiso Vineyards 2006 faîte

Pinot Noir (Santa Lucia Highlands);

$65. The winery’s reserve-style Pinot

Noir is based on concentration and power, not

immediate appeal. It’s a heavy, richly tannic wine,

with roasted oak, cherry, grilled meat, anise and

cinnamon spice flavors, almost as full-bodied as a

Syrah. Try sometime in 2011. —S.H.

87

Sojourn 2007 Pinot Noir (Sonoma

Coast); $36. A dry, polished Pinot,

zesty in crisp coastal acidity, with a light texture

framing flavors of red cherries, cola, rhubarb and

pepper. Drink now. —S.H.

87

Williams Selyem 2007 Pinot Noir

(Sonoma County); $34. A little

direct, but very pleasant. Silky and light in the

mouth, it shows easy flavors of cola, cherries,

roasted almonds and caramel. Drink now. —S.H.

84

Redtree 2008 Pinot Noir (California);

$8. A bit green and raw, like a

cherry-chocolate-covered mint, but nicely dry

and silky. For the price, a good introduction to

Pinot Noir. Best Buy.

CABERNETS & BLENDS

95

Piña 2006 Buckeye Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon (Howell

Mountain); $85. This outstanding wine shows

the best features of Howell Mountain. It’s gigantic

in concentrated flavors of blackberries and

black cherries, cocoa and cedar, with hints of wild

herbs and even flowers. And although it’s tannic,

there’s a mellow mouthfeel that permits drinking

now. But it should age well through 2018.

—S.H.

94

Chappellet 2006 Signature Cabernet

Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $52.

Feels instantly special in the mouth, with beautiful

tannins that are soft and ripe but complex at

the same time. They frame deep, flavors of black-

berries, currants, tobacco, dark chocolate, violets,

anise and cedar, firmed with minerals. Best

2010–2014. Cellar Selection. —S.H.

94

PerryMoore 2005 Dr. Crane Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon (St.

Helena); $100. An Incredible Hulk of a wine.

Ripe, powerful, dense and young. So big, it feels

heavy, almost clumsy, now. Fully dry, with a fine

fusion of sour cherry, black currant, green olive,

dark chocolate, violets and smoky new oak. Better

after 2011. Cellar Selection. —S.H.

93

Continuum 2006 Red Wine

(Oakville); $140. Tim Mondavi and

family strive to join the pantheon of cult wine

with this, his second vintage of a Cab-based Bordeaux

blend. It’s quite good, a soft, complex wine

of luxurious texture and deep, impressive flavors

of splendidly ripe blackberries and cherries,

anise, chocolate and smoky cedar. —S.H.

93

PerryMoore 2005 Beckstoffer To

Kalon Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

(Oakville); $100. Very ripe and fullbodied,

with firm yet well-developed tannins.

Despite its power, there’s a feminine charm in

the softly elaborate texture and opulent flavors.

Blackberries, red and black currants, spicy plum

sauce, smoky cedar and hints of dark chocolate

and butterscotch. Now through 2017. —S.H.

93

Smith-Madrone 2004 Cabernet

Sauvignon (Spring Mountain);

$45. This is the opposite of those gooey, cultstyle

wines grown down on the valley benches

and floor. It’s pure mountain in the tannins, acidity

and dryness, with below 14% alcohol. It’s a

food wine, with cassis, cedar and mineral flavors.

Should age well for a decade. —S.H.

92

Herzog 2006 Special Reserve

Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander

Valley); $38. A very nice, smooth and ripely

sweet Cabernet, picture perfect Alexander Valley.

With soft acidity and tannins, the fruit and oak

star, offering lush flavors of blackberries, cherries,

dark chocolate, plums, herbs and violets.

Drink now. Kosher. —S.H.

92

Louis M. Martini 2005 Monte

Rosso Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon

(Sonoma Valley); $85. Gone are the

big, hard tannins that used to mark Cabs from this

vineyard. The ’05 is soft and smooth, allowing the

lush black and red cherry, currant, licorice, teriaki

beef and smoky cedar flavors to shine. This wine

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should develop nicely over the next decade.

—S.H.

92

Miner 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Oakville); $65. This is a good, young

Oakville Cabernet, showing the firm tannins and

black currant and cassis flavors you get from this

splendid part of Napa Valley. Too young to appreciate

now, but give it three or four years to begin

to come around, and it should develop through

2015. Cellar Selection. —S.H.

92

Miner 2006 Stagecoach Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley);

$65. Very ripe and jammy, with potent flavors

of blackberries, cherries, and smoky new

oak. Feels a bit direct and obvious now, but that’s

because it’s just a baby. Needs time. Age through

2010, at the very least. Cellar Selection. —S.H.

92

Yates Family Vineyard 2006 Alden

Perry Reserve Napa Redwoods

Estate (Mount Veeder); $42. Shows the

mountain tannins of Mount Veeder, but is so soft

and fruity, you can drink it now. Displays waves

of blackberries, red and black currants, orange

zest, violets, smoky sandalwood and pepper flavors.

Best now and through 2012. —S.H.

92

Yates Family Vineyard 2006

Cheval Napa Redwoods Estate

(Mount Veeder); $40. The lusciousness factor

on this wine is high. It’s soft, dry and silky, with

sensual flavors of red cherries, vanilla, cola, herbs

and anise. Almost like a Pinot Noir, but a little bit

more full-bodied. Drink now. —S.H.

92

Yates Family Vineyard 2006 Napa

Redwoods Estate Cabernet Sauvignon

(Mount Veeder); $48. Here’s a big,

dark, tannic mountain Cab that’s clearly in need

of time. It seems balanced enough for the long

haul, a dry wine with proper acidity and a deep

core of blackberries, currants and cassis,

accented with smoky oak. Should hit its stride

between 2010 and 2014. Cellar Selection.

—S.H.

90

Delectus 2005 Sacrashe Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon (Rutherford);

$100. Rich and soft, this Cab hails from a great

vineyard in Rutherford. It’s dry, but tastes as

sweet as a blackberry, chocolate and caramel pastry.

The alcohol is high, yet balance and harmony

characterize the mouthfeel. Drink now–2011.

—S.H.


90

Frazier 2006 Memento Estate

Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley);

$110. The alcohol is a shocking 16%, but

the truth is this wine is deliciously drinkable, in a

soft, velvety way. Shows decadent flavors of

blackberry essence, cherry tart, dark chocolate

and cedar, grounded by earthy notes of sage.

Very rich and exotic, almost a liqueur. Drink now.

—S.H.

90

Piña 2006 D’Adamo Vineyard

Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley);

$75. Young and nervy, with mouthwatering

acidity and primary flavors of blackberries, sour

cherry candy, dusty herbs, violets and smoky oak.

Fine now with a juicy steak, but should develop

in the bottle for up to six years. —S.H.

90

Showket 2006 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Oakville); $65. Drinks rather

soft and pastry desserty now, with appealing flavors

of blackberry tart, black cherry pie, anise,

vanilla bean, mocha, cedar and cinnamon spice.

Appealing for its direct lusciousness, but a little

obvious, and could develop bottle bouquet and

complexity after 2011. —S.H.

90

Two Hands 2006 Charlie’s Patch

Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley);

$120. A young, distinguished Cab, made

in the modern style of softness, ripeness and

apparent sweetness. Floods the mouth with

blackberries, black cherries, anise, chocolate,

pepper and smoky oak. Should improve over the

next 6-8 years. —S.H.

89

Adobe Road 2005 Cabernet

Sauvignon (Dry Creek Valley);

$45. Full-bodied, high in alcohol and very rich in

flavor, this Cab will appeal to fans of the modern

style. Explosive in blackberries, cherries, currants

and cedar, but dry, with firm but softly ripe tannins.

Now through 2011. —S.H.

89

Magness 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Napa Valley); $20. Good

price for a Cab of this quality. Shows a gritty, tannic

toughness that will play well against a nice

steak. The blackberry, currant, herb and cedar

flavors are just fine. Drink now. —S.H.

FOR MORE WINE RATINGS,

VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT

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88

Delectus 2006 Cuvée Julia (Napa

Valley); $135. Superripe in the modern

style, with blackberry, cherry, chocolate,

anise, bacon and cedar flavors that are dry and

complex. However, excessively high alcohol of

16.1% gives the wine a soft, glyceriney sweetness

and heat that detract. —S.H.

88

Eddy Family 2005 Elodian Cabernet

Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $35.

A good, rich wine, with concentrated flavors of

blackberries, currants, black cherries, dark

chocolate and sweet caramelized oak. Feels lush

and soft through the finish. Drink now–2013.

—S.H.

88

Frazier 2006 Estate Cabernet

Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $55. Soft

and a bit hot in alcohol, this Cab has luscious flavors

of blackberry jam, licorice and smoky oak.

It’s pretty tannic now, with a sandpapery mouthfeel.

Doesn’t seem like an ager, but nice now

through 2011. —S.H.

88

Meander 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Napa Valley); $65. Very ripe

and oaky, with fresh, primary flavors of black currant

enhanced with the spicy, smoky caramel and

vanilla of charred oak. A bit candied and soft, but

the structure is fine. —S.H.

88

Napa Family Vineyards 2006

Estate Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa

Valley); $10. Smooth and dry, with appealing

flavors of blackberries, cherries, currants and

cedar, and a fine, spicy finish. Shows amazing

style and elegance for the price. A real sommelier’s

bargain, with 2,853 cases produced. Best

Buy. —S.H.

88

Nordby 2006 Il Re Reserve Cabernet

Sauvignon (Red Hills Lake

County); $38. Young and nervy, with mouthwatering

acidity and primary fruit flavors of

blackberries, sour cherry candy, licorice and

smoky oak. Fine now with a juicy steak, and

could develop in the bottle for a few years.

—S.H.

88

Yates Family Vineyard 2006 Fleur

de Veeder Napa Redwoods Estate

Bordeaux Blend (Mount Veeder); $35.

Dark, full-bodied and dry, with some significant

tannins. Flavor-wise, the wine veers toward

blackberries, mocha and Chinese mushu plum

sauce. Yet it’s soft in acidity. Probably best now

for vibrancy. —S.H.

87

Bourassa Vineyards 2005 Harmony3

Reserve Blend Bordeaux

Blend (Napa Valley); $48. Soft and sweetly

fruity, with pie-filling flavors of blackberries,

plums and cherries, spiced with anise and cinnamon.

Easy to like. Drink now. —S.H.

87

Bourassa Vineyards 2005 Symphony3

Proprietor’s Reserve

Cabernet Sauvignon (Napa Valley); $60.

A good Cabernet for drinking now, with polished

tannins and candied flavors of blackberry pie filling,

sour black cherry Lifesavers and sweet,

smoky sandalwood. —S.H.

87

Jordan 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Alexander Valley); $55. Light in

body, with a tobaccoey, dried herb quality to the

cherry fruit. Finishes fast, but quite an elegant

wine, and should age for a while. —S.H.

87

Louis M. Martini 2006 Reserve

Cabernet Sauvignon (Alexander

Valley); $35. It’s a little on the soft side, but

stuffed with blackberry, cherry, currant and

smoky oak flavors, with pleasant notes of dried

herbs, anise and violets. Fine now. —S.H.

87

Nordby 2007 Lacrime Dell’ Angeli

White Cabernet Sauvignon (Red

Hills Lake County); $24. A bit full-bodied for

a blush, with red currant, red cherry, apricot and

vanilla meringue flavors, but balanced with crisp

acidity, and basically dry. —S.H.

87

Nordby 2003 Envy Estate Reserve

Cabernet Sauvignon (Red Hills

Lake County); $64. Shows a sharpness you

rarely find in Napa Cabernet, which is the

inevitable comparison. But it’s dry, with chunky

tannins framing blackberry, currant and herb flavors,

and could develop in the bottle. —S.H.

87

Pedroncelli 2006 Three Vineyards

Cabernet Sauvignon (Dry Creek

Valley); $16. A fine Cabernet with some extra

features that lift it above the ordinary and make it

a good value. Dry and smooth, it displays flavors of

blackberry jam, currants, cassis and smoky cedar,

wrapped into rich tannins. Drink now. —S.H.

87

Ridgeline 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Alexander Valley); $40. A

nice, supple Cab, softly smooth and ready to

drink now. Shows flavors of black cherries, currants,

anise, herbs, violets and cedar. —S.H.

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


87

Rosenthal 2005 Cabernet Sauvignon

(Malibu-Newton Canyon);

$39. Soft and fruity, with pie-filling blackberry,

cherry and raspberry flavors, accented with

smoky oak. Dry, and drinkable now. —S.H.

87

Two Hands 2006 Some Days Are

Diamonds Cabernet Sauvignon

(Napa Valley); $45. Immediately appealing for

its lush, direct flavors of blackberry pie filling,

cherry jam, licorice and cedar flavors, with a vein

of dried herbs. Drink now. —S.H.

84

Redtree 2008 Cabernet Sauvignon

(California); $8. Jammy and

fresh, with peppery flavors of crushed ripe blackberries

and cherries, accented with a touch of

sweet, smoky oak. Best Buy.

MERLOT

92

Magness 2006 Merlot (Napa Valley);

$20. This is exactly what Merlot

should taste like, and you get it for a pretty nice

price. Dry and velvety, it has immediately likeable

flavors of red cherries, smoky bacon, violets,

peppery spices and a lovely coat of sandalwood.

Drink this lush, smooth wine now. Editors’

Choice.

91

Clos du Val 2006 Merlot (Napa

Valley); $26. A lovely Merlot, showing

a French influence in its Bordeaux-like delicacy

and earthiness. Feels elegant in the mouth, a

supple, lightly oaked wine with layers of cherries,

tobacco, cedar and sage. Good value. Editors’

Choice.

85

Dog House 2006 Merlot (California);

$10. A sound everyday Merlot

with lots to like. Dry and full-bodied, it shows

flavors of blackberries, blueberries, plums and

mocha, firmed by sturdy tannins. A good steak

fajitas wine.

FOR MORE WINE RATINGS,

VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT

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SYRAH

92

Fess Parker 2006 The Big Easy

Syrah (Santa Barbara County);

$40. This bottling has been getting seriously

good in recent years. Delicious now, a softly rich,

decadent wine filled with blackberry tart, cherry

pie, blueberry, milk chocolate, anise and pepper

flavors, and fully dry. But very high in alcohol,

and not an ager.

91

Fess Parker 2006 Rodney’s Vineyard

Syrah (Santa Barbara

County); $40. The sheer deliciousness gives

this wine its high score. It’s like a decadent pastry

dessert, with dark chocolate truffle, grilled

black cherry, cassis, anise and sandalwood flavors

sprinkled with cinnamon and pepper. But it’s

fully dry. The high alcohol and softness suggest

drinking now.

ZINFANDEL

90

Artezin 2007 Zinfandel (Mendocino

County); $18. A fine Zinfandel,

rich and briary, with wild forest flavors of black

and blue berries, Asian spices, tangerine zest and

smoky sandalwood. Full-bodied and dry, it’s nice

now and for the next few years.

90

Quivira 2006 Anderson Ranch

Zinfandel (Dry Creek Valley); $34.

A lovely Zinfandel, showing nice balance without

too much alcohol. Dry and velvety in the

mouth, it displays lush flavors of blackberries,

cherries, pepper, teriaki beef, cola and cedar,

with a crisp spine of acidity.

CALIFORNIA RED BLEND

85

Stephen Vincent 2007 Crimson

(California); $12. Pretty good for the

price. Dry and fruity, with polished cherry and

cassis flavors. Turns a little harsh and minty, but

easy to like with pizza, burgers, enchiladas.

ROSÉ WINES

90

Fleming Jenkins 2008 Victories

Rosé (California); $20. With crisp

acidity and a refreshing berry skin tartnness, this

is a beautiful rosé that approaches the loveliness

of a fine French blush. It has subtle flavors of

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strawberries, rapsberries, tangerine zest, rose

petals and spices, and is super-dry. Great job.

87

Bonterra 2008 Rosé (Mendocino

County); $14. A beautiful rosé, bone

dry, crisp and silky but rich, with intricate flavors

of strawberries, rose petals, citrus and cinnamon

spice. This is a good price for a rosé of this purity.

CALIFORNIA

WHITE WINES

CHARDONNAY

94

Ovation 2006 Chardonnay

(Sonoma Coast); $60. Acidity, dryness

and steely minerality characterize this

Chard. It has lemon and vanilla flavors that are

brisk and clean. It’s refreshing to get such an elegant

alternative to today’s ripe, fruity Chards.

Gets better and better as it warms in the glass.

Drink this brilliant wine with shellfish, sourdough

bread and lots of butter. —S.H.

93

Fogdog 2006 Chardonnay

(Sonoma Coast); $40. Just what you

want from a Sonoma Coast Chard. It’s bone dry,

crisp in cool-climate acidity, and elegant, with a

minerally tang to the Meyer lemon fruit. Oak barrels

bring richer notes of vanilla and buttered

toast. Beautiful, and should hold through 2012.

—S.H.

93

Ojai 2006 Clos Pepe Vineyard

Chardonnay (Sta. Rita Hills); $40.

Soft and creamy and very elegant, this Chard has

rich flavors of apricot tart, pineapple, Meyer

lemon and chalky minerals. Really a well-structured,

pulled-together wine of enormous appeal.

Should improve through 2012. —S.H.

92

Chappellet 2007 Chardonnay

(Napa Valley); $32. Tasted in the

Spring of 2009, this Chard was immature,

marked by fresh fruit acidity and flavors, as well

as unintegrated oak. But it’s quite good, and just

needs time to allow the grilled pineapple, crème

brûlée and buttered toast flavors to come

together with the alcohol. Best 2010–2013.

—S.H.

92

Morgan 2007 Double L Vineyard

Chardonnay (Santa Lucia Highlands);

$44. Very dry and crisp and minerally.

Shows a stony, steely edge to the pineapple, pear


and Meyer lemon flavors, with 30% new French

oak contributing vanilla, buttered toast and toffee

complications. A bit rough now, and should

soften and develop bottle complexity after 2010.

—S.H.

92

Ojai 2007 Bien Nacido Vineyard

Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley);

$30. Shows the peaches and cream, ripe pineapple

and Meyer lemon and buttered toast aromas

and flavors that make Chardonnay so popular.

But this single-vineyard wine also has a flinty,

minerally streak and fine, zesty acidity. Should

develop for six years. —S.H.

92

Talley 2007 Chardonnay (Edna

Valley); $26. Crisply dry but very rich,

even exotic, in fruit, this Chardonnay is a good

value for the money. It’s flamboyant in tropical

pineapple jam, pears, vanilla custard and buttered

toast, with a stony minerality. —S.H.

90

Ojai 2007 Solomon Hills Vineyard

Chardonnay (Santa Maria Valley);

$30. Rich and oaky, with crisp acidity framing

flavors of pineapple crème brûlée, yellow apricot

jam, buttered toast and meringue. Flamboyant,

but controlled and elegant. Drink now.

—S.H.

89

Iron Horse 2007 UnOaked

Chardonnay (Green Valley); $26.

Offers a tremendous burst of ripe green apples,

bosc pears and Meyer lemons, brightened with

the crisp acidity of cool Green Valley. Also, tinges

of vanilla and cream, despite being unoaked.

—S.H.

89

Talley 2007 Estate Bottled

Chardonnay (Arroyo Grande Valley);

$26. Oaky, with butterscotch and smoky

caramel-honey flavors standing out over the

underlying pineapples, oranges and minerals.

Finishes dry and crisp. Drink now. —S.H.

88

La Crema 2007 Chardonnay (Los

Carneros); $30. Sweet in smoky oak,

with sweet cream flavors, this pleasant Chardonnay

is rich in pineapples. Yet it’s dry, with a minerally

tang and fine acidity. Drink now. —S.H.

87

Beauregard 2006 Bald Mountain

Vineyard Chardonnay (Ben

Lomond Mountain); $45. Lime-peel acidity

marks this bone-dry, tart wine. The other flavors

include steely minerals, pineapple crème brûlée

and buttered toast. Drink now. —S.H.

87

Bin 36 2007 Chardonnay (Monterey);

$18. If there’s any oak on this

wine, it doesn’t show. Instead, it brims with ripe,

pure flavors of pineapples, kiwi fruit, limes and

cinnamon spice. Crisp and bright. —S.H.

87

Brander 2008 Chardonnay (Santa

Ynez Valley); $16. This wine is rich in

tropical fruit, pear, green apple and lemon-lime

flavors, but dry, with a touch of butterscotchy

oak. Shows a deftly clean mouthfeel with fine,

coastal acidity. Editors’ Choice. —S.H.

87

La Crema 2007 Chardonnay

(Sonoma Coast); $23. Dry on the

finish, but lush in smoky oak and pineapple

meringue and custard flavors, this is a rich, flamboyant

Chardonnay to drink now. —S.H.

87

Luke Donald 2007 Chardonnay

(Carneros); $30. Made in the softly

ripe, oaky style, this Chard shows flavors of

pineapple cream, lemon zest, vanilla custard and

cinnamon spice. It’s a crowd pleaser. —S.H.

87

Rosenthal 2007 Chardonnay (Malibu-Newton

Canyon); $25.

Lemony, light-bodied, bone dry and acidically

crisp, its citrus and mineral flavors are easy and

elegant, and will play well against shrimp scampi.

—S.H.

87

Summerland 2007 Chardonnay

(Santa Barbara County); $15. Crisp

in acidity, with ripe flavors of pineapple jam, apricots

and sweet spicy oak —S.H.

87

Surfrider 2007 Chardonnay (Edna

Valley); $20. Crisp and direct, showing

bright, flamboyant pineapples, kiwis, figs, Meyer

lemons and vanilla. —S.H.

SAUVIGNON BLANC

90

Tangent 2007 Paragon Vineyard

Sauvignon Blanc (Edna Valley);

$13. Tangent is on the cutting edge of bone dry,

crisply elegant and superbly fine white wines at

everyday prices, and this bottling is among their

best. It’s wonderfully tart, with mouthwatering

flavors of lemons and limes, Asian pears and minerals.

A super value, and a sommelier alert. Best

Buy.

OTHER WHITES

95

Williams Selyem 2007 Vista Verde

Vineyard Late Harvest Gewürztraminer

(San Benito County); $40. Even

after a big dinner, there’s room for this amazingly

rich dessert wine. With residual sugar of 15.3%,

it’s extremely sweet, but vibrant acidity gives it

nerve and zest. Shocks the palate with massive

flavors of apricot essence, peaches, crème brûlée,

honey and vanilla bean. Tantalizing and exotic.

93

Fess Parker 2007 Viognier (Santa

Barbara County); $24. A very fine

Viognier, one of the best of the vintage, that takes

the variety’s exotic, sometimes over-the-top richness

and controls it with crisp coastal acidity and

a deft touch of minerals. Elegant and interesting,

it displays utterly dry flavors of Meyer lemon,

lime, fig, date, honeysuckle, vanilla, spice and

flint flavors. Drink now for freshness.

87

Twodog 2007 Premium White

Wine (Central Coast); $15. Wonderfully

dry and crisp, with floral, peach, citrus

and spice flavors. Just a perfect wine for a cocktail,

and so versatile across a range of foods. Good

job at a good price.

WASHINGTON

WHITE WINES

CHARDONNAY

89

Mercer Estates 2007 Chardonnay

(Columbia Valley); $17. Very pleasant,

relatively light, showing a pretty mix of citrus

and tropical fruit, fresh cream, light toast and a

hint of cinnamon. The alcohol rests at 14.1% but

feels a bit lighter, and the wine has a pleasing

ripeness without becoming fat or heavy.

OTHER WHITES

88

Mercer Estates 2008 Pinot Gris

(Columbia Valley); $15. Rounder

and more fruity than the inaugural 2007 Pinot

Gris, this has succulent green apple and Bosch

pear flavors balanced against crisp, refreshing

acids.

WINES REVIEWED IN THE SEPTEMBER 2009 ISSUE


WASHINGTON

RED WINES

SYRAH

93

K Vintners 2006 Sundance Vineyard

The Deal Syrah (Wahluke

Slope); $35. A potent mix of spicy citrus, sweet

berry and gamy funk aromas heighten the nose,

which leads into a mouthfilling, meaty wine,

loaded with flavors of berry, plum, balsamic and

coffee grounds. The sharp acids and tight tannins

help define the midpalate, and the finish

extends into lingering spice, moist earth and

more coffee. Editors’ Choice

90

Efesté 2006 Ceidleigh Syrah (Red

Mountain); $29. This is deeply saturated,

lush, scented with violets, raisins and

chocolate, still tight and spicy. Excellent depth

and structure, with about one quarter of the oak

new. It needs some breathing time, and as it

opens it shows more Rhône-like flavors of blood

and shrubby herb.

90

Sequel 2006 Syrah (Columbia Valley);

$55. Ripe berries, loaded with

spice, concentrate the flavors of this exceptionally

smooth, big-bodied Syrah. As is the custom with

Sequel, the grapes are a blend of many vineyards

and AVAs, which certainly enhances the polished

mouthfeel, but at the expense of specificity. The

acids stick out a little bit, but are soon covered in

loads of chocolate and butterscotch barrel flavors.

Drink soon.

MERLOT

93

Pedestal 2006 Merlot (Columbia

Valley); $55. The best Pedestal since

the 2003. The focus is immediately apparent,

with dark, toasty scents and flavors wrapped into

ripe black fruits. The generous (85% new)

French oak aging brings in clove, licorice and

smoky spice, but the fruit has the muscle and

breadth necessary to keep it all harmonious.

FOR MORE WINE RATINGS,

VISIT OUR WEB SITE AT

winemag.com

CABERNET SAUVIGNON

90

Efesté 2006 Big Papa Old Vine

Cabernet Sauvignon (Columbia

Valley); $45. Old vine fruit from Sagemoor and

Kiona blends with newer fruit from Ciel du

Cheval. This is 100% Cabernet Sauvignon, and it

opens up slowly. Layered and complex, it mixes

leaf, herb, and somewhat dusty tannins over

tangy, tight, immaculate red fruits. Needs breathing

time and more bottle age, but it’s elegant and

well-crafted.

BLENDED REDS

91

Efesté 2006 Final-Final Cabernet-

Syrah (Columbia Valley); $25.

Some high-toned floral highlights liven up the

nose, and the sweet fruit shows blueberry and

blackberry. Still stiff and tannic, it’s edged with an

earthy, herbal character highlighted with some

sweet baking spices from the oak. Nice detail and

good management of oak and tannins; this is a

wine to study and savor. Editors’ Choice.

ARGENTINA

MALBEC

86

Santa Julia 2008 Malbec (Mendoza);

$10. Despite some initial sweet

gummy aromas, things settle into form on the

nose. In the mouth, raspberry and cherry flavors

are almost in the bubblegum range but are more

complex and true than candied. With freshness,

nice tannins and decent structure, this wine is giving

about all it can. Imported by Winesellers Ltd.

Best Buy.

winemag.com

THE WINE ENTHUSIAST

BUYING GUIDE

The Buying Guide includes ratings and reviews of new

releases and selected older wines evaluated by Wine

Enthusiast Magazine’s editors and other qualified tasters.

On a regular basis the Buying Guide includes reports on

special tastings and the wines of specific producers. Regular

contributors to our Buying Guide include Senior

Editor/Tasting Director Joe Czerwinski, Assistant Tasting

Director Lauren Buzzeo, Senior Editor Susan Kostrzewa

and Contributing Editor Michael Schachner in New York,

European Editor Roger Voss in Bordeaux, Italian Editor

Monica Larner in Rome, Contributing Editor Steve

Heimoff in Oakland and Contributing Editor Paul Gregutt

in Seattle. If a wine was evaluated by a single reviewer, that

taster’s initials appear following the note. When no initials

appear, the wine was evaluated by two or more reviewers

and the score and tasting note reflect the input of all

tasters.

Each review contains a score, the full name of the wine,

its suggested national retail price, and a tasting note. If price

cannot be confirmed, $NA (not available) will be printed.

Prices are for 750-ml bottles unless otherwise indicated.

TASTING METHODOLOGY AND GOALS

Tastings are conducted individually or in a group setting and

performed blind or in accordance with accepted industry

practices. Price is not a factor in assigning scores. When possible,

wines considered flawed or uncustomary are retasted.

ABOUT THE SCORES

Ratings reflect what our editors felt about a particular wine.

Beyond the rating, we encourage you to read the accompanying

tasting note to learn about a wine’s special characteristics.

Classic 98–100: The pinnacle of quality.

Superb 94–97: A great achievement.

Excellent 90–93: Highly recommended.

Very Good 87–89: Often good value; well recommended.

Good 83–86: Suitable for everyday consumption;

often good value.

Acceptable 80–82: Can be employed in casual, lesscritical

circumstances.

Wines receiving a rating below 80 are not reviewed.

SPECIAL DESIGNATIONS

Editors’ Choice wines are those that offer excellent quality

at a price above our Best Buy range, or a wine at any price

with unique qualities that merit special attention.

Cellar Selections are wines deemed highly collectible

and/or requiring time in a temperature-controlled wine cellar

to reach their maximum potential. A Cellar Selection

designation does not mean that a wine must be stored to be

enjoyed, but that cellaring will probably result in a more

enjoyable bottle. In general, an optimum time for cellaring

will be indicated.

Best Buys are wines that offer a high level of quality in

relation to price. There are no specific guidelines or formulae

for determining Best Buys, but they are generally

priced at $15 or less.

SUBMITTING WINES FOR REVIEW

Wines should be submitted to the appropriate reviewing

location as detailed in our FAQ, available online via

winemag.com/contact. Inquiries should be addressed to

Assistant Tasting Director Lauren Buzzeo at 914.345.8463

or email tastings@wineenthusiast.net. There is no charge

for submitting wines. We make every effort to taste all wines

submitted for review, but there is no guarantee that all

wines submitted will be tasted, or that reviews will appear in

the magazine. All wines must be accompanied by a submission

form, which may be downloaded from our Web site.

LABELS

Labels are paid promotions. Wineries and winery

representatives are given the opportunity to submit labels,

which are reproduced and printed along with tasting notes

and scores. For information on label purchases, contact

Denise Valenza at 800.315.4397; fax 866-896-8786; or email

dvalenza@wineenthusiast.net.

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