Wine Reviews

Browse collection of wine reviews.


Chateau Lassegue Les Cadrans de Lassegue, Saint-Emilion Grand Cru, France

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

This "second wine" from Chateau Lassegue offers good value for those who enjoy the modern style of today's Right Bank Bordeaux reds (but not the price of those wines!). This blend (primarily made of Merlot and Cabernet Franc) is crafted by Pierre Seillan (also of Verite), and exudes deep red plum and currant flavors, and really excels in its complex, top-notch aromas of tomato leaf, dried herbs, red and black berries, and graphite.

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Robert Biale Vineyards Black Chicken Zinfandel, Napa Valley

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Cabernet Sauvignon gets all the glory when it comes to Napa Valley red wines, but another variety long associated with California has been making a name for itself over the last two decades with Robert Biale Vineyards' "Black Chicken" Zinfandel. Somewhat infamously named after a code-name for an order for a jug of private Zinfandel made by Aldo Biale in the 1940s. With intense aromatic spiciness, just the right amount of jammy red and black fruit flavors, and a palate that feels both dense and expressive, Black Chicken is justifiably now established as one of the most iconic Zinfandels from Napa.

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Balletto Chardonnay, Russian River Valley

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

It's getting tougher to come by affordable California wines that are made from all-estate by family-operated wineries. Balletto is one such family-operated outfit that's bucking that trend, offering this hand-picked Chardonnay farmed across their 16 estate estate vineyards in Sonoma's Russian River Valley. Pear, lemon, peach and apricot mix with baking spices and white flower aromas for a white that feels round, generous, and focused all at once.

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Ciodet 'Labano' Brut Valdobbiadene Prosecco Superiore, Veneto, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

There's a lot more to Prosecco than the near-ubiquitous sparklers that dominate the Italy section in the world's wine aisles. Valdobbiadene Prosecco, grown in the almost impossibly steep slopes of a small section of the Veneto region, can often be a cut above, marrying Prosecco's floral, pear-tinged fruitiness with a deeper sense of elegance and refinement. Ciodet's 'Labano' Brut manages just that, and is a great way to upscale your mid-week libations.

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2016 Perinet Merit, Priorat, Spain

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Spain's Priorat region has a reputation for delivering huge, bombastic Garnacha-based reds that often carry huge, bombastic price-tags. WHich makes Perinet's 'Merit' Priorat red such a nice find. It does, of course, deliver full-bodied power and big, bold, juicy red and blue fruit flavors (along with violet aromas), but it somehow manages to pack all of that hedonistic pleasure into an SRP that won't break the bank.

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Rodney Strong Charlotte's Home Vineyard Sauvignon Blanc, Sonoma County

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Known for their somewhat powerful reds, Rodney Strong delivers a bit of a surprise with their Charlotte's Home Sauvignon Blanc. This white is zesty and refreshing, with Meyer lemon and melon flavors. The real bonus here (especially considering the reasonable price) is in its complex, buoyant nose, which is rich in citrus, herb, lemongrass, and floral notes.

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Experience Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Experience Cabernet offers, well, a tried-and-true Napa Valley Cabernet experience: lush black fruits, intense and mouth-filling texture, ample power and oak spice notes, and an overall feeling of lush luxury. That interesting thing is that Experience manages to do all of that without charging $50-$75 for it. This is one of those times when you don't have to worry that a wine with Napa Valley on the label is being offered for under $30 on the store shelf - if you enjoy Napa reds, you'll want to make this one part of your everyday drinking stash.

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Glen Carlou Grand Classique, Paarl, South Africa

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Almost no Cabernet Sauvignon-based red wine offers as much bang for the buck as South Africa's Grand Classique from producer Glen Carlou. After years of tasting several vintages of this true classic, I have learned to buy two bottles of every release: one for now, and one to hold on to for later enjoyment. Even after a decade of bottle aging, a well-cellared Grand Clasique will still offer an lovely, perfumed drinking experience full of spice notes and tangy red fruit flavors - what more could one ask from a wine that regularly can be found for under $20/bottle?

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Herdade do Rocim Alicante Bouschet, Alentejo, Portugal

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Alicante Bouschet can be a bit wily, and sometimes can feel almost "hollow" in the middle of the palate (after an onslaught of fruit and violets to start, and a big hit of power, grip and finish at the end). Portugal's Rocim always manages to tame this red wine beast, offering a ripe, fruity, and floral Alicante that is rich, textural, and complete - and all coming at a price that should tempt red wine lovers to buy an entire case.

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Monchiero Carbone Cecu d'la Biunda Roero Arneis, Piedmont, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Roero Arneis is too frequently overlooked by white wine lovers, which is a shame - because these northwestern Italian sippers offer a wonderful mix of the familiar and the exotic. In the case of the Monchiero Carbone Cecu d'la Biunda, the famailar comes by way of white peach, apple, and citrus flavors. The exotic? Hints of tropical fruits, saline, toasted nuts, and wet slate. This is a white that will offer a lot to contemplate, while also being simply delicious and refreshing.

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