Wine Reviews

Browse collection of wine reviews.


2012 Cadaretta Cabernet Sauvignon, Columbia Valley

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Never count out Washington State. Just when you think it's going to get overshadowed by its glitzier vinous near-neighbor (California), it shows up with consistently excellent reds like this Cabernet from Cadaretta. This is a serious wine, drinkable now but meant for at least a couple of years in the cellar so that the oak notes tame and the dark fruits open up. It's meaty, spicy, and substantial, and would probably cost an additional $25 if the words Napa Valley appeared on the label instead.

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2015 Chateau de Lascaux Languedoc Garrigue Rose (France)

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Sometimes, the wine of the moment needs to be something that doesn't require a lot of thought, or a lot of dollars. Named after the caves made famous for their ancient paintings, what Chateau de Lascaux's Garrigue Rose (a blend of Cinsaut, Grenache, and Syrah) lacks in complexity it more than makes up for in tasty accessibility. This is a pink that wants to make friends, and for the price, it will almost certainly succeed.

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Joseph Drouhin Domaine des Hospices de Belleville Brouilly, Beaujolais, France

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

What happens when you bring high-end Burgundy prowess and techniques to the usually happy-go-lucky Gamay grape of Beaujolais? In this case, you get a serious, age-worthy take on Brouilly from Joseph Drouhin's Domaine des Hospices de Belleville label. Made from grapes harvested on a single, 11-acre site called Le Sigaud, at the foot of Mont Brouilly, this wine is peppery, accessible, and fruity, but harbors surprising depth and richness.

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2007 R. Lopez de Heredia Vina Tondonia 'Vina Cubillo' Crianza, Rioja, Spain

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Leave it to the venerable Rioja producer R. Lopez de Heredia to create a "young" wine in the Crianza style that isn't actually ready for consumption until its tenth birthday. The 'Vina Cubillo' release is spicy, complex, savory, and lovely, and offers surprising liveliness and vivacity for its age. It's a great introduction to the sit-back-and-wait-patiently style favored by this iconic Spanish winemaking house.

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Rodney Strong Estate Sonoma Coast Pinot Noir, California, USA

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

For those who like their Pinot Noir to rival their Cabernet Sauvignon in body, power, and complexity, check out this line from Sonoma's consistently excellent Rodney Strong. Probably best described as big, bold, but beautiful, this is a Pinot that will find itself equally at home with grilled salmon as it would with grilled flank steak.

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2015 Cascina Feliciana 'Felugan' Bianco Lugana, Lombardy, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Looking for a white that's a little different? Check out the "Felugan" Lugana from Cascina Feliciana. Lugana in general provides a deceptively accessible take on Verdicchio in its youth, and this tropical fruit-filled, zesty, mineral-driven white is no exception. As delicious as it is now, however, don't be afraid to lay down a bottle for a few years, during which Verdicchio's complex honey flavors and toasted nut aromas can develop.

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2013 Concha y Toro Gran Reserva Serie Riberas Cabernet Sauvignon (Colchagua Valley)

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

One of the southern hemisphere's most popular and largest producers - Concha y Toro - is also one of the best brands to keep in mind when looking for bargains. That doesn't just apply to their entry-level offerings, thankfully. Their Gran Reserva Serie Riberas line of wines can often provide surprising complexity and longevity. Such is the case with the 2013 vintage of Cabernet Sauvignon released under that label. This is a red with excellent balance between Cab's fiesty herbal notes, and its bold, dark fruitiness.

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2014 Simonsig Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose (Stellenbosch)

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

When you are thinking about sparkling wine, chances are good that you have Pinot Noir and Pinot Meunier in mind; they're classic constituents of the Champagne blend of grapes. But South African Pinotage? That often-overlooked grape finds it way into the mix in Simonsig's Kaapse Vonkel Brut Rose sparkler, adding a bit of pithy, berry skin texture and complexity to the final blend. The result is an affable, tasty sparkling wine that's just the ticket when you're yearning for something a bit different.

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Chateau Gassier 2016 Cotes de Provence 'Esprit Gassier' Rose

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

At the foot of Mount Sainte Victoire sits Chateau Gassier, whose vineyard soils are made up of the sand, clay, and limestone pebbles that erode from the mountain. It seems that the classic Rhone grapes like the environment, based on their 2016 rose, which is made from 35% Grenache, 30% Cinsault, 25% Syrah, and 10% Rolle. This pink is floral, peachy, and tropical, and is unlikely to disappoint rose lovers.

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Hope Family Wines Treana Blanc (Central Coast)

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Treana Blanc has been the California answer to robust white Rhone wines for several years; if you're not familiar with the label, and are a lover of the style, then you are probably overdue for checking this one out. Usually a blend of Viognier, Marsanne, and Roussanne, Treana Blanc is powerful, broad, and heady, while also being tropical and zesty. You'll probably want to have some grilled shellfish on hand to enjoy with this one.

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