Wine Reviews

Wine Blog Awards

Over two thousand wine reviews! While most of our reviews focus on great wines under $20, we also offer reviews of luxury and collectible wines. As we are located in Philadelphia, most  wines reviewed here are available via PLCB Wine & Spirits Shops in Pennsylvania. Our main reviewer is Keith Wallace, the executive director and founder of the Wine School of Philadelphia.

 

 

Erasmo 2009 Red, Maule Valley

Posted by on 5:59 pm in South American Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Erasmo 2009 Red, Maule Valley

Background European influence has always been a presence in the American wine trade. Up north the effect is more historic, but there are a few winemakers like Philippe Melka  still kicking about, making awesome wines. In South America, it’s a much more palpable influence. The last two decades have seen a great influx of European winemakers.  From Didier Cuvelier of  Chateau Léoville-Poyferré  to the Italian Count Francesco Marone Cinzano of Col d’Orcia estate in Montalcino. While Didier went to Argentina, the good Count Cinzano went  to...

read more

Feudi di San Gregorio 2010 Rubrato

Posted by on 4:54 pm in Italian Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Feudi di San Gregorio 2010 Rubrato

Background Feudi di San Gregorio is on of the top three wineries in the Italian province of  Campania. I recently reviewed  a winery in neighboring Molise that hired Riccardo Cotarella as their consulting enologist.  That is the case here, too, and it shows in the bottle. These are exceptional wines. The winery is located in the village of Sorbo Serpico in Irpina. Its top Aglianico is named “Serpico” after the town and nearby ancient vineyard. That is one of the finest examples of the grape, period. And this is one of  the most...

read more

Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 Grenache, Clifton Vineyards

Posted by on 4:15 pm in American Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Milbrandt Vineyards 2010 Grenache, Clifton Vineyards

Background Some of the best wine grapes in America are grown in the Columbia Valley of Washington State. Butch and Jerry Milbrand are two of the farmers that made it happen.  They were a top resource for winemakers in the Pacific Northwest. They still sell grapes to winemakers, but now they are holding back 10% of their grapes. After a decade of being grape growers, they now are bottling their own wines under the Milbrandt Vineyards label. This is the type of  project that often  ends with less-than-stellar wines: growing grapes and making...

read more

Landmark 2011 “Overlook” Chardonnay

Posted by on 10:50 pm in American Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Landmark 2011 “Overlook” Chardonnay

Background At the Wine School, we don’t review  wines that are produced by big corporations. We only care about unique wines made by small producers. Because of that, this is very likely the last Landmark Vineyards  review we write. This Sonoma winery was sold to Roll Global in 2011, which also owns POM, Fiji, and Justin Vineyards in Paso Robles. Nothing against the folks at Roll Global, but corporate ownership of a winery almost always leads to a reduction in quality and individuality. Sure enough, Landmark’s winemaker, Eric...

read more

Di Majo Norante 2011 Ramitello

Posted by on 10:15 pm in Italian Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Di Majo Norante 2011 Ramitello

The Background Di Majo Norante is an Italian winery located in Molise, just off the Adriatic coast. The property dates back to 1859, and was the farm and vineyard of a local nobleman, the Marquis Norante.  The current owner, Alessio Di Majo, has been producing great wines for well over a decade now. One of the reasons for the Alessio Di Majo’s  success was hiring Riccardo Cotarella in the very beginning. Known as “Il Mago (the Wizard)” Riccardo is arguably Italy’s top winemaking consultant. Riccardo consults for 50...

read more

Maquis 2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley

Posted by on 2:04 pm in South American Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Maquis  2011 Cabernet Sauvignon, Colchagua Valley

What do Chateau d’Yquem, Joseph Phelps, Leoville Las Cases, Champagne Roederer, and Dominus Estate have in common? They all share the same winemaking consultant,  Xavier Chone.  Originally hailing from Bordeaux, he is considered one of the world’s best living winemakers. The Maquis bottlings from Chile are a rare chance to experience his work without shelling out a fortune. Chone has worked at Vina Maquis for a decade  at this point, ever since the Hurtado family decided to build a winery on their 100 year old vineyard holdings in...

read more

Mas Doix 2006 “Costers de Vinyes Velles” Priorat

Posted by on 1:02 pm in Spanish Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Mas Doix 2006 “Costers de Vinyes Velles” Priorat

Valentí Llagostera of Mas Doix understands the concept of terroir. I was fortunate to be able to spend a day with him during a recent visit to Priorat with the Wine School. Valentí’s family has been in the wine trade for five generations. He came to wine as a business later in life. He was a director at the University of  Barcelona. He earned his masters in economics at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland in the late eighties. His family has deep roots in winemaking in Priorat. As a boy, he worked at his family’s...

read more

Vall Llach 2009 “Idus” Priorat

Posted by on 12:24 pm in Spanish Wine Reviews, Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Vall Llach 2009 “Idus” Priorat

Vall Llach is the Spanish winery for people who love Opus One and Caymus Vineyards’ Special Selection. Their wines are dominate, glossy, and concentrated, and should be on the wine list of every upscale steak house.  Every self-respecting sommelier in Pennsylvania should be buying up this bottle for their restaurants right now. You should, too. Those are great reasons to buy this wine, but they aren’t why I am  recommending this wine, however.  It’s because of the people behind the label. The winery was founded in the early...

read more

Bouchaine 2009 Pinot Noir Carneros

Posted by on 10:29 pm in American Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Bouchaine 2009 Pinot Noir Carneros

Who are the Bouchaines?  It doesn’t really matter at this point. It was the maiden name of one of the original partners in this winery. The important question is who are the Copelands? If you are from Delaware, you probably already know.  They are well-known philanthropists in their home state. The founded the Delaware Art Museum. They also underwrite the Delaware Symphony Orchestra, The Grand Opera House and OperaDelaware. Native Delawareans, Gerret and Tatiana Copeland were part of the investment group that purchased the winery in...

read more

Ottimino 2009 Zinfandel, Rancho Bello Vineyard

Posted by on 9:26 pm in American Wine Reviews | 0 comments

Ottimino 2009 Zinfandel, Rancho Bello Vineyard

Ottimino was established in 1999 by Brad Alper and William Knuttel.  Their first bottling was from the Ranch Bello vineyard.  This is  Alper’s winery in many ways, but Knuttel is the name that makes this project very interesting. William Knuttel was the  winemaker for Saintsbury in Carneros for 13 years, Chalk Hill Winery for another 7 years. Then he went on to Dry Creek Vineyard, where he worked as executive winemaker until 2011. That doesn’t include his own winery projects, including  his eponymously named winery, and Tentadora...

read more