Mastroberardino 2007 “Radici” Taurasi

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews

Mastroberardino produces a range of great wines, but it truly excels with its Aglianico bottlings. The grape is an ancient varietal that dates back to antiquity. It’s sometimes cited as being the grape of  falernian, one of the great wines of ancient Rome.  That, however, is just a theory: The Romans didn’t leave any behind for us to test. (If falernian was half as good as Aglianico, I can understand why.) The Radici is the winery’s top bottling from the...

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Frank Family 2010 Rutherford Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Posted in American Wine Reviews

If you are a grape junkie looking to score some top-grade Napa Cabernet, this is a bottle that will ease your pain. If you haven’t experienced something like this before, allow me to offer a bit of an explanation. The high-end world of Napa Cabs is a place unto itself.  The wines have a dark density and velvety texture that is truly unique. It’s an alluring combination that exists only in this tiny bracket of the wine world.  And, sadly, you can’t visit...

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Domaine Pradelle 2010 “Courbis” Crozes-Hermitage

Posted in French Wine Reviews

In the summer of 2012, after a stunning cellar tour at one of  the great wineries of  Hermitage, M. Chapoutier, I sat down at  a little cafe in town.  A number of bruised-knuckled Frenchmen came in–we were in rural France, after all– and started laughing with the proprietor. I was at the next table with a handful of students from the Wine School talking about our recent exploits in the region. The men must overheard us, because they were full of smiles and sent...

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Durigutti 2010 Cabernet Franc Reserva, Mendoza

Posted in South American Wine Reviews

I am very happy to see a bottle of Cabernet Franc coming out of Argentina. This grape varietal is grown in limited quantities in South America,  and it’s mostly used in blends. For those not familiar with Cab Franc, it is one of the least famous of the Bordeaux varietals: Cabernet Sauvignon, Malbec, and Merlot having much much name recognition. This bottling is a great place to get acquainted with this varietal.  The aromatics are complex and intriguing. Anise and...

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Chateau Saint Jean 2010 Chardonnay, Belle Terre Vineyard

Posted in American Wine Reviews

This is an American classic Chardonnay.  Imagine a big ole’ honey bear of a wine, dressed up in a tuxedo, but passed out on a feather bed. Golden and glossy in the glass,  it starts off with a perfumed aroma: ginger, fresh butter, and wild flowers.  On the palate, it turns dense. Sweet vanilla and butterscotch hit the tongue, followed by a lifting minerality that saves the day. A buttery lemon note comes into play, with Japanese pear and jasmine coming forward in the...

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Bodega Benegas 2009 Don Tiburcio, Mendoza

Posted in South American Wine Reviews

The Benegas are the founding family of the wine trade in Argentina. Tiburcio Benegas founded the Trapiche winery in the late 19th century. By the 1970’s the family had sold off all their properties except for Bodega Benegas.  As such, this is both a great bottle of wine and a taste of history. The Don Tiburcio is a blend of Bordeaux grapes:  Malbec, Cabernet Sauvignon, Cabernet Franc, Merlot and Petit Verdot.  Grapes are sourced from their ancestral vineyard where...

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Cellars Baronia “Flor D’Englora” 2011 Garnatxa

Posted in Spanish Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews

It was not too long ago that $10 bottles of wine were ground zero for the frugal and the downwardly mobile. That is no longer the case, at least for wine from Spain.  Spanish wines are simply underpriced for the level of winemaking, quality of the grapes, and the age of the vineyards found in Spain today. Many factors are involved in why this is happening right now:  the economic crisis, the staggering supply of old vineyards, and the availability of cost-effective...

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Altadonna 2010 Nero d’Avola

Posted in Italian Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews

Altadonna is a project by the well-known father & son winemaking team of Stefano and Niccoló Chioccioli. Their portfolio is a line of pan-Italian wines sourced from northern to southern Italy. While such projects are often sub-par and blandly corporate, the Chioccioli family manages to maintain both quality and personality in their wines. This wine is their Sicilian bottling. Nero d’Avola is directly translated as “the black grape from the town of...

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Rafael Reverte 2009 Cistum, Navarra

Posted in Wine Reviews

  Mr. Reverte comes from a family with eight generations of winemaking experience. His family owns Bodega Reverte in nearby Rioja, where his brother Daniel is the winemaker. Cistum is a solo project, and a highly worthwhile one. The grapes are sourced from a vineyard dating back to 1890. Predominantly Grenache, the vines are ungrafted and pre-phylloxera, which makes this wine a historically important bottle that all the wine geeks out there should try. It doesn’t...

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