Wine Reviews

Browse collection of wine reviews.


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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2015 Vietti Roero Arneis DOCG, Piedmont, Italy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Fourth generation family outfit Vietti has pretty much mastered the game when it comes to crisp, refreshing Roero Arneis. If warming weather has you in the mood for something refreshing but a little out of the ordinary, and you're unfamiliar with the citric, floral Arneis, this stalwart Langhe producer's 2015 release might be the perfect introduction.

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2011 Swanson Vineyards Merlot, Oakville

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Merlot is so often done poorly that it's sometimes tough to trust a reasonably-priced bottle of it, particularly when it hails from a region with traditionally high price tags, such as Napa Valley. But Swanson's Oakville Merlot won't make a huge dent in your wine buying budget, yet it perennially provides an admirable balance between the lush, spicy, blackberry fruitiness for which Napa is famous, and tarter, livelier red fruits and black olive notes that are the enticing hallmarks of Merlot from more cooler climes.

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2014 Brooks Janus Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Known for the small army of different Riesling releases that they produce, the flagship Pinot Noir from Brooks - called Janus - shows that they have ample red winemaking chops, too. Earthy, dark, and spicy, the Janus comes on strong aromatically, but softens its touch on the palate, making it a versatile choice for lighter meat dishes.

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Vinaria din Vale Feteasca, Moldova

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

The vibrant, but little-known Feteasca grape is used extensively in Moldavia and Romania for the production of sparkling wine, but it's nice to see the grape done well as a still white wine. Vinaria din Vale's dry white version is a real treat, full of tropical and apple fruits in its youth, and taking on a honeyed, nutty, and heady floral aroma with a few years of bottle aging.

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2014 Cecchi La Mora Vermentino Maremma Toscana, Tuscany

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Too often, the zesty side of Vermentino is lost when exposed to the intense Tuscan sunshine. Not so with the delightful La Mora Vermentino from Cecchi. While obvious from its melon fruit notes that it comes from a sunny clime, La Mora is a white that exudes a nice line of minerality and refreshment, making it ideal for sipping in warmer weather.

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Zardetto 'Z' Prosecco Brut, Veneto

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

It's not difficult to appreciate Prosecco's crowd-pleasing popularity when tasting Zardetto's Z Brut. This is, simply put, a bubbly that is easy to love. It's approachable and fruity, and so eminently drinkable, but it also has surprising complexity and depth for a Glera-based sparkler, which means it should be a hit at just about any party where sparkling wine is on the menu.

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