Wine Reviews

Browse collection of wine reviews.


Muti Albarino, Rias Baixas, Spain

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Simply put, this tribute to Olé Imports co-founder Patrick Mata's mother (who spoke German at home, hence the wine's name) is a gorgeous expression of what Albarino can offer. Sourced from three vineyard sites in the Val do Salnes of Rías Baixas (some of which are located only 100 feet from the Atlantic Ocean), this white is a masterful display - citrus, orange zest, white flowers, ginger-like spices, and white fig are all evoked when drinking it. Muti's foudres aging and its zesty acidity both suggest that it will age well in bottle, too.

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Dominio del Plata Susana Balbo Signature Barrel Fermented Torrontes, Uco Valley, Argentina

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Susana Balbo has become one of the most trusted names in Argentine wine (she was, after all, the first Argentinean woman to be hired as an international consulting winemaker), and her barrel-fermented Torrontes shows that she has some imaginative twists up her sleeve. This white sees about three months of aging in medium-toast French oak barrels, which is just enough time to impart additional depth and spices to the exotic fruit flavors of this variety, while still retaining its floral, honey, and mineral notes.

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Cecchi Coevo Toscana IGT, Tuscany, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

The "Super-Tuscan" phenomenon can sometimes feel a bit played-out, but that bit of marketing exhaustion hasn't stopped Tuscany from churning out ever-better versions of its Sangiovese and Bordeaux grape red blends. Venerable Italian producer Cecchi has a winner on their hands with their Coevo Super-Tuscan, a blend of grapes hailing primarily from their Castellina and Maremma vineyard estates. This is a rich, refined, and thoroughly modern take on Tuscan reds, with ample black fruit flavors and notes of licorice and wood spices.

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Quinta de la Rosa Tinto, Douro, Portugal

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

One of the best examples that we live in the best of times for wine lovers has been the advent of popularity for the previously unsung dry red wine blends of Portugal's Douro. Better known for making potentially long-lived sweet wines, the same red grapes that converge to produce Port can also make compelling still wines. Such is the case for Quinta de la Rosa's main red blend - it's juicy, chewy, spicy, and smooth, with black fruit flavors and enough underlying structure to age well in bottle for 2-4 years.

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Opolo Vineyards Roussanne, Central Coast

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Is there any fine wine grape that can't thrive in California's Central Coast? Certainly Opolo Vineyards are making a case to include at least one more French transplant - Roussanne - to the list of varieties that are taking well to the CA sunshine. This is a round, rich, and buoyant white, which tops off its stone and tropical fruit flavors with aromas of white flowers, minerals, and herbs.

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Dr. H. Thanisch Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett, Mosel, Germany

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Sometimes, you run into a wine that is so delicious, it's basically impossible to hate. Dr. H. Thanisch's Bernkasteler Badstube Riesling Kabinett, from the famed and historic Mosel region of Germany, is one such wine. Resplendent with stone fruit flavors, it manages to conjure up notes of lemon drop candy, limes, nectarine, and spices, and to present it all in a focused, fresh, and friendly package.

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Bodegas Carlos Serres Rioja Gran Reserva 2010, Rioja, Spain

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Wine experts love Spain's Rioja in part because the region's producers try to take the guesswork out of answering the question "when should I drink this?" Generally, Rioja wines are aged in wood and bottle until the producer feels that the wine is ready to drink. Despite the logistics and inventory costs involved, every once in a while Rioja surprises with an absolute bargain stunner of a red, such as with the Carlos Serres Gran Reserva. It's fresh and fruity, spicy (think dried herbs and cedar), and - despite the extended wood aging - doesn't lack for acidic structure.

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Brotte Domaine Barville Chateauneuf-du-Pape 2015, Rhone, France

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Somewhat ironically, Chateauneuf-du-Pape has become the black sheep of the Southern Rhone crus, given its enormous critical success in the last two decades, primarily because this has driven prices into the stratosphere. If you're looking for tasty, accessible, and competent CdP that won't break the bank, consider Brotte's Domaine Barville. This producer has the benefit of Brotte's marketing power behind it, and the luxury of being able to blend fruit from 35+ year old vines grown on both stony and limestone soils. The result is an earthy, dark-fruited blend that is powerfully ripe while also retaining structure and poise.

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Azienda Agricola Terrabianca Vignot, Moscato d'Asti DOCG, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Moscato has a reputation for being overly-affable, but that doesn't mean that it cannot also be a bit serious (and potentially age-worthy). Azienda Agricola Terrabianca's Vignot is one such serious take on the friendly Moscato grape and Asti's strict production methods of it. 55 year old vines produce the grapes that are used for this wine, and their full southern exposure means ample ripeness. This is a Moscato with great freshness, but a richer profile than you might expect, along with apricot flavors, floral and herbal aromas, and a delicious mouthfeel. As these wines age, they take on notes of white fig, toast, dried citrus peel, candied sage, and dill - in other words, there is serious winemaking going on here.

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Pewsey Vale Dry Riesling, Eden Valley, Australia

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

It is a find like the Pewsey Vale Dry Riesling from Eden Valley in Australia that make wine reviewing so fun. Delicious in its grapefruit and lime flavors, this is a Riesling that is deceptively complex. Its drinkable profile is enhanced by aromas of rosemary, pepper and exotic tropical fruits. What's most surprising, however, is that you can enjoy this single-site, single-vineyard little wonder for such a reasonable price.

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