Wine Reviews

Browse collection of wine reviews.


Vina Ventisquero 'Grey' Glacier Apalta Vineyard Single Block Garnacha - Carinena - Mataro, Colchagua Valley, Chile

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

When it comes to Spanish-inspired blends, Chile probably isn't the first country to come to mind, being more famous for its lean, focused take on the sunnier Spain's big reds. A interesting and fun change of pace on this approach comes in the form of Vina Ventisquero's 'Grey' Glacier single-vineyard series of premium wines. Their Garnacha/Carinena/Mataro blend in that series offers a serious, toasty, spicy, and flavorful example of another side of Chilean viticulture, with ample red fruit flavors and enough power to stand up to a hearty steak.

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Domaine Bousquet Cabernet Sauvignon, Tupungato, Argentina

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

What do you call a congruence of crowd-pleasing, mouth-filling, juicy plum flavors, intriguing aromas of graphite and dried herbs, organic farming, and bargain pricing? In the fine wine business, you'd call it a winning combination. Argentina's Domaine Bousquet is adept at offering over-achieving wines, but their latest organic Cabernet from Tupungato takes things to a new level, offering dependable, tasty quality in a low-cost, and environmentally-friendly option that will fit perfectly with a Summer backyard BBQ.

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Familia Zuccardi 'Zuccardi Q' Malbec, Mendoza, Argentina

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Familia Zuccardi, inextricably linked to the farming and winemaking history of Mendoza, has the size and pull to create some truly over-achieving wines, particularly with Argentina's flagship red grape, Malbec. Their "Q" release, crafted from old vines in Mendoza's Uco Valley, ticks all of the boxes when it comes to Southern Hemisphere Malbec: dark plum fruit flavors, ample body and power, and aromas of chocolate, black fruits, and violets.

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Marco Felluga Russiz Superiore Sauvignon Collio, Friuli-Venezia Giulia, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Friuli-Venezia is a global sweet-spot for serious Pinot Grigio, but it's capable of world-class representations of many of the finest white wine grapes, and Sauvignon Blanc is no exception. In Collio, near the Slovenian border, Italy's Marco Felluga has a winning formula for their Sauvignon: by mixing both stainless steel and barrel fermentation (the latter with some lees aging), they manage to capture the peachy, zesty, and citric sides of the grape, while also flirting with its melon-rich, creamier side.

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Prosper Maufoux Bourgogne Pinot Noir, Burgundy, France

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Bargain red Burgundy can often feel like an oxymoron; with the region's complex production structure, it's easy to get burned without some prior knowledge and a bit of guidance. Going with a storied name, such as Prosper Maufoux, is also a safer bet when it comes to successfully navigating Burgundy; their namesake set up shop in the Côte d’Or in 1860, after leaving the notary trade to follow a passion in wine. Prosper Maufoux has more-or-less been producing in the region ever since. Their entry-level Bourgogne Pinot Noir is a great introduction to red Burgundy - earthy, full of red berry flavors, and tinged with herbal spices.

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Eberle Cotes-du-Robles Rose, Paso Robles

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Pennsylvania native (and all-star high-school football player) Gary Eberle helped to put Paso Robles on the fien wine map when he released his 1979 Cabernet Sauvignon. Today, Eberle is still going strong, and still producing some of the most consistent releases in the region. Their Rhone-inspired Cotes-du-Robles Rose might just be their most fun label. A blend of Syrah, Grenache, and Viognier, its pink grapefruit and wild strawberry flavors - and rose petal and herb aromas - combine lithe French styling with juicy California ripeness.

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Sidebar Old Vine Zinfandel, Russian River Valley

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

David Ramey's side project, appropriately titled Sidebar, offers some of the better mid-range values to be found in California wines. Their Old Vine Zinandel is a joy, coming from a vineyard originally planted in the late 1800s (with some replanting performed in 1950 by Americo Rafanelli). It's a true Zinfandel field blend, with fourteen other grape varieties making up a small percentage of the final wine. The wine dances between red and black fruits on the tongue, all the while offering an array of peppers and spices that will appeal to both the novice and the discerning wine geek.

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Gioacchino Garofoli 'Podium' Verdicchio dei Castelli di Jesi Classico Superiore, Marche, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Looking for something a bit out of the ordinary? Try Italy's Verdicchio, a white that feels familiar in its citrus fruitiness, but also seems exotic with its stern acidity and mineral notes. Gioacchino Garofoli's 'Podium' is a classic: the vineyard sits on a flat-topped hill, reminiscent of a speaker’s stand (hence the moniker). This is a white that is difficult to approach when young, but opens up into dried grapefruit, marzipan, and honey notes with a bit of age.

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Bodegas Ollauri Conde de los Andes, Rioja, Spain

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

From Rioja Alta, close to the historic towns of Haro and Briones, comes Conde de los Andes, a long-standing brand name in the region, and one worth revisiting if you love Tempranillo. The vine plots from which this Tempranillo is grown are small, with vines averaging forty or more years of age. The older vine fruit, combined with maturation in French oak, give this red an earthy, smoky, spicy edge to balance its focused and dramatic red fruit flavors.

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Trefethen "The Cowgirl and the Pilot" Merlot, Napa Valley

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

If you're feeling a splurge purchase coming on, Napa Valley's historic producer Trefethen has a new release worth considering. Named after Janet and John Trefethen, who once had jobs as a rodeo queen and Navy pilot, respectively, this red celebrates the 25th anniversary of their first Merlot bottling. Concentrated, deep, and complex, black plum and cassis flavors mix with black olive and spice notes to make this a compelling sipper that should broaden and soften luxuriously with some bottle aging.

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