Wine Reviews

Browse collection of wine reviews.


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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Bodegas Riojanas Vina Albina Reserva, Rioja

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Two of the great things about Rioja are that they hold their reds until they are ready to drink, and they have a unique category - Reserva - that sits between the fruity entry level wines of the region, and the area's more overtly oak-aged Gran Riserva style. That middle ground puts Bodegas Riojanas' Vina Albina Reserva in a sweet spot; its enticing cherry fruit flavors and tobacco notes are balanced by ample freshness, making it a versatile, food-friendly red.

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2015 Knudsen Vineyards Chardonnay, Dundee Hills

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Knudsen have been making fine wine in Oregon for forty-five years, since Cal and Julia Lee's decision to convert a former walnut orchard into vineyard land. Their 2015 Chardonnay is a stunner, and well worth the expensive price tag. With lemon zest, toast, and white flower aromas, and tropical fruit flavors, this is a balanced, intriguing wine, and one that showcases Oregon's prowess beyond Pinot Noir.

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1999 Blandy's Colheita Malmsey, Madeira

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

Malmsey Madeira, at its worst, can be so sweet as to be the vinous equivalent of treacly. At its best? That's more like being able to drink the soul of the best pecan pie that you've ever tasted. Blandy's 1999 vintage Malmsey fits more into the latter category; after sixteen years in the company's seasoned American oak casks and multi-level canteira aging system, it's a wine of impeccable depth, spiciness, and vivacity (and, yes, sweetness).

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Tenuta Roveglia 'Limne' Lugana, Lombardy

Contributed by: Joe Roberts

You could, quite easily, enjoy this Turbiana-based white and drink up its floral, zesty fruitiness poolside during the Summer, and not think twice about it. But you'd be better served buying two bottles: one to sip in the warm Summer months, and another to lay down in your cellar. This Lugana has the creamy peach fruit, minerality, and acidic scaffolding to suggest that it will become a fine, honeyed delight in a few years.

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